HOME

Home is where the heart is.

Home is where I am with you.

Home is where your story begins.

It’s good to be home.

There is no place like home.

Home Sweet Home

There are hundreds of different quotes about home when you search on Google or Pinterest. It’s hard to pick just one. There’s a sign on Etsy I’ve been wanting to buy for our office that reads, “It’s so good to be home.” Home: it means so many things to so many different people. If you surveyed a hundred people and asked them what home was to them you might get a hundred different answers. Some answers would be positive and some would be negative depending on their history and what experiences they have gone through.

I have been blessed to grow up in a good home. My mom and dad raised me in a home of love and support. My dad worked and my mom stayed home with my brother and myself. The thing I remember most about growing up is family dinners (we always sat around the table together to eat the dinner my mom fixed is every night) and Friday nights we always went out. It was usually something simple like eating at a family restaurant and playing putt putt or going bowling. But I still remember those evenings out all these years later.

I moved out of my parents’ house after I graduated high school and lived on campus at my college for 5 years. 3.5 of those years were spent in the girls’ dorm and 1.5 of those years were spent married to my college sweet heart. For the first 4 months of our marriage we actually lived in the girls’ dorm because I was the resident director. It was out little joke that my husband got married and moved in with 60 girls. But the apartment was completely separated from the girls’ rooms and the only thing Jordan shared with the residents was the front door.

Then my husband and I moved down to an in campus apartment and continued to work at our alma mater for a year before having our baby girl. We then transitioned to a mobile home owned by my grandparents until we could find a more permanent residence. This permanent residence ended up being my husband’s childhood home. His mother was remarried in September of last year and we moved into her house in October. We were wanting to move to the area anyways so the timing could not be more perfect and we did not even have to house hunt. It was a blessing for us for sure!

So now we have been in this home for right at a year now and it made me think about home. Not a house where we live but home. I asked Jordan what he thinks home is and he said wherever you and Abigail are. It made me think of Lilo and Stitch when Stitch says, “Ohana, Ohana means family and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” My family is my home. We may move every year to a new home, but if I’m with my family then I am home.

IMG_2359

Moments after getting to the apartment from the hospital with our newborn baby. We were home and a family of three!!

I like making my house pretty. I love waking the aisles of Hobby Lobby and dreaming on Pinterest about what projects to do next. I already have plans for every room of the house and whether we ever get to them or not I will keep dreaming about redecorating. I also enjoy a clean home. No, my home will never be spotless. It will always be a bit cluttered with way too many things and the table will always have yesterday’s mail on it, but I like knowing the house is clean. Like bathrooms are wiped down, floors have been vacuumed and mopped. It feels good to live in a clean house. And while I spend a lot of time each week cleaning, doing laundry and decluttering my house it still isn’t home unless my family is there. I am very much a home body and so is my husband. On any given evening or weekend we will be home watching tv while Abigail wiggles around on the floor. And I am glad we like being home together.

Home is a hard thing to define. It is not about the physically house you live in and how nice or not so nice it is. We lived in an old trailer for a year filled with roaches and water leaks, but we still called it home because that’s where my family was. I am thankful to have a nice house now, but no matter where God leads us as long as my husband is with me I will be home! I would say kids too but hopefully one day we will be empty nesters and our children will make homes of their own with their spouses.

I want my home to be a place of peace and rest. I want my family to want to come home because it is a shelter from the crazy world. I want them to be able to find contentment at home. I want our home to be a place of love – unconditional and sacrificial love. I want our family to grow, not only in number but spiritually and emotionally as well. I want us to be unified and open with each other. I want this home to be welcoming to others – to anyone who steps over our threshold to feel relaxed and welcomed in our home. I want this home to be filled with laugher and memories. I want our home to be led by Jesus first and then I want us to follow Him whole heartedly. I want Jordan and I to grow in love and wisdom as we raise our children in this house. And I want our children to want to come home and know they are loved in this home.

Home is…

A little girl’s laughter after being tickled by her Daddy.

A kiss goodbye as a husband leaves for work.

