Grove Collaborative

Ok, so I had eczema terribly as a child. The backs of my legs and the creases of my arms were covered. I had a really hard time with it, especially in the dead of winter and in the scorch of the summers. My parents coated me in the only thing known to help at the time. Which bleached my skin… and to this day, the creases of my arms refuse to tan with the rest of my body. 😂 I look like I lay out in the sun with my arms crossed. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Thankfully, We have come a long way with what we know flares up eczema and how to help treat it. And thank goodness- because I’ve passed the eczema gene down to two of my three daughters. We always use a milder body wash and sunscreen, but other than that we’ve managed to live our lives pretty normally, until recently. Turner Mackenzie and Maggie Ruth both have really struggled here lately with their eczema. It’s just pitiful. I am now in a overhaul of switching out our life to a plant-based, organic, and Eczema friendly products.

I really thought that this would be a HUGE thing to tackle. UNTIL *cue the trumpets*… I was introduced to Grove Collaborative. Y’all this company sells the best, and most natural products and DELIVERS them to you!!! They have the most gorgeous home products, and *PLUS SIDE* they are natural, plant based products that are SAFE!

Also, Im not sure if I’ve told you guys this about me or not, but I’M the cheapest person on the planet! I meaning, I love spending money… but then I hate it when I have no money. So I LOVE that these products are so affordable, and they are things I have to buy anyway… I mean. We can’t live without toilet paper! 🤷🏼‍♀️ A few of the brands they sell are Mrs. Meyers, 7th Generation, Method, and TONS of others that are quickly becoming some of my faves!

First things first, Mrs.Meyers. Ok, so if you are unfamiliar with this brand let me just give you a quick low down. Their products do not contain ammonia, chlorine bleach, parabens, petroleum distillates, phosphates or phthalates. They are derived from plants. Now, I know what your thinking… because MY way of thinking was the same. “If it ain’t bleach –>It ain’t clean.” But that’s just simply not the case you guys. I really had to do my research for the benefit of my girls, and I’m telling you, this stuff is GOOD. You are NOT trading in clean for safe. YOU GET BOTH!

I really love their all purpose spray. I have been using it in my kitchen and it’s the bees knees y’all. I actually ended up getting the spray, dish soap, and handsoap all in “Lemon Verbana”. I like the lemon smell in the kitchen because it’s so clean, but since its paired with the verbena, it’s really light and delicate and not overwhelming at all!

I also did the “Honeysuckle” in our laundry detergent. Umm… it’s actually heaven!! And I won’t EVEN get on how outrageously good their “Basil” scent is, oh MY GOSH! Loving Mrs.Myers!

There are TONS of other companies on this site as well, and they are ALL amazing! They have skincare products, baby products, cleaning products, you name it!! The website itself is SO easy to use! Which is another reason I love this company so much. Normally, I dont set up any kind of monthly subscriptions because it’s a HASSLE! What if I dont want it? Or what if I want to hold my order for two more weeks? Switching out products, or changing delivery dates, or cancelling orders, any of that…. Easy Peezy Lemon Squeezy (As Charlotte says). Umm also, They give you your own personal assistant! They call themselves “Grove Guides” and ALL I have to do if I have any questions is simply text or email her, and DONE! My “GG” is Annee and she is the epitome of adorable!

So here! This is my little secret to you! Now RUN! Sign up for the Grove Collaborative immediately. I’m telling you, it will change your life!

Just clink the link here. If you use my link and referral code, you’ll snag a Mrs. Meyers cleaning kit FREE with any $20 or more purchase! YAY for free stuff! 😁

Mama Tried.

Just got home. It’s 9:30 pm and everyone just got in bed. It’s an hour past the “bigs” bedtime and two hours past baby Maggie Ruth’s. As you can imagine… Everyone is just in a lovely mood. We just came home from a long day, which began with “Muffins for Mom” today at the girls preschool. We managed “well enough”. We have most certainly had worse adventures at school functions. The last one being, rolling in on two wheels for the Easter egg hunt in the park. Thank God, (and I absolutely mean this with the very depths of my soul) THANK GOD for other school moms. As we pulled in for that fun trip, she came to the van, pulled out the big kids and took them with her so that all the eggs wouldn’t be gone by the time I parked the car and got out the baby. Since we arrived early, and left without any meltdowns today… I’m gonna call “Muffins For Mom” a win this year.

