For the thirtymillionth time this week, “just keep swimming,” is in my head. It’s August and that means summer is officially over. Not that we have much summer here, in Crazyville.
Coach is off, but he gets pretty tired of being “off” after about a month and the Cheerleader is back at daily workouts and practices after the 4th of July. So, we stay pretty busy even when we’re not so busy. Our normal “not so busy” looks like a lot of other families’ super busy. #sportslife
Margaret Thatcher and The Boy have both asked to play soccer this fall, the Cheerleader’s booked us up every evening but Saturdays, and of course Coach practically lives at the school now.
My last post was right before the election. And then THAT happened. I am still so speechless at the utter circus in the White House right now, I don’t even know where to start.
I started Camp Gladiator and I’m already down a pant size. But, more importantly, I realized this morning I can’t remember the last time I took Advil in the evening because I was achy and creaky from sitting in my chair all day at work; carrying all that stress in the back of my neck or back. Work is still a barrel of monkeys every day, but I no longer dread feeling like I’ve been drop kicked in the face every night.
I’m also using my standing desk more often, drinking less coffee/more water, and making myself leave the office and go home for lunch.
Ah, work. Still a great job. Still love what I do, love the team, love what we’re accomplishing. This is the Empire Strikes Back part of the project so we’re all working really hard, feeling like we’re not exactly getting anywhere, but it’s just a plateau. We’ll push through and then we’ll be back off to the races. We’ll work it out.
I feel myself coming to a bit of a crossroads with work. There is so much still to do/build/accomplish. But the past few months have felt like a total grind and I’m really missing building, training, and COMMUNICATING. I have done this work thing in this brain, and with this heart long enough to know that communication and training other people how to communicate is where my passion is. In the words of Tigger, “it’s what Tiggers do best!” As important as pulling and analyzing metrics IS and as much as I’m 100% committed to what I’m doing RIGHTNOWDONTLOSESIGHTOFTHISPROJECT, I know I’m going to have to get back to training/communicating or I will begin to atrophy those muscles I’ve worked so hard to build over an almost 20 year career. God did not create me to be a Commander type for nothing.
Since my last post, I promoted to Director with Thirty-One Gifts. Something I don’t post much about here, but it’s become a really important part of my life. I truly feel part of something with Thirty-One that I don’t have anywhere else. Yes, it’s one more thing to do, but it’s as much part of my day as coffee.
I’m certain there’s more. But, this is a lot in one update. For my friends who follow me on facebook, none of this is news, but I miss writing (see my bit above about not creating content).
The decision who to vote for this election was incredibly hard. There were, however, several deciding items that tipped my decision to Hillary Clinton.
I realize putting this out will not sway any hearts. And it’s not really intended to. This is so I can go back and reflect on it later.
On the subject of abortion. I do not believe outlawing it will stop it. There are many reasons a woman would take such a drastic step; none of which will be solved by making it illegal. I have spoken to women who’ve made that terrible choice and not a single one made it lightly.
I also no longer believe Pro Life means anything; it is a device of politics. The same party that rages against women for electing to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, has voted to deny the expansion of Medicaid for low income families and failed to fund early education which is absolutely critical to changing the conversation around success rates for children in poverty. They failed to support efforts to provide safe, inexpensive access to reproductive care and contraception, adequate availability to affordable childcare, and support and resources for women in vulnerable situations. The party that hangs its entire moral outrage on the innocent death of the fetus seems to have no compassion or interest in the quality of life of those children once they leave the womb.
I think abortion is a heinous act committed against an innocent. I do not support the use of it as anything but a catastrophic intervention to save the life or future reproductive capacity of the mother.
I also know the phrase “late term abortion” is a political invention to crudely describe an extremely rare procedure that is absolutely never used but in the most dire circumstances. I whole-heartedly agreed with HRC when she said in the last debate that she doesn’t believe the government or politicians are qualified to interfere in a decision that should only ever be between that family and their medical team.
Regarding immigration: immigration laws have always been intended to keep undesirable people groups out. In our history, that included the Chinese, then unescorted women who were not met by a man, eastern and Southern Europe, etc… We have created a system so cumbersome that poor families in dismal circumstances have little chance of ever getting through the red tape.
This country has always been a place for a second chance, a fresh start, and boundless opportunity. We must find a way to simplify the process so those who pay taxes and contribute to the betterment of their communities are given the chance to obtain citizenship. Existing immigration laws must be enforced, and penalties for illegally entering this country (only once the process has been simplified) or committing a crime while a guest of the United States must be strengthened.
In regards to refugees fleeing horrific circumstances: We have been the rescuers, the heroes, and the good guys for generations. To now turn our backs on these people because we don’t like their religion or politics is repellant. To make a blanket judgement because their worship doesn’t look like ours decries the great commission. To close our hearts and refuse to offer aid likens us to the priest in the story of the Good Samaritan. We fail our calling in the name of fake safety. We were never called to be safe. We were called to be instruments in the redeemer’s hands.
This election has given me reason for grave concern over the health of The Church; that is, the body of people who claim to be Christ-followers. We write a check and put in the envelope and feel good about supporting mission work. Twice a year, we give money or fill backpacks and think we’re changing somebody’s story. And these are worthwhile efforts. But they’re not changing anything. Men, women, and children in our very communities are facing life and death circumstances because they are poor. Or black. Or a child.
