Thursday, October 30, 2014

Week in the Life {Wednesday}

The story of Wednesday begins a lot - a lot - earlier than I had thought.
It began about 11:00 the night before, when just as I had fallen into a nice slumber, Ruby’s tears wake me up.  And keep me up until 1:30 Wednesday morning.  This was new for her - very unsettled and uncomfortable but quiet so long as I was in her room with her.  We rocked, we walked the floor, I eventually laid her back in bed to try to do it on her own, and she was just all over the place.  Eventually, I took us into the living room to try to snuggle on the couch, to no avail.  I finally grabbed a bottle for her, and after about three ounces, she was out.  That put me back into bed about 1:30, where I promptly reset my alarm to 6:30.  Bummed to be missing my treadmill time, but realistic in my need to get as much sleep as possible, even if it’s only five hours.
At least it was a quiet five hours.
The story continues at 6:30.  When I hit the snooze.  Twice. 
The story of today, and almost every other morning, includes books and his favorite friends.
The story of their mornings includes a bottle for breakfast and ESPN on the television.
As they wait for time to pass, they play.  Wherever.
At least someone is sleeping in.
The story of today includes my favorite warm beverage - caramel cappuccino.  Please and thank you.
And breakfast for them.
The story of this school day means barreling into the far back seat and chatting all the way there (just over a mile) 
and arriving with such excitement they run to the door.  Or, what I later found out — it’s a race. ;)
The story of today involves fighting sleep {when Ruby is obviously sleepy but for some reason isn’t ready to cuddle and rock to sleep, I’ll put her back on the floor to “play” until she comes back to me, then we try again}
but finally succumbing.
Then, more, please.  Because five.hours. 
The story of today includes planning and lists and looking ahead and remembering that Brad will be gone the latter part of next week.  Ugh.
The story of today includes a little sweet indulgence.  Because five.hours.  And Brad will be gone next week
The story of today includes menial tasks that are kind of a drag.
And finding that my most used casserole dish has bit the dust.  Bummer.
The story of today involves pumpkins.  Keep reading!
The story of today includes purple polka dot pajamas
and naked selfies
and welcoming Dad home for lunch
while she squeals with delight at the sight of him while she takes a mid-day bath.
The story of today includes quick and easy and really rather tasty.
The story of today includes love from Dad
and THIS.
The story still includes fighting sleep (there seems to be a theme here)
until finally taking care of it all on her own.
The story of today saw the return of video games (yay!).
The story of today included joining him at work
alongside our church family, to celebrate our families and our community and fall and Halloween and to enjoy and to laugh and to have a really great time. 
The story includes cleaning out the guts (it’s always my job, because I’m the only one that can handle the gross, apparently?)
and giving it a shot on their own this time.
The story of today ends with the boys snug as a bug, Ruby {fingers crossed!} asleep, and me crawling into bed at 9:30 while Brad settles in to watch game 7 of the World Series.
Thoughts about Wednesday…
Brad usually has to leave for work earlier than normal on Wednesday mornings because of a meeting.  So instead of not leaving for work until about 9:30, he needs to leave just shortly after 8, which is about 15 minutes before I need to head out the door with the boys.  So while he is home long enough to perform his normal duties (feed Ruby and keep her occupied while I take care of myself and the boys), it can be a little chaotic as there is at least one, if not sometimes two, extra people to get ready for the day (although today Ruby went to school in her PJs).  There is usually a lot of reminding and repeating and a “come on, we have to get moving.”  Even so, there is a real sense of working together, and on mornings like this, after we’re all settled in the van, we give out a shout  - “Way to go, Team Vander Waal!”
I should’ve just taken a nap.  Seriously.
Wednesday’s favorite moment…
We are a long way from our families.  We don’t have them here to rely on, call in an emergency, ask for a favor, crash at their place for dinner, invite to birthday parties.  The community we’ve found at our church is performing such a service for us - they are friends that are like family to us, when our family is so far away.  We spend Wednesday nights together for six months out of the year.  We share a meal, gather in classrooms, teach, learn, grow alongside each other in our love for Christ and for each other.  Being together, playing hard and laughing and celebrating our little community, was good.  Really, really good.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Week in the Life {Tuesday}

The story of Tuesday begins at 5:45am with the singing of my alarm.  I’ve been establishing this earlier-than-I-care-to-wake-up routine over the past several weeks in order to get in some time on the treadmill.  The story of today begins with making the right decision (getting up instead of hitting snooze) and knocking out another day on the Couch to 5K program.
