Monday, October 31, 2011

By Grace Through Faith:Mr C's Confirmation

 Mr C reaffirmed his baptismal vows on Sunday at his Confirmation.  He stood before the congregation and acknowledged that it was only through faith in Jesus and by his amazing Grace that he can enter heaven one day.  He received the blessing of words and prayers by the pastors as they shared his confirmation verse and prayed that God will also be the focus of his life.

I'm so grateful for that his confirmation is not the end of Mr C's faith journey.  He does not see confirmation as a graduation from learning and growing in his faith and knowledge of Jesus. Rather, the knowledge he's gotten from three years of confirmation classes have encouraged him to look deeper into the Word.  He's asked deep questions about faith, doctrine, and Biblical truth.  These lively discussions have been just another spark in his soul (and ours).

I love seeing Mr C's heart and hearing his deep faith grow and mature.  I'm proud of the man of faith he is becoming.  The testimony of his faith is evident in the choices he's making and the goals he has for the future.  I know there will be bumps in the road and there might be times that he will doubt or question his faith or God's plans.  My prayer is that the Word he has hidden in his heart, the faith that is deep in his soul, and the Grace of God will build him up in times of trouble.

My husband and I know that God has big plans for Mr C in the future and are anxious to see how they unfold.  Our prayer is that Mr C will always live out his confirmation verse and that it will be the life verse that leads him daily.

Of course, to celebrate this big day, we had a great dinner at our new favorite Thai restaurant.  Mr C tried the Thai Iced Tea, but quickly realized that he's more of hot tea fan.  Miss M of course was willing to trade with her brother!  Miss A even enjoyed the food, which if you know her, is rather impressive.   P and I decided that we are now entering the phase of "dinning out" where its worth it to go a little nicer and enjoy the experience.  Who knows Miss A might even request a real restaurant next year for her birthday. No more BK for us!

Romans 1:16 New International Version (NIV)
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

She's Trained and Ready

Miss M is now Infant and Child CPR trained as part of her Red Cross Babysitting Certification training . This means she's now ready to babysit real live children. Your children!

Miss M along with a few of her friends and fellow Balcony Girls spent their day off last week sitting in a classroom for six hours learning all about taking care of children, how to save their lives, and what to do in case of an emergency.

M learned how to interview the parents of prospective babysitting families, the proper diapering of babies, how best to handle strangers at the door, choking children, and what to do if your customer is late returning home.  I sat in on a little of the session and I'm not sure how I ever took care of my own three children.

The girls learned how to give CPR to babies and it was not the old fashioned rescue breathing way, but by chest compressions.  Miss M supposedly got a little carried away, and might have broken a few ribs but the "child' survived.  Isn't that all that really matters. Hopefully, this is a skill she'll never need!  I've been CPR trained for years and am thankful its a card in my wallet I've never needed to "activate."

I can hardly believe my little girl is at the age that she could be in charge of other children.  Not because she's not ready, but where have years gone?  She was the little girl excited to have a babysitter come to our house to play.  She was the girl who would wait at the door for her favorite sitter so they could make crafts and read books.

Now, she'll be the girl that other little girls and boys are waiting for, the sitter that moms will call because they know Miss M will play with their children and not just sit on the couch reading a fashion magazine.  Mr C told his sister that, if she did a good job, she could earn good money and buy herself the Itouch she wants.  Of course, he could buy one today with all his umpiring money.  Miss M said with Christmas coming maybe he could just be the good brother and buy her one today!

Miss M made up some adorable little cards announcing her skills and newly acquired certificates.  She can hardly wait to hand them out to Miss A's little friends' families.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Life Lessons: Not Everyone is a Winner

There are winners and losers in life and sports.  Often, as parents and coaches, we might try to sugar coat this reality, but our kids see through these veiled attempts to make everyone feel like a superstar.  Just go a little league baseball game or soccer match and even when no one keeps score, every player on the field knows who scored the most points and won the game.  We might say "everyone is a winner," but the reality is sometimes we lose, often the other team is better than us, and some days we get out played and end up in second place. Or worse.

