Year 2 Ready or Not it is Drop Off time

Year 2

My heart breaks as we begin our journey to drop off.  Year 1 was almost unbearable, I could not blog about it because my heart just hurt too much.  R leaving was breaking my heart and it actually hurt.  I wept during the weeks leading up to the D day (Drop off Day)  I could hardly breath for fear I would start to cry out loud.  I tried to keep my fears and sadness to myself to not share that burden with him.  Year 2 the drop off is going better.  I can actually have conversations with out drowning them in tears.  Oh I’m still crying, but not as hard, not as much and not with such sadness.

Year 1 so much was unknown, Year 2 we are more prepared

Year 1 porch picture was heartbreaking, Year 2 porch picture was heartbreaking

Year 1 we took up so much stuff, Year 2 we know better

Year 1 the drive was terribly long, Year 2 the drive is still terribly long

Year 1 the baby drove R crazy, Year 2 the baby is still driving R crazy

Year 1 the whole family went half way, Year 2 some did not even get a chance to say goodbye

Year 1 we had a whole crew help on move in day, Year 2 we miss that move in crew

Year 1 we were filled with anxiety, Year 2 we have less anxiety

Year 1 we all grew, Year 2 we will grow some more

Year 1 the empty spot at the table was hard to look at, Year 2 we have to relearn table setting

Year 1 I had to learn how to cook for only 6, Year 2 I have to relearn how to cook for only 6

Year 1 we missed his company, Year 2 we miss his company

Year 1 he had to make new friends, Year 2 he has a whole group of friends

Year 1 he had a mentor, Year 2 he will be a mentor

Year 1 he was nervous about class expectations, Year 2 he is nervous about class expectations

Year 1 Thanksgiving break was so far away, Year 2 Thanksgiving is still so far away

Year 1 he had the stomach flu alone, Year 2 we are praying for no stomach flu

Year 1 he had to find a new church family, Year 2 he is ready to see his church family

Year 1 I prayed for him continually, Year 2 I will continually pray for him

This year I pray for R to grow in his understanding of God, his quest for knowledge, and his understanding of the world.  I pray that he will love learning, and want to do his best.  I pray that he remembers that more than his grades that God cares about his heart and his passions.  I pray that he builds life time friends to add to the friendships that he already has, and I pray these friends stretch and grow him in ways he would not do on his own.  I pray that he seeks adventure, and will try new things.  I pray that he laughs and loves and learns this year.  I pray that he has fun, and really enjoys his 2nd year of college.  I pray that he finds joy in daily things, that he does not get bogged down with classes, or get overwhelmed with the big things.  I pray that he manages his time, and makes time for moments of doing nothing.  I pray that God protects his heart and his health and brings him back home again, a wiser and stronger boy than the one I drop off for year 2.  I pray for him because I love him.

Year 1 I was pretty sure I would not survive, Year 2 I know I will survive ( I just wont like it)

Go hug your kids, because Year 2 happens in a blink. I’m going to grab as many hugs as I can to tie my over until Thanksgiving.

jen

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The Silence is So Loud

I’m alone, the silence is deafening.  I can hear my own thoughts, the house moans, the washer clicks through the cycles, and the dishwasher drones on.

I am lonely.

Today I went to Chick-Fil_A, I spent time talking to a 4 year old.  A total stranger and his mother, who did not think it odd that a mom who they did not know was talking to them.  I enjoyed my conversation with him, when I realized how good it felt talking to a little one, I wanted to hug him.  But I did not.

I miss my baby girl from 8:05 until 2:30 when I pick her up in her Dad’s office, I let her play until the rest of the children are finished with school.

Home is noisy, and busy, and happy.  I like to listen to them play, and laugh, run through the house like caged puppies, and I am glad for the noise.  I do not know what I will do when the last one leaves for college.  I will have to get a job, or I will end up sitting in the Chick-Fil-A play place reading books aloud to children I do not know.

