Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Halfway Through

It's Wednesday. My favorite times during the work week are my evenings at home with Josh and Harry. Here are three snapshots from this week so far. I am so thankful. Tired, but thankful!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Attitude [and Heart] Change

When you become a mother, you can't help but change. Everything about your daily life changes, and all of a sudden your identity is wrapped up in this new relationship. Kind of like falling in love, and getting married, this new little person takes over your thoughts and all of your time.  But having a baby that you carry for nine months, give birth to, and are now in charge of nurturing and raising up into a person takes this identity shift to a whole new level.

I LOVE being Harrison's mom and I wouldn't want to change that for anything.

But after merely a year, I can see how easy it is to let my entire identity be defined by my role as a mother. Don't get me wrong, I am and always will consider being a mother one of the most significant roles of my life.  However, I know that in time he will grow up, become an adult, and flee the coop. This is what we work for as parents right? We raise our children to become healthy and happy adults who can make it through all of life's ups and downs. But if my identity is solely wrapped up in motherhood, who will I be at the end of this road when my role as mother is no longer the primary focus of my time and energy?

Somewhere between bringing Harrison into the world, and celebrating his first birthday I've lost sight of the importance of finding my identity in Christ. Following Jesus by spending time in prayer, Scripture, and community has taken a back seat in my daily life. I've let fatigue, busyness, and a host of other excuses get in the way. In the process my focus has shifted. Rather than seeking Christ and what He has done (and continually does) in my life, I have been far too concerned with myself. The more I focus on myself, the less I focus on Jesus, and the more discontent I become.

The problem is that I have lost sight of the fact that I live a wonderful life full of blessings. It is certainly not a perfect life, but it is a life full of gifts. I am married to a man who loves me, loves our son, and works very hard. I have a job, when many in our society would do anything to have one. Not only do I have a job, it is one that matters and brings me a sense of fulfillment and productivity. I have a family that has shown my little family of three more support during our son's first year of life than I could have ever asked for. My son is very healthy overall (aside from the occasional cold) and a source of constant joy and laughter. He is so sweet natured and reminds me to enjoy the small moments in my life that might otherwise pass by unnoticed (climbing the stairs giggling, or knocking down lego towers for example). I have friends in my life who love me, despite my failings and inadequacies.  Josh, Harry and I live in a comfortable home, one that we can grow into and enjoy for years to come. Blessed, I tell you! 

All of these blessings should be a cause of thanksgiving in my heart...not a source of discontentment. Sure, I haven't gotten enough sleep in the past few months (thanks to colds, ear infections and teething). Being a full-time teacher and full-time mom is overwhelming at times, to say the least. Not to mention the fact that I cannot seem to keep up with many of the friendships that I used to maintain now that I am stretched thin between work and parenthood. Nurturing a marriage that is based on a friendship is also proving to be a challenging task. The multitude of tasks that come along with being homeowners and parents often take over, and the days run into weeks...into months...and life just never slows down.

Back to Jesus. 

Without my eyes on Jesus, I have allowed myself to find things to complain about. Not to anyone in particular (aside from my husband, I'm sorry babe) but mostly just to myself. My thoughts have turned to "if only ____________" and "I wish ____________, then I'd be completely satisfied". The grass always seems greener, and yet it never is. I know this is a lie, to believe that if things were exactly as I wished for them to be, that I'd be truly happy. And yet I continue buying into it.  Living in this state of mind only breeds more discontentment, a vicious and never-ending cycle that simply kills the joy that God intended for me us to experience.

I used to spend a few quiet moments each morning journaling out my prayers and filling my head and heart with the Truth of God's Word. Now my mornings go by so quickly. It's all I can do to get myself and Harry ready and out the door. I literally feel like I am going, going, going...from the time my alarm goes off in the morning until Harrison is sleeping again in his crib at night. 

