Saturday, March 8, 2014

What I Learned in January and February

Winter 2014 will go down as the coldest and hardest we have had in a long time. Now, I understand hard is relative- what is hard for one isn't necessarily hard for another, so I'm not trying to say my life was the hardest in comparison to everyone else.....just hard for us. But in all of this hard, I did learn or discover a few things.

1.  Sedating an injured dog can be kinda great.  Especially when said dog is 100 lbs.  The sedated whine of being out of it is pretty funny.

2.  We gave the dog his meds in a spoonful of peanut butter. Those olfactory glands worked overtime as he anxiously awaited to begin licking. Those glands also produce lots of dog slobber which drooled itself into puddles onto the floor. Even funnier than the whine.

3.  But really would have been the funniest is if I hadn't caught myself, while taking my antibiotic, that I actually had the dogs sedative in my hand instead.   Can you imagine explaining that?  " what's wrong with your mom?"  "Oh, she just took the dogs sedative.  She will come around in a while."

4.  It is possible to get so far behind on life to have to run to the store for toothpaste.

5.  Technology and innovation are cool- my son has a removable, moldable hard cast that has a button and wires to tighten it. This very fortunate for him, since he decided to go and break his arm during championship swim season.  And he has had some of his best swims....with a broken arm.  Go figure.

6.  "Wicked" is just awesome!!  It was the Christmas gift that kept on giving.  Such a fun night with my girls!!

7. Slightly obessesed would be what the boys in this house would say.  And then we run into a display at a mall when we were out of town.  How cool!  But, how grown-up my girls are.  Sigh.  And the big girl got her braces off.  Sigh.

8.  The girls and I were also obssessed with Frozen. And the songs.  I also try to make everything into "Let it Go" so I have an excuse to sing it.   It is a lot of fun.  My children think I'm nuts.   Don't like that you have a test?  Get over it and "let it go, let it go, don't put it off any more".  "Let it snow, let it snow,". See, isn't it fun?   I think I need to get out more often.

9.  Being a spectator at a swim meet, or swim practice, or any other covered, humid or chlorinated area is not nice to my hair.

10.  Homeschooling, hammocks, and nice weather make for great days.

11.  Nice weather also brings out the snakes.  First one we have ever seen in our almost ten years of living here.  Bear showed him to us.  I feel more protected now that he is looking out for the critters outside.

12.   Meeting Taylor Swift's best friend was a major highlight of our championship swim meet weekend.  Our sweet girl was totally prepared for the moment, sporting her Taylor Swift concert t-shirt.  

13.  No swim practice (which equates to extra energy) + snow = extra hyper and bored kids.  Boredom at its finest.  Certainly a proud mom moment.

14.  I have decided no household is complete without a Chia Willie.

15. This year, the Girl Scout cookies won.  I have been so good the last few years, but this year, I just couldn't do it.  My feelings were hurt, though, when I pulled out my tube of thin mints.  It was dwarf size.  But then, I could justify eating the whole thing.  Don't worry- I shared.

16.  Library fines for overdue books should just be a budget line item.

17.  I am sure there are many other things that I learned.  But, I have promptly forgotten them. 

18.  My family enjoys calling me Dory.

19.  Speaking of Dory, I enjoyed the Oscars this year.  Totally entertaining.  Loved the pizza delivery guy.  I may have been so terribly entertained because we had just driven home, in horrible weather, from a long swim weekend. And I may or may not have eaten my entire piece of cheese cake from the cheesecake factory on the way home.  I may or may not have been in a comatose state.

20.  That is all for now.  Happy Spring!!!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Recovery Mode

It's not my computer or any of of our other technological devices that is in recovery mode.  It's me.

I know I'm supposed to be doing a post "Who Am I?" but that is going to have to wait.  It is half started and I will get there eventually, but I am in recovery mode.

From what you ask?

Well, currently it is bronchitis.  I am entering week 3 of being sick.  And I mean, mostly in the bed sorta sick. Fortunately, it could be much worse.  Alot worse.  As in the flu. As in the death stomach bug I have had. Twice.  But it is enough sick that it has put this momma down.

And unfortunately, I was in recovery mode when I got sick.

From what you ask?

Oh, you know...the fall season, Christmas, life.

See, around here from August until mid-January it is just plain nuts.  Seriously.  Happens every year.  You would think by now I would see it coming.  And I do, it's just I can't plan enough for it.

