Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Returning to Sarah

Something happens when you make a life change. Whether that be a change in career, a change of venue, marriage, kids, you name it, something happens to you. Hopefully it's a positive something, if not you may need to rethink your plan.

However, over the past few weeks I have come to realize that I may have morphed a little too far into something I hadn't planned on being...That Mom. You know, the one that seems to always turn the conversation, no matter the topic, back to her kids. I swore up and down when the decision was made we'd start a family that I wouldn't be That Mom. I promised myself I would show just as much interest in my friends lives and goings on and that things wouldn't change that much. Oh and that I would never give my kids a bath each and every night...that lasted all of a week after getting home from the hospital... See? There I go again!

Alright, I'm picking fun at myself some. I am actually pretty good at recognizing when I have a fault and working to correct it. It's taken me more time than I'd like to admit to have earned that trait, and I can definitely attribute it to my faith in God, but I feel confident I am on the way to perfecting it.

Last night I spent a fantastic evening out with a Mommy friend, Leslie, at a fabulous wine bar in Mountain Brook. We sat and sipped wine and talked, about everything, for nearly 5 hours (ok, those of you that know me well can stop - I was NOT the only one talking:)) But it was the most fantastic 5 hours I have spent in a long time that didn't involve my husband or kids and I needed the chick time! Leslie and I "see" each other nearly every day when we drop our kids at daycare, but we rarely get the chance for more than a 5 minute coversation. When we do, we are both amazed at how similar yet different our lives are, but how we come to the same conclusions regardless.

It's after last night that I realized it's this Sarah that I'd been missing. Not that I need a night out with wine and women to find her, but it gave me a span of time when I didn't need to have my mind wrapped around 15 different things going on at once. I could simply enjoy the taste of the South African pinotage, the sound of the acoustic guitar, the flickering of the candles and concentrate 100% on the conversation in front of me (without ears pricked up for the backround noise).

I had a similar experience back in the fall when I took a one day (not even an overnight) business trip to Pittsburgh to call on Dick's Sporting Goods. It had been over a year since the last time I had been on a flight without a child in my arms - and nearly 3 years since I'd flown without being pregnant (remember, I only had 5 months of that status between January 2006 and November 2007!) And it wasn't so much that I missed all the travel, but I realized I still had that hungry, go get 'em, Sheela, business woman within me that could command a meeting and sound intelligent and respected for my insight on the subject at hand.

Now, I'm not ditching my kids and getting on the road, or starting some monthly or weekly "women only" outings. I love my boys and just like everyone that has kids, I love talking about them and sharing their exciting moments. But I feel pretty sure I'm going to try and make a conscious effort to do a little more blogging on life in general, thoughts wandering in my head, snippets of what I find interesting and insightful, instead of a constant report on what the kids are doing, eating and saying.

So those of you that love the kid updates, they'll still be here, there just might be a little more fodder as well.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Heard Around the House

Once upon a time it was "Mommy help?"

Shortly thereafter, it became "Mommy do it?" (which was short lived because Mommy usually had more kid than hands around the house to "do it", whatever "it" was)

So eventually it turned to "Jack do it?" the result of which sometimes reverted back to "Mommy help?" or a very proud "I did it!"

These are the excited rantings of a 2 1/2 year old who has discovered that it is way more fun to try to do just about everything these days. Completely normal development stage. And although I do not toot my horn very often, I must say, I am slightly amazed at the level of patience even I've shown in allowing Jack to "do it".

So, some of the "I did it tasks"....

  • taking off our pants and socks completely before bath

  • zipping up our jacket (Mommy starts, Jack finishes)

  • taking off our jacket

  • spooning vegetables onto plates for dinner

  • pumping soap out of the dispenser to wash hands

  • opening the cereal boxes in the morning to help pour into bowls for the ride to school

And it's this last one that leads me to share this pic of the weekend. It is what happens when taking the cereal boxes out of the pantry, opening and handing them to Mommy to pour, moves to "Jack do it" (when Mommy is in with Duke changing a diaper). Thank goodness the box of Golden Grahams was only 1/8th full or we'd still be crunching crumbs!

Amazing how that patience thing grows as they do.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Days in the Life of Duke

I'm on a video run.

Duke is the funniest kid. I can't really describe to anyone how different he and Jack are, but they are, like night and day in certain ways.

Jack takes the entire trip to school to eat his cereal (dry of course, we are in the car after all!), taking each piece one by one. Duke makes it about a mile before his handful method has put 1/2 of it in his mouth and 1/2 of it on the floor of my car.

Jack will (and always has) sit still and read a book with anyone. I remember him bringing us books to read to him at even 14 and 15 months old. Duke lasts about 20 seconds into it and then he's pulling at the pages, squirming to get down.

Jack is a snuggler. When he was a baby we would rock for 20 minutes before bed, (and sometimes in the middle of the night if he woke up crying, until Duke came around!) And even to this day, every morning when he wakes up, every night when he goes to bed and before and after naps on the weekends, it's "snuggle with Mommy?" - and off we go in the chair for a few minutes of lovey time. I know, melts me! Duke, not so much into the snuggling thing (which completely bums me out!) After about 3 minutes in the chair he's squirming to get put into bed or down on the floor to play. (He does however do the cutest thing when you ask him for some "lovin'", he just lays his head to the side on my shoulder! - again, melts me!)