Then to lunch, then home for naps, then loaded back in the car to pay bills and run errands for the afternoon. We went to the dreaded walmart. It was a fairly non-negotiable trip, so I said a prayer and loaded the three down into the cart. As we approached the building everyone exclaimed they needed to go to the restroom. Lovely. Taking a cart full of underexposed immune systems is the LAST thing I want to take into a Wal-Mart bathroom. But it’s THIS, or pee pants. Pick your poison. We go to the restroom and a bathroom attendant tells us that’s she’s mopping and will be a while, and tells us to go to the restroom located in the back of the store. Through the aisles we go.. girls screaming the entire time of the urgency for a potty. We make it to the restroom, cram the cart through the restroom door, only to be greeted with a great big OUT OF ORDER sign. Awesome. Sweet pickles. Sugar sticks. FRIED BOLOGNA SANDWICH. (I’ve been using foods instead of profanity.. bear with me).

We make it back up to the front of the store restroom with a very long line and someone who is “occupying” the big stall. (And I am using the word “occupying” so loosely that the hinges might fall off and a door hit the floor. This smell could peel paint.) But you see, I need the big stall to get the cart into it, so I can keep an eye on all of my three littlest who will probably have the swine flu by the time we leave the facilities. I finally cave and tell Charlotte she will have to potty in a single stall by herself. She refuses. I reassure her that I am right outside the door, I’m watching. She can do it. And guess what? She does it!! Wonderful! She doesn’t come out…. ?? Why is she not coming out??

“Charlotte, honey are you alright?”

*crying*

“Charlotte, baby I’m right here. What’s wrong?”

“I’M STUCK!!!”

Oh yes people. She’s locked herself in the stall and can’t get out. We do the only thing that’s logical. I make her crawl under the door, TOUCHING THE FLOOR OF THE WAL-MART BATHROOM. I just gagged as I typed it. I asked her how had she gotten the door stuck and she replied she didn’t know, and as I gave the door a little push before we left, just out of curiosity, it opened. I look at her bewildered, and she just says “Oh, I was just pushing the wrong way. Sorry mama.” 😑

Since we were on the road at dinner time chick-fil-a was the only obvious choice. We walk in, service is as wonderful as it always is. I get everyone settled, pass out food and cups and ketchup. I cut Maggie Ruth’s food into micro pieces and everyone is nearly done by the time I take my first bite. I’m exhausted. I’m nearly in tears. And like a phsyco, (or a saint- I haven’t decided), I keep whispering “Jesus, sweet Jesus, hold me up Jesus…” with each breath.

An elderly woman and her husband stop at our table as they leave. She smiles and she pats me on the shoulder. “Honey, I have been watching you. You are a good mama, and I have watched you feed these children, direct them, praise them, a discipline them, just like a good mama should. I know it may seem like the days are long, but this is just a season. Mine are grown and gone now. But I remember how tired I was at the end of the day, and I also know how I miss it now.”

Now granted this woman has no idea I just had my eldest crawl across the walmart bathroom…. BUT I LOVE HER. I HUGGED HER. I DON’T KNOW HER NAME. But I KNOW it was Jesus. I just wanted to fold her up and put her in my pocket. Her husband ushered her away, probably in fear that the mental lady with all the kids was going to steal her. 😂

This is women. This is “mamas”. This is what we do day in and day out for our kids, and well- our peoples kids too. Because in this phase, and maybe in the next one too, (I’m not sure yet… we haven’t made it to middle school dances) this is what you do. You take kids to the potty, and you make lunches, and you kiss the booboos, and you panic when you rush kids to the ER, and you take on other kids as your own, and love them, and rear them up just like yours. It’s what we do.

Us women are incredible really. The women in my tribe, or fellow school mom, or teacher, or dance instructor, or aunt, or cousin, friend, or “lifers” as I call them. People you do life with, your whole life. There is not one single second of our life, or our day that I could do without them. I’m not saying we can always show up. My gosh.. sometimes we can’t even do 100% for the people under our own roof. Sometimes we have to say no. But having women and friends, and mama’s, and single friends, and married friends, and divorced friends, and friend’s in every season.. is what the spice of life is all about. There are women in my family, and women in my life who help raise these girls just as much as I raise them.

