Friday, August 31, 2012

The Denim Vest Girls and the First Day of High School Part 2

In honor of back to school week I started telling my first day of high school story yesterday...and here is the rest of the story!

I can’t recall all of the exact comments, but as Kristie took her first step and I limped into Monterrey high school we could hear people ask, “Who dresses alike on the first day of school?”  And we realized that we weren’t going to blend in quite like we thought.

We had a quick conversation in the hallway and as much as we wanted to stick together we decided that we would go our separate ways to our first class and meet up later.  I had taken a tour of the building earlier in the summer so I knew where to go but I was mesmerized by all of the chatter, laughter, and beautiful boys.  At the same time I tried my best to walk with confidence...but with a foot that had just been ran over it was an attempt that was failing.

My morning classes went fairly well.  I had people I knew in each class and my teachers seemed nice.  Life was getting better until the final class before lunch.  Kristie and I had this class together and although it was so nice to see my dear friend we had the dilemma of whether or not to sit next to one another in our matching outfits.

I guess that we had gained some confidence at this point so we braved the snide comments and sat together so that we could converse about what had happened so far.  Had she noticed the “Cowboy Corner?”  Had I seen how some of our friends had “blossomed” over summer?  The gossip was flowing, we were laughing, and we were certain that all of our catastrophes were behind us.

We walked out of our class and headed to the lunch plan.  We stepped outside and began our trek to our friend’s house.  Lunch time was a whirlwind on the campus and as cars began to pull out of the parking lot Kristie and I in our matching vests became a sight to see.

Before we realized what was happening, cars began to honk and seniors threw all sorts of lovely comments our way.  I’ve blocked it out to the best of my ability but I seem to recall “Double-mint twins”, sexy sophies”, and your basic cat calls directed our way.

We hurried as best we could - faces red and something between a laugh and cry coming out of our mouths.  What was going on?!  This was not part of the plan.  We thankfully made it to our friend’s house and rang the door bell ready to find refuge in the confines of her house.  But no one came to the door.

We rang the bell again...and again...and again.  We knocked and continued to hear the occasional - woohoo thrown our way.  It was obvious that no one was home.  So with a big sigh and shrug of our shoulders we took a seat on the front porch and pulled out our brown bagged lunches.

We both sat in a daze for awhile.  I went over and over my plan....and realized that everything that I had so meticulously drawn up had failed.  I took a bite of my pb&j and shook my head...was this what I had to look forward to in high school?  Bad clothing choices, unexpected pain, and embarrassing encounters?  Maybe I should ask my mom about homeschool?

 And somewhere in the quiet, one of us just started to laugh.  I think we were slightly hysterical...but either way, laughter was good medicine.  And I least I wasn’t aloneThank you Lord for Kristie.

And with that...a car filled with friends pulled up to the curb asking in earnest where we had been...didn’t we know that we were meeting up to get a ride to this house? 

And from that point on...the day DID get better.  No more embarrassing moments or mishaps.  We had survived.

In hindsight, I think I learned two really important things that day:

 In life’s curveball moments it is always bearable...laughable even so long as you have a friend by your side.

As much as we try our best to blend in (that was my goal with the entire plan) we were all created to stand out.  Although I didn’t want to stand out in the way that I did that first secret desire really was to stand out in high school.  I didn’t need to be the most popular or best athlete, but I wanted to find my place and flourish there.  And by the end of our time in high school, Krisitie and I had done just that...Kristie found that she loved working in the journalism department and was the Editor of our Year Book.  I loved to run and found myself the captain of the track team.  Most people in a school of over 1500 knew who we were - we were made the stand out - and thank God it wasn’t because of our matching denim vests!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Denim Vest Girls and The First Day of School

It is nearing the end of back to school week here in these parts & I sure do hope that your kiddos have had a great first week!  I was reminiscing the other day about my first day of high school and I realized that I should share my embarrassment if for no other reason than to make you laugh.

So here goes...

A little background:
Like all incoming high school students, I was terrified of what would be awaiting me at Monterrey High School.  I had a great Jr. High experience and I knew my friends were all facing the same fate, but I was still so very nervous.  So, I did what any Type A personality does - I planned.

I planned as many details as possible to try and ensure that my experience be as smooth as possible.  Here is what I made sure was set up:  

Clothing - I scoured the latest trends and magazines & carefully chose an outfit that was trendy enough to fit in, but not so fashionable that I might stand out.  The choice (remember this was 1994) a white shirt, jeans, denim vest (ha!), and doc martin type boots.  I also got the ever popular JanSport green back pack.
Drop Off - I was concerned about the fact that I did not drive nor did any of my close friends.  I quickly discovered that someone would have to drop me off at school, so I planned to have my friend Kristie’s mom drop us off.  We gave her implicit instructions that AS SOON AS the drop off was made that she was to exit immediately.  There were to be no long good-byes or circles around the school to make sure we were okay.
Lunch - At Monterrey, we had an open lunch where everyone had the freedom to go off of campus for lunch.  I knew that it would be social suicide to eat lunch in the cafeteria, but without access to a car where to eat was a dilemma.  After many phone calls and long talks with friends, a small group of us determined that we would walk to a friend’s house near the school and eat there.  So, I packed my lunch and carefully hid it in the bottom of my backpack.
With these careful plans I was all set to face my first day of high school.

