Monday, September 29, 2008

A Very Busy Month

We have been a very busy tribe lately. Lowell has been busy helping some of our friends; one of them moved and a couple of them have needed his help mechanically. Some exciting news is that his friend who moved had a trampoline and didn't want to take it with him so, now we are the proud owners of a huge trampoline. The kids have gotten really good at doing cartwheels and sommersaults as well as some semi=dangerous flips. Lowell loves it when they roll around and get crazy hair from the static electricity. :) The kids absolutely love everything about it and our house has been overrun with kids lately! :) Steve and Stephanie have come down for dinner a couple of times and their girls all love to jump on the trampoline - even Ashley who is 20 months old! :) Our other friends, Matt and Shara have come over as well. I love being able to get together with their family because the adults get a long really well = Lowell even enjoys talking to Matt!! (Lowell's not much of a socialite. :)) And they have kids who are the same ages and the same sexes as ours. Nathan plays with Carson, Chloe with Jaycee and Jillian with Kyla! It's a wonderful combination. Shara and I are trying to get something together at her house later this week because the kids just love to be together. We're so blessed! :) I'm glad that I'm making connections with other families because winter is coming. When winter arrives, Lowell will be working 14 and 15 hour days. It will be very helpful for me and for the kids to have friends t0 visit so that we don't miss Daddy too much. I've been really appreciating Daddy lately. He's such a goof ball and so much more fun than I am. The kids just love playing with him and his antics are great for comic relief. His childish behavior is almost irrestible and while I sometimes find it incredible annoying (when I'm feeling superior and stuffy) most of the time its such a joy. I love hearing the kids laugh and I love that he is willing to get down and really play with them. I tend to get really caught up in the cleaning and teaching and rules. Lowell is my balance. I'm truly grateful for him! :)

In addition to lots of playing, we've also been working! Nathan just got Student of the Month on Friday! :) He was surprised and thrilled. At the beginning of the year I noticed that he was never raising his hand to answer any questions in class even though I knew he knew the answer. So I bribed him a little to get him to learn to raise his hand and how he can't stay in his seat! He jumps up with his hand as high as it can go and he gets disappointed when the teacher doesn't call on him. :) He loves the opportunity to show what he knows. Chloe has been tackling her "homework" with gusto. She is listening to the work I do with Nathan and learning a lot of letter sounds and even some of his sight words! Jillian still loves her school. Her favorite thing is that she knows the kids. She tells me "That's Leslie's mom", or "There goes Pablo". She loves that she's connected to a group. I am still working at the school 3 or 4 days a week. I really enjoy being so involved with what the kids are doing. I like knowing what they're learning and how they're learning it so that I can reinforce it with my own "lessons" at home. I try to make life a learning experience, but sometimes I'm just too pooped! :) I'll probably have to cut out one of the days at school when I start classes again at the end of October, but for now, I'm going to take advantage of my freedom. And I've started reading again. Until recently, I hadn't read a novel for pleasure in about a year. I've missed it! With Nathan learning to read, I also wanted to demonstrate to him how much fun it is to read. We're still packing... Slowly but surely. Lowell is working on getting our cars ready to make the trip to Arizona and I'm going through our whole house weeding things out and paring down wherever possible. We're trying to move as little stuff as possible and we're planning on furnishing our house with yard sale and garage sale finds. I love to go to garage sales and Lowell is being really sweet about it! :) He said that he promises to let me go yard sale-ing every weekend until we get the stuff we need. :) That might be too much, even for me! :) Of course, one concern with being busy is that we tend to leave God out of our lives. The busier we get, the easier it is to leave out prayer time or Bible time. I know I'm completely guiltly. This week our pastor has challenged us to read for 5 minutes every day from the book of James. Seems sad that I have to struggle to budget 5 minutes of my day to my Heavenly Father but its a step. And I'm getting better! :) I just need to make today better than yesterday and accept that God knew I was going to fail, He knows how imperfect I am and He's okay with it. In fact, He's glad that I need Him so desperately. I, on the other hand, am glad that He is so completely trustworthy and capable. We are so infinitely blessed! :) So, I'm going to go read James before I have to start on dinner. God Bless!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We're All Learning

I'm very excited about school being back in session. Nathan is loving first grade - he's learning to read, and it's so exciting to hear him sounding out the words. He gets points for each book that he reads and he's in competition with another boy in class to be the first one to 10 points. Each book is only worth about a half a point, so that's a lot of reading! :) His teacher loves him and has told us that we're not allowed to move! :) I finally broke down and told Chloe's teacher that I was dying for some feedback about her. She said "She's incredible bright, she leads by example, she's got middle child confidence... She's a blessing". Honestly, it was a relief. I didn't expect her to be having any problems, but its still such a relief to hear that she's not struggling. I want them to love school and to love reading. I'm trying very hard not to push Nathan in his reading. I'm trying to model how much I love to read and its actually been great for me because I've actually read a couple of novels in the last week instead of being immersed only in textbooks! :) As I write, Nathan is laying on the floor reading a Dear Dragon book. It's such a joy to hear him.
At the same time, I've been noticing that I'm getting a little frustrated lately. I'm not content being "just a mom". I've heard all the cliches and I've seen all the cross-stitched pillows, but I just don't feel like I'm... fulfilled. I know, with my head, that I'm doing a good thing being with my kids... Lowell asked me what he can do to help. I asked him to give me more kuddos. But now, thinking about it, this only happens when I see him doing 'grown-up' stuff. Adult things that don't include kids. Like tonight, for instance, he's at his friend's house. They work on his car and drink a couple beers and talk and laugh until the wee hours of the morning... And it makes me jealous. I don't have anything that is comprable to that... I need to start a late night scrap club or something where we can get together once or twice a month to scrapbook... I wonder if there would be a desire for that kind of thing... And I wonder where I could have it... My house is almost certainly out of the question unless it was just people that I know really well... You'd only understand that if you've seen my house. :) The problem with that kind of stuff is getting people who are committed enough to make it a priority and actually show up every time. Anyway, I think I need something so that I don't feel like I do nothing other than correct kids, repeat myself a million times a day, and pick up the same dirty laundry, dirty dishes and jumbled pile of toys over and over again.

