Archive for the 'Milestones big and small' Category

Kinder Transition

Well.

The day finally arrived.

Kindergarten.

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One of those cheesy lines about your heart walking around outside your body would be appropriate right here.

It was just so…hard. Good hard, a little yucky hard, but as the week goes on, a little better.

There were tears. A few from him, mostly from me (after I dropped him off…I at least made it to the parking lot). It breaks my heart into a million pieces when he curls up in a chair and begs to not have to go. But today he was ready, no tears, and he played on the playground before school like a boss, lining up for the teacher when the whistle blew.

Luke, Scarlet and I walk home a little forlorn, feeling tangibly that we are missing a crew member.

We watch the clock, Luke asking several times throughout the morning if it’s time to pick up Jack. Finally, the morning winds down and we head out again. This week we’ve had it easy, just half days. Next week the full days begin.

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We are greeted by a happy boy. He is thriving already.

And my grief over missing him and worrying about how he’ll spend his days loosens just a bit. So many tiny moments of tender grace already sprinkled throughout our week. Encouraging text messages and phone calls from friends. The discovery of a new friend just down the street. Warm afternoons to play and swim and just be. A kind teacher who is understanding of high-maintenance worried parents.

I saw a bumper sticker a week or so ago that said ‘Fear Not’ with a verse attached (I can’t remember the actual verse. whoops). And at first, I didn’t give it a second thought. People’s religious or political opinions displayed on their vehicles don’t usually get a rise out of me, but for some reason I found myself thinking about that bumper sticker all week.

And now I’m laughing, because I hope the lady that plastered it to the back of her SUV knows that somehow that sticker actually did some good. Because, for me, it’s been this wonderful freeing reminder that I don’t need to worry. I just don’t.

So I’m trying to pray when I start to worry. And then I laugh a little to myself because I think of the bumper sticker and then I pray a little more and all of a sudden I remember that everything is going to be ok.

Jack will be ok. Our family will be ok. Whatever comes: the good and the bad, because there’s no escaping any of it, we will just take one day at a time. And in the midst of the grind and the hard, whether its the good hard or the yucky hard, we’ll just do our best to ‘FEAR NOT.’

And Just Like That…

The school year begins.

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Jack started Pre-Kindergarten and has a new classroom and teacher this year. He was initially a little timid and nervous, but he has settled in so well.

He sidled up to Aaron the morning of his first day and said ‘Dad, I’m really nervous, can we snuggle?’ And so, of course, there was lots of extra hugs and kisses that morning and by the time he walked into the classroom, he was ready to go. So proud of that sweet, wild, amazing boy.

In typical Luke fashion, he had a few stubborn moments about wanting to go to a different classroom, ‘Jack’s old class!’ but as soon as he got settled in his classroom, all was well. He is the proud owner of a blue bag just like his brother’s with his own name on it. Life is good for our Lukey.

Luke hasn’t quite figured out that he only goes to school two mornings a week. He gets a little bummed out when Jack goes to school and he doesn’t.

Even though we are still firmly in the world of preschool. I feel like there’s been a subtle shift this year; a little more responsibility, a little more anticipation, a little more anxiety in the change as we transition into the school year.

It’s a good transition though. I love seeing my boy’s happy smiles. I love watching them learn. I’m grateful for one more year before ‘real school’ starts.

 

Kitchen Captivated

I think I’ve professed my love for cooking and eating enough times on this blog that you all know that I like to…well…cook and eat. All that cooking and eating opened a fun little door and I’m now writing a regular column for a local magazine in my hometown. It’s small potatoes for sure, but it’s a fun project for me that I’m really excited about.

My first column was published a couple of weeks ago and I wrote about my newish obsession with grilling pizza. Seriously, it’s the best.

So, if you have a minute, check out my column here and the next time you’re in the mood for pizza, try this recipe:

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Pizza Dough

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 2/3 cup bread flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour (can be swapped for bread flour)
  • 2 teaspoons dry active yeast (or one packet of yeast)

Combine flour and salt in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand for a few minutes while the yeast activates. The yeast is ready when it gets frothy and bubbly. Add dry ingredients, oil and honey. Stir the dough until ingredients combine, then knead on lightly floured board until smooth and elastic (about 8-10 minutes). Form the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover the bowl and let rise until doubled in size (about an hour).  Divide the dough in half and using a rolling-pin, form the dough into two 12-inch circles.

My most favorite toppings are simply garden tomatoes, fresh basil, a little garlic and mozzarella. Nothing beats that combination and on the grill, the tomatoes soften and roast perfectly.

To cook your pizza, heat your barbecue to 500 degrees. Use a pizza stone or pizza pan to cook your pizza. You can use a cookie sheet, but it doesn’t work as well. You can also cook your pizza directly on the grill. Simply place your rolled-out dough directly on the grill, cook on one side for about 2 to 3 minutes, flip, add your toppings and finish cooking for an additional 5 to 8 minutes. Most pizzas will cook on the grill in about 10 minutes.

