Vacationing


We are leaving for vacation. I’m thrilled. It will be a short trip, but I’ve been longing for a get-away for months.

The thing about vacations is that it takes a lot of effort to get there. There is the getting everything at the office ready so I can leave without clients suffering, the packing of everyone’s bags, the general stress of cars, finances, and so much more.

But, it’s all worth it for just a few short days to spend together. A few hours at the beach, laughter, shell collecting, sand in our clothes, and thousands of small moments that help bind us together are certainly worth the stresses that preceded our departure.

So, I sat folding clothes & packing toothbrushes last night after everyone went to bed. This morning we got up early & had the usual errands to run before we could leave. Everything took just a bit longer than anticipated and so, of course, we left later than planned. But, WE ARE ON OUR WAY! Goodbye for a few days 108 degree weather, laundry, and mopping! Hello, sitting too close in the car, 100,000 bathroom stops, & uninterrupted family time! These are the tried and true experiences that build families! I’m sure we will soon hear the usual conversations of ‘are we there yet?’, ‘he’s touching me’, ‘she won’t stop talking’, and ‘when are we eating!?!’ Don’t be jealous. ūüėä

VOTE VOTE VOTE!


My sister is a genius photographer.  You can see tons of her work here.  Her name is Betsey Walton.

Right now two of her photos are in a contest for the cover of Enjoy Magazine.

Please vote for her photos.  The one with the cute little boy and his cardboard rocket ship has the most votes so probably voting for that one is best.  You can vote here!!

Thanks friends!!

Did you ever wish?


Yesterday I was feeling nostalgic.  My mind kept drifting to the last time I was alone with my mom while she could still sit up and talk.

Alone time with my mom has always been rare. When you have a large family you don’t expect to spend much time alone with anyone. ¬†And, when you get to you cherish it. ¬†You soak in those moments that are just the two of you. ¬†A week and a half before my mom passed I was alone with her. ¬†Just the two of us. And, we actually got to chat. ¬†We talked about the kids, we talked about siblings, and we talked about life. ¬†After the usual conversations sort of came to a halt she sat quietly for a moment. ¬†She was very good at being calm and quiet without making it feel weird to be there.

After a little bit of quiet she said “Have you ever wished we didn’t adopt you?”

I was surprised to hear that question from her. ¬†She had never asked it before. ¬†She’d never even acted like the thought had occurred to her. ¬†Maybe it hadn’t. ¬†Maybe it was only occurring to her because she knew it might be the last time she had to ask it.

A thousand thoughts went through my head at once. ¬†How can someone explain a heart to someone else who can’t see it and all the feelings mixed up in it? ¬†I have always been a happy person. ¬†I have always believed that no matter where I am, I am blessed, and truthfully someone else has¬†it much worse than me. ¬†I looked at her and said, “No, I’ve never wished that. ¬†I have loved being your daughter and loved being in this family.” ¬†There was more to the conversation, but it really got me thinking about all the emotions and feelings that surround adoption for me.

I’ve continued to think about this conversation for the past four months. ¬†I am sure it’s partly because it’s such a sweet memory and partly because being adopted makes me a little more sensitive to such conversations. ¬† I can honestly say I’ve never wished I wasn’t adopted. ¬†That’s never even been a question. ¬†But, sometimes I wonder just exactly how other adopted people feel and if they have the same questions I sometimes do. ¬†Do they sometimes look at their family and wonder if they really fit in? ¬†Does their heart get a little sad when they realize that so many things are genetic and they will never share that with their siblings and that will always separate them just a little bit? ¬†And, I wonder if those thoughts and feelings are the same if the family has only adopted children as opposed to mixing biological and adopted children? ¬†I don’t know. ¬†I haven’t ever asked anyone I know who is adopted. ¬†I’m sure each family is different and each circumstance is different. ¬† I do know that when all the chips have fallen I don’t first think about the fact that I’m adopted. ¬†And, I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing.

It’s time to forgive


Our lives are filled with many people happy to tell us how we’re doing things wrong. ¬†Lord knows, I’m really great at getting things wrong. ¬†But, today – I want to tell you IT’S OKAY!! ¬†That’s right. ¬†I am sharing with you the joy of knowing that even if you’ve messed some things up – you are gonna be fine. ¬†I’ve noticed that we women are great at giving advice. ¬†And, we’re even better at pointing out how people could have done things better. ¬†But, do you know what I’ve found to be true? ¬†Jesus loves me. ¬†He loves me even if I didn’t do things just exactly how my friends all thought I should. ¬†And, he forgives me for my mistakes. ¬†It’s about time we forgive ourselves, don’t you think?

