We've spent the last 6+ months chasing & trying to wrangle our three- three-&-under.
Prater started attending Moms Morning Out this fall, 2 days a week, & LOVES it. She is a social butterfly & last winter, being cooped up with preemie twins just about did me & her both in. We are so much alike that we NEED time away from each other - she loves learning so it's been an amazing experience for the both of us. Her personality continues to BOOM - she's loud & wild & overwhelming but she's also so kind to her sisters, helpful to me, & sensitive to others. We've reached the "threenager" phase of talking back & testing limits & she continues to throw the best of Ferguson Fits so we're trying to figure this parenting thing out as we go with her. I'm trying to walk the fine line of not quenching her beautiful spirit, the one that God placed within her, while also raising a respectful, kind, & well-behaved girl. It's hard. And I fail more than I don't. But the both of us are learning about Grace. Glorious grace.
Hatley is my twin physically but Aaron's personality twin. She's fairly observant, she plays independently. Bless her heart, she has all sorts of allergies & eczema & has to get her sleep or she gets the worst back eye shadows. She loves terrorizing my clean house, jerking down anything that she can reach. She is a COMPLETE Momma's girl & although it is sometimes nerve racking to be followed around by a 27 inch screaming dictator, I do love it. We all call her "Catfish" because you can't hardly hold her, she flops about. She's the tiniest thing but plays the roughest.
Giles is the alpha - it's the Giles show. If Giles ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. Her & Prater are either best friends or mortal enemies. They play together the most. And it works until Prater tries to make Giles do something that Giles CLEARLY doesn't want to do. Her laugh is so amazing & her favorite thing for you to do is pull her shirt up & blow on her belly. She loves crawling in to the empty dog crates & eating. If she walks in to the kitchen, she must go over to her high chair & shake it as if she hasn't eaten in YEARS. She runs about with her arms pushed behind her like Superman. She is SUCH a cuddle-bug & has the softest skin of anyone I've ever touched.
Watching the twins together just DELIGHTS my soul. It's an amazing bond. If one cries, the other will go fetch a sippy cup or pacifier. If one looks up & the other isn't near, they're off to find them. And watching Prater with the babies is just beautiful - she LOVES them so deeply. She's constantly teaching them, caring for them, looking for them - her favorite thing to do right now is pick them up, sit them on the Hope Chest that we use as a coffee table & say "You know what? I love you so much. You're my best friend, you make me happy."
I am so proud to be Aaron's wife. He leads our family beautifully - he is such a good provider, husband, & Daddy. He loves us girls so well & cares for our spiritual well being. He's a hard working engineer from 7 to 4, then he comes home & is an active member of our family - playing with the girls, helping me around the house, loving me so well. He uses his talents in our church, an example to our girls of both how to serve & the type of man to be watchful of.
I feel like 2014 happened in the blink of an eye. The first part of the year, I was nursing twins (which, I was able to do until the twins turned 1, it was a wonderful experience that I'm forever grateful for) & trying to figure out our new normal as a family of five. I quickly realized that I needed SOMETHING that was completely for myself - to be the best Wife & Mom, I needed to decompress & spend some time alone to recharge. I started working out & have loved every minute of losing another 30+ pounds - it has improved every aspect of my life. I love feeling healthy & strong, more confident about the way that my body looks for my husband, & experiencing the mental & spiritual clarity of focusing on myself for an hour a day.
Looking in to 2015, I am super excited about what is in store for our family.
First off, Aaron & I made the decision to sell our farm in Tennessee. We had been struggling with anxiety about building on it for MONTHS & finally had a long heart-to-heart about our goals for our family. The moment we made the decision, both of us felt a weight lifted off of our shoulders & we haven't turned back since. We've decided to stay in our house in a Elkmont - for so many reasons: we want to be apart of our church eventually planting a campus in Athens, we've fallen in love with Elkmont & Athens, most of our friends & family live in Limestone County, & to live as debt free as possible. So, we've decided to do some renovations to our home to make it as functional for us as possible & stay put. We are SO EXCITED about our decision. We want to be good stewards of the resources that, we believe, God has blessed us with & hope to be able to do MIGHTY things because of these blessings.
Like, traveling to Africa! To share God's love, to help build a care point for locals to receive healthcare, food, water, & discipleship! That's right, I'm heading to South Africa this year & am absolutely STOKED (& scared out of my mind)! I have known for years that I've been called to mission work in Africa - but how, with who, what - so when the opportunity presented itself, after feeling like I was going to faint & trying to talk myself out of it, I've jumped at the opportunity to fulfill one of my greatest life-long dreams & I believe, callings! Please pray for the teams going throughout the year, the locals who we'll be loving on, for my nerves, for Aaron who'll be staying home with the girls while I'm gone - it'll be the first time I've ever been away from any of my girls for longer than 24 hours...
I'm excited to continually push my body this coming year - my best friend reminded me that I used to say "no matter what, my body will NEVER do this or that or be this size or that weight..." But it is & it has & I truly am thankful for an abled body! I'm proud of what this body has accomplished - from dropping 70 pounds to carrying three healthy babies in 2 years, nursing them all. This time 4 years ago, I couldn't walk up stairs without being winded - now I'm able to chase my girls about all day, carry 40 extra pounds about easily (the twinks), & push my body to achieve goals that at one time I thought were unachievable. I would absolutely love to lose 20 more pounds & tone up this coming year.
I also have an exciting writing announcement for the Spring... Hopefully I can share the details soon!
These things may be trivial but they're things that we're genuinely excited about in the Olson household for 2015: renovating our home & building Aaron a garage, fencing in our backyard & getting a trampoline, living a 10-10-80 budget, sponsoring an South African child thru Children's Cup & meeting them on my Mission Trip, attending our church's marriage retreat, celebrating 7 years of marriage, planning another family vacation for just the 5 of us, tag-along beach trips with Daddy's work, my 10 year reunion, digging deeper & pushing harder in Him, sitting at the dinner table every night to connect as a family, saying 'no' to things that we don't want to do so that we can say 'yes' to things that we love to do, loving on our people, getting goats, being intentional parents & spouses, giving grace, closing out the storage unit that I've kept Daddy's things in since he passed, continue to fight for freedom from shame & guilt & legalism, speak life into those we've been blessed with, love who God made us to be, change what the enemy's tried to change us in to, love our bodies with good food & exercise, be involved in our church, experiencing life with our life groups...
Y'all know me, I could go on & on & on & on. And bless, this is already SO LONG, mad kudos if you've made it this far. Mad kudos.
My 'senior quote' in high school was "On your tombstone, there'll be two dates & all of your friends will read them, but all that really matters is the little dash between them." That's my goal for 2015 (& heck, for every year) - to make this season of my dash count. Ultimately, I want to be the best Brittany that I can be. I want to immediately choose positive instead of negative. I want to speak my husband's love language so that he is filled. I want to remember that my girls are just that, little girls & that they're just trying to figure life out as they go, just like I'm trying to figure out this motherhood deal. I want to love my mother & sister unconditionally. I want to purposefully love Aaron's family - creating a beautiful family unit for my girls to feel loved in & fondly remember our time together. And for the love, I want to love myself - reminding myself constantly that I am "wonderfully made" & extend grace to myself, that I am not called to perfection.
Whew. That was A LOT. I have a tendency to be A LOT. I used to mind it, but I'm learning to love it.
Love y'all, a bushel & a peck. Thanks for reading!
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