Simplify: My Wardrobe

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Our Christmas break was a blur. We moved over the break, and we’re working on getting our house show ready for the market to sell. I learned a few things while moving:

1. Moving with kids is near impossible. I basically kept the kids from getting in the way, while everyone else moved our crap. (Big shout out to all our friends and family that helped! Y’all rock!)

2. We have a LOT of stuff. Clothes, books I haven’t read in years, kitchen gadgets, toys that were lost and forgotten about, just a bunch of stuff.

This first month of the year I am tackling just that: stuff. I know it’s a broad category… But we’re having a garage sale soon, so I might as well document this as I go, right? The first week of January I worked on going through our wardrobes.

I first wanted to tackle the kids’ clothes. They seemed to have so. much. clothes. I had this philosophy: If I don’t love it, get rid of it. So that’s what I did. Y’all, they had boxes of clothes that were too small for them, too big for my oldest, and everything in between. I kept enough in their dresser to get them through a week without having to do laundry, and then headed to a second hand kids’ clothing store in town.

This was so liberating. It was almost like the kids had so much clothes that I didn’t really know what clothes they did have in their closets! And honestly, my boys pick out the same 4 T-shirts to wear on a regular basis anyway, so they aren’t missing a thing.

Next on my list: my closet. I have gotten so used to hanging on to maternity clothes, nursing tanks, jeans that are a size bigger than my normal size for that awkward post-baby time period when nothing fits right… I got rid of it all. The same philosophy went through my mind: If you don’t love it, get rid of it. Why would I want to hang on to a top that I don’t feel confident wearing? It makes no sense cluttering up my closet thinking one day I’ll wear it when I haven’t worn it in 2 years!

Now, my magic number is 5. I decided to keep 5 of everything: 5 short sleeved tops, 5 long sleeved tops, 5 tanks, 5 dresses, and 5 pairs of shoes. As far as jeans go, I currently only have 2 pairs that fit me and 1 pair of shorts so that kinda worked out on its own.

Again, it felt great. I know I’m going to love whatever I put on, because I didn’t bother to let anything else clutter my side of the closet. Even now, when I look back on my newly simplified closet, I still feel like I can empty it a little more, but I’m comfortable with where it’s at for now.

I’d love to hear about some of your journeys to simplify your closets! Share some of your tips on how to you keep your closets free of excess and and full of abundance!

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Operation Simplify: Denying Excess. Welcoming Abundance.

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It’s that time of year again. We decide to heck with 2016 and bring on 2017. Time to set lofty goals, and attempt to keep them this time. I’m gonna be honest: it doesn’t always work out for me. Or what happens most of the time is that I’ll rock it in one area and fail in another. So, I decided not to make a crazy goal like run a marathon, or eat a completely raw vegan diet or read the entire Bible in a year. My goal is simply this: simplify.

Simplify. My goal is to reject excess and welcome abundance. We live in a society where it’s the norm to have and consume an excess. This mindset that excess equals success has poured out beyond our cars and the size of our homes… It’s seeped into our closets, taken over our kitchen cupboards, and it’s even stolen our time. We’ve bought the lie that more stuff makes us happy, and we’ve agreed with the false belief that busyness means importance.

It’s time to stop. For me, the time is now. 2017. This is my year of simplification. I want to simplify not just my material possessions; but my lifestyle. I want to simplify my diet: less processed food and more natural food; I want to simplify my personal care products: out with the chemicals and in with nature; I want to simplify my time: toss out those time sucking activities and make time for rest; I want to simplify my life.

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So, each month I’ll be focusing on a different area and sharing about my journey. I’ll share what was hard, what scared me, and what gave me joy. You are welcome to join me if this interests you, but in no way am I stating that your journey should look like mine. You do what’s best for you, and I’ll share my story here. My hopes are that you too will find abundance in this coming year.

How will you simplify your life this year?

Be Thankful: Even When It’s Hard

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I distinctly remember this night from one year ago. I remember that it was last November simply because of how fitting this revelation was for this timing… A time when we tend to shift our gaze off of ourselves, and focus on giving to others. A time when we appreciate the blessings we have, and stop mulling over what we don’t have. Although, that was the polar opposite of my heart that night.

I had been tossing and turning all night. I was wrestling with this voice taunting me in the back of my head. During this time, I had a few friends reach some amazing goals and accomplishments. Goals I wanted to reach, but at the time seemed so far fetched. I was so conflicted, because truly I wanted to be happy for them… And in a sense I was, but at the same time I wasn’t happy for them. I was jealous of them. I was lying awake thinking, Why can’t that happen to me? What accomplishments have I achieved in this life? (Which is such a narrow perspective, y’all. Ugh, so self serving, but I’m just being honest. That’s where I was at in the moment).

