Wednesday, April 20, 2016

3 Things I can't do but feel like I should be able to

Momma's Log April 11, 2016 (Kwrp)

I am a woman of many gifts and talents.  I can talk on the phone and do house chores at the same time.  I am able to day dream while driving to a destination and then have absolutely NO recollection of how I arrived safely at said destination.  I can drink 3 cups of coffee in one day without feeling too jittery. AND I carry on a conversation with my husband, my older son and my younger the same time.(This one might be up for some debate.  Super Rock Star seems to be able to tell when I'm not fully listening to him, my older son usually is talking about something that requires an intelligent response that "uh huh" doesn't always cover, and my younger son as I've mentioned before requires active listening in all of his mile long narratives)

But there are 3 things that I feel like I SHOULD be able to do, but I. just. can't

1.  Turn left into a parking space: I have major TLIAPS  anxiety--ESPECIALLY when both spaces on either side are occupied. I have NO idea why--it may date back to a few years ago I drove one of those hugely obnoxious SUV's.  You know, the ones that really should have a truckers blow horn to signal that you're coming down the road. I dinged more car doors in the brief year and a half that I owned that monster than I ever have in my lifetime. (I always left a note for the poor owner that made the unfortunate mistake of parking in my area.  So humiliating!).  In those days I got quite used  to parking in the outer reaches of the lot so I could avoid the tornado like damage I typically caused in my behemoth on wheels.  I had previously never been aware of my inability to park to the left, but when you're driving a car the size of a 747-- one quickly becomes rather aware of ones limitations.

The psychological damage was done.  These days I will circle around a parking lot, park WAY out in the boonies, or just procrastinate my store trip all in effort to avoid to a TLIAPS situation.  The only exception is when Super Rock Star is with me.  I haven't had the courage to tell him about this rather embarrassing shortcoming and-- as I will share with you some day--all things driving are all things important to Super Rock Star.  So in an effort to impress him and-- as I mentioned-- to hide my shame I will usually try to attempt it. But, alas it usually ends up like that scene in Austin Powers when he is trying to turn the car around in the hall way. (Side note:  I also have UELFAPS anxiety --Unable to Exit Left From A Parking Space)

 2.  Stay within my weekly grocery budget:  I have a pretty good rhythm for our grocery buying needs--I make menu lists and so on-- and to be quite honest I feel I allow myself PLENTY to spend.  So, why week after week do I always go over? I know what you're thinking--I should increase my budget.  Yeah, I've tried that, but it doesn't seem to matter.  If I budget $75, I spend $100.  If I budget $100 I spend $125 and on and on it goes.  I know what else you're thinking--"Jen, they have these handy dandy radical new inventions called calculators.  As you go through the store you could--you know--keep track."  I've tried that too--but, I swear, it's like the food prices on the items I've put in my basket increase as I go through the store (kind of like how I gain 10 lbs if I even LOOK at chocolate cake. only different). Every step I take toward the check out the food in my basket has a little meeting and change their bar code thingy's and everything becomes more than I calculated (It's just a theory.  I haven't actually witnessed these food meetings. Yet.) (On a side note--there really is NOTHING creepier to me than talking food)

A few years ago I got into the whole couponing craze that was sweeping the nation.  I would watch that reality show--Extreme Couponing (you know the one where they by like a gagillion items and only spend $4.92), read blogs about which stores had what deals (sometimes leaving at 10:00 at night so I could go nab that freebie) (it's a total sickness) and each week I printed out my trusty list of sweet deals, clipped my coupons and off I went to the 45 stores so I could take advantage of doubling down on each and every product that I did not need.  Oh, sure, I got 122 tubes of free toothpaste, 65 boxes of didn't have to pay for them instant potatoes, and I felt PRETTY smug when I would go through the check out and see my before total and watch as each coupon drove the price down to well below our starting point.  It was such an emotional high and VERY addictive.  Except I realized that I rarely ever came home with things we actually like to eat or WAY too many of products we didn't need.  If I did happen to stumble across something my family liked I had to tell them to not get used to it--it was bought with a deal and coupon. Code for: we will never be able to afford buying this again.  I ended up donating most of my haul (fancy word they use in the biz for all of the free crap I got) And to make it worse--I usually ended up overspending my budget on those trips too.  But, hey, who doesn't need a cart load of cheap soap?

Even on the RARE occasions that I do end up staying within my limit, I will usually get home and realize that I forgot to purchase several things on my list. UGH!! It's so aggravating!

3.  Start a new Toilet Paper roll without creating a carnage of paper pieces:  I'm not sure what kind of glue they use to hold the end piece on a roll of toilet paper in place--but I'm pretty certain it came from NASA or some other high tech smarty pants place.  I'm SURE that there is a neat and tidy way that the manufacturer INTENDS for me to peel back the first layer, but I'm telling you, it is WAY over my head.  I can't do it.  Last night I was changing out a toilet paper roll (again) (I'm apparently the ONLY one in the house that knows how to operate the highly complicated spring loaded contraption that holds the roll in place--but I digress) and I attempted to try to get the thing rolling (so to speak) and-- I'm not even kidding--the end would NOT come loose.  I tried doing the delicate brushing thing with the pads of my fingers, I tried using my finger nails to pry it loose--nuttin.  I had a colossal mess of tiny pieces of paper as I pecked and pinched at the stupid thing trying to get some sort of starting point going.  By the time I finally got it--half of the toilet paper from the roll lay in chunks all over the floor.

