"Tell your children of Him, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation." Joel 1:3

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Snapshot Sunday: The Vet

It's easy to decide who to do this week's Snapshot Sunday. In honor of Memorial weekend and all our vets, my very own Marine will be the subject.
Jason entered the Marine Corps right out of high school. And as sad as I was to watch him leave for boot camp....it was sorta cool having a Marine for a boyfriend.

For the next 4 years, he did his duty and we wrote lots of letters (something all of today's emailers and texters won't have a huge box of to pull out someday and read).
We got married in 1995, and as much as I'd love to say all eyes were on me...the bride...truth is, it's hard to resist watching a man in Marine Corps Blues.

I became a Marine wife, and I think my old bumper sticker was true....it was one of the toughest jobs in the Marine Corps. I watched him deploy 5 times over the years for 6 mos. or longer. Each time with new challenges for me to handle on my own...

and more things for him to miss while away.

After 8 years of active duty, he transferred to the Marine reserves and we moved back home. After spending 8 yrs. as a full timer, the weekend pumps were a breeze for him. But then, in 2003, he was activated once again.
This time into battle.

Saying goodbye to his 3 little boys and a pregnant wife.....not an easy thing to do.
I remember watching him walk away that day and, quite honestly, not really knowing when...or God forbid, if....I'd ever see him again.

So again, we wrote. No emails or cell phones...no skype or even updates from his command. The only way I even knew he was safe was because I hadn't gotten a visit from the Marine Corps telling me otherwise.

It took 3 mos. of him being away before he got a 10 minute opportunity to call home.
All we both did was cry and say I love you. It was the best phone call of my life.

He returned home just 7 short days before I gave birth to our 4th boy.
Talk about an emotional delivery.

It wasn't long after that that he got out of the Marine Corps. He misses it dearly, but he said he didn't want to put his family in a position of losing him ever again. He watches the news about deployments and he feels guilty....like he should be there too.
You see, us civilians have our loyalties. We're loyal to our families and we're loyal to our friends. We're loyal to our jobs and we're loyal to our faith. But unless you've served in uniform....unless you've slept in a desert half way around the world next to a guy who, just as you, hasn't showered in 6 weeks......unless you know the feeling of having someone have your back 24/7 and it's in a way that can mean life or death.....you don't understand the loyalty that my husband has to the Marine Corps. It can't be explained, it can't even be taught. It just is.
And all I can say is. Thank you God for that. Because without it, we wouldn't have the freedoms that we are so privileged to have. And we wouldn't know what it's like to worship, speak, or live freely. What a blessed Nation we live in.
Go out of your way to thank a vet tomorrow. Whether someone you know or the old man who just got out of his car with a WWII Vet License plate. They deserve it.


It's The Soldier
-Father D. E. O'Brien

It's the soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the PRESS.

It's the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of SPEECH.

It's the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to DEMONSTRATE.

It's the soldier, not the lawyer,
Who has given us the right to a FAIR TRIAL.

It's the soldier who salutes the flag,
Serves under the flag
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who gives the protester the right to burn the flag