HRC has had her share of controversy and, while I believe so much of the furor around her is propaganda, the fact that there are so many circumstances where her family name can somehow be linked to something sketchy is disappointing. I am reminded of the part of the Old Testament when Israel said to Samuel they wanted a king and God warned that to place a man (or woman in this case) in a position of the kind of power is a recipe for disaster. We are broken people. At least HRC acknowledges when she makes mistakes or uses poor judgment. I am willing to extend grace to those who ask for it because I find myself in such desperate need of it every day and I would hope to be shown grace if I asked for it.
Finally, in regards to LGBT protections under the law. And this is where my heart quakes because this is where I am so at odds with where I am personally. The day we write laws that deny the protections of the constitution because we don’t agree with their morality, our republic is doomed. If the government offers legal provision to the civic contract which is marriage, our government must offer it to any marriage. As the Church, we are called to be in the world; NOT of it. Behind these issues are PEOPLE. It’s so tempting to pick up that rock, stand on our moral high ground, and stone the issue – forgetting there is a flesh and blood heart, a soul on the receiving end of our blows. What kind of witness are we providing when we say Jesus came for all…but not “them?” The only one who should be outraged here is Jesus. Because that’s not what he said.
Nobody should have the right to persecute, abuse, or discriminate another person – FOR ANY REASON. As believers, we above all others should be the most vocal champions of this; not the loudest opponent. Showing grace and extending a hand of compassion and welcome to ALL is how we demonstrate the love of Christ that we have been shown. “For while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
There is never going to be a perfect candidate or party. And each citizen has a responsibility to make their own EDUCATED decision.
I have watched the Republican Party tear itself apart in the past year. I have watched a candidate rise who spews filth and stirs up hatred with nearly every address. A candidate comfortable in the use of fear and intimidation. A bully. A man who makes no apologies for his xenophobic rants and his utter lack of self-control. I will not align myself with a party that seems to be run on hate and fear.
I believe we are better than we have behaved. I choose hope. I choose Her.
There are days when the sun just won’t shine. Days when it hides behind clouds, or the sky is darkened with rain.
It’s rained a lot lately in Texas. I would say too much, but it’s so nice to have it, I loathe to disparage it too much.
There are other days, though, that have little to do with the sun in the sky. Days like today. No matter how pretty this day might turn out to be, the sun has hidden its face from me.
Today, like I do every summer, I walked part of my heart to the gate and watched her until I couldn’t see her any more.
Today, she cried. She hasn’t done that in a long time and it tore my heart out. It was all I could do to stand there and keep it together.
I’ll wait here until she’s off the ground, and then I’ll go home. And wait for my sunshine to come back.
This is the time of year when my favorite music plays on more than half the stations, non-stop.
The time of year when it’s ok to have “one more” cookie, or truffle, or Martha’s rum cake.
The time of year when it’s so easy to get overwhelmed by all the stuff you want to get done.
- Gifts for the kids’ teachers
- Cakes for the Athletic Director and Coach’s Assistant Coaches and their families
- Decorate the house
- Tell stories
- Make cookies
- Church programs
- Driving around looking at lights
- Starting a new tradition
- Elf on the Shelf (don’t hate – it’s fun)
- Christmas PJs
- Christmas shopping
- Wrapping presents
- Eat cookies and drink milk on the Santa dishes
- Hit monthly targets with Thirty-One
- Book January parties
- Recruit another team member
- Deliver all those orders!
- Oh yeah, and all the other stuff that has to happen in a normal house with three young-ish children and a dog
- And let’s not forget it’s cheer season
- And soccer season
I have a headache just typing all that out.
The time of year when we are reminded of the infant who left Heaven to come and live among us and die for us so we could be saved.
The time of year we think about a teenage girl and her young husband, desperately searching for a place to give birth; picking a barn because there was nowhere else.
The time of year we remember the journey of wise men – across the sands and maybe mountains – to follow a hunch.
The time of year we think of solitary shepherds and how absolutely terrified they had to be when the sky opened up and the glory of God and Heaven was revealed. What it had to have sounded like to hear angel song through human ears.
The sound of an infant cry and how the universe had to sigh at the sound, because they knew, even if we did not, our Savior had finally come.
Remember Poppy? She’s made herself right at home with our little crowd and now we aren’t sure what life was like before she got here. True to her advertised size, she’s about 40 pounds and she’s just about done growing – I think. We’ve given in and she now sleeps on the bed with us. At one point last night, she had wiggled her way up between Coach and me and kissed me on the nose. Her head was on MY PILLOW.
She is whiny, she won’t stay outside for longer than 46 seconds at a time, and she likes to eat paper. A LOT. And, she steals The Boy’s chips, animal crackers, cookies, or whatever else he has in his hands if he doesn’t keep it away from her (which, most of the time, he doesn’t).
She’s mine. Really. My dog. What!? I’m not a dog person, remember? I like cats. But she’s my dog. My very own Poppy Calypso. And I love her.
I love Dave Matthews Band. Well, I used to love their stuff – I have no idea what the new stuff sounds like. *mental note to skim iTunes later* (I kind of lost touch with them after .. well, after.) But Under the Table & Dreaming, Crash, and Before These Crowded Streets are three really awesome albums. So what? I don’t know – it made sense a minute ago.
My listening to DMB is a handy metaphor for my life right now. One minute, it’s all I listen to. It’s my go-to band. I sing it in the shower, in the car, while I’m cooking, working, whatever. Then, nothing. They are just one more album in my vast iTunes library. In fact, I almost forget about how wonderfully complex the music is – start forgetting those rhythms and lyrics that used to set my entire life to a really great soundtrack.
