Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First Day of Kindergarten

Well, Christopher is now officially in Kindergarten! We woke up before the sun did this morning (about 5:45am) and started getting ready! Christopher was so excited, he was bouncing around the house! He helped Daddy fix breakfast and we all sat at the table together! Christopher had cinnamon toast and Dinosaur oatmeal!

After breakfast, I helped Christopher put on his uniform and we took some pictures before leaving the house. His backpack was a little heavy because of all the supplies, so Daddy carried the backpack and Christopher carried his lunch box! We got a few pictures with his backpack on, but it didn't last long. ;)

Since Daddy needed to go to work after we took Christopher to school, Mommy and Daddy drove both cars. Christopher rode with Daddy this morning. And let's just say, it was a good thing! As I was driving, my heart was full, and so I began to pray. I thanked God for Christopher and for Mrs. A, asked God to help Christopher make good choices, and generally prayed for Mrs. A, Christopher & his classmates, and the year they had ahead of them. Somewhere during this prayer, the tears began to fall. There was no use trying to stop them, it was useless! So, my prayer took a new direction, as I asked God to keep me from crying in front of Christopher. I didn't want him to think I was sad about him going to Kindergarten or to think it was a bad thing. He's very sensitive to others when they cry and I didn't want him worrying about me. God very graciously answered my prayer!

After taking the now traditional family photo outside the Commons, we found Mrs. A's room and helped Christopher put away his school supplies. We also got a special picture of Christopher with his teacher! Then, we went outside to the playground where the rest of the kids were. We waited there until Mrs. A came to pick up the class. Christopher walked in, sat at his seat, and immediately began working on the paper in front of him (all the while paparazzi mom was taking photos). He knew exactly what to do - and some of the other kids began following suit.

The only thing he said to me was, "I thought you were going to sub at my school, Mommy." I told him I would, but not today. He seemed satisfied with this answer and went back to his work. Daddy and I hung out against the wall and watched him work for awhile. It was apparently much harder on us than it was Christopher! :) I wanted to turn into a fly right then so I could hang out on the wall and watch my precious son all day...but, I had things to do, and so did he! So, as some of the other parents began to make their way out of the room, David and I reluctantly followed.

I called Gran & Pop when I got back to my car to tell them about Christopher's morning (since they live so far away). Grandma Jansen was still in the hospital, so I went by her room and showed her the pictures on my camera from First Look last night and from today. She loved all of them (except maybe the ones where I accidentally snapped a mom who walked in front of my camera just as I was snapping away)! :)

At lunchtime, I came to eat lunch with Christopher. He said, "Mommy, what did you tell me? Did you say you were going to come pick me up at lunchtime?" When I told him I was just comming to eat with him, he said he wanted to go with me. I reminded him that if he did, he'd miss out on recess and our after-school ice cream treat. Since ice cream is pretty much his currency, he decided he'd stay the rest of the day!

After school, we went to the Cafe' with his friend Emily from PK4 and her mommy. I started the tradition last year of having ice cream together in the Cafe' after the first day of school. It's a good time to sit down and talk about his very first day of school. Emily's mom was so sweet - she paid for our ice cream! What a treat! :) Last year, after school, Emily's mom (Maureen) and I would take the kids to the playground to play. Emily has a big sister in Middle School, so we go to the playground to wait until MS is out. Maureen and I got to be good friends as we talked while we watched our kids play! Emily and Christopher are in different classes this year, but the friendships still are strong! As the saying goes, "Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold!" :)

When David and I asked Christopher what he did today, his reply was, "Nothing. We just sat around all day!" Oh my...that kid can come up with some real doozies sometimes! Last week, he told me he could be the boss now because he went to "cowedge" (college)! I'd told him several weeks ago that he couldn't be the boss because you had to go to college to be the the stinker filed that information away and came up with it just when he needed it most! It reminds me of when he was about 2 years old (give or take a few months) and he kept pointing at everything in the store and saying, "Mine!" My friend Robyn told him he had to have money if he wanted it to be his, so he very promptly stuck out his chubby little hand to me and said, "Mommy, I need money!" Then when she told him he need a job to make money, he said, "Awww Man! I need a job!" I think David and I are gonna need a lot of prayer for wisdom as we raise this one! He's a quick thinker, that's for sure! :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A First Look at Kindergarten!

