Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Making an "Ebenezer Stone" kind of change

Momma's Log September 30, 2015 (Kwrp)

Change.  I don't know about you, but that word usually sends heebeegeebee chills down my spine.  I am not a person who likes sudden change.  I like my schedule (as seen in last weeks post), I like to know that the sun comes up and the sun goes down, I like my bowl of cheerios every morning and my cup of coffee every afternoon.  I'm a bit like Rainman ('s definitely time for Judge Wapner).

 I love the consistency of expected.  I've mentioned before how much I love this time of year with all the beauty of the colors changing and the cooler temperatures coming and the hope of cozy, using your fireplace season. (For those of you in Texas I realize this season never comes and I'm truly sorry, but hey! you get to have 105 degree temps and cockroaches the size of small Volkswagen's--so there's that....) But seasons changing are the kind of change I like-- it's part of the expected and, in that, I have comfort.  So I realize not all change is a bad thing.  For instance, some of us have bad habits we would like to change, for some, a job change would be a good thing, and for others of us, an attitude change would be in order ( a certain 8 year old child o mine, comes to mind). But, change, whether it's good or bad can sometimes be hard and even painful.

A few months ago I was out for a walk.  These excursions are when I like to have my good long talks with God--well I do most of the talking--He patiently listens to all of my blathering and gives the appropriate "Mmmhmms and Oh Really's" But, on this particular day, I was lamenting over all the areas of struggle I am dealing with.  You know, those things in your life that you REALLY are just sick and tired of dealing with--the desire to lose weight, to be more patient with your family, to save more and spend less, to not lose your cool driving down the highway when that same jerk keeps driving 5 mph slower than the speed limit in the fast lane and then when you try to go around him, he speeds up and then has the nerve to give YOU "the look".  ARRGGGGG!!!!  (Breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out) (I'm fine now. really) I'm sure if I asked you, you probably have a few other things you would add. It's like a battle that we are waging against some unseen force in ourselves.  We know we WANT to change, we know we NEED to change, but for some reason it is not an easy mind over matter situation.  We can have the best of intentions to "get it right next time" and then in the moment ...THUD! we stumble and fall and fail again and again and again.  It just seems and feels like it's never going to happen.

Anyway, on this particular day as I'm venting all of these frustrations, God reminds me of a little known passage in the Bible about the Ebenezer stone.  In 1 Samuel 7, the Israelite's have been sinning against God...again and God is basically ticked off at them (Big surprise).  So, they (the Israelite's) ask Samuel, their resident profit, to tell them what to do.   He commands them to: "Get rid of all your false gods and commit yourself to the Lord and serve him only" and they say: "Yeah, sounds good, lets do it" (I'm paraphrasing here).  So the Philistines (arch enemies of the Israelite's) hear that they (the Israelite's) have gathered outside an area called Mizpah and they (the Philistines) say: "let's attack them".  So, now the Israelite's are scared because they know they've been really naughty against God and that they know they can't fight the Philistines without God on their side so they beg Samuel to cry out to the Lord for them--
and... he does.  Here's the best part:  In 1 Sam. 7:10 it says "While Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering(that's was one of things you had to do to let God know you were really sorry for your sins), the Philistines drew near to engage Israel in battle.  But that day the Lord thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such panic that they were routed before the Israelite's." Yeah, basically God threw down against the Philistines and wiped. them. out! Then in verse 12 it says:  "Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen (the place where they kicked the Philistines butts).  He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far has the Lord helped us".  So, what is an Ebenezer stone?  It's a marker that that Samuel used for the Israelite's to help them remember how God had  fought for them for them that day.  Every time they looked at that stone it reminded them that when they chose to follow God and do things His way, He came through in a HUGE way and gave them victory in their battle.

I really started to like this idea and I'm thinking "maybe this is something I need..I've been stuck in this same rut for years, nothing is changing and so maybe I just need a reminder of what God can do when I cry out to Him." So I decided to pick up my own stone and when I got home, I wrote the word Change on it.

When I look at my Ebenezer stone it is reminding me (well in my case commanding me):  "Hey You! Put that donut down and go exercise instead!" or "I don't care if the sale ends today, you don't have the money to buy those super cool, last pair available, boots!" "CHANGE"! (No, my rock doesn't really talk out loud--just in case you were wondering--it's just the way I hear it in my head).  I realized that all of these things I want to change are, in fact, things God wants me to change.  When you have the Creator of the Universe on your side, you are not helpless, but step 1 is:  you must realize that you need to change and step 2 is:  you need to believe that you are not helpless to change when you ask God for help.  I have some really bad habits that I've had for a long time and so getting myself a symbol to remind me daily to do something about it has been truly transforming for me. 

