Thursday, April 17, 2014

these days

I'm missing my online scrapbook.  I have spent hours over the past year just scrolling through old photos and posts, reminiscing things that I've already forgotten.  I think I won't forget, but I do!  I'm doing this blogging thing again.

The school year is rounding the corner to summer break and I cannot wait.  Slow mornings, a vegetable garden to water, swimming at Grandma + Grandpa's house, bbq pizzas, just so much good stuff!

We have had our fair share of colds and stomach bugs.  I'm over it.  O-V-E-R it.  With 3 of the kids in school, it seems like someone is always bringing something new home and it doesn't take long for it to domino through the family.

The kids are obsessed with Frozen.  Duh!  The music!  The story!  Oh the story!  I cry, guaranteed, twice each time I've watched it.

The boys are in Running Club at school and it has been so much fun to see them excited about an extracurricular activity!  We are definitely not the kind of family to take on extra things that take up so much time, driving, and expense, but this has been a perfect fit.  Noah has run over 100 miles this school year and I love watching their brotherly bond as they always are sure to be on each others sprint teams or keep pace with each other.

Claire and I have our one on one time!  While the kids are in school, we run our errands, maybe have a playdate, spruce up the house, or meet friends for coffee.  I don't know if it's the solo time or a phase, but the girl has had some diva moments that totally throw me!  "I wanted the CARAMEL cake pop!"  Oh sorry?  What's that, child?  Mama's about to eat that wrong cake pop.  Then again, we've had some pretty hilarious moments.  "Hims a Grandpa and hers a Grandma" were cute at the urgent care waiting room.  "Hers have boobs on her back" about a lady wearing an entirely too small tank top at the dollar store nearly gave me a stroke.

I've FINALLY found a (kind of) fitness thing that's fun!  Like, I'm a tween all over again.  About a month ago, my mom invited us all over for dinner and dancing.  Dancing?  I'm like, mom!  Did you get a "Learn Ballroom at Home!" dvd or something?  My brother brought over their Wii and has all of the Just Dance games and oh man.  SO MUCH FUN!  Seeing as how we don't have a Wii and all, I found a lot of Just Dance songs + dances on YouTube that people had posted to brag on their high scores.  I have my favorites bookmarked and it is amazing how much different it is to exercise when it's something you actually have fun with.

This year has been hard.  Not impossible or without its' joy though.  I just think there comes a point where you realize that, "Wow, we're all fighting our own battles and we're all in this together", but it's still hard.  You know?

Monday, July 1, 2013

a request

[image source

A little over 3 years ago my dad was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.  He has cancer.  Having so much time for all of that to settle in, but you would have thought that I am just now hearing the news.

Tomorrow will be the first round of chemotherapy and we're all kind of nervous.  The people that have been there all have such different stories.  Such different stories.  But this.  This is my dad's story.  And this makes the story personal and makes me wish I could write it myself.

I wish I could do this for him.  I wish that no one had to do this.

I have been focused on the physical needs and the "what can I do?"

All he asks for is prayer.

So will you please keep my dad in your thoughts + prayers?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

i love a parade

1. 2013 Rodeo Parade!  We never made it to the rodeo, but the parade was good enough for us!
2. Bagels + fruit salad at Aunty Emily's with the cousins.
3. Main Street is kind of gross.  Street curbs aren't ashtrays, folks!
4. Goodie bags from a local church with suckers + poppers!
5. Overcast + cool to sunny + sweaty.  Worth it.
6. The smell of sunblock and horse manure.
7. The thrift store float and its' boisterous employee bellowing her trademark " MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!" all down Main Street.  It definitely made my day great.
8. Getting to hold baby Mercy.
9. Claire in those star sunglasses.
10. The cutest little fluffy black puppy that had, if possible, as much energy as the kids.
11. The convertibles driving the pageant girls, A.K.A. "Princesses".
12. Life in a small town + bumping in to happy, familiar faces.
13. The boys spotting both of their teachers walking in the parade and them waving back.  Jack's teacher even ran over to our bunch and group hugged our babes.  It was the best.
14. Feeling nostalgic getting to really stop and study each building on this familiar road.


15. The parade clown that placed a fake flower in one of the piles of horse poop.  It was the highlight for each one of our kids. They're still talking about it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

my mom

She is love.

She is kind.

She is patient. I don't know how she does it, but she is the most patient person I have ever, ever known.

She is a lady.  I want to be more like her.

She is my home.  Even as a "grown-up", I find my heart soothed just being in her presence.  A mother's love and soft place to land that I want to be for my own children so very much.

She is beautiful.  And she also doesn't like being told this simple fact because she knows that true beauty begins in the heart.  That makes her even more beautiful.

She is my Jane Austen movie watching companion.  We must have watched Sense + Sensibility and Emma about a hundred times, right mom?

She is the best listener.  She is quick to listen and slow to speak.  I'm learning just how important those qualities are in every relationship.

