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I put my oxygen mask on first, finally.

“Secure your oxygen mask before assisting someone else.”

If you have ever flown on an airplane that is what you are instructed to do if there is a loss of cabin pressure. Funny line from a recent flight – the flight attendant said, “After securing your mask, if you have more than one child to assist, pick the one with the most potential.” 🙂

As mothers, we sometimes forget that our physical and mental well-being are just as important as those we care for.  God’s design for women is to have a natural tendency to care for and nurture. We must remember that for us to properly care for others, we need to take care of our own well-being. We should embrace our roles as women and mothers, but also know when to speak up and express our needs.

Earlier in the year, I recognized that I needed a little break from the monotonous world of being a stay-at-home mom. I also knew a good friend of mine, (Tara) could use the same. Tara had recently moved from Wichita to Orlando and had no family or close friends there to be her village as she raises 4 super cute kids.   We figured out a weekend that would work for a mom’s weekend getaway on the beach about 2 hours from where Tara lives.

The weekend that fit our schedules happened to be Mother’s Day weekend. Part of me felt a little guilty about being away for Mother’s Day, but the rest of me realized that being away on Mother’s Day meant I was truly free of my mom duties. Let’s be real, rarely do moms get to fully relax and enjoy Mother’s Day. We spend the weekend squeezing in multiple events to celebrate all the moms in our lives.  It’s just how it is and our nurturing nature wouldn’t have it any other way.

There are many reasons why I think mommies need to have a strong network of girlfriends and to make time for each other:

  • Moms need downtime. Sometimes it’s just going to a hair appointment by yourself, grabbing coffee with a friend or daddy taking the kids on a Saturday morning so you can sleep in and get ready without an audience while you shower.
  • Investing in relationships.  If we do our jobs as mom right, our kids will eventually move out and be self-supporting adults. When that day comes we are left with our spouse and our friends. The time you invest in your marriage and friendships now will determine your happiness in your life down the road. Positive, healthy bonds we develop with our spouses and girlfriends will last a lifetime.
  • It’s good for our kids.  Our kids need to separate from us. My kids have always done well being left with grandparents if we are both gone and they are fine if Dustin is gone, but I had not been away by myself for 4 years. It was really hard for Nina (my 8 year-old). She cried the night before I left and she cried at school the days I was gone. Never mind that 3 days before I left she said her life would be better without her parents. Oh, the hormones!
  • Allows dads to be dads.  Dads need to play a strong role in parenting. It was great for Dustin to handle things without me.   He always does a great job. They had a loose schedule of events and some food in the fridge. Tara’s husband gracefully managed to get 3 kids to soccer pictures and games by 8 a.m. Saturday morning. They went Mother’s Day gift shopping and he took all 4 kids out to eat a couple of times.  Let’s be honest, dads are more fun.  They let the kids eat just about whatever they want. They look past the clutter and mess and just create, build and live in the moment with the kids. Moms have a harder time letting loose with the list of ‘to dos’ that is constantly running through our minds.

So, what did Tara and I do during our weekend? A lot. We did anything we wanted to do and did it at our leisure without interruption. It. Was. Amazing! We were at the beach for less than 48 hours and here is all we accomplished:

  • Souvenir shopping. We had to grab a few things for the kiddos back home.
  • Ate yummy seafood
  • Watched beautiful sunsets
  • Soaked in the hot tub
  • Slept in until 9 a.m. TWO days in a row!
  • Sipped yummy coffee.  Get this…while it was still hot!
  • Ate a yummy salad for lunch ON THE BEACH!
  • Lounged on the beach all afternoon only getting up when we needed to use the restroom. We didn’t have to assist anyone else with potty breaks!
  • Enjoyed frosty beverages on the beach and they were FREE!  It’s like the hotel was paying us to be there!
  • Collected seashells
  • Watched HGTV while eating cheesecake in bed
  • Drank mimosas in hammocks
  • Ate a fantastic French Mother’s Day breakfast

If you need proof that this was an amazing trip, just look at these pictures!  We stayed at the Sheraton Sand Keys in Clearwater, FL – beautiful location and lots of activities.  Tagging along with us were two small puppies – Daisy and Pickles.  They had a blast and sent pictures of their adventures back to our kids.

