Category Archives: Family

A Lesson in Forgiveness

I was in the bathroom getting ready when I heard the screaming.

Dominic had been invited to attend a seminar tonight as one of their featured guests and we were 30 minutes from the time we had to leave. When we heard the screams we both went running to see what was going on.

Karlena came into the kitchen holding her mouth, blood covering her chin and teeth. It looked awful to me and I was pretty sure she needed stitches…but the clinics were all closed for the day and our only option was the ER.

I called my dad, he is a PA, and asked if we could send him some pictures. He confirmed that it needed to be treated. He said they may be able to glue it together but we needed to go in. A few calls were made to the group that was putting on the seminar to notify them we wouldn’t be attending, and we got ready to leave.

I sent a quick vox to some close friends asking for prayer. Prayer for Karlena and prayer for me. I have struggled to parent well in a few situations recently, and this was testing me in a big way. You see our son had pushed his sister and caused the accident.

I knew it wasn’t his intent to hurt her…but I was angry nonetheless. I wanted to handle this appropriately…it was important that he understand how serious this was. But on the other hand, despite his rough and tumble exterior, he is a boy with a tender spirit.

And if I am being completely honest with you, it is my nature to lay blame and also to create an environment filled with anger. And that is a dangerous combination!!

So we went to the ER and our brave girl was glued back together. Her lip continues to swell and because of the position of the steri-strip she is having a hard time opening her mouth very wide. Dominic told Elijah to come with so he could see what Karlena had to go through.

It is important that our kids understand that there are consequences to their actions….and sometimes they are painful ones.

Before we left the ER, Karlena was given this little bag with a coloring book, markers and a matching game for being so brave. We got home and one of the first things Karlena did was look at her brother and tell him that she forgave him. And then she asked if he wanted to play with the new things in her bag.

I was taken aback at how quickly she not only offered forgiveness but also took a step towards restoring the relationship. There was no blame or shame and guilt. Just love. Oh the lessons that I can learn from my 6yr old.

I went over to our E and hugged him and reminded him that we loved him. We talked about how our actions can hurt someone else, even if we didn’t mean to and we reminded him that he needs to learn from this lesson. But ultimately I want him to know that he is loved, especially when he has done something wrong.

I so desperately want to make sure that we are a home filled with love even when things aren’t “perfect.” I don’t ever want my kids to grow up thinking that our love was conditional based on their behavior. I was reminded tonight that I can teach consequences and model love simultaneously. 

Karlena taught me that forgiveness can be swift and without conditions and relationships can be restored without guilt, even when the pain still remains. What a gift she gave me tonight.

I know that I too must remain teachable. I can learn from my mistakes and seek to make better choices, and I can love well in the difficult and the easy.

Not what I had planned or expected for my Saturday night! And if you think about it would you say a prayer for our girl tonight? She is starting to notice the pain more now and everything feels swollen and “weird.” Hopefully if all goes well it will heal with little scarring but she is going to feel a little uncomfortable for the next several days. Thank you friends!!

Merry Christmas from the Smith Family!

I wish that I was able to send out a Christmas card to everyone that has stopped by my blog over the years, but since I can’t I thought that I would share our Christmas letter and some of the most recent family pictures we had taken.

Merry Christmas to all of our family and friends! I am always amazed at how quickly time has passed when I find myself here once again sharing about our year!

Isaac, now 20, is in his second year of college. He switched his major after his first year and is now living in Sioux Falls with my parents. They enjoy having him there while he attends classes through the University Center and SDSU. He is working at the Hy-Vee pharmacy in Sioux Falls and he plans to continue working and focusing on his general courses through next year. After that, maybe Pharmacy school….we will see where God leads him!

Gabriel is officially a teenager and is in the seventh grade. This past year he has grown several inches and is now the proud wearer of glasses and braces! He is in an upper level math course this year and doing well. It is a lot of hard work, but he has grown in knowledge already, and it is exciting to see that continue. He is involved in jazz band again this year and they recently started their practices. Last year, because of his hard work, he earned a solo at the All City Jazz concert!

Elijah is seven and in the first grade at Parkside Elementary. He likes his teacher Mrs. Peterson and enjoys being in her class! He has become a wonderful reader and we are amazed at how much he has grown since the start of last year! He currently has four loose teeth that mom really wants to pull out for him!

