Category Archives: Isaac

The Proud Parent Of….

SDSMTGoing off to college is a major life change. I don’t really remember being filled with fear over it…but I am sure I was.

I attended a college in my hometown my first year. There was some safety in that. I knew that I could go home and do my laundry and not have to use the machines at school. I knew how to get around town and I still had my part time job that I had in high school. Sure the idea of going from building to building was scary and the classes would be hard, but I loved the community that I felt in my “small” school.

I thought that I would be there for the next 4 years.

But at some point in my first year it was evident that I needed/wanted to switch my major and I had to change colleges to do so. I felt like a failure...I had all these plans for so long and now I was doing something different. Who could be proud of that?!

Dominic also made a change after his first year. He attended the school that Isaac is at today…it wasn’t for him and after his freshman year he changed too. That is how we met, at our new college, carrying the baggage that in our own ways we had “failed”…

Perceptions like that can cling to a person. Whether they are appropriate or not…they can shape how we think and view ourselves.

When Dominic started Law School there were these window clings that had the name of the school on them. I told him to buy one that first year…I was really proud of him….it was like a bragging right to have that on your car.

But he said he wouldn’t buy one until he graduated…he needed to believe that he could do it first, needed to prove it to himself and others. After he graduated you can bet we bought the cling.

As we dropped off Isaac this past week there was a place for parents to pick up a bunch of information, and at that table was a window cling. Proud parent of SDSM&T.

I grabbed 2 and when we got home last night I put one on my computer cover. I am a proud parent of a South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Student.

Tech is a HARD school. They do their very best to weed out the students that can’t hack their programs in the first year. Isaac has some terribly hard classes, Trig, Calc and some Finite math for computer science class. I don’t even know what having classes like that would be like. Well I do…it would mean complete and utter failure for someone that isn’t math minded like myself.

He is going to have to work hard. It will not be easy, that is a guarantee. He may love it and he may decide like we did that he wants to do something else. And if he does I will be proud of that too.

I want to live my life embracing the here and now. Right now my oldest just started at one of the hardest tech schools, and yes I am proud. He doesn’t have to graduate for me to be proud…I already am.

Moving in to a dorm with strangers, leaving your family and the routine you have come to know for the past 18 years…it is all really hard changes. There were lots of kids that we saw that looked terrified. I am not kidding….they looked scared out of their mind.

As a parent we should be proud of our kids for taking these next steps.

I know that Isaac won’t do everything perfectly. There will be hard times and likely some failures. He will have tough choices to make and we will see his character develop through it all. He doesn’t have to have it all together for me to be proud of who he is. He doesn’t have to prove it to me that he can do it.

I already know he can.

Whatever career path he decides he wants to pursue, I know he will succeed. It will be something he is passionate about and he will work hard to do his best. I have already seen that in him, and I know it will continue as he gets older.

Parents these times are hard on us…especially us mama’s that are emotionally “gifted”. I will miss talking with Isaac every day in person. Miss hearing about his day…I don’t want to bombard him with text messages so I can hear all about how it is going. He will probably not tell me everything just so I don’t worry. 🙂

So I am going to be focused on praying for my son…for all the kids there at Tech. Praying that they would start to feel comfortable in their new surroundings. That they would find their classes and make new friends. I will pray that they will stand strong in their convictions and be an example to others. And I will pray that they know how proud of them we are as parents.

I will be Isaac’s biggest cheerleader. Through the good and the bad. Through the tough choices and even the wrong decisions. It is my privilege as his mother to cover him in prayer and cheer him on this new path he is on.

Proud? Absolutely, 100%…no matter what.

All the things I want to say…

Sunset IsaacI made a quick trip to Walmart this evening to pick up a few last things on my “sending Isaac to college” list. It is the eve of the eve of our adventure to college and my mama heart aches at the reality of it all.

I cried through the entire worship portion of church yesterday…something I was clearly NOT prepared for as the ugly cry was starting and I couldn’t find a kleenex to save my life. It was awesome. Something about singing about God’s amazing love for us and seeing a dear friend singing on the worship team who is leaving on her own adventure this next week…and standing next to my son, it was too much.

