Enchanted Railroad

>> Thursday, December 23, 2010

My mind has been a bit scattered this Christmas season- distracted by thoughts of moving and trying to get life a bit more organized. But now Christmas is starring me in the face and I feel like I haven't done enough to create a magical feel of the season for my boys. So this morning we headed over to the Arboretum to see their Enchanted Railroad exhibit. They have filled the entire room with trains carrying miniature Christmas trees and presents and candy canes. There are little villages and trees nestled among the tracks. The boys were just mesmerized by it all! Of course, they were a bit bummed that they couldn't touch the trains or eat the candy canes off one of the cars. But overall, it was a great way to usher in a little last-minute holiday magic. And it's free!

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O Come Let Us Adore Him

>> Friday, December 17, 2010

Lucas had his Christmas Play at preschool this morning. It was precious and perfect. Lucas (one of the three kings) sang all the songs and did all the motions (last year, he just stood there) and smiled like the adorable boy he is. I am a sappy, sentimental fool at things like this. I cry during the movie Polar Express and the end of Elf. And watching my little boy sing about Jesus and the miracle of Christmas brings out so much more emotion. So I was definitely wiping some tears this morning.

He is getting so big and grown up. He holds my heart, this precious "king."

And this one too! :)

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Housing Woes, the reprise

>> Thursday, December 16, 2010

I have been thinking a lot lately about how much my satisfaction or dissatisfaction with my current status depends on what others around me have or don't have.

I took this picture with my cell phone the other day (sorry for the crappy quality). It is a house I pass on my way to yoga every Tuesday night. I secretly lust after this house. I love the wrap-around porch, the cute yard with fence, the big trees out front... it is your perfect little suburban house. The perfect place to raise a family and have people come stay with you and decorate for Christmas. *sigh*

After trying last spring to rent out our town house with no luck, a housing miracle seemed to drop into our laps a few weeks ago. A potential renter came to look at our house and LOVED IT! She wanted to move in ASAP. Praise the Lord!! ..... sort of.....
We immediately started looking for houses to move into. Not much seemed to be available, but then we found THE PERFECT HOUSE for us. The space we need, the fence we need, within our price range.... Could this really be happening??? A renter and a house we would LOVE to live in??? Somebody pinch me!

While our credit application was being processed, the owners of my perfect house signed a lease with someone else. Boo! Also, we had some hiccups in the process of working things out with our "tenant" and it seems like that is now falling through too. Boo! It just doesn't seem to be in the cards, again. I have already cried about it and had my little moment of "it's not fair!!" It does kinda seem like God is teasing me with this whole moving thing. But God isn't really in the "teasing" business so I know there has to be some sort of greater plan at work here... just one that is not so visible from where I am standing.

I want a new house because we need more room. We have realistically outgrown this space. We need a yard for my boys and the pooch. I want to be able to host people and give my parents a room to stay in when they come to visit. And while those are the biggest reasons, that is certainly not the whole story. Nearly all my friends have upgraded their housing in the last year or so. Two of my best friends have bigger, beautiful homes with yards and rooms for all their children. How much of my housing discontent is because I judge my current situation against what my friends have that I don't?
A move for me just isn't gonna happen right now. And maybe not for awhile. Being a landlord kinda freaks me out and I certainly don't want to jeopardize our financial stability by taking on too much risk. And I don't want to go through the hassle of moving unless it is the right house (which was stolen from me and doesn't seem to exist anywhere else...).

So there you have it... my current housing woes. I am disappointed, for sure. Maybe even a little pissed. But trying to keep it all in proper perspective and trust that this is God protecting me and not teasing me. And not base my contentedness on things I cannot control.

But if the person who lives in my dream, suburban home pictured above happens to be reading this and wants to rent your house to me..... just sayin'.

