Monday, August 17, 2015

Starting Another School Year

Wednesday will be the first day of school for my kids.  This year is a mix of emotions like none I've known before.  When I think that it will be the last time I'm sending a kindergartner off to school, I'm all like this:

But then, I start thinking about how this will be the first time in 10 1/2 years that I will be child-free for 6.5 hours a day, 5 days a week.  I also realize that when the oldest started Kindergarten, I had a 7 month old, so it's been over a decade since I've not had a child with me and been in a Sesame Street frame of mind a majority of the time, so I'm all like:

and like:

and like:

I know I will miss my babies, but the older they've become, the more fun we've had.  I'm excited for all their future holds, as well as for what my future holds.  For the first time in a decade, I will be able to work for more than a couple of hours at a time.  I will be able to complete a thought.  I will be able to watch the news.  I am so very thankful for my beautiful boys.  I wouldn't change a thing.  I am sad to be closing a chapter, but I'm happy to be starting a new one.

Change is hard ya'll, but it's also awesome.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Oldest Turns 10

Each year, I write a letter to my boys on their birthday and create a video for them recapping the year.  This is the oldest's for 2015....

My sweet boy,

10.  T-E-N.  You are ten.  A whole decade old.  I have to keep telling myself this because it is so hard to believe.  Double Digits.  The last year you will be able to show your age on your not-so-little hands.  I remember those chubby little fingers that have now grown into amazing instruments used to throw a baseball, play the cello, write and draw, give a high five, provide a helping hand, pray.

What a year it has been!  This year you were finally able to zip line for the first time.  You’ve waited a long time to do it and at last you were big enough! It is so fun to go on adventures together.  You have such a strong sense of adventure mixed with just the right amount of caution to be safe.  We had fun in many different places this year.  We especially enjoyed DC, Myrtle Beach and of course, Disney World!  How blessed we are to have opportunities to travel.   Thank you, my precious son, for not taking this for granted and for your thankful heart.

As you have grown, so has your heart.  Each year I think it can’t possibly get any bigger and each year you surprise me.  You are considerate of others feelings and are so often thinking of ways to help friends, strangers and even animals.  You make my heart grow bigger as well.

My dear young man, I love your determination.  When you decide you are going to do something, you do it!  You aren’t afraid to put in the work required to meet your goal and that is awesome.  Whether it’s getting an A on a test or being a meteorologist on TV, when you want something, you go after it.  I pray you never lose that sense of purpose.  May you remain steadfast in what you want and believe, but never be disrespectful to yourself or to others.

My beautiful son, sometimes you are just too hard on yourself.  I get it.  After all, you are your mother’s son.  I understand that when you mess up (as we all will do), there is no harder critic of yourself than you.  Please try to remember to give yourself a break and not dwell on your mistakes. Learn from them and move on.  It’s good to be determined, to do your best; to want to make the ones you love proud, but dear child know this…there is NOTHING you can do to make me love you less.  My love for you is unconditional, it can not be earned by deeds or good grades or winning games.  You don’t need to put so much pressure on yourself.  Try to find balance.   Too much of something is never a good thing.  It’s okay to put some pressure on yourself if it helps to motivate, but don’t forget the fun!  At the same time, all fun + no purpose = trouble.  Work on finding that balance.  Again I say to you, don’t dwell or beat yourself up, learn from your mistakes, move on and do your best not to repeat them. 

You are still determined to be a meteorologist and a storm chaser when you grow up.  I have no doubt you will accomplish all you set your mind to.  What fun and wonderful memories you now have of all the weather related fun we’ve had this year.  From your tour of the WDBJ7 weather studio last May, to the tour of the National Weather Service last fall, to your turn as Kidcaster on WDBJ7 in April.  My bright boy, I know you will go far.

You started playing the cello this year.  We’ve tried a couple of instruments before, but Nicholas, I do believe we have found THE ONE.  You love it!  It fills my heart with so much joy every time I hear you play.  You are such a well rounded boy; from boy scouts, to sports, to music to academics, you put your heart into all that you do and I couldn’t be more in awe.

