Friday, June 29, 2012

Easiest Side Ever

For real.

And while I'm sure almost all you have heard of this ingenious way to cook baked potatoes, I had to share anyway....just in case even 1 of you hasn't heard.

We eat a lot of them around here. The girls love them, they're cheap to buy, and they are a healthy option.

It's a win all the way around.

Well, I guess adding some toppings might take the healthy factor down a tad, but a potato without butter DOESN'T MAKE SENSE, right?

So anyway. Pop your potatoes in the crockpot (wrapped and poked with a fork), and let them cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

That's it. It's magical.

It is so great to have a side for dinner that I don't have to prep an hour before. Amen?

Cause, you know, pre-dinner time might also be a crazy time in this neck of the woods.

Just thought I'd share this little idea that has blessed my kitchen :).

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Great Compare

Her license plate says "SuperMom".

I'd be lying if I said I didn't roll my eyes sometimes when I drive past it. Ok, all the time.

I sit on the side of the pool with my feet in the water and splash the girls and people watch and soak up the sun. I see her across the way and am again reminded how different our lives are - how she can now relax at the pool, work on her tan, and catch up with the regulars. I remember her from school, I remember that our achievements are very different, and I remember her hurtful comments last year when she caught wind that I was pregnant again.

I also remember that comparing does your heart no good.

I hold my baby close and my head high to prove that I believe in this journey I'm on.

I walk Lincoln up and down the 2 feet and he falls asleep on my shoulder and I remind myself to be proud. I may not have the free time she does, and even though I've run daily for a year, miles logged doesn't repair every little tiny change that came from housing and growing 6 miracles - and even if they did, I'm going to keep my one piece and remember that God and my husband think that modesty is admirable.

Although I constantly remind myself of the truth, comparison always steals my joy.

I rock the babe and spray sunscreen and pass out PB&J's. I brush off the insecurities of the season I'm in and the job I'm doing and the fact that that may be my child throwing a fit.

I may not be that mom, but I'm their mom. 

I hear her and other moms laugh and carry on while I listen to my girls giggle and talk about the diving boards. And I thank Him again - for this season, this process, and these lessons.

The more I thank Him, the more grateful I become.

I get passed by the socialites and passed judgement on and asked if he's my last. I let myself feel like I don't fit in when the only thing I need to be fitting into is His plan for me.

Am I consumed by my job? Sure. But even at the end of the day when the only thing I can whisper when my head hits the pillow is "Lord, give me strength and wisdom.", I still wouldn't trade it for anything.

Embracing where He has you leaves little room for comparison.
This isn't a season of loads of R&R or time alone. It is a time of chaos and chattering girls and sweating the small stuff even though they tell you not to. This season is about me being the mom that He created specifically for them, and realizing how green He has made the grass on our side.

Less comparing, and more focusing on these great kiddos. That's the plan :).

Thursday, June 21, 2012


The kids officially smell of a mixture of chlorine and sunscreen when they lay their little heads down at night...


This pic pretty much sums up our week.

The pool. The sun on our faces. And tired kids at night.

It's been good for everyone :).

Hope you're having a great week!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Mommy Identity

"I feel like I have nothing."

With tears in my eyes, I heard myself say it to him loud and clear in the middle of a disagreement. It hurt, it was ugly, and it was the opposite of what my soul has been saying over the recent years.

But I continued.

"Sometimes I feel like my whole existence is inside these walls. I just don't know what has happened to me. Didn't I have dreams and goals at one point? I am thankful for this role, but honestly, sometimes....I just feel like I've lost myself in it.

Does anyone even see me anymore?"

Thats the age old question of the mother who's in yoga pants, with her hair tied back, breaking up a fight, and carrying a laundry basket down the stairs while a crying child hangs on her leg.

(Good news, though. Even when we feel lost in motherhood, He still sees us.)

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a mom. I've wanted to grow bundles of joy in my womb and I've wanted to have little arms to hug my neck.

I asked, and He answered, 6 times over.

I will forever feel undeserving of these amazing kiddos, and I will also forever proclaim that they are living proof of His grace in my life. Walking, talking, growing, and snugly grace.

But even though motherhood is nothing short of miraculous, it's easy to feel consumed and burnt out.

You know what God is teaching me, though? It's ok to feel burnt out.

It's ok to feel like you want something for yourself, it's ok to feel like you need a break, and its ok to feel like you might run screaming from your house.

God knew us moms would feel these things, none of those feelings surprise Him like they do us.

My people pleasing instinct is to paint this pretty picture of a life that is always filled with beautiful pictures of the kids and I sharing ice cream cones and braiding each others hair. But that is not real life. Real life is me breaking up arguments over who had the pink headband first, kids crying because we're not buying an icee, floors that need mopped, and a mother that often needs the biggest chill pill YOU'VE EVER SEEN.

