Keeping the Christ in Christmas

Long time, no see. October was an insanely busy month for our family, and I am very glad to see it give way to November and fall. We have SIX birthdays in November, including family and friends, as well as Thanksgiving to celebrate so it is always a fantastic kick off to the holiday season for our family, and for us to refocus on being thankful, and making time for family.

This year I wanted to start a new tradition with our kids. Granted, they are very young, Bug won’t be 3 until January, and the twins are only 18 months, but I figured this year would be a great year to use them as my guinea pigs for our Advent Calendar. Celebrating and reading through any kind of Advent scriptures isn’t something that either myself or Jordan grew up doing, and so when I suggested making a calendar for the boys, he assumed I meant one with chocolate that helps count down the days until Christmas morning. However, my plan was slightly bigger than that. I wanted something to keep the kids, and let’s be real, myself, focused on the true meaning of Christmas. I wanted to go away from consumerism, and everything else we have turned Christmas into, and focus on why we celebrate, and also start a really fun (I HOPE!) tradition the kids can understand and look forward to.  So, without further ado, my plan to keep Christ in Christmas.

The first thing I did was find a calendar I could make. There were a few stipulations I had about this calendar: 1. It needed to be cheap to make (6 November bdays, and Christmas…and and and…) 2. It needed to  be EASY to make, because I think I have mentioned, I am not crafty. 3. I wanted it to  be cute, and part of the decorations, and something that could easily be reused. This is what I found. (credit to original poster, her blog can be found here)
advent-calendar

I will be making this on Friday with some girlfriends, I will blog on that later. Essentially though, I have a couple HUGE walnut trees in the yard which have the most perfect branches for this. I am getting muslin bags from Amazon, some mini clothes pins, and twine and ta da! Cute craft with a duel purpose. (I think my friend will also  be making it into a Christmas card holder since her kiddos are too little for advent. Just a thought)

After deciding on the craft, I went on the hunt for the Scriptures I would use, and ideas for object lessons of sorts. A friend of mine found this blog with an outline of ideas, and scriptures she used, and I went from there. And advent, is what I ended up with!  A dear friend of mine, Candace, is taking this journey with me too, and she gave me some of her ideas (hot cocoa, puzzles, and HOT WHEELS!) and we came up with some fantastically creative ideas. Here is the basic break down, but please, look at the word document for a better explanation and the full verses that I used. My goal for each of the days was to have a special time set aside where we could incorporate the Christmas story, or a Christmas theme (like giving, creation, or God’s provision) into a daily activity. Some of these days are more labor intensive (like making cookies), some are very simple (like opening stickers or watching a movie as a family), but ultimately I wanted to keep Christ in Christmas. Please also note, this “schedule” for Advent is based on activities our family already has set up. There are only 21 days because I know it will be easy to forget as we get closer to Christmas, also we have Christmas parties, and a day set up where we go Christmas tree hunting. If you decide to give this a try with your family, please feel free to add, change, or move whatever you need to make this successful with your kids.

Day 1: Peace Sign, Isaiah 9:6; Fisher price Nativity (p.s. I found it on Amazon, if you keep checking you can find it cheaper. I paid $27)
Day 2: Manger, Luke 2:6-7; Nativity
Day 3: Shepard’s Staff, Luke 8-11; Candy Cane Cocoa
~A candy cane is shaped like a shepard’s staff, God is the good shepard, and Shepards were used to tell the people that Jesus had been born!~
Day 4: Cross, Matthew 1:21; Ornaments
Day 5: Heart, Luke 2:19-20; Stickers Gifts
Day 6: Gifts, John 3:16; Letter to Santa*
Day 7: Music (Mary’s Song). Luke 1:46-55; Tree Lighting
Day 8: Travel to Bethlehem, Luke 2:5, Micah 5:2; Hot wheels
~This day was fun, and yes it’s a stretch, but that’s how we travel now. Micah tells us that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, that is why it’s so important that Joseph and Mary had to travel there, even when Mary was so pregnant! Too bad they didn’t have cars!~
Day 9: The name of Jesus, Luke 2:21, Isaiah 9:6; Name Craft
Day 10: Christmas Story, Luke 2:8;14; Movie Night (I should note, this is subject to change, as I haven’t picked a movie yet)
Day 11: God’s Provision, Luke 12:24; Christmas Tree hunting!
Day 12: Creation, John 1:3; Decorate the Tree
~Another day that is a bit of a stretch in a Christmas themed advent, but did you know that Jesus! is the one who created everything? A christmas tree is something he created, that lives throughout winter, showing how God will always provide life. A tree, and a beautifully decorated one, is a great way to remember Jesus, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, and the creation he provided for us~
Day 13: TBD, TBD; Puzzles
Day 14: Knowing the Scriptures, Matthew 2:1; Library
Day 15: Jesus’ geneaology, Luke 2:4, Micah 5:2; Family Portrait craft
Day 16: Angels, Luke 2:13-18; coooooookies!
Day 17: Star, Matthew 2:9-10; Luminaries
Day 18: Crown, Matthew 2:1-2; Crown craft
Day 19: Cheerful giving, 2 Corinthians 9:7; Make/Buy a gift
Day 20: Baby, Luke 2:6-7; Baby ornament
Day 21: Rocks, Bridge, Feathers, Hay; Luke 2:12, 22-24, 3:21-22, Matthew 1:22-23, Psalm 95:6; Scavenger/Nature Hunt**

