Looking to fill a void — apply here...

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, but today it really hit home. And I always find that I can best describe what I'm feeling with typing it out. So, here's my POV from a mom of girls in elementary school in a town where I didn't grow up.

I already know I'm going to get the "you've got to get involved" speech from someone, so I'm here to stop it head on and say, "I don't need to hear that right now." I just need to get this all out, and if there is something helpful you'd like to add — I'd love to listen.

Today, I was waiting in line to pick Avery up from her school choir practice. I saw two moms that parked and were chatting it up with each other. I couldn't hear their entire conversation, nor was I trying too, but I could tell they were old friends.

I've come to realize that in this BIG school community that we live in, I'm an outsider looking in. I've gotten involved with the PTO and volunteer whenever I can so I can be a part of my girl's school. I'm thankful I've gotten to know a few moms and staff this way, and I'm very thankful for the opportunity. But I'm still an outsider. None of those moms have kids in my girl's classes.

I didn't grow up here. I went to a very small county school and usually each grade had about three or four classes total in each grade. Each year I may not have been in the same class with every single classmate I had before, but I had multiple friends each and every year with me in my classes. Friends that I had from preschool throughout high school and college. 

We moved to this area almost eleven years ago to better ourselves and give our future kids a life that had more opportunity than we had in our small city/county. But as I watched those two moms today, I realized I don't have that group of friends I went to school with and have kids together in the school system. I'm an outsider. And since our school system is quite large, my daughters have had maybe one classmate each year in their class from their previous year and it's usually not someone they connected with. It's hard for them to make friends and keep those friends when they pour into a friendship, and then the following year they don't have the same schedule as those friends. 

This also makes it hard for me. Yes, poor pitiful me. I've always heard that your adult friends comes from your child's friend's parents. They hang out so you hang out. How do you form those friendships when each year it's different?

We love our church. Once covid hit in 2020, we became uninvolved serving. We had left our small group about a year before that. In our opinion it became cliquish and we weren't in the clique. I'm sure most will tell us we need to get back involved. But it's hard — you can say we don't want to get left out again.

I think today it just hit home that while we've lived here for years, I still feel like we are newbies trying to find our place and where we fit in. I've seen on fb mom groups where someone will say, "hey, new here and looking for friends." I'm not that outgoing or willing to put myself out there like that. But, I understand where they are coming from. I feel like I need to get a google doc together and let people interview (if anyone would apply). Cause you know there is gonna need to be a checklist of things I don't do, and if you check yes — well, I'd have to throw it out.

Maybe I'll just buy a new book to read. Then maybe I won't have to put myself out there.

Got any good book suggestions?

January — the month of a post

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

I seem to keep a pattern. I blog one day in January and then forget to do it again for another year. What's up with that? Well, I can only assume life happens and I get involved in something else. Or maybe it's because January is the month that keeps on going and I feel like I need to have something else to do to make it roll on by. Needless to say, don't hold your breath to see if blog number two happens in 2023.

Last week was our sick week of January. We had a sick week in November (flu) and December (covid) of '22. And now one in January '23 (strep & adenovirus). I refuse to let it happen again in Feb. We won't go back to masks, but hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, and lysol will be our friend. We're taking all the vitamins, getting immunity boosters in our teas, and hoping all viruses stay away from the Sowells.

Christmas seems like six months ago, and it remember it being so much fun. The girls got more than they needed and Terry got me the sweetest necklace with the girls initials on the chain. I haven't taken it off since Christmas Day. The girls and I gifted Terry a solo fire pit to get us out some and enjoy s'mores, starry nights, and have some fun family nights. However we won't be sleeping under the stars. Camping just isn't our thing, Although, like most things, I see friends doing it and wonder if we could like it.

I've been living in comfy clothes this month. Sweatshirts, lounge pants, and my favorite mini fuggs. Not to be confused with real Uggs. But a warning — you'll love them so much you wear them every day. Or at least that has been my case. They come in a variety of colors, but we all know my obsession with leopard and cheetah. I haven't regretted a day in them yet.

Enjoy the rest of 2023 if I forget to come back and update until 2024. No seriously, I will try to do better this year. Happy New Year! And Happy January 247th. 

Day 678

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Today I sent my youngest to school with a cough. No fever, no other symptoms really, but she had a cough. A few scenarios went through my head... 
    a - she was at my parents this past weekend and she has allergies so that's more than likely why
    b - who has she been around that she could have gotten sick from (immediately asks who was out in her class yesterday... answer, no one so maybe she didn't get sick from someone there)

    c - do I need to get her checked out before sending her to school or if I send her, will I get called to come pick up her early?

