These past few months have been a slipped by in a frenzy. I have been writing less that’s for sure, but not as little as my blog seems to reflect. For the past 10 months, I’ve been writing for Waco Moms Blog twice a month, so I thought it was time that I post a link here to what I’ve been sharing over there!
2017 was a blur, and I have higher hopes for 2018. I refuse to declare “resolutions” per se, but I do have expectations of what I hope to accomplish and goals for myself and my family.
As a family, we are going to do more Bible devotions together – so far, we’re using our phone apps and do the plans together. It’s been so sweet to hear the kids daily responses to what they’re reading and being challenged by.
I still have aspirations to publish the book that’s about 85% written
Along with the above, I want to attend a Writers’ Conference
Perhaps while at said conference, I will get myself a literary agent
I’ve written enough about my failing housekeeping skills. I’m going to own them now and one-up myself by making a weekly schedule and paying myself a housekeepers fee. I’ll put that money aside for something special. Boom.
Pray daily for the big things in life that have not been answered in years. Ex: getting out of school loan debt
Eat more fruits and vegetables – this is a family challenge. Gotta replace those refined sugars and empty carbs!
Finally get our master bath updated from torn-off wallpaper dry wall and hot water in my sink (shut off because it was dripping)! The bids are coming in, and we should be able to start demo in the next week or two.
Choose joy – I’m wanting to see the upside more and find more to be thankful for in every tough situation. I figure it can’t hurt in this season of raising teenagers. They have enough angst for the rest of us!
My word of the year – FLOURISH – who doesn’t want to do that? At first I thought, “Thanks, God for offering me a word of hope that doesn’t feel like work.” Then I looked up the definition: “to be in a vigorous state; thrive; to be successful; prosper; to grow luxuriantly, or thrive in growth.” When a flower blooms, if you watch it in slow motion, there is so much happening. It is an effort to be sure, but it appears effortless because it is not being watched in the between blooming. We live life, and the blooming is the embellishment that fills in the process of what is happening.
“Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.” Proverbs 11:28
“They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God.” Psalms 92:13
“Is not my house like this with God? For He made an everlasting covenant with me ordered in all things and secure. For this is all my salvation and all my desire; will He not make it flourish?” II Samuel 23:5
As of today, we have lived in Waco two years! It hardly seems possible. I don’t know that I officially pass as a Texan, but there are many ways we have adapted to our new home state. We still miss water and mountains and have found a snake and other nasty critters in our backyard (all harmless), but we have also hit some big mile markers.
Settling into our new home
Obviously, we love our home! We’ve been living in it for fourteen months and though we don’t have every wall decorated perfectly and still have an original master bath (I’ve torn down the wallpaper at least), we can honestly say we feel settled in. There are maybe a few boxes hidden in closets, but they are the things I have excuses not to deal with. I’ve managed to keep about 2.5 indoor plants living, and we only lost a few of our front yard trees/bushes (I’m blaming the winter freeze).
Getting a Dog
She has been a part of our family for a few months now. It’s been an adjustment. I am still not a dog person, but I see how much the kids love her. One more mommy sacrifice. Her hair and strange herding behaviors with random people and my husband still make me sooo frustrated though. Just like raising kids, we go through seasons. The good news is each season is a little less difficult than the last – whining and barking are down. But dog breath – wow, that’s a tough one to take.
Completing Junior High and Grammar School
Our kids are now twelve and fourteen and entering seventh and ninth grade. It’s baffling. These two years have been huge milestones, and I know that the upcoming six years will be filled with so many more, I will hardly have time to take them all in. We entered the world of dances, cell phones, and shaving. Next up: make-up, driving, and dating. Yikes.
More Involvement in the Community
We have friends and a life group and ties to many locals through school, work, even Instagram. As most parents, we’re chameleons to the needs and involvements of our kids – each sport or activity becomes our current world. My husband got back into the triathlon world this year. The race ended up in a near tornado storm cancellation in the middle of the race!