BONUS DAY! Why we get gifts on Christmas, Matthew 2:11, Luke 2:8-14, John 3:16
The wise men brought gifts to Jesus, Jesus is the greatest gift and Christmas is his birthday!

*We are choosing to still incorporate Santa, when I included him in Advent, I did so by teaching that day that God gave us the perfect and best gift, Jesus, and that that is why on Christmas, Santa brings us gifts.
**This day is kind of abstract, I explain more in the word document

What Christmas traditions does your family have? What ways have you found that help our children remember the reason for the season, and to see God’s work in the everyday? I am so excited for my upcoming crafting night, and for the Christmas tradition we are starting this year. If this inspires you, please let me know! I would love to hear from you.

Daily Prompt: Fragile

How ironic that on a day like today, the prompt is “fragile”, on a day when I feel so close to breaking. It has been a hard week, a week that leaves  no reprieve on a Friday. A week that has left me feeling like I am running on fumes, and like my soul needs healing.

I am a stay at home mom, my kids are young, very  young. My oldest is 2.5, yeah you read that right, oldest. His two younger brothers are equally crazy and rambunctious 17 month old twins. I love my job. I truly take joy in the fact that we are able to make everything work without me supplying an income, that is a luxury not every family has, and me enjoying my role is also a luxury. I don’t feel stuck or bored in this job. Quite the contrary, I am challenged. Every minute, of every day. Did you know that being 1, and 2 is very hard? This week has been wrought with fistfights, and tantrums, and ornery-ness (is that a word?).

We played outside this morning, it amazes me how quickly everyone can switch from happy and playing to screaming and fighting. It only takes a moment. Four distinct personalities, four ways of approaching problems, and four different sets of skills. It can make for some amazing times, where everyone shines equally, or it can make for some epic meltdowns.

A couple weeks ago, I went to a meeting. We were all moms, we all had at least 2 kids in attendance, but my 3 decided to be needy. Who knows why, we can blame teething, or sleepiness, or any number of things. I have no idea what happened at that meeting, I didn’t get any of the information that I needed, I just remember what a mess it was. And then afterwards a friend said that it was reassuring to see me sweat. It was a lighthearted joke, a compliment of sorts. The implication was clear: I have my hands full, but I am rarely rattled. That mess of a meeting helped someone realize I was very human, and not the least bit superhuman.

If you have followed along with my rambling this long, I applaud you. My point will be made clear now. I am fragile, I am human. I have NO idea what I am doing, and right now, I am run down. At a Bible Study this summer we talked about how the strong women, the ones who seem to have it together can be overlooked, they don’t need the support, or anyone to come along side them. I am here to say that as that woman, it’s not true. We all have a breaking point, and get run down. And right now, that’s me.

 

via Daily Prompt: Fragile

Happy Camper!

happy camper.jpg

We love to camp. I started camping when I was 19, and Jordan and I were still dating. My parents let me go with his family, and I have been hooked ever since. I started in a tent, but with the addition of 3 tiny humans in 2 years, we upgraded to a 5th wheel. Yes, I am spoiled, no, I’m not sorry, and if you’re not nice you can’t use my bathroom. Kidding, mostly. The camper we bought had belonged to my in-laws, and hadn’t been updated since it was built in the 80s. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the entire thing was paneling and wall paper. While it was a little ugly, okay, a lot ugly, it was perfect for our little family and was in fantastic shape. So of course, we decided to DIY it, and update it. The process was a little crazy, but I am here to walk you through what we learned.