The story continues upstairs, where I find both boys up and chatting on the couch.  I encouraged them to play downstairs so they wouldn’t wake Ruby or Brad.  They obliged.
The story of today moves along at just the right pace, with the morning routine coming together at just the exact moments they’re supposed to.
And then intermission.  And Scene 2 takes a unfortunate turn.
The story of today includes two boys who let the sillies go too far, who forget the importance of listening, and end up getting scolded.  The story of today includes consequences.  Today’s story does not include video games.
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Today’s story includes sorting and putting their own laundry (socks and undies) away, not as a form of punishment, but because it’s their job.
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The story of today includes putting on the finishing touches
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and crossing that project off the list.
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Our daily story includes all the things that we hear  - her post-nap babbles are at the top of the list (my camera was focusing on the door instead of on her, which was not what I wanted…but I kind of like the way this turned out).
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The story of today involves strawberries and bananas, a lovely combination.  And more Cheerios.
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The story of my everyday is her and me and getting to spend this time together, just us.
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The theme song to our story is provided by the farm.
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The story of today includes a wardrobe change, books,
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and lounging together to read.
The story of today includes leaving the regular home routine behind and spending a bit of time at school.  I starting volunteering in Drew’s classroom this afternoon and realized how much I’ve missed it (I was in Drew’s kindergarten class weekly but didn’t volunteer last year (aside from holiday parties) because of having had a baby).  The story of today includes being involved and getting connected and sharing in the school experience with my kids.
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The story of today includes this scene, one I see every school day around 3:20.
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She adds her fair amount of personality and charm to our every day story!
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The story of today encourages us to enjoy this time - to be free and relax and play and not let the clock have so much authority.
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The story of today is the story of the last little bit of beautiful fall weather we’re forecasted to have for the foreseeable future.  The story of today says “look up” and see the beauty in all that God has done.
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He sees the beauty.  And collects it.
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The story of today is one of expressing interest and wanting to help and being patient and willing and teaching and learning.
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And broccoli.  Because that’s what the Chef-in-training requested and prepared.
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The story of today includes practicing math skills - problem solving and trying hard and thinking harder and being challenged and wanting to do more.
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And play.  I hope there is always time to play.
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The story of today ends together, comfy in bed, reading, praying, and saying “I love you.”
Thoughts about Tuesday…
I’m feeling pretty pumped about the progress I’m making on the Couch to 5K program.  Every morning when that alarm goes off, it’s a mental battle to convince myself to get out of bed and get it done.  It gets easier with each passing day, but I can’t say I ever look forward to it.  But - in the end, I always feel good (and sweaty and gross) and am so glad I did it.
Our mornings can be some of the toughest moments of the day.  After the blow-up this morning, I took a deep breath and encouraged all of us to press the restart button.  A bad morning doesn’t have to turn into a bad day.  And it worked.  Moods almost immediately began to change for the better and indeed, our day progressed much much better from then on.  I need to be more conscientious about “restarting” all of us when things begin a little rough.
I know how fortunate I am to have a husband with a fairly flexible and fluid schedule so that I’m able to volunteer at school.  Super grateful for this.
Tuesday’s favorite moment…
I loved getting to experience a bit of second grade with Drew.  My heart swelled seeing how his confidence and leadership has grown in the last year.  He is a great role model, and a good friend, and it is very clear how hard he works as I watched him in his school environment.  So super proud to be his Mama. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Week in the Life {Monday}

Once again I am taking on Week in the Life, a memory keeping and story-telling project by Ali Edwards.  I tackled this project last fall for the first time, so I’ll encourage you to see what I wrote then if you’re interested in learning more.  In short, for the next seven days, I’ll be focusing on our days and our stories through photos and words.  I’m looking forward to seeing how this year differs from last year, and exploring the changes that need to be made in order to function more effectively and playfully and just better as both an individual and a family.  While the project is focused on our family and our days, it almost entirely comes from my perspective (Brad will take pictures here and there as instructed). :)  
Last year, I wasn’t sure what the end result of this project would be.  Ideally, I would have been able to create an album that best represents the week, but that never happened.  And I’m okay with that.  But in reviewing my posts from last year, I didn’t include a whole lot of words simply because I thought that portion would be saved for the album that I wanted to make.  Going into this year, I know that this blog is where the documentation of this project ends.  {I need to be a lot more realistic as to what I can and cannot do, simply based on time.}  So with that, I’ll be sharing a lot of thoughts as well as photos.  (I will post each day the day after - so Monday’s photos shared today, today’s photos shared tomorrow, etc.)
