A Place in Progress: Five Decor & Organizing Tips.

I’ve held off writing a new blog on décor and organizing for a long time for one key reason: I don’t believe there is ONE correct way to do it! I strongly believe your home should reflect your personal style and  what  makes your family unique.

One excellent example of this is the color white – I strongly dislike white. To me it’s a stark, harsh and boring color. I didn’t wear a white dress on my wedding day (for those curious I went with ivory) don’t like white walls or furniture because to me they’re just jarringly  bright and lacking in contrast or depth and you have to walk around on (white) eggshells so you don’t get anything dirty. However, despite my personal dislike of white, some people LOVE it. They wear it, decorate with it, paint with it and it looks great in their homes and in their wardrobe.

However, despite the myriad of opinions on this topic, today I decided to write down a few thoughts on organizing and design (which, to me, are very much the same thing. My design style can be summarized by three words: functional, organized and cozy) because I genuinely enjoy it and love hearing people’s thoughts on the same topics.

Here are the top five things I consider when decorating my home, after you read it I’d love to hear a few of your tips!

1) Have a home for everything you own:FullSizeRender

Maintaining a clean space is impossible if everything doesn’t have somewhere it belongs. Too many things will automatically equal a cluttered home which makes organization a challenge (to say the least). When we move into a new place (like we just did a few weeks ago) the first thing I do is choose where we will put things. Everything in our house has somewhere it belongs that is not a pile on the floor or on the kitchen counter. Living like this has required us to pare down what we have – I can’t find places in our small apartment for both of my children to have five ride-on toys so they’ll each have one and take turns using them. I would love to have a set of holiday dishes, formal dishes and everyday dishes (what can I say? I love dishes) but I have no room for them so we have one, multi-purpose set of dishes.

Ironically, I think I’m as organized as I am because I actually don’t really like spending time each day organizing and cleaning – there are a hundred other things I’d rather spend my time doing so I’ve found ways to allow my daily cleanup process to be faster by organizing ahead of time and fitting our possessions to our space. All of that brings me to my next point.

2) Create accessible storage for easy cleanup:

I LOVE BASKETS. I use baskets for everything; blankets, shoes, blocks, laptops, baby dolls, outside toys and books. Baskets allow for quick cleanup and, HUGE BONUS, they’re pretty to look at. Whatever form of storage you use (shelves, canvas bins, baskets) make sure you have it in a strategic place (i.e. near the toys/books you’ll want cleaned up) so you can quickly and easily straighten up (and so little hands can help with it!).

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3) Don’t crowd your living spaces:

While there is nothing wrong with living room furniture you don’t actually have to have a couch set, coffee table and matching end tables. The goal is to create spaces in your home where people feel like they can move without fear of bumping into furniture and can manuever without it seeming like they’re walking through a maze. I chose to have our chest (which stores our board games) and our small cubby also serve as end tables and we did away with a coffee table entirely so we’d have a large, open space for children to play. The ottoman easily moves between seats and also stores behind the recliner if we want the additional space.

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Our room is to small to comfortably fit two nightstands and a dresser so we chose to have our desk double as our second nightstand and have a cubby organizer be our dresser (can I also just say how easy it is to put clothes away?). There’s no right way to do this the key is just to strike the balance between having furniture and crowding your house with either too much furniture or items that are too large for the space you have.

Create spaces that serve multiple purposes – our entryway is also one of Evie’s art areas and this chest not only stores blankets but is where we sit to put our shoes on since it’s positioned right next to the coat closet. Take advantage of the small spaces in your home – empty walls and small corners are gold mines for children’s play areas, storage or to display decorative items!

4) Stick to classic themes:

I tend towards using classic color combinations and prints in my decorating style – even in my children’s rooms. It definitely fits my personal taste more to do so but it’s also because children’s interests change so fast that I refuse to spend money on a Frozen themed room that will last a year (though, if Frozen is your style, GO FOR IT! I refuse to make decorating a home the kind of thing where there is a right and wrong answer).

I put a lot of thought into my kid’s rooms because I want them to be spaces they can truly enjoy filled with things they love. Evie’s room has her play kitchen, small table & chairs, dolls and stuffed animals, doll stroller, books and dress-up basket. Those are the things she loves to do and I wanted her to have easy access to all of them – the things in her room are all on her level and she can get them herself (and, bonus, clean them up herself!). Miles’ room has his cars, car mat, blocks, and beloved walker and popper toys (also his favorite things).