First, let’s start with the before pictures, so you can really get a good idea of what I mean by “paneling”, “ugly”, and “wall paper”.

kitchen-camper

paneling-camper

Alright, we good? I have more befores if you realllllllly want to see them, but I think this paints a pretty clear picture. The very first thing I did, was make new curtains, and get rid of the valances. There was a fair amount of prep work involved in getting these down so that the walls were ready to paint, there were a lot of staples in the wall holding the curtains and valances in place. I am not a seamstress, so when I say “made curtains” I am using that term pretty loosely, but because I can’t sew I am here to tell you that you can update a space like this without any skill! I used hem tape, or stitch witchery, to hem the curtains and just bought a cute (and on clearance! Hobby Lobby is the best) duck canvas fabric to make them. Jordan did the measuring for me, and I was able to make all 14 panels in two days worth of nap times. Or roughly 4 hours, for those of you without napping toddlers.

Another very high priority for this project, was Operation: Lose All Paneling. We opted to go for a white paint, to brighten the space. It took 3 coats of paint to cover everything. We had started with a decent quality white paint that we had leftover from our Super Kid, Super room project. When it was time to buy more paint, I opted for the thick, cheap stuff that covers well. Also, we noticed that using a smooth roller, and a wide brush was great. Just be mindful of using a brush, because wood paneling has no texture, the strokes are very easy to see, so going over the brushed areas with the roller to smooth it out is a great trick.

For the wallpaper, we painted it. I had initially thought to cover it with a fun peel and stick wall paper, but thought better of it. I am so glad I did. The continued white throughout the space really ties it together and makes it look clean and bright. One fun thing we did decide to do in the kitchen was to paint the drawer faces and cabinet doors a fun color. We had leftover yellow from another project, and thought that it would be a funky touch. So glad we went with it, it just screams retro happiness to me.

Fabric choice was one of the harder things I had to do. I wanted something timeless, and fun, but that was durable, washable, and not $20/yd. I ended up choosing a solid navy (from JoAnn fabrics), and a fun green and navy floral (Amazon really has everything). These two fabrics were used to recover the bench seats for the dinette, and the cushions for the couch. When it came to covering the cushions, I was able to do the dinette myself. Again, I don’t sew, so we bought some backing, cut it to size, and then I stapled the fabric to the backing while pulling it taut. Worked like a charm. That being said, the one downfall is that by doing it this way the fabric isn’t removable so I have to clean them in the camper. The previous covers weren’t removable either though, so I figured it was probably fine. The couch cushions required a little more finesse, so I roped a friend who can sew into helping me. She did an amazing job! The finished interior is everything we hoped it would be. I love spending time in there now, and feel proud of what we accomplished.

dinette

couchkitchen

The final thing that the camper needed, was some love on the outside. I am not sure what color our trailer started, but it was a dingy brown-ish? I’m not even sure, but I think Jordan hated it more than I did.outside-camper

I can’t take the credit for the tips I am about to give for painting the outside. I did very little work, and even less research for this part of the project, that was all Jordan and our dear family friends. We found out there is a paint called DTM (direct to metal), and it is stupid expensive (~$45-60/gal, you need 2 or 3 gallons for a project like ours), hard to find, but can be sprayed or rolled straight on to a camper, or a shop. We chose three colors and went with it. Jordan used an attachment for his drill that took the decals off, and then pressure washed it. I helped him to tape everything off, and he did the painting. He used a paint sprayer that he picked up at Harbor Freight for $15. Worked great, and it only took a few evenings to get the entire thing painted. Start to finish we were able to do this project in two weeks, only working after the kids went to bed, or when they napped. Here is the after of the outside.

outside-after

To say that I am proud of what we accomplished would be a huge understatement. Through work discounts, frugal wife finds, and reusing things we already had the entire project only cost about $350. I am not sure what our next big project will be, but we have obviously caught the DIY bug, so I know we will find something.

Date Night Update

 

date-night

A while back I committed myself to dating Jordan again, we have been married 5 years, as of June, and with 3 kids under 3 we usually can’t afford a sitter, and truthfully ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’. The first date we put together was an at home beer and chocolate tasting. In full disclosure, J was not terribly excited when I told him my idea, he thought the two sounded weird together, but with some work and research the night panned out beautifully. So, without further ado, what we learned about dating, at home!

