School Photos

My friend, Caroline, posted on Instagram that her sons’ school pictures perfectly depicted their personalities. My three? Their school pictures perfectly convey the image we are trying to convey; just look at the calm, smiling faces. *wink*

IMG_4579.JPG .

My kids’ responses to their pictures better display their true selves:

Firstborn: “Oh, Little you look so pretty!!” Response, ” yes, I do.”

Son: “Oh, Bubba, I love it! What a handsome picture! Such a great smile.” Response, ” Thanks, mom. It is much better than the one I took last year but when I was four I was much cuter with my glasses.”

Baby: “KB, I just love how it turned out. What a perfect smile! You are such a pretty girl.” Response, “I like it but my hair is a little crazy pants.”

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IMG_4575.JPG7 – the number of completion.
Completely silly.
Completely caring.
Completely fun.
Completely loved.

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“Pain demands to be felt”

I did it. A few weeks ago I gave in and read The Fault In Our Stars. I had seen the trailer for the movie 100+ times and just couldn’t bring myself to go watch something so obviously sad, so I thought I would get the book from the library and if it got too bad I would just return it and no one would be worse for it.

The book was NOT what I thought. There was conflict but it did not center around what I thought. There was cancer but it was not what I predicted. There was death but it was not the death I expected. I read the book in one night and never felt too deeply about it. The writing was fine but the characters were just so young and the dialog so light; I did not shed a tear.

Tonight my husband is with my mother. My children are all asleep. It has been a long time since I have done this, but I went to the Red Box and rented a movie: The Fault In Our Stars. I didn’t think twice about it since I had read the book and knew just what to expect. Sheesh. Tonight I am reminded of the power of film and the weight that comes with watching a “real” person “live”/feel a story. OH MY STARS!

What I will say to you is this . . . if you have recently lost someone you love deeply DO NOT watch The Fault In Our Stars (especially if you are home alone and the one who typically holds you while you weep is miles away). Some of it is hopeless, some of it is actually cute, but a piece of it will put immense pressure on your heart and push tears from your eyes and you won’t be able to control it.

You have been warned.

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Tales of First Grade Somethings

IMG_8268-1.JPGInitially, KB came home from school asking me to teach her at home so she could learn about God during school like she used to (thank you, KDS) but more recently there has been a shift to planning and story telling:

1. “Mom, we get to take a favorite book to school tomorrow and I thought I would take my Jesus Story Book because it doesn’t look like a Bible. Then I will ask Mrs. R to read from it and she will read about Jesus. Maybe the kids will like it and ask for more and soon they will all believe in Jesus and Mrs. R can teach us about Him like Miss Reith did.”

2. “Mom, L said today that God is dead; that He died on the cross. I told him that was only half of it. The best part is that He rose again and now He lives in heaven.” (I asked her what L said to that and she replied, “Oh.”)

3. “Mom, I think I heard Mrs. R say Jesus today…and not in vain.”

4. “Mom, I asked K if she knows God and she said she doesn’t. Can you believe she has never gone to church? I told her some Truths and ways she could get to know God. It turns out B knows Him and Iz goes to church.”

I have no greater joy. . .

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In order to tell you about today, it seems I must give some backstory. The story starts back in January when our precious St. Louis dentist told me the time had come to take Little to the orthodontist. A week later Honey lost his job and it became obvious that adding the weight of orthodontia to the impending threat of perilous finances was a bad choice.

We returned to the dentist in July and were told that what was said in January was no less true in July. The next week Honey accepted a new job and it became apparent that a trip to the orthodontist would be high on the list when we arrived in Fort Fun. I waited six weeks and then took Little in for a complimentary consultation.

The visit was nice and the staff was super like-able. (I almost hoped she would need braces so that we could spend more time with the ladies.) Instead of braces we were given a six week plan and asked to return in November. The plan? Stop the thumb sucking and get four teeth pulled in two shifts. Sheesh.

Dr. Ebert spelled it out for Little and left no question that he thumb sucking was finished. She sent us home with a worksheet to do together which would lay out small rewards for victories and a big prize to celebrate ultimate success. We worked out the details and Little has not sucked her thumb since. She HAS started sleeping with a pill box (so she can flick the compartments open and shut as she falls to sleep) but the thumb stays out of her mouth. Victory!!!!

The second portion of the plan brings us to present day and our trip to “meet” Dr. Greg today. When I made the appointment the assistant told me that what they like to do (especially with special needs kids) is have a first visit that includes a tour and chats with the doctor so that the child can feel comfortable and ready to come back for their treatment. In turn, I told my daughter that there was nothing to be concerned about . . We were just going to meet and chat with the dentist.

The office was AMAZING with a climbing wall, light up dance floor, and two Wii to play as you wait. Little was immediately taken. The doctor was a pro and a dear and I was immediately taken. The conversation went well and Dr. Greg says that he finds it often best to just take out all the teeth at once instead of in two shifts. I agreed that I would have a terrible time getting Little to come back for more and it would be better to get it all done if things were going smoothly. And THEN I was told, “We actually have plenty of time to do this today if you would like. She seems to be relaxed and fine with us. It’ s up to you.”

As you can see, we did it. I was told that most mom’s like to sit with their child during their first treatment and they had a chair strategically placed just for that purpose. I quickly responded that I trusted the good doctor but if I had to watch him stick her I would either cry or puke and I would wait in the waiting room. He thanked me.

It took no time at all and she was done. Trooper. I gave her the option to go home for the rest of the day and she begged to go back to school. She wanted to tell all her friends about it. I watched her tell three kids and show them her holes in the moments I was there to drop her off.

