Monday, April 25, 2016

Balance, Margins, Goals, Oh My.

Yesterday was the 16th Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.  I've run the half three times in the last 6 years.  This was finally going to be my year to do the full.  Then I injured my leg in the Fall, pushed harder than I should have to keep running and ended up taking all of January off.  Leg is better, but there just wasn't time to safely train.  Even for the half.

Life (for me) is full of committing, then pulling back.  Setting goals, then realizing that I can't keep up.  Trying to find balance between home, school, activities...then remembering that life is short and this season of precious memories to be made will be over all too soon.

I would love to say that I've found how to live life with good margins in all areas.  Reality is that I work like a crazy woman for two or three days, crossing things off my list... then I crash and spend an entire day catching up on laundry and taking a nap. 

Balance is important, but it's not possible.  Not really.  Not if you are juggling marriage, kids, home, LIFE..

Margins are super healthy.  But the truth is, I'm horrible at saying no.  If fact I rarely do.  Unless the Coach makes me (bless him).

Goals?  We need to have things to work towards, look forward to.  Crossing the finish line is an amazing feeling.  You don't just get up one day and run a marathon, you have to plan, prepare, do the work.  But no matter how hard you work, life happens.  Kids need your time, there are injuries and illnesses, and sometimes we overestimate how much time we have to give.  

Most of all?  There are seasons.  Right now at the troops it's the season of older kids.  Precious, wonderful, FUN memories.  I'm starting to realize I can't accomplish much else in the long term.  It takes all of my time to just manage it all.

When the kids were little, there was a lot of hunkering down.  Saying no, staying home, being committed to naps and bed times and consistency.  We even said no to basketball - can you believe it?

Now that we have two who have grown up and moved off to college and no babies to tote around, I'm saying YES TO IT ALL!  
Want to be in the play?  SURE!
Want to run track?  OF COURSE!
Want to play tennis?  WHY NOT?
Want to play volleyball?  YOU BET!

Because it's such a unique season of life - these school years at home are over so quickly.  I'm loving it and we are cramming it all in with reckless abandon!

Never mind that I miss most of the tennis and I've missed all of the track meets and thank HEAVENS volleyball is over and DID YOU SEE THE PLAY?  Because it was amazing.  AMAZING!  

It's also a season of time together, watching our kids do hard things - and the Coach and I learning that we are a really good team.  

I might be a push over - but the Coach backs me up when someone needs a firm hand.  I might say yes more than I should - but the Coach is so good to make me slow down.  I may feel the need to take care of everybody - all of the time - but when I feel guilty for falling short?  The Coach reminds me that our troops don't need me to do it all.  I'm sure he would say he needs me, too, but truth is?  I am continually amazed at this man I'm married to.  

So very grateful for him.

And because I don't have time for a catch up picture post about the troops right now?  I'll leave you with this.  A picture of Little Man wearing Captain Hook's wig.  How fabulous is that?

Happy Monday! 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Time Away

The older I get, the faster it goes.  I have a harder time sleeping in and still get less done.  I dare not sit down, because then I have a harder time getting up and moving, again.  The coach and I are tired all of the time.  Or maybe it's just that we have so much going on and it's hard to keep it all straight most days.

But this week?  We are traveling together - just the two of us.  He's working.  I'm free to do whatever.  I'm not sure what that is.  I watched Netflix for so long yesterday afternoon that it asked me if I wanted to continue watching.  What?  Are you kidding me? It's not like I had laundry to fold or dinner to make.

So quiet in that hotel room, with it's big white King size bed and towels I don't have to use more than once.  I drank coffee and took a nap and picked up dinner for when the coach finished up.

I may not know what to do with free time.  But the coach and I sure do love having time together.  Traveling on Wednesday we talked and laughed read our books and I slept on his shoulder and I LOVE doing life with him.  It doesn't matter where we go or what needs to be done, it's better with him.

I miss the kids.  The schedule I printed out for them had already changed before our first flight took off.  I keep checking in with them to make sure they are getting everyone where they need to be and eating.  You know.  The main things.