Infinite amounts of Yardwork
No, really. Winter is a nice break from the Texas heat, but then there are the INSANE amount of leaves. We have 50+ trees in our backyard and 90% of them lose their leaves. Yes, we are doing our own yard work (mostly my husband), and as he has slowly been shaping, cleaning, and redesigning the backyard as time and money allow, the people at the dump think he MUST own a landscape business!
We promised ourselves that the move to a new part of the country would lead us to travel to new places. While we haven’t reached international status yet, we did finally make it to the East Coast! We spent two weeks this summer driving 3,700 miles through 15 states and saw big bucket list places like New York City, Washington DC, and the Atlantic Coast at Virginia Beach. As silly as it might seem, I think the drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel was one of the most memorable. We made it just before sunset and that sixteen miles of driving across the water (and under it) was just magical. I only wish I had been able to capture a decent photo of the bridge. We took plenty of others:
Hopes for Year Three
Year Three has begun, and I can’t wait to see what amazing surprises God has in store for us. One day at a time, with the promise that He will be with us and guide us according to His will. I’m praying for more writing opportunities, more community involvement, and maybe another (dry) triathlon for the hubby! I’m also so thankful for all the new people I’ve met through this venue. It also makes me laugh when I have encounters like the one I recently had with a woman in Marshalls. We had met once at a local restaurant months before as connected by our kids being at the same school. We talked briefly at Marshalls, and she admitted she didn’t remember my name. A few moments later, she said, “this might be weird, but are you ‘whyimovedtowaco’ on Instagram? Isn’t this a weird world we live in now?” It’s fun to hear so many stories of others who are seeking God’s will about where to live or their experiences while here in Waco.
Where Else to Find Me
I have been posting less on this blog because I have been contributing on the Waco Moms Blog for the past 6 months! You can find more of my posts there or my random photo and thought posts on my Instagram account.
Blessings to y’all.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will be carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
We moved into our house 1 year ago already! Isn’t it funny how quickly the waiting period for something greatly anticipated suddenly becomes ordinary and almost a hazy memory? We left the Southern California coast in all it’s perfect scenery and weather and a picture pretty life in exchange for something different.
We’re settling into our new phase of life; year two is almost down and I can officially say that it feels like time has flown.
I have some specific ways I can verify that we feel like we aren’t the new kids in town.
I’ve started talking about life here in years instead of months.
The one year anniversary of moving into the home I felt would never happen a year ago passed almost without notice.
I drive around the town without using a map app or even thinking much about how to get there; instead, I wonder if I should take one of three ways I know I could get there.
We get connected to other newbies in town who want to know how well we’ve adjusted.
When I talk to my husband, we’re both able to use names of the people in our community without descriptors like a last name or “the guy who works in marketing.”
I feel like I say the “the” before I refer to a freeway number less and less.
I say y’all without even realizing (not much but sometimes).
I sort of know where the small towns are that others mention they’re from.
We are less surprised by the randomness of Texas weather where it can rain at any moment!
Our kids now think athletic brand clothing is way cooler than surf brands and can run three miles in 80 plus degrees and 85% humidity.
We still miss the coast many days, especially as we are entering those hot mid-summer days where the heat index is 100+. We have to constantly remind each other that what we said goodbye to there was hard, but what God is daily teaching us is new and unexpected. No place is perfect. We survive each day He has given us with enormous servings of grace.
Each new season of life is filled with adjustment. We have a son entering high school and our daughter is officially in junior high. We are in THAT stage. We could be empty nesters in six years. These are the days to hold on to. I’m thankful for our health, a home, kids who still like us most days, and a faith-filled hope that we have purpose here on earth.
As we celebrate our nation’s independence, I also celebrate our independence as a family who sees the head of our house more often, who own a piece of the American dream, and can “afford” (I say that loosely as the truth is what Americans ever feel they can afford it all) everything we NEED.
