Tis the Season


It’s football and volleyball season.  That means volleyball practices at 6am and football practices until 6pm.  That means rushing to and from work to fit in games and practices.  It means trying to enjoy all the accomplishments my children make while trying to encourage them to improve and grow.  It means dinner is cooked between 7 and 8 at night.

This year I’m coaching my daughter’s volleyball team.  It’s been so fun.  The girls are excited to be there and most are beginners so they haven’t created bad habits yet! The team is made up of 6th and 7th grade girls.  As my husband says – the best part of our game so far is our cheering and our warm up.  But, these girls are coming along and will all make excellent volleyball players very soon.

team

(Yeah, that’s me on the right – shorter than half the players.  I’ve had a few people ask me if it bothers me that I’m shorter than these girls.  Um, NO!  I honestly don’t think about it much and didn’t even notice until I saw this picture.)

Here is my favorite picture so far this season – the formation gets me every time.  (Yes, I’m special).

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I’m more calm this year with the football thing.  Well, I volunteer to run the spirit wear table so I miss 1/2 the game. And, I try not to look when my son is getting hit or hitting people…but I am more calm. HAHA  He still is loving it and it’s been a true joy to watch him improve over the past couple years.  My favorite part is the comradery that is built in to football.  The boys love and protect each other.  There is no instance where that doesn’t happen on the team.  It’s pretty amazing to watch these boys come together like that.  All but six are new – it speaks volumes about their coaches that they enforce that.

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(My boy is #30)

So, with coaching and watching and selling spirit wear the subject of how much time it takes to be a parent for an athlete (or a child in drama or band or whatever) has come up.  It IS time consuming.  It takes hours and hours and hours of our lives to be there to drive, pick up, coach, practice at home, cheer, and just BE there at games.  But, you know what?  How much time is “too much” to invest in our children?  The time they are with us is short.  A mere 18 years before they move on to things that will take them away from us.  My oldest is a junior.  In a year and a half he will be off to college.  How could I ever choose to miss these few passing moments?  I couldn’t.  I can’t imagine not being there for him or experiencing his joys, his letdowns and just his life with him.  The same is true for the twins.  I want to see them growing and learning.  I want to cheer for them when they do well.  I want to cheer for them when they need some encouragement!

 

These are the blessings the Lord has entrusted us with.  All too soon they will be grown.  Enjoy these fleeting moments.  Cheer as loud as you can.  Lose your voice by the end of each game.  Try to attend every performance, every game – we all know none of us will make every single thing – but do your best!  Your kids see you trying and they love you for your efforts.

Motherhood, my friends – embrace it!

 

Good report


We took a quick trip to Sacramento today to check in with our girl’s neurologist.

Two and a half years ago she had her first seizure. We were terrified & worried for what it meant for our sweet girl.

We laid it at Jesus’ feet and have had so many friends and our families join us in prayer for her.

Today the neurologist gave us good news! Her blood tests look great and she hasn’t had a seizure since they changed up her meds at our last appointment.

So, now our next goal is to reach two years seizure free. We are currently at nine months free. Please join us in prayer that the meds will continue to control the seizures.

The doctor told us originally he believed she would outgrow her epilepsy, and today he reiterated that there is still an excellent chance she could completely outgrow it! Praise the Lord!!

We are so thankful that her epilepsy can be managed & that it doesn’t affect too much of her every day life. We are blessed!

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 völva!! 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. 🙂
 

 

Selling Memories


This weekend we had an estate sale to clear out a lot of my mother’s things for my dad because he’s moving to a smaller house.

The amount of stuff my mother had was unbelievable.  We all knew she had a lot.  We’d even seen all the stuff at various points of our lives.  But, when we pulled it all out and compiled it – the sight was amazing.  In fact, the task seemed overwhelming.

estate1

We decided to have a two day sale.  (In retrospect we should have had a three day sale, but hindsight is 20/20 so whatever).  We had flowers from four weddings, huge amounts of Christmas decorations, more wicker basket options than you’d find at any home store, an entire library worth of books, and the most insane amount of fabric you could imagine. Those were the main items, and then we still had toys, games, clothes, furniture, and household items.  My sisters and I added a few of our own things to sell and we all plunged in head first.

flowers

A small amount of the flowers we had.fabric

 

A corner of the fabric section

What I found the most amazing (aside from the billions of items we actually had for sale) was the different emotional response we all had to selling off items our mom picked out for us and for herself.  There were very specific varying degrees of attachment and response.

