{Mommy/Life/Wife Journal} A Few March & April Highlights

I know I’ve been so quiet here on the blog! I hope nobody has jumped to the conclusion that motherhood has swallowed up my life or that I’m fighting with Andrew and don’t have anything happy to share or that I’ve died. ;) None of the above are true. But, life is very busy these days and I’ve purposely allowed blogging to take a back burner. Here are a few quick highlights from the past month or so…

– Caleb is growing and changing so quickly and I can’t get enough of it! He’s had his first few tastes of solids (avocado and applesauce). He’s scooting around now…on the verge of legitimate crawling! I’m thinking I’ll be able to say he’s crawling before his 5 month mark, but we’ll see. I’m trying not to be the stereotypical first-time mom who thinks her child does everything six weeks before he actually does. ;) Trust me, it’s easy to do. My child is amazing. ;)

– Andrew helped me get back on track with regular, substantial quiet times by printing a Bible reading schedule for us to follow together. We still read separately but then it’s great to have been in the same place and discuss it! It’s a Bible-in-a-year plan but it’s chronological. I have two chapters left in Genesis and I’m finished with Job. Exodus is next!

– Spring break has been such a welcome respite from Andrew’s regular class schedule. We had a wonderful visit from two of my brothers and then from two cousins over Easter. Tomorrow, Andrew’s brother rolls into town to finish off the break with us. And in between, Andrew, Caleb, and I have gotten some quality time. I’m very thankful for each one of these precious memories.

– Backing up further, my mom came and stayed with us for five days last month. I ended up sick for most of the trip, and felt terrible that we mostly stayed home all week, but it was a huge blessing to have her help out around the house while I didn’t feel well, and we still got lots of sweet conversations in. We love Caleb’s grandmas! =)

– God was so gracious in helping us to pre-rent the vacancy we had in March, which meant no tours or open houses!!! We have two apartments vacating at the beginning of May. I’d really appreciate prayer that we’d get those filled quickly, as well. Vacancies can be a ton of work and stress, something we’ve yet to try with Caleb here.

– God’s mercies are new every morning. I feel like I’m in a constant battle with fear and anxiety these days, and needing to speak God’s truth to myself 24/7 to keep my heart focused on the right place. It’s crazy how quickly worry can take over, and I’ve got so much more that I can fret over now that I’m a mom. It’s an opportunity to continue growing in trusting the Lord and truly believing that He is sovereign and good in every situation.

– I’ve got a couple of maternity and newborn photo sessions coming up that I’m very excited about, and in the meantime I keep photographing my favorite little guy! =)

I guess that’s all for now…happy April, dear readers! =)

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Dear Resident: A Letter from an Apartment Manager

In honor of one full year of on-site apartment managing, here’s a humorous letter summing up some of the fun we’ve had on the job…

Dear Resident,

1. I bet you secretly know how to unplug your toilet, but here’s an instructional YouTube just in case.

2. Never, ever try to open the door to my apartment. If you’re knocking and I’m not answering, there’s a reason!

3. I know it’s difficult to understand, but you can’t let your guests park in another tenant’s parking spot. But no worries, because I love spending my evening playing detective to identify the unauthorized vehicle’s driver.

4. I’ll have to ask our supervisor about installing a bigger toilet and adding bars in the windows. Let me get back to you.

5. If you’re applying to rent here, giving me your financial life story won’t increase your chances of being accepted. I’m not even the one who makes the decision, so let’s just both save a little time, shall we?

6. Please wait to make out with your boyfriend until I am finished inspecting your apartment. Thanks SO VERY MUCH.

7. I cannot legally tell you how many children live in our complex, no matter how many different ways you ask me.

8. If you’re residing here illegally, don’t even bother trying to hide from me in the laundry room. Dude, I will find you.

9. If you bring your wife on a tour here, don’t argue about whether the apartment is too small in front of me. That’s just awkward for everyone.

10. It might seem like lying about your credit will work when we are about to run your credit, but just trust me on this one.

11. It’s cute that you assume your apartment manager has nothing better to do than break down all your cardboard boxes. Really cute.

12. Writing February 1, 2015 on a check that you turned in on February 6, 2015 is still going to incur a late fee, but I respect the creativity.

