Monday, August 30, 2010


In list format.

*oil change.
*registered cars for another year. yikes. money i didn't want to spend.
*kids out of school early.
*grocery store.
*bought mouth guard for my 55 pound 3rd grader who starts tackle football tonight. hoping he's fast. i'd prefer he didn't get tackled. :)
*got kids all lined up to start piano again in november...once we are settled in our new house. this will be lani's first year. she's so excited! and brigg is anxious, too. he said he misses miss sara.
*early out on mondays...picked kids up.
*making homemade chicken strips, new potatoes, and fresh green beans for an early supper.
*football practice from 6-8 tonight.
*homework done before supper so we don't have to worry about it after football.
*snuggling up with the kids to watch a little tv and unwind before starting supper.
*counting down until friday...we are doing an early apple picking trip this year to get in on the long weekend. cannot wait to get out of this house and these boxes and this mess. can. not. wait.

just another monday.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


lots accomplished today.
if we can have another day like this tomorrow, i'll feel pretty good about where we're at.
i'm beat.
and our living room is being taken over by boxes.
it's starting to sink in that we are actually moving.
and that i'm going to have an attached garage.
and a main floor laundry.
kinda makes me happy tonight.
off to bed...

Friday, August 27, 2010

As the weekend approaches...

We have big, productive plans for the weekend.
We are going to finish up a few projects that need to be done before closing on this house. (and by "we", i mean "paul").
We are going to pack, pack, pack.
Organize, toss, donate, etc.
We've talked about it all week.
This is our only free weekend before the big move.
But honestly, as the weekend is upon us, I want to do anything BUT those things.
I want to go to the first HS football game of the season tonight.
I want to camp.
I want to drink Fat Tire and roast marshmallows around the campfire.
I want to laugh with friends and play games with the kids.
I want to read.
I want to enjoy this weather.

So don't encourage me to do those things. Trust me, I would need very little encouragement.
This is it. Time is running out. We. must. be. productive.
(this is me forcing myself to be responsible. i hate being responsible. especially in weather like this.)
So we'll pack. And toss. And donate.
And I bet we still get in plenty of laughing and Fat Tire. I can't forgo ALL fun.
Happy Friday.
Here's to a super productive weekend.
Ready, set, GO.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

trying to read a book

I'm in a mess of boxes and piles and garbage and give-aways.
I'm working hard to get it together and be ready to load our POD in 2.5 weeks (with a 3 day weekend trip to wisconsin planned in there, too.)
I'm kinda stressed.
And kinda not stressed enough.
I want to read a book.
I'm packing and in the corner of the living room a pile of books is calling my name.
It was softly at first, but it's getting louder.
The other day I almost packed them up in a box to shut them up. But I couldn't bring myself to do it!
The back of one of them reads..
"i want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. and i don't want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. i want to eat cold tangerines and sing loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. i want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and i want my everyday to make god belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who lives the gift."

i loved that.
i want that, too.
so i'll make time to read it...maybe on our way to wisconsin?
we'll see.
but seriously, don't you want to read it now, too?
oh...and what's funny...i DID wear pink shoes the other day.
and i loved it!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Meeting the needs of diverse learners...

Well those posts were fun!
I loved sitting and thinking about one child at a time.
The things that instantly pop into my mind.
Their strengths.
Their weaknesses.
How I love them.

I love that I have a degree in Elementary Education.
I learned so much.
And at the time I had no idea how it would apply to my role as a mother.
It's incredible how much of it transfers over into my everyday life.
Classroom management skills.
Reading techniques.
Integration in the classroom.
Classroom rules.
All of it.

As I wrote each of the previous posts, I can honestly say I sat and thought about each child and had different feelings.
I don't know if it shows through in what I said or not, but I felt it.
All feelings of love and concern and joy...but yet very different.
And as I thought about why, a class from college popped into my mind.
It was my favorite elementary education class ever.
"Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners"
I loved it at the time.
And I love it even more now as a mother.

I learned so much in that class about playing on the differences in children.
About pulling out their strengths and using them to their advantage.
About fairness and equality.
I can remember that first day of class like it was yesterday.
The professor was amazing.
And her whole class was based on the belief that FAIR does NOT mean EQUAL.
And I loved that.
Every single child is different.
We need to value those differences.
And sometimes that means making accomadations for one child that you wouldn't for another.
And as I thought about each of my kids and how I love them and how I show them that I love them, this came to mind.
I do not treat them alike.
I love them all from the depths of my being, but I show them that love in different ways.

