Friday, April 18, 2014

7 years

Right now, it is 3 in the afternoon, I am sitting at home having been home for the last hour and a half. We had a half day of school today ending with a Good Friday chapel. I went and picked up the boys and took them for a promised lunch date and then we stopped by a local church that had a Passion Week Experience of the Stations of the Cross.  It was a great way to stop and remember with my boys  all that Good Friday means, to pick up a spike that may have been similar to that which nailed our Savior to the cross, to walk through the veil that was torn into the Holy of Holies and to see the joy on their faces as they talked about how people didn't use to be able to enter because they would die, but now, there is no separation, and finally to write a sin that we struggle with on a piece of paper and then take and nail it to a cross knowing that because He was nailed to the cross, His blood covers all our sins.

At one point today, right after lunch and before entering the church for the Stations of the Cross, while waiting for the boys during their 'bathroom break', it dawned on me that 7 years ago today found me leaving my 15 month old boys with their grandma and heading to a doctor's appointment, while Micah went to an orthodontist appointment.  I had found this bizarre lump and just made an appointment because that is what you do.  It was a Wednesday and we were supposed to be in Mississippi by Friday afternoon for a missions conference with the rest of our team.  The doctor did an exam and immediately sent me over for an ultrasound, which turned in to an immediate mammogram (fortunately for me, the only one I will ever have to endure).  Sometime between the ultrasound and mammogram, Micah came and joined me--my appointments lasting much longer than his and certainly longer than we dreamed they would.  After the mammogram, the radiologist and the tech (her name was Becky, by the way, and she still says hi to me and gives me a hug when I see her) came out and talked to me, telling me that there were what looked like calcifications (which I know now is never a good thing) and that they were recommending me to a surgeon for a biopsy.  Looking back now, I saw it in their eyes--the diagnosis they knew was coming. We walked down the hallway and met Micah's dad in the highway outside the doctor's lounge where he gave me a a hug and told me he was sorry and I said..'for what? we don't know anything yet.'

Who knew that exactly 7 years later I would be finishing up teaching my second year of school, my heart full to bursting at the goodness and grief over the Friday that we call Good? That Micah would be finishing his first year of residency as a doctor? That we would be at home in Oklahoma? That those 7 years would have been filled with some of the best of the best moments and also some of the darkest of the dark? I certainly didn't, but I have been reminded over and over in recent weeks of the fact that God knew and while we may never understand the reasons for the journey that we are on, we can always always trust Him.

Our school has celebrated Passion Week by reading through the Life of Christ in the book of Matthew, celebrating the Lord's Supper together yesterday, and reflecting on His trial and crucifixion today. I am looking forward to Sunday morning and celebrating our risen Lord.

2nd Grade Easter Egg hunt--look at my tall boys!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Snapshot #3

This always seems like a good way to do a little catch up.

Outside my window: some beautiful (although windy) spring weather. My daffodils are blooming, my hostas growing daily, the purple flowers on the Oklahoma redbuds (one of my favorite things about Oklahoma springtime) are too quickly turning to green leaves.

I am thinking: about how much I hate cancer.   A friend's friend  lost her battle with breast cancer this week. I have followed her story and prayed for her for almost two years and my heart breaks for them.  A teacher I work with at school who is teaching through treatment. A web friend who never ceases to inspire me and bring pleadings with my Father for miracles for her and her family. And of course, my sister.

I am thankful for: a non-eventful visit with my oncologist yesterday and not having to schedule an appointment until December.

I am wondering: how in the world this year has gone by so quickly. Hard to believe we are in the middle of April. Summer is just  6 short weeks away and I will have 3rd graders--crazy! 

Last 3 purchases: I was just going to say that I don't even remember, but last weekend, we bought a new lawn mower (super exciting, right?), a hanging pot of flowers for the front porch (I am testing myself to see if I can keep it alive), and a trellis for the rose bush in the front flower garden.

Dinner plans:  Leftovers--the freezer meal swap is alive and well.

Future plans I'm looking forward to: Secret Church on Good Friday and Micah being off for a three day weekend with us next week.

Kid funny: my bottomless stomach boys, especially Xavier.  If I had a dollar for every time in the last month that that boy has greeted me with the words "and I'm hungry", I might be able to buy a new weed eater :)

I am reading: Church History in Plain Language--mostly trying to stay at least half a page ahead of my students since I started teaching this semester. (yes, this is the last snapshot answer, but it is still true.) and Honey for a Child's Heart--I LOVE this book so much it probably deserves its own blog post.