Like poor DMB, I’m in a moment of forgotten-ness. An afterthought. Not that it’s a bad thing, necessarily, but I suppose I haven’t all together outgrown pouting. And, I don’t feel like being all that grown-up right now. It’s exhausting.
See, I’m rambling again. Where was I?
It’s a vast playlist and I can’t be listened to all the time. Or something. Shoot, I’m not even listening to myself anymore.
Six months ago, our Great Dane died. I took the loss harder than I thought I would. Some months later, I realized I had learned some very important things from Cornbread and I wanted another chance to be a better dog parent.
The first few times out to look didn’t go so well. Somebody inevitably left in tears. Or with a shrug of the shoulders and a, “we’ll eventually find the right one..”
On Memorial Day, we went to visit a new puppy. She and her brothers had been rescued by our local vet, when the mom was hit by a car. She had little black eyes and a cute little face. She’s got little white socks and a white streak on her face. If she was a boy, she’d definitely be Harry Potter. She was the smallest of the siblings and I liked her right away. She seemed spunky and sweet. My brother said she looked like “a little s**t,” (and he was mostly right) but I was smitten. She’s a lab/border collie mix. Our vet says she shouldn’t be as big as a full lab; that she’ll likely stay on the smaller side.
It’s been about six weeks with her and she’s made herself right at home with our little crowd. We named her Poppy Calypso. Poppy, because it’s the traditional flower of remembrance for Memorial Day. I wanted to honor that day AND remember what we learned with Cornbread. When I inevitably get frustrated at the irritating puppy phase, or feel a bit overwhelmed at having another baby in the house, I remember. The Calypso is what Coach came up with for a name “in case we ever wanted another baby and it turned out to be a girl.” I told him the puppy was as close as we were ever getting to THAT, thankyouverymuch.
She’s good with the kids, playful, and (mostly) house-trained (as long as we’re paying attention). She throws herself at the door when she wants to come back in like she’s running from the zombie apocalypse, and you can count on her to start whining to get out of her crate at 6am-SHARP. But, she’s funny. She loves to fetch, and she’s gentle with the kids. Doc is conquering her fear of her and I’m really proud of the progress she’s making.
I’m glad we got her. I’m glad I’m getting a second chance. I hope Cornbread is proud.
This morning, a friend, who I revere, posted a link for her teacher friends (she is also a teacher) on an alternative to behavior clip charts. I clicked on the link and was reminded why even systems that reward good behavior over negative still miss the mark.
Know what I hate about these systems? The public review of transgressions at the end. The one size fits all “they’ll police each other” mentality (which is complete nonsense because they don’t know how to control their own behavior a lot of the time.). And especially the complete lack of grace. One or two children are enough to spoil it for the whole bunch, leading to ridicule and exclusion by the other children. I’ve never seen the consistently quiet kids “save” the day with their behavior or earn the occasional do-over for other students having a harder day managing their behavior.
By 2nd grade, Munchkin had completely accepted that she would never earn gold tickets, smiley faces, top of the ruler clip placement, or whatever other thing they came up with and she gave up. I watched her internalize the message that there must be something wrong with her, when, in reality, she was just too emotionally immature to manage her intellect. Her voracious need to know everything meant she was always talking, moving, and daydreaming – the exact opposite of the level 0 culture in elementary school.
Now that she is in middle school, she has blossomed. Her schedule has been tailored with all advanced classes to challenge her, and by virtue of it being middle school, she is not expected to be still and silent all the time. And no behavior charts, clip/ruler, or stars/smilies. We have not had a single behavior problem this year and her grades have soared- even doing competitive cheer. And, she’s older and more able to manage herself. Maybe if less time had been spent obsessing on making all children fit into a rigid behavior model, the first six years of Munchkin’s education wouldn’t have been so heartbreakingly hard to watch her go through.
I know teachers have the mostly impossible task of corralling a classroom full of live wires and I do not envy the task. As a parent who watched my child broken down, not built up (opposite of a teacher’s calling) by rigid behavior expectations, I urge you to correct one on one, to remember that emotional and intellectual maturity do not grow at the same pace, and that sometimes kids just need a do-over.
Here is an article that seems to get it.
It’s Saturday. I haven’t blogged in a while and, if I had more time (duh), you’d be able to see why.
We’ve finished up our first competitive cheer season, Doc is trying to beat CR7’s goal-scoring record this year in *cough* first kick rec soccer, and The Boy is trying to set a record for the number of times he can bang his face on the ground, into the lip of a table, or corner of a bookcase in a single month. Coach is finished with soccer season and has moved full-on into yearbook (which means he’s busy covering every sport, concert, play, and awards dinner at THS). Work is work for me. I love it. Busy, busy, busy. They keep giving me things to do so I’ll take that as a good sign.
I have been feeling the urge to reorganize, purge, and simplify our belongings (again). Realizing the reality is that we probably won’t try and move this year, all the STUFF in this house is making me crazy.
I want to redecorate the Boy’s room. It doesn’t really say anything now that I’ve taken his sports stuff out of his crib. I think we’re doing race cars, but I just haven’t had the time.
*sidenote* I’m writing on Coach’s mac (#love), but I’ve gotten used to my Surface and so now I keep touching the screen. */sidenote* HA.