I wanted the night to feel like a joint effort, so I designated Jordan as the official beer buyer.  He headed to a local store here that sells a mixed 6-pack, with a list of beers to buy: stout, pilsner, IPA, wheat, blonde and amber. I left what brand of beer entirely up to him, but requested he get creative. This lead him to get a stout, that had espresso undertones, which was hilariously ironic, because my man HATES coffee. To say that wasn’t his favorite is an understatement. Anyway, because Jordan took care of the beer, I was in charge of buying the chocolate! The kids enjoyed picking out the chocolate with me in the fancy candy section of the grocery store, until I told them we weren’t sharing it. Ultimately I chose: white chocolate (blonde, pilsner and amber), milk chocolate (amber), orange dark chocolate (wheat), chili chocolate (IPA, but if you don’t love spicy food mango or a tropical fruit works well too), and double fudge brownies (stout)! We did try each beer with each chocolate, some worked really well in kind of unexpected places, and this will vary based on what individual flavors are in each beer.

Once everything was purchased, I thought about how to set the date up so that it felt like something other than just eating candy, and tasting beers. I printed out beer tasting score cards (6 for each of us), I used these and they were great. It helped both of us to realize what we were looking for as we tasted everything. Also, after the kids went to bed, I changed into a cute dress, fixed my hair and make up and did what I would have done were we actually leaving the house. We chose to do our tasting in our sunroom, because we have a table and chairs out there, and no television. We wanted a distraction free area, where I wouldn’t be compelled to clean, and Jordan wouldn’t be tempted to watch the game. I should note, that is where our kids play, so before the date I made sure to clean up the space so it was relaxing. To further set the stage, I played music on my phone, and chilled 12 glasses so that we had a fresh, cold cup for each new beer. In addition to the chocolate, brownies and beer, I also made sure we had a glass of water. It helped to cleanse the pallet between different brews.

To say that the night was a hit would be an understatement. This is now one of our go-tos when we know we don’t have anyone to watch the kids. We will pick up a new beer or two and quickly pick some chocolate to go with it and play games and enjoy each other’s company. This was a new experience for both us, but it helped us both expand our pallet, and understand why we like or dislike certain brews. When I asked Jordan afterward how he felt about the whole thing, he said it was fun, and that he liked trying all the different chocolates and beers. Most importantly though, it is a pretty inexpensive date. All in we spent about $30-35, and that was with 6 beers, a box of brownie mix, and 4 chocolate bars. This can be parred down to an even lower budget easily, but either way it is cheaper than a movie and a lot more fun. I have a few more ideas to try out (Rom-Com bingo anyone?!), so I will keep you posted. In the mean time, I hope that this inspires you to date your spouse, and gives you some ideas about how to do it.

An adventure in potty training

Bug, my oldest, silliest little man is potty trained. We are still waiting to cross the bridge for him to be potty trained at night, but he sleeps 12 hours and wears one pull up, so I will take it. During the day? He is solid! He is also 27 months, so I count it as a win. This post isn’t about the techniques I used though, or the wonders of cleaning pee off the floor, or the high you get from your kid taking himself to the bathroom and having one less diaper to change! (Can I get a Hallelujah!) This post is about the ridiculous and hilarious things that have happened while he was learning to use the potty like a big boy!

One of my favorite stories is based in his deep and unfailing love of being naked. This kid pulls out every excuse he can think of to get me to take his clothes off. At a play date last week he stripped down to just a t-shirt in my friend’s backyard because his shorts were “wet”. He had been playing at the water table, and spilled water. I insisted he wear his underwear until I got his extra clothes from the car, so he “spilled” water on his undies too. Yeah. I am *sure* that was an accident. Which, brings me to S and A’s birthday party.

My in-laws had moved just before their birthday, and their birthday falls in a week full of happiness in my husband’s family. My in-laws anniversary is April 20, their birthday is April 26, my baby brother-in-law’s birthday is April 28 and my sister-in-law’s birthday is April 30. So, it was decided there would be one big happy April party, which would also function as a house warming party for them. It was a great idea, that got me out of throwing a birthday party! Well, it was the week leading up to this that Bug had really gotten the idea of pooping on the potty, and was so proud of himself. We took his potty chair, and he was being a tiny rockstar at taking himself potty, and getting himself back to the party without even missing a beat. AND he was remembering to flush when he was done. I was so proud! That is, until he runs out of the bathroom wearing nothing but his t-shirt, that didn’t cover anything, and yelling “I pooped! I nakey baby!” I scooped him up and ran his tiny, naked booty back into the bathroom and successfully negotiated with the terrorist  toddler to put his pants back on. He kept insisting it was “pants off, dance off!”, while I was firmly in the camp of “Pants ON, dance ON”, because, well there are people here, and they want you to wear pants. This would be the appropriate time to insert a head shaking emoji, if only one existed.

