Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day at HOME

We are planners. We are list people. In fact, I'd prefer lined paper to write my lists. And more importantly, I like to see my own handwriting on our lists. So imagine my bonkerness (it's totally a word) this morning when I was getting ready for church (7:48am) and was interrupted by my kids' aunt letting me know that they were at the Minneapolis airport about to board a flight for Chicago O'Hare. Ummm, what?
Let me preface this by telling you that my mom and I drove to Chicago yesterday (fully expecting to get my children), but turned around (after spending more than 6 hrs in Shaumburg, IL) because the kids' flight from MSP was canceled due to bad weather in Minnesota (the entire state of MN totally sucks, let's just call it what it is). After some back and forth with my ex's mom and sister, we made arrangements to meet Monday morning. So clearly, things changed between 11 o'clock last night and 7:48 this morning (hashtag Typical) and I was caught a lil' off guard this morning when I got the alert that my kids would be in Chicago at approximately 9:17am. 
My point in writing this post was to brag on my INSANELY patient husband who, without a second thought, said "welp, we better hit the road."  There were tears and air punches (solely on my behalf) when these abrupt changes happened, and through it all, my ridiculously understanding husband assured me that it was for the best. We would get the kids back sooner than we planned, and we could mosey on with life as normal. Yes. And so we went. Headed to Chicago for a second day in a row. Oy. 
Here's the thing...today is the first Father's Day that we have spent as a family. Last year, we were not yet married, and even though I knew this man would be an exceptional step-dad, I had no idea what was in store for my kids. I didn't yet know that he would be the man to teach my kids to ride bikes without training wheels. I didn't yet know that he would be the man to show my little boy how to skip rocks on a pond or bait a hook. I didn't know yet that my husband would be the man to tell my daughter to read Psalm 148 when she didn't know what else to read in her Bible...that if nothing else, it would tell her to praise God for all His creations and that THAT would be a good thing to fall asleep to at night. I didn't yet know that he would be my ROCK. That he would calm my soul when I felt like my mind would explode. I didn't yet know that he would be the man to introduce me to some of the greatest friends that I'd ever met. I didn't know that he would be the link to making me feel "secure" with our church family. I didn't know that he would be dad to two kids who just want to be home with him on this Father's Day. 
Tonight we sat down as a family of four to dinner. My kids finally made it home, with no help to a perfectly hand-written list on perfectly perforated piece of paper, and we were able to share our "highs and lows" (a nightly ritual) of our day. When both of my kids indicated that their high was being home with Charlie for Father's Day....I knew I had done something exactly right. My guts just burst with excitement at the thought of them feeling "home" with Charlie and feeling that they should be celebrating this day with him rather than anywhere else. I can't even put into words what that does to my heart.
Today I am just so thankful for my husband. I am thankful for the dad he has become and will continue to be. 


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Playing Like We Live In The Wild

We've been in our new house for about a week now and I've been intending to write this post for a few days, but something always needed done to the house that I never took the time to write. I'm using one of my remaining 6 PTO days for the month today to stay home and paint the kids' bathroom, but I had to carve out a few minutes to sit here and truly soak in the perfection of this new home.

Before we moved out of my old house, I kept expecting to have this mental breakdown of sorts about leaving our first home. I wrote about the feeling I had thinking that no one liked it enough to buy it. Then when we got the offer, I was just so focused on getting into the new house that I never really stopped to think about leaving the old house. Then the days came where we packed up everything in the old house and I still never had one of those sobbing breakdown moments as I had come to expect. I'm a super dramatic and emotional person- I was hoping for that meltdown moment so I could look back and say "oh it was so hard to leave the house where I had so many firsts,"...I mean, how great would THAT post have been? LOL! Sadly, this is not that post! (Feel free to click out now. I will never know you left.) Haha!

In all seriousness, I think the move was just a  natural step in the right direction for our family. I just can't explain the feeling I have of being in this house, standing at the kitchen sink watching the kids run around the back yard, hearing their little belly laughs, watching Anderson drag a huge log from the woods clear across our yard, and hearing his sister say "we're playing like we live in the wild" while she hides in their (not-so) secret hideout under the deck. Oh my heart. And seeing my handsome husband work on projects here and there, getting "his" garage all put together how he wants it...it's what makes my soul feel good. As I sit here at the kitchen table (which we will use for awhile, as our dining room sits empty and echo-y), looking past the gorgeous yard out into the pond behind out house, snapping pictures of the fat squirrels that chase each other across our deck, I can't help but just thank God for these moments that allow us to make memories as a family. It's not about the walls of this house, it's not about the flooring or the paint colors, or the furniture or the huge windows of this house that I love...it's the people inside and the people with whom I get to spend the coming decades with that make me feel so complete and happy in this new house.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

