Monday, June 13, 2016

I do not want my children to grow up in fear

I have taken the last 2 days to slowly process the events in Orlando. I grew up in Orlando, I lived 2 miles from the site of the shooting for the majority of my childhood. I worked at the hospital, in the very trauma center that many of the victims were brought to. I drove by that night club every time I went to work for seven years. I look at the footage of the scene and it is all very familiar, I lived much of my life in that area. It is all very real because the horror did not happen in some far off land, but in a place full of memories. 

How do I, as a person, but even more, a mother, not live in constant fear of the "what ifs." How do I raise my children to not be ruled by fear. I have been chewing on these thoughts almost the whole time I have been a mom, but even more in the last few days. 

I tend to live in a reality of being blissfully ignorant. Some of this is because, in this season of life, I live in a vortex of mickey mouse clubhouse and sponge bob, but some of it is by choice. I don't care to know all the evils of the world. I don't care to stay current on all of fox news. Some may say this is irresponsible of me, but for me, I feel that (other than praying) I can't do much to change the circumstances, It will do me no good to have all the details of the horrors of this world and I do not want to become hard and calloused into thinking everything is going to hell in a hand basket. We live in a fallen world. What I will do though, is try to raise a generation of world changers. 

My adult life, and the direction I took in it, was hugely impacted by one single event. If I had been ruled by fear the trajectory of my life would have drastically changed. When I was 13 I was dancing…it was a monday night in September. The dance school I attended was held in a church. That night, as we rehearsed a routine, I heard the scream that I have only heard a few times and hope never to hear again. The scream of a mother as her child's life is in eminent danger and close to death. My class immediately stopped and started praying. Suddenly, some people ran in and screamed, "does anyone know CPR?" I had just finished a babysitting course and was certified in CPR. I raised my hand. It was almost supernatural, I don't know if it was because everything was happening so quickly, but I believe it was because the Lord was with me and truly directing my steps. I (and my best friend to date) and one other friend, were dragged to the nursery room. The big brother had accidentally pushed a large playhouse over onto his littler sister. We immediately started CPR. I will never forget that night. I will never forget the 3 year old laying lifeless on the floor. I will never forget the puddle of blood  on the floor growing larger by the minute. I will never forget the sound of bubbles in that sweet babies chest as we performed CPR. I will never forget her little brown curls soaked in her own blood. I will never forget when EMS rushed in and shoved us to the side, we started praying and sobbing as I looked down at my hands and pink ballet tights covered in someone else's blood. I will never forget sitting on the couch later that night and my mom and dad, on either side of me, holding me, as they told me that sweet 3 year old did not make it. This was a defining moment in my life. As I sit here and write this with tears in my eyes it is not lost on me that, though this was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, God used it for good. As I processed that night over and over I remember always coming back to the idea that God called me to be a nurse and i KNEW if could do it because of that horrible night and the grace God gave me (and my friends) to fight for that little girl. I was not ruled by fear, but by hope.

I realize that God gave me the gift (or curse) of compartmentalizing. I can handle situations calmly and quickly and remove the emotions of the situation until a later time. That was a huge reason I was able to be a pediatric nurse for so long. As I process the events of the other night I keep coming back to the idea that we cannot be ruled by fear, but by hope. That one night was instrumental in instilling a feeling in me that fear is a real thing, but it would define me or what I could do. I want my children to grow to be wise, but I do not want them to wake up each day scared to go about their day. I don't want their decisions to be ruled by the fear of possible pain (whatever that looks like). I want them to be brave. This is so hard to say as a mother. I don't want my children to ever be hurt of be put in harms way, but if we are ruled by the fear of the "what ifs" we/they will never make a difference. 