When Super Rock Star got home from work, I told him about this brilliant idea I had to have this rock in our kitchen (thankfully, i didn't haul home the boulder I had been eyeing...seemed a bit extravagant--probably would take up too much space)
and my plan for making it my reminder to really work at changing the not-so-nice things about myself.  To which he immediately responded-- as the awesome husband he is "What not-so-nice things?"  I love him!  Then he proceeds to tell me that they have something similar at his work.  He works for Compassion International and in one of their upstairs common areas they have this great statue of several rocks displayed.
(yeah...mine looks a little wimpy compared to this one, but THEY didn't use a super cool silver glitter pen to write on theirs.Ha!) Their statue was to celebrate their 60th anniversary and a remembrance of God's faithfulness to them as a ministry.

So what is it that YOU are desiring to change in your life?  Is there a struggle you've been having a long time and have grown so used to it that you've lost hope that it will ever be any different?  Maybe you just need a reminder.  Day to day life is sometimes hard and tedious.  We take baby steps and nothing spectacular happens and we think..."well maybe I just need to give up trying".  Don't. It's the beginning of a new season--the fall weather is gorgeous.  Go out for a walk, enjoy the cooler, crisper air (again, except in wait til evening when the temps dip down to a tolerable 85 degrees and then you can take your ole cockroach friend for a walk), dig your hands in the dirt, pick out your own Ebenezer stone, and write your reminder on it. (You can even use special glittery pens if you want) and then put it in a place that you will see it everyday.  Maybe for you it's not a reminder shouting at you TO change, but a word or phrase to remind you of some awesome thing to be thankful for--a remembrance of His faithfulness in times past and His promise to be faithful in the future.

 I leave you today with a Bible verse I hope will encourage you:
Phil 1:6 "being confident of this that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chores, To Do's and other things I don't find very appealing

Momma's Log Sept 22, 2015 (Kwrp)

With school in full swing, leaves starting to turn and fall beginning to show it's signs of arrival, I am in full blown cleaning mode here at home.  I don't know what it is about fall, but this is, by far, my favorite time of year.  Unfortunately,  here in Colorado, it only lasts about 5.2 seconds.  But those brief bits are spectacular.  The aspens turn all goldeny yellow, the evenings become crisp and cool and yes, Starbucks starts selling it's infamous Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  You all are gonna have to enjoy that last one without me.  I love fall, but I am not a huge fan of pumpkin lattes.  Coffee is my best friend, but its going to have to come in caramel or vanilla variety.

Sorry, what was I talking about?  Oh, yeah. Cleaning. This time of year also always has me thinking I need to start doing some major home maintenance before the really cold weather starts. Ugh!  I love sharing the things I've learned about home making with others and I love learning from others what works for them.  But, I'll be real honest, cleaning and everything about cleaning is the least desirable thing about this stay at home Mom gig.  I have the best of intentions, I make glorious plans and lists and...well, here's the thing I've learned about myself:  I am an idea-tor ( hows that for a fancy way of saying I have ideas), but I am not an implementer.  I love coming up with new ways of doing things, but when it comes to the actual doing...not so much.  This is where I envy those of you who are privileged enough to get to hire professional cleaning help.  I am all about supporting others gifts and so if there is anyone out there that is aching to use their gift of cleaning... I can't afford to pay you, but hey, come practice and hone your skills at my place any time.  I am baffled that there are real live human beings out there that truly enjoy cleaning.  It's a skill they have developed and crafted and are experts at it and, get this, they are passionate about it. (What?! Yeah.  I know).   For those of you that this is you, just know, whereas I admire and respect you, I also see you as an alien life form that I'm not sure I will ever truly understand.  Same is true for those of you that enjoy doing laundry, ironing and doing yard work.

I know now that cleaning is a necessary evil in my household.  It is something I have to choose to do every day and it does not come naturally.  My mom can attest that I have never been much of a neat freak.  My best friend and roomie, Chelle and I in our freshman year in college won the prize for the messiest dorm room.  Girls we had never met before would bring their parents to our room so they could show them that maybe their own rooms weren't so bad after all.  I'm not proud of it. (Well, maybe back then, I was a little proud.) But, what I'm learning, as I get older, is to know thyself.  In other words figure out what works best for you and then do it.  Since, the birth of my first born 8 1/2 years ago,  I took on the role of Queen of our household, Ruler to the masses (our two little boys) and Overseer of all things Home (When you read this, make sure you use the big booming voice that Galadriel the Elf Queen uses in Lord of the Rings when she's being tempted by the ring),

