When this girl gets the opportunity to dress up and go to a fancy dinner with her man, you better believe she takes it. While we were in Florida, we got to go to a masquerade ball with Ben's company. The food is always amazing, and getting to see Ben in suit and tie is all this girl needs for a good night.
March has been a lot of things. I'm still sorting through a lot of it, but this is definitely a highlight. It was a good night and I married a good man.
I joke with Ben when we travel, that I don't need souvenirs. I have some 500 on my camera. I'm finding that even when we don't travel, the moments that happen in between dinner and bedtime become my treasures.
As you can see, our girl can go from sad, to mad, to sad, to happy again in like 10 seconds. If you look closely you can see left-over tears in her upside down picture above. Girls=SO MANY EMOTIONS.
I like to collect real life to remember it. Sometimes (okay, a lot of times these days,) that involves water coming out of our eyes. I think this particular incident was due to us not letting her play in Borax, or something less dramatic.
Thank you for all your kind responses about Finland. We're excited to document where this new adventure takes us.
For those of you who haven't gotten weekly updates, here's the full news plus a little back story:
Back in 2013 (more than a year ago) we were sitting on our trusty couch, going through a cutesy love book called 'Two' that we picked up at the 'bux (starbucks, for all you people that don't unashamedly abbreviate words that were never meant to be abbreviated) during one of our travels to and from Wisconsin. It had a section where couples fill out their biggest, wildest dreams together and that night we were looking through it and decided to share ours.
number 8 for both of us : LIVE IN EUROPE.
Less than a week later, Ben got an email from his work asking if he was willing to move over seas. We were so stunned by the probability that we half-jokingly threw our names in the hat. We prayed that if God didn't have it for us, we wouldn't hear anything else about it. By April (as in a couple months later) we were encouraged to be fully ready to leave for Finland. Ben's name was on the contract and this was awesome. We had a going away party in the rush with our small group, and in an effort to get ready to launch I packed up and purged a ton of our things. It was all crazy and exciting and overwhelming.
Then we waited.
In our personal life we got surprised with a pregnancy test, ultrasounds, excitement, miscarriages, a whole ton of life happened. Our life grew more into a daily 'find the silver lining' ritual than one on the cusp of adventure.
With Ben's work there were court cases(regarding Ben's company and its competitors) and more waiting. People actually started asking us how Finland was. Enough time had passed, those who hadn't seen us for a while thought we already returned.
There were a lot of 'why's' we asked God about this past year and few months, and I'm pretty sure we prayed the exact same prayer over 365 times. You know, just in case God didn't know EXACTLY what we wanted (I even gave him due dates at one point, thinking maybe if I put a marker in the sand, he'd oblige-Apparently he doesn't work according to my google calendar.)
And then, randomly on the 20th of March, we checked the Finnish tax site like we always do and saw an announcement. The thing we were waiting on, the court ruling we had been holding out for had been ruled in our favor. The contract would be signed.
A few days later the details started rolling in. This is actually happening. Praise the good Lord.
So now that the word is out, we're excited. We're gathering up our things, selling everything that doesn't have our faces on it and in more ways than we can express, saying goodbye to the past half decade of building our lives here.
Here our 5 things highlighting what we're passionate about (and 5 things we're struggling through):
1. DREAM COME TRUE. We do not belittle the fact that we get to have a job that moves us all over-especially to the grand country of Finland. We're so excited to adventure and live and grow there. Finland is a prayer answered in more than a dozen ways. How amazing will this story be?!
2. Raising little finns! We're excited to give Eowyn a global world view. Yes, she'll be small-but imagine her forming her ideas about the world from real life experience rather than just books? We're excited to experience new cultures, make new friends, and be in the body of Christ on another slice of the world. If we have children overseas-I'm sure they'll love getting to add that bit in the "One thing you don't know about me" awkward class circle times!
3. We like change. I read once a piece of marriage advice that encouraged couples to 'invite change often,' whether that was a new house, a new city, a new route on their way to work, a new something. The article continued to express how often we can get discontent in our current station, and it's often easy to confuse the need for change for a dissatisfaction in our marriage. I couldn't agree more.
Getting to have change in our lives has been an crucial aspect of our marriage-this will be one of the greatest yet. Every change (both adventure and struggle) we've gone through so far has been like another layer of cement on our resolve and love for each other. I imagine in this adventure we'll add a few feet of concrete solidarity.
