Wednesday, June 10, 2015

13th Anniversary

13 years of marriage - it's not monumental or record breaking, but it is a start.

I have loved the 13 years I have spent with my Curtis.  I hope and pray there are so many more that we achieve the "how long have you been married?!?" looks, because we look so young and in love after 57 years.  However, my beloved confessed last night that he just hope I lived long enough to deal with Adah's 1st bra and period.  That made me laugh so much.  I was like ... thanks, I think ... then he came back with I hope you are around a lot longer than that but that is the one thing I cannot imagine doing on my own.  I get it, I can't imagine my dad being the one to "help" me through those changes.  Still that is the funny thing about growing together in a relationship, you begin to count on each other for all the little/big things.  I really do love that practical nature of him.

So 13 years of marriage and a date night to celebrate makes me laugh.  It's not the romance filled celebration that I thought it would be when we started this married stuff.  It is practical, enjoyable, and fun.  We laughed a lot and still had plenty to talk about.  Do you wonder what?  Probably not, but I'll tell you anyway ...

  • our will
  • the highway 61 expansion
  • kids birthday presents and celebrations
  • work
  • plans for the summer
  • stress
  • how stupid the movie "BarnYard" was on Netflix the night before - they had a boy cow and anyone who knows anything about cows knows there is only girl cows ...  the disservice this movie provided for any child without a farm background ... the possibility of a vegan farmer ... what kind of person has chickens and doesn't protect them from coyotes ... the list is endless, we may have talked about it for 30+ minutes.  Curtis will not allow himself to watch it again.  The fact that he took that kind of stance, just cracks me up.
  • politics and the boneheads who run our government and claim they will get us out of the mess they got us into - we have kids we hear those claims EVERYDAY!!
  • school and which one of us will be THAT parent
  • goofy stuff our kids are doing and saying
  • keeping the house clean and "training" the kids to do their chores
  • and our marriage and life together, somehow woven through it all
  • oh and that Biaggi's butter
We had a great night.  I still know that marrying Curtis was my best decision EVER.  I cannot imagine a better life or a better person to share all the triumphs and failures, the joy and the grief, the fun and the discipline, or anything else with.  Here's to the first 13 and many more to come.  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Kindergarten take 2

Back to school night :)
It's that time, my Adah is off to Kindergarten.

I cannot believe it.  My girl is 6 and ready to GO!!!

Mom, not so much.  It's the shift in life that is hard.  I will no longer be the primary adult in her life, most of her prime time will be with someone else, somewhere else.  I trust the teacher and the school, but still ... it's bittersweet and leaves me with doubt.

Did I do enough to prepare her?
Will she make friends?
Did I use my time with her well or just fill her with ideas and attitudes that her teacher will struggle with?
Will she fit in so as not to be the weird one, but not so well as to not be herself and all that God has made her to be?

I'm trying not to be the weird weepy mom, she is ready.
She is excited.
The timing is good.
We waited until we were sure she was ready.
But ... I'm still sad.

So here lies the challenge, being sad without causing her sadness and worry.

So, here is my plan, get my words out HERE, then get a good nights sleep.  In the morning, get up and PRAY for God to use me in Adah as she leaves for Kindergarten and Michael as he heads to 4th grade.  Snuggle with my kids, because they all still like that and need it to start our day well.  Make pancakes, because that was the special request tonight.  Leave the house at 7:45, because they moved the start of the school day up by 10 minutes - whoever made that decision doesn't have small kids - 10 minutes!!!  It may as well be an hour, it changes EVERYTHING!!!  Get pictures of everyone, get them to school, more pictures.  Walk Adah to class give make sure to tell her I can't wait to see her and hear about her day.  Take Gideon by the hand and leave the room, trying to keep Mr. Social from visiting all the rooms on the way out of the school.  Get back to the van, buckle my buddy in, THEN cry, but get over it quickly, I'm going out to breakfast with those who have gone before me.

I talked with Adah and Michael tonight about our goals for the year, well it ended up being more my goals for them.

Michael: Do things on purpose with purpose.  Try hard every day, even if you can just float through, don't settle - do your best.
Learn in your head and heart who you are in God's eyes and how he can use your strengths.
Develop friendships, get a true blue buddy.
Be kind to everyone, even those who are hard to be kind to, stick up for those who are picked on.
Have fun, everything is better when it is fun, don't get too busy or serious to miss it.

Adah: learn to read so you can love and learn about the world and people through books.
Be a good friend and make a good friend.
Make mistakes and learn from them.
Have fun, all good things in life should have a bit of fun in them - especially school.

