I do not think it's warm enough for this type of activity. The boys wanted to get in the pool yesterday, after dinner. I told them maybe Tuesday. Well...it was 80 degrees. The water was a refreshing 69! They all loved it!
They probably only swam for 20-30 minutes. I was lucky that Adam stayed on the top step. I didn't want to get in. :)
You can be right, or you can be married; take your pick. I can’t remember who told me that, but I do remember that they were only half-joking. The other half, the serious half, is exceedingly important. This is why.
Many therapists aren’t crazy about doing marital therapy. It’s complicated and messy, and it often feels out of control. In the worst case scenario, the therapist has front row seats to a regularly-scheduled prize fight. But I love to do marital therapy. Why? Maybe I enjoy the work because I keep one simple principle in mind: if marriage is going to work, it needs to become a contest to see which spouse is going to lose the most, and it needs to be a race that goes down to the wire.
When it comes to winning and losing, I think there are three kinds of marriages. In the first kind of marriage, both spouses are competing to win, and it’s a duel to the death. Husbands and wives are armed with a vast arsenal, ranging from fists, to words, to silence. These are the marriages that destroy. Spouses destroy each other, and, in the process, they destroy the peace of their children. In fact, the destruction is so complete that research tells us it is better for children to have divorced parents than warring parents. These marriages account for most of the fifty percent of marriages that fail, and then some. The second kind of marriage is ripe with winning and losing, but the roles are set, and the loser is always the same spouse. These are the truly abusive marriages, the ones in which one spouse dominates, the other submits, and in the process, both husband and wife are stripped of their dignity. These are the marriages of addicts and enablers, tyrants and slaves, and they may be the saddest marriages of all. But there is a third kind of marriage. The third kind of marriage is not perfect, not even close. But a decision has been made, and two people have decided to love each other to the limit, and to sacrifice the most important thing of all—themselves. In these marriages, losing becomes a way of life, a competition to see who can listen to, care for, serve, forgive, and accept the other the most. The marriage becomes a competition to see who can change in ways that are most healing to the other, to see who can give of themselves in ways that most increase the dignity and strength of the other. These marriages form people who can be small and humble and merciful and loving and peaceful.
And they are revolutionary, in the purest sense of the word.
Because we live in a culture in which losing is the enemy (except in Chicago, where Cubs fans have made it a way of life). We wake up to news stories about domestic disputes gone wrong. Really wrong. We go to workplaces where everyone is battling for the boss’s favor and the next promotion, or we stay at home where the battle for the Legos is just as fierce. Nightly, we watch the talking heads on the cable news networks, trying to win the battle of ideas, although sometimes they seem quite willing to settle for winning the battle of decibels. We fight to have the best stuff, in the best name brands, and when we finally look at each other at the end of the day, we fight, because we are trained to do nothing else. And, usually, we have been trained well. In the worst of cases, we grew up fighting for our very survival, both physically and emotionally. But even in the best of situations, we found ourselves trying to win the competition for our parents’ attention and approval, for our peers’ acceptance, and for the validating stamp of a world with one message: win. And, so, cultivating a marriage in which losing is the mutual norm becomes a radically counter-cultural act. To sit in the marital therapy room is to foment a rebellion.
What do the rebellious marriages look like? Lately, when my blood is bubbling, when I just know I’ve been misunderstood and neglected, and I’m ready to do just about anything to convince and win what I deserve, I try to remember a phone call we recently received from my son’s second grade teacher. She called us one day after school to tell us there had been an incident in gym class. After a fierce athletic competition, in which the prize was the privilege to leave the gym first, my son’s team had lost. The losers were standing by, grumbling and complaining about second-grade-versions of injustice, as the victors filed past. And that’s when my son started to clap. He clapped for the winners as they passed, with a big dopey grin on his face and a smile stretched from one ear of his heart to the other. His startled gym teacher quickly exhorted the rest of his team to follow suit. So, a bunch of second grade losers staged a rebellion, giving a rousing ovation for their victorious peers, and in doing so, embraced the fullness of what it can mean to be a loser. When I’m seething, I try to remember the heart of a boy, a heart that can lose graciously and reach out in affection to the victors.
