Monday, March 17, 2014

Keeping That Spark Alive

I am the worst at titles. The worst. Also, the worst blogger ever. A whopping 3 posts in the year 2014, so far.

I would love to say I have been away living life to the fullest. I have been living. But mostly my life has been like anyone else's. I did go camping last week while sick with the flu. (I didn't know it was the flu until we came back. Not my brightest decision ever.)

Also, in my blog absence, I have tried something new. And that's what I'm writing about today.

Travis has been a fan of disc golf for many years. He played a lot in college, and then not so much for a stretch of years where we were in the baby haze. In the last year or so he has started to play more regularly. Disc golf is fun and cheap and doesn't take nearly as long as regular golf. We had talked about going  on a disc golf date if we ever had the free time and cooperative weather. So we did.

We went to a neighborhood course that Travis figured wouldn't be crowded. As it was a Saturday, we didn't want to hold up more experienced players while I learned. I was terrible! I threw my disc into a backyard on the second hole. Thankfully, someone was home and they came out and got it for us. I think I threw at least double what par was on every hole. I ran to my disc every time I threw, which is definitely not how real disc golfers operate (it's more of a stroll, usually). And we laughed a lot. At my terrible form, at my enthusiasm, at each other. It was so fun.

I won't ever try to do everything that Travis does or enjoy everything he does--that would be boring for both of us. But it is good to try new things together. To allow yourself to be vulnerable in front of your spouse and willing to laugh at yourself. We will be married for a long time, so working on sharing more interests is investing in our future.

Besides, you know he has a new appreciation for me and my awesome disc golf form.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Only Pins That Matter

I pin a lot of things over on Pinterest. Or at least, I have in the past. But if I'm being real (isn't the the idea here?) then the only pins that really matter are the food ones. I have several boards due to my efforts to be all virtually organized. I have breakfast, snacks, desserts, side dishes and main dishes. But what board gets the most action? The main dishes. That's what I'm going to look at most when I click on the swirly P icon.

I'm a kind and generous person. I don't want you to waste your time cooking meals no one will eat. So I'm here to tell you what to make that will meet with mostly good reviews. (The opinions of the 3 and 5 year old children don't carry much weight here.)

Skinny Crockpot Sausage Tortellini

(photo credit Kiran, The Pinterest Wife)

I only had full fat cream cheese at home and I will probably always use that, so skinny doesn't really apply here. What does apply is deliciousness. I cooked ours with less broth so it was more like a pasta in cream sauce than a soup. We had vegetables on the side. And the whole family loved it, even the littlest ate the sausage at least.

Creamy Crockpot Chicken and Tomato Soup

(Photo credit: River North Paleo Girl)

What? I love my crockpot. You know you love yours too. I was not sure this would be well received, as I've never really served tomato soup to my family. (I'm not a huge fan usually, myself.) But this was delicious. Again, everyone ate it with minimal complaint, once they got that first bite.

Pesto Ranch Crockpot Chicken Thighs

(Photo credit: Jenny at Picky Palate)

Okay, maybe I have a crockpot problem. But it is just so darn handy to put stuff in the crockpot in the morning and know that when I'm juggling the homework of multiple children and a busy 3 year old and sports practices and just life that dinner is already almost done. We eat this with rice or pasta and vegetables.

This concludes my Pinterest public service. For now.

Thursday, January 09, 2014


It has been so long since I wrote that I had to re-enter my password and I wasn't sure I would remember it. I obviously did.

I'm not quitting the blog, not yet, even though it must look like I have abandoned it. The truth is, I've had ideas for posts in my head so many times, but by the time I think about actually writing, the ideas are gone or stale or I don't want to share my thoughts after all. Pretty lame.

