sabbath taking

When I see people out and about, especially people from my church or the presbytery, they always ask how my sabbatical is going and what I’ve been doing (as well as comment on my tan).  They usually seem disappointed when I say something like, just hanging out – spending time with my kids (especially fellow pastors).  It’s like they expect to hear about a great pilgrimage or study.  Nope….I just need time to enjoy life with my family and friends.  That’s what’s renewing my spirit.  And it’s really hard to sum up all the greatness of this summer (so far) with just a few words.  We’ve been busy.  I’ve been spending much more time on twitter and instagram this summer than facebook because all my church peeps are on facebook and it’s hard to disconnect when you see their updates and they comment on yours.   But here’s the gist of our Sabbath seeking:

We had our annual 4th of July Cook-Out with my dad’s family on the hottest day of the year.  The kids didn’t mind.

We hosted 12 people in our house for a week.  The best week of the year:  Vacay 2012!  (more on that later)

We went to Fort Mill to spend a few days with my college roommate (and high school friend – gosh, we’ve been friends for a LONG time) and her sweet boys.  It’s amazing how good time with old friends is so good for the soul!  I even got the bonus of hanging out with four of my friends from high school one night over mimosas and wedding invitation assembling.

Caleb turned TWO (more on that later)

He also had a party with all of his crazy cousins, of whom, he is the craziest

Then he had his two year-old check-up and got rewarded with a cupcake (so did his sister who helped him be brave and who also answered all the nurses questions and accompanied him to the scale.  They didn’t really need me)

For a break from the 90+ heat EVERY.DAY in July, Taylor went to an ice skating party for her BFF

Taylor and I had a mother-daughter day at the waterpark

Caleb, Grammy, and I had a great day at the Fire Museum

Caleb, Taylor, and I got decked out for Tie-Dye Free Donut Friday at Dunkin Donuts

Taylor went to her first play.  She sat on the edge of her seat and clapped enthusiastically at the end of every scene.  SO. FUN.

Taylor and I had another mother-daughter day in which we played in the fountains downtown, went on a carriage tour of Charleston, and saw Ice Age: Continental Drift (which Taylor thought was HI-larious – she was the loud laugher the whole movie)

We have also had several beach days which were not photographed.   On Friday, Russ and I got to go to the PGA Championship at The Ocean Course with my sister and brother-in-law, but unfortunately didn’t take a single picture of that either!   The day before that, we celebrated our 9th anniversary.  It was pretty pathetic, so we are already planning our 10th anniversary celebration to make up for it.  Speaking of Russ, you’ll notice that he isn’t a part of our sabbatical shenenigans…that’s because he’s been working like a crazy person.  Residency is B-A-N-A-N-A-S (more on that later).  I have also been watching a ridiculous amount of Olympics and even watched the whole first two seasons of Downton Abbey (while Russ was on night float for a week and I had trouble sleeping).  I have also had the pleasure of church hopping and seeing some good friends do what they do so well (picking up some pointers along the way).

I remember in high school when I was voted Most Likely to Succeed, I had a mixed reaction because I knew that I would not be successful in the way that most of my classmates viewed success.  So I don’t know if most would say that my sabbatical has been successful so far, but man, has it been fun and full of good things.  I’m hoping the rest is just as fun, with hopefully a little more working out and a little less time in front of the TV now that the Olympics are over, but I’m making no promises.

odds

I was supposed to be working on my sermon today, but around lunchtime I got some writer’s block and decided to leave my post at Panera to go play at Target.  I was getting quite frustrated because they are remodeling and nothing is where it is supposed to be.  Then I saw this little girl, maybe 6 or 7, crying and looking around as if she were looking for someone.  So I stopped put my hand on her shoulder and asked her if she was trying to find her mom. Immediately, she stopped crying as if she trusted me and knew she would be ok, and said “My grammy.”  So I found out what she looked like and what they were doing at Target today as we walked down the aisle looking for her Grammy on our way to where the closet Target associate was standing.  Fortunately, we found her Grammy just three aisles down from where we started, and she ran to her.  It must not have been long, because the Grammy was still reading the label on something and hadn’t noticed her granddaughter wasn’t there.

But as soon as she ran from me to her Grammy the events of Saturday flooded back in my mind, and I started tearing up again…the first time since Sunday night.

I’m glad both situations had good outcomes, but come on, what are the odds?

laugher fills this house

Hey, I’m still here, kind of.  If you heard a big sigh of relief yesterday, it was me after my sabbatical was approved for this summer.  Holla!  Blogging more often will be among my sabbatical goals because it helps me keep my sanity partially in tact.  But for now, it’s going to be sporadic city around Better Days parts.  I could not, however, not blog about Taylor’s hilarity this morning.

While I was in the shower, she crawled into bed with Russ.  When I came out of the bathroom and the light shown into Russ’ still asleep eyes, he rolled over and put his arm around Taylor and gave her a big hug….to which she replied, “Uh, you’re disgusting!”

