Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

The tradition of  Memorial Day, begun shortly after the Civil War, was originally called "Decoration Day" and was a day when Americans would visit their local cemeteries and decorate the graves of the war dead with flags and flowers.  It was a true grass roots tradition, not becoming a national holiday until 1971.

Local communities all over the country have historically had their own observances of this solemn holiday, and our local community is no exception.  We attended a Memorial Day parade this morning, which is OUR tradition as a family.  It is never easy to get up "early" on a day when we could sleep in, but it is always worth it and is the least we can do to honor and remember those who gave their lives defending our freedom.

When dedicating the battlefield cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 4 months after the Battle of Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln gave his now famous "Gettysburg Address."  He said so much with so few words.  I have always loved this speech, and I think it appropriate to copy the entire (short) thing here.  Please read all of it.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Thursday's Thankful Things

 Our college girl is home!!

She had a good year in room 105, and I am so thankful.

Good relationship with her university-assigned room-mate, and they were still friends at the end of the year. :)

Other amazing friendships with the girls on her floor developed.  They were truly her second family.

Transition back home has been mostly smooth.  The normal "what do I do with myself now" thing has been happening.....since her summer job doesn't start until June.  She is the same, yet different. Same sweet personality.  Same capacity for fun and for relationship.  More independence.  More growing up.  More "life" outside of her family.  Which is all good!

She realized she could read a book for pleasure, instead of for class. ;)  Happiness!  (Eragon, for those who want to know which book)

And on sunny days there has been a lot of THIS happening....

She is recouping and refreshing.  And we get to see her every day.  Her first year went so well.  And it's paid for!

So much to be thankful for today!

Monday, May 16, 2016

It's Official....

.....we now have SIX lawn mowing children in the family!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Are you Team Cap, or Team IronMan?

Our family is Team Cap, so if you are Team IronMan we can't be friends. ;)

Our family (plus a few friends) outing to see the new Captain America movie was great fun!!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day is Complicated

It really is.

For years, before becoming a mother myself, I wanted to be one.  Mother's Day celebrations at church were painful because they reminded me of what I was not but desperately wanted to be.

The same year that a dear friend and I finally became mothers together for the first time, her mother passed away.  After that, Mother's Day celebrations were painful reminders of what she no longer had.

I watched my mom and my dad lose their mothers (ironically, around Mother's Day) one year apart. The sweetness of remembering what a blessing my wonderful grandmothers were was mixed with the pain of separation and longing to see them again.

Meanwhile, our little family grew to be a big-ish sized family, and the work of being a mom never stopped, even on Mother's Day.  Years of practice have helped me be much better at letting go of expectations, but it was hard in the beginning.  Wanting a day off, wanting things to be, for a few hours, all about me, and anticipating that love would be demonstrated by pre-planning all led to disappointment.

Then we added daughter H to our family, and Mother's Day became a painful reminder that I was not, in fact, her mother, and that my place in her heart brought many emotions to the surface that were often too big to handle well.  I will forever and always, for better or for worse, share the role of mother with her first mom.

And yet.

I am a mother.  Wow.  I AM A MOTHER.  When for so many years I did not think I would be.

My friend had a wonderful relationship with her mom before her mom died.  What a treasure.  Even though it makes the separation more painful, it is such a blessing to have had a close relationship with one's mother.

My parents were strongly influenced and shaped by their mothers, and I am still benefiting from that today.  My children are also benefiting from their "across the years" influence.  What a tremendous blessing.

My husband and children may not be gifted with pre-planning, but their last minute preparations are no less heart-felt.  They love me!

Daughter H, for better and for worse, will forever and always be a part of my heart and a part of our family.  I could not in a million years have imagined the story that God is weaving with her and us.

Yes, Mother's Day is complicated.  But it is also wonderful.  I am so grateful to have a mom, to be a mom, and to know and be influenced by so many other godly mothers!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Jolly Roger and the Pirate Queen

Sons G and L have been in drama class this year at our co-op, and last weekend was play weekend! They performed a pirate comedy that was truly funny, and they did it well.  I know I'm biased, but I really do think it is one of the better high school productions I have seen.  Very proud of the entire cast, and particularly our boys!