I am quitting something. Or scaling back. I trained for the Dallas half marathon that was supposed to be in December. It was iced out. I'm sure you all saw the Dallas/Fort Worth area on the news, covered in ice. My kids didn't go to school for four days. Travis was on a silent retreat for the first 3 days of icepocalypse. It almost got really ugly in our house. But a child called me out on my attitude and I vowed to reset it and we actually had fun. Mostly.

So, quitting or scaling back. The weekend the race was canceled I signed up to run the Cowtown half marathon in Fort Worth in February. I had already tapered for the December race, and after it didn't happen, I let my running slide. I only ran once or twice a week and only three miles or so. I still had time to pick up my training. But this week I decided I didn't want to do that. So I changed my race entry to the 10k. I've never run an official 10k, so I'm guaranteed a PR. Ha. I just realized that I had no desire to commit to the long training runs right now. I've done a half marathon, twice, so it is not a matter of proving something to myself or anyone else. I'm enjoying my strength training a lot more these days. I can do a 10k without having to commit to running for an hour or longer more than once a week.

I gave myself permission to quit and I felt so relieved when I did. I'm not normally a quitter. I can be very stubborn about it, in fact. But sometimes the grace we so readily give others when they are struggling needs to be given to ourselves.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Realization and Acceptance

Ben is still not potty trained. This means he is still not going to Mother's Day Out. It means Travis has to be home every Wednesday so I can go to my piano lesson (which is so fun!).

People asked me what I was going to do with just one kid at home, and even no kids at home for those several hours a week. I had dreams of lunch with friends, running errands without having to buckle and unbuckle a child, or remember snacks, or plan around naptime. I was sure I would be so efficient and organized and really relish that time.

But here I am in October and I have company for nearly everything I do. Travis works from home some and so I am able to get out alone here and there, but not on a consistent basis. And I expected to be really frustrated about that.

And I was wrong.

It turns out, I have a little sidekick with me. I have a buddy that tells me I'm beautiful and always compliments some part of my outfit. I have someone that says hi to every single person he sees. Ben thinks everything is fun and adventurous, at least most of the time. Sure, he now expects fruit snacks every time we go to Target, and a balloon at Old Navy, but I don't mind. I stick a hand out and a little one grabs it.

I'm not one to get all maudlin and sappy about kids growing up and all that. I love that my older kids are starting to appreciate my sarcasm and are able to play real games and the like. But I also don't mind a little guy that still needs snuggles. I'm happy to keep my nap buddy around every day of the week until we're both ready for him to go make new school friends.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

We Said Goodbye

The walls are freshly painted and there's new, soft carpet throughout the house. We finally had the second bathroom tiled. We wiped down the cabinets for the first time in far too long. And we put the sign out front and waited for interest.

Blessedly, people were looking at our first home within hours of listing it. And we were negotiating terms with a buyer the day after the sign went up in the yard. We had heard that the market for that size home, in our area, was great. But we certainly weren't going to assume that would hold after school started. So we were thrilled to come to terms with the buyer. We prayed for a clean inspection and solid appraisal.

We got news that we were good to go and our closing date was scheduled. So we took the kids to the house one last time, the day before closing. They first ran around, exclaiming at how clean and fresh everything was. They said it seemed so small, all of a sudden, after living in our new home.

Then we gathered in the living room, finding a spot on the bare floor. We each said a prayer, giving thanks for the ten years of blessings and joy and laughter in that home. We prayed that the new owners would have years filled with the same. We each shared a favorite memory of the home. Mine was the year it snowed on Christmas Eve and then a few days later. It was a quiet, restful time as a family. We played games and just enjoyed each other. The kids remembered family celebrations and family nights watching SyFy original movies. We reminded them that we would still do those things in our new home, and so much more. But we all had a tear in our eyes.

A month to the day after we spent our first night in our new home, we said goodbye to our first home.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Just Write: Domestic

So many days I resist the domestic duties that are part of daily life. I grudgingly put the dishes in the dishwasher and I mumble as I pick up the stray socks and toy cars and notebooks strewn about the house. I get defeated by the inevitable mess made just minutes after I cleaned up. It is not a great attitude to have and it sure doesn't make anyone's day better.

