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Changing Seasons

The fall is coming quickly, and I’m not totally sure how I feel about it just yet.

Fall is my favorite season. I love long sleeves and cool mornings, the smell of fireplaces and the taste of cinnamon-y and pumpkin-y treats.

This fall looks a little different for me. For the first time since having kids I’ll be heading back to teach full time again. And this time it won’t be at the high school I’ve been at for the last 6 years. Instead of seniors taking an AP course I’ll be teaching 5th graders math and science.

Big changes bring big emotions. I am so excited to be teaching 5th grade – it’s the grade I first wanted to teach when I started down this path 6 years ago. And BONUS – I’m teaching at my sister’s school. So we get to carpool and work together. Booyah. Plus, thanks to Em, I already know a handful of people at my new school, and I am so excited to be in a place that is so welcoming and enthusiastic about me joining their team.

I’m also sad. I’m sad to be leaving friends behind at the high school. The team I worked with was (and still is!) incredible. They have been nothing but supportive of my transition to a new job, which is such a gift and makes it all that much harder to leave. And I loved my seniors. They were fun. And spunky. And they asked good questions and kept me on my toes. And I loved my subject. Environmental Science is a fun, engaging, interesting subject. I love it.

And I’m nervous. I’ve never done the full-time working gig with kids at home, much less three toddlers. Can I manage it? Can I pour myself into their little lives at the end of the school day and still get the laundry done and the dishes washed? When will the grocery store happen? What will I have to sacrifice?

Faithfully the seasons change. Summer, fall, winter, spring. I am so grateful that God uses the changing seasons to remind me of His faithfulness. He does not change. When my seasons in life bring change and chaos, beauty, joy, and uncertainty, I can rest in knowing that I belong to the One who does not and will not change. Big changes and big emotions remind me of my big need for Him.

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,

Join with all nature in manifold witness

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided –

Great is Thy faithfulness,

Lord, unto me!

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{I am participating in a blog circle this month with some awesome ladies. Click here to see what Jennifer has to say.}

 

Village People

It takes a village to raise a child. 

I’ve been familiar with this African proverb for many years now. I think I always knew there was wisdom in that thought, but it’s only been in the last three years that I’ve come to see the true beauty (and necessity) of my village.
Three littles (or any number of littles for that matter) means lots of chaos. Really fun, imaginative, loud chaos. Also the kind of chaos that makes doing normal things like going to the grocery store or making it to nap time with all family members still in tact an adventure. Just when I think I’m starting to rock motherhood, an epic meltdown or a potty accident or an overtired baby sends me reeling.

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Cue my Village People.

My Village People are my heroes. These are the ones doing life with my family, helping raise my kids, helping keep me sane. They are the ones I call to see if they will please go to the store with me so that I can shop while they try to keep all babies wrangled inside the cart. My Village People call to check on me when my husband is out of town. They offer to keep my babies at the last minute so I can pack. They come over to do fun things with my kids, even getting sweaty or dirty or wet in the process. They come over to give my kids baths (one of my least favorite tasks right now) so that I can do other things. They unload my dishwasher for me. They bring over junk food and movies when I need to stay home and miss an event so that my kids can go to bed at a decent time.

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My Village People are in so many different life stages (much like THE Village People, amiright??) – single friends who bring the party with them, married couples with no kids (read: more energy than me), mommy friends who mother my kids as their own and are quick to change a diaper without being phased. I am fortunate; my Village People are comprised of my family (immediate and extended) AND my friends. I am so grateful.

For a long time I felt guilty about my abundance of Village People. Could I parent without them? Do I rely too much on my village? Should I try to do more by myself? Sidenote: Mom Guilt is real and is the WORST.

I’m over it. I know that I can parent without my Village People. But I don’t have to. God has blessed me abundantly with people who have chosen to invest in my life and the lives of my babies. I will choose to thank Him for this gift and seek to be a Village Person to someone else. I may not be able to invest time into cooking an awesome meal for a friend in need, but I’m pretty good at having pizza delivered. I may not bring a party and boundless energy (someday, Lord, there will be sleep again, right??), but my kids are entertaining and I have lots of toys, so I can be a place for you to drop off your kids while you run a quick errand.
I hope my Village People know who they are; if not, I will make it a point to tell them what a gift they are to me this week. Lord, give me the heart of a Village Person so that I may be a blessing in the same way that I have been blessed.

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Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

 

{I’m participating in a blog circle with some wonderful ladies. Click here to see what Jennifer has to say.}

I’m Not Sorry

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May, the longest month of the year, is finally gone. It’s been a busy spring for us, full of trips and visits from friends and growing three babies into a toddler-turning-into-a-girl, a toddler-turning-into-a-boy, and a baby-turning-into-a-toddler. Yikes! The days are full of laughter and tears and tantrums and pulling leaves out of babies’ mouths, but suddenly I look up and these children seem bigger, smarter, more fun and creative. It makes my heart ache – proud of who they are becoming, grief in that it seems to be rushing by too fast.

