Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mashed Potatoes



My Beau

Beau is halfway to 18, and today I am so glad he is only halfway there. I am glad I have 9 more years of him under my roof. His smile lights up my day. His sarcasm almost always makes me laugh. His quick wit baffles me. His intelligence bewilders me. He is one of a kind.
Beau showed me this week just how strong, determined, and loving he has become.
Beau's last day in school was yesterday. He wrote thank yous to much of the staff and gave them a flower (well the guys got candy). The music teacher was so touched she said in her 20+ years no one leaving has ever given her a note and that she would treasure it forever. Several of the adults cried as they hugged him. To know my son has touched hearts so deeply is something I will hold tight in this mommy's heart. He wasn't just another face at the school, he was known. As we walked down the hall toward the door, he said, "Mom, we need to hurry I think I'm going to lose it." He cried on the way home, I love that he shows his emotions.
Every night he asks me to lay with him, and we talk about life, the world (literally last week we discussed the strife in Libya and the tragedy in Japan). He cares about his surroundings. We regularly discuss what he's going to be when he grows up. Tonight I miss him but I know while it was a horribly difficult decision to send him to spend a month with his grandparents it was what was best for him. Beau stresses beyond belief, no matter how much we try to keep him from worrying he hears or he just knows. I couldn't make him sit and wait and watch not knowing what was going to happen tomorrow. And he wanted to go with his dad...from the beginning he wanted to move with Ben. For Beau to be that connected to his dad after years of Ben coming and going is awesome and I want to encourage that. Ben is an amazing father, he loves his family above and beyond what I hoped for in a husband. I was delivering girl scout cookies with Anna and an elderly lady just had to tell me how much she thought the world of Ben that she loved to watch him in church with his kids that there are few dads out there that show that much genuine love and affection for their kids and that she felt privileged to have known us. I was humbled and thankful that God gave me Ben to love my kids and me so aptly that others are blown away by it. So Beau went with Ben, and I miss them both so much tonight. But the smiles in these pictures show how ready Beau was, he knew what he wanted. We talked about this adventure and how lucky he was to have the opportunity to do this. He struggled saying goodbye yesterday but today he was ready. He's hugged me tighter all week, he's sat on my lap at random moments, we've talked every night. I know sending him was the best for him even if it is hard. God has given me more peace about this decision than I deserve. I've shed a few tears today, but my heart is happy. Tonight my boys are at a hotel, it has a waterpark...they are living it up. Pizza for dinner, a little tv, and then back on the road tomorrow. Beau is one amazing kid, I'm so thankful he's mine and Ben's, he will forever challenge us but in being his mom I am becoming a better person. I love you Beau.
He's a great big brother too...Anna, Luke, and Owen miss him tonight too. Luke keeps asking me where they are and we are looking at a map as they go. Anna said goodbye to Beau when they dropped her at school so I didn't get their picture but here's an old one for fun.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Robin and Sam

These two cats have been with us since Halloween 2008, wow that seems like a long time ago. They have disappeared only to return months later. Sam has become mutated with no ears and only half a tale and one lame leg that is twisted not quite right. They are the most loving sweet cats I could imagine having even though they have always lived outside. Sam did get garage privileges once his mutations were quite significant. The kids love them, but the parents are not willing to move two unpredictable semi-wild cats across the country. So last night they were relocated to a very nice farm about 20 miles away with a nice barn and friendly animals. The kids are thrilled with their new home and I'm glad to not have to worry about them...
Oh but wait, the cat below, Sam, the one who isn't quite right. Well he wasn't too thrilled with the new living arrangements so when it was time to leave the farm the kids couldn't find him. They searched every inch of the truck worried he would be run over. He was no where so they figured he had run off. Five minutes after pulling in Ben calls us into the garage Sam had somehow hitched a ride on the truck somewhere for 20 miles and was back in our garage. So today after school we try again because the kids insist on being there to say goodbye again. Dang cats!

Helping Dad

Luke and Owen helped Ben get the trailer ready to go yesterday. Well they watched more than anything, but Ben was glad to have them out there.

Beau's Treat

Beau brought a treat for his last day of school today. Can you tell what shape the rice krispy treats are in? And the red m&m serves a special purpose. Beau was sharing his bagel with Owen this morning, after I got over how cute they were I realized Beau was eating breakfast in the living room. He's sly sometimes. It's going to be a long day with a long list of things to do.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Anna's First Communion

Anna received First Communion today.
It was super special because Father Dale allowed us to do it before Ben left.
He had her on the altar for the Consecration and she received Communion before anyone else.
She looked gorgeous and she was confident and courageous in front of the whole congregation.

Four Great Kids

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Testing My Monkey Skills

Anna's been tattling today, but its usually legit. Luke is usually doing something he shouldn't so I have to say something to him. Today he has hung from her bed, climbed her bed, climbed the wrong way up his bed, and now he's climbing on the workout equipment in the basement. While some of that isn't too dangerous playing on the workout equipment is not allowed ever. So I brought him upstairs to talk about it and his reply was "but mom I was testing my monkey skills." How do you argue with that. He said there is no where to test them. I can't wait til the sun comes out again and he can go test them on the swing set. There is never a dull moment with Luke in our lives.

