Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Unicorns and Rainbows (and maybe a few dark clouds) ;)

Today at 12:30 our summer officially began.  For the next 10 and a half weeks there are no alarm clocks, no schedules, no school projects or tests to study for....nothing.   I love summertime. Love the lazy days of hanging by the pool, playing games, going for frozen yogurt, vacationing with loved's very much unicorns and rainbows. ;)  This summer involves some fun plans and is promising to be incredible...but even if we had no plans I would still be doing a happy dance, for this is the time of year when I get the boys home with me all day.  And although the first few days take some adjusting (we affectionately refer to it as the re-entry period;) it's not long before we're back in the groove of near-constant togetherness, and I'm soaking up my time with my 3. :)

So I'm trying to focus on all of this, and not on the fact that in the past week...
...this one graduated from pre-k....

....partied with his buddies;)....

....and this one graduated from elementary school.
Clearly, when B and I were planning our family we didn't think through the fact that 11 years later this would happen at the same time. more reason that it's a good thing it's not up to us, because we know God's timing is perfect, even during the tough mommy moments. ;)  Having one starting middle school at the same time another is starting kindergarten is a little rough on this mama's heart. I've been a "bit" emotional today. ;)

And incredibly thankful that this guy, while making a change too, is a much more 
emotionally-manageable change from 2nd to 3rd grade.
He's pretty pumped, if you can't tell. ;)

Yes...there was lots to celebrate today.

And even the littlest H was making himself at home at what will be his school this fall.
That kid can't pass up a microphone....not a shy bone in his entire body.

 This week we've celebrated friendships...
...and decided it's better (easier?) to put off goodbyes with promises to stay in touch instead, which is much easier to handle, but in this case also true.  He's got some pretty incredible friends. :)

And while every. single. year I get emotional about saying goodbye to their teachers and struggle to wrap my brain around the fact that the school year really is over, this time feels different.  For the first time in my boys' school years, we finally have found our groove.  We love this school, and it feels like home.  We've developed friendships with people who go the distance for us and with us, knowing full well we would do the same for them.  It feels good to be there. :)
And while it doesn't make change any easier, (and I really don't like change), there is a peace and happiness that comes with being secure and comfortable with where you are.  And now the theme from "Cheers" is stuck in my head. ;)

But the thing that keeps looming over my head like a ridiculous dark cloud is this big thing that is going to make everything so very different.

This fall, for the first time in over 11 years, I won't have a baby at home with me.
11 years is a long time to me, and to say I'm feeling a little lost at the idea of this reality would be a giant understatement.  I really have no idea what I'm going to do with myself.  I keep hearing that I'm going to love it.  That I will find all kinds of things to do.  That I deserve this time after years of taking care of babies and preparing them for school.  But really it just feels weird.  And sad.  And lonely.
Looks like I have 10 and a half weeks to get a life.  Lol ;)

I'll figure it out, and am determined to embrace it, just like I've had to with every other change I've faced.  And in the meantime I'm going to do everything in my power to make this summer amazing.  I'm going to carpe diem the heck out of it, realizing full well that the little things are just as important as the big things.  I'm going to love these kiddos and soak up every bit of their 11, almost 8, and 5-ness that I can, because in a flash it'll be time to start setting those alarm clocks again.  Let the magic begin. :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

On Mother's Day

It's been a perfect (by our standards;) weekend around here.
My boys sure to know how to make this mom feel incredibly special. :)

It's kind of weird how much free time you have when other people are taking care of your jobs for the day.  Lol...lots of time for blogging, I watched a whole movie ("The Vow"~ sweet, and good...two thumbs up) with minimal interruption.  That is a gift all in itself.

It's also given me plenty of time to think, and it wasn't long before my mind drifted to the people who have taken time to invest in me.

And as I think about how much I love being a mom, how crazy-happily-blessed I feel
for being trusted with the awesome (and sometimes scary;) 
responsibility of caring for these three:

 I immediately think about the moms who influenced my life in different ways.

First and foremost, my mom, who not only taught me how to be a mom,
but also showed me how to take joy in the little things,
how to cook and clean and take care of my family,
how to give without end to the people I love,
and showed me just what sacrificial love looks like.
She filled me (and still does) with more love than I can carry.
She is equally as amazing as a Mimi,
and the boys are crazy about her. :)

I'm thankful for my mother-in-law,
who taught me to look for the adventure in everything,
and how to be courageous no matter what comes my way.
Most importantly, she raised an incredible son
who turned into the love of my life.
I'm forever grateful. :)
She's one special Nana as well. :)

I'm thankful (and missing even more today) my Momo...
the one who taught me how to love life and embrace every part of it,
to find humor in just about everything,
to love without end,
that being feisty sometimes is good,
and who was always my safe place to talk about anything (and boy, did we;)
I miss her like crazy.

My Aunt Becky,
who loves me like her own,
has taught me to look at things from different perspectives,
and taught me to be selfless and generous;
plus, she's lots of fun. :)

And of course, without this guy
I wouldn't be a mom. :)
He makes me feel loved, and beautiful, and special,
and I love that God chose him for me.
I am so incredibly thankful to get to walk this life with him,
and that we get to raise this crazy bunch together. :)

Happy Mother's Day to all you mamas out there...take time to 
thank the ones that got you were you are today. :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Uncharted Territory

Blogging is hard.
Ok, really it's not...the hard part is coming up with things that are relevant and helpful to write about, and making time to sit down and actually write about those things.  Really hard....or maybe it's just been too crazy here lately. That's not really relevant...when is it not crazy around here? 

