Sunday, September 30, 2012

Oriole Magic!

Our Baltimore Orioles have been a laughingstock around here for many years.  Back in the day, when Ken Singleton, Rick Dempsey and the boys from 33rd were together and we won the World Series in 1983, things were different.  Buy for the last fifteen years, Oriole wins have been few and far between.  This year, however, things have changed! The O's are back and in rare form!! Around here we like to say that the reason behind this miracle season is that our son is now working for them, but we know that this is just luck.  I guess all these wins can be attributed to some luck, but these young men and their trusty leader are taking the baseball world by storm and Baltimore is sitting up and taking notice.  There is Oriole Magic in the air.  People are wearing their black and orange.  The stadium is selling out and everywhere you go someone is asking "How 'bout them O's" :-)

Today was our last regular season home game.  My older son had to work the game and my husband, younger son and I got tickets and went too.  There was a chance that the Orioles could clinch a playoff spot and we all wanted to be there to see it happen.  The boys of summer didn't disappoint!  My favorite, Chris Davis, sent one out of the Yard.  There were hits and stolen bases and six runs total.  All the while we were watching the game we were watching the scoreboard too.  If the Angels lost to Texas and we won our game we would be in the playoffs and we would all be right here to celebrate together!!

Long story short, we won our game 6-3.  Everyone's excitement was tempered, however, because the Angels were losing 4-3 and it was the top of the ninth inning in Arlington.  The O's put the Angels/Rangers game on the big screen and the team huddled together on the field, the tarp crew huddled together on the warning track and the fans stood in the stands and watched and waited.  One out.  Hooray!!!   A tense second out...Woo Hoo!  Everyone held their breath.  You could feel the tension in the air.  One more out.  My husband wanted to bad to share this moment of joy with his sons.  I wanted this for all of us, for all the O's fans who had waited so long.....for all the fans in the stands....for all the young players on the field and the veteran, Jim Thome, who has contributed so much....but most of all, I wanted it for my husband and my sons.  I know how long they have waited and I want it for them!! more out.....thousands of fans in black and orange are holding their breath....the team and the crew are poised to celebrate....and the darned batter got a hit and scored three runs.  Son of a biscuit eater!!  How could he???   Didn't he know we were soooo ready?

So we all came home...our chances still alive for the playoffs, but our chance to be a part of it when it happened had disappeared.  What a shame.  But I know that we will always remember that day and I hope that the O's are going to give us alot more to cheer about in the coming months.  Orioles magic fills the air and I am so glad we are going along for the ride!!

O-R-I-O-L-E-S!  Magic, Magic, Magic.  Orioles magic, feel it happen!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Going with the Flow

Today has been a beautiful Monday.  The weather is cool, actually pretty crisp, and it's sunny and glorious outside.  I had done my planning last night and had lots to do in my book today.  We got started almost on time, but the day ended up winding and twisting like a dirt road in the country, peaceful and tranquil and full of beautiful visions along the way.

Dakota started his morning work and enjoyed his independence.  This is such a pleasant change from the reluctant student who I had to beg to start every morning last year.  He does his journal, a language arts starter book, a page of cursive, a weather/temperature chart, watches the BrainPopJr app of the week on Monday and checks his Today's Special board for whatever is there for the day.  Today it was The First Day of Autumn, which occurred over the weekend. When he was through, we took our Awesome Autumn book out to the deck and sat on the swing to read it, finding out why the leaves are turning colors and talking about all the cool things fall brings.  We decided leaf rubbings were in order, so Dakota went into the yard and collected some that were still green and others that were in the process of changing or already had changed and we taped them down, covered them up and peeled our crayons.  Two nice leaf rubbings later, we took our works of art down to Daddy's office so he could laminate them for later.

The second half of our morning was spent learning about our own history in preparation for the start of our Story of the World, Volume 1 unit, to begin next week.  We have a sponge painted tree waiting to be finished, but today we wrote out a family tree, discussing Sr. and Jr., stepfamilies, relationships with aunts, uncles, cousins.  Then we pulled out the old pictures I spent time going through yesterday and he got to see pictures of lots of aunts and uncles he rarely sees and best yet, pictures of his three grandfathers whom he had never met because they all passed away before he was born.  He had alot of questions and it turned out to be a very interesting topic!

