Category: a day in the crazy life

Five Years Later

A friend of mine always gets a kick about how I keep track of time…

That was 5 years ago this spring.

That was before I started getting pregnant again.

That’s when we were at the theater.

That’s when I was Tweeting.

That’s back from our road days.

 

…and on, and on.

Last week, I started Tweeting again. I need to for my job, but in order to relearn the language, I started using my personal account again. Like all things social media, it’s a giant rabbit hole, not just of information, but of emotions.

I soon “saw” people I hadn’t seen in awhile and got caught up on one of their stories. Perhaps the most emotional one for me is the story of Sara Frankl, known on Twitter as “@gitzengirl.”

I read Sara’s blog for years. And in the middle of a crazy, turmoil-filled season in my life, she passed away after an agonizing battle with a rare disease.

I am delighted to see her legacy is moving forward, captured in a book and a foundation and the constant reminder to CHOOSE JOY.

Rod and Kel's Beach House

In five years, literally everything about my own life has changed. We moved two more times, and as of this July, we now live in our “BEACH HOUSE.” Through connections very divinely-ordered, we “have our own house” again, one mile from the ocean, with palm trees and golf carts and a salty breeze. It’s unbelievable…

kids Aug2016

We had three more children… two of them born to heaven, and one of them growing like a tall Carolina pine tree. I will never understand the baby that came to us (one year post-tubal-ligation) this January, and I may never quite get over saying goodbye to our Jesse at the end of February (2 years from the day of our first miscarriage), after seeing his perfect beating heart. But I am grateful for the new filter through which I view life… it’s always surprising, it’s always abundant, and we are never alone.

This year of 2016 has been full of the unexpected. We lost friends to moves, and gained friends who moved closer. We lost friends to disagreements, but gained others through grace. We lost a few dear friends to death, far too young in our eyes, but welcomed a few special little ones earthside. And I learned that redemption of sadness and loss maybe doesn’t look how we always thought it would.

our beach at full moon

And I am reminded that every story ends with an ellipses. There is always more to be told…

As I write this today my heart is full on many levels. I have missed coming to this place and sharing, but I know my life is so “abundant” right now that this is a privilege rather than an appointment. It’s one I will take. We never know what is coming tomorrow, so the life in our hearts should be expressed RIGHT NOW.

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School’s in!

Homeschoolers 2015Just when we think we know what’s up, another new season, with its changes and rhythms and surprises, comes in!

I spent the last three years waiting at the bus stop after school for my girls. It’s where we met some of our great neighbors. It’s where we met KK’s best friend and her wonderful family. It’s the place where my girls begin their hour-long debriefing of their day, every day. And for the last month or so, I watched from the porch as they walked home by themselves.

They are growing so fast, so much.

Today I went to the bus stop for the last time, at least for now. Though we have loved St. James Elementary, it’s time for a different school… one that will be located in our home.

Nothing happened to bring this decision, simply a steady set of observations over the past years about who our kids are, who are family is, what is natural to us, what is best for us.

Plus, we want to sleep in, eat fabulous home-cooked lunches, and travel whenever we want!

I’m nervous and excited about this chapter… I’m so thankful for the trust and support of my husband, the constant encouragement from my vast, widely-spread out homeschooling network of friends, my flexible job, and that God gave us these kids… and the ability to know what’s best for them during any given season!

 

these magic moments

I blinked and we had lived through 3 manic weeks:

– the church/my place of employment moving (right after I was away for a weekend and KK was sick), while having Vacation Bible School and Rod being gone for 5 long, insomnia-ridden days
– VACATION at our favorite place (Disney World FTW!) – a whole new experience with a pregnancy in tow, 100 degree heat, and car trouble.
– back-to-school. Up at 6 (insomnia or not), lunches to make, traffic to fight, and 2 little girls who know everyone and everything this year!

I have this whole timetable in my head of how the next few months should go. There is a lot to do! Our granddaughter (!!!) is due around the beginning of November, which ushers in family visits, our favorite week (Thanksgiving always falls around Randa’s birthday), and the holiday season. Sometime shortly after that,

Our son will be born.

It is still sinking in. Our son. My little man. Himself. Jack. Our baby, the one we never expected and so much wanted, is a boy! I can’t think of a more fitting way to complete our family. I can’t wait until January!

So, other than making plans, rearranging the house, consoling insomnia with many re-watches of Downton Abbey, starting to cook again, trying to workout again, kicking off Life Groups at church (including ours for blended families!), and hoping to make room for a special writing project, here are the random happy moments of late.

