Category Archives: Personal Posts

Life Update: Building Beauty from Ashes

I write often about homeschooling and cooking, and I love sharing what God is doing in my life and how he is reshaping my heart, but I felt like you all are owed an update on the original reason I started writing: to share my journey through the world of adoption. My, how our world has changed. I am remiss for not sharing this with you all. Here we go. The update of all overdue updates:

When I first began this blog, however many moons ago, the ultimate purpose was to share with family and friends our journey through adoption. Private domestic adoption. That was back in 2011. In that time, some of my best friends have grown their families by two, three, or even four (!) babies. My husband changed careers. We bought our first home. I adopted an adorable rescue dog. And, somewhere in there, we decided to become foster parents.

Caught up now?

I kept you informed with the foster children who came and went, and said prayers and shed tears each time we had to say goodbye. But then we got the call that would change our lives. One beautiful summer Friday, while we were enjoying a cookout on the porch with one of our closest college pals, the phone rang.

They had a 19 month old boy and an almost-3 year old girl. No idea how the case would turn. No idea if they would stay the weekend or be with us forever. We didn’t know their ethnicity. We didn’t know their names. We didn’t know their health status. Would we take them? We took a leap said yes. Because sometimes in life, you just say yes. They showed up and our worlds were turned upside down.

That day was June 6, 2013.

Adoption Day

They became our forever children, names changed and all, on September 4, 2015.

After 796 days in limbo, they became ours forever.

I’m not a fan of the new Pinterest trend that shows the adopted children holding a sign that says how many days they spent in foster care. I’d rather my children not associate the time before their adoption as “foster care,” because they were never with another family other than us. They came home to us on June 6, 2013.

I’ll say they were in limbo for all of those days. Stuck between many homes. Learning the rules of our house, mourning the loss of another. We couldn’t permanently decorate our daughter’s room in the fairy style she so badly wanted, because of a truth we wouldn’t say out loud: “What if she leaves?” We were all in limbo. Wanting to fully dive in and love them like they were never going to leave, but also wisely guarding our hearts just in case. And I know for them, it was the same. They wanted to love us, but felt as if they were betraying someone else if they did. So in limbo we all stayed.

That day, the judge said he had more people supporting us and celebrating with us in the courtroom on that day than most adoptive families. He also added, “But it should be like this always.” We even hired a good friend of ours who is a professional photographer to document the entire day. While she had documented birthing sessions, it was her first adoption.

12049527_1082290811782859_516825991903010294_n

Photo by Katie Woody Photography

Happiness Forever After?

I think it’s easy to talk about how difficult it is raising children who come from hurt and trauma while ignoring or refusing to acknowledge the brokenness and hurt we as parents also bring into the equation.

Pulled in different directions by many people who felt they knew what was best, I know the time was hard on the kids. While the storm of the case has died down, the storm in their hearts (and ours) hasn’t died down yet. That process will take years.

But, they are ours. And we are theirs. 

People are quick to talk about how far they have come, or how much they have changed for the better, or how much we have helped them or saved them, but no one talks about the fact that we’re all broken and full of hurt and sin. In God’s ideal plan, none of it would have looked like this. The hurt, the loss, the pain, the anger, the grief, the rage, none of it. He has a plan to restore our entire family to the beauty he originally envisioned.

I really dislike when foster parents are called “saints,” because you don’t know the darkness or the doubts in my heart. You don’t know my fears for the future or the questions I have. You don’t know the work it takes to create a feeling of family among strangers.

We’re all learning this together. Some days I cry because I don’t have a clue how to do this adoptive parent thing. No reading in the world can really prepare you. When you separate ME from the blood of the Lamb who covers me with his grace, it’s really a mess under there. But God’s promises endure, and I will hold fast to them.

Some days, I think they were an answer to our prayers, and some days I think we were an answer to theirs. I know for sure that one day, this whole story, not at all how I imagined it or necessarily wanted it, will come together as a beautiful testimony. Being in the middle of a time or trial that you know will one day be a fantastic testimony is hard. Sometimes parenting our kids is really exhausting and heartbreaking, because we are parenting kids whose hearts have been broken. They know pain the likes of which most adults will never understand. But my faith rests in the promise of God:

“To all who mourn in Israel he will give: 
beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness
For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.”