Enjoy this holiday and thank God for the freedoms you have and the ability to appreciate all the little things one day at a time whether you’re limping or dancing. In a blink of an eye, you’re suddenly in a new place, age, or phase of life.
“I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.” II Corinthians 7:4
We can all agree that real life is NOT what we post on social media. So when you don’t feel like pretending to be Captain America or the world and all it’s REALNESS just can’t be handled for an hour or two, what do you find yourself falling back on? A good Christian response would be “fall on my knees and pray.” But when you don’t, and you try to just get away…
What’s your go-to?
What’s your habit of comfort that lets you JUST BE? My mom curls up with a book and reads. I have a friend who hand letters the most beautiful words and phrases. Another friend needs to surf as much as he can find the time to do so. My husband loves to run or cycle for miles and miles. I’ve had many “go-to’s” throughout my life – they’ve ranged from talking on the phone to napping, chocolate to Facebook, writing to reading, running to working out (those who know me, stop laughing). One of my latest go-to’s has been Hallmark movies, especially the mystery ones. It probably has everything to do with my love of story – obviously, a Literature major/writer loves a good story. Not that I would compare good literature to a Hallmark movie.
I’ve joked with friends before that I am a bit of an agoraphobic. I get this weird obsession with staying home. If I have plans, it’s not a problem. My kids are never late to school; I’m always up for lunch with a friend. But if my calendar is free from appointments, I’m all about staying in my pj’s and being a homebody. And I make all kinds of excuses to myself to not leave the house unless I ABSOLUTELY have to. And since I’ve already revealed how much I love housework, I like to use the tv as my companion to laundry, dishes, and the occasional floor cleaning. I’m not a music person. I almost never turn it on at home.
Doesn’t everyone need an escape sometimes?
We can’t go on vacation every week, and going outside means making oneself physically appropriate (No, I don’t shower everyday, and yes, I have been seen at stores with no makeup and in workout clothes).
The big question is how do we not let habits control us? Going to the gym is so good for us, but it could become a bad thing. Does anyone actually want to be labeled gym rat, bookworm, or tv junkie?
I think my go-to is an ok thing when it’s occasional. Lately, I find too many go-to’s might be me subconsciously avoiding hearing God’s voice. You know what I mean, right? When you know He’s been trying to tell you something, but you haven’t quite figured it out, OR you don’t want to hear what He’s been saying. Maybe it’s something scary or uncomfortable or just plain difficult.
God can speak over the loudness though. He can speak through movies, books, your child, or even in your dreams. But I think I’m leaning towards a new mode of go-to…service. I did happen to listen to a church message recently that I heard the speaker say, “if things in life aren’t going to way you think they should be going, go serve.” Wait, don’t avoid or hide from the pain, trial, or difficult circumstance? Don’t just eat a cupcake? Well, shoot.
We can serve in areas where we either feel a passion or we feel a need to make a difference. Or we can purposefully surround ourselves by like-minded people. And in those moments of selfless sacrifice, we may find something we didn’t know about ourselves.
For example, my husband loves to cook and build things. He makes yummy desserts and delicious meals, or he can build an awesome bench or bookcase. He does these things for us often, but he’s willing to do them for others too, which I may or may not volunteer him for more than I should. I know these service projects give him a chance to share himself and go beyond the day-to-day monotony of life with its never-ending to-do’s.
When I’m not signing my husband up to make something, I tend to lean towards spending time at my kids’ school or helping others shop for something specific – a new dress for an event or a new rug for their home. Thankfully, this helps me get out of the house too, so I try to schedule a few things every week.
So, what if you can’t think of a productive go-to? I’ve worked on a list of ideas. Jot down what comes to your mind and look into it.
Volunteer – Go help women, children, animals…whatever you feel passionate about. There are so many amazing schools that need volunteers to read to kids, shelters that need more hands, or events that need more bodies to show up
Make something – If you don’t know how to make something you wish you could, I’m guessing there is someone who could show you how – either a friend or a paid expert. Maybe you could learn how to sew or hand letter or woodwork. And maybe once you learn, you can do it for others.
