Thursday, August 26, 2010

Paralyzed by People Pleasing

Really, my favorite part of blogging is in coming up with alliterative titles. Do you like it? It's important to me that you do. Because I am a people pleaser.

I am not a doormat or someone that can wilt into the background. If a decision or choice needs to be made or if I see something that needs to be addressed, I will say something. In fact I often share my opinions on food choices or movie rentals with people I don't even know. Or if I am in a situation that I have more experience than the other decision makers. But rarely will I share my opinion or political views with my friends.

Why is that? Why am I more likely to share my opinions with perfect strangers than I am with my friends? I am even hesitant to post this. Because maybe someone will ask me directly what some of my views are. And then I will have to pull out my well honed evasion skills to redirect the conversation. Or pray that my kids need something from me and I won't have to answer.

I know part of my hesitation stems from the many years of mask wearing I have done. Some of it comes from wanting people to like me. Part of it is also never having been in a place to have the same group of friends long enough that have gone past the surface mommy-talk.

Even now there is a whisper in my ear telling me just to delete this. That it doesn't matter what I have to say. Excuse me while I tell it to be quiet and go back to it's pit.

Ok, cause here's the truth. I do have opinions. I do not do enough investigation and fact checking to get into a debate. which is why I don't post my opinions on Facebook. But I listen to the news and read news sites. I have made some idealogical decisions on how I want to live the life God's given me. Also in how the husband and I will raise the kids God's given us. Sometimes' those choices are similar to others, and sometimes they are the polar opposite. Most of the time, if my opinion is different from yours, I won't say much until I can change the subject. That's my preferred method of conflict avoidance.

But maybe that's gonna change. We'll see. This new baby inside of me tends to affect my hormones leaving my brain a little foggy and more prone to speaking my mind without my usual sugar coating. So maybe I will start saying things I wouldn't normally say. I am not going to be so bold as to make a resolution or promise. This is all a maybe. I don't want to get to extreme. In true people pleaser fashion.

What about you? Are you a people pleaser? What holds you back? If you aren't a people pleaser, what's your secret?


Recap

It's been about 5 months, so it would be time to start blogging again. This past year of 2010 had some really big things happen.

The husband and I took a money management class. It was great. And we are implementing some of the stuff we learned. It's all about baby steps. And for me, that means sticking to my grocery budget. It's easy to make excuses about what we "need" when I grocery shop. I am not big into clipping coupons or price matching, right now it's enough just to have my cash in hand and stick to my list. I also started meal planning again, which has helped stream line things.

I took a part time job. And it has been really cool to see how God has used that in our lives. It's allowed the husband to devote some time to building his own miniatures line. And I get out of the house. Talk with adults. I have also had some pretty cool encounters with customers. And it's opened my eyes to the world outside of me.

The oldest started kindergarten. That has been wonderful. It was difficult at first, but now, I wouldn't go back. We now enjoy reading together and the investment his kindergarten teacher is making in him is being expressed through a sense of confidence and a kinder attitude.

The middle son still hangs out at home with me. We fill our days with MOPS, Bible Study and Mini Moos. Taking M and F off so I can catch up on the house work. He will be starting kindergarten next year. And is so ready. Thankfully- PBSkids.org and starfall.com are helping him learn letters and numbers. As well as observation of his older brother

That's right, we will be having our third child sometime this summer. Most of you already knew that since the 9 followers I have are also facebook friends of mine. :) It was a bit of a surprise to discover we were expecting. The goals I had for next year were very different than having an infant/toddler/child home for the next 5-6 years. Now, we are getting more excited. A good friend told me that each child is born into a new family. And I absolutely agree with that statement. Each child is born at different times in our lives. The lessons that have been learned with the first two will help in raising the third. I also need to bear in mind that this child will be different from his/her brothers. It will be an adventure, that's for sure. Bonus: I get to be in MOPS for the next several years.
I guess this turned into my Christmas letter I didn't get sent out this year. Nothing no one wouldn't have known. Just a jump start back into blogging.

Change Anyone Part 3

Change Number 2

I started a job!

