Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kinda sorta getting ready!

So as the big writing conference inches closer...two weeks away...I feel somewhat prepared, but more like I'm in my re-occuring dream that I show up to take my math final without having ever been to the class before! Sometimes it's high school, sometimes it's college, but none-the-less I have absolutely no idea what is expected of me at that panicky moment in my dream.
I have been connected with other first timers to the ACFW conference, and have been prepped by very knowledgeable staff and veterans of the writing world...but still, you gotta come face to face with professionals and when you're as amateurish as me, that's a bit intimidating.
I remember the ASLA conference (American Society of Landscape Architects) my fifth year of college, and knowing that I would walk away with at least an interview or two, hopefully leading to a job offer...I had a five year degree almost completed and I was young, vibrant, and ready to push my way to the top.
Now??? I have been home with my kids for 8 years, picking up toys, changing diapers, stressing out about what to make for dinner, not what sounds best to pitch a novel! If I wasn't such a competitive person, I think I would be able to walk into that conference laid back and ready to learn...but I have a book and I want a chance!
So I guess, between now and then, I am going to try and relax, but also trick my mind into thinking, "You ARE a writer"and as Barbara Scott from www.therovingeditor.blogspot.com said, "It is only the beginning."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Some "Me" Time until March!

After a morning walk with my 3 year old, we had a picnic lunch in the living room (it's hot out there!), before heading to his first afternoon of preschool. (The shirt he wore is the same shirt my oldest wore on his first day of Kindergarten! He's a big three year old!) He was an awesome little man, going straight to his classroom, finding his name to hang up his backpack, and then entertaining himself with the class marble run. I barely heard a 'goodbye' when I left.
Since my third grader and kindergartner have school in the same building, I walked down their hallway and 'bumped' into both of them, as their classes were coming to and from gym. My loveable 5 year old grabbed my hand, hugged me, kissed me, and I walked with him down the hall. My "big for his britches" 8 year old, laughed with his friend, and looked at me like "what are you doing here, geez." Needless to say, I left the building with a full heart and ready to embrace mommy rejuvenation time day one!
I had three hours to myself to browse a bookstore, in research mode for marketing my novel, and then plugged away on editing on my laptop with a yummy drink and cookie at Panera. It was wonderful to not have the gnawing guilt of needing to get home to the fam, and the constant pull of a child saying, "I want to goooo!"
The most rewarding thing about this afternoon was, seeing my three handsome boys at the end of my "me" time. I hold to my stance that every mom needs that time to appreciate her children, and I couldn't wait to hug them, talk with them, and just be mom again!
What great therapy! And I get to experience it three times a week until I have a screaming newborn come March! Yep, we're adding to the clan, and I am 11 weeks along! What a wonderful time that "me" time will turn into, when I get to bond with a new baby!! So excited!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Unsolicited Parenting from my 8 year old

Lately, my 8 year old...the little lawyer, has taken it upon himself to pipe in and try and explain things or sway my younger two kids to do what is right, when I am in the midst of explaining myself. I know he does it to help out, but it's just extra tension in our disciplining moments! He so has my persuasiveness and moderator qualities! It is funny really, but most of the time it's quite annoying. I have been stopping it by saying, "Who's the mom?" and usually he'll back off...usually.
Well, today he interrupted me again, trying to explain to my 5 year old why he needed to share with the neighbor boy, since we have the game they were playing at our house all the time...ANYWAY, I looked at him and said, "Who's the mom?
He flashed a smile and began to walk out of the room. But then he turned to me and said,
"Let me just tell you what to say then." HA!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fabulous Fall

I forgot how much I love Fall. Maybe it's because I have lived the past several years in a place which went from hot to less hot to coldish and back to hot again. But being in a place with exactly four seasons, has given me so much appreciation for the weather (uh, or disdain when it gets to 20 below)! It's August, and yesterday my husband and I had a date at the nearby park wearing light jackets...In AUGUST! I love it!

Another thing I love with the change from Summer to Fall, is the new schedule. It's always nice to start over and have the motivation to kick the year off with a bang. This time of year is always exciting and busy because I coordinate a MOPS group. So many fresh ideas and new faces put such a fire inside of me to seek out all those mothers of preschoolers and do my best to give them what they need most... ENCOURAGEMENT! And the best part is, each Steering Team I've been a part of, have been absolutely AMAZING, salt-of-the-earth women! I could never take the credit for success because God has always joined me with awesome co-servers!

