Jan 15, 2015

Step Away From the Phone

We have big news in our household. An announcement of sorts.

After three years (and many, many before that) we upgraded our dinosaur phones for newer, flashy, smart phones. I feel like I've entered the twenty-first century (or something). So much power. The world is at my fingertips! And by "world" I mean, the World Wide Web, because really, isn't there so much more to the world than what's offered on a phone?

Which is sort of my point here, I guess. Even though I made jokes about my Zach Morris phone, I kind of liked not having a smart phone. For the most part, I was perfectly happy living without checking Facebook or reading emails or Bubble popping whenever and wherever.  In fact, to be perfectly honest, I kind of turned my nose up at how often people pull out their phones and stare at the screens.

But, it's easy for me to be judgy-mc-judgerson when I don't have the siren song of a smart phone singing in my purse. It's easy for me not to be distracted by my phone at.all.times when I don't have a phone that offers much more than fuzzy pictures and minimal texting (which we had a limited number of per month anyway).

The reality is, I know myself. Even in my snobbery, I knew that if I had a smart phone of my own , I wouldn't be able to resist the allure of checking or playing or being on it at all times either. I was afraid to get a phone with AllTheThings because I knew that I too would become tied to the world at my fingers. I would be distracted by apps and Instagram and what is going on that little screen instead of around me.

And I am. I so, so am.

Having such a big technological distraction is too tempting. And, because it is new and exciting and all-things-exclamation-pointy to me, it is even harder to limit myself. I put off getting a smart phone for a long time, which is also an excuse I use to my current addiction. I haven't had a smart phone for years so now, while everyone else is scaling back and moving on and putting their phones away, I am in the stage they all were three years (or more) ago.  Can.Not.Stop.Looking.On.My.Phone.

Who can I text?

What can I check?

Why aren't people doing more on social media and entertaining me AT ALL TIMES!?

It's embarrassing to admit, really, how distracted I've been lately. How much my phone is taking away from my focus on the things around me, the people around me.

The first week I cut myself some slack because, it's a new toy and of course it's okay to overdose when it's brand-new. But my One Week is spilling into Two Weeks and I can see how quickly this could get out of hand. Put down the phone, Christine. Just Put.It.Down.

Still, I'm trying to give myself a little break. To not beat myself up too much. I am only human, after all. But, I'm aware of it. And I'm not okay with it. (The first step is admitting there's a problem and all of that.)

Now, if you'll excuse me I have to go check Instagram. I mean, play with my kids.

xoxo, christine

Jan 13, 2015

A Toast, Of Sorts

I am not a big resolution-maker or word-of-the-year-declarer, but I am in the business of wanting to better myself and live a fulfilling life.

The other night my husband talked about focusing on balance this new year and living with Presence, something I think our whole family could do better with. It got me thinking though, if I was choosing a word to focus on for 2015, what would it be? My initial thought is Gratitude, because I desperately want to see the good things I already have in front of me instead of focusing on the things that I think are missing.

Obviously I have much to be grateful for, and I forget to see it more than I'm comfortable with. I have spent many years working with a therapist to trudge through my depression, and I finally feel like I'm at a point where I can move from working out my depression to just working on being the best (or at least a better) version of myself.

I'm not entirely sure who that looks like, but I want her to be filled with gratitude and appreciation for her life and to open that heart of hers and let love out. I want her to see love and feel love and, most importantly, give love as much as possible.

I don't generally think of myself as a pessimist. But, when viewing the glass I'm not sure that I see it half-full either. I tend to see the glass and just worry. Is there enough? Is it clean? Is it going to break? Is this even my glass to drink from? What's it filled with? Etc. Etc. Etc. I don't think I'm a negative person, per say, but I definitely err more on the side of hardships and difficulties and worries. I think part of that is due to depression, which is maybe why I'm feeling like I can move beyond that part of me. Not only can I be a person who's depression is managed (gasp!) but even go as far as to be a person who is joyful and even positive.

I am looking forward to this year. (I think.) I am looking forward to delving deeper into what makes me happy and what is important to me and who I am and who I want to become. I am looking forward to putting more emphasis on being with my family and spending time with friends. I am looking forward to seeing the good in things, even if I have to work so hard to retrain my brain that it hurts.