I think I need to make some goals for me in this school year :) but that is another topic for another day.  Time to head to bed, time to pray for grace and courage, and time to enjoy this next stage of life with me and my G.
Back to school night - Michael was thrilled to get his picture taken, can you tell?
My 2 school kids :)
Thinking on all this I remembered that I blogged before Michael started school and WOW I'm predictable it is a similar experience.  end-of-week-of-michael 

Adah is 6!!!

I missed Adah's birthday blog somehow, so before I wrote on KINDERGARTEN, I felt I needed this one here too.  Since this blog is for my processing and my kids to read after I'm gone, I don't want to miss her birthday.

June 14, 2008 a day that is unforgettable to me and although it was six years ago, feels so recent.

The day Adah was born was a great day.  I didn't know I thought she was a boy, until the doctor told me she was a girl and I said "REALLY????" then as I looked at her in all her newness I kept saying, "I can't believe she is a girl ... It's really a girl ... Wow, a girl ..."

God knew what we needed, a girl.  Our house needed sparkles and twirls and high pitched stories and giggles - I didn't know it, but Adah is what was missing.

I didn't know what to name a girl.  I had a list of boy names, but nothing for a girl, until a few weeks before she was born, up late helping Joy write a paper over the phone, searching the Internet looking for Biblical names I found Adah, liked it immediately and then looked at the meaning ... beautiful addition.  (Ava had been on our list, but then in Ikea we seemed to trail a family with a little Ava and by the time we all checked out Ava was off my list.)  Then on June 14 I met Adah, indeed a beautiful addition, perfect name for the perfect girl for our family.  Not perfect by any means, but perfect for us.

She has been a beautiful addition to our family for 6 years now, so I will give you 6 of my favorite things about Adah - notice I said 6 of not 6, the list is very long.

Adah loves life.  She loves music and is always singing (slightly off key) and dancing.  She loves nature she picks flowers, rocks, sticks, you name it she has probably picked it up.  She then "investigates" things she finds with a magnifying glass.  We often have the "Mom, did you know..." talks.  She finds dirt, mud, and all things fun and filthy delightful.  Rain boots are an important part of our wardrobe.  How can you be girly and love mud?  I don't know, but Adah finds the balance.

Adah loves people.  Adah doesn't meet people she makes new friends.  She will say that's my new friend, I'll ask what is her name, she will answer I don't know, but she is my good friend.  Maybe that is what I will be like when I'm senile, I don't know her name, but she is my good friend.  She can take a bit to warm up to adults in an unusual situation, but once she does, watch out.

Adah is interesting.  You never really know what she is going to say or ask.  Some people may call it challenging, but those are the people who always feel challenged.  I think it's interesting, she isn't like everyone else and at this point doesn't feel the need to be, she is brave in herself.  She recognizes that is just how I am, feel, look ... and I hope it lasts forever.  Wouldn't this world be amazing if we were all good with who and how we are and expect other people to be who and how they are and look at each other as interesting instead of challenging.

Adah is a girl.  She giggles, she twirls. She loves dress up and is imaginative.  She can play and play and play with her dolls, stuffed animals.  She loves her brothers well and gets rough and tumble, but does it in her own dainty way.  She softens rough edges in us all.

Adah is quick. She is the girl who is always ready.  I don't have to talk her into changing plans or doing something different, she is up for it.  She tries new things and charges fearlessly ahead, leaving us catching up with her.  God is going to use this in a mighty way.  I've been praying that he will allow her wild spirit to lead her to His gain and that I will hold her tightly in my heart and prayers but with hands open when the time is right.  That the taming will come to help her move ahead in wisdom, but not in causing her to stop in fear.

Adah is mine.  Well, mine and Curtis's, but it's my blog I can claim her as my girl.  I look at her and remember her beginning, she was a good baby.  She didn't sleep well through the night consistently until she was 2, but that was OK.  I wouldn't trade those snugly moments with her for anything - well when she was 18 months, I probably felt differently - but now the blessings overwhelm me.  She knows how I work, better than I know how she works, but we are figuring that out.  She struggles with no meaning no, but so do I.  When I see her snuggled in her bed at night, I feel blessed because God trusted me with her and I didn't deserve His trust, but look at it with hope, knowing that He would only do that if He truly believed that I would be the best mom to help her grow into the woman He needs her to be to accomplish the plan He has for her.  My goodness, what a gift.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Well, it's July 10th again.

I wish that it was a great memory that brought July 10th to mind, but it's a sad one.  The day Dad left his earthly home and headed for glory, suddenly and by surprise for us, but as all things - according to God's plan.  I still don't understand why God stole him away from us and I probably never will, but I knew then and hold dear now that God can still be sovereign even when I don't get it.

What kind of God do you want to serve?  A God that you always understand and predict or one that knows more than you, can see farther than you, and is willing to go against your plan, even when it's hard, to put His perfect plan into action.  I want my God to be bigger than me, know more than me, and is able to do His work in His time - otherwise, God is just like you - what kind of God is that?  Weak!!  My God is not weak!!