Clay and I are very careful about what we allow our children to be exposed to, but we also don't want them to be so sheltered that they can't be effective to navigate this messy thing called life. We talked with the boys about what happened a few days ago. We told them that a very bad person made a very bad choice and killed and hurt a lot of people. We let them ask questions and sit quietly and ponder. Cooper, who is naturally a worry wart asked, "how do we know people like that won't come and hurt us?" I told him I didn't know, but I told him when we get that tingling feeling of fear or worry in our tummy we need to think, "is what we are doing wise," if the answer is yes, then the next question needs to be, "Is what I am doing worthwhile?" if the answer to that is yes, you do it. I told him to always pray when you feel scared or anxious, but don't let that rule your thought life. God has called us to make a difference and sometimes that is scary, but just because it is scary doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. 

As our family prays for the victims, their families, and the workers that will forever be changed by the events in Orlando, I will also be praying for my children to not live in fear of what could happen in this scary, fallen world, but that they would grow to be mighty, brave world changers that are full of hope and joy for all that God has in store for them. I will pray for you, to not be afraid, but to have hope.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The yes mom.

Whenever I start to think about a blog post I feel like its all a muddled mess in my head. So random and I jump around constantly….this blog post is still kind of muddled. I also feel like I always have to qualify every blog with "I am no expert at this life thing, just me being transparent about how I do this crazy life thing." 

I get asked a lot how I "mother" this zoo. All of my kids are crazy different..all of them, not one alike (that would be much too easy!). I vividly remember growing up thinking that, somehow, I wanted to have obedient and respectful kids, but kids with their own personalities that didn't feel squashed by what I wanted them to be. Then I married Clay….Mr personality. Now I have 5 very passionate, full of personalty humans. I mean, I can't even half the time! Now most of this parenting stuff is flying by the seat of my pants, but some of it is very intentional. The more kids I have the more I CRAVE order and control. I definitely think running a house full of humans requires an element of order, if not I would quickly be on the next episode at hoarders (I cannot lie, when I watch that show I feel like I totally have my act together!). We run a tight ship in this place. We have a schedule and rules and my kids know what is expected of them. With all that said I want to be the yes mom.

The longer I do this life thing the more I realize its not very easy. In my 33 years I've experienced some really hard and painful things, but in the grand scheme of things I live the dream. Even "living the dream" this adulating thing is hard! 

I feel like I have 3 "Megans" living inside me. 
- Pinterest Megan…the one that walks out the door (leaving behind a spotless, perfectly decorated house with a delicious dinner simmering in the crackpot), my kids are dressed perfectly, hair combed, matching shoes AND socks (my kids hate wearing socks…hence the stench that follows them if they wear sneakers), skipping to the car ready for the amazing crafty activities of the day.
- Apathetic Megan (probably the most dominant Megan)…I don't care…as long as all my humans are alive and have bathed in the last week I'm good! Apple squeezers are the fruit of the day and I wave as all the people stare and count. 
- In the middle…I try so hard every day to find the balance of the 2 extreme Megans.

As I try to find this balance I have realized that I want to be the yes mom. This means that Pinterest Megan is going to get squashed. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY I have to try and silence the pinterest Megan….If I want to be the yes mom I'm not going to sweat the small stuff. In our house that means you can pick your haircut. Dear Lord, 2 years of Cooper's signature haircut about did me in! Praise the Lord he decided to cut it today! It means my kids can pick out their clothes (other than Sunday and a few other occasions). I'm pretty sure Jude wore the same 2 pairs of shorts for 3 weeks straight (the pinterest mom may accidentally throw away said nasty clothes after week 3) and a felt red cape. It means BK can have free reign (in her designated areas) to craft however she wants. Good night….you have no idea you are a control freak until you try to do a craft with a kid….it might just kill you! Being a yes mom means, when my kids get money I let them pick what they want, 1 million pieces and all (the pinterest mom in me throws the whole shebang away as soon as so many pieces are missing its not functioning…when said child is not looking and it's stuffed in the bottom of the trash can never to be found again!). It means letting my little people pick what activity or sport they would like to do….even if I know they will probably be terrible at it. It means, letting my children help me cook…OMG, this one makes me hot. Like inside I feel like I'm going to internally combust! 