Doc & Munchkin (can I still call an almost 13-year old “munchkin”?) (and, @sarah, is it more correct to put the punctuation inside the “” or outside, since the “” was to designate a name, not a quote?)
What was I saying?
This is my life. I can’t keep a !@#($% thought in my head for longer than about :25 seconds. So, you see why blogging has been such a hit or miss thing this year. I want to. My life would make a great sitcom. My children are hilarious and I really should be writing this down because [in my most obnoxious, patronizing voice] “they won’t be little forever.” (see, I know I used it correctly there.)
And it’s not all fun and games. There are things I want/need to pour out so I get them out of my head, but I open up the page to write and stare at a blank screen. And then life intrudes and demands my attention. So, in my head these thoughts stay.
Speaking of. The Boy just poured a cup of cinnamon toast crunch out on the kitchen floor. Because 18 months, you know?
Excuse me while I go back to the mess.
The family dog died this morning. He was at home, and Coach was there with him, so that’s something I guess.
We got him when I was VERY pregnant with Doc. We’d been looking for a bulldog when a friend of the family told Coach her Danes had just had puppies and he could pick one. We went to visit the puppies and pregnancy hormones…well, it was love at first sight.
We brought him home in September – a couple of weeks after Doc was born. Munchkin carried him home in her lap. We named him Cornbread Mater Corley.
It wouldn’t be long before he was too big for ANYBODY’s lap. But at first, he was little. Even as a puppy, he was calm. He wasn’t the typical rambunctious puppy. He DID like to dig, and he went through several “indestructible” pillows, but he was the best puppy I’ve ever lived with. It WAS a little like having twins, though. I’d get up with the baby human and Coach got up with the baby dog.
He always had the best Halloween costumes.
Life was pretty good with Cornbread until Doc grew up enough to realize she was afraid of him. Gentle giant that he was, he must have sensed this because he became content to stay in his crate, on his pillow, as long as he was in the living room with us.
Once The Boy was born, I found my hands so full with the addition of the third that Cornbread increasingly became “one more thing” I had to keep up with. And still, he seemed content. The yard was his domain and he was just as gentle and accepting of whatever attention we could ration in an otherwise overflowing life. I knew a year ago that we probably should find him a family who could make him a more active part of their lives, but none of us were really ready to give up.
The past month or so, however, saw Cornbread slowing down. I’d been reading about how Danes don’t typically have long lifespans, and I know I complained A LOT about him, but even I was surprised at how quickly he declined and how sad it made me to think about him being gone from our life. I tried changing his food and leaving him out more; to the chagrin of Doc. But once he decided it was time, I guess, there wasn’t much we could do.
This morning, Coach said he started having trouble not long after I left with the Littles (Doc and The Boy). It wasn’t two hours after that and Coach said he was gone.
I think I’m done having pets for a while. The children need all the attention I can give them and, as I’ve told my sister time and time again, I’m not a dog person. They need the same kind of attention as a human child and I have lots of those already. A dog deserves a family who will cherish him/her and make him/her part of their daily lives. While Cornbread was always right there with us, he was not really a part of our life.
I’m glad he did not suffer long and I’m so glad Coach was home with him when the time came. I’m glad I wasn’t there. I want to think of him as he was before he became so sick. The ridiculous halloween getups we put on him. Sweet brown eyes that could talk you out of that last chicken strip or forgive him for just about anything. How he liked to sit on the hill, in the yard, and take in the breeze and the sunshine.
When I get stressed out, I start picking at my nails.
I’ve decided to pass on trying out for Chicago, at TCT. The show rehearsal schedule includes the Jr Cotillion winter semi-formal, two cheer competitions, and a week out of town for work. To top it off, the opening night of the show is the third Jr Cotillion event. Have I mentioned I am chair of the 6th grade for Jr Cotillion and chair elect? Because I’m @@!#%$ insane. I do not need the additional stress of a rehearsal schedule on top of all that – no matter how badly I wanted to sing Mama Morton.
I’ve been listening to Magic Hour (performed by Ahn Trio), The Seal Lullaby (performed by the Eric Whitacre Singers), and Michael Nyman’s The Piano Sings today, trying to get my brain to slow down enough to focus on one task at a time.
I’m pulling images for a corporate presentation, reformatting an HR notice, worrying about a certain coach with a nagging cough, wondering how I’ll get it all done at the house, trying not to have a panic attack over how I’m going to manage three kids at DFW Friday, resigning myself to not sending out Christmas cards – again – and not even caring what’s for dinner. I don’t know why all these people look to ME to feed them. Cereal is a wholly acceptable dinner…isn’t it? And that brings me back to THEM.
I feel smothered. There is so much good happening and I’m grateful. Really. But to sit in silence. Alone. To read a few chapters of a book. To sleep. To have a good, hard cry. I haven’t had time for myself in so long I hardly remember what it’s like.
This is the trenches. It doesn’t even have to be “big stuff.” It’s the day in and out routine: the time in the car, doing the 305th load of dishes or laundry, picking up food off the floor, sweeping up more dog hair, realizing that you have to get up at 5:30 if you want any quiet time at all, sneaking out to the grocery store at 9:30 at night because taking ALL OF THEM is too much. It’s all too much.
Yes, they are magnificent. Yes, they are miracles. Yes, they are my heart. But do they have to touch me all the time? Can’t they ever stop talking? Do they have to bicker so much?
