Wednesday, August 31, 2016

8 Days In

I didn’t get her picture before we left so I asked her to take a selfie since I knew there was no hope of a picture since I was dropping her off.  

This is so normal, I know…to drop kids off at school and come home to an empty house— a QUIET, empty house.  But FIVE days a week.  It’s really amazing.  Only 8 days in, I don’t know the full extent of the “amazing-ness” but everyday, I find it hard to believe that they will leave again the next day too.  And only 8 days in, I really can’t tell yet exactly how different I am going to feel.  I think mid October, maybe I’ll know?  All I know, it’s a very big deal.

The first week was good for both of them.  Julia had a couple of schedule snafus but other than getting lost like every other freshman, wondering what to wear and not being able to locate her locker for a week, she really enjoyed it.  This isn’t easy— brand new school, HIGH SCHOOL, 6A school {very large}, a handful of friends— I think she’s {I want to say ‘killing it’ but can a 45 year old say that?  Without people thinking, “she’s trying to talk hip”?}I think she’s doing swell.  Ha!  Anyway.  I am so proud of her.  God loves my girl— way more than I do and He’s using other people to show her that too.  Another mom offered to get some freshman girls together at a yogurt shop last Sunday just to give Julia more familiar faces to see in the halls.  When I thanked her later, she said, “Today was my pleasure and a glimpse of God’s love for Julia!”  My heart is full.

Get this— NO DRESS CODE.  Nada.  Zip.  It’s really hard to believe in 2016 but there’s not.  Julia left today in running shorts, long sleeve T-shirt and running shoes.  Second day for that look but she’s worn “real clothes" the other days.  I had no idea what she’d want to do.  Last week when she came down in above said outfit, no make-up {she doesn’t wear much but NO mascara or gloss) and her hair in a bun, I knew she was O-KAY.  Made me happy that she was comfortable in her bare and beautiful 14 year old skin.  For now.  Will continue to pray.  For lots of things.

Brighton didn’t have football practice on the first day of school so I didn’t drop him off until— another “get this”— 9:30!!  I’ve heard of this but wasn’t sure I really believed it.  But it’s true. And the sweetest thing that happened on day 1— There is a group of girls I have known since right before Julia was born and many of our children overlap in ages but hardly have ever schooled or even attended church together.  Two of my friends in that group had kids starting at McLean too. As I was inching down the street to drop him off, we saw one of the boys {and his mom} so B jumped out and I called Kellie to tell her B was running up behind them.  When they got to the front of the school, our other friend was there so they all got to go in together and walk each other to their homerooms— after Kelly explained to B what homeroom was.  And she was able to take this picture.  Again, my heart was full.

Thanks, KB, for taking this picture!
Back to the 9:30 drop off.  We only got ONE morning of that.  Football practice drop off is 6:30!!  Hello morning.  He’s rocking the alarm clock and ready to go. On time. Our Golden Retriever went without breakfast a couple of days as B was getting used to this new dark-thirty schedule {Gabe had lunch though when we realized}.  Gosh, I know B’s tired.  I told him this morning that this would be easier once they played their first game.  I watched him get out of the car this morning— in the dark— he was barefoot, carrying his shoes, glorious bed hair and too many pieces NOT in his backpack and sure enough, he left his lunch in the car.  I’m not sure if the left lunch was by design or not because, guess what?  He has an affinity for cafeteria food.  Of course he does.  Carbs and cheap meat are his favorite food groups.  I am not sure what we are going to do about that.

By about Tuesday last week {SECOND day of school}, he said, “I can’t believe I get to go back tomorrow!”  He truly loves it.  I went to his open house last night to meet his teachers— and some of his friends- and I could just tell, he LOVES it.  Going into situations like that for him are very natural and energizing even.  Not one atom in his body is introvert.  He thrives with all the people and all the interactions.  Now, let’s see if his heart and grades thrive. {So many prayers to pray!}

I cannot end this without a bit on pick ups/drop offs/carpool.  This was a brand-spanking new frontier for me.  I had no idea.  Really.  I am SO impressed with my friends who have done it for YEARS and not ONCE complained.  I am totally inspired.  The first day, it rained, so Monday night my friends assured me it was “pick up on steroids”.  But even then, I knew I needed to do something different.  Every day I have tried new routes and new times and I think I’ve got it.  Ballet started this week so I am trying some new streets for that and the piano time slot might be a lost cause but I am going to try really hard tomorrow.   Carpool is a BLESSING— surprised it isn’t mentioned in the Holy Scriptures somewhere.  To AVOID pick ups is the way to go so you really want to make carpool work.  However, you get to know the kids which is the upside of it being your day to drive.  Just say yes.

