Starting Off Right

The kids have been in school for about 4 weeks now, and we decided to make a change to how we started our day.  Okay, I decided and had to find a way to get them on board.  Because here is how our normal school/work mornings look.

6:30 My first alarm  (hit snooze till it quits)

7:00 My second alarm  (turn off then lay there for a few)

7:05 Start waking everyone up

7:15 Get in shower

7:30 Realize that no one is actually yet up and moving though they are awake

7:31  Yelling to move! move! move! as I put on clothes, brush teeth and decide makeup and fixed hair is overrated

7:50 Grab stuff (including travel mug of coffee) while yelling:  brush teeth!  put on shoes!  we’ve all got to go! and getting quick kisses and hugs as I run out the door and hubs gets them finished and out to school.

That routine stinks. 

So we started this school year differently.  I convinced Drew that this was a great workout to help him with baseball, so now he is on board, and as tough as it is, it now starts us off MUCH MUCH better.

Now, we’re starting off right and the new school/work mornings look like this:

6:30 My alarm and Drew’s alarm go off.  I lay there till he comes in and ‘wakes’ me

6:38  We are dressed and out the door on our bikes.  Or, now that the mornings are getting darker, doing a cardio video on TV.  Bike time was especially great, as we were able to chat some and pick different routes each day

7:05  Walk in the door to hubs starting the dishwasher, picking out clothes or getting lunches ready

7:06  Make sure Ben is up, put him in the bath, and Drew and I head to different bathrooms to shower

7:20 Everyone out and getting dressed

7:30 Breakfast for the boys, me finishing up getting ready

7:40  Finish making lunches, checking backpacks, drink coffee

7:45 Kiss boys, walk out door as the guys do final prep to leave

 

It’s not been easy, and it gets tougher as we have to figure out an indoor activity that we’ll both enjoy until the time changes and we can start biking again.  But the difference it’s making is well worth it.

What are your tips for getting the right start to your day?

 

 riding

 

 

Caution: Expect Delays

Several days ago a sign popped up on the road out of our neighborhood that advised us of delays this week.  This road just happens to be the only way in and out of the area, the only way to our school, and just happened to be the first week of school for the county on the other half of the road, with their school one block off it.  But even with the sign, I thought that the planners would surely minimize disruption under those circumstances.

I was wrong.

Monday morning as I rode my bike with Drew, about an hour before we leave for work and school, I realized that it may have been a bigger endeavor than I thought.  The dozens of people gathered at the end of the road waiting were a bad sign.  But still, there was nothing blocked, no equipment that looked like it would tear a road up, all was clear.

An hour later, I pulled out and realized that they weren’t kidding.  One lane of the two lane road was blocked, half of that lane was torn up, and the backup coming my direction (towards the school) was so bad, that I had to wait 10 minutes until they let us out.

I was not nice.  No one heard me, but I did more than grumble.

It wasn’t until later that I laughed a little bit.  I laughed because they had warned me.  I laughed because I hadn’t heeded the warning.  But mostly, I laughed because “Expect Delays” is a common theme of my life right now, and yet I still haven’t adjusted.  As a matter of fact, the grumbling gets louder and nastier, with each delay I face.  The delays are usually expected, always a pain, but also usually worse than they warned or I thought.

But no matter what I do, I’m not going to get there any faster.  Sometimes, delays just happen.

How do you cope when you see a sign somewhere in your life, on a road, at work or in a dream you’re working towards that says

Caution:  Expect Delays

Maybe you have some tips for me.  {seriously, tips anyone?!}

I should have believed them

I should have believed them

 

For my Boys: Know Who You Are

formyboys

Strong, Brave, Kind

Silly, Wild, Playful

Inquisitive, Driven, Expanding

Loved, Cherished, Wanted

Growing, Challenging, Seeking

Boys, as you settle into this new school year, that is so full of promise and excitement for you both, I resist the urge to go before you and tell everyone all that they should know about you.  I want to send pages and pages of notes to your teachers, letting them know enough about you that they love you and want to see you grow as much as I do.  I want to let them know of your weaknesses so they can encourage you, let them know of your strengths so they can push you, let them know of the children who are mean so they can protect you, and let them know of the children who lift you so they can place you with them.

I want them to know you.

