A Thank You Letter to my Friends:

Dear Friend(s):

I just wanted to write you a little note thanking you for being my friend. I know that I can be so busy and sometimes (all the times) forgetful. When I miss an event that is important and you still text me and invite me to lunch, I just want you to know that I appreciate the effort that you are giving me (the person who adores you and is struggling to keep her head above water).

You’ll never know how important our friendship means to me. When you stick by me, send me funny texts and come to the games on Thursday or Friday nights and offer me congratulations, even though I have no bearing on the outcome, THAT support carries me to the next week, to the next season.

I know every wife and every life is busy and stressful but you know how I am, you know that I give my all to one thing and then sometimes other things suffer. Yet, YOU ARE THERE. Being a friend to someone like me must be hard, yet you are still there and for that I will be forever grateful.

Please give me an extra dose of grace the next few months and please keep me in your prayers. This season comes with extra pressure and I want to be my best for everyone including you. Please consider this letter as an invitation to every ball game (with the worst seats in the house), every football club lunch and every Saturday morning that you might want to have coffee with me before Ben wakes up. I need you as a friend and I need you in my life, even when I can’t be the one making plans.

If there is one important lesson that I have learned about friends and football it’s this: You can’t do one without the other. It’s as simple as that…ask any coach’s wife, this part of the year can be so incredibly lonely.  Again, thank you for being my friend your love is more important than you know.

 

With all my love,

Nikki

 

PS: Coach wife friends, thank you so much for putting up with me during the season and us being able to pick up where we left off. Go #badgerfam

PPS: I know I have tons of friends (which I am sooooo thankful for) I just need more pics with you 🙂

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Parenting blogs are for the birds. Here’s another.

You’ve seen them all right? There is a parenting blog for every topic under the sun: Spank, don’t spank, yell, don’t yell, make your kid do chores, drink wine, don’t drink wine, read a book, don’t play on tablets or phones. It’s almost mind numbing how much “advice” there is on the web. So I would like to throw my hat out there…here are a few guiding principles and hopefully some links (that’ll hopefully work) that we use. Let me preface all of this by saying:

“If you are doing it in love, it is probably right.”

We are not our parents or grandparents generation. If you’re like me we are some weird hybrid of knowing life before it got all tech-y yet we can still learn new things when they come out every week. Our parents made us play outside constantly and didn’t worry about anything yet now we KNOW we can’t really do a lot of free-range parenting because let’s be honest. People suck.

So even though this is kind of like a list of things to do, I want you to read it more like: “here is how we do life, lets use what works and think they’re crazy on the ones that don’t.”

Chandler Principles:

  1. Use the bible as your guidebook. For discipline, for love, for everything. Read bible stories to your kids. We do this every night. Ben reads three bible stories then I put them to sleep with an extremely long prayer. It’s strategic but I think of it like this, do you mind when the kids fall asleep on you? Then I bet God doesn’t mind them falling asleep when I pray. YouVersion has an amazing bible app when plenty of “plans” for kids. Bible App
  2. We listen to a guy named Kirk Martin. He’s called the calm guy. It’s pretty straight forward, you have to be calm to be a good parent. If you are doing ANYTHING out of anger or stress then you aren’t doing it well. Let’s be honest, kids can suck too. So this guy lays it out on how to manage yourselves before you manage those pesky cutie pies. I’m linking to his podcasts because I listen to a lot of podcasts. Calm Guy Podcast.
  3. If you did number two and listened to Kirk you’ll already know that you have to work on yourself first. Second, make sure your marriage is golden. We have communication issues so we have to do a lot of backtracking when it comes to stuff, maybe since we know we have communication issues that will eventually correct itself…one can dream. Anyway I really value what the bible says about marriage and a good one to listen to is Marriage Today
  4. We don’t say, I can’t. Unless it’s I can’t get up today because I’m so tired…but only I can use that one.
  5. Our kids do chores. They don’t get paid to do those chores. There is no negotiating, bartering or trading off. Everyone has a job and a part of being a team is doing your assigned task.
  6. We don’t do games on week days regardless of anything. It’s raining? So what, read a book. You’re sick and at home, hope you like the VHS tapes in your quarantine time. You made all A’s? You’re welcome, I made that brain in my tummy.
  7. I don’t treat my kids the same. Yep, I said it. I’m not going to even pretend that I even like them the same. My eleven year old boy talking about smells and hairs is not going to get the same awws that my two year old gets when he says a word funny. You know what? I love them both so much, just not the same. And I tell them that. I also tell them that Ben will always be tops in my book, then them. My job as a parent is to raise them up and send them off to be good wives and husbands and all the amazing things they’ll be but living in my home forever, they won’t. But Ben will. And I’m excited about that day. I’m also excited about being a grandparent and more of a friend to my kids than I am now.
  8. BECAUSE You are the parent, not a friend. You’ll never convince me that that’s a good thing to be to your truly immature kid or teenager. Because even if they’re “mature” by some standards they’re still kids, and that’s okay. Be the mean parent until you can be the nice one 🙂
  9. We go to bed early. For us, not them. Our nighttime routine starts around 7:30 with baths…usually we are done with everything by 8 or 8:30. They get all the sleep we get time to finish the stuffs and then talk or zone out. It’s really nice.

