Saturday, May 30, 2009

There Goes the Neighborhood.

My husband got a cool new grill cover for his birthday in March. We just put it out this weekend. It's been cold and windy until recently and we were worried about storms taking the grill cover away. We wanted it to stay nice so we waited. It looks fabulous.

The only problem. The big Burnt Orange Longhorn in the middle. We live in the middle of Big Red Country. Where people not only bleed red they live it day in and day out. I'm an alum.

My husband is an alum of Texas (or as he says a "Texas Ex").

While I'm ok with this homage to the Longhorns, I'm worried about the neighbors.

On the one hand, it's on the back deck so not as much traffic. We have black and white patio furniture that looks great with the grill cover and a grey house with black shutters so the theme works. It's just that burnt orange in the middle.

I think Red goes better with grey and black. How about you? Guess you could say it's a good thing we have a few months before football season heats up.

On a serious note; our tomato plant is growing. We need to stake it this week. Even though I didn't give in to the topsy turvy plant the kids wanted, I think we might have big juicy tomatoes this summer.

Who knew I could grow things...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summer's Off To A Big Splash

The weather was perfect this weekend. Sunny, warm and occasionally even a cool breeze.

We enjoyed not only a great baseball and softball game but a wonderful weekend away at the Lake.

You might say a few of us have sunburns this morning that are preventing us from doing much that getting organized and cleaning. Guess I was not as good at reapplying the sunscreen as I thought, or our skin was so shocked to be so bare and see the sun it just got overly happy and red.

We had a great Sunday night fire pit with smores for all and great company. The neighbor's grand kids/family are perfect compliments to our kids/cousins and the shore and docks were busy this weekend.

My husband and I got to enjoy a few moments alone with A on the paddle boat. She is without a doubt funny. A fishing boat with a motor was coming down the cove with a big shore station on top of it; he was bringing it down the cove to it's owner.

A said, " Look he brought his Roof with him!".

M and C took to the water again like the water rats they are and C was thrilled that he was able to catch a fish with his new rod. Lots of time spent on the dock, but final success made it worth the time and energy.

M continues to be the dare/ extreme sport person in the family and she loved every moment of tubing they could do. No fear!! She also caught both a toad and a turtle. Thankfully she believes in catch and release as I'm not quite ready to add a few reptiles to our family.

What a blessing it is to get away from it all and enjoy time with our family, my parents, cousins and Aunts and Uncles. The memories we are creating and the family spent will last a lifetime.

Thank you to all the soldiers, wives, husbands and military professionals who gave their lives, time and strength to make our relaxing Memorial Day Weekend at the Lake possible. I salute you!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

School's Out. Schedules Relax.

What a week! Wednesday, we had no less than 5 events; 3 of them at the same time. My husband joked with the baseball coach that if only he believed in plural marriage. We could have used an extra person that day to help with running, attending and cheering on the kids.

That night alone, we had "Preschool Non-Graduation", Brownie Fly Up Ceremony to Juniors, and our son's Baseball Game across town. Of course, I also was in charge of getting 10 gallons of ice cream to the ceremony. It was a good thing that C was around to help that afternoon. We couldn't bring the ice cream up to school until that afternoon when there was room in the freezer to store it all.

A finished Preschool and, since she's not attending Kindergarten next year, didn't graduate, but had a fabulous time attending the ceremony as there was cake involved. Instead, Nana and Papa bought her a Beginner's Bible to celebrate her "graduation." She was thrilled.

M is now a Junior Girl Scout and we had a fabulous all school ceremony with the Brownies. Ice Cream Sundaes for all 150 people. Next thing up is camping in July at an air conditioned Lodge with a swimming pool. What a smart leader she must have. (OK, its me) 3rd Grade is now over and she got a fantastic report card. We are so proud of the hard work she put out this semester. Honor Roll Girl.

C is finished with 6th grade. After two years with the same team of kids and teachers, he'll move to the other side of the building in the fall. 7th Grade seems so grown up. He finished strong with all A's. Golf and Summer Boy Scout Camp are on his agenda this summer along with "hanging out." My husband says I should anticipate a lot of "vegging" as it's what 12 year old boys do.

I'm excited to think that I will be spending less time in my car and at "meetings". My plan this summer is to work on the gardening gene, teach some kids how to do laundry, and knit something like a felted purse.

