Saturday, June 18, 2016

Did That Really Just Come Out of My Mouth?

No great discovery here, but I've been processing lately the difficulties of being a left-brain parent raising a right-brain child.

Left Brain. That's me.

In case that picture isn't readable, let me summarize: likes a plan; rational; likes details; focuses on words, symbols, and numbers; rule-follower; keeps track of time; enjoys observing; analytical

Right Brain. That's my 10 year old.

Summary: Creative; sensory; difficulty with time; led by feelings; focuses on "whole", not details; risk taker; plan as you go; likes options

He's always building, always creating....always making a mess new invention. As I type, I hear pounding, cutting, and taping in the other room. His imagination amazes me, and I try to focus on the greatness of this rather than the stuff that is everywhere. Really, I do.

But it doesn't always come naturally. My left-brainness often gets in the way. This morning I heard phrase after phrase shoot out of my mouth. Here are the top ten I find myself most frequently saying these days:

1. No, you cannot light that on fire.

2. Is that thing alive?

3. You may not bring that into the house.

4. I SAID, "No snakes in the house!".

5. Has dad already said no to that question?

6. What are you doing with the matches?

7. I don't think your spiders will eat that.

8. You may.not.use.ANY.MORE.TAPE.

9. No science experiments on the carpet.

10. What do you need that knife for?

It's a constant balance of trying to figure out how to encourage his natural gifts while still teaching some responsibility. Sometimes it's also a balance of figuring out how to hang onto some sanity.

In case there is concern about the over-abundance of negative remarks in that list, rest assured that I have gotten very good at rephrasing things. Often my answers sound more like, "You should build a cool habitat for that thing thing outside."...."What an interesting creature. Is it still alive?"..."Grab your tablet and Google what you should feed the spiders."...and my favorite - "You need to wait for dad to get home before you light that on fire."

But snakes? Nope. No way. That one is still always, "I said, 'NO SNAKES IN THE HOUSE!'".

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Ten Years

2015 has been a year of remembering.


10 years ago March, getting the good news that we were expecting. After so many issues with infertility, we felt certain this time would be different.

10 years ago April, seeing the results of the sonogram that told us we would be enduring miscarriage #7.

10 years ago August, when we started praying about adoption.

10 years ago November, when we submitted our adoption profile.

10 years today, at this very moment, when we got the phone call telling us that we had been chosen. That a birth mother had selected us to adopt her baby. That this young women had asked the lawyer to call us on Christmas Eve so it would be a Christmas surprise for us.

10 years ago today when we spoke to her for the first time. We knew very little about her other than her name and where she lived. We would come to know more, but what do you say to the woman who is choosing for her baby to become your baby?

It's one of the most amazing acts of sacrificial love on this earth. I don't know how she did it, but we will be forever grateful. Thankful. Honored. Blessed.

Love comes in all different forms. We love our spouses differently than we love our kids.  We love our friends differently than we love our parents. There is a special kind of love for birth mothers as well. We don't know her well, but we love her for the gift she chose to give.

While not exactly the same, it reminds me of the gift Christ gave to us, starting in a manger and continuing to the cross. Selfless. Sacrificial. Amazing. Loving.

May your joy this season come from the the gifts that cannot be found under the tree, the gifts of family, of friends, and of Christ's love for you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


I love getting Christmas cards and letters in the mail. While social media is a fun way to stay connected with friends, I still love snail mail in the form of family pictures and annual updates about what is going on in friends' lives. Typically, I would jump in on the Christmas card bandwagon, but last year and this year I have failed miserably at making this happen. Instead, we'll use a fallback virtual version:

Here's what the Christmas letter would have said (mostly)...

It's that time again to look back and take a glimpse of the year that is quickly coming to a close. I would say that the year has flown by (which it has), and that life has continued to be crazy busy (which it has), but that seems to be how I begin every Christmas letter ever written. Maybe some day the intro will go something like this..."What an amazing year! This has been the most relaxing and kick back year we have ever experienced..."

Maybe someday. But for now...

The eldest child is in 7th grade this year. Sports have continued to take a high priority in his world. He played summer league basketball and MAYB in June, soccer in the fall, and is now back on the court for a new basketball season at school. Science and math continue to be his favorite subjects of study, but truth be told, he'd just rather hang out with his friends, camp at the lake, or play sports or video games. What teenager wouldn't? New events for him this year included starting junior high, hitting the big 1-3, and learning how to water ski.

The youngest child is in 4th grade this year. Bugs, spiders, snakes,
and all things gross have continued to take a high priority in his world. His mama struggles with this, although he has yet to suffer from a spider or snake bite, or need to be taken to the ER (now it is 99% sure to happen in the next three months). He also plays baseball and basketball, loves to sing and create things, and is a fish when it comes to swimming and tubing. Science and history are his favorite topics to study...once we can actually drag him out of bed and get him to school. He would function much better on a 10:00 am - 4:00 pm schedule. :)

The dear husband continues to be an engineer from 6:00 am 3:00 pm, a junior high basketball coach (and their bus driver) from 3:30-5:15 pm, and a 3rd/4th grade basketball coach from 7:30-8:30 pm. Thankfully that one is only one night a week and on weekends. It sounds crazy, but it is seasonal, so things will return to normal in March. In his spare time, he still serves on the local Fire/EMS crews.

