Adaptability, Moms DO Play Video Games, & Getting Crafty

My Month of Adaptability

Wow! It’s been a while since I have been able to blog, but I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to sit down and write. This blog post may seem a little all over the place, but that’s been my life lately. If this month had a theme name, it would be ADAPTABILITY!

Each week’s schedule seemed to go out the window from what our family had originally planned and written on the calendar.

I’m definitely a “Type A” person, so I like to have everything written out, organized, and discussed before going into a new week. I’m up for the occasional change or spontaneity, but this month literally had a sudden change every week.

Boy, did my “Type A” personality get sent for a ride!

I won’t go into all the details of the chaos, but we had some drastic, unexpected changes in my husband’s work schedule. And I was suddenly applying and training for an online teaching job, which I’ll discuss in a later blog post. Praise God, I got the job!

Needless to say, a date night or two was canceled and my mother in law was called several times to babysit due to work conflicts. Thankfully, she’s been willing to help us out quite a bit lately. I’ve always appreciated having family close by, but especially with a child now, I really appreciate the extra help!

 

Moms Play Video Games?

Instead of going out on date nights, my husband and I did find some time to relax and play some video games together. It used to be something my husband and I did together regularly before having our son. But, I gave it up because I was completely exhausted by the time the end of the day rolled around. My new routine became watching a show on Netflix and falling asleep while my husband often played a game or two in the basement before heading to bed.

Since I took the time recently to get in a little game play again, I realized just how much I missed it, as well as what I was missing out on by not playing hardly ever in the past year.

I first realized that it was one of the activities my husband and I did together that we both enjoyed, and I hadn’t put in the effort to play at all (or at least not very much). I’m not saying we should be playing video games every night, but playing video games together has been an easy way for us to connect and spend time together. And I still want my husband and I to spend quality time together even after having our son.

It’s been a little crazy at times, especially this past month, but I always want our relationship to be a priority. We’re in this for a lifetime!

Video games have also been a big stress reliever for me; I find that I always end up laughing hysterically at some ridiculous thing I did while playing, and I like the competition that comes with game play.

Maybe this makes me somewhat of a nerd, or maybe someone will read this and be shocked that a mom plays video games. Gasp! But, there’s no age or gender limitations that come with playing. Who knows, maybe there are other moms out there like me playing too. And someday, I hope to be that grandma that’s still playing video games with her husband, kids, and grand-kids.

 

Random Computer Update

I have a new computer now, yippee! Believe it or not, all my other blog posts I wrote from a computer where the “period” button did not work.

How did I complete my sentences, you ask? Well, let’s just say I had to do a lot of copying and pasting. You can imagine how frustrating that would have been, but hey, I got used to it over several months, so now I’m getting used to using the “period” button again.

This new computer rocks! We ended up going with a Lenovo Yoga. I can’t say enough good things about it, so if you’re looking for a quality computer, I would highly suggest this one. Thanks to my friends and family on Facebook and elsewhere for your suggestions.

 

Beyond Cuteness- Crafty Halloween

So, if you know me very well, you will know that I NEVER do crafts at home. With Halloween on the horizon, I had the idea that I was going to make my son’s Halloween costume this year. I was convinced I could make a costume for much less than the $30 or $40 costumes at the store. He’s only 13 months old, so any costume he’d wear this year wouldn’t fit in the future.

Thankfully, I came across the Bombshell Bling blog where she had created two separate ghost costumes- one for her 4-month-old baby, and another for her 3-year-old son. The costume seemed super easy to do, especially for someone like me who doesn’t sew all the time.

This is how mine turned out on my son.

Super cute, right?

I found several YouTube videos that helped me learn how to create the hat from the same fleece fabric that I had used for the poncho ghost costume. I will link those here and here. I used a combination of both YouTube videos to create my hat. I ended up only using one layer of fleece material, but I did sew mine by hand.

You can find further directions below. I forgot to take pictures as I was creating the hat, and I normally don’t do crafts (like I said), so I apologize ahead of time if my directions aren’t very clear. Hopefully, the videos and the Bombshell bling blog will also help for anyone interested in creating a similar costume.

 

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 yard of white fleece fabric (possibly more if your child is larger)
  • 2- 8.5 x 11 sheets of black felt
  • Fabric Glue
  • Sewing Scissors

Ghost Poncho:

  • First, I cut the white fleece fabric so that it hung down evenly over my son. I measured the fabric so that it hung down to his ankles on both his front and back side. The lengths of the fabric for his wingspan also went out to his wrists.
  • I then folded the fabric in half on a table, and used a small glass to draw a half circle on the fabric where the head would go through, and cut around the half circle markings. I ended up having to do this twice on two different cut outs of fleece because my first cut-out was too large. Please be aware that the fleece stretches really easily, so the hole you cut doesn’t necessarily need to be as large as your child’s head size; I made mine slightly smaller and it stretched to fit over his head.
     
