Friday, February 20, 2015

To My Weeping Mommas ...

I sat on the couch and wept. 

How could it be that after so much effort and time that my world seemed to be crumbling right beneath me?

How could it be after nearly 12 years of marriage that I looked at my husband some days and wondered who he was and where our sappy love had went to? 

How could it be after pouring into my children day in and day out there was still a struggle with respect, obedience and making the right choices everyday? 

How?

I sat on the couch and wept. I was in one of the most vulnerable states I had ever been in in my life. I knew no one in the flesh could give me the answer I needed to hear. The answer I needed for my spirit. 

It was nothing my husband could say. It was nothing my preacher could say. It was nothing my best friend could say. 

Through tear filled eyes, I reached over and grabbed the Bible sitting beside the lamp in our living room. 

"Show me, Lord. Show me." I began to whisper over and over again as I gripped His Word. 
And as if my fingers had no control anymore, I began to flip to Jeremiah.
My eyes began to see, my mind began to read, my heart began to fill. 

"Cries of fear are heard - terror not peace."
"It will be a time of trouble ... but you will be saved out of it."
"Do not fear ... do not be dismayed."
"There is no one to plead your cause, no remedy for your sore, no healing for you. All your allies have forgotten you; they care nothing for you."

When I first hit the couch in pure defeat, I felt so alone. I felt as though no one understood me or even knew for that matter just how abandoned and isolated I felt. Now I knew there was One who did understand me. He saw my tears. He heard my cries.

"I will restore you to health and heal your wounds."
"I will restore the fortunes of Jacob's tents and have compassion on his dwellings."
"I will add to their numbers and they will not be decreased."
"I will come to give you rest ..."
"I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt."

He began to show me what my future would look like. 

"They will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord - the grain, the new wine, the oil."
"They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more."
"I will turn your mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow."

I stopped there though, thinking I had what I needed to pick up the pieces. And still I wept. My heart needed more. I needed something just for the Momma in me. 

And just as God saw Rachel weeping so many years ago and comforted her with these words, He saw me in my own mess and used these same words to calm me too.

"Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded."

There it was. Above all I had read, this was the yummy icing on the most delicious cake I had ever eaten. 

Mommas.
Our work will be rewarded.

The late night feedings.
The potty training.
The hours of school work we help with.
The sock folding.
The mundane task of sweeping and resweeping and sweeping again. In one day.
The thousands of diapers we change.
The disciplining.
The books we read over and over.
The tying of shoes.
The loading and unloading and loading and unloading of the dishwasher.
The thousands of bowls of cereal we make.
The mouths we wipe. 
The same toys we clean up over and over and over again.
The refereeing we do.
The vacuuming.
The prayers we pray for them.
The devotions we read to them.

Our work will be rewarded.
My work will be rewarded.
Your work will be rewarded.

So to my weeping Mommas, know your cries are heard, know you will be restored and your work will be rewarded.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Get It Together ...

February has been a total whirlwind for me. 

 

From sitting at the auto repair shop having our van worked on (for three days in a row) to shopping for and buying Travis another truck to starting up our new Business Adventure with AdvoCare to Kolt having another double ear infection to my Khloe suddenly growing out of all of her winter clothes to running more errands than I choose to recall to the husband feeling the need to dismantle our mantle in order to make a newer, nicer one (eh, hum. I don't quite know what was wrong with the other one, but whatevs) to me starting a new 6:30 AM workout regimen to this month being the month that Travis is "Deacon of the Month" in which he has to be at the church loads earlier than normal to 

Um, have I said enough? 
Really, was it too much? 


Are you stressed out? 
Don't be.

Being on the go all.the.time is not my thing. 


Our time at the school table dwindled down to being happy that math was accomplished.
And I'm pretty sure that math was done in the car a few days too. 

And I would love to say I have handled this busyness with grace, but truth is with being gone every day of the week (which is completely out of my realm) comes a filthy, out of control house. And with that comes a frantic, stressed out Momma. 

At one point I found a banana peel in the bathroom floor behind the toilet. 
I can't make this stuff up. 

Khloe's room seems to be a catch all for laundry baskets, I am ashamed to say. 

Yesterday Kohen wet 7 pairs of underwear. The same kid who hasn't had a "wet" accident in a month. 


So the next few days I'll be getting my crap back together again.

Laundry.
Cooking real food again.
School.
Spending time with that dude I call husband. 
Lord knows my bathrooms need a scrubbin'.

So Mommas. Questions. 
Do your days turn into weeks turn into months like this one? How do you get out of the funk and regain control?
 I need some words of wisdom here. 

P.S. Thank you MawMaw for my getaway to the nail salon. A mani and pedi were much needed in the midst of all this shenanigans. I love you! 

