Thursday, June 12, 2014

No, You're Never Gonna Get It...

Yep I totally just jacked a 90's hip hop song title. So fitting for what this post is about...ok, not really, but it fits, except that I'm not referring to "my loving" that will elude you. Have you ever driven with no headlights? Not really a good idea, so don't try it, in the literal sense you're likely to die. How about left on a trip with no map? Or GPS or phone or compass, only a destination and maybe only a vauge idea of where that was? 

When I was in High School my best friend and I ditched school to go to "the beach" . Neither one of us had ever driven to a beach or really had any idea of where the beach was, besides east of Reading, PA . So we left. And started driving something kinda like south east. Not. A. Clue. I remember stopping at a convenient store somewhere near the PA-Maryland border to read a map. It literally felt like I'd been driving through corn fields for hours. Maybe I had, or maybe I was just young, but I had faith that if I stayed the course, we would eventually get to the coast. We didn't take a high way, we didn't even take a well marked secondary, we literally were on some back winding roads, driving in the general direction of "the beach" on a route that I could be fairly certain no one has driven before or since from Reading PA to "the beach". Where did we end up? I actually have no idea. But every winding road, corn field, and farm we passed eventually dumped us out at some pretty spectacular sparkling water. We saw some beautiful things on the trip there and back. Actually, the crazy drive ended up being what made it worth while. The goal got reached, but it was nothing compared to the road there. We could have done what everyone does, jumped on the same old highways, gotten stuck in the traffic of everyone trying to get to the shore faster than the next person, and arrived at the same piece of beach as everyone the same time...on the same day...stayed our Saturday to Saturday, and then fought the same cars on the same highway, to get home faster and better than the person in the car next to us. 


The rat race isn't for me. It wasn't then,and it isn't now. Fitting in, doing what everyone thinks is the right/best/normal way isn't for me. And interestingly, my husband feels the same way. Our faith has put us in some category so far outside what 99% of the population thinks is "normal" that we might as well not even bother trying to find the expressway at this point. The choice to live humbly baffles some. The real evaluation of what our "needs" vs "wants" are, the choice to do without what some see as necessities is confusing. This world is full of distractions, big 4 lane highways that everyone is on, following the pack, believing that's the only way to find the beach. I'm not on the highway, and I'm not going to the same beach, but I am moving and I am going to "the beach", walking in faith every day, and watching the beauty of the journey unfold,taking joy in giving all the glory to God. My path is now and will forever be lit by The Lord. 

"...Lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will light your paths" Proverbs 3:5

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Dog Days of Pregnancy

I got my weekly email notification today. You're 26 weeks pregnant! Only 14 more weeks to go! Whaaaaat!?FOURTEEN!? Apparently BabyCenter expects that along with knowing what fruit or vegetable your baby currently most closely resembles, you're also very excited to know exactly how many more days you can expect to have heartburn and a backache for. This is the point where it really just starts to feel like I have been pregnant FOREVER. Those first 20 weeks felt nice and quick. I think that is mostly because I spent about 12 of them in a sleep or nausea induced coma, brightened only by the happiness that quelling the occasional food craving brought me. The last 6 weeks weren't terrible either. There were plenty of holiday activities to distract me, and last week I came down with a rotten flu that cost me roughly 3 pounds of baby weight (and a stern talking to from my practitioner on avoiding illnesses with my compromised immune system)with all that behind us, now. it. is just. winter. and I still have 14 weeks to go. I could start preparing now,washing, sorting, buying diapers etc. but I would be done in a month and then seriously be ready and still have 10 weeks left to do nothing but stare at all the baby things. I think it's time to start knitting. That's how I kept my sanity when I was expecting Alaina. Except now I have Alaina...and Evan...and they are SO busy that I couldn't even finish my Christmas knitting project. I assume it's silly to expect that I could finish a baby blanket in the next 14 weeks, no matter how V E R Y looooong they might seem. So what to do when you're not newly pregnant, but not really close to having a new baby either? In the words of Dori (possibly the most profound theologian of our time) "Just keep swimming." and just keep swimming I will, with as little impatience as possible. That is until next week when I get the "Only 13 more weeks to go!" email and start my frustrated preggo rant again. :)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Sticky counters, kids, and dads...

