Sunday, August 26, 2012


Things to Remember from the day:

  • Enjoying a snow cone on the patio tonight as the kids played while the sun set
  • The warmth of the pup on my legs as she snoozes (and I type)
  • Watching my oldest child running his first cross country race...I love his perseverance
  • Hearing the kids thank me for making a good dinner (in today's case:  chicken spaghetti)
  • Taking an afternoon nap after a really long week
  • Hugging my hubby before he left for a work trip :(
  • Hearing my youngest apologize (without any prompting) after a little meltdown (both him and me :)
  • Watching the two youngest play nicely together in the toyroom this afternoon
  • Watching Child 3 ride around the yard on a two wheel bike (after her SISTER taught her how!) rather than one with training wheels
  • Having a former student ring up my groceries today (and wondering where the time went)
  • A nice chat with the produce guy on a shopping trip (because sometimes I feel invisible when I am shopping)

Just a few things but I wanted to remember. Because tomorrow may be a hard day. Then all of this will be a distant memory to me...

What do you want to remember from the day?


Friday, August 24, 2012

The first week of school is done.  Over.  Complete.

And I am one tired pup.

There are really NO words to describe the first week of kindergarten.

It is like...herding cats.
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That commercial was and still is the best way to describe it.

Please don't get me wrong. I LOVE my job. I would NOT go back every year if I didn't.  And the students are precious.

But the beginning of the year is a process. It feels like a really long one though I know it is never as long as I think it is.

We have around 20 students in our class.

Some have been in preschool, others have never left their homes.  Some are 5 years old, others are six. Some speak English with ease, while others are just learning.  Some are reading books while others are learning the letters in their names.

Even those who have been in preschool experience a little "culture shock" after a summer at home.

So the first few weeks, we practice routines and procedures.  Simple things like lining up, walking in the hallways, cleaning up procedures.  I even have to teach the kids to be quiet when I talk. 

There really are no words.

Now add to that stress my own kids and their mega paperwork to fill out.

And a certain little boy starting kindergarten who wants to be with his mama 24/7.

That makes for a tired, tired, blog author.

One about to fall asleep...



Saturday, August 18, 2012

Thankfully Thursday (A Couple Days Later)

I will just be honest.

The next few weeks will be hit and miss with blogging (across the board).  As school days come, my stay up power goes.  At least until I get readjusted to the new routine.

Anyway, even in the midst of extreme fatigue and at the risk of falling asleep in the middle of this post, I wanted to share a few things I am thankful for this week...

  • I am thankful it is Thursday which means tomorrow is Friday.  It has been a good week but I am worn out!
  • I am thankful for my alarm clock.  I didn't say I really liked it or anything since I prefer not to wake up early. But I am thankful it keeps me prompt.
  • I am thankful for a mom who is willing to keep my crazy crew this week while I am in in-service meetings...that is a challenge of its own!
  • I am also thankful for a hubby who is flexible in his schedule to help out with the kids when I am needed at school events.
  • I am thankful for my kids' teachers.
  • I am thankful for an extra pair of hands (and lots of new ideas) is a great way to start the year off!
  • I am thankful for friends who encourage me in parenting.
  • The dog. I know I am thankful for her a lot. But she is the best form of therapy I have.  I can have the worst day and at the end of the day, just feeling her warm little body curled up on my doesn't erase the badness of the day. But it lifts my heart.
  • Ms. Vickey. She is the wife of our Sunday School/Bible Fellowship teacher. She has taken two of our children school supply shopping (giving them much needed attention), encouraged me and prayed for me more than I will ever know, and gifted me with a sweet book about motherhood.  She is truly a servant, serving like Jesus would...
  • A successful shopping trip with my oldest daughter
  • Kohls cash
  • A new pair of shoes
  • Lunch with a co-worker/friend this week
  • Cooler temperatures
  • Watching the meteor shower last weekend
  • Movie night with the kids (and holding hands with my hubby during it)
 I know there are many more things to add (and that is after having a not so great day) but I better wrap it up...two days later. :)

What are you thankful for this week?


