Thursday, May 24, 2018

Claire's 8th grade graduation...and mine too :)

Summer has begun!

Yesterday my fourth child graduated from 8th grade. 

They don't do any special ceremonies for that around these parts (although they did have a great golden scholar ceremony I'll get to at some point), so these kids made up their own "ceremony" the form of a our house.
(That up there is just a portion of the kids...there were a whole slew of others playing basketball and jumping on the trampoline...and in the pool when I took that pic...)
(I'm sure glad we reinforced that "bridge" to be as strong as could be...for obvious reasons :)

Those kids were here from when that bell rang at 12:15 right up until 10:30 at night when we finally kicked the last ones out.

 Phew, I am tired!

 But had to take a few pictures along the way.

It was a crazy afternoon/evening, but so fun to get to know more of these kids who will accompany Claire through all these coming years.
Not pictured was when I was a one-man show trying to barbecue hot dogs and hamburgers for that whole crew...and ran out of catsup...and had to run to two neighbors to borrow some.

A few nights before we were talking about when I graduated from 8th grade...

...which prompted pulling out my 8th grade graduation dress for Claire to model:
Oh man I thought that thing was sure a beauty.  Especially paired with my hair in a french braid crown, adorned with baby's breath tiny white flowers....I remember feeling pretty decked out.

So we had to look up those old pictures:
 ...a little closer:
Ours was this big formal affair...I had to walk down the auditorium isle linked arm in arm with an 8th grade boy I was haphazardly paired up with to get my "diploma."  He was about six inches shorter than me with long feathered back hair.

It was awesome.

And now my FOURTH child is that age!

Not sure how that happened.

She's pretty excited for the high school years to begin.  So glad she and Grace will get to overlap one year, and so are they. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

class t-shirt love

Last year the dad of one of my brother's third grade students made t-shirts for his class at the end of last school year.  They wore them to the end-of-the-year class party (which my brother holds at our house each year).  

The kids loved them, and they were pretty cute, and I commented that I really liked them.

So this great guy offered to make them for Lucy's class this year.  How nice is that??

He has a business called DoodleNoodle (HERE) and they do all kinds of cool stuff like that.

So I took him up on his nice offer because man alive, this has been the best class ever.  Lucy has felt so loved and has learned so much...and every time I go in there that sweet teacher of theirs is so upbeat and fun...has funny nicknames for each one of them.  

They glow with love for her because of her love for them.  And when you feel truly loved, you excel like nobody's business.  

So I figured it would be pretty cool to take this guy up on his offer and give each of these 5th graders a memento of this awesome year they've had.

His company whipped up those t-shirts speedy quick for us so we could have them by the end of the year and they wore them to school yesterday.

Let's take a look...
Are those not just the greatest?  Love how they turned out.

We had to kind of scramble to get our act together, but Lucy's teacher was so quick to have them all come up with their own self portraits (which I thought were darling and original):
 Closer look:

Then I scanned them in on my phone quick, and that good company took care of the rest.

I will always and forever be so grateful for this good woman who has taken Lucy under her wing so beautifully this year:
We are bracing ourselves for next year when the kids rotate classrooms for different subjects...makes Lucy so nervous (and me even more-so, although I don't claim that to her).

Thank goodness for her awesome "helpers" (Braille and mobility teachers), as well as the students who are so kind.
I think she'll survive.

If you're interested in learning about how to get your own class t-shirts, click HERE to find out how.

That link will give a dollar off your purchase and will also make it possible to make a free t-shirt for your teacher.

They will do staff t-shirts too...and I just thought up an idea: these would be pretty cool to do for reunions, don't you think?

Every sale generated donates a portion to Lucy's school which is pretty great, so link on in and get your own to make the kids in a class...or reunion...or like these kids ;) 

HAPPY LAST DAY OF SCHOOL to all of us desert-dwellers!  I cannot believe this is the end!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

seven minutes

I've written about my thoughts from the book we read for our "Tech-wise moms" group (The Tech-Wise Family), but I kept this part out for a post of it's own because it's one of the biggest things that hit me from the book.

Here we go:
Simple right?  

I know what you're maybe saying...ok, so it takes seven minutes to get into the meat of a real conversation.  Fine.  Great.  But why is that so important?  And why did it hit me so much?