13. No, we do not rent out parking spots if you are not renting an apartment from us. We are apartment managers, not parking spot managers.

14. I don’t know how long it takes to drive from here to the random place you work that I’ve never heard of, but I will be nice and get out my phone to check while you text your friend.

15. If you drag your Christmas tree through the hallways (in February) I’ll trace the needles back to your door just so I know who I’m cleaning up after.

16. And on that note, I’m glad you never thank me when you walk by me vacuuming your dirt in the halls. It’s my job, no acknowledgement necessary. I’m just happy to be here.

17. Contrary to popular public opinion, buzzing our door multiple times while simultaneously calling our phone will not make us answer faster.

18. For the last time. Yes, a cat is a pet.

Sincerely,

Your Hard-Working Apartment Manager

{My Photography} Ordinary Joy Photography Launch

I’m excited to officially launch my little business, Ordinary Joy Photography, specializing in maternity and newborn photography. I love the delight that can be found in everyday moments, and my middle name is “Joy”, so those pieces combined to create the name. I have had a lot of fun practicing on various patient subjects, and although I still have an amateur skill set and very limited equipment, I think I am ready to do some “official” photography on the side. Here’s the link to my Facebook page…please give it a like to see my work and to stay tuned for deals and other info. =)

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{Mommy Journal} March Musings

11045341_10153191993728109_2617241641562366873_nI got choked up tonight as I was singing “All You Are” to my monkey before bed. (It’s a lullaby that I grew up listening to and has become my favorite for Caleb.) There are so many moments when the wonder of being Caleb’s mommy hits me all over again and I can hardly believe that this little boy is mine and Andrew’s to love and nurture.

Life has changed so much since November. I now have a little person in my care 24/7. He depends on me for everything, all the time. There are moments when the thought of dropping him off at a grandma’s and having an afternoon to run errands by myself leaves me a tiny bit wistful. But I know that living near family is just a bonus and not something needed to survive as a mom…and I wouldn’t trade this joy of motherhood for all the breaks, dates, or vacations in the world!

I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom before Caleb came along, but now more than ever I simply cannot imagine sending him to daycare so I can work. My mom and I have talked about what a sweet thing it is to be the first face Caleb sees after every nap, and every morning when he wakes up. In my mind, no money or career goals come close to being worth trading that. When I look back one day, I know I won’t wish I’d climbed the corporate ladder…I’ll remember the precious moments when I snuggled my baby while he still had sleepy eyes, and I’ll be convinced that staying home with him was the right decision.

Caleb gets to be more and more fun every day. We don’t do nearly as many baths because there are so many other things he enjoys now! We take walks, read stories, and play with toys, and before we know it, another day is in the books! Although being Andrew’s wife and Caleb’s mom and taking care of our home are my top priorities, I don’t want ministry to slip by the wayside. I’m learning how to incorporate service opportunities into my routine with Caleb. Most of it is informal these days–little things like meeting with people from our fellowship group, helping Andrew with a counseling situation, taking photos for a seminary family, or playing the piano at Bible study. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in my little life that I don’t reach outside our home. I’m naturally a very selfish person, so I want to intentionally seek ways to bless people. There may come a season with multiple children that I can’t do much for others, but for now I certainly have time, it’s just a matter of being disciplined in making it happen!

Lately I’ve really enjoyed Nancy Leigh De Moss’s podcast. Her lessons are short and easy to listen to while I work around the house, and right now she’s focusing on the life of Christ in preparation for Holy Week. I’m behind but wanting to catch up! I do also have my quiet times (often while nursing) but I’m ashamed to admit I’ve missed a good handful of days over the past few weeks. I’m determined to be consistent this week…I really need the eternal perspective God’s Word brings. I love my “job”, but it’s so much richer and more fulfilling if I go about it with my mind fixed on Christ! Being fed truth also helps to stabilize me for the hormonal challenges that come and go.

So there’s a bit of rambling about life these days…I have much to grow in and much to learn, and I am grateful for a forgiving Savior Who loves me through my failures and enables me to have victories. It is a joy to experience His grace daily!

