I’m not a good mom like you

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It had been a long day already and it was only 11:00.  I had already cried twice and wanted to run away.  Honestly, those feelings are pretty normal here.  Garner had asked to paint my toenails at least 10 times.  I had deflected that question each time.  Reality- I do not like messes.  I do not like chaos.  I do not like crazy.  (said the lady with 5 kids) A 5 year old painting my nails just feels like, messy crazy chaos.  But finally I was tired of deflecting so I said ok.  I lined the floor with paper towels, and braced myself.

She painted and painted.  When she was finished she proudly said “ok I am done!  Well, it looks a little messy, but don’t worry, it will dry pretty”  I looked down at my feet and suddenly remembered the times I had seen friends walking around with messy nails and proudly said “my daughter painted them”.  I kept trying to figure out how I could do it….  I just can’t!  Tomorrow its going to be 75 degrees and I want to wear sandals I thought to myself.

Guilt washed over me.  I knew I wanted to take off the nail polish.  But I knew how proud my sweet girl was.  But other moms just wear it.  UGH!  After a little while I realized that I could secretly repaint them, and let her think they dried pretty.  After all, that is what she thought any way.  This way I could have neat nails and skip the anxiety that messy nails would give me AND she would still be proud I let her paint my nails.

I am not a good mom like you, I am a good mom like me.  I have been a mom for almost 14 years (one week away!) and I am slowly but surely realizing this.  I may parent different.  I may do things you don’t do.  I may not be able to bring myself to wear the messy polish, but I am a good mom!  You may embrace the messy polish- you are a good mom too!  In a world where everyone is comparing and competing, we need to be offering ourselves more grace!  Guess what?  You are not a good mom like me, YOU are a good mom like YOU!

Can we embrace our differences and celebrate being good moms, period!? I mean seriously, mom, I love that you do it different and that it works!  I am so tired of feeling pressure and guilt to be a certain type of mom.  Life is way too short, raising kids passes too fast- to sit and waste time feeling guilty about how we are doing it!

Momma, you are doing a good job!  You are enough! You are just what your babies need!  (this reminder is really for me!)

 

Party, Princess Style

When Garner said she wanted a princess party I immediately had a vision for a party filled with gold glitter and pink florals.  I couldn’t wait to start planning all the things!  But a request for a real princess had me trying to figure out how to pull it off.  But then a good friend let me in on a secret!  She was in the process of starting a business that did just that!  She was going to be making character appearances at parties!  I was so excited to be her first party and let me just say, she was amazing!  I am going to highlight my favorite things from the party and share a few ways I  saved money and give props to a few places who helped make the party great!

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We had the party at our unfinished house because that is where the birthday girl wanted it!  Joel built me a new kitchen table which worked perfect for the party!  I wanted cute place settings for each girl so I spent about $0.25 per sheet of scrapbook paper  to dress up the table.  I also bought plastic cups from Dollar Tree (6 for $1) and used modge podge and glitter to make fancy punch cups.  This won’t help many people, but I got the flowers on sale after Valentines day!  $4 a dozen!  I normally buy flowers at Sam’s though because they are cheaper and always gorgeous! The gold Glitter HBD sign is from Hobby Lobby.  $4.99 but I used my 40% coupon on it.  Table cloths were all Wal-Mart $1 each.  I tried to keep things simple but elegant.

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The party was from 2-4 so I planned sweet treats, fruit, and cheese and crackers.  The cookies turned out amazing!  They came from That Cookie Lady.  Find her on IG or I can get you her contact info!  Not only did they taste great, but they were beautiful!  Lets talk about cupcakes. Cake or cupcakes can easily become a huge expense with any party.  I went with Sam’s cupcakes because they are $15 for 30.  You can have them color the icing any way you would like!  We always get the whipped icing which was a hit at the party.  I ordered my gold crown cupcake toppers from Amazon, $7 for 20.  I didn’t get a picture of the punch, but we did pink lemonade (our favorite is the Simply Raspberry Lemonade) and 7up which was yummy!

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Princess Aurora’s arrival was magic!  The girls were all so excited to see her!

gstoryThe first activity that Princess Aurora planned was an interactive story time.  She brought a prop for each girl to participate in telling the story of Sleeping Beauty.  It was such a fun, well done story time!  She also sang a song with them (she has an amazing singing voice, just like on the movie!)