I use to run from help. I hated it when people asked if they could help fix a plate for the girls or hold one of them. It somehow offended me as they thought I wasn’t capable of caring for my own kids. But what I’m learning more everyday is that it’s not about that, it’s about receiving love. Receiving a blessing, and being a blessing by allowing someone to bless you. I remember my mama saying this to me a few years back. “Just let someone bless you, Hannah. It’s not for you, it’s for them.” And I looked at her like she had three heads and kept right on moving. But guess what? As always, Mama was right.

Happy Mamas day. To all of you mothers who are, and who were, and who are still yet to come. Especially to you. Biggest hugs. You’ll be doing crazy chick-fil-a and walmart trips before you know it. I’m thinking of you this weekend! ❤

One day…

Yesterday I had been busy all day and it just never stopped. I had done the gym, ran the errands, did the Sam’s bulk trip, picked up the bigs from school, made the lunches, organized the “office” (laughable, it’s a desk with lots of crap and then a few actual vital pieces of information, like birth certificates…). I did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, did the laundry, and was into organizing more. I had put everyone down for a nap, when in the middle of my “getting our life together”, my big came creeping down the steps.

If you know me as a parent at all, then you know that our naptime is mandatory. As in non-optional. No, you will not be getting up. This is your bed and this is where you lay for the next 1-2 hours. (This is not me taking a stand on naptime. This is just what works for me and my family. I really, truly don’t care if your child naps or not. Everyone please quit making every dad blame thing a soapbox topic. This is what’s wrong with the world. Everything’s a “thing”.)

But, nevertheless, here she came. Sneaking so silently I didn’t even hear her. Except, I knew she was there, due to the eyes in the back of my head that all mothers grow the moment they leave the hospital with their new bundle. She asked to stay up. “I’m just not sleepy, mama. Everyone else is asleep and I just can’t, so can I stay up?”. I caved to silent rest on the couch while I finished downstairs. After a few minutes, I felt her peering at me. I looked over at her, put down my work, and snuggled with her on the couch. This can wait.

You see the thing is, she’s graduating from Preschool in three weeks. I am launching her into a new world of public school, larger classroom sizes, new friends, possible bullies, new teachers, more responsibility, testing, homework, peer pressure, comparison, and no “unexcused days”. No days of staying home because I would just rather have her with me. No days of playing hookie to go to the movies instead. No pick up at 11:30, so I will get to eat lunch with her. None of that. All of these days are nearly gone. Gone in 19 very short days. Tears are burning my eyes as I type these very words…

I thought I was ok with all of this. We did kindergarten registration a few weeks back. I didn’t cry. I was excited for her. A little nervous, but excited… as I remember my first days of school being too- a little nervous, but exciting. But yesterday, in the middle of my errand running, I went to the book section in Target to find an appropriate book to have all of her teachers sign as we launch her into this next phase. A book that I will send on the last days of school, to every teacher of hers, for the next 12+ years. I found the perfect book. I sat there, in the back of Target, holding Maggie Ruth, and cried and cried. The more I thought of Charlotte launching, the tighter I held my 13 month old. God help this poor baby. Being the last won’t be easy, and I can assure you, if she wants to stay in this house until thirty-five, THEN THAT WILL BE FINE AND NONE OF YOU WILL SAY ANY CONDEMNING WORDS, OR IN ANY WAY PUSH HER TO LEAVE ME!!!!

I read the line….”When I look at you and you look at me, I wonder what wonderful things you will be….”

AND THEN I CRIED SOME MORE.

So I put aside my work that I didn’t finish, because let’s be honest… it’s a long list of unfinished things that I will pick back up the next day, and the next, and the next, and the next to finish. But it can wait. Because Charlotte won’t. She won’t wait to grow. She won’t wait to grow another inch taller. She will soon cut her own food. And read books to herself. She will fix her own hair. And pull the paint set down by herself. She one day soon will not lay down for a nap after lunch, but instead tend to homework and then go ride her bike down the street. She will one day soon set her own alarm for school, not needing me to gently brush her hair off of her face and wake her sweetly. “One day” is turning into “One day soon”, and too soon will it become “today”.