Sunday, August 12, 2012

What I DID This Summer

Every year when school ends, I have grand summer plans in my mind.  LOTS of organizing.  Redecorating.  Fun travel.  Visits to the lake or river.  Tackling the stack of magazines I have only partially read. 

And every year when August rolls around and I see my "break" coming to an end, I feel panicked.  And defeated. And sad.

Sad I didn't do SOOOO many of the things I was just sure I would.

In those times, I could wallow in the pit of despair.  It is a good excuse to eat a lot of chocolate.


I can stop and reflect and think about the things I DID get done (even if they weren't on my original list).

That is what I am choosing.  I still may eat chocolate though...

  • Supported husband as he launched his own business
  • Cleaned out my medicine cabinet (which had not been cleaned out in quite a while apparently)
  • Sorted kids' schoolwork (only the saved pieces) from last school year
  • Baked and decorated the girls' birthday cake
  • Organized the girls' birthday celebration
  • Exercised at least 5 days every week I think, actually hitting 6 most of the time
  • Tried several new recipes (some that have become favorites already)
  • Took the kids swimming at the river
  • Transported kids to swimming lessons
  • Sent Child 2 to her first week camp
  • Transported two other kids to their camps
  • Visited my sister for a week while the girls went to a horse camp
  • Had shaved ice dates with my husband
  • Planned, packed for, and went on a week long vacation at the beach...our pup's first vacation!
  • Enjoyed a day at the lake with friends
  • Met TWO "virtual friends" (friends via adoption but only met through the Internet prior to our real meetings)
  • Hosted a friend for a couple of days
  • Read two "fun" books and more parenting books than I can count
  • Lost a couple more pounds...about five more to go
  • Took the kids swimming at their grandparents' house
  • Played numerous rounds of Candyland and Apples to Apples, as well as dramatic play with Little People
  • Washed, dried, and folded at least 6 loads (usually more) of laundry a week
  • Organized Child 4's books (with his assistance)
  • Planned the girls' "new" room (though we haven't implemented yet...)
  • Shredded
  • Experienced some "life changing" parenting training via a book, DVD, and a mentor who thankfully answers questions any time I have them
  • "Re-adopted" our younger two (now I have to get the youngest's name changed on everything...)
  • Organized under our bed
  • Weeded out clothing in the closet
  • Worked on a puzzle with child 3
  • Started journals with both girls to keep the lines of communication open
  • Celebrated hubby's 40th birthday
  • Hopefully encouraged several via Facebook and blogs
  • Watched the meteor shower
  • Had a night getaway with hubby
  • Tried some new foods (like edamame and quinoa)
  • Took kids to doctor's appointments (3 I believe)
  • Took the pup in her for her yearly checkup and booster shots
  • Took the youngest school supply shopping
  • Menus planned and executed each week
  • Got a deep freeze (and filled it with cow meat)
  • Climbed a light house
  • Blogged fairly regularly
  • Cleaned out the car...a couple times :)
  • Cooked lunch for the church interns
  • Watched several hours of Lock Up
  • Pulled out child 4's first tooth :(  I wasn't ready for that one)
  • Read up on and started implementing activities to help with sensory issues one or more of my children are dealing with
  • Took and edited TONS of pictures
  • Donated my hair
  • Got a new roof
  • Started parenting "intentionally" (will explain one day)
I am sure I can think of more, but I am getting tired.

I do know that thinking about what I did makes me feel much better about the things I didn't...


Friday, August 10, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Yes, it is.

It is Thankful Thursday.

