Monday, August 25, 2008

Season for Everything

Yep, there is a season for everything.

And my favorite includes late nights, sleeping in, Donut Day Fridays, the swimming pool, the lake, ice cream Mondays, and popsicles.
You guessed it - it's summer.
And ours is officially O.V.E.R.

The girls went back to school this morning, and I was not ready for it. Truly - just give me a few more weeks of summer, and I'd be so happy! I know most people are kinda anxious to send their kids packing. But I've loved having the girls home this summer. I like being around them. John loves having them around. And I like the laziness and freedom of summer.

And I am SO NOT READY to start having crazy mornings getting everyone ready, destrying the kitchen making multiple lunches and snacks, and spending each evening with homework.

We spent last week packing every last bit of fun in. We went on the boat. We had multiple play dates. We went for ice cream. Had sleepovers. Went swimming. Shopping. You name it, we did it.

Yesterday, we started the real preparations of going to school. Like shopping for all the food that will fill their lunch boxes. And ironing the official first day of school outfits.

We took our usual pictures of the girls with their backpacks on the front steps this morning. And I always drive them to school and walk them to class the first day. Once John and I got back in the van, it was so quiet! He missed them terribly, and didn't understand why they were gone all of a sudden.

So, we will eventually get back into the swing of things. My little girls are back to school. If I'm getting weepy at that, just wait till next week when I send my baby boy to preschool for the first time!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Last night was GNO!

(That stands for Girls Night Out, according to Hannah Montana.)

(And Hannah Montana had everything to do with last night, FYI.)

The girls and I planned a GNO last night. We started off at the mall, looking for first day of school outfits. Words that flowed from Emma's mouth consisted of "Oh. My. GOSH, Mamma." " for." "Oohhh! I.!"

Clara just skipped around, holding up cute pink dresses. After trying one on, she declared "Yeah, mamma, this just isn't really me."

Ryan met us at the mall to pick up John. We were parked next to each other, so when we backed out, the girls started blasting the "Girls Night" song by Hannah Montana with the windows down, so Ryan could hear it. When Hannah started singing "It's girls night, it's all right, without YOU!" the girls and I pointed to Ryan and then sped off. The girls couldn't stop laughing - it was a very big HAHA moment in their minds. (never occurred to them that daddy wanted NO PART in girls night!)

We ate a quick dinner, went to see the new American Girl movie, then we went bowling, then we went for ice cream. By then, my pocketbook was empty, and it was 10:30pm.

It was nice to spend some time with them, without the little guy tagging along. They had a great time, and fell into bed exhausted.

When they woke this morning, they wanted to know what other adventures we'd be having today!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Funny Moments

A few of my favorite comments from the kids the past few days:

On Sunday, Clara excitedley ran up to me with a "gift" in her hands. She handed me a small heavy object that was covered in a piece of printer paper. "Open it!"

Inside was a small ceramic box (that I already owned). "No, that's just holding your gift, mama. It's inside."

So I opened the box. Inside was............ my DENTAL FLOSS.

"Oh, wow! That's great!" I exclaimed.

She sighs a content sigh. And smiles big.

"I KNEW you'd love it!" she proclaims. :)

John (who is 2) falls asleep sobbing after throwing a massive fit about a popsicle.
I go in to get him when he wakes up.
First thing he says is: "Can I have popsicle?"
Me: "If you eat your lunch, then you can have one."
John: "Do you understand me? I just want a popsicle!!!"

I'm laying next to Clara, putting her to bed.
"Umm, mama? What day is it?"
"It's Monday, honey."
"Oh," she sighs, sounding defeated. "I have Wednesday undies on."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Food for Thought

Saturday morning, I stopped at the grocery store to get milk and garbage bags.

When I turned in to park, I noticed a bunch of moms and teens standing outside the two entrances. I quickly figured out where I could walk to try to avoid them. I really wasn't in the mood to be feel forced to buy popcorn or magazines to help support another marching band.

So I did my best to walk far away from the group of women. But sure enough, one trapped me. She quickly started talking, and I started trying to cut her off. But then a phrase caught my attention: "impoverished children in our county." They were volunteering for an organization that I have only heard of, and admired.
A few posts back, I casually mentioned that I'm blessed enough to never worry about not being able to feed my kids, and that we don't have to rely on free school food to fill their tummys. These women and teens outside the store were trying to make sure that hundreds of other children can eat, too. They help collect backpacks and food. Then, on Fridays, they fill backpacks with crackers, peanut butter, cans of soup and applesauce. And send them home with hundreds of children each weekend so that they can eat while they are away from school.

What an awesome thing to do.