Isaiah 61:3 TLB

Regardless, we are a family.

God is building beauty from the ashes of all of our dreams. For all five of us.

And let me tell you- Jesus saves me every single day.

IMG_0495

2 Comments

Filed under Adoption General, Faith and Adoption, Fostering, Parenting, Personal Posts

Curriculum Choices for 2015 and a Personal Update

Hi everyone! It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?

Life. Got. CRAZY. Between trying to wrap up the adoption of our younger two sweeties and finishing graduate school, and adding on internship hours to that graduate school experience, my blog had to take a backseat. I can’t tell you how many times I logged on in the past….however many months, only to fall asleep with the laptop open on my lap, and half a post written.

Personal update part:

On September 4th, 2015, in front of our loving family and dear friends, we adopted our youngest two children! How long have we waited for this day? Four years, my friends. Having had these two cuties in our home for over two years as our foster children, I honestly didn’t think September 4th would make anything feel different, but let me tell you: Everything in the world feels different. It IS different. We are a forever family. We are no longer in limbo. We are official, united, crafted by God, and it is done. Praise the Lord! It feels freeing, it feels real, it feels final, and it feels like the biggest relief in the world. You think the last month of pregnancy is long? Try waiting four years, four months, and twenty-three days to finalize the adoption of the children God put on your heart. Whew. Labor. Seriously.

On a much less exciting, but nevertheless important note, on September 11th, 2015, I took the comprehensive exam required to earn my Masters of Arts in Counseling degree, which brings me one step closer to becoming a licensed counselor. The experiences I had in my internship were, in a word, irreplaceable. I also hope to share some of those experiences with you.

PROMISE an adoption-centered post is in the works, complete with pictures of my dear ones, but today’s post is dedicated to my amazing friend Sarah, who first encouraged me to start this blog. She has been asking me for weeks “What curriculum are you using this year?” And while the adoption post I’m working on is highly emotionally charged and sentimental, this topic felt a lot less intense and thus provided an easier vessel to encapsulate my return to the writing world.

In short: it’s been too long, a lot has happened, and I’ve missed you all. 

Onto the Curriculum fun!

I am still homeschooling Buggy, my biggest little. He is six now {can it be?}, and in first grade this year.

Let me say: First grade is So. Much. Fun. You learn to read books, you learn to tell time, you learn the states, and if you’re lucky, you get a creative and imaginative teacher who lets you explore all the wonderful weirdness of being six or seven. Love it!

I began planning out our year in May. I absolutely did NOT want to fall into the madness of scrambling in July to craft a year’s worth of curriculum in a few short weeks. Our public school started on August 24th this year, and I was determined to also start our homeschool on that same day.

Facing Struggles, Admitting Failures

For Buggy’s Kindergarten year, I wanted the entire year to be loose. Frankly, I needed it to be loose. You can ask my friends in our homeschooling group how many times last year I asked, “Do you think he’ll be okay this year?” Hint: It was often. And they were always gracious in encouraging me that I was not “breaking” him.

I was a mama swamped in my own schooling, facing inflexible deadlines, single-parenting a lot of the year with a dual-career husband, parenting kiddos with unique and special needs, wrapping up an endlessly long adoption process, and facing personal tragedy the likes of which I’d never seen. It was a HARD year. 

Honestly, I don’t know how we did anything last year.

Did we do anything?…

We played a lot. A subscription to ABC Mouse from my sister-in-law was a life saver. {Buggy knew more than I did about the Grand Canyon from that program just in time for our summer vacation to the incredible geological wonder}. We started a phonics program, but ultimately did not finish it. Started a lot of things, in fact, that I did not get to finish. I felt like a failure. Like I had failed him. And I felt like eyes were on me as my son was not advancing at the same rate as his publicly-schooled peers.

But our life is simply constructed differently, and that’s the path we chose when we decided to homeschool, so I chose to accept that right now, no, he’s not where they are. But that doesn’t make him less bright or less intelligent or creative. He colored, took field trips, learned a lot about grace as we blindly felt our way through a tough diagnosis for my youngest son… And in the midst of it all, I saw him grow as a person. His Sunday School teachers commented on the positive changes they saw in him as well. Friends commented on it. Family saw it too. He grew in other ways last year, ways that illustrate God’s grace even when we feel distracted and consumed in our other children or our other pursuits.

