Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Photo Post from Palm Sunday Weekend

Lucas and Caleb, Caleb said make a funny face. He looks pained in this picture but these boys were happy to see each other and definitely having fun. This was at Milano's Birthday party on Friday night. The girls and I went too. They got to bowl, play video games, play laser tag and also eat plenty of oizza and birthday cake. Lucas was happy to get a chance to hang out with his buddies from his SA united soccer team.

Emaleigh and Sadie
Addie and Rahlynn playing air hockey.
Lucas was playing opposite of Raylynn.

On the next morning, Saturday, we took the kids early to Morgan's Wonderland for their Easter Eggstravaganza event. The park is specially designed for special needs children with special assessinity and extra sensory stuff. There were several egg hunts divided by kids ages but we just hung out and played until the soccer games started at the fields just next door. Emaleighninsisted to dress up and therefore had to change to soccer clothes in a flash. The other two were dressed for work. Lucas was in his soccer clothes and Addie was dressed for the TCC fundraiser that we all participated in after soccer.
Emmy and Lucas's games were at the same time and I actually didn't get any pictures of their games on Saturday. Our friends, the Stacey's showed up to watch with us. 
We headed after the game for a quick lunch at Sonic and then to Wal Mart to sell goodies to raise funds for the TCC. The whole family dressed in their Storming Normandy Tshirts. I only got a photo of Lucas while we were there. They all did great. Addie and Lucas each got several $20 donations from passers by that thought they were cute, interesting or knowledgeable. Addie holds a sign that says "Ask me about D-Day"  When people ask she gives them a quick history lesson.  Many people are shocked that she actually knows her stuff here.  One of the first times she forgot what she was goingto say next and fell into tears.  This was another Saturday over a month ago.  The history teacher she was talking to was still impressed and dropped back by our table on the way out and handed Addie a $20 bill. Even though she started in tears, she was so encouraged by this interaction she has answered the question since then with much more confidnece.  Lucas just tells everyone that passes in a cowboys shirt or a soccer jersey that he likes his shirt and they usually head straight to the table to stock up on chocolate.
Saturday evening we got to host our Stacey girls for a sleepover so mom, dad and baby could have a date night.  It has been since the weekend that baby brother was born in December that we got to have them here so everyone was so excited.  They played hard until the sun went down then we ate some pizza, watched a movie with popcorn and then settled into bed for the night.  They are awesome fun girls to have for a sleepover.  We all went to church the next day and headed after to a picnic/ Easter Egg hunt. 

The Boys (minus Kevin)  Hudson likes to be held facing out and when you talk to whoever is holding him he looks into your eyes and nods ,like he is listening. Austin serves the US military in the army at San Antonio Military Medical Center.  He is a heart cath technician and had alot of knowledge and encouragement when mom was in the hospital with he heart bypass surgery.
Addie and Lucas took the opportunity after church to hop rides into the Stacey's truck.  All their girls wanted to ride with us in the van.  The also seized the opportunity to be super silly with Easter baskets on their heads.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Addie Belle's Choral Milestones

Addie is in her second year now with the Texas Children's Choir. This has been the first thing to open up an incredible and dutiful passion for our oldest child. I have mentioned it before, but I just love how she has grown personally and socially I think because of her involvement with this just amazing group of kiddos. 
The choir practices twice a week for an hour and a half each day and one Saturday each month is dedicated to additional study.

  Along with these group rehearsals, Dr, Hardaway has also given the children self directed opportunities for further study. One of those is music theory by completing exercises in the book series Young Series Journey. There are five books total min the set. Once a singer completes the first two books and they are reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Hardaway then he has a special recognition and award. Particularly they receive special prism shaped color pencils to be used going forward for making special marks on their music. Addie hit the two book milestone in January and is shown here with her certificate and her director.
Today she was also recognized for finishing the third and fourth books. It is at this point that a Texas Children's Choir singer earns the designation as Choral Scholar. As a choral Scholar, her name is added to the choir's plaqu, she gets her own personal plaque and she will be denoted in performance programs to reflect this designation as well.
She has poured herself into the choir and this designation is a permanent representation of her work. We are proud of the intensity with which she has committed to the choir. Somehow this band geek and the guy who only learned to play guitar after college have produced quite the singer and actually quite the well rounded musician. 
Addie with Dr. Hardaway and her Choral Scholar Plaque.