IMG_8418My view of the Wishes fireworks at Magic Kingdom whilst my own 4 dwarfs rode the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster.

IMG_8429The big girls… the twins… Oh my goodness, how alike they are!

IMG_8430I am happy in so many ways that New Baby is a boy,
but one of them is that KK gets to stay our baby girl :)

IMG_8481Sassafrass having a moment with Tinkerbell. Tink asked Randa how Jasmine and Aladdin get that magic carpet to fly. Randa was sure to ask them….

IMG_8499I am pleased to report to you that it’s all about Genie magic.
(RIP, Robin Williams)

IMG_8441 KK and I spent some quality time together while Rod, Paige, and Randa rode the “cool” rides. We visited the Walt Disney museum at Hollywood Studios. KK decided she wanted to pose like Mickey, and this may be my favorite picture of her ever.

 

IMG_8519Upon my return to work, some of my co-workers had made an awesome hashbrown bar for local teachers. The leftovers were indeed happy!

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I am thrilled that the first grader in the household still wants to hold my hand the love way.

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I don’t like to focus on the “Princess and the Tomboy” aspect of our girls. Fact is, they are both very balanced little creatures whose interests vary. Randa loves to get dirty or sandy; KK loves to play with baby dolls and put outfits together. But their fashion sense… it is what it is. This is random Sunday morning. They are exactly who they are meant to be, and we love them just as they are!

Plenty to be happy about. Frogs and snails and puppy dog tails notwithstanding.

onesies from Gramma and Papa

What’s on your happy list this week?

#100happydays

If you’re happy and don’t post it…

So, two-ish weeks ago, I started the 100 days of happiness.

Last week was fu-u-ull: husband gone. Vacation bible school nightly. Insomnia. Summer-crazed children. Lots of work stuff. Super hot outside. And insomnia (because seriously… that is the worst).

But there were happy things every day.

But I got sick of posting on Facebook.

I have not posted a status since the wee hours of Friday… almost 4 days. And… and…

I don’t miss it.

Oh, I’m checking still. There are friends whose faces and observations I enjoy seeing. There are posts to make and moderate for both of my jobs. But… yikes. I just feel overloaded….

an abundance of digital communication,

an utter lack of real, substantive communication.

IMG_8341I acknowledge that I have gotten to the point in my life in which it’s easier to send a note than dial a phone, preferable to check a status than ask a question. And I feel convicted about it. Checking up on or in with each other is a poor substitute for doing life together, which is what I crave. Don’t you? When we post our pictures or thoughts we give the illusion of being part of each other’s lives, but sometimes, when we reach out to touch someone, we come up short.

I want to do better. And in the mean time, I want to clear up some of the clutter in my head… the posts that irk me, the ones whose authors I have to take a moment to even place, the posts that seem to seek to divide or incite. I don’t need all those words and all that tension added to the stuff of real life.

So, I am working on a Facebook break. No, I am not declaring I AM DONE or deactivating for a set time. I am just backing away, holding it at arm’s length, reading some books.

And in the mean time:

The #100HappyDays experiment continues. I am being mindful to observe those happy moments and happy things, even in the long, loud days. Things like:

IMG_8332– Randa’s utter enthusiasm in planning and preparing   a picnic for her friends on Friday.

– the way KK & Randa screamed and cheered and greeted their big sister Paige when she returned for a visit on Saturday.

– the way every mama in the room cried at the prayer of thanksgiving and life offered at a baby shower on Saturday.

– the way my husband appreciates my never-made-the-same-way-twice taco dip and my ever-growing baby bump.

– the stir fry I ate tonight.

– the fact that our childcare question for Sweet Baby has already been answered!

– a family dinner at Abuelo’s with all 7, er – almost 9! – of us.

– friends who dogsit

– friends who take our kids to the poolIMG_8333

– naps

House of Cards

– metaphors

– signing Randa up for her 3rd year of dance (this year: ballet and hip-hop!)

– comfortable shoes

 

All those things were observed. Some of them were verbally shared with others. None of them were “posted” anywhere until now.

It still counts, though. In fact, as much as I love sharing and interacting with people I cannot see in real life, I want to make my words count more. I want to shake off the laziness of The Virtual and the precision of The Edited and focus on the beauty of being human, spontaneous, and able to talk.

The thought of it makes me happy :)

The 3rd Day of School

For various reasons, both draining and exhilarating, the first weekend of the school year wore me out.

