Sunday, December 26, 2010

It Matters

Today was full of delights.

Small moments to treasure had been happening all day, but I didn't stop to take an inventory of them as they were happening. It wasn't until I was listening to Andy and Jack and Joey laugh in the bathroom as they all took a bath together that I discovered that today was a good day.

As I was listening to them, I finished putting away the trappings of Christmas.

I tucked a luxury chocolate bar into my underwear drawer for the next sweet-tooth emergency. Isn't it nice to know that you have something scrumptious to indulge in on a day when you really need it?

I also cleared of my dresser, which so quickly collects clutter and lit a few candles. On top of my dresser I carefully placed my beautiful Christmas gift.

A several months ago I went shopping with a few girls with the express purpose of admiring beautiful things and celebrating our homes. Most of us have a tight budget, so we planned on finding something small that we could take home that would remind us that the tasks of our simple lives matter and that looking for beauty in the mist of those things is not only okay, but necessary.

We wandered the paths of Pier 1 and talked and laughed and each gravitated toward the sections of the store that might hold what we were after.

As I strolled my eye caught a beautiful lamp. I am not sure why it was so overwhelming to me, but the moment I saw it, tears came to my eyes. I know that is SO cheesy, but it is true. I've been living a long season where beauty feels hard to come by. I've felt outnumbered by people who love facts and reality and who have trouble seeing the value in the frivolous. In that company I've tried to think like I imagine they do. But I'm not built that way. I wasn't created that way. In trying to force myself into that kind of living, I've become disjointed, depressed and unable to find any footing that feels solid. Something about that lamp reminded me how important the lovely aspects of life are.

Not having a home of my own, while the lamp reminded me of the importance of beauty it also pressed on the tender part of my heart that believed that for now, my life - including beauty, is on hold. I so longed to claim the beauty of that lamp for my own and declare that beauty matters NOW, but I was still intimidated to say, out loud, that I need beauty for its own sake.

But I did say it. I told Andy that even if it sat in a box until we moved into our own space, I wanted to have it. I wanted to know that there was something to look forward to, even if it was just putting a lightbulb into a lamp.

So, like the wonderful husband he is, Andy bought me the lamp. It couldn't matter less to him what provides light to our home, but he is pretty smart about knowing when something matters to me. So even though he thought it was over-priced and not terribly sensational, yesterday morning I received a large box, with my reminder of beauty inside.

My original plan really was to just tuck it away. To hid it until everything in my life was just perfect. But that wasn't right. Didn't I just say that beauty matters now? If I keep putting it off and pretending like I can live without it, soon I won't recognize it when I see it. So I pulled it out. I put it together. And I remembered that life is good and that beauty is essential.

In the same way that I have suddenly realized that I need to actively invite beauty into my life, I recognized that creating is equally important. For me, to admire beauty is only half of the equation, creating it is the other.

So today I went and bought a canvas. When we moved I put all of my paints into storage but tomorrow I will be retrieving them.

I'm not sure what I will end up painting, but it will probably be purple. I'm really into eggplant these days.

And now, I'm sitting at the computer, watching the Biggest Loser finale and admiring a tiny box of Grey Salt Caramels that one of Andy's customers sent home for me. A woman I've never met. She was asking Andy about himself and after hearing his story she tied a bow on a tiny box and told him to take it home to his wife with a "bravo" and the encouragement that mothering is an important job.

Can I please be a woman like that?

It really was a good day. And tomorrow, when I wake up, expecting another morning of brain-fog and the familiar struggle of finding my footing an a season that has previously looked dreary, I will see my lamp, a true symbol of light in the dark and beauty in the ashes, and remember that there is hope.

And that beauty matters.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Comparing

I've been going through my pictures from the last year, enjoying sweet memories, and being amazed at how much can change in a year.

For example, take a look at how Jack has changed, in just a year:

From this:


To this:


Even more startling is how much it changes when you add a baby!



And since we are making comparisons, let's take a look at Jack and Joey at, oh, say 10 months:

Jack in Red, Joey in Elepahnts

What a pair of cuties!

And now, for the real reason for the post, my before CrossFit and, I won't say after, because I'm not done, but my six-months-into CrossFit comparison:

I have a side note before the pictures.
I was going to link you to what I thought
was one of my many posts
on my love for
(addiction to?)
CrossFit
but it turns out that I haven't really been writing
of my undying devotion
to my life-saving gym.
I've just been thinking about it.
And well, spending all of my extra life moments there.
I wasn't joking when I said
I can currently only handle three things
and I've decided to devote myself
to my husband, my kids and exercise
for a short period.
I was sort of glad, for your sake,
that I couldn't find too many links to
me waxing poetic about
Box Jumps and Push Ups and Squats
because really that would get mighty boring.
But then again, I guess writing about that would
be preferable to writing about nothing,
which I have been doing,
since all I do is CrossFit.
Quite a conundrum.
Anyway, without further ado...

Okay, this isn't a side note, but it is a disclaimer:

I was horrified to discover this picture at Jack's birthday party, one month after having Joey. I am even more horrified that I am actually posting it on the internet. Don't be surprised if I change my mind and you come back to find this post deleted. I KNEW that I gained some weight, but I didn't ever think I looked like this:


The sting of stumbling across this photo was somewhat lessened by the fact that I had just watched this video (the first one), posted on my gym's blog. That girl is me. And that bar is really heavy. Well, heavy for me.

Jesse, the trainer at the gym was gracious enough not to include the part of the workout that still makes me look ridiculous.

A lot of days when I workout, I know I still look foolish, but I don't really care at this point. I FEEL good, even if I LOOK silly. Those workouts really have been a life-saver.

And seriously, if you want to work hard and sweat a lot and have some fun and feel so proud of yourself every day and hang out with really interesting and wonderful people, find a CrossFit gym. There is NOTHING else like it.

Okay, I'm done with my plug.

I'm off to the gym!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

GAAAAHHHHHHHH!

I told you several months ago that I moved in with my in-laws.

I have a story I could tell, every day, about this adventure, but I am saving them all up to tell them in bulk some day.

