Monday, June 30, 2008

Brotherly Love

Can I just tell you how much I am loving summer so far?  We are having such a great time, and it's not even that we're doing all that much.  I think the main thing is that we're just enjoying one another's company.  It's great, first of all, having my husband home for the first time in our married life.  Every summer previous to this was consumed by jobs he had or hours away at graduate school. This summer he has the luxury of being home every day.  And though he's hard at work painting the house (when the weather cooperates!), he's also getting to spend time with us, and that's been a blessing.  I have to say, though, that one of the best things I've witnessed as a result of us spending all this time together has been the bond I'm seeing develop between my two boys.  The TV is hardly on, and these two are becoming such buds.  I'll be in the kitchen washing dishes and I'll hear them giggling and laughing together.  Sometimes I'll overhear them playing a game from another room with Cody patiently teaching his little brother how it's done. And then yesterday, when they were coloring together, Cody had apparently made Caden a picture.  I heard him say, "Hey Caden, why don't we put this in your pack-n-play so that you can look at it and remember me!"  (Caden sometimes gets put in his pack-n-play when he's refusing to obey for whatever reason.)  I thought that was so cute that Cody would want him to have something to remember him by when he's been put in there! But, by far, my favorite moment between these two took place this morning while I was getting ready to take the boys to the pool.  I overheard them in the living room singing songs we always sing before bed. We have a tradition we started with them when they were babies, and singing is always a part of that (go figure).  Anyway, I heard them both singing these songs, Caden requesting one after the other. But when I peered around the corner to see it for myself, the scene was absolutely adorable. Caden was sitting in the middle of a neon green inter tube and Cody was sitting behind him, little legs wrapped around the tube, little arms wrapped around his brother while they hugged and sang and swayed to the music.  I am telling you, that scene will be forever in my memory as long as the dear Lord allows, for it was absolutely precious.  Forget about the pool, the sunshine, and the baseball games.  I'll take that moment again and again ANY day!
"How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!"
~Psalm 33:1

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Someday we'll find it...the Rainbow Connection...

Last night, as I was teaching a lesson, I turned the page of one of the piano books my student uses and the next song happened to be "The Rainbow Connection." She had never heard that song before, much to my dismay (don't kids watch the Muppets anymore?), and I said, "Well move over, honey! Allow me to play it for you!" As my fingers played the keys, I was taken back to a time when I was this little girl's age. I remembered my former piano teacher and I singing this sweet song together with Kermit the Frog, on a stage where I had stood many times. I remembered seeing Nanny and Poppop out there in the audience, smiling and urging me on. I remembered how much I loved the owner of the club and their shirley temples with extra cherries. I even remembered the french bread rolls and the way I used to tear them in half and only eat the insides. I'm telling you, by the time I got to the end of playing the song, I had tears in my eyes! Jerry urged me to jump out of the way back machine, for goodness sake. I really have no idea what my poor student thought of my bizarre emotional tie to the song, but one thing's for certain: she'll never forget that her teacher was crying about a sappy song from the "Muppet Movie." I told her dad that they need to rent that movie and watch it!!! C'mon people, it's a classic!

In other news, before we put the boys to bed tonight, Cody reached up for me as I was hugging him, pulled me close, looked into my eyes and very seriously said: "Mom, I promise. Even when I'm old, I'll never forget you."

I responded, "Cody, when I'm old, I will probably forget you. Because I seem to be taking after my sweet grandmother. And God knows, the woman couldn't remember anything."

But I'll bet you she could have remembered at least some of the lyrics to "The Rainbow Connection."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Little Leaguer

What do you get when you have a two year-old, a dog, and a baseball field?  You get a mother who can't keep track of her aspiring baseball player who loves to run out onto the field (TWICE!), thus annoying everyone except the assistant coach (daddy).  

And you also get a two year-old chanting, "DO TODY, DO TODY, DO TODY!!!! (Go Cody!) when his brother got three hits.

Now that's some brotherly love.  

He loved the game so much he just had to be out there to share in the fun.

Isn't that sweet?

Now tell that mother to control her kid and to never bring that dog again!  

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Favor, por favor

Hello all,

Thank you for your kind comments about the new look.  Glad you like it!

I was wondering if you wouldn't mind leaving me a quick comment about how long it took when you loaded the page?  On my computer (we have wireless internet) it's taking 1-2 minutes to load. I am curious as to how long it is taking each of you?  Please let me know so I can see if this is only happening to me or if anybody else had trouble.

Thanks, in advance, for your help!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The BIG Reveal!