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Rooting Out the Weeds

>> Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hubby and I recently dived head first into Dave Ramsey's philosophies of budget and debt management. In one of his books, he says "If you are apathetic because everything seems 'just fine,' then you will be unwilling to make the huge changes needed to get huge results. ... The enemy of 'the best' is not 'the worst.' The enemy of 'the best' is 'just fine.' "

I both 100% agree with this and yet kinda disagree. When it comes to strict budgeting to eliminate debt and build wealth, he is totally right. But I am not sure this phrase applies universally. When I try to apply this philosophy to my marriage and my parenting and my relationships with my family, I start to see how it leads me down a dangerous road. Let me explain. (To be fair, Dave Ramsey is NOT applying this phrase to my marriage and mothering abilities... that is all me... and I am preaching only to myself here.)

I am an all-or-nothing kind of gal. I always read the preface of a book because either I am reading the whole book or I feel like I have cheated. I am not good at skimming or "maybe" or "we'll see how things go." I like a plan, I like things to fit in the boxes I have made for them. Things and people.
Before I was a wife or a mother, I had pretty sure ideas of what both marriage and parenthood would be like. (*wink*) My husband would always passionately pursue me, we would talk about everything and usually agree, and sex would never be dull or routine. Then would come motherhood. And I was sure that would be filled with joyous moments of watching my children grow into respectable little humans who adored me and only occasionally tested their boundaries. I am exaggerating a bit, but you get the idea.
Reality is usually different than the world I envision in my mind. Relationships too. We all know that marriage and motherhood are hard and that no one is perfect at either one. But how much mediocrity do we say is part of the reality of life and how much should we be striving for things to be "the best" or at least "better?"

It is easy for me to look at my husband and see things that I would like to change. Little behaviors or personality traits or sometimes even bigger things. It is very easy for me keep a running tally of those things in my mind and gather more and more ammunition each time.
I have this habit of taking my less-than-stellar motherhood moments and harping on them in my mind until I am convinced my boys will need therapy before they reach puberty. I have gone to great lengths to preserve my days at home with the boys and have visions of how those days should go. Yet when the boys fight and I lose my cool and we didn't get to the Advent craft I had planned, I feel disappointed and a little like I have failed them.

What I am getting at is this: My marriage could be better. My mothering could be better. My relationship with my mom and my sister could be better. But I am afraid I am paralyzing my ability to enjoy and appreciate those relationships for what they truly are by always looking at the ways they could be "better." I am not saying I don't need to work on things. I certainly do. In fact, I met with a good friend this morning for coffee who lovingly challenged me to look at my own sin of finding fault with others and how that can be so detrimental. Especially to my marriage. I am just saying that always focusing on how things "ought" to be and the ways in which my Hubby or my boys or my family need to change in order to better fit into the boxes that I have created for them might actually be hurting my ability to be content. I tell myself "if only ... blah, blah, blah." Fill in the blank. If only Hubby took more initiative. If only the boys were less wild. Whatever.
My habit of finding fault is a weed. I have to root out this weed. When such a thought pops into my head, I have to get rid of it immediately. Root it out. Don't even let it grow.
Because when you really get down to it, even though it could always be "better," my marriage is "just fine." My relationship with my boys is "just fine." My Hubby loves me and I would never doubt his loyalty. My boys are sweet and forgiving of my out-bursts and truly do adore me. We have some great times together.
This is one instance where saying things are "just fine" is not an indicator of apathy. It is an acknowledgment that we are a work in progress and might never reach "the best." But as long as we stop constantly finding fault but are still willing to see areas where we need to improve, it is better to be content and find joy in the 'just fine."

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>> Thursday, December 2, 2010

As his tree grows, so do I.

I am a work in progress, making steps forward and steps back.
And just when I think I can't take anymore steps at all, that life is too hard...
God's light starts to shine through my dry and brittle leaves.

