Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Student of the Month

On Valentine's Day, I was taken completely by surprise when I was greeted by Madi's name in bright lights on the school marquee as I walked past with Charlie in the stroller! I couldn't help but get a little misty. She just works so hard, and she's so deserving. 

This milestone is no surprise to Jimmy and me, though. Seriously. Our daughter is a fiercely determined child. Madi honestly possesses the "eye of the tiger."

I find it funny that several people have bestowed kudos upon Jimmy and me for doing a "good job" with her, given her achievement, but honestly, we really can't take much credit for her success. She is a completely driven self-starter. She'll come home from school and sit down right away to complete her homework. Madi strives to read chapter books during the school day to accumulate Reading Counts points, which--by the way--is her after school recreational activity of choice. 

And math? Oh, yes, her favorite subject, math. Madi's class began working on their times tables at the beginning of February, and she's already memorized all but two of them and passed the tests. Unstoppable.

She's the type of kid that volunteers to present her project first, and apparently delivers in such a way that she has a possible future in public speaking. She's been a professional negotiator since she was a toddler.

But what we adore most about our student of the month is her big heart and her kind nature. Madi is considerate of others. She's a good friend, and she will take time to help those who struggle; she will take extra steps to ensure that no one feels excluded or left out. Our girl is not hung up on insignificant things, such as her wardrobe or other "stuff." She doesn't know a thing about name brands, and I love it (knowing that this will likely change in her future)! She loves Jesus and she knows all of her prayers for Holy Communion by heart and recites them every night in joyful anticipation of her upcoming sacrament. She's a good kid with her priorities in order, for sure.

As I ponder the many factors, and the many people who've helped mold her along the way, many names pop into my head. Most are the names of the teachers who've loved her from the time she attended the Little Owls program at the YMCA, to speech classes, to Pre-K, to elementary school and CCD classes, where she is now. These are the amazing role models who praised Madi and built her confidence, who instilled in her a desire to adore learning through their passion for teaching. These are heroes in our daughter's life, and it's clear they've made such a positive impact on her. We've been so blessed by their efforts, and Jimmy and I will forever be grateful to them for giving our "Student of the Month" the incredible foundation that she obviously has.

Dawn Marshall Moss
Lora Kennedy
Kendra Bivins 
Dana Johnson
Clare Avogardo
Charde Maldonado
Dina Barganier
Kathi Mueller
Marissa Tata 
Sister Lucy

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Blankie Tales


After we were home a while with Charlie, we introduced him to a little blanket. It had belonged to his big brother Daniel, though he'd never cared for it much. So we passed it along to Charlie, and he adored it from the get-go. It truly became his beloved blanket.

Charlie affectionately named his blanket, "Bee Bee" which meant "baby," but he couldn't pronounce it quite right. Bee Bee never left his sight, and he relied on that soft piece of fabric as much as he relied on his middle two fingers to soothe him.


At some point in the past year, Charlie decided that he wanted to really be "at one" with his blanket. Wouldn't it be better if he could climb into Bee Bee? So, Charlie broke apart the seam of his two-ply blanket, and tore at the thread until he had created a sack, like a sleeping bag. What a cozy idea!


It didn't take long before Charlie then decided that he wanted a BIGGER Bee Bee. I mean, bigger is better, right? So he decided to tear apart the other two seams of his two-ply blanket, until he had created a gigantic one-ply blanket.

His new creation kinda came in handy as a leash for Mommy's use, or more like a pull rope, at times, but I must say, as the primary maintenance provider of the blanket, this extra large stage was disastrous. Can you say "germ-fest?" We felt totally blessed that Charlie wasn't sick all the time since Bee Bee was constantly filthy from being dragged on the floor and stepped upon.


Once Charlie got tired of Bee Bee being so unmanageably large, and it often went missing because OCD Mommy had thrown it into the wash yet AGAIN, our clever young son thought maybe bigger wasn't better, maybe MORE was the answer.

So he ripped that blanket in two.

It became somewhat of a bonus for me, the primary Bee Bee seeker and handler. For now, I could conveniently wash one Bee Bee, while the other was being continuously exposed to filth and squalor...and then put right into our son's mouth like a chew-toy.


Most recently, Charlie has latched on to the idea that many Bee Bees would be totally ideal. And since he's recently discovered what a joy scissors can be, he decided to cut his Bee Bee into pieces. One would think it would be easier for Charlie to have unlimited access now, given his multiple parts, but actually, for some reason, he seems to be losing them more. I find these tattered and torn pieces tucked and hidden into the strangest places.

Charlie also decided it was time for a name change, and is now the proud owner of his six separate pieces, all named "Blankie."  However, since I am losing track of who's who, I might be assigning numbers to these guys shortly.

On the upside, I am finding it easier to keep a good rotation of these pieces clean...when I can find them.

And so, I ask, what do you think the next chapter will be here folks? Is our son trying to rid himself of his precious blanket once and for all?

Will the next chapter of this story be "Bee Bee's" Disappearing Act?  And once all the pieces disappear, will he be seeking a replacement?


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The "Right" Decision?

Every time I hear those words, I want to break.


I know that people are being kind and the intent is to console. That it comes out of love.

But--truly--who says we made "the right decision" not to adopt Olivia?

I can't even say those words for fear I'd choke on them. Because I think only God knows the answer to that.

And why?  Because we need to adhere to our cozy, comfortable, and convenient little life?

Well, what about HER?

What about that beautiful gentle child who stares off in the distance because she has NO ONE to love her and hold her and tell her how precious she is?

Does that seem like the right decision to you?

And then, naturally, people defend our other children and how this child's needs would take away from theirs.  But WHO SAYS a child with more needs is a BURDEN and not a BLESSING?

Shouldn't that be the most important lesson in LIFE?  That our children learn how to love unconditionally despite one's flaws?  Shouldn't they see that love doesn't stop short of perfection?

As you can see, I'm really struggling here. Please forgive me for wearing my heart on my sleeve today.

Dear Lord Jesus, please remove the bitterness from my heart and replace it with peace. I trust YOU. I have faith in your plan for our family, and I pray that YOU will be glorified through this storm. Please, Lord, please find her a home...find her a family.

I will NEVER consider this as a "right" decision, but rather a very difficult one we chose to make.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. -- Proverbs 3:5-6