So for now, I will lay with her on the couch, and let her fall asleep cuddled up next to me. Us both waking with our cheeks stuck together. I want her to launch. I want her to succeed, and fail. I want her to go and grow at “big school.” Moving up to the next grade, growing older… it’s a privelege that is denied to so many. I want her to become a sweet girl, and beautiful teenager, and kind woman, and thoughtful wife, and attentive mother. And career woman, or entrepreneur, or homemaker, or whatever calling God sends her into. But I will hold this sweet five year old, until she won’t let me anymore. I will hold her until “One day” becomes “today”.

“Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian…”

Sundays. Can I tell you what Sundays mean? For us, the start of our Sunday is church. Seeing our people. Hugging their necks. Sitting in the pews, listening together intently to the word of God. We watch eachother sing praises to our Almighty, and worship together. We carry eachothers children back to nursery for one another. We catch eachothers runaway three year old in the parking lot (thank you deacons👐). We make it a point to go visit the sweet elderly lady who sits in her same “spot” every week, just to see her sweet smile. We have the same sweet old man sneak our children candy and joke with them on the way in. The way you meet on the steps of the church, and all speak together and love on one another on the way out. We meet eachother in the middle of the aisles to ask “how was your week?”, “I’m so glad to see you!”, “pray for me this week!”.

I had someone find me in church today, “I love your heart…” she said, among other things. Her words have stuck with me all day. Do not under any circumstances believe that small words can’t touch someone. I love her and she loves me. Not because we are related, or because we are especially close, or because we speak everyday. She loves me because I’m a sister in Christ. She loves me, the way that you love your people.

For anyone who is involved in church, you’ll understand. And for anyone who isn’t, you’ll want to get involved. Church binds you together in an unexplainable way. Not “clicky” or a club that no one else can enter… no, not that. (And if it feels like that- then the Lord probably intends for you to be at a different church. Jesus would not dare allow someone to not let you have a seat at the table. So, if it feels like that; it’s wrong.) No, it’s a special way that God kind of sews all of your heartstrings together when you worship Him, hear His words, and see eachother broken down and built back up in the Spirit together. The way you watch someone walk to the altar to lay down their burdens and hug them with knowing and loving hugs after service, making a mental note to yourself to “check in” with them the next week. Its impossible to witness the very intimate and personal way that God changes our hearts and minds in service, and not be affected by it.

We have fun at church. We cut up at church. We laugh and share humor a church. Holy and humor can reside in the same place. You can be human, and a church-goer, and a Christian. I’m not really sure when the stigma began that Christians were meant to be prudes, but um… cough cough. We’re not. We are imperfect people with normal lives, striving to live the way Jesus did. Thats it. And church is where we come together under one roof, to love our God. It’s the place where a bunch of us broken people come to meet every week to be put back together in Christ. What a blessing. What a safe place. What a gift.

“Going to church doesn’t make you a christian.” You’ve heard it before. And yes, they’re right, it doesn’t. But then again, thats not the point of church. Church is not to “make you a Christian”. Church is where you come to worship God. Church is where you come to literally have His words spoken over you, to breathe in you new life. Church is where your people gather to build you up, love you, pray for you and with you, worship with you, hold you accountable, check in with you. Church is such a precious gift, and if it is physically possible for you to get into the doors of church, I am begging you to go. God will open up your heart in such powerful ways. He will set people in your life who will be such a gift, and so uniquely designed to fuel your walk with Him. Our church has been such a blessing. It is so funny how God will change your view on things when you get involved in church. How you will see things with such grace and mercy. How it will soften your heart, and allow you to walk with such joy.

Have a happy Sunday guys, however you spend it… I hope today gives you joy and rest. ❤❤❤

Meltdown on Aisle 7

I was running errands early this morning, trying to get everything done on the road while I only had one child. (The two “bigs” are both at preschool on Tuesdays and this is the closest thing I have to “me time” during the week.) I ran a few places and then landed at the grocery store. In the middle of my trip I get a phone call from one of my sisters reminding me of another something on our calendar. I stumble around words, and apologies, and “I’m not sure if we’ll make it because we also have x, y, and z…” and I begin telling her how crazy our schedule is.

