Monday, March 10, 2014

New Beginnings

This has been the Year of Change for us. If you've ever taken one of those personality tests, typically one of the subcategories defines you as one who enjoys change and adapts well to it or one who avoids it all cost. I'm the latter. 100%. So many aspects of our lives have turned upside down in the past year: our living environment, our education ideals, our church life, and without doubt, my heart. We sold our home of 8 years in August. We started homeschooling our daughter in September. We spent 6 months in an apartment while we searched for our next house. We've stepped back from the church we have been involved in for over 6 years and have been visiting a new church. And just two weeks ago, we officially moved into our new home.

Each of these instances, I had in my mind what our lives would be like. We'd sell our house in suburbia and move to the country, living on a few acres. Our kids would be in private or public school depending on the school district we ended up in. Our family would grow together in the same church our kids were introduced to as babies. 

Not one single plan went as I was expecting or anticipating or even hoping for if I'm being brutally honest. I had it figured out and not one of these outcomes were on my agenda. Not one single thing.

I never thought we'd be the family who home schools. Living in a 3-bedroom apartment on the top floor for 6 months was not an option. Leaving a church we were very involved in for many years was just not going to happen. And yet, here we are.

This is where the beauty began and where my heart has been impacted most. In spite of me, my heart and perspective started to slowly change. For one who is not fond of change, this has become one of the most refreshing times of my life. Sit on that thought for a moment. In spite of me. I try so hard to be in control and the moment I open my hand and begin to surrender that control, beauty is born.

I'm so excited to share these discoveries with you!

This blog was created over 5 years ago with the initial intent to document our family life. It's been on a hiatus, evolved, shifted gears and is in much need of TLC. I didn't realize at the time just how fitting the title would become. "Work in Progress" captures perfectly not only this outlet but also who I am as a wife, mom, daughter, sister, and friend. I hope you enjoy what you find here and above all, I hope it encourages you!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sanity Manifesto

I saw this about a week ago and it is outstanding. Very impactful. It is from Ann Voscamp. Enjoy! PostownAquaFlat

Sunday, January 27, 2013

When I grow up..

You know the question: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" That seems to be a common topic in our house lately and I always have a little chuckle when I think about what I used to want to "be" when I grew up.

If you know me, you know my answer fwas "I want to wear high heels, carry a briefcase and have a corner office." Of course that also meant I'd live in the city because that's where you have a corner office and wear high heels. People would then question me further, "but what do you want to be?" Well isn't it obvious? I want to be a cute business girl!? And "What type of business are you going to do?" Again, another dumb question. Any type of business where I can wear high heels, carry a briefcase and have a corner office! Come on now. Get with the program. It all makes perfect sense in my mind. How am I not being clear?

So off to business school I went. My junior year at the best school in the South - The University of Georgia - I knew I was getting the best education possible to persue my extensive and elaborate plan for the rest of my life. I started interning at a Winery and Resort in their Marketing Department and soon moved on to sell their wine and design wine labels. Just after graduation, my boss asked me to go to San Francisco for a month to help open a new wine gallery and help them get their wine labels set up.

My moment had finally arrived! I was going to be in an amazing city, wear my high heels, carry my briefcase (or cute bag - that kind of changed with the times..) and have a corner officedesk!!! They arranged for my flights, set up my hotels for the month and I would have the weekends to check out the city, have friends fly in to hangout and and just enjoy life on the west coast.

So I packed all my bags, flew out one weekend with enough time to get settled and get an idea of where my hotel would be in relation to the gallery. Monday morning, I was ready to start my dream! I put my high heels on, grabbed my bag, took one last look at my map so I wouldn't look like a lost tourist and was on my way!

By the time I walked those 11 blocks in my fancy-smancy high heels, not only was I sweating to death, I was cursing life and every person that walked past me in their tennis shoes. My feet were about to fall off and I realized my dream of wearing high heels was sooo ridiculously retarded at that point. WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND BASES THEIR DREAM AROUND HIGH HEELS?!? This girl.

Did you know that in big cities when you go to work you either take a taxi or you walk but you keep your heels in your bag until you GET to your job? No one ever informed me of this minormajor detail!

My very first day of living my dream and I couldn't even walk by the end of it.

Oh the lessons we learn in life... That was the last day I wore high heels in San Francisco.

Even though it was the city that robbed me of my lifelong dream, it will always be one of my absolute favorite cities in the US and one of the best times in my life.

