Category: family

Life to the Full: Defining

Who am I?  Who do I want to be?  For what will I be known or remembered?  These are the questions of life and as I come upon my one year anniversary of leaving a career I loved to stay home with my children, I find myself wrestling with them yet again.  My own little mid-30s existential crisis is taking place.  I look at who I think I am and how I would describe myself and realize that most people would not see that person if they looked at me right now.  If you read my blog today, do you know what I’m about?  I don’t know.  I want to change that.  I want to be the person I want to be RIGHT NOW.  Not in ten years.  Not next week.  Now.

I want to live intentionally and work towards being the person I’ve always longed to be.  First I have to figure out who she is.  I have to define myself.  Not who I used to be, but myself right now.  Motherhood is wonderful.  It is all I had hoped for and so much more, but it has a dangerous way of eclipsing all that a woman was before and causing that to disappear in a wave of spit up and dirty diapers.  I am a mother, yes.  What what else?  Who else?  Right now my wee ones are dependent on me for everything and so that role can easily swallow up all my others.  Soon they will be independent creatures and I will be left not knowing what to do, who to be, who I am.  I want to continue to be me, the person God has made me to be, while mothering and loving my children with my whole self.  Is it possible?  We’ll see.  First I must define who I am and what I want to do with this one life I’ve been given.

Who am I? 
I am a child of God. 
I am a follower of Jesus.
I am a wife.
I am a mother.
What do I want to do with my life?
Love God.
Love my family.
Love others.
Be healthy.
Pray.
Express myself creatively.
Be a good steward of all I’ve been given.
Read.
Learn.
Travel. 
Exercise.
Be adventurous.
I want to start living intentionally to live this one life to the fullest.  In John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come so that they may life, and have it to the full.”  I want that life that Jesus promises.  A full life.  Not a life where distractions rule and chances are missed and regrets are constant.  I want to use this blog as a space where I can express myself creatively and help myself and others to live this one life to the full.  I would love for y’all to join me.  My hope is to each week write at least one post that intentionally gives me an action step towards what I want to do with my life.  This week starts with defining what I want to do with this life.  
Now it is your turn.
Who are you?
What do you want to do with your life?

Frugal and Fast {Last Minute} Father’s Day Craft and Card Round Up

As the Queen of Procrastinators, I found myself searching Pinterest for Father’s Day craft ideas this week in a desperate quest to find that perfect project.  I found a few great ones to share with you if you are in the same boat.  It’s not too late!  All of the projects below can be done at the last minute for very little money, but will still make that special Daddy feel loved.  I’m still wavering but I think I’m going with the chalkboard cookie jar and some Instagram magnets.  If the magnets work out well {fingers crossed} I’ll post a tutorial soon.  If you choose to pin this post (and I hope you do) please use the image above, and pin the projects from their original sources.  Both the photos and text below are linked to the original bloggers with permission.

DIY Chalkboard Cookie Jar from City to Sticks
Easy and Reusable

Rustic Wood Free Printable Father’s Day Card from Agus Yornet
Available in English and Spanish!

Free Printables from She’s Kinda Crafty
All you need is a printer and a pen.
“I Love You to Pieces” Goody Jar from
Scrappy Mel
This one is super fast and easy.
S’mores Gift Basket and Chalkboard Frame from Gallamore West
What do you have planned for the father or grandfather in your life this week?

Eleanor Pearl at One Month

Eleanor Pearl 
One Month Old
Weighs 10 lbs 2 oz
21 3/4 in long
85 percentile for weight and height
50% for head size  – making her the only one in the family with a normal sized noggin 
 Loves bath time in the sink, snuggles, being outside, and mama milk.
 auburn hair that falls naturally into a mohawk
beautiful blue eyes (I hope they stay!)
 sleeps 5-6 hours straight at night
naps like a champ except for the early evening
 Loves being worn in the Ergo.  
Precious and lovely in every way.
  We are so thankful to the Lord for this good and perfect gift of our daughter.  We are so in love with our sweet Ellie girl.

Truth and Coffee

Growing up, we all made fun of my mom constantly for her habit of leaving half drunk cups of coffee all over the house.  I never understood how she could keep forgetting her cup and never quite get through it without having to reheat it.  Let’s just say the veil has lifted.

I am now the mother of 2 children under age 2 and can barely find time to feed myself, much less finish a cup of coffee before it gets cold.  I’ve found my forgotten half drunk cups all over the place from the microwave to the changing table and everywhere in between.  The other day I found myself complaining about never getting a chance to just sit down and enjoy my coffee and breakfast.  I felt an ache in my heart for my old job in full time ministry with Young Life.  I loved that job and pray that He calls me back to it when this season is over.  In that moment I felt the Lord’s gentle reminder that THIS is the season I am in right now and it won’t last long.  This season of 2 in diapers and nonstop breastfeeding and 3 hour intervals and never being alone and never having a completely clean house for more than 10 minutes – THIS is where He has me right now.  In a brief moment my baby will be a toddler and my toddler will be a big kid.  Before I know it their complete dependence on me will be gone forever and I will have all the time in the world.