Thankfully, those who saw this happen thought it was funny, probably much more so than he will when I tell his future girlfriends. You’re welcome Bug. Welcome to the technology age! And rem

Who knows if this will ever be published, it might be too much, too soon.

The last year has been a whirlwind. We’ve moved, J started a new job, and our family grew by 2. It has been kind of crazy to say the least. The change isn’t ending though, and this time we have even less control.

When we decided to move, the driving force was to be near family. But, and there is always a but, my family isn’t happy here. I don’t mean my husband and the kids, we all love it. Love our house, our jobs, our church, our friends. I mean my sister, and her crew. Which leaves them in a very difficult situation. It’s the age old struggle of the perpetual people please-r. How do you make everyone happy? Well, you don’t. Which is why, when my sister confided that this new town wasn’t working out, and they were seriously considering moving back, I told her to go. Not because I won’t miss her, or we need our family less. Not because I have any plans of moving my family again. Because I love my sister, and ultimately they need to do what God is calling them to do, and what is right for them.

Which brings me to today. I got a text last night that they’ve come to a deal on their house, and they close the end of May. Now, I have to actually practice what I’ve preached. I have to actually support them in their move, not just say that I do, while silently hoping that no one is interested. The good news is they will only be an hour away. Technology makes the world a much smaller place. It won’t be too long before my oldest niece is driving. This will still work, my kids will still know their cousins and aunt and uncle as part of their regular family, and not just people they see from time to time. But this has a lot of implications for my family too, but as an adult, accepting what I can’t change is just part of the deal. So here is to doing what makes sense for your family. Here is to trusting God even when the situation seems odd, or even silly. Here is to being the grown up that I have no desire to be. I love you Sis. I am proud of you, and I really do support you in this. IMG_1660

I’m Finally Dating Again

I have been married almost 5 years. We have 3 beautiful boys. We have a great house, with a never ending list of things to do. What we don’t have is time, or a sitter, which usually means, we don’t have dates. This hasn’t been a problem this far into our marriage. Our kids are in bed by 7, 7:30 at the latest, giving us plenty of time to spend together, even after we’ve done the nightly list of chores like cleaning the kitchen and vacuuming the living room.

Lately though, I have been itching to spend more time with this man, dating, like we used to. We’ve been together almost 9 years, and know each other pretty well. We love to camp, we love to hang out with family, we love to play cards and have friends over, but now we need to find what else we love. I am setting out to start dating my husband again. I want to break from our mold, and try new things. So far my list is very lame has three things, which I figure is a good start! An at home beer tasting, a night of Rom-Com bingo (you can download bingo cards here), and a DIY project (I am thinking of making some pallet shelves for my kitchen like these.)

First up, which will be Friday, is our Beer and Chocolate Tasting! J was, well to be honest, not excited when I said I was pairing beer with chocolate. He said they don’t go, Pinterest says they do, and the internet is never wrong. So we ended up deciding to try 6 different kinds: a pilsner, a blonde ale, an amber ale, a wheat beer, an IPA, and a stout. I asked J to go pick up a mix and match 6 pack at the local store here, and let him decide what actual beers to purchase. Then I got to do the fun part: figure out what chocolate pairs best with each brew! Now, some of these (IPA) aren’t usually paired with anything sweet or desserts, so that took some creativity on my part, hopefully I didn’t totally miss the mark! Ultimately I opted for: dark chocolate fudge brownies (for the stout), orange chocolate (for the wheat beer), dark chocolate with cherries, cayenne and cinnamon (for the IPA, hope it isn’t awful), a white chocolate (for the amber, and pilsner) and a milk chocolate (for the IPA, amber and blonde). I also printed out a “score card” so that we can keep track of what we liked and didn’t like together.  Now, I am by no means a beer aficionado, and this date night was based on Pinterest and Google, so I am sure it’s flawed. Overall though, it was pretty inexpensive, I bought good quality chocolate and then the six pack, and it was still about $25-30, which is less than we would spend at dinner (or on a sitter, let’s be honest) and it didn’t take too much work on my part. It was actually pretty fun to take the kids to the store and pick the chocolate bars I never buy!

I am excited to try something new, and enjoy some of our favorite things, and planning it has made it more interesting for both of us. I will have to let you know how it goes. 20140112primarybeerchocolate

It is Finished!

Wholesome-Talk-Challenge

I did it! While I failed to update weekly, I did complete the challenge. So, take the wins you get right!