It was brought to my attention by a friend yesterday that I appear to be so "put together". Naturally, I nearly spit out my Cherry 7up when she told me this as I stood in the middle of my kitchen still in my sweats,attempting to make dinner on counter tops that were so cluttered I could barely work, dodging rouge Nerf gun darts, with a puppy barking incessantly, and 2 toddlers making various demands and complaints, while simultaneously communicating with her, my husband and another friend. No, I'm not THAT put together! 

Ever heard that saying "Act like a duck"?
Apparently, I do. I certainly don't make an effort to, but obviously my feathers seem neatly arranged while I paddle frantically to stay above water. I hope this is a validating post for many of you, because the truth is June Cleaver does not exist in real life. Kids are messy, men are messy, dogs and cats are messy, cooking is messy, *I* am messy. Real life is messy. If my house looks clean in pictures, that's because I took a picture of the only clean part, if my daughter's hair looks perfect, that's because I took a picture of it before I let her move a muscle, if my makeup looks I can't even pretend I have time for that. 

I have recently come to the conclusion that even the people whom I think are excellent house keepers, neat freaks, or organizational prodigies are real people too. I have a lovely Aunt who I think keeps a perfect house, who's children seem to have nothing (and I mean NOTHING) out of place in their rooms. This woman keeps a date book (it's really a binder) on PAPER that is as chic as it is functional, and I'm pretty sure that my uncle is the epitome of perfectionist heaven. If he ever left his dirty socks on the floor in his life (or owned dirty socks for that matter) I would be shocked. Sounds too good to be true right? I bet it is. Am I certain that my aunt is 10 times the woman that I could ever hope to be? Absolutely. BUT...she has dirty dishes, and laundry, and kids, and animals, and maybe (although I still doubt it) a dirty husband too. I bet she goes to bed some nights without the crumbs wiped off her pristine counter tops. And why? Because she, like us all, is a human, wife, and mother, and also wears about 100 other hats during her busy work day. Nothing, no one, is perfect 100% of the time. Most of us aren't perfect 95% of the time. I don't think it's something to feel guilty or overwhelmed about either. We all have different priorities, but be REAL. Embrace the mess, know that these days are long but the years are short. The crumbs will wait until tomorrow...but that little person  learning to take those first few steps won't. Above you can see what leaving my toilets 'til tomorrow got me, and I'll leave you with some scary pictures of our current not-so-put-together (very real)  state. 'Til next time

Sunday, January 5, 2014

is it loud in here?

After a much too long estrangement, I finally decided to visit my poor lonely blog today. Not much had changed as you might expect. The same old posts were still here to greet me, the pictures hadn't faded, and my tired old template was still looking springy and fun. - Deep breath - time for a facelift. I had more trouble than I'd like to admit changing backgrounds and headers, and while I'm giving up the blog decorating for the day, I can't say I'm done for sure. I took a few minutes this afternoon to read through my not-so-numerous past posts as a way of maybe taking stock of what has changed since I started the blog. The answer: everything and nothing. In the last year we have had a job change, location change, family vehicle change(which will undoubtedly be changing again due to our growing family) 2 new dogs, and the list goes on and on. Looking back, some of those changes have suited us better than others. Looking ahead to 2014, there are still many to come. What hasn't changed? We are undeniably blessed with a healthy family, steady job, solid marriage,and a house full of beautiful children. I don't make New Year's resolutions. I've always sort of felt that if you see something that needs changing, you just do it. Time of year shouldn't matter much when it comes to self improvement. For this reason I pretty much always have a crazy long list of goals(ironically, I am choosing to list them during the first week of January :). They work out about half the time. Some are big goals, some are pretty minor, but all are equally important to me. This year I added teaching German to my 2 older children as part of our homeschool curriculum. If you'd ask me now, I'd say it's going pretty well. They seem to be picking it up pretty quickly thanks to a little app called "Duolingo" (as a byproduct, I'm learning quite a bit myself) Other goals on my list are to seriously simplify our lifestyle from our eating habits, to the things we own. As blessed as I think we are, we just have WAY. TOO. MUCH. Last but not least on my goal list is to cut down on the horrific screeching noise level in our house. There has to be a way...I'm welcoming comments or suggestions from other moms of many on what you do to keep a reasonable volume in your house when the winter energy overload seems to be audibly spilling out of your kids. With any luck I'll be back a little more often this year to keep you posted on my New Year's resolutions that aren't...

Monday, February 11, 2013

"Grit" and Bear it.

