Thursday, March 28, 2013

It's your day, Ramsey-boy.




Ramsey,

Today is your birthday. Your first birthday. A whole year has gone by ever since the moment you came into this world and were placed on my chest. As your momma, I continue to grow more and more entranced with you and your budding personality as every day passes. It's hard for me to even comprehend the complexity of growing you, nourishing you, loving you, and teaching you as you grow before my eyes.

We are starting to really form a relationship and bond. It's almost like we share secrets that no one else knows about. This connection we have continues to surprise me and is so precious to me. I promise you I will try my best to not take that for granted.

I'm finding that I try to prepare my heart and mind for all these milestones with you. But, I'm realizing that I just need to stand in the in-between and feel all the messy and the beautiful at the same time in order to experience it all.

You have changed me over this past year, little boy. I am blessed to be your momma and to have the amazing, challenging, and beautiful responsibility to raise you and love on you.

You are deeply loved,
your mama

Thursday, March 21, 2013

a day in the life


I met some amazing women through the Influence Network and started chatting with them monthly.  I am so, so blessed by this online community!  During our last chat, Cammie brought up how it would be fun to share what a typical day looks like in each other's lives.  We decided as a group to do "a day in the life" link up together.  We would love to get to know you better and have you join in!

After planning this post, I realized that there is no "typical" with our family.  Every day and night is so drastically different.  Not only is Ramsey rapidly changing his schedule as he gets older (no more frequent nursing and two-three naps a day...), but Sam and I are involved in ministry, so we have many different nights during the week that are spent with youth group or for a meeting.  We also have a weekly family dinner out at his parents house every Monday night.  Thursday nights are the only night that we guard like crazy and schedule absolutely nothing (if you have a crazy schedule, I highly suggest you do this).  Thursday nights have become our date night at home and mornings + meal times are coveted family time together.  This leaves our nights open for flexibility with our crazy schedule.

So, here's my attempt to write out what a day in my life looks like.  Enjoy the one picture I did remember to snap.  I think it accurately portrays the majority of my day.

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5:00
coffee starts brewing downstairs (thank goodness for the automatic brew setting!) and our alarm goes off.  it hurts to open my eyes.
5:15
our alarm goes off again.  my husband, sam, gets out of bed and sweetly turns on all the lights, so I follow.  i try not to make our wooden stairs creek too much so our babe stays sleeping.
5:15-6:00
i sit in my favorite chair in our living room and leave all the lights off because it's WAY too early. i decide to light a candle instead.  i use this time to soak up the little quiet (energetic boy, extroverted husband, and playful pup = a LOT of noise all day long) i'll have in the day and pray.  lately i have been writing out my prayers in my journal.  i definitely process through writing.
6:00
sam usually will come into the living room and we'll talk for a little bit before our babe wakes up.  i treasure this one on one time with him.
6:30 
we hear babbling and pounding from upstairs.  ramsey is awake and probably jumping in his crib.
6:35 
i sneak into ramsey's room and try to surprise him in his crib.  i love seeing him in the morning with energy and curiosity already oozing from him.
6:45
i feed ramsey and then sam will take over and have some morning fun with him while i pump.
7:15-8:00
family breakfast time!  banana, raspberries and yogurt for ramsey.  usually kitchen sink oatmeal for me (rolled oats with as much fruit+nuts i can fit into it) and whatever sam is craving (eggs!).  there is a lot of excited yelling and talking going on during breakfast.  as well as nudges and noises from our pup, stella.  ramsey tries to feed stella some of his breakfast.
8:00-8:30
i quickly do the breakfast dishes and throw in a load of laundry while sam and ramsey have some bonding time. i run upstairs to assess whether or not i can make it another day without showering.  i then do a quick makeup routine (under eye concealer!) and throw on my usual skinny jeans and grey tshirt (i might throw in a scarf or a funky cardigan on days i'm needing a little creativity) with boots.
8:30
sam gets ready to leave the house and go to work (which is about 3 minutes away from our house... thank goodness!)
9:00-11:00
ramsey and i play like crazy.  i usually try to read with him, but he just wants to move and wiggle.  we play music and dance, play with stella, build (and destroy) block towers, make animal noises, and anything else that looks interesting.  ramsey is pretty good with playing by himself, so i usually try to spend a quick 5 minutes assessing my email for later.  i'll also switch the laundry over and make a list of to do's for later. after about an hour of playing, we try to get out of the house.  we'll go grocery shopping, check out the library or storytime, visit a friend's house, or stop by the local coffee house.  once it's warmer outside (soon?!) we'll go for a walk and play outside.
11:00 
lunch time for ramsey.  usually left overs or some kind of a deconstructed sandwich (bread, cheese, protein) with fruit and hopefully veggies.  he could eat cheese and berries all day if he had a choice. (i seriously have to hide the cheese from him.)
12:00-2:00ish 
ramsey naps (hopefully for 2-3hours). at 12:30, sam comes home for a quick lunch.  we eat together, talk about our mornings, and what our night looks like.  right after sam leaves, i'll run around like a crazy woman getting as many of the "to dos" checked off my list as i can.  then, i'll sit down to write, catch up on emails, and read.
2:30-6:00
these 3ish hours are usually packed. ramsey wakes up and has a snack. i try to make sure i have all the ingredients for dinner and a plan for how it is all going to come together while ramsey plays in the kitchen cupboards.  i make sure he stays out of the garbage.  we make up some fun game on the kitchen floor until sam gets home.  once sam is home, i talk to him about his day for a few minutes.  then i make sure i have dinner timed out perfectly for 6:00 and head out for a quick run while sam+ramsey play.  once i get home from my run, i'm a blur in the kitchen. (why is it so hard to make sure everything is warm at the same time?!)  i love putting together creative, fresh and healthy meals for us.  i really don't like using anything pre-packaged and i've found it's super easy to put together meals if i plan ahead.
6:00-6:45
we all sit down at the dinner table and let out a sigh of relief.  we made it!  a typical dinner for us is chicken or pork carnitas with corn+beans, omelets, or tilapia/salmon with tons of dill + lemon, couscous, and roasted veggies.  we typically have a rendition of these three meals and leftovers (so easy) every week.  we have just started eating together as a family of 3 (sam and i used to eat after ramsey went to bed).  it's hectic, but we absolutely love it.
6:45-7:30/45
bed time routine.  sam and i love to be a team and get ramsey ready for bed together.  we usually will read with him and try to cuddle (which usually turns into a tickle fight) until it's his bedtime.  sam then sings a little song and we lay ramsey down in his crib.
7:30-9ish
we stare at each other and give each other high fives for getting through another day. sam is finishing up seminary right now, so there are nights that he'll start to work on reading+paper writing for an hour or two while i get some other projects done.  other nights we have meetings to go to at church or we will get together with family/friends. on thursdays, we will try to have some wine together, sit on the coach facing each other and have some quality time before we dive into whatever tv series we're watching on netflix (currently we're watching "the west wing".)  thursdays are my favorite nights.
9:00/10:00 
i get ready for bed and pump again.  i have the hardest time falling asleep, so i'll usually beg sam to turn on npr or the latest jon stewart episode.  i'm learning to just let my mind relax in the quiet though (and sam's thankful for that!)