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Up next,  Aurora painted each girls face!  The girls loved this part!

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while face painting was going on, Big sister Jade made princess putty with the girls. Another fun, but messy activity!  We used colored glitter glue to make the putty, which allowed us to have pretty, glittery putty without making a mess with food coloring and glitter!

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This princess is full of talent and surprises!  She made each girl a balloon crown or wand!  What a fun take home!

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I knew that Aurora was going to be signing autographs so I wanted to incorporate something for the girls to take home with the autograph.  I came up with this-   scrapbook paper+a polaroid with the princess+some washi tape, it made for a fun party favor!

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Before Aurora left to head back to the Enchanted Forest, She gave Garner a special crown and reminded the girls what it means to be a true princess- always be kind to others and love one another.

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The party was a huge success and I owe a lot of that to 4everyoung Parties!  If you are looking for an affordable, fun, entertainer for your next party, talk to Jana!  She really was incredible and absolutely exceeded our expectations!

The bible lesson

So there are few things in life I have a hard time committing to.  Shower curtains- I mean really, why are the cute ones so expensive?  I feel like I have sticker shock every time I go to buy one.  Do I really love this one?  I mean it is $40 and I am not sure if it is  $40 love.  But yet, the”cheap” options are not really fabulous. This is why my kids lived with just the white plastic one for almost 3 years- yes, 3 years!  Then there is furniture.  I mean if you buy the cheap sofa, you may regret it every time you sit down to watch TV, but do you risk spending twice as much on the super comfy couch when you know you have 5 kids who will likely ruin it?

As I am thinking about this, I really do have issues committing to anything that is over $20.  It isn’t just shower curtains and furniture.  I just have a hard time spending money on things unless I really love them.  I have made so many purchases in the past and regretted them a few weeks later and now I try to be more careful but this caution sometimes keeps me from making decisions on things I need to buy.

Months ago I went outside so find that one of my kids left the van door open.  Our sweet golden doodle had been in the van.  He ate several things that didn’t even matter but he actually ate my bible.  Yep.  When he is in our house we don’t really have any issues with him getting things he isn’t suppose to so I was shocked when I saw he had eaten my bible!  I was so upset I didn’t have a bible any more.  I have the app on my phone and still had access to it (thankfully) but I really like having the real thing.

Joel was like hey no big deal, just got pick out a new one.  So I went over to Christian book store to buy one.  Well, I got overwhelmed quick.  What version do you want? Do you want a study bible?  Do you want leather?  Do you want your name on it?  Do like pink?  What about these fun bibles you can color in?  I left the store without a bible.  Why? Because they are over $20 and there are too many choices and I didn’t want to make a $50 choice I would regret!

So here we are, close to 8 months without my bible.  I got a gift certificate for a bible for Christmas and decided it was time.  I was going to get a bible!  We walked in the store and the clerk immediately said “Can we help you find something?”  I said “oh that is ok, I am just looking for a new bible and not sure what I want exactly so I will just look”  He quickly replied “There are only a million options and you have 17 minutes before we close, please let me help you”

Here we go again…. What version, what color…… Before I knew it I was overwhelmed and ready to walk out the door- especially knowing that I now only had 15 minutes AND the store clerk was standing over my shoulder waiting on me to make a choice.  After browsing the study bibles, large print, ESV, NLT, pink, brown, blue, bibles,  I said  “What about those fancy bibles where you can draw and color, where are those?”  In my head I am so artistic and thought surely that is what I need.  I was excited to see that a lot of the options had templets.  It was like an adult coloring book on the side of each page which was really nice since I can’t draw.  But then Joel hands me the most beautiful bible I have ever seen.  It wasn’t the fun adult coloring book version but I quickly concluded that buying a bible I was suppose to make pretty was probably one more thing I’d add to my list of things that make me feel like I am failing at because the reality is I want to be artistic- but I am really not so it would end up feeling like work to me.

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So here I am, with my new pretty bible, more excited than ever to dive into The Word.  This entire bible buying experience has me thinking about how often I find myself feeling overwhelmed with all the choices life has to offer.  I want so badly to always do the right thing so I sit around overthinking and a lot of times, not ever making a choice or taking the next step because I am too afraid of doing the wrong thing.  When the entire time, God is patiently waiting on me.  He is saying “those details aren’t as important as you are making them out to be.  Just go, just do it, I am already there.”  Fear of failure can hold us back from doing all the things God has in store for us.  What are you letting fear keep you from today?