A gentle look from a mother as her child plays on the floor.

A child’s curiosity over some new object she found.

A husband relaxing on the couch.

A wife calling everyone to the dinner table.

A family snuggle to end the day.

A home is…

That stain on the carpet from a child kicking over your drink.

Running around in your underwear as you get everyone ready.

Burning the toast because you got distracted playing.

Having too much on the to do list but still choosing to play or nap with the baby.

Making up with your husband after telling him to pick up after himself for the 100th time.

Quiet evenings with your spouse when the baby goes down to sleep.

When the tiredness sets in because it’s midnight and that baby won’t go to sleep.

Changing countless diapers and keeping up with poops.

Home is a thousand little moments that make life perfect.

Life isn’t always great and happy and lovely every single moment. I get tired, frustrated and worried, but with my family beside me I know we will face all life holds together. My family is my safe spot. They are my home sweet home.

Image (7)

Advertisements

Our Simple Life

I thought I would share what a day in our lives look like. Of course each day changes and you cannot schedule a toddler every second, but on average this is what we do. I love my little buddy, and we are both going to miss each other when she goes to preschool next year. I think my mama’s heart is not going to be able to handle it. But I know Abigail needs to see more people than just me everyday, and I know that I need to be away from her too. But for now I treasure each day I have to spend with my little sidekick.

I wake up around 8 and wait for someone to start stirring. Abigail is normally up around 8:30 or 9. We are late raisers and I am okay with that. I know one day we will have to change our sleeping patterns but for now it works for us. Abigail is happy in the mornings, and we usually snuggle. She never pees at night so we have a very wet diaper when we go in morning. My mom has always said this will make it easier to potty train and I hope that is the case. We have a long ways to go before potty training can start, but maybe one day that will make it easier.

We go downstairs and fix breakfast for us both. She plays with her toys while I get everything together. I eat yogurt and granola. She eats a scrambled egg and cereal and maybe yogurt if she feels like it. She is usually pretty hungry, so she eats well. From there we snuggle and open the blinds in the front room. I have been trying to get her to learn to pull the cords to give her a job to do each morning. And then we get dressed and ready for the day. I lay her down in her bedroom with toys and music while I get ready and straighten up or put a load of laundry on. Then we get her dressed and that crazy blonde hair brushed the best we can.

Then depending on the day we try to go somewhere each morning. Mornings are Abigail’s best times. On Mondays we have physical therapy. On Tuesday’s is Music Class. On Wednesday’s is speech and occupational therapy. On Thursday’s she stays with grandma while I go to Bible Study. And Friday’s we normally have free so we go to the park or to the grocery store. One way or another we get out of the house for a bit, mostly for mama’s sanity. I like having somewhere to go each day.

We return for lunch and we usually watch TLC while we eat our sandwiches and fruit and goldfish. Then the afternoon fussiness begins. We try to have wiggle time and snuggle time. But at 2 it is nap time. We settle down with a good book or two and then it is off to Mommie and Daddy’s bed for a nap. We have to hold her down still so she does not fall of the bed, but it usually only takes her about 20-30 minutes to fall asleep. Some days I nap with her. Some days I use the hour and a half to clean or blog or just do nothing. It just depends on how motivated I am that day.

IMG_7984

I usually have to wake Abigail up because she would sleep the day away and never go to bed at night if we let her. She is out of it when she gets up. It takes her a good 20-30 minutes of snuggles to finally wake up. Those are some of my favorite minutes of the day. By then, if Daddy has been working all morning, he is home. So it is his turn with Abigail while I get dinner ready and the house straightened again.

We eat together at the table and Daddy normally gets her all fed while I clean up afterwards. She is the slowest little eater but she eats well! In the evenings we try to take a walk whether in the neighborhood or at the local outdoor mall 5 minutes from our house. We do some exercises and just are together as a family, watching TV, tickling, playing, and wiggling.

IMG_7659

Wrestling with Daddy before bath time.