As I fight these Megans I remind myself that my children will have to adult much too soon. They will hear "no's" for the rest of their lives. I do want them to learn to work through things and problem solve, but honestly, their is a lot of time for that. I want them to be kids. I want them to remember being able to experience lots of things the way they want to. I want them to grow into who God wants them to be gently and happily. So every day, before I say no, I weigh if it really matters. If it makes a mess it makes a mess, it's just a good opportunity to teach them to clean. So, when I'm out and BK is wearing her black, knee high boots with cut off jeans in the dead of summer, just know I cringed, laid out 5 super cute outfits as alternatives and then let her walk out the door….this is why Rose will be dressed to the nines until she won't let me dress her anymore! The pinterest Megan will not be completely squashed!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

They are all mine....

It is no secret we have a lot of kids. I understand that anywhere we go we tend to stand out like a sore thumb. I feel like we have been a spectacle when we only had 2 children (granted, they looked like twins so i guess thats why). Lately though, I feel like a circus side show no matter where we go. Maybe its because we have done a little more "touristy" things this summer or because Rose has developed a delightful screaming habit to get what she wants, Whatever the reason, Im having to fight more and more to keep my mouth shut. If you know me, you know this is not my strong suit. 

Let me start with this. Clay and I have chosen to have a large family. We feel like, though we are FAR from experts at this, we are doing an ok job. We recognize that we are raising small adults. We take this job VERY seriously. We want our children to grow into successful, generous, kind, hard working adults who make a difference in this world. That does not happen without constant training and talking and talking and talking. So, this means we take them out to dinner, or on their first airplane ride, or to Disney, or public or everywhere (I mean, I don't really have much of a choice.) Clay and I have decided that when we go most places where human interaction is required they are not allowed to have screens (don't get me wrong, we have a love/hate relationship with screens. Sometimes they are necessary for survival!). If we are eating out they need to talk to humans, if we are in the store interacting with cashiers I want them to look at them in their eyes and interact, if we are spending time with friends I want them to communicate with friends and not their screen. A child cannot understand how to interact with anyone, especially adults unless they are taught, so that is what we are trying to do. In a previous post I talked about behavior I expect from my kids, so, though they are far from perfect, they are pretty well behaved when we are out and about, and  someone is going nuts, you will probably see me running to the car, because I cant, like I literally sweat ugly sweats, turn red and start laughing (because otherwise i may cry), so we leave!

With that all said, I am used to the stares. It has gotten to the point where people, almost every day, point, count my children out loud, make the most absurd comments (I'll get to that in a minute), make terrible faces (like you would think I have boils on my face or am spreading the bubonic plague through my seed).  I don't even notice half the time anymore, but I did start to think the other day, how would a new mom with young children, who is already feels like she is probably failing at this parenting thing, feel if she was greeted with those horrid looks. She is probably already so stressed about getting on a plane with an infant, those looks will only add to the stress. The couple who can't afford a sitter AND dinner out so they bring their children, only to be greeted with an eye roll when said children make a noise louder than a whisper,  probably doesn't make them feel welcomed or relaxed. Trust me, when I go out without children the last thing I want to hear is another screaming human, but give that poor parent a little grace. I'm pretty sure they aren't enjoying that tantrum any more than you. I hear lots of complaints about children who are only able to behave with a screen and what horrible job my generation is doing with our children because we use screens as a babysitter (probably somewhat true) But, if we choose not to, and they make a sound above a whisper we get a look and feel like a failure. So, grace, just a little goes a long way.

So, as one friend to another, I'm going to give you a few dos and don'ts for when you see a parent with children, maybe a lot, maybe just one having a meltdown. Also, as therapy for me I'm going to list all the comments I've heard with the response I may or may not have said.