I don’t think it mattered which version or what style bible I picked out, but I let those details keep me from making the purchase for months.  Sometimes I think we complicate God’s calling for our lives.  He calls us to love Him and to love others.  He asks us to go and make disciples.  Instead of stressing about all the details, I want to let everyday be an opportunity to do just that, wherever I go, whoever I meet, whatever platform I am given- Love God, Love People, Make Disciples.

Just take the picture

Lets talk about pictures.  Who doesn’t love pictures?  I guess there are some of you out there that don’t enjoy them but if you know me, you know that is not the case here.  How about those dreaded selfies?  Such and controversial topic these days.  There are articles all over the place talking about how terrible selfies are and how selfie-centered people are.  Don’t get me wrong, I do think there are some extremes, but for me, most of the time, if I don’t make it a selfie, I don’t make it in the moment!  But, if I take and post a selfie I do fear the judgement that may come with it.

I can’t tell you how many times I think “I wish someone was capturing this moment for me”  I don’t love pictures of myself and the reason I want to be in the photo’s has nothing to do with that.  I just want to be in the memories and I want to remember me now- just as it is.  The tired momma who is doing all the things for her family.  I want to remember the way I looked at my kids and the way they looked at me.  I want to remember that crazy messy hair and t-shirt I wore for 3 days straight. I want to remember the tears, the smiles, the fights, the laughter.  I want to remember the creativity  and the mess that came with it.  Or how about how much time I spend holding kids- I want to remember it all!  Each stage of life seems to pass by so quickly and I just want to remember them and I am not sure I will fully remember all of it without the photos to remind me.

Tonight, I sat on my bed playing with Vera Jane.  I was kissing her sweet chubby cheeks and watching her face light up with joy.  Harvey came running in and climbed up on my bed with us.  He was telling me all kinds of things and loving on the baby too.  I couldn’t help but want to capture the memory.  I handed my phone to Joel and asked him to snap a few photos while we played some more.  I struggle with this and have missed so many opportunities to capture moments because I don’t want to ask someone else to do it.  I want the pictures done the way I would do it- unprompted and completely natural.  I don’t want to ask- but not asking means I miss the chance!  The picture isn’t posed and I got my memory, all I had to do was ask!

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Mom to mom, if you aren’t getting in pictures, start today!  If you don’t have someone who naturally sees moments and takes photos of them, start asking!  Asking someone to take pictures of the moments doesn’t make them any less real or take anything away from it, it fact, asking just allows you to preserve that real moment!  (Preaching to myself here!)  Grab your phone, hand it to someone, don’t worry if it’s perfect, and just take the picture!  I know you won’t regret it!

 

Home Sweet Home: part 3

Here we are, a little over a month from my last update.  I feel like things are getting so exciting!  All the planning and decision making is coming to life!  So many people ask if we know when we will be finished.  Nope!  Joel is pretty much doing all of the work from here on out and so it is a little bit slower than if we were to pay someone.  We are so close to the end, but all these last few things take a lot of time.

Since I last blogged the progress, we have finished sheetrock!  This process took about a week and a half total time.  img_8718img_8727

Harvey was all about helping with all the things!

The front doors were stained.

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Joel sprayed primer on all the walls and ceilings.  I think he did 2 coats of primer. As you can see, it is a messy job!

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In our main living area, we wanted to use wood on the walls.  We had reclaimed pine tongue and groove that we got from an old house and decided to use it.  This room took a long time- everything we do in this room takes a long time because it is huge, 29×32! img_9132img_9123

I was not prepared for how much I would love the raw wood on the walls.  The plan was always to paint the wood white but it was gorgeous raw.  After a few days of debate, we decided we would still paint it and leave one accent wall.  We felt like we wouldn’t love it raw once the wood floors were laid.

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Joel also hung reclaimed wood in our bathroom.  We spent some late nights and long days painting all of the walls and ceiling.  I have loved the time we got to spend together working.  I haven’t gotten to contribute as much to the building process as I would have liked, but I help when I can!

