Monday, August 10, 2015

6 Years Without Him

I can hardly wrap my head around the fact that our firstborn would have been 6 years old on Friday.  As I mentioned in the video that I posted on my Facebook page, we celebrated Andrew's birthday the day before, since we had some plans with family who were in town on his actual birthday.

Our day was really nice.  We usually keep things simple and quiet, which is good for me.  The past couple of years, our day has looked fairly similar.

We started the off around 11:00am at the cemetery.  We left some fresh flowers and released some balloons.  Each of us released a balloon, so there were a total of 5.  The kids balloons were very true to themselves - Savannah released a princess balloon and Brady released a Spiderman balloon.  We picked out Elmo for Davis because it's only a matter of time before he loves Elmo.  :-)

The kids ran around for a bit and then we hopped in the car to grab some lunch at Red Robin.  We really enjoy that restaurant because it's so kid friendly.

We came home and had some birthday cake for dessert before nap time began.  My family arrived to town later in the day, so we spent the evening with them.

Our day was simple, but it was some good family time.  I love doing these special things together as a family.  The kids don't understand everything about having sibling in heaven, but I hope that someday it will make more sense and that it makes heaven more real to them.  They still think that heaven is the cemetery itself, so I'm hoping that will click at some point.  :-)

As for where I am emotionally, I can honestly say that I'm doing really well.

Do I still think about Andrew every day?  Most definitely.

Do I miss him and wonder "what if?" things had turned out differently?  Absolutely.

Does my heart ache a little bit when I think about everything I'm missing with him?  Yes, indeed.

All of those statements are true, but I can also say that when I think about Andrew, most of the time I smile.  When I see little 6 year old boys, I think of him and it helps me imagine how tall he might have been at that age or what color his hair might have been.

I don't let my mind go too far into the "what ifs" though because I will never know.  I am not privy to those answers.  I also know that God foreknew that I would be raising the three beautiful children that I do have.  I can't imagine not having them either, so I don't even let myself go too far down that path.

I'm raising the ones he allowed me to keep, and I look forward to heaven all the more because I know I will see our Andrew and meet our Charlie.    

The missing will probably never go away, but I believe it's a healthy missing.  When you are a mother, part of your DNA lives outside of your body, so I think it's only natural to feel like you are missing a part of yourself when your child is gone.

But, I'm thankful that God has allowed us to move forward and to miss him in a way that points us to what is to come in eternity {rather than what we are lacking here}...a time where there will be no more tears, no more death, and no more pain.  I love so many things about my life, but I look forward to heaven!

We are thankful to those of you who left sweet messages and have been praying for us.  It means so much to us and we are grateful.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Establishing an Evening Routine

A few weeks ago, I wrote about establishing a morning routine.  I've found that a simple morning routine sets the tone for a productive day.  After seeing some of the benefits to having a morning routine, I started thinking about things that I could do in the evening that might set the stage for a successful morning.

My evening routine is laid back, because let's be honest, who wants to do a whole bunch of work at the end of a long day.

Benefits of an Evening Routine

1.  End your day well 
I don't know about you, but I don't like going to bed with certain tasks undone.  It feels so good to head to bed knowing that the kitchen and the main living areas are tidy.  Having an evening routine allows me to end the day knowing that the most important tasks have been done, and that I'm waking up with a clean slate.  {Waking up to a sink of dirty dishes is a nightmare!}.

2.  Prep for the next day
The evening is a great time to do any prep or planning for the next day.  Especially if your day begins early in the mornings, it can be really helpful to have a few things prepped for the morning.  It helps make your morning run a little smoother, whether you have an official morning routine or not.

3.  Finish up any leftover tasks
If your morning or afternoon didn't quite go as planned, the evening is a great time to tie up any loose ends from the day.

4.  Allows for rest in the evening
Once you are finished with your evening routine, then the rest of the night is yours.  I try and get mine started as soon as I can after we eat our dinner.  That way, I am "off the clock" when it comes to housework and can spend my evenings on things I enjoy.

Determining Your Evening Routine

When trying to figure out what you should include in your evening routine, think through ways that your evening routine could help you.  Just as with your mornings, you don't serve your evening routine, it should serve YOU.

Here are some questions you could ask yourself.
  • What would you like to have completed before heading to bed?
  • What could you do in the evening to set you up for a successful morning?
  • What would make it easier for you to fall asleep at night?
  • How much time do you have in the evenings for your routine?
When determining what your evening routine should be, make sure you evaluate your season of life.  Your routine will change as your family dynamic changes, and that's okay.  I'd even consider making it a habit to re-evaluate your routines every 6 months and make changes accordingly.  

Also, make sure your evening routine is realistic.  Don't make your evening routine too long or complicated.  I would keep your evening routine to 5-6 things that could be finished up in about 30 miuntes or so.  At the end of the day, you'll likely be tired.  If your evening routine is too lengthy, then it's less likely you will actually do it!  :-)     

My Sample Evening Routine
My evening routine is very, very basic.  I try to do more than this, but this is my bare bones list of things that I really want to have completed before heading off to bed.  I keep both my morning and evening routines on my phone so that I can check and re-focus if I get sidetracked. 

