Friday, August 28, 2015

Inaugural "Confessional Friday"!



 Hi, there! Woo-woo, we made it to Friday! When it's a Friday that finishes off the first week of a new school year, that's cause for major celebration!

 I haven't mentioned her here, but a few weeks ago I was wrecked when I learned about the death of a fun mom and blogger from Arkansas. Her name was Leslie Sisti, and she passed from lifelong heart complications at only 30 years old. I've always enjoyed her blog and instagram stream. She hosted a fun link-up called Confessional Friday each week, but I never participated. One of the things the blogging community wanted to do to honor her legacy was to keep the Confessional Friday tradition going. So now that I'm blogging more regularly, I figured today would be as good a day as any to jump in and contribute mine!

1. My new favorite (cheap) guilty fast-food pleasure? The Beefy Fritos Burrito at Taco B*ll. It's got meat, sauce, cheese sauce (yum!!), rice and crunchy Fritos in it. It's amazing. And only A DOLLAR! I got our kids hooked on them this summer, and I think even J secretly likes them even though he HATES the Bell. (He's a B*eno man all the way.)

2. I am an ice-cruncher for life. I don't care if it's wrong or if it's bad for my teeth, as they say. I LOVE it. And I'm in the minority around these parts...the little pellet-shaped ice that most people love here is not my favorite. I think it melts too quickly and waters down drinks. It's not as fun to chew, either. Give me regular chunkier ice from a refrigerator that's slightly melted and softer any day.

3. On that note, I also LOVE the smell of a freezer. What is it about that, you ask? I have no idea. I hear sometimes that it could be a symptom of low iron, along with liking the scent of soil, which I do as well. I do happen to have low iron, so maybe that's where it stems.

4. I am loving school being back in session. It's so wonderful for me to have a few hours to focus on what needs to be done around the house without interruption. I think I'd be a great working mom for that reason. I love my children, don't get me wrong, but the hours during the school day absolutely feed my soul.

5. The after-school hours are kicking my butt this year. I decided last night that it's very reminiscent of living in the newborn stages with our children when I'd get the sads in the evenings. I'd feel despair over not having grasped a "new normal", like I was never going to feel "together" again from the major life transition, though after a few weeks I finally got into a groove and regulated emotionally and felt worlds better. It's a much lesser degree today than the newborn stage, thankfully, and I know that in a few weeks we'll have found a groove and it'll all feel much better again. But it is good to recognize and name it for what it is, I believe.

6. Conversely, I've developed a daytime routine for myself this week, and it's felt wonderful. I can't believe I fell into a daytime groove so quickly! I think I'd already been sensing what my days needed to look like in the days leading up to school starting, so it was a natural transition. I've even managed to exercise and write three out of four days this week! I feel wonderful!

7. I confess that I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to blog design, but I knew I wanted a bit of a change around here. Yesterday I played around with templates and colors and came up with this. It's not perfect, but it's satisfactory for now. I changed my picture, too. In my last one, I was 25 pounds heavier, so it was time for a better representation! I'm determined to figure blog design out all on my own. I love the look of the expensive, custom-designed layouts, but I'm too frugal for that.

No kid pictures today or family-related business to report. Just keeping it light and fun on a Friday! Happy weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Put Thurs in the Win Column

For us, it's the third day of school.

We are all dragging.

Someday our bodies will adjust to this new routine again! (And we'd even begun a more structured bedtime and wake time schedule last week!)

This morning we made it out the door on time again, but a little less comfortably. Rosie wanted me to to walk them into the building again, so who am I to deny that? We didn't make it as early as I'd hoped because I ended up tangling with Stu about his hair style. I had no idea these things were so important to first-grade boys!  Apparently I don't use enough hair gel for him.

I commented as we were about to leave that the kids looked like turtles with their big backpacks on. I turned my back for a second, and when I turned back around they were all crawling toward the door on their hands and knees! They walked all the way out to the car like that.