It’s easy in this season of life that we are in to focus on the exhaustion, the mess, the sheer volume of my littles. They are like little Tasmanian devils, moving around so fast I can hardly catch my breath. I have found myself more and more this spring feeling like I needed to apologize for them.

“I’m so sorry for the mess.”

“I’m so sorry they are crazy right now.”

“I’m so sorry; they aren’t normally this loud.”

“I’m so sorry! Those alphabet magnets are the WORST to step on.”

“I’m so sorry; the babies go to bed around that time so we’ll have to miss dinner.”

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Recently I felt like the apologies were rolling off of my tongue every time I opened my mouth. I was in a horrible mood and on the verge of tears. And then I realized. I’m not sorry.

I am not sorry for the beautiful, chaotic existence of these babies in my life.

I am not sorry for the mess they make, because it shows me that they feel safe enough in our home to play and imagine and create.

I’m not sorry for their crazy personalities; they make me laugh harder and smile wider than just about anyone else on the planet.

I’m not sorry for their noise. They are learning to find their voices in this world, in our home. And those loud voices sing the most beautiful “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” you’ve ever heard.

I’m not sorry for the alphabet magnets on the floor. They are teaching my son to say his letters and they entertain little babies while Mama cooks dinner.

I’m not sorry for this season of missed dinner parties and nights eating out. This is such a short season compared to the rest of our lives; I want to soak up every bedtime prayer, every night-night song, every “Mama will you lay with me?”. It’s going to be gone before I know it.

I want to teach my children to be respectful, to clean up messes, to be courteous and thoughtful. I want to make life easier on those we meet by picking up after ourselves and looking for ways to be blessings. And if I fail in those things, for that I will apologize and seek forgiveness.

But babies, I am not sorry that you have swept us up into your lives. There is no greater honor than being your mama.

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{Beginning this month I am participating in a blog circle with some other wonderful women. Click here to see what Suzy has to say.}

Three, (Almost) Two, (Almost) One…

It’s been 2+ months since we became Redfearn, Party of 5. It’s been 2+ of the hardest, best months.

BIG DEALS:

After 2+ months, Newest Baby is sleeping in the same room as Bubs. So far, so good. And if feel awesome to have our room back.

After 2+ months, I have finally learned how to pack the diaper bag for 3. Snacks? Check. Spare clothes? Check. Extra formula? Check. I got this.

Our last update was the night before Newest Baby arrived. So here’s what’s happened with our people since…

Maddie turned 3!

We celebrated Maddie’s birthday for most of the month of March. We were in Colorado for her actual birthday and got to celebrate with some of John’s family. It was a fun, special time. We filled her up with lots of sugar, presents, and love.

The next week she celebrated with cupcakes in her classroom at school.

The week after that we took her to see Frozen on Ice with both sets of grandparents and two aunts.

It’s been a big month for Maddie girl.

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Bubba is inching closer and closer to two. How did this happen? Overnight he turned into a big boy – talking, running, playing hard (and sweating hard), but still giving lots and lots of snuggles (or as he would say, ” ‘nuggle?”). He just moved into a big boy bed a couple of weeks ago to make room for Newest Baby, and he’s taken to it like a champ.

Maddie and Bubs are turning into little buddies, and it’s just the best. They chase each other, play on the playground together, snuggle under blankets together to watch Curious George. I love it. Also, Bubs pronounces Maddie’s name, “Manny”. Kills me. It’s the cutest ever.

It’s fun to see his character and personality coming out. He is gentle, tenderhearted, and protective. He loves his family and wants more than anything to be around us.

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Newest Baby is just the best. Having him in our home has been the easiest transition we’ve experienced in fostering. A large part of that is because of the home he was in prior to us – they took care of him so well. It has seemed so natural for him to join us – he’s our son, the completion to our little instant family. He is so sweet, easy to smile and laugh, and he loves to snuggle too, just like his big brother. He has 6 (huge!) teeth, crawls like a champ, puts EVERYTHING in his mouth, and is pulling up wherever he can get a good grip.

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I won’t pretend that adding a third has been all easy. It’s not easy having a 3 year old, a 21-month old, and an almost 9 month old. At any given point someone is probably crying or wanting to be held (and sometimes it’s me!). We missed out on some good sleep for about a month and a half. Waiting to know when we will be able to move to the adoption unit is frustrating and tiresome. We’ve had to learn to give ourselves more time to get anywhere, to have the diaper bag ready at all times, to give each other and our littles grace when chaos abounds. But in those moments when I can be still and silent long enough to hear my own thoughts, my eyes often get misty as I think about the Lord’s goodness to us. I am profoundly grateful for the family He has given us. He didn’t do it the way we had planned, but His plan is so much better than the one I had worked out. I wouldn’t trade even a tiny piece of it for what we have now. Thank you, God, for letting us see your goodness over and over again!

