The Blessed Life

The Blessed Life

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Things I don't do

So I mentioned that I am reading and loving Shauna Niequist lately. I just finished Bread and Wine and am now reading Bittersweet. It is so wonderful. For reals. 

One of my favorite chapters in the book is called Things I don't do. Basically, Mrs. Niequist, when faced with trying to be a woman who could do it all decided to instead figure out what was really important and do that, rather than trying to do it all.  

I love that. Mostly because I'll never be a person who can do it all. I'd rather figure out what the important things are and do those. In the book she talks about the fact that coming up with a list of what you will do is easy.  It is figuring out what you're willing to give up that's hard.

So here is the start of what I don't do.  

I don't throw elaborate birthday parties for my kids. If you're looking for a Pinterest party, don't look here. I will have cake and ice cream and possibly an activity (hope you count playing outside as an activity).  I will decorate a little but nothing you will want to copy. I just don't have time or energy or money to plan those types of parties four times a year. 

I don't spend very much time decorating. Now, I don't think my house is a total disaster but you won't find me going overboard to make sure my house looks like anything you've ever seen on Instagram or blogs or anywhere else. My house is serving it's purpose. It is a home and we like it. I hope if you come for a visit you feel comfortable and not like you can't just relax and be yourself.   

I don't attend home parties. Sorry, ladies. I know how terrible this sounds from a Mary Kay lady, but for real, I'm not coming. Most of these parties are in the evenings during the few precious hours I have with my family all together.  For now, I'm not willing to sacrifice time at home for a home party. I will do a girls night out, a book club, or a family get together but not a high pressure sales party!

I don't spend time trying to look like a million bucks. This is something that is harder for me to come to grips with as I used to really appreciate looking my best. These days I am happy to leave the house in matching clothes that don't have snot/food/marker/milk/whatever on them. You won't see me posting any "what I wore" posts. 

Please don't misunderstand me.  I'm not saying these things are bad.  What I'm saying is that for now, these things aren't making the most important list in my life.  I am willing to not do these things to make time and energy for other things. If you want to spend your time shopping for awesome clothes, hosting elaborate parties and decorating your house to the point pottery barn is calling you for tips, go for it!!!  I'm just not able to do those things plus everything else. There are, of course, other things that I don't do I just didn't list them all! 

I encourage you to think about what you might be willing to give up (even if just for a season) in order to really, truly focus on the most important things in your life. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I am a mom of a five year old. What????

Isabelle is five.

Isabelle is five.

ISABELLE IS FIVE.  I am in a bit of denial.  Isabelle is also.  She told us multiple times that she did NOT want to turn five.

I am continuing my tradition of doing an interview with her on her bday, so here goes.

Favorite food?  Pizza, crunchy chicken, chicken noodle soup from a can (NOT homemade), and pancakes.

Least favorite food?  Stroganoff

Favorite color?  Red

Favorite TV show?  Calliou

Favorite movie?  Toy Story

Best friend?  Hannah (it is really Molly!)

Favorite toy? Bear Bear

Favorite book?  If I Were a Jungle Animal (the book we happened to have out at the moment!)

Favorite Snack?  Fruit Snacks

What do you want to be when you grow up?  Teacher

What does mom do all day?  Clean

What does dad do all day?  Work

Coolest person you know?  Mom

Favorite song?  I obey right away.

From my perspective,

Her loves include "doing school," coloring or anything art related, playing with her sister, being outside, donuts on Saturday mornings, church, spending time with family, the tv show Wildkratts, black leggings, singing and dancing, listening to KXOJ (the christian music channel) at bedtime, having a backpack, sleeping without pajamas, crunchy chicken for dinner, taking showers, reading books, playing on the ipad,  helping out around the house with the dishwasher and laundry, and waving at people from the front door as they drive off.

Things she's not so crazy about include, pasta with any kind of sauce, loose pony tails, socks that bunch up at her toes, shoelaces that flop when she walks, leggings that are too short,  sharing toys with her siblings, and brushing her teeth with the thomas the train toothpaste.

