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

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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

The First Day

Happy First Day of School my children. I pray that you are kind, to others, I pray that you are the one that people know they can trust, I pray that you speak to the lonely and that you include those left out. I pray that you know more of Jesus this year. That you will grow and learn and that you apply the things you learn. The world measures your success but God measures your heart. This year I pray your heart grows.

Go hug your kids, time moves too fast for this mama!
jen

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

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

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

Empty Cereal Boxes, and Who Puts Them Away?

Does this happen at your house or only mine?
Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine, she was getting ready to leave on a field trip, and was commenting on how all she packed for lunch was a yogurt, because her people in her house had finished off the bread, but no one mentioned it to her.  So lunch for a field trip was yogurt…  I laughed with her telling her she was not alone.  We laughed about sips of milk left in cartons and juice bottles with only drips, left in the refrigerator for someone else to put into the recycling bin.  She said they cleaned the pantry and had about 20 boxes of cereal with enough for a small bowl left in the bottom.  Her question was “Who does that?”  I laughed in agreement.
She left for her field trip, I returned home to clean up before the satellite repair guy showed up.  I was putting away the lunch mess, and noticed the APPLE JACKS box on the table.  When I picked it up the box felt very light, almost too light…  I pulled the bag out.And this is what I found, an almost empty bag inside the box.  I texted the picture to my friend, with the words…  “My house is the same as yours.”

Earlier when I went to the pantry to put away the peanut butter, I noticed an OXO container about half full of APPLE JACKS already in there…  Yet we had an open box on the table with only a small amount in it.  I went to the pantry and took out an OXO container to put that left over cereal in, but as was pulling it out I noticed another box of APPLE JACKS that looked open.Sure enough it was already opened…  So I sent this picture to my friend. “My people are awesome!”

Upon further inspection I found THIS.Also FROSTED FLAKES

I organized the cereals and finished cleaning up the lunch mess (jelly smeared on the counter) and went about cleaning the house while I waited for the satellite repair guy. 4 hours later, just as the estimated time was ending he showed up.  (Exactly as expected)

I even forgot about the almost empty cereal boxes, until night-time,
I wanted a glass of chocolate milk. I went to pour myself a tall glass of cold milk, only to get this much out of the carton.  I texted this to to my friend, “Nah, I’m not that thirsty for milk. Just a little sip please.”  All she did was laugh back at me.

For real.

We have a chalk board wall to list things on that they use up.  Right now it has razor refills, ginger ale, shaving cream, garbage bags, cookies, and deodorant, in many different hand writings. I guess some think ‘if I don’t finish it I don’t have to put it on the wall or walk all the way outside to the recycle bin to throw out the carton or box’

So are we alone?  Does this happen at your house too?  Will it ever end?  I know why it happens, they are children, and just don’t think about it, but tell me they out grow it?  Neither my friend or myself remember doing it as a child…  (I guess we should ask our mothers to be sure)

Go hug your kids, they need your love, and check the milk carton before you head out to the grocery store.
jen