How tot soccer can bring adults to tears.

soccerI’ve struggled a ton since I became a parent and my children actually started walking, talking, defying, running into roads, hitting each other, hitting other kids, generally, just being little humans.
My struggle has mostly come from this voice inside that constantly questions if I’m doing it right. Or messing them up. Am I creating the need for therapy because I lost my cool in the mall parking lot last week and needed to sit in the car by myself and lamaze breathe myself to a good place?

Last week we took Addie to soccer camp. She liked it about 30% of the time. It was a new experience for all of us. I know we all laugh and think that its funny when its someone else’s child sitting in the soccer goal, but when its ours, an internal war of voices comes floating to the surface. The voice mostly jabs at my parenting ability, how discouraged I was, worrying if other parents think I’m being mean to my kid by making her stay on the field, and spends too much time looking at the things that went poorly. The failures.

Then the grace comes in, with her, and with myself. I remember that don’t I remember what its like to be 4, but I do know what it feels like to do something that feels big and new and scary. That its hard to walk into a place where you don’t know everyone and learn something new. And yes, Addie didn’t behave well the entire time at camp, but I also don’t behave well the entire time as an adult. It happens too often that I think of things I said or did and realize that I probably should not have said or done them.

It matters that we stay, try, apologize when we have to, and are willing to put ourselves in new, scary, and big situations, or whats the point? I want to teach Addie that even though soccer camp didn’t go great the whole time, she went, she put herself out there, and she tried. Those things require courage, bravery, and grit. More than being good at soccer, those are the things I want to teach my daughter. And then I think of those voices that tell me I’m not doing everything well enough, and I think that yes, I mess up all the time. So many things I do I wish I had done better, or differently, from things I say (this one comes up too much….) to new skills I try. But I want to be better, and live outside my zone of comfort. I don’t want to just do things I’m good at. I want to do things I’m bad at so I can get better.

I want to run a half marathon.

I want to take adult swim lessons so I can learn how to actually breathe while I’m doing laps. Right now I drown a little.

I want to take a cooking class.

I want to go zip lining.

I want to write more, and get better at it.

I want to do things that scare me a little, like make new friendships, and skydiving. Seriously. I want to do this someday. Maybe.

I want to try something thats so hard that I fail, and have to try it again. And again. Because  I think failure, as challenging as it can be, whether its failing to be the parent we wanted to be, the friend I hope to be, or whether I fail at something new that I’m trying, is a good thing. Failing doesn’t diminish my value as a mom or person.  I think failing shows bravery and determination. I showed up. I tried. I had a good attitude (I hope). I want to try something new and risk that my life can be even better, even if its scary. Or hard.

So, I guess soccer camp was kind of good. We went out there, and we were (all) brave. And it gave us new things to shoot for next year. Like not crying after camp. If I can teach Addie to be brave, by practicing courage myself, and letting her see my failures, and wins, then I think that will be a huge success.

No Spend November (or, How to Stop Living High Off the Hog)

Just sing this to the tune of Alice Cooper’s “Schools Out for Summer,” and lets get this party started!

What is a No Spend Month:
Its horrifically self explanatory, but I’ll still go ahead and explain. In a nutshell, its a month (of your choosing, though I chose November because I like alliteration), where you drastically cut your spending by choosing to pay only for essentials and non-negotiables. Essentials include mortgage, rent, food, and non-negotiables might include paying to get your finger sewn back on after a tricky kitchen incident.
Why some people do No Spend Months:
1. Some people want to find out if they can get what they want for less. Deciding you will not spend above a certain amount forces you to get creative with what you can spend.
2. Curb mindless spending.
3. Get things done at home that previously, you haven’t had the chance to because you’re out there wildly throwing around the green (which isn’t us).

Why we’re doing No Spend November (in addition to the reasons given above)

1. To create more mindful discipline concerning our budget. We know where every dollar goes (for the most part) but its been a lot of swipe and spend lately, with little thought as to where its coming from or  if it could be better spent elsewhere.

2. Learning well to delay gratification. If its cute, buy it. If we’re hungry, grab it. While we have a ‘budget’, we’ve exceeded it at times.

3. To get a chance to stop, reflect, and express some gratitude for everything we’ve been given. We have a lot of wants, but not needs. We’re really, really blessed. God’s taken care of us, and I think November is a great month to be content with what we have.

What it means for us:

1. No unnecessary spending. Whats unnecessary? Dining out, entertainment, lattes (no!!!), trips to, and subsequent purchases at Target.

What I hope we’ll gain from this month:

My hope is that this month will help us learn to better decipher between our needs and our wants. I would like to get a little more creative with our activities, and use more of what we have around the house before rushing off to buy something. I want to eat through the gross things at the back of our freezer. No wait, they’re not gross, just…not as exciting as other things. I want to be content with what we have, and start moving at a slower pace.

There are countless things to be gained from a no spend month, if for nothing else than to simply stop and evaluate the value of a dollar, and see if its going where it should be going. I plan to share our adventures, ideas, highlights, and trials with you throughout this month. Which is 30 days long. I just checked. 30 cheap, adventurous, simple, and non Target filled days.

 

peek-a-boo with your fence

I know there are responsible things to do. And then there are things you have to do. And then, well, there are things you just do. This week I had a quick and dirty lesson in ‘the do’s.’

A while ago I had a baby. Actually, lets jump back a few steps.  Before that, I went back to school, incurred a ridiculous amount of student loan debt, graduated, and then I had a baby.