I was confident.  Imagined that it would be a great day....

Until I opened my front door and stood face-to-face with my friend Kristie.  She was there to pick me up, and I immediately knew that this day would pose some problems.  As much as I love Kristie, I was horrified to realize that we were wearing matching outfits.  There standing before me was my dear friend in a white shirt, jeans, denim vest, similar boots...and wait for it...the same JanSport backpack.

“Oh my gosh!”  screamed my Sophomore self.

Hadn’t I discussed my clothes with Kristie?  Obviously not (she was horrified too).  We stood there dumbfounded and I considered going to change, but I had put careful planning into this clothing choice - it was part of my security plan...I couldn’t just discard it now.

We talked about it and decided that we didn’t have that many classes together - surely no one would notice.  So I hopped in her mom’s car and we headed to school.

I decided to ignore this bad omen and we focused on what lay ahead.  We were giggling by the time we approached the school and we reminded her mom of the plan.  She was to drop us off and get out of there fast.

Apparently, she heeded our advice well.  I got out of the car and then began to reach back in for my backpack.  As I was reaching for my bag, her mom let off the brakes and the car moved forward so that she could make her get-away.

My foot just so happened to be next to the back wheel and before I knew it, the car was on top of my foot.

“My foot!” I scream whispered, and my friend’s mom hit the breaks.  The car was now stopped on my foot and I was in excruciating pain.  My eyes darted around and I realized that screaming was NOT an option.  Kristie’s mom was also beginning to panic and wasn’t sure if she should go forward or reverse.

Kristie was screaming at her mom at this point as tears brimmed my eyes.  Her poor mom moved the car off of my foot while begging for my forgiveness and attempting to get out to check on me.

“Stay in the car,” Kristie and I hissed in unison...that was definitely not part of the plan.  I promised that my foot was fine and I did my best to hide the limp to show her I could shake it off.

Krisite tried her best to console me while I held back the tears.  I tried hard to not think about my foot pulsating with pain.  Afterall, I had something much bigger to face.

And with a deep breath, we turned around side-by-side in matching denim vests and faced the ominous building...

Surely it would get better.

to be continued...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sisters, Smiles, and Settling into Life with Two Little Girls - Project 365 (Weeks 34-36)

Project 365 Pictures!!!  Woohoo!  I'm catching up, and I've decided that once I'm finished I'm going to turn this project into a little photo book as a way to highlight our year.  It feels a little more real that my typical photo albums that just highlight big events.  This way I can look back and remember what life was like on ordinary days and remember that there really is joy in the every day.

Day 235 - We visited Lubbock's new Farmer's Market and I asked Selah to pose next to her sister.  I can't wait to watch these two grow into best friends!
Day 236 - Seriously!?  Have you seen anything cuter lately?
Day 237 - Selah had a long day at Kids Day Out and informed me that she needed a treat.  I loved Nilla wafers as a kid & she does too!

Day 238 - I was pulling out a dress for Selah to wear to a wedding & she wanted to put it in right then and there saying, "I'm a Lerlerina!"  She is our little dancer.

Day 239 - Haven is going to work with me and occasionally my mom will come steal her so she can give her Gigi kisses!  I came to her office and found Haven fast asleep in her lap.

Day 240 - We traveled to Dallas and this was the first time Josh's sister Joy got to meet our Haven Joy!
Day 241 - Josh and I got to get away while we were in Dallas one night & just happened upon fireworks in the city.  I was trying to take a picture with the fireworks in the background and obviously I didn't get it, but I love this picture with my hubby!
Day 242 - We went to my dear friend, Marisa's wedding.  And Haven got lots of love from these two lovelies!

Day 243 - Gigi took Selah for ice cream!  I think you can see the rest of the story from this picture.

Day 244 - Lunch with Gigi & Mema
Day 245 - OMG - I love the way her little lips barely curve into a smile
Day 246 - We dance in the car ALL THE TIME!
Day 247 - Been doing lots of this lately.
Day 248 - I took Selah to the park & she wanted to play on the splash swimsuit, so she stripped down and had a blast.  The only problem was she couldn't understand why I didn't also strip down and join her.
Day 249 - Forgot to take a picture this day so here is another playing in the water!
Day 250 - Josh and I drove to Ruidoso for a couple's retreat & my jaw dropped when I opened the curtains of our hotel room and saw that this was our view.  Needless to say, I sat on the balcony with Haven quite a bit and just marveled.
Day 251 - I came back to our hotel room one afternoon to find Josh had posed Haven just so...he said he was introducing her to the world of electronics.
Day 252 - Last day in Ruidoso, walking around the lake.
Day 253 - Love her big eyes...and her arm pit rolls - ha!
Day 254 - Selah and I were making funny faces together.
Day 255 - Styling
Day 256 - Happy Birthday, Taylor!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Need Some Inspiration for Back to School? Try a Party!