So, I did what I normally do when I have trouble sleeping. I prayed. I cried out to the Lord, and revealed the ugliness of my heart to Him. I asked Him for forgiveness, for guidance, for help to refine my heart.

Basically this is how my conversation went: God, you know my heart right now, and I don’t want this bitterness and jealousy within me. What do I need to do so I can actually be happy for my friends?

And then I heard it. That still, small voice. In a gentle tone, He said: Be thankful. That’s it. Two words. Be thankful. So, that’s what I did. I thanked Him for my friends, for bringing them in my life, for their achievements, I prayed He would continue to bless them and lead them. So simple, and yet so profound.

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Y’all, I was in tears by the time I was done. That simple prayer shifted my perspective off of myself, and unto the Kingdom. Thankfulness welled up in my heart for the work being done through my friends for the furtherance of His Kingdom, and truly I was honored to be able to witness their journey.

Friday Fun Facts #17

1. My husband and I have officially labeled Fridays as my work days, so hopefully you’ll start hearing more of me! I have from 8:30am-4:30pm to get all the work done that my heart desires at local coffee shops and restaurants. This is every work at home mom’s dream! Of course, our baby girl is still nursing so I come back about every 3 hours to nurse her. So, I guess the day isn’t completely kid-free, and realistically speaking this usually eats up about 2 hours of the day… But, it still gets me out of the house and around other adults, so who cares?

2. My son, Noah, got his first love note from school this week. Only it’s not a note. It’s an entire love BOOK filled with hearts and starts and words in kindergarten handwriting that says things like “You’re my best boy.” and “BFF.” I am so not ready for this. He wrote her a note back to give her today. And so it begins!

love-book

3. We got our first “cool” front in South Texas. Our high is in the 80s. This is a big deal, y’all. It’s been blazin’ hot here lately! Now it actually feels like fall. Speaking of fall….

4. Here’s a cute conversation I had with our 3 year old Tim.

Tim: “Mama, it’s down.”

Me: “What’s down, sweetie?”

Tim (looks around for help): “It’s down… When the leaves change colors.”

Me (lightbulb goes off): “Oh, you mean it’s fall!”

Tim (nodding proudly): “Oh yes, it’s fall.”

5. I’ve been consistently working out for a few weeks now, and I’ve adding a little bit of running jogging to the mix. Y’all… let me tell ya, jogging is not as much fun as it used to be. I used to jog for fun, it was my first choice for any sort of physical activity. Now, I just feel like I’m walking with a hop and dragging my body along with me. Ha! But, even if it’s not fun I’m putting my health first. We’ll see how this progresses. Any workout tips for this mom of 4?

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Sweet & Sour Kids

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You know those Sour Patch kids commercials? “First they’re sour, then they’re sweet.” That’s about what it’s like every day with kids.

My day usually starts around 3:00AM (sour) with a wake up call from my baby Sarah letting me know she’s ready to nurse. I usually groan, hit my cell so I can use it as a flashlight, then get my baby girl and make my way to the couch. As I nurse her, sometimes I’ll scroll through Facebook, sometimes I’ll close my eyes and doze off again, but other times I’ll choose to soak in the moment. I look down at my (sweet) baby girl and realize she will never be this little again, she will never need me as much as she does now again, and I kiss her cute little cheeks before putting her back in her Pack n Play while I crash back in my bed next to my sleeping husband.

Then my alarm goes off at 6:15AM telling me it’s time to start getting ready to take Noah to school. I snooze it a couple of times, knowing Nathan will be up and starting breakfast for everyone (thanks, babe). I finally drag myself out of bed in time to make Noah lunch and see how crazy his bedhead is to fix it. We walk to school, and he chats with me about his new friends and recess (these walks are so sweet). As soon as he walks inside the school doors I realize how freakin’ hot it is at 7:30 in the morning in October, and sweat like a pig on the walk back (sour).

The rest of my morning is filled with watching Tim and Isaac make a huge pile of pillows and blankets to jump on to (sweet) and being a referee when they both jump at the same time and knock heads (sour). Baby Sarah is quick to remind me every few hours to nurse her and will coo and laugh with me (sweet) until she poops (sour), and then laughs some more at me. The amount of diapers I go through a day with 2 littles still in diapers is ridiculous.

