Friday, August 22, 2014

In My Next 30 Years

In my first 30 years, I thought my best friend should be a girl. And at the times that I had one, it was. At other times, I wanted so badly to have one - someone who was like a sister to me, a fellow female I could confide in and hang out with, who would understand me, and who would always be on my side and at my side. Friendship is great and important, and best friendship is even more special. So when I felt it was lacking, it made me very sad. In my next 30 years, I want to remember every day that I do have a best friend, someone who is always on my side and at my side, someone who wants more than anything to comfort me, laugh with me, and spend life with me: my husband. I must, must start remembering this, cherishing this, and not taking it for granted.

(By my side through three births, I think he's seen about the best and the worst of me by now!)

In my first 30 years, I craved control, and I let that craving control me. I wanted complete control over myself, and much of the time over everyone and everything around me. I wanted to win every argument and every competition, even if it wasn't a competition to anyone else. I wanted things to be perfect - what I considered perfect, anyway. I wanted to rule the world. Well, I don't and I can't. It is a pretty unattractive characteristic, that control thing. And, it frequently backfires. In my next 30 years, I want to - need to - cure that craving. I want to let God be in control. (Wait, who am I to let God do anything, right? Maybe I should say that I want to have a bit more faith in God's control. He's got it under control, whether I let Him or not!) And not just with God, but also to not be tempted to be the control-freak who must get her say and her way, and to trust that other people can do things and do them rightly and well. I do not need to be in control, and I have a feeling that will actually be quite freeing. Okay, I've been working on this one already, and it is. :) Maybe, just maybe, people will start to notice a new-not-control-freak-Marie! Life's more fun this way.

(This is me having fun. Big sunglasses. Something I would have never, ever considered even a year ago!)

Lastly, in my first 30 years, I read a lot. I thought a lot. I talked a lot. I read and thought and talked about all kinds of things - religion, health, parenting, even hobbies and homemaking. My brain is full of ideas and information, which came in handy for winning imaginary arguments. In my next 30 years, I want to walk the talk. I want to more purposefully and passionately live the faith I've learned so much about. I want to put the information into action, to be intentional in my interactions, especially with my children, and to implement the ideas I've had swirling around in my head (and often on paper) but have never actually done. It sounds lofty, I know, but there comes a time when gaining more knowledge isn't as good as using the knowledge you already have. (And I'm not really worried that I'll stop learning, because it's my favorite thing to do.)

All this stuff, entire changes of thought processes and maybe even personality traits, it won't happen tomorrow. Most likely none of it will, since tomorrow isn't that much different than today. That's why I'm giving myself the next 30 years, God willing, to tackle it.

My first 30 years were pretty amazing (you know, being born and being a kid, and then getting married and having my own kids - yes, I left out a chunk of not-as-amazing teenage years), but I'm awfully grateful for the wisdom and maturity to do the next 30 a bit better.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Happy Ending

On the eve of my 30th birthday, I decided to reread some of my (now un-published) posts from the past couple of years. I barely recognize myself! I remember writing those posts, but I don't remember the feelings behind them very well. And to be honest, they're a bit embarrassing. It shouldn't be, because it was depression talking, but I was letting the ugliness of it get the best of me.

Tonight, the good news is that I'm not depressed (right now? anymore? I'm not sure of the best way to say that), even though I am a little overwhelmed with a fussy baby. It's just not getting to me the way things were then. Yes, I'm exhausted and occasionally have to vent about how hard things are right now, but at the end of the day, I'm happy. I'm tired, but happy. I have a lot to be happy about!

And that's how my 20's will end. It's a very happy ending, and an even happier new beginning.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thank You

Thank you for praying for me. Admitting that I need help (even if only in form of prayer) isn't easy or fun, but it actually does make a difference. I know the prayers themselves help, but so does putting myself out there and not keeping it all bottled up. So thank you for reading and for praying.

Our ultrasound on Friday went well. They once again saw a perfectly normal, healthy baby and said they are as close to 100% sure of that as medical professionals can be. They said he is about 4 1/2 lb and is growing chubby cheeks. Lord help me if we need any more sonos at my regular practice because it is going to be hard to keep my mouth shut.

The boys' birthday party on Saturday was fun. I made 24 superhero capes and opted to buy cake instead of make it. You can only do so much. My brother and uncle were also here for the weekend, which kept the boys busy and happy and entertained.

More happy things:
-it feels like summer this week! (okay, maybe a little too much)
-Lucas is registered for t-ball, and both boys are registered for soccer
-the newborn clothes are in the dresser ready to go

Last thing. My brother and I took the boys to the zoo on Monday, and we got to see this about three feet in front of us. First it was just boy lion, and then girl lion joined him for some cuddles. They were so cute together!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


We've been enjoying the snow. I would prefer temperatures between 20 and 30, but I'll take the snow any way we can get it!

I'm going to be really, really sad when it rains and is in the 40's next week. I know we're supposed to try to understand other people's points of view, but I really can't understand why so many people prefer mud to snow. If we were comparing 75 and sunny to 15 and windy, I can see your point. But all the people jumping for joy over 40's and rain? I don't get you.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

It's a...

It's a...nother boy!

Even a third boy gets some new things!
I'm very happy about that!

Lucas is too, because on the way to the ultrasound he told me that if we have three boys that makes a whole baseball team. To him, baseball is having a batter, a pitcher, and one fielder in the backyard. We also play three-person football with one quarterback, one running back or receiver, and one defender. Having three boys is going to (someday) allow me sit down and watch. Yay!

Tyler said all along that he wanted a sister. When the ultrasound tech told us it was a boy, he said, "And a sister." Nope, there's not two in there, buddy. Sorry. I think he'll be happy once the baby is here. We told him he will get to teach him to throw a ball and build towers and play trains. That seemed to appease him.

