Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Locker Room Talk

My locker room talk experience wasn't what you might quite think...

I took the girls to the YMCA pool Sunday afternoon to swim.  We had been on the road all weekend long and needed to work off some steam.  We swam until our hands were pruny and our lips blue, and our teeth were chattering.  This time I decided to take extra clothes for us to take showers before we left--to eliminate one extra step to have to do at home...and to prevent us from freezing to the sidewalk as we left the YMCA soaking wet.  So, me, thinking I was making a smart decision entered the unknown, unedited world of public showers, bathrooms, and changing rooms. 

I took the girls into the showers, to rinse off with their swimming suits still on.  As I soon found out, we were the only ones still sporting our suits in the showers.  This was after Leah proceeded to realize that everyone showered in the same place, separated by only a thin shower curtain and a purposefully placed towel.  It must have been rush hour at the showers, for the 50+ club because we all 3 crammed into a corner shower with 200 degree boiling hot water.  While the rest of the shower was full of free-bird old women, with shower caps as their only covering...Leah decided she didn't like our corner shower stuffiness so she began making her way down the row of people showering, ripping back shower curtains...one...by...one...trying to find one she might like, instead.
Met with squawks.  Screeches.  And Oh my's!
Her being completely clueless as to what respecting people's privacy is...kept on trucking before I could grab the back of her swimming suit or anything for that matter that would stop her path.  She got to the last shower head and must have discovered someone she recognized (or at least I hope that was all it was) because she proceeded to stop...and stare....FOREVER!  Eyes popping out of her head, mouth open.  Then she turns to look at me through the 3 lanes of showers that revealed fully exposed old women to yell "Hey mom! It's my teacher, Mrs -----! Come here!!"

I put my head down closed my eyes, and shuffled as fast as I could through the occupied showers, mumbling apologies under my fuming mad breath--to grab the back of Leah's swimming suit, and drag her back to our shower...slam the curtain shut, and muster all the courage I had not to hold her head under cold water a few minutes...oh my gosh!!!!!!

Why Lord? Why me??

We proceed to get through the showering.  Onto the drying off part.  Then Autum decides its her turn to speak up...
"mommy, whats that?"  As she points and stares open-mouthed at another naked passer-by..."why she look like that, mommy?"  "where are her clothes?"  "Is she cold?"  "Uh  oh...she dropped something..." *giggle* *giggle* "She NAKED!"

I threw a towel over her head and pretended her hair needed a thorough drying and her mouth needed muffling while everyone cleared the drying off area.  I get Autum dried off and clothed only to find Leah hounding down her teacher again in the corner of the locker room...she is standing about 1 1/2 inches from her teacher's body, yapping her teacher's ear off, while her teachre tries uncomfortably to redress herself under the confines of her towel--Leah's barely giving her enough space to move her elbows up and down.  I go holler at Leah to get back in the drying area and to get dressed so we can go.  She tells me she put all of her clothes in the lockers.  I said to get them out of the locker, NOW!  She all the sudden can't remember which locker...so we begin opening door after door...having to make facial confrontations with each person we just saw in the showers...as we search our way down the rows...weaving between people.  I wrapped a towel around her head, dressed her body, slammed her boots on her feet and we left!

 I literally drug both girls out of there by the hoods on their coats as fast as I could get them to shuffle...from now on we will err on the side of freezing to the sidewalk, than sacrifice ourselves in the community shower...

And I hope I never have a conference with Leah's teacher... where would I even begin?


Monday, December 30, 2013

Weightless Goals

@Jesus Calling "Your security rests in Me alone; not in other people, not in circumstances..."

This is SOOO hard for me.
To rest my security in Christ alone.
I have to constantly remind myself when I begin to seek comfort, trust, confidence, hope, and peace in other people and places...because I am most often inevitably set up for disappointment.  Most always, actually.

I am realizing that my biggest downfall that leads to this insecurity, is fear.  Yes, I know, fear is the root of most insecurity.  But mine, more specifically, is fear of failure or looking like a failure.  I am a first-born, stubborn, all or nothing, doer!  I wouldn't consider myself a perfectionist, persay, but I am someone who is driven.  Driven to work hard.  Put in the time.  Do what needs to be done.  I feel that the harder you work, the better you get.

"I've got a theory that if you give 100% all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end." -Larry Bird

I could agree with that.  And I love that.  I take pride in working hard.  It energizes me.  It motivates me.  I can work hard, its the only way I know to approach anything.  With hard work and lots of time and effort.

Being a wife.
Friendships. Relationships.
Learning. Researching.
CrossFit. Competing.

 But there are those times when you work so hard and still fall short.  Those are the fears I despise.  But yet motivate and demotivate me on a daily basis.  It is always a mental battle.  "Yes you can!"  "No you can't!"  "What if?"  "Who cares!"

I realize at this point I have let my identity and focus slip from my eternal hope and truth in God, to that of temporary gains on earth.  And as soon as I realign my motives and thoughts, my fears soon appear very small.  Very surmountable.  Very unimportant.
But for some reason, it takes me a looooong time to get to this realization.  I seek solace and confidence in other people.  I look to books and self-help studies to boost my confidence.  And yet these all seem to fall short.  Understandably so.  I need my fears to stay in check and my hopes to stay on my eternal treasures in Heaven.

Perspective check.  Identity check. Yep!

So as I end this 2013, I have made it my goal to go out strong.  To end this year with a new perspective and confidence.  Hoping it seeps into my 2014.  I have goals, hopes, and desires!  I just hope to keep them aligned with Scripture and truth.  I will not fear failure.  It has no hold over me.  I will keep reminding myself of this.  I will keep praying about this.

