Family · Parenting · Perspective

Finding the Bright Spot

This is one of those weeks my husband/ business partner/ other-half-for-all-things-in-life is gone. 8 whole days. Because we work together, it is actually rather lonely without him here in the office – if I had time to be lonely.

His job responsibilities don’t end, they “transfer” to my desk.

Carpool and kids don’t magically pause.

Where is my laundry fairy and dish diva???? Doesn’t she know I could use her wand to help keep up?

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Where did my breakfast buddy go? He usually gets the kids breakfast and feeds the cat while I finish getting ready – Hello cereal, lean pockets, and I’m not ashamed to admit… gummy worms for bribery for a smoother morning.

We FaceTimed with him this morning. He got to witness our daughter spill her bowl of cereal all over her brother’s arm. It was good. I think it made him smile to see life being normal here. Completely and chaotically normal.

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In addition to the bright spot that is FaceTime (#1), I also have a “ginormous” (in the words of my 4yr old) appreciation for my father-in-law. Bright spot #2: Twice this week he has prepped and brought me a sandwich for lunch. PB&J on toast on Monday and turkey with mayo/mustard today. Simple things mean so much!

Third bright spot: I am ridiculously productive around the house without anyone to hang out with in the evening. After the kids go down, I hit my to-do list hard! Better than being lonely in front of the TV.

When does he come home???? Although productive, enjoying FaceTime, and appreciating my father-in-law, I am counting down the days… He’s a keeper.

Love · Perspective

Orlando

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What a beautiful whirlwind trip! First I have to thank all my family, bio and in-law, for adding my littles to their lives for a few days. They also encouraged me to relax and enjoy this trip… which was necessary as it is the third of four weekends I was out-of-state in February. By the time I touched down at the end of our 5 days, I was thoroughly convinced life needs to change.

Day 1: On the first of two flights, I sat across from a nice young lady headed for San Antonio, TX. The winds were strong on both take-off and landing and we simultaneously gripped our armrests. A quick jog thru Houston and then some seat shifting… I ended up getting to sit with my husband and a nice older man from Southern California. We chatted about various topics until we parted upon landing in Orlando. I’ve heard that is something only Midwest people do. We strike up conversations with absolute strangers and expect them to talk with us.

Fast forward thru the chaos of Orlando baggage claim… and getting our rental car… and not being sure how to turn the headlights on or dim them in said rental car at 10pm while pulling onto a busy highway… 

We’ll brush past 10-15 minutes of waiting at the four star resort/ hotel/ timeshare in line to check-in for our room that was supposed to be a nice suite, but ended up being a small room with 1980’s decor, a wall of mirrors, and fluorescent lighting with a 2-3 minute delay after you flipped the switch with two full-sized beds… but it was clean. So I’ll give them that… 

(Although we were promised a suite on Sunday, the hotel never came thru with that offer. Oh well! We weren’t in the room for much more than showers and sleep anyway.)

Our bellhop was amazing. I believe his name was Fadi. He looked to be about 20yrs old. Very helpful. Very knowledgeable. And bless his heart, he tried to get the room situation straightened out. Didn’t happen, but he gets huge bonus points for trying. He also provided us with a pizza delivery service number that would deliver until midnight, which was good since it was 11pm before we got to our room. 

Day 2: We skipped breakfast and slept. Our first stop was for an early lunch at Gator’s Dockside. I ate alligator tail! It was delicious. Honestly. As we joke in the midwimg_0566est, it “tastes like chicken.” After a tasty lunch paired with an excellent mojito, the hubs and I decided to explore the southern part of Orlando, Kissimmee, and St. Cloud. 

It was like we were dating again. Jokes. Flirting. Free flowing laughter. Hand holding <– This is rare in our relationship.

Unplanned stops. Spontaneous and easy. But honestly, how did we travel before GPS???

Our ultimate goal for the day was a bowfishing trip on Lake Tohopekaliga. We are both novices at bowfishing but I’m usually up for anything that doesn’t involve claustrophobia. Riding on an air boat was also on my bucket list. Check it off!

It was a gorgeous evening on the lake. Our target was tilapia. Any tilapia we got were already spoken for by some locals (we didn’t want to freeze them and ship home). Any other fish like the gar or chub were quickly enjoyed by all the gators swimming around the lake. It was a fabulous evening and we were fairly successful for first time bowfishers.

Day 3: SeaWorld. I’ve been once before in San Antonio. Neither of us are much for amusement parks or themed anything, so Orlando is kind of a stretch in terms of entertainment. Fortunately, SeaWorld isn’t all just rollercoasters and rides. We took the time to see every single animal there. The guilty feeling was thick because we were doing this without the kids.