Anyone else struggle with these?  Please tell me I'm not alone in this....Anyone?

I wish I could say these were the only things that seem simple to do but are not for me.  Unfortunately, this is just my top 3.(I could probably star in a reality show on this topic--"People Who are Complete Dorks and the Society That Endures Them") (It's just a working title) Someday I hope to be cured of my TLIAPS anxiety, stay within my grocery budget and unroll toilet paper neatly.  Until then I will hobble along in this life recognizing my shortcomings and reaching out to those of you who share my pain.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A tale of two boys part 2

Momma's Log March 30, 2016 (Kwrp)

I just wanted to thank everyone who read and responded to my last post written about my older son, Morgan. I am deeply touched and blown away by all of the encouragement and especially the stories many of you shared about your own past or present struggle with the issues I addressed.  I can't begin to tell you how God is using that in helping us determine a plan of action for our son.  Thank you, thank you thank you!

Meet Grayson.

AKA Johnny Drama (you have to watch the show Entourage to get this one) (don't you DARE let him see that eensy weensy tiny scratch on his arm. the dramatic tears and wails this kid can come up with), Sneaky Pete (he is a dirty rotten little scalawag), and cuddle monster (BEST cuddler in the family). Grayson is my second born son and my baby. As you can probably tell by his picture he is a happy, ornery little stinker.  Super Rock Star gives me such a hard time because before we had children I would often pray that God would give us an ornery little boy.  He gave us a double dose.  I plead insanity in that I had no idea what I was asking for. Grayson also has the most tender loving heart, he collects stuffed animals by the bajillion and each one has a name and no sir, you may not put any of them away.  They must all stay in his bed at all times.(it's becoming quite a struggle to find him at night when we check on him) He loves to play with his big brother, play games on computer and card games(thank you Uncle Todd and cousin Taylor for teaching him "war"--we all get to enjoy a daily dose of playing it with him), wrestle with his daddy, cuddle with his Momma, be read to and he has THE BEST giggle I have ever heard in my whole life. 

I learned from day one that even though both my boys grew inside my womb and share a last name--that's about the end of their similarities.

For those of you that have more than one child, you know that the struggle is REAL to keep the illusion of equality in your home.  Everything must be divided exactly in half (or thirds or quarters, etc), if big brother got to have a treat, so does little brother, if you give one a compliment--you must immediately give the other a compliment of equal value, it goes on and on.  Equality is ESPECIALLY important for the younger siblings(I know cause I am one)--they come into this world second and spend a lot of time making sure Momma and Daddy let them do everything their older sibling does in the same time and in the same order.  I even stressed out a little about writing this blog post.  Not that my boys will ever read these, but my Momma brain has been trained to try to do for little brother just as much as I do for big brother.  I'm going to be up all night counting words and making sure I upload the exact same amount of pictures (just kidding. please don't double check me on this.) But, it got me thinking about the whole difference between my boys.

Grayson LOVES school.

Before he ever went to school, he liked to pretend going to school at home.  Now, some of that was little brother wanting to be like big brother--but now that real school has started for him, he is thriving. Doing the worksheets and class work has always been excruciating pain for Morgan, but Grayson LOVES it.  He takes great joy in filling out every blank, drawing every picture and doing EXACTLY as the instructions say.

Grayson loves to communicate.

From the time he wakes up (at 0 dark thirty) to the time he FINALLY closes his precious little eyes he does NOT stop talking.  When he was home with me full time, I would often have to leave the room while I put on a TV show for him and hide just so I could get a little quiet moment (I know. I'm awful. right?).  Morgan will be fully engaged and sit in wide-eyed silence throughout any show or movie, but Grayson feels the need to narrate the entire thing and make sure you are FULLY watching it with him so he can discuss each character and situation.(it's actually pretty fun to take him to a movie--it's a full interactive experience.... for everyone)

He loves to be part of a team.  He will work and play with anyone anywhere.

I've witnessed him be both leader and follower and he is just content as long as he can be around others.  It is a rare moment that he ever wants to be alone, but for Morgan the only time he truly craves company is when he's feeling afraid.

So why do I feel like I NEED to make everything the same? They are not the same person.  They are not the same age. And they DEFINATELY have two distinct personalities.  Our first born child naturally is the one we take the most photos of, have all the original "firsts" with and who blazes the trail for us in our new role as Momma and Daddy. My Dad often jokes that God doesn't give us one to practice on.  Nope--we have to jump feet first into this whole parenthood arena. (did anyone else secretly wish they would send one of the nurses home from the hospital with you?)  Why do we feel so much guilt when that second, third or more comes along and we have let the photo taking slide, our enthusiasm over all the "first's" wanes, and we are often  much more lax in the hygiene department. I'm sure you all have either experienced or read about how with the first child you wash and sanitize every item that could possibly come in contact with your precious bundle, but by the second one--it's a little less of a panic--maybe you rinse or brush it off, and I've heard by the third you have become completely unaware of when anything does drop to the ground (or gets slobbered on by the dog) let alone worry about cleaning it off.  "Germs build the immune system".

