Friday, September 19, 2014

31 Day Challenge

I am considering participating in The Nester's 31 Day Writing Challenge....on Family Life....for the month of October.  

The challenge is the write for 31 days straight.  If you notice, it's hard for me to write much at all these days.  The sole reason for my blog has always been to chronicle my family's life.  My older kids and I love to re-read through my blog (I print it out at  blog2print.com each year)....and laugh about things they did and said....that I have long forgotten about.

I do not consider myself a writer.  I consider myself someone who occasionally gets an idea for a blog that I feel needs to be said (or just to make people laugh....because we could all use more humor in our lives).  So to write for 31 days straight will be a bit of a stretch.

Family Life is my passion.  I am very thankful for bloggers and all of the amazing things I've learned over the years.  The blogging platform is really cool, and I love it for many reasons.  But I've never felt like a large blogging platform is my place in this world (nor is anyone asking for it to be).

I am an extreme extrovert.  I like people around all the time.  Just yesterday, Brett took all four kids to football/cheer practice while I got ready for a girls night. The was SO QUIET while I was getting ready that I had to turn on Netflix (on my phone) while in the bathroom because the quiet was.....too quiet.

Because of this extrovert issue I have, the time I spend on the computer is used interacting with friends through Faeebook or Twitter (and I am trying to get into Instagram but just can't, for some reason).

The ideas and dreams that burn in my heart, in regards to family life....I prefer to live in my real life context.  I don't prefer to write about them.  This is no offense to bloggers, because, as I have said, my life is infinitely better because of the amazing bloggers out there.  Plus, there are many, many, many people that do it better or say it better (and actually know how to navigate html code)....

For example,
I wrote this post in April 2013.  My friends liked it.  But I have really, really nice friends.  So I could write anything, and they would be kind.
This was written much later and made it on the Huffington Post.  It went viral......and as you can see, written much better.  I have no problem admitting that.
(Although I would be lying if I didn't feel pretty good about myself for coming up with a topic that was later featured on the HuffPost.  But not good enough to consider myself a writer.)

On a sort of side note, my BFF is a writer.  Like, a legit writer.  Who writes every day.  And she's really good at it.  Her whole life goes into her writing.  My contribution to the writing world is watching Twilight and The Hunger Games with her as genre research (I actually love those movies, but I almost ended our friendship when I had to watch Bella drink blood....while dealing with morning sickness....but she was pregnant and barfy, too, so I forgave her).
On a really side note: this same BFF and I had babies one day apart.  Seriously, how funny is that?
When we were pregnant, people would ask us, "Did you plan this?"  
And we were like, "Um, yeah, like middle schoolers plan to match their shirts, we consulted each other on our baby making plans."
Insert eyeroll.
(Even if we wanted to plan it, which we aren't that weird.....do you know how impossible that would be to execute???)

So, back to my original point, I KNOW what goes into being an actual writer.  And I just am not that.  Unless overposting on Facebook counts (which it doesn't).

This is a really long explanation to say I am CONSIDERING writing about Family Life for 31 days.  I do not know if I have enough ideas to fill 31 days, but I do have enough children that are capable of producing new ideas everyday.

So maybe I will give it a shot.

If I decide to do it (still a strong IF), you can expect my writings to include:
- lots of references to potty talk (there are just so many boys that it's inescapable.  If you have a family full of precious girls, feel free to judge me.  I judge me.)
- lots of complaining about pee (because WHY CAN'T THEY AIM)....see, using potty talk already
- tidbits of things I've learned along this beautifully messy journey (for the 8 and under crowd....I know nothing beyond that)
- ideas to make your days a little easier
- stories about my failings that will make you feel really good about yourself


What I will not include:
- "enjoy every minute because it passes quickly" crap
When my husband is working late, my kids are wild, and I have no clue what to make for dinner.....there is literally nothing enjoyable about that.  Except for the moment when your BFF texts you, offering to sell her children to you, and you're like "I'm not even sure why I have the four I have but nice try."  THAT is a nice moment....because you actually have someone you can share the ugly moments with and feel normal.  

And while I am on my rant....moms who say that, do you enjoy poop?  Because in my eight years of motherhood, there has been SO MUCH POOP in AREAS WHERE POOP SHOULD NOT BE.  I am sorry.  I did not enjoy those moments.  (Again, potty talk.  I warned you.)

I also won't include:
- ideas that work all the time for all people.  My information will be given on a "no obligation" basis.  If it works for you, awesome.  If it doesn't, don't do it.  And feel 0% guilt about that.


So, what I am saying is my writings will be real (for better or worse) and not guilt-inducing things that try to tell you that you aren't enough (because you ARE enough).  The media tells us all the ways we don't measure up, so I hope to be a voice that says the exact opposite of that.  I hope that, in my normal-ness (and probably weirdness), you will find assurance that you're rocking this mom (or dad) thing.