But this morning…

Oh, this morning:

On the third day of school, the first Monday, we turn to routine, which for us means that when Daddy isn’t out of town, he takes the girls to school. He likes to. (This is reason #EleventyBillionandTen why he is my love, my best friend, and my hero). And quite frankly, I do not enjoy it. The traffic disturbs my calm. The difference this year, today, of course, is that he not only took Randa, but KK too.

I gave extra kisses, and watched them drive away, and closed the door, and leaned on it, and sang a few bars of the “Hallelujah” chorus as I beheld this sight:

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That’s right…me, my house, alone. Oh, the plans we had! The things we did!

Right. I did manage to drink an entire cup of coffee while it was mostly warm and watch an episode of Damages (catching up on everything after the first season) while I was in my jammies. Exhilarating, y’all! But while I did that, I also cleaned the kitchen, straightened up the girls’ rooms, changed the sheets on their bunk beds, folded a load of laundry, cleaned my closet, and…

Well, I planned on what I will do with that one hour and fifteen minute time block for the rest of the entire year!

I do have specific plans… I don’t want to be all legalistic about it, but I will try to keep that hour time for me, and not just errands and chores, so hopefully, at least 3 hours a week will be spent on writing and exercising. Both are key to my health!

Other observations from today:

mannyI actually love Mondays. This has much to do with loving my job, probably for the first time in my adult life…really, really enjoying what I do, and feeling comfortable in it, feeling freedom in it, feeling supported in it.

I still get a lot of questions about what I do: I work on the staff of our beloved church, journey. After the theatre sailed on, I was honored to be asked to remain and work for the church. I’m not totally sure what my title is, but I stopped caring a few months ago :) I work on the website, social media, publications, and communications, and I also assist the Executive Pastor, and sometimes the Generations/Youth pastor and sometimes the Lead Pastors, in all sorts of things…. project managing, resource creating, hunting down 50 pounds of chicken thighs for the village employee luncheon, cleaning a toilet or two, whatever. I model my work after Manny Trillo, a utility player who spent some of his best years on the Chicago Cubs playing short stop and third and outfield and generally rocking Wrigley. If it needs to be done, and I can do it, or find someone to do it, bring it. And Mondays on a church staff, especially after a great day like yesterday, are just fun. Crazy, but fun!

 

My children, like me, are night owls. They look like this every morning, yet they hit the ground running off that school bus in the afternoon and they don’t want to go to bed. Help me, Rhonda! Maybe the end of daylight savings will actually help this year…?
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Playdates are the bomb. Dot com. We used to be pros at these. The moves have hurt us. But now, we have enough friends in the neighborhood (and elsewhere) to make these impromptu gatherings happen. It’s a win-win for all of us.

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Homework time can be pretty awesome, at least on the first day. Today I got to observe Randa rocking her addition and doing better in her reading, in spite of the fact that we pretty much blew off formal summer reading for our special brand of practice (signs, brochures, menus…) And KK did not have any formal homework, but she did practice writing her name in proper case and read her first school library book with her Daddy. She is a much more focused and intense learner than Randa, who prefers to sound out words while looking away and dancing. It will be “interesting” to see how this all plays out through the years…

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“Surprise!” We will never be normal people. This was confirmed once again on Saturday, when I was with my future daughter-in-law as she chose a beautiful and far-from-conventional wedding dress for their big day. It was re-confirmed today when I tried to be a Cool Mom. I had 10 minutes from the time I got home from work to get to the bus stop, which is a half mile away. KK really wanted to ride her bike, so I started off at a brisk walk, trying to juggle both the girls’ bikes. I made it to the end of our street before I realized it was awkward…with a side of awkward. So I waved to the guys finishing a new house there and told them I was leaving the bikes for a few minutes, and then proceeded to walk/jog the rest of the way, in my jeans and flip-flops (It was around 88 degrees, which we are calling “fall-like” weather here. To say I was sweating at the end of all this is like saying Miley Cyrus caused a few raised eyebrows last night). Anyway, I made it to the bus stop with 2 minutes to spare, and the girls actually did not complain the whole way home. What was awesome though, is that about 2 blocks from home, the construction workers rounded the corner with our bikes in the trailer, and delivered them to the girls! How cool is that? I love nice people! I will take that over normal any day…

There are benefits to being awkward weirdos. Feel free to ask me about this, or about my feelings on the Ben Affleck as Batman news. Happy 3rd day of school… or happy Monday, whatever the case may be.