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Finding My Center

>> Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I don't go to yoga as often as I would like to, but when I do go I always have such a powerful experience. I am not so much into the meditation side of it, the funky breathing and all that. I mostly go for the exercise and core strengthening. But I do really benefit from the focus and calm that it seems to bring to my body and mind and soul.
Tonight I did get to sneak away to yoga and left Hubby to deal with bedtime solo. It was a very full day with lots of fun things so I was glad to have some time to chill out and focus on me. As yoga started tonight, the instructor was talking about how there is different ways to practice yoga and tonight her approach was going to be to help us improve our flow from one pose to the next. The goal is to be able to move your body and hold the different poses while keeping your mind and soul focused on your center. It's like, your body is moving but your mind stays focused, not being distracted by surroundings or what the body is doing. This got me thinking...

So much of my life, especially this time of year, just seems to fly by. I want my life, my boys' lives, to be full of enriching and memorable experiences. We float around, from one thing to the next, trying not to lose focus of what is really true and real. But inevitably, I get distracted by this or that and get frustrated that I am behind in just about everything and that I am not getting to the things I really want to do or being the mother/wife/daughter/sister/friend/nurse/blogger/etc... that I really want to be. I get caught up in the things of life that I lose my focus and ultimately I lose my joy.

We are in Advent, a time to reflect and be still. But yet this time of year is SO busy, even more so than other times. I don't necessarily want to give up all the things that make life busy (well, maybe some of them). I just want to learn how to let my body move from place to place, thing to thing, commitment to commitment all while keeping my mind focused and still. Is that possible? Is it possible for me? It might be a cliche' phrase, but I really do need to find my center. I mean, I know the right answer is that God is my center. But learning to keep my mind and heart focused on Him while I am breaking up fights over Batman toys and driving to preschool and shopping for Christmas gifts and figuring out what my family should eat and making travel plans and maintaining blogs/relationships/commitments..... WAY easier said than done. I think my first step is to try to keep my mind quiet while my body is racing around. To not get lost in my anxious thoughts or over-planning or guilty self-accusations. Just to stay in the present and quiet my mind. I am not sure exactly how to do that, but I am going to try. If I can do it, even just a little, I feel pretty sure it will give me back my joy and a much needed sense of "Maybe I am actually not doing too bad at this motherhood thing."

Tonight's yoga was fabulous. It wasn't as much of a physical work-out as I usually like. I love being sore the next day. But I don't think I'll be sore tomorrow. Tonight's yoga was smooth, and calming. I really did feel that I could move from one pose to the next without focusing too much on my body and keeping my mind some-what still. But it took some intentionality and I think the same goes for my real life too.

I am going to use this Advent season to teach myself (and let God teach me) how to flow from one busy minute to the next without getting distracted by life around me. Life is going to be busy. There is not much I can (or want to) do about that. But something has to give so I am finding my center, I hope, and then I want to stay there.

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Budding Artist

>> Sunday, November 21, 2010

I have mentioned before that Lucas loves to color. He is getting pretty good at it, staying in the lines better and better. Maybe all of my efforts in doing crafts with him from a young age are starting to pay off. Ha!
He especially loves to color superheros and their villain counterparts. But before tonight, he was just coloring pre-printed pictures or coloring books. Tonight though, he took the initiative to draw his own superheros and then color them to his specifications. I was so impressed with his efforts, I had to take a picture and share.

He has drawn pictures of people before, but never with this much depth and detail. Usually just your average stick person. I was really impressed. My little budding artist!

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Soft Place to Fall

>> Sunday, November 14, 2010

I took the boys to the Arboretum last week, determined to get outdoors and enjoy one of the last warm days of the season. We had a fabulous, fancy-free time of running around and exploring. While in the Children's Garden, Lucas wanted to climb through this big spider-web thing (ropes put together to resemble a web, meant for kids to play on). Of course seeing his older brother do it, Caden had to get on and climb too even though he was a bit too small and uncoordinated to do it well. Caden quickly tired of it but Lucas stuck it out. He got to the highest point, somewhere near the middle, and suddenly got a bit nervous. I knew he could get down himself but he wasn't so sure. He started to get visibly afraid and asked me to come get him. Well, that was WAY easier said than done. I couldn't really reach him without climbing up myself or going under the whole structure to lift him out. I tried to talk him into climbing just a step or two further (which he could have totally done) and then he would have seen he could just climb the rest of the way down. But seeing that he was getting all worked up, I got on my hands and knees and crawled under the ropes to lift his feet up and help him take the next step over. Once he saw he could do it, he crawled all the way down and then did the whole thing, start to finish, several times more. But had I not been there to help him over the hurdle, I'm not sure how long he would have stayed at that point that he thought he couldn't cross.