Yes, I know. They won’t be little forever. I should cherish these moments because I’ll look up and, JUST WAIT UNTIL THEY ARE TEENAGERS. Thank you. I know.
To imagine moments where I am not only not in love with motherhood, I almost hate it because of what it costs. I feel guilty even typing the words.
I suppose it is all worth it. I’m sure it is. I just can’t really see it right now. So I pick at my nails. And turn the music up.
(Please, if you would like to comment, be kind. I’m tired and over-sensitive.)
I can’t believe I missed writing your birthday post this year. So, happy unbirthday, Munchkin. You aren’t really a munchkin any more, though…are you? This is the last year you won’t be a teenager. *sigh* I’m not sure I’m ready for how fast it has started going.
You are a voracious reader, a minecraft aficionado, and a Sims4 whizkid. I love your enthusiasm for theatre, your indifference to folding clothes, and even your dislike of eating more than six bites of almost anything at one time. (that drives Daddy nuts, by the way)
You’ve started listening to music that I think is complete drivel and you talk about boys more than I want to listen to (but make no mistake – I’m listening – and checking them out).
You are beautiful. I mean, you’ve always been beautiful, but now you are stunning. There isn’t a whole lot of “little girl” left when I look at you. On one hand, that kind of makes me sad, but not really. Because, despite being in full-swing-drama-queen-adolescence, you are really awesome.
Watching you this year in cheerleading is so much fun. Your confidence level grows by leaps and bounds. You have found an inner strength that has been amazing to watch.
This year you want to be an interior designer. The things you design in minecraft and sims4 are incredible. Scary smart doesn’t even begin to cover how bright you are. I’m watching you discover your intellect and learn how to use it. Stretch. Grow. You are capable of ANYTHING.
I love you so much, Munchkin. Don’t ever think you are too big to sit in my lap or lay your head on my shoulder. Keep inviting me to lunch. I’ll keep coming as long as you ask. I might sometimes act like I’ve got to move things around to make time, but I look forward to seeing you every time. I’m really enjoying middle school through your eyes. I hope it stays this good.
Watch out for boys. And girls.. Be nice to everybody. Pray a LOT. Eat. I love you, babykins.
You are one.
You are smiles.
You are snuggles.
You are everywhere.
You are light. Your older sisters are wind and water, but you are light. Your smile lights up a room and everybody gravitates to you. We can’t help ourselves but to love you.
You eat just about anything. Well, except blueberries. You’ll drink the milk cold, unless it’s first thing in the morning or the last drink of the night; then it has to be just a little warm.
You like Octonauts, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Chuggington, but don’t really care either way; you are (by far) the most laid back of the three.
You’re just as happy with a lego pad that is kind of the same shape as my phone as the phone itself (I know that won’t last much longer) and “no, no, no” seems to be your favorite thing to articulate at this moment (probably because you hear it 2300 times a night).
I love you, little boy. You make our little family absolutely complete. You are one. You are mine.
There is something so final to saying I am done having children. In 2 more weeks, The Boy will be a year old and I’ll be out of the baby business. And, while that’s a good thing – I have three beautiful children that are growing and learning more about themselves and their world and one in heaven watching over us – I will never again experience the wonder that are those first flutters. Hiccups in the middle of the night, from the inside out. Heartburn so profound I’m surprised it didn’t melt the enamel off my teeth (ok, I won’t miss that at all). Writing lists of names and arguing with the stubbornest man I’ve ever met until we come to just the right one. Final.
Soon, there will be no more bottles or binkies, formula or diapers. Primary colored blocks and noise-makers will give way to trucks and trains; stuffed teddy bears will give way to Barbie dolls and hair bows. And then, even those will be gone; replaced by laptops and smart phones. The floors will get cleaner and I won’t have to cut grapes in half or clean up the disgusting half-chewed mess that is mealtime with a toddler. And, somewhere deep, I will miss it.
The soft cheeks, the smell of their hair, the sound of them as they sleep. Fighting invisible spiders on the wall (a thumbtack in the ceiling where her butterfly once hung), or tip-toeing ever so quietly by the baby’s room, or smoothing back the hair from the finally still face of the oldest one as she sleeps; the only time of day when she isn’t halfway rolling her eyes at me, “Moooom, I’m SOOOOOOOO busy….”
I worry every day that something will happen. Something bad. Those fears that surely lurk in the back of every parent’s mind; fear that is too horrible to express for fear of breathing truth to it.
I worry over scraped knees and fevers. Bad dreams and math anxiety. Too much time on the computer and not enough time at church. Balancing equipping them to face the realities of the world in which we live and protecting them from as much of it as I can until they are “ready.” Figuring out what the hell ready looks like. Because I certainly am not some days.
Parenting is tiny heartbreaks, smoothed over by overflowing joy.
At any given time, you are bossing somebody around. Especially your big sister.
You have a steely determined look that says, “Do you feel lucky, Punk?”
Your laugh is the best music in the world. Thankfully, it’s a song that plays a lot.
You make me laugh and that’s probably saved your life a few times. (just kidding) (kinda)
You insist that Bunny is excluded from pictures because “he’s old.”
You have the facial expressions and gestures of an adult. It’s kind of weird, but oh so hilarious.
The fact that I have to be a tyrant to brush your hair is ridiculous.
I have no doubt you have big things in store for you, kiddo. Inside that brilliant little mind is the cure for cancer, the solution to Middle East strife, and maybe even the proper way to tie a knot.
