New and improved.

 Dear readers, 
     It has been long overdue, but Frame of Mind has finally gotten a little bit of a face-lift!  I would hate for you to stumble around trying to find something, so I thought I'd run through the changes real quick.  Most of the new features are self-explanatory, but I thought I'd go over them at least once.

1. This button returns you to the main home page from wherever you may have traveled to on my blog.  (past posts, archives, etc.)

2.  Just a little blurb about who we are over here at Frame of Mind.

3.  My email info for anyone with questions, comments, or wishing to collaborate on projects. I love getting mail!

4.  Six nifty little icons representing different aspects of social media (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, gmail and google plus).  Clicking on them will take you to each appropriate site.

5.  A search bar to aid in your hunt for something specific on this blog.  

6.  You can follow by email, if you'd prefer! New posts will be sent right to your inbox.

7.  Titles of recent popular posts will show up here for easy access.

8.  My post labels are by no means organized, but I am really trying to start labeling posts so they can be grouped together by topic and be easily found in one place. 

9.  Take a walk down memory lane by browsing the archives! 

   (Yep, I edited these photos separately and had no clue what I was doing and used the number 9 twice.  Your eyes are not deceiving you.)

9.  Instagram! Hands down my favorite media outlet.  A grid of my four most recent posts will show up here.

10.  Matching tabs to make it a whole lot easier to share blog content to Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, should your heart desire to do so.

11. Last but certainly not least is the new feature I am perhaps most excited about....Disqus for commenting!  Recently I had been receiving complaints that people weren't able to leave a comment, and even when they were able to, there was no convenient way for me to reply.  Unfortunately that resulted in little-to-no dialogue between me and the readers, and I am so relieved to be changing that!  I appreciate each and every comment so much and I am highly anticipating easier communication between us.

   So feel free to take a look around and try out the new commenting feature to let me know what you think!  I am so glad you found me over here on this little space of the internet, and continue to be a part of our lives in this way.  It means so much!


Home again, home again, jiggity jig.

  We are back from a trip to my homeland in the mid west for a friend's wedding, and I am left feeling happy, wistful, content and nostalgic.  So many emotions are always wrapped up in my trips back home.  There are sweet, treasured memories, painful regrets, awe at how some things never seem to change, and shock and how quickly other things can.  People age, buildings deteriorate, and nothing ever quite prepares me for the dreary bleakness of Iowa in January.  But despite its flaws, it will always be a beautiful place, because it holds so many that are so dear. 

   The wedding occasion gathered in the sisterhood from near and far, and we were able to spend time together catching up on each other's lives which was SO NEEDED.  I don't know how I ever got to be so lucky to have such a quality group of precious friendships in my life, but I hope I never ever take them for granted.  Because if there's something that only becomes more strikingly clear as the years go by, it's that you cannot make old friends.  

   Our sweet Lindsay is the youngest and last to get married, and with this closing of the wedding chapter in our group, I sincerely hope it isn't the end of our reunions as well.  Amongst the 8 of us, there are 7 (going on 8) children and 7 different states that we all call home, and so it will certainly take more effort to reunite but will only be the sweeter because of the sacrifice required.  

   I also thoroughly enjoyed bouncing a plethora of blogging ideas off of sweet Nicole from Iowa, and hopefully there will be a lot of fresh changes coming to Frame of Mind soon.  I find I get so stuck in a rut with this blog (and with lots of my other goals and ambitions, come to think of it) and sometimes it is just what I need to have someone on the outside looking in to give me new and fresh inspiration and motivation to start again.  

  Well, the laundry is calling and as always, I have more to-dos than I have nap time.  So that's all for now!  January is almost over folks, and you know what that means!  2 months down, and 3 more to go until I can start truly hoping for spring! And only 4 more months until my due date month!  So, all kinds of things to look forward to.  

What are you looking forward to this spring? 

Note: The Portland airport is awesome.  But its carpet is so famously ugly it earned its very own hashtag on Instagram.  True story.


Why I let my children make messes.

They roll up their sleeves and dive in.

   Armed with cute little aprons and great determination, they set out to help me make dinner.  And although adorable, this mini kitchen crew effort usually results in one, giant mess.

   The ingredients rarely end up precisely where they should, and often a few extra ingredients are thrown in.  The sugar spills and creates a crunchy, sticky film that immediately attracts the ants, and their little hands, so determined to get those dishes sparkly clean, slosh sudsy water up and over the sides of the sink and into puddles onto the floor.  Eggs crack and ooze, flour dusts every surface and little buttery fingerprints leave their mark on the cupboards.