Mr C just finished his first ever season of Football as a freshman.  He played on the freshman only team and then suited up for a few Reserve games that had both freshman and sophomore players. He wasn't a star player and he didn't get in on every play.  But when he played, he gave his best.  One game he even got "hit" and was thrilled that he even had some bruises to show for his effort.

Now, I think Mr C would be the first to admit that his school is not known as a football powerhouse.  They are a small school with about 220 students in four grades, but due to the fact the school wants to compete against bigger schools in academic competitions (drafting, engineering, speech, math, science), they "play up." and compete against these bigger schools in athletics as well. 

It can make the match ups in football especially a little uneven. In football, its all about having depth, multiple players who can play a particular spot.  When you only have 62 boys in the freshman class, its hard to be very deep.  Don't think I'm some football expert.  All this info I've gleaned this year on the sidelines was from my husband.  When I cried foul the first few games thinking the other team was stacking the field with upperclassman, my honey tried to calm me down by giving me these insights.

All of this leads to the fact that Mr C's team did not win a game this season. At times, they were crushed by the other team and other times they put up a gallant fight and just fell a little short.  What I was most proud of was how they played the game.  Each and every time, they gave it their all, they never gave up, they never lost spirit and each time they went into the game with the goal of winning and giving their best. 

Watching the Varsity team play with the same result while seeing and hearing the school body cheer for them with gusto brought me great pride.  These upperclassmen continued to fight until the end, to give it their all on the field, and proved that real winners don't necessarily win games or awards, but show grit and determination.  The lessons these young men are learning will take them far in life.  In reality, few of these young men will play football in college, the scholarships they earn won't be for their achievement on the playing field. 

There is something to be said for being a gracious loser. Showing up on the field and giving it your all when time and time again you walk off the field with a loss takes courage, faith and strength that you don't always see in young men (or women) today.  It's an old fashioned trait called Valor which means great courage in the face of danger, especially battle.  Seeing it among these young men and their coaches gave me such hope for this generation.

Valor is a life lesson that can only be achieved when you've been through the battle and fought the good fight.  There is so much to be said for that.  In my book, these young men are the real winners in life.

Friday, October 28, 2011

This Girl Loves to Have Fun

Miss A had Thursday of last week off from school for Parent Teacher's Conferences.  As the sole elementary student in our family, it meant that she was all alone in having a day off.  Perfect excuse for a trip to our favorite children's museum about one hour away with one of our "little" friends.

We had a great morning exploring Space, Water, Gravity, Farming and the world of Engineering.  Really, where else can you experience so much in so little time?  Miss A's imagination was running full as we played each other in football and volleyball, as she grocery shopped to fill her basket with healthy choices, and trying time and again to make a ball go up a chute of piping tubes. 

I've been to this museum probably two dozen times with various children in our family/friends and cousins and its a fun experience every time.  Miss A and I had a fun time with our little buddy and his Mom.  According to Miss A, our lunch out at the Noodles Company allowed her to eat her favorite Mac and Cheese ever.  It's so yummy and made with real to goodness cheese.  "Well  I do like your Pioneer Woman mac and cheese too mom, but this is really good."  I believe those were Miss A's words when she saw my sad puppy dog face.

I love to watch this girl of mine have fun and experience new and old things.  She is a real joy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Balcony Girls: Lesson Two, Pumpkin Crafts and Confidence

I'm really loving leading this group of sixth grade girls through the Balcony Girls material.  Yesterday was our second meeting of the year and, since it was a week before Halloween, I used the fourth lesson which included an adorable craft you make with pumpkins.

Thankfully, this meeting did not involve a "life lesson" for the leader. 

The topic was Confidence and from the look on the faces of the girls as we sat around the dining room table, it hit home.  I loved the visual of crumpling up a crisp twenty dollar bill and asking the girls what the value of the bill was now that it was all crumpled up and messy.  The examples of gossip, rumors and friends breaking your trust as a way you might get "messy"  really struck a cord with each girl. 