The tears are coming quite a bit these past few days, and I am sick on top of it so it is all around good times.

I found myself in the baby aisle tonight, oddly enough buying pull ups for one who will be in our home for 14 more years and a new towel for the one we are preparing to leave us.

It didn’t seem so long ago that I found myself making late night runs to Walmart to buy a new paci because Isaac’s was lost once again…how is it possible that the time has gone so fast?

As I was leaving the store I was feeling a bit verklempt and I walked out to see the most beautiful sunset before me.

Oddly enough I make many trips at this time of night and for a brief moment I get to experience God’s full splendor in creation itself.

The clouds were tipped in pink and the sky was a brilliant orange, contrasted to the dark clouds that were behind me…a storm that had recently passed through.

Oh how I marvel in the beauty after the storm.

The sky represents a promise to me. A promise that God is always with us….and He CAN make something beautiful out of even our darkest storms. I just have to trust that. Oh may I always remember Lord.

As a mother I honestly want to protect my oldest from any storm.

I want him to learn from my mistakes so he doesn’t have to make any of his own. I pray that his journey would be easier than mine….but if it were, would he experience the majesty that is the sunset after the storm?

In my darkest moments I haven’t always believed that I would see daylight again. And at times I believed that God couldn’t redeem my past.

But He has and He will…

So as I prepare to close this chapter of parenting and enter a new one with Isaac I wanted to share a few things here.

I am an introvert through and through, and while I am a woman with ALL THE FEELINGS, I don’t always express them well. Especially out loud and in person. Thankfully God knew this about me and gifted me with an ability to more comfortably share the cries of my heart behind the safety of a computer screen.

So first Isaac let me say how much I love you.

I know I don’t and haven’t said it enough in person and I am sorry for that. I hope that you know and always know that I love you. You have always been a gift to me. I thank God that he allowed me the blessing of being your mom. How did I ever get to be so lucky?!

And Isaac we are so incredibly proud of you.

Not only are you an amazing brother but you are a hard worker. Someone that can be trusted, dependable and funny. You bring laughter to our home and your presence will be missed by the entire family.

You are smart and talented.

You can take apart just about anything and make it new again. You aren’t afraid to try something new, to push your thinking outside of the box…it is no wonder you are pursuing engineering.

I am so excited to see where God will take you.

I know this transition won’t be easy for you, but I know you will be ok. You have a resilience in your bones and as difficult as it was to move before you started high school..I believe it has prepared you even better for this next phase of your life.

There will be trials. Life won’t always turn out like you hoped or imagined.

My prayer during these times would be that you would hold onto your faith, trust God with the big and the small things….He is with you and will be with you every step of the way. Even in those times you may feel abandoned…He IS there. Trust me on this one…it is a lesson I have learned time and time again.

The last 18+ years have been an honor. 

While this change makes me sad it also makes me so excited for you. There are bigger and better things in front of you. Chase those dreams you have, do the scary stuff, take risks (acceptable, legal ones) 😉 and don’t let fear tell you that you can’t do something.

You are well prepared for this moment Isaac, I am confident in that. We all stumble, face failures and struggle with feelings of doubt…but always remember that you are right where God wants and needs you. Be that light to others, and make a difference.

And while I joke that you are never coming home again I hope that you want to visit us soon. There will always be a place for you here, even if your brothers take over your room next week! 🙂 You were the best thing that happened to your dad and I almost 19 years ago and we are cheering you on as you start college.

Oh and a couple other “administrative” items before I let you go…please text me once a week so I know you are still alive! Know that I will always be here for you. I may force myself not to check up on you but it isn’t because I don’t want to know how you are…I don’t want to be that annoying mom. 🙂 Do your laundry before you run out of shirts and pants. Trust me everyone will appreciate that one. And just go and do your best. We don’t expect perfection…clearly we aren’t capable of it ourselves…just work hard like you always have and you will succeed.

Thank you Isaac for being such a gift. I love you.

Mom

Photo Credit: vj_flicks

What a Zip Line Taught Me About Fear

Black Hills

We just got back from a week in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is our third year vacationing there and we rented a cabin in Lead. The cabin was at the top of a mountain and it took 9 minutes and 38 seconds to get up or down the road.

