I am not okay

I am not okay.(Don’t let the smiles fool you)

Those 4 words were in a text I sent my husband late last week.  I was dropping off our 3rd child for college.  I was alone in the hotel room with the 4year old, and I was not okay.  My heart was breaking and I was so sad.

He replied back that he was so sorry.

His first College porch picture

I knew the inevitable was coming, I was going to be going home with out our son.  I was leaving him to his adventure without me.  I knew how hard it would be to drive away without him.  I had done it before, I knew the change that was going to happen in our family dynamics, and I was not ready.  To be honest I don’t know if I will ever be ready to let my children grow up, grow away and to seek their own adventure.  For this mama I hate that they leave.  I hate the change, I miss seeing them, talking to them, listening to them, and being able to hug them when they need it (or when I need it)  Oh I let them go, I encourage them to follow their dreams, but the whole time I am encouraging them I have a huge cannot swallow lump in my throat.

Our Last Family Picture until Thanksgiving.  ( I cannot wait for us all to be together again)
We all took O up to her 3rd year at that University in the south, but north of us.  She was ready to get back to classes, and start this year.  Hearts were broken and plenty of tears were shed at the goodbye.
All the kids saying goodbye to R

R and PS stayed with me while Keith drove the rest of the kids home, they just could not miss the week of school.  We spent the next few days shopping before taking the final trip to his college.  True to family travel adventures it took us hours longer than the map said.  PS and R in his room.
She wanted so hard to be helpful while he unpacked and settled into his room.

We helped him settle, while we were unpacking Keith called R to see how it was going, he said “mom is not really doing okay”  I thought I was doing a pretty good job faking ‘doing okay’  I guess not.Kisses Goodbye from PS.

Keith flew up on Friday to help with the long drive home, I was so thankful to have him with me.  I needed him to drive since I could not actually see for the tears in my eyes.Saying goodbye is never easy.
I will miss this man-child more than ever the next few weeks.  For now I will survive on phone calls, texting, and face timing.

Go hug your kids, they need your love and time just moves too fast.
jen

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Cereal with Iron(y)

This morning I was asked what is for dinner.
(I should mention that earlier in the week I asked each child what they wanted for dinner this week,  E chose nachos, J chose fried shrimp, O chose pumpkin pancakes and breakfast stuff, R chose shrimp scampi and little A chose cereal)  Tonight is little A’s choice.  Which brings us back to the question I was asked as E stood in the kitchen this morning before school.
What is for dinner.
I looked up at her and said Cereal.
She instantly took on the face of an annoyed middle school girl (she has this look quite practice!) I asked “what?” she did not want cereal for dinner, she wanted “real food” (I am using quote marks because she said it in a tone that implied that cereal is not food)

Now for the IRON(Y)
I know you will enjoy this!
At least once a week she looks at the ‘real food’ I have prepared for dinner, and says in a middle school girl tone, “can I have cereal?”
Did you see it?  When I make ‘real food’ she asks for cereal, but when I decide that cereal is an actual family meal, she wants “REAL FOOD”
So for now, she is annoyed with me for making cereal for dinner, when I could have made “real food” that she would not eat but ask for cereal instead.

Go hug your kids and enjoy what ever ‘real food’ you choose to have for dinner
jen

The First Day

Happy First Day of School my children. I pray that you are kind, to others, I pray that you are the one that people know they can trust, I pray that you speak to the lonely and that you include those left out. I pray that you know more of Jesus this year. That you will grow and learn and that you apply the things you learn. The world measures your success but God measures your heart. This year I pray your heart grows.