Anyway, this list is not definitive or even comprehensive but it is a lot of what we do…and sometimes we do fine. Sometimes we do not. Also, don’t be afraid to try new things and different techniques with your kids. If you are reading a parenting blog or listening to a podcast about it then you’re probably doing better than 80% of parents out there, let’s be honest. So pat yourself on the back when no one is looking.

We have a strong-willed one who sometimes requires a whole lesson on childhood development and you need a doctorate to get through to her/him (I’m not naming names, but I bet you know already). If you have some ideas that we could implement comment me down there somewhere.

 

Side note: Today is my last baby’s second birthday. He’s really the cutest thing.

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For my Yoga lovers.

New house, Farmhouse?

This past weekend my lovely friends Amy & Sandy along with my beautiful sister, mom, aunt and cousin threw us a House Warming Party. I’ve never been to a housewarming so I wasn’t sure what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of love and gifts that we received. I couldn’t believe how much sweet stuff we got! Most of the items came from our local stores: The Farmhouse Downtown and Hardman Interiors. You should check them out if you’re ever in Arkadelphia.

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My friend Sandy made the Chandler pic.

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My friend Ashley got us the “Where two or three Gather” and Ben bought the paper reminder roll, super cute!

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My sister got us the mirror and maybe the pic too, I can’t remember

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Some of the loot!

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Wrapped gifts for the win!

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All Farmhouse stuff 🙂

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I just love the colors of the kitchen towels.

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Swan Creek Candles are the bizness

The best part about all of this is that we OWN (well the bank does for 30 years) our home. We have spent the better part of three years praying for a new home! After several failed attempts we were able to purchase this house with help from Southern Bancorp. If you are tired of paying rent you need to look into your options of buying a home. This sucker was made for a family with a ton of kids. I’ll do a tour of the house another day 🙂

 

Check out this link (I hope it works) They have yoga mats, which I have to use since we don’t have carpet downstairs! Gaiam Yoga Mats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing a blog.

Today I took a big step…I connected my blog to my facebook.

I’ve had people tell me for years that I needed to have my own blog, not that I’m some kind of amazing writer but mostly because when I do FB posts they seem like blog post. Funnily enough I’ve had this blog page for a while and post here and there but now I’m turning away from posting to FB and posting here. It can be my open and honest journal entry and scrapbook maker 🙂

Let me know if you like this site and if you have any recommendations on how to make it easier to access or view.

For funsies here is a picture of something:

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Because a baby with a Tupperware on his head never gets old.

Thinking backwards.

Last night I was having a deep conversation with my oldest son about love languages and how as a mom I have to parent my kids differently because they feel love differently. If you don’t know about love languages here is a link for more info: Love Languages  As we are talking I had a thought that I have never thought about before. It may be old hat to you, but it was/IS new to me. I know that my love language is Acts of Service but I have only ever thought about it in the positive…my self-realization is: What about the negative?

As I put the kids to bed with prayer I go downstairs and clean the kitchen, make lunches, clean up the living room, finish up any laundry, pick up whatever toy has made its way downstairs, wipe off SOMETHING BECAUSE SOMETHING IS ALWAYS STICKY and then I can finish up my hot tea, shower, eat a nutty buddy, watch Roseanne and go to bed. But all that stuff up there at the top of this paragraph makes me bitter. I don’t want to do any of it. So that’s where the negative of the ‘acts of service’ love language comes in.

Where I feel love when someone is helping me or doing it without me telling them too…I also feel unloved when those things don’t happen. Sure it’s an annoyance that I have to do it (again) all by myself but for some reason I take it as a personal hit. I’m not certain that I like that about myself, actually I’m pretty certain that I don’t like that about myself.

So to negate these feelings I’ve been reading the Bible, doing bible plans and praying. I’ve come to realize that I’m allowing others to have control over my emotions. <–This is a big deal. I’m reacting. Ugh…it’s so unreal that I have to run through these things about once or fifteen times a year.

The thinking backwards was just my way of expressing that it is great to know your love language…it’s also good to know that when that language hasn’t been spoken to you that it can hurt, and that’s okay…but you can’t let it define you or dampen your spirit. Image-1

 

Life Right Now.

