My Words

Ramblings Post by Kate Brightbill

Hey, what kind of blog IS this? Skipping days left and right, never writing anymore... 

Blame it on the sunshine getting us out of the house, on my husband being out-of-town last weekend, or on me spending my minutes adjusting the "look" of my blog to make it easier to navigate... it's all given me very few extra minutes to sit at the computer to just write. My therapeutic ramblings have taken second-fiddle to survival. My real-life ramblings are still thoroughly intact though- just ask my husband. I have a large quota of words to say daily, so if they're not landing on the Internet, you can bet Brian and my friends I see in person have been in for plenty of chatter.

Somehow, I've been cleaning my house more regularly lately, which is something right? The other day, my parents came over for a bit, and I enlisted my dad's help to hang a gallery wall in my dining rom {because I'm sure that's exactly what he wanted to do on his day off} and I think it's what's motivating me to keep the dining room and living room cleaner. It's like, well the walls just won't look as good without a clean table, so I better do that, ooh, I need to sweep too... etc etc. The slippery slope of cleaning, I call it... So the gallery wall is finally hung after about five years about thinking about hanging one. Gallery walls are so daunting to create, but now that I've gotten my act together to get it done, it's incredibly rewarding to have a pretty wall {almost} exactly how I envisioned it. I'll post pictures when it's totally done. I still have one frame to fill and then it'll be all ready. Satisfying. 

I mentioned before that I'm also about to start Pilates again. Pilates are like the gallery wall- thoroughly daunting to think about- but eventually rewarding. I'm really only signing myself up for the pain because I don't plan on quitting my bread and fancy cheese habit anytime soon, so it's a sensible management strategy to justify my vice. I don't love exercise. I used to love running, but now that I have children and am on the run all the time, running has lost its appeal. Time to get some of these good disciplines back in my life.

We're in for some rainy days coming later this week. I'm thrilled. Everyone around here has gotten a bit panicky about the lacking water lately, justifiably so. "Everyone" being particularly those who were around in 1990 for the water ration era. We've seriously had only about one real rain in 2014, and it's our rainy season. Yikes. We're all looking forward to the big storm that is scheduled to take our normal weekend sunshine into rainy day games and hot chocolate. It sounds fun, especially because it's such a deviation from the norm.

Today is a good day. We have coughs and sniffles, but happy kids, and that's {more than} half the battle, right?


Juggling by Kate Brightbill

Sometimes I don't say what I'm thinking because I don't want to be a predictable mom / blogger... buuuut today it must be said. 

I'm overbooking. Juggling too much. I'm going to bed too late, waking too early {ehhh, okay, I'll give that one to you. 7am is a solid gig}, never saying no, rarely chilling, never reading books for fun- unless they're kid books and I'm reading aloud, of course, never napping, etc etc.

This isn't a complaint. Everything I've been doing has been fun, exciting, social, good. I don't have any areas of life that I'm saying "oh I could REALLY do away with that." I'm truly enjoying things, which I believe is the gasoline that is keeping me trucking. It's just that I am now that person who somehow cannot hit the snooze button in the morning. As soon as I awaken, thoughts are racing... how will I accomplish everything today? Hmm, I need to coordinate the buses going from here to there, then get a babysitter for that day, where are those ballet shoes! and oh! That's right! I need to feed my family! Glad they're cool with some waffles-for-dinner and every type of soup imaginable when I'm off my A-game. 

The proportions of coffee to water intake are skewed again, and I'm reluctant to change my habits... but my body is begging me for more rest and more brussel sprouts. 

I saw the quote above the other day, and keep going back to it in my mind. Today I changed my desktop background to the downloaded version {they're computer reminders! So convenient right?}... 

I can do anything, but not everything. Indeed.

Time to put those balls down, take a break from the juggle, and read a good book in a quiet room.


Day-to-Day Maggie by Kate Brightbill

Photos by  Pictilio

Photos by Pictilio

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This girl.

She's almost 2.5 years. I don't have a baby book, but I want to remember every bit of this stage, so this will suffice for now. Let me tell you a bit about what a day around the house looks for Maggie these days, and hopefully one day soon, this will all be transferred to a baby book...

