We love that we come back to the same place every year for Memorial Day weekend. There are already so many sweet memories here and each year we gather more and more. The girls love every minute when they are here in the country and it is always a refreshing time for our family to get away. Love these people so very much, I can't help but wonder how this little baby will change our lives, and this picture, a year from now.....
Princess spins and sweet posing from the the little ladies!
The littles and I snuck outside twice this week in between the rain storms and the pool was fun while it lasted!! I am already loving watching them swim, everyone is easy going in the pool. (which is nice because none of our children are easy going!) But in the pool everything seems to change. Today is the last day of school for all the girls so it is officially summer for us!!
Friday night I took Cerly on a date, just me and her. Over the last few weeks she has really started to grow up, show such good manners and be a "big" girl. I felt that she needed some one on one time and I was so right. She was so very excited.
I love how they act so differently when they are alone. They don't have to compete with siblings and I really got to connect with her in a special way. When we got in the car I asked her 3 questions so I would know which direction to head for our date.
1. What do you want to eat?
She said tortillas and macaroni! I picked Chuy's because I knew they had both.
2. What do you want to buy?
She said "shopkins" so Justice was the place.
3. What do you want to listen to on the drive?
She said "Jesus at the Center." I love her heart and I loved spending time with her. It was perfect!!
Happy Graduation Day Brylee June!! Sitting there watching your program made me feel so proud of you. You work so hard, you love your friends whole-heartedly and you have loved every second of Kindergarten. You rock!!!
Towards the end of the program Brylee's teacher played a special song for the parents. A few months ago Brylee had a project where she had to measure her birth weight with rice. All year I wondered why she had that project. Well, as the song played all the kids came down and showed us the baby they had made out of the rice. It was so so sweet and I cried my eyes out. She delivered a 6 pound 8 ounce baby to us and it was so awesome. Seems like yesterday she was that baby....
Here they are celebrating their graduation at a pool party! Such sweet kids, what a great year!
"If people knew what my life really looked like then they would go running back to their life and be grateful for it!"
This is a quote from a conversation I had with a friend this week and it has really got me thinking.... a lot. Over the last few years the blog world, as well as Instagram/Facebook, has become our new reality. As much as I love these things, I think it is safe to say that these things are also a huge source of the very thing that is stealing the joy from many women, wives and moms all around us. They have become the door that the enemy so easily comes through to corrupt our thinking, create unrealistic expectations, and feed off of every insecurity that we have as women. And it all begins the minute we wake up and slide open our iPhone.
I have been hesitant to write lately because I constantly have three words playing in my mind like a tape recorder. Those three words are....."I can't win." I am slowly realizing that no matter what I write, or don't write, it will never portray an exact picture of our lives. Often times I feel like my blog resembles a true picture of who I am, and what our lives look like on a weekly basis, but this blog will never allow someone to see the depths of our home consistently. Regardless of my level of transparency, there is just no way for someone to know what it is really like to be in your shoes....or in your home....until they walk it themselves. Because of this I feel like many assumptions are made, often times incorrect, and thus begins the moment where we allow the enemy to steal our joy.
"I can't win" simply means what it says.
If I keep it light hearted, and write about all the joy in our lives, then people think that life is a picnic over here and nothing ever goes wrong.
If I open up about how I struggle, in whatever way, then some may think that I am not grateful or that I am complaining.
The truth is that none of us can win when it comes to this.
Based on what is written, people naturally make assumptions. Think about it for a second. When you see a picture on Instagram you naturally have a thought. Sometimes the thought is kind and you think "oh, that is so fun and I am so happy for them!" Other times, especially if we are not in the best place, then that thought is unkind and we may think "they are just showing off or I hate that their life appears so perfect." But I promise you, there is always some sort of thought whether we say it out loud or not.
I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I believe that "the thought" that comes to our mind resembles the condition of our heart. It has nothing to do with whoever is in the picture we are looking at. We may think it does but I really don't think that is the case. I know this because I am a woman, and I too have my own thoughts when I scroll social media. It is amazing how jealousy can pour out of us when pictures/blog posts hit our hearts the wrong way. I think we all struggle with insecurity at times and when we are vulnerable, and already struggling, pictures we see can often times be what sends us over the edge. But if we are honest, the ugliness coming out of us was already inside of us to begin with but it makes us feel better to justify our feelings by blaming someone else.
What if we took responsibility for our own hearts? What if we learned how to fight against the enemy in these moments so that we could embrace our life and not allow our joy to be stolen?
I got off of Facebook for over a year simply because I needed to learn boundaries when it comes to this. If I have learned anything this past year it is to "assume reality." Remember how I said that often times we make incorrect assumptions? We see pictures and our minds assume things like....
"I bet they have the perfect marriage and they never fight."
"She looks so great, I bet it comes easy for her."
"Her life is so perfect, it makes me sick."
"Their kids are so great, I bet they never have to deal with what I have to deal with."
On and on and on.....I am sure we can all fill in an assumption that we have thought a time or ten.
The truth is that we seem to assume fairy-tales and not reality. We assume that there are some women out there that live in a fantasy land when the bottom line is that we all live in the same, sinful world. Because of that, everyone faces real life every day. There is NO fantasy land even if it might appear that way at times. I promise, there is not.
Do you watch Parenthood? Or have you ever? If you have then you will be able to relate very quickly here.
