Family · Love · Parenting · Perspective

Time for a Date

Nestled between my early morning devotion time and heading out the door for a run, it hit me.

My husband and I haven’t been out (or in) together without kids since March.

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I know…. that is shocking!

Almost two months ago, we flew to Key West for a handful of days. I don’t think we’ve been anywhere without the little people we created, even for groceries and a burrito, since mid-March.

Time to get back on the same page…

Today I scheduled a 36hr getaway for us. We are going to see another couple for a Friday evening and Saturday a couple of weeks from now. What? You thought we’d be able to throw together something for this weekend?! That’s just crazy talk….

Honestly though, it is incredibly important to put that extra time into your relationship. It’s been lacking here. We’ve had a rough patch lately where I truly wanted to get in the car and drive away. Solo. Where? Who knows. Maybe just to go sit in a coffee shop or restaurant and read a book while I sip a chai latte (DF of course) or eat chips and salsa? I might even treat myself to a bowl of guacamole.

But I don’t drive away. I told him I wanted to. Yet I haven’t gotten in the car, removed the car seats, and made a break for it.

Why? A couple of reasons:

  • I genuinely like my crew of people – most of the time. Experience has taught me that it is highly unlikely that you will enjoy another human 100% of the time. I’m quite sure I would not enjoy my own clone 100% of the time…
  • I’m an introvert. Quiet time is necessary to recharge. Daily running and devotions need to become a priority again instead of snoozing the alarm and then needing space from my family later.
  • I love my husband. Even when we aren’t clicking and I’m not even sure we are speaking the same vernacular, we still have almost 18 years invested in our relationship. We’ll celebrate the 13yrs married mark this summer. Sometimes I wonder though… when I say something – what is he hearing???
  • I love who I am when we are in sync. Disharmonious as we are right now, we will find our rhythm again soon. We are better together. He lightens me. I focus him.
  • I’m flat-out terrible at self-care. When I make a cry for help like “Hey honey, I think I’ll just leave. No I don’t know where I’m going to go…” that’s pretty serious stuff. It needs to be addressed together. Instead of further isolating myself, I need to pull closer to that covenant I have with my husband and family.

What it boils down to is that it is time for a date. A real, fix-your-hair, put on a nice dress, lipstick instead of chapstick type of date. No talk of the kids’ baseball schedules, end-of-school year events, or that we are COMPLETELY out of all ingredients necessary to make breakfast. It is time for actual date talk about interests and plans and that amazing song I heard on the radio last week.

It’s time to reconnect and get back in sync.

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Faith · Family · Love · Parenting · Perspective

What I’m Celebrating on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day 2018.

Many moms out there were being showered with lavish gifts. Quite a few, I imagine, received no recognition at all for the day. Others were somewhere in between.

I was an ‘in-between-er’ at the low end of the spectrum. No gifts, but they did make construction paper cards. It was another day where my kids bickered, my extremely tired 5yr old melted down and crashed for 3hrs (when is school done?!), and at one point I threatened to get out of the car and let my husband proceed with the kids to our destination without me.

So yeah, basically just another day of motherhood.

Isn’t that what the day is about though? Are we supposed to be put on a pedestal on Mother’s Day or should we move our focus to the little things that are to be appreciated?

I’m not one to worship my children. They aren’t always correct. They aren’t always even pleasant to be around. And yes, I’ve told them to leave me alone or  not talk.

However, I am thankful for these little people in my tribe. I love them unconditionally- always and everywhere. I learn new things about them and myself in abundance when we are together. At times, they swell my heart with gladness. While at others, they throw me into the pit and leave me questioning what I did to make this little monster.

At church, our pastor recognized the mothers and made that the focus of his message. He spoke of   the need to lift up and support all the moms- the young and old, married, single, widowed, biological, adoptive and foster, those who have lost, and the grandmothers raising their grandchildren.

It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. It’s effective in the little things- offering childcare for any length of time, helping load or unload bags of groceries, passing her your $10 when she’s checking out at the store, welcoming a family with children instead of frowning at their noise.

The church needs to acknowledge the shift of stay-at-home to working mothers. It’s a change that has been decades in the making. The faith community needs to embrace these weary, hard working women.

He spoke about Hagar in Genesis. She didn’t willingly become a mother. Mothers who weren’t excited to become moms need to be cared for. They are treading water. Don’t let them go under.