Addie enjoying breaktime with her buddy Hannah.  They think TCC is all that and a bag of chips!

May the 4th, Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Once upon a time there lived an old man.  This old man would easily be described as a patriarch really and at the time this particular story begins he had many sons, a daughter and very many grandchildren too.  His sons and daughter were all living out of the home they grew up in, the home where the old man still lived. 

During holiday get togethers, where all the sons and the daughter gathered in the home of their childhood, the old man was happy to have all of his children and his children’s children under the same roof.  Nothing warms a patriarch’s heart more than to have all of his descendants gathered together to share meals, tell stories and embrace each other as the times where this occurred were far too rare indeed and not taken for granted.  This story is about my Grandpa Prewitt.  His name was Euel Lavelle Prewitt.  Or maybe it’s about me.  I don’t know…I feel compelled to share it because I feel it is about more than the Prewitt family

Well our family is not perfect.  To a one each of us have faults and imperfections. We are unique individuals bound together by blood. Our uniqueness lends to different perspectives in same scenarios and sometimes family arguments. Sometimes heated.  Is your family like this?  I expect so. A family that loves deep does so with passion and sometimes passion has a flipped side of the coin. Thank God though that we don't have to be perfect. What pressure that would be to wake up everyday and hope not to screw up that precedented perfection. So sometimes these family get-togethers ended up being pressure cookers for conflict.  And beautiful gatherings sometimes ended with anger.   But in a loving family anger toward a family member is very heavy so there was always yearning for it all to be OK too and a desire to forgive. God created us this way.

But for the Patriarch there was only ever one feeling not mixed feelings.  He had never held anger toward his descendants.  He did not hold a grudge. He only ever wanted them all to come back again and do it all over again the next available holiday.  He encouraged his children and his children's children in the same direction.  He did not want judgment or repercussions or consequences.  He only wanted them to love each other as they loved him. I am not making this up. 

My Grandpa Prewitt passed away 7 years ago this June.  It was June 16, 2007.  And even though time passes, when I think of him I still wish I had more time with him.  He was a gentle loving grandfather.  He had so many stories.  I never cared as much about the stories as the songs he made up and sang to us all the time.  He was silly and had a great deep laugh that was contagious.  A great smile too.  I wish now I had listened to the stories and asked for more of those.

At the time of his death I had not been a church goer.  I had a church splitting experience when I was still a teenager and religious doubt took a deep seat in my heart for an extended period of time.  Amazingly enough, it was his death, his funeral and his life that brought me to an about face.  It was another time that all of his descendants were gathered under one roof.  And while his death was not a joyous cause for celebration, a look over his life gave a lot to smile about.

The way my Grandfather was celebrated, the stories of how he lived and how much he loved God and the way my aunt’s church supported the family it quickly became apparent that there was something I had been missing out on. Specifically at the viewing in the funeral home, before they generally opened the doors and it was just family in the room, I felt really overcome as if love just washed over me. I felt filled with love; I felt it pelting my all over my back and over my head as I stood by my grandfather in his casket with all of my family behind me. I felt it radiate up my arm as I reached for my grandmother.  The words, “God is Love” from  scripture 1 John 4:16 (and others) filled my head.  I realized that I had doubt about trusting something I could not prove, but that even though  I couldn’t see love I had no doubt that it was real.  None at all. I got to be a small part of a big family where love was real, big and so great it was almost tangible. I realized how blessed I was.

Of course as part of my being a baby Christian recalling this story brings me back to the foundations of my faith. A Patriarch who loves to have his family gathered to share. Share life, love and joy but also to comfort each other in pain and greif.  A Patriarch who does not count transgressions, but instead is set, even at personal risk, in favor of forgiveness and unification of his family. His love for us was never in question.