And since next week, I will be back at school, I need to be extra thankful this week. I will probably be too tired next week to even utter the words, much less type them. :)

So, what am I thankful for this week?
  • Our pup Marley had a good checkup today. Her 1 year checkup complete with shots. She didn't even flinch.  I was so proud, especially when the vet said "She is a polite dog".  Bless her heart though, she was shaking like crazy and holding on to me as tight as her little paws could.
  • A visit with a friend from my younger days. Her mom is here for surgery so she came to town to be with her mom and I got a visit with her.  She was such a blessing to me in my younger days living in Stuttgart and working at my first teaching job.  
  • A new book. I ordered "The Whole Brain Child" after reading a good recommendation for it.  Wow. It is good stuff. I know it doesn't sound exciting but it it really is interesting and not too hard to read.
  • A hubby who offers to make pancakes and bacon one night out of the blue.  I love cooking but a nice break is appreciated too!
  • A pedicure with my sister. That hasn't happened yet but it is coming. :)
  • Friends who share their expertise and answer questions I have (mainly in the area of parenting)
  • A husband who works hard
  • A surprise rain yesterday
  • New clothes
  • Child 3 learning to ride a bike!
  • A new attitude and view as a mom
  • Not setting my alarm...this is my last week for that. :(
  • Afternoon naps (last week for that too :()
  • A friend/co-worker who takes time to truly listen to me
  • Getting out of a workshop early :)
  • Cutting back on Facebook. I miss it but I am getting some things done around the house
  • New pajamas...just because it is fun to have something new
  • Dr. Karyn Purvis
  • Answered prayers
  • My Turvis cup. I am so spoiled to that thing now!
I am sure I could go on and on but I am going to stop for now.

What are you thankful for this week?


Tuesday, August 7, 2012


If you are not up on the texting/FB lingo of the world, TBH means "To Be Honest".

On occasion, on Facebook, I mention that has been a rough day or that I really need a little time to myself (one of my kids is a little shadow...almost always within just a few feet of me...all day long!).  And invariably that status update with get several likes.  It will also get some comments.

"Enjoy these will miss them!"

"Some day you will miss hearing those sounds in your house..."

"One day you will wish you could go back to these days..."

I know they are well meaning.  And I know there are nuggets of truth in them.

But let's be completely honest here.

Will I really miss all of it?

I mean, I loved having newborns.  I loved holding those little babies while they slept.  I loved that sweet smell after their bath, all snuggly in their pj's.  I loved seeing those first smiles and gazing into those sweet eyes.

And some days, I miss that.

(That is when I volunteer in the church nursery)

But I don't miss it all.

I don't miss having the sweet baby wet all over my clothes right before I leave for work.

Or the crying in the middle of the night.

Or walking around with circles under my eyes because I was sleeping in 2 hour shifts.

There were many parts of toddlerhood that were fun.  Really.  I mean, kids grow by leaps and bounds at that age. Every day is full of new skills, new vocabulary, new everything.  What makes your heart smile more than a chubby toddler hugging your leg when you come home from the store? Or the sweet giggles that erupt when you play peek-a-boo or Pat-a-cake?  Or singing "Jesus Loves Me" over and over together?

But there are things I do not miss so much.

I don't miss the tantrums.  I don't miss the whining. I don't miss the live and die by a schedule or the crying over having a blue cup instead of a yellow cup. I don't.

That wasn't fun to me.

So while I know those commentors are well-meaning, I don't know how honest it is.

Will I miss some parts of my kids' childhood?  Yes.

I will miss hearing my daughter sing at the top of her lungs in the shower.

I will miss the way every child comes into my room to ask me how Marley slept last night.

I will miss the handwritten notes and cards and pictures I am given regularly.

I will miss our dinnertime sharing..."What are you celebrating today?"

I will miss watching my girls dress each other up in new outfits and take pictures of their "models".

I will miss sitting in the floor listening to my youngest tell me these elaborate stories about his dreams the night before.

I will miss our movie nights, all gathered in front of the t.v. with shakes and popcorn.

I will miss Taco Nights and walks around the park and reading books together.

But will I miss the tattling?  The whining? The arguing among siblings? Tripping over shoes?  Closing the pantry doors yet again?

Um, I don't think so.

I asked my mom about this not long ago.

And she confirmed what I thought.