I can not believe that I'm writing this already...but my little boy is going to be a big Kindergartener starting tomorrow! WOW! Time really flies by! It seems like just a few days ago we got the call that we'd been matched with his birth parents, and only yesterday that we brought him home from the hospital! But now, he's a big boy!

Tonight, Christopher's school had what they call "First Look" - which is basically a time to find out where his room will be and meet his teacher before school officially begins! I actually met his teacher, Mrs. A, about 10 years ago when I started my teaching career at that very school (different building, but same school)! During my 2nd year of teaching, I had the pleasure of teaching Kindergarten along with her...and she taught me so much about the profession! It was, by far, my favorite year of teaching! Now, Christopher has the opportunity to learn from Mrs. A, too! :)

I was also pleasantly surprised to realize that so many of my friends with kids Christopher's age are also in Mrs. A's class! I was also surprised to realize that none of Christopher's classmates from PK4 are in his class this year...but, I know that God is giving Christopher the opportunity to grow and make new friends! Some of his Kinder classmates are also his friends at church, so there were some familiar faces in the classroom for him, too! :) I think it's going to be a great year for him! =)

After First Look, we came home, Christopher took a bath, then we read a bedtime story & had a family prayer time (Christopher requested that I pray first, Daddy pray next, and he would pray last), and he went to bed with visions of Kindergarten dancing in his head. ;) I've checked his backpack to make sure all his supplies are ready for the morning, and I'm about to join David in bed so we can all get up at "Oh Dark Thirty" in the morning and be ready for our traditional 1st Day of School Family Drop-off! What that means is that all three of us will get up, get ready, and go to school on the first day. After that, David will take him to school an I'll pick up...unless I'm substitute teaching, then I'll do both! :)

For some reason, I'm a little more emotional about Kindergarten than I was about PK4. On his first day of PK4, I didn't cry...didn't even tear up. But, there's just something about realizing he's in "Big Boy School" (uniforms and all) that pulls at my heart strings...and I'm afraid I might not be quite as strong! We'll see...I'll let you know how it goes! :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Search Continues...

We spent the majority of our Friday and a portion of today looking at possibilities for where we will live next. We're still waiting on the bank to approve the, it's not like we can really accept anything right now, but we wanted to get a look at what might be out there in our price range.

We had 4 appointments scheduled for Friday and another one scheduled for today. We met a realtor guy at Publix at 10:30am Friday morning and he led us to two properties he had available in 2 different communities near where we live now. David fell head over heals in love with the first community we saw. While I will agree that the aminities were nice (they even had their own mini-water park for the kids), the house was a little small for our needs...or so I thought. But, if push came to shove, then I guess we could make it work. It was 3 bedrooms, 2 baths - the bedrooms were pretty small, so I was concerned about the ability to fit our furniture without being cramped, but David seemed to think it would work. The best part about the house itself was that it had a large lanai, which would give Christopher a lot of room to play outside. Another big plus is that it's at the low end of our price range. So, it's still on our possibilities list.

The second place we looked at, both David & I agreed it just wouldn't work for us - for many reasons. When we went to our 2nd appointment (3rd house of the day), we were surprised that realtor (a different one than we'd met this morning) wasn't there to greet us. We walked around and peeked in the windows while we waited, then decided to give him a call. He said he'd left a message on our answering machine a couple hours ago that it had been rented two days ago. So why, you may ask didn't he call us two days ago? We wondered the same question! ;) Oh worked out OK. I got to fit in an AVON appointment that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to schedule that day.

The last appointment of the day was a 3-bedroom plus a den - and while it certainly has possibilities (and the owners seemed to really like us and even said they'd prefer to rent to us), David and I both have reservations about it. It just didn't "feel" right...but we haven't totally ruled it out.

