Summer camp has been a part of our family life since I married Jeremy. He is a part of the directors’ team for our Assemblies of God network. He makes kids camp happen for hundreds of kids every summer. Before having kids, I tagged along and went to camp with Jeremy. Now I stay home and keep the kids alive while he is away. After a two year break (thanks COVID), summer is camp is back! Not only that, Owen is now old enough to be a camper! WHAT?!?! How did this happen? I’m also super nostalgic because camp this year is at the same campground I went to as a kid. I love that Owen is making childhood memories in a place that I also have childhood memories!
We were in summer camp prep mode this weekend. We went shopping down in Portland, OR to pick up more shorts and t-shirts for Jeremy. His camp commitment is a full seven days, so he needed to stock up on essentials. We stopped by Crumbl Cookie and visited a spray park. Jeremy left on Sunday to direct the first week of camp (Sun-Wed) and the boys and I held down the fort at home. Then Owen took off with our church for the second week of camp (Wed-Sat). Being home with two kids is one thing, but being home with one kid is completely different. Graham misses his brother a lot, but we’re making it. Graham wrapped up swimming lessons today and we got McDonald’s as a special treat. Graham is doing all the menu planning this week. He loves deciding what our next meal will be. No surprise, last night was mac and cheese. Tonight is biscuits. Tomorrow, we plan to get pizza. We are living our best carb lives here.
This whole week has felt a bit strange. We, obviously, miss Jeremy a ton while he is away at camp! Now that I have two elementary-aged kids, being on my own with them is less intense than the baby/toddler/preschool years. The dynamic of having one kid being gone is new and certainly an adjustment. Keeping Graham distracted is actually a good distraction for me. I miss Owen, but I’m not too worried about him now that he is actually away. I was more anxious leading up to his departure. Jeremy has kept me updated, so I at least know Owen is eating and having a good time.
We have two more days until we’re all back together again! Almost to the finish line of this long week. I’m hoping the rest of summer camp goes well for Jeremy and Owen… and that Graham+Mom camp continues to go well, too!
This last week, I got to visit a place that is very special in my childhood memories. Jeremy has agreed to co-direct kids camp for our church network. He has directed/co-directed kids camps for our entire married life. Two summers without kids camp on our calendar has been strange. Now that COVID numbers are coming down and things are opening up, kids camp planning is back on. Jeremy had a camp tour this last Friday and he mentioned taking the boys along for the outing. I also asked to tagalong because kids camp this year is at the campground I attended as an elementary school student – Lake Retreat! Because it was a full camp tour, we got to look inside all the buildings and wander all over the campground. As we walked through the different spaces, I could remember which “cabins” I stayed in. I had memories of lining up outside the cafeteria, eating camp meals, messages in the chapel, and stories by the campfire. The camp is right on Lake Retreat and I remember how high the diving board seemed as a kid. The strangest thing was how small the camp felt to me as an adult. My childhood memory was of this huge, expansive campground. While the campground really isn’t small, it just wasn’t quite as large as my childhood memory made it seem. I guess the walk across camp felt longer for little legs decades ago. It was very special to visit a place for vivid in my memories.
While visiting camp was partially for nostalgia, I also had another purpose for tagging along. This is the first summer that Owen is old enough to attend. It’s crazy to think of him going off to camp. I wanted to get a glimpse of what camp might look for him. Could I picture him there? Owen and Graham both enjoyed the camp tour. It certainly inspired them to want to attend. One of the advantages of Owen visiting camp in advance is he can now picture where this new experience would take place. We’ve haven’t done overnight experiences beyond a night or two at a grandparents’ house. In the aftermath of a pandemic, we’re still processing if summer camp is a step we’re ready for. Seeing the camp in-person was helpful as we process our summer plans. It’s hard to believe that we have a kiddo that is old enough to be a camper!
Okay, visiting camp wasn’t the only highlight of the last week. I’ll try to hit the others quickly. On Thursday, we visited friends and saw quite a few trains on our journey to/from their home. The boys are still obsessed with trains, so it was a very good day! We met Jeremy for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant (which I find funny since it was St. Patrick’s day). Friday night, I attended book club. I enjoy discussing books with other moms and my book recommendation list is super long now. On Saturday, we had a beaver walk up our driveway and into our front yard! We apparently live in a zoo or maybe Narnia. Saturday evening, we had friends over for dinner and the boys got to do their favorite thing – flashlight tag in the yard. Sunday, our chickens got attacked by an eagle. We missed the drama but my parents saw it happen. A crow attacked the eagle and scared it off before it could harm our chickens. A big thank you to that crow! Between a beaver in the yard on Saturday and an eagle on Sunday… we seriously live in a zoo!
