Monday, June 30, 2014

Getting reacquainted

*I started this post back in February and just realized that I'd never finished it!

The late afternoon sun casts a glow on our faces as we sit near the place we sat ten years ago. A decade. The original coffee shop has closed, but this one's more quaint, just down the street, and a little more hipster than we can pull off. We sit down anyway and share a latte because we're still too cheap to buy our own and too old to handle the caffeine so late (even decaf). I don't put up a fuss when he drinks more than his share, but also notice him making efforts to ration himself, accommodating my leisurely pace when it comes to anything culinary.

I steal a glance across the blue and white mosaic table and smile. Ten years of looking into those eyes and it's still hard to look away sometimes. But just to bait him, I look out the window at the shop next door. 

"I brought something I think you'll like."

His eyes flicker, curious; we no longer have to use words.

But words are what I have. Lots of them. Pages and pages of them. From ten years ago, when he first worked up the courage to ask me out. I pull the marble black and white journal from my purse, and what surprises me most is how it feels in my hand when its closed--how it's warped and thick, like it ate a little too much for dinner, how much life bulges under the cover. It's old and familiar all at the same time, and what I don't realize is that I'm about to reacquaint myself with myself as I read pages aloud.

We read and read and laugh and laugh. About how we've changed. About how right or wrong our early impressions were. About our naivety. It's an evening of remembering, and those are important.

As I read, I find a young woman who's me but not me; I know her and I don't. I'm fascinated by her and learn from her but am so glad I'm not her anymore. I love being a decade in, having nestled into life and mess and adventure and humdrum with this man. To live long enough to have a little perspective and to have the word "mature" mean more about my age than my behavior.

I lean over to put the journal back in my purse, noting briefly--and almost lovingly--the soft curves of my middle that gave life to our two children, and I don't think my decade-ago self could have ever imagined this--all of this that isn't perfect and isn't easy but is good and deep and unexpected and wonderful and ours until death do us part. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Kickin' it old school

photo credit
You know that ebb and flow of life? The yin and yang of it? How one decade sugar is bad because of calories and the next it's good because it's natural? Or how decades ago putting babies to sleep on their tummies was thought to be soothing and now it's a hazard? Or how Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest was once a transforming way to connect and now people are deleting their accounts left and right because it takes up too much of their time or they're comparing themselves to others too much or they just want some more privacy? That. 

I've been thinking about that last one, about how much of my life I spend trying to document life instead of just living it. How I'm looking at my kids through a screen so that I can preserve their little faces and voices. I'm even thinking about why I take those pictures and videos: is it for them and for our family, or is it to show the world and get some likes on Facebook? And does the world really need pictures of my kids? And do my kids really want their faces strewn all over who knows where?

What would happen if I went a little old school, if I got off the grid a little? What would happen if I were more present--turned off the screens, quit looking at what other people were up to, remembered birthdays because I'd written them down instead of having a Facebook reminder, called or emailed people instead of relying on status updates for news, enjoyed a cute moment with my kids without having to capture it? Took a break from TV for a while?

I know I'm just in an ebb phase and that social media isn't only evil all the time. I'm not going to delete my Facebook account or quit blogging, and I'm not even on a screen all that often to begin with. BUT. I'm going to scale back. An article in World Magazine recently stated, "Living life online...can intrude on our private disciplines" and my heart nodded. Yes. Yes. I'm missing the things that make my heart alive: reading, writing, thinking, praying, letter-writing. And I always say I don't have time, but I do; I just need to create space for it.

So I'm going to watch fewer shows on Hulu and pick up some books in that stack that's been piling up by my bed. I probably won't post any more pictures of my kids on Facebook (for their sakes and mine...and maybe yours). I won't update my status on Facebook unless it's useful (like, can you please help me find a Lightning McQueen anything because my son is obsessed? That kind of thing). I'm making an effort to put down my phone more. Like in another room. I think it will make me a more present mom. I probably won't write about my kids as much on here either; some things are just for them and need to stay that way.

One thing I won't do for now, though, is quit blogging. I started it years ago to keep myself writing, and  it still serves that purpose and gives me a platform to do something I was created to do. I do want to work more on my writing here, making it tight and interesting and honest.

Girls' Night Out

After three and a half months of Phil working and studying for boards (read: I was a single mom), Phil graciously offered to watch the kids one weekend for me while I had a girls weekend. Please and thank you, Hubs.

While he offered an entire weekend, I only took him up on 24 hours (nursing/pumping/kid who wasn't sleeping well and all), but it was glorious. My friend Christen (5K Christen) and I stayed at Embassy Suites in town, since the trip was so short and we didn't want to waste precious time in the car. We made those 24 hours count, though, by:
  • Getting pedicures
  • Having (free!) drinks in the hotel lobby
  • Eating sushi (my favorite) with another friend at a new restaurant (love trying new places)
  • Watching the last two episodes of Grey's Anatomy for this season (Christen and I have watched that show loyally together for years)
  • Sleeping over NINE hours uninterrupted (Christen had to wake me up so we wouldn't miss the free made-to-order omelet breakfast)
  • Eating a delicious and large and someone-else-cooked-it breakfast
  • Shopping for and finding a dress I needed for an upcoming event
So, yeah. It was awesome and just what I needed. I think it should be an annual thing. You know, once you do something fun once you ought to make it a tradition! 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Three Things Thursday

Thing One: I survived VBS
So, yeah. I went into VBS this year kicking and screaming with a touch of pride that they're so lucky to have me. Yucky heart stuff. But but but. While I'm glad it's over, I'm also glad I did it. I forget how much I love teaching and how much I love teaching kids and how much I love teaching kids about Jesus. In the midst of the controlled chaos of teaching a room of preschoolers whose attention span was the size of a pea, there was something palpably eternal about it all. Before VBS began, I asked some of you to remind me never to sign up for it again (especially when it starts the day after we get back from a 10-day vacation where no one sleeps enough), but now I'm changing my tune. Next year, when I'm being a selfish, fit-prone kid about this again, please remind me that whatever sacrifices it may cost, it will be worth it because eternal things hang in the balance.

Thing Two: Planet Fitness
photo credit

We recently switched our membership to Planet Fitness because they just opened one near our house and it's freaking ten dollars a month and WOAAAH I love this place. While the cost got me in (and the fact that they're a sponsor for one of my all-time favorite shows, The Biggest Loser), here are a few other things that will keep me going back:

  • They have so much equipment that you can always find an open machine.
  • They have free personal training offered most days of the week.
  • They have trainers patrolling the gym to show you how to use the equipment/do the circuit/lift correctly, which eliminates that I-have-no-idea-what-I'm-doing dilemma I usually get when going to a new gym.
  • They play great music (even though I usually only listen to my own).
  • Parking is free and close and there are plenty of spots.
  • They pride themselves on "no gymtimidation," and it's true. The people there aren't body builders; they're just regular people trying to work out.
  • We're not paying for perks we don't use. Our old gym was awesome and had a pool, racquetball courts, basketball gyms, a running track, and all kinds of classes. The problem was that all we had time to do and really wanted to do was lift and/or run and head home, so this is a perfect fit for us.

Thing Three: Must-make recipe--Blueberry Crumb Cake
photo credit

It's a good thing I've been going to the gym more often because this recipe isn't exactly healthy, but oh. my. goodness. It's good, y'all. I had to freeze half of it so I wouldn't consume it all in one week--great for a crowd. Of course, because it's a Pioneer Woman recipe and those are always delicious. Another perk: it can be eaten for breakfast, brunch, snack, or dessert! Yesssss! Okay, okay. Click HERE for the recipe already.