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Thursday, October 20, 2016

A break from the routine

Last weekend, I joined 39 other women from our church at a retreat in Crystal Beach. I wouldn't say it was a relaxing getaway (sleeping in a room full of bunk beds kind of prevents any quality rest, sadly!), but I will say that I left feeling more connected both to the friends I already knew along with a few dozen new ones. It's also nice to spend time with people that aren't in your exact same season of life every now and again, so that brought a refreshing change in perspective. It was also nice to get a change in scenery and spend a little time by the ocean- another activity that always gives me a change in perspective!

Allison and I were in charge of the Games Committee - I think that's because our spiritual gifts include being silly and bossing people around.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch in the suburbs, Brian graciously held down the fort with the twins, and even obliged my repeated requests for photographic proof of life evidence of the fun they were having! (But seriously, he is the best dad and handled it like a champ and without a single complaint, which is the exact opposite of how I probably would have handled it!)

Clara opted to hang out in the tent and eat snacks with friends instead of actually participating in the game. Sigh.

But this guy actually got out and played!

Clara and Avery catching up after the game, or as Brian captioned the picture, "Girlfriends Talk Show"

I am thankful to report that we all 4 finally seem to have recovered from last weekend's activities... just in time for the coming weekend to begin. A "cold" (I use that term loosely) front is headed our way this afternoon, so perhaps we will not spend this one drenched in sweat? One can dream...

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Five on Wednesday

That's a thing, right? Too bad if it isn't.

1. This article is not tactfully titled ("She's Not an A-hole, She's Just a 3-Year-Old"), but it is accurately titled, and relatable.

"When in my threenager's company, I rarely go more than several minutes without encountering her dark side. She is constantly sobbing over some injustice. . . It's as though she lives in a constant state of PMS and has just found out that chocolate is now illegal and her favorite soap opera has been canceled. I contemplate crushing up some mood stabilizers and sneaking it into her yogurt tube.

But then I remember: she's not chemically unbalanced. She's just a 3-year-old."

2. Speaking of that threenager, a friend gave her some Princess Jasmine jammies this week and she was pretty darn pumped about the whole thing:

 3. Meanwhile, her brother, who is admittedly going through a slighter sweeter phase at the moment stopped in the middle of eating dinner last night and asked, "Mommy, can you marry me?" And of course I said yes... how could I not?

4. Another mom article I have to share: "5 Reasons I 'Lose It' With My Kids". Somehow thinking of my children as "little goal-blockers" seems a little less harsh than the alternative suggested in item #1 above!

5. Do any of you remember Baby Dinosaur? A couple of years ago, he dropped out of elementary school. He briefly worked at a local dry cleaning business after that, but decided that the boss was abusive and quit. So in recent years, he's just been living the life of leisure, mostly driving around in a van full of squirrels. All until a couple of days ago when he took up a new job as a pizza deliveryman. So far, he has a 50/50 track record of pizzas consumed vs. pizzas delivered. His target goal is to get to 70/30 by the end of his first month.

And also, yes, we are still that strange.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Asking for a friend

Um, have any of the rest of you repeatedly caught hand, foot, and mouth disease as adults? As in, 3 times in a 4-year period? As in, 2 times in the past 5 months? As in, more often than your small children that apparently carry the virus regularly but miraculously do not actually show symptoms of it? I'm just asking for a friend (... that also developed shingles as a 32-year-old).

My friend feels like this is incredibly relatable.

Has anyone else already ordered their Christmas cards? I mean, probably not, because it's way too early and who would be that neurotic, right? Well I have a friend that's that way (it's so obnoxious) and she told me that there's an amazing deal on 5x7 cardstock cards from Snapfish at the moment (75% off + free shipping!!), so if you like to plan ahead you're crazy like her, you should check it out.

Do any of you have book recommendations for people that are attempting to recover from perfectionism? Preferably something that's applicable and not just full of cheesy self-help fluff? Bonus points for being a Christian book, but not a requirement. Again, just asking for a friend, obviously.

And in the meantime, you can find me gargling salt water, updating my Christmas card mailing list, and perusing book reviews on Amazon... you know, to help my friend.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Soccer, pumpkins, and lowering expectations

Soooo does anyone else struggle with setting unrealistic expectations and holding yourselves and everyone around you to unrealistic standards? And then losing your ever-loving mind when you and everyone around you fail to meet said unrealistic standards? I know there is a fairly simple solution to this problem (recognize that no one is perfect and let more things go); however, that is a solution that I have yet to embrace.

And in fact, in this past year, where it feels like there have been an exceptional number of circumstances vastly beyond my control, it seems that the further away from perfect life becomes, the more stubborn I become about insisting that everything be, well, perfect. As a result, I spend an absurd amount of time being disappointed with myself and others. And everyone around me (particularly my family) spends an absurd amount of time being on the receiving end of my disappointment, which I can assure you is not fun.