After a few days of activity, I’ve been enjoying some quieter days at home. I’m almost finished with the Harry Potter series. I’m currently on book seven and hope to finish it today or tomorrow. It’s been fun to discuss the books with my friends (and hubby) who are fans. I’m often asked what I think about the books, but it’s also neat to hear what books, characters, and moments other readers like best. Oh, and the very important discussion of what Hogwarts house you think you’d be in! I’m torn between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, but I’m leaning toward Hufflepuff. I’ll have to give my final HP thoughts at the end of the month in my book blog!
The start of 2022 has mostly been spent at home. Last week was set at a slower pace so we could get back into the school routine. Our weekend plans were slightly altered by local flooding. My childhood home was flooded in 1996 and though I live on a hill now, flooding raises my anxiety level and stirs uncertainty. My appointment to get my COVID booster was rescheduled because the pharmacy was closed due to flooding nearby. Our boys were able to get their second vaccine dose over the weekend as the area reopened. We went into a very empty Safeway afterwards to find celebration donuts. Even though the shelves were almost bare, there were donuts in the case. Praise the Lord!
The major highlight of this last week for me was packages arriving filled with books and book-related things! I used Christmas cash to invest in a Kindle Paperwhite, an assortment of books, and two journals. One journal is a reading journal. I’ve kept lists of what I’ve read yearly, but I’ve never journaled about my reading. I am looking forward to using this journal as a companion to my reading year. It has space to document 100 books and I’ve decided 100 books will be my reading goal for 2022.
I’ve been thinking about my reading life – what it’s looked like and what I want it to look like. In 2020 and 2021, I read more books than I ever expected. To expand beyond my limited home library, I’ve taken to following the recommendations of others. This habit of asking around has led me to many books that I loved and some I didn’t. I wish that books came with ratings like movies. If a book has too much language, violence, darkness, or sex, it makes me uncomfortable. I had a light bulb moment as I was reading in my new book journal (My Reading Life: A Book Journal by Anne Bogel). Anne suggested that you search for content warnings online before starting a new book. I can’t believe this didn’t occur to me before! I hope to be a more informed reader in 2022. Not to focus on the negative, I read many great books I loved with no reservation. I also don’t share this as judgement of those who might hold different reading tastes than my own. I’ll still be asking for recommendations. I’ll just do more research in advance of placing a library hold.
I mentioned in my last post, I plan to change how I blog about reading. Instead of sharing a short paragraph about each book I read in a month, I’ll change to a list with a star-rating. I’ve started using my Goodreads account again and I plan to use their star-rating system. I have so. many. words. when it comes to books and my monthly posts have gotten too long. I’ll share about my favorite non-fiction and fiction books of the month with reasons why beyond the star-rating. There is a comment section on each post, so if you ever have a question about a book I list, please feel free to ask and we can dive into a deeper conversation on that title.
I am also excited to be a part of a new book club with a few friends (we technically haven’t met yet, but we’re working on it). One of my friends came up with the idea of meeting once a month to talk about books – any book. It could be one we’ve read recently or in the past or one we’re eyeing. It can be hard for moms to all read the same book at the same time and come ready for a discussion. This will take the pressure off of finding material we all like and completing it on a timeline. I love hearing about what others are reading and I can see my to-be-read list growing as a result. I also love talking about my current reads. I’m positive this will be a good outlet for me in more than one way!
As you can see, I’ve thought quite a bit about reading in 2022. I want to be intentional with my reading and my time. I read for both pleasure and growth. I want to have a diverse reading life. Some of the most impacting books I’ve read have been by people very different from me. Seeing the world through their lens has been life-altering. I don’t want to shirk from books that make me uncomfortable. I just want it to be for the right reasons. All this talk about books has me excited to share my reading list with you at the end of the month. I’m certainly starting out 2022 with plenty to read. I’m in book heaven! Woo hoo!
We made it to 2022! This week is back to school for the boys and I and back to work for Jeremy. We loved our month of December with Jeremy on sabbatical. Our family had so much fun with all the Christmas activities and celebrations. Like most, we weren’t ready for the vacation vibes to end. We have an intentionally quiet week at home to help us ease back into routine.