I want to be able to pursue my dreams and goals with freedom.  Weightless.  With energy.
So far, it feels pretty good... I can do this---err...In Christ alone, I can do this!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Perspectives of Christmas

I sat back yesterday and absorbed as much of the day as I could.  Wanting it to hurry up at certain times and wanting it to slow down.  Slow down as in being awakened before 6 am by my 7-year old sticking her ice cold fingers under the covers and her other finger in her daddy's ear.  She was promptly returned back to her bed.  Right before my 3-year old little chubby wubby came out of her room ready to EAT!  "Sucker?" "Gum?" "Chocolate?" "Pleeease, mommy?"

Gee, thanks Papa! A new bow and arrow...
That part could have sped up...or at least the hour from 5-6 am so I could have gotten a little more sleep after a late night of assembling and wrapping.  And at least said I slept in until 7...

The part that could have slowed down was each person's excitement and facial expression to unwrapping gifts. 

I observed Leah: (read this without taking a breath in your best auctioneer voice)

"Mom! Mom- Did Santa come-Wonder who his parents are--Does he have kids--The reindeer didn't eat the magic food (oops I forgot to cover that up)--He ate all the cookies, mom--Can I eat the leftover crumbs--Where's my gifts from Santa--He didn't bring me anything on my list--He told me he would bring me one thing on my list--no Apple computer, no iPhone, no prometheum board, no projector screen for my school classroom, I am a teacher I need these things--I can't ride my electric scooter outside its snowy--is this all my gifts--when does mimi and papa come--do they have me more gifts--maybe they brought me a computer--is this all--can we open more gifts--are you sure there aren't anymore gifts anywhere you forgot--now what--we are all done--there are no more gifts to open-my shoes you bought me are too big but I put toilet paper in the toes so they fit--all these people are here--AHHHH--I'm going crazy--so much fun--so loud--so much candy--so much pop--so much food--lets play in the snow--its too cold--lets go back inside--mom have you seen my make up box key--I locked it--oops--can I go stay with Aunt Kate and Uncle Jeremy--please, please, please.  Will you come get me.  My tooth is loose--I'm going to pull it out--it is bleeding--my tooth fell out--Aunt Kate, does the tooth fairy know where you live---how long until Christmas next year--when is my birthday--how many months--AHHAHAHAHAH!!!"
(silence)--she got in the car to go stay with Aunt Kate...*SIGH...

Autum:  (in your best toddler voice, replacing every R and L with a W...)

"Mama...is it the day for Santa to come?"
"Is it my bewtday or Baby Jesus? Happy Bewday Baby Jesus!  I want to hold baby Jesus...does he use a bottle?  I change his diaper..."
"I ate all my whip gwoss...it taste yummy...I ate all my whipstick too..."
New hair styling set.
"These pwesents awe for me? Yay!!  I open now, Mama?  Okay...ohhh, a dwess! I weaw it now?  Boots? Yay, I weaw them now?  (meanwhile throwing the shirt and pants over her shoulder)  More make up! Yay!  A hair dryer!  My own cuwling iwon?  Mama, I do your haiw?  MORE WHIP STICK?!  YAYYYYY!!! I eat it??  I open Bwake's pwesents?  He no like open them...I help him mama? Pweeease?"
Can I have mowe chocolate?  I WUV chocolate.  Yum.Yum.Yum.Yum.  (she snuck more bites of the chocolate peanut clusters and chocolate peanut butter cookies than I could count)  Can I have more gum? (this was after she finished off a can of Bubble Yum in about 1 hour--yep! At least 10 pieces at once...talk about chubby chipmunk cheeks) 
Sugar! Sugar! Sugar!"

Leah and Autum put on a Christmas caroling show with microphones and dance moves, followed up by a cheerleading routine.  Autum was asked by my dad what she wanted from Santa for Christmas and she replied, "A new dress, (getting louder), new boOTS, AND NEW BOOBIES!!!" (SILENCE)  Then bust out laughing by everyone else in the room...pretty sure, she meant to say something else but it came out as that...and I'm sure there were a few other women I know with that request this year too :)

Blake: (in a thoughtful voice in his head, almost a whisper)
"Why are they dragging me out of my bed this early? I just want to lay here and pick more wallpaper off my wall...what? No cartoons this morning...we always do cartoons! What is going on?  Why are Autum and Leah screaming at colored boxes under a big 'ol tree?  Whatever, I guess.  I'll just follow along. 
Are you done taking pictures yet?
Mom is helping me tear something up...what is going on?  I don't know, but I LOVE to tear paper, so I'll participate in this part...ohhh, this is for me? What is it? Am I supposed to be excited? Okay! Yay!  I have no idea but I'll yell and raise my hands in the air.  OHHH! I am excited its a new LeapPad2 just for me!  I am not sharing this thing...(as I point my finger at my sister's with the LeapPad2 tucked behind my back, I squint my eyes and yell at them "no!" just so they know I mean business) There, that should do it.  I'll just take this and go behind the chair and play it myself. 
This yelling and loud noise is making me nervous.  I need a quiet place. I need a quiet place.  What? There is more.  Oh man, stupid jeans.  I hate clothes.  I'll just throw them.  There, now maybe she will get the hint.  Why is there a red sock hanging on the wall with my name on it.  Oh well, I'll dump it out I love dumping things out...a new cap gun? Cool! This will help keep the girls away from my LeapPad2...although Leah got a new bow and arrow so that may pose a threat to this little gun...oh well, I'll try my best!  That LeapPad 2 is MINE! 
Now why are there more people coming to our house. I HATE that!!  Oh wait, there is Papa.  I will go give him a high five and hug.  He'll lift me up above everyone else so I don't feel so scared on the floor.  Ahh! Its soo loud.  I'm going to cry.  I'll just lay my head down and close my eyes on my new chair.  All this sound, noise, and commotion makes me so nervous.  Anxious.  Mommy! Mommy!  Ahhh...she got the hint.  She is swaddling me up tight in a blanket and laying me downstairs in my bed, where its quiet and dark.  Ahhhh...peace.