Making our Pumpkin Flower Pots and getting all "messy" on the deck and digging out the guts of the pumpkin so that we could put a little "beauty" back into it was a great visual.  My back deck was a mess of pumpkin seeds and potting soil at the end, but it matched my previously clean kitchen with the remnants of the "homemade apple pies" we made as our snack using biscuits and apple pie filling. Yummo!  But a little mess was so worth it in order to connect with these girls and pass on these life lessons.

It does my heart good to be leading these girls through our Balcony Girls/Scouting year.  Next on the agenda is to make homemade fleece blankets to display our GS patches.  We've even talked of creating our own balcony girl patches so we can remember these lessons in the years to come.  Better get my creative juices flowing.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Loving Uniform Life

Mr C is really enjoying wearing a uniform to school. No, really!  Seriously!  In fact, he might be enjoying it so much that he's thinking we should petition the elementary and Jr high schools his sisters attend and convince them to implement uniforms.  He told Miss M that she and her friends would really benefit from uniforms.  It would allow them to sleep in more, no stress over what to wear, and they would do better in school because they wouldn't be looking at each others clothes and shoes!  Gotta love how quickly he's jumped on this bandwagon and how "willing" he is to pass on his knowledge with Miss M.

Last week was Spirit Week at Mr. C's school meaning the "uniform" rules were waved a little bit to allow for some celebration.  Monday was Crazy Sweater day and I'm sad to say that mine was closet he raided for that event.  Mr C said he got a lot of complements on my Norwegian Sweater. I told him to hold his tongue as it's still in my rotation of wearing ( I love it still B& B- almost 12 years later) and at least I don't have any Christmas sweaters anymore.

Tuesday was Flashback day and he asked his father if he had any "old fashioned" ties that he could wear.  My husbands response got a big laugh from me and a confused reaction from the rest of the family.  He stated, "All my clothing is old fashioned, you are the only people who get new stuff!"  Guess this makes Christmas shopping easy, he wants new ties.  ( I could go into how my husband is now jealous of C's fresh new dressy wardrobe including new shoes, ties, and dress socks but I'm not stupid, P reads this blog)

Mr C's flashback day outfit however was the best ever.  He wore his father's University of Texas fraternity shirt.  P wore this shirt to carry in the big Texas flag at UT games!  It fit like a glove and I think my husband might have been the one having flashbacks to his old college days.  He might have even threatened C not to spill any lunch on it and might have suggesting stripping at lunch to protect the shirt.  Thankfully, it's a single sex school! 

Mr C said that he got quite a few cheers and jeers wearing the UT shirt and he came home without a spill on it.  Thank goodness.

Wednesday was mismatch Day which meant that Mr C, who normally prides himself on wearing smashing outfits, went to school with a tie, shirt, and pant combination that clashed.  Let's just say I think he looked like your average young man. 

Thursday was the last football game of the season, so the boys were allowed to wear Spirit Gear and they could even wear jeans to school.  A sweatshirt and jeans !  Mr C was excited, but admitted that while it was fun to "dress down" he really did notice a difference in how the day went and how it almost didn't seem like school.

I'll admit I'm loving uniforms too, however it has made sock put away a little more difficult.  My husband says I should just put the "nice" socks in C's drawers and the "holey" ones in his.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Trip to the Apple Orchard

We are always in search of fun fall things to do as a family and last Sunday's family outing was probably one of our best in the past few years. We went to a small town nearby known for all things "apple" and had a blast exploring nature, picking apples, and just marveling at Gods' beautiful creations.

We could not have asked for more perfect weather.  It was sunny and in the mid sixties; perfect for a light sweatshirt.  Our first stop was a tree farm that Miss M and I had visited a few years ago with her Girl Scout Troop and we enjoyed sharing the adventure with Mr C and Miss A.  There were hammocks to make out of fabric, a tall tree house to climb, and a trail that took us deep into the woods. 