"Then I'm Not Playing"

Otherwise titled "Random Saturday Morning Thoughts".
I've always hated that phrase, "then I'm not playing with you anymore", until this morning. Listening to Anna and Luke play Luke threw it out there, and immediately my skin started crawling, then Anna said okay we can do it this way which was a combination of both their ideas. I realized at that moment that phrase isn't so bad we need to learn compromise and that is what they are doing. Even as adults in negotiations we throw it out there, then I'm done...sometimes it means walking away other times the other party will bend. My Saturday morning lesson was more than I bargained for today. Not to say that when I hear that phrase later this week my skin won't crawl again, but I hopefully will be less likely to interfere than I was yesterday.
This phrase also made me think of more...a lot of thoughts happen when you leave the tv off. There have been several times this week where I wanted to say "then I don't want to play anymore". Sick kids, dirty floors...just an hour after I scrubbed them for the second time, someone let the dogs in and paw prints were everywhere, kids that aren't sleeping, packing, organizing, planning...all of this I don't always want to do, I don't want to play anymore. But its life and we don't always have an option, once the ball starts rolling we just have to keep playing and praying through it. Then in moments of weakness when I've had it, God says wait your life is easy. I ran into two friends in town yesterday that shared the game of life they were playing one has a truly sick child and another lost a parent and her life got turned upside down. The things that drop you to your knees and cry out to God. So in this game of life that I don't always want to play anymore I'm now on my knees crying out to God for this sweet little girl to not to endure too much pain on her path to healing, and for this other family to adjust to their life and let the turmoil pass. I don't understand God's ways but I know without Him I really wouldn't want to play so while I felt like sitting yesterday out in the end I just knelt down to pray.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Baby Steps

I forgot what an appropriate term, baby steps is. Owen has started taking baby steps. He has been standing up in the middle of the room for a couple weeks, but a few days ago he decided to take a few steps. He is more apt to do it when he has something in his hands, but he will also go from the table to the couch or one stool to the other. He won't go from person to person. If you try to encourage him to walk, he sits down every time, but if you aren't paying attention or if you hand him something while he is standing off he goes. I finally caught a little of it on video. I'm so happy he took his first steps before Ben left, however I probably won't be happy that he's running by ten months, I'm never going to get anything accomplished now.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Valiant Effort

Aren't these kids gorgeous.
I may be a little biased, but I think so.
I wanted to get a group photo before Beau head's out with Ben.
So I dressed them and posed them, and it turned out so great, all smiles.
Oh is missing.

This was the result of adding that one.
He would not, did not, could not cooperate.
No cookie, no toy, no tricks would work.
So we will have to try again tomorrow.
Why tomorrow because first I have to wash Beau's jeans.
He spilled dinner on them, and he only has one pair without holes.
I will remedy that soon I hope but try finding jeans for a toothpick, it is difficult.
Go back to the first picture...aren't they adorable.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday At Our House

Owen playing in his favorite cupboard.

Trying to use daddy's drill.

It's finally warm enough to sit in the grass.

Luke is happy to be outside.

Little boys with big toys.
Beau finally gets to use his .22 he got for Christmas.

He and a friend obliterated a pink bunny, they called it Bugs Bunny's wife.
9 year old boys are strange.
They followed all the safety rules and had fun at the same time.

Luke wanted to hold Owen for a picture.
I think everyone was happy to get outside for a little while.
It's supposed to get cold again this week with snow and rain so we enjoyed it while we could.
Anna was at a girlfriends. She had a fabulous time and really didn't want to come home when I picked her up. She was happy to see Owen when she got here though.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Book Review of Sorts

I took the kids to the library yesterday. Something we do fairly regularly. We sometimes just go get books and get out and other times like yesterday we take advantage of the huge bean bags and sit and read. Yesterday we were there for at least an hour. Owen was able to empty several shelves in that time. One of the books we read was Our Tree Named Steve. Anna really likes the illustrator of this book so that is what drew her eye to it.

This book had a very unexpected effect on me. Floods of memories of each place we have lived came to me as I read this book about a family and their tree. Then I lost it, my voice was cracking, the tears were flowing, the nose was running, and Anna was staring at me like I'd gone crazy. She couldn't for the life of her understand what was so sad about this book. While the book in itself is sad to me given other circumstances in life I probably wouldn't have cried. Beau read the book when we'd finished because he wondered what was so sad and he too thought I was nuts. He said, "that was not worth crying about mom."
However for me, there has been a tree of sorts in every place we have lived, as we get ready to move again, I thought of all those trees I left behind and more specifically what I'm leaving behind here. Those things in each place I've called home that are always there, that I drive past daily or look out my house windows or played with my kids on or around.
Here there is so much that is that "tree" because this is where our family really solidified. Where we could count on dad walking in the door at 5, where I knew most of the teachers and staffs names, where church was home. This house we built from the ground up. We were told by some that Ben and I couldn't survive getting out of the army and building a house in the same year, but not only did we survive we became stronger, we fell more in love. We learned to parent as a unit rather than individually with him coming and going all the time. We grew to appreciate eachother's strengths and weaknesses and step up for the others shortcomings. Our family is solid. We planted our own trees, several died...two poplars are growing great out back, and one maple I'm pretty sure is dead (Ben said I was crazy planting it, but I did anyway). I will miss watching these trees grow to provide the shade we had dreamed of. The swing set that has seen hours of kids fun and imagination, that blew over in a huge windstorm, so now is concreted into the ground. The rocks that I moved one by one from where the house now is over to where we created a fire pit where we have spent hours watching the flames and the stars and the kids poke sticks in or roast marshmallows. I will miss our life here and while we can always come visit it will never be the same. So while we don't have a tree named Steve, I have my own things that have come to mean home and comfort and stability and most importantly LOVE, that is what has grown here by leaps and bounds. Ben has left many times in the past but this time is so much harder for me, while I can't wait for what the future holds and I know that Atlanta is the place where we are meant to be going, I am mourning saying goodbye to the things and I haven't even mentioned the friends and community we have here. The journey our life has taken us has covered many places but I wouldn't change any of it and I look forward to the life Ben and I and the kids have before us even if it means shedding a few tears in the library on the way there.