Friday, December 25, 2015

The magic is in the mess

Just a reminder that we are not alone in the mess.

'Every year as I think about my own life and reflect upon what my family and what many of the people around me are going through this Christmas, it’s clear that struggle doesn’t take off for the holidays.
The gremlins don’t go on vacation. Checks bounce, chemotherapy appointments are scheduled, interventions are planned, relationships keep unravelling, being alone feels even lonelier, parents negotiate who will have the kids on Christmas morning, and the “never enoughs” are in full swing.
As I prepare to spend the next few days with my family and friends I come back to this: I will find my holiday magic in the mess. I will practice love and gratitude with the special group of folks who keep showing up and loving me, not despite my vulnerabilities, but because of them.' -Brene Brown

 I will find my holiday magic in the mess. I will practice love and gratitude with the special group of folks who keep showing up and loving me, not despite my vulnerabilities, but because of them.' 

That has been my motto this holiday Christmas Season. 
Try to be present. 
Practice love and gratitude. 
Find those that see your vulnerabilities and show up anyways. 
Seems nice on paper.
Much harder in practice. 

There will never be enough time,
or enough money

but love. 
We got that covered. 

Christmas Magic.

I am the first person to raise my hand for some of that,
but its a funny thing Christmas Magic,
it can be hard to find
and even harder to see
unless you really believe.

It takes effort to find it.

See it.

Make it.

yes indeed I will find my holiday magic in the mess.
The pictures they capture the magic.
Not the mess. 
Work late, Last minute shopping, no groceries,
giant to-do list, hence the Styrofoam bar take out, mess that we call every day life around here.

We all have worries.

Things to do.


Those don't go away just because it is Christmas. 

I don't want my kids to ever think that Magic just happens,
because it never will.

Real life just  happens. 
Being able to stop and make magic.
that's the true gift here. 
 Before you ask, Yes that is his real hand. Yup.
....but as discussed with Cohen today, Magic has two sides. 
Sometimes people forget...
Of course there is that side we all know,
the "wow" side,
The "HOW?!" Side,
but did you know there is a 2nd side of magic?
There is!
The other side of magic is making it happen,
It's gets far less attention that is for sure but 
I promised...
that doesn't make it any less magical. 

Welcome to the other side of magic.
We are going to have so much fun!

Merry Christmas! 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Don't let FOMO kill your MOJO

My kids are growing up.

Some days I can feel time slipping away. 
Like, tangibly feel it. 

No school today for the kids, prompted me to knock off work at noon. 
We were craving sun light and *maybe* just a little fun.

The kind of fun that makes time stand still (at least for a moment)

I threw around the idea of the pumpkin patch, maybe a movie,
If we did a pumpkin patch,
would we go for the gusto, otherwise known as Vala's or
in usual fashion hit a knock off?

I was leaning toward Hoop-la to be honest! 
After all in not so kids won't care to do the pumpkin patch anymore.
*insert tragically sad face

Thankfully a last min meeting came up at work, 
which resulted in car pooling.
Car pooling thankfully with the co-workers I am blessed with
results in chatter.
Sometimes deep, though provoking.
Sometimes shallow.
Sometimes surface level.
Today...casual and free flowing.
During that drive I said 
"Am I looking for hoopla? Is it the hoopla that matters or is it the experience?"
Initially it was an honest question but quickly I knew the answer.
So the "knock off" was it!

It took a solid 90 seconds for confirmation I'd made the right choice!
At the front gate....Megan! 
(my college roommate and dearest, best friend ever)
On a field trip from their new home and school in Brady! 
You can't make this shit up people.


...but no.
No such thing people. 
Look around.
Find them in your life!

We fully dove into the rest of the day.

I was a bit worried that I would feel like we missed something....
something bigger,
by not going with "hoopla"
Like we missed out.
I hate that feeling.


Now I fear we would have missed something....

something bigger,...



if we had gone with hoopla

 Do you know how long we played in the corn?
Me neither.
That my friends is....
letting go. 

 I know tomorrow brings with it....

but every so often it is sure nice to escape from it.

Perhaps literally inside a giant orange jump house pumpkin?!

 so I guess bring on tomorrow...

reality ain't got nothin' on this 

So whether you 're out camping with your kids,
jumping full pocket book into Hoopla,
hitting up the knock off,
just don't miss it
because days like today
are rare gifts
mixed in among the more common days 
filled with homework, tantrums, parent teacher conferences, mom guilt,
work, stress, wishing for silence, begging for silence,  
worry, running to and fro, go go go. 

...and think about what you want...really want. 
not what you're afraid you'll miss
because I sit here tonight feeling blessed that I didn't end up letting that drive 
our direction today.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

everyday kinda beautiful

"Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet." -Bob Marley

I had nothing to do with this happening,

as it was already in progress when I arrived home.