Welcome one and all to my new and improved site!  Judi from Doodlebug Designs did a FANTASTIC job and I am thrilled with my new look.  She was wonderful to work with and such a perfectionist.  She didn't stop until she was certain I was happy with the design.  I highly recommend her if any of you are thinking of making a change.  Hope you like my new digs!  I know I do.  We're still working through some technical issues (i.e. the page is taking a long time to load), but I'm sure we'll get it worked out soon.  Thanks for stopping by!

Botany, Bible School, and Books

It's amazing to me that we are approaching the end of June already!  I feel like summer just started, and yet with all the activities we are doing, it's flying by!  Here's a little re-cap:

Cody did two weeks of morning sports camp at his school and now this week he is attending Vacation Bible School with a buddy of his.  We are also continuing violin this summer as well, and we're making an effort to step up his practicing.  In addition to all of that, we started a science book and we're studying Botany. (A friend suggested we do it this summer as this is a great time to be outside and explore nature with everything in bloom.)  I will be honest and say that I was never a science lover in school, but this book does such a great job to make it fun and educational through hands on learning.  The best part for me is the biblical perspective that you get in the's all about seeing the world and all God made through HIS eyes.  I'm loving that! Cody is really receptive to the "work" we're doing this summer, and I'm thankful for that. He seems to be really enjoying it.  Praise the Lord!  Also on the agenda soon is a trip to the Botanic Gardens.  I love that's absolutely beautiful.  And free!

I am glad that we decided to do some school this summer, just to get in the "groove" of what it feels like to do school at home.  I'm trying to keep it low key and fun, as we both feel our way through this whole thing.  We also signed up for the summer reading program at the library yesterday and checked out a bunch of books that were on a reading list I found in a book called "Honey for a Child's Heart" by Gladys Hunt.  This book is such an amazing resource with book lists for every age and stage of readers.  I wish I'd known about this book when Cody was starts with lists for ages 0-3!  I'm glad to be reading these to Caden.  I had never heard of "Animalia" nor had I ever read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."  I know.  Where have I been?

We're not traveling this summer (except to see my mama!) or doing anything particularly spectacular, but we're enjoying the time together.  My hubby hasn't been home for a summer with us since we were married.  He worked every summer until he started graduate school, and then he was in school for the past three years.  It's great having him home, watching him coach Cody and his team in baseball, and just hanging out...whatever we happen to be doing at the time.  I've been trying to assist him as much as possible on our major home improvement project this summer: We're painting the house.'s quite a job, but we knew it would be.

I hope you're getting some time to enjoy the beautiful weather and your families.  From the sounds of your blogs, it would seem that you are!  I have loved reading about Tonya's wii, Steph's baby shower, Kari's upcoming trip to Boston, my sister's bonfire and all the tales of "Thing 2's" antics, Lori's adorable boys, and Jaime's family of four with the addition of baby Bryce...just to name a few!  

You all are such fun and I'm grateful for this thing called blogging.  Who knew it could be such a wonderful way to connect with all you fantastic people?  : )

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

My sister tagged me, and I'm supposed to pick up the nearest book to me, turn it to page 123 and find the fifth sentence.  Then I'm supposed to post the next three sentences after that.  

Only the book closest to me doesn't have a fifth sentence, because it's a short page and only has four.  However, I'll post the whole paragraph because maybe, just maybe, you need to read this today.  If you had a day like I did today, then you DEFINITELY need to read this:

"This sort of discipline is wrong because it's based on mood and emotion.  The spanking was a release of Mom's frustration, not a self-controlled act of love.  A good spanking at the end of the day can never make up for the spankings that should have been administered throughout the day.  Moms who have a teapot temper need to depend on God's grace to enable them to act contrary to their nature and in harmony with the Word of God. 

~Ginger Plowman from "Don't Make Me Count to Three!"

If you have a toddler and you're struggling with discipline issues, get this book.

And now, I tag:

Lori at Glass Half Full
Steph at Adventures in Babywearing
Robin at Life with All Boys
Julie at Life with Ash and Ave
Jaime at Howdy From the Halls

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Hope He Doesn't Have Handcuffs

Now that your interest is piqued, let me tell you about my morning.

After taking my darling son to violin class this morning, we decided to make a quick pit stop to our neighborhood video store.  I have actually never rented a video from this particular location, so imagine my surprise when, as I was leaving, I ended up making a wrong turn out of the parking lot.

And was immediately struck by the beautiful bright red and blue flashing lights behind me.

That happened to belong to a city officer in a black, unmarked police car.