The husband and I took a class called Crown Financial Studies. It's a biblically based money management class. It is very practical and easy to understand. All the lessons come straight from the Bible. And the biggest things I took from that job was how much debt is a consequence of sin! I know, it's crazy. I knew that debt wasn't necessarily a good thing. But I didn't realize that debt was actually laid out as a punishment for sin.

The other thing I took away from the class was how much debt hinders me from serving freely in God's ministry for me. How many times have I seen a missionary that needs support or a hungry child and thought, man I would love to help them! But then I look at my budget and see all our money tied up in paying bills. And then I get all discouraged.

So, all of that is to say I applied for a job at about 10 different places, didn't hear anything. Than, I hear from a certain awesome retailer for an interview. I go in, they liked me, I get hired. Now I am a part-time associate for a great company. I think it will be a lot of fun. And it will definitely help toward getting us out of debt. There will be more posts in the future about that whole process.

This is going to require some changes in our family set up. I know that, the husband knows that. The kids are used to me being gone once or twice during the week. But it will all be short term. And there will be a great ability for our family to do fun things and not be hampered by all that debt.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The First Day

"Hey Manager, this customer wants to know if these two items are on sale. Could you help me with that?"

Politely helps me

"Hey Manager, this customer has an exchange, can you help them with that?"

Yes, I can.

"Hey Manager, this lady would like to put some items on hold. What's the procedure for that?"

Shows me nicely.

"So Katie, is this your first day here at our store?" With a wry grin.

Yes, it is. How could you tell?

Change Anyone?

I was thinking about blogging today. Even though I don't post regularly, I do often think about things I could post on here. But then I get sidetracked. As you should know about me, I get sidetracked easily. Just look at my posting history. :)

There have been some changes around here. Over the next few days, ok maybe weeks, I am going to let you know about those changes.

Number one change, we now have kids. Not babies, not toddlers. Not even little boys. I have two, active, strong, opinionated boys.

One of those boys has become a big, school age child. I have a student number and piles of paperwork. Last week was kind of rough for both of us. We made it thru the first day. We walked into class, took some pictures. The second day, Wednesday, was a little rougher. We had to navigate the car line. I basically had to become a mama bird and push my little fledgling out of the nest. And then I had to do it again on Thursday. Finally, by Friday, my little bird took his first hesitant steps to the edge of the nest and flew a little bit. He was a kind of hesitant getting out of the car, but he did. And lined himself up with all the other kindergarten students. By Monday, he was getting out of the car like a pro. And I was the one holding back tears. That day he came home and let me know that he had walked to class with another friend. Tuesday, again walking to class with his friend. Wednesday and today, the kid walked to class by himself. And I am still the one holding back my tears. This is all part of him growing up. I know that. And it's good. It just seems that the transition happened so fast.

All of a sudden, he can do everything by himself. This kid is in a setting I have very little control over. Sure, I can play the hover mother card, the pestering parent role. But I think that would only push him more away. Really, what good would that do? Our goal has always been that he would become independent. That my son would become a responsible, independent adult. And he is on his way.

Momma's having a hard time with the change. I know the logic, that God is watching over him and always has. But it still frightens me. This world he has stepped into has kids I don't know. Ideas that may contradict everything we have taught him. Kids that might tease, bully or physically harm him.

As I reread this, I am second guessing myself. Did we make the right choice? But that's where a lot of these problems lie. Within me. I need to back up and stop looking at me. I need to look up. To God. To The One who has been with our precious little baby since before I even knew about him. To Jehovah Rapha who was with my little guy in the hospital at 22 months. To Jehovah Shalom who was the peace and comfort both my babies needed during one of the lowest points of my life. To Jehovah Nissi, their advocate and protector when I was forbidden to be. That's where my big kid is. In His hand. This kid has always been there, and always will be.

