Friday, October 17, 2014

That one time I almost gave up on running

I am a runner

I used to be a good runner, a dedicated runner, a motivated runner.
I used to run miles and miles every week.
I ran with friends,
I ran with strangers,
I ran on my lunch break,
I ran at 3:45 in the morning,
 I ran in the snow or rain, 
I even placed from time to time in my age group, sometimes it seemed like I lived to run.
I Loved to run.

Then I moved to California.
I had another baby,
I'm home with kids all day,
I don't even have many friends who run,
I don't get lunch breaks,
and its always HOT.

So what that means is that I have had to rely on my own motivation and desire to keep the running fire burning......and let me tell you, it just about fizzled out.

I still love to run but finding time is so hard. Running used to be so social time and solo time for me all at the same time, then it became a quick 30 min run here and there sandwiched between a million other things that needed to be done. I have had a tough time finding that coveted "balance" that so many moms (stay at home or working) are desperate to achieve.

I have been so hard on myself, and trust me, I can insult myself better than anyone. I have always had high energy, endless optimism about what I can achieve and my own self why oh why did I lack any energy at ALL? Did I use all my enthusiasm and energy homeschooling? Were my kids sucking the life out of me literally? Kidding!! Was it really the weather? Really the lack of the social aspect? When was I going to snap out of it??

I get up a few times a week and go to the gym but recently, my husband, (who has now become my running partner) gets up with me at 5:00 am about 3 mornings a week and we run. Just 3 miles, just him and me.
The weather is cool and now that I have a 12 year old we can go alone.

At first I was dragging, he just about drug me out of bed. But something happened.......last week I started feeling the same enthusiasm I had felt when I first started running (when Mason was Cooper's age). I begin to think that maybe I have been too hard on myself. I have gone through SO many changes since I moved to California.

New job
New house
New friends
New routine
New baby
New town
New church
New at homeschooling

Each of those things alone marks a huge life change and I have been tackling them one after the other since we moved with no break. I often compare my life here with my life in Oregon and that may be the most damaging thing I can do. I am here, not there. It will not be like it was before, this is my new life. I cannot lose who I am just because I am 500 miles from home. I have to learn how to function, adapt.
I know, you would think I would have taken care of all of these details by now but I guess I am a slow learner.

So, this week I have resolve with new energy. I am a servant of my house and family and that is fine, I have no complaints. But I WILL carve out some time for what I love. The weather is a bit tamer this time of year and I have my sight set on some running goals. The kids are getting a little bigger and I refuse to talk myself out of finding joy in what I love.

Get ready for an overload of optimism, because I am back!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Who's teaching who?

So I am now in the world of homeschooling and I have one full month under my belt, and the question becomes glaringly clear I teaching them? Or are they teaching me?

Its true I want to be the primary educator for my children, I want to teach them not only the academics that they need for a successful life. But that is not all there is to teach. I want to teach my children God's word, character, integrity, patriotism, love for others, love for life and respect for fellow humans, authority and our world..

Now, I am not writing this to explain or defend my decision to homeschool my boys. I learned early on that those who poo poo it will not be convinced by my arguement, so I won't waste my breath.

What I want to share is the amazing journey that just this first 5 weeks has been!

True to who I am, I started with a "plan"......anyone who has multiple kids is laughing at me right now. So, needless to say the first week was bumpy. Not only did I want an immediate fantastic experience, but I wanted it to go a certain way. Daniel threw fits, Mason was confused, Sammy was a goofball because the house was full of playmates. This was week one. I didn't feel defeated and I didn't feel like giving up but I did "feel it".

I re examined my strategy, called other successful veteran homeschooling moms asking for encouragement. (thankfully I have a few in my back pocket that are more than willing to offer encouragement and advice) I heard the same things that I had heard before and knew in my heart. "Stay the course", "Give it time", "Be patient with yourself, and your boys".

So a deep breath and a second week. I allowed myself to be led by the boys......I know it may sound weird, but week two was about adjustment and allowing them to accept homeschooling as a different, but good thing. And so we went, such an easier week and I began to realize......maybe they know more than I thought.

