Sunday, June 29, 2014

Spring and Summer Fun So far...

So sometime, luckily after the wedding but in the midst of getting our life organized in this new home, I lost the battery charger for my good camera.  These days my phone camera is pretty much as good as the camera although the lens leaves something to be desired.  Plus, I have not mastered putting my phone pictures anywhere but on my phone and have no organization for said pictures.  Then, being the rocket scientist that I am, I realized that I could plug my phone into my computer the same way I plug my camera in and download them into the same program I keep camera pictures and voila have my pictures accessible and organized once again.  Prior to this great revelation I had been emailing one or two of them to myself at a time so that I could then download them onto my computer from the email and then upload them to my blog.  I am sure there is an even easier way to do it, picsa for instance, but lets not get too carried away.

So with my newfound tech in place I present to you the last couple months in pictures:

Mother's Day.  I did basically have to torture and bribe her to pose for this picture.  I felt so special.  We went out to sushi with my family.  My brother planned it as this spring was drastically different from last fall.  I went from having too much free time and needing a job to being so busy I could barely keep up.  This was one of only a few days off for about 2 months and really I probably sent and email, text or answered a work related call on this day too.  That seems to be how it went this spring.  As my sales begin to close this month my bank account is thanking me for the effort.

Isabelle and I have begun going to the same hair stylist.  It is fun to share this task with her.  And I think our stylist Babbette is appreciative too.  I normally just trim my bangs at home between cuts even though she always tells me to come in for a free trim.  Isabelle, however, forgets nothing and at the appropriate time started harassing me to get in for the trim.  I will be looking better going forward with her input.

Since I did not jump up to photograph the ducks walking through the courtyard a few weeks ago, this mother goose and her children decided to come see me!  Walked right up to the window hissed through the screen door and, of course, pooped before walking away.  Very entertaining.

Our outdoor pool opened the end of May and although a little chilly for my involvement, Isabelle was excited to try it out.

We had one of those, "what should we do today?" mornings where we suddenly decided to drive up to Duluth for the day.  Our long winter and missing spring meant there was still ice on Lake Superior but that didn't stop Isabelle from wading in the lake.  She said it felt like needles pricking her legs.  We didn't let her stay in too long.  Only in Minnesota does it make sense to be wearing a tank top while looking at a lake covered in ice.  And, yes, I worked on this day from Duluth too.  Negotiated the sale of a house.  It may be busy but I love my job.  The great integration of work and family that I need.

We got a plant from a friend.  And it keeps doing this.  Then I give it water and it perks up and then it does this again.  It is like a needy child.  You feed it and then it wants more.  I don't know how many more times I can revive the thing.  Geez. 

End of school year.  Isabelle did a report on Jane Goodall.

So we have 2 storage locations for all our stuff.  Stuff that we might need again someday but can't fit in our home now, stuff that we don't need ever again, stuff that belongs to someone who does not live with us or in this state anymore, stuff that we will never need again but are emotionally attached to.  We did bring a bunch of stuff to a garage sale at my parents house a few weeks ago and have cleared out quite a bit of room in the storage space we have near our home.  However, the second space is about an hour from our home and it is packed tight.  It mainly contains items from our former garage.  We do need to sell, give away or throw away many things in there but it becomes a little overwhelming when you view it.  The pictures do not even begin to translate how full it is or how masterfully my husband can pack a storage space.

Picture one is after John has taken out a riding lawn mower, grill, car ramps, ladder and a few other misc things.  Imagine all that in the space he is standing in. 

He hung the wicker settee and bikes and anything else hangable from the ceiling. 

All packed back in less whatever it was we went to get. 

We went out to Minnehaha falls to see it raging.  The river was overflowing and this was before all the flooding rains we have had.  My cousin's band, "The May North" was playing at the bandstand.  He plays the upright Bass which a few weeks before this Isabelle randomly announced she wanted to play in band.  Not exactly sure how that will work but it is nice to know there is someone who can give her a few pointers in the family.

For unknown reasons Isabelle decided to spread a chocolate candy bar around her lips like lipstick.  I think this is that merging of the little girl and the pre-teen into one.  Still plays with food and makes a mess but now does it in a fashionable way.  I found out recently that Isabelle also set up her own instagram account so she could post these kind of pictures for her friends.  I think she knows more about internet safety than I do so turns out I had nothing to worry about.  I set up my own account too so I could monitor her but have yet to really understand how to properly use it.  However, I got into facebook for Jake so I will master Insta for Izzy.  Eventually.  Probably.

