Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Gaping Hole

It was a milestone day yesterday--Christian lost his first tooth.

He lost it while eating a lollipop at Oma's house.  When I arrived to pick him up, he was grinning.  "Mommy, do you notice anything different about my mouth?"

Oh yes!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Recapping the Week

The last few days have been a's a quick recap in pictures.

On Wednesday, we headed to the Cardinals game to celebrate the end of the school year.

You can't go wrong with Cracker Jack.
Christian spent some time studying his Cardinal's history.  First Enos Slaughter.
 Then Dizzy Dean.
 Can't forget The Wiz.

Thursday, shortly after I came home from work, Christian came to find me.  Very earnestly, he said "Mommy, Daddy needs your help getting our fort inside the house because it's too big to fit through the door.  But don't worry, he has a plan."

Oh, my.

We've been building forts for the boys in the living room.  They love them.  So Darren thought it would be fun to build a more permanent fort structure for the kiddos.

It's HUGE.

But, they love it.  It lives in the basement, and has already been filled with stuffed animals, pillows, sleeping bags, a rocking chair, stability ball, and who knows what else.  My guess is that the covering will change, depending on what the boys are up to. For now, it's just a sheet. 

Last night, we went for dinner with Mom to Hacienda.  Yum. 

Today was a day of work around the house and yard.  Mom gave us several hydrangeas, and I needed to get them into the ground.  Normally, digging a hole in the dirt wouldn't be that difficult, but in our yard, everywhere you put the shovel, you're bound to hit roots, roots, and more roots from all the ivy that is there.  I'm pretty sure I'll be pulling ivy for the rest of my life.  But it has to go. 

Oh, and just as exciting as the hydrangeas, Mom brought us my favorite from Kruta's--a cherry stollen. Yum!

Now, the boys are conked out for "family movie night".  Eating popcorn and watching a movie.
Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Last Day of Kindergarten

Holy cow, I have a first grader now!

Today was the last day of school for the kids at CCLS.  Why does the last day have to fall on a Wednesday??  I suspect that there are reasons that have to do with the teachers, grades, etc., but for working parents, ending on a Wednesday is a bit of a hassle.

But I digress.

Christian summed up his thoughts about the last day this way: "May 23 is going to be the worst day EVER!"

He loves school.  He loves being with his friends. 

I'm raising an extrovert. (An introvert myself, this is challenging!)

Off we headed to school this morning,
Heading into school.

It's also the last day for Connor, but he has one more year of preschool ahead of him. 

The school year ended like it began, with a chapel service.  The entire school (including Connor's preschool class) was there.  Over 500 kids, many parents and teachers, all joining in the celebration.

What a joy.  I'm sure I wasn't the only parent to be a little teary-eyed during chapel today.

Hey, there's Connor!

After chapel, the kids headed back to their rooms for a final good bye with their class.  Christian's class exchanged friendship tokens.  Christian brought a photo to share as his token. 

Then, at 11 am, it was time to say "see you next year.

Christian loves his teacher.  Mrs. Belsha was such a joy.  We couldn't have asked for a better introduction to the community of CCLS.
After school ended, Christian and I headed out for lunch.  While we were there I asked him what he liked best about kindergarten. His reply? "Well, mostly the learning.  But only a little."  Why, I asked.  "Well, because we were learning things I already knew, like how to read.  I've known how to read for a long time--it's easy for me."

Well...this is true.  Time to keep challenging him over the summer.

Now, we're on to the Cardinals game to celebrate the end of the school year. 

Happy summer everyone!


Being a mom isn't easy.  Whether you're a stay at home mom, or a mom juggling kids and a full time job outside of the home, its not easy.  And it's thankless (I'm sure my mom would be the first to agree with that).

But it's also the greatest thing ever.

As a mom who works outside the home, I've experienced that there are times when everything seems to work smoothly.  Schedules are (mostly) in balance, everyone is able to keep up (with the healthy skill of saying no), and things are (mostly) calm.

And then there's the rest of the time.

The times that nothing is in balance. 

The times that your heart and desires pull you in one direction (usually toward your family) but obligations and such pull you in another.

And then the heart begins to ache.

And the stress begins to build.

The month of May, with school ending, and summer break looming is definitely one of those seasons where nothing seems to be in balance.  .

I know that as a mom I'm called to put my family first.  God designed us that way--that is our vocation.  And when I put the family first I'm happier.  Not always calmer but definitely more satisfied.  The trick is putting aside the guilt and worry and stress that comes with knowing other obligations might not be getting my whole head. 


