Friday, August 19, 2016

Happiness Is, Part Two

Happiness Is (part two -- part one is here). . .

Climbing into bed when the sheets have just been washed.  There is something glorious about stretching out between the fresh, crisp sheets.  Going to sleep is already one of my absolutely favorite things, and on a clean-sheet night, the joy is multiplied!

Listening to the beat of the basketball on the driveway as my husband and all three sons shoot hoops together.  The laughter, the trash talk, the crazy grunts and unique boy-noises is music to my ears.

Meeting my new little students.  We just finished our first week and I loved getting to know the little ones in my class.  Their sweet, inquisitive personalities will be such fun to watch blossom and grow this year.  I printed all their pictures out for a little project, and as I looked over each one, I smiled and thanked God for the gift they already are in my lives.

Laughing with my family.  Yesterday after dinner our house was loud and crazy (nothing new there!), and we were all laughing together.  I read somewhere that laughing makes you live longer.  I think I increased my life span a bit last night.

Being thankful for the little things.  Yesterday was full of challenges (a stalled van and a lengthy wait for my husband for a tow, a leaky gutter/facia board during our torrential downpours this week, a dryer with a horrific squeaky sound), yet amidst these challenges and frustrations, little glimpses of joy and answered prayers.

A good start to the school year.  My eldest son started high school and seems to be adjusting well.  He is very concerned about getting stellar grades and is working super hard. My youngest daughter started first grade and loves every second of it.  All the kids are well-adjusted and content in their schools and classes, and I am thankful for that.

Texting with my mom, dad and sister all afternoon as my parents organize old pictures.  We've laughed over my poodle hair of the 80s (I resembled our red poodle, Rusty, in many of the pictures), smiled at pictures of my parents as newlyweds, and of my daughter as a baby in the tub.  It was a great walk down memory lane with the people who've known me longer than anyone else.

Watching Shadow freak out.  Ok, maybe it's not happiness exactly, but it was hilarious (and it scared us all too!).  Every time the dishwasher is open, Shadow likes to help himself to a second dinner by licking all the plates and silverware as we load it.  I figure the dishwasher gets super hot so his doggie germs won't cause any harm.  The other day his collar must have gotten caught on the bottom rack during his binge-fest, because when he moved away from the dishwasher, he pulled the entire rack off and onto the floor, causing dishes to go flying and making a terrible racket. He was terrified and it took me a few moments to calm him down.  We all had a good laugh after our blood pressure returned to normal.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

On High School

Tonight is the last official night of summer at our house**.  Tomorrow morning my two eldest start high school, and the rest of us follow on Wednesday.  There are a bit of mixed emotions about that fact:

My daughter is starting her junior year and knows it will be a tough year academically.  Lots of AP classes and taking the ACT and the SAT.  She will also start visiting colleges and thinking much more about college readiness.  She's ready to see her friends, but not chomping at the bit to dive into all the work.

My son is starting high school and doesn't know anyone in his class.  There are lots of grand experiences on the horizon for him, but right now it's all just brand new.  Tomorrow is a short orientation, so hopefully he can ease his way into it all a bit. I was thrilled to hear the two of them share a class together -- first period!  They professed to be horrified by this fact, but I'm going to believe that deep down they were happy. :)

Andas I contemplate tomorrow, I am in a bit of shock.  I found a picture of the two of them on their first day of school together (A's kindergarten year, M in preschool), and there was a little lump in my throat. It's hard to fully remember those two little ones, so much have they morphed into these mini adult people I love so. Though they are smiling in the picture, I know they were nervous that day about what was ahead for them, just as they will be tomorrow.

I can't wait to watch high school continue playing out (and beginning) for these two.  There are many memories to come, countless things to learn, friends to make and growing up to happen.  I know it will have hardships, but I pray the good outweighs the bad, and that in a few years, I'll pull out tomorrow morning's picture and remember that day -- when they were on the cusp of something new and exciting, just waiting for that chapter of their lives to be written.

**Well, actually, summer break for my teens ended on Friday at 3:00 pm.  I reminded them of this fact, just as my father reminded my sister and I at the end of every school break we ever had.  'You always get the weekend', he would say.  'Your vacation is over on Friday!' My commentary had the same effect my dad had hoped for with me -- groaning and general despondency.  You can thank grandpa, kids.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Summer Days

It's August 2nd already.  Summer has flown by, as it is wont to do.  We are gearing up for school to start in a couple weeks, and for me to go back to my classroom in the next week.  It's a blur of emotions - excitement for the new school year -- with two high schoolers (how is THAT possible?), and sadness about the loss of lots of family time and sleeping in. It's been a good summer so far, and we're still soaking up the time we have left.  A few thoughts:

Over the summer, my teenage daughter discovered just how little I wear/use/have abilities to apply makeup.  She was horrified at my methods, disgusted by my lack of nice products, and shocked at the speed at which I applied what little I wore.  I'm sure I would look better if I wore more makeup, but really?  I'm 43.  I've worn little makeup my whole life, and I highly doubt I'm going to change my MO now.  Love me or leave me, baby.

My two middle boys are at camp all week.  It is sooo much quieter around here with just three kids.  It's not quiet by any means, but it's definitely different.  I'm missing them quite a bit.  I know they are having the time of their lives and hopefully not thinking of home at all.  But this mamma's heart is a bit lonesome for my handsome 10- and 12-year-olds.  I can't wait to see them on Friday and hear all their stories.  And perhaps, fill up the coasters, which are also looking a bit lonely this week:

for those of you who know my husband and are
curious about the Dunkin Donuts coffee, don't
be confused - it is my daughter's. 😊

But as I said, it's not quiet around here. No sir, that is rare.  And with the two teenagers and my little K, there is still plenty going on.  The number one thing happening is laughter.   I swear, having teens thus far has simply meant more hysterical-to-the-point-of-tears laughter.  They crack me up during almost every conversation we have.  I don't think I had any idea when all my kids were little just how much fun they would grow up to be.  Serious conversations, different perspectives, and laughter.  It's really, really good stuff. 

Speaking of little K, she is not so little anymore.  She is 7 now, and going into 1st grade.  While we were camping and doing lots of hikes and walks, I had many opportunities to watch her run and play.  And this girl is growing quickly!  Her legs seem to have grown 6 inches overnight, and her face is that of a girl instead of a chubby preschooler.  I'm trying really hard not to say things like "Time is going by too quickly" and "My heart hurts!", but it's hard not to!  

At the end of every summer, I take the kids out one at a time to have dinner and shop for school supplies.  We call them Mommy's Nights (see here and here), and I treasure them.  I have taken two kids out so far with another scheduled this week.  We work hard to carve out time with the kids one-on-one, and this is a favorite of mine.  The time spent together almost takes the sting out of the gigantic totals at the register - does our house really need two very expensive graphing calculators?  Apparently it does.

Soon it's back to homework and 5:30 alarms and sports and musicals and lesson planning.  But for the next two weeks, it's still family time and rest and togetherness.  I'll take it.