Friday, June 21

Yes week

A few years ago, a box arrived from my mom with goodies for the kids. Inside, Peyton found a treasure: the Yes Day book. 

He totally grasped the concept the minute we started reading it, and quickly asked when he could have a "Yes Day." A day when he could ask to do anything and we would agree. When he could come up with something crazy, like ice cream for breakfast or a frog hunt in your PJs at night.

That's kinda been my life since Sunday. A Yes Week, if you will. 


Scott and I are incredibly blessed with brave grandparents willing to assume responsibility of our children for an entire week. I like to call this Marriage Saving week. We pack an entire year's worth of date nights into 6 or 7 days. Completely uninterrupted. Less constrained by the clock. We're down two schedules to maintain, which means more time for each other. 

This year, the trip's timing was especially critical as it came after a difficult spring for Scott and I. 

Since January, there were whole weeks where we barely grunted hi and good night after long days. Two nights a week, he was at volleyball practice from 6:30 pm to 10 pm. One or two weekends a month, he left for an overnight tournament. During track season he was only home 1 night a week, and often gone before the kids woke in the morning. I don't want to minimize the difficulties some of you face with spouses traveling for many, many more overnights; I know that is hard. But I couldn't handle much more than this and still be a pleasant wife. This I know about me.

So we caught up this week. At the pool, at the deck of a restaurant, on a lake cruise. We had a lazy dinner on the patio. We enjoyed awesome friend time - We biked to Sun Prairie's finer establishments and stayed out a little too late and laughed a little too much. We danced and ate way too much pizza. Because we needed to. 

We also enjoyed some time alone or with just the girls/just the guys. A well-chosen wine and recipe club date gave me time to catch up with a some of my favorite ladies. And it has helped that the weather has been phenomenal. Of course, I carved in some beach time.

I have moments where I feel indulgent -- with what I am eating, drinking, doing, spending.... But this is one week where saying yes feels like a necessary luxury. Very soon, life will be normal again, and while that's a good thing, it can also be a big thing. But because I stepped off the hamster wheel for awhile ... because I am refreshed ... I can jump into a life of epic adventure with a new outlook.

And lest you think the kids are getting short-changed on their parent time, let me assure you they are enjoying every minute. For the kids, this is a solid week of attention and adventure. For two children who were thrilled to wave good-bye to school a couple of weeks ago, this was a nice entry to summer.

At least I think it is. They are still not home yet. So I'm going to go enjoy just a little longer.


Wednesday, June 12

Settling in

The sun has been playing hide and seek the past two days, but the heat is there. Real legit heat. I didn’t think it was arriving in Wisconsin this year, so I’m happy.

June has taken off like a rocket  ... enjoyed this already in the first 11 days:


I am in full swing “epic” mode right now as I adjust to a new work schedule, new kids-at-home schedule, plan trips, sneak away for some fun, and keep track of all the balls swinging in my direction right now. I guess you can say we are settling into the newness of it all.

I’m not the best at transition. I love a good change-up as much as the next gal, but you’ll see me freak out a few times along the way as I attempt to regain control of life. Interesting, then, that I’ve read a ton of material this week pointing me back to this theme: stop over-planning.

I mean, everywhere I look this theme reappears.

Oh boy, oh boy. How the heck do I even apply that to my life right now? Because when you live on a budget, you need to think ahead. When you have more than 1 schedule to coordinate, you have to think ahead. If you want to carve out me-time or date-time, you have to plan.

But something tells me God wants me to take step back. Starting with less on the plate. That means less time in my head and more time listening. More time savoring. Letting balls drop, and learning finally about what I can handle. Stop trying to solve problems that aren't mine to solve.

I know -- I just wrote about this, but I needed to remember again. 

I have a few steps to take - more on the blog about these soon. In the meantime, I hope you find your own fantastic moments to savor this week.

Friday, June 7


This isn't the blog post I had planned for today.

I had something heavier written that I've modified many times over the past couple of days about my daughter, about me, about school, about struggles, tears, relationships, comparisons, and more. Like I said, it's heavy. And I'll post it soon, but not today.

Because today the sun came out.

Today summer break officially commenced.

