Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Year in Review.

I could go on and on.
But I don't want to. Because I think it could get boring.
So I will keep it short.
And Sweet.

2013 was good. Good enough.
Not great. But good enough.

2014 is going to be better.
I know it is.
Because I just said it is.

The past few years I have picked one word to kind of "live by" for the year. Not a resolution. Not a cure-all. I'm not always good at it. But as a reminder. And as a help to kind of stay focused on something.

So, this year it is "learn." That can be big and general. And I know that. But I want to take more time to learn. To read more and watch more and understand more and learn more through it all. To learn how to be a better wife. How to be a better mom. How to be a better person. To learn more about myself and be humble and willing to change the things that need to be changed. To learn how what it really looks like to serve others and love others and BE WITH others.

I want to learn something new every day. It may be small. It may be big. It may be brand new. It may not.

I'm not going to worry about it today. No learning here today. But tomorrow, it will start!

Here's to learning in the new year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

iPhones and other "Hi" Tech things...

I was not one of the first to get an iPhone.
I will never have the latest and greatest.
I am slow to jump on bandwagons.
I like to get on after the hype has worn off a bit.
We were some of the last of our friends to get texting on our phones. And that was just a few short years ago. And we never got picture messaging. And we got made fun of...
But eventually we wanted an upgrade. We wanted incentive to get in shape and smart phones were good incentive. And iPhones seemed like the best option for us. And I love mine. And we just convinced my mom that it's great and she got one too. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a die-hard, and I know they're not perfect. But it is helpful and convenient. And it looks sharp too!
But here's my soapbox. There are many reason why I don't like my iPhone (or really just smart phones in general, but I'll keep this personal and talk about the plank in my eye before talking about others' splinters). Sure, it's great to have a good camera always handy, it's more than helpful to have a GPS with me always, it's great for occupying young boys when waits get long or for occupying me when I am bored or uncomfortable in a social setting, and it's nice to feel "on the in."
But sometimes it just sucks the life out of me. Or sucks me out of my kids' lives.
Like when I sort of here "mommy" in the background but don't answer until the 4th or 5th time because I am too "busy" looking at instagram or reading FB posts.
Like when I look back on my day and realized I have spent more intentional time on my phone than face to face with my kids.
Like when I know someone is trying to talk to me, but I display I am not interested enough in what they are saying because I keep checking my phone.
Like when I am in a face to face conversation, but disregard that in order to reply to a text that "can't wait" a few more minutes.
Like when I am in a church or Bible study type setting and go into my Bible app, but then get lost in other apps and lose focus on what is really supposed to be the focus.
Like when I take a phone call or start answering texts while in line somewhere. And then act like that cashier or person helping me needs to stay quiet and wait to me to try and multitask. 
And so many more...And so many of these, I don't even really realize that I have done these things in the moment. Sometimes it's later. As I'm falling asleep at night and thinking over my day. As I'm thinking about moments I lost in the precious lives of my boys or others.
I like my phone. I don't want to give it back. Don't want to get rid of it. But I do need to make sure that my phone (or the things I have on my phone, that aren't bad in an of themselves) doesn't get in the way of relationships.
With people in my life.
With my kids.
With my God. 
I need to look up more often and say Hi.
And stay looking up to wait for the response...

