August 19, 2015

The Times Are Changing And So Am I

I'm struggling to write this post. The words are there, but it could come across in ways I don't intend. Even so, I want to remember this season and I know I'll look back at this post in the years to come. I'll want to be reminded of what God was doing in my heart and how he used a three year old girl to teach me about true love. Warning - this is a bit lengthy.

I'm working quite a bit now. I have the luxury to work from home a majority of the time, but I'm working nearly full-time hours. There are two reasons I'm okay with this. One, I know this is just a season. I can't keep this pace up forever and by God's grace, at this point in our lives and finances, I know I won't have to. Second, working more means I have been able to put more money towards our new house than we originally planned and I've been able to contribute to furnishing it without adding any additional debt. All good things.

With more work means more child care required. It doesn't sit well with me to work away on my computer while Crosbi plays alone or to use the TV as a babysitter. Because of that, she's now enrolled in two part-time preschools. Both are just two half days a week, meaning she goes four days a week. One of the preschools she has gone to since she was just shy of two years old. It's a dream school. I love the staff, Crosbi has made incredible friendships, and I've even made some really great friendships with other moms. The preschool is in a church and the values being taught to my daughter are invaluable. She's not only learning about the love of Christ from the curriculum, but her teachers demonstrate God's love in ways that make me tear up just thinking about it. I'll be sad the day she begins Kindergarten and we say goodbye to her church school.

This summer I knew I had to add some additional care, and I knew another two-day school would be the best fit for our family. I had another church in mind, but I just couldn't get myself to pull the trigger. Then I remembered a school I had heard about when we first moved to Nashville that had only been described as "magical." Outdoor and imaginative play are the primary goals. I can get on board with that. But I also knew this school was pretty liberal. This is not a "Christian" school. This school is open to all children from all backgrounds. I went ahead and enrolled Crosbi and paid the enrollment fee to save her a spot so I could give it more thought.

A few weeks before school began, I panicked. I threw the registration papers away. The school is too liberal, I can't have her going there. But now I didn't have a plan. I would need to find a nanny. To say I was overwhelmed was an understatement.

In bed one night I tossed and turned, not able to sleep. Stressing about my childcare situation, I asked God to make His plan for Crosbi known. I picked up my phone to search preschools when I saw the email that the first month of tuition at the "magical" school had already posted. That was a pretty clear indicator that things were already in motion for Crosbi to attend.

At open house, I hesitantly walked in. As a mom, I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was the J.Crew to a world of Urban Outfitters. A Chevy to a land of Subarus (literally!). In other words, I was the least "hippie" mom there and it was obvious. Shortly after entering the building we met other children and quickly met a little girl in Crosbi's class who had come with her two moms. As someone who prides herself on loving others and being the hands and feet of Jesus, I was surprised by my reaction. I smiled and engaged in conversation, but in my head, I was done. No way was Crosbi going to school here. I can't have her going to a school like this. She's three years old. We're not ready for these conversations.


Where did that come from?

My heart. My ugly, fearful heart.

In church the week before, our pastor had said that if the last ten people we had called on our phone look like us, have the same skin color, are in the same tax bracket, etc,. then we're not doing it right. God didn't call us to love the people that are just like us.


After leaving the open house, I had to really humble myself and ask God for direction. He made it very clear that this school would stretch my family and that running away was not what He was asking me to do.

On the second day of school, the teachers told me that Crosbi was really drawn to the little girl with two moms. This little girl is a bit younger and smaller than Crosbi, and Cros has gone out of her way to love on her. The teacher told me that when the little girl was playing by herself or felt left out, Crosbi would come to her and hug her or hold her hand.

I wish I could say I jumped for joy, but my fear took hold. Of all the kids in this class, Crosbi would be drawn to this one? In the car I asked Crosbi what she liked about her new friend. Her response shook me to my core:

"I don't know, mom. I just really love her."

Crosbi is oblivious to the situation. She doesn't understand the family dynamic of this little girl. She just loves her. No stereotype, no fear. Just love.

God is wrecking me in the best way during this season in our lives. He's using my sweet girl to get me outside of my own head, my fears and judgment. He's reminding me that he made all of us in His image and that He never ran from those that were different. In fact, He was drawn to them.

