Saturday, November 18, 2017

On your mark...Get set...Ho, Ho, Ho.

He's home. The prodigal husband has come home.

Wait. Prodigal suggests he was acting inappropriately while he was away... I pretty sure that was not the case, because A) he was at an engineer conference and B) because he is awesome. The point is he is home and I am clearly tired.

I know I have mentioned it before, but single mothers have my sincere respect. Good grief. I am not cut out for any of that business. But none of that matters now because he is, at this very moment, snoring next to me and I couldn't be happier.

I should be sleeping, but knowing that I am not the only responsible adult in the house has me very energized. Also, I have developed a unwise habit while he was away of watching 80s and 90s movies late at night to match my moods. You know, "When Harry Met Sally" for a laugh. "Step Mom" for a good cry and "You've Got Mail" for a "This is Us" emotional palate cleanser.

Wait... Don't tell Mr Awesome, I was supposed to wait and watch "This is Us" with him. Oops.

///

I was just looking at my calendar (Paper calendar if you are wondering. I am not a digital calendar person. I'm barely a calendar person) and was gearing up for the weekend plans when I discovered next week is Thanksgiving.

Were you guys aware of this? That is just crazy. Did we skip some days in November or is it a leap year or something? I mean I haven't even had a pumpkin spice anything yet. Wait... the leap year thing makes no sense. Did I mention I was tired?

So now I am frantically trying to plan out the season. I want to plan it so hopefully it won't feel like an out of control roller coaster. I don't want to wake up New Years Day and wonder what happened to my favorite time of year.

So first.... I'm looking at Pinterest recipes. We are having a crock pot thanksgiving this year due to my parents move and home renovations and lack of working oven. It should be fun and I do love a good theme. Let me know if you have any good thanksgiving themed recipes. Personally, I'm pretty excited to try cooking this turkey breast in the crock pot. I may never go back.

http://www.recipetineats.com/juicy-slow-cooker-turkey-breast/



As soon as Thanksgiving is over the real Christmas season begins. I need a plan to do all the things I want with my family and none of the things I don't want. The Lazy Genius (my spirit animal) is doing a series on surviving the Holidays and it is....well... genius. She suggests identifying the 3 musts of the season and scheduling them first to make sure they don't get lost in the shuffle.

http://www.thelazygeniuscollective.com/lazy/holidaygameplan

So I'm making that list now.

What are your musts?

Here are a few of mine....
Friday Night Movie Night.... Give me all the Christmas Movies from White Christmas to Christmas Vacation. "You serious, Clark?".... Yes. Yes I am.

Snowden Progressive Dinner.... Our old neighborhood has a progressive style dinner every December and it is my most favorite event of the year. I plan all Christmas activities around this one night. We moved away from this awesome little midtown street 6 years ago and somehow we get invited back to the dinner every year. Probably because they know we would show up whether we got an invitation or not.

Starry Nights.... This is a family favorite. The kids love to wear their pjs while we ride through Shelby Farms "ooo-ing" and "ahh-ing" at the lights. A must for sure.

Advent and Jesse Tree.... We are not good at family devotions, but we some how rally for advent each year. I love the focus. I love my wooden pallet Jesse Tree that Steve made and I love the ornaments that I quickly drew on plain watercolor paper. Most of all, I love seeing the entire story of God's plan laid out in such a beautifully visual way.

These are my top Christmas activity picks. So many other things come to mind, but these definitely have to happen for my holiday season to feel complete.

Dear Reader, (singular) what's on your must list?






Thursday, October 26, 2017

Don't mind me, I'm just in the pantry with the Halloween candy.

I sat down to update my blog (Blog? What's a blog?) for the first time in months. When I finally cracked open my lap top the first thing that popped up was an entry I started last month and never finished, which is shocking considering the inspired topic. Obviously, I have been suffering from lack of motivation for quite some time and this brilliant manuscript is proof....I mean it really is a wonder I haven't published a book or become a motivational speaker.

/////

I want to write, but writing is hard.

I want to clean my house, but cleaning is hard.

I want to eat healthy, but eating healthy is hard.

I want to exercise regularly, but exercising is hard.

I want to run, but running is really hard.

I want to wake up early for quiet time, but waking up early is impossible.

I want to be patient with kids, but being patient is hard.

I want to lose 10 lbs, but losing weight is hard.

I want to make better use of my time, but organization is hard.