Today I am preparing for celebrations and promise and new beginnings.

Scott and I are planning more time with this one:

And this one:

And I'm grateful that tough times are never tough for long -- that with each season or transition, comes something new and wonderful. Even if it's preceded by something terrible. Because this is how we grow.

Seeds of thankfulness being planted all over this weekend.

Let's do this summer right, shall we?

Monday, June 3

Building margin

"To find joy in this day, you must live within its boundaries. I knew what I was doing when I divided time into twenty-four-hour segments. I understand human frailty, and I know you can bear the weight of only one day at a time. Do not worry about tomorrow or get stuck in the past. There is abundant Life in My Presence today." - Sarah Young, "Jesus Calling"

Why-oh-why do I attempt to exceed the boundaries of a full 24 hours - either with worry or with an insane number of tasks?

On my worst days, when 24 hours flies by like 5, I will actually physically run from one activity to the next ... and not for exercise. It's embarrassing, but it happens because I wedged one too many stops in and every second counts. Some days I get so wrapped up in my to-do list that I forget to brush my teeth. Seriously - ugh.

At our house, we go months without buying salt for the water softener. I can't handle store returns; they will sit in my car for weeks and weeks before I actually make it to the store.

I've run out of gas on the road twice in the past year. Too busy or too distracted to stop.

I've noticed with scary clarity that I can't even stay at an hour-long soccer practice because I have to fill those minutes with a run, or an errand, or some other crazy task that couldn't get done elsewhere.

So I've decided to do at home what I've been doing well at work for a couple of years: Build margin.

morning coffee outside. making margin.

I never did like my over-promise/under-deliver tendency at work in my earlier years. Not that being ambitious is a bad thing, but I couldn't get the equation right. Over time, I started delivering projects later than promised. I was also overworked on the home front and knew I needed to change, so I dropped my hours at work and became much more real about what I could handle on the job.

Sadly, this didn't transfer to my home life. Not a surprise, really. Did you know that as kids grow older they also grow busier? I didn't really understand that until it was too late.

Did you also know that once you get on a hamster wheel it is difficult to get off? I recently learned I have to be honest with myself about what I can handle.

Like ...

I don't need to say yes to everything.
It's true what they say about volunteering - that 90% of the work falls to 10% of the people, or something like that. I have friends who are amazing volunteers, and who I respect for their efforts. But for me, it's not good to throw my hat in the ring for every opportunity. I do best with short-term projects because I have a short-term attention span. That also frees me to be available when I am needed most. Which is why I love doing the Spirit of Giving program at Christmas and only committing to certain school events and taking mission trips.

I have to do what I was made to do.
My mama skills aren't the same as another mama's skills. The more I compare myself to another parent, the worst I am going to be at the job I was given to do. Does that make sense? I am not good at this one yet. But I am getting there. Listen, I am not the "lay-down-with-me mama." I can do that for about 2 minutes before I need to move again. But I am the "do-mama." Want to play ball? I am in. Plant some flowers? Let's go. I take absurd adventures, even if it means spending a couple of hours geocaching when the kids are all like, "why?! what are we doing?" or finding a festival to attend or going strawberry-picking or taking tired kids to the Farmer's Market or leaving them altogether for some much-needed friend time. I do. And even if it doesn't always make sense, it makes me a happier parent. I know being a "doer" seems to contradict the whole "build margin" thing, but this point is more about doing what comes naturally to you and not stressing over the things that don't.

I can redirect when I am off the right path.
I bought a family devotional book awhile ago that is still sitting on my shelf, the spine waiting to be cracked open for the first time. I do this a lot - good intentions that go nowhere. It's that whole hamster wheel thing again. It's hard to jump off because you know it's going to hurt. Something is going to fall through the cracks if you don't stay in motion. But you can't discover anything new unless you leap. If I do what I have always done, I will get the same results. Sometimes my priorities need to be re-ordered. Sometimes "no thanks" is the right answer to give, even if you are missing out.

Maybe the hardest lesson for me is the knowledge that there's no margin without sacrifice. But I believe sacrifice usually means you give up something small for something huge.

Like maybe getting your 24 hours back.