Saturday, September 29, 2012

Welcome Back, Fall

Leaf.Since this past week it's actually been feeling a little bit like fall here, I've been thinking of all the things I love about Fall.  To me, Fall is...  longer hikes, preferably discovering new trails whenever possible. Longer bike rides in the evenings. Black Walnut Season (I have a love/hate relationship with this one.). Morning fires to take the chill of the air. Backyard campfires. Rekindling my love of hot cocoa. Pausing to notice the changing landscape around me. Camping (although I don't think this is happening this Fall and that makes me a tad bit sad!). Fresh apple cider. Eating apples. Eating them dipped in caramel. And baked up with sugar and cinnamon. With a scoop of ice cream on top.  Blue Jeans and sweatshirts. Mike enjoying football games. Inhaling, deeply, the crisp air. Windows open, letting the outside merge with the inside (loving this even more this fall since we installed our attic fan a few weeks ago!).  Getting lost in a corn maze. Finding the perfect pumpkins. Carving them. Planning for Halloween costumes. My parents semi-annual visit. Attending Fall Festivals (our favorite - Apple Butter Making Days in Mt. Vernon, MO). Note: Must get there early if you want to get the freshly made apple butter out of the kettles on the courthouse lawn. It's the contentment of being back in a routine. It's raking leaves. And jumping in them. It's discovering again the joy that each new season holds. Oh, Fall, it's good to have you back! (Even if it means I'm spending part of my Saturday picking up black walnuts!) 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mockingjay and Revolution

For some reason, I just wanted to type the ending to Mockingjay in my blog. I hope when my kids are older they will read this series. I admire the strength of Katniss. Although she must live with extreme pain from the choices of others, she finds a way to mingle in the joys and create a life that includes happiness too.
My children, who don't know they play on a graveyard. Peeta says it will be okay. We have each other. And the book. We can make them understand in a way that will make them braver. But one day I'll have to explain about my nightmares. Why they came. Why they won't ever really go away.   
I'll tell them how I survive it. I'll tell them that on bad mornings, it feels impossible to take pleasure in anything because I'm afraid it could be taken away. That's when I make a list in my head of every act of goodness I've seen someone do. It's like a game. Repetitive. Even a little tedious after more that twenty years. But there are much worse games to play. 
And I also have to say that I am really NOT a TV watcher. In general, I don't follow shows, I like very few sitcoms, and dislike most reality tv shows. And I'm okay with that. I followed ER for years...when we first moved to Missouri, two other couples moved there at the same time, and moved in next door and across the street, so we had a standing weekly ER meetup. Great memories.  Then I followed got kinda weird, but I still followed it til the end.  Now last week, along came Revolution. The show has captivated me - I find it intriguing to think about how much we have become dependent on technology and electricity and energy.  The world survived for centuries without these things - and yet I wonder, would we be able to survive in a world now without it? I think of all the things I'd have to give up, all the things I'd have to learn to do -- if the power went out around the whole world.

So, if you call me Monday at 9pm - I won't answer - I'm snuggled on the couch with Mike, the dog and lost in another world on Revolution!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Happy Things

Just wanted to list a few of the happy things from my week -

Morgan knew I'd been waiting (like, forever!) for Mockingjay, so I could finish the Hunger Games series, (ridiculously long wait at public library), so she checked it out from her school library for me to read! (so sweet!) And last night, I finished it. And I loved it. I didn't love the Twlight series, so I wasn't expecting to love this series. I did. A lot. The epilogue moved me in a way I was not anticipating. It's rare that an end of a book can touch me deeply.

Sarah begged me to let her mop the floor - seriously begged - so lucky me, my floor got mopped!

The girls most recent favorite game. It's been fun to play with them in the evenings. #monopoly
Monopoly was my favorite game when I was the girls age. They have been really into it lately, so I've been playing it with them in the evenings, and it's been lots of fun to play again after all these years.

Yesterday was a perfect day to welcome in Fall at Silver Dollar City's Harvest Festival.  We were there when the park opened and when it closed. There were virtually no lines. Got to ride in the front and back easily of any roller coaster we wanted to. The girls were excited that we finally let them pick out a bucket full of taffy flavors, so they snacked on that all day.  We also got fudge, blommin' onion, skillet meals...yum!! We normally don't spoil our taste buds at Silver Dollar City like this, so it was a real treat! And I got a shirt that says "Livin' the Lucky Life!" - I couldn't agree more!

The Good Stuff Guide - This is the other website that I get the privilege of writing for! I love having another outlet to write articles and share ideas on! And she sent me an email this past week - she hadn't checked the stats in quite awhile and the site is getting 25,000 to 32,000 unique hits every month!! yay!! (I guess to be considered a successful website they want to see at least 10,000 unique hits.) I admit, this has made me smile, more than once. :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

When I'm Less of a Mom than I Want to Be

On the sidebar of my blog, it says, "I live in the gap between the mom I want to be and the mom I really am."   You see there is this perfect mom that I picture - one who is patient, who doesn't yell, who always knows the right answer, the right thing to do.  I know it's unrealistic. I know I can never be perfect. I even know that attempting perfection is not healthy.  But you see I really don't want my brokenness to transfer to my kids. Those things I don't like about myself, the things I'm working on, I don't want to instill in them.  Is that so bad?

Then there is the mom I really am.  The one who yells. The one who is less than patient. The one who doesn't know what to do half the time.

And here I am tonight, in the gap between the two, trying to find middle ground.  Here's today's incident.