I had a dream after Grandpa died that me and my sisters were in a huge house trying to decide how to choose which bedroom would be best for which sister.  We were really excited and talking about the best features of each room and assessing assignments.  We realized that Grandpa was in one of the rooms with us. He was smiling and when we saw him there he reached his arms out to us and we ran into his embrace. He said, "Why are you spending so much time and energy on THIS?  Don't you know your kingdom is in heaven?"

Like Whoa!! I know not everyone believes that there is any significance in dreams, but all who know me know that mine stay with me.  When I get caught up in pettiness or things of this world with all of its stuff, it is that truth that grounds me. I am not in pursuit of earthly treasures that only serve myself. Or I don't want to be anyway.

It is because of my Grandfather that I totally get it God.  I know how you love me and that love is what you want from me, for you and for my brothers and sisters. A love like that is to be treasured and sought after and modeled.  It is the best thing to strive for.  We lifers here on earth all get caught up in seeking things that are fleeting. Not fleeting is the great feeling you get from serving others and loving others and forgiving others or smiling at everyone! I can't go back now and hear and pay attention to more of my Grandfathers stories but I can get into your word and know this loving father better.  

This photo taken nearly three years after Grandfather passed away.  All of us together again. Memorial Day 2010
Me and Grandpa taken at his and Grandma's 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration.

Grandpa and Grandma with their sons and daughter.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fabulous Fun in Mima's Backyard

Me and the Force littles are spending this week in New Orleans with Mima and Papa.  Mima is feeling much much better one month after her triple bypass heart surgery, but she still needs company around to do little things so she doesn't over exert herself.  I have enjoyed returning the, "I can take care of you" duty and will never turn down a chance to do so.  She always took such great care of me.  She was an awesome mommy to her little girls and never failed to get to us for or very near to the birth of all of our kids to hep with newborn stuff. We are pretty much sticking close to home and enjoying homeschooling from a different location.  
The kids aren't short on imagination.  I have found them staging battles with swords and bowstaffs and whatever they can pretend the sticks and brooms they find in the backyard are in their pretend world.  They are like ninja time travelers usually.  They also colored the garden stones with secret code symbols.  Where they go in space is related to the secret code.  They are fun to watch.

Now we also had some grand ideas to make garden stones, personalized by the kids for more decor for the background at Mima and PaPa's. This was not a failed effort entirely but we really learned how to do it well next time which will probably be soon.  FYI Quikrete is not called that way for slow drying. The concrete set a whole lot faster than we could get our little gems and bottlecaps into it.  And we were fast.  Next time we will put our design into the bottom of the mold and pour the mix over the top.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Reasons Why We Homeschool

When I wrote my "Unintentional Benefits of Homeschooling" post, I was excited to share the things that are happening at home outside of what our expectation was for our kids education at home. They were all related to building better relationships.   I guess I realized I got a little out of order. I alluded to emotional protection being a reason why we chose to homeschool our kids in an older post, but I haven't ever totally shared why we homeschool and then even our intentional benefits of that choice. For other families that homeschool nothing here will be a surprise.  We have been at this now for nearly two years and I am sure there are things that I take for granted that may be left out of this post.  I mean all those things too.  We pretty much get daily affirmation that this choice was  the right one for our family and for our kids.
I decided not to go into detail with support behind these reasons.  I started the blog that way and I didn't know how to cut me off.  So just a numbered list instead.  I will try to keep it relatively short.
1. We wanted more academically. Control over the curriculum.
2. We were already monitoring bully type situations for both Addie and Lucas (kinder and 2nd grade at the time)
3. We wanted flexibility. We can visit with family on our schedule or when they need us to help out without truancy issues.
4. I wanted more time with my kids. And more time for them together.
5. We get to do many more field trips.
6. We get to pray at school.
7. We have total control over who is in our school and our kids safety.
8. We get to meet and play with kids all over San Antonio of all ages and backgrounds.  Fun diverse play.
9. We get to make our own lunches.
And just some fun extras
10. No school fundraisers. (Ofcourse that didn't really mean we got a fundraising pass though, did it?)
11. School in pajamas; No school uniforms
12. Self guided projects
13. We get to read what we want and therefore really develop a love for reading.  I do require 1 hour of reading everyday,b ut we usually all snuggle for the first hour of school and ease into our school day with a book.
14. No snow days
15. Teaching baking is teaching math sometimes, yummy banana bread.
16. Decorating for holidays is arts and crafts and creative development.
A Million more.  Do you have any to add? To be continued...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

That's not Love, I am Out!!