4. "Adventure is out there!" Every time we get stressed, overwhelmed, and unsure if we were crazy in doing this, we in our most silly Up-voice yell this at each other. We felt most alive together in Ireland. That was probably 2 parts honeymoon, but definitely one part adventure. Who we are when discovering a new side of what God has done makes us come alive in ways we just don't get when eating the same pizza and watching our seasons of t.v. shows. We do good adventuring together. It's kind of our thing.
5. God's hand is on it. Seriously, no doubt about it. We've felt peace from the gitgo, the circumstances have all pointed to what a blessing this is. Whenever we've prayed we've felt pushed in the direction we're going. We can even see how this season of waiting was a gift from Jesus as well(with having our babies die, it would have been a major struggle doing it without my family and friends-I have no doubt the emotions would have run darker, and I needed fellow believers to remind me of a good God.)
Now that this is happening, we see him acting in a myriad of ways to bring us into a new season. We praise God for that. We're ready as we ever will be. We know there's still bitter + sweet, but we're excited to taste a new bittersweet. We're ready to see God reveal himself in new problems and new miracles.
We're just all sorts of excited.
If you're the celebratory type stop there.
If you're the realist and like to see both sides of the coin, keep reading.
In all truthfulness I want to include both sides of this. Both to remember and to be honest for those who may stumble upon this in a season of moving overseas. Perhaps you can relate.
1. The biggest struggle we face is leaving family and friends. Plainly put, we don't want to. Never have we experienced community like we have while at Hope CC and in the Twin Cities. It feels weird because we know how few times we'll get to return. Yearly trips will be spend with family, and maybe a magical visit may occur, but they will be far and few. There are now 'last times' of seeing people-maybe even on this side of heaven-and that hurts us. While I think they feel ache for us, we're feeling the ache on hundreds of sides, and it leaves a heavy weight. With the people we will be seeing often, it's still not the same. While we'll be visiting family as often as is possible, it still will be less than before. Finances and time are looming obstacles. The more children we, Lord willing, get to have, the harder it'll be to visit.
We struggle through feeling like we're walking in the direction that is best for our family, yet walking away from responsibilities in relationships. We'll miss weddings, babies being born, and when struggle happens, often we won't be able to be present. That sucks. This has been the worst thing of it all. This is the largest pill for us to swallow, one that we're reading articles and doing research to see how to best keep relationships strong, even as miles separate us. I don't know how this will look and who will remain in our circles by the time we return stateside.
2. This new venture is terrifying. We're literally packing up minimally and getting rid of everything. I've never had anxiety attacks like I have in the transition of this move. I once this past year cried over a shampoo bottle because I was probably not going to be able to finish it. Plus, there's the whole figuring out a new land, a new language-while we may not speak finnish fluently by the end, we'll still need to learn enough to buy groceries and read road signs etc.-and overall getting to a whole new normal leaves us anxious.
Everything I've read has said it takes a full year for you to be fully adjusted when living abroad. For your brain to rest and for you to feel home is something natives take for granted. That's a long time for us to trudge through thinking of all the minute details and there's more unknowns than knowns at this point. It exhausts me trying to plan for it and the more I research, the more unknowns get added. We're just going to be kind of falling into it.
That's hard for the planner in me(which lets be real, is 100% of me.)
3. New work/New lifestyle/New community=exhausting : Ben has referenced this article about programmers struggling through 'imposters syndrome' more than once when sorting through this transition. He's commented that this big move has brought out of the 'real programmer vs. imposter syndrome' in him and he has to fight through those feelings with himself and others. To be honest, I think we'll be feeling this tremendously this next year. We'll be foreigners for a long time-we won't quite know where we belong. Ben will be at a new site, we'll be learning how to live without a car, we'll be finding a new church, every single bit of this is unknown. We probably won't have a tub (cue the tears), dishwasher, dryer, and many other random appliances that are part of the daily life here. While none of these individually are a big deal, the culmination of all of these pieces of normal missing will make us feel very not at home for a while.
This is why people go on vacation and don't pick up and leave their homes. New is nice, but new is also terrifying. New all the time is just plain exhausting. We try and anticipate the facets of this reality as much as possible, but I know for certain that this next year will be the wildest, most invigoration, most exhausting, most trying of our marriage yet.