(a few hours later)
Yay! Tear...destroy!
Mommy waking me up? What time is it?  Is it a new day? Where is everyone?  I'll go check each room to see where they all went...hmm, its quiet. Just mommy, daddy and Alma!  Hmmm...ok.  I still can't seem to relax.  I don't even want to eat...no food no food. No! I'll throw it so you will get the hint.  Why did you wake me up? I felt so safe down there alone. 
Please, please.  Why do I feel this way? What is wrong with me? 
I'm sleepy. 
Night, Night.  I'll chase Autum around with my new remote controlled car tomorrow...now THAT was fun.  He.He.He...*sigh

I think I most enjoy watching the sparkle in my grandparents eye and the joy in their smiles as they watch my kids open gifts. I catch myself looking at them while they are watching my kids entertain in pure innocent, raw, real joy!  And it makes my heart warm.  I LOVE that my kids have the opportunity to spend time and make memories with their great grandparents.  Such treasured and rare memories.  That is the part I wanted to slow down.  Just basking in that feeling of emotion that engulfs your soul. Family.  No feeling quite like it.


What the....?

Just getting the hang of it!


A rare chance to get a picture together.

Beauty salon with Great Grandma!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Card 2013

In case you missed last year's...

or the year before...

I am a little behind this year and have had a handful of people ask me when my Christmas card would be posted...
So here it is:
(the tune of Up on the Rooftop)
Up from the bed, I jump... and pause...
Out the door a few minutes later I head for a stress relief cause!
Down through gym doors, for a little CrossFit workout I hope to destroy..
All for an hour and a half for myself--
That brings me much joy!

Ho! Ho! Ho!
Every Mom knows...
Ho! Ho! How!
Every Mom knows...
That a few moments of "me" time a day
Quick! Quick! Quick!
And one glass of wine
Does the trick!
Back in the door, first comes the stalking...
Of 3 little kids and one who smells
Oh Lord! Dear me!
Everyone needs something, and yells!
Change one diaper, give one a pop tart..
One child laughs, one cries,
One that asks 1000 questions-
All I want to do is shut my eyes!

Ho! Ho! Ho!
Every Mom knows...
Ho! Ho! How!
Every Mom knows...
That a few moments of "me" time a day
Quick! Quick! Quick!
And one glass of wine
Does the trick!

Next comes getting out the door to school, if you will!
Oh, just put on your shoes and coat, and I hope you have on panties (good manners we instill)...
Little ones are still in their PJ's, hand full of snacks...
To hold them over for a few minutes
And muffle the whining before we get back!

Ho! Ho! Ho!
Every Mom knows...
Ho! Ho! How!
Every Mom knows...
That a few moments of "me" time a day
Quick! Quick! Quick!
And one glass of wine
Does the trick!

Jerad is already out the door to work each morn.
He greets me at the door, I am going in and he out.
Before he drives away, I make him promise he is coming back at 4.
He gives a laugh, a wave, and a kiss..
And for the next 8 hours, he is who I will miss!

Ho! Ho! Ho!
Every Mom knows...
Ho! Ho! How!
Every Mom knows...
That a few moments of "me" time a day
Quick! Quick! Quick!
And one glass of wine
Does the trick!

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Here's to surviving 2014 and we're...
Grateful for your friendship and prayers once again..
As we are so blessed despite the craziness we live in!

Jerad & Anna & Co.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


I recently was advised to take the Myers-Briggs personality test as a way to help improve workplace relationships.  I have taken this test before but could not remember exactly what my personality description was.  I took it once in high school my senior year as part of a career aptitude test.  And I took it once in Sunday School a few years ago as part of a marriage class. This past week as assumptions and accusations have been made about and toward me, and my integrity and reputation questioned by those close to me. I have had to revisit this test as I look inward and reflect on who I am and what I am about.  And try to determine the truth from the false.  What to absorb as something I need to work on and what I need to deflect as charged words spoken in the heat of the moment. 

So back to my test... I am almost positive the two times before I was an introvert.  But this time, for some reason, my personality test depicted me as an extrovert.  I was really surprised by that.  I know I ride that line very closely.  Depending on the situation.  Just curious as to why now, my pendulum is swinging closer to extrovert.

Could it be I'm in my 30's and at this point in life (I've been told) you begin to let go of past insecurities?  Or that my life experiences right now are giving me more confidence to be who I am?  Who knows?

I have never been one to hide much about our reality as a family and as myself so let me be open in my personality description...


E--Extravert-Expressive, outgoing, prefer group activities, eager to speak their minds, more comfortable when around other people than when alone, get energized by social interaction

S--Sensing-Observant, rely on their senses, absorbed in practical matters, focus on what has happened

F--Feeling-Sensitive, follow their hearts, keep feelings close to the surface, focus on harmony and cooperation

P--Prospecting-Probing, prefer keeping their options open, reluctant to commit, relaxed about their work, seek freedom

The first part of the description  makes me think I'm not a full extravert..." For ESFP personalities, life is a never-ending party. ESFPs love being in the center of attention and enjoying even the simplest things – their fun and impulsive nature is usually very attractive to other people. People with this personality type never run out of ideas and their curiosity is insatiable – they will always be among the first to try something new and exciting..."