It's a HUGE challenge for me to treat my two boys as the wonderful individuals that they are.  I've read that newborns are not completely aware that they are a separate person from their Momma's for many months into their new lives.  With Grayson I'm worried that he is not aware that he is his own individual person apart from his big brother.  He ADORES him, wants to do EVERYTHING with him, and can't stand being APART from him. His most common question as he wonders through our home is "Where's Morgan?"  It's all very sweet except I've noticed that he really tries to please Morgan in his decisions. If I ask "Grayson, what do you want for breakfast?", he will answer "What is Morgan going to have?" or "Grayson, it's your turn to choose a movie. What do you want to watch?"-- he'll ask Morgan's opinion.  Sometimes he will  make his own decision but then turn to his brother to make sure that he accepts it and is pleased with it.  If Morgan expresses displeasure, Grayson will often change his mind.

I'm sure all of this is normal, but I really want to help Grayson learn to make his own decisions, be his own individual self and not worry if his brother thinks it's cool or not.

I really want to teach my boys to appreciate their differences and encourage each other to be better.  I can't tell you how many times I've witnessed Grayson go to our basement playroom with Morgan so he won't feel afraid or how Morgan will often patiently help Grayson learn to build something by himself with Legos. And I LOVE that!  I don't want them to ever feel threatened that we praise one for his individual strengths or feel like they need to be more like the other.  It's SUCH a hard balance.  As a parent we want our kids to grow up feeling confident in who they are and with the gifts and talents that they have been given.  I don't want my boys to ever hear out of my mouth "If you were only more like your brother."

But, the reality is that in some ways--we have to treat them similarly and make things the same.  It would be unjust for me to give chores to Morgan and not to Grayson.  I would be unfair if I expected Grayson to do all of his homework but not require that of Morgan.  In some ways it's just part of life.  As Super Rock Star and I navigate the best course of action for Morgan's educational needs, Grayson is very much a part of the equation. Whether  we change schools, home school or stay put--both boys will be together.  And that decision is every bit for them as it is for us.  They just really love and need to be with each other--even if it's in the same school building.  And it's in this specific instance that my boys differences are actually a huge benefit.  I have full confidence that whatever we choose to do for Morgan, Grayson will roll with it easily.  He's just that way.

It's hard either way.  I want him to know we would do that for him too.  We are a family.  We are in this together. But I'm finding that that the strengths in Morgan (being more creative and daring) become strengths for Grayson.  And in areas where Grayson excels (school work, being generous and kind), Morgan tries a little harder because or his brother.  When Grayson has a baseball game or soccer game--Morgan comes with us.  When Morgan has Tai Kwon Doh or reading tutoring--Grayson is there too.  Both boys have realized that there is a huge benefit to liking and being involved in different things since I let the one watching play games on their I Pads while we wait (This cuts WAY down on whining. Some days it really is all about survival. sigh...) Some day I have hope that they will cheer each other on and truly appreciate and encourage one another in their individual interests and talents.

At the end of the day--it's not necessarily about making it all equal.  And I know that.  It's about making sure everyone in my family knows they are loved and feels they are valued.  To be honest--that's all I really want the most. (that and no having to break up fights over the tiny scrap of paper that they were pretending was a spy laser gun) (and not having to clean up the bathroom because their "aim" was off).  I just pray the dear Lord would help me convey that to my two totally awesome, completely ornery, beautiful boys.  And hopefully someday they will see that even though I got it wrong most days--I tried my darnedest to get it right.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

A tale of two boys Part 1

Momma's Log March 2, 2016 (Kwrp)

Meet Morgan.

Morgan is my oldest and will be turning 9 later this month.  I find that impossible since it seems I just gave birth to him yesterday.  As you can probably tell from his picture he is full of life, brightness, and a very happy child. He is also very funny, loves to laugh, has his own way of doing things, can be stubborn and hard headed (like his Daddy) and so sweet and caring (like his Momma).  He loves to watch movies, dress up as super heroes, pretend to be a spy, wrestle with his Daddy, ride his bike and play outside.  He is a master builder with Legos and blows me away with the way he can figure out how to construct things from looking at a picture or out of his imagination and knows exactly which pieces he needs to find down to the tiniest minuscule little one that he remembers that we have somewhere in our enormous vat of the overpriced pieces of plastic.  

Morgan is the one we had named 12 years before we actually got to hold him in our arms.  Super Rock Star and I longed for children many many years before the good Lord finally blessed us with this beautiful blue eyed wonder.  We had always agreed that if we got to have a son, we would name him Morgan.  From the day I laid eyes on him, I have been completely and unashamedly in love.  Getting to be a Momma is the biggest and best thing I have ever done.  After all the years of waiting, God did not disappoint. I love that even though I am still figuring out this whole "motherhood" thing and I mess up EVERY day, Morgan is so quick to forgive and in all of his tall long legged lankiness, he is still a little boy that loves to cuddle with his Momma and Daddy and I pray that NEVER changes.