She is such a sweet Grandma!  I love watching her with our children.  A couple of years ago, she told me that she couldn't bring herself to clean one of her windows that had smudgy Lucy hand-prints all over it and saved it as a sweet souvenir of her beloved grand-girl.  I love that and remember it when I'm trying to put make-up on and can't even see my own reflection through the smudged up mirror.  Someday our mirrors (and everything else!) will stay clean and I know I'll miss it.

She is fun!  I remember her taking us out for ice cream cones after school every now and then.  Not because we asked, but just because. 

She speaks ill of no one.  Ever.  That isn't easy!

She loves Jesus and not just in a religious, go to church, do what you're supposed to kind of way.  When she talks about the love and grace of God, her face is aglow and her smile just radiates that gift of unconditional love.  It's beautiful.

She is my favorite person to shop with.  We have so much fun and she is the best sounding board and my voice of practicality.  I love and need that.

She is my biggest encourager.  In the big and little things.

She is my mom and my friend and the woman I want to be most like.

"There's no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one."
-Jill Churchill

Thursday, May 9, 2013

these days

These days I've been thinking about our Lucy starting Kindergarten next fall. She's ready, boy is she ready.  I am too.  No wait, I'm not.  I mean.  I know she's ready and all but my heart fills and breaks at the thought of her busy at school each day.  And the absence of sisterly time, just the girls at home with mama during the day.  This is it.  Will Claire be heartbroken with all of her siblings at school and not getting to go as well?  Or will she raid the good toys and bask in the undisturbed, un-bossy freedom of ruling the roost?

These days I'm watching a lot of old tv series on Netflix.  No joke.  Dawson's Creek, the girls hummed along to the theme song and Lucy would call it Dawson's Creep.  Ha!  Felicity, season two was a snooze/letdown.  Andrew + I have loved watching Revenge (new favorite!) and Alias together as our end of day decompress and get over this crazy cough/sore throat/congestion bug going around.

These days I'm thankful for some really good posts on parenting!  This one and this one are rad.  Rad.  A friend sent me this link about Pinterest stress and it was just what I needed to hear!  "Why are we doing this to ourselves?"  I love it.  Like a big ol' hug.

These days I'm flossing more.  I'm terrible about remembering and actually doing it, truly.  I'm sure it's still not as much as I should, but it's a start.

These days I find myself in the garden section.  This summer we're planting tomatoes, rosemary, basil (almost deader than dead, dang bugs), peas, chives, cherry tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, corn. I don't have a super green thumb, but the satisfaction of watching some of our plants grow and the kids excitement over the changes makes the failures and effort worth it.

These days I've been daydreaming about a bedroom makeover.  I want to make this headboard. Hint hint, lover.

These days I have been menu planning!  Not like, full on, but it's lessened the times I've had to go to the grocery store and that's worth celebrating!  It eliminates so much stress and I know I'm spending less money.  Am I late to the party?  I'm hoping to get it down to just one trip a week.

These days I've been trying to organize and simplify.

These days our boys have become obsessed with Star Wars. Anything to do with Star Wars.  Sticks become light sabers.  They have conversations about I don't even know what.  Lucy tries to impress them with her own knowledge of "Dark Vader" and "Star Wers" and "life-savers".

These days I've been feeling frumpy.  But some days I make an effort and I feel fancy.  Is that normal?  I like to have my fingernails painted and hair curled, but I also like to not wear make up and have adopted a new hair washing method of once a week.  Is that gross?  I guess with my hair it can hang that long with a bangs washing every other day.  I've tried dry shampoo but it's just not the same.

These days I've been thinking about how I need to be exercising.  Mentally, emotionally, physically need it. I just can't get into it.  The other week I slipped and landed on my ankle before I even realized I had fallen.  I'm not getting any younger and I want to somewhat like whatever it is I end up doing.

These days I've been using my iPhone to document the everyday moments of our family.  It's just so convenient!  We were watching videos from a few years back and it's craaaaaaaaazy how much the kids have changed.

These days the girls are both sporting Styles by Mama bangs.  Some days I just love them and some days they feel like a lot of work.

These days we're dreaming of summer break.

Friday, May 3, 2013

when blogging sucks

Oh hey blog, hey.  It's been 5 years of writing-ish!  I've been busy watching the entire series of Dawson's Creek during naptime and am already on season 2 of Felicity. (She just cut her hair crazy short! Nooooo!!!) Blogging has lost its' lustre and become such a chore!  And I feel rude even saying that because I truly love bloggers in general and when I have the need to get nostalgic and/or pat myself on the back at how funny I think I am and read old posts, I go, why have I stopped blogging?!  There's some funny stuff happening here!  I have thoughts!  And my kids are cute!  Plus my husand is hilariously honest and I should post some of that too!

You know what?!  That's mostly why I haven't been posting!  I think of "Julie + Julia" and that line when she's arguing with her husband comes to mind. "But what do you think a blog is?  It's me, me, me day after day. I thought it'd be fun.  How stupid is that?!" Who wants to hear me highlight the super moments of the day?!  That gives a false pretense and I don't want anyone to think we're farting rainbows over here 24/7. Or who wants to hear me vent about the lows?  I've read posts like that and usually just want to eKick someone in the arse and tell them to build a bridge and get over it.  Insensitive?  I'm just being Miley.  I mean, Jessica.  Either way, it's almost always pretty self-centered.

