Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Do Unto Others . . .

Thinking this week about Zach getting taller than his older brother, brought to mind an incident when the boys were little. They were pre-school aged.

We lived in a townhouse in Michigan, and all the townhouses backed up into a playground area for all the kids. I remember standing at the back window, doing dishes at the kitchen sink. The boys were playing out back with some other kids. I looked up to see Kyle running after another boy. And, when he catches up with him, Kyle hauls off and punches this other boy hard. Who of course starts to cry. And I of course open the window and yell "Kyle Micah, get in here this minute!" When he gets in the house I say "why on earth did you hit that boy?" to which he answers "he hit Zachy first, so I hit him." (Kyle may have gotten in trouble quite a bit, but, he was always honest, even if it would get him in trouble.) So, I told him it was nice of him to care about his little brother, and want to protect him and stick up for him, but, just because someone mistreats you or someone you love, doesn't mean you can treat them the same way.

And Kyle looked up at me with those big blue eyes and said "Uh huh Mommy, my teacher at church said that it says in the Bible 'Do to others what they do to you!'" (So, my good little boy thought he was just obeying the Bible! Isn't that sweet? Right!) So, I had to explain to him that that's not exactly what the Bible says. What it really says is that we should treat other people the way we would want them to treat us. The Golden Rule. (Matthew 7:12)

How many of us at some point in our lives wish we had had a Sunday School teacher that told us we could do back to other people what they did to us?! (And I'm sure his teacher said it the right way, and he just misunderstood, I'm just trying to make a point.) That anytime someone hurt us or mistreated us, or someone we love, we could just lash out at them and give it right back! Do to others what they do to you! After all that's what they deserve, right? But, unfortunately it doesn't work that way. We're to treat people, weather they deserve it or not, (because none of us really deserve it!) the way we would want others to treat us. And how do we want others to treat us? With respect, acceptance, admiration, love, non-judgment, (this could be a really long list.) But, it can be very hard to do sometimes.

I know this is a fun, cute little story, but it's actually when one of my kids taught me a valuable life lesson, that I've tried to hang on to through the years. Because unfortunately, I've needed a reminder from time to time, just like he has.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Tall And Short Of It

Well, it's finally happened. . . Zach (our younger son) has surpassed his older brother in height. We knew this day would eventually come. They are only 16 months apart in age and all through their lives Zach would get within an inch of his big brother and then Kyle would have a growth spurt, Zach would try to catch up but never actually did. Until now. Zach is at least a 1/2 inch taller, and with Kyle being 18 now, he may not have anymore growth spurts left in him. And Zach, at 16 is probably still growing. Kyle is not very happy about his younger brother being taller than him. Though we've tried to prepare him for the possibility.

They've both been taller than me for awhile now, but as I have tried to remind them often, you're never too big to not have to listen to your mom! I'm still the boss. And they just look down at me, roll their eyes, smile, and say I know mom, I know.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

About Today

So, if what I did today could have saved my life, then why was I literally scared to death?!

One of my favorite sayings is, "If there is no fear, there can be no courage!"

Let me start at the beginning . . . It was almost exactly seven years ago that I lost my one and only sister to colon cancer. She was diagnosed at the age of 48 and died within a year. During that time her doctors told us, her family, that we should all have a Colonoscopy. When you watch someone you love go through cancer treatment, the last thing you want to think about is your family having to watch you go through that.

Well, my Doctor has continued to 'remind' me that I needed to get that taken care of. But, fear helped me to keep putting it off. So this year I made up my mind to have it done. After all, Colon cancer, if caught early, (and Colonoscopy is the ONLY way of catching it) is 100% curable! So, I made an appointment months and months ago, not realizing that I'd made my appointment for exactly one week after the anniversary of the day I lost my sister. So, needless to say I was scared!

So scared in fact, that the only people I told I was having it done was my family, the staff at my church, and one couple in our church who has also been through cancer and are having their first colonoscopy's this year as well. They were my prayer warriors. And I did it! Yeah me! And it was quick and so easy! And all is well. I am clean and clear. I thank God for that. The Doctor told John I was 'clean as a whistle!' But then I said, How clean is a whistle really? People put them in their mouths, and mouths are full of germs. (Don't go there!)

And I have to thank my brothers for being themselves, and coming up with every toilet/bodily fluid jokes they could think of to throw my way for the day before the colonoscopy, when I was on a clear liquid diet and the "cleansing" phase. Yuck. (I am hoping though that this helps with the Biggest Loser competition at my church, always looking for the bright side of things!) Though it is nice to know (I guess) that some things in life are steadfast, and will never change. Like the fact that no matter how old you get, that even as adults, BROTHERS ARE GROSS!