I HATE being the center of attention.  And try, at all costs, to avoid it.  It makes me nervous.  It makes me uneasy.  I would rather sit back and listen and observe.  And make my own observations about the people that are loud and noisy and seeking attention.  Sometimes I'm even annoyed by those people.  I will say this, I can be okay with being the center of attention if it is part of my job.  Like public speaking.  Coaching.  Leading group exercise.  Part of my description was that ESFP's are performers.  While my first thought was, I AM NOT a performer...haha, mostly because my mind went to a certain type of performer...but as I thought more about it I do like to compete, I like to work hard, I am intense and determined.  And for some reason, that draws attention to me.  I may be seen as a performer by others, but I truly, myself, do NOT seek out that attention. 

I do enjoy simple things.  I am rather impulsive (just ask Jerad).  I would consider myself creative and curious.  One of the personality websites described me as an artisan.  I would agree with that as well.  Part of where my creativity comes from.  I was actually an art major my freshman year of college.  I love painting.  Writing.  Graphic design.  Workout/program design.  But hate doing crafts!  Ha! Figure that one out.  And I have gotten more confidence trying something new and exciting.  I firmly believe CrossFit has helped forged this confidence.  Especially since the whole idea of the sport of fitness is to be prepared for anything.

   "...ESFP personalities live in the world of opportunities and savor the pleasures, dramas and ideas that life throws at them. They are immersed in a never-ending performance, trying to cheer other people up. ESFPs are extremely talented at making other people feel good and excited, and they enjoy this immensely. The earthly and often unique wit of ESFPs is a perfect symbol of their playfulness..."

 Agreed.  Except that I HATE drama.  Which is part of the reason I never really had many close girlfriends growing up.  Any drama and I was out of there.  Bailed. Count me out.  Guy friendships have always been more reasonable to me.  Easier probably Not necessarily right or betterThere are many times when I am envious of my friends who brag about being bridesmaids in their bestie's from high school's weddings.  Or who still stay in touch with their childhood girlfriends--celebrating each and every moment in life together.  I never had that.  It is a bit tougher to stay in touch with your guy friends who you were close too.

I am energized by cheering people up, by encouraging and serving people.

ESFP personalities are very observant, able to notice and respond to someone’s distressed emotional state.      
I would agree with this 100%.
I wouldn't necessarily consider this a blessing either--All the time.  I find myself involved in many situations that I didn't necessarily want to be in.  But because I can easily sense when something is wrong in people, I feel obligated to check in.  To lend encouragement.  To offer a shoulder to cry on or lend an ear to listen.  Just like the previous description.  I naturally want to cheer people up.  Want them to feel better.  And the reverse side of this, is that I am a 'fixer'..so until this issue is resolved it wears on me.  I need closure.  And as a result I find myself carrying others burdens to an extent I lose sleep.  Can't think about anything else.  And even sacrifice myself to try to make it right.  Which might include apologizing for things I shouldn't necessarily need too.  Or being made to feel guilty for things I shouldn't.  Once I'm in...I'm all in.  And escaping these feelings is hard for me, until I know everyone is 'good.'

"The main weakness for many ESFPs is their spontaneity, which can lead to superficiality and forgetfulness, with more emphasis on quick satisfaction, but not their obligations and duties. ESFPs are also likely to do their best to ignore potential conflicts instead of dealing with them head-on.
It is likely that the ESFP personality will be very practical, but not when it comes to repetitive or analytical tasks. They would rather rely on their luck or ask other people for help than spend time trying to understand a complex theory."

Any of you can ask Jerad and he would tell you that my main weakness is spontaneity and an inability to make a decision--as I like to keep my options open.  Hahah! Makes me laugh writing this because it is the biggest contributor to our arguments.  He is a planner and logical thinker.  Needing to have things mapped out.  Spontaneity is the devil to him.  I thank God he is this way, everyday, though. Or else I'd be floating around with my head in the clouds never getting anything done.  He keeps me grounded.  My ability to try to avoid conflict is another problem...trying to smooth things over until it no longer can be ignored usually leads to big explosive arguments at some point.  But as soon as it is over, it feels like the pressure cooker has been shut off and life is good again.  And I always leave it wondering why I didn't approach this argument sooner.  Siting that I will not avoid conflict from here on out...

"It is likely that the ESFP personality will be very practical, but not when it comes to repetitive or analytical tasks. They would rather rely on their luck or ask other people for help than spend time trying to understand a complex theory.."  

So true.  I have always had trouble in school and in parenting, well in anything...with suffering through the explanation for why things work.  I just need to know "how!"  Just tell me when and how.  I'll get it done.  The only thing that has ever caught my attention and I've wanted to know the "why" too, is studying the human anatomy and physiology.  Physiology peaked my interest more than any other school topic.  Studying personalities has also peaked my interest in the 'why.'  As it has become so important to my understanding of why my kids act like they do...how they tick.  And even moreso, as we have forged our way through Aspberger's and Down Syndrome...the jury is still out why 3 year olds have the tantrums they do...but I've resolved to just getting through this stage...not sure anyone knows the 'why' to that problem.  Seeing a psychologist has opened my eyes to so many things I've missed in ignoring the 'why' in how people think and act.

