This post is part of my series, A Real Picture of Pregnancy, where I document my pregnancy every 4 weeks. But rather than a perfectly-styled outfit, airbrushed makeup, chalkboard art, a clean house and some chic pregnancy chalkboard pictures, I take the photo just as my life is. A beautiful mess. Unedited and not touched up.
It’s been a rough ride, but I’m finally feeling like a normal human again. (That is, I can smell a McDonald’s fry or watch Man v. Food on TV without having a distinct urge to vomit!)
Being pregnant always seems to remind me of just how ‘human’ I am. And, of just how weak, yet strong, my body can be.
Coming out of morning sickness is turning out to be a gift this year, because it’s put me in a state of mind to slow down and focus on what the holiday season is truly about. As a stay-at-home mom, it’s tempting to get completely and totally overwhelmed with coordinating Christmas outfits for professional pictures, making every holiday gift under the sun, coming up with new holiday traditions (I’ve said no to the Elf) and in every moment, crafting Christmas memories and warm moments for my family.
But this year, I’m letting myself off the hook.
I’ve decided that my goal for December — my gift to myself and to my family — is a pure heart. I’m working to focus on being joyful in every moment, loving my husband even when he’s frustrating me, not having to be the I-do-everything mom and most importantly, letting myself off the hook.
“I don’t have to do everything.”
There have actually been moments when I’ve said that aloud, to remind myself that it’s okay.
When our MOPS group brought shoeboxes to send to needy kids, I let myself off the hook. When I could have volunteered to bring snack at Bible study, I let myself off the hook. When I wanted to bring breakfast to our babysitter’s mom as she recovered from surgery, I let myself off the hook.
It’s a beautiful feeling, and it’s one that I’m growing into everyday. I don’t have to do it all.
While I still love crafting, I pick and choose what I’ll spend time on.
Because freeing up those moments gives me a chance to focus my energy on honest, simple experiences with my kids.
Like baking an apple crisp in our jammies on a random Sunday night.
A year ago, I never would have posted this picture. My makeup hasn’t been touched in 12 hours, and I’m in my pajamas. But the main reason I wouldn’t have shared it is because, in this shot, you have a clear view to some of my least favorite qualities of our kitchen: the 90’s tile backsplash, the white appliances, old white countertops.
But, you also have a view of something beautiful and perfect.
My 2 sons, working together.
And, as it turns out, when my husband snapped this shot, he inadvertently captured our third little gift: the sonogram photo of our third son, who’s due in April.
All of the most precious little people in my life. Right there, in my mish-mosh kitchen. It’s a beautiful sight.
At about 4pm on this Sunday, I’d gotten a pregnancy craving for sweets, so I opened my Betty Crocker cookbook (since it was my #screenfreeSunday, I had pledged not to go online) and found a dessert recipe that used ingredients we already had.
My 3-year-old bounded into the kitchen to help, jazzed at the thought of standing on his step stool to help me measure oatmeal, brown sugar and flour. The 19-month-old followed his lead, standing on another chair and shaking the cinnamon and nutmeg.
It was in this moment that I saw the fullness of the gifts God has given me in this life.
It’s not a perfectly-gorgeous model kitchen with marble countertops, stainless steel appliances and travertine floors.
It’s a flawed kitchen with a perfectly little imperfect family inside. Keeping it warm with love, laughter and memories. And on this night, a dated, white oven that’s nice and hot, ready to accept our flawed little apple crisp.
It’s these perfect little pudgy hands, that I am teaching everyday. That make me giggle, and that frustrate me. That help me make a joyous mess on a random Sunday night.
It doesn’t take Pinterest planning or posts on Instagram. It doesn’t take countless shopping trips to the mall or a perfect family picture.
For a great holiday season, all it takes is love and having fun together.
Despite your circumstances, or your imperfect house.
Happy holidays, friend.
I truly hope this season brings you simple, beautiful memories that leave you filled up and full of peace.
For all my past pregnancy updates, check out my whole series, A Real Picture of Pregnancy. I’ll be posting my own ‘real picture of pregnancy’ for the next 5 months, so be sure to subscribe to She Just Glows for monthly updates!