Our Daily (G)races

Training to be the best wife, mom, runner, and person I can be each and every day....

Monday, September 30, 2013

Am I the worst mom ever or not????

Being a mom is freaking hard every single day.  I can't think of any exceptions to that even when I am away from them.  Pressure is not the right word, but I do have lots of expectations of how I want to be as a mom.  I don't want to fail my children.  I don't want to be too hard on them or too easy either.  They need discipline. They need to be challenged, but they also need to understand what is real as well. Finding that happy medium while trying to raise four very different children is hard.  I need to give them grace and myself grace.  I need to give them love.  They need forgiveness and so do I.  That is my day....love, forgiveness, grace, discipline, and more love.  That is my daily merry-go-round.

So, now I wonder if I did all those things yesterday with Emma.    Did I give enough love while using the moment to teach her to be better?  Were my words filled with grace or the utter frustration that I was feeling?  Who knows and now all I can do is think about our conversation.

I don't like to challenge myself because I fear failing.  As Drew says, I am the perfect middle C person...walking down the middle almost always.  I always have been this way and honestly I really hate this part of my personality.  I see it in Emma and I hate it even more in her. I know how it has limited me.  As her mom, I don't want her to limit herself ever.  She is too beautiful and strong to fear not being great.  She is also too beautiful and strong to fear trying and maybe failing because those failures will eventually make her stronger.  I know this, but how I can teach her this? 

Yesterday was Emma's third meet of the season and it was her worst meet in years.  A freaking colossal waste of her time and ours to watch her perform like she did yesterday.  She psyched herself out before the competition began and somehow I knew it, but was helpless to change it.  I could see it on her face and in her mannerisms before she did her first routine on the floor.  With the exception of vault where she earned a 9.4 it was just painful to watch. 

But, as it typical Emma she enabled her performance with things like I got high 8's so that is good.  Um, Emma you did not get high 8's...sorry girl, but time to face reality.   I stubbed my toe in warm up so I lost my concentration for my floor routine....what????  My hand hurt even though my rip is healed....Emma, it was bleeding last week and you did great.  I was at a loss.  Please Emma don't settle is all I could think.  She is too young to settle for the middle.  Now is the time to try, fail, get back up, try again, and hopefully succeed!

Emma's statements made my mind crazy because those justifications lead to mediocrity and I don't want her to be mediocre.  She is better than that.  Now, I know she is not going to be an Olympic gymnast.  However, this mind set carries over into all her activities....school, homework, chores, relationships, etc.  I can't stand it and I want her to be brave.  I want her to find what lights her inner fire.  So, I prayed my words were filled with grace as I laid it all out for her.  She cried and I wanted to cry.  I told her I loved her and wanted better for her.  She cried some more.  Then I told her to pray about what I said and I really hope she does.

Maybe I was too mean and should have just said better luck next time.  Maybe I should have just hugged her and let it all go.  Maybe I should have just taken her to get a milkshake and poof it is all forgotten.  But, I couldn't do it.  I really felt like this was the time for Emma to start learning to pick up her game or readjust her expectations.  I am praying she picks up her game.  I pray she always has high expectations.  I want her to learn that she is possible all time if she just believes in herself.  So, I pray she heard my words and takes them to heart.  I pray she does not think this was my worst parenting moment ever.  I am still deciding....

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Celebrating Jonah's birthday

On Wednesday we celebrated Jonah beginning with breakfast.  It has become a very fun tradition to let the birthday child pick their favorite pint of ice cream to eat for breakfast.  It is theirs to eat for the rest of the day no questions asked.  Jonah picked Neapolitan, but I could not find that in a pint.  I decided to get him playdough and he loved it. 

Another tradition is for me to create a picture wall for the birthday child.  It is fun for me and them to see pictures at different life stages.  I loved picking out some of my favorite ever Jonah pictures!

After dinner Jonah opened his presents from us and grandparents.  He mostly got clothes which is really needed, but he also received a few toys.  This crazy maze ball was probably his favorite gift.  He was been wanting it for months!

Jonah had no interest at all in a birthday party theme.  In fact when I asked what cake he wanted on his birthday, he said "just make me something homemade!"  Well, that is easy!  We decided on chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches.  I made the cookies which were amazing and bought the ice cream.

