Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Keeping Up

January is past us now. We are fully into the new year. And I have been able to keep up with most of my goals so far.
1. Read through the Bible - so far I am only a day behind in my log, but I should hopefully catch up soon.
2. Run a 5k. - I haven't signed up for one yet. I'm still having a hard time getting motivated when it is rainy and cold outside! And I don't do treadmills.
3. Acknowledge birthdays - My sister had her birthday last month and we had a little surprise for her. I invited some ladies over to watch the Cinderella (2015) since most of them had not seen it. And we managed to bring presents and cake along to celebrate my sister's birthday, which was the day before. I didn't personally get to see my mother-in-law on her birthday earlier in the month, but my husband was able to take her out for lunch.
 4. Pray for my husband every morning. - ok, so maybe not every morning this month, but every day, definitely.
5. Blog weekly - oops. But hey, here I am!

So January was full of swim meets and basketball games, which are probably the sports of heaven in my mind. I love seeing my kids excel in their sport! Watching the Boy play ball, I am reminded of my time on the court so long ago. I had plenty of enthusiasm and not so much talent. I think he has both. he is also blessed by coaches who want to help him get better. They take the time to tell him what to change, to encourage him when he needs it, and also to get in his face and yell at him when he needs that too. My daughter, the Girl who Swims, has also been blessed by some great coaches! Her basketball coach in middle school was, and still is, one of our favorite coaches. She knew how to push the girls, and encourage them and help them get better with the talent they had. My girl went from never playing basketball to scoring double digits. And now that she is swimming, her coach there is just as great, helping to push her to find her full potential. The Girl who Swims was mentioned in a local story about the school's swim team - because she had won her race. It wasn't until we read the story the day after the meet that we learned that she had won! She didn't tell us that. I don't think she is quite convinced yet that she is an athlete, and a good one!

School at home has been going much better since January. I was feeling so overwhelmed in the Fall, and I knew something had to change. I don't know what has changed - I am still responsible for the same amount of stuff/meetings/ etc. but our homeschool time has gotten better and dare I say it, More Fun. Being a part of the schooling instead of just telling the girls to "read this" is a big part of the change. We talk more and there aren't quite as many tears as before. Staying home is a treat! Today I had nowhere I had to be, and I felt like we *should* be going somewhere - I mean, it is Sunny outside!! But we have nowhere we need to go; I can just relax and enjoy being the STAY at Home Mom.

Friday, January 15, 2016

January

15 days into the new year.
I'll share with you some of what has been happening around here.
It was a rough week last week. And it is going to be tough for a little longer, emotionally.

I had planned on writing here at least weekly, but then we had some kick-in-the-stomach moments that derailed my plans. We got some news that sent my thoughts to tumbling, like towels and sheets in the dryer -- you know how they get twisted and turned around and fall all over? That's what the thoughts in my head were doing, and I couldn't make sense of them. All I could do was pray for the people affected even deeper by the latest events. So forgive me if this post doesn't flow well, or if it rambles.

A week into the New Year we heard that the son of a family in our church, had died. He was 19. In our viewpoint that was not the time to go to heaven. And my mama-heart hurts for his mama, who now has to face each day without her firstborn. I drive by their house and tears come to my eyes as I hurt for them.
A couple of days after this tragedy, we got the news that the Mr's Boss had died. He was maybe 40. He had been battling cancer for a few years. We had been praying, since the day the Mr. met him, that he would be healed; that his kids would grow up with their dad by their sides. But last Sunday God called him home to heaven. And my wife-heart hurts for that Mrs left here to raise their kids without him.  
Both the Boss and the other young man were amazing people, full of love for everyone, full of laughter. I think that is one word that will often be used to describe both of these men - laughter.
The Boss was full of giving, even up to the end. I met him a handful of times, and he touched my life with his amazing strong faith in God's goodness, in his love for other, and his joy of life. The Mr. went to the Boss' memorial service today (I was unable to go due to commitments I couldn't get out of) and he said it was a difficult one. I can't imagine, I can only hurt for that family, and pray for them to get through the day.
We'll go as a family to our friends' service next week, and we will hurt and cry and pray alongside them and many others.

