Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summah Time

You know what trips me up on the blog? The dang pictures! Anytime I have a post that includes pictures it takes me forever to get it up. So, today I just decided to put a photo-less post up and I'll get to all my pictures later. I realize it's not rocket science to upload pictures and put them on here, but I'm lazy and it's a tiny bit of work.

I've been on a little mini vacation. I mean, I didn't go anywhere or anything, but it's been exactly one week since I wrapped things up at school. Last Wednesday was our end of the year school picnic (and you'll be happy to know we did not have to cancel on account of the cicadas...) and we went out to celebrate (pics to come...someday...). Since then we've been having some lazy days with a few fun events thrown in there. (Again, pics...well...you know...)

Today we went back to the pool and let me just say, progress was made. And, I have a feeling you are going to be given a blow-by-blow of our afternoons at the pool. I know you are beside yourselves with excitement. Anyway, today as Emily and I were sitting on the side of the pool splashing our feet and Drew was paddling around with his floaty on, I thought to myself, "You know, I'm kind of glad he wears that floaty, because I don't have to watch him so closely. It could be hard to watch both kids so closely." I'll have you know it was not five minutes later he saunters over and says, "I want to take my floaty off." Really?

So, the duck was shed and I helped him understand he could really touch in the 3 ft. end of the pool. I wish every one of you could have seen the look on his face. He.was.ecstatic. He was super proud of himself and even made up a song called "Don't freak out in the pool." I'm not kidding even a little. About this time, Emily decided she might want in the pool, too. She sat on the top step, actually in the water. I was a touch panicky trying to keep my eyes on everyone. Drew kept wanting me to do "swimming lessons" with him, but refused to do anything I suggested. Not much "lessoning" went on. Although, he did doggy paddle to me a little bit. I'm not gonna lie. I was proud.

Emily, mean time, made friends with another lady at the pool and proceeded to talk her head off. Which consists of saying the same phrase over and over, louder and louder until you understand and repeat it back to her. I can't tell you how much fun it is to do that all day. The lady at the pool was very patient. And then when Emily started doing tricks-"blowing bubbles" which was actually licking the water-she would look up to make sure her new friend was watching. She's a socialite, what can I say?

Tomorrow we start "summer school". I'm a) excited, b) nervous, and c) REALLY concerned about the behavior of my own children. It's going to be interesting. To say the least.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Last Day of School

I'm in shock.

Yesterday I wrapped up my first year as a preschool teacher. I seriously cannot believe the year is over. Add to that the fact that I honestly thought we had a whole extra week, and I'm flat perplexed. I don't think any period of time in my life has ever gone by so fast.

I have to say, that while taking a break from the rat race for a bit will be nice, I'm sure going to miss my little class. They have grown and changed and matured so much over the past year. The last few weeks have been so sweet. I've begged them to just stay in the three year old class forever, but since most of them are already four, they're having none of it. They are ready to move on. Most said they will at least wave at me in the hallway, a few said no! Ha! I'm also terribly sad about losing the moms in my class. They are THE BEST. I have had so much fun getting to know them. It has been great being in the same season of life. While I can't offer any sage advice, I can definitely relate on every level. They have been loving and supportive and fun. GREAT way to start, that's for sure.

I will also miss having so much bonus time with Drew at school. His class has been right across the hall and his teacher is a good friend. We've had lunch together bunches of times, go to Spanish and Creative Movement together, and play on the playground together. Next year he'll be all the way down the hall in the oldest classroom. Sniff. I'm so thankful to have had a window into his school life. So special.

We have a work day tomorrow, then a school-wide picnic on Wednesday, and after that there will be no more things I haven't done yet!! HOORAY! I've spent a lot of my time this year pretending like I knew what the heck was going on, when really I had no clue. I will be so happy to at least have some understanding of the way things go.

Our summer is starting to take shape. I will be hosting a little day camp here three days a week for a few kids and I'm really excited about it. I know it will be work, but I will get to be with Drew and Emily and DO WHATEVER I WANT. No government regs to comply with!! Ha! I have lots of fun ideas swirling around in my head. The best part is, most of the kids coming are families from school, so they are sweet and wonderful. I'm sure there will be many anecdotes forth coming about this little adventure.

