Sunday, January 29, 2017

Dedication

How many teenagers do you know who would get up at 4:30 a.m. on a school morning to jump into cold water?
The swim team does it willingly.
Every day.
For 3 months straight,
Including over Christmas break.
Not only that, how many of those teens would do double practices over the break, along with signing and abiding by a no-junk food clause for the entire season? Along with smelling like chlorine for a few months, because even though you shower right after, there is still a lingering smell from the pool, not a bad smell, but a lingering one.
This sport of their choice also means more laundry, more food, more I-can't -stay-up-and-watch -that-movie-because-I-have-swim practice-in-the-morning.
It means self-discipline, self-control, self-motivation.
But it also comes with teammates in the same position; friends who know exactly what you are going though; comradery that comes from mutual experience;
It comes with coaches who push you, believe you can do more; and motivate you to keep at it.
For my daughter it means getting herself downstairs on time every early morning to get a ride from Dad to the pool. She looks longingly at our ice cream on those nights when we have dessert (although we try and do it on the nights she isn't home).
She is a night-owl who loves swimming; which means, she has to adjust her schedule to meet her commitment.
So many life lessons wrapped up in one season during the school year.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Togetherness

On Friday I spent the whole day with these two

Actually I spend nearly every day with them; but this time we were in about a 3-foot radius of each other all day, from 10:30 in the morning until about 9 at night. And we weren't doing schoolwork.
It was a Go day.
We did our banking and then we went shopping - first for birthday gifts, and then we saw shoes, and clothes, and got a little sidetracked. Because we were suppose to be getting groceries.But first we needed lunch, so I took them out for a treat. We don't regularly go out to fast food places - except in the summer when we are at Grandpa's farm, so even Burger King for lunch in the winter is a special deal for my kids.
(Side note - I can specifically remember a handful of times my own mom took me out for lunch while we were shopping. Usually we had to get home to make lunch for others, but once in a great while we would stop at McDonalds for a special treat.)
And then it was on to grocery shopping. This is where their legs seemed to get tired and they both wanted to ride in the cart. Pushing a 6 year old and an 11 year old around the grocery store .... well, I just couldn't. So they whined a tiny bit, and leaned on me and leaned on the cart. But we made it through. It was close to the time we needed to pick up one older sister from school, but not so close that we had to go right away. So after storing the groceries int he trunk, we stopped into Burlington Coat Factory. You didn't' know that store was a special place, did ya? Well it is for my girls. Because ... It. Has. Escalators.
Yes!
Somehow their tired legs weren't so tired anymore. We checked out the cute dresses upstairs after the ride up, and then because of the clock, we had to take the ride down.
Heaven.
After a brief stop at the school and at home, it was back in the car to drop off the sister. Not enough time to go home again ... so -gasp- I took them out to eat again! Another kid favorite for supper -- IHOP. We had a fun time playing the menu games, and eating breakfast for supper. Then it was time to go - the reason we stayed in town was because the older sister was in her drama performance that night. So we had 'shopping, dinner and a show'. The play was very funny, and to top off the day's fun, they got some money to spend at the concession stand.
I think the two younger ones had a fun. I know I did.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Disappointment

How do you deal with disappointment?
When you're six, crying is usually tolerated. Last weekend we got another round of snow, lots of it; so much that everything was canceled.
We had family from out of state arrive on Friday night. We were looking forward to basketball games and swim meets, sharing our lives with our visitors.
Then cancellations started trickling in. And all of our plans were wiped out. Little K had been so excited to have her very first basketball game and to have her cousins there to watch. When you've been dragged to numerous games and meets for older siblings, having someone special there to come to your game .... Well it's enough to send a 6 year old into a near frenzy. Alas, it was not to be.
So we readjusted, relaxed and spent plenty of time inside playing while the snow blew outside.
This last weekend we had a number of plans too. Our lives are busy, so nearly every day has plenty in it. But once again, disappointment visited our house. The fevers hit our youngest two minions. Once again, no basketball game, no church, no friends over to play (thankfully no cousins here either to get the sickness!)
But then on Wednesday, the skies parted. Well, the sunshine came out at least. The rain fell and melted all the snow. I was able to go for a run - the first time in 2 weeks. It felt wonderful. So even though there was disappointment, eventually there was joy.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Snow


The first snow day of the season was back in December and there was much rejoicing in our household and up and down the neighborhood. Kids bundled up and went outside to play for hours. Cold fingers and empty tummies drove them back inside, and then after a quick lunch and warm-up they were back out there. We parents snapped a bazillion photos of the kids in their snowsuits flying down the hill in their cute winterized outfits, on sleds, throwing snowballs, eating (clean) snow. We relished the peaceful quiet that snow brings - slowing down our days, with no where to go, and no hurry-up, we relaxed and enjoyed the day.
And then the second snow storm hit a few weeks later. My kids played outside for about an hour. No one wanted to go for a walk with me in the snow. Thankfully my visiting sister-in-law was up for it. She's from snow country - Wyoming/Colorado -  so snow wasn't any reason to stay stuck inside. Our days came to a standstill however; meets and games were cancelled. This time we didn't relish the slow-down of our days. We wanted to go places and take our visiting family to places, and we couldn't. We did enjoy the time spent visiting with family, and the no-need-to-get-up-early days. And yes, the snow was as beautiful as the first snow. But after the initial awe, I was ready for it to be gone, and for life to get back to 'normal'. How fickle we humans can be.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Preparing for Another Year

The Mr. came across our daughter, the One who Swims, laying on the kitchen counter. When asked what she was doing, she answered, "Instagram."
When it was mentioned that the couch would be more comfortable, her reply: "It's too far to walk."
Yup, a whole 15 steps away.
Swim practices have been hard on her this Christmas break.

She has been swimming daily-doubles with her teammates; along with a signed 'contract' to not eat junk food during the season, her swimming has really improved.
We're thinking we might approach the Boy's basketball coach and suggest daily doubles, and no-junk-food contracts for those teams also.

Basketball season is in full swing for high school now. (Our 8th grader finished up in October.) He has scored and gotten rebounds when he is in the game, so that has been fun to watch, although his playing time at this point isn't quite what it used to be. Every season is a growing season, a learning season. No one is ever too old to learn something.

Speaking of which, I look back on the 6 years our Boy has been at away-school, I don't think I am the same person I was when I sent my firstborn off to school at age 12. I've changed from an insecure, awkward homeschool mom to just an awkward, but-trying, mom. Sometimes it feels like we grew up a little along with our kids as they navigate the world.

As we begin a new year, the tradition of resolutions is on my mind. But I'm making some goals for this year. A few are similar to ones I made in January of 2016;
2016 - 1. Read through the Bible (didn't make it)
2017 - 1. Read through the Bible in a year - doing this with my husband and a number of other church friends.

2016 - 2. Run a 5k with each of my family members (we all ran the Thanksgiving 5K together)
2017 - 2. Run regularly - training to do a 5K, and a Half sometime this year

2016 - 3. Acknowledge family members birthdays (oops. Facebook only.)
2017 - 3. Visit my in-laws regularly (monthly??)

2016 - 4. Pray for my husband every morning
2017 - 4. Pray for my husband and each child every day

2016 - 5. Blog at least once a week.
2017 - 5. Blog.

2017 - More and more, when faced with opportunities, I am asking myself - Am I living abundantly? Am I Living, or Existing? Am I taking the easy way out?  Am I embracing the life God has blessed me with? So I am going to continue on with that as part of my decision-making process, trying to live this life abundantly.