I love warm, bright colors and prints (there are clearly a lot of both in my home) coupled with neutral items (like my couch, blanket on our bed, Miles’ crib, Evie’s toy cubby) to break up the colors so it’s not overwhelming. Figure out what colors, textures, prints and overall style you love and arrange your home around them. Choosing a consistent color palette will make your home feel unified and put together (even if you feel less so ;)) and will help you avoid spending money needlessly because you’ll know if something does or does not belong in your home. Another bonus of choosing a classic look is that you won’t feel pressured to update your home’s look on a frequent basis.

5) Put the finishing touches on your home:

A long, long time ago I remember being in a friend’s home shortly after they  moved in – as was expected the walls were bare and the furniture was almost the only thing in the rooms. I was there again almost a year later and the house looked almost exactly the same (the main difference was that they had installed a wall-mounted television set). Don’t do that, inhabit the space you live in.

 

Add the touches in your home that reflect who you are and what you love. I love curtains, pillows, lamps, outdoor living spaces, plants, chalkboards, fruit bowls and bright colors. Getting to put those little touches on my home is what personalizes it and makes it feel lived in.

 

Arrange spaces in your home where people can sit and talk. We have chosen not to have a television in our home and one of the most fun things about that to me is that I can arrange all my living room chairs to face each other without worrying about whether or not people can see the television from them. Whether you have a television or not create spaces for conversation in your living areas, create spaces where people can relax, read books, listen to music, build block towers, eat snacks, pray together, dance in circles, look at the stars, apologize, laugh, cry and pray. If you make the space and explain the purpose then nine times out of ten it will be used.

I hope this post accomplishes the goal it was intended for: to give ideas. There is not a right way to keep a home and there is no best way to organize or decorate your living space. Enjoy where you live, make it a home and make it yours without a thought that you could be “doing it wrong” (I don’t think anything saps the fun from arranging your space faster than that).

Now, off to fold the laundry that has been piling up on my bed since 9 this morning.

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A Letter to my Little Girl

Dear Evie,

I cried washing the dinner dishes tonight (which probably got them cleaner then I’m necessarily capable of washing them). Tonight you (proudly) wore your first pair of big-girl underwear to bed and, for some reason it hit my heart in a way that made it feel like you’re leaving for college tomorrow.

I don’t even know the days spent with you and your brother can sometimes feel so long in the repetitive tasks they hold and simultaneously so achingly short and utterly incapable of containing all the sweet moments that they do. You guys are two of the ones I’ve waited for every moment of my life I dreamed of having children before I was handed you, the girl who made me a mama two-and-a-half years ago. You two (and the hope for your future siblings) are my heart outside my body, my literal flesh and bone.

Your daddy is in class tonight so you asked me to rock you before bed. I snuggled you down with me in the recliner and we whispered about the day for a minute. Usually if I put you to bed we’ll sing, you’ll tell me your favorite part of the day and you’ll (loudly) thank Jesus for something (last night you were thankful for the potty at the park). Tonight since brother was already asleep in my room we settled for quiet, extra-snuggly rocking. Your legs and arms have to fold up to fit in my lap now and your hair is so long it tickles my shoulders when you lay your head on me. My heart aches with love thinking of all the hours I’ve spent rocking you over the last two-and-a-half years. You don’t need it to go to sleep now, it’s just a special time for you and either daddy or I. I want you to know it’s one of my favorite parts of the day.

I carried you to bed, kissed you, reminded you to get up and come to the bathroom when you had to go potty, walked out of your room and burst into tears. Remind me never to cross big milestones again without your father present to commiserate with me over how fast you’re growing up (you reminded me of this the other day – I kissed you and told you how happy I was that you are my little girl and you squinted up at me and emphatically said, “no mom, I a big girl”).

After I left your room I opened the bathroom door and immediately smiled. The fan had been turned on, the light was off and there, perfectly centered on the small rug was your pink teddy bear. Without having seen you do it I already know you rocked bear to sleep, gave her a kiss and said “wheat dweams, bebe gill” (sweet dreams, baby girl) before carefully laying her on the mat (I also know that if I had dared to walk past the bathroom you would have shot me a reproving look and said, “shh mom, bear nigh-nigh”).  Seeing that bear was good for my heart because it reminded me that, though we are inching towards the days of being done with diapers for you, that we are not walking you down the aisle just yet.