Well, I feel like life gets so dang fast-paced with kids and family...and friends for that matter, that sometimes we don't take (or should I say make) those seven minutes work to connect us deeper.   If you really think about seven minutes, lots of conversations are quicker than that these days.  And we use texting to get our point across more than ever.  But when we do, we're missing out on real, deep conversation that takes focus and love.  It takes shooting the breeze for a little while.  It takes talking about that math teacher that is driving our kid crazy...and when they know you are really listening...maybe six minutes in (ha!) ...then they may spill the beans about something else they're worried or excited about.

The connection deepens.

Part of what this author talks about is how great conversations are in the car:
...and I totally agree.  That's why I love road trips so much.

But technology squeezes out even that time so much if we let it.

Ok, I have many more thoughts on this, I wrote this earlier hoping to come back and expound...but you get the idea right?  And right now I've got to run real-talk with my kids before the day gets nutty.  I think I have a good seven minutes before we all need to scatter :)

Monday, May 21, 2018

how Mother's Day came and went in 2018

I love Mother's Day.

Last year I think I didn't like it so much.  I was feeling so inadequate as a mother for whatever reason (I think we all go through those phases, right?)

But this year, although I still and always will feel inadequate in many ways (new problems and worries crop up all the time...and just when you figure something out, something else surfaces that you need to work on), I appreciated more than ever the process of motherhood.

Yes, that process of sometimes the boring and mundane, (waiting in carpool lanes, the never-ending routines, the waiting-up late, etc.) all mixed in with the triumphant and beautiful.

I get to mother these children of mine, and that adventure is something that will always and forever make my heart throb with deep gratitude:

Those three...and the ones who sent me pre-Mother's Day pictures:
Elle, in the gorgeous chapel at the Jerusalem Center where I spent so many hours when I was her age.  But the real "gift" of this picture (according to her) was that she brushed her hair and was wearing mascara.  HA!  (She decided those two things, along with shoe-wearing, were for the birds over the last year, and we love to tease her about that ;)

Dave and I had a good pre-mother's Day talk that I loved too:

...and Max sent me some pictures of his sparkling clean apartment:
Oh boy was that thing a little on the scary side when I helped him move into it a couple weeks before.

I think this year I was really focused on honoring those who mother rather than just trying to concentrate on my own mothering and it filled me with so much gratitude.

...which turned into love.  Mostly for my own mother and Dave's mother.  For the sacrifices and work they have put in to raise contributing individuals I adore.

On the real-deal Mother's Day morning Dave, Grace and I were in California.  We had been there for a good friend's wedding, and Dave had to leave straight from there for a week in China.  

So Grace and I sent him off and flew home to Claire and Lucy who were waiting for us in the desert.
I left my purse on the plane, which created it's own set of problems, but we got it, and seriously what greeted us were the two cutest girls ever.

Without Dave giving them any encouragement at all (at least this is what he claims...), this was waiting for us in the driveway when we got home:
(the pavement was too hot for Lucy's bare feet)

We came in to find classical music (my favorite, and what I always having playing through the house on Sundays) wafting through the air, and they had set everything up with streamers and decorations, and were ready to make breakfast.
 Oh man, it filled up my heart.
They all got right to work whipping up my omelet Dave usually makes for me on Mother's Day (and my birthday too).

Grace made that delicious thing and it was pretty tasty I have to say!

 At breakfast they presented me with some sweet cards and gifts:
(Claire told me that Lucy had refused to put the picture we had taken for Activity Days in that frame, and insisted that note should go in there instead.  Which was fine by me! :)

Church was awesome...especially because of the singing (listen to what they sang back HERE), and the messages were so good.

Then we came home to a house that was filled with good smells from the dinner Grace had prepared, and our traditional mother's day pictures.

(These were actually requested by the girls...which was kind of sweet.) 

This girl prepped a delicious meal:

And we headed out, a little late so we could save ourselves from the oppressive heat, on our traditional Mother's Day hike.
 We just did a really short one.

 This is how Lu felt about it:
 Oh wait, let's get that expression right:
 There we go :)

 It was dark enough on the way down that Lucy couldn't see at all, so this happened:
 ...and I got a good workout in!
 We stopped by to give Nana hugs and each tell her a specific memory we have with her.
Then we called my mom en route home and shared some of our favorite memories with her as well.

So grateful for those grand mothers in my life. 

And that these children of mine enabled me to join in those motherhood trenches.

Those trenches that are harrowing and agonizing at times, but more often glowing and holy in so many ways. 

How grateful I am for motherhood!
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