Archive from September, 2015
29 Sep
2015
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Small Acts of Kindness, Big Effects

I rarely ask for help with the logistics of running a family. We have no grandparents to give us a hand, so all chauffeuring and encouragement at activities falls fully on Craig’s and my shoulders.

It’s exhausting and rewarding and really exhausting to be the only ones who are there to watch the kids succeed and, sometimes, struggle in their various activities. Sharing the load makes for less stress and frees room for more enjoyment. I’m looking forward to having a teenage driver here in the next few years simply for one more person available to chauffeur.

boy running during a flag football game

Most of the time I enjoy the challenge of ensuring everyone’s schedules work together. Today was the straw on the proverbial camel’s back. I knew weeks in advance that today’s schedule was logistically impossible with just two drivers. One driver had to take one child for the evening to a football game 30 minutes away leaving the other driver with three kids and three activities at roughly the same times held nowhere near each other.

Allowing one activity for each child adds up to a lot of activities. There are only a few weeks left in football, and the end of that season frees much of our afternoons and evenings. My choices for today were to call in reinforcements or curl up in the fetal position and give up. It took three friends to help feed children, drive children and supervise children for tonight to work. I know my friends would say it was no big deal, but for someone who doesn’t ask for help, today was a wonderful reminder of the goodness of people.

Knowing the children were all being cared for allowed me to actually relax and enjoy my assignment, our oldest son’s football game. Normally, I’m constantly checking my watch to make sure I’m not late running one of the children to another activity.

teenager finishing homework with a laptop

I believe at times we over-think our acts of kindness. We attempt to go big by purchasing coffee for strangers or adopting families during the holidays. Big acts of kindness are wonderful and necessary in their own right, but the small everyday acts we can do without much effort or expense shouldn’t be down-played. The kindness shown us today eased the pressure on our family and that is no small act.

I’ve chosen to block out the fact that two members of the family ate take-out pizza in the vehicle, one child was doing homework until almost 10 p.m., and no one did anywhere near 20 minutes of required reading. Kindness received blurred the edges of tonight’s less than stellar moments.


 
Learning from the Center
By     |    Sep 25, 2015
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Learning from the Center

Football. It’s all-consuming in our house in the fall. The boys play it, talk about it and watch it. After school is scheduled around when, where and who needs to be at what field with two boys playing tackle football and one playing flag football. It’s our fault they’re passionate about the sport. We’re the ones who opened that door years ago. I was a newspaper sports reporter before I was a mom. Sports was what I watched, researched and... [Read More]

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Relieved about Mothering a Teenager
By     |    Sep 20, 2015
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Relieved about Mothering a Teenager

I woke up this morning the mother of a teenager, and I feel relieved. Yes, time goes too fast. Yes, I cannot believe our oldest is 13 years old. BUT, despite all the times I’ve felt like I failed our son, he’s thrived for 13 years, and I can see the all those lessons we’ve taught him taking hold. Today I’m patting myself on the back and high-fiving Craig. We’ve been parents for 13 years with no instruction manual or... [Read More]

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Lessons from “The Nightingale”
By     |    Sep 18, 2015
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Lessons from “The Nightingale”

I read the words, “I always thought it was what I wanted: to be loved and admired. Now I think perhaps I’d like to be known.” I slowly inhaled and gently closed the book. To be known, for someone to clearly and completely understand who you are, and love you anyway, this is what I want. I found the words for my feelings on the fourth page of Kristin Hannah’s “The Nightingale.” The story is lovely and sad, but honestly,... [Read More]

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Our Girl Turns 6
By     |    Sep 15, 2015
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Our Girl Turns 6

When we found out I was pregnant with our fourth child, I knew it was a boy. I thought I was destined to be a mother of men and liked the idea of a house full of boys.  At my 20-week ultrasound appointment, my doctor told us our baby had a hamburger, not a hot dog. We were adding a girl to the family. I left in disbelief. Not because I didn’t want a daughter, I thought we only made... [Read More]

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Adding to Our List of Unique Camping Experiences
By     |    Sep 9, 2015
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Adding to Our List of Unique Camping Experiences

We’re tent campers, so when we have the chance to camp with an actual roof over our heads, it’s a luxury. We actively search for ways to avoid bringing a tent, cots, and air mattresses while still enjoying the camping experience. Six sleeping bags require quite a bit of packing space. This summer we’ve slept in a yurt, a tipi and now a U.S. Forest Service guard station. The Forest Service has cabins of varying degrees of size, amenities and cost... [Read More]

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Avoiding a School-Induced Panic Attack
By     |    Sep 2, 2015
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Avoiding a School-Induced Panic Attack

Today marked the start of my 8th year with kids in the public school system. More importantly, it was the first time I left school at drop-off with no children. I’d like to say it was no big deal, but it was infinitely worse than I imagined. None of this has to do with the children. The children were fine, excited even. Today was selfishly about me. The kids, even our freshly-minted kindergartner, are pros at this school thing. They... [Read More]

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Pallet Fest 2015
By     |    Sep 1, 2015
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Pallet Fest 2015

Cities and I have a precarious relationship. I like the idea of visiting a city, but inevitably, the closer we are to a city the more my desire to visit fades. Traffic makes me antsy. Crowds make me anxious. The abundant choices are overwhelming. I can only handle a city for a long weekend before I have to search for open spaces and less traffic. I do enjoy the novelty a city offers. I crave the unique and free-spirited. I... [Read More]

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