Sunday, May 31, 2009

May 2009

The craziness that is the end of the school year will come to a close today with the celebration of Ethan's birthday party at the Greensboro Grasshopper's. The month of May is strongly competeing with December for the busiest time of year for our family. Actually, this year, I might say it superceded it on the stress meter. Here are a few highlights as well as some updates on where the kids are at this stage of their lives. post documenting my children therefore, parental bragging is inevitable. Proceed with caution.

Henry, my (step)brother, was married two weeks ago. I love his wife, Alana, and am thrilled she is a member of our family. My other (step)borther, John and his family arrived from East Asia for a two-month sabbatical from their lives as missionaries. It is awesome to have the family together agian after two years.

Each of my children had parts in the wedding. Ethan helped to distribute programs while Sadie and Lily were flower girls. All performed their duties well, but there were some very frustrating moments during the wedding ceremony. I was sitting on the front row with the girls waiting for my time as a reader. My girls just couldn't sit still and not talk. Right before I was to stand to read, Lily decided she needed to lay down on my lap and refused to sit up. I began to become frantic, but at the right moment she sat up so I could complete my role. However, as I was standing, Sadie decided to start crawling around on the floor, looking for a crayon. So, I did what every mom would do, start gently kicking her child to get her back up on the pew, all while reading the bible without a pause. After I finished, I sat down, turned to look at Jay who was a pew behind me. He saw the stress on my face and mouthed the words, "I am so sorry. I love you." At least he commiserated with me and my frustration. Thankfully, only those in the very fornt pew, containing family only, could see their constant state of movement and my "satanic-death-mean mommy" looks in their direction. I was the poster mom of how NOT to exhibit love in your facial expressions.

School ended on the 28th, also Ethan's 9th birthday. All the kids had great school years. I know that sentence doesn't really say much, but without a doubt we have been blessed with wonderful teachers every year.

Ethan: We struggled at bit, again, with responsibility this year. The year began with a long lecture about keeping up with his belongings. After the second day of school, Ethan lost his jacket. He did find it a few days later hanging over the stair railing at school. I did see a bit of growth in this area throughout the year, thank goodness. Yet, my little space cadet did lose his lunch box with a week left of school. He found it, however, as he walked by the humongous pile of lost and found on the last day of school. Seriously, that pile of clothing, bags, etc. could outfit another school. Incredible. This summer we will work on controlling our sensitivity and emotions, along with finding our self-confidence in who we are in Christ, rather than how the world defines us.

Academically, Ethan excelled. We never struggled with studying for tests or in homework and I am truly, truly thankful for that. He ended up with all As, and one B throughout the year. Ethan was particularly disappointed with the one B. He missed the A by one point and that one point prevented him from being on all A honor roll for the year. He is motivated for next year. He had a very detail-oriented teacher this year so I know he is very prepared for 4th grade.

At the end of the year, every child at HPCA is given an award. Ethan received the bible award which I assume had something to do with his 100 average in this subject. Maybe he is spouting off some sort of biblical interpretation and encouragment at school, too, I don't know. After receiving his award he announced to me that maybe he will be a preacher, too while serving as our nation's President. You go, Buddy! Ethan is learning how to discern good and bad situations, friends that are making good and not-so-good choices. His teacher told me that Ethan is very funny, sweet and a joy to have in her class.

When asked what he likes to do, Ethan answered playing with legos, playing the playstation and playing with his airsoft gun. He also enjoys reading and playing basketball. That last one is news to me.

Sadie: We saw a lot of progress in Sadie's behavior this year. There were times when she was 3 and 4 that I truly wondered if she would be able to actually exist in a classroom setting. Her choices in relationship to others and herself at those ages sometimes defied logic and were very concerning. Now, I sit here seeing a maturing little girl who still struggles with self-control and self-discipline at times, but more often than not is making good choices. One area in which Sadie seems to have no problems is responsibility. I never have to remind her to do her homework, or get her bags for the car in the morning. She just does it. We will continue to work on self-control this summer - in blurting out mean statements due to her own hurt emotions and in obedience to requests made of her.