Florida may 2016-2

Florida May 2016-3

Florida may 2016
Florida May 2016-4

Another thing we did was just talk.  We talked about everything under the sun without interruption! It. Was. Amazing. We covered all kinds of topics like:

  • Our kids. It was hard to not talk about them, even if we tried not to.
  • Decorating – paint colors, furniture, etc.
  • Parenting struggles – covered them all
  • ‘Snagging’ – the constant nagging our kids do for snacks! When will it end?
  • Tape – really kids, how do you go through so much Scotch tape?
  • Balancing working from home and being a stay-at-home mom
  • The dishwasher! How we loath the dishes. Every penny we spent on this trip was worth it just to get away from dishes!
  • Dreams of future kid-free vacations
  • Laundry – the never ending piles and wondering if our husbands did any while we were gone. Yes, they did!
  • Our messy vehicles and how our kids could live off the crumbs they leave behind in their seats
  • Friendship and its importance.
  • How great it was that we planned this trip and how much we needed it

I highly recommend scheduling a mom’s getaway. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive.  Just call up a girlfriend or two and make your getaway happen!

~ Season

   

Crazy Fun Summer

I have not posted for some time.  This summer has been a very busy one!  My kids love to be on the go and are little social butterflies, so keeping them busy was more important than keeping this blog going.  I can’t believe the summer is almost over and they will both be in school/preschool over the next few weeks.  Nina will be at school all day and I’m not sure how Sam and I are going to adjust to that.  Sam loves playing with (and bugging) his sissy.  When Sam starts preschool, I will have a few precious hours to myself during the week.  That will be an adjustment for me and it will be tough to decide what task(s) I can squeeze in those few hours.

As I think back to all that we did this summer, I appreciate how blessed we are to be able to provide our kids with these opportunities and experiences.  And I get a little tired remembering how busy we were!

Here’s just a quick run down of our summer:

* Both kids attended Kids Camp two mornings a week for six weeks.
* Both had swim lessons for 2 weeks
* Frozen dance camp for Nina
* Vacation Bible School for Nina
* Basketball camp for Sam
* T-ball for Sam
* Both kids participated in summer reading program at two libraries
* Attended science shows at the Goddard library
* Spent a week visiting G and Pap in Arizona
* Color Me Mine (painting ceramics) camp for Nina
* Sam’s 4th birthday party
* Nina’s 7th birthday party
* Sleepovers with friends
* Countless play dates at parks, friends’ houses, grandparents’ house, Botanica or the swimming pool
* Family trip to Table Rock with my dad and Mary (coming soon)

Wheeewww!  As parents we sometimes feel guilty when we are away from our kids, but after running them here and there all summer, we deserved our recent fabulous beach vacation all to ourselves – blog post about that coming soon.

Here’s a little photo flashback of our summer.

I hope you had a fun fantastic summer!   Before we know it, the holidays will be here!

~ Season

   

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is another anniversary of my 29th birthday.  Yep, I’m still 29!

I have a messed up idea of a ‘fun’ birthday gift because I can barely move today.  My bucket list included running a marathon and I figured there could not be a better time than before I turn 29 again.  I didn’t decide to start training until about 6 weeks before the Land of Oz Marathon in Olathe, KS.  Most marathon training schedules are 16 weeks.  I felt pretty good about being able to finish it and that’s all I really wanted.  My expectations couldn’t be too high with such a short training window.  I didn’t sign up until the day before the run because I wanted to make sure the weather would cooperate.  I did not want to run in the cold, rain or high winds.  The forecast looked good, not cold and very low chance of rain.

It’s going to get a little deep now.  Not “pick up your feet Season’s full of poo” deep, but more like “Deep Thoughts by Season Schwind.”

I am a person of faith, but I rarely express it outwardly.  I can’t quote bible verses and I don’t post religious material on my blog or Facebook.  I do believe in God.  I know He is with me and has led me through some difficult times in my life.  A while back, I was looking for something new to listen to while running and a friend of mine told me their church does podcasts.  I really enjoy the preaching style and messages of Lifechurch’s pastor and I look forward to downloading each week’s message to my headphones.  I has saved up the last 4 weeks worth of messages to listen to during the marathon.  I usually turn my headphones on when I start running, but someone gave me the tip to run for a while without listening to anything.  Then, turn the headphones on when you need a boost to keep going.  I decided I would run seven miles before turning my headphones on.