I determined that I did not want to spend all my time cleaning and doing chores.  I wanted, and still want, my focus to be on the people in this home, not on busying myself with things that take up all my time and attention.  That being said, I found out real quick that you have to find a balance.  There are some well meaning souls out there that advise you when you become a Mom to just "let the housework go and enjoy your time with your children... it goes by so fast"  True, it's going by lightning fast.  But, I don't think it's realistic to stop doing all dishes, laundry and vacuuming so that we can gaze into our little poonims inky black infant eyes and sing lullaby's and laugh and play all day.   That sounds real nice, but at some point, unless your a bajillionare and can afford to just throw out everything that has been thrown up on, squirted with diarrhea, and slobbered on by teething toddlers, I think we might have to look at the real possibility that cleaning has to be a major part of what we do here at home.

Since, as I've mentioned, It's not something I enjoy:

 (ah ya have lad, ffffrrrequently),

I have developed systems over the years that have worked.  In my early Momma years, I kept things pretty simple and did just the basics once a week (including vacuuming).  For some of you, that might seem..."Ew, gross, I need to vacuum and clean toilets every day"  And that's fine.  This was my first attempt at a To Do list

Don't laugh about me needing to remind myself to do my nails.  Seriously, if I don't, I can't tell you what a scraggly mess they become.  Also, I love crossing things off a list and I put as many things on there that I know I could get done or even have already done just so I could cross it off.  It makes me feel more accomplished and Super Girl like.  During the years I used this list, I would add the unplanned stuff that came up on the empty lines (errands I needed to run,  yard work, etc) and then I would do a big spring cleaning and fall cleaning every year and scrub my home, windows and get all the closets and such cleaned out.

About 5 years ago we moved to a bit larger home and it became apparent to me real quick that this list wasn't going to cut it.  As my boys have grown, not only are they getting messier, but they are also able to take on some of the responsibility of helping keep our home clean. ( I'll get into kids chores on another day)  Plus, the waiting to do deep cleaning twice a year was overwhelming me two months out of every year.  I came across a nifty lil blog a few months ago called
She's got charts and lists for everything, but I really liked this cleaning chart she has:
This has served as a great guide to me for things I can do each day, week and month to keep my house not only cleaner, but in better repair.  I adapted it to fit my schedule and needs and came up with this version that has been working great for me so far.

Plus, I don't have to worry about doing spring or fall house cleaning any more.  It's built into this day to day schedule.  And, yes, I DO have to remind myself to take a shower and get dressed every day.  I am amazed at how quickly time flies by and before I know it's 2:00pm and I stink to high heaven and am still in my stretchy pants.  You may notice that I schedule time to do things I enjoy like read, write and practice music.  I've found that if I don't schedule some things I enjoy, then all I do are house projects and chores and it leads to a not so happy me.

 Another thing I put in my schedule is to have a fun day (or morning).  I go for hikes, bike rides, shop garage sales and thrift stores, drink coffee at a coffee shop and just enjoy myself.  I'm not saying this way works for everyone. but, for me, just having a system in place is half the battle. It has taken me a while to find what works and I highly encourage you to put something in place.  I am not a "fly by the seat of your pants person"--that kind of living leaves me stressed, but I'm also not a stringent "follow the list and only the list" nazi either.  Like I said, you have to find the balance and leave wiggle room for the surprises (chaos, "good grief what fresh hell is this") that inevitably occur.  One last thing I have on there is Big Projects and Small Projects.  This is a list I keep that me helps to keep me on track with the things that sometimes pile up. For Big Projects it's things like getting ready for a garage sale, doing home repair stuff,etc and for Small Projects it can be things like calling to make doctor appointments, filling out permission slips, etc. 

I hope this at least gives you some ideas on where to start if you don't already have a working system in place.  Some of you, I'm sure, have much more tech savvy ways of doing things and I have to admit I wish I was not so technology challenged or apprehensive.   I am definitely an old school print it out so I can cross it off the list gal.  I would love to hear from you on the what things you have found that work. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

21 Things I've learned about Marriage in 21 years

Momma's Log September 12, 2015 (Kwrp)

I'm a bit behind on some topics I wanted to write about, so forgive me if I overload in the next couple days.  I don't think I could ever make it as a competitive writer such as a newspaper reporter, Lois Lane type.  I'm pretty sure I would always get out scooped since my writing tends to be not only meandering and unfocused at times, but I'm also really lousy at putting it out there in a timely manner.