After lunch everyone takes a nap. I think most people will admit that kids look the sweetest when they’re sleeping. Some days I nap with Tim (sweet), other days I decide to tackle the dishes or work on the pile of laundry my kids create (sour). Then I wake them up to drive to get Noah (because I’m not walking 2 miles in 100 degree South Texas weather with all the kids). Now, that pick up line is something else: it seems no matter what time you make it in the line you end up waiting at least 20 minutes, and then occasionally our A/C goes out when the Suburban isn’t moving (oh so sour moments).

The rest of the day is a blur. I just try to keep the boys from hurting each other until Nathan comes home, feed and bathe them, and then put the boys to bed. This is usually when baby Sarah wants to tell me about her day so we chat and giggle at each other… These days aren’t glamorous, but they’re mine. These days are demanding and not always encouraging, but I know that even though I have some sour moments, I’m guaranteed some sweet moments too.

How about you? Share some of your sweet and sour moments below!

Kindergarten Is the Coolest

Kindergarten Is the Coolest

Well, it happened. Just like those sweet white haired ladies said it would… Time flew by. Those first 5 years with my oldest son whizzed past me, and this week he started kindergarten. I didn’t believe them when they told me it would be here before I know it.

When Noah was about a year old, I remember wanting to punch people in the face when they told me the time would fly… It seemed to be going by so slow at the time. My days were filled with endless diaper changes, sweeping up Cheerios at least 3 times a day, and baby food flung in my face on a regular basis. Well… with 3 other kids at home 2 of those activities are still true with the other boys and baby girl!

Somehow Noah managed to get potty trained, learned how to walk and talk, and before I knew it he started school. Honestly, I was more nervous than he was when we were walking him to school his first day. He was chatting endlessly with his Ninja Turtle lunch box in hand. He was thrilled to start school; he’d been looking forward to this day since he was 3.

We walked him to his class that first day (barely making it on time!), and he sat right down with a huge smile on his face, looking around at everything going on. I made up an excuse to unload his backpack so I could have a few more seconds with him (don’t worry, teachers, I don’t do that anymore), gave him a kiss, held back my tears and left with my husband who was just so freakin CHILL about the whole situation.

It was such a weird day… I’d be washing the dishes and think I wonder what he’s doing right now… Or during nap time I asked myself Is he tired by now? He’s still used to taking a nap! Silly thoughts ran through my head all day long, my prayers were filled with him and his teacher, and 3:00pm couldn’t come fast enough.

As I was waiting in the car to pick him up (because I wasn’t about to walk a mile with all the kids in 100 degree South Texas heat!), I was so nervous. Y’all, I wasn’t this nervous when I went to school, and the day was completely over. My nerves made no sense!

We FINALLY made it to pick him up (those pick up lines are NO JOKE), and he climbed in his booster seat and said, “Kindergarten is the coolest! I can’t wait to go back tomorrow!” And I think I let out a breath for the first time all day. That was all I needed. I was relieved to know he had fun, ate his lunch, and made friends with a boy in a blue button up shirt. He’s going to be fine, and I will too.

I Forgot

I forgot

You just start to forget things after being sleep deprived for months. I’ve forgotten to pay bills, forgotten to set doctor’s appointments, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be on time to an event… I also forgot my daughter’s birthweight.

So, earlier this week I went to my 6 week postpartum appointment (except it’s been 8 weeks. I forgot about this too). The nurse is asking me all the usual questions: Do you smoke? When was your last cycle? (Umm like 6 years ago because I keep having so many children). Then she asks What was your daughter’s birthweight? And I blanked. Numbers shot through my head: 7 pounds 3 ounces (nope, that was Noah), 9 pounds 14 ounces (no, that was Tim), maybe she was 7 pounds 3 ounces (no, Isaac was the other 7.3)… Y’all I seriously could not remember how much my daughter weighed. I tried to brush it off and not feel like the worst mother in the world.

Then as I was going to a room and waiting on the doctor I saw I missed a call and that a voicemail was left. Now, I’m normally terrible about checking voicemails and usually wait until I have about 17 voicemails and then knock them all out at once, but I figured I had some time to spare so I listened to it. Turns out I also forgot that it was Timothy’s first day of Mother’s Day Out. Crap, crap, and double crap.

From that point on until the end of the day I had this reoccurring thought… You’re a bad mom… This played in my head over and over, and as a result, my actions portrayed that for the rest of the day. I had less patience with my boys, I didn’t bother with carving out my usual 10 minute prayer time, and I was just plain grumpy. What I didn’t realize was that I had also forgotten a few very important things.