I want to be a good mother, but mothering is just hard.


Do you know what's not hard?

Watching Netflix.

Eating cookies.

Making brownies. Seriously, why has God given me the ability to make delicious brownies with ease?

Falling asleep while trying to read.

Ignoring laundry.

Wasting time on social media.

////

I'll give you a minute to catch your breath after reading such a masterpiece. I knew that I had been in a funk recently, but reading my own incomplete thoughts shed a bright new light on this funk. It is real and has been hanging around for a while... perhaps the better part of a year.

"2017 has really kicked me in the butt." I said to my husband as I started the long "get ready for bed" process.

(Incidentally, only MY "get ready for bed" process is time consuming. My husband somehow just decides to go to bed and then simply gets. in. the. bed. With exactly zero pomp and circumstance. I kind of hate him for it.)

"Yeah," he mumbles as his eyes are closing, "it has not been the easiest year."

And that really sums it up.

2017 hasn't been particularly horrific or disastrous for the Summy family. Actually, there have been some very high points during the year (summer vacations and camps and, most recently, DISNEY...more on that later I'm sure), but all in all it has been a year of work. We have pushed through this year with our heads down and our sleeves rolled up and doing the real work of living life as a family. I wrote about a few of the "less than fun" things on this blog and there were other things just a little too private to share.

If I scan back through my social media feeds I find 2017 has been a little less Instagram and Facebook worthy. Not as many cute and polished pics of us doing fun hashtag filled activities as a family... #nofilter #choose901 #tooblessedtobestressed #timeslowdown. (BTW. Time please DO NOT slow down, because all I need is for grocery store runs and carpools and dinner clean up and homework to last longer to officially push me over the edge. Anyway I digress. again.) It's not that there were no good moments. They were just simple every day life moments that rarely get a mention on social media.

Still, as we stumble into fall and approach the holiday season -- my most favorite time of year -- I can look back and be proud of how we have trudged through the weeds as a family and are coming out on the other side stronger and with some great stories. This has been a year a growth and transition with lots of happy memories peppered with difficult new beginnings, sad goodbyes, tiresome sickness, pressing responsibilities, learning our limits, facing our fears, and experiencing grace. We will look back on this year and smile as see all the ways God was using us, teaching us, and changing us.

We made it to October 26th, y'all. The air is cooler. There are pumpkins on the front steps and I have 3 bags of Halloween candy in my pantry that no one knows about except me....and now the internet. I'm excited to enjoy the next 2 festive months and treat them as the closing ceremonies of the 2017 Summy Games! I may even hand out superlative medals as a new traditions....hmm... let me think a minute on that one.

Let me leave you with a visual of the mixed emotions we have felt this year. This little piece of Disney magic brings me such joy every time I look at it.




FACEBOOK FROM THE PAST
September 2016
Having flaxseed stuck in my teeth is not a problem I ever wanted to have. This is why I don't do healthy eating. #ipreferdonuts



Sunday, August 20, 2017

What I learned on my Summer Vacation

Bless Them.
And Keep Them.
Let your face shine upon Them.
And give Them peace.

That was the prayer I whispered over my kids tonight.

////

We are in the second week of school and I don't even know how that happened. I kept meaning to sit down and write my "end of summer" or "beginning of August" post and then all this stuff happened. And by stuff I mean School Supply lists, School Clothes Shopping, Meet the teacher days, Get your schedule day, New backpacks, New lunch boxes, New bedtimes. And that was all before the first day.

Then came all the first day hoopla with the obligatory photoshoots with the hand made "First Day of ...." signs (sounds fancy, but by handmade I mean Sharpee on a piece of white paper), and the making of the lunches, the ironing of the uniforms, the Middle School fashion decisions (Lord, be near to us all), the 3 car pools, and the parent curriculum nights. The first few weeks of school is a marathon AND a sprint. At least the way the Summys do it.

So now that I have had a chance to sit and breathe, I am going to officially close out summer with my thoughts on Summer 2017. It was interesting. That's for sure.

////

This summer was not what I expected. I had very high expectations for this to be an easy breezy summer with independent children. I even wrote about it here. But clearly, I jinxed myself. (because Jinxing is real. Ask my 7 year old.)

