Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wondering what the "after" will feel like

For now, you can catch me here (in the first comment).

Lucy's written a lot about her mom - mostly sweet and funny memories.  She's written posts about what it's like to miss her mom, too.  I've searched and re-read a lot of those posts lately.  (Lucy, if you've been paying attention to your blog stats, that was me...)  I don't know if I'll say much more about what I'm feeling in this season, but in case you were checking in, well, here's just one of the reasons for the blog silence. 

An Interesting Day

I posted a status update on Facebook a few hours ago:

"It has been an interesting day..."

I got a couple of inquiries by folks just checking in, a couple of encouraging comments, and three likes.  I wasn't really trying to stir things up or make anyone super-curious, I was just commenting on the day thus far.  There was fodder for interesting conversation and there were some things that gave me pause, made me reflect.

We have actually had an interesting few days leading up to this point.  There have been things that make me question and pray, things that make me wonder if I really just need to grow a thicker skin, and things that have brought me to tears.  I have been frustrated, sad, annoyed, perplexed, thrilled, excited, and fearful. 

And no, reader, I'm not going to publish a laundry list of all those things here.  I hate to be "mysterious" - because truly, I'm pretty much an open book to anyone who knows me.  No poker-playing for me.  Now is simply not the time, and it may never be.  However, this is my space to share, to think, to save things for later.  For now, I'm using it to "think out loud."

There have been bright spots, for sure.  We spent a quiet day at home for the 4th of July (one of my favorite holidays, right behind Thanksgiving), and went over to a friend's house for lounging and fireworks later in the evening.  We had a lovely Saturday - the weather has been exemplary for this time of year, and I truly love having very few commitments and 'to-do' items for a weekend.  I have missed running with my BRF (best running friend) this week, but trading in an early morning run for a quiet Saturday morning did our whole family good.

I've never been more guarded, and yet more open and vulnerable, than since I went back to work last summer.  It sounds like such an oxymoron - like "deafening silence" - and yet it feels so very true. 

((I stopped writing at this point, and am coming back much later to review the draft.  I've decided to click "Publish" - 8.28.2014))

Saturday, June 28, 2014

More of birthday #8

Miss M needed a cake on her "real" birthday, and I was more than happy to oblige!  I love to bake, so birthdays are extra fun in that respect. I rarely bake cakes - we just never finish them - but there are usually some extra folks around for birthdays to help us out!

The day actually started with a fun new tradition, the birthday streamers, that Big J and I set up the night before. (And the birthday streamers started with Little J's birthday last year. Due to a crazy schedule, we needed something a little extra fun and crazy to commemorate his big day. It was such a hit, Miss M has been eagerly looking forward to it this year!)

It's sure hard to get good pictures at night! We set this all up the night before, after the kiddos were asleep. 

I missed seeing M wake up and discover all of the streamer craziness, but Big J said she loved it!

I let her take some selfies with my phone on the way to day camp, we had her well check that afternoon (thankfully no shots, and she was excited to get her hearing checked!), then met her Birthday Buddy (a friend from church with the exact same birthday, just a couple of hours older) for ice cream. That evening, we had dinner at a restaurant of her choosing (Cheddar's) and came home for birthday cake!  Yep, you can have two desserts on your birthday - and one before dinner!

There were a few gifts waiting at home - a couple of art and activity books and a camp chair in her favorite color (blue!). She's also gotten a couple of birthday cards with money and gift cards, so today we took her shopping to buy something special. She picked out a Lego set, which she completed with just a little help.  I'm pretty sure she's going to enjoy Lego camp later this summer!

Happy #8, M!

My kids are growing up, y'all. And last weekend we had a party for the littler of my littles (though they really are not so little any more). Miss M turned 8!  We had a small, backyard party that she helped plan. She also helped with some of the favors and decorations. Our theme was "magical rainbow" - and here's a bit of what we put together...

Wreath for the front door with removable number 8. As you can see, I hadn't actually attached it at this point. 

Water bottles - and plenty of them - since the weather would be pretty warm, even for a party in the morning. 

Tissue paper pins for decorations - eventually hung underneath the canopy we set up (to provide some shade for the refreshments). 

Party favors in progress - magic wands, of course! These were definitely a team effort - and so much fun!  Each party-goer got their own color or wand, silly string, and goody bag (see other items in the background).

