Saturday, September 4, 2010

The First Weeks Of School

We took our family vacation at the end of July and since then, it seems that our world has been spinning at a fast speed. Andrew and Christian started junior high 4 weeks ago already....I can't believe that tomorrow marks their 5th week of school. Adam and Lucey started school 3 weeks ago. The lazy days of summer are definitely long past.

I decided to put these pictures in birth order....A little bit about their summer and the start of the school year for each of them.

17 years old and in his senior year of high school. I still can't believe this is his last year of school. He amazes both Ron and I every day. His summer was about this......

1. He worked at the airfield on the post we live on. He flew in a small plane for the first time riding along on work related business. He loved that experience. He greeted VIP's (key leaders in our nations military) as they arrived in their jets. He is not shy and loved the opportunity to talk with amazing men. He also had some dirty, hard work like cleaning bunches of dead frog out of the hanger after major rain storms. Washing bugs off air craft in 100 degree temperature. He didn't mind at all. Really, in all honesty, Adam is one of the happiest persons I know. He makes the best of all he does.

3. He spent time studying for his ACT that he will take next weekend. This will be Adam's second try at it. He scored very well on the English and Reading portion of the test but wants to improve his math and science. He has written his essay for his scholarships. He has asked for letters of recommendations from several General officers. Those Generals have agreed and have written those letters for him. Preparing for college is a full time job. Thankfully Ron is in charge of this. Part of our family vacation was visiting colleges that Adam is interested in.

4. Adam loves to read and spent a lot of his free time catching up on books he has stacked up in his room.

5. He spent time with friends. A special friend in Illinois whom he thinks of as a brother and friends from school as well.

6. He experienced heart break as well when a friend from his old school died in a tragic car accident as he was leaving school right at the start of the school year. It was a time of prayer and reflection on this young persons life and how to process this in a young persons mind. It was difficult as a parent to work through this with Adam. Jesus was the healing balm through this painful wound.

Adam off to school with lunch sack in one hand and the keys to the car in the other. I am still not all that comfortable with him driving off in the car. I pray for him every time he leaves the house. I surrender him to the Lord and my issues with control. It was extra hard after learning about Adam's friend's death.

Adam spent the first week of school on retreat and lived in the dorm. The house was really quiet with Adam not around. I really didn't like it. I'd better prepare myself for next year if he decides to go to school away from us. Nana and Papa were visiting....Papa in the back ground with Lucey on his lap.

Adam's first soccer game. He is number 17 and played a very good game despite MH-MA being crushed.

Andrew and Christian~
12 years old and in 7th grade. Since they had very similar summers I'll share their story together.
1. I can sum up most of their summer by saying....Friends, Friends, Friends....those two have so many friends. Our front yard is the place where everyone meets. Their circle of people are equally girls and boys. They are a close knit group. Andrew and Christian are full of energy playing outside on the hottest of days....always a soccer game or football game, climbing trees and getting very dirty and smelly. :-)
2. We read a book together called, "The Organized Student" preparing for their first year of junior high. This is a great book for all students. We set up their binders and file system for the year. It has really helped so far.
3. Both boys spent time reading. Andrew has an immense love for reading and Christian has found a new love for books.
4. They continued to take piano and have improved. Christian enjoys this a little more than his brother. They both do well.
The first day of school.

They have not been on a school bus since they were 5. The bus picks up in front of our house. They both were excited to spend these few minutes with friends before the first bell. All their neighborhood buddies ride with them.

Lucey is doing a happy dance as she sees the bus pull up at the end of the school day. She really missed the boys. Last year she didn't seem to care that they were gone.

Christian coming through the door with Lucey's exuberant greeting.

Hugs for Andrew.

The house was so quiet the first few weeks of school that I was able to catch up on laundry! The dreaded laundry that is always multiplying and creating stress for me.

I organized the cabinets. I don't have a pantry so I have to be organized and this place was getting out of control this summer. I feel so much better.

Lucey is saying good-bye again as the boys head off for another day of school. Hugging Andrew.

The boys decided to join the football team. Here they are at one of the first practices. Lucey and I always try and watch a little bit before they end each afternoon. I take Lucey's bike and she rides around as I talk with the other parents.

That's my Andrew on the end. Andrew is playing defensive end.

Christian is done for the day after a long, hard practice. They practice every day after school for two hours.

