Friday, March 27, 2015


Remember that one time when we had 70 degree weather? Oh yeah, me neither. I think it was a dream. I kid. I kid. In all seriousness, I'll take 40 degrees any day over negative temperatures and bone chilling wind. Quite honestly, if we have too many gorgeous nice days, these kids will be completely checked out (who am I kidding? I'm already checked out). Next week, the temps seem to be on a rising trend, so I can be patient. I have, however, never been more ready for summer. I am already dreaming of poolside days, flip flops, boating, lazy mornings reading on the front porch while my littles play with chalk, shoot hoops or wash their bikes with buckets of soapy water.

We've been embracing nice weather when it's there. Balancing warm days with park outings and bike rides and colder ones watching movies and making accessories for sock gerbils filled with rice. We're in that bipolar part of spring where mornings call for coats, hats, and gloves, while the afternoons may allow us long sleeves and capris. It's the little things that I'm noticing that remind me that warm weather is right around the corner. Little patches of green grass, beautiful sunrises on the way to school, longer evenings, muddy boots, and the sound of birds chirping in the nearby trees.

Enjoying as of late:

10. Hopping back on the band wagon.

This will definitely be a process, but I love how I feel when I'm eating healthier and staying active. I'm trying not to focus on the number on the scale and more on how my clothes are fitting and how strong I feel. I'm confident that if I just take one day at a time, I will be able to make progress. Bonus- My friend Rach is doing it with me. Power in numbers I tell you!

9. Bright Spring Colors

I'm a colorful person anyways, but I love when the rest of the world joins me in my enthusiasm. Stores are starting to pop up with their pastels and floral prints. Bright flowers are begging to be chosen and placed in vases on the middle of dining room tables everywhere.

8. Bare toes and Chalk Residue

I love breaking open a brand new box of chalk while chubby little fingers make a mad dash for the best colors- sky blue, watermelon pink, sunflower yellow....I should have gotten a job naming colors. I think it would have been a good fit.

7. 14,000 Things

When I'm coming out of my yucky winter funk, I am frantically searching for things to be happy about. Little things and big things and everything in between. I love grabbing my neon highlighters or even a boring dull pen and underlining all of the things that make me happy. It is then that I realize that life is so much more what you make it. Happy isn't going to come to me. I need to go to happy. I need to make happy, and as hard as it is to do when the weather doesn't cooperate or when I'm feeling lonely or the mundane of every day seems to drag me down, I know that if I don't start finding the good, I'm going to look back on this time and wish I had done things differently. So Life Goal #3,465 is to look for the good--EVERYDAY. Document if I have to. Talk about them. Think about them. And for the love of all that is holy, I will do my best to stop complaining about things. Life is what you make it. Cheesy Cliche absorbed. Understood. And being worked on as we speak.

6. Captain America

I never thought I'd be a lover of super heroes. I was a girly girl for the most part, and the tomboy parts that came out were mostly sports based. But then I became a mom. My sister-in-law is crazy obsessed with super heroes, and it is actually because of her that my boys even fell in love with them. We had done joint birthday parties for awhile with her girls and my boys, and it was a theme we decided on together at her suggestion that started it. I figured that my boys should show up at their party with some sort of knowledge of who they were so that they weren't calling Lightning McQueen or Buzz and Woody super heroes at their own birthday. It's been more than 2 years since then, and I now have two Superman, Batman, Iron Man, Hulk Man, Captain America Man ( okay ex-nay on the last 2, but it sounded good) loving boys. Sawyer's entire wardrobe is 2/3 superman gear and we are frequently seen wearing old Halloween costumes for entire days at a time. I am now an avid lover of all things super heroes as it makes my boys (husband included) very happy.
How I get woken up on Saturday mornings

5. Dates with our kids

I love the fact that my husband and I share the philosophy that making memories is important, especially taking time out to spend with each child individually. Our kids thrive on their dates with us, even when they consist of alone time at the grocery store or a short drive to get ice cream. I hope that these will be moments that they continue to be hungry for as they get older and expand their ever growing social butterfly wings. What started as conversations like, "Wow, you are getting good at counting to ten" and "What color is mommy's shirt?" are turning into "What do you like best about volleyball" and "I wonder how those people in the movie felt when no one thought they would make it." I'm loving how our conversations are transforming. I'm getting to know my kids in a whole different way, and some of it is hard because I know there are growing pains that come with life, and I can't stop them or shield them from all that is to come. But one thing that I know for certain- Dan and I love the bejesus out of our kids, and they will know that. They will know that on bad days, we are here. I'm so thankful that our kids have THAT.
Ice cream with dad on his day off.

