Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Coming to an End

Fourth grade around these parts is wrapping up this week. 
The awards' assembly was yesterday where Sugar Plum Fairy was inducted into the Millionaire's Club. 
This has to do with students being recognized by having their name placed in a display case when they read 1,000,000 words. 
Pretty cool that the three 4th/5th grade girls are all best friends. 
Last August, I knew that this year could prove to be a challenge.
A fourth grader and a college bound senior.
Years ago, my teacher sister told us that 4th grade is the first year that students are expected to
"Read to Learn"
instead of
"Learn to Read".
How true that is.
It is truly a transition year to becoming a "big kid".
 Everything from moving from the fun playground with the swings and monkey bars to the boring playground with basketball hoops and 4 square and in California, building MISSIONS.
My girl was not a happy camper in the beginning about the playground and I was not overjoyed in the mission arena.
This was not my first 4th grade rodeo.
Part of 4th grade curriculum is learning about the California Missions, which I am all for.
I adore history.
We have visited umpteen missions over the years to teach our children about their unique history.
 I am first in line defending the teaching of the missions.
  Was it an ideal or wonderful thing in the day? 
Not completely.
Do I think the missions were founded on the principle that they would do good?
  Were some Native Americans hurt in the process?
 BUT, it is part of our history and I believe that we need to know our history...all of it...the good, the bad and the ugly in order to learn from it... and in some cases to not repeat it.
I just stepped down from my soap box...where was I?
Oh, yes.
In my VERY humble opinion, building a model mission is akin to pulling my fingernails out. 
Maybe that is because I made our two older kids build theirs from scratch and not from the
store-bought ones.
In my mind, I thought they might learn about measuring and cutting and scale.  
What they ended up learning was that frazzled moms and hot glue are not a good combination.  (Which is also a good lesson to teach your children, by the way)
Besides...WHAT does one do with these masterpieces when they are done? 
Lollipop Pop's Mission
 We had two missions sitting in storage, taking up valuable space until very recently when I took pics of them and tossed them.
It actually hurt a little.
Anyway, when the year began for our 4th grader, I grew more worried that this teacher would be of the mind that mission building was a skill her students required.
She encouraged creativity in her class and some crafty stuff.
 I feared I was in trouble.
A book report was done in the form of a cereal box.
Then came the assignment for the Young Author's Fair.
Writing a story in the same vein as "Indian in the Cupboard...complete with a cupboard.

I was doomed.
I knew the Missions would have to be built at the same time we had two fairs occurring, Lollipop Pop's birthday party, and all of the other year end "stuff" that happens.
I worried.
I complained.
And then the skies cleared and the angels sang (well, not quite) when the most wonderful 4th grade teacher on the planet said that building a mission was OPTIONAL!!!!
Turns out, she has a 4th grade child and had no desire to build a mission herself!
Each child was assigned a mission to research and put together a display board.
These boards, along with the 5th grader's State reports would be on display one afternoon at the school for parents to view.
They were then given additional projects they could do IF they wanted.
I gathered all the photos that we have taken at all of the missions Sugar Plum Fairy has visited and put them in a folder.
 I then showed her how to create a photo book! 
She placed the pics she wanted to use and left a spot for text on each mission.
 She then went back and wrote something about each one.
  The first couple she just stated what "number" that mission was and that she didn't remember it. 
She shared what her favorite things were and some interesting facts that weren't in the research info.  The best part of this is that we now have an album of our family vacations as seen through our youngest's eyes. 
 Love that!