Loved the colorful decor!
I've always loved Kathleen Kelley in "You've Got Mail" when she talks about the joy of freshly sharpened pencils and the smell of fall in the air!

I don't know about you, but I'm realizing that fall is in deed in the air and with that comes back to school!  Josh's family has a long line of teachers and so back to school season has special meaning.

In order to get the kids excited about jumping back into school mode, Josh's aunt Clarice planned our first ever back to school party!  She had heard how much Selah loves a good party and Selah counted down the hours to this really fun shindig!

If you are looking for a way to get your kids excited about school as they wave good-bye to slow summer days then you should look into throwing your own back to school party!  Here is what ours looked like:

First, go to your local school supply store and create decorations like Aunt Clarice - she had a garland made out of flash cards, apples and name cards at every one's plate!  And each kid had their own special bin filled with markers, colored pencils, composition books and more!

Not only did she have thoughtful decor and gifts, she also planned out fun activities for our party!  First off, we had some school riddles to solve.  Josh read out the riddle and the kids did a great job of getting the right answers!  One example was, "Why was the math book so sad?"  The answer "It has a lot of problems!"  I found out kids LOVE these silly questions!

Josh reading the questions
Levi is first to answer the question: "How does the bumble bee get to school?" The answer: "He rides the BUZZ!"
Selah tried answering a couple of the riddles too!
 After our fun time of solving riddles, Uncle Dwight read The Kissing Hand to everyone.  Selah liked the pictures and I loved them having the opportunity to hear this precious story.

Oh, and then we sat down to some delicious treats!  Brownies, peach crisp, ice cream and colorful straws made this a party Selah will never forget!

Can you tell that this is a happy kid?
Here is Aunt Clarice serving up sweet watermelon!
I loved the attention to detail!
 And then the kids played - here is Selah and Levi diving into their colored pencils and puzzle books!  After this special day I think everyone is ready to get back to school!

Thank you Aunt Clarice!
Coloring with cousin Levi

Friday, August 17, 2012

Becoming Fully Alive

I’m sitting in an Einstein Bagels on an overcast Friday trying to figure out the best way to tell my blog family that I’m making a major transition in my life.  I’m also thinking about how awesome my husband is as he is home with the girls so I can have a couple of hours to get away to write and study for an upcoming teaching I’m doing.  Oh, and I’m also silently thanking God that I don’t belong to a sorority as I spy the latest Greek fashion trend of baggy t-shirts, little shorts and Uggs (I thought that we were past this in our community but I guess I was wrong?).

Anyways, back to my exciting transition...While on maternity leave I felt God nudge me that it would be best for my family if I went part-time at my job at the church.  Working in ministry is never an 8-5 job, and as much as I’ve loved the many facets of working at our church for the last 9 years I’ve also realized that the constant demand of people needing me has the potential to overshadow the two little ones who really need me the most.

And as I got quiet and talked long and hard with the Lord about this transition, I also discovered that I needed to take a step back not just for my girls’ sake but for my own.  I have so many ideas and plans and thoughts swirling inside this head and heart of mine - it’s been there for several years - the what ifs and dreams.  They have been pushed down and down further for the last 3 years.  The demands of the urgent always screaming louder and pushing more forcefully.  I really thought these ideas and dreams might go away, but they are still there.  Teeming with more steam and strength than ever before...

And so I’m taking a big step and easing away from the job and ministry that I love (I’ll still be there part-time), but I’m opening time and energy to the two avenues that need it most - my family and my creativity.

I’m tempted just to tell people that I’m backing away to be a better mother...and although that IS true...I know deep down that what will make me a better mother isn’t just spending more time with my girls but it’s also living my life fully alive.

I’ve always loved the quote by Saint Irenaeus, “The glory of God is man fully alive.”  And I want to know His glory and live it out as well.  Not just living the “I should or I must” that life seems to always hand out...but the “I dream and I believe” that is bubbling just below the surface.  

I wonder how many of us...if we were really honest, push aside those dreams...those thoughts...that desire to let our creativity come alive because it’s not practical or secure?  What if we tried to live fully alive?  Would the world see His glory any more clearly?

All I know is that at the age of 33 I’m going to take a step that scares me.  I’m going to wave good-bye from the security and comfort that I know and try to be a little more adventurous.  I’m going to really play with my girls.  I’m going to study the Word and ask the hard questions.  I’m going to be more honest - with myself and maybe with you.  I’m going to attempt to create.  I’m going to take steps toward the dreams inside.  I’m going to be more present in my marriage.  And I hope that as I do these things that I discover more and more what it means to BE fully alive.

Will it be easy?  Probably not.  Already in the first two weeks of part-time status the time I had set aside to write and dream has been stolen away, but I’m determined.  And already in the first two weeks I’ve wondered about money and security and all those necessities, but I’ve lived by faith before and I know that it produces growth (and the good Lord KNOWS I need some of that).

Will this living fully alive be easy?  No.  Will I succeed at it everyday?  No.  But I’m tired of ignoring who I was meant to be - I’m ready to embrace this whole process of “Becoming Paige” - so here I go!

What about you?  Are there some ideas or dreams you need to unleash?

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