September 1, 2015

On His Way …

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Yesterday the smallest Lee went to Kindergarten!

He woke up really early, proclaiming that he was no longer nervous, just really excited. All morning long he kept asking me if it was time for school yet. I assured him the time would come and he should get his chores done, get dressed, play for a while and have lunch before school.

He obliged me with the traditional picture in front of our red door. This look on his face is all sorts of killing me. It is sweetness to the max.

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We spent time on our driveway trying to shrink the amount of time before the bus came. He ran around like a crazy pants kid who was really stoked about something. He looked very dapper in a button down shirt and shorts, hair slicked back just so.

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We walked together to the bus stop. Actually, he walked faster in front of me, but I didn’t mind because I wanted to capture how independent he seemed and how big his back pack was on his little buddy body.

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We got to the stop about eight minutes early. On a good day with no complications. Not on the first day, though. It ended up being a fifteen minute wait, during which my little Owlie turned to me and said, “It’s okay, Mom. You can go home now and I’ll just get on the bus by myself.”

Slay me now! There is no way I’m letting him be big and not need me like that! We waited together. I kissed him about fifty times. We hugged a bunch and then I could hear the bus coming. He practically jumped for joy.

Per my begging, he turned for a quick smile before finding a seat on the bus and leaving my heart feeling strangely empty and yet full at the same time.

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And then, he was on his way.

bye ollie

August 20, 2015

Now That Summer Is All But Over . . .

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I feel like this picture represents me facing Back-to-School. Eyes closed, nose plugged, just waiting for it to engulf us.

This Summer has been a study in contrasts. We’ve been very busy with camps and reunions. There have also been slow weeks where the atrocious B word (that’s BORED, if you didn’t know) has escaped out of a few mouths.

The beginning of Summer was glorious, cool and green. Our yard looked like a million bucks. Now the grass in back is brown and crunchy and we are shouting for joy because we finally had some rain today.

We have laughed and experienced true joy with family and friends. We have made glorious memories. We have also learned sad things that have made us weep and worry, pray and prepare. It is hard for me to imagine feeling such feelings at each end of the spectrum almost simultaneously.

Our kids are about to enter a year of first and lasts. We have a first time driver in Hannah. We have a first time bus rider in Owlie. Chris is in his last year of high school. I have to watch myself or I could view this whole year with Chris as just a long list of lasts.

In July at the Hubby’s family reunion, Owlie was in water wings, plugging his nose each time he entered the pool. Now, a mere month later, he is swimming in the pool like a fish with goggles, in the deep end, no nose pluggged. It finally clicked for him and I am so happy he figured it out.

I know going back to school will me much the same for me. I’ll figure it out. It will click for all of us. We will find our rhythm and swim like we’ve always known how to handle the water.

August 11, 2015

One Year …

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Gulp.

That’s me swallowing. Trying to push down the giant lump in my throat because I have one year left with this boy. One more year to love on him physically, teach and advise him while in his company, laugh at his goofy antics, tell him to clean up his pigsty of a room, tickle his feet to wake him up in the morning, make all his favorite foods, create lasting memories and hope that I’ve done my part as his momma to prepare him for life on his own.

And that’s why I say gulp.

Sometimes we’ll all be driving in the car together, kids probably fighting, and I try to imagine what it is going to be like in a year when there is one less person in the car. I can’t. It is too strange to even think of.

I know cutting the apron strings and letting children go out on their own is part of this job I signed up for as a parent. But knowing it and actually doing it are two different things.

We are already inundated with Senior stuff and the school year hasn’t even begun. Yearbook pictures, college applications, scholarship applications. I’m trying to stay ahead of it all so I don’t get swallowed. I’m trying to not fear the year and let it control me, but instead control it and have plenty of space in between activities and demands to create memorable moments with my first born child.

I love Chris so much. We really have settled into a place removed from hard core instructional parenting to watching him take applying the lessons we’ve taught him over the years. I see us as advisors – consultants of a sort. There is a beautiful give and take that is occurring. It is not without glitches and setbacks, but I can see him becoming the man he’s meant to be.

All this to say my mind is full of love and thoughts of stopping time and making time count and all sorts of other sentimental freak out stuff. Good times, for sure.

August 7, 2015

Confessions Of A Guilt Ridden Former Blogger . . .

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I used to be a great blogger. Not that the content of my blog was great, but I wrote five days a week. I was devoted. Writing was just part of my every day.

Now I’m a bad blogger. Wait, I don’t think I can even say that. What I meant was, I’m a guilt ridden former blogger. I have walked by my computer no less than seventy-five times in the past month and a half and in my head said the words, “I don’t want to.”

I’m pretty sure the catalyst for this complete slump came by way of the absolute sabotage of the Spiritual Program I was supposed to present at our Stake Girls Camp due to freak weather, including torrential downpour, for the exact two hours the program was scheduled to happen. And so it didn’t happen. To say I had the wind knocked out of my sails would be an understatement. I’m still not recovered from it. The last time I wrote on this blog was two days before the NON-program.

Since then, I’ve hosted two family reunions (one in Arizona!), seen kids off to a week at EFY, had a husband gone on High Adventure, gotten over a nasty cold, and just relaxed and tried to relish the Summer with my kids. I can’t remember the last time I really just enjoyed Summer and my kids. Here are some more of my Summer confessions:

I’ve been walking for an hour every morning by myself, listening to spiritual enlightenment, followed by thumping music recommended by my teenager. Taking that time for ME has been extremely gratifying. It has also made me tired. I need to be tired, because my sleep has been quite messed up lately.

