Friday, November 5, 2010

Things they don't teach you in college...

Being a kindergarten teacher is hard. I know that many think it's all sunshine, rainbows, and playtime, but truly it is a mentally and physically exhausting job! Most of my little ones have little or no school before coming to my room. There is so much to teach them before you can even get to the actual academics! Don't get me wrong I LOVE my job. I can't think of anything else I would rather do... except maybe be a nurse, but there is that pesky "ewww blood" reaction I have which prevented me from following that dream.

Often I hear myself say things that I never ever imagined myself having to say. I have begun to compile a list of thing of things I have said in just the last week. I am thinking that maybe when I retire I might just teach a class at Eastern called "Things You Might Have to Say, so Be Prepared" I am writing them down for the first time here, but I am pretty sure I'll be adding to it in the future.

1. Please do not eat the legos.
2. We do not lick our friends.
3. Please get your hands out of your pants.
4. I am sure the nurse can find you some underwear.
5. Who bit the glue sticks?
6. Puzzle pieces do not go in noses.
7. We do not lick our boogies, we use tissue.
8. Please do not use my sleeve to wipe your nose.
9. Helping hands do not push, even if it is to prevent someone from cutting.
10 Everybody toots. It is okay.

Happy Friday Everybody!

God is good. All the time.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Eight Years...

You would think that after eight years I would be better at this day. Eight years ago today, my sweet Briona Hope was born. Tiny, feisty, and beautiful. If you could ignore the tubes and machines, and nurses hovering about you would never have known that she was born with only half a heart.

Eight years ago I sat glued to her basinet in Holden NICU thanking God that she was not hooked up to that terrible ECMO thing that the baby across the way was on. To her left was a preemie, born at just 26 weeks. She looked like a giant next to him. I remember thinking how lucky I was to have such a strong looking little girl. I was full of hope, and optimism, and looking forward to the future. Our future. I was planning her homecoming, her baptism, her first birthday party, and getting her a puppy.

I was so busy planning our future, I managed to keep my mind off the impending surgeries coming up. I had the best of care lined up. The best nurses, the best anesthesiologists, the best surgeons. I loved her ferociously, fiercely, completely. I likely drove the nurses half crazy with my questions, and hovering. It was during these days that my husband started calling me Mama Bear.

Three long, but too short months later my hopes and dreams for her came crashing down on that cold January night when she left my arms to be with God. I still see her in my dreams, feel her soft weight in my arms, and know in my heart that she is with me, and watching over all of us.

It doesn't make it easy though, these days when I should be bringing cupcakes to school, cooking birthday dinners, and planning birthday parties. These anniversary days are the hardest, when I wonder what I could have or should have done differently. I hope she knows how hard I tried to keep her here with me.

My sweet Briona, I will love you forever, and for always... because you are my dear one.

God is good. All the time.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers....

Noah loves baseball. Anyone who knows Noah, knows that when Noah loves something, he OBSESSES about it. He memorizes facts and tidbits, and could give you the batting average of any pro player you can think of from Babe Ruth on. He dreams of becoming a pro baseball player. He loves the Tigers best, and dreams of playing with them when he gets drafted out of high school. (His idea.)

We went to a Tigers game this summer, it was perhaps the happiest I had seen him in a long while. He is at that awkward age of 12, and I'm never sure what he is thinking, or how he is feeling. His conversations are often limited to a concise answer to the question asked. He hangs out in what we refer to as the "Bat Cave" and watches baseball, or Sports Center. While we were at the game, Brandon Inge got his 100oth hit. Noah was so excited for him. You would have thought Noah was the one with 1000 career hits.

Brandon Inge was in town today at a Children's Expo signing autographs. A couple of years ago he came to our little league opening day and signed autographs, he donates a lot of money to the hospital, and visits sick kids. He really is the kind of sports hero you can feel good about your kid looking up to. And Noah really thinks he is the greatest.

So after some hmmming and hawwwing, I decided to surprise the kids and take them to get autographs. We arrived and were pleasantly surprised to find that the place was not mobbed.
There were lots of vendors offering give aways, and free consultations, and Brandon Inge and Mark Price were at the back signing autographs.