As we have gone into week 3, 4 & 5 I began to feel a difference. I began to feel a calm. They began to have a routine. We established some guidelines for our loose structure and the boys are becoming more adapted and able to guide their own day. They know exactly what they need to do. So now I teach them "lessons" and they teach me a ton more. Don't get me wrong, we have days that are tougher than others......but where would the lessons be if everyday was perfect?

Daniel teaches me forgiveness, patience, flexibility, how to release the reigns (just a bit) and let him try new things. This is hard because he is my oldest, the one I will make all my mistakes with, the one that will challenge all I know about parenting. He teaches me that my kids see everything I do and that's where they really learn. But that boy is funny, super smart, articulate, a great debater (who makes too much sense sometimes) so often he teaches me humility......with a touch of toughness so his head doesn't get too big. He reminds me that my boys need hugs and mommy touch no matter how tough they seem.

Mason teaches me even more patience, he teaches me to think differently about how I communicate, he teaches me empathy because he feels so deeply. He teaches me how to be creative in my instruction and how to express my joy in a way that allows him to beam with pride. Mason is also very witty, and creative and loves to get his hands dirty. He reminds me to smile, to compliment and be an encouragement.

Sam teaches me yet more patience (are you seeing a trend here?) He teaches me to laugh, think like a 2 year old, get on the floor sometimes no matter how busy I am. He is a firecracker, he laughs, he cries.He reminds me to be silly and that he needs me more than ever.

Cooper reminds me every day how fortunate I am to be a mom. He is a constant reminder of God's blessings in our house.

So what kind of mom would I be if I was all these things? I would be VERY patient, forgiving, flexible, humble, a positive example, loving, creative, empathetic, encouraging and unafraid, giggly, joyful and playful.

Just the kind of Mom I want to thank you boys for being a teacher for me. I pray that I can and I will always be attentive to their needs and what they are trying to teach me.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Off the grid

One of my favorite things to do in life is to go camping. I have done it since I was a girl. Although versions of camping change over the years, it is still so amazing to be in the primitive outdoors and enjoy nature in its own element.

When I was a girl my dad took us camping in the deep woods. He was a logger in Oregon so he knew all the places to go. We rarely if ever went to actual campgrounds, we just went out into the Oregon forest. He dug a hole in the ground to poop in and we made a make shift "cooler" by making a pool in the cold stream with rocks, there we kept a gallon of milk and a couple of other cold drinks. We sometimes used a tent or sometimes just slept under the stars. Went fishing for food and ate granola. This folks, is camping.

Over the years camping has changed. We use a real cooler now, a tent for years and now an RV (although we really just use it to haul stuff for 6 people and sleep for a few hours). I enjoy spending my days and evenings outside in nature and I still know how to build a raging campfire. The things you can see and do outside by far trump any lazy day at home watching the "boob-tube" or chipping away at a never ending to-do list. The quality time spent with family talking, laughing, using imagination and talking about how amazing life cycles and our eco system really is in its own natural form untouched my human inventions is irreplaceable.

Since we are new to California we really have no idea where this kind of primitive camping is found. What have found is that nothing compares to Oregon wilderness and there really is not much in the way of primitive, but this weekend we found a place (although a campground) that offered so much of what we love. Nestled at 6000 ft up in the Sierras we camped at Sugar Pine campground on Bear River Reservoir.

We found crawdads, LOTS of crawdads. My kids had never caught any before and certainly had never eaten any. After the campers before us gifted us with a trap full before they headed out, my kids were hooked. They fished for them with a kitchen strainer and a red solo cup. We cooked them over the open fire in a large pot and added them to our Happy Hour feast (a traditional Roybal pre-dinner snack that usually involves my homemade guacamole). The birds, fat squirrels and local scavengers reaped the benefit of a clumsy two year old who constantly dropped food and crumbs around. Even the geese at the water were brave enough to come to shore for some spilled Cheetos.


Although it rained all day Sunday, Monday gave way to the bright sun. We spent the day climbing the large granite rocks, swimming in the warm reservoir, and cooked all of our meals over an open fire. The boys built a make shift Ninja Warrior course complete with a "Spider climb" and "Quintuple steps". It was heaven. Our super smart phones were obsolete for the weekend with no service for miles and any fire we had meant we had to scavenge for firewood. 

We came home from the weekend refreshed with a new found love for California nature, one more step in making California feel like home.

Check out more pics from our trip!!