Speaking of telling you stories,
it appears I have not
shared my dirty-mouth-due-to-Biggest Loser-story.
My apologies.
I shall remedy that now.
Let me start by telling you
that I just really don't like cursing.
I don't even like to say, "I swear"
when I mean "I'm totally serious."
Until this story took place,
I had only said one bad word
in my whole life.
It was in sixth-grade and I was late for the
bus for a band field trip
and I couldn't find my flute.
I said "the s word."
Gasp.
I don't even really like writing
"the s word."
But yes, I played the flute in middle school.
However nerdy and school-girl
you can imagine me at that age,
multiply it by about a million and a half,
and that would be me.
In purple stirrup pants.
But back to present day.
Imagine me a just a few weeks from birthing
my second son.
Huge.
And tired.
And with a brain that was totally malfunctioning.
Andy and I were watching
Biggest Loser.
Well, I was sort of spacing out on the couch
while Biggest Loser was on
and Andy was taking care
of things around the house
and wandering back to see highlights
of the show.
At some dramatic twist to the weigh-in
Jillian Michaels swore.
Big time.
Like the worst one of the bad words.
They beeped it out, but her mouth
made her emotions extremely obvious.
Andy heard drama on the screen
and wandered back to get caught up.
As he was walked into the room he
asked, "What'd she say?"
And without the slightest hesitation,
that dirty word fell out of my mouth.
And Andy fell right to the floor.
It took me just a second to realize what I had just done,
but Andy caught it immediately.
I am not sure
if he has ever laughed that hard.
Needless to say, my face was very red
and my dirty-mouth count now is up to two.

Anyway, I now live out in the country.

With a cat that catches mice and snakes.

And a family of dear, complete with a daddy-buck with antlers, that we see in the morning eating apples that have fallen from our apple tree.

Before you picture a barn, let me show you my current residence:


Not too shabby eh?

The house is new, but even new houses in the country can't avoid the blight on an otherwise perfect season.

Spiders.

The destroyer of all my lovely feelings about autumn.

Not just any spiders, wolf spiders. Don't click that link if you can't handle spiders.

Gah!

Now, I'm not life-or-death afraid of spiders. I'm just grossed out on a normal-person level. Except wolf spiders. I'm probably a little more then normal-person afraid of them.

Screams and everything.

Well, it appears that I will have to overcome that squeamishness if I am to raise two boys in the country.

Today Jack ran up to me with a very proud face and said, "Mama! What that?"

Usually he brings me a crumb or dust bunny to examine. A few times it has been a dead bug, but that has seemed manageable.

I was bracing myself for a fat fly or crusty crane-fly until he came up with a closed fist.

Dread set in.

He had something ALIVE.

He opened his hand, and his entire palm, his sweet, pudgy, baby-soft palm, was covered by a wolf spider.

I screamed.

He dropped it.

I then had the unfortunate task of catching the spider and killing it.

The only thing close enough to grab and still keep my eye on the spider was a piece of mail. Me with a tiny piece of paper against a killer-arachnid! I wildly tossed the envelope on the floor, hoping to have it land on the speedy, ugly guy and then squish him under it, but the spider was so big and fat that even when the envelope landed on it, it was no use, the spider just continued to crawl around - with a piece of mail on its back! What sort of monstrous bug does that?! Eventually I had to get a tiny big braver and press the paper down onto the spider with precision.

GAHHHHAAAAHHHHH!

Precision is difficult to manage when you are imagining a fist-sized spider turning on you, leaping at your face and then devouring your first-born child.

But I finally prevailed.

I wish I could convey my terror and disgust. Even writing it now I feel like I have bugs all over me.

But as soon as the carcass was disposed of I thought, who can I tell?

There is only one person who can fully appreciate the horror of such a moment.

My sister.

I called her and left a trembling message, ending with several reenactments of my shrieks at discovering the black creature on my son (insert gag here).

Jack though that my squealing was hysterical. For the rest of the night he asked me, "Mama, what'd you say?"

When I would forget I would say, "What do you mean?"

He would smile wickedly and say, "About a spider!"

Then it was my job to squawk and watch him laugh at the memory.

He also kept wanting to examine the envelope for signs of guts and leftover spider bits.

Oh boys!

How many more years of boys being interested in bugs do I have left? I'm not sure I can handle it if this becomes a daily habit, which I am afraid of given Jack's delight at my loss of self-control today.

Next time, I will have to try very hard to not make a scene.

Actually, I don't know if that is even possible.

I'll have to try something else.

Can you give a kid a time-out for bringing you gross things?

GAHHHHH!!!! Every time I think about it I shudder.

GAHHHHHH!!!!

This kid is going to give me a run for my money!




Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Good Day

Friends, I am really excited today.

I have a new hat to wear.

In addition to mother, wife, woman, sister, daughter, friend and an enormous selection of service-personnel descriptions, I am a FREE-LANCE WRITER!

It is true.

If you are paid to do something, that means you are legit, right?

Can I just tell you about writing?

Or more specifically, me writing?

I had no idea I LIKED to write until my last job. I worked for an incredible pastor who encouraged me in my writing and gave me every opportunity possible to word-smith and compose.

When I left that job for motherhood, writing was what I missed the very most, hence this tiny bit of cyberspace that I have claimed as my own.

Since leaving that position, some of my past co-workers have continued to ask me about my writing and what I might do with it some day.

Truthfully, while flattering, that is SO intimidating. I mean, I'm just a mom. Just a lady who likes to tell stories and likes to imagine that a handful of people are interested in the ridiculous aspects of my life.

I know some wonderful writers. I know that I am not in their league.

I still love to put thoughts to paper.

But now, things are happening. Small to start. I'm not working on a novel or the next great compilations of essays, but I am being invited to work as a professional writer and actually have multiple projects on the docket.

I still have no clue what writing will look like as part of my life in the future, I just know that it will be there... and I know that I like what it is now.

Seriously, free-lance anything sounds nifty, but a free-lance writer sounds AWESOME!

...

In addition to securing a new job title, I also made my first batch of successful chocolate chip cookies.

Go me!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

In-Between

*Um, I still have only been getting about two hours of sleep at a time (that makes about 7 months of sleep deprivation). I have a feeling that when I read back over this post it will be a little confusing and rambling, but it makes me feel like myself to write things, so I'm just trying to capture things when I can.

I also had a toddler bouncing on my lap the entire time.

So if you make it through the whole thing, kudos to you! Good luck!

...

Most days, I really, really love bedtime.

Some days I love it because it means I will be putting both of my li'l pumpkins away for the evening and freeing my hands for some activity of my choosing...

or the dishes...

but still,
doing dishes with two free hands
is infinitely easier
then doing them
with no free hands...

But those days are surprisingly rare.

What I really love about bedtime is that it is the part of our day that Jack and I both are most familiar with.

It has been the same, give or take a few details, from his birth.

It is a chance to end on a good note.

Some of the hardest days have ended with the sweetest cuddles and nighttime songs.

I also love bedtime
because it reminds me
of one of the most
memorable parts of my childhood.
I remember my dad
tucking me in until
I was in high school.

The stories that he read to me
hold special places in my heart
and I can't wait until
Jack and Joey are
old enough to enjoy them too.

As Jack has been getting older, he's been getting sneakier. He knows how to make me do things that weren't part of my original plan and he gets his way far more often then I would have thought he would.