So that's where I am. My older son is hitting his stride. Spreading out his wings and flying off to the next stage. I just want to have a safe nest for him to fly back to.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Training Log

It was a lovely late spring morning. I was running with some friends. We were doing six miles that morning. A bit of a stretch for my weekday run, but I was feeling ambitious the previous morning when I agreed to the Friday run. :)

We were on our way back, maybe around mile five, when all of a sudden, a deer bounded onto the path. My running partner halted me from going further. The deer got spooked and shot across the pavement straight into an eight foot fence. No hesitation, just pure fight or flight reaction kicking in. The deer recovered from the fence's head butt and then backed up a little farther this time, and ran full speed at the fence again. This time, the deer jumped over the fence and fell straight down the eight feet of the fence and about 4 feet of concrete wall onto the hard gravel of the railroad tracks. Did the deer break it's leg or neck? NO! It popped right out of it's fall and took off down the tracks until it could find an opening back into the woods. It was one of the coolest and most bizarre things I have ever seen.

That all happened around Memorial Day weekend, which would have been about 6 weeks ago. About three days after that deer and I crossed paths, I took a little, shall we say, hiatus from running. So I stopped running. I did go out with my friend a few times a week, but the most I ever did was about 2 miles. You have to realize that prior to my hiatus, most of my runs were 4-5 miles on the weekend and 6-7 on the weekends.

Yesterday, I started running again. My marathon is now officially sixteen weeks away. Most marathoners start a training program at this time. So I started a training program. The first run was for four miles. I met my friend and we did the first two miles together. Than she and I parted ways. Then I did the last two. Let me tell you that those last two miles were heinous. Or so I thought.

Today I went out for a "hilly" run. A run that consisted of going up several different heights of hills. For five miles. And I was doing it. Running at a nice steady pace for about 1 and a half miles. Than I slipped off the side of the road into this soft patch of large stone gravel. My right knee, left hand and right elbow can attest to how "soft" it was. I wanted to give up and turn around. The person I was running with was kind enough to even suggest that. But I was not going to give up. But I did contemplate going back. Than, this thought popped into my head, "I only have four more months to train. And I am not going to get to Greece and not be able to finish!" So I wiped the blood off my hand, made sure my knee was clear of gravel, and we kept going. Up and down those stinkin' hills. And yeah, I walked a lot more on the way back during the second two and a half miles, but I ran up those hills and walked on the straightaways and downward parts of the hills.

My knee, hand and elbow all hurt. I feel good though. Like I accomplished something. Conveniently enough, tomorrow is a rest day. I will be sure and take full advantage of that. :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Weekend at Katie's

Recently, I have been reading a book called Life on Planet MOM: a down-to-earth guide to your changing relationships, by Lisa T. Bergren. It was sent to all the moms who are a part of MOPS. A great organization! I meet with a group of ladies on Tuesday nights to discuss this book. The first weeks discussion was on your relationship with your self. How becoming a mom changes you. How the delightful little monkeys that come into our lives have the ability to cause us to to rethink who we are, what we believe and how we do things.



I went thru this process of reassesing my priorities, my time management, my belief in God.In the first three and a half years of my kids lives. And part of me had to grieve the fact that I was not able to go where I wanted to go or spend my money on what I wanted to spend it on. To grieve the loss of my pre-kids self.

But every once in awhile, I get the chance to be that unobligated girl again. I get to listen to my pop star music from the 90s and watch the shows I like instead of boy stuff. :)

This past weekend was one of those times. We had two events happening in different states. So, the man and his entourage went north and I stayed down here with the soybeans and corn. It was marvelous. I stayed up late, got to watch two different girly movies and I made it to church in under an hour. I ate my meals when they were hot. And I didn't have to get up from the table once! I went to the library, and nobody shushed me. My weekend alone left me refreshed and, I have to say, that I did actually appreciate my family a little more when they got home on Sunday night.

What about you? What would you do if you had an entire weekend to yourself? Not just a few hours, or even 30 minutes. What if you had one entire weekend with no responsibilities? You wouldn't have to make a meal, or make sure anyone else had to go to the bathroom. You could watch whatever you wanted, stay up late. Eat a meal that was hot from beginning to end.

Maybe get a full night's rest. Get out the door in under 5 minutes! Maybe a weekend is to long right now. Perhaps you could just get away for a few hours one night in the next few weeks. What would you do with that time? That's my challenge for you moms. Get away from your family for just two hours. It might be tough at first we moms are great at making excuses as to why we can't get away. But honestly, your kids will be fine. And you will be better for it as well.



