29 March 2010

SOLD!

After 62 days of keeping the house perfect we can relax...our beloved home sold this weekend!

I haven't felt this emotional since Amelie's birth last year and I don't have raging hormones to blame it on now. Seriously am I crazy to allow a house to have such a hold on me? One minute, when we had gone a few days without a showing, I hated every tiny closet and step outside to the car in rain and snow and the next minute when we knew an offer was coming, I loved my cute backyard and beautiful wood floors.

But now its done. And I think I'm taking it too personally. My attachment here goes beyond all of the amazing memories of moving in as a newlywed and bringing two little babies home to the nursery with original woodwork their daddy refinished.

I'm scared to give up what this house represents to me.

The brick street, the wide welcoming front porch, the built in bookcases, and even the scary walk-up attic are unique. I will not have these treasures in the new home we plan to buy today. The new home is practical. It will be bigger, open, and in a great school district.

The kids will be able to chase each other in the big backyard and I can watch them from my kitchen sink. They can run around in the playroom and I can store stuff in big closets that won't leave ice on my clothes in the winter. Amelie will not grow up being afraid of the noise of the hissing radiators and we will not have four people jostling for space in the single bathroom.

But I'm struggling with this as one more step into a life of average-ness. I'm reminding myself that a house doesn't define me. And practical houses are built for a reason. They are what works and will make my life easier.

The longing to be an individual never dies. Conformity we long for in junior high gives way to a hunt for individuality that causes high schoolers to try white goth make-up, piercings and tattoos in a quest to affirm unique identities.

Apparently, that quest to define "me" ever ends. Whether its a house in a tree, a lime green VW bug, or redish purple hair we find ways to stand out and be not just another mom in the preschool pick-up line.

I'm coming to realize this house has been the thing representing "me" as not just one in a crowd and I guess that's why I'm having such a hard time letting go.

Have the rest of you grown up beyond this crazy quest or is there something you refuse to sell out on?

25 March 2010

What if?

My nightmare that appears most realistic is the worry that my life will become routine.

A monotonous life of the same old same old scares me to pieces and fans that Ifft flame inside of me to do something crazy like buying a one way plane ticket to backpack around Europe. I know Walter sees that simmering spark in me too because he starts asking questions about my mental health whenever I pick up a book about women who follow their adventurous spirits.

But my predictable responsible oldest child self doesn't rush into far flung dreams quickly. Instead I provide the voice of reason for a family of mom, dad, sister, and brother who live anything but predictable lives.

So what if I did something unpredictable? Sure it wouldn't be exploring options of moving my family to a jungle or hiking the Appalachian Trail from top to bottom but I do have some options.

What if I looked for ways to meet more friends?
What if I stopped fiddling around with a dream and became serious?
What if I found the running shoes in the back of my closet and put them on again? (and then ran a few steps)
What if I took a train trip?

Donald Miller describes the endless possibilities that open up by asking the "what if?" question on his blog. Slipping into the ruts of life and walking through days of stifling predictability happens so easily but I'm happy to be reminded that options are there. I'm challenging myself to act on plot twisting opportunities.

How about you? What does "what if?" look like for you?

22 March 2010

Learning to Walk

Amelie took her first consecutive steps last weekend!
She has been pulling herself up to standing since Thanksgiving when she was just 8 months old. But she lingered over the transition from a stander to a walker. Content to pull up to reach the toys (or brother) she found interesting, or cruise along the front of the couch, she never showed interest in being able to walk across the room since dropping into a crawl happened so naturally.

I find myself content with where I'm at too. My friends are great. We are being challenged at our new church and meeting great people. Our family is blessed and happy. I've been crawling around in my world of safety enjoying the cool life God has given me and not really wanting to take a step out into new things because of the dreaded fear of the unknown.
But there is so much more to discover and the first step is to move past crawling to walking.
Walter and I coaxed Amelie again and again to walk in between our open arms. She wanted to cross the gap and make it to the other person, but in her excitement she quickly dropped on her bottom and began her familiar crawl. We picked her up and pointed her in the right direction again only to watch her revert to crawling.

And then her focus switched. Her mind got bored of checking out mommy and daddy and her hands, mouth, and eyes started to explore the toy in her hands. While she focused on the object she forgot the unknown of taking a step. As she forgot herself and what she didn't know how to do, her feet started moving and our little girl walked!

And I wonder what would happen if I allowed myself to forget what I don't know, focus on the One who controls everything, and take a blind step. Would my world open up to amazing new life to explore?

Where could my feet take me if I simply forgot to focus on myself?

19 March 2010

Dear Amelie

Dear Amelie Hope,
You are ONE! Happy Birthday my sweet girl.

Has it really been a year since I first snuggled with you? When you wiggled and punched inside of me I both winced and smiled. Knowing you were alive and moving filled me with hope that God had redeemed rough times. And then when I held you for the first time my unbelief that I would ever get to hold you turned to reality and I couldn't hold back almost two years worth of tears.
You are truly a gift.