For instance; Super Rock Star and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary on September 3rd.  As you can see it is well past September 3rd.  However, I REALLY wanted to post about the things I've learned about marriage in 21 years.  It would have been SO cool to have this all ready to go on our actual anniversary, but alas, life happens and  I'm a chronic procrastinator.  Plus, I was struggling to come up with 21.  It's really more like 5, but saying I've only learned 5 things in 21 years doesn't sound very impressive.  Just ignore the bits that sound like repeats.  It's 21.  Yeah, definitely 21 distinct things I've learned.

So, here it is.  The list you all have been waiting for, that I have built up with tingling excitement and anticipation (oooh! I can't wait to see what it says!). Drum Roll please! (This is the part where folks that can roll their tongues and make the cool drum roll sound and for those of us that are unfortunately unable to make this sound we sputter like a motor boat or slap our legs in a drum roll rhythm)

21 Things I have Learned in 21 years of Marriage

1. Choose to stay married to your spouse and choose to love them every day. Yes, this is a choice you must make.  Some days are easier to do this than other. Wretched morning breath and under the bed covers passing of gas can sometimes seriously damper the will to do this, but marriage is, at times,a sacrifice of our will.

2. Choose to forgive them.  Just as loving your spouse is a choice, forgiving them is too. If pain can be inflicted by anyone, it is even more so by our spouses. You have to choose to forgive for the small annoyances (piles of clothes left laying around) as well as the big hurtful things.

3.  Feelings follow actions.  I was so relieved when I ran across this bit of wisdom a few years ago.  Because some days, I just don't feel like...fill in the blank:  being kind, doing nice things, listening, and yes,even loving and forgiving. But, I find that when I go against my selfish feelings and just do the thing, I not only feel better, but it makes me feel more loving toward my husband and about him.

4.  It's o.k. to be angry and argue.  For some reason TV, romance novels and movies have us all convinced that if you're fighting with your spouse something must be terribly wrong. That's a lie.  Fighting and arguing are normal and healthy. It's important to remain civil and respectful when this happens, but a good healthy fight about stuff that's built up is very cleansing and can help draw you closer. 

 5.  It's also o.k. to go to bed without making everything better.  The Bible says to not let the sun go down on our anger. In other words...YOU need to make sure your not angry. But, that doesn't mean you have to hash it all out before going to sleep.  My husband and I have two very different ways of dealing with conflict.  I'm a people pleaser and I NEED everything to be okay, no one mad at me and all be right with the world so I can move on. He, on the other hand, needs time and space.  Sometimes we both need to take time to cool down or we'll end up saying hurtful things.

6.  Talk about the stuff. Even if you need some time or they need some time. You need to talk about it eventually.  Not talking can be deadly to a marriage. Get counseling if you need to.

7.  Find fun things that you enjoy doing together. During the early years of our marriage we had gotten into a bad habit of him doing his thing and me doing my thing and we began living separate lives. My husband has many hobbies; watching football, fishing, singing, watching horror movies...etc.  I have many hobbies too; sewing, reading, doing home project, hiking, running...etc.. As you can see our hobbies don't really match.  But, I have learned over the years to really enjoy most of his hobbies--I have learned to love fishing and watching football (Go Cowboys!), and sometimes we lead worship together for churches and such.  As far as horror movies--I tried, but no, he's on his own on this one. Same thing for him with running and sewing.  He tried, but it's not his thing and that's o.k. 
8.  Build your house together.  I don't mean the structure itself, I mean the parts in it. It's your home. It's your haven from the rest of the world. Do it together. For some this may seem strange, but when Super Rock Star and I look around our home, we enjoy seeing the history of our lives--the things we've collected, the pictures, the memories of doing projects. All of it becomes our glue for our home and our lives together.

9.  Keep going on dates. I know you've seen this one before, but it is worth repeating. Life can get so busy and hectic that we forget to just be together. Since my boys have started back to school, we've enjoyed getting away to a couple movies during the week days and shopping.Whatever your stage in life, find some time for just the two of you--even if it's a few minutes after the kids have gone to bed to just hang out and be together.

10.  Kiss and say I love you at least once every day.  Super Rock Star used to joke around and say  "I said it once, if I change my mind I'll let you know" (make sure you say this in your thickest hick accent and add a burp at the end). I feel very lucky that there hasn't been too many days in all our years together that he hasn't told me he loves me. It's special and it means the world to me.

11.  Don't flirt with others.  Period. Some think this is harmless, but it is very harmful and breeds jealousy and insecurity. Neither of which help make a healthy happy marriage.

