Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Transforming Chaos into Simplicity, is it Possible?

For the last few months, I have been continuously riding tumultuous and unexpected waves of emotions filled with discontent, frustration, guilt, resentment, and hopelessness.

Although at one point, I actually thought that maybe I need to get some help, maybe I am really depressed, maybe I am actually losing it...maybe...

But then the pieces started falling into place, and I was bombarded with the realization that I am not depressed, (thankfully) but rather just stuck. I have been trapped in my own bottomless pit of self generated chaos.

I kid you not, it has been really scary, and in all honesty, really unpleasant.

For months now I have been feeling overwhelmed with:

  1. The Enormity of our House. The fact that our new home here in Birmingham is nearly THREE times the size of our first home, and that it has FIVE bathrooms should make it clear enough. Don't get me wrong, I am incredible grateful, but I am also often filled with a sense of hypocrisy in residing in such a gigantic home while simultaneously trying to live a "greener" lifestyle.

  2. The clutter. Two small children who desire to be into as many different projects (simutaneously, of course) as their mother also (usually unsuccessfully) attempts.

  3. The stress of continual cleaning. Two small children, two large dogs, an overworked husband, and just for kicks, I'll mention the five bathrooms again...need I say more?

  4. Not Making the Most of my Time. Confession: I've got Attention Deficit Disorder. There, you all know, now you can say to yourself, " wow, Kate, that really explains a LOT!" I know, I know, everyone seems to have ADD these days, but I really have it, bad. I was diagnosed with it eighteen years ago, before it became cool or a great excuse.

  5. Figuring out my Life Purpose. Thirty-six years old, Masters Degree in hand, wife, mother of two...crap...NOW what?

  6. Taking on too much Responsibility. It's classic ADD, really. I want to do it all, I swear, I'll try to do it all, I'll even promise you that I'll be able to do it all. But in the end I'll just disappoint you and myself, because the reality is that I actually have no idea how to do it all; I just know that I want to.

  7. The Guilt of not being the Best Mom I know I am capable of being. This is a hard one. I think every mom wishes she could be more, do more and give more to her children. Why can't I? Why is it that while I tried to clean the kitchen this morning, I overheard Juliana talking to a "pretend mom," and worse, the pretend mom gave her encouragement, "you can do it, I know you can!" Juliana voiced for her invisible helper. Why wasn't I in there giving her real encouragement? Why does she need a pretend mom?!!!! How can I be there for her, but also get the kitchen cleaned?

So, now that I have bared my soul to you, I am going to try and attempt some change here. That is a big word for me, you know, the ADD thing and all. Even though I want to, I don't change very well. I just get stuck. And then I'm miserable and overwhelmed, and still watching the clutter evolve around me, while I make dinner for the new parents down the street (whom I barely even know), and end my days going to bed filled with guilt over not teaching the kids something new that day, or folding the 5 loads of clean, and now wrinkled loads of laundry resting on the couch. If I don't change, I'll continue to feel immersed in that same old resentment, frustration, and, well, you know, you get the point.

My goal:

To begin writing about the individual challenges of me- a mom on a mission to create a simpler life for herself, despite certain fixed, and unchangeable factors.

What I need from you!:

  • For you to keep checking back here to see that I am (hopefully) making improvements! I need some accountability!!!

  • words of wisdom (really don't be shy, I'll take any advice I can get!)

  • encouragement

  • resources (ie: web sites, articles, journals, books, etc...that have inspired, motivated, and or moved you to make changes toward living a simpler, less chaotic life.

  • prayers...lots of them!!!!!

Thanks! Kate

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Slowing Down...

With the (horrid) Alabama HEAT in full swing around these parts, the kids and I have been mostly sticking to indoor activities lately.

We've enjoyed free movies at our local movie theater, awesome library events, and lots of fun play dates with great friends. But as the weeks pass by, I have begun to enjoy spending just as much time here at home with the kids. After all of the chaos of the last year including our recent move and my completing my Masters degree, I can't tell you how great it feels to just simply....






What we've been doing:

  • Nate has been spending loads of time working on all of the awesome building sets he received as birthday gifts (and might I add, he's been coming up with some really cool inventions!)

