Friday, March 27, 2020

I cried last night. It's been awhile since I've shed that many tears. Last night's tears were not for me, but for my babies. Yesterday in a news conference, it was announced that schools would remain closed for the rest of the year. Something about online learning, blah, blah, blah — I stopped listening after I heard remain closed.

While I don't have a senior in high school, and honestly I can't imagine how they are feeling right now, I have a kindergartener and I feel like her first lasts were robbed from her. She doesn't know we aren't going back to school, yet. I also didn't let myself breakdown until all were in bed asleep. No need for them to see me cry when I'm sure they won't understand, and probably won't until they are much older.

You see Avery's class, well, I'd say 90% of them, have been together since starting at Westwood. Next year we all go our own direction — some repeating at public school due to birth dates, and some moving on to 1st grade. This bond they've had will be broken. And I thought I had two more months to prepare for this. All of us moms have always joked at the end of the year programs that we ball like little babies for the graduating class, and last year it set in that next year it would be our babies. We've been told we will still have a graduation, but it won't be the same.

This was Avery's first real year of school. And we have been blessed with so many wonderful teachers at our preschool, but Mrs. Kim holds a special place in our hearts. To see how far Avery has come in this school year is mind blowing. She LOVES school. And I consider that a gift passed down from Mrs. Kim. She will continue to send us lesson plans daily for us to teach our kids at home, but I'd give anything for Avery to be back in her class learning with her friends.

I know this is for the health and safety of our kids, but it doesn't seem real. As Mrs. Kim said last night, it feels like a TV show and we are watching it all unfold. I just wish it wasn't our reality. Our family is blessed beyond all measures that Lenley will be in Mrs. Kim's class next year. That is one little bit of hope I'm holding on to. I know she will be in great hands with her, and thankful that over 50% of her friends that she's been with will be back with her next year. We've had Mrs. Shannon for the past three years, twice with Avery in 3K & 4K, and Len with 4K. So it doesn't seem right that I won't be dropping a kid off in her class next year. Over those past three years Mrs. Shannon and I developed a great friendship and I'm so thankful for that!

As for Avery, we aren't sure what lies ahead for 1st grade. Is she ready? Absolutely. It doesn't matter if school is over for the year or she had another two months, Mrs. Kim has her prepared and I'm so thankful for that. The problem is — we aren't sure where she is going. We have options, but those options don't feel right. You know that mom gut feeling, well, that's what I have. We've had meetings with the church executive team and other parents who are praying and pushing for a 1st grade to be started at Westwood. All efforts and hearts seem like this is the right direction for our kids, especially Avery. For the first time all year, I had a peace about where she would attend school next year. Right now, I'm still not 100% sure 1st grade will happen. The last meeting was two days before quarantine. But my prayer remains, that our church will help us make it happen for the 20-21 school year.

I'm sure I'll still shed some tears over the next few months about this. And I know I'm not the only one going through this. So hang in there. Whether you are a parent or a student, we all feel your heartache. And for our precious teachers, know how much we love you. We know your year with our babies was cut short, and it wasn't to your liking either. Our kindergarten class will always be a family. And as soon as this quarantine and virus is at bay, we are going to party with our babies and give all the hugs — yeah, and probably cry some, too.  

My how my bucket list has changed!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

 When quarantine is over I can’t wait to...

eat chips with cheese dip and drink the biggest glass of sweet tea. Those Mexican restaurants really know how to make some amazing sweet tea. 
enjoy friends and family time! FaceTime, zoom, phone calls... they’re all nice to have, but I really miss hugs and company. 
take a trip somewhere, anywhere! Beach, mountains, state park, heck I’ll even settle for a hotel suite here in town. I just want a different scene. 
celebrate our eight year anniversary. I was sick on the day of our anniversary and then quarantine happened the next day. 
take the kids to the zoo, water park, we’ll even settle for a lunch at our favorite McAlisters at this point. 
see my little three year old friends at church. I’ve missed their funny stories and hugs. 
see how our city, state and country grows from this. 
tell any and everyone I know in healthcare what a rockstar they really are. 
go through the Chick-fil-a drive through for my favorite ice water on the planet!
take the family to an ice cream shoppe and get a brain freeze!

