Thankful for the Terrible Twos

When you live with an almost 2 year old there are days that are full of sweet hugs and some days that are full of tears, whining and frustration. If I stop to remember that she wants to communicate with us and is trying her hardest I can sometimes (emphasis on sometimes) be okay with the whining.

This weekend has been a full of whining and tears type of weekend. We went to a theme park on Saturday and there were multiple times where she yanked her hand out of my hand. She wanted to be everywhere all at once and did NOT want to be carried, holding hands or sitting in a stroller. It didn’t help that she had bug spray, sunblock and sweat all over her hands. Today the family went to run errands and she was in the same mood.

My patience is almost completely depleted and we are about to start another week tomorrow. These are the moments where I struggle as a working parent. I want to enjoy the weekend with her and rest for the week ahead but I find myself in a down mood wanting to go lay in the bathtub.

Thankfully my faith and husband help me to kick the mood and enjoy my time. While doing my Bible study I read that this is all temporary which reminds me that although this season is hard, it is only temporary. My husband emphasized the good moments and helped me to see through the darkness.

Although I won’t be as rested as I would like, I have so many moments to be thankful for. In between the fits and tears there were hugs, cuddles and kisses. After the tantrums were pulling me by the hand to sit with her. This life has been blessed by our Father and I will keep reminding myself of that, even if my patience is completely out the window.

 

How to Make a Unique and Effective Bible Journal

It can be a lot of work trying to find the perfect journal to keep all of your sermon notes, Bible studies, challenges etc. in and it can take a lot of money to find something that might not even be what you are looking for.

I recently cleaned out my office so I could actually start using it. If you are a planner/journal/stationary girl like I am, you know exactly what I found… notebooks and planners piled up on bookshelves and in drawers. Some of them had scribbles that went all the way to the center binding, others had a couple of pages worth of notes. Why do I do this to myself? Why do I spend so much money on paper? I’m a device person, it’s literally what I do for a living but when it comes to my personal life I want paper and a lot of it. I need to be able to be creative but I want structure, I want to feel like it is working for me and not against me.

I’ve spent a good amount of time and money trying to figure out my perfect way to plan and in the midst of this journey I found my perfect way to Bible Study. Before we get into that, I want to share with you some of the methods I tried before getting to this method.

DIY Bible Journal

What I’ve tried:

  • Bullet Journaling – Moleskine Notebook
  • Bullet Journaling – Moleskine Cahier
  • Bullet Journaling – OneNote
  • The Simplified Planner
  • Kate Spade Spiral Bound Planner
  • Kate Spade Zip Planner
  • Target horizontal planner
  • The 12 Week Year – Digital
  • Trello – Digital
  • Asana – Digital
  • Google Calendar – Digital
  • Outlook Tasks – Digital
  • Traveler’s Notebook
  • Regular Spiral Notebook
  • Thin To-Do List Notebook from Target
  • Whiteboard To-Do List
  • Standard Horizontal Happy Planner

Disc Bound Up Close

What Was I Looking For?

  1. Small enough to fit in my bag but big enough that I wouldn’t have to squint to read it
  2. Paper thick enough that my pens wouldn’t bleed through
  3. Customizable
  4. Space to hold:
    • Sermon Notes
    • Bible Study Notes
    • Printed version of the book of the Bible I’m reading
    • Calendar
    • Spare Notes Section

So yes, I was asking for a lot but I had been through enough versions (listed above) to know EXACTLY what I needed.

Disc Bound Realization

After trying my hand at traveler’s notebooks and liking the customizability aspect, I knew I wanted to try the Happy Planner that I saw everywhere. I watched a video from Sea Lemon about disc binding and making my own notebooks and had to have one. After I bought it however, I realized that what came in it wasn’t what I was looking for at all. Luckily, I grabbed one that was a horizontal planner instead of the blocks, which ended up working out (as you’ll see later).

So initially, I’m bummed because it’s not what I was looking for. Then I start looking on Pinterest and decide I’ll use the spare discs I had to make a notebook for Bible Study. It was the regular paper size 8.5″ x 11″ and I made covers out of cute files I found on clearance at Target. Unfortunately, this didn’t meet my first requirement, it was massive. It was big and wasn’t something I would want to just carry around with me in my bag. It was also pretty flimsy so I couldn’t use it for sermon notes either. Strike two with the Happy Planner disc option.