Parenthood is reality. Every episode walks through seasons of life in a way that makes you feel human and normal. I swear I cry just about every time I watch it because my head can relate and my heart can feel every emotion that is going on with the characters. Each episode has a way of tugging at you and reminding you that you are not the only one that has gone through the struggle.
The characters in Parenthood face it all.
What if we "assumed Parenthood?"
What if we assumed that all women are insecure about their body at times regardless of what the picture looks like.
What if we assumed that all parents have a hard time raising kids even if it appears easy.
What if we assumed that all marriages have faced some sort of infidelity whether it be through pornography, emotional affairs or even physical ones.
What if we assumed that all homes have faced loss in some way and is dealing with grief of their own.
What if we assumed that all couples fight at times because putting two humans together in a home will most definitely bring conflict.
What if we assumed that everyone's heart gets tempted in some way or the other.
What if we assumed that families struggle with in-laws and holidays may not always really be so easy for them.
What if we assumed that all women get jealous at times.
What if we assumed that she really isn't all that perfect but maybe she is just doing her best to enjoy the day despite what her night looked like.
What if we assumed that infertility, addictions, or difficult pasts make it hard to get through the day for some.
What if we assumed that everyone is walking through something difficult that they are not able to share even with their closest friends?
What if we stopped assuming the fairy tale and started assuming real life things?
What if we assumed Parenthood?
That is what I try my best to do. I try to look at a picture, and not judge the picture, because I am smart enough to know that the girl in the picture lives in the same world as I do. It's not assuming the worst, it is just recognizing the reality of the world we live in. Maybe every one of those lines don't apply to every person, I am not saying they do, but so many of them are the reality of many of us.
And what if we stop accusing someone else of appearing perfect when all we post are happy things too? It breaks my heart when I hear this goes on.
The truth is that no one wants to post the yucky stuff. I can tell you right now that no one wants to see a picture of me on a rough pregnancy day. It's sad, and hard, and those are the moments I have to pray through so I can make it. And I would be embarrassed to post a video of myself losing it with the kids but that doesn't mean it never happens. For goodness sake, I have 3 kids under 6 with a baby on the way. I can't always stay sane! And I won't even get into what a hot mess I am when my insecurities get the best of me. It's not pretty.
We ALL have ugly moments and that's ok. What's not ok is to assume the girl in the picture doesn't have them. She does.
Try scrolling through social media and assume reality. You just might feel compassion for the same girl you felt angry at or jealous of.
If we could see the depth of every home, and every heart, we would view pictures so differently. We might be able to enjoy our home in a new way.
So just try it....and assume Parenthood!
I will leave you with these pictures of Cerly going to town on the watermelon. So random, I know, but I love her ability to enjoy the moment!!
Every night when I put Audree to bed we lay on her bed and sing. Lately she really gets into the songs and it is so sweet. Tonight she held my cheeks and sang to me. These are the days I will remember forever, I never want them to end. So thankful for her life, she makes me better.
Brylee is loving her new foam rollers. I remember wearing sponge rollers growing up and these are a lot like them. She loves the curls the next day :)
It feels like it has been raining non stop for weeks and the 10 day forecast only shows a lot more rain. The girls have ended up in the bathtub twice, due to tornado sirens, and we are ready for the sunshine to come back. May not get it anytime soon but we are sure hoping so!
Little man loves living here and we love having him!
We went with Brylee on her field trip to the zoo and that was fun. I can't believe she only has 6 more days of kindergarten, it really did fly by and she loved every minute.
Lunch with these pretty ladies is always a treat!
Lots of laughs on Mother's Day, I love this picture with the family :)
Only a few more nights of homework. Brylee was being silly trying to finish up her stuff the other night. We can't wait for summer!
My name is Tanna and I do my very best to keep this sweet family of mine going each day. Before motherhood I was a 7th grade science teacher, but when Brylee was born I decided to become a stay at home mom. I absolutely love spending the days with my three little girls, as I learn each day how to become a better parent.
A big part of my life is leading the Women's Ministry in my church. In the last few years I developed a heart for women and God opened doors that led me into this new leadership role. I absolutely love interacting with women, understanding them, and doing my best to teach them things that God lays on my heart. My personal journey has not been an easy one, but the grace of God has allowed me to learn from my experiences so that I can help others.
I am an outgoing, creative and thoughtful person that loves God and my precious family. I try my best to "keep it real" as I write and share my experiences each day.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our family! You can contact me anytime at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will always write back so if you don't get a response then send it again!
Brandon is my amazing husband and my best friend. I met Brandon when I was 12 years old in the youth group at our church. We were friends a long time, almost 10 years, before we decided that we might just be falling in love. I married him on June 7, 2003, and that is when we began our life together. Brandon spends his time "fixing teeth," as Brylee says, being a dentist near our home. He loves us, we love him, and we are so thankful for all he does for us girls!
Brylee June was born on November 25, 2008. Her personality is contagious. She is a free-spirited little girl who loves life and her little heart is constantly full of so much joy. Brylee is the best big sister ever and we are so thankful for each day we spend with her.
Cerly Grace was born on December 27, 2010. From the moment we saw her we knew that she was precious. Her big eyes draw you in and her smile is so sweet that you can't help but smile right back at her. She is a daily reminder of God's beauty and His wonderful miracles. We love that God has given us Cerly Grace as we grow our family.
Audree Ann was born October 18, 2012. She is our third little girl and she has already brought so much love to our home. So far she has a quiet nature about her and her big sisters are completely in love with her!