6 Things I’m NOT Doing So I Can Enjoy My Kids’ Childhoods Instead

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I know it’s cliché, but kids really do grow up too fast. Tater turned 8 a few weeks ago, and I was having a Mommy Meltdown about my baby growing up, and how on earth did this happen, and so on. I kept thinking about the last four years since Junior was born, and how stressed and busy I was, and how I just wanted a break–until I looked back and realized how much I missed because I was so anxiously awaiting the day that life would calm down. Life never really calms down, the challenges just become different. But, it really made me consider how fleeting time is, and how I really just need to enjoy the kids every single day. They will never be as young again as they are today. So, here are 6 things I’m not doing, so I can enjoy my kids’ childhoods instead:

 

1. Not Glued to My Phone
Technology is one of those double edged swords–phones and computers are useful and often necessary, but it’s also easy to become a slave to our devices. Instead of making it a point to check my phone for messages, emails, or anything else during the day, I’ve been putting it away and only checking it when the kids are in bed. My goal is that I’m never looking at a screen when they come looking for me.

 

2. Not Out and About All the Time
We have had a ridiculous amount of appointments since Junior was born 4 years ago. Several days a week, we are out of the house most of the morning, and once we get home it’s time to do school, cook, clean, and otherwise get caught up on life. I never feel caught up, and it’s stressful for everyone when you’re always trying to play catch up.

A couple weeks ago, we had no therapies or doctor’s appointments planned for an entire week, and I had forgotten how blissful it is to be home. We were able to play, do art projects, do school and get all the household chores done without feeling stressed. I’m moving our schedule around so we’re home more, so I can spend more time playing than driving.

 

3. Not Thinking About Tomorrow
I’ll admit it–I’m terrible when it comes to living in the present. I’m always thinking about the next thing…tomorrow, next week, my to-do lists, my life goals–that I often forget to be in the present. Right now. I want to enjoy my kids’ little faces while they’re still little, and not look back and regret that I didn’t fully enjoy the time with them. Instead of thinking about the next thing when I’m with them, I’m trying to stay in the moment–thinking about what I have right here and right now. What do I see? What do I hear? I just want to soak it all in and create memories in the now.

 

4. Not Spending Too Much Time On Meals
How many times have I heard “Momma, can you play with us?” while I’m trying to make dinner? Too many. I have to tell them later, but of course later never happens because too soon it’s bathtime and bedtime and tomorrow. So, I’ve started incorporating more slow cooker and freezer meals into our weekly menu so dinner is healthy and yet quick. My mom always used to tell people that it didn’t matter if she spent 20 minutes or 2 hours on a meal, as long as everyone was full and happy. Luckily, there are tons of healthy crock pot recipes that are a snap to prepare. (My slow cooker black beans and chicken tacos are always a family favorite.)

 

5. Not Forgetting to Have a Plan
Not so much a schedule, but in order to get the most out of our time, I’ve found it to be helpful to have a bit of a plan for the day. I may plan breakfast, outdoor play time, art project, lunch, school time, and a movie. Nothing too specific, but just a guide so I’m not standing around at 2pm wondering what on earth we did all day.

 

6. Not Ignoring the Little Moments
My doctor’s office has a sign that says “Never forget to enjoy the little blessings of today. Someday you will look back and realize they were the big blessings.” I love that. Right now I may take for granted when Junior wants me to pick him up and carry him to the car, or when Tater reaches up to hold my hand in the parking lot, but someday I’m going to look back and miss those little hands and that soft hair, and those sweet little voices.

Years from now, I’ll be wishing for “just one more day” with them being little, so I intend to enjoy that “one more day” right now.

 

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Seeking Gratitude Even When Life is Hard

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Sometimes life is hard, and in those times it seems like such a daunting task to find something to be grateful for. It’s so easy to look at all the things that are wrong instead of all the things that are right.

I’ve been really convicted of this lately. I’ve been tired, there have been a lot of things going on, and quite frankly, complaining is easy. But, there are so many blessings in my life, and I think it’s important to focus on those things. Of course I know it’s easier said than done. I might resolve myself to only think about the good things in my life, but two minutes later I’m back focused on my problems.

Recently, however, I read an article that really helped my perspective, and gave a simple, yet profound tip for counting your blessings. Imagine that everything you have, everything you are was suddenly taken away. It has all been returned to you. How thankful are you for those things you had once taken for granted?

God’s unending love…

My family…their laughter…their health…

My dishwasher and washing machine…

My hands that get things done and feet that take me where I need to go…

A reliable car…

The food in our cabinets…

Hot water…

Our refrigerator that keeps food cold…

Bookshelves full of books…

My son’s cochlear implants so he can hear my voice…

The warm blanket on my bed…

A soft couch for relaxing…

Cooking utensils…(have you seen Cutthroat Kitchen? I’m never taking a pan or spatula for granted again.)

