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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Waking Up Early



Ever since schools started back up in August and I had a little mini-meltdown that I wasn't a teacher this year, I have felt God pushing me toward this revelation.  I pouted and cried a little one day, when it seemed like every single one of my sweet teacher friends was posting cute pictures of their classroom, or something about "first day jitters," because this is the first year I miss the classroom.  I miss the kids, the creativity, the planning, the fun, the singing, the camaraderie of teachers, the fulfillment of a job well done, the interaction with so many families, the smiles, the hugs, the "Aha" moments when a kid finally understands something, the funny things they say, the joy of praying for the kids and their families and seeing prayers answered.  I miss it all.

However, I am not called back to the classroom right now.  Not this season.  My husband began his first full-time ministry position as Associate Pastor back in May, and we are only now just starting to catch our breath.  We have a two year old wild boy and an 8 month old baby girl, and I am needed at home and in our church right now.  I just could not physically juggle a full-time teaching position and give it my 110%.  Some moms absolutely rock at this, I know and love several, and I am in total amazement and admiration of them.  I'm just not there yet.

Here was my take away from my mope day: My teaching career and classroom ran smoothly because I was on a specific, intentional, planned SCHEDULE!  I had an alarm set, I got up, I did my morning thing, and I drove my happy teacher booty to work.  My "job" right now is of just as much value, importance, and meaning.  However, as long as I am just haphazardly trying to survive it, instead of intentionally thriving it, I am not doing my best.

Waking up when the kids do, trying to fit my Bible time in between naps and meals and using the TV more than I ever thought I would to distract my toddler so I can just try to sit down and THINK about what the heck I am supposed to be doing is NOT ok...you get the picture.  It's been rough, but I think this is the answer.

I always wanted to participate in this October daily writing challenge, and so now I have a real reason.  This is my accountability.  This is my goal.  Every single day of October, get up when I set my alarm.

7:27 am.

It may not seem early to you, but with a co-sleeping 8 month old who loves my boobs more than I ever thought possible, this is early for me, folks.

I am not going to map out a complete "daily schedule" yet.  I am going to take this one step at a time.  The first and most important step though, is a consistent morning.  Hence, the wake-up time business.  This picture has long inspired me as well.
photo credit

I have had excuses and freedom and late mornings long enough.  This is a writing challenge and a life challenge.  I'm ready to embrace it.

Photo credit

Here we go!

This is the coolest 31 Day Writing Challenge explanation.

This is also going to be my "Landing Page" where you can find every day from this challenge in one place.
I think the most funny/interesting posts will be found on Day 2, 8, 10, and 16.

Then Days 18-23 are where I decided to abandon the time challenge, and instead embrace the task/Spirit-led challenge.

Day One: Roadtrip

Day Two: Conference

Day Three: More Conference

Day Four: Anniversary

Day Five: Sunday Morning

Day Six and Seven: Back to Reality

Day Eight: Embracing My Mary Heart

Day Nine: Friends Help

Day Ten: Sad Soup

Day Eleven: Alone Time

Day Twelve: Prodigal Son Sermon Summary

Day Thirteen: First "Sleep In"

Day Fourteen: Puddles

Day Fifteen: Ebola FREAKS me OUT!

Day Sixteen: Why Ebola Should Not Freak Out Christians

Day Seventeen: Instagram

Day Eighteen: Tired

Day Nineteen: More Questions Than Answers

Day Twenty: Plans Trump Time

Day Twenty-One: Ladies Bible Study

Day Twenty-Two: 8:07 and Happy

Day Twenty-Three: All Things Well

Day Twenty-Four: Sweet Morning

Day Twenty-Five: Pumpkin Patch

Day Twenty-Six: This Challenge is OVER.

Waking Up Early: Closure

Jonah Turned TWO!

I love this little kid so much.  I am daily challenged in my walk with Christ, directly as a result of being his mommy.  This child demands so much love, attention, structure, time, food, discipline and GRACE.  I am learning to discipline in love, choosing my battles, and teaching him with grace more often, instead of responding in anger or fear (because that's what my flesh wants, and this whole 'die-to-yourself-daily' thing is LEGIT in parenting).

Jonah's party was fun and a great way to say 'Good-bye' to family we wouldn't see for a while.  John's mom hosted it and got him this awesome cake, that was even gluten-free so I could eat some, too! These are some pictures from Jonah's birthday party:






Jonah turned two on May 18th and we moved on May 21.
This sums up our packing experience.
Our lives have been extremely chaotic since then, and just now as it calms down a little, and I am learning how to juggle this new ministry/mommy life, I am able to go back and finish/edit posts.  I feel a little guilty that this is 4 months late.  However, I am a huge supporter of this slogan:
and my dad and my husband would probably read this book and say they should have just named her Little Miss Kelly.

  So here I am, celebrating my little guy's two year old birthday, 4 months after the fact.  This is real life, folks.  I do this to remember our lives as they are now, and hope that it helps others in some way.  This is not a job, it's a creative outlet.  I don't have time to make this into something that makes money.  I applaud and support all the bloggers who can!