Then before you know it it is bath time and snack time and snuggle time. Around 9:45 or 10 we head to bed. I know that is late but we honestly still are not close to going to sleep yet. This is why we sleep in. I hate the late bedtime but for now this is where we are. If anyone has suggestions about how to get a toddler to sleep faster please let me know! Her therapist and pediatrician have both said this may be a result of her finally gaining freedom and mobility. If you just learned to move you would want to wiggle all the time too. But we are trying to teach her that bedtime is bedtime, and give her tons of time to wiggle during the day. So, at 10 I read her a story or two and then lay down and hold her again. Bedtime takes longer to go to sleep. It normally takes between 45 minutes to an hour and a half. She is usually asleep by 11 or 11:30 and then it is my turn to sleep.

There is not anything exciting about our days. We like the simple life. Of course, days change and we do other things in between the usually stuff. Whether Grandma comes for a new adventure or we go to a doctors appointment that day. Or on days we miss therapy because our therapist cancel, we go to the store or just explore around town. Abigail is pretty chill, so it is easy to take her places. These next few months have lots of new adventures in store as fall festivals approach and then we have a big family wedding coming up. But all in all it is just the three of us living life with each other one day at a time. I love my simple life and I am glad I get to share it with my family!!

happy place

Me and My Man

Today marks five years that I have been with this guy. We met five years ago as we were both hired to be resident assistants at our school. The volleyball court brought us together that year, and for some reason this popular, athletic boy picked this weird, dorky nobody to spend his forever with. I still do not understand it to this day, but I am thankful Jordan picked me.

We knew we would be married two months after we started dating. That might seem quick (and it was), but I had had a near death experience in the hospital and Jordan, my boyfriend of about 7 weeks, was there for every scary moment. I truly hated that weekend, but I am thankful because I think it made us both realize how we felt about one another. The next week we made a commitment to one another. We said the ‘L’ word that rhymes with dove, and we never looked back.

On June 18, 2013 Jordan proposed at the first place we had ever known the other existed. Back then we did not even know each other’s names and I was just a weird girl with an even weirder testimony, but it got his attention and he started noticing me. The day he got down on one knee and I said yes, God sent a rainbow in the sky. I truly believe it was a promise from God that He would be with this union. I know that is not what rainbows mean, but it was wonderful either way!

IMG_7960

Seven months later, the day we had been waiting on finally came. Wedding bells were ringing .on February 1, 2014 It had snowed just days before, but Saturday was beautiful! I really just floated through the morning of getting ready, talking with my bridesmaids, and taking pictures. I was nervous as anything as my dad led me down the aisle to meet this man I had already committed my life to months before. We stood in front of our family and friends to share this commitment with them.

After the reception, as we drove to Atlanta to spend the night in our hotel before catching an early plane, I felt awful. The wedding day should have been glorious and one of the best days of my life, but I was just relieved it was done. I felt guilty. We talked as we drove, and as always my man of wisdom reassured me. This day was not for us, it was for others to see what we had already done. In my heart I was already His and he was already mine that day we first talked about getting married. But today we made that commitment public and we celebrated with family and friends, and for that I was thankful because we had so many who cared about us and loved us.

When I committed to marry this man I knew he would be going into ministry. I wanted that for him and me. We were simply waiting for God to call us to a church so we could begin our ministry. We had been helping at a church together the whole time we dated and were engaged, and now we could do it together at our own place. Job opportunity after opportunity was opened to us. We have done countless interviews and attended churches the past few years. Yet, every door as been slammed in our face. Whether it was because we were not the right fit or because we felt like it was not where God was sending us, we have been told no an awful lot. Both of us have degrees in Christian Studies and both of us are called into ministry, yet we have not found that ministry yet. We pray God has a plan for us. We pray the right doors will open and we pray we will be ready and willing whenever that day comes. But in the mean time we are serving where God has us in whatever capacity we can.

Then six months into marriage God blessed us with Abigail. Our journey with her has been long and hard, but it has also been rewarding and joyful. Having a child rocks your marriage no matter what, but having a special needs child rocks it even harder. Most people I have met with special needs children are older or have multiple children and it is their second or third or later babies that have special needs. But we were hit with it from the get go. We knew nothing about kids so for us Abigail is our normal.