  • Jules is taking full advantage of all of her dress up clothes, playing restaurant, and teaching the alphabet to all of her dolls!

  • Together they have been enjoying their version of sledding with an IKEA tunnel

  • We have been making lots of crafts, painting, and trying to practice and enhance the kid's writing and reading skills

  • I have been organizing the playroom

  • Tending to the garden

  • Trying to catch up on all of those unfinished (or really, never even started!) house projects

(more painting, organizing, etc....)

  • Dedicating time toward figuring out REAL priorities, and creating a SIMPLER household, and if I can make it happen...a simlpler, more productive life as well! Simple Mom has become my new favorite place to gather inspiration and even more importantly, motivation on living simpler!!! Check it out!

Here's to taking a little time to just slow down and enjoy what life presents you!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Make A Difference- Vote to Help Millions More Know Weelicious!!!!

I have been a huge fan of Catherine McCord from Weelicious since, well, really since Nate began eating!!! When I was still in my "Yikes!!! I'm a new mom, and although I want to give my baby the most nutritious, healthiest, and yummiest foods possible, I have no idea where to start...!" phase, I couldn't be more thrilled to have stumbled across the Weelicious web site.

Catherine's no nonsense approach inspires people to feed not only their children healthy and delicious meals, but to feed the whole family this way as well.

Now, she is a possible candidate to host her own TV show on Oprah's Network, one that will feature Weelicious and aims to help families learn how to prepare and eat foods that are not just healthy and tasty, but just as important to most moms--fast to make!!!

If you have a minute, check out her awesome web site. You'll find recipes such as chicken pesto tenders or homemade baby food like apple fennel puree--foods that even the most challenged cook is capable of preparing.

I promise you'll find yourself truly inspired and looking forward to returning to Weelicious frequently in search of inspiring recipes, ideas to get your kids involved in cooking, and helpful techniques to spark their interest in trying new foods, as well as a host of other awesome information about keeping our families healthy.

If you are just as motivated by her as I am, please take a minute to watch her short video here, and VOTE for her!!!!

I have no doubt that she WILL make a big difference for American families!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Watch Our Garden Grow

How AWESOME it has been to watch our garden GROW this year!

In the past, we have had lots of SHADE and BUGS of all kinds in which to contend, leaving little fruit to bear...

But THIS year has been different, and I couldn't be more HAPPY about it!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Nate's Camp-out Birthday Party!

This past weekend we celebrated Nate's 5th birthday with a "camp-out" themed birthday party!

Fortunately, we live within a mile of Alabama's largest state park, Oak Mountain State Park. We sent up camp at one of the park's smaller pavilions, and enjoyed being able to also be so close to one of the park's beautiful lakes!

Nate had a blast showing off his fishing skills to all of his little friends. The kids also made bird feeders with pine cones, peanut butter and bird seed.

I also set up a scavenger hunt for them, and each clue they discovered led them closer to their party goodie bags hidden inside of a tent we had set up.

Their treat bags included a small flashlight, ingredients for s'mores (Graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate) as well as a small bag of gummy worms and Swedish fish.

Overall, the kids all had a great time! Our family, along with a friend, camped out on Saturday night, and the Nate and Jules LOVED the experience. The one drawback: Oh My Word, was it HOT! Next year, I think we'll plan Nate's party somewhere inside!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Letter to Nate on his 5th BIrthday, June 10th, 2010

June 8, 2010

My dear sweet, (and often wild!) Nate,

You are reaching the age of FIVE, and what a joy this past year has been to spend with you!
I have watched you transform and grow in size, strength, wisdom, ability and courage. Ten months ago, I held your hand tightly as you walked into a new school, and at your request, lingered in your classroom for a few extra minutes. Within no time at all, you couldn’t wait to head into that building and each day when you woke, the first thing you’d ask was if today was a day you could go to school. Over time I've watched you become more confident, and before I knew it the day came when during our walk into your school, you stopped me as we walked down the corridor, and asked me to stay where I was—you wanted to walk the rest of the way to your classroom all by yourself. I let go of your hand (unwillingly) and watched you step away, happy to be so independent. As I turned around to leave a moment later, I found myself being enveloped by the harsh realization that you no longer needed me in every aspect of your life. You were reaching out, testing the waters, and finding independence an exciting avenue. I was torn, thrilled with your grwth, but also saddened by your desire to leave me behind.

