Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer isn't just about getting the "meat sweats"

Hey Peeps—

The other day I was at the pool with all four of my children and I looked around wondering to myself, "Why isn't there a crown on my head? Or at least a tiara?"  Seriously, four kids in a huge body of water…nobody got kicked out, nobody pooped in the water, and everyone went home exhausted.  It was a complete success.  (With the exception of me accidentally spraying sunscreen directly in Faith's eyes.  I'm not using that stupid aerosol stuff ever again.  Ever.)

Summer sure isn't boring.  Yesterday all the kids and I piled into our car to do a little shopping.  Jack informed me that he didn't have any "hipster" clothes as he's moving into high school this fall.  Will also needed a new deck of cards for his new hobby (card shark), Faith asked for new flip flops, and last but not least, our toddler needed sippy cups, as we have decided to leave all her other brand new ones everywhere we go, rather than bring them home to re-use.  So, list in hand, we were off.  I also packed snacks, water, diapers, epi pens, among other items to help us survive if we became lost in the woods.  Or Supertarget. In the end we had 5 new hipster shirts, 3 decks of cards, 1 pair of flip flops, four bras (surprise purchase) and gum.  Can you say PRODUCTIVE?  I can, and I will.  In fact I just did.

Summer wouldn't be complete without our evening family bike rides.  I recently found a brand new bike trailer at a garage sale, and with that, the 6 of us can head out on the open road.  Fortunately for you, we actually only stick to the Dry Creek Trail that runs near our house.  Our loop is about 3.3 miles long, and we usually only have one catastrophe on the ride.  Last week Faith was sassy to Billy about not watching where she was going.  Seconds later, Will stopped short right in front of Billy as Billy plowed into Will.  As he fell onto our son, Billy thought to himself, " I am going to crush my son to death".  I was a ways back watching it all play out, calculating copays and family deductibles.  It was only seconds before they were both standing again, brushing themselves off unscathed.  It was at that point I laughed out loud, as watching people fall might just about be the funniest thing around.  Well, that, and watching a chimpanzee bathe a cat. 

As if our life wasn't exciting enough, this past weekend we got to spend the evening with my dad, who just turned 70.  I won't publish his name, in case he's angry I just announced his age, but if you are up for a guessing game, it rhymes with Mary Mockhart.  My dad and his wife Jane had us over for dinner along with one of our oldest and dearest friends, Roy Miller, and my brother Matt, who flew in from Ohio.  Our time visiting and telling stories was so much fun.  At one point Billy played my dad's guitar and we all sang along while he led us in "The streets of Laredo".  In my opinion, there's nothing better than a sing-a-long.   The kids didn't appreciate the song nearly as much as they appreciated the food.   My nephew Taylor, who is 21, announced at breakfast the next morning, that he got the "meat sweats" from all the food he ate.  He got up and ran 9 miles and as you might imagine, all the meat came back to bite him.  My only regret were all the deviled eggs I ate.  They always seem like such a good idea at the time.

And so the lazy days of summer pass by at warp speed.  I am trying to appreciate the quiet time spent at home, with the kids never more than a few feet away.  My mid-50 year old friends remind me that someday I'll be sad when these days are gone.  I try to remember that when I’m hot and sweaty, with a 2 year old in my lap and an 9 year old showing me "just one more card trick, please mom?"  Truly these days will be some of the very best of my life.  The ordinary days where we get up late, have no agenda for the day, and ride our bikes together in the coolness of the evening—these will be what I hold dearest in my heart. 

The kids and I heard a new song on K-Love the other day that put into words exactly how I feel about this season of life.  The song's message is a challenge to live more than an ordinary life.  We are not called to survive, but rather to THRIVE!  With" Joy unspeakable, Faith unsinkable, Love unstoppable, Anything is possible "!  Sure, life doesn't always deal us the hand we think we deserve.  We feel lost, angry, let down.  All we do is wake up and do the same thing every day.  Survive today, keep your expectations low, and you won't be disappointed.  Or maybe not.  Maybe we can look around and see the ordinary day in and day out as something more.  What if on the days when my toddler is throwing a fit, and my 14 year old is complaining that he's bored, I could see them as God's sweet gifts to me, rather than be frustrated by the circumstances.  What if I saw our hardships as momentary, and sensed the bigger purpose in my life at work? I bet I'd grumble less, and hug more.  I might even wake up happy and speak kindly before 10 am.  And maybe while I'm cleaning my house and feeding my babies, I'd whisper words of thanksgiving to God, for another chance to be fully alive.  Today I'm thankful that He reminds me what it means to thrive! 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Holding steady at 7...

