Category Archives: Family

Thankful. And a plea.

I’m finally sitting down tonight with a bowl of ice cream and a beautiful cupcake delivered to my doorstep by dear friends this morning. It’s time for me to exhale and to process today and ice cream and chocolate cupcakes help me do that.

If you follow me on social media, you know that our oldest daughter Alaina, who turns 13 in just two days, was hit by a car while riding her bike to school this morning. She is okay. Banged up and scraped up with a black eye and really sore. But ALIVE. By the grace of God, she’s ALIVE and not seriously injured.Alaina ER

Ever since 7:43 am my mind has been racing with “what could have happened.” Getting a call that your daughter has been hit by a car makes for a daunting 6 block drive to the accident scene. Pulling up to see police cars and an ambulance is even more daunting. Seeing your daughter sitting on the sidewalk, beaten up, but ALIVE, is a breathtaking thing.

I don’t need to list the things that could have happened to Alaina that rolled through my mind today. You know them all. She had been wearing a helmet and following traffic signals as she should have been. But a driver, who was going to be late for work, was more concerned about making up time than fully obeying traffic laws and turned right on a red light without stopping, right into her at a busy intersection.

All he had to do was come to a complete stop at the light. It was red. All he had to do was stop as he is supposed to do by law and he wouldn’t have hit her. He was late, misinterpreted the situation and blew threw the light. His mistake could have taken my daughter’s life.

We’ve all been there. Running late to work or school or dinner and we quickly scan the traffic and make snappy decisions. The problem is that often our scanning of a situation is incorrect. We don’t see that person out of the corner of our eye. Or the car who has the right of way pulling out in front of us. OR THE CHILD ON THE BIKE RIDING TO SCHOOL.

My plea to you is to SLOW. DOWN. Please please please. I promise you that being 3 minutes late to work is better than being an hour late to work, being in trouble with the law and replaying the memory of you hitting a child with your car over and over in your head and having no idea if that child is okay.

Even if you don’t think you’re near a school, kids walk and ride bikes to school from a mile away each and every single day. Every single intersection is an intersection that a child might be going through on the way to school.

To the gentleman who hit Alaina this morning: we know you didn’t do it on purpose and we forgive you. It has placed a fear in our home that we won’t soon be rid of and a pit in my stomach that I won’t likely stop feeling for a long time.

And to the gentleman who was behind the driver who hit Alaina: thank you for stopping and being a witness and telling the police what happened. And for trying to be helpful to the kids who were riding with Alaina.

And to all of our family and friends who have come over, texted, emailed, responded over social media and to our school and school family, who showed up on the scene and texted me all morning – we feel so so loved and cared for and supported in ways that have far exceeded our expectations. We love you all. And couldn’t have made it through today as amazingly as we have without your support.

And God is good, friends. He protected Alaina and for that I am thankful.

We’re moving north!!

If you know me at all, you know that for the last 3+ years I’ve been searching for our next home. Not just a house even, but really trying to figure out where we belong in this city we call home. Where we feel God is calling us to live and love.

Many houses have come and gone. Really amazing houses and neighborhoods where I imagined us living and growing. Contracts signed and everything. And then something would happen and the contract would fall through. None of those houses worked. Some of those houses even came around for second tries and didn’t work again.

I was getting frustrated. Feeling like we wanted something cheaper (we bought this house when we only had Alaina and maybe would have one more… hahahaha…) and something that fit our (bigger than planned 10 years ago) family better but nothing panning out. I prayed and prayed and felt led every time and every time questioned what the heck was “THE” plan if this wasn’t it.

Well my friends, I now know. We’re buying a new house, closing in just 11 short days (fingers crossed) and I can’t wait to share the journey with you! Here’s a picture of the house we’ll make our new home.New House BEFORE

Want to know where it is?

Right next door. To the north of our adjacent lot. 🙂

It’s perfect. We get to stay in our neighborhood that we love and we get to keep our yard that we love by swapping the fence to the other side of the yard.

I’ll share more about the details of the house and our plans shortly, but I wanted to give you a quick insight into one reason why I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

And now I’m off to bed so that I can spend tomorrow at the State Fair. It’s the most wonderful time of year…

I am a free-range parent.