Never. ;)
But when I stop what I'm doing and really think; when I pray and ask God to show me where I can best minister to others; when I think about my what my passions are, being a mom and encouraging other moms is at the top of the list.  I'm thankful for this blog world and the opportunities it gives for us to share thoughts and ideas and to gather others' thoughts and ideas as well....being a mom can at times be a little lonely, as odd as it can seem to feel lonely when kids are crawling all over you ;) but we all know that happens, and identifying with what another mom is going through helps.  A lot.

As I'm typing this, my 5-year-old is crying in his room, protesting his nap. In case you didn't know, 5 is WAY too old to take a least, that's what he has spent the last HOUR trying to convince me. ;) He hasn't had to take a nap in a few months (we said goodbye to naptime on his 5th birthday) but as I've (somewhat) patiently had to explain this afternoon, we ALL need naps sometimes.  And when we're cranky and whiny, we REALLY need a nap. Period.  I could definitely use one right now. ;)

Just when I think I'm past all the stuff that comes with having a preschooler (like fighting a nap) I'm reminded that I'm not....yet.  But honestly, this familiar territory has been a welcome distraction from what has been heavily on my mind the past couple weeks.

Last week I registered Harrison for middle school.  He's making a big move next year.
Leaving the happy, secure bubble of the school we love  and starting a new leg of his journey at our neighborhood middle school.  It's something we've spent the last year talking and praying about,
and as bittersweet as it is, we feel it's the right thing for him.

Our reasons make sense to us, but they may not for other people...and that's okay. The boys' school currently goes through the 8th grade, and our plan has always been to transfer the boys to a public high school once they get to that stage.  But Harrison decided he didn't want to be the new kid in high school...he wanted to get past that now, make new friends in 6th grade....and I completely understand that.  I was the new kid a lot growing up, and although I know it made me more outgoing, less shy, and ultimately better-equipped to handle still stunk.

And B and I, as his parents, need to see him handling "real world" stuff while he's under our roof.
It's a tough, ugly world out there...mixed in with pockets of beauty and goodness as well. It's our prayer that Harrison will acclimate quickly, make solid friends that last a lifetime (like B and I have been blessed with), and that he will continue to shine just as he has all through his school years.

But as we all know, even when you're doing what you know is the right thing for your child or your family, it doesn't always mean it's the easy thing.  Usually, it's just the opposite.  And if you were to ask me how I feel about this upcoming change my answer would undoubtedly be that it makes me nervous, nauseous, and a little sad.  Of course, there's a little bit of excitement and happy in there too, but right now the yuck feelings are dominating the happy ones.  I'm trusting that that will change, especially after we see him in his new school, and the unknown becomes the norm.

But today?

Today I want this: 
My oldest baby at 6 (or 5, or 4, or get it)
 (photo by Kelly Stocksen)

I want to go back to the time when all 3 of my boys were little.
When the questions were much easier to answer.
When there were many more interrupted, sleepless nights (yes, even that...I miss rocking my babies).
When they were all influenced way more by us than by their friends.
When I could more easily keep them in our safe, secure family bubble.

And then gently, and God swoops in with his perfectly timed reminders. :)
And Proverbs 22:6 was quickly brought to mind:
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."

Notice how it says "train up a child in the way he should GO"
Not "in the way he should STAY."
I mean, is it too much to ask to expect the boys to want to live with us forever? I picture this grand 100 acre farm, with all of our little houses built on it, just walking distance from each other...okay.  Maybe that really does sound a little ridiculous. ;)  And so I stop and really think about those words, and realize that I want to see my boys grow up. That it's crazy to think I can freeze time.  That it is fun seeing them change and grow.  And that while yes, each stage is met with new challenges, and fears and doubts about my ability as a mom threaten to surface, there is also excitement and happiness to come.

This is God's design.
His perfect plan.

And our job as parents is to help lead them on their journey. To guard and protect them, to teach them what is right, what is noble, to be there to answer their questions, and to fill them with more love than they can carry.  But most important? Our job is to point them to teach them to lean on Him, to trust Him with each step of their journey, to know Him so well that following Him will be second nature.

So I'm trusting in Harrison's ultimate Protector, and that makes sending him out into our uncharted territory easier. I'm believing that when B and I can't physically be there to protect and guide him through something, that he will fully rely on the One who can.

And as we approach this Mother's Day (my 12th~ wow),
my heart is full.
This weekend has already been full of love, and darling handmade projects,
and my favorite pancakes and coffee, and hugs, and reminders of how sweet this life is.
How much I love being the lone girl in this house. ;)
Thankful doesn't even begin to express my feelings about the amazing blessing that being a mama is.
And while yes, I will always miss the baby stage...and letting go of that has been hard,
I am embracing this new stage we are entering with a happy heart,
and am determined to welcome the days ahead,
and treasure what's to come as much as I treasure the days past.