Friday, December 20, 2013

Amazing Race Failures and Zoolights

There have been many times where I have watched the show Amazing Race and thought things like, "that would be so fun," and "I could do that better than them," and so on...
But when it comes down to it, there have been way more times in my life (with and without family) where I have realized that I would probably be one of the first ones out of the race.
Yesterday we decided to go to Zoolights. We thought maybe a Thursday wouldn't be as busy. We left our house around 4:15, dropped dinner off for a friend who recently had a baby, and were on our way. The GPS said we should get there around 5:45. Later than I wanted. I wanted to get there around opening at 5 to get the most out of it. But not terrible.
We got on 66 and were thankful we were in the opposite direction of most of the traffic...but that didn't last long...
We hit heavy traffic. We heard on the radio reports of a bomb threat somewhere in the city and how that was making rush hour traffic way worse than normal. We had a hard time with our GPS versus signs we were seeing and circled around the zoo a couple times. We watched it go by. Saw all the lights from a distance. And I almost thought that might be all we saw. The boys were bored with being in the car, hungry, tired (close to bed time already), and anxious to arrive somewhere. And so was I!
We had lost the Amazing Race again, and I was contemplating just turning around and trying to come back another day. Our arrival time originally was 5:45 but now it was after 7. It was 7:30 before we got in and got parked. And then we had to walk in. And bedtime is 8. And it closed at 9. I was annoyed at the journey, but the boys were quickly excited about the lights. I was annoyed that we had to try and walk really fast if we wanted to see most of it, but the boys are so fast at things like that anyways that I don't think it would have been different for them if we arrived earlier...they just don't take long moments to look at things like we might.

They were excited for the lights and the animals and the possibilities. They were disappointed that we didn't want to spend extra $ on extra things like a slide and a carousel ride...but then we would have just had to stand in a line...better off to keep walking!
The best parts? The different lights, especially the ones that lit up to the music. The worst parts? All the animals that were already sleeping and feeling a little rushed and maybe not getting the full experience because of this. 
Overall, they loved it and forgot about the long ride there. And seeing things through their eyes helps me to stay positive and focused in a season where everything feels a bit rushed to me....

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Birthdays and Stuff

Micah just had his 5th birthday. He is growing up so fast. We are trying to do things right as parents. But I'm sure there are so many things we are screwing up! Just not sure how long it will take before we see it all more clearly.
I have often wondered who birthday parties are for. This started as we approached Micah's first birthday and I shared my thoughts and feelings then. Since the kids are too young to remember, why do we do it? So, for the most part, we decided not to. We had special people involved in Micah's life over for his first birthday, but I felt pressured.
And as long as the boys haven't noticed or asked or felt deprived, we haven't pushed it. Last year we did ask Micah what he wanted and all he wanted was a close friend to come over and race him. Literally. In the middle of winter. On a nearby college track. But it was what he wanted.
This year, thought, I started to feel the pressure. Mostly because Micah is now in school and we are getting invited to the other kid's parties. So that means we need to have one and invite all of them, right? So now I have to figure out when and how and how much it's going to cost and does everyone get invited, and all that junk. And we asked Micah what he wanted. And I talked through it with Matt.
But all Micah mentioned was he wanted a scooter. And Matt said we shouldn't do it out of felt obligation. That made me feel better. My mom was most likely going to be able to come and we knew we could find some fun dates with Micah or family activities to celebrate with him. Something we could do. A memory we could have together. And not just another party. The day or so before his birthday, though, Micah started to get a little upset thinking that no one was going to "come to my birthday." I didn't mention my mom might come, just in case she couldn't make the trip. He kind of equates the "party" with the birthday, even if it's not the day. So, we asked more questions. He wanted chocolate cake with blueberries (eewww) and a scooter. She did make it. She brought a scooter. I made chocolate cupcakes (without blueberries) and we had our own "party" with him. And he got a couple cards in the mail. He LOVES that.
So he felt special. And that's what mattered to me. We'll see what future years hold...but for now I think we'd still like to do away with parties. At least in the traditional sense.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Keeping it short and sweet...

just a few of my favorite boys....

Friday, September 6, 2013

Pride and other junk

I struggle with it.
I know we all do to some level.
I just notice mine the most because I'm around it ALL the time.

I enjoy my alone time. I enjoy quiet. I enjoy privacy.
These aren't things I get much of with 2, 3, and 4 year old boys at home. But I still long for them.

As much as I long for them, though, I know that they aren't always good for me. Kind of the whole "everything in moderation" saying goes.

