31 Days of Real Life: Day 19

It's funny, because a picture can tell a 1000 words, but it can also hide 1000 more.  

Chris has school on Wednesday nights so he had to leave as soon as I got home from work. Time being in short supply these days, and knowing that we needed to accomplish our annual Jack-o'lantern carving tradition soon, the kids and I said goodbye to daddy, climbed in the van, and headed to a Farmer's Market just down the street to pick out some pumpkins. I snapped this picture right before we left the market, and while I love their smiles and while our pumpkins are just right for the five of us, this picture doesn't say it all.

It doesn't say that Evelyn gave me copious amounts of sass because there wasn't room for her to sit on the wagon, or that she and Christopher had been bickering like an old married couple all evening, or that a second later, she dropped her pumpkin on Jackson's head (purely on accident though!) and then it fell and rolled under the car parked next to us. It doesn't show Jackson being upset because he didn't get a chance to pull the wagon, or one of the kids tripping as we walked under the awning of the market to pay...it shows the smiles and the pumpkins and the happiness of the moment, and for that, I'm thankful. But it's also important to note that the unhappy, gray-hair-inducing moments DO happen...for EVERYBODY. Sometimes we tend to forget that, at least when looking out in the great beyond known as social media. We look at everyone's highlight reels and don't believe that they ever have any bloopers like our own. But we ALL do. Not every moment is perfection. There is always a mixture of highs and lows. But what we choose to remember is up to us. 


31 Days of Real Life: Day 18

The past week has flown right by. First the hit and run incident from last week, then getting ready for and having Jackson's 5th birthday party, and busy schedules for Chris and I both between work and his college courses. Between all of it, I've been feeling wiped out. So today, the best part of my day by far, was forgetting about all of the to-dos, and playing with Play-Doh with the kids after dinner. Little moments of playing on their level means a lot to them, and I'm not the best at doing it as often as I should. But tonight, this took precedence, and I'm glad. 


31 Days of Real Life: Day 11

Today when I got home from work, the boys were in the front yard, learning how to use their new slingshots that my husband had made for them this afternoon. After they got home from school, they went on a walk to find the prefect branches and then did some slingshot engineering. He is great with the fun stuff and I'm thankful for that. They though it was the coolest, and I was happy that no one shot their eye out. We've had enough excitement for one month already!


 Jack selecting the perfect rock. 

Jack selecting the perfect rock. 


31 Days of Real Life: Days 9 and 10

Y'all, my brain is mush. I have 12 minutes to go until midnight, and I already missed yesterday's post so I don't want to delay any further. It seems to me that the best method of tackling today's challenge is to present real life as it actually happens...in a scattered delivery, full of quick transitions. Here goes...

  • Yesterday, my oldest son forgot to put his shoes on when we left for church. He didn't tell me this until we pulled into the parking lot. I was incredibly frustrated by this, but helped immensely by a lovely grandmother at my church who suggested that I give him a hug, explain that I accept his mistake and am not going to stay angry, and just bring him inside. There's a bit more to it than that, and you can check out the full story on my Facebook page, but I learned that getting, and staying, mad does not solve your issues. 
  • Every day, I get to drive Evelyn to and from pre-school and it's one of my favorite parts of the day. She tells me stories, we sing the Christian songs on the radio, I ask her questions, and sometimes we just drive in the quiet and are comfortable enough to be okay with that. I am so glad God picked me to be the mama for her and her brothers. 
  • On a less blissful note though, she has been waking up crying the last few nights almost as if she is in a stupor and not realizing that she is awake. I am wondering if it is a phase of night terrors, and am hoping it passes soon. Not only is uninterrupted sleep a precious and beautiful thing, but I hate to think that anything is terrifying her enough to wake her up and make her so sad (maybe she's dreaming about the upcoming presidential election?).
  • Chris had school tonight, so I took the kids out for a picnic dinner at the park. It was a nice chance to enjoy a beautiful fall day. I was shielding my eyes from the bright sun, watching them slide, balance, and run around, when I heard the clashing thump of metal on metal and saw that someone had read ended my van in the parking lot. Surely they must have noticed, for the noise was so cacophonous that everyone in the park turned their heads to see. When I realized that he wasn't stopping, I tried to wave him down, but to no avail. I did, however, snap a picture of his vehicle, filed a police report, and with the powers of word of mouth in small town America and social media, found out who it was very quickly. My insurance company will cover most of the damages, and in the end, I'm just so glad that none of the kids were standing anywhere near the back of the van when it happened. Maybe more on that saga tomorrow...
 My poor mom-mobile suffered some damage, but at least no one was injured! 

