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More from Christmas Breaking

The last of the photos from last year Christmas Break. Again, mostly sitting, crafting, sitting and some Poochie snuggling. It currently feels like a tundra in our town with day 5 of freezing (literally) temperatures. Guess it goes to show – be careful what you wish for. At this point, Poochie may need to have her wardrobe beefed up. Two sweaters just aren’t enough.

More from Christmas Breaking via grateful simplicity

 

More from Christmas Breaking via grateful simplicity

More from Christmas Breaking via grateful simplicity

More from Christmas Breaking via grateful simplicity

 

More from Christmas Breaking via grateful simplicity

Nobody likes a good craft more than this guy.

 

More from Christmas Breaking via grateful simplicity

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Happy New Year 2018

Happy New Year!

2018: The Year of More of You, Less of Me.

2017 has come to close and today marks the first day of 2018. New year, clean slate, fresh start, endless opportunities. I’ve not been one to make resolutions because I’ve found more times than not they get abandoned around February. However, this morning I found myself writing them out in my prayer journal. Figured this may hold myself more accountable than in years past.

1. Have a teachable spirit

2. Pray about everything

3. More of God, less of me.

4. Spend individual quality time with each family member

5.  Display more patience

6. Make the time to do things I enjoy things I used to enjoy- photography, blogging, sewing, etc.

7. And the obligatory ‘clean eating’ (for good measure)

We have loved being on Christmas break- time at home wearing pajamas all day, some days doing a lot of nothing while other days doing a lot of somethings. We’ve cleaned, lounged, binged watched The Crown (and working my way through Dontown Abbey again starting with Season 1), painted four rooms, visited with friends, took kids shopping to spend their Christmas money (sorry Mike, they aren’t savers), lounged some more, used my label maker for everything I could get my hands on, set up a media room for the kids, undecorated, cleaned out the attic, organized drawers, baked, cleaned some more and enjoyed every second of it. These two weeks are most definitely my favorite time of the year because the best gift is the gift of time.

And speaking of gifts, I guilted the girls into allowing me to take their photograph (see #6 above) by telling them to consider it a Christmas present from them to me. It worked.

Happy New YEAR 2018 via grateful simplicity

 

Happy New Year 2018

Happy New YEAR 2018 via grateful simplicity

 

Happy New Year 2018

Happy New Year 2018

Happy New Year 2018

Cheers to 2018!

Party Over Here, Party Over There

There’s a party over here, a party over there, waive your hands in the air shake your derriere.

We’ve made it halfway through party season thanks to the girls now busy social calendar. Parenting sure does change as children get older. There is much more at stake now and… who knew I would be a part time Uber Driver. I don’t get paid of course. And technically I don’t work for Uber. Britton and Kenley’s personal chauffeur is more accurate.  But if I were to get paid for Ubering their little fannies everywhere I would make a killing’!

Raynes has really gotten the hang of riding his bike without training wheels and often asks to ride his bike in our cul-de-sac. Round and round, and round he goes. Sometimes for 45 minutes pedaling in circles. Literally. Occasionally we tell him he can ride down to the end of the street and back.

Kenley, after spending yesterday in the bed with a cold, had no choice but to get outside and ride bikes with her younger brother (just call me Tiger Mom). She may look 17 but she’s still 11 and the perfect ‘bike riding with your brother’ age (no she does not pedal round and round the cul-de-sac. Well, not just the cul-de-sac.

Party Over Here, Party Over There

Party Over Here, Party Over There via grateful simplicity

 

christmas break bike house4-1

 

Party Over Here, Party Over There via grateful simplicity

 

Party Over Here, Party Over There via grateful simplicity

 

these are my Christmas plans...

these are my Christmas plans…

round and round she goes

round and round she goes

Party Over Here, Party Over There via grateful simplicity

Party Over Here, Party Over There via grateful simplicity

 

Party Over Here, Party Over There via grateful simplicity

 

Children Spaced in Age {a repost}

Children Spaced in Age

This older post by Clover Lane about having children spaced in age has been popping into my thoughts lately. I discovered it years ago and reposted then, and it has proven to be oh so true with my own children. Any parent with children that may not be close in age can appreciate this mother’s wisdom (and so glad I rediscovered her blog!)

