Friday, November 9, 2012

Grandparents Day Jack K5 Video

A LOT shaky,I already have my plan laid out for next year to film Duke, but sooooo proud of my little guy.  Going from just a few years ago being too shy to even be in front of the classroom parents to walking out on stage and participating! 


Monday, November 5, 2012

Fall Fun


By far my favorite season of the year.  Summer winds down from it's hot crazy mess and the cool nights, cooler mornings and amazing colors that last at least a month down here are a sight for color starved eyes.

With it comes all the extra school fun - fall festival, our first season of soccer (so much fun!), Halloween-which I am not a particular fan of but I know it's a special time for the kids, and finally the lead up to preps for the holidays.

I wish I had about 24 hours a day extra this time of year.  I have so many good intentions and ideas, with about 1/4 the time to actually act upon them.  But I've learned that I'm better off living each day as it's best than trying to worry I won't get it all done (looooong way I've come right there people).

So rather than try and blog about all the amazing days we've recently had, I'll let pictures speak a thousand words.  And...if I get the video uploaded, you can enjoy a rendition of "Great Big God" performed by ALL the Briarwood Kindergarten Classes.  OM Gosh they were cuuuuute.

Life is Good.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Where I Come From

Well, last night on facebook during the Republican National Convention things got quite busy with passionate people posting their positions and feelings about the upcoming election.  And against my normal "reserved for small audiences" only typical involvement, I was part of it.

And so, after being up at 4:45am and getting home at 6:30pm, I should have known better and kept quiet, because at 11pm I was still awake turning over and over in my head the evening's back and forth and thinking very hard about what I believe is right for this county and why I believe it and how I could have better explained my heart.  Well, here goes.

The same way many felt as if they had finally been heard when the country was told "Hope and Change" would heal us, I feel it when I hear "Believe in America".  I do and always have. 

I believe that the backbone of this country are the people that get up everyday and work hard no matter what the day brings.  I believe that it's not how long you work at your job that should determine your pay and the ability to keep it, but your work ethic and results. 

I believe it is our personal responsiblity to help the community we live in, whether it be through support of our church, volunteering personally or monetarily, but helping in whatever way we can. 

I believe that those who feel they are "entitled" to receive something, need to earn it first.

I believe that if you speak eloquently it means you had a good speech teacher in high school or college who taught you how to put thoughts together and explain them well but that doesn't mean you can actually perform them.  That is proven by results.

I trust more in a person's future ability to succeed in something when that something is not only their passion but what they have proven by past performance. 

Insert here everything that Condoleeza Rice said in her speech last night.

I believe this country has fallen off track morally. 

I believe that change happens through relationship, not ritual and that everything I really need in order to lead my life honorably is found in a book that is 1,949 pages long - at least my copy.  It provides me strength, solace, direction and purpose.  I study it first thing every morning and have read it in full once already and likely will again several times in my lifetime.

I believe in integrity not the idea of it.  I have fallen from it in the past, I am not perfect.  But I have freely and openly admitted it to those affected and have used it to help others heal from my experience.

I believe our grandparents understood what it meant to live by principle and act upon it and that we should follow their example instead of complaining about our circumstances.

I want my children to grow up to understand that winning a game means you have to put forth your best effort to score, not just participate.

I belive it is a parent's responsibility to raise their children in a manner that glorifies God and gives back to this earth.  I do not place blame on anyone other than myself and my husband if they do not meet that expectation as adults.

I believe there should be consequences for actions.  Which means if we spend too much money one month, we must cut back the next.  If I hurt someone, I need to apologize and make it right. That will mean sacrifice.  And I believe the principle should be extended beyond my household and that I will have to participate in it in order for the greater good to succeed.

I believe part of my duty as an American is to help others. But that does not mean I should have to carry their burden if they do nothing to help themselves.

I believe that people in authority should be respected regardless if I personally agree with their position.  I may question it and disagree with it, but I will respect the position they hold and express my opinion and exert my rights when the time is appropriate.

I believe in action, not words.  Once you say you will do something, do it and if you find you cannot, it's ok, you aren't perfect because only one person that ever walked on this earth was and it wasn't you.  But that's not where you should leave it.  Admit your failure or short coming, ask for help and be prepared to accept and answer that isn't yours.

