Monday, November 20, 2017

gratitude week

I feel like this week is a sacred one.

Because I believe this whole-heartedly:
Gratitude = Joy in so many ways.

And although of course we should be "in thanksgiving daily," how awesome to have a week to really live it to it's fullest.

To me Thanksgiving feels almost like a holy week in and of itself.  I have so many things to be grateful for!  Right at this very moment I'm so grateful that two of my sisters have arrived with their families and the cousins are going hog wild with gratitude for each other, the "Thankful Tree" is filling up, the others arrive tonight and Wednesday, and Turkey Trot prep is in full swing. 

And right now we are going to go soak in some gratitude for the beauty of the desert because I'm taking them to admire it from a mountain top we're going to hike to.

Happy Thanksgiving week!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

deliberate wife-hood

Last summer Dave and I took a flight to California for some business.  Upon landing we got in a wing-dinger of a fight.  It was over the dumbest thing (I wasn't situated enough with all my "stuff" when there was a gap in the sea of people deplaning, and he was antsy to get off that thing), and then it got twisted and muddled and we were both stomping off that plane huffy as could be.

I looked back in my mind after that blew over and thought about how comical (or horrifying) it must have been for the innocent bystanders hearing the shrapnel of our argument we were so in the zone with at that moment.

I'd like to say that that fight was a one-time-deal but Dave and I can sometimes be fighters.  We are both strong willed and opinionated and we both believe we are right a lot :)

I bring this up because I want to write about marriage right here, right now, and I don't want it to come across that we have this thing all figured out.  We don't.  We are a work in progress.  That's what marriage is all about in my opinion, which often makes it pretty fun, and can also make it gut-wrenching.  And I'm pretty dang grateful I've got this guy right here who's in it with me, through thick and thin.

So fast forward to a couple months ago when Dave and I finally took a trip to celebrate our 20th anniversary.

I say "finally" because we were a little late.

You see, we actually celebrated our 22nd anniversary in June.  But ever since we spent our 20th at a waterpark celebrating Grace's 14th birthday with a whole slew of her friends (it was the only day we could fit it in that year), we committed to celebrate that 20th in style at some point in the future. 

Not only were we late, but we were re-routed (Dave had been working hard on a plan to surprise me with...he knows Eyres love the surprise deal, and I'm an Eyre through and through), but the hurricane thwarted his best-laid efforts (what are the chances??) and we found ourselves somewhere else instead, which was pretty amazing and we were so grateful.

The reason for all that introduction?  Well, we had a pretty great trip.  Over and over again we looked at each other and talked about how great it was not to have any distractions, and just to be together.

So it was fitting that one day this comment/question came in here on the blog:  

While you're in Q&A mode, can I ask a question? I give so much effort to being a deliberate mother. I have found so many great resources (like your blog!!!) and I think I have picked up some helpful skills. However, I think my marriage has suffered at the expense of my motherhood. I think I use up all my patience during the day on my kids and I'm fresh out by the time my husband gets home. I need someone to give me "wife skills" as clearly as I can find resources with "mom skills". Any concrete tips you can pass along? Especially for those of us with little kids. Thanks!

And I thought it was the best observation.

Something I have thought about over and over again, but haven't really expressed.  

I think it is so interesting that you can go to the library (or the Internet) and find myriads of books about parenting.  There are blogs filled with child-rearing techniques, Pinterest boards spilling out with job chart ideas and home-schooling helps.  There are so many wonderful resources!  

Yet there is very little about "wife-hood" or "being a great spouse" out there.

Sure there are some things, and maybe I'm not looking in the right places, but it seems that most things I've come across are more focused on how to pick up pieces after a your marriage is in trouble rather than staying on the offense, building and "growing" a great marriage.

Why is that?  It made me wonder why I don't write more on here about wife-hood.  Is it because marriage is too personal and so different from couple to couple that there aren't as many mainstream ideas?  Is it because Dave and I are good at fighting and I'm certainly not a marriage expert?  Is it because I don't want to air out the stuff that's not-so-great?  I don't know, but I would love to concentrate more on this along with parenting things here on the blog.  

