Chasing A Seven Year Dream


When Peter and I were Newlywed we often talked about our future.

We’d have kids, a home, and find ways to bless people with our home. 

Over time the realities were covering the dreams and I began to stop dreaming. I was discouraged. Some may say I had given up or settled. When in reality I had to work on learning to be content in all seasons. To take in the beauty set before me. Two beautiful healthy strong boys. A present husband and father who goes great lengths for us. 

This Spring a lot of our friends started letting us know they were moving and Peter was looking for a change in his work. 

This opened up conversations in passing and then they became longer. 

Weeks later we then realized we both want to move for different reasons. More talking happened. 

The more we talked the more we realized that Washington does not have what we want for our children. We want more financial freedom and time with our children. With selling our home we are hoping to buy and have the next place paid off or mostly paid off. The past year was also hard with raising little active boys because it rains so much. So we are moving somewhere where we can be outside more often. I am eager to live far from town and have more privacy as well. 

Our conversations began to snow ball into the steps of us talking to our real estate agent, preparing the house and getting ready to move.

We are moving out of state! 

I’d like to conclude with thanking those who have touched our house making it what it is today. 

The Lewis’s, the Martin’s, Paul Catt, John skubic, The Stabler’s, Steve and Sara, Kiana, Zach Ricks, Tracy Reineer, our neighbor Johnny, and The Schauer’s. 

See it here: 

Grief in Motherhood

I am facing a new reality. As I give my children the gift I wasn’t given I’m thankful and long for what they are given. But it’s not temporary. This grief will be forever. I thought it was because they are the ages of my orphanage years but as my son is exiting the age I was in there for, the emotions stay.

They have the freedom to cry, express any and every emotion, deny, be wild, have opinions, make mistakes, they have the freedom to repair with apologizing, any hours of the day and night for as long as they are ours. 

As I grip this new reality I hold it lose in denial. Then day to day grief is heavier the more I push it back instead of allowing myself to process. 

I play back the stage of my life of his age. 

Memories.
This is where my earliest memories lie. I’m adopted at this point experiencing my first Christmas and Easter. Saying my first words. 

 

In todays emotions of my child being disappointed in the color bowl I was filled with a sense of grief. I’m able to recognize my irritation as masking my grief now as my children grow up I’ve noticed I’m not mad at them I’m longing. 

Now that I’m accepting the grief for what it is this gives me freedom as well. 

Freedom to give it to God. Freedom to be thankful and grieve over and over and over with each stage motherhood brings me. 

Tender Warriors

For those who know our boys know they love sharks, trucks, tools, wrestling, digging, climbing, and play hard. But we also embrace them learning about their world. 


We are a non gender specific home.

Immediately I know I am getting some emotions and reactions to that specific quote. Because somewhere in society boys and girls are told wether it was appropriate to play with specific toys because of their gender.

My boys also have a doll, pretend food, and a doll house. They even cook and bake with me. We live in a world of babies and homes which they may learn to take care of down the road and these are not gender specific. 

When we take away doll houses dolls and pretend cooking stuff we take away life lessons boys need to learn.

There was some time where roles such as cleaning, cooking, and taking care of babies was taken away from men and put on women. When in reality it’s just part of being an adult.

We live in a world where dads do not know how to be dads because it was once the women’s roll to take care of the kids and the dads are simply physically there. They would go to work and their day would be done. This was taken from them. 

Thankfully society is in a shift where both parents cook, change diapers, work, play with the children, help them with school, and take them fun places. 

I’m gonna give you a few examples where we would get side glances. I have fun fairy wings and angel wings that my boys go around wearing sometimes.

Boy bugs have wings. Boy birds have wings. So when I put on wings they are not being girly they’re just playing. We are taking away the curiosity of children by labeling things too early.

Wings:

Child: “I want to fly like a bird, or bug.” 

Adult: “Those are pink, or sparkly they can’t wear those.”