  • I then kept the fleece fabric folded in half and cut the square edges so that they were rounded.
  • I then used my sewing scissors to go around the edges of the fabric to cut strips of the fleece about one inch wide, and about two inches in length. I think I could have made my strips slightly thinner (you’ll see what I mean by this in the next step).
  • Because I had wider strips of fabric, I chose to only tie every other strip all the way around the fabric. I knotted every other strip unto itself, so it wasn’t tied to any other strip. I noticed that if I attempted to tie every strip, it became too difficult, and the fabric would shrink up to be too short. Since my child is still crawling, this shrunk up the fleece fabric just enough above his knees, so that he can still crawl around while wearing the poncho. If he was walking, I may have measured the fabric slightly longer to do the strips.
  • After the strips were all done, I cut out the face for my ghost after tracing a design on the black felt fabric. I then used the glue and placed the felt fabric face in the middle of the ghost poncho.

 

For the Hat:

I watched the YouTube videos listed above. Like I said before, I did end up sewing mine by hand, but the hat didn’t take more than 20 minutes to complete. It was very simple with the right head measurements.

  • Measure your child’s head size.
  • Cut the fleece material so that the stretchy side of the fleece is used for the width of the hat and not the length. This is very important so that the fabric will stretch width-wise when putting the hat on your child’s head rather than length-wise. I cut my fabric roughly 1-2 inches shorter than my child’s head measurement because I knew the fleece would stretch. I probably would do the exact measurement next time I make a hat since it does fit pretty snugly.
  • For the length of the hat, I measured 12 inches, and cut. Once again, this will differ depending on your child’s head size. I kind of ball-parked the measurement based on how I knew the hat would turn out.
  • Lay your fleece material width wise across the table and fold it in half. Make sure the inside half (the two fleece pieces that are touching one another), are the sides that you would like showing on the outside of the hat. Once you have done that, you will use your needle and thread or a sewing machine to sew the two pieces of fleece together- sew right along the edge of the two pieces connecting. SEW LEAVING 2 INCHES AT THE TOP PART OF HAT STILL OPEN.
  • You will then flip your hat inside out. The side you just sewed together should be on the inside of the hat.
  • Your hat should be length-wise now, and you should be able to fold the ends up twice at the base of the hat (the opposite end of the open flap where you didn’t sew).
  • From the excess fabric that I cut off, I cut a long sliver of fabric to be used later for the top part of the hat.
  • On the opposite end of the folded part of the hat, I took my scissors and began to cut strips at the open end of the hat where it wasn’t completely sewn all the way up. My strips were roughly a ¼ of an inch wide, and I made sure the ends of the hat were cut on the sides as well.
  • From there, I took my excess fabric that I cut off in step 7, and tied it around the white fleece strips that I just cut in step 8. I made sure to poof out the hat a little bit, just below the strips, and I tied the excess fabric so that the knot was in the back of the hat. I then cut off the extra fabric left over from the knot so that it was no longer visible.

 

I’m really excited for my little guy to wear his outfit for Halloween, and the total cost was no more than $10 to complete!

 

I warned you this blog post would be random, but if you made it this far, I commend you for reading. Thanks for stopping by the Fish Full Life Blog, and don’t forget to subscribe!

Powerful Prayers: Building Relationships

 

“A religion that is small enough for our understanding would not be big enough for our needs.” Corrie Ten Boom

“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” –Max Lucado

“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” -1 John 5:14

 

Prayer is difficult, and yet it is so simple.  It’s the act of opening up one’s heart to the Lord.

It’s an ongoing conversation, speaking from the promptings of one’s soul.

Sometimes the words just aren’t there for me, but I know God hears the pain in my groans, feels the joy and thankfulness that overflow from my heart, and loves me despite my iniquities.

Prayer is a reminder that God desires a connection with me.

Like most relationships, it takes effort for them to flourish, and it’s the same in my relationship with my Heavenly Father. But, it’s because of my growing relationship with a loving God that I’m reminded of the power and importance of prayer.

 

I don’t think any of us fully understands how prayer works. God’s too magnificent and multifaceted for any of us to completely comprehend His power and glory.