Miss A complained that she had never walked so much in her life, but the huge smile on her face told of her joy.  Mr C believed that the sign declaring the trail at 2/3 of a mile was just to trick unsuspecting guests into venturing out on a forced march.  In his "expert" opinion, it was closer to 2.5 miles!  (The Boy Scout comes through)  Miss M's only complaint was that there was so much to see "off " the trail including big drop offs next to streams, walking paths that promised treasures, and of course trees that would have been perfect to climb.  Too bad mom and dad are such rule followers that we made her stay on the path.

There were so many photo ops; the bridge over the leaf covered stream, the walking path covered with leaves of all colors, and the "three little bears" chairs that were just adorable.  Even big man Mr C looks mini in that big chair.  Next year, we are dragging the kids there in their Sunday best and capturing a Christmas Card moment.  This year was all about making the memories and having fun.

Finally, our afternoon would not have been complete without a trip to the orchard for "pick your own apples."  When the hay rack ride driver told us to be sure to sample the different types to help us pick which ones we like the most, some members of our family took him at his word.  I think between Mr P and Mr C a least 10 apples were consumed.  Miss A and I decided that Jonigold were our favorites, while Miss M and the boys are divided between Winesap and Braeburns. 

Really, can anything taste as good as fresh fruit right off the tree? They are right when they say that Fresh Local is the best!  Our ten pound bushel of apples is nearly gone, just a few days later and I was told in no uncertain terms that I should just leave them plain, no apple crisp, no apple pies (which is good since I don't know how to make pie crust anyway.) or any other apple "snack."

We finished off the afternoon at the cafe eating apple pie, sampling apple wines and apple slushies, and resting our happy bodies before calling it a day!  I think this could become one of my favorite top ten days of the year!  Happy family equals Happy Momma.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Amazing Race Season 19: Go Big or Go Home

It's our favorite time of the year, Amazing Race season, and it is time to kick back on Sunday nights and watch a little adventure.  This season started off  a little differently with no one eliminated the first week, and two teams kicked off the 2nd week making it hard to draw teams until the now 9 teams were finalized.  With only nine teams, I volunteered to be one man down from the beginning.  I figured I'd "go big or go home" and would pick a fancy restaurant and would hold out hope of finally making it to the finale and winning.  I am the only one who has yet to win.

My team (random drawing obviously) was Kaylani and Lisa the Cocktail Waitresses from Vegas or as Miss M calls them "the Show Girls from Sin City!"  My restaurant choice: Bonefish Grill.  Go big or go home remember was my theme.  Of course who knew that the first week out I'd be going home?  I'm out. 

Thankfully, I enjoy cheering for other teams too.  In fact, as it became evident that my team was going to be out, Miss A jumped up and said not to worry as she'd be sharing with me.   Mr C and Miss M volunteered too, but they weren't as enthusiastic.  My husband volunteered too, but I think it's because he was just thrilled no Bonefish Grill.

Here's our picks for Season 19:  All randomly drawn

Miss M: 
  • Amant and Marcus (former Pro Football Player)- Red Mango for dinner
  • Bill and Cathy (grandparents) Panera for Lunch
Mr C:
  • Ernie and Cindy (newly engaged) El Agulia Mexican Restaurant
  • Liz and Marie (twin sisters)  Cine and Dine Movie Theater
Miss A:
  • Justin and Jennifer ( brother and sister) Five Guys
  • Laurence and Zac (father and son)  Yogurt Shop and Homemade Chicken Nuggets
  • Andy and Tommy (pro snowboarders) Netties Mexican Cafe
  • Jeremy and Sandy (engaged couple) Stellas Hamburger Joint

I think this is going to be a great season even if there is no shot of me winning.  Now, I can watch without trepidation of wondering who is going to be eliminated.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Life Lessons: Facing the Music after a Goof Up

Miss M came home from school last Tuesday and told me that I should never show my face again at her school. I was the laughing stock of 6th grade.  No less than 500 people had come up to her and asked if it was her mother that had run over that stop sign.  They called me the idiot, the crazy mom, and the stop sign lady. 