Karlena is so very ready to turn six on the 20th of December and is in kindergarten at Parkside this year. She loves school and her teacher Ms. Austin! And she enjoys seeing her older brother in the lunch room or on the playground each day! She continues to love all things horses and has declared that when she is Isaac’s age she will buy one of her own and ride it to school. We fully support her and her dream! If anyone can do that, she can!

Dominic and I continue to work together at Legal Estate Planning Solutions, and we are grateful for each and every client we have had the privilege to work with in both Minnesota and South Dakota. We were invited to participate in a leadership and discipleship class through church earlier this fall and we spend each Monday night with others from our church learning and growing in our faith!

Our prayer for each of you this coming Christmas season would be that you be filled with an understanding and gratitude for the gift that Jesus is for us! In this time of what seems like increasing darkness in our country and our world, we, as believers, can hopefully be a light of peace and hope to others. Merry Christmas!

Love, Dominic, Kristin, Isaac, Gabriel, Elijah and Karlena Smith

Three Truths Experiment

ThreeTruthsExperiment

There seems to be something changing in our family. A few weeks ago we started naming truths about our kids and they are claiming them for their own. It has been incredible to watch them step into a belief of who they are in Christ instead of falling to the whispers that they are not good enough, or bad.

I am challenged by what I have seen, especially with Elijah, and want to start claiming some truths for myself.

I am 41 years young. I have spent the majority of my almost 15,000 days on this earth believing more often that I lack value, than days standing firm on who I am in God.

When my daughter cried that she was a terrible person I rebelled at the notion for her, but when I really think about it, I know I have claimed that for my own life time and time again.

Well it is time for a change and so I have decided to do a “Three Truths Experiment.”

I am going to choose 3 character traits that I believe God has created me with and I am going to start living in those truths. Looking for ways to use His gifts to be a blessing to others.

I was asked by a friend how we chose the three truths for our kids. It all started with Elijah. He had received a note home from a teacher saying how kind and compassionate he was. I knew that about him but this solidified it for him too. We added brave because I told him it takes bravery to keep making good choices, to be kind to those who may not be kind back.

After naming Elijah’s, we moved on to Karlena. Elijah was very helpful in picking out good qualities in his siblings.  And so adventurous, kind and brave were named for our girl.

Gabriel was given hard-working, caring and generous and Isaac – funny, helpful and creative. I loved that the younger kids wanted to help in choosing positive truths for their older brothers!

We told our kids that these three truths aren’t the only things that we believe they are gifted with…but 10 truths per child for me to remember was going to be too much! 🙂 As I shared already, Elijah has added helpful to his list on his own. He is starting too see these positive traits in himself and others and is owning them!

Isn’t that the whole point?

Recognizing the positive things about ourselves and walking in those truths instead of being weighed down by lies that we aren’t good enough, we are failures etc.

So I am going to do this little experiment myself, and I’d love for you to join me.

Will you join me in establishing three truths for your life and then start walking through each day in full acceptance of those truths?

I have a sneaking suspicion that if we do this we will start to see a change. A change in how we see ourselves, how we see others and interact with our fellow man.

I have seen it in my son. Especially in those difficult moments. He is still six, he too can be selfish and sneaky, naughty even. But recognizing the truth of who God created him to be has changed how quickly those negative moments turn to good.

I want the freedom that he has, I want to walk in truth instead of being weighed down by lies. I know that God created each of us for a specific purpose, it’s high time we start living into that calling.

I will be praying over my words and will be back soon to share what my three truths are.

Are you in?!

The First Song


VHS

Dominic discovered our wedding videos several months ago, the old VHS tapes that have been stored and saved and unwatched for years. He thought it might be fun to convert them to a DVD so that we could watch them again and found someone that could do that as a surprise for me.

A few nights ago we sat down together to watch it. It was something that we both really needed to see again. I can’t remember the last time we watched it…maybe 10 years ago? We are coming up on 20 years of marriage and it is sad how much about that day I have forgotten.

Seeing family and friends that we haven’t seen in years, some now gone from our lives…it was bittersweet hearing their voices and seeing their smiles.

It was interesting to see the events of the day through a different lens. Apparently there were 2 cameras set up, one at the back of the church and another at the front. Wear, time, maybe heat exposure had damaged the VHS of one of the views. It was distorted and blurry. Thankfully the view from the front was still in tact.

One thing that I remembered from the wedding was that my sister sang a song for us. We were married young (21) and my sister was just 16. She was always involved in show choir or music of some sort and had a powerful voice for a young girl. And the bravery it took to sing in front of that many people, at that age…is amazing.