We are now living in a town home community. A big one. With gates. I feel out of my league. I feel like I need to justify or clarify why we live in a "gated community" because I don't feel like a "gc" kind of girl. And not only does it get me out of my comfort zone in this way, but also in the way of what I mentioned above. I like alone and quiet and private. And this is a little more challenging in this community. But it's also part of the reason we chose it.

We are living in a new town and I know very few people. I loved the little one-level home back in the woods where my boys could probably run around outside naked and not be seen. But I also knew that it would be harder for us (me) to meet people. And easier for me to be alone. And private. At least as much as I could with 3 small boys. And so, we chose the town home.

The boys make friends easily. Because anyone that doesn't look like an adult to them is automatically a friend. Sometimes I wish it was that easy for me. But then pride steps in (along with me just being an introvert too!). I want to know if you will be a good friend before I say we are friends. I want to know if I can trust you first. I want to figure out if I like you first. And lots of other things that keep me from making friends. I have very few people I have truly called friends in my adult life. It's sad, I know. It's not a pity party. For me, it's just a reality as well as something I'm trying to work through. Something that I somehow want to be different now that we are in a different place. But I am still me and I am still with me in this new place...
I read this other blog not too long ago and agreed COMPLETELY.

So, the pride. It's gross. I don't like it. Sometimes I don't even see (or feel or hear or whatever) it creep in and all of a sudden it's like vines that are taking over! I judge myself for living in this community and thinking I shouldn't. And I'm afraid of being judged for living in this community. But then I do it to others. To my neighbors. To people I see out walking dogs (there are SO many dogs in here!). I judge their cars, and their strollers, and their kid's cars, and their lawns, and their car-cleaning company that comes right to their driveway...I judge them for how long they linger over their kid getting on the bus in the morning...I judge how they yell at their kid...or how they don't seem like they are even paying attention to their kid...

It's gross. It's sin. It keeps me from making friends. It keeps me from being friendly. It keeps my focus on me. It's pride and I wish I could wish it away. I don't want to be so consumed with pride, and so consumed with self that I miss all the opportunities I have. To make friends and to be a friend. To be a better mom and learn from others. To be open to what God truly wants from us in this new town and from me in my new (and maybe temporary, but who knows for now) role of SAHM (stay at home mom).

I know there's more. There's more to making friends and to being a good friend. There's more to being an influencer. There's more to being a light in dark places. There's more to why people are the way they are, and I want to be more aware of that. Why they yell (or why I yell!), why they baby their kids, why they put so much attention on outward appearance, why, why, why...

I want to know what it feels like to hurt for others instead of judging others. I want to be better at encouraging others outwardly instead of judging others inwardly. I want to be more humble. And yet, I don't. Because I'm scared of what that might look like...

BUT, here goes..."God, make me more humble. Empty me of me and fill me with more of YOU!"

Thursday, September 5, 2013


We have made the move.
We are still adjusting and unpacking and changing address info, and all that time-consuming fun stuff. But WE'RE HERE!
But just because we are back with Matt as a family again doesn't mean we want to stop the adventures we were having when visiting. There is so much exploring we can do, it's just a matter of finding the right spots...and being a bit spontaneous too.

We found some gems recently.
 Without a doubt, all 3 boys LOVE to be outside.

With the humidity dropping and the weather cooling off, it's a great time of year for some hiking. Matt found a spot called Bull Run Mountain that is great because it's not too terribly far from us (seems not much is here) and we didn't have too much elevation change, making it easier on the boys. AND it was almost all completely shaded. Even better!

