September 30, 2014


Apparently, I'm going to pretty much stick with that whole "one post a month" thing.  Maybe I'll get a little better.  Not having a computer makes a huge difference in my time online though.  As in, almost never.  In fact, most weeks I get on once or twice to check my e-mail...and that is it.  It is nice, but also difficult to stay in touch in an online world!

Once again, our church had their annual carnival.  Once again, drenching Daddy was the twins' favorite thing.  They both got him.  In fact, watch the video the local newspaper took of Ryan soaking him here!

 There were other activities, of course
 Just like at camping, Allie took part in the greatest bonding activity in the world of girls - doing each other's hair (in this case, spraying in streaks of the same color temporary hair spray).
 In the meantime, Ryan and the guys did some simulated fire truck driving.
 Lucas and I attended the annual Charity Ball hosted by the collegiate music honorary of which I was a member and of which now I am an advisor.  And somehow, our babysitter managed to take a picture of the two of us that I don't hate (I try to post pictures of myself on occasion...but I never love them.  But this one is ok...)!
The kids look forward all year to the County Fair.
A picture for Nebraska Grandpa!
This year we spent the least amount of time at the fair, but the longest amount of time ever riding the rides...I guess we know what is important!

Did I mention Papa & Gigi were here?  They came in for the week in order to be here for Grandparents' Day at school.  
Nana & Poppy also joined us for Grandparents' Day at the school.
(Photo credit goes to Nana.  I didn't take any pictures since I was actually working the event!)
While they were here, we took the opportunity to get a picture of our divided family.
Sometimes we might fight
(although not well...look at their faces!  We couldn't even pretend to be angry at each other!)
But we always love each other.
And that was our September!  

September 15, 2014

Changes for Mommy

I hate change.

I always have.  I revel in routine.  I feel safe in sameness.  I excel when I know what to expect.  

While I love a good adventure (especially one I have carefully planned!), it is the things that take life as I know it and turn it into something completely different that make me really uncomfortable.

Knowing this, having my children in a new school every day (even though it is only for a half day) is plenty of change for me.  However, I not only anticipated but sought out another change to accompany their going to school.  A job.

When I said in the previous post that we thought this school was out of our reach, it was because this wonderful school comes at a cost - a cost higher than the average rural pastor's budget.  When I said God closed one door and widely opened another, I was referring to our International adoption journey.  For 3 years we saved every single extra penny in a separate account to go toward our adoption.  When the door closed (solidly, and more than once) on our adoption process, we knew that we would love to put the money we saved toward an incredible education for the twins.  At the time, applications for their school had been due months earlier - parent interviews had already happened, kindergarten readiness had already been assessed, spots were already filled.  Lucas called to see if we could get on a waiting list, and the Headmaster told him, "I've just been praying for God to send me 2 students for the kindergarten class.  You are an answer to prayer."  There were 2 unexpected openings!  Between the financial aid we received from the school and the money we saved, we were able to confidently fill those spaces. Suddenly, the impossible was possible!

We knew, however, that we would only get one (fabulous) year if we didn't have extra income to put toward their tuition in future years.  Thus we decided I would work while they are in school.

Growing up, I met many moms who took jobs at schools (both private high school and college) to provide their children with the best education possible.  Whether it was to receive a discount in tuition, or (especially in the case of colleges) to get tuition free, or even just to help cover the cost, I saw many sacrificing for the sake of education.  My mom was one of these women.  I've said many times, "I would happily clean toilets to give my children an exceptional education."  So, I eagerly jumped into the job search - never anticipating how literally I would be able to live that dream.

You see, the perfect job that I found, and for which I was hired, is that of school custodian.

Now, I will actually almost never be asked to clean the toilets (there are two other custodians who are charged with that task), but I am the custodian responsible for cleanups during flu season (thank God I was blessed with a strong stomach).  Mostly, I'm responsible for spot cleaning (keeping the floors from being dusty or muddy and keeping the windows sparkling).

Here is the amazing thing - at the beginning of the job search I told Lucas that I wanted a job that would allow me to always be home when the twins are home.  It seemed a waste to seek out half-day kindergarten if I wasn't home with them during the other half of the day.  It also seemed a waste to have to pay for childcare on the days they have off that I might not.  And my summers, and summer road trips, are practically sacred - I was not ready to give them up.  I couldn't imagine finding something that would meet all that criteria.  Then a friend sent me the posting for this job - the hours are almost exactly the same hours they are in school (I drop them off, head in to start my day, and finish with 30 minutes to spare before their day is done) only on the days that school is in session (any day they have off, I have off).  It couldn't be more perfect.

