Tradition! Tradition!

That’s a shout out for all you “Fiddler On the Roof” fans out there (of which I’m not one haha!). We’re coming into the season of traditions–fall traditions, Thanksgiving traditions, Christmas and winter holiday traditions. I feel like once you become a mom, you realize how completely responsible you are for any traditions that are going to occur. And it’s when you realize something about all those family traditions you enjoyed growing up. You realize that they were WORK for your mom. Or work for somebody (perhaps a father or grandma). Some adult took the time to plan and create a little magic in a format known as a tradition.

It’s a pretty intimidating task if you think about it. Your son or daughter’s childhood memories could very well be based on the traditions you decide to create. My oldest daughter is  three years old this year and I’m definitely feeling the pressure to start some traditions, partly because I feel the fun of any tradition is looking back on it and thinking, “Oh, we’ve ALWAYS done it that way.” As a child, you just enjoyed the tradition, but your mom had to put the work into making it happen! And now I’m the mom.

One of my favorite holiday traditions as a child was our Christmas Eve treasure hunt. Every Christmas Eve “for as long as I can remember,” my mom put together a treasure hunt for me and my sisters. There was always a prize at the end. We’d follow the clues through the house, into the garage, down to the basement and eventually claim the present at the end. One of my favorite years was the Christmas Eve where we each got a new matchbox car at the end. Mine was a purple, sparkly convertible.

Something that helps me feel less overwhelmed is to remember that it doesn’t take a lot to impress a young child. My holiday decorations or traditions don’t have to be expensive to be memorable. A few things we are doing this year so far to create some memories:

Pumpkin patch. This is easy because it’s free on the weekdays and I don’t have to do any work. I will always be keeping my eye out for free holiday events as the end of the year approaches.

IMG_20151016_170944

Decorating for the seasons and holidays. It’s the first year I’m putting some extra effort into this. It really does help create a festive mood. Dollar Tree and Goodwill are a great resource for inexpensive holiday decor.

Reading seasonal books and watching seasonal movies. Think library and Netflix. Can you tell I’m into free/cheap stuff? This year I’d like to invest in a few special Christmas books. I just haven’t decided which ones yet. Have any favorites? Share below in the comments!

Advertisements

Everyday at Our House

I didn’t manage a picture every single day, but I did get quite a few pictures for my picture challenge.

This first one is a picture of laundry in the middle of being folded and put away. Before Abrielle, we only did 2 loads a week. Now I think I do 5-6 loads a week.

Next up is tummy time for Abrielle. She really doesn’t like it but she’s getting better at it.

Here is Abrielle looking in the mirror before her bath. She’s not quite sure what to think of the “other baby.”

In the green bag are the clothes she has outgrown already. Every week I go through her clothes and add in clothes that might fit now. She has so many cute outfits I don’t want her to miss any of them!

This last is a picture of my kitchen while I’m in the middle of making spaghetti sauce. I was reminded yesterday that I am “living the dream.” When I was little, I pictured myself with a baby, in my house, cooking dinner while waiting for my husband to come home. And what do you know? That is what I am doing!

If  you did a picture challenge of your own, please comment on this post and share!

Scared to Death

Many of us have probably seen this circulate through facebook/the web.

At age 4: we think Mom knows everything! At 8: Mom knows a lot! At 12: Mom doesn’t know everything! At 14: Mom doesn’t know anything! At 16: Mom doesn’t exist! At 18: She’s old fashioned. At 25: Maybe Mom does know about this. At 35: Before we decide let’s ask Mom. At 45: I wonder what Mom thinks about this. At 75: I wish I could ask Mom about this.

I feel like I need to make one for myself about feeling ready to be a mother.

At age 6: I’m a great mommy to my baby doll! At 12: I know everything about parenting. I don’t know why everyone is whining. At 16: I would be a better mother than that person. At 25: I feel I’ve forgotten everything I ever thought I knew about parenting.

via

 I am not joking—around 12-16 years old I really thought I had it together. I was changing my sister’s diapers, cooking dinner, cleaning house, etc. Unfortunately, being a “mother” is about more than that. And suddenly…I’m scared to death.

