The week that all this happened

IMG_3477
DSC_0054
IMG_3478
IMG_3481
IMG_3475

I think I mentioned that I casually put our house on craig’s list a couple weeks ago. Well…we rented it. So, we quickly undertook the unimaginable task of packing..our whole lives. Which meant buying 1,000 boxes because every time Greg has suggested we keep a new computer box or small kitchen appliance box I have said, “WE ARE NEVER MOVING WE DON’T NEED TO KEEP THE BOX.” So lots of boxes. And a few disagreements. Namely, “why did you rent our house on craig’s list again?” To which I reply, “a happy wife, a happy life.” A phrase that Greg altogether does not agree with. And had the last day of school. And Lyle’s birthday. FOUR! And my mom came to help. And we moved to my parents house. And kept packing our stuff to put in storage for the summer. And then Lyle broke his arm. Then the dr. said he needed surgery. WHAT?!?!?!?! There is still packing and unpacking and…SUMMER! Holy inconvenient. And sad. And Ben had VBS. So, that’s pretty much what has been going on around here. Thankfully the tylenol with codeine that Lyle is taking makes him hilarious so we are laughing instead of crying.

*thank you to the dear friends that are watching my other kids and driving them to other places and praying and lots of other helpful things so that I could write and process while Lyle rests and prepares to watch another movie. Followed by another movie. And another movie. All summer long.

Advertisements

FOUR

Time is flying with this one. Really I feel like he should still be a baby. But no, he is my hilarious, snugly, goofy, trying to keep up with his older brother, middle kid. And I love him so much. Unless he is laying on the floor at the library SCREAMING because he wants me to take my book out of his book bag. Then I love him a little less. Just kidding. Don’t judge.

IMG_3359

Public shaming. aka Thank goodness for summer!

Today is the last day of school. I dropped Ben off a little early. Dressed nicely in his light blue school shirt and tan shorts. Both hanging on by a thread after 9 months of long days and hard play. Sweat and dirt and stains. I was about to be sentimental about his last day of kindergarten….then noticed he was walking into a sea of children wearing what ever the heck they wanted, instead of uniforms. Damn you free dress days! You’ve mocked my organizational capabilities all year! T-shirt Tuesdays. Picture Day. Dr. Seuss week. Grandparents day. Please can we eliminate all exceptions to the rules?!?!

I was slightly baffled as to how everyone seemed to know something I didn’t, because I had thoroughly read all school communication this week to make sure I was prompt for all early release days, contributing to all teacher gifts and present at all class parties. (please note that I am 1 for 3 on that list this week and there is still room for further failure. update: went to the wrong park for today’s class party. 1-4)

So I casually text my more organized friend who gently let me know that if I’d filled out the end of year parent survey, I would have been notified about free dress today. SHOOT FIRE. DANGIT. SONOFABITC*.

I don’t know why this rubbed me the wrong way….SO BADLY. But it felt like a hundred “everyone is doing this parenting thing better than you.” Really. There were approximately 750 kids who’s parents had their shi* together more than I did this morning. But we had green smoothies. DID YOUR KIDS EAT VEGGIES FOR BREAKFAST?!?! Don’t answer that question.

Come ON….If I’d have filled out the online parent survey I would have been told it was free dress day? No mercy for the less organized or apathetic?!?! I’m sure someone else shared all my sentiments already. My vote doesn’t count. The election is decided WAY before California. (just kidding Barbara…I vote in all major elections…and none of the minor ones). And shaming my children. Please. Let’s make them wear a sign that says I eat fast food and watch TV. Which isn’t totally true because we only eat at In-N-Out burger, which we all know doesn’t count as fast food because it’s made fresh. And we only watch Netflix. Which isn’t TV in the traditional sense. But you don’t really care.

There is just a building feeling (and research) that all my shortcomings will damage my children. And I don’t know where to compartmentalize that information. So I just hold it in my hand all day long. Which makes me drop other things and forget important things.

Callum is eating cookies for breakfast while I type this. For real. Have you ever tried to stick to a grocery budget…and feed 4 boys? It’s slim pickings on Friday and “eat what you kill” on Saturday. Good luck men.

All that to say. It has been a good first year of grade school for my oldest. We all survived the transition to 5 day a week school and early mornings. And we have learned a lot this year. Namely:

1. You do not have to wear uniforms to meet the teacher day.
2. You do not need to “drop what ever you are doing” and rush to pick your child up at school if the nurse calls. They are probably faking it and even if they are not, it’s cozy in the nurse’s office and they are in better hands than with you…who are likely annoyed that your day has been derailed by a sick child.
3. Optional homework is not really optional. It is a test of your parental commitment to education. And there is a secret place in your child’s folder where the teacher grades you. I am sure of it.
4. If you are too tired or lazy to pick your child up at first carpool, then they will walk through second, then third, then they get sent to after school care where they get snacks and play. WIN-WIN.
5. Don’t sign your kid up for the Christmas break camps. They don’t think going to school over Christmas break is as good of an idea as you do.
6. Quickly glance at the school calendar before making travel plans so that your child does not miss the Fall Festival, Grandparents day, Christmas party, school musical, and a field trip all in one year.
7. Send money with your kid to the book fair so they don’t ask EVERY MOTHER THERE for money. And come home with a lot of expensive books that you didn’t pay for and don’t know who to thank / apologize to.
8. Take them out of school for no reason and go get ice cream. Because it’s fun. And who doesn’t like playing hooky?