That’s when it dawned on me… I don’t have to use the Happy Planner the way it was designed, that is the entire point. So I took out all but the current and next month planner inserts and started working on my new book. When I bought my Happy Planner, I purchased a hardcover because somehow I knew I would need it and I’m so thankful I did. It’s what really helped this book come together along with free printable items.

Verse Writing

Supplies Used:

  • Paper Cutter
  • Happy Planner Hole Punch
  • Happy Planner Hard Cover
  • Happy Planner Month Inserts (Current and Next Month)
  • Thicker Printer Paper
  • Printer
  • Bible Book Printable – Ephesians 
  • Bible Study Printable – Word Before World [Well Watered Women]
  • Dot Grid Printable – Savor + Savvy
  • Decorative File Folders (Optional)
  • Happy Planner Faith Stickers (Optional)

Happy Planner Hole Punch

Steps – Printable Items:

  1. I took out all of the inserts I knew I wasn’t going to use leaving this month and next month along with the yearly view calendar
  2. I popped on the hard cover
  3. I went to the printable website and selected to print it
    • Sizing:
      • If it is something that is on a Word Doc you can actually specify the sizing (The size for a standard Happy Planner is: 7″ x 9.25″
      • If it is an item that is in a PDF form or another file type that doesn’t allow you to specify exact page size, use 84% in the print sizing option (Here’s a great post/videos about resizing)
    • Double-Sided:
      • I printed dot-grid paper and wanted it to be on both sides so I put the pages back in to the printer to print the design on both. Some printers have the option of printing on both sides but mine didn’t want to for whatever reason but I made it work.
    • Once you have printed your items, use the paper cutter to trim it down to size
    • After you have trimmed it down, use the hole punch to punch the pages
    • Pop the pages into the area you want them in

DIY Divider

Steps – Dividers: I wanted my items separated so they would be organized and easy to access.

  1. Cut the file folder in half using the paper cutter
  2. Line up one of the dividers that came with the Happy Planner and mark it with pen/pencil
  3. Cut the file down to size
  4. Punch holes with the hole punch
  5. Use faith stickers to decorate the front of the divider
  6. Pop them into the discs
  7. Pop the paper into the proper section

Things I Learned About My Style:

  • I can have my work and personal stuff separate – some methods suggest having everything together and I tried desperately to do this without any success. I’m sure it works for some people but it doesn’t work for my brain. All of my meetings are on my Outlook Calendar and tracking them in multiple places doesn’t make sense to my day-to-day.
  • I need to have my Bible studies handy so that I will do them during my actual spare time. There are times when my “Word Before World” challenge is done during my lunch time because I know it’s the only free time I’ll have that day. It also helps when I meet with someone from Church because I can just whip out my book and write down their wisdom.
  • If something is TOO structured I won’t do it but if it relies on me doing a ton of work I won’t do it either. For example, if it is a specific track x,y,z every day for 21 days and it isn’t a high priority for me but it’s in the notebook I’ll never do it. Something in me (being a child of wrath and all) doesn’t want to be forced to fill something out that isn’t important. I know I don’t “have” to but if it’s on the page it’s something I feel the need to do. On the flip side, if it’s something where I have to re-write everything everyday (looking at you BuJo) I won’t do it either. It just isn’t something I’ll take the time to do and I’ll miss a day and just get frustrated.
  • I like to have all of my Bible Study items together. Some people have a separate notebook for sermon notes, a binder for Bible Study etc. but I was finding myself not doing any of them if they were all over the place.

Ephesians Notes

Tips, Ideas and a Freebee:

  • You can use coloring book pages in your book as well. Cut them out, punch them and add them into your book.
  • A paper cutter will be your best friend. No lie, we tried cutting the pages the first time with an exacto knife and vices holding the paper in place… seriously that’s what we did.
  • Use washi tape to mark the dimensions on the paper cutter.
  • Just because you don’t like the way something is out of the box, it doesn’t mean you should chunk it all out. I ended up using the horizontal planner pages to do daily scripture writing and it’s the perfect size.
  • If something isn’t working for you, change it. It’s all about what is going to work for you and what you need to be closer to the Lord.

Mark Paper Cutter

When I first started studying the Bible I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just bought some study guides that had answers to questions and started reading. If you are looking to start studying the Bible, Jen Wilkin’s book “Women of the Word” is a wonderful place to start.

Fill out the form below for a free printable of her 5 P’s to studying the Bible.