Here is what happens....August rolls around:  I am frantically lesson planning, looking forward to a "normal" schedule, not a summer schedule, seeing peace in the school routine.  And that is good.  Change is good.  But then, my husband's busy job season begins.  Phone rings off the wall, working dawn till dusk planting, getting land ready to hunt, eager hunters seeking advice.  So we are both pretty busy, but manageable.

Mid-august comes around and I begin looking at the calendar and dang it, wouldn't you know, the kids birthdays are coming around. Again.  Ha.  My man-child's birthday comes "first" in our birthday season. Then baby of the family is next, 40 days later.  The almost grown girl has hers a mere 3 weeks later.  It just about kills me folks.  So, mid-august I start getting into birthday gear.

This happens every year, but then this year....throw in a 10th birthday and a 16th birthday.  Yeah.  Ok, totally into panic birthday gear.

Take those events and add in....swim meets, the typical homeschool mom October panic- "I can't do this anymore!", hubby working dawn till dusk, hubby and son on a few out of town trips,  Christmas shopping, Thanksgiving, Christmas parties, wrapping, Christmas decor, panic again over spending, etc, etc.  You get the idea.

So by Christmas time I am looking forward to Epiphany.  You know the actually 12 days of Christmas thing, that begins Christmas day.  Those are my relaxing days.  The hub-bub is over, not many places to be, hot chocolate, games in front of the fireplace, etc.

Which I did get to enjoy this year.  I post-Christmas sale shopped.  I painted.  I baked.  I cooked.  I read. Went on dates.  Took each of the kids somewhere.  Went to a bowl game.  I enjoyed it, knowing that the first weekend in January was a weekend swim meet, we were taking that Monday off and between that and an early ending meet on Sunday I had plenty of time to get everything together to start school and make a grocery store run.  A day and a half people.

Sunday...I got sick.  During the meet.  The whole swaying sort of thing, where you come home, get straight in your pj's not caring where your other clothes landed.  At noon.

So, that is the start of our semester.  Of my January of not too busy.  Of finally getting caught up from the fall.  Ha.  Ha ha.

Here it is, the end of January is in sight.  And I am still in recovery mode.  From August.

The upside to a busy fall work season for hubby is that January is that it is slower for him.  So he has been around.  Doing the driving, the grocery store runs, the picking up playdates, etc.  While I stayed at home and made him to-do lists.

I am in recovery mode.  From being sick.  Which put me behind from the holiday recovery.  Which started from behind cause of birthdays.  Which is just crazy cause it's fall. But, this too shall pass onto another crazy schedule.  Which actually comes in about a week and a half.  So I better get to catching up.  And lowering my expectations.  And realizing it could be worse.  Way worse.

So, I will start this Monday thankful.  Thankful that I have eggs, bisquick, venison, and old milk.  I can do anything with those.  That I am in recovery mode.  Not still very sick mode.  Well-mode would be nice, but hey, you can't have everything.

Thankful for sweet friends for my kids to play with.  Especially the kind that fit in so well you forget that they aren't even yours.

Thankful for great swim meets for big kids out of town and for great times and for hard work paying off.  For chances for championship meets.

Thankful for a husband who loves me unconditionally, snot, phlegm, coughs and all.

Thankful for a God who floods me with grace.  Each and every day.

And for dogs who are cuddly.  Annoying, but cuddly.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Who I am not....

(Note:  This was started a few days ago before my head cold turned into a chest cold and my brain checked out.  I believe it is beginning to revive, but I didn't want to go and change everything date-wise that I had already written.  So keep in mind that I didn't actually start this post this morning, just finished it.)

I was up early this morning, keeping up with my teenager driving herself to practice (thankfully still able to stay in bed), trying to wake up with what I am sure will be my first, not only, cup of coffee today.   I was catching up on a few blogs I follow and came upon one of Emily Freeman's posts about living small
(She seems to be a theme this week for me.  See yesterday's post).

Anyway, it got me thinking about living small.  Versus living big. How do we exactly do that?  My mind went to things I thought would be living big for me- I came to the conclusion that living big for me would be trying to do things and be someone that wasn't me.   I am not referring to things that The Lord leads us to do out of our comfort zone.  But trying to do those things that just aren't who He made me to be.

Then I started thinking- who am I?  What am I like?  What are my strengths, etc?  And, I should this stage in life.  After all, we do shift and change, become wiser, etc.

Sometimes it's easier to start with who I am not, so I am going to start there.  Don't worry- this isn't a deep philosophical thing, just a thought thing.  Then for fun, I'll go next time with who I am, then who I want to be.  
So, who (or what) I am not....