I took her to school. So far no phone calls, so I'm thinking I was right with my mommy intuition that it's just allergies. 

Since March 13, 2020 we have second guessed every sneeze, cough, runny nose, scratchy throat, etc, and let's be honest — that takes a lot out of a mom every morning trying to decide if she's making the right decision to send her kid(s) to school or not. In preschool, we didn't have to worry about this. Your child had a cough, you kept them home. In grade school, your child has a cough and unless there is an undeniable reason for that cough, you send them to school because you don't want them to miss something important, but also, they only have so many days they can miss. I can't imagine being an administrator or teacher with a child in school. They have more than anyone on their plate because they want to keep their kid(s) safe, their students safe, and themselves safe. That weight truly has to be heavy,

Right now our school systems are doing all they can and are hanging on by that last string on their violins. Should they shut down and go virtual, well, they could. But, there is no guarantee that giving students time at home with virtual learning that some of those aren't actually going to stay at home. Some, not all, are going to say, okay, free time let's go on vacation (and possibly spread or catch something to bring back to school when it starts back.) Some will be like us and stay home and hibernate like we did before.

We are almost two years into this, and it's hard to see that we are still struggling with this. So to the mamas who are like me and worry daily if you are doing the right thing, to the mamas who are worried daily if someone in your family is going to catch that germ that takes the family down for a week or more, to the mamas who are in the thick of quarantine and just need a break — your pain is felt by us all, one way or another. We need to pray for each other, and wash our hands and sanitize everything, 'cause as the saying goes... Jesus and germs are everywhere!

To the mamas who are worriers like me"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

To the mamas who are tired like me"I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." Jeremiah 31:25

To the mamas who are sick or have sick ones at home"Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord." James 5:14


From Homeschool to Public School

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

I mentioned yesterday that last week took on a different role for Avery, and myself. 

January 13th, a day I will remember for a long time. The two days leading up to that day were a whirlwind, and an emotional rollercoaster to say the least.

Avery has been asking to go to "big" school since the middle of October. But, due to her illness back at the end of June we chose to keep her home and safe.


Since Christmas break, and especially the beginning of last week, it was becoming very clear that she was needing a change. And, this change would break my heart. So last week we submitted her paperwork for public school. She went on a tour with her counselor for 1st grade, without me. Without me, because due to covid, parents aren't allowed in the building. I cried the entire time. She came back to the vehicle smiling and so excited to tell me all about her new school. And before we made it back home, I received the call that she had been enrolled, and could start the following day. The lady on the phone gave me a little info to get us started, and gave me her teachers name.


I immediately came home to check the teacher list to see and read who would be taking on the roll as her new teacher. More tears fell, but this time it was tears of JOY. Y'all her teacher could not be more perfect for her and our family. And I'm certain Avery will love her.

Her teacher was out last week, but Avery insisted she wanted to go ahead and start so she could meet her new classmates. Lenley and I dropped her off in the car rider line and before we left the school Len said, "mom I miss Avery" and little did she know, I was crying too! 

That first day I got an email from her teacher with the cutest, and biggest smile I've ever seen on her face. Well, the only other time was when she met Rosie for the first time. So all the tears, all the worry, all the stress... it just kinda melted away with this one picture. When I picked her up her exact words were, "this was the best day ever!"

She was very excited to go back to school the next day, and that day had some emotional moments for her. Her school day is now 7 hrs and not the 3.5 we were doing at home every weekday. Her day starts earlier, as in she was used to getting up at 7:45, not being in her class ready to work by that time. 

Some things however have improved. One, Terry is home when we have to get up and he helps get the girls up and moving. I'm not a morning person, he is, and that's made a big difference for the girls, and me. Avery is loving the interactions with her classmates, and has even shown an interest in eating from the cafeteria. She said her favorite day will be mozzarella stick day.

Lenley is not a fan of the afternoon car rider line. But I figured out Friday that she could bring their Switch in the car, so that made the time go by a little faster for her. It also kept her from talking my ears off.

All of the events of last week were a HUGE change for all of us. I'm hoping the routine will set in soon and it will become second nature to us all. I'm most excited about hearing how her first day with her teacher is. We watched her welcome video and Avery is really happy she is in her class. We've also been working with her this weekend to get her used to some of the work they are doing in class. Common core will be a learning curve for all of us. Hopefully we will all adjust and catch on quickly.

Prayers for another good week. Prayers to keep her healthy and safe. Prayers for an easy adjustment in our daily schedules. And prayers for this mama who is no longer in control.

Weekend Update...

