Summer Kick Off

Picture 34
Definitely a traditional pool shot, but not a traditional, “Brrrr, I need a jacket on May 27!” shot. This spring weather has been so strange. This picture was taken at the 6th grade class end of year party. Maddie was pretty much the only kid to enjoy some swimming action in the too-cool-for-pool weather. A few other kids tried it, but she stayed in for much of the party. She’s a strange one, she is.

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This is Home

Our family still processes almost everything with music. It’s pretty much how Craig and I figured out who we were at the very beginning of our relationship and it’s pretty much how we all apologize to each other now and how we continue to process everything. Our kids are starting to do the same. We’ve been slowly pulling together a family playlist for this time of transition in our lives. Maddie added the latest to the list for us and it’s probably the most appropriate of all the ones we have on it so far.

This is Home by Switchfoot:

Putting the hybrid in our homeschool

So I describe myself all over the internet like this: wife, mama, freelance writer, occasional crafter, hybrid homeschooler, Mary Poppins wannabe.

It works for me.

If you’ve been hanging around here long enough you know we’ve homeschooled all four girls until this past year. This past year we sent two to a great local Christian school and I continued to homeschool the younger two. Next year we will streamline again by all being on the same page, but it will still be a change. We’ll be participating in the blended educational model of Veritas Classical Academy.

Veritas seems like the best of both worlds. My two younger girls will attend classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and be home on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. My two older girls will attend classes on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays and be home on Mondays and Wednesdays.

As much as I’ve appreciated what my two older girls had this year at their school, and believe me, I appreciated it very much, I’m really looking forward to all of us being on the same page again next year.

The entry-level draw back, however, is that Veritas teaches Saxon math to the students one year ahead. I have no issues with Saxon, but I’m a little concerned over the one year ahead thing.

So guess who is doing math all summer long? That’s right, point those fingers right at us. My 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 6th graders will be cramming 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 7th grade math all summer long so that when they go in as 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 7th graders in the fall hopefully they will be ready to do 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 8th grade math.

Make sense? Last night I pulled together the insane math schedule we’re going to have to do all summer to make this happen. We’re completely redefining the term summer fun around here this year.

But I know they can do it and this could very well be the right summer to make it happen considering we’ll have just moved to a new place and not be very well connected with friends for the girls yet. What else is there to do in Oklahoma besides math anyway?

I’m KIDDING. Of course.

Anyway, that’s the latest on what’s going on with our educational roller coaster. I’m hoping it’s all downhill from here.

What would you take with you?

We're in the middle of a tornado watch here in St. Louis and the sky looks like it could really happen. Still. I've been in this spot before and nothing has ever happened, so it's really really REALLY hard for me to take them seriously.

After Joplin, I should.

As a precaution, I just had K9 gather up all of our tennis shoes and socks for everyone (we're all barefooted right now. We put them in a laundry basket along with a gallon of water. We piled up 2 sleeping bags and a couple of pillows. I popped the iPhone on top of the pile.

It's probably ignorant to think this will do the trick, but I felt like I should do SOMETHING, even if I'm sitting here right now posting this post, sitting next to a big window.

Say you had ten minutes to gather some stuff together – what would you put in your basket?

Mixed Media

Craig needed to get a cell phone for his new job, so he went and got one on Sunday. He got me one too. Aside from the little pay-as-you-go phone I carried for a total of about 10 hours over the span of one year about two years ago (ie: I kept forgetting to bring it with me, or if I had it it was never charged), we have been cell phone-free for the past six years. This means we've skipped the texting craze almost completely.

Until now. On Sunday I sent some practice texts to a few people. The very first text I sent was to my sister. I texted her land line by accident. In case you didn't know this already, texting doesn't work that way. I also sent texts to several people without identifying myself. This is a problem because our phones have our Oklahoma City area code and nobody had our number yet, so we weren't programmed in to anyone's phone. So they were getting random texts from an obscure area code from someone they didn't recognize.

