So if you follow me on insta (if you don't you should! I post tons of cute pics all the time :) ), you know that I took down Suburban Strut. It was not an easy decision and it was one I thought about for a long time. I am not trying to make the blog sound like it was some big deal or really important, it was just an extension of me and a fun hobby of mine. But, I had to make that decision yesterday and honestly, I feel better.
Things have really started changing for us. We have entered a new season of life. When I say we, I mean, our little family of 5. All of us. My kids are all growing up. My last baby will be 4 next month. This will be the first time for us to have a 4 year old and not a baby as well. My oldest baby will be 10 in a couple months and my little boy is about to turn 7. 10, 7, and 4 are such big numbers, right?! That right there is almost too much for this mama heart to handle.
As the kids get older, we have found that we have a new normal. We have entered the next season of life. We no longer have diapers, cribs, and sippy cups. We have backpacks, dance shoes, football/baseball gear, and homework. We no longer have time outs, we have "groundings". Well, B does not really get grounded, but she does not spend much time in time out either :). This new season of life revolves around our kids - not that our kids were not the most important before, but it is has reached a whole other level now.
Shane and I are already busy busy with both of us working full time and that work load all that time. We both love our jobs and feel that the Lord blessed us with our careers so that we can be successful and at the same time be there for our kids. Both of us have worked for different companies and at different levels and our current roles have proved be the best possible scenarios for our lives right now... and for a very long time. We both knew that as the kids get older that we would need to not only be able to monetarily support their expensive activities, but most of all be there for their activities...or the money was never worth it to begin with.
Last year, Claire asked us to let her audition for a solo on her company team. Shane and I discussed it and we felt that she was not ready. She had a tough year with school, was not keeping her room clean and overall her attitude when she was exhausted from school and dance did not prove to us that she was ready for the extra hours. We told her this and explained that if she could change our minds this year, we would consider letting her next year. Well she was pissed as you could imagine and told us she would prove that she could do it! Fast forward to a year later and Claire stuck to her word. Bless that child and her determination! She did so well in school this year, took on many household chores, and mastered many dance techniques/leaps/turns etc. that she listed for herself at the beginning of the year. She gave us no choice but to let her audition for more this year. The other part of letting her do this, was a huge commitment from me and Shane. Doing more at dance means: more rehearsals at the studio, more time away from home during competition season, missing some school then, and of course more dollar bills. Honestly, Shane and I spent many weeks going over it and trying to make the best decision for Claire and figuring out how much time we could dedicate to it. Letting her audition for a solo was us dedicating our free time to letting our daughter do what she loves and letting her talents be showcased. We are so proud that she auditioned and was given her very first solo for the 2014 competition season! When I say proud, I mean I bawled like a baby and could not be prouder of her! She will be spending at least 5-6 hours a week at the studio this year - plus weekend rehearsals.
So, my normal - a full time working, dance mom....and Shane is a dance daddy :)
Owen played Tball for his third year this year and he really loved it for the first time. He loved it before, he just had no earthly idea what he was doing :). When we were not at the dance studio preparing for nationals, or at nationals this summer, we were at the ball field. I learned that I could get used to being a baseball mom. This week, Owen started his very first year of football. He is playing in a fundraiser league that has 3 practices a week for two weeks and then a weekend tournament. Tonight is his third practice this week and we have all gone as a family to each one. He LOVES it!! I know he loves wearing gear, a mouthpiece, tackling and running around with other boys the most, but I know that he LOVES that we are all there supporting something for JUST HIM! It has been really fun watching him and I was made to be a football mom, I think :). Because his daddy he is loving it so much, Shane is signing him up for a Fall Football league that will start mid August, right before school. He will be practicing two days a week in the evenings with games on Saturdays. Then after football is over, Spring baseball will begin.
So, that means I have a boy in practice and games all week and Claire in dance all week...oh and that J O B I have....my normal - a full time working, dance and football (or baseball) mom...and you can figure out Shane :).
Now, this is all on top of that really important thing called SCHOOL! Owen is starting first grade and Claire will be in 4th! Both are very important, hard grades. And let's not forget our most important priority- teaching them the Bible, being at church as much as possible and growing their relationships with Christ. If we fail at that, the rest will fall apart and never work.
So you can see where I am going with this - this new season of life revolves around our kids and honestly, we are good with it. We realize that date nights or much time alone, nights with our friends, or time for ourselves period is going to be far and few between. We are going to have to really value our quiet time at night when the kids are in bed more. We have had to swear to each other that we will support each other as much as possible and make time when we can to get away and find ourselves. With this new season, we have had to give up many things. One being my other blog, it was just not something I felt I could dedicate any extra time. I am also not able to spend as much time with girlfriends. I will never give up my girls' nights entirely, but I just don't have the time anymore to do them consistently. Plus, they mean so much more to me now that I don't get to do it as often! What Shane and I have learned that when we do have a free moment, we just want to be home, comfy with the kids, and just chilling out. Or out to dinner with each other alone to catch up.
Now I have not forgotten about Bree. She is such a trooper. She just goes from one event to another and loves it!! She loves to watch her sister dance and she loves to watch Owen play ball. She has her own little schedule too that involves one hour a week of dance and she counts down the days! We have decided to wait one more year on preschool for her. She is on the age teeter totter where we could wait one more year so we decided that would be best for all of us. Plus, she really wanted to stay home with Nonna and Olivia Mae this winter :). The Lord blessed us with a little resilient, go with the flow baby girl that just loves to be with her crew all the time :).
I know this can sound like too much and to some, pretty bad. But here is the deal: My kids are not always going to need me. I am only going to have a 10, 7, and 4 year old once. I am not going to miss this time, these moments. Nothing is worth not being there for my kids. The Lord entrusted these babies with me and their daddy. We are going to raise them to be responsible Christian adults the best way we can. We are teaching them how to win, how to lose gracefully, how to handle disappointment, time management, self confidence, how to be a team player, and most of all to thank the Lord for their many blessings and achievements, as well as ask for His support during the harder times and disappointment. We have been blessed with the ability to let our kids excel at the activities they love and we know the Lord wants us to take it and run with it. I am not giving up any of "me" - this is just the new "me" that I prayed for many years to have . If that means, being Claire's mom or Owen's mom or soon Bree's mom to most, that is okay with me. I will have many, many years to be just Rachel. Then I will have some awesome memories to tell my grandbabies all about one day.
Born Nov. 28th, 2003, Current Obsessions: Singing, Dancing, Gymnastics, losing teeth, dressing too old, and the BEACH! Dislikes: Vegetables, Bedtime, her brother in her room, and being told No.
Born Aug. 14th, 2006, Current Obsessions: Football, Baseball, Golf, wrestling with Daddy, tormenting his sisters, hot dogs, the Wii, playing outside, and his uncle Jace! Dislikes: Bedtime, Mexican food, showers, the dark, and anything pink or purple!
Born Aug. 21st, 2009, Current Obsessions: Playing outside, dancing, popsicles, dancing, swinging, shoes, dogs, shiny lip gloss, and edamame! Dislikes: Sleeping in her own bed, being told no, baths, naps, and riding in a car seat.