Monday, August 24, 2009

I Made It!

Ahem -- I meant, she made it!
Abi had a fantastic experience on the bus today -- one of the two favorite things about her day.


That is the sound Abi made as she looked over her shoulder boarding the bus this morning. It's the exact same sound she makes right before she goes down a waterslide, attempts to climb across monkey bars, or swings high on our tire swing -- "I think I want to do this, but I'm a little scared!"

I used to have nightmares as a kid that I was trying to get my shoes on in my room to go catch the bus and would end up missing it, only to awaken in the dark of night. Knowing she is so much like me -- always asking when we're on our way somewhere, "Mom, are we going to be late?" -- I didn't want her to be anxious about rushing to the bus. So, we went to the end of the driveway with plenty of time. She was pretty jittery while she waited, dragging her toes in the rocks and constantly reminding Brandon that he shouldn't step past the black rocks. When she saw the bus coming around the curve, she was so excited!
Brother walking toward Abi's next adventure with her -- I hope they always share life's adventures with one another!This is right before the "Skeek" comes out!My baby is on that bus!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Kindergarten Girl

Abi had a fabulous first day of Kindergarten on Wednesday!
When I woke her up she said, "Oh no! Is it raining outside?" I told her that it was not, and she said, "But it looks dark like when it's raining outside." I don't think the kid has seen the sun rise since she was about 10 months old! So, we got her dressed and went outside to watch the "sunset but in the morning." Precious!
She ate a good breakfast -- again, something I worry about because she rarely wants to eat for at least an hour after she gets up. The good news is that her teacher has a mid-morning snack time, so I know she won't absolutely starve before lunchtime.I managed to get everyone up, dressed, fed, and groomed and pictures taken in time to go take our turn in the infamous Greenwood morning traffic. It took us 35 minutes to make a 12-minute drive to the school, which is why on Monday morning, Abi will have another new adventure and board the big yellow bus -- which is what she is most excited about! She was pretty disappointed when I told her that Mommy and Daddy were taking her to school on her first day. So, more pictures to come of the bus-boarding on Monday -- she's not really old enough to be too embarrassed by mom's picture-taking obsession.

We walked her into her classroom, where we were met by her teacher, Mrs. Canada, who is an absolutely sweet woman! Abi hung her backpack up and immediately climbed into the reading nook with her friend Paige.
I was no longer needed at this point.
I did coax her out for one hug and kiss, though, before her cursury "Bye, Mom!"

I thought I was going to hold the waterworks in until I got to the car, but then her sweet teacher hugged me and said, "I'll take good care of your baby. I promise." I lost it. That's right -- she's MY baby, and I don't want to turn her over! I know she'll love it, though, and I will survive.

In the reading area with Paige.Abi will go back to school on Monday and is having a last stay-over at Grandma and Grandpa's house for a couple of days before she's a full-time student.

Brandon is already seeing the perks of Abi being in school. Yesterday it was very rainy in the morning, so he and Cam and I stayed home and played games, sat on the front porch and watched the rain, watched a cartoon together, read books . . . at lunch I said to him, "Hasn't this been a wonderful morning, just playing at home together and having fun?" Brandon said, "Yep! When Abi is at school and at Grandma's house, I can play whatever I want to and not have nobody bossing me!" Hysterical little man!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Backup Plans

Brandon is not a big fan of water. Up until about a month ago, bathtime was an excruciating experience for anyone within earshot! Even the thought of a drop of water in Brandon's eyes made him scream in a way that would get DHS called if we lived in a subdivision! He has not wanted to get in the pool at my parents' house, content to sit nearby in the little plastic pool with Camryn. We were swimming at my parents' house a few weeks ago, and Brandon decided he was ready to venture into the big pool. So, understandably, we put a one-piece swim suit with a built-in life jacket on him. Then, he wanted arm floaties. Then, he wanted to sit in an inflatable ring. Then, he wanted to float, in all of this gear, on top of an air mattress.

He is a man with a Backup Plan -- or three!

I was thinking about that when I read an excerpt from a book we've been studying in our life group called Crazy Love. The author writes, "I wrote this book because much of our talk doesn't match our lives. We say things like, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,' and 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart.' Then, we live and plan like we don't believe God even exists. We try to set our lives up so everything will be fine even if God doesn't come through. But true faith means holding nothing back. It means putting every hope in God's fidelity to His promises."

