Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Lunchbox Love Notes

Last week when my kids went back to school, my hubby was still home on vacation.  He woke up early and allowed me to sleep in an extra before we woke up the kids and got them ready for school. While I was still sleeping he made their lunches.  Later, when I emptied their lunch boxes after school I found sweet little lunchbox love notes from Hubby to the kids.  I try to write notes to the kids as often as I can and leave it in their lunchboxes. I think it's really sweet that Hubby wrote them each a note. I know that they loved getting a love note from Daddy.  It was a sweet transition from vacation to going back to school. His help made it a smoother transition for me, too.

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year's Resolutions 2014

Here it is, the first week of January. I've thought about resolutions, but I have been thinking that it's not so much about resolutions as much as it is a life style change. Geez, I sound like a weight loss commercial.

But really, the things that I want to accomplish, well, I want them to be long-term, life-time changes. I may change and tweak them, but I want them to be solidly in my life.  I just took a look at last year's resolutions and I think 2 out of 3 isn't bad.

The first resolution was to accomplish tasks with a happy heart.  I have to say that there was a lot less frustration this past year. A lot of times I let go of the little frustrations of every day life. Not entirely, because I'm not perfect, but I will say that my tone has been more patient with my kids.  It helps that the big kids can do a lot of things on their own, but I still have the everyday frustrations of finding out that Boogie has forgotten his homework at school again, Buggy has given me a peek of what it will look like when she is a hormonal teen (oh, the tears!), and Mr. Bananas, let's just say it's a good thing he's really cute.  For some reason he thinks the word "no" means, "no, go ahead and try it." Gah!  But overall, things are running a little smoother, a little less yelling is going on, and I'm not begging my husband to come home and rescue me from the craziness of having three children.  I'm not perfect, but less volatile reaction provides a more calming atmosphere. Huh, who would've thunk.  So this is a lifestyle change I'm going to keep.

My next resolution was to run a half marathon in 2013. I smashed it and actually ran 2 half marathons in 2013 about 5 months apart.  To be fair I did bonk at my last half marathon, but I finished. Finished poorly, but I finished!  Because I can't bear to have such a poor showing at my last half marathon, I am determined to run another one in the next year or two and finish strong to make up for the last one.

Ah, lastly...my last resolution was to write, write, write. And I didn't, didn't, didn't. Not to the extent to which I wanted.  My writing time used to be before the kids woke up for school. That has changed because now I run before the kids get up for school. I still need to find time to write.  It's not like the ideas aren't there, I just haven't found the time.

So what will 2014 bring?

Run without Injury.  This is my goal, to run without injury.  My last race was December 2013 and I had to hobble the last two miles of my 5K. My foot hurt so badly that I was limping for days.  I spoke to one of my favorite gym instructors and she advised me to stop signing up for races and to learn how to run without getting injured. So that's what I'm doing. I've hired her as my personal trainer. It was my Christmas gift from my Hubby and my parents.  I will have 8 sessions with her and she is going to give me exercises to strengthen all those parts that help me run. I'm  excited! It means less racing in 2014, but hopefully more running. I have found that I cannot live without running. The last 3 weeks were miserable. My attitude took a nosedive and my stress level skyrocketed when I couldn't run. So here's to an injury free 2014!

Be Present. I am a planner. I am always, always thinking of the next project, the next race, my next career move, and not being present in the here and now.  I find that I am always looking for my next goal so I tend not to appreciate what I have now.  My kids will only be this young for a little while. I relished and treasured my time home with them while they were on vacation. I was not sad that they had a snow day after their first day back after winter break. I made french toast and hot chocolate for breakfast and loved having them home.  I have a good life and I need to enjoy it and appreciate it and not worry about the next thing.  So I will learn to live in the now. While some planning is good, being present and being flexible is better. It's okay to have a messy house, right?  Being okay with staying home and not working is another part of my being present.

Write, Write, Write. Do I dare post that again? Yes! While I may not physically put words to paper, I am always thinking/pondering/writing entries in my head.  I think I would feel better if I could just get it out there.  So here I go again. Third time's the charm right?

What are you goals, resolutions, life style changes for 2014? Will you be present? Will you tackle a new healthy eating menu? Will you take on a sport? Will you be creative? How will you help yourself and your neighbor?