Homeschool Mom?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Just like many of you, our days and weeks for the past ten days have been interesting to say the least. The virus known as COVID-19 changed our daily lives, especially the lives of our children.

In two weeks the girls have gone from attending one of the best preschools in the state, to being homeschooled by, well, me. Ask all my friends, I've always said that I was not meant to be a homeschool mom. However, I've always said I'd never say never. (I learned that I long time ago because we've eaten our words thousands of times!)

One of my girls is in kindergarten and the other is in 4K. Their brains are little sponges right now, and honestly I just want to keep some normalcy in our lives. So we are having school every morning. Technically this week was supposed to be Spring break for them. It was going to be my Spring break, too. They were going to my parent's house and farm to have some fun, and I was going to get a much need break so I could spring clean, etc. But, alas, the COVID-19 quarantine happened.

We are still having a few minutes of school every morning. I'm talking thirty minutes to an hour. And this week we are taking time to go over things they've already learned this year. I honestly just want some routine for them, and me. We haven't been enforcing bedtime, and we do sleep in. I feel like we need it to keep our bodies well. So we make sure we are getting at least ten/eleven hours of sleep. I say we, but that does not include Terry. He is still going to work daily.

Avery has absolutely loved her kindergarten year with her friends and her amazing teacher, Mrs. Kim. She has taught my baby more than I could ever dream she would learn in such a small time. And I'm still hopeful we will get to go back to finish out the year, though I have my doubts just like many of you. I'm so thankful for her teacher sending out worksheets for us to print so we can keep on learning. Avery loves that what I have her working on is worksheets and pages that she would normally see at school. She wanted to keep her routine of having a snack after her first morning worksheet, and I let them listen to Storyline Online while they enjoy their snack. Lenley is not really liking "playing school" with mommy. She has a different love language than her sister, and honestly, I think this new routine is not her style. But, each day is getting a little better. I'm trying to figure out ways to keep her interested, and usually that doesn't mean giving her busy work. She likes to be engaged with me learning.

So these these days look a lot different than they did weeks ago. I can now add homeschool mom/teacher to my long list of duties being their mom. How long will we continue on this path, I'm not sure. I can say that God has definitely showed me that something that I thought I could "never" do, I can. His way is always best, and we will just have to trust Him and trust this process.

I ask that you pray for all of us parents and kiddos. Not only are we doing things we never thought we would be doing, but we are together 24/7. I'm sure other kids are like mine and missing their friends, teachers, playdates, extra curricular activities like dance and sports, and many other things. It's been ten days and nerves are shot — not just from being with each other every waking minute, but hearing news and health reports, too.

I'll leave you with this...
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."


Tuesday Thoughts

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Just some of my ramblings on this Tuesday... things I want to look back and remember.

1— 48 hrs without a phone is something I never want to have happen again. My phone that was less than a year old completely died Saturday evening. I'm talking it wasn't even the battery, just a hardware issue and there was no fixing it. Of course this would happen when we are out of town, and in the most inconvenient time. It also happened on the very last day of it's warranty. Coincidence? I think not. Being without my phone was hard. Not because of social media, but it's really the only way I can communicate with anyone since we do not have a home phone. It's crazy how I've (we've) become dependent on a cell phone in the past ten years. So after almost two hours at the Apple store, I now have a new phone. And thank goodness for iCloud, because everything was restored and I didn't lose not a video, picture or text. Also, thankful for friends who let you drop your girls off at their house so you don't have to say "DON'T TOUCH THAT" 500 times in the store. I couldn't be happier to have access to the world again.

2 — Ganny and Papa summer camp happened last week. This is the second time we've let them go without us to their house. Both times they've had a ball. Of course, they stayed busy going to the pool, splash pad, MAEX, and playing outside. Plus, I think all the clothes I sent stayed cleaned because they lived in their Cinderella and Snow White princess dresses all week... when they weren't in their swimsuits, of course.

