Friday, June 21, 2013

The End of the School Year....the beginning of Summer School

My Bigs turned 8 on their last birthday in December, and as if that wasn't enough, they just finished 2nd grade!  How does time keep passing so quickly?!?!  I miss the toddler stage, and I'm honestly just not ready for my kids to start being so much more independent!  But - sigh - such is life, and they are now officially 3rd graders (although my son will tell you - "summers are FREE from grades!").  They are not going to the summer school program that their school holds because these two will be headed to Michigan to spend a few weeks with their grandparents.

And while 8 year old twins equals lots of squabbling, whining, tattling and all around headache-inducing behavior, these two really are great kids and they DO love each other.  Look!  I have proof!


Meanwhile, my Littles are starting school!  They WILL be attending summer school at the elementary school - a class called "Kindergarten, Here We Come!"  They absolutely LOVE getting up and getting ready every morning, walking to school, and spending the morning with other soon-to-be-kindergarteners and their new favorite teacher!  We even have breakfast and lunch at the school so they can get used to that part of it too!  They are now 5, and they are no longer babies.  I'm so not ready to let go, but I now I need to!


I am hoping to keep this blog updated with our summer adventures.  So far, we've had lots of fun with a big Flag Day parade that went right by our house, a Butterfly Festival, fun at the children's museum, and lots of time playing in our yard!  There's lots more to do around here, and I will share our adventures with all of you! 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

smiley360.com—Be Heard. Be Happy.

This is something new for me.  It looks like a great way to try out new products - for FREE!  Give it a try, you having nothing to lose :)

smiley360.com—Be Heard. Be Happy.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sundays

Sundays can be rough for me.

See, I grew up as a PK (Pastor's Kid, for those not in the know).  I went to church, and heard my dad preach every week.  Of course, as a kid, I didn't know to appreciate those days.  I didn't pay as much attention as I should have.  I just went to church because I "had" to.  I didn't listen to the messages my dad was giving so much as I was looking for typos in the bulletins or writing messages to my friends or daydreaming about what I was going to do after I got out of the family obligated activities of the day.

I went to a small Christian college, where it was (once again) expected of me to attend a church every week.  I'll be the first to admit I didn't.  Not every week.  But I did go - I tried to find a church where I fit in, where I would be able to grow and learn and be a good person.  I never really found the "perfect fit" but I did end up going to the Free Methodist Church more often than not, because that's what I knew.  Once Randy and I started dating, we attended a non-denominational church together, and while I did enjoy the services there, I still felt like a stranger each and every week.  But Sundays always made me a little homesick for my dad's church.

During the semester I spent in Costa Rica, Sundays were even tougher.  During my whole time at college, Sundays were the day I called home (this was back before cell phones & free long distance were part of every day life).  When I was in a foreign country, it wasn't easy to just pick up the phone and call.  I sat through church services (of which I could understand about 50%), I was away from my family and my church and it just made me miss it all that much more.

After getting married, we lived in Michigan near Randy's family - we all went to the same church and eventually we were fully immersed in the ministry of the church.  We helped out with different kids' programs, we participated in services, and Randy helped make over the Audio/Visual stuff and bring the church into modern times.

When we moved back to NY after our older twins were born, we started attending my dad's church again.  It's a small town church, everyone is like family.  I'm not going to lie, some weeks I went more out of a sense of obligation than the NEED to go.  But it was my home church, it was where I wanted to be.

My dad got sick this past spring.  He collapsed on a Sunday morning and was hospitalized with pneumonia.  Within the week, we learned he may have a form of Leukemia.  That next week it was confirmed that he, in fact, has Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.  The prognosis was great, and it is not only treatable but it can actually be cured.  He began treatments at a Cancer Center a couple of hours away.  I drove out there to visit with him on the weekends.  The very first weekend he was away, however, I couldn't go and we went to church.  It was not easy for me - being in my dad's church, listening to someone else give the message.  Add to that, we had the tradition of eating lunch with my parents after church each week.  We would either go to Ponderosa or my mom would make something and we'd eat right there at the church.  Now there was a void.  

When this job opportunity in Wisconsin came up, I was not for it.  Not even a little.  But after much discussion, and much prayer, we felt this is really where God wanted us at this time.  So we broke the news and we prepared to leave.  One of the daunting things ahead of us was finding a new church.  I kind of just wanted to hide away from the world and forget about church for a while.  I didn't want to feel the void each Sunday of not seeing my parents, not being at my dad's church, not hearing my mom play the piano.  

We didn't go anywhere the first Sunday we were here.  It didn't make me feel any better, of course not.  The next week, someone invited us to their church and a picnic following the service.  We agreed it sounded like something we'd like to do, so we accepted.  The welcome we received at this church was amazing, the songs we sang were familiar, the people were friendly, and best of all (in my opinion) was that my kids LOVED the kids' programs.  They immediately wanted to know when we could go back.  And we have gone back every week since; we've joined the Wednesday night classes, we've joined their Alpha groups on Thursdays, and we were invited to a Life Group with other couples our age who also have small children.  We've been welcomed right into the fold and it feels like this is where we belong.