Once we got into the car, I spilled 2/3 of my coffee on the floor. But it miraculously missed my nearly-white khakis.

When we got to school, Rosie realized that she forgot a sweater to keep in her backpack. I was so proud that M immediately offered her her extra one she had stashed in the car! I was so thankful for her selflessness, kindness and care for her sister.

Inside the building, the kids only needed me to walk them to the main hall. All three of them gave me a kiss right there in the busy hall before we parted ways. I'll take that as long as I can!

This Thursday came in with some ups and downs, but I'm going to call it a success!  


(There was still 1/3 of the coffee left in my cup for the ride home, hallelujah.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

First Day of School 2015-2016

We celebrated the first day of school yesterday!


Rosie is entering 2nd grade, M is a fourth grader this year, and Stu is now in 1st grade! 

I was grateful for an incredibly smooth morning. We were out the door in very comfortable time, able to take pictures before we left, and we didn't have to rush to walk to the building amid the crazy traffic.

And for the first time in our school history...


...DADDY was able to join us for drop-off! Every year that the kids have been in school he's been a principal, so he's not been able to come with us. But now that he's in central administration, he had the freedom to be there! We were all so excited, and the extra set of hands to help us get ready and out the door was a lifesaver.

Everyone was in good spirits. Rosie was first to be done getting ready as usual and went around checking on everyone else, M was excited about the day and ready to go on time (which doesn't always happen as she enters her tween years!), and Stu didn't cry this year and has been counting the days til the first day. (Last year he cried that he didn't want to go right as it was time to get ready to leave! After not having batted an eye about it at all in the days leading up to it!)

Once inside the building, Stu led the way. I love the budding little leader I see coming out in him.

When everyone had gotten safely to their rooms, J and I breathed a sigh of relief, smiled at each other as we clasped hands, and made our way out of the building. Another summer in the books for our family. 

It was a truly fun yet slow and relaxing season, and we can't believe we're at the start of a new school year already. I'm looking forward to not doing much of anything these next couple of weeks but slowly getting the house back in order. And (unapologetically) taking time to myself to re-group, rest, and do more of the creative things that feed my soul. I love my family and summer is my absolute favorite season for us, but I admit that it made me especially tired this year.

I hope to have more time to blog more regularly so that we can share our adventures with our families. I feel a big desire to get plugged into our new church and community, so I'm hoping that as fall activities kick into gear in mid-September I'll have places to find friends and serve. I have exactly four months til I turn a new decade! I can't believe it! And I'm amazed at how this whole year ha flown so quickly.

Monday, July 6, 2015

scrubbing in

One of my ridiculous pastimes for the past month or so, I'll reluctantly admit, has been watching "Grey's Anatomy" seasons 3-4 from the library.

I decided right before school let out that I wanted a new diversion. I chose that since I quit watching the show about that time because our children's bedtimes began interfering about then. (We've never had DVR up until now.) I've been able to begin watching it again this season since we can record it now, and I've been so confused on many plot lines and characters. I figured it was time to catch up.

I don't know why I love the show, but I do. I have a low tolerance for drama and cheesy romance entertainment, but for some reason I'm drawn to this one. I have been since they began showing commercials for it the year it began. I got hooked quickly. Maybe it's the medical side of things. Deep down I have always wanted to be a doctor. I've always enjoyed medical shows.

Now that I'm re-familiarizing myself with the show, something has struck me that I hadn't noticed in the years that I've been watching it. I'm both fascinated and inspired by it.

When the doctors' pagers go off, they trip over each other to go running toward the action.

It made me recall my career days as a congressional staffer. Honestly, when my line rang, I was rarely excited. It was more often than not a new fire to put out or an angry constituent to give an ear to. Someone asking the impossible of me and my Member. I loved my job, but it was high-stress. I don't ever consider myself as someone who ran toward the action. I liked to maintain peace and harmony.

