Monday, September 30, 2013

Glow Run and Family Bonding Time

I can tell that we are getting closer to October because our weekends are starting to get busier and busier. Quite honestly, our summer weekends seem to be less hectic than our Fall ones for some reason. The busy, go-go-go weekends are equally as fun and needed as the staying at home ones, and as long as we have a little ebb and flow, I'm usually a pretty happy camper.

Friday night, we enjoyed some family time. We don't get it often with our schedules and the fact that my daughter loves to be social, but when we get the chance, we snatch it up! Back in May, our big TV in the basement was struck by lightning, and therefore, we had this giant 55 " old school box (you know the ones I'm talking about) stuck in a hole that was of no use to us. Dan has his projector in the basement, as well as a retractable screen, but he spent a lot of last week brainstorming different ways he could pull that TV out and not have a giant hole in the wall. After a lot of thinking and tinkering, and a new semi-permanent screen, he had a finished product that included a now 100"+ screen TV. Apparently it's a big deal. To celebrate this momentous occasion, we rented Iron Man 3 and watched in on the big screen like a movie theater. In all seriousness, it actually was really cool, and I'm looking forward to watching more movies on it in the future!

Saturday morning, my mom called to see if we wanted to come and "do" apples and peaches. I asked what "doing peaches and apples meant." You can tell I am no expert in the kitchen. :/ For all of you like me, it means peel them, freeze them, make pies with them, apple crisp, applesauce, etc. Since Dan was working, we decided to give the house a shakedown and head out the door. Baking and canning were always things I remembered my mom doing from my childhood. I've always wanted to have that crafty "gene", but it never quite stuck with me. I'll go in spurts with my kitchen skills. Fall and Christmastime are two times of year when it's a little more prevalent. The rest of the year is just dependent upon time and the fact that I don't like having all the baked stuff in the house when I shouldn't be eating it. I would rather cook than bake. I digress.

We spent five hours in the kitchen peeling, coring, slicing, freezing, making homemade crusts and apple crisp toppings, and we did it together. Sawyer spent the whole day with us. He absolutely loved turning the crank with Grandpa on the apple peeler. Grandpa was in and out helping us or talking with the kids. Jaedyn spent a good part of the day helping out as well. Carter on the other hand needed a bit of begging and pleading to join in. He lasted all of about 7 minutes, BUT I got a picture so I was happy. All that hard work paid off, and now we've got desserts to last us through Fall and some peaches for smoothies. :) My kids are happy!

Saturday night was our Glow Run in Alton. Our group of 5 was supposed to run it together, but unfortunately one had to work and one came down with a bug so it ended up only being three of us. Anytime you can amp up something to make it just a little more quirky always makes for a good time, so naturally at the last minute, we decided to run with some wigs and bright make-up just for kicks. The race was so much fun, even though it was decided that 1) running with wigs that are as long as your bum are not a good idea because they will fall off and 2) I was not meant to be a bleach blonde. Like ever. I'm supposed to write that down and give it to Renae, my hairstylist, in the event that I decide on a whim that I'd like to try it.

Sunday, Dan's cousins came after church for lunch and some QT. I always love it when they come because it's never often enough. We have so much fun hanging out, doing laundry, watching youtube or whatever TV series we are into at the current moment, and just chatting about life. I'm really going to miss these girls when Jenni and Jada graduate this year. I'm not sure how I feel about this yet, especially since Jenni's ditching me for Denver to student teach this Spring. Not impressed. I've also decided that I am going to be awesome (read: more awesome) this year and make goodie baskets to bring to college for the girls. I think that I'm going to have to write this down. I'm not exactly sure that I'm good at remembering these kinds of things. I'm going to count them lucky if they get at least 1-2 this year. ;) Just kidding ladies...I'm really going to try.

Like all good things, our weekend came to an end, and we are back to the grindstone this week. Looking forward to a football game this weekend, a birthday party, possibly Super Saturday at the Courtyard and maybe a NWC volleyball game. Have a happy Monday!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Enjoying...With a bucketlist to Boot

This week has kind of flown by. We've had some really beautiful weather. It's crazy that it's Thursday already, but hey...I'm not complaining. Kids Club will be starting next week which means that another night of coming and going is being added to the mix. It's a good change, but one that means less time at home again, so I'm going to soak up those little moments in my cozy little abode and find some things to enjoy.