Isabelle is such a great daughter.  She is loving, kind, helpful and compassionate.  She is sensitive and a rule follower and rarely gets in trouble.  She is getting better and better at sharing and recently gave almost all of her candy from our church's fall festival away to friends and family.  She is also a very thoughtful girl, always wanting to make things and buy things for other people.  I love being her mom and I am so thankful that God entrusted me to be her parent!  Happy Birthday, Isabelley Red Jelly!

Friday, November 8, 2013

What I'm Loving

A little Friday list.

Things that I am currently in love with!

1.  New PW Cookbook.

It is amazing.  And mine has a great story behind it.  A couple of weeks ago, Isabelle made me a "fall" card by picking leaves out of our yard from our tree that turns a great red color.  Then, she told Jason that she wanted to get me a present.  Jason took her to Walmart and they picked out this cookbook.  When she gave me my card and present, she said it was because she was thankful for me.  I think it might be the sweetest thing ever.

2.  Shauna Niequist books.

So far I have read Bread and Wine and have started Bittersweet.  They are so, so, so good.

3.  The weather.

I haven't had to turn on my heater or my a/c.  It is wonderful.  And when it gets a little chilly at night and I have to wear something more than a tshirt, my life is complete.  Throw in clouds and I am in Heaven!

4.  Ice Cream.

I think at some point I may qualify for worlds biggest pregnant person.  If not, a few more nights of ice cream eating should seal the deal.  Besides orange juice, it is really the only thing I've been craving.  Oh, and fried chicken.  But in my defense, I haven't given into that craving yet.

5.  Hillsong's Young and Free.

This album is one of my new favs, and I don't even own it (thank you very much, pandora).

What things are you loving right now?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

my son throws fits

i have a confession to make.

i am a judge-y mom.

there, i said it.  i have judged other moms.  please tell me i'm not the only one.

however, i am really trying to stop.  having a son who throws fits is helping me.

here's the thing.  i used to think one of two things when i saw a kid throw a fit.

1.  the mom was doing a lousy job at parenting in that moment.  whether that was because she had her kid at walmart at 10pm and he was throwing a fit from being tired, or because she couldn't control her kid no matter the time of day, i assumed sometimes it was the mom's fault.

2.  the kid was a terrible kid.  spoiled, entitled, whatever you want to call it, i felt bad for the mom with the bad kid.

but, then, lawson started throwing fits.  all. the. time.

and, my parenting is seriously not to blame (maybe a little to blame, who knows?), and lawson seriously isn't to blame.  and i'm not just making excuses.

lawson has a serious, for real, speech delay.  by two years old most kids will say about 50 words and will start saying 2 to 4 word sentences, by two and a half most will have about 300!  lawson says about five words.  ni-night, hannah and banana which sound exactly the same when he says them, dada (only sometimes in the correct context) and love you (only j and i understand him). and that is after six months of speech therapy.

can you imagine not being able to communicate about your needs and wants?  like if your kids were disobeying but you couldn't correct them?   what if you wanted your morning starbucks but had no speech? parent teacher conferences where you couldn't say a word?  how about trying to communicate with your coworkers or boss?  doesn't sound pleasant does it?  you'd probably resort to crying also?  you might not throw a fit because you are an adult with problem solving skills and not a two year old, but i bet you'd be frustrated and crying.  i would.

when i was being a judge-y mom, i never considered that the child had underlying issues i knew nothing about.  i was just assuming something about a family i had never met, never talked to, never interacted with in the least.  and i was incredibly wrong.  and now, NOW i have much more compassion for the mom with the toddler throwing a fit.

does that kid have autism?  a speech disorder?  some other underlying reason for throwing a fit or acting like i think is out of line?  i feel compassion for the mom or dad with that kiddo because i have no idea what their day to day life is like.  maybe they are a terrible parent, but maybe not.  but why not extend grace and compassion instead of judgement?

