Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Enjoying a "First"

Maddy holds the firstborn status in our household.  With this status, she has certain rights that all firstborns hold.  She has the right to be bossy to her younger siblings, she has the right to try almost everything first.. and she has the right to ALWAYS know more than Travis and Peyton.  ( At least in her opinion...) 

Tuesday evening marked another first that Maddy gets to enjoy before her brothers.  It is something that not ALL people would actually enjoy, but I am raising little kids that LOVE to read.  I have been called a nerd before ( usually by my husband ) due to the fact that I would rather curl up with a good book than do most anything else.   I have shared and fostered the love of books in my kids, and I am proud to say that they "seem" to be following in their nerdy Momma's footsteps, and they LOVE to lay on the couch and crack open a book.  As usual, I digress... Tuesday evening, Maddy and I left Daddy at home with the boys and snuck off to the magical world of reading otherwise known as the Library.  We had some serious business at hand... Maddy's FIRST book report!! 

The assignment was to read any Arthur book, and color a picture of all the characters in the book.  Then she was to circle the most important character in the book and tell why she thought that they were the most important.  Maddy could hardly contain her excitement as we passed through the library doors.  We moved swiftly to the kids section where we looked up the author of the Arthur books, and found the right section.  She excitedly combed through the choice of Arthur books and honed in on one entitled, Arthur's New Puppy.  "Mommy!!! we have a new puppy!  We should read this one!," she said in a whispery voice.  I agreed that it was the perfect book for her and we settled at a little desk to read the story of Arthur and his Puppy, Pal. 

With the book read, she got on with the important business of working on her report.  We discussed the characters as she drew each one on her paper and then the all important task of deciding WHO was the most important character in the book ensued.  She decided on Arthur, since the book was an ARTHUR book.  I asked her if it should be the new puppy, but she was determined on Arthur.  So she circled him and that was that! 

I know you might be wondering why in the world I would wish to chronicle such a boring everyday evening such as this.  But in Maddy's eyes, it was ANYTHING but ordinary.  The shine in her eyes as she browsed the books, the bounce in her step as she walked out of the library with her chosen book cradled in her arms.  These are things I WANT to remember.  She might not always be so excited about school and assignments... who knows.. She might be the nerdiest of nerds like her mom, but she might take another path.  I can look back at this moment in her life and remember a first... that's enough for me.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

10K Training with T.G.

Its the end of September.  Fall is here and the Wicked 10K is right around the corner!!  Team Glitter has started up training and we are working towards our winter running goals.  10K race the end of October, 10 miler in November and a Half Marathon Distance the week before Christmas. 

We are down in numbers since last year, losing Em and Holly to some sweet little baby girls.  We gained Trina and are ALWAYS accepting new TG runners!!  We can't wait to get Emily and Holly back soon as well! 

This week the goal was four miles.  The assignment was 4 miles however we wanted to break it up during the week, and a 4 mile run this afternoon.  The weather wanted to stop us with a steady drizzle of rain, but it didn't stop this group!  It was a good run and ( in my opinion) made us official hard core runners, since not everyone chooses to run in the rain :0)

Some love heels, some love flip flops, but these girls love their Running Shoes!! 

4 miles down, 2.2 more to go!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

This thing called Happiness

The smiling faces that make me happy!
Happiness...  It's an ever changing feeling. I have been thinking about this word alot this week.  What makes my kids happy, what makes my husband happy, what makes my friends and family happy.  Happiness is a state of mind.  You can have it one minute and lose it in an instant.  Time, circumstances, people and places all play a role in this feeling we call happiness.  The birth of a child, the change of a job, the time spent with people we love.  All of these things trigger these feelings. 

As a perpetual people pleaser I tend to over think this very thing.  I rush to cuddle my one year old when he falls flat on the floor from running too fast on his chubby legs.  I LOVE to send money to school with Maddy so she can order her lunch like all the rest of her friends. And yes, I will watch Cars five times a day when my Travis is not feeling well.  I do and feel this way because the happiness of my family is something that I treasure and covet all at the same time.

I have been struggling lately with some things I cannot fix.... It hurts when I can't help.  It hurts when no matter what I do, I can't get a smile.. Some things can only change with time and prayer. Handing it over to God is all that we can do in all situations, a lesson I need to learn.  I was reading and came across this verse today and it totally struck a chord. Ecclesiastes 7:14 says, "When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other."  The other day I was talking to a dear friend and she reminded me that we go through the fire to be refined.  When we come out on the other end of it, the "junk" is burned away and what is left is those things that are pleasing to the Lord.  Instead of being a "people pleaser" I should be working on doing what is pleasing to my God.  What an "aha" moment!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Musings of a Mommy who made Meatloaf for Dinner...