Tonight we had plans to go out to eat. We found out it's kids eat free night at Chili's and we were given a gift card for Chili's just this past weekend, so we decided to go. I sent Craig a message to let him know I got the coupon to print.

When he came home he asked if he needed to fix the printer. I said, "No! Didn't you get my text?" He was all confused as he looked at his phone again and couldn't find the text. I waited a minute and then said, "Hmm. Maybe I emailed you instead." But no, there was no email. Later that night he was messing with the phone and discovered he had a voice mail message. It was from me telling him I fixed the printer and had the coupon.

Apparently I can't keep my technology straight anymore. I'm about as used to leaving phone messages for Craig as I am to texting him.

Looks like I have some updating and reprogramming to do…

I’m stuck

So I started packing back in February because my parents were coming and I could send one round of stuff back with them. They came back a month later and we loaded up another round. Ever since then I’ve been packing, but nobody has been hauling anything away so we’re pretty much surrounded by boxes and have been for two months.

I still have a lot more to pack, but I’m suffering from the “pace to one side of the room, pick up one thing, pace to the other, put the thing down” wash, rinse, repeat syndrome. In short, I’m not getting much done at this point.

I did make a fair amount of progress in the basement today until I almost got eaten alive by a colony of dead cave crickets that were hiding out in an plastic bin. Yes, you can get eaten alive by dead cave crickets. Particularly when one of them isn’t dead yet. Anyway, they scared me is what I’m trying to say here.

So much time, so little to do. Wait, strike that. Reverse it. There’s so much to do, but very little will to get it done.

What I really want to do is sit down and watch the entire season of something on TV. I don’t really care what, I just want to do that.

Wouldn’t that be the most responsible thing to do right now?

Fridays are for crying, apparently

So last week I broke down during Bible Study and questioned what in the world we’re doing, uprooting and moving and all that.

This week I held it in a lot better, but I did leak a little. And it wasn’t really even for me or about me. It was for and about Katie.

You see, I’m doing a pretty good job of stuffing my feelings most of the time and I guess I’m sort of trying to teach my kids to do the same. I had to leave Bible Study about ten minutes early today so I could take Katie & Millie to meet friends at the zoo since I was going with the 6th grade class on their field trip to a Mexican restaurant (yes, I live to serve that way). As I got up in my group to leave I gave an awkward, “Well, it was really nice to know you all!”  Yes, it was just as weird as it sounds here. No tears, just a kind of chuckle as I exited stage left.

I then went to pick up the girls. They didn’t realize I was going to be removing them ten minutes early. They hadn’t had time for proper closure. As they finished gluing the last things on the project they were working on it hit Katie that she was seeing these teachers and kids for probably the last time. I could hear the catch in her throat. She gave hugs, said good-byes and thank yous, and made her own stage exit, keeping her smile pasted on the entire time. We left and I stopped her for a second and asked her how she was doing. I could see the grief pass over her eyes for just a moment and she buried her head in me, for just a moment. She was silent. The moment passed. We continued on toward the van.

I dropped them off at the zoo and on my way back to the school really considered what just took place in my 9yo’s heart. She felt the pain and she stuffed it. And I let her do it.

And I’m sorry I did.

We have two weeks left in St. Louis and these moments are going to pick up the pace more and more. I want to be intentional about letting them happen. I want to encourage my girls to feel.

One year after we moved to St. Louis I made this observation about people leaving. Had we left St. Louis that year, or even in the first 3-4 years we lived here, this move probably wouldn’t sting the way it does right now. And as hard as this is, I’m glad it does. We made friends. We made connections. We did what we needed to do to be human and in community and involved in the lives of people.

But…

It’s hard right now, but it’s right. And I need to make for darn sure my kids know. And I will. Just as soon as I stop crying.

So we went to the movies on Tuesday…Savvy?

Picture 10
I'm telling you, this whole having kids old enough to babysit themselves thing is pretty awesome. It took us long enough to get here, but now that we are…well, we don't really utilize this new awesomeness that much, but it's super nice to know we can if we want to. And on Tuesday night we wanted to.