We had a strong start. A trip to the mountains with family followed by church camp for the older 2 kids. That is when we experience the first summer hiccup. I wrote about that stellar parenting moment here. After camps and tick removal we moved seamlessly into swim lessons and more camps. What was I thinking planning major events for every week of the summer?. I should have scheduled more down time. That sentence just sounds idiotic, scheduling down time, but now I know that the only way to experience the Lazy Days of Summer is to block it out on the calendar. Sigh.

Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs. Y'all, God was just showing off that day.

The first half of the 2 weeks of swim lessons was tough for the littlest Summy and was made even tougher by the fact that Mom and Dad took a quick weekend trip to Colorado right in the middle. Turns out kids don't love juggling tight schedules that make quick weekend trips possible. You would think after 11 years of parenting we would know this. You would think, but you would be wrong. We are slow learners. Thankfully, she rallied for the 2nd half of swim lessons and even managed to completely go underwater a few times which I count as a major success.

Big sis giving Little sis a pep talk before swim lessons. The are precious.

There was no time celebrate swimming successes or to rest because the next week was A's legit summer camp experience. We have done church camp for years, but this was her first time to go away on her own without any friends or family, you know, Parent Trap style. After all the obsessive packing and planning she was on her way and Ill admit it felt a bit like sending her off to college. There were many tears shed by one of us (me) followed by comforting hugs and reassuring words from the other (her). I was clearly worried about her for nothing. She had a great week and can't wait to go back next year.

Moments before I left her and cried all the way home.
True story, I actually said "I forgot to tell her to drink water!
What if she forgets to drink water?!?" I was clearly unstable.

I spent so much time obsessing over all of the camp hoopla that I almost completely forgot what else was going on that week. Walt was starting basketball day camp and he was genuinely excited about it. It would be easy and fun and just 5 hours a day. Imagine my surprise when I dropped him off on Monday morning and he fell apart at check in. "I don't know anyone here!" "What if I'm the worst one here." "Who will I eat lunch with?" I had been so caught up with preparing Amelia for what I thought would be this huge step of independence, I forgot to prepare him for the "what ifs" of simply trying something new. 

It was around this time that we started noticing W's anxiety kicking up a little bit at bedtime. Worrying that he wouldn't be able to fall asleep was exactly the thing that was keeping him up at night. He was up half the night worrying and then exhausted and grumpy the next day from lack of sleep. And honestly....I was grumpy too. It was like living with a newborn again. Constantly whispering and tiptoeing worrying we would wake him after he FINALLY fell asleep.

Nope. Nope. Nope. I enjoy my sleep too much for this business! We needed to find a quick fix for this situation, like yesterday. So I filled my brain with articles and blog posts on sleep anxiety in children and asked for advice from my mom friends. We tried sleepovers in the girls' room, extra long baths, extended reading time, and taking away screen time before bed to help him relax. They were helpful suggestions that worked some of the time, but I wanted a more permanent, fool proof solution. (Because there are always super quick, fool proof solutions when it comes to kids. Again, you would think we would know this by now. Seriously, really slow learners, here.)

To add insult to injury, our "relaxing night routine" was kind of sidelined due to the Great Lice Invasion of 2017. The house was completely turned upside for 2 weeks and this mom was extremely on edge about cleanliness. In retrospect I should have taken a chill pill for the sake of my innocent children, but you know what they say about hindsight and all. As you might expect all of this disruption only made W's anxiety worse and now there is the added element of trying to stay really really clean.

So if you are keeping score you realize that I have now given my kid sleep anxiety with a side of OCD. So basically I'll be expecting my Mom Of The Year certificate in the mail any day now.

////

Why did I just tell that whole long and drawn out story? Because as I sat in that chair in the dark of Walt's bedroom waiting for him to fall asleep (which seems to be the successful solution to his falling asleep anxiety... well, that and a little nip of Melatonin), I started to cry and then pray and then cry out in prayer.

"God, these are the times when I need you to be their peace. To be their comfort. Because as much as I want to be their everything, there are somethings I just can't do. You are the only true source of peace and comfort. You are their shelter and their strength."

You guys, this parenting job is a burden sometimes. But, thankfully, God promises that if we cast all our cares upon Him he will sustain us. He will carry the burdens of our heart. What a relief as I sit here burdened for my children. Worried about their fears and safety and security. God knew I would feel this way, in fact, He designed that way. That are hearts would break with love for our children just as His heart breaks for us.