Otherwise, I plan on making lots of memories and soaking up as much of my kiddos as I can before the school bell rings next fall.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Blooms of Extravagance

As I was driving down highway 100 today, I noticed a tree I hadn't noticed before. It's weird that I've missed it. It sits on a little farmstead that I always wonder about as I drive by. It's a tall tree, taller than the barn, taller than the house, standing alone in its place. And, it's covered with blossoms. I did not want to stop looking at it. Something about that tree caught my heart.

I finally realized it is quite unusual to see a tree that tall blossoming as this one is. Perhaps the tall trees have their own splendor just by the sheer fact of their size. Perhaps God reserves the blooms for the smaller trees-giving them a splendor of their own.

This tree stirred something deep within me. For me, this tree symbolized God's extravagance. A tree already magnificent because of it's size and shape is now beyond a masterpiece because of its flowers. A place where God has poured forth beauty and grace-a little less restrained-all in one place.

Why does extravagance leak out in some places and not others? Mystery.

Larry Crabb says this, "...it's more difficult for Christ to restrain Himself from making all our dreams come true than for us to watch them shatter...He is right now holding Himself back from showering us with every conceivable blessing."

Holding Himself back. It seems He wants every tall, majestic tree to shine beautiful with blossoms. But for reasons unknown to us, He holds back. He.holds.back. The man who walked here. The man who deeply understands the frustrations of flesh in the way of experiencing all of who He is.

And so, I have to choose to believe. I have to choose to believe that His holding back is just as loving as His pouring forth.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Five

Here are five random photos from my life as it currently stands. I wish I could say this will become a regular feature here at Toddle On, but we all know as soon as I announce a regular feature it will never happen again. Not to mention the ongoing struggle with actually picking up a camera and using it...

But, for this Friday, may I present:

1. Do you love these flowers as much as I do?? The punch of red is just what my dining room needed. And, the best news-they were FIVE DOLLARS at a yard sale. I cannot even describe how much I love a bargain.

2. Last week we had the best time at the nature center with some friends. We spent a lot of time playing in the creek and the two boys were such good explorers. They spotted this turtle trying so hard to hide and did not even hesitate to pick him up. After a photo op we, of course, put him gently back in his home.

3. Drew is setting the table each night. Clearly, we're on a learning curve.

4. My poor house. It's slowly falling apart. This is how I ensure that the dishwasher runs a full cycle. Nothing but class around here...

5. For the grand finale, I present to you all the junk I found when I cleaned out under my couch. I went ahead and discarded all the dirt, crumbs, and other disgusting material. You're welcome. If you can name each item in this picture, you'll win you're very own picture of Drew in his duck floaty.

Well now. That was sort of fun. Maybe I'll try it again. But, it's definitely not a thing ok??

Thursday, May 19, 2011

In the Midst

I struggle so much to experience God in the midst of my everyday life. I have plenty of times through the week when I pull away, when I am able to commune and catch a moment of elusive eternity. And when you have tasted it, you only want more.

But then, there you are, two kids in the tub with fun foam run amok (because it's the only way they'll bathe without screeching, and you're down to pretty much a once a week bath as it is). Dinner is bubbling on the stovetop thanks to the Chef (Boyardee, that is) and while you're trying to frantically pick out clothes for the next day, all you can think is "Hurry! Go stir!" You can pretty much hear the faux pasta adhering to the pot as you walk. Pasta is stirred, eye turned to low, and a storm is brewing in the bathroom. As you run up the stairs, your body protests, begging you, "Please, just sleep!" Oh body! How I wish I could oblige. The naked, shivering babes are rescued from the tub. The lotion is stuck in its bottle, so you shake, hard, and lotion is all over your worn out jeans, and all you can think is, "Well, at least it's not on the carpet..." You use the lotion from your jeans, because, what else would you do with it? The babes are clean and pj'ed and sitting at the table. You feel guilty it's not something fancier and then laugh because they love it.