Sparkly ring: 

Child: This is shiny and pretty. It looks fun.

Adult: You can’t wear a ring that his a flower cuz it’s girly.

Minnie Mouse show:

Child: Minnie show is fun.

Adult: that’s a girl show. 

This is adult content going into children. When in reality children aren’t complex. They are simply curious about their world.





The Year of Rebuilding

This year has been my most favorite year of our marriage. So much rebuilding and healing has taken place this past year. We had unknown trials ahead as does any newly wed couple. Ours became dysfunctional and began colliding more each day. In our innocence we were in survival mode. The collision became more painful as our family grew. Again in our innocence we didn’t understand why we felt like we were struggling to connect, to communicate, work together, and understand one another. I also had to come to terms with how much we as individuals changed in the the past years and will change as a couple. The Peter I married seven years ago isn’t going to stay the same. Because there needs to be room for growth. With trauma counseling for the both of us these past few years we began to understand, become more sympathetic toward one another, communicate, use teamwork, and encourage. But this meant visiting wounds we didn’t know about or didn’t know how to face. This meant being patient with one another’s pace in our growth.

Some say that seven years is the year couples are sick of one another. For us it feels like the beginning.

Happy 7 years!

Once My Sanctuary Now His Imagination

As I wipe down this house my mind takes a walk down memory lane from when I once constantly wiped it down as a child, to being a teenager longing to have a child someday play with it too. Today I got that privilege. Today I got to watch my son play with something that was once my sanctuary and now his imagination. And I am so thankful because it will never have to be his sanctuary. After everything was wiped and set up he asked where the people were. Because of my early childhood wounds people weren’t in there. They were forbidden in my world. So I took out our little Lego Duplo people for him. My heart was beaming watching my child set the people around the table because my child does not have to carry the wounds I once carried. For this I’m thankful.

Content With Their Journey

I find people’s reactions interesting when we tell them we are done having children. With both of us coming from larger families to them it would make sense for us to have more. 

But when I tell them I have high risk pregnancies the subject is immediately dropped.  Although the subject of adopting does come up with me being adopted, and us looking into adopting in the past even after having our first. But after having our second we felt complete. Even then others are left puzzled. 

I will never understand why society is  telling parents they can’t be content with the size they want their family to be. I don’t mind if people are genuinely curious about our journey, but to tell us is just silly nonsense to me. 

I  hear less comments about having two or three children as if that’s the acceptable amount to have but when parents chose to have one or a huge family that’s when parents are flooded with unnecessary comments. 

Huge families typically hear: 

“Got the whole crew?”

“Boy your hands are full!”

“How do you feed them all?”

“I would not be able to handle that many.”

The new one I’m becoming familiar with is the parents who are content with one child.

They often hear: 

“Just wait till he/she is older you’ll want more.”

“your kid needs a friend”

“That’s it?” 

“Yeah it will be easier to get sitters with just one.” 

Parenting is HARD. 

One child is not just one child. 

Forever investing and living a selfish life to a being that doesn’t owe us anything is hard! 

Everyone has their reasons for how many children THEY can handle and that is the journey we should be supporting. 

Intentional Journey

As my standards get higher my circle gets smaller.

If you become friends with me as mother I know you are in it for the long haul. More grace is needed as I learn through my imperfections. You are joining me on the journey with my children as they learn, grow and work through the challenges of this world too.

I began filtering out the people who were takers in our relationship when I was pregnant with our first. I became more aware of how low my standards were and quickly realized I don’t want my child thinking these kind of relationships are normal and healthy. I want my children to value themselves and I had to set that example. As a believer I thought I had to be friends with everyone. When in reality boundaries are good and healthy for my family and myself.

When we begin to value ourselves we begin to value who our friends are.

My friends encourage, push, allow me to be vulnerable, and take me as I am through the battles of my grief, and challenges of motherhood. They are my iron sharpen iron and for that I am thankful.