My poor mom-mobile suffered some damage, but at least no one was injured! 

Other quick random thoughts over the last two days:

-I'm thinking again about writing a devotional book for moms. Yikes! Just need to DO IT! 

-Don't fight evil with evil. Overcome evil with good. 

-Anger solves nothing.

-And last but not least, God is bigger than all of our stresses. 

Days 9 and 10: The End


31 Days of Real Life: Day 8

Our days have been so busy lately, even on the weekends, and this was the first Saturday in a long time where we haven't had to rush out the door early in the morning for something. We had a glorious lazy morning, taking our time getting ready, making a big breakfast of eggs and sausage instead of rushing out the door with granola bars and baggies full of Cheerios. It was a nice change of pace. 

Then we headed to a cider mill for the traditional Fall experience of mowing down on fresh donuts and apple cider. I've said it once and I'll say it again, Fall is my favorite.  


There is nothing like the donuts and cider combo on a cool but sunny Fall day. Christopher and evelyn insisted that they would love to try apple cider slushies, so we broke down and said yes, only to find that they didn't like them that much after all, just a few sips later. Luckily, big Chris loved them more than anyone so he downed them both. Dad saves the day (and risks a sugar coma in the process--the things fathers do for their children, right?).



After the cider mill, we had the opportunity to help some great friends move into their beautiful new home and make some headway with the unpacking process. It's funny how much I love cleaning and organizing other people's houses so much more than my own. If only I could figure out a way to fully enjoy both! 

At some point tomorrow, I will grade my students' spelling and vocabulary tests, so I'm sure we're in for a super thrilling update for Day 9. Stay tuned. 


31 Days of Real Life: Day 7

Here's my quick thought for the day, as I come off the heels of a busy work week:

It's not worth it to try to stress yourself out and cross off every to-do list item. It's just not. Why? Because the list will always be there. One thing gets done but another thing inevitably pops up. It's the nature of life, and it's okay. It's okay if you feel like something has slipped or if you're running behind. At least that's what I'm telling myself. So much to do, with seemingly not enough time. BUT if I pressure myself to do everything and do it all perfectly, I'm doing a disservice to myself and those around me. I guess the moral of the story today, is let's all give ourselves some grace.

Day 7, done.


31 Days of Real Life: Day Six

Some days, your dinner game is on pointe. There are veggies--fresh ones--and a colorful palette on your child's plate (not that will eat all of it, but hey, at least you're trying). These are the nights where the meal doesn't come from boxes or cans and that involved, like, actual prep time and your actual oven. And you receive praises and applause as you take a bow before your family as they gratefully thank you for your diligent care and expertise in preparing such a fine meal. I may be mildly exaggerating here. These are the nights that you feel like a culinary goddess, a domestic powerhouse who keeps her family healthy and strong.

And then there are other nights, when you come home from work and have to leave right away to go to Cub Scouts, or whatever other activity it may be, and you realize it's almost 8:00 and holy heck, the kids have been snacking all evening but haven't actually had dinner, and you thank the Lord in His great goodness for the creation of Hot and Ready pizzas and you call it good.


Day 6, complete.


