Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Things I Need Right Now.

I woke up this morning to a winter wonderland.
Yesterday was fall.
Today is winter.
I should be happy that we kept away the snow for this long in Minnesota.
I should be thankful that the holidays are finally happening & this snow almost rings in to a white Thanksgiving.
I should be a lot of things.
But today I'm just cold. And wet.
And my skin is dry & itchy.
And I'm wondering if was I secretly was adopted, and if my real parents live in warmer climates.
Mom & Dad - it's time to tell me the tropical truth.

I've also been feeling super impulsive lately.
2 weeks ago I wanted to sell everything we own & move to a brand new place.
This week I had an impulse to chop my hair off & dye it some strange color - like orange or pink.
Today I want to buy cowboy boots, drink beer, & go country line dancing.
I think this might be my inner soul's way of telling me I am ready for some changes in my life.
Either that, or I should have not watched the CMA Awards last night.

Because of my work schedule this week, I've gotten to take Parker to both days of preschool this week. So Addison & I have had some major Mommy & Me time while Parker is in school.
I suppose this came at just the right time.
Because Addison seems to be clinging to my leg every night when I get home from work, wanting my undivided attention lately.
No matter how much time or love I give her, it never seems like enough.
So every morning after we drop Parker off at preschool, we go to the bakery, eat a doughnut & sip orange juice.
She tells me about school, her friends, why she loves the color pink.
How she wants a Hello Kitty sticker book for Christmas.
I put my phone down.
And I just sit there & talk to my beautiful, intelligent 4 year old.
Together we solve the world's problems. [More naps. Less fighting.]
And make our afternoon plans. [Build a snowman who looks like Olaf.]
And even though my world seems small & simple these days - I realized how peacefully quiet this chapter right here is.

Quiet can be a lot of things.
It can be sweet. And humble.
Or painfully cold.
Quiet can be isolating. Boring or uneventful.
Marked by waiting & growth.
Grieving or burying.
Quiet can be a loud reminder of what no longer is.
Or it can be peaceful & comforting.
It can be......well. A lot of things.
Maybe all of these at different times for different reasons.

It's so tempting to rush through quiet.
Quiet is awkward. And uncomfortable.
Probably because of how slow minutes tick by when you are quietly waiting.
Especially when you aren't even sure what you are waiting for.
Our culture breeds us for loud, exciting, and carefully marked plans.
No one prepares you for quiet, awkward, and living solely by God's grace.

In my need to fill this quiet time with good, helpful, & beautiful things, I've found some surprising methods to make the waiting just a bit more bearable.

The first thing I've fallen in love with is of course good books.
Before this year, I had maybe finished 3 books in the past 5 years. BARELY FINISHED.
Like I could barely tell you what these books were about.
I could tell you this was because I had 2 babies in such a short period of time.
I was too tired to bathe most days, let alone pick up a good book.

This year alone I have devoured close to a dozen books.
And each one of them have been purposeful books that I have needed in one way or another.
I don't find books.
They find me.
Someone buys it for me. Or borrows it to me.
One book I literally found in THE PARKING LOT of a coffee shop.
This my friend is a season marked living solely by God's grace.
Could you really expect anything different?!

The second part of healing has involved a strange new draw to country music.
Country just gets me.
Not just because of big hair, gun toting Republicans, & cute cowboy boots.
Although a little bit of leather & fringe might possibly make you into a better person.
I'm just sayin'.
I think country music just understands heartbreak & the need to forget better than anyone.
I blame my husband & my siblings entirely for this strange new change in my iTunes playlists.

The third is falling back in love with your roots - the things you've always loved, but got too busy, too important, or too tired to do anymore.
For me, that's taking long walks with my dog. Reading my bible. Writing in my journal. Watching Dawson's Creek. And eating a lot of bowls of potato soup.
It's wearing the cute shoes. Even when you have no place to go.
And paying attention when the woman in front of you at the grocery is a few dollars too short for her groceries. Blessing her. And being aware that your children are watching how you give unto others.
It's putting together photo albums & finally finishing baby books.
Buying the mustard coat from Zulily. Just because it's your favorite color.
Holding hands with your husband while you sleep.
And listening to your old Sheryl Crow CD.
These things that you enjoy categorically make you YOU.
Losing these things means losing yourself.
Embracing them makes life sweeter. Happier.
And makes the quiet more seemless.

I've done a lot of the loud, exciting, carefully marked plans.
Years that I lost because I was living too fast.
Rushing. Always rushing.
And doing too much.
But this quiet....... it's something else.
Someday I'm sure I'll have a thousand things to say about this season.
And why it had to be exactly the way it was.
I'm sure there will be lessons learned & new life waiting on the other side.

