Number Nine


My boy turned nine today. It’s been coming for a while now . . . 364 days to be exact. It’s a funny age, nine.  He wants to be a big kid in some ways and then grabs my hand to walk into the movie theatre today because he didn’t know a lot of the kids at the birthday party. He wanted me to stay during the movie but he sat with the boys from his class and just peeked to make sure he could get to me if he needed me.  I like it . . .the thought of helping to form this little guy into a man but knowing I’ll always be his mamma and that’s special.

The day was good.  Morning to Evening was all about Bubba and he knew it.  He had cinnamon rolls for breakfast because that’s his favorite – the other day I heard him open the frig, see the rolls and say, “YES! Those are for my birthday. Dear God, Thank you for a mom who does great for birthdays.”

He had a birthday party this morning for a set of twins in his grade. I went along to meet moms and met two.  One actually said, “It’s nice to have new moms/kids to shake things up a bit.” (She is the second parent to say that to us since we arrived. Hmm.)

We had lunch at McDonalds (Bubs choice) and then headed out for family fun. Honey’s birthday was 14 days ago and we spent the day at Estes Park. We had passed this huge slide and Bubba had wanted us to go ride it. My response had been that this was dad’s birthday and so we were doing things he liked but Bubba’s birthday was just around the corner and we could do his fun then.

For two weeks I have heard Bubba talk about his birthday and how I said we would go back to the slide. I got on the computer and started looking around.  It turns out there is a place IN TOWN that has a similar slide and lots of other fun things to do.  That place? Fort Fun:P1000512We hit the bumper cars right away and it was  favorite for everyone.  Only four of us could go at a time and that was fine for the kids. . .it meant they got to ride more times so that both mom and dad could have turns.P1000519There was a game of mini-golf:P1000524Arcade games and then the Pièce de résistance, the SLIDE.  Everyone loved the slide!P1000528 P1000529 P1000530


It was a great day.  Bubba had a great time. How do I know? As we walked to the slide I overheard Bubba say, “Dear God, Thank you again for a mom who plans such great birthdays.”

We went home for a “string spaghetti” dinner, cupcakes, and presents. P1000535P1000543As I said, the day was fun.  This mommy. . . the one who planned such a fun day . . . she fell asleep at 6:50 p.m. and cat-napped until 8 p.m. Apparently, I am too old for the fun I plan.

What did YOU do today?

Posted in family | 7 Comments

Mornings at Little’s School

IMG_20140820_132358Taking Little to school in the morning is quite an experience. It looks something like this:

  • There is no “drop-off” for Little so I must park and walk her to the backside of the building; the location of her classroom.
  • A large percentage of kids walk, ride bikes, or ride a scooter alongside their walking mother.
  • An equally large percentage of parents use this as an opportunity to walk their dog and so there are canines everywhere.
  • Everyone hangs outside while waiting for the bell to ring. When the bell rings, kids run in every direction to line up outside their classroom (all classrooms open to the outside . . . and inside) door and wait for the teacher to open the door and let them file in.

Now, imagine if you will what happened this morning and know that this has been the routine for the past week+.  I park the car and Little and I cross to the sidewalk in front of the school and begin the walk to her classroom; the distance to her room is about that of a football field. As we walk I try to make eye contact with other mothers so as I have the opportunity to say hi, but other mothers are busy chatting with their neighbors/friends and making sure their dogs are not jumping on anyone or attacking another passing dog.

Today someone calls out “Hi, Little!” This is a first, but I am sure it will only increase in frequency as folks grow to know her and fall in love with her personality and voice.

Between our car and the classroom we pass seven dogs. Each time we pass a dog Little gets distracted, stops, turns and says, “I like your dog, ” and then follows that up with either “What kind of dog is it?” or “What’s your dog’s name?” I get her focused and walking again, only to hear “I like your dog. What’s your dog’s name?” and turn to see that I left her seven steps back and I need to go get her walking and focused again. This happens at every dog. We have gotten to school on time everyday but she has almost been late everyday this week because of dog chats on the way to her classroom.

Once I get Little to the back she walks away as I say, “Have a great day! Honor Jesus.” Today she calls back, “I will! You have a great day at home and honor Jesus at home.” Then I walked the football field back to the van and thought about how funny my life is AND how every parent is dressed like a Berry student who grew up, got a dog, and moved to Ft. Collins. I think that every morning. And then I go get coffee.