Fall promises alot, and I know with the right attitude and the constant turning to God in gratitude, I can expect fulfilled promises and even fulfill some on my own!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

School Is A Wonderful Thing!

The summer's ambition for crafts...kind of fizzled out with restless boys!
It's funny how the things you cry over at first, become such a wonderful decision for all involved! As a stay-at-home mom, I have found parenting now-a-days is full of choices and "life-determining" decisions. My mom always tells me they didn't think about so many things, or at least worry so much about things the way I do, when she was raising kids...that basically, you parented how you felt fit, and nobody put you on a guilt trip or told you there is a choice out there that will be detrimental to your child's development and well-being.
There are so many areas I could touch on, but I am going to point to something that is on everyone's mind this time of year: SCHOOL!

Education of my children has always been a big deal with me. Preschool?PDO? Homeschool? Full day kindergarten, half-day?Public?Private?
Now that I have sent my 2nd child off to kindergarten (private, full-time) after trying a mix of some of the above mentioned with my guinea pig 1st child, I would like to say that I am fully content with my decision and realize that having my 3 year old home with me this past week by himself,(his part-time preschool doesn't start until next week) affirms my opinion that:
my children THRIVE in school, with kids and grown ups that aren't mommy and daddy!
He's so ready for some structure!
They get so much by going away from the house for a few hours a day, and I have so much more appreciation for them while they are home!
At first, I thought of it as 'selfish mommy'- wanting time to herself... but my 3 year old proved the two-way street of it all- it's as much for him as it is for me. These few days without his brothers, he asks if we are picking them up every time we get in the car, and eagerly waits for them to come home and play with him. Yes, we have one on one time together, but it usually ends up with me being a human jungle gym and him getting restless and silly. He is SOOO ready for a break from ME! :)
School is a wonderful thing!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Keeping My Opinions to Myself...UGH!

Lately, I have been getting sucked into the news and political debates. A few years ago, I walked away from all of this, carefully guarding my eyes to elaborations of headlines and hot issues. This wasn't because I think "ignorance is bliss" this was because of the effect it had on my attitude and happiness.
I am a fixer. When anyone I know has a problem, I will be the first to help brainstorm solutions...this doesn't change with the President of the United States, the parents' of a pushy school district, or any other person who makes the 6 o'clock news! I guess you can say I'm uber-opinionated- sensitive is probably more like it.
Also, if I feel threatened by an issue, like it's going to affect not only my way of life, but the FUTURE of my children, it will eat at me and bring me down quicker than anything.
So, with all that being said, I have been struggling with going back to my "don't say it, pray it" policy- which was knowing the issues were out there, but not committing myself to details, and just relying on God to work.
IT'S SO HARD! But really, I can't change the minds of others...and like my husband asked, If Jesus were on Facebook, would He debate the issues? (Facebook has been my breeding ground for getting sucked into the issues.  I love being in touch with friends from all over, but sometimes it's too easy to debate when you are never face to face with the person! Funny how the virtual world allows for certain faux pas to be just fine. Would I ever debate the touchy subject of Politics with someone face to face- who I hadn't seen in years, and don't really know at all? I don't think so!).
 Life has too many joys and blessings to dampen it with a fear of what's to come...I need to tell myself that...over and over.
I wonder if the issues affect anyone else like it does me? Unfortunately, most of the people I disagree with, don't have children yet, so it makes it all the more difficult to listen and not say anything-- because to this mama of three future inheritors of this land, the stakes are pretty high!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

And They're Off!

It was harder than I thought it would be. My five year old went from shouting down the stairs, "I go to Kindergarten today!" to being shy and nervous when we saw his teacher. My tears started up as I got ready...I can't help but think of him toddling around when he was just a baby..and they all came out when I drove away from leaving him at Kindergarten.

I thought with the second child it would be easier, but then I thought back and my oldest went to half day kindergarten (and I even cried a little then).
He'll do fine. My poor 3rd grader got a little miffed that we kept harping on the 5 year old, but he was fine, and walked into a class full of kids he's been in school with for a year and a half. (I still gave him the love and snuggles too!)
Ah, the heartstrings of a mom!! Today it's kindergarten, tomorrow it will be a long drive to college! Yikes!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Toothless is Ready for Big School!