Friday, January 1, 2016

A New Year of Goals

Happy New Year!
I'm looking forward to a great year. We had some highs and lows in 2015. We'll have some of the same in 2016, I'm sure. But for now it is a big open slate, ready to be written on.
I've decided to try again and make some goals for myself in this coming year, and I'll share them with you.
1. Read through the Bible.
I haven't done this in a long long time. My 10 year old brought this up, wanting to do it, so I decided to come alongside and do it with her.

2. Run a 5k with each of my family members this year.
This means each of my children and my husband, NOT my siblings/extended family. Although that would be awesome. I've done 5k's with my brother, a niece, a sister-in-law and my aunt, (and a marathon with my niece!) but I would love to see more of my extended family exercising. If a 5k challenge would get them moving, I'm up for it. And you know who you are!!

3. Acknowledge family member's birthdays. I tried one year to send cookies to each of my siblings for their birthdays. I think I made it to April. When you have 7 brothers, 2 sisters, 2 brother-in-laws, 9 sister-in-laws and then all those nieces and nephews ... well, I don't always get a card of something in the mail to them. I want to change that this year. I think this will probably be the hardest goal for me to meet.

4. Pray for my husband every morning.
Not much explanation to this. I need to do it. I'm so very thankful he is with us still, and I do pray for him often. But I want to be more intentional about it this year.

5. Blog at least once a week.
I am going to try and cut back on my commitments. I shared with someone recently that I have (once again) over committed my time, and I am stressing out. As my husband put it, I'm "doing too much and not doing it well." So I want to cut back on outside commitments, and have the time again to write. I think of so many things I want to put down, and yet rarely have the time and energy to do it.

So that's my list for now.
We'll hopefully check back in a month and see how it is.

So this is Christmas

Merry Christmas from all of us!

Christmas came even though I wasn't fully "prepared".
((I'm planning on sending those cards and letters out ..... this week. ))

I did get the gifts all taken care of in time.
So my little family had our Christmas party the Eve before. My kids went all out this year. I was so proud. Now that they are able to work some, they have some spending money. And this year they bought gifts for each sibling and parents. So the 7 of us - times that many gifts (at least one per person) meant we had a lovely pile under the tree. It was so fun to see them give each other the gifts they had spent time and thought on. I think it was one of my favorite moments.

And I did get the house (mostly) cleaned. Our company didn't seem to mind the dust bunnies too much. We had a blast with the cousins! The Mr.s family arrived on Christmas afternoon and the games began. The teasing, the jokes, the good conversation, the jostling of 13 of us in our house - then 15 when the grandparents came to the party.
 It was a very joyous time. We had some late nights playing games and laughing at each other er, laughing ourselves silly.The grand finale of the day was the Christmas Can Can. And that was probably one of my favorite moments.

 Family and fun - totally worth the dust bunnies.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Countdown

It's almost here!
Christmas is just a few days away.
The question most people ask around this time of year: "Are you ready for Christmas?"
Oh boy, am I ever! I love Christmas!
But I don't think that is quite what the question is. I think what they mean is "Do you have everything you need to celebrate?"
And in some ways, the answer is still YES. I have my family. I have a home. Most importantly, I have Jesus.
But in the eyes of today's society I am not "ready" for Christmas. I have a couple of gifts hiding in the closet. The Boy and I went and cut a tree last week, with the help of the two youngest girls. All the girls decorated the tree. The lights are hanging on the fence and gutter, and they are on.
But I haven't done our baking.
I haven't cleaned the house for company.
I haven't written the Christmas letter or addresses the cards.
I haven't gotten all the gifts.
I haven't made the stocking for Little K that I wanted to make.

