Friday, January 23, 2015

Hanging On...

Seasons come and go.  They change, not always when you want them to.  Some of them are welcome, some knock the wind out of you.  But one thing is for sure... change is coming.

Right now, we are neck deep in basketball season.  12 games last week and 9 this week.  Sometimes at the same time in different gyms, which means I'm missed a few.  I LOVE watching my kids play sports.  It's fun when they play well and it's still fun when they don't.  Yes, winning is fun.  But appreciating the character that comes through loss is pretty great, too.

It's been a new experience having the Coach back in the stands with me, again, after a two season stretch coaching the high school girls. He coaches whether he's coaching or not.  If you know what I mean.  Ha! How I love him. He missed 99.9% of the other kids' games last year (we have five playing), so I'm tremendously grateful to have him enjoying all of it with us.

If you have ever enjoyed an Oklahoma Winter, you know that change is the word.  It will be below freezing for days and then back up in the 60's for a few.  I finally braved the cold for a sub-freezing run last week.  Wasn't too bad.  Then it warmed up.  Ha!  It is what it is.  The kids have to check every day to see if they need a coat or just a jacket.

After a month of so much sickness (I ended up with a doozy of a sinus infection a couple of weeks ago), I'm finally back into a season of working out every day.  It's amazing to me how LONG it takes to build strength and endurance (and lose weight!), and how QUICKLY I can go backwards. Get weaker, slowly, fatter.  Such a bummer.  I'm finally learning though, after so many years, that the seasons and change are part of it.  When the whole family has the flu?  Time for a break.  When everyone is better?  Get back to it.  Understanding it will take some time.  My running pace still isn't back to where it was in December.  But it will be.

There are seasons in the school year, too.  This one isn't my favorite.  January and February are PROJECT season.  Three science fair projects, currently.  And don't ask about the dog bank made from oatmeal container.  Just. Don't. Ask.  The autobiography for the senior (thesis over - whew!).  Workouts again for the Sophomore.  It's a lot to keep up with.

My favorite thing right now?  This season of our marriage.  It just keeps getting better.  We think the same things at the same times.  We look forward to time together, whether date night or just time to talk.  Can I SAY how fabulous it is to reach the season when you can not only go on a date by yourselves regularly, but leaving for the weekend is an option, too?  I'm telling you.  It's the best.  The coach?  He's my favorite.  The other night one of the kids said, "You know, Mom, someday we'll all grow up and leave and it will just be you and dad.  How awkward."  HA!  Little does he know...

Maybe the strangest season we are in right now is this new season of parenting an adult.  Son #1 has been in Brazil almost two weeks.  He has another two to go.  We've only heard from him briefly - he doesn't have his phone or laptop.  We have no idea what he's doing every day or even where he is.  And that's just the beginning.  He's making Spring Break plans.  By himself.  He's applying for Summer jobs in other states.  Making college plans for next year.  I'm telling you, so strange.  But it's wonderful, too.  I'm so grateful for him and so proud of the young man he is becoming.  We raise them up to send them off.  But it's still strange.

This is also the season of the Camp Gladiator Nutrition Challenge and my second "cup" of coffee (4 oz coffee, 4 oz of almond milk - because we are limited to only 8 oz of coffee per day.  So sad!) is almost gone.  Time to get going.

Whatever season or seasons of life you are in today, may they be filled with gratefulness.  And a little sunshine doesn't hurt.

Happy Friday!

Friday, January 2, 2015

6 Weeks and a LOT of the Unexpected

The Lord knows.

It's been my mantra for the last six weeks.  He knows.  He loves me.  He loves US.  He is giving us the best gifts.  Always.

You can plan.  You should plan.  But you should also know that you can't control things.  In fact you can control VERY LITTLE when it comes right down to it.

I can let this fact depress me, or I can choose to let some things go and do what needs to be done and enjoy each moment as it comes.

The day before the big football game?  The Coach came down with something awful.  Flu-like.  Miserable.  Our very kind doctor put him on meds and he spent a morning in bed and then hauled his very sick self to the game.

We lost.

And the next day, with football season suddenly ended, his a-little-bit-less-sick self and I headed to Tulsa for the 1/2 marathon we'd trained for.  Except not.  Because I'd had a foot injury a few weeks earlier and my running had been almost nonexistent.

Race or no race, we needed that time.  We talked all of the way there and all through lunch and on through dinner and got up the next day to run that silly race.  Meanwhile our two Jr. High troops were in a tournament back at home and both WON the tournament (boys and girls) and Son (#4) got all tournament, too.  We missed it.  Sometimes it's impossible NOT to miss some things in order to gain others.

On race day?  I felt great.  The coach not so much.  But instead of the flu-like fatigue he was expecting, it was his ITB.

We finished.  He persevered.  Even though he's been paying for it ever since.  Yikes.  Half Marathon #5 (for me!) in the books.