And in Galatians 6 God speaks through Paul and says, See how I am taking this burden from you? Now go and do this for someone else. And in doing this you will be fulfilling Christ's law which is basically your one job. (paraphrased...obviously).  God's word tells us that because He has lightened our load we should do the same for others. Because He has taken my heavy load from me, I can turn and take on the worries and burdens of my kids, my husband, and my friends. (how many ways can I say that sentence before I get my own point?) It's not easy work, but it's what we are called to do. Bearing one another's burdens it's supposed to be hard. Burdens are heavy by definition. No one should have to carry them alone.

////

I'm happy to report that since the beginning of school, Walt's anxiety has decreased. It could be because he is exhausted every afternoon (Bless you dear 2nd grade teachers), or it could just be because he feels comfortable knowing that I'll be sitting here every night. Or maybe its the Melatonin. If so, I'm buying stock in that stuff.

Whatever the reason, here I sit. Again. In the dark. On a different night. Praying God's peace over my son. And scrolling through Instagram... because I'm only human and it takes this boy forever to fall asleep.

Lord,
Bless Them.
And Keep Them.
Let your face shine upon Them.
And give Them peace.



FACEBOOK FROM THE PAST
August 2016
Kerri Walsh Jennings and I are the same age and we both have had 3 kids. It's basically like looking in a mirror. #Olympics2016




Thursday, August 3, 2017

THAT mom is usually related to THOSE children

I am in the middle about writing a very introspective, thoughtful post about everything I am learning from this summer that proved way more difficult than I expected. (See my plans for the best summer eva here.) But I am taking a minute to jot down something that I noticed today and didn't want to forget.

This is what my kids do at the pool. 


It's no secret that earlier in the year I discovered a love for podcasts. Podcasts by women for women about regular life are my jam. And if you can throw in some spirituality and a lesson from God while still making me laugh, well then I am your #1 fan.

Earlier in the summer I was listening to such a podcast (I can't remember exactly which one because I binge them all... If it comes to me I will most definitely come back and site the reference.) (This is possibly why I received a failing grade for almost every research paper I wrote in college.) Anyway, the ladies on the podcast were discussing some of the most annoying things of summer and mentioned those obnoxious kids who glob on to your family at the pool. They were speaking specifically about those who just show up for snack time, but I was thinking "YES. I don't like those kids that just pick a family to hang out with and never go back to their mom. And their mom is super relieved to get a break never seems to try to find them. Ugh.... how annoying are they?!?!?" (said in the most holier than thou voice.)

Maybe you see where this is going.

Well today while watching my kids play at the pool while sitting under the umbrella and listening to (you guessed it) a podcast, I realized something. Louisa is one of those obnoxious kids. She is totally happy putting around the pool and going up to kids who have a doting parent or grandparent with them and just strikes up a conversation. Clearly she got this skill from her father. As I mentioned, my preferred posture at the pool is sunglasses on, hat down, ear buds in, and a sign that says "don't even think of coming to talk to me". Well, just kidding about the sign... maybe.

I watcher her today go up to several families (like usual) and show them all of her swimming tricks like blowing bubbles, putting her face in the water, and super splashy kicks, but then I noticed this one grandfather move to the deep end of the pool with his kids.

"Huh? that's weird" I thought. But maybe he is wanting to work on their swimming technique and needed more room. Then, as Lou started putting that direction to chat, I noticed he quickly moved his crew to the opposite side of the pool. He was clearly trying to get way from her.  She was one of those kids to him.

Ooops. I didn't see that coming. I thought those children were the one with dead beat, neglectful parents. Wait. Am I a dead beat mom. Is it true? Am I okay with it? So many questions for an afternoon at the pool.


/ / / / /


Several weeks ago I was sitting at the pool watching the kids swim and noticed another mom swimming with her kids. She and her 2 preschool age kids were playing right in front of me where Lou was just doing her thing. This young mother was very hands-on. And super encouraging... no really, like seriously encouraging. "You are so great at kicking in the water!" "Way to blow bubbles!" "You are so brave!" "I love spending time at the pool with you guys!"

I immediately felt the mom guilt well up inside me. "I should be playing with my kids. She's a better mom than I am because she actually enjoys splashing with her 3 year old. Why can't I find so much joy in watching my toddler blow bubbles in the water?" 

About that time I noticed Lou joining in this family's love fest. She is never one to turn down some good old fashion praise and adoration, even from complete strangers.