Most people are genuinely happy for us, but a lot of our relatives were rooting for a girl. Sometimes comments like "Aww, that's too bad" are kind of hurtful. I probably said things like that before I had kids, but most of these people aren't in that category. Now I always try to say "Oh, that's so exciting!" no matter what - 1st kid, 10th kid, 3rd boy, 3rd girl, whatever. It IS exciting to have a(nother) baby no matter what! I am really genuinely happy for people when they announce their pregnancy, if/when they find out the gender, and of course when the baby is born. And I'm especially happy that we're going to be welcoming our third baby boy in a few months!

He wouldn't stop moving his hands around. He really wanted to wave hello but he wouldn't even hold them still enough to get a non blurry picture! He also decided to cover up his boy parts with them, but we finally got a view from the back to confirm it!
20 weeks

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

There's No Place Like Home

This weekend, I'm going home. Home-home. Not Minnesota. Not Rockford. My little, wonderful, for better or worse, hometown, Winnebago.

Photo by Mary Kate Skaggs
You can laugh if you think it's the name of an RV. It's actually an Indian tribe. Or I guess nowadays they probably teach the kids to call it a Native American tribe. But we're still called the Indians, so there's that.

When my parents moved away almost ten years ago, I didn't really look back. I thought if I broke all my ties with the first 18 years of my life, I would somehow erase any mistakes of my past or bad memories associated with my formative years. In some ways, it did. I have been able to slowly forget some of those less than fond memories, but at some point I also started to forget how many good, great, awesome memories I had there.

This weekend, I'm going home. I'm going to take in the familiar sights and sounds of my youth. I'm going to grieve some losses of friends there, and grieve my losses of innocence too. But I'm also going to celebrate.

I'm going to bask in the greatness that is a public school district in which all the kids go through one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school, where there are no boundary line battles or property tax wars. We're one town, one school. Many teachers live in the town and have for generations. They are just as invested in the education of the students as the parents are. There is a sense of being held to a higher standard among students, parents, teachers, and everyone in the community. The arts are supported, and so are sports. I'm not sure there's another town this size in America that can compare to our triple threat of academics, athletics, and arts, especially music. Want to know the best part? We can still pray. I'm not sure how much it happens during the school day (of course, they say as long as teachers give tests, there will be students praying!), but we always have and still do pray before all our games.

Photo by Bekki Neal, 10.25.13, taken before their final regular season game to go 9-0.
It's not all roses (or rainbows or peaches). There are always some thorns. At times, it seemed cliquey. Occasionally, politics got ugly. There were some competitive undertones between families that had been there forever and those who came in and built the new cookie cutter subdivisions. Small towns gossip, and the gossip's not always nice or true. I made some bad choices there, and a lot of other kids did too, that we might not have made somewhere else. Or, we might have. Or, we might have made even worse mistakes. It wasn't perfect, and since, you know, I'm a perfectionist, I wanted to forget all that imperfection. The truth is, it can't be forgotten, and I wouldn't want to. There's too much good that I want to remember.

I've never felt at home anywhere but Winnebago. 18 years of fall, winter, spring, and summer were spent there. Christmas, Easter, birthdays, and graduations, all in the same house. All with the same neighbors, who became like family. Some of the same friends from kindergarten through senior year. Years and years of watching high school football on the same field, riding bikes around town on all the same old streets, ordering the same pizza that I can still taste today.

As the seasons came and went, I didn't realize what I was experiencing. We never really do as it's happening. But what I know now is that I'll never wish those memories away again. There's no place like home, and sometimes home is what we need. This weekend, I'm so glad to be going home.

The photos were taken by people who still live in Winnebago and posted these in a group I'm in. They made me cry!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Family-Filled Month

The next few weeks will be pretty busy for us, but in a good, family-filled way.

This weekend we are making a quick trip to visit my grandparents. My cousin and her husband will be there with their 1 year old, and I think the kids will have a good time together. The boys are excited because we are camping in their backyard.

Sunday is Steve's birthday, so we'll be heading home to celebrate here in the afternoon. His gifts are all from the thrift store, but I think he will like them.

Lucas has a field trip to the apple orchard next week. Steve's aunt - who is so wonderful with kids - is going to watch Tyler so that I can go on the field trip. I am eager to see how Lucas interacts with his classmates and how Tyler does for a morning by himself. (I think he will love it!)

Lucas turns 4 1/2 this month - how did that happen?! It seems like his birthday was last month! Since his half birthday falls on the Feast of St. Luke, we'll have a little celebration that day in the midst of everything else going on.

Next weekend is my sister-in-law's wedding. I need to finish up the programs and find some jewelry for my dress. Weddings are stressful for everyone involved, but I think it is going to be a really nice day. My parents and Ashley are also coming to the wedding, so we are looking forward to spending some time with them.

My parents will leave on Monday morning, and my brother will arrive here on Wednesday afternoon. He will be here through the weekend, and then he will head to Chicago for a work trip. I am thinking we will visit the pumpkin patch with him, which is something we've never done before.

A few days after he leaves will be Halloween, and another month will be gone!

Along with all of this, we are getting very close to announcing the speaker lineup and opening registration for the 2014 Behold Conference! I am putting some finishing touches on the registration forms and website, and once we are sure we've dotted all our i's and crossed all our t's (ie contracts are signed!), we are ready to go! It is always fun getting back in the swing of things and seeing my Behold friends.

I may or may not be quiet on here for the rest of the month, but if I am, it is probably because we are having a lot of fun with family and friends. I hope you have a great month too!