My friend is dreading tomorrow, she is dropping her only at college.  She is so sad.  Her silence will be deafening, and, I understand.  She will have no dirty dishes in her sink, no random “that is not dirty, you never wore it’ laundry put back into the hamper, no hair products all over the bathroom counter, she will not trip over shoes left out by the door.  Today I warned her about drop-off stress, about snippy teens and sad moms.  I promised her that she will be missed, and she is loved, but right now her child will not know how to express both the joy of new adventure and the fear of leaving the safety of home.  I promised her that she will survive.  We all do.  Her house will be painfully silent, and she realizes that.  My heart breaks for that time.

Time is brutal.
But for it to freeze we would grow weary of the daily.  Growth has to happen or we would be come as stagnate as a toddler pool on a hot summer day.  Time has to move forward in order for us to appreciate our lives and the loves we have.

So, my friends with young ones at home, when we smile at you as your toddler throws herself on the floor at Chick-Fil-A, or screams through his haircut, or uses the paper towel roll as a megaphone in Publix, we are smiling because we miss it.  And if a mom stops to tell you that time moves fast and to hold on tight.  Know that we realize that those tantrum days, and sleepless nights are endless and then they are over, one day the only noise in your house is the thoughts in your head, and your dishwasher, which is suddenly very loud.  And you will understand why we stop and smile.

Go hug your kids, they need your love, or maybe you need their hug?
jen

P.S. I know I have the college kids home still, they work most days, they don’t need me to pour chocolate milk, they don’t ask if we can watch the TV together, they don’t need me to go into the bathroom with me, and they do not run constant conversation with me.  They leave in days and I am so weepy about it.

 

Mom has the Kindergarten Blues, never mind 4th grade, or middle and high school blues

I can’t stop time, try as I might.

My heart is crying today, it has been sad for weeks now.
I am sad because my last child,
my baby,
is going to Kindergarten.

I am not ready.

We have been a team for the last few years, the two of us, best friends she tells me, all day together, lunch dates together, stage painters together, chick-fil-a play place together, going to dance together, shopping together, road trips together, napping together, reading together, playing together, lunch dates with friends together.
Always together.
But today we will no longer be together all the time.
My heart is sad.

In my whole adult life I have had a little one with me, twenty three years I’ve had my own little ones with me, babysitting full time before I had my own children, and sometimes babysitting after I had my children.  I have never been alone.  Oh sure in the first forever years Tuesday was grandma’s day, so most of my kids spent Tuesday with Grandma, laughing, playing, and indulging in things that mom’s just do not do…
But not this one, she has been with me, always.
Every Day.

I love her school, (I’ve loved it since the first one started in 2000) I adore her teacher and her para, she is named after her gym teachers wife, three of her siblings and a cousin will be on campus with her.  She is loved by her dad’s assistants, she invited them to her birthday party, the lunch ladies fed her cookies and goldfish each musical season, they filled her with enough chocolate milk to float away.  Her siblings friends are her friends (or so she thinks)There is no lack of love for her, transitions is hard for her, but she will be loved.  I know it.

As I read to her last night she smothered me with kisses, when we prayed together I cried.

I prayed for this child for the months she grew in my womb, I prayed for this child when she would forget to keep her heart beating in the NICU, I prayed for this child when she would not grow, I prayed for this child as I nursed her and rocked her each night.  And tonight I prayed for this child as she starts her new adventure.
I pray that God will use her in a mighty way, that she shows Jesus love to others, that she is friendly and kind to each child no matter their color or ability, no matter if they have light up shoes or mismatched socks, I pray that she will learn to love letters, then words, then books.  I pray that she will be excited for chapel, and Bible time in class.  I pray that she will obey her teachers, all of them, and not just when she feels like it, but all the time.  I pray that she remembers the number 12, that she remembers when counting it is 8, 9, 10, 11, and please don’t forget 12!  Because 12 seems to be our nemesis.   I pray that she makes good choices, that she follows others who make good choices, or leads by making good choices, I stressed about good choices to her, because we don’t always make good choices.  I pray that her heart listens, loves, and learns.  I pray that her feelings don’t get hurt, that she does not skin a knee and please don’t let her tummy hurt.  I pray that she is not the only other child to throw up in her teachers classroom (the first child being her sister) I pray that this year she is kind.