Be active – find trails, ride or rent a bike or a kayak or paddleboard, try a new class doing something you’ve never tried before!
Be Quiet – take some quiet time and really LISTEN. What do you hear? Appreciate life and take time to hear nature and God speak to your soul.
Dance – this is something I have NOT done enough of in my life. You can have a dance party for one in your bedroom or go to a dance fitness class, but go increase those endorphins!
Whatever you do, hold yourself accountable but also give yourself plenty of grace. We are all doing life one day at a time.
“I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 2:12-13
Big things have happened since our last Big House News…
No, we are not having a baby. For those of you who ready my post on Waco Moms Blog about To Dog or Not to Dog, you know the history behind our dog hunt. After this post, we followed a recommendation from one of the blog readers and attended an All Breed Rescue event at Gander Mountain. One of my sisters who I like to refer to as the “dog expert” happened to be visiting the same weekend. So she accompanied/dragged us to the event. She took the kids ahead of time to scope out their top picks before my husband and I arrived. The first two were not pulling my heartstrings; truthfully, it takes a lot to pull mine anyway. Just as I was working on the right words to coerce them to give up for now and head back home, they spotted a really cute mini Australian Shepherd. She was getting a lot of attention, but we waited. We got a turn to meet, pet, and talk to her foster mom.
She was two years old and had been in foster care for about three weeks. This particular rescue was not looking to hand off the dog that day, but we were told we could fill out an application online and that it would be taken in order of acceptance. My sister emailed me the application before we even left. My husband filled it out when we got home.
As I explained in my previous post, our kids have waited patiently for a dog for many years. The five days following their meeting of this sweet potential adoptee was hard for them. They asked each day if we’d heard back on the application, and we told them very little. I didn’t want them to get their hopes up. The truth was that we had heard back and after a phone call and home visit (while the kids were at school), we had agreed to a “sleepover” to determine if she belonged in our family. As silly as some have said the process sounds, I have to say I appreciate that they cared just as much about the dog’s wellbeing as they did for our potential allergies to the dog.
So, five days after meeting her, Reyna came to our house.
I’ll be honest. It was a rough night. She was scared and unsure of why she’d been left at our house. She spent that first evening pacing the front of the house peering at the windows, probably waiting for her foster mom to come back. We knew she was crate trained but had spent most of her time in foster care sleeping with her foster mom. We all agreed that sleeping in the bed with potential allergy issues was not a good idea. I knew it wouldn’t be easy especially seeing the level of attachment she’d already formed with her foster mom.
Her anxiety level was so high that she wouldn’t go to the bathroom and barely even sat down that first evening. She whined in the crate off and on the entire night, and soon after we let her out of the crate she had an accident inside. It was mostly our fault. But despite all these setbacks, we knew she had a sweet disposition and after discussing with the foster mom, we decided to give her an extra night to see if she’d settle in and be sure that no one’s allergies flared up.
That second day was quite the adventure. She basically went to the bathroom (outside) almost every hour, and the next night she had an accident in the crate. We knew her vet records were clear and we’d been assured that she’d never had an accident in foster care. She was still pretty skittish but definitely desired affection. She accidentally pulled off the leash when we had her out front and she ran away. But my runner kids handled it great. They followed her about six houses away where she cowered in the doorway of a neighbor’s house. I had grabbed the car, so when I arrived, my son scooped her up and put her in the car. There was never a sign of aggression with her, only fear and confusion. She ate her meal voraciously, and we settled her into the crate for the second night. She was not happy to go in and still whined off and on in the night, but her third day was leaps and bounds better.
At the end of the third day, we signed adoption papers. She acted at first like she didn’t recognize her foster mom, but once she smelled her, it was like an explosion of energy erupted within her. We saw more activity from her than we’d seen since she’d been left at our home. I took it as a sign of hope that she would get to this level soon since she’d only been with her a few weeks.