I recently have received the message, in some loving and some not so loving ways, that I am too sensitive.  Go figure! I am a first born and a Pisces and if these two things don't have "may be tad sensitive" written all over them...Well OK message heard loud and clear.  But let me also be clear, my sensitivity works for me as well as against me. Because I can step back from a hurtful situation and see "not what you intended" it works for me. I am steering myself out of situations that have been hurtful to me in the past by getting out of the race.

So I need to declare for myself in all arenas if you are getting a message from me that is not loving, it was not intentional.  You heard a message I unintentionally delivered and I want it back and I want to make it better. I want to apologize without a lengthy explanation about why I was actually right. Without the BUT.I just want to take it back because being right, mighty and just in a relationship that matters is worth nothing if it demises the relationship forever.

Competition has crept into all facets of everyday life.  And I want to be out. In these arenas I am not entering into the competition. I am not the best wife,  I am not the best mother, I was not the best engineer, not the best student, I am not the best Christian, I am not the best friend, I am not the best daughter, I am not the fastest or best runner or walker, I am not the greatest cook, I am not a great writer at all and not the fastest reader or even selector of books to read for that matter.  The list goes on and on.  While I may be these things, I do not proclaim to be the ultimate at any of them and why would I want to be. Extreme in any of these categories would not make me a better person and it might make someone feel led to be better than me.  Take it!

 Relationships matter to me the most.  THE MOST.  I think we, me and you too, sometimes let boastfulness creep into our relationship and can tear it down. So I give.

My friend Tandi recently relayed this story to me about horses.  One horse in a field will graze and run and sun and just casually enjoy their day.  Add a second horse.  If the second horse joins horse one in a field and then starts running off at a race pace in a random direction, then the first horse will also start running in an attempt to overtake the second horse without even knowing where they are racing to. Horse don't know where it is going but it is going to GET THERE FIRST! I speak analogy so I get this.

While setting personal achievable goals for ourselves in areas of our own interest is a great way to measure or track personal growth, randomly one-upping each other is an exercise in futility.  Who is growing from that?  I think no one. We do that to each other. People do that. We enter into these subtle underlying competitions and work ourselves up over who was right, best, first, favorite, most, highest and so on all the while tearing away at something that was beautiful. US!  We were great, but now I am convinced that being the best between us just took precedence.  That makes me pretty sad.

There is peace in stepping out!  And I love you!

Part B: What does the Bible say about this?
Back to that I am not the best Christian part of my spiel...I like to call myself a baby Christian.  The word of God is great and large and full of real life wisdom.  I am helped daily by scripture, but as a baby Christian I hold onto the greatest commandments as the basis living life. See below.  In short, if it is not loving, it is not right.

Matthew 22:36-40
New International Version (NIV)
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

And I can't help but hear the wisdom in this scripture here too. Another favorite of mine.

1 Corinthians 13

New International Version (NIV)
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.

Force Cousins in Town!! Dinner with Family.

Janma, grandpa and Lucas exercise patience in the waiting area before our table was ready. Waiting for a table for 11peeps at Crystal Springs Restaurant in New Braunfels Texas.
Kayla soon to be 14. Where does the time go? I swear she was 5 yesterday and 3 the day before that. My beautiful teenage niece.

Pops and daddy..

Uncle Shane is opening the humor portion of our evening.

Too cool little chicks hang at the end of the table that was just for cool kids like them.

Addie takes a minute to update daddy on the ten most important things that happened in life overnight since she saw him last

A Lucas and mommy selfie.