Here's the one picture I remembered to snap during the day.  I think it does a great job representing the majority of my day. I loved writing this while trying to remember everything.  I might have to do a post like this more often!

Feel free to join the party and link up with us below!



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

quiet mornings



I have been trying to get up in the wee hours of the morning these past two months for a little bit of quiet time and reflection. There are mornings that I definitely struggle to get out of bed (I'm so thankful for a husband that lures me out with coffee) and day light savings threw me off for a few days (how long can I use that excuse?!), but I feel like I've adapted pretty well to the new schedule.  I still have to convince myself to go to sleep at a decent hour, but that's another story.  It's starting to feel so indulgent to sneak down our creaky stairs with our shaggy pup and pour myself a steamy cup.

There is something so pure about the start of a new day.  I'm so thankful that every day is new.  I know that is such a common concept, but I can't get it out of my mind lately.  Have you ever really meditated on the fact that we can choose to be renewed in God every morning?  God's right there--even if we're weary, even if we feel like we're falling, even if we're confused or just plain tired.

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23 


My time in the morning has started to soften my heart around the edges a little bit and my safety walls are starting to crumble bit by bit.  There are many days that I need to recommit myself mid morning to choosing patience, joy, and love instead of bitterness, anger, and laziness.  And then there are those days that I need to refocus every hour.  And that's okay.

Every morning, God is ready to pour out love and grace all over me.  I might feel depleted and ready to throw in the towel by the time it's 8:00, but he never tires of me.

The thought of it all just leaves me speechless.     

Monday, March 18, 2013

not so tiny anymore

Ramsey and I (about 6 months ago)

My little boy turns one this month. I know babies grow up and many mothers have been through the "oh my goodness, they're one!" stage, but I'm still in disbelief.

It's almost like the day Ramsey unexpectedly made his appearance was yesterday, but it also feels like ages ago. After looking at pictures of myself that day, I feel like I don't really know who that woman is holding a tiny newborn staring back at me with tired eyes that haven't even experienced true exhaustion yet.

My son came at such a transformative time in my life -- I just didn't know it. Yes, I know, children change everything. They make you think deeper and re-evaluate who you are and how you act. You have a little human watching you now. You realize the influence and responsibility you have.

But, there was more that changed inside of me. It was more than needing to deal with selfish desires and struggling with having to be responsible for another little human being 24/7.

You see, I wasn't ready to change my priorities. I wasn't ready to balance life or create boundaries.

I wanted to fight the changes and convince myself that life could go on just as it was before.  I could do everything and be everything -- I would just be able to do it all with an adorable little baby now.

I wanted to throw pity parties.  I wanted to wallow in having to let go of "my things", "my time", my views of how life should be lived.  And I did.