We have talked about that song over the years because she had a hard time getting through it. I hadn’t remembered the specific details, but knew she cried during the song and she was so upset afterwards because she thought she had ruined my wedding. (She didn’t)

I never felt that way….I remember being touched that she was emotional about my wedding. I wasn’t the best sister…no strike that, I probably would have gotten an F for sister kindness. She was young enough that I didn’t really take the time to get to know her. We didn’t have this wonderful sister bond growing up…so knowing she was crying over me was really special.

As we watched the video I can see why it was hard for her. The song came right after we had lit the unity candle. We then walked down so that we could present roses to both of our parents. So as she started to sing, she also had to watch as we hugged our parents. It was an emotional moment, and completely understandable that she might have been crying watching that.

But here is what I had long forgotten about that day.

There was another song. A first one actually. A song that she sang at the very beginning of the wedding after we all walked into the church. It was strong and beautiful, and yet I had forgotten. How could I forget that bravery…why had we remembered the struggle and not the beauty?

As I was thinking about that this morning I realized that I do this in so many ways.

I have memories from certain situations or circumstances, and so often I only remember the negative parts…even when there is beauty interwoven throughout, I forget that.

Why do we do this? Why do I do this?

I look through life with a distorted lens.

I see the hurt or the embarrassment, the shame I felt, or the anger.  Those become my core memories and all the good, all the happy moments, become less and less. It isn’t that they aren’t there…but I am not allowing myself to see them.

I want to start to see my life through a new lens.

I want to look back at my life and see that yes, there were times of hurt or pain, but they were also filled with beauty and hope. And I need to spend more time focusing on the good than how I felt about the bad.

So many of my memories are wrapped around how I felt at that particular moment. If I didn’t feel good….then I allow that feeling to take over, to become the predominant memory I have.

Pretty soon I am unable to see the good, my vision is clouded and blurred…it is distorted.

Thankfully I know today that I can make a choice to try and see the whole picture, to remember everything and then choose to have a right focus. To see opportunities for growth, to see bravery that wasn’t acknowledged before, to seek out the positive and let that be my focus.

It’s always been there, but I haven’t been willing or able to see it.

Today I am choosing to see, to remember the first song and be grateful that. I am walking forward today with a new hope. I have seen how God has taken my broken pieces and made them whole again…yet I stumble through life with the baggage of my mistakes, unwilling and unable to let them go.

Yes, I am still a broken woman. There are still hurts that I need healing from, and pain I have caused that needs forgiveness…but I don’t have to define my life by my struggle. Instead I am bringing all of me to my God and asking Him to use each part, each moment for His glory.

And I am hopeful that the song that will come from the good and the bad, will be beautiful.

A Rich History

church 2

Today we honored a man who has provided such a rich history for our extended family. A husband, father, grandpa, uncle, brother and friend…a man who touched many lives. And yet this man, deserving of honor and praise, wanted those attending his funeral to know that it wasn’t about him, but about Him.

His greatest wish in leaving instructions about his service was that the message be about the God that offered immeasurable grace to him. The God that poured out His blessings on my extended family. My grandpa wanted everyone to know his Savior. THAT was what is most important about today.

The message shared was filled with hope. Hope in the eternal life offered by trusting in Jesus. My grandpa was able to see God’s hand throughout his life and while it wasn’t always easy…he trusted God.

What an amazing legacy he left us.

The committal ceremony was at the cemetery across from the church my grandparents were married in. We had an opportunity to go into that church after the ceremony and see where they had exchanged nuptials a little over 67 years ago.

My great uncle Al, who grew up in the church, told us a few stories about the history of the building. Re-built in the early 30’s after a fire destroyed it, the church that stands today looks just like the church before the fire. They rebuilt it exactly the same!

The walls were lined with huge stained glass windows. Windows that apparently cost $66 back in 1932. Cheap in todays standards, but in the Depression it was a lot of money.

church 1

The original organ was destroyed in the fire and a new one was placed in the balcony. It was HUGE and apparently made beautiful music.

church 3

Al told the story of when the church was on fire all the farmers from around the area were called and they worked to save as much as they could before the fire destroyed it all. The pews were screwed to the floor and somehow in the fight to save them, these men ripped the pews out of the ground without unscrewing them! They also worked to save the alter before the rest was lost.

church 4

The wall behind the alter was destroyed but then rebuilt. The stunning beauty of all of that woodwork was amazing.