I am going to lasso a golden unicorn and ride it over the rainbow into this new year.

{image credit}

xoxo, christine

PS. Did you know you can like And it is Love on Facebook? Also, the new year brought us new phones (read: smart phones) so I now am officially on Instagram too.

Jan 6, 2015

Seven is...

Last year she was six. And as the new year was ushered in, so was she, into the big, wide world of seven. There is something about the age "seven" that feels foreign in my mouth. It feels bigger, older. Less Little Girl and more Girl.

Seven is a tiny baby teeth smile turning into a big grown-up teeth grin. It is learning and practicing math over and over and over again. It is sight words and picture books and the allure of long chapter books with no pictures.

Seven is teasing her sister in the morning and spending hours playing Honey with her sister in the afternoon. It is wanting to have the top bunk as an option, but choosing to sleep in the big bed with her sister every night instead.

Seven is making her baby sister giggle and wiping the spit up off her face. It rushing to grab a toy or a diaper or a burp cloth. It is being the Helpful Big Sister.

Seven is understanding more grown-up jokes, and pointing out sarcasm. It is rolling her eyes and stomping her feet and huffing out "fine." Seven is becoming more and more embarrassed by her parents.

Seven is full of questions and wonder, but also fear and apprehension. It is understanding more of the bigger picture and being responsible.

Seven is deciding to have her first friend birthday party. It is knowing what she wants and asking for it.

Seven is playing outside by herself. It is being ready for a bigger bike, now that she doesn't need training wheels. It is wanting someone to play with, but not needing someone to play with.

Seven is wanting more independence, but still needing cuddles and snuggles.

I realize that she has only been seven for a handful of days. Some of these things linger from when she was six and continue on. Some things will change as she moves further into the year.

Her amazingness though, that will be with her always. It is the spark that makes her Hope. And I am so grateful to be a witness to all that she is.

Happy 7th Birthday, Hopey!

xoxo, christine

Dec 31, 2014

She is the Light of our Year

It's the last day of the year, which, for many bloggers, brings about the whole "year in review" post. And while there are plenty of things about our year I could review, the highlight was, quite obviously, welcoming Nora May into our family.

The nine month wait for Nora was physically without incident, but excruciatingly full of fear and doubt and emotional ups and downs. She entered into our world with quick determination, bringing with her a peace and calmness to a family desperate to feel comfort after a broken heart. I know that I am a different mother with her than I was to either of the older girls, partially because she's the third baby I am parenting, but also because I am a different parent after losing her older brother. But even with the change in me this time around, the ease she has fit into our family comes from her alone.

Her smile is light and her wonder-filled eyes are joy. With her I have a new appreciation for sleepless nights, diaper blowouts, and afternoon fussiness, which wasn't the case with her older sisters. She is a one hundred percent perfect fit into my arms. She is our shining star out from darkness, but the wholeness she brings to our family is completely her own.

2014 has, in so many ways, been kinder and gentler to us than the previous year was. And I am incredibly grateful for that. Every year is filled with highs and lows, stresses and joys, comforts and sorrows. There have been hard days and easy days, and there are many more of those to come, but I am determined to look through it all with a positive perspective. I am content with the journey this past year has taken us on, and am looking forward to filling up our blank pages of the year ahead.

Wishing everyone shining lights of joy and silent quiet peace in the new year!

xoxo, christine

Dec 25, 2014

And to All a Good Night

Another Christmas in the books. We celebrated the day with my husband's family. With four kids, two teenagers, and one baby it was a little crazy. And loud. Of course, sometimes the adults are just as loud (or louder) than the kids.

It was chaotic, overwhelming, and sometimes even stressful, but I love it. I love it because within the chaos there is so much laughter and love. The smaller families come together to make one big boisterous group whose wit and warmth can be felt when you walk into a room.

It was a sweet Christmas, made extra special with the presence of Little Nora. Even though she slept through church yesterday and opening Santa presents this morning, most of the time she wanted to get right in the middle of the action. And if she wasn't, well, she made her displeasure well known with a shrill, disgruntled squeal, which was satisfied only by the attention of her sisters or cousins. (And maybe milk, too.)

