Friday, August 26, 2016

Snapshots of a Kindergartener...

...Wednesday night, we attended your first "Backpack Night" on the eve of your first day of Kindergarten.  You were pretty quiet, but did ask your teacher where the principal's office was so you've got that covered. 

...You watched Battle Bots with Daddy before bed and then you and I had some special time together.  I gave you a new book called "If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don't!"  We laughed hard and then said some special prayers, asking Jesus to give you a really great day in the morning (and for Mommy to get some sleep).

...I was up half the night, thinking all kinds of irrational things.  It felt a lot like the night before my very first day of teaching.  

...We overslept on your first day.  Daddy dressed Mila in her Easter dress and tennis shoes and she looked ridiculous, but was too crabby to mess with changing her.  He took her to school and you and I picked out a snack for your backpack and talked about the kinds of things you get to do in Art, PE, and Library.  

...We had smiley pancakes at J's Homestyle, per your request.  

...We got to Southdale a little early, and Aunt Kelli and Charly met us at the front.  It makes me so happy to know they'll be in the same building as you this year.

...The front lawn filled up fast and it was so nice to see so many familiar faces.  Jaxon's mom and dad, Ashton, Addy and Alayna, and the Gabels.  You all looked so sweet in your backpacks and first day of school clothes.

...The only thing you said as we made our way through the crowd into the front doors of the school was "Yikes!"  It was adorable and your Dad and I both flashed a grin at each other as we squeezed your hands a little tighter.  

...We found your seat and you immediately started playing with your own small bowl of tiles sitting on your name tag.  I introduced you to a sweet girl named Lauren sitting next to you and you said, "Hi, Lauren."  She said hi back, but was careful to not look up from her tower building.

...We each gave you a hug, waved to the teacher, and out we went.  And I cried all the way to the car!

five hours later...

...I knew the minute I saw you that you had had a great day.  You had a grin on your face and said it was awesome.  And you talked a mile a minute all the way home.  Here are some of the highlights of your first day, in your words of course...

"We have trays!  And this cooker guy told me to walk faster but I was too nervous!"

"And they have strawberry milk!  And chocolate milk and white milk, too, but I choosed strawberry today.  And I tried a new fruit, even though no one made me.  It was yellow and had seeds."

"I think I made two new friends.  And I didn't use my shy voice."

"I saw Kelli in the hallway and she gave me a hug.  I wanted to ask her where Charly was but there was a gap in the line and I had to go!"

"We even went to the music room and learned a song about farm animals."

"I had to help Addy on the playground because she had to go potty and she couldn't find a teacher.  We found a guy together, probably the president or something, and he helped Addy in the building."

I will look forward to your stories for the rest of the year.  I'm so proud of you!               

Thursday, August 25, 2016

On Your First Day of Kindergarten...

All week, I've had this image in my mind of feeding you in the middle of the night when you were just weeks new.  Tucked in our new black leather la-z-boy recliner in the early hours of the morning, when our neighborhood was dark and it seemed you and I were the only two souls up in the entire world, I used to do a lot of thinking during this time.  With motherhood so fresh and new, I remember feeling as if life existed in this little bubble, safe and protected and unaffected by the world outside of us.  Those days weren't easy, full of sleepless nights, poopy diapers, and learning to live inside this new skin of being your mom, but they were simple and sweet and fragile.  If I heard any advice when I became a mom, it was along the lines of how fast the baby stage goes, even if some days seemed anything but that.

There in the dark, with Jimmy Fallon's Late Night on mute so I could hear the sounds of your squeaks as you ate, I used to think about you getting big, hitting milestones like your first day of kindergarten, and at the time, they felt so far away.  Some days, the hard days, those big milestones couldn't come fast enough, but every time we'd find ourselves on the other end of one of them, we'd miss those days as fast as we watched them go.  It was in these moments I started to learn the unexplained juxtaposition of being a mom.  I could feel indescribable love and at my wit's end at the very same time.  I could be so excited to watch you grow and learn and hit big milestones, but feel my heart ache in response.  I had dreams of watching you fly, but longed to keep you in this bubble of mine for as long as I could.

And now, just like that, we're here.  Your first day of kindergarten.  You've been ready for kindergarten for awhile, a daycare kid who's been walking in lines, rotating in centers, and learning the ropes of recess since you were two, yet the weight of today has hit me in ways I wasn't quite expecting.  For the first time, it seems like our bubble is about to pop.  Especially when drop-off instructions tell me I'm supposed to leave you at the front entrance instead of walk you to your classroom!  Sometimes, it feels like the bubble has popped and other times it feels like I'm sending you straight to the wolvesWill you know where to go?  Will you make friends?  Will you listen to your teacherWill you be able to find your snack in the front pocket of your backpack?  Will you be able to carry your own tray in the lunchroom?  Deep down I know you'll do fine, but I'm not sure my heart will. 

You have always been the most nonchalant boy, but lately you've been showing me there's a lot more under there than what you sometimes let on.  I can't talk about you getting big without your jaw tightening up and your eyes filling with tears.  The other night, I had my computer out and was showing you old blog posts of when you were little.  I came across a video I had made after I found out Mila was a girl, featuring a sweet little Cruz opening a box with a pink balloon.  As we watched the video and listened to the song, at one point I commented, "look at how happy you and Mila made me."  And as I looked over at you to see a tear running down your cheek, you responded, "and now I have happy tears."  There we sat together on the couch, in that familiar bubble, feeling happy and sad at the same time. 

