Monday, December 16, 2013

Advent for Ordinary Moms

We are now in the third week of the Advent season.  Just reading that I am sure gets some of your blood pressure's climbing with visions of shopping lines dancing in your heads. For those of you who may not be Christian, Advent is the four weeks leading up to Christmas where we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ child. We are also in the third week of the Christmas season--the one of shopping, attending parties and all that other good stuff.  Without boring you completely to death, the "church year" for mainline Protestants is divided into different seasons--we are in Advent right now, there is the season of Lent which leads up to Easter, but the bulk of the calendar year the church is in what we call "ordinary time." Ordinary time is a time where nothing huge is going on, but there are a steady rotation of lessons that hit on many of the different aspects of our lives with God. It is called "ordinary" because it is just that. 
But right now we are in the Advent or Christmas season, which means time for reflection and prayer, but it also means fitting in about ten times more errands, the daily commute taking a little longer each day, making baked goods and then trying not to eat/burn the calories of said baked goods, being pressured by Pinterest to create the perfect handmade Advent/countdown to Christmas calendar filled with and activity a day to teach "meaning" to your children and create "fun and magic" and all those great things.  As some of you may already know I am a pastor of a medium-sized congregation, which means that this time of the year my calendar is full and my family is required to be a bit more flexible.  So if you want me to come up with, prep and execute a thoughtful and fun craft or activity every night while also making a healthy home-cooked meal and get everyone washed and in bed on time, well you might as well induct me into the bad mother's club right now.  
Don't get me wrong, I love crafts and crafting with my child.  You only have to look around my blog for two seconds to get that vibe. And I love having fun with my daughter and creating special memories.  And we love teaching her about our faith and about the special stories of our faith. I am not knocking any of those things, because I love all of them. 
But this is my third Christmas season with a child and this year we have another on the way (yippee!) and over the past several years I have undergone a slow transformation and come to a bit of a conclusion. 
I am an awesome ordinary time mom.
If you want a over-planned and well-executed Advent calendar I am not your gal.
If you want an activity-a-day month, sorry, can't do it.
If you want to pack everyone up in the car, after dark (right around bed time) to go see lights on a school/work night, it's probably not going to happen. 
But if you want to come home randomly from pre-school/work one day in March and go for a "nature hike" around the neighborhood and talk about all God has made, I am your girl. 
If you want to go to the library and look up books on kindness in the middle of July on a Tuesday afternoon to beat the heat, I'm all about it. 
If you want to make cookies one Saturday afternoon in September just because we can, I'm there and likely have all the fixins in the pantry and leaf cookie cutters already in the arsenal. 
I have grown to be a peace with our lives not looking like a board on Pinterest during Advent because when you step back and look at the whole year, when you take into account ordinary time (which by the way takes up MOST of the calendar year), I pretty much nail it.  That doesn't mean that I am perfect, it means that we have found a pace and a rhythm that works for us to create special moments as a family, to do special activities together and to teach our families values and faith stories.  And no one is getting stressed out about it.  I am an awesome ordinary time mom--and you know what?  Ordinary time takes up way more of the calendar and (hopefully) way more of my child's memories and understanding of who they are and who we are as a family. 
And being an awesome "ordinary time mom" has made me a better Advent mom.  I can't track down 25 books, wrap them and remember every night to unwrap one in a meaningful and snuggly way by the fire.  But I can, every night at bedtime read The Story of Christmas, taking the time to sing "Away in the Manger" on the page where baby Jesus is lying on the hay, because it's my daughter's favorite. 
I can't do fun activity after fun activity each and every night (we have six church Christmas parties to attend this week people--six!), but I can make sure that like all the other evenings of the year dinner is (mostly) healthy and (semi) on time.  I can make sure that we pray before bed and that our prayers reflect what is happening in our lives, in our world and in our faith. And on the weekend we will sneak in a Christmas light watching stroll around the neighborhood with friends, we will do a movie night snuggled in jammies, but we will do them at our ordinary time pace. 
I am not writing this for the moms that can and will do all those special activities each and every day--more power to you, certainly I have no judgment and probably have more than a few high-fives to pass around.  I am writing this for the ordinary time moms--those of you that need permission to let go of the seasonal expectations and be the awesome mom you are year round, at the pace you do it at year round this Advent season.  Because most of the year is ordinary and most of our lives are ordinary and the faith story of the season is certainly about a God that not only digs the ordinary, but preferred to burrow down deep into the ordinary of this world through a small child, born not of royalty but of ordinary people. 

This year's Santa picture from our church Christmas festival, of which we all showed up, looking decent,
and matching and didn't plan a single bit of it.  I call that a WIN!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Woah, Baby!

Guess what? Spring 2014 we'll be welcoming a new family member! 
And we can't wait!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday Crafties {Painted Blocks}

Today's Tuesday Crafties is a Toddler Crafty...we decided to paint our own set of wooden blocks.  Over the winter I had made several sets of Olio blocks as gifts.  I had some left over plain wooden blocks that A ran across in my craft supplies and asked her favorite question, "paint, mommy?" So I said "sure why not!"