A strength and weakness analysis states these words...
Strengths: bold, original, excellent people skills, great sense of aesthetics and beauty, practical, very observant...
Weaknesses: always seeking attention, very sensitive, poor planners, always seek excitement, loathe conflicts, have trouble in academic settings...

Relationship traits: "Few things are as bubbling and unpredictable as ESFP relationships. People with this personality type live completely in the present, squeezing everything out of every moment and approaching their relationships from the same perspective. For instance, ESFPs often enjoy dating someone without thinking about the next steps or long-term plans.
This peculiar trait is probably both the best and the worst one when it comes to ESFP relationships. Dating or simply being with an ESFP is an unforgettable experience – they will always come up with new and exciting things to do, will be able to talk about everything and everybody (as long as you stay away from philosophical or scientific topics), and will genuinely enjoy spending time together instead of getting distracted by thoughts about the future or the past. However, this trait becomes a weakness when it is necessary to stop having fun and start thinking about serious topics, such as long-term plans, commitment and potentially life-changing decisions. ESFPs are very vulnerable to conflicts and are likely to react very badly if someone says something negative about their relationship or, even worse, if their own partner criticizes them for any reason. ESFPs personalities are very emotional and they also prefer to take things at face value instead of trying to guess the motives and reasoning behind them. Consequently, ESFPs are deeply offended by any criticism and may get frustrated even further if the other person tries to take emotions out of the equation by saying that the ESFP should not take this personally, that they are reacting irrationally etc."

Spot on...as soon as we have to start talking seriously or long-term...all the fun is lost for me. I don't go into any situation thinking about what the bad outcome might be...again, it is a blessing that Jerad is in my life because he is a realist. He is constantly shedding light on situations for me, things that are not on my radar.  Never even crossed my mind.  Who things about this stuff?  What a buzz-kill...

"ESFP personalities are bound to have many friends – it is nearly impossible to resist their enthusiasm and optimism. People with this personality type focus entirely on the present and always find something exciting to experience and share with their friends. This does not mean that their relationships are shallow or based entirely on pleasure – quite the contrary. ESFPs are sincerely interested in other people, but they simply believe that there is no point in living if you cannot feel truly alive..."

I agree with this statement as well.  I would say I have a lot of friends, just not many close friends.  Probably due to my spontaneity and inability to commit to long-term decisions.

So anyway, in a nutshell, that is my personality.  Who I am. Raw. Open. Unfiltered.  Strengths and Weaknesses.

I gleaned most of this information from: http://www.16personalities.com/

Thursday, December 12, 2013

This Week

This week has been one of those weeks...

Where you just want to crawl into a hole and disappear until it all blows over.  It has been an emotionally draining week.  You know, one of those that you keep convincing yourself it can't get any worse..and the next minute it does.

I have been wallowing in a pity party since Saturday.  And have lost sleep.  Been absent in mind to my family.
It is a terribly selfish place to be.  And completely uncalled for.

Here are some of my mental discussions floating around my head...
I competed in a CrossFit competition this past weekend, and placed 3rd!  My goal was to finish on the podium and I busted my rear end through 5 different workouts to do just that.  I should have been overjoyed.  I should have been fired up to get back in the gym and work harder. I did what I came to do..

But...instead I spent a day getting caught up in the drama of losing 1st place in the last WOD...which raised questions among people who were there supporting me, because of a judging discrepancy.  And lost sight of the pure excitement of getting to compete.  Of meeting new friends that have the same competitive spirit and intensity as me and share in the same sport.  Of getting to put to work all of my practice in the gym up until then.  Of glorifying God through my health and love for performing. 

I once was told if I cannot celebrate the small victories in life, I need my a$$ kicked more often.  I needed a swift kick in the rear Sunday.  Thankfully we serve a gracious and merciful God whose mercies are new every morning. And who is not afraid to kick my a$$...because that is what I got!

Then...Blake caught some virus.  Then Jerad.

Then...I experienced an awakening of my harmful actions toward close friends.  I had to swallow my pride and open my eyes to my wrong doing.  That is never easy.  To be made aware of your shortcomings, and then have to face them head on, and then have to ask for forgiveness for them...from close friends.  It is an awkward, difficult, and wearing process that requires all involved to humble themselves and make change.  Change that might not be what you hoped or wanted...but what is best for everyone.  Change that will affect a friendship you held near and dear.  But once again, I chose to feel sorry for myself (see a pattern here?) and blame myself.  I chose not to seek God for answers and peace, but to try to make things better on my own.

Wrong.  I did not receive peace until I was forced to my knees.  Until I cast all of my cares at His feet.  And immediately a burden was lifted.  A load lightened.  The process to rebuilding the friendship will be a long one...but I can peacefully and hopefully move forward one step at a time.  Continually seeking God's direction.

NOT mine.

And finally...I was humbled as a parent this week as well.  I know my kids have shortcomings, and I have even come to terms with their delays (Down Syndrome, Asperger's)...but it still feels like a kick in the stomach when you learn your child is the bully.  When you learn that your child is the cause of another child's problems.  And you have to do something about it.  You have to be the mean mommy.  To take action.  To take corrective actions toward your own child. As she/he learns to change too.

 It has been a week of breaking down.  Of reevaluating where my priorities are.  Of humbling.  In every direction.

Not fun. Not easy.  But what I needed.

So as I close in on the end of this week. I choose not to let it defeat me.  I choose to hold my head up.  I choose to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and all of His Righteousness...

Continually thanking God for a new day...