I’m not perfect at this exercise yet; I think it takes a lot of effort to move to a mindset of gratitude, but I’m trying and am already feeling more thankful.

As a sign in my parent’s house attests: There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.

A Bittersweet Season

IMG_9401The last few months have been tough around here.

Besides the usual busyness of Junior’s appointments and therapies and continuous monitoring of his fairly slow progress, Tater has been seeing a specialist for some potential health concerns. I’m a worrier, and was in Mommy Worry Mode for a while. But, once December rolled around, I was determined to enjoy every second of the Christmas season, and put all my anxieties on the back burner. The kids and I did crafts, baked cookies, and made ornaments. We decorated the tree, had family movie nights, and went out to see all the best Christmas lights San Diego had to offer nearly every single evening.

But, two weeks before Christmas, we got a phone call. One of those phone calls. The kind you always dread in the back of your mind every time the phone rings.

Your dad has advanced cancer.

My dad has battled many health issues over the years, but nothing his great attitude and sense of humor couldn’t overcome. We were shocked…this diagnosis came out of left field, and at Christmastime no less.

My dad was admitted to the hospital and began radiation the same day he was diagnosed. He’s battling, but it’s been tough. It’s been 6 weeks and he still hasn’t been able to come home permanently, but we are prayerful that he will fight this thing and be victorious.

We spent Christmas together as a family…my dad received a 4 hour pass from the nursing facility to come home and visit, have brunch, and open presents…and we tried to make each moment count. It was bittersweet. Sweet for the time spent together, Bitter for the circumstances clouding the day.

Now that it’s January and the excitement of the Christmas season is over, real life has begun to set in again. Junior’s delays are still being assessed. Tater still has follow ups with the specialist. My dad still has cancer. And I’m still tired. Tired of there always being something.

My dad had many favorite quotes he used to tell me growing up. (They annoyed me as a teenager, but now I am grateful for the morsels of wisdom.) One of the phrases he used to quote the most came from the movie Apollo 13, in which a set of circumstances devastating for one character, ended up being the saving grace for everyone else.

Things have a way of working out.

And they will. God promises that ALL things work together for the good of those who love him. Because He is the one who created my story, I trust that He is working everything out for my good. I may be exhausted, worn out, anxious, and grieved, but I have to trust that His promise is true. That things do have a way of working out, even when life is out of our control. Because He’s the One who holds all our tomorrows.

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Top 10 Posts of 2015

It’s somehow 2016, and I know I say this every January, but how on earth is last year already over?

Our family had a pretty good year altogether–if you don’t count a rocky December, but I’ll talk about that in another post. Our year consisted of several road trips, lots of school, and some pretty exciting milestones from Junior.

Here are my Top 10 Posts of 2015…which post was your favorite?

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9.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.

7.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.
Niagara Falls and Upstate NY with Kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3,

30 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.
10 Reasons Having a Child with Cochlear Implants is Awesome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
1. Sharing Secrets…A Look Back at Diagnosis Day

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Home From Vacation: My 5 Favorite Things

We just returned from a week and a half vacation at the beach. It was so glorious. We swam, tanned (luckily didn’t burn too much), hiked, collected shells, celebrated our anniversary, celebrated Tater’s 7th birthday and most importantly, just spent time together. Here are some of the highlights from our trip.

Note: You won’t see “sleep” on this list…Junior does not like to sleep in any bed other than his own and made it very clear every 4 hours or so, that he was not happy with his surroundings.

1. The Beach

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There is something so peaceful about the waves and the sand (as long as it’s not tracked into my house, in which case sand and I become mortal enemies) that just refreshes me. There were 10 foot waves from a storm so we didn’t spend too much time in the water, but just smelling the salt spray and listening to the crash of the waves was enough.

2. Nature
We hiked a lot, and found some areas in stark contrast to the ocean. Everything from pine trees to palm trees to cactus. All within the same hike! The kids didn’t love walking, but they did love the mud puddles we found!
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3. 10 Years
I cannot believe it has been 10 years since our Wedding Day. We celebrated our 10th anniversary while on vacation. I made my husband a photo book of moments from our decade together.
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4. Junior’s Listening
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Junior LOVED listening to the birds and the waves at the ocean. He wore his cochlear implants into the pool a few times, but with all the background noise, it was hard for him to hear too well. He was very vocal in telling us he wanted to go to the beach (“beeeh”) and refused to wear outfits that weren’t his swimsuit.

 

5. Time Together
I am so thankful for how hard my husband works for us, even though he works a lot. But this makes the time we spend together even more valuable, and I am grateful for these last 10 days to celebrate our anniversary and Tater’s birthday.
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I’m still not back into the swing of things here at home…it will probably take me weeks to fully unpack and reorganize my life. But, the lifelong memories were worth it, even with the sleepless nights…and the screaming in the airplane…and the whining for food…traveling after kids is definitely a different ballgame than traveling before kids, but I sure do love having them around :)