The Bad Banana

Today, like any other day I threw things into lunch boxes and we rushed out the door.  Although if I am being honest, which I am, I only made little A’s lunch, 2 left early with their dad (if they want to go early they must pack their own lunch) and R had already made his lunch.  I packed a little container of Mac-n-cheese, so she could eat it cold, a pack of fruit snacks, a banana, a cookie, and a thermos of water.

11:00 I am shopping in Publix (Where shopping really is a pleasure) and my phone rings, I am actually startled because my Publix is a giant dead zone for cell phone service.  I answer it, the school nurse was on the line,  A threw up at lunch.  I beg her off on her dad, I was half way through the store, and really we do stomach bugs a lot so I was not worried about her and knowing my schedule for the next few days I really wanted to finish grocery shopping.  I picked her up 20 minutes later.

12:45 the school calls AGAIN E is now in the clinic and not feeling well.  She says it is her stomach, and she wants to come home.  I call Keith because the littles are now resting.  E comes home and goes right up to bed.

1:30 little A comes down from her room, can she watch some TV.  I asked her how her tummy felt.  “fine”  I asked her what made it hurt? “my banana”  I asked why? “the 2 big black spots were too yucky.

Here is what happened

A: My banana had 2 big black spots on it
M: why didn’t you just throw it away
A: I couldn’t
M: why (thinking they were supposed to be in their seats still)
A: blink blink blink (she has VERY BIG BLINKS)
A: ok
M: but why didn’t’ you throw it out?
A: because it was too mush and I needed a napkin
M: why didn’t you get a napkin
A: because it was too mush
(circles we talk in circles)
A: when I tried to pick it up the throw ups just came
M: where baby?
A: on my lunch box and the table
M: oh dear
A: blink blink blink
M: how did your banana turn so black at school? it was yellow when I put it in your lunch box
A: well, maybe because I put it around my back a few times. (showing me like a basketball warm-up drill) Than I dropped it 2 times.  BUT not at the same time,
M: oh, blink blink
M: ok well maybe next time you just eat your banana and not throw it around you back?
A: oh good idea mommy
A: now can I go watch netflix?

This people, this is why sometimes I don’t make any sense when I talk to adults, because my mind is still trying to process the bad banana and throwing up.

Go hug your kids, and tell someone you love them, time is just too short, I was reminded of this by the lady at the grocery store who said she wished she had a sweet little one to visit with while she shopped.  And told me how very lucky I am.  I agreed with her, PS was quick to charm her.   I love old people in the grocery store who say nice things to my children!  Although I have never had anyone make a mean comment to us ever.

jen

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It’s a Monday but Tuesday is Coming.

It is Monday, we woke up to a Monday, and we started our Monday, just like she likes.  I have decided Monday is a girl, actually she is the mean girl in your 8th grade gym class.  You know the one, and just thinking about her makes you want to groan.  She is sneaky and mean, and she knows just how to frustrate you.

Monday give us, morning stomach aches, knots in our shoes, and forgotten gym clothes.   Monday give us, forgotten breakfast drinks and dried on spilled cereal milk.  She gives us ruined paintbrushes, scratchy pencils, and lost pens, Monday gives us red lights, slow traffic and big changes.  Monday gives us 2 different glasses of spilled milk at dinner, and just before bed, she gives us forgotten homework.  Monday gave us fights between sisters, and bits of trash on the floor.  Monday gave us ruined plans, and difficult tasks.

Monday gave us a chance to see God’s grace from the knots in our shoes to spilled milk.

Monday might have been that mean girl from gym class, but Tuesday, she is coming, she is your best friend in 8th grade, you found her after crying in the locker room because of Mean girl Monday.

I can’t wait for Tuesday.  Tuesday is a new day, and a new chance to see God’s mercies, and to experience His faithfulness.

go hug your kids, they just had Monday too, and they need your love and comfort
jen

 

 

I Will Always Wave

Almost every single morning I stand outside the playground, I stand and wait.  I stand and watch.  I stand with the handful of other parents, we visit and wait.  We stand and wait for recess to end and the children to line up.  We watch as they file off to their classrooms, and we wave.