It is the fourteenth of September... payday is tomorrow and dinner consists of what I rummaged out if the freezer and spice cabinet.  I defied my family and made the dreaded .... meatloaf... That's right folks, the lowly ground hamburger meat can be used in many delicious ways, but for some reason when you mix it with egg, breadcrumbs and seasonings and press it in a bread pan it becomes a divisive dinner that can polarize a table in mere seconds. 

I paired it with Maddy's favorite, lemon pepper roasted potato's, and corn steeped with butter.  I even made makeshift dinner rolls for the carb lovers in my family... but the star of the show, tonight's protien is a source of dread for the entire family.  When Brian sent his almost daily text question of, "whats for dinner?" I only got a sad face as a reply to my answer.  When Maddy came home from school with an expectant look on her face and a loaded question in her mouth, her almost immediate groan sounded through the house.

This of course got me to thinking... what is WRONG with meatloaf.  It is hamburger, and egg and breadcrumbs.  In our case I have topped it off with a ton of Barbeque sauce and baked it off until the edges are crisp and the inside is juicy.  So far so good right?  So where does meatloaf go wrong?  Is it the school lunches that we all have suffered through as children?  Is it the fact that there are soooo many other options of yummy things to do with ground meat?  Or maybe... just maybe it is the name... Meatloaf.  Shakespeare once wrote, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet."  Does Shakespeare have it right?? Or, is the combination of "meat" and "loaf" so very off putting that people cannot get past it?

I have said before that my mind works in mysterious ways.  Please excuse this evenings ramblings on dinner at the Rustay house... But I wonder, if meatloaf was called by another name, would it taste any better to the "loaf haters" of the world?
Just some of the "loaf haters" in the Rustay family

Monday, September 12, 2011

Raindrops on Roses....

My birthday is a few days away and my Dad and sister asked me yesterday what I wanted for my family birthday dinner... a Jones family tradition.  This got me thinking... I will be 27 this year... 3 years till I hit 30.  When I was little I envisioned 30 as so old... ancient in fact.  As I steadily barrel towards this very age, it makes me reflect back over my past. 

My brain works in funny ways.. I know this and I will be the first to admit it!  As I found myself looking back, I started comparing the things that made me happy as a little girl to what makes me happy nowadays... I am embarrased to admit it, but in the shower this morning, as I was thinking about my favorites, and Julie Andrews voice starting singing the famous song from The Sound of Music.. "these are a few of my favorite things.." ( I TOLD you my mind works in funny ways...)

Age 7 pictured with my monkey George...
When I was 7, my world was very small..  Friday nights were TGIF on TV and ice cream after dinner.  Sundays were church days, dressing up and rushing to find our bibles, then heading off to Sunday school. During the week we would get off the bus and hurry with our homework so as to play for the longest amount of time with our friends down the street.  My life cycled around  these things.  It was a comfortable cocoon.  Predictable and complete, nothing in life was lacking.  I had the love of my parents and sisters.. ( even if we did fight..)  I had food to eat, clothes to wear and did not have a care in the world.  My list of favorite things back then would include:  the color pink, reading books, catching bugs ( of the lightening and lady bug variety)  playing with my barbies, legos and play doh, and happy meals from McDonald's. 

Age 17.. ready to take on the world!
Fast forwarding 10 years, I was 17.  A senior in high school and feeling like I had conquered the world.  That year was of course an important one to me.. but also to the rest of the world.  On September 11th, 9 days before I turned 17, our country came under attack and thousands lost their lives.  Nothing was the same after that, but I was still in a comfortable cocoon.  I went to school, hung out with my friends and worked part time at a pizza place called Rita's.  The money I made from that job went solely towards my shoe addiction and going out with my friends.  My dad gave Miriam and I a car to drive and a gas card to fill it up when needed.  Life was good.  I had my first boyfriend, and consequentially my first heart break.  I took senior pictures and worked on the school's yearbook staff.  The future was bright.. the world was my oyster.  My favorite things at 17 were:  (still) the color pink, my class ring, going out with friends, driving around for no reason.. just because I could and SHOPPING!

Now here I am.. 10 years after that.  Soon to be 27, I have done MOST of what I expected to do.  Graduated from college, married to an amazing man, and the mother of beautiful children.  We work hard to scratch out a living in this uncertain world and uncertain times.  My comfortable cocoon is no more however, due to the fact that I found out a secret well kept by my parents.  Life is HARD.  Life doesn't always work out the way you want it to, and EVEN if you do everything you can, it isn't always enough.  These were hard truths to digest over the years.  My easy, predictable life is no more.  I have worries and nagging doubts and even lose sleep over the hard knocks that life sends our way.