He loves helping dad with big boy chores.

Watched McFarland with this girlie because she surpassed her reading goal!

4. Gorgeous God painted skies

He outdoes Himself all the time. Just when I think the sky couldn't be more beautiful, he comes back with something even better the next day. Of course, cameras just don't do it justice, and I am constantly vowing to be better at being a morning person so that I don't miss out on all the beauty.

3. Watching my kids in their element

I'll be honest. I'm not a video gamer. When I was a kid, I was in love with Super Mario and Donkey Kong, and the plethera of other games that came out, but I'm not up to speed with all the new games like Minecraft, and to be honest, I'm okay with handing that torch over to Dan. He's definitely got the expertise. However, this is something my boys are very into right now, and they love showing us what makes them excited. So, while the older siblings were gone, Sawyer begged for us to play Minecraft with him. He ever so carefully taught me how to hold the controller and get started. When I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to build a simple 4 wall structure, he kindly told me to hand over the controller, and he would take control. I never got it back, but watching him and Dan create this fantastical beach bum resort, being very careful, adding the smallest of intricate details, made my heart explode. I had completely written this off as "another dumb game". What I didn't expect was that my son would explore his creative side and completely blow me away with his engineering skills.

I just love them.


Royal Family Kids Camp changed my life in so many ways last year. I'm over the moon to be going back, and just thinking of those children who are going to be there, in all their brokenness, longing for love and acceptance, is more than I can handle. Getting together with these people is like going to a family reunion, but one that you don't feel obligated to attend. August 2-7 can't come soon enough!

It's pop. Scouts honor. 

1. Scary Life Changing Tugs (Otherwise known as the muthaload)

Dan and I have always felt a tugging when it comes to orphans, specifically foster children. Being a teacher, I've seen lots of children pass through my classrooms who felt unloved, unwanted, and neglected, and most were in their homes with biological families. Up until last year, I had kind of ignored the tugging, always justifying it with some selfish ambition or desire. Nobody would blame me because life was hard, and adding more to the mix would certainly make it harder. However, God is relentless. He knows that I don't respond well to having things crammed down my throat. I don't appreciate "Bible beating" Christians who chastize me with appropriately timed scripture that just so happens to fit their agenda for that moment. I won't be guilted into anything, and in fact, it's one of the biggest reasons the word "church" (and not necessarily the building I attend) leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth.

No, God knew that if I was going to respond to this calling, he'd have to just keep tugging in a gentle but firm manner. He's a genius that way. So he's strategically placed different people and motivators in my life at different points these past few years. He started with connecting me to bloggers/writers who have immense amounts of love written all through their messages, many of whom are children. Those writers have paved ways for me to find others, and the constant theme I was taking away from all of them was Love wildly. Just keep showing up. We can do hard things. Be brave and be kind. We all belong to each other. It takes a village. And I just kept thinking that every child deserves a mama (and a papa) who will love the hell out of them, who will do anything to keep them safe and go to the ends of the earth to make sure they are happy, well adjusted, amazing human beings. 

And there he started to soften my heart. Little by little. Bit by bit. What I thought was softening my heart for my own children (which it was), was actually stretching my heart for all children. It was making me a more compassionate person. From there, he used a former co-worker and friend to do the next big work. Jenni was part of a team that was starting a camp for Foster kids. She had done a presentation at our church asking for volunteers that would be willing to be a part of this camp in some way, either through prayer, donations, or just physically being there. Dan and I had always wanted to do some sort of missional work together, but I wanted to do something more local. This opportunity seemed to present itself nicely in a way where we could do something local together in a field in which we had a spark of interest. What I didn't realize was how broken I would be for those kids in the process. 