Tonight is Kindergarten Eve around here. My sweet five year old has been asking every day how long until he goes to Kindergarten- for the past YEAR! He is so ready. He loves to learn, read, draw, fill the shoes of his big brother as much as he can! I am so proud of his spunk and eagerness!
These past two weeks have marked his entrance into school, as he has lost the first two teeth he ever grew! I can't believe how quickly time flies. It's amazing that they can go from taking their first step to being a little person ready for school in just 4 quick years! Tomorrow is going to be bittersweet, but his sweet smile will make it too hard to not be so happy for the little guy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Sweet Time my Sick Time Brings!

I haven't been feeling well lately. Last night, I gave up writing to finish my book before the conference, and just sat and watched Nanny McPhee with the boys. It was fun to snuggle and watch a movie we've never seen, together. Although it stinks feeling sick when I have three energetic boys to keep up with, I find myself just sitting down with them and hanging out more, because I don't feel like doing anything else. As a step towards my new overflowing gratitude- I must say I'm thankful for the sweet times my sick time brings!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Word of Gratitude

The cool breeze of fall knocked the hot and sticky right out of the air this morning! So refreshing! I wore pants and a 3/4 length shirt to church. I think I could live in this kind of weather always! It's funny how the change of weather also prompted a change of heart. And it's not surprising that God so blatantly knocked me into shape this morning.
Lately, I have been very ungracious and negative about things in my life. Once I heard the music going at church, and started singing, I could tell there would be a certain word for me coming soon. I sat down without even knowing what the sermon would be about, but once it was introduced, I laughed inside...GRATITUDE! How appropriate! Thanks God on that one! I needed to hear it desperately! I hope to begin the transformation of Gratitude not being a feeling, but a quality of spirit...something I am abundantly overflowing with, regardless of circumstance, other people's opinions, or my emotions. It's good to hear that I have the power through Christ to push away the stuff that gets in the way, and embrace a spirit of Gratitude to change my life and those around me!
 I already found out it is going to be difficult for me to look past the junk...just this afternoon my husband reminded me to be grateful...and I shamefully rolled my eyes. But hey, I can only go up from here, and typing this out for all to see will hold me accountable all the more!
I hope you have a blessed Sunday and can see God's blessings all around!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Gooseberry Falls and More!

Just some more pictures from our fabulous all American vacation along Lake Superior! I traveled all over Europe before I had kids and I am pleasantly surprised to find America has so many beautiful vacations for a family to enjoy! And many of them are just a drive away!
Gooseberry Falls
The boys were just as entranced by the large
cave! I would be too at there age! Secret hideout!

This is what our hike through Gooseberry Falls State Park took us...
to a cove and Lake Superior! Beautiful!
My husband basked in the sun, and the 72 degrees breeze
It was the closest thing we've been to HeAvEn!

The boys were interested in the little creatures (they called them tadpoles...but not really) in the water. Unfortunately, my 5 year old came too close to comfort and had a leech firmly attached to his toe! He screamed bloody murder and flailed about on the beach until Daddy pulled it off!

Another park further North along Lake Superior, brought us to these magnificent falls!

Spontaneity Shows Kindness is Alive and Well!

Our big family camping trip took us to Deluth, Minnesota and Lake Superior. We saw amazing landscape (sure evidence of God's masterful hand), and were tempted in more ways than just snapping photos!
We hiked down the St. Louis River, which was like watching rootbeer spill over the boulders, and found a secluded little pool to let the boys cool off among the wilderness. They were a little hesitant at first, because Daddy had previously mentioned the river having bear and moose pee in it when they asked if they could drink the “rootbeer”...but the hot sunshine didn't keep them out for long! Although they had to walk back to the campsite dripping wet, it was an absolute perfect spontaneous family memory!

The next day, we dressed a little less like campers, and made our way to downtown Deluth, and to the shore of Lake Superior. Oh my, it was an ocean! We took the boys to a city beach to “dip” their feet in the great lake. Um, yeah right! What were we thinking...

We should always keep swimsuits in the truck during our camping adventures!

They had an absolute blast, until I felt like my three year old was under the waves more than he was above them, which scared me to death!

