I don't have all the answers, but I know that each of us has a happy place.
For Bubby, that place is with us.
For DaddyBoy, it's a great bbq place and better company.
For me, it's the hammock. And when my Boy stops and enjoys it with me, it's even happier.
Kayci started off the day with Jenna's family, and I'd say anywhere they are is a happy place for Bitty. We've had a great afternoon together, and when I asked what she wanted to do, my girl wanted to work on her history project. I'm happy to have time to work on my planner. And sit here with her, listening when she wants to talk. Just being. And typing this, so totally not being productive. Just trying to be better about documenting. :)
The boys are off riding bikes (Noble's only request for this weekend, other than, "Can I sleep with you?" last night). I think Bubby would say that anyplace with Daddy is his happy place.
A little bit ago, the kids wanted me to get some books down from the very top of their shelves. I climbed up and did it...and in the process, knocked down a very special Willow Tree figurine. My sweet friend gave it to me when we were knee-deep in wanting a baby and being disappointed month after month. I was so focused on what I wanted, I lost sight of what He wanted for me. I don't know if my friend saw what I couldn't see then, but opening this gift was the first step in letting go of the way I thought it should be and hoping for a baby while accepting that having an only child would be pretty awesome, too. I don't think the important part of the story is that we DID get pregnant a few months later...I think the important part is that I sought His will rather than my own. (After years of seeking my own, don't give me any credit I don't deserve.)
So, this little guy is special to me. I keep him with Noble's stuff because he reminds me of the time before we had a Noble, and what a blessing that boy has been. An unexpected, undeserved blessing.
Because I'm me and I lean toward the packrat-y sentimental side, I was pretty sad when I realized Hope's hand came off in the fall. Luckily I drop stuff a lot, so I have a superglue stash and a system for fixing stuff. I got right to it, but I just wasn't having any luck. The glue kept running and my fingers were sticking to his hand and I just made a mess. I came pretty close to letting Hope go through life Luke Skywalker style, but I stepped back from the counter for a minute and considered my options. Tweezers worked like a charm and accomplished what my heavy-handed ways could not. So now Hope is drying and he'll be good as new up on the shelf shortly.
My heart is still heavy, though. That little boy that I hoped and prayed for, not the figurine but the real one? He's having a rough time right now. It's not anything that all of us don't struggle with--ungratefulness, disrespect, selfishness...I'm guilty of all of these things, as well. But something is off with him and we're having heart issue after heart issue after heart issue. And I'm weary, y'all. He's a 7 year old boy, and he's just being human. And being human ain't always pretty or sweet, I know. But the kid I've lived with this summer is not someone I want Noble to be for the rest of his life--I've seen this kid as a grown up, and nobody likes that guy. Especially, sadly, that guy. So, we're working on it.
In the car on the way home from the pool (where he ended up sitting out most of the time because of his disrespect), he wouldn't let it go and I finally raised my voice when he informed me that he worked hard to go to the party today and deserved to go. Then I was angry. And I get it--if I'm yelling at my kid explaining about the grace of Jesus and the cross, I'm doing something wrong. I'm doing lots of things wrong, I suspect, or Noble wouldn't be struggling as much as he is.
There's a fine line here between taking his human-ness personally and looking too much at myself, and also not taking a good long look in the mirror at what I'm modeling, at what Noble is learning from us and our relationships. Am I one person at home and another in public? Do I expect respect but not give it? Do I say the right things to the right people and do the wrong things when I feel like it? Yes, yes, and yes at times, I'm certain. Do I get it right sometimes, too? Sure. Could I be better at lots of it? Definitely. Because I'm human, too. There's grace for me, just as I'm expected to give grace to him.
We've been doing a lot of talking lately about grace, and about blessings. We can't get the two mixed up, but don't you think modern American Christians do? We believe, so we should receive. We're good people so good things should happen to us. We deserve...yep, that one, too.
I don't really know what my point is. The point is that parenting is tough but I have to keep an eternal perspective, literally, for his sake. Or maybe the point is that I'm struggling with struggling...that I've hit a bump in the road that's inconvenient and sometimes embarrassing and it's thrown me for a loop. I don't know. I do know that it's not all about me (despite the focus of this blog post) and it's not about him.
I guess I just felt like I needed to document the not so pretty stuff, too.
So I'll find my hope in Him, and pray that's the legacy I'll pass on to my kids.
I've discovered the secret to the elusive 90 minute commute: get up 10 minutes earlier, leave 30 minutes earlier and do quiet time on the road over the phone. And pay the toll to drive in the HOV lane. :) Whatever it takes, I'm getting at least 90 extra minutes in my work day so I'm a happy girl. It's the little things in life that make me downright giddy!
I'm at Starbucks for the 5th day in a row this week...I worked at the Brenham Starbucks until my laptop battery died Monday, I worked here for 90 minutes Tuesday morning in between my commute and office time, I took James coffee Wednesday, we had our Thursday date yesterday, and here I am again, fitting in some work before work officially starts. No wonder our budget is out of whack. :)
Whatever the case, I owe y'all an update. I finished the project that's been hanging over me since December, and now this morning I feel like I can finally move on to other things that have been on hold. It's a wonderful feeling! In other news, my online work is settling down a bit--although an intern did basically threaten my job this week. I'm not worried, but I don't like being on anyone's bad side.