And that there is no one on earth like your sister! I've thought a lot about mine this past week. I still miss Debbie everyday. Sometimes things happen in my life and I know the only person I could have ever talked to about this is her. And I wish she was here. I know she'd be proud of me, cause she always told me that she was. My mom says I get my writing style from her. She always wrote beautiful letters and cards, and I'm so thankful that I kept them, and can read them from time to time. Here's one of my favorite pictures of us together. Thanks for letting me tell you about her.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Making Music

"It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp." (Psalm 92: 1-3)

If you know me very well, you know I am married to a musician. Not only is that his talent, that is how he makes a living as well. Making music! You also know that I am musically illiterate! I play no instrument, (my husband can perform on at least four instruments, and play several others.) I do not sing (not well anyway!) Though I do love music. And I am, of course, his biggest fan!

So, of course my boys followed in their fathers footsteps. Kyle plays the drums and sings in both the youth band, and the worship band at church. And Zach took piano lessons when he was little, then he started playing the Tenor Sax and then the Baritone Sax in school bands for the past five years. Then a couple of years ago he picked up the Guitar and literally has not put it down. He plays at least two hours a day almost every day! He plays in both the youth and adult bands at church as well. This year, since he has hopes of becoming a Worship Pastor like his father, he opted out of band in order to take choir. Thinking that bettering his vocal skills will benefit him more in the long run than playing Saxophone will. He will still be in the Jazz Band on Guitar though. They both Rock!

And my girls, watching all this unfold, could not wait until fifth grade, because that is when you get to start band! They have known for awhile exactly what instruments they wanted to play. (Thank God we still have band in the public schools! At least in Arizona. And I wish it was everywhere. It's a proven fact that kids who play musical instruments are smarter in all subjects, and get better grades. And I always called those kids "Band Geeks!" and now I'm married to one, and have given birth to four of them! Don't tell anyone from my High school!) ;)

So, now Lexi is playing the Flute and Erica is playing the French Horn! They are way beyond excited about it! It's all they talk about. They practice all the time! Well, Okay, they are really trying to just get sound out of their instruments right now. But they are doing it! Dad and Zach have helped show them how to take care of their instruments. So, to all my neighbors who may hear squealing sounds coming from our house, I'm sorry. Be patient, and they will be playing the right notes soon. And I will go back to being the only non-musical member of my family! Oh Well, it's all music to my ears!

The girls discovering music (or at least CDs) for the first time.

Helping Daddy make music.

Now learning to play their new instruments.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Olympic Fever

I love to watch the Olympics! My favorite part is all the human interest stories of the athletes and the different countries, even more so than the competition itself. Like for instance, the Afghanistan delegation only had one woman on their team, who just before the Olympics, disappeared. They believe she has defected to another country due to all the death threats she has received from fundamentalist men from her own country, who believe women should not be seen or heard, let alone compete in a sporting event. I always try to use stories like these to remind my own kids that anything they dream is possible, and to remind them just how blessed we are to be living in The United States of America! But, that it's not the same for many other countries around the world.

And with every sport we watch, my kids always want to do what ever sport they see. My girls can not understand why they can't do gymnastics in the Olympics. I told them it's because we did not start them in Gymnastics lessons at the age of three. And send them away to live with another family so they could train. Not to mention, pay more money than we make every year to never be able to see them. I don't know what we were thinking. My bad!

So, now they have settled on Synchronized diving. They love to be in the water, and will try any dive Kyle shows them. And that's probably a pretty good sport for twins, right?! And Zach, who is already a sprinter for his High School track team, now wants to play Water Polo. Will someone please remind my children that we live in the desert. And water sports just aren't real big here. But, being the queen of Google that I am. I goggled diving lessons. And once I got past all the scuba lessons, I found their is one competitive diving team in the greater Phoenix area, but, it's about an hour away from us. So, another Olympic dream is shattered! Oh well, easy come, easy go, right. I did find out that there are water polo teams and synchronized swimming teams near us. Who Knew? I'll just hold on to that information until next week, when the girls see that sport and once again change their minds.

And I know it will all only last until the next Olympics any way, when once again, the girls will start begging me to put them in Ice Skating lessons! I think we are just going to switch to watching only Spelling Bees!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Biggest Loser

My Church has been doing a Biggest Loser thing for the last month. And I've lost 10 lb.'s!! Yeah Me! I'm so excited! At least 5 of that though, I left in new York. With all the sweating I did there (It's way more humid in New York than it is in Arizona!) And on average, we walked 3-5 miles every single day we were there. I guess that's why almost all New Yorkers are in pretty good shape. I keep trying to get John to send me back there so I could get really thin! But, so far he's not buying it.

