Thursday, August 22, 2013

Vacation at the Amana Colonies

About the middle of April we found a groupon for hotel stay at a waterpark in the Amana Colonies. Originally we booked it thinking we may go with some of my siblings or parents. However, as the events unfolded, we were the only ones to purchase this groupon and it appeared we would be going solo. As much as we love my family and would have been happy to have them there, we started to get excited about having our own little family vacation. We were about a month out from my due date, expecting our fifth, so a little time away for some R & R was just what the doctor ordered!

We left on a Saturday morning for Williamsburg, about an hour and a half away. The trip was uneventful. We felt very blessed to be starting off on this little family adventure. Even though it was only a hundred miles away we were about to disconnect for about four days and the thought was very exciting!

We couldn't check into our Hotel until 4pm, so we decided to visit the Amana Colonies first. We bought tickets that let our whole family into four museums for only $14. There are about seven villiages on a 17 mile loop, and we were able to hit all of them on this first day. Spending time in two free Museums, and three of the ones that we paid to get in. It was a long day but we had a great time learning about this unique history in Iowa. We went back for one more day, hitting the rest of the museums and seeing the sights. If you have never been the the Amana Colonies, I do recommend it. It was fun and the kids have already asked to go back!

We stayed in the Wasserbahn Water Park Resort and the kids were impressed. They couldn't get enough of the swimming, except for the fact that the water was freezing! This was pretty much how we spent our vacation. Going to the Amana Colonies and swimming. We were also very close to Iowa City so we took a walk down memory lane seeing Mommy's old college and dorm. We walked around Kinnick. Justice was insistent that Nana and Papa B. were in the stadium, which was pretty funny!

All in all, it was a great vacation and we had a wonderful time!

Expectation: The Greatest Killer of Joy

Sometimes life gets a little out of control. I get that. It has been out of control at my house for several years. Yep, you read that right, several. That means many. Exactly how many, well I am not quite sure- see the part about being out of control. Working pretty much full time for friends and family while at the same time housekeeping and homeschooling really made my life just crazy . If you know anything about me, you know I like to be in control, to have it all together. So yes, I was very stressed and had become a bit of what I like to call "monster mommy". So after eliminating everything except the homeschooling and housekeeping I figured out something interesting... I was still stressed and my life still felt out of control and I was still monster mommy. I actually asked Tim if I could hire a maid. You can about imagine his response. "Really?!?!" Or something to that effect. After I stewed about how insensitive to my needs he was, I realized he was right. There really wasn't anything more I could eliminate. That eliminating things wasn't the solution. It hadn't helped and it wasn't going to help. I could take away everything but until I just surrendered to my situation I was still going to find something to be stressed about.

So in the past few months I have realized that I am stressed mainly because of two things. My kids aren't perfect. I am not perfect. And instead of continuing to expect perfection out of them and me, I realized I just need to change my expectations. Afterall, expectation is the greatest killer of joy! With the changing of my expectations I have realized two things. I am not nearly as stressed and I am no longer monster mommy. My kids are still not perfect, but they aren't monsters either. Just because I don't expect perfection doesn't mean we aren't striving toward being the best people we can possibly be.

It has been refreshing not living life constantly stressed and always a moment away from break down. I am so thankful for friends and family that have helped me through some tough times over the past few years. As we look to embark on a new year, I really don't know what the future will hold. I do know that I will curb my expectations and be thankful for this life God has gifted me. To quote a recent blog post I read- it doesn't get any better than this! You can keep the expectations, I will take the JOY!!!!