Thursday, August 29, 2013

5 years of service

My husband received a plaque at work today for 5 years of service.

The past five years have not been the easiest.  He can tell you some interesting stories.  But he has remained faithful.  I'm so proud of him.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Through the years

I found these pictures and thought the comparison was fun!

I don't have a picture of Kate with Sis Aldridge on the first day, so here is one at Kindergarten graduation June 2007.

Tyler and Sis Aldridge August 2007

Jason and Sis Aldridge August 2013


And, the final puzzle piece just clicked into place.  I am now an employed person!  I receive a great job offer today for a college close to Tyler's school.  It's a half-time position, so I only have to work while the kids are in school.


First Day of GCA (updated with pictures!)

August 26 was the first day of school for Jason and Katelyn!

Checking out his desk at Orientation

All ready to go!

Jason is in Kindergarten this year.  He has the same Kindergarten teacher that Katelyn and Tyler had, Sis Aldridge.  I hope she plans to hang around for two more years :)

Jason and Sis Aldridge

Sis Aldridge sat him next to his good buddy Jonathan Sesma because she noticed that they have a similar personality, and because Jonathan was in her K4 class last year, so he knows the ropes and can help Jason along.

Jason and Jonathan
Although Jim will be taking the kids the rest of the school year, I wanted to do it the first day as I couldn't imagine not seeing him off on the first day.  So we walked to his classroom, him with his big black backpack on his back and carrying his orange lunchbox, me with all the bags of supplies.  Sis Aldridge allowed us to go into the classroom to drop off all of the stuff and take pictures.

The whole class.  Jason was feeling a little nervous and uncertain at this point and it didn't help that the sun was shining in his face here.

Jason did get a little red-eyed when it was time for me to go, but he didn't cry.  I saw them off to chapel, then went and sat in the back to enjoy the first chapel of the year.  The Kindergarteners sit up front and are dismissed first, so I snapped a quick picture of him filing out.  Then I left.

If you've been around GCA long, you recognize "walk on the line".

Feeling better after a good chapel service.  Headed to class!
He was hot and sweaty when I picked him up, but he told him more than once that school was fun.  They mostly colored.  He ate all of his lunch.  He didn't take a nap.

And he has been quite anxious to get up and go in the morning.  I am so thankful because "someone" filled his mind with lots of ideas about how bad school was going to be, and I had to continually refute those claims.  Thankfully, I think he sees for himself that this going to be great!

My darling daughter is a seventh-grader this year!

So hard to believe that my little boy that I was pregnant with when I was working at GCA is now GOING to GCA, and that my first born is in Junior High.  Lockers, PE, changing classes, loooots of homework.  It's a whole new world for sure.  I am so proud of her, her spirit, and her desire to make this year a good one.  Katelyn, I want you to know that Mom is extremely proud of you, and I thank you for all of your help to me.

And a help she has been!  This week has been crazy busy.  And I love it.  I thrive on the busyness of needing to get uniforms into the wash, making dinner, getting everyone's lunch together, etc, etc.  That's where I get my energy (forget cleaning.  that's for the birds).

I'm just waiting for the final piece of the puzzle to click into place, which should be any day now.  I'll keep you posted.  Thank you so much for all of the prayers and support.  I am so thrilled with this new stage in life and were we are right now.  God has truly been faithful!

Update on Tyler

As mentioned before, Tyler started school July 22.  It was been a complete success!  Last Friday he came home with another boy's phone number and asked if he could call him.  Since we had just gotten home, I advised him to wait.  The boy wound up calling us first and invited Tyler over to his house.  He lived all the way back in Chandler, so we decided to try to plan something in advance so that we can work out logistics.  I am just so pleased that he is making friends and reaching out.

The school is really an answer to prayers for us.  He is in a structured facility that is meeting all of his needs.  He gets his academics (We got to choose whether or not to do homework, hallelujah.  We chose no homework for now.  Academics is not an issue.)  He also has cooking, music, karate, yoga, and independent living.  He looooooves cooking, and surprisingly, seems to enjoy music and karate (be careful picking on him, he just may surprise you!).  Yoga he can do without :)  He also gets Occupational Therapy once a week, and is supposed to receive Speech Therapy, but he hasn't mentioned it yet, so I don't know if he just doesn't realized it's happening or what.

The first few weeks were a bit of a challenge for him because he got into trouble a number of times for inappropriate behavior (burping and potty talk).  It's so easy as a parent to roll your eyes and say "Really?  He got into trouble for burping???"  But these kids need to learn when certain behavior is appropriate and when its not (though is burping and potty talk ever really appropriate?), so it's best to learn it now.  So I supported the teachers, and am happy to report that he has conquered that mountain.