House Update

Well, it's been a few months since I last wrote about selling our house..and good grief was that crushing. We have since made some changes and I am so excited to announce that we finally sold my house! As I mentioned previously, we listed our house during one of the worst winters. More than that though, I think (well, I know!) we listed with the wrong realtors. Charlie and I started having doubts about our realtor when we would see constant facebook posts of him at the bar (in the middle of the day), him sitting at home with his dogs, etc. We didn't worry too much because we were still getting showings, but something just didn't feel right for us. Luckily we were out of contract with this realtor at the end of March. The very next day we listed with our new realtor, Heather. Ah-MAY-ZING. Within one week, we had three offers, and ended up selling the house for nearly full asking price. She was just absolutely awesome to work with. She helped us stage the house, told us what to expect, stayed in constant contact with us, etc. She was just a breath of fresh air after what we had been through in the past six months. I can't say enough great things about her!!! (If you're in the FTW area and looking for a realtor, PLEASE let me know! I'll give you her info! You won't be sorry!)
We are less than a week away from closing on both my house and our new house!! We found a GREAT place that will be absolutely perfect for our family of four (and yes, we will remain ONLY a family of four..don't let our five bedrooms fool you). This house has everything that we both wanted in our new home and I am just so excited to get moved in and settled. We said we wanted a "forever home" together. We wanted a place where we would raise the kids together. A place where our kids would have sleepovers and birthday parties. A place we could invite our friends and family over for BBQ's. A place where we would have family game night, family movie night. A place where out-of-town family and friends could stay. A place that we wouldn't outgrow. This is definitely that place!
I am excited to start this new adventure with my husband and kids. We have had an exciting year and I know things will continue to get busier and crazier, but I truly love that this house is a place for the four of us to grow together in all aspects of our life. I love that I have the three of them alongside me for this next journey.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Your House. My Home.

We've had our (my) house on the market since late fall. Sure, the timing of listing was probably lousy but I think I was just so excited to be taking the next step in my relationship with Charlie that I just jumped in, full force. (And my patient husband is pretty much always supportive of my crazy decisions, no matter the timing, that he didn't object either.) Well almost five months, twenty-some showings, and a few shed tears later the house is still on the market. Tonight I sit here reflecting on some of my first memories of my house...and it hurts my soul to think someone else doesn't love it as much as I do.

You may remember my crazy house debacle a few years back. You can read about it here and here. But once I got settled into my house, it truly became my home. I have lived in this house for more than half of Lilly's life and for most of Anderson's. I have had a first date with my future husband in this house. I have come back to this house as a newlywed. I have sent kids off to first days of school in this house. I have celebrated birthdays of my kids and my cousin and my self in this house. I got ready for my wedding day, in this house.

This house is the first major thing I did after Aaron moved to MN...it was the first step to my independence. It provided the security and the stability that my children so craved and deserved in their very young lives. The sense of pride I had in buying this house, completely on my own, is something I'm not sure I'll ever be able to top. I made changes almost immediately after I moved in...some I maybe regret (read: grass green walls in the dining room), but just knowing that this house was mine and I could do whatever I wanted to it..! My heart and soul is painted, landscaped, and decorated throughout- top to bottom, inside and out. I made this house my home.

As I sit here tonight, devastated that a couple who looked at it for a third time found flaws in it, I struggle with seeing God's plan for my family. I've wanted so badly to sell this house and be able to "start fresh" somewhere as a family of four. I question our motives in selling. I doubt the walls that have held my life together for the past four years. I hold on to a very small sliver of hope that "the right" family will come along and fall madly in love with the place we call home. And yes, I realize how incredibly selfish this all seems...thanks be to God that we have a lovely home that keeps us safe and warm. Tonight I will cling to that thought, over and over, and think of those who are selling their home because they HAVE to, and not just because they choose to. Amen amen amen.





Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Do Life Differently. Be Different.

I tend to be somewhat negative at times. Probably a lot of the time. Ew. I sometimes oftentimes complain about my sore muscles from the workout with my trainer. I frequently get annoyed with my workload at the office. I occasionally compare myself to people around me. Regularly I discuss my disdain for my those around me the second I get home. Oh, my poor husband. However, when I hear those around me do these same things, I want to stab myself in the eye with a fork. I think to myself, "Oh here she goes again. Complaining again. Really lady? Get OVER it." Yep, that's me. Always quick to point out the flaws in others, easily annoyed with other people's complaints, always deflecting my ugliness. I stink. 

So a couple nights ago, I posted a video on Facebook of my pastor's sons. They have set out on a mission to raise awareness of the water crisis across the world. You can watch here.  But this is not just about the world's water crisis (although, please watch. You will be changed. You will want to DO SOMETHING). So no, this is not just about cute little Isaac and Aaron's mission to help kids across the world (ah, good stuff), but more about little ole' me learning a lesson on what really matters in life (read: a giant smack upside the head to snap me back to reality).