This year though, I wanted different. I was determined to have a successful, progressive year. After many hard-fought interventions, I had peace that my youngest child was taken care of. We spent the past year building up a fantastic team around him to give him the support, structure, and nurturing love that he needs to thrive. I knew with him taken care of, I could then focus on Buggy again. By May, my boys finally started bonding, our home was feeling more harmonious again, and I was feeling less depressed and anxious. I was ready to tackle first grade.

Studying Math

Studying Math

Choosing Curriculum

The first thing I wanted to do was check my local state standards {I’m in Texas, so I reviewed the TEKS, our state’s local educational standards} to see what other first graders were learning this year. Based on that information, I crafted a list of my own educational priorities for my son, and determined the subjects we would study this year:

  • Reading/Phonics/Writing
  • Math
  • Life Science
  • Music/Piano
  • Bible
  • Art History/Art
  • Social Studies/ Intro to U.S. History
This year also includes fun journal prompts for Buggy every morning to spark his imagination.

This year also includes fun journal prompts for Buggy every morning to spark his imagination.

I know, it seems like a lot. 

But hear me out:

We don’t tackle all of these subjects every single day. Art, for instance, is a once-a-week thing. Bible as well. Our science curriculum is structured to be done two-to-three days a week. The only things we do every single day no matter what {even if we have to play make up on Saturday as we did this weekend} are math and phonics.

So, after I determined what I wanted to teach, I had to determine how to teach it. That was harder. That took a LOT of research, question asking, and prayer.

I knew that regarding math, I wanted something that was based on repetition and review. I wanted a math curriculum that focused on mastery and integration, a curriculum that would connect one concept to the next in order to solidify the previous concept. I knew that I wanted a science curriculum that was secular-based. Many homeschooling science curricula are based on ultra-conservative views that never speak of the theory of evolution or the big bang theory, and I know that while we believe  in creationism, my son needs to at least know of these theories in order to make it most public high school classrooms. Lastly, I knew I wanted a reading program that relied heavily on phonics and writing.

After summer’s worth of research, here is what we’re using this year. After being in school for three weeks, I can say with confidence that we made all the right choices for us {links included}:

All of our school supplies, journals, and text books, and our geography corner.

All of our school supplies, journals, and text books, and our geography corner.

Buying it ALL

If you clicked on the links above, you might be thinking, “How in the WORLD did she buy all of that!?”

Well, no, we aren’t rich, so scratch that off the list.

I spent about $100 on all of this curriculum because I shopped wisely. I would say at least 50% of it was purchased through my local homeschooling co-op trading and buying site on Facebook. Ask around in your area to see if such a site exists for local homeschoolers near you. In most cases, I simply posted on our local Facebook site, “I’m looking for ____,” and a homeschooler would respond within a few days saying they had it! In one case {regarding the science curriculum}, a mom popped up saying she had it, but it was only via download, and due to copyright laws, she couldn’t sell it. However, she shared with me that the first nine lessons in the curriculum were available for free download if I was interested {a “try-before-you-buy” system}, so that’s what we’re doing until we have saved up the money to buy the rest of the curriculum for the year! If my fellow homeschoolers did not have the curricula I was searching for, I looked on Amazon and Ebay. Although many of the links I shared send you straight to the publishing source, I would encourage you mom to mom to simply shop around.

Also- keep in mind- with the internet at our disposal, so many things can be accessed easily that weren’t so easy before. Later this week, I’ll be sharing some of my money-saving ideas for homeschool that might spark some creativity in you as well.

Are you pleased with your curriculum choices this year? Have any great finds or resources to share? Let me know in the comments!

Blessings,

Kat

1 Comment

Filed under Learning at Home, Personal Posts

5 Blog Inspirations for Your Week

IMG_2929

 

This time of year, I start feeling kind of overwhelmed. I feel bogged down, frustrated, and overcome with self-criticism from the tape that runs in my head saying I’m not doing a good job as a mom or as a wife or as a woman. The tape that runs in my head is always critical, always mean, always deceiving. The holidays bring out this voice more than any other time of year for some reason. I feel stuck, frozen, unmovable. My to-do list is way too long, my expectations way too high, and my accomplishments way too low.