Over the past year, God have loosened my fingers and grasp one by one on everything I held tightly.  Let me tell you, it hurts.  At times I want to fight back, battling to taste the sickly sweet feeling of control once again. But, it always results in me laying it all down (or, more like falling) again, desperate for Him.  He continues to graciously soften my prideful heart and shifted my perspective.

This past year has shook me and rocked me and blessed me over and over.

I'm not the same woman.

I don't have the same views or even the same goals.

And I am so ridiculously thankful for that.

Later this month, I won't only be celebrating my little boy turing one.  I will also be celebrating and worshipping this precious, gracious and patient God that continues to bless and mold me beyond comprehension with lessons, trials, and sweet rewards.

I wasn't ready to learn lessons from my baby boy and it was a struggle to accept the change that motherhood would bring into my life a year ago, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, March 8, 2013

storytelling.

do you ever feel like there are times when you have thoughts and ideas bouncing around like crazy in your head?  almost like there is inspiration every where you look?  this happens for me quite a bit (usually after my second cup of coffee).  i'm always finding myself pondering about community, self reflection, the latest inspiring photos in the kinfolk magazine, and other inspiring topics. 
instead of letting the thoughts take stock up in my mind, i decided to start recording them.  
maybe they'll spark something inside of you. maybe not. 
so, you could consider this a new series titled "inspiration fueled by coffee" 
("or, meg is a crazy person that needs to shut off her brain once in awhile...").
enjoy!



the stories we tell ourselves.

stories of falling short.  of not doing enough, being enough, saying enough, creating enough, or accomplishing enough.

i have defined myself by these stories for much of my life.  some of the stories are about situations that have happened in the past that i think still define me.  some of them are manufactured by my ever buzzing brain.

it's time to own these stories.  to recognize them.  to reconcile them.

to own our past.  to accept our past.

to realize the place they have in the bigger story.

to stop living in a place of fear and regret.

it's time to close the last chapter and start a new book.

a book brimming with life and beauty.

a book authored by the one that gifts us with grace, abundance and freedom when we identify and define our stories in Him.

because if we never allow ourselves to move on from one chapter, we'll miss out on the acceptance and freedom to start another.


--




Wednesday, March 6, 2013

influential meetup

Today I'm linking up with the wonderful women over at The Influence Network. Click the link to see what the network is all about ... you won't be disappointed!

We were asked to introduce ourselves, post 3 things interesting facts, 1 thing I have learned since joining the Network and one picture of ourselves that we love.  So, here goes!

Here's a quick little background about myself ... I started starting journaling on Homemade Bliss about a year ago, which was right after my itty bitty son was born. I needed a creative outlet (and a place to hash out all my crazy emotions + new memories) and writing has always been the way that I process and the balm to my soul. Little did I know that I would find such an amazing online community.

Anyways, here are 3 facts about myself that you might have not known already:

1. I wear scarves probably 5 out of 7 days of the week. Trademark? Perhaps.
2. I love making anything with my hands. (food, art projects, gardening)
3. I worked in one of the oldest architecture firms in downtown Chicago while I was finishing college.

And one thing that I'm loving/learning about the Influence Network:
(Besides the fact that online friendships are real and life changing.) I think I have really learned that I have influence that way that God made me and I need to trust that.  I have influence with my son, my husband, the person bagging my groceries, the women I speak with out in the community ... etc.    


Well, there you go!  Thanks for stopping by. I'm excited to dig deeper + deeper in this community of women.  
***


Monday, March 4, 2013

the choice



I sit down and try to write.  It's almost like I have so many thoughts just bouncing around in my head and I'm trying to slow down to catch one of them to savor and put down on paper.  But, alas I'm too slow.  The thoughts escape out of my hands before I can grasp them and I sit there, feeling overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed, but excited.

I have emotions and inspirations pulsating through me.  I'm starting to see beauty and life and purpose in things that seemed dormant before.

I feel alive again after a season of hibernating.

I want to sit and savor.  Savor the streams of sunlight hitting the wood floor.  Savor the baby coos that are quickly turning to babbling + talking.  Savor the endless inspiration I have for creative project after creative project.  Savor the courageous vulnerability that is daring inside of me.

So, that's what I'm choosing to do.  I'm slowing down to savor.  To taste.  To see.  To feel.  To appreciate.

And to prepare myself for the moving part that will follow.  The part where the pen hits the page.  The brush strokes the canvas.  The details and determination come into play.  Action.

Because, I'm so good with the inspiration.  With the thinking.  And the over-thinking.

But, the action is another story.  With intentionality comes vulnerability.  

Some times it's safe to stay in the thinking part.  But, I don't want to stay safe.  I don't want to be comfortable.  So often I've complained of being paralyzed, creatively dry, lacking purpose, searching for beauty with no beauty to find.

I'm deciding that action is a choice.  A choice I want to be daring enough to make.

So, I'm going to allow myself to savor for a little while.  Soak it all in.

And then, I'm going to step out in faith and out of fear.

Because this life is meant to be lived.

And I'm going to live it.