We live on the north side of downtown Indy. There are builders selling $600k+ homes on my block. There are thriving schools in my neighborhood. A street scene bursting with trendy, small, local eateries and businesses.Pretty neighborhood

There is also a Pathway to Recovery house in our neighborhood. There are strangers walking the sidewalks all day and all night. Sometimes they even knock on our door at night or rummage through our trash cans for things that aren’t trash to them. I have called the police to report expected drug sales in one of the apartments in the house north of ours. I have heard gunshots more times than I can count in the almost 10 years we’ve lived in this house.

We chose to live here because it’s diverse. It’s urban. It’s close to work and school and friends and fun. And sometimes it’s uncomfortable. That’s a good thing.

We let our kids walk to the park. Without us.

We let them ride their bikes around the block. Without us.

We let them play in the backyard for hours. Without us.

We let them ride their bikes to school. Past a run-down Dollar General, an even more run-down Family Dollar and don’t forget the corner liquor store. Crossing three busy streets besides the five normal city streets on the way.

And let me tell you, if someone EVER calls CPS reporting my children doing any of those things, I will fight back with everything I have. I’m warning you now. BRING. IT.

Let me repeat that we CHOSE to live in the city. Where it’s diverse and different and not perfect. And since we’ve made this choice, we’re also raising our kids with street smarts that most children significantly lack these days. I’m not talking inner-city, ghetto street smarts. I’m talking the street smarts we all grew up with that used to be NORMAL. No one called our parents “free range” back then.

Remember when we played outside till it was dark? Alone? Our parents didn’t even really know where we were, just that we were in the neighborhood (because that was our boundary area) and we’d be back by the time the street lights came on. We made friends with the kids riding their bikes through our streets and could tell if they were “good kids” or “bad kids” all on our own. No one was calling CPS on any of us for being out alone.

I can’t wait to see the young ladies and gentlemen that my kids become! Because they are being raised as independent kids who understand living in a diverse area and are learning how to have fun without me (GASP!) and be smart about and kind to the people in our ‘hood (GASP!) and get dirty in the dirt (GASP!)Dirty and climb to the top of the playset and go down the big-kid slide before they’re two (GASP!) Top of the slideand they can get dressed by themselves and put on their own shoes and can actually carry on a REAL! LIFE! CONVERSATION! with an adult!

My kids don’t need me (or for that matter, want me) to hold their hands all the time. They have a kind of independence that makes them feel confident in who they are and where we live. We aren’t dumb – we know there are dangers in our community, just like there are in yours. (Can you even believe that a teen was stabbed in Fishers?! And you thought that only happened in the hood right by mine, didn’t you? 😉 ) That’s why we teach our kids to stay together and to know the signs of things that aren’t safe.

But tonight, my 8 year-old chose to hold my hand walking into Walmart. She knows what to be scared of.

Plus, who has the energy to be a helicopter parent anyways? Phew. I’m tired enough letting my kids do everything on their own…

 

 

(a different kind of) porch party

Oh boy, here it comes…

I’m angry. Like really angry. Like really, really angry.

I’m involved in a conversation online that I should never have entered. I take that back. I’ve been steaming about it for awhile now and I finally said a tiny bit of my opinion and it’s spiraling and I’m starting to shake.

Here’s the final straw that made me enter the conversation about this ongoing issue I’ve been seeing consistently in our neighborhood online group recently:tipping point

I know there have been quite a few break-ins throughout our neighborhood. (We were one, remember?) I know that crime is crazy in Indianapolis right now. I read it. I see it. I feel it. I feel a pull at my heart that the people in my city don’t value life right now. That they don’t respect others in (and out of) their community. I feel it hard.

I understand being on edge. I understand feeling hypersensitive. Shoot, I called 911 Saturday night because we thought someone was breaking into our house when it turned out to actually be a huge raccoon scaling up the downspout to our 2nd story. (For what, we have NO idea.)

But let me tell you this. If you, FOR ONE INSTANT, think that profiling the people that look different than you isn’t just as harmful to our city, you are VERY, VERY WRONG. (If I could bold that more I totally would.)

Be alert. Watch out for your neighbors. But calling the cops about a “black man walking down the alley looking through trash cans” and posting about it to the ‘hood is going to far. It’s not illegal, first of all. And you’re throwing it away, so who cares?! I mean, obviously you, but COME ON.