4. Obligations and Responsibilities: I struggle through this immensely. So much of life has this undercurrent of responsibilities and obligations and for my personality most of these are big enough reason to never allow any change ever. I feel like in moving to Finland, we're letting a few key people down. Our relationships have had mixed reactions to the news of us leaving. On one hand its hard because we want to be celebrated on this adventure, but on the other hand we appreciate others acting like we'll be missed. It's all just weird and emotional and I'm still unsure about it all. If we stay the full duration of the contract, when we return I'll be almost 30. Much of our future life (at least as far as we can plan) is happening over there and that means some major changes and calibrations in all of the relationships we hold dear are going to happen.
5. This is going to be our new normal: This move is the first of many moves for our life, as long we stay working with the company Ben is working with-and we intend to- we'll be on the move every few years. We've been in Minnesota so long, its actually pretty crazy. This experience we've had is not the norm. We're finally facing the reality that we've been seeing in the horizon for along time. The ride is in many ways beginning. It takes some getting used to.
Go big or go Home, right?
We'll folks, it looks like we're going big, and making it our home.
Please be praying for us. I know many of our friends have commented how exciting and amazing this will be. They're right. We've spent several moments doing fist pumps at how excited we are. This is like....13 year old Brittany's dreams come true. The adult Brittany has a hard time even thinking this is for real. What an adventure this will surely be.
It will also be sweaty and painful and there are several obstacles to overcome. So, pray for us?
1. Logistics: Packing, selling stuff, last meet ups, international flights with a toddler, getting to our place of residence, getting furniture, getting groceries, getting random other needs we don't anticipate etc. without a car and an understanding of the language.
If any of you have any tips on the above-please email me.
2. Community: Wisdom in how to best maintain the friendships and family times back home -because we need you guys. For there to be a good church, and a good community (both with work and locals) for us to jump into when we get there.
3. Divine appointments: Here's a little bit of the charismatic in me, but there are seasons in my life where God is so obvious and gracious. The little things like sitting next to people on a flight that love babies, or having that helpful native explain directions. Pray that there would be those appointments present, and that we would have eyes to see them. To give us hope and to remind us that we're not alone in this.
4. Ben at his new site: It'll be a good amount of work transitioning with working on a brand new site with cultural differences (most of which are unknown) and major anticipated overtime. I anticipate being alone with Eowyn for most of the hours in our days. Every season of overtime, I go a little crazy. Being in a different country, I imagine will be its own set of crazies.
5. Rest and grace towards each other. Change is hard, it's easy to hurt the ones most important to us when we're tired because we get selfish and careless.
6. God knows what we need. Prayers that we rely in that truth and let Him do whatever would bring him most glory.
So....Who wants to visit us in Helsinki!?
Ben and Brits B&B will be open this summer! Ha! Really though, come visit us.
Excited to take you readers on the adventure with us.
P.S. if you are needing a microwave, or any other random object, or know any college graduate that wants cheap furniture from Ikea (black color.) Email me. We got the loot. Most of which we aren't planning on keeping in storage, because we have plane tickets to buy.
If there ever was a time in my life that I've learned the truth in this, it's in this time. I live in a world where my little girl mimics my moves and copies intonation.
When you have a little understudy following you around all day you start to notice how you step; how you breath; how you eat, because she copies all of it.
I know this is a short season. This little mini-me will soon be all her own and that is all very, very good. In the meantime, while she copies my smiles and nose wrinkles, I wanted to comment on some things I'm learning in the midst of toddler mom-hood.
I'm learning about how I use my mouth and I'm learning it's my most influential tool.
“Be careful how you speak to your children. One day it will become their inner voice” –Peggy O’Mara.
I remember reading this on pinterest some time ago, and it hasn't left me yet. For a lot of us, a quote like this prompts us to soften our tones, to lessen the yell. When I examine that phrase under my own lens, I always find myself reflecting on if it's true for me. The best way to do that is to take note of my own inner voice.
And sure enough, there she is.
Media has had its own influence, obviously. I struggle through body image issues like the rest of them, but what I'm learning is that there is indeed one prevailing influence in the way I perceive myself and when I trace that to its source I find her: My mom and her words. Little phrases I heard so often during my childhood have weaved them self into my days. Words that spoke life and have molded me slowly are the trademark of my moms words and actions.
There was a grace to my childhood. While there were obviously moments of complete failure and chaos on all sides, there was always a returning point of grace. There was forgiveness still left over for me (and I needed an extra portion.)
My mom called me monumental things: 'World changer,' 'defender of the weak,' and silly names like pumpkin and stinkyweed (because I didn't like to bathe...apparently some things stick with us longer than we'd like.)
