"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Monday, July 27, 2015

Running Off the Grid

The view as I ran last night.

Chad and I spent a long weekend at the lake.  It was so divine that I convinced him to let me stay for the week!


I am officially running off the grid for a whole week!

I came home for a day to wash clothes, do some book work, and buy supplies - but as of tomorrow, I am looong gone!  Just me and the littlest kids, and the camper, and the generator, and the jet ski, and easy to cook food, and tons of sunscreen, and my floaty for days and days!  Chad, Jamison, and Sierra will come and go; while I stay and stay!  It will be a staycation like none other I have ever had.

I am thrilled!

For the record, this is my last hoorah!  As of next week, I am an office employee once again.  The building we purchased a year ago is officially ready for me.  So, after my staycation, Mataya and I will transition into office workers!  It will be a big change; however, I have the boss of my dreams and a gorgeous office to boot.  I am a very lucky lady.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Model Baby

I had the great joy today of taking a boat load of photos of my incredibly beautiful grandson today.  He was the perfect model.  Seriously!  I kept moving him from place to place, and he just slept contentedly.

Wyatt John, at one month you are incredible peaceful.  You roll with the punches like a boss.  You sleep and eat like a champ - and you give the bestest snuggles there ever were.  You make your LaLa's heart melt.  I love you so, sweet one.

And your momma.  Oh, she is amazing.  She loves you deep and long and wide.  I am so proud of your momma, precious boy.  So very proud. (And yes!  She does have the cutest new haircut e.v.e.r!)

I'm a grandma now, so I refuse to apologize for all these photos.  Trust me, you will not enjoy them nearly as much as I enjoyed snapping them.  Sigh.

After this photo burst, I may never be allowed to babysit again. . . but, it was (almost) worth it!  Are they beautiful - or what?!?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Minute Moments

Last week was insanely busy.  
The details all blur together, and yet minute moments made me pause and praise.
 I was frantically returning an email last week when Mataya grabbed my phone, cuddled up cheek to cheek, and demanded "Cheese!"  (Cheese translates to take a picture with me.  Sierra has her trained.  They snapchat together all the time.)  Looking into my phone camera to "cheese" with this precious one certainly put life back into perspective.  Busy or not, there is nothing that compares to the importance of time with my family.

Thank you, precious Tay Tay, for ever-so-sweetly helping mommy regain true focus.
 I sent Joshua upstairs to clean his room.  When I went up to check his progress, this is what I found.

Playtime trumps a clean room. . . always.

Thank you, Joshua, for reminding me that relationships trump clean - always!
 Mataya has a new found passion to clean the Earth.  When we walk or jog, she points to all the stray trash and yells "UH OH!" frantically.  She gets quite upset if I ignore her plea to clean up.  And so we slow down, and help - rather than rushing forward on my own selfish agenda.

Thank you, baby girl, for reminding me that I DO have time to help.

(On a side note, if you look closely in the above picture you may notice a game of touch football going on.  The guys were playing "shirts and skins."  When Mataya saw them she pointed, pounded her chest and said "Uh oh!  Momma, uh oh!" with more chest thumps for emphasis!  She was horrified that the young men did not have shirts on.  I did not even try to explain it.  I just laughed and said, "Did they lose their shirts?"  To which she responded, "Yes!  Uh ohhhh!"  She is too funny!)
I am very thankful to say that even after nearly 21 years of marriage my husband melts my heart.  However there are few things that are turn me to mush more than the way he loves and nurtures our kids.  

Thank you, Chad, for being a tender, patient, loving and fun daddy!  You inspire me to be the same.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Summer is Exhausting!

Mataya crashed on the boat today.  

Summer is exhausting I tell you!

We had another fabulous weekend camping.  I truly loved every minute of it.

But once home, the race is on.  Lawn needs mowing, bills need paying, and the laundry?  oh.my.goodness. the laundry is astounding!  I have work projects, play dates, errands, "home schooling," etc. . .   

This summer has been a blast.

It has also been a struggle.  Balance in the summer is super hard for me.  During the school year I can usually get my cleaning, laundry, cooking, and errands done while the kids are in school.  When the kids are home, I try to be available for them.  We are all used to that pattern.  