However, not to be outshadowed by his big brothers cuteness, Duke is our dancer. Put music on and he's moving to the beat. Bouncing up and down, shaking his fists like he's doing the Wiggles "shimmy shake".

So, enough said, I'm posting a video here of his Elvis impersonation - I laugh every time I see it. Done to the Wiggles of course, Dr. Knickerbocker - one of Jack's favorites and a nightly staple while dinner is being prepared. Following it is a quick clip of how Duke has decided is the only way to go down the slide. His father was outside with him the first time he decided to take the plunge, at least I think Duke came up with this method (vs. his father showing him how), guess I will never know.

Jack may be my snuggle bunny, but Duke makes my heart smile just by being in the room!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sweet Caroline and her backup dancers

I've been meaning to post this video for over a month. Many of you have asked how the trip to Wisconsin at Christmas was with all the kids together. In my opinion, this video visually describes the pace.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What Goes Around Comes Around

Reference: last week's post about tub time when Daddy's not home.
Update: Same situation with different twist
Daddy's doing bath
Both kids are in the tub when it happens
Mommy is 45 minutes away at her girlfriend's for a night out.
When the phone call came, all I could do was say,
"The bleach is under the sink, have a nice night."

Monday, February 2, 2009

From Here to There

I know I've mentioned to several of you about the message series we are in the midst of at Church of the Highlands, "From Here to There". I think just about every church starts of the begining of the year with a theme centered around change - changing habits, changing perspective, making changes, etc. What better time of year other than January can you reach out to people when they are bound to be making resolutions for the rest of the year.

What I find intriguing about this series is that rather than focusing on resolutions (which for me are exactly the same as the previous year because I never actually get them accomplished), Pastor Chris is focusing on the journey. I know where I want to go, but I never seem able to focus on how exactly to get there.

Apparently I am not the only one that finds this series inspiring, because we are now maxed out in two of the three Sunday a.m. services, including the overflow auditorium upstairs and therefore are adding a fourth, at 1pm in addition to the Sunday 6pm service. And that's just our main campus! It's so wonderful to see each Sunday the lives that are changed through these messages and it makes me want to reach out and share with others what we are experiencing. Of course, for those of you that are local and are reading this, PLEASE, by all means, come to one of our services! This experience at Church of the Highlands began for Cory and I seven years ago - just a year after the church opened with just 300 members, and now we are 11,000+ strong, with 4 (I think: Grants Mill, Riverchase, Tuscaloosa and Auburn) campuses and I can't count how many services. Plus there are over 700 weekly small groups - lunch groups, moms groups, mens groups, sports groups, work groups, outreach, etc. that you can join at any time to get connected. It's nothing short of God's miracle on earth that so many have found a relationship with Him through this amazing church and the people that have made it there home.

Back to the message series...each of them have spoken to me in one way or another, but today's really hit at a time I needed to hear it. (For some reason, this happens quite often, hmmmm....)

The theme verse to this series is Proverbs 29: 18 "Where there is no vision, the people perish..." and with it is this thought:

Everyone ends up somewhere.
Few people end up somewhere on purpose.
Week 1 focused on this thought, and a visiting pastor, Craig Groeschel, from Oklahoma City, challenged everyone to uncover our core values.

Week 2 moved to spiritual goals and understanding how to improve our relationship with God. Pointing out everyone is at some stage of hot, cold or lukewarm and the danger of these is the lukewarm - those that know God, but are drifting from that focus and rather than having a consistent relationship with Him; my friend, my father, my everyday buddy. And this is one area I have found I firmly agree with and for me I pray regularly that anyone in my life that finds themself in this place be moved by my example to go the next step. Many believe in God, but have no actual tangible relationship with Him - without the relationship, I'm sorry to put it bluntly, you do not know God. There is no deadline you have to meet to change that, but I encourage anyone that is in this place, please, make it a priority to make God an everyday part of your life, talk to Him, ask Him for help, thank Him for what he means to you and does for you, make Him a part of your everyday!

Week 3 I missed due to a sick child, BUT, there's always the internet video to watch - which I plan to do this week now that things are considerably less hectic. The theme - Work Life! I can't wait to see it as this is an area that creates constant stress not just for me, but others I work with that I feel close to and want to help them grow in. And, of course, muddy waters run deep, with Cory and I both working for the same company, work life is very intermingled in our home life.

Week 4 Financial Life was the focus last week, and all I will say on this was Cory and I spent the better part of this week revisiting our budgets and accounts and he has already met with the accountant on our 2008 taxes and I met with our financial advisor on moving some of our funds around and adding to our retirement and college savings plans. So, enough said, we were moved by it!

Today's message wasn't available to link to this blog at the time I posted it, but I encourage everyone that reads this blog entry to listen this week. The message was on Relationships and defining goals in this area.

You can listen and watch as soon as it's posted, sometime surely by tomorrow, and I hope you do, and although for Cory and I, it's the marriage relationship that we constantly need freshening and a reminder to focus on, really all relationships need to nurtured in some way. Here are four preconditions we discussed that you need to do before you can even consider getting to where you want to be in your relationships:

Am I willing to change?
Am I willing to put others first?
Am I willling to let go of the past?
Am I willing to lvoe as Jesus did?

I hope that if you are struggling with a relationship in your life, that you will give this message a listen and see if it moves you to conversation with the person you want to improve your relationship with. Cory and I talked more productively on the way home from church today than we have in a month and it was much needed. We are looking forward to continuing this work in the week ahead!
God Bless!