She called me excellent eater (which was of the highest compliments that I only now as a mother understand.) She called me a leader and only much later, when I was grown explained how much of a struggle I was as a toddler and middle-school girl.
So, if you were to ask me at 17 what my mom thought of me, I was pretty sure I was her favorite child ever.
She jokes with me now that I'm adult (and to give me real expectations about my toddler,) that if she had me first, I would be an only child. One might think that it's 'cuz I'm awesome, but it's not. I'd be an only child because she wouldn't want to go through two rounds of wrangling a brittany. In a lot of ways, two of me would be too much. (and my husband says 'amen.' )
She could have called me many true things.
Yet in all my wild and fury, not once did I hear 'Brittany, you're too much.' Defiant, strong-willed, too ambitious, prone to fight in other peoples battles (that resulted in black eyes and principle calls), too chatty. These would very well be fitting of my childhood self and maybe even a little current self.
These words, I heard none of.
I still hear my mom's echo of 'world changer' from time to time, even in the midst of diapers and spending most of my time with a kid that can't even say those words yet.
All this is teaching me that my mouth moves mountains in the currency of my little girls heart.
Eowyn fits somewhere between the textbook definitions of easy and strong-willed. I don't see strong-willed as a bad thing, I don't see any of those labels (easy, high-needs, strong-willed) as bad. They're titles to best assist in explaining personalities. But I see how charged they are. I see how calling a kid strong willed somehow equals poor listeners, or disobedient. I see that 'easy' is the culturally preferred choice. So, I'm learning to take care in labels and to use my words much like my mom did for me.
On Eowyn's 'easy days' I can use words like 'great helper,' 'joy to be around,' 'silly,' & 'good listener.' On her stronger-willed days I'll call her what she is as well: 'good decision maker,' 'thinker,' 'problem solver,' 'able,' ' joy to be around,' 'confident,'& 'fearless.'
And in all things, She's my girl.
As I keep practicing (and failing, often) at my word choice, I notice how I begin to see her in the way I refer to her. Her 'joyful charger' name (what Eowyn means) fits her even more perfectly when I actively choose to identify her as such. She's watching how I speak, and who she sees herself is taking shape.
I see Christ in this entire practice. He sees us as our redeemed selves and calls us by name. 'Saints' 'Redeemed,' 'His,' 'Beautiful,' 'Set apart,' 'Treasured.' 'Wanted,' 'Beloved,' and the more I become aware of all that I am a part from Him (prone to distrust, defiant, name-calling, quick to pride, selfish, ungracious, ungrateful, ) the more I become in awe of the one who sees me as his and as new-creature and makes the former names no longer true and slowly changes my character.
In a lot of ways, the ways my mom spoke to my heart allowed me to catch glimpses of how Jesus sees me. These words didn't take full effect until my older age but, I'm stunned by it and thankful that my mom took care. May I do the same thing for Eowyn in my mothering her (and may Eowyn extend grace to me when I fail and say sharp things and fail to apologize well.)
It's a lesson this season has presented to me. I'm looking forward to being able to say it's learned.
In the meantime, if you give me the chance, I'll gush about my girl.
This past week we got the opportunity to head down to Florida for a work engagement. We met up with Ben's side of the family, and after the work portion was done, we got to spend a few extra days with them. We, in true Sprague fashion, hit up the zoo and made it through the heat and saw some never-before moments. We had a few more adventures, ate some good food and swam much to the delight of our girl. This was the most enjoyable AGM with Eowyn by far.
Special thanks to Ben's mom and dad for watching our girl during the work engagements, pretty sure that was E's favorite part.
1. I'm learning to set everything down in one place again like I've done for most of my collegiate and professional years. Sunday night or Monday morning, I sit for a few moments and jot down everything that needs to be done for the next 7 days. It's been such a grace for me, and allows me to feel rested knowing I've allotted a time for everything that needs to be completed.
2. I got new glasses this past week. I ordered them online, since I have such an easy prescription and while they're a bit of this hipster business, I'm growing to like them. Also, sometimes I like taking pictures of what my face looks like relaxed rather than the classic toothy smile. I'm excited for my freckles to darken as the sun shines more often. Also, my lips are crooked (and that's okay.)
