Friday, May 25, 2012

The Sweet Smell of Summer Vacation

Our family has survived another school year.  This last year has been a big one,  we have had one in middle school, one in elementary school, I home schooled one child, and my husband completed his college degree.  All of the above has had its ups and downs.  Middle school speaks for its self.  The things that went on when I went to Jr. high are the same things going on now, the kids are just wearing different clothes and listening to different music, but they, for the most part are dealing with the same things.

  There are some big differences, one is our country is at war, and has been for a while now.  The last full week of school, our community was reminded of this fact.  A road side bomb on the other side of the world killed three US soldiers, and one of them was a young man from our little town that had graduated just the year before.  Our students and our whole town came together to line the roads in support of his family and in honor of this hero as they brought his body home to his final resting place.  I wish you could have seen the road lined with people, our world stopped, if only for a moment.  The kids had a real life civic lesson they soon won't forget.
Our son who completed 5th grade this year, had a tough year with changes abound in his school. Four different principals for one thing.  Adults can have a hard time with change and our kids are no different.  We are making some much needed changes for our upcoming 6th grader that should help so many things.  I will brag and say both of my boys received all A's and B's the entire year.  They both love to learn and take school seriously, ( they did not get that from me )  I do take education to heart now.

Our daughter completed Kindergarten in our brand new home school.  This was a first for our family. We had ups and downs, but together and with the grace of God, we figured it out.  Now that the first year of homeschooling is over, I can honestly say I am glad this is the path we picked and I am looking forward to teaching a brand new 1st grader this fall.

My husbands school story is much different. Several years ago, he decided to go back to school. He did this while working full time in a very physical job.  He has switched shifts several times to accommodate class schedules. I witnessed him working all night on 3rd shift and coming home to sleep for 3 hrs and then head to class. He would come home and do homework while eating an early supper and heading back to bed for a couple of hours before he had to be back at work. These last several years have been hard on the kids, hard on us at times, but so hard on Mark. I wish I had 1/2 of my husbands determination.  When he decides to do something, there is no stopping him. Sometimes his tunnel vision infuriates me , like when we are trying to come to an agreement on something. Other times, I am so thankful it is there, because I want to give up when things get hard, I try to shut down but he won't let me. We are 2 very different people, but we even each other out. I am so proud of him for setting this goal and doing it. He did this of course for him and for the hope of a better life for our family. But one reason he went back to finish school was to show our children that you can do whatever you set your mind to.  It might take a lot of hard work and prayer, but it can be done.

This last school year for me has been busy trying to keep everyone going, Between carpools, and booster clubs and school board meetings, not to mention the brand new world of homeschooling, there have been days I'm not sure my head was on straight. But as of yesterday afternoon, the school year is over. I feel a strange sensation in my nose, I think they call it breathing. I love summer time.  I love having all my kids home. This first day of summer break has been so nice.  I slept in till 7 am. That felt so nice. The first day of summer break is a free for all at our house.  It is the one day they can watch as much television as they want or play on the computer as much as they want. They don't even have to get dressed the 1st day.  Of course this is NOT the rule the rest of the summer, but the first day it is. Now that they are all asleep and the day is done, I find it funny that they spent very little time in front of the screen and spent most of the day outside. My oldest spent a good part of his day parked in the hammock with a book in his hand. He said it was perfect. My youngest 2 spent the day outside playing and the middle one spent 1/2 the day downstairs in our basement building something. My husband gave him some old wood, some safety glasses and some nails and a hammer and he is in his on little heaven. He loves to make things. He loves to fiddle with things and find a way to make them work together. I can't wait to see what he ends up with. Our daughter would live outside if we let her. She loves to check on the garden,  find new things, and just be outside.  Walls confine her.