Cake pops!!! So yummy! And all 35 disappeared between party goers and parents (Miss M is ever the hostess, so she gave them to parents as they picked up their kids from the party).  Which was good, since I knew I'd be baking a layer cake for her actual birthday.

Centerpiece painted by Miss M!

The refreshment table. I didn't get a good pic of the poms hanging underneath - but they really added a lot!

It was such a low-key, fun morning! Additional festivities and pictures to follow - her real birthday wasn't for a couple more days!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Girls' Weekend - Success!

This is a little late, but just wanted to give a shout out to my mom, my sis, my cousin, and my little girl. 

Y'all know I hate to shop (except for groceries and running clothes, go figure...), but I was really in need of some new clothes, and these ladies spent part of our girls' weekend helping me find some.  Four {four!} pairs of jeans, several tees, tops, & tanks, and even a summer dress (on clearance!) later, I'm well ahead of the game.  Most of y'all are thinking, "Isn't girls' weekend all about shopping?"  Maybe, but not of the "I'm desperate, the seasons are changing and I have no pants" variety.  And besides, we like to eat and then check out the clearance racks at Target.  These ladies took me to the mall! 

And my little girl, well, she is not only growing up into a responsible young lady, but she's got a great sense of style, too.  Not to mention her awesome sense of humor!  We had some awesome mom-and-daughter time on the drive down and back.

It would be a shame if I didn't mention that my husband and son enjoyed their weekend, too.  My son asked me last night if we could have kid-and-parent time every weekend!  Or at least more often :)

I think it's a wonderful idea!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer is winding down! (Brain Dump Edition)

I cannot believe that Mister J returns to school in two weeks and Miss M in just 9 days!  This is the part of summer that usually has me getting excited, but I can't start the back-to-school countdown just yet.  You see, M is away at her first spend-the-night - and she got to stay for two nights!  She's been having a ball, which makes me so happy!  Also, I've had some one-on-one time with J.  I think we should make time to do this more often, but somehow we manage to let our "free" weekends get away from us.  They are few and far between, and we often spend time enjoying the simple fact that they are unplanned.  But even a few hours one-on-one would be something to celebrate.  Hmmm...  Food for thought.

I've managed to continue running throughout the summer, and even improve my pace!  I cannot wait for cooler weather - I love to run in the fall and winter.  Actually, I just love to run - which is how I've managed to keep up the routine over the summer (though I did take a bit of a break early on).  I am thankful for the cooler-than-normal summer, and think that's a big reason I've been able to continue running.  I have also reached the point that I don't ditch a run just because my running buddy can't make it.  I'm tackling those mental roadblocks and learning to enjoy being out there even if it's just me.  However, I do have a bit of a physical roadblock - so I'll be taking at least a few days off.  I've managed to deal with (and treat) pain from a tight quad and I've conquered plantar fasciitis, but I've been sidelined because I took a spill on (or rather, off of) a bike yesterday.  Ouch.  Most of the impact was to my elbow and shoulder, but I also have a bruised hip.  I'd love to say I'll be back out there Wednesday morning, but that may be a bit too ambitious.  Darn.

And - surprise! - I've taken a part-time job at our church.  It's 4 mornings a week, and when school is in session it will be during the kids' school day - perfect!  I'll do drop-offs and pick-ups just like always, and I'll be home for homework in the afternoons.  I started about 3 weeks ago, so we've had to do a bit of juggling with camps, transportation, and child care - but thankfully Big J has some flexibility with work and the kids are able to entertain themselves if he is working from home.  I think the transition to the school year may be a bit challenging - I'm used to grocery shopping on Monday mornings, going for a run in the late morning, and spending a day doing laundry.  I know that part of my schedule will necessarily change - and I'll still need to fit in volunteer hours at school on my day off - but I'm certain we'll figure it out.  I have to admit, these first few weeks have left me worn out in the afternoon.  It seems odd to me - because it's an administrative position - that I should be so tired in the afternoons.  Again, another adjustment and I know it'll just take a little time. 

For now, I'm looking forward to getting the last of the school supply shopping complete, meeting the kids' new teachers, and getting back into a routine.  Summer is fun, and I love that we can send our kids to camps that feed their interests, but some of us around here seem to operate better with a routine.  (Um, that would be me and Mister J!)  Also, I love fall.  Jeans weather!  Camping weather!  Running capris weather! 

So, how've you been doing?  What do you love about this time of year?  Or do you prefer summer?