His new ploy has been to prolong bedtime by asking me to "nuggle" him. If he is feeling very ambitious he will ask to "nuggle on the couch" which I almost always refuse because it will inevitably lead to him asking to watch a show, or eat a chocolate chip or play hide and seek.

And we all know what happens when you give a mouse a cookie...

When the couch request fails he asks me to lay down next to him. I usually oblige while we tell our stories or sing our songs. Recently he has decided that mama's bed is more interesting then his own and will often ask to have his stories there.

Last night, after sitting quietly on the deck and watching the stars and listening to airplanes and cars and frogs, I knew it was time for him to be in his own bed, by himself, with his eyes closed. So when he asked me to snuggle in mama's bed, I lovingly told him that it was time for bed. Then I closed the door and moved on with the evening.

Jack usually is in bed around 8:00. Somewhere around 10:00 I wandered into my bedroom only to discover that my cheeky little monkey had silently crept out of his bed and tucked himself into mine!

With our light still on, he was passed out on my pillow with a book tucked under his arm.

It was one of the sweetest, most charming things I have ever seen.

And for some reason it made my heart ache.

Mothering is so complicated. Complicated seems a much more accurate word then "hard."

There are the tedious parts: the dressing and undressing, feeding, figuring out naps...

There are the disgusting parts: diapers, spit-up, sick babies...

There are the sweet and silly parts: wild dance parties, tickle attacks, funny faces...

There are the rewarding parts: seeing your child learn new skills, words and emotions and hearing them say please and thank you, even when you aren't there to remind them...

But then, there are all those parts in-between.

Last night was one of those in-between parts.

When I looked at him curled up in my bed I suddenly remembered that some day, he will face major disappointments and I might not know the words to make them better. Some day he will make significant mistakes, and he may not choose to tell me about them. Some day, his feelings will be hurt, he will struggle, he will be responsible for his own actions.

The part that is totally captivated by Jack's wonderful personality and is truly enjoying seeing him grow up was face-to-face with the part that recognizes that my job is to prepare him for his adult life.

That is a little bit scary to me.

So while I was bursting with the sweetness of finding my toddler asleep in my bed, I was also sobered by the significant responsibility that I bear as a mother.

I'm not sure what to do with those in-between times, but I have a feeling that I don't do much different at this point.

I keep enjoying bedtime and continue to feed and diaper and play. I watch him, and teach him all that I can about shapes and colors and good attitudes and socially acceptable behavior while playing with other children.

Every day I open my hands a little wider to give him space to learn what he is capable of and remind him that I see great things in him.

I remember that as much as I love him and want to protect him and offer him every good thing, even my best efforts will fall short somewhere.

Every day, as I lead two wonderful boys, I must let myself be led by a parent far more capable and wise and creative then I can ever hope to be.

There really is no other way.

So Lord, thank you for these lives entrusted to me, let me enjoy them, but not hold too tight to them.

There is a much longer conversation here, happening between me and God, but I'm not sure it will be terribly interesting to you.

But I hope, that if you have been enveloped in those in-between times, that I am right there with you. Luckily we serve a God who is never in-between. He is over and in and around and under... covering over all of our lack.

Peace to you in the in-betweens friends.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bacon-Wrapped Revival

It came to my attention this evening that several of my friends were totally baffled by my fluttery feelings toward J.J. While I won't make a further fool of myself by expounding on the finder qualities of Survivor's most recent castoff, I will just say, "Jimmy, I'll miss your smile."

It also came to my attention that one of the very same friends who mocked my crush-choice has on her list of former infatuations, Adam Sandler.

Really?

Adam Sandler?

However, despite our inability to agree on something as foolish as crush-worthy celebrities, we did all enjoy a smashing success of a party this evening.

...

Have you ever experienced a season when you find that you can't quite hold onto the person you desire, or believe yourself to be? The pressures around you to act/think/be different than you are seem too strong and you find that without realizing it you have given up way more ground then you ever intended?

In short, and to refer to a dreadful cliche, have you ever lost yourself?

Or, you feel like you know where your "you" is but it just doesn't seem to be welcome to those around you?

I know that sounds so dreary.

But that is sort of where I've been.

I spend a lot of time thinking about who I want to be and how to get there.

I invest a lot of energy into my decisions about parenting and wifedom and the many other tiny facets that make up Emily.

Truthfully, I think that is good. I would be neglecting beautiful traits that God built into me if I lived otherwise.

But what I've run into is this: I've hit a place in my life- a season of schedules, living situations, realities of life - that seem to fight hard against my nature. Try as I might to stand up to life, I feel deflated and bruised. And, in a completely unguarded moment, like who I am and the things I used to believe to be wonderful about me, are worthless to this world.

It is verging on miserable. I am trying so desperately to not become bitter or angry or lost. Some days I do better then others. When I look up, away from my obsession with myself, I can know that seasons are temporary and sooner or later the frustrations and difficulties of this season will give way to new beauty and a fresh season.

But boy is it hard work to keep reminding yourself of things that ARE true, but don't FEEL true.

Tonight I co-hosted a party with a dear friend.

We made fancy food, pretty drinks and we somehow found a lovely balance between feeling like grown-ups and including our messy, noisy, delightful children.

I ate bacon-wrapped dates and stuffed mushrooms and salmon ravioli. I made pumpkin creme brulee to celebrate the season that I love. And I chitted and chatted and smiled and laughed with some of the most beautiful women I know. Our families gathered together to form one big, noisy crowd enjoying food and life together.

And I found myself again.

I caught a glimpse of the woman that I know myself to be.

I discovered a moment of respite from the work of reminding myself of truth.

It was so refreshing. She's in there. She might not be all bright and shiny and able to take on the world RIGHT NOW, but she's not gone. That woman, ME, is still beautiful and still capable and still valuable.

I'm not sure how to capture that assurance for the remainder of the hard days, but for tonight, I will go to be satisfied and delighted, thanking Jesus for bacon and blue cheese and friends that share the best of themselves with me - and invite me to do the same.

Thank you dear friends.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Firsts

As a mother of an infant and a toddler, I bet you open a post titled "Firsts" and expect to see drooly pictures of Joey's first tooth or a catalogue of Jack's first trip to the ER for stitches. While those events are, most likely, not far off, I have much more interesting firsts to present to you.

I am happy to announce that I have discovered the joy of having a favorite sweater. You may wonder how I have made it to near-thirty without the novelty of a favorite item of clothing.

I'm not sure.

A pair of Andy's sweats came close while I was pregnant, though I had to retire them when I moved in with Andy's folks because I had worn holes in places that are completely inappropriate to expose while living with your father-in-law.

So now, I have a sweater. Soft and loose, but not slouchy. The perfect shade of grey to hide baby boogers and rice cereal. Suitable for wearing to bed, to the gym, or to Target. A wonder of a top covering!

