Friday, August 30, 2013

FDOS- The one I didn't see coming

This is the last one.  
I promise.
But when your kids, who were supposed to start school all on the same day
spread it out over the whole week-
well, it takes several posts.

And the last was certainly not least.

After sadly missing his first two days of school, KJ finally got his big day on Thursday.
The First Day of First Grade.

There were lots of things I knew to anticipate about the craziness of the first week of school-
the paperwork, the meetings, the schedule changes, the emotions, the lunches, the routines
But I didn't see this one coming.

I knew the brothers would be thrilled to walk into the building together for the first time.  

I correctly assumed they would come home at the end of the day telling tales of seeing each other in the hallway and cafeteria.

But what I didn't expect
was that this guy- the big brother of the group- would be so apprehensive.
Looking back, 
I totally should have seen it coming.  
Because he'd missed the first two days, he was walking into a situation where everyone else seemingly already knew what to do.  And he didn't know what to expect.

I should have know that because last year didn't go like he expected, he would be unsure about starting another year.

He melted in beside me as we walked to his classroom, squeezing my hand and sticking a little closer than usual.  And I totally should have known that my boy who LOVED being at home all summer would not be over-the-top excited about restarting the days of being away so much.  

But my very first indicator, should have been before we even left home.  After I'd snapped a few FDOS pictures of this big guy.  He squeezed me and said "How about one of just you and me?"  UM....YES, PLEASE!

As he sat in his desk and I could see a few tears welling, I couldn't decide whether to just cry so he'd feel better about letting loose, too.  Or walk away quickly to make it easier for both of us.

In the end, I did neither.  
I leaned in close, hugged him just the right amount for a big first grader AND still a little bit my baby,
and whispered in his ear...

I love you.
You've got this because God has made you a mighty encourager.
Find others to help and encourage and the day will fly by.
I will always and forever be proud of you.
I can't wait to hear all about it when I pick you up at 3.

And then I left.  I didn't get to see a change in his eyes, like I did his little brother.  But when I picked him up- bounding toward the car- the van door was barely open before his excited voice proclaimed "I GOT A TICKET" and various other fdos victories.

Even going back and documenting the day now, 
I'm flooded with prayers for my children and their time in school.

Oh, Lord, give me strength to let go.  Help me find ways to prepare my children for the paths before them, but not hold on so tightly they miss the opportunities to soar alone.  Forgive me when there are times I miss the opportunities to speak your blessings into them.  Flood their days with the power of your love and grace.  Help them have confidence in knowing that they are YOURS.  And Lord in that confidence, give them opportunities to hold their heads up and proclaim your name.  
Conqueror of fears, giver of good gifts, Lord.
Even on the first day of school.

It's a good thing this was only the 2nd year of many starts of school.  Because apparently this Momma still has a lot to learn.  About myself.  About my children.  About school.  About my God.

Nope, I didn't see that one coming at all.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Lou and Her Brother (who finally got a blog name) Go to School

I mean, its not a competition.
Not at all.
But if it were,
it just got stiff.

I didn't think anything could top Cbug's fdos story and pictures.  He was so handsome, so silly, so cooperative.  But then RRL took these pictures of Tito and Lou before they headed off to their first day.  A little less cooperative- but oh my, in their coordinated outfits and adorable signs (thank Kristi) and the spikey hair beside his sister's pink bow.  That boys' sly little smirk and the princesses sparkly shoes. Welp. Just go ahead and MELT.MY.HEART.

I was more than a little bit disappointed that our FDOS that didn't go like we planned meant that RRL would have to take Tito and Lou in for their first day without me.

I was already torn up on the inside about my baby going to "school" but to not get to walk him in myself.... on second thought, maybe I'm not quite ready to talk about it.  Let's just get back to the adorable pictures.