I’m on the phone with her and I’m telling her all of the things, as if she doesn’t know. She’s a part time working mother of four herself with heavy responsibilities at church as well… So clearly, I was preaching to the choir. But she listened and reassured me she knew and let me whine on the phone to her anyway, when all of a sudden I felt the lump creeping up in my throat. My eyes started to water, and I felt it coming. A meltdown. The problem was, I WAS STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GROCERY STORE. Can you imagine if a woman randomly burst into tears in the middle of Bi-lo at 9:30 on a Tuesday morning. I’m sure management would have called in child services for the infant in the buggy, until I was deemed medically fit to take her home and not an emotional nutcase. So, I quickly got off the phone, said a quick prayer pleading to God to let me get out of the store before I humiliated myself, finished my shopping, and got the heck out of dodge.

You guys, honest to goodness, would not believe what the family calendar on our fridge looks like right now. There is something on every square, everything color coded, with tons of sidenotes, arrows, and diagrams. Russian intelligence couldn’t decode this thing, y’all. I would show you a picture, but I’m afraid that the serial killer in my head (that apparently is always within a few feet of my home) would see our schedule and know the appropriate time to strike. So, I’ll refrain. And I’ll also stop watching shows like Bates Motel… But our calendar is nuts…. Just so you know.

It’s the end of the school year. And as much as I love it- I dread it. Every year.

Side note: Do not give me the, “…but soak it up mama, one day you’ll miss this” speech. Yes, one day. But you are either lying to yourself or lying to me if you’ve ever been in this season and not felt overwhelmed. Just putting that out there.

Overwhelmed.

Ball practices, ball games, dance practices, dance recitals, parties at school, programs at school, wedding season, busy season. We have a minimum of three required places to be a day at least five days a week. AND THERE’S ZERO I CAN DO ABOUT IT. I can’t take anything “off our plate”, this is just how the chips fall for the last 8 weeks until summer begins. It is what it is, as they say.

I get a text about something else that we could attend/want to attend/should attend but can’t attend, because we already have something on the schedule today. Ball practice. I say another prayer for a little peace. A little wiggle room. Anything. And go about my day.

I get a phone call not long ago, letting me know that ball practice is cancelled. “Oh, ok then. Well, now we can go to the thing that we could/should/want to attend and that will all work out good.”

I stopped dead in my tracks. I could literally feel Jesus standing beside me, rolling His eyes and doing the face/palm smack. Like, “YOU MORON! You just prayed for a break, I gave you one, and you filled it RIGHT back up with your worldly crap!”

I don’t have a lot of control over our schedule right now. The only thing I can do is set the stage, prepare for the day, and shuffle the kids as quickly as I can. But so help me, when the Lord offers rest in this season, I WILL TAKE HIM UP ON THE OFFER.

Mathew 11:28 “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

His presence literally lifts the stress away. And isn’t it amazing, that he fulfills his promises and answers prayers according to His will!? Thank goodness that the cancellation of Tee-Ball practice wasn’t going to throw the universe into a tail spin today, because Mama needs the break!! 🙌🤣 The bigger picture here though, is how quickly I was about to trade in His gift. I’m so glad He grabbed me by the shoulders and set me back on His path. I’m so glad that the Lord knows how I operate, and knows that I can get sidetracked by a bumble bee. I’m so grateful that He knows I need Him to hold my hand, and literally walk me to His blessings.

I’m going to hole up in this house for the remainder of the day. I will enjoy the sunshine and sidewalk chalk with my girls, eat dinner in peace with my family, and enjoy the simplicity in the rest that God so generously offered me today. Enjoy your day guys, keep an eye out for God’s blessings! 😙

“Too Much”

My Turner Mackenzie has recently turned three. She is, in every way- me. She is into playing in the dirt, and catching grasshoppers, and play-doh. She likes unicorns and glitter, but also turtles and bugs. She sleeps with her bunny and blanket but here recently, also with a rubber toy frog, turtle, and alligator. She plays with babydolls and dresses up in princess gowns so that she can play with her older sister, although these aren’t her favorite things, her sister is… so she can roll with the punches and play well with others. But she is also fiercely stubborn, and loud, and sensitive, and dramatic. She is an all or nothing type of girl. She’s fiercely loyal and loves like no other. Sometimes she is devastated and her little heart just doesn’t know how to handle when something feels unfair or unjust. So she does this mix of mad and sad because she’s still learning how to express herself with words, but even when she does… I have a feeling this will be how she handles things. She will lead with her emotions.

