Archive | family life RSS feed for this section

The Work of our Hands…

10 Jun

DSC_0005

 

As my family and I are moving on through 2014 (Can you guys believe that the year is almost halfway over?), it seems be getting busier and busier.  I feel like we are moving into a new season in our lives, and if I think too much about it i feel a bit panicky.

Ove the past 5 years, I have protected our schedule fiercely.  We are homebodies, for sure, and enjoy just being home together, working in the garden and playing with Legos and Play-doh, reading books, and watching cartoons.  Jason loves coming home in the afternoons and having dinner on the deck and just working around the house on Saturdays.  If you come over on a Sunday, there is a good chance you will have to wake the entire family up from a nap.

I have become really good at saying no to people.  We didn’t sign Charlie up for tee ball this year (at Jason’s insistence) even when it seemed like all of his friends were playing, instead opting to enjoy a summer free of weeknight practices and Saturdays spent at the ball field.  Maddie isn’t taking any dance or gymnastics classes, and we practice kicking the soccer ball out in the yard instead of at 5:30 every Saturday morning (Soccer practice isn’t really that early, but it is at a ridiculously early hour.).

We really enjoy our life, and these years have been good.

But I can feel it changing…

Charlie is starting Kindergarten this year.  We have decided to homeschool the kids, and I am really excited about that.  This is, however, requiring a change in our schedule.  I am signing up for field trips and co-ops, scheduling weekly activities that we will HAVE to be at.  Our mornings are now going to be set aside for school, not hanging around the house in our pajamas, or doing housework, or going to the park with friends.

My church is chartering a MOPS, and a friend and I are the co-coordinators.  This is a huge responsibility, but something I feel is really important for our community and definitely feel called by God to do.  Every Wednesday morning will be set aside for this, plus planning and preparation throughout the week.

Then there are our regular activities: Bible Study on Tuesdays and Story Time on Thursdays.

Also, I am considering signing Maddie up for ballet on Monday afternoons in the fall, just so she can have something for herself when I know I will be focusing so much on Charlie.

Then there’s me.  I am still writing for a local magazine and teaching Sunday School off and on.  I am directing VBS, and am in the middle of the planning crush for that. Plus, I want to love and support my husband in all of his endeavors, and just make sure he still gets the best of me and not the leftovers at the end of the day.

Can we do all of this?  Are some things going to have to fall by the wayside? Of course. 

My devotion this morning dealt with the fact that God puts every thing in our life for a reason.  It is all for a purpose: to prepare us for His greater plan for our lives.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;  establish the work of our hands for us- yes, establish the work of our hands.  Psalm 90:17

This is my prayer for my family: that every single thing we do and every moment of our calendar is established by God, that it is meaningful for something.

If there is anything that I don’t need to be doing, I want to release it and leave it to someone else and not feel badly about it.  It could be someone else’s mission, after all.

There is one thing I know for sure-I am going to soak up every minute of this summer!  We are going to go to the pool and read books and be lazy when we can.  And I am really going to appreciate it.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Split-Second Story

31 May

*Disclaimer:  This post is a complete exaggeration based on a recent conversation with a friend. Thankfully, my wonderful husband could care less if the house, the children, or myself are a complete mess when he gets home from work, or he at least has the sense not to mention it.

The kids and I had great fun staging these pictures that represent a split-second in our day, with so much change going on in between the two pictures! 

 

You know that moment of clarity when you look around at your life and realize, something must change?  You see that your life is a mess, that you are living in chaos, and there is a strange smell coming from somewhere in the room, possibly from you?  You recognize that something must be done, that you must get to work to end the wreck that your life has become?

This happens every day in my house.

I call it the 5:30 rush.  5:30 is when my husband’s office closes.  I picture him calmly getting up from his desk, gathering his things, and walking out the door, locking up behind him.  Of course, he is looking so forward to getting home to his clean, cheery children and wife, to leaving the stress and busy-ness of the day behind him.

It takes him 30 minutes to drive home, and during that time I am a mad-woman.

 

The husband rush

 

I look around, assessing the situation.  I yell at the kids to un-attach themselves from me, go up to their rooms, take off their pajamas, and get dressed in real clothes including underwear.

