Monday, April 25, 2011

Motherhood and Backyard 'Lake View'

Sometimes I feel like I 'rock' as a mom. Then there's nights like tonight. And I wonder if I ever do anything right. I'm sure I'm majorly screwing up my kiddos. Sometimes I just wish this motherhood journey could be easier than it looks. Sigh. Hopefully in the end, the moments I get it 'right' will outweigh all these 'screwups'!

Well after days and days of thunderstorms, tonight, there is a sunset out my back window!! The leaves are filling out our trees, so it's harder to see; yet, I see the colors of the sunset faithfully shining through the branches.  And when it rains, we get this lovely river that surges through our backyard (really it leaves all kinds of trash and opens sink holes and is really a pain!) But while it's flowing - it's captivating. This summer will make three years in this house and I still find myself drawn to the 'river' every time it rains. The force with which it flows, the stuff floating downstream...and that I hope keeps floating on by so I don't have to pick it up later, the constant movement, the beauty.  Well tonight I paused and looked out at the sunset and it was reflecting off the 'river' and it was simply breathtakingly beautiful.  It almost looked like we lived on a lake.  I tried to take pictures to capture this 'lake view' with my camera, but my camera failed to capture the colors and beauty of it all. But nonetheless, here is a picture with and without the flash. It was a welcome glimpse of beauty after days and days of rain and a heart that is heavy with the journey of motherhood tonight.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Weekend

Let's see, our weekend included...thunderstorms, egg coloring, thunderstorms, cookie baking, thunderstorms, bass pro egg hunt, thunderstorms, walk, thunderstorms, bike ride, thunderstorms, annual treasure hunt for Easter baskets, thunderstorms, Easter celebration at church, thunderstorms, impromptu concert in the basement, thunderstorms. Here are a few pictures. And a video of one of the girls songs (and I'm sure Mike's thankful I didn't chose the video of him dancing with them on the stage!). But really, the video is what Easter is all about...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fully Fully Die

Not sure where this blog post is going to go...a million thoughts floating in and out of my head this morning.

I know I shouldn't have, but I went to bed last night dreading today. I'm stuck home with no car and it's suppose to only be in the 50s today (and after 80s two days ago... I'm not pleased with this fact) and it's suppose to rain all day.  But as the girls rushed out the door for the bus...unexpected sunshine greeted me as I opened the door.

I was suddenly pleased I had no place I had to be today. So, I made myself some hot cocoa, grabbed my robe and then sat on my front porch step, soaking up the rays of sunshine spilling out of the blue sky down on me. Thankful for the alcove of protection my porch walls were offering from the 42 wind chill.  And I talked to God, thanking him for all the signs of Spring I saw around me. Pondering and thanking him for Good Friday and Easter. I decided to grab my bible and I read a few chapters. I read about a leper pausing to say thanks.

Then I grabbed my camera. Lately I've been noticing other's photos... and if I'm completely honest, I'm been a bit *envious* of their cameras that can capture such gorgeous pictures.  I have a simple automatic zoom digital camera. It's easy and convenient - but lately I've been noticing, it doesn't capture the details I see. And it's made me a bit envious.  But I decided, I do have a camera, and I need to take pictures to capture what it can.
I LOVE all the green that is surrounding my back deck again!
Here is a view from my front porch step this morning.
So many shades of green already appearing. 
I then came inside and crawled onto Morgan's bed. Her room is the only room that has sunshine pouring through it in the morning. And I've been laying here for the past 45 minutes, reading Ann VosKamp's book One Thousand Gifts, seizing these unexpected gifts of sunshine and silence and time for reflection.

In her book she asks the question, how do we live fully so we are fully ready to die? Because face it, one day we will all die. How do we live fully alive with every breath we are given?  She talked about two stories. The last supper and  and the story of the leper. (Kinda interesting that I was already thinking on Easter this morning and had just read the story of the leper in Luke 17 this morning). She says "With an expiration of less than twelve hours, what does Jesus count as all most important?" 'And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them...' (Luke 22:19)" When facing the hardest moment of his life, he gave thanks. And as for the leper, God healed him, he came back and said thanks, and then God said, your faith has healed you.  He fully experienced the miracle of the moment, because he paused to say thanks.

