Tag Archives: Family

Don’t Should All Over Yourself

18 Feb


This week I had the awesome privilege of catching up with a former co-worker.  During our conversation, she expressed a desire to stay home with her children and an overwhelming sense of discouragement, convinced that full-time employment prevented her from being the mom she longed to be.

I understand.  Up until Baby #3 I worked full-time.

I understand having to rely on others for help, the pressures of finding an amazing (affordable + trustworthy) nanny, and a full-day, loving preschool.  I understand the guilt that accompanies a sunrise drop off and a sun set pick up.  And, in the same breath, I realize how fortunate we are that I can stay home with the kiddos.

It is a blessing.

I love it

…don’t get me wrong.

But, to be honest, when I was working outside of the home, I envisioned “stay-at-home life” as days filled with friends and their kids, manicures and pedicures, flowers, rainbows and such.  Somehow the ideas of constant entertainment, teaching and rearing, sibling rivalry, laundry, chores, and days filled with adolescent interaction were not as exhausting as they most definitely are!

I used to feel guilty for leaving my child.  Now, I feel guilty for wanting to leave.

It’s important to remember that leaving and staying are two very drastic ends of a spectrum.  As mothers, we need a sense of balance!  Day in and day out I have to remind myself that I am a Woman, I am a Wife, and I am a Mama.  Each of these roles requires nurturing and respect.

Each day I must deliberately ask myself:

How am I appreciating myself as a woman?  Am I taking care of my body (emotionally, spiritually, physically)?  Am I exercising? Eating right?  Cultivating relationships?

Am I  a good wife?  Am I meeting my husband’s needs?  Physically?  Emotionally?  Dutifully (Yes, I said that!)?  Is my man confident he is valued, respected, loved, and appreciated?

How am I doing as a Mama?  Do my kids wake up every morning confident they are loved?  Do my kids crawl into bed each night assured they are special, irreplaceable, treasured?  Do I respect their personalities, encourage their strengths, and challenge their weaknesses?

Life is overwhelming.

On any given day I am happy to self talk about all the things I should have done better; about all the things I should not have done; about all the ways I should have reacted.


I cannot should all over myself!  Don’t should all over yourself!

Take each day hour by hour.  Some hours are better than others!  Cover yourself with grace.  YOU ARE DOING AN AMAZING JOB!!! And, if you royally suck one hour, make the next hour twice as good.

Pick yourself up and move on.

Ultimately, we need to support, love, and encourage one another towards greatness.

What a privilege it is to work both inside and outside the home.  One works to provide shelter and one works to cultivate it, both work out of love for those they love.

Enjoy Yourself.


Sock Lunches

30 Nov

Love is a verb, which means I need to put love into action.  Granted, it is easiest to show love to my husband, kids, family, and friends.  But, I am additionally called to love my enemies, my neighbors and the unlovely.  It’s much easier said than done.  During our recent road trip to San Francisco we saw many homeless people.  Outside of restaurants, on street corners, wandering aimlessly.  Lately I’ve been so consumed with raising the kids, loving the Mr. and running the roost that I have turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to those less fortunate.  I am definitely ashamed to admit that, but it is  true!  As we drove, I remembered a gesture Brett and I used to make when we were first married.  I committed to begin again with our Sock Lunches.

Although it’s simple and small, I pray its contents will bless those who receive it!

The Sock Lunch:
1 pair of socks (a single sock to stuff and one to fold on top)
1 canned food meal (We used a Chef Boyardi, pop top, healthy entrée with no cooking required.)
1 can/plastic fruit cup
1 bottle water
1 utensil
1 handwritten note (You and important.  You matter.  Know God loves you.)
How to Assemble: Open one of the socks, shove the water bottle

Give to those in need!

to the toe end along with the note and utensil.  I like to tape the note to the bottle and place the utensil on the side.  On top of the water, place the canned food and fruit cup.  Fold second sock and place on top of the fruit cup.  One sock should appear stuffed like a long snake.  The contents provide a person in need with a meal and a clean pair of socks.  Sock Lunches are easy to make.  My five-year old and three-year old participate in the preparation.  We make several at a time.  I keep a box behind my driver’s seat where I am able to reach a sock and hand it to someone in need at a moment’s notice.

The holidays are expensive.  This is an inexpensive way to show love and grace to someone in need!   It’s not how much or what you give, what’s most important is that you give!  The intent is to bless others.  Put love into action!  Don’t be surprised if you feel blessed in return.  Giving is amazing that way.


12 Nov

The Golden Gate Bridge at Sunset

We are back!  I am happy to say that after seven years of marriage, three kids, and two careers, The Normans had a family vacation.

There are plenty of people who can pack up and go wherever, whenever they please.  We are not those people!  Our trip took planning, budgeting, and tons of prayer.  After all, we were driving with three kids to San Francisco.  Our initial intent was to travel north for my cousin’s wedding; a simple, quick turnaround for me and the Mr.  But, my aunt offered to line up a babysitter if we wanted to bring the kids. The opportunity presented itself and we went with it!

