Thursday, May 26, 2016

I Have a Dream!

For real y'all. I have a dream. It involves this:

And lots of this:

(^^^^ that ^^^^ represents elbow grease aka work!)

I want to live in a skoolie. Do you know what that is? It's a home. Made out of a school bus. Cheaper than an RV and sturdier and CUSTOMIZED. There would be some things to figure out-I mean I have 4 kids. I get that this is a little crazy. I've done the sensible thing pretty much my whole life.
There are so many places I want to see.
I have wanderlust.
I have a desire to have my family all together more often.
I want a simple life. 
I also have a limited budget. (Very limited)
And ideas that go beyond an RV. RVs are awesome (we like to go look at them just for fun sometimes-makes a good free date!) but they are all so similar. And brown (inside). And so much money!!!!
 The good news is, my husband is completely on board if we figure out the logistics of earning a living and silly stuff like that ;).
The bad news is that at least 2 of my children who shall be unnamed (cough cough girls cough cough) are not a fan of my dream. They think I'm nuts. My 16 year old might just revolt if I shove her into a bus with her *gasp* family for a long period of time-let alone to live. In my mind though, it would be the coolest thing to have on your list of "things I've done"! She doesn't agree. I mean, they would have these awesome bunks with curtains for privacy. And little cubbies for books. I mean, it'll be AWESOME.
I don't know what the problem is?

Our skoolie:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

To Love, Honor and Cherish (and have fun!)

Today I'm writing about something I care about. A. Lot.

It's something I've been doing more than half of my life.

I'm talking about marriage. Y'all. I got married when I was just a baby. I was 18 and had no clue what the world had in store for me. I didn't know what "for better or for worse" meant. Or "in sickness and in health". Not even sure I knew what "to love, honor and cherish" meant. I was 18. I had just barely graduated. I didn't even know who I was.

I knew I wanted to be my husband's wife. I knew I meant it forever. I knew I was marrying someone who had been my friend before he was my boyfriend. I knew he was kind and stable and I could count on him. Those were super important to me. I knew we had the same views of marriage and family-overall, of course there are always differences.

The years have not always been easy. Far from it. From growing pains (more mine than his) to bad external influences. From infertility to miscarriage to surviving sleep-deprived years as parents of young children (I'm not very nice when I don't sleep). From job troubles to separation due to jobs. (We've spent years in separate states due to jobs.) We've never had a lot of money (but God has always provided the necessities). It ain't no fairy tale. And it's not a romance novel. But it's our romance. And it's real. I love him and he loves me. And when we remember to show this to each other, it's all good.

Love isn't a feeling. Love is a choice. Love is something you do. It's a verb. Some days I don't feel it. At all. Some days I "feel like" I want to bite him. But I choose to love him. Not perfectly. I mess up. I say things I don't want to say-or more like don't say the things I should. I don't make him feel like he's the most important human to me. I get distracted by life-usually the things that distract me aren't "bad" but they keep me from being the wife I want to be. The wife my husband deserves.

All that said, I have this heartbreak inside of me. I know, that sounds really dramatic. But my heart breaks when I hear of marriages in trouble. I feel like bursting out in song "Doesn't anybody ever stay together anymore?" ("What's Forever For?"-several different singers) I love my friends and I want them to be happy like I am. Marriage can be...FUN. Did y'all know that? I don't have all of the answers, and I don't pretend to-most of the time ;). But, 22 years later, I think I have a few pieces of advice.  (***Disclaimer: I realize that some marriages were entered into and the other person hid his or her real self. They didn't disclose addictions or moral differences. I'm really not talking to those people. I'm not qualified for that.)

1. Marry someone you are friends with. Not kidding. My husband and I were friends before we ever dated. For several years. And it's carried us through some rough times. Passion comes and goes through the years-especially during those childbearing years or if someone is sick. If you're married to someone that you have both friendship and passion (attraction) with, you're never unsure of how to "be" together.

2. Have fun. You can make almost anything fun. Or you can make it miserable. My husband and I can have fun at the grocery store. That's not an inherently fun thing to do. But when we do it together we can laugh and be silly. Who cares what someone thinks if we're being silly? Maybe it will make them smile too. :) You should have so many private jokes that no one else knows. Memories of silliness. (literally just shared one with my husband as I was typing this!)

3. Touch plenty. This isn't even about "that". Touch hands. Remember when you were dating and you let your hand hang in case he wanted to hold it? (Ok, don't laugh. Remember, I've been married since I was a KID!) Or laying your hand so nonchalantly on the seat of the car in between you? Just in case!? Don't forget that feeling. That desire just to touch his (her) hand. When you think of touching him, just do it. Don't overthink it. And for heaven's sake, go to bed together! If your schedule allows it at all! I could stay up way later than my husband-I don't have to get up as early. But I'd miss out on touching him with my feet while we watch tv-and he'd miss out on them freezing him to death in the winter! And if or when he touches you, respond with a smile! Encourage him!