At first, my thought was fine; I'm never going to that place again.  I don't like confrontation and hate teasing so it's like my worst nightmare. 

However. that's not the lesson I want to teach my children. I want them to stand up for themselves and for others. I want them to tackle the "tough stuff" and not just hide it under the rug.  Of course, I had the opportunity to show my face at school the very next day when Miss M had her choir concert and I had to do it all alone.  C was at football, M was at soccer, and P had a dinner meeting.  Just me. 

To soften the blow in my heart, I'd made cookies for the assistant principal and office staff and took them with as a thank you for their efforts on my behalf.  Within minutes of my arrival (1/2 hour before the concert so M could rehearse), I'd run into another assistant principal who shared how funny she thought it was that it was me, someone so many of the staff knew. Then, it was the principal who asked if my day was going better than the previous one and hopefully no more accidents.

Sitting in my seat waiting for the concert and knitting away, I figured I'd made it, no worries.  Then I heard the family behind me talking about the "funniest thing ever" about a crazy women who ran over a stop sign.  They laughed and chuckled at what an idiot she must have been.  So distracted.  Must have been talking on her phone.  Really can you believe someone could be that stupid.

I just sat there. Silent. Calm. You know the real life lesson here is that I could have been that women chuckling at another's calamity. I could have been sharing stories of how stupid other people are, judging them, and making value statements without facts.  I've done it before. In my mind, I've said "idiot" when others have messed up.  Gossiped about others who have done dumb things without thinking.

It was hard to "hear" of my goof up and know they were laughing at me; not with me.  But it was a lesson in humility, a reminder not to be that person who laughs about someone else or judges others too harshly.  Eating crow is not easy.  Walking into a placewhere you are afraid people (OK, sixth graders along with all the staff/teachers) are laughing at you and facing it to some small degree isn't easy.  But, as my husband so kindly pointed out, it's better to laugh at yourself then to make it a big deal.  By tomorrow, someone else will do something else that's stupider and you'll be back page news.

Yes, I was the laughing stock of my daughter's middle school for a few days.  In some respects, I should have been as it was stupid thing to do.  However, it's a life lesson that I'm glad I could take for the "team" as it's easy to judge, gossip, or laugh at someone else until that person is you.  I need to not only watch where I am going when I drive, I also need to watch my tounge when I rush into judge.

Next Lesson on Facing the Music will be the Auto Body Shop.......

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Freestyle Preacher Man

For theology class, Mr C was asked to read a book by a Christian Author and then give a persuasive speech outlining why the rest of the class should read the book.  Now to put it in perspective, I should say that Mr C hates to read.  Unlike his two sisters and mother, he's never meet a book he's loved or been drawn to read just for fun.  He reads only what is required and it's still a challenge to get him to read that. 

Now don't be feeling sorry for the boy, he can read. He's been reading at a 12th grade level for six years.  In fact, he scored higher on the reading part of the ACT test in 7th grade than the math portion.  Math you will remember is his favorite subject. (Yuck.  Sometimes I wonder where this child came from!)

Of course because his mother loves to read, I had plenty of books to offer the boy.  He took both David Platt's Radical and Francis Chan's Crazy Love.   Not easy reads, but oh so powerful.  Crazy Love was his final choice and Radical went home with another unsuspecting young man.  I'm thinking that book might have scared his parents and him, but hey that's the gospel for you.  It will rock your world.

He loved the Crazy Love.  In fact, he read it all and is thinking of reading it again this winter after football season when he can really digest its deep thoughts.  Now that's my boy!