After dinner you walk by the mirror in the bathroom. Every inch of your person has some sort of evidence of a hard day-crumbs on the shoulder, pasta sauce on the shirt, and, yes, lotion on the jeans. Your eyes are tired, your hair is a mess, you can visibly see the muscles in your shoulders all hunched up and ready to jump from your skin. Who is this woman? A woman? When, exactly, did that happen?

And you pause, and you think about Sunday, so far away, when you felt Him, right there, arm around your waist. When joy welled up and peace rushed over. How do I find Him when slowing down is so out of reach? He is here. He promises so. And I am living my own eternity. I want to believe it. Father, help my unbelief.

Soul's Winter

Friends, it's sort of an exciting day for me. I won't got into all the reasons I'm excited today, but just know there is still so much brewing in my heart and life!

For now, join me over at (in)courage, where I have the daily guest spot. While you're there, spend some time reading. On the main page are some of my favorite writers, women who are courageous and authentic. I know you'll like whatever you find. I will warn you: you might want to set aside a major chunk of time. Those archives'll get ya every time!

More soon...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fro Yo

We made our maiden voyage to Sweet CeCe's today. Yes. I am always around 6 months behind whatever the latest craze is. And, to be honest, I have no idea what possessed me to go today, except that Drew has the voice of a 65 year old smoker right now and it hurts my throat just to listen to him. I thought a little frozen treat would help me him feel better.

I'll tell you the whole pay by weight thing kind of stresses me out. It's like eating at Luby's. You fill up your tray with all manner of cafeteria goodies (usually including jello cubes with cool whip) and then they whip the price out on ya. And also? The giant tubs they provide for the fro yo? Really? A teeny bit transparent don't you think??

The good news is they always have at least one variety of sorbet, so for Emily this is great. I wouldn't even be able to darken the door of the place if there was not a treat for her. She'd scream the building down. Although, today I did wonder what they would do if you just put some fruit and a couple of cookies in your tub. Might be worth a try.

When I started telling Drew his choices of yogurts, I could see his eyes completely glaze over. TOO.MANY.CHOICES. I don't know why this is such a hard lesson for me to learn. He needs two choices. Always. Never more than two. So, I backed it up and offered him chocolate or vanilla. This he could process. Then, I told him he could have two toppings. He chose gummy bears and cookies, because, what else?? I had to dig around in the bin-o-gummies to pick around the red and orange ones. What I did not need was a Red 40 meltdown with smoker voice. Just trying to stay ahead of the curve.

Emily enjoyed her treat very much, and naturally we had to visit the restroom. When Drew walked in he said, "Ok. This is a nice bathroom." And he would know. He is a public potty aficionado. Sweet CeCe's passed his inspection. I know they would be so proud.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Cicadas are coming! The Cicadas are coming!

A couple of months ago I was at a preschool planning meeting and we were hashing out all sorts of pertinent details about field days and music programs. During the discussion, the impending cicada invasion was mentioned no less than ten times. I must say, I was intrigued. Turns out I was only vaguely aware of the existence of a cicada, and have never experienced an "invasion" like the one I was hearing about. I heard tale of shoveling left behind nymph skins from driveways, cicadas clinging for life to car tires, to cancelled picnics and all manner of cicada related horrors. Is it sad to say I was a little bit excited to see all the excitement unfold??


I must say I'm feeling a little let down. I don't know if it's just my part of town, but to be honest I'm rather hard pressed to find a single cicada in my yard. I had imagined plague-like circumstances. Bummer.

I have a feeling most for most folks, the extent of the last invasion has *ahem* grown a little bit in their minds. Maybe the cicadas in my yard are running a tiny bit behind. Maybe the great flood washed them all away last year. (Speaking of...floods? locusts?? Ummm, Nashville???)

