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.