Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Little Tap Shoes

Our little dancer did an amazing job at her recital! She looked so grown up with her stage makeup and hair. You can watch a portion of her performance at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ye6i5eVKvYA -- keep in mind this video was taken at the rehearsal because no cameras were allowed at the recital. My favorite part is when she can't find her place in line! Too cute. It reminds me of the scene from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" where he squawks on a clarinet and proclaims, "Not one lesson." We paid $50 a month plus registration fees and costume fees etc...for this once in a lifetime moment. And yes, it is priceless!


After months and months of hearing about how all Jackson's friends had a Wii -- Mike and I decided to see what all the fuss was about. We asked a few questions while on a trip to Best Buy and talked to a sales representative about the best times to find a Wii in stock. Then we walked to Toys R Us just for fun and guess what -- they had four Wii stations behind the counter. I pressured Mike into buying one on the spot because I did not want to waste time standing in lines and repeatedly looking at stores because I knew how hard they can be to find. I promptly took the kids to the other side of the store and Mike took our secret purchase to the car. We kept it in the closest for months trying to decide the best time and way to surprise the kids.

We decided to use the Wii as a reward for the kids' good work in school. Jackson had perfect attendance this year! He also did an amazing job on his spelling, reading and math. We were just blown away with all he accomplished.

Given Jackson's new found obsession with Indiana Jones, Mike had the idea of a scavenger hunt that would require the kids to incorporate some of what they learned in school. Mike sent Jackson an e-mail from Indiana Jones that announced the adventure. Then the kids followed clues around the house that required them to do such tasks as count money, spell words and cross the monkey bars. It was awesome! The kids had a ball! The last clue led them to a treasure box with a Wii game and controller inside. You should have seen their faces! It was one of those top 10 parenting moments where you fell like a true hero for helping their dreams come true! We inclued a letter in the treasure box to tell them they received the Wii for their amazing work in school -- we hope it will encourage their continued good efforts!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

May Day, May Day!

I am exhausted. This has honestly been the busiest 6+ weeks of my entire life. I never anticipated my life as a stay-at-home mom this way. I honestly never knew how hard it was until I stepped into these shoes. For some crazy reason, I thought things would get easier once the kids started school. Many things are easier. I do get to sleep through the night and it has been a very long time since I had to change a diaper. But, now my days are packed with swim practice, baseball practice, ballet, school plays, volunteer hours at the school, homework, laundry, cooking, cleaning, running errands, playdates and my many March of Dimes commitments. Most mornings I get up at 5:15 in hopes of squeezing in a quick workout and I honestly don't stop until 9 p.m. or later. And, I know you are all doing the same thing! It is just hard to keep up this pace. But, I do know that my hard work is paying off and I will probably not see the fruits of my labor for many, many years to come. But, I know what I am doing is important and it is appreciated...even it the thank yous are few and far between.

What a month it has been -- and it's not over yet. But, June is just a few days away -- I know I can make it. I think I can...I think I can....I do want to say that I am happier than I ever thought possible. I do find value in my roles as wife, mother, friend and volunteer. It is not glamorous and it leaves me drained most days. But, I would not trade it for a fancy job with a check with lots of zeros either. For me, this is it. This is where it is at. I would like to say that I run a tight ship and I rarely miss when juggling all these balls, but the truth of the matter is that things are dropping all the time. I struggle each day to keep my mind and my arms wrapped around all that is on my plate. But, it is exciting and it sure keeps life interesting. Hats off to all my mama friends. You are absolutely amazing! Now, can I take a nap???? Or, can I at least have a drink?

God Bless America

Lauren participated in her school graduation program last night. It is hard to believe that my little girl is about to start kindergarten. The theme was a tribute to our troops and our Country. It was a beautiful program. The kids were escorted into the auditorium by a navy Sergeant if full uniform carrying the United States Flag. The children all wore red, white and blue and sang songs including "God Bless America" and "America the Beautiful." It was a wonderful night. I was very proud of our little girl and just can't get over how fast she is growing up. I just want to freeze time and keep her five forever. She is so sweet and so fun. Just a precious little angel -- until her brother gets home from school!
The last song the children sang was entitled, "Before We Say Goodbye John 3:16." I had never heard the song before and was so touched by the words and the message. It basically was a story of friends parting, but before they left each other, one asked the other friend if he new Jesus and went on to witness to his friend. The children recited John 3:16 and it was so special hearing it from their sweet voices. It was a beautiful reminder of Christ's love for all his children. A perfect ending to a very special night!