My email is sarahw56 (at) gmail (dot) com.  If there are any areas or ideas you would like me to write about, please email me.  I mean, seriously, PLEASE email me because 31 topics is a lot, so I will probably be out of ideas by day 4.  (If it's a sensitive subject, I will keep your name confident).  Also, if any posts along the way rub you the wrong way, please please please e-mail me....I would never ever want to do that, so I welcome your thoughts (unless they're just mean. I don't have space in my life for mean.)

I guess after an 8 page long blog about maybe blogging, I should probably blog.  I guess I just needed to convince myself to do it.

Welcome to my journey.  If I stop blogging by day 6, it's either because none of emailed me ideas or because life happens....and the blog would be the first thing to go (as evidenced by my blogging history).  But I really do hope to stay strong because I think it could lead to some fun places.

See you in October!


Saturday, September 6, 2014

I Am Living In A Frat House





I posted on Facebook that living with four children and living in a frat house are practically the same thing.  Wonder if I am exaggerating?

I actually have only been in a frat house probably once in my life, but I can just assume what they're like.

Side story: Brett was asked to join a frat in college, so he went to one meeting.  I act like he was the president and very involved in it.....which he loves.  I even made up a chant for the frat.  For some reason, we really like to exaggerate each other's past life experiences.
Brett will tell complete strangers that I was the prom queen at a high school I did not even attend, and that the only reason I even won was because all of the other contestants were pregnant.

I don't know why we do this, but we both seem to find it very entertaining.
(I also often ask him what it's like to come from the harsh streets....because he made the mistake of mentioning to me once that there were gangs in his hometown....in reality, he definitely grew up in a nice neighborhood).

Clearly, we are mature.

But, I digress.

My FB post came to my mind because I walked by my kids' bathroom, and the delightful smell of pee overwhelmed me.  This wouldn't be such a big deal except for their bathroom connects to the living room, where we do all of our living with friends.  The fact we even have friends that have to use their bathroom is actually a miracle.
(Friends in the Midwest with 47 bathrooms, rejoice!  Approximately $29,000 per square foot for real estate in FL makes for a severe lack of bathrooms, which is a severe problem when 66% of your home is boys....most of which are unable to aim.)

Another side story: when we were newlyweds, I put a basket of books next to our guest toilet (you know, for all of our guests that needed to read while doing their business when they came over for dinner).  Brett told me I needed to get rid of the clearly very tasteful decor immediately because of the aforementioned aim issue (it should be noted he can aim fine.  Which is TMI, but I don't want to defame his reputation).

Because my house growing up had 94 bathrooms, I never shared with my brothers.  So this whole MALES CAN'T AIM thing was news to me.....news that's been proven extremely true in my home.

Ok, now for the real point.....of how you could easily confuse my house for a frat house.

- I have the spiritual gift of spending $200 at the grocery store and not actually buying anything.  There have been young children who've commented on my lack of food; that's how much of a problem this is.  The amount of times I've heard, "You just went to the store, right?" is impossible to count. By the end of the week, if you open my fridge, you will find some mustard, a jar of pickles, and dinner leftovers from April.

- In the time it takes me to get dressed in the morning (which is like 53 seconds because I wear work out clothes everyday), my kids apparently throw a raging party....because when I come out, there's spilled syrup, dirty dishes, 12 blankets on the floor, and no one is fully clothed.

- When you walk into my kids' rooms, it may give the appearance that we've just been robbed and ransacked.  Don't worry; they're just hoarders.  I probably have a 5th kid in there somewhere hiding underneath Littlest Pet Shops and Legos.  One would never know.



- A few weeks ago, I rearranged everyone's rooms.  Among the items found under beds: a dead lizard carcass, a rotten apple, and a moldy sippy cup.  We are clearly classy.


I have about 7 more examples, but I feel like if I go on, I will lose all of my friends.
My family is sort of a scene, as it is, so I should probably try to keep the friends we have.

Considering my experience in a frat house has been minimal (I should've asked for Brett's help in writing this given his extensive knowledge), after really thinking through it, comparing my house to a frat house may actually be offensive to my dear frat brother friends.

For that I am sorry.
But not as sorry as I am for my daughter who will grow up thinking urine is what bathrooms are expected to smell like.  Some things should be kept sacred til after you're married and trying to provide quality reading material to your guests.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Chloe's Christmas List



What I can decipher:
10 Playdohs
3 puppy babies
1 gymnastics bar
Saweces??
Puppies stuff
Puppy food
McKenna stuff
McKenna
2 bunnies
Calcol? Critters

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Beach

Recently, we went to the beach with friends!  It was such a beautiful day.
We even saw a sea turtle hatch and make its way to the ocean.....which was really awesome.