And then we decided we wanted to find something fun to do to celebrate Labor Day. Not just go to the pool or have a cookout, but something a little different and spontaneous. But we were aiming for free too!
Matt (again) found a place called Lee District Park. It's a little further from us, but well worth the drive. We mainly picked it for the free spray ground (which turned out to be a way bigger free spray ground than we had ever found or been too!), but were more than excited for the playground just outside the water section. 
 Isaiah playing with the water coming up between his legs.
 Judah playing a form of twister, but really just trying to stop all the water.
 Micah patiently waiting for the water bucket to dump on his head.
 Playing together: Isaiah (just shy of 2), Micah (4.75), Judah (3.5)
 Judah being spider man while wearing spider man.
 Micah, proud of himself for getting to the top.

When we arrive about 10 minutes before it opened, the line waiting to get in was about 50 people deep. Not what I was expecting.
The boys had fun, but water makes you hungry, and once we found out food was not allowed inside (not because we saw a sign or saw it in the rules or were told at the gate as we lugged in our coolers, BUT because we were eating and were told not to...) we decided we would play until the boys couldn't handle NOT eating. Then we'd go enjoy our picnic lunch and head to the play ground.
It was the kind with the REALLY soft flooring and lots of slides and very different elements than other normal playgrounds. And great for all ages (not just the 5-12 years old kids it says it's good for...since none of mine fall in that category yet...)!
I'm sure we would go back just for the play ground (and getting to stop at Whole Foods AND Trader Joes on the way home!!).

Thursday, July 18, 2013

City Life at a Glance, Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

So far we had had 2 very full and very awesome days of adventures together. Sunday would be a little different, but we still wanted to fill it.
We played for a bit in the morning before heading over to Matt's new church for a service. The kids each went into their own class. Micah, excited! Judah, slightly hesitant. Isaiah, wailed for a bit. It's hard to know my kid is going to cry when I hand them over to someone else. I thought he was out of this stage, but possibly the changes recently have escalated it again. Either way, it's a bit easier if I at least know the person. Here, I didn't. He cried hard for a bit. Long enough for me to question whether I should go back and get him. But just then it let up. And afterward, they all seemed to have had a good class.
We went home and played some more before nap time.  We played outside for a bit but it was SO hot already. We needed to find something WET to do today!
We had plans to go to a pool but Matt's friend called and said he and some others would be doing dinner in Georgetown. They didn't know exactly when, so we decided we would find more to do in Georgetown and meet up with them whenever they came in. We went back to the KidFriendly DC blog and found the Georgetown Waterfront Park.
It was nice, but our least favorite so far of the weekend. Maybe because we had to park farther away. Or because it was so stinkin' hot. Or because it was more crowded. And less shaded...It was nice and we loved getting to see more of the surrounding area, but it probably won't go on our "we are definitely going back there" list.

 (boys. waiting for snacks)
 (snack time)
 (pure enjoyment)

 (i don't endorse this. but this is what Matt told Micah to do when he said he had to pee and we saw no toilets in site.)
 (and the high-five he got when he said he did it)

The boys played hard for a bit. But then hit a wall. Not sure if this is all kids this age, or just our 3 boys, but there is a small window of opportunity that can close quite quickly when they are hungry or tired or both. This window was closing quickly around the same time we found out Matt's friends were not even on their way to Georgetown yet. I saw a Johnny Rockets balloon and we quickly found one nearby. It's weird to think about life before smart phones. It makes finding things spontaneously so much easier!

Burgers and shakes hit the spot and helped revive our tired and hot boys.

We got home a little late, but they were tired and slept hard!
We knew the next day was going to be even hotter, so we decided we would go to a waterpark. We got a good recommendation for Atlantis Waterpark and we were NOT disappointed. It was cheap for the area (cheaper than the closest one to us down here) and there was much more for the boys to do. A whole baby pool area, a giant sand box, a big splash area with slides, and more slides in the big, main pool too. They played hard. We were there for about 4 hours, and would have stayed longer except for the heat and I was worried about the sun on the boys.
 the baby pool part
 Micah waiting for the big dump bucket
 Micah hard core under the bucket
 proud of himself
 Judah tried to do the bucket with Micah but freaked a bit when it started.
 the big sand box
 Isaiah getting buried
 Judah getting so brave at going under water
 treats before leaving. and maybe bribes too.
 definitely a bribe for this one
 sounds asleep while we were still in the parking lot
shortly down the road. 
We will definitely be going back to Atlantis. We went home and packed the car for me to bring the boys home. It was a decent trip home, and a fabulous trip for the weekend!

