Monday, October 31, 2011

Fresh Start.

I really like Mondays.

I don't like how tired I am.  Or how cranky the kids are.
I don't like how messy the house is after a very busy weekend.
Or that it takes until noon to get it straightened up and somewhat clean and orderly, again.
I don't like cleaning out the fridge (we have a strict "one week" rule around here - ha!).
Or having 5 loads of laundry to do just to get back to square one.
I don't like that it's almost 1:00 and I haven't had a shower.
Or that Little Man is still in his jammies.

But you know what I do like?

A fresh start.

That's what Mondays are.

The last week is over.  We survived the weekend (how DO they end up being so busy?).  Everyone did what they did and has what they have and they are off to school.

Maybe it's the quiet.  Little Man is always happy to be on his own, once again.

Maybe it's the weekly calendar print out that has yet to be scribbled all over as things change and have to be moved around.

Maybe it's the groceries in the fridge and the meal plan all set (actually, I've only made it through Wednesday, but I'll get there.).

Maybe it's the fact that I get to put the trash OUT for Tuesday morning!  Yay!  Because by Monday morning, those three city bins are busting full.

Maybe it's the beautiful Fall weather, with the sun shining, and the leaves starting to fall on the still green grass.

Whatever it is. . . it feels like starting all over.  And I like it.

Have a blessed Monday, today!

And as a PS - I would appreciate your prayers for my 17 year old nephew who is still in the hospital following emergency eye surgery on Friday night.  He's doing well - we are so grateful!  Praying now for complete healing, that the infection that caused him to get sick will continue to be effectively treated by the antibiotics, and for my brother and sister-in-law as they juggle caring for him and their five other kids at home.  Thank you!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday. Comes after Thursday. Thankfully.

One of the main reasons I love to do Thankful Thursday posts (even if they have been somewhat sporadic - like the rest of my blogging, lately) is because Thursday is a tough day at the troops.

Are my kids the only ones who have complete meltdowns on Thursday?

The homework seems to be more overwhelming.
The projects are looming.
The Friday test material needs studying.
And we are all tired.

Yesterday was no exception. 

I told the Coach I was going to take a nap (this was at 6:00 AM).  He said, "I'm jealous."  I said, "Well, the one who gets a nap, also has to pick up the kids, get them home without killing each other in the back seat, help them with all of their homework and reading, clean up their "snacks", and keep them off the computer and Netflix until dinnertime."

He said, "You can have your nap, then."

And he seemed to have a spring in his step as he walked out the door.  Hmmmm.

Thursday mornings contain the "I can't find my favorite pants!" meltdowns.  The "I forgot to put my jersey in the wash!" meltdowns, the "Isn't there anything GOOD for lunch?" meltdowns, etc. etc. etc.  And almost always a call from "Big Green" that someone forgot something vital to their success as a student or athlete.

Then on the way home at 3:15?  Don't even get me started.  I've always said, if I get pulled over for speeding on the way home (not that I DO speed, just hypothetically, of course), I would just let the Highway Patrol sit in MY car for a minute.  Then beg him to take me with him and leave the kids there.

Did you KNOW that staring at someone is a crime?  Or (gasp) daring to look out THEIR window instead of your own?  Heaven forbid someone finish their lunch (that they hated at 6:30 AM but refuse to share at 3:15 PM) and not use the most perfect "in the back of the mini-van" manners.  And Little Man?  Who was content and happy all day running errands, eating his PB&J, and taking a nap with Mom?  Turns into a TERROR. 

Let's just say it's not the most pleasant 20 minutes of my day.

I'm not complaining.  I realize the huge blessing it is to have them IN school and not HOME for school.  I'm grateful for the homework, the projects, the reading. . . I really am.  It's all good.

But even "good" times 7 can be overwhelming.

Then, before we know it (OK.  I confess.  I put the younger 4 to bed at 7:15 last night.  Now you know.), it's Friday morning and suddenly it's all sunshine and smiles.

T-shirt day (and I learned my lesson, mind you, the favorite pants were CLEAN!), field trips, and the anticipation of a football game, tonight.  Which means (for the kids) staying up late and wasting their OWN money on ring pops and skittles.  For me?  It will certainly require an extra dose of caffeine.

The kids will catch up on some sleeping in the morning, though.  While the Coach and I drag ourselves out of bed while it's still dark (AGAIN) to run 10 miles.  And when I get back exhausted and ready for a shower, they'll all be up, bouncing off the walls, hungry for breakfast, and the Coach will leave to go watch film with the team.  (Remind me, again, why I shouldn't be jealous of him?)

Gotta love it.