In marriage, losing is letting go of the need to fix everything for your partner, listening to their darkest parts with a heart ache rather than a solution. It’s being even more present in the painful moments than in the good times. It’s finding ways to be humble and open, even when everything in you says that you’re right and they are wrong. It’s doing what is right and good for your spouse, even when big things need to be sacrificed, like a job, or a relationship, or an ego. It is forgiveness, quickly and voluntarily. It is eliminating anything from your life, even the things you love, if they are keeping you from attending, caring, and serving. It is seeking peace by accepting the healthy but crazy-making things about your partner because, you remember, those were the things you fell in love with in the first place. It is knowing that your spouse will never fully understand you, will never truly love you unconditionally—because they are a broken creature, too—and loving them to the end anyway.
Maybe marriage, when it’s lived by two losers in a household culture of mutual surrender, is just the training we need to walk through this world—a world that wants to chew you up and spit you out—without the constant fear of getting the short end of the stick. Maybe we need to be formed in such a way that winning loses its glamour, that we can sacrifice the competition in favor of people. Maybe what we need, really, is to become a bunch of losers in a world that is being a torn apart by the competition to win. If we did that, maybe we’d be able to sleep a little easier at night, look our loved ones in the eyes, forgive and forget, and clap for the people around us.
I think that in a marriage of losers, a synergy happens and all of life can explode into a kind of rebellion that is brighter than the sun. The really good rebellions, the ones that last and make the world a better place, they are like that, aren’t they? They heal, they restore. They are big, and they shine like the sun. And, like the sun, their gravitational pull is almost irresistible.
Brian and I have been married for 22 years and Dr. Flanagan is right. It's all about losing. (Sometimes I forget that, I like to win.) I hope we keep losing into the eternities.
Tuesday night we went to see Karlee's play at school. They all did a great job. I was very impressed. Karlee played the main character's best friend. It was a very sad story. The main character dies...
This picture is during the last scene at graduation.
Tonight Karlee has a track meet. I don't want to go. It's cold outside.
I tried to buy cat food the other day but Walmart was out. This morning when they came in and we went to get their food bucket we noticed it was empty. All morning Cali kept meowing at me for food. I put dog food in their bowl but she wasn't fooled. Oscar eats dog food all the time. :)
Shortly after Adam arrived we ran to pick up some food. They are happy to have food. But playing nice will only last till their tummies are full.
Today is Brian's birthday. I'm not sure if it was good or not. He was very busy with work, over scheduled busy. I was hoping to take him out to lunch but work won his time. Tonight the family went out to dinner to celebrate, then had gifts and cake at home.
I hope today, at least tonight, you felt a little special Brian. WE love you!!!
This past week has been busy and lazy. We've been able to sleep in and play hard most of the week.
Monday we stayed home and the boys played with friends. It was a beautiful day for hanging out outside. For FHE we went over to a friends house and helped put together hygiene kids for families in Indiana that was hit by the recent tornadoes. We had 37 kits when we finished. We had the kids put them together. I hope they understood just a little of what we were doing.
Monday night both boys ended up having a sleepover with friends, Brian was out of town on business, so Karlee and I went to the late movie. We saw This Means War. I had seen it already but we both loved it, again.
Tuesday we met friends at the park and had a picnic lunch.
That afternoon we went to the downtown library. A first for Karlee. Carson loves all the dress up. :)
Wednesday the four of us went to Medieval Times. Carson had never been and I think Mason was maybe 4. We ate Dragons Blood Soup (tomato bisque), Dragon Scales (bread), Baby Dragons (roasted chicken), Dragon Ribs (spare ribs), and Dragon Toes (potato wedges), plus an apple turnover. :)
The boys were able to take part in a Knights training.
They were also Knighted!!
Thursday the boys and I went on a bike ride at the park. Mason was able to pass off two more achievements for scouts from our bike ride. Now he's earned an arrow.
Of course we stayed and played for a bit at the park.
Friday we stayed home and played with Adam. Went to the park, fed ducks, and played outside.
Brian and the girls left at 5:15 AM for the temple. So it was just the boys for breakfast. They were a little surprised to have green eggs. They both kept asking if it was the same? Only it was green? Once they tried it they loved it of course. They both ended up adding food coloring to their drinks. Carson had OJ and Mason milk. :)
This evening I made some super yummy cookies that I found of Pinterest. Another success!
They taste a lot like Girl Scout Thin Mints. Super yummy and super rich. If you make them half the ganache recipe. I have plenty left over.
This past week really has been crazy with running kids around. Monday was Karlee's first track meet (documented).
Tuesday was a Fine Arts Open House at Karlee's school. First the band performed, I surprisingly miss my kids not being in band. :( Choir performed, boys then girls. It was the same songs that I heard at Pre-UIL.