How is it possible we live in a society that is so judgmental about things that really have nothing to do with anyone else? ¬†When I got married I was young. ¬†So many people told me not to get married because I was ruining my life and I wouldn’t be able to have any fun at all if I wasted my time getting married instead of doing ‘college things’. ¬†The truth is I couldn’t imagine anything I wanted to do without my husband. ¬†I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d want to go without him. ¬†We’ve been married 18 years and I still can’t think of anything I’d want to do without him or anywhere I’d want to go without him. ¬†I really hope people have forgiven me for not making the choice they wanted. ¬†On the flip side my friends and family who got married later heard lots of advice and reasons why they should have married sooner. ¬†They should date more (or less). ¬†They should try to look nicer or maybe try different hang out spots. ¬†Really? ¬†I’m pretty sure most people who are waiting for the right someone are not just sitting there being hideous trolls and slumming it on creepy places. ¬† They are living their lives and trying to do their very best. ¬†How is that not good enough for everyone around us? ¬†You know what? ¬†Forgive yourself for not finding a mate sooner. ¬†You’re on God’s time. ¬†He has a plan and will bring you the person in His time.

When I had my first son everyone had advice on how I should teach him to sleep, eat, and really how do everything. ¬†My mom’s way was different than my mother in law’s way. But, amazingly between the two of them they raised several healthy (mostly) normal adults. ¬†But, even before we got to that I was told how I should birth him. ¬†My natural loving friends told me I should never have my children in a hospital because that’s where sick people go and he’d catch something and die (this literally happened and I was so shocked I didn’t even respond). ¬†My modern marvel medical people thought any home birth was a one way ticket to damaging my baby and more than likely a complication would happen that would kill him. ¬†I seriously considered both options. ¬†But, you know what? ¬†Here’s to the moms who had a birth plan and followed it to the T. ¬†Whether that birth plan was to have them with a midwife, in a bathtub, or with pain pills in a hospital bed. ¬†And, here’s to those moms who really wanted to follow their birth plan but had complications and they had to give up something that really wasn’t that big a deal and just be happy their babies were born healthy. ¬†That’s right. ¬†The goal is always a healthy baby. ¬†We all have our ideas on which way that should happen, but I can tell you nothing is more hurtful or annoying that those who hear what you’ve chosen and decided to inform you that you’re a terrible parent before you’ve even given birth. ¬†Feel free to forgive yourself for not following all the advice of everyone in your life on the birth of your child. ¬†It’s okay. ¬†You want the best for your kids and really that is more about prayer than it is about birthing choice.

To all the moms who struggled over whether they should work or not. ¬†Or, those who couldn’t even struggle over it because it really was the only option to support their family. ¬†I know you drove away from daycare the first day with tears running down your face. ¬†I know your heart felt like it was breaking when you put your sweet baby into someone else’s hands and went to your job. ¬†Forgive yourself for doing the best you can to support your family. ¬†That’s okay. ¬†To all the moms who chose to stay home and lost their place in the rat race – forgive yourself for sacrificing your dreams for your children’s well being. ¬†It’s great that you’re in a place to even have that decision.

To all the moms of toddlers – it’s okay that you cannot even consider reading Goodnight Moon one.more.time. ¬†It’s okay that you let everyone eat Goldfish crackers for lunch today. ¬†Forgive yourself for ¬†doing what you need to do to hold it together. ¬†Forgive yourself for pretending to be deaf in the car when your toddler is asking “why” for about the 456,928,345 time on the 5 minute ride somewhere. ¬†You know what else? ¬†Forgive yourself for that early bedtime and the delicious pre-made margarita you enjoyed while sitting alone on the couch for the first time all day.

To the mom of elementary students – realize it’s okay that you laughed directly at your child when they told you “Today we had a hardcore game of 4-square at school”. ¬†I’m positive they will forget that damaging moment in a mess of other moments of their childhood. ¬†And, it’s okay that when your child says “I’m the only kid in 5th grade without an iPhone” ¬†you do not immediately go buy them one. ¬†When your child says they are the only one who has to help with chores or pay for their own toys or whatever else, feel free to forgive yourself. ¬†You’re trying to instill real life experiences in them and that’s a good thing.