I begin frantically loading dirty dishes into the dishwasher and putting cereal boxes, a jar of peanut butter, and other various food items into the cabinets.  I throw the stack of paper plates and juice boxes left by the 10 kids and their mothers we had over for lunch into the recycling, then grab the Lysol Wipes container and run through the house cleaning off countertops and toilets.

I quickly make the bed and snatch up the wet bathing suits laying in the floor, running into the laundry room to start a load of laundry.

The kids and I meet up in my bathroom, washing faces and brushing hair.  Charlie finds a can of Glade and goes around the house spraying coconut-scented air freshener around while Maddie begins searching the house for our cats so she can put them outside.

I realize that I haven’t started dinner yet, so I rush into the kitchen, grabbing the glasses of melted ice left on our nightstands from the night before to put into the dishwasher.  I stick a frozen lasagna in the oven, not bothering to preheat the oven, then lay a cutting board and knife out on the counter and arrange a head of lettuce, some carrots, and a tomato artfully on top of it, creating the illusion that I am in the middle of cooking a delicious, healthy, labor-intensive dinner for my hard-working husband.

I walk quickly through the house, picking up Legos, Barbies, and Transformers and tossing them into bins and closets, strategically leaving books scattered about.  I leave a puzzle box lying on the living room sofa and some play-doh on the kitchen table.  Evidence of organized learning must remain as proof of our productivity.

Back in my bathroom, I throw some concealer under my eyes, adding some mascara, blush, and lip gloss for good measure.  I take off my old shorts and T-shirt and put on clean clothes that I would actually wear in public.

Glancing at the clock, I realize that I have 5 minutes left before the husband pulls up in the driveway.  I grab the vacuum and run it over the floors, vacuuming up little piles of sand brought home from the park and the occasional small toy that was inadvertently left out (Casualty of war, I think to myself.) while the kids scrub with some Windex wipes at the chocolate handprints on the kitchen door. As I am placing the vacuum back in the pantry, I hear the garage door opening.

I smile to the kids as they take their places at the kitchen counter, coloring quietly.  I grab a pitcher of iced tea out of the refrigerator and set it out, then stand at the island and begin chopping up the vegetables I had put out earlier.

“Hi, Honey, I’m home!” Husband calls out when he enters the house.  I press a button on my iPod and switch the music playing in the background from “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” to Beethoven’s “Symphony Number 5”.  The kids put down their crayons and run to him, screaming, “Daddy, Daddy!”

He looks at me, “Did you guys have a good day?  What did you do?”

I smile sweetly, noticing that he has on his golfing clothes, and hand him a glass of tea.  “Nothing much.  Just did some stuff around the house.”

The Big Rush After_1

 

 

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/split-second-story/ 

 

Starting Summer

21 May

Even though summer isn’t officially underway yet, it has definitely begun at the Watkins’ house!  We have had some cool days this spring, but it got into the high 80’s today, so we had to bring out the new slip-n-slide that Charlie and Maddie’s Gramma brought them yesterday.

I went down a few times as well, but no pictures of that, praise the Lord!

Psalm 118:24 – “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Weekly Photo Challenge (A Week Belated): On Top

27 Apr

Last weeks weekly photo challenge was to share a photo that says “On Top.”  I know that I usually share photos of my kids and things that are going on in my life at the moment, but as soon as I saw this challenge I knew what picture I wanted to share.  The reason I am a week late is because the picture was taken over 6 years ago, and it took me awhile to find where I had stored it.

Jason took this picture of me in 2008 when we traveled to Italy.  We rode the train from Rome into the mountains to a smaller town called Orvieto, and spent the day walking around exploring.  It was a really great day for us.

We thought it would be fun to climb to the top of this really old bell tower.  It was TONS of steps to make it to the top, and we had already spent almost the entire day walking, so it seemed like we would never make it, but we did and it was totally worth it so see this ancient town from up high.

Here’s the picture that I have always loved so much.  I don’t know why I like it so much, but I do!

229747_1033745559390_1937_n

 

While we were up there, the bell actually began to ring, and it was deafening!