To which my six year-old stated:  "MOM!  I hope he doesn't have handcuffs!"  Thank you, son, for those reassuring and calming words.

Now, before you judge me for making a left turn where it clearly said "NO LEFT TURN" please understand something.

I have never gone to this location.  And there were two directions you could turn.  Only one was for the people pulling in.  I misunderstood, and I used it for pulling out.

And it's turning out to be a costly mistake.

I immediately admitted my wrong to the friendly (NOT SO MUCH) police officer and explained that I knew the moment I did it that I shouldn't have.  I got flustered and confused and instead of turning around and going out a different exit, I made a snap decision.  

As my lovely son has continued to remind me, "Mom.  You broke the law."

Need I continue to tell you how the rest of the day has been for me?

Not only that, but apparently in our state they take your license as bond (thankfully I had a motor club card that Officer Friendly took in its place) and I have to either appear in court or go to traffic school to not have it go on my driving record.  Both of these options basically double the fee I would have to pay.   

Decisions, decisions.

All I can hope for now is that I don't make any more mistakes of this nature.

Of course I worry about my otherwise immaculate driving record (don't laugh, sis, I know you're reading.  It's been quite a few years since my last violation).

More importantly, I'd rather not be caught sitting in the middle of a major intersection with those bright lights flashing in my rearview mirror while my child wonders whether or not I'll be hauled off to jail.  

And today, though I am head over heels crazy about my husband, I kinda wish he chose criminal justice instead of education.

I'm just sayin'.  It would be nice to have connections.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The View From the Concession Stand

Part of my obligation as a baseball mom is to work the concession stand at the ball park one time during the season.  I actually enjoy doing it for some odd reason.  Perhaps it's the smell of popcorn or the fact that the freezer is stocked full of DQ buster bars.  Anyway, I had to commit to three hours today and it turned out to be quite an interesting time, for sure.  I confess I'm a bit of a people watcher, and there were lots of opportunities to observe them!

First, I had this group of kids that kept coming up to the window.  They started off with $10.00 and I've never seen anyone stretch ten bucks like these little frugal ones did!  There must have been six of them and they had water, soda, sunflower seeds, granola bars.  Fruit snacks, nerds, airheads, and cheetos.  Bubble gum, ice pops, M&Ms and a ring pop.  They figured out ways to split up the money and negotiate sharing everything so they could eat more and get more, and truly... it was impressive. 

Secondly, I ran into a former student and her mom there.  Their family has been going through a tough time over the past year, but it was good to see them happy and doing well despite tough circumstances and lots of change.

Third, I found out that one of Cody's teammates' siblings fought a rare form of leukemia and beat it.  It took three years but he was given the "all clear" in February.  Praise God!!

Fourth, I heard all about a fight that transpired between two six year-old little girls through an older, wiser 8 year-old.  "And they are, like, so totally going to get in trouble with their moms."

Next, I overcharged an umpire for his gatorade.  It was supposed to be free.  OOPS.  I wondered why he gave me a quizzical look when I asked him for $3.

Finally, I was attempting to read the book, "Don't Make Me Count to Three" by Ginger Plowman during my down times of working the stand.  (It's a book about disciplining strong-willed children.) One of Cody's classmates came over and asked, "Whatcha readin'?"  I told her the title and she started laughing.  She lost complete interest in what I was saying when I began explaining the main point of the book:  To teach your children to obey because of what God's Word says versus what Mom says.  I was hoping I could start quoting scripture to her from the concession window, but I never got my chance.  Oh well.  There's always next year.

So the moral of the story?  You just never know what the day will bring when you sit in the concession stand for three hours.  I didn't come home empty handed either.  I promised I would bring home a giant Pixie Stick for Cody, and I made good on it!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

As if the Baseball Game isn't Entertaining Enough


What do you do with a two year-old who doesn't seem to think that baseball games are fun, entertaining ways to spend a gorgeous summer evening?  And what if that same two year-old chooses to scream through the entire game, thus ruining the experience for the other supportive, parent-type people around you?  (Please don't say "bring a portable DVD player next time" because ours has decided it doesn't want to work anymore.)

I'm just wondering if you interpeeps have any wonderful, creative ideas.

Besides feeding your child candy the entire time to get him to sit still.

Because I already tried that.

And it didn't work.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Divine Provision

Summer is officially here, but Cody will be spending the next two weeks at his school.  The P.E. teacher is offering a two-week physical education camp that Cody wanted to participate in, so we found ourselves there bright and early for the first day.  

I had taken the time to compose a letter to the school principal letting her know what our intentions are for next year since we were going to be there this week.  