Moms of middle school students – when you can’t hear one more word from the conversation about ‘cute’ boys (or girls) in your child’s class and you tell them phone time is up, you know that’s okay. ¬†When you read every.single. text message just so your kids know when they get to high school that should be considered the norm and your kids are frustrated with you – it’s okay. ¬†You’re being the best mom you can be and that’s the job God gave you (not being the best friend your child can have).

When your high school student feels like the curfew you set is just not gonna work for them and you have to ground them from something they really want to do so they tell you they can’t wait to move out far away – forgive yourself for being so hard. ¬†When they tell their friends you’re mean and strict – forgive yourself. ¬†It’s okay to be known as the parent who sets boundaries. ¬†Seriously, Moms – let’s be MOMS.

You know those days when you set the entire schedule for the week, including doctors appointments, sport practices and games, family time, hangout time for kids, and everything else and then your husband says to your kids ‘No, we’re not doing that. ¬†I’ve planned something different”. ¬†Forgive yourself for the glare you give him. ¬†Or, even more – forgive yourself for saying “Oh, are you taking over the schedule now? ¬†Here’s the list of what needs to happen this week.” ¬†You are human. ¬†You are doing your best. ¬†And, above all – your heavenly Father forgives all these little moments.

It’s time we moms band together. ¬†No one, NO ONE is going to do it like we think they should. ¬†There isn’t a single person on earth who agrees with 100% of what we think. ¬†But. we do have forgiveness in Jesus. ¬†We have someone who loves despite our petty moments and sins. ¬†How awesome is that? ¬†Now, to work on letting go of our guilt and shame for doing our best. ¬†right

 

 

Home Ownership


So, I feel like I am basically an expert on owning a home now that I’ve owned one for 3 months. HAHA ¬†But, really – owning has been so exciting for us. ¬†I thought I’d share a few of my favorite things we’ve discovered since we moved.

We have always worked hard and we have always wanted our own home. ¬†Now that it’s a reality it’s been so FUN to do things that would seem lame and hard before. ¬†Yard work is not my gift (see previous post about my plant reaper status). ¬†Yet, to see our yard looking better day by day (mostly thanks to my husband) is really exciting. ¬†And, I’ve even ventured out to help a bit by pulling weeds, throwing down some grass seed, and watering. ¬†I have to say I have really enjoyed the Xhose.

xhose_thumb

I know. ¬†It seems silly, but it really is awesome. ¬†It’s¬†light, it doesn’t kink, and it shrinks so small when it’s not on. ¬†Love it! ¬†Wish I had another one for the other side of the house. ¬†I am a firm believer that if I have things that WORK I am more willing to do things. ¬†My husband knows this and so he splurged on the hose and it was a genius move.

House cleaning has become much easier too. ¬†I HATED cleaning our house before. ¬†We had so much stuff and we had zero place to store it. ¬†Now that we have a place for everything I can easily put things away and keep everything looking nice and neat. ¬† It’s glorious.

My favorite new cleaning product I’ve purchased is the Goo Gone oven and grill cleaner. It is amazing. ¬†Our downstairs oven looked like someone had baked a pie without a pan or something and then add cat hair. I’m sorry was this a cat pie? ¬†I don’t even understand! ¬†But, the whole thing was black. ¬†You couldn’t see through the window because of how gross it was. ¬†And, I was scared to cook in it for fear it would catch on fire. ¬†We tried some other oven cleaner and the disgusting black stuff did not budge despite multiple applications. ¬†My brilliant husband bought this for his grill and decided to try it on our stove as well. ¬†It literally melted through the gunk in less than 5 minutes. ¬†I just wiped it out and¬†v√∂lva!!¬†the stove looked brand new!

stove

(Disclaimer: I did have to clean the window twice)

I had used the Magic Eraser before we moved, but I am still amazed by¬†it and thought it should be featured here in this post of things I love. So, here’s to the magic of the Magic Eraser. ¬†I keep them on hand for bathrooms, kitchens, walls, and pretty much everything else. ¬†(left side – original banquette bench when we moved in the house before Magic Eraser. ¬†right side – after a little Magic Eraser was used. A-MAZ-ING)

 

bench

I’ve been told recently I really need to start working harder at keeping my blog up to date. ¬†I will work on it. ūüôā
 

 

