Saturday, June 11, 2016

Transformation {last day of school 2016}

To think, when he was in Kindergarten, he joyfully went to school with light-up Star Wars shoes. I remember telling my mom that I wanted him to have cute shoes and not the "dumb light up kind". I also distinctly remember my mom (who is a preschool teacher and has been since I was 2 years 9 months at the same school-hello, 35 years later) telling me that I needed to get him the shoes that Kieran was excited about. "There's only a short amount of time that kids have when the teachers don't find it distracting and kids are still little and happy to wear their light up shoes because they are cool", she said. 
This was the time.
He wore his light up shoes with gladness and I'm so glad that I listened.
What I wouldn't give to rewind the time and see this little towheaded boy running toward me with his Storm Trooper feet smiling away.
My little guy is still little (much more so than his friends), but there's no denying the years that have passed. His hair still blonde and towhead for the most part, it will lighten by summer's end, but the darker shades mixed in are creeping up slowly. He will have much darker hair like his daddy come high school.
My little boy, 
still little...
but entering the fifth grade in the Fall. We didn't have the opportunity to take a picture with his teacher, but her loving kindness in helping him on his school journey (which has been quite trying at times both academically and emotionally), has been nothing short of wonderful. My little boy has not grown much in stature, but oh so much in wisdom.

Didn't this little girl hanging from the monkey bars who used to wear frilly skirts and a headband just start Kindergarten? The pitter patter of her little feet on the pavement in her sparkly light up shoes  have given way...
to tank tops, boy socks and high tops and sports shorts nearly every day.
She's always had her own sense of style as she should! I will never forget when we discovered that she needed glasses. We took her to the eye doctor and when she found out she needed glasses, I was a bit sad. I did not need glasses until I was a freshman in college and to me, they are a pain! Careful to keep my thoughts to myself so that she wouldn't denounce them, she tried different pairs on and with great pride. I wanted her to choose the versatile light brown ones with turquoise blue accent.
"You are boring, Mom!", she said. "I am going with purple and pink-that is more fun!"
Just like the Storm Trooper shoes, she was right.
My little girl...

who was given the blessing of a wonderful teacher. A teacher who helped her to meet her fears in math even after discovering a learning disability, to "try everything" and not consider it a disability at all, rather something that even though difficult was still conquerable.

And this sweet little TK girl...
didn't we just get your nametag and a stamp on your hand to start the first day?
Once a shy and reserved pint-sized girl (though you can't tell from the picture),
is now an extroverted, chatty, pint-sized girl. She and one other little boy were the smallest in their class. 
I bought a brand new outfit for the last day of school luau. While first day of school outfits are usually the norm, this mini-me is finally starting to grow out of her size 3 clothes (well, shirts anyway) and into 4 and some 5's at 5 1/2 years old. Her shirt says, "Sunshine & Happiness". 
Her teacher not only brought her sunshine and happiness, but she brought it to me as well. I was planning to volunteer just "once in a while". Lo and behold, I was on the calendar every Thursday for that first month of school. I could've said no. I could've hid in my shell that I had been in from the school year before when I took my year of leave. I am so very glad that I did not and I am proud to say that I only missed one Thursday the entire school year and that was because I was down for the count with strep throat that plagued our home for 3 solid months!
This teacher brought the joy back into my life that was sorely missing. She made it okay to go from resigning from my job as a school counselor at a school that I loved, to a school counselor stay-at-home mom who got to see magic happen in her own child's classroom. I thought my year of leave was a gift and I was wrong.  I even called it "my gift year". The year I actually left was initially painful and it turned into a gift that was multiplied beyond measure.

And when it was the last day and her teacher  crouched down to my sweet girl with her hands on her face...
the tears streamed down mine.

We talked all about the wonderful things she had learned including the latest song she had learned that had her doing the hula and singing the Mahalo song.

How did we get from this pair...
to this pair?
You'd never guess from either picture that they often fight like cats and dogs, but at each end to the day, they are filled with such love for each other.