I sit at Chick-fil-a facing the play place, I watch and I wave.  Every time she climbs to the top I wave, when she pops out of the tunnel I act startled, I wave.  I watch and I wave.

I sit in the audience waiting for the concert, and when she (and earlier he) enter the stage I watch as they scan the crowd and I give a subtle wave.

When he walks past me to go into the courtroom, I give a little wave.

When I enter the gym and I make eye contact, I give a little wave.

When he crosses the finish line I call out to him and I wave.

When I see them see me I wave.  I will always be my Children’s home base, I want to be their beacon, I want to be their safe place, their welcome home, the one who is cheering them on, waiting for them, watching their tricks, I stand to the sideline letting them shine, I wave.

I will always wave.

Go hug your kids, they need you to be the safety, they need your love.
jen

I Blinked for my Picture

Hey A, what was the best thing about your day?

Well, I smiled like THIS…  for my 2nd grade picture.  I’m pretty sure I blinked but they said I didn’t.
(shrugging her shoulders)
Ehh, we’ll just see who was right when my picture comes back.

Dinner time, conversation and confusion.

Little A – Hey Mom, remember that time that they stuck a thing up my nose and touched my brain?
Mom – What?
A – Remember that stick thing
M – No?  I don’t have any idea what you are talking about.
A – Remember that time I was 3 and you took me to the doctor and they stuck a stick up my nose, and then they said you should give me a milk shake?
R –  looking at me mirroring the confused face I had.

M- oh!  that time in kindergarten that you were so very sick, (so very sick) they did a flu test, and you fell asleep before we left, when we got in the car, then holding your C-F-A milkshake in your hand, only to come home and sleep more.  (she was so very sick for 6 weeks, it was scary, and not the flu)
R – I never got a milk shake when I had the flu test…

What was your best thing about today?
Little A – PE, we had to run laps in the gym because it rained during Mile Monday.  We had to run laps, in the gym, the first 2 laps were all good (with a thumbs up) but during the 3rd lap I fell, but I did not get a floor burn.  After that we did this thing where you push up with your head.  (showing us on the dining room floor, it was actually a sit-up) and then we broke into 2 teams.  It was fun but not as fun as throwing things out of the trash can.
Mom –  WHAT?
Little A – you know that grumpy guy who throws trash.
Mom –  No, go back, were you throwing actual trash?
Little A – no mom, we were only preTENding!  I was the trash can, not the ACTUAL trash can, and KC and I were throwing out the balls they threw at us.

While walking through the school parking lot there was a SUV next to my van, it had a very large amount of bird poop on the window.  PS looked at it, asking me what it was, I said poop.  She gave the most disgusted face and asked “who does that?”  I answered her, not people honey, birds.  Birds poop on cars.  She declared that disgusting.  And was annoyed by birds in general for the next five minutes.

Go hug your kids, and listen to their stories, they always have something surprising to say!
jen

 

No More School Portraits

So with this being our senior firsts, and student lasts year.  We had to schedule R for his senior portrait for the yearbook. With only the senior man-child reminding me to make the appointment I was not annoyed,  was never stressed.  Oh sure it makes me very sad, and for the record I did cry, but then those of you who know me, know that I cry at every emotional thing, so it should be no surprise that these are his final yearbook pictures and I cried.

The same photographer who took C’s pictures, took O’s pictures and now R’s pictures.  The office location has changed 3 times, if that stays consistent than they have 4 locations to go to before we are done.  While I knew exactly where the other locations were, this one was in a former abandoned building and it took a wrong turn, around the wrong block, in an-up and coming neighborhood and back to where I started from.  After a U-turn we had arrived.

The photographer gave R the white shirt and coat, both were too short for him but since this is not our first photo-rodeo we were not concerned.  This picture makes me smile every time I see it, not sure if it is his bare legs or bare wrists, but it just makes me smile!
After getting a dozen shots in about 5 minutes we went upstairs to view his pictures.She made quick work in helping R with choosing the poses and the final picture for the yearbook.  As with the older kids, I let the senior pick their picture for the yearbook.  I sat and watched his man-child face flash on the screen I flashed back to his portraits from over the years,  the gummy baby smile, the gap tooth grin, the awkward middle school picture, the more confident in himself high school pictures, and now we are picking out senior pictures.  How did this happen?