My wish for you is peace. May you find peace in the new year so that you may hear His voice.  May you find yourself present and appreciative of all that God has to offer for you. I pray that you will bless others as you are blessed. May you find our outlet so that you may receive peace, love, and joy in the New Year. Be blessed.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


I know I have been busy and I haven't been posting, but I am shocked to realize that I did not post at all in December!  Life has been incredibly busy for us. Hubby has been working on a 6 month rotation in another office and has been coming home late each night. I've had to take care of homework, driving to activities, take kids to appointments, have our evening dinners without him, and take care of the bedtime rituals.  In some ways, I feel like a single parent during the week. The upside is that Hubby has truly enjoyed his rotation.  The kids and I miss him and we soak up every single minute with him during the weekends.

Recently, I was offered an incredible opportunity to do some consulting work from home. When I was first approached in October, I was very excited and it was very doable. However, it didn't pan out in October and my time was quickly filled with volunteer work.

October through January is an incredibly busy time for us. It kicks off with Buggy's birthday in October and then continues with hosting Thanksgiving (I think we hosted 42 people this year?!?), my mom's birthday, advent, baking cookies for the neighbors, shopping or making Christmas gifts, Christmas Eve at my SIL's house, hosting Christmas dinner this year (this time it was only 13), and then a string of visits with family and friends while the kids were on vacation.  We packed in a lot of activity between the end of October until today when the kids went back to school.  To top it all off, 4 out of the 5 of us were sick at any given time and Hubby was working until 9pm or so and coming home late. Needless to say, by the time the kids and Hubby started Christmas break we were all exhausted and the festivities were just beginning.  A lot of it I had to handle solo because of Hubby's schedule and it was really hard.

About three weeks ago, I was approached again by the same company to do some consulting work and I was ready to turn in my resume and write my blurb for their website.  But then we all got sick, Hubby was working late, and time kept running away from me and every night I went to bed frustrated by what did not get accomplished in the 24 hours given to me.  Sadly, I realized that I could not make it work.  It was not the right time for me to begin working again. The job opportunity was amazing and most of the work could be done from home and I could manage my own time and the company was family friendly. So why did I decline the offer? If the last few weeks were any indication of how my life was going, there was no way I could commit to any project at any time. As it stood, I had no time to sit down to even send out my resume and that was already done!  Hours were flying by and I was exhausted just trying to keep up.  I made the difficult decision to say, "Not at this time" and it was painful to do it.

However, I realized that right now I need to focus on my family.  There have been many days recently where I have had to play mother and father. While I was sad to step away from the job offer and bring in a little income for my family and keep up with current educational practices, I realized that now was not the time for me to focus on something new.  While I contemplated this and continued to mull it over, the homily for this past Sunday was on family.  I am a firm believer that God speaks to us in many ways and often will affirm decisions made. I have felt his gentle nudge and sometimes kick in the pants when having to make a specific decision.  When I was at church I heard His voice through the homily and realized that God was telling me to focus on my family right now.

Okay, God. I hear you. I will trust that another opportunity will come again at a better time.  You have not let me down yet, and I know that you are guiding my path. I will surrender to your will and wait. Thank you for the reminder that I am still needed wanted in the workforce, thank you for reminding me that right now my job is my family. I will listen and I will wait.

A friend shared with me that my job as a mother is mostly behind the scenes and so very important.  She said that I make home a welcoming place to be. It is warm and loving. It is a place where my husband is happy to be after a long day at work. It's a place where my children feel loved, safe, and welcomed.  Isn't it funny that I never looked at it that way before? I just keep going day after day, but this shed a new light on my role as a wife and mother. I create harmony and a welcoming atmosphere. How cool is that?  It's time like these that I remember the old adage, "it's not work if you love what you do." And I do love what I do. I love going to the preschool sings, the awards ceremonies, the swim meets, the soccer games. I love taking my oldest out to get his ribbons after a Wednesday night meet and staying up late and eating desserts before we call it day. I love hanging out with my friends while our kids are having a playdate. I love being available in case something cool happens at school and I can be there to participate with my kids.  I love having time to make baby afghans for my friends' new babies, teaching baptism prep at our church, and being a preschool camp teacher for one week in the summer.  So while I'm a little sad to take more time off from working, I know that I love what I am currently doing and that God will provide another opportunity. I just have to wait and listen.

2014 is starting off on the right foot and I look forward to what it may bring. May it bring you laughter, fun, and blessings. Peace be with you as you begin the new year.

Psalms 13:6
I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.