Saturday, July 28, 2018

Final Summer Days

We found ourselves home in time to grocery shop, start laundry, initiate a car repair for Erin and pack Kate for church camp Sunday. She returned home mere hours before preparing for the first day of school. In other words, all relaxing weekends must come to an end.

Ty recently decided to take up running. Out of the blue, he headed out the front door as he announced, "I am going for a run". I was slightly amused as no one in this house says or does anything remotely related to running. I wandered out to the swing to see what that meant in Ty's mind. Much to my surprise, a few moments later, he ran by and kept right on running. Within a few more moments, I saw him again as he tackled another lap. Alrighty then. He has been signed up for cross country through his school as a result of his enthusiasm and daily persistence. I don't know where this is going but I am happy to support him as long as parental participation is not required. 

Kate is navigating seven classes this year and has a well decorated locker because she had Makenna's assistance with back-to-school shopping. Needless to say, my budget was busted but they bonded and had a blast together. She, like her sisters before her, attempted to negotiate her way out of gym class by volunteering to be her favorite choir director's assistant. Unfortunately her request was denied despite the teacher campaigning on her behalf. I suspect she isn't finished haggling over this. She is a Baughman daughter, after all. 
Ty has a great team of patient and sweet teachers this year. I was able to have a meeting with them before they met our son and was thrilled with everything I heard about their approach to third grade. It is always stressful for me to relinquish my kiddos to strangers as each school year begins and this was no exception. I have been wrestling with a lot of big feelings but am holding out hope it will be a great academic year. Both teachers greeted each child they met with a hug and then explained third grade's homework philosophy is to have kids work hard at school so they can play hard at home. Goodbye insane second grade homework packets! I will not miss you!

It is July and we have seen the end of laid-back summer days already. I will appreciate this more when we take two weeks off in October. But at the moment? Not so much.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018


When Makenna was three, she had the most active imagination. Her world was full of friends no one else saw, bear hunting adventures in our bathroom, safari expeditions in the local woods where she discovered elephant tracks, and all her people fully wrapped around her sweet little fingers. To say we were constantly on our toes would be an understatement. I walked into her room to see what she was up to one evening and she was surfing on books. Upon my arrival, she splashed me with imaginary water and cracked up. She was certainly my most whimsical child and full of wonder. The extent of her creative brain never ceased to amaze me.

We enrolled her into preschool the day she threw a fit about real children trying to join her at a kids' table during a birthday party because those seats were already taken by Arielle and Cinderella. As it turns out, Makenna preferred the children she could make do whatever she desired and those with their own opinion were not welcome in her world.

That back-fired a bit as I was met daily by the teacher who stressed how Makenna dictated exactly where the other children could sit and who they could play with. The problem was how the other kids obeyed her. Sister was bossy. Sometimes she still is.

Her spirit has tamed somewhat with age but at eighteen, she is a natural leader. She still bosses kids around at work providing after school care and most people naturally listen to her as she often has great ideas and excellent problem solving skills. Although at times, I do suspect she would prefer Cinderella to real children who have opinions of their own.

She recently graduated high school and isn't certain what her future holds. She is a creative leader and loves kids so I have no doubt the perfect fit for her will reveal itself in due time. Given her young graduating age, we are not rushing her into a college experience even though she was accepted into a couple of programs. By next semester she will be ready to make some bigger decisions and whereas I know some people question our sanity by giving her time, we have faith in Makenna and trust she will do great things wherever she lands. It's simply in her spirit.

Now that she is exhaling from a draining technical theater experience and is currently relaxing with a friend on a beach in Florida, her batteries are being recharged and she is welcoming her "adult" years in style.

Happy birthday to you, Makenna Grace! You continue to bring our world joy, questionable humor and a lot of insightful wisdom. I love you and look forward to walking alongside you as you navigate this next season of life.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Relaxation Station

The name says it all. Four years ago, when Greg and I last slipped away for a weekend, we landed at the Relaxation Station in Brown County, Indiana. Knowing we were long overdue for some time away together again, we booked the first available weekend around our anniversary on the 9th of this month.

It was unseasonably cooler than expected and that afforded us the opportunity to hike and enjoy being outside far more than we could have hoped going into this weekend.

We appreciated evenings in the hot tub and quiet mornings listening to the rain dance through the trees while sipping coffee and tea under the gazebo. The weekend was exactly what we needed to rest and reconnect from a busy life; one we feel blessed to lead together.
While we were away, Erin took excellent care of Kate and Ty. The house ran as it usually would, sans vegetables.  It's a compromise we were willingto make. Erin is awesome and the kids had a blast with her.

Makenna is enjoying life on the beach with a friend and Lauren sent me this gem while we were away. 