IMG_7957

But through it all I have a man that is committed to me. I have a husband who loves me and loves his little girl with all his heart. I have a man who is willing to lead us. He is my strong rock, my wise counselor and my listening ear. I would not be making it today without him. I would have given up a long time ago, but he pulls me through my pity parties and convinces me to keep running the race. I am usually the positive one, but just last night he laid beside me reminding me of all the good in our lives when all I could see was the bad.

We have only known each other for five years, but it feels like forever. Everyday I see little ways that we are becoming one. We are starting to think the same, and know what the other is thinking. We share some similar hobbies now, things I would have never done prior to knowing Jordan. We know what the other one likes and what they do not like. I cannot wait to get to know this man more and more as the years continue. He is my best friend, my love and my other half. I am thankful Jordan asked me to be his. I am thankful I have him. And I will always stand on that commitment we made all those years ago. He is my one and only, my forever and always. I could not imagine doing life without my man right beside me. Thanks for picking me Jordan Lidh!

IMG_7956

Our Connection

IMG_7529

I love this picture of us! Our hair is greasy, but those smiles are genuine. We had just recovered from being sick all week and I took Abigail outside to get some fresh air. That smile melted my heart, as it always does!

From the moment that seven pound bundle was placed on my chest I knew my life would never be the same. I was never one to dream about having kids. I never planned to get married really. But God had other plans for me when I met my blonde headed lover. I knew I would spend the rest of my life with this man about a month into dating him. And my man wanted kids. He was the dreamer of the family in that department. So a kid a got! And what a special addition she is to in our lives.

I had no clue what to do with this bundle. Abigail was born about 30 minutes before shift change so after the nurses had us all cleaned up they just left us. Jordan left me to go tell our family all the details and it was just me and Abs for a while in a room alone. I figured all the books said babies are hungry so we tried the whole eating thing and I had no clue what I was doing and literally no one to help me. I barely knew how to hold an hour old baby much less how to care for her needs. So while we had a few minutes alone we simply looked at one another, both trying to figure the other out.

I knew this baby would change my life. She would alter my dreams and my schedules. I still felt wholly unprepared to be a mom, but ready or not I was a mother and there was no turning back. Abigail was the easiest baby ever and for that I am thankful, and oh so very spoiled. Even as a newborn she rarely cried. I had no clue how to breastfeed, but she was a champ. I always say she did all the work, I was just there to hold her. She slept well even early on and she really wasn’t a cuddly baby. We would place her on the floor and do chores or cook dinner and she was as content as could be.

IMG_7530

Those fingers wrapped around mine…it’s a small connection but it means so much!!

When Abigail was about three months old we moved about 45 minutes away to be closer to my family. I helped part-time with my family’s business and my mom and grandma would often keep Abigail and just let me nurse her when she needed to be fed. This was our routine until my husband and I decided to move closer to his family and be nearer to a larger city with more job opportunities and opportunities for Abigail. We made our second move when Abigail was about 1.5 years old. It was then that I became a full-time mom.

Some people would argue that breastfeeding Abigail for a year is what connected us. And while it might have, I also believe if she had been given formula it wouldn’t have been any different. I truly believe our connection started when we made this move and I became the one person Abigail sees most often. I’m the one who wakes her up in the morning and puts her to bed at night. I take her to all her therapies and doctors. We go on errands and to the park. We play and exercise and do everything together.

This connection we have formed is deep and it is strong. When I’m in the room she wants me. She may hug others and laugh for a little bit, but she eventually tires of them and wants her mama. But lately I have noticed that we even reflect each other’s emotions. If I’m feeling sad or mad or upset I have realized Abigail’s isn’t herself. Just yesterday I was running a low fever and not feeling 100% and Abigail was fussy all day. There has been a few times where Abigail has choked very badly on food and I get scared so I end up scaring her and making the situation worse. Thankfully Daddy has always been there to calm us both down. But I have noticed this emotional connection we have lately, and it’s amazing to me that she can pick up on it.