Proverbs 27:17 ”As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

A Completely Different Women

It almost stings when I look in the mirror at how much I’ve physically changed since having children. 

I’m looking a a complete different women. Some days I grieve it; some days I nod with pride of the privilege to carry life, twice. The women with more squish to her, permanent dark rings under her eyes, way less hair, hair that has darkened and beautiful stretch marks engraved in her legs has a more clear mindset. She walks in a more confident light. Less physically attractive to the world but her character is softer and more beautiful each day as she steps forward into motherhood embracing what truly matters. 

The Creative Baby and Toddler

I’m excited for this post to be my last for 2021 sharing most of the activities and crafts I did with our children for the whole year. 

Please click the links showing how to do them and share! 

New Years poppers:

Tissue paper, Glitter glue, Fun things like cut up tissue paper or sequence for popping and toilet paper or paper towel rolls.

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CJaKWtjBj2L/

New Years party hats:

I took a paper plate and cut right through the middle and made the triangle pieces stand up. 


Icicle drop: 

Pipe cleaners. Cute holes in top of oatmeal box.

Puzzle pieces Valentine canvass: 🌟

This one was tricky! The babies painted the puzzles then I traced a heart and hot glued them. Each babydid their own color. 

Mess free chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine’s Day:
Ziplock 
Then one straw berry at a time 
Let them shake it with the dipped strawberries and sprinkles inside.


Pepper clover stamps:

Take a real Pepper and cut it up, then use it like a stamp with green paint. 

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CLn8v_mhl8_/


Rainbows: 

Baby hand prints by Logan and cotton ball color matching by Jason. 


Easter Potato egg stamp:

Cut the potato in half, then cuz the design you want the print to be. Dip in paint and use it like a stamp. 
https://www.instagram.com/reel/CMsxM4pBe-I/

Shaving cream Easter egg dying with babies:

Use a ziplock it’s seriously my best friend when I want to include baby brother or don’t want a crazy mess. 

Shaving cream, a few drops of food coloring, boiled egg all in the bag. Then I’d take them out to air dry. I did not let my kids eat these. 

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CNBnXQphfLt/


Dandelion collection:

We grabbed a piece of cardboard and went picking.

Earth day globes: 🌟

Use the back of a cereal box or cardboard to teach about recycling. I love using the back of cereal boxes for many crafts we’ve done. Then I would cut our circles and let them free paint. https://www.instagram.com/reel/CN837pihsQ-/

Mother’s Day flower dye gift:🌟

This one was so cool! He got to use a medicine syringe to dye white flowers for my gift. I used water and paint and he had the fun! 

And then of course I wanted little handprint flowers.


Poker chip drop:
🌟

This one is one of my favorites cuz of how long it has lasted and how strong it is. I cut a slot of a pretzel container and let them drop the chips in for fun. Like I said before I like using things around the house if I can. https://www.instagram.com/reel/CO6qR1OBt25/

Cut and paste Sun: 🌟

I still can’t believe he’s only two in this video. He loves cutting. This one was so fun to make! 

Father’s Day Fish: 🌟

Using bubble wrap for the bubbles and their hands for the fish these turned out so cute! Just don’t press down on the wrap like I did for the bubbles. https://www.instagram.com/reel/CP_kRUmhyT-/


My love bugs lady bug: 

Aaah yes the classic paper plate lady bug. https://www.instagram.com/reel/CQok2ODhYf8/

4th of July Pretzel cookies: 

Can you believe we made these in a hotel? 

