March 24, 2014


I often wonder what stories my kids will tell about me.  I'll hear speakers talk about their childhoods, or tell anecdotes from when they were little and inevitably, my mind wanders to what tales my children will someday tell.

Surely, they'll talk about their lack of childhood mementos due to their mother's incessant need to cut clutter.  Or maybe they'll laugh about the time I said, "IF YOU DON'T STOP THAT RIGHT NOW, YOU'LL HAVE TO ORDER PIZZA INSTEAD OF CORN DOGS AT THE RESTAURANT TONIGHT!"  Perhaps they'll one day respond to their kids with "Because I'm magical." every time one of them asks how they know something.  Because that's what their mom always said.

I don't know.  Even though I know I'll get teased (because that's what adult children do to their parents) I do hope that they have more good memories than bad ones.  I hope they remember the piles of books that we read together and projects that we completed side by side and forget the times that I lost my temper or said, "not right now."  I hope they remember that I tell them how much I love them 15 times a day and forget most of my screw ups.

This morning I was eating at McDonalds with Ben (please, God, help them to remember the healthy meals I prepared and forget the times we ate fast food) and he asked me a question about the angel who released Peter from chains.  As I pulled out my phone to look up the passage, the guy sitting in the booth next to us said, "I'm speaking across the street at chapel in an hour or so . . . maybe he'd just like to speak for me."  We kind of laughed and I said, "How about it Bennett?  Do you want to speak in chapel?"

He responded with, "No.  But I will at Somerset Beach Campground.  I only speak at Somerset Beach Campground."  I was unaware of the exclusivity clause in his contract with camp.

Ben immediately followed that up with, "Do your kids watch NFL Rush Zone?"  Chapel speaking invitation rescinded.

I've been thinking ever since then, though, about what my kids will have to say someday.  Whether it's just telling stories to their own kids, sharing with a large group or simply recalling things to themselves . . . what will they have to say?

I hope that they'll be able to say these things:  We were a family who loved each other and was for each other.  Our parents weren't perfect, but loved Jesus and did their best to point us to our loving God in everything that they did.

March 4, 2014

Heading South

A few weeks ago, I had what some might refer to as a "breakdown."  I was at the end of my rope.  The weather has been insanely brutal.  I'm convinced that it will be July before the mountains of plowed snow will completely melt.  I'm sick of my nostrils freezing shut every time I walk out the door.

In addition, having three kids, growing a fourth, working at a job from home and running a business is hard work.  I think the weather is taking it's toll on my customers, too, because people have just been grumpier to work with, in general.  A few small changes at my real job have created a couple of stressful projects that had me way more worked up than I needed to be.  The uncertainty of this pregnancy through the first half of January (more on that later) left me emotionally drained. 

The effect that being stuck inside all day is having on my kids has also been tough.  They are antsy.  They fight over everything.  They are (sometimes literally) bouncing off the walls by the time we hit bedtime.  If they get along for five minutes at a time, I call that a success.  Jack is having a rough year, so he comes home from school cranky most days and takes his frustrations from school out on his brother and sister (we're working on that).

So, the breakdown . . . a few Sundays ago, on the way home from church, I lost it.  It had been a rough morning full of disobedience and disrespect.  There was yelling.  There was crying.  There were tantrums all around.  And I just couldn't take it anymore.  That night, my husband sat down and started planning out two vacations.  We're actually using our vacation time on something other than "projects around the house" this year!

We had planned to buy new living room furniture this spring.  Our furniture is white (yeah, we bought it before we had kids) and is pretty well trashed.  It could stand to be replaced, but it will have to hold out a little while longer.  Instead, we're using the money to take these two trips.  We can buy furniture next year.  Or after baby #4 has learned that sofa cushions are not, in fact, the same thing as a coloring book.

The first vacation he refers to as my "mental health" vacation.  We leave on Thursday (IN TWO DAYS!) for Florida.  And by "we", I mean Kyle and I.  Just the two of us.  Warm weather.  Grandma and Grandpa Luke are coming to watch the kids and we are taking 5 days to ourselves.  We tried to get away for a single night to celebrate our 10 year anniversary over a year ago, but our kids puked out those plans, so this will make up for that and then some.  It might be another 10 years before we get 5 days to ourselves.

We've never left our kids for this long, and the few times we've left them for two nights with grandparents have usually been so that we can stay home alone and get things done around the house.  I'm a little nervous, but way more excited. Honestly, I'm really afraid that someone will get sick Wednesday night.

Second, we're taking the kids to South Carolina for their spring break.  This is partly out of guilt for taking the Florida trip without them.  More than that, it's because with baby #4 due in August, I don't think we'll be up to traveling to Tennessee this fall like we did last year.  It'll be a little while before we do a family trip again.  I looking forward to getting them into warm weather . . . taking walks, swimming (even if it's indoors), letting them wade in the ocean and just having time as a family. 

We're so excited about about these trips and I'm counting down the days to Florida and the weeks until South Carolina!