Logical Conversations


When I was in about 4th grade at a small town public school a girl showed up and she was very ‘cool’. ¬†She had cool clothes. ¬†She was mouthy & disrespectful. ¬†And, when I hung out with her on the playground she told me that she was allowed to cuss and swear at home. ¬†Being raised in a Christian home the idea was shocking. ¬†All of my friends had Christian parents. ¬†But, it was also tantalizing. ¬†She was from a different world. ¬†I had to learn more. So, I hung out with her for about a week. ¬†She shared her favorite curse words. ¬†I said “Yes, I use those too.” ¬†She said “I cussed my sister out.” ¬†I said “Oh, I do that.” ¬†She looked at me with a raised eyebrow and said “Really? ¬†Tell me what you said.” I thought quickly. ¬†There were only a few cuss words I even knew existed. ¬†Finally, I settled on just repeating the few I knew. ¬†I finished my made up tirade and looked at her. ¬†She was smirking. She was not convinced and I was embarrassed. ¬†I did not hang out with her again. ¬†The whole experience was short lived, but I still remember it to this day. ¬†As the years went by I realized the importance of friend choices. ¬†I’ve always had amazing friends. *blessed*

Probably in the 5th grade the word ‘weird’ caught on. ¬†Everyone was saying it. ¬†I decided I’d say it too. ¬†A girl has to constantly work on keeping her coolness up. ¬†I started using it at home the first day I decided to introduce it into my vocabulary. ¬†My father said, ‘What does weird mean? What is the definition?’ ¬†My sisters and I looked at each other. ¬†Um. ¬†“It means strange”. ¬†My dad said ‘Go get the dictionary and look it up. ¬†You shouldn’t say words you don’t know the definition of.’. ¬†I still remember looking it up and reading the short definition. ‘Weird – magical or unearthly.’ I have even told my kids that definition without looking it up. ¬†Funny how that stuff just sticks with me even years later.

Not long after that, maybe a year or so, I decided that ‘sucks’ was a word I should include in my vocabulary. ¬†Other kids at school were saying it. ¬†And, I heard it often enough that I could make it sound normal in conversation. ¬†I started small. ¬†I used it in group settings of friends. ¬†No one batted an eye. ¬†Excellent. I’d pulled it off! ¬†My ascension to coolness was on its way! ¬†I continued to use it out of my parents earshot. ¬†It became engrained in my speech. ¬†One day my sister and my friends were at my house. ¬†I was probably in 6th grade by then. ¬†My sister said something and I replied loudly “That sucks!”. ¬†My dad looked at me. ¬†I instantly got red. ¬†I was in for it. ¬†I knew it. ¬†My dad sat down and said “Do you know what sucks means?” ¬†We said “yes, it means like awful, or stupid or something.” ¬†He said, “no. ¬†It comes from a sexual reference” and he went on to explain. ¬†My sister, my friends, and I just stared at him. What was he even talking about? ¬†It may have that meaning to some people, but it certainly didn’t to us. ¬†In fact, why was he trying to be so logical about the whole thing? ¬†We were simply being cool and using the common lingo. ¬†I remember staring at him and thinking ‘this conversation is really bizarre. ¬†I am never going to remember this and it’s not a big deal if my friends & I are saying cool things. I can’t wait to be a parent so I can just let my kids do whatever and never correct them about stupid stuff.’

Now, I’m a mother. ¬†I have three amazing children. ¬†And, every once in awhile they say something or do something that brings out the logical conversation moment. ¬†Just the other day they all three downloaded a fun new app all their friends are playing. ¬†It’s called “Make it rain”. ¬†They asked me. ¬†I looked at it. ¬†It seemed harmless enough. ¬†It’s actually pretty lame. ¬†They constantly have to ‘fling’ money on their screen. ¬†Each of them was trying to outdo the others and their friends. Whatever. No biggie. ¬†It’s not like they are sending inappropriate photos or anything. ¬†My husband was in the kitchen while they were talking about it and he said ‘wait, it’s called what?’ ¬†My oldest said (slowly for his poor OLD dad to hear and understand) ‘Make it rain’. ¬†My husband said ‘Do you know the what the phrase make it rain means?’ and he began to explain that gang bangers use that term in how they spread money to strippers.

And, immediately I left the room to go in my own room and have a chuckle at this full circle my life has had. ¬†From the pre-teen to teen who was positive logical conversations would have no bearing on my life (and yet I remember them decades later) to the parent who explains things logically in hopes that it will make a difference somewhere in the kids’ brains. ¬†Sometimes yelling is the go-to, but sometimes I try to sit down and be calm and logical so the kids might listen. ¬†We will see. ¬†They just might…