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Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Favorites: Growing Up

It's been a long week.  I am tired.  They are tired.  We are all tired.  My house looks like the toy box threw up everywhere, but I don't even feel like asking them to pick up.  We can do that tomorrow.  Besides, they'll drag it all out again tomorrow anyway.  So I'm just trying to close my eyes and pretend like it's not there!

This week, above all else, I realize that these three are growing up.  Right before my eyes.  It used to make me a little bit sad.  But now I'm beginning to realize how much joy it brings me to watch them grow up, get older, grow taller, learn new things, hit new milestones . . . and all the while they're pulling away bit by bit.  It's not that they don't "need" me anymore.  They just "need" me in different ways.

Here are some things I want to remember from this week:

1.  Last night I went to Open House at school to meet with the kids' teachers and get their progress reports.  When I walked into Hannah Kate's classroom, her teacher looked at me, smiled, sighed and said (and I knew exactly what she was going to say even before she said it!), "Hannah Kate.  Oh, Hannah Kate.  Okay, I need to talk to you about her name."  I laughed.  And then I sighed.  And then said that her name is Hannah Kate, but she wants to drop the Kate, and it's okay for her to call Hannah Kate whatever Hannah Kate prefers.

2.  At the same Open House, Mason's reading teacher said Mason looks just like me.  So I told her that she's not seen Mason's dad!  I whipped out my phone to show her a picture, but then I forgot about it after we started talking about something else.

3.  Drum roll, please.  Mason currently has a 98 A in reading!  An A.  And a 98 A!  As a matter of fact, he has all A's, one B and a low grade in science (which we are working on).  But an A in reading?!  So the very next thing I did was skip down the hall to see our beloved Mrs. Blanchard and show her.  We then proceeded to do a happy dance in the middle of the 2nd grade hall.  I am not kidding.  Mrs. Blanchard was not only Mason's teacher.  She became a dear friend to me.  I told her last night that when Mason graduates high school (in a mere 8 1/2 years!), I absolutely want her there sitting beside us!

4.  Ellie is taking her new found pottying to the extreme.  As a matter of fact, she clearly abused the privilege this week at Bible study.  One of her teachers is the same teacher she had last year.  So Mrs. Jean has Ellie wrapped around her finger.  And Mrs. Jean is wrapped around Ellie's finger, too.  I was hesitant, but I decided to let her wear her big girl panties instead of a pull-up.  She finally, during the past week, started telling me when she has to go instead of me just taking her every couple of hours.  She's perfect when it's the two of us, as it is most of the time.  But she gets really distracted in the evenings when Mason and Hannah Kate get home and oopsies happen some days.  And she still won't poop in the potty.  So you can just imagine that.  But, I digress.  Anyway, she did very good at Bible study on Wednesday.  She did not hesitate to tell Mrs. Jean when she needed to go tee-tee.  And she told her again.  And again.  And again.  So Mrs. Jean would take her hand and lead her outside and to the bathroom.  Well, she thought it was a field trip apparently!  She loved getting to hold the teacher's hand and enjoyed the birds singing and the clouds in the air as they walked.  And Mrs. Jean caught on.  So the last time Ellie asked to go (and keep in mind that all of this happened in a 2 1/2 hour period), Mrs. Jean told her no.  And I told her that was perfectly fine!  Ellie is also fascinated with public restrooms and wants to go potty at EVERY store we go into.  I will be so glad when we're past this phase!

5.  Ellie has always been very vocal.  But her vocabulary continues to explode everyday with new words that we can all understand.  She's also speaking in short sentences.  She calls Mason "Mase" and  Hannah Kate is "Kate" or "Sissy" (which is so precious because she says, "Seeee-sy").  Today she saw a picture of herself and said, "Eddie!"  That's the first time she's ever called her own self by name.  We just need to work on our "l" sound.

I know this already, but it seems like a lesson that I have to learn over and over again.  Or experience over and over again because I keep on forgetting.  The days are long, but the years are short.  Every minute with these three is a gift.  And I need to soak it all up. As a friend of mine likes to say, these are the good days!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Kate. Or not to Kate?

Y'all.  I knew the day would come.  I was hoping it wouldn't.  I surely didn't expect it to come so quickly.

Hannah Katherine Bayham.  Hannah Kate.  That's her name.  I knew I was taking a chance.  I knew I'd always been explaining to people, always be correcting people.  Hannah Kate.  It's a double name.

I can't tell you how many hours I spent thinking about Hannah Kate's name when I was pregnant with her.  I thought about it ALL. THE. TIME.  I wanted it to be right and absolutely perfect.  I'd fallen in love with double names when I was expecting Mason.  My girl name at the time was Anna Claire.  Of course, Seth just rolled his eyes at me and wouldn't even talk about it because he never even thought having a girl was an option.  Then came Mason so he was right, and it was forgotten.  But then came the girl.