12.  Don't even joke about divorce.  I love Ruth Graham's response when asked if she ever considered divorcing Billy Graham. "Divorce? No. Murder? Yes." Probably best to not joke about murder either.  I don't want something horrible to happen to my husband and then me end up in jail because my friends said something along the lines of "well, she did say she would kill him if he forgot one more time to pick up his dirty socks" (again, it with your thickest hick accent). But, with divorce, even speaking about it in jest plants a dirty little seed of discontent.

13.  Listen.  When your spouse has something to say to you, put down your phone, book, pause the television show you are watching and listen with eye contact.  Again, life can be so busy and moves so fast.  Nothing can make a person feel more lonely and isolated than to be ignored or only half heard in their own home with the one they love. On the flip side nothing makes one feel more appreciated and important to someone than to be really heard by the one they love and having them genuinely interested.

14.  Respect each other.  I know we all promised to do this for each other (along with love and cherish) on our wedding days, but it's a good reminder. My eyes have practically rolled out of their sockets at times with my husband when I'm feeling particularly disrespectful. It's one of those things along with some of the others I've mentioned that's a choice to do. To have respect for each other brings feelings of closeness and building together, to not have it brings feelings of isolation, hostility and distance.

15.  Speak highly of each other.  This goes along with respect. It's a way of showing your spouse that, "Hey, even when your not around, I still think the world of you and I want others to know it".

16.  Give each other genuine, specific compliments.  I don't mean flattery or just saying empty words.  Notice each other, tell each other what you like, and build each other up.
17.  Love the one your with.  Infidelity is rampant in our society these days. Since Super Rock Star's band plays a lot of clubs, I'm around a lot of folks looking for love most weekends.  Trust me, the singles scene for 30's 40's and 50 somethings is not even remotely appealing in my opinion.  The grass is not greener on the other side.  Love your grass and if it's not green, water and nurture it until it is.  Capiche?

18.  It's okay to have your own thing too.  I mentioned earlier that it's good to have things to do together, but I also believe it's good to have things you do apart. For him it's music, for me it's running and reading. It gives us more to talk about and share with each other and another way to show genuine interest in each other. Although, my husband will never understand the running thing. His belief is that if you are not being chased there is no need to run. Ha!

19.  Give each other physical love often.  Yes, I'm talking about what you think I'm talking about. To be honest this should be in the top 5. (#1 for Super Rock Star.  Ha!) If you are newly married, you are probably thinking "what?! impossible!  But, again, with the busy, hectic life thing--especially when children enter the picture, things get put on the back burner. Just trust me--don't let that happen. But, also remember to hug, cuddle, and hold hands. The world can seem harsh and ugly sometimes. Nothing makes me feel better instantly than just a big ole hug from my man.

20.  Inside jokes are essential. In the 21 years we have been together, he and I  almost have our own language. So many things he can say to me and I know exactly what he's talking about that no one else would.  Movie quotes(most any line from The Princess Bride), song lyrics (we have conversations in song around our house), it's only growing as our boys have added to our language too.

21.  Think about each other when you are apart.  We save a lot of our conversation till the end of the day.  But, all throughout the day I am thinking about him and of things that I want to tell him about. The silly but sometimes dangerous part for us is that we each have experienced times of having imaginary conversations with each other and then forgotten to have the actual conversation. Deep confusion and chaos occurs when it has to do with scheduling something ("I told you about that 3 weeks ago!"  "Um, no you didn't." )

So, there you have it.  The things I have learned about marriage in my 21 years of marriage.  Now, let's be clear, I've learned these things, but I can't honestly say that I always remember to put them into practice.  I am sure many of you have things you would add and I would love to hear about them.  The bottom line is staying married is a decision you make every day.  Some days marriage can be really hard.  If you're in a hard time, just remember it's temporary. I have personally experienced  my feelings following my actions.  When I choose him, my feelings for him grow.  Also, marriage is fun.  No one makes me belly laugh harder than my husband. He is truly my favorite person and I love that our years together just keep solidifying him as my best friend. Happy 21 years Babe!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

It's not's animal

Momma's Log August  27 (Kwrp)

A couple weeks ago Super Rock Star and I had a little extra coin and decided to do some clothes shopping at the outlet mall in Castle Rock.  We had Tweedledee and Tweedledum in tow, so we knew it was going to be a stellar day (Not really. They hate shopping unless we're looking for toys--which is hardly ever--so they each make it their life mission to make sure we hate it too.)

Anyway, I found myself in the GAP outlet store where a pair of denim shorts caught my eye. They were on sale for a price that was hard to pass up.  I didn't really pay much attention to them other than they were my size and they were cheap.  So they came home with me.  When we got home, I took them out of the bag and noticed some writing on the inside waste band:
Wow! They didn't appear all that sexy to me, but hey, advertising doesn't lie right?.  Let's pop these babies on so I can strut my stuff.  Now, folks, I'm not always the best judge of what is sexy and what is not.  I tend to be a little self-deprecating when it comes to assessing myself, but I think we can all be real honest and say these shorts are NOT sexy.

