Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

a jackson-approved weekend.

Catching up on this past weekend (again, how is it only Tuesday?!)... Jackson had two big "firsts" - 

#1- He went to his first summer camp. He's not old enough to stay the week or even the night, but he did go all day Saturday to a Christian church camp on the other side of the city and LOVED it. 

#2- At the end of camp I picked both he and his buddy Canaan up so they could have their first sleepover. Jackson has had sleepovers, but they've always been with grandparents or cousins, so this felt like his true official one and they did so great. They played everything imaginable, we went to the "big park," had ice cream (the biggest ice cream cone of their lives, they tell me), watched a new movie (with Daddy's famous popcorn) and they ended the night staying up and talking in their beds until nearly midnight. I eavesdropped several times and loved hearing their little voices discussing random things like "what if they could eat ice cream for a hundred million years straight" or "do you think an ice cream cone could ever reach all the way up to Heaven?" 

I have no idea how Jackson suddenly became so old- old enough for camp and sleepovers. Maybe it wasn't "suddenly" at all but rather me refusing to believe my sweet baby boy isn't so much a baby at all anymore. I love watching him turn into a confident, smart, funny, goofy little man-in-the-making. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

a parenting philosphy.

These shots pretty much sum up Dan's parenting philosophy:
Teach the most important things by example (such as how to catch popcorn in your mouth). 
Supervise the children by keeping them (and yourself) entertained. 
Don't put too much thought into messes, safety and all of that nonsense. 
When needed, call in help (from superheros, obviously...).
Allow time for plenty of laughing and cuddling- and snacking, of course. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

coming home.

These two. They make coming home after a full day all the more sweet. 

Their energy alone is contagious, but what I love is how they pull me into their imaginative worlds where superheros make the rules, wearing pirate wigs is encouraged and there is no walking- just dancing and a little flying. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

weekly bucket list

1. get in 5 work-outs (3 runs + 2 cross-training)
2. continue from last week: pack my lunch 4/5 work days & to not BUY coffee
3. go to the FAIR
4. to be in bed by 11pm every night- staying up late to get things done has gotten a bit out of hand. 
5. picnic dinner one night on the beach (too much rain last week kept us from our picnic'ing...)
6. to be as productive as possible Monday-Thursday so maybe, just maybe I can take Friday off to work on some projects at home... this past Friday night was a wild one with a trip to the Home Depot to pick up supplies for shelving in my office which all needs painted.... 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

fathers day.

In a life that sometimes (almost always?) gets too busy with lots of little hands that need holding and sweet babies that need attention I often cut the gratitude short when it comes to this man. The one who is a better "dad, daddy, da-da" to these little people than I could have imagined. He leads them and teaches them and is always up for a good adventure with his sidekicks in tow. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

only a mother...

It would be embarassing to admit how many times I've watched this video of Jonah eating (attacking?) his first ice cream cone. Only a mother would find it to be this sweet ( & a whole lot sticky).

pancakes for dinner!

Celebrating that tomorrow is Friday with pancakes for dinner! We compromised: gluten-free, chocolate chip pancakes with extra flax seed in the batter topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. #everybodywins #bringontheweekend

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

summer nights are made for this...

Tonight we joined our church family at a local (& kind of old-school) amusement park. It was so fun. Unlimited rides, ice cream, cotton candy, you name it. I mean, we're talking kid heaven. I'm so thankful to have these people to do life with. 

Brace yourself for picture overload. 

same place last year HERE. (hooooly moly, how they've grown!)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I hope they know...

Not every day is perfect (or hour for that matter) but I do hope my babies know they are perfectly loved. Unconditionally, without a doubt or a hint of a waver, loved to the end of time. I heard this great quote this week- "you can either prepare the road ahead for your child or you can prepare your child for the road ahead." Love that. It's not easy- SO NOT easy- to focus on preparing the child instead of doing every thing possible to make everything around them perfect and sanitized in a beautiful little bubble. But it is necessary. 

Because the thing is, this world is not perfect- we teach them that because Jesus teaches us that- so while I certainly hope I spend more time focusing on the good and beautiful and hopeful, there are days- so many days- when I need to remind myself to not get caught up in playing defense to all that surrounds us... the ugly stuff, the scary stuff, the new stuff that seems like it might be scary but then turns out to be the greatest of adventure stuff. And even the comparison stuff, realizing our days may look different than those around us, but that's okay. Because while our path sometimes feels different, 'different' has some pretty great views, even when it's not always paved and marked. 

