ten thoughts from a wednesday |51|

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here's ten thoughts that i didn't quite get around to writing out and publishing yesterday. and a crazy amount of pictures of magnolia trees around london, because i just can't get enough. a couple of days ago on a walk home, moses shouted, "mommy! there's a magnolia tree! you love magnolia trees!" :)

thanks for the comments back on this post when i asked for thoughts about sharing details about my children online. i really appreciated the different perspectives shared, and i think it's a really interesting discussion. ian and i will continually be carefully considering what is best for our family, all things considered. the internet has changed so much about human life ... it's crazy.

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moses loves going to the grocery store, riding in the cart, and then playing in the little green recycling truck toy they have there. this week gabriel came inside the truck for the first time, while mo ate a snack of his absolute favourite food - mango.
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on a related topic, i've been thinking about screen time a lot lately - for myself and for my children. (my interest in this topic led me to collect some information from fellow parents via instagram stories recently.) i feel like both growing up and parenting today is so different than it was a generation ago because of the ubiquitousness of screens, and i really want to be deliberate in how to handle that. we have a pretty firm no screens policy for our kids (with a big fat exception for airplanes), which i feel good about for now, but i am not a very good example in my own screen time. (i feel like i mention my phone addiction so often in my ten thoughts posts...do i sound like a broken record?!) i need to find a way to both accept that it's all a work in progress and be really determined to be better.

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i love to spy on the boys on my way home from the gym or a run in the mornings. look at these three happy guys! sooo glad they are mine. 
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the natural history museum is one of my all-time favourite buildings in the world. i love it for the architecture. obsessed-with-animals moses loves it for the taxidermy :) 

i have been loving the new "come, follow me" program that our church has introduced in 2019. it is set up so well for family and individual study, along with community study at church. we have a little "sunday lesson" every sabbath morning and moses is always sooo pumped for it. (the primary manual has so many great activity ideas that we use!) then ian and i have a little study session after the kids are in bed on sunday evenings.
one thing i've been thinking about lately in our study of the new testament is how paradoxical christ's teachings are.

i cannot believe that gabriel is nearly eleven months old. it all goes by even faster the second time around. he's almost one. what!!! his first birthday falls on easter, which i think is pretty cool. gabey has been pulling up to standing at every opportunity and i think he might be an earlier walker than moses was. we will see!

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mo is pretty much constantly giving his little brother hugs. and has come to adore his weekly music class - especially the bubbles at the end!
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have i ever mentioned how much i love joy school? ha! it's just the best, and i'm so so grateful that moses and i have been able to do it over the past six months with dear friends.
last sunday we had a little first-term joy school graduation. a couple of our little friends cannot continue with the second term, and we wanted to celebrate them before they leave our group for nursery school. we gathered all the families together and had a cute little ceremony and then had some time to play all together. it was so wonderful.
one of the moms (who has taken the lead in organizing our joy school group) gave a little talk to kick off the graduation gathering. she explained that over the past six months the kids have learned about lots of "joys": the joy of the earth, the joy of the body, the joy of honesty and communication, the joy of order and goals, and the joy of sharing and service. but, she said, the biggest "joy" we have learned about is the joy of friendship. this is so true. it has been so fun to watch these little boys and girls become such loving friends and discover how friends make life so great.

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i have recently switched from using picasa to lightroom for editing photos. it's a whole new system and process and i'm definitely riding a learning curve. there's soooo many options and details with photo editing (i'm still not even sure which version of lightroom i want to use!). while i don't want to spend a whole ton of time on this, i am interested in developing some skills in this area. if you know any great lightroom tutorials, let me know! ;)

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i feel lucky to be a part of a great community of moms here in london, thanks in most part to the church. we have a whatsapp group of about fifty moms where we are often exchanging tips and organizing get togethers. there's also a lot of sharing of baby/kid clothes/gear going on, which i love. after having lots of one-off meetups to pass things off (both for borrowing and keeping) with different moms, a few weeks ago i thought it might make sense for us to all get together in one place with our donate piles and have a little swap meet party! it turned out to be a really fun evening that turned into a late night gab-fest after all the clothes and toys and etc were sorted, and everyone went home with some goods. so grateful for community.