As a blogger, I read a LOT of blogs. I LOVE blogs written by moms just like me, and blogs written by moms unlike me. I love reading blogs written by women in particular, and I just love seeing what these incredible women around the world are doing with the power of the written word. It’s so inspiring. So today, I wanted to do something a little different and share the most inspiring blogs I’ve read this week. These blogs made me cry, made me yell “YES!” or made me hit the “share” button. I hope they inspire, encourage, or validate you in all the same ways. You aren’t alone, you ARE fine, and you’re an awesome mother, wife, woman, person.

When Her Words Bruise Your Heart 

Post from Carey Scott {www.careyscotttalks.com} about the words she spoke to her daughter who experienced severe rejection. I cried through post, because my precious children have experienced rejection at the tender ages of 5, 4, and 3. We’re all rejected at some point…how do you handle it with your child, and who does God say they are?

How to Save Your Grocery Budget From the “Feast or Famine”Cycle

This post is from http://www.largefamilymothering.com. Have you ever struggled with the budget cycle of eating salmon and roast beef at the beginning of the month and struggling through ramen noodles and tuna sandwiches at the end of the month? No? Wow! That’s amazing! Please start a blog! I’ll follow you! We have. We’ve enjoyed perfectly grilled steaks at the beginning of the month and then mixed corn and peas and cheese at the end of the month and called it a veggie casserole. Honestly, it wasn’t that bad, but it felt pathetic. This post inspired me to deal with my monthly budget in snippets instead of indulgences. I was inspired to take a look at our monthly menu and how I allocate our budget. Hopefully it’ll inspire you- large family or not! 

It’s Not Just a Shirt When You’re the One Talking to the Press

My friend Molly has a succinctly written blog called My Little Grasshoppers {written for her daughters} in which she addresses issues involving everything from healthful living to gender equality and the beauty of daily life. I was raised as a non-traditional little girl. One Halloween, I wanted to be Robin Hood. My mother made me a Robin Hood costume and my dad hand-crafted my bow and arrow. I think it’s more important to tell my daughter “you’re smart” than “you’re pretty.” I want her to be enamored by fairy tales that empower her rather than fairy tales that convince her she needs to be rescued. I want her to know that she only needs her Savior Jesus for happiness and really, only another man if God says so. Molly’s post about a recent sexist faux pas from one of the brilliant scientists who landed a spaceship on a comet had me yelling “YES!!!!” Hopefully this will empower you in the same way it empowered me. We should be bothered by such things, women! 

An Interview with 3 Homeschool Graduates

Simple Homeschool is my absolute all-time favorite homeschooling blog. I remember being so overwhelmed a year or two ago that I couldn’t get out of bed, and I’d log onto Jaime’s site, read a post, and hop into action. I love her posts and her guest posts. This one is written by Laura Thomas of This Eternal Moment. She actually interviewed three homeschool graduates on their post-school success, their sense of self, their relationship with their families, their struggles with being homeschooled, their favorite memories, etc. For a mom neck-deep in this homeschooling experiment, this post spoke directly to my heart to encourage me that they will be okay! 

Last, but certainly not least, the post I read and re-read, and shared and secretly wished I had the courage to write because it was so exactly spoken from my own heart:

On the Shame Spiral and Making it Stop

I am completely convinced that Beth {from http://www.bethwoolsey.com} and I would be best bloggy mommy friends if we ever met face to face. This blog post IS me. Every word of it, every concern, every line.

My voices unearthed my persistent fear that maybe I am too much, after all. Too loud. Too irreverent. Too ridiculous when the world is serious. Too serious when the world needs levity. Too Jesusy. Not Jesusy enough. Too big. Too sweary. Too unfit for polite society. 

Yes, yes, absolutely yes. I have said those very exact words to my husband and my best friend. I’m too much of one thing and not enough of another.I always assume the worst. I assume I’m a failure. I assume people talk badly about me. In reality, I’m not a failure, and probably most people are too caught up in their lives to talk about mine.I don’t know. But there’s one thing I do know- I’m trying. Trying to be better, trying to do more, be more, be less, be better, be worst. Whatever it is, I’m trying. And Christ is alive in me, so please, for heaven’s sake, give me a break. HOPEFULLY you need and enjoy this inspiration as much as I do.