And you keep seeing “homeless people” walking around the ‘hood? You must have good conversations with them if you find out they’re homeless. Oh, you don’t actually KNOW they’re homeless, you just think they LOOK homeless?

And freaking out because a pick-up truck is just sitting in the alley in the middle of the day and there’s no driver in it and now you feel scared and want people to make sure all their doors are locked? Hmmm…

If you moved to the north side of downtown because you thought it was all cool and hip and wealthy and white and perfect, you should have done some more research. It *is* cool and hip (and often wealthy and white) but it’s also extremely diverse and different and totally UNPERFECT. Which is exactly why we’re here. Don’t ruin it for us by freaking out every time someone walks on your public sidewalk.

So I’m checking out of this neighborhood online group. And I’m just going to talk to people at the park. And on walks. And while I weed my front flower beds. porch party

Oh, and on my porch. Where I’ll sit and drink if I want. And because I look like you, will never have the cops called on me. It’s way more fun than reading people freak the freak out over people who look different than they do.

 

I had intended to write this beautiful post about community and the city-wide porch party that took place on Sunday, but this is what came out instead. Oops…

a safe place

Sunday evening, at 5:45, Adam called me out to the side yard. He says “Come look at this.” Oh no. Instantly I was nervous. The last time he said that to me the ceiling in our living room was falling down. Remember that?

He points up, to our bedroom window. Slowly I lifted my eyes and they settled on this.Bird nest

Oh THANK GOD, it’s only a bird. Then this happened: Oooh! Oooh! Let’s all go see the birdy!

IMG_6933 (1280x960)

Adam’s instant plan was to just push the bird off and knock the nest down. But she wouldn’t budge. He pushed through the air conditioner panels and she just turned and looked at him. She had no plan on moving. Immediately I knew there was a reason. She must have a baby in there.

So I started stalking her. Checking every time I thought about it. Fully expecting her to fly away at some point so I could peak in her nest to confirm my baby intuition. But she hasn’t moved. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. that I’ve checked (which I won’t tell you the number because it would be embarrassing) she’s been sitting there.

But then I saw it. A little head poked out from under mama and then snuggled back under her. See it? See it’s little beak sticking out? “Mama” as I call her now, just wanted a safe place for her baby.
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As do I, Mama. This we have in common.

This afternoon, while Alaina was babysitting Isaac and Cami (Lucas was at a friend’s), I get a frantic call from Alaina telling me she thinks someone’s in the house. She’s locked the three of them up in her room and is telling me that the (enclosed) porch screen window frame has been bent up and inside the porch and that right before she heard that happen, she heard footsteps outside.

Luckily I was less than a mile away, so I drove home, praying, keeping her on the phone with me, calmly telling her “I’m sure it’s nothing. I’m sure it was just the wind moving the window.” And she kept telling me “No. No. I saw the window, It’s not from the wind.”

And she was right. Someone had definitely tried breaking in.

So after having Alaina open her window so I could see and hear her, I called 911. Several minutes later (SEVERAL, LIKE WAY TOO MANY) a police car (leisurely, without sirens) rolls up. He goes into the house first, walking the first floor, yelling police things, then tells me to have the kids come downstairs and then he’d walk the second story once they were out.

All was fine. No one in the house. Nothing out of order. Nothing stolen off the porch even. (We’re pretty certain he/she was going after our bikes on the porch.) My guess is that the jerk could see someone in the house once he/she started in the window and then took off. But not without first scaring the crap out of my kids. And me.

See, Mama’s got it right. She’s not moving, even though she’s got to feel threatened by me being inches away from her and her baby (WAY too often). She’s standing firm. I’m positive that she knows that there’s a threat of danger EVERYWHERE. Anywhere she built that nest or flew that baby would have a possibility of something bad happening. So she stays put.

As will we. Just as we’ve said before, we’ll say it again. We’re staying put. We’ll move our bikes and shut our windows of course, but we’ll be visible. We’ll still have porch parties. We’ll play outside just as we did yesterday and we’ll help our ‘hood by staying committed.

 

The girls are good. We’ve talked a lot about what happened today. They feel okay about what happened. They think it’s pretty funny that Alaina almost had to poop in a trashcan in her room because I wouldn’t let them leave until the police arrived. But we’ll take your prayers for continued mental well-being. 🙂

the truth shall set you free

As you know, Mother’s Day was a bit rough for me. And I’m not gonna lie – the following day seemed just as difficult – but for one primary reason. Alaina.

