Saturday, March 7, 2015

winter

My sisters mother in law passed away very suddenly last month.
Unexpectedly, and without the chance to say "goodbye for now" one last time.

A lady that I have known since I was a child.

After much internal debate based upon weather reports and kid arrangements, I  made a whirlwind trip to Chicago to attend her funeral on a Thursday morning.

I  was kind of a headcase about it, because I really don't like to drive far if the weather could be sketchy, or worry that the kids will get to where they need to be.

But, I really wanted to see my sister, my niece and nephews, my family…so I went.  Case closed.

The drive was a bit white knuckled for a stretch along the lake heading south, as is usually the case, and I was in constant conversation with God.   I passed red and blue swirling lights on the side of the road, and I again questioned whether I made the right decision.

As I approached the section of highway that always makes me tense up a bit in the winter, after going in the ditch there Christmas Eve 1995 while driving home from college in a snow storm...the sun came out.

I know it's just natural, as there are certain areas where there are always squals along the lake, but to me when those clouds parted and the sun popped out, it was as if God was telling me everything was going to be ok.

And in that moment, I knew I made the right decision to come.

Sitting in a pew near the front of the church that I grew up in, listening to stories of the past, funny memories, testimonies of her impact on former students, memories of the person she was ...her legacy....I was once again convicted to my core to be intentional with my life, my time, my relationships.

Life is short.

I spent a bit of time after lunch peering through all the posterboards of smiling faces, marking wonderful life moments.  The births of babies, family trips to so many great places,  cheesy grins while baking cookies, staged birthday party pics, sporting events...my niece and nephews aging a little bit in each pic.

It was evident by the picture display that they spent alot of time together, enjoying a variety of things and places.  But posterboards only capture the kodak moment events of life.  While those pics showcase some amazing memories,  there is so much more.  All the simple, sweet, "real" moments, void of a clicking camera, are tucked away in their memories now, and those moments are what will carry them forward.

Funerals have a way of making you realize how blessed you are.  
How precious life is.
How important it is to make the most of every encounter, opportunity... moment.
Because you may not get another chance.

Tho our eyes are fixed on spring over here, I always cherish winter, and what it means for our family.

Winter is the gift of time.

And it has been pretty fantastic so far... filled with intentional moments, meaningful conversations, getting house projects and some business checked off the list, watching sports, playing so, so, so many board games, trying new things, spending time with family and old friends, and plenty of the adventure that I'm accepting we crave.

As the kids get older and are turning into real people, my van still seems to drive west most days and nights to pick  someone up from somewhere, but it's been good. Just the right amount of everything, it seems.

I've been on more dates with Tim in the last 2 months than all of 2008-2010 combined!

We are an adventurous bunch, so moving forward,  I want to continue to try new things and explore new places together, make new traditions and hold dear to our established ones, continue to challenge and push ourselves and the kids to make each moment count.

Spend our family time well, and be intentional even when life gets crazy, because it will.

Ok, ok, less sappy nat and more "that time Dylan asked what a g-string was"  stories coming soon :)

A few pics from our winter for the memory books…

In January, Tim went  to Arkansas with the boys  to hunt for a long weekend.  They had a great time together, tho I understand there could have been more ducks.


While the boys were away, the girls kept me busy. We went to Taco Bell and the mall, naturally ….


We ski'd for the first time of the season...


+


We went to see Annie on Broadway.  Sydney and I secretly followed the score of the Packers football game on my phone during the performance. And it was in that moment that I realized that I have become one of them.


We ski'd a whole bunch this winter, actually!
Poor Dylan started puking as soon as we walked into the ski lodge and bought our lift tickets on our second trip, and spent the night in the truck with one of us.  Third times a charm...


Sydney played basketball…


And volleyball…


We celebrated Opa and Oma's 63rd wedding anniversary! Such a blessing...


We thoroughly enjoyed the SuperBowl this year. Lots of noise coming from our house when the Patriots won it in those final seconds.  Dyl took home the cash....



We celebrated Dylan's 10th birthday!!


Ten, the "year of the iPod"


The little girls mastered the chairlift...




I went to CaberFe for the day with the big 3 to ski with friends.  It.was.COLD.  "Mom! You have a booger icicle again!!"
But yeah for a 4 person chair lift and no broken bones...



Oh, just two 38 year olds conquering Black Diamonds...yeah, I fell.


Stella turned 7!


She got her ears pierced!


We went to a Griffins game, and they tied it up in the last 0.4 seconds and went on to win!  A win, free t-shirts, free tickets to the next game, and a pic with the bird makes for a pretty fantastic night.