By this time I had told the kids what we were doing, and they eagerly got in line to get autographs. As we neared the front, I noticed a table selling tickets, and asked what they were for. A man explained that in order to get an autograph it was necessary to make a minimum donation of ten dollars PER autograph to Jack's Place for Autism. My heart dropped as I looked at my five excited kids, and Noah holding his beloved baseball glove he was hoping to have signed. I didn't have fifty dollars for autographs! I had all of twenty dollars in my purse! I sadly told the kids to get out of line, and Noah attempted to be stoic as I watched his face fall. Just then, a lady behind me said, "I'll get him his autograph. My son is autistic." I looked up in disbelief as she handed ten dollars to Noah. I thanked her profusely and explained that he too is on the ASD spectrum, and that baseball is his current obsession. She smiled and said, "Well then that means I gave ten dollars to the right kid. He deserves it."

Noah walked up in awe and got his autograph. He shook Brandon's hand, and slid his glove forward. He's worried now that if he plays in the rain the autograph could get marred, but it's there, and he knows it, and that makes him smile. I asked him later what he said when he got his glove signed. He smiled and said, "I think all I could think to say was hi." :)

I donated my last twenty dollars to Jack's Place and Ricky and Matthew got their autographs too. The girls were happy with free face painting.

God is good. All the time.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hi... My Name is Clara, and my dog eats cat poop...

Well, I've been a terrible blogger as of late. It's not that I don't want to blog, or that I have nothing to blog about, it just seems as if my ideas for posting come at awkward times. Like when I am in the shower, or on the way out the door, or about to go to bed...

We had a great summer. In an effort to keep the neighbors from getting a restraining order put into effect on the kids, we got a pool for the backyard. The kids loved it. It wasn't too big, it wasn't too fancy, but they loved it and spent many many many hours swimming in debris filled water. I really tried to keep up, but the teeny filter was not meant to keep up with five Boyers and half the neighbors. It's funny how popular a pool in the backyard can make you! But I digress...

Summer has come and gone, and so has Ricky's birthday. Traditionally I post the top however many years worth of things that I love about the birthday child on their birthday. But I missed the boat, and so let's just say I love Ricky 999 ways, but the best thing about Ricky is that he still holds my hand in public. :) You gotta love a mama's boy.

So if you've managed to read this far you are probably wondering what these random thoughts have to do with the title, and if you hang with me for just a moment... (or maybe two, I've been know to ramble...) I will get there.

The kids are ALL in school. Clara and Ruby started kindergarten this year! They go all day every day, and to be honest, Clara was less than thrilled. In fact she was SO less than thrilled that right before school started SHE stopped pooping and I thought she had appendicitis. Twice.

As you can probably guess, Ruby LOVES school. Like skips through the hall and giggles and glows, and could care less if I were in the building or not kind of loves school.

Clara has been a little more timid in her approach. She is not doing the crying, wailing, drooling that she did last year, but her response to the first day was, "It's not too bad."

The other day in the hallway, I noticed the paraprofessional who works in her room looking at me a little strangely. Later, she told me I no longer have any family secrets. Frantically I began to relive the last few weeks of my life trying to think of WHAT incidents I would have to try to explain to the now all knowledgeable coworker of mine. I tried to keep the panic out of my voice as I asked, "So... what did she tell you?" She laughed and said she mostly talked about her brothers, and I began to relax. I then smiled and agreed that they can be quite annoying. It was in that moment she let the cat poop out of the bag. She smiled and said, "She also says her dog Pepper is her best friend. Even though he likes to eat cat poop."

Out of the mouths of babes... (I guess we should be thankful it's not out of dogs....)

God is good. All the time.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Guy...

This summer was going to be the start of Clara's twirling career.  There was a problem though.  Clara went to camp, and did not like it.  At all.  In all honesty, this didn't really surprise me too much.  Clara is NOT a show girl.  She is often heard complaining that she doesn't want people to "look at her", and essentially twirling is a sport where the whole point is, well, people looking at you!  

So when I picked her up on Monday, she told me she did not want to do it anymore.  That's when Matthew pipped up.  "Can I have her spot at camp?  I'll twirl!"  One look at his hopeful little face was all it took for me to say okay, even before consulting with his dad.  

So Tuesday morning arrived, and Matthew was up with the birds dressed in his "Work Zone" gear, and ready to go.  He had spent a considerable amount of time scrubbing Clara's name off of the baton, and had written his own name on it.  His teeth were brushed, his shoes were on.  This boy was ready to go!  So I dropped him off to the welcoming coaches,  and said a little prayer as I left.