Remember that reoccurring thought of You’re a bad mom? I forgot that it was a lie. I’m not a bad mom. I’m not perfect, but I’m a good mom and that’s good enough. We as parents, as spouses, as friends don’t have to be a perfect parent, spouse, or friend; but we can just be a good one… I wish we (I wish I) would just remember this. No one is perfect, and we shouldn’t strive to be perfect. We all have room for growth, and it’s okay to want to work on that, but let’s not waste what little time we have focusing all our attention on our shortcomings that we miss the blessings right in front of us.

I also forgot to give myself grace for the moment. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in months. Keeping 4 kids alive is challenging enough, and trying to remember dates and details is even more of a challenge. We all forget things from time to time, and it’s not the end of the world.

I also forgot that I don’t have to be perfect. “Being a good mom” isn’t defined by my forgetfulness. I’m a good mom because I love my kids. I love my kids and I’m trying my darn best to provide a good (but not perfect) home life for them. Soon they will all be in school and I don’t want to spend these short years I have with them at home beating myself up for things that don’t even matter; and neither should you.

Don't forget

So I challenge you fellow moms and dads and caregivers and grandparents: Forgive and forget your shortcomings, and make the most of your day with your littles by showing them just how much you do love them.

When’s the Last Time You Blogged?

“Hey babe, when’s the last time you blogged?”

I cringed and kept scrubbing the pan that had bacon grease practically burnt on it. I really need some new pans!

“It’s been a while.” I casually responded back.

The truth is, I’ve been avoiding it. I kind of just feel like a big failure in the blogging world. I had told myself over and over I’d be consistent, and time after time I dropped the ball and stopped blogging for extended periods of time. I felt like I didn’t deserve to take another crack at it again… Then I thought about it some more, and decided Who flipplin’ cares if the last time I blogged was when I announced we were pregnant and now our baby girl is one month old?! 

I was a little busy growing a human, chasing 3 boys, and teaching essential oil classes! Now, I’m still doing all of those things (minus growing a human, now she’s just attached to my boobs every couple of hours, which is still pretty time consuming). I’m still trying to figure out how to run a business, keep 4 children 5 years old and under alive, and occasionally take a shower or brush my hair. I probably “don’t have time” to write consistently, and I probably will still have times where I fall of the grid for a while, but I LIKE writing. It makes me happy, and sometimes is the only time I think about things other than what I’m going to make for the kids’ lunch. So, I’m back at it! Yay!

Even as I wrote those words down I thought: What am I going to write about? Will I be able to come up with enough topics/stories/recipes to keep readers engaged? What am I going to make for the kids’ lunch? Didn’t they JUST eat? 

I don’t know… I don’t know what I’ll write about, or if it will even be something people will enjoy reading. I may just ramble about my kids, or how I dream of what it would be like to shower every day… But that’s okay. I think this will help keep me sane because, as I confessed to a friend, “I feel like I’m drowning in diapers, laundry, and nursing pads.” If all else, it should help keep my mind sharp because right now it seems like all my mind is good for is singing the theme song to Bubble Guppies… In my defense, it’s pretty catchy.

So if you’re curious (as am I) to see where this leads, join me and follow me in this new adventure of my life.

From Super Mom to Super Humbled

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I can’t be Supermom today. I tried and failed miserably, and it’s only 1:00pm. I really wanted to be Supermom today. I had good intentions. We had students over for breakfast, which was fun and the boys love that. Then I did a little business on my computer. I hit a new rank in my business yesterday, so I was just looking everything over, congratulating my builders, and emailing new contacts. I made green smoothies for a snack with a little essential oil love in the mix, as requested by my 4 year old, Noah. (Yeah, rockin’ it! **Cue to roll your eyes**)

WO in smoothie

Noah had also been wanting banana nut muffins for the past few days, and I hadn’t gotten to it yet. So after our smoothie I decided to do that. Which trailed into lunch time. So I was making muffins and lunch at the same time. I slightly burnt my first batch of muffins. They tasted ok, but looked terrible. The boys were super whiny and fussy because it’s naptime and now they wanted to eat ALL the muffins.

I finally step out of the kitchen for the first time in a couple of hours and the rest of the house is a disaster. Every single toy bin was out. Timmy was running around with his underwear in his hand, and Isaac was leaving a trail of drool everywhere he went. And we’re also dealing with pink eye in the house. I lost it. I lost it and I let Timmy have it. He cried and went to his room. Noah picked up the toys and ran to his room. I changed Isaac and put him to bed without giving him his eye drops because I can’t find them ANYWHERE.