Apparently earlier that day a couple had exchanged marriage vows, just like my grandparents did 67 years ago.

I felt very aware of the juxtaposition of one new life full of hope and promise just beginning and another life lived so well, ending. 

67 years ago I would guess that my grandparents exchanged vows filled with excitement and hope. Promising to love one another until death would part them, they stepped out in faith and trusted God with their new life together.

church 5

They would face heartache yes, but also experienced years filled with the blessing of family and God was with them through it all. My grandpa loved his community and worked to serve others. He volunteered on different boards and committees. He gave generously in so many ways. He sought to share the blessings God had given him. He had a true servants heart.

Some of those very things that are a part of my natural makeup come from him. What a rich history he left me.

I am so fortunate to have been raised in a Christian home. The legacy of faith passed along from generation to generation will make an impact that even I can’t fully appreciate right now. Just like the beauty in the walls of an old church, we each have a story to tell.

I think that is one reason I love to write and tell stories, the good and the bad. When I share all that God has done in my life, I am establishing that rich history. There have been fires at times, situations that felt overwhelming. But as I look back at all the ways God has been with us, I can see how He made beauty out of ashes.

Yes today we remembered my grandpa and celebrated his life, but even more so we praised the God that offered grace to each one of us by sending His Son. My grandpa wanted everyone to know that peace. To experience the full life that can be found in a life lived with God. I am honored to have had him as my grandpa and grateful that his faith will live on in my life and my family.

A rich history indeed.

Steady Heart

Steady Heart

This past Sunday my friends Erin and Joy shared the song “Steady Heart” during our worship service.

I love me a good worship song, especially one that I can learn to sing the harmony along to. So l listened to that song on repeat when I heard they were singing it….I had no idea how much that song would minister to me this week.

When Erin introduced the song she talked about how it isn’t a song about OUR steady heart, but instead the steady heart of God. Because we don’t have steady hearts do we?

Life tosses us like waves in the ocean. At times the waters are calm, the sun is shining and we have just the right amount of sunscreen on that we tan but don’t burn. And then other times the sky turns dark and we can’t see what way is up. The waves build and the water threatens to drown us.

I can’t see what’s in front of me
Still I will trust You
Still I will trust You

Oh, I can’t see what’s in front of me
Still I will trust You
Still I will trust You

In these moments when we can’t even see what is in front of us…will we choose to trust God?

I can tell you in the past, heck just 2 days ago even…I struggled with this! I get overwhelmed and I just can’t trust in anything. I feel the current pulling me down and I am certain that I am done.

Steady heart that keeps on going
Steady love that keeps on holding
Lead me on

Steady grace that keeps forgiving
Steady faith that keeps believing
Lead me on

I forget in those times that I don’t have to swim, I just have to reach for the One who will do the swimming for me. He is my steady heart…my steady hand. He is holding me through it all.

Though the sky is dark and the wind is dark.
You’ll never leave me
You’ll never leave me

Though the night is long there is a coming dawn
The light is breaking
The light is breaking

Even having the hope we do in Christ…in moments of grief, sometimes all we can see is the dark. We know death isn’t the end, but yet we have to learn how to move forward. That can be overwhelming and I am no expert in walking through grief gracefully!

It has been almost 5 years since my best friend Karlena died. I still miss her…we don’t get over loss of a loved one like that. My grandma spent 67 years of her life with my grandpa by her side. Life for her won’t ever be the same and I think that I grieve that the most for her right now.

You are faithful
You will lead me
You are faithful

You will keep me
You are faithful
You will lead me on

But God IS faithful.

He didn’t promise that this life would be easy but He did promise that He would be with us. He would lead us and comfort us, walk with us in our grief and lead us on in the days to come.

I hold fast to that promise today.

I wanted to share this song with you and pray it ministers to your heart like it did mine. It isn’t my steady heart, but His that leads me.

 

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A Man Deserving of Honor

grandpa and grandma

I knew when I heard my dad’s message that something was wrong, I could hear it in his voice. I didn’t expect to hear the news I did though. Grandpa had collapsed, he is in the ER and it doesn’t look good.

Just a few hours earlier grandpa had commented on a photo I had posted on Facebook. Can I just tell you how much I loved that my 88 year old grandpa was on Facebook?! It just didn’t seem possible that this was happening.

