Monday, September 1, 2014

Lucky Number 7

 Last week (8/26), our biggest buddy turned 7.  



Seriously.  SEVEN.


 Birthday breakfast with Dad....he picked Colonial and had his favorite - french toast.



 I still have a disdain for kids having to go to school on their birthdays!  But such is how things work....so, after breakfast with Daddy, Caleb headed off to school with some small gifts to share with his classmates in celebration of his special day.


And because on his actual birthday I had to attend Curriculum Night at his school, we had lunch at Red Robin the prior Sunday to do some early celebrating.


 And just this past Saturday, Kris took Caleb and two of his buddies to Epic Air (fun trampoline place) and out for frozen yogurt.


It's still hard to believe that Caleb is already 7.  It's even harder to believe that he's on his way to 8!
  We love our oldest kiddo so much and while I don't think I'll ever shake the mommy-guilt that I am screwing him up because he gets the brunt of my parenting fails, I keep on trusting Jesus to redeem us from our mistakes and to continue being bigger than my mess-ups.

Our newly minted 7-year-old is silly and sensitive and smart, energetic and eager to learn.  It's neat to see him now and to remember back to how he was as a toddler and a preschooler.  While he keeps getting bigger and more mature (although let's be honest, some days we're lacking in the maturity thing, can I get an "amen" from some other mommas of 7-year-old boys?), he's still that same kid.  Just in bigger clothes.  And with less teeth.




Creative, easily-frustrated, intelligent, impulsive, loving, sensitive.  Among so many other things.  I continue to learn a lot as his mom about how to parent the children God has given me, not the children I think I am supposed to have.  Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade this guy for anything...but I am too often guilty of getting impatient with the process of guiding and teaching my kids - him especially (that whole "you're the oldest kid so even though you're still just a little boy you're supposed to be perfect" mentality).  At the end of the day, after the kids have (finally) all fallen asleep, I often go stare at this oldest one for a bit.  As I look at him sleeping, I am frequently overcome with emotions.  Guilt - for having been too hard on him (again); Thankfulness - to God for entrusting me with such an amazing kid; Nostalgia - remembering those first few days as a new mom, knowing little to nothing about raising kids but feeling confident all the same because he was mine, and I was his.


 And ultimately, I feel pure love.  Love for a child who will always be my first baby, no matter how big he gets.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

First Day of 2nd and Kindergarten

 My two biggest babies kids started a new school year this morning!  They are both very excited for the new year, and I'm excited for them (albeit also experiencing a slew of other emotions).  I love having my kids home with me for so many reasons, and it's always difficult to send them off to school.  Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the "break" (can it be called that when there's still 2 littles at home?), and the teacher in me just loves school.  But, it's hard to give up control and to know that they are spending more waking hours away from me than they are with me, and it's especially hard for me that they are in a public school.  But, God is there with them.  I know it and I feel it.  He doesn't reserve Himself only for the private school kids. He is before them, behind them, and in their classrooms with them.  He is present and has greater control than I can ever dream of having.  These two precious babies (oops I did it again) kids are not alone.

 

 Caleb is in 2nd grade at Fox Ridge, and his teacher is Ms. H.  Last year was a huge learning year for all of us (after homeschooling for his Kinder year, we both had some learning to do!), and I am eager for a fresh start.  Our eldest is an eager learner, and said that he is most excited about Science this year.  He loves facts and trivia and reading and recently plowed through the Encyclopedia Brown books Auntie Heidi got him for his birthday.  I pray that his mind continues to soak it all in, and that he learns discernment with all he encounters.  He enjoys art and creating and I pray that his teachers always see and encourage his creativity.  He is social and loves to play with his friends, and I pray that this year is one in which he learns more about being a good friend to others.  Our Caleb is silly and energetic, and I pray that these traits are channeled into positive things. ;)  Most of all, I pray that this year will be another one of growing closer to Jesus, and to having a bigger understanding of His love.

At backpack/meet-the-teacher night.



 Our little lady is in Kindergarten at Munhall.  Her teacher's name is Ms. N.  She is pretty much excited about anything and everything school-related.  Unfortunately, because Fox Ridge isn't offering 1/2 day Kinder this year, she will be at a different school than Caleb.  While it's disappointing that they will be at separate schools, I am so glad that we still have the 1/2 day option.  While she would do great in the full-day program, and would prefer to be at school all day if it was her choice, we are taking full advantage of the opportunity to have her home with me in the afternoons for one more year.   One more year of greater influence from us.  One more year of spending the majority of her days playing, learning at home, and arguing hanging out with her little siblings.  One more year of just being little before full-time school, which will be the norm for the next many many years.
At backpack/meet-the-teacher night.