P.S.S. And a thank you to my husband who brought me home the MOST beautiful bouquet of flowers on Hearts Day. My house is filled with the smell of fresh flowers, my favorite!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Peace ...

Hi y'all. 

So don't be mad that I posted a status promising a post (like 2 weeks ago) and then totally dropped the ball on publishing one. My bad. Life happened. Over and over and over again. 

If you could only see all of the drafts on my dashboard you'd know just how many times I have sat down to write about life these days. But the words were never right, so more times than I care to share I just closed the computer down and thought 'not right now'. 

This morning I erased all of those half written posts, took a deep breath, planted my butt on the couch (fireside I might add because it is flipping cold here) and decided today would be the day!

My heart has been really focused in other places than my blog. And this one might not be as long as the others or as light and airy. But lets face it, sometimes life just isn't light and airy. And those times need to be talked about too because that is what makes life real. We're not perfect. In the words of Momastery, life is brutiful.

I started 2015 off with my heart wide open. I looked back on 2014 and knew I needed better. Knew I needed to be more filled, more loved on. Knew I needed a better marriage. Knew I needed to be a better, more consistent Momma. Knew I needed to change. Knew I needed to be a better friend. Knew I needed to be more engaged, more intent. Knew I needed to be happier. 

Its hard to give the bad parts of the good things a voice. 

But I have. And it was hard. I had to recognize there was bitterness in my heart from things in the past. I had to put a voice to that hurt in order to heal from it. 

I have had to make myself available to Jesus. Its easier said than done with a house full of people who demand your time all the time and a list as long as a mile of things to do. It's easy to become distracted from Him by the laundry, by the TV, by a book. Making ample time for Him though has allowed me to become more vulnerable and moldable than I have ever been. And slowly, but surely He is healing my heart. I savor my mornings with Him. And this time, I refuse to lose sight of my relationship with Him like I have done so many times in the past. I simply refuse to quit seeking Him. I refuse to be content with a mediocre relationship with my Savior. After an abundance of tears and crying out to Him, I am feeling relief from the pain of the past. I am feeling His Peace now more than ever. He is teaching me to be quiet in my spirit. And as loud as this house can be, that is hard. But I'm learning, I'm getting there. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Night With Mother Goose Time: Dinosaur Dig 1

Hi Mommas! Happy Monday Night to you! 

You We made it! 

I have heard so much feedback from so many of you about Mother Goose Time! I am really excited these reviews and posts are spreading the word about just how wonderful MGT really is. 


When a new MGT box comes in, I usually get to peeping just as soon as the boys (and girl) lay down for naps. 

Each theme will come with lots of great ways to begin setting up your classroom area. Each month you will receive a new calendar, a poster for that month's theme and name tags as well. I love having the name tags on the table (as you have seen I am sure in many pictures). Kohen has already learned how to spell his name aloud, just from having his name tag on the table. Kruz has also began writing his last name, just because of seeing his name tag everyday. And there are no more problems with " ... (insert a brother's name here) is in my seat". Makes this Momma's life a little bit easier.

January's theme is Dinosaur Dig! I can remember when I first told Kruz about MGT. I read to him all of the different themes and Dinosaur Dig was the one he was most looking forward to. Now that it is here and we are right in the middle of it, I would say it is living up to all of his expectations. And mine too! So when Kruz saw his new Dino name tag, he was pretty revved up!

The Dinosaur Dig began with learning about Paleontologists, Excavation Sites, Fossils and Bones. Kruz is learning about what a paleontologist is, the tools he/she uses on a dig, what they do on an excavation site, what fossils are and all about dino bones. 

This was one of our projects when we first started Dinosaur Dig: Excavation Dig




Each art project comes with one of these, a project sheet with different ideas on discussion, exploration, a plan, ideas on creating and ways to play when you are done. 

For this particular project, all we needed to have were scissors and glue. Got it and got it!





So each of the boys cut out their own sets of bones. We were given a small pack of sand and once the pieces were cut out, they all went into the sand where the boys had to 'excavate' the bones. If you noticed in the top picture, MGT provided us with brushes - these were used to brush off the sand and 'clean' the bones once they were found. Once each bone was clean and free of sand, the boys glued their bones on their paper, ultimately figuring out how to piece together the dinosaur skeleton. 

And sorry for no more pictures after this. I'm pretty sure I was refereeing it between, " ... Mommy, (insert a brother's name here) got my bone" and oh, I could just see the wheels a-turning in Kruz' brain on throwing that sand in the air. Geesh! The end results were really cute! Especially since Kollin, Kolt and Kruz figured out they could make cool designs with glue and the sand would stick to it. Fun, fun!