 

You will enjoy this baby SO much. But, you will not be sitting in a rocking chair in a quiet room, looking like a Pottery Barn Kids ad. Instead, depending on the demeanor of your baby, you will either be constantly wearing an extra appendange on your body in form of a baby-filled sling, or be adding C batteries to your grocery list every week for your Graco swing.

You will not be pondering over what a cute outfit to dress the baby in today, instead you will be grabbing what is clean from the laundry basket. As that baby gets older, you will not be sitting on the floor for hours watching him or her stack blocks and thinking ‘what a genius’. They will explore their world without someone constantly breathing down their back, which turns out to be a better way anyways.

You will have to relearn some things. I had completely forgotten how impossible it is to give an infant a bath and of course, you will have a whole new set of instructions from the nurses on umbilical cord care. They apparently change that every year or so. The immunizations are all different too…like they added 75 more. But you are 34. You are not afraid to speak your mind. Take advantage of your confidence. You earned it.

You might not feel like there is enough hours in the day to get all that you need finished. Although you will reassure your kids that there is enough love to go all around, as you lay in bed at night, (usually with a baby attached to you), you will tear up, because you will feel like maybe there is, in fact, not enough love to pass around. You will think of who you didn’t hug today, or if you said anything but ‘Don’t do this, Do that, Can you please’.

Children Spaced in Age

 

It will eat you up sometimes, usually when you are going on 4 hours of broken sleep. Your mind can play tricks on you and anxiety will fill in the empty spots. Don’t do that to yourself. That friend I talked about yesterday? I asked her once, when she was adopting her seventh, if she ever felt like she didn’t have enough to go around. And she said, “I concentrate on what I DO give my kids, not on what I don’t.” Good advice. Take it. Full tummies, warm bed. Start there.

You will have some harried moments, but remember those moments…sometimes there will be nothing you can do about them, and other times you will have to think, “What can I do to change this…it’s not working for us.

I remember once complaining and complaining about this travel soccer I had my daughter in. Her friends would convince her every year to try out and then she’d beg me to let her. My husband always thought it was a good idea, too, as she was pretty decent at it. But it was ME who had to drag all these kids around, nursing the baby in the middle of a cornfield in the hot sun, not watching a minute of anything, being crabby all the way there and back, all of us hungry and thirsty, the baby fussy. It ended up my daughter didn’t really like soccer that much, but just didn’t know how to resist the friend-pressure. Some of my lowest points of parenting occured because of that stress. Don’t do that to yourself.

 

Children Spaced in Age

 

Get rid of all that extra stuff, and just stick with the important stuff. If you don’t know what the important stuff is, I can reassure you that it’s not 2nd grade football skills training, or travel dance competitions. These were all invented by people with much less children than you have now, and for many other reasons I won’t go into here. My point is this: Don’t fight this adjustment. Accept that you will have to make changes, but let me reassure you, that you will ask yourself, “Why didn’t we do this sooner?” You will grow closer as a family and less stressed as a mother. Embrace the old-fashioned values of a big family. A swing, some grass, and a good book is all kids need in the entertainment department. It would be more than the majority of kids in the world have. Always keep in mind ‘global’ parenting and ‘historic’ parenting…they make the expectations place on us laughable.

Children Spaced in Age

 

Besides that great gift, you will be giving your older children the gift of independence. Trust me, it was time anyways. They will learn some lessons and be better for it. If you don’t have time to check for homework and they didn’t either, they will learn it’s their responsibility. They might have to hear the word ‘no’ more often, if driving across town to play at a friends house for two hours doesn’t work with the baby’s nap. They will have to take care of themselves more, and be doted on less. You will kick yourself for not doing some of this earlier, and be surprised at how much you were holding them back from some really necessary lessons and experiences. Count yourself lucky…some parents wait till NEVER. It doesn’t turn out so good 20 years later.

Now I’ll get to the best part of all. Your older children with that baby… your heart will explode with the amount of love and tenderness they will show.