Homeroom Mom

A couple of weeks ago, I received a flier from Lauren's school announcing the upcoming teacher appreciation week. It provided ideas for helping make sure all the teachers felt the appreciation of their students and their families. It encouraged parents to contact their homeroom mom to help plan special gifts and activities for the week. Well, I know this sounds pretty bad given it is May, but I honestly had no idea who the homeroom mom was for Lauren's class. Lauren participates in the carpool line so I just drive up and drop her off and zip through and pick her up. I check in with the teacher from time to time by e-mail just to make sure everything is going smoothly and to offer my help here and there. But, for the most part, I have not been very active in the school this year. Given I did not know who to contact for teacher appreciation week, I sent an e-mail to Lauren's teacher to request the contact information for the designated homeroom mom. Well what do you know....she said I was the homeroom mom! Oh my gosh. You have got to be kidding me. I mean I planned the Christmas party and I helped with the field trip etc...but I had no idea I was the homeroom mom! Surely there had to be other moms that were more involved that I was the whole year??? Yikes. That meant I was in charge of plans for teacher appreciation week. I hurriedly put together a list of parent e-mail addresses. Then I sent out a letter asking for monetary donations to purchase gifts for the teacher and teacher's aide. I called the office to get gift ideas (did you know they keep such things on records for just such an occasion???) Then it was off to the races to purchase gifts for the week. I share this with you all only because I know you can relate. And if you can't, it is just a reminder to really appreciate your homeroom moms. I don't think the title of homeroom mom is accurate. It truly is a challenging and time consuming job with little thanks. It deserves a much more lofty title. And guess what, no sooner had I wrapped up teacher appreciation week than I had to jump right into planning the end of year party- - which just so happened to fall on the same day as my long anticipated hair appointment. This mom stuff requires the organizational skills of a professional wedding planner -- and the accounting mind of a CPA! Who knew????

March for Babies -- It's a wrap!

More than 8,000 people took part in March for Babies 2008. It was a wonderful and emotional day for my family and for 100s of other families that celebrated the health of their children. It also served as an opportunity for many families to memorialize their babies that are no longer with us today.

I am frequently asked when I think I will quit putting so much of my time and energy into the March of Dimes. Jackson is seven now and Lauren is five. The months in the NICU are far behind us. But the memories of the days, weeks and months following Jackson's early birth have stayed with me. The wound has healed, but the scar will always be there to remind me of what we went through.

I continue to invest a great deal of my time into the March of Dimes in hopes of helping the 1,000 mothers in Texas who will have a preterm baby this week and the seven mothers in Texas who lost their preterm baby this week. That is what keeps me motivated to keep fundraising.

I am pleased to report that our family team raised $7,340 and we are anticipating another $450 in corporate matching dollars! I believe strongly in the mission of the March of Dimes and I thank you all so much for supporting my efforts! A special thank you to those that registered for March for Babies and helped raise money for this important cause. And, thank you to all of you who forwarded my donation request to your friends and family. Your efforts helped me reach more people, raise more money and educate others about premature birth.

It took 17 years and four billion dimes to find a cure for Polio. I am confident that within our lifetime a cure for premature birth and many of the birth defects that are common today will be achieved. But, it will require people like you and me to make it happen.

Thank you again for your generosity – you are helping make a difference in the lives of babies!

Mother's Day Tea

For Mother's Day, I was invited to a very special tea party at Lauren's preschool. It was one of those “moments” where you truly cherish the blessing of being a mom. The tables were beautifully decorated. The kids showed us to our seats and pulled out our chairs. They served us cookies and lemonade. I have never seen such well–behaved, sweet children. It was truly amazing. Then they presented us with hand made necklaces that are so precious – I will cherish it for a lifetime. I would like to say it was a surprise, but Lauren could not wait to give me my gift so she broke down and told me about it days before the big reveal!
The kids sang a song about standing on the rock of Jesus and I was moved to tears – yes I know, I know – I am easily moved to tears. But, in this case I am sure you would have all shed a few too!

Each child presented their mother with a picture they drew of us and with questions they had answered about us. Did you know that I am 27 years-old, I weigh 94 pounds and I love to play Barbies? Upon reading this to Mike, he said he wanted to meet Lauren's Mommy!

I feel so blessed to be a mom and I know you all feel the same way.