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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

life these days

today was a good day. i'm still trying to figure out things with two kids; avery hasn't taken a nap in years, so planning around naptime can be tricky. i forgot what that was like. i'm trying to use brooklynn's nap time as mommy-avery time. usually we do some school, then just play together. today we built a blanket fort and used that as our classroom :) avery enjoyed that.

things are changing around here. we have been bad about eating at the table because our apartment is so small, i'm always piling our table with stuff. and i don't like sitting at tables. i find it really uncomfortable. but now that brooklynn is mobile, we are being forced to eat at the table like normal people. i must say i am enjoying it more than i thought. it gives us time to be together and talk. justin has been home in the mornings all week, so we've been having big breakfasts and doing a family devotion together. treasured times that make my heart happy. also, brooklynn's mobility is making it hard for avery. brooklynn is now able to get into EVERYTHING. avery's dollhouse is a popular target for her. all playdoh must be played with at the table. paints, markers, must all be used at the table. this girl is changing things at the mcafee household ha.

brooklynn is eating solids now. it's a bittersweet moment. who knew.

i'm doing a forty day fast along with our church. don't worry, i'm not fasting all food. i don't have the willpower or self control for that. i have been off coffee for three weeks almost, and this week i took out sweets (until valentine's day; i definitely plan on eating a box of chocolates). i have taken out alcohol for the most part too. this has been so hard for me! coffee, sweets, and alcohol are all of my favorite vices. but i feel it's important to take a break from all that because 1)my body needs a break and 2)i need to rely on God, not a beer or a cup of coffee, to get me through my day.

marathon training began this week, too. i'm excited about my first marathon, mostly because my sister will be running it with me (yay!). but also because i like to have goals, things to work toward. it motivates me and gives me that extra push out the door. i've been doing a little more speed work. my pace has come down a lot since i started running postpartum. i started out with about an 11 minute pace. now i'm down to about 9'25". 10'30" if i have the stroller.

justin's trip got moved up a day. disappointments like this are oh so common in military life, but they still get to me every single time. i just can't stand the fluidity of this lifestyle, plans always being broken, schedules always changing on a whim. i know that God is trying to teach me several things: how to be flexible, how to take one day at a time, how to place my future and my family's future in his hands, how to not let circumstances dictate how i feel. all lessons that i am being taught. i am catching on slowlyyyy. at least i think i am...

Monday, January 28, 2013

tired heart

we all know that stress shows itself in our bodies. for me, i know i'm really anxious or stressed out about something when i break out in hives. 

and here i sit, with my body covered in them.

these itchy red splotches on my body are more than just annoying. they are a reminder that i'm holding onto something. i'm stressing out about a situation that is probably out of my control. i'm not handing everything over to my God. and it's only hurting me. or, in this case, itching.

so why then? why do i continue to try and muddle through on my own? why do i stay stressed out about things that are just out of my control? i so want to be able to get control of my emotions; to put all of my trust in my Father. 

i just have been having such a hard time, since october. that's when justin started leaving me for work ups. justin is finally home and as soon as i turn around he is leaving again. all of it leaves me with my head spinning and a heart that is full of sorrow. a heart that is tired, and sad, and beaten down by this life. a heart that just misses its other half.

 a heart that doesn't know how much more it can take...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

perfect mother

i think the area in my life where i'm the hardest on myself is being a mother. i realize that it is such an important and precious job, and i just don't want to mess it up. i don't want to screw up my kids, or not teach them all they need to know, or not spend enough time making them feel loved. i am always trying to become a better, more attentive and patient mother. i'm always trying to come up with ways to make my girls feel loved.

i recently bought a little mail box for avery's room (from target), to leave her notes and treats in. she knows that if the flag is up, there is something special waiting inside for her. it's so fun for her, to get small surprises for no apparent reason; but it's also fun for me, seeing her face light up and knowing that in that moment she feels loved.

in the pinterest era that we now live it, it's easy to feel like you don't measure up. i definitely don't have the time or energy, or know-how, to make disney-shaped pancakes for breakfast every morning, or make puff pastries from scratch, or create a work of art from water bottles. however, i can do a pretty mean french braid, and i let avery pick out her own clothes. that counts for something right? we share a love of books, and puzzles, and playing board games. my pancakes may not look like mickey mouse or donald duck, but avery sure enjoys helping me stir in the chocolate chips.

the point is, i don't have to be a perfect mom. avery is not going to remember the fancy meals i didn't make or the homemade soaps and play doh we didn't have. she is going to remember the moments that i made her feel loved. the quality time. the reading picnics and the breakfast making. i don't have to be the world's most perfect mom, because i'm already the perfect mom for my girls. and that's enough.