We wrapped up 2021 with a shopping trip to Portland. Even though the roads around our house were snow/ice, the freeway was fine and the roads improved as we went south. The stores were hit hard by Christmas, low staff, and low stock. The snow certainly didn’t help. The boys each got LEGO sets and then we hopped online to shop for the items that were missing in the stores. Mostly, we just wanted a day to get out of the house after a few snow days. Our shopping tradition after Christmas isn’t about the items we purchase, it’s about spending the day as a family in the big city.
Our weekend was all about snow and family. We celebrated my sister’s birthday on New Year’s Eve. Jeremy attached the sled to our riding lawn mower and that became a big hit on Friday and Saturday. We had some of the cousins (and their parents) over on Saturday for games and snow fun. After we played at our house, we dropped the kiddos at Nana & Papa’s house and the parents went to see the newest Spider-Man movie. I haven’t been to the theaters since Frozen II in 2019! It was good to get back to the movies, but I honestly love streaming at home just as much (probably even more). It was a treat to go on a double date and have some kid-free time with other adults – this rarely happens in my world.
As I reflect on 2021, I am grateful. The beginning of the year started quietly with COVID restrictions and stay-at-home orders revived. We celebrated Jeremy turning 40 in the spring with a “spring break” trip to Oregon. We thrived in homeschooling and wrapped up preschool for Graham and 1st grade for Owen with a family celebration at the end of May. Our summer was full of local-ish adventures. We visited the WA/OR coast, Mt. Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park, and Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. We enjoyed swim lessons in the month of August. We started our second year of homeschooling in the fall. The boys turned 8 and 6 in October with family adventure days to the Space Needle and Top Golf. November was our magical trip to Disneyland. December wrapped up the year with Jeremy’s sabbatical filled with family time and Christmas adventures. Despite the hardships of living in a pandemic world, our family experienced so much goodness in 2021.
Thanks to the pandemic, my expectations for goal setting have gone way down. Last year, my goals were to beat my 2020 reading total and to decorate sugar cookies once a month. I succeeded in both those goals and had a blast investing in my hobbies. As I look to 2022, my current goals are to read the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings books for the first time. They are on most recommended reading list that I encounter. I’m ready to find out why. I plan to change how I keep track of my reading and how I rate books. I will also tweak how I blog about my reading this year. My one serious goal for 2022 is to get back to church in-person. I have reservations about in-person church, but it’s important that our kids get back into a faith community. Because of homeschooling, it will be beneficial for them to be in a classroom environment with peers again.
That about does it! Wrapping up 2021, welcoming 2022. I don’t know what’s on the horizon for 2022. I am believing that the same goodness I found in 2020 and 2021 will be present in 2022. God’s faithfulness never falters. Life has taken unexpected turns with the pandemic, but I’ll just keep doing the best I can with what I’ve got. God can work with that. He makes up the difference. I can go into 2022 knowing that God goes with me – before me, beside me, behind me. I am not alone and I can do this with him.
We’ve slowed the pace down this week. We’ve found a good routine with Jeremy being home on sabbatical. While the boys and I do school, Jeremy does a project around the house. Our garage, well house, files, and master closet are very well organized now. Our afternoons and evenings have been filled with books, music, movies, free play, and hot tub time.
On Wednesday, we drove through a light display in a local park. On Thursday, Jeremy took turns shopping with the boys so they could shop for each other. We also had family over for Chinese take-out. Yum! Our only plans for Friday were to make rice crispy treats and watch The Muppet Christmas Carol. Not a bad to-do list!
We got our Christmas cards into the mail this week and the boys’ letters to Santa. The big item on their wish list is LEGO Super Mario sets. I daily do my best to patiently listen to all the joy these sets will bring to their lives.
My childhood Christmas soundtrack was Amy Grant albums. It dawned on me that my children will have “Holiday Favorites” on Amazon Music as their childhood Christmas soundtrack. We are either listening to Christmas music or singing it to yourselves all day long.
We’ve been taking walks to the mailbox to look for packages. It’s been chilly so our walks are quick and motivated. We’ve seen snowflakes multiple times this week. Today we had a light slush stay around for part of the morning.
