Thursday, May 24, 2018

My Girls

This picture encapsulates so much personality of my girls.

Caroline found her fitting in our family when Addallee was born.  Caroline has loved babies since she held her first baby doll and loves being a big sister to Lee Lee.  I know they will fight in days to come... but more often than not, Caroline is inserting herself to help take care of Addallee.

Lee Lee loves her role as the youngest of our crazy, loving crew.  Her favorite place to be is anywhere getting attention from one of her big siblings.  She usually has the biggest smile on her face any time a sibling is playing with her... which is often.  If not a smile, it is this wide-eyed gaze that you see here as though she is desperately trying to catch up with her siblings and be a part of the fun as best she can.

And then there is my oldest, Tracey Ann.  We listen to a lot of music in our home... and with that comes a lot of awesome dance parties.  When this picture was taken, Tracey has asked to put on her dance costume and was dancing all around the basement.  I think this picture caught her mid-jump and twirl.  When I told her that her dancing looked great, she informed me that this was, "Tracey Style!"  I don't think truer words have ever been spoken.

... And Howard.  Where was Howard when I took this picture?  
If I had a nickle for every time I wondered where Howard was.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Really Fun

Tracey's weekly dance class ended last week, and so this week I invited two dance friends, and their Mamas, and their little brothers over to play outside and have a picnic during the regular dance time.

After that was on the calendar, another friend was in a jam and asked that I watch her son and daughter all day... so, the more the merrier.

It wasn't the warmest day ever... but the sun was out and the kids were happy to jump in and out of our water activities and then sit in the sun, or play in our playhouse.  All in all, we had eleven children and three moms... and it was a really great time.

Two friends had to leave before our picnic, but it was one of the best times I've had with friends and mothers over.

Welcome summer fun...


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Best Mother's Day

We've been so busy lately I haven't had a chance to write the details of, what I am calling, my best Mother's Day to date.

It was so much fun to have my parents here leading up to Mother's Day, and to help the kids prepare some gifts for Grammie.  The older my kids get, the more fun Mother's Day becomes because the kids get so excited about it.  We bought cupcakes, and the kids said, "Happy Mother's Birthday!" to my mom.

We celebrated Grammie earlier in the weekend, and then she attended the school Mother's Day Tea with us.  It was the first time my mom could come (I had been once before) and it was so nice to have her.  As we were getting ready to leave she made a comment about how special this was for her to attend... that she had wanted to attend ever since she heard about it two years ago.

Having her there helped me remember what a privilege it is that I get to attend these events with my little ones.  I will only get a handful of Mother's Days when my children are this age... and just a bundle of Mother's Days when my kids are living at home.  What special years these are.

Hubby gave me a wonderful Mother's Day gift that I really wanted -- Bowflex select weights.  I have been working hard on a workout program, and I have started to need heavier weights -- and Hubby bought me the select weights so I can now lift 5lbs - 50lbs in 2.5lb increments with the turn of a dial.  They are so space efficient and I love them.  I also love that Hubby supports my workout efforts and made such a big investment toward my good health.

This was all before actual Mother's Day weekend!

We spent the Saturday before Mother's Day at a bike safety event in town where they gave away bike helmets and had a drawing for free bicycles -- we won one!

On Mother's Day, we all went out to breakfast before church and I opened my presents from the kids at breakfast.  We had a great time and then enjoyed church.

We came home, and EVERYONE napped (AT THE SAME TIME!!! -- that was a huge gift right there).

When everyone awoke, we all went bowling for the first time as a family.  It was so much fun.  We played one game (the kids were antsy by the end, but they made it through) and we ordered appetizers to eat as we bowled.

It was such a fun day -- and NO dishes were generated at all.  Breakfast out, snacks at church, and dinner at the bowling alley.

One thing that made the day so much fun was that I really just wanted to have fun with the kids and Hubby.  I had school work to do, but I let myself take the day off without feeling guilty.  I had laundry to do, but I let myself take the day off without feeling guilty.  I wasn't expecting my Hubby to take over my housework... some chores still had to be done, but I wasn't upset about them, and other things were put off for another day.

