Music to an English Major Mama's Ears
"Mama, when are you going to take us to the library because that's my favorite place?"
"Mama, when are you going to take us to the library because that's my favorite place?"
Wow! Where did the week go? Well, last week of school, last final to write, last one to grade, teacher gifts to be made, grades to be averaged, pool parties to chaperone, people to have over for dinner, 20 picture albums to put together...you know, your run of the mill stuff.
It was a terribly, wonderfully busy week. Interestingly enough I celebrated by getting up at 6 AM Saturday morning to run three miles with the half training group. The weather was relatively cool and it was fun to see old friends and meet some new ones. There's just something about exercise that feels so good.
I came home to find my husband cooking breakfast and my kids sitting patiently at the table waiting to eat. Nelson and I performed a tag team effort in seamless harmony to put some food on the table. We all sat down and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast that included real conversations, laughter and fun.
The kids wanted to ride their bikes in the street and for the first time in a few weeks, I said yes because there was nothing else I absolutely had to do. The flower beds needed some tending so I killed two birds with one stone.
The skies were slightly overcast and every once in awhile a cool breeze graced us with its presence. There was a constant influx of neighbors to chat with. The kids chased the grasshoppers and lizards I stirred up while pulling weeds. Once in awhile they would chip in with the work. What is it that is so satisfying about getting dirty in my own yard?
We gathered together again for lunch and a wild game of Yahtzee. We all showered and made it to mass where we got to see one of our favorite priests and get him to sign his new book.
It was one of those rare days where there was no rush and no real plans. We worked together in perfect harmony and totally enjoyed each other. In the middle of all that we also got a lot of stuff done. There's just something that feels so good about being a family.
Hopefully, this summer we'll have a lot more of the same.
Training for the half started tonight and it feels really good to have a goal I'm working towards, not to mention some people to make the journey with.
Found out today that I'm not done on Friday like the kids. I actually have to go back next week. Bummer.
That means summer officially begins a few days later than I thought...but it still begins in a few more days, not weeks. Hooray!
I feel as is my summer is already getting busy and I refuse to let that happen. I will relax and take it easy if it kills me - beware.
I can hardly believe another school year has come and almost gone. Seems time really does fly.
Today as we were waiting at the stop light, Max noticed a rather large man standing on the sidewalk. “That’s a B-I-G boy Mama.”
“You’re right Max.”
“And you’re a B-I-G girl!”
“Hey, wait just a minute,” I said teasing him.
“Mama’s not a really big girl Max,” Dawson assured him.
Undaunted, he continued, “I have a tiny booty.”
“And Dawson has a tiny booty too.”
“Yep,” I said, pretty certain this was not going to go my way.
“And Mama has a B-I-G booty!”
It never ceases to amaze me to watch my children succeed at something. I think that comes from being behind the scenes and knowing precisely how much work goes into what seems like a piece of cake when the day comes to show off what they've learned.
Today was Mackenzie's piano recital in which she played a piece that she had been working on for about 9 months. She did it and she did it without a hitch. And, even though I realize that I am her mother and a bit prejudice, I think you too might find this a bit impressive for a second year piano student.
In other musical news here at the Parris house, Mackenzie, in her most generous moments, tries to teach the boys a thing or two about music. Last week one day before school I caught her in action with Max. Pretty cute indeed.
Today as I was walking into school with Aiden, two of his buddies walked up and we all chatted away about the water gun battle they were going to have in PE. As I veered to the right to head towards the high school, I watched for a minute as he walked down the sidewalk talking with his friends.
I was suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude for this special year of bringing my kids to school everyday and staying to teach. I almost cried. Every day I've gotten to skip the carpool line of drop and go and instead get out of the car and walk with them.
It's such a simple thing that today knocked me over with its significance. Everyday I get to kiss them (sometimes not as significant and never as meaningful to them) and make the sign of the cross on their sweet little foreheads. I get to see them run down the sidewalk, fall into line and mingle with their friends.
It has been crazy busy this teaching gig. It has involved sleepless nights, phone calls to parents and endless hours of grading. I have thought about this as well as how much I love teaching. I love the subject matter. I love the people I work with. I love, love the students.