Mr C is a little radical himself in his faith.  If you don't believe me just ask Miss M who dies of embarrassment each Sunday during worship when Mr. C will do the actions to Days of Elijah or to Love the Lord Your God.  The boys in Mr C's math class at school (all sophomores and then Mr C) call him the Freestyler for his prayers before class starts.  Most boys say the Lords Prayer or a just a quick Thank You God prayer, but not Mr C.  He prayers protection for the football team on game days, clear minds on test days and gratitude on early dismissal days! Freestyle prayers, what a gift.

Here's Mr C's speech on the book Crazy Love:

    Have you ever wondered if we are missing it? Just take a moment to process this. the creator of all the Universe and everything around you, loved you so much that he sent His Son to die for you. Jesus died for you, one of the worst deaths imaginable, while you were still a sinner.  Would you die for a man like Osama bin Laden or Hitler? God did the equivalent for you.  We just don't have the capacity to love like Him.
   That is what Crazy Love is all about. The author Francis Chan, did a great job explaining how much God loves us, in a way we can understand. One of his main points in the book is to profile a lukewarm Christian. This is somebody who does things to be good, but doesn't really have a real relationship with God. Chan talks about how God doesn't want a lukewarm person, but commands us to follow him. He doesn't say" when it fits your schedule" or "how ever you want it" God wants us to love Him, be obsessed with Him.
   You should read this book because it will show you what Christ wants you to live like, because when you are madly in love it changes everything!

Preach it brother, preach it!  Love that boy!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It Will Be Well Worth Your Time

Miss A has a way with words.  She often uses phrases that are a way beyond a normal seven year old daily vocabulary and, for the most part, she uses them in the right context.  She'll say things that get right to the heart of the matter and often tug at those heartstrings as well.  Daily, she'll say things that stop me in my tracks or give me a giant chuckle.

My husband says she repeats a lot of the phrases that I use with other adults or say to either my mother or husband in conversations.  While I hate to admit he's right, he is.  Sometimes, though, she'll say things that I know I've never said!

This week alone she's said things that I just want to document for future reference.  On Wednesday night, I was at knitting and Mr C was at grandparents night at his school (with both sets of Grands!!) so P was home with the girls.  It was a perfect Indian Summer Night and, now that Miss A knows how to ride her bike, she and Miss M are outside ridding along whenever they can.

P was inside reading when Miss A comes in and tells him that he needs to come outside. "It will be well worth your time" she said.  So, outside P goes and she directs him to walk up the hill with her to watch her bike ride.  You see, she's now learned how to start at the top of the hill and ride all the way down the hill by herself without stopping. Y'all, its a big hill and this is only day four of no training wheels.  But she did it and without a doubt it was well worth P's time to watch.  You Go Girl!

The second incident was Thursday morning at the breakfast table. It was just Miss A and I as the rest of the crew leaves early.  I was going through our plan for the day and I asked her if she knew what day of the week it was.  She replied, "PE day."  Yes, it s the day you have gym class, but what "day "of the week is it really. "Well, it's Thursday." 

I asked her if she remembers what happens on Thursdays.  I have drop off at dance for M at 3:45 and then have to rush to Miss A's school for pickup at 3:55 which means I go through the drive up lane rather than park and exit the car to get her. It gives me about five extra minutes and I need every last one of them.

She told me she's knows that its "drive thru" day, but she doesn't like it one bit. She said she can't understand why Miss M can't get to dance even earlier or why I can't park and come get her no matter the time. I went on to explain that two weeks ago I did rush to pick her up, parked the car, and ran to the building only to "slide" thru the crossing path wipe out and scrape up my knee and elbow.

That's right she said, "it's all about you, don't forget I'm the one waiting and waiting for you!"  My that girl has moxie.  I said sorry Miss A, but its drive up for you.

Seriously people I could not make this up.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Balcony Girls Begins

We are looking to try something new with Miss M's Girl Scout troop this year so we are incorporating the Balcony Girls curriculum from Sally Couglin and I'm loving it.  This is now our seventh year of being "together"' and, while the numbers have shrunk, most of these girls have been with me from the very beginning.