1. Detached except for a very few select items.

This was me.  I have very little attachment to things.  I love photos and memories.  I don’t need the physical item to remember and I don’t feel any closer just by having those items around.  After I made the first sale I teared up.  I didn’t want the stuff, but it was hard to see people walking off with my mom’s things. And, I caught my breath when my old cabbage patch kids were pulled out of the bin. I distinctly remembered working hard to earn the money to buy them and the site of them brought immediate memories.  But, it wasn’t difficult for me to set aside the nostalgia when it came time to do what we needed to do.

2. A blend of attached and detached, but reasonable.

My little sister was all about letting go of things and cleaning out for my dad.  But, she was also honest about grabbing things and saying “I know it’s completely unreasonable, but I want this and am not letting it go.” She only did it a few times, and a few times she would say something like “I really want to keep that, but I can’t use it and don’t need it.

3.Attached to every.single.item.

Our oldest sister struggled each time someone bought something.  She’d go take things out of people’s hands and say “sorry, that’s not for sale.”  She would recount stories of items and half the time I’d forgotten the story until she shared it again.

It was amazing that we were all raised in the same house and had such varied responses.  We all saw different value in all the items.  It wasn’t a matter of who was right and who was wrong.  It was just an excellent study of the differences of humans in the same situation.

The one thing for sure – we were all emotionally drained by the end of the weekend.  We knew we had a big job and we did it.  I’m so thankful it’s over.

girls

 

 

Emotional Whirlwind


Sometimes I feel like I can’t keep up with the emotions that life brings my way.  I spend my day somewhere between joyful and on the verge of tears.  To be honest – most of the time I like it.  It helps remind me I’m alive.

My oldest got his license last week.  He is now driving himself and running my errands.  My feelings on that?  Happiness that he is a strong and handsome young man who I can trust with a motorized vehicle.  Tears that he is so far past the years of sitting on my lap and cuddling with me while he tells me all his secrets, singing with me, and wanting to spend time with only me.

My twins are now connected to the internet (even if it’s only at convenient and free wifi spots).  I’ve had to make the rule that they must put their devices of electronic joy away when we’re in the car because it’s the only place we’re forced to be together and talk.  Soon they will be 12 and life is quickly slipping by and they will be off doing their own thing too.

A few weeks ago we found out that my mom’s cancer is terminal.  There is nothing more they can do for her, but make her comfortable.  Something about that makes a person stop, think, and become so emotional over all the years filled with little things that have added up into one big thing called “The Love of a Mom”.  There is no place for reason or logic in this time and place.  I only see with emotion.  To be fair, I am sure that all of life is seen through emotion tempered by logic and reason.  Somehow, I feel like that tempering is gone.

There is no way to express all that a mom does and I realize that my mom has not lived what most would consider a glamorous life.  But, she has been a wonderful mom to so many.  She has spent long nights helping a child with a broken leg, or with a temperature, or any other illness.  She has driven thousands of miles to and from school with very little complaining.  She’s made hundreds of costumes at the drop of a hat.  She’s baked hundreds (maybe thousands) of cupcakes for parties, carnival cake walks, and just as a treat because she loved us.  She remembered everyone’s favorite meal on their birthday. She spent thousands of hours on laundry.  She listened to me singing nonstop every day.  I don’t remember her ever asking me to stop.  She watched so many dance and piano recitals – always in the back making sure we were ready and encouraging us along the way.    The one thing I noticed more and more as I got older was that my mom always ALWAYS had her Bible open with her journal next to it on her bed. She never missed a night.  When I go in her room now – her Bible and her journal are still by her bed.  She is nothing if not faithful.

Even now, when we sit by her bed and talk she says things like “Well, let’s just pray for them.” if we are complaining about someone.  Or she will say “We are just living this life for Jesus.  He knows how it all ends and we just want to be able to show him to everyone around us.”

That’s her legacy.  Her faithfulness and her sweet heart.  And the emotions I have for this season are LOVE for this woman who is faithful, a lovely example of a true Christ follower – even in the hard times, and pride for how I know she is showing Jesus even when she is sick and in pain.  She’s amazing. And, to this girl – she’s even pretty glamorous.