And here is another set of pictures without an end result shot! Ha! Seriously though, Kohen was so stinkin' cute in those Jake undies painting his dino bone! I mean, way too cute not to share!




Everyone painted one of these bones and I had the privilege to paint the dinosaur's skull. Yea, I like to paint sometimes too! We had fun piecing them together to make the shape of our own dinosaur! 

P.S. Yes. Yes, that is my four year old in a Bumbo chair in one of those pictures. Yes, he still fits. Yes, he was stuck. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

When Your Life Looks So In Tune With the Zoo ...

Yesterday we brought back our 'Nichols Friday FunDay'. And the kids were pretty excited about it. These days became more and more infrequent as the holidays came through along with finals too. 


So this Friday we were determined to make it happen. 

We packed a lunch and headed to Zoo Atlanta


We sort of went backwards and landed at the kangaroos in the beginning instead of the end. And wouldn't you know, the first interaction I come to is a Momma Kangaroo nursing her Joey. Seriously y'all. It was the sweetest. The Momma just stopped all that she was doing to sit there oh so still and nurse her baby. I feel ya Momma, I feel ya. 



Kohen was so much fun to take! This is the first time we have gone when he actually wanted to interact with the animals and was interested and amazed at how ginormous an elephant actually is. 



I'm pretty sure we stopped and watched the gorillas for at least 30 minutes or so. We watched a few of the Gorilla Children (so proper right?) aggravate the snot out of each other and bang their fists on their chests in such a territorial way and knock each other out of the hammock and on and on and on. I don't think they ever sat still. Papa Gorilla got fed up at some point and rushed in (banging his chest of course) to get those kiddos under control. All the while, Momma Gorilla and Baby Gorilla cuddled on the hill. One Gorilla Child was obviously a teenager and went off to pout after getting in trouble and two of them started aggravating each other again just as soon as Daddy Gorilla turned around. 


Seriously. It was like watching my life in a Gorilla World.

Here are a few more from our day ...









P.S. I think I'll hang this sign up in our home while potty training Kohen -


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Our Favorites of December ...

Before you start seeing my brood explode into the Dinosaur Dig with Mother Goose Time this month, I wanted to share some of our most favorite activities from December.

Okay. So no. This has nothing to do with Mother Goose Time. But Good Lord, isn't she the cutest?

December's theme with MGT was Winter Wonderland, if I haven't mentioned that yet. And we had so much fun indulging in all of the fun activities that were specially planned by MGT! We learned about everything wintry and cold, from snowmen to snow leopards. 

There is so much art in MGT, which is such a hit with my kiddos. I've learned over the past couple years with homeschooling that I am a pretty cut and dry kinda Momma Teacher. I am all about the basics. With Mother Goose Time, all of the artsy ideas are done for me - which has made me the Fun Momma Teacher. During our first week, we made Snowflake Stamps. I wrote up an entire post about this great activity


Another massively wonderful quality of MGT is the foundation it lays for me to dig deeper. Sure, making these adorably wonderful Polar Bear Masks was fun. As we made these masks, we talked about the characteristics of these amazing animals and how they really keep warm in the Artic. 

Who knew a small paper cup would be the most perfect snout for a polar bear?

Oh and the penguins. These were so fun! And so cute! I had fun telling the boys how penguins mate for life. And even more fun telling them it was Daddy Penguin's job to lay on the Baby Penguin Egg until it hatches. Ha! 


And our last, but certainly not least favorite was making our ice skates. This activity came with an ice skate cutout, a sheet of foil and red yarn. Having the boys wrap the foil around the "blade" was a wonderful activity for practicing patience. This part of the activity took some time and thought processing about just how they would accomplish this task. Lets just say, I slipped into the kitchen for a quick clean up while Kollin, Kolt and Kruz meticulously made their own ice skates. They were concentrating so hard, I don't even thing they noticed I went to load the dishes from breakfast. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop (please send more activities like this).


Here are 2 of 3 finished projects. 

A big 
thank you
 to MGT for making December such a fun month for us! 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Make That Three Nichols Ninjas ...

It is official. 
We have three boys in karate, three Nichols Ninjas.


Kruz has been patiently waiting to get in there with his two big brothers. Just about as eager as Kolt was when he started karate. So we said what better time to start something than the New Year? So Kruz started karate this past Monday. 


Did you notice that his name was spelled wrong on his belt? Just as soon as his Mr. Rodriguez noticed the "C", he made him a new belt. Geesh, you think he'd know by now - we're a "K" family! 



Kruz and Kolt will be in the same class for a little bit, just until Kolt moves up when he turns seven. But until then, they'll be the two cutest ninjas in the bunch.



He's fierce. And cute.



Such a good combo.

P.S. If you're wondering where the boys attend karate, they go to Championship Martial Arts in McDonough.