Friends are coming over tomorrow for a Christmas cookie decorating playdate. I happily baked an assortment of butter cookies, gingerbread, and snickerdoodles this morning. I have cider ready to share with my mom friend while our kids make a mess with frosting and sprinkles. Owen has requested that I let them pipe the icing. We’ll let the icing and creativity flow!
With one more week left of school, the kids are in countdown mode (I might be too). Countdown to Christmas break, countdown to family gatherings, countdowns to outings. I’ve enjoyed the slower pace of this last week before it picks up again. It’s been a chance to be present in all the small moments that make this season so special.
I’ve been dreaming of taking my family on a Disneyland vacation long before I was married and had kids. Disneyland is a classic family vacation filled with magic! My first Disneyland experience was in the 5th grade and I’ve been obsessed ever since. I’ve visited Disneyland multiple times, but nothing can quite compare to that magic of a child’s first visit. Now that I’m a parent, I’ve been slowly watching Graham (my youngest and shortest son) grow with Disneyland in the back of my mind. I’ve been waiting for that milestone moment where he would be tall enough to go on most of the rides. We reached that perfect height this summer and I promptly suggested we take a Disneyland vacation!
This trip came with other first time experiences for the boys such as their first flight and first time to Southern California. The whole airplane heard them loudly exclaim over palm trees as we got ready to land. The boys enjoyed their first flight and were excellent travelers. My parents joined us for the adventure so we took up an entire row on the airplane. Graham flew down with the grandparents and Owen sat with Jeremy and I. We switched kids for the flight home to mix it up. Once we got into LAX, we picked up our rental car and took off for our hotel, dinner at In-N-Out, and grocery shopping. We went to sleep in matching Mickey Christmas pajamas that I bought specifically for this trip and the holiday season.
Our first day was at Disneyland! The park was all decorated for Christmas which made the experience extra special. Our strategy was to start with the smaller rides in Fantasyland to get the boys warmed up. Things started well with our first ride on Alice in Wonderland. Then Jeremy diverted from the plan when he saw the Matterhorn Bobsleds had a 5 minute wait. We might have traumatized the kids with the yeti on that fast-paced, jerky ride. Oops! Owen loved Big Thunder Mountain, but that was too intense for Graham. At one point during the ride, Graham told us his heart was racing. Both boys loved Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters the most. Part of the fun of the first day was introducing Graham to Disney churros. I got a tasty Gingerbread cookie shaped like Mickey. We watched the Christmas Fantasy Parade. Our kids are now obsessed with the song that played a dozen times on repeat. We didn’t do the big rides or anything spooky. I thought I might miss them, but I didn’t. I had so much fun watching the boys enjoy themselves that I didn’t mind sacrificing some of my past must-do rides.
Our second day was at California Adventure. We did Radiator Spring Racers right when the park opened because the wait time for that ride is insane. The boys loved all the rides at Cars Land. Honorable mentions would also be Goofy’s Sky School, the Pixar Pal-A-Round, and Soarin’ Around the World. One of my highlights was the Boudin Sourdough Bakery at the Pacific Wharf. I enjoyed a sourdough bread bowl with mac & cheese for lunch. We also bought a pull-a-part loaf of bread in the shape of a Christmas tree. The loaf turned out to the huge! Oops! We were able to munch on it throughout the week and then we packed it home. After lunch, we went back to the hotel for a rest. Everyone napped so we would have enough spunk to make it through the evening. It’s magical to see the parks all lit up at night especially with the extra Christmas lights and decorations. After an evening of rides, we made our way to Salt & Straw in Downtown Disney for ice cream. We got back to the hotel in time to watch the firework show from the window at the end of the hallway.
We park hopped on our last day. We started the day in Disneyland. We did a few new rides and repeated some favorites. We secured a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance which was a bucket list ride for both Jeremy and my dad. Even though the boys have little Star Wars knowledge, they enjoyed it. In fact, all the Star Wars rides were a hit. Actually, almost all the rides were met with enthusiasm. Just not the Matterhorn. It became a running joke that we wanted to go back to the Matterhorn and the boys would groan. Our last day was also our shopping day. Both boys settled on bubble wands as their souvenirs. We napped in the afternoon and then started our evening at California Adventure. We revisited a few favorite rides before heading back to Disneyland for the firework show. We waited for the show while munching on snacks of churros, Dole whip, and popcorn. As we walked out the park that night, Owen got a bit teary. He didn’t want to leave and honestly, I didn’t either! Owen quickly cheered up as he got use his bubble wand for the walk back to the hotel. We filled the roads around Disney with bubbles! It was like taking a bit of the magic with us outside of the parks.