First, NEVER, I repeat NEVER tell a parent "they have their hands full." I would like to say "no sh*t sherlock." What do you even say to that (and don't say my heart is fuller….I can't, I just can't) If I had a dollar for every time I heard that I'd be a millionaire. It's like telling someone with a beet red sunburn, "oh my gosh, you are so burnt." No Duh!!!! Don't say it, just don't.

So for this fun game I will be "M" and the commenter will be "C." So here goes….

C - Wow, you do know how that happens right?
M - No, I'm not sure, could you give me and my children a tutorial, with visuals, right here in aisle 8!

C- Are all these kids yours?
M - No, I pick up vagrant children on the street and bring them with me to do fun things like grocery shop.

C- You guys must not have a TV.
M -  We actually do, but while we are on the subject, how is your sex life?

C- Are you catholic?
M - no, what birth control do you use?

C - Oh, so you couldn't get pregnant so you adopted that one and then you had your own.
M - No, my uterus works great, thanks!

C- Are they all from one dad?!?
M - no! I practice brother husbands….kind of like sister wives, but with husbands….

C - You sure are busy!
M - Actually I had all these children so that I can sit on the couch and eat bon bons while they do all the chores.

C - Your done having kids right?
M- No, we are planning on about 15 more.

C- wow, you're like the duggars.
M -actually, I have 5, not 19, you may want to repeat kindergarten and work on that counting!

C- your husband must make a lot of money to pay for all those kids. 
M- I'm totally taking donations if you are offering.

And one of my personal favorites, with my children walking with me…
C- If I had a wife that looked like you I'd make that many babies with you too!!!
M - nothing, I've got nothing.

So, when you see a parent out with children, struggling or not, and you feel compelled to say something maybe say, "you are doing a great job," or maybe, just maybe, my very favorite thing to hear " your children are very well behaved." Holla!!!!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Learning to serve.

Raising littles people ain't no joke. As I've said before their are days when I'm sure I'm failing at this, but that doesn't mean I quit trying. One of the things Clay and I talked about way before we even had kids was how do we make them servants. How do we help them to understand that this world does not revolve around them. For those of you who have kids, the minute they take their first breath their little brains know to do whatever has to be done to get what they want….um, have you ever met a 2 year old!

One of the things I love about having a lot of kids is that, no matter what, you learn to defer to others…like, you have no choice. In our house that means enduring, I mean listening, to Bailey Kate sing, constantly, in a high pitch, monk like chant (because she just sings what she is thinking, not an actual song).Because it makes her happy the boys are learning to "happily" endure the noise. It means letting one brother use the only boogie board we own while you wait patiently and cheer him on. With a lot of humans in the fam we get lots of opportunities each day to "think of others as more important than yourself." Y'all, this is not easy, it's a lot of talking and definitely does NOT come naturally to my selfish humans, but we are making some progress.

Last night we had the opportunity to serve dinner to some friends in St Augustine who don't have homes. Clay and I want to teach our children to work and serve. One GIANT IMPORTANT aspect that we want to teach our children through serving others is that we are no better than anyone else. We are so immensely blessed to have all we have and by the Grace of God there go I. We are no better or different then the friends we serve, we are not better then them because we are serving them. We have been given SO much we do not deserve that we are happy and thrilled to bless and share a meal with others. Now, kids are way cool in that they don't naturally have these thoughts, They do however have NO filters! I definitely had to discuss with them that some of our friends may look different, smell different, speak differently, but you are not to say anything about their appearance (Cooper Nettles!). I have learned to prep for the worst with my children from experience. You know, that time BK asked the server at Steak'n'Shake, whohad a mouth full of gold teeth, if she "got those at my daddy's jewelry store, because they are super beautiful and i need some" Or the time Cooper, in front of his entire class, while giving a presentation, told his teacher she needed to buy a perfect pedi because "she had really dry feet." I mean, really, I can't even prep for the ridiculousness that comes out of my children's mouths!