3 — No more diapers for Lenny! Which means no more diapers in the house! Can I get a Hallelujah? Can I get an Amen? We've known she was getting ready for the past few months, and the week before they went to Ganny and Papas house I started letting her wear panties. Well, two weeks later and she's done with the diapers. And doing really good. We've only seen a few accidents, and those are few and far between. Another season is over and it just shows us how quickly these girls are growing up. Which is exciting and sad all at the same time.  

4 — Date your spouse has always been a phrase I've seen or heard, but we really took it heart and applied it last week while the girls were at Ganny and Papas. Four straight nights of dates for us, which might be more than we've had since Avery was born. It was so nice to be able to enjoy time with just the two of us. Did we miss the girls, of course we did. But we've also missed time with just the two of us alone. We cooked together and watched a movie at home, went out to eat and saw a movie in the theater, ordered take out and watched another movie at home, and then finished up our week of dates with a dinner date. While we know it seems like a long time before we will be empty nesters, we also know that it will happened sooner than later and we want to make sure we know how to be alone together and enjoy our time together now and when that time comes.

5 — Summer days are here. I'm talking the sticky hot humid days of Alabama summer. If I had to sum up a word for summer, I'd replace it with S W E A T. In other words, sweat season is here. And I don't like it. I wasn't one of those who complained when it was in the 20s and 30s this past winter. Nope, I was the one loving every minute of it. The only thing that makes summer bearable is pool days. Maybe it's because we can't tell if it's sweat or water from the pool. HA! So if you are looking for us this summer, just head to our neighborhood pool. That's where you'll find us!

The Desires of My Heart

Saturday, May 12, 2018

As a little girl a long, long time ago I would play with my baby dolls and pretend I was their mother. As a teenager (only a few years ago, wink) I would babysit babies and children from our church. I learned changing poopy diapers was, well gross and that kids have a mine of their own and can’t always be easily persuaded to watch something other than cartoons on tv. As a young adult I watched friends get married and have children of their own. I treated their children like they were my own, spoiling them and loving them. As a thirty something year old wife, I lost our first child at eleven weeks. After months of trying after our loss, I wondered if I would ever have a child of my own. I prayed and begged God to give me a second chance at being a mom. 

Then one day I had a feeling I needed to take a test so I took two. Both were positive. The only thing I could do was cry and shout praises and thanks because I knew it was God who had blessed us with the hope another child. A child we both knew we longed for and already loved. 

She was born nine months later and changed my world. Suddenly my wants and desires were centered around her. I never wanted to put her down. I never wanted to leave her. I wanted to give her the world. And at the time that meant any and everything from Target and Toys R Us. She was her daddy’s girl and her mamas world! She still is. She’s now a little girl who wears her heart on her sleeve, who loves her mommy and daddy, and also her little sister. 

Getting pregnant the third time was much easier than the second time. It happened so fast and we were now going to have two girls fifteen months apart! Some say because we got pregnant so close together that we made Avery grow up faster than she needed to. Maybe yes, but also no. God knew she needed a little sister, and he knew we needed another little girl, but this time a feisty and spunky little squirt. She completed our family. She also changed our world because now we have two little girls that are Daddy’s girls and their mamas world. 

Being a mom hasn’t been the easiest job I’ve ever had. It’s tough, y’all! It’s a blessing for sure. It’s questioning everyday if you are raising them the way you should. It’s learning that Gods grace is enough for you, and that we should show grace to them. It’s trying. It’s rewarding! It’s laughing at their funny dances and silly sayings. It’s worrying everyday if you are enough. It’s loving them more than you love yourself - ten times more! 

I am their mother, mama, mom. I’m the only mom they have (whether they like it or not). I’m doing the best I can at making decisions that are best for them, and for us as a family. I know we only get one shot at raising them right. I pray that even though my parenting ways may differ from other moms that my way is best for us and them. I pray I’m not screwing up their childhood. I pray they know how much I love them, always. 

It was the desire of my heart to be a mom. And my dreams are now my reality. Everyday is a blessing with them. And everyday I thank the good Lord above for making me their mama. 