I look forward to hearing from you on what you did with your time!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Food, Glorious, Food Part Deux

Previously on playdates and peanutbutter I posted all about my amazing guacamole. It really was delicious. And I hope that you and your family love it as much as I did. Otherwise that post could be quite embarrassing for me.

I also mentioned how much I like to experiment. And sometimes my family doesn't appreciate that. What my husband does appreciate is my willingness to copy restaurants. With our little guys not able to gorge themselves on all the fried wonder that can be sweet and sour chicken, we do not often go to Chinese buffets. Because I just can't let the boys only eat pudding for dinner. And have you been to a buffet recently? They are just plain gross! Anyways, as I was saying. Our boys also don't get to eat things like chicken nuggets or fish sticks because I am cheap.

So, the husband and I have a desire to give our kids the best possible food experience we can. We don't want them to miss out on anything related to an American child's diet. Thus, we have found recipes for making our very own batter to make our own chicken nuggets. And I also found a recipe for gluten free spring rolls. I love my kids so much, I even drove around for ninety minutes on Saturday trying to find gluten free soy sauce and original rice paper wrappers. And I found them! And oh the feast we had!

We had sweet and sour chicken, Vietnamese spring rolls and fried rice. The man recreated the Thai fried rice he has had at a local restaurant here in town. He makes fried rice as usual and then adds the pineapple, raisins and cashews. Again, absolutely incredible!

Here is the recipe for the frying batter and the GF spring rolls. You can use non gluten free products if you want, but our house tries to stay gluten-free. Because that's how we roll.

Frying batter for sweet and sour whatever can be found at: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Sweet-and-Sour-Chicken-I/Detail.aspx

The gluten-free spring rolls are as follows:
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 package coleslaw mix
2 cups bean sprouts
1 pkg rice paper wrappers
2 Tbsp oil, plus more for frying
STIR FRY SAUCE
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp. sugar

Place 2 Tbsp. oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium to high heat. Add garlic. Stir fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add coleslaw mix and sauce. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes, until veggies have softened. Remove from heat and add bean sprout. Tossing to mix in. Do a taste test for salt, adding 1 - 2 more Tbsp. of fish or soy sauce.
To assemble the rolls: Place one rice wrapper in a pan of water, letting absorb the water for about 10 seconds. Remove and place on clean working surface. Put one tbsp of veggie mix at the top of the wrapper. Fold over the top, pinching along the spring roll mixture so that it is tight around it. Fold over the left and right sides of the wrapper and continue rolling. Keeping the wrapping tight.
To Fry: Place some oil in a wok or a deep frying pan over medium-high heat. When bubbles arise, or when the oil begins to form snake-like lines across the bottom, the oil is hot enough. Using tongs, place spring rolls in the oil, allowing them to fry about 1 minute on each side. They are done when the wrappers have a slight brown tinge to them. Remove from the pan with tongs and place on a paper towel lined plate.

These instructions are from two different places. One is wanderingchopsticks.blogspot.com. And the other is thaifood.about.com. There were many other Asian dishes to try out as well.

I look forward to hearing from you about these!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Food, Glorious, Food

I love food. I grew up in a family of eaters. We liked food, and we still do! My mom was an experimental cook. Sometimes it was good, sometimes it wasn't so good. I, too, have an enjoyment of experimenting in the kitchen. Thankfully, after 4 years of tantrums about the fact that no one in my family seems to appreciate my culinary skills, my family is willing to try out my experiments. I love those boys of mine!

With two little guys that have an allergy to gluten, we eat a lot of Mexican and Atkins (i.e. meat) friendly meals. Over the weekend I made some wickedly delicious sour cream enchiladas. (Don't worry my foodie friends, recipes are to follow.) I also got crazy with some avocados.

Normally, I don't buy avocados because they can be expensive and I am the only one in my family that really enjoys them. But the older son saw some on a display, thought they looked cool, and they were only a buck a piece. And since we were having the above mentioned enchiladas, I thought guacamole would be a suitable accompaniment. Also, I always like to offer new foods to the boys, help expand their palates for their future wives.

