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Our Very Belated Holiday Photos

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

These were supposed to be taken after Thanksgiving and before Christmas...but that just didn't happen with sicknesses and all the stuff going on.

So we settled for after Christmas and were going to do a new year photo, which leaked into the new year...and then never got sent. 

But I learned a lot.

Like just cancel if it doesn't work, and it can not work for so many reasons. 

And make sure the outfits you chose are compatible with the weather.

And pick a location that is also suitable for the weather, and the age of your children.

And watch your children closely because they might just try to kill each other and leave marks right then and there for the camera to see.

And maybe we just won't do Christmas cards...We'll just do a yearly card whenever we get around to taking our family photos for that year...

These photos sure did sum up our year though. Except we didn't get any of our children really smiling. They had to be woken up from a nap and weren't feeling well...and they're 2 1/2 years and 14 months old...so. I like them, definitely the last of the crazy though. Lessons learned.

I love my family. 

Did I mention I made my dress and the ties?

Big shout out to Amanda Rayas Photography. She was so patient with us, and made something beautiful come out of chaos and little to work with.




























Schedules are...

Monday, March 7, 2016

*I know that this post needs some work. I've gotten a lot of constructive criticism about it and I can't wait to apply it.*

I have been trying to finish this blog post for at least 6 months now. Part of the reason I haven't finished it is because life has been busy and I haven't made my blog a priority...the other reason is that subconsciously I felt like I couldn't finish this and give advice to people when I can't even stick to my own schedule for more than a couple of days. What good is what I've learned if it doesn't work?

Lesson one: it will never be perfect, but any kind of schedule is better than no schedule and sticking to it in any way is better than nothing at all.

As Elder Holland said, "You are doing better than you think you are", and "Don't give up...Don't you quit".

Here's how this post got started.


Somehow my schedule always comes up in conversation, probably because it's such a big part of my life, and almost every time the mother's I'm talking to say that they don't have a schedule. I don't know how many times I've talked about my schedule and the response every single time is "Wow, I can't believe you get all that done, I need a copy of your schedule".


For the last 2 years, and definitely in my 26 years, I've struggled with schedules and keeping good habits and breaking bad ones and I think it's because I was never really taught how to make and keep one. I remember a few lessons here and there, I know my parents taught me through example on certain things, but all the things that I cared about just weren't getting done. There are so many things you have to do, so many things you want to do, and so many things that don't get done. If you write them all down you suddenly realize you're drowning with the guilt and overwhelming feeling of inadequacy and incompetence that there is no way all these things will ever get done. And then if you do get a schedule written down and you can't seem to stick to it, you feel utterly defeated by this schedule you've imposed upon yourself and feel even more like a failure.


Not sounding too hopeful, is it.


Once I graduated from college and became a full time homemaker and soon to be mother I tried really hard to keep a written schedule, like actually started to try. I knew it was important, and with kids it was going to be even more important. It's been 3 or 4 years now and I've tried several different ways and several different schedules, and all have failed...or should I say I have failed. As I'm coming out of the denial I've been in for the last 2 years about how hard it is to be a good mother and wife, I'm starting to see even more how absolutely necessary a schedule is, how completely essential it is to stick to it the best you can, and how completely misunderstood they are.


So the response that I always get, "I need a copy of your schedule", rattling around in my mind for a while, is how this post got started...but it is certainly not how it is going to end. I have pondered and added to this post for months now, along with continuing to change and adjust my own schedule. I can't just share with you my schedule because my schedule will not work for anyone except me, and your schedule will not work for anyone except you. But the foundational principles of a good schedule that I've learned are universal and will work to help convince you that you need to make one for yourself, and help you start it.


A Schedule is a Goal


A schedule is really a goal; you will not always accomplish everything on it but it is a worthy endeavor. When you make a schedule you are making a goal of what you want to happen that day, or that week, or month etc. Schedules and goals, often times like New Years resolutions, become forgotten about, are made half heartedly, and are completely impossible to accomplish.