Right now we are enjoying.....

The return of some of God's beautiful paintings. When the nights were longer, there were many nights when we were just so busy that I didn't have time to soak in the beauty. Now the nights are getting shorter, and I'm able to notice the beautiful skies on my way to zumba or when I'm going for an evening run. This morning I saw the sun coming up again in my rearview mirror, and while I know that it means that my daylight is going to be cut short soon, it means that a cozier time of year is headed this way.

A Crafty itch. I am not typically the crafty girl, but in our family's current economic state, I'm trying to get creative with my gift ideas this year. I'm also excited to whip out some projects that I can work on at home this winter, not limited to but including, a photo wall and finally doing something with all my photographs.

Thoughtful gestures. My husband just gets me. At least most of the time. He knows how much I am really getting into this blogging thing, and he thought it would be fun to make me a hardcover book of all of my blog posts for the last 15 months. It is such a priceless gift. I just LOVE re-reading the memories and thoughts I've had for the last year. I decided to make one every year. I really think my family will enjoy these keepsakes for many many years to come.

Fall baking. I've already bought about 10 cans of pumpkin. I know they won't all be used, but I'm excited to try out some of the pinterest recipes I've pinned for fall. We've already tried 2 ingredient pumpkin muffins, and they are to DIE for. Also on my list: apple crisp, fall sangria, pumpkin crescents and a few fallish pumpkin/squash soups.

Morning Snuggles. I thought that these would eventually fade out, like it was too good to last too long, but it hasn't. He still comes into my room and snuggles with me for 3-5 minutes every morning. I can't get enough. He's got my heart.

And now a Fall Bucketlist for you!!

We know that more than likely getting to all of these things won't happen, but it also prevents us from being lazy and watching too much tv or not spending enough time with the kids. We especially need this swift kick in the rear when Dan and I come home from work and are sooooo tired that we could easily sit in our big comfy chair for the entire night.

Wolfswinkel Family Fall Bucketlist 2013:
*Pumpkin patch
*Apple Orchard- CHECK
*Rake leaves and jump in them
*Fall photo shoot
*Picnic- CHECK
*Nature hike at Oak Grove
*Make caramel apples
*Bake Fall goodies including: pumpkin crescents, apple crisp, apple pie, fall cut out cookies
*Paint/Carve pumpkins
*Hot cocoa, sweater, and a book outside
*Hot apple cider
*Popcorn Balls
*A Charlie Brown Halloween
*Trick or Treating
*Making Halloween costumes
*Make a thankful tree
*Write what I'm thankful for every single day on Facebook/Put it in a blogpost to remember
*Fall Family Fun Night(S)
*Fires and Smores with friends
*Corn maze
*Pumpkin lattes-find a recipe I love and have it at least once a week.

*Disney channel/ABC Family Halloween specials with the kids
*Make a Fall Sangria and enjoy it with friends.
*Pop in uninvited to Dawn's house and enjoy some hot tub time. She loves me.
*Make pumpkin seeds
*Make a Fall wreath
*Rake a neighbor's lawn
*Volunteer at a food pantry or homeless shelter of some sort
*Go to a haunted house
*Go to a high school football game- CHECK
*Star gazing
*Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade
*A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

We have two months to accomplish as much of this as we can before Christmas will take over. It's a lot, but now you see why I'm so excited for this time of year! Woo hoo!! Bring it on Fall!! What is your family excited for this Fall??

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall Freak Flag Alert!!

This weekend my calendar said that the season was a changin', and that means my freak flag is on high alert. And let me tell you, we've done gone welcomed Fall into this household with only the very best Fall freak flag there ever was. I'm oh so excited to enjoy another 2 months of this!! 

Saturday, Dan ran in the Muddy Vike with his brother in Sioux Falls. (I know...I can't believe I let him do it either. No worries. No broken bones!) We decided it would be more fun to have an adventure in Sioux Falls than to stay home and clean this beast, and so play we did. :)

We had to be in Sioux Falls by 8:45, so naturally we made it there by 9:00, dropped Dan off, chit chatted with Sarah and the boys for a bit and then headed to Oh My Cupcake to surprise the kids with some dessert for later. This place is so quaint and cute. What a fun idea for a little shop. The kids wanted to stop in to the dog store on the way out, so we meandered in there for a bit too. It's so refreshing when you have no place to be, no agenda. I'm going to make it a point to do this more often.