I believe we are entitled only to one thing in life, our opinion, the rest is either a gift or a choice. 

I believe you should own your words, not just speak them.

These are mine.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer Goes Out with a BANG!

We opted out of an "official" vacation this  year.  We have some other priorities right not, not that we are doing as well with meeting those as I'd like - dang perfectionist me and my goal list - and we did have a few fun outings, like a day at Lake Wedowee where we took out a boat offered to us for the day by a customer of Cory's and spent a week at Grandma Camp, but I still wanted to end the summer with something extra special for the boys.

And Opportunity presented itself!

Cory had a work event this week that required him to arrive early for setup over the weekend at The Grand Hotel in Point Clear, AL and Gracie Collins who was handling the event and all the arrangements suggested I come down and bring the boys.  She had such wonderful memories as a little girl of visiting the hotel and thought the boys would enjoy it.  WOW she was right, and was it GRAND.  The history of the hotel is quite amazing having been built in 1847.  There is even a daily military salute and cannon firing into Mobile Bay (minus the cannonball), it starts with a drummer and flag bearer who circle the pool and gather children like the pied piper, following them along the promenade at the bay beach to the cannon where a short demonstration and history lesson concludes with the firing of a powder charge.  And which fascianted the boys.

And then there was the pool...

oh the pool.  With a waterfall rock, splash pool, kiddie hot tub, tornado slide (sadly they are not quite 48" tall to ride it yet), a playground and bay beach access.  And my kids learned how to swim this summer - JACKPOT!

The boys did spend a few minutes on the sand - access right there at the pool which was fun...

But Jack spent most of his time back and forth to the kiddie hot tub on the opposite side of the waterfall rock where he could corner whatever poor soul was available to talk their ear off.  I'm sure there are plenty of guests returning home this week being that much more educated about Ninjago and the happenings of LegoWorld.  I even got a few reports of "there were some big kids and they were splashing and I told them to knock it off" which gives me some confidence that one will be able to take care of himself if the bully days ever hit our household.  Duke is all brawn, good luck bully, trust me on that one.

Duke was happy to do whatever.  They  both played all day together and found friends to play with - even negotiating some trades for water pistols that some co-workers kindly purchased for me for some big time Nerf water shooters and I actually got to sit poolside and read a book - whoa - Follett's "World Without End", I just can't do easy.  And of course, I did swim with them, and partake in Jack's favorite location to work out some kinks in my back from walking with a temporary arch support last week which will probably be permanent after the podiatrist follow up this week, but I digress.

After 8 hours or so, I figured they were ready to give it up and head back for dinner, but no.  Turns out on Saturday nights they show a movie on a projector screen poolside...and so we ate at the grill and returned to the water for a twilight viewing of Wall-E.  With the sun dropping in the west on the bay and the pool facing that direction, the lighting was just incredible and peaceful, and oh so wonderful to end our summer.

I find it hilarious that Jack finds it necessary to stand on something in nearly every picture I took at the resort outside the pool so he could stoop over he's all Big Brother or something!

Daddy was able to join us near the end Saturday and for our meals which was a blessing because I'm married to this...yea, eat your heart out skinny, plastic surgery, swimsuit ready momma bodies with your pale paunchy hubbies that work at a desk all day!

But honestly, I have never had such a marvelous time with my kids. There was not one - NOT ONE - moment of arguing or fighting, I had to do a bit of "hands behind the back, bubbles in the mouth" moments when we were checking in after our 4 hour drive down and a few "just walk please, don't stomp" but for the most part, they were so well behaved.  Even got a few nice compliments during breakfast in the Grand Hotel Restaurant from other guests at how sweet they were - always a blessing to a mom!

I hope we find a time to return soon, we didn't visit the town of Fairhope but I could tell driving down Section Street my mother would LOVE it with all the little shops and restaurants.  So maybe one day another trip will be in order when the boys are a bit older for "outside the resort" activities.

But for now, I'll take a day poolside with no worries, because that was just what we needed.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Journey's End

Friday was a happy day and a sad day all rolled into one. After 5 1/2 years we officially said goodbye to our friends and family at Odyssey Early School.