But what I’ve learned, is that the most important thing is that you know yourself.  Those words above?  Those are the words I think of when I think of you.  You are so very different, but so very much the same.  You are years apart and much different people, so each one is exhibited differently and at different times in different ways.  But know those things.  Know you are each of those.

Know who you are.

And when you forget, I will remind you.

 

I’m Not Ready!

School starts this week for the big and the little.

We have the supplies, we’ve met the teachers, and even been shopping for food to make lunch boxes.

But we had hopes of more beach trips, more time with family, more some craft projects, more bike rides, more popsicles.  We were going to get organized (you know, for the first time ever) and have our home office area a space we would want to work in and keep things well organized in.  We were going to finish some painting, finish some floors, and finally design our bedroom retreat.

Now we jump into mornings of hurry, nights of homework and bedtimes, worse traffic, calendars and papers galore, and juggling more than ever.  I’d like to put a hold on time.

I’m not ready!

Since I can’t, my backup technique is reminding myself of all the good things.  So here is my list of the top things I’m looking forward to in the next few months, and why I’m almost celebrating back to school.

1.  Sports.  We’re just weeks away from the start of College Football- here in the South, NFL is fun, but mostly for when there is no College game on.  Go Gators!  Along with that is the start of another baseball season.  We don’t take many breaks with Drew, but he’s had a longer than expected break this summer, and we’re all ready to get going.  PLUS!  Ben starts t-ball!  For all this alone, it’s almost worth the end of summer.

2.  Cooler Weather.  HA!  Summer is only actually halfway over, and we have plenty of near 100 degree weather left here in Florida.  But we like to think that it’s around the corner, and start to believe that we’ll have relief one day.

3.  Learning & Independence.  Drew likes to learn, and even Ben has been pretending to do homework recently.  They soak up knowledge and the chance to expand their thinking.  I love seeing that happen, and as many good things as we’ve had about the summer, lots of learning was not one of them.  It’s also time where they can be outside of our wings, but still in a protected place, growing and finding out who they are.

4Time with Friends.  It’s so much fun to hear the stories back from school of the friends being reconnected with, and new friendships being made.  And for us, we reconnect with some baseball families that we’re all friends with, connect with new families, and start to build upon the amazing network we already have.

5.  New Possibilities.  At the start of a new year, there are so many possibilities.  We can’t know everything that will unfold, and that’s pretty exciting.  What doors will God open?  What opportunities present themselves?  What closes?  While sometimes nerve wracking to think about, it also is faith building.  To know that God is in control, and tomorrow may not look like today.  Tomorrow may be even better.

We start back before a lot of other areas do, so some of you may just be starting to think of Back to School.  Are you ready, are your kids ready?  What are you looking forward to?

 

Leading the Way

Leading the Way

Summer Fun!

Today is the last day of school, and Drew is especially looking forward to summer.  To him that means staying up late, sleeping in, vacation with us (to who knows where as of today), vacation with extended family (to the Bahamas!), riding bikes and surfing.  To me, it means no morning fights to get out the door, less traffic to battle on the way to work, and being jealous of my sleeping family.  But I love the downtime for them, and the freedom that comes with summer.  Mostly, I love their excitement over the possibilities.

Drew finished the year with his year end grades being SUPER! and several awards including a black belt in Recorder Club (oh how I love the sound of the practice.  *sarcasm*), a Citizenship award (apparently he saves it all for school and is plum out of respect by the time he gets home), and a few others.  Next year he’ll be in 5th grade- the last year of elementary school.  How did this happen?  Wasn’t I just writing about his first day of 3rd grade?

Drew at 4th Grade Awards with one of several he earned

Drew at 4th Grade Awards with one of several he earned

 

Ben finished his first year of preschool a few weeks ago.  He loved every minute of the small class that he spent two mornings a week in.  He learned so much, and we were so thankful for his precious teachers.  But he’s moving on!  He was accepted as a ‘model student’ (don’t laugh, I have no idea how this has happened) for the pre-K program at Drew’s school.  We thought they’d never be at the same school at the same time, but now they’ll share one year there together.  We love the school, and are thrilled with the opportunity it’s going to give Ben to grow and learn.  He’ll end up there for 8 years!

 

ben_endyear

We’re ready for Summer fun!

