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.