Ann's book asks, and I am asking, is it in living a life full of thanksgiving that we can truly fully live? The wonder of life, of God, of living... isn't 'out there' to find 'one day' - rather, it's to be found, 'right here' and 'right now' in this moment. So before these final rays of sunshine leave this room, and I'm caught up in daily chores, I am going to go and add a few more things to my list of 1000 gifts.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Misery *dislikes* Gratitude

I have been feeling miserable lately. I'll spare you all the details, besides, if I wrote out all the details, I'd probably just feel worse, so I won't.  Let's just say it's a combination of many things...and these stupid allergies are NOT helping at all!! My soul longs for Spring, I love to immerse myself in it, and now I feel trapped inside by these allergies!! Ugh!!

Last night I was feeling really down. Right now, I don't feel like looking on the bright side of things. at all. I really want to wallow in my misery. But honestly, where will that get me? Besides, I'm trying to live with more gratitude in my 'everydayness'...and perhaps that means finding gratitude especially on days I don't feel like it.  So this morning, in an attempt to gain a better perspective, here are 15 more things I'm adding to my 1000 gifts list, bringing my total to 489.

#1 -  Sadness. Without it, could we truly know happiness?
#2 -  Darkness, so we can experience light
#3 -  Coldness, so I can know warmth
#4 -  Tears, to release emotions instead of keeping them inside
#5 -  Unfulfilled dreams, so when they become reality, I’ll appreciate the gift/work of them all the more
#6 -  A new day, to begin with a new perspective
#7 -  My aging body that is reminding me to live a healthier lifestyle
#8 -  Allergies, so I can appreciate my good health the rest of the year
#9 -  A husband who would like to make things better for me, if he could
#10 -    Internal battles that make me wiser and stronger…eventually
#11 -   Backrubs generously given
#12 -   Bicycles
#13 -   Mike leaving work a few minutes early so we can enjoy a bike ride together before the girls get off the bus.
#14 -   Garage door openers
#15 -   Daughters who point out things I can appreciate (like garage door openers)

I'm trying here...can you tell?!? :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

1000 Gifts Continued

In January, I started a list called 1000 Gifts, you can read about it by clicking here. My goal is to list 1000 gifts by the end of the year. Again, the purpose is simply to pause and notice all the many things I have to be thankful for in life. I try to keep the file open on my computer, so I can just add to it as something comes to me. Below is my list from this past week. 

Also, the same author of this idea, has this one page sheet you can print which makes a weekly booklet where you can write down just 7 gifts a day. Click here to read about it and see how to fold it.  I printed up one for each of the girls, so they can cultivate a heart of gratitude in their lives as well. They seem excited about them.

#408 - Morning breeze thru my window
#409 - Screens to keep bugs out
#410 - Girls’ homemade documentary on how to make clay pots and stuff out of playdoh for barbies.
#411 - A day that begins with laughter
#412 - Bright green spots dotting bare branches
#413 - A friend’s offer to let the girls sleepover at her house when I’m completely drained
#414 - A husband who so willingly makes me lunch all the time when we are home.
#415 - A husband who does up the dishes before I get home
#416 - A friend who takes her time to proofread my writing
#417 - No commitments this weekend, so I can rest
#418 - Paint in a 1000 different colors. Deep purple, dark orange, lime green, bright turquoise are the chosen treehouse (inside) colors today.
#419 - Neighborhood friends for the girls to enjoy so often
#420 - Splotches of bright colors throughout the neighborhood
#421 - Listening to the girls read the Easter story to me
#422 - Medicine
#423 - Kleenex
#424 - Air conditioning, even if it is April (gulp).
#425 - Unexpected visitors, like Uncle Jim this week
#426 - A tear that chokes me up during a worship song at church
#427 - Easter egg hunts
#428 - Smiles on kids faces
#429 - Finding a decaying dead walnut that has a new 2 inch baby walnut tree sprouting out of the inside
#430 - Mike’s willingness to help with projects without complaint
#431 - Springtime rains
#432 - Shelter from storms
#433 - A friend calling for no other reason but to share good news with me

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pity Party

I'm throwing my own little pity party, so if you'd like to join me, read on. If you'd rather pass on the invite, well I can't blame you.