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I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!

Wait for the LORD;

be strong, and let your heart take courage;

Wait for the LORD.

Psalm 27:13-14

The Morning Before

Today is our last day as a family of four. I’m trying how to decide how I feel about that – more anticipation than anxiety, more excitement than grief over changing family dynamics.
Bubs has a little brother, and he’s coming to be part of our family tomorrow. He has been in a wonderful home these past 6 months, and we are excited to welcome him into ours. We’re nervous, too. The boys will be sharing a room. I’m praying that they will get used to each others’ noises quickly and that they will sleep. I’m praying that they will become the best of friends. I’m praying for Maddie, that she will continue to grow in her roll as Big Sister. She a great big sister – protective, fiercely loyal, and she speaks out for those she loves. What a treasure to see her little personality and character developing even as an almost-three year old.

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In the quiet moments like this morning it’s easy to find myself moving from anticipation to anxiety. 3 under 3! WHAT ARE WE DOING?!? The chaos!
Last night at church and today in my reading time I read a couple of verses that couldn’t be more well-timed

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? Matthew 6:27

Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me. Mark 9:37

We are confident that The Lord has brought us to this point and that He will continue to guide us (and give us lots of grace!) as we parent our brood. We have been so blessed by family and friends already who have encouraged us, showered us with gifts, organized meals, helped rearrange furniture, and who are eagerly waiting with us for Friday. We couldn’t do this without our “village”. We are so grateful.

We’ll let you know how it’s going sometime next week!

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Life’s Been Happening

It’s been a looooong time since I’ve even thought about this blog, if we’re being honest. Life with a one year old and a two year old has been all-consuming. Who knew??

It has not been an easy summer and fall, but it has been good. Our house has been packed to the brim with fun and playing and growing and throwing fits and living life. It’s hard not knowing anything about what’s going on with Bubba’s case. We know absolutely nothing about what the future holds (as usual), and it can be maddening at times. But we love him and it has been so fun to watch he and Maddie grow into buddies. One of my favorites is listening to them play in the curtains (Sidenote: this is something that I swore I would never let my children do. Also on that list: wiping noses with clothes – theirs and mine – and feeding them in the car seat. HAHAHAHAHA!). 

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Bubs has been growing more and more comfortable in our family. The summer for him brought walking, lots of laughing, splashing in the pool, and the cutest little way you’ve ever heard a kid say, “Noooooooo!”.

Maddie is in the throes of being two. I refuse to use the phrase, “terrible twos”. While two brings it’s challenges (“Mommy get outta here!” What.) it is also proving to be my favorite age. She is learning so much, is developing such a fun, funny, outgoing personality, and I feel like even now we are getting to see her character start to show. She is independent, has a deep sense of justice, and is fiercely loyal. I don’t know that we could love her more.

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So that’s what’s been going on with us. I’ll fill you in on our big trip this summer in the next post – Disneyworld!! Spoiler alert: it was amazing. 

Thanks for adventuring with us.

Serenity Now!

For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. Isaiah 25:4

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This summer is flying by, and it has simultaneously been one do the hardest summers and one of the best we’ve had in our household. Lately two phrases seem to make their way out of the recesses of my mind and into the air – “serenity now!” and “Jesus, take the wheel!”. They perfectly portray what I am feeling in his house with a one year old and a two year old, and thankfully saying them out loud usually makes me laugh.
Bubs has been here for over a month now, and having him with us feels normal. Maddie does NOT like him stealing her toys, but other than that she seems to be adjusting well. We’ve spent most of the summer at home, swimming, playing with toys, watching too many movies. We’ve had time with family, which has been wonderful. And we have a Disney adventure with Maddie coming up in a few weeks, which we are REALLY anticipating with excitement. But staying home has been hard, too. Because of new regulations we’ve been without a babysitter for over a month (thankfully Em is now certified again! Hallelujah!). So we are eager for a date night sometime in the next couple of weeks. A little time away from our little blessings will go a long way I think.
I think I will look back on this summer fondly. Everyone says that the days are long and the years are short, and I agree. I don’t know how long our life will look like this – how long Bubs will be here, how much longer Maddie will want to snuggle and watch “the puppies” (101 Dalmations) in my lap. So I’m trying to soak it up (with lots of coffee and screamed prayers hiding in the kitchen).
Thanks for listening, encouraging, and adventuring with us.

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