So, what have I learned this year?
 I need to find a teacher, every year, who has a child in the same grade as Sugar Plum Fairy.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Until We Meet Again

The plethora of photos that we have of my mother in law is overwhelming.
Each one tells a story.
These are just a few that show her love of her family.
We are because she was.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Roller Coaster

The last week and a half has been a true roller coaster of emotions.
From the high of my Mom getting a clean, cancer free report to the low of losing my mother in law.  Crying has been a daily occurrence.
Happy and sad.
Bittersweet and mournful..
Tears of pride for my daughter and her cousins as they received a scholarship that honors their heritage.
Pride when Lollipop Pop's junior high school history teacher turned superintendent presented 4 other tiny country school alumni and her with scholarships.
I inadvertently cut off the 5th kidnick...oops...sorry, Israel.
Gratitude when said superintendent stayed and posed with my girl.
8th grade graduation
Senior. Scholarship Night
Humbled when I had to purchase more bags to fit all the items our 4-H Club members donated to bless women who find themselves at our battered women's shelter.

Laughter and happiness for my girlie, her cousin and their friends as they beat the Juniors in an encore Powder Puff Football game.
   (This game is usually played every other year, but these girls pushed to be able to played as Seniors also)
Lollipop Pop woke up the following day and said she felt like she had been run over.
Scoring points in football is hard work!

Watching my niece and nephew discuss the game plan...not sure that is smiled upon when one is the quarterback and one is the ref. 
Oh well.
Stress at getting items to the fair as well as appreciation for all the leaders and parents who make such a thing possible. 
Teaching our youth to preserve foods or decorate a cake, take terrific photos or how to care for critters,  are things they will carry with them throughout their lives.
Awards are kind of a nice added benefit as well.

Being surrounded by Sugar Plum Fairy's friends helped a great deal. 
We were all able to put aside our sadness for a moment.
Happiness in watching Sugar Plum Fairy play in her first band concert. 
This girl loves music!

 Last night, we were blessed to attend Lollipop Pop's Baccalaureate. 
There were students from most of the high schools in town.
 As Father blessed them while they formed a semi-circle, I cried. 
 I cried when they sang Amazing Grace.
I always cry when they sing Amazing Grace.
Watching these three handle the recent events in addition to their finals and "end of high school stuff", I felt such joy and pride in who they have become.
This morning I will wake my daughter up for the last time to get ready for school.
Her final day of high school.
Tears are sure to fall again.
The next few days, we will be surrounded by friends and family.
 The roller coaster is slowing down and while the emotions are sure to be raw and close to the surface for some time, we are comforted in the knowledge that the loss we feel now will ease a bit.
We know that she will be watching down upon us as we laugh together and cry together and heal together.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Truism and What I Know

 Do not let your hearts be troubled.
Believe in God, believe also in me.   
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places.
If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 
  And you know the way to the place where I am going. 
 Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’
   Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me. 
  If you know me, you will know my Father also.
 From now on you do know him and have seen him.’
~John 14:1-7
This I know.
There is a party filled with dancing and music happening in Heaven right now.
Lots of music.
And reunions.
And laughing.
And music.
And dancing.
After nearly 92 years of serving the Lord and everyone around her, my mother-in-law
went to be with Jesus yesterday.
As much as her grandchildren and children adored her, the love and pride she felt for each of them was no match.
As we learn to navigate a world without her, we must remember that her love...compassion...kindness and Faith live in each of us.
That is her legacy.
What a gift.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

And Another

Music sooths the soul, don't you think?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My Favorite Hymn

What is your favorite?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday Truism

Blogging has not only allowed me to pour out my heart and preserve my memories, it has introduced me to wonderful blogging friends. 
 Melinda is one such lady whom I have never met in person, but whom I am confident I would like in real life.
 I mean just the name of her blog, Blue Jeans and Cotton Tees is perfect.
Take a peak at her blog and introduce yourself .
Her comparison recently of raising children to gardening and being in a season of transplanting hit my heart dead on and had me in tears.
On this Mother's Day, may all of our children know that this prayer Melinda composed is prayed over them.
Over and over.

And my momma heart prayed, “Take care of the roots, children!”
Those precious roots that your dad and I have tried to build into your lives.
Roots that will anchor you in the bedrock of strong faith.
Roots that will help you stay strong when the world is storming around you.
Watch those roots!
Tend them carefully.
Water them.
Give them good soil.
Let them grow deep and strong.
Please children, hear your momma’s heart.
Take care of the roots.