Thursday, December 29, 2016

Picture of the Week - 12/29/2016

2016 is nearly over.  Thoughts?

There seems to be an overwhelming swell of emotion on social media recently about how bad 2016 has been.  The general feeling seems to be that 2016 is evil and nasty and somehow has controlled events and contributed to results.  The common theme, again if you judge by volume of posts on social media, is clearly one of "good riddance".  And that somehow the passage of one year to the next will change things.  That whatever forces are at work will change with the calendar.  

For me, I'm not so sure.  

I think the last year, the last 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days have been pretty much in line with those before.  There have clearly been ups and downs this year - both personally impacting me and my family as well as the bigger picture stuff.  

But here's the thing...  if the collective mind-share out in the internet was talking about what a great year 2016 was (despite some sad stuff that happened) would it make YOU feel differently about the last year?  If social media was telling you that 2016 rocked (even though it was hard sometimes), would you think it rocked too?  Does it matter to you that other people say 2016 was awful (even if it had some OK moments)?  If you aren't sure, then I'm gonna suggest you put too much emphasis on what other people (some you don't even know) think.  

For me and my family, 2016 was super super busy and had way too many healthcare related "things".  It was often hard to slow down enough to even recognize the good things around us.  And it was easy to get sad about healthcare stuff causing us to change plans, miss things, just not feel well.  

2016 was also a year of some pretty awesome accomplishments.  You read all about all of them - thank you for sticking with us through another year.  

I'm looking forward to 2017 in the same way I looked forward to 2016.  I expect many more great things as we get ready to celebrate having 2 teenagers in the house, a new high school student, getting Beck out of daycare, coaching 4 lacrosse teams, cheering on football and wrestling, a 5th Buckeye cruise and another week at the beach, birthdays for 13, 15, 8 and 6 year olds, more holidays with family, and a 20th wedding anniversary.  2017 will undoubtedly also have challenges.  Some I can see coming, likely many more that we don't even know about year.  That's life, y'all.  

So bring it!  Bring all the good stuff and also the less than great...  it's those hard times that make the good stuff so much sweeter.  

Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve!  We will be eating fajitas and watching the Buckeyes from the comfort of our loud and crazy living room.  Talk to you NEXT YEAR!  

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Picture of the Week - 12/22/2016

Godwink - An occurrence so odd and out of the ordinary, it had to be put in place by God. A wink from God letting you know you're in the right direction.

Do you guys believe in Godwinks?  The definition above is from the Urban Dictionary.  I have always thought that Godwinks were pretty cool.  Yesterday I had a HUGE one.  HUGE!  And it's got me ALL KINDS of inspired.

You know I've been in kind of a funk.  Nothing bad, just a bunch of little things and drama and stress.  Some of it is normal time-of-the-year stress.  Some of it is raising-kids-is-hard stress.  Some of it is I-don't-love-my-lob stress.  Some is I'm-worried-about-a-lot stress.  Some of it is I-want-my-kids-to-be-healthy stress.  The variety has ebbed and flowed, but I've had a lot of anxiety recently.  

So yesterday I was driving to the office and (if I'm being honest) feeling pretty sorry for myself for having to work and having to drive all the way to Buckhead.  Based on the lack of traffic yesterday, most people were still home tucked in their warm beds.  I was driving and listening to Christmas music and decided I needed to figure out a way out of my funk before the 2016 holiday season passed by completely without my participation.  

I considered lots of options ranging from getting a massage TO drinking a bottle of wine TO keeping a bunch of cash with me to give to anyone I thought needed it TO making a cheesecake TO doing more shopping for my boys.  I considered, and discarded, a BUNCH of ideas.  (Aside - driving in the dark without much traffic listening to Christmas music is a good time to brainstorm.)  

I settled on an idea that was shared at a conference I went to this fall.  The idea was to keep a Gratitude Journal.  The idea is simple.  Every day you write down 1 thing (or 3 things or 5 things) that you are grateful to have in your life.  No repeats.   

Clearly with the "no repeats" rule, you have to get pretty specific.  Ideally, you complete your gratitude journal entry before ever stepping foot on the floor in the morning.  What better way to start the day?  

The woman, an actress turned motivational speaker, who shared this idea (which admittedly isn't new) talked about how the simple act of recognizing there are things (lots of them) to be grateful about has a snowball effect on mood and motivation and - eventually - accomplishment.  Back in September she had sold me that it was a great thing to do!  They gave out cute pink journals as "swag" for the conference specifically for the purpose of a Gratitude Journal.  I was fired up and ready to be thankful and happy and super productive.  Then I left the conference and never opened the journal again.