I stood there watching him and was reminded of a poignant phrase a friend had recently shared with me. We were talking about motherhood and she was sharing with me the things that she prays for when she asks God to help in her interactions with her children. She continually prays that she would be a "soft place for them to fall." A soft place for them to fall. This phrase has been floating around my head ever since.

I am still very much trying to figure out what this means for me as a mother, how I can become this for my boys. But as I think about it, two things are jumping out at me. First, that they will fall. And I need to be OK with that. They need to fall. It is a healthy part of growing, both physically and emotionally and spiritually, etc... I can't stop them from having moments when gravity or the world or their first crush or their parents disappoint them. They will fall off their bikes and they will have moments of disillusionment with school and life and people they love. But my job as mother is not to prevent those moments. It is simply to be a soft place for them to fall when they do occur.
And what does it mean to be a soft place for them? This is such a visual image for me that I am having trouble putting it into words. But I think it means being open and available for them. It means creating a relationship with my sons in which they know if they are ever in need that I am here. It means holding them and letting them be mad or upset- letting them feel what they are feeling and not just smooth over that part. It means giving them tools to deal with the "fall" and the strength to get back up. Being a soft place for my boys is being that place of unconditional love where they can be exactly who they are and feel safe and cherished no matter what else is going on around them.

More practically (and most pertinent to the present), to be a soft place for them I need to put aside my own frustrations with their behavior and learn to deal in private and not in front of them. The whining of my very sensory-sensitive 4yr old drives me insane. He gets very upset when his yogurt drips on his hands or the table among lots of other things. He is a very smart boy with very specific ideas of how things should go. If we deter from that, he sometimes has a hard time. And admittedly, these quirky things about him get to me at times. But in my quest to be a "soft place" for him, I need to accommodate him as much as I can and gracefully teach him to "chill out" when I simply can't (or shouldn't) bend to all his requests.

Like I said, I am still asking God to show me the ways I can be a "soft place" for my boys. I keep trying to picture myself as a cloud that comes up around them and protects them from harm or eases their load. And so far, keeping mindful of this phrase, this prayer, is helping me be more aware of my interactions with them and the ways I am not living this way yet. My prayer is that God would help me see the times when they need me to crawl under them and give them that little boost they need to get over whatever hurdle is in their path. And that God would give me the grace and wisdom I need to be their "soft place" when they need one.

Lord, make me a soft place for them to fall.

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It's All About the Experience, Right?

>> Sunday, November 7, 2010

It was a beautiful morning, despite being cold. And actually, the only time I was really cold was walking from my car to the start line and then waiting in line for my fondue after the race. While running, I felt great! I started the race with my friend Shannon. It was her first 5K ever so I wanted to stay with her as long as I could. We ran together for about the first mile (and she was doing awesome!!) and then I kinda plugged ahead a bit. I don't know if it was because of the beautiful scenery or the slower pace or the prospect of chocolate fondue at the finish, but this was one of my favorite races ever (of the 5 I did this season). It was difficult to keep my normal pace due to the large number of people. There was a lot of run-slow down so you don't step on someone- run again- slow down-... But I didn't really mind. The slower pace felt good and made me really focus on enjoying the run and not so much on my time.

Then of course, the reason all 30,000 of us were there.... the fondue tent!! You had to eat the chocolate fast because the cold air made it get hard fast. But it was oh-so-yummy!!

And the hot chocolate was amazing! The feel of this whole race was like a big social gathering. There were some people there who were serious about the running and their time. But for the most part, it seemed that people were there for the experience of it. It was a good lesson for me in not making everything about the the end goal but learning to enjoy the journey a bit.