In the kitchen: clean dishes in the dishwasher that need to be put away and a stack of dirty dishes that need to be loaded.

Watching: catching up on the last few episodes of The Voice while I blog and edit some photos

On my frequent playlist: the song "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" by Hillsong

Snacking on: Pink Lady apples

Rest-of-the-day-plans: soccer game at 4:30, a short grocery trip before hand, finishing up laundry, and  going to do my best to bust out some Project Life pages.  I did manage to finish up the first week of March:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spring Break Day 1

It has been a while since I have stayed up late being productive, maybe since that evening before reporting for school when I decided that I wanted to make some freezer meals.  Oddly enough, that is exactly what this evening found me doing.  A little over a month ago, a friend texted me and asked me if I was interested in doing a freezer meal exchange with a couple of friends. Basically, we each choose three main dishes and prepare four of the each of them. Then, we exchange. I keep one meal for my family and give one to each of the other ladies participating. So I ended up with 12 freezer meals which ranged from crock pot creations, casseroles to be baked, sloppy joes, soups, etc.  It has been all kinds of great.  We agreed to do another exchange this week and although we aren't actually meeting up until Sunday to switch out meals, I had it in my head to go ahead and get a head start.  So, basically spring break day 1 has literally been spent at grocery stores and in the kitchen--since I also cooked dinner for a family with a new baby and for us tonight.  Then, after dinner, I looked at Micah and said, I think I am just going to power through.  I only made it through 2 of my 3 meals, but they are prepped, cooked, packaged and freezing in my deep freeze as we speak.  And my kitchen is clean again.  I feel like I have at least been productive today.  To keep myself entertained through my extensive kitchen hours, I have been re-watching/listening to the first season of 24.  Let's just say that it is as crazy as I remember it being and we certainly have come a long way in the way of technology.

The boys have spent the day playing Legos, reading, playing a bit of Xbox, and being my grocery store helpers.

Sweet story about them:  A few weeks ago in church, our pastor shared the story of Marilyn Lazlo a missionary to Papua New Guinea. The boys were in church with us and were really captivated by her story.  I remembered that many years ago at a missions conference at our church in Nashville, she was a speaker and we met her and bought her book Mission Possible and decided that I could maybe read it to them.  They are so fascinated by jungle life and kinds of animals, so I thought they might enjoy hearing the stories.  It has been precious to read to them and at times overwhelming as I often read my own heart for missions in her words. To be honest, it touches some raw parts of my heart. But it is awesome to see them hear the stories of how God was at work among the Hauna people from  the beginning of time.  Today, we read of how one of the headmen in the tribe came to ask 'Papa God into his throat' and later in the same chapter, he became very ill and died.  The boys' reaction was disbelief at first and sadness, but then Williams says, 'but heaven, that is where he is, we don't have to be sad.' and Xavier tells me, 'when I get to heaven, I want to find Sauperi, and find out just what it was like in Papua New Guinea.'  Oh how my heart wants their hearts to be big for the world, to see men and women who give of themselves to share Christ in places where it is difficult and hard and yet they go through the strength and power of the Holy Spirit that is at work within them.

No pictures for today. I think I am reaching my limit of how understandable my sentences might be.  Tomorrow we are heading to Oklahoma City to meet my sister in law and the cousins for a trip to the zoo there. It should be a fun day.

I will add a few layouts, since I have actually been scrapping while I haven't been blogging!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Last Wednesday before Spring Break

Last year's Wednesday before Spring Break found me sitting at home grading papers anticipating the break ahead and trying to get some lesson plans done before picking the boys up from school.  Sometime in the early part of the afternoon, I got a group text from my mom to my sisters and brother saying that she could hardly believe it, but that my dad was scheduled for open heart surgery the next morning at six.  The 3 (or so) hours that followed were pretty crazy as my sisters, brother and I conference called, made immediate plans to leave, made arrangements for school, for the boys, found a flight out, packed a bag, said goodbye to Micah and the boys and got on a plane.  By late that evening, my sisters and I were all in Illinois with my mom and my brother met us at the hospital the next morning after catching a flight back from Seattle and driving much of the night from Chicago.  I remember how surreal it all felt and how worried I was about my dad.  He is such an incredibly strong man and has been the best father and example of a godly husband and provider that anyone could ever ask for. I am so thankful that his surgery was a success and even though recovery has been a long road and not without its hiccups, he is doing well.  I scrapped a page last year with some photos from our time there, we spent lots of hours the day of his surgery and immediately following in the SICU family waiting room.  And while the reason for all of us to be there was not good, I am so thankful for my family and that we were all able to be there together, because there is such comfort in that.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Speech Meet results

One of the difficult things for my schedule this year is that I have a little less than an hour and a half in my school day when I am between classes at different campuses and don't have a classroom to call my own.  I usually work right through my lunch period in my classroom and then wait until I come home around 1:20 for a quick bite of lunch/errands/grading before heading back out to teach at 2:20ish.  The problem is that I have struggled actually being productive during that time period the last several weeks, which is frustrating to me, and I am trying to be better. 