Because really, Dave is my # 1 (I wrote about that back HERE).  I know it, but sometimes I sure don't show it.  And I know often-times I forget to let him know it.  I let life get in the way, I figure my kids are more needy and concentrate on them, I figure he can handle being on the back burner a little better than the kids can.

But that is just plain wrong.  He needs to be my first priority.

He needs to know it, and my kids do too.

I remember very vividly the day I realized my Dad loved my Mom more than he loved me.  I wrote all about it in this post back HERE, but to sum it up, I don't remember if it was something he said or something he did, but it hit me like a ton of bricks: to him, she came first.

At first I was shocked.

I had always thought I was his favorite (he had a way of making us all feel that way).  And I'll be honest, part of me was pretty devastated.  But gradually that devastation led to the most wonderful security.  I knew my parents would always love each other.  And there's something about that that means a whole lot to a kid.

So, how do we put our husbands first?

I've thought about this a bunch over the years (and wrote a list of concrete ways HERE), especially lately.  Mostly because I have three close friends who are in some deep depths of struggling in their marriages and it makes my heart ache.  And it seems like I hear of more troubled marriages all the time. 

And it makes me want to scream out to all those young couples out there...and older ones too...myself included..."put him first!"  Make it happen.  Don't let the disconnection get to the point where you don't think you can go back to fix things...they're so broken the pieces are strewn out of grasp.  It can happen so gradually, so slowly, that you don't even know it's happening.  And then BAM!, you are in marriage counseling trying to figure out what went wrong, and you realize a lot went wrong, and you could have fixed some major parts of it if you had put that guy as your number one more often.

I know there are so many reasons that marriages break down.  I know both partners need to invest and it can be so difficult when one just doesn't seem to care.  I know things can get muddled up in all kinds of ways.  But I also know that we have power to make a difference as well.  We have power to nurture more and reach out of our way to renew, rekindle, to give unconditional love.

Maybe that means sitting down and watching the World Series with him even when you have kids crawling all over you, noses to wipe, homework to sign, dishes to be done.

Maybe it means putting away your technology that is so mesmerizing and looking into his face, listening more fully to what happened during his day.

Maybe it means finding one thing you specifically appreciate about that guy and letting him know every night before you go to sleep.

It could be little things like slipping a little note into his drawer telling him how much you love him or sending a random text through the day.

And also forgiving and forgetting...not holding grudges and bringing up things that should have been erased and replaced with better things.

I was listening to an "On Being" podcast the other day about "mindfulness." It was fascinating...at least the part I listened to (I need to finish it because I only just got started while cooking dinner before things got crazy).  But one of the things that hit me was a recommendation to go home to the person you live with and notice (be "mindful") of five new {hopefully good} things about them.  Put them in the forefront of your mind and look for things that may have melded into the background after all those years of living together.  And even just that "mindfulness" alone will bring you to love and be endeared to a person more.

Anyway, this is a lot of rambling for a Thursday morning, but I've had these thoughts swirling around in my mind for a while and ready or not, I'm sending them out to cyberspace.

I'd like to start talking about this more on here because I have a lot of different things I'd love to bring up.  I hope readers out there do too.  I know there are many single women out there who read this blog as well as married ones.  No matter where we are in life, we've all learned and observed a thing or two about different marriages, and I'd love to hear the thoughts that come from all kinds of life experiences.

Bottom line is that good marriages don't just happen.  They take attention.  They take being deliberate.  Sure, being a good marriage partner may come more naturally for some than for others, but I don't believe it's something that can be put on autopilot no matter how compatible the two halves are.  So what are we going to do about that?

I'd love to hear what others do, or what others have observed in other marriages, to put that spouse of theirs in that #1 spot (readers mentioned some great things in the comments of this post back HERE...I'm sure there are so many more!).

