4 Ways to Be Intentional this School Year

This summer has been so good for my momma soul.  It took me a while to get thereI really like having a clean house and some sort of form or order. I spent a few nights losing my mind after the kids went to bed because…EVERY room. Once I gave in, lowered my expectations and embraced the disorder + constant chaos, I fell back in love with having my kids around.   We had good, quality time together.  My kids remembered how much they loved each other.  They played more.  Read some.  We talked.  I fought to focus on what counted and to let the rest go.  It has been a sweet summer, one I will cherish for a long time. 

1B5BF4B2-B06F-4E15-8EA9-53BFE7ACC0EA.JPG

87A05EF5-82BB-481B-8509-BCF3F27F81F6

And the carousel gears up again. I spend my time filling out the calendar, planning new routines of earlier bed times and what to pack for lunches, hunting online for shoes to fit, back-to-school hair cuts, and digging through Target for that 3-pronged blue vinyl folder.  I find myself hoping to carry some of that slower, more meaningful intentionality we’ve had into this next school year.

protect

I am still working on building this into the busy mom life.  Most of the time I don’t feel like I am succeeding at being a mom, but I want to take some small steps towards not missing out on what matters.  Here are my 4 goals for being intentional with my kids this school year:

Be: I want to work on being more intentional with turning screens off.  I am guilty when it comes to using a screen to occupy their time or giving in when they have begged me for the 42nd time.  I want to create some spaces in our schedule where screens are not allowed and we can talk.  Where I can listen.  I hope to do the same in being off of my phone and available to my surroundings.  It’s fun to watch them to eventually come up with something to play or make or read. 

Ask: Even though I don’t always feel like it, I have pockets in my day where I can make the most of connecting with my kids.  A lot of times for me it is while the kids are eating breakfast and I am unloading the dishwasher or tucking them in at bedtime. Some of my favorite talks with my son Courtland, have been on ride to school.  I try to just listen, even if it’s about Pokemon characters

Do: I can tell my kids little cups are full when we spend time together.  I want to make sure each kid gets a little oneonone time with me.  My goal is to start out small and do one little outing with kid a month and rotate turns.  I would love to make it more than that, but if I’m not realistic I will probably fail.  I want to create a little bucket list on things they each would like to do with me.  Anything from a trampoline park, visiting the donut shop or just me sitting down to paint her little toes.  I want them to know I value them and enjoy being with them.

Give: As a mom, a huge goal of mine is to help my kids see that the world is more than just ourselves.  I want them to have a heart that sees and loves others.  This year my goal will be to look for small ways we can step outside of our little world and be a part of lifting others up. Anything from the little ways of helping to be a part of the “family team” to looking for volunteer opportunities. It doesn’t have to be a big production, I think it’s the little reminders that keep their eyes open to giving encouragement or helping hand. 

I will probably putter out and forget these goals, but I am hoping that by building these into our routines, as the season of change comes, that we can continue to develop each of their characters. Hopefully, they will know they are loved, valued and truly matter. 

-Erin

Click here to download a free copy of 4 Ways to Be Intentional with your Kids.

BE (1)

the pressure to be perfect and learning to be myself

EVERY year, my family and I go to a local greenhouse on the first weekend before spring.  It started a long time ago and has kind of become a celebration of surviving a “midwest winter.”  (It tends to drag on and on, teasing you every once in a while with a warm day, only to divert back to freezing rain the next.) So we go, and each year as our family grows we take in all of the things that mean spring.  The bright colors, the smell of dirt, all of the opportunities of our soon-to-fail square foot garden.  It’s kind of become a celebration. 

greenhouse trip

This year, I thought it would be fun to write a little post on this sweet family tradition.  This will be great.  I figured all the kids were off school, I’ll bring my camera, snap a few pictures…perfect!

greenhouse trip with kids

Well, in short, that was optimistic.  The reality I found myself in was actually more something along the lines of this: an hour drive of arguing and whining and ‘are we there yets”, followed by bad attitudes from not eating breakfasts and us all still trying to make it through daylight savings. There was rain, lots of rain. My children running: on tables, down aisles, over to fountains, into breakables and away from me.  And the worst part: me and my big fat need to get the best pictures for a post. 

planting succulents

My dumb attitude was the worst part.  As much as I wished it wasn’t about getting the perfect picture, that is exactly what that outing soon became all about. I snapped at my sister, at my kids, at my mom.  All because of the pressure I was putting on myself to get that great shot.  To look cute, but not stupid.  To pose my uncooperative kids, to get the right lighting and to make sure I was sucking in. 