I thought I would try to utilize that time today and write a quick update to the speech meet.  We had to drive about 2 hours away to the Christian school that was hosting it and so we left bright and early Friday morning. My mother in law drove along with us and so it was a nice catch up visit with her.  Xavier was so excited about the meet and William was just excited not to have to go to school.  It was a bit overwhelming when we arrived because there were competitors from 1st-6th grade from a lot of different schools. I don't know that we ever heard actual numbers.  We met for an assembly and then they dispatched us to separate rooms for the individual competitions.  2nd grade Fable and Folklore had 9 competitors and Xavier was number 4. Halfway through the first couple of competitors, I think he started to get really nervous.  There is lots of quiet waiting time as you wait for the judges to mark their score sheets and write remarks.  The little boy who was sitting next to him was so kind though and from the minute they sat down, he was immediately giving encouragement to Xavier, "you are going to do great, just don't be nervous, you will be great.."  When this little boy got up to compete and introduced his selection as Chicken Little, I think it made Xavier even more nervous. Although, William said it was good for him to have like  a 'free review' before he competed.  As soon as that boy finished, he sat down next to Xavier and continued to encourage him, "you are gonna do great, don't worry about anything, just tell your story, you are gonna be awesome."  It was adorable, if not a little awkward since Xavier didn't know him at all. 

Xavier did a great job reciting his fable, he had a couple little spots where he missed a word, but overall, I thought he did excellent. In fact, he received a Superior rating.  They gave medals for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and he didn't receive one of those, but I was very proud of him.  And as a mom, that is admittedly biased, I thought that he and the other little boy should have received some Degree of Difficulty points for  memorizing such a long selection.  None of the others had pieces anywhere near as long! 

Xavier said that the little boy before him giving him encouragement made him want to do the same and so he sat down and immediately began telling the next little boy not to worry, that he was going to do great, "and even if you don't, it's okay, because we're all winners!"  Totally cracked me up and illustrated how powerful encouraging words can be.  When we receive those words, it can encourage us to do the same for others.

getting in some last minute review before the meet begins, passing the encouragement along, the three boys from his grade at his school who were there, and the look he gave me just before going up to hear the awards--he really wanted to win

Showing off their ribbons

Out of focus, but such a sweet sight for me. As we left, we knew Xavier was disappointed (although he didn't show it) and William walked with his arm around him all the way to the car.  

I am back to school for this week before being out next week for Spring Break. It has been a few weeks since I was actually at school for five whole days (snow days and sick days) so I am hoping that I still remember how to teach for five straight days.  This is a big week at our school as we are celebrating an amazing gift to our school and breaking ground for a brand new facility.  Yesterday and today have been beautiful (close to 80) although tomorrow is supposed to cool off again. I am not quite ready for summer weather yet, but feeling a bit of spring and seeing some hints of green are good for my soul. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Speech Meet

Back in January, the boys both competed in their school's speech meet.  William chose a poem to memorize and Xavier decided to tackle something in the fable/folklore category. I about fell over when I looked at his selection of Chicken Little and noticed the red arrow at the bottom of the page indicating it was continued on the following page.  In all, it was about a page and a half to memorize. Both boys did excellent on the day of the speech meet.  The majority of the participants chose poems (i.e. shorter pieces) and so William was up against much stiffer competition and did not get to move on to the district meet.  Xavier was chosen to represent the school in the district competition which is today in a town about 2 hours away. We have practiced and practiced and practiced this little piece and I took a little video of him last night for posterity's sake since I am not sure we will get to video during the actual competition.  Yes, he is in his pajamas and yes there are harsh shadows because of it is night time, but I think you will still be able to enjoy it.  And that wink I showed you yesterday? Look for it around the :56 mark.

