Thursday, July 30, 2015

Lessons learned from mismatched storage containers

The other day I was attempting to declutter a bit during nap time. And by declutter I mean I was sitting on the floor in the master closet going through some items, to see what might be in need of purging or donating. The main reason behind this mini project was to free up some storage containers so that I could then use them in the living room to re-organize the girls toys.

Are you following? No? Ok, let me back up.

Clara's oral fixation has increased greatly and she (literally) chews on anything and everything. And by anything and everything I mean toys, clothes, shoes, blankets, pillows, cups, plates, pieces of jewelry, phones, and the list continues. We are working both at school and speech therapy to decrease this behavior but as of now, nothing is really helping. Any toy that she is able to grab on her own is promptly stuck in her mouth. And since all of our toys are in the living room and 50% of them are easily accessible for chewing, we had to think up and incorporate a new system where we are better able to control what goes in her mouth.

So after a morning of total frustration because "Sweet girl, this is a puzzle piece. It goes here. Let's not chew on it" was repeated 100x, I had hit my wits end. And when that happens I reorganize and declutter and donate and sell stuff and try to find a new solution to said problem.

(Side - Brandon knows this about me. He once came home to a missing living room coffee table. "I see there is no coffee table. Bad day?" - Brandon to me.)

So anyways, project toy lock down had officially begun.

So there I sat in the closet rummaging through old pictures and clothes to see what I might be able to part with to clear up some storage space so that puzzle pieces and toys cars and blocks can be more tightly secured from the mouth of my babe.

Something like this might be nice. . . 

But then as I sat around looking at one large blue bin, two small see through bins, one big flat bin with wheels, and several other containers of various shapes and sizes and colors. . . I just lost it. Because how in the world am I supposed to organize and take on this project when none of my storage containers match? They all look different and none are pleasing to the eye. So I immediately started scrambling to all the closets in the house (which isn't many), still crying, in search of bins that go together and that would look all nice and tidy when placed next to each other. And I couldn't find a single match. I wanted my project to look perfect and cute and like everything fit together like a beautiful puzzle with no missing pieces and that just was not happening.

And then I heard God whispering to me. . .

"Life is not perfect. Life is not going to be neat and tidy and always pleasing to the eye. You are struggling because all these little pieces of your life feel out of control and overwhelming and just too much. But a Pottery Barn style project is not what I have in mind for you right now. Don't look to the right or to the left with eyes longing for an easier way or a more beautiful end result. You just need to trust me and embrace all the shapes and colors and sizes of what is in front of you." 

Clara's needs that seem too much? He's working on that.

Healing from the loss of baby that I delivered but never got to take home? He's working on that.

Mental rest for when the ups and downs of life get the best of me over and over and over again? He's working on that.

So I move forward finishing the project in front of me. Embracing the fact that what I am working with might not look like what my neighbor is working with and at the end of the day, it is still hard but it's ok. God doesn't care if my storage bins don't match. He just cares that I take what I have been given and do my best with it. That I am honorable with the story line He writes. That I don't give up on the project that He has so lovingly entrusted me with. Because in time? He makes all things new. And the end result is way better than anything from Pottery Barn.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Currently . . . July 2015 edition

It has been ages since I have done one of these, so I thought I would give it a go today.

Loving: My two cuffs from Farm Girl Paints. Brandon got me the cuff "Choose Joy" for my birthday last year (after a season of feeling overwhelmed with Clara's needs), and I ordered the "It is well with my soul" a month or so after Chance's funeral. Love that I can glance down at any moment and be reminded of these truths. If you are in search of a gift, I highly recommend checking out her shop (although it only opens a few times a year, next opening is in September). I also follow her blog & her account on Instagram. I always feel so inspired after reading her posts.

Reading: Anything by Jennie Allen and Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker. Loving both so far, although I am especially challenged by Anything (currently on week 7). If you are looking for a book to shake up and wake up your faith I would encourage you to read this book. I posted my Anything story here.

Watching: I am not watching too much tv right now, so does watching videos of the girls on my phone/computer count? I love re-watching videos from all their different ages/stages. I watch some from their younger days and I think "Goodness they were sooooo tiny!" Absolutely love it.

Listening to: The new (to me) group I Am They. The girls and I blast a few of their songs every night while we wait for Brandon to get home. Camille especially loves dancing to this one. . .

Thinking about: Chance's due date that is nearing faster than I would like. In full disclosure, I would really love to just sail right over the month of August and slip into September so I would not have to deal with the emotions that might come on August 15. I am finding myself irritable, on edge, and somewhat anxious in the day to day, and I know this is in direct relation to this new reality of mine and the inability to escape the day. Someone mentioned that facing his due date brings about new emotions that I have not yet had to face in my grief journey. Truth. That said, there are a few things I would like to do on this day with Brandon and the girls, to honor Chance and to shed some happiness and healing (both for us and others). And the idea of doing these things does bring me excitement and joy, so that is what I am focusing on for now.

Looking forward to: A little family vacation we have planned in the near future. We found a perfect three bedroom house in South Padre (it has a pool too!), and are so excited to take the girls to the beach and just explore and getaway for a few days. Here's to lots of relaxing (well. . .  as much relaxing as you can actually do with two kids on a vacation), reading by the pool, and lazy coffee sipping mornings.

Making me happy: These two curly headed girls & all the memories we are making this summer. I truly feel so blessed to be their mommy.
Enjoy your week!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Weekend Links 7/24/15

It is the weekend and Brandon is back in town and thus needless to say, I am excited!