I did check my official time online last night and felt this twinge of disappointment in my gut. I ran about a minute slower per mile than I am used to. But again, it's about staying in the moment. And those moments of running along the lake with the sun coming up through the clouds... awesome.

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It's Gonna Be a Cold One

>> Friday, November 5, 2010

A couple months ago, I heard about this awesome run in city that boasted the "best goodie bag in town." I am a sucker for quality free stuff, although you pay a hefty entrance fee so I guess it is not really free. But any event that has the slogan "Will Run for Chocolate" is something worth attending in my book.
The Hot Chocolate 5K/15K race is one of the biggest in the city. It sold out at 30,000 runners!!! 30,000!! I guess I'm not the only one intrigued by the prospect of fondue and Ghirardelli chocolate after a good run.
The race is tomorrow morning and I am a bit nervous. Having to get down to the city and park and find my way and blah, blah, blah. I just get anxious about details like that especially when there are so many unknowns about the day.

But the one known fact that is also making me nervous is the weather. It is supposed to be right around freezing tomorrow around start time (7:40am!!!) with the temps maxing out around 40deg later in the day. Yikes! Too cold for November!! And with the wind off the lake, I'm sure it will be pretty darn cold! At least it is supposed to be sunny so maybe that will warm it up a bit. Maybe. One of the girls I was planning to run with had to bail due bronchitis and pneumonia (feel better Karrie!!). But I think I am gonna stick it out... if nothing else, for the chocolate.
We'll see how it goes.... stay tuned!

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Weight of the Moment

>> Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I don't know if I will be able to fully communicate the absolute preciousness and humor of the story I am about the relay to you. The moment was one of the most priceless and one of the funniest of my motherhood journey so far. Mostly I just feel the need to document it somewhere and share with y'all how totally awesome my boys are. :)

We have this CD of songs from the Toy Story movies. The boys love it. Me... not so much. But I give in at certain times, especially when we have a long-ish drive somewhere or there is much fighting/whining/over-all crankiness happening in the back seat. Tonight I let them listen to it as we were driving to and from this launch party in Naperville for the ToyStory 3DVD. But when we were leaving Chick-fil-A after dinner and I reluctantly turned on the CD again, Lucas suggested we instead put on our CD of "Jesus songs" (their term for worship songs). Happy to listen to something else and something soothing, I quickly obliged. Half way through This Little Light of Mine, Lucas says "Mommy, who is Satan?" Not what I was anticipating for my 7pm drive home, but I ran with it anyway.
From that question sparked one of the most awesome conversations I have ever had with Lucas. We talked about angels and what it means to serve God as our King and why we sometimes sin and heaven and the second coming of Jesus... we ran the full spectrum. Some of L's comments/questions throughout this conversation were priceless:

"So, God is kinda like Batman and Satan is the Joker."
"I only know two things about heaven: My brother Micah lives there and the streets are covered in gold. Oh, and it is somewhere up in the clouds even though I have never seen it when I have been in lots of airplanes."
"Do we have to wait until we die to get to heaven or can we get there while we are still alive?"
"How will we know when Jesus is coming back? What if we are inside and we don't see Him coming down through the clouds? Do you think we might think the trumpet music is just the tornado siren?"
"When will Jesus come back to get us?"

I assured him that the trumpets announcing Jesus' return to earth would be the most beautiful music he had ever heard and that he would know the second he heard it that Jesus was coming to take him to heaven. (Only a mid-western child would be worried he would confuse the trumpets with an emergency tornado-warning! Ha!!)
For all my not-so-proud mommy moments, I am so thankful that God gives me moments like these. Moments when I can talk to my boys about the most important things, eternal things. Moments when I feel like I am investing in their souls and not just providing for their bodies. To talk with Lucas about heaven tonight and about that moment when Christ will come back to take us home was a moment I will never forget. And to see Caden sit quietly in his seat, hanging on very word.... well, I'll just say that the weight of the moment was not lost on me. I felt it sit on my shoulders. I chose my words carefully, knowing I was shaping their views on the most crucial of truths. And yet as sure as I was that God had ordained that moment, I prayed that He would put the right words on my tongue and protect their little hearts. I have to trust that the Holy Spirit will takes those little seeds of truth and bloom them into something great in those boys. I pray it will every cell of my being.