This summer, I am really struggling to get my work done AND feel like I am available to my kids as much as they, and I, would like.  I feel like I am always on duty.  Always on the go.  Always in demand.  Always running behind.  Always tired.  Mowing the lawn has become my favorite chore because it is the only time I am ever alone.  

It is funny, I had been feeling like I was growing in my ability to let go of tasks and invest in what really matters.  

And I am.

However, the bar has been reset this summer - and I am struggling to grasp it.

I'm thinking it is time to throw my hands in the air and just don't care about clean floors and toilets for a while.  I will be a crazy road-tripping momma for the next two weeks.   Choosing which tasks matter and which can be ditched will be very important.  Just how long can floors go unwashed before the health department is called?  

The key to my (and my family's happiness) will be my ability to let go of perfection and just enjoy the chaos that is our life.  

I think there is a pattern forming. . . 

success is letting go, 

once again.

As Sierra often says, "Jesus take the wheel!"

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Makin' Sure He's NOT "Soft!"

My favorite moment of today was watching these two wrestle.

Joshua loves to tease and joke and "talk smack."  He truly has a great sense of humor.

He also gets a little too big for his britches sometimes.

In those moments, Jamison grabs him, pins him, and tickles him.

Those two go round and round and round.  

And I love it.

I love the physical.

I love the "normal."  Though they are 10 years apart in age, all brothers MUST wrestle.

And I love the mentoring.

Jamison thinks deep about his role as big brother.  He often says, "It is my job to make sure he's not too soft (AKA wimpy).  I only had sisters.  I was a bit soft."

Were Jamison an unfeeling brute, I may worry.  But, Jay is has much depth of character.  His choosing to invest in his brother makes my heart happy.

I'm so thankful for loud, crazy, brother-bonding wrestling matches.
(At least until something gets broken!)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Paci All-Gone

When we left the lake yesterday we could not find Mataya's paci.

Mataya was a MAJOR fan of her paci.

During the school year we had an agreement, paci was for bedtime, church, and car rides.  But her brother, Joshua, sneaks it to her ALL the time this summer.  It had gotten totally out of control.  Plus the pressure of keeping track of the sneaky little sucker (paci, not Joshua - although sneaky little sucker does explain him too, on occasion!) was just too much.

So, when she survived the drive home without her paci, I decided to bite the bullet and just be done with it.  I hid the one I had left at home in her baby box stash, and we explained that paci was "all gone."

She played great all day.

As bedtime closed in she started searching under her crib for the missing paci.  She would peak under, look at me and shrug and a grin and say "paci all gone," and continue playing.

When bedtime came around. . . she freaked out.

It was sad - but after finally falling asleep, she slept all night like usual.

She did well all day.  Nap was a rougher than usual, but nothing terrible.  And tonight she fell asleep without a peep!

Yay TayTay!!!

Between getting rid of her paci. . . which is in many ways the last trace of baby in our home. . . and talking seriously about college plans with Jamison my heart has been pensive all day.  I am not a mom who will ever wish away time.  I have so much fun with my big kids, but a part of my heart will always long for a baby to rock and snuggle.  I am so excited for Jamison's senior year of high school.  I have no doubt it will be an amazing year.  I do not wish him younger; and yet, as I celebrate with him, I also mourn.

(For me)
The very hardest part of being a mom is the letting go.

The very best part is watching them soar.

I must let go in order for them to soar.

Sometimes they crash a few times.  Sometimes they fall to the ground.  Sometimes they are battered and bruised.  Sometimes they fly hard and fast into a window - never seeing the danger until it is too late. Sometimes they jump too soon.  Sometimes they need a push.  Few moments are easy.  Few moments are picture perfect.


In those moments when all things come together and I glimpse my children soar, my heart explodes.

Though it is hard, there is great joy in letting go.

(I think I will stencil that onto my bathroom mirror.  I need to be reminded daily.)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Lovin' the Lake

We spent a long, sunny, lazy weekend at the lake.  And it was divine.  Perfectly, completely, totally divine.  It was THE most fun and relaxing thing we have done as a family in eons.

Chad, Jamison, and Joshua headed out a day ahead of us girls to secure a spot.  The girls and I mowed the yard, picked up fireworks, and finished packing.  Chad and Jamison hauled out the vast majority of our toys - but I was enlisted to pull out the jet boat and the ATV.