 

I hope you found inspiration in these blog posts this week! What are your most inspiring blog posts this week?

Kat

Leave a comment

Filed under Parenting, Personal Posts

Compassion International

Have you heard about Compassion International? I LOVE Compassion International. If you’re unfamiliar with CI, it’s a non-profit organization based on Christian principals that allows people like you and me to sponsor a child anywhere in the world for a very little monthly price. We pay something like $35 a month to CI and our selected child is able to attend school on a daily basis with that money. He also gets Christmas presents, daily meals for himself and his grandparents who care for him, clothes, and a birthday gift every year. How amazingly cool is that?

Step One: Look

We started praying about sponsoring a child over a year ago. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but when we first married, we were po’ {couldn’t even afford the ‘or} and then when we were more on our feet, it was hard choosing who to sponsor. If you visit the link provided above, and look through the thousands of children around the world who need sponsors, you might feel overwhelmed. I did.

Explore the website. Research them. You’ll find that unlike other organizations, the money you send to YOUR child goes to YOUR child. You get to communicate with your child. We get letters, drawings, pictures, etc. from our sponsor child in HIS handwriting, which is so cool to my kids and me. He asks about our daily life in Texas. We ask him about his life in Kenya, and he responds. We correspond. We get to know each other. He prays for us, we pray for him. Seriously. It’s incredible.

Step Two: Pray

If you’re interested in sponsoring a Compassion International child after you’ve explored their website and you feel you understand their mission and their heart, then pray. Pray like crazy. Pray that God would reveal to you the child you are meant to sponsor. For us, this took months. It was about six months between the time I first learned that Compassion International was an organization to be trusted that truly makes a difference in the world and the time we actually chose a child to sponsor.

I visited their site almost daily with a prayerful heart, searching through hundreds of faces from around the world, looking for the one that would be our sponsor child.

When you sponsor a child through Compassion International, you are committing to them until they are adults. You are committing to pray for them, send monthly money to them, send birthday and Christmas gifts to them, write to them, send them pictures, and love on them until they are 20 or 21 years old. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly. It’s not a decision to hop in and out of when money gets tight. When money gets tight, we sacrifice so our Compassion child can thrive. Cutting him out is no more of an option to us than not feeding our own children.

One afternoon many months after our hearts had been touched with the desire to sponsor a child around the world, I logged onto the Compassion website. Travis and I had already talked and we had decided that we have a heart for orphans. As foster parents, we have a special heart for the children of the world who have no parents. Luckily, you can narrow your search on the CI website to certain ages, children who are HIV positive, orphans, children living in war-ridden regions, etc. We narrowed our web search to orphans. I didn’t care about age, but I was thinking it would be neat if the child was close to Buggy’s age.

I prayed before searching as I had many times before, and I hit “search.”

Step Three: Choose

Hundreds of pictures of orphans from around the world popped up on my screen, and one little face in particular grabbed my heart. He was the second picture on the page. I didn’t notice his country, his birthday, or his gender. I noticed his name. Gift.

The Holy Spirit whispered to me through that child’s eyes. He said, “This one. He’s the one you’re going to love on and walk with for the next two decades. This one is yours.” 

His name is Gift.

How beautiful and perfect and fitting is that?

Gift lives in Kenya.

He is two years older than my son and has a smile that resembles the stars.

Gift has lost his parents.

At six years old, when we first started sponsoring him, Gift was the bread-winner for his family. He lives with his grandmother and cares for her.

Today, Gift is enrolled in a Christian school. He’s a believer. He loves Jesus. His grandmother loves Jesus. He plays soccer {or football, as it’s called in Kenya}.

He writes to us, draws us pictures, tells us about his friends, prays for us {incredibly humbling}, and sends his prayer requests to us.

Some people choose their Compassion child because they share a birthday with a loved one. Others choose their child because they share a name or country of origin with a beloved friend or family member. Sometimes they choose a particular child because they share a name or age with their own child.

I believe that God chose Gift for us.