 

Pirates of the Caribbean, On Stranger Tides, sailed into St. Louis a few days early for a pre-screening. The past screenings we've gone to we've been able to take our whole family, but they anticipated a large turn out for this one and just gave us two tickets. And man, oh, man, they were right. The theater was PACKED including one tiny dog that apparently sneaked past security. They were tight on the cell phones and cameras alright, but tiny dogs? No problem!

Evidentally the tiny dog really likes pirate movies, though, because we never heard a peep from it all night and it was sitting right in front of us. Maybe he was mesmerized by the mermaids.

I'm definitely not going to outline the story for you – basically you know – there's this crazy pirate who gets in all kinds of mischief but he's hilarous in the doings of it and he survives in the end, savvy?

I'll confess that all of our kids have watched the three previous Pirates of the Caribbean movie and they were all bent out of shape that Craig and I were going to this one without them. But I'll tell you that while we were watching this on the big screen (and this was one of the few movies where I thought the 3D was effective and worth it) I was really glad the girls weren't there. I had kind of forgotten that we do have them cover their eyes are various parts of the others and there was plenty in this one that would have ignited our 9yo's throw up response to oversized violence. She would deny it, though. She's the one who loves the pirates the most!

We'd had a fair amount of family discussion on the disappointment of Will and Elizabeth not being in this one, but I'll tell you that while watching it, I totally forgot all about Will and Elizabeth until the movie was over and then I was all, "Oh drat, they didn't include Will and Elizabeth!" In short, it didn't take away from the movie at all. Johnny Depp is what makes this movie what it is, don't you know?

I enjoyed the Angelica character in this one and liked how the movie ended to set up the next one. Craig and I were talking about the various different ways #5 could end up going.

Overall, a fun way to spend a couple of hours and I'd defintely recommend seeing it on the big screen while you can.

On Leaving Well

Picture 4
Craig was given a sword when we left Colorado. It seems very appropriate that our time in St. Louis will forever be marked by this bat. I wrote more about this at WORLDMag.com today.

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Our time in St. Louis is quickly coming to a close, but we’ve barely had time to think about it in the midst of everything that comes with the normal springtime and the culmination of various recitals, events, end-of-year hoo-has, etc.

As I’ve turned over my own various responsibilities, I kept expecting to feel a twinge of emotion or regret or sadness or something. So far, though, I’ve just been numb concerning all of the things that have directly involved me. But my emotional faucet got nudged for the first time last week when my husband’s junior varsity baseball team finished its season with its 20th win, setting a new JV school record for most wins in a season, and the boys celebrated by giving Craig a water cooler shower after the game.

As I was shuttling our own kids to their various activities that evening, I missed the entire game, showing up just in time to see the boys dump the water on him. And I instantly teared up.

It wasn’t necessarily the water dump that made me cry; it was the connection these boys have with my husband that, though I’ve seen it all season long, we all really experienced last week as the season wrapped up.

In anticipation of his leaving, the boys chipped in and bought him an engraved bat, which they all signed. Their parents also surprised him by purchasing tickets for the entire team to go to a Cardinals game together. The water cooler shower was just their final way of saying thanks . . . and that they have really appreciated his role in their lives as their coach these past two years.

When preparing for a move, it is easy to get completely caught up in all the practicalities of what has to happen to make the move happen. It is easy to lose sight of everything and everyone we’re leaving. I think Craig needed the bat. He needed the tickets to the game with the boys. And he needed the water dumped on him to really understand the impact he made here in St. Louis, if even for only 12 guys, if even for only two years.

And I needed to be there when it happened . . . and I’m really glad I was.

In the spirit of Matthew 25, it’s these little things that matter most. “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.”

It could be said that being a JV coach pales in light of almost everything else, but I’m here to tell you that it matters. The investment my husband made in those boys made a difference. And I know 12 guys who will happily agree with me.