Our morning drop off was pretty uneventful except for Duke being very excited for his last day. He has been counting down on the calendar to it as well as his upcoming first day at Briarwood on the 15th. I was a bit teary on the drive out of the parking lot but in the same minute thankful we will be back to one location to stop each day. And let me pause to say I am not prone to being a highly emotionally person outwardly. More typical is for me to keep my feelings pretty close to my chest and make sure I'm keeping this "under control". Well, pickup was an entirely different matter.

As I typed our security code into the door keypad I remember thinking, "this is the last time I'll do this" and walking down the hall  it was, "take note of all you see so you can remember this someday" running through my mind. Then I walked into Duke's classroom and he came running up with a big posterboard his teachers and classmates had made to wish him goodbye followed by a book of drawings from his classmates to Duke wishing him well. That's when the first drops fell. Then Ms. Morgan and Ms. Missy handed me this...painted by Ms. Missy and given to us by all our teachers over the years to hang in the boys room...

And that pretty much sealed it. Free flowing water down my face from that point forward.

We started at Odyssey in December 2006. I was the newest of new mothers, with no extended family close and could not have made it without my daily sounding board of "Aunt" Kay Bodin who's feeding and sleeping advice was invaluable and who was as shocked as I was at the news we would have another Odyssey student enrolled so soon.  I'll be reminded of watching Jack on the video feed in Infant 2, playing by himself  across the room from the other babies whenever he recedes to his room at home from the chaos of a Saturday for some quiet play. And I will always have the photo of  him laying on the changing table in the Infant 4 the day Duke was born because of our sweet teachers Kelly, Ashley and Michelle who knew it would remind me of how little he was when he became a brother. 

My first connection in the mornings has been Cindy, who I grew to love to tease when occasionally she would need to call me and notify me of one of the kids boo-boos with an answer of my cell phone "If there isn't a bone or an ambulance involved, I'm good..." Of course, there were the calls that prompted a pickup, like the day Jack took a tumble on the playground and knocked his two front teeth pretty hard, resulting in some sleepless nights for Mommy.  And who I will always remember gave me just a bit of panic when I hadn't even left the building and heard over the intercom in PreK-B, "Send Sarah to T1 now!" and there was Duke with a visibly shaken teacher, calmly sitting on the changing table after a "head meet corner of table" incident that resulted in this, but none worse the wear.  

Or the epic worry created by some of my best parent friends during our transition from T4 to K3A when we realized the room had no changing table and at the ripe young age of 2 1/2 we would all be facing our first rounds of DOOM-DOOM-DOOM!  Potty Training - aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh! (And a not so much thank you to those 2nd time parents that sat quietly by at the time probably laughing under your breath at our naivety.)

And as they have grown and "daycare" moved more into "preschool" we had some good laughs and even better learning.

There are so many moments in the archives of this blog that capture our days at this wonderful school where we've made even more wonderful friends who have become part of our Birmingham family. 

So as we move forward to this next chapter, I know I can always spend time looking at the past with a smile and a warmth of heart that this first journey ended with success. 

Thank you to all of you who made it better than we ever could have imagined.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Car, Where Imagination Lives

I'm not a fan of preschoolers with technology. I know that a little bit of time spent on the computer or iPhone can be educational and in the right place and at the right time, we set limits. But we aren't a DS family, and the only time it's allowed in the car are on extended travel trips, and even then, it's the DVD player for a movie.

It's a rule I set when they were just toddlers, mainly because due to our commute, we spend more than your average amount of time on weekdays in the car. And secondly because I heard a story once about a 16 year old that passed their drivers exam only to get lost finding their way out of their subdivision because he had spent the previous 12 years with his nose pressed into an electronic game or watching a DVD player non stop and let me say, not gonna be my kid someone else blogs about.

I even go so far as to keep the radio off most of the time. I have my two boys strapped in their seats for an uninterrupted minimum 45 minutes a day, and by God I'm going to use it to my advantage. Granted, most days that involves at least one threat of me pulling over the car if the arguing doesn't stop and there has been more than one ocassion that my hands were gripping the wheel so tightly to avoid screaming "SHUT UP!!!" at the top of my lungs - all while listening to one or the other sob incessantly because I denied them a free cookie at the Publix bakery after they had spent the 45 minute trip through the store pummeling one another in the seat of the grocery cart.