3 days in the parks. 30 miles of walking. 37 rides. A parade and a firework show. So many magical moments! We were tired and worn out, but happy in a way that only the happiest place on Earth can provide. I was definitely ready to rest, but now that I’ve had a day at home to recover, I’m ready to go back. Anytime. Tomorrow would be great. Okay, I don’t know when our next Disney adventure will happen, but I am so thankful for the experience that we just had. Disneyland did not disappoint. It was exactly the trip that I dreamt it would be. What a magical Disneyland adventure we had!
Like most families, yesterday was a big day! Halloween has always been a big deal to our family. Not because of spooky season, though. Annually, Jeremy plans and hosts a major holiday event for our community on Halloween. Fall Fest is a long standing tradition at our church. When I was in high school, I volunteered at this same event, but back then it was called the Fall Family Fun Festival. Jeremy shortened the title to Fall Fest when he became the children’s pastor. October 31st means big church event in our world and we were ready for it!
Last year, we did a drive-thru event due to COVID restrictions. This year we did an outdoor event for the first time. The weather was absolutely beautiful! We couldn’t have asked for a better day. We were so thankful! Jeremy had canopies over every game so the event could have been rain or shine. Being in the PNW, we roll with wet weather, but I’m glad we didn’t have to! Another fun element of Fall Fest this year was the Candyland theme. The decorations and games all revolved around the classic candy-themed board game. The boys and I arrived early in the afternoon to help Jeremy set-up. Pastor’s kid privileges meant our kiddos got to test out the games before it got crowded. They even got an extra long jump in the inflatable bounce house. The boys were very helpful in the set-up process. I love that we are at an age when were we can serve our community together as a family.
While Halloween and Fall Fest were the highlight of the week, I also had some fun moments with a few mom friends. On Monday, I did a book swap with a friend. She came over to look over my home library and share some of her books with me. It’s always interesting to see what books we’ve already read and what books we can introduce each other to. It’s a rewarding challenge! In the theme of books and friends, I went to the 30th birthday party of a good friend this weekend. The guests were asked to bring a wrapped book for a gift exchange. The exchange was a classic white elephant style, but instead of gag gifts, it was everyone’s favorite books. The party was kid-free and the time to chat with other mom friends was priceless. I even road out to the party with another friend so I could get more kid-free socializing into the night. What’s not to love about books and kid-free mom time with friends. Such a special treat!
As I reflect on this last week, I’m so grateful that Fall Fest went so well. I am thankful for the friends and community we get to do life with. It’s mind-blowing that we now find ourselves in November! We have so many fun things ahead. I have a few coffee dates on the calendar. Red Cup Day at Starbucks is right around the corner. We have some homeschool outings planned with other families. And… we have Disneyland on the horizon! So much to be thankful for as we make our way toward Thanksgiving! I’ve added a gratitude practice to my daily journaling as effort to find and remember the good moments scattered throughout each day. I’m not immune to the struggles and challenges of these different days. When things seem hard or overwhelming, I fall back into thankfulness. Oh! That’s another blessing in November – falling back with daylight savings. I used to love falling back just as much as I loved Christmas (before kids). Now… it’s not quite the holiday it once was, but I still get excited for it. I’m certainly counting my blessings as we head into November.
This last week was a big one even though at a glance it might have looked somewhat average. It was far from that, though! This week could be defined by beginnings and endings. Some things are just starting and somethings have come to a close. So let’s dive in!
I’ve been praying about a big decision that I finally went through with last Tuesday. I took time to talk it out with trusted people and I sat with my decision over Labor Day weekend to see it stuck. I’ve been a part of a team that supports women ministers in the Northwest Ministry Network. When I said yes to this commitment two years, I thought I was heading into the school-age years with my kids and I would have more time to pursue vocational ministry. But… I couldn’t predict a pandemic. Because we are homeschooling, I’m still home with my kids 24/7. Also, due to COVID conditions in my area, my in-person attendance at church is limited. I’ve loved being a part of this team because the women are incredible. I enjoyed getting to know them and I’ve been inspired by their leadership. But I’ve felt like the odd duck on the team. I am not actively pursuing vocational ministry. It’s just not the season of life that I am in. I would love to be a part of this team in the future when my season of life aligns better with the purpose of the team. I’ve been feeling the conflict between the life I thought I would be living right now and the one that I am actually living in this moment. It’s okay to say that this isn’t a good fit right now, but I hope it will be someday.