Hello Summer.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

MAY: The Month Of Chaos and Thanks

May, the month that produces insanity in mothers with school aged children. I used to be what my grandmother called a May Person that is someone who loved the month of May and looked forward to it all year long.

My birthday is this month. My oldest daughter's birthday is this month. It's finally looking like spring around here.

But it's also MAY. The month in which the school, preschool, sports team, church, etc. try to cram in as much as possible before summer vacation starts. We've had two band concerts, honors night at school, baseball and softball games along with practices, dance recital practices, scouting events, field trips and, of course, end of the year projects. I'm not loving May so much this year. It's been too busy.

It's hard sometimes to catch your breath in the midst of all the chaos. I'm trying to savor the moments and remember that, in a few short days, school will be out and we'll have a long summer ahead of us for sleeping in, having fun, and enjoying the quiet.

I'm also trying to keep in perspective that this too shall pass and, if I get too wrapped up in the chaos, I'll miss the joy. I know deep in my heart that these moments are fleeting. These days of busyness are just a season in my life. Someday, the shoes that overtake my laundry room will be gone and in their place will only be memories. I don't want to just "go through the motions" I want to live and enjoy.

A family at our church this week was in a horrible car accident. Their four year old daughter died as a result and the rest of the family has injuries to the body and hearts that will take a long time to heal. In an instant, their lives have been changed. Knowing this, I have a different outlook on MAY. I now see it at as the month in which we get to do a lot of fun things.

Just think if I had not had "checked out" of these events and gone only through the motions to survive May, I would have missed...

I'd miss the look on M's face when she saw that her brother and sister had given her Bendaroos (as seen on TV) for her birthday.

I'd miss the goofy look on C's face when I made him have his picture taken last night at Honor's night. He so did not want to go and we made him. We might have promised ice cream afterwards, but we said he had to go because of his commitment to the school. Summa Cum Laude is something to be proud of. All A's. I'm so proud of this young man.

I'd had been too busy to catch A's joke last night when after dinner my husband said "Go in Peace and Serve the Lord" and I said "Thanks be to God" and A said " Let's go have a donut".

She was referencing the end of our church service when the worship leader says these words and then she gets to go out and have a donut before Sunday School. We are not sure if she intended to be funny or not, but we got a good chuckle.

I realize today more than ever that having these moments are priceless. Not only do they shape our family, they shape our future. Sharing moments at Zoo Field Trips, Field Day, Brownie meetings, and Boy Scout ceremonies cement us together. They make us a family.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Nine Years Flown Quickly By... Happy Birthday M

This is M a few days after birth. She had to "n...e sunbath" for some jaundice issues.

M at 19 months: Christmas 2001

M on her 2nd Birthday. She got her glasses the day before. What a new world they opened to her.

Today is M's 9h Birthday. She officially turned 9 years old at 1:29 p.m. CST.
I remember that afternoon like it was yesterday. We had left the house early in the morning to go to the hospital for the induction. There had been thunderstorms the night before and, when we exited the elevator, there was our doctor. She was finishing a very busy night.
Since we liked surprises, we were still up in the air as to whether we'd be bringing home a boy or a girl. Both "going home" outfits were waiting at home for my husband to bring up later. There was a "I'm the Big Brother" t-shirt on the kitchen table waiting for C to wear.
We were ready. At least we thought. My father who always seems to make it to the hospital just in time to see the brand new baby (usually waiting in the hallway the last hour or so) had just brought P up a sandwich when the time came. I'm not sure P got to eat it all.
When the doctor announced it was a girl, I think I was a little shocked. A girl how do we do a girl? She was stunning with the biggest blue eyes ever.
M has been a delight. She's feisty, independent, strong willed, determined, compassionate, and passionate and all girl. While she never asked to be the middle child, she has taken to her role of big sister so well and she makes her self known enough that we never worry about her being lost in the shuffle.
On this her 9th birthday, I can't help but look back at the blond hair curly girl who got glasses at the age of 2 and never once complained about them to the girl, who today,will go from dance class to a softball game all within an hour. Finally, she'll have her best friend spend the night and they will spend hours giggling and telling secrets while they watch movies in her room. She'll even let A in for a little while. Dad will fix over easy eggs in the morning with sausage and we'll wait for June for her official party at the lake. Like she said, it's too cold to swim yet so let's wait.
She is a girl with a mission and I can't wait to see what God has planned for her life. I'm sure the ride will be full of fun, challenges, and lots of joy. I'm so glad that I'm along for the journey.