1.  I am not Type A.  At all.  And as is typical, God has a great sense of humor.  I was raised by one, married to one, gave birth to a couple with those traits, am good friends with a few.   Yeah, it can be pretty bad and funny all at the same time.  So many of the other things I am not fall under this category that I am going to add a couple of subpoints to this one-

  • I am not detail oriented.  Generalities are perfectly okay with me.  Ketchup goes in the fridge- does it really matter what shelf it goes on?    Dishes go in the dishwasher, but is it a requirement that they have to go in a certain place in a certain way?  
  • I am not organized.  Well, I am in my own way.  I can generally tell you where something is, but I cannot necessarily describe in detail where it is (see subpoint above).  Add to this my dear friend who organizes peoples house for pay.  And my other dear friend who actually enjoys organizing her file cabinets each January, and color codes her clothes in her closet. 
2.  I am not a fruit person.  I am not fond of fruit.  I will occasionally have a strawberry, a grape or two, a slice or two of apple, but for the most part, I bypass the fruit for the veggies.  Now, don't even get me started on fruity desserts.  Really, why ruin a good thing such a dessert with fruit?  My grandfather would always buy those chocolate oranges at Christmas.  Blech.

3. I cannot iron.  I really don't even try anymore.  The other day I actually had to iron.  I had the tv on just to pass the time (cause really folks it takes me a long time to iron).  Afterwards I plopped on my bed exhausted to finish watching whatever it is I was watching and David came in and asked what I was doing.  I told him that I had ironed.  He laughed, but said nothing because he totally understands.  You see, it all started long long ago. My mother, rightly so as her role of training me to be a homemaker, had me iron.  Alot.  To get good practice.  For any of you who do iron, you realize that it is a detailed process, what with pleats, cuffs, button holes, seams, etc.  And we all know how I am about details.  But, I really did work at it. I promise.  But to no avail.  Fast forward to our early years of marriage.  My preface in this is that I married a detailed man whose grandmother used a can of starch a day.  Seriously.  Blue jeans, undershirts, you name it - it was ironed.  One day, My Man needed a shirt ironed.  I decided to bless him in that task and iron it for him so he wouldn't have to do it.  I worked, I starched, I pressed.  For about 30-40 minutes.  Yes, seriously.  It takes me a long time.  I iron wrinkles into wrinkles.  So, I worked and proudly hung the freshly pressed shirt on the laundry room door.  He came home, walked down the hall, saw the shirt and commented (probably unaware of my slaving away on it) that he would need to touch it up before he wore it.  Enough said.  I quit that day.  And really folks, a fluff in the dryer can do just as well.

4.  I do not like to be tickled.  When I was young, I vividly remember having tickle sessions with my dad.  This is how it would go.  "Daddy, will you tickle me?"  "No, because you always cry".  "I promise I won't this time, Daddy."  "Ok".  Tickle, Tickle, Tickle.  Sobbing..."Daddy, stop, stop tickling".  My entire family knows that they take their life in their own hands if they try to tickle me.  I have been freed from the responsibility of my actions when I am tickled because a vicious monster comes out of and I will defend myself at all cost.  I will not say whether I have actually wounded any of my family members in such episodes, but will say they rarely try it anymore.

5. I am not a planner by nature.  I really enjoy things most when they are spur of the moment, spontaneous moments of joy, fun, etc.  Unfortunately it is hard to run a household, homeschool, etc without planning.  I do my best and realize that some level of planning is necessary for some things, but still relish in the spontaneity when it happens.  Maybe it is because when things are planned, there is some level where the planning doesn't work out, then I am disappointed when something doesn't happen?  Some sense of failure when things don't go like I planned?  Hmmm, something to think about for sure. 

6.  I do not like shopping.   I really don't.  For someone who is not detail-oriented the details totally overwhelm me.  Does it fit?  Is it the right color?  Can I find this cheaper somewhere else?  Will it be on sale soon?  Do I really need it?  Does it break the budget?  What are the ingredients?  Is that healthy?  But is it convenient?  Do I have this already?  etc.   Whenever my other faults are glaring throughout the day, I am quick to remind My Man that he should be thankful that the details overwhelm me as it saves him a whole lot of money.  Deep down he knows it is true.  

