Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Chicken Star Soldier

Warning: This is going to be a long blog update. The Summer of 2015 has been so great and much has changed in the past few months.

A massive DIY backyard project has dominated nearly all of our free time from April until early July (final touches still in progress), but the end result is really fantastic! I'm amazed at Jason's design and building skills, and it was fun for me to get in the act too on weekends and evenings. We probably worked through 6 weekends solid (10 hour days) and it was exhausting at times. By the end of it, I had forgotten how to actually sit still and relax on a weekend afternoon!

The asphalt driveway was in shambles and so we ripped it all out, expanded the parking area and put in a low deck that ties the outdoor living areas and side porch together. It is all complete with lighting and irrigation. After the driveway was done, the kids were so thrilled to be able to ride bikes and play back there.

The kids have made some wonderful progress with swimming lessons this summer too. I found a great instructor named Sara who is a senior this year at Rockhurst College. She is actually staying on through this school year to help with morning drop off, pickup and after school care. I knew Sara was the one for us on day one when Quinn started giving her trouble and she was able to deal with my super strong-willed boy. By the end of the Summer, he has learned so much! Olivia is really getting the hang of swimming now too. If you aren't familiar with kids swimming lesson lingo, Chicken Star Soldier is how you teach the backstroke. It's become a bit of a theme for us this summer.

In July, we went to Destin, FL for a week and had a blast. My little chickens cried when the waves got rough, salt got in their eyes and sand crabs were scary. My little stars learned how to boogie board, got confidence with the waves and learned to catch the crabs. My little soldiers got down to business helping with sand castles, carrying water and eventually packing up and schlepping everything home.

A much harder transition than ending vacation just happened however. My chickens have flown the nest of their beloved day care provider, Nina, and started school (well... Toddler and Preschool programs but an official school schedule) at St. Paul's just last week. They've each adjusted to the change differently (and honestly I've had quite an adjustment as well).  Here is a picture of the kids with Nina:

The jury is still out on how this school thing will go. Each night we field various protests from each of them about not wanting to go back. I pray that these protests let up in the coming weeks. But then again I see them transform into little stars and light up when they talk about new experiences they are having each day. Then each weekday morning, they trudge off to their classes like little soldiers.

I tell them that "school is so fun!" and make it sound true but honestly I was not a huge fan of school either (Olivia's protest). Part of me wants to hold my little chickens and let them live at home with Mommy and Daddy forever and ever. But the part that wants them to be stars packs their lunches up and pushes them out of the nest each day. This is an exercise in trust and letting go for all of us I think.

Further proof that this change is good (and adding to this crazy time of adjustment) is that Quinn decided after only 3 days of school that it was time to potty train! We've been talking about it for months, but now it's really happening. This little chicken turned into a potty-training star almost overnight! I also attribute it to the "magic car potty" (his words not mine) that I got for him.

Jason and I crossed the 5 year mark of marriage a few weeks ago and the date came and went without a lot of fanfare. In fact, we spent the evening at our favorite pizza joint with the kids and everyone talked about their day. Then after everyone was down we drank a bottle of champagne. It was perfect for me. I think maybe we will do something big to celebrate an odd year like 7 or 9 years.

I feel that each day I get to spend with Jason and these awesome kids is a huge blessing and celebration in itself. All of these adjustments, though sometimes hard, are healthy and natural. Come to think of it, each one of us has to learn the chicken/star/soldier stroke in our own way to live our lives and find fulfillment.

Love always, Claire & Family