Just being honest.

Sometimes I don't like to say all this out loud...cause that makes it real.

After all, what good mom gets burnt out? What good mom admits that she feels totally consumed by the day to day routines? And what good mother admits that some days she just wants to get in the car and drive away??

Hi, my name is Kate, and I'd like to admit those things - along with the fact that I sometimes feel swallowed whole by motherhood.

And while we're admitting things, I sometimes tell my kids that I have to use the restroom when I don't. And then there's those times when I walk at a glacier pace to return my shopping cart to the cart corral after I get my herd in the car. And ok, I'm not really resting my eyes, I am trying to catch a quick nap but I can't because A CHILD KEEPS POKING ME IN THE FACE.


The responsibility of motherhood is heavy - you have to reach a point where you realize it wasn't meant for you to carry alone. He wants to listen and help.

(I'm kinda talking to myself there.)

I think the magic moment is when you see and believe that every season and every journey is part of the bigger plan to make you who He wants you to be.

So ultimately it's not just about the kids, it's about God doing a work in you as well. We are a big part of the picture even though we're often covered up by sweet little loves and buried beneath embarrassing amounts of laundry.

"The days are long, but the years are short." I can't remember where I read that but I know it's true. So I'm taking every seasoned parents advice that "this time will go so fast" - even though it doesn't feel that way some days.

I don't have much "me time", but I do think I'm starting to see myself clearer. And I'm starting to see that motherhood is about me too, that my heart and my passions matter to Him just as much as the kids matter to me.

He's not just our God, but our Father, remember? And a Father cares about His child.

It's all grace. Messy, consuming, but amazing grace. I see now that He's using them to help mold me, as I try to mold them.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


It's a wonder.

It's wanting to be the best mom, the fun mom, and the "yes" mom, but not fulfilling that some days.

It's singing lullabies at night, rocking babies to sleep, and kissing them just one more time before you go to bed.

It's putting your needs aside, rearranging your dreams for theirs, and thinking of them before yourself.

It's wanting them to grow up just like me and nothing like me all at the same time.

It's a room full of giggles, a cabinet full of colorful dishes, and little heads full of curls...

It's the house of hard knocks, the calling that can bring the most pain and the most joy, and a job that no college course could've prepped you for.

It's a walk in the park, it's holding those little hands, and seeing yourself in their eyes.

It's a test of your marriage, an option to grow closer together or further apart, and talking late into the night about the how's, the why's, and the when's.

It's being in control, being out of control, and constantly reminding yourself that God is in control.

It's you wanting your way, the husband wanting his, and the children wanting theirs.

It's a marathon.

It's focusing on Him, stepping back from all the nonsense, and giving all you got without distraction.

It's face painting at the fair, snow cones after lunch, and waking up and feeling like they all grew 3 inches overnight.

It's yelling when I shouldn't, feeling frazzled over the small stuff, and mommy guilt as far as the eye can see.

It's feeling tired, feeling consumed, feeling lost, but feeling blessed beyond what you deserve.

It's a journey of grace.

He didn't call us to motherhood to see how we would do, but because He knew we could do it. With His help, of course.

He cares about the day to day, the mundane, and the petty things. He cares about the potty training, the disciplining, and the sweeping of the crumbs.

So all the good, all the bad, and all the ugly is worth it.

Crazy, but worth it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

8 Things I Want You To Know

8 things on your 8th birthday.

And I know that you won't always want or welcome my advice, so I promise to try to refrain from constantly blurting out my opinions as you grow.

I said I'll try, I can't promise anything.

In the newness of this season I have learned a lot. A lot about waiting and listening. A lot about letting go and letting you grow. And a lot about how I try to control things that were never meant to be in my control.

Motherhood is humbling, sweetie. It's a journey of grace, and love, and joy, and pain, and sleepless nights. It's dancing in the rain, and soaking up the small stuff.

And just as I blink and remember my 23yr old belly swollen with your newborn goodness, I also know I'll blink and we'll be ten years from now.

8 things, honey. 8 things that I want you to remember as you grow...

You are unique. Unique among your siblings, and unique among your peers. You won't be any good at being someone else, but you will be great at being you. Embrace the beauty that God created when He knit you together. Inside and out.

Everyone is not doing it. Not everyone is acting that way. Not everyone talks like that. And not everyone thinks its cool. Be a leader.

You are worth it. You are worth that dream you want to chase, that goal you want to reach, and anything else your little heart desires. You are worth waiting for, worth fighting for, and worth the respect of others (especially the boys, my dear). You are worth it because He says so.

Don't be a gossip. You don't want to be that girl. It never ends well. God wants your words to be full of grace.