One more year of preschool for this guy (who only has this first day picture and a last day picture that is captive on my phone)...
and God willing there is still TK,
the pair will shift once more!
That's the thing with life, it changes and then it changes again. I initially had this idea that I would love being at home with the kids and when I didn't, I thought something was wrong with me. In all honesty, there have been many days where I feel like I was a better mom when I was working. That's the deal with change. It's not easy. Where my patience used to run as the day is long, this change has chipped away. I fail and I get back up again...over and over and over again. That's okay though because I'm learning and I'm embracing this change which I've grown to love. Ask me if I want to go back and my answer is, "I don't know". I used to say yes. I won't say no. I don't want to live in limbo, rather I want to live NOW.

I have grown in many ways that I had not been able to in the past when I was working-things like volunteering in the classroom and joining two different Mother's groups one of which was heavily focused on growing my faith.

The theme of the year was "Transformation".
I am here to tell you that I am learning that that is what this crazy thing we call life is all about.
Nothing stays the same.
And it shouldn't.

Transformation is happening and will continue to happen for this short time we have on Earth. Whether it's my kids, my marriage, myself or my relationship with God, it's all hard work every single day. Some days I'm great, some days I'm good, many days I fail.
It's all worth the change in order to grow and live better.

So I say (as I've learned from my mother and my children), wear the light up Storm Trooper shoes, get the purple and pink glasses. Do a hula on the blacktop and sing the Mahalo song. Join a group where you know no one (true story). Pick up a great book and read. The Bible is pretty amazing! 

And remember, as my planner cover says:

"There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy!"

Thank you, 2015-2016 school year. What a transformation this has been! Next stop, Summer!




Saturday, April 16, 2016

{try everything}

Sign ups were announced weeks ago and Anna came home to let me know that I would be submitting her name for the talent show. There was no mention of dancing, no mention of asking others to be a part of her group. No, I was informed from the get-go, she would be performing a solo. I hesitated, not because I didn't think she could do it, but because I knew the hours of practice involved, along with the try-outs (no one is cut, it's just called try-outs so that they can see who is performing what) and dress rehearsal. It was one more "to-do" in our schedule. The selfish me did not want to sign her up, but the core of me knew that I had to, especially since this was all Anna's idea.

We set out to perfect "Fight Song". She already knew it, we just had to make sure that she was performance ready. The try-outs came, she performed what is a powerful song, along with 4 other soloists who were also singing their rendition of the same song! I'm not sure why I was surprised? Thinking back it was not a good decision for the very reason that the song is so popular. Anna was asked if she wanted to sing "Fight Song" in a group. Her eyes grew wide, the size of saucers, "No way am I singing in a group, Mom." "I am singing a solo." We left the room immediately planning what song she would sing next. Within minutes, Shakira's "Try Everything" from the most adorable movie, Zootopia, came to mind. A song with a difficult rhythm, she was eager to learn. 

See, it isn't that she is the next American Idol, and it isn't even that she wants to be a singer (although she does like to be on stage, she has a love and affinity for drawing). Anna just loves adventure. She has an amazing imagination and she is by all accounts, a true extrovert. 

That said, underneath the many layers of comedy, laughter, smiles and confidence, are also layers of extreme emotion. I'm not sure that Anna would want me to share the details, in fact, I know that she wouldn't which is why I won't. Let's just say that Anna is the most spirited of my bunch. Her emotions run away like a freight train, but only at home. Sometimes, the train is moving so fast it's out of control and it's very difficult to put on the brakes. Even with my education, my on the job training as a school counselor, the many years of working successfully with students-it still doesn't prepare you fully for the experiences that you go through as a parent. I don't know how to explain it, it's just different. I'm still learning what works best, what doesn't and quite honestly I've had many moments where I have thrown up my hands and given it up to God. There are moments when my mind gives up, but my heart knows to keep going. There are moments when I would rather shut the door and I'm pretty sure I've done this, because I just needed a time-out. I've needed a Hail Mary-the last ditch effort kind and the actual prayer kind, too. When I would work with parents I would often hear them say, "I've tried everything". Though it's easy to feel this way especially when we are at the end of our rope, it's simply not the case. "Tried" is not the proper word-it's "Try"-meaning, there's always more, there's always different, there's always another way. I am not afraid to reach out and ask for help. As quickly as the train runs and is sometimes a blur, we are learning from each other how to slow it all down. Try Everything.