M in her Cat in the Hat Dance outfit last year

M donated 11.5 inches of her hair last April to Locks of Love. A year later it's almost all grown back. This girl has hair.

Fashion Show time last night. We went shopping at Justice for part of her birthday gift. This girl can shop too.

M today eating her breakfast in bed. Cinnamon Toast Crunch-her request.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

We Must Be City Folk

Driving to Preschool today, we were talking about all the fun A would have with her grandparents. She was giggly with excitement.

We started talking about how other grandparents would be there and how much fun it would be to meet them. She reminded me again that I was not invited.

G's grandparents will be there she said. G is her future husband.

His grandparents are farmers she said.

I know I replied, isn't that cool.

They grow bacon on their farm.

They grow bacon?

Yeah G's grandparents have bacon growing in their garden.

A, do you know that's not where you get bacon?

Well I know you buy it at the store, but his grandpa grows it in his garden.

We are city folks. Yep, no other explanation.

The visual picture of bacon growing in the garden has caused me to crack up more than once today. I think the person on the treadmill next to me at the gym this morning thought I was loosing it!

G's mom Jenn has volunteered to take my city children to her parents farm this summer to show them the reality of rural life and agriculture. I'm thinking that A might just become a vegetarian when she figures out where both bacon and chicken come from.

City Folk.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Oh The Things I Have Heard

My children are all talkers. Two more than the other (sounds like Sesame Street), but they all express themselves well with little or no prompting. Occasionally, we have to remind them that all their thoughts do not need to be spoken. While their mother is still learning this lesson, we are hoping to teach them young and early that it's OK to think/ponder without always sharing everything with everyone.

Over the last few days, as we have both grieved and celebrated the life of Grammy, their comments have caused me to chuckle, cry, or feel deep tugs at my heartstrings. They are all processing grief differently, but I am often amazed at how honest, deep and thoughtful they are in this time.

On what would have been my grandmother's 97th Birthday, I thought I'd share some of the things I've overheard these past few days. They will give you pause and a good chuckle:

* C at the service yesterday told my mother; " You never know what you have until you lose it"

* C when he saw the songs for the service was a little disappointed. He said, there are no "good songs" on here. He loves contemporary Christian Music but was thinking more along the lines of Toby Mac, Mercy Me and Chris Tomlin. My dad had picked out Grammy's favorites; Amazing Grace, The Old Rugged Cross and the Gaither Classic " Jesus There is Just Something About that Name." All classic Grammy songs and perfect for the setting. I told him his children would say the same thing about his funeral songs. How old fashioned. He said Amazing Grace sounded familiar but with different words. Guess he missed " My Chains are Gone".

* A at the cemetery yesterday asked, "why is Grammy still in there. She's in heaven. I don't get it." She also wanted to know where all the dead people where. When we told, her she looked at us like we must be crazy.

* M before the service yesterday was nervous about "seeing" Grammy. I assured her she did not have to go up and see her. She did and observed that she was glad she still had her nails done and, as usual, pretty in pink.

* A this morning said, "I guess we won't be going to see Grammy anymore at her place. Will we mom?" "That's sad", she said.

* A last night after a long day said, "I had a good time at Grammy' s thing. Is that OK?" She was trying to process the fact that she played with cousins, laughed, and had fun with the fact that maybe she should have just been sad. I told her Grammy would have loved watching her have fun with her cousins! That is what Grammy liked to do best.

* M was happy this morning when I told her the sun was shining on Grammy's Birthday. M pondered it and said every birthday from now on will be sunny for Grammy in heaven. I bet the party has already started.

I'm sure the party has started and all the guests are wearing pink just like we did yesterday in her honor.

Tomorrow is Annette's Preschool Grandparents Day. Her Nana and Papa are coming to the party. She is thrilled. I think the timing of this is perfect. It is a little reminder that life goes on and that grandchildren/grandparents are there to treasure. She won't tell me what they have planned or what is happening. It's all a secret and I'm not a grandparent. She did tell me that when I'm a grandparent to her children, I can come then. Please Lord, let that be decades from now, we need to get through grade school first!