Baby Steps

I did it! I finally did a major overhaul and an organizers dream job on my closet! Some of you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? You cleaned a closet.”

But to me, it has brought me great joy.

Actually, this particular project is much more than just having something cleaned or organized. It is all about those little baby steps I’ve made over the last month that is now a final work of art. (Okay, not art, but something that screams “Well done” every time I step into it.)

My husband and I were discussing the closet earlier tonight and we realized that it was more about the baby steps we took, that weren’t exactly easy or fun, but then you have this amazing end result. So it was all about being disciplined  and staying the course to get what I really love and wanted. The final product! Sounds simple, right?!

But what would happen if we approached a lot of areas of our life  with this same concept?

What if we learned to be disciplined with our budget and finances now in order to have much more later? That’s the kind of concept that doesn’t sit well in this kind of society. Not getting what I want when I think I need it or want it, is no fun. Or how about eating healthy, dieting or exercising. All things that we know we should do, but unless we stay consistent and take those baby steps, we won’t get to see those fabulous end results that really and truly are better for us.

What if we took this same baby steps approach to how we raise our kids? There’s an end result that we as parents will leave in our kids whether we like it or not. For some parents its to see that their kids are happy. I believe its much more than that. Imagining the end is about focusing my priorities on what matters most. It’s not about what I can give them or even what I do for them. Its about what I leave in them. So why not plan now on how to take baby steps to reach that end goal. Keep the end in mind! That’s tough for parents to do. Figure out what the end result looks like and go after it. In the end, your baby steps, faithfulness and navigation of staying the course will have BIG pay offs and blessings!

What’s that I hear? It’s my closet saying “Well done!”

Keeping Mornings Sane

Here we are a few weeks into the school year already. The excitement is wearing thin of a once fresh and new school year and adjusting back to a school schedule is in full swing. This is about the time of the year that I notice my kids starting to get a little bit more relaxed in their morning routine. So I’ve accumulated a list of things that I try and do with my kids to keep those Monday mornings sane and leave few things for those last minutes before the word “late” comes into play.

1. Sleep Schedule Check. It sounds simple. It sounds basic. Its a word that could make some of us cry over because we miss it so much. But in all honesty, our kids need a consistant sleep schedule and so do you. Your kids can wake up cranky from the get go just from not having enough sleep. Emotions can run high in a kid and in mom if either one doesn’t get enough sleep. Push dinner, homework, bedtime routine back earlier. Push whatever you have to back earlier to get your kids down at a correct time so they are set up for success the following day! You can check out this great list of the recommended number of hours of sleep for your kids by age here.

2.Prepare the Night Before. I was never one of those people that laid my clothes out the night before. And I usually paid for it in the hustle and bustle of the morning. Stock your diaper bag the night before. Have a fashion show the night before and lay your kids clothes out. Mine love to do it themselves now! Have their book bags ready and waiting by the door. All papers, projects,and packed lunch boxes included. I’ve even started putting my kids shoes out too. Toddlers choices in shoes on a rushed morning can be comical and irritating. Remember, set the morning and your kids up for success!

3. Mom (and Dad) Get Ready First. I’m still working on this one. But the handful of times that I have been able to do this, its been a wonderful thing. That moment of peace before the rest of the house wakes? Parents often need it. In fact, getting up early to enjoy those calm minutes can help you set the tone for the morning, yourself and your kids. I have also found that it is way easier for me to get ready in a timely manner if I don’t have 3 monkies hanging on me and making requests.

What morning routines work for you and your family? Add to the list!

Snack Girl

I picked up my 3 year old daughter from preschool today and was greeted by the biggest smile on her face. She screamed at the top of her lungs as she wrapped her tiny arms around my neck, “I was Snack Girl!” Unsure of if I heard her right, I said, “What?!” She screamed again squeezing my neck even tighter, “I was Snack Girl!” She was beaming with pride and happiness.

Now I know my daughter is simply a 3 year old and it doesn’t take much to get toddlers excited. Heck, they are excited when they do the simple things in life like eat a meal, put on their clothes, or go to the bathroom. But what if for a moment we analyze my daughters response to being “Snack Girl!” That girl was in her prime! She was doing something that got her juices flowin’ so much that she’d do it everyday if the teacher asked her to. “Snack Girl” was made for Jenna. Jenna, now this may be a long stretch but stick with me here, was made for “Snack Girl.”

How about you? What in your life are you doing that you can say with out a doubt, “I was made to do this!” Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be so much that you feel like that was why you were made, but rather, you love doing it and you are good at it! Whatever it is, find it and do it. Go dream big and do it! Cultivate and grow and learn at whatever it is your good at. Be in your prime and I promise, others will notice it too. You will find great fullfillment  and bless others in simply doing something that you just know you were made to do.

I’ve heard from my daughter several dozen times today that she was Snack Girl. She has acted out what took place at school over and over again. She really has taken on the persona of “Snack Girl!” Perhaps a career as a flight attendant, waitress or grocer is in her future.

Wordless Wednesday

Show off!

He would stay at the end of this dock fishing all day, everyday if we'd let him.

Uncle Nathan and Evan caught 10 fish in a row on Labor Day at the Lake

My husband and I got to go out to dinner and enjoy this!

Game Plan

Over the holiday weekend, we took time away from our usual everyday life and vacationed with my family at my brothers condo at the lake. It’s a blast every time we go! However, at this phase of life with 3 under 4 yrs, it brings on a need for a 2 day detox for my kids. Extended family is awesome. But it also means my kids have triple the number of adults to turn to for something and they rarely get told “no.” I suppose that’s my families right as they fight for cool points and try to out do one another. Really, they don’t have to do much. They rank very high already without all the extra stuff!

With the start of the 2 day detox, I often am reminded of just how hard parenting can be. There’s moments that you feel very alone and very defeated. You need answers. You need support. You need a nap or a full night of uninterrupted sleep. I’ve been told by others that my sleep will return in about 20 more years. Sigh. I dozed off twice while writing this post.

Parenting Beyond Your CapacityMy husband and I have fallen in love with the book by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof, Parenting Beyond Your Capacity. It has been a book that you don’t race through, but rather have to put it down after each chapter and wrestle with a lot of what it says and evaluate yourself, your kids and your family. You’ll finish the book and keep coming back to find more answers. While the book itself gives great advice, you’ll realize that so many of the answers to parenting lie within you and how God created you and the story of your family. If you answer yes to any of the statements below, you need to read this book!

- You’re tired
- You’ve struggled with what you should do as a parent in a number of situations
- Your kids have not always behaved the way you’ve wanted them to
- You’ve stayed awake worrying about your kids
- You’ve wondered if you’re a good parent

Why not have a game plan at Parenting? Why not have a strategy? You’ll realize the importance of one if you read this book. I promise!

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