Today, we went for another appointment and this time, it was my turn to fall in love. I knew the community well because we have friends that live there and we used to have our AVON Leadership meetings at the clubhouse there. There's not much available as far as community ammenities - it's a relatively small & basic clubhouse, an OK playground, and it does have 2 pools - a lap pool and a family pool, but no fitness facility (which David would really like to have). But the house, in my opinion, was AMAZING! :) The floor plan was wonderful! It has a nice, big master suite that leads out to the pool/spa & has 2 walk-in closets. :) There are 3 other bedrooms which are nice and all bedrooms can be closed off from the main living area with pocket doors. With the pocket door closed to the front bedroom, it has a private area between the bedroom and the bathroom - so Christopher would not have the bathroom excuse to come out where we were after bedtime...and it would be nice for company as well. The back bedroom also leads out to the pool and is where I envision my office being and there's another bedroom just across from that that could be either David's office or maybe someday a nursery (a girl can hope). The kitchen is large and open with a breakfast nook. I'm just in love. But, David's worried about the lawn & pool maintenance and it is at the top end of our price range, so he's also worried about finances. So, needless to say, we're not quite seeing eye-to-eye on this one. Add to that the fact that there were at least 3 other couples looking at it today and we don't have any idea when we could possibly be ready to move in, and chances are very slim that I'll ever actually live in that house. :( But, I did take lots of pictures, so someday when I can afford to build my own house, I'll take the things I love most about that house and implement them into my dream home! :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Time to Get Packing!

It's almost surreal. We've only had 3 couples look at our house...the second one made an offer. We just barely had time to get a lock box on the door & not even enough time to get a sign placed out front. It hardly seems real...almost like a dream. But, it's real - it's very real!

The couple seems nice enough - we passed them as we went out to breakfast so they could check out our house in peace. They came early so they could see our house before they went to church (which makes our neighbors happy). They made an offer for the full asking price...which was the high end of what it appraised for. Now, we just need to wait and see if the bank will accept the short sale.

In the mean time, we're doing some serious sorting and packing. I have a feeling we might be on Goodwill's Christmas Card list after we're done - so much just has to go! A lot of what's finding it's way out are the teaching things I just couldn't bear to part with when I cleaned out my classroom. But, chances are we won't find a home with as much storage space as we have here, so it's time to let it go. This has pretty much become David's task because I just become too sentimental and still can't let it go (especially when I think of the money I put into those things & only got to use some of them for a year or less). Oh well...if God leads me back to teaching, I get to go shopping! ;)

The other thing we have to get serious about is finding a new home to live! We've only looked at a few places and only one of them is a real possibility. Thanks to a Google search, Craigslist, Needs News (from our church), and my friends on Facebook...we now have a stack of rental homes to check out in the next few weeks. I'll be calling on those places tomorrow to set up a time when we can come look at them in the next few weeks and see what we find.

When we first told Christopher we were moving, he said in his sweet little fearful voice (tears brimming at his eyes), "But...I love my house...and what about my toys?" Once we both assured him (at different times) that his toys would indeed be coming along with us, he was all about the move! Now, he keeps asking, "Today? Are we moving today?" What has added to his excitement is the fact that a few of the places we've looked at had stairs...which, apparently, is a very exciting novelty to a 5-year-old who has lived his whole life in a single floor home!

I'm hovering between excitement of a new home, nostalgia of the memories we've made in this home, and feeling completely overwhelmed by all that needs to get done! This is the home where David and I began our married life....the only home Christopher has known. The wall in the nursery has a mural of a train & bears that I painted while we were waiting to be matched with Christopher's birth parents. The wall in the kitchen has growth markes where we've chronicled Christopher's growth each year. The mailbox out front has a train & bears resembling the nursery wall that I painted when David & I bought the house. Yes, this house has held a lot of precious memories. The good thing is that while we can't take the nursery wall, the mailbox, or the wall with Christopher's growth marks with us, we can certainly take our memories. Cameras were made for capturing memories. We do have pictures of the nursery wall and I think I've got pictures of the mailbox when it was new somewhere around here. We've got the measurements for Christopher's first 5 years - so we can recreate that on something we can take with us until we find a new home we'll call our own. And we'll always remember the day we brought that precious bundle from God home...that memory is forever etched on my heart!

Please pray for us as we pack and move. Pray that we find a home that will meet all our family's needs in a price range that fits our budget. Pray that we have wisdom to know what to take and what to let go. Pray for strength as we pack boxes and prepare for the move. Just pray! :O)

Sunday, June 28, 2009 happens!