She's been awakening in the middle of the night saying "Mommy! Cuddle me! Daddy! I cold daddy! Mommy! Wata please!" She's always been a great sleeper, so we're hoping this is a quick phase. Even in the middle of the night, she's cheerful and generally polite. ;)

When she awakens in the morning, she doesn't get out of her toddler bed until she calls to us "get up guyyyys?" and we either tell her it's too early {any time before 7am} or we say "okayyy!" She comes to our bed with her monster, aka hot pink octopus that is her lovey and we snuggle for a bit, then get up for breakfast. Some days, like when I make oatmeal or when we have Captain Crunch in the house, she eats until I tell her breakfast is over. Most days, she eats half of her portion- sometimes just a bite- and says "May I please be excused?" All her words are said separately and are choppy, and it is adorable. So incredibly adorable. Nine out of ten meals, she spills. Comes with the 2-year-old territory.

The girls do floor puzzles endlessly. They complete them together, then put their hands on top of one another and say "We're a TEAM..." as their hands go in the air... then they pull the puzzles apart and start over. Generally before or after or during breakfast, she's requesting her tutu. Her tutu is all tulle, strings hanging from use... she puts it on, often backwards, comes to me with a beaming smile and all regality, and says "princess Maggie," and spins until she falls. She is beautiful. She melts me.

She is the fastest and slowest and most tricky one to chase around the city. Thankfully, she doesn't mind her stroller and neither do I. There's no telling how long a short walk would take without one. ;) She loves babies and she especially loves when her baby cousin gets in trouble. Trouble is Maggie's favorite word, and she is particularly happy when someone other than her gets into trouble. Her sister is her dearest friend. Sophie is patient with her, and Maggie adores Sophie. They fight {quite literally} over toys or puzzle pieces, but are quick to apologize and hug and laugh together shortly after. Maggie is most difficult after naps and before dinner, and she wants me to hold her as I cook. It's one of those things I know I will miss later, but cooking is not my forte and one-handed can be challenging. 

I could write a book right about now, but according to the lines I wrote above, Maggie will be waking soon to keep us on our toes, so it's best I go to bed and get some solid rest. ;) 


ps. I always wonder how other mothers do with baby books. You're probably all up-to-date and make photo albums and scrapbooks... I have such good intentions! I just feel that at least if these memories are written and printed somewhere, it's acceptable for now, and then one day I will have time? I'm thinking of trying artifact uprising for photos- has anyone gotten a book from them? I want to also make some Blurb books for more of the memory/writing. Please let me know if you've used either and liked/disliked/have any tips! xoxo.

pps. Photos by Pictilio.


Hello There by Kate Brightbill

It's Friday, and I'm breathing sighs of relief that we've survived this week and are better for it. 

Monday, I could not function because I had a stomach flu, rendering me useless. Tuesday, my darling Maggie went to the doctor for a blood test, and my emotional state had me more useless than the day before. I could not stop kissing those precious cheeks of hers when we found that all numbers are completely normal and healthy. Wednesday, my trusty old computer threw in the towel for good. Thursday, I spent the entirety of nap time playing Ticket to Ride with my sister and mom, who took the day off. Who DOES that? I don't know, but today I was wishing my sister and mom took every day off so we could escape emotional outbursts and bouts of residual nausea with therapeutic board games. 

This blog has fallen by the wayside this week, and it's been perfectly positive for my well-being. Overall, coming to this little space on the internet is my creative outlet- like writing a journal entry or reading a book would be- before the time of the Internet. Sometimes though, the roller coasters that life sometimes hand us force us to evaluate and re-evaluate what it is that we do with our time, with our thoughts, and with our words. Rather than having a normal clean-the-house Monday this week, my heart was aching for those who have to undergo chronic sickness and those who cannot physically lift a finger to help themselves. I prayed long and hard for those I knew with health issues throughout the day. Tuesday, I found my prayer life was fervently for those whose children are ill, for those who have lost their children, and for my own children's safety. These are people I do not often enough take time to consider. 

In all the exhaustion of the week, the reality is that I don't particularly want to blog links right now as I generally do on Fridays. This week wasn't a normal one, and it wasn't one where I perused the Internet for amazing things (of which there are many!).

Today, I want to be real with you. I have weeks where I feel as though each of the commitments and relationships and events- whether good or bad- get the best of me, and I feel overwhelmed to the core of my being. Weeks where I feel inadequate covering the smallest and largest of my responsibilities. Weeks where I'm teary to the point of silly (I really am the type to resist tears in most circumstances). Weeks that I feel my heart cannot feel any more than it does. This was one of those weeks. 

It's particularly timely that February begins tomorrow. Something about a turned page of my calendar, the red hearts everywhere (three cheers for the stores that commercialize their hearts out for Valentine's day! I will never say a bad word about hearts + flowers + lovvvve), and another month beginning... it refreshes me. Refreshment is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Happy Friday to all, and to all a good night. 