{Mommy Journal} Tips For 1 Bedroom Apartment Living

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Today I thought I would share a few things we have learned about sharing a one bedroom apartment space with a new baby. It’s actually quite manageable and has a lot to do with mindset. Therefore, my first point is…

1. Recognize that you will give up your ideal tidy living room/bedroom scenario and turn every room into a bit of nursery.

DSC_0349-001At first it was really frustrating having so much baby stuff everywhere with nowhere to store it away when it wasn’t being used. But now when I look at the activity mat, baby swing, car seat, diaper bag, and boppy that dwell in our small apartment living room 24/7 and get in the way of our book case and TV, they don’t look like a mess anymore, they look like they belong. Because they do, and that’s just how it is.

2. Use a travel sleeper until the baby outgrows it. DSC_0340-001

We didn’t think of this until Caleb was about 8 weeks old, and it made such a difference! Previously we’d been taking the pack n play up and down and moving it back and forth between the bedroom and living room, or ended up having him sleep in our room at night to avoid the hassle. (But then we didn’t sleep as well.) Now, put Caleb down in his little sleeper in our room and when we are ready to go to bed, we lift the whole thing and move it out to the living room without disturbing him. He also takes his naps in our room, and we can take the sleeper other places, which has been great for naps when we are out. I highly recommend this!

3. Get a changing table that doubles as a dresser for storage. 

DSC_0337-001I love our changing table, which we found on Craigslist. I use the three baskets for onesies, bath towels and cloths, and accessories (shoes, socks, and hats.) The two drawers hold all his current sizes. (The basket on the ground has bibs and burp rags.) Don’t waste space on a changing table without drawers, you really can’t afford to in a small apartment. The ones with open shelves won’t work nearly as well for keeping folded clothes organized.

4. Get creative in where you keep your other stuff to make room for the baby stuff.DSC_0342-001

For example, I wouldn’t normally want a big all-in-one printer in our bedroom, but using the top of one of my dressers frees up space elsewhere for baby equipment.

5. Pick a corner or wall in one room to treat as a nursery. 

You shouldn’t have to give up all the fun of decorating for baby just because he doesn’t have his own room. We had fun making the wall above the changing table the “nursery area”. We even squeezed a glider rocker into our bedroom, and when my sister-in-law gave us an adorable handmade pillow, our nursery corner was officially complete.

6. Consider storing some things in the trunk or back seat of your car.

DSC_0343-001Our stroller stays in the hatchback exclusively, and I usually keep the Ergo carrier in the car as well. I also have an old “spare” pack n play that we plan to use when Caleb outgrows his , and we store that in the trunk of our other car.

To Make You More Like Christ

DSC_0603It was 11 PM and I was in bed but far from asleep.

I had just finished complaining to Andrew about some apartment management frustration and worries over how the following day would go in terms of coordinating my responsibilities with Caleb’s schedule.

After about five minutes of silence, I blurted out, “I’m really mad and it’s making me mad that I’m mad!” (Two-year-old reasoning, anyone?)

We talked some more and I said, “But why do these things always happen on the days when you’re gone?”

Andrew’s answer: “To make you more like Christ.”

Ouch. I knew he was right, and as I sat there trying to surrender my heart to God’s sovereign provision of irritating circumstances, I replied in a humorous tone, “Congratulations. You’ve successfully shut me up.”

We have a running joke about one time when I was upset about another situation and Andrew gave me wise advice. My response in the moment had been, “I don’t need to be Biblical counseled right now, I just need you to listen!” (Excuse the poor grammar. I know the nerds out there are dying to add an “ly” to the end of “Biblical”.) Now, when these sorts of conversations start, Andrew likes to mimic me in an annoying, squeaky voice, “I don’t need to be biblical counseled!” I don’t know about you, but in our experience, humor is often a great way to diffuse tension.

But I digress.

Andrew’s answer was spot on, and I knew it.

This small frustration was just one of many tools that God uses to refine me and transform me more and more into His image. As Andrew also pointed out, I could either have a bad attitude about it, or I could choose to let it drive me to the cross and make me more like Christ. Either way, I wasn’t getting out of it, so I might as well grow through it!

Are you dealing with something difficult, big or small, today? God wants to use that situation to make you more like His Son. Don’t waste that opportunity. Don’t fight God’s hand.