When I grow up, I can guarantee you I will be wearing comfortable shoes!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Movie Night

Friday Family Fun Night. That's tonight and the kids and I are SO excited it is finally here!

We started this several months ago and it's been a huge hit. The kids get a couple of choices for their "favorite" dinners and get to pick out what we have for the night. This is a dinner I'm a bit more relaxed about and don't push (too hard) on being completely healthy. (I try!) It kind of rotates between homemade pizza, mac & cheese with broccoli (get those veggies in!!), crock pot ravioli, and burritos. Tonight we're having crock pot ravioli with this recipe. It's very tasty and the kids love it! We eat in the livingroom either on the floor in front of the table or with tv trays while we watch the movie. They think that is so fun. And of course, we have some type of dessert to chow down on after dinner.

We didn't really have a big selection of children/family movies when we started this but we stocked up on a handful for Christmas gifts. Also, we'll use Netflix from time to time. Tonight, we're watching The Rescuers Down Under which we recorded earlier from ABC Family.

We've been rotating who gets to pick the movie out for the night and that's been fun too. The other week I picked Mary Poppins - I haven't seen that in over 20 years, at least! I loved seeing it again - you can't beat Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke!! The best part was seeing Kathryn really enjoy it too. I didn't realize how long it actually was so Jake lasted about 70% of the time :) He got to pick the following week and made up for it by picking Cars. Smart boy.

I love that the kids can see some of our old "classics" that we saw growing up and we get to watch some of the new ones together too.

I'm thankful to have a night each week we can all look forward too and just be together. I remember watching movies with my family each week growing up and loved it. We'd either load up in the car and drive to the local hole in the wall movie rental and come home with our $1.00 or $.75 VHS for the weekend. Or we'd all watch the Disney movie that came on tv on Sunday nights.

It's always fun passing on a tradition.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Morning Chat

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me. Psalm 13:5-6
You know what a lot of us mom's have in common? We all think our children are brilliant (because they are). And we think they're gifted (because they are). And we think they're the funniest, and most amazing, and adorable, and all things in between.
Yesterday, when I picked Kathryn up from school her teacher informed me that Kathryn was rather "distracted" throughout the day and her teacher had to repeatedly redirect her and get her to listen and pay attention. Wait. My Kathryn? That can't be right. My Kathryn would never be the child called out in class. Right? Wrong.
Right after school, we already had scheduled for friends to come over to play and it was one of those visits where the kids are playing and your child is absolutely doing everything she knows NOT to do. Horrendous behavior. It was bad. Very bad.
Of course Kathryn and I (and she and her Daddy) talked about her behavior and addressed her school day and how things were when her friends were over.

To wrap it all up in a nice little bow, yesterday was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day when considering Kathryn's behavior. But in spite of that, I got to rest in the words of Psalm 13:5-6 and I fell asleep to "for he has been good to me..."
This morning, Kathryn woke up before I finished having my quiet time and came downstairs. This happens about half the time because 1. She is an early riser 2. I am not. So we had some time just the two of us to chat and snuggle on the couch for a few minutes before the rush of the morning kicked in. I didn't want to bring her behavior from yesterday into today, but I did want to address how her approach today would be. We talked how we would work on making today better and what that meant for being at school and what that meant for being at home
Today at school was much better for her. Her behavior at home was much better also. I asked her later this afternoon what the difference was and she literally floored me with her response. She said, "Talking this morning about today."

I can't stop thinking about those words.

It makes perfect sense. How many families, including mine, wake up to the busyness of the world and GO. Sure we talk about what we have going on during the day but do we talk about how we're going to handle certain situations or talk through our expectations or what we may struggle with or how we should approach our day? Do we talk about the details of living before we rush out the door?

I thought of myself and how much I crave and treasure my quiet time in the mornings and how "off" my day is if I sleep through it or push it off until the end of the day. My days are infinitely better if I start it off with my quiet time and the main reason why? Because "talking this morning about today" with God sets the pace to my day.

It never occurred to me the impact it would also have on a child to take  make time to chat about the details of their day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Family Times

Nothing beats good old-fashioned family time. Kathryn didn't have school yesterday because of MLK day nor today because of a teacher workday. Days when both the kids and I get to just enjoy each other are my absolute favorite. No agenda, no schedule or places to be, just us being silly and goofy and enjoying each other.