Also, today, Micah takes yet another exam tomorrow. This one is just for internal medicine residents across the country and his program typically scores in the top 5%, so of course his fear is that he will be the one to make them miss that.  I, on the other hand, say that statistic says a lot about the training program he is in and he should feel confident.  I know he will do great, but prayers are always appreciated.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


I am so not into hashtags and whatnot, but all the #tbt or Throwback Thursday posts on Facebook coupled with glancing through my extensive Lightroom catalog made me think I should post a few of those sweet little boys.  (also, I completely realize that most of those Throwback Thursdays are of people scanning photos from their own childhood, but I don't know that I want to do all that--my students make me feel old enough.  Today they were talking about Full House and I had to break it to them that when I was their age was when Full House was still coming out with new episodes, then they asked me if I was around when the Brady Bunch was on--aaah, kids these days) (I also realize that the previous parenthetical phrase was super long and not really super high on the correct grammar, etc, but we are going to live with it)

First up, a video from preschool days:

 he still loves to wink at me.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Snapshot #2

Outside my window: what is left of our snow from this past weekend, cold temperatures still 

I am thinking: about the situation in Ukraine, we have a missionary friend there and he sent an email update that has me concerned for him

I am thankful for: having personal days so that I can take care of my boys when they are sick, also that this is their first bouts with sickness during a winter when there has been MUCH sickness at school

I am wondering: how my grandma and grandpa are grandma had emergency surgery last week and just got home yesterday, my brother went down to help them out for a few days and I am wondering how things are going

Last 3 purchases: some half price bath bombs and bath tea from this little boutique in town, an order from Gymboree last week where I scored some major deals for the boys, Micah finally spent his graduation/Christmas money and bought himself one of these iPad minis

Dinner plans:  Chicken stir fry-- a few weeks ago, I joined with some friends to do a freezer meal swap and it has been a life saver

Future plans I'm looking forward to: our school's Groundbreaking Ceremony next week

Kid funny: a few weeks ago, the boys and I were in the store and I finished what I was looking at and said, "hey boys, time to go"...Xavier had walked down the aisle a little bit and I heard William make this sound 'blablablah' and I asked what he was doing, "oh, that is what I do sometimes when I am trying to get his attention."  (I need to get it on video, because you have to hear the sound to truly appreciate it)

I am reading: Church History in Plain Language--mostly trying to stay at least half a page ahead of my students since I started teaching this semester

In the kitchen: not much, between the sick kiddos and snow/ice days, I need to make a trip to the grocery store

Watching: finished up the most recent season of White Collar and hoping to watch this week's NCIS

On my frequent playlist: I bought a Toby Mac CD a few weeks ago and the boys ask to hear it 24/7

Snacking on: chocolate chip cookies courtesy of above mentioned snow day

Rest-of-the-day-plans: picking Xavier up from school and supervising some make-up work for William.

Snow days and Sick days

Remember how Xavier was sick last week? Well, this week it was William's turn.  Because of the crazy winter weather that it seems most of the country received, church was cancelled on Sunday along with school on Monday and Tuesday for us.  William started running a fever on Monday and ended up with the exact same symptoms as his brother (no appetite, tired, vomiting).  His seemed to have run its course by Monday evening after his second nap of the day when he got up and announced that he 'felt so much better'.  I was thankful that school was cancelled again yesterday so that I didn't have to keep him home and miss another day myself.  But, this morning when he got up, he was complaining about his stomach hurting and how he really just wanted to sleep.  Me, being the compassionate mother that I am, tried to sympathize with his fatigue and how none of us really wanted to get up and go to school, but that sometimes we just have to tough it out.  About the time, we were ready to walk out the door, he decided that he needed to go to the bathroom and sure enough, he experienced the same ending to this virus that Xavier did--the bathroom ending.  So, I called for a substitute and made up some plans and took Xavier to school and William and I are home doing laundry (me) and watching Mickey Mouse (William).

We didn't really participate in the outdoor fun that goes along with snow days apart from my gathering some 'thunder sleet' for a photo--I had never heard of such a thing.

Micah was scheduled to work the weekend, but because the hospital where he is working is an hour away, they didn't require the residents to drive down.  We were thrilled to have him home for an unexpected day and after a particularly brutal February rotation, it was good for him to have a rest.  We 'celebrated' by teaching the boys an expansion to a card game we recently taught them Bohnanza. They had lots of fun and Micah and I endured the fact that they pretty much never.stopped.talking.

They also got in plenty of Xbox time:

And spent plenty of time building Legos:

--I realize there aren't Legos in this picture, but that is what they were doing at the kitchen table--
We considered briefly going outside to play in the snow, but in William's words: "I don't really feel like getting cold and wet." .....and honestly, I couldn't blame him.

I worked on my Project Life for the month of February and while I don't feel like they are masterpieces, I am thankful to have them recorded.  February was fun with all of the Olympics, but it was also pretty dreary and therefore didn't include a ton of photos and Micah worked really really long hours.