I picked him up at noon.  My son was BEAMING!  The kind of grin a child has when they get a new puppy, or a trampoline, or a new bike.  His little head was drenched in sweat, and he couldn't wait to tell me all he had learned that morning.  The older girls came over and told me he was "Freaky good", and "So cute", I didn't know it was possible for his grin to get any wider, but it did.

We came home, and he practiced his baton all afternoon.  When Brian got home, and Matthew proceeded to show him all the tricks he had learned, I was prepared to go to bat for him, and argue his cause.  I was ready to explain that Matthew should be allowed to do things that he loved.  I was shocked when Brian said, "Sheesh, you sure do love twirling that thing, don't you?"  Matthew nodded.  Brian asked, "Are you the only boy?"  Again, a nod with a smirk from Matthew, who then explained to Brian that he IS the only boy who gets to hang out with all those girls, and some of them, (he blushed) are BEAUTY QUEENS!   

So begins the twirling career of my six year old son, who also enjoys baseball and wrestling.  Yesterday,  a former Saline Twirler came to meet up with him and give him some tips.  Nathan is the feature twirler at U of M.  Matthew has a new idol I think.  :)

I've been pleasantly surprised by the support I have gotten from my friends.  I told Matthew that he some people are going to tell him that twirling is just for girls.  His reply?  "Well then they are stupid.  Twirling is really fun."

God is good.  All the time.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Busy Busy Busy

I have a plaque that hangs on my wall that reads "Little League is the the Reason Mom is on the Run".  Add twirling, pageants, dance recitals, and end of the year school events and you will soon see why I have not posted in awhile!

We have had a great last couple of months.  ALL of the kids are playing baseball.  Clara and Ruby play tee ball, although to be honest it's more like Clara plays tee ball, and Ruby flirts with the boys on her team and schedules play dates.  (Tee ball is NOT a passion for Ruby!)  
See what I mean?Of course the boys are playing too, Matthew is in coach pitch this year.  He is on a team with his best buddies.  They have so much fun together, and I am grateful that he has such and awesome group of kids to be friends with.  If I squint my eyes and use my imagination I can see these same guys hanging out together ten years down the road. Ricky originally didn't WANT to play baseball, because he thought he wouldn't be good enough.  I told him to give it a try, since he had always LOVED baseball.  Look at my boy now!
Ricky is pitching for his team and loving it.  It has been great watching his confidence grow with each game.  He now dreams of being a pro baseball player.  A far cry from, "I won't be good enough!"

This is Noah's last year playing in the Major division, and it is bittersweet.  I am so proud of him for all of his hard work.  He comes to every game ready to play, with a great attitude, and gives it his all at EVERY game.   His skills have improved every year, but he has never made it to "All Star" status, and each year he gets his hopes up only to be disappointed.  Last year his coach had said if he were coaching he would have Noah on his all star team because he is such a coachable kid, and he likes having him around.  Sadly HE was not the one in charge of picking the players.  Noah was so disappointed as most of his team IS on the all star team.  he still goes in with a smile each game though, and gives it his all.  

Sometimes I wish I could BRIBE someone to put him on the team, just to let him be a part of it. He would be so excited.  In my heart he will always be an A team all star.  I am SO proud of my boy for so many different reasons.  

God is good.  All the time. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Our Secret...

I've been accused (and frequently as of late) of doing LOTS of things with Ruby, and not much with Clara.  Ruby is a starlet.  There is no denying this.  It's a part of who she is, and it's hard NOT to get sucked into the fun of it all.  Doesn't every mom dream of having a girly girl who loves sparkles, and sequins and being in the limelight?  After three boys, it is THIS mom's dream come true.  On the other hand, I have this serious, intelligent, thoughtful daughter who is a blessing to me.   Clara is my snuggle bug, my insightful, cautious, shy, and wonder filled daughter.  I love her more than words can say, but with the rash of accusations lately, I started to second guess myself.  

I've tried to sign Clara up for things.  Dance class was a fiasco (all three times), twirling was a no go (despite her obvious talent when she thinks nobody is watching), and she has chosen to play baseball, and soccer, and basketball, which she refers to as "that game with the orange bouncy ball".  We went out last night and got her new cleats, and she's getting her own bat and helmet for Easter.  I am trying to be just as excited and supportive of all the things that she enjoys as well.  