Posted in family | 2 Comments

Getting Stuff Done

I’m not at the moment – getting stuff done.  I am remembering why I accomplished so little as a stay-at-home mom before.  Today I have talked on the phone with my mom and given her a Facetime Tour of our new home, talked with my former landlord and dealt with a bill I didn’t know I missed, emailed a teacher and a child’s case-worker, and read an article my Uncle sent that was well worth the time.  Now it’s noon.

I was supposed to be finishing up Bubba’s room and doing laundry. I’m going to get to it. . . right after I blog about the update in Bubba’s room and the “fun” we had putting it together.

Bubba got a new bed and, like everything else in 2014, it was bittersweet for me. The bed Bubba has slept in for the past 6+ years is a captain’s bed that I bought (with 2 side tables and a large dresser) off Craigslist for $30.  Honey painted it the perfect chocolate brown that I picked out and it was the perfect little boy bed for our little boy.  Deep. Sigh.

The house we rented without ever walking through it is a nice little house. Bubba’s bedroom is a small room and his perfect bed is not small or flexible.  It HAS to go along a wall and it is bulky – it filled the room and left little space for anything else.  When we went to IKEA a couple weeks ago, Bubba saw a loft bed and actually told himself how much he would love to have that.  I overheard the conversation and had to admit that he was right – a loft bed would really open up his room and allow for some versatility.

Since our van was filled to the top with the items already purchased at IKEA, we didn’t get the loft bed BUT I started combing Craigslist and quickly found a family in town (vs. Denver) selling a loft bed with a desk and bookshelf for the price of the bed at IKEA. We finally put the bed in Bubba’s room Sunday evening.

Everybody got involved . . . Bubba helped with the screws:photo 1

Little practiced “ballet” while the men worked:photo 2

Basically, everyone tightened a screw or held something in place for another person and the job got done.

P1000502Then it hit me. . . I can’t lay down beside my little boy to pray with him anymore.  No more back scratches while we talk through his day. My little guy is turning nine in a couple days and this bed pushed him toward growing up much more quickly than I planned.

When I mentioned I was bit sad that I couldn’t reach to kiss him goodnight, Bubba said just the right thing. . . “I guess I’ll just have to come back down.” And he did.



Posted in family | 6 Comments

GOGNO – Guardians of the Galaxy Night Out

There is one couple who lives in Ft. Collins who was in seminary with us.  Bless their hearts – it is a calling in itself to be the only people the new family knows. Today they did us a solid and let our kids come play in their yard while we went to see Guardians of the Galaxy. Jewels in their crowns, people.

Have you seen the movie? It is very fun – – maybe ridiculous – – too endearing to be off putting. The music was GREAT. I kept wondering how much Vin Diesel was paid to repeat one line 10-15 times (I’ve since Googled it and can’t find out anywhere). When sweet Chris Platt starts singing near the end i just love it.  Good times.

Honey pointed out that our first movie outing in St. Louis was Star Wars – one of the yucky ones. This was definitely better. 

We’ve offered to watch the Hughs’ girls so they can catch a show sometime too. We’ll see if they take us up on it.This could be the beginning of something beautiful!!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Ft. Collins, CO

…where there is no shortage of

  • people willing to tell you how much will love living here.
  • Subaru Outbacks/Forresters
  • dog owners
  • bikes
  • tatoos
  • school options (?)
  • places to get one’s hair cut
  • Tevas
  • liquor stores
  • churches
  • gorgeous mountain views
  • rain
  • Keens
  • sunshine (even when it rains)
Posted in family | 1 Comment

Gonna Make This Place Your Home

IMG_20140807_181619It has been two weeks since we pulled out of St. Louis and the house here is a representation of the greater state of our lives.  KB was just pointing out today that, “if you look in the den and kitchen it looks like we are all settled, but walk downstairs and there’s lots of work to do!” That’s how we feel about the bigger picture too. . . if you look at our ability to navigate Ft. Collins roads, it looks like we have lived here for ages, but peek at our understanding of the culture here and relationships . . .there’s lots of work to do!

First thing I did on the evening we arrived was move the blue hutch into its permanent spot. I just couldn’t rid myself of restlessness until it had found a home. Once it had a home I knew I was home.  Does that sound silly? Sentimental? Well, I guess I am just that: silly and sentimental.

As the sideline reads, “One can usually tell a lot about what is happening in our lives by the size and content of the stacks on our blue hutch.” I thought i would give you a verbal peak so you can infer what prayers you need to pray!