Ok, so back to last night. My heart was in a mommy melted puddle watching my children. I realized that they were teaching me. They did not bat an eye. They put on their gloves (I mean who doesn't love dr. gloves when you are a kid), asked how they could help and got to work. Bailey Kate was in charge of passing out tortillas, with a bit of her added charm and sparkle, Cooper and Cole were in charge of lettuce and cheese, Jude was in charge of helping me dish out fruit salad. We also went with some other friends (who had 5 kids also….I mean, we had this serving thing on lockdown with all our humans), once we realized our friends couldn't carry all the food, all of our little people would ask, "can I help carry that to your table?'" As I watched my little 4 year old carry these sweet people's food to their table and just chat it up like they were best buds, I was literally a puddle. They did not see a broken person struggling with all that daily life throws at them, he just saw a friend who needed help bringing food to the table who liked to talk about who their favorite super hero is.

We are slowly learning this parenting thing, but I think, if we can continue to point our children outward and to help them RECOGNIZE needs and bless and serve others we will see a generation of world changers. One thing my parents taught me, and I am striving to teach my children, is being kind is great, being generous is awesome, but it's not really a sacrifice unless you are giving something of yourself or of your possessions that you will have to go without. If you can't feel the "loss" it's not much of a sacrifice. It also may mean we may need to get a little uncomfortable or step out of our nice clean bubble. This kind of goes against what it is to be a parent. We don't want our children to feel loss. We try and provide for all of our children's needs, but if we can teach them to be truly sacrificial, imagine the joy they will have in their life. Instead of constantly worrying about what they don't have or what they want or how they can get what their friends have they will live a life helping others find joy which, I think, is the most amazing feeling ever! I am still learning this, because, let's be honest, I really suck at it!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

How the zookeeper keeps the zoo

I've been asked by a few people lately about "How you do it" with 5 kids. So, though I FAR from have this parenting thing down, I figured I'd share a few tips on how I juggle 5 kids in public. 

I think the most valuable thing I have gained being a mom of a lot of kids is to stop caring about what other people think of you. When I only had 2 or 3 kids I was always worried about people watching me and judging my parenting style. Once I had a couple more kids I realized people are going to judge or have their opinions no matter what. We literally get stared at wherever we go, good behavior, psycho behavior, cute baby, no shoe Jude, screeching…i mean singing BK, perfect obedience or tantrum throwing. It doesn't matter, we get stared at and hear all the comments all the time…"do you have a TV," "do you know how that happens," are they all yours," "are you catholic?" You name it, we've heard it! With all that said, we have all learned to laugh and keep walking. Let people think what they will, stop caring and enjoy your people. 

So a few tips for herding the humans in my zoo…

-I read a book a few years ago called "The Power of Positive Parenting." Game changer! One of the most valuable things I read in that book was something along the lines of, children are uncivilized creatures. They don't come out knowing social norms and acceptable behaviors. It's our job to teach them. If we constantly say no, they will know what NOT to do in that situation, but they will not necessarily learn what TO do in a situation. So, if you come hang out with me at any given time, before we get out of the car I will run through what I expect.  It will sound something like this. 
Mom "what kind of behavior do I expect?
kids "Good behavior."
Mom, "Are you going to yell in the store?"
Kids, "no."
Mom, "are you going to run away from me."
kids, "no"
Mom, "are you going to ask for things or whine?"
Kids, "no."
Depending on what we are doing I may add a few.

-Now, this little trick I learned from my momma. If my kids start acting crazy we LEAVE. Like walk away from your cart, gather psycho children and LEAVE the premisis! This may mean dry cereal for dinner or scavenging for leaves in the backyard because you left the toilet paper in the cart, but do it. I have done it once, now my kids know, they get crazy, we leave. One of my favorite things is hearing the older kids tell the younger ones when they start to feel the "urge to surge" "guys, mommy will leave and we won't get anything, don't be naughty!" 

