Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Father's Day and 3 months!

Just a few pictures today...
Last Sunday, Father's Day, was declared Hawaiian day at our church, so everyone wore shorts and flowery shirts to church. Here's the girls and Bodie sporting their Hawaiian duds.

Here's Brian with the kids on Father's Day. The girls and I got up early and made him blueberry muffins, then brought him breakfast in bed with his cards. It was fun to pamper him a little bit. We also got some Pappadeaux for supper, his favorite, and it was delicious!

Here's Laney and Bodie hanging out during his 3 month photo shoot. It's fun to think these two will walk through alot of life together through school and other activities since they are only two years apart. They are officially called "the little ones," while Avery & Tatum are called "the big girls."

Bodie Luke, we are all crazy about you! I can't believe how fast you are growing up! You smile all the time, especially when we get close to your face and talk to you. The other night, you laughed the cutest laugh when Daddy was kissing your feet. You are so laid back and easy to please. You love your paci and you love to play on your playmat. You love to talk to yourself in the mirror and the cuteness of it almost brings me to tears. Your hair sticks straight up on your head and you are getting more of it each day. When I come in your room in the mornings, the first thing you do when I unswaddle you, is stretch your cute little arms up over your head like Superman and give me a huge smile. I adore the feeling of picking you up out of your crib and holding you for the first time each day. The "newness" of you being a boy has not worn off. I still am thrilled to put you in your cute little boyish outfits and I think you are the most handsome little boy in the whole world. Your big sisters adore you. They love to help make you happy by holding you, covering you up when you're cold, or giving you your paci when it falls out. I am so happy to get to take care of you and try to make you happy. I am so thankful I get to be your mama.

Here's our 3 MONTH OLD!

If the Father's Day pictures above looked familiar, it's because they wore the same dresses last year about the same time. Here's the three girls last summer. I can't believe how much they have changed... Avery still had baby teeth & long hair, Tatum had short hair and no bangs, and Laney was just a baby! And we had no idea that God would bless us with a baby boy to add to the mix!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Latest

I can't believe we've already been on summer break for a week! It has gone by fast and it has been wonderful! We have enjoyed our time at home so much... we've done some fun arts & crafts, some school work each morning for avery & tatum, played outside alot, and just enjoyed being together. It is a blessing from the Lord to have weeks like this one where there's not much on the calendar and we can pretty much go where the wind takes us.

Here's my four little blessings. I have alot of pictures of the side of Laney's head, she hasn't quite fallen in love with the camera like the older two. And notice Avery is sitting in the bumbo seat... it's so funny how you put something away then get it out again a year later and it is the most exciting thing in the world again.

We have been working hard on potty training this week. It's been very frusterating. There have been many times over the past few weeks when I just have to remind myself, "Laney is two." That's the only explanation you can give sometimes. She's old enough and smart enough to "get" potty training, but she just refuses to put it in the potty. Today we went to the resale store and bought a cute little potty chair that she can sit on. Is that gross to buy a used potty? I'm wiping it down with clorox wipes before I let her use it. Anyway, I thought maybe she is afraid to sit on our big potty with the little potty ring you put in it, maybe she will feel more comfortable with her feet on the ground and her hiney on her own little potty chair. So tomorrow we will try that.

Bed, Bath & Beyond advertised a miniature chocolate fountain in their last mail-out, and I had a great coupon so I took the plunge and got us our own chocolate fountain. It was so worth it! It was funny to watch the girls... at first they politely used the little toothpicks I gave them to dip the strawberries, bananas, marshmellows & pretzels in the chocolate. But after a few minutes Tatum just started dipping her whole hand in the chocolate and shoving it in her mouth to get all the chocolate off. Needless to say, it was a hit and I already can't wait to use it again.

Bodie's first time to sit in the bumbo... not quite ready to be left alone in it, but he did enjoy sitting in it when I supported his head.
Last week I said goodbye to my students, my teacher friends, my classroom and my career. It was emotional and exhausting, but wonderful and fulfilling at the same time. It was alot of work packing up my classroom, so I brought the crew with me and let them watch movies in my classroom while I worked. They enjoyed sitting in my big desks and watching movies on my big screen.

It was hard to say goodbye to my U.S. History team, Carol, Deb, Michelle & Joey. They have been so supportive and helpful to me over the past 7 years. Even though I was part-time and never attended the team meetings because they were in the afternoons, they never made me feel bad about it, in fact, they made my life so easy by giving me so much help with lesson plans, answer keys, advice and just being there whenever I needed them. I will miss each of them so much.

I will also miss the students that came through my door over the years. The fighters who have been given nothing for free, who have fought for every dime they have, they live only 10 minutes away from my neighborhood, but live in a whole different world. Who wear blue jeans that are 6 inches too short because they can't afford to buy new ones, who wear the same sweater almost every day because it's the only one they have, who wear stained or torn clothes, not to be cool, but because it's either that or nothing. I would've liked to buy all of them nice clothes and take care of them and show compassion to them, but it's too big of a job for just me. So I had to turn my heart off a little bit and not let myself feel that. But I have been able to listen to them, to smile at them, to ask them questions about themselves, to hopefully bring some happiness to their life by making my classroom environment a happy place for 50 minutes.