Over the last year, you’ve become such an amazing individual! You've tackled awesome challenges, becoming a magnificent builder, constructing what you’ve termed as “contraptions” with any materials you can find, at any given opportunity. You’ve made friends wherever we go, often introducing yourself to perfect 4-year-old strangers at places like the post office, and then turning to ask me (in front of their mothers) if it would be okay for them to come over to our house to play! Crazy as it sounds, this quality of yours is one of my favorites. You are unbelievably trusting and positive, and always see the good in people.
On the flip side, however, this also leaves you vulnerable, and bewildered by any hint of anger or bitterness in people. As your mother, it has been terribly difficult to see the hurtful effect upon you caused by individuals who may not be so kind. When we lived in South Carolina, there was a boy in our neighborhood, Wesley, who was quite a few years older than you. Yet, he always came around asking if you could play with him. For a while, I’d relent, and say yes, almost always hovering a few feet away watching with a careful eye. As the little brother in his family, it soon became evident to me that he was looking for someone to rule over and tease in the same way he may have been at home—and that person was you. He often blamed you for things that he did, and spoke to you in an exasperated tone. I was probably overbearing, but I couldn’t resist, my protective nature took over and when the next time I found myself face to face with Wesley at our front door, I made it very clear to him that he was not allowed to play with you anymore. That was that. What really moved me, was your plea that Wesley would change and would act kind to you next time, you just knew he would. Like I said, you always want to see the good in people.

Another move prompted unbelievable courage and curiosity. I was afraid that two moves in two years would be far too much for your young spirit, but you proved me otherwise. Often times you held me together, offering enough faith and strength for the two of us to rely upon. You’ve been an amazing big brother as well, telling your sister not to be afraid of new things, promising her that you will be right by her side whenever she needs you.

For the last few months, every day that you’ve moved closer to the age of five, and further away toddlerhood, I've been forced to realize how mature you’ve become, how smart, and clever, and creative you are, in ways I’d never have guessed a boy your age to be. To say that I am lucky enough to be your mother is an extreme understatement; you are an incredible joy in my life and I am thrilled with the person you are becoming. In two short months you will begin kindergarten, and so too, will you begin a whole new phase of life—one in which I will have to stand on the outskirts and only hope you will want to share with me.

Although the days of abundant time allocated just for you and I are beginning to slip away, I take comfort in imagining the joys around the corner you’ll continue to provide for all of us. When it has always been my job to teach you, to love you unconditionally, to comfort you, and to give you additional encouragement, I now see that soon enough it will be you, who will offer in exchange these same gifts to me.

I can’t wait.

Happy Birthday Lovebug

Love, Mom

Monday, June 7, 2010


Watching my children run in and out of the tent we've set up in the back is magical! They are so enthralled by it, and the excitement that it creates!

Lately, I have been...

  • thinking about old friends

  • pondering new ones

  • enjoying not having to go anywhere, if we don't want to

  • loving weekends with my family, and my husband especially, who has charged things up a notch with loads of outdoor family time, including some tennis for he and I yesterday!

  • taking the kids for walks

  • journaling, and seeing where it takes me....loving it!

  • taking more photos

  • feeling STOKED about my garden this year- the first in a long time that has been this successful!

  • Fighting a feeling of losing Nate to Kindergarten in two months...

  • P-U-R-G-I-N-G! How awesome it was to have a yard sale a few weeks ago, we made out far better than I thought we would too!

  • wondering why on Earth my lower back is always NUMB these, I swear, I am FALLING apart!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Vegetable Pickin

Yesterday a friend of mine who lives in Massachusetts, mentioned that she spent the day planting her summer garden. It dawned on me, that while she was busy planting, I was heading out to our yard to pick our first "fruits" of the season... I guess living in the South does have some advantages!