Tonight was a little rocky at points- meltdowns and tired babies (and adults) and realizing it's only Tuesday (what!?)- but like always, there was plenty of sweet and fun and funny. I hope my babies know that this is life. The good, the bad and the GREAT. It's all a part of it and I'm so thankful to get to do life with them. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

weekly bucket list.

goals for this week- because goals are fun & they keep me on track:
1. get in 5 work-outs (3 runs + 2 cross-training)
2. pack my lunch 4/5 work days
3. family fun night at amusement park
4. to not BUY any coffee (i.e. make it at home in the AM versus going through the adorable little coffee shop drive thru down the street which I've gotten into a bad habit of lately!)
5. finish organizing master closet
6. picnic dinner one night on the beach
7. take jackson & audrey for one-on-one time dates
8. take a big load of stuff to donation center

Sunday, June 14, 2015

saturday adventures at home.

saturdays adventures at home go a long way in recharging hearts after a long week. almost every thing is a season, I've learned, and this season for us is thriving off of spending as much time together at home as possible with our sweet babies when we don't have to be at work. yesterday we lived on lake time- letting the day naturally unfold...

saturday mornings (well, all mornings...) always begin with coffee. lots of coffee. 

practicing writing with the peanut. "E is for Elsa!" obviously. 

this is always a sign of a summer day spent well... 

when it was getting close to jonah's bedtime we decided to let the bear stay up late and instead go on our first geo-cache adventure. I could have predicted how this would go: Jackson loved it and followed every step precisely, Audrey was along for the ride and sorely unimpressed with the "treasures" we found (and grumpy from being woken up from a nap, I would add) and Jonah was Jonah... trying to jump out of the wagon and happy with whatever we did. 

Lets call this one, "a tantrum by sunset." Good thing she's cute! 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

coping mechanisms.

Life has thrown lots of curve balls this week. 
Nothing too horrible and if I was forced to choose my problems or trade for someone else's I'm positive I would frantically reach for my own, BUT it was just one of those weeks. 

This seems to happen to me every few months.
I just hit this rut. And the harder I try to get out of it, the longer I seem to stay in it. It's pretty clear I'm supposed to be learning something, but I typically don't understand what that is until later. So, you know, just hanging out down here in what feels like crazy'ville, counting down until the weekend. 

Oh, and if you know me- even a little bit. You could probably guess some coping mechanisms I have in times like these. There are lists - SO MANY LISTS- and goals... time to update your 10 year master plan, anyone? And who doesn't buy a new planner in June just to fill it all in again, color-coded, of course. And there are books being read about said lists and goals. And probably too much coffee (well, there is always too much coffee). And all of this all over again, all of the time.

I was reading through a new book today about de-cluttering your house, your things and how that starts with getting rid of stuff which I'm a big believer in. We did so much of that when we moved houses, but I feel like that was just wave one and now that we're here I'm slowly getting through wave two. Anyway, as she was talking through her strategy two things hit me:

First, there was a line in the book where she said that de-cluttering can be life-changing because it helps you focus, helps you feel more free, helps save you time- all of that good stuff BUT that is only possible if you have dealt with the true cause of your anxiety. I paused. Given the week I've had I asked myself, "what is the true cause of my anxiety?" Unless the answer is ALL OF THE THINGS- which I'm guessing is probably not a good answer- then really I'm not sure I really even know. So, first next step for me: figure that out. I think in the end it probably all comes down to balance and this week that was non-existent. I felt guilty when I was home caring for sick babies because I wasn't meeting expectations at the office and when I was at the office I was feeling guilty for not being home with my babies. It's a lose/lose some days. And there is no easy answer out there that works for every person.  

Second, while the book is just focused on de-cluttering things I will start there, but there's so much more to it than that. I've had this theory for a long time that there are 3 things we all have a finite amount of: time, energy and money. And at any time we will feel okay, even great, as long as we have a sufficient level of at least two of these, but at any time we're lacking in more than one is when things get really hard. What you have and what you need more of vary by season in your life. And if I think about this week specifically my time and energy levels have been far too low. So, second next step for me is to audit not only the things we have and what we can purge, but just as importantly think about where where my time/energy/money is going and what fixes need to happen with those too. 

So here's to a weekend with time to think, time to pray, time to reflect and hopefully come out on the other side feeling a whole lot more like myself. 

to a life in between.

A little over seven years ago I married my best friend. and a little after that I started blogging- a place to journal, a place to capture our adventures and a place to look back and remember. 

Fast forward a couple of years and that blog evolved into one centered around life with our sweetest and most important role yet as new parents. The next few years held more adventures, eventually growing into a family of FIVE! 

But, life evolves and so that chapter recently came to a close when we sold our first home- our cottage on a hill- and began a new one on the lake. 

Partly I think this change was for the sake of change. Some people get the seven year itch in their marriage, our itch was with our lifestyle which was most heavily influenced by where we were living.

Where we were was great and it was a good fit at that time, but the space to run and play also meant a lot of time spent on the up-keep. And it felt like the more extra space we had meant the more stuff we bought to fill up the space.

So we made a lifestyle choice. A choice that boiled down to wanting to spend less time working on our home and more time working in our life. 

And so we made the jump- we sold our house, we found our dream location and here we are at the very start of this new adventure. An adventure where there will always be peaks and valleys, there will always be "have tos" and distractions and busyness and stuff that tries to take away the joy... but we are just so blessed. SO BLESSED. We have 3 (someday 4) adorable, hilarious, entertaining little monsters who we have this one season to show that they can make the choice to not focus on all of that, but instead focus on a life in between all that. 

In between- it's that place where the magic happens. That place full of little moments and adventures that fill us up, that give us energy and inspire us. That place that leads to a life focused on all that is right and good- our faith, our family and learning all the day long wherever that day may take us, knowing that in the end we'll come back together to this haven we've created on the lake.