A Year (and a Baby) Later

So here we are . . . a year later. Just a few things have happened. Like a new baby.DSC_0046

Her name is Lyra Mae. She was born on April 23rd, so you know, almost a month ago. I’m so on top of things.

Seriously though, if I could explain to you all exactly how much my life has changed, how much I’ve changed, I’d probably start to cry. These past few weeks have been the best of my entire life. And I never thought I would say that while having a newborn! Newborn was a really hard stage for me with Frederick, but now I see how quickly it’s over. I see how fast he went from a squishy, helpless blob to this wonderful little boy who is almost two (TWO!).

Speaking of Frederick, he loves Lyra. Adores her, really. He spends a large part of his day stroking her hair, sharing his toys with her, and trying to hug her. She’s been punched and headbutted a few times in the process; we’re still working on soft touches. But honestly, he looks at her like she hung the moon. It’s the best.

IMG_20150508_114758

She’s not entirely sure about him yet, though.

IMG_20150504_105952We’re all enamored with her. She’s beautiful. She’s got great hair. She sleeps and eats well. She has the cutest sleep grins you’ll ever see. She is so cuddly and warm. There was a Lyra-shaped hole in our family, and now it’s filled.

I went out for a drive the other night, and then realized that I couldn’t wait to get back home. I was going home to everything I once dreamed about: an amazing husband, two beautiful children, a perfect job, a great apartment. Apparently, my life can only be described in good adjectives. I really never knew I could be this happy. I’m completely aware of how sappy I sound, and I don’t even care. After years of struggling with abuse and depression, I’m fully ready to embrace my sappy, awesome life. And I’m ready to write about it more too. So get ready for more of this cuteness:

DSC_0072

Thanks for being patient. I can’t wait to jump back in and share our (awesome, amazing, crazy, perfect) life with you.

Advertisements

Letting the Quiet Holiday Moments Happen

DSC_0263Miss me? So sorry for the gap. No-screen November was (mostly) a success. Quite a few movies were watched while Frederick and I battled colds. I’ll keep practicing until I can do a full month because screen-free time is just so blissful. But now it’s December—almost Christmas, even. So that’s what I want to talk about.

For some reason this year, I’m super into Christmas. I put up our tree the day after Thanksgiving with new silver and gold decorations. I bought a bunch of wooden nutcrackers, which make me so happy. I’ve been listening to Christmas music all month. All the gifts are under the tree, and I’m mailing Christmas cards today.  I think a lot of my fervor is to make up for last year when we didn’t even put our tree up.

Last year, when I was pregnant and working full time, I just wasn’t up for much, and so we didn’t do it. This year, I have more energy, and so we’re doing more.

That’s kind of my motto when it comes to simplifying activities. If it’s too much, I don’t do it. I’ve become adept at saying “No, thank you” when faced with too many things. There will always be good ways to spend your time, especially around Christmas—feed the homeless, go caroling, bake cookies, throw a party, buy presents for everyone you’ve ever met. It very quickly becomes too much, and then it’s the day after Christmas and you haven’t sat down since Thanksgiving.

Being selective in what you do around Christmas is critical to actually enjoying the holiday. It’s not the latest-gadget-that-will-make-your-life-perfect that ads will sell you. It’s not that expensive toy for your child. It’s not running yourself ragged making things perfect for everyone else. It’s finding the traditions that fill your soul, giving a bit of your extra to those who need it, and letting the quiet holiday moments happen without feeling the need to fill them. Breathe, drink some hot chocolate, admire the lights, and have a wonderful Christmas!

And here’s a holiday greeting from Frederick:DSC_0009_edited

No Screen November

DSC_0240I know it’s cliché but I made a list of 30 things to do before I turn 30. One of them is to have a no screen month. I took November off from work and knew that I was either going to do that or NaNoWriMo. Then I asked myself what would help me more in the long run, and I definitely think a no screen month is the answer.

I’ve been watching way too much Netflix, reading way too many blogs, spending way too much time on Pinterest and Facebook. I just need a break.

No Facebook, no TV, no texting; instead I’ll be reading, spending time with my husband and my baby, going on daily walks, and just generally recharging.

I’ll be back here in December to recap my month. I’m sure I’ll have a lot of pictures to share and more thoughts on simplicity than ever.

Have a happy November!

Simply Ten Good Things

Two years ago, I posted pictures of ten good things in my life. I wanted to do that again—to remind myself of the incredible life I lead. It’s easy to forget in the humdrum of life; sometimes it feels like my life is a series of dishes, dirty clothes, and diaper changes. So here are some lovely things that make my life awesome!

oliverandfrederick

Cute cousins.

DSC_0676

Funny faces at the zoo.

DSC_0050

A finally (finally!) finished nursery.

DSC_0017

Cute decorations for Frederick’s room.

livingroom

A newly rearranged living room.

DSC_0121

So many books that still need a home.

DSC_0120

Scrabble letters for a future craft.

cherrycoke

A mistake that turned into a blessing.

DSC_0123

Reading about my ancestors.

frederickinsling

The cutest baby in the whole world.

I really have the best life ever, and it’s good to remind myself of it.

What are ten good things in your life right now?

Works in Progress

Only a few more weeks before Frederick gets here, and there’s still a lot to be done. I’ve been hoping that I’d get bitten by the nesting bug, but I can’t really justify waiting around much longer. So slowly but surely, I’ve been making my way through my to-do list. Though…remind me again why I thought the 3rd trimester would be a great time to get several DIY furniture projects even though I’ve never done anything like it before? I’m just that awesome, I guess.DSC_0003 DSC_0021So intermixed with all the hypnobirthing, practicing surge breathing, and reading up on breastfeeding, I’m also learning about sandpaper grits, low-VOC paint, and sealants. There’s also decorating the nursery, installing the car seat, and finding somewhere to put all. those. books. I could keep going, but then my blog would just look like my to-do list.

DSC_0071DSC_0074All in all though, things are going very well. We have a healthy baby who is putting on the pounds (yeah, it’s definitely him…), and once he gets here, he won’t care if his DIY tree branch drapes are up or if we’ve finished staining the nightstand; he’ll just want to eat and be loved. And we can definitely do that. And let’s be honest, he’s the most important work in progress of all.DSC_0027

Just Let It Be

DSC_0165About a week ago, my sister-in-law and I were watching her children play in their living room. The 3-year-old put the 1-year-old in a plastic bin and started pushing her around the coffee table to the delight of both. My sister-in-law mentioned that whenever she sees her kids playing, she instantly thinks about what could make it better. “We could get some of those cars so they can push each other in them.” Or when they play with dolls, “Wouldn’t it be great if they had a proper doll crib?”

But then she said something that was totally awesome: “I have to remind myself that they don’t really need that stuff. They have great imaginations. I have to just let them be.”

Kids are so resourceful and imaginative that they can turn one simple thing (like a plastic bin) into a myriad of different things (like a car or a baby crib). If we were to buy both of those things individually, then the child can only use them for that one thing. In Simplicity Parenting, the author calls these “fixed” toys, because they have a single purpose.

This is even more true in the adult world. So many of the things we buy only have one purpose. But you don’t need a banana slicer if you have a knife (though you should totally read the Amazon reviews, because they are hilarious). You don’t need 50 different facial masks if you have a good bar of soap. And you don’t need 500 single-use toys if you let your child use their imagination.

This boils down to the heart of simplicity: don’t buy into the hype of more. Find the few things that work for you, and get rid of the rest. Whenever I find myself “lacking” because I don’t have some convenience or another, I need to remind myself that I’m honestly fine with what I have. I just need to let it be.