Don't you remember the sunday school song?  "My God is so BIG!!  So strong and so mighty there's nothing my God cannot do."

Losing Dad was the hardest thing I've ever gone through and it could have ruined me, but I think it strengthened me.  I look back and realize that his death made me more prepared for life's ups and downs, the joy and the sorrow.  I have learned to take a step back and take things as they come - well, I'm still learning that.  I realized that I wanted to be like him, a lover a people and God, not perfect, but always trying, learning, growing.  How much time do we waste on the "important" things in life, only to miss the truth - God gives us all a certain number of days and when they are up, what did our life stand for?  Was it for Him and the things He loves or was it seeking after other stuff?

One of the greatest gifts and comforts right after his death and continuing to this day was the unshakable knowledge he gave me.  He loved me. - I knew it.  He knew I loved him - I knew that too. I will see him again - I KNOW it!!  That is an unwavering comfort and an incredible gift.  I could rest in it and when nothing else was known, I knew those three things.  There were times when the loneliness was overwhelming, but I thought of those three things and could somehow cling to hope.  I didn't want to grieve as one with no hope.  I had hope and I had those three things.  

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (ESV)
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to youby a word from the Lord,[a] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
I miss him all the time and long for his words, stories (tall tales), hugs, smells, songs, and laughter, but these are all things I hope to get again when we meet in heaven - well, maybe not the smells.  (Are there smells in heaven - a lot of his smells came from sweat and the things to cover up the sweat - HAHA a sweaty Kelly man, how can it be?  Is there sweat in heaven?  Oh, but that sweat was sweet to me.)  Looking forward to that blessed day of being reunited and with our God.  In the meantime I will savor those moments when a few of those Dad things come my way as if a gift from Heaven.  I have had a few times when I hear or read his words, re-tell a story, catch a smell, hear one of his songs, or the lilt of someone's laughter is similar and those are tear-filled and treasured moments.  Maybe today I will get one of those moments ...

Love you Dad and can't believe that 11 years can feel like forever and yesterday at the same time.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gideon is 3 - how can it be?

Today is my youngest child Gideon's 3rd birthday.  It's a bittersweet day, I love watching him grow and know that a growing child is a gift from God, but while looking at photographs today it's hard to believe how quickly the last 3 years have gone and part of me misses that chubbalicious baby.

Instead of focusing on what was I will just enjoy where we are today - June 10, 2014.

A side note about where we are NOW:  We are watching Planes and loving Dusty Cropphopper and the lessons of this movie.  Hard work helps us achieve our dreams, it doesn't just happen without the work.  Forgiveness is hard when others disappoint you but is worth it  in the end and will make your friendship stronger.  Approaching others without fear and confident in who you are will help you win friends, when you aren't trying to be someone else you are able to show others who you really are and they will like you more for your individuality and be able to be who they really are with you - you are a safe friend and those kind of friends are invaluable.  OK, done with my life lesson movie review :)

Since it is his THIRD birthday - 
I will list 3 of my favorite things about my Gideon.

  1. Gideon, you are full of love and joy and being around you makes others feel loved and joyful.
  2. Gid, you have taught me that I cannot control everything and that letting go of the little things to focus on the big things is always the best choice.  
  3. G man, you have grown in your 3 short years into an adventurous, curious, and mischievous little boy.  This is something that I adore and find annoying, often at the same time, but this is also something that will make your life interesting and rich (not in $$$ but in experiences - the best kind of way to be rich).  You are definitely not boring and encourage all of us blessed to know and love you to find and cling to that childlike delight that does our hearts good.  The laugh you posses and share with us is worth more than gold.

I cannot wait to see who you grow into and am so blessed to be your mom and part of the process.  No matter what else happens in life, I am always going to be cheering for you and praying for your safety.  Happy 3rd Birthday to my little Gidster, where would we be without you?  I pray we never find out.  We will enjoy your birthday as we celebrate together with all the fun that birthday's bring.

Happy Happy Birthday to you Gideon!!!  We love you more today than the day you were born!!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Public Restrooms ...

This may be a bit of a rant ... but here goes

Who designs public restrooms?  I would love, love, love to be part of the consumer research for this.