We are approaching the two week mark, and she’s mostly stopped whining in the crate (except when initially put in). She sleeps well and is learning to trust us more and more. We’ve overcome digestive issues and a visit to the vet to confirm nothing was wrong except anxiety (and possibly the result of an edible bone that was meant for a dog twice her weight – oops), and we’ve learned that sometimes she eats too fast and will puke up her food minutes later.
She has definitely decided that I’m the Alpha despite my attempts to encourage her to attach to ANYONE else in the family. It was inevitable, right? I am home with her, and she wants to be where I am. And Momma won’t let the dog get away with anything, so I guess tough love wins the day.
Don’t worry, she loves the kids, and they give her all kinds of attention and affection. They so far pick up all the mess and are learning more about dog care than they realized even existed. They are learning how to teach her commands and tricks, and she is coming more alive with each day. We decided to keep her name, so she didn’t have to add anymore confusing changes to her world. The name Reyna means “Queen,” and she likes to sit regal-like and stare at us when she’s still figuring out who we are and what exactly we expect from her.
There are lots of adventures to come; we are learning how to do everything differently now that we have to consider Reyna: going to bed, the morning routine, and planning vacations. I am thankful for this new learning adventure where I am asking the Lord to give me patience and wisdom about this different kind of baby who’s taking up my time and adding to my load of responsibilities. Right now, I’m still doing it out of obligation to my kids, but I will admit that she’s a pretty good fit for our family. Maybe I’ll be a “dog person” yet.
The lights and cameras are gone; the Magnolia trucks have pulled away, and we live here! It was so much fun reliving the fun experience of filming the show and filling in the blanks of what our house looked like from Demo Day to Reveal Day. Honestly, it was not the easiest process for us beyond just the fact that we are introverts exposing ourselves on a television show. The whole process of spending money for a “dream house” makeover is very foreign.
Quick clarification after the sudden surge of readers to my blog – I am not writing any of this for money. No one is paying me to write, maybe someday, but for now I am writing because I love to write, and I feel like it’s God-inspired. I’m convinced writers never write for glory but because “writers write.” It’s like those people who run or paint or draw or letter or handstand or dance. You can’t stop the passion. (You can try to hide from it though.)
Speaking of hiding, sometimes I hide from making big decisions. Growing up, my sisters and parents would say I was the bossy oldest child, but I also grew into more of a “stay under the radar” kid most of the time. I would agree to things based on the ease of moving on with life. When we got married, I was agreeable to just about anything that streamlined the process and lightened my parents’ costs. Fast forward twenty-two years, and my husband is so sweet to almost always say “yes” to me (even when I beg him not to if it’s not a good idea.) I’m not at all implying I’m easy to get along with or merely a follower. I just happen to be content with letting whoever has the loudest preference be happy. Obviously, I speak out plenty at home – and none of this applies to my mothering!
As I’ve indicated before, our early married life was a financial struggle (isn’t everyday for most of us?), and we have learned to live such budgeted, careful lives that I actually have a really hard time spending money and choosing new, high ticket items (Target is a vortex however). We’ve bought one new vehicle in our 22 years, and I regretted that decision after about six months. We’ve never owned brand new appliances (except for a microwave). We had one rental house that had new appliances and it was kind of intimidating. We’ve owned three homes and none were new builds. We did DIY updates to the first two, and they were always filled with the most cost efficient options.
So the idea of choosing all the finishes for a home renovation was daunting. Thankfully, Joanna and her team made the process much easier.
Thank you for all the kind words in your responses here on the blog and on Instagram. I love our house and couldn’t wait to fill the house with our belongings and really make it “home.”
Ezekiel 34:26 “I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.”
We never planned to move to Waco. It just came about. When people here ask us “what brought you to Waco?” I think they expect to hear the common answer of “Baylor” or “we grew up here.” But we say, “God.” Because the truth is that it didn’t completely make sense to uproot our family from where we had friends, a job, and a place with a ocean view.
