Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Monday, May 28, 2012

happy birthday, babe.

Happy 28th Birthday to arguably the best husband ever. 4 years ago we were celebrating your 24th in Hawaii, thinking that life couldn't possibly get any better. 

Our honeymoon in paradise was undeniably amazing, but I think the view from our hammock today is even better. 

Who knew that 4 years could bring so many blessings, so many memories, so many lessons? Amazing, really. And to think we've got all of these years before us. That's mind-blowing awesome if you ask me. I love you, Happy Birthday to my best friend, from your Mrs. Engel, the monster and the peanut. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

life lately.

1. Being back to work is great- totally exhausting, but great!
2. Dan created a mini "gym" for me in the garage so that I have a more pleasant view when I run on the treadmill and I love it! I love how empowered I feel after finishing a tough run.
3. The Peanut has decided she's been still long enough. Her new army-crawling and knee-rocking skills are slowly giving her more and more freedom.
4. The things that come our of Jackson's mouth get funnier by the day. Oh, that child...
5. He also continues to be quite the smarty-pants. ABCs, spelling his name, counting, letter sounds, a spanish word here and there, shapes, colors... you name it, no problem.
6. I couldn't be happier with Nanny Amy. She and Jackson accomplish quite a bit while we're at work and when asked who is "best friend is" he now replies with "Amy" much to Dan's dismay (he had been reigning champ there for quite some time). 
7. The Peanut. She loves her daddy. And he loves the attention she gives him. I think "Daddy's girl" is going to be an understatement. 
8. Audrey and Dan had their first "date night" on Friday when he begged me to take her to a ball game with him to catch up with some friends. 
9. I stole my own peanut time this afternoon when Audrey and I met some of my girlfriends for bunch downtown after church. I love having a mini-me to brunch with.
10. This week is gearing up to be jam-packed work-wise- I'm definitely jumping in full force on that front.  Luckily we have a 3-day weekend coming up with an anniversary (4 years!) and a birthday (Dan will be 28!) to celebrate! 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

colossians 3:23

This morning in worship we focused on the deadly distraction of laziness. 

I went into service with some expectations set in my mind of the key points that would probably be made, but I was surprised to find that I learned a lot more than I thought I would. I learned to think of "laziness" in a slightly different way that left me wondering why I never defined it this way before?

We talked about how laziness isn't the absence of being busy, it isn't defined necessarily by not doing anything, but rather it is defined by not doing the right things. In other words, it is knowing what you should do, but not doing it anyway... because you're being lazy: emotionally, physically, psychologically. 

For example, it is saying "I don't have time to go to church and worship The Lord because..." No, you do have time, you're just not making it a priority, you're being lazy. It is saying (as I do way too often), "I was just too tired/busy to work-out today because..." Again, no, you didn't work out because you didn't make it a priority, you were being lazy. 

So, while I went into service thinking and believing that I am not a lazy person at all, I left realizing that there are points every single day when I am indeed being lazy. When I am taking the easy route instead of the right route- the route Jesus would have gone himself. 

On the way home I started making a mental list of times when I've been lazy recently and praying that the next time I start to act out in one of these areas I will be reminded of today's message. Here are the 5 that I decided to write down so that I will remember to focus on these areas until "overcoming lazy" here becomes a habit:

1. Giving in to Jackson's requests (for extra treats, to stay up past bed time, to get his way right this minute) in order to have peace and quiet... when in fact I know that this, over time, will only teach him be impatient, demanding and self-centered. 

2. Skipping working out because I'm tired or just "not in the mood" when I know that I can't be the best me if I'm not the healthiest me... and this only comes with hard, consistent work. 

3. "Relaxing" by spending too much time online when I know I should allow myself that treat but quickly move on to something more worthwhile. 

4. Giving Dan my "leftovers" at the end of a hard day... when in my heart I know our relationship is actually the most important gift me can give our children. 

5. Letting the deep connection I have with The Lord weaken as the week progresses when I know that I need to have an ongoing conversation with Him that includes digging into His word on a daily basis. 

Lord, please give me the strength to remember how you yourself would choose to act in the day to day choices that I'm faced with every hour so that I can continue to love abundantly, grow continuously and grow forever closer to you.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

lessons from the first week.

10 lessons learned this week after going back to work full-time after 6 amazing months on maternity leave:

1. Be sure to wear water-proof mascara and preferably bring eye drops for day #1's 45 minute, sob-fest commute.
2. My arguably over-the-top prep work totally paid off. When those countless random thoughts came to mind while at work (did I remember to tell her that Audrey likes this or to not let Jackson do this...) I could quickly dismiss them because I knew I had covered them (yes, in the 12-page nanny guide).
3. Trust is everything. Knowing that my babies were in hands that I 100% trust is priceless and absolutely not a negotiable area.
4. The love for getting dressed in my "business clothes" has not diminished one little bit since I was a little girl dreaming of doing so.
5. Pack my lunch. My new office site has sub-par food options and I regretted it majorly when I decided to not pack a couple of days.
6. Caffeine is my most needed assistant. Full-time schedule + 2 babies 2 and under means I got an average of maybe 6 hours of sleep each night. Thankfully Dan has taken on coffee-making-duty to help with the 5:30 wake-up call.
7. I am not a morning person, so while building in timing padding in the morning is not fun at first, it is so worth it to not have to rush around as much, especially since the babies are so unpredictable with their needs. Bonus: I actually had a little "play time" with them both on multiple occasions before work!
8. The lessons I learned from going back from maternity leave last time definitely helped set expectations for myself, making it a little smoother.
9. But, on the flip side, leaving a 2 year old (plus an infant) is completely different than just leaving an infant. In other words, he talks and he totally knows what is going on which makes leaving him in the morning 100 times harder.
10. And lastly, the most important lesson, in my opinion, which I failed to really keep in mind the first time I went back to work after having a baby is to be 100% clear, 100% of the time on why you are doing what you're doing. What is your ultimate purpose for working full-time. And to be clear, it must be more than "to make money"... because lets face it, our time with our children is priceless, so it must be at a much higher level than that. Dan and I have had multiple conversation on this- both for him and for me- and so we are crystal clear and therefore inspired and driven to be the best we can be both when we're at home and when we're in the office. And that is the absolute key difference, for me, on why I ended my first week completely fulfilled in all parts of life.
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