Yes, there are things you miss. But there are also things you don't miss. And while you may miss them, you enter new phases of life and you just enjoy where you are.

That is my goal.

I hope as I grow as a mom, I will remember.

I will remember that the days are long, the years are short.

And in 20 years, if I am even still on Facebook or whatever other social forum or even in real life, if a weary mom says they need a break or they are tired, I hope that I will pat their arms. I hope I will smile.  And I hope I will say, "This too will pass."  I hope I will tell them that in the blink of an eye, this will be over. And I hope I will say that there are parts of it they will miss one day, but there are also parts of it they won't.  (Kind of like high I liked, parts I don't miss one iota)  Then I will tell them it is okay to be tired or weary and to find time for themselves. 

And maybe, just maybe, if I am really missing those childhood things, I will offer to babysit if they need me to.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

My Place in This World

I have mentioned that this has been a big summer of reflection and refinement. Neither are particularly fun but it is apparently where I am in life.

I have been thinking a lot about my place in this world.

I am sure there is some psychological name for this. And I probably even learned it once upon a time. I am reflecting about where I have been, where I am going, but especially where I am right now.

I am not necessarily where I thought I would be.

For one, i never expected to have four kids.  Two, yes. But four, no.  And honestly, adoption was not really on my radar even ten years ago. 

I will be honest. I sometimes look at our oldest two and take just a minute to think about what life would be like. I am not saying I regret our decisions or our life now.  I just can't help but think sometimes. Life would be a little easier. A little less demanding in some ways.  Obviously things like meals out and trips would be less expensive.  And the house would be much quieter.

Again, I am not regretting. Just being honest.

But that is not where God led us.  That is not my place in this world at this time.

Not long ago, I saw some pictures on Facebook that hurt my heart a little bit.  Just a reminder of something we weren't invited to.  There is a lot of that on Facebook, by the way.  It is hard not to feel like I am back in elementary school watching someone pass out invitations and walking right by my desk.  I guess those insecurities never truly go away.

Anyway, the truth is, we probably couldn't have gone to this event. And I know that. 

I am just in a different place than a lot of people my age.

I have younger kids.  And those kids require some special care.

I can't just drop everything and run to the pool with all four kids in tow. While three are strong swimmers, the last one isn't yet.  And that child is constantly on the move.  While others can just sit and chat by the water, I end up running all around the pool making sure all four heads are accounted for. 

We go to the movies on a rare occasion but it is a bit pricey with all of us. And with such a wide range of ages, we are limited as to what we can see.

Many activities are way too overstimulating for kids with sensory issues. And for my introvert kids, they can be exhausting.

I feel bad that my older children get invited to way more fun activities (which they love) than I can reciprocate.

But it is just not where I am in life right now.

And after a lot of prayer, a lot of thought, and even some tears, I am okay with that.

My life is what God wants it to be.

It can be hard some days.

And many may not understand.

But God does.

And being where He wants me to be is the only place in the world I want to be...

More soon,

Thursday, August 2, 2012

41 Birthday Blessings...And Counting

This time last year, I was on the beach.  Both dreading and enjoying the big 4-0.

And here I am a year later.

Not on the beach.

But, I am...

A few pounds lighter. A few muscles heavier.  A little eyesight weaker. 

It has been a year of growth.  And loss.  Joy.  And sorrow.  Changes. Conflicts.  Disappointments. Adventures.

But overall, it wasn't so bad.

Yet I am more and more aware each day (as I squint at a screen that is too close) that I am not getting any younger.

And more and more, I understand the longing for heaven.  When I was younger, I didn't. I mean, why leave the pleasure on earth? Except these pleasures are temporary.  And the pain can be intense.

Many days I long to see my Savior.

But my time here isn't done yet. 

So, while I continue on this journey of life, I must take time (as I do each year) to celebrate the blessings in my life.  The things that make my heart happy.  The joys that are gifts from my Heavenly father to me...

Here they are, in no particular order...