Nicholas Gabriel, you are a blessing.  I can not thank God enough for choosing me to be your Mommy.  You have a beautiful heart, fantastic faith, an astonishing mind and a brilliant future ahead of you.  I hope you’ve enjoyed your first decade; I can’t wait to witness the next!  Happy Birthday!

Love you so!


You can see his video here.

Last year's letter is here.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

My SOL confession

As a parent, I don't like the SOL's,  This isn't shocking, most parents don't think the SOL's are an accurate measure of a child or a school, but this post isn't about that.

My confession is that when I was in school, I loved standardized testing.  We didn't have the same SOL's that kids take today.  I don't recall the name of our day long "nerdfest," but it was some younger incarnation of today's SOL.  I do, however,  remember how happy I was when it was time to spend the whole day with just me, my brain and my No. 2 pencil.

I enjoyed how quiet it was in the class, how everyone was focused, how I didn't have to think about anything else except what I was doing at that moment.  I liked that it didn't count towards my grade so all I truly had to do was my best and there was no way it wouldn't be good enough.  Even if I "failed," I could still pass.  I loved that we were all in it together.  I liked that I could go the whole day and not be worried about if the teacher was going to call on me.  I hated being called on. I felt more pressure in having to answer a question in front of the whole class than I ever felt from test days.

The point of this post is to simply share with parents that to your kids, the SOL's may be something completely different than what they are to you. Not all kids are stressed out about it.  Some actually look forward to it.  Let's not let our distaste for the test influence how our children feel about it and cause them more stress and pressure.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Happy 5th birthday to my youngest

My sweet Caleb,

You came into the world without any movement, blue and quiet. But, my strong boy, that was the last time you were still and quiet!  All in one moment you brought me from joy to fear and back to joy again.  You continue to do that daily.  Do you know what else you do daily?  You fill my heart with LOVE.  You complete our family, you amaze me and you make me laugh.  You are deeply loved.

It’s hard to believe you are half a decade old.  It’s been five years since we were blessed with you my precious boy.  It sounds so cliché, but is so true….time flies!  It hasn’t always been the easiest 5 years, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

This past year has been so full and you have grown in so many ways.  Your heart is one of the biggest I’ve ever known.  You continue to show love and compassion in ways that are well beyond your years.  This doesn’t just fill your heart, but mine and your Daddy’s as well.  We pray your heart continues to grow and you continue to share it the rest of your life.

Your sense of humor is fantastic!  You laugh so easily and love to make others laugh.  May you always keep that my funny boy.

You are also brave in so many ways.  You are fearless, courageous, curious, adventurous and energetic.  Sometimes we just don’t know how you do it.  Up early every morning and never ready for bed time.  May you always have the energy and courage to do the things that really matter in life.

It has been another exciting year of firsts my beautiful boy.  Remember going to the zoo in North Carolina for the first time?  You loved the polar bears!  It was also the first time you got to do a ropes course and zip line.  You were fearless and patient!  It took time to learn how to lock and unlock yourself onto the lines, but you never got frustrated, I was so proud.  You went to the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC for the first time, too.  You were fascinated by the interactive dinosaur exhibit and getting to see the large rockets.

We also did our normal family activities this year like hiking the Cascades, going to the Safari Park, a trip to Gatlinburg, and our annual trip to Myrtle Beach, among others.  Each year our trips become even more enjoyable and I feel so blessed to get to share so many adventures with you.   I love your audacious spirit, always willing to try new things, to be brave, to learn, to have fun!

My precious son, your faith is another attribute that is well beyond your years.  You love God, you always think of ways to follow Jesus all on your own, without prompting and that, darling boy, makes my heart swell.  May your heart always be filled with love, kindness, braveness, wisdom and selflessness.  May you grow to be a strong, happy, devoted Christian man.

Please know my sweet, sweet boy, that your Daddy and I love you more and more each and every day.  Know that there is nothing you can do to change that.  Grow, my precious one, in that knowledge and go out and share that love with others.  Know that we will always be here for you, no matter what.  Know that there will be trials, but that God has equipped you with everything you need to get through them.   Keep growing in your faith, keep being exactly who God made you to be knowing that our Heavenly Father does not make mistakes and He made you!

Happy Birthday my dear one, may the coming year be your best yet!

Your annual birthday video is here

Your letter from last year is here.