Still Your Kid

As I’ve written once before, Jay and I take great fun in pointing out traits we see in our kids that resemble each other.  “That’s YOUR kid!” we quip quite often.  This week was no exception…

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Chica has been taking swimming lessons for the past two weeks at Miller Park.  Learning to jump in and go under, sliding down the slide, and conquering the diving board were all highlights.  But just as fun for her (and me and Bubba!) were the friends we’ve made through swimming lessons.

After yesterday’s lesson, while we were sitting around drying off, Chica’s friend Levi was so excited about the treasure he had found during the lesson.  Her response was priceless.

Levi:  Look!!!  I found six cents!  (You must imagine him saying this with an excitement level 9 or 10.)
Chica:  Oh.  Well, when you get a dollar, call me.  (This with an excitement level pushing 2.)

Levi’s mom and I immediately begin to crack up, but Chica continues…

Chica:  Cause if you have a dollar, then we can go to the mall and ride the rides.

Even though Jay wasn’t there, I’m sure he would agree that’s my kid.  This is the tell-it-like-it-is kid, matter of factly figuring out a solution to her problem with little regard to the feelings of everybody else.  I want to ride the rides, but I need a dollar.  When you’ve got a dollar, let’s talk.  Love her.

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I must admit I’m getting a little nervous for this guy and the upcoming school year.  He is square in the middle of being two and a half….pushing the limits in every way imaginable.  I’m fearing end of the day conversations with his teachers about screaming when corrected or biting.  Ugh.  We’re working on it, I promise.  He is, at the same time, saying his sweet, “Thank you, Mommy,” or “I’m sorry, Sister,” without being asked.

One morning this week Bubba climbed up in Jay’s desk chair and began to open the drawer with all the fun stuff.  (Ex. The permanent markers which he recently used to color all over playing cards that he also found in the fun drawer.)

Jay:  Bubba, don’t open that drawer.
Bubba:  Why?
Jay:  You know there’s nothing in there for you.

Somehow his tiny little brain could compute that there was just enough sarcasm in Daddy’s answer to tell him that he could get away with being funny.  This is what Bubba shot back:

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Bubba computation was right, and Jay and I both laughed.  (Yes, I know, not the best parenting strategy.  Working on that too.)  But then this happened:

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I know I’ve seen Jay make that face and that point a hundred times, usually in all seriousness and not just mocking Bubba.  But until I saw them do it one right after the other, I hadn’t put it together that Bubba learned it from him.  “That’s YOUR kid!  I know where he gets that face now!!!!”  More hilarious laughing.  Never a dull moment around here.

How about you?  Leave me a comment about your latest, “That’s YOUR kid!” moment.

All Aboard Part 1

This summer has been so full and fan-cas-cick (as Bubba would say) that I’ve had a hard time stopping to record the memories here.  In spite of my mama’s frequent reminders that she’s waiting for a post, I’ve tried to live more in the moment and less for recording the moment when I get home.  I know that means that plenty of the memories are going to slip away, but I’m trading that for well rested and two empty hands and more snuggles.  It’s ok.

Thankfully Jay carted the camera this weekend on our train trip, so, Grandma, you can thank him for these few moments not forgotten.

On Saturday morning, we rode the New Tygart Flyer in Elkins, West Virginia.

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Papa’s dad and brother both worked on the railroad, so he had answers to all of our train questions.

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Bubba’s funny little speech patterns are one of my favorite things these days.  I’m hoping for another “Bubba Speaks” post soon, so I’ll save most of them, but this one’s too good not to share.  These days he uses the word because to actually mean so.  He’ll say things like, “I’m hot because I need to go inside,” or “I’m hungry because I need to have a snack.”  For the whole hour waiting for the train, he reminded us over and over, “My hat has a train on it because I will wear it.”

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While we waited for the, “All Aboard!” Chica, of course, made a friend.  I constantly feel myself tiptoeing down this fine line with her that divides friendly and annoying, open and reckless.  I love that she has never met a stranger, and it’s so perfect in these moments.  But other times I worry.  Worry that she’ll get hurt.  Worry that she’ll be too much.  Jay joked as we watched her that she certainly didn’t get her ability to make instant friends from me.  Even though I worry, many times I wish I was more like her.