But for now.
The children nap.
And it's so quiet, I can hear the snow melt off the trees.
I write. To remember what this season was like.
And why I am enjoying it - even though I can hardly understand it.
Why doughnuts & snowmen are enough.
And that waiting is much more bearable with mustard coats, cowboy boots, & Joey Potter to get you through.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Love Rocks. Time Off. And Orange Legwarmers.

Holy Cow.
It's November.
Which means that the sun is setting at 4 p.m. in Northern Minnesota.
And Christmas displays are already up in stores.
Because who has time to spend on Thanksgiving & being thankful when there is so much crap to buy for Christmas?!

This past month was busy with things like Halloween festivals. Concerts. Traveling. Hosting. Magical warm fall days. Expensive dental appointments. Volunteer Days. Beautiful leaves changing their colors. Saying goodbye to a good friend. Candy Hangovers. The stomach flu. An Indian Summer. And lots [and lots] of hard fought miles on the treadmill.

I couldn't wait to go visit my Cousin Hannah.
She goes to college up in Duluth, Minnesota.
And my kids were BEGGING for a "Hiya" visit.
I was all but too happy to oblige them.
We planned for our usual fall visit.

I of course am always so proud of Hannah when we arrive.
How well she seems to be doing in her new city.
When all the odds were seemingly stacked against her.
How much she loves school.
How much we love all her boyfriend Justin.
He is as much family to me now as anyone else blood related.
How adorable her little house is that sits on top of a high Duluth hill.
I love every minute that we spent in that city with our Hiya.

I had what can only be described as the most magical drive I've ever had driving through the hills to get towards Duluth. The trees were still holding tightly to their colors. And I had several moments where my breath was literally taken away from me with how incredible fall in Minnesota can be.

We sat by Lake Superior in an unusual windless day.
Throwing rocks into the lake. And watching the large waves crash into the smooth stones surrounding the bay.
I picked up one of the smooth stones that was in the shape of a heart.
I call it my "Love Rock."
I threw it in my purse.
And I'm quite sure one day I will give it to Parker as a reminder of all the beautiful days we have spent together throwing rocks into the lakes of Minnesota.

After a trip to the local Children's Museum where we dug up dinosaur bones & lost waaaay too much money in the stock market exhibit [Insider trading tip: do not invest in toy companies.] Trevor & I headed out for a much needed Mommy & Daddy night out.

My secret best friend Jenny Simmons was in town. And a night at one of her concerts reminded me why it's okay to grieve broken dreams. Why it's important to bury what was lost. And the freedom that comes in finding yourself lost for a season.

The concert had the best view in the city.

Where I learned what life is like working the merchandise table & working as a roadie.
Also. I learned the difference between a groupie & a roadie.
Suffice to say - roadie is much more appropriate in this sense.

Jenny & I went out to dinner later that night after her concert. Where we ate Minnesota fish & sipped soup. Cursing the sadness of burying the people we've loved & the people we loved who never came to be. And where Jenny helped me feel much less alone in the isolated places we've experienced this past year. To say I'm grateful for this precious, sweet time together is like saying Lake Superior is large. It simply does not do it justice.

I spent the next week curled up with Jenny's new book. Which I may or may not be giving out to everyone I know as a Christmas gift. It's that good. You're welcome.

I finished a few healing, life giving books this month. Then I used an afternoon that I took off work & went to see the newest chick flick "The Best Of Me" in the theater all by myself. I have been so busy lately, it felt good to take in a quiet afternoon for myself.

I spent a precious morning with my nephew. Who by the way, is no longer scared of me.
Huge Auntie win.

My husband is learning the joys of hosting poker nights with his friends. And I learned that the proper way to say goodbye to a good friend & coworker is to share laughs & memories with everyone at work over strawberry margaritas and chips & queso.

Halloween saw the return of our family theme. Where I must confess, no one got my costume without my "Mystery Machine" gang alongside me.

Man that last picture is horrible. This is what happens when you don't have your camera & your iPhone takes crappy sunset pictures...... booooo.

It was a life giving October. Which took me by surprise.
Considering most Octobers seem more tragic than sweet.
I learned a lot. I cried some. And I gave myself permission to be just where I am.
To be just me.

I'm heading into November knowing that there will soon be more changes and a ton of mandatory overtime at work soon.
So if you don't hear from me at all, just know I'm buried in paperwork, enjoying the fruits of overtime pay just before Christmas:)

Here's hoping your pumpkins were carved, your candy was sweet, and your memories of this fall were filled with many happy, drinks of warm apple cider.

Much Love To You Reader.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Trust. Voids. And iPhone Back-ups.