In order to make goals that you can actually keep and make progress on you need to make them SMART.  S-specific, M-measurable (accountable), A-attainable (achievable, action oriented), R-realistic (relevant, reasonable, result based), and T-timely (time based).



Specific and Measurable


In order for your schedule to be specific you have to write it down, you have to write it in one place, and it has to be easily accessible and visible. If you do not have it written down or easily accessible you will never remember everything and you will never look at it: if you think you can and that you will you are in denial and need to get help.


It needs to be in one place because you will become confused or lose track of things if different parts of your schedule are written in different places. (Small side note: You can and should keep a journal of sorts with a master list of 1, 5 and 10 year goals, and this is where you would take notes on your schedule, that's why I say journal because it's going to have a lot of thoughts and notes in it. So that technically is a second place, but what I'm talking about is your daily/weekly schedule, that should be kept in one easily accessed place.)If you have some on the chalk board, and some on your calendar, and some on your refrigerator, and some on your computer, and some on your phone, and then a binder or a notebook on top of that...you will never look at all of them, it's just too much for your brain. It also needs to be measurable because you need to hold yourself accountable. You need to be able to check off what you did and make note of what you didn't do, you need to keep track of what worked and what didn't. If you're not holding yourself accountable then you are not looking at your schedule, and if you're not looking at it you sure aren't going to be following it.


Now don't make the mistake that I made. I wrote down a schedule and then printed it out for every day of the year. I didn't use it once. There are many beautiful books that people have out there that you can buy, or even free printables, but I find them all to be too strict. There is no room to grow, no room to change, and your schedule is always changing. (But on a side note, do what works for you! If printables and books are what work for you like they do for many people, please use them.)


Too Strict: What should be strict?


Some things have to be strict in your life, in your schedule, while others should not be. Some things are set pretty much in stone, these are the musts or the golf balls in your jar. Being able to tell the difference between the good, the better and the best is a skill that takes much practice and training to acquire, but also perspective and contemplation and knowing what you want your life to be and the steps that will take you in that direction.


If you haven't heard this analogy, well here you go. You've got a pickle jar, some water, some sand and some golf balls; good, better, and best. If you try and put the sand in first, you can't fit all the golf balls and the water inside the pickle jar; there just isn't enough room. If you try and put the water first, and then the golf balls and the sand, you can't fit them all in; there just isn't enough room. After trying to put the good and the better before the best, it starts to seem impossible that you can fit all three into your life at all. And then you try the order best, better, good...you put the golf balls in first, then the sand fills in all the empty spaces, and then the water fits in nicely after that, and you're confused. Maybe you're not confused, but I am, at least my natural man is. Remember we want the sand and water in the jar, they are not bad, it's just that if we put them in first we can't fit in what's most important, the golf balls. Sometimes golf balls are things that can't be changed or that are always the same, like what time the kids need to be at school or picked up, what time your piano lesson is, what time your weekly workout group meets...sometimes they are very strict. Other times golf balls are less time related and more important in a spiritual way, like family home evening, family prayer and scripture study, eating meals together as a family...not strict in a time sense, but you'd like them to be because these are the bests in your life, the things that are most important to you. You should be strict about the golf balls, because if you aren't no one else will.


If you don't make the conscious effort to put that golf bar in your jar before you start putting sand and water in, odds are you are not going to get it in by the end of the day. You will have made a choice, whether it feels like it was your choice or not, to not do a golf ball. It is your choices that are going to shape your life and your days, so make the best ones.


Often times we miss a golf ball, it gets forgotten or rolls off the table. If we keep missing them, or choose not to put them in the pickle jar, this choice will lead to confusion, anxiety, frustration, tardiness, resentment, loosing the spirit in your home and your testimony...the list goes on and on and none of the things on that list are good. Sometimes it may feel like it's not our fault, "we have too much homework or work around the house to do family home evening or scripture study tonight"...you can blame it all you want on your circumstances, but YOU shape your life. You are not forced to do anything, you are not something that is acted upon, things do not just happen to you, it's all about how you've responded to these trials. There are 24 hours in the day, every day, and you have to choose what you will do with those 24 hours.