They are doing just fine, of course.  Friends are helping with rides and practices - one track meet, one tennis tournament, and two volleyball tournaments just while we're gone.  My mom is helping pick kids up while the older boys are busy.  A sweet friend is coming to stay tonight so it's not such a boring Saturday for those at home.  It's all getting done there, while I'm here watching the snow fall.

Today would be a great day to catch up on my Bible in a year reading (I'm forever and always behind).  I may even check out some of the shops near our hotel.  I'll for sure pick up some lunch for the coach and deliver it to the exhibit hall.

I enjoy exploring new places and visiting new cities - one of the blessings of having traveled so much growing up.  I've found Starbucks and Target and Chick-fil-A, so we could stay here forever.  But it's very different than home, too.  Note to self, no one wants to strike up a random conversation in Wisconsin.  I'm sure they are just cold - seriously, 30 degrees in April?  Yikes.  At home I can't sit in Starbucks for five minutes without seeing a friend.

Then again, maybe I'll just take another nap and watch more Netflix.  This is rest.  The cessation of the usual and the being still.  I don't do it well, but I'm trying.  Even the Coach - who is here to work, said it's different than the office and classroom.  He's enjoying the break, too.

Even if I can't sleep past 5:30.  Which is OK, because the snow sure was pretty.  Even if I saw it from inside on the treadmill since I didn't pack all of my cold running gear.  Brrrr.

Happy Friday.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Basketball season has ended for us.  After lots of road trips to small towns in Oklahoma, our guys lost in the first round of Area last Thursday.  We would love to be playing in State this week, but I can't say I miss the hours in the car, the meals on the road, the time sitting in the gym.  Sure do love watching my boy play, though.

We jumped right into Spring sports.  One running track, one playing tennis, and two playing volleyball (first two tournaments were Saturday).  I'm so grateful for the sweet friends who help with rides, practices, meals, tournaments, and in countless other ways since we can't do it all.  

Play practice for Peter Pan started for three, as well.  So fun.

Science Fair is over - we only had one this year and not last year's three.  Whew.

2nd grade timeline is done and presented to the class.  I can't believe it's our last.  It's been so fun to take time with each of our kids when they were in 2nd grade to help them see God's hand in their lives.  There were even some tears as I put together this one.  Precious memories and such a reminder of the sweet gifts these kids are.  

We took all of the big kids (minus our two college students) so Little Man's friends would finally believe him when he says he has seven older brothers and sisters.   This picture makes me cry - how is everyone so grown up?

The yard is greening up, the trees are budding, the daffodils have somehow survived the wind, and we had our first tornado warning last night.

Yep.  It's Spring.

Our workout group has gotten in some outside running and one workout at the park (so far).  It's warming up and the new baby chicks are growing FAST.  This is a couple of weeks ago - now they are getting their feathers!

On Sunday nights, our tradition is eating "fancy" grilled cheese (like regular grilled cheese with bacon) and guacamole.  Little Man was helping me cut up the avocados last week and asked if he could keep the seeds so he could "line them up and tell them his feelings".  Next morning I found this...

What would I do without each one of my troops?  The distinct individuals that they are.  All so very loved and needed in our family.

And now my extra coffee is gone and it's time to get going on today's list.  I hear rain, too, so maybe today's run will be after the housework.  Son (#1) is home for Spring Break - YAY - and Daughter (#2) will be home at the end of the week.  So grateful to have time with them both.  

Blessings on your Tuesday.  May the God of all comfort both surround you with His love, and send others to show His love to you, as well.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

An Unexpected Gift

We didn't have any basketball games last night.  Can you believe it?  First Monday in ages that we've all been home.  Egg roll dinner with my parents (Happy Birthday, Dad!), gluten-free mocha brownie cake (so yummy!), homework, kids making fun of me (as usual), lots of laughter.