I think it's kind of like how Jesus loves us.
He knows what we need to experience His presence.
It's different for each of us.
And I find it amazing how he reveals himself to us all in different ways.
As a parent, I think we need to do the same.
And that's not always easy for me.
So as they grow and change, I'll just continue to pray that I can see their diverse needs and provide for them each in their own special way.

As they ran towards the school today I felt something well up inside of me.
Such a mix of emotions.
Love, pride, sadness, fear, anxiety...all rolled into one momma.
Time just keeps moving on. We can't stop it. Might as well enjoy the ride!

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ayla...approaching age 3

Oh Ayla.
This child makes me...
breathe deeply.
count to 10.
ache in my heart.
She is something.

This is the child that has taught me that I know nothing about parenting.
After 3 children, I now know I have no idea what I am doing.
I love her so much.
So much it hurts.
And she makes me so mad.
So mad I literally tear up sometimes.
And she makes me laugh so hard.
So hard at the most inappropriate times.

Ayla is the child that we didn't know we needed.
She is full of IT.
IT can be a lot of things.
She can be full of curiosity.
Talk about asking WHY? all the time. She's the queen of why?
She can be full of aggression.
She's our one and only "biter".
She still bites when she gets pushed around by her big sister...who usually is just trying to keep her in the bubble of protection.
But man, it makes Ayla mad.
She's been known to bite, hit, push, and scream an ear-piercing scream for the slightest of offenses.
She can be full of humor.
I've never known a 2 year-old with a better sense of humor.
She gets jokes.
And she makes jokes.
Can 2 year-olds be witty?
If so, then she is.

She can be full of love.
When we were in the Ozarks last month Paul and I were in the pool with her.
Paul was holding her and she had her arm around his neck.
She looked over at me and said, "Mom. Come here. I want two necks."
I walked over and she put her other arm around my neck and smiled her hilarious Ayla smile.
And it's stuck. She says "I want two necks" all the time now.
Which could possibly be followed with a slap in the face mere seconds after that Ayla smile if you aren't careful.
I'm serious.

Ayla is assertive.
Wise beyond her years.
Even as I type this, it sounds silly. I'm sure some of you are wondering how a 2 year-old can be those things. Again, I tell you, I have no idea.
She is one-of-a-kind.

And I am looking so forward to spending my days with just Ayla this year.
She is amazing one-on-one.
She looks you in the eyes.
She demands it.
She knows when you are listening halfheartedly and she'll put one hand on each cheek and turn your face towards her and look deep in your eyes.
She'll say, "Do you understand?" (no, i have no idea where she learned that:))
She is teaching me to be fully in the moment and I love that about her.

All of these qualities I describe in Ayla will make for a very successful adult, I'm certain.
But they do make a very trying toddler at times.
And then there are those times when my heart explodes with love for her.
Sometimes hundreds of times a day.
I treasure the time we spend together right before bed.
She hugs my neck as I pray for her.
She says, "Mom, let's talk."
And she looks me in the eyes and sees my soul, I swear.

So tomorrow she will join me as we drop the "big kids" off at school.
And then it'll be back to just Ayla and I.
I'm kind of excited. And I know she's ready for some quality time with just me.
I have been plans to work on channeling her energy for good.
To reconnect with her during our days together.
And to just plain love on her.
Oh Ayla, I love you so much. I have no idea how we survived without you in our lives.
Our little Ayla bean.
One-of-a-kind, indeed.

Lani...entering Grade 1

My little Lani Loubug.
I cannot believe she'll be entering 1st grade this year.
As we have discussed moving and changing schools, we really haven't been too concerned about Lani.
We know she'll be fine.
She is fairly independent.
Last year she didn't have a friend she connected with in school until nearly February.

She never really came home and talked about her friends at school.
She never once asked to have a play date.
But she loved school.
She likes to be around the activity of school...just off on the edge a little bit.
She wanted to go out for soccer last year.
At this age, the kids all just bunch up together and chase the ball around in a big group.
You could always find Lani on the outer edge of the big group of kids.
Pretending like she actually cared about getting her foot on the ball, when really, I'm pretty sure she was praying that she wouldn't have to get near the ball and have all eyes focused on her. :)
That kind of describes who she is.

She likes to blend into the woodwork a bit.
She never wants to wear anything too wild...she'd hate to stand out.
She is a great "helper".
When I'm baking or packing or cleaning, Lani is always right there asking what she can do.
If I ask Brigg to do something for me and he starts complaining or saying he can't do it, Lani is the first to jump up and say "I'll do it!"
She will do hard, heavy labor if I ask her.
She'll move boxes or carry out a heavy bag of trash.
It's pretty amazing.
I think she partially likes to do the actual work, but mostly it's because she is a pleaser.
She loves to please us.
It's in her genetic make-up.