So that means taking the time to make a list (if you do it right, a little at a time, it should be pretty extensive and it should take you awhile). That means writing down everything that is important to you and then organize them into your three columns of good, better and best. Now I'm not saying that this isn't going to change, because some of it should change, quite often actually. You should review your schedule and make adjustments sometimes as often as every week once you have it established. You are going to add things that become important to you, whether they are strict things like appointments or they be spiritual things like reading to your children more or taking more self care time. Every day as you evaluate how it went you're going to find things that worked, things that didn't work, and how you want to change it. Sometimes you will know you want something changed and can change it right away, other times you know you want something to be different and you just don't know how to do it yet. You have to write it down, you have to take notes, it has to be in one place and measurable, and it can't be too strict because you are going to be making changes.


Your have to remember not to be too strict with yourself either. Somedays are going to be rainy days and your plans will have to change. Somedays people are going to get sick and things will have to get canceled. Some days you're going to wake up and want to go back to bed and put on a sad movie and cry and ignore the world, and you'll have to change your schedule to accommodate that. Somedays your babies will cry and cry and you have to do what's best for them, and you're going to have to change your schedule.


Some things shouldn't be strict, that's why creating time blocks give you the prefect balance of strict and flexible. Some things that you have that are strict but that shouldn't be strict, like sand and water, are going to mess you up and cause resentment and frustration when you don't finish them, that will lead to selfishness, which isn't good for a family or an individual. Some things should be strict, and some things should not be, and you have to decide by trial and error what should and shouldn't be.


 Accountability


I want to touch quickly on accountability. As I said before, no one will hold you accountable except yourself. If you don't do what your supposed to do, your spouse can nag you and resent you, your children can scream at you and hate you, but the only person that can actually make you change is you. You have to have the desire to be accountable to yourself. Learn about internal locus of control, another discussion for another time...


One way I've found to hold myself accountable is through my schedule, but you have to make your schedule in such a way that you can measure and track yourself so you can see your successes and failures. So far I've liked using Wunderlist, because I can make a specific schedule with routines and subtasks that I can check off if I've done. This way I can easily see what I've accomplished, what I haven't, and easily make changes for the next week because it's all digital and in one place.


Attainable and Realistic and Timely


This is where that side not earlier came in, to have a second journal of notes and longer goals.


Your daily/weekly schedule should be attainable. You SHOULD be able to do everything on that list for that day. Now that doesn't mean you put every single golf ball in every single jar of every single day. Some things that are important are done once a week (FHE, piano lessons, etc) and other important things are done once (or twice) a day (scripture study, prayer, dropping off and picking the kids up from school, etc). There are many golf balls, and you have to space them out for the season of your life.  Right now I do not have an hour a day to study my scriptures, and read for fun, and work on my blog...or paint my nails so that they always look nice...or to sew as often as I would like...But these good and better things are still in my schedule (there are in a flexible time block).


Attainable means achievable...the A in SMART can also stand for action oriented. What I've learned in trying to keep an attainable schedule is that it's all in how you write it, and being flexible with your schedule and being just as flexible with yourself. You can't beat yourself up if it didn't go perfect the way you wanted it to, you just have to learn from that day and keep trying. I built flexibility into my schedule by making time blocks. Some time blocks are golf balls all by themselves: like my piano lessons, they come at the same time (usually if no one is late) every week, and meals and preparing meals, they come three times a day and happen at about the same time every day and take about the same amount of time to prepare. Other time blocks are a certain amount of time that I have to get some things done, whether it's chores, or an appointment, or something I want to do, I have a certain amount of time to choose what I will do.


See how achievable leads into realistic and timely? If you have everything under the sun to get done in one day, it's not going to get done. There will be no physical way to do it all. What will happen is you'll make your schedule, and then you'll adapt it. You'll find that you have way too much stuff crammed into one day, so you'll have to move some golf balls around throughout the week and maybe get rid of some sand and some water in order to make the most important things fit. You'll keep whittling down your day until it is realistic (or you can have the opposite problem, where your schedule is too light and you have down time with nothing to do. This is bad, this is how laziness happens. When most people think of "down time" they are thinking of self care, and that should be written into your schedule.)