But some days, it's a blessing and we get to talk about the "beautiful colors" - penned by Duke, of the sunrise or sunset or Jack asks a question about whether something he witnessed at school was right or wrong and why and we talk about what our family stands for and the reasons we might do things differently than other families. But mostly, it's the steering wheel thing...

Today however was a "wish I had a tape recorder handy" drive.

It started innocently enough, both asking for the old, long battery dead, flip phones that I've thrown into their toy box - two of them had migrated this week into the car. What I next witnessed nearly brought me to laugh out loud. And make note, there is no actual power to either phone.

"Beep, boop, beep. I'm going to be the yellow Ironman with a jet pak"

"Yeah, me too, no wait, Ironman can't be yellow. I'm downloading Mario Cars 7"

"Oh yeah, is it done yet?"

"No, you have to wait...ok, it's downloaded. Beep, boop, beep.. yea! I'm on the top of the building!"

"I'm playing Battleship."

"You have Battleship on your iPhone? That's cool, did you download it?"

"Yeah, it's cool. Beep, boop, CRASH! I got it! You got to play this game Jack! It's awesome!"

And for the next 10 minutes, the two of them PRETENDED to play IMAGINARY games on BROKEN old phones INTERACTING with one another the entire time. And it ended with this...

"I'm turing off my iPhone, I've had enough time on it today."

"Yeah, it's time for it to be put up."

This is what this tech saavy Mom, who spends more than her share of her work day on a computer either progamming or teaching others how to interact with techonology and who wants to be especially careful that her kids grow up to be able to have a dinner conversation at a restaurant with the other people at the table rather than showing off the tops of their heads as they are bent over a screen, calls a successful drive home. I know I cannot completely avoid techonology in our lives, and I don't want to, but I can delay it and control it's appearance when it's appropriate and beneficial.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

On the Way Through Decade IV

Yep, I officially stepped past 40 with my first year in my pocket. My sweet husband reminded me the next "big one" is 50. Thank ya very much! But then he said, "Think of all we've done since 30!? Weve got a great time ahead."

And you know what? He's right! (I didn't just marry him for his looks after all :))

Just before and during our 30's...
...we celebrated our 7th anniversary
...we'd built our first home together
...we were settled with a great company and great careers
...we hit a bump and came out stronger (All the Glory!)
...we decided to alter the complete course of our lives and try for a family
...we got lucky and were blessed with our first child
...we built our second home together
...we got surprised (6 months after #1 arrived) and were gifted by a second
...we grew in our love and companionship more than we could have dreamed

And to think, we've got 10 years ahead to beat that.  Plus I have this to keep me young...


Monday, May 28, 2012

My Hoarder

It started with green cherry tomatoes. My token patio cherry tomato plant two years ago never seemed to have ripened fruit. Then one day I noticed Duke with his hands in his pockets lingering near said pot.

"What-cha got there buddy?"


"Take your hands out of your pockets."

"I don't want to."

"Please :):)"

"Oh! Ok!" my naive 2 1/2 year old complies. And ther are the 5 green tomatoes I'd been watching for a week.

Next it was school toys, mega blocks to be exact. Who knew he could fit this many in one 4T size pocket?

And since it's been spent day lily seed heads, fall acorns (made for a nice base for my holiday candle decor) but today it became useful...fresh blackberries!
Keep on a picking' Duke and I might have enough for a pie!

Hoarding, it's his favorite thing.  That and this...but that's for another post, or his wedding day.  I have PLENTY for the slide show.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Serenity (for today)

Maybe it's Jack's first year at his forever school coming to a close.

Maybe it's my favorite month (but busiest month) 1/2 done.

Maybe it's having a vision financially of where we are headed and being in that place for the first time since the kids were born.

Maybe it's Duke being on green the WHOLE day, after nearly four months of "I was on yellow, and just a little on red..."

