Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It is What it Is...

There's plenty of stuff I avoid blogging about.  Mostly because parts of the story are not mine to tell.  And figuring out what parts are, and what parts are tricky.  And avoidance is easier.  

But lately I can't shake the feeling that it's time.  That ongoing inner dialogue with the Holy Spirit...Him nudging and me's a dance we're both familiar with.  

So here goes.  Here goes honesty.  The unspoken thoughts turn to written-down-gone-viral-can't-be-taken-back words.

My words.  My experience.  My perspective.  Completely and utterly one-side of a story that has, possibly, a different view from every direction.  I'm not pretending to know the experience, or feelings of my other family members.  That's their story.  But I do know my thoughts.  My feelings, and my take on life. 

This is my story.  (insert that sound from Law & Order)

For eleven years now, I have been part of a step-family.  I may have just heard the whole internet mumble under their breath, who isn't?  I know, I's common and old news.  Cliche.  And hard.  

Being in a step-family is odd.  And sometimes uncomfortable, even when you like them.  And during the times that it does feel comfortable, it almost always feels awkward to me, even after all this time.  Does that make sense?  

Movies are made about it all the time.  I mean, c'mon, we all know from Cinderella how mean and ugly step-mothers and step-sisters are.  There's always two options shown...the mean-evil ones, and the super nice ones where everyone loves each other...cue The Brady Bunch.  And then there's real life...

My parents divorced when I was 21ish.  My Mom remarried when I was 23.  By that time Ben and I had been married a couple years and I was very pregnant with my first-born, Noah.  My sister was a teenager, and my brother was 11ish.   

My Mom's new husband had three children as well, all in different stages of teenhood.  

Both families were sort of reeling from the loss of their nuclear family.  Mine, to a messy, painful divorce and theirs from the sudden loss of their mom (the details of which are not my story to tell.)  

Because I was the oldest, and already married, my experience of the whole combining families  is totally different than that of my siblings and step-siblings.  I missed a lot of the drama.  And because Ben and I were starting a family of our own, I was distracted enough, in all honesty, to just be content watching it all play out...from the outside.

My mom, and step-dad (whom I almost always referred to as "My Mom's Husband" rather than step-dad because I was grown when they married,  but now after 11 years I can say he is a great guy and very much a father figure to me and a grandpa to my children) wanted us all to mesh together as a single family unit.  They did not want it to be two families, but one family.  And to their credit, they did all that they could to foster that.  Their intentions were good.  

In the beginning, I think we all kind of went along with it.  Each family knew that there was no going back to their original family the idea of The Brady Bunch was appealing.  We avoided using the term "step" whenever possible.  We worked hard at treating each other like real siblings.  And for me, that worked...for awhile.

And then time went on, and we all became older.  New people were added to the family by marriage, babies were born...and lines were drawn by all.  Sometimes visible one, and sometimes invisible.  Sometimes I wanted those lines there, and sometimes I didn't, but either way, the lines are there.  It's part of the complication of blending families.  Because you're family, and at the same time, you're family once-removed.  

And for me, it became too hard to treat everyone the same.  Because we are not all the same.  I care very much for my step-siblings and their families.  They are good people.  But the bond I have with them is not the same as with my sister and brother whom I share a father and mother with.  A childhood with.  A connection that just comes from being blood.  My investment in my sister and brother is fierce.  And my pretending otherwise is really beneficial to no one.  

It is what it is.  We were two families, joined into one...but we don't really become one, because you can't.  We are still two, who do their best to function as one when we need to.  And I think that's ok.  And it's not anyone's first choice.  And it's ok to say it.  Out loud. It's not disrespectful.  It's not out of anger, or apathy.  It's from the heart.  It's the truth.  

I think after 11 years, we are all learning to let it be what it is, rather than forcing it into what we wish it were.  And from what I can tell, it is sort of a never ending process.  Each person figuring it out for themselves at their own pace, with their own rules, at the same time trying to figure out each other's pace and rules...the very definition of blending.  It's tricky...which doesn't mean it's a bad thing...but it is tricky.

Sometimes the hardest thing to admit and be content with,  is that it is what it is.  

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

And I Crafted...

Last week I crafted.  And by crafted, I mean:  Copied Pinterest.

The inspiration was this:
new banner, new blog

The Pinterest version wasn't a tutorial, so I had to wing-it a bit.  I cut out letters from cereal boxes I dug out of our recycling box.  (It's such a good thing we wait for for-ev-er to actually take the boxes to the recycling place.)  Then I glued the fabric to the cardboard and cut around the letters.  

Ta Da:

So fun!

I told Ben I might just paint a headboard on the wall.  ;)  He thinks I'm kidding.  

Side Note:  *I used to be sort of cynical about that phrase.  Because, Duh, we all know that you need more than "love" to make a marriage great.  But after I sat on the idea of it for awhile, I began to look at it from a Biblical perspective rather than a Hollywood perspective.  And Biblical love encompasses so much more than feelings.  1 Corinthians...