I had been so busy thinking about all these things that I had almost forgotten how incredibly wonderful it has been to be a tiny bit more involved in my own children's lives.
As I sit typing this on my back porch and the big kids scatter into the abyss of the common backyard, it is only me and Max. He taps me on the shoulder and begs, "Mama! You watch this!", then he too scatters off to the slide.
Suddenly I am all the more grateful for my morning and my children because I am once again reminded that all too soon they will be gone and I will really, really miss this.
I've seen a lot of blogs participate in this little activity. The objective is to simply list three small successes you've experienced this week.
I have always thought I am way too busy to sit down and do this...until today. Yes, I am busy. However, if I take a moment to celebrate my successes, I might be able to see the purpose of some of the business of life.
So, without further ado...
1. I have entered the world of couponing and discovered that there is a huge learning curve. However, yesterday I tried my luck at Target and managed to score 2 sticks of travel size deodorant and a full size eye shadow for nothing more than the tax on the items (35 cents!). Not a huge deal to major couponers out there but indeed a small success worthy of celebrating.
2. I actually ran three times last week. Last night I got in three miles. I'm hoping this means I am back on track with running. It's going to be a necessity since the Half Marathon training group kicks up next week!
3. Dawson graduated from preschool; we attended the final Little Sisters and Boy Scouting events of the year; we went to the last Catechesis; we have the piano recital Sunday. The end of the school year is drawing near. Things are wrapping up. We are still alive. Major success!
Weekly scripture assignment: It is a man's honor to avoid strife. Proverbs 20:3a
Aiden's version: It is man's honor to avoid one another. Prophesy 23a
My thoughts: Hmm… Aiden's version would certainly help carry out the real scripture!
Today I actually said no to something. I hated it. It is something that is a worthwhile cause and also something that I've done for many years. Just. Not. This. One.
I actually had to hide the phone so I wouldn't call back and say, "Okay, I'll do it." It is, as those of you who follow me know all too well, hard for me to say no.
It is a strange feeling. I feel somewhat guilty, a little sad, and...a teeny bit proud of myself.
Obviously, that last feeling is not strong or I wouldn’t feel the need to justify my no in this post. Well, I’ve got to start somewhere.
Oh, I'm ready for May to be over with already. Ready for summer. Ready for no more homework. Ready for late evenings playing outside and grilling something delicious. Ready for the pool, any pool. Ready for time…any time.
In other news I have dipped my foot in the pool of couponing. I used to cut coupons religiously, use them occasionally and let them expire constantly. But I've learned a few tricks this time around...actually took a couponing class.
On my first time out my goal was to get one deal at one store. Three hours and three stores later I had saved a grand total of $9. Seriously wanted to throw in the towel after that day.
The second week I tried a few deals at a different store. My out of pocket was much larger than I had planned (turns out those "free" deals are not immediate); however, all things considered I got $37 worth of stuff for $9 (out of pocket was around $20...complicated story).
Today though, I tried my first grocery experience. After all I had to go anyway, might as well try to get some deals right? I'm guessing it took me around 2 hours to prepare for the trip (list, sales, coupon cutting). I paid $67 but I saved $52. That's right folks, 50%. Today it was worth it.
Bottom line is there is a serious learning curve involved but now I'm thinking it might be worth the effort. I'll keep you posted.
Hopefully in June, there will be some more time for all of this. Two more weeks.
This morning I asked Dawson, "Are you totally excited to be graduating from preschool today?"
"Yes I am! Now do I start Kindergarten tomorrow?"
We've been dealing with a shocking event today. A dear friend of the family was found dead this morning after committing suicide. It was shocking.
When I got the news this morning, I called Nelson and we decided to give the news to the kids without telling them about the suicide.
Dawson and Max were the only ones home at the time so when I hung up the phone I called them into the room. I told them I had some very sad news and then I told them that our friend died this morning. After answering a few questions, I led them in a prayer which they repeated after me.
"Dear Jesus, have mercy on the soul of our friend Brian and bring him to Heaven to be with you. Amen."