Sometimes, if I don’t get my walk in during the morning, I drag the Hubby out and he walks the hills around our neighborhood with me in the evening when the cicadas are humming and frogs are jumping out into the road. He rescues the frogs and I count rabbits in the grass. I need that time with him. We talk and work through our life’s problems. Mostly I talk and he listens.

I’ve made a conscious effort this Summer to take my younger boys to the pool frequently. We have a great pool in our neighborhood, but in past Summers I didn’t used it because Ollie was little and it was too much work. Plus I am allergic to most sunscreens, so it was a pain for me.  Now Ollie is a fish and I’ve found a sunscreen that works for me which means the boys beg me each day to take them swimming. I suit up and actually get in the water with them. It is good for all of us.

I’ve been cooking on the grill as much as possible. We’re enjoying shishkabobs, Naan pizzas, grilled pineapple, barbequed pork chops – anything I can grill. I love the simplicity of it. We’ve even had several days in July where the food came straight off the grill and onto the table outside because it was cool enough to dine al fresco.

I’m slowly checking some long overdue house projects off of my list. I’ve painted some furniture, recovered six chairs, gone through and organized all of our arts/crafts, cleaned the garage, donated trunk loads to the thrift store and washed all the windows. Two huge projects are hanging over my head to be finished up – our basement stairs and repainting the kitchen cabinets.

I’ve read for pleasure this Summer. I haven’t done that in a very long time. I have missed it like an old friend. So far I’ve read In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown, which I recommend highly to anyone looking good reads. Two are historical non-fiction but read like novels, which I’ve discovered I enjoy very much. I’ve also reread Heaven Is Here by Stephanie Nielson and Persuasion by Jane Austen. Thumbs up to both, again! I know it isn’t the last time for me to read either of these books. Now I am thoroughly enjoying The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Last confession. On Sunday nights this Summer, I’ve had a 9:00 date with PBS to watch the new Poldark. Last year, upon the insistence of my mother, I watched all twenty-eight hours of the original Poldark (starring Robin Ellis) which she had loved some thirty years ago. We are both enjoying the new adaptation very much and love discussing and comparing it with the original. And in an awesome twist, my mom has been emailing Robin Ellis’ wife!

So there you have it. Confessions. I’m alive. I’m just a bad blogger trying to do better.

June 22, 2015

Summer of Instagram . . .

I was just telling my mom yesterday that Instagram is killing blogs. It is a perfect form of micro blogging – one picture with a small captioned story. It’s quick, it’s effective, and it’s spur of the moment, any moment. I fully blame it for at least fifty percent of why I have slacked as a blogger.

So, here are some shots from our Summer so far, via my Instagram feed.

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RedDog turned twelve! He is pretty awesome. We celebrated with my parents and he requested my homemade sweet and sour chicken and fried rice for dinner plus “Mema’s Coconut Cake” for dessert.

We took him and Chris to a Yankees/Orioles game for his birthday. Sadly, the Yankees got crushed. But the nachos were good. My teenager likes to act weird on purpose when I take pictures. His kids will appreciate it someday.

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The Sunday after his birthday, Soren was given the priesthood by his dad. I love these two very much. Right now my boy is at his first Scout camp. He is away from us for an entire week and I miss him SO MUCH!

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For Father’s Day I made these. My Hubby was happy! So were my thighs.

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We attended a graduation party for a friend’s son this week. I used to teach him at church when he was ten. Now he’s going to college. That seems impossible! I snapped a quick shot of the sun setting that night from her back porch. It took my breath away.

marci sunset

Last night we had dinner with my parents for Father’s Day. I had to laugh because Hannah and both my mom and dad were matching. We had to snap a picture of their color coordination. Really, I just want lots of pictures of my parents because they are moving in a year and I am in denial.

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Owlie’s little T-ball team, the SandGnats, was honored at a local Senators baseball game. The Senators is a team made up of college players who play during the Summer. The little guys got to meet the players and run onto the field with them for the national anthem. It was ADORABLE!

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So there are a few shots of our Summer thus far. The other fifty percent of why I am slacking as a blogger is because I have spent the past five months preparing for this Thursday, when I will helm the Spiritual Program at our Stake Girls’ Camp. I have led a committee of women in developing an evening for the 250 girls of our church who live in our area that is meant to help strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

To say that this project has been all consuming would be an understatement! Now the time is finally here, and at the current moment there is a 60% chance of rain on the day we are supposed to present our program OUTSIDE. If you read this blog, would you do me a favor? Pray! Pray that the elements will temper themselves on Thursday in the Frederick, Maryland area. Pray that we will be able to do our program for these girls.

I’d be so appreciative! Carry on.

June 15, 2015

Remember That One Day ...



As far as days go, yesterday was big for our family. We started our morning out with Hannah at the home of our Stake Patriarch where she received a beautiful blessing that will guide her throughout her life. It is a very humbling thing for a parent to see a beloved child through God's eyes and realize that He knows more, loves more and has more in store for that child than could possibly be imagined.


In the afternoon, my husband laid his hands on the head of this sweet redheaded boy and ordained him a Deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood. Many tears and tender words were shared. Again, I felt overwhelmed by love and the many possibilities that await this bright and shining spirit.

I can't really go into much more detail. It is too personal and special to share. But I will end by writing down something the patriarch told Hannah as we left. With tears in his eyes he put his hand on her shoulder and said, "There are going to be rough times. You will have hard times in your life. But you can always remember today. Remember that one day when you knew for certain through the Holy Spirit that God loves you."

We have all had days or moments when the love of God was palpable to us. Why do we forget them so quickly? I know that I will remember yesterday. And it will help me to love these children more and to get through hard times.