He made an excellent choice in his picture, but as he says, “it is not like I was choosing a college”  Oh mercy!  (BTW my flash really made all the white things bright!  it is not actually this bright for real)

Interesting enough the day of his pictures FB did a memory share and it was #1’s senior picture day.  Facebook memories can really catch you unaware.
How can that be 4 years ago already?  Which is why I say time moves so fast.  So go hug your babies and tell someone you love them!
jen

Another (almost last) Porch Picture

I don’t know where to start,  I have written this post in my head for over 2 weeks now, but I realize that if I keep putting it off, time still moves on, I can’t stop it, even if I avoid the post commemorating it.

His last first day of school.  His almost last porch picture.
(that comes next fall when he leaves for the University of his choice)

Another senior,  another last first day of school porch picture, another last first day of school.


I swear I just took this picture his first day of Kindergarten, his first day was delayed because his building was not yet completed, I was thrilled with a few more days of time with him.  He was not so thrilled.

When he was a newborn all pink and scrawny in my arms, I did not think his senior year would come so fast.  Oh sure the little old ladies at church would come and pat my arm and say “time goes fast mama, time goes fast.”  I did not believe them, I was tired from lack of sleep, I had 3 kids 4 and under, I was wearing dirty clothes, smelled like stinky diapers, and had a stack of laundry on the sofa, I needed to bathe at least 1 if not 2 of those kids, as I wondered how many times you could serve mac n cheese before it was abuse.  In fact time was not moving fast.  It was holding still, like the movie Groundhog Day, only way less funny and without snow or a big party.  Then just as suddenly it was racing along I could not stop it.  Every day, even over the last few summers time raced me and time always won.  It wins every single day.

The moments are so long, the science fairs, (More than one by choice.  His choice) and cross country meets, (Only one year.  My choice) the homework, and field trips.  But the years are short, he just started kindergarten, now he is starting his senior year.  He was just singing his little heart out in elementary programs, he was just playing at recess, he is now filling out college applications, applying for scholarships, and going to hang out with his friends.  I don’t know when it happened.

I can’t believe this is his last year home.  And the very sad thing is, I know the change, I know how our family will be different without him.  I know how very much I will miss him, his help, his jokes, his hugs, and his desk lamp shining too late in the night.  I sit here and cry thinking about how very different HOME will be when he goes away to University.  And I just don’t like it.  At. All.

He is becoming the man God wants him to be, he is growing both physically taller and Spiritually stronger.  He asks the hard questions, he seeks out truth, and he stands for what is right.  He is not going to be stopped.  He might get knocked down in the future, but he will become stronger for it.  I realize that from his first day of kindergarten, 2 weeks late, that his school, his teachers and his class mates, have all been preparing him for his future.  Now that he is a senior it is the last chance that his educators have to prepare him for his next steps in his future.

He has already been accepted into one University on his list.  He has a few more that he is looking into.  When I got the text announcing his acceptance I cried, and I know I will cry so much more during this time.

This is it.

I realize how significant this year is, how much time I have left to show and tell him the things that are so important.  I want him to know how very much he is loved, how very proud we are of him, and how exciting the future will be as he continues to seek God in the very future that is taking him away from home.

He is loyal and loving, committed until exhaustion, and will not back down for what is right.  PS adores him, when he is busy, and cannot play with her, she cries when he shuts the gate to the boys hallway, she commands for him to come play with her.  He folds his 6’3 frame into a small person chair to play kitchen with her, while he works on homework, she serves him pizza and demands play doh balls.  He watches shows over and over to watch them with J for his first time.  He helps the little girls when they don’t want it, but need it, he helps with understanding homework, and he complains about messy bathrooms.  He shares my food anxiety, and my love of the beach.  He shares his fathers quest for knowledge but not his love of sports.  History is exciting to him, and he shares the This Day In History facts with us every day.

So this year I will cry a whole lot more, I will hug him and scratch his back, I will appreciate his weird humor and political comments.  I will seek time out with him, letting him be who he is,and appreciating this last little bit with him.  I know how fast this year will be and I don’t want to miss it.

His last porch picture for LCS.
His time as a student there is so close to ending.