Here’s another picture of the actual view from the top:

225097_1033745519389_1649_n

 

Jason and I have seen lots of views from the top of different places all over the world, but I will always remember this as one of my favorites!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/on-top/

Easter Sunday Picture Fail!

20 Apr

Am I the only one who just CANNOT get a good picture of the entire family at the same time?  It just seems to be impossible for us!  Either someone is looking away or crying or has their eyes closed or has hair blowing all over the place.

Here’s what we came up with today:

Maddie is looking up in this one.

Maddie is looking up in this one. I think she was staring at me wondering why I had run from the camera (which we had set up on the hood of the truck-explaining the lopsidedness of the pics) to them, yelling, “Smile, smile!  It’s going to take a picture! Get ready!”  And why do I have a bubble wand in my hand?  That is so random.

 

Charlie is beginning to show his massive lack of patience.  (This was the second picture we took, after all!)

Charlie is beginning to show his massive lack of patience. (This was the second picture we took, after all!)  Plus, I was struggling to peek around Maddie.

 

And by this time (the third picture) the kids had just had it.

And by this time (the third picture) the kids had just had it.  Plus, not sure what’s going on with my eyes.

 

One thing I will point out, in case you didn’t notice: Jason looks PERFECT in all of these pictures! What’s up with that?  How does he do it?

Aside from our lack of a family photo when we all looked so great, we had a great Easter, and I hope you did, too.

O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting? For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15: 55-57

Warming My Heart Today…

24 Mar

While the kids are upstairs playing, I snapped a few quick pics of some things that are just making me happy today!

Woody, perfumes, Samples1

 

Maddie LOVES my perfumes, and after I let her have a squirt of mine this weekend she decided to share hers with me.  Is that not the sweetest thing ever?  Now she stores hers next to mine in my bathroom.  I’m so glad to have a little girl.

Woody, perfumes, Samples3

 

Jason was out of town most of last week.  I walked into my bathroom yesterday and found that he had brought home all of his hotel toiletries and lined them up next to my sink.  I thought it was so sweet that he was trying to give me a little luxury!  Boy do I need it after a week alone with the kids…

Woody, perfumes, Samples7

 

Woody, who was given to Charlie by his cousin Noah, has been through so much!  He survived Noah and Charlie, but now Maddie has gotten ahold of him.  She loves him so much, and, as you can see, has practiced some of her make-up techniques on him.  There is nothing like a toy that has been so loved-on that they are about to fall apart.

 

Here’s to finding joy in the little things around you!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 20 – Our Nighttime Routines

19 Mar

images

Haven’t we drastically changed our daily routines and habits so far this month?  Spending my days unplugged has really made a difference in my life and my home.

One thing that I haven’t changed so far, or asked you to change, is my nighttime routine.  In the beginning, I was spending a lot of time online at nighttime, quickly scrolling through Facebook and snapping pictures with Instagram.  I was like a crazy person in front of the computer!  I could probably be compared to a person opening a bag of chips and stuffing their face after a day of fasting.

I realized after a couple of nights of this how wasteful this was of me.  I was neglecting my husband and my children, and also losing valuable time with God.  I also saw that there was really nothing on Facebook or Instagram that I wanted to see. So, after I thought about this a bit, my nighttime bingeing routine quickly changed.

I could never totally give up Facebook.  When I do check Facebook for a few minutes at nighttime, I usually do have a message that needs to be returned.  I manage a page for this blog as well as my husband’s business page, and those things have to be tended to.  I can see the need for Facebook and think it would be unrealistic to give it up completely.  However, it isn’t something that should rule my life or my time.

I will remind you of the first Bible verse that we memorized, which I have repeated over and over to myself throughout the month:

1abackbluelacey3col

Challenge #16 – When you check your social media sources at nighttime, allow yourself only 15 minutes.  Set a timer if you need to, and spend the rest of your night doing something more meaningful.  

For some, this might mean spending time reading, doing some housework, watching a movie with your spouse, going for a nice walk, or playing a game with your kids.  The possibilities are endless!  Good luck!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 18 – Unplugging Your Family

17 Mar

images

As I have spent less and less time plugged in this month, I have become much more aware of other people and how they are spending their time.  I am no longer satisfied sitting next to Jason with both of us glued to our cell phones.  That just doesn’t count as quality time, you know?

