Friday, May 30, 2014

Emotions in High Gear

Emotions are in high gear this week as our baby, the last of the Robinson clan, graduated from preschool.

My little sidekick as been with me at FUMC Preschool since she was 22 months old.  Even though she is ready and so excited for Kindergarten, it was with a lump in my throat that I handed her her diploma last night.  We have been blessed with some precious memories and fun times over the last few years.

Marching into the sanctuary last night with her class.  Graduation music always gets my emotions going:)  I know I will blink and she will be marching again to that music for her high school graduation. 
Our little songbird singing with her friends. They performed several songs from their music time with Mr. Bryan including some silly songs and some sweet worship songs. 
Mr. Bryan always does a wonderful little video where he interviews each child on what they want to be when they grow up.  On the video Hope quietly, yet confidently, says "My name is Hope and when I grow up I want to be a doctor." I guess we better double up on her college savings plan if she wants to go to medical school. 
Dream big sweet girl! God has blessed you with a servant heart and sweet spirit.  Stay close to Jesus and follow His path for your life.  We are so thankful God blessed us with a curly-haired little girl. 
This morning her preschool class headed out to Hungry Mother for a picnic and playtime to celebrate our last day of school.  Hope and I are officially on summer break now. 
Our silly little girl! 
It has been a crazy week around here.  We are all in desperate need of some downtime.  Kyle still has a math SOL hanging over his head and David is now done. 
Mike's job has been brutal lately.  It is a tough job to be a Superintendent on a good day, but it is especially hard during tight budget times when tough decisions need to be made.  It has gotten personal, ugly, and heart-breaking.  The good news about all of this is that David's cancer has given us a perspective on life.  Nothing compares to the torture of watching our special needs son endure chemo and radiation.  Yes, personal attacks hurt, but they are nothing compared to the childhood cancer beast.
When it is all said and done we are blessed with awesome friends, family, and a Jesus that is always there for us. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Weekend 2014

I love Memorial weekend-it is the official start of summer and we were so excited!I cannot believe the weekend went by so fast and we are packing backpacks for a few more days of school.

The big news for our family is that the pool near our house opened!!  Kyle is just a little bit excited about this. 
So was this little fish. 
My pictures are totally out of order, but here is our little ballerina after her big dance recital!  We were SO proud of our shy little girl that did not look the least bit shy up on that big stage. David loved watching the recital, but kyle was bored:)  I told him to buck up and put a smile on his face because Hope has been to many of his travel games and he would support her just like she has supported him her whole life.
The grandparents and great-grandmother met us there to cheer our little ballerina on.  We celebrated with a yummy Cracker Barrell dinner after the show.
The boys and the ballerina!  They brought her flowers for her debut recital:) 
Today our awesome town put on a Memorial Day parade.  It is really one of the best parades I have ever seen.  Kyle and Hope walked the entire parade route with their Marion Little League friends. I love that Memorial Day is stressed so much in this area and that my kids understand what this day is truly about. 
Hope walked with these girls for most of the route! I could not believe she did it all.  She has loved every moment of Tball!
After her big parade walk, she then went to our local VFW post and sang with church friends for the program.  Our VFW is active and every Memorial Day they have a program with a hot dog dinner afterwards.  Here is Hope singing God Bless America! 
Here is our little dancer in action!  It is such a joy to see her personality come out. From singing at the VFW today, to dancing her heart out in her recital, I am amazed how far she has come.  Welcome summer-we are so glad you are here!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Legos and Golfing for a Cause

We found out this week our little girl loves Legos!  The boys have kind of missed the whole Lego craze, but this week at preschool we had a Brickz 4 Kidz Lego party come to our preschool.  It was a total hit with not only Hope but with all the preschoolers!

With the motorized legos, they made a cool spin art project.  The theme of the party was ice cream cones, so they made ice cream cone spin art crafts.  Super cool!
After that free play with all these cool legos!  Yikes!  All the teachers were coveting this cinch bag to hold all those legos. 
Then the kiddos got to build an ice cream cone following the model plan and with the help of one of the teachers.  We have never had legos in this house, but this little girl has fallen in love with the legos.  Thankfully she has a birthday coming up:)   The educator in me loves to see my girl building!