3. I've begun to try to read this Jesus calling Devo regularly. Some days it is a quick read and I forget it 20 minutes (or less) later, other days it sinks in deep. I've been reading it out loud to Eowyn, so now she runs over every time I open it. It's kind of special sharing my relationship with Jesus in front of her. We have worship dance parties on the regular and now she's starting to truly act like a little charismatic. Raising hands and fake closing her eyes. Ha!
4. "Eoh?" E likes to snuggle in and watch shows or eoh's with me in the morning. We dig Arthur, and Tinga Tinga. Well, I mostly just love nuzzling her.
5.My kid eats salad.
6. Proof my kid eats salad.
7.Today was magnificent. We went on a walk in the morning, a stroll around our apartment complex in the afternoon, and a walk to the grocery store to pick up ice cream sandwiches (because we like to negate any calories we burn) in the evening. The evening walk wasn't so hot- slushy feets every where, but still, this sun brings out the adventure in us. Eowyn loves sunglasses, her bear and outside.
8. We make it a family policy to take advantage of every photo booth we encounter. Mostly so Ben and I can make out. Apparently (as the bottom of that little photo booth film strip suggests) Eowyn isn't a fan yet. She DOES however love carrying these little strips around everywhere. They've redirected a good dozen tantrums.
9. Eowyn is like every good baker, she sneaks chocolate chips when others aren't looking. I think this will become a favorite past time of ours (both the baking, and sneaking chocolate together.)
10. Dishes. Bleh. But they're my life some days. (Isn't smoothie residue a beast of its own? Especially little dried spinach flecks and blueberry skins. blegh.) I always have to go through a sort of gratitude prayer whenever gearing up to clean our kitchen. "Thank you for so much food! Thank you we have dishes to hold it! Thank you that it shows we eat well! Thank you for modern appliances! Thank you I had a kid so I can eventually make her do it!"
Happy Monday. For every Minnesotan, I'm confidant this sun at the very least made your spirits lift a few notches.
"You know babe, in a lot of ways we fell in to parenting. Unlike you, we didn't take the psychology classes and what have you, so we want to encourage young moms in the ways we needed encouragement back then."
"I just want for the people in my life to realize that we're working on figuring this out, and the words they're sharing with us make me feel like they don't trust in us or what we're doing."
One side says "I just want to help, to relate," the other "I just want to feel trusted, to be encouraged."
Sadly, too often what we hear is: "I don't think you know (nor do I respect) what you're doing" / "I don't care (or value) what wisdom you have to share."
I've had the considerable privileged of having a lot of honest people in my life. People that put down the 'advice' bits and get to the heart bits, have shared with me the whys for their 'how to's.' I've learned that in this giant maze of parenting, it really does take a village. I've also seen, heard and experienced how much that 'village' can hurt.
The question I as a mom face regularly is this: Who do I want in my village?
Sure, we as millennial mom's want community-but we also want to feel respected for our decisions. We are natural born researchers-google is a well known friend.We are parents who have spent time looking for the right answers; if not in the classroom then with the gazillion books written by people who are our parents age; if not through writing essays and taking tests than through scrolling pages and pages of forums. When we have questions, we get answers. We have names for those answers. And while our parents just 'figured it out' we 'sleep train,' believe in 'baby-led feeding' and don't eat MSG-for the love of all that is good.
In the same ways those before us learned to survive in the times of past-so have we.
The rub comes when we throw all of us in the same room, or in the same checkout isle, and we 'relate' to one another. We get bruised, if not scarred and we turn back to the internet to heal us. But is this the best way?
The social scientist in me maps out the dichotomy. On one side are parents who want to lend their successes and failures to the next set of parents. Hopefully this way their failures are made useful and their successes doubled and can bless the next person. They communicate this in "I think this is the best way." rather than "this is what worked for us."
On the other end, this generation of parents are eager to do it well, and eager to do it on their own-at least in some sense- We struggle to communicate our own values and decisions honestly if we're in an environment we don't feel respected. We already are well aware of our parents failures (we have felt them first hand,) and have decided perhaps we don't want to do it their way. So we struggle through the minefield of hurts & failure, and are unaware of how to bring older generations on board with what we're trying to do.
We as new moms want grace to fail, but respect from those above us to believe that we, while not perfect, will do one heck of a job. They raised us, after all. And our parents perhaps want (I think) respect in acknowledging that this isn't their first rodeo, they did raise one heck of a kid after all. The wisdom they have is legitimately valuable.
