Sunday, May 20, 2018

Project 365, Week 19

I find as the kids get older that I feel free to share less here. We had some struggles this week that I am not free to share here, but I think its sometimes important to stop and note that the happy photos I share here are not a full representation of what's actually going on in our lives. I think we all know that when we look through social media, but its good to be reminded of it often.

Here's to the days when I was free to share their craziness. :)

May 8
If you build it, they will come.

I sat out in the yard on a very beautiful afternoon and one by one the kids came out to chat. :)

May 9
Aiden was part of a little concert at school. Oh my word...he's super sweet!

May 10
Spring is overwhelmingly beautiful...fresh blooms, longer days, no snow. Its lovely!

May 11
Hartford skyline.

May 12
Shaun and Amanda had their first CT Cup Tournament game. Shaun planned ahead, lost sleep, prepared the girls. The girls played hard in regulation and in OT but got eliminated with PKs. Amanda played forward, with a goal and assist and goalie, letting in one too many shots. Sad day.

They had to play a district game that evening and it was cold and wet, but we were loyal fans. :)

May 13
Mother's Day! I spent most of my life wondering why in the world people had children...on purpose! I didn't have an "itch" to be a mom and I wasn't particularly fond of kids, other than my nieces and nephews. BUT GOD. In His sovereignty He's made me a mom to the masses and it has wrecked me and shaped me in beautiful ways. I'm grateful.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

May's 10 on 10

10 pictures on the 10th day of the month (Thursday).
{Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day! }

For close to a year I've been using this book, Jesus Calling in the mornings. Its packed with really good truth. The kids version is great, too.

The mornings can be hit or miss, it looks like this one had smiles, albeit breakfast on the go. We'll take it!

I like to clean up the kitchen after I drop them off, knowing it will be clean for six hours while the entire family is at work and school. ;) Also, I'm super thankful for my lovely kitchen.

Now that tax season is over, most days it works for Shaun and I to ride to work together. Its nice.

The plaza owner does such a great job caring for the grounds. Beautiful landscaping for every season.

We had some school friends over after school for a couple hours. They recently moved from out-of-state and they recently had their 7th child. I got to snuggle sweet Mary for a while.

J's beloved horse farm moved locations, making it too far to reasonably attend so she hasn't ridden in a month. We went to check out a new facility and it was beautiful, with very nice people. Its so crazy expensive (1 lesson of horse riding = 1 entire season of soccer), but she's passionate about it and really comes alive when she's there with the horses. She starts back up next week!

Shaun had the three younger kids at soccer practice, so the teens and I lingered at the dinner table in a winding conversation. They are delightful girls and its an honor to guide them as they start to dip their toes into adulthood.

Amy sent me this photo as I was shutting my phone down for the night. 2007, Avery, Maddy and Amanda. I think this may have been the week Shaun and I were in Aruba celebrating an anniversary. Such sweetness! And what a treasure cousins are...Maddy's done such a beautiful job blazing the trail for all the girls! Occasionally we say, WWMD...What Would Maddy Do? ;)

Friday, May 11, 2018

Project 365, Week 18

Our first week post-tax season, post-vacation. We hit the ground running with soccer and school and work and house hunting. May is always such a fun, intimidating, lovely, packed month. Its one of my favorites but I feel like I always finish it like I finish a race...bent over with my hands on my knees, desperately trying to catch my breath. :)

April 29
Even though vacation was great, we were all happy to be back home. We hit up two open was a no, one was a maybe.

April 30
Back to real, school and this homework scene that happens at the kitchen table most afternoons.

May 2
Spring is springing and New England does it especially well, I think.

May 3
It was warm enough to be out on the porch in the early morning hours. Amanda was asking me why so and so doesn't read their Bible or pray and they are fine and I have to spend SO much time with God. My answer to her was that I'm extra sinful. I'm not entirely sure why, though since cancer, I need more quiet and time with God than ever. Its also possible its because I'm currently raising a house full of tween and teen girls. ;)

I hold eternity close to my heart and just need to spend quiet moments with my God. I tell Him I love Him and I need serve my family, to be excellent at work, to be a friend, to do the next hour of getting kids off to school. I'm so aware of how little I can do in my own strength and efforts. Left on my own, I am selfish, greedy, critical, impatient, just to name a few.

We are to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength when we wake up in the morning. And we are to prepare ourselves to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37–40). Very few of us wake up with our whole soul spring-loaded to love God and love people. This disposition takes some refocusing — to put it mildly — by means of the word of God and prayer. -Tony Reinke
I need quiet and stillness and noise-less-ness to be a regular part of my day. I need to refocus before I greet my family and the unlovely people out in my world. But also, I believe God goes with me into my day and is present when my kid is talking back, when I'm working on something at the office, when I'm chatting with another mom on the sidelines of the soccer field. He's in it all. But I gather the strength I need to respond to a friend's hurting and desperate text or the power to hold my tongue with a family member from my time in the morning getting to know Him, and little by little getting to be more like Him.