Cue my tears when the lyrics to Shakira's song says, "Nobody learns without getting it wrong". Anna's struggle in school has been with Math. It's never been my strength and has always been a source of anxiety and self-doubt for me. I've made a point to not let my insecurities with Math pass along to any of my kids. I don't want her to feel as though she has to hide because she might have the wrong answer or that others might laugh-it's what I did. When Anna was Star of the Week in first grade, she told everyone her favorite subject was Math. I think Math for her is a lot like singing. It isn't that she wants to be a mathematician, it's that she loves to give something her all. When Math became increasingly frustrating for her, I began to see similarities in the way that I attempted to cover up the fact that I didn't understand. I was sad to see that her usual confidence was slowly chipping away. Having Anna tested for a learning disability was one of the best decisions because she now has the help that she needs and has regained her confidence. She knows it's okay to get it wrong and she's not going to give up. Try Everything.


Earlier, when we were getting ready for the show, Anna asked me if I wanted her to sing the song perfectly. I told her that it didn't have to be perfect, just to do her best and to have fun.
It wasn't perfect. The music didn't start correctly and she had to work to get back on track a few different times, but she kept going with heart and determination.

This girl. We've got quite the road ahead. She was 2 going on twelve and every teenage year after. She'll be 8 going on eighteen at the end of the month-ah, the tween years.
Open the flood gates as my heart filled with intense pride and happiness when Anna took the stage for the big show. When we first practiced she stood there like a deer in the headlights. By dress rehearsal, she had the volume. By the in-school show (that not everyone gets to do) Tatum's TK teacher told me that she and Anna's Kindergaten teacher loved her performance. By tonight's performance, Anna had big smiles, her own signature fist pumps complete with an unexpected bow at the end. Try Everything.

As the song lyrics say:
"Look how far you've come, you've filled your heart with love, baby you've done enough take a deep breath. Don't beat yourself up, don't need to run so fast, sometimes we come last but we did our best." It's a song for Anna, it's a song for me. It's a song for us as mother and daughter. On the days I don't feel I've done well enough, on the days she feels like a runaway train, on the days we don't feel like there's more, there is. Try Everything.

The email at the end of the day from Anna's 2nd grade teacher said, "Wow! A note to celebrate Anna today! She did a fabulous job in the talent show today. Way to go!"  That she did. 

Today, we celebrate.

Tomorrow and always, we'll Try Everything.


Monday, March 28, 2016

{ten}

Dear Kieran,
Yesterday you turned ten. Yet yesterday, I was in the hospital gazing at my tiny first born.
You are wise beyond your years telling me on your birthday, "I've been a wonderful boy for the last nine years and tomorrow I start puberty". Oh, Kieran, you bring a smile to my face, laughter to my day and an extra beat to my heart. You surprise me more and more each day, still dependent on me for a lot, yet so independent when it comes to trying new things. Starting baseball for the first time in the fourth grade?
No big deal. Batting, catching pop flies, and eating your Big League Chew gum, you mesh right in. I was nervous, you took on the challenge without question. 
How far you've come in school! From the daily tears we both used to cry when it came time for homework and trying to get you to read, to coming home and getting your work done and reading for hours, you are in your zone! 
I know sometimes there is pressure to be the first, pressure to be the one that helps with the rest of your siblings. Pressure to be the example. If I could tell you one thing, it would be that your example often teaches me! 
Sure, you fight with your siblings as any kid does, but at the end of the day, they are your friends and you show them love.
The empathy that you hold for your friends, classmates, teachers, and your family is out of this world.
I could have said, "Hug your brother goodbye!" as I dropped you off at fourth grade camp this morning, but I didn't need to-no, you did that all on your own.
I didn't cry when we said goodbye, but I'm a little teary looking at this picture. Your warmth and kindness is something special, Kieran.
Thank you for waking up each day with a grateful heart. 
Thank you for letting me know when I need to slow down and take a deep breath.
Thank you for always understanding, even when I've made a mistake.
Thank you for being the light in my life that you are, I am so proud to be your mom. As I say, "I love you" and you reply, "I love you more", to which I reply, "Not possible!",  I love you my sweet boy!
Happy 10 years from your head to your toes, life has exciting adventures for you and Daddy and I are happy to be alongside your path.
I hope you have the most wonderful time at Camp, I know that you will!