   And let's be honest, often (o.k. basically all of the time) I am tired and impatient and I just want to get the marathon of dinner prep and clean up done and over with as quickly as possible so I can enjoy my cup of coffee in peace.  I want to chase my little ones into a different room and focus on my work and not have mini people at my heels.

But when I posted this image last night to Instagram, this was part of my caption....

   "I told myself a long time ago that I would try my hardest to never say no to help of any kind.  Changing a diaper, sweeping, cooking...I want them to grow up with memories of our entire home being accessible to them.  A place they were wanted and needed and capable of helping.  Because let's be honest....we all want our teenagers to help but if you only start then it's usually too late."  

 I'm not sure many things frustrate me more than when I hear mothers venting about how their teenagers/young adults won't do anything to help out around the house, but then you take a little jog down memory lane and find that these are the same mothers who wouldn't ever let their children do anything, for fear of them doing it wrong.

  I know of a middle aged mom today who struggles with letting her elderly mother help her with anything, because she doesn't have any fond memories of the reverse.....when she was the child, helping HER mom.

   Think of it......if I chase them out of the kitchen and keep them an arm's length away from all of my projects and to-dos until the day I DO want them to help, they will have no interest in that.  And why would they?  They would have no childhood memories of me praising them for a job well done or thanking them for all the wonderful help they give me, even if the truth looks more like a giant mess and MORE work for me.

   And looking even beyond that, what about when I have gray hair (and hopefully, lots of smile wrinkles) and I desperately want to help them in their own homes?  Decorating, cooking, cleaning,.....but none of my children want me anywhere near their kitchen.  Why?  Because I never allowed them to be part of mine.

    And so I write this, because I want to freeze this moment and use it to remind myself, over and over again, when I'm tired, when I'm weary, to choose the better thing.  When the laundry is so neatly folded and I just want to be DONE and those tiny voice offer to help put some away?  Let them.  Sure, a few piles will end up on the floor.  Sure, the towels will not be re-folded the right way.  But you will rest easy that night, knowing that you invested in your future.  Because you invested in them.

   And they will walk away from that experience, with no memory whatsoever of the dropped socks and panties trailing behind them, but with a glowing sense of pride that they helped mama.   They were needed.  Capable.  Qualified.  Worthy.  Desired.  Valuable.

And I never want to forget it.



Country girl in the City.

   We are back from a fun little jaunt up north to Seattle to watch the Big Game with our friends who live up there, and we had a wonderful time.

Aside from the heartbreak of Monday night, of course.

   I'll be honest, I'm still not totally over it.  It feels like so much more was at stake than "just a title" or "just a game".  I have never felt so deeply that someone truly deserved that trophy more than Marcus Mariota, and by extension, the Oregon Ducks.  Not just for the way he sacrificed and played on the field, but for the man that he is off the field.  

(Me and the littlest Duck fan quickly outgrowing this sweatshirt)

   He has completely and forever changed my view of college football.  I no longer view teams as faceless machines, comprised mostly of thugs and rapscallions waiting to get busted for their latest misdemeanor.  Naieve?  Maybe a little.  But that was my honest viewpoint and the headlines and media never said much to prove to me otherwise.  

Until Mariota.

   So am I sad the season ended the way it did for him?  You'd better believe it.  Am I mourning the fact that he won't be suiting up for Oregon next year?  Um, totally.  But I am so thankful for what he did to transform my view of the sport, and my attitude towards all those involved.  If someone like him can survive the pressures of college and the culture of sports in today's world and perform like he does with the humility that he has, than there is hope for us all.

  But, in spite of Monday's disappointment, it was wonderful to be in the city again and see our friends.  The girls are playing so well these days and forming such deep little friendships it is SO fun to watch them, and I'm so happy the miles between us haven't seemed to affect them too badly.  

   On Sunday we went to church with Ben and Emily, and I'll admit, a little pang of sadness went through me that it wasn't Mars Hill.  I am still so saddened by everything that happened with Mark Driscoll, and I still hope that things can be healed, restored and redeemed through all of this pain.  

  But I really loved their new church and the pastor there preached an amazing sermon about grace, and I felt the baby moving for what I think might be the first time!  I sat there, sipping my coffeee and hearing precious, encouraging words about the grace of God wash over me and feeling my baby move inside and it was all too beautiful to be coincidental.  

   Maybe this child will grow up to grasp the glorious concept of grace more than I have ever been able to, and maybe, just maybe he/she will change the world.  

   Seattle is such an amazing place.  So busy and modern and everyone there seems to be so young and hipster and visionary.  And even though at one time it was the most un-churched city in the nation, it now seems to be vibrant and thriving and filled with a hunger to grow and know more of God.   I love it there.  