"Look at how high I can splash when I kick!" "I can put my whole face in the water! Watch me!" The Super Mom looked up at me and then looked back at Lou and said "YOU ARE amazing! Thats the best splash I have ever seen! Look boys, isn't she great at splashing!" And then looked back at me with as if to say... "I guess I will just show your kid the affection she needs since you obviously can't be bothered to mother well." (To be fair. She didn't say these things out loud. But I can totally read minds and well... I'm 99% sure that is what she was thinking.)

She was mom-shaming me right there in the shallow end of the pool.

I couldn't believe it. I wanted to jump in and defend myself and tell her how even when I am in the pool Lou swims up to strangers to show off and how I am a super mom. That I limit screen time (well unless it's summer. or unless Sesame Street is on, because it's educational. or unless I'm trying to cook dinner and... well never mind) and that limit sweets and make homemade dinners and read bedtime stories and....

Instead, I sat there looked her in the eyes and tipped my visor to her. I will not be shamed into mommy competition. I will never win at that game. The truth is... by her standards I am a dead beat. And I think I'm totally cool with that. My kids are happy and safe and have learned to play by themselves (most of the time). Even my mom, the Mother Theresa of moms, didn't chase us around the country club pool cheering on our doggy paddling skills. I never once felt neglected.

So yeah... I am THAT mom and Lou is one of THOSE kids. And neither of us are looking to change. I'm not sure we could even if we tried. But look at this face. Don't you want to see her stick her whole face in the water? It really is a fantastic skill.




FACEBOOK FROM THE PAST
June 2014
I did not enjoy the snarky tone the Wii Fit took with me as it informed me I was overweight and my "wii fit age" is actually 64. What?!? Shut up you stupid Nintendo.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

There is a Reason Why Lice was One of the 10 Plagues

So apparently Summer 2017 will be the summer of creepy crawly bugs sent by God to humble me.

It has taken me a few days to write about this, because 1) I'm a little superstitious and worried I could jinx myself talking about it in past tense. And 2) It is just so stinking embarrassing and humbling and those things are hard to put down on paper... or computer screen.

A month ago I wrote a post about my extreme over reaction about a tick I found on my son. I did not handle that event well. Thankfully, I had a support group (aka MOM) to get me through that difficult parenting moment. I spent a lot of time discussing how God was allowing me to grow and face my fears because of the tick.

"Thanks God for giving me a small 1 hr trial so I can learn to trust you! You're the best, God!"

Well that was just the warm up. Maybe it's just a coincidence or maybe God just thought.... I know how I can bring her to her knees.... Bugs. Yes, that will work every time. I'm really hoping this is not God's new plan to meet me at my low point.

"Really God, there are lots of other sad and ridiculous areas in my life you can use. I mean, You know. There's no need to list them all here. You are tracking with me in Your perfect omniscient-ness. Please and Thank You. Amen."

So here we go. The humbling story about bugs 2.0. My palms are starting to sweat while I type.

Lice. We had lice. (Mic drop)

Is anyone still there? You know you can't catch it from the computer, right? But go ahead and wash your hands and scratch your head because I know it immediately started itching.

The thing is, I've been so scared of lice since I was a kid, that I am usually pretty diligent about checking my family's heads and enforcing the rules about no hat sharing or brush sharing or whatever. But apparently not diligent enough.

So last week was VBS week. Busy and fun and one of our highlights of summer. We made it to Wednesday with minimal drama until I saw a picture of Walt with a unrecognizable hat on his head. I knew that Walt had not worn a hat to VBS so this was SOMEONE ELSE'S HAT! I assumed that the owner of this hat had lice and therefore had given it to my poor unsuspecting son. So I checked his head already knowing what I would fine.

Screams of horror. (And you know I'm not exaggerating.)

It was bad. Really bad. So bad that I knew immediately that this was not the result of today's hat sharing, but rather my sweet son was patient zero and had most likely spread it to multiple kids at VBS. So many thoughts and emotions flooded me in that moment. Panic. Fear. Embarrassment. Anger. Disgust. Shame. I got a little dizzy trying to figure out what to do first. I know now that my first response should have been to comfort my son and tell him it would be okay and we would figure it out. But if you read the last post, you already know that was not how I handled this scenario.

I made all 3 of my kids sit on the floor in the kitchen (because I assumed everything covered in fabric was now crawling with bugs) while I started calling people.