Now, I have had guacamole before. Usually at a restaurant. And I have always liked it. This creation I made at home, was so.... much.... better. It was like ambrosia! I ate about 1/2 a cup with some tortilla chips on Sunday night. And then on Monday, for lunch, I finished the rest. It was fantastic. I could go on and on and on and on about how amazing my guacamole was. MMMMMMMMMMM. I am starting to salivate again just typing about it. Ok, I am done. Maybe. Just give me a second..... Wipes drool off of keyboard.

Any ways, suffice it to say that I love food, and my new favorite dish is guacamole. Home made. No more store bought stuff for me. Unfortunately, the men folk were not as into it as I was. They did try it though. Maybe next time.....

Here is the recipe for my Sour Cream Enchiladas:
Serves 4
1 can chicken breasts
1 cup sour cream
1/8 tsp. salt
12/16 corn tortillas
4 oz can chopped green chiles
2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. cumin
1/2- whole white or yellow onion chopped up finely
1 jar green salsa

Combine the canned chicken, sour cream, salt, green chiles, 1/2 c Monterey Jack cheese, garlic powder, cumin and onion. Mix well. Wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel, microwave one minute on high. Place tortilla on a clean working surface. Place 1 1/2 tbsp of chicken mix on tortilla near the top. Fold over the top and roll tightly, down. Place in greased baking dish. Top with green salsa or just the rest of the cheese if you don't like things to spicy. I do about half and half.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden on the edges.

Guacamole
1 ripe tomato
2 avocados
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Mash together the tomato and avocados. Stir in remaining ingredients. Serve with chips or warm tortillas.

Enjoy! Let me know if you try these out!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Previously

Since it is summer, I have some more free time to do the projects I neglect the other three seasons of the year. Also, since we had a long and enjoyable weekend with my parents, my younger child is currently comatose in his room. Finally, a friend of the older child invited him over to play. It really is the perfect day to clean out and reorganize things in my house.

One of the things we did this weekend was celebrate the two boys birthdays. Grandma and Grandpa M & J helped to flesh out our Imaginext connections. That kept the boys occupied all morning. Leading to the kitchen being rearranged this morning. I know the man of the house loved having to rediscover where the silverware got moved too. I just like to help keep his life interesting. :)

Then, after lunch. I put down the younger boy and sent the older son to the friends house mentioned earlier. Sorted the mountain of laundry that was on top of the day bed and started another load of clothes in the washer. Then, I carefully lifted the sheet that doubles as a dust ruffle from the side of the bed and started pulling out the various articles from beneath the bed. There were random rolls of wrapping paper, gift bags from the latest birthday party, Lego pieces, a couple of dusty socks. A box of sci-fi novels that are my uncles. I am sure a few of them could probably be classified as antiques. Maybe I will be making some Ebay postings after this.....

And then I found a box. It was marked with my name on it. It had about two inches of dust on the top; as did the rest of the things under the bed. I shoved some of the clutter away from me and then slowly opened the box.

Now, I don't consider my self a pack-rat. In fact, I would say I am more quick to get rid of something I think we don't need than I am to save something just in case. But when it comes to letters, or cards, or notes of encouragement. My desire for less clutter gets shut down faster than a drunken Disney character. I do occasionally go through my letter collection and prune out the ones that either I don't remember the person, or there is no sentimental value left in the card for me. Those two criteria usually go hand in hand. But some letters, no matter how old, will always stay in my collection.

For example, I found all the love letters that my darling husband sent to me while we were in college. They are such tender reminders of our early courtship. We were so young and idealistic than. Sigh, we were so naive back then. My eyes were watering as I read some of the little notes and remembered the excitement we had for each other at that time.

I also found a lot of birthday cards from the years. Most of the ones from my grandparents included notes about their lives at that time. Most of it didn't make sense then, nor do I know what it means now. But the words of love and encouragement helped shape me into who I am today. And especially the words of my maternal grandparents mean a lot to me as both have passed on to be with Jesus.

I found a lot of notes of encouragement. One didn't even have a name on it. But all of them encouraged me to stay strong in the Lord. To keep seeking God's direction in my life. To hold on to the promise that God would do great things in my life as I remained faithful to His word. Now, my much younger self had a very different idea of what "do great things in the Lord" meant than what I do now.