May 4
"May the fourth be with you!" As luck would have it, the kids had a half day on May 4th...Star Wars Day. And they just happened to be playing all the movies on TV. My crew was super excited! :)

On the way to youth group, we HAD to pull over and closely check out the neighborhood tulips.

May 5
My sister is a Crossfit junkie and Avery and I got to go watch her compete. She is a beast!! So proud!

After a quick stop at home to drop Avery and gather presents, I went to the baby shower for Ray and his girlfriend. Baby Dakota is due the end of June. They have their own place and Ray currently has a decent job, working about 55 hours a week. Two good things!

Our daughter J is a huge Tauren Wells fan. Hills and Valleys was one of the first Christian songs she latched onto when she first came to us. He's not doing his own concerts yet, but when I found out he would be joining Chris Tomlin for Worship Night in America in Hartford, I had to get tickets! At the last minute Avery and Amanda's friends joined us and we had SO much fun!

May 6
After church and before Avery's soccer game, we stopped to watch Maddy perform in her competition. Gosh, she's amazing! The siblings have done a competition or two in their day. :)

Avery got quite a bit of playing time and it didn't start raining until the game was over. Good for us, unfortunate for Shaun and Amanda, whose game started in another town just as it started to rain. They came home soaked! :)

My sweet buddy. I love hanging out with this kid. He's funny, tender and fascinating.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Project 365, Week 17

This was one of our favorite weeks of the year! The week we go see Nana in Florida and regroup and refresh as a family after a grueling tax season.

April 22
Just for fun, I woke with a fever this day. Sickness lands harder on me than it used to and its tougher to fight off. In between my three naps right on this lounge chair, I snagged a couple pictures of the crew having SO much fun in the pool.

April 23
Medicated and determined to feel better, Shaun and I went for a 10-mile walk, part around town and part on the beach. I had a searing sore throat and almost no voice, so Shaun did most of the chatting. It made me smile to hear his observations.

When we walked up onto the beach at the tip of the island, I pulled my phone out to try to capture the beauty at the same moment he turned around, excited to see my reaction. That candid smile melts my heart.

April 24
The house we stayed in was an hour from Nana and John's house, so they came and stayed with us for a few days. As is her way, Nana got right in with all the action, catching up with the grands and greats. She's followed many a toddler around, happily checking out the things that are interesting to them, like filling up a plastic water can and dumping it.

April 25
Family poker! :)

April 26
Fun-filled Busch Gardens day.

April 27
Cool kids.

April 28
We left at 5pm the night before and drove through the night, arriving in CT with just enough time to go directly to Aiden's first soccer game and then after, Amanda's practice. Yup...that's how we do it.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Project 365, Week 16

This week had a little bit of everything in it. We celebrated a birthday, worked crazy hours, worked no hours, did sports, enjoyed friends, started vacation. It was a very exciting week as we wrapped up tax season and packed up for our annual Florida trip. Good stuff!

April 15
Happily, Shaun's birthday landed on a Sunday so he didn't have a full day of work. He's kind of amazing and its been an honor to celebrate many birthdays with him.

April 16
First day of April vacation... :)

The kids did soccer camp at our local university from 9-12 each day this week.

April 17
LAST DAY of tax season!!!

April 18
Before church I went shopping with the girls for swim suits. It was encouraging to me that the experience was quite different from that of a year ago when they first came to us. This year, the word "modest" wasn't used, but the thought was there. I've steadily been teaching that women are not objects and that "Classy not trashy" is always the best bet. Tough swimming upstream in a culture that objectifies women and teaches girls that Barbie is the only acceptable body type. Its a one-step-forward-two-steps-back journey, but this day in the dressing room of Target, I was thanking God for small victories (and asking Him, why in the world did you choose me for this??).

April 19
My sweet boy was up early enough to join me for my Chair Time. His Bible knowledge will soon surpass mine. ;)

Avery and Amanda are friends/classmates/teammates with two sisters. They slept over and the seven kids had such a blast playing games and being silly on this rainy, cold day.

April 20
I took the car for an oil change and the car guy was showing me the difference in oils. Then Amanda and I were sitting in the waiting room and through the window she saw him take a drink from a plastic cup. She was so grossed out and appalled until I assured her it was Coke. Although, maybe drinking oil is healthier than soda??

About 5pm we were loaded up and on the road, Florida bound!

April 21
I laughed as I was coming out of the local grocery store on the island where we were staying. Large family cars and a golf cart lined up...must be a tourist town! :)

Shaun brought me up to the roof top of our rental house to watch the sunset together. Not bad. :)