First was Steve. I'm not going to tell you all the things I said, because he has forgiven me and that's what matters. The gist of the conversation was GET HOME NOW. FINDING ALL THE BUGS IN OUR HOME IS YOUR JOB AND YOU HAVE FAILED ME.

Then my sister-in-law the teacher. Surely you have some advice.

Then my mom. Who was sweet and comforting, but wisely kept her distance this time. (Can't say that I blame her.)

Then my sweet friend Ali. She has been through this and I knew she would know what to do. But I never dreamed she would load up her children and drive to my house and face this madness.

"I'll be right there." 

I was speechless. What?!? You are coming here?!? Why? How? Did you not hear that we are the house of the plague? She showed up at my door in 10 minutes with a bag of treatment shampoo and home spray pesticides and another bag of chocolate and Coke (because she gets me). She preceded to look through the girls' hair because I was too scared and flustered to do so.

Then she said "Ok. Sit down and let me check your head."

I broke down right there in my kitchen. I don't ugly cry in front of many people (I save that joy for my close family), but this was no time for pride. This servant of a friend willingly searched my head for lice. I sat there feeling like a baby monkey and thinking I had never been in such a humbling position.

She loved me and my kids even in our most vulnerable state. She calmly told my kids that they would be fine and this could not hurt them and that they didn't do anything wrong to get this. (You know, all the comforting things their mom should have said to them, but she couldn't because she will having a come apart.)

Her kindness gave me the strength to move forward to cleaning up the mess, both in our home and in our community. I texted all the VBS workers and told them the shameful news. Outing our problems to all of my friends and knowing that I was possibly making their lives harder really digs into my main insecurities. I worried about the extra work this would cause the VBS directors and the questions they might receive from angry parents. The stress eating had begun and I have never been more thankful for chocolate and caffeine.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with treating and combing everyone's hair and washing and bagging up every piece of fabric in our house. After about 20 minutes of cleaning Walt's hair Steve and I decided that we needed to just shave his head. As I was mourning the loss of my precious boy's frat do, I got a call from another friend who offered come with her husband to give him a buzz cut.

Even hairless and covered in smelly shampoo, they are the cutest.
Also, yes, I know, lice shampoo is toxic and some of you are horrified
I would use it, but to that I say
"YOU WEREN'T THERE! YOU DIDN'T KNOW!"

20 minutes later Justin was shaving my son's hair and Julie and Tiffany were vacuuming my house and folding the mounds of laundry I had done that afternoon. I couldn't believe this love that was being poured out on our family. And it just kept coming. Another friend brought pizza and more chocolate for lunch the next day. She knew we were homebound and up to our eye brows in laundry and pesticides and just wanted to help out.

I was overwhelmed at this type of friendship. I've heard women speak of a "tribe" or a group that they can call on during the really yucky times. I always thought how great that sounded, but I knew that I would never feel comfortable enough to ask for that kind help. This was the type of thing that was so embarrassing and dirty that I wanted to just hide and deal with it on my own (after the initial melt down of course). These thoughts were running through my head when I said to Julie (as she and Tiffany folded underwear in my messy bedroom) "You guys have done more than enough here. I can't ask you to do this! I will be fine." That's we she blew my mind with the words...

"You didn't ask. This is just what friends do."

I cried myself to sleep that night. Partially due to exhaustion, but mostly due to brokenness. My house had been turned upside down and I expected to feel angry, ashamed, frustrated, overwhelmed, and anxious at the end of the day. Instead I was on my knees weeping because all I could feel was really really.....blessed.

God had shown me what it meant to love your neighbor and He was telling me not to feel guilty for being a burden or for not being the same kind of friend. He just told me...Now that you have seen this... Go and do the same!

"Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hand of the robbers (or in this case Lice)?" And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same!" Luke 10:37 (paraphrase mine)

"The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30-31


Thank you God for trials that teach us about Grace and Mercy. But please, Lord, can we be done with the bugs? 
At least for 2017. 



FACEBOOK FROM THE PAST
July 2016
We are very good at expressing our feelings and airing our grievances in this family. It happens a lot and very loudly around here. But yelling at each other because your brother's Wii character is bothering your Wii character has to be a new low. Right? #summer


Friday, June 9, 2017

Face your fears or drive them to Mississippi

It was tick. It was so small, but it took me down.

Do you guys have irrational fears? Sure you do. Everyone has them. I guess the bigger question is Can you push through your fear when you need to? Yesterday I had a humbling experienced that proved to me that I. Can. Not.

