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When Did We Give Up Our Ability to Think Critically?

Preschool

I can still hear his voice in my head. Science says our cells and muscles carry memories, maybe that’s what it is? Either way, my dad and I had a good relationship and even became friends near the end of his life.

But I can still hear him saying,

“Because I said so, that’s why.”

“Because I’m the dad, that’s why.”

“End of discussion.”

“Period.” [Read more…]

“I Love Her More…”

free photo courtesy: pixabay user/emrahozaras

free photo courtesy: pixabay user/emrahozaras

 

I can’t sleep.

I’m not sure if it’s the hormone expressions of a 46 year old woman, the fact that I had to use the bathroom, a text from a friend in the middle of the night asking for prayer, or the fact that my 7 year old son has been sleeping with me for the last week and periodically throughout the night I get a heel in my side or an elbow to the face. We call him a sleeping octopus.

Either way, I just had one of those “Love You Forever,” moments and so now I have been awake since 3:54am.

Parenting isn’t easy.

[Read more…]

Sex Ed: 101

ME: “Sweetheart, do you have five minutes?”

Him: “I always have five minutes for you.”

My husband and I both work from home. During the week, he and I tag team the morning routine of kids, food, and hygiene moderation. Then, he usually drives them to school, a 30 minute round trip event, while I get in a quick workout. (Bonus: If I’m the one driving the kids to school, I love the 5 minutes on our local classical channel where the soothing voice of Garrison Keillor tells us word-nerdy things on The Writer’s Almanac.)

Anyway, either way, after we’re both back home before 8 o’clock even rolls around, Jason makes himself a little breakfast while I finish my squats and then we have a 5-minute stand up meeting to start the day. [Read more…]

“How Do You Like Nashville?”

People ask me how I like Nashville. Here’s the scoop: I’m not sold yet.

I haven’t been here enough to know. We moved here last August to a 2-bedroom Airb*nb we planned to stay in until the first of November of 2016. During that 3 month time the plan was to get the kids settled into a school rhythm and then I’d work with our realtor to find a house to live in more permanently. Our things have been in storage at my dad’s house for 2.5 years now since I ran away from home after my mom died we sold our house in Colorado. [Read more…]

Growing Up With Bobby and Bebe: A Series

Agree to Disagree

2015-01-04 13.30.53-1

When my parents moved to Colorado 6 years ago, they drove in from Phoenix and walked in my front door into the kitchen where I was standing at the sink. I heard in my heart (when God tells me something, it’s something smarter than I could have thought of…), “They are here for the rest of their lives and your job is simply to love them, not try to change them.”

I think I literally glanced up at the ceiling trying to get eye contact with God, as well as position my ear better to hear the response to my rebuttal, “Even my Dad?!”   [Read more…]

When Life Throws Us Curve Balls

1978

1978 was a good year…my Dad, watching over me as I take a swing. (How awesome is that International Scout in the background?!)

Sometimes being brave means taking a swing at it, even with our eyes closed. We may or may not hit a home run, or even hit the ball, but either way we can look back and know we tried, know we rose above our fears, know we gave it our all.

And then what happens the next time life throws a curve ball? Well, this time we pay attention a bit having learned a few things from the last time, we open our eyes, ground our feet, and realize, “Hey…it’s still a curve ball, life has thrown many of these, but we are still here, stronger than before…and look at that…our Father always has our back, is watching over us, and sees this WHOLE THING from a different perspective.”

I love this picture of me and my dad, taken by my mom when I was a kid in Ohio in 1978. It’s a visual reminder of something that can never be taken away from me: faith. The scariest and most tragic things, or incredibly unbelievable beautiful things, can be behind us, ahead of us, or coming at us from every direction, but faith is a deep down peace that has no explanation and it isn’t contingent upon circumstance…it’s a trust that defies surroundings, and a hope for what is grace and what is truth and what is good. All the dangers, threats, fears, and terrifying things in this world can never, ever remove our faith. Faith simply remains.

And when faith is coupled with love, there is no measurement to its impact.  

Every day has potential curve balls. Will we live in fear of the “what if’s?” of the unknown, or will we live by faith, like superhuman, superpower, cape-wearing, faith, in a God who sees the bigger picture?

This Thanksgiving I want to say “Thank you” to EVERYBODY! This is a really hard, beautiful life, and allowing everyone else glimpses of your stories inspires bravery. I’m blown away by the stories I encounter everyday! Your bravery makes me want to be more brave. Our stories matter, every single one of them. Not stories of perfection, but stories meant to be lived, and in order for that to happen, we must show up, each day, breathe deep, and press on. I’m so messy, I don’t do this well most days…heck, you saw the picture…I swing with my eyes closed…so I’m writing this to myself, too. Some days will be excruciating, others exhilarating, most days somewhere in between…but every day we are still here on this earth I suppose means it’s a day meant to be lived and shared with one another. Thank YOU for living out your bravery on any given day…every time you choose to live by faith, you shine more and more of God’s light into this dark world, exposing the Enemy’s lies for what they are…and that’s the biggest brave there is!