I truly don't think you are interested in my apparel
which is why
I have refrained from sharing
my clothing woes
which involve shrinking
out of everything I own.
*I know, I know,
bragging disguised as complaining,
but it IS annoying
when I have no way to replace
the baggy-saggy jeans and sloppy looking tops*
and re-discovering
how messy this phase of babyhood is.

But it provides a natural segue into my other first.

Which I think you will be much more entertained by.

My first crush on an older man!

SQUEE.

I would say that it is also my first celebrity crush, but that wouldn't be true since I had a doozy of a crush on MacGuyver when I was smaller and a second infatuation with Dean Cain as Clark Kent. But other then that, I can honestly say I have been crush-free.

I've never been much of a crusher anyway.

In fact, Andy holds the distinct privilege of wooing a girl who was resolutely single and determined to keep her heart from wistful affections that might never be returned.

That being said, it is with his full permission that I make this "firsts" disclosure.

I confessed last season that I am a little attached to reality shows. The new season of Survivor has aired two episodes.

In those two episodes I have developed a fond affection for Jimmy Johnson.

Here he is looking rugged and Survivorish.


Here he is looking debonare and flashing that melt-me smile.


Ladies, if I were to meet this man tomorrow, I'm pretty sure I would blush uncontrollably, and probably do a lot of giggling.

Oh dear.

When I announced my fluttery feelings toward this former Super Bowl coach to Andy, he laughed. Really, really hard. Almost as hard as when I accidentally swore while watching the Biggest Loser.

Did I already share that story?
It is Andy's favorite.
And yet another example of
the
[melodramatic voice here]
havoc that Reality TV
is wreaking on my inner person.

Obviously he isn't worried about me being slightly smitten with a famous face. In fact, I think he might be a little happy since it gives me a much greater tolerance for watching Sports Center.

This may just be my season for being a football fan!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Caught!

This afternoon Jack was playing in the garage with an empty coffee cup.

Confused as to where he found it I said, "Hey buddy, where did you get that cup?"

He looked at me like "Geez mom, where do you think?"

Then he answered my query and said, "Starbucks."

Oh dear.

I may have kept him from the frenzy of the golden arches, but this child already knows too much about my drive-thru vice.

As a side note,
I thank the Lord
that someone finally
decided that Starbucks
should offer drive-thrus.
The have saved
many a day from a disastrous end.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Has It Really Been So Long?

Forgive me blog for I have sinned.

For it has been nearly TWO MONTHS since my last posting.

...

I always feel better after confessions.

Don't you?

Anyway, I'm back. After a brief frenzy of "how on earth do women mother more than one child at a time?"

Seriously people, look at how boys play - how am I supposed to keep up?

Luckily this well-muscled man is always ready to run interference.

So, after realizing that I won't and can't and don't need to "keep up" I feel like I finally have some solid ground under my feet.

A few weeks ago I was making my apologies to friends who I haven't connected with in ages. As in well before my last blog post. Unacceptable.

As I was offering my genuine regret over missing important months out of beautiful lives I offered the tentative suggestion that I would be ready to engage in life again somewhere around the middle of September.

Why then?

Because the middle of September is fall.

And fall brings me to life.

The fragrances.
The colors.
The textures.
The pace.

Truly, autumn revives me.

I am so glad it is here.

And I'm so glad to be blogging again.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Very Important (Not Really)

A few things you should know about today:

1. I had what was quite possibly the most perfect cupcake on the face of the planet.

It was made fresh this morning by my new friend and delivered to my door just hours after its creation. It was s'mores flavored: a thin graham cracker crust at the bottom of the cupcake wrapper, topped with a layer of bittersweet chocolate, topped with 100% perfect chocolate cake, topped with more chocolate chunks and graham crumbs, topped with homemade marshmallow cream and toasted with a kitchen torch.

I could have eaten myself sick with them. If it hadn't been for the fact that I had to go workout this afternoon, I probably would have.

2. I love my mom.

A lot.

If you haven't met her, you are missing out.

Here she is holding Joey.

Pretty, pretty.

Andy and I went to work out today (45 dead lifts, 60 box jumps and 75 pull-ups, thank you very much). Jack was in a bit of a funk (he is not getting even close to enough sleep and neither am I - a terrible combination) so I dropped Andy off to let him workout and I went to my mom's house. When I got there she cheerfully offered to keep the boys and sent me back to the gym.

It was just what I needed!

Not only is she lovely, and helpful and generous, she is also the ultimate word in just about anything.

Whenever Andy and I have having an "I bet" conversation the winner is always decided by what my mom says. For example, if we have differing opinions of what a word means, we always ask my mom. Or, if we are disagreeing over a bit of trivia, it is always the same, "I'll ask my mom."

The only caveat to this method of deciding who is correct is when it comes to something scientific, such as "What is the term for that whooshing sound you hear when a car drives by?" Then we ask my dad.

It is the Doppler Effect.

There is a lot more to say about my mom, but I have a few more things you should know about today, so I will save her other glorious traits for a later post.

3. I cut off all my hair.

All of it.

There isn't a piece on my head that is more than two inches long.

And it is fabulous.

It makes me feel brave.

This is actually the second time in four days I have been to the salon. For weeks I have been eying a very short, punky style. When I went in to get it cut my hairstylist (who I like very much) talked me out of it. I went with what she said and came home with a really toned-down short-ish style.

Andy gave me a firm (by firm I mean loving and insightful) talking to that went something like this:

"Why didn't you get the cut you wanted?"

"Because she said she didn't want to do it."

"But it was what you wanted, you have been thinking about it for forever. That's why girls never get what they want - they are too afraid to say what they want!"

"I guess I just assumed she knew better."

"She doesn't."

He has a pretty good point, and made think about why I do a lot of things that I don't want to do... I always think someone else knows better. I wonder why? So, spurred on by my wise man, I called and asked if I could have it fixed, and they did, at no charge. I am much happier, and have just the style I wanted!

4. I have a ton of emails to answer and useful computer things that I should be doing, but I don't want to .

I only get to the computer after the boys are in bed and by that time all I want to do is read a few blogs and tell you important things. There is just never enough time, or energy, or brainspace. I am trying to figure out how to be okay with that.

5. Today probably ranks on my top ten list of bad parenting days.

I wavered somewhere between impatient and snappy, and total pushover. Not a bit like the mom I wish to be. Good thing there is always tomorrow.

6. My minutes of computer time are done. I feel guilty for everything that I didn't get to, satisfied with actually posting something, wistful for more time at later point in my life, and considering taking a bath, something I haven't done for several years (minus sitting in a few inches of water with my wee babes).

7. I really want another cupcake.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Where's The Sugar?

I love Jesus.

I love his church.

I love the church despite the fact that it is made up of humans.

And a lot of times humans get things wrong.

