Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Emily is headed to the capital!!

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My middle daughter Emily is headed to the State Capitol with a few friends from her class to participate in the YMCA Youth Assembly. When she first told me about this opportunity I felt like this was an important opportunity for her. I am pretty sure that all of my kids will make a positive impact on the world, but Emily is the most vocal about it. She is the one who worked with her student council to implement recycling systems in her school, and she is the one who I expect will do more to help people than she can even imagine right now.  I am thrilled for her to have this opportunity, but she can't get there without some help. Here is what she says about it:

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I am an 8th grade student and I am looking for opportunities to further contribute to the growth of my education. The Georgia Youth Assembly is a three day seminar in which students my age can meet lawmakers and go to workshops where we would learn how laws affect citizens. To participate, I have to come up with my own bill to be viewed and possibly voted on by the House of Representatives of GA. I set out to draw lawmaker's attention to the problems within the education system we currently have now and, as I grow older, I hope to be able to use this experience to inform my passion for human rights and justice. I need to raise $200, so please donate

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Pendalton King Park

We went to Pendelton King Park on the 7th to meet up with some friends and it was such a fun adventure!! There is a tank. Need I say more? The boys scrambled up onto it in a blink. 



Happy 1st Birthday Grayson!!< br />

It was such a fun day with the boys that I dragged the family there the following weekend.

When I find a pretty brick wall I take pictures. period.
when you have six kids the chances of all of them cooperating for a family picture are slim to none.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Fruit cocktail

It's funny how a thing as simple as a can of fruit cocktail can stir up so many memories as I spoon out a few pieces of fruit onto Grayson's tray.

I grew up eating this stuff at least every week. My kids don't eat it very often at all. I don't really have an answer as to why. I bought a can on sale to go in some jello that I never got around to making. 

My mom used to say that the grapes were gross. I used to think she was crazy but said "yay, more for me" now I agree with her and I have a moment of silent solidarity across the span of years and miles. 

My parents grew up in the age of canned food. I think about this as I pour out what the baby won't eat for his brothers. I think about how my kids are growing up in an age of instant food. Pouches, microwaves, the drive-thru. Good for sometimes but not for always. 

I have been really stressed-out lately. I have noticed how the first thing to go for me is healthy eating habits. I'm over here with my coffee and my Reece's pieces, trying to decide between hot dogs and frozen chicken fingers for dinner. 

I was talking to a friend about this today. We pushed our babies in swings and talked about our eating habits. About how imperfect we are and how far from our ideal. I told her that my newest motto has been "how can I make this 1% better?" She reminded me not to focus on what I'm taking out of my diet but what we are adding into it and I think she is wiser than she gives herself credit for.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

procrastination

I am supposed to be writing a post for my upcoming series for the #write31days blogging challenge, but I took these pictures for this guest-blog post on my friend Sarah's blog. And I thought that there were so many cute pictures of my boys being cute that I had to share a few some.


Someone looks happy to be allowed to use the camera remote!

Just a little bit of silliness.

I think Grayson is ready to be done.

You can always count on Eli for a little bit of silliness during a photoshoot.

Grayson is really really done with this.

Hmmmm, what does this white powder taste like?

Thumbs up.

Touchdown

Friday, June 17, 2016

Brave when I am angry

This is not something I particularly want to admit but I have been feeling angry lately. A lot. Frustrated, burned out, defeated, ready to give up, angry. 

Brave when I feel angry means admitting it, even when I feel a little bit ashamed of myself for responding to my so-very-good life like this. 

Brave when I feel angry means dropping the defenses, letting my hands fall weakly to my lap and admitting that I'm struggling right now. That I totally lost it with my son and was strait up harsh with my daughter. 

I feel a little bit like I'm drowning in kids and what I feel is rage. I'm super-frustrated by how quickly the days are going by and how little is getting done. I'm exhausted by the 24x7x6 parenting that I am doing by myself because my husband is working long hours right now. 

I keep asking God "What does it mean to be brave in this moment?" For me, right now, it means to go to God, openly honestly and allow myself to be comforted. I expected Him to be mad at me for being mad at my kids, but instead the Holy Spirit offered comfort. 

Now I need to turn around and offer that comfort to my kiddos.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Brave when I'm overwhelmed

am strait-up, flat-out overwhelmed right now. I have got SO much going on these days just trying to keep up with my kiddos. Some days I feel like I'm a human pinball machine and I am just so done right now.