Friday, December 6, 2013

Go! Bulldogs Go!

This week marked Leah's 2nd performance with the Bulldog Spirit Squad.  She cheered at a women's home basketball game.  She was so excited because she received her uniform, pom poms, socks, hair bows, and (what I wasn't  prepared for)gallons of  hair spray and perfume! All of us parents were crammed in a racquetball court to get our girls dressed in their new attire...this was by far the closest I have ever felt to understanding the Dance Mom's crew.  I seriously told Leah I had to step out of the room for a minute, I was feeling sick, my stomach was churning from the concoction of Bath and Body Works seasonal scents, Teen Spirit deodorant, and the guaranteed not to budge gallons of hairspray being sprayed.  Topped off by the record-setting decibel of noise being randomly shrieked in excitement.  (can you tell I'm still adjusting to this cheerleading lifestyle Leah has chosen?)

I was feeling bad for myself when I looked to my right and there stood a poor, young dad, trying to change his daughter into her cheer uniform in a room dominated by estrogen...he quickly tried to get his daughter changed in the corner with his back to the rest of the room.  He had his head ducked down and was desperately hurrying his daughter along with encouragement to her nervous excitement and delay.  "Yes, Yes, ok...ok,,just hurry, yep! Just put it on...there ya go! Nope...here, here!  Put it on...hurry, hurry!"

Haha!  He got her dressed and darted out of the room as fast as I did, to come up for air. We stood at the closed door of the racquetball court, took a deep breath, and looked at each other like, "what have we gotten ourselves into?"

Every so many minutes, the door would slam open and 2 or 3 girls would come out screaming, waving pom poms...running at full speed.  I told Leah I was headed home to get Autum and then we would be back shortly.

Blake was home with a fever, so Jerad was quick to volunteer to stay home with him.  Such a loving father...

Autum and I headed back to the game and sat on the front row to watch Leah cheer the Lady Bulldogs to victory!  I kept trying to get a good action camera shot of Leah...but I concluded that she must have had one eye on me the whole time.  Here is what I got:

Cheer. Cheer. Cheer.


Pick your nose...

Cheer. Cheer...

I couldn't quit laughing.  So needless to say I got a lot of these types of photos, but very few of her cheering and jumping.  In between all of this, I had Autum begging to stand in front and cheer too.  She could not understand why Leah got to cheer out front and not her.  It turned into quite an event.  I first told her no, she stripped her coat off and threw it on the court.  I grabbed it and put it behind me.  Then I told her no again, this time, she grabbed her coat and flung it up behind us in the stands and began stomping her feet on the bleachers loudly climbing up to get it.  I drug her back down kicking and flailing like a crazy girl.  Then she starts to take her shoes off...I catch her before she tries to fling it.  SO her final maneuver was to go limp and throw herself out on the court.  I drug her back by her foot and redirected her to help me take pictures of Leah with my camera.  So I held the camera while she was snapping random shots of the cheerleaders. At this point, I didn't care...she was distracted and I could actually watch some of the game.  Until...

The cheerleading coach walks over and asks me to shut the flash off on my camera or to quit taking pictures because the flashing light was sending one of the cheerleaders standing near Leah into an epileptic seizure.  Wow! Didn't see that one coming...so I had to take the camera from Autum...oh no...

Here we go again...

Screaming first.
Then kicking the bleachers...
I wrapped her tight in a bear hug on my lap and gave her a final warning before we were taking a visit to the bathroom to be disciplined.  She locked her dark black, cut through you eyes with mine and contemplated which direction she wanted to go with her behavior.  She sat a little longer before she wiggled her way out of my lap and stood in front of where I was standing and did her own cheer....before sprinting toward the far side of the court, as a getaway attempt.

Was the game over yet??

We did survive.  And I drove home with one tired, whiny 7-year old who was starving and one screaming hacked off tired 3-year old who just wanted to be a cheerleader too. UGH!

Why do we do all of this again??

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Sweet Bedtime Story

When I was at my mom and dad's this weekend I decided to look through some of my old childhood books to see if there were any the kids would like to read.  I laughed as I reminisced through the stages of my life according to each series of books I thumbed through.

Boxcar children
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle
Babysitter's Club
Ramona the Brave series
Milk Carton Kids
Where the Red Fern Grows (still my favorite)
Charlotte's Web
Road to Avonlea
Saddle Club Series
Frank Peretti Series
Left Behind Series
John Grisham
Lots of various horse books
Weightlifting, athletics, sport psychology books
How to be a better pitcher

I loved reading as a kid! Still do, when I get the time.  So I decided that I would pick a short series and read a little to the kids each night. Heck! I'd seen other mom's post pics of their kids dreamily sleeping before even finishing the story.  I had heard of moms discussing how their kids love being read to at night, and how it relaxes them.  Our family could use some more sleeping at night and some more relaxing, so why not??

So at 8 pm sharp last night I told the kids we were going to brush our teeth, go potty, and head up to Autum's room to read a chapter from Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.  They could even bring their sleeping bags and pillows.  Autum graciously offered her room as a hosting place.  So I carried Autum up to her room, kicking and screaming that she wasn't sleepy, hated her toothbrush and wanted to wrestle with daddy more...I threw her in her bed to which she rolled up and fell out of, hitting her head on her soft book box--that you would have thought was made of sharp steel- by the sound of her scream upon brushing it with her head.  This immediately turned into a full on 3-year old tantrum of destruction.  Throwing pillows, unloading her dresser drawers--all with a crazed look in her eye.  I just left her to be, knowing that it is better to let her diffuse herself.  I head out the door and am met at the top of the stairs by Leah...who is sprawled out across the stairs, face planted in the carpet, crying.  She has one arm reaching down to grip her large flip-flop quilt she sleeps under at night, barely grasping the corner.  I ask her what is wrong-only to be met with louder moaning and drama.  So I just try to bypass her and find Blake-surely he will cooperate.  But Leah then realizes I'm choosing to ignore her and she says, "Mooooom!  I can't do it....waaaahhhh!"

