31 August 2010

meant to be

so I saw this video yesterday on a blog I frequently read ... when I started watching the video & reading the lyrics - {if you click here, you can find the lyrics too} I started getting all choked up, its rather beautiful... and I just kept thinking, "I want my kids to know this, to believe this about themselves..."

and as my eyes welled up with tears as I continued listening... a still small voice whispered to my soul..."I want you to know this about yourself, I want you to believe this about yourself my sweet child." Oh heavens... then the bawling-like-a-baby began. Wow. He loves us so well.

30 August 2010

reading homework...

.. ok, seriously, no one ever told me that homework time could be ridiculously adorable.apparently, its not supposed to be photographed. who knew? oops!
So far, I really like the type of homework that Wilson's teacher sends home. Granted, last week was the big "All About Me" poster, so technically we've only got one week of regular homework under our belts... but, thus far, good stuff. His teacher has journal activities that cause some thinking on the students' part, and also some discussion with the parents. Much better than silly worksheets in my opinion. There is also a reading requirement, 20 minutes a night. Some nights Wilson reads a chapter book, tonight he read a few books to Walker... The nice part is that Brad (when he is home) and I also try to sneak in some reading during this time. Tonight I got to read a bit further in "The Jesus Creed." and totally loved this nugget by Dorothy Sayers about our vocation...

...is not, primarily, a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. It is, or it should be, the full expression of the worker's faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental, and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God.

and another by Os Guinness...

The truth is not that God is finding us a place for our gifts but that God has created us and our gifts for a place of His choosing -- and we will only be ourselves when we are finally there.

28 August 2010

a {backwards} peek at the rest of the week...

today has been a day of Lego's and laziness... yes, still in PJ's late on a Saturday afternoon...LOTS of Lego's... they did come up with the idea of dumping the bin on the blanket so it would be easier to clean up... we'll see how that works out, I think I hear gnashing of teeth as I type while they pick-up (the timer is on!)
I think I took this picture of Walker Thursday evening, because I had the camera out to take a picture of Wilson... Walker wanted a picture of his fort too... and quickly flashed the two-thumbs-up when I aimed his way!
Wilson was rather pleased with his work on his "All About Me" project. His teacher sent home the yellow piece of construction paper and a rubric that included the required subject areas... We worked on it a little each night, I did my very best to let Wilson make the final decisions, and encouraged him to think about each section. Its hard to know exactly what the teacher was expecting. Brad helped him with the final steps on Thursday night. Wilson also had to score his work himself on the rubric...
--- side note---

Did I mention that I have strep again? Thursday was PWOC day, and I felt a bit of a sore throat and pain around my ears... I thought surely it was allergies and drainage. You know, wishful thinking probably. When Walker and I left PWOC, I said to him, "Momma does NOT feel good, buddy." I didn't have a fever when I got home, so I took some Motrin and thought maybe it really was just allergies. I felt decent for most of the afternoon, but I didn't do a whole lot. Luckily dinner was pretty simple
(although it involved an acorn squash which always causes conflict). Brad was home too, so that helped a ton. We went to bed fairly early and Brad really did most of the morning stuff Friday. He even ran me a bath. Which led me to discover the scarlet fever rash. Blah. It was certainly strep. I couldn't get an appointment with my doctor so I had to go off-post to a ready-care-clinic I was in and out pretty quickly and thankful to begin the antibiotics. So far, no one else has any symptoms. My doctor did a complete blood check in March and nothing unusual showed up... so I am not sure where to go from here. Might really need to consider getting these things yanked out, I think.


Wednesday was another productive day for Walker and me. We got to go to story time at the Library on-post. They read The Foot Book and the kids got to paint their own pair of socks! How fun is that? I told Walker they would make great "slippers" for the winter around the house. He was pretty thrilled!

25 August 2010

a peek at our week (thus far)

as you may know, I am homeschooling Walker for pre-k. More or less because I think 4 years old is too young for school everyday. However, since almost all the other 4 year olds are at pre-k, I feel like I have to do something with him to make sure he is ready for K next year. Jenn sent me this link for a super easy, well-planned out, simple pre-k plan. I like it because it is basic (I don't want to overwork him, or I might as well have sent him to school, are you with me?) Anyway, we kicked it off this week...