Monday, January 18, 2021

This weekend was supposed to go differently than it did, but that's okay. Avery was excited to go to my parent's house, and at the last minute she decided to not go. I truly think all the changes of last week with starting a new school, a different routine, and not being with me 24/7 had her wanting her mama. More on that later...

Friday evening we ordered pizza and chilled. The week was emotional, and we were all exhausted. We stayed up an hour later and called it a night. 

Saturday morning Terry and the girls let me sleep in. It was needed and felt great. I think the only reason they woke me up at 9 was because they wanted cinnamon rolls, and daddy didn't know how to make them. We spent the morning snuggling and having tickle fights before getting ready for one of their friends birthday drive by.

Saturday afternoon was full of sugar and sweets from Brayden's birthday. They had fun seeing him, and getting all the sugar. They got to ride in their daddy's work SUV for the drive by, and I'm pretty sure that made their day. We spent that evening grilling and hanging out in the living room. Not to mention we let them "wing it" and that's always a treat for them. (Wing it means a wipe down, and not a bath or shower.)

Sunday morning we used the hot chocolate bombs that we got from Brayden's party and holy moly they were good. The girls thought it was fun to see the marshmallows pop out, and to have green hot chocolate. Once the girls got settled playing, I tuned in to a church service back in Mississippi. I didn't make it through the first five minutes without crying. The pastor's wife passed away at a very young age from complications of covid the day before, and the entire congregation and worship leaders — you could just see it on their faces. The sadness, the hurt, the emptiness they felt, it was there and hard to see. I still see the joy on her face that I always saw when I saw pictures of her, and that's what brings me comfort — knowing she is showing that smile in the presence of Our Lord and Savior.

Sunday afternoon and evening was spent with some friends at their house for a cookout. Sometimes you just need a minute with adults and to let the kiddos play. It was nice to relax and have some laughs. After the heaviness of the week, and weekend, it was needed. And let's not forget all the food, it was delicious. I think if I always have the choice of what to have for a meal, it's finger foods and dips, and appetizers. A variety of yummy food always makes for a happy and content mama.

And here it is Monday morning... there is no school today. Avery was up at 6:45 ready for the day. (Who wants to place bets on if she does this tomorrow morning?) She stood by the window waiting to see if any friends were coming out to play. Lenley was like me, still in pjs and just wanting to sleep some more. Now their friends are here playing, and it's giving me a moment to catch up on laundry, some organizing, and well, writing.

Tomorrow starts Avery's 4th day at her new school. She also meets her new teacher tomorrow morning. While last week had it challenges, I'm sure more challenges will come. I'm just thankful for my tribe who keep me sane and uplifted. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have made it last week without them.


Organizing the chaos

Sunday, January 3, 2021

2020 will be known for most who were at home as the year of home projects. If you drove by a Lowes or Home Depot, those parking lots were full of vehicles just waiting to be filled with the items needed for the projects at home.

We really didn't do any major projects. Terry cleaned out the garage, we tried to organize a few things, but really it was mainly just two parents trying to survive with two little girls who wanted to constantly be doing something—usually outside.

I got a gift card to amazon for Christmas, one of my favorite places to order something and have it arrive fast. And I decided to get a few things to help organize the refrigerator, weirdly enough. I'm a Coke Zero kinda girl. When others say they have to have their coffee first thing in the morning, well, don't talk to me until I've had a few sips of my Coke Zero. Seriously. The outcome is much better with it in my system than without.

I have a running list of things I would like to purchase on Amazon. Did you know you could do that? You can even share it with people when they ask what you'd like for your birthday, Christmas, etc. So I started adding some organization things back in December, and took the plunge at the end of the year to we can get a few things organized. And to kick things off we started with the fridge.

This plastic turntable is perfect for all Terry's different pickles, and salsas. I purchased two, but so far we have only put one into place. I'm kinda thinking I might us the second one in our master bathroom for under the sink for some organization there.

And to get rid of twelve pack boxes in the fridge, I got these can organizers. It came as a four pack, so we have two in our main fridge and two in the fridge downstairs. Just makes it a lot cleaner to look at in the fridge in my opinion.

Trust me, we have plenty of other things to organize in this house, but I feel like that's a good start. I have two more of those turntables in my cart now because I'm thinking I might use one in the spice cabinet, because it's a mess. And maybe one in the pantry. Oh, and the can organizer would be good in the pantry too, to get those green bean, cream of chicken and rotel cans from taking up so much room. 

I'll holla at y'all later... just gave myself some more ideas for organizing. I'm pretty sure Terry will be flipping out in a second. 

Happy New Year, y'all! And happy organizing! 


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.  

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