I think where we fail altogether is in acknowledging our failures in full, and then giving grace to each other in it. On a good day, it would look like this: "You weren't a perfect parent to me. Praise God, we both need Jesus. Eowyn will have dysfunction too, but look, you and I still have a good relationship. Phew! I think we'll be okay. P.S. When does this tantrum stuff end? How do I know when to start potty training?"
But, a lot of times these needs expressed come out wrong. We come off as apathetic relaters, or aggressive know-it-alls and those older than us seem to be pushy advice givers and demanding, or manipulative.
So what do we do?
Extra Grace Required. Legitimate Respect Given.
I'll lay out my cards and say I really have no idea in most cases. I don't really know what the gal that comments on Eowyn's size wants in that conversation. Nor do I know how to respond to the random guy who insists that Eowyn looks like a boy, and refuses to stop telling me that. I know how I'd like to respond-but my graceless approach leaves me breathing fire and everyone a little confused. To the checkout lady, in all honesty I just walk away. But in conflict with my real-relationships, the ones where 'I'll see you more than once' I'm having to make some hard decisions.
These are lessons I've been brought to over the past almost 2 years. Lessons not fully learned, but lessons. I'm writing them down here to remind myself when I'm riled and feeling fire in my lungs.
Here it goes.
I. Decide now: There's no walking away. We're in this for the long term. Living in a place where I can swap out friends in a course of a few months (we're not talking quality, but I digress.) It's far too easy to take that easy-out in our relationships. You said something that hurt me? See ya. As a mom, on the internet, I have to wave my flag and say that too often I console myself in mom-blogs and the like, but internet only gets me so far. Finding new relatives, or new friends isn't feasible.
Plus, I want to teach Eowyn that in the relationships that matter, we work at them. When people hurt us? We talk about it, then we give grace to change. We give more grace when we haven't seemed to communicate clearly and talk about it some more.
Is this hard? Yes. Does it kind of suck? Yes. But the reality is we got a bunch of sinners working on relationships. Is it worth it? Most of the time, Yes.
II. Be clear about expectations: It isn't fair for me to get frustrated with my mom (hi, mom) about some random thing if I haven't shared with her that we're choosing to parent in x or y way. My mom loves her grand babies and she loves her daughters, and she (I'm using her as example because she's awesome and knows how I feel about everything, ever.) does everything she can to bless those babies ('cuz really, we're all her babies.) So when expectations aren't met the first question that has to come is: Do they know? Do they know that you're trying to sleep train and so going and picking up baby when shes fussing doesn't help? If not, let them know, in grace. Will they respond weird? Probably. Give grace. Try again.
III. Expect Conflict, Fight for Resolution: Sometimes it's not so easy. Sometimes its not just "oh, oops. I didn't know."We're talking about little lives we love deeply here, so of course we all have strong opinions. Sometimes those opinions are opposite. Ultimately, we all want the best for that little life. So, we work out our opinions till we hear each others hearts. That may be more painful than pulling teeth, but we'll work to that aim. In the end, the parent of the child gets to parent the child, but perhaps through the conversation we'll see that our two better ways make for one best way.
I'm aware that sometimes, the only option is in fact to walk away. Sometimes there isn't reconciliation to be had and a constant refusal to agree. Some relationships are so broken to begin with (abuse, belittling, constant manipulation etc.), and especially if we're not on the same page with where we stand as sinners in need of a savior, there's going to be some major issues-some that can't be fixed on this side of heaven. In that case we're still looking to do whats best for that little life and I gotta say: Momma, you get to decide what's best for your little. Period.
IV: Smother it all in grace and take time to give credit: My dad always jokes near the end when hard conversations come up about past parenting "Well, we raised one great kid." I use that often when I come to these areas. Our relationships have cracks in them, just like everyone elses, but I love the man Ben is (and he says I'm pretty okay too.) And that leaves me giving major props to the parents who raised us My grandparents raised great children. I learned about love and conflict, and what being a family means. Those sorts of things don't just get ingrained into a kid. We both learned about Jesus and his grace in our families, and while it's a total God thing-we're still thankful our parents were truth seekers. There's a lot of credit to give.
When I allow for grace when processing the way my twenty year old dad parented me, a magical thing happens. I get to allow grace to the twenty two year old raising my daughter. He did a pretty good job as far as dad's go. One of the best jobs I've seen and even if it didn't turn out that I presently have a good relationship with him, I still can say there are some majorly incredible things he taught me. Have we had hurts? Yes. Have we worked through them? We do and we try. Grace has to apply, because we both are Jesus needers. I hope to teach Eowyn that beautiful adult relationships can blossom out of grace/expectations/respect and that the advice I will inevitably give will (I sincerely hope and if she can hear it) bless her. Especially if she tells me what she needs.