I am so thankful for how I've been feeling this week. I haven't struggled with my "issues" nearly as much as I have in the past. I've also had an epiphany that may seem silly to some.... I woke up one morning, Sunday actually, with the realization that I am not a victim. My attitude is one of power now, I feel like I am actually kind of in-control of my emotions for once in a long while. This may be partially because I haven't had to really deal with anything in the past week. I'm waiting to see if I can 'deal' and cope for good... I'm trying to accept my past, whatever it is, and move on without going through any more agony. The real test will come when I'm tired, emotional and vulnerable and when something really stressful comes up. When I'm at my weakest is when it becomes a true issue. In weakness, He is made strong, right? :) He offers His grace without strings, our only job is to accept it. We must get over ourselves and believe that the God of the Universe accepts us and loves us and even wants to use us in our dismally unperfect state. Even more so, He created us imperfect. If we were perfect, we wouldn't need Him. We are created to be an example of His perfect love - we must only allow Him to do it.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Moving and preschool and bears, Oh My!

Did I mention that we have a bear? He's not really ours, but he seems to like us. The feeling is not mutual, I must say. So far, the bear has spread trash around the neighborhood and has caused property damage including breaking out my car window! Unfortunately, he has also been blamed in the disappearance of 7 cats. I only mention this because last night I had the terrible experience of hearing one of those cats. Screaming... And it was horrible! In the summer months, our bed is on the back deck, which on a normal night is heavenly. Last night unfortunately, being outside allowed me to be awoken by the sqeals and horrific meows of this kitten. It was really hard to go back to sleep! Mr Bear has gotten close enough to the house for he and Lowell to have a couple of close encounters with each other. On one occassion, Lowell scared the bear, and on another, the bear scared Lowell. Both times, the bear was within 15 feet of our front door. His routine was so predictable for awhile that we were able to catch him on video tape. We've called the necessary authorities, but they are hesitant to do anything. Lowell is hoping that he can run into him again so that we can take a bear-skin rug to Arizona with us. :) For about a week we had some serious issues with the kids being scared of going anywhere near the windows or the door. We finally convinced them that the bear only comes out when they are sleeping and that both Daddy and Jesus would protect them. :)

I got some wonderful news today! Jillian has finally been accepted into preschool! She was so thrilled and I am ecstatic! It has been 3 weeks since this process began and I was really getting frustrated. Yesterday I went to talk with the supervisor again and was told "she's really close", "we just don't know yet", and "I can't tell you yes or no and I don't know when we'll have a decision made".... I was livid! So, I threw a little temper tantrum and told them how ridiculous their system is and how mind boggling it is that they think they can treat people like this! I was very calm and very honest... :) And very proud of myself! I spoke my mind in a situation where, in the past, I would've just fumed. And then today, the phone rang and, viola, Jillian has been accepted! :) Life lesson huh? If you aren't seeing results, just throw a little tantrum and see what happens!?!? :)
These are the pictures we took on the first day of school. :) Aren't they cute?!?!
Nathan is really liking his 1/2 grade class. He's been placed in an accelerated reading program and now he's excited about maybe doing CubScouts. Chloe is really liking Kindergarten and is just kind of floating along. The first few weeks of kindergarten are all about crisis management for the teachers. Thankfully, Chloe isn't a crisis; she's totally adjusted and thrilled about going to school every day! They are getting so big! I'm really happy that I'm able to spend so much time in their classrooms! I get to see them learn and grow. It's hard to imagine that it was only a year ago when Nathan was where Chloe is now. They learn, one step at a time, and I'm amazed at how smart they are! :) It would be nice if we could all give ourselves the freedom to learn one day at a time instead of pressuring ourselves to be perfect all at once.
I still don't have any idea on a firm date for when we're moving... We have gotten some suggestion that, as of right now, we're leaning more toward December but things tend to change from one moment to the next. I'm feeling a little anxiety about having everything ready, moving in the middle of winter and in the middle of a school year, and moving during the last couple of weeks of my classes!!! Nevertheless, we are anxious to get to Arizona and to get started on the rest of our lives! :) And I know that God will give me all the strength I need to get through this. He has definitely shown Himself more than sufficient. He has been very faithful with these last couple of days too... I've been making some progress is dealing with the other issues.. I'm giving myself the freedom of time. One step at a time, right?