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So the people who run this train certainly aren’t dumb, and it appeared that they stuck all of the families with kids in one car and fed them lunch first.  Brilliant!

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Even though there were lots of new things to see and do on a train, 4 hours is still a long ride for a little guy.  My normal keep-Bubba-busy questions have gotten a little old, so I tried something new this time.  Instead of, “Bubba, where’s your nose?” I asked, “What part of your body smells?”  Without skipping a beat, he spreads his leg and pats his hiney with and expression halfway between, “Easy, I know that!” and “Are we really supposed to talk about that, Mom?”  We have gotten plenty of laughs off of that one.  (You can bet that’s a story Nana will be telling in her office for quite a few weeks to come!)

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Chica’s funny for the day came after the announcer let us know over the speakers to keep an eye out for the upcoming high bridge and rapids down below.  When we got to the bridge, Chica was quite distressed that she couldn’t, “See the bottom of the trees.”  After a few questions from Daddy, he determined she was looking for rabbits.  Oops.

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We eventually found some rapids and waterfalls which provided a great place to take pictures.

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Chica was immediately fearless and ready to hop from rock to rock.  As you can see, I wouldn’t let Bubba go.  He wasn’t too happy about that.  I promised myself I would take them somewhere else this summer to play in a creek, pack a change of clothes, and just let him go.

While we were here, I couldn’t help but think of our adventures last year in the Grand Canyon at Havasu Falls.  There were many places we explored on that trip where the water was just this deep and fast, but the rocks weren’t slick because of the travertine.  Chica learned the hard way that rocks underwater here = slick!

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While exploring the falls, Bubba kept saying he wanted to go back and give the “white girl” a hug.  I quickly figured out he meant the bubbly girl in the white shirt who came by periodically to check on our train car.  He was brave enough to ask her for a hug, and then Nana asked if we could snap a picture.  They both ate it up.  Watch out, ladies.

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Too much mackin’ on the ladies can wear a man out, however, and he slept happily on Daddy for much of the return trip.

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When we returned that afternoon to Elkins, we checked out their city park and then ate at a great place called C.J. Maggie’s.  Our day ended with a play directed by Chica on the “stage” outside the train station.  Bubba was a good sport and went along with it.  Mostly he was just excited he got to be the monster and chase her without getting in trouble.

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Look for more pictures and memories from Day 2 soon!

Five Minute Friday: Lost and Found

With a link in my inbox and a little time to waste, I browsed a blog I hadn’t read in months. Stories and photos and videos of this Disney princess (literally!) turned country-hopping missionary made me feel a bit like I had lost something. A lost opportunity, I guess.

Maybe. But the more I think about it this morning, the more I realize just what I’ve found.

I’ve lost…

…the freedom to pick up and just go and do whatever, whenever.
…friends to great distances of time and space.
…the houses where I brought each of my kids home from the hospital.
…a camera. The good one we bought when Chica was a baby. Who does that?
…interest in hobbies that used to consume me.
…fifteen pounds, then gained it all right back again.

But I’ve found…

…a job I truly, truly enjoy.
…new friends to share dinner with every. single. week.
…a home that fits my new friends and their kids.
…purpose in new hobbies like running and writing.
…that the number on the scale isn’t synonymous with fitness.

But even better, I’ve found…

…the great joy to be had in being somebody’s mommy.
…the miracle of someone choosing to love my messy, confusing self for ten years.
…a new, growing desire to remain in the Love that will bear fruit.

What have you found today?

Five Minute Friday

Linking up with Five Minute Friday.  And yes, I know it’s Saturday.  I’m just now finding the time…

I Needed the Pep Talk

“This. This is why I write. Because even a half-written, well-intended dispatch from a southpoint in time is better than a vague, distant memory evaporating into the Heavens.” Charlie Capen

I have a confession to make. Actually, I have about ten to make from this day, but let’s start at the beginning:

I was more nervous about Day One of soccer camp than she was.

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I had checked and rechecked the list of things we were supposed to bring.  I lathered on the sunscreen extra thick.  We completed at least three pep talks about not giving up and being a good sport.  Who knew I would be the one needing the real pep talk?

