The End Of Summer

Summer has been good to us. Even after three years I may still despise the humidity and bugs we get in the woods of Central Virginia. But it has been a summer of much growth as well as a lot of quality time with my babies.

Over seven months in with our baby girl and I continue to feel like I am being constantly stretched and challenged in this transition to two kids. While so many of her babyisms are like her brother, it is not so much that things feel new but that having two little humans to care for keeps me spinning all day long.

But what a joy she is. So I keep at it day after day.

As we head into fall with much joy and anticipation over the change in weather and preparation for the holidays, I give summer a small nod. A thank you for the lessons it has brought and how it will continue to shape us as we close out this year.

*Baby girl is wearing my swimsuit from when I was a baby! What a delight to see her wearing it. My little love bug!

*Pool from Target by Minnidip

Updates To Our Son's Toddler Room

I made a few changes to our son's big boy toddler room recently that I wanted to share! While the room is fairly neutral I love adding a little pop of color through toys and accessories. 

I purchased this colored pom pom garland from Target for my son's birthday party decorations. It comes in a set of three and they are super cute. I love the pop of color it adds to his tepee decor.

I had these alphabet cards from my sister in law's baby shower from over five years ago! I found them on Etsy and had saved them for future use. I thought they would be a fun way to help my son continue to learn his letters but he seems to not notice them! :) But they still look cute - they give off an old schoolroom feel. Plus one less thing being stored away!

The racoon stuffed animal is new and from Hallmark Baby. They have an adorable line of baby toys that I just recently stumbled upon. Finding quirky and whimsical stuffed animals that aren't super expensive is rare. I may just love "Mr. Raccoon," as we call him, more than my son does!

I continue to love this sweet room. It has such great light, so much room (lucky boy!), and is a fun place for us to hang out.

For his birthday we added this name puzzle to our collection (from Etsy). Another attempt at helping him learn to spell his name! It is a beautiful toy I hope that he will enjoy for many years to come. 

I was recently inspired to incorporate more Biblical teaching to our everyday. Our son is currently obsessed with a certain Daniel the Tiger book. So at bedtime he now gets to choose two books to read - one Bible story and one Daniel book. It has been a good way to help us as parents be more intentional about teaching our son about our faith in an easy everyday way.

I also spent some time reorganizing his closet. While not super pretty, having it organized is a huge accomplishment for me! I tend to just throw things in here - toys I put in holding to see if he misses them before I eventually donate! And clothes or baby things he has outgrown. His toys and diapers are stored in the open shelves in his room so I am not in and out of the closet very often. 

These are just a few simple and small changes I have made in the last few months, but ones that have brought a lot of joy and organization to the space. Much like the rest of the house, I try to allow our living spaces to change as we use each room in different ways!

Find more sources and info on his room here.

Six Things I Learned This Summer

Hi friends! I am so happy to be back from my summer break from blogging. It was wonderful and challenging in different ways. But now that I am on the other side of it, I see how much I needed a break to be physically more present for my family as well as work through some mental space on my own. A little quiet mindfulness proved to be good for the soul!

Here are six things I learned during my little break:

1. I need a place to share and Instagram isn't the place

Now I still love Instagram and will continue to use it but I found myself turning to Instagram to share my thoughts and heart during this blogging break. And it left me unsatisfied.

There is something about being able to write full sentences. Think about it. Edit it. And then finally decide if I am going to publish. I questioned myself more and felt self conscious about what I shared on Instagram. Social media seems to have a lot of rules or guidelines for success and I have found I prefer to pour out my heart in a bit of a safer place - here on the blog where I get to set the standards of what and how I share myself. :)

2. Stop sharing and just live my life

A message I kept hearing was to stop talking about my life and to simply live it. The first few times I heard this I didn't really like it. My need to share and to share to encourage felt very strong. But this idea of just living my life kept quietly creeping up. I finally listened and it has been life changing.

I realized I can become so consumed with sharing. So consumed with the perfect picture. So consumed with the right words. When my life (and specifically my family) was right in front of me asking for my attention and to simply enjoy this life I get to live.

I have also found that my children are much happier and less whiny when I am not on my phone. I now choose more wisely when and why I am on it to try to keep it at a minimum.

3. How to let go of being busy

I am learning to be less busy. To chose to put things on hold for a season to enjoy the pace that feels most peaceful. My children are only little for so long and I want to truly feel like I am enjoying them and giving them my best self. Having an infant requires a lot of attention and I know it will not always be this way. So I am choosing slower days and a more simplified routine at home.

4. I started running the dishwasher more often

We don't really need to run our dishwasher daily but I am finding about every other day to be our sweet spot. If I waited until it was full to the brim, dishes wouldn't always come out clean, we would be short on something waiting for it to be washed, or there was not enough room for more dishes come dinner time.

So running the dishwasher when it is not completely full is really changing the day to day. It seems so simple and silly but I am really starting to notice a difference. I would have thought that unloading a dishwasher more often would be more work but it is actually not. I have less dishes to put away and when they all come out clean it is pretty fast to unload on a more regular basis.

5. When I cannot meet my own expectations of myself I interpret other's words as judgment or criticism about the things I don't like about myself

This is a loaded one. But I realized that when I wasn't living up to what I thought I could do I allowed other people's comments to serve as attacks. So I am learning to not be so hard on myself and to not expect myself to bounce back to what life was like before our daughter was born. And to not let other's words have such a heavy affect on me.

6. A balance with work and being a stay at home mom

I have been doing freelance work for almost a year now and while I enjoy having something outside of my family that I am responsible to I found that it was adding a lot of stress. Not that the work was overwhelming but that my mind was constantly bombarded with having something to finish. I like to sit down and attack a project in one or two sittings. But with two small children to care for this has become impossible.

So as I tackle things a little at a time I am finding that to do lists are very helpful so I don't forget what I was working on or what is of highest priority. And I am learning that I have attached a lot of anxiety to work in general. I remember even feeling this way before kids back when I was a substitute teacher. So instead of running away from work that is fulfilling, I want to embrace it and learn how to sift through any mental anxiety I am creating.

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