 My babies (I can't help it!) big school kids.


With their good friend, E.
 Meredith was so excited for the year to start, but she was also a little nervous (though don't expect her to admit it!).  This morning, she woke up at 5:30 am, which is very unlike her.  Thankfully she fell back asleep until I had to wake her to get ready for her special day.  And at the bus stop this morning, she told me that her tummy hurt a little.  

Rewind a bit...last night, I read The Kissing Hand to the kids, and drew a little heart on Meredith's palm (Caleb opted for an imaginary heart!).  I told them that if they felt sad or unsure during the day, they could put their palm to their cheek and be reminded of how much I love them. 

The Kissing Hand

So this morning, when she told me that her tummy hurt, I reminded her of her "kissing hand" (if you aren't familiar with this story, check it out, it is so sweet).  She immediately put her palm to her cheek and smiled.  She told me that her tummy felt better.  Doesn't take much more than that to make a momma melt.  My sweet girl....she tries to be so tough and independent, but she can't help it that she is a 5 year old little girl who was about to get on a bus without her parents for the first time.

It also helped that her amazing brother held her hand all the way on to the bus.  He was so sweet and caring with her and I am thankful she has him as a big brother.


 And all nerves aside, she was overjoyed to be on the bus.  She sat in the very front seat and was all smiles as it drove away.


 I was so excited to see her after school.  She walked off of the bus like she's been doing it all her life, and was so proud to show me her folder and its contents (which included a little project that they did which went along with the Kissing Hand book, that her teacher also chose to read today!)...I've been getting tidbits of information about her day (she is not quite as forthcoming as Caleb has always been about his school days), and her favorite parts of her first day were playing with some balls that had lines on them (?) and her teacher reading The Kissing Hand.

The red bracelet was a reminder of her bus number...I assured her that she can take it off now that she's home, but she just as confidently assured me that her teacher told he she needed to keep it on, possibly for forever. ;)
 I love this next picture.  The quality is awful, but the moment is treasured.  Caleb ran off the bus with a huge smile on his face and all but tackled me.  He had a great day, and I am so glad.


 Tonight, we went with our neighbor friends to a nearby park for a picnic and some play.  All of our husbands were at work late, so it was a great way to pass the evening.  I am so thankful for these friends and their parents.  We are blessed to have moved in to such a wonderful neighborhood, and it's so fun to watch these sweet kiddos grow.


Sleepy Norah with Mrs. Beth.
Missing Baby A.
All the kids are a little very obsessed with bugs and all things creepy crawly.  Last week, one of our backyard tables was completely covered in cicada shells, and the kids are constantly looking under rocks and bricks for anything they can catch and make a home for in their little bug catchers.  In true form, they were ecstatic to come across this little guy tonight on our walk.
And, just because I think he is so handsome.
Hooray for firsts.  And seconds and thirds....!


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

And Just Like That...

...she's 5.

Excited is an understatement.
Traditional birthday breakfast with Daddy.
Another tradition....5 balloons on the door!

For her actual birthday, she wanted to go swimming...we have had a lot of fun this summer at our local pool, and Meredith is so proud to be able to swim all by herself.  She is now able to jump off the diving board with no life vest (and proudly tells you that the water there is "12 feet 3 inches!") and we were all thankful that the lifeguard let her go down the slides for the first time, even though she is 1/4 in. too short.









 







After we got home from the pool, the kids played outside...Meredith has been loving our new basketball hoop and often asks us to "shoot hoops" with her, or to play a game of P-I-G.




Another cupcake and more singing...





One final present from Mom and Dad!





1 day, 646 pieces and only minimal help later...


This morning, I took Meredith and her BFF to get manis/pedis and out for cupcakes.









I tried to convince them that they should pick out different cupcakes so they could share 2 different kinds, but they only had interest in getting the exact same one as the other.  Oh well, they both ended up eating the frosting only. ;)


Silly girls...they wouldn't stop moving!


Words aren't enough to express how much we love our little girl.  This year is sure to be another special one and I can't wait to see what God has in store for her.  Happy Birthday to our first baby girl.


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