Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It's official... and it takes my breath away.

I knew the letter was waiting for us in our mailbox; my friend told me so this morning. But as I held the envelope in my hands, I didn't want to open it. The letter reads (in part), "your child will be attending the afternoon session (of kindergarten)." It's not as if I didn't know this; after all, I was there at enrollment! But, today I am not ready.

I have recently discovered that it's true, time does fly when you're having fun. Our summer schedule is packed with activity - a week at soccer camp, a week at VBS, a week of vacation, weekly junior golf during the month of July, the bike-a-thon, two neighborhood summer parties, another week of soccer camp (he loved the first week so much he asked to do it again!), the beginning of soccer season, and then the first day of school! It is going too quickly and we are having too much fun. I don't want it to end. I have enjoyed seeing him all day every day.

Zach is learning, growing and maturing more every single day. Just today he asked me if he could take himself to his VBS class, which I'm pretty sure is against the rules for the kids his age. So, I allowed him to walk way ahead of me so he'd feel like he was all alone -- he came back to kiss me goodbye as soon as he reached his classroom door! He is pulling away, but snaps back as if attached by a rubber band. We have had some independence and discipline issues over the past few weeks. I suspect it's all a part of growing up; him wanting boundaries further out and me wanting them to stay where they've always been. I know the boundary move (and his independence) is inevitable, but today the thought just takes my breath away. Kindergarten is his first really big step into this world of independence and it's one that I cannot take with him.

"Ki-koo fwoot-woop"

I am listening to my boys laugh hysterically over breakfast (fruit loops)... They are repeatedly saying, "ki-koo fwoot-woop" in the highest pitched voices you can imagine. That was little Zach's very first prayer (12 months old - almost 5 years ago). Bryan and I had only starting having real relationships with God after Zach was born, so praying with a small child was something we'd never done before. We prayed at dinner, but that was the extent of it. One night Zach interjected with, "ki-koo fwoot-woop". We determined that he was saying, "Thank you for fruit loops", but we'd never purchased a single box of fruit loops! It was easy to figure out that he'd had fruit loops at church and they must have prayed with him. He'd been learning to pray! We were immediately challenged to step it up and not leave the church to do all the teaching. We'd thought that he was still too young to "get it", but obviously he wasn't. He's been talking to God ever since! These days we simply follow the kids' lead... Leads that have taken us to places we could never have anticipated!

Every single time I pour a bowl of fruit loops, I have a quick flashback to "ki-koo fwoot-woop". We are so very grateful for the amazing children's ministry at our church that has poured not only into our children's lives, but Bryan's and mine as well. They are great partners for us parents!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I've often wished for a cleaning fairy... Tonight I had a superhero show up! Neither the popcorn mess, nor the heavy Dyson, were too much for Superman. Thank you, my little hero.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bike-a-thon fever!!!

We are five weeks away from the for KIDS by KIDS bike-a-thon. This bike-a-thon was Zachary's idea and we'd honestly expected to have a few of his preschool friends, their siblings, and our boys' cousins out riding bikes and coloring a few pictures with us. But as we told people about the bike-a-thon, they started spreading the word, and then those people spread the word... Today "the event" is being promoted on various websites, by clubs & organizations, on Facebook, via mass emails and by word of mouth. We are so grateful for the enthusiam and support that we have encountered!

Thirty-one people have signed up to bike and we expect more to register as we get closer to July 11th. I asked friends today for entertainment and sponsor ideas, and was overwhelmed by the response. I am reminded of just how awesome people are! I am in awe of their generosity and willingness to help others.

We'd initially planned a simple morning of bike riding, coloring and a small bake sale. We have added face painting and colored hair spray for sure... And we have a good lead on at least one bounce house for the kids to play in. We are working on a tent with misters, or might just do a sprinkler if the misters prove to be too expensive. We would really love a children's musician, but we've yet to come across a friend with connections! We continue to brainstorm and are so excited to see how the event will actually unfold.

So, our simple little event may not be quite so simple... AND WE ARE THRILLED! We want the bike-a-thon to be so much fun that the kids want to come back next year and bring their friends. This is all about raising awareness about these two organizations, reminding parents to have those early discussions with their kids about personal safety, helping grow children's compassion for other children who are not able to live with their families, showing kids that the community cares about kids, and having fun!

We hope that you will join us at the bike-a-thon... July 11, 9am - 10:30am. For safety reasons, I have never specifically said (on the blog) where in the U.S. we live... Real life friends, please forgive me for referring you to my Facebook or email if you need the event location. We really would LOVE to see you there and welcome your assistance if you are interested!

Please register by emailing me, or leaving a comment here or on my facebook. I just need to know how many bikers to plan for. Cost is $5 per biker.

Determining "the track" for the bike-a-thonTaking the loop for a trial run
Luke was tired of biking and preferred to smell the flowers
The loop works!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Embracing who they are

Our younger son has recently started hitting his brother. He hits when provoked, and hits when completely unprovoked. Bryan and I are doing our best to disciple, redirect and train Luke, but some days it seems our efforts are to no avail. Yesterday I asked my Facebook friends if they had any success disciplining this kind of behavior with their children. Most replied saying to allow our older son to hit back. This is exactly what Bryan had suggested the day before, but I am hard-pressed to imagine my 60 pound son hitting my 38 pound son! It does seem like a very logical solution though, so we've decided to give that a shot since nothing else has worked... You should have seen the look of glee on Zach's face when we told him that he was allowed to hit back! This could end disastrously.

