Sunday, November 29, 2015

Giving Thanks

I have an abundance of blessings.  I certainly don't deserve all that I have been given and I could undoubtedly write a long list of the many things that I have to be grateful for but I really want to focus on a few specific blessings.

Let me make a long story even longer.  When I was a little girl I loved dolls. I may even have 63 Cabbage Patch Kids in a plastic bin in my garage.  As a child all I ever wanted to play was "Mother" and my greatest desire was to someday have children of my very own.  As I got older and wiser, I realized that I might need a contingency plan or something to fill up my time, if children were not part of the equation.   In fact, I think Scott might have married me under the impression that I was headed to law school.  But after step one of "the have children plan" was a success, (find a husband) I told him I wasn't really into the whole law school idea and I graduated with a teaching endorsement attached to my Political Science degree. Honestly, I thought teaching would be the best job to have if I ever had the children I wanted.

(Side note to my future female posterity.  Get your education! Even if you never work outside of your own home your education is invaluable.)

Feeling a little embarrassed,  I must admit, that even in college when I envisioned my future I didn't imagine myself sitting in a law office raking in cash or even teaching in a classroom not raking in much cash. I always imagined a kitchen full of kids eating cookies and drinking milk. However, actually, having children seemed to be a little out of my control. I had some minor health issues that several doctor's told me would make it difficult if not impossible for me to have children of my own. After 5 years of marriage, and 4 years of teaching, we found out Atley was on his way.   I was so excited. The culmination of my childhood dreams were at my doorstep and then I panicked. Scott and I had decided that I would stay home with the children when they were small. It always sounded like a great idea but suddenly, being a full-time mom seemed so much more daunting than I had ever anticipated. I was worried about our finances, whether I would be good enough, whether I would even like the baby.  Could he possibly measure up to my Cabbage Patch Kids?  Even my classroom in an Atlanta ghetto seemed like a much less scary place than a kitchen full of kids.  Despite my fears and my acknowledged inadequacies I knew I needed to stay home with this new baby and any more that may follow. I wasn't sure how it would all work out. But, things have a way of working themselves out when you attempt to do what you feel inspired to do. Sometimes it would have been very nice to have an extra income. Frequently, I wasn't good at motherhood and I frequently still fail, but fortunately Atley and the two others that came later, were every bit as cute as my Cabbage Patch dolls. It wasn't always easy.  It was more often than not, thankless and a little bit like living out the Ground Hog Day movie.  But, I can say without uncertainty that being home with my children has been the greatest blessing of my life.  I gleaned so much joy from the 11 years that I stayed home with them.  I know that it isn't something that can work for every woman.  Everyone's circumstance is different but I hope that my own daughter and my son's will recognize the value of a stay-at-home-mom even as the world that we live in de-values that role.

So, when Harley started school, I was a little lost. All of my babies were gone for more than 8 hours a day. The days of playing "mother" seemed to be gone and I was in a little bit of a funk.  Not to say that my children no longer needed a mother but what they needed from me had changed dramatically and quickly .  Being home without them all day wasn't nearly as fun as I thought it might be.  After about a week I knew I needed something else beside the dog and the cat to fill up my days so I took the necessary steps to become a substitute teacher. I felt a need to be needed. I know, I'm so needy. My first assignment was at the kids school and an unexpected blessing came the day after my first substitute job.  I was offered a permanent position and just like that I was working again at my children's school-same schedule, same breaks. I certainly, hadn't planned to return to work full-time so quickly but it felt like the right thing to do, so I went for it.  It has been a bit of an adjustment, but wonderful just the same. I am needed by little "E" who suffers from daily seizures. She is a light and a joy in my life each day.  I am needed by "S" who only speaks Spanish, is autistic and has ADHD.  I would gladly bring him home to live with me forever. I'm grateful that, again my Heavenly Father has entrusted me to care for His little one's. I feel like the opportunity came as a direct result of the sacrifice we made for me to stay home while the children were young.

I am so grateful for my children, for the years that I was able to stay home with them, for a husband who supported my decisions, for the new and exciting opportunities in my life.  I am so grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who is mindful of our desires and needs and in seemingly miraculous ways brings about unexpected opportunities.  He recognized the greatest desire of a little girl in a very small town and made a way possible for her to achieve those dreams and desires.He didn't send me the large family I once wanted, but he sent me three children so full of life most days it feels like I have 12 or 13. I am especially grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ who made it possible for me to be forgiven of my tremendous inadequacies as a mother, a wife, a teacher and a human being.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

October & Halloween

There are many necessary steps that must be completed before we actually get to go Trick-or-Treating Halloween night.

For us that means creating Pumpkinhead for the porch, eating donuts, drinking cider and watching, Spookley the Square Pumpkin while going through the decorations of Halloween's past.

Including school parties, a trip to the pumpkin patch and a least one Trunk-or-Treat!


(But only after a minimum of 5 costume changes throughout the month)

Yeah, we thought it was weird that Atley got two cans of Root Beer while Trick-or-Treating too.

Monday, November 2, 2015

First Sign of Fall: Apple Picking

When the farmers say that the apples are ripe enough to be picked, we know that my favorite season of all is upon us, Autumn. This year the kids and I trekked much farther into the Blue Ridge Mountains than usual, to pick our apples. It was a beautiful drive and a lovely day and the apples were huge and delicious.

 When we were finished picking, we made our favorite apple crisp, completely destroying the kitchen in the process but it was certainly worth it.

Now That It's November...

here is my final post about summer.  We didn't manage a BIG beach trip this year but I was able to take the kids to Colonial Beach (where the Potomac meets the Chesapeake) one day.  It was great because we were the only one's there, but when we discovered the reason why, an infestation of jelly fish, the kids thought it was even more FANTASTIC.  Did they get stung? Of course!  Did it stop them from catching more jelly fish?  Of course not!  Atley even captured a giant fish in his jelly fish trapping endeavors.
 Oh, summer I miss you already.