The older I get and the longer I do this parenting thing, the more I let myself truly live in these moments.  For these are the ones that reveal the deepest kind of love.  Or as I explained it to Cruz - the Inside Out moments.  The ones when you feel all sorts of things, when the control panel is all over the place and those little emoticons are vying to take the lead.  They're the glass balls that get stored in the longterm memory vault, the ones that show us love and become part of our story.  A story I can't wait to watch unfold.

Cruz, I want you to have the best day today.  I want you to explore your new classroom and get to know your wonderful teacher and make a few new friends.  I want you to listen, and laugh, and learn something brand new.  I want you to be kind, be brave, and be just how God made you to be.  God's spirit fills your heart and he will empower you to do wonderful things this year.  And I cannot wait to have a front row seat to it all.

Happy first day of kindergarten, Cruz.  Is it 1:50 yet? :)  

"I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His spirit.  Then Christ will make his home in your heart as you trust in Him.  Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong.  And you may have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand it fully.  Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God."

Ephesians 3:16-19

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

on the iphone...

In honor of the back-to-school nesting that's happening at our house right now, I might as well add the iphone to the mix.  Nothing is safe in this house!  The fridge got a good cleaning this weekend and is fully stocked with a hefty Sam's Club and Hy-Vee grocery run, laundry is caught up for the first time since vacation, Cruz's school bag is packed, and meals are prepped for the week.  I even reorganized our DVR playlist!  While it's hard to wash those swimsuits and put them away in drawers for what might be the last time, there's something pretty refreshing about cleaning out the hen house and preparing for a new season.  These chilly nights with the windows open has got me all anxious for fall.  Just as long as I don't let my mind go back to those lazy days at the swimming pool, I'm ready. :)

Lots of catching up on the blog to do.  Starting with what's been on my iPhone...

Made this pretty thing one afternoon after returning from vacation (and why I'm still doing laundry from vacation).  Maine is known as blueberry country and this was my attempt at bringing a little Maine to counter our post-vacation blues.  

Beau has been working late a lot lately, including a few Friday nights which is quite unusual for him.  This particular night, we made due with a movie night, complete with sleeping bags, Zootopia, and Papa John's delivery.  Beau hates it, I do not hate it, and I'm pleased to say the kids don't either!

Just another Four Queens stop after a swim at the Falls.  Always pink ice cream for Mila, a cookie dough snowstorm for Cruz, and a Reese's for Beau.  I'm the wild card, but their cherry doozy bars are a frequent winner!

Love those post-pool curls!

And one of my favorite sights of summer - this tan girl in her bed.  I soak up every afternoon I have the chance to carry her sleepy, sunscreen smelling body into her bed and tuck her in under her bed sheets.  I always linger in her room for awhile, watching her chest move up and down and brushing her wild hair out of her face.  I remember the same summers with Cruz, some of my favorite snapshots of this season

She finally sits still long enough for nail polish.  Especially if Sofia's on TV. :)

School shopping adventures, just me and my boy.  A tradition we will definitely make a priority as each summer comes to an end.

A new Bible study and fresh hydrangeas from our front steps.

Picnics on the back deck.  One of our favorite places to hang.

And fires on the patio in our pajamas.  The neighbor boys were running laps around the house, but Mila wanted a s'more.  In her moccasins, of course.

An impromptu movie on a rainy weekday morning.  We snuck in Starbursts and chocolate for our popcorn, and Mila sat still through the whole thing.

A day at Clear Lake on Gabe and Gina's pontoon.  And a sleepover to follow!

Scenes around the house...

The Cubs had such a great season.  Cruz got to play with his cousins and his good friend, Eli.  We had a small little team, and they were well-behaved, eager to play, and pretty good.  Minus a few pileups attempting to get the ball, that is. :)

We had a fun day at the splash pad in Waterloo during a steamy day in August.  It was a nice change of scenery for them (and me!).  

Being silly in mom and dad's bed...

Mila came down with a quick bug a few weeks ago, and it zapped her for the better part of the morning hours.  We sat on the couch together most of the morning and she finally just went to sleep.  I knew something was off and wanted her wild, spunky self back.

Beau and I enjoyed a fun date night on a beautiful night in August.  We had dinner and cherry mules on the outdoor patio at Cherry Creek Grill, before heading to Luna to see Brad and Kate, two of our favorite worship leaders at church, sing outside.  We ran into Taylor and Kate, found a table for four, and had a blast together.  We loved the atmosphere back here, a sweet little hideaway that made us feel like we were in a bigger city instead of the downtown we know so well.

Camping selfies!

My birthday morning at the farmer's market.  No filter needed here!

Loved spending my birthday at Stem and Stein in Waterloo with some of my favorite people.  The weather couldn't have been better, we tried Basal pizza for the first time, and ended the night with a fire and drinks at our house.  No better way to start a new year of life!

With cupcakes to follow, of course!

Had so much fun preparing a pretty table and spread for our seventh If:Table.  Once again blessed with a beautiful summer night, we gathered under the pretty lights to share a meal and reconnect together.

Cheese and sangria are a surefire way to welcome people to your home and encourage them to stay awhile!

Tomatillos for the win!  

Did a little local shopping on my own one morning and put together an arrangement for my dining table.

Some post-bath green bean snipping before bed.  An unplanned, sweet moment Beau caught on camera for us.

She's been wearing these fake glasses lately, and we think she looks pretty cute in them.

We call these her J. Lo shades.  "I'm still, I'm still Mila from the block."

Our last trip to the pool.  See you next year, blue sno-cones and torpedo diving sticks!


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