As I type this, I can hear Matt upstairs talking to Kathryn about her day and it warms my heart. Partly because it's about our day together that she's sharing with him and partly because their 'Daddy/Daughter' time is absolutely precious. During bedtime, we all pile on Kathryn's bed and read a bible story together and say our prayers. It's as sweet as it sounds. We never have to ask them to be quiet or to sit still or not play with their toys distractedly. They are always eager to hear the story and ask lots and lots of questions about each story. They always listen and they wake up every morning excited to put into practice all the great lessons learned! {Giggle} Yes, of course some nights are more difficult than others but I wouldn't trade all of those hard nights for one of the good ones. I hope it becomes something they grow to treasure and value.

The past two days, Kathryn has drawn me numerous "I love you" cards with a beautiful stick-rendition of she and I. She is so creative and has such a fun imagination. She and I can make up stories together and be perfectly content. She's the most dainty tomboy you'll ever come across. She loves being a ninja (with purple and pink fingernails) about as much as she loves being a princess. She informed me the other week at school that she was in "Ninja Training"... If I come to her school "after lunch time, she'd introduce me and see if I wanted to train with her." I'm still waiting on my ninja attire to arrive from Amazon. Back ordered at the moment... Can you believe it!?

Jacob is my heart-breaker. He's so jovial and Mr. Mellow. He's tender-hearted and if he is hurt or really tired, he comes up to me and tells me he wants "some lovin'" - you know, cuddles and snuggles on the couch. He talks so much these days trying to keep up with his sister (who of course is trying to keep up with me so we have lots of chatting going on in this house!!) He is ALL boy. Practically the minute he turned two, he decided to declare it to the world. Trucks, tractors and trains. Play any of those with him and he'll be your best friend.

I think that wraps it up for now. Feeling extrememly thankful for family and days when we can truly just enjoy our time together.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Secret Stash

For as long as I can remember, my mom has had a secret stash of dark chocolate tucked away in one of the drawers in my parent's house. If it's a Christmas present or Birthday gift or even something for Mother's Day, I always know I have go-to option with dark chocolate for her and she always acts as if she won the lottery when she sees she has more chocolate to add to her hidden treasure chest.

Of ALL things, I am not a huge fan of things "sweet". I never have been. My mom has always been confused by this trait and has questioned my true identity as that clearly did not come from her. My husband is baffled by it also. It is very common for me to bake a chocolate cake with cream cheese icing (because it sounds so good) but I will eat one slice and be perfectly fine to not eat any more cake for another month. This past year - oh my goodness, I'm really going to admit this - I had my very first "HOT" Krispy Kreme Donut (with my mom..of course.) It was delicious! I tried to eat another one..but nope, I maxed out on my sweet-meter and couldn't do it. What is wrong with me!?

During both of my pregnancies, I ate more sweets in those 18 months than I probably have my whole life! My husband thought he died and went to Heaven. My sweet craving only lasted during the pregnancies though. Once both the kids were born, I went back to my old ways.

Then, out of the blue, I was grocery shopping by myself and saw B1G1 Snickers bars. It was that moment that I took the plunge and bought TWO. Practically every.single.week. since then, I buy more and more and more and before I knew it, I had my very own secret stash! It's wonderful too because right about this time in the afternoons - you know the time, when the kids are down for a nap or "quiet time" and you can get a few things done on your own.. That's when I head to my little secret stash and chow down on a fully satisfying Snickers bar. Oh man. Life is good!

I'm pretty sure my mom's secret stash started after she had kid's too. I mean, why else would you need to hide it!?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Man, am I on a roll with posting or what!? It's like words are spewing out of me and I can't make it stop!

Do you make New Year's Resolutions? Every year the same thing happens with me and one of my best friends. I come up with a bunch of goals I want to tackle for the New Year and she doesn't have any. Not one.single.goal. I'm ambitious and pumped to kick off the year and she's mellow and passive, "Oh, it's another year already?" We always chat January 1st and we both talk about how we're going to hold each other accountable to following a budget this year and we're going to be really frugal and yada-yada-yada...and then by February, the budget is blown. Every.single.year.