Whittling down your day to be realistic and achievable is difficult. Sometimes your feel like you should be able to get all those things done, it's not too much stuff, why can't you do it? Other times you feel like you shouldn't have to give up some of the wants you have, some of the sand and the water. This is where discipline and perspective come in. The golf balls are what's important for you and for your family, if that means you have to choose a golf ball over a cup of sand you have to make the conscious choice to choose the golf ball, and that means choosing it in your schedule. Often times that means building up to it. There are choices that you make earlier in your day that will affect your choices later in your day. If your choices earlier in the day are going to hinder you choosing the golf balls that are scheduled for the evening you are already not consciously choosing the golf ball. You have to make your schedule in such a way that it helps you to make those good decisions, it makes it easier to choose the best over the good and better. One way that it can help is by consciously cutting out the sand and the water that is getting in the way of the golf balls, by writing down what you want to happen and then adjusting until it works.


Timely


Part of adjusting is giving yourself enough time. I always fall into this trap. Even now it's one of my biggest misconceptions: how much time do I really have, how much time does something really take me to do, just time in general. 


My schedule failed for the longest time because I thought I could control every detail of my life, and I thought if it should only take a few minutes it should only take a few minutes, right? Wrong. Wrong with me, and wrong with kids. I always think that I can do something for a few minutes, like look at Facebook, or work on a project, and then the next time I look at the clock it's been an hour! Or I think, it'll only take me 10 minutes to get all the kids out the door...and then you get in the car and you are super late...where did the time go?


The solution: setting timers/time blocks and giving yourself enough time to do what needs to be done.


I think the best way to describe this is to give you some examples of my schedule and explain how they came about.


Timers

Wasting time doesn't feel good. It may feel good in the moment to sit down and veg out watching a movie or looking at Facebook, but then an hour, or two, or three has gone by and that uncomfortable feeling that you've gotten nothing done (not even any self care) starts to sink into the bottom of your stomach. Set a timer. If you want to look at social media, give yourself 10 minutes and make sure that those 10 minutes are not interfering with something more important, this must be 10 minutes that you are taking for yourself and it has to be productive. Do what you need to do, look at what you want to look at, and when the timer goes off have the discipline to put it away.

A side note about distractions. I think this is a good place to put this side note because part of self care is doing something you enjoy...for me and for many of us I think, that is browsing Facebook, watching a movie, reading a book, or doing a project. These good things turn into distractions really quickly if we don't restrain them by setting a timer of some sort. We've found that we watch way too much tv, it has become a distraction in our home and we are becoming addicted. It eats away at us, we put it on because we are tired or angry or I can't stand the amount of crying that is going on any more, and then we can't turn it off or turn away and then all of a sudden the movie is over and two hours have gone by completely wasted. We've decided to reign it in, if we are going to watch a movie we're going to watch it as a family and it's going to be a conscious activity we are doing together instead of just having something on. Also I can't have it on while I'm doing house work anymore because Jacob will just sit down and watch and then I will do the same. Sometimes we treat ourselves and after lunch we can watch 30 minutes of something...sometimes it'll take us more than a week to get through one movie! But when these things are kept in check, within healthy time limits and bounds, we feel much lighter and happier. I think this is a good example for any distraction in your life. 


If you don't plan a way to prevent or defeat distractions, they will destroy your success. 


If you are thinking there's no way I can rid my life of distractions, remember we've been commanded to always be anxiously engaged in good works. A distraction is defined as something that prevents you from giving your full attention to something else. Most distractions are pointless and cause nothing but sorrow in the long run, so why wouldn't you cut out the pointless things in your life that cause sorrow? Now this is not to say that all distractions are bad. Life should still be fun and spontaneous, have surprises that keep you from doing other things, but when distractions take over your life they have become like bad cholesterol and you need to get rid of as much as you can, and replace it with some good cholesterol (is that a bad analogy? I liked it...).