Something else I don’t like seeing is this:

DSC_0012

Not that they aren’t the cutest things ever, but there are so many other things I would rather see them doing!

I have never been a fan of phones at the table, or the person riding next to me in the car scrolling through their newsfeed, but now I am aware of those things more than ever.  Honestly, I find it very rude.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 tells us, “So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.”

God gives us many pleasures in this life: our friends and family, our jobs, our churches, nature.  The list goes on and on!  Is your family taking advantage of these gifts from God, or are you allowing technology to rob you of those joys?

In this verse, King Solomon tells us that mealtimes in particular are meant to be a time of joy.  We need to take full advantage of those opportunities to sit around a table with our families, talk, laugh, and enjoy food and drink. Whether it’s a homemade meal or McDonald’s, in this busy, fast-paced world, God means for us to slow down and enjoy our meals together.

Challenge #14 – Today, I want you to pay attention to how your family uses technology.  Stop letting anyone use technology while a meal is taking place.  Use that time instead to talk, laugh, and find joy in each other!

 

31 Days Unplugged – Day 15 – Unstructured Time

14 Mar

images

A big part of the 31 Days Unplugged challenge has, for me, been about time management.  I have found that when I am unplugged, I have  a lot of time to do other things.  How do I spend that time for the glory of God and the good of my family? I have grown a lot this month in that area, and found that several new and exciting opportunities have arisen due to my new focus.  I hope that is true for you, too!

Recently, my husband and I had to decide whether or not to sign Charlie up to play T-Ball this Spring.  I really wanted him to start playing, but Jason wasn’t so sure.  I thought it would be good for Charlie to meet some more kids his own age and start getting some baseball skills.  Jason thought he was too young and unfocused, and he also knew that we would have to sacrifice a lot of our free time (which we really value) to take Charlie to practice and games.

In the end, we decided to wait a while longer to begin playing organized sports, and even though I was disappointed at the time, I am now relieved that we don’t have to spend our Saturdays this spring at the ballpark, especially after talking with some friends who are stressing out, trying to figure out how to add ball practice into their already busy schedules.

Having too little unstructured time is a problem for a lot of people, whether you have children or not.  We run from one activity to another, spending hours a day in our vehicles (with the kids watching movies or playing on the phone).  We spend our Saturdays rushing from one game to another, then from birthday party to birthday party.  What are we trying to accomplish, exactly?

According to the National Wildlife Federation, today’s children in America spend less than 30 minutes a day in unstructured play and 7 hours or more in front of some sort of electronic device!  That just sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? 

No wonder so many of our children are obese, diagnosed with ADHD and depression, and simply stressed-out!

Today’s post is an extension of yesterday’s challenge to cut down on your family’s time in front of the TV.

Challenge #12 – This weekend, structure at least one hour a day of unstructured time into your schedule. (That sounds ironic, doesn’t it?) In my opinion, that isn’t enough unstructured time, but that’s a good start.  Spend this time doing WHATEVER you want to do, and let your kids do WHATEVER they want to do (except watch TV, of course:)).  

I am a big believer in unstructured time, and a large portion of our days are spent with the kids simply playing.  I have always believed strongly that that is how kids learn and make memories, not by being shuttled from one activity to the next.  We’ve got to give ourselves and our families time to just be.

Spreading weeds

Some Quick Pics of Our Days

6 Mar

While I have been unplugging this month, the kids and I have been having a great time.  We’re spending lots of time reading and playing and visiting with friends, and I have been taking a lot of pictures with my actual camera instead of my phone.

DSC_0006

The kids have been doing a lot of “kindergarten” work, as Charlie calls it. This morning, he told me he was going to start raising his hand if he had something to say.  Seeing as he has never stepped foot in school or preschool or anything like it, I don’t know where he got that from!

DSC_0020

We have been taking some naps, too!

DSC_0016

Maddie is such a little helper! She helped me make scrambled eggs this morning.

DSC_0053

And a little tea party to get the day started!

DSC_0055

Our days are going very well, and I hope yours are, too.  For those of you participating in 31 Days Unplugged, I would love to hear what you’re doing now that you have a little more time on your hands!