Go hug your kids, time moves too fast for this mama!
jen

January Snow… or not

So we live in the south, almost deep south, but not quite.  Sure we have had snow here in our area, but the last time was the late 70’s and the people who were here for it, still talk about it.  Frozen pipes, yup, we’ve had that, but actual snow… not since I’ve lived here for the last 35 years.  Carline drop off of 27degrees, sure every once in a blue moon, but only about 2x a calendar year.  When it is that crazy cold, I say we should have snow, because cold is cold is cold but snow…  sigh.  Most of my kids have never seen snow, and the time one of them saw snow he was  not yet 2 years old.  The oldest who has loved being in the big city, bright lights and all has had a few very snowy days, the college girl has had a few snowy adventures, going to open fields to ride sleds, and building snowmen on canceled class days.  The senior is looking at universities all to our north (but there is really not much to our south) he is sure to get snow and cold, at any of the places he chooses.

In order to celebrate January and snow, which I’ve established we don’t get…  I decorate for it.  Years and years ago I noticed how very sad my house looked after I took down the Christmas decorations.  I decided to leave up my snowmen, it grew after that.  Today I am going to share a few of my favorite Snow decorations with you.  My fire place, I love my fireplace, We have burned 1 fire so far this year.  It is lovely when we have one, and according to the weeks weather forecast we might get another chance to burn one this week.  (one day we will hang up the curtains over the book shelf but right now I love the light coming in)E made this super sweet snowman when she was in Kindergarten.To the right of the fireplace.  O and R searched for an app to store our books on, to make them easier to remember so I don’t buy duplicates like I did this year at Christmas.  At last count we have a grand total of 1698 books in our house.  (I have a few new ones to put on the app, pushing the total up when I get them all in)A close up of the shelf.  My sister gave me the birch bark vase last year, this month it is filled with sparkle sticks. To the left of the fire place.  I copied the sparkle houses from a picture I found online, I would link it up if I remembered where I found it.  I just know that she had no directions and they were in the middle of something, not the focus of the picture.The top of the cubbies found a little snowman fun this year.  I can’t decide if the gum ball jar of snowmen and bells is working or not?  
Look at all the cute glitterness!  Those are the little houses PS and I made the other day.

So there you have it
how was your January, did you make your own snow, or did you get real snow?
go hug your kids, they need your love
jen

Chasing My Thoughts…

Sometimes my mind races, in circles or down rabbit trails.
Sometimes it races towards disaster, the ‘What if’s’, and the ‘What will I do when…’  road.  That road is stressful, and often I start to panic and get upset.  It is very unsettling, I blame it on my creative mind.
Sometimes it slowly wanders all over the place, a ‘what about a beach trip, right now?’ or “I wonder how long it would take to drive up to C in that Great Big City and surprise him?’ ‘How will I ever survive with R gone next year?’ Sometimes messy, ‘so, if I want to make a dresser into an entertainment center, where can I get a hole saw? It is always fun to wander, often the plans are not even laid out, just day dreaming, all in good fun.

When my mind is wandering sometimes it is good for me to do a thoughtless task.  Scrubbing floors is the best thoughtless task I know to do, I don’t need to think, I just need to scrub.  Being down on my hands and knees facing the floor takes me away from distractions, lets my mind look inward, to pray, and let scripture chase away the cobwebs that are fogging up my mind, giving it a chance clear itself.  I have prayed hard for many situations down on my knees scrubbing the floors.  Sometimes I scrub them even when they are clean just so I can think and pray.  The benefit of that process is a clean floor and a clear mind.  I might not come to a solution but I can at least fully give that problem to God.  As scripture chases through my head, snippets of songs, and wise words spoken have a way of re-directing my thoughts and letting my anxiety ease up.  Another way I clear my mind is by crafting, or making things, sometimes with spray paint and brushes, or hot glue and a sewing machine.  I can focus on the task at hand and let my mind clean up and rest without forcing the issue.

Today my mind was racingSo I just let it create.
I had a few ideas I had been thinking about and today my mind needed a relaxing outlet a chance to create (really the floors could use a good scrub, but paint…much more fun)  I actually had planned on cleaning out, sorting, and organizing the craft areas (yes there is more than 1) so it looks more presentable, instead of like Hob’Lob threw up in my dining room.  But as soon as I picked up the first paintbrush to put it away, I blinked and we were in painting clothes.  We only painted white.  I had an idea, from a friend, and when I could not find what she suggested I went off-road and grabbed some cardboard and metal house ornaments, and 2 larger houses from HL to see if I could make my own idea work.