Not even a little.  It's o.k. Say it out loud to yourself right now.  Whisper it if you need to... it won't hurt my feelings.  "Not sexy."  Mom jeans are sexier than these. Just to be sure, I asked Super Rock Star for his honest opinion.  Howling laughter was not what I anticipated, but it definitely confirmed what I already suspected. I even tried to do the "movie star" pose in them and Nopety nope nope..still not working.

But, it got me to thinking about that whole word "sexy."  Why did GAP feel like they had to put that word on an item of clothing that so obviously was not?  Judging by the enormous stack of them at the store, I'm guessing it was a desperate attempt to sell some not-so-special shorts.  I, apparently, was one of the few takers.  But, here's the deal: I bought them without knowing they said that, so I already had made the purchase.  It's the expectation that came from seeing that word later that led to disappointment.  I would have purchased the shorts no matter what, but the word "Sexy" intrigued me.  It was like a magic wand promising to wave away the doldrums of my ordinary self and causing to expect more if I put on this article of cheap clothing.   Is this what it's come to?  Am I really that gullible?  GAP, you lied.  Maybe you could argue that the ones in size 0 on a stick thin, 6-foot tall supermodel would be sexy.  But, most would tell you that these rare creatures could be clothed in garbage bags full of garbage and make it look appealing.  My favorite example of this has been the blog post going around where "every day women" (as opposed to the fake robot ones) put on swimming suits and strike poses that the Victoria's Secret models wore in their swimsuit addition.  If you missed it here it is.

Victoria's Secret is notorious for trying to make things look sexier than they are.  A few years ago Beth Moore wrote a blog post about how she came unglued with them in one of their stores for peddling "Sexy Gum."  Yeah,  apparently they sold gum and called it Sexy.  Really? Gum is seriously one of the least sexy items on this planet.  Her stance was "why are they trying to bring sex into every aspect of common everyday items?" Preach it Beth! But, unless you consider looking like a cow chewing its cud sexy, I think we can safely call "sexy gum" another advertising lie.  
So, be on the look out my fair citizens.  Consider this your public service announcement.  Just because something says it's sexy does not mean it is. You have been warned.

P.S. Sherri Koch is the big winner of the flashdrive from last weeks drawing!  Congratulations Sherri!  Stay organized! Ha!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The School Paperwork Tidal Wave

Momma's Log August 18, 2015 (Kwrp)

Back to school time is in full swing in our lil ole homestead. I have the house all to myself so I've been cleaning, organizing and being ever so productive. Bling! (this is to show the sparkly part of my gleaming smile) OK. so maybe there has been a nap or two involved, some extended lounging in the kiddie pool (hey, I have to, it's my job to make sure that bugs don't take up permanent residence in it), and staring off into space for inordinate amounts of time, drool sliding out of the corner of my mouth. The boys, on the other hand, have been seeing to it that they add to my already accumulating list of things to do (see previous post). In two weeks this is already the fruits of their young school life labor.

Holy Cow! Does this seem a little excessive to anyone else?  I mean didn't we all agree a few years ago that we needed to use less paper, save trees, things like that? I've heard that doing work on computers has become all the rage for most folks, but no sirree, not in school.  In elementary you hand write everything and allow your zealous-with-a-paper-and-pen six-year-old make drawing after drawing of the same. thing. Over and over again during their "free time" (what the heck is that? --giving a six-year-old free time is just plain scary). Needless to say the pile can get out of hand pretty fast so in years past I have found some handy dandy ways of dealing with the school paper onslaught that comes in every week.  No I don't have a ritual paper burning every week, but I tell you it gets more and more tempting each year.

My problem is that I am a memory hoarder.  "Hello everyone, my name is Jennifer and I save every tiny little item that has borne any semblance of a mark that my baby's have made."  Hey, you never know, they might become famous some day and this stuff could become $1000  items on eBay.  This is my retirement plan. For now.  Plus, I was damaged and left with childhood scars because, when I was young, my mom would tear through my shared room with my sister every few months with hurricane force and clean out anything that was not well concealed in a stealth-like hiding place.  I called them cleaning terrors and I have been known to have a few of those of my own in my day.  Super Rock Star is still searching for a favorite shirt of his that I'm pretty sure was snatched away in one of my fits of becoming a cleaner and more organized wife.  Sorry Babe.  Anyway, my mom accidentally tossed a box of birthday cards I had been saving for all of my 8 years at the time.  I was devastated, but thanks to time and a good amount of therapy, I'm mostly okay now. Sort of.  But now, like I said, I pretty much save every.tiny. little. thing. I'm sure there's therapy for that too.

