30 Dec
2014
Posted in: parenting
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Making Peace With Exhaustion in 2015

I’m exhausted, always. It really never matters how much sleep I’ve managed to enjoy. During a recent doctor’s appointment for me, the doctor asked if I thought I was more tired than normal. The thing is, I can’t actually remember not being a little tired. After chatting about my level of tiredness, I realized I’m not physically tired (well, sometimes), I’m emotionally and mentally exhausted, which rolls over to every other part of life.

The thing about parenting that wears me down is the vigilance required for the job. Something always requires my awareness, if just for a fleeting moment. I don’t remind the boys to take library books back to school. That’s their job, but I still remember it’s their library day and wonder if they have books. The same goes for numerous other items: lunches, gym clothes, musical instruments, homework.

four children wearing Santa hats standing in front of a church

I remember how tiring chasing after toddlers was years ago. I was primarily wary of danger. Now my vigilance is different. I’m forever waiting for that moment my tween feels like openly talking about life. I have to watch for the signs. Same thing for our fourth grader who saves his words for what’s important. I have to be ready for those bursts of sharing. I’m on alert for friend’s names to be dropped and remember those in the context of eating lunch with, playing sports with, in which class, etc. Not keeping names straight means the chance for a sigh from my tween, or possibly even the dreaded eye roll.

Likes and dislikes change seemingly all the time. One meal asparagus is the “in” food. The next it’s not. One breakfast only peach yogurt is wanted, then it’s plain vanilla. Pink is the best. No, it’s blue. Black is the only color of t-shirt worn, and then it’s green. I vigilantly file away the changes in the children to stay up-to-date with who they are. It’s exhausting.

I wonder if we’ve talked enough about drugs, alcohol, human nature, and human bodies. I drive myself bonkers keeping track of the myriad of ways I’ve thoroughly messed up this parenting job, multiplied by four. The vigilance is unrelenting and automatic. No wonder I’m tired. It’s no surprise I can’t remember the last time I genuinely said, “I am so rested today.”

But….even on the longest of days when I sit in the peaceful, late-night hours, I know I wouldn’t change any of the effort, the fatigue, or the endless thoughts about people other than myself. This year, like each year before, has been full of change. This new year will be no different. I don’t want to get caught in over-analyzing 2014 with its goodness and missteps. I’m capable of allowing myself to drown in reflection. Instead, I choose to give a nod to this year for its grace and lessons. Here’s to 2015 and 365 days of life and all it holds.

 


 
Hibernating Through the Holidays
By     |    Dec 28, 2014
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Hibernating Through the Holidays

Tomorrow morning the alarm will buzz, signaling the end to our holiday hibernating. The last four days have featured the six of us with board games, food and movies. We left for a sledding excursion and crafting essentials and returned to hunker down within the confines of our home. I haven’t looked at the calendar, and more importantly, I haven’t wondered how we’ll manage to get everyone to everything on the calendar. It’s been perfect. I’ve listened to LEGOs clink... [Read More]

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Bringing Back Christmas Spirit
By     |    Dec 23, 2014
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Bringing Back Christmas Spirit

I count the days until Christmas break. I look forward to the freedom of non-scheduled days and taking part in family traditions. I long for slow mornings with long breakfasts and second cups of coffee. We reacquaint ourselves with board games and craft projects. Bedtime is pushed later. I feel my shoulders relax as the two weeks go by. It’s the best of medicine. I only have to make it through that first day of break. That first day is... [Read More]

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DIY: T-shirt Quilt
By     |    Dec 18, 2014
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DIY: T-shirt Quilt

I appreciate a good craft project. I swear I can hear my glue gun and sewing machine calling to me when they’ve been neglected. My husband will often come home to find items painted or rearranged. Our kids enjoy being involved with sports, school and clubs. Over the years, they’ve amassed quite the collection of t-shirts from various organizations. They eventually are relegated to the pajama drawer. I saved outgrown shirts thinking I would find the perfect keepsake project. Two... [Read More]