When we say we moved here from San Diego, the usual response is “Oh, it’s so pretty there!” or “I love the ocean” or “Why?”. When we said we were moving to Waco, I know many of our friends, family, acquaintances, and others have said, “You should be on Fixer Upper!” (after some of them said the expected references to the Davidians or the bikers). I’d guess that 50% of American households have heard of Chip and Joanna by now. And we know that they are amazing, but they are NOT Waco. I know people are moving here by the droves. Literally. The housing market is booming – the word is that it’s up 25% in just the past year. Downtown businesses are growing, there will soon be an expanded riverwalk filled with restaurants and new businesses. There are good things happening in Wacotown. Magnolia and what Fixer Upper shows America is one of them.
It is fun to watch Waco scenery flash across the tv and see familiar faces we’ve met in our brief year and a half of living here. What’s really strange about the whole Fixer Upper thing is that we will be seeing our own faces on there, on the next episode, which airs…TONIGHT!
So when I say “when we moved to Waco, we never…,” I really mean that we never thought we’d actually be ON Fixer Upper. It all just happened.
We have had to be pretty hush-hush about the process (contractual agreements and all), but now that it is about to air…
Our family is so thankful for our home and everything Chip and Joanna have done to make that happen!
So, if you’re a Fixer Upper junkie or you just really want to see us makes fools of ourselves on national television, tune in tonight.
“Mom and Dad, did you know that only 1% of high school couples end up getting married?” Our son came home from youth group last week with that statistic. They are doing a two-part teaching on relationships. Yes, it’s the month of “Love,” and it also happens to be my wedding anniversary month, but I can’t wait to hear more about what our son hears about loving others. Before he ever needs to think about loving a girl, he has his relationship with his parents, his sister, and his Lord to grow. I know I’m still working on all my relationships!
I grew up in a home with all sisters – there were four of us plus my mom. My dad was definitely outnumbered. And the age spread between us was fifteen years, so he had teenage hormones raging in his home for just about three decades! He also grew up in a home with only sisters, so he was definitely not lacking in the female attention department. Being raised in the 50s and 60s, he fell under that upbringing that somehow believed women should do just about all the housework. As a kid, my mom did all the cooking and cleaning (aside from what she got us to do when we weren’t at school or sports practices). I will say that I saw my dad do plenty of chores when the final hour approached that guests were expected. He put together bikes and Barbie houses on Christmas Eve and taught me how to drive a stick shift, but dishes and toilets were not his job.
Being the opinionated firstborn that I am, I determined pretty early on that I was NEVER getting married. There was no way I was going to cook, clean, wash, and iron the rest of my life. The irony of my ironclad declaration was that I was engaged by eighteen. God put a man (let’s be honest, he was a boy at the time) in my life that changed my mind. He was raised by a single mom who raised him to cook and clean. She worked full-time, so much of his training was out of necessity, but based on the confirmed reports of all his relatives, my husband was a “perfect child.” Being raised by a village of a grandmother, great aunt, cousins, and other females of various housekeeping talents, my husband can honestly “do it all.” He learned how to bake, cook without a recipe, build, sew, and even clean a toilet! There were also many male role models who stepped in and taught him the meaning of hard work, putting family first, and leading by example.
When we were in our early days of marriage, we were babies just trying to figure life out. We ate mac ‘n cheese, barely balanced our checkbook, and juggled college classes with jobs that mostly paid the bills. I was a wife who put all else ahead of making beds and planning meals (wait, I still am), and a toilet needed scrubbing when a ring appeared. Fast forward twenty years, and we are still not a family of chore champions. We don’t make our beds on a regular basis, and the house is its cleanest when guests are coming, but my husband is the champion of grace giving.