There's a joke that goes along the lines of : "If God wanted to give children to people who knew what they were doing, he would give them to grandparents."
I'm learning when I put my ultimatums aside and choose to see good, good is found. I'm grateful that in my realms good is overflowing and that Eowyn is blessed with two sets of grandparents and a whole lot of other relatives and friends that want whats best for her and for us as a family. Sometimes that has looked like hard conversations. Sometimes that looks like giving us a 'good job' pat on the proverbial hinney. One seasoned mom told me this past winter: "I know there's a lot of good babies, but I mean-Eowyn's like...really good." My heart soared. Then I asked her how to survive these stages.
I know I just worded a bunch of stuff, but have you found any treasures that help you navigate relationships now that you have kids? Has it gotten trickier? Anything you wish you could say to those in your village? How do you deal with advice givers, especially target aisle-advice-givers? Let me know your thoughts.
She doesn't need to hold my hand anymore. 20 months old and she's already a teenager. But I've heard that same 'teenager' phrase out of so many mamma's mouths, I can cry my tears and remember this is normal.
She's independent, the friendliest little girl I've ever met- practically getting numbers from coffee shop goers by the time we're ready to go.
She's fearless till she falls. Then she learns and is cautious. So far, the world is full of safe. At times I get anxious that she feels this way, then I praise God for it. The world IS full of safe. It's filled with yuck too, but we are in the business of taking risks and believing that Jesus will heal us when it hurts.
She's my adventure girl. My little thunder.
My joyful charger. Emphasis on the joyful, italicize the Charger.
Also, had her legs been long enough, we would of been going swimming.
Last week a friend of mine through Ben's work gave Eowyn the loot of adorable clothes. I got to grab coffee with Meg while spending time watching our girls play and was blessed with the wisdom that comes from hanging out with a woman who has three littles. It's not her first rodeo and it was encouraging to spend time with her. Eowyn is pretty much set for summer (even those clothes above are from the bounty.) I never cease to be amazed at how moms can bless one another.
At the last conference (called AGM) Ben had with his work, I was talking with a woman who had been with the company since its beginning. She commented that despite moves and the struggles that employees face when working with this company, to take care to not underestimate the awesomeness of the 'Fast Family.' I got a little taste of that this past week and am encouraged as we wait for our future move.
In other news, Eowyn takes a bath every other day; mostly because we run out of other things to do while being stuck in side. Unfortunately the same attitude regarding showering when it comes to mama bear tends to not work so well. Waiting till I run out of things to do is just poor planning. I joke with Ben often at bedtime that I'm a "grown woman" and get to choose my own sleep schedule. And yet, self-care is something I'm discovering I pay too little attention to. One part curly hair, two parts winter and you get rat nests in a matter of like two days. I'm learning how to schedule time in to avoid the dreads that form on the back of my head. (I write this fully clean sans mini-dreadlets .) I'm ready for summer when swimming totally counts as a bath (right? Right?!)
I've been reading a book about training our little one (I bought it on google play in a half crazed attempt to figure out what the heck this toddler business is) and it's been incredible. A large part of the author's writing hints about teaching our children things they can do on their own to encourage them and decrease their frustrations. There's a mantra that keeps being repeated that goes along the lines of: "Don't do for them what they can do for themselves." Giving Eowyn control at the things she's good at is super empowering for her and I can see her little self get more and more confident (and my patience growing-not without pain-as she learns) this past week. She'll go find her belongings when I ask, grab her boots for me, take of her shirt when changing into pajamas and more.
This past week I taught her how to trigger the remote on my camera. The above pictures all come from the few moments while the mac and cheese was cooking. I love what they capture: Her little tongue sticking out, the way she always minimizes space between us, my day-three-sans-shower hair (okay, I don't love that it captured that.) It's a pretty accurate series of photographs for where life is at right now. I continually am amazed at the capabilities of my girl. I'm learning the balance of overestimating vs. underestimating and am proud at the little capable spraguelet she's becoming. Grace is getting a whole new meaning in our home.
Well folks, March is finally here! This is the month that the calendar ushers in spring! Lets see if Minnesota gets the memo.