And I'd like to issue us all a challenge to make wife-hood more deliberate today.  (Is "wife-hood" even a thing?  If not, let's make it one :)  Whether we make a constant effort or whether we have forgotten the importance of that all-important relationship, let's go do something to show those spouses of ours they matter.  A lot. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

things that are wrapped up in a picture...cherishing the moment...right now

I've been looking through some old pictures lately to find the perfect ones to add to a collage wall I'm working on.

When I came across this one I had to stop in my tracks:
Because a swell of emotion came over me like never before.

It was taken on a little boat in the middle of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam during a little trip when we lived in China.  That was "our boat" overnight.

Just us.

The seven of us all together.

That picture took me instantly back that moment and everything that surrounded it and made me so incredibly grateful for pictures that can freeze time.  I remembered the moment we pulled up to that boat in a little water taxi, our eyes as big as saucers that that was where we got to be.  We had a little "crew" that cooked for us and even gave us a little "cooking class" that night surrounded in darkness with the twinkle of other boats in the bay and the sound of gently lapping water against the boat. 

I remembered the little kayak trip we took in the afternoon and how the kids jumped off the roof as the sun sunk behind those jagged mountains popping out of the bay all around us, and the conversation that ensued while playing games on the rooftop that night.
So much gratitude and love that we got to have that moment in time (much more about that and the concept of "thin places" back HERE.)

And that we have things like pictures and little video snippets that bring it back.  And make our hearts ache with missing and gratitude.

I'm sure there was fighting and squabbling here and there, tired kids and a whole slew of whining, but as I look back I just see the "glistening whole" (a term my sister Saydi always uses that I love).

And I am so grateful for it.

So this morning when Lu and I walked to school I snapped a picture:
Not nearly as glamorous a setting, but glamorous in my mind because look at that girl hug her dog goodbye.  

I hope that some day years from now I can look back at it and remember how it felt to walk together.  How Bo feels like she has to charge ahead to save her soul and how we're trying to help her learn to "heel" a little better.  I hope I'll how we were laughing en route and how it feels to have Lucy's hand cradled in the crook of my elbow as we walk...something I've recently learned is called "sighted guide" if you do it correctly with someone who is losing their vision.  

I'll remember that backpack Lucy adores and how excited she is about butterflies and how her hair is unruly and we had to whip up that braid last minute and how she would still let be give her a long, lingering hug before we said goodbye.  And oh, how I love that girl of mine, and love to watch her confidently march through those back gates to teachers and friends who are kind and good to her.

And I hope I will remember then what I feel now...so much gratitude for a normal Wednesday morning.

Pictures can say a thousand words.

And today, in mid-gratitude-month, I am grateful for them.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

favorite things 2017

Today is a little mini celebration for me.

Because I finally have my act together enough to do a "favorite things" post.

My "friend" Melissa ("friend" is in quotes because I haven't met her in person yet, but I feel like she's my friend through blogging), has been doing a "favorite things" blog hop kind of a deal for years and I've just never been on-the-ball enough to accept an invitation to be part of it before this year.

But here I am, on Novenber 14th, ready to share some of the things that I love, love, love.

Woo Hoo!

I'm hoping all this thinking about favorite things will help me get my act in gear for Christmas a little early (at least early for me).  We are switching up Christmas again in our family this year so we are doing more sentimental gifts (some ideas included below), but I'll be so happy to get other gifts ready early this year (I hope!).

Just as a side-note, none of these things are sponsored.  They're just things I love.  But I will link to affiliates (if available) so that they are easy to find.  I'm trying to put them in sort of a semblance of order in different sections.  

So here we go on some of my favorite things.

Overall good gifts...

GOOSEBUMPS BLANKETS

My kids think these blankets are the best things on the entire planet.  They "wear" them around the house and snuggle up with them constantly, even here in the desert just like this girl on the website:
And with good reason, because they are so dang soft I tell you!

But I personally am mesmerized by the baby/toddler stuff they have that's new.  

It's so darling that it makes me have a bad case of IWAN just to look at these pictures.
I mean, wouldn't you just snuggle up those babies with all your might if you could?