When your pizza comes off the grill, top with freshly chopped basil (doesn’t matter what kind of pizza you’re making, the basil will up its wow factor by 100 percent). Every spring, I buy a couple of basil plants at the grocery store and plant them in a pot on my back patio. All summer long, I’ve got lots of basil on hand for pizza, salads, pesto or whatever I’m making.

I’m a little bit in shock that August is just a few days away. It doesn’t seem possible July has come and gone so quickly. I think a few more pizzas on the grill are in order.

Making Memories (even if it kills us)

“I think we just accept we’re going to be miserable for a long time until one day it pays off and we realize all this was worth it .

I mean, come on, we’re making memories.”

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Wise words said by my husband as he stood in ankle deep water in the pitch black, packing up our tent trailer, as rain poured on us and a certain 9-month-old wailed from the truck.

We’ve decided to be a camping family…or maybe it’s a family who camps?

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We bought a tent trailer right before Memorial Day and then proceeded to get completely rained out several weekends in a row. Two weekends ago we finally made our inaugural trip up into the ‘mountains.’

The boys rode their bikes, we had campfires, went for walks, threw rocks into the lake, explored a few (easy) trails, ate hot dogs. And let’s keep it real: we had very little sleep, we yelled at our kids. We drank a lot of coffee. We did a fair amount of gritting our teeth, but really and truly, it was fun.

Encouraged by our mostly successful first trip, we set out again. All started well. We met our friends, the kids were happy, the beer was cold and the weather was hot hot hot.

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Cue Scarlet crying inconsolably all night long. And then the thunderstorms started, quickly followed by hail and rain. So much rain. The boys were troopers, watching movies on the iPad and riding their bikes through giant puddles in between storms. After each storm, the sky would clear and we would think, ok, this is it, it’s stopping, we’ll be fine. And then it would start again.

Finally in the pitch dark, in the pouring rain, as Scarlet cried and cried; I raised the white flag. No more. Time to go home.

And I’m so glad we did. But I’m also excited to head out again. In fact, I’m itching to try again. I want this for our family. I want these memories. I want the kids to remember the hustle and bustle of packing up, the anticipation of getting to our camp site. A couple of days, just us as a family, squashed together in a little trailer (that leaks a little and maybe smells a little musty).

I want the dirty feet and sunburned shoulders. I want sticky marshmallow fingers and sore legs from hiking and swimming and playing hard. I want memories imprinted into my children’s minds; our family together.

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For Aaron and I, it’s a few more years of hard work. I need to remind myself of that. But already, we see the fruits of our labor. And if we get rained out and the baby cries, then ok, we’ll head home, regroup and try again next weekend.

 

Scarlet’s Nursery

I can’t believe my little nugget is three months old already. And even though she hasn’t actually slept in her room yet (soon!), I had so much fun putting all the little pieces together.

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I kept things pretty simple. All the furniture stayed (notice the prominent teeth marks the boys left on the crib rails) and I ended up keeping the walls the same color (saybrook sage by pottery barn).

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The arm-chair and bookcase are IKEA. The crib sheet and bed skirt are pottery barn. The rug is Dash and Albert. The art is a smattering of prints I had growing up and finds on etsy. The pom bouquet was well-documented as my first-ever pinterest craft. I’m thinking about hodge podging some fabric to the back of the bookcase. I’m thinking that falls more under home improvement project than craft right?

I had a hard time putting this room together. Even though multiple ultrasounds confirmed a girl, I just wasn’t totally buying it. I also knew I wanted something feminine without being overly girly. I really like how it turned out. Lots of soft colors with a few bright punches of color.

Now to just get her sleeping in that cozy little crib…

Happy Birthday Jack

How has it been four years already???

To my bike-loving, silly, wild, biggest brother, loving, a little-bit shy, awesome boy;

Someday you might look back on this blog and roll your eyes (and I won’t blame you) but at least there will be a few moments from your childhood documented. And what I hope seeps through these silly words and snapshots is the deep deep love and joy your dad and I have for you.

You are loved and adored far beyond what words can ever capture.

Right this very moment you are camped out on the floor playing with legos next to the swing where your baby sister sleeps. Two minutes ago you were in a wrestling match with your brother over a bouncy ball, but in a moment of tenderness, relinquished the ball without any prompting from me.

And that is your essence: equal parts gentle, tender and sensitive yet wild, physical, focused and determined. The last several weeks have brought so much change to your little life, and while we’ve all had a few rough moments, you have taken those changes in stride, aweing us with your ability to transition and welcome a new sibling into your life.

You are amazing Jackson Eugene. We love watching you grow. But I won’t lie, it’s hard too. It’s hard to let go of that control I had when you were a little baby and needed me for everything. It’s hard to watch your independence grow, not because I’m not proud of who you are or don’t want you to be independent, it’s just a hard truth that every day you need me a tiny bit less (or maybe just in a different way), and I think we are all trying to figure out what that means and how it works.

But know this, I am so honored to be your mother. I thank God every single day for bringing you to our family…for making us a family.

I love you.

Our Baby Girl

Scarlet Grace McCoy

September 24, 2012 at 11:53 am

7 pounds 14 ounces   21 inches

We are home. We are well. The boys are amazing. Our daughter is perfection. She was worth every minute we had to wait for her and then some.


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