Thursday, February 24, 2011

In New York...

...Concrete jungles where dreams are made of..." Feel free to sing along.

Pretty sure when I am gone my girls are equal parts happy to see me return and sad that whom ever was taking care of them has to leave. We are blessed to have such great people in our lives to care for our girls. Thank you Rich and Crystal!

If you hadn't put it together yet, I just got home from a couple of days in New York City. It was a blast, I'm pretty sure I didn't see the back of my eyelids for the night any time before midnight the entire trip. We went to underground clubs, karoking, shopping, out to yummy dinners, to a Broadway show and hung out with friends until all hours. Least you think all I did was play, I had a 12+ hour workday on Monday to earn my keep.

Here are some things I learned on our trip:

-In a city where you do mostly walking/cabs/subway winter SUCKS. Its cold. It is windy. You can either choose cute shoes or practical ones. I have a shortage of practical shoes.

-When they say "City that never sleeps" they are not joking. Dinners start at 9 or later. Clubs don't get hopping until after midnight. Its fun, but for a suburban mother of 3, it is exhausting.

- Being gluten free is a pain in the neck. Surrounded by great food and only being able to eat a small percentage of it is such a bummer. On that note, Dean and Deluca has a fab gluten free chocolate orange muffin.

-I like having independent friends. Kari was with me this trip and it was so much fun! I have done the whole tourist thing in NYC but she hadn't. That brave girl navigated herself all around the big city part of the time, we would meet up, but it just worked out awesome.

-Note to idiot parents: It is not ok to let your 3 small children run around a very busy airport terminal playing tag. It is annoying. To everyone. Congratulations, on behalf of the rest of humanity who is sick of dealing with your undisciplined children, I hear by revoke your right to reproduce. And fly. And be in public until you teach your brats some manors.

The trip was fun but I am so glad to be back home with my girls. Matt flys in today. Poor baby had to stay an extra day so he could go to the Niks game. In the luxury suite. Oh the life we lead.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

You know your raising girls when...

-The black lab is walking around wearing bows and a blue necklace

-You have to remove an entire herd of my little ponies from the tub before you can shower

-Doing every ones hair before leaving the house takes at least 30 minutes and always ends with at least one of you in tears

-You sort laundry into four piles: white, lights, darks and pink. You can do at least one entire pink load a week

-Your children have more (and nicer!) clothes than you do

- You get several comments on your outfit, from make-up to shoes, and they don't come from you husband

-There are enough shoes in your house to outfit an entire day long as the day care is all girls

- You start to believe that "sparkly" and "beautiful" are synonymous

- You are forced to play the prince and kiss all the princess so they can wake up and get married at least twice a day

-Drama stops phasing you in any form

-You over think the roll of Barbies, princess, and beauty in general

-You have a list of people in your life with whom you can no longer be friends after your daughters hit puberty because they are raising boys...cute boys.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Learning to be still

I believe God respects who He made us to be. God did not create us all the same, therefore, each of our relationships with Him is unique. God is big, and He can roll like that. This means that my time with God might not look like yours, my worship might not look like yours and my prayers are my own too. This also means God deals with me differently than he deals with you, just like I deal with all my children differently with respect towards who they are.

God seems to teach me lessons one or two at a time. Maybe it because he understands that I can be pretty thick and pretty stubborn so He knows He has to make his point in several different ways. How great would it be to be they type of person God just had to whisper to and I could get the message, make the appropriate changes and live a better life because of it. Yeah, so not me. I am more the "keep poking until she pays attention" type of learner. Could be worse, I could be the "whap upside the head until they listen" kind.

One of the two lessons God is teaching me right now has to do with intentionality and being still. I am not good at that, and God seems to see this as an area that needs vast improvement. And while He has a valid point, I don't really want to learn. See, being still isn't fun. You don't really have anything to show for it when your done and it cramps my style. I like to multitask. I can answer e-mail and talk to my kid, unload the dishwasher and call a friend and watch tv and fold laundry.

While this all works in my life, I know it isn't his best for me. See God, in all his wisdom, doesn't really settle for " yeah, that's not too bad". While I can check e-mail and chat with my daughter, it means I am not very tuned in to her and she doesn't get my best. I want my children to know they are more important than my e-mail and my actions just were not showing that. My friend might not know that I am putting away spoon while she spills her heart, but it keeps me from being present in her plight and that isn't the kind of friend I want to be. Nothing is hurt by me watching television while folding laundry, but what would it hurt for me to just let my heart and mind be still while my hands were busy?

God has brought this to my attention through all types of things. Verses in the bible about "being still", articles in science about what multitasking really means to our brains, and even a very interesting piece written by a Buddhist about meditation. Talks with friends, sermons at church, lessons in bible study, all point me in one direction. BE STILL.

