Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Proud Mommy Moments

Each day brings new opportunities for triumphs and tribulations. As a mom, there are many moments in the day when I think "Wow, I can't believe I just did that ... that was really good!" AND there are the many (more) moments that I think "Oh, I can't believe I just did that ... that was really bad!" I thought I'd share two of my favorite moments from today (I'll spare you the not so good ones ... wouldn't want to bore you! :o).

This afternoon I was weeding the flowerbeds (I really think I could weed 3x a day and I'd still find weeds every time I walked out!) when I saw a furry black spider on a container on the porch. I knocked on the window for Will to come over to see my discovery. He's been very interested in spiders all year and we're all learning from his fascination since he brought home a library book about spiders
every week of 1st grade. Seriously. Who knew the library had that many books about spiders!?! Anyway, he quickly identified it (through the glass door) as a black widow. All black spiders are black widows, didn't you know? We're still working on his classification skills. I quickly raised my flip flop and smashed the furry guy to smithereens. **This next part is my moment. I didn't want you to lose it in the details.** Will burst into applause and started chanting "Go, Mom! Go, Mom!" I think I could've taken on any wild beast at that time. Well, maybe not, but it sure did make me smile.

My other moment happened with Kate tonight. Bedtime has become a small struggle with the precious girl lately. Not in a really bad way, just a stall at every turn kind of way. Apparently someone led her to believe that she is entitled to doing things her way. I know, I know, I'm working hard to correct it. So, I have to really gear myself up for the bedtime routine knowing that I will meet resistance at each stage. **Pause. Will taught us (at age 2) that there is a person known as the "bather" the "pajamer" the "brusher" and the "booker" - these are the stages of bedtime in the Schloss house. Unpause. ** Normally, we split these 4 stages fair and square. Tonight, it was all me. And the clincher, there was going to be a stage 5: "the nose sprayer and sucker". Kate has had a runny nose and sounded stuffy tonight, and I knew it had to be done if we all wanted a good night's sleep. So, I did what I had to do. After sputtering and coughing from the saline spray and nose sucker (I'm sure there is a better term, but you know what I'm talking about, don't you?), in her sweetest, stuffiest voice, Kate said, "Kank you, Mommy." And that, my friends is better than any trophy, blue ribbon, or new car.

Here's to tomorrow's mommy moments.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dad's Day

I've started this post a few times, but the words never seem to flow quite right OR, I can't see for the tears in my eyes. So here is my best attempt at putting into words what I feel for these special men in my life.

Dad - I have to start with you - without you there wouldn't be me! But there's so much more to us than that, isn't there? From the start, we've had a special bond. There were midnight feedings. I don't remember these (obviously), but whenever I hear mom talk about the way you'd sneak in from working the swing shift and pull the late night shift with me, I can't help but feel so loved. There were trips to the hardware store each Saturday - and you didn't even mind if I wore my light pink and white striped overalls with my dark purple and gray striped shirt! There was learning to skate, ski, & wash the car (with the proper technique, of course!) AND learning how to wire an electrical outlet, change a flat tire, and drive the car. There was the time you "busted" my 11year old birthday party. My friends thought we were in big trouble when you came out to see us turning cartwheels in the family room at 1:00am. Weren't we in for a surprise when you showed us up with a cartwheel of your own! You loved me enough to let me be me, but you loved me enough to push me to be the best I could be. You set the bar high in every area. You were there to cheer me on when I succeeded, give me a boost when I couldn't quite reach it on my own, and pick me up when I fell flat. Your love pointed me to Jesus at an early age, and you've continued to encourage me to become more like Him in all that I do. You showed me what to look for in a husband by loving my mama like crazy - it's always been clear to me the special place she has in your heart. Dad, you're one of the most generous people I know. I love you, always.

Papa - I think we've had a special bond from early on, too! It was such a blessing to get to know you early in my life and see first hand how you molded John to help him become the man he is today. You've always been able to make me laugh (definitely a quality you passed on to John!). You make time for others. I don't know anyone else who talks to their father-in-law on the phone for over an hour at the time. I love it that when we're at home with y'all, I often find you reading your Bible at the kitchen table in the early morning. You have a true servants heart, and for that I'm so very thankful. I'm sure I can't even imagine the sacrifices you've made for your family through the years. You've made me feel a part of the family from the very beginning. I really treasure my time with you!