So this morning as we were waking up (she sneaks into my bed every night) I asked her if she thought I loved her.  She immediately answered "yes".  Feeling brave, and a little bit scared, I asked if she thought I loved her and Ruby the same.  She thought for a minute, and answered, "Well, not exactly."  My heart dropped and my eyes began to water and in my head I started adding up the cost of years of therapy sure to be ahead.  Despite this I asked, "What do you mean sweetie?"  

Clara looked at me as if I were insane and said "Well, I know you love me a little bit more, but don't worry mom.  I won't tell Ruby." 

God is good.  All the time. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Matthew's Getting Married!

These spring like days have awakened the love bug in my Matthew.  He may be short in stature, but he is big in personality!  Besides, who could resist a boy with blue hair?  My sweet boy very nonchalantly told me this evening, "Mom, I finally figured out who I am going to marry." 

 To say the least I was a little shocked, as I had no idea his six year old brain had been pondering such grown up ideas!  I tried to act cool, and asked "Oh yeah, well who is the lucky lady?"  His response, "Maggie.  I love her, and she loves me too!"  Then he continued on, "I can't believe I was brave enough to give her the ring."   While nervously inventorying in my brain any jewelry he may have borrowed, I calmly asked, "What ring?" He blushed, and proudly held up his left hand revealing a "gold" wedding band. He calmly said, "The one just like this mom.  I got them at Big Boy when I had my Grandma's day.  She let me get two from the machine, and they are both gold, and I gave one to Maggie."  Savoring this sweet moment, I asked what she said.  Matthew answered, "She smiled and said thank you, and put it on, then during calendar time she rubbed my back two times."  "And" he continued, "when I had choice time, it was my computer day, but instead of playing a game, I did the writing thing and wrote words on the computer that said Matthew loves Maggie, and she loves me!"

It's moments like these that make me realize how very lucky I am.  I am so very blessed in so many ways!  Sometimes, it takes the innocence of a six year old to remind me. 

And as a side note, I happen to know that Maggie is the daughter of two teachers, so in addition to stealing my son's heart with her kindergarten cuteness, I imagine she must be an intelligent, and compassionate little soul.  :)  (With good parents of course!!)  

God is good.  All the time.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Daddy's Girl...

Clara and her daddy are at the daddy daughter dance tonight.  It was something that Clara really wanted to do.  She saw the advertising for it at the rec center and decided that she wanted to go.  I was a little surprised.  Clara does not usually volunteer to do much of anything!  She is very shy, unlike her sister...  

So I wanted to make her night really special.  I took her to our favorite second hand store to pick out a dress, knowing that they always have a plethora of party dresses for under ten dollars.  So surrounded by choices of velvet, tulle, and lace, this is what she chose...
She liked it because it looks like it is a "vest dress".  I tried and tried to convince her to get something a little more daddy/daughter dance like, but she was determined that this was the one.  As we were getting her ready she confided that she liked this dress because her teacher at school likes to wear vests, and she thought that Ms. Debra would think this was a good dress since it's like a vest.  Knowing Ms. Debra, I think she would approve of Clara's choice.  :)  I actually think she looks quite nice!  Not what I was thinking, but very Clara.  

I also got Brian a corsage to give to her.  She was in awe of it.  She is quite fascinated with roses right now, so I had her a tiny wrist corsage made up.  She was very proud.  Of course Brian gets the credit for giving her the flowers, but that is really what moms are for isn't it?  Working the behind the scenes magic to ensure dreams come true.  When I snapped this picture she was still looking at Brian as she couldn't quite believe that she had her own roses!

Here is the happy couple on their way out the door.  Clara wanted Brian to wear his "getting married" clothes, but seeing as we had no tux in the house she had to settle for khakis and a sweater.  I am hoping they have lots of fun!
And in case you are wondering, Ruby was invited but politely declined, stating "I am a mommy's girl!"

God is good.  All the time.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Little Things...

All is well.  Crazy, but well.  I miss having my husband around.  It's hard doing 90% of things by myself.  He is doing very well in school and at work, but it's been 20 years since he has been a student, and school is HARD for him.  I'm proud of him, but it's still really hard.  It is going to be a long 5 years.  However, I am thankful that Brian has  a job, and the opportunity to learn a new trade and earn a college degree.