Sometimes I feel like my life is like the zebra above - completely unraveling! This is certainly not what I thought my life would look like at this point in my life. We all have dreams of what the future would hold. Mine was that I would be living in a nice home, pool in the back yard, wrap-around porch on the front, and a house full of children! But, that's so not where we are right now.

Don't get me wrong...I'm thankful for the things I do have! I am so thankful for my wonderful husband who loves me so much I can't even begin to understand his love for me! He's one of the few people in my life who love me just the way I am...not what I can do for him, not for the way I look (obviously!), but just because I'm his wife! I can't even begin to put into words how much that means to me! :)

I'm also thankful beyond words for the precious son that God gave us! What an amazing blessing that child is to us! And if you don't know the story, go back and read my very first blog. There is no doubt in my mind that God orchestrated every single event to bring sweet precious Christopher into our family!

I'm also thankful for some pretty amazing friends in my life who are faithful to pray for me and lift me up when I'm feeling down! You all know who you are...and I can't begin to thank you enough!

Lately, life has been really rough - one of the toughest in my life. We are in the position of having to either do a short-sale or lose our home. Either way, we'll be moving soon. We don't yet know where...but it won't be too far from where we are now, as we'll want to stay close to church (which is also Christopher's school) and David's work. We looked at a couple of places today. They were almost identical townhomes...except one had a pool & the balcony was more open. We both like them...the only thing is the garage is not attached and it will be a little bit of a drive for church, school, & work. We will continue to look, though.

The good news is that we finally have a realtor for our house. She is experienced in short-sales and as David was talking with her today, she said she had some clients who might be interested. This, of course, is great news...and also means we will have to get serious about packing up our home!

So...I'll be a little busy for the next few weeks between packing and keeping up with my AVON business (including the recently aquired customers from my upline who is moving to South Carolina)! But, as I was looking for an appropriate picture for my unraveling life, I came across this video, which reminded me of something very important...that God is the glue that holds me together!

So, even though my life seems like it is completely falling apart right now, it's not. God is NOT surprised by the events in my life right now. I'm sure there's a lesson I need to learn in them...and maybe, just maybe, a blessing I can't even imagine yet that will be waiting for us when we come out on the other side of these trials! God has a way of doing that...sending me through some pretty tough times...then blessing me beyond anything I could ever imagine! It's what keeps me going every day! And for that, I can be thankful...even in the midst of the storm!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A WHOLE bunch to hang in there!

I have been such a HORRIBLE blogger lately! I have all these great ideas of what I want to write about, but being disciplined enough to actually sit down and write it...well, I just can't seem to find the time...yet for some odd reason, I seem to have plenty of time to keep up with everyone on Facebook! Hmmm....somethings wrong with that picture! ;) Anyway, rather than try to do a bunch of little blogs or skip some very important things that's gone on in our lives, I'm just going to do one big MEGA BLOG! ;)

Last month, my parents came down from Montgomery, Alabama to visit us and to attend Christopher's Pre-K End of the Year program. While they were here, Pop and Christopher made a special stepping stone to join the ones Jackson & Brody (my nephews) made at Gran & Pop's house. Christopher wrote his name and decorated the stone with shells from our yard!

Christopher also talked Gran into play Legos with him just about every day after school! Pop supervised this particular building project! :)

On the last day of school, we ended the year the same as we going to school as a family! Mrs. Dever, the assistant in Christopher's class, took the picture below for us. Gran bought Christopher the outfit he wore for his last day of school/program.

These precious children put on the sweetest little show you've ever seen! What a blessing to have Christopher in a school where he learns about Jesus and worshipping God while he learns how to read, write, and count! We are so thankful! And for those of you who have been keeping up with our saga about where Christopher will go to Kindergarten, he will be staying at FBA! We had a meeting with the school administrator & he feels confident that he can offer me 5 sub jobs per month, which will pretty much cover Christopher's tuition for next year! Praise God!

A final picture with Mrs. Walker before we leave Pre-K4 behind us and start our summer!