You eat all. the. time.
Your spontaneous bursts of affection are absolutely the best part of any day with you.
I cannot believe it’s already been four years. You can’t really be princess crybaby any more. You aren’t a baby. So…henceforth, you will be known as Doc. Because they are bossy. In a good way. And so are you.
Happy birthday, Doc. Daddy and I love you to the moon and back.
In 61 seconds, Facebook sums up the best parts of the past six years. Marrying Coach, my sweet children (they even included Riley), work, and family; and they set it to a rousing little tune, set to my favorite tempo (6/8).
This is some of the more brilliant marketing I’ve ever seen. If you want to build brand loyalty, show people themselves. Remind them why they love you.
I love this little video. It never fails to make me smile. it’s my favorite thing Facebook has ever created.
I looked at a house today. As in, stepped foot in a house I’ve been looking at with curiosity for months. Our budget says we could totally afford a house once we got into it, but GETTING INTO a house seems impossible and unreachable. At least for the foreseeable future. We have three children (almost 12, almost 4, and almost 1) and the prospect of saving for a big down payment any time soon is almost laughable, if it weren’t so depressing. It would take a miracle.
For now, I must be content to be curious.
Furthermore, I don’t know that this was THE house. It would need a lot of work to get it “just right,” but it’s got a HUGE yard with enormous shade trees, all the bedrooms we could possible fill and lots of little surprises to make it charming (like those vintage blue tile bathrooms! le sigh) And it was pretty quiet. I could imagine happy kids running up and down halls, decorating a room they didn’t have to share with older or younger siblings; tromping up and down stairs, Christmas trees for years to come in front of that gigantic bay window in the front, but I also almost immediately noticed the chipped paint EVERYWHERE, the original laminate (hey, I think I know somebody who could do something about that), big patches of bare ground where the St Augustine died in the shade of those enormous trees, and the most gawd-awful looking metal shed (did I say shed? I meant metal eyesore) that would immediately have to be torn down taking up a good 1/5th of the yard.
I’ll know the house and time is right when I get there. I’ll feel that zing in my ears and that tingle in my fingers. The house will speak to me.
Shush. I heard you laugh.
Soooo, it’s probably not THE house. But it was fun to look. And imagine. And feed a dream that, maybe, thanks to a lot of hard work (and maybe more than a little miracle) might come true. Someday.
first day of school.
first report card.
first failing grade.
first blue ribbon.
Today is Munchkin’s fifth grade awards assembly…graduation, if you will. Not with caps and gowns, but a milestone nevertheless. It’s been a banner year. Perfect attendance, A/B Honor Roll, passing STAAR test with flying colors, being cast in The Wiz, making the cheer team, keeping school drama to a minimum, making new friends, winning two second place ribbons at Little Wildcat Relays. A really good year.
I am astounded elementary school is coming to an end. Tomorrow is the last day of school and then she’ll be a middle schooler. I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a bit of trepidation about this new chapter. Middle School is…well, Middle School. You can smell the crazy on them. (stolen from one of my favorite lines from The Avengers.) Literally. Middle Schoolers smell bad. DEODORANT, children. Sorry, I digress.
Congratulations, Munchkin. Daddy & I are so proud of you! You are becoming an amazing young lady and we can’t wait to see what is next!
ps. This is what the three year old thought I meant when I said “use some magnets to put this on the refrigerator.”
I already miss her.
I knew three was going to be more. More kisses. More snuggles. More laughter.
And, yes, I knew it would be more work. What I underestimated was how much more. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wonder what on earth I got myself into and when I’m going to feel a little less overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed by the mess.
Overwhelmed by the noise.
Overwhelmed by how tired I feel. All. The Time.
Who knew adding one more little person to the mix would add all this work?
I’m pretty sure I’m messing it up. The Boy cries when he’s tired. Or hungry. Or wants to be picked up. (which is all the time). Princess Crybaby is a tyrant. Munchkin is growing up too fast. WAY too fast.
Oh, and have I mentioned the mess? And the noise?
Just when I feel like maybe I can’t take any more, they do this:
And then I laugh. And I do. Laugh, that is. A LOT.
There is a lot more of that, too. Delight at the beautiful young lady Munchkin is becoming. Amazement at how fast Princess Crybaby is learning and how incredibly smart she is. And the sheer joy of falling in love with a boy. (they really are SO different)
I read something the other day that said to have young children is to accept that, for a time, you just have to hunker down. And I guess that’s what I’m doing. I just hope I make it out alive. *laugh*
As Coach’s wife, I don’t often voice opinions or thoughts out loud about the Soccer program. I don’t see it as my job. My job is to support and keep the home fires burning. But I just have to say this one thing…
Thank you. Thank you for driving back and forth to away games and tournaments. For selling t-shirts and nachos. For sitting on metal bleachers in 25 degrees, rain, sleet, and snow over and over this season. For trucking kids back and forth to EARLY morning practices and waiting in cars for afternoon practices as the sun went down. For always believing.
I am so proud to be the wife of your head coach. He loves your sons as if they were his own. What you may or may not know is that you and your sons are prayed for. They are part of our family. We cheer when they win, we grieve when they don’t, and we hurt when they hurt.
Six years ago, I knew almost nothing about Soccer. Now, I can watch a game and see why it is called “the beautiful game.” And, intertwined in every moment are the faces of your sons. THEY make it beautiful.