One of the hardest parts for me to get past was that Alaina hadn’t told me Happy Mother’s Day. And I was holding onto that big time. Adam asked me if I had spoken to her about it – told her how it made me feel. The answer was a solid NO. I knew her response would be “Oh. I didn’t mean to not say it.” But Adam pushed back and after another day of thinking about it, I decided to share with her how it made me feel.

I simply told her that it hurt my feelings. And she responded exactly as I knew she would. And then she apologized and I could see it was sincere. I explained to her that she wasn’t in trouble, that I didn’t want to make her feel bad. I just wanted to her to understand how it made me feel – the only way I knew how to do that was to compare it to her birthday. And when i asked her how she would feel if I didn’t tell her “Happy Birthday” and just treated the day like every other, I could instantly see a change in her understanding.mom & daughter

And suddenly I felt like our relationship changed. Maybe change isn’t the right word. Turned a corner. Yes, that’s more like it. Our relationship turned a corner. Where now it wasn’t just a one-way street. That she understood that our relationship was indeed just that. A relationship. Two people. Interacting with each other. Impacting each other. Caring for each other.

I feel a sense of freedom. To be a bit more myself with her maybe. To let her see who I am besides just her mom. And it feels good. I encourage you to try it. To be a bit vulnerable with your tween. It was super scary. I’m not gonna lie. But I’m going to stick with it because I think it will lead to more corners to be turned.

Lies, comparisons and Mother’s Day

I’m not gonna lie – today has been hard. For some reason this Mother’s Day just didn’t feel right.

My oldest never once told me “Happy Mother’s Day.”

I was up at 6:15am with a feverish baby, so no sleeping in and no breakfast in bed. Alaina said to me about 8:15am: “We would have made you breakfast if you would have slept in longer.” Um, thanks.

Because of feverish baby, just the girls and I went to church (which was actually really wonderful, one of the highs of my day). We didn’t go out to dinner, but ordered Chinese take-out for me and Alaina and Adam got him and the other two burgers & fries. Not quite the Mexican and margarita I had been craving and looking forward to all week.

And so tonight I decided to run to McD’s for a hot fudge sundae and as I ordered, the intercom guy told me the ice cream machine wasn’t working. So I settled for a Frosty from Wendy’s, which is not what I wanted, but is helping a bit.

Here’s the thing: it’s not just the list above that made today hard. It’s the comparison I made to how the kids treat Adam.

I know, don’t go there, but already gone…

EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. the kids run to Adam when he walks in the door from work, fighting for who will get the first hug, screaming “Daddy’s home! Daddy’s home!” EVERY. SINGLE. FATHER’S DAY. they are planning on what they want to do for him for weeks in advance. Wanting to make cards and bouncing idea after idea off me of what we could get for him. They tell him “Happy Father’s Day” several times during the day.

I can’t remember when someone ran to me when I walked in the door for any other reason than to ask me if they could have a snack or have screen time. (Okay, so Isaac is always happy to see me, but he doesn’t really count in this.) And I didn’t get a single handmade card other than the ones daycare made my boys make for me.

Maybe this only happens at my house. Maybe I’m the only one making the comparison and feeling let down and saddened by it.

But I doubt it. I bet I’m not the only one feeling this way tonight.

So here’s what I really want to share. The most important part of this entire post. READ ONLY THIS IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE: Don’t find your worth in your kids. Find it in who God made you to be, in His image, in His love, perfectly YOU. Because you will always be disappointed if you find your worth in anything else. Your kids will fail you. Your spouse will fail you. Your parents will fail you. Your friends will fail you. YOU will fail you.

Praying that I would learn to find my worth in Jesus and not in people or things is the only thing that saved me today. I prayed it over and over. Over and over I kept going back to wondering if Alaina would wish me “Happy Mother’s Day” and over and over I had to keep reminding myself that my worth comes from the Lord. The maker of heaven and earth.

Don’t believe the lies you hear in your head. The comparisons you draw. Let me speak truth to you before I finish: You are loved by a divine and perfect father who loves you for every ounce of who you are. 

Find your worth in *that* alone. He will not fail you. Not once.

 

(I didn’t write this as a woe-is-me type of post. Please don’t take it that way. I just needed to be honest about today and know I’m not the only one who probably felt this way today.)