I had several moms and daughters over today (part of a new group I started of moms/daughters serving together once a month in our community). Today we were making cookies to take to police/fire stations to say 'thanks for serving our community.'  Sarah is busy decorating cookies, then I turn around and find she has decided to NOT frost her cookies, no, she decided to frost her hands...and throw in a bunch of sprinkles, and mix them in, and then proceed to cover both sides of her hands!!!!  Seriously, is she two and half? Because I thought she was nine and a half! At two and half I would have gasped, raised my voice in a crazy sounding 'no', then proceeded to explain to her that 'no, we frost the cookies, like this, not our hands.'  But to my 9.5 year old? All I can yell is this "What were you thinking? What in the world made you think this would be ok? I can't believe you have done this! Seriously, Sarah?! Wash your hands now!"  Oh, I zapped the joy right out of the room.  Sigh.  She knows better. Yet she chooses different. And I'll admit, I found it embarrassing (both her actions, and then my response).

So tonight, I try to think, how can I respond different next time? What should my response have been? And you know what? about how to do this different next time  - ask her nicely to stop, eye rolling, laughing, know what. I don't have an answer.  Do you?  I'd love your perspective.

And here I am at the end of the day, trying to give myself grace. Why do I always find it the hardest to extend grace to myself? I did read "Jesus Calling" devotional tonight, written as if Jesus is speaking to you, and I read, " Gaze into My eyes, and you will see no condemnation, only Love and delight in the one I see." And I am once again captivated by God's grace for me. Even when I don't deserve it, he extends Love and delight to me. I am trying to rest in that truth as I straddle this gap of motherhood.

Friday, September 7, 2012

We Still Bleed Green

I probably should bleed gold or something, since I graduated from Mizzou. But really, we bleed green in our home.  Go Spartans! Mike attended Michigan State...he moved there the week after he asked me out on our first date.  Then, when we got married 3 years later we moved into Married Housing on campus. Oh those sweet days of riding our bikes all over campus, of the dollar skates at the ice rink, of walking to Quality Dairy for Frozen Icees. And we were too poor to actually attend any home football games, but if we sat out on our deck, we could hear the roar of the crowd.  It was fun to listen to the radio those days, the announcers would say things like "the sun just peeked through the coulds" or "the crowd is going wild" - and we could see/hear all those things. Oh, and the joy of trying to leave/return to our apartment during games...pretty much a nightmare! And I worked three different part-time jobs on campus. It was my first time away from home. Our first apartment. I was 'living on love'.   In reality we had so little then, but we were so happy! (still are, just have more 'stuff' now and much more room than our tiny 1 bedroom apt)

Sorry, I didn't mean to detour down memory lane so far.  Really, this post was to brag about our new wall/room.  When the basement flooded last month, we had to knock a whole in the drywall which required the need to repaint the room. The room (in our basement) was this boring flat brown color, and it's the girls playroom and has no windows.  So, we were at Lowes trying to pick out paint colors, I was leaning towards yellows and blues (bright colors to brighten the room!) but then I realized those were Michigan colors, and so right there it came to me - we needed a State Room! So four days later, here is the big reveal -

After we got home, I remembered my sister had painted a huge Blue M on my nephew's wall - so being inspired by her, I set out to find a way to paint this giant 4 foot Spartan S on our wall!! It turned out so good! We even figured out a way to make nice straight lines on a textured wall using this technique I found on pinterest! I also like our alternating stripe at the top, just adds a bit of fun to the plain white walls.  It's a perfect playroom now - it makes me happy to go in there, even though there are no windows. And when the girls out grow the room in just a couple of's still a perfect room for us! 

And one more project I made a couple of weeks ago....
It's actually made out of TP rolls.  Who knew they could be so pretty with a bit of cutting, glue and spray paint!?! I hung it in the girls' bathroom. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Floatin' in Missouri

I grew up in Michigan. Where we floated lakes. In Missouri you float on rivers. And they are beautiful. And peaceful. And serene. And fun. (You just have to ignore the crazies that are also on the river!)

Mike and I floated many years ago before kids, but the river was high and we got sucked into a bit of an undertow/pile up and it kinda freaked me out.  We've floated a few more times in the past few years, once with friends, and a couple of times by ourselves. Well when some dear friends from Jeff City invited us to tag along with some of their other friends, we decided it was time to take the girls!

Then Hurricane Isaac came. And we had to abandon camping Friday and Saturday night, and floating Saturday...but we decided to do a day trip and float the Niangua on Sunday!  We had a great time! The girls loved it! We loved it! We've always floated in canoes. But this time, we rented rafts. They were fun, and much easier with the girls. (ie, translates, I can still sit there and do nothing but float and soak in the beauty and laughter around me and let Mike steer us down the rivers - canoes would have required me actually doing some work since we would of needed two of them!)   The day started out cloudy and overcast - it was kinda refreshing change of pace with the summer heat we've had, but we were all glad when the sun busted through the clouds after lunchtime! Here are a few pictures of our very fun (almost) 7 hours on the river....

Floating -

Our lunchtime stop - craw dad hunting, dam building...

 And back at the campsite for dinner (a few were brave to camp in the rain!) - building fairy houses -

For part of the year, these girls stair step to be 11,10, 9, and 8 years old.
Their friendship has  been stronger than a move and easily rekindles
every time we are able to reconnect!  
 Oh, all this beauty and all this fun is only 1 hr and 10 minutes from our home! Must.Go.Back. Every year. At least once.