Children Spaced in Age

Get them involved right away. They will be your salvation in terms of managing this large plate you have in front of you. When they think you are not aware of their prescence, tell your husband how much you noticed so-and-so loves their baby sister or brother, and how much help they give. They will step up to the task unbelievably. Teach them how to hold the baby, how to swaddle, how to change a diaper (wet, or course). Have them run and get a fresh outfit, and don’t cringe at the color combo. Who cares. When the baby gets older, they are the best entertainers. You will never have to occupy that baby’s time. Set him out in the family room in his jumpy seat and the hoopla will get him good and tired. Don’t ever feel guilty for asking them for help. Give them new responsibilites. Ask one of them to make lunch, even if it’s just peanut butter on Ritz. They will love to do it for you if you thank them so much and brag about them. Don’t say “the baby”, say OUR baby. The gift you are giving them is priceless. They are learning how to care for your grandchildren. That is truly awesome and worth any inconveniece or adjustment that this little surprise threw your way.

One more thing. With my older three, I couldn’t wait to “the next”. The next stage, the next word, the next tooth… With this little guy, you will do the opposite. You will bawl at every stage. Be prepared.

You are not crazy. It’s completely normal. Birthdays are the worse. Have tissues handy.”

Merry Christmas from the Robinsons

If I were super organized and sent a Christmas letter to family and friends it would read a little something like this:

 

Twenty sixteen came in quick and is quickly turning into a year ending with a seven. We have settled into our no-longer-so-new house with two three kids, two dogs, Meme, and her over-weight Persian cat named Lilli.

Britton is in 8th grade and spends her time playing soccer, studying (straight A’s! this year) and listening to music. She also tried volleyball for the first time this year and is getting ready for the opening of tennis season.  She went on a mission trip with our church youth group this summer and, despite my faults, has turned out to be a wonderful teenager. My prayer is that she continues to make good decisions, put others first, and remember Whose she is.

Kenley stays busy with her running club and cheer leading. She is on the Lower School Student Council and recently gave a speech titled, ‘Why Tallahassee is the best place to live.’ Bet you didn’t know that we have one of the nation’s first Christmas service?! At any given time she is readying 2-3 books but, I am sad to say, loves her iPad equally. She has grown so tall over the past year that she has all but caught up to both her sister and me. She has scored some new clothes in the process, is quite the writer, and she constantly reminds (and often times shows) us that the middle children are so sweet.

Five year-old Raynes wakes up happy, asking questions (no less than 194 a day)– and stays chatty and upbeat all day every day. He is quite the artist and likes dart guns, riding his bicycle, Poochie and hunting with his daddy. He doesn’t like it when we tell him he looks like the Elf on the Shelf and I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes a professional greeter at a big store like Wal-Mart one day. What can I say? The boy loves people.

Mike is managing to balance work and home successfully – which is no easy task! His business continues to grow and this summer he earned a rewards trips to California and we had a sunny CA grand time.

I am enjoying my job at my alma mater, and the children’s school, where I work year-round in administration. It affords me the ability to be at every school function, and get to see my babies during the day and Mike is so supportive.  There’s not much time for hobbies but I do try to pick up my camera and keep up my ol’ blog from time to time.  Exercise doesn’t exactly count as a “hobby” but more of a necessity like breathing, eating, and coloring hair. 2017 be a big year with my 40th birthday and 16 year wedding anniversary coming in the next couple months. Sometimes, if I stop and look at the blessings that surround us I am afraid they will suddenly disappear. Perhaps that is why the camera doesn’t leave my hands, I tend to ‘over-share’ on social media, and why my right eye twitches. But for now, I’ll take it all in, appreciate the heck out of it, and celebrate a wonderful year full of His graciousness.

 

Ho Ho Ho via grateful simplicity

 

Merry Christmas from the Robinsons via grateful simplicity

Merry Christmas from the Robinsons

 

Britton (age 13)

Britton (age 13)

Kenley (age 10)

Kenley (age 10)

Raynes (age 5)

Raynes (age 5)