Friday, May 28, 2010

Unfair

Timmy has had a pretty tough year with his grades. He's always been that kid that has to work hard for a C and Jay and I are fine with that. We've never been very 'grade oriented' parents.....we put far more importance on their effort and behavior/character at school. If the grades slip because they're slacking off or not doing their homework.....that's one thing, but when they do the work and struggle with the classwork and tests, that's another. That's the situation with Timmy. All along the teacher has been sending us grade notifications by email when he has a D or, once this year, even an F. She's very good about letting us help him redo the test he failed and she'll give him partial credit back and we've done plenty of extra credit work this year.
So, yesterday I was up at the school and happened to run into her in the hallway. We talked about him and how I didn't really know what to do to help him. I feel like he's getting into middle school years now and it will only get more difficult and he'll just keep getting pushed along. It's like I want to put my hands up and just say "okay, hang on...just stop for a minute....let's get him on track and then we can continue with the school year" but....unfortunately it doesn't work that way. I had the idea to check into getting him some extra summer help. Maybe something that could get him caught up a bit before starting 6th grade, or maybe something that could help him learn to study in a way that he could retain info easier...something. I remembered that when we had Tony at the public school for kindergarten last year, they recommended he attend a six week summer class a few mornings a week. It was paid by the district so there was no cost to us. I wondered if there was anything like that for a kid Timmy's age so when I left the school I went to the district building. The lady sent me to the office of the person who could help me. I told her what I was looking for and where he went to school. Here's where I explain why I titled this "unfair".
Yes, there is a summer program offered through the district for kids his age needing a little extra help.....unfortunately, because he is not registered in the public school system he is not eligible. Because all funding is based on the number of kids in school, he (and any of my other boys for that matter) can't take part in any district help. Um...let me get this straight......I pay my taxes just like everyone else.....one of the benefits of paying our taxes is the opportunity for public school education.....but because we've chosen to send them to Catholic school, we have also forfeited all rights that the rest of the neighborhood kids get. Yah, that sounds like a government plan.
This lady I was talking to was actually very nice and I could tell she agreed with me when I said 'well,that kinda stinks'. She gave me some helpful suggestions like having his teacher give us a pack of stuff to work with him over the summer or looking into some community ed. There would be a fee, but it would be cheaper than getting a tutor (not that we were necessarily gonna do that, but we were open to anything)
I don't worry about Tim when it comes to the long run and his future. I have no doubt he will do great things and he'll find what interests him and something he'll be great at. And he won't need to be great at science or math to do it...LOL. I just don't want him feeling like he's always one step behind for the next 7 years of schooling. The years are only gonna get harder. Well, something else to pray about.
By the way....he would die if I told him I was trying to find some summer school for him. Haha....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lots and lots....

So much has happened the past couple weeks. I remember a friend of mine years ago could never do anything or get together....she was always saying how busy she was and how she had too much to do so we never could make anything work. I remember thinking I didn't ever want to be that way.....the sort of person who was always too busy. Well, it's happened. Wrestling has been done for 6 weeks and I thought it would give us a breather, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I finished doing daycare so I just knew I'd suddenly have more time than I knew what to do with, but that doesn't seem to be the case either. I just seem to be filling it with other things. Not bad things....I'm able to be at the kids' school more to chaperone or see their afternoon concerts, I'm able to keep up with the housework much better.....but between having a garage sale, being busy at and volunteering for the Springfest, and getting ready to go camping this weekend....I have barely had a moment. Okay, let's be honest....I have had moments. I've had plenty of moments in the middle or at the end of the day where I could have come here and done some gabbin', but I couldn't get motivated to do it. And don't we all know that when you start doing something (or stop doing it in this case) it becomes habit and then easier to continue that habit. So, here I am....7:30am on a Wednesday morning. The kids just got on the bus and Tanner's still sleeping so I have a moment to write. After all, I hate to keep dissappointing my millions of faithful readers. *wink wink*
Here's the quick rundown on this month.
Last weekend we had a garage sale to help out with our adoption expenses. We told our family and close friends that if they had any stuff they were gonna get rid of anyway, we'd take it off their hands. Everyone really came through more than we ever could have expected. They did the same thing last year and it's been so nice to have such great support from everyone. The sale wasn't as busy as I'd like to have had it and Saturday was a total bust. We got rained out in the morning and couldn't be open in the afternoon because of Jason playing at the Springfest...but for those 2 days, we made about $900 so we are very happy about that. Hey, that's a lot of quarter stuff. The boys even sold hot dogs, chips, fruit snacks, and pop to help the cause.






So the school had their annual Springfest and it's huge. We didn't co-chair the volunteer effort this year like we did last year, but we were still a part of it. Jason played drums with the LifeTeen band that he plays with every Sunday at mass. They had a 2 hour stint on the stage and it was a lot of fun to see.




See anything in this picture that would drive Jay crazy?? Anything....anything at all?? Pretty obvious to anyone who knows him at all. Let's just say this Miller man was NOT happy about having to be on a Bud stage. HAHAHA!!! I told him I was gonna keep the picture and blow it up to bring to the summer company picnic. I wonder what his boss will think of him promoting the competition. LOL! Oh well, he was just happy to play. It's probably one of his favorite things to do...play the drums. And I'm tellin' ya...he is good! It just comes so naturally to him. He can hear a song once and just play. Now, if I could get that same sort of response outta him with cooking.....we'd be golden.