7.  I can't work buttons, as in buttons for electronic gadgets and things.  This is a recent discovery, one that now that I am aware, I feel free.  A situation occurred recently that made me more aware of this in my life and had me deeply thinking about this deficiency in my life, and I discovered it was just buttons all together.  You see, I cannot work a stopwatch.  This can be somewhat of a problem when your kids are swimmers.  For years I tried to convince people that I couldn't do it.  My kids had one and would want me to time them running across the yard, living room, holding their breath, whatever.  And I really struggled.  When I would mention this to people who asked me to time, they would be so encouraging and tell me that I would get it.  It's easy.  So finally, I caved and began timing.  And now, I am officially banned from timing at swim meets.  The day after my last timing adventure was daylight savings time.  After I spent about 15 minutes trying to change the time on my watch then finally giving it to my son to fix for me,  I realized maybe it is just buttons.  When I turn on the windshield wipers, I couldn't begin to tell you off hand which direction to switch it.  I just keep switching until it turns off.  My watch... I just push buttons until it does what I want.  The timer on my iphone....can't work that either.  I tried from the bleachers at the last meet.  Completely turning off my phone, as in restarting it....yep, David is always having to remind me how to do it.  He does it with a loving and understanding smirk smile on his face.   (Mentally I keep referring back to my first point...really people, it defines who I am not...details, details.)

And in one last effort to show you who I am not, I will grace you with this picture.  This is definitely who I am not.  Ha.  But, it sure is fun.....

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Grace and a Cold

I am reading a book that was indirectly recommended to me by my teenage daughter.  A while back she and her posse of friends passed around a book (longed for it, craved it) called Graceful, by Emily P Freeman.  It was geared for teenage girls, but was written after her book for women called Grace for the Good Girl.  In a nutshell it is about giving up trying to be "good" and be who God made you to be.

Google's first definition of grace that pops up is this (1) simple elegance or refinement of movement (synonyms being elegance and poise).  (2) (in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

Don't we all need grace?  I desire an elegance about me as I go about my day, not a flubbing up of conversations which need me to seek forgiveness afterwards, a confidence in my decision making and not a perpetual worry of some sort that my brain dreams up.  I need to be looked upon as only God can look upon me - with free and unmerited favor.  That there is nothing I can or cannot do that is going to change how God sees me or feels about me.

And so that brings me to today (or rather the last several days).  The end of last week was spent getting the house back in order after the holiday chaos bliss and fun, which included fun baking, making, wrapping, traveling, football, freezing, swimming and friends.  The house all in order to start school this week.

It doesn't take much for all of that order to go down the drain.  A simple upper respiratory funk.  That's all.  Not the flu, or anything.  But enough that the house is back in dissarray - school books out for my unfinished planning, dirty dishes continuing to get stack and rotated in and out of the dishwasher, dirty laundry sorted on the couch, clean laundry ice cold from spending a few days in the dryer (thankfully dry), blankets strewn across the living room floor because of the polar vortex we are experiencing, going back on my pledge this week that screen time (ie movies/tv/computer/ipad/ipod/etc) will be dialed back to almost nill,  and mom (that would be me) laying around not caring one whit about any of it.  Ha.

That's what a simple cold will do for you.  But the fact that I can lay almost completely guilt free about any of it is what Grace can do for you.

My family is extending the extra hands and a heaping dose of free and unmerited favor Grace to me.

Then I try to remember and feel and experience the Grace God extends to me and my life.  All I have to do is crawl up in His lap and sit.  He's got this thing covered for me. After all, He made me.  Exactly as I am. And for that, I am thankful.

(And exactly what I need to remember to extend to one of my offspring as I go unstop the toilet, which said child seems to clog up most frequently. And yes, this just happened as I was typing this post.  God has a grand sense of humor.)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Let's Start at the Very Beginning

If you read title of this post, I am sure you will be singing "do-re-mi" all day.  Sorry about that.  I think. There is nothing wrong with a little Julie Andrews/Maria to fill your winter days.

After a year hiatus (how does that happen- oh, yeah, life), I am going to attempt this again.  Many times throughout the last year I would think about blogging, write posts in my head while I was doing something else, even do an initial draft.  But I never would post. Sigh.

So, here I am again.  Wrapping up an entire year, beginning a new one.  Maybe my thoughts will actually make it to a published post this year?

Before I start at the beginning, here are some words to describe our 2013- busy, swimming, chlorine, high school, drivers license, beach, painting rooms, hunting, contentedness, tired, knoxville, nashville, Taylor Swift, chlorine, swimming, food, growing children.

Here is what 2014 looks like from the beginning- an extra driver, car insurance, Wicked, 20th wedding anniversary, another learning driver, state championship swim meet, another one in high school, looking up to talk to my children, figuring out what God wants from us on a daily basis.

Speaking of 20th wedding anniversary, I thought I would actually start at the beginning.  I mean, none of what I am doing now would be happening if it weren't for that.  So here it is in a nutshell.