After lunch, when Natalie was also awake, we went out on the deck to finish our math and language arts and to start our unit on the moon for this week's science.  I am proud of myself that I am not stressing too much over being "behind" on history and science.  This isn't where I had originally wanted to be at this point in the month, but it's been a nice September so far, Dakota is enjoying school and I don't feel burned out.  That's a remarkable feat for me, as I am usually overdone by now and I have a stressed out kid.  I AM improving!

Now for a quiet night with some work and some TV.  I found a new, easy recipe for dinner and it's in the oven cooking now while I decompress and wait for my husband to get home.  Yes, a very ice Monday, indeed!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Twenty one years ago today I married my husband, my knight in shining armor.  He swept me off my feet, making sure there was room on his trusty steed for two very sweet little girls who thought he was a hero.  Down the road a way he had to attach a wagon to that steed to fit in two little boys, who also waited for him to ride in and save the day (by taking them to some fun place and playing catch ;-)

Today, that knight is a little more gray (okay, alot more gray!) and this fair princess is more "fluffy" and "jiggly" than she used to be and those two little girls are grown women..  One of those little boys is darned near a grown man.  He is still playing catch with the littlest boy, who is definitely a knight in training!  Sir Brian is not only a Daddy Knight now, but a Poppy Knight and there is a new little girl with stars in her eyes when she looks at him.

Brian, I know there have been some tough times.  I also know there have been some wonderful times.  That's life.  We have weathered many storms to find a rainbow at the end.  We have made a family and a home, gone through births, deaths, better, worse, sickness and health.  We made a promise all those years ago and it's one I hope we are still keeping twenty one years from now....and twenty one years from then!  Thank you for taking today off to whisk me away to Annapolis.  We don't take enough time to just be a couple and enjoy each other.  We are very busy, but we have to always remember to nurture our relationship because when it's good, it's very, very good.  I love you with all my heart.  Thank you for taking this journey with me.  Remember always.....

                                                        Grow old with me....the best is yet to be.

                                                   Tomorrow promises to be a beautiful day!
                                                        I love you.  Happy Anniversary!

Wonderful Wednesday

Wednesday dawned bright and beautiful after a wet Tuesday.  We had a rough morning getting out of the house early and organized, but we made it and got to the church for the new year of our AAHE Cooperative just in time to open up and welcome everyone back.  It was so nice to catch up with old friends and get to know some new ones.  Our theme this year is Artists and Composers.  The teacher for the artist, Michelangelo, did a fun activity where the kids got to lay under their chairs and paint on the "ceiling".  They loved it and thought this was very cool.  The teacher for music did an introduction to instruments, letting the kids listen to different musical selections, showing them different instruments and then letting them have fun watching a Looney Tunes cartoon about the orchestra.  This was a very big hit!

After co-op we met a friend and her daughters for lunch at McDonalds and then we all met another friend at the Airport Park to watch the planes come in and chat while the kids played on the playground.  We left there, picked up Keri and Natalie from my house, dropped off Dakota with Dad, who would take him to MomMom's and then met Kris at Walmart to do a group grocery shopping trip.  I am really enjoying this new era in my daughters' relationship where we can actually all do things together and enjoy each other's company.  They have not gotten along well since they were in elementary school and now there is a new found respect for each other and, gasp, they are acting like adults.  We spent a very long time in Walmart, headed over to BJs for some dinner and more shopping and then Keri and I picked up Dakota and headed home to drag all the groceries into the house.  By that time I was exhausted, but satisfied.  It was a great day with wonderful women, great kids and fabulous weather.  I'll take one of those any time!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rainy Tuesday

Today was a rainy Tuesday here in Maryland.  We were supposed to go back to the Science Center, but staying at home had much more appeal.  I made it a fun day by letting Dakota stay in his pjs, reading under the blankets, watching a video on his health book instead of reading it and making chocolate chip cookies.  It was National Playdoh Day so at lunch time I set up his table in his room with a big sheet underneath, broke out all the playdoh tools and let him create for over an hour.  We did a floor puzzle on the solar system, painted a family tree using sponge painting for our history project coming up at the end of the week and really minimized all of the mundane tasks that we have to get in most days.  As always, there morning went much better than the afternoon, but we muddled through the laziness and  lack of focus that afternoons often bring.