I laughed SO hard.  When she realized that she may have hurt his feelings, she clarified, “But you smell good”  – apparently his arm had landed on her mouth during the hug and she was noting that he tasted disgusting…maybe…or maybe she was just trying to spare his half-asleep feelings.

Then, at breakfast, we were all sitting together, which is a rarity in the morning.

Taylor mused, “You know, black is the darkest of the colors.”

Me:  “Yes, that’s right.  Which is the lightest of the colors?”

Taylor: “Yellow”

Me: “Hmm….what about this (pointing to her white napkin)?”

Taylor: “Oh, white”

Russ: “Actually I think she may be right because white isn’t really a color”

Me:  “True, white is the absence of color…Taylor, you may be right”

Taylor:  “That’s because I know everything.”

LAUGHTER ENSUES

Me:  “Taylor, you are funny”

Taylor:  “I know”

I’m glad she’s a confident girl.

Later on in the meal, she declared, “It’s like we’re in a meeting”.  Funny, smart, confident, and also a PK.

________________________________________________________

In other news, Caleb LOVES syrup:

A LOT

He also enjoys climbing:

gut punch

First of all, Taylor is still sick.  The women who work in the office of her school told me this morning that she came to the office yesterday, sat down in the chair and sighed before saying, “I don’t feel good…I should have just stayed home in bed.”  Is she 4 or 40?   I feel like a GREAT mother for sending her to school sick.

Secondly:

This afternoon, she crawled up into my lap after playing outside (this is one side effect of being sick that I don’t mind one bit).  Russ had just left to meet a friend for dinner before going to a meeting and told Taylor that Grammy was coming as a means of convincing her she didn’t want to go with him.  She looked at me and said, “Mommy, are you and Caleb going to stay home with me and Grammy?”  I sighed and replied sadly, “No, I have to go back to work for a little bit….but you know what?  After tonight I won’t have to work at night again for a long time.”

She perked up, threw her arms around my neck, and exclaimed with much excitement “THAT’S SO GREAT!”  Then she grabbed my face in her hands and gave me a big kiss.

How’s that for making a mom feel guilty?!  I really felt like I got punched in the gut.  I love my job.  And I love that my job has the flexibility to spend a lot of time with my kids, but missing bedtime is tough….especially when there are weeks like the last two when I’ve been gone at night much more than I’ve been home.

And to add insult to injury, on Monday morning, we were looking at a picture that Taylor drew of a child with a frown on his/her face.  We asked her why the child was frowning, and she said “Because he’s sad, and he misses his mommy and daddy because they aren’t home at night.”

UH!

So I will begin to assuage my mom guilt by staying home with her tomorrow for her third sick day in a row.

But then I will have minister guilt because there are things left undone at work and things that I’ll have to cancel.  It’s a never ending cycle trying to find the balance.

I am, however, definitely looking forward to the next few weeks when the scale tips more towards the family side.

fresh

I think I started a new tradition this year.  It is December 7, and the Christmas cards went in the mail yesterday; the house is decorated and clean(ish); and we have all but three gifts wrapped and under the tree.

Did I mention it is only December 7?  It is a pretty incredible feeling to look into the horizon of the second week of Advent and Christmas with a weight lifted.  This is all because I took the week of Thanksgiving off.  I didn’t go anywhere the first half of the week and didn’t go far the rest of the weekend, so I got a lot of stuff done.

And Monday of that week, I got NOTHING done.  It was fabulous.  I got up and got the kids ready for school*, then after Russ drove off with them, I got back in bed and did not get up again until lunchtime.  At lunchtime, I heated up some pizza and got back in bed to eat it.  I did not get up again until it was time to pick the kids up at 3:00.    I had been fighting a sinus infection and working doubletime the week before (because my boss was on vacation), so this day of nothing was the best. day.

The rest of the week was very productive because I was fully (well, almost) refreshed.  I got back my go-get-him and my giddy-up.  So by the evening of Sunday, the house was really clean and decorated and most of the shopping was done (plus I got to spend some quality time with my mom and Taylor on Girls’ Day).

I highly recommend a staycation with no agenda, no plans…the chance to just be and to get as much done as you feel like getting done….and watching as much trashy TV as you want without anyone judging you.  It’s a good thing.  So I think from now on, I will take this week off and plan to go no where in order to find some order before charging full steam ahead into Advent and Christmas.

I really think I will enjoy this year more without the stress of shopping on Christmas Eve.  The Advent season is supposed to be about waiting and preparing for Christ’s coming, but with all the hustle and bustle, you lose the chance to wait and prepare – the pace is fast and furious.  I’m hoping that this year, I will really be able to celebrate Advent with some patience, some stillness, some silence, and a lot of joy and anticipation…hoping that my four year-old will rub off on me a bit.

*1) So, yes, I know that for Caleb especially it is more daycare than school, but I just don’t like the term daycare, and it’s my blog.  2) I used to think that if I wasn’t going into work, I had to keep the kids home (mom guilt).  HA!  Then I got a bit of sanity and perspective and learned that a little time off with the kids at school allowed me to be more rested and productive so that the time spent with them was that of a much higher quality.  So I cut myself a break.  Plus they both dig school a lot, so that helps.