In the fall of 1992 (a really long time ago), I met a boy.  A cute boy who, through various circumstances, began hanging out at our apartment.  And we started hanging out alot with mutual friends.  On Oct 1 of that year (which was a Thursday) David and I went to the Miss State/Florida game.  It was the ESPN game of the week...that's how I know it was a Thursday.  Anyway, the most significant thing you should know is that this was the opening day of hunting season in Mississippi.  To this point in his life, this sweet boy had never missed an opening day afternoon of hunting, so you have to know that this was a big deal.  We went to the game and kept hanging out.  Nothing more came of it except a deep friendship until February, a few months later.  It was Valentines day when we realized that this was developing into more than a friendship.  We got engaged the following year, and married in August of 1994.

So now we are bearing down on August of 2014- three kids, a house, a few vehicles, one dumb but lovable dog, lots of hunting gear, lots of Mississippi State stuff, a plethora of swim caps and goggles.

I wonder what 2014 will hold for this great ride we are on.

Happy New Year!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The times they are a changin'.......

I'm not exactly sure where my little children have gone.  They are no longer here.  Instead, I have some very grown up, getting bigger every day children.

Here is my oldest, who is practicing getting her driver's license, attending high school dances (yes, homeschooled kids do these things too), attending late night parties, qualifying for state swim championships, looking all grown up.

She is also alot of the reason I spend most of my day in the car, cannot keep enough food in the house, why there are usually alot of baked goods in the house,  have learned to love One Direction (you have to admit, they are better than Bieber), why I sit on metal bleachers for hours on end.  Totally worth it.

Below, in the maroon shirt you will see the worlds up and coming best photo bomber.  He has lots of practice with having two sisters.  He is the middle (which is obvious), all boy (again, very obvious), and about to be taller than his sister.  He is another reason why I spend alot of time in the car, why I have learned how to work an xbox, why I think nothing of blood and guts, why most of the time it is necessary to order an entire pizza just for him.

He is also a teeanger and again, all boy.  Which is why I didn't make him get his school picture done.  He isn't much into pictures of himself these days (unless he is photo bombing - when did this become a word anyway??).  His rooms smells of chlorine, which I believe I will take, considering the alternative.  He cannot get enough of independence, thrill rides, challenges, and bugging his sisters.

Here is the baby.  Wait, that doesn't look like a baby.  How did this happen???  She looks way too grown up, but then again, she is forced to grow up a little faster being the youngest and all.  She is the reason I still get to cuddle on the couch and read aloud, get to pick out cutsie clothes, why I keep straws in the house (because it is more fun to drink with a straw).

She is also the reason we still have Barbies, lots of books, watch alot of animated movies.  She has learned to hang out with the big kids at youth events and swim meets.  She knows more swim jargon than I do.  She still needs and wants her momma and daddy, but we are now very capable of embarassing her.  She has learned to become independent quickly and I have learned to let her (sending her off to ride roller coasters by herself!!), but has the best teachers (a brother and sister who will take her off with them on adventures without us).

Yes, these are different days.  But I like them.  I really do like teenagers, the independence that comes with it, the stuff they get to do, the fun they can be.  

 Even though it means lots of driving and lots of food.
 Lots and lots of food.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Twas two weeks before Christmas.....

Twas two weeks before Christmas and all thru the house,
was a mess so atrocious, for even a mouse.
The stockings had been hung by the chimney with care
But the tree topper laid on the floor, not so bare.
Two children nestled studying for exams on their beds,
While visions of Disney still danced in their heads.
The third child she snuggled on the couch with a temp
and watched movie after movie, laying so limp.

This Mother run ragged, not sleeping at night,
wondered if the holidays would become merry and bright.
She looked down the week and at her house with dismay,
Wondering if ever there might be a calm day.
What with unpacking, then finals, parties and swimming galore,
and then the young tikes kept asking for more.
But, "Not so," said the Mother and Father with love so strong
this hustle and bustle has gone on too long.
It is time to settle down, give us a break,
By golly, the cupboards are bare, for goodness sake.

So one week before Christmas we awoke, and made a clatter,
And no one seemed to ask “what was the matter”
They finished exams, picked up their space,
Then helped with the rest of the chores with such grace.
And what to my wondering eyes should I see,
but clean counters, and floors, and even a present wrapped under the tree.
I whistled and shouted and called them by name,
Let the party begin, it won’t be the same.
Forward on shopping, and wrapping and baking galore,
Time with family and friends, couldn’t ask for more.
Right then, in a moment, I knew what had begun,
the celebration and joy of the Birth of God’s Son.