And dress little toddlers in those adorably soft pj's on Christmas Eve?  Or any time of the year for that matter.
I seriously can hardly stand to even look at that picture right up there...(don't you just wish you could rewind time a little?) so let's move along quickly.  (I have problems.) Their website is HERE so go check out those darling little baby things they carry (and the blankets too).

CHATBOOKS
This is a sentimental one that takes so little time and is such a deal cost-wise.  I gave my kids each a book with pictures of their year for Christmas last year and they loved them.  Sent one to Max in Taiwan too.  They were SO EASY to make and I'd like to make that a tradition each year.
It also helps you hold on to your babies for longer because you can make books and books of pictures of them.  But then maybe that will make you miss them more...

The Chatbooks website is HERE.  

THREAD WALLETS
Each of my older kids have these and love them.  They are stretchy so they can expand or get smaller as needed and they're so easy to attach to a key chain or wear with a lanyard.
Their website is HERE.

MADE-WELL PURSE
I looked for the perfect purse for years.  

And I'm not exaggerating on that.  

I finally found one I love and I still love it two years later.  It is a little pricey but it's great leather, is such a perfect size, and has two little pockets on the inside perfect for keys and cell phone.  Plus it goes with everything.  I'm not a purse-changing kind of a gal, I just use the same thing every single day so to me it's 100% worth the investment.  

You can buy that online HERE.  I think this one HERE looks so beautiful too if you need something a little bigger...but I personally love having a small purse so I'm not tempted to haul my kitchen sink around with me.

HYDROFLASKS
We love these things around here.  Mostly because you can put ice in that thing and leave it in the car here in the desert in the middle of the day in the middle of the summer and it will still have ice when you get back.  I know they are great to keep things warm as well. 

CANDLES
I adore good smells.  And I'm pretty sure I'm not alone on that.  I mean, there is a dairy miles away in the desert country and boy howdy, there are sometimes some smells that somehow waft their way through the air from there that I do NOT want to smell.  I sure try to make the most of those occasional dairy smells by trying to picture my mom growing up on a farm and smelling that every day.  And my mom's pretty awesome so I do want to be reminded of her any chance I get.  But I bet her smells weren't quite that putrid.  So then I'm back to just having a bad smell. 

Ok, but I digress and that is totally not the point.  What I'm trying to say here is that there are some pretty awesome smells out there that make me happy.

There is nothing like being greeted by a beautiful smell when you walk into a house.  

Our favorite is this one:
You can buy them on the Anthropologie website HERE, or you can buy them on Amazon HERE.

That smell is so strong and so beautiful and fills up the whole house and I LOVE it.  

There are also some pretty great candles at Bath & Body Works over HERE.
Our favorite is the Caramel Pumpkin Swirl right now...

And it also looks like they are on that great sale right now too....

"RING" doorbell
Dave is in love with this thing.  It has a little camera and speaker so you can talk to people at your front door from your phone anywhere.  Like, anywhere.  He can see us getting packages or replanting flowers by the front door from his phone when he's in China for crying out loud.
It really is pretty awesome.  (Another plus for technology :)

And it's HERE.

Family Stuff...

RUMIKUB
This is one of our very favorite games...second only to card games.  Everyone knows and loves it.  It's for four players but we do teams if we have more that that who want to play.  I love that it makes you use your mind to shift things up...and I love when Lucy gets into it with a little trash talk to the rest of us.

THIS BOOK:
As I've been thinking about how to curb the use of technology around here (back HERE) my thoughts have led me to this book (among many other things).

I adore it in and of itself.

But I love it even more thinking about how when you take away something (excessive technology), you need to ADD BACK something to take it's place.

This book gets kids actively engaged in something different.
Something wonderful.

Something that will make them look at life through a new lens and appreciate the world around them more.
I have given this book away as a gift countless times...and I think I need to pull ours out again because it's a gem I tell you.

Find it HERE.

I have so many "favorite" books!  Find a list with links to my favorite children's books back HERE, a list for young readers HERE.  And some of my all-time favorites for me back HERE. (although the ones for children are some of my favorites too).

