mandyholbert

A glimpse into our family – the good, the bad, and, of course, the funny

It’s All About Perspective May 28, 2014

It was a heck of a day.

I left the house early with the kids this morning because a violent thunderstorm thwarted my plans of grocery shopping yesterday evening, so it had to be done before school since I had nothing to feed them for breakfast or lunch.  And since Max had to bum a grilled cheese off his teacher for lunch yesterday, I felt it was pretty important to send him to school with an adequate meal today.

While I shopped, the kids ate donuts (breakfast – check!).  Then, when we left the store, I packed their lunch boxes while hunched over trunk of the car (lunch – check!).  The school secretary stopped by while I was frantically tearing open boxes and flinging food into their lunchboxes.  “One of those mornings, huh?” she said.  I smiled, wondered why she was at the grocery store at this hour, and wished to myself that I would have brushed my hair instead of leaving it the remnants of yesterday’s braid.

I loaded the kids up and pulled out of the parking lot only to remember that my car was completely out of gas.  I may have squealed the tires as I u-turned into the gas station cursing myself for once again pushing the limit of an empty tank.

Fast forward through dropping the kids at school, going home to unload the groceries, getting ready for work, going to work, going to Tractor Supply on my lunch break to buy dog and goat food, leaving work early to arrive late to Max’s baseball game, the game going into an extra inning, going to eat at 8:00 on a school night, coming home, changing Max’s sheets, putting the kids to bed, doing a load of laundry, cleaning up some random clutter, sitting on the couch crying because I was a nervous wreck all day and took it out on the kids…It was just a long, hard day.

But, a bad day is all about perspective.  I saw that on a Hallmark card this morning at Ingles.  Don’t ask me why I was in the greeting card aisle when I was in such a rush – I guess I’m just a sucker for cards.  Anyway, back to the point – a bad day is all about perspective.

We are healthy and happy.  We have a home full of love.  I have the most wonderful kids and husband.  We are truly blessed.

I actually love my life.  Days like this are not ideal, and I don’t like feeling run ragged and still having three loads of clean laundry piled on the loveseat waiting to be folded.  But, I love my life.

My prayer is that God will help me find joy in my everyday tasks.  I’m not going to become less busy.  The list of things that need to be done is really never going to get shorter.  I need to be able to find joy in these things.  If we grocery shop at 7:00 before school starts, I can make it an adventure for the kids.  If we are driving home at 9:00 on a school night instead of tucking the kids in their beds, I can choose to notice the lightening bugs twinkling in the trees instead of stressing about the late hour.

I can sing with my kids.  We can do chores together.  We can turn mundane tasks into games.  I can be joyful.

I can turn a heck of a day into a heck of a day!  See what I did there?  You know – a heck of a day (bad), into a heck of day (good!).

Dear Lord,

I don’t pray enough.  I take You for granted.  You continually bless me, and I go through life stressed and overwhelmed and wrapped up in the things that I need to get done.  Please forgive me.  Please help me find joy.  Please help me focus on your blessings, your love, and the beauty surrounding me.  Please help me to stop trying to do everything myself.  That only leads to frustration and guilt.  Help me to depend on You – to cast my cares on You – to focus my thoughts and my heart on You.  Please help me to be who You want me to be.  I love You.  Thank you for loving me.

Amen

 

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Our Own Terabithia September 25, 2012

The king made the decision – they would seek refuge for the night high in the trees.  And so the royal family made preparations to camp perched in the branches of a towering poplar.

They climbed into her branches and peered through the leaves into the enchanted forest.  The queen and her two small children settled in for the long, cold night while the king scavenged for firewood with their trusty Boxador.

He returned with a cart full of freshly chopped wood and built a fire high above the forest floor.  The family huddled around the small fire and roasted their dinner, keeping the aroma of sweet meat in the leafy canopy in the growing darkness.

When the stars began peeking through the leaves to get a glimpse of the royal family, the queen prepared pallets upon which they would slumber.  The king stoked the fire and the queen tucked the small boy and girl into their downy blankets.

The poplar embraced the family with her giant limbs while they gave way to sleep.  The ever-attentive dog kept watch for the wild things of the night…

We had a true Terabithian adventure last weekend – we spent the night in the tree house directly under the stars.  It was all Ronnie’s idea, and the kids were understandably thrilled about the plan.

I, on the other hand, wasn’t really what you would call a happy camper.  It was cold and windy and I was miserable.  We only own two sleeping bags, so the kids naturally got those, so Ronnie and I covered up with rather inadequate (for the circumstances) blankets and froze our butts off.  The cool breeze chilled me from every angle – it had the unique advantage of even being able to get us from underneath since we positioned ourselves in a tree.

Ronnie tried so hard to make me comfortable.  He was really sweet.  He moved my cot closer to the fire and told me he’d be fine if I went to the house.  I couldn’t sleep at all.  I swear every time I closed my eyes, the fire went out.  We spent all night trying to keep it going.  All I could think about were Copperheads.  And when I did manage to doze, I dreamed of fighting off the bears that were trying to eat us.