This evening everything was cancelled due to impending bad weather so we enjoyed a rare fall dinner with daddy and watched the Lorax together.  Tomorrow promises to be much, much different, with our co-op starting back up, a lunch playdate and grocery shopping, but for today, at least, we enjoyed our homeschooling perks on a very wet and windy day, warm and cozy with no where we had to go.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Delaware Adventure

On Thursday after school we packed up our things, loaded the truck and went over to Spalding to drop Brian off at his football practice (where he is the Asst. Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator).  While we waited we had dinner at Friendly's with MomMom, filling up some time.  Around 7, Brian called, we picked him up and off we went for our Delaware Adventure.  Spalding's football team was playing a game in Lewes, DE on Friday night so we decided, as we often do, to make a mini vacation out of it.  We got in to our hotel, which, unfortunately, was nothing to write home about, around 9:45, got our stuff inside and went right to bed.  On Friday morning we were up early, had a continental breakfast at the hotel and headed to Rehoboth Beach. It's a small, quaint little beach community with a beautiful and peaceful beach and a small boardwalk with some restaurants, some typical souvenier shops and a few old standbys like Candy Kitchen and Dolles.  We spread our blanket and I spent the next few hours taking pictures as Dakota frolicked in the water and he and his dad built a sand fort.  We left our blanket where it was and headed up to check out the boardwalk and found a nice little restaurant along one of the side streets to have lunch.  They had delicious food and we were the only customers and we had fun together as we ate.  Afterward we got huge, messy ice cream cones and then made our way back to the beach.  Another hour or so later, we were ready to leave and went back to the hotel, where the guys got in the pool for a bit and then Dakota and I took a walk through the Cracker Barrel gift shop and I could have spent hundreds of dollars on all the gorgeous fall and winter holiday items they had out.  The smells were wonderful and they had old "vintage" candies that I showed to Dakota and wonderful smelling candles, even sweet potato syrup and pancake mix!  That's a new one for me!

After our visit to Cracker Barrel it was time to drop Brian off at Cape Henlopen to get ready for his game with his team, but Dakota and I took an extra half hour to drop by the Lewes Ferry station and got to watch a ferry pull in.  The game was a good one, although I was completely exhausted by the time we wrapped up after 10pm.  A quick dinner I was too tired to enjoy and then I don't even remember getting into the bed. Slept like a rock!

Saturday morning saw us up early and heading home to make Towson's first football game and to get to see Brian David and his girl and his roommate all done up in the TU gear.  Brian David has waited his whole life to be part of the college football atmosphere as a student and I was so pleased that his time had finally arrived!  Here's a jumble of pictures of all or fun adventures:

Hurray! I can post again!

I have been trying for the past week to post and I couldn't get the site to cooperate.  I couldn't type in the boxes at all and it was frustrating, especially since my life just now changes as the wind blows, good and bad, hectic and calm, tumultuous and harmonious.

On Tuesday of last week we had our first homeschool day at the Maryland Science Center.  I took my daughter, Keri, with us so there would be a set of hands available for both young ones.  Keri and Dakota went into the planetarium together and I knew that Dakota was really going to enjoy it this time, because we have been studying the stars and he has been very "into" how they form and learning about the constellations.  Natalie and I went upstairs to the Kids Room and spent a good bit of time in the Toddler Room, where it is blocked in and all the young moms are sitting on the floor, most of them chasing a toddler and pregnant with another, chatting about things young mothers chat about.  I felt wistful in a way to know that this part of my life was over.  I so enjoyed it.  But here I was with my willful little granddaughter and she was having a great time.  A little later I made the mistake of taking her out to the big part and she found the large water table, but she would not, of course, wear the smock to stay dry.  This did not go well and did not last long and I had to haul her out and bring her back to the toddler room, where she promptly threw herself on the floor and had a tantrum.  I watched calmly, having been there and done that many, many times, and when I thought she had gotten it together I redirected her to the toys and kids.  Her mood was foul, however, and she was mean and nasty to the others, so we had to make our departure.  When we met up with Keri and Dakota we decided to switch kids and I took Dakota back up to the Kids Room.  I pointed out that the sign on the door said "Ages 0 to 8" and that this was his last year there.  MISTAKE on my part.  He was crushed.  We were in front of the submarine that he loves so much and he just sat next to me, lip trembling, tears welling up in his eyes, and said he was just too big.  I convinced him that he could go in, but when he did, he kept bumping his head on the ceiling and all the other kids were little.  He hung his head and said it was time to go.  My poor little guy is growing up :-(

