Friday, October 22, 2010

Quotes from a Caribou Preschooler

"Sorry, Mom. Sorry" (This was after he didn't write his K perfectly. I explained he didn't need to apologize for not learning his letters perfectly, yet he continued to apologize any time a letter was not to his liking. Perfectionist, perhaps?)

"I was very good. I concentrated." (Explaining to Daddy what he did when he came home.)

I asked Griffin if he wanted to read a book together, and he replied, "But I can't read a book unless I am sitting on your lap!" (To my lap he went!)

After I told him he could have a sticker for all of his hard work he replied, "You can have a sticker too, Mom. You were SUCH a good helper!"

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Caribou Pre-School

What? You didn't know that Caribou has a preschool? Well, it does:)

I have been struggling this year with the fact that Griffin will never attend preschool. Because Brandon and I both have full-time jobs, it is nearly impossible for our boys to attend preschool unless we completely uproot them from Gail's house. While I know Griffin is a social butterfly, and he practices following directions in Kid-O-Deo, it made me nervous that he would never have a routine, structured, school-like atmosphere before entering Kindergarten next year.

Viola! Caribou preschool. Starting today, Griffin and I will be attending Caribou once a week for an hour of one-on-one preschool time. He has a backpack and everything. The two of us practiced our numbers and letters and did some reading, but his favorite part was doing workbook stuff like finding the unalike object or figuring out which pictures represented certain numbers. Now, I know this isn't the same as going to preschool, but for one whole hour, Griffin received one-on-one academic attention, and he LIKED it. He was attentive, and he wants to do it again. And I get Caribou out of the deal. I'm convinced it's my best idea yet:)


Do you have a friend who is always fun to be around? Someone who you can go for months without seeing, yet the minute you are together everything is still familiar? Nothing has changed but the time?

Well, I have three of them. And they are my siblings. I didn't choose for Le'Dean, Andrew, and Christopher to be my family, yet we have all chosen to be each other's friends. Even though we can all get annoyed with one another at times, and there are times when we don't always agree with how someone has chosen to do something, we can still get together at the drop of the hat and have fun together. We forget our differences and truly enjoy each other's company.

Yesterday I had a surprise visit by my youngest brother, Christopher. He had driven to a nearby town for a wedding, and he had no clue until moments before arriving that he was staying only 10 minutes away from our house. I only see my siblings about five times a year, so this was an unexpected treat. And from the moment he walked through the door, everything was familiar. My boys ran to him as if they see him every day. He sat on our couch and told stories as if he visits our house often. He was entertaining as always, and I was proud to be his older sister.

Seeing Christopher made me wish I lived closer to my siblings. It made me sad that my boys don't get to see their extended family as often as I would like. But, it made me grateful that the four of us will always be familiar. No matter how long we go between visits or how far away we live.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Strong is the New Beautiful

Yesterday I ran my first 10K race in Maple Grove. The Autumn Classic is something I plan to do on a yearly basis because the race was perfect. Having run a 5K, a 4 Mile Race, and a half-marathon, the 10K race is by far my favorite. I wouldn't classify 6.2 miles as easy (especially yesterday's VERY hilly course), but it isn't nearly as difficult as 13.1 miles. Furthermore, I could still function yesterday at a normal level, and today my legs aren't sore. That was NOT the case when I ran the World Vision race in August. I would classify yesterday as a good challenge, and that is perfect for me:)

As a mother of two small children, I am often asked how I find the time to run. The answer is I don't. I don't find the time because there is never enough time to do things we try and find the time to do. Instead, if something is a priority, we MAKE the time. It's no different than signing your child up for swimming lessons, football, or making church a priority on the weekends. We don't find the time to go to church; we make it. The same is true for my runs. Don't get me wrong. Making the time isn't always easy. I run four times a week, and I have to be very strategic about it. But, three days during the week, as soon as my kiddos are put to bed, my date with the treadmill begins. On the weekends, I either run when the kiddos go down for a nap, or sometimes Brandon watches the kids, and I will run when they are awake. The commitment on my part has been made. Since May of this year, running is one of my priorities, and it is rare that I don't get four runs in. I am officially addicted to the runner's high you get after finishing a challenging run.

Still, some shake their heads. They ask why I put the stress on my knees? Or how can I run at 8:00p.m at night? The answer is this. I have never had as much confidence in my body image as I do right now. And those of you know me, that is a very bold and amazing statement to make. My whole life, I have struggled with my body image. Whether it was trying to look perfect for gymnastics, constantly comparing myself to my beautiful and stunning sister, looking perfect on the diving board, or measuring myself next to my friends, what I saw in the mirror was never what I wanted to see. For years and years, I had a very private, ugly battle with food. But now, at this moment, my struggle with food and my weight isn't there. I used to weigh myself multiple times a day. Sometimes before and after workouts even. I now weigh myself just a few times a month. I still have stretch marks from the kiddos, and if I obsessed over food, I know I could be skinnier, but I truly don't have that desire. If I want to eat something, most of the times I do. I may say to myself, "Oh, I shouldn't eat that," but inevitably I do, and it's okay. And it's okay because right now, my body is healthy, and I am stronger than I have ever been as an adult. And as my t-shirt that I am wearing right now says, "Strong is the New Beautiful." And maybe this is bad to say, but I like feeling beautiful.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Random Thoughts and Updates

Last weekend, we attended Eagle Brook's Blaine Campus for its Grand Opening. It was so inspiring to be a part of something so new, yet so planned for. This campus has been in the works for two years, and Brandon and I feel blessed to have been a part of it financially, through prayer, my short-term staff stint, etc. While we have yet to decide if we are going to stay at SLP or actually attend Blaine, it was still fun to be a part of the debut weekend.

It was during that service that Brandon and I heard the sermon about "locking the exit door." The two of us have agreed---the exit door to our marriage does not exist. Instead, we have made the decision that no matter what, we will fight for our family. This doesn't mean we aren't realistic about the fact that marriage can be difficult, boring, and insane at different times. It doesn't mean that we won't face times on our journey where we feel like giving up. But, it does means that we are committed to bettering ourselves, which in return increases the success of our marriage. We want our boys to learn how to love others by seeing how we love each other. This involves overlooking each other's faults at time, and most important, it means that biblical teachings and truth will drive how we run our family. I could go on, but Bob Merritt says it so much better---click here to listen to last week's sermon:)

This week also brought about some one-on-one time with my youngest mischief-maker. Because of different nap times and bed times, I am able to squeeze in some quality time with Griffin more frequently. But last night, it was all about Mommy and Grayson time while Daddy took Griffin to swimming. I kid you not, we read books for almost 40 minutes. And by books, I mean two books over and OVER again. I tried suggesting different ones, but Grayson is quite convinced that Super Hero Alphabet and Super Hero Friends are the two best books around. We read them so often that even Griffin has them memorized! Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed some snuggle time with just my 18 month old pride and joy. Plus, he even learned a new phrase...he can now say "bad guy!"

Finally, I wanted to take some time to give a shout out to Brandon. The start of the school year is always stressful, and I tend to become kind of hard to live with when I deal with the stress of a new year. Throw in my classes at Bethel and the extra time I am spending with my student teacher, and you have yourself one bundle of joy for a wife. Or not. Brandon has really stepped up to the plate and gone above and beyond the call of duty as a husband and father...the kicker is that he doesn't complain. I am blessed with a husband who finds joy in serving his wife and kids. And if he doesn't find joy, he fakes it:)

Ahhh. Life is good!