Dawson, my sensitive soul, could feel the earnestness of my words. "Mama," he inquired a bit worried, "did he know Jesus?"
"Yes, I am sure that he did. He loved Jesus very much."
His countenance changed immediately and he said, "Well...ok then," and walked happily away.
When Jesus said we should be like children, He was talking about moments like this.
Please pray for Brian’s soul and for his family and friends.
I had to have Mackenzie at school by 6 AM this morning so she could go to Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC. As I drove out of the parking lot, I had this tiny moment of fear. I just left my baby in the hands of someone else who is going to drive her to another state in a giant bus. What if something happens?
It was a fleeting thought, but it was there nonetheless, so I prayed. As long as I was up and awake I decided to get in a short run before everyone else in the house woke up.
As I was jogging along I noticed that even though I have not really run in sometime, it was a lot easier than I had imagined. This was probably because it was the first time in a long time that I was running without one of the kids with me. Pushing that jogging stroller up and down the hills around here is no easy task and I have yet to go very far with that thing that I don't have to walk at least part of the way.
Some things in life, I thought, are much easier without kids. Don't get me wrong, I love them and wouldn't trade them for the world, but they are not easy. As I was patting myself on the back for how easily I was running up the current hill, God very clearly reminded me that the reason that this hill was easy today was because for the last two months, I've been pushing Max up it with me.
Running with kids is not easy, but it's made me stronger. Raising kids is not easy either but I have a feeling it's going to have the same effect.
I am still in awe of the event mentioned below. So much so that I have come up with a million ways to do what I need to do outside today just so I can watch him do it some more.
Did I mention yesterday how very, very grateful I am? Well I am! I'm grateful for all of your love and prayers. I'm grateful for God's mercy and healing. I'm grateful for cute little legs that are jump, jump, jumping!
Please excuse my giddy, elated commentary on this video, but I could not contain myself.
If you're new to this blog, you may not understand the miracle I witnessed today. Maximilian, who turned two in February, jumped for the first time...ever… today. Granted he's on a trampoline, but as of yesterday, he could not do this.
He has had a very love/hate relationship with the trampoline. But today, oh today he was LOVING it. This video is at the beginning of his jumping. By the end of the day he was full out jumping. I mean knees bent, feet up jumping.
And it was beautiful!
A long time ago, I was capable of keeping plants alive. In fact, I could get them to thrive.
When we got married, we tried a garden. It was huge and a lot of work in the heat of the summer but I loved it and we had great luck growing lots of vegetables.
Every summer after that I was pregnant or breastfeeding or taking care of babies and every plant-caring, gardening skill I had went out the door. Seriously, I killed every plant I brought into the house and we won't even mention what things looked like outside. I had visions of growing things again, but they were only in my head.
Last spring though the stars aligned and I bought some flowers and planted them. I didn't buy many because I was pretty sure they would die. I bought all perennials...just in case they didn't.
Amazingly enough, this spring everything came back bigger and better than before. I get such a sense of satisfaction every time I walk by them. Their beauty makes me happy.
In fact, they serve as a nice reminder that there are seasons for everything and…some of them have flowers.
I got Max out of the car today and when I put him down he noticed the Volkswagen Beetle I parked next to. "Aww, look at the teeny car Mama!"
I forgot. I forgot how busy May is...or rather; I blocked it from my memory so I wouldn't go into hiding when I turned the calendar over on Saturday. This week alone there is something every...single...night.
It's times like these that force me to analyze the reasons for all the activity, make decisions about what to say yes to, and bite the bullet and get through it.
The question I've learned to ask myself is, "If I wasn't doing all the things I am doing, what would I be doing?" On the positive end of that question is that I would definitely get a lot more sleep. On the other hand, I would probably just sit around and do nothing (although, those of you who really know me understand that I am not wired to do that at all).
Bottom line is that life is busy. Some of the things I do are out of duty, some out of a sense of service and still others because I want to. Regardless of my motivation, it's my choice.
So I will get through this whirlwind of activity and I will have fun (or at least pretend to). It won’t be that bad. In fact, in about 25 days from now this will all be a memory and I’ll have the whole summer in front of me.
Come on summer!