Ron left work early to watch a practice. As you can see, Christian has really grown this summer. He is 5'4" and 115 pounds! There are 35 kids on the 7th grade team. Christian made first string punter and kicker and will also play line backer.
Last week Andrew was very sick. He is asthmatic and had some breathing issues and a fever. After a chest x-ray we found out it was pneumonia. He also test positive for strep throat. He missed school all last week, poor guy. He was pretty down. It's going to take a few weeks to get his energy back. I have a feeling he will be on the bench for the first few games. Maybe by the end of September he will be ready to practice again. It's been hard to keep my very active boy calm and restful. There have been some battles. ;-)
3 years old and in pre-k 3 two mornings a week. Lucey's summer was a time for blossoming.
1. Lucey and I traveled to St. Louis three times this summer for her surgery and follow-up. Her team appointment at the end of May was long and tedious and was upsetting to her. It was not a good trip. We scheduled her surgery at that time and talked with the plastic surgeon at length about how to proceed.
2. Before her surgery Lucey and I went to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City to meet with a pediatric cardiologist about the hole in Lucey's heart. My Auntie M., went with me and together we were praying for her appointment. Lucey did so well during her ECHO and we received the best news of all....the hole closed! Praise The Lord!!
3. Lucey had surgery in June for a macrostomia repair and to remove the ear remnant on her cheek. The surgery went as planned, the nerve in her face was not compromised and Lucey recovered very quickly.
4. We followed up in St. Louis in July and met with the surgeon who removed the last of the bandages. Her 1 1/2 inch scar is healing, fading and smoothing out nicely.
5. Lucey had a language explosion. In May, when tested by the Leavenworth County CO-OP she was putting together 3 words. In August we had a meeting to go over her IEP...she is putting together long complex sentence. The ladies were very impressed with her. She will getting speech therapy but barely qualifies.
Lucey's first day of pre-school...ready with play clothes on.

Lucey finds her picture in her cubby and was so excited. We have been talking about this day for so long. We have read books about going to pre-school and have talked about Mommy returning. She did great! Lucey doesn't always do very well separating from me.

Papa and Nana return from a long trip out west. Papa bought Lucey a book about Lewis and Clark's dog, Seaman. Lucey loves Papa to read to her.

My Mom went to visit my Grandma so I took Lucey and Papa to lunch at the old detention barracks. We had a yummy meal.

Lucey's second day of school and Daddy is taking her.

Lucey made Clifford the Big Red Dog ears. So much fun and one of Lucey's favorite shows.

Lucey's year will be spent cheering on her brothers at their sporting events. Here is Lucey sitting on the blanket as we watch Adam play in his first soccer game. Lucey's first ring pop given to her at a birthday party.

Lucey's hair has grown. This day she wanted two ponies. I thought she looked adorable. I love that at this age, she is not self conscious about not having an ear. We are going to keep encouraging her to love herself just as God made her! She knows that she will have a prosthetic in the future. We have talked about it and she has seen pictures of a little girl getting a prosthetic.

Lucey reading to one of her babies.

Lucey learned to pedal her bike this summer. Every day she rides. It's great for her leg strength.
This was such a long post...I wrote this mainly to save for our own memories. If you were able to read this entire post, I admire you. I know our family story can be boring for others.
I owe so many of you emails...Those of you I know and love who check on us regularly. I appreciate those of you I don't know, giving me ideas, suggestions, insight into your own life as you have gone through simliar experiences. A few of you who have written to me who advocate for the orphan. My heart has been tugged and I want to let you know how much I care.
Lucey has been with us for 18 months...You would think, by now, I would have my act together raising 4 precious kiddos...I don't. I'm working on it. (Thank goodness for God's Grace) I'm running in circles, often. Spending my time in and out of the car going from here to there and back again. My car has close to 100,000 miles on it. Thank goodness it's comfortable to drive and I love it because I sure spend a lot of time in it. I put a little extra pressure on myself as I try to make our home a peaceful haven for everyone to come home to (even though it's military housing). I am committed to feeding my family healthy, homecooked meals. A little extra planning and preparation. Ron's job has him traveling a lot of the time. I'm learning how to juggle that as well. I pray the Lord gives me extra energy and good rest at night. I made a decision that this year I would make lunches only 3 times a week (I do love making nutricious's one of the ways I love on them) having the boys buy at school the other two days. You can't imagine how lucky I feel when I wake up on those two morning and I don't have to pack lunches! I can't do it at night...I'm always exhausted. I sounds so minor...maybe someone can relate? Maybe I just sound whimpy?
I hope that you and your families have had a wonderful start to your school year. Don't forget to take time for replenish and have a cup of tea...I pray that you have extra energy and good rest at night too.

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