Resolving to Subtract

>> Thursday, December 31, 2009

This is an updated version of a post I ran around this time last year. It still applies- even more so this year. So if it sounds familiar, it probably is. But aren't most NewYear's resolutions recycled versions of resolutions-past. They are for me. And this year is no different.

Happy New Year, to all y'all! Love and Blessings to you in 2010!!

My and my boys on Christmas Eve

Bloggy-land is running over this week with posts full of resolutions and goals and the best of intentions. I am no different than my fellow moms in that I have several (ok, LOTS) of areas in my life that need improvement and are in desperate need of a resolution or two.
In years past, I have started the new year with any number of things I want to change in my life in the coming months. Lose weight, get in shape, read more, pray more, yell less, spend less, ... I keep up with these things off and on, but like most people, my resolve fizzles fairly quickly. Because of my usual trend, I am approaching things a little differently this year. Instead of adding more things that I have to remember to do, to be, to accomplish.... I am subtracting. I am simplifying. Cutting out the things that clutter my mind, my day, the top of my desk. I am reading some really clarifying books that are helping me gain much-needed perspective. I am thinking of ways to keep life organized and simple and stress-free.

Beyond that though, I am taking a strong look at the ways we spend our days and "free time." Am I filling my days with things that matter and am I filling them too much? I am learning that my own whole-ness and that of my boys (young, old and canine) really depends on how well I am able to filter out the unnecessary clutter in all areas of life. Mid January will bring a big change for me and my family. I am changing jobs and I know this will have a big affect on all of us. It means more time at work and more of my home time will need to be dedicated to studying and learning my new role (BTW- I am a cardiac interventional nurse). This shift in my professional life and commitment makes it even more crucial that I take a hard look at all the other things that fill my days and decide what can stay and what needs to go. My time with my family, while being the most important thing to me, is about to diminish in quantity. So it MUST improve it quality. And that, for me, means simplifying and filtering and being intentional about the ways I spend my minutes and my dollars. So on the brink of this new year, I am resolving to subtract the insignificant, the clutter, the fluff. I am resolving to stop deciding what I should or should not be doing based on what seems to work for others or makes them popular and successful. I am resolving to decide what I want my life to look like and cut anything that doesn't contribute to that end so I can focus on the things that do.

Whatever your resolutions or goals are for the coming year, I pray that God would show you how to proceed, give you the perseverance to stick to it, and the grace to not get down on yourself if you can't. I have always been one to have very high expectations of myself. So this time I am trying to just see things for what they are and pray that God would help me make the small adjustments that will make a big difference.

I leave you with some pics from our Christmas this year! :) ...

Lucas and Caden sitting in the nativity out on my parents' front lawn

Lucas learning to ride the bicycle my parents gave him for Christmas

I got the boys these adorable superhero capes since they are so into superhero play these days. They loved them!! (Want your own? BabyPop on Etsy)

Working on his cool MotorWorks toy with "Pa"- an awesome toy with actual tools and parts and the kids put the toys together themselves. Lucas loves it!! (Check out this website...)

I made Caden a mailbox complete with felt letters and stamps and address labels that are interchangeable. It turned out super-cute!

Boys opening presents from each other :)

I also made them pirate blankets since Lucas is WAY into pirates. It was kinda inspired by one of our favorite books about a pirate pup who is looking for his treasure (his blanket).

Hubby and I with our team hats- his is the Chicago Bears and mine, of course, is my Gators.

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Jingle Be... - The Reprise

>> Sunday, December 13, 2009

In honor of our recent snowfall and just because this video makes me laugh, I am reposting a video of Lucas from last winter. We were playing in the snow and he started singing "Jingle Bells." He got a bit distracted when he heard some birds flying over head. It is hysterical! You gotta watch his eyes and his facial expression. So funny! Enjoy!

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Winter Wonderland- Wordful Wednesday

>> Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Although we have had a few flurries already, tonight was the first real snowstorm of the season. It started over night and we awoke to an inch or so of snow on the ground this morning. It snowed lightly off and on all day but really started to pick up this evening. I was driving home from work and was struke by the absolute beauty of the snow. The flakes were ginormous, easily the size of quarter.
If you know me, you know I am a Florida girl through-and-through. I wear flip flops as long as possible (I wore them yesterday) and could easily be convinced to join a cult that involved beach-worship. But on nights like tonight, I appreciate the beauty of this snowstorm. The white, fluffy snow falling is so serene. Of course, I didn't have to drive in it very far. :)
I can't wait to get my boys out in this snow tomorrow. Let the winter fun begin!!

For more Wordful Wednesday, visit Angie at Seven Clown Circus.