It reminds me of the line in Charlotte’s Web when Fern is trying to save the runt, Wilbur. After being loud and wildly emotional to save Wilbur’s life, her Father replies, (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Fern you will have to learn to control yourself!” She of course replies, “Control myself!? This is a matter of life and death, and you want me to control myself!?” As if it was absurd to think that she wouldn’t be emotional about something that mattered to her. This is her. This is Turner. This is also me.

Do you know those women that you see that just seem lovely? People use words like demure, precious, lovely, and reserved to describe them. This is not me. I’ve tried on and off for years to be this woman. Shockingly, I never succeeded. I never could quite get the hang of quieting my inner voice, (or my outer one either). 😂

I am loud. My inside voice is never at an appropriate decimal, although I try. I never laugh appropriately, or at an appropriate time. I’m the one laughing at funerals, and weddings, and at the very holy moment of the lighting of the “Singing Christmas Tree” that a local church puts on every year. During which time you are suppose to be very quiet and reflect on our Saviors coming, and all of the things Christmas means to us for a total of 3 very long minutes. But alas, someone whispers something, and then I get the giggles and can’t for the life of me stop. I hear the creaking of the pews in front of me as people turn around to stare at the hoodlum ten year old who can’t get it together. This is still me now at nearly thirty. I’m not sure that I ever remember seeing my mama that mad. Except for maybe when me and my childhood best friend took off on our bikes, got lost, and didn’t show back up at home until 6 hours later. Or maybe that one time the principal called her in because I had an “A” in Biology, but unfortunately I had skipped, I don’t know, maybe 100 days of school or something. (I’m exaggerating.) Point is, I’m loud, and talk too much, and write run-on sentences because I can’t shut up.

I do things. I try things. I’m all or nothing. I get into projects fiercely, and when I decide I’m done- I abandon them without reserve. I just believe that if you want to try something, then do. Also, if your doing something that no longer makes you happy, then stop. Some shame-seeking people would use condemning words like, “quitter”. I just believe that this life is too short to not test the limits, or even worse, continue doing something that makes you miserable. There are thousands of different jobs, and thousands of different hobbies, and thousands of different sports. Why not try them all? Or stick with just the one that makes you Happy? This is YOUR life and no one else is going to live it for you.

Some people have the ridiculous notion that since I’m outgoing, and enjoy speaking to people, that I am always confident or an extrovert. Neither of these are true. Actually, my loud mannerisms and social personality can make me quite self conscious. You see, with people who are more shy or demure, it’s easier for them to fall back and become a wall flower of sorts. It’s easier for them to not put themselves out there, because they feel more comfortable letting someone else be “out there.” For those of us who don’t know how to be lovely, or soft spoken… we just show up to the party with a smile, be ourselves, and then have anxiety for the next two days. “Was I too loud? Did I talk too much? Did I say everything in the right tone? Was I too much?”

I’ve been classified as “too much” my entire life. But Jesus says I’m just right. I am not “not enough” nor “too much”, I am just right. I am exactly what God designed me to be. He made some of us soft spoken and lovely, He made the rest of us loud and sociable. He made us this way so that we can better connect with eachother, and lead others to Him. I have to stop looking at myself through the eyes of well, quite frankly, all of you and start seeing myself how Jesus sees me. I am praying everyday, every single day, that my daughters see themselves in this same light too. I am challenging you to do the same. We will pick ourselves and eachother slap apart until we change the way we see. I hope you guys have a happy weekend! Love your neighbor, but more importantly- love yourself. ❤

Shedding the weight.. and I don’t mean a diet!

Whelp. I’ve done it again. I’ve gone bananas over the playroom. After FOUR , yes I said FOUR opportunities to clean the mess in the playroom this morning, I have officially come unglued. I would like to say, to all the tender souls who think that we are too strict on our little snowflakes- That they had several opportunities to keep the things that they are PRIVILEGED enough to have, but they didn’t rise to the occasion, nor did they put in the effort or give a darn to keep them. I will absolutely ask for and demand that my children take responsibility for their own things and actions. This includes personal property and behavior. We had a garbage bag full in just a few minutes, a TRUCKLOAD of toys in about 20. That in itself is embarrassing. The only thing more embarrassing, is that there is still MORE THAN WE NEED.