As I was reading through my friends' suggestions, I came across a post from my friend Annie. She talked about how her mother raised 4 boys and 2 girls. Annie said that her brothers were very rowdy and rough with each other and her mother was so godly and patient that she allowed her kids to be who they were... Her mother had the patience to allow the kids to run circles through the house while she played her piano or did her devotionals in the other room. I simply cannot imagine that kind of patience!! But it is truly that kind of patience that I would like to have.

I believe that it is important to discipline and train our children. We will continue to work on eliminating hitting; however, I think I need to do a little work on myself too.

As I have thought about Annie's mother, I am reminded of the way Bill O'Reilly talks about his mother in his book A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity. He writes about how his parents had definite rules and expectations, but that his mother also nurtured his individualism. He repeatedly says that he was high-energy and had a tendency to be a hooligan and prankster. It's been a while since I read his book, but he pretty much says that his mother had a lot to deal with in him, and that she was always consistent, nurturing, accepting and encouraging. I want my kids to think of me that way when they are all grown-up.

Our boys are definitely high-energy. Only time will tell if they will be hooligans and pranksters, but I can certainly imagine a lot of that in Luke's future! During these days of constant high-energy, loud silly noises and creative imaginations, I find myself feeling self-conscious about my kids' behavior when they become rowdy or won't sit still in public. When a waiter shows up at the table and comments on how we have our "hands full" or when a friend refers to them as "energetic" (with that tone that sounds like they disapprove), I feel a twinge of insecurity and find myself wishing the kids would just "behave". As I think about Annie's mention of patience, I think that is largely what it boils down to for me. A lot of times I expect my kids to be "as well behaved" as the other kids who are around; and all patience goes out the window when they are "not". However, I feel I have come to realize that it is not a matter of my kids' "misbehavior" as much as my impatience, expectations and pride. To borrow a phrase from Bryan, I sometimes want to "fit a square peg into a round hole". Out of pride and impatience, I sometimes want my kids to be cookie cutter children, just like the "other kids"... whatever that means!

My honest desire is to nurture and encourage my children's individuality. I want to have the patience that will allow me to go with the flow, accept them as they are, nurture their interests and creativity, and not spend so much time each day nagging them to settle down, be quiet, quit running, and ask the invisible friends to leave. God designed my children to be exactly the way they are, so I think it's time for me to stop trying to change them into something else. This is suddenly reeking of John Eldredge's Wild at Heart.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

Kids' bedroom tour

Kelly's Korner is at it again... This time it's Show Us Where You Live Friday (or Tuesday in my case!) - Kids' Bedroom Edition. With our busy schedule, I didn't have a chance to participate in the dining room tour last week. (I don't really understand how I was too busy, as the entire room can be captured in two pictures!)

The kids moved into the same bedroom a few months ago. Zach sleeps on the top bunk; Luke sleeps on the bottom. I asked Zach this morning if he enjoys sharing a room with his brother and he emphatically answered, "YES!" So, I'd say it's going well... I still can't believe four people live in a three bedroom house and we have a bedroom that's not used as a bedroom at all! It's my scrapbooking room.. I will be posting that later! On with the tour...

This is the view from the door. The bunk beds were our first ever Craig's List purchase. We were looking for a full (bottom)/twin (top) bunk bed and found this full (top and bottom!) w/twin trundle and three drawers underneath instead!!! It came complete with all the mattresses & a matching dresser for $350. I found the bedding on for about $30 each - BARGAIN!

Their closet is behind the double doors. The bookshelf is packed (was Bryan's as a kid - we painted it red) and there is Jawhawk stuff everywhere! These awesome chairs (one basketball & one baseball) were a splurge from a furniture store. We love them and they will definitely grow with the boys - I think they'll make good video game chairs!

Here's the baseball chair and a cool hat rack that I found at a garage sale for $5 (the base is a baseball and the post is a bat).

We hung a shelf up high for all of their treasures that they don't want broken - pictures, piggy banks, trophies, etc. This dresser was also Bryan's when he was a kid - we painted it. The baskets on top hold diapers & creams that we have almost completely outgrown. Luke is on track to be out of nighttime pull-ups in no time! The pads leaning on the right of the dresser were Bryan's when he umpired baseball... The kids love to wear them! (The door to the right goes down into the attached playroom... pics below!)

Our Jayhawk room was completed with the addition of the KU basketball signed by the team!

View from the top bunk

View from the boys' bedroom window. Our house sits up high enough that we see A LOT of July 4th fireworks from these windows! (We also face a few sports venues that have fireworks all summer long. We also see the occasional fighter jet fly-by and military choppers.)

The upstairs playroom... This room did not exist when we bought the house - it was attic space! Bryan and his dad built the addition when we were pregnant with Zach. This is the view from the doorway. The red table & chairs belonged to Bryan and his sister when they were children. My father-in-law repainted it for us. My father-in-law and I painted Jay on the wall (we used a projector to draw the image).
View from the bottom of the stairs (it's lower than the bedroom - three steps down).

Just being honest... I ran out of paint and haven't had time to finish it! See the artwork hanging on the wall? That's a cool chain thing with clips that my friend gave me. Great way to display all of their papers!

I love all of this storage. I bought these three units from the same garage sale - totaling $9. That far right unit is filled almost entirely with puzzles!
"School"... I came up with this idea as a way to coax Luke out of Zach's preschool without too many tears. He wanted so badly to go to school too! So, this is now where we keep some school materials. Luke and I would come here every day after dropping Zach off, and then on Zach's off days he wanted to do school here too!!

Rock chalk!

Hope you've enjoyed the tour... You're invited over to play anytime!