John Berrick Schloss - where in the world do I begin? I feel as though I've loved you for all time, but when I saw you hold Will for the first time, I thought my heart might burst. You are such a devoted dad. Will and Kate know that they are important to you because you make them a priority in all things. To Will you are a wrestling partner, co-lego creator, and biggest fan in all things sports. To Kate you are a dance partner, big wheel pusher, and partner in crime when it comes to getting dirty and having fun in the backyard. We're all three thrilled to see you when we hear the garage door going up at the end of the day (okay, I feel a little relief too! :o). You make the most of teachable moments and you're always ready to have fun. We can rest in your leadership because you're leaning on Jesus. You were meant to be a dad, John. I love living this life with you!

Matt - I just can't let your first Father's day go by without mention. I still haven't been able to hold your precious bundle of boy in person, but facetime is almost as good. You are on the first steps of one of the greatest adventures of your life. I'm sure you've already seen how having a baby changes your perspective on the world (and on how much sleep you actually NEED!). You have always been full of life yourself, so I have no doubt that you and Eli will make memories each and every day. You have got to be one of the best listeners I've ever known, and I know that will draw you close to him as he grows. You will teach him to be strong and confident, to never settle for second best, and to love the Lord with his whole heart, because that's who you are. Enjoy the ride, you're gonna love it!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

All by Myself

Do you know that song? Celine's version is especially wonderful for singing along with when you're alone in the car OR when you're riding with your college roommates who can sing equally as loud as you (especially if one of you just went through a bad break-up - whew, that's some powerful singin'!) ... turn it up as high as your speakers can stand it.
Okay, back to what this post is really about. John goes out of town one weekend a month for his Reserve duty. We've tried to make it a family affair, but have you ever tried to sleep in one room with a 6 year old (ok, he's not really the problem at all) or a 2 year old who is used to sleeping in her own room? And IF you get any sleep, have you ever tried to keep a 6 and 2 year old asleep while their daddy gets up @ 5 am to get ready for the day? And if you get them to sleep past 6 am, have you ever tried to keep a 6 and 2 year old entertained for two days in one room with minimal toys and coloring space? Let's just say by the end of Sunday, it makes for one grumpy mama! SO, we've resigned ourselves to spending that one weekend a month apart. The kids and I usually plan something fun on Saturday and I have a friend over to scrapbook one night after the kids are in bed - it's not so bad and we're thankful for all of the opportunities John's part time job affords us. Win-win, right!?! Well, this last weekend was EVEN better! Some of our friends, more like family, kept Will and Kate and I got to spend the weekend with John. We try to plan time away at least once or twice a year, and it's always so refreshing and fun ... but this time I was going to have a lot of time ALL BY MYSELF! It's been so long since I've had that much time to myself that I almost had to make a schedule, BUT I recovered and gave myself permission to just "go with the flow." So, what does a mom of 2 young kids do when she's all by herself? Sleep in - until 7:30. Lay in bed for 15 minutes wide awake because no one is asking you for breakfast. Take a long shower, no one's asking how to find their favorite cartoon channel. Eat breakfast. That's unusual! Someone else even cooked it and cleaned it up, oh my goodness!!! This is where it gets really good ... after breakfast, I went back to the room and turned on HGTV and watched it for 3 hours straight while I worked on my scrapbook (still working on 2009 by the way!). They have some great shows on nowadays! John picked me up for lunch and we talked about whatever we wanted to and didn't cut anyone's meat/pizza/crusts off. After lunch, John headed back to work. I was feeling a little bit guilty at this point. My friend was at home having to feed 5 kids and get 2 down for a nap. John was working on the flight line in 98 degrees. Then I got a text from John - "I hope you enjoy every minute doing whatever you want. Love you." Then a text from my friend with a pic of Will having a blast on their slip and slide. (No need to feel guilty about leaving Will - he definitely won't want to come home!) So, I did what any girl in my shoes would do. I managed to find an incredible outdoor shopping center and I went in every single store. I took my time examining each rack and walking every aisle. No one was in my shopping cart screaming to get out. No one was asking for everything they saw. It was glorious. I even found myself playing peek-a-boo with a little boy who was done shopping, but his mama was not. She smiled at me and said "Thanks - it's been a long day." I know, I thought to myself. That night we went to dinner with some of John's friends and saw a late movie. Sunday was a repeat minus the shopping. Then I drove home - all by myself - in a mini-van with the music as loud as the speakers could stand it, singing all the way. Too bad I didn't have Celine with me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Will on Wednesday

Hi everyone! Will is going to be "guest posting" on the blog throughout the summer. I think you'll love hearing what he has to say!

We went to the zoo on Friday! We saw triantulas and turtls and eluphunts. I liked the bats.

