Refreshing Weekend

We are having just about the best weekend ever. It's our first weekend in over a month that we are both home and we have no real commitments to speak of, so our family of three is just enjoying each other's company. Garage sale shopping. Park play. Walks. Sushi. Pizza. World cup watching. Breakfast in bed for father's day. Long naps. Pool time. Friend time. All topped off with the tangible presence of the Holy Ghost and it is one that can't be beat.

I feel the JOY of the Lord so much! Honestly, last Sunday was pentecost Sunday and nothing really dramatic happened at our church service, but I walked away lighter and more peaceful than I have been in months. Then this weekend I felt butterflies in my chest and warmth on my face all throughout worship and I KNOW that Jesus was closer than my skin in that very moment. A feel a personal and maybe even a corporate revival stirring in my heart and out of that a strong desire to do bold things and to love the people around me. Not just be like Jesus, but BE Jesus to my friends, family, neighbors.

Like the river in Ezekiel 47 that streams east out of the temple into the land getting deeper and deeper as it flows out and turning salt water, marshes, and swamps into fresh pools of water, so will God's love and spirit be in me. No more shallow stagnant water here. But a fresh stream that flows out of me refresh and touch others with your peace and abundant life.

Oh, and happy father's day to my awesome Papa and my wonderful husband. 


Gentle Days

As a Mom I struggle with feelings of inadequacy. I am pretty sure every single mom in the history of moms has struggled with feelings of inadequacy. Am I working too much? Am I working too little? Do I give them enough time outside? Is he learning the right things? Is he eating the right foods? Am I enough? Do I have what it takes? Can I do this?

However, even among these doubts I am coming to a place in my motherhood journey where I'm gentler on myself. I'm trusting my instincts giving myself grace. Grace for a moment stolen on the couch snuggling and reading books by window light that turns into a game of tickle monster, then building blocks, then petting willow and an hour later instead of salmon it's frozen pizza for dinner. But also grace for, dinner needs to get on the table, so let's watch Finding Nemo!

So today when Felix woke from a long nap still cranky, I trusted my gut and set up a little creative space for him to channel some of his grouchy attitude. Then when he came to me holding up his sandals saying "Shoes! Shoes! Shoes!" I knew some puddle splashing and muddy hands were next on the agenda.

This soft embrace of each moment as it comes is changing my perspective. It has allowed for a very accepting version of my daily life. Whatever it looks like. Workout or no workout. Ice Cream or Tea. Salad or Pizza. Nap or dishes. This compassion and tenderness towards myself has resulted in a more balanced and happy heart and a more peaceful home.




No... I haven't forgotten. 

“A portrait of my child once a week, every week, in 2014.”

Week 14: I'm pretty sure this was easter sunday. Eating an afternoon cracker snack.


Squeeze Your Babies

This summer has been a strange one. Normally Nashville is all heat and humidity and sunshine come May, but here we are in mid-June with more rainy days than sunny. It makes a mama of a rambunctious energy filled toddler go a bit stir crazy and seek out lots of activities outside the house. The library - story hour and book reading. The gym (where Felix gets to play with other kids his age and I get much needed self-care time.) The mall playground (ironically the kids play area is a  "soap/water/bath" themed playground, but is most definitely the cause for at least two colds Felix has been on the receiving end of in the last 6 months - we go here sparingly). and Last, but not least - Barnes and Noble.

We love Barnes and Noble for it's glorious new-non-fiction section and cookbook section + well...choo choo trains. Felix has really grown to love toy train area. And this past Monday we took a spontaneous trip there to kill some time before Felix's nap and before I had to pick Josh up at the airport from a weekend away. When my son, who climbs on and often falls off of many things each day, climbed up on the short child's bench and fell, I wan't overly concerned. But he let out one loud cry so I rushed to him and scooped him up saying "I'm so sorry you are hurt. Shhhhh. Mama's here" (all the standard mommy comfort things) and I waited for his next cry. 

But it never came. 

I watched in horror as his eyes rolled back in his head and his body went floppy in my arms and all the blood drained from his face and mine. I screamed "Someone call 9-1-1!" and I ran toward the front desk. A mere 5-10 seconds later Felix was coming to (even though it felt longer). His lips were white and he was in a total daze. 

