Tuesday, August 30, 2011

No wonder I'm so tired. . .

The kids love dinner table conversation.  Especially the big kids.  Even the younger ones hang around so they don't miss any good stories or jokes.

Of course there are the manners to work on (no you CAN NOT eat while standing), the talking over one another (how many conversations can you listen to at once, Mom?) and the "what I want to say is way more important than what anyone else wants to say so I'll just say it louder" issues.  Never mind the gross bodily noises, reaching across the table for the water pitcher, and using clothing items as napkins.

But overall, good times.

One the kids VERY favorite things is when the Coach tells stories from his growing up years.  They think he had the most FUN, EXCITING childhood EVER.

Monday night someone said, "Why don't we have MOM tell a story about growing up?"  To which someone else piped in (before I had a chance to actually say anything), "No, Dad's stories are more exciting."


Thanks, guys.

Anyway, once of their favorite stories is about the Coach swinging a wooden musket around his head, warning his older brother not to come near him "because I won't stop swinging it no matter what".  Then he proceeded to knock his brother's teeth out.

The kids love that one.

In fact they told it FOR him, Monday night.

He's their hero.

After they all had a good laugh, Son #3 said, "Well, that's kind of like what YOU do (turning to Son #4), when you slam the boys' room door over and over and tell us if we come in, we'll get smashed."

Without missing a beat, Son #4 replied with his winning smile, "Just making childhood memories."


I think I need a nap.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another Year

First Day of School 2011

We had a great FIRST day of school!  I couldn't believe how little help everyone needed, how helpful they were with their lunches, how prepared they were with their stuff and their clothes.

They are growing up.

When I look at this picture, I am overwhelmed with how much they've grown.  I think about last year.  When my little Kindergartner struggled to wake up every day.  And my 2nd grader took some time to settle in after a Spring of homeschool in 1st grade.

And now Son #1 is playing Varsity football, Daughter #2 is playing on the Freshman volleyball team, and Son #3 has Jr. High football practice after school.

My 1st grader hopped out of bed ready to go, my 3rd grader didn't hesitate a bit when we visited her classroom and hugged her precious teacher.  My 4th grader is confident, friendly, and organized.  My 5th grader had his PE bag ready to go this morning, is setting up his notebooks in class (Yay!), and packed his own lunch while helping with the girls.

So on the one hand, Summer was MUCH harder this year with jobs, workouts, Summer sports, and kids who were too big to just "hang out" at home all of the time.

But on the other hand, School seems to be much easier, with everyone growing up and taking care of their own stuff, getting things in order on their own, leaving their beds made and rooms neat.

I know the "new" will wear off in a few weeks.  But they are going to keep growing up.

And Little Man and me?

We had a great day, too.  Reacquainted myself with my treadmill - which wasn't as bad as I anticipated.  Cleaned out the fridge, did some grocery shopping, made a few meals for the freezer, baked bread and cinnamon rolls, and took a NAP.

Ahhhhhh.  Productivity and rest.  I'm missed them.

Life is good.  And I'm so grateful.

1.  GREAT first day of school.

2.  Happy kids.

3.  Precious, wonderful, capable teachers at our school.

4.  A break from the supply, clothes, and shoe shopping.  Whew!

5.  God's perfect provision through the preparations and beginning of a new school year.

6.  A new microwave (last week after ours died)!

7.  Coffee.  Early mornings are not my friend.  Caffeine helps.

8.  Some extra time with my parents before school started - celebrating my mom's birthday and having one last weekday lunch with the big kids.

9.  Air conditioning - I don't remember it ever being THIS hot at the start of school.  Ugh.

10.  The realization (more and more each year) that I can't do it all, have it all ready, get it all done. . . and it's OK.  The kids are just fine.  And God is still faithful.

Happy Thursday

And after finding last years "First Day of School" picture - and seeing how much the kids have grown this year?

No more blinking!!

First Day of School 2010

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Growing Up

Little Man has become pre-occupied with "getting bigger".
Every morning, "Am I bigger, Mom?"  "Am I bigger, yet?"
He almost doesn't need the step-stool anymore to reach the sink to wash his hands.  (sniff)
"When will I be a big boy like my brothers?"

Yesterday, he told me he was "All grown up!", so he could wash his balloon all by himself.
Wash a balloon?
I was too scared to ask, so I sent one of the girls to check on him.

It's not a bad thing this "growing up".  I will admit I've been fearful at times that he wouldn't ever grow up.  He IS the baby.  Not that I don't work on it.  Helping him be independent and do things on his own, even though there are many willing to do it for him.  But unlike our others, there isn't someone younger clamoring for attention.

He helped unload the produce co-op awhile back.  Taking each vegetable and setting it carefully on the counter like I had shown him.  Then he held up a big yellow onion and said, "What about this little guy?"