Thank you for trusting Coach. Thank you for believing in Wildcat Soccer. Thank you for a beautiful season. Thank you.
Life is life. It is good. It is busy. It is LOUD. So many thoughts roll through my head every day that, if I had more hands and fewer bibs to wash, I would totally be blogging them. Really. But right now is just not a good time, apparently.
So, I’m going to take a little break. Because they won’t be little forever.
So excited to start this new session of HM. Ruth is a lovely story and I’ve read it many times, but never really stopped and spent any time with it.
So, the assignment is to read the passage and write what jumps out, then write a sequence of events, and, finally, to read judges 2:11-19 and note what’s taking place in the country during this time.
But first, I wanted to know how far away from home and why they’d gone in the first place.
Neat maps that show the journey, specific to Naomi and Ruth.
Elimelech takes his wife and two sons to sojourn in Moab, due to the famine in Canaan
The two sons marry Moabite women.
The Matthew Henry Commentary (MHC) suggests it was a sense of duty that took the family of Elimelech across the Jordan into Moab. To sojourn means to move, but without plans to stay forever. They were, in a way, refugees fleeing the famine in Canaan.
But they get over there and Elimelech dies, leaving Naomi and her two sons. They, in turn, marry Moabite women. Why did they do this? Why didn’t they go back home after their father’s death? It’s i the resting to note the MHC says that Elimelech probably had no idea his sons would marry women outside of their faith but, “But those that bring young people into bad acquaintance, and take them out of the way of public ordinances, though they may think them well-principled and armed against temptation, know not what they do, nor what will be the end thereof.” Which is a really fancy way of saying if you allow your children around bad people and situations, don’t be surprised when something bad happens.”
That caused me to stop and really think about some of the lessons we have to teach and, frankly, UNteach in our house. We are a public school family. I work outside of the home. My children are exposed every day to children growing up in homes without Jesus. This does not make them bad children, or their families and homes unsafe. It means that, as their parents, we must constantly work to ensure they are hearing enough truth to balance all of the noise they hear, and give them a foundation strong enough to withstand the temptations they will face because we have chosen not to shelter them from the world, but to raise them to be Godly in spite of it.
It’s a little before 5am. The house is quiet; everybody still sleeping. I’m sitting in the dark living room, finishing my first cup of coffee and thinking about a second. It’s a rare treat that I get to enjoy a cup of coffee in silence since the arrival of The Boy. Has it already been almost three months? Has it only been three months? He seems so much part of our lives that it’s hard to imagine him not here.
Princess Crybaby is good. The other night, Coach told her it was time to go to bed. She walks over, stands in front of his chair and says, “can we talk about this?” And that about sums up where she’s at. Everything has to be explained. She’s into the “I need reasons mother” phase. It’s obnoxious. And adorable.
Munchkin is in a play at the high school. Yesterday, I picked her up from the house to take her to rehearsal. I smiled inwardly as I noticed she’d taken great care to get ready. Her hair was arranged and there was a certain “big kid” air about her. A part of me sighs a little more each time I have the opportunity to witness this young girl transforming into a young lady. I am happy, of course, because that’s what she’s supposed to do, but still. Glimpses of the little girl are becoming a little more rare. This part is new for me, so I am trying to approach this with a certain air of conservative detachment. (yes, I made that up)
As we pulled into the high school parking lot, I asked her if she wanted me to drop her off or walk her in. (I kind of thought she’d just want to be dropped off – I mean, I’m MOM and she has started striking out on her own a little more…I didn’t want to cramp her style and I knew she was perfectly safe) Because it was right at 4 o’clock, there was still a lot of traffic – both people and cars. She asked if I’d walk her in. Playing it cool, I parked the car and she hopped out. This is our world – we spend a lot of time around Temple High School – so, as we walked through the parking lot, we chatted about rehearsal and what she would do when she was finished. I reminded her to turn her phone off during rehearsal (no, Munchkin, silent isn’t enough. If it accidentally goes off, you might get tossed off the stage… LOL – just kidding. kinda)…etc.
At this point, we’ve waded pretty far into the mass of humanity in the plaza outside the student center. It is all the sudden I feel a very close little shadow at my side. She leans into me a little and says, “there are so many people, Mommy,” and she takes my hand. It is then I am reminded that she is not so very grown up after all.
I smiled down at her and reminded her that they were just bigger versions of her and we navigated through the crowd and into the student center. I noticed the little bounce in her walk returned once she had ahold of my hand and it was all I could do not to kiss her head. (I know that would have been way over the “MOOOOOOOOM” line) Once we got inside the theatre, she slipped her hand out of mine and bounced off to her world in the theatre. The moment was over.
It was a sweet reminder that I still have a few years before I enter the uncool phase and she’ll struggle with her desire to be close to me and, at the same time, the need to be independent of me.
So much in which to delight. Mine is a cup that overflows. And that’s why the floors are sticky.
But, for now, it’s dark. And quiet. And you can’t see the piles of laundry still not finished (as if), and the dishwasher that’s full of clean and the sink almost full of dirty (I think they multiply like tribbles when we aren’t looking), and the …. well, you get my point.
And my coffee cup needs a refill.
Nirvana. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Tolerance.
Increasingly in my life, I believe “tolerance” is a made up word. Cain killed Abel because he was “intolerant” of the way Abel worshiped God. Abel chose a different way and Cain killed him for it.