He IS our Gift.

Step Four: Invest

Our lives are now enmeshed. Gift is enmeshed with us and we with him.

Although correspondence is slow between us and him, we hear from each other regularly. When we get that envelope that says Compassion International across the side, Buggy jumps up and down with joy.

I can say honestly, Gift is loved in this home.

His picture is posted in our living room. On our fridge. His drawings are displayed in our kitchen alongside the drawings of my own children.

We belong to Gift and he belongs to us.

We study about his country.

We talk about his hobbies.

We look at his picture and pray for him.

Committing to this child on the other side of the world is not a decision we have walked into lightly. But when we committed to him, we committed our entire family to him. I include my children when I write him. We send him stickers, pictures, drawings, crafts, and bookmarks. Anything that might pass through customs, we send.

Through Compassion, my kids are learning love on a higher level than I could teach them alone.

My Challenge to You:

Please follow the above steps. Explore it for yourself. Ask around. Research Compassion. Look into the organization. Pray. Look into your monthly budget to determine if you might be able to afford to sponsor a child. Then pray for the child that God has for you to sponsor. Please consider these precious children and the small amount of money and effort it takes on our part to change their lives forever.

You will be surprised at how much they change your life too.

 

Kat

1 Comment

Filed under Personal Posts

Little Boy Magic

I love little boys. Little girls are special too, and of course they deserve a post as well, but there’s just something wonderful and messy and sticky and fun about little boys. This mama’s heart has a special place for boys. I don’t know why. That’s just how God wanted me. Wes and Si (2)

Today I fished out the second object discovered in Little Man’s nose. He’s 2. First there was the sponge. You know those little sponges that start out as capsules and grow in water? He ripped one up and shoved part of it in his nostril. I think it was a dinosaur leg. Today was a red bead. I’m honestly not even mad. Sure, I lectured and told him once again DON’T SHOVE THINGS IN YOUR NOSE! But then I just had to laugh. This is life with boys. Sometimes it’s weird. Often it’s loud. Always it’s messy. But I love it, and them, so much.

 

Oh how I love my boys….

My boys run through my house screaming, chasing, and making noises that make my ears want to hide.

Little Man fills clothes baskets with cars and balls, just to push them around the house. No other reason.

Buggy asks me on some mornings if it can be a “mustache day.” On Mustache Day, I draw him a mustache with my eyeliner and that’s it. He goes around life on Mustache Day– to see family, to the grocery store, to church, etc. with his mustache.

No, I didn't draw this mustache.

No, I didn’t draw this mustache.

I just love these little boys….

Little boys are just as sensitive as little girls. They cry just as easily and wear their emotions as freely as girls. We’re the ones who tell them, over time, that this is unacceptable. But I love the open-heartedness of little boys.

When Buggy {now 4} has spent the night with grandparents and hasn’t seen me in a day or two, he always gets choked up when he sees me walk in to pick him up. I live for hearing that “Mama! You’re here!” And seeing the little quiver of joy in his lip, evidence that when I’m gone, I’m missed just as much as I miss him.

Buggy stayed the night with his grandparents the other night and was up twice standing over his Bo asking if they could sleep together. He was sent back to bed twice, but his little heart was so excited about the idea of getting to help Bo in his shop in the morning. He couldn’t wait to help him make somethin’.

They’re messy. Today at lunch after church, Buggy got jello with his meal, and by the time our meal was over, it was in his hair. Again, I just smile.

Sweet, Helpful Boys

My boys love to help. They helped unload the car of groceries today. We did respite for another foster family a few weeks ago, and they nearly fought over giving the baby her bottle.

Little Man can go from completely ornery and mean towards his sister to this sweet little voice saying, “Hi Kitty!” as he pets the cat with the gentlest of hands.

I love when he runs into my room in the morning and says, “Hi Mama!” with the sweetest smile on his face. Be still my heart. Sweet sweet boys.

They love mud. They love Legos. They love play dough, Lincoln Logs, and paper airplanes. A paper airplane from daddy made from church programs on a Sunday afternoon is the highlight of the weekend.

With boys, it’s simple. And wonderful.