As soon as I walked in, I was greeted by her, and as I handed her the letter, I decided to tell her in person.  She was very supportive and even went so far as to talk to me about the co-ops in our area.  I was totally impressed that she knew all about them and went so far as to say that they are wonderful and will give Cody lots of great opportunities.  She then said, " you have a minute?  I want to show you something."

She then led me into the school's library where she pointed out stacks and stacks of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade reading materials, including teacher's manuals, workbooks, readers, and more.  

She held her arms out and said, "Here you go.  Take whatever you want and as much as you want.  I'll even bring you some boxes!"

I spent the next half hour leafing through the books and packing my boxes full of materials.  

An added bonus was waiting for me in a quick chat with Cody's kindergarten teacher.  She was also very affirming and supportive as I spoke with her.  I wanted to make sure that both she and the principal understood that this decision had been made based on personal conviction and had nothing to do with the school itself.  I told them both again that we had been so blessed to be in such a great place last year and that it only made the decision itself more difficult!  I was glad to get to say that out loud and in person so that they knew I truly meant what I wrote in the letter.  They both told me that they are here for anything we might need and that we will be missed.  I thanked and hugged them both and it was wonderful knowing that the door remained open, whether or not we return there.  I know I have their support and that I can pick up the phone with any questions or concerns, knowing they'll be happy to help.  I'm new at this, but I'm guessing that's pretty rare.

I loaded up my van with the materials I had been given this morning and I thanked God for His provision.  It was so unexpected, but so like God to not only provide such great materials to use, but also to receive support and affirmation from the school itself.  

This morning during our devotions, we read about God's presence and the fact that it never leaves us.  He is always with us, taking care of us and providing for our every need.

And He even went as far as to give us the perfect example of that today!

Yep.  That's SO like God!  

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Graduate

Coming to you by popular demand (well, okay, by request of one V.I.P. on this blog: My sister, Kari)!

Here is Cody receiving his diploma from our now retired school superintendent:

Here he is with his official diploma:

And here he is with the best kindergarten teacher a kid (or mom) could ask for:

Happy Graduation, sweet Cody!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Bringing School Home

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord... (Jeremiah 29:11)

There are times in this life that God unmistakably speaks to us.  We don't often hear His audible voice, though sometimes I believe we can.  Often we hear it through His Word. Sometimes it's a whisper, sometimes it's spoken through a friend.  But sometimes it's an obvious thing we can't deny, ignore, or push away any longer.  He simply will not let us!

That is where I am as I write to you tonight, my friends.  

Next year I am taking a HUGE leap of faith and I'm homeschooling my now 1st grader, Cody.  I actually can't believe I just typed that.  But yes.  It's true.  I am.  God has been preparing me for it for a long time.

I woke up this morning, the deadline for when I needed to let the public school know what our intentions were for next year, and my husband re-affirmed what I already knew (and have known for quite some time) in my heart.  He said, "Honey.  You already know what you're supposed to do.  You just need to do it."

Obedience is never easy.  Sometimes God calls us to do something and we don't know why.  We wrestle.  We toil.  We sometimes go kicking and screaming.  We feel completely inadequate, ill-equipped, and often ask the question, "God?  Are you sure?"  

But He responds gently.  "Yes.  I am sure.  Trust me."

Our family is embarking on a very new, very different adventure.  The emotions I feel about this are too numerous to list.  I watched Cody accept his kindergarten diploma at his school's graduation today, and I swallowed the lump in my throat when I took a photo of Cody with his wonderful teacher.  I fought the tears as I leafed through his huge portfolio of all the artwork they had done throughout the year.  I smiled proudly as I read yet another stellar report card touting his success this year.  And I began to doubt myself.  I wondered if I had heard God wrong.  

And again that voice.  The one that's been speaking to me over the past three years.  

"Trust me.  I know the plans I have for you."

Over the past couple of years, I have meditated a lot on Deuteronomy 6.  The Lord has continually brought me back again and again to these verses (and it came up a bunch at the homeschool conference we attended yesterday!)  This has become scripture that is near and dear to my heart, as it models so perfectly what I desire (and more importantly, what God desires!) for our family and for our home.  Not that I feel we've attained it perfectly of course, but it's such a beautiful picture.  I want to leave it with you before I sign off for the weekend.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."
~Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

To School or Not to School, That's Always My Question!

If you've been reading my blog for very long at all, you are probably aware that I am constantly praying about schooling for Cody.  This has been an ongoing theme with me (since he was in his first year of pre-school) and one that the Lord doesn't seem to let me be "settled" about.  I have often said that this year has been a great one for Cody, but at the same time, I have many concerns about allowing him to stay in public school.  