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

 

Ways to Survive the Cold this Winter

It’s not me…it’s you, actually.

No. Really. It’s you, and we just can’t be friends…at least not until next spring.

As awesome as I know you probably are, lingering to talk in the parking lot at school or work or church or the gym or wherever, lingering to talk outdoors just isn’t going to happen…at least not until next spring…and by “spring” I mean late spring, like early June, realistically. [Read more…]

Life Interrupted

When I was in high school I used to keep a daily calendar…to be specific, I had a DayTimer. It was black leather with a zipper, totally official and tabbed and color-coded. And every single day over the course of a month, I wrote down and planned what outfit I would wear for the week, as to be careful never to repeat an ensemble twice in a two-week period, if not longer.

Clearly a first-world luxury.

I also used my DayTimer to plan ahead and keep track of class requirements, upcoming tests, my swim team meets and responsibilities as captain, my basketball games, youth group gatherings, and even a little red “dot” to mark important dates.

Though I’m an artist, go-with-the-flow kind of spirit, I thrive and flourish within boundaries and structure…

When I headed to college I replaced the calendar pages with a fresh new year and wrote in pencil everything each professor had given us in our syllabi, as well as all my social events and chaplain responsibilities and meetings, even first dates and break-ups. I lived and breathed and existed via the pages of my “organizer.”

After college when I had a career for 5 years, one in the field of college student development with a job description entailing a 24/7 work week, I kept my every move, hour by hour, scribed and color-coded, in my weekly and monthly schedule. If that thing ever got misplaced, I was lost…totally and completely lost. Thankfully, that never happened.

Then we moved across the country, while I was mega-pregnant, and bought a fixer-upper and knocked out walls and tore out the kitchen and Jason started at his new job 3 days later, so I sat covered in sawdust, eating chocolate chip cookies baked in a toaster oven, friendless, and started watching Soaps…

Eventually I snapped out of it, we met friends, I ditched Bo and Hope, my belly became a beautiful, little, priceless reality named Emily, and I started on the journey known as parenting…

a journey impossible to pencil into a calendar…a day to day sacred learning experience never intended to be minutely planned and scheduled into something as sterile as boundaries and structure and a DayTimer.

Parenting has been a rollercoaster ride with its twists and turns and loops…seasons of “closed for repairs” and “remodeling” and “expansion coming soon” and the fear of what’s on the other side of this upward climb and the letting go of trying to control it all.

Weirdest thing how the day I became a mom, my life no longer fit neatly into a neat, weekly-tabbed schedule…

I wear the same jeans every other day…because: COMFORT! A “red dot” is a sticker on clearance items at a store. I have “chaplain” meetings with my kids whether they are scheduled or not, and the only color-coding going on in my life has to do with laundry, on no specific day of the week.

Now, if every hour of my day and week were totally structured and written out in a planner or calendar, I’d rebel against it and feel suffocated, anyway.

But, with the kids spreading their wings little by little, I’m seeing a need to re-visit maybe a little bit of the structure I once knew and embraced. I know now better than to believe my life could be reduced to a rigid schedule, but I think part of me is longing to reign it in a teeny…maybe the creative, artistic side of me, as ironic as that sounds, is longing for a plan of action.

 

Saturday Shenanigans

Raise your hand if you’ve enjoyed laughing along with Ryan’s shenanigans over the past 5 years.

  • Like when he used to pee behind the couch every morning…Or when his “marking” behavior moved up to his bedroom carpet, instead (mister, the hardwood was easier to clean up!)
  • Or when I’d find teeth marks in the stick of butter or hunk of cheese…
  • Or his fun with markers…
  • And stuff he has said…

Em was the first child and likely suffered from temporary bouts of having a helicopter mother, all organized, play-group, clean your hands, take your vitamins, don’t touch that icky thing, don’t watch TV, mom. Having gone through what we did with Noah, Ryan’s life has been a bit different. Like, more FREE to explore and wonder and be curious and get dirty and eat food off the floor (and eat veggies – another post…) and sometimes adhere to bedtime, like a childhood.

Thankfully with Em, the last 9 years have looked more like that last sentence you just read.

These last 5 years I wouldn’t trade for the world. The good, bad, and ugly. It’s part of parenting. Actually, it’s part of life and I’m learning to walk through it and embrace it, breathe it in and savor it, and let things roll off the back that aren’t meant to stick.