My prayer these days sounds something like this:

Lord, help me to love with childlike love. Help me to follow my daughter's lead when she's more in tune with your Spirit than I am. Use this season to teach my family what the love of Christ truly looks like. Make us more like you.

I'm so thankful for a God who doesn't leave us in our mess. I'm especially thankful that he would use a spunky three year old, who I have the blessing of calling my daughter, to do His best work.


August 2, 2015

Here + There

It's August. How is it August? Also, we move next week! In some ways it feels like we were never going to get here, and in other ways...well, I haven't packed a thing. I'll add packing to my never ending to-do list. This season has been a whirlwind. A new house, lots of new work for me, and life with a three year old has made my head spin, but we're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I can't wait to open our doors to friends and family. We took friends to see our home today (wanting so badly for them to be our future neighbors), and it felt really good to say, "Come on in! Make yourself at home." I didn't realize how much my heart aches for hospitality until I couldn't have friends in our home. Asking people to be quiet because the neighbors might hear doesn't quite scream hospitality.

One more week. We can't wait!

Until then, we'll say goodbye to July and the memories we made. A beach trip, night out with the girls, family in town, and lots of outdoor time made for a fun month. Well, minus the broken arm part (as seen in the photo above).

Yep, she broke it again. Just days after telling her I signed her up for soccer this fall, Crosbi decided to get a head start on practicing and took a tumble over the ball. My girl is giving me a run for my money.

So long, July. You were a good one. Except for the broken arm. That part wasn't so good.


July 11, 2015

Crosbi Says...

Just popping in for a quick update. Life has been cray-zee. I have said yes to too many of the good things, but I'm not completely certain they're the best things. Being an adult is for the birds sometimes. But we're all still alive and kicking and trying to enjoy this summer amidst the craziness. We just got back from a beach trip to see my mom in North Carolina and now we're anxiously waiting to move into our home. We're less than a month out and couldn't be more excited. Life is good. It's messy and hard at times, but we're healthy. We have a roof over our heads and family and friends that love us. It's all so good.

You know what else makes life so good? Conversations with my daughter. Man, she's the best.

When she's not making up songs to sing (her lyrics are very much inspired by One Direction). She's saying things like...

"If I see a bug, I'm going to get my shoe and dead it."

Me: Crosbi, where's your dad? (Knowing he's in the other room).
Crosbi: "He's probably in a meeting."

"In the new house, I think God and Jesus are going to give us a dog and a cat."

Crosbi's preschool just started show and tell on Tuesdays. Crosbi tells me she loves bringing her toys to "Show Hotel."

Speaking of hotels, we're currently living in an apartment, but we have stayed in a few hotels this summer. A couple of weeks ago, Crosbi let me know that she told her friends at school we live in an apartment, and sometimes a hotel. Her sweet teachers probably think things have gone from bad to worse over here. Too funny.

This might be my favorite age yet.

May 15, 2015

Here + There

It's been ages since I've written. I thought it was time I pop in and give a little update on what we've been up to lately.

The first question we get asked these days is "how is the house coming along?" I kinda love that question. This has been such a fun time of dreaming about our future in our home in the country. It has been all kinds of stressful, but it has been really great too. I'm not the most creative person. I don't draw or paint in my spare time. When it comes to fashion, I stick with the basics. Nine times out of ten you'll find me in jeans and a v-neck tee. And flip-flops of course.

But my creativity kicks in when it comes to my home and I've wrestled with that a bit. I have a pretty specific vision in my head for how everything will come together and it's hard to not think about what others will think. I'm constantly thinking about how I'll respond when someone says, "Why did you pick those counter tops? I wouldn't have chosen that paint color. You really spent too much money on this. I would have invested more in that." It can be kind of crippling. But I'm learning as I go and I know that there will be things we wish we would have done differently. There will be things we'll want to change the day we move in, and that's okay. That's the great thing. It's a blank canvas and we can make changes as our seasons in life change. Will Crosbi's room always include shades of pink? Probably not. Will styles and trends change? Always. For me, I'm letting my creativity be influenced by the season we're currently in and I'm 100% okay with that.

But where are the photos?! Here's a sneak peek.

