New Tests, New Trials

So I try to find things that are relatable for everyone that way we are all kind of on the same page. Well, one week ago we got a new puppy. And let me tell you, I wasn’t mentally prepared for a puppy.

Maybe most people can relate to the constant chewing, peeing everywhere, and piles of poop that come along with a housing puppy. I have raised a few dogs in my life already so I guess I was thinking I was a pro and told myself, “I got this!” 

Well, I don’t have this. This dog is straining my energy, the little tiny bit I had left after taking care of 3 kids this summer and keeping up with a house that seems to be always messy. He is constantly under foot and we are desperately trying to not step on him all day. He is a nuisance. He tries to chew on the kids. He has tried to eat my front door rug. He pooped in his kennel again last night and let’s just say it wasn’t fun to wake up to at 1:45 am this morning.

But even through all of that, we still love him. We may want to leave him outside for the remainder of the day at times, but his snuggles and kisses make up for all of the flaws.

He’s not perfect, so why was I pretending he would be? Why was I putting an expectation on him to be perfect, especially as a 9 week old puppy? 

Thanks for bringing me back to reality HP. I previously prayed for patience with the kids and I believe the dog is the answer to those prays. I’ve realized…it could always be worse!

We All Need Some Grace

Ever since I got back to every day life and reality has had time to set back in from vacation mode, I realize I’m already starting to get down on myself. “School is right around the corner and there is so much that needs to be done. Meal planning, school clothes shopping, organize the kids’ clothes, organize the pantry, get the garage in order, and I’m sure tons of other things that need to happen!” Yes, these were all of the thoughts running through me head about 5:30 this morning. That would make anyone go crazy, right?

Well I’m glad I can realize when old habits creep in and I have the power to not let those old things take over my life. I’m not in control of everything around me, but I am in control of myself and how I choose to go into the new school year. I’m in control of how I spend my time each day and whether I should spend time worrying or spend my time in a more productive manner.

I feel that some people think the more stressed out you are (and the more public you are about it!) means you are more productive. I believe the contrary to be true. When you are busy getting things done, you don’t have time to complain about how busy you are!

None of us are perfect here! We all need a little patience and a whole lotta grace!

Knowing When It’s Time to Change It Up

Summertime in our household is definitely not one that is completely on schedule with everything running smoothly. No. Not at all. Some days we are up and out of bed ready to start the day and others we linger in our PJs until lunch time and then realize we all forgot to brush our teeth. (Except for my husband who works outside the home. He brushes his teeth on time every day!)

Lately, as we start getting closer to the dog days of summer, I’ve really been struggling to stay on a schedule with my daily writings. There is personal writing, blogging, motivational writing, and poetry I work on every day, but the struggle has been extra difficult when we stay up later than usual and I still try to get up at the break of dawn.

With all of the being said, I’m waving the white flag on the schedule this summer! I give up. No more trying to be perfect. (Progress not perfection, right?) I’m not going to fight the reality that is these next few weeks leading up to the start of school again. Yes, I could try to make it all work and stress myself out trying to be perfect (how fun does that sound?), or I can switch up the schedule and only work on things that are most important.

So I skipped a few days on my poetry; I’ll be more diligent in the Fall. So I wasn’t able to do practically any writing when we were out of town visiting family; I know other people will understand. So we weren’t able to do all of the fun and exciting things I had planned this summer; we are surviving and will all be okay.

If you’re struggling with your same ‘ole routine today, switch it up! Who says what you do daily has to be written in stone? Try to do something different and see how it works out. It may be a terrible change, or it could free up your entire day for something new and exciting. You’ll never know until you try.

Grateful for Today’s Day

Do you ever wake up grateful to just be alive? No, seriously…you roll over, hit the alarm, and stare up at the ceiling fan and think, “Man, I’m so lucky to be alive today!”  Well, that’s not really how it works for me either. After my first cup of coffee and some life contemplation in the morning, I do feel this overwhelming sensation some days to say Thank You to my Higher Power for allowing me to wake up one more day. (If you can’t already tell, today is one of those days.)

But shouldn’t we be grateful every single day to be alive? Why are you telling us that we should only be grateful every once in awhile to still have a pulse? 

Nope, that’s not what I’m saying. While I’d like to sit here and tell you that I thank God every day that I’m here in this chair typing and breathing, the truth is I’m usually too self-centered. There, I said it. I’m usually too selfish to say, “Thank You,” to God. How terrible is that? Maybe that’s something I shouldn’t actually admit. But we’re here to be honest and to not be ashamed, right?

I’m usually too worried about what I need to do for the day. I’m too wrapped up in my little world to sit back, take a deep breath, and say the two words that can change the entire course of my day – Thank you. 