It’s still passing all too fast though.

The days of worrying if you were getting enough milk, wondering when you’d sleep through the night, deciding what your first food should be and watching you experience crawling on grass for the first time all seem so far away. I feel the stage you’re at shifting, you are becoming fully a little girl and not-in-any way still a toddler. Daddy and I have been talking a lot lately about how parenting you looks different now. The things you need have far less to do with a schedule and far more to do with nurturing your character. Believe me when I tell you, little girl, we are on our knees regularly asking God for wisdom to teach you. We are learning together (as we have with so many things with you, our firstborn).

I hope that if nothing else we teach you to look towards the future with a joyful spirit and to love other people with a sacrificial heart. I see traces of this in you already. Today your brother fell down trying to pull up on one of your play chairs. He scratched his foot and you were so upset about it. You carried the chair out of your bedroom, down the hallway and into my room so he wouldn’t get hurt on it again and went running back to him saying, “let me see your foot, bubby, I kiss it” (which you did). We badly want to nurture that spirit in you, to show you in Scripture where Jesus loved people that way and to model it for you in our own lives. You’ll need a resilient heart to make it through life with a trusting spirit intact, a heart that knows its identity is found in the Lord because very often people won’t love you back or will forget to appreciate you. That’s ok, you’re still valuable and still enough (more than enough).

There have been a lot of things that have happened this year that were completely outside of your parent’s control. Hard things. Sad things. Our goal hasn’t necessarily been to protect you from all of them but to begin, in an age-appropriate way to teach you to handle difficult things and to teach you (as we learn) to love people and receive love from people in the midst of this messy, broken, in-the-process of being redeemed thing that is life. God, grant us grace to do that.

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I know we’ll have easier stages of parenting you than where you are now and harder ones. It’s good for me to take the time periodically to write it all out like this because it reminds Daddy and I to just enjoy it all as best we can (which for us means enduring the hard moments without spending needless time complaining about them). We love you, Evie Claire and we hope that even at your young age you’re able to feel our joy in the little woman you’re becoming.

Sweet dreams baby girl,

Mommy

 

A People who Ponder.

“…and Mary  treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart”

– Luke 2:19

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It’s laughable to me how many nativity scenes position Mary kneeling in quiet prayer, hands folded or clasped to her chest as she watches Jesus sleep peacefully in the manger. It’s a still, quiet scene perhaps more fitted for life in a resort town than a stable. Or is it? Is there something to be learned by Mary’s quiet posture?

We know very little about Mary’s labor and delivery with Jesus. Was she already feeling the increasing pressure of contractions as she traveled to Bethlehem? I know that every jostle and step had to make her full-term, pregnant body ache. When did she know that this was it? That it was time? No more anticipating or false alarms. What unique ways did she rely on Joseph in lieu of her mother or midwives? What things did she remind herself of as she labored to bring her son into the world? What look did Joseph have on his face as he watched his wife cradle their newborn, the prophesied hope of the world?

All we know is that Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger. We know his birth was celebrated by the lowest classes on earth and all the invisible realms of heaven that, for a brief time, burst into visibility in the form of angels singing praises birthed from divine realms of glory and a star that beamed God’s delight over his son’s arrival on earth.

Yet, having carried and delivered two children I can fill in some of the blanks. I know that every part of Mary’s body ached in every conceivable way imaginable. I know there was blood and pain and the increasing weight of milk arriving to feed her little one. I know there was the sharp pain of after-birth contractions and the uncertainty of those first hours and days of new motherhood. Kneeling by a manger is likely not a position she could have gotten into less than a day after birth (at least not for any length of time) and it’s likely that Jesus spent little time in that manger as he would have preferred the nearness of the mother whose body had cradled his for ten months. I know there was the rapturous swelling of love for her son that threatened to make her new mama heart explode and a weariness more profound than anything she had experienced before.

And there, there in the midst of pain, tears, blood, contractions, colostrum, straw, manger cloths, newborn cries and new parent worries we know that Mary treasured, Mary pondered.  In the midst of pressing circumstances that were far from ideal or what a new mom would choose for her infant or herself Mary chose to celebrate the beauty of all the good that still was, to wonder. 