But, Morgan hates school.  I don't mean a mild dislike.  I mean he HATES it.  Before my boys went to school, I would have learning times at home where I would read to them, do some sort of craft project, teach them their letters and numbers, do a music time (Momma had to get her 80's rock jam in somehow) and sometimes the occasional science experiment.   These times would never last more than an hour and it was a good way to introduce the idea of school to my little toddlers.  But, with Morgan, I saw early on that he liked to lead rather than follow.  He (like most toddlers) wanted to be in charge and choose what we did and how we did it.  His favorite phrase when I would correct him on anything he was learning was "But, this is how do it."  It was really cute when he was little, but unfortunately that same attitude has followed him into elementary school.  Most kids learn quickly that the teacher teaches and the kids are supposed to sit still and listen and do as their told.  Not so with Morgan.

Every year I have gotten to have the great privilege of teacher conferences, phone calls and yes, even the occasional principals office visit to discuss my child's behavior.  "He refuses to sit down when I'm teaching--what can we do?"or "I have to have Morgan sit by himself and not with the group because he is distracting to the other kids" or, my favorite  "I let him stand up during class because it seems he needs to, but then he starts doing Ninja kicks and diving under the desks." Every year has been the same--the grim faced teacher talking about his poor reading scores and how retention (fancy word I've learned that means they want to hold him back/repeat a grade) might be in his best interest, whispers of how they think he's not capable of sitting still and paying attention (teacher speak for --we think your son needs to be tested for ADHD), and it generally just making me feel like I've done something bad or that something is wrong with my child.

I can't even begin to tell you the tears I have cried, the anguish in my heart of frustration, the anger I have unfortunately expressed to him as I grasp at anything to find out why?  Why is he different from so many of the other kids? Why does he not care if he remembers how to spell all of his spelling words or has neat hand writing or gets a good grade on his math test? Why would he rather sit and stare into space than listen to his teacher teach and write down the answers on  fill in the blank work sheet? Why is he not even aware that making loud annoying sounds during class time is not OK and that it will always get him in trouble? Why is it so hard for him?

These are the questions I am asking myself today along with the biggest question of all--how do we help him? And by we I mean his teachers, his Daddy and me.  I have spent the last month asking so many folks questions and receiving so many different answers.  I love how much everyone cares, but the truth of the matter is that I feel angry that I even have to go through this.  I want someone to give me the antidote NOW. I want somebody to FIX him and I swing violently back and forth to feeling a deep compassion for Morgan and how miserable it must feel to have everyone angry and stern with him all the time to just wanting to just rattle him and scream "YOU have to make the decision to do things differently!!!!!" If I thought it would help I would.

But LOOK at him!! This child is WONDERFUL!  I cannot even express how much joy he brings us.  He is HAPPY, he is LOVING, he is SO MUCH FUN!

So the big question is WHAT?!! What IS it going to take? Do we become more strict and stern? Do we be permissive and patient? Do we hold him back? Do we put him on a education plan at school? Do we have him tested for ADHD and have him put on more drugs?  He was diagnosed with a form of epilepsy 3 years ago and has to take a prescription for that twice a day.  Is it this condition or the medicine he takes causing him to behave differently and have trouble sitting still and focusing? Do we change schools? Do I need to home school him? (I REALLY am scared of this one--I feel SO inept) All of these questions swarm around my brain causing me to fret and fuss and fight and feel like a complete loser because I honestly don't know the answer.

Then I remember.  God gave Morgan to US.  He didn't plant him in someone else's womb.  I am the chosen one who got to feel his little kicks inside my tummy.  I'm the one who got to nurse him and hold him late into the night.  Super Rock Star is the one who got to calm and comfort him and shush him when he would get fussy without explanation and then fall asleep with his little 5 1/2 pound body on his chest. 

Morgan is our gift from our good God that we waited so long for.  I have to trust and believe that HE knew what he was doing when he gave us the great privilege of being Morgan's parents.  I have to trust that he will give us the wisdom we need to navigate every difficulty we will face in raising both he and his brother.  I have to have faith that even though it is excruciating to watch my child suffer from all the anguish he is going through at school, that God WILL give us the answer and it will be the best solution for Morgan.  And I have to be willing to hold my hand open and allow the Lord to reach into my son's life and be his God so that Morgan will grow up to serve Him.  Not me.  Not his Daddy. Not his teachers or future bosses.  But to serve and worship God and become the man of God HE has created him to be.

Oh! This is SO HARD.  I feel so helpless and so inept and so unable.  Please Lord, give me strength and wisdom!

From the day of his birth my Mom marveled at Morgan's bright alert eyes and how they seemed to be really noticing and taking in this new world around him.( I joked around that he was already devising the ways he would try to rule the world).  He has always fought sleep because he just wants to build one more thing, sing one more song, watch one more show, or wrestle just one more minute.  He has always had a sweet nature and caring, tender heart.  When he feels happy he sings and makes up songs (just like his Daddy) when he gets hurt or feels upset he screams and throws a tantrum (just like his Momma). He loves to laugh and be silly and play with others.  He LOVES to enjoy life and he does.

All except school.  Oh, how I wish he would enjoy that part of his life too.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Beach Vacation Dreamin......

Momma's Log February 20, 2016 (Kwrp)

This time of year I often long to get away to some place warm.  By mid January most of us cold state dwellers get about sick to death of air so cold it hurts, dressing in layer upon layer of heavy bulky clothing and feeling like our skin is going to shrivel like a raisin with the below freezing dry atmosphere.  