I draw the same parallel in my life stage as a mother right now. When my "pager goes off":

-an argument between kids needs my mediation
-a catastrophic spill begs to be cleaned up
-the tiny humans in my home declare an unfairness uprising
-a monumental mess is made
-ill behavior springs up to correct with appropriate wisdom, or
-something as simple as the hundreds of interruptions to my carefully planned day that make me bristle on the outside and want to scream on the inside

it could be anything,

my instinct is not to run toward the action. If I'm honest with myself, I'd rather hide from it and not deal with it.

(Yes, there are times when it is best for Mom to hang back and let the children take ownership of the conflict resolution. This takes wisdom to know when and how. Mothering is delicate, intense work.)

Why would a doctor run toward the action, I've been asking myself? Why would they dive head-first into the hard work?

-They are eager to learn and hone their surgical skills
-They desire to excel
-They desire to be known for their excellence
-They desire to be known for their determination
-They desire to be known for their diligence
-They desire to be known for their faithfulness

Doesn't this sound a lot like the Christian life? Living in such a way that brings glory and excellence to God's name?

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men..." Colossians 3:23

"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master." Matthew 25:21

"shepherd the flock of God that is among you..." 1 Peter 5:2

So observing the doctors at Seattle Grace (or whatever it's called now) has taught me something about my attitude toward mothering. I don't want to be the kind of mother who tolerates weakness from herself; who shrinks away from conflict and difficulty.

Rather, I want to be known for all of these things listed above. I want to be known as obedient and faithful in my boss' eyes (in my case, the Lord). I want to press in when  moments escalate and become difficult. I want to practice my craft and get more and more skilled. I want to be more intentional about my time with my family. I want to grow more and more in wisdom in my current job. I want to mother with increasing and confidence each day.

These things grow increasingly more important as we begin to enter the critical pre-adolescent stages. These years require a strong, confident, consistent mother.

So when my "pager goes off", I'm going to practice running toward the action and being the first to scrub in.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

fri-yay

After school yesterday, we enjoyed the overcast dry day and played outside. When J got home and joined me in sitting, drink In hand, and watching our kids play, I looked down and smiled at our clothing choices. 



Blue oxfords and khakis forever! ;)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Doodlebug Babysitter

We've had so much rain here the past few weeks. I'm not a huge fan of rainy days; I'm definitely a sunny weather girl. I will not complain or grumble about it, though...everything is so green here as a result, and it reminds me of the beautiful East Texas that I miss so much. I know that in a few short weeks it'll be dry, hot and brown around here, and I'm glad I have this brief beautiful rainy season to fill my heart up with in the meantime.

Yesterday the rain held off in the afternoon, so we were able to play outside after school. It was wonderful to be out in the fresh air! The kids are very much into playing with roly polies these days, and Stu charged me with babysitting his in a frisbee while he was off on his bike and scooter.


Wife, mom. daughter. niece. friend. cook, house cleaner, laundry-doer, kid taxi-driver, homework helper, story-reader...

...and doodlebug-babysitter.

Anytime, my boy, any time!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Lessons from The Mockingbird Nest

The last several days when we've been outside, we've noticed some baby mockingbirds in a nest in our live oak tree out front. We've had fun watching mama bird take care of her little ones, and we hear them chirping and squawking with excitement every time mama returns with food. 

Yesterday, J noticed the babies were finally out of the nest and standing on branches in the tree getting flying lessons! He brought us all outside when he got home from work so we could see. I got some good pictures of them with my point and shoot camera, and Stu wanted to get pictures, too. So I gave him my camera.


He got some really good ones! J stepped in to help him find the birds so he could zoom in.


It's been nice to watch the birds grow and develop. It's a timely picture during this Mother's Day season, as well. The babies have been a great reminder for me to slow down and enjoy these challenging days with small children. The mama birds go through the same cycle that human mothers do, devoting all their time and energy to them, but in a matter of short weeks rather than years. I have several years before my nest empties, and one day I will miss this chaotic life.