Monday Walker collected rocks at our PWOC prayer walk (and I also carried him for about a mile and my arms are still killing me this morning. That activity didn't work out for the both of us quite as well as I had hoped. Thankfully the lady that I am co-teaching with came and let me use her Bob stroller for the last mile while she carried her 11 month old. I think Walker did end up walking for close to a mile, and he got a LOT of rocks!). Yesterday Walker glued some of his rocks to a picture frame - I think it will be perfect for the pic of the boys with Great Grandpa Lewis.And he was proud of his picture of cows. (This week's theme is "cows"). He really likes cutting and gluing... and coloring a little.
And, Mommy did a little work yesterday too... meatballs for the freezer and some ground beef for a big batch of chili...
...chicken enchiladas verdes - 3 pans for the freezer.
And, of course, a big fat mess! But thankfully its all cleaned up now!

We had a Cub Scouts informational meeting last night for Wil, I think he is pretty fired up about it. I am not sure how Brad and I feel about adding a week-night activity yet, its been pretty blissful not having to rush anywhere on the weeknights... We'll see what happens, they tried starting Cub Scouts last year with his school and it never took off...

Today Walker and I will head to story time at the library, and pick up some of our theme books for the rest of this week and next week too...

20 August 2010

michigan trip bonus...

..although our trip was last-minute and unexpected, it was filled with really great moments. I already told you a lot about our time with the "Lewis" side of the fam... but thankfully we got to spend some time with the Lutz side too =) Brad took a couple of wonderful pics with the boys and their great-grandparents...You might be able to tell that the kids were swimming when we called them over for pics! Such cuties!
I thought I hadn't taken a single picture of Grandpa & Grandma Rose, but then I remembered that Grandma insisted on having her picture taken with Brad in his uniform... I guess I am glad she did, as this pic is pretty good!
And these two are the only other pictures we took in MI aside from the day at the lake and the funeral...

these two were just too cute in the Barbie jeep.
seriously. can't get much cuter than this...

Like I said, we are ridiculously blessed when it comes to family. We don't always remember to photograph the moments, but we sure do cherish them.

18 August 2010

another PR* for Wilson...

{*PR = personal record}

So, on Wilson's first day of school this year, I told Brad that Wilson set a PR for the BEST FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL EVER! (I thought I put that on FB, but apparently not). He came home from school that day so happy and chatty. Almost unusually chatty and happy for him. We were so thrilled for him.

Sadly, this week's PR is not a positive one.... I honestly thought the day these pics were taken on Wilson's first day of Kindergarten would forever hold the record for WORST BUS RIDE HOME EVER...
{he refused to even look at Yaya that day on the way home}

Imagine my surprise this Monday afternoon when Wilson got off the bus... with the most horrifying I-am-doing-my-very-best-not-to-burst-into-tears look on his face. I was out on the front patio when the bus came around the corner... the opposite direction of last year; and it sure looked like there were no kids on the bus.
As Wilson crossed the street, I asked, "What happened?"
He shrugged, and sort of gave me a seriously-I-am-not-going-to-cry-right-here-in-the-street-so-don't-say-another-word-to-me-Mother look. Then I saw the bus driver's hand out the window, waving me over. As Wilson waited by the front door, the driver got off the bus and met me in the street. He explained what happened...

Wilson had gotten on the wrong bus!

Apparently, if your child doesn't ride the bus home on the first day of school, and then misses an entire week of school, you might not be notified that some of the bus numbers' were wrong on the hand-out at orientation.

After the bus driver left, I snuggled up close to Wilson and sat with him for awhile. He told me that he remembered the name of our street, and that when all the kids got off the bus, he knew it wasn't the right stop. He had to tell the bus driver how to get our house. He never confirmed or denied if the bus driver was nice about the situation. We looked at the bus number assignment sheet; it was indeed mixed up.

Tuesday morning, I watched out the window to see which bus # the kids got on. I walked Wilson in to the school and talked with the secretary to verify the correct bus number. Then I went to the classroom and told Wilson's teacher what happened. She thanked me for not coming in "all angry" and apologized for the incident.

Thankfully, yesterday was a much better day... and Wilson got off at his correct stop, from the correct bus, with his regular bus-stop friends.

let's hope this PR never gets broken.

17 August 2010

when we all get to heaven...

...ok, so I have a confession... Grandma requested this song...


for her funeral, but whenever I see the title "When We all Get Together", I get the song "When We All Get to Heaven" stuck in my head. Today when I was googling the songs, Walker came running out of his bedroom when he heard the one Grandma likes... and I forgot that he had been dancing and singing to it at Grandma's funeral. Oh she would've been so tickled to have seen that! He asked me to play it again and started dancing again just like he did then.