Snow has lost all of its charm and and a 55 degree sunny day send most of us running outside in our shorts in flip flops like we just got released from prison.  With spring break coming up next month I long to go some place with sandy beaches, sipping some fancy drink with a shish kabob of fruit in it, and soaking up the sun enjoying temps well above the frigid tundra I now find myself in.  A girl can dream. Unfortunately this year (like many before it), it will remain a dream.  Why? No BUDGET. No money. No dinero. No greenbacks. Nadda. Nuttin.  That fleeting dream went flitting away when Super Rock Star and I GOT to buy new tires. For BOTH our cars... at the same time. So, while so many of you will get to enjoy my above mentioned fantasy played out in real life or some other fun trip with your fam--WE get to enjoy safely driving our cars on the never ending snow and ice.  yay.... 

But, it got me to thinking about the seemingly constant state of feeling like I'm always being one step behind financially.  Super Rock Star makes a generous salary and I am certainly an EXPERT in helping him spend it.  But, I confess, when it comes to budgeting--especially for the the fun stuff and the dream stuff--I fail. It always seems that no matter how much I plan, fret, fuss and anguish over where to spend those hard earned dollars--a surprise always comes up.  Planning to buy new furniture? The dishwasher goes out.  Have the money set aside for ski weekend? My phone dies. It seems that life always throws a curve ball--especially when it comes to money and how I want to spend it.  For years now, I have become aware that it was never really mine to spend anyway and I definitely want to be a good steward of ALL God gives us, but JUST ONCE I would like it if He and I were on the same page as to HOW and WHAT it was going to be spent on.

Every now and then we will get enjoy a bit of a wind fall--some unexpected refund or cash found or something like that.

For a few moments we dream about what we could spend it on--and admittedly it is usually a little selfish--a shopping trip for new clothes, or the like.  So, why does it seem that within SECONDS of receiving that little extra-- some catastrophe happens to the tune of the how much money we just "found".

I know, I know.  I need to be more grateful.  I mean--we could end up going into debt rather than having the money on hand--and trust me--from experience---you do NOT want to go there.  I have spent the better part of my adult years battling that beast and I am SO weary of it.  I just long for a day when we are ahead of the game instead of a step behind. And it would be SO NICE to get to spend it on something fun without feeling guilty rather than something SO responsible and BORING.

I guess my point is... I just want to do better.  I want to be able to have a little jingle in my pocket at the end of each month and be able to feel proud that we are on a good path--that we have paid all our bills, given in all areas where God has led us, put something in savings for us and our boys future,  set aside some for the unexpected surprise expenses and taken care of all our responsibilities.  AND THEN have the hope of being able to spoil ourselves a bit on something besides the immediately necessary and mundanely boring (a new dishwasher. Really?!!)

Does anyone else struggle with this? Or are we alone in our constant fret over getting ahead of the game.  In some ways, I realize we are a product of some bad habits.  In many marriages there is the "spender" and the "saver".  Not so with us.  We are BOTH spenders and neither one of us likes to save.  If spending was an Olympic sport, I'm pretty sure I would be--many times over--a gold medal winner.  I'm not necessarily a spend-o-holic--I don't just enjoy going out shopping looking for things to spend money on (although, I skated pretty close to that border back in my youth), but I'm very good at spending just a skosh more than we have every month.  Little by little--it's not that bad.  But when it all adds up at the end of the year, it's more than we can tackle and it keeps us from enjoying the fun stuff of life.

I've come to  realize that these bad habits are stealing our joy. With an unending and never seem to be changing situation in our finances, I think both Super Rock Star and I sometimes feel a bit defeated.  And when a person feels defeated SO MANY bad behaviors ensue.  We waffle back and forth from tightening our belts financially to the point of suffocation to all out rebellion and saying "you know what? I'm sick of living like this--we need to have some FUN!" And so we do.  And it's a mad, mad, mad, mad cycle.

I tell you what though.  Like any bad behavior--you get to the point of just saying. Enough.  Enough of this ridiculousness.  The truth is that for most of us there will NEVER be enough money to stretch for all of our needs, wants and desires and I'm finally realizing that truth for me.  It's the foolishness of this world to believe that we will be so much happier if we could just ____________ fill in the blank--pay off our debt, go on that vacation, buy that new shiny thing.  Studies have shown that unless you are willing to change your habits and how you even approach spending you will always be behind--even if you make a bajilion dollars (but wouldn't it be fun to find out?). 

Many of you are good savers and have put aside a tidy nest egg for future things and even retirement. I admire and envy you, but even that is not guaranteed.  A perfect example of this is my parents-- they worked their hind ends off for YEARS-- investing and saving for their retirement.  They had a very respectable amount saved and when they retired they started to enjoy spending the hard earned fruits of their labor.  The problem was that a stock market crash wiped out a big chunk of that savings.  I'm sure it felt like a sock in the gut to them when it happened, but my Dad just shrugged his shoulders and said "The Good Lord gives and He takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord".  (Job 1:21b).  I'm not sure I would be so calm in the midst of that--I get upset if I discover I don't have the five dollars I was going to spend on my weekly coffee treat.