Previously, I thought that meant I would go on to work in Washington D.C. as a lobbyist for some Christian rights group. Now, I am a lobbyists for my two boys as I make sure they get the best social experiences possible. Previously, I thought I would go on to sing first soprano in a prestigious collegiate choir. Now, I just want to sing honest and open praises to God. It doesn't matter if anyone sees me or hears me. Previously, I wanted to be up front and out there for everybody to see the great things I was doing in God's name. Now, I just want to do what God would have me to do so Christ's name would be glorified.

It's all been a matter of perspective for me. In the past 25 years that have been a Christian, the Lord has taken me from a young, selfish little girl, to an adolescent more obsessed with what people thought of me than what God thought of me into a woman who desires to serve the Lord, however He wants me to do that.

I will close this long post with a quote I heard recently. I am not sure who originally said it, but here is my version: Thank God I am no longer who I once was, and I thank God that I am not yet who I will be.

Blessings to all of you as you continue towards who God will have you to be.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Early Morning

Now that I am back to blogging, you may get whiny moments. Today will be one of those days. But the good stuff is at the end. So, read the whiny stuff so you understand the lesson.

Really, it started yesterday. About 9PM. The kids were finally in bed. I was settling down to watch one of our shows. Then I saw it was a two part episode. Because it's the end of all my series. So they have to be really dramatic and drag everything on and on and on.

And I wanted to watch the second part of the finale. Not go to bed and set my alarm for 5:20AM. But I did, and maybe I prayed that I would get a text either last night or early this morning saying my running friend can't make it. Yeah, should have prayed a little harder about that. The alarm went off, I pushed snooze. The alarm went of, I pushed snooze again. The alarm went off, I turned it off. Got out of bed, got myself out the door and was still 10 minutes late. And I kept praying for that text saying I could turn around and go home. Still didn't come.....

I arrived. Apologized in a half hearted way for being late. We began. We only had about 3 miles to go. I started off ok. Then, my calves started tightening. So I walked a little. My dear friend gave me some encouragement, we ran again. More hurting calves, we walked a little. Finally, I said to my friend that she should go on. Because I wanted to not push to hard since we had hill work tomorrow morning. Oh the joy of that. And since she did need to get back home before 7, I was left on my own to finish the 3 miles.

Which turned out to be an enormous blessing. I had been all focused on me and what problems I had. And when my friend continued on, and I was left there without my iPod or any other distractions (television anyone?) I finally had the time to realize that I was getting into a pretty selfish mode of thinking. I did have some things that were on my heart that weren't just about my desire to sleep past 5:30AM. But mostly, I was thinking how unfair my life was. The Lord prompted me to start praying. And I did. I just started talking to God on that path. Out loud. I was the crazy lady on the running path. I stopped talking and listened for awhile. And then I would talk. God and I had a great conversation out there this morning. And not everything was resolved. I still have some things to work on. God did not come down with a magic paint brush and remove all my troubles. He did, however, give me some peace of mind. And then, when I was done talking to God about me. And I started thinking about how cruddy it was to be running out there, I started praying for my friends. And then I started praising God. As I look back on this morning, I probably should have started with the praising and then moved on to praying.

Now, again. My day has not become all roses and sunshine. I feel kind of tired and lazy. I let the kids watch Kung Fu Panda so I could watch a show this morning. And I served them 7UP for breakfast because we are out of milk and I didn't want the battle over drinking water to begin, for the hundredth time. I just didn't want to deal with that. But, God is still there for me. Thank-you Jesus for your endless patience, grace and mercy. For loving me as I need to be loved. Especially on my crummy days!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It don't mean a thing if I'm not in the swing... of things

So, as my darling husband and also one of my friends so kindly pointed out, I need to get back to blogging. It's apparently been awhile since my last post. I was all gun ho around Christmas and maybe the first week of January. But then, I got busy, life happened. I think some of us may have been sick. Blah Blah Blah, excuses excuses excuses.

Here are a few things that I have been doing as well.