usually, when i drop moses off at joy school, i hustle to a nearby coffee shop (with gabriel sleeping in the buggy) and pretty frantically try to get stuff done on my computer. last week, though, i decided spontaneously to drop that plan for a day and treat myself to a walk through notting hill while the baby snoozed. that was good for my soul. here's a few snapshots from along portobello road:

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my sister-in-law told me this past week that her parenting mantra lately is, "he only has half a brain." that's definitely been going through my head as well recently! and my mom sent me an email the other day that said, "remember, just like a baby has to learn to move their arms, a toddler has to learn to control their will."

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last saturday i ran a half marathon! i have run two halves before, and both times i felt sooo exhilarated all thirteen miles, and genuinely loved every minute. year, not this time. it was really, really windy and the course was just six and a half laps around a not-very-scenic park. i hadn't slept very well the week leading up to the race and probably also hadn't eaten enough to properly fuel my body. by mile nine i was huuuurting. but...i made it to that finish line! i didn't beat my previous half-marathon time, which i thought would be cool to do, but i did finish in under two hours, which i was happy about. now i just need to run at least that far about a half a dozen more times and then twice that far in about eleven weeks in stockholm. eeeeeek!
as i ran last saturday, through the exhaustion, i felt just so grateful for my healthy body and my beautiful life.

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the only good part about a race route that goes around and around in circles is that it makes it easy for spectactors to see their favourite runners several times throughout the race! :) mo was super excited when he saw me coming this time ^^ (i'm the runner in all black in the distance)
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happy wednesday thursday!


  1. Just a thought about screen time...I think it's important to model any behavior we want our children to emulate. I don't struggle too much with screen time but driving is rough for me - I have no patience for slow drivers! My kids are 18, 20, and 22 so I've been trying to model safe driving (I drive a little too fast) for a good eight years now. I'm reading the Bible by listening to it on my commute of about 45 minutes each way which helps control my lack of patience - sometimes! Anyway, it's never too early to model the behavior you'd like to see with your kids and apologize when you mess up or explain why circumstances are different for different people. For some reason, modeling behavior hit me like a ton of bricks with the thought of my kids driving. I hope I don't sound critical because you seem like a wonderful parent, wife, and friend who puts so much thought into all things important to you. Good luck with the marathon!

    1. i wholeheartedly agree! this is the major reason why i am trying to get my own screen time under control: because i want to model healthy behavior for my children to emulate. also am 100% with you that "it's never too early to model the behavior you'd like to see with your kids and apologize when you mess up or explain why circumstances are different for different people." yes!!

  2. Your kids are so young and you're a new mom; no need to feel like you need to have it all figured out now ("figuring out" is just an illusion in any case) I'm sure you thoughts, opinions, and experiences in childrearing will vary widely over the next 20 years and I hope you welcome that. I think you've talked about the pitfalls of comparison in dating/relationships/marriage and I think the same applies to parenting. Comparison really is the thief of joy.

    One note about screen time. Of course, it's important that growing kids have lots of interesting activities, outside time, time with friends; so great you're sure to give this to your kids. There's plenty of time to do all of that and still have some fussy time to fill. The only measurable different between a toddler with no screen time all day and a similarly raised toddler with an hour of screen time that day is that the mom of a toddler with screen time got an hour break!

    1. hi jenny! i totally agree with you that i don't need to have it figured out! and that comparison is the thief of joy. i wonder what makes you think that i think i need to have things figured out, or that i am comparing myself to other parents?

      i have to say i disagree with your note about screen time though. my toddler (and i've heard this is true of most toddlers...) often exhibits a (certainly measurable!) negative change in mood and behavior when he has had screen time, and the tantrums that many kids throw around the topic of screen time also probably could be measured... i just think there are other great ways to get moms/parents a break. i by no means think screen time is evil or that it's right for every family to have a no-screens-for-kids rule. for us, it just hurts more than it helps, all things considered (unless we are on an airplane. then it really helps ;) ).