-Now, inevitably someone is going to lose their sh*t at some point. ALWAYS. The key. Keep your cool. Though I may feel like I'm going to internally combust inside I use every shred of will power to keep my cool when my child is trying out for the exorcist in the middle of aisle 8. I try to calmly tell them that they have one opportunity to calm down and obey or we will leave. If they don't comply I pick their flailing, demon possessed self up, tell the other children to follow (to which no one tries anything crazy because they see the fire in my eyes) and we go to the car. Then once said demon child has calmed down, we talk through their psychosis, and whatever pre determined "discipline" was decided before we went into that poor establishment is, we carry out. JUST KEEP CALM. Don't give the judgers anything else to judge.

-Another little trick is sticker charts for the younger 
kiddos. I wrote a blog a while back about this. These work AMAZINGLY! Little ones tend to forget some of the expectations, so if you go through them and they have a goal to work towards it is golden. For some more detailed info on this you can look here.

-Since our little people have been really little we require that they either hold onto the stroller or cart or whatever human cargo carrier we are using. We don't chase kids. It's not a thing. If they run away, we leave. We really have never had much of an issue with this. I don't know if that's because we've done it since they were tiny or what. Our kids have probably figured out we don't chase people. If they want to run off, go…no one is following (stellar parenting for the win!). So now, especially at places like Disney it's not hard to keep tabs on everyone because everyone stays close.

-We also work REALLY hard at teaching our kids to think of others as more important than themselves. So, some people may get stuff sometimes and others don't. We have learned to prep the kids before if we know this scenario may happen, but even if we don't, this is life, you throw a fit, we leave. 

-Lastly, enjoy your little people. They are super cool and pretty fun. I have always parented with the philosophy that I want my children to be obedient and respectful, but I still want them to be kids. That means they are going to be weird and silly and say the most ridiculous things at the most embarrassing times, but thats ok. Enjoy this (I know this is easier said than done!). 

So, because I have put this out there, the next time I see any of you my kids will probably be acting crazy, I will be sweating, someone will be pooping and another will be without shoes, but hey, real life…Just know I'm not judging a one of you in this crazy thing called parenting….may the odds be ever in your favor.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


So, if you walk around with me and the zoo for any period of time you will hear "you have your hands full" or something along those lines. I usually just laugh it off and keep moving. The more I hear the more self control I have to use to not say "thanks for that captain obvious!" 

As annoying as that statement can be I was feeling all the weight of "having my hands full" at the beginning of this school year. I'm not sure if it was adding another little human to the chaos, or just life. I felt myself waking up in the morning not wanting the day to start because all I could see was the unending to do list. I felt like every day was a weird kind of groundhogs day. A million tasks, all very much the same as the day before, but still a heavy weight on my shoulders to check them off the list. With all that I had to accomplish in a day I felt like if I accomplished one thing I was failing at another. I would end my day falling into bed thinking of all the things I missed, messed up, or just completely failed at. I realized I was trudging through my day with a scowl on my face, snapping at my little people to "hurry up," "just focus on your task and finish," or "just do it, I just want to be done." I felt myself with my shoulders hunched in stress and literally viewing the sweetness of my children and time I spend with them as a task. I was viewing this season as a task to check off my list….and then I would feel like an even bigger failure.

I used the Christmas break to reflect on all of this and the ache of failure and stress that was weighing me down. I felt the Lord impress on my heart over and over, "I will equip you for what I have called you." I started to feel my shoulders relax and the pressure and my to do list lessen its weight. Though none of my circumstances changed, none of my tasks lessened, I definitely didn't have less children, I felt a rebirth of sorts. I felt like I had rediscovered the joy in my mundane. This doesn't mean anything got easier per se, it just means I was reminded that in this super short season of life (or any season of life) I have to daily take a breath and remember what is important. I still like order and a clean house, I still have to do school with the kids, and nurse a hungry baby, and exercise so that I can stay healthy and take care of this zoo, I still have to cook dinner, and etc, but I AM ENOUGH! My savior has equipped me for which he has called me. I AM ENOUGH because what I can accomplish in a day is not where my worth is found. My value is not determined by what I can do, but what my Savior has done for me. 