This weekend I've decided that enough is enough. I need an attitude adjustment, a change of heart.  I have to admit, this is something I've said a few times since the beginning of 2013. But this time, I'm talking about a change that I cannot muster up myself.  Only Christ can make this change happen in my heart and life.  I may not have time in the mornings before I leave for work, but I can pray and listen to worship music on my commute. I may not be a night person, but during this season I can use the quiet time after Harry is asleep to spend time journaling and praying through the things that have been weighing heavy on my heart. Rather than fill my precious free moments with Netflix or Facebook, I can make quality time with Jesus a priority. Instead of feeling frustrated with all the things that aren't going "my way" in my day-to-day life I want (and desperately NEED) to take these issues up with God. I may feel "in control" much of the time but the truth is that I am not in control of anything. Not my marriage, my son, my future...none of it. 

I believe that God is in control though; He is in control and He is good. 

Even when I feel like He hasn't answered my prayer(s) in the way that I want Him to...I am realizing (for probably the 100th time in my life...and I'm sure it won't be the last time either) that Jesus knows what is best for me. His plans are far better than mine could ever be, and the fact that He desires to change my heart to align with His perfect will is mind-boggling to me. He has been working on me lately, and I've been resisting it. I have been going to distractions to drown out His persistent voice.  

Sometimes just going through the motions of life, putting on a smile and pretending that everything is going swell seems like the easiest thing to do. But I know that actually living out my faith in relationship with Christ is better. It means I've got to face my selfish heart and repent from sin, none of which is comfortable. But if I want to make it through this life, and really grow more Christ-like in the end, I need to refocus on the only one who can truly satisfy me and give me a lasting identity...and that is Jesus.

Last night I opened up a fresh journal, opened up my Bible and a Beth Moore book I bought recently on my kindle ("Praying God's Word"). Here are a few of the verses that I found that really inspired the thoughts I've shared today:

I have have believed in Christ for a long time, but I need to actually believe what He says, and believe that He is who the Bible says He is. If I really believe that He is the way, the truth and the life...I will live differently. And while I can't muster up the change that I desire on my own, I am encouraged by Scripture that as a believer I am given the very power that raised Jesus from the grave.

I could go on, but I've already rambled long enough. I plan on sharing my journey more on my blog this year as I seek the Lord in the coming weeks and months.

Thanks for reading!


"A portrait of Harrison, once a week, every week in 2013."

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Productivity: it's all relative!

I used to love my breaks from school because I could spend time relaxing and being productive. This mid-winter break, is obviously different with a toddler. Getting dishes put away, laundry done, and the mail organized feels way more productive than it should.

Thankfully Harry loves playing in this play pen thing because it gives me about 15 uninterrupted minutes. Which allows me enough time to do about half a chore without having to chase him around making sure he's not climbing the stairs or eating toilet paper.

As ordinary as this week has been, I'm so thankful for extra time at home with Harrison. Life keeps moving so quickly, I'm thankful for a few days to just slow down and be at home.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Comfy Couch

It's a good thing out couch is so comfortable because this is where Harry and I have spent the majority of the past two nights.

Cutting molars.
Cough thanks to a sinus infection.
And, a sore throat thanks to the cough.

Yikes! I'm glad it's happening during my break because if I had to work today I'd be wiped...even if the couch is comfortable, there's nothing like a good night sleep in your own bed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Snapshots of Today

Harry needs a haircut. This boy has a LOT of hair and it grows fast. This is something he gets from both Josh and I. He's going in tomorrow morning to get his second haircut. I. Cannot. Wait!

His nails also grow at a superhuman rate, something he gets from his Dad.

Lately, Harry has been doing a funny bear crawl...which we've heard is a sign that he's getting closer to walking. He walks around the furniture and has even been caught standing on his own a time or two. I still think we're looking at another month or so before he's really walking, but at least he's moving in the right direction.

He's a professional stairs climber. He can get halfway up in just a few seconds. His mischievous giggle is a dead giveaway though...he thinks he's being so sneaky, but we're onto him!

After a whirlwind of teething between 6-8 months, we had a nice little break. But now we're right back into it. This time with molars. Thankfully one of them just barely broke the skin last night (which was a rough one for Harry) so I'm hoping that means we're on the home stretch (for these couple of teeth at least). I am looking forward to him being done with this aspect of baby/toddler-hood! I can only imagine how painful it is, and while I love the extra snuggles...we both need a good night sleep.

