Saturday, November 26, 2016

Apartment Transformations

As you know (because I tell everyone), we live in a one bedroom apartment on a really busy street. We didn't realize just how busy it was until we had our first child and I was home all day. We've been in this same space since June 2010, so we just passed the 6 year mark. It's about 650 square feet and on most days it actually feels quite big.

Our living room has been through a lot of changes in 6 years. It started off of course as a typical living room complete with couches, coffee table, TV, desk and more. Then when William was born, we consolidated a bit and created a baby corner. We updated some shelving and our kitchen storage. And up until Winter of 2015, this is what our place looked like. After those photos were taken, we moved the bed into the living room and gave William the bedroom. This way we all slept better.

This worked out just fine; we still had room for a couch but had to get rid of the love seat and coffee table. We still had people over, although much less than before. And amazingly we still felt like we had space.

Once Stephen joined our family 6 months ago, we had to reorganize again! We didn't want to put the baby in with William quite yet so he joined us in the living room. Our "living room" is now a bedroom/nursery -- with a TV in the corner. I found a really comfortable reclining-rocking nursing chair on craigslist, which meant we had to get rid of our couch. We moved our other rocking chair from William's room so now we have two places to sit. The changing table/dresser I originally wanted to get for William was finally purchased and the pack'n play is set up again next to our bed.

And our newest update has been black-out curtains. I'm not sure why we didn't do this 2 years ago because it makes such a difference for our sleep, but it is great now and baby approves too! Chris also added a curtain as a separator between the dining room and living area, which gives us a lot more freedom to stay up past 6 p.m. and cook dinner without disturbing the baby. We've even had a few people over for dinner with this new improvement!

This one space is so used. The floor space we do have is often covered with toys for both boys. I fixed that issue a little by packing away our DVDs (which we haven't watched in two years) and making space on the shelf for toys instead of stuff we never use.

William's room now houses a twin bed on the floor, three dressers and a cradle for Stephen to use for naps when William isn't sleeping (otherwise we have to tip-toe around the rest of the apartment to do anything!)

On most days it still feels spacious . . . until it doesn't and then I feel a little depressed/sad/angry. We've been looking for a larger home for nearly two years, more aggressively since last fall when we learned Stephen was coming! I find myself getting more easily agitated with the noise level of our neighborhood and less patient with our hunt. But I'm always reminded of God's perfect timing in his provision and usually find a way to be grateful with what I have and where we are.

I am entirely thankful that we have a space in which we can shift and grow into. Even if it's a little unconventional. I'm thankful that our one bedroom apartment has provided for our needs for over 6 years. This is the longest I've lived anywhere since moving away from home!

If we do end up staying here past Stephen's first birthday William's room will have to get a make over. I'm not at all sure how to fit a crib and a changing table/dresser in there yet!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving 2016 was a wonderful day. It started out a bit rocky as I woke up feeling sick and nauseous (but not morning sickness like last year). I had planned to go on a hike with William and my friend Kate, but was not feeling up for it. When I told her, she didn't even skip a beat she just said, "Well, I'll come get William and take him with us and you can rest." What a gift. So, William and Kate (and Kate's daughter Eleanore, sister Kristin, and their dogs) went on a hike without me. Stephen napped, so I rested. 

When William came back we got to work making our dinner rolls for Thanksgiving dinner. We were all going to Kate's home later that day for an early dinner. My job: the dinner rolls. Kate's job: host, cook, and hold my baby. Seriously, she's a gift.

Last week at our MOPS meeting, one of our "mentor moms" showed us how to make these adorable pumpkin yeast rolls. So, that's what we made! She made it look so easy. It took me nearly all day and then most of them looked too funny to photograph! But they all tasted so yummy.

Naps were perfectly timed so that we arrived with plenty of time for play before dinner. As usual Kate's house was decorated and looked amazing. Her friend Amy has a gift for this and does it for her/us every year! (Tip for the future: when everyone is bringing a dish, have one friend bring the decorations instead of food! The host doesn't have to worry about everything!)

Dinner was grand. There was everything you could ever want! Except turkey -- this year we had cornish hens. I loved trying something new! The table was covered with food. Our plates were heaped high and at the end of the evening our stomachs were full-full-full. Dinner was quite pleasant as the three older children (2-4 years old) were old enough to play by themselves for the most part and left us to our conversations. The two infants were passed around the table for everyone to share. Until Stephen got fussy, then we put him to down for a nap (that continued when we got home) in the back room. It seemed that everyone had a really enjoyable evening together!

I'm so thankful William has such great friends to play with and did so well occupying himself. He didn't eat a whole lot but he rarely does if there are toys around! And this little peanut is more and more fun every day. So thankful for my little boys.

For more thankfulness - see this post.

