I’m over winter.  I’m over being cold (even inside the house).  I’m over staying home with sick kids and boxes of kleenex.  I’m over gray days and crunch beneath my boots.  Really. Can you tell I’m over it?

This winter we’ve had our share of sickness here at the Underwoods.  We’ve taken our turns which has made it exhausting and feel like a global epidemic.  It reminds me how remarkably healthy we’ve been in past winters and what a blessing it is to not carry the extra burden of fevering kids and antibiotics.  It also has been a needed reminder that it is a gift to care for my family and I should embrace it as just that.  A gift.


Being this season has been harder and I’ve hardly left the house or my children for a month – I’m also strangely excited for the season ahead.  A transition.  I mentioned here that I’ve been making goals for this upcoming year.  And I have.  Now it’s almost March and I’ve come to important conclusions on goal setting/New Year Resolutions.  I need to be really careful here because goals easily tie into this unhealthy idea I have about my worth being tied to “my results”.  Some days I see results.  More days I do not.

So rather than a long list of new things to learn, additional schooling for a career goal I have, or hobbies I’d like to try –  what are my goals for 2015?  I want to live fully in the things before me.  I don’t want to do it all.  I don’t want to try.  I want to slow down to focus on the things already here.  I want to spend every last bit of myself on the things I’m passionate about!  I want to date my husband.  I want to spend time being present with my children.  I want to love well.  I want to create beautiful spaces in our home and welcome others here.  I want to read to learn.  I want to drink a large quantity of coffee by myself and with friends.  I don’t want to work out (not in the least), but I WILL so that I’m stronger to do the things I love..

2015 Goals:

  • date my husband at least twice a month
  • love our neighbors
  • be a home to foster-children
  • “nest” at home
  • read at least one book per month
  • work out at least twice a week (run a 5k)

None of these things add up to something major I’ll be adding to my resume or boasting about in Christmas cards.  None of them are outside the box or an indicator of my incredible self discipline.  But each one are things I’m passionate about which make them feel vital!  I’m the wife, I’m the neighbor, I’m the mom, I’m the home keeper, and only I can drag myself down to the gym.

This is up to me.  I’m taking it on!



Big things happening to start our February.  I will explain..

First, I planted a cute little bulb from Trader Joe’s in January.  It was actually a really foolish five dollar purchase as I kill plants.  Ironically enough, I daydream about being a gardner. It’s a sad story. Somewhere in the soil and watering part plants are doomed here.  But, I was faithful with this one.  It was sitting in front of me whenever I washed dishes, so I would remember to check the soil and pray over it.  I needed growth and beauty in the midst of dark and cold Minnesota days.  Ryan brought additional optimism by telling me that the kitchen window was too drafty.  But- February came I had flowers blooming on my kitchen windowsill!!

It was that same week I went to the gym to keep up on one of my 2015 goals of working out a minimum of twice a week (more to come on goal setting).  Making body or weight goals is a first for me, but somewhere along 2014 I gained ten pounds that I wasn’t looking for.  It’s not about the number on the scale- it’s about how I feel with the ten extra pounds. I don’t feel good and I sleep horrible.  I need to be out and moving!!  So I was at the gym clipping along with a fast walk on the treadmill and a cute pregnant gal came and jumped on the treadmill beside me.  Nothing like competition with a pregnant gal.  First we were walking and then she picked up her heels and started running, and I followed.  I followed?  I’m still not sure what possessed me!  I should also tell you I have NO recollection of running in my life aside from trying to catch one of my toddlers.  I was running!!  Before I would’ve said I could never run.  It was too intense for me.  I’m not a very strong gal.  I have pain.  Ryan is the runner.  I don’t run.

But when I was done I felt incredible for having run.   I felt thankful for still being alive.  And I thought, ” I could do that again”.  And I have.

This is the year I need growth in my life.  I want to do the things maybe I’ve told myself I couldn’t (even if they take more work) because maybe I could.  In the midst of life, I want to see the beauty in the growth because just seeing a change is quite remarkable!

What growth are you longing for this year?  I would love to hear!

beauty in imperfection

My twelve-year-old niece Grace recently interviewed me for a school paper she was writing about professions.  As a stay at home mom I found it humorous. I definitely work, but in terms of hours and compensation and advancement.. I must be nuts to call this a profession.  I work thirteen hours a day and over-time.  I don’t get paid a dollar.  I’m not sure what an advancement would look like in this field.  Maybe becoming a grandma?

My favorite interview question: “does your job relate to any hobbies you have?

I thought long and hard on this one and felt like a pretty boring thirty-two year old sitting in my yoga pants drinking calming tea.  Hobbies?  How would you define a hobby? Lets be honest- being a mom takes away things you previously called hobbies and isn’t conducive to starting new ones!  But then I thought of what I do (in the midst of being a mom) when I get to not only clean the house- but I get to make a home.

I’m reading The Nesting Place right now which brings a very refreshing outlook on decorating and home:  it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.  Good.. because my life is so far from perfection!  But I can contribute to our family not only in being here with our kids, but by seeing this job not as a checklist but rather a canvas.  In the way I’m a mom and in the way I create a home.  For my latest project at the Underwood home, I’ve been setting up an actual playroom for kids and friends over the past months.  It started like this:

IMG_0213One of the things Myquillyn suggests in her book is taking everything out of a room “quieting it” before we can see what needs to happen/what needs to go in creating a beautiful space.  In this case quieting the playroom started with painting a very dis-colored ceiling, removing stained white carpet, and lightening the wall color significantly as the room isn’t large (just perfect for little people).  After evaluating things- I pitched an old TV, rearranged toys into different spaces, added an IKEA shelf for toys, and even brought the laundry basket back downstairs!

Now we have a very happy place for play that will rarely look this clean.  Guaranteed.  It’s not perfect, but beauty is found here.  Still debating if I should put a window treatment up or just let that sunshine in!!  Any votes?




You don’t have to get perfect to have a pretty house.  Most of us simply need to learn to see the beauty in the imperfect.  Because life is gloriously messy.             - Myquillyn Smith

i love blueberry pie

My son Jameson reminds me a lot of his dad.  But mixed in there I love seeing glimpses of me and then just Jameson being himself. Growing from my cute baby, to toddler, to my almost seven- year- old boy.

I think one of the best parts of this job of parenting is watching our kids develop.  We get to see this entirely different personality from our own- and nothing like their siblings!  As a stay at home mom I really get the “opportunity” to see where each of our kids is at: whether its things they need to work on, when they need some one-on-one time, or just seeing them develop some pretty sweet things.  I’m connected!  As I shared here- it’s not always pretty.  Other times it’s beautiful.

Two weeks ago Jameson came home from school and immediately asked me if I knew how to make blueberry pie.  His teacher at school said her favorite dessert was blueberry pie – so he wanted to bring her one.  I told him we could figure it out!  The next day he woke up sick.  That entire week he was out of school on antibiotics.  And Jameson just wanted to make a blueberry pie.  He was so disappointed he had to wait.  As soon as he was himself again and headed to school we were back on the pie kick. This boy can be so persistent.  He has ideas and he wants things the way he wants them.  Often this can be one of the hardest things in parenting Jameson, because it isn’t flexible.  But couple that persistence with generosity- amazing.  I promised I’d run to the store the next day when he was at school and get the supplies for making my first ever blueberry pie.  And as soon as he walked through the door the following day:  “pie time, mom!!”


It was so good to take time out of the busyness to make pie and to see Jameson beaming as we worked together.. 100% IN.  100% sweet.

I love blueberry pie.. and those big brown eyes too.