Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Break

I am three days into spring break and I regret to inform you that I haven't once felt that ultimate freedom that comes with the onslaught of an amazing extended break from going into work everyday.  I have spent the weekend trying to decipher why my favorite non-holiday doesn't have me dancing the virtual table of celebration.   In the past I have always enjoyed staying home on spring break.  I love the week-long break from having anything required of me.  I usually fill it with a big project I can feel good about accomplishing.  Two year ago I built a fort in our backyard.  Last year I...wait, I don't know what I did last year besides highjack my family to St. Louis at the end of the week because I was sick of looking at everyone else have amazing spring breaks. 

Okay, so I was productive once on spring break.  It was my favorite spring break. I am a sucker for productivity. 

But this year I haven't been productive.  I'm leaving on Tuesday for my parents' house, but in the meantime I have completely forfeited all imagined responsibility to this place.  I have blown off Bible Study and my new workout classes that I think are the best thing since sliced bread. I even refused to go to the zoo with my kids (although no one really begged me to tag along). Okay, so I use the word "responsibility" loosely, and have only really blown off three things in the same number of days.  I'm not a monster.

I'm not leaving because it will be warmer there, or because I think there will be more to do with my children.  I'm going because I just need to step away from my life for a bit.  I'm going because for a few days I just need to be a girl with a mom and dad that will do things like buy milk and eggs, stock the pantry with oreos, and make me coffee.  I need them to tell me I'm doing everything I can, and maybe even too much.  Sometimes a girl just needs her mom and dad, and I'm lucky enough to have both there and willing.

I wish I could define it for you here, but the truth is that I'm tired of adulting for awhile, and for that I need a spring break. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Puzzle

My son and his brilliant costume imitation of Sharptooth.   It lasted a few days.

I have friends that are leaving for Seoul in less than a week.  As I am watching them pack and plan through the magic of social media, I am reminded of a trip we took to Seoul on the same week exactly 9 years ago.  Back then I kept a pretty thorough blog - spilling my guts with poor writing all over the interwebs.  It wasn't hard to figure out exactly what I was doing 9 years ago today.

Friends, I was so sad.  I was heartbroken and anxious.  I felt abandoned by God as I saw other adoption numbers gain ground on ours in line, and then pass it.  I watched as people who had attended our adoption class got calls and came home with their babies.  While I sat at home in cold windy Peoria folding cloth diapers over and over again - going to school everyday wishing there would be a voicemail waiting for me at every break.

And then suddenly there was. We bought insanely expensive plane tickets - two for there, three for back.We packed as though we might miss our flight that was actually 4 days off.    We threw in everything one might dream of needing on a 13 hour flight with a baby you only just met, but have loved for a lifetime. We made runs to Target. We called someone to feed our cats.  I called my sub.  I took a pregnancy test.  I told Dustin we were actually getting two babies now.  And then we got on a plane and met our son. The rest is history.

Except it's not.  Everyday I am confronted with new things I don't understand about this parenting thing. I knew parenting was going to be amazing, and joyful, and also hard.  I had no idea parenting was going to be like putting together the most intrinsic of puzzles, trying to figure out what will make my boy successful, what will show off his clever problem-solving brain, or what makes him tick.  I had no idea that other people were going to come along and throw their well-intentioned puzzle pieces into my pile and try to tell me it can all be figured out with this, this, and this. I didn't expect to have second guesses about the way he learns or how all of my boys will thrive in this set-up I've always accepted as good and true.

So today I'm coming from a place that feels hopeless in moments, but is also filled with moments of love and grace than 9 years ago today.  I have what I always wanted - a family.  I have our health.  I have giggles at bedtime, and surprise accomplishments.  I have snowball fights and nerf guns that always make someone cry. I have bedtimes that seem to take forever and mornings that come too soon.  I have my husband in the other room reading bedtime stories, the sound of his voice lulling them to sleep - pleas for just one more chapter of the Penderwick Sisters.  I have joy, peace, and goodness. 

But I also have immense moments of fear and anxiety, frustration and anger - bitterness that my puzzle will never be complete, or times when it seems like I am the only one trying to put it together. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Words on Wednesday

Words that have defined my week so far...

My classroom that is.  It is PARCC testing, so I've been spending a lot of time lesson planning and doing things like this...


Read this article by a woman about her husband right before she died of cancer.  If you have a husband with even a smidgen of good in him, you will weep.  Or a dad, or a brother. Otherwise you're heartless.

This week is the first week I am keeping Miles home to tutor him in the morning.  Homeschool mornings we'll call it.  I'll write more on that later.

That's my son you hear coughing on my lap as I write this.  The third one.  We've been doing a lot of staying home and getting on each other's nerves.  Well, not me - I've been able to escape to work everyday so far because I was lucky enough to tackle my sickness over the weekend, but poor D-train has been on spring break - livin' large; taking care of coughing feverish children, fixing drains, and buying groceries.  Do you remember when we all used to sit around in middle school and watch MTV Spring Break and dream of participating when we grow up?  Yeah, me neither. (side-eye)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Well hello there winter.