But in His Word, we understand that prayer is important; it’s essential because it’s relational. And it’s moving. It moves our hearts and souls to understand more of who God is, who He wants us to be, and where He wants us to go in His name.

I can’t explain it, but God moves through prayer. It’s powerful.

 

It’s difficult to get away from the world’s distractions and pray.

The idea of prayer doesn’t come naturally. There’s so many distractions in this world that keep me focused on my “own little world”, rather than looking out, and looking up.

I often find myself wanting to pray, beginning to pray, and then suddenly remembering I need to e-mail someone, questioning what I’ll make for dinner, or feeling the need to have noise because the silence seems uncomfortable.

Silence in itself can be scary. I readily feel the need to fill silence when it’s there, rather than embrace it as a gift.

A time of peace.

A time of quiet.

A time of reflection.

A time for prayer.

 

I’m not saying that God only uses the silent times to direct us to pray; we can pray in any and every situation by just uttering the words in our minds. And even when we don’t have the words, God knows our hearts, and feels the inexpressible words we want to relay to Him.

But, when I embrace the silence to pray, God will often use it in ways that I would have never imagined.

He moves my heart to pray for someone in my family, a difficult situation with a friend, for my husband in his job, or for our country’s leaders, among other things.

And most of the time the promptings to pray for certain people, situations, or events only come during that time where I’m in-tune with God because He wants to communicate to me that this is important, this person needs to be on your heart, or this event needs to be on your radar.

 

Just recently, I had a friend respond to my blog. She had stated that she wished her faith was stronger at this point in her life. And she said that talking about anything faith related always seemed difficult. I told her that I completely understood where she was coming from, and I responded by saying I would pray for her.

But, God was prompting me to do more. Through the simple act of lifting up my friend in prayer, God nudged me to go further than just a prayer- that was just the start.

I didn’t know exactly what He had in store, but I had a pretty good idea that it started with a relationship. I needed to build a relationship with my friend, and rely on my relationship with the Lord in order to know what to do next.

A few weeks later, my church announced that they were initiating the Starting Point study created by Andy Stanley. The scheduled meeting times for this study through our church didn’t work for my friend or I, and so that left me empty handed. I considered doing an online study, but I wasn’t sure where to start. That’s when God pushed me to do something that scared me, but I knew I needed to follow through with it.

He revealed to me that I needed to have a conversation about faith in my own home.

Yikes!  (That was my initial thought).

In my heart, I know that change doesn’t come from staying comfortable; change comes from moving out of our cozy places into new territory. Relationships are built by taking chances, accepting people where they are, and loving them.

 

The result of my prayer wasn’t a large Bible study group, but rather it led me to just sitting down with my friend in my home. Thankfully, we’ve been able to use the study resources that my church provided through the Andy Stanley study.

I can’t think of a better place to build a relationship, learn, and grow in faith than in a person’s home. It’s a welcoming and relaxing place to have a conversation.

We’re on a journey together to grow deeper in faith, learning more of who Jesus is, and unfolding the misunderstandings of the Christian faith.

It’s a safe place to ask questions, discuss, read, and reveal truth.

Our meetings are the beginning of something beautiful, and it all started with the power of prayer.

 

 

A big thank you to my church and our associate pastor for putting together some great Bible studies this fall. I was introduced to Starting Point: A Conversation About Faith by Andy Stanley. This continues to be a wonderful resource for my friend and I as we continue our conversation on faith.

First Year & the Power of a Written Letter

Catching Up

This past week, my husband and I have been recovering from a long month of traveling, planning, and preparing for various events that made September a whirlwind of a month. It’s been a fun and busy time for us, and I’m thankful we could celebrate some special events with so many friends and family that we don’t see very often.

During this past week, we’ve been cleaning up our house from our son’s birthday party. I guess a parent can never prepare for what will happen at a child’s first birthday.

Needless to say, our little guy slept for half of it, and then cried while eating his cake.

It was probably a little startling for him to wake up from a nap and have so many people starring at him as he ate something overly sweet that he’d never experienced before.

But, he ended up enjoying himself after he had some real food, and could move around in his little walking scooter. So, it ended up being a good birthday overall.

 

First Year

I can’t describe how quickly this first year of my son’s life has gone. And yet, there have also been some really long days and weeks that seemed like they would never end.

A year ago at this time, I was lucky to get in a shower each day. I still distinctly remember the first week my husband went back to work, my parents had left to go back home, and I was alone with a newborn baby in our home.