My husband and I are pretty laid back, so when we missed the exit for the 5 and ended up on the 99, we didn’t stress too much.  We soon learned the detour would only take us 20 miles off track so there was no need to freak out or turn around.  Our sidestep led to lunch at Bravo Cheese Farm; a quaint little stop laden with fabulous Americana, a three-story treehouse, and sweet treats!   After several stops to let the kids ride their scooters, we made it to Pleasanton. The town is adorable.  We played Bocce ball at Campo di Bocce (I want one in SoCal!!!), played in the pool at the hotel, and then enjoyed the wedding at Ruby Hills Golf Club.  It was truly gorgeous.  After a final brunch with extended family, we made our way to the city.

Have you ever experienced a moment when time seems to stand still?  Without rush or anxiety, much is accomplished…that was what we experienced!

We found our way to the hotel and walked a block to Fisherman’s Wharf.  Bread Bowls at Boudins, Ice Cream on Pier 39, rides on the San Francisco Carousel, and Sea Lion viewing.  Exhausted, our kids fell asleep early.  Brett and I ordered an artisan pizza, which we toasted with a couple of beers on the bed as the kids slept.  The following day we enjoyed breakfast, a cable car ride, Chinatown, the park in St. Mary’s Square, and grilled cheese sandwiches at Cowgirl Creamery in the Embarcadero.  The afternoon brought a ride over the Golden Gate Bridge, a stroll through Mill Valley (where I excitedly visited Tyler Florence), and dinner and dessert in Ghirardelli Square.  Do we sound nuts?  Because, in retrospect, I think we sound absurd!

I cannot tell you enough how amazing the time was, how enjoyable our experiences were, how elated the kids were to experience different sites and treats.  Brett and I will treasure their faces and the first family vacation forever!  And, amazingly, we are back refreshed.  Maybe not so much physically as we are emotionally.  The experience refreshed our souls, minds, and spirits, which I believe are equally if not more important than our bodies!

Family + Food + Friends + Football = Fall

3 Nov
Chocolate chip muffins baking in an oven

Image via Wikipedia

One of our favorite holiday eats comes from Trader Joe’s.  Available one time per year, the Pumpkin Muffin mix and the Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle mix add to the season’s ambiance.  My kiddos love to climb up to the counter, add small hands, and eat scattered chocolate chips!  It takes a little extra time and it’s definitely messier, but I’m banking on the fact that I’m creating memories to last a lifetime.  Although the recipe doesn’t call for chocolate chips, we have found that adding 3/4 cup to the muffins and scattering a couple onto each pancake makes for good eats!

Baking always gives me a little smile, which is why I was so excited to discover this list about Fall Treats.

Thank you for the list  Lauren, http://thelittlethingswedo.blogspot.com/ and to Roxanne at  http://roxannima.com/ for bringing it to my attention.

1. Nothing says fall like … cinnamon, chicken pot pies, Monday Night Football, leaves

2. My favorite autumnal tradition is … Crisp, cold morning beach walks; the CrapFair – first Sunday in November

3. My favorite fall treat is …  Pumpkin Muffins from Trader Joe’s with Chocolate Chips added and the Pumpkin Spiced Latte from Starbucks (One time per year!)

4. Fall makes me think of … Crisp mornings, blustery days, apple picking in Julian, football season

5. Autumn free form word association … go! coats, blustery, Thanksgiving, scarves, apples, harvest, pumpkins

6. My go-to outfit in the fall is … jeans, sweatshirt / sweater, scarf, and although I should probably wear some shoes, I will forever be flopping around in my Rainbow Sandals

7. My favorite fall holiday is … Thanksgiving is absolutely my favorite holiday of the year with the Fourth of July running a  close second.  Giving thanks, spending time with family, running the Turkey Trot, enjoying delicious home baked goods, and relaxing. Family, Friends, Food, and Football.  Is there anything better?

Happy Thanksgiving!

The S Word

20 Oct

Serve. It truly is the dirtiest word in the English language. Serving involves setting aside my own agenda, tapping into another person’s needs, and meeting those needs to the best of my ability. It may be messy, it may be uncomfortable, it may be inconvenient, and it may even be draining. But, something amazing happens when I serve others. A little glimmer of joy, of passion, of goodness, of hope, of kindness, of love begins to light up inside my soul. Without knowing it I find myself absolutely blessed to the core!

In our society it is commendable to serve others. We serve the poor and the homeless, feeding them meals and giving them clothing. We take our friends meals when they’ve had children or when they are sick. We sign up for bake sales. We buy cookies from the Girl Scouts. We help in the Community. We are inherently kind to strangers.

…So here’s what I don’t understand. If it’s great to serve others and reach out to help people, when did the idea of serving our husbands become a negative chore? If we are so generous serving strangers, why do we burn out and act disgruntled when we serve those we love?

I recently attended a wedding ceremony where the pastor offered a statement about the privilege of serving in a marriage.

Marriage is a business, a partnership, a friendship, a team. We enter into marriage hoping both parties will give equally; and they should. The notion of giving equally is an evaluation of marriage as a whole – from start to finish. But in a marriage, forever is broken down into decades; decades to years; years to months; and months to days. And guaranteed there will be days when one or both of us will wake up sick, sad, grumpy, busy, and even needy. As a spouse, it is crucial to step in and meet the needs of our partner; it is important we serve them just as we would serve others!