Thursday, May 26, 2011


Here it is ... the last day of first grade for my very favorite 1st grader. It has been quite a journey for the both of us! Will has thrived under the instruction of his sweet teacher, the love and care that John and I seek to surround him with daily, and the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ. As I look back over this year, I'm just amazed at the work God has done. So many "firsts" have happened ... I found myself wanting to journal them much like I kept careful notes on the "firsts" of his first year of life. When you're focused on "firsts", there is a feeling of looking to the future, waiting, even longing, for the next step to happen. A few weeks ago, I heard something that changed my perspective. My mom and I went to a women's (my spell check says "women's" is spelled incorrectly and offered to replace it with womenfolk's - now that's funny!) conference where Karen Kingsbury was one of the speakers. I've always devoured her books as quick as I can get my hands on them, but I wasn't sure what to expect of her as a speaker. She was so encouraging as she spoke about writing the story of our lives. Karen (I'm pretty sure it's okay for me to call her by her first name) reminded us that today is all we're promised and that we need to use today to pour our lives, our love, and our laughter into those around us. I was especially blessed by a story she read that was never meant to be published. Something she wrote for her son and after her publisher read it, she knew it would touch the hearts of many. I highly recommend Let me Hold you Longer by Karen Kingsbury ... I also highly recommend that you have a box of tissues with you when you read it. This story speaks of recognizing not the "firsts" but the "lasts" and learning to appreciate today for all that it is.

A few Sunday night's ago, the children's choirs did their annual end of the year program. Will sang his heart out with the Kindergarten and 1st grade choir and then came to sit with us while we watched the 2nd-6th grade choir. After the lights were dimmed and the first song started, Will realized that he couldn't see very well and he asked to sit in my lap. He's already tall and thin like his daddy and he could barely fit, but I didn't move for the whole 30 minute program as I wondered ... will this be the last time he crawls into my lap and sits still for me to hold him?

Last weekend, John was gone for his duty weekend, and I took the kids to Chick-fil-a for a delicious (and not so nutritious!) lunch and also to burn off a little energy in the play place. After the kids ate, I turned them loose and settled back on the bench to watch them play. A few more moms came in and as Will ran past, I overheard one of them say "That kid sure is big to be in here!" Gasp!!! No, not my boy, he's not too big - is he? When we left a little while later, I had him stand up against the measuring stick in the window and oh my word! he's too tall to play. Is this the last time he'll play in the play place?

One of the most wonderful things about first grade is watching your child become a fluent reader. At the beginning of the year, it was almost painful to endure "reading homework" as each word had to be s-l-o-w-l-y sounded out. Sometime around Christmas the light bulb came on for Will and now he's reading chapter books. It's really a wonderful thing to witness. Since Will was tiny, we've read a book or two and a Bible story each night before bed. Since he started learning to sound words out, I would ask Will if he wanted to read before bed and he'd always say, "No, I want you to." Are you sure, how about if I read one page and you read one? "No thanks, mom. You read." Now, as I sit on the bed with him at night, he says, "Mom, can you pass me my Bible, I want to read to you." Have I read him the last bedtime story?

So many things are accomplished in the matter of a year ... his bike doesn't have training wheels anymore, he can follow the directions to build a complex lego model without my help, he proudly cuts his own food at dinner (this my friends, is the feeling of victory), he can draw an airplane almost as well as his dad, he checks himself and Kate in at church on Sunday mornings and then walks to his class on his own or with a friend he sees in the hall, he's learning how to work conflicts out on his own - without mom telling him every step to take or every word to say (hallelujah!). He's growing up right before my eyes. I don't feel sad about all of this. I'm learning to not always be looking for the next "first" but I am reminded to be present in the present, to enjoy today and to give all the love I have to give. We'll celebrate the "lasts" so that we're ready to embrace the "firsts". I cannot wait to see what God is going to do in the life of Will Schloss.

"Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
Psalm 90:12

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Somebody's Watching You!