Then there's Pinterest.  It is fantastic and all together terrible for so many reasons. For myself, it feels kind of like high school. She's so popular and her posts are all over The Pinterest! She lives such a glamorous life! Her blog has incredible DIY/recipes/fancy photos/incredible writing/fashion/blog design/everything and anything I say or do is total crap!  Nonsense!  This is not why I do this!  Amen?  The comparison thoughts are such a poison, like women don't have enough to balance and figure out?!  For this reason I wish I was Amish. But even then I'm sure I'd be comparing my quilting squares or inability to kill + pluck a chicken for dinner.

I'm learning to let all that junk go and JUST BE ME!  And let THEM BE THEM!  I'm going to blog again because I like blogging!  I like having a journal and scrapbook of liiiiiiiife!  It's all good stuff!  Even the stuff that's not good.  It's what makes us human and makes us relate and makes us go, Oh!  You get it!  You're not perfect and I get that! Isn't it refreshing to be okay with who we are just as we are instead of comparing and striving to be someone that we just aren't?!  My story doesn't have to be your story and we can rejoice in that and love and build up each other in that! 

There is so much freedom in learning to love unconditionally! And this includes loving ourselves unconditionally!  I don't mean, like, treat yo self and be a diva, but embrace YOU!  God made you who you are and has put you through the things you have been through to be authentically YOU.  No one wants to read a story about perfect, perfect, perfect.  That would be a super boring book to read.  It's the unpredictable, the incredible joy, the unexpected sorrow, the struggle, the mundane details that are always important, the determination, the relationships and so on that tell our story!

Let's tell our authentic story well, yes?  We may never know the heart-prints it might leave.

Friday, January 25, 2013

isaiah 40:28

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom."

This verse came to my mind and heart this morning as I was making our bed.  Lately Claire hasn't been sleeping through the night.  When she was a baby, that interrupted sleep was something I anticipated as I laid my head down on my pillow every night.  And on the off chance that she would sleep all the night through, or even for just a longer stretch of time, I'd wake up rejoicing at that blessed extra sleep.  We're now in a season of life where late night feedings and diaper changes aren't what wake us up.  It's a four year old not able to fall asleep or having a leg/ankle/neck/head ache.  It's a sip of water or someone needing to go to the bathroom.  Or it's someone not making it to the bathroom and a change of clothes + bedding calling me from my warm, cozy slumber.  Sometimes it's even as simple as covers being kicked off and needing to be re-tucked in.  It's almost a guarantee each night that one of the kids will need tending to in some way.  And lately Claire has been tip-toeing her way down the hallway to sleep in our bed.  She's not the most comfortable snuggle companion.  Far, far from it.  But when I try to take her back to her own bed, she screams and cries her protests enough to wake up the rest of the family.  It's simpler to just let her sleep in our bed and accept the constant back kicking, head butting, and forfeit a good night of sleep than to let her wail. There has been a time or two where I'm fed up enough to take her back in her bed, re-tuck her in, kiss her good-night, and walk away.  Her protests don't usually last for long, but sometimes I think my state of being so tired makes me think that her way will be easiest.  It's not.

All of that to say, a good nights sleep in the last 9 years has been a rare and precious blessing to wake up to. This morning I woke up feeling that feeling like I had slept so incredibly good that waking up made me just a little heartbroken.  Rest is important, so very important.  As a mama, I find myself exhausted in so many different forms that it's hard to accept that I can't keep everything in a perfect balance without something or someone being forgotten.  That's hard to admit.  When I have a day that wears on me emotionally, mentally, physically, and/or spiritually, I know I have nothing good to give back to the ones I love the most.  I need time to rest my mind, heart, body, and spirit throughout each day and sometimes it's hard to find the time to do so.

My heavenly Father doesn't grow tired or weary. I remember those words and am filled with so much comfort.  He will never tire of my questions like I do when Lucy asks every day what we're going to do after we take the boys to school and then what are we going to do and then what are we going to do and on and on.  I love that girl fiercely, but sometimes she makes me feel like I'm a cruise ship director. We don't have a detailed itinerary, my dear.  My Father will never weary of my songs of praise when my heart is troubled like I tire of hearing my boys belt out that Gagnam Style song.  (Worst ever.)  He won't ever get sick of hearing my prayers of a broken heart when someone has hurt my feelings (or worse, when someone hurts the ones I love) like I get sick of hearing our children tattling over who has wronged who.

Being a mama is such a hard job.  But it's also such a rewarding privilege that I don't take lightly.  When I grow tired, there is almost always something that the kids will say or do that blesses my heart and I know is God's way of saying, "Lighten up.  Even in your imperfections, there is good happening here.  Keep striving for the good, learn from the lows, and keep on loving those babies."

And I will strive to every day, Father.  Baggy eyes and all.