Putting together a Veggie Tales puzzle with Gran - Christopher just adored having Gran and Pop down here to play with him! We hope it won't be so long before they come again! :)

We celebrated Christopher's graduation from PK4 by having a family dinner at Cracklin' Jacks! It's one of our favorite places to eat! They have good home-style cooking and they serve the endless veggies "family-style"...meaning they just bring out bowls for everyone to share & keep refilling as long as you like! We were so glad that my cousin Karen & her family were able to join us for dinner! Pictured above are (left to right) Gran (my mom), Pop (my dad), Forrest (my cousin-in-love), Karen (my cousin), David (my sweet hubby), and my empty cair.

This was the "kids table" at Cracklin Jacks (positioned right behind our table), & is where Karen & Fori's boys and C.Ray all sat together. This was the first time Christopher got to sit at a different table than us! Pictured above (starting with top left and going clockwise) are Daniel (17), Ben (15), Christopher (5), & Jonathan (10).

One of the reasons my mom didn't want me to move down here (aside from the 650 miles between us) was that there were gators down here! She was worried I might get eaten up...but we showed her who eats what down here! Pictured above is my mom taking her first bite of gator (an appetizer we all shared)...and she liked it so much, she ordered some more as part of her meal!
Then, the next day, we took off to Bass Pro Shops...a.k.a. my dad's toy store! ;) And lo and behold, we find another gator to tame! Above, Christopher's riding the big, bad gator...below, he goes gator-back surfing! :)

After some shopping at Bass Pro Shop for Dad and JoAnn's for Mom at Gulf Goast Town Center, we headed off for what Christopher considered the most important part of our trip that day...Pump It Up!

Montgomery has a Pump It Up where my mother takes my nephews (my brother's boys) who live near her and where she had an "Un-birthday party" for all 3 of her grandsons last November (since they don't get to spend their real birthdays together). Christopher loved it so much that he asked Gran if she would take him we did a little research on the internet and found out there's one that's not too far away from us! So, we made a plan & took a trip!

While we were there, Christopher discovered a love for air hockey! He had a blast! He played with his Daddy first, then he took on Pop...then he decided he'd supervise Gran & Pop's game!

I just love this picture above...both Christopher and my dad are so into this game, it's funny...and precious, all at the same time!

And of course...we can't forget the wonderful slides Pump It Up has to offer! Christopher had an absolute BLAST while we were there! Now that we know one is close, we'll have to see about making another trip soon...but since there's a cost involved, it'll have to be a special trip! :)
Christopher, as you already know from previous blogs, has been struggling with feeling comfortable in the my cousin Karen invited us over to swim in her pool a few days ago. She brought Christopher's buddy Jack over to swim with him, and little by little, Christopher became more comfrotable with the water. He's still not ready to let go and swim, but at least he's not clinging to me for dear life anymore! :)

I love the picture above for many reasons. First and formost, because it looks like Christopher's actually swimming (let me assure you, he's not)! Secondly, I just think Jonathan under the water is pretty cool! Thirdly, you can see how stinking long my hair is getting! LOL! :) Seriously, I'm ready for it to get to 10 inches past my shoulders already so I can donate it to Locks for Love!

This is such a precious picture of Christopher and his best buddy Jack! They are like two peas in a pod...if they were any closer, they'd be twins! =0)

Christopher and I discovered a new game that took his comfort in the water to a whole new level! He would hold my hands and jump off the side and I would twirl him around in circles. He called it "The Tornado" - I called it WONDERFUL...because, as you can see above, he actually leaned his head back into the water - something he's never done before! He kept asking to do it over and over the point I was almost so dizzy I couldn't stand up anymore! But, I was willing to keep going because my precious son was enjoying the water as I always dreamed he would!

This is another one of those shots I love just because! Christopher's just hanging out on the edge of the hot tub like he's never had a fear of the water a day in his life! Warms a momma's heart just as much as that hot tub warmed their little bodies!

Christopher and Jack loved the hot tub...probably because it was just their size. Funny thing though, Jack (who is NOT afraid of the water) didn't like the bubbles...but Christopher did!

Seriously, I do have a reason for putting this random picture of a bunny in here! :) It's one of the things I'm going to miss when we sell our house. This is just one of the many little wild bunnies living in our yard and I just love watching them! I have no desire to own a bunny (or pretty much any animal, for that matter) as a pet...but I do so enjoy watching the wild bunnies in their natural habitat! There's something calming & relaxing about it.