There is always a lesson to learn and this week, I felt like God was showing me over and over again that someone is almost always watching you. He used my 2 year old to teach me this lesson. Lately, she has been mimicking me in lots of different ways. I hear her saying the things I say "He's so sweet." "Did you sleepy good?" "Oh, don't be sad!" "Grumpy girls go to bed." and my favorite ... "JOHN!!!" :o) I took a few pictures of things she's done just this week that prove she's been watching me. Things like, finding her play silverware in the silverware drawer and her pretend food in the fridge. We change the baby's diaper and clothes a zillion times a day (just ask Mimi about her recent visit!) and just this week, she's been taking pictures of her babies and asking us to take pictures of her with her babies with her princess camera. I have no idea where she gets that from ... poor baby probably didn't know what I looked like until she was 2 because I usually have a camera in front of my face!
It made me stop and think about what I do and say in front of her all day long. It also made me think about all of the other people I see on a daily/weekly basis ... what do they see me do or hear me say? The mailman, the checker at Wally World, the lady at the drive through, my neighbor, Will's teacher, a friend ... the list could go on and on. Am I showing Christ's love in ALL that I say and do? Nothing like a 2 year old to keep you on your toes!

"You are the light of the world ... let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14 & 16

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mom's the Word!

Mom, Mama, Mommy, Mo-ther :o) ... The greatest blessing of my life is to have this title. I do not take it lightly and most days I don't live up to it. As a very little girl, I remember wanting to be a mommy. In fact, I tried to take over when my brother was born! As a teenager I loved babysitting. After college and before my own children were born, I had 27 beautiful 1st graders each September - June. I try so hard not to take my calling for granted, it is a true gift to be "mom" to Will and Kate. So today, a few words about three special moms in my life.

My mom. How do I even begin? I just love her like crazy! When I think of my mom, I think of someone who is always thinking of others. It was such a privilege to grow up seeing her give of herself ... her time, her talents, and her treasure. She was always looking out for those who go unnoticed to most of the world. She never wanted credit for what she gave and in fact, she regularly gave when no one else was looking - even the recipient! When I look back, I see that my mom was always pouring her love into our family. Everything she did was for us. Our home was filled with love, hugs, laughter, and fun. Now that Will and Kate are here, Mimi continues to lavish her love and time, okay, and gifts :o) on them. Mom - You're the best ... ever! I love you!

My mother-in-law. I have been blessed to know my mother-in-law since I was 12. She has the kindest smile and has always made me feel "at home" in her home. I'm so thankful for the mom she's been to John ... she raised the amazing man I love. John's childhood memories involve a lot of moving around and making new friends (his dad was in the Air Force). I know that his mom had a lot to do with creating a comfortable and stable home while things around them were constantly changing. She's a wonderful listener and there is not enough space here to write about how much I love her cooking! Since Will and Kate have been on the scene, Nana delights in making our visits special. Nana - we're so thankful for you.

My sister-in-law. Abigail will celebrate Mother's Day for the first time this year. Elijah Franklin was born at 5:02
last night! (Did I mention that I'M AN AUNT!?!?!?) She is going to be a wonderful mama. Abigail is patient and strong. She is confident and caring. She's loyal and loves with her whole heart. I have no doubt that God will use her in a mighty way as she takes on this new role as a Mama.

I am truly blessed to have these "Mamas" in my life!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

When you can't say anything nice ...

... post a picture! My 2 year old is "giving me a time" today!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chocolate Ganache Cake

There are a few blogs I follow that regularly post about recipes. My two favorites are How Sweet it Is... (I actually know the sweet girl who this blog belongs to) and Keeping up with the Joneses (I don't know this girl at all, but she seems sweet in her blog!) I love the way they post step by step pictures AND instructions of the recipes they share. Today was the last day of our Bible Study session and we had a potluck (I heart potlucks!). The perfect opportunity to try a new recipe. I chose one from the stack of recipes I've been printing from these blogs because it had a short list of ingredients and honestly, it looked like there weren't too many opportunities for me to mess it up! It was very easy to make and got rave reviews at the potluck. Unfortunately, I do not know how to insert pictures into my post except to put them at the very top. I have so much to learn, but for today this will have to do. :o) Here's the recipe, let me know if you decide to try it! Oh and beware of taste-testers (pic #5)

Chocolate Ganache Cake
1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist chocolate fudge cake mix
water, vegetable oil, and eggs called for on cake box
1 container Rich & Creamy chocolate frosting
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 bars Heath bar, roughly chopped

Bake and cool cake according to directions on box (make 2 layers in 8 or 9 inch pans)
Place one layer, rounded side down on serving platter. Spread with about 1/3 cup frosting. Toy with second layer, rounded side up. Frost top and side of cake with remaining frosting. In 1 qt saucepan, heat whipping cream over medium-high heat until hot (do not boil). Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until melted and smooth. Let this cool until it thickens. You'll know this is ready when it mounds slightly when dropped from a spoon (and isn't runny). Pour over top of cake and let it run down sides. Top with chopped Heath Bar. Refrigerate about 1 hour until chocolate is set before serving. Store covered in refrigerator.