Sometime in the middle of the night, Ronnie and I were lying there, freezing and resigned to the fact that we weren’t going to sleep, and he said to me, “At least you’re being a good sport.”

“I am?” I asked, a little surprised, but proud of myself.

“Not really,” he answered, “but at least you’re doing it.”

And that kind of summed up the night for us.  I wanted morning to come so badly.

Then, to our surprise, we heard Kendra’s sweet little voice.  “The stars in the trees look amazing.  This is so cool.”  I looked over to see her sleepily enthralled by the view above her.

That changed everything.  Even when she needed to walk all the way back to the house to use the bathroom and get more socks, it didn’t bother me.  I didn’t even notice the cold while we walked.  Well, while I walked and she skipped and chattered about how cool it was to walk in the dark and how amazing nature is.

When we got back to the tree house, I zipped her back into her sleeping bag and she went right back to sleep.  I checked on Max.  He was snoozing happily even though he was completely uncovered.  I felt him and he was  somehow warm as can be.  I zipped him back up, too.

I climbed back in my cot.  Even though we had hours left until dawn, we were out of firewood, and it was getting colder and colder, it was somehow not quite as terrible knowing how much fun the kids were having.

I think they’ll remember it forever.  And we will, too.  And I think we all might remember it as the royal family on an enchanted adventure…

 

September 11, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — mandyholbert @ 6:05 am

In honor of back to school, here’s one of my favorite moments from last school year.

mandyholbert

I’m not a fan of profanity, but I am one of those people who rate it.  In the hierarchy of cuss words, there are a few that are totally off-limits.  We don’t say them, so naturally, our kids don’t know them.

The other day when I picked Kendra up from dance, she got in the car and told me rather dramatically, “Mom!  So-and-so called So-and-so the f-word.  That is really bad!  And I don’t even know what the f-word is!”

Hmmm….

“Yeah, that is really bad, Kendra.  She should not have said that.”

“I know!  It’s so bad!”

We continued our ride in silence for a few moments.  And then came the question I hadn’t really considered how I would handle yet: “Mommy…what is the f-word?”

This was one of those moments for which you can never really be prepared.  Do I tell my little seven-year-old what that awful word…

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September 6, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — mandyholbert @ 6:22 am

mandyholbert

This month marks eleven years that Ronnie and I have been married.  Nowadays, that’s quite the accomplishment for a couple our age.  Lots of marriages don’t make it, and many people are on their second or third at this point.

We are still going strong.

I thought I’d share some keys to our successful marriage, since statistically speaking, we’re practically experts in the area.  So, without further ado, here are the Holbert tips to a happy, long-term marriage:

1.  Remember when all your married friends and family gave you that great advice when you were about to tie the knot? – “Never go to bed mad at each other.”  Well, forget that.  Sometimes, all you need to work things out is to get a good night’s rest.  You can always re-evaluate in the morning.  Maybe you’ll still be mad.  Maybe not.  Just sleep when you’re supposed to sleep.  There’s no…

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A Lesson for Kendra September 4, 2012

Filed under: children,family,Kendra,parenting,Uncategorized — mandyholbert @ 6:49 pm
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Kendra has a tendency to be too nice.  I know that sounds like a good problem for a kid to have, but sometimes her sweetness just breaks my heart.

We went camping for Labor Day weekend, and it didn’t take the kids long to make new friends at the campground.  The people right next to us had a son who was five and just started kindergarten and a daughter who was eight and was in third grade.

Besides just the age/grade coincidence, the kids actually had a lot in common.  The little boy carried a book bag full of things like a bow and arrow, handcuffs, and a flashlight – pretty similar to the kinds of things Max usually plays with.  And the girl loved dancing.  That alone is enough to be a pal of Kendra’s.

When it thunder-stormed Saturday night, the kids all came in our camper to watch movies and play out of the weather with all the toys our kids brought.  Kendra showed the other girl her stuffed animal collection while the boys played Matchbox cars.

The little girl really loved a particular stuffed animal of Kendra’s, which happened to also be one of Kendra’s favorites.  The girl begged to have it, and I was so proud that Kendra stuck to her guns and said no because more often than not, Kendra feels pressured and gives other kids whatever they want.

The girl was relentless.  She really begged and pleaded for that toy.

Kendra caved and told her that she could borrow it for the night, but she had to give it back first thing in the morning.  That sounded like a pretty good compromise to me.

But, when morning came, and it was time for us to leave and time for Kendra’s new friend to return the toy, the little girl turned on the puppy dog eyes and begged for it again.  She hugged it and said she would cry if she couldn’t have it.

Kendra was still saying no.  I’ve talked to her so many times about how people will try to take advantage of her and how it’s okay to say no.  I had even told her the night before that I was proud that she didn’t give away her animal because I knew it was one of her favorites and it was special to her.