Then some days, I absolutely dive in to the domestic responsibilities. I quickly and efficiently straighten things up and I feel satisfaction knowing I've made things more peaceful for my family. And on the very best days, I truly love where I am at, intentionally and with clarity.

I had one of those days recently. As I cleaned up the dishes from dinner I had a quiet satisfaction. Dinner was nothing remarkable--pork tenderloin cooked in the crockpot with barbecue sauce and SteamFresh vegetables (best invention ever) and applesauce. But plates were cleared and we shared one highlight from our day and Lily and I headed out the door to soccer practice and there was minimal griping and whining and it just felt like we were all riding a good wave, for that moment.

Linking up with The Extraordinary Ordinary

Friday, September 06, 2013

7 Quick Takes: All the New

I did not mean to take a two month break from blogging. After my last post (we bought a house!) life took off at warp speed. So I will update what readers I have left via Quick Takes, the fun Friday meme hosted by Jen at Conversion Diary.

1. The new house is fantastic. Honestly, Travis and I sit down at night and look at each other and still can't believe we live here. We found the right combination of house and lot and price for our needs. It has not been without minor hiccups though. Our faucet started leaking the same day our alternator went out in our van, which was not awesome. Still, we feel very blessed to have found this home. We'll feel even better when we sell our old home. (Going on the market this weekend. Locals, spread the word!)

Ben is enjoying the new furniture, obviously.

2. Part of what contributed to my absence here was the start of school. We are at the end of our second week, already. We went on vacation the last week of July and when we returned we immediately set to work preparing the new house for move-in and the old house for sell. So the start of school caught me off guard, almost. I was scrambling for new shoes for those growing kids, school supplies, shorts to fit dress code, and oh yeah, my sanity. Lily started kindergarten and Taylor started middle school, with three kids in between starting a new grade. We were feeling very anxious about middle school, but so far things have gone well. In fact, Taylor has her first school dance after school today. I would love to be a fly on the wall for that, but will have to settle for a report when she gets home. I anticipate many more new experiences as we navigate this first year of middle school.

 3. Ben will hopefully have his first day of school picture soon, if he'll get on the potty training bandwagon. I really hope that happens soon. I signed up for piano lessons during the time he is supposed to be at Mother's Day Out! I've always wanted to play an instrument, and after watching Taylor at her first recital last spring I decided now was as good a time as any. I am hopeful that some of what I learned for voice in my choir days will help, but I'm not too optimistic. Taylor is excited to teach me technique, she says. Don't get  your hopes up for recital videos from me though--I'll leave that to cute kids.

4. Travis and I did something new a couple of weeks ago. Months ago my brother asked us to speak to his parish's marriage group about dating your spouse. We happily agreed, not knowing then that we would be in the midst of moving and just not paying attention to the fact that it was the weekend before school started. We felt a little stressed planning it, but it was worth it. We have both spoken at retreats, individually, and we did youth group things together, but this was our first real public speaking engagement as a couple. It was so fun! We enjoyed planning our talk, and the response when we gave it was very positive. I hope we get an opportunity to do it again.

5. Running is not new, but running longer is new again. All this year I have only been running once or twice a week, never more than three miles at a time. But I signed up for the Dallas Half Marathon in December again, so I have upped my weekly running. Not enough, yet, but I'm getting there. And my favorite running shoes don't have much life left in them, so I've had to search out new ones. My style was discontinued. I was lucky and found a pair on sale! Brooks PureFlow, which was not the shoe I expected to like. I'm still breaking them in, so I am hopeful they will feel good for distance running. And I was excited to get a fun, bright color.  Even more exciting was the super low price.

6. I don't have 7 things to share today. The future of this blog seems to be in peril. I will do my best to not let it die. What do you want to read about?