I’m still not sure what I was so fearful of.  I guess mostly that she would do her melting routine the second that she missed a ball or even felt like she might miss a ball.  I so want her to be tough.  Resilient.  Determined.  Persistent.  But she’s just not there yet.  She’s sensitive and tentative (and also stubborn!) and needs someone over and over to help her pick up the puddle and remind her, push her, to keep going.

So Bubba and I sat on the sidelines and chatted it up with one of those moms that makes it look easy.  After a few minutes, Chica ran off to join her coach, carrying her soccer ball (yeah…she’s real new).  Deciding it was now or never, Bubba and I made our exit.  And as we drove to our “something-fun-to-do-while-sister-is-at-soccer-camp” destination, I apologized to all of those mommies that I had judged:

To the mom who had to walk her kid up to the cabin on summer camp drop off day when she was supposed to say goodbye at the bottom of the hill, I’m sorry.  I get it now.

To the mom who came to class to help her (big) kid unpack on his first day in a new school, I’m sorry.  I get it now.

To the mom who’s afraid to leave her kid in the nursery with a sea full of faces she doesn’t know, I’m sorry.  I get it now.

I think each of those mommies just needed her own pep talk too:  You’ve done your very best to prepare her for whatever lies ahead.  And if when she screws up, the adults around her will remember that she is, in fact, only 6 (or 2, or 10, or however old).  They won’t be thinking about you, Mom.  They’ll be thinking about how to get her back on track, and it will happen.  And she’ll remember to go to the bathroom, and she’ll make a friend or three, and she’ll. be. fine.

So she was fine.

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And the report I got from her is that soccer camp was “fun” and she did “pretty good” in in the not giving up department.  Turns out, as best as I could gather from her, that this means she sat out a few times because she was afraid of losing, but there were no tears involved.  Over lunch I was working hard to convince myself that this, in fact, was a victory, when she came out of nowhere to tell me that she shared her snack with a friend who didn’t like what his mom had packed.

Thank you, Chica, for reminding me that being tough and resilient and determined and persistent isn’t the only goal.  I admire your generous heart.

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So I began by saying that I had about ten more confessions to make from this day.  I’m out of time for details, but here are the other nine:

2.  I asked Jay if swimming in the pool could count as a bath for the kids.  He said no.  I’m still going with yes.
3.  I ate more Hot Tamales today that I care to count, each time digging into the bag stashed in the cabinet hoping that the kids wouldn’t notice.  I think I have a problem.
4.  I’m trying hard to limit the amount of time my kids spend in front of a screen, but I don’t follow those same rules myself.  Not cool.
5.  I got all kinds of aggravated at Chica because she continues to show no interest in learning how to swim for real.  Scary Mommy made an appearance at the YMCA this afternoon.
6.  This afternoon I worked on sorting and throwing out kindergarten papers that came home on the last day of school.  I’ve learned the hard way to burry this kind of thing in the trashcan several layers deep.  (This one is barely a confession…doesn’t every mom do this??)
7.  Bubba was more fun this morning without Chica.
8.  I bribed Chica to do housework with Hot Tamales.  I’m not sure if I mentioned this part to Jay when he thanked me for all the work I got done today….
9.  I bought Bubba a pair of shoes even though he said they didn’t fit right.  I’m over it.  After trying on 15 pairs with no luck, I finally decided he didn’t know what he was talking about.
10.  Err….I actually can’t think of a tenth.  But ten sounded better than nine, so I left it.  I lied. Sorry.

Bubba’s Day in Pictures

Today we went on a trip.  This day had all of my favorite things:  lots of Frozen music, Grandma and Grandpa, swimming, my cousin, Tyler, and smarshmallows.  I love summer!