A door has opened for my husband and I to attend a homeschooling conference in our area this week.  We are looking forward to learning more about this option and hoping that we gain some clarity and insight as we decide if it's "for us" or not.  Many people have told me that attending this conference will answer the tough questions I've had regarding homeschooling and that it will help us make the best, most informed decision.  

I know that the Lord has good plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and I know that His greatest desire is for us to serve Him and train our children up in His ways.  That much I know for SURE.

So, if you think of it, please pray for us on Thursday. Pray that the Lord would make it overwhelmingly clear what His plan is for us next year.  We want to be obedient to what He calls us to.  Please pray also that we will have unspeakable peace when it comes time to make this decision, for once and for all.  

Thanks, everyone!  Have a great Wednesday.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Motherhood isn't for Wimps

I think I read that somewhere recently.  I have always known this to be true, but having a sick child causes one to really dig deep and find that place of strength that only mothers know about. They get in touch with it for the first time during childbirth, and it continues on as the children grow.

Last night, after making a call to the doctor, we were sent to the ER.  Caden has the croup, and I knew that's what it was, but around bedtime, his breathing became labored and shallow.  He seemed unusually irritable, he wouldn't eat, and I started to get concerned.

We arrived there at 8:30 p.m., signed in, and proceeded to wait.  And wait.  And wait.

At 11 p.m., we were finally escorted into an actual room.  We waited another hour before anyone came to see us.

I finally peeked my head out and asked how much longer it would be.  That seemed to jog their memory.

At midnight, we were finally seen by the doctor and told that yes, he did indeed have croup, and after evaluating what she heard in his chest, she sent in a nurse to administer an oral steroid.  

This seemed to have immediate effects.  First, he began to breathe easier.  Then, he proceeded to recite "Ten Little Monkeys" complete with the jumping on the hospital bed.  This continued for the next hour, while awaiting our turn to have chest x-rays.  (The x-ray was fine.)

I called my sister who happened to be in Las Vegas this past weekend, because she's been through this before.  

She laughed when I told her he was acting like a maniac and said that was normal after taking steroids.  She encouraged me to give up trying to make him efforts would be fruitless. The doctors and nurses got the biggest kick out of him because he was the happiest person there last night.  Of course.  The moment we walk into the ER he perks up.  

I wished I had my camera, but something inside told me it would have been in poor taste to pull it out of my purse and start snapping pictures.

However, today, I'm desperately wishing I'd taken a picture of him lying on his back on the bed in his little clown-covered gown with that huge adorable smile of his.

No.  Motherhood isn't for wimps.  But this mama got broken in last night.  It was, after all, my first visit to the ER with a sick child.  And I must say, aside from the ridiculously long wait, that it went remarkably well.

Today I have another badge on my Motherhood Vest, and I'll wear it proudly.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

One More Week...

I can't believe I'm typing these words: Kindergarten will end in one week.

I hear Cody walking around the house every once in a while, and sometimes he'll forget I'm in the next room. He'll start singing, "See ya later, alligator..." which is apparently one of the songs we'll hear at his graduation ceremony on Friday. It may not seem like a sentimental song, but OH you should hear the rest of the words. I hope I don't forget my kleenex. Something tells me this is going to be just as hard as the first day of school. I hope I don't go into the ugly cry.

Anyway. J. Bear came to stay for his last visit over Memorial Day weekend. J. Bear is the class teddy bear, and all year he's been passed around from family to family, journaling about his experiences and adventures with the kindergarten class. J. Bear has stayed with us about five times this year. As we prayed before bed on Monday night of last week, we thanked God for the fun we've had with J. Bear (among other things). Cody suddenly burst into tears, and he told us he's really going to miss kindergarten, his teacher, and his good friend, J. Bear. I held it together, but inside I was sad right along with him. I'm going to miss kindergarten too!

I know this is a normal milestone. I know this is what kids do. They grow up, they move into the next stage and phase of life; it's part of the cycle of life and we parents feel the reality of that more than anyone!

I was pulling weeds out of my flower garden this afternoon, and suddenly, I had an epiphany. Cody, like the weeds, will keep growing whether I like it or not. My job as his mom is to care for him, water and nourish him with the Word, pull dangerous weeds that seek to creep in and strangle the beauty within him, and most of all, point him to the Son.

Kindergarten may be close to ending. But my job is far from over.

Dear Jesus, give me the tools I need to do this YOUR way.

I can't do the gardening alone.

Isaiah 58:11
The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.