Cheers to summer and WEAR WHAT EVER YOU WANT DAYS!!!

IMG_3339

Where have you been?!?!

We have had a very busy last 4 weeks. There was the silent retreat that I went to. At a monastery in the high desert. The topic was moving from judgement to grace. With ourselves and others. It was beautiful. And quiet.

Then a weekend in LA with Greg for work. It was a combination of romantic getaway and supportive wife. And stretched every fiber of my introverted being. We rolled from meetings to dinners to more food and even more people. My heart rate hovered at about 140 bpm while seated. And I had sweaty hands. For three days. But ate delicious food and hiked in Griffith park and acted like we are totally Ritz Carlton people.

IMG_3214

Then Mothers’ day weekend which included a beach, park and pool day. The California trifecta as I like to call it.

IMG_3023

IMG_3020

And a jaunt to North Carolina with some dear friends to visit our dearest friend. Blue ridge mountains…where have you been all my life. I am not a city person. And this get away provided rest for my soul. Towering trees and rolling hills as far as the eye could see. Great expanses of land. And sounds of nature. And snakes. OH SNAKES!!!! I screamed MANY times and after freaking out on a hike, realized that knee high boots really would eliminate all my snake fears. And returning during hibernation season would also help.

IMG_3215

I started and finished two cheesy romance novels which proved to be the PERFECT distraction for my airplane jitters…that and a Heineken. Note to self.

The kids have been healthy for weeks after taking them to the crazy (looks like “Doc” from Back to the Future) chiropractor who prescribed “patches.” And please don’t ask what they do because I don’t know and I don’t care but I am a believer. Immune systems boosted. Check.

All this with swim team and baseball and bible study smattered in between. And we decided to try to rent out our house. Let me know if you are interested!

IMG_3216

The great end of the school year count down has begun and I am easing into June this year and protecting every aspect of our lives from any unnecessary activity or stress or commitment or to do item. I am continuing to say no more and more. And life continues to feel so full. Full of life. And love.

twins…

DSC_0012

every day someone says, “oh my goodness, Callum looks so much like Lyle!” To which Lyle finally responded, “why do people keep saying I look like Callum, I’M NOT A BABY!!!”

well….here’s my attempt to capture the twins, separated by 2 years and 9 months.

Just a little off

Callum is starting to experiment with differing nap schedules. Which is kind of throwing our little weekly routine off.

As a result…this is what he looks like at the exact time we need to leave the house to pick Lyle up at preschool or Ben up at Kindergarten most days.

DSC_0042

And this is what he looks like when I wake him up.

DSC_0047

And this post was just an excuse to post sleeping baby pictures because they are so cute!

What were you made for?

There is a current rub in my life…that has all the signs of too little quiet time with Jesus.

(It doesn’t help that I lost my bible and planner and journal some where between College Station and California a couple weeks ago. And it feels insensitive to those precious items to just replace them with out a sufficient mourning time. But I am certain I can not live any sort of productive life with out them. And the sheer fact that my JOURNAL is lost somewhere and may possibly be found and even more possibly make it way to the internet for the WHOLE WORLD TO READ…might be the source of all anxiety I am about to write about. Just maybe.)

That “rub” manifests itself in anxiety and a general sense of not feeling comfortable in my skin. An uneasiness. Discontentness. Which is not even a word. Which makes me question my smartness. Which is a word.

In this place of anxiousness…I question everything. My thoughts. My decisions. My priorities. WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?!?! Which is bad enough in it’s own right. But because I apparently plan to drag my family down with me, I start to question my children’s lives. What are they made for? What will they do with their lives? I think this wondering started out in an innocent curiosity, as we identified physical traits of our boys that resembled Greg or I. Or habits or patterns that they picked up from our behavior. Wondering if they were going to be bald like Greg or hilarious like me. heehee. We both have a deep desire to know our kids individually. Know what drives them. What brings them joy. Their fears. Their challenges. Their little individual personalities that make them unlike any other.

And my current struggle is knowing where to encourage them to pursue what brings them joy as little boys, and encourage them in areas that we (as AMAZING PARENTS) know will benefit them as they mature into young men. If we let them just do what made them happy, Ben would spend 1,000 hours a week playing legos and Lyle would just eat cream cheese. They would not bathe or brush anything. They would not change clothes. Or probably even sleep. Clearly not the makings of a balanced, healthy, thriving childhood. So we make choices for them. Like providing healthy food. Cleaning the dirt off their bodies occasionally. Reading. Learning. Exploring the world around them.