Time Blocks

I've set up time blocks, a block of time that I have to do something or somethings. This allows my schedule to be flexible and strict at the exact same time.

Some examples are

Morning and Evening Routine
Get out the door Routine
Meal Routine

You may look at my routines and think, well duh, why did you feel the need to write those down? Because when I didn't have them written down I wasn't doing them, I was just surviving instead of actively living and shaping my life.


My morning routine time block is simple. I have a time that I wake up and prep myself for the day, whether that's a shower and makeup or just brushing my teeth and getting workout or cleaning clothes on. I prep myself before the kids get up because if I don't and I'm still finishing up when they wake up there will be crying and screaming because they're hungry and they need diaper changes, and if I try to finish after breakfast, lets just be honest, I never make it back upstairs to finish...at that point I feel like I've lost the battle and why bother. If we're going somewhere and I have to finish getting ready, that means we're already going to be 10 minutes late. Unless you have a really good excuse or it's nothing serious, being late is usually rude, plain and simple.


I also make the time to pray, I try to give myself 5 minutes. Again, being honest, you can't say a sincere and heartfelt humble prayer when you have a toddler climbing all over you and a baby bitting you and a dog whining at you because she has to pee.


My morning routine has all the things in it that I need to do to start my day off right, before the kids wake up. I used to have a lot of things in it, but I've whittled out things that I just don't fit right. For example, I read and ponder a scripture or two, but I save my studying for later in the evening. I don't try to workout anymore before the kids wake up because I'd have to get up at 5 to fit that in, and my body has been telling me "no" for months now, so I've put that somewhere else. I've had to work this time block to have a few things that I need to do into an hour, I can't have too many things in this hour because 6 times out of 7 the kids wake up earlier if I'm making noise (how do they hear everything in the morning but nothing at night?). This routine is short, simple, but if I don't do it my day does not start off very well.


My get out the door time block takes place after breakfast and it has a few very important parts to it that for some reason take a lot of time. We used to be late, like 30 minutes late, to things because I wasn't giving myself enough time. Getting the kids dressed is important, brushing their teeth and their hair is important, waiting for Chase to poop so I don't have to change his diaper when we get there is important...I've learned to give myself a lot of time in order to get it all done. 10 minutes for teeth and diapers, 10 minutes to get everyone dressed (10 minutes before that to clean them up from breakfast and go and get their clothes and tooth brushes), 10 minutes to pack a diaper bag and any last minute diapers and you just had your shoe on where did you put its, and 10 minutes to get everyone in the car. Without fail, I use every one of those almost 50 minutes. So if we need to be somewhere by 8:45, we need to be getting into the car by 8:25, so I can be behind the wheel by 8:35 so we can get there on time (and that's if the driving time is under 10 minutes) so I need to have them done with breakfast and getting a move on by 7:45...which is not a problem if I've done my morning routine.


You have to give yourself enough time (be reasonable, and sometimes give yourself an extra 10 minutes for crazy things that life throws at us) to do something or you are literally setting yourself up for failure.


Meal routines are simple. Dinner usually takes an hour to prep on long days, so I have to start right after my piano lessons finish around 4:30 so that dinner is ready before 6 (this is taking into account that I have a meal plan for that week and have already decided what I'm making and have defrosted anything that needed it the night before). Lunches usually take 30 minutes to prep, and breakfast too depending on what we're having (on days I need to be somewhere by 8:45 we have cold cereal or yogurt or left overs, something that does not require 30 minutes that I don't have). And then you have around 30-45 minutes to eat. That's about 3 1/2 hours of our day we spent preparing and eating food. We have to eat, and we have to prepare food, right? That's a pretty big golf ball. Besides the fact that if you don't eat you'll die, and if you don't eat well (take the time to plan and eat well) you'll die sooner and less healthy, and besides the glaringly obvious and extreme...you get hangry and tired and frustrated and you can't do anything you want to without snapping or getting a sometimes debilitating  headache.