Without a doubt, Grandma loved her grandkids, and great grandkids. Her smile in this picture really captures her delight in her greats...I found this picture of her with Wilson today. One of the greatest blessings of my life is seeing my grandparents with my babies. I am glad I captured this (or maybe mom did?) moment. Grandma had a stroke shortly after Wilson was born, and I remembered wondering if she would ever get to meet him... Thankfully, she not only met him, she knew him. I am grateful for that gift!
I am also grateful that we were able to travel to Michigan for Grandma's funeral last week. Brad got the phone call from Mom late Friday night - well, early Saturday morning I guess. I remember shouting "wrong number!" to him, in an effort to get him to hang up and come back to bed. Whoever was on the other end wasn't responding to his "Hello?"

But Brad saw "mom" when he answered my phone, and he knew what the silence on the other end meant. And when I heard him start offering words of comfort to my mom, I realized it wasn't a wrong number. After talking to Mom for a few minutes he gave me the phone and he sat with me while I cried with her. I was shocked. Even after all the times Grandma has been sick and in the hospital, I was still shocked. Maybe another 34-year-old granddaughter would've been a little prepared. Not me. After talking to Mom for a little while, Brad let me cry and talk for awhile to him. He never once said, "Ok, let's try and get some sleep now." He just let me do what I needed to.

Saturday morning we were up and at it pretty early, we had an all-day adoption class (more on that down the road this is Grandma's post). I called Mom to check in with her, while also trying to get the boys some breakfast. When I walked into our bedroom, Brad was on the phone with an airline getting prices. I hadn't even thought that far ahead yet.

Brad just sensed that we needed to be in Michigan, I guess, because he never relented about getting us there. I am deeply grateful for his thoughtfulness, not only to me, but to my extended family as well.

He also took this fabulous picture of my sis, mom, and me. Really, I don't know the last picture of the three of us together that is a keeper - maybe that one with the monogrammed sweaters?
And this picture. Love it.

Grandma was such a great encouragement to me during Brad's deployments... she and Grandpa were married just a week or two before Grandpa shipped off for World War 2. And they didn't see each other again for years. YEARS! Knowing how their love grew even during a separation that depended on very slow mail, gave me confidence that God would take care of Brad & I's relationship as well. And whenever I saw grandma while Brad was gone, she would take my hand, and pull me in close and say "Honey, I've been thinking about you so much... and Brad too." Not only was she an encouragement to me during deployments; but she was SO proud of Brad's service. She wasn't just happy that he had a job and a paycheck and health insurance... she was proud of his choice to serve our country. And she let us know it.

I think Brad said that all of my aunts said to him that Grandma would've loved to have seen him in his uniform.
The day after the funeral we went up to "The Cabin." And although "The Cabin" has changed dramatically in the years that I've known it, what it represents has never changed -- family time. A special place to get away to, just to enjoy being with family. Over the last 9 years (?) or so it also became Grandpa and Grandma's home. It was a little hard going there, knowing Grandma wouldn't be there. I felt like I needed to, and I really wanted to. And I am so glad we did. The boys had a great time playing in the lake, and everyone came down to the water for awhile. Grandpa even got in the water and collected some rocks...
Its hard to put into words, but it just felt like we were all where we were supposed to be that afternoon, at the lake, enjoying each other.

Its hard to imagine what Grandma's passing must feel like for my aunts and mom. Even harder to imagine what Grandpa is feeling. When I was sitting with him at the funeral home, watching the video/slideshow, he kept saying, "The Lord has been good to us," "We sure were blessed." and he even mentioned that Grandma was no longer in any pain. I pray that God continues to remind him of their blessings and to comfort him with the knowledge that Grandma is pain-free in Heaven.

In remembering Grandma, I remembered the advice she gave me before Brad and I got married. She said this - when you have a fight, don't go telling your friends and family about it. Long after you have forgiven and forgotten they will remember and remind you. She told me that one of her aunts told her that before she was married. It obviously served her well, as she and Grandpa were married for 66 years!

I will miss Grandma, I will miss her for myself, and for my babies; for my mom, and my aunts, and my sister and especially for my Grandpa. But I know where she is... and I look forward to seeing her again someday.

God gave me a special blessing today.