And they complain about it. Oh how they complain.

I think I am trying to figure out what the non-negotiables are in our family? You don’t have to play football, but you have to eat your vegetables. You have to be kind and loving. Respectful. You have to try new things. And not quit at the first sign of difficulty. You have to set goals. And attain them. You have to encourage others. And when I say, “have to,” I mean PLEASE LORD HELP THEM.

As my mind was spinning this morning, I was reminded of the first question of the Westminster Catechism:

What is man’s chief end? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

So that is my prayer today. That they glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Knowing that the rest will fall into place. And praying the same for myself. Please Lord, that is my desire.

IMG_2766

*Really I am writing all this because I signed Ben up for swim team knowing he wouldn’t like it because I think it is critical that my kids be strong swimmers living in southern California and swim team is the most effective, cost efficient way to ensure (insure?) that. And the first day he cried and we are going back today. HELP. How do I encourage him in this? He loves to swim and enjoys the social interaction of a group like this. He’s just lacking confidence in swimming the length of the pool. But I know he can do it. He has done it. Come on….you got this! And until he knows that…do I bribe him? Play tough mom? Beg him? Ignore his pleas?

A Million Miles in a Thousand Days

A couple weeks ago, a friend gave me a copy of Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I started reading last week, and packed it to take with me to Texas. To say that I loved the book is an understatement. The author recants an experience of turning his memoir into a movie. Into a series of stories. And contemplates how to write a good story…with your life. Beautiful. Because that is what we are doing.

I appreciate out of the ordinary experiences. The memories that paint a picture that is interesting to look at. And I am grateful to writing for that. That picture to read and reread. To reflect on and redirect my focus. We are writing our own stories. For ourselves. For our kids. I want to write a story of adventure. Of humble service. Of love. And there are pieces to that. Pieces that tie words together, make sentences of the days and chapters of the years.

Last week we traveled across three states but it felt like a million miles. We were gone for one week. But it felt like a thousand days. We were traveling to meet our niece. And missed her sweet little life by but handfuls of hours. And the story from that weekend was one of great loss. Expectant hope. Tender joy. Beauty. And grace. These experiences shape us. The pictures move us. An empty swing. A table overflowing with provisions. A blooming bouquet. Combed hair. Ironed pants. A grin. And a tear. Standing in worship. Walking in obedience. Carrying the weight. Of a little life. Balloons held. And let go. Into a blue sky receiving. Food and fellowship. Dust and laughter. They tell the story of a little girl with a big name and an unimaginable impact on so many lives.

Friends, please continue to pray for the Davis family as they walk the journey the Lord has put before them.

88 balloons…for 88 days.
IMG_2846

Mother – Son retreat

Ben and I went to Forest Home camp this past weekend for a mother – son retreat. I am a sucker for camp and just about any retreat…actually retreating from conflict was my special talent for many years. It’s a little harder to pick up and move (1,500 miles away like I did when I was 22) so a change of scenery for a weekend….YES PLEASE! Fresh perspective refreshes my soul. I am dramatic. I know this.

We arrived Friday afternoon, and after quickly dumping our weekend gear in the cabin, started exploring. The first thing I noticed was that the sound of the word “mom” did not overwhelm me, because I knew I could meet just about all of Ben’s physical and emotional needs that weekend with little effort. Which rarely happens at home when I am juggling SO MANY NEEDS of SO MANY CHILDREN. And I realize that “SO MANY CHILDREN” usually means 6 in the blog world, but in my world, it’s three.

As we explored, Ben’s excitement and voice began rising quickly. There were sticks to pick up, rocks to throw, water to jump over. Heaven for a little boy. (On a side note I spend way too much time wondering…worrying…what Ben’s special place in this world will be. Trying to identify and encourage his natural talents, interested and abilities, all while praying he seeks to glorify the Lord in all he does…forever…yes, he is just 6. Anyway, it brings me great joy to see him so excited about something that he is giddy.)

As we explored, Ben declared that we should go on a morning walk every morning we were there before breakfast. Yes please! He is my son. Saturday we saw the sun rise over the mountains. Broke the silence of nature’s morning with our giggles. And grasped hands to leap over raging (not really) waters.

The weekend included teaching for the mom’s, from a Godly woman with FOUR sons. I am tired just thinking about her reality. And teaching for the boys from fun college aged guys. So lots of together time. And just enough separate time. And super fun camp singing….with my son. After being involved in youth ministry for 5 years…with other people’s kids, it was surreal to be there with my own. Engaging him. Laughing with him. Getting him to stand and clap and do silly hand motions. It was so fun.

We stayed up way to late both nights and Ben’s enthusiasm wained, but over all it was a great weekend and I LOVED the special time with my oldest. And he loved the craft cabin. And I made him journal Sunday morning.

The whole weekend just reminded me of the importance of making time for one on one adventures with my sons.

IMG_2649
IMG_2651