Seth didn't really have a whole lot of input about the girl name.  I mean, he'd tell me what he didn't like.  But he wasn't really making any suggestions about what he did like.  I was back to double names, and he was not crazy about the idea at all.  We were also living in Mississippi at the time.  Several of my new friends had new babies with double names.  One of my new friends also explained to me that "double names were very Mississippi, especially in the delta."  I had no idea how long we'd be in Mississippi, but I knew that would always be a part of Hannah Kate's story and early years so it seemed appropriate to hang on to my double name.

There were four names that I loved, and I made all kinds of double name combinations out of those four names.  Then I finally narrowed it down to two double names.  I tried to get Seth to pick his favorite, but he kept telling me it didn't matter.  I had a lot of dreams about my new baby girl when I was pregnant with her.  One of those dreams towards the end of my pregnancy was very vivid, and I kept calling her Hannah Kate.  The next morning when I woke up, I knew that Hannah Katherine was the perfect name for this baby girl.

Hannah is a name that I've always loved.  It always seemed to me to be such a sweet and gentle name.  And I especially love the story of Hannah in the Bible.  Hannah was sad and bitter and grieved.  She was struggling with infertility.  She desperately wanted a baby.  

"And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish." 
~1 Samuel 1:10

I just love how, in her disappointment and pain, she poured out her heart to the Lord.  And then after all of that, she "went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad."  ~1 Samuel 1:18

At this point, God hadn't yet answered her prayer.  But she got up.  She wasn't sad anymore.  She trusted God with her request.  LOVE THAT!  Because how many times do I do the same, only to get up still sad and not really believing or really trusting God with my request . . . and just wallowing in my disappointment . . . and being so upset because God may not or didn't answer according to my request? So, yes, I love Hannah for that.  In Hebrew, the name Hannah means "God's given gift to the world."

And Katherine.  Well, Kate is just perfect for a double name.  It goes with anything!  But even more than that, Catherine is a name I have always loved.  It was my favorite girl name when I was a child.  I named one of my baby dolls Catherine.  One of my favorite television shows was Beauty and the Beast.  I thought it was one of the most romantic shows ever, and the lead character's name was Catherine.  I always thought I would name my daughter Catherine.  I knew I'd already have a lot of explaining to do with the double name.  So instead of "Hannah Cate-with-a-C" we decided to spell it with a K.  Besides, it looked better on paper, too!

As we started telling our family and friends what her name was going to be, a lot of them questioned us about the whole double name thing.  They thought it was too long and unnecessary.  I made a really big deal about Hannah KATE.  I corrected EVERYBODY.  Except Mason.  He has always, since the day she was born, called her Hannah, and still calls her that to this day.  To him, she will always be Hannah.  And I'm so good with that. But not everybody else.  Even Seth has always called her Hannah Kate.  Always.  That surprised me because I really didn't think he was totally on board with the double name. But really.  But she is Hannah Kate to us.

As a matter of fact, I even made a special trip to school last year before she started kindergarten and filled out paperwork to ensure that all of her school records would reflect "Hannah Kate."  Yes.  I did.  Since her kindergarten teacher had also been Mason's kindergarten teacher, it wasn't a big deal in the classroom because she'd always known her as Hannah Kate.  About halfway through last school year, I started picking up on the fact that the other kids in her class were calling her Hannah and not Hannah Kate.  I was okay with that.  Sort of but not really.  I mean, there wasn't anything I could do about it. And by the end of the school year, I knew that Hannah Kate was getting ready to drop Kate.  Apparently some of the kids kept questioning her as to why she has two names.

When I bought her school supplies this year, I labeled everything with Hannah Kate.  EVERYTHING.  There was no mistaking her name.  I didn't necessarily point it out to her teacher, but I made sure I referred to her as Hannah Kate rather pointedly several times during our first conversation together.  And then comes the first week of school.  I noticed that Hannah Kate was writing only Hannah on her papers.  So I gently reminded her that her name is Hannah Kate, and I asked her to write her full name on her papers.  Yes.  I did.  And then last week she comes home with this lovely drawing illustrating a story she wrote.  My heart sank a little when I saw that little heart she drew.  I knew then that she wanted to be Hannah.  I didn't say anything to her about it. 
Today she came home with all of her test papers from last week.  When I pulled them out of her folder, the very first thing I noticed was her name.  On all of them.  I looked at her and asked, "What is your name?"  She didn't answer me, only raised her eyebrow a bit.
And then I noticed the last paper.  LOOK AT THIS.  She wrote "Kate" but then erased it.  ERASED IT.

She can erase it all she want.  But make no mistake.  She is Hannah KATE.  Always has been and always will be.  Always.