Now that I am more aware of this self-centered flaw of mine, I’m going to intentionally be more mindful to say “Thank you” every day to my HP. Thank you for allowing me to breathe today. Thank you for the roof over our heads and the food in our bellies. Thank you for the tiny humans in my life I get to take care of. Thank you for the man you gave to me to journey through this whole “life” thing.

Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

In a World Without Internet

This may sound completely ridiculous, but not having internet from last Friday until late yesterday afternoon was truly a blessing. Of course, we still had data on our phones and were able to check in if necessary, but it gave all of us in our family a chance to unplug and enjoy each other more than we usually do when we have phones, computers, and tablets shoved into our faces.

I get depressed when I think about needing our internet literally severed (the contractors doing dirt-work next door keep cutting the internet cords) before we put all of our devices down and look directly at one another. Maybe this was a huge blessing in disguise. It was our way of bringing us all back to reality. Back to a simpler way of living and less distraction.

Maybe you can make it a point to unplug every once in a while and see how it impacts your life. Maybe you’ll end up playing the world’s longest game of Uno! (A single game lasted through 5 reshuffles of the deck and 1.5 hours of play!) Maybe you’ll end up reading more of the book you’ve been trying to finish for some time now.

Unplug every once in awhile…you deserve a break!

A Sudden Jolt of Reality

Writing about real life scenarios is one of my favorite things to do. Not only does it produce relatable content, but chances are someone out there in the world has had the exact same experience as me. Whether it’s about parenting our three boys, a story about growing up with two older brothers, marrying your college sweetheart, or settling into a family routine.

Yesterday, as my two older sons participated in group swim lessons at our local YMCA, there was a drill that took place that opened my eyes and immediately transformed my thinking. In the pool there were a little over a dozen kids with 3 separate instructors focused on their group of 4-5 kids. All of a sudden, whistles were blown, splashes were made, and everyone was instructed to get out of the pool.

As focused as I was on my own children, I was equally focused on taking pictures and videos of my kids with my phone. As soon as the lifeguard closest to me blew her whistle and screamed, “Everyone out of the pool,” I went from a slouched spectator into a mama bear on high alert. Is someone really drowning? Where did that lady go that was swimming laps in the far end of the pool? Was this real? Is this a drill? 

Then I saw it. As I saw them pulling something out of the water I noticed it was some sort of training device that the teenaged lifeguards were practicing CPR on. They did it with confidence and some seemed impatient almost as they knew this was only a drill. But I could hear their boss/manager giving them precise details on what to do next.

Then the wisdom overflowed from the instructors. I heard them telling the children, as they watched intently at what was going on at the other side of the pool, “This is practice for the lifeguards. They have to be ready always in case there is a real emergency. They keep practicing. Why? So they can get better. This is why it’s so important to learn how to swim.”

If you’ve made it this far in the story, you may be scratching your head. The point I’m trying to make here is that jolts of reality happen all of the time, whether we are actively looking for them or we are sitting back watching our kids as they learn to float on their backs. Be aware of the life lessons we are observing daily. Some may be worth listening to and some may be to reinforce to our children what will keep them safe in life.

Summer is Finally Here

It’s funny how life changes. When we were kids growing up, we got so excited about summer. No more homework. No more early mornings. No more class everyday. We could usually just hang out with our friends, go to the pool, maybe the lake if we were lucky, and every few years we got to see the beach. Yeah, summers as a kid were amazing.

Enter parenthood…

Now, I look forward to summer break because we won’t have homework; no more early mornings; we can have play-dates with friends; we get to go to the pool; maybe we can have a lake day if we’re lucky; and maybe we’ll get to see the beach one of these years.

So, wait, what has really changed?

Well, for starters I have to keep these 3 tiny humans alive all summer. That’s definitely new! But also I get to watch the magical times of summer through the lens of a parent. Yes, the days pass by quicker for me than they do for the kids (whose hours and minutes drag along at a snail’s pace during the summertime – I do remember that), but I get to be part of new adventures in my kid’s lives. I get to partake in endless hours of board games, water fights, zoo trips, and maybe even a cool museum or two.

So, why am I sharing this?

Because I wouldn’t be able to do any of this with my kids had I not stopped drinking. Sure, I could still go to the pool, the zoo, the lake, the beach, or wherever the destination may be, but how can I be responsible for these little people when I can’t even responsibly take care of myself?

These trips would probably still be fun as I chased down chardonnay after chardonnay, but then who drives us home responsibly? Who takes us to the urgent care when someone falls at the pool? Who is able to care for my babies when they are solely in my care daily this summer?

Me…this sober mama right here will take pride in being able to do all of the mundane and sometimes boring things I’ll be doing this summer. I’ll do them with pride. I’ll do them with perspective. I will gladly play monopoly so many times my head will explode! Because I get to…