A Decade Old!

February 10, 2016

in birthdays,growing up

Some of my kids birthdays hit me harder than others.  Each year I feel the passing of time in a way I never felt for myself.  Each year I am washed with a wave of nostalgia and spend a good amount of time looking back at pictures of that precious child through the years. Each year I do my best to shower my child with love and attention and all of their favorites b/c we spend 364 days reiterating to our children that life is not all about them, and on their birthday it is mostly about them. 

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But, still some birthdays just pull at my Momma’s heart more than others.  And 10 is one of the ones that gets me. How is my second born 10 already?  How has an entire decade gone by since she came into our world

I’ve caught myself looking at her lately, letting time stand still in the midst of the ordinary and just noticing her. 

I watched her walking out of the gym with her team mates.  Hair in a messy bun, chalk on her face and hands, slowly making her way out of the gym, laughing with her team mates, and I realized she isn’t little anymore.  In my mind she’s still a level 3 barely reaching into the chalk bucket, but she’s not.  She looked mature and grown up to me then.  Granted she is not as old as the teenagers which came out of the gym in their cluster of friends, but she suddenly didn’t look as far behind them as my heart feels like she should be.   IMG_8427I watched her the other morning while she was doing her math.  Sunlight streaming in the window as she sat there methodically working through a long division problem.   She looked so beautiful to me.  I love her how her mind works.  I love how smart and logical she is.  I love the way she loves numbers and takes comfort in order.  I love how goal oriented she is.  She is not one for instant gratification.  She will work hard towards a goal and isn’t swayed when results aren’t instant. She is fearless and tough. I also love that even though she is my no nonsense, tell it like it is, life is black/white girl,  she also has this nurturing instinct in her.  She loves toddlers and begged me to sign us up to serve in the church nursery this past year.IMG_7522  She LOVES the little kids in there and seriously counts down the weeks until it is our turn to help in the nursery. Looking back at old birthday blog posts, I see she’s been like this since she was three.  I also love watching her compete in gymnastics.  I love to see that twinkle in her eyes, the smile on her face while she talks to her team mates or warms up for her event.  I can tell just by the look on her face that she is having a good time and it warms my heart more than I can express.  It’s my favorite part of gym meets.  Sure, I love it when she scores a personal best or has a particularly good meet, but my favorite part by far is the look of joy on her face. 

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This past year I’ve learned that she loves languages as well.  She LOVED Latin last year and still does.  This December she added Mandarin to her workload, working 30 minutes a day on Rosetta Stone.  I love when we walk through the grocery store and she sees something and points it out in Mandarin.   I love watching her sit at the computer, headphones on and listen to her repeat works back in Chinese.  It makes me heart smile.

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I can’t believe she is 10 this week. I can’t believe she’s been in our life for a decade now.  And I can’t believe that I am so lucky to be her Momma.  I love her more than she could possibly know.  And as we gear up for the teen years, I hope and pray that God will mold her into a lady with a heart for Him.  I pray He uses her strong mind, body, and will for His glory.  And I pray that she would never ever forget that I love her more than she could possibly know and nothing could ever change that fact.  I am so thankful to be her Momma. 

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Cut out sugar cookies are my kids favorite Christmas cookies.  And I must confess that they are my favorite to make. 

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Because, the mess and the silliness, and the giggles, I love it!

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I typically have them cut out the cookies one day and we decorate them another.  This year we decorated them with our cousins.

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More kids, more mess, more fun!

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We had a wonderful Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania with my family.  thanksgiving

On the way home, we stopped at a new to us tree farm to cut down our tree.

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It was an unseasonably warm day and we had a wonderful time finding our tree.  Looking forward to the Christmas season!

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This weekend was our annual raking of the leaves, which is always followed by the annual Daddy tossing the kids high into the sky. IMG_4407

And truthfully when I saw our annual raking of the leaves…. I mean Scott’s annual raking.  I occupied myself with indoor cleaning and only went out to snap some pictures of the fun at the end.

The kids LOVE when Daddy throws them high into the pile. IMG_4383

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Not sure how many more falls he’ll be able to toss them so high.  But those smiles seem to push him to try “just one more time.”

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Even our dog Wendy got into the fun, much to the kids delight.  Sadly our oldest wasn’t here for the leaf fun as we camping with the scouts, but much to his delight, he also got to miss out on the raking.

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Last week was a busy week at our house.  Scott was on travel for three full days.  The girls had a big meet at their gym.  They had to score out of level 5 in order to be able to compete this year as level 6’s. Saturday the boys had a tournament.  It was the first one for our 5 year old.  Throw in the normal hustle and bustle of school and practices and scouts and you get the idea.  It was busy… in the midst of the busy my Dad called Wed afternoon and said he had been given three tickets to the Steelers game on Sunday.  He was offering two of us to join him.  Hmmmm….. can we tack on a 5 hour drive to PA and back that weekend? 

The answer Scott gave me when I texted him as he was boarding his airplane late Wed night was, “You know we will find a way to make this work.”

Oh how I love his willingness to embrace the crazy to make the memories! 

Two years ago when we were given this opportunity, Scott and my oldest son joined my dad.   This time, it seemed fitting for me and my oldest daughter to join my dad for the game at Heinz Field.