So 2011 is going to be about me learning to be still and be present. It isn't glamorous or productive, I don't really want to learn, but the knowledge of the area I have yet to grow weighs heavy on my heart. So I will stop and focus on one thing, one person at a time, intentionally giving them all my focus. I will learn to be still and listen. I will learn to quiet my heart and mind and give God my full attention, mediating on things bigger that my worldly needs and troubles. I will work to have a heart like his, a love like His, and I will be a better friend, better mother, better wife because of it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

House Rules

Some, who know me well, might say I have some...issues...with authority. Now I don't know about issues, I just don't like being told what to do. I don't like following someone else truth, be it a recipe or bible study worksheet, I don't like to live my life "fill in the blank" style.

I pray my children are not like me. How great would it be to "go along to get along". It just isn't my style but it would be really nice if it was theirs.

Since I am not a good rule follower, I have very few rules in our house. They pretty much look like this:

-Respect yourself
-Respect others
-Respect your things

The end. We take baths because we respect the body God gave us. We stop chasing our sister when she yells "no!" because we respect others. We put away our things because we respect the blessings God gave us. Most behavior fits into the above three rules.

Our girls chat before bed time. Matt and I decide it isn't something we are going to fight. Who wants to end every night by yelling at your kids to shut up and go to sleep. Instead we have decided that part of the fun of sharing your room with your best friend is getting to be silly for a little bit before falling asleep every night. We put them to bed early enough that we don't worry about play time.

The other night I heard Eliana belly laughing a good 30 minutes after I put her to bed. And a few minutes later Addilyn was upset saying "I don't like it!". Matt when upstairs to see what was going on. I heard " Your cleaning this up in the morning!" and he came down the stairs in stitches. Apparently, in the boredom of a dark room, while putting off sleep, Eliana found a small hole in her pillow. She pulled out all the stuffing and needing somewhere to put it, decided to stuff it in her little sisters jammies. Matt came in the room to find a Cheshire cat and a stay-puff marshmallow man.

Now, the above situation clearly violates all three rules; you didn't respect your bodies need for sleep by playing, you didn't respect your sister and you ruined your pillow. Sigh. Maybe my children like rules as much as I do.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wove, Twue Wove...

And if you didn't finish this line from "Princess Bride" than you are no longer my friend.

Love is a funny thing. I think our culture has sold us a bill of goods regarding relationship and love. Here is the thing, love isn't a feeling. It isn't amazing sex, the tingle you get in your stomach when you see someone, obsession, hours spent gazing into each others eyes, long walks with sweaty hands. Sure, love CAN be that, but if that is all it is, you have come up short. I am not sure what you would call the above, but it isn't the full capacity of love.

Love is making sure your husband has clean underwear before a long trip, it is letting your spouse sleep in when you know they didn't sleep well the night before, it is being the first to say sorry when your pretty sure you were not wrong. It is picking the towel up off the bathroom floor for the 1,00oth time.

Love is a choice. Love is a servants heart, and least you think I put the cause of feminism back 100 years, let me say this: I serve Matt because I am his equal. If I served him because he was my superior, or I thought him to be, that isn't love but slavery.

Love isn't easy, it isn't something you FALL into. When you meet someone and they compliment who you are, when they bring out your best, encourage you, make you laugh, when the thought of waking up to there face every day for the rest of your life seems...doable. That is love. Easy is choosing to guard your heart. Easy is choosing to be angry and refuse to forgive when your rights have been violated. Love is forgiving before the other person apologises and that is hard. Love says "I will meet your needs and give 100%" even when the other person drops the ball and that is hard.

Love is intentional. For the first part of February, I choose love. I would like to believe that I make the choice to love Matt and my girls every day. But that isn't reality. Some days I am so focused on ME and MY needs and wants I forget to show love. Not for the next 14 day. I choose to be intentional and to honor my husband in some way, every day.

Love is an action word, not a passive feeling. I can love when I don't like. I can love when I am angry. I can choose to be patient and kind when I feel flustered and mean. I can choose to be happy for anothers blessings while feeling like my wants go unanswered. I can keep my blessings to myself and not rub it in others faces. Love will choose to hope when the heart wants to dispare. Love bites its tongue when you want to say "told you so". Love protects the least of these when it isn't really your problem. Love fights for truth when it isn't the easy thing to do and you would rather cover your butt. Love fights for right even when your beaten.

Today, I choose LOVE. Not the bleached, nicely packaged type of love that culture is selling. The messy love, the serving love, the giving love, the love that may cause pain but I will choose it anyway. Because life was never meant to be clean and neatly wrapped.