I still miss my parents each and every Sunday, and I miss hearing my dad give the message (I'm sure the congregations at his two churches miss it too!).  And there are still moments that almost break my heart because I feel so far away from "home" -- today, it was when we sang "How Great Thou Art" in church service.  I could hear my dad singing it with the gusto he always gives it.  It made me long for home, but at the same time, it made me feel at home.  Not sure if that will make sense to all of you, but that was how I felt.  I know in my heart, that this is where we are supposed to be.  God has great things in store for us, and if I just listen I'm sure I'll be able to hear what He is trying to say to me.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Traditions

We have a chaotic life, I think that's fair to say.  We had four children in a span of 3 years.  There's always something going on, someone has an appointment, someone is sick, places to go, tasks to complete...we always seem to be running in six different directions at one time.  So we try to create traditions with our family, so that there's something to rely on, some things that will always make us feel good and part of THIS family.

It's not always easy to keep them up.  Some days I'd rather be lazy than do what is expected of me.  But right now, in the midst of this gigantic change we've thrust upon our kids, I think it's really important not only to keep up the traditions we've already created, but to create some new ones for them in our new home.

Two of our favorite traditions are Breakfast-for-Dinner Tuesdays and Family Movie Night Fridays (which also includes pizza for dinner).  Now, the Breakfast for Dinner Tuesday actually has existed in our home since before we had kids!  Many moons ago, I was a little more organized (but only a little) and for a season did menu planning - something I should actually get back into.  And on Tuesdays we always had Breakfast.  It's something we've carried on since having our kids, and now they know to expect it each week.  Sometimes it's pancakes (their favorite - I make them from scratch!), or french toast, french toast casserole, waffles, eggs, etc.  We always try to match it with healthy sides (fruit, yogurt, turkey bacon :)).  Pizza on Fridays was actually something a family I knew growing up did each week - only she made their pizzas from scratch (and cut them with SCISSORS!  I loved it!).  Now we've made sure that on almost every Friday we have Family Movie Night as well.  We even did it in the middle of packing and moving, when we didn't have our big screen TV, or Daddy, at the old house:

These are things, events, that our kids have come to rely on.  They know, no matter where we are or what's going on around us, we'll have breakfast on Tuesday evenings - by the way, we arrived in our new city on a Tuesday evening, and after freshening up at our new house we headed straight to IHOP where we all got our choice of Breakfast for Dinner - and we'll have pizza and a movie on Fridays.  Even when they get pizza at school for lunch (which, really, only Trey gets and I figure it's not much different than eating leftover pizza for your next meal after ordering out...so what if he eats pizza twice in a row?  He loves it!).  

We are going to work on other traditions that we feel are important too - involving prayer and reading our bibles and church.  We have traditions at holidays (always open a present on Christmas Eve, which happens to be new pajamas), and those will be important over the next year as we are far from what we all know as "Home" and have to make this new place our Home now.  

Kids are resilient, and I know that all this change and chaos isn't going to traumatize them or hold them back.  But I also know it's still hard on them - they have to make all new friends, learn the rules of a new school, figure out our new neighborhood (I'll take it as a good sign that neighbor kids are knocking on our door just about every day asking them to come out and play).  I think holding on to certain things from our "old life" will help them settle down in our "new life."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Starting Over

I mean that in so many ways.  Starting Over.  I'm refreshing this blog.  We just moved our family 1000 miles from home - we're starting over in a new place.  We are resolving to be more responsible, more organized, less cluttered, less chaotic (okay, with four small children that may not be possible!).  I am going to be more focused on my kids and bringing them up.  I am going to start over in my devotional life (as in, actually doing them).  I am going to start over in my baking/foodie blog and work on that as well.  And you can follow along our new journey right here!

So...it's been a while since I've written anything.  Life got in the way, I guess.  My older two had a very successful year in Kindergarten (the last post I made), and an equally successful 1st grade year!  They both graduated from speech, made lots of friends; Lindy took ice skating for the first time and did wonderfully!  The little two enjoyed another year of preschool and were really looking forward to going to pre-K at the same school as their older brother and sister.  I had found a new job in Human Resources and I really enjoyed going to work each day (okay, MOST days).

Then....then.   Hubby got a job offer.  1000 miles away. 

I should also mention here, since it's a big part of my life for the past several months: my dad was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) in April.  He underwent several rounds of chemo, has been in remission, and just recently had a stem cell transplant.  It was unspeakable to think I would leave during this storm of life. 

That being said, we talked, we prayed, we cried.  And it was clear that this new job was where my husband needed to be.  So we packed up our house (where we never thought we would move from), we packed up our kids, and we headed westward to Wisconsin.

We've been here for 3 weeks now.  The big kids have started their new school (we walk there every morning, which is something new for us!).  The little girls don't get to go to pre-K here, so they stay home with me, and we work on preschool activities...we've also signed up for some different classes at the library to keep us busy.

So this is our fresh start.  A new state, a new home, a new school, a new job, a new church!  It hasn't been easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it hasn't been as hard as I thought it might be.  I'm going to try and write a little more frequently about the stuff going on in our new life.