we went to New York with five children!!

newyork2014
Hey guys! We just got back from NEW YORK!! If you were wondering why I haven’t blogged in five days (probably not, but ya know..) it is because we paired up with my best friend and her husband and kids and took an impromptu FIVE day trip to see six different states, ending up in NYC.

newyork2014q

So, next week I will be doing a five day blog mini series all about our road trip with five children in tow and how we conquered a big city with strollers.

But what I need from YOU is this–what would you like to know? How long it took? What we did to prepare? If we let them eat from a street vendor? (Quick answer to that: YES).

newyork2014h

Leave a comment here OR over on the Letters from the Nest facebook fan page I will be back on Monday with the mini-series. In the meantime, follow me on Instagram (here) and you can search all of our trip photos by using #LettersfromNYC. See ya Monday! I’ve got some laundry to catch up on…

cell phone friday, volume 34.

Hey guys! We made it. It is FRIDAY, which of course means it is CELL PHONE FRIDAY, volume 34. We have some good stuff this week, as per usual, so let’s get right to it!

 

cell phone friday 34a

Okay, so what IS IT with people flushing randomness down public toilets? Last week’s Cell Phone Friday had a restroom disclaimer too. Oh, and I had to ask my friend who sent this in what “nips” are. They are tiny bottles of liquor?

cpf1

 

So, two things: JESUS is on twitter AND he favorited my tweet about Veterans’ Day.

cell phone friday 34c

 

 

Forget buying everyone in the family a Snuggie. Let’s be economical about it and just get ONE GIANT FAMILY SIZED ONE. (also: aside from the dad having a full head of hair, this looks strikingly similar to MY family. Weird.)

cell phone friday 34d

 

 

 

This is my favorite photo this week. I CAN’T EVEN.

cell phone friday 34e

 

So, you INSTANTLY become Canadian, eh? Like, right then. Canadian.

Want to submit a photo to Cell Phone Friday? It’s simple. Find me on facebook // twitter // instagram or just email me lettersfromthenest@gmail.com

Love ya! Have a great weekend with your family.

November 2014 goals.

november 2014 goals

So, it’s November already? It seems like October just slipped right by us! I started sharing my monthly goals at the urging of my friend over at A Cookie Before Dinner (check her out, you will love her!) and I keep it super light and fun. I have been dividing my goals into three categories: Jesus // Others // Yourself. That’s right, Michelle Duggar: JOY. It’s a great acronym. Let’s discover what I have planned for November:

Jesus: Honestly? Just want to continue to dig deeper in my quiet time. I got sick in October for like, FIVE days with no voice (and all the Elkins children said AMEN) and it threw my morning time off a tad. But I have been diving into She Reads Truth and it is really life giving and I just adore it. Plus, it doesn’t hurt a bit that we have the full set of Matthew Henry commentaries on our bookshelf. (That would be the punchline to: What do you get when two religion majors marry?) Anyway: GET IN THE WORD, FRIENDS.The Lord desires it of us! book of james

Others: Last month, one of my goals was to send out a TON of snail mail. It was so fun that I definitely want to do another round of cards this month! Another goal to tag on to that is to have guests in our home more this month. Hospitality is something that I focused on more at our old house, but ever since we moved to the farm I have kind of lost my way a tad. But our fixer-upper is pretty rad and having friends over sweetens the soul. (PS: I have some lovely writer-friends that recently launched a blog called Grace Table focused on the act of hospitality and it is fantastic. Go by and check it out. Tell ‘em Christie sent ya!)

Yourself: This month, I would love to work on hanging more photos on our hallway walls. And by “more” I mean ANY. Our hallway walls are bare (except for this quaint little lantern) and I would love to fill them with pictures of family. I figure the holidays are a great time to find coupon codes for canvas prints, so if you see any floating around the internets, send them my way? (the picture below of the kids from McKays is one of my faves!) Also: working on a cool writing nook. Brandon found a desk that belonged to his grandmother in his dad’s storage building that simply needs a little TLC and it is good to go. Really excited about owning that space at the end of the hallway. Move along spiders. There’s a new sheriff in town.

kids in bookstore

AND, I just finished the best parenting book EVER. I’ll chat more about that soon.

What are your goals for November? I would love to hear them! If you want to see my October goals from last month, click (here).

when your child wakes up too early.

when your child wakes up too early

 

“Please, not today”, I would think silently to myself as I would hear wobbly, bare feet on a cold dusty floor trample down the hallway toward the kitchen where I sat at the table, reading or typing or most likely both. As someone who purposefully awakens early just to experience her life alone, just for a moment, that quiet pause dutifully interrupted and drawn to a screeching halt puts a damper on the brightest of mornings.
With an exaggerated sigh, I shut my book and toss the pen carelessly to the side, and repeat the exact phrase from the morning before. And the morning before that, and the morning before that: “Son? Are you supposed to get out of your bed and wander around the house in the mornings?”

Shyly he would always smile, and hang his head in mischief, and take his beloved blue dog’s ear out of his mouth and whisper, “No!

“Then go on back to your room, ok?” I would say in an obviously disappointed tone, at which point the other two would hear that one was awake, which presumes that all should awaken, and thus the day begins and my solitude ends.

It was like living life on repeat; each morning he would enter earlier and earlier, and the more intense and desperate my frustration became. I threatened, I disciplined, I raised my voice. But every morning there he was again, ready to see if this time it would be different.

And one morning, he was right. It would be different. He planned a carefully executed sneak attack, crawling around couches and shielding himself with decorative throw pillows truly believing I would be oblivious to his antics. Standing up and ready to take charge of the situation as I had so many other moments in the past, he posed a different inquiry:

“Mommy? Can I go out on the porch and watch the sunrise? I just want to see what it looks like”.

Speechless, I watched him scurry past me and take his place in the wooden porch rocker as an audience of one, observing in awe as the sky burst into shades of pink , gold, and blue. Fog rolled off of the mountains just over the barn, and the rooster began his daily roll call.

“Wow! That was beautiful!” he said. It suddenly occurred to me that he had unknowingly inched his wake time earlier and earlier to meet with the sun.

As all mornings prior, I began to hear movement inside, so we returned indoors and he sat next to me on the couch as I cleaned fingerprints off of the lens of my oversized glasses with my stretched out nightshirt. As my husband straightened his tie and gave his shoes a final shine before work, August uttered the words that changed my mornings forever:

“Daddy? Do you know why I get up early in the mornings? Because every morning I sneak into the kitchen to check on Mommy. And I see her just sitting there by herself. So I go and sit with her, so she will never have to feel alone”.

Maybe you have a child that wakes up at the crack of dawn. Maybe you are exhausted and overwhelmed. Maybe, just maybe, they are not waking up early to frustrate or anger you. They just want to BE with you.

One day I will be alone. I will be in this house, by myself, drinking my coffee. All that time I strived for quiet will have finally arrived and all I will want to do is turn it off. The sun will still rise over those same mountains, shedding blinding light into a kitchen window that will have once been littered with fingerprints. That book I shut every morning in frustration as an interrupted young mother will still be there, because I will always need the Bible, and should have read it more and taken to heart that the Lord is serious about loving His children.

So, when he wakes up tomorrow, I will say nothing. Because my words are not why he is there. He simply wants to fill a void inside of me of which I was unaware. He wants his mother, for only a few minutes, before her life of unintended distraction begins its day. And to see, once again, what the sunrise looks like.

 

(the following story is taken from my Lifestyles column, Letters from the Nest, in the November 6th edition of the LaFollette Press, with the original title, What the Sunrise Looks Like.)