Especially large groups of humans all milling about together and trying to humanize holy things.

Joy is holy.

Suffering is holy.

Rest is holy.

Hard work is holy.

...

Somehow, although my mind knows that Jesus invited his disciples into a holy -and HARD- life, my emotions have absorbed the Christian-group-think-candy-coated idea that Jesus makes everything better.

Recently my candy coating seems to have melted in my hand.

Instead of a safe, colorful, shiny and sweet capsule for the melty, chocolaty, palatable gospel, I have a sticky mess.

I'm stained.

Crunched.

Not very pretty.

Not neat and tidy.

The problem is, I'm right where I know I should be.

I am truly confident that I have been following Jesus to the very best of my ability. I don't feel like I'm being punished or paying the price of folly. I feel like I have been obedient and what I have received in return turns out to not be a pat on the back and a full bank account, but rather a forecast of difficult situations stretching ahead of me for a long way.

A small part of me, the part that wants to fit into the acceptable mold of happy churchgoer, is tempted to be disillusioned. Is tempted to feel small, because after all, what kind of press is it giving God if I say I'm following him and my life looks pretty lame right now?

But a bigger part of me feels... I don't even know what yet. I feel like my eyes have been opened. Like I've just accepted a challenge to duel. To fight against the woe-is-mes and the preconceived notions of sugary sweet salvation.

To stand up and say that Jesus is real and loving and life-giving in the midst of struggle. In the midst of frustration. In the midst of mourning. In the midst of dragging my feet and feeling reluctant to face the day because it is likely going to be REALLY HARD.

Jesus is bigger than hard.

Jesus is bigger than disillusioned.

So here I go. Into another day of "this is not what I imagined." It may not be what I dreamed of for my life, but when I said, "Here I am Lord" I meant it. I'll say it again.

Here I am.

I've counted the cost.

Where you lead, I will follow.

Let's go.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Air

Having a blog is scary. It means that on days when you feel - whatever the feeling, good or bad - that there is always the temptation to share. And sometimes those feelings aren't ready to be offered to the world yet.

So, silence.

...

Do you ever feel like all the wonderful parts of you are suffocating?

...

If you are waiting for permission to let the good and lovely and against-the-grain parts of you grow? I extend it to you now.

Go, be unusual.

Be bright.

Be creative.

Feel.

Write.

Paint.

Eat.

Do things in a way that makes sense to you and do it without explaining your reasons to anyone.

You are valuable.

Your talents are real.

There are gifts inside of you, just waiting to get out.

I mean this truly.

Permission has been given.

Begin living like you want to, and not like you think other people want you to.

Start a trend of bravery.

Begin a revolution.

Set aside the "I think I shoulds" and dive head first into the "I thrive when I..."

Do you know where you thrive? If you don't, discover that! If you do, live it!

Please do this.

Don't let the world miss out on you because you are trying to be someone else.

Revive the hope that you are valuable and unique and needed in this world.

Hope.

Hold tight to the promise that there is not only a plan for your life, but that your life is part of the bigger plan.

You are not insignificant.

You are lovely.

YOU are lovely.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tower of Lebanon

I have a big nose.

We all know this.

If you have been silently gawking over the size of my sniffer, let me just make you a little more comfortable by assuring you that, yes, I am aware of the larger protrusion smack dab in the middle of my face.

Andy calls it the Tower of Lebanon. It is a reference from Song of Solomon (do you call it Song of Solomon or Song of Songs? Just wondering) where the Lover is waxing poetic about his Beloved's physical beauty. Andy does it to tease me, but I figure if the wisest king in all of history had a thing for large noses, then I can be at peace with mine.

And I was.

Until today.

Until it betrayed me.

In Target of all places!

My safe and happy place.

The sanctuary of new moms.

It is, truly, a destination for the parents-of-two-and-under crowd. I must have seen a dozen women with infant carriers in their carts today.

I told my mother-in-law
that meaningless trips to the store,
to spend just $3,
are a life saver.
Because it only costs me three dollars,
but it can take up to an hour,
if I really draw it out.
That is an hour that
Jack is contained and entertained
and usually Joey is asleep
(the magic of motion people!).
Heaven.

But I digress.

Back to my nose.

Do you ever have days where you just feel in a dither? You are clumsy and stutter and always feel like your hair is in your face and you keep twitching to try and get it out of your eyes? It was that kind of afternoon for me.

I had taken Jack to Target to pass the time and were checking out. I couldn't find my card at first, and was fumbling through my wallet. Receipts were falling out, my hair was in my face, I was spastically flinging my head to try and make my bangs get out of the way, and I kept forgetting that I was around adults and was using my "mommy" voice to talk to the checker and was nervous laughing and getting almost hysterical when the betrayal happened.

My nose...

dripped.

Not like it started to run and I had to sniff.

It out of the blue, just dripped.

One giant droplet from my oversized nostril, onto the floor.

The woman in line behind me actually gasped.

Well, the woman was actually my sister. And what she really said was, "OH!"

But still, a drop big enough to be perceived a full cart length away? Imagine the view the checker got?!

After more fumbling (what do you even say at that point?) I gratefully left the store. Lizzie and I didn't discuss it then, but later, when I texted her she said, "That was amazing! I don't think I have seen that happen to any one except grandma before!"

Great. I used to have my nose associated with a biblical beauty. Now it is just a drippy-old-lady feature.

Not exactly what I was going for.

I hope it was a one-time offense because I'm pretty sure I can't handle it if this becomes a regular occurrence.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Meaningless Drivel

I almost fell down the stairs today because my thighs are SO sore from my workout on Friday.

I just thought you should know.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

More Than Enough

I feel like I'm drowning in ordinary.

Well, maybe drowning is a might too dramatic and a smidge too dark.

I'm blinded by the ordinary?

Stuffed too the gills with the ordinary?

Paralyzed by the ordinary?

What I'm trying to say is that there are big ideas lurking just outside what I can really focus on. Dreams, hopes, compassion for the world... ideas to implement... prayers to be prayed.

These big things keep popping into my mind. I get little glimmers of "real" thoughts. I feel like I start to ponder something of substance... only to find that there is no space in my brain for these wide and unwieldily considerations.

Each nook and cranny is already filled with the laundry, with counting the hours of sleep I am or am not getting, with questions of what to feed my family, with the budget, with everyday-plain-ol'-life.

I want to be a thinker.

I want to have something interesting or insightful to share with the world, or even just with my husband and girlfriends.

I want to have space to hear God ask me to do crazy-exciting things.

But I am deafened by the theme song for Blue's Clues, the buzz of the monitor when I put Joey down for a nap, and the ticking of the clock that says, "Hurry, hurry... do something IMPORTANT!"

But then...

Then, if I can mute all the noise of the world that is telling me that big thoughts are better than baby-thoughts, I remember that I am thinking about wide and unwieldy things.