I am so thankful for the reminder to be where He has placed me right now.  So today I am choosing gratitude.  I am thankful for 2 healthy children who need me constantly.  I am thankful for an easy childbirth and quick recovery.  I am thankful for a teacher husband who has only a few days left of school before summer vacation.  I am thankful for nap time.  I am thankful for this high calling to be a stay at home mama.  I am thankful for a God who loves me even when I choose to be a brat instead of a grateful child of His.

What are you thankful for today?

Welcome to the World, Eleanor Pearl!

Our family is delighted to announce the arrival of our beautiful daughter, Eleanor Pearl Eby.
Our sweet baby girl arrived on Monday, April 22nd at 3:56 pm.
She weighed 7 lbs 14 oz at birth and was 20 inches long.
She is amazing and perfect and we are so in love.
These past two weeks have been filled with lots of snuggling,
mama milk, family, and learning to be a family of four.

My parents came to stay with us the first week, and we would 
have been lost without them.  The Bear asks for Dede and Poppy
every day at least twice a day.

We had a successful all natural VBAC birth, and Ellie Pearl and I are both healthy and happy.  If you are a c-section mama considering VBAC, it is totally worth it in my opinion.  You can read our Trying for a VBAC blog series here, and I’ll post more of our birth story soon.  

Ellie and I are getting into the groove of nursing, but she had a severe tongue tie that made it difficult at first.  We’ve had to have it clipped twice, because the first time didn’t go far enough.  Hopefully this will enable us to have a long and healthy breastfeeding relationship and will prevent any speech difficulties as she gets older.

Her tiny hand in mine melts my heart like nothing else.

My youngest brother, Matt, drove 6 hours each way to come and meet his niece.  The Bear asks for him daily as well since he went back home.  
She loves skin to skin snuggles with Daddy.
Here we are ready to go home from the hospital.
We are so thankful to the Lord for the safe arrival of our sweet baby girl, Ellie Pearl.  

Our Wedding: Five Years Ago Today

Five years ago today I married the love of my life in a field in Weaverville, North Carolina.
 He is everything I hoped for and everything the Lord knew I needed.
 We were surrounded by family and friends.
 The whole day was beautiful and perfect in our eyes.

I can’t believe it has been five years since we said, “I do.”  We had no idea what the Lord had planned for us, and we have been blown away by His love and provision.  I pray for at least a good 50 or 60 more years with my love and for our family to glorify Jesus is all that we do.  I am so thankful the Lord brought us together and gave us a life following after Him.  
Happy anniversary Jed!  


**Photos by Kristi Hedberg

Happy Birthday to the Love of My Life!

I am so thankful for my husband today and every day.
He loves me so well.
He shows me the love of Jesus.
He takes care of our family.
He is the hardest working man I know.
His blue eyes make me melt.
He is an incredible daddy.
I’m so thankful that my sweet Jed was born 32 years ago today.

Frugal Friday: Our Top 3 Cheap Babysitting Solutions

As parents on a tight budget, we are always looking for a cheap babysitting solutions so we can have date nights, go to social events, and spend time with friends.  We don’t have any family near us, so that’s not an option.  In Dallas the going rate for babysitting one child is around $10-15 per hour.  PER HOUR, people.  That means if we want to go out to dinner and a movie we are shelling out an additional $40 to the babysitter, minimum.  There is no room in our budget for that kind of expense, unfortunately.  Our whole dining out and entertainment budget for an entire month is $95.  Yep, that’s it.  We are on one income and prioritize saving for retirement and other things above dining out and entertainment.  So, we’ve had to get creative when it comes to babysitting solutions.  We’ve found a few things that work well, and one we really want to try.

Cheap Babysitting Solutions:
1) Parents’ Night Out – Several churches and local kid businesses (YMCA, etc) host Parents’ Night Out evenings a few times a year.  We sign up for every one we come across.  In our area these are typically a 4-5 hour window where you drop your child off and pay a fee to help the church youth group raise money.  Most churches are well equipped to care for children because they do it on a regular basis, and we feel good about helping out a local church.  Usually you don’t have to be a member, and most in our area charge $10 for the first child for the whole time slot, and $5 for each additional child.  This is a steal!  To find a Parents’ Night Out in your area, just do a google search or call local churches or kid friendly organizations.