We had one bad day in the fourth week when everything that could go wrong, seemed to for poor Tyler.  He cried and declared that he never wanted to go to that yucky school again.  Again, it would have been so easy for me to say okay, disenroll him and homeschool him again.  But I can't.  I can't shelter him.  We've been there, done that, not going back.  So I talked with him about facing challenges and everyone having a bad day, and "pushed" him out of the van the next morning.  And, would be believe it, he gathered the wind under his wings and flew!  He has been doing wonderful since then, and has stayed on "yes" every day since then.  I think he just needed that "break-through" day.

It's so funny to hear all of his little stories.  It's also funny to hear him and Katelyn discuss their difference schools, and hear Tyler say how much better his school is.  I always interject that each child is at the school that's best for them and it doesn't make one better than the other, but I'm so thankful that he love where he is.

I don't know what the future holds, but I am so thankful for the place that we are at right now.  It took a lot to get here.

Photo dump

Few pictures for you:

One day this past summer Katelyn and Justin decided to make cookies.  They took pictures along the way.

The stars

Mixing up the dry ingredients

"How does this thing work?"

Don't tell Mom that I ate raw egg...
Just plain cute
Yup, they're good!

Justin took this one.  She's quite a baker!

One Sunday the boys looked so handsome that I tried to capture it.  You can see how well that turned out:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"No Slits?!?!"

Miss Valerie Nieves moved over to VPC about a month ago from another church, and she has a cute story on her blog about changing over her wardrobe and how God has blessed her with appropriate clothing.

It reminded me of a funny story from my move:

Most of you know that we lived in Modesto, CA, along with the Mantooths.  Adaina and I were good friends, and would hang out together with some other ladies who had children the same ages.  Our church was becoming more liberal, and we would share our frustrations with each other.  Adaina's parents, the Gibsons, had moved to Glendale several years before, and one day Adaina shared with us that she and Bryan were going to move to Glendale in about eight months.  She began to tell us about the church, which was Faith Temple at the time, and how things were different from our church.  One of our friends had a brother-in-law who pastored another more liberal UPC church in Phoenix, so she asked "Isn't Bro Garrett really strict?"  Adaina responded that he was and named one of the differences being that he didn't allow his ladies to wear slits in the their skirts.  I will never forget the shock and appall that filled all of the ladies that were listening at the thought of not being able to wear a slit.  How on earth was that even possible?  I mean, really.  (To put this in perspective a little, I was raised that your skirt must be below the knee, and any slit must not be above the bend in the knee.  It was very modest by most standards.  Short skirts and higher slits came in later.)

Time passed, the Mantooths moved to Glendale, and God became working in our own lives to lead us to Glendale.

It was the Sunday of Labor day when my husband came home from Sunday morning service and announced that God had spoken to him and told him to take his family and move to Glendale.  I knew in my heart that this was what we needed to do, but I also knew that I would need to give up some things.  I asked my husband for some time and walked away to go pray.  I will never forget praying and asking God "If this move is your will, please, make the "no slits" rule no big deal."

I got up from prayer and went to my closet and starting looking over my clothes.  And I was amazed at how many skirts I already had that didn't have slits!  Hey, maybe this wasn't going to be so hard after all.  And from that moment on, I embraced it whole-heartedly.

I am so thankful to the Lord for bringing us to Glendale, and for bringing Miss Valerie, too.  :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Another Praise Report

I only have a minute, so I have to type fast, but I wanted to shout this praise report.

As stated in previous posts, Tyler received an ESA scholarship that is paying for the majority of the $23,000/year tuition for his school.  Our part is approximately $2500, portions of which are due every month.

Well, we don't have the money the pay our portion of the balance right now.  Gas is killing us.  So, per instructions, I emailed the administrator and explained our situation.  I asked for a time waiver, stating that we would pay as quickly as possible.

I got a response the next day stating that the fees for the quarter were waived, just please pay the transaction fee.  I was so thrilled to hear that.

BUT, TODAY, I got a letter stating that our tuition balance has been waived for the whole year and we only have to pay the quarterly fee of $115, which is $460 total!

I am soooo very thankful for this miracle.  I know that they are hoping that the ESA will received more funding next quarter because of a new bill that was signed, so that may have played a part.  But, I know that my God did this for me to show me that he cares.  I have been fasting and praying about this situation because I need a job, or we need some financial miracles.  God is making a way were there seems to be no way.

This school is so good for Tyler and I'm so thankful to the Lord.