When Abraham (man) gave her limited water and sent her away, God (the Creator) showed her a well. Think on that comparison for a moment…

He specifically recognized all of us who have locked ourselves in a room and cried- overwhelmed by life and questioning if we are making the right choices.

Motherhood has deepened my faith exponentially. All the trials, tribulations, meltdowns and months years without solid sleep have given me a glimpse of what love without strings looks like. Love that can’t be earned. Love that just IS.

That love is what I’m celebrating on Mother’s Day.

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Family · Parenting · Perspective

Throw it in the cart

If you know me, you know how much I enjoy office supplies. Folders, highlighters, blue Bic pens, and a solid pair of scissors are a must. I love the feel of a pencil on paper- not too sharp, just dulled down enough to keep it crisp but not so sharp that it scratches the paper. IMG_3400(1)

The same goes for school supplies at the beginning of the school year. That folder with the fluffy cat on it for my 5 yr old? Absolutely. A big package of crayons? Be still my beating heart.

But you know something? It must be the end of the school year because I’m over it. Albeit temporary, I’m tired of trying to keep this stuff useful and organized.

I came to the conclusion that it’s time for school to be out when we went grocery shopping last night. My daughter’s kindergarten class needed treats. We send treats monthly- enough for both the morning and afternoon snack for her whole class. I’ve happily baked or assembled something (I think) tasty, nut-free, and generally health-conscious (minus last month’s brownies) for each month thus far. This time, she asked for strawberry loaf cake from the store’s bakery and a large jug of generic brand cheeseballs.

Sure. Throw it in the cart.

She needs a sack lunch twice in the next two weeks for end-of-school activities. “Mom, can I PLEASE have a Lunchable?” We never buy Lunchables. I can buy meat, crackers, and cheese in bulk and make our own “lunchable” combos. They are on sale 10/$10.

Sure. Throw it in the cart.

giphy3“Mom- look at those Tom & Jerry fruit snacks!” Me- I’m not paying extra to have Tom & Jerry on your fruit snacks. As I glanced down the aisle, I see that all the fruit snacks are the same price.

Sure. Whatever. Throw it in the cart.

This is seriously not me. I watch our grocery bill closely. We don’t buy crap.  But the constant activities, work commitments, and extra school stuff piled on top of the actual educational school stuff has me saying “Sure. Throw it in the cart.”

I stop short of saying I’ve given up. I made both of my kids eat vegetables at dinner a couple of nights ago. It was just one carrot each, but it was the principle of it. I still care and I’m still holding on. You aren’t free yet.

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Teachers, parents, and students alike are all feeling it. We are left with no choice except to power through the last couple weeks with a few extra Kool-Aid Jammers and some Tom & Jerry fruit snacks. We love these little people and our educational system here, so….

Let’s do this people!

Family · Perspective · Uncategorized

Tornado

Last night was fairly eventful for our ‘neck of the woods.’

Tornado Footage

We knew it likely would be. While the spring has so far been quiet, the bulls-eye for severe weather was directly on us yesterday.

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The clouds fired up, as predicted, around 3pm. We scurried to get vehicles and lawn items put away and outdoor projects wrapped up. The bus dropped the kids off as the clouds began to darken.

We sporadically checked the weather radar to see where the most severe parts of the coming storm were located. What trajectory did the strongest part of the clouds have? Is it necessary to go to the basement?

To the north, there were 80mph winds and large hail.

To the south, wall clouds, tornadoes, heavy rain and hail.

Our wheat fields down by my parent’s house had enough hail to change the ground from green to white. An already delayed harvest due to the drought and cold was just stripped by hail…

Fortunately at our home, we had only a brief few minutes of pea-sized hail and a couple of inches of much needed rain. For as rough as the night was around us, our end result was positive due to the drought-ending moisture. 

My children observed all the weather with their faces glued to the south windows wearing only their pajamas and underwear. Obviously we weren’t too worked up about the direction the tornadic parts were moving. It was all at least 15 minutes- as the crow flies- from where we live. My 8yr old and I broke up the weather excitement by trading readings from Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends.

I wouldn’t say that I have a fear of severe storms anymore. As a child, I’d hyperventilate when we had to go to the cellar in the middle of the night. Now. Meh. I’ve seen tornadoes in person. They’ve been close. Mercifully and miraculously, most tornadoes on track to hit us have pulled back up into the clouds. Churning and twisting above us, we’ve never lost more than the chimney cap and some trees.

I have respect for Mother Nature and her fury.