It is a blessed life indeed. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Celebrating Weekend

I made labels for birthday items (hutt dogs, luke sky-water, jedi juice, may the forks be with you, etc) Ty created another one and added it after I thought I was finished, "choose your weapon well,  young padawan". He put it in front of the inflatable light sabers.

I invited all the parents to stay and hang out with us. All declined. Hmmm......As it turns out, we had a great time. Ty says it was the best birthday ever. He lost a tooth during the party and was pretty excited about it too. The tooth fairy failed to show up both Friday night and Saturday night. She apparently made a magical appearance during church today. All four girls were pretty shocked she made daytime stops. The tooth fairy is tired and obviously forgetful.

We spent Saturday on a friend's boat and loved it.  I went tubing with Kate. I managed to stay on the tube despite our friend's best efforts to toss me off. Getting out of bed for church today was no easy task. As it turns out, I really am 44. But this year has been a blast watching Ty. We went from hanging out on the ladders in pools last year to jumping off boats and loving the water this year.

In other news, I took Kate shopping for both a bathing suit and jeans today. Good news. We all survived. Barely.

Friday, July 13, 2018

9 Years Old

My favorite Jedi is nine today. Where the time's gone is beyond me. He has a half dozen little boys invading our home this evening for hot dogs and Star Wars cake. Keeping his list at this manageable size was not easy for him as he has a lot of friends.

He still considers himself a hero of sorts, as he cares for others and has a deep sense of empathy. He has loved this summer full of wonder and exploration. He worries some about what third grade will hold but is excited to be one of the big kids in the building this year.

Fishing has recently become a favorite past time. He still loves shooting hoops in the driveway and is curious about trying to play on a team someday. He would prefer one; however, where no one gets in his face. Good luck with that, little man.

He loves music and  recently taught himself how to play the Star Wars theme song on our friend's keyboard. From there he requested additional classical music on cds so he can listen anytime he wants. Grandma supported his curiosity with the gift of a keyboard for his birthday. We love the possibility this holds for him.

Ty remains an intense little man but we are seeing his self confidence grow. The tension he often carries is lessening. Our prayer is that trend continues once school starts back in two weeks.

For his photos, he selected a light saber to represent him. When I suggested one of the new red ones that isn't being held together with tape, he scolded me. "Mom, red ones are for bad guys and I am not a bad guy". So a taped together favorite green one it was.

Happy 9th birthday, Ty David. You continue to amuse me. I love you more than you love Star Wars.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

School Preparations. Already.

We are already in the throws of back-to-school errands, paperwork and meetings. School starts in our district on the 26th and as much as I love routine, I am not ready.

We spent a few weeks stressing how to best simplify our world and knew we needed to get both kids on the same school schedule. This meant one of them was going to make a change this year. Knowing we have a supportive team caring for Ty and Kate was underwelmed with her choice last year; once she started campaigning for her base school, we consented. Despite the boost in confidence we saw last year and the cheer team she loves, she is moving. We are already seeing a few negative ramifications of that decision but in truth, both options had it's share of concerns. We doubt the bigger school (class sizes in the 500's vs 60 total in 7th grade where she was last year) will be best for either of the kids' personalities; however, they have the most resources for Ty's needs. All in all, this parenting gig isn't any easier to navigate with kids #4 and 5 as it was with the first three.

Kate is more self conscious about the larger school and has requested to wear makeup like Makenna (who wears it very infrequently) because all the girls she knows at that school wear it. At 13, I am okay with permitting it but also trying to send messages about beauty that counter the world's.
Either way, Makenna and Kate had an amazing afternoon shopping for supplies and then working together on skin care and proper application. Kate felt special and grown up hanging out with her older sister. Besides, her mother is rather clueless in this department and refuses to change that reality. I will stick with my neutral lip stain as my only cosmetic, thank you very much.

And now that Kate can stay home alone and has watched a little one for a friend, we realize she needs access to a phone. We don't love this. We had decided a flip phone with calls and texting only would suffice when we were leaning toward the smaller country school. However, in the larger school full of kids who've had smart phones since the 5th grade, the flip phone would be worse than no phone at all socially speaking. We still aren't certain what we are doing about this one. We aren't the kind of parents who care much for the Jones', much less want to keep up with them but we also know our sensitive kiddo will have enough challenges with or without the phone and makeup.We are also reaching the point where it is assumed she has a phone when she visits friends and feels uncomfortable asking a parent for access to a phone to call mom if she needs something. Borrowing a cell phone is somehow more intrusive than the old days of using the phone in the family's kitchen.

And as a side note, we do have a secret code word in our family. If anyone sends a text with only that word, we as the parent calls and orders that child home. The child is free to object and plea for more time but they will still have to come home immediately. This has helped more than one teen save face in an uncomfortable situation. So social media and access to phones doesn't have to be all negative but it is a larger responsibility than I love putting on my thirteen year old.