  Love never gives up. 
   Love cares more for others than for self. 
   Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. 
   Love doesn't strut, 
   Doesn't have a swelled head, 
   Doesn't force itself on others, 
   Isn't always "me first," 
   Doesn't fly off the handle, 
   Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, 
   Doesn't revel when others grovel, 
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 
   Puts up with anything, 
   Trusts God always, 
   Always looks for the best, 
   Never looks back, 
   But keeps going to the end.

That kind of love, is a supernatural love, that comes from God alone.  And it really is all we need.

Friday, June 8, 2012


I love Summer.  I do.  It's relaxed and crazy, all at the same time.  We're settling in to our non-routine pretty nicely.  Except when we're not.  And so goes life.

  • Jake, #3 son, baby of the boys, turned seven this week.  We started out his day with Strawberry shakes and cupcakes for breakfast.  His big brothers had a Little League game the night of his birthday, so in order to try to make it special for him I gave him ten bucks for the concession stand.  Nachos, suckers, Snickers, Gatorade, sugary strips of some sort of candy, you name it and he bought and ate it.  I still can't believe he didn't get sick.  We call that a birthday success.  
  • I've been sewing and crafting again lately.  It's been beautiful outside, and I should really be out enjoying it...but when the urge to create strikes, I think one should just go with it.  
  • I came to a conclusion this week: When I have PMS, there are certain people that I just should.not.speak.with.  Ya know what I mean?  Like...I can handle them three weeks out of the month and then *BAM*  PMS week happens and my brain switches to zero-tolerance.  
  • Noah (11) has $60 to his name.  According to him he is a "60 dollionaire"  
  • Lucy has been waking up in the morning with a dry diaper.  It probably means she's ready to be potty-trained.  If only I were ready to potty train her.  
  • I started back to running again after a two week hiatus.  If only running and I could get past our love-hate relationship that we've had going on since...well, forever.  
  • I went to a home party thing last week, where they sell designer denim. I bought a pair of capris that have bling on the butt.  I kid you not.  I tried to find the least blingy ones, but there is still some bling.  They're comfy and I like them, but the bling is still not me.  I picked some of it off.  Don't tell.  
  • This post would be better with pictures...if only I had them uploaded them.
  • Right now, my 11 year old has asked me THREE times if I'm sure it's Friday and not Saturday.  I'M SURE.  Sheesh.
  • Four years ago today, our tiny town flooded.  But today, it's better than ev-ah.  I have pictures to prove it.  And when I upload them, I'll show ya. ;)
  • I miss blogging regularly.  I could blame the four kids, puppy, husband, house, ministry for sucking up all my time...but really, there's time to squeeze out yet...I just need to DO IT.  
  • I'm off to upload some pictures so that my next post is less boring.  I'm will still be boring but at least their will be visuals to assist it.
  • Happy FRIDAY!  Even though my child still doesn't believe me that it's Friday....*insert eye roll*

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The List

I'm not kidding when I tell you that I often sit down to blog, and then just "check a few other sights first" and get completely distracted by other peoples decorating-crafting-fashion-genius and by the end of it I can't even remember what I sat down to write about in the first place.


We are in full summer break mode here in the parsonage.  It's magical.  Well, most of it is magical.  The bickering and complaining and such is...not magical. 

Several weeks ago the family and I made a Summer Bucket List, which I copied from another blogger.  I think I copied it from Meg at Whatever, because generally I want to copy everything about her.  But don't tell her, because I may have not even ever left a comment on her blog and then that makes me seem all stalkerish.  

So the family and I made a Summer Bucket List.

What seems to happen to us, is at the end of every summer we start to remember fifty thing that "we were going to do" but forgot about.  And I'm a procrastinator, which means I always think there's {plenty} of time to get around to doing whatever we need to do...and there's not.

The kids flipped over the list.  They love it.  We're going to cross stuff off as we go.  (It' hanging on the wall in the old kitchen, in case you were wondering. :)

Do you do this sort of thing to?  Has it worked for you?  Please say YES!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Remodel Pics Part II

More remodel pictures.  Finally.  If you missed pictures from the upstairs, you can click here.  I think we can all agree that photography is not my gift, so you'll just have to bear with me through the photo tour.

I took a bunch of pictures from different angles, just to try to give you a better idea of where you're at and what you're seeing.  It ends up making it more confusing...that's not unusual for me.

Let' start as you walk through the main door to the new part which is actually at the back of the house...

(Out that long window is a view of the side of the church, about 6 feet away :)

I did finally buy some barstools for the island, after much deliberation.  It ends up that the ones I really want are both expensive and impractical for four kids.  So I ended up buying the cheapest, most practical ones I could a Farm and Fleet store, none-the-less.    They are currently waiting for me to paint them something fun so they can be less boring.  More pictures on those later.

This is the other side of the island.  I wanted all drawers because they are so easy to access and load full of stuff.  I love them.

There is a handy drawer for all the kids stuff...

