Wednesday, August 26, 2009

new school, new tradtions, new season

It is official... I have a school age child! Wow! I am entering a whole new phase in life. Here come the PTA meetings, school concerts, school calendars, and a whole new look at our daily lives!! Today was Jaxon's first day of kindergarten at his new school! We spent the last year praying, discerning, and making a big decision about what to do with Jaxon once kindergarten age was here. It was a BUMPY road as we came to our conclusion... private school, christian school, home school, public school... but after my hearts journey the last 10 months or so and after experiencing the last few days and this morning... I've no doubt that we have planted Jaxon right where he belongs during this season in his life. He is attending the public school in our neighborhood and he is so so so excited to be there! We are too. His personality and our goals for him make up the perfect match to be at this school... and well, off he went!
I knew this day would be hard for me, but honestly, the months leading up were harder. I feel like I did most of my worrying, crying, and questioning before hand and today was met with a smile and joy for my big boy. Now yes, I have to admit I have this dull achy feeling in my heart, but that is my personal issue with seeing my baby turn into a big boy and run off into a school not looking back once! It fills my heart so much to know he's so happy, filled with joy, and ready for this phase. And if I just stay busy enough today I won't notice that achy pain too much :) (did I mention my dishes are all clean, garage organized, and laundry going already? ha!)!!
With a new school and new season of life come some new traditions. Take a look at our last couple days and our new kindergartner! Welcome to school, Jaxon! We know you're gonna love it here!

I decided I wanted to begin each new school year with a back to school cake. Each year the kids and I will bake it together, decorate it, and as we place more kids in school... more names go on it and so on. I decided very last minute that it may be fun to have the grandparents come over the night before for "back to school" cake and wish the kids a great new school year. We'll add the extra family next year to our little tradition :) Above is Jaxon mixing up our chocolate cake!

Back to School cake fun! mmmmm, good!

The night before school was Jaxon's choice of foods for dinner and the "You are Special" plate. He choose my homemade meatballs, hashbrowns, and peas. What a good eater! I was prepared to make pizza, chips, and hot dogs!! Ha! We also shared our theme verse for him for this school year at dinner. This years verse is from Galatians.... "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." We discussed each word and what it means... I predict we will have many opportunities to use this verse as we walk through many new experiences with him and school and new friends and new responsibilities. Our prayer is that he will build on each of these characteristics as he learns.

We did call grandpa Jon last minute and he came over for some back to school cake and to read some bedtime stories. Gotta love Jaxon's helmet!

Morning of... chocolate chip pancakes in the shapes of "k". K for kindergarten! He dressed himself the minute he woke up!

The traditional 1st day of school picture...


He found his line to place his backpack in and then took off for the playground... like I said, he never even looked back until it was time to line up. His teacher is in the back in a pink dress and the student teacher in his room is a gal from church that we know (in the blue top in the back). We're really happy Amy will be in there!!

Time to line up! He couldn't stop smiling!!

As we started to leave and he walked into the building he looked back twice... once to say goodbye and once to wave at Austin. Still smiling and still ready for school!! We were so happy he wasn't being peeled away from us like some little ones... oh, that broke my heart to watch :( Our prayers are with all the students this year, the teachers, the safety at school, and the families that make up our new elementary school!

As Dave said as he dropped me off at our too quiet home... "see ya at graduation next..." Not really, but it is time to hold on! It's gonna be a short ride I'm afraid!

Monday, August 24, 2009

August has been...

BlackHawk County 4-H & FFA Fair!
(with uncle August at the sheep show)

little barn fun at the fair...

Future 4-h-er? Yup!

Jaxon & grandma Pat made a pumpkin pie for the pie Auction at Fair. It raised over $150!

Woodbury County Fair
(we visited Dave's aunt & uncle one weekend while the fair was
going on literally across the street!)

He won a bull ride...ha! (that is a happy smile/yell)!

Weekend in Moville at the Fisher's...

State Fair!!!
(a VERY HOT day!)

Little Hands on the Farm at the State Fair

Cedar Valley Arboretum
(one of the Cedar Valley's best kept secrets for some great family time)

Fish pond...

Longest run yet! 16 miles... and knees being iced to prove it :)

Dave & Jaxon's "boys weekend" to MN for a Vikings game!

Picnic with friends...

Lazy summer days...

something 30

The kids and I on my 30th!

Yup, I turned the big 30 this last weekend!! I had little anticipation for what the day would bring, but found by the end I was pleasantly surprised with how much fun I think the 30's will be! I must say the twenties were spent trying new things, failing at a lot of it, starting new journeys, experiencing many "firsts", growing (emotionally, spiritually, and physically! Ha!), gaining perspectives, actually succeeding at some things, and well... just figuring out all this "adult" stuff and more! The difference between a 20 year old and a 30 year old is huge, at least I think so. So much growing happens then and not to say I won't keep growing, but I do think my life will stay somewhat the same the next 10 years. Maybe I'm being naive? However, I think the biggest changes in my life probably happened in my twenties... college, getting married, having babies (that whole process can change ANY woman many ways!), and so on... lots of commitments come with all those things and I hope my 30's are spent trying to stay balanced with what life has handed me in the last 10 years or so. To reflect and remember some of my last 30 years I've come up with a list... no particular theme to this list. Just a list of 30 things I want to think about today from the last 30 years of my life! Feel free to keep reading or if you get bored, just check back next time for a good kid post! :-)

1.) Family doesn't always just mean the people with your same DNA. Actually, often times family becomes those people who see you, talk to you, and go about your daily life with you. It's like having a bonus family! Both kinds are wonderful in their very own unique ways and I couldn't do life without any of them!!