I’ll admit that I take him for granted. So, when someone asked me recently, “how do you get your husband to go to the grocery store?” I thought she was joking. I’ve shared before that I do NOT love grocery stores (still praying for that Trader Joe’s here in Waco), and my husband is more than willing to run through the store (with or without a list). In my own defense, I am the primary grocery shopper, but he does his fair share of planning and even more of the cooking (as opposed to my heating up a pre-made meal). The question has lingered with me though. How do any of us “get” your husband – or wife – to do anything? My opinion is that we don’t. They choose to.
I totally subscribe to the love languages philosophy. I thrive off quality time and words of affirmation. My husband makes acts of service look so easy. He is the first one to offer to carry something, fix something, or any other task no matter how menial. He motivates me to be better at selflessness. I think I might have figured out the key – it’s only taken me 21 years – you have to be a generally joyful person. And joy comes from what you are “full” with (not of). As in Philippians 2:2-3 “then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition of vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…” Our joy bubbles from the spring of like-mindedness. My husband wants to go to the grocery store because the goal for our home is be fed. I go because I don’t want him to have to go after a long day of work. If we are lacking in food, then one of us will make sure we have it. We’re on the same team, serving until the work is done. Which it never is by the way.
There is definitely something to be said for personality types. I’m ok with procrastinating. I’m a “do the dishes once a day…later,” and he’s a “do the dishes before you make anything else.” We are all hardwired a certain way, but we can be reprogrammed. I’m still trying to convince my dad on that, but he does grill a delicious burger. The good news for me is that my daughter is on her way to being just like her dad. She loves to cook, and she LOVES to fill a grocery cart. It’s only four years until she drives!
This week is our 22nd wedding anniversary, and we can both safely say we are FAR from a perfect marriage. We would both admit that we have so many areas to improve in – not just my cooking and housework – but we have a firm foundation of our faith and our commitment to each other. We co-steer the rocky boat of raising a pre-teen and a teenager and dig in our heels together when we have to make tough financial or emotional decisions. In the process, we do get splashed by the waves and sometimes fall down in the mud during a tug-of-war, but we always help each other get back up. That’s what being on the same team means.
Oh, and it also means that get to laugh at all the funny photos that represent your many years together! And yes, Son, we are part of that 1% of those who dated in high school and got married…
“And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2
As I’ve written before, Waco weather can keep you on your toes! This past week, we’ve experienced warm sunshine, a tornado warning, crazy wind, thick fog, and chilly rain. It’s killed my plants, confused our HVAC system, and affected our immune systems. We’re working on being prepared to face anything. I’ve been told that I should carry every possible supply in my car – a jacket, an umbrella, and some flip flops. The weather really can change within minutes – from one extreme to the other. No one can tell Texas what to do, right?
Just like the Texas weather, our daughter has been very strong willed from the day she was born. On the surface, it might not seem like it. She’s adorable – sweetness oozes along with a shy social demeanor. But deep down, she is yearning to shout, “I can do it MYSELF!” She wanted to dress herself, feed herself, and figure everything out on her own. If she wasn’t getting her way, she was going to throw a temper tantrum of epic proportions. God forbid, she realizes something she truly can’t do. For example, as a toddler, she wanted to buckle herself into her carseat. She fumbled and tried so hard to get those buckles clicked in, but she just didn’t have the strength. So, instead of just allowing the nearest adult to assist her, she would scream for a different adult to do it. And the battle of wills would begin.
Fast forward about seven years, and my darling daughter is truly capable of anything. She’s still as bullheaded and often rushes into things without really hearing or understanding what is necessary, but she is all heart. And it serves her well. I know that God will lead her into great, exciting adventures (if she lets Him ;).
I have so much mercy for my own mother raising four preteen (and teenagers) daughters who were growing into that stage of independence where a girl wants to cook messily, clean halfheartedly, paint her own nails, and see if she can fit Mom’s shoes and shirts yet. I am filled with a mix of awe and frustration at the tornado she sometimes leaves in her path.