Having a belief system (whether someone else agrees or not) does not make you intolerant, ignorant OR phobic. A&E has the ultimate right to do as they choose with shows under their umbrella, but I DO believe it was an unwise business decision. A&E cashed in on the Robertson family and their way of life. It is illogical to suddenly have a problem with part of their belief system because a certain part of it isn’t PC. It is illogical to believe a family who has been unapologetic about their faith will suddenly apologize or shy away from talking about what they believe to be truth.
My belief system is this: man without God is a broken thing. Scripture says that with God all things are possible. The reverse, then, is also true. Without God, NOTHING is possible. We are incapable of showing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness OR self-control without God. Period. The end.
PS. For the record: All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isaiah 64:6
I am a broken, disgusting, dead thing. But, because of CHRIST, I have been remade. All of us are broken, disgusting, dead things. My life choices. Your life choices. Broken. Disgusting. Dead. But for Christ. Amen.
I don’t want to be a stay at home mom. I thought I did. I used to be. But I don’t anymore. This is not a post about the pros and/or cons of staying at home. This is about me. Because it’s my blog. LOL
I stayed home with Munchkin until she was two. It was, circumstances aside, Amazing and super rewarding. Being able to watch her develop and learn real-time was incredible. When I went back to work, we both had a very hard transition. Becoming a single parent necessitated going back to work. I will tell you, in our experience, two was too late to introduce daycare. Munchkin suffered terrible separation anxiety and every transition issue you can imagine. This compounded my own personal guilt at not being able to continue the plan of staying home with her until prek; illogical as it would prove to be. I felt like I failed her by not being able to sustain the plan.
Princess Crybaby was a daycare kid from six weeks. She did not experience separation anxiety the same way and she missed a lot of the transition issues her sister went through. She is not a hitter, or a biter, and potty training was a breeze. She gets along well with classmates and is, overall, very accepting of adult caregivers. All of this could be personality and have little to do with early socialization. Certainly well-socialized kids still hit and bite, struggle with potty training and have terrible separation anxiety. Shoot, who knows how The Boy will shake out. (So far so good, though)
As I was pregnant with The Boy, then, scenarios went through my mind of staying home; both with and without some kind of income. I felt some measure of sadness as I accepted the reality that finances and our chosen lifestyle just wouldn’t permit me to stay home without some kind of income, and legitimate work-at-home jobs seem scarce or hard to find.
Once The Boy arrived, it was quite different. I found the long days at home very lonely, blissful as they were, with only The Boy for company. I found myself craving a creative outlet, but felt too tired and attention-torn to focus on anything. I started to feel a little crazy without regular, adult conversation. I started rearranging the house, cleaning and organizing. That makes my husband VERY nervous.
I realized that my wanting to stay at home was less about the kids and more about me.
Now that I’ve gone back to work, albeit only a couple of days back, I find I am happier and more satisfied during the day. Of course I miss the children and can’t wait to see them at the end of the day, but I get that much-needed creative exercise. And, being home with the kids all evening isn’t exhausting, because I haven’t already been with them all day… I can still be a good mom and not be home all day.
I believe God uses our circumstances to gently teach us. I am pretty over the idea of a God who beats us over the head in order to bend us to His will, or employs the “because I said so,” style of leadership; blaring truth through loud speakers. He was gentle (and silent) in this circumstance; allowing me to discover for myself that His plan (going back to work) really is in my best interests.
So if you, Dear Reader, are sitting and watching the clock tick, sit tight. Search your heart for how you feel and where you see God leading. Try not to get too hung up on the why; I think it becomes apparent, but sometimes not until you’ve moved past.
disclaimer: I am a skeptic. I love The Lord with my whole heart, but confess to asking a LOT of questions. I have invested in fleeces, because it seems like I have frequent opportunities to use them. Thankfully, I worship the God of the universe: big enough to put up with all my obnoxious questions, and small enough to take the time to answer them.
All things come to an end. Today was the last day of my maternity leave. Ever. I’ll never be pregnant again. Never give birth again. And I’m ok with that. Pregnancy is scary. I can’t un-know all that can go wrong, or how quickly things can go from fine to nightmare.
Endings. How we say goodbye to things is as important as how we say hello. I cried a little today; not out of sorrow, but a sense of finality. I AM getting too old for the bone-grinding exhaustion of a brand new baby; the never-ceasing demands of very small children. While The Boy is small and sweet and oh, so, snuggly now, he is also fragile and very young – when so much is out of your control. That is where prayer comes in. Because rather than hang up on all that COULD happen, I will choose to spend my time being thankful for them, and all the moments that come with them: funny, soft, heart-breaking, and exhausting. The joy, sadness, pain, satisfaction and disappointment that comes from parenting little people who are so like you, but still their own little individuals.
I am not going to lie. In the middle of those not so warm and fuzzy moments, I find myself looking to the heavens, saying, “what, EXACTLY, can I be thankful of here?” More often than not, the heavens are silent. Not because He’s not paying attention, but like every good counselor, He’s waiting on me to figure it out myself.
I’m still learning.
So, tomorrow is a beginning. I pray it will be a blessing and that, in turn I will have an opportunity to bless those around me. I am nervous and excited. I know the skills required and hope to get my sea legs quickly. I go in with eyes wide open that the pace will once again quicken and work will become more demanding, but in a skill set that is more in line with my skills. We shall see.
I’m still learning.
Beginnings and endings. One chapter closes, and another one begins.