Oh boy, and we'd better not forget favorite CHRISTMAS BOOKS...
Which we read under the Christmas tree each year...a list of some of our favorites is back HERE.

There is one more thing I want to add to the "Family" category because we just got it recently and it has made a world of difference in our family so far:

OUR PACT
It is an app that creates a pretty awesome way to be able to set up times when everyone in your family can use all their apps.

I love it as the mom, but surprisingly my kids love it too.  Both Grace and Claire have given me wide-eyed unsolicited "thank you's" that is has saved them with getting a few assignments done for school they would have been too distracted to get finished on time without the app temptation going on.

You can just download for free..unless you want to deluxe version, which we haven't tried.

Beauty...

MASCARA
I'm putting this on my "favorite things" list even though I haven't tried it.  Because I'm pretty confident it's good since it's a knock-off of some whiz-bang fancy mascara my friend gave me for my birthday last year.  I am not a make-up girl, but I have to admit it's pretty great.  And apparently this is a knock-off that's just as good but less than half the price:
Grace is a mascara expert so I think this might be a good little gift to give her for Christmas...

You can find it HERE.

DRY SHAMPOO
Although I have pretty fine hair (that should be easy to wash all the time), I feel like it's a waste of time to wash it too much, dang it, so I like having dry shampoo around to give me a little help here and there ;)

There are a bazillion different kinds out there, but my friend gave me this kind and I really like it:
You can find it HERE.

IT'S A TEN
I also have to put this in here because it smells so dang good.  And Grace and I are in love with it.
You can find that stuff HERE, but they also sell it at Target and beauty salons too.

I also love this stuff HERE to spray on my hair before I use the straightening iron which is also from the "It's a 10" company.  (Also smells pretty fabulous.)

Personal Inspiration...
ON BEING podcasts

Seriously these are the best.  So thought-provoking and well-done.  Click HERE for much more about them.

And as long as we're talking about listening to stuff, let's go ahead and include Dave's very favorite thing right now:  APPLE EARBUDS

He ADORES those things and wears them everywhere...for phone calls and for listening to everything under the moon.

You can find them HERE.

And I can't leave this "personal inspiration" section without mentioning THIS BOOK:) I'm listening to it right now trying to get done in a 60-day challenge with Dave and Elle and I love listening to bigger chunks at a time so it all comes together in a more meaningful way.  You can listen on this app HERE...it will change your life as you apply it to everything
Love it.

Cooking...
Let's start with the most important first: cookies

First of all, I LOVE this recipe during the holidays:
HOME-MADE PEPPERMINT OREOS
Especially if you can wrap them up like this and give them to neighbors you love:
The recipe for those delicious things is back HERE.

COOKIE SCOOPS
I bought these from Pampered Chef years ago and I use them ALL THE TIME.  (We are a cookie family through and through.)
I found them for much cheaper than Pampered Chef HERE...and they look great, but not sure if they'll hold up as well?  

With Thanksgiving coming up, I have to share my FAVORITE ROLL RECIPE too.
 Oh boy, makes my mouth water to look at those puppies.

The recipe is HERE.

And as long as we're talking about cookies, rolls, and bread in general, we may as well talk about this sucker:

BOSCH MIXER

Another pricey one, sorry, but it really is worth it's weight in gold with the amounts of time used.  I got it for Christmas years ago and it has whipped out so much deliciousness over the years.
Find more info and reviews about that thing over HERE.

I love this thing for baking bread as well:

DUTCH OVEN

You can find a ton of different brands and styles of these.  I'm not a connoisseur of all things dutch oven, but the Cuisinart one I found at Marshall's does the trick so well.

It's great because it cooks evenly for soups or meats (Sunday pot roast) or my favorite crusty bread (back HERE).

Click HERE to find that pot on Amazon.

GARLIC PEELER
This thing is so teeny and inexpensive but I adore it because it makes using fresh garlic easy peasy.  And ever since we lived in China and I had a lady who helped with some of my meal prep, I've been in love with using fresh garlic in my cooking.
You just roll the little pieces of garlic in that little tube and it peels them for you.