at least that is what i am trying to do.  and i have a lot of making up to do!  i encourage you to do the same! it might take practice but i think we can all agree that extending more understanding and support to fellow moms is a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

oh hey there

wait, what?  i have a blog?  weird.

i think between speech therapy for lawson, and occupational therapy for lawson, and homeschooling isabelle, and trying to prevent molly from seriously injuring herself, and cleaning my house, and trying to not wear myself out while being preggers, and mops, and family, and birthday parties, and all the other "stuff" we've been up to i just gave up the easiest thing...blogging.  i hate that because i really like blogging.   even if i'm not particularly great at it, i like the idea of being the memory keeper for my family.

so, i'm gonna put down what we've been up to and then hope (really really really hope) that i am more consistent from now on.  i don't remember what my new year's goals were from last year, but next year may just be blog more and lose weight.  moving's what we've been up to.

i've been reading some shauna niequist books.  i love them.  and now i want to start a cooking club.  i'm not sure i know enough people that cook to start a club, but i really want to.

the girls learned to climb the fence.  our neighbors love us.  NOT.  they climb up and then yell at the dogs. or sometimes they yell at the construction workers across the street.  it is awesome.  in case you couldn't guess, molly is the one who showed isabelle.

we went to the pumpkin patch with jason's mom.  he took a great selfie with laws.  i love those two to pieces.

we went to our church's fall festival.  and no, our kids did not wear costumes or go trick or treating, in case you were wondering!

we added a new member to our family.  my precious nephew, wyatt, was born almost two weeks ago!

we've spent a ton of time outside.  the bounce house has proven to be one of the greatest toy investments we have ever made.  lawson is finally old enough to play in it and he loves it.  

molly has been expanding her fashion sense.  in the first picture she picked out the entire outfit, right down to the hat, gloves and cowboy boots. second pic is her wearing two shirts, two headbands and fake glasses. molly is hilarious.

lawson has become a master at the ipad. it is a bit crazy, really.  he gets to use the ipad/iphone during therapy for a reward and now he is an expert.  and for the record, we just finished OT today but will continue speech twice a week.  he is making progress.  slow, but still progressing.

isabelle had her kindergarten picture taken.  we are lucky to be in a homeschool group with a photographer! i may be slightly biased, but i think she is pretty gorgeous.

so there you go, a brief recap of what we have been up to. now to just blog more than like once every two months.  we shall see!  if you are on instagram and want to keep up with me there you can find me @tracy_dickinson.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


A few weeks back I entered a contest to win a spot at a women's retreat called Flourish, hosted by one of my favorite bloggers, Emily Anderson.  You should know that I really never win anything.  Like ever.  So entering was a bit of a joke.  But, I have wanted to go and since I have a baby arriving in February, I thought if I was going to enter to win a spot, now was the time to do it.

I won.

I really couldn't believe it.  I was pretty much freaking out when I won.  Because, like I said, I never win anything.

After freaking out, and after realizing that my bff, Erin, couldn't go with me and I would be going alone, I got pretty nervous.  To make it worse, I agreed to ride with someone I had only known on the internet.  I was pretty sure I was crazy.  Going alone and riding with someone I had never met are both pretty far out of my comfort zone.

Explaining to people exactly what Flourish is or was is pretty tough.  I mean, it is a retreat, for women, put on by a couple of awesome ladies, one of whom is a rockin' awesome blogger.  Just like the word retreat implies, it is a time to get away, to take time to be in charge of only yourself and to be recharged and renewed.  We really did have time to just connect with God, connect with other women and be pampered and taken care of.  I didn't wash any dishes, fix any meals, clean anyone's room, wipe anyone else's rear end, put anyone to bed or hear anyone fighting.  It was beautiful.  Instead, I watched the sunrise, worshipped under the stars, ate delicious food that someone else prepared, got a massage,  spent time with the Lord, and got to know some amazing women.  It was wonderful.  And it was exactly what I needed.