Finally school is out and Izzy is headed to a week of camp at Trout Lake Camp.  We, of course, stop for our coffee/sugar buzz on the way out of town.

Moments after we get on the road Izzy bites down on something and finally gets a tooth that had been loose for months to a point it needed to come out.  The new tooth was fully in behind it so it has become hard to wiggle very far.  She ended up becoming a bit of a moody teen as she wiggled and we pulled on the tooth the entire drive up there without success.  We got there a couple hours early and stopped for lunch at Moonlight Bay.  The weather was great, view of the lake and she sat like this.

But we are about to drop of moody for a week so we look like this!

More moody.

And then after we had gotten Moody checked in and her bed set up we walked over to sit on a bench by the lake and look at the tooth again.  FINALLY IT CAME OUT.  And it was like we flipped a switch and moody turned into enthusiastic and charming Isabelle who was very ready to be rid of her parents and bond with all her new friends.

She scored a spot in the brand new cabins they built this year.

So John and I walked around the camp alone while he reveled in the memories of his youth.

And then we were two people with no children for an entire week!  And we looked like this!  We didn't do too much while she was gone, we both had to work, but it was fun to be together and just worry about ourselves for a week.  

We picked up our happy, enthusiastic and hoarse voiced girl from camp the following week.  She had enough energy to wander through Nisswa, pose with Babe the Blue Ox and eat lunch with us before we drove back home to reality. 

And to think we are only a month into summer break.  So many more adventures await.

This week John starts his new job.  This was one of the main goals of the summer, maybe the only goal of the summer.  Get John and job and settle into the routine of it before he resumes classes in the fall.  I love it when things come together.  This seems to be a year where things are coming together for us job wise.  It seems like we have been in weird limbo land with work for several years.  Even before John started school.  So it feels good to finally see stability coming to this area of our lives.

On the same day we picked Izzy up from camp another member of our family was having a special event in his life.  In an effort to teach me to be the parent of someone in military intelligence he sends me lots of "parent pro tip" texts whenever I say too much publically.  So I am trying something new today and will tell you about him Mad Lib Style.

My_______________(family member) celebrated his_____________(number)th Birthday.  He started studying __________________________(language) last week so he can become_____________________________(occupation).  He is living in ______________________(city and state). I have been tracking the weather for the last ____________(number) months and I can tell you that it is always _____________(number) and _________________(weather condition)  All. Year. Long. apparently.  Which sounds fun in January but is getting boring at this point.

Summer is my secondary time of year to do long term planning and as my work settles into a routine I am starting to get ideas and plans in my head.  One thing I have already decided, in the fall I am going to stop using this blog.  Don't worry. I hope to continue to have a lot to say going forward but I started this blog as a homemaker with 2 kids at home and now i am a working woman with 1 kid at home.  I started a blog a couple years ago called "From Homemaker to Working Mom" at and am finding that most of what I have to say applies over there.  Also, I am starting to get a little bit of a following and want to concentrate my efforts more there.  So go ahead and check that blog out, save the link or sign up for emails (although so far that feature doesn't seem to be working, if you know anything about wordpress blogs and want to help me fix that problem please contact me).  Also, I have a facebook page for that blog which I pretty much only post blog posts on but hope to actually put some interesting content on this fall as well.  That part is still in the planning but the using that blog exclusively is pretty much a done decision.  I will be reminding you throughout the summer so you can start planning to move with me too.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Parenting the Heart

I have been thinking about my girl this weekend.

This sweet girl who we brought home from the hospital over 9 years ago.

9 years old is an interesting age.  I didn't quite get the "tween" thing with Jake he seemed to just go from kid to teenager over night.  Or at least his "tween" years only lasted a year or so.  Isabelle on the other hand is very much defining the stage for me.  She is so very much between.  And I think we are both, her and I, torn between wanting to keep her a little girl and wanting to rush into the teen years.  My girl who loves to shop, is concerned with getting her hair just right, loves pop music, and high heels yet still sleeps with a blanket, loves her dolls, disney movies and snuggling with mom in the mornings.  She isn't a teenager but she isn't totally a little girl anymore.  It is a fascinating age.