Tuesday night we kept Natalie so her mommy could go to the Orioles game.  She went with Dakota and I to his baseball game and she was pretty good, watching her "aaah pooooood" and walking around saying hello to all the people.  Dakota played very well again.  He is in control of his body now like never before and he's enjoying the new found coordination and skill level.  I very hesitantly agreed to let her stay the night since her mom wasn't getting home til 11pm and she had to be back here by 8am, but in the past, little miss Natalie has never done sleeping here at night.  This night, however, she was an angel, not waking once.  I am very pleased with that because I would like to give her mom a break sometime, but sleep isn't something I do very well without anymore.  Must be getting old!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall Homeschooling

I am a fall kind of person and nothing is better than a crisp autumn day, a nice long walk in the morning and schooling out on the deck.  Today I planned just that kind of day for my little son, granddaughter and I. We had a slow start, but after getting ready and getting a late breakfast we still decided to start our day with a long walk through the park.  The sky was an incredible blue and the temperature was just right.  We were out about an hour and then came back in to put Natalie in to nap and start our schoolwork.  We sat at the table and did our daily prep work, spelling, language arts.  We hadn't gotten to science for a few days so we spent some time reading and talking about stars to get a good understanding before we head to the planetarium tomorrow for our first Homeschool Day class at the Maryland Science Center.  We made a constellation box and some constellation cards to go with it.  We did a demonstration of the earth going around the sun and talked about why we have the seasons and the light and dark each day.  We even found a cool app on my phone called SkyView that showed us the constellations that were above us as we pointed the phone to the sky.

We took a quick lunch break and watched a Magic School Bus video while we ate and then since Nat was awake, we all went out on the deck, taking our reading and math with us.  Dakota learned to do multiplication with carrying and then we started our third mystery, Horrible Harry and the Locked Closet.  I am so pleased that he is expanding his horizons a bit with reading.  Last year he would only listen to or read picture books or Magic Tree House books.  This year we are using September to explore mysteries and he has really enjoyed them.  I have tried to keep them fairly simple and tried to appeal to the things that interest him like baseball and, in the case of Horrible Harry, a boy close to his age who is amused by bathroom humor and likes things that are gross.

Tonight, after playing on the trampoline and playing some pick up football and basketball with the neighbors, Dakota got his bath, ate dinner and went into his room to "do his thing" and watch the Ravens game.  He came out several times showing me things he was doing and I was just really tickled when he came out and showed me his idea for a new book he wanted to write...a mystery :-)  He's putting it in "Dakota's Creation Book" and he you can see those wheels turning in his little head as he dreams up a story.  Although I felt unprepared because I hadn't time to plan all weekend and things weren't right at my fingertips, all in all I think we got alot in and had a pretty decent homeschool Monday.

Sunday Funday

If you are following me here at Cindy's Life As She Know It, you know it's been a tough stretch for me.  I am usually upbeat and positive, but I have been struggling.  Yesterday I went to church and dropped my son off at Sunday School and then attended a Bible study class with my pastor and a small group of people.  I always forget how at peace I feel when I am there.  I am not as involved as I could be there, but they are welcoming, kind and loving and I always leave feeling better than when I arrived.

After church my husband gave me money to get a new outfit for a crab feast we were going to..  I can't remember the last time we went to a function like this together and I wanted something I could feel attractive in.  I ended up finding a pair of white capris on clearance and then hit Dick's Sporting Goods for a really cute Raven's shirt.  It will serve me well through the season.  I hate wearing the boxy mens t shirts anymore.  I like the women's cut with the v-neck.  Much more attractive!

I was a little apprehensive about the day since times have been tough between my husband and I.  We desperately needed this day to relax and enjoy each other, but I was so worried things would go wrong and it would end up a disaster.  I needn't have stressed.  We had a great time.  The house we went to (hosting for a hunting club) was on Nabb's Creek and the land went on and on, ending at the water, where there were multi-leveled docks and three boats.  There were chairs positioned everywhere to sit and look over the water.  There was a tire swing.  Tents were everywhere with tables set out and a delicious spread of food and crab.  There was a full size tiki bar and the most beautiful outdoor stone and steel kitchen with pots and pots of crabs steaming away.  There were horseshoe pits, a dj playing and karaoke.  TV's had football and baseball on.  It was fantastic.  There were a few people from Spalding that my husband knew that I was introduced to and by the end of the evening I was sad to be leaving them.  There was singing and dancing, much laughter, joking and drinking.  My husband and another athletic trainer did a hysterical rendition of Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.  It was just wonderful.  The most fun I have had in a very, very long time and I was disappointed to see it end.  Best of all is that I think both my husband and I realized how much we missed time carved out for just the two of us.  We've been together 23 years and we've had alot of fun, but lately there just never seems to be time for us and our relationship was paying the price.  I am hoping that we both realize how important unwinding together is for a high energy couple like us and continue to find time for each other because I love this man with all my heart and being out with him is always fun.

