Saturday, February 1, 2014

God's Grace, Cookie Crumbs, & Cabin Fever

Hiya Folks!  My name is Leslie, if you've forgotten since we last talked (forever ago!).  :)

I've really missed writing here and catching you all up on our lives!  Blogging has become so easy and enjoyable to me now that I've done it for over 4 years now.  Mind you, it's only for pleasure and no profit as some beautiful and amazingly delicious looking blogs are, but nevertheless it's a creative outlet for me that I enjoy!  I wanted to start off this year--2014--more simply.  One of the easiest ways for me to do that is lift some of the pressure off myself to blog as often.  One of the awesome things about keeping this blog and The Cozy Little Kitchen, is that I have no obligation to write... Therefore all that I say is very truly from my heart! 

Why do I feel the need to relax?  Well, for one thing (if you want to know something brutally honest about me), I can almost be compulsive about things.  I really, REALLY strive to do all things diligently, thoroughly, faithfully and to completion, and if I don't I am disappointed with myself.  I'm still learning that it's impossible to do anything without my Lord to help, much less doing things perfectly!  I think once I moved out and married Heath, with our own place and all, I developed a (tiny) bit of perfectionism.  I'm not OCD at all, but I can have too high of expectations of myself.

I always have to clean up the kitchen perfectly every single night before sitting down to enjoy anything!  I like for all the pillows and throws to be just right on the couch before bed so I'll wake up to an aesthetically pleasing living room.  I usually always feel the need to fully put makeup on and fix hair to go out for errands.  I blame being a hairdresser, where that was literally part of my job description.   Please know these things are only me, not Heath!   He is amazing at never adding pressure to my load, but being a help and stress reliever when I try to do too much. I think he noticed my perfectionist tendencies even before I did!

Those examples are a just few things to give you an idea of how within 9 years of the same kind of routine I was able to --sometimes painstakingly-- accomplish almost any housework duty, work obligation, church responsibility, family- friend commitments, and personal goals that I made.  Almost, but of course not perfectly!  ;)

Enter 2 tiny, energetic, rambunctious, beautiful, loving children.  

Everything changes!!!

In order for my sanity to stay intact I have been asking God to help me "loosen up" on some of my high standards of cleanliness, appearance, and always naturally perky demeanor.  I have also had to ask and receive grace from Him for my stinky attitudes, pity parties, and less frequent Jesus quiet times, which is probably the answer.  

Now I need to ask you, my family and friends, for patience as I am not calling y'all nearly as often, not quick to reply to your texts, emails and messages, not as available for to you on your sad or sick days, or your showers and parties, and in general stammering just to get sentences out for lack of opportunities to talk with adults!  (I feel like a lame friend.)

I am having to accept that I am in a very fruitful season but also challenging season of life (with 2 growing little children and a busy hubby) that requires more patience, more need for grace, more of my attention and energy, and less cleanliness in general.  Ok, yes crumbs in the kid's car seat cup holders are going to happen, pillows will be scattered around the house like ants at a picnic, my hair will sport more buns and dry shampoo, and laundry will get piled up if nothing else but for the fact it's in the basement!  Thank you cards may be forgotten and volunteer opportunities will be passed up.  It's okay if I have to rely on breakfast bars some mornings or if the cookies we make aren't from scratch!

When we make and decorate cookies (embarrassingly) my tendency would be to make sure they don't make a mess, but they are 2 & 3!!! This is the only time in their lives when messes can me made and it's really okay.  It's part of the fun, and now that I expect that... I love it and have the best time getting sticky and messy myself!   They're challenging me to get back to my childhood days of my own messes in the kitchen in order to make delicious cookies with my loved ones!!

Life happens.  

Life is happening!!!  That's what I don't want to miss.

I don't want to miss the sweetness of my  daughter "makin" in her kitchen, tiny kisses on my leg, or funny moments when my son tries to make me laugh, because I'm constantly whirling around while trying to keep up with everything!  I think if I did, I would look back with so much regret and say how it's just not worth it!!!  I'm asking God for help as I continue to adjust to my new normal.  I LOVE being mommy but with it comes so many changes, and I want my life to flow with those.  I need to lean into the changes instead of resist.  I'm trusting God will help me re-balance my life to fit my family.  He did it once, and He'll do it again!!

This blog is such a blessing to me, just being able to share my heart across the miles!   I have had so many pics and heartfelt stories to share of the kids, but I can't blog about them all.  Luckily, if you're a non-blog world friend you see many on Facebook.  My posts may not be as frequent as I would like, because it's not worth making a blog happen if it means taking away the time I need with Heath after the kids go to bed or a nap when they're laying down to revive my body.  

I have to be okay with not doing it all, all of the time!!

With that being said, I also think a little less e-time will free me up to do what I've put on the back burner for a couple years.  Reading real books! :)
I've already finished my first book, Balancing It All by Candace Cameron Burre.  It was just what I needed to read!  Fantastic book about her life from the beginning to the present and her real life struggles with keeping a balance on priorities.  She certainly has a full plate, but God has given her wisdom to how to do life where it gives her joy and glorifies Him!

I'm starting to burn up the library with our kids, and in fact that's a goal of mine for this year.  Lots of library time!  I grew up there and we checked countless books out every week.  I want my kids to have those memories, too!  Right now, our daughter is really into Clifford's First Autumn and The Little Engine That Could's Valentines Day Surprise and Our son loves these two dinosaur books that's probably over his age, but are fascinating!  He is really into dinosaurs now, so we watched The Land Before Time (XIII) this week and they loved it!  I can't wait until they're old enough to appreciate history museums!  We'll have to visit Taylor in Chicago and go to the Fields!

Today I made chicken stock for the second time, and I'm loving it!!  I use what's left from rotisserie chickens I buy, add veggies, garlic, herbs and water to simmer for 4 hours.  The house simply smells amazing as it reduces down to flavorful stock.  Perfect for a pot of soup this week!  

The snow has been a constant almost the whole month of January, and I must say it was gorgeous!!!  We so much love to watch it fall and bundle up to play outside!  Sometimes it's hard for me to want to do all the bundling, layering, and getting outside (with empty bladders), but it's always fun and so worth it to play with the kids!  Heath and I usually make cocoa with marshmallows when we come in from playing on the cold snowy days!  I have to admit I almost got a serious case of cabin fever with as many single digit temps as we've had, but I've been trying to get more creative by building tents in the house, baking and decorating cookies together, and playing marching band, or hide and seek!

As January closed, I can't help but be excited to look forward as Heath will have a little more time at home this month and we'll be celebrating our baby girl's birthday!!  Good things are here and more to come thanks to my Redeemer.  I need Him to be any sort of mom and wife at all!!! 

Please stay warm out there and, oh,
Happy February!



Jessica OBrien said...

I've wanted to come back to fully read this post for about a week now after it caught my eye while quickly scrolling through my blogger feed. I feel your need to re-balance it all while staying centered on the Lord. As soon as I started to type this comment last night, I was pulled away to the boys who needed me in the living room. Now, here I am back at the computer for a short break, I enjoy reading both of your blogs. Like you, I blog as an outlet and something to do for myself. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to more from you. Sincerely, Jessica

Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch said...

Such a wonderful post Leslie! I love how large your heart is to take in 2 children and give them such a wonderful place to grown and thrive! I've always struggle with mess's in the house myself and God has really worked on me to learn to let stuff go this last year! They grow so quick and it's such a great time for them to learn to do things on their own, like clean up the mess! I will be holding you all in my prayers!