After the warmest winter in my memory, the snow finally arrived yesterday.  As I was driving through what can only be labeled as blizzard conditions after such an absence, I couldn't help but compare the freaky weather to the older brother you are constantly waiting for, hoping will show up to the family gathering, knowing that when you see him you will be flooded with a great mixture of relief and love.  But then he arrives.  He's late, the food is cold, he smells like cigarettes, and the only thing he brought with him were gas station donuts. 

That's just a taste of what I felt yesterday.

It took me decades to fall in love with winter. I finally did after not having it for two solid years in Northern Ireland, and then having the most glorious, coldest, snowiest, most everything-is-shut-down-for-day winters ever.  I knew then that winter was everything I dreamed of: warm drinks, stretchy pants, sweatshirts, an excuse to stay indoors, etc.

This year my kids have been playing outside in shorts since January.

It's disturbing to say the least.

And then winter shows up all late to the party and beautiful. 

I take it back.  Yesterday the snow wasn't like my always-late and often-absent brother.  It was like your frenimy that you've decided you really DO like, but then you host a party where she is the guest of honor and then she shows up one hour late looking all amazing.  You're trying really hard to hate her again, but that charm!  That charisma!  That excuse to stay inside and wear stretchy pants!  All of it. You secretly love all of it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

It is well...

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul

Horatio G. Spafford

The song lyrics above mean so much more once you read the story behind the writing of this song.  It is a song formed out of intense grief and loss - a last-ditch effort to understand why we are dealt hands that seem to difficult to bear. 

It seems as though my last handful of posts all start with "I haven't written in awhile..."  Which is true.  I have so much to say, but lack the motivation to make time or to start. 

I'm not promising a start, so don't get excited.  I am not promising to give more of myself than I am able.  In fact, the opposite. I am learning to give less of myself to the things I can no longer give. 

I am promising to be a better neighbor, but perhaps a lesser volunteer.  I am promising to be an artist, but not a bystander. I am promising to be a mother, but perhaps not one that nourishes my family from within the walls of my home or behind closed doors. 

It is time for me to start embracing the person God created me to be. To stop apologizing or accepting what others refuse to give. To open myself up to new experiences and a journey for which I have never really had the map. 

This life is messy.  I accept it's challenges.

Monday, August 29, 2016

45 Reasons I Haven't Written in a Million Years.

I haven't written in a long long time.  Perhaps the longest time yet. ONE WHOLE YEAR.

I am constantly saying to myself, "I should write about that."  But then I don't.

Reasons I tell myself I haven't been writing:
  1. I don't know where to start. 
  2. I'm should be more protective of my personal life.  
  3. I'm trying to figure my life out.
  4. I'm just not a writer.
  5. I need to stop thinking that I'm a writer.
  6.  Oversharing is no longer trendy.
  7. But I LOVE oversharing.
  8.  I need to make more art.
  9. I'm not making enough art.
  10. I don't want to be a complainer.
  11. I don't want to pretend my life is perfect.
  13. No one wants to read what I have to say.
  14. People will talk about about how they don't want to read what I have to say.
  15. My kids deserve to not have their lives slathered all over the internet. 
  16. I'm lazy.
  17. I can either eat breakfast or write.  Breakfast always wins.
  18. I can either eat a snack or write. Snacking always wins.
  19. I can either binge watch old episodes of Brothers and Sisters or write. Guess which one wins.
  20. Work always gets in the way.
  21. Life is pretty crappy right now and I don't want to be a downer.
  22. Life is pretty awesome right now and I don't want to brag.
  23. What if this is my last day on earth - do I want to spend it at my computer?
  24. What if this is my last day on earth and these are the last words I put on the interwebs?
  25. What if this is my last day on earth and I HAVEN'T WRITTEN ON HERE FOR A YEAR?
  26. Maybe I should vacuum my house.
  27. Cleaning is for suckers - so is sitting at a computer.
  28. Ugh. SO. MUCH. WORK.
  29. So much chaos and noise - can't think straight. 
  30. The weeds in my flowerbed are knee-high.
  31. The neighbors might find out about me. 
  32. The neighbors might find out what all the yelling is about.
  33. My kids already watch too much t.v. by most social media standards. 
  34. Sometimes I say too much.
  35. What if the mailman reads it?
  36. I'm just not very funny.
  37. Shut up, I'm hilarious. 
  38. What if my pastor reads it?
  39. What if my aunts read it?
  40. My parents probably should not read this.
  41. Someday my kids will be able to read it.
  42. I'm on a year-long kick about not doing things - disguised as "slowing down." 
  43.  Sometimes my kids need snacks and things, and it is just TOO MUCH WORK.
  44. I have to can these FREAKING TOMATOES before they start rotting in my fridge.
  45. Life dude. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016