Friday, September 7, 2012


I am having trouble in my life right now for numerous reasons, but I was thinking today that one of the things that is throwing me so off balance is the lack of consistency in the most important things in my life.  I used to know what was coming next, who was here now and who would be here later.  I knew how those that I hold closest felt, both about me and about life...or so I thought.  In the last few weeks, however, I just don't know about anything.  There have been major upheavals and I'm not sure what each day will bring.  Some days my son calls home, chats openly and shares his day.  Some days he doesn't contact me at all and if I try to talk to him he mumbles and pushes me away.  Some days he's home.  Some days he isn't.  The relationship with my husband is the same way too recently.  Good.  Bad.  Hot.  Cold.  Smooth.  Bumpy.  A promising tomorrow.  An empty future.

This is all very confusing to a woman who lives her life for structure and routine.  I wake up in the morning feeling panicked because in that half awake time early in the morning I can't remember what kind of day yesterday was and what kind of day today will be.  I wonder why so much seems to be coming at me at once and I feel overwhelmed and helpless, wishing for the structure and certainty that used to fill my world.

So I cope in the only way I know how....I do what IS consistent.  I watch my granddaughter.  I school my son.  I clean my house and keep up my calendar.  Some days I feel needed and other days I feel cast aside for more important things.

I know that there are better days ahead.  I know that God only gives us as much as we can handle.  I know faith will see me through.  But today, and most of the days in the past few weeks, I wonder what I did to deserve so much piled up on my shoulders all at once.  I feel kicked when I am down.  I feel lost in my own home.  I wish things would get too some new normal that I can handle.  I am a busy woman and I have way too much that I am responsible for to be sidetracked by constant fears and heartaches.  I lean on the Serenity Prayer and I know that eventually it will get me through.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

He's a morning kind of guy...

Dakota and I had a few personal errands to run early this morning, but we found out that it was "Be Late For Something" day so we laughed about getting to work and then headed out on our errands.  We were fashionably late to start our lessons, but still had a great morning, doing all of our language arts, math and Spanish. We are way behind in our Story of the World lessons, but it is not a big deal.  We will get through it when we get through it.  We read the middle part of our Maps and Globes book and looked at our map and globe and talked about the difference.  Then I let him paint a large blue Earth with the promise that he could paint again in the afternoon to add the continents.  I was hoping this would negate our problems.   He is so focused in the morning and we get things done in record time...but then comes lunch break...and I never really get him back.

We take an hour break at lunch and I know that I probably shouldn't give him that long because I am sure it's part of the problem, but by the time I cook his lunch then make my lunch and sit down to get myself together for the afternoon, an hour has flown by and we regroup to begin again.  I try to save some fun things for the afternoon so it's not too much sitting or writing, but it doesn't seem to matter what I save, he's scattered and antsy.  I let him finish his painting and then we did some fun science, talking about light and stars and making rainbows with cd discs.  He got to make some known constellations with shiny stars and black construction paper and then I let him loose to create his own constellations, because if this boy is anything, it's creative.  He loves to make up his own thing!

We started our second mystery for our mystery genre month.  I honestly thought he would fight me to read anything besides Magic Tree House, but he was very open to the mysteries and after last week's Nate the Great, we began Cam Jansen today, in the Mystery of the Babe Ruth Baseball.  This is a better read for him, since Nate the Great was way too easy.  We did partner reading and he was actually disappointed when I stopped after chapter 2.  He answered his comprehension questions and then we moved on to our last subject of the day.

We are doing at least a few months of Berenstain Bears units for health, talking about character building and favorable traits you need to make it in this world.  I got the unit from and it is simple, but effective if you use it correctly and include lots of discussion.  We had read our book, Trouble at School, yesterday and today we retold the story and talked about responsibility and consequences.  I felt this was a good time to introduce his new chore chart...something he has begged for all summer.  We talked about how I would not be nagging him, but would remind him once to do his chores.  If, by 8pm, they were not done, then no money would be given out at all for that day. He makes $.75 a day, which doesn't seem like much, but that's $5.25 a week and I think that's good money for an eight year old boy.  He agreed that this was fair and darned if he didn't ask if we could please read another Berenstain Bears book before we finished for the day.  Go figure!