There are times when I wonder about myself. I can see the growth in our family and I can see the growth in me. Several years ago I started doing a “word of the year” instead of New Year’s Resolutions. Growth was one and this year it is More. Since I had a miscarriage in 2015 it has felt like every year has been the hardest year. I’m thankful for my growth from 2015 to where I am now.

That miscarriage sat me down and said, you are not alone. It brought my husband and I closer after we had a huge fight when I actually said the words, “this is harder for me then it is for you!” It was ugly. I realized how small my worldview was. We were both hurting but I was focusing on me. I was able to grow from that moment on. I got pregnant again in that year.

In 2016 we had our baby boy. Then he got sick. Twice. The big sicks where you end up in the NICU or Isolation or PICU. When the NYE bell rang I cried because I was so thankful it was over. My husband helps me more than I realize at the moment…it’s always looking back that I realize how he is more than a husband, he’s my team captain (this works in our sports-centered world) or my partner, or sometimes co-conspirator. Where I just saw the “sicks” he saw the blessings of him being healed. I think as mother’s we see those things, eventually, but in the moment it is so easy to focus on those negatives. 2016 was also a terrible football season, for those that may laugh that that’s important, it’s important when your husband’s livelihood ($$) is dependent on a bunch of teenage boys being focused on a Friday night.  It makes me laugh too. Looking back, it really wasn’t the season or the games or the players…it was the parents. It was a life lesson that I will take with me on how not to act. But those parent’s “graduated” too.

Now 2017 was a different beast. I’ll say that I dealt a little better with the coaches being gone a lot. Maybe I got used to it, maybe my growth helped me. By the way, growth was my word in 2015, ’16 and ’17. I’m a creature of habit I guess. The Badgers did really well, as well as they could really, they won State. The parents were awesome. Our family though, was a little bit different. In November Ben’s older brother was in a plane crash. He tore up his foot bad enough they weren’t sure if it would ever be the same, Ben’s younger brother (who is autistic) had an incident with his heart that landed him in the hospital and then home with a heart monitor but we were able to go out there around Christmas so we could see everyone and it was alright.

2018 word is More. I changed it up…let’s see how it holds. I want to be more this year. More Jesus-filled, more of a wife, more a mother, more of a friend, more of a sister, more of a reader, writer, exerciser, all of it. Right now life seems to be more valley-ish because Ben’s dad was in a car accident that broke his back, we are looking to buy a house (which is not a fun process), we are dealing with family legal stuff, our friends are dealing with legal stuff, people are sick, people have cancer.  But through it all my help comes from The Lord and I am so thankful I have that hope.

My daughter and I have been talking about diamonds a lot lately…how they aren’t pretty when they come out of the earth. It’s not until they have been pressured, refined, torched, sanded and then finally polished are they as beautiful as the stars in the sky and fit to line the walls of Heaven. So we are understanding that to be a diamond you have to go through all those things too.

Oh to be a man.

This morning my ever loving, fall asleep as fast as lightning, snore louder than Godzilla hubby says, “Man, that baby slept like a rock last night.” Oh really? Surprise to me, considering that HE fed the baby at midnight and again at 2:30. I was up pumping so I saw him do it. We even talked to each other. We didn’t say anything of consequence but I think from now on I am going to do all my big asks then…this big baby of ours is 4.5 months old but really trying to prove himself. He’s almost got holding his bottle down!

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This week school started up and we had some family drama but it was all handled so well. I don’t know how people have a life without God. We have been so blessed. We have felt His presence more in the last week than we have ever before, and He has shown out before! I am so thankful for my family…the ones that live with me and the ones that just pray for me from afar!  I know they probably won’t ever know it, but we truly love them all!

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Here is our best Back-to-School picture!

Catching up to momma.

Do you remember when you were little and your mom always seemed older and wiser? Then you got a little older say, 12, and then you started realizing that they (all moms) are humans who make mistakes, then around 18 they are just silly people who don’t really know what you’re going through? Then around 23 you want them back in your life but not parenting you just kind of there? Then about 28, if you’re lucky, they become more like friends?

Now we are officially (Unofficially, if you have Peter Pan Syndrome) adults because we are 30(!) and you look in the mirror, you say something specific, you organize your house in such a way that can only be explained as your mom reincarnated…

I always shuddered at the thought of being like my mom. Not that she isn’t anything short of being my great momma but I think everyone has a little of that fear of turning into their parents. But as I’m walking around in a robe, my very thick glasses on, huge cup of coffee in my hand, strangely staring at all the house work I need to do but can’t because of this FLU, I see myself in the mirror.

I’m my mom.