Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back to school...

I love the first day of school. As a former teacher, I am easily excited by new backpacks, lunch boxes, crayons, pencils, notebooks, etc. The anticipation for the first day of school comes once a year and contains all types of emotions. However, when I'm the Mommy and not the teacher, the emotions are a little heavier on the sad side. Don't get me wrong, we had lots of fun getting ready for school with all our things in place. New shoes, too. But when the first day actually came, it hit me that here we go again; another year will fly by as they are growing up way too fast in front of my eyes!

Emily started 3rd grade this year...3rd grade!!! How did we get here so quickly? She had a great first day and told us last night this was the best first day of school she's ever had. She couldn't stop talking last night about her day. She is in a class of 12 girls, knows most of them already, and got the teacher she wanted. Her year is off to a great start!

Benjamin started kindergarten today...kindergarten!!! How did we get here so quickly?

We walked to school this morning as we will do every day. I could feel my steps getting heavier as we got closer to the school. Whoa...materials are ready and in hand, but I forgot about my heart and how it would feel.

Our neighborhood school is amazing and we had a great day at "Meet the Teacher".

We've heard wonderful things about our teacher, so we are glad to be in her class. Lining up this morning in front of the school before the class goes in, I noticed the line seemed long. And, it kept getting longer! Ben has 25 kids in his kindergarten class. Many prayers will go up for his teacher this year...can you imagine? I have to admit, 12 in a class is nice. It's going to be a while before 25 sits well with me.

Next week, my baby will start her preschool class...preschool!!! How did we get here so quickly?

So, what is a mom to do?

I first opted for these...

And then, I remember I really need to opt for this...

A Mother's Prayer for the First Day of School

Here we are again, Lord.

Their backpacks are loaded and their faces are scrubbed and their lunch accounts are full.

And I know you will walk with them, Lord. You always do. But a mom still has to ask. Will you walk with them?

Will you whisper to them what they need to hear, when I'm not there to whisper it?

Will you please, oh please, cover their school with the protection only you can give, and will you keep harm far away?

Will you make their minds strong and ready to learn?

Will you help them understand that hard work honors the One who created them?

Will you guide their teachers, giving them patience and wisdom and creativity and more patience?

Will you bless them for their efforts?

Will you love all the children there, the ones whose lunch accounts aren't full, the ones who feel alone?

Will you teach my children to be kind and unselfish and to love those who are different from them?

Will you point them back toward home just as soon as you can?

Lord, I give them to you today and every day, trusting them to your care.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Getting ready...

We have two days of summer left before we are back to school. This is a big year for us...3rd grade, kindergarten and preschool. I am still in a bit of denial and just going through the motions of getting ourselves ready, but I don't think my heart is ready yet.

As a former teacher, I am one to make sure we have gifts for our teachers; first day of school, holidays, end of year, etc. I got this idea from my friend Laurie, but instead of going to the bakery in Houston (because that would be quite a commute!), I grabbed two neighbors and we slaved in my kitchen yesterday and whipped up 15 caramel/chocolate/sprinkled apples.

My heart might not be ready just yet, but hopefully these scrumptious apples will give us a jump start to our teachers' hearts.

Caramel/Chocolate/Sprinkled Apples
5 Granny Smith Apples
1 bag of chewy caramels
1 bag of semisweet chocolate chips
assorted sprinkles
dowel rods

Step 1: Wash and dry apples and stick the dowel rods into the stem of the apples.

Step 2: In a double boiler, melt the caramels with 2 tablespoons of water. Stir constantly.

Step 3: Dip your apples in the caramel and then chill in the fridge for 5 minutes.

Step 4: In a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips.

Step 5: Dip your apples in the chocolate and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Step 6: Roll your apples in sprinkles and chill for an additional 15 minutes.

Step 7: Wrap them up and voila!

Step 8: Enjoy! They are extra yummy!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

That's just wrong!

Have you ever been wronged? I mean, really wronged...the kind of wronged that makes you stop and say out loud, "Really?" The kind of wronged that when you look back, you know that you did everything right, but in the end, you were still wronged? Makes you feel pretty bitter, huh?

Well, I'm kind of in that place right now and what a test it is turning out to be! I mean honestly, I have done everything I can to be overly generous and kind, and I am standing here with mud on my face and a few teeth missing from the kicks!

What's my natural reaction? Fight fire with fire, baby...bring it on! I can fight with the best of them, believe me and if you don't, ask Jason! But wait, oh yeah, there's that little small voice in my head that I so want to ignore and pretend I don't hear. You know what I'm talking about, right? That voice that really makes your plans of revenge or distribution of justice that much more difficult and less satisfying to accomplish...

Why must I listen to the voice? In fact, why is the voice there in the first place? Because, my friends, I have a higher calling than what this world slings in my face. In my quest to be more like Jesus, I must listen to that voice that is there to help me be more like Him. In my human-ness, that just seems wrong. I have much better plans that I am certain would leave me feeling more satisfied. However, it really doesn't end up being that way. I may have temporary satisfaction, but it will wear off before too long.

What is one to do? Pray, pray, pray... Confront the issues as the Bible instructs to do in Matthew 18:15-17 (after doing some study and coming to an understanding of the instruction). Then, let it go...hand it over to the One who created the universe and wants the very best for His children and trust that His plan will be fulfilled.

Oh, it's so hard to do! My ideas seem to be so much more fun...

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Past 7 Days in Pictures...

Lake Erie...

Ben's Birthday...

Party Time...

Rocket Launch...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

6 years old!!

Today is Ben's birthday! He is a big six-year-old today. I think he woke up grinning this morning and walking taller just knowing it's his special day. Leading up to today, he had told many people that his birthday was going to be on Wednesday. The entire camp where he's attending this week is expecting cake, ice cream and treats today, thanks to the accelerated imagination of my little boy. They will be getting cake later this afternoon, but no ice cream, treats or tricks. I'm just glad he can have cake with a group of friends. Having a summer birthday hasn't given him this opportunity in summers past.

Benjamin was a sweet baby, very happy and very easy going. He started out with some physical challenges, but thanks to 1-1/2 years of therapy and many prayers, he sailed through with flying colors and you would never even suspect anything today.

With today being his sixth birthday, I thought I'd list Ben's top six list, his six favorite things...

1. Music
2. Dinosaurs
3. Taylor Bell (our cat)
4. His family
5. His friends
6. Making others laugh

These aren't necessarily in order, but six things that quickly come to mind when I think of Ben. Outside of these six things, Ben is very sensitive and perceptive. He is cuddly and affectionate. He loves to roughhouse and wrestle. He loves bugs and nature. He loves computers and reading. Ask Ben where he lives and he will still tell you he lives in Texas and is just visiting Ohio. (Just recently, he shed a few tears because he misses Texas.) He adores his sisters, although, at times, wishes for a brother. He is happy from the top of his head to the tip of his toes.

Ben, we are so proud of you and love you so much. You bring laughter and silliness into our home. We hope you have a fun birthday, buddy!