My system is pretty simple and works if you save everything like me or if just a few choice things like I probably should. I buy a bunch of these folders when they go on sale for a penny during back-to-school supply sales.

Each month, I select one for each child and write their name, grade, the month and year.
All throughout the month each school day, when the papers come home, I look at them, select some good ones for the refrigerator and the rest go in the folder.  At the end of the month, I clean off the refrigerator and put those in the folders too--otherwise my entire refrigerator, oven, dishwasher and probably my entire house would be wallpapered with the art of my young Picasso's.  I have a file cabinet I keep hidden deep in the recesses of our home in a closet --out of sight out of sight, right?  I put the full files in there at the end of every month.  At the end of the school year, I move those files to a storage box like this one:

Someday I will have to spend an entire year going through and purging these.  Either that or I'll just have a big ole bonfire and light em up---therefore scaring my boys for life and therapy required and the mad cycle continues.  I admit, I need to purge and someday I will.

This is the box I keep all of both Morgan and Grayson's stuff from preschool in.  Crazy.  I know.  Certifiable.  I get it.

 But, just look at the darling necklace Grayson made for me and the adorable Valentine's Day box Morgan created:
So cute I can't stand it.  Baby steps for me.  Baby steps.  I'm down to folders now instead of whole boxes.  It's a process.

So, this is my mad method, my brilliant, solve the world's problems plan--how about you all?  I would love to hear how you handle the tidal wave of papers coming in.  Please share AND  for those who write a response you will be entered into a drawing to win a 16GB flash drive.

I'm pretty sure this would be the smarter and more space efficient way to handle the memories--you know take photos of the favorites and then store them on a data stick.  But, hey, like I said--it's a process.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

First Day of School/First Day of my new life

Momma's Log August 4, 2015 (Kwrp)
Today begins a new chapter in my life.  For the past 8 years I have been up to my eyeballs in all things about my boys.  As of 8:00 this morning, I turned both of them over to District 49 here in Colorado Springs to care for, feed, entertain and teach until 3:00pm this afternoon.  Sniffle... Sniffle....Sob!  I'm fine..I'm fine. I'm just a little verklempt.  Talk amongst yourselves for a minute.  Here, I'll give you a topic.  Why don't birds fly upside down?  Discuss...

O.K. Whew!  I'm back now.  It's just that I have had at least one of those little/turned-big boys around me every day now for 8 1/2 years.  This whole full-time school thing is beyond strange.  My house feels eerily quiet, especially after having them both here every. single. day... loud, laughing, arguing, screeching my name solid for the past 2 1/2 months during our summer break.  My home feels like a foreign planet.  I have literally been walking through it for the first time observing things I had never noticed before.  For instance, when did the walls get so stinkin' dirty? Huh? I mean our home is only about 5-years old.  How is it possible that in that short time, my pristine perfectly new  walls look like they would be right at home in a crack house? So many of you have tried to convince me that I will enjoy my freedom, that it will be wonderful and that I can sing and dance and frolic around without any interruptions.  Uh huh.

I'm slowly beginning to realize that I will now be accountable more than ever for how I spend my time.   Everyone that knows me is watching....Why isn't she going back to work?, Is she going to just sit around her house and eat bon bons all day?  Must be nice to have nothing to do all day. Heh, heh... whoo boy!  It took me one micro-second to look at my home through fresh eyes, not overrun with the herd of boy humanity, and I realize exactly what I'm going to be doing.,...Dom dom DOM! House projects..GASP!  I know, I know.  But, I don't see any way around it.  I've gotten by fat, dumb and lucky for these past few years without my hubby, the Super Rock Star, not being too up in arms about the quickly deteriorating state of our home.  He was content that my time was best spent making sure Heckle and Jeckle didn't destroy it and seeing that they were being fed, watered, and exercised regularly.  I'm in a bit of a state of panic right now.  I really had been kind of looking forward to this Re-lax-ation. thing I've heard all the kids buzzing about.  But, now, I need to act quick or this is going to turn into a real bummer of gargantuan proportions.  I mean, not only is the general overall filth of our home coming to the surface, but I've heard some mumblings about repainting the exterior, the fence needs staining, the accumulation in our garage and several closets needs to be dealt with.  It's only a matter of time before his gaze settles on me as the logical one, between the two of us, who should accomplish these tasks. Folks, I don't mean to panic, but seriously, I'm starting to feel light headed... heart palpitations,  I might need to go lie our kiddie pool.  Be back in a sec.