Some time blocks are really simple and short, and others are very long and have many different important items in them. A short one is our nap time routine, it consists of getting comfortable (I can't stand sleeping in jeans or anything uncomfortable, so I change my babies into pjs for their naps), then reading books, then singing lullabies and rocking my babies, and then putting them down. Another time block is our night time routine which starts from about 4 (getting dinner ready) and ends at about 10. This night time routine starts at dinner, then to baths and family time, then to getting ready for bed, then to Robbie and I cleaning up the house, then some personal time to do some things (I play the piano, Robbie exercises), and then we wind down and read together, talk...we've scheduled in time for each other and for ourselves, because if you don't make the time it won't happen.


Now again, you might think, duh. But how many people do you know that can't seem to do these seemingly simple things like make time to pray or get ready for the day, or eat well, or be on time...I know a lot of people that can't do these things and they make excuses. Not only do I know people, but I was one of them (and often times still am, because I'm human and make mistakes). I was having a really hard time doing the important things until I wrote down my schedule and started living it and making it a habit.



Too Flexible


Having time blocks can lead you into the trap of your schedule being too flexible. If so flexible that there is no structure at all then it is no longer a schedule or a goal, it's just a wish list you once made up that doesn't matter.


For example, I have a time block for laundry and chores, but that's all I put on my schedule. It was not specific enough, way too flexible, I would get to that part of the day and say forget laundry I'd rather do something else...and then by the end of the week the laundry was sky high and my house was a mess. I've since made a list of all the laundry that has to been done every week, and every day I try to do a load or two. I tried to clean my whole house every week but it's impossible with the kids, so I've now cut it in half, instead of dusting the whole house every week I switch the upstairs and downstairs week to week, I clean one bathroom a week, and then that leaves time to vacuum and mop (with my littles and the drool and food mess they make, that is definitely the most important right now).


Too flexible will also lead to not holding yourself accountable, which we touched on earlier. You have to be able to mark what you did and didn't do. Like I said earlier, I like using wunderlist and I can see what chores I've completed and what I haven't. If you are not accountable to anything, or anyone, you're not going to do it.


Because I'm holding myself accountable, I can see where I'm lacking. If I didn't get to something like the laundry or cleaning the dishes it gets immediately noticed, but if I don't get to something like reading my scriptures or praying sincerely, something that you don't notice as much because it's not so much in your face as in it's dying in your heart...I see it not checked off and know I need to do that first thing the next day. The next day, that needs to be a priority. You see how that also sounds a lot like the mistake of making your schedule too strict. It has to be flexible, but not too flexible...it has to be strict, but not too strict. There is a prefect balance somewhere in there.



Other Thoughts


Don't panic when things go wrong, something will always go wrong. But a lot of times when you're working to accomplish your goals and being grateful for your reality, you will find that a lot of things will go right too.


Be aware of the choices you are making. Think about whether it needs to be done at all before you do it, and if it isn't important and will not bring you lasting joy and happiness don't do it. This makes me think of simplifying. There are so many women out there, myself included, who set their minds to do the impossible and then are stressed to the max and completely upset and getting no sleep and ignoring other important things in their life to finish this thing...this thing that really doesn't matter. All they had to do was just say no, I don't have time to do that, or simplify it so that it wasn't so time consuming, or if they had given themselves enough time and worked on it a little bit at a time months in advance....


Do the things with deadlines first.

Adjust Adjust Adjust


You must have a focus. Mine is a happy home and a happy family that is centered on Christ, what are you working towards?


You have to do things when you can and accept that about yourself. If you are not a morning person and you've been trying to be a morning person for your entire life, thing is that you are probably not going to be able to keep a full morning routine (so don't schedule yourself to wake up at 5 and get all these things done, because odds are you won't). But you still need to start your day, so when you do keep your routine short and simple so it doesn't overwhelm or stress you out.


This is not a perfect post. This is in no way all encompassing. I'm sure I've missed things, I'm sure that I have much more to learn, but this is what I've learned so far and it has been a tremendous help to me and I wanted to share it.


Here is what most of my Monday's look like...then again we haven't gone to the park in weeks because of sickness...

