Sunday, September 27, 2015

Even on Monday

Hey Peeps—

Awwww, the sweet sounds of fall in our house:  the constant hum of the humidifier, the muffled sounds of a child speaking through a nebulizer mask, the symphony of coughing from a variety of children, usually peaking around 3 am.  Fall is upon us, and as the leaves drop, so does my health savings account. 

Actually, I love this time of year.  You can still be in shorts and flip flops, but the second the sun goes down, it's yoga pants and fluffy hoodies.  You can still go on a hike in the warm mountain to see the pretty colors of Fall, and instead of coming home and collapsing from dehydration and heat stroke, you might have enough energy to make s'mores in the fire pit. 

I always laugh when people ask us, "Are you getting into a groove now that the kids have been in school for over a month?" I know we aren't alone when I explain what our daily schedule looks like.  It's less of being in a groove, and more about mindful endurance. 

Here's a normal weekday in the Repenning household:
Billy wakes up at 4:30.  I wake up after him…and not nearly as perky.   The kids wake up.  Billy makes them lunch.  I take care of Little Sass.  (This can go a number of ways, depending on her Sass-o-meter. The amount of coffee I drink is also determined by her Sass-o-meter. ) Jack showers.  Faith does her hair.  Will feeds the pets.  Faith re-does her hair.  Will does parkour moves all over the basement.  Jack eats a yogurt while telling Billy all about his favorite video game.  I do Little Sass's hair.  We meet up to have our family time.  We leave for school/work/daycare.  On the way to our various places, I call or text Billy to remind him of his post-work schedule.  Rarely do we forget a child or leave them unattended for very long. 

I am so grateful I don't work 5 days a week.   At one of my jobs (yes, I have 2) my co-workers like to ask me what I did on my "day off".  I always tell them "I sat by the pool drinking mimosas".  But what I really mean is I did 3 loads of really smelly laundry, cut the dogs hair (even by his butt), went to Costco, went to Sprouts, cleaned my bathroom, and dyed my roots.  All this with a 3 year old running around me at lightening speed, talking a mile a minute about everything and nothing, and me trying to engage with her while accomplishing all my tasks.  Right about the time I catch up on all I needed to do for the day, it's bedtime and I work the next day, so it all builds up again for my next day off.   I swear, I'm not complaining.  I love my life.  I just don't always do it very well. 

 The season of crazy.  Our kids are involved in sports to some degree, but for the most part, we are only busy because there's so many of them, and we are working parents who desire to be very present in their lives.  There is no easy way to balance this, and there are many nights I go to bed feeling like I am letting someone down.  I didn't get to a volleyball game.  I didn't help Will find a book to read for "Star Student".  I didn't help Jack study for a test.  And Little Sass went to bed without a Bible story and cuddle time because I got home after she went to bed.  This season is hard, fast, and leaves me exhausted. 

But this season is sweet, tender, and fills me with joy too.  When someone tells me that it flies by and to make the most of it, I know what they mean as I look at my oldest son, and remember his tiny newborn face.  So I hold my three year old a little tighter as we snuggle knowing it too, is passing by at lightning speed right before my aging eyes. 

All the while my children are teaching me life's sweetest and hardest lessons.  When I am truly honest with myself and am listening to God, I see so many more places where the fences need mending.   I am constantly given the opportunity to learn how to be quick to listen and slow to speak.  I am learning that saying sorry to my children goes farther than a harsh lesson.  We are learning as a family that sometimes you have to just let time heal hurts rather than forcing a spoken word.  In our home we are learning Ephesians 4:32 "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you".  Even on the mornings when the Sass is high and the coffee is cold.  God's goodness never fails me.  And even in this crazy busy season of my life, His mercy is new every morning. Even on Monday.   

Monday, September 7, 2015

From Red Rocks to Cheyenne...we rock Labor Day!

Do you know that there are actual people in the world who think Star Wars is a real thing?  (I live with 3 of them.)  Sometimes I feel sad for them.  And sometimes I envy them. 