I can't stress enough how great I think this retreat is.  If you have ever thought about going to something like this or even to Flourish itself, you must go.  I won my spot, but I will be going again as soon as I can after having the baby.  And, I don't think it is important to go with someone you know.  You will have just as much fun and get just as much out of it going alone.

I am so thankful that I was able to go.  I am thankful for the hearts of the women who are the vision behind Flourish.  I am thankful that I got out of my comfort zone and did something I would not normally do.   I am beyond thankful for the people who made it possible for me to go from KK and Emily who gave away the ticket, to my mom and mother-in-law who watched my kiddos and my hubby who worked his tail off while I was gone and had the house sparlking clean when I got home.

If you are looking for a great time with great gals and a chance to grow spiritually, Flourish is where it's at!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Summer Recap

I don't think I've blogged in like a million years.  Now that I am coming out of the fog of nausea and nausea medication, I hope to be a little more consistent.  I thought I would start by letting you in on how I did completing our summer bucket list.  I can sum it up for you in one word.


Seriously, I think I need to make a fall list so that I can redeem myself.  Besides my obvious all day sickness issue, I also loathe summer time.  I have tried to keep my hatred to myself more this summer because honestly, it hasn't been that hot this year in OK.  We had a bit of a break after the last two years of crazy heat.  Still, 95 at the playground with no shade is still pretty unbearable.

Anyway, here is what we actually did this summer.

The first thing on my list, make playdoh, I actually did accomplish.  The only problem, it was a terrible recipe.  I thought I would try a new pinterest recipe.  BAD IDEA.  If you have a recipe that works, you should probably stick with it, rather than try a new one.  I just didn't have it in me to take pics of the major failure that was homemade playdoh.

Sidewalk paint, however, was a huge hit.  I really should make it more often.  Turns out, I don't just have tons of cornstarch on hand.  If I did, we would totally make this again and again.

We also managed to make it to the lake one time.  Jason's work schedule this summer prohibited a second trip, but we did have a great time over Memorial Day.

We went swimming at grandma's, had multiple cookouts, watched fireworks, made LOTS of art projects for Dad, ate at Top That Pizza, went to the Aquarium, and made it to an event at our library.

Things that weren't on our list but that we did include swimming in the kiddie pool in our backyard, take walks to our neighborhood park,  park visits with friends, started Isabelle's prek year in homeschool, and spent lots of time with family.

Now here's the part where you realize all that I missed.  No ice cream from the ice cream man, no picnics, or visits to dad's work.  No homemade bubbles, or ice cream in a bag or even rice krispie treats.  We didn't fly kites or catch fireflies (which I don't even think exist in our neighborhood), and we certainly didn't make our own tshirts or even fluffy stuff for that matter.  No edible finger paints, homemade lollipops. or nature scavenger hunts.  Nope, we did none of that.  I had a great list and great intentions, but I really dropped the ball.

So, fall bucket list it is.  And since I am going to blog more often, you can actually expect to see my list next week!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


There are so many things I want to remember about my children.  Things that are insignificant enough that I would probably forget them over time but funny or special enough that I should take time to write them down.  Bedtime snuggles with Isabelle is probably one of those things.

at one of our bowling outings 

Every night we go through a bedtime routine with our kiddos.  It isn't perfect and perhaps we are doing it all wrong, but it is our routine.  Part of that routine involves putting Isabelle to bed in our bed until Molly falls asleep in their room.  Every night, Isabelle has the same requests.  She wants our door left open, to sleep on Dad's pillow, use the sheet only, have the radio on, have a nightlight, and then a song and a story (which you are required to make up).  It is a lengthy routine, but if followed, usually means she will go right to sleep. However, sometimes she asks me to stay and "snuggle up" with her.

A couple of nights ago she asked and I responded like I normally do and told her no.  I am usually worn out by bedtime and I just want the kids to go to sleep so I can have a little bit of time with Jason before we go to sleep.  As soon as I told her no, I felt a little tug on my heart to snuggle up despite the fact that I was tired and worn out and just wanted some time to decompress.