After a pit stop at Starbucks for the only $4.00 pumpkin latte I will probably get this Fall, we headed to Hobby Lobby to peruse the Fall decorations and  pick up some materials for a photo wall I'm working on at home. I don't feel the need to craft often, but when pinterest comes a callin, we answer! I've also added about 13 things to my list of things to accomplish this Fall/Winter. We all know how those projects turn out....usually unfinished. Oh well. This is what propels me into these seasons, the anticipation for what could be and what we will try to accomplish. Planning is the best part!

The rest of the afternoon was spent between Falls Park and the apple orchard. I whipped out my camera and took some photos of my kids. I know they aren't professional photography worthy, but I'm practicing, and surprising myself with what I'm able to do. The apple orchard was having their Apple Festival this past weekend, so we entertained the kids with bouncy houses, a playground full of straw, some donkeys, a baby pig and of course the tractor ride and apple picking. We had so much fun, just the five of us. I'm realizing that these moments with all five of us are becoming fewer and farther between the older my kids are getting. Between activities and Jaedyn's social calendar, we just don't spend the time together we once did. I'm making a mental note of this as well. Spend more intentional time together as a family. We may have to bring back Family Night.

The crisp weather is settling in. I've noticed some leaves are starting to change. We've celebrated the September birthdays with stromboli and ice cream cake at mom's already which means the calendar will be turning over soon. Before we know it, Christmas will be here! My favorite 3 months of the year are within reach, and we are starting it out right! Tonight I will give my house a proper Wolfswinkel shakedown. It's in need of a little TLC. Once we have a clean house, we will finish our Fall bucketlist and cuddle up with some Monday Night Football. Go Broncos!! Back with a bucketlist post later this week! Happy Fall Ya'll!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Growing Pains