The 4th grader is anxious, she had a wonderful teacher last year who loved her, prayed for her, and cheered her on, but some things became a struggle and she is nervous about those things being a bigger struggle this year.  I love her teacher so much, when I read her welcome letter I cried with joy. Fourth grade seems to be a difficult year for my children, and she is already anxious about it.  She snuggled a little longer tonight when we read, and I felt her hot little tears drip down my arm as I prayed for her, and this school year.  She cannot tell exactly what makes her nervous, but she keeps telling me her tummy hurts.  She is my glitter girl, she leaves a trail of happiness like glitter dust all around her, she makes my heart smile.  So when she is anxious it makes me sad for her, I cannot calm her fears, but we talked about the ONE who can.  We prayed for a calm heart and a great year, we prayed for obedience, and listening ears.  We prayed for her teacher, and the other teachers she will have.  Most of all we prayed prayers of thanksgiving for her smart mind, and her strong body, for her kind heart, and sweet spirit.  I will miss my little girly who walked around all summer with a book in her hands.

Middle school jitters have my sweet E with an upset stress stomach ache, we prayed for gentle stomach, we prayed for friends, and good choices, we prayed for classes, and teachers, (and the Lord knows who I meant even though I called them the wrong names.)  She cannot find her gray sweater, and her lunch box seems to be missing, but her locker is ready and she is taking art.  My sweet girl is growing up on me, and we are surviving middle school.  I knew we would!

As for the sophomore, I forgot I only have 3 years left with him, I am trying to get him to promise to live here forever, to not go away from home, he is not in favor.  We prayed thanksgiving for his strong legs, and healthy heart, we prayed for stronger friendships, and healthy mind to learn quickly, and study better.  I am heartbroken that I only have 3 years left before we take him off to college, I know how fast those 3 years will go.

Summer flew by, it always does.  Back to school shopping is complete, except for the sketch book we need for art.  Lunch boxes are labeled, and backpacks are ready to go as we start our new school year.

Lord please let them be kind, let them be kind, please let them be kind.

So as you see little children walking into school with backpacks as large as their body, know that some of their mamas are losing their best friends today.  Because we know it will never be the same again.

Go hug your kids, they could use your love today
jen

Dollar Tree and Rainy Days

I confess, I was a Dollar Tree snob, for most of my life.  I went in by suggestion of a friend looking for some props for the stage.  I laugh now because I go in to the Dollar Tree almost once a month.  Have you been lately?

Need reading glasses?  Dollar Tree has them, for a measly dollar.  Grab a few pair because they are a dollar and lets face it, they seem to walk away, get broken, or become too loose.  Ok, Ok I know they are not going to last forever,  but for $5 you now have 5 pair to keep in your purse, your car your bathroom, and next to your bed.  Same with sunglasses, someone who will remain nameless in our home looses or breaks his sunglasses all the time.  I refuse to pay more than a few bucks for his sunglasses now because they will get washed away in the tide, broken in the car or left some random place.

Do you need Poster board or Foam Core Board for that due tomorrow school report?  They have basic and some bright colors of poster board, and basic black and white foam core.  The poster board is less than a dollar and foam core is only $1 each.  I grabbed a few for summer craft projects.

Do you need travel snacks or little candy bags?  Check out the Dollar Tree!  Right now my favorite is the Whoops Jelly Belly jellybeans  (name brand) it is a bag of mistake beans, mostly misshapen beans.