I wasn’t nervous, thankfully, but I remember one night I just wanted to take a shower. Our little guy would not stop crying and would not go to sleep. I called my husband at work, and he reassured me that leaving my son in his bassinet for five minutes crying wasn’t going to kill him so that I could take a shower.

As any parent knows, when you hear your little person crying and screaming his head off, it’s hard not to sweep him up and try and comfort him.

Thankfully, I did take my husband’s advice. I hung up the phone, put my little guy in his bassinet, and quickly took a shower while he continued to cry. It was in that moment, I realized he was going to be just fine, and taking five minutes for me wasn’t going to hurt anyone.

At the time, it seemed like a never-ending cycle of rocking my little guy to sleep, and waking up four or five times a night to feed him, but those nights quickly faded away.

The way I hold him quickly changed too.

I no longer hold him like he’s a little baby nestled in my arms. He now sits comfortably on my hip, and most of the time he doesn’t even want that because he prefers to be on the move.

One of the sweetest gifts from God is now being able to experience the little hugs my son has learned to give. It’s indescribable how much joy he brings to our lives.

 

My mom gave me a wonderful poem a year ago right before my son was born. It holds so many truths within it. I will always cherish it, and look over it as a reminder to never hope for the next moment in life, but rather, be thankful for the present and appreciate this moment in time.

The Last Time

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,

you will never be the same.

You might long for the person you were before,

When you had freedom and time,

And nothing in particular to worry about.

You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,

And days will run into days that are exactly the same,

Full of feeding and burping,

Whining and fighting,

Naps, or lack of naps. It might seem like a never-ending cycle.

 

But don’t forget…

There is a last time for everything.

There will come a time when you will feed your baby

for the very last time.

They will fall asleep on you after a long day

And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.

One day you will carry them on your hip,

then set them down,

And never pick them up that way again.

You will scrub their hair in the bath one night

And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.

They will hold your hand to cross the road,

Then they’ll never reach for it again.

They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,

And it will be the last night you ever wake for this.

One afternoon you will sing ‘the wheels on the bus’

and do all the actions,

Then you’ll never sing that song again.

They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,

the next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.

You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your

last dirty face.

They will one day run to you with arms raised,

for the very last time.

 

The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time

until there are no more times, and even then,

it will take you a while to realize.

 

So while you are living in these times,

remember there are only so many of them and

when they are gone,

you will yearn for just one more day of them

 

For one last time.

-Author unknown

 

Gratitude & the Power of a Written Letter

As my husband and I wrapped up my son’s birthday party, we also took the time to write thank you notes to family and friends for celebrating with us and for some wonderful birthday gifts.

I love the art of letter writing and journaling, so it never bothers me to write thank you notes. Some may think that’s odd, like my husband, but I guess it takes some of the load off of him to write thank you notes because he knows I enjoy writing them.

Unashamedly, I do get excited when I walk down an aisle filled with stationary, colorful pens, pretty journals, and lovely cards.

There’s a splendor in hand-written notes and letters that isn’t found in e-mails, status updates, or tweets.

Handwriting is like a thumbprint; it’s unique to each one of us. And there’s a beauty to the individuality within a letter, a journal, or a hand-written note.

bed, book, breakfast

One of my sisters has motivated me to continue writing letters, and to stay in touch with her through being pen-pals by using snail-mail.

She’ll occasionally send post cards, and I’ve sent her a coloring page, and we’ve both sent each other unique stationary and cards. My sister has been doing this since I left for college about ten years ago, and I have to say she’s done a wonderful job of staying in touch with me through writing.

Yes, we still do e-mails and phone calls, but there’s something special about receiving a letter in the mail.

I mean, don’t we all get a little excited when we open the mailbox and something is addressed to us that isn’t a bill or advertisement? I can’t say that happens to me all that often anymore.

 

Thanks to my sister, and to the Hands Free Mama book, I’ve been inspired to write twelve letters of gratitude and love over the next twelve weeks.

I don’t want to place this on my agenda as another thing to do, but rather, I want these letters to flow from my heart and to come at times when God is really calling me to write to someone. So, some weeks I may not feel the need to write any letters, while another week, I may be inspired to write three.

I’m not limiting who I’ll be writing to, so it could be someone I know or maybe someone I don’t know. But, I want these letters to show appreciation for an act, a service, or a person’s friendship.

There’s something powerful about written words that touches hearts, and I believe God has placed this on my heart to share love with others through written words.

At the end of these twelve weeks, I’m hoping to share how my letters went, who I wrote to, and if I received any responses.

I’m excited to see where this writing experience will take me, and how it may change or shape me to share love with others.