Some days are just blessings and today was one of those.  David, Hope, GG and I headed to Blacksburg Country Club for a benefit golf tournament for UVA Children's Hospital. The Marshall family in Blacksburg  have put on a golf tournament for the past 19 years because their daughter, Jennifer, was diagnosed when she was 11 with Leukemia. 
Here is Jennifer now healthy and happy at the age of 29!  She still suffers from some late effects from the chemo that she received as a child, but it was so awesome and encouraging to meet her.   She is a third grade teacher in Montgomery County.
David and one of his UVA BFF's, Josh Walker.  His job is to raise money for UVA Children's Hospital.  He has a heart of gold and David adores him.  David was a little annoyed that Josh's coworker, Ryan had to stay behind in Charlottesville and wasn't there to cruise around in the golf cart:)  We have met some amazing folks that work full-time raising crucial money to fund research and facilities for UVA Children's Hospital. 
Blacksburg Country Club is not easy to find, but it was gorgeous when we finally did get there.  My little cuties!  We enjoyed an awesome lunch and had beautiful weather. 

GG traveled along with us.  I was suppose to film a video while I was there, but the video crew could not make it.  When traveling with David, it is always nice to have another set of eyes on him:)  There were a lot of golf carts with keys in them hanging around.....I was a little worried about David taking off in one. 

Here is the Marshall family in their super cute golf cart with David and Hope.  In 19 years of tournaments, they have raised almost a million dollars for UVA!  Wow! 
After the Marshall family spoke to the golfers, Josh spoke and then David and I got to speak.  I am always honored to speak and thank folks for supporting UVA Children's Hospital.  Josh said that today in Hokie Country we are not Wahoos or Hokies, we are all coming together for the kids.  After the shotgun start, we then loaded up in two golf carts and drove around the course personally thanking golfers for supporting UVA.  This was David's favorite part of the day!  He and Josh shared a golf cart and these two had fun! 
Next year Mike and Kyle hope to join the fun and team up with Josh to enter the tournament.  It was such a fun day in a beautiful setting raising precious dollars for the kids.  God is so good!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Farm, Parties, and Roasts

This weekend has been full, emotional and really fun. Our weekend started Friday with a preschool field trip to the farm. It was freakishly cold but our preschoolers had such a wonderful time.

Hope and Olivia.  Who would ever think we would need hats and jackets in mid-May? 

David's class was having a test that he had already taken, so he got to visit the farm with us!!  I would love for one picture for David to smile his sweet smile :) He thought he was the teacher's assistant:)
Here are Hope, Sydney, Grady and Andrew petting one of the new baby cows.  I could not believe my prissy girl touched one, but she loved it!  What a wonderful experience for these kiddos. 
Saturday while Kyle and Mike went to a baseball tournament, I did the birthday party tour with Hope, Sydney, and David.  These kids, bounced, skated, and ate a lot of junk food in a few hours.  These two girls are very social and love partying with their preschool friends. 
Because of his kidney, David cannot skate.  He did not care, he was Hope and Sydney's personal hand holder.  This is a motley crew!

After the birthday fun we then headed to the Little League field for one of Hope's tball games. After watching Mike coach boys all these years I got so tickled watching him warm up my team of six little girls.  We  have a sweet little team, and thankfully one of the other Moms actually knows what she is doing so she does the true coaching.  I just cheer and send out parent emails:)

Hope and one of her teammates, Spencer.  Blessedly Spencer's Mom knows ball and she does the real coaching!  It has been a fun experience for Hope and she has LOVED ball.  It was so cold Saturday that I texted the other coach asking if we should cancel.  Hope said "no Mom please lets play!"  We may have a little ball player on our hands:)

Tonight I headed to church to participate in a pastor "roast" of Jonathan and Suzanne because they are leaving our church.  I am devastated they are leaving, but to make the goodbye easier to handle there was a dinner and a roast tonight. 

