Thursday, July 30, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

The end and the beginning

I can't believe the summer is flying by so fast! August has been in our minds for a LONG time now - it marks two very major milestones in our household.

In just 2 1/2 weeks Jason will complete his college career. Unbelievable. I mean we can just taste it around here....the busyness of the last couple weeks of a semester, lots of assignments due, party planning in the air, exhaustion & dementia are setting in for Jason :-) and we are just generally giddy about it.

Here is a picture of Jason and Elijah the month that he started back to school - June 2006.

Elijah was a barely 2 year old, potty-training, pacifier-sucking, crib-sleeping, baby really. I remember very vividly when Jason started school, we talked about how when he graduated, Elijah would be starting kindergarten shortly after. That was inconceivable to us at the time. I mean, he was barely 2 years old, our baby, and it had hardly been any time at all since he had been born and given to us from God.

Well, in 4 weeks it's going to happen. Elijah starts kindergarten 4 weeks from today, on August 24th. I was crying about it just last night....AGAIN. To me it's just the end of such a big era....I will no longer have him to myself all day every day. I have to learn to trust someone else to take care of him for the majority of the week, and I am learning that it is REALLY hard for me to do that. You care for your children for so long, carefully thinking through everything that you do - will this hurt him/her, is this what's best for them, is it safe for them? And then one day when they are 5 years old, you hand them off to a stranger really....and walk away.

I would appreciate prayers leading up to and on that day for me, Elijah, Jason and Judah. While not as emotional as I am, Jason is having a hard time swallowing the idea that Elijah's even old enough to start school, and Judah will miss his brother. The GREAT news is that Elijah couldn't be more excited and I am so thankful for that.

Elijah, We are so so proud of you son. You are such a special boy and I can just see in your eyes that God is going to do mighty things through you and in you. I pray that as we send you off to start your school career, that you will remain excited & enthusiastic about it, that you will work hard, respect your teachers, be kind to your friends and just be a light for Jesus in this dark world. Temptations and peer pressure will be a natural part of your growing up, and I just pray that you will remember to tell Satan "No!" like we talked about and make the choices that God wants you to make. We love you and are always here for you. You are going to do great!

The end and the beginning - the end of Jason's college career and the beginning of a wonderful new chapter in our lives...God is really preparing us for some exciting things in the not so far away future. For Elijah, the end of an era where Mom makes all the decisions and the beginning of something exciting and independent.

Now, only 4 years until I need to start crying about THIS nut starting kindergarten. Oh dear, let's not go there. :-)

He was trying to show me his muscles and these pictures just cracked me up! He is crazy!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

NASA and more

My mom got me the pictures she took when her and Elijah went to NASA in Houston a couple of weeks ago.

They went with my aunt and some of her grandkids - here is a picture of all of them.

The group inside the space center.

Elijah with Colby and STAR WARS - I heard he was in heaven!

My mom said that this was as close he would get to Darth Vader - I guess the man in black is a little scarier in person. :-)

Mmmmm, Dippin' Dots - the most expensive ice cream in the country! :-)

"Houston, we have a problem..."

His cousins Hunter & Connor were staying with my aunt the same week we were there - they had a blast playing together in the pool!

And then the bus ride home from Houston to Dallas - then they rode the train from Dallas to Ft Worth.

What a fun trip - thanks Kaki! Where is your picture??? :-)

These are some random pictures from earlier this summer at Nana & Grangoat's house.

My boys discovered what grandfathers are good for:
Jumping off,

Wrestling with,


What a mess. The many faces of Elijah:

A few cute ones of the bug:

Judah had fun for a few minutes and then he said, "Out". That's his new favorite word - actually, one of his only words right now.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Week at Camp

Elijah had a BLAST being a day camper for the week. He was in cabin B1. My nephew Andrew and our friend Nicole (Coco) from Fortress were two of his counselors.

You sit with your cabin at mealtimes - here's Elijah's cabin waiting for the food to be served.

They celebrated 4 birthdays that week just in their cabin - they wore transformers party hats when the cake was served. He had lots of cake! :-)

This is a shot of the dining hall when it's full for mealtimes. After each meal, the campers clean off the tables and the counselors put the tables away. This is where Judah and I spent our mornings - he had the whole room to run around in while I helped my mom with things. The volunteers in the kitchen had lots of fun playing with him too.

On Weds night, they have a talent show. Elijah's cabin did break dancing to some hip hop music. It was hilarious and I was really surprised that he did it. I think the little boys in his cabin must have showed him what to do - you can't see much from this picture but I had to try to capture the moment!

For the week, each camper picks 4 special interest classes to do - one for each day Tues - Fri. Elijah chose soccer, kickball, canoeing and fishing. Here he is at canoe time. The girl in the red shirt is Lauren - she is a camp assistant for the summer and helped Elijah out during the day since he was a lot younger than most campers. She was really sweet and he enjoyed her.

Judah's "assistant" was Abby - she is a volunteer for the whole summer as well and she LOVED my Judebug. She was such a big help with him.

Elijah's favorite time of the day was swim time from 2-4. This is the swimming hole:

He spent most of his time playing on this waterfall.

After lunch every day, I would take Judah back to my mom's cabin for his nap. He always woke up around 3, so we would head down to go swimming for a little bit after he had a snack. Here he is with his cousin Katherine - can't you tell how much he LOVED swimming??? :-)

He's saying "Get me outta here!!!"

Mealtimes were a bust with Mr. J! He got really picky while we were there because he figured out what kind of pans the bread and dessert came in, and he would literally refuse everything else until he saw what he wanted. It was so frustrating! He is getting better but is still being a little stinker at home!

Every afternoon, the campers would have CKC. Chillin' and kickin' it in the cool air, up at the dining hall. Elijah enjoyed coloring with some of his friends.

I don't have any pictures of Thursday night because Judah was tired and it was past his bedtime so I didn't get to go. But on Thurs nights they have a Crucifixion reenactment. They also did that when I was Jason and I were counselors out there. The counselors are the ones that act it out - it is always really powerful and moving. The campers and audience participate in a way, and the counselor that plays Jesus really gets beat up a little bit. People come from all over to see this every Thurs night - it is a real turning point with a lot of campers and is one of the many things that make Camp of the Hills really unique and special.

On Friday night is the banquet and awards ceremony. The dining hall is always completely decked out and the campers love to dress up for it. Remember that most of these kids are from the inner-city and come from a rough home life so they love dressing up, being escorted in and having a fancy dinner. It makes them feel really special.

This particular Fri night was the night before July 4th, so the dining hall was decked out in celebration of Independence Day!

Elijah's cabin:

After dinner is the awards ceremony. All of the kids get two unique awards and then go through a hug line of every single counselor. This was always one of my favorite activities of the week. The counselors go crazy clapping & yelling for each kid and then that kid gets lots and lots of hugs.

Elijah received the "Happy Camper" award and the "Good Listener" award. I was so proud and a little emotional. It was really strange watching my own child go through the hug line. I remember doing that for other people's children when I was there, and to watch my own son was a full circle moment for me.

Here he is with his certificate of merit from camp with two of his cabin friends. We found out that the one on the right, Dorian, was being adopted the next day and was really excited about it.

That was our week at camp in a nutshell. Elijah can't wait to go back and do it again next year! Maybe he'll be old enough to sleep in the cabin on his own. I love that he spent the week with children of a different race and socio-economic status than him. I hope that he grows up to appreciate the differences in others and the unique way that God created each one of us. When we left he told me, "Mom, camp is like heaven and I don't ever want to leave!" Amen buddy.