Last year when M made the jump to the junior high the dynamics of our troop changed, I'll admit I struggled with the girls and how best to make it fun, relevant, and life impacting.  Seeing all the drama that marks pre-teen and teenage girls, I wanted to help these girls handle the changes ahead and also just have fun being girls.

I'll admit I'm not a camper. I'm also not one who has a lot of domestic skills in my back pocket that I can pull out and share how to sew, carve wood, build a fire or rough it in the wilderness.  I'm a suburban mom and it shows.  However, one thing that Girl Scouting taught me a young girl was how to be a leader, how to stand up to peer pressure, and to be confident in my abilities.

Balcony Girls takes a lot of these skills and life lessons that I've so much wanted to share with my girls and puts it in a lesson that can be done once a month/or more in an hour and half and includes a snack, lesson and often a craft to drive home the concept.  It does all the work for me!  Plus, because of the way the lessons are layed out, I can use them in the confines of Girl Scouting and the girls will get the best of both.

So this year, we are bringing the troop into my home once or twice a month right after school. Our first lesson was on caring and we talked about how to build people up rather than tearing them down. We role-played giving people our "applause and cheering for them" and felt what it felt like to be the one giving and the one receiving.  We talked of filling up each other's  buckets and realizing why some girls act "mean" or bully when all they are really looking for is someone to fill them up a little.

Let me tell you these girls filled my bucket this day.  It had been a rough afternoon and I had so much fun chatting with the girls, giggling, and learning.  Each girl got a special Balcony Girl journal that they wrote a little something about our lesson that I'm keeping for them (in a locked drawer with no peaking) each time.  Sitting on the back deck, they had a chance to just think for a minute what it meant to be a person who cared.

Two girls told me that this was the best meeting they had been to ever.  It was intimate, private and they really connected.  Miss M said it just felt right to be in our home doing this rather than the industrial cafeteria at the school.  We've planned a tea party for later this month, we'll be making a blanket to for our Girl Scout badges, and have some great ideas for field trips we want to work around the GS and Balcony Girl materials.

New life into a old troop; fabulous.  Life lessons shared among friends and with an adult who is crazy about the young women they are becoming. Priceless.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Not My Best Monday

Accidents really have a way of putting a damper on another wise stellar day.  I was excited for Miss M's Balcony Girls/Girl Scout troop meeting, I'd gotten the house ready for the meeting and it had been a perfect fall Monday.  I'd been to the gym to work out, ran a few errands and even had time to work on my Bible study.

I'd arrived at the Jr. High a little early, anxious to meet the girls before the bus and drive them to my house for our first meeting of the year.  The first parking stall I'd chosen didn't seem right; I thought if I exited the car others would be stuck behind me.  Listening to the radio and planning in my head the next few hours of the day, I did not see the Stop Sign in the middle of the road ahead.

Now to give you a little background.  It's a short stop sign and it's not always there. Really.  I ran smack into it. My lovely ten month old Honda Minivan (that I'd just washed and vacuumed that very day) ran over a five foot stop sign and it was now wedged under my car.  I tried backing up. Nothing. Going forward. Nothing.

I ran into the building as cars loaded with parents watched, and said I needed help ASAP to get the stop sign out from under my car.  You see not only was the sign stuck, I was stuck in the middle of the road.  Blocking traffic with just seconds to spare before the bell rang.

The Assistant Principal came out and said," Mrs. B let's see what we can do;" and between the off duty police officer and himself they directed me to backup and get out of the way of oncoming traffic.  By now, the bell had rung and hundreds of 5th and 6th graders are piling out of the building and snapping pictures of my car and laughing.  I'm holding it together, but worried about the Girl Scouts, my car and how I would ever explain this to P.

The principal comes over to offer his condolences, er help, and then it becomes evident that we'll need to jack the car up to get the pole out.  In the course of the next fifteen minutes, the asst. principal jacks up my car, my husband arrives ( Miss M had frantically called him from my cell phone, poor guy thought from her screaming that I'd been impaled by a stop sign), and it's still stuck.