I started running with a good friend of mine (who also has a blog thenaturalmommy.com). We get up at some crazy hour before the sun comes up here in the Midwest. We do crazy things like sprints and tempo runs. Well, she does that. I kind of move my feet a little faster than normal and try not to pass out from a lack of oxygen. Just kidding. I actually kind of like running now. I have digressed.

I also got wrapped up in a couple of book series by Jim Butcher, the Dresden Files and Codex Alera or the Furies books as I call them. He writes sci-fi/ fantasy. They are witty, pretty clean for mainstream fiction and based in Chicago so I actually have been to a lot of the geographical references.

I have been involved with my family, my MOPS group, the church we attend. All kinds of stuff.

Oh, and then there is my obsession with television. I have been known to get sucked into a Hulu vacuum. Usually between the hours of 2 and 4 PM. If you are not familiar with HULU, it's offers t.v. shows from a wide variety of networks, for free. It's a blessing and a curse.

So those are my excuses. I run three days a week, I am involved in life, I have kids. I like t.v. That's why I haven't been blogging. I know, I do to much. Maybe I should cut back on something.

Well, I think summers arrival is cutting some things for me, like the school run, MOPS, there aren't many good t.v. shows on during the summer. So, here I am. Dusting off my lap top. Flexing my fingers and wrists. Getting back into blogging. I am not going to make any promises about "x" number of posts per week. But if you are on Facebook, I link there to my posts. So, if I blog, I want to hear from you. Have a great week!

Monday, January 25, 2010

As seen thru the eyes of my children

Here are a few things I have learned about myself in the last few years. Some of it's good and some of it is not so good. Maybe you can relate?

1. I can put in and take out a toddler from a 5 – point harness one handed. While talking on a cell phone. Can we all say “multi-tasker”?
2. I have built enough muscle strength to carry two 35 lb children (if absolutely necessary and it’s not going up the stairs). Eat your hear out Jillian Michaels!
3. Banana bread counts as a serving of fruit and veggies. And sometimes fruit snacks do too.
4. I can tell by the smell of my child’s poo if they are sick or not.
5. I can survive on three hours of sleep. Barely, but I can do it.
6. I don’t need more than 1200 calories a day. My kids need the food more than I do. (you may not know that. And I usually make up what I don't eat one day on the day after.)
7. I am my child’s best advocate. Whether it's speaking to doctor's, teachers, well meaning strangers or over protective relatives.

I have learned a few other things about myself as well. They are not as flattering. I am not as easy going as I thought. I have very strong ideas about how things should go. I also don’t like to be challenged or ignored. I have a nasty temper when things don’t go my way. And in God’s awesome sense of humor way, He has given me some kids with a very strong sense of how things should go. We are still debating about when I should give in and when I should stay strong in my decisions. 
I’ve also learned to share more, watch my words, play nice and about grace. I have become more discerning about what I watch and listen to. Both when the kids are around and when it’s just me and my husband. I need to be better about matching my actions with my words. Because there are little eyes and ears watching, all the time. And they are really good at imitating what they see and hear.
I have learned how to dream and imagine again. I don’t need to stay in reality all the time. Besides, it’s not much fun here. :P It’s ok to pretend to be the monster so my kids can practice being warriors. Because they are going to have to know how to fight for themselves one day. And I want to teach them that’s alright. Even though the world will tell them that they should be a pacifist.
My lessons in grace have been the hardest. No matter how many times I screw up, my kids are always quick to forgive. And I want to be more like that too. I don’t think there has been any Bible study lesson, sermon, magazine article or seminar that I have been to that has illustrated to me how quickly God is willing to forgive me, if I would just ask, than what my kids have demonstrated to me. That quickness to forgive is what keeps my heart from being bitter.
That’s what I have learned in the past five years. There are more lessons, but I think these are the big ones. What have you learned since becoming a parent?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

To the man I love

He is often in the background, but that only means he needs me to tell you all why I love him. This one's for you honey!