I promised Buggy a special surprise last week if he was good while we ran errands, unsure at the time what this surprise might be. A sugar-free sucker from the sweet bank lady at the end of our long day was enough to make him clap and cheer in the back seat. As he gobbled down his treat, he said sweetly, “Thank you, Mama, for my special surprise!”

Little boys have no shame. They burp in public. They freely play dress up in Sister’s fairy costume with no hesitation or embarrassment. They tromp around the house in Mama’s high heels. They LOVE being naked… And make sure they get plenty of naked time daily.

I love hearing Buzz Light Year randomly yell from the bedroom in the middle of the night.

I love that Buggy can’t sleep without his precious Elmo and Little Man calls all stuffed animals “babies.”

I love that they beat each other up, wrestle, pick on each other, and make each other cry, but they also protect, defend, and watch out for each other like only brothers do.

I love finding a Lincoln Log or Hot Wheel car in the sink under a pile of dirty dishes. “It needed to be washed,” I’m told.

God made boys so very special. He made them with breakable hearts, earnest intentions, deep devotions, and honest minds. And I absolutely adore watching them form and grow according to His glorious will.

These precious boys will be husbands, fathers, church leaders, and community examples someday. A shining beacon of light in a dark world. I hope I do well in raising them up in the way they should go.

Protect, honor, love, cherish, and fiercely fight for your little boys. Childhood is precious and far too short. Love them and protect them, and the Lord will honor your efforts.

A shining moment this week…

Today I overheard my sweet Buggy singing a song to himself. He was singing his own version of the classic hymn, “To God be the Glory.” The words weren’t exactly correct, but it was still beautiful, and it was a song from his happy heart to his Savior who delights in him. Who could ask for more?

Thank you, Lord, for these boys. Not just mine, but the other precious boys of my friends, the precious boys in our church who will one day be men. Thank you for their sweetness, their spunk, their proclivity towards mischief. Thank you for beads in the nose and Legos in the tub. Thank you for mud pies in January and pink butterfly wings running through the house making firetruck noises. Thank you Jesus, for the beautiful glimpse of perfection you give us in our children. Thank you for the wonder and magic of little boys. May it last as long as possible.

Amen.

 

Kat

2 Comments

Filed under Parenting, Personal Posts

The Year of {Positive} Challenges

Okay, I’m not a kitschy kind of girl. I loved “Julie and Julia” as much as the next food-wolfer-downer but I’m not one to take on the burden of doing something every single day and coming on here to tell my readers about it. Plus, my blog isn’t that kind of blog.

But it’s 12:01 am as I write this, one minute into my 28th birthday, and I decided that I wanted to do something a little different. And it’s my blog, so why not? I’m not gonna cook everything out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, so please don’t log off. I just got this wild hare that maybe I could try to take on new challenges that won’t cause me more stress or put another thing on my plate, but rather enhance my life and make my family’s life a little more peaceful and bring us closer together. Challenges that make me a better mom. Challenges that help me connect to my husband more. Challenges that might make my house a little tidier. That sort of thing.

I can’t commit to a year, because that’s ridiculous and honestly it gives me panic sweats and heart palpitations just thinking about taking on something every single day for a full year. But I can start with 30 days.

So, in honor of my birthday, I want to commit to something I already love and do every single day anyway {is that cheating?}… Reading. I read constantly. I have six different books on my bedside stand/Kindle right now, and I’ll go back and forth between all of them until I’m done, and then I simply pick up a new one. Reading is the greatest thing in the whole world, and one thing I’m not so great at is reading to my kids. I’m actually ashamed to admit that.

I intend to read to Buggy every day, but I sometimes don’t. I forget, or we get busy, or I’m too tired, or he can’t decide on a story that he wants to hear, so I don’t read to him. I grew up being read to by my Aunt Annie, who taught me to love Roald Dahl and recite every word to Tikki Tikki Tembo and I desperately want to instill that same love and literary adoration in my own son, but I don’t do a great job of it sometimes. I think he loves and appreciates books, but I want to read to him daily.

So for my first 30 day challenge for myself, in the year of bettering my life, I want to read to Buggy every single day. Typing that “every single day” part made my fingers shaky and a tiny bead of sweat pop out on my forehead. Get back in there sweat bead, cuz we’re doing this!