For today?  It's Friday.  Short run (3 miles at 5 AM in 39 degree weather - yay!), Weight Watchers meeting, errands with the Little Man, and an evening in the bleachers to look forward to.  Even when Son #1 isn't playing, I can still cheer on the rest of the team (and the assistant coach, too).  Just hope I remember my stadium seat this time!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Ahhhhh.  Thankful Thursday.  It's good to be here.

1.  Rain.  Can you believe it?  RAIN!

2.  Cool weather.  Feels so very cozy.  Like movie, popcorn, and hot chocolate cozy.  If I didn't have anything else to do.

3.  Tuesday night WIN for our Jr. High football team (Son #3's) to finish the season.  This will mean less football laundry and hopefully a less over-whelmed Coach at our house.

4.  Gloriously WORKING washing machine!  Woo hoo!  I'm so grateful.  There just aren't words. 

5.  Fall Break.  I'm sad it went so quickly (it was a busy four days!), but just the break from getting up so early and lunches and school clothes and homework. . . lovely.  Now we just have to hang in there until Thanksgiving, right?

6.  Oh.  My.  Heavens.  I'll have to go take a picture . . .
Last week my dad took Son #3 and Son #4 with him to run some errands.  He very graciously let them PICK something to bring home to me.  Have you every seen anything so beautiful? 

And it still has several blooms yet to open.  I've never had an orchid, before.  Such sweet thoughtful boys and such a generous Granddad, don't you think?

7.  Basketball starting (last week) for Daughter #2 and (this week) for Son #3.  Still a few weeks of football to go for Son #1. 

8.  Son #1 seems to be recovering well from his concussion last week.  It's not fun having to sit out practice and not be able to play in the Friday night games.  Bless his heart.  But, for some odd reason, the Coach and I are more concerned about his long-term mental and physical health than we are football.  Go figure.

9.  We are half-way through week 5, training for our next half-marathon.  Feeling much better this week than I was last week.  Running 10 this Saturday.  Trying not to think about it.  I DO love the time with the Coach.  And I've almost started liking getting up early to run with him.  Feels great to have it DONE before my day would normally be starting.

10.  Watching my kids with each other.  I would tend to say (being the pessimist that I am) that my kids fight with one another more than anything.  But over Fall Break, watching them on our trip, hiking, at the restaurant. . . then at home over the weekend, switching beds (three girls in one room, four boys in another and none of them can decide which bed they really want) back and forth (so glad the washer works - ha!), watching the little girls play school in the sun room, watching the boys work with the Coach in the yard, spending time with Granddad and Grandmother. . . it's fun.  It's loud.  It's crazy.  But it's fun.

And now. . . it's time to be productive.  In some way.  Maybe I can get enough done this morning to justify a nap with Little Man this afternoon.  Ha!

Happy Thursday!

What are you thankful for, today?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fall Break Day Trip

We had a few hours on Friday to do something fun together.
The Coach suggested a trip down to the Wichita mountains.
There is a great visitors center there with a lot of animals to look at (of the dead and stuffed variety).
TONS of roaming native Bison and Longhorn cattle (of the large and live variety).
We took a short hike, with lots of rocky climbing, but even Little Man kept up just fine.

We also watched the Prairie Dogs for a bit.  
Somehow when I stepped back and saw this, my heart skipped a beat.
My troops.
How I love them.
And they aren't so "little" anymore, are they?

There were so many times that I went hiking while pregnant or carrying a baby in a baby carrier, the Coach with a toddler in a hiking backpack.  Stopping and sitting by the trails to nurse a fussy baby or change a diaper.

I'm glad we did those things then, but WOW it's so much easier, now.

Kids that can all hike by themselves (the Coach and I have a hard time keeping up with them!),
only Little Man needing a hand now and then.
No diaper bag.
No bottles.
No sippy cups.
No stroller, back packs, baby seats.

Granted lunch cost a little more.  (grin)
But we had a great time.
Had really great burgers at this fun place.
Unfortunately the pictures of lunch are imprisoned on my phone.
I'll have to get one of the kids working on that.

All in all, a great afternoon with the troops.  

Happy Fall Break!

Now back to the craziness.
(not to suggest that the van trip coming home was LESS than crazy. . . )

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Careful where you step. . .

The washer repairman is here this morning.
Sometimes I feel like I should post a warning on our front door.
But I'm not sure if I should warn those who enter about the mess inside, or the mental state of the woman of the house.
7 days without being able to do laundry at my own house has made me feel somewhat loopy.

I'm tremendously grateful for a Mom and Nana who have allowed me to come over daily, hauling my overflowing baskets of stinky laundry (try combining football practice, volleyball practice, and running clothes smells) and do two or three loads in their washers.  Whew.

But the towels?  And sheets?  And bathmats?