Going on a trip and need a few cheap’o toys for your kids to play with in the car?  Check out the Dollar Tree they have army men, and little puzzles and scratch art.  ***Here is my favorite travel trick***  Grab a few cookie sheets from the dollar tree, they make great travel trays,  the edges are just enough to keep the play doh from rolling off the tray and the crayons stay put while coloring. As a bonus just wash with a wet wipe and now you have a travel lunch tray. ***

A few weeks ago, when I was stocking up on reading glasses (because even though I buy 5 at a time they seem to get lost or broken…  But I only paid a buck so I’m okay with it)  I walked down the kids toy aisle, and noticed some new to our store painting crafts.  I grabbed a bunch for a rainy day.

Today was that rainy dayHere is a few of the things I grabbed.  I actually grabbed 3 of each style of thing because… well because I have 3 little girls who would likely all want the same thing.

Today the rains came in earlier and longer than our normal afternoon thunder showers.  So we crafted, I did not want to get soaked on a trip to the library.

Painting her Unicorn and Castle canvas.

The little canvas prints are from Crayola, they come with 4 little pots of paint and a cheap brush, we just used our own craft paints and brushes.A little fairy door (wind chime that will not become a wind chime) also painting in your ballet leo is the best way to relax…

The rainy day did not get us down, we got our craft on!

What about you?  Have you been to the Dollar Tree lately?  Found any good deals.
***I should caution, if you buy food at the dollar tree be sure you know where the food was made and if it was shipped from another country, just because a store carries it, does not mean you should buy it.***

Go hug your kids, they need your love
jen

Fathers Day 2019 at least the House did not catch fire… yet

FathersDay
2019

We should note first of all. The house did not catch fire. But if I’m being honest that would have just been fitting for how our evening was going.

While I began making our Trick Daddy Tacos Dinner, our little PS was helping unload the groceries.  Because cooking dinner at the same time as she helps put away groceries is super easy.  She put the healthy cereal in the storage container and she decided she needed a bowl, a few minutes later little A came in the kitchen looking for that healthy cereal. (Cinnamon Toast Crunch- not the chocolate that is just too much…  healthy is the regular kind)The rule is milk in bowls at the table. Since Keith is educating the children in classic television and Gilligan’s Island was on, both girls took dry cereal in their bowls to the family room to watch with him.  I have no idea what actually happened but I heard glass breaking, little A called out “its good”. I came back to see a Correlle bowl smashed on the edge of the rug in the family room and on the wood floor. Since most of the family was now trapped by glass J and I cleaned, swept, and vacuumed up the tiny shards of glass.

Not knowing that was just the beginning of the events I went back to the kitchen to continue making ‘tacos’ for dinner. ( we were actually going to have steak, the little kids wanted to trick their daddy)  I had the evening meal planned out so the cooking ended all at once.
steak
loaded baked potatoes with mushrooms
bacon wrapped asparagus
corn on the cob
mini baguettes
caesar salad
chicken for the non steak eaters
root beer floats
dessert by E

The corn cob water was beginning to boil, the potatoes had 10 minutes left, the table was mostly set.  The glasses had scoops of vanilla ice cream chilling back in the freezer. It appeared that the Father’s Day trick dad taco meal would be a success.

And then…

I wrapped the asparagus in bacon, slinging bacon grease all over the counter and floor, the timer for the potatoes dinged, I turned off the oven and went to start the grill.
Three.
Two.
One.
Ignition.
Nope.
No ignition.
The grill would not start.
The sprinkling turned into rain and the detailed timed out plans were quickly crumbling.

Keith took a crack at starting the grill for grilled ‘tacos’, it did not start for him either.

We opted to pan-sear the steaks, (because we had no other choice) sticking the asparagus in the hot oven, the skillet was heated to smoking hot for the steaks.  The kitchen, sitting room, dining room and family room all filled with smoke.  The oven was not cooking the bacon (I HATE MY OVEN) the smoke had not yet set off the fire alarm, because the boys grabbed all the fans in the house and began opening windows.  Rain was coming in the kitchen window as smoke billowed out.  Oil splattered on the floor from the pan of steaks, they were a little crispy on one side.  The bread did not go into the oven to warm, and a glass of root beer float fell on the dining room.  The loaded part of the potatoes was still in the fridge.  J set the meat to rest, I put the bacon asparagus in the hot pan to finish cooking.  R almost slipped taking food from the kitchen to the dining room.  My plans were shot and all I wanted to do was cry.  R saw me leaning over the oven, and checked to see if I was okay.  I sucked it up and declared that next year we really were having tacos they are much less stress.

