Saturday, May 16, 2015

Belonging. Running. Life.

For the most part, I'm an encourager. I look for the best in people. I try to find it in myself. I am not and never will be the smartest, cutest, best, the funniest, fastest, kindest. Maybe you aren't all or any of those things either. (Actually, you probably aren't. Sorry if this is new information.) And that's just dandy because I'm just me and you're just you and we were made for special things in this glorious, horrible world.

I'm in this weird space in my life. Hmm. I am always in that space, now that I think about it a bit. To be more specific, I am over the moon thrilled at where I am. I feel like I am in just the house in just the neighborhood in just the town for my family and me. I've loved where I've lived before, but it's always felt like a stopping point on a bigger journey. Now I feel like my roaming days are over, but my journey is just beginning.
I mean, really, what's not to love. This is my front yard!
Yet something is missing. We haven't quite found our people here yet. We are getting to know many great families through sports, church, and homeschool events, but we haven't found our tribe. I miss my running friends. I miss coaching Moms on the Run. Not running with that group has been a big adjustment for me this spring as I tackle runs on my own and miss the fun, laughter, and support that has accompanied my runs since I began running five years ago.

A few weeks ago I went for a run, knowing the Moms on the Run season was about to start without me. I was grieving my place there, missing my friends, feeling jealous of the people taking my place. It wasn't a pity party; it was just a lot of emotions. My mind went to the introduction I would give on the first night of class. There are so many people there who wonder if they belong. Who have never run before and feel like they're sticking out like a sore thumb. Who haven't run since college and about 30 pounds and four babies ago. Who wonder if they have the right running shorts or shoes or if everyone's going to stare at them like a middle school dance.

In my mind, I was telling them that they belong. There is no dress code or prerequisite. There is no test to pass and no hoops to jump through. There is just strength and determination and love and the guts to do something new and push themselves harder and be the best version of themselves they can be.

Isn't that all we can ever do?
I bought this print from Story People and it will hang in our school room because it is perfect!

Whatever you're facing today, wherever you're second guessing yourself and beating yourself up, please know that you are loved. You are cherished. You are appreciated. You belong.
believe this!
So let's go out there and be the best version of ourselves we can be. Let's overwhelm the world with good and love and forgiveness, including forgiving ourselves when we falter. The world needs more of that. The world needs more of you.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

They made me breakfast in bed, but then left the toddler with me while they went down to eat and he quickly scarfed down half of my egg and over half of my pancake.

They made me a wonderful scavenger hunt leading to my utterly fantastic Mother's Day gift: wood to build our very own Little Free Library. I've wanted one for years and now it's going to happen. I squealed like a happy little piglet.
Some in pajamas, some ready for church, some in no socks, all squinting in the sun. That's what happens on scavenger hunts. Soon these boards will be my Little Free Library!
A new neighbor came over while I was finding my gift in Jim's trunk and plowed our driveway for free.

Asher discovered that his outfit had a zipper on it and no onesie underneath so he had fun being Fabio for the morning. Don't know Fabio from back in the day? Google romance novel book covers.
He's pretty pleased with himself. 

We all got our sensible shoes on and went to stand on the deck for a Mother's Day picture. Man, I love these kiddos. Man, I love our home. I look at these pictures and feel so absolutely, over the top fortunate to be in this place in my life. Wowzers.

We went to church after a short hiatus for our final move and apparently one or two of the children forgot church etiquette so that was kind of loud, but we heard about loving people through all of the ruckus. Even the people who are really hard to love and that hurt us and don't agree with us. Actually, especially the people who are difficult to love. Like the kid who pushes your button for the 13th time in eight minutes and the husband who stays out too late and the wife who complains about doing the dishes and the person in prison for domestic violence and the person on the opposite end of the political spectrum and the parent who abandoned you and the boss who fired you and on and on the list goes. It gave me a lot to think about, especially since the first half of my blog is called Big Love. How Big am I loving? How Big am I loving the people in my house and the people down the street and the people around the world?

We came home and made sandwiches for lunch and then I took a nap. Oh yes I did!

I really wanted to get started on my Little Free Library right away, but it just didn't work out yesterday. Instead we took a family walk and explored our new neighborhood a bit. The boys made it extra special by shooting imaginary fart, poop, and puke darts at each other and then took it to the next level with poop nuclear bombs. I put the kabosh on the bathroom talk and we carried on our merry way. It was chilly and wonderful and I pushed my baby in the stroller and held my husband's hand and then Audrey's hand and then Elliot's hand and Isaac stood next to me, just seven inches shorter than me.

We came home for dinner. We had loaded baked potato with green chili and roasted veggies. The kids decided it was a fine day to see how long they could suck on limes. Oh my stars, was it hilarious. I think Audrey owes Elliot $1 since he kept a piece of lime in his mouth for 2 minutes. They sucked on them and ate them and basically tortured themselves and Jim, Asher, and I just watched and laughed.

Doesn't this look like fun?!
Then it was stories and lullabies and prayers and bedtime. We cleaned up a bit and I got ready for our school week. I was about to go to bed when Asher woke up and wouldn't go back to sleep in his own crib so there was a big 26 pound baby snoozing on my chest or right next to me all night long.

That was my day. Not perfect, but just right for me. Fun and relaxation, silliness and kid antics, sleeplessness and joy. Pretty much a regular day, with a trunk full of wood and fewer dishes to do. I'll take it!

I'm kind of in the sweet spot for Mother's Day. I have these four kids that bring joy and love and laughter and gray hair to my life. I have a mom that I love and live close to for the first time in over half of my life. I know great, strong, loving women in the form of grandmas and step-moms and friends and sisters-in-law. I have hit the Mother's Day mother lode. And this year more than any other year I am so very aware of my great fortune. My mom is a phone call away. For Mother's Day I gave her brunch at her favorite restaurant and a pedicure, a date for the two of us to share together. My kids are growing and thriving and we are in a place we love after so many months of uncertainty.

So on this day after Mother's Day, when brunch is over and flowers have started to fade, phone calls have been made and we're back to doing all of the dishes, I'm just sending out love, support, and internet hugs to people who ache to be mamas from the tips of their toes to the ends of their noses. To people who had to say goodbye to their moms far too soon and still miss the sound of their voice and still go to the phone to call them with good or bad news, only to realize all over again that they're gone. To people who don't have a relationship with their moms because of past hurts. To moms who don't have a relationship with their kids for any number of reasons, not one of which eases the pain of going through life without your child in it.

However you celebrated, if you celebrated at all, whether you were missing someone fiercely or were surrounded by love, whether you reveled in the day or wished it away entirely, just know you're thought of and loved and appreciated. I hope someone told you that yesterday and the day before and today. I hope you hear it tomorrow, too, and then the next day.

How did you celebrate Mother's Day? 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Moving with a toddler

And now, for your viewing pleasure, I present to you Moving With a Toddler, a photographic overview.

Choochie woke up from nap and wanted to "help" paint

Behind that softball glove is a boy obsessed with ball-balls and hellbent on either being with mama while she unpacks or running straight into the road. This was our best solution.
The rental house was 98% empty and Asher decided to squeeze a nap into our schedule.

Chaos. So much chaos.

Things have gotten much better since that last picture was taken, but it is safe to say that the getting settled process is very, very, turtle trekking through quicksand, slow.

But, we're home. And it feels so fantastically wonderful.

I'll be back tomorrow (hopefully) with more on handling the stress and unpredictability of moving with four small humans in the house. Key word: Raw Hotdogs. :)