Monday, October 10, 2016

Double Digits

Our sweet Jaida Ruth turned 10!!!
How we love our "Potato Cakes"
It was one of those birthdays that span a couple of days :)
Celebrated at my parents house 

 This girl loves her some shoes!
She saw these at GoodWill months ago and loved them.
My Mom got them for her.
They are DRESS UP shoes.
However my Fashionista asked if she could wear them to school!?!?!
Uh, NO!  :) 

Then we had our family celebration while Daddy was home.
But sadly missing Sissy who had a game in Virginia.  :(

The actual day of her birthday brought donuts and treats for her class.

We adore this precious little girl!
Happy 10th Birthday my Jaida Ruth.
I love you beyond words!!!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fall Happenings

"Fall" in the deep south I should say "the latter part of the year"
Still in sandals and shorts. UGH
Just recently though...a small hint of under 90 degrees is peaking its head out! YAY!

So many changes this fall for our family.
I will start with our "peanut"

Lulu. She started 1st grade. At a new school.
This baby of mine, that I fully intended to repeat in Kindergarten, was tested into 1st grade.
She has adjusted very well and LOVES it!
She appears to be hanging in there quite well.
Conferences this week so interested in hearing how she is faring.
She was a little behind in reading so sees the reading specialist to catch up.
Now, had this been my first child..oh my! I would have needed therapy.
Behind? Extra help?
Somehow I guess I would have thought it a reflection of my parenting, or lack of, if my child was "behind". Silly me.
I am extremely grateful this service is available. I must say struggling through those early reading times is tortuous. I have never enjoyed that! She has so much fun with the specialist and doesn't even know she is working! Oh the cool learning things they have now days!!!
She has made lots of new friends and jumps in the car everyday chattering away until I say it is Jaida's turn to talk! A far cry from getting in the car and sucking her thumb like last year!
Lulu is also doing cheerleading after school one day a week.
She gets to cheer her big brother on at the  Homecoming game with the Varsity cheerleaders.
She is so excited!
It is so cute to watch her practice the "dance" and cheers! Those little hips shake and that toothless grin lights up her face!
She is a Happy Camper!

A special day with the girls as we visited Sissy at school.
Oh how these girls miss their big sister!!!

Jaida Ruth!
My deep, intuitious and ever thinking child.
She is loving school and being the oldest in the Lower School!
She is a Library Helper and a Fourth Grade Helper.
She takes these jobs very seriously and enjoys the extra responsibility.
Jaida also does cheerleading and is looking forward to Homecoming and cheering for Sam!
Fourth Grade helper
Loving Sissy being home for the day!

Xin. Wow. Xin
This kid shocked us all!
He moved up to Middle School and the much different environment.
Classes are much tougher.
He has a very confusing rotating schedule with 3 minutes to change classes that I STILL don't understand!
He has to change clothes for PE every day with a locker and a combination to work
He has a chromebook that they must bring home every night and charge and bring back.
And he is doing it all VERY well!
He figured it all out.
He went on his class retreat for 3 days to St. Simons Island and Cumberland Island.
He really has matured and taken on his new responsibilities.
Xin is also running MS Cross Country.
This sport has been very good for him as it takes discipline and hard work.
(something he needs to work on)
He has practice every day after school and has running on the weekends he is required to do as well.
He has run in all the meets including the big Invitational where he had a PR of 16:29 for 2 miles!
He placed 61 out of 166 runners for MS boys!
There are  big 8th graders competing against him!
Our small little "heart" kiddo!
Makes me cry every time he crosses the finish line! 

And Sissy got to watch a meet!

