Sunday, September 14, 2014

Happy Fall, Ya'll!

Fall is here!  There is a bite in the air, football is on the TV, apples are 58 cents a pound, and I wore leggings, boots and a sweater over the weekend.  I love the crisp air and smell of burning wood when I step outside.  If only winter didn't follow it, Fall would be perfect!

This weekend we made a whirlwind trip to the city where my middle son spent time in the NICU.  Every year they have a NICU reunion, and this was his 10 year reunion.  We haven't been in five years, so it was wonderful to go back.  All the kids enjoyed the bouncy houses, the carnival games, the fair food, and the free sno cones and cotton candy.  It was a kid's dream come true.  And it was all free to us!  We spoke to one of his nurses while we there (though we never crossed paths with his neonatologist, unfortunately), and I couldn't help but ponder how different things were just 10 years ago.  My son had just come home from the NICU after a seven-week stint there.  He was on oxygen, with a feeding tube and an apnea monitor.  Life was scary and challenging.  But this weekend -  I watched my son run and jump and laugh.  He is a healthy boy now - not fully without medical issues, but healthy and strong.  And oh-so-happy.  I wish I could have had a glimpse back then of the boy he is now!

Unrelated to Fall:

This morning at church, our pastor referenced Constantine (the Emperor) in his sermon.  I was holding a certain little boy who heard the name and whipped his head up and looked at me.
"No", I whispered.  "He is not talking about the scary Muppet Frog."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

On (or near) this day in history

Sept. 8, 1995:  I vividly remember it was a beautiful day in St. Louis.  I recall swinging at recess with my fourth graders, enjoying the start of my first year of teaching.  And later that night, I went out to dinner with my boyfriend, who, a few short hours later,  became my fiancĂ©.  I was so giddy with delight when he proposed that I neglected to answer his question right away!  But here we are, 19 years later, and I still say "Yes!"

Sept. 11, 2001:  I was very pregnant with child #2.  I had an 18 month old toddling around the family room as I sat riveted in front of the TV, weeping and praying.  I was praying for the victims, the families of the victims, and those responding to the disaster.  And I was also praying, selfishly, that my baby would not be born that day (he waited 10 more days).  What a sin-filled world we live in.  Come, Lord Jesus!

Sept. 11, 2014:  Today.  Today, I met with a dear woman, a veteran early childhood teacher, a generous and kind soul. Before school started, I had reached out to her, asking her to share any wisdom and tips she might have to offer.  She invited me over today, and we had a lovely afternoon together.  She had made me a beautiful basket, filled with items she collected and bought - items I will undoubtedly use time and time again in my classroom.  She is a wonderful mentor, and I am blessed by her knowledge and friendship!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hairy Situation

Last week, I chopped off 12-ish inches of my hair.  Well, I didn't do it, because that would have been disastrous.  I can barely style my hair, much less cut it.  My wonderful, talented friend and stylist cut it.  I had decided to donate it to Locks of Love, so my friend gave me the ponytail when she was finished.  

I ran several errands after my cut, so I just took it with me to Meijer and sent it off while there.  Before I put it in the envelope, I took a picture:

Horrifying, isn't it?  I texted the picture to my husband, who promptly told me it looked like a dead animal.  I fully agreed!  It was creepy and weird (and full of hideous split ends!).  And it felt very strange to mail it off - kind of like I was sending a part of me away.  I hope the people at Locks of Love are able to snip off those wretched ends, pull out the numerous grays and make something of worth with what is left.

And within in two days, the other females in my house got their new 'dos as well.  My little daughter has a short bob she loves (almost as much as I do, due to the significantly fewer tangles she has now.  Did I ever tell you, dear reader, about the rat's nest she acquired in her hair while we were in Yellowstone?  I thought not.  It could have warranted its own zip code). My older daughter cut several inches off and had bangs cut.  She looks so much older, which I have mixed feelings about!  They both look beautiful, in my largely unbiased opinion.

All three of us are feeling much more carefree with fewer tresses.  Less is more!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Little R & R

My husband and I just returned from a glorious long weekend away, just the two of us.  Our time was filled with beach lounging, reading, visiting wineries, eating (too) well, shopping, and general fab-u-loso relaxation and enjoyment.  It was wonderful.  I love the time with just my husband - time to finish our thoughts and sentences, time to sleep in with no alarms rousing us too early, and time to simply enjoy each other's company.  I rather like my husband's company, so it was perfect.

It would be easy to want to remain in that world forever.  Except - I also missed the children!  So it was also glorious to return home to our brood (and trusty and generous grandparents) and be squeezed and kissed and hugged and loved.  Our children are so dear - to see their faces after being away for a long weekend warmed my heart immensely.  It was oh-so-wonderful to be away with my husband, and it was oh-so-wonderful to return home to our sweet babies.  Life is good.