The Biggest Loser competition goes through August. John's lost about 7 or so pounds as well. We're just trying to eat healthier food, and less of it. And we are exercising more. (A Novel approach to weight loss I know!) What are your weight loss secrets?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Senior Year

Yesterday my baby boy started his Senior Year of High School! How in the world did that happen?! Last week when I took him to the school to get his schedule and ID, etc. I said "this is the last year I get to do this with you, how sad" I didn't have time to be too sad though, since I had to do it the very next day with Zach, who is a Junior this year.

It seems like just yesterday that we took Kyle to his first day of Kindergarten! And I was so sad then that he was growing up. And, I remember sitting in the hospital, having just given birth to my first child, I was holding him, and I very clearly remember praying at that moment for Jesus to come back and take us all to heaven before this child got old enough to go to school. And here he is finishing school already. I could have never pictured it then. (And if I could have imagined it, I wouldn't have pictured my baby boy with a beard!)

They say "Time flies when your having fun," but, I think Time flies when your raising kids! It's funny that when your going through each different stage with your kids, you think, will this never end? And then along comes a new faze and you wish you could go back to the way it used to be! I guess the key is to just be in the moment with your kids, and enjoy every age they are. They grow up way too fast anyway! We need to remember not to rush them by saying things like, I can't wait till their older, so I'll have more freedom, or hoping for a certain stage to end. They all have their hardships IE: infants, toddlers, school aged kids, pre-teens, teenagers, young adults. But, they all have there great points as well! There are great and fun aspects to every age we get to watch our kids go through. Take time to notice. Step back, watch them and you'll be amazed!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My Best Back-To-School Tip

I can't believe today is the last day of Summer Vacation for us! We're going to the Waterpark with some good friends.

My best Back-To-School tip is this: I take my kids pictures on the first day of school every single year (No matter how old they are), and then I take their picture again on the last day of school every year. It's fun to look back and see how much they've changed and grown during the year!

We had meet the teacher night last night at my girls' school, and they are very excited to start back tomorrow! Tonight is the boy's open house at the High School, how can I possible have a Junior And a Senior?! Wow, John must be getting Old! ; )

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I can't believe it's back to school already this week. Usually I'm so ready for the kids to start back, but this year not so much. It just seems too early.

And every year, when you have twins, it's a dilemma of weather or not to separate them or keep them together. In Kindergarten my girls were together, When they are with each other every moment from before birth, to separate them from each other for the first time at the same time they are separating from their mom can be very traumatic. My plan was to keep them together for Kindergarten and in separate classes after that.

Kindergarten went very well. Their teacher let me know that they were not overly dependent on each other, and that they did very well socially (I wonder where they get that from?!) and academically they were pretty even with each other. Basically getting all the same grades. She and I both thought they would do fine when separated. So, for First and Second grades they were in separate classes.

Socially they did great. They loved having double the friends, they knew their whole class and their sisters class as well! But both years, it seemed to me that one of them had the better teacher than the other. And maybe it wasn't that the teacher was actually better, but maybe it was just a better teaching style for them. I don't know, but I do know that the other ones grades started to slip. I had no way of really knowing if one was just going to struggle more in school, and that was something we were just gonna have to deal with, or if they had continue to have the same teachers would they have stayed the same, and kept the same grades. So, I decide to put them back in the same class to find out. I love that about our school district, that they let the parents decide. They don't just set a rule that has to apply to everyone, no matter what.

So, in third grade I put them together. They weren't real happy about it at first. They had a great teacher, and by the very first Parent-Teacher conference their grades were right back up there together. I don't know if it's because they are doing the same homework at the same time, or that one helps the other one, or if it's a competition thing between the two of them. But it worked.

It's also much easier for me having them in one class. Then I only have one class to volunteer in instead of two. And it's much easier on their Birthday to bring in treats for just one class rather than two whole classes. And there is no way we can fit two class rooms of kids in our house for a Birthday Party! (I shutter at the thought! And I love to plan and throw party's!)

So, they were together in third and forth grades. Again doing fine both socially and academically. Which brings me to now. . . They really want to be in their own classes again. And they do tend to argue a little more when they are together 24/7. So, after talking with their teachers, I decided to once again try them in separate classes for fifth grade. (Yikes, I can't believe my baby girls are in fifth grade this year!) So, like all parents, I'm praying that my girls BOTH get great teachers, and that they continue to do well, even without their sister in the same class room.

I'll keep you posted as to how they are doing, and I would love to hear your advice on school issues as well. Just leave a comment on this post, that way you, I, and other moms, can all learn from each other. Next year my girls will be in sixth grade, which means lots of big projects, so once again I'll have to decide weather or not to separate. And in the words of William Shakespeare "Parting is such sweet sorrow." Well, we'll see just how much sorrow this separation causes me! ; )