I caught the kiss that you blew and it's right in my heart.
Love,
Mommy

P.S. Change your socks, change your underwear and brush your teeth!



Sunday, January 10, 2016

{life's lessons through ferris bueller}

The Golden Globes are tonight. I've seen just one of the films (which I find amusing because usually I haven't seen any of them and if I have, it's an animated film because of the kids) and it just happens to be nominated for Best Motion Picture. It's a bit eye opening because it tells me that Erik and I need to go out for date night more often! TrainWreck is hysterical, I loved it and I love Amy Schumer who is also nominated for Best Actress. As much as I loved the movie though, my heart belongs to 1987. I was nine years old. 
 In 1987, Matthew Broderick was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Performance in my all time favorite movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I'm pretty sure I saw it when I was nine years old too, which makes me laugh because there are certain parts that I wouldn't want Kieran to see now! And though there are countless movies that have come after Ferris Bueller with far greater depth, complexity and everything else, it's still my favorite movie and it always will be.
Maybe it's because I think of life in its quotes...

"Life moves pretty fast,
if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Life can be pretty tough, and around our house (especially lately), 

it's not always sunshine and rainbows.
I'm a glass half full kind of girl though, and I try my best to pass this along to my kids.

What better way to release tension than a snowball fight?
"The question isn't "what are we going to do", the question is "what aren't we going to do?"

Anna was pretty excited about hitting Kieran with some snowballs made with the snowball maker.

 "Les jeux sont faits. Translation: the game is up. Your ass is mine."

Liam thought it was pretty great, too!

And though I was able to capture some of these images...




which are pretty much pure joy,
I put down my camera to sled with them, laugh with them and connect with them.

It's like the scene in the art museum, where Ferris, Cameron and Sloane are walking hand in hand with school children-I get weepy every time. Childhood is so fleeting! Cameron then finds himself staring at (what is also my favorite painting) "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte". The creator of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, John Hughes, was once interviewed saying, "I always thought this painting was sort of like making a movie, the pointillist style." "You don't have any idea what you've made until you step back from it."

It's so important, even amongst the chaos, the crazy, the stress of life as we know it, to take a step back. Just like a Sunday Afternoon, just like Ferris Bueller's Day Off, I'm reminded...
to be present,
to take a look around,
to take it all in,
to experience the glass half full,
 instead of half empty.

I'm reminded to take a step back when I look at my husband and my children, to revel at what we've been through, what we're going through, and what is yet to come, good and bad.

To be thankful.

To know what we've made...

and I'm not going to miss it!




Saturday, December 26, 2015

merry christmas 2015

Family is EVERYTHING!

Merry Christmas from my crazy family to yours!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

oops! there went november {happy 5th birthday, dear tatum}

My mom asked me the other day if I had blogged Tatum's birthday. I've posted few and far between this last year, I actually wrote more when I was working! 
I had to actually look at my blog because I thought surely I had posted at least once last month.
Oops! Nothing. There went November! A lot of birthdays happen for us in November-my mother-in-law, Tatum, my sister-in-law, my father-in-law and Erik! That's enough to wear a person out just thinking about it! 
I am so grateful to each and every one of them, more than they know.
Happy November Birthday's Family, I love you!
And to make sure that I officially stamp Tatum's 5th birthday in time, I'm writing about it now. Her birth story is magical to me to this day. I have all 4 children to create a baby book for, so this is my temporary place holder. Time to print my past blogs, too!