She is a daddy's girl through and through.
She loves to spend time with him in the yard.
She goes with him every single time to load up the car with recycling and return it.
She was created to help.
Sometimes she helps a little too much.
Like when she "helps" take care of Willow...or Ayla.
She gets so nervous when Ayla wants to be crazy or Willow runs off.
She tries to coddle them and keep them in her little bubble of protection.
She worries a lot.
That is what scares me most about Lani...she is a worry wort.
She can't help it.

She makes me laugh because she likes to get in on the action just a little bit.
When we were in the Ozarks Brigg and Macy were dancing on the side of the boat and then jumping in the water. We were in a little cove and had music playing and there were several other boats in the cove that could see us.
Lani finally got up the courage to stand on the side and do a little dance.
You could see the discomfort in her face.
Then she does this little dance move and slips and falls in the water.
So Lani.
But what I love the most about her is that she when she popped back up to the top, she was laughing.
She certainly knows how to laugh at herself. And at her siblings.
She may have been a bit embarrassed, but she just laughed it off. And she did do it again.

Lani is sweet.
Her smile is sweet.
Her heart is sweet.
It's just the perfect word for her.
She looks at new people and smiles this big sweet smile that melts your heart.
She's shy and gracious and quick to forgive.
I have so very much to learn from her.
She has more Burback genes than Stewart genes.
(lucky her! :))

Oh Lani...
I love how she finds joy in the smallest of things.
How she loves to play board games and prefers to snuggle in another room when we turn the music up too loud and get a little crazy.
I love how she prefers to spend time with her family and wants to bake bread with me every week.
I love how she loves...genuinely and deeply.
I love that she still wants to sit her long lanky body on my lap and have me read her a book.
I love how she wants to pray with me at night.

I love how she is so different from her siblings.
I love what she brings to our family.
I could go on and on.
Lani is special and we are blessed to have her in our family.
She rounds us out and reminds us of the important things in life on a daily basis.
As she enters 1st grade, I'm praying that she begins to see these blessings in herself this year.
That her confidence grows and her self esteem rises.
Lani is the kind of kid who will have a couple really really deep friendships.
I'm praying she meets and connects with someone quickly this year.
And most of all I pray that she continues to see God in the little things.
Thank you Lani for being you.
We love you so very much.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Brigg...entering Grade 3

School starts Wednesday.
We are getting geared up for a new school, new teachers, new house, new friends, new neighborhood.
I'm not sure the kids really understand how big this is, and that's good.
They are secure.
They are flexible.
They say they are ready.
So I wanted to jot down a few things about each of them as they enter into this new school year.

This blog is my only "journal".
I go back and look at old blog posts (this is my 4th year blogging!), and "remember" things that I never would have remembered if it hadn't been for this blog.
Just reading some of the posts stirs up such emotion. Things that could have been gone from my mind forever, literally bringing me to tears.
I certainly hope that the kids find joy in reading through these entries one day.
That maybe they'll remember certain moments here and there and it will bring emotions to the surface.

So Brigg.
He's is hilarious.
He turned 9 in July...which makes him one of the oldest in his class.
Every picture I look at of him nearly brings me to my knees these days.
He's just so old.
I feel like I'm running out of time to build that strong foundation for him.
It's scary!
Remember me posting on his first day of kindergarten?
There was this fear that I had failed.
I felt panic that I was sending him away and I had no idea what I had done to prepare him over the previous 6 years!
I was trying to squeeze in 6 years of lessons in 5 minutes as we waited for the bus!
(maybe a little dramatic, but not too much!)

And I'm starting to feel that way again.
We are halfway to 18.
9 years from now I'll be leaving him at college.
And I don't want to be trying to squeeze in life lessons as I'm driving away.
I feel like I'll be yelling out the window as Paul pulls away, "DON'T SKIP CLASS!! DON'T GET PUT ON ACADEMIC PROBATION! DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE!! STUDY HARD!! REFRAIN FROM DOING DRUGS!!"
Ya know...all those kinds of things. :) maybe all those things I should have done in college but didn't.

Brigg is the most like me (so far. i'm afraid Ayla may come closer...emphasis on "afraid").
Here's a little bit about him as he is entering 3rd grade.
Brigg loves to be around people.
Lots of people. The more people, the better.
Yesterday we got home kind of late and I had told him that he wasn't going to play outside with the neighbors because we had to come in and get showered and do some things in the house.
I had prepared him for the possibility of seeing all the neighborhood kids outside and him having to say he couldn't join them
It played out just as I had imagined.
He graciously declined as they all ran towards him yelling, "get your baseball stuff! we want to play!"
I was so proud of him. I knew how badly he wanted to join in on the fun.
As we walked inside he quietly said to me, "Mom, I feel like I am going to burst. I want to explode out of here and go play with them. I can't stand it!"
I know Brigg. I know the feeling. And that is what is scary for me as a mother.

