"When you called me to be a Mama, You didn't ask for perfection. But that with every breath, I'd point them to You."

Friday, June 17, 2016

early summer happy things

"As we seek to live well in the summer months, through work and play, labor and rest, may we find ourselves certain of the infinite One who is not limited by the finite restraints we live within on this earth. May we exchange the complaints of the hurried heart for the gratitude of the surrendered soul, confident and joyful in each commitment we make, resolute when we need to say, 'no.' May we carve out space for long evenings on the porch, kids making up games late into the night and falling into their beds with that outdoors-induced exhaustion that produces the sweetest sleep. May we find opportunities to serve and to seek the peace and prosperity of our communities, our hands and feet guiding our eyes away from ourselves. And in it all, may we remember that our desire to flourish, and to see others do the same, comes from the Giver of all good gifts - and that time - in all of its wildness and wonder - is one of them." -Abby Perry

We're knee deep in summer around here, already more than half-way through the sweet month of June, and I'm already wondering where the time is going. We here in the Midwest know that summer is fleeting - all too short - going by all too quickly - and I find myself currently grasping as tightly as I can at these moments that flow quickly through our days. The older I get, and the older our family gets, time seems to be something that there is never enough. It could be because we're so active and busy. It could be because time itself does seem to go faster with age. It could be that I've heard so many reminders lately to embrace the summers when your kids are still at home with you. It could be the tragedy and all the devastation that has once again invaded our world - and specifically - the city that we ourselves are set to visit in just a few months. Days are not promised to us. My kids are growing up. And there is never enough time. I sometimes begrudgingly wish that God did not design us to need sleep, but then I remember that it is when we're sleeping that He's able to do His best work. I can imagine Him saying, "Child, leave it to me! Quit meddling in it! Take a break! Rest! Go to sleep so I can work on your behalf!" So I do my best to make sure that we make the most of the time we do have and go to sleep at night praying for more time tomorrow.

Happy things from our first few weeks of summer...

//two kids who couldn't have made us prouder this past school year. Last day of school pictures and awards assemblies, year-end DVD's from teachers, and how cute Brandon looked up on stage with two of his best buddies as they accepted their reading awards together.

//growing friendships with our neighbors. When we took our house off the market last summer, I prayed for neighborhood friendships for our kids and for us. He delivered and then some. From baseball and football nights in the field across the street and three boys who love to run between houses with their shirts off  - to Kristi and Austin and Leo and their frequent and constant invitations for deck hangs, ice cream cones and grilled hot dogs in their backyard. I'm feeling blessed that we'll now be sad to say goodbye to this place when our time does eventually come to leave it.

//impromptu homemade pizza nights when Daddy has to work late.

//surprise phone calls on my phone for this boy when he's in the shower on a Saturday morning. My little social bug. At least I know he really has memorized his mom's phone number! ;)

//finally cleaning off those bikes with a driveway bike wash. Now for getting new tires...

//starting my work days with emails and breakfast on the deck. I may not have my summers off, but He's been good to me.

...and the company is pretty cute, too!

//Sunday afternoons on the deck to wind down from adventurous weekends.

//Sundays at the ballpark with friends. It's becoming routine to get friends and teammates together to hit balls and drink adult beverages out of coolers. We feel pretty darn lucky that Jaden's team is made up of such wonderful and fun people. And now we're trying to figure out how to get them all on the same football team in the Fall. ;)

...Sometimes this one joins in - as all little siblings are welcome...

...sometimes he and all his new little buddies head to the playground together...

...sometimes he watches the action on the field from a nearby tree...

...and sometimes he gets mad at his Daddy for throwing the ball "too hard" and pouts for 30 minutes in the outfield. (All of us moms timed it. He is persistent!) ;)

//The way they look when the sun has kissed their cheeks all day. And the way his big brown eyes compliment his light brown skin.

//a final meal made together on Barrington Dr. The moving trucks come for Mom and Dad on July 6th, and we'll say a final goodbye to the house that's been ours for the last 16 years. The house where I was surprised with my first car - that sweet and sporty silver Mitsubishi Eclipse that was mine when I turned 16 - the house where we planned our wedding, the house that Jaden lived in for the first three months of his life. The house that has seen all my biggest life changes. We've been so caught up in getting their new house built and this one sold - that I haven't let it sink in yet that we have some goodbyes to say here pretty soon. We'll miss that cul-de-sac, picturing Lucky-dog waiting for us through the front door windows and watching the boys race their scooters up and down that sidewalk on Saturday mornings.

//some changes in our own home. My taste has changed since we bought this house at 24 years old, and I had been waiting for us to make a move before I revamped our d├ęcor. Last week I decided not to wait any longer and have been slowing making over our space. It's amazing how much more "at home" I feel again now that I am surrounded by pieces and colors that fit who I am now. Though the changes would probably appear subtle to others, they're big to me.

...and we're continuing to add pieces to the boys' bedrooms, too. Now if I could just get myself to prioritize our own bedroom, we'd be set!

Other happy things...

//dance parties in our driveway when Jaden cranked up the country on our outdoor speakers.

//maxi skirts to church

//staying up late for our first night of catching lightning bugs. I could see them start to glow through the window and called the boys out past their bedtimes so we could get our hands on some.

//a Saturday night dinner at a new restaurant downtown and some of the best brisket I've ever tasted. And free dessert!

//receiving pictures in the middle of the day from Blessed Beginnings teachers.

//a vacation countdown that reached the 100-day mark.

//frequently exchanged messages between moms about car pooling and transportation needs - and having our kids' best friends in the backseat of our van. It's why we got this vehicle, and I love being able to fit everyone who is in need.

//mid-June outdoor blooms.

//pool nights in the middle of the week, frequent trips around the lazy river, and four times down the waterslides for this mama. I didn't even care that the lifeguard started to give me a funny look after my third trip down by myself! ;)

...and yes, he dabs when coming down the waterslide. Kids these days. ;)

//a week-long UNI basketball camp. No doubt that Jaden would once again love it, but we didn't know what Brandon would think. I was so proud of him for wanting to try it, but unfortunately, there was a kid in his group that was less than kind for those four days, and it tainted Brandon's experience quite a bit. I was so proud of him for sticking with it throughout the week and trying his best when showing up every morning. It was pretty sweet, too, that on the final day and in the final event, Brandon had to run a basketball relay race up against this other kid. Brandon beat him convincingly and proudly sprinted to - and then SLID - right through the finish line in triumph. Such determination here! ;)

//baseball nights and rice crispy treats from the concession stand and all our friends and family in the bleachers around us and so many pictures through the chain link fence.

//a day at Wilder Park to celebrate Grandpa Don and his 80 years. Spending a day around picnic tables and giant checkerboard games and a sweet little pond that provided us with plenty of fish and frogs to entertain us for hours.

Happy Friday. Make the time you're given count!