Sunday, August 25, 2013

Twas the Week Before Kindergarten...

We have had a week full of savoring every last bit of summer vacation.  I've actually been mourning the loss of summer.  I guess it's because we spent the first half of our summer preparing for a move, and the second half adjusting to said move.  So, once we finally started getting in a routine, it felt like summer should just be beginning, when in reality, it was time for it to end:(  We lived this last week up to the fullest though by enjoying some lazy and some crazy mornings, special outings, and fun times with friends.  It was definitely a great way to say goodbye to the summer and hello to the school year!

A morning at the park
We took Daddy to work and then headed to our neighborhood park with some friends.  (I guess it's not technically OUR neighborhood's park, but it's right across the street from us.)  It's an awesome park with a GREAT playground that's covered and full of lots of fun stuff.  Lucy enjoyed playing with Nathan and Noah, and Gabriel enjoyed munching on his cheerios, trying out the slide, and playing in the playground flooring stuff.  (Like my technical names for things?;-) 
Family Movie Night

We closed out both Monday and Tuesday evenings with a Family Movie Night Picnic.  It was DH's idea, and the kids loved it!  We sat out a big quilt in the living room floor and ate dinner together while we watched a movie, snuggled, and just enjoyed laughing and talking with one another.  On Monday we watched Disney's Robin Hood, and on Tuesday we watched Disney's The Sword in the Stone.

Tuesday was a lot of fun.  We had a nice, lazy morning followed by some fun at the mall with Gi-Gi.  Our big treat for that day was a trip to Build a Bear Workshop.  The kids both brought their own money and had a great time building their own stuffies.  Lucy absolutely LOVES all things My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, so she was so excited to get to build her own Twilight Sparkle pony.  And while I know Gabriel is a bit young to really understand the whole build-a-bear experience, I've never seen a little boy love puppy dogs so much, so he was ALL smiles about his new puppy dog!  It was a bit of a crazy experience though because the FIRE ALARM got set off towards the end of our trip, so we had to leave their "buildings" in the store and exit until the mall had been given the all-clear.  I guess it was good practice to have before the school year starts as I'm sure she'll be experiencing plenty of practice fire drills.  (Oddly enough, I don't remember fire drills so much from when I was in elementary school--I lived in California at that time, so we had lots of practice Earthquake drills instead...)

Only Tuesday...and already tired!
Hawaiian Falls fun!
You can see that Lucy was EXHAUSTED after Tuesday's festivities...  And on Wednesday, that exhaustion definitely got passed on to Momma.  We originally had plans for Wednesday morning, but after several nights with little sleep and several jam-packed days, I just couldn't get around as planned.  So, we enjoyed another lazy morning at home before heading to the water park for the afternoon with friends. 
We are so blessed to be so close to a Christian-owned waterpark.  It's not so big that it's overwhelming for little kids, yet there is PLENTY there for everyone in the family to enjoy.  Gabriel loves floating along in the lazy river and the calm side of the wave pool, and Lucy could spend all day in the kids' area going down the different slides and getting water dumped on her by the big bucket.  By the time we got home, I had two very wiped out kiddos on my hands, and one AWFUL headache for myself, along with the start of a summer cold or something of the sort.  That being said, we decided to stay put for the evening.  Even an evening at home can be fun though...
Before bedtime, we went out on the driveway and played for a bit.  Lucy rode her bike, Gabriel rode in the wagon and played with some toys, and Lucy ended our Wednesday with a skating performance:)  I love all of the many faces of my Lucy--her silly faces, her joyful exclamations, her goofy poses, and her SMILE...that girls always knows how to make her momma smile, even when her momma isn't feeling so great.