I was asked to be one of the speakers and I worked very hard on my speech.  It is tricky business to roast your dear friend and her husband the pastor in front of most of the church.  I wanted to be funny but I did not want to hurt their feelings. 

Thankfully with the speakers roasting the Jonas family we laughed a lot tonight.  This is such a sudden move for them, that we are all in shock still.  Laughing is good medicine for us all.  I talked about how clean and new the parsonage kitchen is going to be when our new pastor moves in because Suzanne has not used it much for cooking:)  I joked that our county meals tax is going to take a hit when their family of six leaves town. 

I joked about how Mike and Jonathan are total historic nerds and that we have to have "learning opportunities" on every vacation to read historical markers and visit museums:)  We all joked about Suzanne's love of shopping and how one time we were suppose to be chaperoning a third grade trip to the zoo but Suzanne had to "try on a few things" and we were 45 minutes late getting to the zoo! 

This picture is terrible because by the end of the night we had all been crying and we were so sad that this is really happening.  Grace took this picture of us tonight after we had cried and laughed all of our makeup off:) My heart is so full with all the fun and memories we have had and it was good to share some of that tonight. 
God has blessed our family with some wonderful and true friendships.  Life is hard and stressful and I am so thankful for loyalty, love, and laughter of true friends. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Dave and the SOL's

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.  His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? 

"Neither, this man nor his parents sinned, " said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."

John 9:1-3

When thinking about our amazing David these verses tender my heart so much because they answer for me why David was born with an extra chromosome.  He is not a fluke, God did not lose count when handing out his chromosomes, and he is not a medical marvel.  God knitted him together in my womb exactly how David was suppose to be and he is perfect. 

This week David has taken three standardized SOL test mandated by our state.  He took the exact same test that his inclusion classmates took, but he was granted some accommodations.  I will admit that I was nervous.  Not nervous that he would pass, but that he would not do his best and he would be planning hotel parties instead of thinking of famous Americans and science. 

Our David has once again blown us away.  Let me be clear that in the eyes of the state of Virginia he did not pass.  Let me also brag that he blew us away with how high he did score and how hard he worked studying and taking the tests.  He was within a few questions of passing both History and Science.  My heart overflows for him...

David's IQ hovers around mid-60s. David lost a year of education due to stupid cancer.  David went through a lot of chemo/radiation/heavy antibiotics that we will never know how they have adversely affected him.  When it comes to state mandated tests, the cards were stacked against him to fail miserably.  I can brag with Mom pride that my baby gave it his all and he worked to his potential-isn't that all we ever asked of our children?

I must also brag on his amazing school and his team of teachers.  They pushed him and had high expectations that he would do this well.  They never gave up on him and they too are so proud of his accomplishments.

When David is able to accomplish amazing things,I am overwhelmed at our God.  When David accomplishes things that seem beyond him, we can only attribute his success to God.  I will say that this week when watching our son perform beyond what we thought he was capable of,  I just have to stop and marvel at how God is being displayed in David's life.  Amen!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Great Are You Lord

Mother's Day weekend 2014 has been busy but full of sweet times.  The weekend started off on a special note with our Preschool Mother's Day Tea on Friday.  Since I am already there as a teacher, Hope wanted to invite her GG to the event.   As a teacher this event is a lot of prep work but it is one of our favorite events.  The children get SO excited to be little hostesses for their special person. 

We served cucumber sandwiches, fruit and cookies with special coffee punch or sweet tea.  The children sing for their mommies and their special artwork is their placemat. 
Three generations! 
Here is the placemat that Hope made with her sweet handprints. 
One of our gifts to the mommies is a special recipe book.   I ask the Moms in advance for a recipe.  We take a picture of each child in our play kitchen at preschool with a chef apron and hat on.  I interview the child about the recipe like how to make it, who eats it, etc... and they are usually hilarious.  Here is Hope's recipe for sugar cookies. 

This morning we went to church.  We are in our second week of God's Not Dead series and it is so good.  The praise band rocked one of my favorite songs this morning and it was so beautiful. 