I'm thinking about how to raise boys who are adventurous and smart and respectful and ready to be amazing husbands and remarkable dads.

I'm thinking about how to be a wife who honors her husband and sends him out to work (or in Andy's case, school) feeling like he's on top of the world and like he has someone cheering him on in all of his ambitions.

And if I remember that the worst that happens if the laundry doesn't get done, is that the laundry isn't done... I have room in my head to know that I have heard God ask me to crazy-exciting, counter-cultural things!

Every day I hear God call me to be gentle when I feel like giving into anger. And I do it! Then I hear Him ask me to do more than was asked of me... and I do it.

I gave up space of my own in pursuit of the adventure God has called my family to for this season.

That is HUGE!

So all of you big ideas. All of you future dreams. All of you thoughts just waiting to be thunk. You can go on waiting.

I'm busy.

I'm doing all the things that matter for today.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wandering

I had so much to tell you tonight!

I've had three or four posts wandering about in my brain for quite a few days now. I need to write them down so I don't forget to tell you later...

But tonight...

Tonight I got distracted.

I told Andy yesterday that I'm pretty sure about 50% of my brain space is taken up with thoughts about food.

Doesn't that sound like I would have an eating disorder or some major emotionally unhealthy attachment to food?

I don't. I like food, but in a totally normal way.

I think.

I just spend SO much time planning meals, grocery shopping, feeding babies, feeding adults, feeding myself.

Food, food, food.

Additionally, both of my parents have discovered that they have pretty severe food allergies to really common foods (gluten, dairy, eggs, almonds, salmon, on and on). So I find myself eating things and wondering how I could adapt them to suit my folks.

I wonder if I have allergies.

I wonder if Andy has allergies.

I wonder if Jack and Joey have allergies.

Food, food, food.

So, instead of writing to you about really fascinating things, like my most recent failure at a new venture and how I realized that I've never really failed anything before and I don't care for the feeling...

or about my dreams of never having anything in a box in my pantry (making all my granola bars and crackers and cereal, etc. ... Oh wait! That has to do with food again!)...

or about my slightly odd attachment to paint chips from the hardware store (I have some framed)...

Instead of transferring those terribly interesting and revelatory tidbits into clever and witty posts, I wandered through the cyber pages of dozens of cookbooks on Amazon. I've actually spent my last three nights pouring over cookbooks - adding them to my wish list, adding them to my cart, deleting them from my cart, writing them on a list to look for at the library...

What can I say, I'm just fascinated by food. Food is what I do right now, and I want to do it well.

Sooooooo...

Tell me.

What did you have for dinner?

What do you wish you had for dinner?

And what's your favorite cookbook... I'm looking to add to my collection!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Just To Say I Did It

I had two goals tonight.

One, to dye my hair.

Two, to post something, anything, on this ol' blog.

Well, 9:00 rolled around, and Joey is finally down until sometime in the single-digit morning, and I'm pooped.

That means hair dying is most assuredly out for the evening.

Dying your hair while exhausted (especially when you use the reddest, stainy-est shade that I fancy) is a very silly thing to do. Sort of like singing karaoke when you've had a few too many drinks

Karaoke, by the way,
is on the very top
of my
"Things I'm Terrified Of"
list.
I'm seriously, seriously
afraid of singing in front of people.
It sounds like torture.
Spelling outloud is second on that list.

Or like buying pants a size too small thinking that they will fit in a few weeks... very silly.

For a brief moment I considered just crawling into bed after my shower and calling it a night. But then I decided that if I went to sleep without accomplishing either of my very small goals, I would feel pretty pathetic.

So...

Here I am.

Rambling on.

...

I discovered a few things this afternoon.

1. I'm clumsy.
2. I'm tough.
3. It is probably time for a new pair of gym pants.

This afternoon I was running around Downtown Everett, doing my little work-out thing, and my foot caught my pant leg. Without any warning I was falling quickly toward the pavement. I hit both my knees, my palms and then rolled to my back.

That's when I realized I'm clumsy... and also when I discovered that it might be time to move to a smaller pair of pants (Note that I did not pre-buy smaller pants, that, as we have already discussed, would have been very silly).

I realized I was tough when I jumped right up, smiled to my running partner (yes, I was running with someone who witnessed the whole thing) and continued my workout (which I will tell you included 45 jumps up onto a 20 inch box. I feel like such a stud!).

I now have knees like a seven-year old. I had planned to wear a skirt this weekend while hosting not one, but two parties - one baby shower and one 50th birthday - on the same day, but I may have to reconsider. I'm pretty sure scabby knees are not on the summer's hottest trends list.

...

I have several other stories that have been in my head to tell you this past week, but it is just so tricky to get to the computer with energy and creativity to communicate the things I want to.

I hope you understand. And I hope that changes in the next few months.

Until then, I will leave you with the oddest conversation of the week:

Aunt Gwyneth: Your face looks so thin!
Me, in my head: Oh, I like where this is going!
Aunt Gwyneth: So thin! Have you been throwing up a lot?
Me, in my head: What?
Me, outloud: Throwing up?
Gwyneth: Yes.
Me: Um, no. But I have been working out.
Me, in my head: I guess I better start wearing make-up again.

Please, tell me, when you see that someone's face has thinned out, is your first thought, "Have they been throwing up?"

I would really like to know.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Well

I've been a bit of a crank lately. It seems like I'm extremely prone to irritability and anger, two qualities that don't at all match the way I think of myself or the self that I want to be.

Here is my theory.

Actually, here is the lead-up to my theory.

I enjoy thinking of my life in seasons. My additional word to describe life lately has been "capacity."

When I see someone who is better then me - well, not better than me - but someone who seems to be able to keep more balls in the air or fit more hats on her head, I remind myself that each of us have a different capacity.

I also try and give myself grace when I can't seem to hold as many things together. I recognize that my capacity can grow and shrink depending on the amount of sleep I get, exercise, emotional factors...

I'm in a season where my capacity is very small. I don't get much sleep. I've just moved and am adjusting to an entirely new way of living. I am parenting two small children who require near-constant hands-on attention.

Today I was particularly moody.

That brings us back to my new theory.

In my pondering over why I am having such a hard time keeping an even keel, I thought of a new word picture.

A well.

I can see myself as a well. Deposits being poured in, and water being drawn out. I see all the people and projects of my life standing around the well. My sweet friends are pouring huge buckets of delicious clean water into my well. Jack walks up to the edge and gleefully dumps his little cup into the well, all the while using a giant sized bucket to draw water right back out and fling it on the ground in a colossal tantrum.

Commitments I've made pull water up and out.

Andy pours water in. I draw water from my own well to pour back to him.

In and out.

The water line moves up and down.