Being Sick at 24 vs. Being Sick at 10

When I was 10, getting sick meant…

  • getting off of my chores
  • pulling out a “sick kit” I had put together that had fun pages to color and games to play.
  • Mom would make me Mrs. Grass’s chicken noodle soup.
  • Mom would make me get extra rest.
  • A nice fire roaring in the woodstove to keep my warm.
  • No one expected me to do anything but lie down and rest.
  • Downing cough syrup and lozenges to keep myself comfortable.
  • Filling out “Mad Libs” sheets
  • Mommy was right there to make everything all better.

 

Now, at 24, getting sick means…

  • the chores are inevitably postponed. It just means I’ll have to do them all in a few days.
  • Deciding that the library book that looked lame earlier suddenly appears to be the most interesting thing in the apartment.
  • I have nothing easy to prepare in the cupboard so I decide to go hungry instead.
  • I would kill to just be able to go to sleep.
  • A nice space heater that I’m huddled over trying to stay warm.
  • Calling in sick to work, and then spending the next couple hours calculating how much this being sick business is costing me in lost wages.
  • Pacing myself on the cough syrup and lozenges so we can make it until next month’s paycheck.
  • Researching our health insurance provisions and possible providers.
  • All I can think is, “I want my mommy!!!!”

The Question of Purpose: Success vs. Progress

If you grew up in the church, more likely than not you are familiar with this catechism question: “What is the chief end of man?”, and its answer: “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” It sounds trite, but I think all of us at one time or another have asked this question: Why am I here? I think this question is likely to be asked when we are in the thick of the mundane: folding socks, cleaning the bathroom…again, waking and rising, or eating steel cut oats for breakfast…again. I’m sure you could add a few of your own.

I find myself feeling insignificant and asking myself that question: Why am I here? In both secular and religious circles, there is pressure to be a “success.” To achieve something. To make your life count for something. To start that new church ministry. To rise in your career. To invent something new. To become famous. To be, in a word, a “success.”

I don’t think of my life to date as a “success,” but more like “progress.” What have I achieved? Few tangible things come to mind. Progress makes more sense to me because I do see growth. I can look even just six months back and see incredible progress in my life. Success? I’m not there yet—but growth, yes.

When a young person dies, it’s a tragedy. They had their whole life ahead of them. For those who are not followers of Christ, it’s devastating, because this life is all they had. This young person didn’t have time to achieve anything great. They hadn’t succeeded.

We’re taught growing up, “Shoot for the moon and you’ll land among the stars.” We teach our children and teenagers to shoot for high goals, that they can make a difference, that they can be great. This is not bad. Some of us will be a “success.” Some will plant churches. Some will write books. Some will found orphanages. That’s great. But some of us, many of us, won’t. We’ll be mothers, fathers, laborers, and janitors. We won’t achieve anything that might be considered “great.”

The good news is this: God doesn’t grade us on “success.” Our daily lives, the way we glorify God as we face each day, that’s what matters.

I like this quote from Martin Luther: “This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.”

Sometimes I worry that I’ll die before I [insert major life event here]. I have to remind myself that me following God every day is enough. Perhaps I have the opportunity to minister to someone, and while I’m on my way to meet that person, my car breaks down. Alas, my plans have been thwarted and I won’t be able to accomplish what I set out to do. And yet, this is what is before me. The car is broken. God knew it would break down, and He allowed it to happen!

From C.S. Lewis, “The great thing is, if one can, to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions in one’s “own” or “real” life. The truth is, of course, that what one regards as interruptions are precisely one’s life.”

I frequently notice young mothers who are frustrated because they didn’t “accomplish” anything that day. The baby fussed and wouldn’t nap, and they were unable to do what they set out to accomplish. Those of us who aren’t mothers can also identify with days like that. When I have a day like that, I am working on reminding myself that this is what God has for me today.

Coming back to the question I first asked, “What is the chief end of man?”—I say this:

To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. To grow. To heal. To exercise. We do “not yet gleam in glory,” but His grace is sufficient for us.