There is unimaginable hurt and brokenness in the world and in our lives that arrives well before December 25th and persists long after. Empty hearts, empty arms, empty seats and empty beds. The dull ache of a reality that things are not as they should be that persists even in the happiest of moments.

Christmas is not peppermint hot cocoa, twinkly lights, cards, carols, plaid wrapping paper, dreams of snow or perfectly chosen gifts. Those “hallmarks of Christmas” are modern additions to an old, old story. Christmas is choosing to ponder, to treasure, to wonder when our circumstances clamor for us to do otherwise.

That is the reason that, regardless of what is going on in our lives, we can all celebrate Christmas with abandon. With the freedom and freely demonstrated hope of those who have been rescued by the sacrifice of a God who “contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man”. We can follow Mary’s model of celebrating through treasuring all the circumstances of our lives regardless of what exactly those circumstances are.

This has been a year of transition for my family. Of birth, of death, of losses both public and private. Of hellos and goodbyes, of the closing off of chapters in our lives that will forevermore be inaccessible. The weight of everything is hard to process and impossible to find closure to. Yet, despite that, this Christmas season has been full of wonder. Not magic, magic is based on choosing the right snacks and creating the right holiday atmosphere but wonder. Wonder not only exists but thrives in the most difficult of places because it’s divinely planted and sustained by a God who supersedes times and circumstances.

Joy to the world, our Lord has come, welcomed by a donkey’s bray rather than a trumpet’s song, cradled by a manger’s hay rather than a palace’s warmth. The quiet of that long-ago Bethlehem night broken by a newborn’s cries and stained with the blood of a virgin all preceding the hurried pounding of shepherd’s staffs and the celebration of angels shouting to an oblivious world that their King had finally come.

And all of it, all of it was treasured in the heart of a girl who had sacrificed her body and her life to mother the Savior of the World.

May we treasure the circumstances of our lives the same way.

Have a wonder-full Christmas.

O ye beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When the new heaven and earth shall own
The Prince of Peace, their King,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.

The Candle of Peace: The Bethlehem Candle

A baby. Bethlehem. A small, helpless infant made even more inconsequential by arriving on earth in a stable tucked in the heart of a town in the middle of nowhere. Second-best. At least that is our culture’s way of looking at it – identifying a lowly beginning in an insignificant town as the second-best way for life to begin.

However, what if, what if those seemingly accidental and undeniably humble surroundings were chosen because they preached the Gospel before the infant Jesus had learned his first word? Advent’s second Sunday is testimony to God’s love of the small, the lowly and the insignificant (although, really, isn’t that the focus of the whole Gospel story?). It’s testimony to a God who whispers “peace, be still” to a harried creation bent on getting everywhere faster and moving on to the next thing. the bigger thing. the better thing.

Choosing to live by the light of the candle of peace will necessarily limit your vision to anything that fits in the sphere of light surrounding it. It limits the rush, the commitments, the concern over other’s opinions, the fear, the anxiety, the need to control. There is simply no space left to focus on them when we rest in the freedom to care deeply about a few simple things.

This Christmas let’s choose to worship at the side of a lowly manger. To soak in the peace of God who embraces simple brokenness and brings the unfathomable riches of redemption to the outcast that is each of us.

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

The greatest hope of the Gospel is that we all qualify to receive the unspeakably gracious goodness offered to us. Not because our sin and weakness has been overlooked but because those things we try desperately to hide from and about ourselves are the very reason we qualify to receive his grace in the first place. Our ability to celebrate the peace of the Christmas season rests on the foundation of Hope. Hope that was won by a savior taking on an infant’s form and growing up to rescue the world he created.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2:4-7

The Candle of Hope: The Prophecy Candle

As December draws near a holy hush descends on my spirit, like cold air heightens the senses so the season of advent, the breathless waiting to celebrate his first coming and great anticipation for his return, serves to sharpen my spiritual vision. Choosing to look at less allows you to see everything more clearly.

Candles are lit in homes where people are trying to pay attention (Lauren Winner). In a culture prone to busyness and forgetfulness the very act of candlelit remembrance is an act of worship. Turning down the lights and silencing the noise allows your eyes and ears to be filled with the things that matter most.