 It was one of those days.
Not bad.
Not good.
Just exhausting.
I told the kids my brain was tired today. 


This was a gift.
Given at the right time
on the right day.
A reminder to stop thinking, worrying, and doing for a split second
and just be present.
It's the everyday kind of beautiful that can be quietly missed. 

When my brain is tired it is hard to feel the rain.
I (as do all mom's) do so much for our kids and families that goes 
un-noted, unnoticed, un-thanked.
These moments
Like today
 These are the moments where they do so much for me 
and I am thankful I didn't miss it. That I didn't let the moment go
 un-noted, unnoticed, un-thanked. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Wants vs Priorities

So a short discussion evolved today but of course I can't stop reflecting on it.
If an anonymous check showed up for like $20,000, what would you really do with it?
First off it's silly cause $20,000 isn't going to drop from the sky in real life, 
but yet here is my mind mulling it over. 

My first thoughts went towards the obvious things, 
so for a moment here was my first train of thoughts...

"Oh a dishwasher, OMG how do we still not have a dishwasher, OHHH the bathroom, update the bathroom and the kitchen, including the dishwasher, and windows, and siding, and its time to trade off the van, and update the pick up which is dying...DISNEY! Oh yeah Disney! Yes, Disney would make the list! Maybe a trip to the tropics. OH yes the kind of vacation where you really vacation and just hang out at the beach and drink umbrella drinks........wait how much money was it? $20,000?  I just overspent it didn't I??! If this is a hypothetical game can we change the amount?" 
It doesn't hurt to ask right? Someone's got to push the rules.

Upon further reflection a random extra 20Gs really isn't ever going to satisfy my Want list. Even after the $20,000 was spent I'd still be left with what 5-6 of those things undone, still on the list?! BOO!

I'm changing my answer. 

Tonight has been full fledged, all hands on deck (in my brain) reflection. 
Reflection on: 
What is my priority in life right now?  
Am I able to match what I say my priority is and what my actions are on a day to day basis? 
(can you?! It's a big question)
Because as I reflect....I can't. 
What I would say matters most to me, is not where my time is when you break down my day to day activities. 
That there leads me to going to bed feeling defeated. Guilty. Sad at times. 

That is the source of some stress and feelings I am working though right now. (growing is hard but I am sure worth they say)

I am re-answering the hypothetical question: 
If an anonymous check showed up for like $20,000, what would you really do with it?

My answer is much simpler now. 

"I would put in a savings account to put towards monthly bills and cut my hours at work, just slightly so I could be home when the kids get home from school."

That's it. 

That would be life changing. 

That right there is the thing my dreams are made of. 

I can live without the dishwasher. Disney. Pretty siding...nah. I'm good. 

Working full time evenings are just overwhelming. There is about a 2 to 2.5 hour window to cook supper, eat supper, do homework, take baths, read books, and gee I don't know maybe talk or play(crazy concept) before its bed time. It just isn't enough. 

Real life.
I got home from work a little late around 6 which left us about an hour and half to do the above mentioned tasks before starting the time for bed discussion.

Benson needed a bath.
Kadence still wanted to read with me, her new super great, library book 
(about smiling coincidentally) 
and Cohen really wanted me to hear what he had learned on his brand new trumpet adventure.

I was in a good mood so I thought I was handling it like a Pro...Cohen go down stairs and practice and I will be down after Benson's bath to hear what you learned. Kadence bring your book in the bathroom as I am just sure Benson would love to hear it as much as I would. 

Thinking I had this mastered we moved forward. I cannot even tell you how this evolved but at one point I looked up and it was of those out of body experiences...where you can see whats going on around you and you aren't part of it. All I could think was "get me my camera" because I'm pretty sure we are on a comical sitcom right now!
Benson was screaming.
Kadence was reading out loud.
Cohen was blowing his trumpet.
I wish I could give you an estimate of how long this was all happening before I realized it
but honestly, I can't. 

Real life.

No one benefited from that. 
That there was multitasking to an unhealthy level.

That there is also...

It all needed "done"
So I guess that's success?
It's done. 


It leaves me pondering tonight, if its that important to me, how can I make that happen in real life and not a hypothetical game discussion.  There is no $20,000. If not every night some nights?  Can I shift my mornings to make the evenings look different? Can we cut different corners?
Surely there's got to be a way. 
My thoughts are brewing. I have some processing to do. 
I feel good.
I think it was past time to stop "talking" and start "doing" 
No one can change my life but me.

I think I need to think about this. 
I'm not accepting "it is what it is" 

"Its not an issue of wants vs needs. It's an issue of wants vs priorities"~Munson

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Defining moments

Crazy how often that happens.
Surely its not just me.

There are certain times in life that are going to be defining moments.
You know them right?
Sometimes they come and go and you don't know until after, 
yet sometimes you know they are coming.
You know that they are going to challenge you.
Force you to face who you are
or perhaps who you aren't.