I got it HERE.

ONION CHOPPER
This thing makes cooking so much easier too.
Because let's face it, onions are a pain to chop.

It washes super easy in the dishwasher but beware, it makes that dishwasher stink to high heaven if you don't start it right away!

You can find it HERE.

As long as we're talking about cooking, let's check out my "pride and joy" RECIPE FILE FOLDER I made a few years ago:
I talked all about it back HERE, and it's super simple.  But it has all my most special recipes I've gathered through the years and I love it because I can add or take away from it any time.  And I don't have to look up stuff on the Internet in the middle of the kitchen which gets on my nerves sometimes.

Seriously, what a great "home-made" gift that would be to put together for someone you love?

All this stuff aside, the absolute favorite of my FAVORITE THINGS is this little crowd right here:
...and the fact that we get to talk to that boy on the screen one last time from Taiwan this Christmas.

And then he will be HOME.  And we will be all together after two years.

If that's not a favorite thing, I don't know what is :)

Phew, that was a lot of things!

Thanks for sticking with me through all that!

If you want to see the other favorite things posted by other bloggers click HERE to Melissa's blog for the line-up.  (Thanks Melissa for setting this up!)

Next up to post favorite things is Jamie from Jamie Cooks it Up blog tomorrow so be sure to check in HERE to see what she shares.  It looks like she has some awesome recipes on there.

Monday, November 13, 2017

random thoughts on a Monday

Six of the nine kids in my family will be here in the desert for Thanksgiving.  We will miss the three who live overseas and can't make it, but we're so excited to get this many.  We can hardly wait.

We have been working our tails off crossing Turkey Trot stuff off the list before they arrive so we won't be all stressed out the whole time they're visiting.  A little stress is inevitable though, that thing is a lot of work!  But pretty dang rewarding too.  I am using "we" liberally because Dave is mostly the one working his tail off...he is the "chairman" of this whole Turkey Trot hoopla again this year (I am making up that title...maybe I should call him the head-honcho instead...).  He has a lot of big work things going on at the same time and has been in China a couple times this last month.  I'm so grateful for him.

Remember to sign up for the Turkey Trot and join us if you are local and available.  It's gonna be grand.  (website is HERE)

I'm trying to wrap up some house things I've meant to do for ages.

I just replanted a large cactus to go in our living room.  And man, that was a work-out in and of itself!

It went from this:

To this:
And that may not look like a whole bunch to anyone else, but it was a whole slew of lugging dirt and rocks and dang, those thorns are sharp (I had to replant it into a larger pot before I put it in this still larger one).  I looked like a chimney sweep when I was done.  But it's kind of satisfying to walk past that thing.

Now let's just hope it stays alive.

I'm also in the process of doing a collage wall to finally fill one of our blank walls.  Here are "process" pictures:

...need to figure out how to finish that thing off...

Grace got into HEFY.  And to me that feels like an incredible feat. Because I tell you, we sure tried to get Max and Elle in there but it fills up like nobody's business.  Since she did her "junior year internship" thing a year early, she gets to do her service trip this summer.

We encouraged her to go alone with no one else she knows and she totally agreed and is so excited.  She's going to go to the Dominican Republic this summer and she's going to learn so much.  Now the fund-raising begins...

Speaking of fund-raising, Lucy has written a book.

The other day we took a little lunch date to read through and edit it.
She is pretty excited about it and wants to print some copies to sell to help raise money for BBS at the Turkey Trot.  I know people have mentioned companies that we could use to print something like that but I can't remember or find them.  If anyone knows a great place to print out a book (I'd just take pictures of each page so we'd have digital copies to print out), let me know.  To be honest, it may be too late for this year, but I'd love to look into options so if anyone has any ideas send them our way!

Grace is full-on into student council right now and she's loving it.
Especially since the whole student council is hitting Disneyland right about now (some student council convention there)  Yeah, I think I'd like that too :)  So excited for her.