Sometimes, depending on the book, I am a really s-l-o-w reader. Today I am finally finishing a Ravi Zacharias book called "The Grand Weaver." I've been reading this book for a couple of weeks now, even brought it with me to Michigan last week. Today I began the last chapter, and it has something to say about our destiny... and this paragraph just gave me a lot of peace about our longing for eternity:

C.S. Lewis describes a constant hinting of something else within ourselves by comparing it to the surprise we feel with the passing of time, even though time is a part of our experience. "How time flies," we say. Then Lewis says that such a reaction would be as anomalous as a fish expressing surprise at the wetness of water -- unless, of course, it were intended to live on dry land. Those words capture it well. We react to the speed of time because, deep in our souls, we are "created for eternity." Yet we have "a certain shyness" about talking about heaven perhaps because we feel we are too intellectually advanced for "fairy tales." Nevertheless, deep inside, our longing for heaven suggests its reality, all the time.


06 August 2010

FIRST DAY!

flashback:

first day of K
first day of 1st grade
{I had to add the flashback so I could remember the answer to -"How on earth did we get here already?"}

present day:

first day of 2nd grade
with momma and brother
with daddy and brother
and a little something-something for the teacher (we included cookies again this year with that clever note - "because a teacher cannot live by apples alone...") The card Wilson made says;
front: "I think I am going to like my new class. Look on back"
back: "2n Grade Rocks!"
inside: "I hope you like these gifts. From: Wilson"

Wilson was rather apprehensive about going back to school for the last couple of weeks. After we met his teacher yesterday, he said he wasn't nervous anymore. Although this morning, he did say his tummy felt funny because he was nervous. I made a deal with him that if he let me take pictures at home, I wouldn't take any at school. When we got to school he requested that we all walk him in to his class. We stayed in the hallway when he went into his room. He walked right over to his teacher, gave her his gift, got a big hug from her, followed by a big grin from him, waved good-bye to us and that was that.

He and I are both growing up so much. My heart didn't break near as much as it has in the past... partly because Brad was here, partly because I know Wil loves school; but I think it also helped that I got to read from Ecclesiastes this morning during my quiet time, and that gave me a good perspective on all of it...

"There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

I know its an often-quoted verse, but it was perfect timing this morning for this momma's heart. I think Brad was proud of me ;)

04 August 2010

last week of summer break...

...and the boys are making the very best of it! They've been constructing and remodeling this fort for the last couple of days. The "porch light" is by Walker's shoulder in this picture...It was {finally} cool enough to ride some toys around the driveway yesterday evening. (and, yes, cool is a very relative term when referring to the weather... it has been crazy hot here during the day!) Wilson had a new trick to show-off on his coaster car...
This is what I like to call "Super {Red-Cheeked} Walker"... (he actually came in the kitchen while I was making dinner and said, "You know I am not really Super Walker? You didn't know I had skin under here?")
and here's a little collage from the driveway. Love the middle picture...CRASH!
And for reasons only known to these two brothers, they decided to style their hair after baths tonight... and then run out in the driveway in their PJs to show me how cool they look, while I was moving the sprinklers around. Thankfully they were so proud of themselves that they agreed to a photograph! Sillies...
had to throw this one in... had to.
We get to go to the open house tomorrow and meet Wilson's teacher. Lots of excitement around here!

one hot August day...

...leads to another. And here we are on a hot August day nine years later...
Amazingly blessed, is the best way to describe how I feel today. My respect, love, and admiration for my husband just keeps growing. Brad is working today, so we are saving "The Annual Viewing of the Wedding Video" for Friday (we have to actually bring the VCR in from the garage to watch it!) Last night we talked some about this nine-year mark. We both agreed that this past year was probably the most-challenging of our marriage thus far. The deployment was hard, don't get me wrong... but man, the post-deployment phase was a tough one. We had to fight hard to restore our proper roles. I won't go into all the details, but God has done a great work in our hearts and we've learned again the importance of open communication. And then, of course, we moved this year too. And as we celebrate this day, I am just overwhelmed with gratitude to the One that leads us so well. He is good, all the time!

And you know, since Brad is at work, I thought I would post another love song... LOVE the lyrics in this song. LOVE them.

01 August 2010

urban sprawl encroaches on wildlife...

...as evidenced by this poor Orka who could find no better habitat than this man-made alcove. And the poor Moose... it was just too much for him. I wonder if Walker has been watching too much PBS...
OR... maybe I should put my shoes away when I take them off; so I don't find miniature animals inside them when I finally put them away at 10:30pm.

Hmmm... something to think about.