By God's grace I have been able to rest in this season. Oh the joy I have found. The sweet snuggles of my children. Watching my children learn. Making my home a place we all want to be. Their are many days where I start to feel the pressure of the days tasks, but I literally say "I am doing the BEST that I can do," take a deep breath and move on. This probably means when you see me some, or all of us, will look a hot mess, or when we climb out of the car things fall out with us, but hopefully you will also see a big smile on our faces.

I write this as a reminder to myself, so that when I start to feel overwhelmed I will remember to take a breath and CHOOSE joy. I also write this so that you, whoever reads this, whatever stage of life you are in will know that YOU ARE ENOUGH! You are right where the Lord wants you. What will you choose, will you choose to wake up tomorrow with the weight of the day and all you MUST do, going to bed replaying all the ways you have failed? Or, will you wake in the mooring and CHOOSE joy, joy doesn't mean jumping out of bed singing and dancing (BK might do this on the ergs), but it does mean resting in where God has you and remembering that He has equipped you for what He has called you today! Rest in this hope and joy!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Stepping out of my comfort zone.

So, today I did something I swore I would NEVER do...I competed in my first crossfit competition. I cannot lie, it was HARD. Going in my goal was to not come in last....I came in 10th out of 19 (although their was a Hope Solo and Hellen Keller so it was probably out of 17, but who is splitting hairs here!) Apparently the way to get me to do things is to make me swear I never will, and then I will (hence a few half marathons and natural childbirth). As I was mentally preparing myself for this competition and struggling through the feelings of not wanting to look like a complete idiot and completely failing I had to do a little self reflection and self talk.

I HATE trying things if I know I won't be good at it. Having children has been the biggest push for me to analyze my behavior so that if their are things I need to work on, I work on. I want to be a mom that is an example to my kids. I want them to know that if they work hard they can do ANYTHING. They may not be the best at it, but they can be better than they were. I don't want what they "think" they can do to define them. I want them to embrace hard work. I want them to fight to be better at all they do. I can't hold them to that standard if I don't hold myself to that, so today I pulled a FREAKING car and about died doing 3 other WODS. Where did I observe people trying and failing and trying and failing and they still kept siblings.

I'm 1 of 5 kids. What some of you may not know is that 3 of my 5 siblings have some learning struggles. I grew up watching both my brothers and my younger sister struggle at most of the things they attempted. I watched them be made fun of because they were usually last or close to it. I watched them fight to learn and do things that came pretty naturally to me and my youngest sister.  You know what else I watched, I watched them try NO MATTER WHAT! They didn't let their learning struggles define them. They didn't let the scoffers deter them from at least trying. They are AMAZING! They go into each situation holding their head high, trying as hard as they humanly can and then, be proud of what they accomplished, but not only that, they are the most loyal and encouraging humans on the planet. If they are in your corner you will have a cheerleader for life. I want my kids to be just like them. I don't want them to be so prideful (like me) that they don't even try. I want them to set a goal and reach, no matter what! No matter if they are going to come in last....I want them to TRY. I don't want their circumstances to define them, I want them to define their circumstances, just like my siblings do!

Today I competed with my younger brother Adam. The first WOD he had never done a movement at the weight that was required. That didn't stop him....he muscled his way through and finished that WOD like a beast. The second WOD was a movement he could barely lift at 55 pounds that morning. We worked on it together for a while and he had a personal best of 85 pounds 3 times. He pulled a giant truck and pushed through one of the most challenging WODs I've done in a while. He may have came in last, but he is the very BEST in my book. Adam, you are my hero and I had so much fun with you today!
Now I am going to go pass out.