The good news is, our little spikey haired darling is one of only 5 kids in his "class".  With 2 teachers.  Add some bonus hugs through the day from other teachers and friends (who already love his big brothers and sister) and he is hardly deprived or forgotten.  Quite the opposite.

And, of course,
he has big sister around to watch out for him.

Lou is already loving school.

Jumped right in, even after missing the first day.

And hasn't looked back.  Poor thing, it is certainly sad she doesn't have any confidence.

She was made for school.  She would probably rather be teaching it, but she'll settle for this in the meantime.  She loves reading to her babies, or brothers.  She loves writing her name.  She loves colors.  She loves SCHOOL.

So glad these two will spend the year together being so well loved at a place we've come to love.   Its the only way I'm able to keep working, even part-time, knowing that they are there.You certainly do become bonded to people that spend so much of their time caring for your treasures.  And the sweet people at this little preschool go way above and beyond.  Can't say enough good things about them.  What a blessing!

FDOS #2 for our casa.  Check.

*as a fun note- I'm trying out a new blog-name for the baby-est member of our team.  I just didn't like that "Little Bear" isn't any sort of derivative of his real name.  It doesn't match the others.  I know.  These are the quirky things I think about.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cbug's First Day of School

Technically, it was EVERYONE's first day of school.  All four were supposed to start their school adventures today.

But as is often the case when you have lots of small children, this day did not go as planned.

KJ and Lou both woke up sick during the night.
And since I was staying home with them anyway, Little Bear stayed, too.

Which means...
had the first day of school alone.

It stinks because he and KJ were SO pumped to finally be going to the same school again.  They've been counting down to this day.  And on meet the teacher night last week they were attached at the hip with excitement.
This was Meet the Teacher night.  Watch out world when these two DO get to arrive at school together.  Sheesh.
(shockingly, the above photo shoot was completely unscripted)

Which is actually why in some ways, I'm glad Cbug got to fly solo this morning.
It's funny.  I kind of feel like I've written this post before.  Could be deja vu, or it could be that it actually happened before. Like maybe the first day that KJ and Cbug were supposed to go to the same preschool.
Even without KJ, Cbug had plenty of silly to cover the fdos pictures.

While I would never EVER wish the last few hours on KJ.  Poor guy is miserable.  And I hate that he had the disappointment of missing his first day.  I sincerely do.

But Cbug is just a different kid when he's forced to forge ahead alone.  He and I got to walk to school, just the two of us (well, when I could keep up with him).  He didn't stop talking the entire time.  He was so excited, he could hardly stand it.

I got to walk him to his classroom without dividing my attention. 

And I'm so glad I did.  Because as we headed down the hall, he becames more than a little bit unsure about the whole thing.  Not necessarily sad or anxious even, just trying to absorb it all.  There were people passing all around, people calling out instructions, so much to see hanging in the hallways.  He was definitely over stimulated- and I saw that familiar look in his eyes.

The one that says "In about 5 seconds I'm either going to need to hide somewhere ALONE with my legos or I'm going to completely breakdown."

Even with me snuggled next to him- this was his face.

Which is why his teachers first words to her "babies" was MUSIC to both of our ears.
"Boys and Girls, you have three choices.  You can either read a book, play with playdough at your own desk, or just listen while I talk to the Mommies and Daddies."

She was speaking his love language.

In his own world- happy with playdough.
And as he worked on his very own blue playdough, it was like he had just a few minutes to regroup alone (even in the crowd) and get ready for his day.  I might have missed that transition in his eyes if I'd had to rush over to KJ's class.  And I can honestly say, after I saw him shift, I was easily able to walk out without a tear (from either of us).
Wow what a difference!

It was certainly disappointing that RRL didn't get to be there.  And such a bummer that he and KJ didn't get to share the first day.

But I'm incredibly thankful for those moments this morning with my big Kindergartner.

At big school
For the very first time.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Run for Craig

I've done some interesting things while running.
But none compare to this weekend.

This weekend, 
this happened.