He loves loud music and lots of activity and lots of chaos.
He's a party guy.
School comes easy to him. But he loves to be the first one done with his work so he can have a little free time to do as he pleases.
And that usually includes turning his school paper over and drawing a baseball diamond and listing the whole roster for each of the teams that are "playing" each other in his mind.
I cannot tell you how many papers like that came home daily in his back pack.
Or how many papers like that I find laying around the house.
Too many to count.
He loves to watch sports.
He has an amazing memory.
If he's the first one up in the morning, he'll put on sports center and listen to every. single. detail.

He doesn't just sit and watch sports though.
He plays the sports while watching them.
He'll get out his baseball glove and a tennis ball if he's watching baseball.
He can imitate probably 20 different players swings.
It's crazy weird.
He'll pull out the little basketball hoop if he's watching basketball.
And he'll have a football in hand during football season.
He's a visual learner.
He loves little details.
He askes WHY? all. the. time.
It can get frustrating, but I have to remind myself that he really needs to know.
He likes to know what's coming next.
He wants to know HOW LONG? and WHAT TIME?

If he gets in trouble in school it is because he wants to be moving all the time.
His school work comes easy and then he wants to play.
He blurts out all the time.
He wants to know everything that's going on in the classroom at all times and be a part of it.
He can be a know-it-all.
Teachers don't always love blurting out, active, know-it-alls.
(sometimes mothers don't always like them either!)
But he is compassionate and is genuinely worried about other kids.
He always cheers for the underdog.
He wanted to get a mohawk for his school haircut. I reminded him that he was going to a new school where he may not know anyone in his class.
He quickly said, "Oh yeah... nevermind. I don't want them to think I'm a bully!"
Funny...apparently bullies wear mohawks.
Didn't know that.

He's competitive.
And loving.
And driven.
And passionate.

And I love him with everything that I am.
I thank God nearly everyday that he blessed me with a son.
With this son.
And as freaked out as I get about him growing up, I have no doubt that he will become an amazing man. One who loves deep and is loyal beyond belief.
And the best part about Brigg right now is that he still kind of thinks I'm great.
He'll still give me a hug before he walks into school. (no kisses and he certainly won't hold my hand!), but I'll still get a hug right before he sprints off to meet the new friends he's about to make.
I'll take it.
Brigg in a nutshell.

Friday, August 20, 2010


i've been waiting for today.
we are supposed to camp tonight. with the kids. and the dog.
and then send the children off with my sister in the morning so we can kayak down the river with a bunch of paul's co-workers.
i've been pretty excited. that's like my dream weekend.
but the weather is going to screw this up.
thunderstorms are a comin'. in a couple hours until tomorrow morning.
so i'm pretty sure there will be no camping tonight.
at least not with ayla and willow!
i'm bummed.
i was so excited to get out of this mess of boxes and these piles of clothes.
excited to look my kids and my husband in the eye. laugh with them. focus on them.
it's so hard to do those things with the moving stuff looming all around me.
we'll have to do something else tonight. not sure what.
but it looks like storms should be gone in time to kayak down the river. that's the good news.
then sunday paul and i will be packing all day long with jennie and sean keep the kids until close to bedtime. THANK YOU JENNIE AND SEAN!
i'm hopeful that by the end of the weekend i will feel like i have a grasp on things.
school starts wednesday.
our pod arrives september 14. that day will arrive before we know it, i'm sure.
so ready to get this move over with!
i have been in a bit of a funk this past week. but i think i'm coming out of it.
got some fun mail today! a blog friend sent a book that i've been wanting to read.
now i need to find the time to actually READ it.
lots on my plate, but nothing i can't handle.
continuing to try and be productive.
just another friday...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It took all day...