Somehow, though, that girl ended up with that toy.  She guilted Kendra right into it.  Kendra told her she wanted her to have it to make her happy, and then she climbed in the truck and cried her little eyes out.  It absolutely broke my heart.  She didn’t want to give away her animal – she was just once again being too nice.

Kendra and I had a long talk about it.  I asked her if she thought her new friend would have given one of her favorite toys to Kendra if Kendra wanted it, and she (of course) said no.  We talked about how a real friend wouldn’t demand her to give up something she loved.  We talked about how some people try to manipulate others to get what they want.  We talked about saying no.

It’s not Kendra losing her toy that upset me.  It’s the fact that she was taken advantage of.

That’s why Ronnie and I hunted until we found a store that sold stuffed animals just like those, and we bought her two to replace the one she lost.

I’m so proud of my sweet little girl.

 

What if we just focus on one day at a time… August 29, 2012

Does Max have a little anxiety surrounding this transition from spending his days with Grammy or Grandmom to being in school all day every day?  I think so.  His newest antic is to ask me “what if” questions like these:

What if I say a bad word at school?

What if I’m on a field trip on the bus and I have to go to the bathroom?

I pick my nose sometimes at school.  What if my teacher sees me?

Can I pee behind a tree at the playground?  What if no one can see me?

What if I accidentally act naughty?

What if I don’t sing the songs with the class?

What if I fall asleep during nap time?

What if I don’t see your car when you come pick me up?

What if I have lots of homework?

What if I forget where to go?

What if someone is mean to me?

What if I get in trouble?

What if my teacher makes me work too hard?

Oh, that reminds me.  The biggest problem he has with kindergarten right now is that his teacher makes him work too hard.

I reminded him that he likes hard work.  He works outside with us all the time.

“But that’s sweatin’ hot work.  That’s the kind I like.  My teacher makes me do writing work.  That’s boring.  I want the sweatin’ kind.”

This is going to be an interesting school year!

 

Happy Birthday Kendra July 13, 2012

Filed under: children,family,Kendra,parenting,Uncategorized — mandyholbert @ 5:30 am
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Kendra’s birthday is tomorrow, and it’s a big one – her first milestone birthday.  You know, there’s 21, 18, 16, 13 – the other significant milestone birthdays that mark becoming a teenager and the privileges you gain on your way to adulthood.  But, here in North Carolina, the home of “8 or 80”, turning 8 is a big deal.  Once you hit 8 years old (or 80 pounds, whichever comes first), you are no longer required by law to ride in a booster seat in the car.  And to an almost 8-year-old who has lots of older friends, this is a really big deal.  And weighing in at 57 pounds, Kendra is lucky there’s an age requirement instead of only a weight requirement.

So, Saturday morning when we head out to the car to go out for birthday donuts, Kendra will strap on her seatbelt with her little butt planted on the actual seat of the car.  The view out her window will be much more sky and much less ground, but she will be happy as can be.  A real big kid.  She’s really growing up.  And I’m so proud of the young lady she is becoming.

Beautiful inside and out

Kendra checked out my blog for the first time yesterday, and she asked if she could “follow” me.  I told her that she’d have to wait until she was older and had an email address but that she was welcome to read whenever she wanted.  And since I know that she’ll be reading, I’m going to write her birthday card right here:

Dear Kendra,

I can barely remember what life was like before you came along.  I know Daddy and I were happy, but you have brought us so much joy that it’s impossible to imagine life without you.  You have wisdom and sensitivity way beyond your years.  You are like an old soul in the body of an energetic vibrant little girl.  It amazes me how you can be such a silly kid in one moment and show such genuine empathy in the next.  You never judge anyone.  You accept everyone for who he or she is and you see the good in everyone.  You go out of your way never to hurt anyone, no matter how he or she may have treated you (maybe with the exception of your little brother sometimes!).

I am so proud of you.  You are a friend to everyone you meet.  You are honest, loving, gentle, sensitive, and sweet.  You are artistic and creative – a true little artist.  You are a dancer and an athlete.  You are graceful and strong.  You are intelligent and curious.  You take care of me when I don’t feel well.  And when you put your hand on my shoulder when I’m having a bad day, you don’t even have to say anything because I can feel your love in that tiny little touch.  I don’t know what I would do without my little princess.  Daddy and I are so blessed to be your parents.

I hope you never lose the tender vulnerability that makes you the sweet person that you are.  I respect you.  I want to be more like you.  You can make me smile even when I don’t want to smile.  I cherish the time we spend together.  And you are such a helper!  Working in the kitchen is so much fun when you are in there with me – even if you do crack an occasional egg onto my foot!

Thank you for being you.  Daddy and I love you from the bottom of the ocean to the highest star.  I know we will go through times in life when you will get mad at us or think we’re unfair or unreasonable, so I want you to remember when that happens that we feel a tremendous burden of responsibility to have been blessed with such a precious little girl, and in every decision we make we strive to do what is best and right for you.  We pray for you.  We would do anything in the world for you.

Happy Birthday, Little Girl.

Love,

Mommy