I am waiting on my iPhone to finish updating...... Apparently if you are naughty & never do your system updates, Apple punishes you by taking away your Facetime. And since I would really, REALLY like to Facetime with my bestie sometime this year, I need to update.

Why oh why does this take so loooong Internet?!

So. Let's kill some time together.
Allow me to catch you up.

----> My husband was tired of his social life, or a lack thereof. He told me was going to do a guys poker night. After a few guys backed out last minute, it turned into "Bring Your Family" night & "We Will Feed You Loads Upon Loads of Super Unhealthy, Sugary Snacks" night. And there were so many kids running around this joint, I'm pretty sure we all went slightly deaf in at least one ear. I feel kind of like a loser in that I took absolutely no pictures whatsoever of this event. But that just goes to show you I was having waaaay too much fun to bother.
I am getting to know all of these new people. And it kind of feels like a page is a turning.
For both me & Trevor. And I really, really liked it.

---> I'm kind of obsessed with Jim Gaffigan ...... who is a comic that just gets me.
Probably because all he ever talks about it food. Or kids. Or mixing food & kids.
Anywho. He was going to be on David Letterman.
So I DVR'd it. Because naturally I am never up this late ever.
Except to update my iPhone...... Rawr.

After Jim made me choke on my popcorn with out loud laughter, this singer who I had NEVER heard of finished the show. Paloma Faith: anyone out there ever heard of her?
This song came on. And I'm not quite sure if I'm in love with the song, the weird art-vibe that is Paloma, or the musicians jamming in the background.
But I LOVE this.

---> This past week was the 9 year anniversary of my sister's passing. I'm not entirely sure why. But I have this emotional desire deep down to know that people do not forget my sister. That they do not forget what her death taught them.
It should just be enough that I & my family remember. And screw the rest of the world. If they remember, awesome. If they don't, their loss.
But it's more than that. I need for the people closest to me to remember.
Even if remembering is exhausting or difficult or inconvenient.
I need to know that this still matters. That it will always matter to them.
Even if it doesn't quite matter to them the way it matters to me.
So sorry to everyone I saw this past week if I seemed weird or unconnected or aloof.
My mind just kind of goes places this time of year.
I was thankful I had the day off. And just spent it with my family.
Wearing Bridgett's sweatshirt. Telling Bridgett's jokes. Staring at her pictures. Remembering who she was. What she stood for. What she loved. What she didn't.
Walking through the fall leaves. Crying. Holding Trevor's hand. Trying not to be bitter.
Thinking of sweet memories. Choking back the painful memories.
I remember Bridgie. I promise I always will.
Thank you to all of you who remembered with us. It truly means more than you know.

----> It took me a little over month. But this weekend I finally finished the entire series of Veronica Mars. 3 seasons and one full-length movie.... I'm not sure if I should be proud of this fact or obscenely embarrassed by the amount of couch time it takes to accomplish this sort of thing. 
And I have to say, it was every bit of good that people said it was.
It also reminded me of how cute boys are when they do the lean.

Logan Eckles & I probably dated in another life. And Veronica Mars is probably the most empowering female lead I have seen in quite some time. All in all, if this show is sitting in your Amazon Prime Instant Que, I'd of course tell you to watch it.
And invite me over to watch it with you. I'll bring the popcorn.

----> Since we had Parker, Trevor & I have always had a back & forth discussion on whether or not we were done having kids. I have my reasons for wanting to be done...... I'm a horribly sick pregnant woman. I'm just getting my body back. Income. Time. My kids are finally starting to sleep through the night. I have my reasons Internet. Good ones. Believe me.

Then I read this article my high school pal Shannon posted. [Blog shout out to Shannon]
"The Void When You're Done Having Children."
Whoa. That word: Void.
Suddenly there's this void I never once considered.
Like this impending doom if you make such a permanent decision based on the chronic exhaustion you feel deep inside your bones.
I'm not sure that the article did much to change my mind. Except that maybe.
It caused me to pause.
And maybe pausing was precisely the point.

Who knows what the future holds?
I don't of course. But God knows.
And the free spirit inside me is fine with the no plan plan.
It's kind of freeing to hand your life to God.
It was never really mine anyway.
That much I have already learned.

Sometimes I wonder if the more open we are, the more room we give God to bring about what only He can bring.
Letting go of the control is completely terrifying.
I mean, does God really know best?!
Does He..... REALLY?!
And if we own it & claim it, then there comes a time where we put faith in motion.
And we simply fall back. And trust.

Oy. Trust.

Why is that so hard?
Trust. Voids. iPhone backups.
Life is full of tricky little things tonight Internet.