To my husband
I wanted to say thank-you today. Thank-you for being the man I need you to be.
Thank-you also for knowing when I need you to be with the kids so I don’t go crazy. For buying me little presents and treats. Thank-you for holding your tongue when I don’t do the dishes and play my silly little game (Peggle, the greatest distraction on earth) instead.
Thanks for pushing me and challenging me. Like in this writing thing. I don’t want to be here writing, because I am tired and have a head ache. (you know I fall asleep about now, 11:30PM). Here I am writing anyway because you are right about this. I need to do something everyday to keep me motivated. You also have such a unique way of motivating me to excercise. Because again, you are right. Greece can either be something I go and have a great time at, or it can be the most miserable experience of my life. And that whole not wanting to be kidnapped by turkish terrorists is pretty motivating to.
Thank-you for being the dad our kids need. For showing them how to become men. Thank-you for being the one who goes to work at a day job you don’t really like so that I can stay home and guide our children. And thank you for pursuing your dreams. It’s teaching our kids that it is possible to be a grown up and still dream.
Thank-you for being you. For being my sounding board. For being my reality check. Thanks for being the one to encourage me and love me when I am being emotional. Thanks for loving me enough to tell me to get my behind upstairs and write or to go to bed so I can get up and run in the morning! For showing me how to dream and ways I can make those dreams come true.
To borrow some lyrics from a song by Spiral Staircase (whoever the heck that is,)
I don't remember what day it was
I didn't notice what time it was
All I know is that I fell in love with you
And if all my dreams come true
I'll be spending time with you
Every day's a new day in love with you
With each day comes a new way of loving you
Every time I kiss your lips my mind starts to wonder
And if all my dreams come true
I'll be spending time with you

Oh I love you more today than yesterday
But not as much as tomorrow
Oh I love you more today than yesterday
But darling not as much as tomorrow

Tommorrow makes each springtime just a day away
Cupid we don't need you now be on your way
I thank the Lord for love like ours that grows ever stronger
And I always will be true
I'll be spending time with you

Oh I love you more today than yesterday
But not as much as tomorrow
Oh I love you more today than yesterday
But darling not as much as tomorrow

Every day's a new day, every time I love ya
Every time's a new way, every time I love ya...
Very day's a new day, every time I love ya
Every time's a new way, every time I love ya...
Every time I love ya...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Expectations

I realized something the other day. I realized that I should stop reading stories to my kids. I should also stop letting them watch Disney movies and PBS cartoons.
Why would I do such a thing? It’s great to read stories to your kids. It helps to teach them how to read. And Disney and PBS put out great educational programming. And lets not forget that letting them watch a show is the best way to distract my two boys while I try and get something done.
There are side effects to letting my kids watch shows. They see not only the kids in those shows, but also the adults. They see all the perfect moms and dads who never blow up at their kids. The ones able to laugh off every little mistake. The ones that are never tired, angry, hurt or lonely. My kids see an idyllic world where nothing ever goes wrong. They see a certain curious monkey get into mischeif yet never have to reap the consequences.
I think this all hit me when we were going thru potty training with our oldest son. I would get so mad when things did not go well. As in we had done our business every where except the potty. And I was out of carpet cleaner. I will admit here that I would completely lose my cool. Not just in an exasperated sigh kind of way. It was more along the lines of screaming. And then I would calm down and feel immediate guilt for my blow up. Apologize and set my mind to doing it the right way. The way those potty training books told me to. Reading those books always reminded me of how poorly I was doing at this mothering job.
Then one day, my mom and I were on the phone. I was yet again confessing my hatefulness. And she was comforting me with kind words and scripture. She told me that God had created me in His image and that He had given me these two boys. That my husband and I were their parents for a reason. That I was the best one for the job of raising them.
I should remember that those parents on the screen and in the books aren’t real. They are fictional. And that it’s only the enemy telling me that I am the only one that messes up. That no one but me gets angry or exasperated with my kids. I knew all of that in my head. But in my heart I needed to hear that truth.
I am the best parent for my kids. And you are the best parent for yours. Even though I make mistakes still, I can use those times to teach my kids about forgiveness. About receiving grace and mercy. Those things are there for you as well. You need only to ask, and Christ will come and extend His grace, mercy and unconditional love to you.
Walking forward in His grace and mercy.

P.S. I am not really going to stop reading books to my kids or stop letting them watch television. I need at lease some peace and quiet. :)