Our son G has super tight curly hair that he had been growing out since Christmas just so that it would be long enough to be straightened and put in a pony tail for his character in the play.  Now that is dedication, folks!

The story revolved around a proper young woman who is loved by a respectable gentleman, but before he can propose to her he learns that she longs for adventure and has been fantasizing about a pirate in a wanted poster.  So he becomes a pirate in order to woo her.  Son G played the gentleman's butler, so at first he had to look like a proper 17th century butler, and later he had to look like a pirate.

Son L played one of the "pirates" on this gentleman's hired crew.  He added such a quirky sense of humor to his character - it was so funny!  Here are the boys with grandma after opening night.

Daughter G got to come home and see her brothers in the play, as well as a bunch of old co-op friends!  Yay! (She is in the middle, with the hat on.)

After a couple female cast members spent nearly 3 hours straightening G's hair for the first performance, he didn't want it to get curly and make them have to repeat their work, so daughter G put his hair in a couple of pony tails Saturday morning and he wore his hair like this until the performance later that evening.  Soooo funny!

Okay, on to the actual play......  son G as the butler!

He had to hire a pirate crew for his master, and they were all so quirky and/or stupid.  Loved their characters!

Son L was, of course, the best of the bunch. :)

 Here they are after becoming pirates, to the left and right of the lead character in the middle.

The pirate butler (son G) also hired a real pirate to "train" the upstanding gentleman in how to act and talk like a pirate.  Unbeknownst to them, the "real" pirate (Captain Long John Silver) was actually a girl posing as a man in order to live a life of excitement and adventure.  She nailed her part!

This was one of the funniest moments.  At several different points in the story, the gentleman's pirate crew had to hide.  Son L's character always posed like a tree, hiding behind a tree.  When he did this the entire audience laughed!!

In the end, the woman and the gentleman, after being married by another pirate captain (Blackbeard) realize that the pirating life was not all they thought it would be, and they return to their more sedate but happy life on land.  (the below picture was the woman with her pirate crew).

 Taking their bows at the end.  Son L stayed in character even during the bowing!

 The girl in the below picture was the female lead.  She did an amazing job!  (she is also one of my students in the English class I teach at co-op - I am blessed to have had her as a student for three years!)

With some friends who came to see the play.

It was a fun, fun weekend!  I am grateful for all the opportunities my children have at our co-op!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

End of an era.....and the beginning of another!

 After 9 glorious years, we outgrew our playset.

So the boys took it down.  It was a little bittersweet, but I am having lots of practice lately experiencing bittersweet moments, and I am striving to look at them through the lens of thankfulness.

Then we made room for......our new trampoline!

We finished putting it all together at dusk, and all four boys immediately began bouncing.  We finally brought them in about 9:30, out of respect for our neighbors. ;)

But first thing this morning, two of the boys were back out on it!

I predict it will get much use.  So thankful for every age and stage.

Happy Birthday to my 19 and 17 year olds!

Daughter G had a birthday last week.  First birthday to be away from home.  It felt really weird.  But, she had a good day, celebrated by so many college friends, who were able to surprise her not once, but TWICE with little bits of celebration.  The second surprise I got to help with...I had sent her room-mate a cake, plates, hats, balloons, etc, and the girls on her floor walked in with the cake lit, singing happy birthday to her, while our family was skyping with her!  Very fun.

Yesterday it was son G's turn.  Cannot BELIEVE that he is 17!  What an amazing 17 (19!) years these have been.

We spent the day at our homeschool co-op, where he got to see lots of his friends on his birthday. That doesn't always happen for our kids, so it was nice!

Double kick pedal for our drum set - hey, it's what he wanted!

We love you so much, G!  You have been a joy since the day you were born, and we are delighted that God chose you for our family.  May you have a fabulous senior year of high school, growing in wisdom and stature, and favor with God and man.