A few observations before I begin with our yesterday…
Our house is horrible for taking pictures.  Very little natural light and on cloudy days, it is very, very dark indoors.  
I’ve already noticed that I’m less concerned with the photos I’m taking (I’ve been so out of practice in picking up my camera every day like I used to) and more thoughtful about what I’m hearing/observing/feeling/thinking as the day progresses.
Because I’m authoring this project, and the timeframe for which I’m completing it includes a full week of school, it largely focuses on me and my routine.  A lot of my stuff will be recorded here.
So let’s get on with it.
Here is the story of our Monday.
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The story of today begins with both boys up by 7:00, Drew reading quietly on the couch and Reed picking up his game of TMNT that he’s been playing independently for the last two days.
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The story of today includes fun discoveries!  Drew finally pulled the tooth that has been dangling for months and the tooth fairy generously rewarded.
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The story of today includes sack lunches - cold pizza, goldfish, yogurt, raisins, string cheese, apples and peaches and chocolate chocolate chip cookies.
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The story of today is made up of routine - get dressed, make beds, brush teeth, wash face.
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The story of today includes these two.  They have their own morning routine (I’ll try to capture it at some point this week).
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The story of today includes independence and school and learning and looking forward to a new week.
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The story of today includes cheerios, and a lot of them,
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and a TV in the kitchen to catch up on the DVR.
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The story of today, and several other days, includes Target and getting distractedevery.single.time by the cutest clothes ever.
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The story of today is finding this girl underfoot in the kitchen.
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The story of today includes a rock star nap for her and productivity for me - finally assembling Ruby’s Halloween costume.
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The story of today includes snuggles and a post-nap Mama/daughter selfie.
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The story of today is in that smile.
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The story of today is about more than just Ruby’s costume - but Reed’s, too.
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The story of today includes volunteering.  On Mondays, Brad arrives at school about 15 minutes before the bell rings to be a Hallway Hero, a strong male role-model present in the school to help direct and keep kids safe after school.  He picks up the boys, then, and brings them home before returning to his office. 
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The story of today demonstrates Reed’s compassion for younger kids.  This is the little brother of one of Drew’s friends, and while the boys play for a bit on the playground after school, Reed has taken to this little guy, keeping watch and helping him make his way through the perils of the play equipment.
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The story of today includes greeting them at the door and hearing them spill their words all over each other as they try to tell me all about their day.
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The story of today includes friendship and awesome mail!
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And oh my goodness, I dislike this part of the story - the sand and the dirt and the stinky, smelly shoes and the daily feet baths because of the playground at school.
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Of course, video games.  Always a part of the story.  Except when they’re not because of misbehavior.  But they were definitely a part of today’s narrative.
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The story of today includes five at the table and full bellies and fun & real conversation.
Thoughts about Monday…
When the boys play well together, they play really really well.
I have a love/hate relationship with the boys’ video games.  It is the only screen time they get (up to 45 minutes) on school days which is well and good, but so much of their conversation when they aren’t playing involves some word on said video games.  I just wish they didn’t think quite so much about them when they aren’t playing them.  But tonight, Reed asked Brad if he would play a bit on one of his games so that he could advance a little farther than he currently was.  And when the boys went to bed, Brad did just that.  I love that the boys have this shared joy (even if it is video games) with their dad.
With every nap Ruby takes comes a struggle for me to decide how I’m going to spend that time - be productive or rest.  Productivity almost always wins, and it feels great to cross things off my list, but it can also end up making me even more tired.  I need to work on taking a legitimate break every now and then (guilt free!) that will energize and help me get through the rest of the day.
I could listen to Ruby babble all day.
Monday’s favorite moment…
At dinner, somehow we got on the topic of spiders.  When I referenced spiders as “insects” Reed promptly corrected me that spiders were not insects because they have more than six legs.  After a brief debate (between all four of us) on what exactly spiders are classified as, we googled it.  Reed was right. :)