Wunderlist

6-8:30 Morning Routine
subtasks
     Wake up
     Pray Sincerely
     Read books
     Get ready
     Take care of Indy
     Make breakfast
     Eat together and listen to conference
     Brush kids teeth
     Chase's eczema, get kids dressed

8:45-9:15 Piano lesson

9:15-12 Walk to the park

12-1 Lunch and nap routine
     Make and eat lunch together
     Read books, change clothes, lullabies

If Jacob isn't tired yet
1-2 Personal time with Jacob, then put him down

2-3:15 Get stuff done
     Laundry
     Chore
     Anything with a deadline

3:15-4:15 Piano lessons

4:15-10 Night Routine
     4-6:30 Make and eat dinner
     6:30-7 Baths, lotion, and teeth
     7-7:30 FHE, clean up toys
     7:30-8 Read books, scriptures, sing primary songs, family and individual prayer
     8-10 Dishes and clean up, piano and exercise, pack diaper bag, 5 minute budget, quality time

Most of my days are like this. They are always changing, no day is ever the same, every day has different activities, every day has different challenges...Just for example, today my piano lessons have been canceled, the twins are sick, it's raining cats and dogs...so our new schedule is to get some things done around the house that have been missed and to spend time cuddling sick babies. 

Your schedule is what you make it, it's whatever you do during your day. Once you've got your foundation it doesn't take you very long to make adjustments and be flexible when life throws you curveballs. With a good foundation you will, more often than not, never wonder what in the world you're going to do with your day or feel like you have nothing to do, or feel unsuccessful or like you have no purpose. At least, that's what it's done for me. Right now my schedule is full of taking care of babies, and that is the season of my life. You have to accept and work with your reality, you have to love and be grateful for every day and for what you have been given instead of focusing on what you don't have. A schedule has helped me focus on what I have instead of what I don't. 

I hope this has been helpful. Good luck to you!

Do you have any ideas and advice from your schedule! I'm sure we'd love to hear your success stories, I know I do.
     




2015 in Review

Thursday, January 14, 2016

2015 was another year of survival, but I didn't want to accept that. It took me an entire year to figure it out, that I can't do it all. 

But I can love these babies, and boy do I love them. I'm going to try every day to love them better.

Thank you for a wonderful year. I wish I had taken more pictures, I wish I had written more memories down...I wish I could remember every little moment that I've had with these angels...but time is funny that way. Time goes by so slow when you're living it and you're exhausted every minute of every day, and then all of a sudden a year has gone by and you don't know how it came and went so fast, or how you can't seem to remember watching them grow up.

Thank goodness for pictures. Now that I'm actually getting dressed and doing my face in the morning I might make an appearance in more of these (although I really don't like selfies and there's usually no one to take a picture), but now that I'm changing fewer diapers and getting more sleep and getting my kids dressed as well pictures will hopefully become more of a habit than an after thought. I'm grateful for digital everything, it makes remembering some of these moments so easy.

That's a gift.




 This was the first day of 2015. They still looked like little old men. Still beautiful. So small. If I didn't have proof I don't think I'd believe they were ever that small.
 The first of many kisses.
 And poop faces.
 And midnight feedings...and wanting so badly for them to just stay asleep on my chest, but really wanting to go to bed and get a few hours myself.
 Oh that smile. One cookie brings a world of joy.

 Daddy. They love him.
 I read somewhere that kids love making messes, but they also will always put things in their mouths. I tried cool whip, and turns out Jacob hates getting his hands dirty.
 The first time he copied daddy
 They still look so similar here.
 Their blessing day. It still means so much to me that Riley could wear my blessing dress.
 Look at us! Getting chunky.

His early smiles reminded me of Toothless.
Often times they make the same faces at the same time. Sometimes I get it on camera.
I love my sister.
Awake smiles are great. Dreaming smiles are amazing.
 I think she looks like a Veater.
Sleeping babies. This is the "please hold me, please don't put me down" clutch.
 Our first date after the twins.
 Jacob broke an old pair of glasses, so I popped out the lenses and they were his favorite toy for awhile.