Sometimes I'm full to overflowing, sometimes it looks like I'm going to be completely dry.

I think my emotional struggle lies in the fact that I moved from a season where my well seemed so full to a dry spell.

My capacity is small, simply from the nature of my life stage. I am trying to conserve my water, save it for Andy and Jack and Joey, and some days it feels like water is being drawn out of me with huge buckets, against my will. I'm fighting to have enough for everyone, but there just isn't.

I get angry when I feel like my water has gone to something that is less important to me that one of my boys. It irritates me when I have to give them less so that the other realities of life (laundry, grocery lists, complicated relationships) can get a few drops.

This picture shed some light on my mood, but it also brought me to the solution.

I've been trying to keep my well full on my own. I try and conserve where I think I can. I monitor everything that goes in and comes out. I stress when I see the levels getting low and I get giddy when I've just received generous amounts of water poured back in.

But Jesus said, "Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him," and, "... if you knew the gift of God ... you would have asked him and he would have give you the living water."

I've been trying to live fully on lifeless water. The only solution for my dry well, is to fill it from a source that never runs dry.

Oh Lord, forgive me for trying to keep my well full on my own. I've been stingy with my water where I could have been generous. Please fill me with your living water and teach me to give it freely.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

CrossFit

I think we might have a problem.

Here I am, writing happily about my issues with undies, thinking that only my gal-pals bother to read what I post, only to discover today that the trainer at the new gym-thing I'm going to reads it too!

GAH!

I walked in today in my bright pink girly top and messy hair (my hair is always messy these days, but especially on work-out days because it takes SO MUCH effort to get out the door and to class on time) and he says, "Your blog is hilarious!"

GAH!

GAH!

That would be a double GAH!

It is hard enough to act normal when I'm doing things like dead-lifts and pull-ups (don't worry, I have to do the most baby version of pull-ups and can hardly manage that) - things that I've never done before and look really awkward doing, but now I have to try and act normal while doing those things AND running through my mind all the ridiculous things I've said here recently, thinking I was just chatting it up via blog with GIRLS.

Maybe I need to change the name to No Boys Allowed.

Despite the awkwardness I felt at having my trainer know that I own pink panties, I am really, really enjoying this new way of working out.

I like getting out of the house by myself. I like learning new things (and everything I've learned so far is new) and I really like waking up a little sore, knowing that I'm getting stronger and stronger.

So three cheers!

For CrossFit

For a brighter outlook

And

For the hot shower I'm about to take.

Life is looking good.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I have a lot to say about Fred Meyer

Do you ever have moments when you realize that at your core you are petty and trite and not even close to the nice, lovely person you think of yourself as?

I am that petty person these days.

I know I'm really a miser at heart because when I looked at my attitude and realized it was terrible I actually though, "I know I am seeing this ugly thing in myself now, but God can change that in me... but I don't know that I really want to ask him to. I kind of want to be a brat and feel justified in my mean ways."

I am not a nice person.

In a few more days I will come to a place where I will lay myself before the Lord, but because I'm always perfectly honest here on this ol' blog, I will tell you that I'm just stewing in my sin at this point.

But let's not talk about that too much.

Let's talk about Fred Meyer.

I have always been a Target girl. I love me some Target.

But I might have a new bff.

The Snohomish Fred Meyer.

Maybe because it is so close. But it might just be because something awesome happens each time I go.

Last week I went to FM wearing a grey cotton skirt and a pair of leggings. Under my leggings I was wearing some of the brightest pink panties you have ever encountered.

Somewhere near the organic carrots my leggings suddenly started to creep from my waist to my hips and showed no sign of stopping.

I'm not sure how it all happened, whether I was just walking with wiggly hips, or the very sheer nature of my undergarments caused some sort of legging malfunction, but as the leggings were doing the shimmy, my underwear decided they wanted in on the trek.

I was trying to find an unoccupied aisle to adjust myself, but the store was very busy. I tried a few inconspicuous hitches but all that did was pull up the leggings and miss the panties. Pretty soon the leggings were barely holding on to my rear and my pretty pinks were not anywhere near where I had put them in the morning.

GAH!

By the time I left the store there was nothing between my bottom and my skirt and I was gritting my teeth against the moment when both the leggings and my underwear made the final plunge to my ankles.

That moment never came, but the first thing I did when I got to my van was to put everything in it's right place. If someone had walked by at just the right moment I very well could have been arrested for indecent exposure.

...

Today I took Jack and Joey with me to grab a few items and get Jack out of the house.

When I shop with both boys Jack always sits in the front seat and I put Joey's carrier in the main section of the cart. It doesn't leave any room for groceries, but I don't have to do it very often, so I can manage once in a while.

When our trip was finished, I wheeled the cart out to the van. I rested the front of the cart against the van to keep it in place and transfered Jack first (I always do him first so that he is as contained as possible). Then I grabbed our groceries and put them in.

When I turned around for the third time, to get Joey, the cart was gone.

Can you even imagine what went through my mind?

First I was totally confused, then I was a little scared, and then I was laughing hysterically as I saw the cart rolling at a leisurely pace down the parking lot with a little baby in it.

Somehow the cart got free of my positioning and was following the gentle slope of the lot.

I made some sort of exclamation and quickly chased after the cart (good thing I wasn't wearing leggings!). After I had retrieved it and returned it to the cart rack I heard someone chuckle. I looked up and a young couple had witnessed the whole thing and enjoyed the show a good deal.

I know that could have gone horribly wrong had a car been part of the equation, but as it was, I had a good laugh, which felt very nice.

...

Not all of my enjoyment of FM comes from my own propensity for being totally ridiculous. The employees also brighten my day.

On the same day that I almost showed the world of Fred Meyer my fancy pants

Side note:
In England,
"pants" means panties.
I didn't learn this until
after I told someone at the train stop
"I like your pants,"
and they looked at me like I
was really, really weird.

I was purchasing some pastrami at the deli.

I was going to make reuben sandwiches.

I really love reubens.

The woman behind the counter was a little older, and seemed like a totally run-of-the-mill deli lady. That is, until she handed me my pastrami.

She said, "Have you ever had our pastrami?" When I answered in the negative she began to show off the sliced meat, "you can see how beautiful it is..." and promised me that it would be the best that I had ever tasted.

I smiled, pleased by her enthusiasm, but what made her my favorite deli lady ever is that when I took my meat and offered the usual, "Thanks, have a nice day," she returned with a very sincere, "I hope you enjoy it immensely."

I love that!

When was the last time you enjoyed something immensely?

That pastrami may not have been the very best I have ever had, but I did enjoy it immensely.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Good Gifts

This season of my life has been pretty rough. Kids are hard, moves are hard, a spouse in school is hard... sometimes hard things just pile up. That isn't a bad thing all the time, it is just how life goes.

