Monday, March 12, 2018

The One with Omaha and a 5K

March 9-12, 2018
One was on Spring Break; One had just finished finals.  Never a dull moment and always an exercise in logistics!

Emma was out for Spring Break as of Friday afternoon.  She has signed up to do a 5K Color Run with her sister (more on that later), and then go to Western Kansas with her Nana to visit our Kansas family.  But!  An illness sidelined the Kansas trip, and her Dad and step-family had planned a trip to Omaha for a couple of days, so off she went on Friday - to return Monday afternoon!  Here are some pics from her adventures being a tourist.  She even went skiing at Mount Crescent Ski Area!

Right before Spring Break, she also had some time with her Lady Panther Basketball team, and they took some pictures to commemorate the year.  Here is Emma and the rest of the Sophomore class!

Lara had just finished finals for the first 9 weeks of her second semester, and baseball season was in full swing, so she needed the time off to rest a bit!  Friday night was spent in Ponca City with her beloved Pioneer Varsity Baseball team.  And after a late arrival home that night, she had to get up BRIGHT and early Saturday morning to participate in the SMAC Week 5k Color Run!  (Her sister was supposed to be there, too, but, life happens!)

This was Lara's fist 5K, and she ran it without training first.  Needless to say, she spent the rest of the weekend, um, RECOVERING!  But she had a blast and loves supporting SMAC.  Her committee event is coming up in just a couple weeks - barring the teacher walk-out in Oklahoma that is looming.

So for Emma, this week is Spring Break; while for Lara it is the first week of the LAST 9 weeks of her Sophomore year.  Wow - that went FAST!

If you would like to donate to SMAC (Stillwater Makes a Change - an annual philanthropic campaign initiated and led by Stillwater High School students to raise money and awareness for a local charity), this year's recipient is Our Daily BreadHERE IS A LINK to  donate directly!

Here's to another week of fun adventures!

Monday, March 5, 2018

The One With Five More Minutes

March 2-5, 2018
For the first time in a long time – and for another long time to come, this past weekend was calm.  Not a ton of stuff going on – just a few things to keep us entertained.  And the sun was out, cool, early spring temperatures, and lots of time to just “be.”  It was very relaxing, and very welcomed!

Emma came to Stillwater Friday evening to spend the weekend with us.  She got to town after we had gone out to grab some Chick-fil-A before taking Jake on an adventure with his friends.  She spent the evening playing with Finn – her biggest fan – and signing in to her family’s Netflix account so we could ALL binge our favorite shows on our favorite devices.  She got to surprise Jake by going with dad to pick him up from “Open Gym” at Youth Fitness Zone later in the evening.

Saturday was an easy morning.  Lara drove herself (well, chauffeured me, technically – but I went right back home) to Couch Park for the Pioneer Baseball team’s home opener about 11:00am, and the rest of us joined her for the first pitch at noon.  It was kind of windy, and that kept us pretty cool.  Emma enjoyed talking to friends she saw around the ballpark, and Lara worked from the dugout for the 7 inning game.  Our Pioneers came up ONE RUN short, but it was a beautiful day of sunshine and home opener baseball.

Sunshine and Baseball (Jake was at a friend's birthday party)

The rest of the afternoon was more just resting and relaxing.  Lara left for a couple hours to go walk the 3 mile trail around Boomer Lake with Colby, while the rest of just took advantage of a last day.

Sunday, was much the same.  Catching up, watching TV, playing games.  We went to church at Life.Church at 4:00pm - where I forced them to take a picture!  If they are all 4 in one place, I try to capture it!  I know the days of them being together are getting fewer and farther between!  After church, we took Emma back to Orlando so she could start her week.  And, in the spirit of tradition – and keeping the big family going forward – we had our usual Sunday Night Family Meeting in the car on the way home.  Went over the calendar for next week, checked everyone’s grades, and talked about out highlights of the week gone by.  Prepared for the week to come – even though SOMETHING always changes last minute!

It was Windy.  And Finn is 6.

This laid back, put your feet up weekend reminded me, it’s still going so very fast – even if we have time to enjoy it more.  We weren’t rushing from here to there and eating in the car and hoping everyone got homework and laundry done!  But, we were wishing the weekend away in other ways.  Just waiting for the next thing.  When the next thing is still coming WAY TOO SOON!  And as if the turning of the calendar pages isn’t enough, the song “Five More Minutes” by Scotty McCreedy is on REPEAT on the country radio stations around here.  It has a line that says:

Time rolls by the clock don't stop
I wish I had a few more drops
Of the good stuff, the good times 
Oh but they just keep on flying

Even on slow, lazy weekends like this past one, I still wish I had 5 more minutes.  To hug them.  To soak it all in.  To really LISTEN to that rambling story about friends I don’t really know and inside jokes form class that I’ll never get.  A few more drops of watching them with their brothers.  With each other (I hear you talking in that room after you “go to bed”).  With us.  It is still going WAY too fast!  And this blog is still my feeble attempt to write it all down.  To try and hold on for Five More Minutes…

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The LAST "firsts"

I am a mom of 4.  2 girls (Twins - almost 16; redheads). 2 boys (ages 11 and 6; noise, with dirt on it). I never planned on 4.  In fact, in high school, I never planned on ONE.  Soon after I was married (the first time) it became evident that even having ONE was going to take a miracle, and a LOT of money.  But then, TWINS! A divorce and second marriage led to my third - and what I was pretty sure was my FINAL - baby.  A few years later, and SURPRISE!  Shocker!  Bonus Baby was here.  I knew then that my family was COMPLETE.  Completely, totally, fully, COMPLETE.  It felt final.  My heart was full.  And so were my arms.