Here is a list of what is needed in a public restroom:

  1. My person (skin, shoes, purse) should not have to touch the walls, door, the "sanitary items" trash can on the wall, or the toilet paper dispenser.
  2. I should not have to straddle the toilet to shut the door.  
  3. There should always be a place to hang a purse and diaper bag.  (Just try to take a little guy in there, stand him on your feet, try not to touch anything, and then hang your purse and diaper bag around your neck - seriously how much does a hook cost?)
  4. In every public restroom there should be at least 1 stall without the auto-flush toilet to eliminate the need to cover the sensor so my little people can piddle without being flushed.
  5. The toilet paper should be within reach of the person sitting in the toilet - you shouldn't have to lean all the way over to reach it at the bottom of the stall or have to bend all the way forward to reach it near the door.  (Toilet paper removal should never remind you of the time you watched your dad "pull" a calf.)
  6. I should never have to separate from my little people in a public restroom or piddle with the door open so I can see where they are.  
  7. If you want to be skimpy with paper towels, toilet paper, or water through your micro-management of how much should be used, know that I and most other people (I have seen a few in the restroom) will use more than we need.  (I do find it ironic when a hospital or other medically involved building uses the water reduction system that gives you about 3 seconds of water to wash - do they not read their own hand washing policy signs?!?)

7 simple things.  Not too much to ask, just think about using the restroom you design with 2 children in tow and decide if it is set up well.  If you are in public restroom design and would like some help - I have some ideas :) and am willing to share.

This rant is coming from a place of LOVE not from a place of being piddled on - that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  (Anyone else singing the song now? - no, just me, the Collin Raye lover.)

I do reserve the right to add to this list as is my right as a user of public restrooms and as a mother of a little piddler who has to navigate the restroom with a purse, diaper bag, and another little person as witness to the piddle.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


At the spring parent teacher conference Curtis and I were told that Michael and his partner (I won't put his name out there in case his parents aren't good with that) were regional finalists in the Exploravision competition.  1 of 24 entries chosen to go to the next level.  Ok, that sounds good, she was really excited so we knew it was kind of a big deal.  He was excited, he was going to win a Toshiba Tablet.

Just what we need, more electronics - not complaining, just ironic how we have gone from a not even a smart phone 2 years ago to a family with a screen for everyone (almost).  A lot of eyes and minds to guard, keeps this mom on her toes.  I do limit screen time - we are not a run it 'til the batteries dead house.  I'm not perfect, but I try to pay attention :)

I didn't even know that he was participating in the contest - I guess that makes me a bad mom? but he brought no work home and never spoke of it.  I usually only get details from his homeroom class, and rarely hear about anything else.  I thought that it was cool, but not that huge.  Then the information began to trickle in.

The region is 9 midwestern states and Canada.
The 24 chosen were from all age groups, there were only 5 other groups in his age range from across the country.
They were doing a commercial/promo for the Tornado Trasher that would air on local radio.
An assembly would be help for he an his partner with a Toshiba rep presenting him with the award.
They were interviewed, photographed, and ended up with an article in the paper.
The congratulations began to come in from people "in the know".

I was a little unsure of how to respond to all this.

On one hand, I was so happy for him and proud, I wanted to shout it and tell everyone I knew.  But on the other, I didn't want it to be a "my kid is sooooo smart, talented, gifted, perfect" ... thing, that my friends and others would resent.  You know who those people are, you don't read their Facebook posts either.  He is my kid and I love him, but I know he is far from perfect and to be honest, I don't want him to be perfect.  It's our imperfections that make us interesting.  He is special in many ways, but so is everyone else.

So what is a mom to do?

I don't want this to be the high point of his education - he is only a third grader.  I don't want him to feel that approval and pride are earned with big awards.  But, I also don't want it blown over and not enjoyed.  I am trying to strike a balance - but that is hard, when obviously I am proud and loving the thought of his success and adding another layer to figuring out who he is and what God has gifted him with.  Don't get me wrong an all expense paid trip to Washington D.C. would be FABULOUS!!  (Say it like Billy Crystal did in those old pop commercials - was it TAB?)  I should be more excited about the possibility of the $$ than the trip right?  But we have to get to the finals, before that becomes any kind of reality.

I'm just going to keep praying that I don't mess him up, too much, and enjoy this ride, wherever we go from here.

Dear Lord, Thank you for the opportunity.  Thank you for the teachers and staff at our school who challenge students.  Thank you for the originators of this contest who allow children a voice and an opportunity to dream big.  Please help Michael as he participates in this contest to see it as it is: a gift and an opportunity to grow in knowledge and grace.  He may loose, help him to be gracious.  He may win, help him to be humble.  Please allow this to help him uncover the God given strengths that you planned for and created before we even knew him.  Allow this to be a step in becoming the man you want him to be, part of the plan you have for his life.  Please help me know what to say and do as we journey through this season and the next together.  I love this boy and am honored to be his mom, even if he would not have been chosen for this project or is ever "known" by the world around us again.  Thank you for Michael.  Thank you for who he is and who he is becoming.  Please help me to love him well and teach him to love you.  Help me hold onto him loosely so you can take him and use him.  I can't wait to see what you do next Lord, not just in this contest (it's silly and little) but in the life of my son and in our family, I know it's all in your hands.  In the name of your precious Son - AMEN