My roles continue on as always - wife, mom, and school administrator; however, I did elect to stick with the "interim" part of last year's title and step back into an administrative role that requires a bit less time and responsibility.  I am blessed to work at the same school where my kids attend, and I am surrounded daily with amazing colleagues and students.

Highlights of our year included summer vacation to Tennessee and Florida, a trip to Illinois, summer weddings of former students, a visit from my brother over Thanksgiving, and a recent wedding celebration of friends. 

May the Lord bless you richly during this Christmas season.  Our prayer is that the focus is on the One who is the true meaning of the season, and that we celebrate the gift of a Savior all throughout the year.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!


Monday, December 21, 2015

Video Games May Have Been The Better Choice

Many days I struggle with how much to allow my boys to play video games. They love tablets, the Xbox, and time on the computer.  They would play all day every day if no one ever told them to stop.

Yesterday morning, the youngest had a bit of an attitude crying fit major meltdown over something ridiculous.  As a consequence, he lost his tech time for the day. This is typically the thing that hits home the hardest with him, but he frequently surprises me at how well he handles it.

What did he choose to do with all of his 'spare time'? Sit quietly and play Legos? Read a book? Play football with his brother?

Nope, nope, and nope.

He built forts.

All over the house.

With trip lines.

All over the house.

He became a sniper.

And I quote, "Sometimes when you are a sniper, you have to lay really still and have a lot of patience in order to get the bad guy."

That lasted for all of four seconds because laying really still would actually require patience. He decided it would be more exciting to shoot - with nerf bullets and a homemade shooter (see it hiding in the blankets?) - anything and everything just for the fun of it. If his brother walked into the room, that was just a bonus.

He had so much fun. So much fun, in fact, I am positive he learned nothing from his consequence.

I learned something, though. Forts and trip lines equal mess and clutter at every turn. BIG messes and lots of clutter.

Late in the evening, another discipline situation began to occur in which my dear husband threatened to take all his technology away for another day.

It took everything in me not to shout, "NOOOoooooooo!!"

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Top Ten - Wedding Style

This poor little blog has been severely neglected for the past six months. This neglect seems to occur more frequently than it used to, but I am going to try one more time to resurrect this tiny place of sanity in my world. I have missed documenting our journey, taking time to reflect on life, and finding a little humor in the craziness along the way.

Part of the reason for the lack of posting...I've been assisting for the past several months with trying to get these two married off.

Last weekend we were successful at this venture.

Since this was the first major wedding planning experience in at least 18 years for the mother-of-the bride, the bride, and for me, we were rookies through and through. We learned a few things along the way.

So, if you have a wedding coming up at any time in your future, take note of some very important wedding advice.

1.  Before buying even one item for the wedding, purchase stock in Hobby Lobby...and Sam's Club... and possibly Dollar Tree. Every time we completed our "very last shopping trip", we had to go again.  'Dollar Tree' may have become our new curse word by the end of the shopping sprees.

2. Speaking of money, start saving now. Your daughter is only 2 years old? That's okay. You'll thank us later.  Every.single.thing costs more money than you would expect it to. Don't believe me? Just ask the father-of-the-bride.

3. Buying tablecloths is just as expensive as renting them. Buying them seemed like the logical choice because who knows when you might have another event to plan? However, don't forget that every single tablecloth then needs to be laundered and folded. And folded. And folded. And folded...

4.When ordering invitations, it is best practice to be able to view them in person first. If you order them online, they may not end up being near as glitzy as they appeared on the computer screen...and you may end up glitter spraying 200 invitations and 200 insert cards on your porch.  On a positive note, your porch will be very sparkly.

5. When planning a wedding, knowing a CAD designer is a must. My husband whipped up this little plan, and it made life so much easier. Seriously. It seems crazy, but it was like our second brain.

6. Don't forget the garter. We came very close to doing this. It seems like an obvious item on the wedding list, but it never once appeared on ours.

7. When choosing friends, pick crafty, creative people. :) I like details, plans, spreadsheets, accuracy, and precision. I also like beauty, elegance, and the "wow" factor...unfortunately, the first list comes a bit more naturally to me than the second. Thankfully, we had friends and more friends (some we had never even met) jump in and help!

8. It might be wise to have the mother-of-the-bride purchase her dress more than one week before the wedding. Dress shopping (for her and for me) may have slightly cut into wedding week preparations (okay, I was more at fault than she was). She bought her dress one week before the wedding; I bought mine three days before. The sales people were a bit more panicked than we were. (Full disclosure: The dress I ended up with was actually dress #4. Three others had to be returned. I hate dress shopping.)