I'm not very good at that.  I worry.  And that worry takes me away from the present.  And that really doesn't help anything.

So, for the time being I'm going to try to figure out how to get things back to manageable.  Balance is impossible, but I can live with controlled chaos.  It's not my preference, but I can live with it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Long Saturday

Wow, can Saturday's be really long, yet full, and still lacking enough time to fit everything in.

We started this morning at 5.  There's a cat that roams the neighborhood.  I have no idea who he belongs to, but he wanders around.  We'll often find him scampering away from the car when we come outside.  Well, this morning he got into some sort of screeching match with some animal.  Shriek after piercing shriek, right outside our bedroom window.

Good morning.

Then a few minutes later Connor rolled into our room for a snuggle.  He eventually fell back to sleep, but Darren and I were both awake.

Fast forward to 6 am.  I'm three sips into my first cup of coffee when here comes Christian.  He's all dressed and greets me with "I'm ready to go help you at Soulard."

I'm glad for the help Buby, but Soulard doesn't open til 7.  A few minutes later he tells me "Mommy, I think we want to do everything for you because of all the things you do for me and Connor."


After a while, Christian and I headed to pick up some fruits and veggies (and some herbs) at Soulard.  Then we picked up Connor, headed to get the boys haircuts, followed by a trip to Home Depot.

When we got home, it was only 10:45, but it sure felt like way past lunchtime.

Because it was hot out, I gave the boys a bucket of water, their water guns, and finally hooked up the sprinkler for them.

What is better than a sprinkler for a kid on a hot day?

Christian loves it.
Connor, not so much at first.
"Mommy, I have an idea."
 Ah, that's better.
I worked in the yard...there's more to do than I have time to tackle on the weekends.  Inch by inch.
Then some banana bread was made,
And finally, one boy conked out for a long nap.
What a delightfully uneventful, busy, tiring, happy day.

And, it' not even 5pm yet.

What's next?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kindergarten Together

Tonight was the year-end program for the CCLS Kindergarten classes.  All three of them.  I'm not sure where the time has gone.  Really, how can there only be five and a half days of school left??

The kids joined together in song and laughter. 

Here's a quick glimpse into the evening.

We were thrilled to have Oma and Opa there with us tonight.  As we were leaving, Christian said "I wasn't expecting them to come, what a surprise that was to me."  It's such a blessing to live in a place where Oma and Opa are able to be with us for the boys school events and other milestones.  We really were missing this in DC.  

Not surprisingly, Oma got much better photos of the program than I did.  Check them out over at Respublica.

Christian is typically ready to smile for a photo.
Connor...not so much.  Opa and Oma had to wrangle him.
Now that the excitement of the evening (and the sugar rush from the Krispy Kreme donuts the teachers served as refreshments) have worn off, my sweet kindergartener is sound asleep.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Quiet, Yard work, and Malaria Nets

Wow, I'm a bit surprised that it's been nearly two full weeks since I've posted here.  I'd only meant to take a day or two away, but here we are.

Lately I've been wrestling with the mental energy it takes to keep up with everything that's going on.  Not just the things that we have to go "do", but the energy it takes to deal with all the noise coming at us from technology.  Good grief, it's amazing how much information comes at us every day--but really, how much of that information really adds value to our lives?  And just because we have instant access to so much information whenever and wherever we want it a good thing?

I'm becoming more and more convinced that it's not.

So how to slow down the flow of information?

Well for one thing, find a way to have less time with the tv, computer, iPad, iPhone, and radio on.

Turn it off!!

Today has been one of the days that we've turned it off (mostly--after all, I'm here typing this:)

Our church has joined with other Lutherans across the country to raise money to support the Lutheran Malaria Initiative.  Every $10 raised provides a net to a child in Africa which means a life saved.  $10=1 Net=1 life saved.

Talk about what really matters.

Our kids were given empty pill bottles that hold 40 quarters ($10) and encouraged to fill them up.  Christian and Connor recruited Opa.  So today, we headed over to the Seminary so the boys could go to work with Opa to earn quarters to buy a net.

As we started the morning, Christian and Opa reviewed the list of jobs that would earn the boys quarters.

Christian LOVES a list.

Time to water the plants.
 Moving timber

 Connor started strong, but quickly decided he'd rather play.
Christian kept going strong.

Shoveling compost.

 After a few hours (and a pinched pinky finger) later, it was time to review the list and see how they did.

Not bad for a mornings work.
After lunch, we started to tackle yard work in our yard.  Well, Connor slept and Christian went to play with the neighbors.  I tackled our yard. 

Lots of fresh air, sunshine, family time and quiet. 

A good day.