The other ending in my life has been a long time coming. I finally let go of my Usborne Books & More business. For the last year, I’ve kept the business active so I could receive discounts on my personal purchases. Now the cost of keeping the business active is no longer saving me money. I’ve been a UBAM book lady for 4.5 years and I’ve loved it! I loved introducing families to great books. Our home library exploded because of this business. It was such a blessing to my family. In the season of building our house, this book business gave me something to focus on in the waiting period. It was an important part of that building season for me. I’ve collected the last of my rewards and placed my final order as a consultant. It’s bittersweet, but I’ve known the end was around the corner for awhile. I will remain a loyal customer. I truly love this company and their products. Books are the best!
Endings can be sad and it felt weird to end two things in one week. I will admit that as my commitments continue to scale back, I’m often left wondering what is God is doing. For so long I’ve been defined by all the things I’ve been able to juggle. The pandemic has certainly made my world smaller. Instead of being worried or upset, I’m choosing to see this as a strategic time in my faith journey. Letting go of things isn’t in my nature, so I know that God is teaching me and guiding me. I’m trusting that he has a purpose in all the change.
Let’s focus on the the beginnings! It’s still the beginning of the school year. Somehow I always forget how much adjusting goes into the month of September. We are getting into our new school routine. It’s mostly gone well, but I’ve learned a few things the hard way. With Owen, I had him hit the ground running with school instead of easing him back into it. Our schedule will be lighter this week. We’ve been doing five days of work in three days for the last two weeks. This week we’ll do five days of curriculum in four days. The extra day should make a difference.
I’m happy to report that Graham is beginning to read! It hasn’t fully clicked, but he has made so much progress! I’m starting to feel more confident in the program we selected and in my ability to teach him. I’m so excited because learning to read is the beginning of beautiful things! Reading is such an adventure. I can’t wait for Graham to experience the joys of reading. We’re starting small, but we’re definitely making progress! Praise the Lord!
This week we met up with a few other homeschool families to launch rockets. We aren’t a part of a formal homeschool group, but a friend of mine hopes to facilitate a monthly outing or experience for homeschool families. The boys had a blast chasing rockets through the field with friends. We used bigger engines this time and that made our rocket even more impressive than when we launched it last fall.
Hunting season has also begun. Jeremy needed a new long sleeve camo shirt and while running errands, he picked up shirts for the boys, too. They got to join him for the evening hunt yesterday. Graham talked with me for a solid 10 minutes about his adventure when he got up this morning. The highlights were seeing the other family members out hunting. He also mentioned that he would be sad if they killed an elk. I’m guessing he is going to be a social outdoorsman verses a serious hunter (at least at this at this point in his life). Hunting season can be an intense season with early mornings, late nights, and a lot of single parenting. Since Jeremy took the boys out last night, I was able to work on my upcoming workshop I’m teaching next weekend. My parents also watched my boys for a few hours this weekend so I could prepare. I’m thankful for the extra support during hunting season.
That wraps up this week’s recap. Lots of big decisions, but also lots of fun. I’m glad the school year is underway and we are finding our groove again. September always takes way more energy than I expect, but it’s full of good things and important adjustments. I am learning a lot in this season and I’m keeping my eyes open for what God is doing in my right now, right here, ordinary life. It’s good and I’m grateful!
This week a chapter of my life came to a close. I’ve been keeping this to myself since the news wasn’t known in my community until this week. Our MOPS & MOMSnext group has decided to pause for the time being. There are a few factors that went into this decision, but the main factor was childcare being complicated in these COVID days. Our facility has a learning center in the building and with new cleaning protocols, our group start time would be too late to serve young families well. Not to mention, rebuilding a childcare team is a challenge. Some are willing to volunteer again, but MOPS & MOMSnext takes a large volunteer team and some aren’t ready to dive back in yet. COVID and kid germs are still a concern and I totally understand.