I feel m.i.s.e.r.a.b.l.e. - and I fear that I may have finally developed seasonal allergies. I've been taking BOTH claritin and sudafed for the past 2 days and I can still barely breathe. My eyes are itchy, watery, I'm all stuffed up, sneezing, even my ears feel full at times, and my teeth hurt (not sure about that one). I've gone thru over a box of kleenex in the past 24 hours. I checked what pollen is high right now - Oak Trees - Oh yah, I have at least a dozen of them out my backdoor - LOVE THEM the other 11 months of the year, blaming them for my current condition at the moment (I need something to blame!) And the worst part, it's a GORGEOUS weekend!! I can't even sit out on our deck!  And last night, BOTH girls stayed over at a friend's house and what did I do from 4:30 last night til 8:00 this morning - stay in bed, feeling more dead than alive!! And today, Mike is heading to the races with some friends - so the girls and I could have a fun evening ahead of us, except I feel terrible. I'm just feeling grumpy and down and discouraged. That's all. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Our girls...on our marriage

So, I asked the girls tonight, how do you know daddy & I love each other? Here are their responses.

- "Because you guys kiss all the time!"
- "look them in the eyes when talking"
- "by hugging"
- "go away for your anniversary and bring us to Darian's house"

- "you kiss"
- "you say it"
- "you hug"
- "you share money"

I enjoyed hearing their answers and really, we don't kiss that much! Seriously, we still love each other like crazy, and I hope that they always know that deep within their hearts!! Every investment into our relationship thru the years has been so worth it!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

So Different, Love them Both

Okay, with Morgan, every day she brings home her papers neatly in a folder. Oh occasionally one might be in her bag, or elsewhere, but for the most part, she has always been responsible about putting her papers in her folder and bringing them home. I've never had to ask her about it or teach her to do it - she just does it. She also fills out her planner for school faithfully and always reminds me to sign it. She's super responsible!

But my girls are as different as night and day sometimes.  They remind me that while I may 'parent' them similar, with the same goals, they still have very unique personalities. I can not parent them exactly, because they are different kids, and require different strategies in dealing with different issues.  For example, Here's Sarah.  Monday - no papers. Tuesday - no papers. Wed. - no papers. Thurs - no papers. Friday - an entire weeks worth of papers crammed into her folder, with the overflow crammed into the bottom of her bag (only because her teacher required them to clean out their desks). A wad. A mess.  I've tried talking with her. I've tried bribing her - bring her papers home, she can have a piece of candy. This week she had an important note about needing to bring something to school (actually it's from over a week ago) - she told me about it - but not knowing the details, I wasn't going to buy random stuff and send it in. All week I've asked her for the note. Told her she can't bring stuff to school unless she's responsible to bring me the note.  I finally found the note on Friday crammed in her folder. Umm yeah, we were suppose to send in the item last Monday. So I sent her teacher an email about it, explaining all this and that I was trying to instill some responsibility into her.  So he sent me back the following email, and it made me laugh out loud!! It said:
I understand about her desk. Every day after math I always tell her that one day she's not going to be able to cram anything else in there and she just grins real big and shrugs her shoulders. I just have been waiting like you to see what happens. I know that I shouldn't laugh, but it makes me chuckle to see her do that.
All I have to say is that thankfully, we still have ten more years (til she's 18) to keep working on responsibility! She'll get it, I hope. But something tells me she may always have a messy desk when she grows up. I wonder if she'll surprise me! :) And by the way, if I had to choose, I'd take her big grin over a neat folder any day! :) 

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's Day

Just like St. Patty's day - I LOVE April Fools Day because it gives me an excuse to just have a little fun, enjoy a little silliness with the girls. It's a break from the routine. I'm SUPER Excited about the three-layer sponge cake I made today! Looks yummy, I know.  But really, it's made with real sponges.  Oh, the girls are going to LOVE this! :)  Don't worry I got some real cupcakes hidden for after the fool's trick!

Here's the sideview before I added the frosting. :)
Also, for breakfast, I put a couple drops of food coloring in the bottom of their cereal bowls, then put cereal in, so when they poured their white milk, it changed colors to pink or blue.  For their lunch boxes, I printed up these donut seed packets.  

The girls got in on the fun today too, they secretly 'called me' on the phone -said it was dad - but when I answered they said, "April Fools"! 

I'm always looking for new tricks for next year - let me know if you have any good ones! :)