Dinner was delicious, Keith was showered with love notes and gifts.  Both J and E spent their own money to gift him with things they knew he could use or would love.  Their sweet selfless love of their daddy touched my stressed heart!

We played a few games and even let him win!

What about you, any Fathers Day cooking disasters?

Go hug your kids, and maybe someday we can laugh about this disaster meal.
jen

p.s. follow me on Instagram Overholt9
(because I never changed the blog name and the baby is 5 now)

 

I am not okay

I am not okay.(Don’t let the smiles fool you)

Those 4 words were in a text I sent my husband late last week.  I was dropping off our 3rd child for college.  I was alone in the hotel room with the 4year old, and I was not okay.  My heart was breaking and I was so sad.

He replied back that he was so sorry.

His first College porch picture

I knew the inevitable was coming, I was going to be going home with out our son.  I was leaving him to his adventure without me.  I knew how hard it would be to drive away without him.  I had done it before, I knew the change that was going to happen in our family dynamics, and I was not ready.  To be honest I don’t know if I will ever be ready to let my children grow up, grow away and to seek their own adventure.  For this mama I hate that they leave.  I hate the change, I miss seeing them, talking to them, listening to them, and being able to hug them when they need it (or when I need it)  Oh I let them go, I encourage them to follow their dreams, but the whole time I am encouraging them I have a huge cannot swallow lump in my throat.

Our Last Family Picture until Thanksgiving.  ( I cannot wait for us all to be together again)
We all took O up to her 3rd year at that University in the south, but north of us.  She was ready to get back to classes, and start this year.  Hearts were broken and plenty of tears were shed at the goodbye.
All the kids saying goodbye to R

R and PS stayed with me while Keith drove the rest of the kids home, they just could not miss the week of school.  We spent the next few days shopping before taking the final trip to his college.  True to family travel adventures it took us hours longer than the map said.  PS and R in his room.
She wanted so hard to be helpful while he unpacked and settled into his room.

We helped him settle, while we were unpacking Keith called R to see how it was going, he said “mom is not really doing okay”  I thought I was doing a pretty good job faking ‘doing okay’  I guess not.Kisses Goodbye from PS.

Keith flew up on Friday to help with the long drive home, I was so thankful to have him with me.  I needed him to drive since I could not actually see for the tears in my eyes.Saying goodbye is never easy.
I will miss this man-child more than ever the next few weeks.  For now I will survive on phone calls, texting, and face timing.

Go hug your kids, they need your love and time just moves too fast.
jen

Cereal with Iron(y)

This morning I was asked what is for dinner.
(I should mention that earlier in the week I asked each child what they wanted for dinner this week,  E chose nachos, J chose fried shrimp, O chose pumpkin pancakes and breakfast stuff, R chose shrimp scampi and little A chose cereal)  Tonight is little A’s choice.  Which brings us back to the question I was asked as E stood in the kitchen this morning before school.
What is for dinner.
I looked up at her and said Cereal.
She instantly took on the face of an annoyed middle school girl (she has this look quite practice!) I asked “what?” she did not want cereal for dinner, she wanted “real food” (I am using quote marks because she said it in a tone that implied that cereal is not food)

Now for the IRON(Y)
I know you will enjoy this!
At least once a week she looks at the ‘real food’ I have prepared for dinner, and says in a middle school girl tone, “can I have cereal?”
Did you see it?  When I make ‘real food’ she asks for cereal, but when I decide that cereal is an actual family meal, she wants “REAL FOOD”
So for now, she is annoyed with me for making cereal for dinner, when I could have made “real food” that she would not eat but ask for cereal instead.

Go hug your kids and enjoy what ever ‘real food’ you choose to have for dinner
jen