    2. Thanks for your thoughtful response, Charity. The social media "survey" felt like big time comparison to me. Afterwards you wondered if you seemed smug. (I think "smug" is much to negative a word to put on your good intentions) And the whole "having it figured out" perspective just comes over to me in your general tone, perhaps I am off base.

    3. that makes sense that my instagram stories could seem to be about comparison. i genuinely was just curious about the distribution of what different parents are doing, and then when other expressed curiosity about my findings and our own screen time policy, i shared ... in the middle of the day between childcare demands, without putting much thought into the presentation. afterwards, i had some major face-palm moments worrying that i came across as smug or made any parent out there feel bad. i felt sick about it. thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt in assuming i had good intentions -- i did!

      as for the general "have it figured out" tone - that makes me so sad!! i'd love any tips you have on helping that to not come across, because i *definitely* do not feel like i have it all figured out - quite the contrary. i put a disclaimer to this effect at the beginning of the parenting thoughts post i published last week. maybe i need to make those kinds of disclaimers more often or make them longer or more emphatic or bold them or something? would genuinely love your ideas on how to better convey my true attitude.

    4. A few things...1. I'm the first anonymous comment - thanks for the reply :)

      2. I'm a little older than you and have a thought about having it all "figured out" based on my memories of the parenting stage you're in. I think you do have things figured out, at least for the moment and your parenting style. At dinner time or tomorrow or next week, you probably won't have it "figured out." From my opinion, the difference between you and other parents is that you seem to celebrate when things go well and not only adjust when things don't go well but deeply think about how you need to change. Some of us, myself included, take longer to put such thought into the process and simply react. I think you learned early in your parenting career that you don't have every detail and scenario figured out which in my opinion is figuring it out!!

      All of our pasts are different. I think your past as a youngest child with so many nieces and nephews coupled with seemingly wonderful parents and in-laws gave you a great head start to be an amazing parent. There's no shame in being wonderful at something you put so much thought and effort into.

  3. Regarding screen time: I recommend having a phone with a land line and switching off your mobile as often as possible. Putting laptops away in a shelf or drawer might help as well. Also, before you use a screen, think about your Intention, and set a timer. Try letting your mobile at home while going to the park or the grocery store. Have abd use only the absolute necessary apps on your phone. Use an mp3 player for listening to music. Use a real camera for taking pictures.
    I follow all these tips and I don't need and use my smart phone that often. And guess what-I never miss out on anything.
    Even today it is possible to limit your screen/mobile time.
    You do have a choice.
    I work with children. During my work time, I am not allowed to use my smart phone or carry it with me. You could do the same.
    Good kuck!

    1. absolutely, i do have a choice! that's why i'm actively working on making good choices when it comes to screen time :) i love your tips, thanks for sharing them!

  4. Those magnolia trees are food for my soul too! Notting Hill has to be on my to-do list when I get to London. That greenery--does it seem greener when it rains and the reds redder? Good job training and running the half-marathon!! I am so excited to see the Stockholm photos! --Melanie

  5. Quick question--I have heard that is cheaper to see some of Europe when staying on a cruise boat at night and taking the tours on land during the day. Then you never have to move your luggage. Would that scrape away a lot of the experience of traveling or would it be a load off? :D

    1. i think it would just totally depend on the cruise and the by-land trip. there's pros and cons to both! ian and i have talked about doing a cruise with the kids because i love the idea of going to lots of different places but not having to cart luggage around and check into new places to stay. but it really just depends on what you are going for!

  6. Different things motivate different people, but what helps me set limits for my screen time is knowing my kids will use their screens the way they see me use mine. I really want them to know what constitutes reasonable phone use. I try not to use my phone in front of them, at the dinner table, in the car, or in front of another screen. On weekends I plug it in to the wall or leave it in my purse so I don't pull it out at odd, unnecessary moments the way we all do, like when we are in line, bored or uncomfortable. It really is a big challenge for parents. Good luck. And a happy suggestion from someone who has left the toddler years behind. I read somewhere that 60 percent compliance (behavior) is amazing and the most you can expect from a 2-4 year old. It helped me keep things in perspective and ensure I was setting up my toddlers for success in reaching that number. I often reminded myself that I was dealing with a wonderful little wild animal and that rules and patience would only get us so far. Structure and reasonable expectations were a must. Take care.