As for his birthday celebration with friends, after much deliberation Jonah decided on a bowling party.  Again, he did not want a theme.  He requested white and chocolate cupcakes.  The kicker was he wanted the white cupcakes with half chocolate and half cream cheese icing.  Then the chocolate cupcakes he wanted with half chocolate and half cream cheese icing.  So we had four different choices for dessert at his party.  It was a little nuts, but everyone single child and parent was happy!

Jonah and his friends had tons of fun bowling.  It was fun for the parents to watch as well.  The bowling technique of 7 and 8 year old boys is a little silly.  I never did get a group picture, but I was able to get some fun shots of the kids while bowling.

Jonah really likes Legos and it is a good thing because he got lots of them from his friends.  Even more amazing is that not a single one was the same! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Jonah's 8th Birthday

Every child's birth is special and forever stamped in my mind.  But, as is Jonah, his birth is just a little different from the rest.  Less than two days after Hurricane Rita hit and 6 days overdue, Jonah decided it was time to enter this world. Those things they say about the barometric pressure being low and birthing a baby are true...at least for me.  Thinking about it all now and I realize the whole things is so Jonah.
All 7lbs 11ozs of Jonah
Loving him the first moment he looked at me
Jonah is either slow...so SLOW.  Or Jonah is moving a hundred miles an hour with no care to the things around him....kind of like this birth.  That calm, relaxed baby that lived for us for a year is gone because Jonah is not relaxed.   Jonah is a bundle of energy waiting to explode at any given moment.  My dear boy uses all his willpower to sit still at school or in the car or at church and then it is gone.  There is nothing left but overflowing energy and he becomes a bouncing ball.  His energy level makes me absolutely crazy on most days, but I love him for it.

The gym and the trampoline are his calm.  He loves to be at the gym.  I asked him the other week how his practice went.  He answered like he always does "good".  So I asked if practice was ever bad.  He answered just as I expected him to "no, it is either good or great, but never bad."  He is at home in the gym flipping, running, swinging, twisting, and learning how to move and control his body at the same time.  He is brave and confident...even a little cocky at times!  Enrolling him in a tumbling class at 2 years and 4 months was one of my best Jonah parenting decisions ever!

One of our friends said a long time ago that Jonah is 100% whatever he is doing and feeling.  A more true statement has never been uttered about Jonah.  He lives full on whatever he is doing.  Everything he is thinking and feeling is on his face.  There is no guessing how Jonah feels.  His emotions are so close to the surface that I don't always know what to do with him.  He feels love and the need to be loved probably more than any of his siblings.  It is a mystery to me, but it is Jonah and I love him for it.

It has taken me a long time to get Jonah.  We are very different in many ways and so alike in many other ways.  He challenges me in good ways almost daily.  God was playing a funny trick on me when He gave me Jonah. But, I could not be more thankful! 

To keep Jonah calm we structure his days to the "nth" degree.  He thrives on it and I will do it for him always. Jonah is full of life, love, and energy.  He is a joy to know and to parent.  I am so blessed to be his mom.  I am so thankful that we get to make this day special for him because today we celebrate the blessing that is Jonah Gilbert Mann!

The many faces and emotions of this amazing boy....uniquely Jonah all the time!

Happy 8th Birthday Jonah!!!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Gymnastics and Running

Emma had her second meet of the season Saturday night.  As I said before, Emma wants to qualify for South State in November. She knows she has to improve at each meet for there to be a chance of qualifying.  Well, she did improve at this meet.  Her all around score was 36.5 and she did not miss her first vault this time.  She even did her handstand on the beam.  I was so excited for her.  She earned three individual medals and again her team won first place overall.  She had a good day.  


I wanted to upload her floor video. She does a better job on the floor, but the file was too large. She earned a 9.2 for this routine. You can see her frustrated expressions because of the rip on her hand.  It had ripped more by the end of the routine and was bleeding.  She missed one element because of it.  We are praying it heals by Sunday which is when her next meet is!
As for running I officially began marathon training this morning.  I have 17 weeks before the Houston Chevron Marathon on January 19, 2014! 
Once it became very obvious that I would not be running a full in December, I decided to switch from the half to full in January.  That is plenty of time to train and to train well.  I think my base will return pretty quickly.  My body has already figured out what I am asking of it and the miles are starting to pass more quickly.  I am adapting slowly to the humidity. 