Maybe it's having this view (insert imagined pic here of amazing view of the lake while sitting on the new bench - sorry haven't figured out this feature on my iPad yet!) as I type this tonite.

Or maybe, just maybe it's all of the above and more.

Whatever it is, I'm starting to feel more grounded again. I know I haven't felt this since last August. I am sure of it. Things have been great, don't get me wrong, we have had so many blessings it has been beyond my imagination, but mentally something seems to have spun out of control about that time last year and I've made half hearted attempts to grab it again and only have it fleet away. It's nice to feel my arms wrapped around it tight.

Wonder how long it'll stay.

Friday, April 20, 2012

BCS Reflections: A Parent's Prayer

It's nearly the end of the school year and I haven't even mentioned a thing about what a wonderful addition to our family life Briarwood has been. Well, guess I just did!

Ever week or so I receive an email message from the Superintendant and a recent one really hit the spot for me. Hope you enjoy it too!

A Parent's Prayer: From an Imperfect Parent for Priceless Children

Make me the parent, O Lord, who will show my children the strength to face weakness; the courage to face fear; the grace to accept honest defeat; and the humility and gentleness to accept victory.

Make me the parent who will show my children not a path of ease and comfort, but the ability to accept the challenges of stress and difficulty. Use me, I pray, to be the example of one who can stand up in the storm, and there learn compassion for those who fail.

Make me the parent who will teach my children the value of a clear heart and a high goal; to look in the mirror of their own faults before they find fault in others; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to cry; to reach into the future without ever forgetting the past.

Make me the parent, O Lord, who will show my children enough of a sense of humor, so that they will always be serious, but never take themselves too seriously. Give them humility, so they will always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

And after all these things are theirs, add for me, I pray, the wisdom to show them the dubious value of titles, positions, money, and material gain; and the eternal value of prayer, the Holy Bible, a Christian home, and a saving relationship with Your Son Jesus Christ.

Then I, their parent, will dare to whisper, "I have not lived in vain.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Old Switcheroo!

There once was a boy named Duke.  He was a gentle lad, narry a thing would faze the boy.  Eager to help, happy to please.  And then one day...POOF!  He was gone!

That my friends is the little tale that is my life these days.  Yes, my sweet, quiet, happy go lucky, did everything himself early, "Ok I will!" baby boy has decided that he would prefer to stick out his tongue, scream at the top of his lungs in defiance and flatly tell me "I'm not gonna do that!"  And he's FOUR and A HALF.  Not terrible two's, not tricky three's, all FOUR and A HALF years of I did it one time after Jack was born and this is what I finally get for it.


I daily chant "This too shall pass, this too shall pass."  And have devoured (for the third time I believe) Dr. Kevin Leman's bestseller "Have a New Kid by Friday!"  The main premise of which is "B does not happen until A is completed.  Say it once and walk away."  Except I finished it a four Friday's ago and A has not been completed yet.

It's a test of wills I tell you.  At least with Jack, there was this constant desire for approval.  (Gee wonder how that happens in a first born, pffffft!)  If I got upset with that child, he couldn't last an hour without breaking down, apologizing and trying to make it better - even if it meant a full blown fit first.

With Duke, he's a simmerer (hmmmm, like maybe his father?) and after 17 years of marriage I haven't figured how to manage it with him.

Oh crap.  It's gonna be a long year.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Enjoy Pizza at SLICE and Raise Money for Children's of Alabama

Great new restaurant in Lakeview that is running a promo fundraiser for the
Children's Hospital Auxiliary!  If you have a hankering for really good
pizza and need a Tuesday night early week break - NEXT Tuesday - March
13th they are running the attached special to benefit Children's.

Please pass along to anyone else you may think would support the cause or
feel free to post in your company break rooms :)  !

Many Thanks - sarah


Enjoy some dough while you raise some!

Bring the attached flyer or tell your server at Slice Pizza on Tuesday,
March 13, 2012 after 5PM and 10% of total sales will benefit the Auxiliary
and Children's of Alabama.

Important information:

Slice Stone Pizza & Brew
725 29th Street So
Birmingham, AL  35223

Remember 3/13/12 AFTER 5PM Slice Pizza in Lakeview to raise money for our
patient needs.