So here I crawl under my covers and I'm asking myself "what does it mean to be brave in this moment? what does it mean to be brave when I'm just so overwhelmed I can't stand it.

For one thing - it means doing exactly what I'm doing now. Go to bed. Like now. When I'm overwhelmed I try to make sure I'm getting enough sleep, which means getting to bed on time. And actually going to sleep, not scrolling through Facebook or Pinterest till 1am. 

It means I have to set some boundaries, saying "no" even to good things because I am a mess if there is too much going on all at the same time. It means leaving and guarding the margin in my days and in my mind and heart and bank account, so that I'm not totally maxed out. 

It might mean that I need to ask for help  I'm truly terrible at asking for help, but sometimes I at least text my friends and ask them to pray for me and this helps more than you'd think. 

But I think the bravest thing we can do when we are feeling overwhelmed is to stay open to others. Open to other people's pain and needs.  Yes, I may be feeling at the end of my rope but that doesn't mean that I should roll myself up into a little ball. 

So that's what I'm thinking about tonight. How about you?

Monday, June 6, 2016

When I ought to be happy... but I'm not


Summer is sunshine and long days and late nights. Summer is celebration and happy colors and friends. Summer is freedom from the demands of a schedule, it's sitting poolside and popsicles and isn't it supposed to be fun? This week I've been over here like "this is supposed to be fun! I'm supposed to be happy! What's wrong with me? Why am I not happy?!"

This week I've had to embrace the grace for this transition. I've been able to look at myself and say "I'm not happy. This is hard for me. I sometimes struggle with transitions, but I'm confident that before long I'll hit a new stride and we'll be okay. It's okay that I'm not loving every minute of this. It won't be like this forever". 

So right now I'm here offering the sympathetic hugs and the metaphorical fist bump as we transition to the summer. 

For better or worse here are a couple of things I'm trying to do during this transition, aside from letting myself off the hook: 

Adjust expectations 
My husband works in HVAC. He literally got home from work last night at ten o'clock and he had to turn away work in order to get home that early. He came home, took a shower and went to bed. After a long day of full-contact parenting yes, I would have liked for him to be home earlier eaten dinner with us and taken over for a little while. But during this busy season of work that's an unrealistic expectation. If my expectation is that he's going to be working long hours this summer then resentment won't have a chance to rob me of my joy. 

I also choose to lay down the expectation that my kids are going to get along every single moment of every single day and that my teenagers are going to have good attitudes - we're all humans here and we're all going to have bad days and grumpy moments. It's okay.

Gather moments of gratitude 
It is important for me to keep some kind of gratitude journal when I'm stressed out. I sometimes find my internal monologue becoming a list of everything that went wrong today. Choosing to try to notice the good things that happens during the day helps me change that inner monologue to one of gratitude instead of disappointment or exasperation or STRESS. 

Plan for joy
I am guilty of going in auto-pilot during busy times. I sometimes find that I've spent all day at home with my kids but I haven't really spent any quality time with my kids. I've talked at them all day but there wasn't a lot of time for hugs or smiles or encouraging words. I've been trying to ask myself "how can I plan for joy" for example one night I got out some balloons and turned on some happy music. Other times it's been pancakes for dinner and a dance party in the kitchen. It's not something that comes naturally for me but it's something I'm trying to get better at. 

Create rhythms in the day 
for example: for better or worse we have been watching Kung Fu Panda: legends of awesomeness the cartoon on Hulu almost every night before bed. It gives me a moment with the kids to just sit before the bedtime debacle. It also gets the kids calm(er) at the end of the day and it brings us together. It would be awesome if we were gathering around something more meaningful but this is my real life. 

I am also attempting to keep meal times at about the same time, our moments of going out and staying home and being quiet at around the same time every day. Not all days follow the pattern but I try to keep a simple block schedule even during the summer. I feel better, and I think so do the kids. 

Get outside 
it might seem like a no-brainier but here in the Deep South it is sometimes easy to choose air conditioning over sunshine - but getting outside every day always makes everyone a little bit more cheerful. The boys are less hyper and the girls are less grumpy. Sometimes when I'm just totally Loosing My Mind this is my go-to move.
  
Here are a couple of resources that have fallen into my lap this week that I thought I'd share. 
Emily P Freeman is offering 7 days of still moments of pause. I highly recommend them.
Jess Connolly is offering some worksheets "Summer Guide to THRIVE"