This Mother’s Day we know a few who are waiting for their turn to be a mom. Terry and I know how it feels to long for a baby, and it can be just as hard on the husband as it is for the wife. We pray their wait isn’t long. We hope this next year brings tears of joy for Mother’s Day! 

For all the moms of preschoolers, we just have to keep telling ourselves that we are enough. We are enough as a mom and a wife! And that the terrible twos, threenager, and fournado years won’t last forever. 

Strawberry Lemonade Pie

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

It's H O T in the South y'all. I'm talking Spring completely skipped right over us. And if we weren't already a glutton for punishment, we went to the strawberry patch to pick us a batch of strawberries earlier this week. I'm not sure I even made it to the passenger side of the vehicle to get the girls out before I was doing some major glistening sweatin'. But our sweet friends asked us to go and we were excited because this would be our first time pickin' strawberries.

The patch we went to was about a forty-five minute drive from our house. It didn't take us long to pick our buckets full. We were worried they wouldn't have many left — wrong! They had so many ripe strawberries that we didn't even go all the way down our two rows before filling up four buckets.

Avery kept telling me on the way to the field that she couldn't wait to make a strawberry cake. And seeing as how I've never made anything with strawberries in it, I had no clue how many strawberries it would take. Needless to say, four buckets = strawberries running out our ears. So we have been sharing a couple of buckets with our neighbors and friends since I found out most recipes only call for a cup or less. Whoops!

Did I mention that it's H O T? And I'm not about to turn that oven on to make it even hotter in here. (Y'all I'm sure our sweet neighbor is reading this and laughing. She knows to wear a sweater to our house because I like it freezing in here!) Since I didn't want to turn the oven on I got to thinking about a good way we could use the strawberries. Smoothies. Yes. But Avery really wanted to "bake" something. So I thought about the very first recipe my mom taught me — Lemon Ice Box Pie. It's the first thing she let me make on my own to carry to church and other functions when I was in high school. I thought incorporating the strawberries in that recipe might be a fun idea. And, well, it was perfect!

1/4 cup of lemon juice
1 1/2 cups of pureed strawberries
1 14 oz. of sweetened condensed milk
1 8 oz. tub of cool whip (thawed)
1 graham cracker ready crust

Combine lemon juice, strawberry puree and sweetened condensed milk and whisk together until blended. Add the entire tub of cool whip folding it in with the previous ingredients. Pour into the graham cracker crust and let it set in the fridge for three to four hours. When serving, garish with more strawberry puree and/or lemon zest.

This is the perfect cool treat for these crazy summer days!

The closing of another chapter...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Libraries are filled with books written about people's lives — their childhood, school age, college days, adulthood, marriage, parenthood, and so on. If our family had a book, this last chapter would have been called "It's Hard to Say Goodbye"! 

Last year during Avy and Lenny's school year, we met a family who had kids in the same classes as ours. Our kids were instant friends, but us moms didn't really get introduced until a few months later. It wasn't until after Christmas that our (the moms) friendship really took off! We realized we had more in common that we could have ever imagined. And my girls loved their mom, and her kids loved me. We started taking zoo trips together, and even had a few playdates mixed in before school ended. Of course, a few weeks before school ended she dropped a bomb on me. Her husband had been promoted and was being transferred to a new location. Crushed. Knowing our our kids loved each other, we knew this was going to be hard on all of us. 

So we made a vow to do as much together as humanly possible this summer to get the most out of their last days here in Bham. And we did just that. From the zoo to the children's museum, to playdates and lunch dates, from swimming lessons and swimming playtime, and yes, even soccer dates — we had the best summer together. And then first of August came and we had to say goodbye. 

I don't think it hit our kids when they left, but it's been a little over a week and they keep asking where Becca and Stephen are. Hurts this mama's heart, but I'm so thankful for social media and phone calls so we can keep in touch. Such a fun and memorable summer with the Reyes family. So thankful He made our paths cross, even if it was only for a short amount of time. We are praying for their new journey in Florida, and planning a visit with them soon! 
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