(P.S. How is it that anytime a spouse leaves home for a few days one child, or two, always get sick and/or is up all night long wanting to party? Always. Without fail. Someone, for the love, please explain this to me!)

What We Need to Know When Life Takes a Detour
How God Takes Our Dark Stories and Turns Them into Light  - "We all have a story that’s unfolding through our lives that won’t be complete until heaven, but it all has purpose if we are willing to go through the dark to get to the light. . . He took a dark part of my story and gave it light so others could see and hear and put their trust in the Lord. Our stories aren’t just for us — they are for those who are hurting and in need of hope. We get to partner with God in being light-bearers for His Kingdom." 

Special Needs
An Open Letter to Moms of "Typical" Kids
The Social and Emotional Aspects of Sensory Processing Challenges 

You Have No Idea
I Will Always Mourn That Baby
What I want you to know about loss and adoption

Hope your weekend (and mine) is filled with lots of rest and no throw up. Which of course is guaranteed true for me since, you know, daddy is back home. :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Camille 18 months

This little lady turned 18 months on July 14, 2015. Goodness, before I know it my "baby" will be two years old. What in the world?

Some of Ms. Camille's favorite things at 18 months. . .

Playing in the sun. . .

 Swimming/splashing in the water. . .

Eating. . . especially if it involves cheese of any kind. . . 

Going bonkers over animals. . . Sorry to break it to you little one but no, you will never get a dog, or a duck for that matter. . .

I wish I had a picture of her face the day we saw this mamma duck with her littles. See above smile and arm placement and multiply it by 100 and you will have the general idea. . . 

 Playing with big sister. . .

Throwing tantrums. . . Is there such thing as "the terrible 18 months?" Or maybe we just have an extra spirited child on our hands???

No she isn't sleeping or soaking in some sun. That would be a full blown tantrum at the splash pad. . .

Spirited or not, we sure do love her and cannot imagine our days without her in them! She makes life so fun and always keeps us laughing (seriously, she makes us laugh all the time).

We love you, precious Camille! Happy 18 months!

Monday, July 20, 2015

We grieve, but we know the rest of the story

Recently, I recieved an email from Faith Gateway with a devotional lead by Max Lucado. Max was writing on grief and loss, particularirly in response to the horrific shootings in Charleston. A portion of his words really hit home. 

Max writes. . . 

Flooded eyes don’t represent a faithless heart. A person can enter a cemetery Jesus-certain of life after death and still have a Twin Tower crater in the heart. Christ did. He wept, and he knew he was ten minutes from seeing a living Lazarus!

And His tears give you permission to shed your own. Grief does not mean you don’t trust; it simply means you can’t stand the thought of another day without the Jacob or Lazarus of your life.

If Jesus gave the love, He understands the tears. So grieve, but don’t grieve like those who don’t know the rest of this story.

And as I sat there reading, the tears started to come. I sat there and cried for the first time in a good while because it is as if God was using Max to say "It's ok. Your tears don't mean you don't trust my plan. Your tears don't mean your faith is any less valid. Your longing for your son is normal. Your tears have meaning, so let them fall. Don't hold back. Just let them fall."

And as I sat there reading, I was also encouraged because like Max points out, I know how the story ends. I know the secret to this whole messy thing of a life. I know that ultimately Christ died, paid the ultimate price, the ultimate suffering, and moved mountains while on this earth so that we can stand firm on hope, even in the midst of the tears. 

So we grieve, but we know the rest of the story. I can't imagine not. Can you? So then I have to share it. Because somewhere someone is hurting and thinking that their Lazarus is gone and that is it, the end of the story, and that the grave won the final tug between life and death. 

But a sweeter day is coming, friends. A day where the tears stop for good and all ones that have gone before us will greet us and show us around and proclaim how much sweeter heaven is than anything they ever experienced on earth. 

So grieve and cry and let yourself go there, but remember the rest of the story. Because the rest of the story has the final word. Hope wins. 

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparable great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 1:18-20). 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer Bucket List 2015 (Houston Zoo, Magnolia Pool, & Finger painting)

We are making the most of our weekends, and checking items off our summer bucket list. This past weekend we hit up the Houston Zoo, enjoyed the Magnolia neighborhood pool with friends, and attempted to fingerpaint!

We spent Friday morning at the zoo. This was our third trip since the girls were born. Brandon had planned to take Friday off of work so that we could go as a family. We are finding that for certain activities, we really have to plan in advance to make it happen, so plan in advance we did. It was a blast and despite the heat, the girls had a great time. (You would have never known Clara was sent home from school early on Thursday with a 103.3 fever and double ear infections. Ear infections don't stop this girl, at least not when a trip to the zoo is in jeopardy.) The zoo has a splash pad which was especially enjoyable because we live in Houston and summer is like a 24/7 sauna. Have I mentioned it is hot?

Camille needed mommy to crawl through the tunnel with her. . .

Jellyfish were a big hit. . .

The great thing about a splash pad in the Houston zoo in the summer is you don't even have to change your kids into a swim suit because their clothes will dry off in approximately two seconds. Win.

Saturday we joined the Joiners and Olivers at the Magnolia Pool, a fun toddler friendly neighborhood pool. I questioned if the girls would enjoy the slides there, and within seconds Camille proved to have zero fear (and went down the slide approximately 15x), while Clara was not so sure. Clara's face was pretty priceless so we need to pay another visit there soon, just to capture her expressions on video. Our water fun was cut a little short when a random kid decided to poo in the pool. . . fun times!

And last up is our attempt at finger painting. Not all activities can go as planned I suppose. What started as fun ended in tears for all involved. Can't win em all. I will just leave it at that.

Make it a great week!
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