Friday night was the homecoming football game. Jaedyn's birthday was Tuesday, so we let her have a few friends over to bake some cupcakes, go to the football game and stay over. Our kids are finally getting to the age where they want to go Friday night games to see their friends, and I don't blame them. I was a social butterfly too. We haven't come to many so far, but last night was definitely a nostalgic experience. I remember the lights, the student section, the cheering, the playing in the band when I REALLY didn't want to, the going under the bleachers to watch the game with my friends, the meeting up with friends from the other team or fighting with girls from the other team (depending on the night).
It also reminded me how mean kids can be. In the two hours I was there, I observed 4-5 different cases where kids were just plain cruel to someone else. I saw a group of highschoolers making fun of the pants another girl was wearing. A middleschooler was spitting sunflower seeds at a man in a wheelchair below. I heard a few adult conversations in which someone else was the subject of the gossip. It wasn't always to their faces, and to be honest, I don't really know which is worse.
The one that was the hardest for me to swallow though, was the one where my child was the one being hurt. He walked up to me, and was in one of his whiney, crabby moods....not terribly unlike any other day. I asked him what was wrong and he told me that some of his friends called him a jerk and told him that he couldn't play football with them. I instinctively responded with a, "Well were you being a jerk?" and he told me he hadn't. He just didn't know how to play the game, and more or less that they were annoyed with him.
That's like a punch to the gut for a mom. Jaedyn has had a few catty moments with other girls. "She won't play with me today." "I don't think she likes me anymore." "She doesn't want to invite me to her birthday party." Maybe it's just that I was a girl, and I experienced those moments and realize how quickly we would get over those moments when I was in elementary school, or maybe it's because I always see her and her friends making up by the end of the day, but all I know is my buddy was hurting, and it made my heart hurt as well.
You see, Jaedyn is a lot like me. I had a lot of friends from many different crowds. I was social, and I enjoyed meeting new people. And while I had friend issues with that also, I handled it. I was resilient. Carter on the other hand....well he doesn't make friends easily. He's impulsive and sometimes bossy and it can be hard for him to make friends. I can see him being someone who has a few really good friends and then keeps to himself the rest of time.
Anyways, I immediately put my arms around him and hugged him tight. I told him that I understood what it felt like to be left out and that I was sorry he was feeling badly. What my inner mama bear wanted to do was march right down to those kids and give them a piece of my mind. Don't worry. I'm not "that" mother. I don't want to be the over-bearing helicopter parent, and I won't be. I've watched kids get ruined by those parents and then have a hard time coping with things as an adult. I know that my kids have to live and experience those rejections and those heartaches in order to be more resilient, healthy kids and adults. It's all part of the growing pains of life, as much as I hate it.
It's been very hard to think about anything else since. I've been googling things like "how to protect your children from mean kids" and "how to help your kids get over rejection" when I came across an article that was titled, "When your kid is the bully". It got me thinking about the other side. You know, the one parents don't want to think their kid is capable of. My kids are going to get rejected and left out, and maybe in extreme cases, even bullied, but the reality is that there will be a time when my kid is the rejector, the bully, the one who is leaving someone else out. As I was thinking about how to help my child cope, it dawned on me that I need to make sure I'm hitting home the concept that they need to treat others the way they want to be treated. That however, is becoming a cliched response. Remember how we talked about those here? As great of a message as it may be....once it's overused, it's hard to get anyone to really grasp the value of the message.
This year, I've been trying really hard to remind my kids to be kind and be brave. It's a Momastery phrase that has a very special place in my heart and has become one of my parenting mottos. I have used it in their "Mama and Me" books to start the school year. I used it again the other night before Carter went to bed to remind him to be brave and be kind always even when it's hard. Let's be honest. We've all been in both situations. We all have been rejected and have been the rejector. And I'd bet money that we've been in both situations as children AND as adults. We are human. We make mistakes. Sometimes we are cruel because we've had a bad week or are going through a rough time and being snappy just comes naturally. Other times, we aren't intentionally leaving others out. There are so many factors that contribute to why people do what they do, that I have to remind my kids that there may be a deeper explanation for other people's actions when they are feeling rejection. Not always. But sometimes.
I don't have all the answers for helping my kids deal with being left out and feeling rejected, but I do know that I want my kids to be able to learn from those moments more than anything else. I want them to remember that feeling of sadness when the shoe is on the other foot so they can apply it and make sure they aren't doing those things to anyone else.
Dan and I have done a lot of discussing on this issue today, and I'm feeling a lot more at peace. At the end of the football game, I went to find Carter and this is what I found.
 He was smiling. He was happy. My kids will be okay. They will always know they are loved and that this is a small issue in a the bigger scheme of life. It's just a lesson that they need to learn.
  I'd be interested in how some of you wiser and more seasoned parents have handled these situations with your kids. You can never have too many tools in your tool box in cases like these. Send them my way! We're all in this together.

I'll leave you with this quote: "Be brave. You are a child of God. Be kind. Everyone elsle is too."- Glennon Melton

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Birth Story- 10 Years Later

Before I write this birth story, I have to tell you guys how much we surprised our little lady last night. She was begging for a surprise party for her Golden Birthday, and we kept telling her that it's not a surprise if you know it's coming. Since we always take the birthday girl/boy where they want to go for supper, Jae chose Pizza Ranch for her special supper. I lined it up to have my side of the family there with balloons and cake as a surprise for when we arrived. You guys....I wish I had the pictures uploaded from my mom's camera. She took one look inside the party room and was in complete utter shock. Immediately, tears fell from her face, and you could tell she was so overwhelmed with excitement at seeing everyone there.... For her. It was so cool. I hate the growing up part for obvious reasons, but seeing her "get it". Like really understand that we were all there for her, and watch as she was just humbled. That was cool. My grandma was able to be there, and even her Uncle Justin made a call all the way from Texas to wish her a Happy Birthday. It was neat and so magical, and everything I wished for my little girl. $100 cakes and big fancy themed birthday parties don't hold a torch to good old fashioned quality family time. Even if those things are nice to have sometimes.

Anyways, back to The Birth Story......

Dear Jaedyn,
You are the birth story that is chronologically, the furthest from today, but it is by far the one I remember the very most. You made me a mama, and I could never forget that beautiful day for anything. You will always be my little one, my "baby Jae". Your arrival was not planned in my date book, but that's okay because you were planned in God's date book, and that is far better.

I'll be honest little lady, I was scared. So so scared. I was a baby having a baby. I wasn't prepared for this, and that made me anxious. 17 year old, unmarried highschool students aren't supposed to get pregnant. There are many reasons for that. For one, highschoolers aren't mature enough to fully grasp the responsibility of caring for another life. We are wired by the world to care about ourselves first and others second, so having to learn that I was in charge of another life was overwhelming.