We loaded up shirtless, shoeless, dripping wet boys in the truck, and just as we did, I thought, “hmm...hope we don't have to stop and get out anywhere.”
This is where Mama's instinct kicks in. ALWAYS listen to it!
Just as we missed our turn to the campsite, Daddy decided to do a quick u-ie, and backed up into a ditch...a very wet, muddy, thick ditch. The truck he's so proud of is unfortunately two wheel drive, so we were stuck, stuck, stuck! At first, I panicked because we were completely in the lane of traffic on a very curvy road! Talk about scared to death! But then, Daddy's attempt to get unstuck, forced the entire truck down into the ditch.
I must say, kudos to the great people of northern Minnesota! I couldn't believe how almost every car that passed, stopped to see if we were okay...it may have been because my three little shirtless, shoeless boys were huddled around me on the side of the road!
A wonderful man came with a truck and a chain, and pulled us out within minutes of the incident. Thank goodness for kind, selfless people...and next time you think there is any possibility of random swimming in your next trip, be sure to pack some extra clothes just in case!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Double Rainbow

Don't know if you've seen the youtube video of the guy completely taken back by the double rainbow in Yosemite, but it's buzzing around like crazy. A radio station has even made a song for it. My husband has a sense of humor I sometimes don't get, but he thinks it's absolutely hilarious! 
About 9 million people have viewed this video, and when the man who took it was interviewed, the question inevitably came up, "were you smoking something?" (unfortunately he said he was) and now he's the joke of the internet world.
I can't help but think it's too bad. It's too bad that someone was so entranced with God's creation but nobody's giving attention to God on this one. It's all about a guy's reaction, not about the creator who made it happen.
How many times do I react in a way, that people only see me and not the God I'm supposedly head over heels in love with? Ugh. I write this, and wonder how much I'm going to take this to heart. But it's true, and if anything I have learned these past months, it's that my reactions aren't as easy to control as I once thought. I am human as can be.
Tonight, we had a double rainbow here in our part of the midwest. It was awesome. I failed to react in praise and just said, "that's nice." Hopefully next time, I'll think before I react!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Stinky Biker Strikes!

This is when he one his tricycle race...so sweet and innocent then!
What goes through a three year old's head when he's riding circles on his trike and sees a neighbor heading his way pushing a stroller?
Maybe..."Hm, I'd better be careful and move out of her way?"
or..."Maybe I should say hello?"
Well, MY three year old, takes the opportunity to race the neighbor to the intersection of the sidewalk and drive, and block her...on PURPOSE! And after I said, "Move out of the way, sweetie..." (nice as can be), and he let her by...what does he do then?? Races around her and blocks her at the next sidewalk!
What a stinker!

Oil and Water Find Harmony at the Wii Alter

This morning has been a punching, pushing, hitting, yelling match among my three wrestlers. Every few minutes I heard one crying up the basement stairs blaming another brother for their latest bruiser! UGH! I truly am a referee around here! I managed to get the floors mopped and take a quick shower once they took a break from beating eachother up.
 Just now, I started on the dishes, and realized there was a strange noise coming from beyond the loud wii in the living room...it was kindness! The boys settled in front of the video game and are using teamwork to play their fave Mario Brothers! Wow. They are as rollercoaster emotional as me! And I must admit, although I am a freak about how much time they spend on the thing, today the Wii has been a lifesaver!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

sOcIaL bUg!

I am such a social bug! It thrills me to get an invite to a girl's night out, have a friend drop by out of the blue, or get online and find new friends to connect with on facebook or blogland! I think that's why I loved FRIENDS when it was on...they were always surrounded by just that, FRIENDS!
My best friend and I are going to do our first video chat tonight. She is about three states away, and I am going to shop through her soon to be give-aways before she moves... How fun is that? Technology certainly has it's perks, but I can't get to carried away or I'd miss out on my most fun social network of all...My Boys! :)
My fave social group!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cousin Fun!

I took the kids back to my ol' stomping grounds when I first got out of college...it just so happens that my brother and sister, and mom and dad have settled there. When I first moved away, I tried to make it a point to connect with my old friends each visit. But now, three kids later, we have had the tough choice to forfeit seeing old friends, and spend the time with family. It was such a great thing though, my boys are really getting to know their cousins. I have such fond memories of hanging out with my cousins and I am so glad that our family has blossomed and there are plenty of playmates for the boys when I go "home. Here are some great snapshots from our visit:
My parents' grandsons!
Playing restaurant
The boys just loved their baby cousins!