We are generally a people of "Backup Plans," much like Brandon had himself layered up in the pool. As Brandon's mom, standing three inches from the lad telling him to "Trust me!" it seemed ridiculous to me for him to feel the need to nearly suffocate himself in stuff that probably wouldn't save him anyway.

Our backup plans mostly rely on our own strength, our own abilities, our own understanding. When we stop and think about that, that is such a Backward Backup idea. I can imagine God standing alongside of us, saying "Trust me -- and take all that silly stuff off!"

Sunday, August 9, 2009

It's Not Like I Haven't Known

that this week would come -- the last full week with my first-born before she steps out into the world every day. I have known since the day she was born that I had 5 years and 4 months with her before she would walk the halls of a school, spending more time with her teacher and peers than with her mom and dad, having experiences every day that I know nothing about and having thoughts that, for the first time, I am not close enough all the time for her to lean over and share with me. I have cherished every day of the last 5 years, liking some days more than others but cherishing every one, nonetheless.
Nick and I decided when we were 16 years old and dating that we wanted to have a family and that raising that family would be one of our ultimate priorities in life. We have made sacrifices throughout the years, including lots of years of schooling and lots of part-time jobs to feed ourselves throughout the schooling, coupon-clipping, consignment store shopping, me putting on hold a career I love, brown-bagging, and often doing without stuff that others around us have, with the goal in mind of being able to raise our children ourselves. We didn't want to trade any time we have with our children for any of those other things. I can't imagine trading one day of frolicking in the backyard, building play-do animals, playing Candy Land, or even a chaotic outing to Wal-Mart for any amount of money in the bank or any material possession money could buy.
With this first day of kindergarten quickly approaching, I am more thankful now than I have ever been for our decision to give our children the gift of full-time family. Those first years go by so quickly, and they are the only years that our children will ever be truly ours.

God, thank you for entrusting these precious children to us. I pray you have found our parenting to be pleasing to you, up to this point, and that we have prepared Abi for this next stage in her life. Please be with her, helping her to continue to live out the Biblical principles she has been learning the past 5 years, in an environment that can be difficult and sometimes scary. Give Abi opportunities to share Love with those around her and the courage to do so. Give us wisdom for how to parent each of our children individually each day. I pray our home is always one that is comforting and safe for our family to come home to. We pray that our desires for our family are Your desires and nothing else. Thank you for our daily provisions, helping us to keep the long-range picture in mind, having the faith throughout that You would make it possible for our family. Amen.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bedtime Prayers

All 3 of the kiddos -- yes, you read those lonely words correctly -- are at Grandma and Grandpa's house!
I am enjoying a few days of quiet to complete some tasks, run some errands, talk in complete sentences to my husband, and eat/sleep/breathe when I want to.
However, the silence is kinda' empty. I don't fully realize every day just how much my children add to the joy of my life! One of the things I've missed the most the past few evenings is saying nighttime prayers with Abi. Brandon still mostly thanks God every night for his mommy and daddy, sissy, Camryn, truck pictures, and door-stopper (yep!). Abi, on the other hand, is beginning to really grasp the concept of talking to God about different things in her life and in the lives of others.
To soothe my lonely heart, I'll share a few snippets of Abi's recent nighttime prayers:
* God, please help my Mommy not be frustrated, and help me and brother and sister to be good while Daddy is at work.
* God, please help my Mommy love her husband, who is so nice and kind to her (I had to ask Nick if he's been prompting her with his prayers!).
* God, please help my Mommy to be thankful for aaalllll these kids of hers.
* God, thank you that you gave Daddy a wife, so that he would not have to be all alone here on Earth. (What?!?)
* God, help Mommy and Daddy not to fight when we're in the car.
* God, help Mommy to feel better about Bella (the little dog), so she will like her. (Can you say using prayer-induced guilt to manipulate Mom?)

Sunday, August 2, 2009


So, we're not a big vacation family, generally. Too expensive. Too tiring. Too much whining. Too few things to keep kids this age entertained in the car. Too much of a good thing.
So, we made a 2-day trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house, with a day spent at Magic Springs & Crystal Falls. Abi and Brandon had an "awesome" time, according to Brandon. Camryn had just as much fun being Grandma's buddy for the day! Even Bella dog had a good time playing with "Cousin Cooper."

That is one tired little man. He was too tired at this point to stand and wait in line!Grandpa & His GirlsExplorer / Welder / Chippendale Brandon at Grandma'sBella and Cousin Cooper playing tug-of-war