So I thought, what IF I started living a life that matters? What IF I stopped complaining. What IF I stopped sweating the small stuff. What would that look like? What if people didn't come to me to talk negatively? What if they knew that I wasn't going to entertain their negativity anymore? What if I stopped being a part of the problem, and started being part of the movement to improve lives?  

Because at the end of the day, it just doesn't matter how many piles I have on my desk. It doesn't matter that I feel overwhelmed assisting in another department. If I'm doing something to improve someone else's life, I should be rejoicing in my work. It doesn't matter how sore my body is from working out, I'm doing something to improve my health. It shouldn't matter how early I have to wake up to do my Bible study alone without my kids interrupting, because I'm learning more about God's Word, and really isn't that the point? It really shouldn't matter how messy my kids' rooms are every single second, because they were playing together for hours on day nine of school being canceled. And really, shouldn't I be thrilled that they're getting along, making the mess together instead of fighting with each other and crying because they can't go outside in the negative temperatures? So I ask.....

What if, just for today...
You looked at what you have around you and were just simply thankful? 
You looked at your aging parents and thanked God for another day with them? 
You looked into the eyes of your children and only felt the overwhelming love you have for them? 
You looked at your to-do list and were grateful for a career, at a time when many others are unemployed? 
You looked at your co-workers and congratulated them on a success, no matter how big or small? 
You looked at your husband and told him how much you appreciate him, and really really really meant it? 
You called an old friend to tell her you were thinking about her? 
You prayed for someone who you hadn't thought of in years? 
You forgave someone who has hurt you? 
You spent time alone in God's Word? 


What if we spent half as much time lifting someone up as we do putting someone (or yourself) down?
What if we spent as much energy into being happy as we do into complaining? 
What if we spent as much effort into doing something good as we do into worrying about a situation? 
What if we spent as much energy into doing our work as we spend complaining about how much we have to do? 


Today is a new day. It's a chance to be different. It's a chance to be better. It's a chance to start fresh. Be a positive force in the lives of those around us. It's an opportunity to lead. It's a choice. 
I choose to be happy. 



Sunday, January 19, 2014

All I Want....

We sang a song today at church that truly moved me to my core. We've sang it many other times before, but for some reason today it just hit me how true and real the lyrics were and what they were saying. The song spoke to me in a way I couldn't fully explain even if I tried. The part in the song that plays over and over in my mind is Jesus, Jesus, All I want is to be like You. Jesus, Jesus, All I want is to be like You. All I want, all I need, is more of You, Less of me. Take this life, Lord it's yours. Have my heart, have it all. I look at those lyrics and I realize I sing my heart out to this song, but I don't live those lyrics even a little bit. I look at my life and I realize I don't live at all like Jesus. I don't put Him before Gretchen. My pastor made a good point this morning and it keeps replaying in my mind over and over. He said "If you spent more time looking through your friend's vacation album on Facebook yesterday than you spent in The Word, then you're not spending enough time with God." Ouch. I spend a lot of time on social media. I've gotten better about not doing it when the hubbs or the kids are around (and boy do I still have a ways to go), but I still check Facebook or my email first thing in the morning before I even open my Bible.
I don't even know what else to say. I guess I just realize I have so much to work on. I'm a little disappointed in myself knowing the sacrifice that He made for me, and I don't even spend half the time in the Word that I do on Facebook. It's pathetic.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Little Baby Toofers!

Anderson finally lost his first little tooth!!! The little thing had been wiggly for weeks and I feared that he would lose it in Minnesota over Christmas break, but thankfully it held on! After a brief freak out (from me and Lilly, not from Anderson) about the blood, Charlie managed to yank the booger out and there it was! Andy's first tooth! Oh it was the most perfect little tooth! Soooo tiny! 
In our house we "grow" our teeth in water. We don't do the traditional tooth-under-the-pillow. I have NO idea how this started other than I know my mom used to do that with our teeth...looking back I think it's because my mom went to bed early and we were light sleepers (much like my kids). Whatever. It makes sense. And that's what we do! 
Well yesterday, Anderson plopped his tooth in a glass of water and placed it on the counter. The tooth fairy always delivers money during the night, so he left the glass there and went on with his day. The evening went on much like any other night. I made dinner while the kids played. And then we ate dinner. We were all sitting on the couch later that night when Andy mentioned something about his tooth. And it hit me. His tooth. His tooth. In that glass of water. I covered my mouth in shock. The kids looked at my giant eyeballs, my husband searching for an answer. "Charlie, in the kitchen. Kids, stay here." I walked into the kitchen and realized that I had dumped that glass of water, with Anderson's first little tooth in it. It was gone. Down the drain.....
And so I did what any good mother would do. I found Lilly's first tooth and plopped IT  into a glass of water.