I decided I wanted to stay home with Addie. Scratch that, by default, I stayed home, and I did want that, but I wasn’t entirely sold. She was born in early December, and I didn’t think it would work very well to start a school counseling position and then almost immediately take maternity leave, though it could have been done, it didn’t sound like something I wanted to do.

I wrestled a lot with staying home for a bit. There was a lot of joy and certainly a great amount of convenience in staying home, but I would constantly scour school district websites for jobs, think about little things I could do to work; basically, I spent my time peeking over the fence and never really settled into being there.

At the end of last year I was offered a job, not in my field, but close enough. It was a great deal for a working mom, almost as good as you can get, wonderful people, great program, in house daycare and all signs seemed to point towards, “You’re a dope if you don’t take this!” So take it I did. And I did it, gratefully, and then things started to slowly fall apart.

Addie got sick…all the time. Not just the sniffles, but the barfs. Fevers. And then the sniffles in between. I’m fairly sure that I left butt marks in the chairs at the walk in clinic. Sleep came in short doses…Tony stayed home, I stayed home, my mom drove down, and it just got ridiculously sucky hard.

At some point I lost my joy because it became clear that things just weren’t working. Tony got to a point where he couldn’t work from home anymore, I got to a point where I was slacking in planning because I was slacking in life, as a mom, tired and giving half to everything, and then Addie got sick again. I met with my boss for coffee last weekend, who’s just a classy lady, and she released me from my position. I never would have quit. I just don’t…to my detriment, and I think at times to others, I just wouldn’t quit something, but to be gracefully released from this was a blessing. I sat at coffee surprised, but relieved. Everyone was getting what they needed.

As I went back and read this blog post, I’m grateful. I know that I got a chance to be a working mom, and its not right for this time in my life. That doesn’t mean it won’t ever be, but right now, its time to be home. For a day or so, I went back and forth wondering if this is the responsible, prudent thing to do. And then we decided that this was just the thing that needed to be done, and that was that. I’m home, I’m in with both feet, and thats a great feeling.

On another note, working moms are amazing. If you know one, you should tell her she’s amazing. Give her a Starbucks card, a hug, a compliment. I didn’t do it that long, but man. They’re incredible.

 

 

Content to Rent

Its hard not to feel totally caught when the lady who lives in the home you’re taking pictures of walks outside and asks, “Are you taking pictures of my house?” Um, yes? I then responded, “Oh yes, but I’m not creepy.” What Katie? For those of you know me well, you wouldn’t be surprised that I then proceeded to explain why I was taking the picture, and talked waayyy too much, and probably did come off creepy.

Big sigh.

Well, heres the house. (By the way, look closely at the garage in the photo. You can see the lady with her arms crossed, watching me take pictures of her house. I didn’t notice that until I put the picture on my computer)

So, this is where its all been coming from. I’ve been having an internal scuffle with myself lately, and an afternoon walk with my daughter gave me a lot of time to think about it. Some of you know the story of our living situation in the past year, its takes too much emotional energy to explain it all, so I’ll defer to The Nester. (She’s explaining her sentiments surrounding their rental journey).

…at times with discouragement and disdain and a sense of hopelessness. Every day of feeling like a second class citizen, like dorks, like kids because we rent has been worth it because of this space right here on the internet. I had no idea that those days of discontentment were my education on how to find contentment…{full post here }

Reading her post was therapeutic for me. I love blogs, mostly for transparency they offer. I always feel ministered to when someone opens up to me with their life, their story, where they’ve walked and how they’ve gotten to where they are. Sometimes it helps to normalize how I feel, and sometimes it just helps to hear what others have gone through. However, those conversations are rare. We’re all so private sometimes its exhausting. Ah, another post for another day.

My struggle lately has been this: I love the house we live in, but I deeply want to feel settled in a place. I look around sometimes when I’m home and its sad because I know that sooner or later, I will need to pack up this house and go to somewhere different. The memories Addie and Tony and I create here will need to be transferred somewhere else, and thats alright, but its rough sometimes. I’ve been wanting to expand our family lately….but I also want to feel settled in. I don’t think I can have both right now. We were at a house this weekend that felt so much a like a home…with each room having its own special touches, which is something that becomes added over timethose things take time. Those special touches and long stays in one place are something I want for my daughter.

So back to my intrusive google earthesque picture taking. I walked by this home on my walk and fell in love. My photo does not capture everything I could see, but I wanted to remember it, to keep it locked away. So I took a picture. And had a hard time explaining all of this to the woman in the garage watching me, who bolted so quickly towards me that I would have thought she was a bull and I was waving a red sheet. I looked at this house and the soft lights and people inside and felt homey, it looked warm. I thought about what I want for Tony and Addie and our (hopefully!) other kiddos by then.

And when I talk about looking in someones windows and photographing it, it actually does sound kind of weird.

I do know its not the physical structure that creates that warm feeling inside a house. I know its the people inside of it that make it feel like something you want to settle in and cozy up to. But I also know that its been difficult, to move in and be treated differently because you rent (it happens! believe you me it happens). I often want to tell our neighbors that we did own a place before, and then I realize that I don’t need to explain myself…but I still want to. Thats the hard part.

This struggle in contentment, its real. And its something I’m having a hard time with right now. Though I’m lucky enough to know that its not the situation that has to change, its me. I also know that usually I like to have a clean, wrapped up, cute ending to my blogs, showing you the conclusion I came to or delivering a punchline to a funny joke…but I think this one is scattered and messy, like me right now. Ah, its hard to be okay with that.

 

 

 

 

 

© Copyright A House Blend - Theme by Pexeto