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These Still Moments

>> Sunday, December 6, 2009

I sit in this chair, my baby sweetly nursing to sleep. I know he is not so much a baby anymore but we both still treasure these moments when he is cradled in my arms, being lulled off to sleep by a little warm milk. I love that moment when I can see him slipping into slumber. His eyes start to close, then quickly dart open with one last effort to hold onto the day. But then, he cannot fight it anymore and his eyes close completely. He is not asleep though, but sleep is coming. In this most precious of moments, my baby is deeply connected to me and I to him. So much so, that he is not content to simply be latched on. To be completely relaxed and soothed, he must also wrap his soft, gentle fist around my finger. He squeezes tightly as if he doesn't ever want to let go. Come closer, mama. Don't go anywhere.
I can't hold my phone to text or change the channel on the remote while he is nursing at night. But I wouldn't want to. I might miss this moment and that would just not do. I love this moment. I need this moment. The rest of the day he is a bundle of energy, climbing everything in sight and emptying drawers and cabinets faster than I can run behind him. He doesn't have many words yet but the ones he does have are said with a scream and nothing less. MAMA!!! BABA!!! (his word for his brother) This kid moves non-stop. Except right now. Right now, he is still. I need this still moment. My mommy-heart thrives on it.

He sits in the backseat, tired and quiet. This boy, unlike his younger brother, is so verbose. He just doesn't stop talking! Mommy, what animal is the predator of the eagle? Did you know that dinosaurs that eat only meat are carnivores? I think I am a carnivore. I love to eat meat. I asked Santa for an eagle toy. One that flies and says 'caw, caw'.... You get the point. The cool thing is, his brain moves even faster than his tongue. I love that about him. So even though it is at times tough to get a word in with this kid, in this moment he is quiet. He is still recovering a bit from illness and we have had a busy day. Church and lunch and a fun little mommy-and-me stamping party. I turn my head to see if he has fallen asleep. He is awake, just calm. He sees me looking at him and our eyes meet and he smiles. I say, "I love you Lucas." His grin gets bigger. I love you too, Mommy.
Last night, after his brother was in bed, Lucas sat with me on the couch to read our Advent books. Actually, he started in a different chair watching his latest obsession, Wonder Pets. When he saw me sit, he turned off the TV and came over to snuggle with me. I love this moment. I need this moment. The rest of the day he is a busy little chatterbox who frequently pushes/kicks/squeezes/lays on top of his brother and doesn't ever want to stop what he is doing to pee or eat or obey. He is your typical boundary-pushing, exasperating preschooler. Except right now. Right now, he is still. He is quiet, except for that sweet unsolicited "I love you!" which makes any moment other than this seem to fade into the background. I need this still moment with him sitting in my lap listening to me read. My mommy-heart thrives on it.

I am the mother of 3 boys. One of them I never heard utter a sound. But our eyes met and he squeezed my hand. These other two make nothing but noise all day. And I admit to having my fill of it sometimes. Add in the barking dog and I just may lose my mind somedays. But these moments, these quiet moments, are what keep me. These boys are my heart, my soul. They are no less a part of me and vital to my existence than my own lungs or brain. And when our eyes meet and they sit close and squeeze my hand, I am whole. And I am still.

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Sharpies Make Me Smile

>> Tuesday, December 1, 2009

In the midst of the sickness that has been running rampant through my home the last week or so came a bright spot of fun over the holiday weekend. I had to get out of the house. Plus, I had a list full of Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers still to buy. Why not try to accomplish both tasks at the same time? So I loaded up my family and we drove over to Staples to cross some things off our Christmas list.
I used to think of Staples as the place you go to buy large volumes of printer paper and 3-ring binders or that hard-to-find printer cartridge. Being a bit of a school/office supply glutton, that was never a bad thing in my book. I am one of those girls that has resisted the Palm calenders or using Outlook to schedule my life. I am a paper-calender, hand-made cards kind of girl who appreciates the joy of a really smooth gel pen or a pink Sharpie. So going to Staples is a bit of a dangerous place for me. I could go in for one thing and find at least 10 others that I "need."
But for this trip, I had nothing in particular in mind that I needed to buy. Well, maybe some holiday paper and envelopes for Christmas cards but that was about it. We have enough printer paper to last us 'til the next decade so I was unsure of what I would find to buy during this shopping excursion. I was pleasantly surprised.

Staples is WAY more than paper and pens. They have almost anything you could need this holiday. Lucas and I had fun roaming the aisles, looking at the cool holiday gifts. Everything from snowman tins full of peppermint bark to Flip video cameras (one of the main items on my Christmas list this year) and so much in between. Lucas was convinced we needed a ginormous bag of rubber bands and the large display of pens in every color imaginable (well maybe we do need that).
Even though we were all a bit under the weather and fatigued, browsing the aisles full of fun stuff proved to be just the little pick-me-up we needed. Unfortunately, the charm of the trip wore off quickly for both boys. They both wanted to walk around and handle everything which was a bit stressful for Hubby and I. But we still had fun picking out some cool gifts (a new iTrip for me, a fancy jump drive for Hubby, some Crayola stocking stuffers for the boys) and browsing around. And while browsing was super fun, I think next time I'll do a little bit of online homework before I go so I can narrow down my gift-search.

I am a big fan of the holidays and all the fun and tradition that comes with them. This little Staples excursion was a fun way to kick-off the Christmas season and brighten up an otherwise germ-filled weekend. Plus, I got a pretty Sharpie which always makes me smile. :)

The awesome folks at Staples were kind enough to give me a giftcard to use for my shopping fun. Thank you, Staples! It was truly a bright spot in my weekend. If you have any techies on your Christmas list or need to buy a GPS or a camera or a Sharpie, check out Staples and you won't be disappointed! :)

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