2.) The first bite of a slice of pizza is always the very best bite. Something about the perfect angle of the slice as you bite into the triangle shape.... every time I always like the first bite best.

3.) Being blonde does NOT mean you have more fun. Lots of my most fun friends are not even close to blonde :)

4.) Motherhood is absolutely positively the best thing I've ever done.

5.) Motherhood is absolutely positively the hardest thing I've ever done. Even harder then those unbearable days with junior high girls, first fights with your husband, and those tough conversations with people in your life whom you want to have very honest relationships with.

6.) Try to always think positively about your body. I always look back and think "Man, I looked good then!". However, when that actual picture was taken I probably thought I looked too short or too thin or too fat or too boxy or too curly haired and so on... You'll save a lot of worrying if you just decide to like the person God made you to be!

7.) Life is too short to not eat desserts. Especially chocolate ones.

8.) There may be no other time in your life where you will feel the way you do when you fall in love. Fall in love at least once if you can :)

9.) College does not have to mean what culture tells us it means. Define yourself before you go off and let culture define you.

10.) Worry less about what people think of you. I wasted a lot of years worrying for nothing!

11.) Find a role model or a mentor as soon as you can. These people make life a bit easier to swallow...especially when you get to the big stuff! My life mentors are sometimes my saving grace!

12.) Play a lot. Not just when your little and the days run on and on doing fun things all the time. Play when you are big too. And laugh a lot while you do it. :)

13.) Actions and words make up most of our character. Character, in my eyes, says a million words to me. My character also says a million things to others. Character and integrity go hand in hand. Have lots of both!

14.) Experience the ocean at least once in your life. Breath-taking. Amazing. Beautiful.

15.) Have lots of traditions!! You'll always have something to look forward to all year long and it makes transitioning into new seasons of life easier! I LOVE traditions!

16.) Count your blessings. Literally. We are much more blessed then we let on most the time.

17.) There is nothing like finding a great pair of jeans :)

18.) Learn to say no much more then you say yes. It will make what you say yes to a very special commitment every time, no matter how small or how big the offer/question/commitment is.

19.) Don't be afraid to ask for help.

20.) God really is always with us. Even when we are as far as away from Him that we can get, He's always just a door knock away. It is NEVER too late to go knocking on His door!!

21.) God gave us grace... be quick to give it to others. No strings attached.

22.) Do not let bitterness sit in your heart very long. It hurts you more then the person you are holding the bitterness towards. And that can become ugly!

23.) Be nicer then necessary to people... you never know what they are going through.

24.) Figure out what your strengths are and how God made you. Then do those things. Nothing will bring you more peace, joy, and happiness then when you allow God's molding of you to take shape.

25.) High-school does end. If relationships are hard during this time, just know it is only a blink of the eye before you are out of it. Just a small percentage of the overall life equation!

26.) Don't be shy of becoming friends with people not exactly like you. They bring a new meaning to friendship and life!

27.) Enjoy those naps when you can get them!!! (can I get an Amen sister!?!?) :)

28.) The old Girl Scout song just may be very true... Make new friends, but keep the old, some are silver and the other gold. They are all gems in your life one way or the other.

29.) Don't ever let a boy define who you are. That boy can be part of your personal definition, but not all of it.

30.) Love often. Love your spouse, your children, your family, your friends, your neighbors, your enemies, your peers... love really does conquer all from what I can tell so far.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Salsa Season! Yum!

I love making home-made salsa! I think I've posted about this before... but this year I had such cute helpers that I had to do it again! And, I even was able to use some of my own garden veggies to make some! Sweet! In another life I am sure I lived in the early 1900's and had a HUGE garden... hmmm, maybe someday in this life I will make it happen again :) Right now though, I am happy to get a little 3 ft by 6 ft garden in with just a few things.
I planted some salsa peppers this year because those are always so expensive at the store. Along with my green bell peppers, sweet banana peppers, and just a few of my tomatoes (I had to supplement with some
Roma tomatoes and onions from the farmer's market) I was able to make a first batch of salsa! (Oh, and a few of my friend Kris's peppers from her garden! Thanks Kris!). My niece, Maddalyn, was over for the day and she wasted no time joining Jaxon to get her hands messy with all the veggies and salsa making! What a fun afternoon we had! I Love cooking with the kids... my mother and both my grandmothers always let us kids be in the kitchen with them when they cooked or baked. To this day those are some of my favorite childhood memories with those ladies. This is one tradition I love passing down because I have such a heart for making good food for my family and a heart for doing things together as a family. It's a win win for me! If you're wondering what to do with all those left over tomatoes this season... try some salsa and grab your closest kid! What a fun day and oh, what a treat!:)

Maddie and Jaxon working together...

Salsa Peppers in our garden

Green Peppers in our garden

My favroite salsa recipe from my favorite HyVee cookbook that I "borrowed" from the Big House when we lived there :)

What a nice selection of produce. I love our local farmers markets!

My recipe calls for 3 hours of simmering and thickening... so my little tots for the day took a break to swim while we waited!