But did I mention I come home to a quiet, empty house FIVE days a week?  I can do crazy pick ups, no problem.


Yes, I do miss them.  It took me until Friday but B got out of here early that morning without my seeing him and about 2 o’clock, I thought, “I miss him”.   I went into this with my eyes wide open.  I know what I had with them for nine years.  TIME.  Lots of precious time.  We interacted all day and interacted fully all those years.  Some was ugly and some was GOLDEN.  Putting them in public school, I knew that would be gone. It is a sacrifice made.  I know I am missing a lot.  And I am okay with that— on the days I remember the Lord led us to here.  I have to trust Him with their time— to mold and shape them into who He has created them to be, to allow circumstances in their lives that drive them to Him, to develop more compassion for a larger sphere, and to begin to understand our world’s culture and how to interact IN it but not OF it.  {Prayers!!  Please!!}

Seriously.  Can all of that really happen in middle/high school??!  Who knows.  I think it’s a good starting place.  My heart is full of gratitude to a good and faithful God who loves my children way more than I do.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Lake Day {Old Friends and New}

Did I ever tell you it rained -- it seems-- the LAST MONTH OF SUMMER?!?  Pool days came to an abrupt halt.  No more packing coolers.  No more sunscreen applications.  No more lazy days of chatting in the sun {or shade - depending on who you are} with friends.  It was sad.  A “lake day” had been promised to Julia with a few old friends and new who would be joining her at Paschal the first day of school but the days and days of rain seemed to be determined to snuff this fun day out.  On the day of as I was debating on whether or not to cancel it, all it took was one boy in the background of the conversation I was having with his mom saying, “Let’s just try it!”.  No more questions-- if he was game, I was game.  After a handful of optimistic texts to the other parents, I heated up the Hawaiian Roll sandwiches, loaded the cooler with fun cans and bottles, layered THREE batches of Rice Krispie treats in one container, the biggest bag of popcorn I’d ever seen in my life and off we went.  As I was heading out the door, I noticed the wood pile and thought of wet kids and evening time and threw a few pieces of wood in the back of the car.  And in case you were wondering if I am crazy or delusional, we had a VERY strange August.  Very cool. Very wet.

Kids, lake, a dock, a football, no worries of sunburn.  Perfect.

How many teenagers can you fit on a ski boat?
 {They didn’t all go at once, of course. But they would have tried!}

Always a little work to get a group shot.

As the afternoon turned to early evening, the sky just kept getting more dreamy.

Audrey was the ONLY one to try wake boarding and make it up several times.  Hudson was a veteran- got up the first time-- but I applaud the boys for trying.  Really hard.

Tommy, Audrey’s dad, started the fire - WITHOUT lighter fluid- {show off} while Jeff slung the kids around on the tube.  They found sticks so they could heat their sandwiches.

We lit sky lanterns at the end which-- I don’t care how may times you’ve done them- they are just cool.  And so pretty to watch.  They floated the right way-- thank goodness-- AWAY from the trees.  But we were able to watch them until they were just specks.  

The sky at this point was just incredible-- as you see in the following picture but, here, you can see the reds and pinks reflecting onto them as they followed their lanterns.

I know.  Amazing.  This is completely unedited taken on the phone. It just looked like this.  I noticed a couple of the kids-- boys, mind you-- running back to snap a picture too.  Gotta love a kid who appreciates a sunset. ; )

We had a GREAT time with these kids.  We just wanted to give Julia a few more friendly faces to recognize as she headed to a brand new school.  I was completely encouraged- and impressed- to meet them because each of them were super polite and very helpful.  And so very grateful.  That always gets a momma’s heart.  We’ll load this crew up anytime they want to go.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Pericope No. 16 Winter to Summer

2016.  Time passing gets crazier and crazier.  Don’t we say that all the time?  But we never tire of marveling it.  Or cursing it.  Flies.  Just flies by.  I managed to NOT post many sweet memories-- lots of love and fun shared that I don’t want to forget.   They are all blessings-- gifts from the Lord that He chose to be a part of our dailies -- our lives.  Our story.

There’s hardly a better way to begin a new year than with friends-- especially the WHOLE family-- and one that’s hard to find all together at once.

If we could publish our voice texts that fly between us each day, well, it could go several ways-- rolled eyes, a book deal, calls from CPS, a talk show or our kids never speak to us again.