When I was asked to coordinator our MOPS & MOMSnext group, we were a daytime group of mostly stay-at-home moms. The learning center opened right as I started coordinating. I got to be a part of the pioneering process as we moved from a daytime group to an evening group. Meeting in the evening allowed working moms to join us and we saw a rise in attendance. When the pandemic shut down in-person gatherings, I got to be a part of another pioneering process. This time it was moving from in-person to online. This year of MOPS & MOMSnext online has had it’s ups and downs. We’ve definitely made the most of the online platform. We had wonderful guest speakers. We still managed to do group crafts and have a spa night and a game night. We got creative and made it work! However, we also saw a decline in attendance as the year went on. We heard often how complicated it is for moms to meet online especially without childcare. I am blessed to have my husband watch our kids while I’m online. I was able to be fully present for the meetings, but I know my mom friends felt the frustration of managing both their homes and the meetings at the same time.
I knew that my term as coordinator would last through my youngest’s preschool years. Once Graham graduated preschool, I knew my time was up. I’ve known this end date was coming from the very beginning of saying yes to leading. I just didn’t predict a pandemic. I will admit that I’m disappointed that I’m not handing a the group over to a new leader. I always thought I would hand over the leadership of the group and still be involved – either as a team member or a group member. I am wrestling with my emotions because this ending looks different than I had expected. I believe in the heart and purpose of MOPS & MOMSnext. I will miss the community it created in my life. I joined MOPS when I was pregnant with my oldest son. I have never known motherhood without it. Despite my disappointment, I am optimistic that the group can relaunch in the future when factors have changed. I believe this pause could be a catalyst for change and bring a new vision for the group. God does great things in and through what we see as disappointments. I believe there is a greater good still possible that I can’t clearly see at this moment.
I almost didn’t share this news here. I thought maybe I would silently let my MOPS & MOMSnext updates fade away. But I’m learning that it’s okay to acknowledge disappointments. I try to keep my posts optimistic while being realistic as well. MOPS & MOMSnext has held a huge place in my heart and has been a vital part of my calendar and community. I’m proud of what this group has accomplished over the years. We’ve been through so many transitions. Adapting isn’t always easy, but we’ve been able to bless moms in our community through creativity and flexibility. It’s been an honor to serve on a team with amazing women. It’s been an honor to encourage the moms in our community. These last eight years have been a meaningful chapter of my life. I’m giving myself space to feel my feelings and celebrate all that has been accomplished. It’s been good. God has been good to us.
MOPS & MOMSnext was a huge ministry opportunity for me. I grew so much through leading this group. One of the hardest parts of letting go is I’m not sure what’s next. God is stirring my heart. He is about to do a new thing. I’m not sure what it is yet, but my eyes are open and my heart is ready. A new chapter always begins as another chapter comes to a end.
Our floor replacement project was supposed to start today. But… it’s been postponed. Our flooring situation feels like an epic saga (a never ending one at that). There was an internal miscommunication with the building company and now we’re looking at the end of May or beginning of June for this project to take place. As much as I want this project behind us, I’m okay with the pause. I wasn’t thrilled to homeschool around the flooring project. With only 1.5 weeks of school left, I’ll be glad to do this project after we wrap up school. We will have summer school, but the summer schedule is lighter. Postponing the flooring project fits better later. I guess a delay can be a blessing.
When my hubby asked me how I wanted to celebrate Mother’s Day, I originally thought the house would be torn up right after the weekend. I didn’t want a busy weekend on top of a crazy week. This year I opted for a quiet day at home to read and eat my favorite foods. We ran errands on Friday and then had dinner with my parents to celebrate my mom. Saturday was my quiet day. Sunday morning was restful around the house with the kids while Jeremy worked. Once Jeremy got home, we went over to celebrate with his mom. I enjoy the flow of celebrating Mother’s Day over the whole weekend. Instead of celebrating three moms in short burst of time, it allows us to have a laid back flow to the weekend. No need to rush. Expanding the time we celebrate allows our family to be in the moment and present. Maybe I won’t feel this way ever year, but a low-key Mother’s Day was perfect this year.
Without a major construction project in the immediate future, things around our house are business-as-usual. Homeschooling, reading, baking, walking, outside time, hot tub time… All the usual things. The weather has been nice so we have been outside everyday. The sunshine reminds me that summer is right around the corner. We had a chat with the kids this week about our summer bucket list. We’re starting to daydream about how to fill our summer days. We have a camping trip on the books. I hope to visit the zoo. The kids hope to go to the beach. We’re looking forward to more play dates and backyard hangouts. The boys and I will return to church on Sundays for outdoor gatherings. We are enjoying this slower-paced Spring, but we are also looking forward the promise of Summer!