I am hoping I get that stuff done this week.
And I am hoping I am feeling well enough to do it.
We just finished 9 days straight of some event Every.Single.Night. So it's no wonder that my body shut down this weekend. We were fighting colds, some of us worse during the week than others. And this morning, I didn't wake up until it was the time that we are usually at church. And when I tried to get up I had such vertigo, that I stayed in bed until mid-afternoon. By then I was done napping and so bored. I made my way out to the couch and spent some time with my people.
Tonight I am feeling much better. It was either watching my girls make dinner, or the ice cream we had for dessert, but I think I am going to be able to cross at least one of the To-Do's off the list tomorrow.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Just Keep Swimming

This girl has been a swimmer since she had her first bath!
It's one of the few ways she is not like her mama.
Even a slip and fall into a river (and near drowning) at age 2 did not deter her from becoming a swimmer. Water is like a magnet pulling her in, whether it is cold or warm.
She has competed on swim teams during various summers, and loved most every moment of it. There were a few times when we got glares from her. She was being challenged by learning a certain stroke, and looked at her dad as if to let him know she Was.Not.Happy. Thankfully she is a determined girl and overcame that challenge and conquered the Butterfly.
This season is her first high school swim season. The middle school does not have a swim team, and so she was only able to swim/compete for a few weeks in the summer. But I think she was counting down the days until Swim team started in November. She found her happy place.
Because she is a freshman, and because their practice was right after school, she started swimming on the JV team. But only a week after starting the coach approached the Mr about having our girl move up to Varsity. We had to take time over the Thanksgiving break to discuss this, since it would mean a change in many things. Now the Girl who Swims has to get up really early in order to get to practice at 5:30 am. So far, after 2 days, she has done it, and done it happily. I have a feeling it isn't going to be a problem for her, even though she is not a morning person. It's going to be a great season!
 



Thursday, December 3, 2015

December

We are 3 days into the month of December and yet it feels like Christmas is coming in just a couple of days! Have I done anything to get ready for Christmas? We strung some lights - have yet to plug them in. We've gotten out the boxes. Maybe I will decorate today. I've thought about the cards and yearly letter. Still thinking.
I sure enjoyed having all my kids at home during the Thanksgiving break. Even though it was busy with school conferences and shopping for items we don't have time to shop for during 'normal' days, I still had fun with my minions, playing games, having dinner together (!) visiting family. And now, I am so ready for that Christmas break!
Between basketball, swimming and choir rehearsals, and everyday life, we've managed to celebrate another birthday. The Boy turned 17 this week. How is this possible? I ask myself nearly every day this week, And yet, the return image from the mirror of my white hairs threaded through my head shocks me into reality. The Boy has grown into a man. This past September when we experienced a trauma I never want to relive, my son showed us the man he is growing into. He stepped up and took care of us, wanting to fix the situation, but unable to, and still helping me and his sisters get through those painful scary hours.

My niece, my goddaughter, graduates from college this weekend. This little girl who now towers over me, physically, with her beautiful model looks and academically, with her super-smart brain, will be taking on the world. Watch out world!  I still remember the phone call when she was born, and when my brother and sister in law honored me by asking me to be her godmother. (Hopefully something good came out of that.) It has been a joy watching her grow-up, along with all my other nieces and nephews! and turn into lovely people that I really like to be around.

The Advent season is upon us, helping us prepare for Christmas. I am fortunate to be able to enjoy the pre-Christmas season through the eyes of a 5 year old. The different perspectives are so fascinating to watch. Last year ((I love post-Christmas sales!!)) I bought a countdown "calendar" for the two youngest, and I hid it in my closet for the entire year! That in itself is a major coup. I brought it out on Nov. 30 and gave it to them. Squeals of delight and excitement emanated at a high-pitch. I kind of wanted to dig into it myself. So the last 3 mornings, they have raced out to open the door of the day. What could be more fun than a Lego countdown to Christmas?!

22 days to go.