I'll work in Houston until after lunch, then I'll head home to catch the end of Kayci's last Innovation Day and pick up Noble and his friends for a trip to Chuck E. Cheese. He's a happy boy, and his birthday celebration(s) this year have been interesting...so not "my way" at all. I guess it's really not all about me, right?
Happy spring break, friends. We're almost there! Thanks for going along for the ride this week. OH--and a BIG thanks to Heather for cooking for us last night. We had such a great time just hanging out at their house and relaxing, and then to get a healthy home cooked meal? Such a blessing! My poor family, the closest I came to cooking this week was sliders Wednesday night. :)
My house is a wreck. Like, it's not just cluttered with projects that need to be finished and decorations that need to be hung and recycling that needs to be recycled and papers that need to be filed...it's dirty.
Baseboards, window sills, blinds, ceiling fans, nooks and crannies, floors...dirty.
I told James yesterday that I was going to clean house before I did anything else today.
But then this morning as I was getting dressed, I started thinking about time management. Here's how my day would have gone if I had my druthers: I would have taken the kids to school, picked up laundry detergent because I forgot it at the store yesterday, then I would have gone home to clean for a couple of hours. Which would have been more like four, because every job I would start would remind me of something else. And at the end of the four hours, I would still have tons to do, and my paid work would still be undone. And I would still feel like I have a gorilla sitting on my chest.
Instead, I counted up my work hours this week--I'm looking at a minimum of 46.
4 jobs, 3 employers.
That means I will clean house at night like the rest of the working moms out there, or it won't get done. But my paid work? It has to get done, because I can't handle the stress of letting so many people down when they're paying me to be better, to do better.
So I'm working this morning instead of cleaning. Until the job is done. And when it's done, I'll head home to turn 30 Twinkies into Minions for my favorite 7 year old's birthday treat at school.
And then I'll take two car loads of kids to after school activities (4 elementary, 4 middle school).
I'll pick one up at 4:45 and one up at 6. In between I'll cook soup and bake bread (both are already in the freezer, so that'll be easy). And I'll play Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots and read and listen and hug and talk and just BE with my people.
And then I'll clean house.
And go to sleep.
And wake up at 4 in the morning to head to Houston. I discovered on Friday that the elusive 90 minute commute is possible...if I leave at or before 5 am. Which means more time to work and less time in the car, which is a win-win.
Wednesday, I'll be all Kids' Ministry until lunchtime, then I'll finish grading my online classes before the after school runs.
Crap, I gotta work grading into my schedule tonight, too.
Thursday, maybe I'll fit in a work out. Fingers crossed! I'll go watch the 1st grade program at 2 and clap really loud for my Bubby and his friends.
Friday, I was going to volunteer at Kayci's school but work calls, instead. I'm going to have to get back early to take Noble and friends to Chuck E. Cheese for his birthday, but I can do it if I get there early enough.
Then Saturday? Saturday, blessed Saturday, is spring break.
That means 1 of my jobs goes away for 9 whole days.
Poor James doesn't get a spring break--he'll start his weekend with 3 photo shoots.
Why do I write all of this? Because I'm struggling with time management, and struggling to make sense of why I always feel so busy and behind. I realized that people don't actually know what I do for a living, so when I'm back on social media I'll share more about work. Because I don't want to be two dimensional, I want to be real.
And real? Right now?
It's a dirty house, and undone work.
It's happy kids and family time.
It's figuring out what makes it to the top of the to-do list and what can wait.
Let's pretend this is our little family toasting the new year. In reality, Noble insisted upon toasting our Sammyversary (oh, that's right--you don't know. Noble decided that HE should get to name this house, and we couldn't get him to understand that we didn't TRY to name the last one "the little green house," it just happened. So he thought for about .5 milliseconds and said, "Sammy. The house's name is Sammy." So now when we say, "let's go home," or "...something about the new house..," Noble will say, "You should just say, 'Sammy.'" Sigh.)
Anywho, we moved in on November 2. So Noble has deemed the 2nd of every month our Sammyversary. We toasted with root beer, I think, on December 2nd, and this month we got fancy with the sparkling apple juice we never drank last New Year's Eve. So, a toast, to Sammy.
And also, a toast to a year that's off to a great start. In the past two months, we've had more company than we had in the last year or more at our old house. We've had friends and family over for meals, and Kayci had two sleepovers during the break. One of the things we were most excited about when we thought about moving: a bigger dining room, with a table to seat more than just our family comfortably. And we've got it--our friends with 5 kids came over one night, and it was such a blessing to all sit at the same table (we didn't even have to add any of the extra chairs!). I love--we love--having company, and it's wonderful to have places for people to BE. We had over 20 for Thanksgiving, and the weather was gorgeous so we had seating outside. There are no pictures of that day, apparently, or many of the other days since we've moved in...neither James nor I have taken many pictures. I don't know if it's because we're too busy or too busy living in the moment...I suspect more of the former but we'd like to think it's the latter. :)
So here's to Sammy. And to 2015. And to living intentionally, and joyfully, in close fellowship with each other and the people we love. Cheers!