We got out of the car and headed into the house. Walking up the front steps, Caden says "Shhh, Mommy, do you hear Jesus coming?"
Lucas replies, "Caden, that isn't Jesus. That is just Hadley (our dog!). We don't know when Jesus will come back for us, Caden. It could be tomorrow or it could be a long, long time from now like 20years. But when He does come, won't that be cool?!"

In that moment, I couldn't decide if I should laugh or cry. Even writing this, I am doing both. Their language is funny. Their hearts are priceless. Both are so, so precious.
I hope I was somewhat able to convey the events of our car ride home is a way the accurately reflects the truth. It was very cute and yet eternally significant. As I was rubbing his legs at bedtime, I told Lucas how special our earlier conversation was to me. "Thank you, Mommy, for telling me all those things about heaven and Jesus. I read things about Him in books but you have a lot of things to tell me that I need to know. I like hearing what you have to tell me. If you don't tell me, I can't be very smart about it."

If that isn't motivation, I'm not sure what else would be.
Thank you, Lord, for tonight's moment. Help me to be a wise steward of such moments in the future and of their little souls that have temporarily been entrusted to me.

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Oh, to Ride an Elephant

>> Monday, November 1, 2010

When I was in China long, long ago, I rode a camel on the Great Wall of China. Random, I know. It was super fun and totally out of the ordinary. I used to do funky, out of the ordinary things all the time. Hubby was just commenting the other day about how he has "domesticated" me. He was totally joking, but yet it is kinda true. The craziest thing I do these days is... I can't even think or how to end that sentence. That is how "un-wild" my life is.

I have this crazy dream to someday ride on an elephant. I am not talking about sitting in a safe little basket and going for a tame walk for 3-5min while the elephant is being led on a rope. I think it would be so, so fun to be one of those girls who sits on the elephant's trunk and gets lifted up to his back all as part of a big pachyderm parade. It looks so graceful and exciting. I fully acknowledge how weird this is. I have just always wanted to try it. Or if I can't do that, then I want to go on a safari somewhere and ride an elephant through the jungle. Except, I am deathly afraid of snakes so maybe I should just stick with the circus-girl act.

Hubby and I are taking the boys to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus this week so I will have a chance to watch those lucky gals twist and twirl on the backs of those elephants. Maybe I should take notes on some of their moves so I can be ready if such a job opportunity should ever be presented to me. I better keep on this diet of mine too, just in case. No fatties on the elephants.

What exotic thing would you do if you had the chance? Would you join the circus high-wire act or ride a motorcycle in that crazy cage thing? Or maybe get shot out of a cannon? That would be awesome. I think I'll add that to my list.

And local peeps: the circus will be at the Allstate Arena from Nov 4-14 and the United Center from Nov. 18-28. Go and scope out what your wacky dream job would be. :)

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Halloween Preview

>> Sunday, October 17, 2010

This last week has felt very much like fall. We returned from Florida to temps in the 60's and autumn color all around. This weekend has been right around 70degrees with clear blue skies and crisp fall air. Love it!!! We have been making applesauce and carving pumpkins and other fun fall things. Tonight I even caved and let the boys try on their Halloween costumes... SO, SO Cute!!! Well.... see for yourself:

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While Daddy's Away....

>> Friday, October 15, 2010

Mommy and the boys will play, I guess.

After a week in Florida, Hubby picked us up from the airport on Tuesday and left Wednesday morning for California for some meetings for work. He'll be home late, late Saturday night. And while I had some help with the boys in Florida, it still feels like I have been flying solo for quite a while.

