2018 | A Grinding Year in Review

Here’s one thing that didn’t happen in 2018 … consistent, personal blogging. However, in typical late-December fashion, as I think [and look] back at the many memories made this year, we accomplished what needed to be accomplished. And that’s what matters most.

You won’t find any fancy, extravagant trips or big ‘milestones’, like a new baby [thank you Lord, says Anthony] or house or car or pet, as you scroll through this blog post. This year was a grind, and it made us better, together.

The first few months of the year were filled with work, school, and youth sports – basketball, track and t-ball to be exact.

Jeremiah and Pepe [his great grandfather] enjoyed a night out at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo in February. And before we knew it Spring was over and we had a first-grader and another kiddo heading into Pre-K.

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Summertime brought a few Texas-coast beach trips, Mila’s first theater camp, a basketball summer league, church camp and too many pool days to count.

In the late summer, Anthony completed a 10-month police academy – an adventure that, once again, reminded me of how unique he is. You don’t find many people in our generation willing to take a night job while going to school full time during the day without complaining. I think he averaged about 4 hours of sleep a day most of the year.

The August heat was a sure sign it was time for school to resume. Mila joined her big brother at her new school while the little one became the Lone Ranger in her small school.

Soccer season kicked off and the two bigs did fantastic. In Mila’s first season, her team came in 2nd place and Jeremiah’s team finished in the top four out of the entire city for his division (which included nearly 40 teams!).

The holidays were spent with friends and family – most memorable events included a Kevin Hart comedy show, the Nutcracker Ballet, feeding the homeless on Thanksgiving, the girls’ first manicure and pedicure, a campfire dinner with s’mores and trips to Austin’s dinosaur park for Jeremiah’s birthday, Boerne’s Town Square and Austin’s Trail of Lights.

Jeremiah was diagnosed with scoliosis this winter – a condition my family is far too familiar with. We’re waiting to receive his nighttime back brace, praying daily and exploring different therapies to help him along the way.

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Looking back, day after day felt like a grind. Cooking, cleaning, shuttling, sorting through opposite work schedules, serving in the children’s ministry at church, running off minimal sleep, teaching Mila how to swim in the deep end [with success], teaching Sierra how to ride a bike, getting Sierra potty trained [easiest.child.ever], helping with homework, attending field trips, logging reading hours, building fiesta floats, hosting birthday parties, attending birthday parties, exercising, coaching the kids in sports, taking Mila to tennis lessons, preparing for and surviving the holidays. Phew!

What I can say Anthony and I have both been reminded of this year, maybe in a louder way than ever before, is the importance of keeping God first and center in our lives, and the dedication it takes to pour into a marriage, and one’s self, for continued growth. Through His grace, we’re learning, growing, and picking each other up after each fall.

Cheers to enjoying the twists and turns of 2019, embracing the struggles and finding joy in every task, every day.

Survive and Advance

It’s the greatest time of year for college basketball fans – March Madness! A time where we get to watch 18 to 21 year-olds be a part of history, create memories that will turn into stories for their grand kids and fight for that one shinning moment … the moment on the ladder, cutting down the nylon, hosting up the championship trophy.

For nearly two decades, these men and women have trained to get to this stage. Only two percent of them will make it to the professional level, while the rest will hang on to these memories as the grand finale of their basketball careers. As a former college athlete, I can verify that these days, the college days, stay with you forever. Preseason training, two-a-days, weights and conditioning, extra conditioning, max-out sessions, grueling practices, conference tournaments and training room recovery sessions – what goes on during those four years while wearing that University jersey is what I remember most 10 years later.

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Friday afternoon I took a back route home in order to stop by a local nursery to pick up some vegetables for our garden. As I drove past the subdivision I grew up in, I spotted an old ice house. It was the ice house that my dad would make my sister and I run to for summer-time conditioning. I couldn’t help but think of the old adage for this time of year … survive and advance. Those runs were held in the heat of  Texas summers. They weren’t easy, nor enjoyable, especially for someone who was not a fan of long distance running.

Here I am, 10 years later, married with three kids and I find survive and advance is equally as relative as my days on the hardwood floor. Whether it’s getting through nine interviews in one week for two positions – yes, that just happened – or juggling the needs of three kids ages five and under every weekend, it’s all about surviving the day, advancing through the phase. Sports taught me how to remain disciplined in adulthood and that everything – every stage, every temper tantrum, every big project, every holiday – is temporary, and seconds later, merely a memory.