I am also noticing another difference between her and Jake.  Communication. While Jake seemed to carry on a running dialogue of every thought that came into his head at this age, Isabelle tends to be more introspective.  She doesn't always tell us what she is thinking but every once in a while she says something that tells us she is busy processing information.  And I have to laugh because when Jake was little I thought he was so much like me because his running commentary was a lot like what I was thinking.  However, like Isabelle, I know I kept it all to myself when I was little.  Figured it out myself.  I didn't appreciate how frustrating that must have been for my parents. My parents were great about leaving me to my thoughts.  Will I be able to do the same?  Can I communicate just the right amount of information so that as she processes she comes to the correct conclusion without nagging her?  I am going to be honest right now...I am not sure I can.  My parents had other children who did share their every thought to distract them from my silence.  Maybe this is why God sent me back to work at this stage, so I wouldn't hover over my girl as she processes and figures out life.

We figure so much out during the tween and teen years of our life.  And while my little girl never wants to talk about serious topics for more than 2 seconds, the half of her that is turning into a teenager is starting to listen.  She still doesn't ask questions but that fact that she is listening makes me think I am on the right track.

I have so many fears for my children, there are so many unknowns in life.  And our society is teaching a way of thinking and viewing our world that is so different than what God teaches, so far from Truth.  It is easy to want to toss them in a protective bubble and not let any of those crazy outside influences touch them.  And I am not here to criticize parents who attempt to do so.  However, eventually they have to live in the world and I am going to prepare my daughter to navigate it rather than run from it.  And that means she is exposed to things I would sort of rather she not know at this age.  And in this day and age of computers and social media, where she understands how they work better than we do, I just can't keep up with what she is exposed to.  It was just starting when Jake was a teenager, they came one at a time and we could add one at a time to our life and keep up, now it feels more like a flood gate has opened and I don't know where to look or what to hold back first.  Rather than spending parenting stopping the bad influences from coming her way, I am realizing I need to spend my parenting time teaching her discernment, to know what the bad things are and why she should turn from them when she sees them, to identify problems and deal with them.

Her heart.  This was my entire focus parenting round 1.  Jake's heart.  If his heart is sensitive to God and His will, then his choices will reflect that and I don't have to protect him from the world.  Isabelle may approach things different and I will have to speak to her heart differently but, ultimately it is still her heart I am parenting.  Directing her to God the Father for answers and love, so much more than I can ever give her.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Simple Prayers, Simple Theology

The other day I heard, I think on the radio, someone say something like, "you can tell a persons theology by their prayers."  This quote has bugged me every since I heard it.  I am sure the person was well meaning and in context it probably made a lot of sense but it felt a little belittling to me.  You see, I don't do fancy prayers.  I barely pray out loud in groups.  I love to pray with groups, I think it is powerful, but I am not one of those pray out loud people.  I feel too self conscious I suppose or confused, or frankly, I worry that what I am going to say will be slightly off topic or theologically confused.  So when I do stick my neck out to pray in a group, which I have had to learn to do as I have been in leadership positions at our church, I keep it pretty short and simple.  I stick closely to the point.

When I am home alone my prayers are not short and simple.  Just like I write, I ramble when I am with God.  And since I often write out prayers you can imagine how they go.

I didn't go to bible school, I haven't taken a bunch of theology courses.  I don't even really like to read theology books.  One of my spiritual gifts is faith.  I believe Jesus Christ is the son of God.  I believe he died and was raised from the dead.  I believe he was tempted but never sinned.  I believe he did this all for me. I believe that the bible is true.  I believe that all the details big and small that fall between are just that, details.  And I am just not that detail oriented.  I really don't care if you baptize your baby or wait until they can profess faith.  I don't know how deciding if I am pre or post trib will change any aspect of how I live my life.  And I don't appreciate the pressure of worrying that the way I pray in a group will define the depth and truth of my faith.

My prayer style started when I was in 3rd or 4th grade and our Sunday School teacher was talking to us about prayer.  She said to talk to God like he was a friend.  It totally changed my relationship with God.  Prior to that my prayers were like reading off a check list. "Dear God, I pray for..."  But she taught me I could just talk to God, tell him about my day, ask him questions, be casual and friendly. "Hey God, What up?"  And although I have come to understand my place in this relationship better and develop more of a respect for him and his authority in my life as I have gotten older, those casual conversations with a friend are still what work best for me. When I am talking to friends I don't speak in Old English, I don't generally quote scripture or any other written work, I don't follow any sort of formal agenda.  I just share what is on my mind.  Relationships are two way streets so I am aware of what he wants and needs from me and aim to give it to him because that is part of talking to a friend and being in a relationship.

