Summer List

I think in lists. I write in lists. My “bullet journal” is really just a book of lists…but at least they are all in one place!

So, my latest list obsession is planning what this summer will look like because it’s the last one as a family of three. Consider it part nesting/ part focusing:

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Make ALL the freezer meals!– Baby Girl will be here before we know it and, if my first baby taught me anything, it is that I won’t even be able to think about meals after the new bundle of joy. We were very blessed the first time around to have friends supply us with dinners for awhile and I was majorly craving Smith’s hot dogs, which was an easy fix, but this time I want a fully stocked freezer and lots of easy go-to food all around. (Hello and welcome back, nursing Momma appetite!)

Move/Decorate/Prepare both the girls’ new rooms– Vivi will be moving to make way for Baby Gia and the nursery will be switching rooms as well due to the strange configuration of the upstairs of our house. To prevent this from being a daunting, annoying task, I’ve taken to Pinterest to plan and design the cutest rooms for my daughters. Yes, a lot of the actual work will fall on my hubby but trying to make it as fun as possible for everyone is my mission.

Write– Lots of writing needs to happen, and it won’t all be fun. My thesis has been an ongoing “monkey on my back” for the past year and I just need to get it DONE before the lack of sleep and brain power disappears. But, to balance, I want to blog more and maybe start actually banging out one of the books that are floating around in my head.

Read– This goes hand in hand with writing. Yes, for a while it will be more articles than books, but I have a growing list (and pile!) of non-school books that are calling my name. Female Catholic writers have been on fire with putting books out lately and I’m going to devour them all!

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Current read…so good!

Home-ify the house– We have been in our house for 4 years this upcoming July, but it still looks pretty much like the house we bought back then. Partly because we have been pretty busy these past couple year, partly because we have had our home open to our housemates (we will be down to only 1 this year!) and partly because I’m lazy and don’t really have an eye for decor. But I’m ready to change that (again, probably nesting hormones at work!) My mind has big plans for gallery walls, well taken care of flowers beds, freshly painted walls and really just making this place more “us”. Stay tuned to see what happens!

Family fun (planned and unplanned)– Vivi is at the age where she loves and INSISTS on being outside whenever possible. And, in all honesty, she’s a pretty fun kid to be around. I’m excited for using our Zoo membership, trips to the beach and parks, longs walks and really just being around my favorite people in the whole world, including a mini-babymoon for Matt and I will Viv spends some time with cousins and grandparents.

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The wild dogs are a MUST SEE for this little cutie at the zoo.

 

I think summer really brings out the best in me. The freedom, even if it is just perceived, brings joy to my soul. Maybe because I”m a July baby ( PS #30 is happening is year…eeee!) or maybe because I need the sunlight and warmer temps, but summer always feels light and full of possibilities. I’m ready, summer 2018, let’s do this!

Hey, look! A weekend happened…

…and I didn’t write. So surprising.

But, I didn’t write because it was a full weekend. And, I should have written because it was a full weekend. The irony is not lost on me.

First things first, my husband is a saint. I am fully unshaken in my belief of this. He handles everything with an ease and grace I will never attain. From my fender bender Thursday evening after a long day of work to reminding me Saturday that we are truly blessed in our lives, no matter what my ultra-comparative, anxious, extremely selfish brain tells me, he is the best thing that God has allowed in my life. And I am truly grateful for him each and every day.

Second, with my schedule slowing down for the summer, I finally feel like I can fully live my vocation and I have missed that this year. There are main things that keep me from being the best wife and mother I can, some of them real, a good deal of them in my head. But with the warm sunshine and open Sunday afternoons, a lot of those things fade away and I feel the joy again, especially in the mundane tasks that I have to rush through during the academic year. I put more love and care into my tasks and my heart is lighter.

All in all, the weekend was fantastic even if I would have never chosen it for myself. Praise be to God.

I hate the Internet

I know today is about love. I get that. I also (obviously) don’t really hate the Internet…I’m being dramatic. I’m a girl on Valentine’s Day, totally to be expected.