Thanksgiving was that same week, and the time off was lovely and we even all made it to the family celebration.  After running the Turkey Trot.

And So. Many. Basketball Games.  Even a Thunder game for Daughter's (#5) 13th birthday!

The next weekend was a basketball tournament at our school.  And while we were all anticipating Son's (#1) homecoming the next Friday, baking and cleaning and finding dresser drawers for him (his space in that crowded boys' room was immediately filled by the other three). . .

Son (#4) came down with the actual flu.  The full blown Influenza type A.  Of course we didn't know that immediately, but he was SICK.  He stayed home while the rest of the troops went to the airport to pick up Son (#1) and YAY!  All home!

Except the next day the Coach got sick.

And the next night Daughter (#5) got sick.

So the three of them missed our plans to see "A Christmas Carol" that Sunday afternoon.  Seven of us made it, though!  In retrospect that's pretty amazing.

Son (#1) got up and went back to work that Monday morning and our anticipated family outing to watch the Jr. High basketball players (their only games that Son #1 would be in town for) was eclipsed by caring for those same Jr. High players - both home with the flu.

The next morning?  Daughters (#6 and #7) and Little Man woke up sick.  On the day of the Elementary Christmas program in which Daughter (#7) had a speaking part.  She'd been practicing for weeks and of ALL of my fourth graders was the MOST excited about it.

She and I both cried all morning.  Just so sad.

I went to the program alone and watched my Senior - Daughter (#2) - in our sweet little Christmas program.  But none of our littles or the Coach were there.

While I was crying about my sweet girlie missing her program?  Son (#1) called from work and said he was coming home sick, too.

Fun times at the troops, Ya'll.

Seven sick.  Time to get Tami-flu.  So the four newer patients and Daughter (#2) and I all started Tami-flu that day.  Son (#3) moved to Grandmother and Granddad's house.  Ha!

Did I mention it was also finals week for the big kids?  Yep.  Awesome, right?  We ALL missed Daughter's (#2) last game before Christmas - again, the only one that Son #1 was in town for.  Sigh.

After 12 (TWELVE) days of flu and fever and oils and ginger ale?  (Daughter #2 and I both got mild cases sometime that week - Son #3 escaped all together - imagine that.)

We finally made it out as a family to see Christmas lights.

With two days left to enjoy all of the Christmas wonder.  Yay!  We managed some Christmas cookies and had a gingerbread house decorating contest and finished wrapping gifts and such and celebrated Christmas together as a family on Christmas Eve.

Just a side note - we sat down that Sunday night - when everyone was finally upright again, and talked through what the kids wanted to do as a family.  It was a really good thing to do!  To hear from them what was important and what made Christmas special.  We even made it to the candlelight service at church.

But late Christmas Eve, we got word that the Coach's daddy wasn't getting over whatever he had been suffering from that week. . . so Christmas morning at their house was postponed.

Turned out to be a good thing - sort of - because Daughter (#2) woke up with a bad sinus head ache that morning.  She spent Christmas day in bed.

The rest of us enjoyed our time at my parents with my family.  Lovely Christmas day, really.  Minus one of our troops. Including a Christmas play with a few of the cousins.

The day after Christmas, my sweet daddy had neurosurgery to correct his trigeminal neuralgia.  It was a big deal.  It was successful.  He's been recovering at home with my mom, who now has a sinus infection (surprise!).  We have loved taking him soy lattes and helping with puzzles.

Christmas morning with the Coach's family ended up being that Saturday.  76 of the 88 of us were there.  Pretty amazing!  We had a big SNOW, too!  The kids love that!  Grandma didn't, I'm sure, as they kept tracking it back into her house!

We've loved having the kids home.  Son (#1) has worked every day he hasn't been sick.  The Coach and I have tackled cleaning out cabinets and the pantries and reading lots of books.  We've run errands and organized his office and crossed countless things off "the list". We've completed a puzzle every day.  Watched a lot of Christmas movies.  Kind of let the laundry and house go.  Ugh.

New Years was spent with sweet friends and family.  The Coach even stayed awake until midnight.  Ha!  Now super cold temps and an ice storm on it's way, today.

The colds and coughs have lingered, still.  Yesterday, I spent the day in bed with a sinus headache likes Daughter (#2) had on Christmas Day.

I'm writing all of this so WE don't forget.  This crazy crazy season.  The joy of watching our kids enjoy home and each other (and yes, they've fought a lot, too).  The mess.  The noise.  The laughter.

Things haven't gone as we planned.  Pretty much at ALL.  But it's been good, still.  I'm grateful.  And maybe just a little bit ready for school days and a clean house without Christmas everywhere.  A normal routine with workouts and runs, again, and yes (gulp!), even four nights a week and Saturdays full of basketball, again.

The Lord knows.  He's always good.  I'm so thankful for the gift of these last few weeks.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from my troops to yours!