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The Christmas Gift of a Good Day
By     |    Dec 17, 2014
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The Christmas Gift of a Good Day

The only things missing from today were rainbows and unicorns. Every nook and cranny of my day was filled to the brim with goodness. I wish I could bottle this feeling for those days when crawling in bed seems the only viable option. I know I shouldn’t feel the need to apologize or justify my good fortune, but I know others whose day fell far short of anything resembling good. I’ve been stuck in lackluster existence lately. There are too... [Read More]

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Counting Down 12 Days to Christmas
By     |    Dec 11, 2014
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Counting Down 12 Days to Christmas

I do best when I have a list to work from. I don’t forget things or continually push things to the next day if I’ve written it down (most of the time). I get great satisfaction from crossing tasks off a list. I may even write things down I’ve already accomplished just to cross them off. I’ve learned over the years to schedule family time along with to-do items. Our family countdown of the 12 days leading up to Christmas... [Read More]

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Avoiding Christmas Failure
By     |    Dec 10, 2014
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Avoiding Christmas Failure

Every year when we pull out Christmas boxes filled with decorations, I think I’m going to cutback this year. We won’t put up quite as many decorations and only do those traditions that we absolutely LOVE. Then I start sifting through the boxes with my helpers and quickly realize that’s not going to happen. Each tradition is special and each of the children can make an argument for why we most definitely cannot live through December without XYZ. We haven’t... [Read More]

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Always the Little Things
By     |    Dec 4, 2014
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Always the Little Things

I’m a fan of the small gesture. A text to say hello puts a smile on my face. I appreciate the effort put into a hand-written note or card found in my mailbox. A genuine compliment or inquiry into how I am makes me feel noticed.  You never know when two minutes of your time may be the bright spot in someone’s day. Our oldest son finished his first quarter in middle school on the honor roll. His name was... [Read More]

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Uniting for Santa Claus
By     |    Dec 2, 2014
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Uniting for Santa Claus

There are days when it feels like this family will always be three boys vs. one girl. They bicker. The boys are rough. The girl is not. She wants to change her clothes multiple times a day. They could care less what they wear. Seven years between oldest son to only daughter sometimes feels like much more. Then there are days when I see them for what they truly are. They are four siblings who love each other despite all... [Read More]

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The Abundance of Thanksgiving
By     |    Nov 27, 2014
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The Abundance of Thanksgiving

I spent yesterday in a kitchen with four kids baking and prepping food for the feast we’ll share with friends today. Christmas music was our soundtrack of choice. The counters were sticky. Crumbs littered the floor. Every single mixing bowl I own was dirty. The sink was full of dishes waiting to be cleaned. It was perfect. When I give myself time to truly reflect on what I’m thankful for, my breath catches. I live in a house with on-demand... [Read More]

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Take a Trip: WaTiki Indoor Waterpark
By     |    Nov 26, 2014
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Take a Trip: WaTiki Indoor Waterpark

We travel to the Black Hills of South Dakota a couple of times each year. Several times while we’ve visited Rapid City, our kids have asked to stop at WaTiki Indoor Waterpark. We’ve always managed to avoid the waterpark, until last weekend. Our second oldest chose to celebrate his 10th birthday at WaTiki. It seems most of our friends have driven the four hours to enjoy the water slides in the 30,000 square foot park, so we had a vague... [Read More]

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The Impact of a Decade
By     |    Nov 21, 2014
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The Impact of a Decade

Our second child hits double digits this weekend. We’ve had the privilege of calling him ours for 10 years. Those years hold so much life….accomplishments, laughs, travels, tears, struggles. I’ve caught myself this week involuntarily remembering moments from the last decade of J’s life. I’ll be washing dishes and be caught off guard by a moment from years ago. The night he was born, the nurse brought him to me all cleaned and wrapped like a baby burrito. I held... [Read More]

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