All the Earth
Will Shout Your praise
Our hearts cry out, these bones will sing
Great Are you Lord!

I love that song so much and it ministered to this emotional, hormonal, and still feeling yucky from bronchitis Momma. 
Besides the mother's day tea on Friday Hope  and I were invited to another special tea party on Saturday with some friends.  The Mom who hosted put a lot of work into this special little girl/Mommy party-here is the gorgeous table! There were fairy wings and wands on the back of the chairs that the little girls got to take home. 
It still overwhelms my heart that after so many years of trains, trucks, and balls, I have a little girl.
The sweet little tea party friends.  All the girls dressed up and it was so fun to eat fancy food at a fancy table! 
Today after church we went to Radford to visit my Momma and to eat some of her cooking.   I love her potato salad and she fixed that today for our cookout.  My Great Aunt was there as well as my grandmother. 
I am so thankful to be a Mom.  It is the hardest job ever but I am so thankful that God gave me two crazy boys and a sweet girl to mother.  Somedays I nail it, and some days are epic fails but no matter what, my children know that they are loved here at home and that their Jesus loves them.  No matter what comes our way, Great are You Lord!

Friday, May 9, 2014

God is Good

This week has been brutal with bronchitis for me, sore throat for david, Mike out EVERY evening for work, SOL test studying, and stress.  This week has been a blur but here are some random facts from the week because I am too tired to write in normal paragraphs:)

1) I am still in utter shock that the Jonas are moving.  I did get to meet to the new pastor yesterday who had such a wam handshake and kind eyes.  You can tell a lot about a person from their eyes.  God is good.

2) Bronchitis is not pretty for an asthmatic like me.  Zpacks are fabulous. God is good.

3) Dave worked SO hard on his SOL reading tests and we could not be  prouder of his effort and attention to the test.  He utterly amazes us.  God is good.

4) I received three separate compliments about Kyle this week out of the blue.  Considering the fact that he is a preteen, a boy, and hormones are starting to rage, I was so appreciative and blessed to hear that he acted in a mature and kind way away from us three separate times this week.  He was rewarded by being able to go to a boys night at Macados to watch the draft.  God is good.

5) Several friends are going through some hard times right now.  I felt blessed that I was trusted in confidence to hear those struggles and to pray for them.  Life is hard, but God is good. 

6) Raising a special needs child who now has lifelong medical issues because of his stupid cancer is hard.  God continues to bless us with some amazing professionals that take great care of him and even laugh when he texts them!  Dave texted a doctor yesterday to "call him" and she did!  Ha!  Life is never boring with David and God is good.

7) SOL tests are brutal but they also mean that summer is oh so close!!  God is good.

Those are only the clearer images and bullet points from an emotional and stressful week.  No matter what happens today and everyday, God is good!  Happy Friday!!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Friendships and Baseball

A few weeks ago I shared on here that my heart was broken over a situation.  I can now share that my heart was/is broken over the fact that Jonathan, Suzanne, and their kiddos are leaving Marion.  She shared the news with me weeks ago and I have had to grieve with just a few dear friends because it was very hush hush per the Methodist church. 

God has big plans for the Jonas family as they move to Bristol.  The only sweetness about this move is that their new house is only 36 minutes from my house and they still will be near their extended families.  I know our family friendships will remain, but we will miss Jonathan as the pastor of FUMC and he is kind of, sort of my boss.  Sigh. 

All of our hearts have been heavy about this move, so last night several families got together for some BBQ, playtime, and smores.  It was exactly what we all needed.  My stomach muscles are actually sore from laughing.  God has woven together some special friendships that a few miles cannot separate. 

Roasting some smores.  Dave was the roasting man!  He did them perfectly:)  I also didn't know until last night that you can substitute a reese cup for a hershey bar in the middle of the smore.  Oh my word....

The boys got a big kick out of playing baseball-daddies versus boys.  We women just sat and laughed at them.  The men were beating the boys and then some little boys jumped ship to be on the winning team!  Ha!

