Welcome to my weekly post where we take a break from money-related posts and I share about what I’m loving right now and give you a little peek into our life from the past week.
This year was rough as a mom. Really rough.
I told a friend earlier this week over lunch, “I feel like I’ve been in a war this year — fighting for my kids. And I have the battle scars from it.”
My kids have hurt others. They have been very hurt by others. And I’ve been hurt as a mom by words that have been spoken about my kids and my parenting — to my face and behind my back.
There’s so much more that I will share someday, when it’s the right time and my kids are older. But for now, suffice it to say that I’ve walked through some situations with my kids and dealt with some things that I never expected I’d be walking through or dealing with.
But through all the ups and downs and hurts and heartaches, I’m grateful. Not that my kids have struggled, but because all of this shook me out of my parenting ruts and taught me to parent in a brand-new way.
I’ve leaned into my kids and loved and listened like never before. I’ve slowed down the pace of my life to have much more space to just BE with them — to get to know them in a whole new way.
We’re closer than ever before. We have more honesty in our relationships than ever before. And I love my kids more deeply and fiercely than I ever have.
I’m so proud of my kids for how they have grown this year and the strength and wisdom I see in them as a result of what we’ve walked through. And I’m excited to see what 2018 brings for them!
As I mentioned last week, not only did we decide to enroll Kaitlynn in a little school starting in January (which she’s excited about!), but Kathrynne also recently made the decision to switch schools — in the middle of the year. Which is a pretty big decision for an almost-13-year-old!
It was a decision that was made with much thought, many conversations, and understanding that it was a big risk and big jump into the unknown.
It would mean leaving behind everything that was safe and known. Leaving behind her best friends. And willingly choosing to start all over again as the new girl.
But she knew that she wasn’t thriving at the school she was at. She was constantly stressed and anxious with the intense and rigorous workload at the school she was at and it was stealing her joy, causing her to have panic attacks, and keeping her up into the wee hours of morning. And as the semester went on, I saw it crushing her.
While a really rigorous academic load is great for some kids, it was too much for her personality and capacity right now. So we started talking about other options, including switching to a school with a completely different style of teaching. We told her that it was ultimately her decision… because either way, there’d be really hard things. Stay and be pretty downright miserable. Or switch schools and start all over again — not knowing how it will go.
We’re so proud of her for how she has processed through this with us and how she’s prayerfully and thoughtfully made this decision.
The unknown is scary. You have no idea where it will lead. But it could also be the gateway to amazing things you could have never dreamed of!
(Quote paraphrased from Hope Prevails by Dr. Michelle Bengtson.)
You know what one of the best decisions I ever made was? To be okay if Christmas looks very different at our house each year.
Every year, we all talk about our expectations for Christmas as a family. Each person gets to give their input on 1-2 activities they really want to make happen in December. And we choose a few Advent activities to engage in as a family. And that’s that.
It means that our Decembers stay quiet and simple and they are filled with the few things that are most important to each of us.
This year, in addition to a few Christmas parties, we’re doing a family advent countdown and the kids each have their own fun advent calendar, we’re blasting the Christmas music almost all.day.long (my choice!), we’re making some homemade gifts, we’re each picking a Christmas movie to watch as a family almost every night leading up to Christmas, and we’re leaving today to take a special family trip just the 5 of us for the next few days to some place the kids have never been to before (our family gift this year).
We might also do Christmas cookie decorating and Gingerbread houses. Or we might not. Those weren’t super high on people’s lists. And we might do a few other things. Or we might not.
This December, we’re especially focusing on leaning in and spending time together, because January is bringing some pretty big changes for us (new schools, no more homeschooling, a new routine, and closing on a new house).
It might not look like the way others are celebrating and it might not be fancy, but it’s suiting us well this year. And I think that’s good enough!
What We’ve Been Watching
We are trying to watch one Christmas movie every night (as mentioned above), so we’ve watched some fun Christmas movies this week: Home Alone 1 and Home Alone 2, Christmas With the Kranks, and Jingle All the Way 2. We also watched Despicable Me 3 (because one child couldn’t come up with a Christmas movie they wanted to watch this week!).
Still on our list (we haven’t watched these before, so I can’t speak to whether they are worth watching or not): White Christmas (yes, can you believe, I’ve NEVER seen this one!), Holiday Inn, The Christmas Card, Christmas Grace, Christmas Oranges, and Christmas in Connecticut.
Do you have any great Christmas movies to recommend that we should add to our list to watch?
What I’ve Been Reading
This week, I finished reading Missional Motherhood — a book that my mom gave me for my birthday. I’ve slowly been reading through it over the last few months and found it very inspiring and thought-provoking. One of the quotes from it that really stuck with me was: “What we always talk about reveals what is important to us. What we say and write reveals what we place our hope in.”
I also read through Home Management. It was a good refresher as I think about tweaking some of our routines and household chores for 2018.
What I’ve Been Working On
As we get closer to the end of December, I’ve been working on planning for 2018 — reviewing my goals from 2017, thinking through goals for 2018, mulling over my word of the year for 2018, planning for a fun new online live coaching and accountability group I’m launching in January (4 Weeks to a More Productive Life! More details coming soon!), and thinking through what worked and what didn’t work for blogging last year and some changes I’ll be making as a result.
For those who love these types of posts and have been asking about them, I’ve been working on them and plan to start sharing them — one per day — after Christmas. So stayed tuned for when I’ll be sharing my goals, a recap of last year’s goals, my word of the year for 2018 (I’m really excited about it!), the January accountability group/live coaching, my top 10 books from 2017, what I’m planning to read in 2018, and the blogging changes!
Links You Should Check Out:
- Looking for a last-minute Christmas gift idea that is minimalist? Check out my post on The Top 10 Subscription Boxes for Kids.
- Need some encouragement to develop better habits in 2018? Download this Free Printable Habit Tracker.
- I did a full review of the Sweet Life Planner last week. If you’re interested, you can watch the video here: My Full Review of the Sweet Life Planner
- I love how one of my followers is using a Bullet Journal for her 15 Days to a Healthier You journey. How inspiring is this?