I say, "you can't do what?"
"Whahhhh! I just can't..."
Getting irritated I yell, "DO WHAT, LEAH?"

Carry my blanket upstairs...it's too heavy....waaaahh!"
"Well, fold it up and then carry it upstairs, it will make it a lot lighter!"
And of course, because I know nothing, she responds with, "No it won't! It's too heavy!'

By this point, my thoughts of a quiet peaceful storytime are beginning to dissolve into daydreams.
I finally pick up the end of her quilt and throw it over her head to which Leah crawls it to her room.  Then begins complaining she can't put it on her bed right.  I cut the crap and just do it for her.  Hoping to still attempt a story.

She makes her way into Autum's room--Autum is standing up on her bed now--slowly tearing the wallpaper off her wall (which needs to be done anyway, but not now) and looking at me out of the corner of her eye.  I tell her to lie down so we can read...she jumps and plops down on her diaper-covered bum and says, "NO! I read!"

I, not thinking, begin to argue with her..."No, mommy reads.  She wants to read to you tonight, you can read tomorrow."
"No, I read!" And grabs the books out of her box and hides them under her covers.

Leah is lying down on the floor in Autum's sleeping bag (to which Autum hasn't noticed yet) moaning and groaning about wanting to read because she is oldest and that she is the teacher...and on and on.

I tell Autum she better lay down or I will have to spank her, because she is not doing what I ask.  She sits there and stares me down with her evil stink eye before slowly mouthing, "noooo." (in a barely audible whisper) 

I take Mrs. Piggle Wiggle softback version and swat her on the butt with it.  Then force her to lie down and cover her up with the blankets.  I yell, "WE ARE GOING TO READ THIS BOOK, AND YOU WILL LISTEN, AND YOU WILL LIKE IT!"

As I'm doing this I step on Leah's hair and send her into scream fest 2000...and while consoling her, Autum realizes that Leah is in her sleeping bag.  She throws her covers back and pops out of her bed like its on fire and jumps on Leah's head.  She attempts to pull Leah out of it and Leah's crying turns to laughing which sends Autum into more of a crazy anger fit.  I finally get Leah out of the sleeping bag and onto another blanket and pillow.  Autum then chooses to lie on the floor too.  I avoid that battle and just let her be.  She lies down for a quick second and I begin to read because its the only moment of silence we've had since I began this attempt at reading. 

I begin reading the first few words...and Autum begins to kick her legs up and down, up and down...and that doesn't get a reaction so she begins to kick Leah...up and down, up and down.  Of course, Leah, with no filter, yells, "stop it Autum, you stupid baby!" 

Autum screams, "I'm not a baby!  No Leah, I no baby! Blake a baby!"
Leah, "you are too a baby! You still have a pacifier...ha.ha.ha.ha!"

I first attempt to read over the yelling and just keep pushing through--gosh darnit! Other families do this, so can we!

Then I can't take it any longer.  I yell, "that's it! No books! Time for bed!"
I pick up Autum put her back in her bed, wrap her up tight with her blankets and shove her pacifier back in her mouth-hoping to contain her a few minutes while  I zip Leah up in Autum's sleeping bag, and drag her to her room, with her arms flailing out the end.  I pick the whole entire sleeping bag up and toss it on her bed...shut her light off and stomp out of her room.  Just as I'm closing her door I hear her giggling and asking, "can you do that again? That was fun!"  I snort and shut the door.

I head back to Autum's room to calm her down to sleep only to be blinded by a strobe light flashlight she is holding that I have no idea where she found.  She refuses to hand it over, so I jump into the bed and after a quick wrestling match, I get it back.

I shut her light off, leave her room (knowing I'll be back in about 2 seconds)...to hear her say, "Goodnight Poopy Mommy!"


So there is my version of a perfectly peaceful night of reading with my kids.  Remind me that we are not your typical family and we probably will never do typical family things.

PS-I get to the bottom of the stairs to see Blake and Jerad sleeping all cuddled up peacefully in the rocking chair.  Meanwhile I am anything but relaxed and peaceful.  Feeling like I just finished a workout : sweating, frazzled, and angry.  And in need of some wine.
Autum's first haircut

Post-5K goodies and warmth
Happy Birthday Mimi!

This is what Leah won! ahha!

Autum was having fun with the glasses too

Eating ice cream at Mimi's house for her birthday!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Thing About Public Bathrooms

When I go to a public place with my children, I always dread the possibility of us having to use the store's bathroom.  And because I have a 3-year old newly potty trained child--we visit a lot of bathrooms.  Mainly because she is still in the excitement phase of needing to see what every toilet, every soap dispenser, every paper towel holder, and how every sink works.  So odds are we going to visit the public bathroom at some point while in the store.  So this leads to a complete mental battle for me, especially if I have to go too.

My mind conversations go something like this,
"I hope the handicapped stall is available."
"Maybe I could push the whole cart into the bathroom stall?"
"I could leave Blake and Leah outside the bathroom door in the cart, surely they won't kill each other in the short time we are in the bathroom...well, that depends on if Autum has to poop or not, that could take awhile...and how many paper towels she needs--I'll need time to roll all those back up in the dispenser..."
"Wonder if the locks on the doors are high enough for the kids to reach and escape.."

