Saturday, April 22, 2017

Name change

“My boys think I’m great just because I’m here with them. Between unnamed boulders and boulevards, I realize a new name has been given to me. It will be known only by two; and that is purpose enough. ‘Dad.’” –We Stood Upon Stars by Roger W. Thompson

When I became a wife, I changed. I became a partner for life with the man I believe with all my heart was designed specifically to complement me. I had to think and live a little less selfishly. I had to put his needs before my own sometimes. I suddenly had to talk out every major purchase or decision with someone who may or may not agree with my perspective on it all.

I changed. And I took on a new name. I became a Bell and a Mrs. I became a wife. My favorite is when he calls me “Wiiiiife!” instead of Sara or Babe or Sweetie.

Then I had a baby. And man, did I change. Overnight I became hypervigilant about the temperature of our little apartment, about the comings and goings of my neighbors. I became obsessed with breastfeeding and babyproofing. I got lost in baby sighs and tiny toes and yawns. I had to plan my life around the baby’s needs. I had important (and seemingly important) decisions to make and I became a research aficionado.

I changed. And I took on a new name. Mother. Mom. Mama. Mommy.

I will go through all kinds of additional life changes. I’ll become mother of teenagers. I’ll become an empty nester. I’ll become a mother-in-law. My name will for some reason stay the same until I become a grandmother.

I’m not sure how to feel about that. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tot Travels: Trinidad, California

Trinidad favorites with kids:
-View Crest Cabins… We had a nice studio-style cabin with a king-sized bed and we put the kids in toddler cots at the foot of our bed. We woke up each morning to three children between us ha ha. We brought a toaster oven and rice cooker from home because we didn’t want to risk cross contamination (some of my family has Celiac Disease) and it worked out pretty perfectly, especially when we found Eureka Natural Foods to supplement what we’d brought from home. There was a really nice deck off the back of our cabin where we ate a few meals with my in-laws, and it was the perfect place to end the night relaxing after a long day of hiking and exploring. 

-Proximity to the Redwoods!

-Humboldt State Marine Laboratory to see the “aquarium” tanks before heading down to the beach

- Trinidad State Beach. I personally am not much of a beach person, and especially with kids (sand for days!) but it was great just to go and see it, dip their toes in the water, and let A bring home a seashell as a souvenir. =]

-Eureka Natural Foods, which was actually in McKinleyville. We picked up a lot of groceries from here on one of the nights, then all ate breakfast there on our last morning together before hitting the road.

Homeschool/Roadschool books we enjoyed before/during this trip: The United States of America: a state-by-state guide // Are We There Yet? // Are We There Yet, Daddy? // Bon Voyage, Lucy // Olivia Takes a Trip 

Sunday, April 16, 2017


Happy Easter!

Yikes, time has been moving by at hyperspeed all week. Between illness, falling back into a routine after our vacation, and settling into a different house, life has just been crazy. But good crazy, you know?

Lately I've been...

reading The Lucky Few (loved it!) and The Magic of Motherhood. I took a break from We Stood Upon Stars for TLF and for some reason haven't picked it back up yet, but soon. I also started The Nightingale on Kindle but nights have been weird and I haven't gotten very far yet.

writing pretty exclusively in my journal and in my kids' journals. I always notice strange shifts in my writing. Sometimes I'll have crazy poetic thoughts on God and motherhood and life just flowing out of me, then other times I'll be overflowing with fun fiction words, then I'll hit a weird sweet spot where all my words are just private thoughts on my life. Right now I'm  in that last category.

formatting the cover for Blessed by Birth!! This is possibly the #1 most frustrating part of publishing for me. I am not into cover design at all. AT. ALL. But I absolutely love the artist's work so at least all I have to deal with is the spine and the back copy this time around! (Watch the book trailer here, and find it on Goodreads here!)

missing my dad. As of a few days ago, I haven't seen him or my brother in three years :'[

thinking a lot about how fleeting these little years are and how desperately I want to make the most of them while I still can. I remember only having one baby who was a great napper and wondering why everyone was so negative about their kids and always complaining about needing more alone time. I still don't get why everyone is so negative about their own children... but if anyone gets that desperate need for alone time, it's me. Yikes. There is nothing in the world like motherhood, is there? I have never in my life been so desperate to hold on and never let go, and also to back far away and just breathe.
I hope that practicing contentment will make every season beautiful. I get really sad when people tell me that these are the best days of my life, I guess for a few reasons. First, because even though these days are precious and beautiful... they're so hard! I'm so tired! I'm parenting pretty non-stop right now, from 6:30 or 7am until 7 or 8pm, and most nights at least one of my kids stays up later than that for whatever reason. So it's very hard to be feeling so tired and overwhelmed, and forever so behind on housework, and yet somehow pause to take in all the little moments of each day that I know I'll someday really miss. It also makes me sad because I don't want this to be it. I want to be overwhelmed with joy and with the beauty of my life at each and every stage. I want to think my life can't get any better in five, ten, 20 years. I want to be madly in love with the conversations I have with my articulate older kids, and with watching and helping my teenagers turn into adults. I want to be in love with the "friend" stage of just hanging out and not doling out advice when they grow up and move out, and I want to be in love with the extra time with my husband and with watching these kids be parents. I want to end every single year thinking, "This was a great year." Last year we had some pretty intense stuff happen but the end of the year came and I thought about the baby we'd had, the hiking we'd done, the new words my boy had started to say, the books we'd read... and it still felt like a really great year. I want every year to be like that.
I want every year, even the rough years, to have a family vacation (even if it's just a night in a hotel in the next town over!), a few crazy dance parties, a book we can't stop talking about, a hilarious story we repeat all the time much to our friends' chagrin. I want my whole life to be the best days of my life.