Thursday was a non-stop day filled with friends, family, and the FUTURE...
excited to meet her science teacher
checking out the computer center
Lucy and her Kindergarten teacher
I had coffee with a sweet friends that morning while the kids played, and then DH's cousin dropped in for a visit.  We had lunch together and then Lucy and I got trims.  (As always, our hair thanks you, Cortne!:)  And then it was time for a trip into what the future holds for my bugaboo, which meant a trip to Lucy's new school for "Meet the Teacher" night!  Lucy has had a VERY difficult time adjusting to our move.  Everyone has been SO very sweet and welcoming to her here, and she's made some wonderful new friends, but Lucy has just had a really hard time understanding why we had to move and why she can't live in the only home and town she remembers.  Add to that a new school, and she is quite confused as to why everything had to change so suddenly.  Meet the Teacher night definitely was a good thing for her though--she really enjoyed meeting her teacher, seeing her classroom (her favorite center was the computer center of course!  She is definitely her daddy's daughter!) and she was especially excited about hearing that she will get to take SCIENCE.  (That definitely doesn't make her her momma's girl! LOL)  The next morning she announced that, "Since I've had some time to think about it now, I think I'm going to like my new school and I want to go there...even if Ellie won't be in class with me."  (Poor baby girl is missing her Hamlin friends SO very much.)  I think having had an introduction to her school on Thursday will make her first official day there on Monday SO much easier and exciting for her.

To close out our "summer o' fun" week, we had a SLEEPOVER with our very dear friends.  DH and Jason enjoyed some "guy gaming time" in the evenings as well as completing some handy-man projects around the house during the day (thank y'all...even for the extra hole in the wall;-); the older girls spent their time as usual fighting like sisters but laughing and hugging and making up as always; the babies stayed pretty close to their mommas but did try to hold hands during the play we went to on Friday night:); and the mommas got to start a fun knitting project!  We met up at the waterpark on Friday morning, attempted naps in the afternoon, and then headed to the church for a production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.  The girls really enjoyed the play and talked about it all the next day and were excited to see the "Snow Queen" singing with the choir at church this morning. 

(Side note: That book is actually one of the reasons I love the name Lucy so much, and my own Lucy reminds me so much of that character.)

We closed our last moments of summer out with some bedtime stories, the last of which was "Petunia the Silly Goose."  This was a favorite of mine when I was a child, so I was so excited that Lucy specifically requested I read her "the duck book that you like, Mommy."  It's a PERFECT book to read the night before school begins, tooTowards the end, Petunia makes this discovery:
"It was not enough to carry wisdom under my wing.  I must put it in my mind and in my heart.  And to do that I must learn to read."

I told Lucy how excited I am that SHE is going to have the opportunity to continue learning how to read and to find ways to put the wisdom she is given to good use.  My prayer is that she will not just put earthly wisdom to use, but she will put to use the heavenly wisdom that is taught to her and she will gain more of an eternal perspective as she grows both mentally and physically this school year.  It's so hard for me to
believe my 8 pound 1 ounce baby girl is FIVE and heading off to SCHOOL!  Just as her name means, my prayer for her is that she will be a "bringer of light" everywhere that she goes, and I pray her education will help her see how God's light is truly involved in every aspect of life and learning if she will look for it...

Twas the night before kindergarten
and all through our home
Not a creature was stirring
not even the geckos.
The uniforms were hung by the closet with care
 With the anticipation of what Lucy would wear.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of Kindergarten danced in their heads
and momma on her blog, and Daddy on his app
Were about to settle in for an end of summer nap
Sleep didn't come easy as anticipation was high
At the thought of how their baby could possibly be five
It happened so quick--in the blink of an eye
It caught us off guard and made it hard not to cry
But as we took a deep breath and choked back the tears
we thanked God for His plan for our daughter's school years.
The excitement was felt by one and all
at what God had in store for this new semester called fall.
So as we anticipate tomorrow's journey to school
of backpacks, and PE and learning the rules
We will hold to the truth that our God holds her hands
Through the easy, the tough, the fun and the sad
She's not really ours in the first place, you know
so off to kindergarten we will let her go...
But you will hear us exclaim, as we drive out of sight
We love you Lucy Shea, bringer of light!

Happy happy happy...