My school week is looking pretty short--snow days  Monday and Tuesday, sick day for William today, I am going to have to teach tomorrow, and then off on Friday for Xavier to go and compete in the district speech meet.  I will try to video him quoting Chicken Little and post it here, because it is pretty cute!

Monday, February 24, 2014

About this blogging thing....

Remember when I posted and said I was going to do my best to get back into blogging? Well, apparently what I didn't realize was that we were right smack dab in the middle of the Olympics and that thrown on top of regular everyday life didn't really allow room for much of anything except being enthralled with the spectacle every night.  In fact, I was just working on dinner and found myself thinking that I wasn't quite sure what the evening would look like since I didn't have important Olympic coverage to occupy my time from 7-10:30.  Our family's love of the Olympics has been pretty well documented over on Melissa's blog, so I won't rehash that since I know our readership is pretty much the same. I will say that my boys did thoroughly enjoy the Olympics even more so this year than in years past and it was a lot of fun to watch it with them.
I will add to that--they do like to talk--pretty much without stopping so there were a few times that I didn't always catch everything that was said on the telecast because they were talking non-stop. They have yet to learn the 'art' of silent viewing.  But, the last two Fridays have ended like this:

 Ignore the weird angles of the camera and looks on my face. I am not so great at the art of taking selfies especially with an 8 year old asleep on my lap/shoulder. It has been a long time since that happened and I am not going to hold those precious memories lightly.

Here is a copy of a text that I sent my mom and sisters one night after the Olympic coverage began:
William has been quite the little pray-er for quite a while. Tonight he is praying and thanking God for the Olympics because they are "awesome and I just love them, and my mind is just so crazed because I want to be an Olympian and a scientist, but it is You that tells us what we are going to be and if I am a scientist, I am NOT going to let people say that there is evolution, like they say that we started out as monkeys and then evolved and became like cave men, but that does NOT even make sense. If we were monkeys, then how can we talk? And You are God the creator, that gives us everything and ....we have a good life. Amen."
And that is the condensed version. 

(I should maybe mention that we watched the debate a few weeks ago between Ken Ham and Bill Nye  that was broadcast from the Creation Museum which probably prompted some of that prayer. )

Just yesterday at church, someone was asking me how our boys were doing and if they had been healthy, and I was saying how we had survived the winter fairly unscathed.  Sure enough, most of yesterday afternoon, Xavier didn't seem like he felt great but managed to make it to church.  This morning, when he got up, I knew he didn't feel well and ended up keeping him home.  He spent much of the day running a fever up to around 103 at its highest. Fortunately this afternoon, his fever broke although he is still not feeling great. I have already scheduled a substitute for tomorrow and am hoping that it will get him back on his feet.  Micah asked me what I did today, and to be honest, I am not entirely sure except for spending quite a bit of time with my little guy curled up next to me.

All scrapping came to a screeching halt during Olympic coverage, so since I will have the day tomorrow as well, my goal is to get at least 1-2 Project Life weeks done and maybe watch the season finale of Downton Abbey.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A story

I sat down this afternoon to look up some recipes for a freezer cooking exchange that I am participating in this weekend and wanted to check a recipe that I knew I had linked to on my blog.  As I read back over the previous few posts that have been very few and far between for the past 18+ months, I realized that even though I am keeping up with my Project Life and the occasional scrapbook page, I am  missing out on some stories that I don't want to forget.

So, in an effort not to forget at least one story, I am just going to write it up really quickly and hit 'post'.  Maybe I can stay motivated to keep at it..... No one hold their breath, we all know that I have said this before.

William has developed a habit of answering pretty much any question with "Hmm...that's a really tough question...I'm not sure."  (you totally have to read that in his high pitched voice to fully appreciate it)  A few evenings each week, we read together from a Bible reading plan that has a few questions related to the reading and followed by a couple of reflection questions.  The reflection question are not very cut and dry, they are geared towards making you think and so I get that they might be 'tough questions', but he has clearly made that his default answer to questions since the other night we asked him why he didn't eat what his grandma had fixed for him and I hear him call from the other room, "Hmm, that's a pretty tough question....I just don't know the answer."

A couple of layouts from last week:

Because of some crazy snow, we didn't have small group and our family watched the Super Bowl together for probably the first time ever.

Credits here
And some of my favorite photos of the boys from last year--they are pure silliness.

Credits here

Well, it is a start. Maybe I can motivate myself to get back to blogging.  After all, I do want my nephew Camden to start reading it again! (Hi, Camden, I love you, buddy--you speech was awesome!)