My dad wasn’t just training us for cross country, volleyball, basketball and track during those middle school days, he was training us for life. Sometimes, you have to do things you don’t like to do, and often times those things are character-shaping activities. So whether you are working through shaping healthy appetites in toddlers or pushing yourself to run that last mile as you train for a marathon, just remember if your can survive the phase, you’re advancing to the next stage.

 

For the love

I used to despise reading assignments followed up with book report assignments in middle and high school. To the point where [confession time] I would just skim a few chapters and create a crafty ‘review’ honing in on only the content I knew I could speak to if the teacher asked any follow-up questions.

Isn’t it ironic himg_8436ow we change as we grow up? Now, I’m about to tell you three reasons why you need to stop whatever it is you are doing, pull up Amazon and order Jen Hatmaker’s For the Lovemid read!

No. 3
Run your race. After reading 10 chapters, this is the best way I can describe the underlined theme of this book. Hatmaker is spicy, witty and has no shame calling out the absurdities we face in America as working women, wives, moms and Christians. She does us all a favor and says, in black ink, what we all silently think and burry deep down in fear of neglect or rejection from society, and then tells us why it’s absolutely insane to cave into the nonsense [and by golly we might be overworked, overtired, overstimulated moms but we are not insane]. Sometimes, ok a lot of times, you just need a good book to remind you of this lesson.

No. 2
School-aged mamas, this one’s for you. We’re six months away from our oldest entering kindergarten, but all three attend a ‘mom’s day out’ type of place three days a week. Hatmaker’s Surviving School chapter had me in tears. If you need to pull yourself out of the educational freenzie for a breath, hardy laugh and a reminder that if your child doesn’t like you all the time, you are doing a darn good job, this one’s for you! Here’s a sneak peek:

“Moms, I can barely speak of what Pintrest has done to us here. Between bento boxes with sandwiches cut into the shape of dolphins leaping into a sea of kale, and spraying our kids’ feet with lemon essential oils to soothe their troubles, I just can’t even …”

No. 1
Three words … THANK YOU NOTES. Yes, the Jimmy Fallon kind, only mommy-ized. Let me dangle two carrots in front of you, because one of these entries simply won’t suffice.

“Thank you obvious warning labels. Without you I might have stuck my kid in a washing machine, lit a match near an open gas line, used my hair dryer while sleeping, or, God forbid, not realized eggs may contain – wait for it – eggs. I have no idea how I ever functioned without you. (I almost ingested the contents of a lava lamp just yesterday, but your label made another quick save. God bless.)”

“Thank you, Miss ‘Could you bring me these pants in a size 2?’for finding the dressing room adjacent to mine no matter when or where I try on clothes. You keep me humble. I also appreciate hearing how my size shirt ‘swallows you.’ And yes, we all know how ‘cold you are in here’ without any natural insulation. Eat a sandwich.”

 

A Rodeo Surprise

It’s been well over 20 years since I’ve been to a rodeo. I mean the real rodeo – not just the grounds and carnival portion. Last night, I ventured out with our two oldest kiddos – J and M – to the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo to watch the real deal.

We were able to see some live stock and enjoy several carnival rides for a few hours before the big show. Once we climbed to the top of the AT&T Center – yes, climbed, with a three and five-year old – we settled in our seats just in time to watch the grand entry.

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Dozens of beautiful horses nailed the opening choreographed number with cowboys and cowgirls leading them around the pin proudly carrying American and Texas flags. It was military night – so the MC proudly recognized military men and women in attendance followed by the unthinkable. An opening prayer!  Ya’ll, the San Antonio Stock Show and Rode kicks off their event – where people from around the world, yes world, come to compete – with a prayer, praising our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Chills bolted through every cell of my body. Pride and grace flooded my eyes in the form of water. I wish there was a way to explain in words the way I felt at that moment last night.

Every day I see and hear  disrespect and hate spewing from the mouths and fingers of my fellow Americans – most on TV and the internet – and some days, it’s enough to make me wonder if we will ever, as a united country, come back to Christ. But, last night I was filled with hope that I had lost. Never would I have thought a large, public event would be so bold as to pray first and then honor the country where God purposely put us. A place that allows that kind of public praise, provides freedoms of all kinds and supports healthy competition for men and women.

The rodeo itself was phenomenal. My favorite events were the bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull racing. These men are legitimately insane. To willingly get on the most athletic, bucking horses and bulls to see how long you can hang on in the proper position requires some big cojones! If you live near a town that holds a rodeo I strongly encourage you to attend. It’s an incredible experience.

I definitely plan to support this event, which supports our family’s beliefs, every year. Kudos to you, San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, for being bold!