Total time: 3 hours (includes cooling and refrigerating)
Serves: 12-16, depending on slice size

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lessons from Little League

I would consider myself a baseball fan. I don't mind watching it on tv but I really like going to the game ... the crowds, the noise, the food, the organ music (seriously!). The Braves were always my favorite team until my younger brother started playing. He's the reason I started biting my nails. Okay, probably not, but I would get so nervous at his games. I just wanted him to win so bad. I wanted him to have the biggest hit, to be the fastest runner, to catch the ball every time. Thankfully, he did not disappoint, and proved to have talent with any sport he chose. But of course, there were times that his team didn't win, that he struck out, and that he let the ball get past him. Looking back, I can see that God was preparing me to be them mom of a little boy, #17 Will Schloss.
Now, just in case you don't know, 6 year olds play "machine pitch" which is so totally different from "t-ball" BECAUSE you aren't guaranteed a hit - ever! This thought did not occur to me until the first time Will got up to bat, and oh boy, all of those feelings of a 10 year old girl watching her little brother play came back x10! Will loves to play and I love to cheer him on. Here are a few things I've learned from our first season in Little League:

1. I am not in charge. What??? I do not understand all of the rules and calls they make in Little League and I'm pretty sure it would not help to read the rule book.
2. You can never have enough team paraphernalia. Hmm, how can I make this clear? When we ordered WT's uniform they had an option to order a mom and dad shirt with your child's # on the back. Oh cute, I thought. At the first game, every other mom had on a team shirt, hat, and flip flops. Not to mention they were sitting on a team chair with a team blanket over their lap and sipping their water bottle in a team koozie. I will be more prepared next year!
3. The volume of your yelling does NOT correspond with how fast your child runs.
4. Don't change seats in the middle of the game. Your child does know where you are sitting and if he cannot find you because you've moved (say to talk to another mom, gasp!) he will miss any balls hit his way until he finds you again.
5. Snacks are important. Don't forget them when it's your turn and only bring the good stuff ... apples and veggie sticks are apparently not welcome. I could write another post on the importance of snacks for the child who is NOT playing but is sitting in the stands for the third time this week and can't pick out her Bubba on the field because of his hat. Let's just say snacks prevent meltdowns. They are THAT important!
6. Be nice to the coach's wife. I'm pretty sure this one correlates directly with how many laps the kids will run at the next practice. She also controls the snack schedule (see #5).
7. Learning to be a part of a team is invaluable. Will has learned so much about strengths and weaknesses and how we can compliment one another. A lesson that I don't think is learned well by lecture.
8. Just go ahead and expect your child to dig in the dirt or twirl until he makes himself so dizzy that he falls down while playing in the outfield. At this stage, not very many balls make it that far and he really can't hear you yelling his name or hear the coach yelling that they're going to make him wear a pink tu-tu if he doesn't stop dancing. In defense of my son (baseball does bring out a whole Mama with a capital "M" thing in you!), he has stopped or caught most every ball that was hit to him while he was digging or dancing in the outfield.
9. During baseball season, you should ALWAYS have a blanket, toys for the 2 year old, fold out chairs, snacks and gatorade in your car. You just never know when the coach might decide those boys need a little more practice ... or a few more laps.
10. You can never cheer loud enough. Okay, don't be obnoxious like some of the mom's from the OTHER teams. But, at the end of the day, my boy is giving it all he's got and I'm so proud of him. "C'mon Will, you got this!" "That's my boy!" "Don't worry, we'll get it next time!" "Way to go, son!" and my favorite thing that Will's coach says "Get the junk out of your trunk and RUN!"

Just a side note, I've not bitten my nails once this season. I finally gave that up after Matt finished high school football. If Will plays football, the nail biting will most likely return!