As I'm sure you can tell from his massive amounts of chub...this boy has always enjoyed drinking milk and eating food. But ever since he got sick at 11-months he's been a lot pickier about his food. He only wants to feed himself, but doesn't always want to try new things. I'm really bummed that he doesn't like avocado anymore (used to be his absolute favorite)! But I'm hopeful that as he gets better at feeding himself he'll start eating more, and will enjoy some of the foods he used to love but doesn't want to eat much of anymore.

He is a chatterbox. So far the words Harry says the most include: mama, mom, dada, dad, roar, uh oh, yes, yeah, moo, wow, whoa, quack (cack), baba, and I swear he's even said "all done"...or something like it (aka: ah duh). Josh didn't believe me, but he just did it! :)

High fives and kisses (open mouthed and full of slobber) are also among his favorite things.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


"A portrait of Harrison, once a week, every week in 2013."


"A portrait of Harrison, once a week, every week in 2013."


"A portrait of Harrison, once a week, every week in 2013."


"A portrait of Harrison, once a week, every week in 2013."


"A portrait of my Harrison, once a week, every week in 2013."

Monday, February 18, 2013


"A portrait of my Harrison, once a week, every week in 2013."

Sunday, February 17, 2013


I'm a little late getting started on this project, but I am so excited to jump in and participate in The 52 Project. I first read about it on "A Bit of Sunshine" and was inspired by Rebekah's desire to capture her children in one photo each week in 2013. I've been taking photos, but am just now sitting down to get my posts uploaded.

During Harrison's first year of life I took a photo each month and wrote him a letter to go with it (click the link at the top of my blog to read more about it). But now that he's one, I've been trying to think of a creative way to capture this next phase of life...and I think this photo project is going to be a perfect fit!

Here goes!

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"A portrait of Harrison, once a week, every week in 2013."

Bath-time Adventures

Harry woke up with a runny nose so taking him to the church nursery wasn't an option. The next best plan for a Sunday morning, besides going to church (thankfully I can listen to our church's sermons online) was a bath.

At least a bath seemed like a good idea, until Harry decided to poop in the tub.

Gross and funny at the same time. Moments like this as a parent just make me laugh. What else can you do.

I won't go into the details, but as you can imagine we had to cut his bath short.
Thankfully my second attempt at bathing him went much better this evening. The only adventures we had tonight involved splashing and rubber ducks.

Hopefully we won't be having the poopy kind of bath adventures anymore.

And because it's hard to resist posting a pic, here's Harry and I walking around the house, trying to ease the discomfort of cutting molars.

What a day!?!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Embrace the Camera: 2/14/13

It's Valentine's Day and I think it's a perfect day to link up with "the anderson crew: embrace the camera: love day" to embrace the camera, aka: take a picture with your loved one(s).

Since my original valentine is at work, I'm snuggled up with my little valentine on the couch. The picture quality may not be the best...but I savor these moments with Harry as I know they will not last for long.

What a difference!

Can't believe how different our little valentine is this year! We have officially entered Harry's second wave of holidays. Where did the past year go?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Linking up with Bloglovin :)

Have you ever checked out I am registering my blog on their site and starting to follow my favorite blogs there too. Click the link below to learn more:

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Also, what do you think of my new look?

I'm playing around with the look of my blog and may be changing up my header a few times in the next few weeks until I get it just right.

Friday, February 8, 2013

So I don't forget...

I was going through drafts I've saved here on my blog, and found this little gem. Just a few random memories I must have jotted down sometime this summer (maybe when Harry was around 6 months old).

Crazy how fast time flies, and how things change so quickly with a little one around (though he does still hate green beans).

  • He LOVES scratching EVERYTHING (especially the wall when I'm changing his diaper before bed).
  • Bath-time is getting more fun (and easier for us) because Harry can sit so well now and enjoys splashing and playing with his toys.
  • He HATES green beans. I've tried to mix them with other veggies but no such luck. Oh well, it's really not that big of a deal. Probably his FAVORITE food thus far, avocado! He gobbles it down and cries when it's all gone. So cute!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I Statements

I found this somewhere online a long time ago (can't remember where) and thought it was a fun idea for a post. It's been sitting in my "drafts" for a while now and I decided today is the day to break it out.