I don't do bugs. Let me clarify that. I don't do gross bugs. This is an important distinction.
I am not afraid of wasps or bees or spiders. I can kill those without thinking. But the sight of a roach will take me all the way down to the fetal position. A few friends have seen this happen, because sadly I have seen my fair share of roaches in my home. Did you know that roaches love pine trees? Did you also know that I live on a street called Pine Valley. So I guess it's my fault. I chose to move into their sanctuary, but whatever, they all deserve to die. (I digress) (Also, I feel like I need to go take a shower with all this roach talk.)

So anyway, yesterday I discovered that I feel the same way about ticks that I do about roaches. (ok that's the last time I'm typing the R-word.)

I'm not an out-doors girl. I don't care to get dirty and therefore haven't had to deal with many (or any) ticks. Until yesterday.

It is church camp week for us. Amelia and Walt left for camp on Monday. The younger kids (Walt's age group) only camp for 2 days as a way to sort of ease them into the whole "Sleep Away Camp" thing. So he returned after 2 glorious days in the great outdoors and can't wait to do it again. I'm glad he loved it. I hope he will still love it after all of this.

Camping in the south means checking for ticks is regularly. For reasons already stated, checking for these pests is Steve's job. I'm just going to let that hang out there for a bit. I'm not blaming anyone...I am not petty or bitter.... I'm just stating the facts.

I sat on the couch yesterday morning reading my Bible listening to the kids play when I heard "Ew Gross!!! There is a bug on me that won't come off!!!" Awesome.  I know what that means and my fight or flight instinct immediately kicks in. Spoiler Alert: My body always chooses flight. Always.

Then it hits me. I am the only responsible adult in the house. I have to deal with it. This is so not ideal.

I went to work and tried all the "home remedies" that I could find online.
Burn it with a match.
Smother it in Peppermint oil.
Pour Hand Sanitizer on it.
Cover it with clear finger nail polish.

Nothing worked. I texted at least 8 people asking for help. All of them said the only solution was to pull it out with tweezers. I wish I could say that I pulled myself together for the sake of my son and handled it all with grace and dignity. Um... That is not exactly how it went down. Let's just say, my son will probably be permanently scarred from this event and will always know that his mom could not get over her fear to help him in his time of need.

So I cried. He cried. It was a whole dumb tearful scene. Over a bug.

My friends were cheering me on texting things like "You can do this!" "We've all done it countless times." "It's no big deal." But it was a big deal to me. That's the thing about irrational fears. They are completely...well... irrational. I've been on the other side of this, telling a friend who is afraid of heights to "Just don't look down" or a friend afraid of being on stage to "Just picture them in their underwear." But clearly, logic doesn't doesn't work.

/ /

I have been thinking about this constantly and just feeling very weak and convicted on one hand and weak and closer to God on the other.

On the one, I hate that my child saw me in this light. I felt like such a failure as a parent. Completely helpless. My brain knew that this was not a big deal and all I had to do was suck it up and grab the tweezers, but my heart (and more importantly my body) failed me. The voices in my head were really letting me have it.

How many times have you encouraged your children to face their fears and be brave? 

And now you are gonna just stand there looking like the biggest hypocrite? 

Your kids will never trust you again, because you can't even touch a bug for them.

Just go ahead an buy yourself that t-shirt that says "Worst Mom Ever."

I mean, it's actually a pretty cute shirt.

But on the other hand, feeling so completely helpless as a parent brought a nice helping of much needed humility. I have to let my children see that sometimes even parents are scared. That we are powerless to our fears without God. Sure, I would rather my kids think I can do anything, but maybe it is better for them to see that I can't. Only God is THAT good.

All I have been able to think about since this "event" is how we are in such a similarly helpless parenting place with Walt at bedtime.

In the last few months he has been dealing with a ton of anxiety and fear about falling asleep at night. We pray about it, we talk about it, we sing about it, and we negotiate the heck out of it, but nothing seems to work. He will say..."I don't know why I'm scared, Mom. But I just can't stop worrying that I won't fall asleep." My husband and I just get angry and bothered by such a weird (and irrational...yep there it is) problem.

Is the nasty tick God's way of helping me extend grace to my worried little boy? 

Did I need to be reminded of my own fear and weakness in order to be patient with his?