I’m doing the video right on a bed. So the ziplock did not work well for this. It’s best to dip myself and let them sprinkle. I did a few in the ziplock so our youngest could feel included. We made these for Christmas too. 
https://www.instagram.com/reel/CQ4wCb4jSo1/

Color Science: 

We did this outside or it’s great in our farm house sink on rainy days. We used baking soda over a color of dye and Jason spray warm water to reveal the color. It’s fun to add vinegar too to have it fizz. I like this one for learn about colors or seeing what the primary colors make. https://www.instagram.com/reel/CRkkdazh95N/



Walking bubble wrap:

I had been wanting to do this one for a long time. And I finally got around to doing it this Summer. https://www.instagram.com/reel/CRxQbTQhF0j/


Ice cube painting: 

Here I show the steps and the activity where they paint egg carton caterpillars.



Pull tape signs: 

These look so cute and were the perfect finishing touch to their play room. I love this one for so many paintings we’ve done. https://www.instagram.com/reel/CSDcjlQB5Po/


ABC spoons:

I did this one years ago and now I get to do it with my kids. https://www.instagram.com/reel/CSNDSA2h-Hi/


Animal cracker shadow matching:
🌟

I thought this would be a cute on the go activity. Trace the animals on flash cards, then to keep the cards for the next time they have snack. https://www.instagram.com/reel/CSqJRtOn89q/

Dino fossils: 🌟

This one I am crazy about! I have been wanting to making these for years and finally got to do them this summer. I thought they’d be a fun addition to a sensory bin and the kids can dig them and match them with the dinosaurs. https://www.instagram.com/reel/CSzv9yyhOI7/


Dino egg hatch with play dough: 

Get some mini dinosaurs and hide them in play dough and let the kids open them. My boy loves this one. It’s fun to put them in Easter eggs too. https://www.instagram.com/reel/CS-wCjzHRaM/

Pumpkin cut and paste 3 D:

This one is so fun for practicing cutting and gluing. He loved adding the glitter glue on top. I like how simple and cute this one is. https://www.instagram.com/reel/CVd3L1-hh7v/

He loves glitter glue


Leaf pull activity: 

This was our fall sensory bin and he was pulling the pretend leaves out of the ball and car. 


Lego corn paint:

I’ve always wanted to do lego painting with them and these were a perfect fall craft. https://www.instagram.com/reel/CWhq7iKF2vB/

ABC wipes cover matching:

I used the top of the sensory bin and saved these. It took a while collecting but there are so many fun ways to use these. https://www.instagram.com/reel/CXNPr-0BJX2/


ABC wipes cover matching:
I used the top of the sensory bin and saved these. It took a while collecting but there are so many fun ways to use these. https://www.instagram.com/reel/CXNPr-0BJX2/

ABC find:
I saved my bottle dry rack for activities like this. We’ve done a garden and put little veggies in it too. I also think it would be a cute way to do seasons doing pretend leaves or cotton balls. https://www.instagram.com/reel/CXmaMJdl3MR/



Santa letters:

Foam sticker letters and green and red paper.


Cookie cutter stamp: 

This simple cute one is so great for decorating presents, cards or making a home made gift. https://www.instagram.com/reel/CXo0hKAF7Ji/


My favorite part about these is looking back is seeing how much fun our boys have. They love it as much as I do. The ones with stars are ones I’ve thought up myself and the others are full credit to Pinterest. Happy Crafting!


Christmas Letter 2021

I want to talk about all the fun things and happy things when I start writing these letters. But this year was not one of those years. We were filled with challenges that we did not ever think we would face. Starting with losing our sister in law unexpectedly in the Spring, and ending the year with losing my grandma in the fall. 

The summer was filled with stressors of Peter on an awkward work schedule that did not work well for our family and not having water in the kitchen most of the Summer due to our kitchen project. So we would buy it. As I reflect I can still count the blessings of having two healthy boys, my colorstreet group growing, and friendships growing and being formed by a play group that was started over the Summer. Jason started going to a private preschool, and Logan is learning to talk. God has given us these gifts and blessings and we are humbly privileged as we are constantly learning, renewing our minds as raise our sweet boys. 

Merry Christmas and blessings to you all,

Echols family 

Peter, Mihaela, Jason (3), and baby Logan (19 months)