Can we all be a little more responsible with what we've been given? Absolutely.  Should we have goals and budgets for obtaining the things we have? Of course. But, like any other issue--it shouldn't be an obsession that we spend all of our time worrying and fretting about. There has to be balance.  I confess I have not found it yet--but, I'm trying.   But that's what I'm SUPPOSED to be doing...working it out. Trying to do better.  Will I fail? Yes.  Will unexpected pitfalls happen?  Unfortunately, yes.  But will God take care of me in the midst of those failures and pitfalls?  ABSOLUTELY!  He promises that we will always have all we need (Phil. 4:19).  I'm STILL trying to convince Him that a beach vacation is a NEED and not a WANT--it's an ongoing disagreement.

As for me? It's like so many other areas of my life.  I know what I need to's just a matter of doing it. Until then, I will wait for that 55 degree day-- take my sippy cup full of lemonade (mixed with an adult beverage), plop in a lawn chair in our sand box and pretend--just for a moment-- that I'm on a beach somewhere very exotic and I will toast those of you who get to enjoy the real deal. Send me a post card...

Sunday, February 14, 2016

14 Things I love about My Man

Momma's Log February 14, 2016

Ah! L'Amour! We are in the month of February--the month of LOVE! I can't help but think of chocolates and roses and candle lit dinners. I adore how even my little boys get all starry eyed with the idea of love --they get a kick out of  giving their Daddy some handy hints on how he can show his love for their Momma--i.e. "girls like princess dresses and smell good (perfume)"  Yep--I've got two little Casanova's in the making. But to be honest, Super Rock Star has never been in need of help in remembering to make me feel loved.  In fact, I would say he does a pretty stinkin good job of it all throughout the year--he has never missed a birthday, anniversary, or ANY special occasion and can quote the date of our first date effortlessly.

I, on the other hand, am not as good at this as he is.  Oh sure, I remember all the important dates and such, but unfortunately I have never been really great at showing love.  I have always been a pretty private person in this area and guarded my heart pretty fiercely.  I just assumed when we got married that those natural --keep things close to my chest-- tendencies would melt away.  I don't think he has issue with me not blabbing about my love for him to the masses, but sometimes I forget that it's o.k. to blab about it to him.  If you hadn't figured it out by now--I like him. And I don't just like him, but LIKE him like him. I think it might be serious since this will be our 23rd Valentine's Day.    SO,in an effort to show him in some small way my love, I'm gonna share with him (and you) 14 things that I love best about him.

1. He is HANDSOME--Seriously?... Seriously...SER.I.OUS.LY! I am not a superficial beauty type of person, but waking up to this face every day? Fagetaboutit!

2. He is loving--As I've mentioned, he has never forgotten to celebrate all of our important events in life together.  But, he also takes time to do the special, unexpected things.  One of our Sunday traditions is to stop at the 7 eleven after church so our boys can get slushies and candy (some folks do donuts--we do this) and he always buys me a scratcher lottery ticket.  A couple of weeks ago he knew he couldn't join us in going to church (late night life of a Rock Star) so he purchased a ticket and had put it in my purse for me to find. 
3. He is a hard worker and great provider--Both he and I have had a variety of jobs and careers in our time together, but I have NEVER had to worry about him taking care of us.  Even during moments when the rug got pulled out from under him-- he got up, dusted himself off and found the next thing.  He also has a very strong work ethic and never gives anyone a worry over whether or not he can get it done.  He can and he does. Period.
4. He is fun and funny--No one makes me giggle and bark out loud with laughter more than him.  He loves to crack funny one liners during movies or while were watching shows and he can always count on me to laugh.  The only down side has been when he chooses to do it during the sermon at church.  I swear he does it on purpose right when the pastor is looking in our direction and I guffaw out loud in laughter during what-- I'm sure-- is supposed to be a very serious and somber part of the service.  I just know I'm going to get kicked out some day.
5. He is creative--I found this out very quickly.  During our dating years, he would doodle beautiful drawings on paper napkins (I think I still have them somewhere) and the very first Christmas card I ever received from him was a beautiful homemade creation done in a 3 dimensional scene.  Since then he has created countless cards, he makes special creative pancakes for our boys almost every weekend and has built two special beds for them and a pirate ship in our back yard (yes, you read that correctly...a PIRATE SHIP). He also writes, takes very cool photos and is the one behind many of the cool things we have in our home.

6. He is an AWESOME Daddy--I've never known someone who was looking forward more to becoming a Daddy. He loves and takes that role more seriously than any other.  Our boys will never know a day of doubt about the love he has for him.  He wrote them special lullaby songs when they were baby's, he has spoken the story of what an answer to prayer they were over and over to them and now they can recite it verbatim, he takes great joy in teaching them, wrestling with them, laughing and being silly with them, and pouring his whole being into their little lives.  It is an amazing thing to witness and makes me love him even more.

7. He is a great cook--For any of you single ladies out there--this quality doesn't necessarily have to be on your "checklist", but I will testify that it is a definite "cherry on top" quality in a husband.  I've mentioned the creative pancakes he makes for our boys most weekends but, my man can cook a mean chicken fried steak, he makes THE BEST giblet gravy every year for Thanksgiving (seriously, I never in my life would have tried a giblet if not for him), and many many other delicious things.  I love that he is a creative cook too.  I'm a strict recipe follower (more Rainman like in every way).  He, on the other hand, will come up with his own concoctions.  The only down side is that in his "Mad Scientist" method of putting together a meal, he often won't remember how to duplicate it.  It's always a surprise and always wonderful.

