Sunday, September 27, 2015

Eighteen and life you got it.

It's amazing to find someone who shares your humor, accepts your weirdness, calms your crazy and still has enough room in their heart to love you.  Eighteen years later and I would still choose you.

I love this life of ours and wouldn't trade it for anything.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Spirit week

Last week was spirit week in celebration of homecoming.  Trying to remember the daily themes for two different schools and come up with wonder I was exhausted by the time Friday night rolled around. 

Monday:  The elementary theme was beach day.  I think the middle school was something about your favorite team.  Both boys wore Spartan gear but I never got a photo of them. 

Tuesday:  The middle school had Rodeo day.  Doesn't Spencer look so thrilled to be getting photographed first thing in the morning?  He never ended up wearing the hat to school either.  What a party pooper.

Hailey's school had Peace, Love and Tye Dye day.  We found the pants at Goodwill the same day we found her Halloween costume.  We knew this day was on the docket and could not resist.  They were a huge hit.

Wednesday was Island Day for the boys.  As you can tell, Evan really gets in to the spirit week festivities.

Hailey had CREW day plus crazy sock day plus crazy hair or hat day.  They tried to pack in a lot in one day.

I am so glad she is finally letting me do a little bit with her hair.  Still not her favorite thing, but she is so much better about it.

On Thursday the boys had 80's day.  This was my favorite.  Evan was the preppy boy with a pink shirt, blazer and vintage swatch watches and jelly bracelets.  I let Spencer borrow two of my prized possessions: my Guess jean jacket and Andre Agassi tshirt - straight out of the 80's.  Trent had that red leather tie from a costume party.  We tried to peg roll their jeans but the style of jeans now a days just didn't look the same.

Hailey's school had color day.  Each grade was supposed to wear the same color.  The third grade color was green.  I thought it was kind of a lame day.  Evan suggested that they should have lined them all up on the playground and taken a rainbow picture.  That didn't happen, but it would have bee really cool.

Friday was everybody wear blue and white day.  I didn't get pictures of the kids in the morning. Hailey wore her cheer uniform to school but thought it might be too chilly for the game.  So here are my little Sailors after the homecoming game.

It was a fun but very busy week.  Hopefully this one might be a bit less hectic.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


This is something I found online that could have written almost word for word.   This is unchartered territory for this mama but this is much my life right now with my fourteen year old.

"I have a dream that I am looking at a baby. He is mine, all wrapped up in a blanket on a hospital bed. He is hooked up to machines and I am worried. Every time I pick him up, his heartbeat gets weaker. When I put him down, it gets strong again. The doctors and nurses assure me that this is normal. I have done nothing wrong. It will be our life from now on. I can hold him sometimes, but not for too long. More often than not, I will need to give him space, let him be. I am told it is the best thing for his heart. I tell them it is the worst thing for mine. In the dream, I surrender, willing to care for him the best I can. The message is clear, I need to learn a whole new way to love. I wake up in a deep state of longing and realize, I am grieving. My child is changing and I am mourning.
I cannot remember the last time I sang you a bedtime song, shared a blanket with you, trimmed your fingernails, pushed you on a swing, tied your shoes or cut your chicken at dinner. I do not know what the inside of your locker looks like, who you sit with on the bus, or what you choose for lunch in the cafeteria. You are messy. You hurl your backpack down and raid the cabinets for food deemed only mildly satisfactory. You bark orders for money, slam doors, curse under your breath, and list things you hate. I have made this list more than once. You demand a cell phone, R rated movies, and endless time on the computer. You listen to music with swagger and edge that blares into headphones for only you. You are fresh and fast with a comeback, always.
It has become my job to remind you that a pile of blankets in a heap doesn't mean that a bed has been made. I push you to finish your poetry project, change your socks, wear your retainer, write your thank you notes, lay off the candy. I can't be too excited or too disappointed. My heart must not shatter with sadness or burst with pride or I lose you. You ride high and bottom out almost daily. But I cannot join you. I try to stand back, offer support, let it play out. The impact of my consequences have almost no outward effect, my approval seems to matter the least, and it's becoming rarer for you to back down.
Whenever you lash out, pull away or retreat, I want to reach inside you and pull out the boy who loved Buzz Lightyear and never criticized the Red Sox or his mother. I long for the boy who would wear costumes in public, leap from furniture, and dance wildly, red faced and sweaty from play and imagination. I desperately want to capture you and frantically run away to a distant amusement park on a random Wednesday when you're scheduled to take a math test. We'll race together from the giant water slides to the crazy roller coasters and eat fried dough until we're sick. We'll waste money, laugh until it hurts, and you'll hold my hand and squeal that I'm the greatest... of all time... ever. We'll return home to a permanent state of bliss and skip the betrayal of a temporary fix.
I stay at your bedside, aching for you to share one piece of your day. I am consumed by the potential of a meaningful conversation. You start to share your social woes and I am on the edge of my seat, undivided attention abounds. But you trail off, mumbling that I won't understand. I scrounge for details from my middle school days to validate you and show I can relate. I get it! I was just there! You assure me things are different now. I nod. They sure are.
I look over at your younger brother, waiting patiently to be tucked in, while I'm all consumed in your adolescence. This is a harsh reminder of your growth and the precious passing of time. He needs me more constantly. You, in more intense, immediate spurts. But tonight I must go to him because the days are slipping on all of us. And when I find him where you are, I will long for this night and these struggles and victories -- so overwhelming to me now, so strangely simple and innocent to me tomorrow.
We are crossing over. You are my baby. But I cannot carry you now. You walk alone into a new world. I want you to linger here, but you constantly push. You will change. You will grow. You will stumble. You will rise. I will be soft and firm. I will guide and step aside. I will lean and I will pull. I will be lost and I will be certain. I will reach for you, and if you do not reach back, know that my heart remembers your heartbeat. And I will always be holding you there."
-Janell Burley Hofmann

Monday, September 21, 2015

For example, a shoe?