I am not a perfect mother. For some reason, when you have six kids running through your house, or trucking along behind you at the grocery store, people draw a number of conclusions. The first is something like "Wow, you must really have it together." I don't. The second is "Man, your marriage must be a fairytale." It's not. And the third is, "You must be rich." We aren't. In fact, most of the things that "people" think it must take to raise six kids, we don't have. The biggest of which is endless patience. I will admit that yesterday was a sad example of my sometimes less than desirable length fuse. For starters, I just could not get my head in the game. Honestly, I probably need to get out more. We didn't go to church. We could have, but the ability to sleep in took over, and Sunday ended up being the day of rest but certainly not one of spiritual renewal. It wasn't really the spiritual renewal I needed though, it was just a chance to put on "real" clothes and a little bit of make-up and remember what the world looks like beyond the corn fields outside. Second, I have a teething, almost two year old. Which is in my opinion is way worse than a teething infant. I mentioned, he's almost two, which equals loud, persistant, belligerence. Third, we have a super old farmhouse. It's wonderful in many ways, but the steps in this house isn't one of them. They are steep and slippery and well....they just stink. They are also configured in such a way that they're almost impossible to gate off. We figured out how. He figured out how to climb over. Sigh....we taught him to climb them safely which he can do. Then we taught him to bump, on his bottom, back down. He's good at that too. But sometimes between the travel up, or the trip back down, he gets undecided on the direction, and won't move. This happened yesterday. And after a nearly full day of listening to him whining and complaining, and yelling, and asking to be picked up, etc, etc, I was DONE. Then the stair thing happened. He wanted to go up and play in his brother's room. He got halfway up, and stopped. He sat there. I tried to get him to come down, standing at the bottom with an infant in my arms, and his brothers stood at the top and tried to entice him to come didn't matter WHERE he went, as long as it wasn't ON the steps. Yes, I could have gone up and carried him down (which I eventually did) but the point is for him to use the steps independently, and get from point A to point B without assistance. So as I stood there, asking nicely, attempting to get him to WANT to come down, I got increasingly frustrated. I said Evan, please come down, he yelled MOMMMMMY, annoyed that I was bothering him. I said You can't stay on the steps, come down and play blocks, and he stomped his feet and shook his head. And I found myself gritting my teeth, trying to remain calm, and not yell. I gritted my teeth so hard in fact that I. chipped. my. tooth. ---- time for a mommy time out. I handed the baby to my son, walked up the steps, tucked that toddler under my arm and marched him down to his room, and left them to play. I locked myself in the bathroom. Half for the quiet, and half to check out the damage in my mouth. It's minor, but it needs to be fixed. I read once that a mother's patience are like a tube of toothpaste, never really all gone. I'm not sure I agree with that. Mine are more like a box of Cherrios. There is a definite end, and they just get crummier the closer you get to the bottom. With any luck, the weather will start to improve and we will be able to spread out in the yard, soak up some much needed Vitamin D, and begin to feel alive again. In the meantime, I have a dentist appointment to make...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Hey Nemo, it's not snowing!

There's nothing but rain to be seen here in Central PA, at least not yet anyway. So how are we filling our time on this rainy day? First, we have some sensory play going on in the kitchen. (That's a fancy way of saying that I put some pasta in a baking pan and am currently watching it get spread around the floor) And, we have some fun art projects going on. Thanks to my love-hate relationship with Pinterest I found a seemingly simple but fun coloring project.(pictures below) Which interestingly appears to be more fun for the adults in the house than the kids. Although we have all spent time on these, and really enjoyed ourselves, and they're super easy to draw out yourself. Perhaps a tutorial is coming? In the meantime, for those of you who are seeing a LOT more snow than we will, stay warm, stay safe, and enjoy the white stuff!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Like sands through the hour glass...

My Dad is always telling me to enjoy this season of life, it's fleeting, and when it's gone, all I'll have are memories. This season-the one I've begun to affectionately refer to in my head as "The Tribulation", I fear,due to my sleep deprived, over caffeinated fog, I may not remember at all. So this morning, I decided on a small but meaningful project. I set out to spend no more than 5 minutes capturing our life exactly the way it is right now, messy as it may be, it is our "now". In reality I spent more like 10 minutes taking pictures and about that putting them into black and white, but 20 minutes is a small amount of time to invest in freezing the sands of our hour glass. -'til next time...