After cleaning ourselves up following miles upon miles of walking and multiple sunscreen applications at SeaWorld, he took me out for an extremely nice dinner. Cloth napkins. Cloth tablecloths. Salad forks. The works. Our children would not have eaten a single thing at that restaurant. And amazingly, I’m not sure we even talked about the kids at the table that night! It was all him and I conversations. We have so much more in common than just children. After almost 15+ years together, I love that we can still connect like that.

Day 4: The ARA Rental Show at Orlando Convention Center. Over 600 booths. That was our main goal for going to Orlando. We stopped at booths and checked out equipment for four hours. It was very educational for me.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not followed by dinner at Chuy’s topped off the day. 

Day 5: 2am CT/ 3am ET. That’s what time we got up. Oh Mylanta! Our rental car had to be returned to the airport after a 30 minute drive. Who knew the airport was a special kind of crazy that early in the morning??? Props to the Orlando International Airport and those hard-working people for United Airlines. They were hustling, assisting, and moving people in a pace that upon reflection, was incredible efficiency. We were thru the check-in process, baggage check and security in only 40-45 minutes.

Have I mentioned that going through airline security is a humbling experience? It puts EVERYBODY on the same playing field. Everybody is shoe-less. Everybody is arms up and imagescanned. I’ve been patted down and my bag dug around in. It doesn’t matter if you a glittering with diamonds and carrying a $1000 bag or wearing a worn out backpack with flip flops on. Everybody has to go thru security.

I’m good with it. Pat me down. Ask me questions. Root around in my stuff. Remember that fear I have of flying? I want everybody to land safe and sound. And honestly, after having babies, there isn’t anything you are going to see on that scanner that half a room full of people at the hospital didn’t already witness…

Reading Material for the Trip: I finished the book “Present over Perfect” on the trip. We were literally landing on our last flight as I read the last page. Present over Perfect. What a sea change! 

For most of this book, I shook my head in shame. It was like she was reading my internal thoughts. On this trip, I decided to be completely present with my husband. Perfect? Not even close to possible, but present. Absolutely. I’m so glad I did.

Now it’s time to start practicing it at home and with my friends. I’m starting by saying no to something going on tomorrow and yes to an invite that means hospitality. Not perfection.

Welcome. There will be dust on the floor and cups in the sink. Come on in.

 

Family · Perspective

Socks on the Floor Pt 2

Yet again today, my news feed is blowing up… Why? Another blogger responded, rather angrily, with a post titled:

Nope. Don’t you dare call my wife a “butthole”

Again with the passive-aggressive distractions. Again with the divisiveness of people who declare they love Jesus, then get sidetracked into defending their honor or the honor of someone they know/love in a war of words over petty stuff.

This is like the mommy wars. Do you breastfeed? Do you bottle feed? Do you pump? Do you use oils? Do you do use coconut oil instead of vegetable oils? Does your child eat only organic? Does your child eat Cheetos off the floor of the car? Did you make your treats for school from scratch and decorate them in the appropriate holiday decor? Did you forget and send a bag of powdered sugar donuts that you picked up that morning? Use daycare? Work from home? Eat frosting from the can? *GASP*  Eat raw cookie dough???

Oh. My. Word.

Is this really what we are discussing? Why yes. I am. It is not to defend either side. Everybody get your panties or boxers or briefs or whatever covers you up out of a bind and look at the bigger picture.

Do you honor your spouse with your words? Do you honor your spouse with your actions? Do you try to honor God with the way you are interacting with those around you – including family? Think long and hard about those questions. It’s the knee-jerk reactions that are causing this to build up into a dividing wall of pride.

I believe that each and every being on this earth has individual talents and strengths.  I haven’t read anything that says a woman is “less than or more than” for her choice of occupation: at home- in the workplace – or anywhere in between. Reflectively, I don’t read it that way for a man either.

You do you in a manner that honors yourself, your family, and God.

I also believe that while we all seek love and attachment, we accept it in different ways. Working to support a family in any capacity is a labor of love, be it in or out of the home. I’d rather have a husband who helps support the family than one who buys me gifts- any odd day of the week. He’d rather have a wife who wants to sit and talk with him than one who feels the need to have a spotless house- any odd day of the week.

That’s simply us. Other couples are different and that is great. They fill their bucket with love in other ways that suit their strengths and talents.

So let’s all calm down just a bit… maybe remove the word “butthole” from the conversation if it seems offensive and put this in perspective? My overall point goes back to what I said yesterday. These slight mundane things, these words other people are writing and we are reading, they don’t matter in the big picture. My life is different than your life which is different than the next person’s life.

What is important is how YOU are living these moments. 

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8, NIV)