Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Patience, Mama

Someone once told me you should never pray for patience, or God will give you something to practice that patience on.

It isn't that I necessarily believe it, but I have to laugh at that statement because patience is not my strong suit. Waiting in traffic? Nope. Expecting an Amazon package? Two days is forever. My two-year old standing up in his high chair for the 475,000th time this week. FORGET ABOUT IT.

This has really been a test for me lately (the toddler part, not the amazon part...no more than usual anyway). Henry is two, and with that comes meltdowns, fits, tears, frustrations, defiance, and at least a hundred other difficult situations. Today he legit walked up to me and kicked me in the ankle. Twice. I have no idea why. He wasn't mad or upset. He was grinning and just kicked me in the ankle bone. Luckily this was not at 5:00 p.m. on an already difficult day, and I just had to remind myself that he is learning. It is my job to teach him what is right and what is wrong that you don't kick people.


I have recently had to remind myself of my responsibility to him so very many times. You see, I have a very strong-willed child. You know where he gets that? Yep. You guessed it. Right here. It is often a power struggle at our house as two stubborn people with communication difficulties battle it out on a daily basis. There were a couple of weeks where I really struggled. I mean I reeeeeally struggled. There was one week in particular where I thought I might lose my mind. There was one evening that I sat in the kitchen floor and cried while I let my husband battle the high chair and bath time fit. It was a rough week for me.

You know who else it was rough on? The toddler melting down in the high chair.

Some days are hard, but I have realized that those days aren't just hard for me. They are hard for him too. He is learning so much right now. His little brain is on overload, and he has so many wants and needs that he can't always communicate just yet. He doesn't always understand the things I am telling him. He doesn't get why sometimes he can have a cookie and other times I say 'no'. He doesn't always understand the fine line between tickling and 'wrestling' with daddy and getting a little too rough with mama. Sometimes I feel like I might finally be finding the right way to react. Other times he throws me a curve ball, and what worked yesterday comes right back to laugh in your face today...sometimes quite literally. But most days my rough-and-tumble, wild-and-crazy, super tough little boy just needs mama to chill out and talk to him. He needs me to be stern but keep my cool. He needs me to correct him in a calm but stern voice. He needs me to direct him but with love. And you know what I have learned from reacting both the harsh way and the calm way? In the end, the calm way is a lot easier on me as well.


Don't get me wrong. The quickest and easiest way to react most times is out of frustration. On those long days where I am about to lose it, and he just won't stop fussing/getting into things/head butting my leg while I cook dinner, staying calm is not my gut reaction. However, when I am calm for him, it is much easier to control myself and say less things I regret in tones that I can live with later. He is soaking in everything around him, and I don't want that to be a grumpy mama who snaps at every little thing.

I most definitely don't want to sound all holier-than-thou. I have had some super hard days lately. Actually last week was super tough after a really great stretch. I have snapped at him more times than I would like to admit, and I know it will happen again. At the end of a long day when he hits me in the nose with his head or fights me when I try to brush his teeth, I don't promise to stay cool and calm. I do promise that I will try to always remember the words I am typing now. You see, this post is more for myself than anyone else. I am not telling you how to react. You know your child, your relationship with your child, what works and doesn't work, and everything in between. But if you have been struggling lately, let this be an encouragement to you. Sure, I just asked you to remember that things are hard for them too as they navigate a lot of new feelings and emotions in a world where they sometimes struggle to communicate, but remember this also...YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It is okay to acknowledge it is hard, and it is okay to cry about it. It is okay to step away for an afternoon or even a weekend if that is what it takes.


I think it is an impossible balance, and we are all going to mess up at some point...or 50...million. You are human, mama. You are learning how to teach and guide this ever-changing and growing personality, and you will get it wrong sometimes. We all will. But a sweet friend once told me that babies are the best forgivers. Luckily, toddlers are pretty great at it too.

xo,
Katie

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

ROOM REVAMP FOR PENNIES

I love decorating, rearranging, and refreshing a room. While my house is not as clean and put-together as it once was (hello, motherhood), I still get a bit of a high from putting together a fresh, new space...even when I know it will be trashed in less than five minutes. I always like to redo and redecorate, but when I am nesting, it is a whole new level. I totally lose my mind. I feel like I can accomplish impossible things, and I drive my husband crazy until he helps make my dreams come true. Perfect example: Henry's mini room revamp.