I decided, however, on that lonely drive, that this Gratitude Journal was going to be IT for me.  I was going to turn this into my new habit and make a commitment to doing it daily.  It felt like the right thing to do and I was pumped up about it again.

Then I finished my drive, parked, walked, rode the elevator, got to my empty office, turned on the lights and saw a package on my desk.  It was a gift from one of the vendors we work with.  Nice.  I opened that navy blue bag and nearly fell off my chair.  

Inside that gift bag was a journal.  With a pen.

Pretty clear Godwink if you ask me.

SO here's to Gratitude Journals and being thankful.  I figure we are all going to have an awful lot to be thankful for over the next week as we celebrate Christmas and being with people we love.  I'm gonna slow down,  write in my journal, and fill myself up with love.  Pretty good way to prep for a new year.  

Merry (early) Christmas everyone!  Have a blessed and safe holiday.  And if you find yourself a little stressed, grab a pen and a cute journal.  I'll let you know how mine is going after I have some time to get into the habit.  


PS - picture is the gift I received on my desk with my calendar in front of it - just so you didn't think I made all this up.  :)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Picture of the Week - 12/15/2016

My theme for this holiday season may end up being "Fake it 'til you make it".  I'm having a tough time getting into the spirit this year.  And I feel bad even admitting that.  The Holiday season is supposed to be magical and full of gift wrapping and baking and peppermint.  So far my season feels pretty full of work and stress and drama.

Thank goodness for the little boys.  Because of them, I feel like I have to fake some holiday cheer.  Eventually opening that Star Wars Advent calendar and finding the elf and reading the Christmas stories and watching the classic movies is gonna force me, for real, into the holiday spirit.  For now I'm gonna just keep faking it.  

Part of the reason I'm stressed and busy dealing with drama is (admittedly minor) because of lacrosse and the Select evaluations.  To make a very long story short, Quinn got cut.  So did nearly all of his friends.  This has caused much discussion and I shall not rehash all of the conversations.  It's taken up a HUGE portion of my time over the last 7 days.  It's taken up even more of my energy.  And most of that has been dedicated to trying to protect and preserve the PROGRAM from the fallout - not my son.  More on that someday when I share how I've somehow found myself in charge of the boys program for our league.  I still don't fully understand how that even happened...  

Much drama...

Quinn, despite being disappointed, has taken this in stride.  He understands that if he had been better than everyone else, he would have made the team.  He knows we fully support anything we can do to help prepare him for next year.  We believe in him and think he can prepare himself to be a key member of the Sr Select team next year.  What we aren't sure of, as this is still quite new, is how he's going to respond.  Is he going to step up his game?  Will his desire to get better overcome inertia and cause him to change his behavior and his actions?  Not sure.  I hope so.  And since we've done this before, in different circumstances of course, with Spencer, we know the drill.  We've seen how a disappointment (getting cut, missing out on playing time, etc) can translate into really great things.  

I never like to compare my kids.  They are just WAY TOO DIFFERENT.  However, all Quinn needs to do to see how to turn this situation into something life-changing, is to look at Spencer.  And I know he can do it if he chooses to do so.  

And if he doesn't choose to apply the time and energy and will power to get better at lacrosse, that's OK too.  If he chooses to play the sport for fun.  To use it to spend time with his friends in a less competitive way, that's OK too.  And wrapping my head around that idea has taken some effort - if I'm being honest.  It's hard not to look at what Spencer has done and how much it has improved HIM and not hope for the same with Quinn.  But you know what...  Quinn is NOT Spencer.  They are different.  They have different talents and different abilities and different desires.  I pray that I am able to stay open to whatever Quinn chooses to focus on and that he chooses something to channel his passion into that will make him happy.  

So yeah...  there's been some drama in the house.  

And I haven't even shared some of the new medical stuff we are dealing with.  Not ready yet...  will soon.

As for the old medical stuff, Spencer's shoulder seems to be fully healed.  He's been going to the physical therapist 3 times a week for several weeks now.  It's made a difference.  And now that he's feeling better he's like a possessed animal.  If we don't find him a way to work off some of this energy soon I think he may start lifting cars.  This morning he got up at 6 AM so he could lift before school.  I'm not talking about a couple of bicep curls... I'm talking full on, sweat pouring, lifting.  I just pray he doesn't go too fast and hurt himself again because he's so anxious.  I'm pretty sure he's going to go to wrestling practice tonight.  I pity whoever he gets matched up with...  