The basketball season is winding down.  Daughter (#7) finished over a week ago (4th place in the 5th and 6th grades).  The Jr. High girls have their last game on Thursday.  Son (#4) has his last home games today and his last regular season games on Friday.  Next week we'll be at the playoffs.

Then it will be volleyball, tennis, play rehearsals, track...  you get the idea.

But last night's evening home?  Lovely.

Last week I had two of the girls home with ear infections.  Daughter (#7) for two days and Daughter (#6) for three.  It was a long week.  They are doing a great job catching up on schoolwork and I'm working on catching up on errands and piles around the house.

So much to be grateful for.

Speaking of, I think it's above freezing so my run is calling.

Last night was a good reminder.  It's so busy, we are constantly coming and going,  never stopping, always work to do and laundry to fold and games to get to and meals to fit in between here and there...

Daughter (#2) and I made a trip down to see Son (#1) this weekend, have lunch, switch cars.  It was wonderful to have some time to visit with them.  And even the time with the girls last week while they were sick - I enjoyed having that time with just them.  All reminders that it's a good idea to pause now and then and just take time to enjoy these days.  They are passing so quickly.

Maybe eventually the Coach and I will get a date night, again!  Yay for basketball.  Ha!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Thankful Thursday, Take 2

So after yesterday's need to re-focus on gratefulness...

Daughter (#7) came home from school with a fever.

So today's plans were scrapped and we've been watching "Flash" and "Phineas and Ferb" non-stop all day while I coax her to stay hydrated and eat something.

A friend's sweet text reminded me that these days of the troops needing their momma when they are sick are numbered.  I only have two or three who really want me to take care of them when they are sick, now.  Of course, I take care of them anyway, but only a couple of the troops can't stay home alone - so if they are sick it rarely derails our plans.

Not to mention, the big kids just aren't sick very often.

So here is today's list:

1.  Got to talk to Son (#1).  He finally got the insurance settlement on his wrecked Jeep from Christmas Break (not his fault).  Which means a trip down to see him in a week or two.  Yay!

2.  Texts from Daughter (#2).  Concerned about her little sis, discussing Gilmore Girls, and getting updates on the basketball games she and I have both missed this week.

3.  Another call from Son (#3) asking what he could bring home for us.  His thoughtful heart and willingness to make a root beer run.

4. Even though I've missed the last two games that Son (#4) has played - one currently in progress as I type - I love knowing that the Coach is there cheering him on and so is the wonderful "family" that is our school.  And cousins.  And aunts and uncles.  Plenty of cheering all around.  I love seeing him play, but I'm grateful that when I'm not there, our fans still will be.

5.  That Daughter (#5) is literally the most easy going, dry-humored, funny and low-maintenance teenager ever.  In history.  Enough said.  Because we don't lack for drama around here.

6.  That every time I see Daughter (#6) play basketball (like the game I watched last night right BEFORE we realized that her little sister was sick), I am reminded of the amazing work God has done in her life.  Oh the stories.  Oh the joy to see her, now.

7.  If someone has to be sick, Daughter (#7) is seriously the never-complaining, happiest, non-particular, sweet, laughing-even-when-she-has-a-fever (thanks, Ferb!), girl to ever grace our troops.  Need anything, I ask?  Nope.  Are you ok, I ask?  Yep.  Even when she's burning up.  Every family should have a 7th born, 4th born girl.  Sweetest.

8.  And Little Man?  He's grown so much this school year.  Especially with his reading.  From not getting all of his AR points the first 9 weeks to reaching beyond his goal the next 9 weeks to reading all. of. the. time. now.  I'm so proud.

9.  Without the Coach?  This whole ship would sink.  He's been support staff the two weeks I've been down with this cold (thankfully, still SO MUCH better, today).  He's brought kids home and gone to games without me and walked in the door ready to help out however he can.  I'm so grateful to be married to a man who lays down his life DAILY for all of us.  Too bad I'm missing all of the under-his-breath-coaching-from-the-bleachers tonight.  Once a basketball coach?  Always a basketball coach.