    1. thanks for sharing these thoughts! love the 60% thing. and "wonderful little wild animal" is right! ;) totally agree on structure and especially reasonable expectations. you take care, too! xo

  7. Have you heard of the book "How To Break Up With Your Phone"?

    Read it! I can't promise it will make you change, but I can promise you'll learn quite a bit and you'll think about it differently.

    Always love your posts, thanks for sharing your cute family!

  8. I think it’s fascinating that I keep hearing in multiple places that kids have tantrums and negative reactions to screen time. That isn’t my experience with my kids. My experience absolutely doesn’t negate others’ experiences, but I wonder why so many have that experience. Is it because it’s so off limits?

    My boys are 4 and 6 and I have let them have tv time since they were...1? Starting with 15 minutes of Sesame Street. (Tv is our screen time.) When they were little it was when they woke up from naps or when I got ready for the day. My kids only watched Pbs kids. It was 1 hour a day. They knew the limit. My kids are excellent readers (at 4 and 6) and they love to read! They didn’t turn into maniacs any time they had screen time. They play independently without direction. Their imaginations are incredible. They do not need to be entertained. TV time has been fun for them and allowed me to do other things.

    My husband grew up in a home without tv and absolutely cannot regulate himself now. Going out to eat is a challenge because if a tv is anywhere he will stare at it. I grew up in a home with tv and a computer and I have no problems turning it off when I need to. To be fair, my kids don’t play on iPads and only just recently learned how to do the Wii. A lot of my kindergartenerer’s friends play Minecraft and other games and I have to weigh the thought of my child wanting to go to someone else’s house all of the time. So it is a challenge. My kindergartener doesn’t watch tv during the week anymore because we don’t have extra time. The preschooler gets tv time in the afternoon now. Things will change as your boys get older.

    One more thing, I read “the happiest toddler on the block” and it helped me understand a toddlers brain and how they don’t have impulse control. You might have to tell them 100 times not to touch the thing or stop. Super helpful for me, even though I don’t like the title—it’s not my job to make my kids happy—it’s my job to help them live with the ups and downs if life—but this has been long enough. :)

    1. Watching tv at a very young age is not good for the development of the brain. There is countless scientific proof for that.

  9. Just curious, are all your friends members of the church or do you mix with non-members too? (I don't mean this as a negative comment)

    1. both! i am so grateful for the strong community of the church but am also always wishing for more friends outside of church.

  10. Yes, I am always surprised that some families have real issues with behavior regarding screen time since that isn’t the case for us either! I have seven children (oldest is 11) and television has always been carefully used in my home but has added so much benefit! We all must do what is right for our families but i would suggest that no one judge the parent who uses television as a tool because truly some children do not have problems watching a bit and then going to play. In fact, I am delighted that my children are learning that regulation from a young age because technology and screens will be around for their whole life. So I feel, that instead of keeping them away, I like to continually teach and train with and about it.

  11. I don't necessarily think that screen time is the root of all evil though I do think there needs to be balance in all things. We just recently bought the living scriptures app for our tv since our VHS tapes have bit the dust. Now instead of my kids watch random cartoon they can choose something that is uplifting and bringing them closer to Heavenly Father. Though I do admit the fee is rather steep. Today we watched a video on Gordon B. Hinckley. Yes, we have to say half the brain all the time with our teenage boys.

  12. We just did a forty day fast from tv and movies and it was so hard but I learned so much. Over all I just feel so grateful for agency and personal revelation, so that we can each pray and study and come up with a plan suited for our families. Good luck and thanks for this list! :)

  13. Try Rachel's blog- Hands Free Mama-- read a few of her posts and see if you'd like to get a book of hers. Such an amazing, real woman who shares about her previous struggles with screen time, the busyness, the children, the wanting to do it all. I wish I knew about her when I was I was a mother of young children-- that's why I'm sharing.


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