Since the boys were up north all weekend for the youth hunt, Hailey and I had a girl's weekend. On Saturday after her football game I asked her if she wanted to go to Barnes and Noble to buy some new books with her gift card. 

I get stressed out about her reading.  She thinks she isn't a good reader, but she is much better than she thinks - she just lacks confidence in her reading ability.  We have been pushing her a bit to "read to self" at night (after we read to her of course) and she always picks books that are below her level.  She tells me the chapter books are too hard and she only understands them when someone else reads to her. 

It stresses me out because I don't know how to help.   Everyone else in our family loves to read.  Trent always has a library book and the boys read all the time.  Spencer used to get in "trouble" at school for reading too much!  I just don't know what to do. 

So we went to Barnes and Noble and we sat on the floor in front of a shelf full of books and found these.  Three fairly simple chapter books - I think she wanted the pony one just for the bracelet that came with it.  I also gave in to the begging for the Frozen book.  She is not a huge Frozen fan, I think the only reason she wanted that one was for the stickers it promised inside. 

I remember going to the Book Nook as a little girl with my mom and picking up book after book and reading the back cover until I found one or two that I longed to read.  It made me sad that she seemed uninterested in the books - she was drawn to the toy area more than anything.  I wish I could instill that same love in her.  I hope she gets it eventually.  

Last night when it was time for her to read in bed she choose the Frozen book and then proceeded to show me all the cool stickers that came with it.  Sigh.

She was not excited about the books but she was ecstatic about the shoes we found at TJ Maxx.  She had designs on being Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz for Halloween and thought that these shoes would be perfect ruby slippers.  Plus she could wear them to school too.  What happened to my girl that used to say "if it's clothes I am not interested"?

It turns out that the shoes will be just for school after all.  I am glad I only spent ten dollars on them. The Dorothy idea went out the window after a stop to Goodwill where we found the perfect costume for a mere five dollars and ninety nine cents.  She LOVES it and looks totes adorbs in it!  Stay tuned for the big reveal. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

First week done. Lots of lunches to go.

We survived the first week of school.

We have not been getting up very early this summer so I was extremely nervous about how the mornings would go.  I have to say I was pretty impressed.  I think I have to consider though that this first week everything is still all new and they have lots of adrenaline.  The worst may be yet to come - or maybe not.  New school year - let us think positive thoughts. 

Big boy is an eighth grader this year.  How in the world is this his last year in middle school?  He doesn't tell me much.  His classes are good.  His teachers are good.  He mostly still wants to bring his lunch so he doesn't have to wait in line.  When I asked him the best part of eighth grade he said he didn't know yet.  

(They are at the bus stop shortly after seven in the morning.  It is hard to take back to school pictures when it isn't even light out.) 

His English teacher gave the parents an assignment the first day.  What the what?  In a million words or less we had to describe our child to her.  Here is what I came up with:

How to describe Spencer in a million words or less…hmm…it is a more challenging task than it seems because there is so much that makes him the kid I know.
Spencer is quiet and sometimes very shy.  Once you get to know him you will find that he is a bit more talkative and also very witty and funny.  Unless it is a day when he is going through some teenage angst – then you are lucky to get a nod of the head or a grunt now and then.
He is very smart but does not tend to go above and beyond what is expected of him.   He has never really had to work hard to learn or understand something new so sometimes I feel as though he doesn’t put in a lot of extra effort.
Spencer is not gifted in the art of organization.  His locker is always a mess.  His papers tend to be wadded up in his backpack.   This drives us crazy and is something we have been urging him to get better about for years.
In re-reading what I wrote I feel like I am kind of throwing my kid under the bus and portraying him in a negative light.    Maybe as a mom I see his weak areas as things still on my “to do” list but all that aside; Spencer is an amazing kid. 
He has always been a wonderful student.  He will not be a disturbance in class.  He will always have a shy smile on his face.  He will do all of his assignments and (hopefully) turn them in on time.  He will be courteous and friendly to the other students. 
I know he will enjoy English class this year and I hope you get a chance to really get to know him because I am merely scratching the surface of who he is in these three hundred and nineteen words. 

Evan starts his first year at the middle school.  This is the last year any of my kids will be in the same building together.  That fact alone would be enough to send my wailing in the fetal position so I try not to think about it much.   Evan thought his first week was pretty good.  He is finally learning how to get to all of his classes on time and only had a bit of trouble on the first day with which bus he was supposed to ride home.  Going from two buses at elementary to ten is a big leap.  When I told him after the first day that I was glad everything went well for him he told me it did but he spent most of the day being pretty scared.  Ugh.  It just takes you back to those days doesn't it?  

(Little sister was up at at 'em early so she could see her brothers off!)

The lighting was perfect by the time Hailey had to head for the bus so she was lucky enough to get the full on photo shoot.   She was very excited about her back to school outfit.  She picked out the headband and shoes on her own at the store.  

The night before as I was tucking her into bed I could tell she was a bit apprehensive.  When I asked her what she was thinking about tears started to roll down her cheeks.  She said she was nervous about school because she thought that third grade was going to be hard.  I told her that I remembered a little girl who was very scared about starting second grade because she thought that would be hard.  I asked her if second grade was hard and she said no.  I told her I know it seemed scary and new but third grade was going to be awesome.

The next morning she was ready to take it on.

She discovered my camera had a continuous shooting mode or as she calls it "model pictures" so now always wants me to take pictures of her like that.

It is always so hard to let these three giant pieces of my heart be away from me for the bulk of their day.  I pray they all have an amazing year and make great friends and show their teachers what fantastic little people they are.