Second of all, I knew that Tony wasn't the person God had chosen for me to spend the rest of my life with, and getting pregnant with someone who is not your husband can make things complicated as time goes on and you grow up. In a nutshell, my life would change completely in the span of nine months and nothing I could do would be able to stop it. I would go from teenager to mother overnight, and that was reality.

Depressing preface to the birth story- Check!

I know that what you just read sounds nothing at all like what welcoming a child into the world should sound like, and that was because it wasn't, but that didn't mean that God wasn't going to use this as a vessel to grow his kingdom and to stretch me. This was just the beginning to our story. The story that God has used me to help others through scary situations and the one that scored me a best friend when we bonded over our unplanned pregnancies years later. Nothing is a mistake. Nothing.

Moving on.

Physically, being pregnant with you was a breeze. I was never sick. That is...unless you count the time I became nauseous over something in Biology and ended up dashing outside to ralph all over the flag pole in front of an audience thank you very much. :/ But seriously, I secretly loved being pregnant. I was supposed to have a certain guilt connected to this pregnancy because I was doing it all the wrong way, but I loved. LOVED that you were a part of me. That we were connected. That no matter where I was, I was never alone. It was always me and you baby.

I was growing up fast, and I was breathing it all in and dreaming about life and how it would all play out. And at the same time, I was still a kid. I wanted to hang out with my friends and go to prom, and enjoy being a teenager. That's a hard line, and it seriously took all of nine months and a month of bed rest for me to realize that it wasn't about me anymore. It was all about you. And I was okay with that, it just needed to be learned.

The day you were born started out about as "normal" as any other. I had gone in for our routine weekly check up, and Binky (our amazingly wonderful midwife) was concerned with my blood pressure. It just so happened that it was also your due date, and so with not much thought, it was decided that you would be born that day, or at least begin the process of being born that day. I was shocked, anxious, scared and insanely excited to meet the little miracle who had been living, kicking and squirming inside of me for nine months.

And so began the preparation for your arrival. For five hours, nothing happened. We sat around talking and resting ( I wasn't allowed to get up except for the bathroom because of my blood pressure) and hoping that contractions would start so we could meet you sooner, and when five o'clock rolled around, we were given another dose and  hoped something would start. From there, it was kind of a whirlwind. Contractions started coming quickly and on top of one another. In the midst of trying to breathe and find my focal point, I somehow managed to look at the faces of Tony, my mom and Binky and realized that something wasn't right. What I gathered was that the cord was wrapped around your neck, and every time I contracted, the cord would tighten and cause your heart rate to drop, SOOOO down to the OR we went for an emergency c-section. I was told you were the first "Code Orange" the hospital had ever had.

From the time the surgeon was called in Orange City until the time you were out of my belly and laying in a warming unit in the Sioux Center Hospital, 19 minutes had passed. It was just another reminder that God had it covered. We had nothing to worry about. At 10:16 pm on September 10, 2003, you entered the world, loved by so many people. And you were perfect- all 7 lbs 3 oz of you. When I was finally out of recovery and back upstairs, I held your tiny little swaddled body for what felt like hours, and I remember just silently sending prayers of thank you up to Jesus for keeping you safe and making you healthy, and wondering how I got so lucky that God would make me your mama.

Things have been uphill, downhill, and all over the place in the last 10 years. What was part of my plan in the last ten years wasn't always a part of His, and I am constantly reminded about His faithfulness and His grace, and when I begin to question God on anything, I am quickly reminded that He's got it covered. He's got my back. His plan is always, always, always better than mine, even when I can't see it at that very moment.

And while things aren't as new or raw as they were ten years ago when we welcomed you into this world with lots of kisses and happy birthdays and I love yous, that feeling is always there. There are moments when I look at you, growing up in front of me and think......holy crap. You are mine. And I'm so very proud of the little lady you are becoming. I'm excited to see where the next 10 years take you, knowing that your dad and I will be right here cheering you on.

We love you Jaedyn Grace. Happy Birthday.

This morning we woke her up with a Happy Birthday tune, lots of hugs and kisses, Dutch babies for breakfast and a lot of celebrating the lady who made me a mom 10 years ago tonight. There's not a greater feeling than that. Happy Tuesday!