Hey Peeps—

Every June, it's the same thing.  I think to myself, as I look into the yard and see the flowers blooming vibrantly, and the children running footloose and fancy free,  "I hope Will doesn’t lose a toenail this summer".  The first time it was almost traumatizing.  Now it's the same ole, "Stop your bleeding everywhere Will.  Run in and get Mama the Neosporin (my "go to" medicine) and the bandaids".   He doesn't even cry anymore.  I think his toe nubs are numb.  (Also, I don’t think you will find the word "nub" in any medical dictionary.).  

So yeah, summer is here with a vengeance.  I like it.  Except the part where I am dead exhausted by 8:00 every night and can't keep my eyes open.  I'm working a little, but mostly staying home.  Ironically, being a mom is actually about a gazillion times harder than when I go to work as a nurse.  And this summer I did something I've never done before.  No, I didn't start smoking pot.  I got a baby pool.  Not one of those tiny ones either.  It's the kind that totally kills a huge portion of your grass after one day's use.  I decided now that we have four kids, one being two years old, I can't be out and about using my friend's pool all summer long like I have in the past.  Just getting sunscreen on all the kids makes me tired.  Now we have all the time in the world to lube up in the yard not to mention easy access to snacks and drinks.  (No glass bottles though) The kids can trash up the yard and go inside to shower all in a matter of minutes, as I shout commands to them such as, "leave your towels on the deck, so you can use it tomorrow!" and "put the clothes in the dryer as you head up to your shower".  All the kids like the pool a lot, but mostly little Miss Sassy Pants.  She's yet to get in past her tummy, but she's spent about four hours standing in the water squealing with delight, as her siblings shoot water into each other's face at a very close range. 

Having 7 people living under one roof is not as much exciting as it is action packed.  Just this morning Billy informed me that he's going to start a "cleanse" in order to prepare for a race he is doing in September.  Whatever happened to keeping a little mystery in a relationship?  And the kids, life is full for them too.  Every night they pace the sidewalk, like caged lions impatiently waiting for Taylor, their 21 year old cousin.  When he arrives they cheer for joy, as if life can finally begin at 6:30 pm.  They proceed to play Frisbee or some other sport that involves hitting the neighbor's cars with flying objects, and after that gets old, they promenade into the house to watch episodes of some weird show that I hate, or they all go into the basement to listen to Taylor's music.  Now they all walk around the house singing stuff like "Radioactive" while I'm left to wonder if the lyrics are going to scar their little innocent hearts. 

And just because I'm the kind of mom that doesn't want to lose touch with my sweet kids,  in a couple days I'm taking Faith to California for a girl's weekend.  My sister will meet us there, with one of her girls, and we'll meet up with some of my girl cousins who live near where we are going.  We will all attend a women's conference, to hear my all time favorite Bible teacher Beth Moore.  There will be awesome music and lots of laughs, and more than just a few memories made.  Most of all, Faith and I will have had a weekend together to always remember.  We've picked all our favorite outfits, and tomorrow we will paint our toenails nice and fancy.  By the time we fly out, I'll have a list a mile long for Billy to get done, as well as strict rules.  Rule Number 1. Don't sit on the couch in your underwear.  And if you chose to break this rule, please don't proudly text me a picture of the three of you in your skivvies.  On my couch. 

The only thing I hate about going away on a girl's get-a-way, is leaving the rest of my family behind, including our other girl, who is only 2, and not ready to fly without her daddy to help me.  It's only a few days, and no, I don't plan on doing any of the "ugly cry" when I tell Billy goodbye.  However, I will be thrilled to be back home, all of us under the same small roof once again. 

Life's a mystery, and no one can know what tomorrow will bring.  There's risk in everything.  But I refuse to live as one who is too afraid to experience abundant life.  Today on a walk I saw God's handiwork all around me.  Tomorrow I will see it from 30,000 feet.  Faith will strain to see the world below, wondering how it can all look so small.  I will look at her, and wonder how time can go by so fast.  I will cherish the present, and choose to not worry about the future.  I will smile and laugh, and enjoy the moment.  And when I close my eyes, I will pray a prayer of thanksgiving for the rest of my family, knowing they are covered by God's ever present hand too, even a thousand miles apart.  God is good.  All the time.