So maybe my prayers do reflect my theology.  A very simple and straight forward belief.  Just know that my theology does not come from a lack of depth, or thought on the topic but from a desire to focus more on knowing God and  a total disinterest in details.  I figure if I start too far down the wrong path, my good friend Jesus will not be afraid to hip check me back over to the right road.  Never has been before.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

What I am thinking about these days

A few friends have asked about why I haven't written much lately.  I don't really have a good answer to that but I think I can ramble on about the topic for a few minutes and hopefully when I do start writing worthwhile thoughts again someone will still be waiting to read them.

I am busy.  Now, I think I have written a post on how much I hate the word "busy".  And while my general reasoning behind my dislike of the word remains, I have a new appreciation for the phrase "I'm busy" now that I am working 2 jobs and John is in school and Isabelle is growing up.  Some days my life doesn't feel like my own anymore, I just go from responsibility to responsibility to crash.  And then back at it the next day.

I like it.  Although it is a very full schedule right now and I do occasionally crash, I am happy.  When I was in high school I always imagined I would have a career, be busy doing things, meeting people, making deals happen.  I love my jobs. Even when they are hard or frustrating. Even when they take time away from my home, family and friends.  And I have to be honest, I have never had a job like that before.  It is exciting.

I am disorganized.  Now that I am settling into my schedule and that schedule is constantly changing and not consistent every week or even every day, I am starting to see where things and people could fall through the cracks if I am not paying attention.  I used to be organized.  Used to have lists of things to do, check them off. Keep a schedule.  I have read so many books on organization you would think I must be an expert.  And if you ask me questions about organization and time management you still might think I am.  But my busy schedule sort of snuck up on me this past year and I forgot to create systems and schedules to stay on top of it.  So this is what I am thinking about these days.

My house is a mess and I am OK with it.  My house still might be cleaner than some, I require a level of order in my life.  But I don't worry about the undone laundry, the dirty kitchen or the need for vacuuming anymore.  I don't panic when the house is a mess and I know I will be working too much to clean for a few days.  Partly because I have help, John has really stepped up, and partly because my priorities are changing.

I am hanging with my family more. This summer John is not taking classes, although he is going to get a job.  And our plan is to just be together during our mutual free time.  We have decided to get in shape together this summer, winter was a little hard on our bodies.  Family bike rides and hikes are on the agenda for the summer.  Fun and free.

I am learning and growing.  I hope.  I think.  I just feel like God is teaching me things in this season.  Nothing concrete, more like I am in the middle of some growth that I can't quite define yet.  Last year was hard, painful.  This year has been a year of healing, adjusting and experiencing joy that can only be found when we put our hope, our trust, our life in the Lord's hands.

I love condo living.  Selling our house last year and making this HUGE downsize was very scary last summer.  There was so much unknown about this choice.  And giving up my house,  MY HOUSE.  The one we had spent 11 years loving, remodeling, raising children in, celebrating in.  And then we moved to a condo, a tiny condo where having one couple over maxes out our space.  But we love it.  I refer to it as our cocoon.  It is the safe place to be together as a family after we all have been out in the world.  We love the pool, the exercise room.  John and I have gone up and played 9 ball on the pool table a few times, something we did a lot when we were dating but haven't played since I can't even remember when.  We are not good but we have fun being together and laughing at all our lucky shots.  I am daily amazed at how much less stress we are experiencing this year living here.

We are still working out the financial aspect of our lives, the main reason for the move.  John has to get a job this summer.  If he doesn't he won't be able to continue school in the fall.  But he has an interview on Thursday that sounds very promising.  And 2 weeks after he finished his 3rd year of school I am nowhere near ready to worry that he won't find exactly what we need.  God did not get us this far to drop us in the middle of the project.

I don't think about things deeply much these days.  I have brief flashes of thoughts but never time to stop and develop them.  Maybe i will put into the organizational plan i need to develop a plan to carry around a notebook and jot all my brief flashes so i can return to them at some future moment when i have time to go deep.  My shift key is going bad on this keyboard and I am tired of going back to fix all the capital letters that don't happen.  so there you have it, thoughts on my life lately.  I will admit i have written several things that I am not sharing these days.  part of what i am learning and what God is teaching me.  I know it seems like i share everything but i guess there are some things that just need to be processed alone.  I still love to write and process while writing so hopefully as things begin to settle down in our life and get back to normal you will start to hear from me more.