I laid down with her for not even five minutes and while I was snuggling,  realized that there is probably not that much time left of her asking me to snuggle with her.  Pretty soon she will be too old and too cool to snuggle with her momma and I will be the one asking her to, "please, pretty please, snuggle up with me." Kind of depressing, really.

So for now, I am going to snuggle up, and cuddle and give extra hugs and kisses because really, whether want it to or not, the time is quickly approaching where they will stop asking.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Things people ask you when you announce you're pregnant

I should say, "Things people ask you when you announce you're pregnant with your fourth."  I am pretty sure no one asked me these things when we announced we were pregnant with our first.

1.  "Do you know what causes that?"  or sometimes, "You do know what causes that, right?"
Is there a right answer to this question??  Um, obviously we do.  Should I say, "I like what causes it," or better, "No, what?"  This question irritates me.

2.  "Was this planned?"
Well, first, I'm not sure how this is anyone's business, nor do I see how it matters whether or not it was planned.  The fact remains I am pregnant so does it really matter if it was a surprise or not?

3.  "Is this your last?"
I'll just answer this now.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  Unless we change our minds.  Or adopt.  So maybe, or maybe not.

4.  "Are you guys crazy?"  This is always said in a voice that suggests only totally crazy weirdos would ever dare to have four kids.
Well, I don't think we are crazy.  There are four kids in my family, Jason's mom is one of four, so it seems clear, we aren't the only ones to ever have four kids.  And, my kids are pretty great, so it isn't as if my kids have been a deterrent to having more kids.

5.  "How does Jason feel about this?"
I like how this question implies I somehow "tricked" him into getting me pregnant.  Jason is excited and so am I.  It may not have been in our exact timing (after all, I was trying to train for a half marathon), but we are still excited!

I don't know how other pregnant moms feel, but in my opinion there are better questions to ask.

Here are a few.

"How are you feeling?"
"When are you due?"
"What do you think you're having?"
"Will you find out what you are having?"
"Any weird cravings yet?"

Those all seem like perfectly reasonable questions to ask.  But like I said, that is just my opinion.

And in case you are wondering, I am 8 weeks, due in the very beginning of February, feeling pretty miserable, thinking it is a boy, for sure finding out, and not craving anything!  Happy Friday!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


My life is pretty scattered right now.  It is no surprise my blog is the same.  Here is some of our randomness.

1.  Funny things the girls have said lately.....

Isabelle:  Dad, here be sure to take my picture of the hobo stick.  (pogo stick)

Molly:  Mom, Grammy called this (talking about dinner) supper.
Me:  Some people call dinner, supper.
Molly:  I'll just call it spaghetti. (looking at me like I'm nuts)

During a discussion about lightning and why it is dangerous to play in the rain if there is lightning.
Isabelle:  How can lightning hit you if it doesn't have any arms or hands?
(after trying to explain about electricity)
Isabelle:  I know a lot about electricity.  (long pause)  I know a lot about everything.

2.  Our summer bucket list is proving that once again, nothing gets done around here without a list.  So far we have made sidewalk chalk, gone on a boat ride, set up the backyard pool, played in the sprinkler, gone swimming at Grammy's and gotten snow cones.  I put pick berries on the list by total accident.  We will NOT be picking berries this year.  It is hot, it is far away, and while the berries are good, I can get them much cheaper from the grocery store after you figure in gas from my house to the berry farm!

3.  Lawson started saying, "mama" yesterday.  I don't think he is referring to me, but at least he is making the sounds!  And on a somewhat related note, both, occupational and speech therapy are going very well.

4.  I've posted a couple of things about modesty, specifically bikinis, on facebook recently.  I love how none of the moms/dads/teens that post bikini picks have commented on my links/statuses.  I still don't understand how anyone thinks skimpy bikinis are appropriate much less that it is okay to post pictures on the internet (where any weirdo can see them)!