The paramedics came and checked his vitals then STRONGLY suggested let him go in the ambulance to the ER at Vanderbilt children's hospital. Felix was still subdued at this time, but a bit of the color was coming back in his face and an ambulance visit seemed unnecessary. I declined the ride in, but deep down knew I would take him. After a quick call to my sister (who is a doctor) and her urging to take him to get a head scan I texted Josh and told him he would need to find a ride to the hospital from the airport. 

By the time we arrived, I knew Felix would be OK, but I wanted to play it on the safe side. head injuries are nothing to mess with, especially with a small child who can't communicate pain or nausea. We sat under observation for 3 hours and left without a scan, but with the assurance of doctor that he should be OK, but to just keep an eye on him for any nausea, pupil issues, etc. etc. 

It was a terrifying episode. One that makes you squeeze your babe a little tighter. Let him nurse a little longer. Let him go outside one more time. Let him stay up a little later. And let him have one extra handful of popcorn while watching a movie of his choice that night.

My sad little buddy eating a cracker in the ER.


Stream of Consciousness

Summer. It has arrived. Although here in Nashville we aren't getting our typical super sunny days, the heat and mugginess has permeated every day since the beginning of May. The Michael family has been busy. Felix and I spend our days at the park, zoo, pool, and on play dates with friends and every free minute in between has been filled with sessions, editing and marketing for my new photography business which is now up and running full speed ahead. Plus, we have started the annual  summertime travel madness with trips to Florida and Ohio already under our belt before June.

Right now, josh just flew off to Chicago for the weekend to visit a friend, so Felix and I are having a fun weekend just the two of us! Plus, I will get some much needed quite time in the evenings to catch up on work, or watch weird foreign Rom-Com movies on Netflix that Josh would never be into.

Felix is growing like a weed. He is one week shy of 17 months, currently cutting 2 teeth (which makes for interesting/clingy days) and is learning SOOO many words. Its incredible. Please, book, cracker, thank you, dog, swing, shoe, and the sweetest little high-pitched drawn out "Bye-Bye" you have ever heard. He is already starting to parrot what we say (granted he doesn't quite have the pronunciation of most words down, but if we say a two syllable word, he will mimic with a two syllable similar sounding babble.)

I'm getting to the age where weaning him is a regular topic of conversation. Most go like this...
Me: "I think I'm ready to wean him. I'm done. I can't nurse any more. I want my boobs back"
Josh: "Yeah. Seems like it's been long enough."
Me: "But, I don't know how to do it? Like, how do I even start?"
Josh: "Humm..."
Me: "It would be nice to have someone else put him down for bed at night from time to time."
Josh: "Yeah, it would be good for you, that's for sure."
Me: "But he is so sweet when he nurses and I know it helps with his teething....Ah....maybe next month."

So any tips on that font, are welcome. When I really think about it beyond those fleeting conversations, I feel done. I feel like if we stopped, it would be hard for a week, but afterwards Felix would still thrive and my quality of life would go up. So that should be the direction we move in before the end of June.

One of our big life changes has been putting a stronger budget in place. At first it was difficult for me to grocery shop with constraints, but i'm sort of getting into this weird mode of seeing how far I can stretch our budget and what odd foods I can put together from the stuff in our pantry. It has actually spurred me to be more disciplined in other areas of my life. I hit the gym with more regularity and if I can't make it all the way there, Felix and I at least get a quick walk in. I am more discipled with my time and maximizing alone time so I feel accomplished, but still balanced and refreshed.

But, the biggest thing I've noticed is my weird desire to get rid of all our stuff. I want to sell everything. I posted a ton of stuff on craigslist to make a little extra cash, but also just to streamline into a simpler way of living. we don't need side drawers filled with things we look at maybe once a year. And we have way to many random appliences we never use. French press? I prefer our chemex. Air pop popcorn maker? Healthier, but honestly stovetop is yummier.

So I'm feeling like this summer is going to be a great one. I have a renewed vision for our family. I have a passion project I'm working towards with my photography. I feel excited watching Felix explore the outdoors as a little boy (Rather than a baby - like he was last year) and I'm feeling healthy, happy, and balanced.

Here are a few iPhone snap shots from the last month.

Row 1: Felix playing piano, Riding 4-wheelers, Playing in the pool, tickles with G-ma, family vacation selfie
Row 2: My sweet boy, mother's day feast, columbus aquarium, brothers enjoying a brew, Sisters at the zoo
Row 3: baby snuggles with theo, Trying smoothies, pool boy, high school friend reunion, sleeping elliot
Row 4: the Myrins, cousins, Precious annalee, fun in summer rain, just riding a dinosaur