Last week, she was NOT able to do it herself. My kids don’t get sick very often, and when they do, it’s a quick twenty-four hours and they are back at it. But she must have gotten a strain of influenza that turned into pneumonia. It knocked her down. She was still cheerful but subdued. At day 6, she wanted so badly to return to school and see her friends. We even got halfway to school that morning before we both agreed she wasn’t ready. Her head and chest were hurting, and she almost fell asleep (and she’s not like that).
Stages of fatigue is something none of us handles well. Life trains us to “go hard or go home,” be fun and adventurous, and make sure you post about it on Instagram. But sometimes, it’s good for us to take a timeout from life and its “crazy train.” Whether it’s forced by illness or self-imposed, spending some time to just relax and recuperate is so important. During my daughter’s four missed school days, we spent lots of time connecting – some during Hallmark mystery movies. No, really, I learned she’s much more savvy that I give her credit for. She’s starting to mature, and I’ve almost missed some of it.
So, hug your kids today. Hopefully, they will hug you back. We all could use a little more of that. Maybe feel their foreheads while you’re at it.
Moving to Texas has not improved my cooking skills. Neither has a new kitchen. I guess that means I’m officially a hopeless case. I pin all the recipes and have really good intentions, but I fall short in execution. So I can confidently state that this blog will probably never have recipes to share unless they are something delicious someone else made.
My biggest excuse since becoming a mom has been that I have picky eaters. I hate making meals that require extra planning for the one who won’t eat. And yes, we have been very strict about his eating in the early years. But when your kid is small for his age and has the stubbornness of a donkey…you start negotiating. Then you’re boxed into a corner where every meal is a battle. We are making giant strides – he actually likes steak and ribs now – maybe it’s a Texas-thing, but he doesn’t like hamburgers, barely eats fries, won’t touch salad, and is pretty sure we enjoy torturing him. Which is true, of course.
Growing up, I felt the same way about my mom’s cooking. Why did she have to make meatloaf or rice casserole? Like all kids, we asked “what’s for dinner?” I wonder if she braced for the moaning like I do now.
About two years ago, I got smart. I wrote a menu for the week on a cutesy chalkboard. Then it was there for all to see what torture awaited. It wasn’t listed in order – I’m not that organized – so there was room for some negotiation if someone really wanted a particular meal on a certain day. And if there was a meal they were dreading, at least they could get the moaning done all at once.
But somehow I’ve fallen off that train. Maybe it’s because my chalkboard was packed in a box for almost a year. I have a new larger chalkboard in the new house, but I’m waiting for meal planning inspiration. I’ve been invited to the meal planning parties, but I just can’t. I know it will go to waste and cost me more than I can tolerate. My family is not great at eating leftovers either. I’m working on being better at “re-inventing” the leftovers into something different.
The truth is I know the answer: a personal chef. Right? My husband basically is one (more on that in a future post), but he can’t really do it all, can he? I’d have too much guilt. Which I already have because I make the same boring meals every week. The staples are rotisserie chicken tacos, spaghetti, pizza, BLT’s (or grilled cheese for the picky), and definitely breakfast.
Now that it’s starting to feel like fall (this week it’s been around forty degrees for a high!), I might find inspiration to add variety to my meals. Biggest problem there is my kids think Ramen is better than anything homemade. So, why bother when half of it will go to waste? Feel free to give me advice, encouragement, or the “make them eat it.” I’ve heard a rumor that kids need to try something at least 3 times before they truly can decide if they like it and that their tastebuds change every seven years. Don’t know if that’s true, but I feel like I’m suiting up for battle with every “just try it” or “you’re gonna eat it anyway.”
Last night we had chili – I got the recipe from a friend when we ate it at their house awhile back. There was definitely complaining! I even added Fritos to help the allure for the kids. Tonight, we are eating with friends – she’s making extra mac ‘n cheese. What are you making for dinner tonight? (I’ll need the inspiration for tomorrow!)