I am so glad to have challenged myself to changing how I speak. I won’t even try to say that I succeeded fully and that now I have completely mastered my tongue (James 3:6 has thoughts on how do-able that is), but I will say that I have started to change some bad habits that I had.

“Is it necessary?” This was the question that taught me the most, and where I realized I  needed the most growth. It changed my understanding of this undertaking. At first I thought this challenge was a way to be to truly become the Disney Princess I have always wanted to be! Sweet, soft spoken and kind to everyone and then the forest animals would come clean my house. Is anyone surprised that I was wrong? You shouldn’t be. In all seriousness though, I thought the goal was to become kinder and to “build one another up” like Ephesians 4:29 states (that’s the verse that inspired this challenge). It didn’t dawn on me until I put it into practice, that building another person up, or using language that benefits them could sometimes mean saying the hard things. Actually part of the challenge is saying the hard things in a way that helps that person, and not saying things they “needed to hear”.

All in all this has been amazing for my self growth. I still have the verse up on my whiteboard in the kitchen, I still read it and remind myself to strive for that. Did anyone else give this a shot? How did you do? Was it harder, or easier than you thought it would be?

 

“I could tell”

Dear Fellow Mama of Littles,

I doubt you remember our encounter this morning, but it’s been on a running loop in my mind since it happened. You couldn’t know the kind of week I’ve had, or even the kind of morning I’ve had. You couldn’t have known that in that moment God used you to speak to another worn down and tired mom of littles. You couldn’t have known what a blessing you were to me.

Here’s the truth of the matter. We have been sick, for weeks. The kind of sick where you’re down and out for 4 or 5 days with a fever. Now we are battling a round of eye infections with the twins, and praying no one else catches anything else!  We have made major changes to our 2 yr old’s tiny life. He got a big boy bed, lost his binky and has really grasped this potty training business in the last week. He has taken it in stride, but he is still 2 so meltdowns happen, often. I am struggling because with all the sickness, I have 3 stir crazy boys, and I am their Master of Ceremonies, trying to entertain the two who aren’t sick while I snuggle and comfort the one who is, all while attempting to not pass this around, or catch it myself! This morning though, everyone was finally well enough to venture out for a trip to Target, and a lunch date with Daddy. And that is where you found me.

There was no judgement as you heard me tell my 2 yr old he couldn’t have my coffee, you didn’t give me any funny looks when you saw me standing there with three heads, and obviously needing more concealer. Instead you told me about your littles, shared your story, and finally, told me you recognized me as a sister in Christ. That was what I needed. My morning up until that point was addled with tantrums, more spit up than I want to think about, a major poop blowout, and a very upset Sammy boy. I was just pleased to be out of the house with clothes on and that no one was losing their mind at that particular moment. And now I have to say ‘thank you’.  Thank you for commiserating with someone you didn’t know. Thank you for sharing your story with me, and thank you for one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.

Your sister in motherhood, and Christ,

Katekate twingo

What a difference a week makes

A week ago I set out to challenge myself to only communicate in ways that fell into the standards set in Ephesians 4:29, basically to be mindful of if what I said was: helpful, beneficial and necessary. Here’s how things went.

I started strong! I was hyper aware of how what I said, or wrote, fit into the parameters. The first day I did okay…I mean ish. How we communicate is a very hard habit to break. I actually had to delete a comment on a friend’s thread because while it helped to move the conservation along and was on topic, it wasn’t nice. And because the comment wasn’t necessary, it wasn’t beneficial. I have also noticed as the week has progressed that in a moment of frustration, I can be short, anyone who knows me right now is giving a resounding “DUH”, but I also noticed that being aware of what my communication goals are, helps me to catch when I am falling short, and I can apologize in the moment. We are big on apologizing around here.

I am blessed enough to have a hubby who agreed to try and do this too, and there were a few times we caught one another. Having someone who is there to keep me accountable is huge for me, whether it be the kids or Jordan, having that person to answer to helps me keep my goals in the forefront of my mind. Also, I learned that while Jordan and I have vastly different communication styles, we were able to correct each other in a way that the other one responded to. Finally! 9 years into this relationship and almost 5 years of marriage and we’re finallllllly getting it! Communication is hard!

My take away for this week is: the “and” matters. I would not have a problem succeeding in this endeavor if I could just tick one or two of the boxes, but that “and” means I have to get all three. That my friends is a real challenge. See you all next week! Is anyone else trying this challenge? How is it going?