But, at the very least, I’m not very happy with parts of the Internet at them moment. And, like most of the times when I’m angry or hateful, it’s myself that I’m actually mad at and not the person/thing/website.

And here’s the deep dark secret: My name is Jen and I’m a Comparison Addict. (“Hi, Jen,” say the disembodied voices in my head) It’s horrible. I can go to the darkest hole of pity and self loathing with the snap of your fingers. And the biggest obstacle is the fact that I spend a (much too) big portion of my life looking at other people’s lives on a screen.

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I think I would have done better in a life before the Internet. Granted, I wouldn’t have traveled beyond my street because my sense of direction without a GPS can be equated to that of toddler who was just spinning in circles for 18 minutes straight. But, I yearn for a time when I didn’t have filtered, perfect smiles mocking me and my unwashed hair. I need to be able to get through a day without someone having a thought that makes me question my own existence. And the cheesy couple posts…ugh don’t get me started. If it’s possible, I couldn’t loathe/love anything more.

Case in point: My husband sent me roses today. Now, I believe that my husband is the most perfect person in the world and, if I didn’t have Jesus in my life, my love for my husband borderline idolatry. But did I thank him as soon as I said good-bye to the delivery man? No, the first thing I did after receiving this beautiful gift: I took and posted a picture of it. I needed people to see what had happened. I needed to be noticed. I needed to prove to myself that I was important enough to be included in the blizzard of heartfelt pictures and declarations of love happening on Facebook today. (I did eventually thank my husband.)

And this happens more than on holidays. There are times I can find myself hours deep into looking at someone’s vacation pictures from 4 years ago because I need to convince myself that, in some way, it wasn’t perfect. Or that my thighs look smaller than that woman’s profile picture from 2011.

It’s bad for me. I know it’s bad for me.Sometimes I state out loud in my empty office how bad it is for me while I click the next link. But it is so easy to get caught up in. And its so hard to stop.

It feels a lot like being a child and screaming for your mom to look at you. Over and over and over and over until you get her attention. And why? So that she can praise you or smile and nod. So that she can love you and accept you and so that you can be known.

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See where I’m going with this yet?

Someone is watching. He’s always watching. Even when I’m not selfie worthy and even when I’m down the rabbit hole of hating myself while studying the most minute detail of someone else’s profile, God is watching. And He’s loving me. And I am known to Him.

And He is sad that I don’t realize that. That I am beating up what I consider to be unworthy in myself. That I am tearing down His child.

And with His help, I’m working on it. I don’t have all the answers. Heck, I don’t have any of the answers. But my tactic of praying my way through the darkness, is getting me closer.

So, I’m praying for you, couple who just announced their pregnancy. And you, person who ate a really pretty looking salad last Tuesday. And, most of all, I’m praying for you, unsure little girl inside of me who is longing for attention. We’ll get through this.

PS How pretty are those roses?!

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Here we go again

Almost three years away from blogging seems like a pretty good break, don’t you think?

I’m not even going to pretend that I can recap my last three years and I’m not going to try. But my level of life reflection has been at an all time high lately and I need to write again. So, I will.

Our wedding is 9 days away and counting…and I feel like I’ve been counting all my life to this day. With this saint of a man. We’ve been prepping songs and seating charts and ceremony programs but there is something that is really hitting me at the moment: our vows. We haven chosen to memorize the standard Catholic vows for August 1st and, while I go over and over them in my head, I’m trying to see if I actually mean every. single. word. I’m in this forever, I need to make sure I’m holding up my end of the bargain.

And I’m having a hard time with the word “honor”. I love my fiance with every ounce of my being. I love him to the moon and back. I love him with all of my heart. I love him in every cliched way imaginable, and then, some but I’ve never thought about honoring him. Is that a default word that just goes with love or is it something more?

When I think of honor, I think of the Army or the commandment about being nice to my parents, but never really living out honor in any practical way. Maybe that’s a missing piece. Maybe honor is the forgotten vow that requires the effort of not only putting him before me always but respecting him, even when I disagree, or holding him in the highest esteem, even when he breaks me down. I’m going to work on my honoring, I think it needs a tune-up.

(Originally posted 7/22/2015)