Now, for those of you still caught on the second sentence of that last paragaph and going, "WHAT?!? You're selling your house?" Yes, we are in the process of getting ready to sell our house. No, we are not planning to leave the area...but we are planning to move to a place with less yard to take care of and a smaller mortgage/rent payment so we can breathe a little easier financially. No, it's not the best time to be selling our house...but it really must be done, and it really must be done now. Please pray for us during this process.

Now...back to Christopher's swimming today's news, swimming lessons went much better! BIG thanks to "Aunt Karen" for sharing her pool with us earlier this week! Today in swimming lessons, they learned about the importance of wearing a life jacket when they go out in a boat. Yes, David still has to go in the water for Christopher to agree to go in...and yes, David also got to sport a life jacket. :)

Whew! That was quite an update! If you're still hanging in there with me, THANK YOU! Sorry it was so long...but I had a lot to catch you up on in our lives! I'll try to do better with keeping current so I don't have to do this again! the way, in the midst of all I updated you on here, I also had the opportunity to be a part of AVON's President's Club Luncheon and won an award there...but you can read all about that on my Naples Avon Lady blog. :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool - THAT is the question! ;)

Since we learned that we didn't qualify for any financial assistance for Christopher to continue his education at FBA, we've been exploring our options. Actually, we've had our options on the back burner of our minds since we enrolled him in PK4 at FBA. However, we were always hopeful that we would qualify for some financial assistance, especially with the loss of my teaching job this time last year. But, that was not to be.

I have also thought off and on about home-schooling Christopher since we brought him home from the hospital. But, it's always been a distant though - something I didn't think I'd do until he was closer to Middle School age. But, this turn of events has brought it to the forefront of our decision making.

As with almost any decision making, there are pros and cons to consider. The pros are that I have taught every grade from PK4-5th Grade, so I have some idea of where he should be academically. I can also take him at his own pace, which can be a very good thing for him - he tends to get in trouble at school when he gets board. His one year at FBA has proved that he also tends to gravitate toward those children who get in trouble (thankfully, trouble at FBA is nowhere near what it takes to get in trouble in the public school)! So, home school also has the added benefit of keeping him from too many temptations that would get him in trouble.

The cons to consider are that he is an only child and would not have as much socialization as kids in the public school - this could also be considered a pro, as he'd be better able to focus on his studies. He most likely would not have a Kindergarten graduation, which led me to pick the picture above. ;) This is something I personally am grieving about him not attending FBA for Kindergarten. The only other con I can think of now is that he would be with me all the time, which would make it a little more challenging to set up appointments with new recruits. Again, a selfish issue. ;)

Christoher is excited about the prospect of me teaching him at home. He's a bit of a home-body, likes to sleep in, and enjoys doing "school-work" - so this is right up his alley, so to speak. When I asked him today what he most wanted to learn when I taught him at home, he very quickly told me, "To read and to write!"

Now, some have asked me about putting him in public school. While that is certainly an option, it is NOT high on our priority list. While I never thought I'd feel this way, having received all my education through public schools and having taught in them myself, I just can't bring myself to place my precious gift from God in such a morally bankrupt environment! Over the years that I've taught in public school, I've learned that stealing is to be rewarded and profanity is not a discipline issue. Yes, you read that right. At the very school where my child is zoned to attend, I had a 3rd grader who repeatedly stole from teachers and students - when I wrote a referral, he received a jackpot of school supplies. I was also informed that I was writing too many office referrals (mind you, the only time I wrote one was when the child stole something). The following year, I had 3 first grade students using profanity so foul that if used in a movie would automatically qualify it for an R rating. When a parent complained about the minor infraction (a form sent home to the parents to alert them of the incident) I'd written (by the way, this was the very same parent who was unmoved by the incident when I'd called the day it happened), I was infomed by my principal (in front of said child and parent) that it was not a discipline issue! Now, if I'm not going to allow my child to watch an R-rated movie, why would I allow him the opportunity to experience the same kind of language in his classroom? I just can't bring myself to do it.

Having said that, I don't want to imply that all public schools are bad - they are not. It really has a lot to do with the administration, not only at the very top, but also at each school level. For those who feel led to send their children o public school, I think no less of them. I just don't think it's right for my child at this point in time.