Our now freshman in high school.
My man-child. (where did my little boy go??)
He LOVES it!! LOVES High School!
High school at Augusta Prep is quite rigorous.
Sam is taking a few honors classes on top of the regular rigor and it makes for a tough schedule and not much down time. 
He is having to study even more but so far with A's!!
His class retreat was to Epworth by the Sea for 3 days.
He is playing Varsity football which has been in action since June.
He leaves the house some mornings for early workouts before 7 am and gets home at 7:30pm
He has taken on this new challenge with very little complaint and has attacked it head on.
He loves the sport but as a freshman does not see as much playing time as he would like.
The coach warned the parents in the beginning that he would not risk injury to the young guys so don't expect much playing time.
Sam is one of the bigger ones so he plays specialty teams and gets in when they are ahead.
Their team is 6 and 0!!!
It is so exciting to watch and cheer for.
I have to say, I am ok with him not in there as much as he would like.
GEEZ!!! Those helmets crash loudly. And those are some BIG BIG BIG boys!
 Makes a mama a little nervous!
Sam is also on the Honor Education Council, Service Club, Fellowship of Christian Students, and the Ceramics Club.
Like I said, not much down time!
The Freshman!!!

Honor Education Council 911 Speech in front of entire school
His cute little date to Homecoming. Sadie Hawkins :)
Class retreat

Hmmmm...we don't hear from her much. Which is good right? Isn't that our job to raise them to be strong, independent individuals? Aren't we glad they aren't calling us everyday because they are unhappy?
Of course! But I still miss her :(
I miss her presence and just hearing about her day.
And BUSY!!!!!
Loves Presbyterian College...everthing about it.
She is now seeing the benefits of a rigorous high school curriculum as college classes are not overwhelming her and she feels very well prepared.
She is diving right into Asian Studies with Mandarin. It is her highest grade and she can actually READ some characters already!?!?!
She is part of the International Buddies program, and signed up to volunteer to work in the orphanage across from campus.
She joined ZTA sorority and LOVES that and all her new friends!
She is 6 months post surgery so can do more of non contact stuff with the team-running, sprinting, passing, dribbling, shooting. She has rehab 6 days a week on top of being at practice with the team and games with the team.
She absolutely HATES sitting on the bench watching and can't wait to get back out on the field next year!
The bench brigade! Her friend Anna, also red shirted.

So that is what "fall" looks like for us.
Now, don't be fooled by all the "good" stuff written here.
Yes, all the kids are actually happy, healthy and enjoying life.
As a mom...BEST possible scenario!
Life is NOT all roses and rainbows.
We have many moments on a daily basis that are not photographed or written about on social media.
I don't want to come across that life as a mom to 5 kids is easy and lovely all the time where all are neatly coiffed and I am sporting the latest trend in fashion with nails done and roots NEVER showing. All while keeping an immaculate house and serving home cooked meals to my little angels!
Nope. Not here.
I get crabby, I yell. I lose my cool. I feel bad but do it all again the next day.
I am tired and worn out.
I look like hell most days with sweaty running clothes and baseball hat.
I forget things. The kids forget things. I make waaaay too many trips to the school to bring them said things!
The kids argue.....oh the arguing. Shoot me now please!
 They can be unkind to each other.
They are disrespectful to each other and to us parents.
They get crabby, yell and lose their cool.
Lulu melts down and it isn't pretty!
Xin still has a long way to go in many areas.
Jaida is really processing "adoption" and it is a hard place with heavy things to deal with.
Sam and Julia being the teens they are, good teens, but none the less teens that always know more than we parents...aka eye rolling and guttural noises that convey their feelings towards us.
I worry about all the pressures teens are under now days and pray daily for my two to have strength and character to avoid what should be avoided.
It is a challenge to parent a span of ages from 6-18 with their varying needs, wants and desires.
I miss the mark daily!
I have had kids go to school with clothes on backwards and inside out.
We have had test grades that are not A's..or B's  :)
We have had all 3 cars breakdown in the same weekend.
We struggle  financially with juggling 5 tuitions and daily living all the while trying to sock some away in savings and retirement.
(Heavens, we will ever retire???)
Life is good but life is not perfect.
Just keeping it real.
Love my family that I have been blessed with....the good the bad and the ugly!