8. He loves Jesus--Again to the single ladies--this one IS a MUST, a numero uno on the checklist.  I love that he is so aware of his need for Jesus and that he is daily expressing his thankfulness to me and our boys for all of the blessings God has given us.  No matter what ever happens in our lives, our shared beliefs and faith in Jesus is our solid rock foundation to build our life and love on.
9. He is a man of integrity and has a VERY strong character--Super Rock Star has had A LOT of hard knocks in life and through it all he has become one of the strongest people I know.  He chose early on that life's circumstances and others opinions were not going dictate to him how his life was going to go.  Of course, reason #8 is paramount in him becoming who he is, but I swear he has more determination in a day than I will be able to muster up in a lifetime. 
10. He is an amazing singer--

THIS friends-- is one of the ways he won my heart.  The man can melt me down to my toes when he sings--especially when they are special songs he has written just for me.  One of  THE MOST romantic moments in our marriage was on our wedding day he sang a song that he had written A Capella as I walked down the aisle. SWOON!  Years later  he secretly recorded the song and surprised me on our 20th anniversary.  I love going to listen to him when he sings with his band Sofakillers as they do so many fun cover tunes. But, he has ALSO recorded two albums of songs he has written. You can listen to and purchase his music on his website
11. He is trustworthy--I do not doubt his commitment to me and to our family.  I KNOW that he will always do whatever it takes to protect us, provide for us and do his best every day to love us.
12. He is Ornery--Our first year of marriage I walked into our little town home apartment and found him lying at the bottom of the stairs in a grotesque position.  I was beside myself wailing and screaming thinking the worst.  All of a sudden he sits up--wide smiled and laughing. "Gotcha!" OH! The tongue lashing I gave him for that one! This was the first of many and now he is even teaching his young padawans (our boys) his mischievous skills.  I am always the target and always fall for it.  SIGH!
13. He is Smart--I am constantly amazed at the things he can calculate in his head, work out things in his mind and instantly be able to communicate it in a smooth, clear and efficient way.  He is an encyclopedia for almost all current news, picks up new technology so easily, and can memorize things quickly.  This has come in handy in so many ways since--in all the things I just mentioned--I am the EXACT opposite. 
14. He is diplomatic--I ALMOST put even-tempered, but with football season just ending and the Cowboys having such a dismal year and the Broncos winning the Super Bowl (sorry--unfortunately you  cannot be a Cowboys fan and a Broncos fan at the same time. It's a scientific fact) tempers have flared around here this past week.  However, diplomatic is a much better word for him.  He is calm in the midst of the worst kinds of pressure.  I witnessed this best during his years working in television news.  I cannot even begin to tell you the chaos that goes on in a newsroom--especially when breaking news hits.  He would be on the anchor desk calmly telling the events, meanwhile he would have a voice yelling at him through his IFB (inner ear thingy), people scrambling around off camera, and orders being barked out.  All that would seriously make me go ballistic.  He has an amazing calm on me too.  I am a very passionately emotional person (nice way of saying I'm a basket case).  Especially when it comes to a certain 8 year old throwing fits about doing homework and a certain 6 year old who rolls his eyes at me.  I can't tell you how many times he has come home from work to witness us on the brink of WWIII and within minutes has us all calm and signing a peace treaty.

There are so many, many other things that I love and appreciate about my husband, but these are my top 14. I have such a deep love and respect for this man that I get to share life with. Happy Valentine's Day to my Super Rock Star!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The "E" word

Momma's Log February 1, 2016 (Kwrp)

Last week I chose to share with you my goal about being purposeful in staying home.  That is goal #1 .  To continue with that theme I'll share with you my second goal for this year.(I promise I won't drag you through every last one of them)  Goal #2 is a low down dirty word for me.  I call it the "E" word.  For many of us it is the bane of our existence, it makes our hearts thunk down to our toes at the very thought or it, our flesh screams in pain at the mention of it.  It is...EXERCISE.  Now, I realize, there is a group of you out there and you are probably throwing your hands up and thinking "what's the big deal? I live for going to the gym and spending a gagillion hours pumping iron, doing spin classes, getting to my optimal heart rate level, calculating my BMI (what the HECK is that?!!.  No. wait. Don't answer.  I don't want to know)." I admire you.  I think you're a super star.  But, I confess, I do not understand you.  I just don't share this enthusiasm and passion (insanity) that you have.  For me, exercise is a necessary evil and if I didn't have to... I wouldn't.  There.  I said it.