So...what are we going to do? I really can't tell you for sure. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please feel free to voice them in the comments section. I'm always willing to listen to others ideas! :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Two Steps Forward, Four Back!

With Christopher's newfound love of the water, we decided that it was time for swimming lessons. Three weeks ago, Chistopher was very excited about this new adventure! Unfortunately, not so much now.
This was the first day of swimming lessons - we were at the gate, waiting to go in. Christopher was mostly excited, but nervousness was starting to set in.

This is the one and only time he went out with the instructor. He did pretty well, but he just revealed a few days ago that he'd swallowed some water then & didn't like it.

This is Christopher at the edge of the pool begging for me to let him out. I thought if I made him stay in, he'd gain confidence...but instead, it caused him to no longer want to get IN the water in the first place. Bad decision on my part! :(

Last week, my parents were in town and they went with us to swimming lessons before heading back to Montgomery, AL. Unfortunately, there was no swimming for them to see. Christopher absolutely refused to even get in the pool. We did manage to get him to put his feet in - but that was it.

On a side note, we've been working on his thumb-sucking habit. He was so pround yesterday to realize that he'd made it two whole days without the thumb (we're working towards a trip to Chuck E. Cheese's when he's thumb-free)! Today, however, he was so anxious about swimming lessons, that the thumb was an all-too-convenient comforter and was firmly planted in his mouth all morning long. I don't think I'm going to hold that one against him, though. :)

Today, despite our bribes of Spongebob movie rentals and a playdate with his buddy Jack, Christopher just could not bring himself to enter the pool. We got as far as his feet in, but only for a brief time & only at the very end of the lessons. When the lessons were over, Christopher was heartbroken to realize that he couldn't have Jack over to play. Daddy caved a bit and said if he'd get in the water & stand on the platform right then, Jack could still come over to play. Christopher decided to take the deal - and the boys spent a good part of their time together out in our backyard squirting each other with water guns! :)

Then they decided to team up and come after me...but don't worry...I had the water hose with finger posed over the nozzle so as to create quite an effective spray! Christopher got more wet from the water hose & water gun play than he did from swimming! Baby steps, I guess! :)

David got special permission from the teacher to get in the pool with them next week and stand next to the platform that the kids stand on while waiting for their turn to go out with the teacher. Hopefully, this will give Christopher the courage to at least get in the water the whole time. My friend Lori (a.k.a. Jack's mommy) also offered to let us come over after she gets done with school and let us go swimming with them at the community pool where they live. That's where Christopher first got over his fear, so maybe it will re-connect him with that courage he found there last summer! :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Sky is Falling!

I'm feeling discouraged today - so if you only like reading happy posts, then you should stop reading right now. I usually don't post when I'm feeling like this, but it's the only kind of therapy I can please excuse me if I seem a little down...I'm just going through a rough spot. When I come out on the other side, I'm sure I'll understand the purpose for all of this - but for now, I just need to release my feelings.

First of all, I'd like to say that I very much love my family, enjoy my AVON business - and know that God is completely in charge and works EVERYTHING together for our good. I'm reminding myself that it doesn't mean everything is going to BE good...just that it will all WORK TOGETHER for our good. ;)

That being said, I'm right smack dab in the middle of a pity party here! While my AVON business is steadily growing, it has not yet replaced my teaching salary & we are suffering financially as a result. I've tried not to talk too much about our financial struggles because 1) no one really wants to hear them, 2) it makes it sound like my AVON business isn't doing well and/or isn't a good way to make money. While #1 is pretty much completely true, #2 is so not! Let's just say, if it wasn't for AVON, we would be in a LOT worse shape financially than we are right now. It is helping to keep us somewhat afloat. We just need it to grow more (and quickly) so that we'll be back where we need to be.