Fast Forward 17 years from that first positive pregnancy test.  I am a mom of 4.  Dealing with first boy/girl relationships, learning to drive, insane sports schedules, tween drama and crushes, and teaching the kindergartner to tie his shoes.  SAT's, entrance interviews for technical school, spelling tests we forgot to study for, and losing that first tooth.  With 9.5 years between my oldest and my youngest, there is a LOT of parenting going on at any one time.  By the time the Baby (I get to call him that, and I will for as long as he lets me) graduates from our beloved High School, I will have had a child in the local school system for TWENTY-FOUR (24) consecutive years (even though one will have completed 4 years with a neighboring district).  That's a lot of FIRSTS.  Class parties, graduations, assemblies, awards, concerts, plays, sporting events, fundraisers, and on and on and on.  But, what about the LASTS?

Somewhere in the last couple of years, I stumbled upon a blog entry on Scary Mommy  that talked about the LASTS.  You know, the last time you gave your baby a real bath.  The last time you carried them to bed.  The last time they weren't embarrassed to hug you in public. We celebrate the 'Firsts,' but what about the 'lasts'?  I am finding myself in a BIG series of lasts over the next few weeks.  For the girls, they will be 16 in the next 10 weeks.  When will be the last time I drive them to school or pick them up from a practice?  For my older son, we are planning his 5th grade graduation ceremony and party for the end of May.  That will be his last day in the elementary school we have loved so well and that has watched him grow up.  And the tiny one. I know the lasts are piling up quick for him!  Last time he crawls into our bed at night just because he wants to snuggle.  Last time I tie his shoes for him because he is now an expert.  And the one that inspired this writing.  He lost his FIRST tooth yesterday.  That's my LAST first tooth!

Hit me like a ton a bricks.  I wasn't prepared!  He had no tooth fairy pillow!  I ordered one the minute we discovered the loose tooth, but I wasn't fast enough (BIG THANKS and shout out to Big Brother for the loaner pillow).  I didn't have a crisp $5 bill on hand - my usual tooth fairy surprise for a first tooth.  (Who am I kidding here?  There have been MANY scrambles for cash over the 10+ years in our loosing teeth shenanigans!) But dad to the rescue with 5 loose one dollar bills to stuff the pillow.  So for Little Guy, it was a successful event.  One he won't really remember much about based on my experiences - even if it was super dramatic and involved a lot of tears and commotion at the time.  He was so proud to tell all his grandparents, his teacher, and his friends.  He had us send pictures to everyone we knew and posted it on our social media accounts.  He slept hard, the tooth fairy delivered, and he woke up so excited to have MONEY and no tooth.  This is what 6 year old dreams are made of.

But for me?  This time?  I will remember this LAST.  This is the LAST time I will pull that first tooth.  Terrified little child, the sound of that final "pop" as it comes out, the tears, and the BLOOD.  The fear truing to disbelief.  The disbelieving to wonder and joy.  Then, EXCITEMENT!  He was brave, and HE DID IT!  It was not as painful or scary as he imagined.  Big Brother talked him through it, held his hand, rubbed his back.  Mom had the cool, wet washcloth at the ready and was as gentle as she could be.  And even though the sight of his own blood terrified him, he finally got past it and looked in the mirror for the first time with that big gap in the middle of his lower jaw.  All smiles - a new smile!  The tiny tooth cleaned off and secured in Big Brother's OSU themed tooth fairy pillow (because the shark themed one we ordered for #4 was still in transit).  Going to bed excited for the morning.  And all my Momma heart wanted to do was capture every second.  Soak it in.  (Until I had to leave the house to go pick up a teenager from the bus returning from a baseball game she was the trainer for - it never ends).

I got a few pictures.  And a few more form Dad after I left.

This is my first is a series of LASTS.  This is the season of parenthood I am in.  No more babies.  Or toddlers.  Or even little kids.  They're all big kids and young adults now.  And they each need me less and less on a psychical level every day.  I am "Raising Older Kids."  Many hours of many days, this is harder than the days of the "newborn fog" and the relentless terrible two's - or THREENAGERS.  Maybe not physically, but mentally. Emotionally.  I never dreamed I would be a mother of 4.  But here I am.  And this moment is fleeting.  2 years, and 2 of them are off to college (or whatever adventure adult life brings their way).  Next year is Middle School for the middle child. And my baby?  He's just going to keep loosing teeth.  And tying his shoes. And preferring showers to baths.  And sleeping in his own bed.  How will I know when it is the LAST TIME?

And since I won't always know when the last time is THE LAST TIME, I will cherish every moment and every memory I can.  First and last proms.  First and last awards ceremonies.  First and last bike rides.  The #momlife sure has a lot of ups and downs.  Bittersweet moments.  Instants to cherish.  No one prepared me for these complexities, but most days I am glad they didn't. I am on a grand adventure with my tribe. All the twists and turns; all the celebrations and memorials along the way.  All the lessons we have each learned. I am a mom of 4.