And now the tooth fairy has to go knock over a bank to pay up for four teeth at once. It’s worth every penny – our Little is so delightful even about such trying things. Maybe I should get some video and share it with the world…it seems so selfish to keep her to ourselves…

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Mom of the Year – NOT

You know those people who say, “being a mom is a hard job but it is the best job ever” and all that stuff? Today was the kind of day that makes one sit up and take stock of such a comment and then contemplate the sanity of those who spoke it. I have a distinct distaste for those types of comments and, often times, the people who make them.  Platitudes that carry a hint of righteousness, inflict a spot of guilt, and reek of disingenuousness.

I was sick all day yesterday and woke up today feeling only 75% but knowing that a mother can’t lay around in bed for TWO days. I got up and got everyone ready for school and mentally planned my morning as I zipped Ziplocs and hollered “work your list” 432 times. Everyone got to school and I headed to get my hair cut. As I went to walk through the salon door my phone rang and it was Little’s school telling me that she had an accident and her backpack was empty of clean clothes . . . could I bring her shorts, shoes, etc?

Mommy outward response, “Of course! It will take me a minute since I am not at home but just have her sit tight and I’ll be right there.”  Mommy inward response, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? She hasn’t had an accident ALL YEAR and she has one right now as I am planning to do something for myself??” Selfish pig.  (Me, not her.)

Honestly, the next several hours were okay; I was alone and productive. I got the haircut, did the grocery shopping, and then went home to crawl into bed and let my stomach settle until carpool. (Trips to the laundry room were made every 35 min. so don’t go freaking out that I am lazy and whatever. I have too much guilt high a sense of responsibility to just lay in bed and enjoy Psych without getting SOMETHING done!)

When I picked up the kids things went a bit downhill; I was no longer alone. Bubba got into the car and before even saying hello he had asked for my iPad. Sheesh. KB got into the car and asked if I went to the store and got the Lunchables she requested (I didn’t). She then went through the list of the other items requested and asked why I didn’t do what she asked . . . this is where any mother mentally inserts, “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, SIX YEAR OLD?” and outwardly says, “KB, I heard your requests and chose to say no to those requests.  You are speaking with disrespect – watch it.”

When fixing dinner (an amazing Orange Beef recipe – if you like Chinese you will LOVE this) I was serenaded by a chorus of, “I would rather have nothing for dinner, Mom,” and “That orange beef smells disgusting,” and “I don’t like oranges, Mom.” I admit I was just rude in response to these comments and felt vindicated when 2/3 of my children ate the portions I served them and responded with, “This is actually very yummy!” Sheesh.

Today, being a mommy was not rewarding.  It was not the greatest job I’ve ever had.  Today, I actually would have traded some of the smart mouth responses for a conversation with George and a last-minute change/reprint of a bulletin.

The beauty of being a Mom is that there is a fresh start tomorrow. My children are sleeping soundly and look like angels. The Cardinals are on the TV and Honey is watching them while reading Twitter to the hum of the dryer (yes, I am STILL not done with laundry). I love this family God gave me and I am committed to training those children to use their words for good and not harm. I am committed that they will all go potty on the potty consistently before I die. I am committed to them trying new foods and learning to enjoy a variety of tastes so that IF they ARE invited to the White House one day, they will know how to behave and can be polite instead of announcing that the food smells disgusting and then twirling around 360 degrees in their chair.

ep, I love them.  Tomorrow is another day . . . and I will greet it with a tentative smile, a new-do, honesty, patience, and perseverance.  Now I am going to go fall asleep praying for the grace to see that actually happen. You can pray too.

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Friends, Funnies, and Firsts

P1000632My friend Debbie came and spent three days with us this week.  This was my favorite visit EVER with this dear friend because the kids went to school all day and we could sew and talk and hang pictures and talk and grocery shop and talk . . . you get the picture. My kiddos fell in love with her and can’t wait for her to come again.  *wink* Thank you, Will, for giving her up and gifting me with a listening ear.

While Debbie was here she got a front row seat to the craziness that is my life.  My kids say very funny things and one of the joys of having Deb here was to watch her try to not laugh when something would come up.  Example: We picked the two younger children up from school and hadn’t been in the car a minute when Bubba asks from the back seat, “What is diarrhea?” I defined it while Debbie pursed her lips to trap her giggles.  Turns out the school had sent home a letter about the flu and had listed symptoms to watch for.

My nephew had his first date last week; homecoming at my high school alma mater.  He went with a girl whose mom graduated from the same high school with his mom.  KB has had quite a bit to say about it all. . . “I am not sure I like my Cole dating a girl.” It’s been a good opportunity to lay the first bricks in the foundation for their future dating questions.  Hallelujah for siblings who have to go through this first and provide learning opportunities for my own children.

mountainsYesterday I took Debbie to Denver for her flight home and as we left town we saw the mountains had snow on them. As the day progressed you could watch the clouds swirling over the peaks and the snow being dumped. It was so strange to see the whirling snow to the west and the blue skies to the east. I stood looking at it in the 63 degree weather – no jacket.  That was a first.

Tomorrow is another first.  Bubba and KB don’t have school tomorrow; it is a teacher development day.  They have what is called an “E-day” and all the students have online assignments to complete.  Bubba is so very excited and he has told me that whatever fun I have planned for their day off must wait until he finishes his assignment. I feel like this will be my first taste of semi-homeschooling.

Next week I get to see several more good friends. A family from The Kirk has a daughter getting married here in Ft. Collins and several families are coming for the wedding.  Remember Ms. Linda? She used to take Little on field trips all around St. Louis? Well she is coming for the wedding and is planning to spend the day with us. My friend Caroline and her daughter Jane are coming for a couple of days too.  My cup runneth over. There are still a few free dates after that if any other friends need to get away to one of Money magazine’s “Best Places to Live”, Ft. Fun. Call for your reservation now. . .

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