Things for the most part seem to be on track.  I say the most part because I still have some degree of hip pain or discomfort every single freaking day.  I am doing my therapy routine like it is my job and still total frustration.  The thing is that my hip does not hurt at all when I am running.  It only hurts after sleeping or sitting.  Since I won't be stopping either of those activities I have increased the number of times a day that I ice my hip.  I have also increased the number of times I use my roller to massage my hip and leg muscles.  And let me tell you....my kiddos get a good laugh at my pain filled expressions when I am rolling my hip.  I am thrilled I can entertain them!  KT tape is also my new friend.  I simply cannot live without these days.  All this so I can run, but it is important to me and I am okay with it.  In fact, I am more than ok with it.  26.2 here I come!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

20 years

On September 18, 1993 I went to a party with my field hockey teammates in East.  I was an 18 year old  freshman and had been at Juniata for three weeks.  I knew we would have lots of fun that night, but little did I know I would meet Drew. 

Drew was a 20 year old junior.  He was at this party because his roommates' girlfriends' roommate played hockey....follow that?!  Well, thank goodness he was.  Chances are I would have met him eventually because Juniata is not a big school and I played hockey with his cousin.  But, we met that night and despite not caring much for what he was wearing (his roommates rap like clothing) and what he talked about (geology way too much and he still does!), I liked him.  Twenty years later and many adventures locked forever in our memories, we are so thankful for that field hockey party!

Monday night I asked Drew if he knew what Wednesday was.  Much to my surprise and total happiness he said immediately 09-18...love that!

Taken this morning...our normal is me sweaty from running and Drew ready for work.
Our lives are so different from the exciting carefree college days.  They are different for the better.  We are better, stronger, more whole people than we were then.  We are more real with other.  Our love is solid.

My homemade card
We have now both known each other for half our lives....me a little more.  We have been married for 16 years and as special as that day is to me I love today.  Today changed our lives forever.  Today was the beginning of my...our...happily ever after. 

I think this is my favorite picture of us ever!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Our weekend adventures

When I was looking at all my pictures from the weekend I realized we were busier than I thought.  But, it was a good easy kind of busy.  Enjoy....

Friday I took the kids to Sonic for an after dinner treat.  I will never figure out why they want slushes instead of ice cream....baffling!

On Saturday, I ran my longest run in over a month.  I am happy to say that it went well.  I had lots of discomfort after the run and during the day, but I am healing.  I have to focus on where I am going instead of where I hoped to be. 
Taking it slow as I work my way back
Emma's BFF spent the day with us.  She actually slept over Friday night.  While Drew was busy brewing two different kinds of beer, I took the kids to the pool.  It may be fall in some places, but definitely not here.  It was hot!
We will have some black lager in a few weeks!
Jonah stayed with Drew and they played Battleship.
I made them walk

After swimming, Emma bugged me to allow them to have a lemonade stand.  I finally gave in to her request.  She has only been asking all summer.  Since we did not have much lemonade, they made kool-aid.  Their first customer was the Fed Ex delivery man.  I think that is too funny.  Emma and Ashlynn split their profit with Elena, Samuel, Jonah, Conner, and Carmendy.  I thought that was super nice of them.

Saturday is college football day at our house.  Drew and I turn on Game Day on ESPN at 8am and we turn off football when we go to bed.  It makes Emma crazy since she cannot watch any of her shows all day.  Despite her complaints she still dresses the part.  She and I were ready for the PSU game.  Too bad they weren't ready because they lost.  It is going to be a long season. 

Sunday was filled with baking and ice cream.  What a yummy day!  We had a Scout ice cream social to attend in the afternoon and I wanted to bake muffins for my friend's birthday.  The Scout event was at our neighborhood park so we all went.  The kids had lots of fun playing and eating!

Elena loves swings...either swinging or twirling!

The girls and I escaped early because it was hot and humid.  Plus we needed to bake.  The Texans game was a priority after church so late afternoon was our baking time.
I love using my iPad for recipes...so convenient!

Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and they are so good!
All in all I think we had a pretty fun and relaxing weekend.  It was needed after a crazy week and another crazy week starting tomorrow.  I wonder if any week is not crazy and I am thinking not for us!  That is okay.  I will take crazy if it means I get to hang out with these crazy kiddos!