Despite my current stress level, I am thankful for the little things.   Like Grandma Janice taking Clara to piano lessons on Tuesdays, and watching the girls on Fridays.  I'm thankful that Noah gets to hang out with his buddy sometimes for the whole weekend.  I'm also thankful that Leslie takes Matthew (and sometimes even Ruby) to church on Wednesdays.  I'm thankful for Tuesday night twirling,  which gives me a chance to chat with my sister, and other moms while watching Ruby do something that she loves.  

I'm thankful for half time team because it's fun, and all the kids LIKE to go.  Okay, it's mostly for the concession stands, but they do have fun.    I'm thankful that Ricky shovels the next door neighbor's driveway, which gives him somewhere to focus his energy.  I wish it would snow more!  I am thankful that he has a new friend, and is saving up his money for a snake.  

I'm thankful that I work with wonderful people, who allow me to rant and like me anyway.  I'm thankful for little league, and the hopes of someday really having a YNLLLNO.  

Most importantly, I'm thankful that I am able to remember how blessed I am, even when the going gets tough.  Sometimes I just need to remind myself!

God is good.  All the time.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Seven years....

Life is such a gift, and I am so thankful for all I have, yet every year this date sends me reeling.  Missing a little girl that I barely got a chance to know.  It's especially hard not to wonder what she would be like at seven.  I'm afraid the truth is that she would be very fragile, and spend a lot of time in hospitals, and in pain, and I would be in constant fear of losing her.  

 I often feel guilty about all the things I put her through in order to try to keep her here with me.  I also feel guilty about letting her go when I did.  Today is Alyssa's birthday, and my mom's birthday, so while I try to summon up birthday wishes, they are tinged with sorrow, and I am sorry that I didn't keep her on life support for another day, or a week so that their special days didn't have to be tied to my deepest sorrow.   

 At the time dates were not even in my conscious thought.  Briona's short three months were a blur of joy, surgery, hope, pain, anxiety, hope, surgery, fear, anguish, desperation and sorrow.  It was not until after she had passed in our arms that the date registered.   To Alyssa and my mom, I am forever sorry.  I just knew she couldn't hold on anymore.  And neither could I.

Rest in peace Briona Hope.  Mommy loves you.

God is good.  All the time.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A picture is worth 1000 words....

I know I have been a bad blogger.  Even my mom is complaining.  We've just been so busy, and I've been really LAZY, and have spent way too much time tending my imaginary farm on Facebook.  So let's see.... since Matthew's birthday, Ruby had her first Twirlettes Recital.  She was adorable, and LOVED every minute!

She was THRILLED that the REAL Santa made an appearance.  Clara confirmed that it was indeed the real Santa, because he, "Had him's sack."  :)

The kids had the annual Jingle Bell walk at school.  This is my favorite event at school.  Of course they were adorable.  
Here's Squish with one of his loves.  

Alyssa came to town, and Christmas happenings came with her.  She was in town for a week and it was a really nice visit.  Here's Ricky with his "Handerwear" in his underwear on Christmas morning.  (Won't he love me for posting this years from now?)Here's the kids at Grandma Janice's house.
And here is just what I think is a really cute picture of Clara!  She got the sweater for Christmas and wants it to be her kindergarten sweater!  I am thankful that she has finally adjusted to school and is looking forward to next year!  
Alyssa somehow manages to avoid my camera.  Here's a group shot, but you can't really see her face!  And last, but certainly not least, Noah turned 12!!  He chose money over a party, and has happily bought himself video games.  I can't believe he is 12 already!  Here's the birthday boy.  (Thankfully NOT in his birthday suit!!)Here are my top 12 things I love about Noah...
1.  He loves his mommy!
2. He is so very smart!
3. He has a great sense of humor!
4. His lack of fashion sense.  Makes buying him clothes MUCH easier!!
5. His love of baseball.
6. His ability to talk to anyone, anywhere!
7. His loyalty to those he considers his friends.
8. His respect for his teachers.
9. He is not trying to grow up too fast.
10. The way he thanks me for even the little things. 
11. His ability to laugh at himself.
12.  The knowledge that Noah will be able to be whatever he wants to be when he puts his mind to it.  

I am so lucky to have such a wonderful son.

God is good.  All the time.