[email-download download_id=”869” contact_form_id=”868”]

 

Parenting Advice I Wish Someone Told Me

When your friends, family and even strangers find out that you are going to have a baby, you are going to be buried beneath mountains of advice and wisdom. Some of the advice is helpful but most of it is just going to freak you out. I remember someone warning me about having to have my downstairs cut open to pull the baby out for it to be easier on the doctor… what the heck. Another piece of sage wisdom I received involved feces, your SO and a room full of surgeons and interns (I’ll spare you the details).

It’s funny now to think about all of the things we were told before P got here and the things we wish we would have known. So instead of terrifying you with stories of stitches and fecal matter I’ve put together a list of things that you should really know about having a baby:

You won’t be able to go anywhere alone anymore (but you won’t want to).

At least in the beginning (our little one is still super cute and doesn’t have a cell phone) you won’t want to be apart from this new addition to your family. The first night she stayed with my parents all we could think about was what she was doing. We were texting asking for pictures and spent our “date night” at Target buying her clothes. Sure there are times when it would be easier to run out the door without having to get another human being ready to go, but they make up for it with kisses.

You will never sleep again (If your spouse sucks).

If your spouse doesn’t let you take naps when you are exhausted then y’all should have a serious conversation about the side-effects of being that tired. Hubs and I switch off when we are both on the brink of exhaustion (both working parents with super long commutes in decently stressful jobs). Since we switch off we are always at different levels of needing sleep so P is never just running amuck while we are passed out. When P was a newborn, we even took shifts to let the other sleep and recover for even moments at a time. If anything, the phrase should be “you’ll never sleep at the same time again” and even that passes.

You’ll never get to shower (any time you want).

There will be times when the baby is crying and you are covered in all kinds of disgustingness and you’ll want to get in the shower, but you can’t. That doesn’t mean you’ll never shower again. In fact, when the baby is a newborn it is much easier to shower because they can’t go anywhere (at least P couldn’t). When they can’t even roll over you can put them in a bouncy in the bathroom with you and get in the bath/shower. Now that doesn’t mean you won’t look out every minute and a half to check on them but you are getting water on your covered in snot body. There are also going to be times when you are just too exhausted to get in the bath but that’s fine too. Your baby will love you no matter what you smell like.

Stick to your guns (but not everything is a mountain to die on).

I’m more of a every fight is a mountain to die on type of girl, but I quickly realized that you can’t be as a parent. If you don’t want your baby to eat certain things then let it be known but if grandma or grandpa sneaks them a treat don’t lose your cool (I say this from experience). Not everyone feels the same way about foods and grandparents and other family members with children don’t always agree with you. That doesn’t mean they are right to give your kid something you specifically expressed you didn’t want them to have; it also doesn’t mean you should ban them from your next get together. Unless it is a detriment to P’s health, I’ve had to learn to let some things slide. Family members aren’t intentionally trying to hurt your child (it was hard for me to come to grips with too).

Moral of the story, it’s all going to be okay. If you poop on the table during birth, if you have a c-section or natural, if the baby has a head as big as a melon… it’s all going to be fine. Here are my parting words of wisdom:

No child is exactly alike, your combinations of life choices are never going to match perfectly to someone else, and that’s okay. Love them, keep them healthy, safe and don’t raise them to be a jerk and you’ll be good to go.

Let me know in the comments or on Twitter a crappy piece of advice that you received when you found out you were going to be a parent.

Finding A Daycare That Is Perfect For Your Family

As a new mom it was really hard to find a daycare that didn’t have a wait-list a mile long. I know that isn’t the same in all areas but where we are we had to wait a full year for an open spot at our daycare of choice. Picking who is going to be a surrogate parent for your child during the day is stressful. Here are the tips that I wish we had before we picked our first daycare:

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Continue reading “Finding A Daycare That Is Perfect For Your Family”

How to Get Your Chores Done Fast

I hate to admit that I was a terrible partner but I absolutely was. It’s embarrassing to say that for the first several years we were together my husband did 90% of the housework and cooking. I had a lot of baggage that made me believe that if I cooked/cleaned that I was subservient to my boyfriend/husband. I just couldn’t get it through my thick and selfish head that I needed to do my part. I didn’t want to be like my biological mother and I was so stubborn that I didn’t see the difference.

One day it finally sank in and I realized that chores weren’t a way to put someone in their place. It really was as my husband had been saying all along; they were just “things that had to get done.” Once I got over my baggage and selfishness, we started doing all of our chores together. I’m very blessed that he was patient with my nonsense. This is when a completely different issue popped up. He had his way of doing things and what all needed to be done but I didn’t.

Continue reading “How to Get Your Chores Done Fast”