 The closest we get to all three smiling and all of them looking at the camera.
 And then we get an elbow in the face.
 And a pat on the head.
 Here it comes
 A kiss!
 Two babies, two kisses
 Learning to blow, that was fun
 Tile and rocket ships
Family photos. They couldn't sit up straight yet.
 And Jacob started not doing what we asked him to do. Independent, free thinker.
Cute, adorable, independant little cub.
 Physical therapy trying to fix the flat spot.


 The struggle is real. Three babies, three smiles, six eyes, one camera.

 I love exploring with him, and his inquisitive face.
 Working with the young women was fun. Jacob was just excited about the balloons.


 Can you tell which is which? Already Jacob and Chase have a brother connection.
 We discovered static electricity.
They barely fit on my chest. They grow so much so fast.
 Started the pink and the fluff.
 The first time he used a spoon to feed himself!
 I didn't realize it was raining while he was playing outside...oops.

 Everything is a toy!
 6 months?
Why were we eating in their room?
 That's the "I tried this and it didn't taste as yummy as I thought it would" face
 He tries to copy them in every way, and that hasn't stopped.
 And they idolize him.

 Our first weekend away from the kids! Boy did we need a break. I love you kids, but you kind of drive me nuts.
 Physical therapy didn't work. We had to do a helmet.

I cut off all my hair.
 They love the dog
 Jacob loves his dad, and fireworks.
We sold our house, and moved to Clovis.
They sleep so funny sometimes.
You have a face!
Oh! Hello mom. And that tuft of hair coming out of the top of his helmet!
 I'm
 so
close to crawling
I work my way down...that's how I roll.
 I want that. This was just the beginning, and it has only escalated.
 He also copies me. It is really cute.
 Intercepted!
 It was sunny, and bed time, and raining really hard. We went in to see if he was okay, and he was at the window saying "uh oh!"
 He copies daddy too.
 Nana can't help but cover him in kisses.
Jacob's 2nd birthday party.





One of his favorite things, whatever it is he's pouring it.
 He has such a sweet tooth.
 We really love the dog.

 And Chase is such a momma's boy
Got the soap...and went to town
 Always smiling while trying to drink.
 Finally! All at one table.

 Trying to make the doctors fun.
Sometimes he wears my shoes (a little boy in high heels is really funny, clack clack clack clack clack) sometimes it's daddy's shoes. Either way, shoes are amazing.
 Finally climbing a little
 So tired they all three fell asleep at Costco
 The very last helmet checkup.
 My poor baby...sometimes he wakes up from his nap still tired, so I cuddle with him and read him back to sleep.
They really entertain each other. Just today (2016) Jacob started playing imagination with them. A fake cupcake and sippy cup, nummy nummy as he said.


 He did eventually get upset because he couldn't back track.
 They are always all up in my business.
 We came to church without daddy, the twins were sick. He was so cute I couldn't help myself.
They LOVE the swings.


Trying to match all my kids has become a creative expression, and I love it so much.

Hey baby!
hey baby...
Hey. Baby.
Babbyyy
 Boxes. Who knew.
 Oh hi mom


 We love the park so much.
 They really do idolize him
 They started to play together. It often times ends in tears, hair pulling, scratching and biting.

We really love the park.
 He is so smart. And so good about getting a whole bunch of stuff out so his siblings have stuff to play with too.






 Aunt Sara



 Nana Great

 Someone pointed out that Jacob didn't have a tail...I hadn't even thought about that.
His first sour candy. He tried to scratch it off his tongue.




 Shoes...we love shoes...
 Our first spaghetti
 Jacob wasn't thrilled about the broccoli not being whirred up.
 Happy one year babies

Jacob is such a good big brother, making sure Chase could see the reindeer.

Nose?

And the reindeer got the cup too.
 
I'm getting better at cutting his hair, but he doesn't seem so sure.
But, I can't walk yet, I need that...
 Merry Christmas















There are lots of smiles. You add it all up and look at the big picture, we had a really great year. You have to focus on the positives, accept the negatives, and enjoy every moment that came your way.
 
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