The. End.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

City Life at a Glance, Part 2

Part 1 can be found over here.

We had a great Friday. A long Friday.

The boys slept good. Saturday morning was a bit lazy. Matt went to breakfast with a friend. We sort of talked about doing something, but were a bit indecisive. We found a great blog about all sorts of things to do in and around the DC area. We wanted to do something outside, and Matt found something called The Yards Park. It wasn't until later that night that I was reading more about it on the internet and found out that the fountains had JUST reopened the day before. SO great for us!
This was a great post and description of the park. I'll just agree and post some of our pictures.

 We had a little picnic. Stayed cool in the water. Played with frisbees and balls. And just had a great afternoon. As a reminder to myself and any other moms with kids in water diapers: they don't hold things well. If your kid poops, get it changed quickly. Or it becomes a really big mess. And it's gross. And it may get on your clothes. Or thankfully, your husband's...
Later in the day Matt went to the Saturday church service and then we all went in for a farewell reception. This might have gone better if the boys weren't so tired. And if they weren't trying to show off for everyone. And if they weren't egged on by other boys of similar age. And if they weren't in a stage where they all seem to be wanting to be extra defiant and play off of each others reactions when they do get in trouble...but alas...it was bad. And I sent them home with Matt. So I could have some alone time at Walmart!

City Life at a Glance

In the past 3 1/2 months of living mostly separate lives, i recently took the boys up to visit Matt for 4 nights and 4 full days. It was the most time we have spent together since his move. And it was awesome!
We didn't do much research before we went about things we could do, but it's NOVA. There's tons of things to choose from. And Matt and I both individually and together have been trying to have more "adventures" with the boys. To have more experiences we can enjoy together as a family. The weather the first couple days was a little wet. And then it got HOT! A glimpse at our adventurous weekend.

We arrived Thursday afternoon. There was minimal sleeping in the car (by the boys, not me!) on the way, but they were still full of energy upon arrival. We picked Matt up and then went to "his" house for a quick visit with the 2 elementary-aged boys Matt lives with before they were leaving town on their own adventure. A little time playing, a bath, and to bed for the boys. Time to get some sleep!

The next day was rainy, so we decided to find something to do inside. We chose the National Air and Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. We paid for parking, but not for entrance. It was a fun experience. And I think they did well even thought they are young. Micah kind of zoomed through everything and the rest of us tried to keep up.

It was Friday, July 12, and also happened to be Cow Appreciation Day at Chick Fil A. It's the boy's favorite place to eat. How it works is you dress like a cow and get free food. How can you go wrong? I took everything with us and we assembled our cowness in the van. The first one we stopped at, we couldn't even get in the parking lot, so we found another one on the way home. It was perfect timing.
We went home for late naps and a deep breath for Matt and I.
We still wanted to find more adventures for the evening. The weather was still unpredictable, so we were looking indoors. We didn't fully end up inside, but found Fairfax Corner. One of the perks was supposed to be a miniature train we could ride around. Must have been the questionable weather, but we never saw it running...
But we highly enjoyed the walk, the "climbing rocks" inside of REI (although this created a meltdown when Isaiah was in love and didn't want to leave), fountains, and cupcakes!

 (Team meeting to talk about whether we will get ice cream or cupcakes)
(we each wanted our own flavor, and then they told us the 6th was free. can't beat that!)

Isaiah was upset about leaving to go home. But overall, it was a great day full of adventures with our boys. Since this is all day 1, I think I will have to split into separate posts.