Monday, January 21, 2013

exhausted!

i know, the day will come when i'll pine for busy days filled with memory making and play time. but today is not that day. today i am exhausted! goodness, who knew being a mom of young kids could be so draining. but it is. especially when you're doing it solo. and training for a marathon. talk about busy.. and tired.

here's a sample of what my life is like:
today B woke me up before 7, I went through emails and read some while she played. I got Ave up about 8 and fixed breakfast for us all, then cleaned up, then we got ready for the day. Avery and I did some school while B napped. when she woke up we walked into town to run an errand. came home, played outside, had a picnic, read for 5 minutes, got ready and took Ave to gymnastics. after that we got Ave an ice cream cone, walked home, went for a run, played outside some more while i worked on two loads of laundry. then it was time to come in. i laid B down for a nap, got dinner ready, ate, cleaned, threw Ave in the tub, got B up from her nap, then tried to console her while she screamed for about 30 minutes. got her settled and back to bed, then went through Avery's bedtime routine. got her settled around 7:20. worked out. took a shower, emailed Justin, watched a show, and here i am. about to fall asleep with my eyes open.

life is just busy. that's the season i'm in now. i know it won't be this busy forever, i know i should cherish this time with my girls. and i do. but right now i'm too tired to cherish anything other than my warm comfy bed. and Justin's gone...always gone. that makes all of this twice as hard. i don't have him here to entertain the girls, or get Avery ready for bed while i sit on the couch for 15 minutes. i don't have him here to take out the trash or clean up after dinner. all of that is on me. and it is all exhausting.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

girls night!

well my focus on this post is avery. this year things have changed for her in huge ways.

*she had a birthday and turned four. she is thinking and acting more on her own. her moods and attitudes are changing i can tell.

*she got a little sister. for three and a half years it was just me and ave; most of the time justin wasn't even around. we were thick as thieves, together 24/7. we still are together 24/7, except now there is another little person begging for my attention. avery loves her sister so much, but i know it has been a big adjustment for her.

*justin has been leaving. a lot. for over a year he was home so much with us. i think that was long enough for avery, and even myself, to forget what it was like to have to say goodbye to him. now that he's in and out all the time, we are being thrown back into the emotional roller coaster that is military life. she grew so close to him while he was home every day with us. i was sick and pregnant and exhausted, then i had a new baby and was still exhausted...they spent a lot of time together. they really bonded and built a firm relationship for the first time. i am so thankful for this. justin is an excellent, patient, attentive, sweet father. avery just soaks up his love and attention. she adores him. however, this presents somewhat of a problem.. now that she's closer to him, it makes it harder on her when he has to leave. this trip he's on now has been the hardest yet i think. she asks about him and talks about him constantly. it breaks my heart. it blesses my heart. all at the same time. i'm glad they're close; i just wish he was here.

i always knew military life would become more difficult as she got older. i was right.

so that said, i figure she needs a little extra attention. the fact that she has been climbing into brooklynn's baby bed and using baby talk probably confirms that. she's begging for more attention. it's just so hard for me to give it to her. but tonight i figured i'd put brooklynn to bed and treat avery to a girls night. she was excited about it all day...

we popped in a movie, decorated cookies, and painted our nails. she painted her own toes and wow...i was really impressed. she stayed completely in the lines. she does better than i do ha. it was nice just seeing her so happy, and being with her, present in the moment with no baby distracting me. it felt good to pour love into her little heart and make her feel special. i love that little lady, oh so much.


Friday, January 18, 2013

exhausted!

justin has only been gone two weeks but i swear it feels like two months. each trip feels longer and longer, and is more and more difficult for me to get through. i mean, being a stay at home mom of two young kids and a housewife is hard work. back breaking work. then you remove the husband from the mix and you end up with a completely exhausted, depleted, impatient woman. that's me. my back has ached ever since i had brooklynn; i suppose from all of the lifting, bending, carrying, holding. and i have been sleep training her, which is no easy task. i just hope it pays off. and soon. i have not slept through the night in eight months. eight months. i don't even remember what that feels like.. and avery..oh, avery. let's just say i liked the age of three better than four. talk about attitude, omg. but i love her and the little person she is, even when i can barely stand her. ha.

i gave myself a break this week and have been resting rather than running and working out. i feel like sometimes your body and your head just need a break from all the training. i've been working out like a mad woman ever since i had brooklynn and i feel like it's well deserved. i'll jump back on the band wagon next week; besides, i have a marathon to train for :p yes i said marathon. i may be crazy. i probably am crazy.. but i'm doing it, with my sister by my side!