  I always leave the city a little befuddled.  Why am I a country girl if I love the city so much? How did that happen?  Are we in the wrong place?  Am I just enamored with the romance of the idea of it all and would really actually hate city life? Would I desperately miss the country?  Or would the change be the best thing that's ever happened to us?  Will God call us to a city someday?  Will I live in a town with a population less than 1,000 my whole life??!

We may never know.

  If you follow me on Instagram, you caught little glimpses of our trip while we were there.  We tried to hit some of our favorite spots like Pike's Place market, and can you see that little green awning at the end of this alley and to the left??  That, my friends, is Pike's Place Chowder and happens to be the best bowl of seafood chowder you WILL EVER HAVE IN YOUR LIFE.  Yes, I'm afraid to say, even better than Mo's. Thank me later.

  I want to share more about Seattle and also tell you all about the Bible study we had today, but I'm afraid that's all for now.  Nap time only lasts so long these days (and certainly doesn't happen every day!) and so the time is doled out like precious little war-time ration stamps to my different to-dos on my never-ending list.  

   Did you grow up in the city or the country? And where are you living now?  Which do you prefer and why?  Do you feel like God calls everyone to be specifically where they are, or do people just "end up" somewhere?  Thoughts?



Almost half-way to baby.

   Well we're finally almost at the half-way point around here (19 weeks!) and morale is high.  I am finally past the awfulness known as the first trimester of dreading cooking, despising smells, loathing my kitchen, and wanting to sleep all day long, and entering the warm and fuzzy stage of pregnancy when things start to feel a little more normal.  O.k. let's be honest, cooking still isn't my favorite thing to do.  But at least now it doesn't make me want to simultaneously vomit and burst into tears.  

   If only this sweet baby could know how much it is loved already.  Jocelyn and Charlotte ask OFTEN to "kiss the baby" whereupon they promptly lift my shirt (and yes, they attempt this in public if I'm not paying attention) and plant a big sloppy kiss on my ever-blossoming belly.  It is pretty stinkin' adorable.  

   Jocelyn talks incessantly about how she will grow bigger and bigger and bigger and then hold the baby.  So I'm not sure if she thinks she will be a teenager by the time she/he finally arrives??  I would correct her but sometimes it feels that way to me too.  She is already such a mother/nurturer to Charlotte, I know I am going to basically have to fight for time with my own baby.  

   With toddlers it is SUPER hard to try and communicate the concept of time, and just how long it is going to be before this baby is finally here.  I try the whole, "Daddy's going to have a birthday and then Charlotte will have a birthday and THEN the baby will come" approach, but that doesn't do much to give them an idea of how long that really is.  And I guess in all technicality, I am due June 14th and Charlotte's birthday is June 18th, so the baby COULD come before her birthday, but at this point, I am totally not counting on it.  I am trying to not get my hopes up for anything before July, if my last two pregnancies have anything to say about it. *sigh*

   Seriously though, I am about to go crazy wanting to feel this little babe! Those little flutters and kicks are so calming and reassuring, and supposedly you should feel them between 16-22 weeks.  I know that still gives me some time, but STILL.  I just want a good ol' roundhouse to the ribs every now and then to remind me that there IS someone in there, and they are alive and well.  Oh, and please remind me of this when I'm laying in bed and he/she is having an all-out dance party in there. 

  I took these two little munchkins along to my last appointment, and I was a little apprehensive about how things would go, but they did GREAT.  Despite having to park like, 5 miles away (it felt like it) and being a few (more like 10) minutes late, everything went quite smoothly.  Jocelyn was all goofy and giddy until they listened to the heartbeat, and then she got really anxious and covered her face with her hands.  But she secretly loved being able to go with me to see the midwife and talked about it for a long time.

   Charlotte of course doesn't seem to comprehend very much of any of it, but just loves being along for the ride, of course.  And MAN those two are growing up fast.  I remember when I had two (almost) non-walkers and would carry Jocelyn on my hip and a car seat in the crook of my other arm, and entering and exiting buildings felt like powerlifting and cardio rolled into one.  Now they are following me along, even helping carry a bag or backpack now and then.  What a difference a year or two can make!!

   And lastly, just for fun, let's have some discussion on finding out the gender.  In a few weeks I will have my ultrasound and we could find out what we're having if we choose to do so.  So far we have experienced both ways....we didn't know with Jocelyn and we did with Charlotte.  You would think trying both ways would make it easy to decide but my husband likes knowing and I like NOT knowing! So we are still undecided about which we will do.:)

How about you?? Which do you choose, and why?  I would love to hear.:)

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