Who knows. Maybe in thirteen years the 4 cicadas in my yard will have expanded to 4,000 in my mind...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The First Swim

Our neighborhood pool opened May 1. On May 1 it was a toasty 65 degrees. I made the mistake of telling Drew exactly when the pool would open. You know, the week before when it was in the 80s. He was heart broken when I wouldn't let him do the polar bear swim!!!

Finally, yesterday, the stars aligned and we made it to the pool. I've mentioned before about the ratio-you know the one where you try to decide if you are going to spend more time getting ready for an activity than you actually spend on the activity itself? Yes, well, I'm always fighting the negative thoughts when it comes to the pool. I dream of a day with school-age children who will swim for hours and entertain themselves while I peruse a magazine. I'm just certain those days are right around the corner. Right? RIGHT??

All in all our trip to the pool was successful. It does look like I'm going to have to let go of my dream of having olympic swimmers in the family. Oh. Wait. I don't have that dream. But if I did, I'd have to let it go. Because I'm pretty sure they don't allow a duck floaty in the Olympics, and I can promise you Drew has ZERO intention of ever swimming without it. It's going to be pretty embarrassing on senior trip...

The kid loves his floaty (it's the kind that buckles in the back and has arm floats and a chest float) and will swim all over the pool in it. He even braved the rough waters of pre-teens playing some weird made-up shark game. (I will mention that their parents were nowhere to be found. They were probably back home enjoying an adult beverage and catching up on Tivo...) However. He will have NOTHING to do with jumping in the water-even with his floaty on. He decided to be brave and "go under". This consisted of putting his head sort of under the water-he didn't even get all of his hair wet. When he "emerged" he said, "Whoa. It's like the depths of the ocean under there." Bless his heart.

I did finally cajole him to take off the duck floaty and give his superhero kick board a whirl. It was not pretty. Panicking and swimming are not really a good combo. Here's the real kicker-he could TOUCH where we were in the pool. He just couldn't quit freaking out long enough to put his feet down. (I'm pretty sure there's a spiritual lesson in there for me somewhere...) So, before any emotional damage was done, we put the duck floaty back on pronto.

Meanwhile, little sister was not really impressed with the "wah" [translation: water]. When I tried to put her in her float I'm pretty sure the neighbors were picking up their phones to call the authorities. She protested like I was putting her in a human torture device. So, she and I sat on the side and she threw toys in for Drew to chase. And splashed her feet around a little. And to be honest, I was pretty ok with it. The pool hasn't exactly had time to warm up to any kind of humane temperature just yet.

I've decided that swimming lessons have risen to the top of the summer priority list. Magazine perusing has fallen all the way to the bottom.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hippity Hop

The day before Easter our neighborhood hosted the annual Easter Egg hunt. This was actually Drew's second time to attend, but Emily's first time. It was a full-on kid extravaganza complete with big bouncy contraption filled with sweaty kids. It is so fun to watch Drew in these kinds of moments these days. The little boy who clung to my leg, watching, with that look in his eye that said, "I want to, but I just can't make myself" is gone. He is replaced with a confident kid who jumps in with both feet.


I think the look on his face is hilarious. This is his first time in an official "sack" for a sack race. He came around though, and even did the hopping race twice. He didn't win the first round, but I don't even think he noticed.

Next up was some face painting fun. In case I haven't mentioned it one or twenty-six times, Drew is sort of into superheroes. He really, REALLY wanted a Spiderman painted on his face. Right. So, the face painters were some sweet teenagers from our neighborhood. Two girls and a boy. I sent him over to the maybe 13 year old boy thinking he might be a comic book fan or something...

Well. I mean, if you squint...

Finally it was time for the egg hunt. Emily's age group got to start first.

It took her just a sec to figure out exactly what she was supposed to do. But, once she figured out there was candy inside the eggs...well, yes ma'am, that changes things, doesn't it?

After the hunt the kids and I sat down and I just let them go to town. This may seem irresponsible, but really? I didn't want to tote the candy home and have the fight for days. Let's just do this in one big fell candy binge swoop. So we did. It was pretty warm and the chocolate candy was, um, quite melty. And Emily loved every minute. Every melty, chocolatey minute.