We love Rosa!!  
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Glamping

Last weekend, our family went on an adventure to Jonathan Dickinson State Park.  It's been far too long since we've been out of the city limits, so I thought it would be fun.

We had an absolute blast!!  The only downsides: no one slept very well and it was HOT.  Besides that, it was such a great time.

We rented an air-conditioned cabin with a bathroom, kitchen, and beds.  So it was definitely glamping (glamourous camping).  It's about the extent of what our family can handle, though.  I liked that it is SO much cheaper than a hotel, and we were out in the wilderness without dying from heat.

Brett and I looked at each other so many times and said, "This is so fun."  We will definitely do it again!!

Our city kids had a difficult time with attitudes at the beginning of the day (it was HOT), but they eventually adjusted!

We went geocaching and found our first geocaches!  We think geocaching is a blast.  I am the WORST at spotting the cache, but Brett is really good at it (not surprisingly).
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Chloe, before adjusting to the outdoors :)
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Caleb loved it! He was a good sport the whole time.
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On a boat ride.  Levi looked SO old.
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On the boat
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We went to Trapper Nelson's secluded homestead.  He hand built the entire homestead, and it was incredible.  The tour of the area was super cool, and it's fascinating to hear how about his life.
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S'mores time!!
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Brett, proud of his fire!
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Walking up to the highest point in South Florida (which isn't saying much).  It was SO neat.
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The lookout tower
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The best part of camping.
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Our little cabin!
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This is a trip we will definitely do again!!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Chloe's Baptism

Chloe made the decision to follow Jesus on February 8, 2013 (my birthday), and she got baptized on August 30, 2014.
We are beyond grateful for Jesus moving in our kids' hearts from a young age, and Brett getting to baptize her was beyond awesome.

She was SO nervous to be in front of people and acted kinda goofy.  But that's what makes Chloe, Chloe, so it was fitting :).


The water was a little cold
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Praying for her afterward
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Our church crew
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Monday, August 18, 2014

Update!

I have neglected my blog for far too long.
This summer was.....weird.
I don't even know where it went.
It was so, so busy....yet I can't recall accomplishing much.
I guess that's a sign of a good summer.
Nothing major happened.  But we had lots of fun.

We celebrated the first anniversary of our business.  While we still have a long way to go, we are pleased to actually be making it!  We are hopeful for lots of growth this year.

Our kids are doing awesome.  They're 2, 4, 6, and 8.  They make us laugh all of the time.  They're all just getting funnier and more fun with age.

I am enjoying this stage of life.  I feel like the fog of babymaking and babyhaving has lifted. I seriously look through pictures of the last 8 years and cannot believe how fast it has flown by.  But I also realize how much of a brain fog I was in.  I can look at pictures and just remember being so oblivious to so much of life.  That's just that stage of life, but I am kinda happy to be moving on from it.
I know each stage presents its challenges, but pregnancy was just SO HARD for me that I did not always feel present.  I now am fully present in life, and I love it.

Brett and I are doing well.  We're close to hitting the 10 year anniversary mark, which is WILD.  Ten years seems like a really long time, but it has passed in the blink of an eye.  A lot has happened in those ten years---cross country moves (FL to KS to FL), job changes (NFL, ministry, small business owners), lots of children---and I can honestly say we are more in love and happier now than ever!  I am so thankful for that gift.
The business has forced us to navigate a new normal, but it has made Brett come alive (this is so his thing).....and we are all benefitting from the love he has!
We all love how it has planted us in our community and given us such wonderful friendships.

We started school today, and I am VERY ready for a normal routine.  While the summer was much needed and super fun, I am ready for the normalcy Fall brings.  It's an unusual season for us, as I felt led by God to lay aside most every commitment we've had in the past.  Caleb and Chloe are each playing a sport (through Upward sports, so it's not much commitment).  Other than that, we are not really doing much.  Every time I try to add to our schedule, God says, "no".  So I am very interested to see what's in store for us.
Initially, I thought maybe I just need to be more available to my family, but the more I pray, the more I feel like God has something big in store.  I have zero clue what it could be.  But historically, anytime God has led me to cut big things out of my life, it's because He has something major on the horizon.
I love to keep a very full social calendar, so this is very weird for me to not have really anything planned.
I could be very off....there could be nothing coming....but it's just unusual to feel so strongly about keeping an open schedule.

So we shall see!  I've also been realizing lately that nothing is insignificant, so what God has in store could be so small on the world's scale, yet a big deal to us!  I don't have a ton to give beyond my family's needs, so I can't imagine it's anything too major.

Anyway, that's where I am at in life.  I am glad to be up-to-date on my blog and finally getting back to normal life.