I donned a headlamp at 1:30am.
With arms raised in thanksgiving and praise,
I ran through sprinklers.
In the middle of the night.

And it was my favorite run ever.

Because this weekend
this happened.
The sign-in poster before the run began

Although the track was completely empty at that dark time of night
I didn't run alone.
I was joined by an army of people 
running and praying. 

because this weekend
this happened.
13 hours in and already more than 150 miles.
It was truly an honor to be able to be one of many.
To listen to the prayer requests that Craig and his family asked that we cry out on their behalf.
It was incredible to be reminded that when the "Life Race" gets difficult-
when things like Cancer knock unexpectedly at our door, 
We are never running alone. 

Because this weekend,
so much happened.
251 miles.
By more than 75 runners and walkers.
24 hours of prayer

This weekend
We ran because
We believe.
We believe that God is mighty to heal someone we love.  To conquer cancer.

I have to confess to you, in the past I've felt pretty good about the way I've shared my faith on this little piece of the world wide web.  And while its true that you don't have to read many posts in DRRF to catch a glimpse of what we believe- I was convicted while running this weekend that it might have been only a glimpse.

This time, I don't want to miss the opportunity to be very clear.
One of Craig's requests was that he and his family use what they are experiencing, his battle with Cancer, to share something with others.  So, I would be terribly remiss to not take an opportunity in a post about this prayer run to share with you.

Wanna know what in the world would motivate people to run in the middle of the night?
Or worse, in the middle of the day in August in TX?

We believe that we are all totally messed up.
None of us are perfect.
I am far from it.

But I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
I believe He came to this Earth, lived as both fully God and fully Man so that He alone could pay the ultimate price for all of our sins.  Horrific, torturous death on a cross.

I believe that in Him alone is found a power to save.
I believe He is able to heal Craig completely.
But, I also believe someday our lives as we know them on this Earth will end.
And when that happens, I believe that Jesus has already paid the price for salvation for all, for eternal life.
We believe that we ALL need to be saved.
And we believe that Jesus is the way to the salvation.
There is nothing we've done to earn it.  There is nothing we can do to lose it.
And its for you, too.
All you have to do is believe.
That's it.

I want you to know what I believe.
Don't let me over-complicate it.  Don't let me cloud it.  Don't miss it.

If you don't know the Truth about the saving power of Christ.  If you don't have a community of people that encourage you to know a Lord that saves you by Grace, and not by anything you can do- I don't want to let another moment go by without being the one to tell you.

That's why we ran.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Lessons of a Stick Hunter

The stomach bug struck at our house.
Which meant we had to stay home.
Only it didn't last long.
And we were free to roam.

We hit up the park where we could run and play (and avoid sharing germs).
We avoided crowded playgrounds and just wandered. 

The Perfect Sick Day

The kinda day where you see a field and just take off running.

and you taste a sweet victory
or maybe a little bitterness from defeat.

The kind of day where you take a wagon along 
simply because you'll need a place to carry your sticks.

My three stick hunters nearly filled a wagon with treasures of bark.
Like ones that would be just right for an elephant nose

Or huge ones they could use to practice their heavy lifting or balance beam routines.

Or ones that could be turned into magical wands, perfect for stirring the musty waters of an enchanted creek.

They watched closely for signs of wild-life
frogs or turtles or fish

And one mini-member of the expedition practiced his hiking (while snacking) skills
(add "shoes optional" to the list of fourth-child-woes)

They challenged the theories behind
"If your brother jumped off a bridge..."

And learned that in all situations a little push behind your pull goes a long way.

They learned that exploring together just a few steps off the beaten path 
can open up grand adventures

and that after a long day of stick-hunting you've got to decide just how badly you really want to make it home with your heavy haul.

Even if I did have to clean-up vomit to earn this day-
I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Because I know that school is around the corner- 
and no matter how amazing their teachers may be,
 there are some things you just learn best while stick hunting.