31 Days of Real Life: Day 5

The purpose of this writing challenge is two fold:

1. To prompt myself to actually write and post something every single day this month.

2. To make sure each post falls under the theme of "Real Life." No sugar coating allowed.

Keeping that in mind, I give you day 5 of my "real life" experience. Welcome to my dining room. Technically, this all happened yesterday, but seeing as how it still looks exactly like this, I figure it's appropriate to share it today. We are waiting for our insurance company to send an adjuster out to pinpoint the exact cause and exact coverage determination, but yeah, this is real life today. Yikes.


All in all, it could be a lot worse. The kids are often in that room playing with Legos on the table, but thankfully they were at school when this happened. All of the Legos are buried under all of that fiberglass insulation though, so that's a bummer. There were at least 30-40 mini-figures. Hopefully they can be recovered or deemed replaceable. I didn't have any dinner guests planned anytime in the immediate future, so that's a plus. And, both entrances into the dining room have a door, so the space can be closed off from the rest of the house. Out of sight, out of mind, at least for another day, until the adjuster comes out and tells us where to go from here. But the sooner this real mess is out of my real life, the sooner I'll be real happy about that!

Also, be sure to check out past posts in the series and the Laughter Without Fear Facebook page for nightly updates!

31 Days of Real Life: Day 4

Today at work, I was at the first of two teacher-training days that helped us prepare for a five-day event that will happen later this school year, where we will have school at a nature center for a week. It included a 50 minute nature journaling exercise that was the most peaceful and serene experience I have had in months. We each found a spot far away from anyone else, sat down on a stool, and write about + sketched what we saw around us. It was such a calming experience. 

As I looked around me and sketched out the fall colors of the trees across the lake in front of where I was seated, I remembered a conversation I had with my Grandma Dixon on a summer day when I was ten or eleven years old. 

"Christina," she began,  "what color are those trees up ahead?" She was driving, and pointed to a cluster of trees next to the road off in the distance.

As we got closer, wondering if it was a trick question, I gave what I thought was the correct response. "Green." 

"You're not wrong." she said. "But there's so much more to it than that. If you really look hard, you will see not just one shade of green, but many. You'll see yellows, pinks, and browns. There's always more than just one color."

Grandma liked to paint nature scenes and landscapes, and perhaps she was telling me this, hoping I would appreciate it in the literal sense. I did, of course, and often think about it, and her, when I am taking in a beautiful scene like I did today. But it also applies to so much more. People. Relationships. Life. You may look at something and make a snap decision based on what you see at first. But it's not that simple. And if you stop to look, you'll see that there's a lot more color than you originally thought. 



#write31days: Day 3

The beauty of this 31-day writing challenge is that there are no rules other than consistency. I must commit to sharing bits of real life each day this month, but how much or how little may vary. I could expand upon the words and phrases: rushing, dinner in the crock pot, teaching, prepping sub plans due to teacher training tomorrow, many tasks and little time, etc. BUT expansion is completely unnecessary unless I want it to be. With that freeing revelation, I will just highlight a small part of my evening...

 Because mama has to relax when and where she can. Here I am lounging in the bed of the ER where I had to go get my stitches removed tonight, following a nasty mini bike accident a few weeks ago. Evelyn told me I was acting "vewwy bwave" and held my hand.

Because mama has to relax when and where she can. Here I am lounging in the bed of the ER where I had to go get my stitches removed tonight, following a nasty mini bike accident a few weeks ago. Evelyn told me I was acting "vewwy bwave" and held my hand.

 Suckers. Cartoons. They were happy. Mommy was happy. Success. 

Suckers. Cartoons. They were happy. Mommy was happy. Success. 

Now the kids are in bed, Chris is on his way home from recording school, and I've got a not-so-hot date with a laundry basket. I know, I know. Don't be jealous.  

Be sure to follow along on my Facebook page, and check out the rest of the posts in the Write 31 Days series:

Day 2

Day 1

#write31days Launch Post