41.  My big "deer" blanket that is actually my husband's. I just kind of took it over.  Even in the summer, I love to curl up on the bed with it.
40.  Our little fuzzy furball.  I can't believe she has been here a year already.  My little Marley is a HUGE blessing in a little body.  She is my calm at the end of the day.
39.  White lilies or magnolia flowers.  Both are specimens of beauty to me.
38.  Chicago pizza.  I mean, it is inches and inches of gooey cheese.  What is there not to love?
37.  A good afternoon nap. A rarity but still treasured.
36.  A hike in the woods on a fall day.
35.  Watching my students discover and learn...some days I can literally see those light bulbs go off!
34.  My Mac. It has been a good friend to me. And it turns on WAY faster than my HP ever did.
33.  A chilled Ghirardelli dark chocolate with sea salt caramel square.  I eat one a day. Dark chocolate is good for you. :)
32.  Buying clothes in a smaller size.
31.  The deep belly laugh of Child 4
30.  Walking along the beach, barefoot, as I listen to the waves crash against the sand
29.  Sunsets.  They just amaze me.
28.  Fresh herbs, especially basil, cilantro, and thyme. How did I go my whole life not knowing about those?
27.  My iphone, particularly the music on it. It is an eclectic mix but each song is on there for a reason.  The songs cover many phases of my life and are full of memories.
26.  The unwavering faith and strong convictions of Child 1.
25.  The newspaper. You know, the one in black and white print.  I still love to sit down to breakfast while reading my morning paper.
24.  A God who surprises me over and over again with unexpected blessings
23.  Paid off vehicles.
22.  Dates with my husband, whether it is for a dinner out, a weekend away, or a quick shaved ice run.  I love any and all time I get with that man.
21.  Organized shelves and closets. I have a lot to do and a long way to go. But it sure makes me happy when I get some of that accomplished...
20.  Pinterest.  I am such a visual person. Seeing pictures and saving them just appeals to me. I have found some WONDERFUL recipes and teaching ideas through Pinterest.  It can be a time killer BUT it also saves me time by showing me the best of the best. :)
19.  The smell of a fresh rain (I vaguely remember...)
18.  Time with my parents and sister/family. It is never enough, but it is such a treasured time when it does.
17.  Child 3's willingness AND eagerness to help with cooking, shopping, and cleaning.  As long as it is her idea. :)
16.  Friendships. I have learned a lot about friendships this year, some happy lessons...others not. But I am thankful for friends who encourage, who check up on me, who pray for me, who actually seek time to spend with me. I pray I will be that friend too.
15.  My blogs. I am "behind" on a couple but I am thankful for them. They are my "scrapbook" whether it is family or food.  I know that blogging is "out" while Twitter is "in". But my blogs are still my outlet, a little bit of therapy after a hard day.
14.  Pedicures.  They are a special treat, but they always make me smile. Especially when I get a picture painted on my big toes.
13.  Reading a good book. A fun book.  Not necessarily a parenting book.
12.  The encouragement of child 2.  I get e-cards, notes, little gifts, and even just a hug on a hard day from her.
11.  My Sweating to the Oldies DVD's. Yes, I know.  Richard Simmons is a bit over the top sometimes. But I can actually keep up, still get a good workout, and get to enjoy fun music...
10.  Midnight talks with my husband when neither of us can sleep.  Okay, it is rare...we usually are exhausted by the end of the day. But I love pillow talk and just getting to share what is on our  minds and hearts.
9.  My Bible Fellowship folks. 
8.  Payday!
7.  Evenings outside in early summer (before it is blazing hot), watching the kids play and the dog chase the soccer ball
6.  Baked potato soup on a cold day
5.  Family movie night (usually a DVD, popcorn, and Shakes)
4.  A dedicated husband who get up each day to work and support our family (and then comes home to work and support our family :)
3.  My crockpot. It makes my life SOOO much easier.
2.  Waterfalls.  I am not sure what the fascination is but they bring me peace and joy.
1.  You.  Thank you for being part of my life!