i've been attending focus meetings on base for the last several weeks. basically focus is a team of counselors who help military families (or in my case they're specific to specwar families) cope with stressful situations. our life is full of them. justin's career choice in particular, it's just tough. it's hard on the men, hard on the families. lots of absences. i believe i've heard that only 10% of marriages in this line of work make it. i choose to be part of that 10%, which is why i'm going to focus. i just can't do all of this by myself, and they are there so that i don't have to. there's no instruction manual for wives like me (although i intend to write one one day!), i don't really know what i'm doing.. i've never dealt with work ups or deployments in my life. all of this is new and so scary. i need some guidance and advice, which is where focus comes in. avery has gone twice. our whole family is going for a session soon. i would recommend them to any military family. GO!

and i will leave you with a few highlights from our week :)










Wednesday, January 9, 2013

good

so once again Justin is gone. Avery seems sadder this time. i hate it. i hate for her to be sad. i hate that this career is always ripping us apart. i just want us to be together. that's all.

this life isn't an easy one. there isn't anything really positive that i can say about it at the moment. but being a christian gives me the hope that God is working it all together for my good, always. isn't that what the Bible says in Romans 8:28? i have to believe in this promise, i have to cling to it. it's all i have. this promise is the life raft that keeps me from sinking in this sea of emotions and uncertainty. it's hard for me to see it now, but i know that it's true. i know that all i'm going through, all my family is going through, is not for nothing. it is working together for our good. we may not see the good right away. we may not even see the good until years later. but it will be good. it will.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

natural beauty

i once asked one of my old boyfriends how he liked my hair best, curly or straight. when he replied with "straight," i knew right away that it wasn't going to work out. true story.

i am a really low maintenance kind of person, a fact that one of my sisters has pointed out to me over the years. i like to look nice, i do. i love clothes and shoes. really i just hate the effort it takes, and it does take a lotttt of effort. and, i just feel like i don't know how to dress sometimes. i don't know how to accessorize. i don't really even know how to put on make up. and i definitely do not know how to fix this thick, wavy, impossible mane of hair that God has given me to work with. but even more than that, i don't like taking the time to get all dolled up. it takes too long. and i have things to do, like take care of two kids and run a household. 

however, recently i have really tried to make an effort to look nice. well, probably the last year or so. i just want my husband to be attracted to me; i refuse to be one of those wives who gets too comfortable and lets herself go. i won't be that woman. i will try to fix myself up at least for him. so as of late i've made an effort to never, never leave the house in sweats (unless i'm going for a run; in which case i wear cute running shorts, not grungy sweat pants). i always put on at least a little make up, and try to do something with my hair...even if it usually is just a bun on top of my head (so thankful those are in style now!!).

but i have to be thankful that my husband likes the way that i look. he likes me even when i'm not all gussied up; in fact, he prefers it. just this morning i was rocking brooklynn with my pj's on, hair in a pony, and no make up whatsoever, when my sweet husband looked at me and said "you look so beautiful right now." i responded with a dumbfounded "what?!" and he said "this is how i like you best, when you're all granola." (fyi: when he says granola, he means natural. ha). that right there just made my day. he likes me without make up, first thing in the morning. when he says things like that, i know we're meant to be soul mates :) 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

resolutions

2013 goals:

get savings account UP

run at least one full marathon

grow closer to God; make time for Him every single day

get more creative in the kitchen

show deliberate acts of service (soup kitchen, homeless, etc.)

start care package ministry

send cards to every family member on their birthday

learn to sew

more devotions as a family

spend more time in prayer

go on at least one adventure

try to complain less

a new year. a clean slate. an empty page, like the one i'm staring at now. what will you choose to do with this new year? will you continue living the way you have been? or will you make changes? maybe pursue that education you've been putting off, or start eating healthier, or maybe save some money? will you better yourself in any way this year? will you ask God how you can serve him this year? it easy to set goals and not follow through. i am guilty. that's why usually i don't even bother. but this year i feel like God has laid some things on my heart. i don't want to stay in the same place that i am in now. i want to grow. i want to become wiser, stronger, better. i know i can't do that on my own. i know that i need God's help. i'm so glad that he's waiting here to help me; all i need do is ask.

i'd encourage you all to pray about what goals God would have you set for this year. ask him to lay them on your heart then pray he'll give you the strength and determination to follow through. you plus God equals an unstoppable team :)