One thing I have been stressing over lately is our sleeping situation. People are usually surprised to hear it, but Henry still sleeps in our room. He is in his own bed, but I have never transitioned him to his own room because all the other bedrooms are so far from our quite-large-with-plenty-of-room-for-a-crib master bedroom. I was never forced to kick him out, and I like having him close. He (finally) sleeps pretty well, and when he doesn't, he is just steps away. However, with the new baby coming, I knew it was time to move him into his own room. I also knew that I couldn't just stick his bed in there. It totally wasn't necessary or convenient, but for my own sake...and my hormonal, emotional mama heart...I knew a mini makeover would help me with the transition.

It is hard to want to refresh and redo frequently when you don't have infinite funds to toss at new decor. I am sometimes a tad envious of those who can just pick out what they like and go buy it at any given moment, but I also love the challenge of making a space my own with DIY projects, shopping my own stuff, and finding a good sale. That is exactly what I did for Henry's room.


I am not great with tutorials since my projects are usually made up on the fly during nap time with stuff I have laying around. It isn't likely that you will have the same supplies on hand, and you may not want to replicate my projects/style anyway.  However, I do want to break down how I put this new space together without breaking the bank by thinking outside of the box.

1. DIY

This is almost always my go-to. If I see something online that is out of my budget or something I think I could make and save some cash, I am all over it. I also use this strategy a lot because I am super impatient and don't want to wait for shipping or a trip to the store. When I wanted to get this gallery wall planned out during nap time one afternoon, I went to my Pinterest board I had been putting together for months. I looked at all the images to figure out what they had in common and what I liked about them. Some of those things were wood pieces, fabric banners, arrows, frames mixed with unconventional shaped items, and a combination of textures and finishes.


My next move was to my craft closet. An extra old dowel rod + some scrapbook paper = arrow. A piece of felt + some scrap fabric = cute banner. Leftover rope from another project + embroidery thread = fiber rainbow. I was seriously able to hustle and get all of these things completed during a single nap time with only things I had on hand. When you force yourself to get creative, whether for convenience, cost, the challenge of it, or because you are impatient like me, you can accomplish great things!

2. Free artwork and printables

I knew I wanted to include a picture of Henry's best buddy and cousin Georgie (see above), and I had one of those on hand. I added a mat to the triangle art she created for his room before he was born, and I wanted one more framed piece. I headed back to Pinterest for free printables, and there are so many options! I honestly am not sure I am in love with the piece I chose, but that is the beauty of a freebie. I can simply find another and replace it when I tire of the constellation piece. The clover piece (below) is still one of my favorites from when I first put his nursery together. I simply framed a four leaf clover my dad had found (he has always been the BEST at finding four leaf clovers) and had him sign it "Pa". So special, so simple, and so inexpensive!



3. Shop your stuff

So much of what I used in this space was already in my home. Some of it was already in the same room. Other things were pulled from keepsakes, closets, and Daddy's collection of vintage treasures. Once you have a vision and clear direction, look through your extra decor pieces, shelves that could spare a piece or two, or your stash of sentimental items and keepsakes.


The metal airplane, Victrola dog, and Hopalong Cassidy were all from my husband's collection of treasures over the years. The plants were pulled from overflow in other rooms. The rug was in my living room until we recently got a new one for that space. The little wooden camera was mine when I was a kid. The handmade stuffed dog was my dad's when he was a little. The Kodak film tin and bookend were just sitting around waiting for a home. For practical reasons, I would never have done this makeover if I had to buy all new decor pieces and start from scratch, but by shopping my own stuff I got a fresh new space without spending much of anything! You may not have as much junk laying around as I do, but you might just be surprised at what you already have that you can use.

4. Out with the old before you bring in the new

I am not going to pretend like I found every single bit of this stuff laying around my home. I did make a few purchases, but the difference with this room is that I made sure to get rid of some things before I allowed myself to buy more junk. I sold a few lamps I hadn't used in years and a couple of clothing items to offset the cost of the few things I purchased. For an entire room, the cost was low anyway, but keeping costs low on a project like this is sort of a hobby for me.

I should probably get out more.