Uncle Si...or Michael?
No, this title is not referring to the return of Duck Dynasty  (Although isn't this a GREAT pic of DH?:)

It's about Gabriel's first word!!

at lunch with friends
About 3 weeks ago, he started saying "aw-BEE, aw-BEE..." over and over again, and we just could not figure out what he was saying.  I was at lunch with a friend about a week after that, and he was smiling and laughing at the table, and my friend says, "are you a happy boy?" And Gabriel responds with "aw-BEE!" I kind of stopped for a moment and looked at him and said, "happy?" And he responded again with, "aw-BEE!"  Of course, he has said the typical momma and dadda, and I'm pretty sure he's said some form of "Annabelle" (our beagle's name) as well. But, as far as his first regular word, happy it is!

I can't help but smile every time I hear him say it...but it's not just from the obvious joy he displays every time he says those two syllables.  As a mom, you want your kids to be happy, but as an adoptive mom, I think sometimes we worry more about that for different reasons.  So I just think it's such a precious little gift that Gabriel's first word is him proclaiming how happy (or, rather, "aw-BEE!") that he is.  My prayer for him is that he would grow to understand that true happiness is not based on circumstances, but based on the LORD, and that He will grow to know the JOY of the Lord.  Now that's something that would make this momma VERY "happy happy happy!"

Monday, August 12, 2013

Stopping to smell the roses...

I read a blogpost recently about how prone we are to hurry through life.  I may be one of the world's worst at this-I feel like I am constantly moving from one thing on to the next...or more like I am rushing from one thing to the next.  It's hard for me to stay in the moment because I feel like I always need to anticipate (in my mind, prepare for) what's coming up next.  My daughter, on the other hand, likes to stop and smell the roses.  For a hurry-up person like myself, dawdling drives me CRAZY!  Many times a day you would hear me say to Lucy, "c'mon Lucy, hurry up...we're gonna be late."  And, as much as I hate to admit it, I would say this in a frustrated tone.  Now, that's not to say that Lucy doesn't need to learn to be obedient when she's asked to do things-she has a tendency to choose not to obey immediately, and delayed obedience is the same as disobedience.  However, there are other times when she is just caught up in the moment and soaking up everything that's around her.  She's wanting to stop and smell the roses, and I'm covering them in the dust from trying to run past them.  I guess I had always felt like I was doing the right thing by hurrying everyone along--we need to get things done and be places on time, right?  But after I read that article, I was literally almost in tears and felt so convicted.  I had been spending my days just trying to check things off of my list, and even if they're good things, they don't ever hold any meaning if you don't appreciate them, right?

Let me tell you, there are not many things that will humble you as quickly as apologizing to your child.  I told her how sorry I was for always trying to hurry her from one thing to the next and that I wanted to learn to enjoy life more like she does.  I asked her to work on being more obedient and told her that Momma would work on being more patient.

So yesterday, when we got to church, rather than my usual, "C'mon bug.  We need to go NOW; we're gonna be late..." I got the kids out of the car and just let her do her own thing.  Rather than me dragging her by the hand trying to rush her inside, I watched her twirl around the nursery parking sign, and I smiled.  Then I saw her leap over the parking block curb, and I slowed my walking pace down to enjoy watching her smile.  She said, "oh' I need to go pray in the garden!"  And instead of my usual response of, "Honey, we don't have time-we need to get inside!" I said, "ok, Lu-you go ahead" and I saw my baby girl run excitedly over to the prayer garden bench, bow her head, and say a prayer, and my heart filled with joy.  In just a matter of moments that I would normally rush through, I was able to stop and watch something beautiful unfold--a little girl soaking up as much of her surroundings as she could and loving every bit of it--from the easily looked-over signs, the often trampled over curb, to the beautiful and peaceful garden.  Each of those things I take for granted, but my daughter found something special, fun, and enjoyable in them all.  I couldn't help but stop for a moment and think, Wow.  What big lessons God teaches me through my little girl.  Oh how I want to love life like she does-to find contentment in the mundane, joy in the journey, and moments of reflection in the serene...and even the not-so-serene.  Lord, help me to be more like Lucy and learn to stop and smell the roses along the way...