 

p.s.  I’m linking up with a Wordy Wednesday prompt today- lots of people do Wordless Wednesday’s but that’s not quite possible for me!  So check out some of the other great posts here at CarrieElle.com. 

Wishes and Prayers

blowing out his birthday candle

Over the weekend we celebrated my youngest one’s third birthday.  It was a festive day, with friends and family, and exactly as it should be.  I am not overly sentimental, but on occasions like this, I can’t help but think back to the excitement of bringing that sweet new life into the world, magic of introducing brothers for the first time, and anticipation of learning who he was.

He’s a study in opposites.  He is routinely covered in anything he can get into, yet asks for napkins and won’t keep the same clothes on for more than a few hours because “they’re dirty.’  He loves to fight but lavishes hugs and kisses.  He yells at his brother, but mimics everything he does.  He climbs higher than I prefer, but is scared of sleeping in his own bed.  He’s sweet and sour and full of so much life I hardly believe it when he falls asleep, though crashes may be a more accurate description. 

I am so thankful for the privilege of guiding him and teaching him, heavy with the weight of that responsibility, and the excitement of what is to come.  But this weekend it was ever more poignant as we all thought of the sweet faces who weren’t home, parents who had fulfilled their time of guiding and teaching much too early.

Like so many, I struggled with what to tell my older son, who had gone off to his elementary school that morning just as those children had.  While we all hugged our ‘babies’ a little bit more, we also all handle it a bit differently.  I didn’t want to cause fear, or bring sadness, but I knew he would hear about it if he hadn’t already.  The answer was obvious to me.

Let the story and the impact of today or any day, be of those who are brave and selfless and give us hope.  Let the story be that there was more love shown that day than hate.  Let the story be that no matter where you are, you are in God’s hands and He puts people in place to hold us.

As parents, our ‘job’ is not to protect our children, as much as our hearts tell us to.  As parents, our job is to teach them to love and to trust and to be brave and selfless.  Our job is to send them into the world to be the hands and feet of God, though they’ll each do it in different ways.  Our job is to love them so much, that they have so much love to give.

As I kissed my oldest goodbye and wished him a good day at school this morning, I wanted to turn around and grab him and have us both stay at home in safety and comfort, knowing that any day could end like Friday had for the families in Connecticut.  But I didn’t.  My God is not a God of fear.  He is not a God of safety zones and comfort, but the exact opposite.  There have always been, and always will be, people and circumstances that cause pain and suffering.  I thank God daily that there have also always been and will always be, people that bring even more hope and courage, when they could instead stay safe.

I pray that our answers don’t come in only more protection and more fear, but of more confidence in the One who protects us.  I pray that we do hold our babies closer, but to ensure they feel our love and know their worth, so that they can go on with courage and strength. I pray for the families who hurt so much, and thank God for those who were so brave and selfless that they are the real story.

2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

One Shoelace at a Time

My little guy (the one more like me than I usually admit) went to his first day of 3rd grade with different colored shoe laces in each shoe, and no one walking him to class.  “Mom, I’m not five” is exactly what he said.  I hadn’t made a comment about the laces, because what do I know about cool?  But not walking my son in and taking a photo of him in front of his desk?  Come on!  You can’t really expect a mom to be okay with that.

 
Watching him walk away

But we must.

We must let them grow, giving them independence in safe and healthy ways.  We must let them be their own person, not a miniature version of us (though its scary just how much like us they are).  Even when they make decisions that cause them pain.  We guide, we love, we teach through it all, but we must let them find their way.

I know more and more about how my parents felt as they raised us, but especially as they still loved and guided Austin towards the end of his time with us.  Like what I did with him as a sister, wanting the best for him, but knowing he had to choose his own way, no matter how much pain it brought him or us. 

I think that God must feel something like this.  Giving us the tools, love and support we need and knowing that he could choose our way.  But He lets us.  He loves us enough to want us to come to Him out of our own will, not because he forces it. 

So I let go, just one shoelace and walk at a time, so that one day Drew is able to make his own wise choices.  But I think like today, I’ll always be watching closely with my heart in my throat.

**I have to add in here that I have some wonderful friends that demonstrate this all the time and just a few days ago discussed this very topic.  It helped me today as I watched him go, so thank you dear friends!