I am relieved to be leaving the thugs, the disrespectful, violent, troublemakers, who regardless of what cards they've been dealt in life, have chosen to hate, to steal and to destroy. They are the ones who make high schools scary and unsafe. They are the ones who I was afraid to deal with because I knew I needed to be firm and strict, but I was afraid they might retaliate and I have four kids I want to live to raise up, so they often got away with whatever they wanted because of my fears. I will not miss them one bit. I am relieved to be done with them at least for now.

I will miss my FCA club. I have seen many students come and go over the past five years, through times when we had 70 kids coming each week to times when we were lucky to have 12 show up. It has truly been the highlight of my career, getting to lead these leaders, trying to give them refuge in the dark place God has placed them. I have often said, "I would never let my kids to go school where I teach." However, I feel compassion on these kids... I feel like they are my kids and God has chosen them to be a light in this place, and without them, there would be no hope. I am so proud of them for standing up for Him and for truth, even when it is so unpopular. I hope and pray my children will be bold and unashamed of the Lord like these students are. I balled my eyes out saying goodbye to them. I have tears in my eyes right now just thinking about them. I feel so honored God gave me the privilege of being there for them.

I will not miss waking up at 5:00 am every morning, nursing Bodie, getting dressed and ready, pumping for Bodie, then getting to work by 6:45 am. I will not miss juggling our kids around between my mom, Brian's mom and sweet friends. I like having them home with me. I will not miss having to plan my lessons for the next day after I am already exhausted from doing the dishes and getting them in bed. I'm not complaining, I am extremely grateful for the job God gave me to do while we've begun our family. God has taught me humility, priorities, and faith. He has helped me conquer fears and trust in Him alone. I am excited to see what He has planned for this next chapter of our lives.

Right after school let out, our dear friends the Kindle's, came for a visit! It was the best thing I could've asked for after a crazy emotional week. Jennifer and I stayed up until midnight catching up on life and our kids loved getting to play together.

Here's Brett & Parker meeting Bodie

Here's the Kindle's & Kratky's after a fun morning on the waterslide:
Kate, Laney, Avery, Brett, Parker, Bodie, Tatum & Crew
We always look forward to our yearly visits with the Kindle's. Jennifer & I always seem to pick up right where we left off and she always leaves me feeling encouraged, happy and challenged. I love her friendship so much. She has three boys and one girl, we have three girls and one boy... there's got to be a marriage in the works somewhere in that mix!!!

So we went to the mall in hopes of getting a picture of all four of the kids and an individual one of Bodie, since he is 10 weeks now. It was a disaster to say the least. We learned some valuable lessons, though, which I am still too frusterated to explain right now. So after the disastrous photo session, we put the kids on a bench in the mall and here's what we got:

This was in the photo session. The photographer left us right in the middle of the shoot for a five minute phone call. Seriously? With four young children and a baby on the lap of a 6 year old? Really? Yeah, so I pulled out my own camera and decided to take advantage of the cute pose. Nothing to frame, but it does show their personalities.

In these pics, you can see Tatum's new bangs really well. Last week she came to me in the kitchen to tell me something and I was taken aback by the short hair in the front of her head. I grabbed her and started examining it and wondering what on earth I was going to do to salvage it. I asked her why she cut her hair and her answer was perfect: "It was hanging in my face so I cut it off." Makes perfect sense, huh? So after a little trimming, I got her bangs semi-even. I actually think she looks pretty cute with bangs. My brother Martin cut my hair when I was about her age and it is bringing back memories of the pictures I've seen of me after that tragedy.

I did end up buying a couple, so it wasn't a complete loss. Next time, we plan to make a trip to San Antonio so my sister-in-law Dominique can take some pictures of them.

So a few other updates: Brian got a new job! He will be an Assistant Principal at a middle school that is very close to where Avery will be going to school next year. It is awesome to see God's hand in it all. He is also working as an AP for summer school starting next week, so he is excited to get an idea of what it will be like.

We also celebrated our 10 year anniversary on June 2! I am so grateful for all the many ways God has blessed our marriage over the years. We have both changed so much and sharpened each other. We enjoy our life together, we enjoy putting our heads together and getting done all the things that raising four kids require, we enjoy sitting in the backyard and watching our girls run around and play, we enjoy walking through each day knowing that we're in this together. This is the life God has given us and we love it. I am excited and thankful to picture my future next to him, going through the ups and downs and knowing that he is my partner and we will both try our hardest not to let each other down. I pray that when I wake up each morning, my goal will be to do him good and not harm all the days of his life.