I went home and told the kids that we needed to pray. My Elijah was so upset. He asked if he could write a letter to his great grandpa and then he drew him a picture of the two of them together. He was worried about great grandma because she would be alone.

At 7:25pm on Monday September 21st, my grandpa Paul left this world for the arms of Jesus. His legacy remains on in his family, but we are heartbroken and shocked and hurting right now.

It still seems impossible really as I write this. Knowing that inevitably this day would come for all of us, doesn’t make it any easier. How do you possibly honor a man than has made such an impact in our lives?

I am not sure that I can do it justice, but I want to try.

Trips to Chicago City were a highlight of my childhood. While the drive was LONG, the reward at the end was going up the long driveway to the big blue house that grandpa and grandma lived in.

If it were early enough we would run down the hill to go fishing off the dock. Grandpa would go with us out into the wooded area by the boat house and help us dig for earth worms. And when we would haul the stuffed pail back up the hill, grandpa would get out his filet knife and cutting board and set up shop over the washing machine and set to work.

He was meticulous about cleaning the fish and would describe what he was doing. I remember the skill with which he took care of the fish, I have even tried to replicate it…but no one could clean fish like grandpa.

Often my siblings and I would stay for a week or more without our parents. During the work week grandpa would get up early and was all dressed up in his dress shirt and tie and walk down the driveway to meet his carpool ride. Can I just talk a minute about the ties…oh the ties he had. He had more ties than I have shoes! 🙂 In his room and even in the closet in the basement. I loved looking at all of those ties when we would visit.

In the evenings we would run down to wait for him to be dropped back off and escort him home. Grandpa always had a story to tell us about his day and we felt special to just be a part of it.

Christmas brought the tradition of opening gifts and the reading of the Christmas story. Grandpa would let us open 1 present each, in order of our age. As a young child that was torture…waiting our turn especially when grandpa’s turn came because it meant he would get out his pocket knife and carefully open the present, saving the paper for a future use. It took him a lifetime to open one gift! 🙂

And then once presents were done he would get out his bible and read us the Christmas story from Luke. Grandpa had a strong faith and while I don’t think I recognized it or appreciated it as a child…I am so grateful for that today. What I wouldn’t give right now to have a recording of him reading the Christmas story.

Grandpa was a writer and I like to think that my love of writing comes in part from him. About 3 1/2 years ago grandpa and I started communicating more and more. Through emails we kept in touch in ways that we hadn’t in the past.

I know I didn’t save all of them, but I went through them and found that I had saved over 150 different conversations. Sometimes he had encouragement to offer, other times an inspiring story and at times well thought out, detailed advice to consider following. 😉

I came across a post he had sent some of our family back in 2013. It was a story about his own father. He shared the challenges his father faced but also the unique ways that those challenges shaped his life. The blessings that came from them.

He ended the email with this…”I see the hand of God in all of this. We can never fully understand His plans for us or for our lives. Instead we must trust that He will always be with us, even during those times that give us cause to question.”

This faith, this hope, was something that was such an encouragement to Dominic and I when we started Dominic’s business. Grandpa and grandma offered their prayers and support in so many ways during that time. Grandpa believed 100% that Dominic would be successful if he just got things going.

He came to us with an offer of a loan. We typed up a promissory note and made it official. He sent emails asking about the business and had ideas for marketing and a website. He loved hearing about how things were going and was one of our biggest cheerleaders.

If I were discouraged, he would encourage me to trust God and have hope. He believed God had a plan for us and he trusted in it. He told me that he prayed for me daily. I hope that my faith life always reflects such faith and hope and a commitment to prayer for those I love.

I am grateful that grandpa and grandma were able to celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary last week. That they got to visit their church and reminisce over all God had done in their family over the years. There were pictures taken and good food enjoyed and memories made.

I don’t know why grandpa’s life had to end this way, this unexpectedly. I am heartbroken for grandma and my mom and aunts and uncle. I want to fix it, make it better and I can’t.

I want to wrap this up with some wonderful words of wisdom that will make everyone feel better…I just don’t know that I can do that. But I believe, just like grandpa did, that God is with us.

Grandpa loved his bride and his family and would want us to celebrate the fact that he is now with Jesus. His strong faith in God promised that for those who placed their trust in God as he did, death was not the end.

So I celebrate my grandpa today. I thank God for the blessing he was to so many and the light and laughter he brought into my life. And in his own words I end with this…

I see the hand of God in all of this. We can never fully understand His plans for us and for our lives. Instead we must trust that He will always be with us, even during times that give us cause to question.