When he's away, though, I strangely feel free and flexible. We have been running random errands and playing outside and getting together with some friends. I cooked last night but otherwise we have been grabbing food on the go or eating unconventionally. Hubby is not a fan of breakfast for dinner but the boys LOVE pancakes so I think I might make them pumpkin pancakes for dinner tonight to go with all the fall fun we've been having the last few days. And because Hubby goes to bed so early and often has work to do in the evenings, it has not really felt all that different in being alone at night. It is hard to do the boys' bedtime solo and I don't really like that Hubby isn't in the bed sleeping when I go upstairs. And I don't like turning off the TV and all the lights to get ready for bed. I am not usually worried about someone breaking in but in that moment when I go upstairs and lay down in my empty bed, I suddenly start to feel a bit afraid of what I would do if there was an intruder or something. I love my pup, but unless the burglar was violently allergic to barking and licking, I'm not sure he would actually protect me from anyone. Although he may alert me.... anyway.

I took the boys on a 2+hour walk yesterday afternoon since we didn't really have anywhere to be and no real reason to stay inside. We played in the leaves and collected sticks and found a worm and pretended to be fighting the aliens who were following us. We got home around 5:30 and ate dinner and read stories and then put the boys in bed. It was a fabulous, laid back evening. Not that Hubby is up-tight or demanding in anyway. There is just something about flying solo that makes me feel free to bend the "rules" a bit.

I will certainly be glad to have Hubby home. I am kinda used to having him around. :) And it feels like I have been without him for too long. I don't know how military wives or people whose hubbys travel a lot do it. I guess you just adjust and find what works for you. I, thankfully, just have 2more days. We'll make the most of it!!

My precious Lucas

Playing in the leaves

My sweet, crazy Caden
(after seeing these pics, I went and got them both haircuts today! HA!!)

my view of a beautiful fall sunset from my kitchen window- just too pretty not to share

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Florida Fun

>> Monday, October 11, 2010

After a week in Florida, we leave tomorrow to go back home. The weather has been absolutely perfect... well, maybe a little hot. But fabulous none-the-less! We have had a good mix of low-key days and on-the-go fun. There has been some drama with my family... there usually is... but I still love them and love being here.

Being at the beach helps me think. It restores my soul. Something about feeling the sand in my toes and hearing the roar of the waves brings calmness to me. It definitely helps wipe away my worry and anxiety and feelings of guilt or failure. Sitting in the sand, I am whole and content and renewed with strength. When I am on the beach and seeing the boys run laughing through the water, I forget my fears of not living up to others expectations of me. To watch Lucas and Caden play on the beach brings me more joy than I can comprehend. Even Caden's epic meltdown didn't ruffle me (I wouldn't let him dump the bucket with the shells I had collected and he lost his mind!)... well, didn't ruffle me TOO much.

As much as I love the beach, I am ready to come home too. I miss Hubby and need a mental break from some of the drama. If I could stay on the beach the whole time, it might be different. Someday maybe. If anyone has a beach house or a million dollars they want to give me, I wouldn't refuse. :)

Here is a little snapshot of some of the fun we have been having. Good thing cameras don't preserve the drama. These are the things I prefer to remember anyway.
We went to a small carnival down on Destin beach. The boys rode some little rides and then my dad and I and the boys went up in the Ferris Wheel. I loved being up at the top and seeing the beach stretch out in each direction. Very cool.

Lucas drove the JetSki by himself! He loved it! One time, he forgot to gently press the throttle and we got up to about 30mph...which scared us both. Ha!! But after that, he begged me to go again, and again. And this was Caden's first ever ride on the JetSki. He was an immediate fan, as you could have probably guessed.

We visited this local butterfly house, who just happened to be having their annual MonarchMadness event where they release some of their butterflies and have a huge party to celebrate it. The boys both got to hold and then release a butterfly which was super cool. We also happened to be in the right place at the right time: just as we were standing at the cage watching some caterpillars, one of them broke open and formed his chrysalis. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. We had a great time!

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