Friday, February 28, 2014

School days are coming...

I was driving to work this morning and I passed an elementary school on the way.  In a quick glance at the field I saw a large group of kids walking in circles, young kids in what looked like a walk-a-thon or a school wide gym class, either way there was a lot of them.  But in the group closest to the street was a tall girl, with a high ponytail and a too big white t-shirt, she stood out to me only because in the split second that I passed the field I saw a boy, just as tall, push her violently to the ground.   I was so shocked, I found myself rubbernecking and audibly gasping for the little girl.  She stood up, brushed herself off, looked at the boy and for the sake of not straining my neck and stopping traffic that is all that I saw.  In that brief 15 second drive by pushing, I thought "where are the teachers? Who is going to stop this injustice and step in for this helpless little girl?".  And then I thought, of course I am thinking these things, I am a mom, I want to save all the kids from the bullies of this world.  Save them all from the inevitable moments of unwelcome negative attention. 

I want to save my children from the bullies but I also want to save them from becoming one themselves.  I can remember numerous occasions when I obliviously became a bully myself.  I got caught in the emotion of acceptance and followed the crowd, took the easy way.  I never led the crowd but I certainly knew how to follow.

An ex boyfriend once told me "think for yourself, what do you believe, what do you actually want" of course this was in the context of a breakup, but his tone and honesty has always stuck with me.  He called me out on my lack of ability to make my own decisions.  Until I met my husband while studying over seas, away from the pressures of familiarity, I followed the crowd.  I had no idea who I was.

I think the first real decision I made in my life was to leave everything that I knew and study abroad, this one, seemingly tiny decision altered my entire future.  Even the idea of leaving was prompted by my best friend, and I was inclined to follow.  I wavered back and forth, turned in the paper work the day it was due, was accepted, and came within a second of backing out, staying behind to continue on in the complacent Christian college life I was currently being drowned in.  Except in that last second I had an actual thought, a conviction, and sometimes in my most honest moments, I call it a conversation with God that went straight to my heart.  I was done wavering, I was done giving in to the people that I surrounded myself with. I was done being bullied into a life that was quickly spiraling.  I was going to do something for myself, by myself, I was going to make a decision.  And I did, and I was beyond blessed.  God gave me an independence in that moment that I had never felt.  I felt the freedom that he had been offering me over and over and I never took.  I was stuck behind boyfriends, unintentional friend groups, and what everyone else thought was best for my life.  Before that day I wavered back and forth between fears, fears of loneliness, fears of failure, fears of sin and dark places that I never wanted to return.  Fear ran my life, but in the end the fear of fear gave me freedom.

The summer before I left for London was my happiest.  I made new friends, friends that didn't pressure me to be something that inside I was not, I dated boys, boys that didn't give me a kiss and expect something darker in return.  I laughed, I laughed a lot.  I finally broke away from the invisible chains that grew in size with every passing year, pressing me down, harder and harder, until I was left confused and heavy, burdened and tired.  I left that summer refreshed and renewed, chains broken and my soul restored. Ready for a new beginning.  And God gave it to me. 

I now look at my life and actually see the decisions I made, years have past and I see the unintentional bully I had become to myself.  I hope that I can teach my children to make decisions, to be leaders of their lives, not followers of other peoples.  And I hope when the bully at school knocks them down that they can get up, grab the hand of a friend and move on just a little bit stronger.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Like father, like son(s)...

We got a new dishwasher yesterday and I think my heart melted when I saw this...

 photo 002_zpse3dd7e8c.jpg

Dominic got a little jealous watching his dad take his Korean son under his installation wing, so he got down in the action with the boys and was happy as a clam.

 photo 006_zpscfde3c32.jpg

Monday, February 10, 2014

I have been waiting...

I have been waiting for the day when these two could interact.  When Dominic was more than a tiny blob of cute and Scarlett understood what I mean every time I say "gentle" or "don't sit on your brother".

For Christmas, Chris got a really fun floor air hockey set and the kids love it!  I still give it a couple years before it is used in its intended manner, but for now it is great entertainment watching Dominic chasing the puck around the house and climbing in and out of the furniture to find the floating toy.

 photo 033_zps088c46ff.jpg photo 031_zps322c44c0.jpg photo 029_zpsdcefb402.jpg photo 028_zpsb2c9e856.jpg photo 027_zps9c637ffe.jpg photo 026_zps9a071da0.jpg photo 025_zps2732a23c.jpg photo 023_zps664e2955.jpg photo 022_zpsc75f07dd.jpg

Also...this was fun to watch

 photo 038_zps1c448e95.jpg

Friday, February 7, 2014

I gave in...

When I first saw the word "girl" typed over a blurry ultrasound photo, I immediately pictured pigtails and hair bows.  But since day one Scarlett would have nothing to do with anything frilly cramping her ragamuffin style. On any given day, you could find her with a rats nest in the back and a row of knots clinging to the front. Scarlett has always twirled her hair into tiny spirals as a method of comfort. So, instead of cutting out each individual knot or suffering through the dreading comb, I finally gave in and let Scarlett chose her own hair style...she went from this, self cut style...

 photo 045_zps57fbd4ff.jpg

to this...

 photo 0EF7084E-D7C2-44BF-8AC3-DCE7A3CBC80A_zpsf3pdcwli.jpg photo 35C43CEF-B200-4121-B4F4-66BCEF5024CF_zpswwwocml8.jpg photo 2473A5FD-0FF3-4E34-B40B-8B5E13AE373E_zps4hndwuzz.jpg

After she cut her hair by herself, I told her that if she really wanted short hair I would make an appointment at the salon for the both of us.  I was extremely over due for a trim so my mini me tagged along and made the very big girl choice of a short pixie. She walked away with a huge smile and a bounce in her step and I walked away wishing I had joined the pixie club too.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sometimes it just helps to be a mermaid...

and sometimes this is the only way I can get her to wash her hair without screaming "owww" the whole time. 

 photo 003_zps2b56957b.jpg photo 006_zps166327f9.jpg photo 007_zps23d9355b.jpg photo 008_zps48350fbd.jpg photo 011_zpsa6fe1042.jpg photo 012_zps881cd2ca.jpg photo 016_zps7cdc2b43.jpg photo 017_zps0d6eee90.jpg photo 020_zps448a0774.jpg