My prayer for everyone in our family would be that we would feel God’s covering of peace during this time, that we would love and encourage one another and that we would celebrate the life of a man worthy of honor.

Grandpa you loved well and are loved. You will be remembered through laughter and tears and while your physical presence will be missed your impact and legacy will always remain.

Mom Confessions – Smiths in Real Life – Part Eight

Mom Confessions

What fun these “confession” posts have been….are you loving them like I am? There is something freeing about laying it all out there. And even though I would love for you all to go on believing that I have it all together, that isn’t my reality. At all. So I am joining up with my friend Anna over at Girl With Blog and sharing some of my Mom Confessions.

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I shared yesterday that I struggle with jealousy. Mostly and more specifically over other women. All you beautiful, creative, funny, well put together women. I see you and I think I need what you have. I stop praising God for all of the wonderful ways He made me unique and start wishing I could be someone else.

It isn’t healthy and I am seeing it for what it is. Part of the process of working through that is sharing these weekly posts. Knowing jealousy is a struggle for me, tells me that maybe it is a struggle for you as well. So I share some laughs here so that I can work at being a bit more real.

burned baconOn Dominc’s birthday last week I got up early to make him a special birthday breakfast complete with hashbrowns, eggs and bacon. I decided to try the bacon in the oven so I didn’t have to be watching it all morning…and I promptly left it unattended long enough that I burned it. Happy Birthday Dominic.

Then for dinner the next night I wanted to make some roasted mushrooms. I was too lazy to add some chopped onion and we ran out of olive oil. So left unattended once again, those dehydrated to the point that they were not good. Awesome!

burned mushroomsThey had a funny smell. The whole thing was sad. I don’t even remember what we were trying to eat with them, but they were not good.

Isaac’s graduation was Friday night and I took pictures with both my camera and my phone. Not a single one turned out. Not a one! Case in point….

isaac graduation

Now I know Isaac was the really tall guy in the row of shorter girls…but you can’t see his face, or anyone else’s for that matter. I am hoping that the professional one that was taken of him that will cost me $56 for a 5×7 is good…that may be my only hope! 😉

Each day before I leave for work I give the boys some jobs to do. They have to have some responsibilities or they would stay glued to the tv all day. On Friday I asked them to give the dog a bath. She had thrown up in her very large kennel and then laid right in it. Because of course.

She smelled bad and needed a bath. Isaac sent me a text when they were done asking if I knew what had happened to the dog brush. She had snarls and they needed to be combed.

Our conversation went down like this….

Did you check xyz?….yep not there.

Know of any comb or brush that is old we could use?

Now here is where my judgement lapsed. In all sincerity, I thought I could just buy a new $3 brush…I mean it really was the only option.

So I told Isaac that Dominic had 2 brushes. One in the bathroom and another in his travel bag. Use one of those and I can clean it…or just buy him a new one. It made sense in my mind at the time….

HairbrushSo he used the hairbrush and I forgot about it. Until that afternoon at lunch one of our kids decided to get extra gabby and tell Dominic that Isaac used the brush on the dog. Knowing that I had given him the order to use it, I fessed up and told Dominic why it made sense in my mind. He wasn’t seeing it from my perspective. Can you blame him?! So now we get to laugh over the “dog butt brush”…

Sometimes I just don’t think things through, or maybe I just think I won’t get caught and then when I do…well I have some ‘splaining to do! 🙂

So there you have it. A week full of laughs, mistakes, and burned food. Sometimes I can’t win. In a few days we have the big graduation open house. I have gone overboard (as I always do) and browned 40lbs of hamburger in anticipation of our taco bar feast. If you are joining us- come hungry!

Have a wonderful rest of the week friends!

Mom Confessions – Smiths in Real Life – Part Five

Mom ConfessionsWhat fun these “confession” posts have been….are you loving them like I am? There is something freeing about laying it all out there. And even though I would love for you all to go on believing that I have it all together, that isn’t my reality. At all. So I am joining up with my friend Anna over at Girl With Blog and sharing some of my Mom Confessions.

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We had the final band concert of the year for Gabriel this past week. He plays the alto sax and is in the 5th grade. They have improved SO much this year! And can I just say that our middle school music director knows how to do it right when it comes to concerts. They combine the 5th grade and 7th grade and the entire concert was 30 minutes. We came from a town where the concerts were sometimes over an hour. And while I love me some music…an hour long is too long, wouldn’t you agree?