Okay, so one last, and very important, thing. The day before the sale started, one of my friends came over to help me get organized. She stayed for a about 2 hours. Before leaving she started talking to us about the adoption and how happy her and her husband are for us. She said that they loved what we were doing and that they really felt like God had His hand in it so they wanted to help out. By this time, I'm starting to cry (and make her cry too) and she handed us a check for $500. Oh my gosh, I can't tell you how much that meant to us. I somehow blubbered out 'are you sure...' She wouldn't let me finish. She said that people were so good to them and that they just wanted to pay it forward. We thanked her profusely and promised to do exactly the same as soon as we could. What an amazing couple. We are very blessed and continue to be amazed by the angels among us.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Introducing....

A little girl that Jason and I started sponsoring back in January. She is about 7 mos. old now and lives at an orphanage in China that takes in kids with special needs. Not hard to see that hers is cleft lip/palate. Because we were her first of 2 sponsors she needed, we had the privilege of naming her. Since Olivia was already taken and you can't double up on names at the orphanage, we named her Grace. Isn't she precious. We look forward to watching her progress.
An Orphan's Wish

Mother's Day

I had such a nice Mother's Day. It started on Sat. evening when we had our parents over for dinner and home movies. Dinner was great and the home movies were hilarious. We had forgotten how much Tyler liked to dance in front of the camera. And things that made me turn away and quietly scold the kids for doing during taping, were now the things that made us laugh the hardest. It was really fun.
Sunday morning, I literally woke up to the smell of bacon in the house. I dressed and went downstairs where a found a neatly set table and a husband slaving over a stove.....that's like a woman's version of Playboy.....total turn-on. hehee..



My very own mushroom, onion, spinach, and tomato omelet. Does he know what I like or what?!

My boys who make me happy and proud to be a mama every day.

They all had things to give me that they had made. Never mind my hairdo...I said I got dressed, I didn't say I looked nice.



Tony's card said his mom is 40 yrs. old. Oh, brother....

Tanner's card made up for it when I read that he thought his mom weighed 30 pounds.


Best thing I'll ever do in my life is be a mom. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Timmy's birthday

Wednesday was Timmy's birthday. I'm only a couple days late here. We did our usual birthday evening with the kids. Birthday boy picks dinner.....his choice was a shrimp and fettuccine dish I make....we do presents, and then brownies and ice cream. He has been asking for a pogo stick and a skateboard so we looked into both. I knew they carried the pogo stick at the toy store, but what I didn't know is that the cheapest one (for his age group) was $100. Sooo.....we went with the skateboard. He was thrilled! He loved it and he said he would think about buying the pogo stick with his birthday money. Personally, I'd rather he didn't. I think it's gonna be one of those things that's really fun for a little while, then loses it's excitement in a short time. Next thing we know it's garage sale material. We'll see about that one I guess. Tonight is Tanner and Molly's preschool program at school and everyone is coming over afterwards for cake and ice cream to celebrate Timmy and Adam's birthdays.

Started the morning with his 11 pancake....of course. I wonder if I'm gonna have to do that when they are 32? Ya know, come to their house in the morning before they go to work and make them a 32 pancake. hehe

We went outside after brownies cuz Timmy wanted to try out his skateboard. While we were out there, Tony wanted to try his 2-wheeler again (he's been working on riding it without training wheels). He got on, started to go and off he went....all the way down to the cul-de-sac and back. He just all of a sudden got it.
video

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Snapshot: Cousins

Do you have cousins? Do you have a lot of cousins? Because if you don't, you're missin' out. And if you do....well then you know how completely fun they can be.
I love that my boys have each other.....and I love that they have their cousins.

For several years now, not a year has gone by that there hasn't been a new addition to the gang.....
In fact, some years we've even increased by two.

Thanks to some carefully orchestrated tag-teaming with one of my sister-in-laws, the line on the beach got longer every year.

....and longer

We'd snap a picture of the growing brewd.....even when not everyone was a willing participant....

...and dressed them in silly hats just to sweeten the shot.

You can bet that our holidays and get togethers are no simple task.

and the noise volume is not for the faint of heart.

But if you asked me if I'd trade our big, crazy family for the world....I'd say, not a chance.

Because with each passing year...

and each new addition....

the line of kids on the beach gets longer.....

and the mounds of presents under tree gets bigger.

and the kids keep gaining a new built-in friend for life

The best part is....

that there's more to come....

cuz we aren't yet ready to call it a day.....

and we don't yet have enough birthdays in the family to celebrate...

so we look forward to the ever expanding gang

and to the always crazy time that having all these cousins makes.

What a gift.