So we went again....

Dylan's lighthouse…

We drove out to explore frozen Lake Michigan on a Saturday afternoon...





Budgeting and beers is always a good combo on a Friday night :)


Sydney turned 12!
The year of horseback riding lessons...


 
Happy weekend, friends.

Monday, January 19, 2015

yolo

Sitting at the counter, side by side doing homework this fall, Dylan casually turned to me, his big brown eyes wide with innocence and determination.

"I've been thinking"…he said very matter of factly… "I'm going to have to go to college after all.  It's really the only way I'm going to get drafted."

Yes.
We talk a lot of football around here these days. Backyard, high school, college, fantasy, nfl….all of it mixed together.  The topic manages to weave itself into every conversation one way or another.

And I may have convinced Dylan over a casual Sunday dinner that I dated Tom Brady for a brief stint back in my college days, when the kids came to the realization that he is as old as we are.

And the best part is he believed me.

Well, of course he believed me. 

These kids have their entire lives ahead of them, and anything and everything is within their grasp. Aiming for the top, they have yet to be tainted by disappointment or regret.  Their dreams protected by their naive and always optimistic outlook.

They can do anything.

Egad! To be a kid again.

I adore their outlook, because I too was the exact same way.
I had big and bold plans of my own, without a worry in the world.

If I had my way, I would be projecting from your tv set, dispensing the news famous and fabulous, naturally.
And I'm sure my plans gave God a good chuckle, because He knew He created me far too sensitive and delicate for that path.

Somewhere along the way, life happens, and we grow, we change, we learn a bit about ourselves, we are blessed in ways we couldn't scheme up on our own, we are disappointed, we are stretched, we have regrets, we are complacent. We become seasoned, and it shapes who we are.

And sometimes I think I don't dream big anymore, because, well,  ….I'm 38.
I am no longer young, shiny, fresh and new.  My ship has sailed.

But, in my heart, I know it hasn't.
I still question, wonder, what God has in store for me in the future. Although,  I'm not sure I allow myself to think big.  I am very quick to dismiss.

Kids gift the best life lessons, don't they?

God created me to be me…colorful, sensitive, creative, social, tenderhearted, avid flower doodling, me….all of it.  And I don't think it was a mistake.

But, I don't want to live life complacent, just ticking on by.  I want to be a blessing, to use the gifts that God has given uniquely to me,  to seize opportunities, and to stretch myself, even tho at times I don't feel like I measure up.

To be open to what God truly wants for li'l ole me.  I don't want to live with regrets.

That's my "goal" for 2015.
Live full.
Yolo, baby.

Enough random thoughts.  Some pics from the second half of our year…

Be.still.  Ellery started pre-school.  It took about 3 weeks for her to warm up, and now she LOVES it...


We spent alot of time outside...






Enjoyed a fun afternoon with friends...


Frittered time between sports games…


Field tripped it...





Gems carhop...



Ellery started dance class…


Squeezed in a trip to see the kids flower display at Art Prize... 


One of my favorite school pics to date.  Feel the joy...


We watched a lot of high school football…


And 7th grade football…

And 4th grade football...



Learned some life lessons….


For the record books, Sydney played soccer in the fall as well.
Tho I have no fall pics, she had a fantastic season, excelled at goalie and forward, and can boot the ball farther than some boys I know :)

The boys did their fair share of hunting….



Made it to Klackles to pick apples….



Lost some teeth…


Halloween.  Olaf, Belle, Drew Brees, Snow White and Tom Brady.  Fondly remembered as "that year we couldn't feel our fingers"….


We went to a Michigan game with Kevin, and they won!  Overheard..."that was awesome"...


My favorite pic of the day…



We finished the basement!!!



Annual girls trip to Chicago.  Crossed "standing on the ledge at Willis Tower" off the bucket list...



Stella started gymnastics….


Austin is officially a teenager! And celebrated his first ever snow day birthday…. 


1st grade Thanksgiving program….



Ellery turned 5!



Birthday buddies...

My mom came for a visit to shop and what- not...


Bumped into Santa at the gas station….


Austin played 7th grade basketball….


And ended the season with a hard earned victory!



Last pre-school Christmas party (sniff, sniff)...

Christmas in Chicago….



Syd putting her new face painting kit to work...


Backyard football with cousins….


Finally got around to making cookies...


Christmas at our house...



The boys sent hours making Tim a duck mojo out of an old remote control car they took apart…





Christmas with Tim's family...

Enjoyed an ice cream social and swimming with Opa and Oma over break...