When we are in the direct path, we take the proper precautions and hit the basement cement shelter, fully dressed, with a flashlight until the all clear is given. We don’t stand outside and watch when it’s go time. That’s just plain ridiculous. Homes were hit and destroyed, but I’m relieved to say that there were no injuries or fatalities due to these storms last night. Likely because they were ridden out in storm shelters and basements like they should be. (I’m looking at you crazy storm chaser tourist people! Yes, it’s a real thing.)

As for that, as a trained weather spotter was giving their news report from the safety of their vehicle, we watched a couple of stupid silly people standing out next to a road sign taking pictures of the storm. Not in their car. Not in a building. Out in the open. Basically wearing a sign that says “Strike me dead. I’m the tallest thing out here.” Take it from a person who’s lived in Tornado Alley her whole life: that’s a great way to get hit by lightning.

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One thing is for certain. We have broken the seal on severe weather season for 2018. Game on.

 

 

Family · Parenting · Perspective

Rockstar

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Some days you’re a rockstar and knock out everything on the list by noon… some days you find jello on your bathroom wall and send your child to the bus crying because it’s 40 degrees and you required she wear a sweatshirt….

Which day are you having? Where did that jello come from?!

Faith · Family · Health · Parenting · Perspective

Heart Check – Thursday

A podcast I listen to starts out with a few questions from one host to another. They call it a “heart check.”

What’s in your ear?

What’s pulling at your heart?

What book is in your hand?

I’ll also add for this post (because I like food)…

What’s in your mouth?

So, Jen, what’s in your ear lately?

–Yesterday, it was my Pandora thumbprint station. I was solo in the office for most of the day, thus almost a completely uninterrupted soundtrack for the day. Eclectic, as is my taste in music, songs range from the last 6 decades and a wide variety of genres. A personal favorite is Ashokan Farewell, but that might be followed up by Rump Shaker (Wreckx’n’Effect), a song from Ray LaMontagne, the Avett Brothers, Meghan Trainor, Amos Lee, Lee Brice, George Strait, or Casting Crowns (among many, many others).

What’s pulling at your heart?

–Of course my kids and family. Anxiety. Worldwide events that are completely beyond my realm of physical connection. How can I contribute to those around me? How can I be a more patient mother, wife, and friend? After a meeting last night…. when will I ever stop being socially awkward?!!!! 30 years of socializing hasn’t made me a social butterfly. Still inept at the art of surface-style conversation.

What book is in your hand?

–I truly love my 5:30am quiet reading time. I am awake to see the sun rise quietly and peacefully. The past month, I’ve reread three Anne of Green Gables books: 1, 3, & 4. Apparently somewhere in the last 25 years, book #2 disappeared. My devotions in my study Bible are out of Psalms. This morning, I finished “365 Thank You’s” by John Kralik. Focusing on gratitude, he turned his life around one thank you note at a time. Inspiring!

What’s in your mouth?

–Like all people vainly trying to shed the winter carb-fest padding,  focusing on better food choices, I’ve been packing a bountiful amount of fruits and veggies in my daily lunches at the office. Due to my MS med, I have to hit the carbs first thing in the morning to settle my stomach. Therefore, I make my lunch vegetable based instead of building it up from bread or pasta. Almost all my veggie-based meals feature the previous night’s protein choice, aka leftovers. Makes for a lot of variety! Yesterday’s masterpiece:
salad

Mixed baby greens (thank you husband for buying a super large container of these at an amazing discounted price!)
Fresh Mushrooms
Leftover BBQ Chicken
A handful of French fried onions (the ones without whey)
Balsamic Viniagrette (I only use vinaigrettes, no dairy! But if you go this route, be sure to make your own or read the labels.)
I wash and re-use this Subway salad container daily. It’s the perfect size for my lunch bag.

That sums up my Thursday morning heart check. What does your heart check look like today?

Much love — Jen

Family · Parenting · Perspective

Monday Momday

Hello Monday! I’m actually quite happy to see you.

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We are going thru a rough patch at my house. I can’t tell if it’s just my introverted personality rebelling against the zero amount of personal space or time I have?

Or if the bickering between my kids is at an all time high?

Or if it was a combination of trying to celebrate an 8yr old’s birthday mixed with a blizzard in April plus it being the annual dance rehearsal and recital weekend?

Either way, I’m feeling a bit crazy and I need the kids to get on the school bus so I can take a shower alone.

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Carry on world. Carry on….