1.  Wipe kitchen counters
I like my kitchen to be clean, so wiping down the counters is a must.

2.  Clean sink
I despise waking up to a sink of dirty dishes, so I make sure to clean the sink before heading to bed.

3.  Start dishwasher
Since I start the day by unloading the dishwasher {so that we can load it with dirty dishes throughout the day}, I make sure to end the day by starting the dishwasher.  I usually do this right before bed, in case we use any dishes late in the evening.

4.  Quick tidy up in living area
I am certainly not a neat freak, but I do like a tidy house.  At the very least, I like the main living areas to be tidy before we head to bed.  We have the kids help clean up their toys before bed, so that helps quite a lot.

5.  Load washing machine
I like to have my load of laundry ready to go before I go to bed at night.  If I treat any items with my laundry stain remover, this gives it time to set in before starting the load in the morning.

My evening routine is really basic and it doesn't happen perfectly every day, but it has been big step in helping my household run a little more smoothly.

* * * * * * 

Do you have an evening routine?

Linking up with:
Sarah for Frugal Friday
Cheryl for I'm Lovin It
Jen for 
Link Party Palooza

Jennie for FridayFavorites

Monday, August 3, 2015

August Goals

I was hesitant about whether to even post anymore goals for the year, because it seems that I'm doing worse and worse with each month  But, since I'm a list maker and goal setter by nature, I can't give it up just yet.  

Before I jump into August goals, here how things ended up for July.  It wasn't pretty, but we ended up making a surprise trip to Mississippi before our vacation which took some time away from goals.  It was well worth it though. :-)

1. Have a date night with Kevin.
This one didn't happen this month.  We even got back home from vacation over the weekend and had planned to do another at-home date night, but we were both so tired that we just did our own thing.

2.  Have a mommy/son date with Brady.
This didn't happen either.  I was with the kids a lot since we were on vacation together, but I didn't get my one-on-one time.

3.  Finish reading Raising Your Spirited Child{try to read Made to Crave*}.
I didn't get this one finished either.  I made some progress on it while we were driving in the car, but I actually had to return it to the library since I had no more renewals left.  I have it on hold again and plan to finish it up as soon as I can get my hands on it again.  It's very interesting for any mom, whether you would consider your child "spirited" or not.

4.  Repair any interior damage from roof leak.
Finally, something I can cross off!  We had someone out to look at the area where the roof leak was, but we were told that there probably wasn't anything to worry about.  It's good that I caught the leak early on and was able to keep it at bay so that no serious damage occurred. 

5.  Paint the upstairs bath closet & schedule a time for Dad to install bead board.
Still not finished yet.  I got a little sidetracked with painting our shutters and front door, so I wasn't totally lazy with home projects.  

6.  Sell at least 3 items that have been collecting dust & put money in savings.
We're trying to declutter and get rid of baby items that Davis is finished with and have made some progress.  We still have other items to sell, but we got at least 3 items out so I'm happy about that.

7.  Make my necklace board.
Still hasn't happened.  Ugh!

8.  Shop sales to stock up on summer items that are getting low.
I wasn't able to do this either.  Our surprise trip to Mississippi and vacation just didn't allow me much shopping time.

* * * * * *

Here is my plan for August goals.

1.  Have a date night with Kevin.
Since Kevin got back from his training, it seems like summer has been a whirlwind.  We have been together a lot this month making some great family memories, but not necessarily quality time as a couple.  

2.  Have a mommy/son date with Brady.
I'm want to make this happen this month since we didn't have a chance to do it last month.  

3.  Paint the upstairs bath closet & install beadboard.
My dad is planning to come later this week to help us get started on the beadboard installation, which is the kick in the pants that I need to spend some time painting the closet.  We'll see how it unfolds!

4.  Make necklace board.
Needs to happen...enough said.  I'm looking forward to blogging about it too!

5.  Sell more items & put money in savings.
This will probably be an ongoing goal until we get things cleared out.  If I weren't trying to replace some of the money we used for our new roof last month, I'd probably be willing to give it all away!

6.  Look through kid's fall clothes to see what they need.
Fall consignment sale season is next month, so I need to know what we have already so I can get prepared to shop.  It feel like I am always pulling out and putting away children's clothes.  It's never ending!   

7.  Finish reading Raising Your Spirited Child* 
This has been a good read {although long}, but I really would like to finish it up this month.

8.  Make decision on potty training Brady.
I'd really love to get him potty trained, but I'm not certain how or when to tackle it with him.  I haven't had a chance to think it through completely or talk it over with Kev, but this month would be a good time to consider it before Kev starts school.  

There you have it.  I'll report back at the end of the month to let you know how I did!

* * * * * *
What are your goals this month?

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