Next up, wood floor.  We got an amazing deal on oak hardwood floors. Thank you Craigslist!  We bought it months ago and had to store it in our little storage building, so when we were ready to use it, it had to be moved.  It took several days to unload all 3000SF of flooring!  Thankful for a very sweet college student that has helped us the last two weeks!

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We spent Christmas morning inside the house.  It was dusty but we loved being able to be in there!  It is a Christmas we will never forget!

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After Christmas, the floor started being laid.  We are doing hardwood everywhere except the bathrooms which is a lot of flooring!  Joel, Kamden, and Callie (our fabulous college student helper) worked hard laying all of it.  I have been so proud of Kamden and how hard he has been working!  He has learned so much over these last few months.  img_9528img_9534img_9740

This process has been tiring.  We work long hours- and I am saying we because when Joel is working on the house, I am working trying to manage the camper life.  Some nights I go in to check on Joel and we chat for a few minutes which might be the only time we really get to talk that day. One night he was exhausted and while we were chatting he used Harvey’s new roller coaster as a bed.  I laughed because he looked so comfortable! I have to brag on him- he has worked so hard on this house and continues to do so while having a full time fire fighter career and running a business as well.  I couldn’t be more proud of him! img_9744

Most days I feel like this…. Exhausted and over it all!  But then something exciting happens and I get strength to push through to another day! img_9788

img_9856We did get snow and the house looked so pretty!  I can’t wait to see the outside finished.  Joel isn’t working on the outside until the inside is finished.

Here is the main living area before stainimg_9914

And Joel staining….. Which he finished last night at midnight!  The entire house is stained!  Today he will put a few coats of sealer on it and we will wait for it to dry completely.

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Although I do not have a time line for a finish date, I am so excited to be this close!

 

 

Hot Mess Express

img_9785I have self proclaimed to be Hot Mess Meinardus.  I truly feel that way most days.  I mean there are moments each day that I think I have it together, but those moments are few and far between.

Harvey is almost 3 and is not potty trained yet or even close.  He turned 2 and we had a vacation planned so I said I would work on it when we got back.  We got back and bought land and I suddenly became miserable in pregnancy and just said it would wait until the baby got here.  Then we moved into the camper and I thought potty training would be easy because we live in such close quarters.  Nope!  Hasn’t happened!

This morning he woke up with a dry diaper and I thought ok today we will just start!  “Harvey lets go pee pee in the potty!”  “no thank you, I not wet”  So I threw out a little incentive “Harvey, if you pee pee in the potty you get a treat!”  Well Harvey could care less I said this but his sister, on the other hand, all the sudden perks up. “I want a treat!”  I calmly explained to her that it was for Harvey because he was potty training.  Tears ensued and a full on melt down happened over her lack of getting treats.

But now, Harvey is begging me to play with the potty train.  He has asked over and over and when I say it is not a toy he says “is it on your phone?” geeeeee So maybe he isn’t ready after all.

Look, I am sure there are others who have it more together than I do.  But I get on IG and I see moms doing crafts with their kids by candle light and I think Ummmm no, if we do crafts by candle light someone is going to burn the house down.  I see perfectly posed photos of siblings surrounded by casual scattered florals and I think who does that?  My kids would have already tried to eat all those flowers or ripped them up and thrown them like confetti. I don’t know if they are staged or maybe their life is really that pretty, but either way, I am here to tell you mine is not!

I have to spend my days cleaning up messes and trying to keep Harvey off the counter, Garner from over loving Vera Jane, and trying my best to keep groceries in stock. And lets not forget running my big two to all the things!  I am lucky if I get a shower when I want one and some days I am doing good to put on a clean shirt!  That is the truth!

In a world filled with seemingly perfect lives, I feel it to be freeing to admit mine is not!  If I claim all the pretty and perfect, then I have to continue to live up to that and lets face it- aint nobody got time for that!  I have said it before and I will say it again, if you see me out and I am somewhat put together, just smile and know that I am really a hot mess on the inside!  And if I am looking the part, just high five me for braving all the hot mess on the outside!

Love, even when its hard

img_9572My parents divorced when I was little.  My dad was not a constant in my childhood.  The older I got, the more I saw him.  I pushed for him to be in my life, especially in my early teen years.  As a kid I just saw my dad as this cool, music loving, hippy.  I didn’t understand the complicated things.  I just knew I wanted to be around him more.