Thank goodness I had mom and Jennie there to help me. :)
We got school supplies today.
Ate lunch.
Got a few items for the kids to start the year out in. Couple shirts. Pair of jeans.
Oh...and we got poop bags for Willow. How we love her! Didn't want to leave her out!
School starts 1 week from tomorrow.
I have mixed emotions. Not really ready to send them back, but anxious to have some sort of schedule. Which makes me laugh a little. Because we'll be moving and homeless for a month or so in there. So who am I kidding?
We'll be without schedule for at least another 2 months.
Such is life....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Look who we ran into at the den...

say cheese...

brigg was running ahead and i hear "Mom! It's ISAIAH!!"
and sure enough...their whole crew had the same idea as we did!
too fun.

and they were quick to get in the water with us.
it was great.
(minus the fact that there were razor sharp rocks all along the bottom of the water and my feet still hurt 8 hours later.)

a nice impromptu play date at the den.
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Wild Cat Den

it's our favorite local place to hike.
we try to hold out for "not-so-hot-and-humid" days.
i was up early packing and packing and packing.
so by the time the kids were up and ready for the day, i had accomplished quite a bit.
enough for the day (in MY book)
so we decided to head out to wild cat den.

the kids grabbed a notebook and pen and created a treasure hunt.
they got along perfectly.
i'm not kidding.

they posed when i asked them to and i didn't have to prompt them to act like they loved eachother.
they giggled and ran and we even got wet (more on that later...along with who we ran into!)

it was just what the dr. ordered.
a beautiful day with my babies.

i need to add this.
i LOVE that ayla is older now.
oh my goodness.
today's actual hike was so much better than those of years past.
ayla was completely independent.
i didn't have to carry her at all.
she didn't get tired.
she was completely involved with the "big kids".
it was awesome.
i love this.
i've been waiting for this.
and i'm so excited for these next years ahead.
ya know...those years when your kids still love you.
and like to be with you.
and you don't have to worry about naps or diapers or sippy cups.
yeah...good good times.
lots more pics to come....
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Jim and the Bayaka

I remember watching the September Campaign video last year and my heart starting to beat faster. It was no different this year. Jim is ready and waiting. The Bayaka are ready and waiting.
Watch and then act...

Taco Tournament

Last Friday was the annual Taco Johns Youth Golf Classic.

Last year I was with Brigg.
This year it was Lani.
Teeing off...

We had run into Brigg and Dad along the course and Brigg told me he got a 30 on 5 holes.
Lani only needed to play 3 holes.
As we approached the last hole, I looked at Lani's scorecard.
I told her "Lani you need to get a 6 on this hole to tie your brother."
(i failed to mention he played 2 more holes than her.)
I am not sure Lani has a competitive bone in her body.
But I'm beginning to think I'm wrong.
Because I have never seen her try so hard to do well in a sport.
And guess what...she got a six.
And she beamed.
She couldn't wait to sign her card and find Brigg to tell him...

And Brigg went out with Dad.
This is the only pic I got of them.
Seriously...he looks 16. Right? Ugh.
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Saturday, August 14, 2010

officially official.

just got the call.
our house is officially sold. close sept 17.
and the house we made an offer on is officially ours!
close oct 8.
so we will be homeless for a few weeks.
but it'll be fun. :)
and we are happy.
that was a looooong, drawn out real estate transaction!
now back to packing.

Friday, August 13, 2010

30 minutes of awesome....

i didn't know if it would be a flop or not, but i figured since it's summer and we are pretty lazy during the days, we could afford a half hour of awake time in the middle of the night to watch the meteor shower tonight.
and oh. my. goodness.
it was so worth it!
i set my alarm for 2 am. went outside and laid out 2 big blankets in the back yard.
came back inside and got the 2 big kids up.
they carried out their pillows and blankets and we settled in.
30 minutes.
10 shooting stars.
they were in awe...and so was i!
i LOVE stuff like this. it was incredible.
we were really starting to get eaten alive when i said, "ok...let's see if we can hold out for just ONE MORE."
not 30 seconds passed and we all 3 squealed at the same was HUGE. and bright and a perfect way to end our 30 minutes.
and i kid you not when i say i teared up...and hugged them both so hard.
hope they remember it forever.
now i'm going to try and sleep again....or maybe not. maybe i'll go watch so more.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

coming to an end...

Summer is coming to an end and I'm starting to panic.
I don't really want to send them back!
(don't ge me wrong, I am fairly anxious to get into a routine again)
So yesterday morning I came down with the flu.
Around 6:00pm or so I started feeling human again.
And I felt bad for being absent all day from the children when our days of summer are numbered.
So I gave the girls pedicures...

And manicures.
I'm talking cuticle oil and nail buffer and sparkles and massages.
The whole 9 yards.
They loved it! (contrary to the look on ayla's face. what's the deal?)

And then this morning they wanted their hair dyed.
Why not?
The wanted the dog's dyed too, but I drew the line there.

They are happy now.
And I can do some more packing without the guilt for an hour or so.
It's a good thing all around.

And it looks like next week should be gorgeous.
Cooler temps and less humidity.
I see hikes at Wild Cat Den and picnics in our future.
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