So there you have it.  Nothing is ideal here, today.  But all is well.  How could I complain about being snuggled up with my littlest girl watching Phineas and Ferb and eating chicken quesadillas on a cold, dreary night?  With lots of texts from the Crusader fans.

Happy Friday.

What are you grateful for, today??  I want to hear it!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Thankful Thursday

1.  I'm thankful that there are only 7 basketball games this week instead of last week's 14.
2.  I'm so SO thankful that my on-again-off again-for-two-weeks cold is finally better.
3.  I'm thankful for a relatively clean house.  A few Clorox wipes, some Windex and a vacuum will do wonders.  Every time.
4.  I'm thankful for potato soup in the crock pot.
5.  For Jr. High games this afternoon.
6.  I'm thankful that Elementary basketball is winding down.  As fun as it's been.  It's tries my patience in countless ways.  Bless my sweet girl's heart.
7.  For a husband that loves me enough to make me stay home and rest when I don't feel well.
8.  That I'm half-way through my four weeks resting my leg that seems uninclined to heal.  Because I really miss running.  And the clear head that always follows a good run.
9.  For talks and texts with my college kids.  And the occasional visit.
10.  I'm thankful for a warm house in this gloomy cold winter weather.  Brrrr.
11.  For my new coat that the Coach got me for Christmas.
12.  For leftover coffee that I'm going to re-heat here in a bit.

Happy happy Thursday, All!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Back at it...

Our 2nd left to go back to college, yesterday. The Coach and the school kids left bright (or dark) and early this morning to head back to school.  Son (#1) has another week to work before he has to leave. I faced a quiet, empty house with nary a Christmas decoration in sight at 7:00 this morning.  And I was sad.

Not because I'm not ready for some kind of schedule and routine.  I've missed that.  Not because it wasn't time for earlier bedtimes and fewer movies and ENOUGH of the constant eating already.  I'm over it.  Not because I want Christmas back... we celebrated thoroughly and soundly.  And let's be honest, Christmas is a HUGE amount of work for us mommas.  Just ask my back  - it went out early Saturday.

But there's just something about having all 10 of us HERE.  Together.  Everyone sleeping in their beds at night (even if they come in after I'm already sound asleep in mine).  Along with extras which delightfully show up most nights.  Dinner around the table with all eight troops, laughing until we cry.

Even the amount of food and laundry doesn't make me wish it over.  Well.  Maybe the laundry.


I loved it.

It was messy and loud and meals overlapped all day long and the dishwasher ran constantly and I loved it.

Such a reminder to me, once again, how grateful I am to be able to do what I love.  The Coach works so hard to give me the opportunity to be HOME.  To have time to take care of my people.  To cook for them and sit and talk with them and say goodbye to them in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon and cheer them on at all of their (countless) games.

I know I take it for granted.  It's all I've known.  But it's the best.

When the kids were all little it was exhausting to be with them 24/7.  To have kids everywhere all of the time.  To have few breaks and less rest.  Looking back, I'm not sure how we even survived.  This 42 year old momma would never be able to do what that much younger momma did.

But it was so worth it.  I got to see them grow and learn and play and fight.  I got to teach them how to help and love one another and be kind.  Well, we're still working on some of that.  Ha!

Now that they are older (well, most of them), I'm enjoying so much fruit from those years.  No, I'm not done.  Are we ever?  But it's much less teaching and training and more talking and just BEING with them.  And talking.  Especially late at night.  Yawn.

There's always more to learn.  Always more to teach.  Always more growth that is needed.

But after two weeks with all of my kids?  From age 8 to age 20?   I'm realizing anew how very blessed I am to be their momma.  They are amazing people.  Every one of them.  They must take after their daddy.

I miss it, already.

Happy 2016 from our troops to yours.  May you have the supernatural strength and grace to do what God has given you to do this coming year.  If it's in the trenches with little ones?  Bless you.  If it's juggling college kids and grade school, I'm with you.  Now lets settle in for the Winter months and make the most of it.

Happy Monday.