When I was about 14 my dad decided to quit his job.  He walked out one night after getting upset with his boss.  He had no plan and his free spirit seemed to be leading him.  He decided he was done working for the man and I remember him vowing to never work for someone else again.  He lived off his savings and 401K that he withdrew.  Eventually that ran out.  He had no money for rent so he became homeless.  He had no money to pay for his truck, so they took it back.  I remember wanting nothing more than to help him.  I begged my mother to let him stay with us and she did- for months.

After he over stayed his welcome he started what he would keep up for the next 15 years.  He would live from place to place until he over stayed his welcome.  I was his advocate for a long time.  I would make sure he was taken care of.  I took him food and gave him some money over the years. He lived with us more times than I can count.  I wasn’t alone in this, as there were several of us who were constantly taking turns.

At some point, I started getting a little resentful.  I was always doing for him.  Each time he would come to stay with us, it came with a promise.  This promise was that it was temporary and that he would get a job and save to be on his own.  Each time his stay would end with us telling him we could no longer keep it up unless he did as he promised and each time he would leave without even looking for a job.  He bounced back and forth between several places over his last 15 years.

I don’t need to go into all the details of all the things that happened, but at some point, my heart changed from a caring concerned daughter to an irritated, inconvenienced daughter.  At some point I quit seeing my dad through loving eyes and just saw my dad as a constant irritation.  If I listed all the things, I could probably get you to say that I was justified in my feelings but I don’t want to be.

I loved my dad.  I miss my dad.  But when he was here, there were a lot of things that were a constant source of hurt for me.  I needed a dad my entire life and my dad couldn’t be what I needed.  I had slowly started to accept that I needed to view our relationship differently and morn the fact that my dad wasn’t ever going to be able to be that dad I had always wanted.  It was still hard but getting better.

But now, my dad is gone.  Our relationship will never have a chance to mend or be healthy.  Now I wish I could be inconvenienced by going to pick him up for a birthday party or holiday get together.  Each time I eat at a restaurant that he loved, I only wish I could buy him dinner, where before I would have been frustrated I had to buy his dinner because he never had money.  Now when I try a new dark chocolate, which was his favorite, I wish I could offer him some.  The list goes on and on.

The reason I am writing all of this down is to remind us all that we need to love others even when it is inconvenient.  Love others when it is difficult to love.  Extend grace and understanding even when people are frustrating.  I know we all have relationships that are hard.  We all have those people in our lives that we don’t understand and that seem impossible.  I am sure that right now you are thinking of someone who fits this description.

Here is what I would do differently if my dad was still here and I had the chance to do things over.  I would do my best to understand him.  I would spend more time trying to see his heart. I would ask hard questions to find out what has happened to land him where he is.  I would focus on him as a person rather than his actions.  I would make sure that he always felt loved and welcomed where he was.  I would make sure I stood up for him.  But I would also hold him accountable.  I would remind him of the steps he needed to take to better himself and I would encourage him along the way.  I wouldn’t do it all for him, but rather come along side him and cheer him on, lending him a hand when and how I could.  I would have set healthy boundaries sooner to ensure our relationship was healthy, even if he wasn’t.  None of these things are easy to do and hindsight is 20/20 and it is easy to see things different now, but I want to try to learn from this and apply it where I can now.

You see, Jesus loves us all.  He loves us when we are difficult.  He loves us when we are broken.  He loves us when we are at the bottom.  He loves us when we don’t deserve it.  He loves us when it is inconvenient, messy, ugly.  He loves us.  Love God and Love people.

I see my dad in every person I pass holding a sign on the side of the road asking for something- food, money, shelter.  When I stop and offer what I have to give, I want so badly to know them.  To know their story and to know what has landed them where they are.  I see my dad when I see someone hurting and in need.  I see my dad when I encounter a difficult person.  I just want to understand what has caused pain in their life.  I have learned so much after my dads death.  I see people different.  (I am a work in progress and not perfect!) I see people as more than their sin, their actions, their words.  I am working on loving deeper, extending more grace, and truly seeing people.

Today I want to urge you to love others even when it is inconvenient, messy, or difficult because that is what Jesus would do and you never know when that might be their last chance to be loved like Jesus loves.