Sunday, March 30, 2014

Keeping It Real

I attended this huge women's fellowship luncheon with my mom yesterday at church.  I was anxious to say the least, not because my dad was watching the girls, but because I was not watching them.  Monday through Friday they are happy little "school-goers," but this week had been different.  They hadn't quite been well, and I was worried they would eat something that would either hurt their tummies or they'd be allergic to.  Both very real realities in our world.

Anyway, I was glad to get away to eat some real food, to see familiar faces, and to hopefully hear some encouraging words.  I make no jokes about it, for the most part, I don't really enjoy time with many women. I had one best friend through school and the rest of my friends were boys.  Today, I feel like I have NO time between work and my kids, and I don't have any friends who are in that same place.  Being a working mommy is different than staying home (both equally hard in their own rights), and having more than one child is whole other ballgame.  Add that that my husband and I are not close in age, his friends and my friends are different, because we relate to them because of our ages.  I've slowly started to try to make a little time for myself, but it's an effort.

When the speaker walked up to the stage, I kinda sighed.  I am sure this isn't for me.  In her floor length skirt, her perfectly painted nails, not a hair out of place, the stay at home wife to a pastor certainly can't tell me anything. "I have a passion for women's ministries.  Women need to get together, to talk about emotions, to share those feelings." GAG ME.  The next words are the ones I took home though, "women need to keep it real."  She went on to talk about carving time out for God, something I don't do near enough of, and the ways, as women, we can let our light shine in the world.  But it all goes back to keeping it real, and being open and honest with ourselves and God.  Something I am not always good at; I'm too busy trying to be perfect or making other people at least think I am.

I got two really sweet Facebook messages this week.  One from a friend expecting her second bundle of joy and wanted a little affirmation on how to manage two sweet ones close in age, another from a college classmate wanting a little advice on incorporating literacy in her toddler's day to day schedule.  While I loved sharing, and I'm long-winded anyway, I thought Saturday about these messages, and I wondered, "What kind of message does 'facebook Rachel' send out? Does she keep it real?"  So, while my Pinterest boards are full of fun literacy ideas, great toddler meal plans, and my girls love doing art projects and reading books, our house is not always running flawlessly.

I have a pack n play full of clean laundry.  I don't know if I ever really intend on folding it, I grab whatever I'm going to wear out of it, fluff in the dryer and it's good to go.  No one has slept in there in forever, maybe because they hated "baby jail" or maybe because their mommy was too lazy to fold those clothes up anyway. My goal for spring break is to get the laundry put away and either cosign the thing or turn it into a toy box or reading corner for the girls.

I shower while my kids are in the bathtub.  Before you gasp at the dangers of this, I put just a little bit of water, the garden tub and the shower are side by side, and thank goodness for the builder's grade mirrored glass behind the sinks (the kind they shudder at on House Hunters), it gives me a clear view of the girls.  It's really the only way I've figured out how to get a shower.

We have an ant problem in our house.  I don't know what to do about other than vacuuming and sweeping all the darn time. I've tried to make everyone eat at the table, and Daddy still sneaks all the kids snacks away from their respected chairs, and we will have 1 crumb in the playroom and 100 ants.  I'm scared to put out poison for the ants, because as much as I want them dead, I don't want my kids dead. So, I squish and clean, and while it's not infested, and more of a bother than anything, it exists.  I hate it.

 I don't really ever sleep.  Anna still wakes at night, we cosleep much to my displeasure, and I can't remember the last time I slept all night.  I'm sure it was at 30-something weeks pregnant in 2010.  I get really ill when I'm tired.  I get weepy and cranky; worse than either one of my toddlers.  While usually, I'm not overly hormonal or sensitive, I am when I'm tired.  I feel like I'm on year 4 of PMS'ing sometimes.  I took a nap today.  So, today's a good day!

I don't get sad when I pack up baby clothes.  I don't really miss my babies being babies.  While I loved holding little squishy Anna & Reagan, I am really scared of tiny babies.  I still am not quite sure how they survived.  I had no idea what I was doing.

I sometimes loath my husband.  Not because of anything he does or doesn't do.  I am a bit jealous of his lifestyle.  Despite of all the changes I've had in my life, his life (his Sundays of golf, grabbing lunch with a friend, going on a boys' weekend) has not changed.  He can just go, and I guess I could put my foot down, but undoubtedly it wouldn't change anything.  I complain about it from time to time, and he "gets it" but he doesn't REALLY get it.  I love my littles and wouldn't change anything about the time I've invested into their childhood, but it's tough work!

I am sure I could go on, but the point is, I saw the lady's point.  We need to be real with ourselves, with each other.  I think sometimes the pressure to be perfect comes from comparing ourselves to other people we think are doing it the right way.  So while Anna and Reagan are wearing clothes out of the Pack 'n Play today, and I killed three ants in the kitchen, we're happy.  I've set aside time for me to spend in devotion and a little more time to do that with my girls.  If I can set the example of being honest and real with my girls, maybe they won't feel the pressure to be perfect, they won't fool themselves into thinking that these actions (of people pleasing) are what distinguishes their worth as women and Christians.

Monday, March 3, 2014


Little man finished up his Upward basketball season last weekend, and I'll be honest, even though it was nice not rushing from gymnastics to court side, I missed it!  Growing up playing rec basketball, a member of the middle school and high school teams, playing super competitive basketball, I was a bit hesitant of the Upward league.  They had some rules that bothered the competitor in me.  You HAD to play man to man, you couldn't switch even after a screen.  If a team outscored their opponents by more than 10, then the scoreboard didn't budge until they were back within range.  I wasn't sure if it was teaching the kids real skills.

However, I watched Brent grow so much over the eight week span.  His ball handling, his defense (his defense a lot---he learned that he wasn't a little Lebron, he had to work with his teammates), his ability to anticipate what was coming next, and his confidence.  Not to mention, Brent grew in Christ.  He asked me some pretty tough questions about heaven and hell and what happens after death.  He asked me about people who don't believe.  I am certain this questions were spurred by verses learned at their weekly practices and the devotions held during halftime and post games.  David's response to Brent's questions usually is "ask Rachel," no matter what it's about--from fractions to faith.  But this time, Brent turned to me first.  Having that responsibility is huge, but I guess knowing that I spent a lot of time teaching Sunday School and forcing him to read the Picture Book Bible in kindergarten, left me as the resident expert.

So, even if I disagreed with some of the ways the games were played, I can't disagree with the deeper message.  Even though I didn't love some of the rules skewed, I can't help but love my favorite little man wanting to be more like Christ.  Having a child look to you and want to know more about what it means to be a Christian kinda makes all the "rules" look much less important.  They didn't always win (his team finished 8-3, so they did have to lose gracefully), we haven't had awards day, so I'm not certain if they all are awarded trophies or not, but you know, it really doesn't matter.  I'm a huge fan of Upward sports because the life lessons it's taught my little man far outweigh his draft chances anyway.  In a day where bullies are driving kids to unthinkable acts, where families can't get along, where kids are left alone to be independent way too much, there needs to be some rays of sunshine. This league is certainly some sunshine in our community.