I was talking to my Dad the other day, bemoaning the fact that we just cannot seem to make it... I was feeling like a failure in fact... and my dear dad just shook his head. " Rachel, you are judging by the wrong standards." he told me.  I needed that reminder.  I needed it badly.  By the world's standards, yes we are struggling... just as so MANY others are.  But by God's standards, what a wealth we truly have!  God is supplying our EVERY need... how could I forget that fact?  God will not judge me at the end of my life for how big of a house we live in, or how much money was in my bank account, but by how I lived my life.  He will look to see the fruit of the spirit that bloomed over the span of time and how I let my light shine to the world.

Brian and I during the first month of our relationship <3
I got sidetracked there.. sorry :)  I DID tell you my mind works in weird ways!  Back to my favorite things!!  I guess it all fits in, because my favorite things now, at 27 are not really the materialistic and shallow things that they were at 7 and 17.  My cocoon might be gone, but the love isn't!! I still have the love of my parents and sisters, but added to that I now have the love of a truly wonderful man, and three beautiful babies!  My favorite things now are:  Spending time with the afore said wonderful man who I am blessed enough to call my husband, hugging and kissing my sweet children, getting together with  my dear friends ( you know who you are!!) ( I do have some frivilous things..)  COFFEE and running are now on the list as well.. lol

I am now looking forward to compiling another list at 37.. :)  I wonder how ten years will change this list- or if it will at all.. I guess I will just have to wait and see!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

School Days......

I cannot believe my Maddy girl is in K5 this year!  She has been looking forward to this day since the end of the school year last May.  She would come up to me all summer and say things like, " Mommy when I'm a big girl that means I will be in K5 right??"

Well.... the day finally arrived!  She was up bright and early ready to wriggle into her new clothes and pushing me to put product in her hair and fasten back the way she likes it with her favorite barrette..  She had carefully assisted me with the packing of her backpack last night and watched happily as I slipped two cookies into her lunchbox.  She pranced back and forth in front of the mirror wearing her backpack and holding her lunchbox.  The girl was READY for school. 

We waited for Grandpa to come over.  He watched the boys while I took her to school for the all important first day.  She eagerly showed Grandpa her new outfit and her bursting back pack.  With these important items taken care of and a picture snapped of the group on the couch... we were OFF.  On the way to school we sang disney songs and talked about the coming day.  We finally made it to school and she was litterally bouncing uncontrollably from the excitement. 

We made our way to Mrs. Warren's classroom, two doors down from her old K4 classroom.  She peered in and we found that we were the first ones there.  We organized all of her school supplies and found her seat.  After numerous hugs and kisses, I pulled myself away and headed back to take care of the boys at home.  I did allow myself one more fleeting glance as I walked out the door.  I couldn't be prouder of my baby girl.  I will treasure that last sneaking glance I saw of my Maddy as I left her to face her first day of Kindergarten... What a moment to remember!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Run Maddy!! Run!!!

My sister, Holly came out to go for a short run with me this morning.  I really need to get my act together because my next race is right around the corner!  While I was getting dressed and waiting for Holly to get out here, Maddy sidled up beside me and with her beautiful big brown eyes working overtime... begged me to let her come with us.  I knew she couldn't handle 2 miles, but I told her after we got back she could go for her first run with me.  Her face lit up and she ran off to get her tennis shoes and socks.

Needless to say, she was waiting at the front door for us to get back.  She rushed us back out the door after we got something to drink and she was off!  I ran beside her the whole time, keeping her at a steady pace.  She wanted to go in a full on sprint, but I held her back telling her she needed to save her energy... Something she has PLENTY of!  We went .25 miles down and headed back towards the house.  She did fantastic.  I was soo proud of her. 

When we were almost home, I challenged her to a race to the drive way.  With a twinkle in her eyes, she shot off ahead of me and I had to actually kick it up to catch up to her.  She reached the driveway and was bouncing up and down in triumph!  She had done it!!  Her new goal is to run her first mile race next year.  I truly think we have a runner in the making!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Visit from Grammy

It's the first day of September... I cannot believe how time is flying!! It will be Tuesday before we know it and Maddy will be back in school and we will be back to a routine.

Grammy decided to come see us today after she finished work!  We always look forward to her visits... they usually involve gifts and treats and ALWAYS involve hugs, kisses and cuddles.  Today is no different.  We made a trip to the store where they got popsicles  and a redbox movie.  Before movie time, we went out on a walk to enjoy the beautiful day... and work up an appetite for the aforesaid popsicles.