I'm ready to get things in order.

However, after trying to start my washer for 7 days straight with NO luck, the repairman walked in, pushed the button and. . .

It started.


OH the irony.

I think it just needed a vacation.

The washer, I mean.

After working in our tiny laundry room around piles of laundry, the repairman might need one, too.

Brave, brave man.  Didn't know what he was walking into.

Although the "Laundry Crisis of 2011" has certainly been at the forefront of our lives this week, other things have been going on, too.

We celebrated our littlest girl's SEVENTH birthday last week.  I can't believe it.  No, she's not THE baby around here, but she is my baby girl.  Sniff.  She is a sweet and spunky little thing.  And almost taller than Daughter #5.  Loving 1st grade, reading like a champ, and plays school anytime she's not AT school.  Of course, wants to be a teacher.  What's not to love?

Peanut (Daughter #5) was home three days last week with a head-ache.  Nothing worse ever came of it, for which I'm grateful.  She's been so diligent getting caught up with her school work.  She has yucky allergies just like her momma and big brother (Son #3).

Speaking of head-aches, Son #1 got a minor concussion (we think) in practice, yesterday.  I was tempted to go in and wake him up several times in the night.  But they say that's not necessary, anymore.  I did tell him to come get me if he felt weird or threw up.  He looked at me funny.  I'm not sure I've ever said the words, "Come wake me up" to him.  Or anyone else.

I had received a summons for Jury Duty next week.  Ha.  I know you're laughing.  The Coach made some phone calls on my behalf and had it postponed until Summer.  Said he'd be Mr. Mom and let me serve.  Yay.  Won't that be fun?  At least I'm off the hook for next week.

The Coach and Son #3 are winding down with Jr. High football - only one more game, I think - and had a Christian College Fair last night.  We can check that off the list.

Sister (that's Daughter #2) starts basketball tomorrow.  During Fall Break.

So much for family time.

But that's OK - we wouldn't have had any family time anyway.  Football game the first day of Fall Break and film the 2nd.

Tis the life of a Coach's family.

And we love it.  Really.  One time I heard Mrs. Billy Graham answer a question about whether or not it was hard to be married to a man who was gone so much, traveling, preaching, and leading crusades.  She said she'd rather have HER husband some of the time, than any one else's husband all of the time.

Yep.  Me, too.

Well, the washer finally acted up for the repairman.  Whew.  Would have been horrible if it had quit right after he left.  Seems to be fixed and we're back in business.  In two or three days I'll be all caught up.

What is Fall Break for, right?

In the meantime, we'll enjoy the Patriotic Program at school this afternoon.  And tomorrow?  All but sister can sleep in while I take her to get the rest of her bottom brackets on her teeth.  She'll love having to get up early on a day off school for THAT, don't you think?

The cooler weather, the pumpkins and pansies, the mums in bloom in my flower beds, the spicy scented candles, crockpots full of soup and beans, it's all good.

It reminds me that seasons are not only part of each year, they are part of life, as well.

We're going to call this season at the troops, "Busy and Blessed".

Better get started on that laundry!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Morning

I can hear "The Cat in the Hat" from the Living Room, where Little Man and Daughter (#5) are watching.  She's home today with a head-ache.  I let her stay because her eyes don't look right.  We moms can just tell.
We'll have a quieter day, for sure.  I'm not complaining.

The Coach and I got our run in without getting rained on.  I'm grateful.  It's hard enough to run when it's not raining.  I've already had some quiet coffee time to read this, from my friend Amber and this post from sweet friend, Jo.

Just thinking about how FAST the troops are growing up.  How part of me misses those little days. . . and part of me (for sure!) doesn't.  How FUN they are and how much I'm enjoying that they are young adults.  How sad I get when I clean out the clothes that are too small.  How much I'm looking forward to another driver in the house.  How quickly we will have several extra drivers.



Oh so grateful.

I know my kids aren't perfect.  But they are GREAT kids.  Smart.  Funny.  Loving.

Yes, every day I pray for them to be kinder, gentler, to love each other more.  I pray for them to love God the MOST.  And to resist the temptation to do something stupid. 

But I hope and pray. . . when it's all said and done. . . and they are grown and gone (the Coach is all about the "gone" part!). . . that they will return frequently, love being here, still watch football with us on the weekends, tease each other, and eat all of the food I can make.

I finally finished the little girls' clothes, yesterday.  We have our playroom back.  It always makes me pause a bit when I realize how much they've grown (well. . . except for Daughter #5. She's still my little peanut.).