So why, you ask, does this have anything to do with the following blog post about soccer games and pumpkin patches, etc.? Because, my dear friends, nothing screams, "YOUR STANDARDS ARE TOO HIGH AND YOU NEED TO CHILL OUT!" like attempting to get two 3-year-olds to cooperate.

To make a long story short, week 3 of soccer did not go as well as week 2. In fact, it went a lot like week 1. Clara was in a bad mood the minute we got to the field and that continued for the duration of the game, wherein she did not play and instead cried, whined, and refused to participate. Is this that big of a deal? No, I realize logically that it's not. But logic doesn't always apply when you are a type A mom.

It's my soccer game and I'll cry if I want to...

Yep, standing in the middle of the field crying while the game is going on. God bless the coaches.

Eventually Colby, who had actually been happily playing for a while, decided to protest the game in solidarity with his sister. You can imagine how excited we were about that development.

After we got home and all 4 of us had some time to wind down (read: eat... aka: our therapy of choice), we decided to continue our quest in futile behavior by taking the kids to Froberg's Farm with the Olivers to take pumpkin patch pictures. We went last year and we were sad to see that the set-up this year left a little to be desired (including no actual pumpkin photo opps!). The twins didn't seem to mind, though, and if nothing else, we got some tasty kettle corn out of the deal, so let's pretend that was worth the $20 we paid while there and 30+ minute drive each way to get there/back.

As Allison pointed out, don't they look like giants here?

Best we could get!

Bean bag tossing

Duck racing

Picture hating ;)

She was SO excited about this glittery pink ballerina tattoo- 36 hours later, it's still hanging in there!

We spent the evening grilling out and watching the Aggies win with the Olivers, after which I collapsed in exhaustion and spent a blissful 9.5 hours sleeping. Being a disgruntled perfectionist is tiring work, y'all.

Sunday was fairly low-key, and although I did bust out the camera (yes, again) to take pictures of the twins with the pumpkins they picked out at the store, I tried to keep my expectations low. By the grace of God, the twins were relatively cooperative (cheesy smiles notwithstanding):

So with that, our weekend was complete. If any of you are like me, then you know that the upcoming holiday season can be a source of major anxiety as expectations are at all time high. And in case you're needing this reminder I'll be clinging to, I thought I'd share:

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." - 2 Corinthians 12:9

Monday, September 26, 2016

Comeback kid

Friends, your prayers were heard (kidding) (but not really kidding) and soccer went a million times better this weekend... in fact, the whole weekend went a million times better, so praise God for that. And I realize it doesn't get much more stereotypical of a mommy blogger than to devote an entire post to one of her children's sporting events, but being stereotypical hasn't stopped me in the past 3 years so why would it now? :) 

So yeah, not sure if it was the fact that Clara was joining him or if he just got out of whatever funk he was in last weekend, but Colby was in good spirits when game time rolled around. And when it was time to go out onto the field and practice, he trotted right out there as if he had been happily and willingly participating in the sport for his entire life. Go figure.

Having some of their besties from school on the team doesn't hurt!

In fact, he wasn't one of the starters but when the whistle blew, he still ran out onto the field to join his friends and we had to explain to him that he had to wait his turn. So apparently last week we couldn't get him to go on the field, and this week, we couldn't get him to stay off!

Anyway, they both looked like they were having a good time and seemed to understand the basic concept of running after the ball and kicking it, so I think we'll call it a win. Clara lost interest after about 10 minutes and decided she'd prefer to sit on the sidelines and get a head start on post-game snacks, but considering it was still hotter than the surface of the sun outside, I can't really blame her. I asked her later in the day which one she liked better so far - soccer or dance - and she answered "dance" with no hesitation. We'll see if that trend continues once the weather improves!

Colby did score a goal for the other team at one point, but he was SO darn proud of himself and I will never forget the smile he had on his face when he came running over to us afterward. So of course we high fived him and congratulated him for a job well done :) 

I had signed up to bring snacks, so after the three-ring circus game was over, I distributed the goods to all the players. After we got home, Colby accusatorially asked me, "Mommy, why did you give my snacks away to all of those strangers?" I love that he thought I brought 10 bags of Pirate's Booty, 10 oranges, and 10 water bottles all for him and Clara, ha!

Hopefully the rest of the season will continue to go well (although preferably about 20 degrees cooler). And just for (completely unrelated) funsies, I've thrown in a picture I took on Sunday morning before we left for church:

I'm not sure where they picked this up, but the twins like to lay blankets down on the floor and call it a "birthday party." This particular party apparently got really wild and crazy because the blocks were invited along with several of their action figures. They insisted that I leave it out so they could continue the party when we got back from church... you other type A moms will understand how much self-restraint it took for me to comply with this request. 

Have a great week, everyone!