And plenty of room for tons of flatwear, which makes it much easier when unloading the dishwasher!

Here's some random for's the cupboard under the stove-top and it houses all the pots and pans.  The shelves slide out, and I adore them.

And the garbage/recycling bins hidden away in a cupboard = dreamy.

The pantry cupboard.  

This is the view looking into the old kitchen.  The old kitchen is waiting to get torn out.  The wood-laminate flooring will be carried into the old kitchen, once it is gutted and leveled out.   We aren't quite sure what we will make that room into, but I picture big comfy chair for reading...and bookshelves. :)

The chalkboard wall is a family favorite.  So fun.  Behind the chalkboard wall is the 1/2 bathroom.  And then the mudroom/laundry.

More random views, because I got carried away.  I bought the curtains at Target and just hemmed them so that when I let them down, they only go to the bottom of the window (instead of the floor)  They are super easy to tie and untie.

I ended up making the laundry room and window above the sink curtain from fabric that I ordered form  Super simple and super crooked means good. enough.

Having more wall space to be organized has been SO NICE.  I've been trying out various organizational methods.  It appears the main flaw in each of them is me.

This area has sort of become Lucy's.  It works for now.

We are so enjoying all the space.  And the break from construction. :)  There are a few projects left yet, like cement work for the outside steps, gutter stuff, tearing out of the old kitchen etc.  Eventually, the old part of the house will get new windows and siding as well.  It's a process.  And process is good because it creates a sense of thankfulness for completion.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

New to the Family...

We have a new immediate family member.  After much thought and flip-flopping back and forth we decided to take the plunge.  Into puppy-land.

We've had a dog.  I mean, who could forget this?  Or this?  Man we loved that dog.  It's been close to two years since we had to put Odie to sleep because of old age and failing health.  Odie was enjoying middle-age life when he came to live with us.  And we like middle-aged lazy dogs.  

They're the best.

So puppyhood seemed scary.  And impractical.  But sometimes scary and impractical conjure up the best parts of life.

Meet Nelson.  

He's a 15 week-old Red Dapple Dachshund.   And I hate to even type it out loud, but he is super, super good.  He's crate trained, which means at night and while we are away from home he's in the crate and hasn't had an accident yet.  During the day, we've been taking him outside all the time and he hasn't had an accident since the very first morning he was here.  (and that could be blamed on three boys who I will refrain from naming.)

He's gentle, and soft, and loves to snuggle...and give kisses.  

We found him online and he was fairly close to our area.  He was also half the price of most dachshund puppies.  Score.  And by the time we finally got around to make a decision on adopting him, his price had been reduced even more.  

It was meant to be.

Lucy is warming up to him.  She may have been a little intimidated since she's been the littlest and cutest in this household for the past two years.  It's hard to share.  We've reassured her she's still the cutest....except when she's throwing a fit, because then we totally hand that title right over to the puppy.

Welcome to the parsonage family little guy.  Don't make me regret you.  *wink*

Monday, May 7, 2012

Holding On While Letting Go


It's a little bizarre, realizing how fast two years can wiz by.  I'm realizing I deal differently with Lucy growing up, versus the three boys growing up.  At each of the boys birthdays, I get a little sentimental...a little sad that they are growing.  Which is dumb, I know, because the are meant to grow.  It is a gift to watch them grow, but in the growing is also a knowing that with each year that passes they become a little less mine, and a little closer to becoming someone else's.  

And that's a good thing.  A beautiful plan...that those little boys are growing (so very fast) and becoming young men...handsome young men, who will one day capture the heart of a girl.  And though that young girl won't replace me, she will take over that young mans heart, the heart that now belongs to his mama alone.  

I think that's what makes being a mama to boys so very special, so unique.  

With Lucy, it's different.  It seems easier for me to approach each stage with a simple joy.  With each new crazy thing she does, it's just fun to watch her.  

I love her two year old self...but I don't long for it to last.  I didn't feel weepy over how fast it's going.  Instead, I can just enjoy her...and even anticipate what's to come as she grows.  As a girl, I know that our relationship as mother and daughter will deepen so very much.  I mean, after all, I'm a pretty great grown-up-daughter friend!  I'm sure I'm way more fun than when I was two!  

Lord willing, Lucy will grow up into a beautiful young woman...and a handsome young man will capture her heart someday, just like her daddy did to mine.  And when I think about that, I smile.  Which is funny, because when I think about girls capturing my boys...It's more of a furrowing of the brow, that crosses my face.  

Anyways.  You see the difference.  

With Lucy, I don't have that sense of her "slipping" away from me as she grows.  (Poor Ben will have to deal with that one. ;)  And as I watch parents around me, who have children who are grown, I realize that parenting is always about enjoying the moment, and of holding on while letting go.

I am so thankful for these four amazing little people that God has created from Ben and I.  Please God, help us survive the teenage years that will approach far too soon...and please help Lucy not to have a sassy mouth like her mother.  Amen.

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