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I WAS … a morning person, before becoming a mom.

I AM … (finally) a "grown up" which is something I've struggled to accept over the years. Funny how having a baby finally made me feel like I am actually an adult (most of the time at least).

I THINK … my baby is pretty adorable!

I WONDER … if the headache I've had today is because I didn't drink coffee this morning, or because my students were acting so silly today?!

I WISH … that I could bottle up Harry snuggles for safe keeping. They'd sure come in handy on a bad day, and I know that someday they'll only be a memory. At least I have tons of photos and videos from this first year!

I SAVE … Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel magazines. Even though I never do anything with them, I just love the pretty pictures and can't bring myself to throw them out.

I ALWAYS … drink a glass of milk with my dinner (unless we're eating out and then it's water).

I CAN'T IMAGINE … living anywhere but the PNW.

I BELIEVE … that Jesus is my Savior. Even though it's hard to wrap my mind around his unconditional grace, I am thankful for His work in my life!

I PROMISE … that I have never had a cavity or a broken bone. Knock on wood...

I LOVE … the changes that come with each season. I used to hate change, but I'm learning to embrace it. Change, after all, is one of the only things in life that you can count on happening.

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What about you? How would you finish each of these "I statements"? If you share on your blog, post a comment with a link! I'd love to hear about your perspective!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

[Birthday] Letter: Month 12

Dear Harrison,
You are ONE. A whole year has passed and we are so much better for it.

In all honesty, this past month has been one of the hardest yet. We started off the New Year with one sickness after another, leaving us all very tired after weeks of sleepless nights.  Thankfully, watching you transform into a busy boy this month has made the exhaustion completely worth it.

You not only crawl and scoot but you love climbing the stairs now. In only a few seconds you can get almost halfway up the staircase! Sometimes I forget that you took so long to start moving. You had barely figured out how to crawl/scoot just a month ago. Now you can pull yourself up on anything. It doesn’t matter how solid an object is either because you’re starting to let go and stand a bit on your own (for a few seconds at least).  I still thing you’re a little way off from taking real steps, but the change we’ve seen in you this last month has been huge! I can only imagine how much more we’ll have to chase after you once you are walking…and running. No rush little guy!

We celebrated your first birthday in style this weekend. Our house was full of family and friends. We had bright decorations, balloons (which you love), and some delicious brunch food! You had your first bites of “cake” (which was really a stack of pancakes). You weren’t too messy, but enjoyed dipping your finger in the frosting and taking quite a few licks.

You received so many fun new toys; some of your favorites include your new police car, music equipment (especially your xylophone and drum), and numerous balls.

I cannot believe we’re finished with our monthly photo shoots and letters. Every month I have looked forward to taking time to capture your photo and write you a letter.  I know someday the memories of this crazy wonderful first year of your life will be a blur, and even though I wrote these letters to you, I think they will be just as much for me as the years go by. I wish I could hold onto every single detail of this past year, but I know that time will continue on and the memories will begin to fade, as all memories tend to do.

When you were first born I wanted to stop time, and was so sad to think that you would change and grow. I wanted to keep you so small and precious forever. But now I realize that if I’d done that, I would have missed out on so much. Each day I feel like I get to know you more. You have brought us so much laughter and purpose since you entered our life last winter and made us parents. Every mom I talk to tells me that it just keeps getting better with each passing year. I think I finally get it. In the future I know there will be bumps along the road—challenges that we face as a family. But along with the struggles and hardships of life, I am certain that there will be countless moments of joy.

Thank you my sweet boy for being you! Each night I thank Jesus for the blessing that you are to our family and pray that He would continue teach me how to be the best Mom for you.

We have made it through a whole year together as a family and I cannot wait to see what this next year holds. Happy First Birthday Harrison Levi!

Love Always,