We worked together, PS and I, mostly in silence, while we painted, it was lovely.  A bath was needed to get all the paint and glitter off.  There are some ‘start point’ projects (A large February LOVE sign) and some things were completed, I just need to  glitter the larger houses when the paint is dry, then tall the houses will be done, I can display them in my January decorations for a few more days before it is time to pack it up for February.Glitter is my favorite!Over all I am pleased with the job and cannot wait for them to be fully dry before I display them in my January decorations.

What about you? What do you do when your mind is racing?  Do you work off your worry, do you drive through the country side, do you walk it off?
Go hug your kids, they need your love, and look for a way to help them when their minds race along faster than they can think.
jen

 

 

Splash Zone

You know those fountains at the outdoor malls?
They have the lovely ledge for sitting on, or running around…
Have you ever noticed the little warning?Please do not touch or stand on the fountain walls.
They could also add…
or run around.
I was too far away to even notice the sign, and little A went from jumping off ledges, planters, and cement stools, to running around this  fountain wall.

To FALLING into the fountain.She FELL IN THE FOUNTAIN and all I could do was laugh.  It is not too cold here in the southern state we are in, as you can see we are not wearing jackets just jeans and long sleeves. Thankfully R was with us to rescue her.  The look of shock on her face was so funny.

Lucky for her Gymboree had a great sale and I had a bag with a few summer outfits for her.  We went to  dry off and put on a new shorts set.

I wish we had been quicker with cameras to get a picture of her in the water.

What about you?  Have you ever fallen into a water feature at a mall?  Was the water cold?
Go hug your kids they need your love!
jen

Christmas in One Word

Christmas this year in a word was hard.
Said Child 3, “it feels like it never really happened, because what we were all waiting for did not happen.”
This is because the man-child, who is now really a man, but will always be my child, he had a work emergency, that became a ‘all hands on deck’ kind of emergency, and that meant all vacation plans were canceled.  He had, if you remember, moved off to the big city, bright lights and all.  He does some sort of computer work.  I cannot tell you exactly, and that is only because I don’t exactly know what he does.  Just computer-something…  I know he travels around for his work, to places like Paris in the spring (for 3 weeks) and that his job is important.  Anyway, way back in June he went in to ask for time off, knowing that he was low man on the totem pole, he went in asking for Christmas week off.  Christmas is his favorite holiday, everything from the familiar movies, tot he belly dancers on the city parade.  So for him to plan ahead from June to Christmas, is not surprising.
He had a work emergency, which was bigger than we imagined, he spent the entire week of planned vacation time working.  Our hearts were crushed, we held out hope even to the last minutes of Christmas eve.  We broke the sad news to our kids, who all were heartbroken.  We reminded them that this was God’s plan, and not our own, and that we can be sad, and cry, and that it was okay, to feel these emotions.  I put up a quote from Desiring God on my Facebook page,  “Tears are not the enemy. Tears do not reflect a lack of faith. Tears are a gift from God that help to wash away the deep pain of loss.”- Desiring God  I hope I guided my children through the time of brokenheartedness, in a loving and trusting way.  Sadness comes for a moment but Joy comes again in the morning, grief and sadness are all part of what makes us human, unique and in God’s image, we can embrace them not hide them or squelch the emotions we are feeling.  We pushed on with our Christmas plans, we had some face time with the man-child, and we were able to see him for a minute, not hug or hold him, but to see him.  I think if we had known from the beginning we would have been prepared for this. The surprise left us so unprepared, raw and unprotected from the grief.  So this Christmas held joys and cheers and happiness, but it was hard.
Very Hard.

God is good, and faithful, and we celebrated that!  Go hug your kids, they need your love
jen