How those things I pulled out last Fall seem suddenly SMALL.  How the pile of shoes that don't fit seems to grow.  And the jeans get shorter.  And the Strasburg dresses that I love and wish they would wear, now get a "Mom, do we HAVE to wear those?"  Because they are almost 10, 8 1/2, and (gasp!) SEVEN this week and not 5, 4 and 3. Times are a changing. 

So very much to be grateful for.  Even on a cool, rainy day, with a sickie at home. 

If your kiddos are all still little?  And the days seem long?  And you are exhausted and wondering if they will ever be able to tie their own shoes or go to the bathroom by themselves or SLEEP through the night?  I wish I could somehow tell you how fast it goes and how much you should enjoy every moment with them.  Don't worry about having everything neat and perfect all of the time.  Sit and read books with them and take a nap while they do.  Watch "Curious George" with them instead of letting the TV be a distraction so you can "get something done". 

Yes, my mother told me all of that when mine were little.  But I thought I had plenty of time.

You don't.  Trust me.

Because having five little ones six and under, has now turned into three teens (15, 14, 13), an 11 year old, and a 9 year old.  Plus a few more.  They didn't stay little.  And yes, they can all tie their own shoes and go to the bathroom by themselves.  They are all sleeping in their own beds all night AND are a huge help to this very tired, not-twenty-something-anymore momma.

Well, I'm getting hot chocolate and raisin toast orders from my peanut and Little Man. Better get to it. Thanks to the reminders this morning, I'll be joining them, for sure!  I wonder what movie a 9 year old girl and a 4 year old boy will agree on?  Ha!
Happy Monday!

Friday, October 7, 2011

I can relate. . .

Little Man slept through the kids all tromping out the door to school, yesterday morning.

I don't know how he sleeps through the door slamming, coming and going, "Mom!  So-and-so is SMACKING their frosted mini-wheats, again!", smoothies going in the blender, more door opening and closing, lunch making, shoe hunting, and hair fixing.


In a few minutes, though, he came padding out in his bare feet, hair sticking up, sleepy eyes wide open, jammie pants hiked up on his little bird legs.

"Did I miss something, Mom?"

I feel the same way.

Right about the time I get my act together, the act is over.

Watching Daughter's (#2) last volleyball game on Monday, I think she can relate.  They had just started to "click" on the court - know what I mean.  She was playing GREAT.

Just in time for basketball to start.

My lack of time to write has been due to a several things this week:

#1.  Pinterest. Seriously addictive.  Although at first it gave me a complex.  I am not (it turns out), interested in a.) fashion, b.) home decor, c.) projects for my kids, or d.) cooking.

What's left, you ask?  Pictures of far away places to travel and WORDS.  I love words.  And Fall.

#2.  Half-marathon training round 4.  The Coach and I agreed we could tackle a December race if we trained in the mornings (the only time he's home).  I'm not sure if 5:00 AM is morning. . . I've always considered it "night-time".  If so, then we are running at night, but we are running.  It's completely solved any trouble I used to have going to sleep.  Good grief.  I can go to sleep ANYWHERE, anytime.  But those sleepless late nights helped me keep up with my blogging, after all.

#3.  Turns out I have a legitimate reason to be tired.  Went in for some blood work last week and found out that my iron levels are so low that they basically don't exist.  Went to my favorite place to buy supplements and fill prescriptions with my results in hand.  The pharmacist said, "Wow.  I'm surprised you are up and walking around."

Ha.  That's funny.  Because actually I AM REALLY TIRED!

Hopefully the new doses of some different vitamins will do the trick.  In 2-3 months.


School is hopping along.  Field trips, projects (I need to take some pictures).  Homework, of course.  Lots of reading, singing, laughing, studying, memorizing, and sleeping going on at the troops.  Oh.  And eating.  I still haven't figured out how to make them stop.

Along with the 1/2 marathon training (which so far is less than I was already running each week - but not for long!), I'm back in BSF with Little Man and back counting my points for WW every day (I hadn't "quit", but I sure had slacked off).

Always plenty to do.

Which reminds me. . . we started switching the three little girls' clothes out from Summer to Winter last week (which, of course, led to some really HOT days this week - never fails).  I still haven't finished.

That's right.  For an entire week those buckets of clothes have been lined up in the playroom.  Ugh.  Don't even talk to me about the boys clothes that need cleaning out.

I am encouraged, though.  These early morning runs with the Coach have given us time we didn't have together.  Not that I'm much in the mood for talking, but he is, and I like to listen.

And knowing that something IS really making me more tired than usual is, oddly, comforting.  Because I was pretty sure I was losing my mind.

Lessons from this week?

Sometimes "dates" come way before the sun rises and require running shoes and dodging skunks.

A trip to the doctor now and then is a good idea for everyone.

And as the Coach says?  "It'll all get done."

And it will.

After my nap.