By now, most of the kids have been picked up sans my little group of girls and the entire staff has been notified of my "situation."  The Junior High Football Coaches arrive and offer to lift the car up just a little bit more so my husband can pull it out. It appears that the base of the sign is just caught up under the undercarriage with no significant damage underneath.  One big grunt and the car is up and the sign it out.  Hurrah!

The damage to my car really is very little, just a small dent on the hood and I'm thankful to say the damage to my ego really isn't as bad as it could have been.  A friend saw me in my moment of stress and offered help and a hug, the staff at the school jumped into my rescue, and my husband said there was no need to apologize, I'd beat myself up enough already with the whole school watching.

All in all, it was a good lesson for my Girl Scouts, to stay calm in a crisis, to ask for help and receive it openly and to really pay attention where you are going and not get distracted.  Accidents can really mess up your day if you let them or they can be just a little glitch on your day. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Accomplishment by any Definition


1. Something that has been achieved successfully.
2. The successful achievement of a task

According to Miss A, today was a day of accomplishing a big hurdle.  Today was the day she got her training wheels removed from her bike and she was able to ride up and down the hill and even do a few U turns.

She was so proud of herself.  Of course, at first, she was a little nervous and thought that Dad should really stay with her and not push too hard.  When Dad was standing right next to her, it was easy to be brave, but as when he left her at the top of the hill and she edged closer and closer to the hill pedaling with all her might it made for some sweaty hands.

We live in the middle of a big hill, our driveway is a big hill, and it can be a little daunting to learn to ride bikes under those circumstances. In fact, Miss A rarely wanted to ride the bike with the training wheels as she wasn't confident she could "stop."  But today when Dad took her to the top of the hill without the training wheels, she finally got it.  

With Dad's help, she learned to start, stop and even make some U-ee's.  She was absolutely thrilled despite that serious look of concentration.  I'm sure her tongue was sticking out to the side just a little too.  She went from driveway to driveway learning to control her speed. She watched for traffic, but really wanted Dad to handle that duty.  (Thankfully, we live on a very quiet street) The pride was evident despite the serious look on her face.

When she came in for a little drink and watched me make dinner, she told me that today was an Accomplishment.   Sweetie it really was. We are so proud of you!  

Watch out neighbors, she's a girl with wheels and she's not afraid to use them!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy Fall Ya'll

It's officially fall so it's time to get my porch decorated for the season.  I have friends with a flare for decorating whose front porch/entry way looks like a harvest boutique set up.  I can only dream to be that classy.  I'm what you call decorating delayed!

On Wednesday, I went and got some mums.  Only to find out once I got home that 4 of 5 were one color and the last one was red.  I blame it on the sweat in my eyes from mowing the lawn that morning.  I went to the hardware store in my "mowing clothes and shoes" praying I wouldn't run into anyone I knew.  Figured I'd be playing in the dirt so why shower and change. 

I wanted to buy some pumpkins and gourds at the store, but decided the price was too steep and I knew Miss M and Miss A would kill me if I did this part of the decorating without them.  Then, on Thursday, I saw a good friend's front porch display and grew jealous. Her pumpkins were rocking huge and the display was just too darn cute. 

On Friday, Mrs. H told me of a secret "pumpkin farm" not too far from our house.  It was just a little farmer who sold his own crop and the prices were way cheap.  Others chirped in that this was the place to go, so this morning after soccer the girls, hubby P, and I went to our new favorite pumpkin patch.  Now, I'll admit it's not charming.  We didn't pick our own pumpkins in the field, but the prices were fabulous.  Stalks of Milo for $2.  Pumpkins from 75 cents to $2, and even a selection of gourds for free.

With a little harvest bucket and small hay bale from Hobby Lobby along with my husband's help organizing, I now have a front porch that says" Happy Fall Y'all !"  I love it.  Best of all, it cost under $25 for everything. 

Now I'm good with decorating until Christmas!
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