God's a sneaky little fella. He spoke to me in a way that He knew I would listen, and what he taught me was that I just need to show up.  So I'm not putting my headphones on when he talks to me anymore. I'm trying to listen and be attentive to what he's calling us to do. I am, however, the kid that won't shut up or stop talking to her friends long enough to hear what I'm supposed to do, so I think it takes God a little more time to get me to hear him than the average person, but he hasn't given up yet. Therefore, I'm not sure what this is going to look like. He may be just telling us to keep going with this camp for right now. At the present moment, it looks like it might be a little more than that. When I figure that out, I'll be sure to fill you in. :)

My camp girlies at the Bethany Christian Services Anniversary Supper last Friday

We are so fancy,
Compassion is your pain in my heart and out through my hands.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I'm so S.A.D.

Okay, so I was, until Spring weather decided to show up this week and totally obliterate those icky seasonal depressive feelings. However, who doesn't love a little Adam Levine lyrics on hump day? He makes seasonal depression a little more tolerable.

I had planned on writing about SAD a few weeks ago, but realized that almost all of my posts since winter began have been just that....a little sad. I realized how bad my depression had gotten this year, and the last thing I wanted to go back and reread were more "woe is me" posts. So I decided to wait until I had a little more pep in my step. And while I know that having this is part of who I am, I haven't had the motivation to do much of anything including writing, working out, cleaning my house, etc.... The good part about having SAD? The easiest cure is just a little sunshine and a little warmth. One or the other will do, but having both can completely wipe it out which is what this week has been doing for me so far.

There's something about the change of the seasons that is just so refreshing to me. I love that there is always something to look forward to. I'm always looking ahead, waving my freak flags proudly. And spring? Well that's one of my favorite flags to wave. Spring just gets me. My everlasting need for do-overs and clean slates combines nicely with the transition from dreary winter days to warm sunshiny ones.

So of course, I spent a good chunk of time yesterday taking out my springy pastel pens and writing a nice four page long to do list of all the things I want to get done on my "spring cleaning" list. And even though the odds are slim that all of them will happen, I love what they signify. Seasons a changing, and we are preparing for all the happies that come along with them.

Some current happies:

Today he said, "Mama, I really don't want to get big. I just love cuddling with you." Melt.My.Heart.

They do love each other. Sometimes in the mornings, I will find them giggling under the covers trying to make each other laugh. I'm trying to tattoo these moments on my brain. I don't ever want to forget them.

Carter's music program this year was based on poetry written for those who died at SandyHook. It was beautiful. "Children. No two the same. All different. Still beautiful."

Being an aunt rocks. Can I get an Amen!?

I hate that the weather makes it hard to find motivation to do things, especially with my kids. While I can't change the last few months, I can certainly make the next ones memorable. That's exactly what I plan to do!

I love how much he loves our kids. I love how much he loves her, despite the fact that she wasn't born with his blood. He made sure that he overcompensates by loving the bejesus out of her. This one will never know what it's like not to be loved. She is SOOOO loved.

With parent teacher conferences giving us a free day, and sweet baby Jesus deciding to give us 47 degree temps, we enjoyed bike rides, a day at the library and playing outside for the first time in 4 months. Bring it on Spring!!

And this post wouldn't be complete without a to do list of Spring activities. So without further adieu:

1. Run, lift, Run, lift and lose the weight I put on over the winter (and then some).
2. Take my kids to the park.
3. Jump in puddles.
4. Play in the rain.
5. Buy fresh flowers for my dining room table.
6. Wear more springy colors.
7. Get out the flip flops.
8. Treat myself to a pedi (DONE)
9. Start planning some Easter weekend fun for the family.
10. READ more books OUTSIDE
11. Buy some chalk
12. Dust off the camera and keep teaching myself how to take pictures.
13. Get out the 4 page spring cleaning list and starting check check CHECKING

I plan to add to this for sure, but what are you going to do???