Right away when we got there, Uncle Taylor took me to the playground.  He’s funner than my mommy and daddy.  They just wanted to sit around and talk.
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Then we went swimming in the lake.  Like I said, Uncle Taylor is way funner than Mommy.  He took me to the dock with all of the big kids. 
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I thought that we didn’t have to take naps on trips.  Mommy must have missed that memo.  Even though I screamed real loud, she still made me sleep in Grandma’s cave.  (Everybody kept telling me it was called a tent, but I like cave better.)  After the nap, Mommy, Daddy, Grandpa, and I went for a hike.  Ackshully, I didn’t really want to go, so Mommy carried me for a long time.
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Look what Mommy caught.  It’s the tinniest frog I’ve ever seen. I tried to hold him, but he was scared of me, I guess.
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Grandpa brought his shooting thing and was attacking trees in the woods.  He showed me how to pull it back.  He said he would teach me when I get big.IMG_3276

Everyone got to take a turn holding my hand.
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Chica told Mommy that the chicken cooked over the fire was the best she had ever tasted.  I think sister was just sucking up so we could get to the smarshmallows faster.  Mommy let me do it all by myself with her help.  She’s not so bad, after all.
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I ate two.  So did Mommy.
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I love my family!  Happy Father’s Day Daddy, Grandpa, and Uncle Taylor!
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Five Minute Friday: Messenger

School is out, and I have homework.  And I’m thrilled.

Our LifeGroup has begun reading The Good and Beautiful God together.  Each chapter is followed by a homework assignment that you are supposed to take all week to do.  Last it week it was sleep.  This week it is to spend 5 minutes alone, in silence, every day.

I’m hooked.  Every mom needs these homework assignments.

So tonight as I sat on my porch that I am oh-so-thankful for, I tried to listen.  Pushing away the thoughts of the dishes in the sink and the laundry waiting to be put away, I looked for those messages sent from the Messenger:

The breeze reminding me that, though I can’t see Him, the Holy Spirit is active.
The fireflies reminding me that God is creative.  Maybe even funny.
The rain, slow at first, and then drenching, reminding me that He provides.
The four tiny, green tomatoes reminding me that the fruit will come.
The huge, amber moon reminding me that He is consistent.

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I’m checking my inbox this week for your messages, God.  Keep sending’ em.

 

It’s been quite a while since I’ve attempted Five Minute Friday.  Feeling thankful for time to write again!

Currently Me

Eating:   Hot Tamales. Daddy took the hint and bought the big bag again. Just in time for me to (likely) receive 27 boxes from my students as end of the year gifts. Not too worry. One can never have too many. Other favorites these days include chicken tacos, clean-out-the-fridge pizza, and Mini Wheats. Not too exciting.

Reading:  I just finished Flora & Ulysses, and it was, “Holy Bagumba!” good. Thanks to my librarian friend, Ann, for the recommendation. I just started another recent Newberry Honor book called Paperboy. (Yes, my reading material of choice is meant for 10 year olds. I’m not ashamed.) I’m also looking forward to starting The Good and Beautiful God next week with our LifeGroup. I admit I was totally sold when I read that my “assignment” the first week was to sleep more. I’m all in.

Listening:  To the sound of the dryer and the dishwasher. And Jay reading me the day’s funniness from the Internets. There is peace in this time of the night.

Singing:  One of my students challenged me to write a song about equilateral, isosceles, and scalene triangles. I’m not singing it yet, but you can bet I will be by the end of the week. Our favorites right now in class are Mean, Median, Mode, & Range to the tune of Home on the Range, and the Perimeter, Area, Volume song to the tune of Oh the Lord’s Been Good to Me. And if you happen to catch me jammin’ in my car on the way to or from work, it’s probably Beautiful Day or Oceans.

Watching:  Sam and Nia. I can’t really tell you what I like about these people. All I know is that watching them makes folding laundry or loading the dishwasher a little easier.

IMG_2457Saying:  Four more days. I think I can, I think I can.

Playing:  Fishbowl. I learned it a few weeks ago at our grown-up game night, then I tried it with my fourth graders and their vocabulary words. Seriously…where was this game when I was a camp counselor??

Hoping:  For lots of time to read this summer. Last week I came home from a yard sale with this stack of books for just $1.

 


Learning:
  How much I love gardening. This weekend we discovered healthy pumpkin plants growing up under the porch where we stashed our discarded Halloween pumpkins. Tonight I replanted three overgrown seedlings from my classroom into my garden at home. We also spotted our first tiny Roma tomato and a big honkin’ bloom on our squash plants. And those cool spiky plants I wrote about here? They are in full bloom and absolutely beautiful. Turns out they are Asiatic lilies. Totally worth the wait.

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I’d love to hear what’s happening currently with you.  Leave me a comment and let me know!