Since I can remember, all I've ever wanted to be was a wife and a mom.
It took a little longer than MY TIMELINE had mapped out, but in those years of singleness, the Lord was building up the man that He had in store for me.
Now, almost 10 years later, this man has walked hand in hand with me through everything life has thrown our way...
through the trials that challenged and strengthened our faith,
through loss that brought more tears than I knew I could shed,
through joys that allowed us to truly celebrate life,
through decisions that ultimately taught us rely on each other and the Lord,
and everything "mundane" in between.
This guy has my heart for as long as the Lord has us here on earth.
And I couldn't think of another person better suited to lead me and our 4 boys.
HOWEVER, somewhere along the way, the mundane things of our life slowly began to take up all the space in my mind that my husband used to occupy.
The dirty diapers, the piles of dishes and laundry, the grocery list, the screaming baby, the routines...they all seemed to win my attention and we went into survival mode!
Just a year into our parenthood journey, I found myself feeling like I was just working by my husbands side...trying to make it to the end of our day with the end goal of keeping our son alive and happy until bedtime.
Our son and our newly found "survival mode" kept me from taking the time to focus on all those things I once held dear about my husband.
Yes, we were side by side, but not always hand in hand.
I needed to refocus my thoughts on my husband.
I needed to see him as "Husband" and not JUST "helper".
My love language is gifts.
Not expensive ones. Not ones that take a lot of time and effort. Just thoughtful, simple, heartwarming gifts are where I feel loved the most.
A card, a bar of chocolate, a cup of coffee, a care package...just little gestures that ensure my heart that I matter to others. That I'm worth someones time. That's where it really gets me.
And you know what? My God knows that about me. He created me that way.
And He speaks to my heart in that way...IF I am willing to open my eyes and see the gifts He has so thoughtfully given.
I could tell what kind of morning it was going to be the second they woke up.
Legos dumping, bed jumping, car zooming, and the mischievous laughter before 7am did not bode well for any sort of calm morning...despite my deep desire for it.
I'm not sure how my kids wake up with more energy in one morning than I am alotted for the year, but one thing's for sure, that energy turns to CRAZY real fast if I'm not careful.
Too much freedom can lead to too much craziness in our home, and for me, it's a serious frustration trigger.
Rewind to having only 1 child (I now have 4), and I could already sense we needed some structure to the days that had no structure.
My oldest needed some gentle boundaries as he played or two things would happen...
1. He got CRAZY (and destroyed stuff)
2. He got BORED (and destroyed stuff)
It's a lose lose...no matter their age, no matter how many there are.
Independent play time has always been important for me to instill in my children. As much as I LOVE to get down and play with my kids and believe that the INTENTIONAL time spent with them is incredibly important, I don't want to be seen as their only source of entertainment. I've got things to do too!!
I knew I needed a plan to save my sanity yet still entertain my kiddos (and back then, with one child, I had time to plan).
I knew I needed to step in and guide his "free play" to maximize the minutes in our day FOR GOOD, cut back on the craziness, cut back on the destruction, cut back on the discipline, and give him an environment to thrive!
Snow days, Spring Break, Summer Break...whatever your need for some sanity saving activities, these 15 Minute Activity Stations will sure help break up the crazy and bring some sort of structure to your days.
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"It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring."
Don't you just WISH you were THAT OLD MAN in in the song?
Able to sleep away a rainy day...
Able to drift off to sleep with the sound of raindrops and thunder rolling in the background...
AH! It's sounds glorious.
If your house is anything like mine, a rainy day just means EXTRA LOUD FOOTSTEPS in the house, EXTRA COMPLAINING because there's "nothing to do," and an EXTRA CUP of coffee for you...cause you're not really sure what time it is.
In our house, we try to embrace a good ol' rainy day and make the most of it...so momma don't go crazy!!
So, if you're stuck at home, here are 10 of our family's favorite rainy day activities...
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"What am I doing wrong?"
"When is this going to get easier?"
"Why are they not listening to me?"
"When is the chaos going to end?"
"I just can’t do this again today."
"I just wish things were different."
Does this sound familiar? Are you in a season of HARD? Are you down in the trenches day after day, struggling to make it? Do you feel like an emotional mess? Is it hard to find the joy in your days?
I HEAR YOU!
I AM YOU!
AND I would love to encourage YOU!
I believe bananas were created to be made into banana bread.
That smell they give off as they bake in the oven is like no other. And the moment it comes out of the oven, the impatience mounts as I try to judge what is "too soon" to take it out of the pan and when it's "just right" to cut that first slice.
My answer is always : IMMEDIATELY!
I don't know about you, but I LOVE the heel of bread slathered in butter...must have gotten that from my momma, cause she's about the only other one I know who does that!
You'd think that my enthusiasm and love for banana bread meant that I love bananas.
Quite the opposite it true, however.
I've never been one to peel open a banana and take a big bite out of it.
I've never been able to stomach the idea of banana pudding.
And bananas foster? Sounds amazing, and impressive, but honestly, I'm not a fan of that either.
BUT BANANA BREAD HAS MY HEART!
I've seen a hundred different recipes for banana bread and I feel like i've tried them all. Some are too "banana-y", some are too dry, some are too oily, some are "too healthy," etc etc.
Over the years, I have unintentionally tested and tried lots of recipe and have come up with my all time favorite.
***A little personal disclaimer...I am NOT a food blogger, nor a professional recipe tester. Just a momma who loves banana bread that thought I would share with her corner of the world so you could enjoy it as much as I do.***
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I'm convinced our laundry hampers have magical powers.