I don’t know if you guys have ever felt this.  I tend to be a perfectionist and when everything out there already seems to be perfect and I am such a hot mess (even when I try so hard not to be) the pressure is too much.  Who am I trying to be anyways?  It’s just a dang picture.  But I think it’s more than that.  I think it’s the scary part of trying to put myself out there more.  Anytime you share yourself, in any way, it’s vulnerable.  And though I wish I was cool enough to rise above it, I fall hard into the struggle to be perfect trap.

spring flower planting
DSC

And you guys, in my chase for perfection, for the best photos, I missed the moment.  I missed my kids having a great time, smiling. My cutest little nephew who I do NOT get to see near enough and who is running now.  I missed time with my mom. Asking her about her work, their upcoming trip and her concern for a dear friend who’s husband was sick.  I missed my sister, who I treasure time with, and asking her about her growing business, and how mom life feels and what she’s looking forward to.  I missed Everett recognizing some of the plants and planning out what herbs we’re going to plant this year.  I missed Courtland’s dimple grin and the sheer happiness to be with the whole family.  I missed Isla’s first time really experiencing the flowers and how every single aisle was an opportunity to explore.  

family outing spring

On the ride home we stopped at a drive-thru for coffee and as we were paying, my oldest son shouted through the window at the barista. “I love your voice!”  So I rolled down my window so he could tell her again. Interpreting for him I said “my son thinks you sound like a nice person.” She smiled so big and through the suckers she gave them, I could tell it meant a lot to her. 

I kept thinking of that.  “I like your voice!”  I think I am learning. When I am just me, when I am “my voice” and not trying to be any one else’s, or trying to say/be what I think people want or trying to look how I think I should look, or be someone I think I should be, I am way more free.”

spring succulents

When Racheal and I decided to blog more this year, it was because of a pull we both feel to just be ourselves in hopes of encouraging others to do the same. We want to be human, along with other humans.  There is a lot out there telling us how to be someone else, but that’s not why we are each made so different and diverse.  Its nice to see someone just be themselves, don’t you think?  When I see someone else being “human” I feel like I get them.  I feel like “I can do that too.” We should be inspired and encouraged by other’s honesty and vulnerability because it creates a real connection.  No one is perfect, no matter how hard they try, so I’m gonna work on not trying.

-erin

i'm not perfect so i'm going to stop trying to be

friends.

wildjuniper!_0188

{photo credit: brighton road photography}

“There are some people in life that make you laugh a little louder, smile a little bigger and live just a little better. “

Spent today reflecting on and thankful for ALL of the dear dear friends I have been blessed with in my life.  Old, new, those in touch and those not, each of you have sweetly shaped my life.  I cannot imagine a world without friends.  *erin

slowing down. soaking in.

Taking some time today to soak in some sun, to slow down, to notice the little gifts around me.  With life’s speediness, it is so hard to carve out time and remember to jump off the merry-go-round.  gold earings gold earing gold earrings gold earring earings earrings earings gold earings gold earings gold earings gold earrings gold earring gold gold earrings gold earings gold earring dangling earrings dangling earrings earrings dangling dangling earring dangling earing dangling earings earring dangling earing dangling earings dangling simple dangling earring turquoise earrings turquoise earrings turquoise earring earring turquoise earring turquoise earings earings turquoise earings turquoise earing earing turquoise earing turquoise turquoise gold earrings gold earring art deco jewelry art deco earrings art deco earings art deco earrings art deco art decos twenties gold art deco emerald earrings statement earrings antique gold geometric earrings geometric earrings geometric earring geometric earings geometric earing earrings geometric earring geometric earings geometric earing geometric gold earrings gold gold earrings gold earrings gold tribal jewelry tribal jewelry tribal earrings earrings tribal tribal earring earring tribal tribal earing turquoise and silver earrings turquoise and silver earrings turquoise and silver earrings earrings turquoise and silver earrings cherry turquoise silver silver turquoise silver earring silver earings turquoise and gold earrings turquoise and gold earrings turquoise and gold earrings turquoise earings turquoise earrings turquoise earing turquoise earring earrings turquoise earring turquoise earing turquoise simple gold earrings simple gold earrings simple gold earrings gold earring simple gold earring simple gold earing simple gold earings earrings simple gold earring simple gold earings simple gold art deco earring art deco earring earring art deco earrings art deco earings art deco earing art deco art deco silver silver art deco silver earings silver earrings silver earing silver earring black earring black earring earring black black earrings earrings black black earing black earings earings black earing black black simple earring black drop earring drop earring black earring art deco gold earring art deco gold earring art deco earring earrings art deco gold earrings gold art deco earrings gold deco earrings gold deco earings gold earrings gold earing gold earring earing gold simple gold earrings art deco jewelry art deco earrings art deco earings art deco earrings art deco art decos twenties gold earings gold leaf earrings gold leaf earrings gold leaf earrings earrings gold leaf gold leaf earings earings gold leaf gold leaf earring earring gold leaf gold leaf earing earing gold leafThis morning was a well spent few hours with some sweet ladies {from our high school group} and my favorite form of relating: shopping & of course coffee.

IMG_1313

Thankful for a ‘thankfulness reset button’ sort of day. May the little moments shine brighter to us all this weekend.

*erin

enjoy life, happiness, freedom, grace, thankful, thankfulness, happy, accessories, earrings, jewelry, headbands, studs, necklaces

{photo credit: love and amour}