feeling hot and cold. The weather is at that funky point where I wake up freezing cold and pull on a sweater, then feel overwhelmingly hot in the afternoon, then freezing in the evening. Then my permanently freezing two-year-old says she's cold so Ryan turns the heater on at bedtime and I wake up sweating and overheating, then again freezing in the morning. I just want to be cold allllll the time.

listening to a Christian country playlist I made a few weeks ago. And Sparrows Rising, because I can't get enough and I still can't believe I'm kinda-sorta related to somebody making real, good music! (which is about to be on PANDORA! Isn't that awesome and nuts?! I feel like that is the most legit a musician can be in 2017)

loving how idealistic my boy is about holidays. I have no idea where he gets that from ;]
Early on the morning of February 14th I was lying there in bed and heard him go out to the living room to talk to Ryan. He quickly realized Dad was in his work clothes and very seriously asked, "Why are you going to work?! It's Valentine's Day!"
Last night we tucked him into bed and he insisted that we make eggs for breakfast. "We have to eat eggs in the morning! It's Easter!" My first thought was that he is so adorably idealistic. My second thought was that if we eat eggs for breakfast I won't want deviled eggs for lunch and it's Easter! So my third thought was "Oh. Ha ha."

planning birthdays! A turns four next week, then we have my birthday, mother's day, and our sweet little C's first birthday. I can't believe we're already here, FOUR YEARS OLD! The first birthdays are usually a little hard for me too, but gosh. FOUR. He wants a Lorax cake and I am horrible at art so wish me luck! =]

Saturday, April 8, 2017

10 Randoms

1. We just got back from a seriously amazing road trip where we explored the Redwoods, Trinidad State Beach, and Portland, OR. I did wind up in the Portland ER with food poisoning one night but otherwise it was a really awesome trip and I can't wait to put all the photos together in blog posts and share them!

2. Things my son said in Portland
"Why are there so many people here? These people need to go HOME."
"Look at all this crap! I probably shouldn't say crap. That's a bad word. We don't say bad words, just good words."
"Somebody colored on that wall."
"Somebody colored on that door."
"Somebody colored on that sign."
"Somebody colored on EVERYTHING here!"
"No, I don't need to go potty. I'm just gonna wait til we get home."

3. The trip made me obsessed with the idea of roadschooling again (I mean, we basically roadschooled on this trip!), and now we're talking more seriously about travel trailers and pop-up trailers. Do we have money for one? No. Has that ever stopped us from dreaming? Another no!

4. Starting this awesome new book tonight, perfect since I'm still in adventure mode... We Stood Upon Stars, sharing a man's adventures and the way he's found God in them... obviously my kinda thing =D

5. One year of school lunches! I just enjoy these for variety ideas, road trip/picnic meals, etc.

6. We decided to just do educational books as souvenirs. No weird junk. So we opted for The Tallest Tree from the Redwoods and Goodnight Oregon from Portland. And a Redwoods fridge magnet for Ryan and me because we make the rules.

7. I think Ryan is making some kind of short bed frame for us, like this one, because I like to keep the mattresses low for baby safety but recently found out that can cause mold inside your mattress :| That information would have been really handy YEARS ago.

8. My son saw the preview for Cars 3 at our hotel last night. I'm pretty sure we won't stop hearing about it for months. He hasn't even seen Cars 2. Doesn't matter.

9. Last one about books, I swear. I'm suddenly in a World War II fiction phase. I've got The Nightingale on the Kindle right now and I've also put holds on The Orphan's Tale and Lilac Girls. Any others you recommend?

10. I finally watched Fixer Upper and Home Town while on this trip and now I'm a convert. My hotel favorites: House Hunters (but not international), Property Brothers, Flip or Flop, Fixer Upper, Home Town, Alaska: The Last Frontier, Alaskan Bush People, Gold Rush Alaska. There's always at least one of those on. If there wasn't, I don't know. I guess we'd just check out and go home?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Easter Plans

One really awesome thing about homeschooling is making your own schedule. We’re really early into it right now of course so we have a lot more freedom now than we will in the future but I am looking forward to continuing that freedom even as the kids get older.

I’m looking forward to ditching our typical work next week to focus on Easter. I worked really hard to make Christmas a genuinely spiritual holiday for the kids this year and I am looking forward to doing the same for Easter.

I’m excited to enjoy one spiritually-focused Easter story together each day during the week and then spend Easter itself enjoying church, another story, and great family time.

Sometimes I think traditions can very quickly turn into a “bad” thing, when everybody hates whatever it is the family does but they all keep doing it because they “have” to. I’ve actually known several families who had certain Christmas or Thanksgiving traditions that nobody but one person liked and all of those friends have said at one time or another that the whole holiday was tense with their family because everyone was unhappy because of that. I never want anything like that to happen, but at the same time I would like to figure out some kind of good family-time tradition for these two big holidays, at least while they’re young and interested.

We don’t eat traditional Easter food, we don’t dye eggs, we don’t do an egg hunt, and we don’t do Easter baskets. So yes, we’re focused more on the Spiritual reason for the holiday, but we’re also sucking out all the kid-fun. I’d like to find some kind of balance there.

Where we live, spring can still be really cold sometimes. Even snowy. Hence the no-egg-hunting. I had initially thought an Easter hike + picnic sounded perfect but then I wondered what we would do on the years it’s too chilly for that.

Any ways. I’m still thinking about it so I’ll let you know if I come up with something fantastic. In the meantime, these are the spiritually-based Easter books we have or have enjoyed in the past and will likely be reading next week…