Multiplying powers. Vanishing powers. And powers that allow moms to feel overwhelmed that the job is never completed!
Several years ago, a friend of mine texted me, wanting to get our kids together to play.
I only had one child at the time, she had 3, and I replied, "I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry. Maybe another day."
And then she said something that completely baffled me.
She replied back with, "I do laundry everyday, so it doesn't ever get that bad."
Every day? That sounded terrible.
As a working wife, no kids, I had ONE day for laundry. I just knocked it out, load after load.
It was folded and put away before bedtime. Granted, my loads consisted of "whites" "darks" and "towels" or "sheets" (depending on the week) at that point in my life.
My laundry routine continued into life with one child.
One day a week...laundry done! No need to think about it till next week.
(I guess I should mention that I was cloth diapering our son at the time...so I actually did laundry more frequently...but it was just diapers).
Then child #2 arrived, and I felt laundry day starting to become quite stressful.
Not only were we adding an extra load into the mix, but with 2 kids, I stopped hearing the washer when it stopped.
I didn't switch over to the dryer as quickly as I once did.
The loads were piling up.
I wasn't getting them folded and put away before bedtime, and often at 10pm when we wanted to crawl into bed for the night, our sheets were in a ball on our bed...next to the darks.
And then those wise words of my friend entered my mind..."I do laundry everyday."
Oh the wisdom of a mother of 3. They see things that mothers of 1 (and even 2) don't see.
I jumped from 2-4 kiddos, so, I guess I can't claim getting that wisdom!
Enter the "Everyday Laundry Routine."
(I promise this isn't as terrible as it sounds)
No one told me the harsh truth of becoming a new mom.
No one warned me how many tears would be shed those first few months, turn years.
No one gave me the heads up that at times, I would feel like the most selfish, incapable parent on the planet.
No one thought to mention that the one thing that I'd hoped for all my life would actually make me feel like a crazy person.
No one wants to bash the hopes and dreams of a mom to be.
No one wants to talk about how motherhood can bring out certain sin struggles that we never knew existed.
No one really wants to be the bearer of bad news.
So, I learned the hard way...
I am not a morning person. With or without kids, I am generally not the one to greet the day with excitement. I'm the "5 more minutes," kinda girl.
I'd love to say that I am able to wake up before my children, drink an entire cup of hot coffee, spend some time praying and reading the Bible, maybe even take a shower and get dressed, then welcome my children with a warm hug and fresh baked oatmeal on the table....this is NOT currently my life.
Having 4 kids in 5 years, there is no telling how many times we will be awoken in the middle of the night or what time our day would officially start, but one thing is almost certain...our mornings are CRAZY.
Babies need bottles and diaper changes, toddler needs breakfast NOW, the Kindergartener has to get off to school...and all the things! And that's BEFORE 7:30am. If we aren't careful, our "goodbye's" can turn into huffing and puffing as my husband and Kindergartener rush out the door.
My husband and I have decided to implement 7 strategies to have a "more" calm morning...knowing we can't control most variables of how our days start, we can at least control these 7 ways to walk into our day without feeling like "chicken's with our heads cut off."
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Community has always been something I craved. Something I desired. Living life alongside others just seemed right, comfortable, rewarding. Even in my childhood, the value of neighbors held a strong place in my heart.
Over the past twelve years, I have only lived in 2 houses. Eleven of those years were spent on one quiet cul-de-sac with 19 homes. I started out home ownership as a single girl with roommates, traded in roommates (and a cat) for my husband, and eventually welcomed home 4 baby boys.
Our sweet little street started out with just a handful of kids, those kids got bigger, and new babies were welcomed, and our once quiet street quickly became a bustle of activity. Come 4pm, after naps and snacks and the blazing heat had subsided, you could find all us mommy's awaiting our husbands arrival as our kiddos rode their bikes and scooters up and down the street. It was quite picturesque.
We were fortunate enough to call these neighbors friends, and were frequently welcomed into each others homes for play dates, dinners, holiday get togethers, front yard vacation bible schools, and even a bible study for the mommy's. It was a safe, comfortable, predicable little neighborhood that we had grown to love.
And then, we decided to move for my husband to pursue a new career.
We decided to say goodbye to the "cookie cutter" neighborhood. We decided to buy a fixer upper on 2 acres. We decided to buy it without me ever seeing it in person. We decided to completely start over.
One thing I have learned from leaving the "comfortable" and stepping into the unknown, is that God has bigger plans for you than you have for yourself.
We bought our house SOLELY for the property. We could envision our boys growing up with endless adventure, and that's what we desired. We were excited for the "elbow room" this property would give us, but since this wasn't a "neighborhood" we were moving into, we weren't sure what to expect from the people surrounding us. But, God knew, and He had set it all up...just for us (it seemed).
He knew we would be lonely. He knew we wouldn't have any family. He knew we craved community. He knew that the people already established on this street would be a gift to us, and allow our little family to feel at home, much sooner than we were expecting to.
We've now been on either end of the spectrum...we've welcomed new neighbors and we've been the new neighbors, and connecting with the people around us, actually living alongside them, not just physically, but emotionally, and if you're lucky, spiritually, your home will be much more full because of it.
Here are some ideas for connecting with your neighbors that we have implemented, and has brought fullness to my heart over the years.
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Welcome to Dwelling Well Mom! I'm so glad you are here! I'm Christi, wife, mom of boys, Christ follower, picture taker, DIYer, chocolate eater, and coffee drinker. Born and raised a Florida girl, now braving the mountains of Boone, NC, I'm on a journey to find peace in the midst of my mundane. Join me!