Cost break down:
Paint  $16
Frame  $12
Brackets  $8
Gold Lamp  $24.99
Boys Only Sign  $24.99

After a trade for supplies and selling $50 worth of unwanted items, I spent roughly $20 on this whole thing. That is crazy cheap for a totally new look, and you can do it too! You just have to get inspired, get creative, and make it happen. And don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions about any other projects or pieces in this room.

I'll let you know how that sleeping transition to this cute new room goes...when I finally get tough and do it.

xo,
Katie


Thursday, January 31, 2019

OH BABY!

I have been totally MIA for the last several months. I didn't intend to be, but late last Summer we found out we were expecting baby number two. This pregnancy was a lot more intense than when I was pregnant with Henry, so I did a whole lot of nothing for months. I am a very busy person, so it was a struggle for me...at first. Then I could do little more than lay on the couch and pry my eyes open to make sure Henry wasn't climbing on the furniture. Priorities shifted to survival, so I did no blogging for months. I have missed it!


If you have been following for very long, you may remember my post about how God knew just what I needed when he made me a boy mom. I stand by every single word of that today. Boys are fun and messy and rowdy and ornery. They are also sweet and loving and protective of their mamas. A boy will steal his mama's heart in a way I cannot explain. When Henry looks at me with those blue eyes and that little grin...I cannot imagine loving another human any more. I love watching him line up his cars on the coffee table. I love hearing him growl and roar as he plays animals in his room. I love that he is super tough, loves all things dirt and dinosaurs, and how he offers me a bite of his cookie after dinner. Most of all, I love the way he puts his little arms around my neck and parrots "wah you" when I say "I love you". He is the best. He is what I didn't know I wanted and exactly what I needed. I love having a boy.

And I am over the moon to be having another one. That's right. Baby number two is a boy, and we could not be more excited!


I am excited to hang onto my 'boy mom' title. I am eager to meet him and watch him become best friends with his brother. I am excited to revive some of my favorite baby boy outfits, ball caps, and sneakers. I am excited for more dirt and trucks and tractors than I know what to do with because little boys are great.


This is why it always catches me off guard when people sort of act as if I should be disappointed and say things like, "Well, you can always try again for that girl." or "That is exciting, but I know you would love a little girl." or "That just means you will have to try again soon."

I know most people truly mean nothing by it when they say those things, but to me having a boy is not second place. It is not like I got my second choice. I am not just making the most of the hand I was dealt. Sure, girls are cute and fun, and I am all about girl things. I love to get my nails done and dress up and shop, but there is so much more to it than that. Just because I am a girl, does not mean that I am disappointed with my boys. That thought never crossed my mind or my heart. I will always value my boys for the individuals they are...individuals with a purpose, created by God, and not second best to anyone else.


I have two nieces, and I love them beyond words. I love buying them bows and helping decorate their rooms and gifting them all the makeup and glittery things their mom won't buy. But it just feels right for me to have boys. I am actually 100% okay with being the only girl in the house, and we are not going to keep trying until we get a girl as if that is the ultimate prize. I don't want to sound hypocritical like I think boys are better than girls, because I don't think that is the case. However, maybe for our family boys are best. I don't think God makes mistakes, and He knew just exactly what we needed when He gave us Henry. He knows our family's dynamic, relationships, quirks, and the way my mama heart loves. He knows even better than I do that this baby boy is another blessing to our family, and I am happy to embrace that with another wiggly, ornery boy, maybe blonde-haired boy.

xo,
Katie

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Keeping My Identity in Motherhood - Sunshine & Limes

The online world is such a crazy one. I have made some of the best friends here, and Stevie is no exception. It has been so great to connect with her, and when she asked if I would share my heart on finding my identity in motherhood, there was no hesitation. I am so honored to post as a guest on her lovely blog and to be included with a such an amazing lineup of mamas. Head over to Sunshine & Limes now to read my post, and check out the others from this series.
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"I have struggled a great deal off and on with finding my place. Even before Henry was born, I worked part-time at a “meh” job, and I wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do when I grew up. Then along came this sweet, precious baby. Henry was all that mattered. The first few months of motherhood I am pretty sure I just sat on my couch in sweatpants..." [Read more]


Thanks so much for reading...and I promise I will blow the dust off this space and get a new post up soon! 

-Katie

Patience, Mama

Someone once told me you should never pray for patience, or God will give you something to practice that patience on. It isn't that I...