That beautiful children’s book collection of ours is going to be loved on this month. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday month than snuggling up with my littles and enjoying the books I loved so much when I was little.

Do you enjoy challenging yourself to try new things? What might you challenge yourself to this month? Wanna join me in reading to your kiddos everyday this month? Tell me about it!

❤ Kat

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Activities, Parenting, Personal Posts, Stay at Home Moms

2014 Resolutions

I really hate new year resolutions. I always have. In the past, I’ve always broken those resolutions by February, and then spent the rest of the spring trying to remember what I even resolved to do more or less of in the first place. Guilt follows, and then you usually end up backsliding even further into whatever bad habit you were trying to break. For these reasons, I haven’t made a new years resolution in many years.

But this year I’m doing things a little different. I realize that there are two types of resolutions: Those you want, and those you need. This year, I’m not resolving to do things I want. I’m resolving to do things I need.

For instance, resolution #1– I want to lose about five {twelve} pounds. Instead, I’m going to not worry about numbers and say that I need to get more active. I need to ride my bike, jog, go for walks with Buggy, etc. rather than worry about numbers on a scale. That’s a much easier resolution to stick to than restricting my beauty and self worth to some magic number that tells me when I can finally be happy with my body. That’s stupid. I just need to be a little healthier.

Resolution #2- I want to be more organized, but really, I need to be less stressed. Organization will definitely help with my stress levels, so this week before Travis returns to work, I’m going to organize closets, cabinets, and shelves so we can start this next semester off with a little more peace. Beyond that though, I’m not going to kill myself for the rest of the year trying to have a Martha Stewart closet. In the past, I’ve downloaded binders full of checklists and helpful tips on how to keep a better organized home, and then I end up not following the tips {because they aren’t specific to our family} and I beat myself up for it. I’m not gonna do that. We’ll start the year off as fresh and tidy as possible, but beyond that, I’m not going to stress out about it.

Resolution #3-
Our school year usually starts in January in our household. It’s the perfect time for new beginnings and fresh ideas, and I just love starting school at the beginning of the calendar year. Usually I have all of these plans for unit studies, books, and skills that I want to tackle at the start of the year. I find myself on Pinterest late at night finding adorable crafts and activities for Buggy, but then reality sets in and we usually don’t have time to do even half of the things I wanted to do. I have two other children at home who have various therapies and appointments, and I try my hardest to work in what I can with Buggy, but last year a great deal of time was spent in my head feeling angry with myself and worrying that I had let him down.

I realize now that I did not let him down, and that from our little hiatus from school he learned so many other invaluable things. And still, we took time to play games, snuggle, tickle, laugh, read books and sing songs. So this year, instead of focusing on all the cutes stuff I want to do, I’m going to focus on the simple things I need to do. I need to read with him more. I need to stop doing the dishes sometimes and sit down to make train tracks with him. I need to have tickle fights. I need to watch “Curious George” in the mornings. My spirit needs that, he needs that, and I need to not live in guilt over the things we didn’t get done.

And lastly, resolution #4- This year, I need to slow down and stop beating myself up. I need to realize I’m a great mom, a loving wife, and a mediocre housekeeper who at least keeps things from reaching that unlivable level of dirty. I’m proud of us fostering. I’m proud of us homeschooling. I’m proud that we are different from other families that we know. I’m resolving to cherish this chaos that others don’t understand and often criticize. I’m resolving to be even less conventional than we already are, and I’m resolving to love it more than I already do. I’m resolving to not compete with other families and worry over what one kid is doing that mine isn’t. I want to go at his pace, at our pace.

This year will be about simplifying, saying “no” more often, and cherishing what we have here. This is the year of focusing on what our spirits need and worrying less about what others say. It’s about doing things to feed and grow our family rather than what we want or desire. This is a year about taking things as they come and not fretting over the future {which is very hard to do in fostering}. This year I need to feel the Lord’s peace around me and let out a big sigh of relief that I don’t have control and He does.

I hope that 2014 brings a sweet simplicity to our home as well as yours. I hope it brings you peace and joy and calmness. What are some of your resolutions for this year?

Kat

2 Comments

Filed under Personal Posts, Simplify Your Life, Stay at Home Moms, Uncategorized