The first floor is framed! Actually, this was taken several days ago and now the second floor is going up and our garage is completely framed out. Our house looks bigger than it actually is because we're on a hill. Our future neighbor asked if it was going to be three floors. Definitely not. About 2-3 feet of the concrete that is visible will be covered by our yard once the dirt is spread out. 

As much as I'm excited about the house, my eyes go right through the house to those trees. TREES! Our last home didn't have a single tree. I'm counting down the days until I'm sitting on our back patio, watching the sun go down behind all those shades of green.

In the meantime, we're plugging away in our apartment. We are beyond blessed to have the temporary living space we have, but we miss so many things about having a home. I miss grilling so badly I can barely stand it. Even though I don't cook anything on a grill, (that's Todd's domain) it has been such a big part of our lives to eat outside to the smell of a bbq. I miss watching Crosbi play in the yard and ride her tricycle up and down the street. That isn't really possible in our current setup. So to make up for that, we try to spend as much time out of the house as we can.

We took a last minute trip to Atlanta to check out Shake Shack and visit Ikea and other great outlet stores (hello Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma Outlets!). We've hit local festivals and just this past weekend we took Crosbi camping for the first time.

Crosbi had her last day of preschool this week and yesterday Todd and I celebrated ten years of marriage. It's amazing to both of us the life we've lived the past ten years, but I think I would be okay if the next ten are at a much slower pace.

Crosbi is still making us laugh daily. She's currently obsessed with One Direction. It's pretty amazing, actually. She can hear a song and tell you when each band member is singing by name. "That's Harry! That's Zayn!" I love it because I was the same way (oh that's Justin, and that's JC! - you NSync fans will know what I'm talking about). And this isn't by video. She does this by ear, listening in the car. She knows every single word to 17 of their songs. I just counted. We joke and roll our eyes, but it's pretty much the best thing ever.

She loves playing rester-not (restaurant) and has really started getting into Disney princesses and My Little Pony. She knows what she likes for sure. My little girl isn't so little anymore.

So that's where we've been! It's very likely we'll be moved in the next time I find time to post, but only time will tell.


March 16, 2015

Old House

We moved out of our house just a little over two weeks ago and in some ways it already feels like a lifetime ago. We've been going non-stop since we said goodbye to our house and we really haven't had the chance to think about everything that's happening. We're currently navigating apartment life while we wait for our new home to be built. Apartment living with children is not for the faint of heart. It's been a bit of an adjustment, but we're making the best of it. Once the pool opens this summer, we'll be smooth sailing I'm sure.

Because we've been so busy, I haven't really stopped to think about our "old house" as Crosbi calls it. We packed and got out so quickly that it sort of felt more like a dream than reality. The other day in the car Crosbi said she wanted to go to her "old house" and I was reminded that it really was a special place for us. Todd and I bought that house when we were 24 and 25 years old. We didn't have a clue what we were doing. We spent over seven years there. We both started our careers, brought home a baby, and practically grew up in that home. We have so many memories with friends and family. There were marks on the carpet from the Super Bowl parties we hosted every year. There's a small stain from when one of my best friends jumped up and down (while holding a cup of coffee!) after hearing I was pregnant. I smiled every time I saw it. There was a mark in the bathroom from when my sisters were experimenting with hair color. It's the little things that make a home.

But I'm also at such peace about our future. When our buyers had their final walk-through, their realtor told ours that the husband and wife both had tears in their eyes as they walked through what is now their home. Hearing that, I knew our season in that house was officially over. It belonged to them, the new owners, to make their own memories. I pray the memories they make are as sweet as ours.

I didn't post many photos of our home. I did a post on Crosbi's bedroom and our bonus room makeover, but I'm not one to do a "house tour." However, I do want to remember our old house. The photos our realtor had taken make me smile. I'm sure I'll come back here many times to relive old memories. These photos were taken when our home was at its best, but I can still picture the dirty laundry and dishes in the sink. The puzzle pieces in the floor and crayons on the kitchen table. We were really blessed by our first home.

I'm more than excited to start creating a home in the country, but I know now more than ever that it's not the size or style. It's not the furniture or the accessories. It's the love and memories that fill a house that make it a home.

Goodbye old house. You sure were good to us.