Someone asked me recently, "Do you ever think to yourself, 'This is what I ended up doing with my college education?!'"  My answer was, "Not really."  It might not have been the job I dreamed of having all my life, but I love my hours so much.  After the first week of school, the twins had a 4 day weekend.  And I had it with them!  I love being at their school.  I love seeing them randomly through my day.  I love getting to know their teachers and getting frequent updates on their progress.  I love being a part of the education that is happening there - even if it is through keeping their classrooms dust-free.  Before I started, I thought I would probably just do this for a year, and then try to find something with more hours (and, when being vain, about getting something more fitting with my degree and desires).  Two weeks in, and I'm confident I am not letting this job go unless something with similarly amazing hours presents itself!  The time I get with my children is worth its weight in gold.

This has been a good change.  There is no sacrifice in time with my children, and I have something productive to keep me busy while they are in school.  Not only that, but I'm actively contributing toward the fantastic education I know they are receiving (because I get to see it in action every day)!  I am truly content in this change in a way I rarely experience. 

September 08, 2014

First Day of School

It happened so quickly.  We celebrated their first day of preschool.  It seemed the whole year stretched before us in a long, but wonderful, procession of activities and events.  And then we blinked, and suddenly found ourselves at the first day of kindergarten.  All of those activities and events couldn't have passed so quickly, could they?  We couldn't possibly be here already, could we?  Is every year going to go this quickly?
Hamming it up for Daddy.
We took a long time trying to decide which school the twins would attend this fall.  With a myriad of options - all of them both spectacular yet maybe not what I wanted - I was in agony for months.  The school they are attending was not even an option for most of that time because we thought it was way out of our reach.  Then suddenly, God closed one door and opened wide the door to this school.  From that point on, every step leading up to this day has been a huge blessing.  
One of my favorite things about this school is that they have half day kindergarten (a rarity these days).  With the years flying by so quickly, I want to savor every minute.  I treasure these half days.
Another favorite thing is that everything is God infused.  They pray in the mornings.  They have chapel once a week.  They pray before they eat snack in the classroom!  There is comfort in sending my children to a place where they are surrounded by prayer.
Character is also very important at this school. I love that they are not only learning letters and numbers, but that they are hearing about what it means to be a person of character.  That teachers are talking to them about using their talents to the glory of God.  That they are surrounded by other students who understand that learning lots of things is nice, but establishing habits of virtue is utmost.  Words like responsibility, honesty, trustworthy, and so on are spoken regularly.  I appreciate most that I see it modeled not only in the teachers, but in the older kids at the school.
In their dress uniform that they wear on chapel days.  I cannot get enough of them in these uniforms.  So adorable!
There was no hesitation the first day.  Just excitement.  Even I couldn't cry seeing how eager they were to start the adventure of kindergarten.  We stood around the flagpole for Opening Ceremony the first day (yes, they do an Opening Ceremony every day -they raise the flag, recite the pledge of allegiance, sing a patriotic song, and pray.  Another thing I love.).  The parents stood on one side, the kids arranged in their classes on the other, and listened to the Headmaster talk about the upcoming year.  It was overwhelming, in a wonderful way.  Their enthusiasm at the end of the day was, if possible, even stronger than at the beginning.  Every day they have jumped out of bed (earlier than I would like) excited for another day.  Both weekends Ryan has cried because he wanted to go to school, and didn't want a weekend.
Music class is amazing.  Recess is awesome.  Art is incredible.  Gym is fantastic.  Their teacher is the most wonderful teacher in the world.  The adjectives are flying around our house, and every single one is extremely positive.
It is going to be a good year.  It is going to go too quickly.  We will be back here before we know it (certainly faster than I would like) celebrating the first day of First Grade.  Until then, we will savor every moment as best we can.  

* It wasn't until I looked at these pictures, that I realized the reason I have been have problems with blurry pictures is because the auto focus broke in my favorite (and newest) lens.  I can manually focus, but had been trusting the auto focus when taking these pictures (and they often look sharp when showing up small on my camera).  My heart is a little broken that so many pictures of this momentous day are blurry, but at least we got a few that are usable...