I love how one little change in life (deciding to be involved in student council for Grace and lucking out that she got in last minute) can change so many things to "good" in life.  And also how it can go the opposite direction sometimes too.

Man there's sure a lot to learn in life.

When we did our "Thankful Tree" last Monday (back HERE), we did mini trees to send to our big kids:
My personal favorite part was that Lucy took it upon herself to let Elle know, in a big way, that those are "POM" leaves coming out of the trunk:
Because she is, after all, in Hawaii.

We sent notes and a treat to Max's mission President and his wife too.  Why do I adore so much how Lucy writes notes?
(We switched up the thankful turkey thing we sent to them last year...back HERE.)
So grateful for that man and his wife who have taken Max under their wing for the last year and a half (he had a different mission president before that).  It's so strange to think that they have had so much more personal contact and counseling and feeding and nurturing than we have for so long.  It is getting weird to think of him coming home.  Seems so close yet so far.  (January 31st is the date.)  In some ways it cannot come soon enough, and in others I know he wishes he could stay. Things will be so different for him when he gets home, and it will be such a crazy adjustment.  I'm trying to gear myself up to help.  It's so interesting to be a missionary mother, writing letters every week to your son who is changing and growing and learning so many things you don't understand.  Especially when that son of yours is one who doesn't express himself and his thoughts overly well. 

Mostly I'm just so incredibly grateful that he loves that mission so much.  And that he has had this experience of a lifetime that will change the trajectory of so many things in his life.

This thing made a grand entrance into our home last Friday:
Dave and I looked at it with big smiles to match Lucy's, so grateful that she is finally ok with taking on the white cane thing.  But inside both our hearts were breaking.

Claire had four soccer games this last weekend and also volleyball tryouts.
It will take a whole blog post to outline all the sports things that girl has kept us hopping with lately. 

Wow.

I'm tired even thinking about it and I'm not even playing the dang sports. 

I think it's so interesting how early kids start out in sports around here.  Is that just this generation or is that always how it's been?  Or maybe it's our area.  Everyone seems to narrow down to one sport so early and put their whole life into it and Claire is just trying to figure them all out.

They finally replanted our winter grass here:
That's not the best picture to show it...it's actually supposed to be a video of Bo stopping obediently on the corner before we give her the "ok" to cross the street, (and she does it so obediently!) but I forgot to hit "record" and it just took a pic. instead.

Which makes me think about that old grass.  It has to be scalped down to the bones every single fall and replanted with "winter grass" here in the desert. 

And every year I think it is just so crazy that we do that!

This girl is causing some havoc in our back yard:
She has discovered watering tubes underground...not such good news.

I'm still thinking about technology so much (post back HERE).  How to curb it, how to use it in a positive way, and how to help my whole family do the same.  Maybe I will always be in this stage because it will always continue to change.  I have so many thoughts going through my head about it and we've tried some new things that work and are putting us on the right track.  My friend sent me this quote that I thought was kind of interesting that kind of relates to how technology makes us see the world...especially girls:  

There seems to be a superstition among many thousands of our young who hold hands and smooch in the drive-ins that marriage is a cottage surrounded by perpetual hollyhocks, to which a perpetually young and handsome husband comes home to a perpetually young and ravishing wife.

Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he's been robbed. The fact is that most putts don't drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just ordinary people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. . . .

Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."
--Jenkin Lloyd Jones


I asked my girls what they thought of that quote because I thought it was pretty true.  Sometimes social media makes kids (and adults) think the world is so perfect for everyone else because they mostly only see the perfect parts.  Those "perpetually young and handsome husbands" coming home to their "perpetually young and ravishing wives" (as symbols of so many other "perfect" things on there).  A couple of my girls thought it was pretty depressing though.  And I think that's true too.  Life doesn't have to be "normal."  We can make it exciting and our own kind of "perfect."  As long as we realize our "perfect" may look vastly different from someone else's and that we're ok with that.

Hmmmm...just some things I've been thinking lately.
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