Focus on your heart, not your appearance. Modesty is admirable. The pressure from our culture can be nasty, be prepared to fight for what you know is true. The state of your heart is more important than your size, or choice in designer clothes - you are more important than a number. And at the end of the day, people want to be with someone who's heart is full of passion and joy...not with someone who only talks about her image or lack there of.

I am your mother, not your friend. This is a hard one for me because I really want you to like me and I know that sometimes you won't. For now though, it's my job to raise you. We'll laugh and talk and shop like girlfriends later. I can't wait.

Show grace. Love people even when they're not your favorite people. Everyone needs Him and you never know what the kid next to you is dealing with. Nothing trumps the grace that He has shown us. It truly is amazing grace, Ella - don't ever let anyone tell you different. Share it with everyone.

I'm here. Anytime you need me. Anytime you need to talk or cry or rejoice, I'm here. I want to know whats happening in your little world. I will wait for you to tell me and I'll try to accept the times that you don't. Just know that I hurt when you hurt, and I rejoice when you rejoice. Tell me all about life, I'll listen.

I love ya, baby.

Yes, you'll always be my baby. And no, I won't call you that in front of your friends anymore.

There is nothing I wouldn't do, no fight I wouldn't fight, and no other earthly love like the one I have for you.  It is unique and mysterious and a gift from Him.

You made me a mother 8 years ago, and ever since it has been a gift to watch you grow into the smart and loving girl that you are.

Happy 8th Birthday, my sweet Ella.


your mama

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Full Weekend

We had a packed weekend full of celebrations for my Ella girl. More on all that jazz later.

I just had to post these pics real quick of Lincoln and his rock collecting habit...

Yes, I am really entertained by all the new-to-me boyish qualities. Is it obvious?? Bear with me, friends :).

Of all the boy traits, I think the playing in the dirt and picking up rocks will be one of my favorites.

And clearly, it's also his...

Love him :).

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Store With The Kiddos

I ventured to the grocery with the kids in tow today. I had high hopes. And dreams. And ambitions. And a list.

The list is crucial. However, sticking to it is optional.

It was a necessary trip, we needed the basics and few things we just can't do without. Like coffee. Remember when I gave up caffeine? Well, I lost that fight.

As the kiddos grow and become more adventurous, I have started to appreciate my quiet nights when I go to the store after bedtime and wonder the aisles alone. It was easy when I could dish out goldfish or a pacifier, but now there are questions, wants, neeeeeeeds, the touching of all things glass, and incessant talking on a shopping trip.

We're like a traveling slumber party :).

They said my name 29 times in the car during the 11 minute drive. 29 times. I counted. Only a child can do that, it's a quality that is unique to their species.

As much as I love Target, I swear that red bulls eye sends a crazy surge through the kids. It's a conspiracy. The more rowdy they are, the more mindless shopping I will do.

Hence the problem of going in for 8 things and coming out with 30.

I like to think I know them really well, but there are some things about children that will always remain a mystery.

I'll never understand why they have to touch everything, open every freezer door, or why we have to talk (loudly) about tampons from the moment we pass the aisle till the moment we check out. The 8yr old, has SO MANY questions - that I can and will answer when we aren't in the company of the young stock guy who is filling the shelves.

And speaking of shelves, Lincoln is freakishly good at clearing them off from the front of the cart. He'd be unstoppable on the game show Supermarket Sweep. Remember that? Is it odd that I loved it when I was younger? Maybe a little?

Kinley carried a donkey pinata through the whole store. We weren't buying it, but she looked so stinkin' cute carrying it, so I didn't fight it.

Across the way I see a fellow mom lean down and say something through her teeth to a child that is dropping popcorn on the ground and then stepping on it, and I smile and nod. The mom nod, our secret "I understand" notion to each other.

I pass the arts and craft aisle as quickly as possible, as in it's just a red blur as you see my cart zoom by - because the kids looove that aisle. And as much as I would like to pretend that I am that mom who lets her kids pick out craft supplies so we can make happy-best mom ever-craft memories together, I don't. I try to, but it always ends up like this...

These days, I like to stick to activities where I don't have to hose them off in the backyard or mop the kitchen afterwards.

And alas, the cart is full, we are at the back of the store, and someone has to pee. Friends, this is when society takes me out of the running for Mom Of The Year. I bend down to my 3yr old and say,

"If you really don't have to go, and you're just wanting to check out the bathroom (because isn't that always the case??), I'm going to go off the deep end."

To which she replies, "Like the deep end at the pool?? Cool!!"

(sigh, someone please escort me to a room where I can scream freely for a few minutes.)

"Yes, baby, kind of like the pool." Only a child can remind you that your attitude could use a good laugh and some patience. I think God puts those innocent statements in there to remind us how little they are. Always grace, even when they are exhausting.

So I remind myself that He only asks me to do the next thing, and I take a deep breath and carry on with my sweet crew.

And then I quietly pray for some free time to go by myself next time :).