Defining moments. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Welcome home

Take Vacations.

That's what I said on Facebook anyways.
Tonight I sit here exhausted yet unable to sleep.
Something deep inside stirring.

I think its for the fact that for a couple days I could shut it all out,
...........and it worked.

For a few days I disconnected from my daily life and trying not to sound too cheesy, reconnected with not only my kids but with the mom I always thought that I would be, but some how in the day to day task of living, no surviving, she gets lost. Tangled up.
It and it felt lighter.
It felt good.
It home.
(not home in sense of the location "home" but on a deeper level, like this, this is who I am. home)

I read a book.
No actually I read 3 books.
Somehow in between riding roller coasters, flying down water slides, swimming and the million "watch me's" I also got lost in a book.

You know the last time I read a book for fun?
Me neither.
I am thinking it was  merely 3+ years ago (How is that possible?!). It really isn't that significant of thing except when I think back to who I used to be, to the things that defined me. Reading was always one of them. I read all the time. It's the one activity that I would have put in the "hobby" column, a column that sits empty now. I had forgotten how it feels to get lost in a story. A momentary escape from reality. How,why, when did I stop doing simple things I love. How does that happen?
I know the answer is busy. It happens.
Every day. Everything from work to the kids,.....all demanding my time, my energy, my focus, one can only muster up so much in a days time....
but that's how it happens....
tick tock...
and one day you wake up and you've lost yourself.

It's funny (for lack of better word) one would think the older you get, life's journey become clearer, but for me it only seems to get more muddled. There are moments when I feel I know right where I've been and right where I am headed and yet there are moments when I don't even know who I am anymore.

I'm not ok with that. I see how quickly my kids are growing up and how much there is that I want to teach them, no better yet, show them.  If I can't define myself, how will I guide them in this process of growing up and defining themselves? In the end isn't that our role as parents, above all else, we are shaping who they are, how they view the world, and whether we want to face it or not,  we lay the foundation for how they define their lives.

I was struck yesterday (last day of vacation, which means I had totally let go of all to do lists in real life) by the weight of a simple phone call. It was astronomical, and not in a good way, how a simple unexpected phone call brought it all back. I couldn't shake it after that. I tried, but it was too late. Reality was creeping back in....

Welcome home.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

simplicity wins again.

I know it's part of who I am.

I cycle.
I imagine we all do to some degree in similar yet different ways.
The ebb and flow of life.
It is just one of those parts of the journey that gets a little steeper, a little more up hill, if you will.

Consciously I know that, ebb and flow baby, means we'll get to glide down hill again....

The deal is consciously you can know one thing but your emotions pretty  much tell your conscious off.

In the shuffle of, wake up, get everyone out the door, get to work, work, go home, make supper,run to baseball, run to softball, run in circles, do baths, put kids to bed, laundry, oh the laundry.....under the weight of what needs to be done every day, the person I think that I am, the person I want to be is being swallowed up.  I am kind of "lost" in a sink hole and the more I fight the daily grind the further I sink it seems.

I've been pondering lately our need as a society to offer kids the biggest and best of all things. Is that really what is best? I just can't think that it is. Why do we need a grand water park with water slides, gadgets and gizmos galore when I know kids can play for hours in just a pool?

One thing I've learned thus far is: Life is not made of big scale events. Sometimes our greatest skill (and greatest challenge) is finding the good to cling to when the daily grind is sucking you in. Are we setting our kids up to fail?

My kids brought me back to reality at least for one night.
For that, my inner soul, my "who I want to be" thanked them.
I was sitting inside looking up a "good" "fun" "family" hotel in KC for vacation, because let's be honest its hard not to get drawn into needing to find the "next best thing" so its the greatest thing ever....kind of thinking. When after the fourth *cough* maybe fifth time of begging me to come out and look at what they had done, I drug myself outside and well.....

Cohen dug a fire pit in the corner of our backyard lot.....
maybe not what I was thinking
Kadence picked up all the sticks she could find in our yard and maybe some neighbor's yards....

...and ta da

fire pit


a cool summer night.

On our way in after changing the supper plan to "ot dogs" (per Benson) and marshmallows,

Cohen said "this was the best night all summer"

and there it was....

the reminder I have so desperately needed.

It doesn't have to be complicated to be great.

I just need to remember to be present....

I could have spent most the night looking up "fun family hotels." How's that for irony?!

and sometimes that is the hardest part of all. 

simplicity wins again. 

It always does.

"Be as simple as you can be.  You'll be astonished to see how uncomplicated and happy your life will be."~Yogananda

It's probably past time to put together my annual summer bucket list.
Tell me: What's on your summer bucket list?
How do you remember to keep it simple?!
How do you remember to actually be present?