We got to have our niece while she was in town.  Catherine loves my kids-- so of course, that makes me love her even more.

Julia celebrated her 14th birthday with girls.....and boys.  {It was our first coed party.}  It was a FUN night with some of the sweetest kids on the planet.

So these four -- haven’t gotten to spend a ton of time together but they’ve known each other their whole lives.  We’ve got to keep taking these pictures.


I’ve seen a lot of these this year.  So has the washing machine.  

This is about that time when they came and took pictures of our home.  

Brighton had a great time on his 6th grade team last year.  Their coach was so good for them.  We had a fun time watching them!

The Princess Diaries.  She nailed it.

D-Town-- the most favorite event of the Watermark year it seems

Birthday number we are close to not remembering anymore....

This deserves a whole post but this will have to do for now-- B in trouble, consequences moving the log pile.  B sees the new and freshly painted Adirondack chairs and decides to load the logs in the chairs and DRAG them across the yard.  Yep.

The annual Bluebonnet delivery from Nana and Papa

We got to have RJ and Megan in town for a Merge Weekend-- a premarital training/weekend to help get them ready for the BIG DAY.  It was a dream come true to have them here.

That time we got to TALK to Amy Grant..... 

Open House at PHS and TJ slips her this hat.

Love these daddy/daughter dates

Spring break FUN

Easter selfie

This is what the school room looked like MOST of the time.  B’s binder this year looks much the same.

TobyMac -- some things just don’t get old.  

Foundation Group girls-- special gals.  Missing Kelsey in this pic!

Grateful for friends like Ashley.

We got to host the pastor from my home church in Soperton during Watermark’s church conference.  He was a JOY to have in our home.

Spending time with these sisters is always fun.  

These girls-- been exercising their imaginations for a decade.  They could write a book on how little girls should really play.

How fun is it that your 1st cousin plays minor league ball?!

Wrestling matches are wonderful entertainment.

Just grateful

Mother’s Day 2016

It was a joy to have my friends come over while my Mom was in town.  These women have prayed for her during her second round of breast cancer.  She made her famous whipping cream pound cake and we poured plenty of coffee.  She even brought her Bundt pan.

Cutting up after warm ups-- Julia’s ballet posse

Loveliness in motion

Remey’s little Graham-- Julia babysitting-- I could make a “time” comment here but I will restrain myself.

And later, I found this as screensaver on the family phone.

Nikki hosted the “school’s out” party for Julia’s class-- and LOOK at our clothes!!  It was sweater weather in MAY!  In Texas.

Bittersweet morning....  I could not process the emotions of it on the day-- way too much going on internally.  Remember on one post or another I had said, parenting had been really hard.  Jeff is forever my favorite for remembering and for making it a moment.

Sweetness does happen from time to time in our home.

First lake trip of the summer-- it was harder to get out there this summer.  Every summer we say we are going to do better.

First time Julia pulled B behind the boat.

Jeff and Brighton got to make this memory fishing with our friend, Tim Bach.  

One of my favorite things over the summer-- CAMP JOY!  

And this is how her summer kicked off-- Summer math class plus Margo Dean ballet intensive in the morning plus Camp Joy in the afternoon equals naps in the Eno by the pool.  Something like that.

Jeff bought and and sold a house-  Julia chose paint colors and light fixtures and did a great job.  We got it ready as a family at the end but Jeff did most of the work.  The open house was the most fun. ; )

Jeff and I took a weekend and went to one of Heartlight’s parenting conferences.  Mark Greggston has some of the best stuff around.  Check out his podcasts on the app Parenting Today’s Teens.  Worth every minute.

I started seeing more of this lately-- “Feel my muscle, Mom”.  

We loved having Jason close by for a few months this summer as he played for the Rough Riders in Frisco.  He always knows how to make everyone feel so special.

ADPi got my sweet niece here and we talked her into staying over-- Jason being close by helped our chances of getting her to stay!

We enjoyed showing off Fort Worth all week.

Celebrating Em

Julia got to spend a week at Camp Barnabas-- her first trip.  We got a call from her leader telling us Julia wanted to talk to us about staying another week.  

Anniversary date with Jeff-- 24 years.
Game night with the neighbors

We got to have this sweet family overnight.  It’s NEVER long enough!

A momma can’t resist genuine smiles.

Their parents were celebrating their 20th in ALASKA and we got these two for dinner.  Table conversation I will never forget.

And then school started........