Smiles across the Miles

This post has been rattling around in my brain for a while now, but I just couldn't decide exactly how to put my thoughts into words. It's no secret that I love children. My Will and Kate are just about the best thing that's ever happened to me. It is such a blessing to teach 3 year olds on Wednesday nights and 3rd grade girls on Sunday mornings. The days of being Mrs. Schloss to 23 (or 25 or 28) 1st graders were such a fun adventure. In my high school days, I was always clamoring for a babysitting job.

As the days go by and I find myself getting older (this is still such a shock to me!) and having new experiences, my perspective changes. There are so many children in our world who go to sleep at night without having had a full meal all day. They don't have clean water, much less clean clothes. There are literally hundreds of thousands who have no mother or father in this world. The need is overwhelming and sometimes the solution feels overwhelming too. There is adoption, foster care, inner city ministries, financial support of an orphan/children's ministry at home or abroad. The possibilities of support are as numerous and varied as the needs. The one I'm writing about today is just one small part of the solution: child sponsorship. We sponsor children through World Vision. Please visit their website to see the wonderful things they are able to do all over the world (including here in the United States) because of monthly sponsors, you will be amazed and blessed to see how the workers of World Vision are able to use a considerably small amount of money to change the lives of a boy, his family, his neighbors, his community, his country, and his world.

Many articles, books, and posts have been written on these matters and can give you great detail of where your money goes and how it is spent and how that translates into the life of these precious children. I want to tell you about our side of the equation ... how child sponsorship affects our family.

About four years ago, we took Will to a Third Day concert. We were all enjoying ourselves SO much (well, I thought I might be having a heart attack because the beating I could feel in my chest was matching the rhythm of each new song they played - told you I was getting old!). Will was especially enjoying the loud music while sitting on his dad's shoulders so that he could see over the crowd. During intermission, they showed a video from World Vision that talked about child sponsorship. When we were leaving the concert, we stopped by the World Vision table to talk more with the representatives there. Will picked up a packet from the table and the rest, as they say, is history.

That night we were introduced to Charles from Uganda through a packet of information and a few pictures. He is the same age as Will and we thought that was a perfect fit. Will and Charles are growing up together. They've shared drawings in letters mailed thousands of miles across the sea. Now, they're both learning to read and write and can communicate this way through letters. In the info packet, it explained that the sponsored children love to have a photograph of the family who is sponsoring them. I didn't expect the excitement I saw from Will when we got a new photograph from Charles. Will has a picture of Charles beside his bed and we have one in the kitchen. It's not unusual for Charles to come up in our conversations or in our prayers. Will thinks of him so often. Recently during Will's bedtime prayer, he said, "Thank you that we got to find Charles in all this world and thank you that we get to be a part of his family." Charles is making a difference in Will's life. It's my prayer that their relationship will continue to grow stronger through the years and that they will have a bond through Jesus Christ that will never be broken.

For Kate's 1st birthday we started sponsoring Jeanette who lives in Burundi. She and Kate share the same birth day and year! We have a bookmark with Jeanette's picture on it that Kate keeps in her children's Bible. Every night before we read our Bible story, we play "Jeanette, where are you?" and Kate searches her Bible for the beloved (and very wrinkled) picture of our precious friend. (You can click on the picture above to make it appear larger) Some nights we talk about how sweet she is. "Look at Jeanette's sweet nose - it's just like Kate's!" "Jeanette has such a pretty smile." Other nights we talk about what we think Jeanette might have done that day. "Do you think Jeanette played in the water today like Kate did?" "I wonder if Jeannette helped her mommy cook the food?" And one of my favorite things is to hear Kate talk about where Jeanette lives. (I wish I had a video, because my interpretive spelling will definitely not give her cuteness justice!) "Jeannette lives A-free-ca. Kate lives O-ka-homa." After we read a Bible story, we sing the same songs before bed. One of them is "He's got the Whole World in his Hands." We always include a verse of "He's got sweet friend, Jeanette, in His Hands." Although Kate has never played with Jeanette or shared lunch with her, or giggled endlessly over who knows what ... talking about and praying for Jeanette is tops on Kate's list for the bedtime routine. My prayer for these beautiful girls is that they will grow to love Jesus at an early age and that they will be faithful in their walk with Him.

Could things be more different for Will and Charles or Kate and Jeanette? Probably not. Are the most important things the same? Absolutely. Will we ever get to meet them face to face? I don't know, but it is enough for us to forge this relationship with them and their family in the hopes that we will meet them face to face before the throne of God in heaven. God is working all around us in and through the lives of children. Too often we think of reasons why we can't get involved, but I hope that we will all begin to look for the ways God wants us to step up and act on our love for Him. Charles and Jeanette have made a difference in our lives - We will never be the same.