Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My favorite picture

This is not my favorite picture from this soccer season...even though it shows amazing Coach Jason, wonderful Coach Colleen, and Madi and her soccer team with their winning trophies.

As in season's past, Madi played both Saturday games of the tournament. But she chose not to play on Sunday. And though she's made the same decision for every tournament since first grade, it doesn't seem to get any easier. The feeling that her team needed her and her loyalty to them has only grown stronger over the years. But, though Madi LOVES soccer and her team, she loves Heavenly Father even more.

That's why this is one of my favorite pictures...

And this one... (Thanks to Shaun Maher - photographer extraordinaire - for capturing these moments!)
You see, Madi and I drove to the soccer field after church on Sunday. We arrived just in time to watch the last two minutes of the final game. And it was a nail-biting close game (2-1). When the ending whistle blew, Madi threw her orange flip flops to me (they would have slowed her down), and sprinted across the field, barefoot, to congratulate her team. When her teammates saw her coming, they ran to meet her and encompassed her in a huge hug. The scene got all blurry for me. To watch my daughter win is one thing. To watch my daughter make a good, but really hard, decision is another. But to watch my daughter be accepted, surrounded by her teammates, her friends - oh what a joyous moment.

And then there's this picture...
The girls spontaneously linked their arms and walked like this to the end of the field where they received their trophies. I don't have to tell you how symbolic this picture is. Suffice it to say, it is my favorite picture of the season.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

All good things

Today, two said goodbye to first grade. And I said goodbye to Mrs. Chunta who has been the first grade teacher to four of my children. That is a big deal to me. So with plastic leis around our necks we dined on fruit kabobs. I watched as Meya bounced around the room passing out goodbye hugs like candy. Then Mrs. Chunta announced that the books they'd been writing for the past two months had arrived "fresh off the press from the publisher!" And I sat in a small, first-grade chair and listened to my children read their books to me.

Today, Madi said goodbye to fifth grade...and Hamilton Elementary School. Oh the celebration! (This school may be small in population, but it does everything BIG). There was the 5th grade skating rink party on Tuesday, the pool party on Wednesday, and the graduation ceremony with "Pomp and Circumstance" playing in the background. We pulled Leasie out of her 3rd grade class so she could watch her sister.
And I'm left feeling so grateful to this place and to the people who have molded my children's lives. Mrs. Kessler was a brand new teacher to Hamilton this year, and I confess, I was skeptical. But she turned out to be exactly what Madi needed. She was fun. She LOVED science and math and made it cool. (She even kind of looked like Madi.) She was a great teacher and an even better role model.
How could I not get teary as I looked at Madi with her group of friends? She's been with five of these girls since Kindergarten! They are so grown up and beautiful - all of them!
Yes, I'm sad to leave Hamilton. Yes, I'm worried about what the future holds for my children. And yes, I wonder if what we're doing is the right thing for them. But, here's what I do know. With all the learning, friendships, firsts, and lasts, there was a lot of good in this goodbye. This has been a good place. My son's smile on the last day of school says it all.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Deep breaths. That's what I need. We've been on a whirlwind of getting all things ready for our next adventure. It started with the house. We decided that as long as we were getting it ready to rent, why not try out the housing market and put it up for sale?

We pulled long 16 hour days painting, cleaning, sorting, de-junking, gardening, and hauling. We made late-night dumpster runs. And many friends came to our aid as painters, cleaners, and the all-important moral supporters. We enlisted the help of both grandpas - they spent one afternoon together painting Tman's room and the hallway. Then Grandad came an extra week to help replace light fixtures, replace basement windows, and tons of other projects.

But the house looks great! (All those projects I swore I'd do the first year we moved here, are finally done.)

And in the meantime, life is whizzing by. Tman and Leasie ended their soccer season. Tman emerged as a talented soccer player (and he literally smiled almost every second he was out on the field). Leasie, the tallest member of her soccer team, enjoyed the social aspect as well as the competitive aspect of the game. She was a solid player and a stand-out goalie, making some excellent saves!

The girls and I completed our run of Scarlet Pimpernel. I loved crying together with them during the prison scene, singing with them during "Madame Guillotine," and watching them throw flowers during the wedding scene. Madi ended up being indispensable as my backstage costume helper.

We've become pin-cushions with all our shots. I just had my 7th and 8th shot yesterday.

And the passports are in process.

Life surges forward. And I'm left trying to catch my breath each day. Even though the kids have one week left of school, summer is here with strawberries and blueberries. We've had our first cook-out, eaten our first berry pie, and taken our first barefoot walk.

Here's to one more month of stuffing our life full of preparations and parting memories.