Here is to what I anticipate being a great summer.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

To all the Mommas in my Life

Thinking about Mothers Day coming up tomorrow always makes me of course think of my Mom and how blessed  I am.  Now at this season in my life, I of course think of the blessing that is of being a Mom. I have been blessed times three. The other day I was having a conversation with a friend.  She mentioned a women who was a mother figure in her life.  This got me thinking of all the "mommas" in my own life.  First, I was blessed to have been born into a large extended family. I have numerous Aunts that have always been momma figures to me.  Two in particular are my Aunt Louise, my moms older sisters and my Aunt Helen, one of my moms sister in laws.  I spent countless hours and sometimes days at both of their houses growing up.  My Aunt Louise is one of those people who could make a perfect stranger welcome in her home like they had been there a hundred times before.  She is a wonderful cook. She is also a great listener, a rare quality these days.  You can pop in during the day and she sits down after fixing you some ice tea and offering you food, which you better take by the way, and wants to know your news.  It doesn't matter if it was the good deal you got on corn at the market or you are announcing something life changing.  She is all ears.
My Aunt Helen is another one.  I spent a great deal of time at her house growing up as well.  Her daughter, my cousin is seven years older than me, so it was like have a big sister.  My Aunt Helen is also a great cook.and will always make you feel welcome.  When my husband and I bought our house, it happened to be right next door to my Aunt Helen, right next door to where I have so many good childhood memories.  When my first 2 were born, it was so nice knowing my Aunt was right next door if I needed anything.  She was my oldest sons first babysitter while I worked outside of the home.  It made leaving him a bit easier knowing he was in her care.  She has since moved to town and I miss having family so close.
My Granny who is now passed on, she was  one of the neatest people I have ever known.  I am so blessed to have had her in my life for 18 years.  I miss her still to this day. I have her eyes, I'm told.  Not a bad thing, a reminder of her every time I look in the mirror. I also have to pluck a single chin hair in the same place she had one,  too often, that, I could do without. She had spunk and didn't have a problem in the world with telling you what she thought. I might have some of that too. She was the mother of 10 children, all hers.  She sadly outlived 2 of them, one as a baby and one at the young age of 36.  She had lived through many obstacles in her life.  But you could not keep her down. She was born in 1908 and saw so much in her life.  I wish I could hear her tell and record the stories of her life again. She let me break all the rules including letting me drink coffee and take puffs of her cigarettes. She loved a good joke.  One of her favorites was to send you after something and switch your sweet milk with her butter milk and crack up watching you take a big drink and get a big surprise.  Not sure why, with as many times as she did that, I didn't think to check. Oh, how I miss her.
Another momma to me was my dear friends mom growing up.  Gloria M. My friend Jodi and I  seemed to always be at on anothers  house in elementary school. Her mom welcomed me in every time like I was her own. She was an art teacher and I found that so neat.  I went through a very awkward time starting around 5th grade but could be myself when at their home. She loved fresh flowers and said everyone should have fresh flowers in their house from time to time. I think of that as I cut some from my garden every now and then.
Of course I can't write about these women without talking about my momma. I am so blessed to be her daughter. She worked so hard keeping  our house a home when I was growing up. Our house was always spotless. Not a quality I have taken on, sadly.  I remember being sick and her coming up with ice cream in a little white bowl before bed and feeding me.  I remember sitting on the bathroom floor while she took a bath and we would talk.  Today, being a mom myself, I imagine she would have given anything for me to leave the bathroom so she could have had some peace and quiet.  But growing up I was pretty sure she wanted me there. I remember the countless hours she spent helping me and encouraging me to finish my homework.  School work was not my top priority  I remember buying her a mothers day present one year with my own money at a local drug store.  I bought her a bottle of perfume with flowers on the bottle and a blue lid.  I thought it must have been the nicest thing ever because she wouldn't wear it  because she was saving it for a very special occasion.  I found our later it was the smelliest thing ever. But the grace she showed me by not letting me know about it then.  My sister and I were always her top priority.  I am so blessed to still have her in my life today. I talk to her every morning on the phone, if only to quickly share what errands or chores we each  have that day.
All these women and so many more are so special to me.  They each have contributed something special and unique in my life. I truly would not be where I am today without each of them. I am blessed beyond measure.  My prayer is for a special blessing for each of these special ladies this mothers day and that I can be half the momma to my children as they were to me.