Soooo…we’re promising ourselves that this blog will again be more than just our lists of things, but tomorrow’s Friday, so we’re stuck for now! I just looked through our drafts, and we have 7 ideas, some with multiple components. It’s just finding the time to flesh it out.
Here are 5 other things we’ve been spending our time on and some little nugget lessons we’ve been learning along the way.
strategically accidentally arranged our family birthdays
to all feature one family member a month (Hank, Meagan, Walt, Cora, Jeff are May, June, July, August, September, respectively). So we’ve had lots of parties! And planning two more! This year was a big one for me (Meagan), the big 3-0. And friends. Oh. My. Gracious. The surprise party Jeff orchestrated with my family and friends was INCREDIBLE. It is going to be it’s own post, with pictures, there was a theme, and costumes…be on the lookout…
Besides just the five of us, we have tons of birthdays among our parents and siblings. So much cake.
Birthday Lesson: They all look different. Sometimes they’re huge, theme parties with faraway guests. Sometimes they’re sweet, small times with cake and family. But we cherish every day we have and look for reasons to celebrate life and love.
I love weddings. They are all so unique, but so unifying. As I listen to wedding ceremonies, I remember my own vows and cherish the solemnity and intimacy of such an amazing opportunity to partner and do life with someone. I love taking the kids to weddings and sharing the experience with them. I love NOT taking the kids to weddings and having the freedom to dance and socialize WITH my husband rather than running zone defense during the reception, making sure none of our crazies (A) escape or (B) destroy the cake. I love watching Jeff perform ceremonies and hear his voice echo what we promised to one another nine years ago. I love weddings where he sits with me and we reflect together as we watch another couple pledge forever.
Anyway, our first wedding this summer was one of our dearest friends. We traveled to Oklahoma and got to hug lots of necks as we celebrated her and her groom. They were beautiful, the wedding was beautiful, and we can’t wait to visit again soon and catch up with The Nelsons!
Our second wedding was MY BROTHER! Since this wedding was so close to us, we celebrated pretty much the entire month of June leading up to their July 1st wedding day. Oh and then more celebrating after they returned from their honeymoon and we gathered to eat awesome food left over from the reception. Jeff performed the ceremony, I proudly stood with Erin, and Cora and Hank fulfilled the flower girl and ring bearer duties with just the right balance of cuteness and distraction… (sorry about the racing down the aisle guys…and the candy all over the stage…and that Cora ran out of petals and stopped in disappointment…and that Hank got confused and almost crashed your exit…and your niece and nephew love you so much! Thank you for loving them exactly as they are!)
We attended another for a precious couple two weeks ago, and we have exciting ones coming soon!
Wedding Lesson: Whether standing on stage in the party, or barely having a chance to wave at the newlyweds across a crowded reception, I believe presence is valued. Joining together to affirm commitment in the community brings so much joy and encouragement to the occasion.
3) Boot Camp!
This one sounds like a one person thing, but it is so not. I joined another round of bootcamp with the awesome Stephanie Adkins (seriously, awesome…40 pounds for me since January following her work-outs and nutrition guidance) the past 5 weeks (one more week to go!). I HAVE to do these workouts before the kids wake up, or…well, the kids are up! I couldn’t commit to it without constant support. Jeff is there every morning, and 9 times out of 10, my leaving wakes one (or all) of the babes up. He is there to snuggle the sweet ones even though he could use the sleep before the day begins. If I just can’t make it happen first thing in the morning (a fairly regular issue with 3 toddlers who still require assistance sleeping and my regular self, which hates mornings with a burning fiery passion), he might run dinner and evening with the kids while I sneak away. Sometimes my mom jumps in to entertain them, and that probably means I get to do the workout with sister which is waaaaaay more fun than doing it alone. Tuesday, my mom and I worked out WITH all the kids in the garage! When I bootcamp, the FAMILY has to bootcamp!
This has been the hardest bootcamp for me because life has just been so busy. But surrounded by endless support, I’m still seeing results and honestly, I’m seeing myself adopt much more of a lifestyle as I navigate health and fitness. I’m not even frustrated with the slower progress because although I am still working on health goals, I am loving food for what it can do for my physical and emotional health.
Boot Camp Lesson(s): #1 Jeff is a rockstar, nothing but support. I hope he feels the same from me! #2 I really love lifting/I know I still need cardio #3 I still hate mornings
4) Youth Stuffs
So this is probably the biggest item that has shaken up our schedule, and we’re loving every minute. I think we’ve mentioned that Jeff is currently serving as Interim Youth Pastor at our church. While June was mostly filled with Camp, VBS, and a mission trip, July has been full force calendar events. Sunday mornings are Sunday School and service. Sunday nights we have socials which we have LOVED for getting to know students, sponsors, and parents. Monday Jeff typically meets with the incredible interns or associate pastor to talk about the week, the month, and as far ahead as we can think right now. Tuesdays we meet students at Tech to play volleyball. Wednesdays are game nights (card based!), and Thursdays the interns host Open Gym.
We are truly loving getting to know students and families outside our regular Sunday school, and are constantly overwhelmed by the amazing adults that are continually serving this group. We are praying for the person coming to serve full time; you are coming to a place where exciting things are happening!
Our kids love getting to be around the “big kids”. They love showing off their own athletic skills (very advanced, Cora can hit HERSELF in the face with a frisbee), swimming in big pools, and figuring out exactly which students can’t quite say “no” to their toddler demands.
Youth Stuffs Lesson: Jeff’s favorite word for students (and pretty much life) is “community”. We love being a part of it, we love trying to grow it, and we want everyone to find a place among one. Whatever “life stage” you are in, there is a place for you to connect, care for others, and be cared for.
5) “Normal” Life
Haha. What is that, anyway? As we have packed our days and nights to the max this summer, we are being very intentional with “normalcy” on days that are open. This means regular meals and bedtimes when I would rather sleep in and let the kids eat from the “bear” (animal cracker bucket) all day. It means we actually schedule “Hot Wheels” night with Dad; I take the over-eager baby out of the house so Jeff and the bigs can spend quality time doing big-kid things (like building real race tracks with Hot Wheels) with just their daddy. We try and make sure we are doing activities just for the kids, rather than only taking them to our events. It means reeeeeally trying to invest the time and energy into healthy home-cooked meals when we ARE staying in, so that we have energy for the next day. It means sometimes I stay home during a youth event to snuggle my kids, because their sweet little bodies need just a little more rest than they got the night before. Normal lets the kiddos just play in dirt and explore. It means we’re trying to maintain friendships that are not in the family, in a season of wedding/birthday celebration, or in the youth group circle. We go out with other couples, take dates just the two of us, and have people in our home. I take the kids to the park, to lunch with friends, to the Spectrum Site (Science Spectrum, no one correct my kids, I love that they call it that), to the library, and to the grocery story, when really I need to do laundry, or vacuum, or wash a dish (at LEAST one…my kids shared a yogurt spoon yesterday…and didn’t bring it to my attention until they were finished…). I would call it chaos, but it doesn’t feel that way. It feels adventurous. Life feels big and exciting.
“Normal” Life Lesson: We love a full, exciting calendar. But we recognize the need for down time. Our tiny people often remind us what we need ourselves, a little bit of rest.
There’s what we’ve been doing and what we’ve been trying to learn! Our self challenge for the week…drumroll………. Publish just one stinkin’ post before next Friday… Let’s see how we do!