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Sunday was perfection.  Seriously, it was a gorgeous afternoon.  Blue skies.  Sunny.  60 degrees.  You could not ask for a better environment to watch a football game in. IMG_7988

Heinz Field is magical.  I have been there 4 times.  Once for a preseason game.  Once for a  freezing, cold playoff game.  Once for a rainy regular season game which we lost to the Bengals.  And yesterday, for a picture perfect BEAUTIFUL day in which we TROUNCED on the Browns.

I enjoyed each of them immensely. 

I was not cocky going in.  I was optimistic that we would come out with a win, but not over confident.  We were starting with our back up quarterback and short many key defensive players.  And, often times our boys in black and gold fail to bring their A game when playing easy match ups. 

But, yesterday was magical!

In the first drive of the game our back up quarterback was injured.  As our kicker kicked the field goal, Ben was taking off his headset and grabbing his helmet.  Fans were cheering, “Ben, Ben, Ben!”  I didn’t know what to think, but Ben was going in.

I was so so excited that we got to see Ben play.  So so excited to see him and Antonio Brown connect. IMG_7996 The game was just awesome.  We won 30-9.  We were up the entire game!  We had turnovers, defensive stands, and beautiful offensive drives.  It was just so so fun.   And my daughter followed it all.  She was waving her towel proudly throughout.  She was screaming like crazy when our defense was on the field.  She even made her own D- fence poster to hold up.  (which she proudly held up every time the Browns offense was out there, until someone’s beer spilled all over it…. then she went back to her towel).   She was following it all and asking good questions.  She totally got the game and what was happening. 

I got my love of football from my Dad.  He raised me a Steelers fan from birth.  I loved getting to enjoy the game with him.  I loved having three generations of Steelers fans together enjoying the game.  It was a memory I know I will treasure for a long time.

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We exited the stadium through the great hall.  We got to show my daughter each of the Steelers Superbowl trophies.  Here she is with the one that they one just a few days shy of her entering the world.

And meanwhile, the rest of the family, also had some precious memory making.  Right beside the stadium, they have a family friendly tail gating area.  Scott, my mom, and the other three kids got to watch the game televised on a giant screen outside, literally in the shadow of Heinz Field.

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They were throwing the football, eating snacks, and watching the game, with the sounds of the crowd in the background.  It was a special experience for them too.  Scott said since televised games are on a 10 sec delay, they knew before the play finished what happened b/c of the sounds from the stadium.  How fun is that?? 

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Afterwards we took the kids to Primanti Brothers for dinner.  It was so fun to walk in a restaurant with Steelers banners everywhere and people dressed in Steelers clothes.  This is not a common occurrence for us.  As we walked out, someone high fived us all and said, “Goooo Steelers!” My not at all shy 5 year old, ate it up, high fiving total strangers screaming, “Gooooo Steelers!”  Scott and I looked at each other and smiled as we said, “well, we couldn’t have ended the day any better than that.”  We hit the road and made it home by 11.  We were gone a little over 24 hours…. two late night turnpike runs.  But worth every minute of that drive.  I am so grateful for the opportunity we were given to make such special memories. 

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We went on a field trip today to the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History.   IMG_4232Man, I forgot how many cool exhibits it has.  We haven’t been for several years.  While we had seen some of these things before, it was so neat to see them again.  And we added new things to our experience this time around.

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We started the day by attending a class with some of our friends from our tutorial, which was  led by some museum workers.  Our oldest son got to go in their lab and examine and learn about bones.  Our girls attended a class on Egyptian artifacts, and while this was going on our youngest toured the mammal exhibit with dad. 

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Then we all joined up and visited The Butterfly Tunnel.  This was so so fun and brought back memories to me, of the time we went 6 years ago.  My how they have grown since that visit! 

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Next up was the mummies since that is what we are studying in history this quarter.  I was truly struck by the fact that there I was standing in front of something that was created thousands of years ago.  It wasn’t a picture or a replica.  It was the real thing.  I never processed this before, but it truly hit me like a ton of bricks. 

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We planned to head out for lunch after that, but we just kept running into one more exhibit that we’d stop at.  The dinosaurs, a beautiful art gallery filled with animal/nature pictures that won a National Geographic contest.  The kids LOVED this exhibit!  As did mom and dad.  Then we were really ready to go eat our bagged lunch, and were just going to peek at the Hope Diamond…. which led to a walk down the gemstones, crystals hallway.  SO many beautiful things to see and observe! 

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We then ate lunch out by the mall.  It was a BEAUTIFUL day.  I sat eating our sandwiches, looking at the Washington Monument in the background and just truly enjoyed the moment.  Our youngest observed we were all in a circle and thought we should play duck duck goose.  It was the best game of duck duck goose I have ever played.  The big kids embraced it.  We all just laughed and giggled and it was just one of those moments, I wanted to tuck away and savor.  20151103_141715

We decided we had time to visit the National Achieves before heading home.  In all my trips in to DC I’ve never been inside.  It was truly remarkable to stand before the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  I am so thankful for our country.  I am thankful for our government.  I know people whine and complain and facebook about our country, but truthfully, we have it so so good here.  We are so fortunate.  And I know I take that for granted too often.  The younger kids didn’t really appreciate the archives, but my history loving oldest son LOVED it.  And I LOVED his enthusiasm. 

20151103_152807We ended with pumpkin spice lattes and chocolate milk at Starbucks on our way back to the van on a gorgeous fall day. 

Ah, I love field trips.  I Love DC.  I love my family.  I love fall.  Put them all together and you have a pretty remarkable Tuesday.

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