SO, back to my Jonah.
These are some of the pictures Ashlea Chance at Southern Made Photography took in late December, so Jonah is 19 months old here:






From the time Jonah was 16 months old, until he turned 2, we lived with my father-in-law in Alabama while we waited, searched, and prayed for our next job to be more than a job, but a specific calling.  Jonah got to know all 5 of his grandparents really well.  They are all just wrapped around his little finger as tight as can be, and he knows it.  We don't mind much.  This relationship makes them all happy.  Plus, it means more adults are talking to, loving, playing with, and reading to him, which only helps his development! When people ask us, "Is Jonah a 'Mama's Boy' or a 'Daddy's Boy'?" We say, "Neither.  This kid is a 'Nana's Boy!"  He delightedly squeals when he sees one of his Nanas, and he cries when he has to leave them.  He did that, often, even while we lived 5 minutes away from them and he saw them several times a week.  Many times John and I would walk into one of our mom's houses to pick up Jonah while we had been gone, and Jonah would start to throw a huge fit because simply the sight of us was too much to bear, knowing that inevitably it would mean leaving a beloved Nana.
My mom, "Katie Nana"

John's mom, "Nana"

At the age of two Jonah's favorite things (besides his Nanas) were (and still mostly are):

Playing OUTSIDE.  Dude loves the park, and being able to climb, slide, swing, and watch other kids. He also likes just riding in the stroller for about a mile.  After that first mile he gets a little antsy, but can be calmed down with food, sticks, leaves, and promises of a park at the end of the run. He would stand at the door and beg, "Go Outside?" until he figured out how to open the door, and then we fought a battle every day of locking the deadbolt and hoping he wouldn't figure out how to unlock it.


Leaving the house to go anywhere.  "Go Bye-Bye?" He will sometimes ask even before eating breakfast.  He always asks after breakfast.  If we don't go anywhere all morning, he wakes up from his nap hollering, "Go BYE BYE!!!!!" Of course, at least 40% of the time we left the house, we were going to one of the nana's houses, which could have something to do with this.

Chick-fil-A, specifically the play area, which has been a wonderful alternative on very cold mornings, and was a great place for John to take Jonah so I could nap with the newborn (who is not such a newborn anymore.)  She was born when Jonah was 20 months old, so from 20-24 months for him, he and Daddy spent a LOT of time together, which leads me to:


Daddy-Jonah Outings.  This most often meant get up, go straight to Chick-fil-A, eat breakfast there and play for a while, then go to Lowe's and get some wood or tools or something, then maybe stop at the park and come home in time for lunch and a nap.  Other times this meant that Jonah would eat breakfast at home, then John would immediately take him running in the stroller, then let him play at the park.  Either way, Jonah was ready at all times for one of these to happen.  Mommy loved it because it meant extra sleep, or time to pump, or blog, or do a load of laundry.



Reading.  Jonah's favorite books are these "Look-and-Find" books or the "Lift-the-Flap" books.  He knows where everything is, and wants to find all the items on every single page and then just move on to another book.  I've been asking him to find other things in the pictures lately to challenge him, and he really enjoys searching for new items.

Thomas the Tank Engine and ALL other characters involved in that series.  Little dude knew names/colors/numbers of at least 10 trains before he turned two.  He watched Thomas on PBS every day at 11:30, then would eat lunch and take a nap.
Barnes & Noble Children section train tables are Jonah's favorite.

video

Combines, Tractors, Trailers, and other heavy farming vehicles, specifically John Deere ones.  Although, he is now also into the red ones (sorry "Case," he just calls you the 'Red ones', your name brand is obsolete).
video

Bathtime.  He is particularly fond of bubbles, lots of bath toys, especially large cups and other items he can practice pouring with, and he gets a kick out of peeing in the tub.

Elmo.  Now, he is tolerant, and knows the names of the rest of the Sesame Street cast, but he was particularly enamored with the little high-pitched red monster for several months. Elmo frequently was given rides in Thomas.

Eating.  Jonah has really exploded with new favorite foods this year.  He now loves eggs, biscuits, gravy, sausage, blueberries, bananas, most fruits actually, still eats an abundance of avocados and greek yogurt, and now even eats chicken!

Then, there are some things that Two-Year Old Jonah just hates with a passion:

Brushing teeth.  Y'all, we have to sit on this kid, holding his arms down while he scream cries in order to brush his teeth.  Somedays I feel like this is such a waste of time, because baby teeth fall out anyway, right? Just kidding. Kind of.

Big Tires.  John's dad brought home a tractor tire one day and you may have thought it was a living, fire-breathing monster the way Jonah carried on and shrieked at it.  4 months later he is still afraid of big tires.

Being put to sleep.  He resists naps and bedtime as though he may never wake up.  He fights sleep, and then wakes up in the wee hours of the morning to come and get in our bed. He would also insist upon having his entire stuffed animal toy menagerie in the crib every time he went to sleep.

Here is last year's post about when Jonah turned one (also late).  He has grown up a lot in one year.  It's kind of amazing.  The thing I have most enjoyed this year was getting to see him become a big brother.  I was so stressed out and worried that he would be insanely jealous or constantly try to hurt her, that it didn't even occur to me how beautiful and sweet it would be when he loved her.

Here are a few of my favorites of the two of them:












He really liked her nose.










A close second favorite thing would be to watch and hear his language skills blossom.
video


He's a struggle, but completely worth every second.  I am so glad God chose me to be his mommy.  I am learning to love more sacrificially, forgive faster, and teach more creatively.  My hope and prayer is to make him a disciple, a follower of Christ.