It was kind of a treacherous road as well..I will have more on that at a later time. It was long and bumpy but lead to a beautiful cabin and view. We were remote in many ways…including that we didn’t have wifi. It was a true vacation and such a good week.

One of the days it was rainy and Dominic and I took Isaac, his friend Zach and cousin Casey to go through Rushmore Cave in Keystone. The little kids didn’t want to go so they stayed at the cabin for a “rest” day with the grandparents.

The cave was fun…beautiful really, and for the most part, the journey through was manageable. There were a couple of interesting spots where you had to watch your step, but overall it felt safe.

Then we headed to this 7-D theater experience where I was in last place for shooting zombies. This didn’t come as a shock to me as I was with 4 boys! 😉

The final part of our time there was supposed to be a zip-line ride. We headed up the hill and Dominic and I got on first. As soon as I was in the seat and my feet were dangling, I started to get second thoughts.

It wasn’t a terrible drop, but I am not one who loves the thrill of my stomach dropping in rides. I don’t like roller coasters and other rides like that. Panic waved over me and I said that I wanted to get off.

I know that Dominic was disappointed in me…he had just wanted to ride together. But, as in so many situations, when I feel fear, I want to run.

I didn’t think about praying, didn’t consider pushing through. I just got scared and I got off the ride.

Looking back this is so indicative of my faith life.

I can be happy go lucky if things are safe and going well…but the minute it becomes a little dangerous, or unknown, I bail.

As much as I feel I have grown this past 6 months in my dependence of God, this experience felt like a huge step back. I could have asked God to calm my spirit, could have just had courage to stand up to my fear, but I didn’t.

And it has bothered me ever since.

I don’t want to be ruled by fear, limited in what I can or will do because I am so afraid of the “what ifs.” I think for me, right now, this fear is coming from the reality that we will be sending Isaac off to school in a few months.

We visited the school again while we were there…I have some concerns, less about Isaac and more about what the environment will be like those first few weeks/months. Let’s just say the freshman all get to wear a ugly green beenie hat for like 2 months or more (no one we have ever asked will admit to the actual length of time….all the students “can’t remember”) AND while wearing the hat they can (and will) be forced to stop, get on their knees and sing a “I love my beenie hat song” at the whim of any upper classman.

That along with the parties and alcohol etc., that will be available (and it sounds like all freshman get forced pulled into those first few weeks)…I am suddenly entering this place of being unable to control what happens to Isaac and what the outcome may be.

Not like I ever had any control right? Maybe the illusion of control when he lives upstairs…but 7 hours away with a bunch of students who try and humiliate and pressure my first born. Ugh, this mama heart almost can’t handle it!

I am on that ride again and I just want off.

I told Isaac that I thought he needed to stay home another year before going off to school 😉 …I just need more time you know?! Time to make sure he is prepared for the real world, to make sure he can melt chocolate without scorching it (inside joke)….I haven’t possibly done enough.

And as I type these words I realize…like literally right this moment, I can see that I am so darn afraid that I haven’t been a good enough parent.

I should have been stronger, prayed over him more, encouraged him and prepared him, told him I loved him and hugged him more. I suddenly feel like a failure. He is going off to experience one of his biggest life changes yet and I want it to be good.

I want to be able to wrap an imaginary swath of bubble wrap around him so that he doesn’t have to experience hurt and failure and disappointment. I want everything to be roses and the reality is that it probably won’t be.

And as much as I know that he needs to go through these life lessons, just like I did. Oh how I want it to be easier! 

As a first time mama going through this, I am not sure how you survive?! I know that you do…I have seen others go before me. My own mom survived me and that was a feat in itself! ha!

I am at that moment where my feet are dangling and I know that it is going to be scary but I have to be able to trust that God has my son just like He always has me.

I have to let go.

I have to trust that God is with Him.

I have to trust that Isaac will go through what he needs to, and that his life experiences will hopefully draw him closer to God as well. He is a great kid and I just want amazing things for his life.

Will there be unknown? I am certain of it.

I am also certain that God loves Isaac even more than I do, and that He will be with him every step of the way.