It was such a great Mother's Day!

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Weekend

We had a really great weekend but it was busy.  So busy in fact that on our way home from church on Sunday Tracey actually said, "Daddy, when we get home, can we just stay there?"

Tracey NEVER says that.  She is always rearing to go and ready for anything.

So, here is a picture from our weekend of Howard protecting his ears at the carnival -- he has so much Sanden in him.


Saturday, May 19, 2018


I think I'm getting wiser as I get older... but the fact that I just typed that probably indicates just how immature, inexperienced, and unwise I actually am.

That having been said, I really am learning, little by little, the value of time.  Okay, that's a really intense topic... I'm not sure anyone can truly learn the VALUE of time.  Time is one of God's greatest gifts, but it is also unreliable.  You never know when your time with something, your time somewhere, your time with someone, your time on earth will be over.  Time cannot be bottled, it cannot be bought, it cannot be stored, it cannot be saved.  It can be spent, it can be cherished... but it is always fleeting.

Yeah, there is no way I, with my minuscule human brain can actually understand and appreciate the VALUE of time. 

What I have learned is how calming time is -- yes, that is what I want to say.

Three or four weeks ago I started what would become two totally separate, but simultaneous crazy and demanding situations at work.  They involved two new students in two different districts with two different sets of teachers in two different schools with no experience with a student with visual impairments in two very unique situations.  

Each one on its own would have been one of the biggest challenges of my career thus far.  But four weeks ago, I got them both dropped into my lap simultaneously.  Each of these situations on their own would have been a tremendous workload for me if I worked full time... but I was trying to handle both while working part-time and taking care of my children, and keeping our home running smoothly and handling all the normal end-of-the-year activities.

I remember several mornings on the verge of tears during my morning workouts because I was so distraught over these situations.

Time is such a gift.

Four weeks later, I still do not have all the plans or answers, and all of the challenges are not solved... but things are going to be okay.

I have handled these situations one step at a time, one challenge at a time, and checked things off my list as I am able.  I still am uncertain and a little distraught about what the future holds and how these circumstances will resolve... but I'm not losing sleep over them and I'm not crying through morning workouts anymore.  Things will be okay.

It reminds me of times early in our relationship and marriage where I laugh now because Hubby and I had the stupidest arguments.  I remember one of our biggest fights was in an IKEA store.  I don't like IKEA stores and Hubby loves them.  I like my home, rooms, furniture to be more unique than a set that I can pluck off an assembly line.  Hubby, on the other hand had so much fun pointing out his different favorite fantasy kitchens.  We had the biggest argument over the fictitious decisions as to how to decorate our non-existent home long before we were even engaged.

Sometimes Hubby will say something about a plan in the future... and I've learned to say, "Sure, maybe," "Sounds like a plan," "We'll see," and "Whatever you think, Babe.
These are all my way of saying, "We will talk about that at length and in extreme detail should that situation ever actually present itself, but it is not worth arguing about *ahem... I mean* discussing at the present time.

Most of the scenarios (or furniture patterns) that we talk about never actually happen or are years down the line.  Even if they are days or weeks down the line, a little time to think things over is so valuable before discussing something big and tackling a challenge together.

Time is such a precious and beautiful gift.

Friday, May 18, 2018


Frankly, Fridays have been a little anti-climatic in our home for the past four years when our local school district switched to four-day school weeks for budgetary reasons.  Thursday is the new Friday around here.

Now, our kids still go to school on Fridays, and I still work on Fridays but the whole situation doesn't have the same "TGIF" feeling that I grew up with.

That is... until TODAY!!!

Oh my gosh this has been an absolutely insane week both at work and at home and trying to do both.  I've worked more than double what I'm actually paid to work this week, and had to write two really big reports, and lead to really big meetings with special ed directors, special ed teachers, school principals, my boss, and parents I don't know well for two new students.

It was a stressful week.

Today is my last meeting for the week... and even if it weren't... ITS FRIDAY!!!!

All work stops for the next two days!!!