O.K. That helped....a lot!  Feeling pretty mellow...and sunburned.  The thing is that even though I'm feeling pretty weirded out by the overwhelming quiet in our home right now, I'm kind of looking forward to it too.  It's not often that one gets a chance to have uninterupted time-- especially us stay-at-home mom types.  Most of our time is spent listening to detailed accounts of every. single. thought that pops into our precious little cherub's head. And the endless stream of questions that no sane adult would ever ask: "How do giraffes wipe their hineys?", "Why do cars need gas and how come human toots can't be put into cars?" "When I become a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, are you going to make me do chores?" I'm hoping to get to do some creative things like balance our checkbook for the first time in 8 years and grocery shop without the half hour visit to the toy aisle.  I'm thinking I may even enjoy a nap and actually go to sleep without worrying about my stealthy ninjas sneaking around the house.  So, even with the impending dread of house projects on the horizon (dom dom DOM!!!), I think that having some empty spaces in my life might be a little refreshing too.  Who knows, maybe while I'm tackling the mountain size accumulation of projects I might listen to some really cool inspirational podcasts that teach me how to be a better mom, wife, and human being or I can learn a foreign language that I can teach my family when they come home..... Nah!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dear Lucy

Dear Lucy,

It's hard to believe you've already been gone a whole week. I miss your sweet face so much! I felt like everything happened so fast when we had to make the horrible decision to let you go--I still can't think about it without sobbing. But, what has bothered me is that I never got the chance to honor your life. You were a part of a quarter of my life and your absence has left a huge hole.

I will never forget the day I met you for the first time. Daddy gave you to me as a Christmas present, but I didn't get to meet you until January. What a perfect choice--your sweet, soft brown eyes, your velvety ears and that nose with the crooked markings. Grandma always teased you that the angel that painted your face didn't do a very good job :-) Who knew all the enjoyment you would bring us over the years.
It didn't take long for us to see your true colors. Within weeks you had eaten big holes in the walls of our laundry room (your room) in our brand new house. In the first year, I think we took you to the emergency room at least three times--cutting your toe, eating my eyeglasses, and polishing off a whole bowl of Halloween candy. You were meant to be a Glenn, no two ways about it!

One of the worst mishaps was when you broke your leash and ran off while we were inside a restaurant up in the mountains. It took us 13 days, miles of traveling, and hiking circles around the towns of Silvercliffe and Westcliffe before we found you. Amazingly, we seemed to be in worse shape than you when we finally got you back. What a celebration! I will always remember how the people of those tiny little towns supported us and did everything they could to help us find you.

My favorite thing we did together was going for runs. You LOVED it. I couldn't believe how far you could go. When I had the hair brained idea that I would train for a marathon, you went with me on every run--even that ridiculous 14 mile run I went on in the middle of the afternoon on a hot Summer day. What was I thinking? What a champ you were to finish it with me--we were both so thirsty when we got home.

Your favorite thing to do with Daddy was play hide and seek. I have never heard of a dog that did that. But, then again, you didn't know you were a dog. You would sit at the top of the stairs while Daddy would hide downstairs, then when he would whistle for you, you would tear down the stairs barking and yapping, searching everywhere until you found him. So much fun--by far your favorite game.
There were the rides in Daddy's jeep, the fishing and camping trips, and watching the Cowboys games. You never did figure out that Daddy was yelling at the TV, not you. You were our child long before we had children and we spoiled you rotten. But, when our children did come along, you adjusted beautifully, taking them on as your own and loving and protecting them. Morgan asks about you every day. It hurts to have to explain to him that you won't be coming home again, but I'm so glad that he got to know you.

Oh Lucy, it hurts so much to think about all of these memories, but it hurts even more not to. I will miss having your head in my lap in the mornings while I have my quiet time, I will miss tripping over you in the middle of the night, I will miss watching our boys tug and pull on you while you patiently allowed them to do whatever they wanted--you were so good with them. I have told everyone how you didn't trust me to do this "mommy" thing on my own. While they napped, I wouldn't see you, but as soon as they were up, there you were too. I appreciated the "help" most of the time.
I wish we would have had a little more time together. I knew your time was coming soon, I justed didn't know it would be this soon. I would have liked to been able to spoil you rotten for a day, apologize for the times that in my sleep deprivation, I was just impossible to be around, and let you know in my words and actions how much these last eleven years have meant to me. Lucy Lou, you were one of a kind and I will miss you so much. Good-bye sweet girl.

Lucy Lou Glenn