Granted, my children are still very young. For the time being I will keep Maggie Ruth out of this equation, seeing as how she is not yet old enough to walk or talk, therefore did not help in the aiding or abetting of the playroom crimes. The other two however, are plenty old enough to pick up after themselves. They may need to be reminded or redirected to cleaning, but they do know how, and when they choose not to-they choose to lose the privelege to those objects.

I have to accept responsibility as well. The amount of STUFF in this house is just absurd. I mean really, innapropriate, ridiculous, and wildly unreasonable. These are the reasons that I can’t keep up. This is why I have anxiety and stress. This is why at least once a week I turn into some kind of crazy nutcase. I’m in the corner flailing my arms around about crap being everywhere, and my people have become numb to it. It’s like, “uhhhh… Mama’s losing her marbles over the crayons in the floor again… I’ll just go upstairs.” This is why we need a change….

(1) There are one of me and FIVE of us. So there is ZERO reason why I should be the only one (and Daddy, because he actually does help too) To consistently pick up after myself and everyone else.

(2) We have too much JUNK. You guys, hands to the heavens- if Jesus walked through my front door right now- I would be plum ashamed at the “frivelous” To “needed” ratio in our home. The quantity is just insane. I dont know how we got here, but it has finally reared its head and it is UGGGGLY!

To get us back on track, we are donating, trashing, and selling. THE THINGS MUST GO!!!

Charlotte and Turner don’t seem to understand that giving their belongings to someone in need isn’t dumping them in the back of a bin or goodwill type store. I need for her to understand the connection. So we will be finding a family, child, foster home, or children’s home to take the toys to personally. She needs to understand other people’s needs, and how we can help fill them with a simple kind gesture. They need to understand why she should care for her things. They need to understand that not everyone has access to their “needs” much less, “wants”.

I’ve started doing some things to help and encourage the girls to take care of their things. Here’s a few ideas that worked for us and might for you…

We have a “shoe basket.” Here, shoes do not get left downstairs. Every night the girls take the shoe basket and empty shoes in the appropriate closets. No more tripping over shoes or hunting them down. The are taken off, and then taken back to their “homes” at the end of the day.

The girls also know how to take off their clothes, and put them correctly in the hamper. No more inside out pants with underwear still rolled inside them. Pulling pants leg back right side out is No longer something that I can physically do or handle. I can’t, I can’t do it, I cant handle it. It’s making my laundry days a nightmare.

Here is where I have to cave. Three and five year olds are not “efficient”. You do not get both “quick” and “correct”. You get one or the other, you have to choose. So since I’m choosing “correct”, I have to up my patience level. And I mean, like going from “nonexistent” to “Mother Theresa”. This is non-negotiable for at least another five years.

“LORD, grant me patience.” 😨

I also do this….

It’s a small Rubbermaid tote about the length and width of a full sheet of paper. All of our precious gems of school and artwork that come home, I throw in this bin. No mlre leaving them in the car or on the kitchen table. At the end of the school year I take out anything with hand/feet prints or anything particularly cute or special and THROW THE REST AWAY. Then, the girls have their own bin in the attic with their names on it for keepsakes. When they are older and move out, they can decide what to keep and what to chunk and it is no longer my concern. This works great for us and it might help y’all as well.

There is a book I read a few years back by Jen Hatmaker. It’s called SEVEN. It’s fantastic, and her and I are best friends (in my mind, at least). But she went through this kind of crazy moment where she had enough of all the “excess” in her life and she did some pretty radical things to get her life back on track. I dont know that I will do the experiment again, but I am definitely claiming our life, home, and time BACK. No more excess, no more uselessness, no more “stuff”. When you get rid of all of that, it clears out your mind and heart and soul, and you can replace the void with time, and peacefulness, and friends, and family, and Jesus. The stuff that matters gets more attention because you got rid of the “glut”. Here’s to spring cleaning and a breathing in some fresh air! Let’s shed the weight, let’s trim the fat, let’s get our lives back in shape! 🙌 good luck yall!! 😚😚