Thursday, March 17, 2016

Of Crowns and Such

I think this is a perfect way to say what March has been like!  I will never understand it, never comprehend it, never be able to explain it or justify it.  But I don't have to.  I just believe it.  And the ONLY reason it's even believable is because God says it.  Jesus did it.  Therefore, truth.

So after a really busy February of painting and "construction" and moving Ellie into her new room, I had to take a break from all of that.  It's still not finished.  The new baseboards and crown still need to be painted.  The new wall in the playroom still needs to be painted.  But February wore me out, and I haven't picked up a paintbrush since.  Unfinished projects just make me crazy.  So I guess I've been a lot of crazy lately.  But today I finally moved all of Ellie's clothes out of my closet (yes, I was still sharing my closet with her even though she and Hannah Kate had been sharing a room for two years) and into her closet.  I honestly forgot how big my closet really is!  I also purged all of the clothes that the kids have outgrown lately (which is A LOT) and switched their "winter" closets (which is quite a joke considering the fact that we never even really had a winter this year and I never even bought them coats this year!) into "summer" closets (because obviously we aren't even going to have a spring either since we already in the mid-80s!).  So today was quite productive.  Maybe by the end of the month, the painting will be done, too.  Or not.  We'll see.

It's mostly been life as usual around here.  We're approaching the last few weeks of school, the last few weeks of our first homeschool year.  And I can hardly believe it!  I mean, I can still hardly believe we're even doing this whole homeschool thing to begin with.  And as much as I am so ready for a break from lesson planning and formal schooling, I can hardly believe it's almost summertime.

I have to say that the kids - all three of them - have lapsed into a bit of spring fever.  I don't think I'm going to get Ellie back this school year.  She's had enough.  "Mama, do we HAVE to do school today?!"  I think I got Hannah Kate back today.  And Mason is working hard, but he does have his eye on May 4.  You know what I realized this week?  As of May 11 (the day of Mason's last final exam), I will have a MIDDLE SCHOOLER.  Yes.  A middle schooler.  When did that happen?!

And speaking of Mason, it's baseball season again.  Last year we switched leagues and decided to stick with our new league this year.  But it's a new season so we are on a new team with a new coach.  Mason and his best buddy are on the same team again this spring so he's really excited about that.  They've been practicing for about three weeks now, and their opening tournament is this weekend (maybe, because, rain).  Last week Seth sent me this picture from practice.  In case you aren't familiar with a baseball field, Mason is standing ON THE PITCHER'S MOUND.  
Can I just tell you how nervous this makes me?  I mean, I don't know if he's going to pitch or not.  There were five, I think, that they were practicing with.  If he's not going to pitch, he's been on first base.  Again.  Can I just tell you how nervous this makes me?!  I mean, I was good when he was in the outfield.  We've always been in the outfield.  You know, less pressure.  Besides, Mason is honestly not the best player on the team.  We play only spring ball and not summer, fall or travel ball.  He practices in the yard with Seth.  He goes to a week of baseball camp at LSU.  But that's about it.  So to see him on the pitcher's mound or even on first base is quite a stretch from where we've been.  But.  He's growing up.  He's done A LOT of growing up this past year.  I'm just glad I had a front row seat.  But.  I. am. nervous.

And Hannah Kate.  She came downstairs this morning and bounced into the kitchen declaring, "Hey Mom.  I fixed my hair."  She's at "that age."  And I often have to figure out how to nicely and discreetly convince her to let me "help" her without her realizing that I really am re-doing the whole thing.  So I never quite know what I'm going to get, but it really didn't matter to me because we weren't going anywhere today.  I just wasn't prepared for what I saw when I turned around.  She had her hair swept up in a bun (I mean, I didn't even know she could do a bun!) on the side down at her neck.  She stuck a flower in it for good measure.  I nearly died.  I was stunned.  She is eight years old.  So I'm not sure at what point she began looking all teenager-y or tween-agery or whatever.  She's growing up, too.     

I mean, I know she's growing up.  Of course she is!  But sometimes I feel like I just don't notice her like I do the other two.  She is so easy.  Always has been.  Mostly.  I have spent so much of the last four years focused on Mason's schooling.  Nearly all of what energy I have had has gone into making sure Mason got what he needed.  And what energy was left was spent nursing Ellie as an infant and then chasing Ellie as a toddler and now parenting Ellie through the three's.  Hannah Kate has been with me through it all.  Every step of the way.  But there are some days that she just stops me in my tracks.  She leaves me breathless.  She leaves me wanting more . . . wanting to go back to the days and times that were so consumed with other things besides her so I can enjoy just her . . . wanting to go back to what I might have missed because circumstances necessitated that my attentions were focused elsewhere.  This girl.  I just don't even know what God has in store for her life.

She's getting ready to dance her five-year solo on the big stage at the recital this year.  The dancers get to choose their own costumes (within the guidelines of the studio, of course).  We borrowed all of Abbie's old costumes to see if we could find something.  And we did.  Of all the costumes she tried on, this one was her favorite.

And then there's Ellie.  A friend of mine commented yesterday how her three year old was much more challenging to parent than as a two year old.  Yep.  I hear you, sister.  I have to say.  I. am. there.  I think Mason was the easiest three year old EVER!  Besides the fact he did not want to potty train, he was so easy-going and even-tempered.  He just did whatever.  Hannah Kate was an easy three year old, too.  She's always seemed older than her years to me.  But Ellie.  She's my challenging one.  So very challenging.  (Or maybe I've just forgotten!)  

I mean, she is pure life and love and joy and laughter and fun.  But she keeps me on my toes, to be sure.  I found some pictures on my phone that I'd taken last month when we went out to eat before taking the kids to the LSU gym meet.  I was sitting across the table from her.  I don't remember what we did that day prior to going out that evening, but I do remember that she was very tired.  And also unusually quiet and introspective at the supper table.  Totally not like her at all!  I'd have given anything to know what she was thinking.  It was one of those moments that was so quiet, so peaceful, so awe-filled.  It was one of those moments that made me stop and breathe and be truly thankful for this beautiful little three year old girl, no matter how challenging the days are.

And then, of course, she figured out I was snapping pictures of her so she immediately remembered who she was and where she was.  Ellie was back!

I begged her for one more picture.  This face.  I could just eat her up!

And then there's homeschooling.  Like I said already, we're almost finished with our first year.  I realized a couple of days ago that Hannah Kate has only nine math lessons left.  NINE.  We still have to complete 180 days of school.  We are about 35 or so days away from that.  So obviously we are going to finish 2nd grade math well before the last day of school.  She finished 2nd grade spelling in January so we've already started 3rd grade spelling.  We also started a new grammar curriculum this week to give us some more school days.  It looks like our last few weeks will be very science and humanities intensive.  And maybe she'll learn the rest of her multiplication facts or something.  All I know is that this sums up my first year homeschool mom experience PERFECTLY:
I've had many humbling experiences in my life, but none more so than this.  Marriage?  Yep!  Parenting?  Absolutely!  But homeschooling?  It definitely takes the cake in the humility department!  So the whole "wearing a crown" thing?  Yeah, that's me.  Believe it or not, that's me.  I certainly do not FEEL it.  But that's what God says.  And, if you'll excuse me, I need to straighten my crown so I can go to sleep.  I mean, don't you sleep in your crown, too?!

"But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."  ~Titus 3:4-7

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