Thankful Days

At the beginning of November I had every intention of doing another 30-days of Thankfulness series. But before I realized it, November 10th had passed and then it just seemed silly to start. But I still think it's important to cultivate and practice being thankful. I've learned that it does indeed take practice and doesn't come naturally to me.

So, on this day after Thanksgiving, I'm pausing to share my 30-thankful-things with you!

1. My family! I just love my family.
     2. My husband is one of the most incredible men and I love how much he helps raise our two boys. We are totally in this together and I wouldn't have it any other way.
     3. My boys! I love them dearly. I'm so thankful they are healthy and growing well (except right now they both have colds).
     4. My parents and siblings. I miss them so much. So very thankful for our relationships.
     5. My in-laws are fantastic. So godly. I'm so thankful for their wisdom and love and all of their prayers.

6. My apartment/home. It's big "enough" and shelters us from this chilly season and has provided well for us for over six years.
    7. I'm thankful that we have a dishwasher, a kitchen I can cook in and a table to eat on.
    8. I'm thankful that for the most part we haven't had any big issues with our landlord/neighbors.
    9. I'm thankful we have laundry in our building. Someday we might have laundry in our home, but for now I will be grateful for it just down the stairs.
   10. I'm thankful for my nursing chair. It's the newest addition of furniture and I wish I had gotten in years ago.

11. My car. It's silly, yes, but my car is now 11 years old and still does what it needs to do. I'm also thankful that my fear of driving in the city has almost diminished. I can drive my boys around this city and do okay. I'd do even better if I had more than 6 hours of sleep!
    12. I'm thankful for free street parking. We don't have a garage so it's the next best thing. (I'm not thankful it's parked two blocks away, but I'm trying to be!)

13. My community. My friends give me life and joy. They also support me in this season of life and I rely on them for so much --physical rest, emotional health and spiritual growth. Yesterday, my friend took William on a hike so I could rest before thanksgiving dinner ... and she was the one cooking!
      14. So thankful for Thanksgiving dinner with friends last night. Our kids played together and we sat through most of the meal in peace. Also loved that everyone wanted to hold the baby. So helpful!
      15. MOPS. For the past two years, I've been a part of a moms-group! This has been so important to me and I have loved getting to meet more moms in this city.
      16. My friends with children and new babies. I'm thankful I'm not in this phase of life alone! So grateful! I get their exhaustion and they get mine and yet we try to be in each other's lives anyway!
      17. I'm thankful my son has friends! He's making even more friends through pre-school too!

18. My church. It's been a rough season but I'm so very thankful that we've stuck together and I'm looking forward to a new season ahead as we just found our new pastor!
     19. For all the volunteers for children's church! They are teaching my son about Jesus!

20. My job. I've had a good and really flexible job for nearly 7 years. Very thankful for the stability and the experience I've gained! I'm so thankful I can work from home.
     21. Co-workers. They love me and continue to make working with kids "easier" by loving them as well. Don't tell their boss, but when I come in, everyone just sort of takes a little break! I don't take this for granted.

22.  Pintrest/the internet. Yes, I'm thankful for even this. Hear me out! It does provide a little escape sometimes, but I'm thankful for how it helps me be/feel creative. I can find cute things to make or find out just about anything in a few minutes of spare time. I don't actually have to do anything (because I don't have the energy these days!) It also inspires me to be creative when I do have the energy! I need the motivation!
      23. Thankful for facebook/skype/snapchat. They allow me to see my nephew and nieces more often. And they are the cutest little people ever. I miss them. Grateful I can "see" them often.

24. I'm thankful that my mother buys all my son's clothes so I don't have to worry about it. Seriously, I can buy the fun things I really want him to have, but Grandma has so far done all the rest!
     25. I'm thankful we have storage space to save all the clothes for Stephen to grow into!

26. I'm trying to be grateful that my son's dairy sensitivity isn't extreme. He's paying for my cheating yesterday at Thanksgiving dinner, but he's handling it like a champ.
     27. I'm grateful I get to nurse my baby. And I'm grateful there are good formulas that he can have since I can't produce enough. I'm grateful he gets to start solid foods now too!

28. Thankful for a friend who is willing to meet with me to pray. Even with littles running/crying at your ankles we can come before our King and find rest. I've needed to be more intentional to find time to pray so this month I decided to do it with someone to make sure it happens.

29. I'm thankful for the preschool we found for William. Other than being a breeding zone for colds and illness, it's been great. He has learned so much and changed in so many ways already. It really was a good move for him and me, even though I didn't want to do it.

30. I'm so thankful for this season of Fall. The season of celebration. I love this time of year as it usually means gathering with people I love and doing fun things together. It means pausing and focusing on your loved ones. And I need more of that!

Thanks for reading! I hope you can pause this season and give thanks. 
I hope to do it over and over again!