4. Put your spouse first. Yes, first. Before the kids. It's HARD.  They're louder. They're needier. They're louder. Obviously, I'm not suggesting you don't care for the needs of small children and babies. That's a season. That's temporary. Definitely take care of the screaming baby or the hungry toddler. Or the sick child. I'm talking about as a way of life. My husband and I sit next to each other as often as possible and we rarely let a child sit in between us. And before your friends. And before your family. (unless someone has an illness or something-again, that's temporary. If you normally put your spouse first they shouldn't be hurt if there's a period of time where you have to take care of someone else)

5. Be honest but not brutally so. For real. You should be honest but what is your motive? If your motive is to free yourself from something but it will bring pain to the other person, does it really need to be said? There are 3 things that can never be recovered in life: the word after it is spoken, the moment after it's missed and the time once it's gone. Once you say something it can never be taken back. That's it. You can say you're sorry. You can say you never meant it. You can do all kinds of penance.
If you throw a plate on the ground and it shatters, it doesn't matter how many times you tell it you're sorry. It's still broken. And even if you glue it. It's never the same. Be careful.
Unburdening yourself from something is NEVER a good reason to hurt someone else. Especially the person you're supposed to love, honor and cherish.
Be honest. But as my father-in-law tells my mother-in-law all the time "you don't have to tell all you know" (I laugh every time he tells her this).

Monday, April 25, 2016

We're All a Little Bit "Two"

So, let's just get this straight. I LOVE two-year olds. Two year olds are so cute. They are little people who are developing their little personalities. And their attitudes. Attitudes.

 Image result for toddler free images tantrum      

If you've ever parented a toddler, you've seen these faces. Especially if you've been the blessed recipient of a strong willed toddler!

But let's be real. Don't you sometimes just want to make these same faces? And yell "Give me!" or "Mine!" or "Look at me!!!!" Or..."NOOOOOOO!!!!"

I know I do. I've come to the realization that we are all a little bit two. We've just learned to hide the "two". We just know it's not socially acceptable.

Sometimes you'll see the older people in your life revert to some of these behaviors. They might not look the same as the pictures above but the sentiment is there. And it may not be as cute. But let's get real. That's not the worst aspect of getting old-being able to be "a little bit two" again. Oh, and naps.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

I had the chance to take my kids camping with a fun group of people this spring break! We ended up only staying one night but the day and a half we had there were worth the work and the trip!

                           We did it! We hiked to the top of "Old Baldy" at Garner State Park.
                             Nathan is a trooper! He hiked right along with the rest of the group!
 The whole group-we did this neat thing, we asked some other hikers to take our picture as a group. No selfie stick needed! (I'm not a fan of selfies or selfie sticks)
                            Look at this girlie! At the top and energy to climb the tree too!
 The other kiddos went back a different route that was shorter, but Nathan and I wanted to see the cave! I didn't end up going in, but he did! (There were more people than I wanted to be in a cave with LOL)
 Nathan and Haley playing in the river. They are cuh-razy! The river is called the Frio River. It's always cold, but it's doable when it's 95 outside...notsomuch when it's 80 in March! Brrrr!
Nathan is getting brave! As the baby of the family, and maybe just his own personality, he's always been more timid-you know, "I'm not dipping my toes in that water without my life jacket." We didn't have a life jacket this time as I REALLY didn't think those crazy kids would get in that cold water.
 My pretty girl and me on our hike! When you look up to where we were from down below. *gasp* It is seriously straight up. Or down.

This kid! Seriously. That tree is not short. And I don't know if it will work as a video (but I'm no longer letting technical difficulties stop me from blogging!!!!) but he was doing some pretty fancy tricks off of that rope!!!! At one point I couldn't find him *gasp* (he is almost 14 and he was with a buddy but still...water, kid missing...ugh!!!) and when I finally found him...he was climbing that tree to jump off. Ummm. I might have been less scared when I couldn't find him! All's well that ends well though!
We saw some pretty amazing lightening on the way home (I miss that from growing up in Missouri!) and we got some video but I haven't figured out how to change that to screen shots.

Monday, March 14, 2016

There Is This Boy...He Stole My Heart

And he calls me mom. <3 p="">

Jared is almost 14. He is such a funny guy. And a hard worker-not always for me, but I *always* get told what an amazing worker he is by others! He's always loved to invent things. He draws very well but rarely shows anyone what he draws-we're working on self esteem.
He's good with little kids. (Again, lest I give you the impression he's faultless and therefore fall into the "fakebook" trap, he pesters his siblings to no end and they drive him crazy too). We have some friends that have a 3 year old and he will swing her and talk to her and listen. It's beyond sweet.
He's working towards his Eagle Rank in scouts (yes, at 13, he's ALMOST there--he has his Eagle project planned and the funds are ready! He has a few badge requirements to finish up on other required merit badges. We fully expect him to have his Eagle at 14!) despite the fact that many of the merit badges did not come easy for him...that picture above where he's giving a speech? That is beyond hard for him. We might have pushed him a little, but he got it done!
Do you see that puppy in the pictures? He supports that puppy. We don't pay for his upkeep. Jared does!
I'm so proud of this boy.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

My Baby!