Fear doesn’t have to control me. I can learn to let go and trust God. (<====Click to Tweet)

It probably won’t be a pretty journey on my part…but it is a step forward in the right direction!

If you want to see the lamo ride that I chickened out of you can check out the video below (or here if you are reading in an email) 🙂

YouTube Preview Image

We Survived Our First Graduation

Isaac 3

As you may know, our oldest son graduated from High School a few weeks ago and this past Saturday we had his open house. This has been some major firsts for all of us and it was quite the experience. I am so proud of Isaac and all he has done in high school. I know this next phase is exciting, but WOW as a mom…I am learning how to let go and it is tough! 😉

So when I started to plan his open house I had NO IDEA how many people to actually expect. We sent out invitations to lots of family and friends, some of which I knew might not be able to come based on their distance from us. I invited some people closer via a FB group and with the responses from that group anticipated about 80 people, give or take.

Isaac chose a taco bar for the meal and long ago asked if he could have a chocolate fountain too. OF COURSE!! 😉

chocolate fountain

My mom was a HUGE help and did most of the shopping for me. Going to Sam’s and Costco to compare prices and send me lists of everything I was thinking we needed.

Looking back I maybe went a bit overboard….maybe.

I ordered 100 cupcakes from a woman locally that makes homemade and really amazing buttercream. They were so good and we didn’t have too many left, maybe 20? So it wasn’t bad.

open house 2But really with the chocolate fountain, I could have skipped the cake and we would have been fine.

We had lots of dipping choices, the best were the Bavarian cream puffs. I don’t love these plain, but covered in warm chocolate, TO DIE FOR!

chocolate fountain dipsI also may have had too many choices for the drinks. I served water but then thought I needed 2 different kinds of juice/punch. The whole “punch” was a bit of a fiasco. It was thrown together without a recipe but ended up being pretty good. Next time someone else can be in charge of that though!

open house 5The biggest hit was the punch (the one on the middle) it was a mix of Cran Lemonade, 7-Up and orange sherbet. The ratio? Can’t really say…it was more of a dump and stir thing happening with that! But we had to refill it twice…so all in all it was good!

The taco bar was the hardest to plan for. I mean really, how much meat do you need to feed an estimated 80-100 people?

Well I bought 40 pounds. Yes you heard me right, 40 pounds.

I know, I am shaking my head as well. But on the day of we had approximately 30lbs in the roaster pan and when it was all over only about 7lbs left! Just perfect actually. We ate some as leftovers and froze 1 containers worth for later! And as an added bonus I have 10lbs of hamburger browned and frozen for a quick meal later too!

open house 4We decided to go with large bags of chips instead of single serving ones…it was honestly about 1/2 the price. I had my mom get 6 bags of Doritos and 6 of the Fritos. We used 6 total. Thankfully chips don’t last long in my home…we will survive.

We also had small burrito shells, which was inspired by our Gabriel who doesn’t like chips. I had 2 packages of 20 and we ran out!  I also had mom get 2 large bags of shredded cheese and we didn’t even open one…so good to know for the next time! And we had the largest tub of sour cream that I have ever seen and used almost all of it! Crazy!

open house garageMy mom helped decorate the garage with Gabriel assisting on Saturday morning. We were grateful to have borrowed the tables and chairs from our church so I didn’t have to rent those. We fit 4 tables for seating in our garage and 1 for our candy bar!

Another fun Pinteresty project I saw when I was planning and it too was a big hit!

open house candy bar

I had grandiose ideas of how it would look and got all of my containers at GoodWill or the Dollar Tree to keep costs down…it didn’t execute as cute as the pictures online but people liked it none the less! We chose to shares Isaac’s favorites and had little paper gift bags that people could take a treat with them.

open house candy bar signI was worried that no one would see them but Isaac did a great job of telling people about it. Lots of people liked to be able to take a treat with them for the road.

The open house was so much fun. Exhausting and crazy but such a blessing to have so many people come and help us celebrate Isaac! Our house was full, our garage was full. It was wonderful!

open house

open houseIt was so nice to have so many from my family here that day too. Aunts and Uncles, Great Aunts and Uncles, Cousins and Second Cousins, grandparents and my sister and her family! And I think at this moment pictured above was the only time that my mom sat down all day! She worked hard, we couldn’t have done the party without her help!