I don't want him to grow up too fast.  He is my "cuddle bug".  But at four and a half, he isn't a baby and I don't want to treat him like one.

I'm not sure what he'll do when school starts.  If he'll miss the kids desperately, or be grateful that there isn't anyone around to bug and pick on him all day.

Probably both.

We've been here and there, running errands for school supplies, shoes, etc. the last week or so.
He's found this little stuffed monkey with HUGE eyes (not unlike his) that he wants very badly at several DIFFERENT stores (a big thanks to the people marketing these things).

He's asked me over and over to get this little monkey.

And I keep saying no.

I know I spoil him sometimes.  But seriously, we don't need another stuffed animal in this house.  Ugh.

Finally, at one point when I tired of hearing him ask me about it, I said, "Little Man, we can't just BUY toys.  When the big kids want something very badly, they do jobs and earn the money to buy it themselves."

Thinking (naively, I suppose) that this would quiet him for good.

Except that NOW he wants me to give him a job.

Tonight, while getting ready for bed, he mentioned THE monkey again and I told him that I would think about some jobs he could do for me this week.  He looked at me warily (he had almost fallen asleep sitting next to Nana at my mom's birthday celebration) and said, "But Mom, I'm SO tired."

While tucking him in, we went over (once again) that maybe he could do some work to earn the money this week so he could buy the monkey.

He thought a moment.

Then said, "Mom! Like clean the whole house?"

I knew he was a good kid.  He's going to be just fine.

(This is the turtle that he found out at the farm two weeks ago.  At one point Little Man disappeared for a bit and came back without the turtle.  Then he explained to us that he had to put it in a "time out" because it kept crawling back into the water and trying to swim away from him.)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Happy Kind of Sad

We just spent a FUN three days at the farm. . . came home this evening.  Kids are eating pizza, watching "Megamind", and some are already falling asleep. I'm listening to the washer hum (a few loads of stinky pond water soaked suits and towels will do the trick) and thinking about the next few weeks.

Football starts tomorrow.

We got the much-anticipated "class list" on Friday - the younger four school kids are SO excited to know who their teachers are and who their class-mates will be.

Volleyball started two weeks ago for my soon-to-be Freshman daughter. 

A few sleeps (as Little Man says) and we'll be into the thick of "Back to School" crazies.

So for the troops?  This weekend marked the "end" of Summer.  For the most part.  There will be a few more afternoons at the pool (I hope!), minus the older kids.  Another movie night or two.

I AM excited about Fall.  There's the weather - SO ready for that!  But also the football games.  Watching my first-born play more for the Varsity team (at least that's what he's hoping for!).  Watching my girl play volleyball on the Freshman team.  And it will be FUN to see #3 start playing on the Jr. High football team for his dad. 

But you and I both know this can only mean one thing. . .

The younger troops and I are going to be spending a LOT of time in the bleachers.

Maybe I'm grieving the end of an unusually busy Summer.  One without an "actual" vacation (although our weekends at the farm were GREAT!).  It never really slowed down. 

Maybe I'm thinking how quiet it will be with just Little Man at home, again.  And what WILL he do to stay busy as an active 4 1/2 year old?  It's not like he fits in the jogging stroller anymore.  (sigh)

Maybe I'm already dreading the assignment tablets, school notes, money that will have to be sent, not to mention HOMEWORK, and all of the projects that will need to be done, forheavenssake.

Maybe most of all, I'm already missing the Coach.  Practice may not start until tomorrow, but football is already on his mind.  In a big way.

The seasons?  They are a-changing.  They always will.  Back to school August HEAT will turn into cool Friday night football games.  Which will turn into ice-storms and Christmas and basketball games four nights a week.  Time is passing more quickly every year.  We have more and more to keep up with.  The kids are growing and changing and DRIVING and learning and laughing and. . .

I love it.

Tonight?  I'm going to make my to-do list and BE THANKFUL.

That my seven school kids can attend our wonderful school, spend their days with precious teachers, be coached by their amazing daddy and our sweet nieces, learn God's Word, and, of course, our American Christian History.

That the Coach is blessed enough to DO what he LOVES.  Teach, work with highschool kids, coach football, watch his boys on the field and his girl on the court. 

That God has provided abundantly for our every need.  And our children's education.  Given us a beautiful home to enjoy and fill with noise and fun and laughter.

That we could escape to the farm for the weekend. . . where the kids can swim in the pond, catch fish, drive the Ranger all over the dirt roads, catch frogs that gather on the windows at night, play games, work puzzles, and fall into bed exhausted every night.

That the Coach and I DID have a lovely quiet weekend alone this Summer.  Thanks to my wonderful parents and our sweet friends.  I'm going to hang onto those memories for a long time. 

That seasons DO change.  That having 7 kids 9 and under didn't last forever (Whew!).  That they are growing up, chauffeuring me all over town, and bringing the Coach and I SUCH JOY. 

I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Happy Sunday!