It was a relaxing Nora's First Christmas for most of us, with plenty of delicious food, lots of playing with new things, and only a few tears shed between the cousins. For part of the afternoon there was a marathon Lego building shop set up on two tables followed by a session of pass around the doodling book, where they each took turns coloring a page or two.

I am quietly enjoying the last of Christmas Day, in front of the twinkling tree, basking in the left-over glow from the day. I am happy and content, thinking of the day, our families, all the Littles asleep in their beds.

Happy Christmas to all!

xoxo, christine

Dec 15, 2014

So They All Rolled Over

I can see the chaos at the end of the tunnel. We are almost to the end of our quiet and low key mornings while Big Sisters are in school. Nora is flipping over like a hot pancake, fully cooked on her back and ready to go on the belly. Except, just like her sisters did, she tires of her tummy fairly quickly and lets the house know with her frustrated cries. It's only fun if someone's there entertaining her, and I have come into the room to find her flattened out, exhausted from all that hard work of holding up her head.

We didn't think we'd have to worry about Nora getting into the Christmas tree until next year, but more than once she's rolled herself right under the tree, reaching for the ornaments above her head like a little baby floor mat just for her personal entertainment. Pretty soon she's going to be rolling across the floor and scooting herself under the couch, also just as her Big Sisters before her.

I am in no rush for Nora to grow any faster. Even with some sleepless nights still, I am just enjoying my baby as much as I can. But Nora, she is ready to keep up with her Big Sisters. Her eyes follow them around the room in awe, and the smiles she gives them make my heart grow about three sizes.

She is ready to rock and roll. Me? I'm just hoping she still likes to snuggle too.

xoxo, christine

Dec 9, 2014

A Christmas Ornament for the Book Lover

Prepare to be shocked.

I got my crafting pants on and actually made a gift. (I will pause for you to pick your jaw off the floor.) Clearly, if you didn't already know, I'm not much of a crafter. I love the idea of crafts. In fact, there are many creative crafting things I would love to be able to do, but I don't. I don't know if I don't have the patience, or the skill, or if it's just too overwhelming to try something new, but whatever it is, as I've gotten older I've become less and less crafty. And since I never was all that crafty, well, you get the idea.

Something came over me last week though, perhaps some sprinkles of magic from Santa's elves, or a little too much holiday cheer, but I decided that making something was exactly what I needed to do. First, I needed to decide just who would benefit from my lovely creation. Decision? Members of my book club. I found an idea online, bought myself some Mod Podge, and proceeded to create my masterpiece(s).

The girls were pretty much in love with the whole idea, probably because they love art and I so rarely actually do projects with them when we're at the table.

So, without further background on my oh-so-lacking arty talents, I give you:

Christmas Ornament: For the Book Lover 

(Just make sure the book lover you are making this for will not be totally appalled that you had to cut a book to make this. ::Sorry Papa.:: I had a mini heart attack trying to get my courage up to rip a page out of a book, so my four-year-old did it for me.)

Here's what you need:

Cookie cutter (choose the shape you want the ornament to be, I used a tree and star)
Heavy duty paper (I used this, but any thick card stock would do)
Mod Podge
A book you don't mind destroying (I used a copy of A Christmas Carol because, Christmas.)
Colorful twine
Four-year-old to rip the book for you (optional)

Trace the cookie cutter onto the card stock. Cut out. Trace the cut-out card stock onto two pages of the book (ripping the pages out of the book first obviously work best). Glue the shapes cut from the book pages to each side of the card stock. Cover with mod podge. Dry. (Repeat as many Mod Podge layers as you'd like. I put three layers on.) Punch a hole at the top of the ornament. Tie a loop of twine through the hole.

Voilá! Homemade Ornament.

As you can see, I am pretty happy with myself, and how these turned out. I foresee many other Mod Podge crafts in my future... Clearly, I'm a natural. Watch out Martha Stewart.

xoxo, christine

PS. I got all my supplies either from my kids' art supply at our house or at Target, but I'm pretty sure these supplies are available at any craft store and on Amazon.