This year though...This year was different. My list is through the roof! I keep adding more and more to it and I can't stop myself! I have no clue how many things are really on the list because I don't write them down but I'm sure it's about a mile long (at least). I read in a blog I follow that the woman had three goals for the year and a "Word of the Year'. When I read that, I laughed and thought, "What a joke!? Who actually has a "word" of the year??" And you know what? Now, I do too! Oh my goodness, I'm such a poser. I even copied her word. Is that sad? My word (or, I guess "our" word..) is: CALM. Why not? It sounds good, right? She had no mention of a "Number of the Year" or "Color of the Year" so maybe she's holding out until next year.. I'll keep you posted though because if this is the new trend, I know you will want to be a part of it. I'll just go ahead and declare mine now. Number = 10. Color = Blue.

Speaking of CALM. Is it just me or do you have 3/4 of your friends on Facebook "hidden"? It's weird because I'm only reading like 6 updates daily anymore and I have almost 500 friends?... ha.ha.ha. If it were not for people who lived out of state, Facebook would be history for me. I love how you can classify people on it. "Friend", "Close Friend", "Acquaintance", etc.. I started a new list, "Friend on Facebook but not in real life" and "Friend in real life but not on Facebook". It's been really helpful.

And on that note, I will be signing off. Stay Calm and Carry On...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Neighborhood Living

Hello again. I know you must be shocked to hear from me again and it's still January. I'm a bit surprised myself.

Lots of things floating around in my head and I thought I'd take a quick break from the world to type.

We live smack dab in the middle of suburbia. It is very easy to confuse the street that we live on as Wisteria Lane. Edie lives behind us, Gabby is two houses down, and Lynette is next door. I've never lived in a neighborhood until moving here. We've been in our house for almost 8 years now and I'm still not used to living on a street with so many other homes. I crave the country so bad.

I grew up on about 10 acres of land, surrounded by woods that backed up to a creek. If we wanted to play with our neighbor and we could hear them playing outside also, we'd yell loud enough for them to meet us in the woods halfway between each of our property's. My sister and I built so many forts, I couldn't even count them all nor tell you where all of them had been (and probably still are..). If you followed the creek towards the river and kept going about a mile up there was a cave along the rocks called Devil's Den. We loved treking through the river and climbing the rocks to see if the Devil really lived there. In one set of the woods, we found a 10x10 pile of old stones and rubbish buried under leaves that we called "The Plane Crash" site (obviously). The stories we made up about the things we found could keep us entertained for weeks.

I love being in the woods. I love the sounds. The leaves under your feet. I love trying to find different trails left by the animals. I love the smell.

Kathryn loves to tell me stories she's made up and is often asking me to tell her stories about princesses and fairies, and of course a purple and pink unicorn. One day she'll figure out every story I tell her starts off in Nonni and Papa's woods.

When we moved to NC for Matt's job, we had two weekends to find a house. I think the thrill of buying our first home and moving to a new place took the forefront on our minds and we never really thought about how long we'd actually be here. A dog, two kids and 8 years later, I think we're getting close to moving on. I'll never forgot getting our dog and taking him for a walk around the neighborhood for the first time and after he did his business, Matt handed me a bag. I said, "What's this for?" Matt goes, "To pick up his junk." I crack up laughing and go, "Ha! Yeah right. I'm not touching that." He said, "That's why there are bags throughout the neighborhood. That's what they're for." I told him, "Are you out of your everliving mind? You're picking that junk up, there's no way I'm touching it." Well. You know what? That's reason #983 I don't do well in a neighborhood. That's just ridicoulous.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


A few funnies lately...

The other day I was chasing a fly with the fly swatter and finally got it. Kathryn thought I was "really super fast! Even faster than the fly!" And I told her, "the fly is going downtown!" And she goes, "to BUGTOWN!". Cracked me up.

The same day, she asked me something about Eeyore and "Shampoo"...

She calls The Teenage Mutant Ninga Turtles, "Teen Na-minga Turtles".

Yellow is "lellow"

Ninga is "inga"

For Jake-man, translations are below:
"Down" - means for me to pick him UP
"Carry-oh" - means to carry him
"Love-lou" - love you
"Help you" - means he needs help
"Pweeeeese" - please

Pretty much, all the boy needs to do is say Mama and I'm wrapped around his little finger. He is the most tender-hearted boy on the planet. They say so many things that are just too darn cute to correct. I let Kathryn call a window, "lindo" for over a year because it was the cutest thing EVER. Her preschool teacher corrected her this past year. I suppose they do have to grow up but they're growing so fast. I'm perfectly fine having a word or two linger in their sweet language for as long as possible...