2) The Swap – Trade babysitting nights with another family.  We’ve done this a few times and hope to schedule more in the future.  Most kids Bear’s age go to bed around 7 pm like he does, so we put him to bed and then have 1 parent from another family come over and watch tv, read in peace, etc on our couch while we go out for a few hours.  Then one of us goes over to that family’s house on another night to relax and watch the baby monitor while they go out.  Everybody wins.  This doesn’t work as well for single parents unless you can take your child to the other house and put them to bed there, then transport them home when the parents return.

3) The Co-op – My parents were part of a babysitting co-op in our neighborhood growing up, and my mom has encouraged me to start one here with our friends.  A babysitting co-op is a group of families who organize themselves to trade off babysitting using a point or voucher system.  You earn points by babysitting for others, and then cash them in when you need a sitter.  I haven’t gotten around to starting or joining one, but hope to soon.

What’s your best cheap babysitting solution?  

 

Pregnancy 2.0 Update: 34 Weeks

I’m really trying to update every two weeks from here on out, so I’ll have it for Mini Bear’s baby book and for the 7 of you who want to know how the pregnancy is going.  You can read my other pregnancy 2.0 updates here, and read all my pregnancy posts here.  

34 Weeks Update
Feeling: Sick – I’ve been fighting a cold/cough scenario for the whole week.  
Wearing: anything that fits, lots of flowy skirts, wide shoes – even my super wide Keens are tight now
It might be time to bust out the old Birkenstocks from college, much to Jed’s horror.  
Weight Gain: not telling, but significantly less than last time
Pregnancy Side Effects: I still have ankles, but my feet are super puffy. I’m having Braxton Hicks contractions all day long.
Belly Button: Still in.  It never popped with Bear so I’m assuming that it won’t this time either.
Craving: Sweets and sushi.  I eat vegetarian sushi while pregnant, but I’m longing for the real stuff.  
Baby: She is head down and has moved down significantly.  Yay, I can breathe again!  She is now over 4 pounds and is about 18 inches long, the size of a small pumpkin, opening and closing her eyes and reacting to light.
Gender: Girl!  (We sure hope that ultrasound was right or we’ll have a lot of pink stuff going to waste.)
Name: We still haven’t decided and are open to suggestions.  
Nursery: We have the paint, but haven’t painted.  Bear will continue to live in there until he is ready to move to a big boy room this summer.  Mini Bear will room with us for the first few months for convenient night time breastfeeding and mommy’s paranoia.  
Preparations: We created our birth plan with our doula, and I’ll share it with y’all soon.  We are trying for a VBAC.  We pretty much have all the necessary items for our sweet girl, with a few more things to check off the list.    
To-Do List: work on decorations for the nursery, make headbands and bows, practice relaxation techniques for labor

When did you start packing your hospital bag? 

Frugal Friday: Shopping Big Consignment Sales

 Have you ever shopped a BIG consignment sale?  We are thrift store regulars, but have fallen in love with the world of big consignment sales.  This time around I’m consigning at the upcoming Rhea Lana sale in Frisco and hoping to make money.  I’m also planning to shop.  When you consign you get to shop early, and let me tell you that these sales get competitive.  I’m hoping to find a birthday present for Bear, as well as summer clothes for both kiddos.  To see details about the Rhea Lana Frisco sale or find a RL sale near you check out the website here.

 So, you might be thinking that the big sale atmosphere is a little intimidating.  The first time around is, but you get the hang of it.  Everything is marked down to at least 70% off retail, so the prices are fantastic. I also feel good about helping other families to clear out their stash and make money, all while saving money myself.  We all win.   These sales are especially great for pregnant mamas because you can find maternity clothes AND tons of newborn to 6 months clothes because they wear them for such a brief period of time.  I’ll give you a few tips to succeed at a big sale like Rhea Lana.
1) Arrive early.  Do your research and find out if you can get an early shopping pass.  Most sales have these available online for pregnant or expectant adopting mamas.  You can also volunteer or consign at the sale and get to shop REALLY early.  Whatever your time slot is, get there before it starts because there will be a line.
2) Bring a collapsible laundry hamper.  Trust me on this.  You want a lightweight carrier for all your finds.  That way you can toss everything you like into the basket and sort through it while you are in line.
3) Bring a list of everything you are looking for so you don’t get confused or forget something important.  I would break it down like this: big items to look for first (strollers, ride on toys, playhouses,etc); small toys; clothes by age/gender/season.  For instance, I’ll be looking for a tricycle, board books, summer shoes in size 6 & 7, 0-6 and 6-12 month soft leather girl shoes, and 3T summer clothes for Bear.  I will have a list of everything detailed and in my purse, so my pregnant brain doesn’t have to concentrate too hard.
4) Come back for the Half Price Sale.  Most big sales have several half price time slots at the end of the sale, so again check online and find the time slot for you.  Everything will drop from 30% of the retail price (70% off) down to 15% of the retail price.  Heck yes.

Have you ever shopped a BIG consignment sale like Rhea Lana?
What is your favorite big consignment sale?