This Sunday we have another wrestling dual.  If Spencer's shoulder does well tonight, he will get to wrestle on Sunday.  Quinn will be wrestling too.  He got to wrestle for the first time (since he was in 1st grade) last weekend.  He got pinned 3 times.  The last one was something called a stack?  I think???  It looked bad...  he got hurt... we spent the afternoon at urgent care getting x-rays of his neck to make sure he didn't break anything.  He didn't and he's fine, but wrestling is beast...  And you know what, Quinn went right back to work on Tuesday.  I'm so proud of him for that.  I know he's working hard and not getting much satisfaction from the sport THIS YEAR, but the fact that he's sticking with it will pay off in so many ways.  I pray he knows that.  

Drama this week for sure...

(Little boys are good - loud, but good - and not causing more drama than normal.  Thank goodness!)

Here's to the last full week before Christmas.  Here's hoping things will slow down a bit at work as people start disappearing for the holidays.  Here's praying that we get through the next week without any new injuries.

Here's to finally tackling my baking.  Here's hoping everyone loves the gifts we've chosen for them.  Here's praying for guidance on how to best support all of the needs of all of our children in ways that personally work for them.

Here's to sitting down to drink wine and watch Polar Express.  Here's hoping I can finish that one last project I'm working on before Christmas.  Here's praying that I can remember the real reason for this season and can trust that God has a plan that includes all of this drama.

Have a Happy week everyone!  (And sorry for the wordy email...  it's therapy...)

PS - how cute are these ornaments that Beckett has made for our tree?  I don't even have to fake how much I adore these.  Like seriously love...

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Picture of the Week - 12/8/2016

Here's a fun picture on this COLD December day!  I love our annual Santa Hat pictures.  :)

This has been an odd week.  Not bad, just a bit odd.  

Tonight is another milestone kind of evening.  I'll be taking Spencer to a FRESHMAN football meeting.  As in Freshman in HIGH SCHOOL.  Oy!  I don't know how *that* happened...  And Bob will be taking Quinn to the last evening of evaluations for Select Lacrosse this spring.  Fingers crossed all around!  We will have results by Sunday night.

This weekend the big guys are going to play in a lacrosse tournament on Saturday while I'm hiding at home trying to stay warm with the little guys.  And then on Sunday we have our first wrestling tournament.  Spencer is still sidelined because of his shoulder, but Quinn may get to wrestle.  Should be interesting.  

Send up some special prayers this week for my dad and his family.  His sister Bev passed away yesterday. 

Have a good week everyone.  Only 16 days until Christmas!!  (9 working days for me until a nice long break!)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Picture of the Week - 12/1/2016

Happy December!

Anyone else having a hard time wrapping your head around the fact that it's December and Christmas is just a few weeks away???  

I'm kind of having a bit of a hard time getting into the spirit this year.  Not sure why.  I'm hoping it's just because I've been busy (and not feeling particularly well) and as soon as I get some things knocked off my "to do" list, I'll be able to relax and enjoy.  For now though, I feel a little bit in denial that it's holiday time.  Maybe I should bake some cookies...

Thank goodness for the little guys.  They are in the spirit of the season and while I feel a little bit like I'm going through the motions for them without really getting into it - without them, we'd probably not have a tree up and wouldn't have our family of deer out front and we definitely wouldn't have these cool new Star Wars themed Advent Calendars.  They were SO excited this morning.  I seriously love watching them when they are excited and happy.  What a blessing.  :)

Some news kinds of things...  
- Quinn and Spencer are in the middle of evaluations for Select lacrosse teams this spring.  Spence is trying out for the Senior Select team and Quinn the Junior Select.  Keep your fingers crossed that all goes well.  We should know about Quinn early next week and Spence (for sure) by the end of next week.  I say "for sure" because Spencer's not able to participate in evaluations due to his shoulder, but the coaches know what he's capable of and we're nearly certain he's got a spot on that team.  
- Spencer is currently unable to participate because he's in physical therapy for a shoulder injury he sustained back in October during the football championship game.  We didn't think it was significant, but it wouldn't get away.  Turns out it was worse than we thought.  He's got at least 2 more weeks of PT before he can start doing anything.  No wrestling.  No lacrosse.  No weight lifting.  He's bummer - and bored.  We're hoping if we can keep him "good" through December, he can hit the ground running in January.  Believe it or not, weight training for football starts in January - and that's his current goal.
- Everyone say Happy Birthday to Berber!  She gets to celebrate this coming Monday!  :)

Have a great first week of December!  I'm off to light a Christmas Tree scented candle, eat a candy cane, and blare some holiday music.  I'm determined to get into the season before it's too late!