In other news, I just found out that September 5-7 is Redhead Days.  I have no idea what this means, but I'm thinking a parade and cake are in order.  Yes?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My cup runneth over

Things are hoppin' over here, but I must stop and count my blessings.  Among them:

My husband.  As I've adjusted to teaching again, and working for the first time since having children, he has been a rock.  Listening to me, encouraging me, picking up (the many) chores I am juggling around the house as I get used to my new schedule, and loving me through my adjustment phase.  God has blessed me beyond words with this man.  He is my safe place, my cheerleader and my sounding board.

My children.  While I never thought too much about leaving my children at school all day, I have to say it is incredibly wonderful to be in the same building with four of them three days a week.  I get the occasional glimpse or hug from one of them in the hall, and it makes me smile every time.  My eldest daughter is enjoying her new high school career, and we are very happy with her school.  

Clean bathrooms.  My husband has taken over cleaning the bathrooms every week, in an effort to ease some of my workload.  Oh. my. goodness.  I detest cleaning the bathrooms (that is not an exaggeration - we have three boys, at least some of whom seem to have aiming issues unless they are playing with Nerf guns and a brother is involved - in which case they are always dead-on), and I can't tell you how blissful it is to have bathrooms that are clean. . . without cleaning them myself.  Fabulous.

My little students.  I am loving getting to know their personalities.  They warm my heart with their hugs, funny comments and sweet little smiles.  I like teaching them about their God and how much He loves them.  On a side note, I have also noticed that I am starting to call everyone "friends" or "boys and girls". . .

Summer thunderstorms.  It has been wicked humid the last several days, and my hair has been the size of Texas.  This morning we had a loud thunderstorm and I loved it.  There is something so peaceful and soothing about a summer storm.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Change is not a four-letter-word!

I just put my 14-year-old daughter on the bus to head to her first full day of high school.  Just before we left the house to head to the bus stop, my husband asked if I'd cry.  "No!"  I blithely replied.  "I really think I'll be just fine!"

Weeeeellll. . .I was wrong.

I couldn't help it!  As she got out of the car, a few little tears slipped out unbidden.  She is ready for this change.  It is time.  She will be fine - and more than that - she will succeed!  But is this mamma ready for the change?  The jury is out.

Change has never been my favorite word (as evidenced here and here).  And this year marks many changes in our household.  For 11 years, our whole life has revolved around our Lutheran school, our church, or our home.  All of my family was in one of those three places, either with me or my husband, or with teachers I knew oh-so-well.  And now!  Now she is headed to a school where I know precious few teachers or students, in an unfamiliar building, 25 minutes away.

Our other big change is that I am teaching preschool this year!  I am going to have the three-year olds for three days a week.  I am so looking forward to spending time with those little ones, singing songs, reading, playing and telling them about Jesus!  It has been a few years, though, since I've worked (read 14.5), so this will be an adjustment for me and for all of us.  Many suggestions have been given to me to amp up the children's chores (they totally love this idea), so we'll have to figure out a method of organization that work for our family.

I have confidence in my daughter and our family (and me, mostly!), that we will adjust to these exciting changes and be better for them!  Change is good actually, this I know in my head, even if my heart is slow to catch up sometimes.  I have loved our life to this point!  But I wouldn't want it to remain as it has been forever.  The future is wide open, with so many memories to be made.  A new family to meet at our daughter's school.  New children for me to meet, teach and love.  New opportunities for our kids to learn better how a family works together.  New chances for God to show us His love and blessings and provision.

So change - it's actually not a four-letter word.  It's a six-letter word.  Which reminds of another six-letter word:  thrive.  I pray that as our seasons change here, we thrive.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

On Growing Up

My oldest son is almost a teenager.  And apparently his body got the memo, because suddenly, he has grown up.  Seemingly overnight, his voice sounds more like Barry White's and less like Alvin the Chipmunk's.  (Though every now and then I do get to hear some voice-changing-Peter Brady moments.)  I hear the rumble of his voice from the other room and think my husband is speaking, only to find that it is my "little" boy.  He is also taller than I am now.  I have to look up to my son.  I knew the day was coming, but it seems to have happened when my back was turned.

Along with all of those changes, I am also seeing a deepening maturity in his behavior and actions toward others.  He is becoming more respectful, thoughtful and selfless.  He is gentler with his siblings and helps out more without being asked.  We are also able to have those deeper discussions with him that we've enjoyed with our daughter for awhile now.  He gets sarcasm and subtle humor.  It's fun to connect with him on this level.

But he's not quite on the verge of adulthood just yet.  He still loves to make up crazy names for his siblings, speak in his own dialect of the English language (or sometimes in his raging Frenchman accent), blast out 80's music from his spotify list (he is my son, after all!), play video games and make stop-motion movies, and wield his sword during battles in the yard with his brothers.

I'd say this is a good age for my boy.  One foot in little-boy, the other in teenager.  He's able to be mature one minute and silly the next.  I am anxious to see the young man of whom we are getting glimpses begin to emerge over the coming years!

"Between the innocence of babyhood and the dignity of manhood, 
we find the delightful creature of a boy"