When I was pregnant with Joey, I felt so lame and I truly worried that I wouldn't have any friends when it was over.

Boy have I been proved wrong!

Not a week has gone by without someone calling me or texting me to see how they can help.

Last week I was almost delirious with fatigue. I started composing a snarky blog post in my head (please tell me you do that too) about all the things that people CAN'T help with... it was going something like this:

"How's it going? Is there anything I can do to help?'

"Well, no, actually, there is NOTHING you can do to help. Because I'm pretty sure you don't want to take my baby who wakes up every two hours or less in the night, and let me get some sleep, and I'm pretty sure you don't want to give us a free car so that I'm not stranded in the country and I'm.... "

Blah blah blah, I'm a whiner.

But then, I started thinking. Sometimes I let things stay awful for a little while and then one day, *snap!* I start problem solving.

So I started thinking through what people COULD help me with. I realized that a large part of what is making life hard right now is that I am so, so, so lacking in sleep.

I originally assumed that there would be no way to get a full night sleep, because who in their right mind would bring home someone else's baby and subject themselves to that if they didn't have to.

And then I thought of who.

Sweet, sweet Rosemary and Josh. Here's why I thought they would be up for it: 1) they are awesome 2) they don't have kids yet (one on the way) so they will be able to catch up on the sleep they miss 3) they love kids... A LOT 4) they think that anything that is a new experience is fun and worth a try.

A night with a newborn is definitely an experience.

So, I called Rosemary and she without hesitation said she would have my baby overnight!

Do you hear the angels singing?

What a gift. If you ever encounter a mom to a new baby who is not getting enough sleep, offer to have her baby overnight. You will bless her socks off!

Or, I might be the only woman on the face of the earth willing to part with my baby for a whole 14 hours just 2 months into his life. If I am, I'm okay with it.

The day following Joey's big sleepover, another of my friends, Ashley, who happened to be the recipient of The Meltdown, came and picked Jack up. Even though he had a snotty nose she took him out ALL DAY with her two kids and left me with hours and hours to take another nap, organize my room from the move, and just enjoy Joey.

Jack is a handful.

You can tell because the first thing my mom friends tell me when they bring him back is, "Jack did so good! He only hit one kid!"

I'm hoping he'll grow out of that.

So for Ashley to take Jack with her own 2 year old and infant was a major commitment. And one that I so appreciate.

But she wasn't the only one! Allison, another dear friend, has taken Jack on several occasions. And this weekend, she took BOTH of my babies with her one toddler. She asked me in the morning if she could do that for me and before I could say anything she said, "Don't worry. I know what I'm getting myself into."

Oh the bliss of a few hours all to myself!

I caught up on some emails, unloaded the dishwasher and, you guessed it, took a nap.

I love my friends!

And now, not wanting to be left out of the gift-giving extravaganza, my very own Andy has lined up childcare for me for Monday, Wednesday AND Friday nights for the WHOLE MONTH of May so that I can go workout.

It is weeks like these that make me wonder, how did I get so lucky?

I may stop thinking that when I go to my first workout.

Because remember how I told you that Andy now looks like Hugh Jackman?

Side note:
Why didn't anyone tell me that
in the original post
I wrote "Huge" Jackman
instead of Hugh?
I wonder what other horrible
mistakes I will find when I go
back to the posts from my pregnancy and
these first few months.
I shudder at the thought!

It is all thanks to a workout theory... system... I don't even know what to call it. But it's name is CrossFit.

So when he arranged for childcare, he also signed me up for an introductory CrossFit class.

I will be doing this.
Be careful on YouTube.
I just got sucked into
like 40 minutes of looking at
people doing CrossFit.
Craziness!

Am I insane?

Yes.

Do I really wish I could look like one of those girls?

Yes.

Enough to workout like I live on the Biggest Loser Ranch?

Perhaps.

We shall see.

I hope I don't puke the first class.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Move

For the last few years, Andy and I have been committed to two things.

One, that I stay home with our kids.

Two, that he finishes school and can move into full time teaching (his goal is to teach middle school students and coach wrestling).

Those two goals have meant lots of decisions about our time, about our money, about our relationships.

We've gotten pretty good at the routine.

I know that when a new quarter starts at school I'll have a week or two when I'm antsy and irritable, until I get a handle on Andy's new schedule and realize that he will still have time for me.

When someone offers me a job (it has happened more than once) we know that we'll think about it, and dream for a little while about what it would be like to have some extra cash, and we'll always decide that me being home is better.

When someone offers Andy a job (it has also happened a few times) we think about it. Andy looks wistfully in the distance and I know he is thinking that working a real job would be a whole lot more fun that sitting in class and doing homework, but we always come back to the fact that teaching is where he KNOWS God has been propelling him. So he keeps keeping on with school.

When being a one car family gets annoying Andy will wander Craigslist looking for a beater, we'll stare at our bank account, considering the value of the car vs. the value of our tiny emergency fund. And as of yet, each and every time we prefer the security of our little bit of savings over the convenience of another vehicle.

When we drive by houses for sale we sometimes pull over, just to look at the price and to enjoy the moments of dreaming of days ahead. We've kept a tiny apartment since we've been married and have enjoyed being resourceful with closet space and the satisfaction of filling the living room with people, even though we've never had fancy furniture or a table big enough to seat more than four.

But the apartment situation has changed.

We are now in a house!

My in-law's house!

Yes, oh my gosh, it is hard. And a little weird. And, if I let it, a blow to my pride.

But any change is hard. And the more people you have in the house, you realize that you are weird and your husband is weird and your family is weird. Let's all be weird together. And as far as my pride goes, I didn't need it anyway.

Why would I be embarrassed? There is a very strong cultural stigma associated with "living with your parents" but when your parents, or parents-in-law, are really neat people who love Jesus, there is a lot that can work really well.

Andy's folks have known about our two commitments and have been asking how they could help for awhile. When our landlord said that she would have to start charging us rent again, they immediately offered us a home. Their way of cheering on their son and caring for his family.

Thank you Aicheles.

So there is no shame. I could have sought full-time employment and made arrangements for Jack and Joey. Andy could have taken a break from school and found a job that would support us... but we are choosing not to compromise the things we have set out to do.

So, here I am. In one day I went from a tiny little apartment to a huge and beautiful new home with a yard that measures in acres. I don't know quite what to do with myself.

But I do know that I must be thankful.

Without gratitude the endearing quirks of multiple-family life would soon become grating.

Without gratitude I would forget that my two-year old, who is spending more of the day crying than laughing, is a boy with a God-given future.

Without gratitude I would let feelings of entitlement grow in my heart and feel betrayed by the world.

Without gratitude my heart is in danger of becoming hard.

No thank you!

Or rather, "Yes! Thank you Lord for these days."