So Day 7 is in the books.  Not the best day I have ever had, but certainly not the worst.  Things seem to be going more smoothly so far and I am hoping that we continue this trend throughout the months ahead.

Here comes September

So here we are, firmly into September, usually my all time favorite month, tied with October.  Clean slate.  New homeschool year.  Great fall colors.  Crisp temperatures (soon).  This year, however, I don't think I am liking September very much.  Anxiety, stress and depression are constantly chasing me down, but I am trying to stay one step ahead.  Schooling Dakota gives me a diversion and it was actually the best time of my day yesterday once I got myself focused and found all the materials I needed that were sitting right under my nose, right where I put them.  We didn't do anything wonderful or creative, but we did work consistently.  We didn't get it all in, but I didn't stress over that because, in the big scheme of things these days, that's little stress.  I am pleased that we have quickly fallen into a new morning pattern of doing Today's Special and then his "daily prep", which includes a daily short language arts exercise book activity, a daily/calendar packet and writing in his journal.  His math is Grade 3 and I thought it would present more of a challenge, but   math for him is more of a two minute "this is how you do it" and then he does.  Very little stumps him.  He struggled for awhile last year with the difference between the physical appearance of a picture of a quarter and a nickel, but that resolved itself.  I always feel like I should be doing more in the math department, but he seems to not really need my instruction.  It just all makes sense to him. He sure doesn't take after me!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Eight is the Magic Number

Today is Dakota's eighth birthday and on my children's birthdays, I spend alot of time reflecting on who they are now and remembering them through the years as they have grown up to this point.

I remember Dakota's birth so clearly.  I had a scheduled C-section on a Friday evening.  We went to the hospital, waited a long time and then I got prepped to go into surgery.  My mother made her way into the room before I went in, which did not make me happy.  She is too nervous, too high maintenance and does not make me feel better about anything.  My husband was distracted.  I've never really figured out why other than it was football season and the opener for his youth team was the next day, but I guess that's enough.  My three older kids were excited...ready to welcome this little brother and get their mother who had spunk and energy back!

They wheeled me in, right past the crowd of "spectators" that was my family.  Ugh.  My husband came into the room and then boom, boom, boom...out he came and back into the room I went.  That's really how I remember it.  From the time I left my room to the time I returned having given birth was, no kidding, twenty minutes.  They didn't bring him in right away, but they did let in all three kids and my husband and my mother and really anybody else who wanted to come in.  I was tired, I couldn't feel anything from my chest down and my neck hurt.  I just wanted my baby and for my kids to see him and be taken home.  Dakota was born at 6:48....they brought him into my room around 10:30, if memory serves me correctly.  I have a picture, both on paper and in my mind, of my husband and Keri and Brian David going out to get him from the nursery and wheeling him back into the room in his little plastic bed.  Both kids were looking down at him with curiosity all over their faces.  I never had a younger sibling, so I can only imagine what it must be like to have your family going along and then someone handing you a newborn and saying "here.  Love him.  He's all yours for the rest of your life".  But love him they did.  My oldest daughter took on the role of second mother right away.  All was well.

Dakota was actually my easiest c-section (I had four).  I had little pain in the incision, but alot of residual pain in my neck from the spinal.  The hospital staff left alot to be desired and there are some stories I tell about the incompetent things they did, but all in all, it was an uneventful stay for both of us and after his Friday night birth, we were allowed to leave early Monday morning.  Then life moved on.  We became a family of six.  We all took on new roles.  Dakota became a very important and very active part of all our lives.  It's been eight wonderful years since that time and I thank God on a regular basis for this gift of a last child to keep me going now that the older three are independent and grown.

Happy 8th birthday, Dakota!  Have fun!  Be good! Don't grow up too fast!  You are a funny, silly, charming, handsome, devilish little boy and I love you with all my heart.

My Wish

Two posts today, the last day before homeschooling posts really take over (although I won't say that matters of the heart and life with my older three children won't play a part).  Today it's about My Wish, the song and the reality.  Over the last two years my son Brian has endured alot of heartache.  He is someone who gives his all...whether it's in sports, academics or affairs of the heart.  He loves passionately and fully.  Those things or people who are a recipient of that love are truly blessed.