I guess when you spend the amount of time together that Abigail and I do you are bound to learn the person. And Abigail know each other pretty well. Even though she lacks all forms of communication, I can usually figure out what she wants. She has her own way of communicating and I am thankful that we have such a bond that she trusts me to care for her in every way. I don’t know what her future holds, but discovering this deep connection with my daughter gives me confidence that we will be okay no matter if she can never walk or talk.

Just three short years ago I would have told you I would never be a mother, much less a stay at home mom. But now I am a mother to the sweetest girl in the world. And our mother/daughter bond is unbreakable! I want to be the best mother I can be for Abigail. I want you to know I love her and that I’ll always be there for her. And I pray this special bond we have formed continues, no matter what this life may hold for us!

IMG_7536

Labor of Love

img_5143

I was never one of those girls who dreamed about getting married or having kids. Honestly, my sophomore year of college I would have told you that I was quite content being a single lady in love with God for the rest of my life. But then the next year a man would step into my life and change all that. His name is Jordan, and we have now been married for almost three years. Within two months of dating we both knew we would be married to each other.

He wanted kids right away. I wanted to wait. Having kids was something to do eventually, but I didn’t know a thing about babies or children and having one of my own did not sound appealing. But with some compromise, we decided to have a child six months into our marriage.

Well two months after Abigail was born the craziness began. We knew then, and in the months that followed, that our little girl was not going to be what they call ‘normal’.

I wanted to be a stay at home mom for my child’s sake, and especially for Abigail’s sake. I am blessed through our family and my hard-working husband to be able to do just that. Some days I sit back at my freshly vacuumed home, watching my sleeping child beside my handsome hubby and think I have got it all and I am so blessed. Some days I look at the mounting to do list, my child who needs me so much, and my husband who works hard and wonder how we will ever make it. But that is life – living each day in faith and knowing in the end I love my family and God loves me.

Being a stay at home mom requires a lot of different things. I thought about these eleven things being a stay at home mom means to me.

1) Full-time maid – mopping up spills, wiping dirty faces, picking up toys and lost Cheerios, doing laundry, sweeping and vacuuming, wiping snotty noses…all the not so glamorous things.

2) Creator and entrepreneur – coming up with new activities, creating moments to remember, capturing each moment, and often actually running a side business

3) Being Patient – living in the moment, hour-long lunches, one more book or one more minute to play, getting dressed for two and fighting to get that little hand in the even littler hole

4) Being Selfless – watching Mickey Mouse when you want to watch your own show, one more push on the swing instead of finishing that paper you were working on, it means one more peekaboo instead of one more Facebook scroll

5) Being Organized – keeping up with appointments, schedules, bed times and snack times, making and sticking to grocery lists and budgets

6) Being present – remembering they are only little once, and this could be the last goodnight snuggle

7) Being a wife first – in the midst of being a full-time nanny, housekeeper and business woman this often gets forgotten. I am called to first be my husband’s help-meet; to encourage and cheer him on. I’m just glad he loves me in my ponytail and t-shirt.

8) Being a Teacher – teaching them about life, relationships, skills, how to learn and explore and dream

9) Showing Love – I will never know God’s love for His children, but having a child does teach you more about unconditional love then you will ever know.

10) Asking Forgiveness – yes, you may have to seek forgiveness from your family, but I mostly mean forgiving yourself. Not beating yourself up over mistakes. Those moments you cop-out to have a little me time. Some people call it pseudo parenting. You may call it bathroom time. Taking time for you is not a sin. Do not beat yourself up over mistakes. Seek forgiveness and press on!

11) Being a Role Model – those little eyes are watching every move you make, every word you say and everything in between. We should be modeling godly marriages, right relationships, communication, time with God, and basic morals and manners.

It is truly a labor of love. Being a stay at home mom is a full-time plus overtime job. But every moment is worth it as little children are only little for a little while. So to all stay at home mommas may you learn to love the labor that you do every single day!!