Tatum's Favorite Color: Bright Blue
Tatum's Favorite Food: Pizza
Tatum's Favorite Things to Play: Baby Dolls
What I'm Most Excited About Turning 5: Because I am excited to go to Disneyland with Daddy because I'm finally tall enough.
What I Love: My stuffed animals, Anna, Kieran, Daddy, Murray, Liam and you (certainly not in this order. ;)).
Tatum's Favorite Holiday: Halloween. (Me: Halloween, really? Tatum: Okay, Christmas. Me: That's more like it.)
Tatum's Favorite Flower: Sunflower.
Tatum's Favorite Thing to do at School: Play with my friends and do choice time.
Any other Favorites? I like to visit Weezie and play at Charlie and Lily's house. (Our daycare provider and her grandchildren).

And, this has become one of MY fast favorites:



We had our family pictures taken for the very first time by my high school classmate and wonderfully talented friend, Courtney. She and her husband are true artists! Our family photos each year are taken by me with our remote shutter, so it was extremely special to me to have them professionally done and by a friend!

Happy Birthday, Sweet Tatum. 5 years old and still so small (3rd percentile for height and 8th for weight), but a heart larger than life.
Thank you for blessing me with all that you are, my special girl. 
I will always give you "all of the kisses" and take yours, too.

Love, 
Mommy





Monday, October 26, 2015

i went to the pumpkin lot and all i got... {pumpkin "patch" 2015}

I don't typically post a lot of unhappy pictures. And as devastating as this one seems...
I promise she was smiling just minutes before and laughing her head off just seconds later.
Tatum was crying because I wouldn't let her go on the giant inflatable lion slide. I watched a mom staring at us while we wheeled the wagon out to the car. She was either thinking, "glad that's not me" or "what is wrong with that mom that that poor child is that upset?". I'd like to think it's the former and not the latter. I didn't care either way, but by the look on Tatum's face, you would have thought something terrible had happened. I guess in her world, it did. ;)

I told all 3 of them (Kieran did not want to go to the pumpkin lot and Erik was out of town), that we were going just for pumpkins and not for the rides. After a weekend of soccer and basketball games on both days back to back, a quick pitstop was all I had left.

All I could think of was Charlie Brown saying, "I went trick or treating and all I got was a bag of rocks."Tatum really wanted to go on that slide and I felt like she was thinking, "I went to the pumpkin lot and all I got was a pumpkin and a ride in a wagon."

Pumpkin lot, what's a pumpkin lot?
A dirt lot filled with haystacks and pumpkins placed on top.
And it's not that we haven't gone to this lot before, it's just that I love going with the whole family (when we visit my parents) to a REAL farm! 

You know, the ones where they have GIANT wooly cows with horns.

Or where the pumpkins are actually still on the ground where they were grown!

We go through the corn maze and on the slides there, too, but most of the time is spent searching for the pumpkins, eating lunch and enjoying the scenery and each other's company. It doesn't feel crowded because there is so much land and everyone is spread out.

No farm, no inflatable slides, just a picture with hay up Tatum's nose (she did that on purpose)...

 laughing because I asked her to take the hay out of her nose...

sticking her tongue out at me when I asked for a picture (that's karma because I used to and sometimes still do this to my mom)...

and fake smiling (Liam is cooperating and Anna has now followed suit with sticking out her tongue).

All in all they were grateful that they picked out their pumpkins, I'm grateful that I stuck to my guns and didn't give in to the travesty of not going on the lion slide,

  and next year we're going as a whole family back to the farm!

Related Posts with Thumbnails