I went in to the store, grabbed the two items I needed, and filled the cart with food for the backpacks. And for whatever reason, I was fighting back the tears as I shopped.

So many people in this area complain about what's called "busing." Our school system takes thousands of children from low income families, and buses them across town to schools in wealthier areas. Most parents in our area are not in favor of busing. They want their children's school to have lower "free and reduced lunch" ratios. I won't even get into why they think lower ratios have anything to do with their children, or why it matters.

But here's what hit me, as I pulled out of the store parking lot Saturday. If none of these children, who are so needy, were brought to our schools, then who would be there filling backpacks and making sure that they had enough to eat? Shouldn't we be greatful that we have the chance to serve and give back a tiny portion of what we have? Isn't that what God would want us to do?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Climbing Tree

When I look out my back windows, I see something that I appreciate very much. But before I say what it is, I will say that it's something that I wasn't always happy about.

3 years ago, Ryan and I were waiting anxiously for our new home to be built. After some trees in the backyard were bulldozed, we walked around back to get an idea of what our new yard would be like. We loved that we had some flat yard, and then woods. As we looked around, we saw something that upset us. A lot.

One of the trees right where the grass and woods met was leaning over. Not slightly, mind you, like the leaning tower of Pisa. Oh, no. This tree was at least at a 45 degree angle. The roots on one side were pulled out of the ground, and sticking up. The "top" of the tree was hanging way over into the back yard.

Our first thoughts were ones of slight anger. How dare the builder leave that almost dead tree hanging over into our yard? It's dangerous! Why does everyone else get perfect trees, and we are left with something that we'll probably have to pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars to have removed? The visions we'd had in our head of our perfect new backyard were getting very muddled. It seemed that everyone else had what we wanted. And we were left with the disfigured, problem tree.

It figures, we thought to ourselves.

After we moved in, we took a further look at that tree. It really wasn't dead at all. And not far from the base of the tree, there was another tree stump, perfectly positioned to give support to the big tree, and hold it up. The huge roots that stick out of the ground were alive and well. Ryan thought it was alive and sturdy enough to hold some weight.

So a few weeks later, on Christmas day, we hung a tire horse swing from it. And in the spring, we added a hammock. Because of it's angle, even little kids are able to climb it. Clara started gathering friends to follow her up the tree. Then the girls started sliding down it. It's become a neighborhood favorite. The girls call it their climbing tree.

Honestly, if that tree wasn't there, we wouldn't have a good place for their swing. And the kids wouldn't have a tree that was safe and easy to climb. Of all things, we ended up being........ THANKFUL......... for that tree!

What we thought was so terrible ended up being a blessing. Who would have thought? In the begining, it appeared to us that we were getting a bad deal. But it turns out that what we perceived as being unfair was actually to our benefit.

So when I look out my back windows, I see the climbing tree. And I'm reminded that what may appear to be a disappointment, may actually be a blessing in disguise.

I think life is full of these. If only we could take the time to look at problems with a different perspective, I think we'd be pleasantly surprised. There just may be a silver lining.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Blessings and Backpacks

I did a super big "Oh, no!" yesterday, and I feel terrible about it.

Our church is sponsoring a Bookbag Buddies program. Last weekend, we picked up the name of a little girl who is 9 or 10 years old. Like any other child, she needs a backpack and school supplies when she starts school in a few weeks. But she's depending on the kindness of strangers to get them for her.
We were excited to pull her name, and the girls started talking about what they would pick out for her. I went to Target yesterday, and all the school supplies were out. So I thought I'd pick a few things out, and wait for Emma and Clara to get the rest. Only, when I went into my purse to get the list, it wasn't there.


In between meltdowns, John had been messing with my purse. He must have pulled it out and dropped it somewhere. I couldn't find it. I reassured myself that maybe I'd been mistaken, and left it on the kitchen counter.
Today I searched everywhere possible, including the van. It's nowhere to be found. I wanted to cry.

We are supposed to turn the backpacks in this weekend. And some sweet girl won't be getting what she needs because of what happened. I'm hoping that somehow, somewhere, that list will turn up.

I can't even imagine what it would feel like to not be able to buy my kids the pencils and notebooks they need for school. Most of us, thankfully, will never know that feeling. Hopefully, none of us will never have nights where we pray that our kids can get through the night without dinner, just waiting for them to be able to fill their tummys with breakfast when they get to school the next morning.

When I shop with my kids for school supplies, their biggest worry will be whether to pick pencils with Hannah Montana or High School Musical. What an incredible problem to have.

I'm praying today that God gives me a way to get that little girl her needed supplies. And I'm saying an extra thank you for all of our blessings.