The first candle of advent, the prophecy candle, symbolizes the hope-filled promises of God to his people. We live waiting for Him to return, they lived waiting for Him to set foot on earth. They lived hoping to set eyes upon his face, hoping to see his salvation. They lived waiting for the dawn of his promises;

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.
 For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
 Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.

Isaiah 9 2-3; 6-7

We live remembering Hope that was cradled by a manger and if there is one thing our world needs it’s hope. An unshakable confidence in the nail-pierced hands of one who came as a baby, our God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man, and who will return as a king. A hope in him who offered up himself so we could find freedom beyond our ability to comprehend.

This Christmas I hold a baby boy in my arms.

As I study his face by the light of the candles I can’t help but wonder what words Mary pondered to herself as she stared into the infant Jesus’ face. What echoed in her heart as she cradled him close and studied little fingers and toes? Did she know she held the hope of all creation in her arms?

This Christmas my prayer is that you would know the reason we celebrate advent, the reason we have the freedom to wake up to each day with contentment and rejoicing. It’s my prayer that the hope we have would spill out of every corner of your lives and flood your everyday, mundane routines with the irresistible glow of Eternal Light. That prophesied hope would find a home and fulfillment in your life.

The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

When Comes the Rain.

Sometimes the most profound thoughts are whispered to the surface by the rattle of a drain pipe and the soft glow of streetlights. As raindrops knit heaven to earth God’s invitation to worship draws me outside to the porch, nearer the sky.

Maybe profound is to strong a word for these simple thoughts. They’ll likely change no one’s life  but mine and, yet, even if they only change mine they still feel significant enough to write down. For me, intentionality leads to better remembrance of Truth.

This season of life is a breathless waiting. The gathered breath of preparation before the long exhale of change.

Waiting for results, waiting for our precious son to enter the world, waiting for grades, waiting for fruition, waiting for answers.

In all the waiting it’s so easy for my eyes to be centered on tomorrow, on then. To overlook the subtler, mundane joys of today. Of right now. 

This afternoon I sat and watched Evie watch the rain.

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She heard the drops start pounding the porch roof and immediately ran to “her” green chair and with a “mama…pease” was situated in it, snack in hand, to watch the puddles forming under the eaves.

(if she only knew how much joy her delight in the rain brings her mama).

She sat there for a long time. Soaking in the muted beauty of what was without a care towards tomorrow or later.

Time passes too quickly to waste a second wishing for the next thing. 

It wasn’t that long ago that I was cradling her in my arms, a newborn who only knew milk and mama and now she sits, snuggling her baby doll, asking me for cheese and watching the rain. Her brother kicks excitedly around, nestled close to my heart for now, in no time at all I’ll be watching him awaken to the world.

Today, with every bit of its hardness, goodness, uncertainty and beauty is a sacred gift, wrapped with a hundred different bows. The satin of Evie’s cheek as she nestles down on my shoulder at bedtime, the delight in Tom’s face when he sees dinner on the table, the quietness of a neighborhood temporarily hushed by the continuous rain, the vibrant red of a cardinal brave enough to visit the bird feeder in the downpour, the quiet sense of accomplishment as Tom finishes a long weekend of class, the joy of hearing familiar voices on the phone and knowing that the Grace that sustains will be new in the morning.

We are never truly overwhelmed, never truly defeated because what sustains us, the core of our identity is Eternal and Untouchable. Unhindered by tomorrow and undeterred by yesterday.

I can face the future “ever confident” in that reality.

“Work in me more profound and abiding repentance;
Give me the fullness of godly grief, that trembles and fears, yet ever trust and loves, which is ever powerful, and ever confident;
Grant through the tears of repentance I may see more clearly the brightness and glories of the saving cross.”

I can delight in the unanswered questions of today, not because of my planning or forethought, but because I know Him. I can surrender my husband and children (far easier said than done) because I know that tomorrow is in the best possible hands. I can acknowledge the heartbreak of this world, mourning with those who mourn, because I know it will one day be overcome.

Living in today frees my soul to delight. It frees my mind to worship. It frees my voice to praise and my heart to laugh.

Lord, grant me the divine grace to remember the truths whispered to my heart on a rainy sabbath when my body trembles in fear. When the unknown is dark. When the path is shrouded. Bind my unwilling feet to rocky paths that I may glean the irreplaceable treasure of You.

Freelancing from Home in Forty-Seven Simple Steps.

