Monday, February 16, 2009

Mama Monday

Today's lovely Mama Monday is the ever-so-cute Laurel from the blog "Happy at Home".
Now, that's my kind of girl!!
Laurel often will show glimpses into her cozy, comfortable home. It is obvious she has a gift for designing a haven for her family:
Laundry room

Nook in the kitchen. (I adore her yellow chair.) She put it there for her boys to sit and hang out with her while she cooks.

Adorable lettering on her stairs...
A welcoming home.

Laurel has three boys and is expecting her fourth boy this summer.She has always wanted to be a mom of all boys, and now her dream has come true!!
Ladies, I bring you--

What is the greatest thing about being a mom?

The greatest thing about being a mom is the deep, strong range of emotions that surfaced after I became a parent. Everything became so much more intense. My love for my children actually physically hurts sometimes, it is so overwhelming. My fears are more real. My compassion for others is much greater. I am less judgmental, the more children I have. As cheesy as it sounds, it really was like I saw life in black and white, and only after I had children did I see in color. It was that big a shift. Also, whoever said that having children was the fast track to sanctification was right!! I am constantly battling my negative emotions too...frustration, anger, etc. Having children shows me my sin with a magnifying glass!

What is the hardest thing about being a mom?

The Hardest thing about being a mom is being consistent and intentional. Though I am physically present with my children almost 24/7, I often mentally check out. Sometimes one of my children can say my name ten times before I even hear him...I am off in la la land with my own thoughts, dreams, and ideas. I have to work very hard to stay present and to actively engage with my children. Also, being consistent in discipline is very tough (OK, impossible).

What are some of your style inspirations?

Some of my Style icons/inspirations are Lauren Hutton, Audrey Hepburn, Anthropologie and J.Crew catalogs, Ralph Lauren, movies: Something's Gotta Give, Chocolat, Babette's Feast, and websites (listed below).

Favorite blogs/websites:

A few of my favorite blogs and websites are:
Labour and Wait
Runner's World
Pleasant View Schoolhouse
Soule Mama
House of Bliss
Nie Nie Dialogues

How do you find balance in your life?

I find balance in my life by staying home a lot. Keeping my schedule really simple and staying home a good deal of the time helps me to focus on my top priorities: my family and my home. When I fill my calendar with too many obligations, I tend to get really frazzled and short with the kids. I try to have friends over to my house, rather than meet them out. It is more relaxed and I enjoy practicing hospitality. Also, my husband and I have a date night every single Monday night. Having that time with him is the highlight of my week. Beyond that, finding balance is always a work in progress, isn't it? My mother is in her mid-fifties and still searching for it. I just try to reconcile that balance is something worth striving for, but probably won't be achieved on any lasting basis because our lives aren't static...they are always changing, the people we love are always changing, and that requires constant adjustment. My favorite book on the subject is Gifts from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

One word that describes me: Growing

Hobbies and interests?

Some of my hobbies and interests are:
-Running (and other sports)
-Decorating my home
-Natural living (composting, baby wearing, natural cleaning products, simple living, square foot gardening, etc.)

One thing that has been on my mind lately-- is the summer!! I am so looking forward to the long, lazy days of summer...spending time at the beach and the pool. Eating fresh blueberries, watermelon, corn on the cob, and big salads. Listening to Prairie Home Companion with my mom while we cook. The smell of fresh cut grass. Watching the boys on the slip and slide. A tan. My brother's wedding. Our new baby!

I couldn't live without--this is a question that I won't allow myself to take literally because when I think about the things that I think I can't live without, I am embarrassed. Obviously, I could live without my feather comforter, my iphone, my washer and dryer, Kitchen Aid stand mixer, and a dozen other things that I enjoy. I could live without all of them. But they sure are nice to have!

What helps you get through tough days?

What helps me through tough days is talking to my mother on the phone. We only live ten minutes apart but it is a rare morning that I haven't talked to her before 10 am. She raised and home schooled five children and is quite a force of nature. I don't feel guilty whining to her, and while she will lend an ear, she also sets me straight and encourages me to get a grip :) During these last few months, as I have struggled through first trimester nausea, there have been many days that she has brought me food, taken a couple of the kids for a few hours, or just reminded me that this is a very short season of life. I am so, so thankful for her!
Also, "taking 10" really helps me on trying days. I have a cozy chair in a corner of my room, and when I really feel at the end of my rope, I tell the boys that I am taking 10 minutes to myself. I take a cup of hot tea to my chair, close the door, and use that time to take deep breaths, pray for patience/understanding/love/whatever I am lacking, and quote scripture of promise to myself...usually verses that remind me that God has not given me more than I can handle.

Thank you Laurel!!!


Courtney said...

I think we would be really good friends if we were to meet ;) I was just thinking in the wee hours of this morning how I need to reread Gifts of the Sea. Thanks for the inspiration for this week.

Natalie said...

That was wonderful! I love the idea of "taking 10" and using that time to pray and refocus. Something I think I will try!

Vicki Wilson said...

I am so very proud of my little cousin who is such a precious person and fabulous mother!! Your mom & dad sure know how to raise their children the right way and you are lovingly following their same path. Congrats on being picked the "Mother of the day". You are very deserving of this!!

Marybeth said...

I am really enjoying meeting these lovely ladies. Thanks for introducing us to Laurel-- I plan to check out her blog!

Aimee said...

I. Love. Laurel.

Enough said :)

Pink Slippers said...

Love the description of herself!
Cute home.
Thanks for sharing this awesome Mommy with us.

DaddyofThree said...

She is more amazing then any words she could put down on this electronic mystery that we call the internet (thanks Al Gore HA HA HA) She inspires me, encourages me, and I am at total peace knowing that she is over the domain of our home that God has graciously given us. Thanks for being you Laurel...You are the BEST!!

Much Love


jennyevelyn said...

Laurel and I were born one week apart and have been best friends since. We were baptized on the same sunday, played soccer together, have many sleepovers and even stared in a pageant together(it was horrible for us both, idk what we were thinking) Even though life's paths have taken us very different ways...(She is a mother of 4 and I am a mother of a small business and a dog.) I cannot think of a better BBF that I know I can rely on! What a blessing to have friends like you!

Christine said...

What a lovely interview! I just read Gift From the Sea for the 2nd time- the first being before I was married. Back then I didn't "get it". Now the book has touched me so deeply- it's highlighted everywhere! Love the pictures from Laurel's home. Thanks Andrea, for "introducing" us!

Amber Goins said...

Laurel, You are an amazing person. Your little guys (and your big one) are extremely blessed to have you in their lives. It is such a blessing to me to see someone who truly appreciates the gifts that God has given them. You are an inspiration. :)