Green Grass by Kate Brightbill


Sometimes we get this grass-is-greener mentality.

I hear it everywhere from perfectly healthy & blessed individuals. I hear it regarding work, I hear it regarding relationships, I hear it regarding children. I hear that if my scenario was like another's day-to-day, I'd understand. I hear if their scenario was like this or that person, they'd have it better. If they had more of this and less of that, they'd have it better. If life hadn't handed them this or that, it'd be better.

Here is the truth about life: though there are plenty of things out of our control, we all make choices. We choose to work where we work {or not}, we choose to live where we live, we choose to cultivate and commit to certain relationships and not to others. We all make sacrifices to do the things we want to do, and we need to be grateful for the good things that are happening, rather than the have-not mentality. 

Our little family together made the sacrifice for me to stay home and raise our girls during the day-to-day. This isn't common around here and it isn't easy. We've also decided to live in the city, which brings with it good & bad. For years, we lived in a small one-bedroom to make this work for our family. I don't have a car to get here and there. We chose this lifestyle, and we're living it.

Was it simple for us? No. I remember when I had Sophie and none of my friends were pregnant or even close. I lived in our small home with no dishwasher or modern amenities, with all my local friends working during the day, and my life including walking our laundry blocks to get to a laundromat and then had coffee dates with my girl while we waited. I also hauled the laundry back home balanced on the stroller while I was 8 months pregnant.

Is that the scenario I would have painted for myself at that time? It really wasn't. I had lonely thoughts, and thoughts about how sad it is that my coffee dates were with a small child who couldn't even form complete sentences yet. I look at that time, and though it felt like a sacrifice at the time- we were striving for greener grass; today those days feel like some of the most precious and lovely moments of my life. It feels like God gifted me with solitude during those days so that I could experience the slow-moving, sweet days of toddlerhood with my little girl, and cultivate a beautiful mother-daughter relationship with Sophie. 

The grass was sufficiently sweet then, whether I was noticing or not.

Today, the grass is also sweet. I am sleeping full nights. My children can play together without me completely devoted to every moment and movement. I have bigger days because my children require a bit more runaround than they once did. I end each day a bit wiped from the chaos and often feel like simply a hired hand to cook & clean and grasp at straws to make things work and I get so tired.... There are many things I would adjust if everything was painted my perfect way {like hiring a housekeeper, perhaps?}... but the fact remains: this is green grass we're living.

These days are so long and years so short. It just seems that we shouldn't be pining for perfection when we have so much lovely around us now.



Falling by Kate Brightbill


You know those padded toddler rooms? The kind where everything is soft and there is no great danger to little cuties who are not quite steady on their feet?

I think sometimes that we need one of those. 

Tonight we took an evening adventure around the city, and as my Maggie started down a tall flight of stairs, I said a heartfelt prayer for her safety. She is incredibly capable for her age, and willing to try anything and run faster than anyone... resulting in fall after fall after fall. As she went just ahead of me on the stairs, I said to myself that I needed to get in front of her... but I wasn't fast enough. 

And she fell. 

One stair. That's all she fell. She could have fallen down 20 cement stairs, and she fell one. She scuffed her cheek and nose {again}, but she only fell one stair. And I picked her up and kissed her and hugged her and tears rolled down my cheeks. I was relieved. I was overwhelmed with gratefulness. I was overwhelmed with the way this parenting thing is SO HARD sometimes.

I know they have to grow up. I know will be in situations that we are not there and they could fall hard and be very hurt. It can be physical or emotional, but there will be moments that I can't protect them. And it hurts because I want so badly to protect them from it all. I wanted to move faster, to stand in front of her and catch her. But I wasn't and I didn't. I couldn't get there in time. 

Sometimes I want to stick my children and a soft, fluffy room, where they cannot get hurt. They can play and be happy and smile and never be harmed. It's not real though. Growing pains are our teachers, and making decisions and learning from the consequences of those decisions are the pieces of life that build character. The pieces that build strength. 

The padded room isn't the solution. It may protect for a time, but it doesn't teach

There are hard, painful things in the world, but the way to protect is to let my children adventure, experience, and sometimes get hurt... and be there right beside them when they do. Be there with them to dry their eyes and hug them and hold them and kiss them and love them with my whole heart. And repeat. Over and over.  

My other job is to praying for them every day, because the one who created them loves them with all His heart too. And I am SO grateful for that truth as well. So, so grateful.