Here are a few entries from Instagram I’ve recorded over the years, all organized neatly for your viewing pleasure, as well as a few things he’s said lately. Mostly I’m posting these so you can feel awesome about your parenting, since I’m clearly just winging it:

This, just the other day: Ryan has been using the potty since he was two, but recently we are trying to really nail down the manners that go along with this accomplishment, like putting the seat down quietly, flushing the toilet, and IMMEDIATELY washing hands. I noticed the seat was up in the bathroom while he was in the family room playing, so I said, “Ry, would you like to finishing up using your potty manners?” He ran into the bathroom, lowered the lid and flushed, and ran back to the battle he had set up between carnivore and herbivore dinos. As he was running he said, “I don’t need to wash my hands because I didn’t even have to use them.” I said, “Buddy, please go back in there and wash your hands.” He said, “Mom! I used my elbows, so my hands are totally clean!” “Ryan Everett, you didn’t use your elbows…if you had, you would have peed in your face…now go wash your hands, mister…”

And this…this happened, too: We had finished eating out and Ryan asked to take the rest of his ice cream in the car with him. We all got buckled and strapped in. As I was backing out of the parking lot, someone, who will remain unnamed, tooted, as families do in the comfort of being together. Ryan said, “Thanks a lot, so and so! Now my ice cream tastes like poop!” 

#nowords #nonap #nokidding #nofilter #lifewithatoddler #shipmypants #tryingnottolaughinfrontofhim #holyschnikeys #heisstillcutewithmarkeralloverhisface #happybirthdaytome

#nowords #nonap #nokidding #nofilter #lifewithatoddler #shipmypants #tryingnottolaughinfrontofhim #holyschnikeys #heisstillcutewithmarkeralloverhisface #happybirthdaytome

He thinks the disguise will cover up for the suspicious behavior...

He thinks the disguise will cover up for the suspicious behavior…

"Mom, this is not my favorite bath...it's not my favorite temperature."#highmaintenance #justtakeabathmister#bathingisaluxury #surewishihadtimeforit

“Mom, this is not my favorite bath…it’s not my favorite temperature.”#highmaintenance #justtakeabathmister#bathingisaluxury #surewishihadtimeforit

This is what happens when mom falls asleep tucking kid in for nap time. #bettersetoutthemousetraps #raisingboys #mylittlelover #justgimmemycheese

This is what happens when mom falls asleep tucking kid in for nap time. #bettersetoutthemousetraps #raisingboys #mylittlelover #justgimmemycheese

We looked for the toaster for an hour. I honestly thought I had lost my mind. How do toasters just disappear? Well, sometimes toddlers hide toasters under Christmas trees, obviously.

We looked for the toaster for an hour. I honestly thought I had lost my mind. How do toasters just disappear? Well, sometimes toddlers hide toasters under Christmas trees, obviously. #wheredoyoukeepyourtoaster

 

There was a season when I wasn’t sure I’d be able to go to the bathroom, shower, or even blink while Ryan was little. I was thankful for things like nap time, bed time, carseats, pack-n-plays…even another human being to be present at some point during the day…because holding your bladder for 8 hours after having 3 children is near impossible. Don’t get me wrong, he’s incredible when he’s awake…that’s when I get to discover his personality…it’s just that sometimes I had to pee. Whoever invented the toddler jumpseat in public restrooms was a freaking genius.

Or, huge preschooler in a toddler jumpseat. BUT MAMA HAD TO GOOOOOOOO! The buzz on this IG feed was, "Who on earth put the sanitary receptacle next to the kid seat?"

Or, huge preschooler in a toddler jumpseat. BUT MAMA HAD TO GOOOOOOOO! The buzz on this IG feed was, “Who on earth put the sanitary receptacle next to the kid seat?” #mamahadtogo #bigkidinalittleseat #raisingryan #geniusinvention #ahhhhhhh #sometimesIjustgotothegrocerystoretogopottyinpeace

What happened when mama fell asleep tucking the kid in for his nap...that he clearly didn't take.

What happened when mama fell asleep tucking the kid in for his nap…that he clearly didn’t take. #everythingisbetterwithbutter #especiallybutter #evidence #upperandlowerbites #ormaybeitwasjason

He made this face for a long season...glad the stuff my grandpa used to say about your face "staying like that" didn't come true...

He made this face for a long season…glad the stuff my grandpa used to say about your face “staying like that” didn’t come true… #neverratonyourfriendsandalwayskeepyourmouthshut

I’m really sad, actually, because I can’t remember a ton of the stuff this kid used to say. I try so hard to live right here and now and savor these moments, but today I wanted to look back a little and laugh.

Hope your weekend is full of wonder and laughter and stuff you can tell your kids when they are older, as leverage…wink, wink.