The biggest problem with the financial issues is Christopher's schooling. From the time I moved down here 10 years ago and began teaching at First Baptist Academy (FBA), I dreamed of the day my future child(ren) would attend. When I taught Kindergarten my second year here, I dreamed of the day I'd watch my own child standing up wih his class & reciting the 23rd Psalm at Kinder graduation. But, all that threatens to remain just a dream. Tuition for Kindergarten at FBA is around $8,000 - or about $800/month if we pay monthly. We don't qualify for financial aid of any kind. And unless something miraculous happens to allow him to stay at FBA, then we'll have to move on to Plan B (Homeschooling)...or worse case scenario, Plan C (Public School). I don't mean to sound so negative about public fact, until a year or so ago, it was something we were considering after he graduated from FBA Kindergarten (remember, I was holding true to the dream of his Kindergarten graduation). But, when I got told as a 1st grade teacher last year that it was NOT a discipline issue for a child to use serious profanity (Mother F) in the classroom, I just could not imagine subjecting my child to such lack of values at this tender age! If this word had been used ONCE in a movie, it would qualify the movie for an R rating (even if the rest of the movie was relatively mild) - but apparently it's fine and dandy for it to be used in a 1st grade classroom! WHAT?!? I don't think so - at least not for my child!

I guess what I really need to focus on right now is that 23rd Psalm that I'm so looking forward to Christopher learning:

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Just as a shepherd guides the dumb sheep of the field, God is guiding my dumb thoughts. I do not need to worry about how my child will be educated - God loved him long before I ever had the chance to love him! While this may seem like the valley of the shadow of death, it is not. The evil one would have me believe this is the end of my rope - and I must not give in to his persuasive talks that would lead me astray from my Shepherd, Who is bringing me comfort and reassurance even as I type these words. ;) Funny, when I started this, I had planned a rant about how frustrated I am with life right now - and yet, God used it to calm my anxious heart. I just love when He does stuff like that! What an amazing God we serve! :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Beach Fun!

Up until recently, this is what Christopher thought of the beach:

You can almost hear him asking, "You want me to play in THIS?!?" Notice his Italian blood coming out in the way he expresses it, too! ;)

Seriously, he has hated water & the beach since he was very little. I couldn't even begin to think about taking pictures of him playing in the water - because he would scream if you put him anywere NEAR the water! I had visions of all these Mommy & Me swimming lessons...but, after him screaming through all six weeks of the first one we signed up for, we didn't sign up for any more!

But, I'm very glad to say that has all changed! We saw a bit of a change last summer as he discovered it wasn't all that bad (since I blogged about that last summer, I won't bore you now...just go back and read it!). Then right after he turned five, he surprised David and me by announcing that he wanted to take swimming lessons, "RIGHT NOW!" This is in the works...but the next class doesn't start until April or May. But Friday, Chrisopher FULLY embrased his Florida Boy status! :)
My Beautiful Loser group met at the beach to workout last Friday & I arranged with Grandma Jansen (who watches Christopher on Fridays while I workout) to bring Christopher to the beach after our workout time ended. This was the first time I've attempted a beach trip with him in quite awhile...and I'm pleased to say, we'll be scheduling more as time goes on!
While I was walking along the beach earlier, we'd seen some sea I couldn't resist showing Christopher. I wish I could have gotten video of the view, but I think this is just as good:

He was really excited to see the dolphins...and they were fairly close to shore...which made for easy viewing! I'd also seen a manatee earlier that day, but there didn't seem to be any more around by the time Christopher arrived. That's ok...he was just excited to see the dolphin! And I just love his response when I asked him what the dolphin was was like, "Duh, Mom!" ;)

We also built (or tried to build) a sand castle. We'll have to bring more tools along with us when we come next time. All we had was a couple of scoops and a sifter. We never had much need for beach toys before - so these were some he played with in his tub. Guess some official beach toys are in order now! :)

Christopher also wrote his name in the sand and watched the water wash it away. He thought this was so much fun, he did it several times! One time, he wrote it too far away from the surf & was disappointed when the water didn't come quite that high right away. But, the most amazing part for me was how much he enjoyed the waves:

He fully embraced the water rushing over his feet...even calling to the waves to come get him! The longer we stayed, the more brave he got! Sitting down and letting the waves lap around him...

and leaning into the waves as they came up & getting fully soaked...
and even jumping in the waves...

I was so excited about his new-found love of the beach that I snapped over a hundred pictures! Christopher must have felt like the newest celebrity on the beach...he's certainly got his celebrity "no more pictures" pose down! :)