Then the theatre preformed only two scenes of their play. We will be able to see the entire play on the 20th. Karlee did a great job.
I agreed to help out on Wednesday after school with Activity Days, so then I had a challenge getting Carson to soccer practice. Luckily a friend offered to go and sit with him during practice. Friends are great! That evening the girls and I went to camp kick off while the boys went with Brian to church.
Thursday I dropped Bailee off for her trip (documented). That evening was Karlee's UIL concert. They received a 1 on their songs and a 1 on sight reading. I wasn't able to attend due to other events. The boys had a Art Fair at their school. Their art projects looked great. I'll get them after spring break then I'll scan them in to share. Also that night, this school often over schedules, was their open house.
The fourth graders had the students share the information. I loved it. Mason had a list of things that he was supposed to share. It was great. He's a smartie!
The Kindergartner's had a nursery. :) These are rice babies. We were asked to send in the weight of rice that they were as newborns. Carson was 9 lbs 3 ozs. Compared to these babies he's kind of a chunk!
He then had a book he wrote to share about himself and his rice baby. He's baby's name it Carson Jr.
He's such a proud Daddy!
Friday was mine and Brian's anniversary. 22 years! Time is sure flying by. When we went through my parents home after Dad's funeral I found some napkins from our wedding reception in Mom's china hutch. Do couples do this anymore?
Saturday we picked up our new furniture for our living room. That room is extremely full now, but I love it. I now need to decide on paint and some new curtains. That afternoon we took the kids to The Lorax. Spring break has started and we need to do some fun things so that was our start. :)
I've heard from Bailee a few times these last few days. She's having a great time of course. We miss her. It's strange not having her around. They have one more day in Paris then off to Barcelona.
I left Bailee at the airport at 9:15 this morning. I've thought of her all day. Luckily we've been able to text off and on. But now, she's on the plane in DC waiting to take off. I won't be able to listen to her silly stories for days. I hope she can remember them all to share later. I will miss her. I'll be watching my email like a hawk hoping she's found a hot spot to send me an email. :)
She's going to have so much fun with her friends. She's been friends with Celeste since she was 9, I think. Then there's Tyler. They have been having lunch at school together, with lots of other friends, since 6th grade. It's always been lots of girls and Tyler. Smart boy!
She'll be gone 8 days. Three nights in Paris. An overnight train to Barcelona. Then two more nights in Barcelona. Don't forget 2 freakin longs days of travel. She's such a lucky girl! I'm totally jealous!
You know, I had a mom tell me that her daughter ran cross country one year so she could have the shoes. I can see myself doing that. I think Karlee's shoes are very cute! When we went to buy them, I almost bought me another pair of running shoes. It was hard to walk away with only a pair for Karlee. :)
Karlee thought about doing track last year instead of spring tennis. She ended up breaking her arm and she did neither. This year she decided to do track with her friend Debra. A week into practice, new shoes, and Debra broke her arm. :(
I'm glad Karlee decided to stay with it. She ran the 100 hurdles today. She really hasn't had very many days to practice because of schedule conflicts.
I think she did great! I'm not sure what she placed. All I know is she didn't hit the hurdles. She didn't come in last. :)
Today was the first game of the spring season. Only Carson is playing this time. I must admit that having only one practice a week is very nice. Carson didn't want to go this morning, mostly because Mason was going to stay home and play with a neighbor friend.
This picture was taken after Carson made 2 goals. He was loving it! He then played goalie and did a great job. I really like his coach. He's had a lot of experience playing and coaching youth camps. I'm sure Carson will learn a lot. We might even request him again.
The rest of the day was spent fertilizing the yard, helping Karlee with a craft for a birthday gift, lunch at Jason's Deli with Brian and Karlee, and buying furniture. Yay!! I've been wanting new furniture for our living room for some time now. We've had that furniture for over 16 years. It's looking sad. We'll go and pick up the new set next Saturday. So this week I'll be relocating some furniture that will no longer fit, the two couches are large, cleaning the carpet, and trying to figure out what to do for paint and new curtains. Buying new furniture causes lots of other changes. Exciting changes. :)
I think I might have over done it. This past week Carson (really me) needed to complete a timeline. The assignment stated to label at least 5 events and to include as many pictures as possible. Well...I think we met the criteria. I still had a handful of pictures I didn't use. It was difficult to decide which one not to add. He's just soo dang cute.
On another note. I used my cricut to cut out the letters for his name, plus the thought bubbles. :)