Go hug your kids, especially you mamas with stinky diapers and spit up on your shoulder.  Sit down and watch your child play, listen to their stories, laugh at their jokes, and join in their land of make-believe. Because I swear to you, that in just a few short seconds time has moved on and you will be watching them fill out college applications.  You will be just as surprised as I was!
jen

The Doctor is in. Just not THAT kind of doctor.

Many, Many, years ago, our alma mater contacted alumni explaining their new masters program, with an option to do it traditionally, online, or over the summers.  Looking into it, Keith decided it was the right time for him to earn his masters degree.  The university, (college, at the time) had a plan, a perfect plan for a family man.  (or woman, it just rhymed) It would be 3 summers of intensive classes, with the bonus that the students could bring their families along.  With their dorm suites, families could be together for the 4 week classes, still working on their degree with the bonus of having family close. They would house the family, offer a meal plan, kids programs, the pool was open from noon until 9 at night.  It was perfect.  Our greatest friendship was formed those summers, and it is something we look back with great joy and fond memories.  He finished his masters degree, with highest honors, 2 new children were born during those summers of classes, at graduation time I snuggled a new baby E, sitting next to the former college (at the time) president.  I was so proud of him!  He had worked hard, was again proven to be a great learner, and an excellent student.  We were able to visit with some of our closest friends during graduation, as a bonus the family he lived with for 3 months of student teaching, came down to celebrate his accomplishments with us.

Keith discovered that he was not yet finished learning, with encouragement, he began looking into doctorate programs.  It all started because UofM (University of Michigan) sent him a some mail about their doctorate programs.  He looked into getting his degree from there, which would have been a dream come true.  He was encouraged by our school headmaster to keep searching, and to keep learning.

Early in 2013 He made a decision to earn his doctorate from a University out west.  Starting the program the same time it was discovered I had 2 small spots in my breast, and a tumor on my brain was going to challenge us.  Those spots, now gone, and the tumor still there, just shrunken, were not what ended up slowing him down, nope it was the surprise of #7.  She slowed him down, you remember the pregnancy was risky, and she was too early.  He took some time off from the program, while we waited for things to calm down.  in 2014, as he was getting ready to resume their classes another University (a local one) came to him asking him to be in the first Education Doctorate graduating class.  This opportunity came at the right time, he resumed classes at the local university.  They had a few intense summer classes, which was perfect, he would still be home at night, albeit super late at night, but he came home.  What seems like forever and a minute later, he began his dissertation, and the process of research, writing, editing, research, writing, editing, began.  It took him months of planning, research, writing and editing to complete his paper (book) and plan to defend his work.  He scheduled his defense and began planning, spending hours with his computer, and meeting with his advisor (the blessing of his University being local, not out west.)  Until he came out of the back of the house with a declaration, “I know what I am going to say”   He had a plan, he had a small book, and an appointment to defend his dissertation.  We were invited to listen to him defend his research.  It was on project based learning.  It was interesting and fascinating.  After he was finished we were led outside while he met with his team.  His fan club included most of our family, A and PS were not included, they would not have been interested, C was actually in Paris, for work at the time, and unable to make it.  His parents and sister, my mom, a few of his doctorate classmates and a few of his professors.  They discussed and questioned, asked for more information, encouraged him and he passed.  I knew he would.  I am so proudThe new Doctor, could not even celebrate, he had to go back to work.  (just in time for a medical emergency)

At our school, during the graduation ceremony, the faculty and staff march in first during the ceremony.  He and the headmaster lead the way.  I was too far from him to get the entrance picture, but my friend (the friendship that was formed during the masters classes so many years ago) sent me this pictures.  She said he looked like a preacher in this one, it might be one of my favorites from that night.

Dr Keith Overholt.
DOCTORATE OF EDUCATION AND ORGANIZATIONAL ADMINISTRATION
We are so proud.  We celebrated him just a few days ago with an open house.  It was a small party, with the friends and family who encouraged him along the way.

We have been discussing the end of his education, when he mentioned he might want to go farther, I was excited from him, he just is that smart, but I am ready for a little break.  I think I convinced him to give it a year or so before he goes for more.

GO hug your kids, they need the love and tell someone you love them
jen