I knew you would be a girl. And whether you like it or not, you have come in to this role as princess very well. Knowing the ups and downs of mother/daughter relationships makes me way more worried about being a good mom to you, but I'm excited to keep on trying. And don't worry I won't let Daddy overprotect you too much just because you are a girl.

Sitting on my hospital bed, I couldn't stop smothering you with kisses and now I love being on the receiving end of your endless wide open mouthed kisses. Slobber has never been so welcome and I wait for more of it

This next year is going to be so fun. Your hair will grow and I can finally brush it into pigtails and tie it with bows. You will became more confident in your walking and will soon be running after your brother. We will get to listen as you learn more words and hear your little girl voice around our house. No doubt, we look forward to discovering more about who God has wired you to be.

And so, we are celebrating you today. Celebrating because you are absolutely worth celebrating for the sweet girl that you are and celebrating because you represent the hope God restored to our family.

Happy First Birthday, Amelie.


Love,
Mommy

13 March 2010

When Mom's away

Attention Moms! Here's a sure way to feel like a great mom.
Leave your house for an evening at the Hearts at Home conference celebrating motherhood and this could be how your children entertain themselves too!

video

My precious little girl yields a sword with great skill, don't you think?

11 March 2010

Flamingos

Maybe Asher inherited his love of birds from Grams. Grams loves flamingos. The pink feathered friends have become her signature item and my kids know the books she has given them by the flamingo stamp on the inside cover.

Grams also loves her family. When she comes to visit Asher knows he can convince Grams to play anything he wants. She has been known to chase him around the house with a large Elmo doll, convince mommy to allow a huge yellow dump truck to be brought into the house, and read stacks of books higher than Asher all in one sitting.

So when we searched for the perfect birthday gift for her, we combined her two loves: flamingos and grandkids into a plate by making handprint flamingos.

While our plate spent a weekend baking in a kiln, my excitement over our creation led me to think about it way more than I imagined I should think about a ceramic plate. God reminded me that He thinks of me, His creation, even more often than I thought about that plate.

I wrote a devotion about this experience and you can read it today on Christiandevotions.us.

10 March 2010

Restaurant gluttony

I love to eat out.

I'm sure I inherited this addiction to packing up the kids, baby food, and toys from my mother, but I do love the mindlessness of not having to choose a meal and then prepare it.

It's like a moment of vacation that I look forward to every week.

So when we started planning our vacation to Florida, I began relishing in the thought of a luxurious week of no meal planning! In the past, a highlight of vacationing for Walter and I has been finding the best local restaurants. We love experiencing the ambiance of a hidden hot spot and Walter regularly orders the item on the menu he is most unlikely to try at home. Those vacation meals often pop to my head when I remember highlights of past vacations.

But!
Now we travel differently.
We now search for all the McDonalds playlands rather than the romantic quiet spots with views over the ocean. We checkout the kids menus ahead of time to make sure we can accommodate a picky little boy who only eats a bunless hamburger. We look for the loudest dining areas so after our little girl holds her 17th staring contest with a stranger and then bursts into hysterics when they smile back at her we won't have to rush to the parking lot.

And so I find it ironic how I looked forward to returning to my kitchen, my recipe box, and my grocery stores.
Sometimes too much of a vacation is too much. Dining out in bits and pieces throughout a month is wonderful but a weeks worth of menus and booths with dirty floors to lay on is more than I can handle.

I guess we learned the meaning and dangers of excessive indulgence - restaurant gluttony.

So give me back my Kitchen Aid, my 20 year old stove, and my weekly excursion to the Coffee Hound and I will be a happy mom.

08 March 2010

Scenes of a roadtrip

Ahhh....we walked into our home last night and sighed. We survived the 20 hour one-way car ride home from chilly Florida.

Part of the story I want to write this year includes making choices for memories we won't soon forget. One of those choices (influenced by airplane ticket and car rental prices) included spending 52 hours in the car with my family over the course of 10 days.

After I finish reading a book, I know its good if memorable scenes stand out to me days after I've finished reading. I am still smiling and sighing over many scenes from our hours in the Jeep. There were many stand out moments that I won't soon forget, but here are some of the highlights:

- Sleepy-eyed party girl Amelie fighting sleep with all her might so she can continue to watch every move of her brother's for two 10 hour days of traveling.

- Asher realizing his sister might actually be a fun source of entertainment and "Fishing for Babies" with his daddy.

- Walter talking into the pink tube turned phone about knight adventures.

- Assuring Asher that the man in the car next to us was not obligated to share his breakfast sandwich with mommy.

- Everyone being content with viewing Dino World through rainy windows in the parking lot.

- Exploring office parks and wooded backlots of Georgia to find geocaches.

- Mommy refusing to give up the wheel because driving is easier than entertaining.

- Daddy proving the love he has for his kids by enjoying the screaming baby and hyper Asher backseat.

Did we write a good story? If memorable equals good, then the answer is YES!