I picked three colors to keep it simple, using a acrylic craft paint and adding a bit of water to keep her little layers of paint thin. I also put a separate brush in each color to prevent too much mixing.

We didn't wear a smock with this project (but should have).  We totally own and recommend this one if you are looking for one.  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Three Things...

Three things since I last posted...

1) We live with a two year old now and it's awesome!

2) My wonderfully creative and adventurous sister was published on Quarterlette and you should go check out her article about her time at Lolapolooza last year, because it's about to be music festival season!

3) I'm preaching every Sunday through the summer.  It's work people, but I love it.  

I miss you all and I miss blogging--we are just sort of living in the present, in our living, breathing, everyday ordinary lives.  It is oh so good.  If you want a peek into our daily lives I am on Instagram daily.  I kinda love capturing the small moments through out our day via pictures.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hey, there

Just thought I would check in real quick with all the folks out in blogland.  We are doing well, the weather is already warm here in Texas, I'm wearing florals and I am pretty sure that winter left with January. It will be in the 70s here today even though my news home page said that the northeast is expecting 2 feet of snow! 
The warmer weather has triggered two seasonal obsesions--landscaping and music festivals. So right now I am mapping out my three stage plan for this spring's back yard project (which as you all might know if part of a larger, five year plan for the whole back yard), purchasing music festival and concert tickets, planning little toddler picnics in the backyard and looking forward to stealing kisses from my mister under the warm sunshine.  Life is pretty darn good.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

12 in 12 Review

Remember my 12 in 12?  Yeah, me neither...I kid!  I thought being the new year I thought I would check in on last year's 12 in 12 and see how I did.  So without further ado....

1) Try and new cut and color...done and sort of done.
I went darker in the fall and decided to commit to growing it out long.  I found a great stylist that gave my long hair some shape.

2) Learn how to wear lipstick.  Done and if I could revise this intention I would have said "learn to wear lipstick AND actually wear it."  I found a gloss based lipstick in a red that I love for my everyday look.

3) Decided on a paint color of the formal living/dining and paint it. DONE!  And I freaking LOVE it!  But truthfully I got this one barely under the wire.  We had swatches painted all over the walls for the better part of the year.  It was so bad that one of my sister's friends asked "are you going for an abstract look?" and my poor color bling hubby was like "um, can we pick something? This is driving me crazy." His request was in August and I decided on a paint in October....eek!  Then I did my normal thing where I trim in my spare time at night and then roller one Saturday.  My goal was to have it done before we decorated for the holidays and let's say I was rollering the last coat as the mister was dragging the boxes out of the attic.  I will post pictures soon, promise.

4) Run in a race. Check.  I did the Jingle Bell Run in Fort Worth with my sister and T.  Little A tagged along and it was fun.  I might try another one this year

5) Refinish the bed frame I bought at the flea market.  Fail.  Well, not really, it's taken me a while to decide on painting versus refinishing and then there are only so many hours in the day...and I did that little thing called going back to work.  I am not feeling too bad about this one.

6) Begin building our food garden in the back yard.  Nope, we didn't work on this one.  Instead we focused our time and money on fixing up the existing landscaping and put in a new bed.  It's a process.

7) Get the creative room pulled together.  I got that one done first thing this year and we have really enjoyed it.  We have a few more plans to tweak the room this year but we have a great base.

8) Visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.  No, but this one is going straight to my list this year!

9) Take Adelaide to the place T and I got engaged. We accomplished this in a pretty special way.  You can read more about it here.

10) Visit two art museums that are not in my city.  I didn't get this done, but I am at peace.  We used the heck out of our DMA membership.  Adelaide and I spent much of the summer going in the morning to look at the collection, gabbing lunch at the cafe and heading home.  But I would like to continue to seek out opportunities to soak up art with my little family.

11) Finish a sewing project from a pattern.  That's another big, fat no.  I am starting to think that I have a real problem with patterns, because I have done several sewing projects but I have drafted the pattern myself or just free handed it (Adelaide's nap mat cover for school and a stole for worship).  Oops.

12) Attend at least one concert.  Ha!  This one is the biggest yes of the bunch.  I joked to someone that if you followed me on Instagram, you would think that my life was all food, cute baby raising and concerts.  This year I got to see the Old 97s, Florence and the Machine, Bob Dylan, A Fine Frenzy, and several DSO concerts.

All in all it was a great year.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012 A Look Back

I did a recap of 2011 and really enjoyed it, so thought I would do the same for 2012, with a slightly different twist. I think every year is full of surprise--some good and some not so good and this year was no exception, but on the whole I think this year was all about finding our grounding here in Texas.

Top 6 Moments of 2012*:

1) Adelaide celebrated her first birthday with a special trip and then a party with our friends and family

2) T celebrated his 30th birthday

5) We went on vacation to the beach

6) We continued to enjoy living near our family

*Because I couldn't narrow it down to 5!

What were your top moments of 2011?