Gabriel band

I have still not painted those shelves for our toy room. I am losing hope at this point. Anyone want to paint 2 shelves for me? Please, pretty please? 😉 So I may never blog about my toy room redo….and when it looks like this…well it is no longer the cute, welcoming place it once was.

Toy room

Reality friends, reality!

And for another dose of reality…I let my girl do this the other day.

Brownie mix

I know I shouldn’t let her lick the leftover brownie batter…but when you look so cute in your ladybug helmet and climb on the counter to help yourself…how does a mama say no?

Karlena ballet 2

And yesterday I got to attend Karlena’s dance class. It is parent visitation week so we get a glimpse of what they do in class each week. My daughter clearly attends dance for the social aspect of it.

She was a chatty Kathy the entire time. Even expressed (loudly and for ALL to hear) while they were stretching their noses to their toes, that “my feet smell like sandwich”...ahhh yes the old “my feet smell like sandwich” comment to really make a mama proud! 😉

It was evident today that my dreams of a dancer daughter are just that…dreams. Comedian or expert gallop-er, yes…yes those may just be in her future! But prima ballerina…well at this point it is not looking good!

So there you have it…another week full of fun around here. We did do some pretty awesome projects that probably deserve a post of their own…so with that I bid you farewell and happy middle-of-the-week!

A Chapter Ending….

school bus

We have made some unexpected decisions (well unexpected to me) in the last week which means some changes are ahead in our family starting next fall.

We had conferences this week for both Elijah and Karlena. If you remember we made the decision last year to hold Elijah back from starting Kindergarten and gave him another year in preschool. We chose to send him to Preschool FT so that he would get school every day.

It is a decision that I struggled with only because my niece, (my sister’s daughter) who is only a few days older than Elijah, was starting Kindergarten. I worried that as cousins they might discover the difference as they got older and Elijah might be upset. The reality is this was way more about me because Elijah will likely NEVER care!

Our decision was affirmed when we had conferences. Elijah has grown and matured this year. For the most part he thrives as a leader and he is all over better prepared to head to Kindergarten next year.

And as we talked about Karlena, we started considering sending her FT next fall to best prepare her as well. Karlena is a December birthday so the decision of when to send her to kindergarten is a bit easier. But we still want to make sure that she has the best possible start.

After discussions with both her current teacher and Elijah’s teacher we decided that we will send her FT next year. This in itself is a big deal, but my heart strings hurt a little at the thought of not bringing her to her daycare anymore.

Before we even placed an offer on a house we signed a contract with Markel. I don’t even really know how I found her originally (GOD), we had started considering a move here to MN but I wouldn’t even commit until I knew there were quality daycare options available.

I spent hours searching online, making calls and nothing was open. Nothing. We had a 2 year old and a newborn and no one had an opening for both. It seemed hopeless and then I got Markel’s name and called her. Apparently she had a family that had 2 children the same age and just that week had announced that they were moving unexpectedly.

Here was the opening we needed. But of course you can’t make a decision over the phone so we scheduled a time to meet her the next weekend we would be in MN house hunting.

We knew she was the perfect person to take care of our kids and immediately signed a contract. We didn’t move for 5 months and there was a time we didn’t know if we would…but knowing we had Markel available if the move happened, gave me peace.

I haven’t regretted that decision once in the past 4 years.

Markel is family to us. And while I knew this change was coming eventually, I honestly didn’t think it would happen for another year.

I know she is just blocks away and I know we will see her (and likely use her to help with Karlena as needed)…it is just a little sad for this chapter to be closing.

I can’t tell you how grateful that I am that Markel has been such an amazing provider for our kids the past 4 years. She has loved our kids as her own, she is a blessing through and through.

Thank you Markel. Thank you for loving our kids, for potty training them in 3 days (seriously she is a miracle worker when it comes to that!!!), for praying for us and supporting us in so many ways when we were both unemployed. You spend your day providing the best environment for our kids when they can’t be with us and our thanks don’t seem to be enough. We are blessed to call you family and praise God for orchestrating our meeting. You are a gift. And while this chapter closes, it isn’t the end. My prayer is that God pours out His blessings on you and your family because you have done the same to ours. We love you!

Do you have someone you are extra grateful for? Why don’t you take a moment today and let them know!

Photo Credit: redjar

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