 Chad surprised the kids and bought a jet ski.  To say they were thrilled would be a gross underestimation.  Sierra was the most excited.  She continues to be very limited in what she can do physically.  Swimming is a no-no.  Tubing and wake boarding are obviously off limits - but driving the jet ski was something she could do!  She said it was the first time she had felt totally normal in a long time.  She was great at pulling tubes, which gave her dad a whole lot more time to nap (or play with Mataya).  

I was surprised at how much fun it was.  Sierra taught me to drive it.  She teased me at first about driving like a grandma - but by the end Joshua commented that I did drive like a grandma, because Grandmas are supposed to be fun!
 Mataya was very unsure about camping at first.  She hated the jet ski and cried every time it pulled up to shore.  She was not a fan of the pokey field grass.  She did like the inside of the camper!  It ended up working well that Chad arrived early.  He was able to snuggle her close while I played outside with the kids.
 By jammie-time Mataya was trucking around the camp site cheering on our game of washers.

 Can you say Daddy's girl?
 Se adores her Daddy!

 No fish were killed during this camping experience. . . unfortunately.
 My kids have always loved snakes (the firework kind that is).  But Joshua calling them "Yucky kaka" his very first July 4, has forever embedded them into our Independence Day tradition.  

Sierra showed them to Mataya.
 Mataya responded with "tinky (stinky) poopoo!"

So funny!
 Early morning snuggles are one of my favorite part of camping.

Mataya agreed!
 Because she is not a water bug, she kept one of us busy reading books most of the trip.

 One morning she spotted all of her siblings sitting on the couch waiting for breakfast.  She decided they should be reading to her instead of joking with each other.
 She "let" Jay read first.
 Then she moved down one lap to Rah-Rah.
 And then she "allowed" aka insisted that Brenna read to her.

Joshua quickly left the couch when he saw the pattern that had been formed.  He LOVES his baby sister, but not enough to read while on vacation.
 The kids are always good at helping, but when we are camping, they are THE best.
 Look who stopped by to snuggle with his LaLa?

Krissy and Devin spent a couple hours at our campsite.  They spent a little time on the water while Wyatt and I bonded over a nap on the couch.  Yummy!
 The kids spent a TON of time on the water.
 And in the water.
 Mataya (sort of) tried to nap - but there was just too much excitement to waste time on sleep.

Luckily she slept late each morning, which helped her maintain her sweet personality though she had to be so tired.
 I have a few favorites when it comes to camping - uninterupted family time, sun, naps, being on and near the water, AND daddy cooking!  Oh, I love it that he cooks!
 Jamison was CRA-CRAZZZZZY on that jet ski.

I let him pull me on the tube, once.  He actually did great - but it took all his self-control.  He perfected this little move that caused water to splash up and all over my face.  He could barely contain his glee.  I could see his grin through the waves.  LOL!  

 He may ride jet ski like a wild man - but he is the calmest, kindest, most thoughtful 17-year-old I know.  He is so patient with his siblings.  He watches out for them with concern and a dose of humor.  He watches for ways to help his dad all the time.  We had three truck-loads of stuff at the lake this week.  He pulled the jet ski and left a bit before Chad and I did.  When I arrived home, he had the jet ski backed into the garage, all the other vehicles moved around so that Chad could quickly and simply get the boats and camper into their "homes" and he had his truck fully unloaded.  

 Joshua adores fireworks.  His job was to stomp on the firecrackers to make sure no fires were started.  He took that job very, very seriously!

 You know JG is excited when he poses for photos!

His pose inspired a series of poses!

Sibling photography was a fun way to kill time while we waited for it to get dark!

 Baby girl was so tired - but JG insisted she stay awake for the fireworks!

 For the record, she did not enjoy the fireworks much - but her siblings surely did!

There were thousands and thousands of dollars of fireworks shot off around the lake.  It was a blast to sit at our campsite and watch the show as it moved throughout the lake area.
After the last sparkler was lit, we sat around a fire, ate s'mores and hot dogs, and enjoyed the night sky filled with fireworks for a long while.  It was sublime.

This weekend was all I could hope for - warm air, low winds, satisfied kids, yummy food, long naps, and late mornings.  There will be few like it in my lifetime, and so I will hide it in my heart with joy and contentment. . . always and forever.