I just got done glancing at some Labor Day photos on Facebook.  Apparently we aren't the only ones who needed a fun weekend.  After all the crazy that August brings (ie. first day of school pictures, physicals, shoe shopping, making lunches again) it's nice of the holiday people to give us a day in September to kind of just recover from it all.  To top it all off, I had coconut cake for breakfast.   Not to brag, but it was amazing. 

Generally Billy and I don't get out much—what with 4 kids who need us basically every second of every day.  So this past July, we decided to buy tickets to see Brian Regan at Red Rocks as a way to celebrate surviving summer and 19 years of marriage.  You can't just go and do that alone, so we included some of our very best friends to join us for the fun!  It was an anniversary gift to both of us, and after the year we've had, new jobs and adjusting to a toddler in our home again, let's just say we needed a night out on the town.  Our friends did too—both work very hard, and after blending a family of four kids this past year, they also deserved a fun night out.  Neither couple is complaining, mind you--we all know how blessed we are.  But sometimes you have to celebrate the good life you have, AWAY from the children, am I right?  And that's just what we did!

After a nice dinner, we headed up to Red Rocks in time to see the stadium fill up and the night sky go dark.  Red Rocks is such an amazing place to see a show—if you haven't ever been there, you need to go.  The crowd was diverse—kids and adults, all ready for a night of laughs.  As we sat and waited for the show to start, we saw two different couples we had gone to church with!    Hugs and conversation were sweet, and catching up on real life with them was an added bonus we never expected. 

The first comedian of the night was a guy named Joe Zimmerman.  We had never heard of him but after listening to him a few minutes we were cracking up.  He was so funny, and connected to the crowd almost instantly.  After he got us all warmed up, he introduced the headliner—Brian Reagan. 

The next hour was spent in fantastic laughter!  Brian is a very physical guy.  He uses his gait, facial expressions, long arms, and tone of voice in every story and joke he is telling.  He speaks about the every day stuff of life we all find funny and somehow he makes it hysterical.  At one point, while he was describing a long 2 inch hair growing out of his forehead I thought I might have a heart attack.  I was laughing so hard I couldn't breath.  I mean, who hasn’t, (over the age of 40) found a hair somewhere and wondered how it got there? And how come no one ever feels the need to tell you about it?  If you see my chin hair out of control, please, you have my permission to ask me to cut it off. 

 The weekend was half over by the time we went to bed, but there was still a ton of Labor Day-ing to be had! After a great time with our church family on Sunday morning, we gathered our tribe up once again, and, BOOM! ROAD TRIP!  We headed north to Cheyenne, WY to celebrate the recent marriage of my nephew with family and friends who were unable to attend the wedding last month in Michigan.

The crowd was huge, and the food amazing.  We sat and visited in the Cheyenne sun, and if you dare to believe me, the wind didn't blow one single thing down.  People from all over came to say congratulations to Taylor and Jacquee—it was the kind of party you imagine goes on like every day in heaven.  Friends who had invested in their lives from long ago, to people they have met just this year.  It was a joyful event over the union of two kids who have dedicated their lives and marriage to whatever God wants to bring their way.  I am blessed to be on the sidelines watching them begin.  How fresh and sweet to see something new and precious as they maneuver through all the changes that life will bring their way.

This is the kind of weekend that comes along once in a long while and when it does, you can't help but stop and savor the joy.   I am so humbled to be part of a circle of people who love deeply.  I have a husband who continues to grow with me, in spite of all my failures. I was born into a family that continues with a legacy of pursuing Jesus.  I have friends who challenge me to be real, love to laugh, and make me do lunges even when I dread how I will feel in the morning.  We are part of a church that is full of people who desire to see God's Kingdom grow, and who are learning what it means to be God's Hands and Feet. We all know where we have been and who we are at the core of our beings, and that makes God's mercy all the sweeter.  The weekend is almost over, but my thankful heart is full for the house of love that covers us well.  God is good.  All the time.