Academically, Sadie ended up with all O+'s for the entire year - perfect marks. She received the National Fitness Award which was something I always wanted to receive, but never did achieve while I was in school. And, her end of the year award was for Art. I would say a very well-rounded child.

We went to the library this week. Sadie had ventured over to the paperback books. After a few minutes I checked to make sure she was alright. I was tickled to see her sitting in a chair, engrossed in a book. I so want my children to adore reading. Two down, one to go!

For the second year, Sadie had the same teacher. This teacher moved up from kindergarten to first grade and there were 4 kids who were blessed to have her for a second year. I give most of the credit for Sadie's growth to this amazing teacher. We have been simply blessed. After we left school on the last day, Sadie just cried and cried and cried because Mrs. Newell would no longer be her teacher. The rumor is that she is moving back to kindergarten and my prayer is that Lily will be assigned to her classroom next year!

When asked what she likes to do, Sadie answered playing in the pool, playing with mom, going to the creek to find crayfish and salamanders, drawing pretty pictures.

Lily: She remains the most loving child...constantly asking for snuggle, telling me how much she loves me, asking me to rub her leg, foot, arm, back, etc. Yesterday, after her gymnastics recital, she plopped in my lap and announced, "Mommy, I just can't stop loving you."

Lily has shown a lot of progress, particularly in the last couple of months in her fine motor skills. Her writing skills are now up to par for kindergarten and her coloring is much neater and in the lines. She loves school and was the only one of my children to respond with a "YAY!" when I announced I had purchased summer workbooks. The other two groaned, of course. She just loves school and that was one reason we decided to push her onto kindergarten next year, despite an August birthday. Speaking of birthdays, Lily has been discussing hers since last year. It has been heightened by the advent of Ethan's birthday this week. She has it planned to the last detail, including what she is going to wear.

Lily is working on her response to the word, "no" when stated by anyone other than herself. Right now, we are in a crying loudly phase. I have no doubt that we have indulged her a bit as the baby of the family. Even Ethan shares in the blame for this one as he will do anything to not hear her cry or have her rebuff him. Regardless, it is time to push her to grow up a bit this summer.

When asked what she likes to do, Lily answered doing crafts, go outside to play and swim.

Me: I will begin a new bible study this summer after nearly a two year absence from a formal study. It will be good to be back into the word, consistently after such an absence. The kids are signed up for several camps - soccer, scouts, dance, music camp and lessons, swim team, etc. And, we are all helping to serve at vbs that our church is hosting for a specific disadvantaged neighborhood. Ethan will have his first overnight camps this summer. First is weeblo/scout camp for three nights. In July, he will attend Lurecrest Camp for 5 nights. It makes me nervous for him, but there are two counselors from our church working there and I trust they will keep an eye out for him.

We joined the Elk's pool, finally, and I was thrilled to learn last night that they have wifi by the pool. Is it ridiculous to think I might get some writing done by the pool this summer? I am hoping to reconnect to my love of reading, too.

As far as my main writing is still that, a project. Writing took a back seat for the most part of May. I have four ideas floating around that I want to explore this summer, I am sure none to completion, but I am going to plow forth. 1) Jay's story for our children. From arriving in the U.S. with nothing, working fast-food jobs, to owning his own company 2) Writing about my mixed heritage background. This will require some investigation and interviewing, but there is a definite story here. 3) Ansley's journey from a sister's perspective. This is the one most likely to be completed in a timely manner as much is already written in the form of email updates. 4) Most compelling to me and the most difficult to write - my own journey in the search for authenticity and transparency.

Jay asked me last week, "So, what are you going to do in the fall when all the kids are in school?" That is a great question. I guess I have two months to figure it out!

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