Friday, June 29, 2012

Sayonara, Second Grade!

 Luke wrapped up second grade today. Can't believe it. His expression pretty much sums up our week. Much weeping and gnashing of teeth over the separation from the best buddy. Even though we met his new teacher and she is wonderful, we seem to be lacking a little enthusiasm toward this transition since his favorite friend was assigned the other third grade teacher.
Good thing we have NINE WHOLE DAYS to get used to the idea.
Yup, here in crazy mixed up year round school world, we take a whole week off and then launch into the new school year. Since we resist change and abhor a new routine, this should be a right peachy adventure.
 We tried to celebrate the milestone with frozen yogurt at our new favorite place: Skinny Dip. Andy is thrilled about any opportunity to consume massive quantities of sugar. If he was awake and could read, he would want me to tell our viewing audience that he totally rocked his swim lessons this week, too. He is looking forward to using his new angry birds lunch box very soon. Kindergarten is right around the corner.
Not sure what's going on with little mister here. Maybe I'm interrupting his yogurt consumption. Although some of us are in denial that today even happened, we are quite proud of our Lukester and all he accomplished this year.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Are You There, Contentment?

I stood in the kitchen this morning, stirring cream in my coffee and mumbling to my husband that I was not looking forward to my Tuesday. As our three precious boys ate their breakfast and enjoyed watching the Disney Channel, I instantly felt guilty. A little voice reminded me that I have much to be thankful for.  I knew at that moment I could expect heartache ahead if I didn't change my attitude.
Let's be honest, I chose not to change my attitude and spent a majority of my day wishing I was somewhere else, doing anything but schlepping children to the YMCA, folding laundry and breaking up squabbles. I simply wanted to fast forward through the remainder of the week, skipping straight to the beginning of our vacation. A change of scenery, some variety in our routine, extra hands to lighten the load...
Discontent breeds more discontent and by early afternoon we were all in tears. After another tiresome round of sibling rivalry and the offending party was sitting in isolation, I picked up my MOPS magazine. How appropriate that I flipped to an article called "Savor the Moment" about enjoying the small moments of motherhood. Before I slammed the magazine shut, a little tiny quote down in the corner caught my eye:

"True contentment is a thing as active as agriculture. It is the power of getting out of any situation all that there is in it. It is arduous and it is rare." -GK Chesterton

I have turned these words over in my mind this afternoon. As I sat down to play the Wii with one of my kids, he sighed happily, leaned back in his chair and said, "I finally have everything I need." I smiled proudly and then he added, "Wait. There's one more thing..." He began to list a few cars from the Pixar Cars 2 movie that he still doesn't possess.
Lack of contentment and dissatisfaction is contagious. The attitude seems to come from the top down and clearly I set the tone in our home. I hope today is a lesson learned and I can model a grateful heart going forward.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Five Minute Fridays: Risk

Lisa Jo Baker  hosts Five Minute Fridays, one of my favorite events in the blogging world, not only because it challenges my writing ability but I love to see what people pour out on their blogs. Today the topic is RISK.
I remember little snippets of my 3rd grade year at a tiny elementary school in rural Alaska. Mrs. Swisher taught us to make candles, pulled us all into the other classroom to watch the horrific Challenger explosion and repeated her mantra daily: TAKE A RISK. I'm sure I rolled my eyes repeatedly as I felt I was risk-averse. But 28 years later, I am finally taking her advice. I am writing a book, slowly but surely. I am sharing my work with total strangers, sometimes cringing and squeezing my eyes shut when I receive their feedback. It is scary to put yourself out there. It is hard to hear someone say you need to try again. It is painful to fumble, uncertain of how to achieve mastery. I don't like risks. But putting pen to paper or sending the words scurrying across my monitor makes my heart sing. And that makes the risk worth it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day 2012

Steve reminded me that this weekend is the 12th anniversary of a memorable date in our courtship. Apparently this particular date involved holding hands while we drove over Snow's Cut Bridge toward Carolina Beach. The man has a mind like a steel trap. I don't dispute the accuracy of his memory. I'm just  sorry that I don't remember events it unless there is photographic evidence lingering in a scrapbook. Yesterday he asked, "What would you have said that day if I predicted the future and told you 'twelve years from now you will have three little boys, owned three houses in ten years and moved half a dozen times?'"
I think I probably would have said, "Let go of my hand, stop this car and I'm getting out because you're crazy!"
 I'm glad I didn't let go of his hand or jump out of the car. What a wonderful and exciting ten years we have enjoyed together. Today's sermon at church was about Jesus's earthly father, Joseph. He doesn't play a starring role or win earthly accolades for his commitment to his family. He faced unusual circumstances, possibly felt embarrassed and humiliated by Mary's pregnancy, and was later forced to flee with his young family to another land. All while trying to raise the Son of God. So I suppose in contrast, we live a rich and relatively care free life. On this Father's day I'm thankful for Steve's love and commitment to our family.
And his boyish sense of humor is much appreciated, as well. 
Happy Father's Day, Steve!

Friday, June 1, 2012

This Is the Day...

Andy finished preschool yesterday and received his diploma. The kids did a great job showcasing all the wonderful songs they learned this year. Pastor Eric reminded us of Psalm 118:24 which says, "this is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it". He encouraged us to celebrate this milestone in our child's life and enjoy the day. Live in the moment. We often long for a particular phase of a child's life to be over, hoping the future holds self-sufficiency, less diapers, fewer messes, more "me" time. Yet in the blink of an eye we will be standing at a much different graduation or perhaps watching this same child walk down the aisle. Wishing it all away only leads to regret.
I heard what he said and I put on a smiling face. We gathered all of his projects, treasures, artwork, photos.
We even enjoyed a little cake. I was proud of myself. Look at me. I'm rejoicing. I'm glad he made it.
But today was a different story. I procrastinated packing his snack. I cried when I dropped him off. I sniffled my way through chores and cried some more while I shopped at Trader Joe's. When his teacher hugged him and brought him to the car, I was a blubbering mess. Ridiculous. I can't wait for kindergarten to start (because let's be honest, what I really want is more free time) yet I'm sad that he is about to spend 7 hours a day with lots of other somebodies. Fickle, this mommy heart of mine.
In the spirit of rejoicing, here are some of my favorite pictures of our little party animal's preschool days.
 Playing outside (his favorite activity)
Hanging out with his good friend Patrick
 So proud of his project
Bringing Sammy the sock monkey home for the weekend

Congratulations, buddy! Can't believe how much you've grown and changed. You learned so much, I know you are going to rock kindergarten!