I know God works in mysterious ways, but really, God? This is not just mysterious, it's gross. Thanks for meeting me right where I am. Curled up on the floor in the fetal position crying about a bug.

/ /

I wish I could say that the end of the story was me conquering my fear and pulling that thing out like a boss. That would make for a good story. But actually, I stuck a band-aid on that thing and drove to my mom for help.

Yep, I loaded my kids in the van and drove 50 miles to Mississippi to someone I knew, without a doubt, was not afraid of silly little tick. Because my mom CAN do just about anything. Plus she grew up in the country and has seen her share of ticks. I can't help it if I'm a city girl who knows the beauty of delegation. Find an expert and out source the problem. There's a lesson in there too.

At the end of the day, the tick "event" was not my proudest parenting moment, but I learned a great lesson in humility and vulnerability. Hopefully my children learned something too, and not just that they can't trust their mom with their life. I would like to think if it were a life or death emergency, I could summon the courage. Let's just hope that isn't anytime soon.

And maybe, just maybe, I will one day thank God for that nasty blood sucking bug and for using it to teach me to be a more understanding mother. But let's be honest, that definitely won't be anytime soon.


FACEBOOK FROM THE PAST
June 2013
My mom is letting the kids win in a game of chutes and ladders. Further proof that she is a nicer person than I am. 



Friday, June 2, 2017

The Summer we have been waiting for

It's June 2nd which means I missed May completely.

It's fine. Whatever. We don't have to talk about it. Everyone has already said it. May is crazy. May is busy. There are birthdays and Mother's Day and field trips and field days and graduations and we got it May, just stop already.

And then there is the light at the end of the tunnel. It is called Memorial Day and suddenly the pools open and school is out and all is right with the world!



Summer is here and we have started it off with a bang. At this moment I am lying in my bed looking at the suitcases that need to be unpacked from our big Summy family vacation. We left the day before Memorial Day and headed to Chattanooga and then on to Gatlinburg to meet up with the rest of the Summys. We had a blast hiking and picnicking and site seeing and Dollywooding. It was one of those wonderfully fun and exhausting trips that leave you needing another vacation to recover from your vacation.

As we were driving home today I was thinking how "easy" it is to travel now. I don't want to sound cocky or anything, but it just struck me, this trip was relatively painless and (dare I say) fun for all of us.

All moms of young children know what I am talking about, I have always loved the thought of vacation, but sometimes over the years I have wondered if it was really worth it. All the whining and planning and stopping and feeding and changing and crying.... and that's just the first 5 minutes of any trip. It's exhausting and it sucks the fun out of any occasion.

But this time was different. I think we have reached a sweet spot. Everyone is potty trained. Everyone is fairly easily entertained with books and movies. Everyone can dress themselves and sleep through the night. Eating is pretty drama free with minimal spillage. Everyone plays well together. (well for the most part. We still argue over which movie to watch and which game to play and what snack to eat.)  It's brand new parenting territory and I can't believe I have finally made it!

I've been parenting for 11 years and I've heard this day would come. I've dreamed about it. I've seen glimpses of it over the years, but now I believe we have officially arrived. This is the pay off to all the hard work. This is the plus side to them losing their precious baby fat. They become completely delightful human beings who (if you brainwashed appropriately) have the same taste in entertainment and food as you do.

Y'all, Im giddy. It's not just great for travel, this will affect our whole life. Here it is June 2nd, the beginning of the summer, and I can't wait to enjoy the next 2 months. I realized the other day that my husband and I can go on walks alone and the kids are able to stay in the house... by themselves... for 30min....(Freedom!!!) and then I thought.... I may actually be able to sit in a chair and relax at the pool this summer and just watch my kids swim. Just the way God intended!

A whole new world has opened up for me and I just want to encourage all of my mom friends who are coming up a few years behind me. Your day is coming. I know you can't believe it now, but it will be here before you know it. Just about the time you are crying about that preschool graduation, you will realize that your precious little one isn't the only one who moving on to bigger and better things. You too have graduated, my friend! You survived the toddler years! Congrats! Hats off to us all!!

Here's to Summer 2017! It's going to be Epic!


FACEBOOK FROM THE PAST
May 2013
Just saw a list that someone posted about "Things that make you a good mom." I think I would rather read a list titled "Things that make you a bad mom" and just avoid those things.... it sounds much less intimidating. Hmmm... do you think my bar is set a little too low?