Obviously I have to give in make the journey to the back of the store, where all bathrooms are inconveniently located.  Usually dragging Autum by one hand and sprinting with Blake in the cart, while Leah lollygags behind trying to point out something I cannot see or hear as we breeze by in a blurred hurry. 

Once we get there, we have to establish who has to go the worst..Autum usually wins this argument.  Then we all cram into a tiny stall--or at least Blake and Autum and I do...and THIS requires very strategic planning.  I have to place Blake in a spot where he isn't tempted to dip his hands into the toilet water...or wave his hands in Autum's mid-stream potty.  AND, I also have to place him where he can't crawl out from under the stall wall and peep in on the elderly lady using the restroom next to us who is struggling with her panty hose.  I seriously have considered hanging him by his jeans on the coat hook, because that is the best option in such a small space. 

Next I have to answer all Autum's questions that seem to come to mind while sitting on the pot.  "Mommy, you poopy?"  "I think old lady toot, mommy!"  "She poopy too?"  "Why Bobby bottom look diffwent than mine?" "Old lady has ugweee shoes."  "I get sucker for going poopy?"

Then... we all have to shift around while I attempt to unroll enough toilet paper to wipe Autum with, that tears off in 1/2" increments from the dispenser--then shift back around for me to wipe her...without my hair falling into the water.  Or my phone or purse or wallet...Then we shift back around while I try to get Autum's pants back up as she screams "I do it!"  And fights against the problem of pulling her pants up but not her panties and getting confused why her efforts are not producing results. 

Then we all shift again so Mommy can use the potty.  This, my friends, is where the bargaining begins...
"DON'T stick your hands into the trash can! I said DON'T...Blake, mommy will spank your hand if you stick your hand in there...  I said STOP! (this time meaning business as I reenact what could happen to him by slapping my own hand and pointing to him)

When he is bored with the trash...it turns into and foot wrestling meet.  My squeezing him between my feet so he doesn't lie down on the nasty wet tile floor to attempt to crawl out...or hooking my toe in his hood on his coat to prevent his escape or laying in disgusting bathroom floor gunk.  And is followed up with, "Mommy will get you a sucker if you stand up"--because usually he is just out of arms reach...Or "Mommy will let you ride in the car shopping cart..."  And finally, "Autum get Blake off the floor, now!"

And the worst is when Autum is all done wrestling her pants and decides she is done with being in the stall, while I'm still seated with my pants around my ankles..."I done, mommy! Bye! Bye!" 

And me, "No....No....No, Autum.  Wait for Mommy!"

She replies, "No!" As she wiggles the door lock loose...

"No, Wait! Autum, Mommy will get you chocolate...please, leave that door shut.  My pants are still down, Mommy is still going potty...

"Why??? Mommy poopy?  Eeeeewwwww."
(usually by this point someone lady is chuckling in the stall down from us)

"No, Mommy no poopy....but you need to wait for Mommy."

Click! Door swings open and they all escape like rushing water through a flood gate...and I shift into full on sprint mode...to get my pants up and caught up with the rest of the escapees...
I get them all wrangled up and walk out the exit doing a final check...
Are my pants zipped? Toilet paper on my shoe? Dress tucked in my panties?

Okay, let's go.

So if you see us sprinting past you to the back of the store...get out of the way!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day of October


So this past month has flown by...with parent-teacher conferences, days out of school, Halloween parties, trick or treating on Main Street in McPherson for the first time, waiting on our Halloween costumes to arrive that we ordered 2 weeks ago and were shipped to Hillsboro--and still haven't arrived, coming up with make-shift costumes in the mean-time, interviewing college students who might possibly want to watch the two little ones while I work a few days a week, being concerned when the first sitter I hired entered my kitchen upon introductions of ourselves and began taking knives out of my butcher set and looking at them while rubbing them together and making ooh and ahhh sounds,  praying my kids were all in one piece when I got home...
Trick or Treat Main Street

Checking out the goods..


High Five's for Little Caesar!

Fireman Carrying my partner Rachael at our CrossFit Halloween Workout (she was dressed up as a 9 month preggo)

Pull Ups Holds!

Just another day snatching in my Daisy Dukes! haha

Introducing Joe Dirt and Brandy :)
Fairies feeding ducks at the park
I had to also explain to the other parents at Leah's school last week what Autum's " pencil holder" was, after she bent over at parents day at Leah's school while we were waiting to eat lunch with our kids, and said "Look, today my pants fit, my pencil holder NO showing, mommy! Yay, right??"
"We don't eat the stale bread, we feed it to the ducks..."

Hello, Kermit the Frog here..

Grumpy Princess

Happy Hunter!
 Then I had to do some damage control at Leah's new Wednesday night church program after she came home so excited after her first night there and said, "Mom, we prayed for your bottom to feel better at church tonight!" WHAAA???  I injured my hamstring earlier in the week when Autum jumped on my knee while I was sitting in a split position on the floor...so I had been using a heating pad and working it out with a lacrosse ball all week long...I asked why she thought I had a hurt bottom and she said, "because you have been wearing a heated diaper all week!!"  Oh my gosh....still not sure whether to just let that one go or try to pick up the pieces on Sunday...
After Leah's first 5K run--Zombie Run! Autum ran/walked about 3/4 mile of it.

Daddy and Leah building their new fort in the backyard!