Brian's first relationship was wonderful...for a short time.  He was in love with love.  He met a girl just before going into Spalding that some friends introduced him to and they seemed well suited.  The transition into a new school was made easier because she was there and introduced him to all her friends.  As the months went by, however, she became manipulative and demanding.  He thought that was how relationships went and, being the kind soul that he is, he followed along.  Eventually though, after about nine months, he realized he was being lied to and manipulated and they broke up.  The first six months were terrible for him and for us.  He found he had no group of friends at school because all his friends were her friends.  He had to start over again.  His heart ached, he missed her, but he knew he deserved better.  It took the better part of a year for him to come full circle.  He got back to enjoying just being Brian and spending time with family and friends.  But I know he was lonely often for something that I couldn't give him.  I prayed and I wished everyday that someone would come along who would be the one for him.  Someone kind and sweet.  Someone who would appreciate the good person he was, tolerate his quirks and love him for who he was.

Move ahead two years and Brian went off to college.  He had been speaking to alot of future Towson students online, but one in particular seemed to take up more time and seemed to get more smiles from him.  I kept praying and kept wishing.  I warned him to take it slow when he moved onto campus.  Make lots of friends, join groups, get involved.  I will admit that my heart sank when just 36 hours after moving in he stated he was "in a relationship".  I was so worried that history was repeating itself.  Then there was a misunderstanding and I got a phone call from him, heartbroken that maybe he had stepped right back into the fire.  I talked to him, gave him advice, weighed the pros and cons.  He mulled it over, talked it over with this new young lady, and they set some ground rules and decided that they liked each other enough to try to make a fresh start.

The following weekend my husband had his home opener for football and Brian wanted to bring his girl to see where he had gone to school and played ball.  I invited her to stay with us for the weekend, as they had two concerts to see, as well as the game.  She was very nervous, he said, about meeting me.  He had no idea how nervous I was about meeting her.  When he brought his first girlfriend home for the first time I knew right off that it was going to end badly.  What if I felt that way again?  What if I didn't like her?  What if she was manipulating my son or taking advantage of him?  More praying.  More wishing.

Friday came and I cleaned the house, worried and worried, prayed and wished.  When I picked her up I noticed first that she was adorable and she popped into the backseat with the two little ones and was comfortable.  That was a plus.  People who are uncomfortable around children give me cause for concern.  We chatted on the way home and I was trying to gauge things.  I watched them as they hung out.  We went to dinner together.  We went to football.  ........   Guess what?  I like her!  Alot!  She is down to earth and open.  Quiet, but can hold a good conversation.  She smiles easily and participates in discussions.  And, most of all, she seems to really "get" my son.  He is sweet, and she seemed to know this already.  He is goofy, and she didn't giggle or give him a dirty look, but she smiled at him, giving him that look that said "that was goofy, but it's okay because I like you for you".  She held his hand, but didn't hang all over him.  She watched an incredibly awful football game, never complaining, when I know she didn't know a thing about what was going on.

By Sunday night we had seen each other off and on several times, but at the Rascal Flatts concert I got to really observe the two of them together.  Guess what?  I think (and I hope with all my heart) that my wish has come true.  My son is so happy and relaxed.  His girl seems happy and relaxed.  She isn't domineering, but she guides him gently when he needs it.  She doesn't make fun of him, but she laughs when he's funny.  I haven't seen my boy look that happy in a long time.  In the truck going home they were sitting next to one another singing, looking like two people with a whole lot of happiness ahead.  I cried alot of tears last night.  I still cried for the boy who left here who will never be the same innocent, boy again.  But I also cried because he has found what he has been looking for and I think it's all good.  Thank you, Megan, for being who you are.  I am, at this point and time, so grateful he has found you.  You are welcome into our home and our family life any time.  Please be kind and gentle to him.  He will treat you with so much love and respect and he deserves that in return.  He once told me you said he was too good to be true....I have something to tell you....he is.  You won't ever find anyone else with a heart so pure.  Take care of him for me while he's away, but please remember to share.  I love him more than you can ever imagine.

My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never have to carry more than you can hold
And while you're out there gettin' where your gettin' to
I hope you know somebody loves you
And wants the same thing too
Yeah this, is my wish

I love you, Brian David.