Oh and did I show you the wall of Isaac?!

My friend Courtney is AMAZINGLY talented. She does a lot of furniture refinishing and I mentioned that I needed to build a frame for Isaac’s pictures. It was massive, I wanted it to fill the wall and it is perfect. It may never ever come down! Once I take down Isaac’s pictures I can see the kids art, Christmas cards, birthday cards…all on the wall. Courtney I can’t thank you enough!!

open house wall of Isaac

So yep, we survived. We are tired but blessed and so very grateful for the love that all of you showered on our son. Thank you so much!

A Golden Birthday – Celebrating Isaac

Isaac 18

I think I may be in a bit of denial over this one – but my baby turns 18 today. Can you believe that?! 18!!

18 years ago we found ourselves in a hospital anticipating the arrival of our firstborn. We didn’t know what we were having, but I was sure it was a girl (ha!) I labored for what seemed like hours (oh wait, it WAS HOURS) Long, slow hours that may have been filled with me being angry with Dominic because he could eat and walk and not be in pain. 😉

And then late that evening the doctor said it was time and Isaac Immanuel joined our family of two and everything changed.

He was perfect, and huge (8lb 15oz)…my doctor at the time told me she didn’t think he would be bigger than 7 1/2lbs….little did she know! But he was strong and adorable and we were in love.

We left that hospital a few days later, right after a terrible ice storm, and spent our first night as a family at my parents house because it wasn’t safe for us to drive home. I was terrified at my responsibility, I was a mother but I had no clue how to do it right.

We spent many days and nights those first few months, Isaac and I, crying together. 🙂 He had colic and I was a nervous wreck. I was sure I had messed him up and done something wrong because he cried so much. But then a few months passed and he was all smiles.

He had the biggest grins and he made us laugh. Fitting as his name means “he laughs.”

When people say that time goes fast and it will be gone in a blink of an eye, they aren’t kidding.

I feel like I blinked and he was walking, blinked and he was starting preschool, blinked again and he was starting elementary school.

Each moment, a blink and then on to the next.

Isaac has always been a good student, but 2nd grade was a tough year with a teacher that didn’t enjoy the boys in her classroom – that year could have paved a negative path for him. But in 3rd grade, Mrs. Bonte, saw that he was bored and needed more of a challenge so she started giving him “extra math assignments”. She made it fun and encouraged him to work hard…He excelled and I credit her for how that encouragement shaped a path that he continued on until today. (Mrs. Bonte passed away unexpectedly last year and I never had the chance to thank her for how she changed Isaac’s path that year – teachers you can make such a difference!)

When Gabriel was born, Isaac was so excited to be a big brother. He was so helpful and couldn’t wait until he was old enough so that they could play together. It was the same with Elijah and Karlena too. Isaac’s siblings adore him, and while they don’t always get along they all love having Isaac around. I am not sure how we will all handle it when he moves away next fall!

We moved to Marshall when Isaac was a freshman. Talk about life change. I know the first year wasn’t easy for him and even today a big part of him wishes he could be back in Beresford with his friends. But he took it in stride, adjusted well and continued to work hard at everything he does.

He continues to amaze me.

He works 2 jobs and gets great grades. He has a plan (for now) for college next year and it is exciting to see where God’s path will lead him.

For a lot of years I know I really failed Isaac as a mother. I didn’t always manage life well and he likely saw and felt the consequences of that. But he is a strong, brave, kind man today and it is a testament of how God can take our brokenness and in spite of us, make something beautiful out of it.

I am so blessed to call Isaac my son. I hope that this post (if he reads it) isn’t too embarrassing. 🙂 Maybe today it will be, but my hope is that someday he will read this and be reminded at how much he is loved. How thankful I am to be allowed the great honor of being his mom.

My life was forever changed 18 years ago, and I have been blessed to overflowing because of you Isaac. God bless you today and all the many years ahead. I am excited to see where God will take you and will always be here to cheer you on.

I love you son.

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