I tip toed in the boys’ room and asked Timmy if he wanted me to sing to him. He nodded and smiled. A smile that let me know he still loves me even though I yelled at him when he didn’t deserve it. I sang “Jesus loves me,” feeling like the biggest hypocrite singing the song because I sure didn’t show him love 10 minutes ago. I told him I was sorry and tried not to cry when he gave me a big Timmy kiss.

I left his room and by now all the boys are in bed. I know I should be exercising but my body is exhausted, drained from all the emotions that went on the past thirty minutes. So I decided to write. And to tell you, fellow mom or dad, if you just blew it with one of your kids… it’s not too late to start fresh. Give them a hug, tell them you’re sorry and you love them, but you need Jesus just as much as they do. I need Jesus to help me make it through the day with enough grace and strength to love on these boys that He has blessed us with. There’s no way I can make it without Him. He is my Rock when my emotions create a storm within me. He is my anchor that keeps me grounded. He is who I can turn to when I know I didn’t act out of His love, and extend me His grace to try again. So, that’s my goal for the rest of the day… Not to have the perfect workout or work for another hour in my business or make a 5 star meal for dinner… My goal is to try and love like Christ loves me. Because if I don’t have THAT as my primary goal, then the rest doesn’t matter … my day is wasted without His love.

So, how ‘bout it? Are you with me? How will you show God’s love today?

New Braunfels Camping

This past weekend we went camping again! Well “glamping,” as my friend Angie calls it. I’ll admit, it’s not quite “roughing it” like camping in tents, but when you’re taking along your 4 year old, 2 year old, and 1 year old, camping in your dad’s travel trailer is pretty close!

So, I got us lost again driving there (my husband really should fire me from being the navigator), but it was worth the confusion and extra time getting there. We actually got to Huaco RV Park when it was dark outside, so I was in for an amazing surprise in the morning. See?

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Noah led me down to the river in the morning to go throw rocks while Timmy slept. My soul was already being filled with goodness and sunshine. Once all the boys woke up we all went to Landa Park. Best. Park. Ever. Seriously, I want to move to New Braunfels just for this park (and the scenery, and the river, and the hiking trail).

NBdeer(Ignore the mirror, I took this from the car.)

We went to the playground and I was already razzled and dazzled. Geese, squirrels and deer were surrounding the park while we played. There were multiple playgrounds arranged by age. A little free library was nestled in between playgrounds, and creative monkey bars were made in to a fire truck. My boys could have stayed here for hours, but we had a potty training 2 year old.

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Since we worked up an appetite at Landa Park my dad took us to Naegelin’s Bakery, the oldest bakery in Texas. Yummm. It was delicious and the service was great. Even though we came in with 3 hungry and excited little boys, the workers were so sweet and helpful. They have a variety of options from decorated cookies, donuts, breads, and pastries. I apologize in advance for not taking a picture of my donut, but if you ever go you need to get this donut. Here is what it is: a glazed donut BUT the donut hole hasn’t been taken out and they filled it with a chocolate cream that you’ll want to swim in. Y’all, seriously it’s delicious!

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After that we headed back to Huaco RV Park to eat some lunch and take a nap. Little Isaac decided to take a nap next to me, and I didn’t mind at all. I got a good one hour snooze in. It was a rare occurrence. Once we all woke up we went down to the river. Now, lucky for us, it was Friday so we had the river pretty much to ourselves. We did what young boys do best: explore and throw rocks. Note to self: when planning on playing in the river, bring better shoes than Old Navy flip flops. I almost lost one! Before we knew it, it was dinner time. We spent the rest of the day relaxing outside, playing cars and killing ants.

On Saturday we had a mission: ride the train at Landa Park! After breakfast we headed for the park. We arrived a little early so we got some wiggles out on the playground before going riding on the train. Noah and Tim wanted to ride the caboose so we rode on the back. It was well worth the wait. The tracks take you all around Landa Park: the playgrounds, the river and past the swimming pool. The conductor was very friendly too, and dressed the part!

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The rest of our time was spent at the RV Park. We explored the river, and enjoyed the natural springs swim area that was in the park as well. If we didn’t have our kiddos with us, we would have tubed down the river, but we settled for splashing around the shallow areas and throwing rocks. We all had a blast. We will be going back for sure next summer!

I hope you enjoyed reading about our adventures, now go outside and make some of your own! Go feed your soul and get some sunshine! What do you love about the outdoors?