Daddy's in the field.....
Sydney, Hope and Sage watching the game from the trampoline! 
We have a lot of kids amongst us all and here is the boys team:) I was doing fine last night until Suzanne took us into Sage's nursery to show us some new clothes she got her and I saw that she had packed up some of her stuff.  We have all had some special and fun times together in the parsonage. 
Before our our smores party, we had two baseball games.  Kyle's team played a heartbreaker yesterday and lost in extra innings by one point.  It happens and it hurts, but that is why sports are so important.  You have to win and lose with grace and class.  Kyle is a competitive kid and takes every loss very hard. 
Kyle's friend, Luke started the game pitching and did a great job before pitching out for the day.  Little League is very restrictive about how many pitches each kid can throw.  Kyle came in mid-game and finished it up.  He too did a good job under pressure and it was a low scoring game.  He keeps him cool better than his Momma does:)
Before Kyle's game this little enthusastic tballer had a game!  It is hilarious and exhausting to coach this age group.  She loves every minute of it and here she is in the "ready" position. 
We stress to all of our kiddos how important service to others is.  One of the ways that Kyle has really jumped in an served this year is at the Little League field.  He and I often do a weekly rotation in the concession stand to raise money for the program.  Here he is patiently counting out dimes, nickels, and quarters that some cute little kid plopped down on the counter.  The kid wanted to know what he could buy with this and Kyle helped him count it out and make a purchase.  Kyle has also helped rake the field, run the scoreboard, help in concesions, and he actually umpired a game (bases not behind the plate) Friday night. 
This week is a we bit stressful in our household.  SOL season is up on us (sigh) and David has one tomorrow, Kyle has one coming up and is already starting to prepare, and Mike has a stressful week at work with some travel and some public meetings.  With good friends, baseball for stress relief, and a living and awesome God we will get through it all:)  Happy Sunday!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Big Milestones and Granola

This week has been a week full of exciting firsts around here! Hope went on two kindergarten visits this week to her school to get ready for Kindergarten.  She is so excited!  Here she is in one of the awesome kindergarten teacher's classroom listening to the story on frogs. 

I cannot believe it is time for this already, but she is so excited!
Tuesday night Mike took her to Kindergarten Roundup night!  They got to ride a bus and have lots of fun.  I get to do so many things with her because of preschool that this was a special Daddy/Daughter night for them.
Another huge milestone this week was that David lost his first tooth!!  We have really been wondering if he would ever lose a tooth, and he did!  When it came out we kind of freaked out that maybe this was an adult tooth that came out and shouldn't have because it was big.  Really big.  We still need to do xrays to make sure adult teeth are there and waiting to come in.  We know several children with DS that do not have adult teeth.  Interesting-huh?!
Mike has had a rough few weeks lately at work.  Sigh.  Anyway, he loves yogurt, granola, and chocolate chips together.  One of our preschool  Moms brought in this awesome homemade granola stuff that I flipped over.  So I made some today for my sweetie to make him smile.  Here is the recipe!
4 cups of old fashioned oatmeal
 1 1/2 cups of sliced almonds (I had a hard time finding them because I thought they would be with the nuts, but they are in the baking section with chocolate chips)
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp of cinamon (I love cinnamon so i did way more than 1/2 tsp)
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1/4 cup of  honey
1 tsp of vanilla
1 1/2 cups of raisins or dried fruit (optional)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In a bowl mix oats, almonds, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.  In a saucepan warm oil and honey and whisk iin vanilla.  Carefully pour the liquid over the oat mixture.  Stir gently with spoon.  Spread granola on a cookie sheet (mine was totally full) Bake for 40 min  and let cool.  Stir in raisins or fruit of choice.  Store at room temp foa week in an airtight bag or three months in freezer. 
We took Mike some to work and he loved it too! 
Yesterday for our Wednesday afterschool church group we went to Hungry Mother for a playdate.  We had such fun.  David looks mad here but he had such fun.  This was before his tooth came out and he was stressed! 
Happy Thursday!  Let me know if you make the granola and if your peeps like it as much as we do!