1) Position toddler on recliner with books, cheerios and milk.

2) Second guess the milk as her new favorite game is “clean up” which involves vigorously shaking her sippy cup upside down.

3) Take away milk.

4) Toddler starts begging for “wawa”. Return cup and vow to watch her extra-carefully with your third set of eyes to prevent needing to scrub milk out of the recliner.

5) Sit down with laptop.

6) Realize laptop is dead and charger is upstairs.

7) Go upstairs for charger while toddler frantically waves bye-bye and dissolves into a flood of tears because, clearly, you are leaving FOREVER.

8) Bring charger downstairs.

9) Remember there was a charger downstairs all along.

10) Wait for laptop to come to life.

11) Toddler has read all of her books and is now twisting herself into the curtains.

12) Laptop is finally on. Open article.

13) Client disregarded word limit and article is 800 words above max.

14) Sigh deeply. Editing out 2/3 of their carefully chosen words always takes some thoughtful explaining.

15) Toddler is bored with playing in the curtains and is now determinedly stuffing her baby doll into an almond milk box.

16) Pause in concern that she’ll attempt to put her baby brother in an almond milk box when you’re not looking. Realize you’ll have to cross that bridge when you come to it.

17) Delete three words of article. First line is now edited. 832423641232387473289 more to go.

18) Toddler chooses this moment to remember that “dada” left for work two hours ago and is now yelling “no, bye-bye, NO” out the front windows.

19) While protesting “Dada’s” departure toddler slips on milk which she has poured under the curtains despite your (not so ) best efforts to avoid that exact scenario. At least the recliner is spared.

20) Toddler has bitten tongue. Mother needs to bite tongue.

21) Five lines edited. Word count down to 700 above max.

22) Briefly contemplate who even has time to write 800 words more then are absolutely necessary.

23) Toddler is sweetly hugging her baby . Smile at her and remind yourself to tell husband you want twelve more.

24) One entire page edited. Is this really happening? Miracles are clearly occurring everyday.

25) Toddler has dragged a bench to the window and is now patiently looking for “dada”. Don’t have the heart to tell her she’ll be waiting at least eight hours.

26) It has now been 37 minutes and you’re only 1/3 of the way through. Calculate your hourly rate to ensure this is still worth it. Realize it is…not. Wonder if your contract has a “toddler milk” clause that allows for a pay raise?

27) Hope that your hasty, highly distracted edits aren’t chopping sentences in half.

28) Toddler has spied a robin hopping down the sidewalk. She is beside herself with joy at the “brrrrrddd”. Melt a little bit at her ability to be delighted by the most ordinary things. Ask for grace to do the same.

29) Two pages down.

30) Toddler is now asking to go for a walk. Consider letting her.

31) White maintenance truck pulls into the spot where “dada’s” white work truck is usually parked. Toddler is ecstatic.

32) Sigh deeply.

33) Toddler realizes maintenance truck is not “dada” and needs a snuggle from mama. She presses a milky kiss to your cheek. Why is there milk everywhere today? No more milk for anyone ever.

34) Try desperately to remember if you called in a maintenance request. Don’t recall anything that is broken (except your ability to edit without interruption – wonder if they have a tool for that?).

35) Realize maintenance man is going to your neighbors. Thank God you can stay in your pajamas and keep “working”.

36) It suddenly starts raining. Toddler is now pointing out the window to show you the “wawa”.

37) Realize it IS a confusing world when she can’t pour her milk on the living room floor but everyone else can pour their water on the sidewalk.

38) ½ page left. The light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter. Hope the light is really the glow of the Keurig’s power button.

39) Toddler is now standing by the front door with the kitchen towel waiting to go outside and clean up the “wawa”.

40) Kiss her a thousand times (despite the milkyness) because her love of cleanliness is your love language.

41) Article. Is. Done.

42) Rapidly draft email explaining to client why their masterpiece was cut by 2/3’s.

43) Try not to take it personally when your toddler points at you and inexplicably shouts “NO”.

44) Send email. Save article.

45) Announce early snack time/coffee time. Toddler seems pleased. Mom is giddy

46) Snuggle toddler on the short walk to the kitchen. Realize how grateful you are.

47) Also realize this is why you aren’t getting much freelancing done lately. Make mental note to determine what else you can cut from the budget to make up the difference. Decide on milk. Definitely milk.