Stack #1: Plastic bin containing light bulbs, caulk, an allen wrench, Ziploc bags, and a coaster. (Just typing that makes me want to pause and put that stuff away – I can’t believe it has sat there for two weeks!) On top of said container is a stack of 8 magazines about Ft. Collins and the many things to do here. There is also a mailing envelope for a movie Bob Burns let us borrow MONTHS ago, a gorgeous frame wrapped in bubble wrap and waiting for a photo from Dianne Waldron, and a portable hard drive.  GOOD GRIEF.

Stack #2: A look and find fairy book that needs to put in KB’s room, a Llama Llama Red Pajama book that was supposed to be delivered to St. Louis before we left so I could leave it as a baby gift for Laura French, several notebooks laid there after church Sunday, a package of thank you notes needing to be written, bus paperwork for Little (ooh, I need to put that in her back pack right now), and my calendar. Behind this stack is a heap of dish towels and a Boogie Board.

Stack #3: Paperwork for our new license plates, homework folders for the two younger kids (they get Monday folders instead of the Friday folders at KDS), a Leappad Explorer with no batteries, five dray erase markers, and a teetering iPod speaker.

You know, when I type this out it seems ridiculous that these things are here and not put away and yet I seem paralyzed to dealing with them. Maybe they can wait a bit longer. As KB said there is plenty of other areas that need work. But another thing KB said as she fell asleep last week was, “This house doesn’t feel like home, Mom.  Can’t we pack up and just go back?” So, maybe I should get busy putting this house together and get this hutch cleared off so she can see it clearly.  Once she can see it I’ll explain that all is well because home is where the hutch is!

(That sounds so cute I might just tell her before I get the place cleaned up!!)

Posted in family | 2 Comments

Internet Access = Happy Me!

We just got access to the internet today and I am so happy.  I wrote a post in Word on Tuesday and now I can post it. . . of course, much has happened since then!

In 1998 I moved to Brisbane, Australia as a single woman eager for adventure and mocking this thing called culture shock. It took a few months but the novelty and “cuteness” of the cultural differences wore off (just like I had been told) and the tears started. I distinctly remember the effort it once took to go to the grocery store because the thought of the four rotating wheels on the “trolley”, a.k.a. buggy, a.k.a. shopping cart was too much for me to bear that day. As time passed I grew more accustom to the Aussie way of life and grew to appreciate the fact that the bank, grocery, and other “practical” businesses were all found in the mall! I saw the benefit of having off/on switches on the outlets. I adapted and Brisbane became home. So much home that when I returned to the USA I found it inconvenient to have to drive to multiple locations to run my errands, etc.

In 2002 I moved to St. Louis, MO as a newlywed eager for adventure and distinctly naïve of the cultural differences I would face in an American town just 8 hours away from home. After four months of trying to figure out the grocery stores, merge lanes, and sports teams, the tears started. This time there had been no preparation for the cultural differences . . . there had been no training. This experience was a real example of how the “shock” got into “culture shock” and the recovery time was exponentially longer. Still, years passed and I grew more accustom to the way of life. I grew to appreciate bagging my own groceries! I saw endless opportunities in such a family friendly city! I started using my horn at stop lights!! I adapted and St. Louis became home. So much home that when Honey told me we might move away, I found myself sobbing in my room.

Last week on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 I moved to Ft. Collins, CO as a wife and mother of three who was overwhelmed by the speed of the move, powerless to the timing of the move and drowning in endless details left uncertain. My brother, sister-in-law, and two nieces are here to help with cross-cultural training for a group of teachers headed to Asia and my sweet SIL has sent me a steady stream of precious reminders that what I am experiencing is very similar to the transition these teachers will face. It is with this encouragement as my soundtrack that I sent my kids off to school today . . . and learned at pick-up that they should have had a water bottle and two snacks. I had four tasks on my to-do list today and not one square holds a check because of cultural differences that dictate more steps on my part. Because of B’s encouragement, when I experienced the final roadblock to my task and turned the wrong way out of Walgreens . . . instead of hitting my steering wheel and crying, I just started laughing.

I thought to myself, “I am as frustrated after five days with a family in a new city as I was after three months in a foreign country as a single! Good grief! This too shall pass. One day it will be second nature to turn into/out of this Walgreen. One day it will seem second nature to look for cyclists before turning at an intersection. One day I will adapt and this will become home. So much home. . .

Posted in family | 4 Comments