5.  We are seriously considering selling our house.  What I can't get my brain around is how I would ever keep my house "show ready" with three kids.  And it's not like you can stuff everything in a closet, because, people LOOK IN THE CLOSETS.  Tell me, how do people with kids ever sell their house?

6.  Saturday is going to be such a fun day!  We are headed to OKC to visit Jason's aunt who we haven't seen since I was pregnant with Lawson.  And if that wasn't exciting enough, we will also get to see some friends who just moved back to OK from Michigan.  It is going to be a great day full of family and friends!

What have you been up to?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Update on 2013 Goals

I think it is important to look over my goals once in awhile to make sure I stay on track. Here's how I'm doing so far this year.

First, lose weight.

Well, I certainly have lost weight since January but right now I'm in a bit of a slump. I am running, have completed two 5k's and one 10k and plan to complete a 15k and a half marathon in the fall.  Whether or not I lose more weight, I am for sure healthier and in better shape than I was in January.  And 15lbs weight loss is nothing to be ashamed of!

Second, complete three days of school a week with the girls.

I didn't start off strong in this area but currently Isabelle and I are doing five days of school a week.  I realized that while Isabelle has a strong desire to learn, Molly does not.  Molly is about movement.  So, for now, the focus is on Isabelle.  Molly does some of the work with us like Bible and art and some science, but I am not forcing her to do anything at this point.

The next goal was a monthly character trait!

Hahaha!  I wish!  The fact of the matter is, we are working on about a million things each day.  The girls are always being taught about being obedient and sharing, and being kind and telling the truth.  Picking one a month seemed silly after a bit.  We have a weekly memory verse and that is about all I am going to commit to at this point.  Maybe it will be easier when they are older.

My goal to earn money to buy a camera is also laughable at this point.  If I earn money, it is not going to a camera!  It is going to bills, bills and more bills!  I am not complaining, but this year has been the year of medical bills for our family and we would like to get those suckers paid off.

My next goal was to learn to care more about what God thinks than what others think.

This is a work in progress at this point.  It honestly may be something that I have to work on for awhile.

Second to last goal was to read more.

I have for sure accomplished this goal!  I have read some pretty amazing books so far this year.  Among them, Kisses from Katie, The Hiding Place, and Evidence Not Seen.  All must reads in my opinion.  I have read some fiction also, but nothing mind blowing!  In total, I have read 13 books so far this year!

My last goal was to stop being so hard on myself.

I think that running is helping me a lot in this area.  Things I never thought I could do, like run 10 miles, I am doing.  Having some extra confidence is sure nice!  And while parenting is still the area where I am the hardest on myself, I am trying to give myself some grace when I feel like the worst mom ever.

So, there you go.  How are you doing on your goals?  Remember, that rereading and measuring your goals is one of the best ways to ensure they happen!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pictures from Our Trip Part Two

Here are a few more pictures from our trip to the lake.  

Lawson wanted to drive the boat!

Captain Lawson

Molly at Ha Ha Tonka

Trying to get a group picture is near impossible

Look!  The girls are getting along and smiling!  

This is what it looks like when Molly and Isabelle go fishing.

Jason caught quite a few fish while we were there.  This was not the largest but I think it was the first!

Again, group pics aren't always super easy, but this was the best of the trip!

I love my family and I love having time to get away together and do family things.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

pics from our trip, part one

these are just a few of the pictures we took while on our "vacation" to the lake over memorial day!  

moll loves sleeping on the boat

my girls on our last boat ride

lawson sporting his new hat and swimming trunks

fun at ha ha tonka state park

isabelle and dad fishing together

i think she looks about 16 here  

despite the fact that the water was freezing, both girls swam

j is a great dad to be in that water with them

my kids love the lake.  it is hard driving there and back as they aren't great travelers, but to hear them giggle and see them high five each other when we get there makes it worth it (mostly).  we fit a lot into this trip so i will have some more pics tomorrow!