Ok, so they're not babies anymore. But they were and they're still my babies! So I get to call them that.

So, I just have to say it. Isn't she beautiful? And she's beautiful on the inside too! (Don't get me wrong, we have our issues- I don't want to play into the fake "everything is awesome" way of living that social media encourages. We don't always get along. We had a disagreement today!)
We are coming up on 16 years with this girl. She's loves God, is funny, responsible, fun loving (that child will swing herself off of any zipline-see above pics-the longer and higher the better!), nerdy, and an amazing saver! She has more sense in her little pinky finger regarding boys than I had in my whole being at that age. Love my girl!
This year is so big for her and therefore for us! She is turning 16 and has worked hard to save for a car of her own. I feel 100% comfortable with her ability to drive and make good decisions. She has also been invited (by a boy!) to go to prom. Not the homeschool prom. The public high school one! *gasping emoji face* and we are letting her. With all the warnings (you know, if you have to leave your drink for one minute, don't drink it when you come back, get a new one; if you feel uncomfortable for ONE minute, CALL us. You will not be in trouble!) and the worry. We will worry. But we're letting go, one baby step at a time.
I think I'll do one "baby" at a time. Each one deserves his or her own post. <3 div="">

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Tough Stuff and Teens

So, you see, as your kids grow up the issues get a little heavier.
When my teenagers were little I tried to remember not to freak out about everything. I tried to parent with this in mind, "will this matter in 5 hours? 5 days? 5 weeks? 5 months? 5 years?" If the answer was no to the weeks, months and really wasn't a battle I needed to choose. In other words, if it wasn't a character issue or a moral issue or a spiritual just really wasn't an "issue".

When they become teenagers it seems as if everything really will matter! I mean, who cares if they eat a little extra junk food, that doesn't matter....the movies they watch, the music they listen to, the people they hang around, the websites they visit...those all matter. A LOT. Are they being responsible? It matters. Because in just a few short years, they will be responsible for their own life-ready or not. A good work ethic? Matters so much! They cannot hold a job and take care of themselves if they are not good workers. (And let's be honest, it's pretty great to get compliments on your child's work ethic. To have people hiring them to get a job or two done even at 13 or 14!)

What if the kids they are hanging around are a bad influence? Or make them feel like they have the weight of the choices the friends are making on their shoulders? Like, feeling responsible and drug down by other people's bad choices. That's super important. It matters now and could very well matter in 5 years. And beyond.

I don't know what I've done right or what I've done wrong in this whole parenting gig...I mean I could have been more loving and less rule-oriented. I could have given more hugs. I could have sat on the floor and played with them a little more. Prayed with and for them more often for sure. But darn it, I must have done something right.

My beautiful daughter who is on the verge of turning 16 (wow! yeah, that proves that the days are long but the years are short!!) comes to me when things are heavy. She shares things with me that I imagine many (if not most) teenagers do not share with their old mamas. We have our differences, this child and I. But when it matters, she knows I'm here and that I am trustworthy. And that she can bounce ideas and concerns off of me.  We spent some time talking tonight and she has some concerns. I can't tell her exactly what to do about these concerns but we can talk it through and hash through ideas. I can sneak in a little, "remember when we talked about this or that? Do you see how this situation shows what I meant by that?" <----that a="" and="" anyone.="" appreciated="" appreciates="" as="" awesome="" be="" d="" discipline.="" discipline="" do.="" especially="" get="" have="" i="" if="" in="" is="" it.="" it="" moment.="" moment="" not="" nowhere.="" p="" parent="" rules.="" same="" sees="" she="" so="" sure="" t="" teenager.="" that="" the="" think="" told="" way="" we="" weird.="" why="" will="" with="" wouldn="" you="">
Keep talking with your kids and teens. With them. Not at them (I'm very guilty of this at times!). It will pay off. I've also told my kids more times than I can count "I'm not your friend, I'm your mom". At times I think they thought it was a mean thing to say. But I meant it. They can have 1000 friends (I mean, at least on facebook they can!) but I'm the only mom they have. Just one. I have a job to do. Sometimes it's a stinkin' hard job. But then I get to see the rewards.

The rewards are rich. So maybe I was the right amount of "rules oriented". The right amount of not being their playmate (I didn't want them to always be dependent on someone else-even me-for contentment or entertainment!). The right amount of discipline. Or else, God took my best, my good intentions and turned them into just what was needed.

P.S. There could be some gorgeous pics of my "little" girl if I had taken the time to put pics on my new computer! But I haven't. You'll just have to trust me.

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