Friday, May 9, 2014

Getting schooled

This week had a few surprises.  Some were better than others.  Poor Olivia started things off with Strep Throat on Tuesday.  My kids made it through the Winter Vortex as strong as oxen, but this Spring has really given the kids (especially O) a run for their health money.  And if you count poison sausages, mine too!

I may have mentioned a time or 20 about how much I LOVE my kids' school.  While it is not perfect, it currently IS the perfect situation for our family.  If I were not able to be as involved as I am, perhaps I would feel differently.  But as it stands, I am able to spend about 8 hours a week volunteering.  I love the time I get to spend in their classrooms.

One of the most special things about the school, River's Edge Montessori, is that it is an ELL feed for Dayton Public Schools.  (I had no idea what ELL was until hanging around the school... it stands for English Language Learners...formerly known as ESL.)  There are 6-8 languages spoken at our school.  All students are mixed in together in the classroom and some of these kids speak up to four languages and many have stories you only read about or see in movies.  My kids, and now I, call them friend.

Two of those eight hours each week go to two special girls.  I decided at the beginning of the school year to join the school based Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.  I figured, if I'm going to be around the school, I might as well spend some intentional time with some girls who could benefit from some mom attention.

I have a second grade "little" and a sixth grade "little.  Honestly, I started the year out with the second grader and it didn't seem like that big of a stretch.  I have a second grade girl and I pretty much know what to do.  Chat, hold her feet to the homework fire and encourage her.  Her home life is rough and I have been moved by how rough some kids have it.

A few months ago I was asked to take on another little.  She is in sixth grade and a great student.  Her friends in class all had big sisters and they recommended her for the program.  Although the program doesn't  normally assign matches toward the end of the year, especially since she will be moving on to a middle school next year, they asked if I would.  Well... now... this has been challenging.  NOT because of her, but because of me.  What the heck do you talk about  with a sixth grader?  Ugh.  She is smart, stylish and artistic.  I'm making it up as I go along.

Our school hosted a "tea" for all 4th, 5th and 6th grade girls yesterday.  A teacher had a vision three years ago to begin a tea where girls can be taught what true beauty is, be celebrated for the young women they are and cast vision for who they may become.  I was invited to join my little as a guest.  I was a bit hesitant.  Feeling as insecure as those little girls.  Did she really want some old mom hanging around (I'm not as young and cute as most of the college age big sis'.)  I was surprised that she didn't seem embarrassed when she saw me walk in and I asked if I could sit next to her.

The vision this teacher has for these girls made me love and appreciate our school even more.  YES to inner beauty, beauty of the heart, waiting to save yourself until marriage, yes to manners and etiquette.  Yes to being in the school for my children and other peoples' children who, for a  million reasons, can't be.

This week, this school year, has been full of surprises; many of which have come from me going to school.  I guess school is never really over! 

Monday, May 5, 2014

11 years and going strong

Steve and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary on Saturday.  Does that put us in our Tween years? 
Because we recently made a trip of a lifetime to Israel, we thought dinner out would suffice.  I received roses, Steve did yard work and I cleaned the house.  Pretty much exactly what I figured we would be doing 11 years ago as I walked down the aisle!
Our wedding day was beautiful.  After a short 4 month engagement, all the details were set and I'm pretty sure it is entirely possible to pull off your dream wedding in 4 months! 
We were married at Nazareth Hall in Grand Rapids, OH.  Once upon a time it was a military school for boys.  Now, it is a venue for weddings, parties, proms and Sorority formals.  Which is where I discovered it.  My senior year formal with Alpha Phi at BGSU, I stood there and declared (probably silently and only to myself as a witness), "This is where I will get married." 
And so- I did. 
Did you know I used to be  blond?  Yep.  I look back and I am not so sure it was a good idea to stay blond for as many years as I did.  I think it made me look a little washed out.  Oh well.
I got married about six weeks before my 31st birthday.  When most people look back at their wedding pictures, I feel like they say, "We looked so young."  I don't find myself saying that.  Because I wasn't.  But I do say, "Man, was I blond!"
I have to say, I'm not one into frills.  I can honestly say, if I were to do my wedding all over again today, I would probably still choose my dress.  I know it is plain and not exactly exciting, but it is me.  And the peony/tulip bouquet?  Wish I could carry one every single day of my life!
Our sweet friend, Linnea, came to be with the kids while we went out for anniversary dinner.  The kids were so happy to see her.  In fact, I'm not sure she was here 5 minutes before she was upstairs making forts.  We got home earlier than expected from dinner.  I was greeted, "Oh, man.  Mom, why are you home early???  We're not finished yet."  That is the sign of a good night with your friend!
11 years later, life is amazing.  There have been some crazy events in the last decade plus, but oh man, my heart overflows with love for my amazing husband and the life God is building for us.