Remember the part about me not wanting to run in the rain?  Well, someone had another plan in mind.  I turned my head to the left about two miles into the run and saw a lovely dark blue cloud-filled sky.  I thought to myself, “Seriously, I am going to have to run this in the rain!  This is not fair.  This is not what I signed up for.”  The clouds followed us and the rain started to come down at mile seven.  As planned, I turned on my headphones and started listening to the first of a series of messages called The Counselor.  As I rounded a corner between miles 8 and 9, I was dealing with rain, wind and going uphill.  It didn’t look like there would be a break in the clouds for days.  How was I going to finish this?  I had barely started!  I wanted to cry.

I started to really listen to the message and the cliff notes version goes like this – God is with you in the storm.  The storm can be any struggle one faces, but in my case, on that day at that moment, I was in an actual storm during a physical challenge.  I was just amazed that this was the message I turned on when I needed a boost to keep me going forward.  Here are some points that stuck with me:

“Don’t let the presence of a storm let you doubt the presence of God.  He is with me in the storm.”

“God is my strength.  He is my ever present help in a time of trouble.  He is with me in the storm.”

“He never promised me the storm would not rock me. He promised the storm would not sink me.”

“Whenever you face trials of many kinds, rejoice. Because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

“You are in the storm with the presence of God.  He is for you, with you, working in all things to bring about good to those who love Him.”

I kid you not, the rain stopped when I was done listening to that message.  God really wanted me to connect.  I just thought it was such a perfectly timed message that I had to share it here.

Well, I finished.  I ran the whole thing and in less time than I expected.  I’m no Boston qualifier, but I was thrilled with my 4 hour 12 minute time.

Of course, I have to share some pictures!

One of the main reasons I picked this marathon was that it went right by my dad and Mary’s neighborhood.  The kids got to visit their grandparents and walk out the door to cheer me on and give me a high-five!

Dustin did amazing running the 1/2 marathon and then he helped me run the last couple miles of the marathon.  I was pretty worn out by mile 22, so I needed his help to keep me going.
Finally! The yellow brick road!
With the help of grandma and grandpa, the kids made posters and watched me finish.

I need to say a few Thank You’s.

  • To our parents who entertained the kids so we could go on long training runs.
  • To dad and Mary for a great carb-loading dinner and birthday cake the night before, for cheering us on and for taking pictures.
  • To Dustin for supporting me in training, encouraging me and for making sure I crossed the finish line.

Now, wish me luck as I attempt to stand up, walk out of my office and up the stairs.  Ouch!

~Season

   

Blue-eyed Everett

Sweet Everett came to visit me for his 9-month session. He was such a happy little guy! Babies grow up so fast and it is important to have pictures of them at various stage. In fact, Everett took some of his first steps while at the studio and just took off walking the next day! So his 1-year session will be a bit more interesting! I will have to rest up for that one because he will probably outrun me.

Here are just a few of my favorites.


~ Season

   

Basketball and Beer – How we did St. Louis

Dustin and I went to St. Louis for the Missouri Valley tournament.  We had a great time watching WSU win the tournament and taking in some sight-seeing.  Here are some of the highlights from our trip.

We stayed at a great modern bed and breakfast called Dwell 912.  It is a two-story little apartment at the back of a really old house that has been beautifully updated.  Breakfast was yummy and the owner has chickens that contribute towards the breakfast.

Before the first game, we grabbed a mocha and walked around the City Garden.  Dustin just loves it when I suggest he take goofy pictures.

Some highlights from the first game.  We had great center court seats that were up pretty high, but I still took a few good pictures with the point and shoot.

We visited the City Museum Friday night (it is open until midnight).  If you have not been here before, you should go!  It is a great place for kids to run and explore.  We felt a little weird going without any kids, but we had a blast and at night there were more adults than kids.  So many cool things to climb through and slides everywhere.  We went down a 10-story spiral slide and I was still spinning when I reached the bottom of the slide.  The pictures below are of the fun stuff to do outside.

We had dinner at Schlafly’s Tap Room one night.  There was a huge oyster fest going on, so it was really busy.  I had a great coffee stout and some yummy fish and chips.  The next morning, we went on the Anheuser-Bush tour.  The walking tour took us through the process of making beer and the best part was two samples at the end of the tour….and it was FREE!

When we travel, we like to eat at places we can’t eat at when home.  After the beer tour, we hit Blues City Deli.  This little neighborhood deli was busy and delish!  Dustin’s sandwich was HUGE!  For dinner that night, we found a local pizza place and filled up on a yummy veggie pizza.

I wish we could go back this week for the NCAA tournament, but we aren’t going to make it.  We will make it back to St. Louis again sometime.  There is so much more to do.

~ Season

 

 

   
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