Super Rock Star and I watched the movie Everest this week.  The whole time watched it I was wondering who ARE these people that decide one day "You know what?  I would like to know what it feels like to  push my body beyond its created limits (to the death) so,  I'm going to pay an enormous amount of money, fly half way around the world and deprive myself of oxygen whilst I climb--on purpose-- to the height that 747's fly"  At one point in the movie the guide for the trek up the mountain tells his fearless followers "At (and he names some altitude above 20,000ft) your body will start to die.  It is my job to get you to the top and back down safely before that happens". Sounds like a real hoot! Not to spoil too much--but, he was not completely successful.
So, this post is not for you exercise enthusiasts (crazies) and certainly not for those of you who are extreme athletes like those in the movie I watched.  It is for the folks on my side of the universe that simply realize that unless we want to eat only lettuce leaves and unrecognizable tasteless food AND we want to live long enough to see our children grow up and meet our grand children we must do something to maintain our health and girlish figures.  So, please understand.  I am not an expert on this.  I do not have answers on any of the technical parts of it.  I do not know the names of most of my muscles and bones.  If you are interested in that side of this discussion I suggest that you seek out some professionals who know so much more than I.  What I DO know is that exercise is necessary for ALL of us.  Yes, that means you too.  I read a lot of Beth Moore's blog and have done many of her studies.  One of my favorites is Breaking Free.  In this study she talks about how if your weight has become an obsession for you--you are constantly tracking the number on the scale, you weigh and measure every bite, you live and breath what comes into your body and what goes out--then you are worshiping an idol.  You are bowing down to a false god.   And that covers both ends of the spectrum--whether or not you're obsessed with  trying to lose 10, 20, 100 lbs OR if you are so zoned with the level of fitness in your body that its all you do, think about, talk about and live for-- that is also a form of idol worship. 

Now, simmer down-- I'm not talking about keeping track of your calories or keeping a food diary and things like that.  Those things are good and helpful.  Heck, I've been known to count calories--otherwise I could  rationalize eating myself to the moon and back and wonder where those extra twenty pounds came from.  And I'm certainly not talking about those of you that spend a couple hours at the gym every day (more power to ya). No. I'm talking about something more serious and that is when the shape and size of your body is all you think about. It consumes you and keeps you from ever being content with where you are.  Your identity and self esteem is so wrapped up in it that if you are a person that is on the heavier side of the scale you may not ever feel comfortable going out in public and feel embarrassed by your appearance and--on the flip side--the one who is driven only by perfecting their bodies and drinking only green goo to survive and scorning those who have not "seen the light" on how to get and maintain a perfect body. In Luke 12:34 It says "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I knew a sweet young woman in a Bible study a few years ago who was a recovering anorexic.  She was well aware of her obsession over her weight to the point that she joked about how she thought that she looked like a rescued victim from Auschwitz.  I asked her one time what led her to almost starving herself to death and her answer surprised me.  "Because I was good at it." She felt that she was so good at not eating and maintaining a skeleton like figure and that's why she kept at it. She was obsessed with doing something COMPLETELY about her body because she felt like she could be in charge of it and control it.  I think there's a danger of that happening to any of us no matter which way the scale is tipping.

Exercise was never meant to be a punishment or obsession.  It's to help us to feel good (releasing those awesome "feel good" endorphin's), to strengthen our bodies so we can function properly, do our work/tasks  and not be in constant pain, and to maintain our health.  That's it.  As Beth Moore put it "get up, do it, get it over with and move on".

And that's what my goal is--to just get up and move.  I admit over the last several years--it's been tricky.  When my boys were small I could put them in a double jogger stroller and walk or jog to a park.  Sure, I resembled the sound of a freight train as I chugged up some hills, but I found out real quick how necessary a little exercise was for my personal sanity.  When they got older and too heavy for the stroller I found some exercise videos to do while they watched a show.   It's not my favorite form of exercise--but something is better than nothing, right?  AND now they've come out with so many cool new ones that give you optimal heart beat levels (I'm really lousy at this) in only 25 to 30 minutes.   Sometimes my boys would join me and-- as I've heard my fitness enthusiasts friends talk about-- it's good for our kids to see us taking care of ourselves.  These days, I'm in a sweet spot.  I can actually go out for a jog --I'm more motivated if I can be outside (it still ain't pretty) or a bike ride or hike after I take my boys to school and get it done and move on with my day. I can testify that a little exercise gives me more energy for the other things I need to do and I feel better --my posture is better, I feel stronger and yes, those endorphin's help me immensely in not feeling so stressed and weary and whiny (Super Rock Star really appreciates this, I think). 

Just like with anything I think it's best to start slow and move up.  Years ago (WAY before I had children) I had made up my mind that I wanted to start training to run a marathon (I know, right?).  But, I didn't start by going out and running 26.2 miles the first day.  I started with running around the block (it's all I could do at the time) and then week by week I increased my radius until I was up to doing some measurable distances and actually did complete a half-marathon.  No, I never did get to run my full marathon--I got pregnant and then just sort of lost interest in it.  My point is, I had to start somewhere.  As we are beginning yet, another new month in this year I would like to encourage you as well in this.  It's okay if, like me, exercise is not your thing.  But hey, find your motivation--go for a walk in the rain or snow (bundle up) (make sure it's not blizzard conditions like it is here today), get a treadmill (I got one for $20 on Craigslist) and walk it out while you listen to your favorite music or watch a show, join a gym and take advantage of their child care while you go pound out some frustrations, socialize with some other people and recharge.  Remember--something IS better than nothing.  If it's 5 minutes or 55 minutes or 5 hours (let's not get fanatical).

What motivates me is wanting to be able to keep up with my frantically energetic boys.  I want to be a kid with them and not feel like a slug and a party pooper.  I want to have a body that is still functioning well as I age (and age and age) hopefully into my 80's or 90's and not be a burden to any of my family or rack up exorbitant health care costs.  And I really want to see you there too.  Let's make a pact to be those Granny's you see on YouTube doing Michael Jackson moves and having the time of their lives.