9. When picking a reception venue, avoid all choices which involve a basketball game occupying the facility until 10:30 pm the night before the wedding. Transforming a gym between the hours of 10:30 pm and 3:00 am makes for some very tired people...and lots of laughs and great memories. But, did I mention tired??

10. When picking a reception venue, ensure the electrical capacity of the facility will support your lighting visions. Losing panels of lights at 1:30 am during set-up causes a small amount of stress. Good thing we had experts on the scene.

Above all, enjoy every moment! We may have had our fill of glitter, shopping, creating, and planning, but it was all worth it to see the happiness on the bride's face on her wedding day. Celebrating the happy couple and spending time with friends and family is what it is all about!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Top 10 Vacation Mini-Moments

Today we headed out for the long, looonnnggg, loooonnnnnnnnggggggg drive home. It's always the moment when you really question your sanity about taking a trip so far away.

The week has been a great get-a-away. We have covered many miles, traveled through nine states up to this point, and have done some "big" vacation things.

There have also been a few smaller moments along the way that I want to be able to remember and laugh at years from now.  We'll call them "mini-moments".

Here are 10 that come to mind:

1) One of the best things about big vacations is having the boys learn about various parts of the country. For example, our youngest thought all the waiters and waitresses in Tennessee had to talk in a southern drawl type of accent for their jobs.  He was shocked to realize that was their normal way of speaking.

2) Throwback music. My husband raided our CD collection to stock the car with music for the trip. A better idea might have been to hand the 12 year old an iTunes card and had him load up the iTunes account.  Instead, we were serenaded with Rich Mullins, Ray Boltz, Wayne Watson, Michael W. Smith (from 1990) and Fernando Ortega for miles and miles. I'm not sure we've purchased a CD in over 10 years.

3) Florida stoplights - The longest we have ever experienced. No need to text and drive in Florida. You have plenty of time to keep the conversations going at every.single.light.

4) RaceTrac Gas Stations - We really need these where we live.  Ten flavors of soft serve ice cream and a toppings bar like we've never seen. Weird to have in a gas station, but we managed to look past that. Yummmm.

5) Always, always, always check the reviews of hotels before you book. This one we actually didn't learn the hard way...sort of. We booked a resort a long time before vacation. Four days before we left, I ended up reading some recent reviews. Elevators broken, restaurant closed, swimming pool dirty, terrible service...there was not one positive review in the last three months. We canceled, scrambled, and found a new one. A little more money, but we were so thankful we switched.

Except for...

6) Florida water.  Gross. The water at our hotel smelled terrible. At first I thought it was just at our location. However, at a restaurant they brought us water that tasted just like our water smelled. No thanks.

7) Funniest Car Comment from the youngest son: "That's what boys do, mom, they go crazy over stupid stuff.  No wait...that's what girls do." I'm not sure whether to laugh or be offended.

8) ALWAYS check to make sure there is toilet paper in the stall before using the restroom. Being the only female in the family makes it difficult to call in backup to come in and hand you some. This may or may not have happened to me today.

9) There are scary gas stations that need to be avoided in Montgomery, Alabama. My husband took the boys in to use the restroom, and by the time he had them inside, he was panicking that he left me alone outside. It takes a lot to panic my husband. We got out of there in record time.

10) Toll Roads - Guaranteed to cut your vacation budget in half. Florida definitely has figured out how to fund their roads.

Speaking of toll roads...I have a question. What does one do when the GPS takes you on an unexpected route and you happen to be on a toll road you weren't planning on, and you happen to exit on one of those "Exact Coins Only" toll booths? No change. No toll booth worker. No options. No warning. No nothing. What are you supposed to do?? Hypothetically speaking...of course.

The week is coming to an end. We have one more day of driving, and I am hoping for smooth and boring. After today's traffic issues and monster rain storms, we do not need any more memories to be made.

I would much rather just click my red shoes together and say the magic words...

There's no place like home.

Friday, July 17, 2015

We Are Turning Into Raisins

Day 6 of Vacation...More Water.

I literally could have packed a few swimsuits for each person, a couple of sets of clothes, and called it good.

Yesterday we headed to Aquatica.

Where it rained.

In case we weren't wet enough.

Thankfully, rain doesn't always mean lightening here, and the water was warmer than the rain. The wave pool was a favorite. Not of mine...Child #2 was seriously scary in there.

The big kid really wanted to ride the rides, but after this long line, he couldn't convince either of his sons to stand and wait and wait when there were things to do with no wait time. 

Needless to say, we spent a lot of time in the rapids, the lazy river, and the wave pool. 

And when the second rainstorm rolled in, we headed back to the hotel.
 For...yes...more swimming.

I thought these snorkeling things were pretty unnecessary when we got them, but as it turns out, they are pretty cool.  Granted, there isn't much to see in a hotel swimming pool, but the boys are having fun trying them out.  It is so strange to see them be able to stay under water for so long.

It's a good thing we had the pool all to ourselves. Other people may have thought these children were crazy.

We are obviously not from around here.