Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Harry Potter... One little book - so many memories...

"If there is one thing that Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn't realize that love as powerful as your mother's for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign... to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever." - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Sebastian and I just finished the first Harry Potter book tonight.  Of course, he had heard of Harry Potter before and I am pretty sure he has seen a movie clip or two.  But for the most part, Harry Potter was quite the unknown for him.  It is strange how that happened because for so very long both Timmy and Savannah were engrossed in Harry Potter. Savannah, recently, had reread through the books for herself which led to how much she would like to go to Harry Potter World at Universal more than any other single trip. We decided this was the year to go.   Of course, that meant that Sebastian needed to be introduced to the amazing world of Hogwarts.  I went and found my first book - the only Harry Potter book I have in a tattered, well loved paperback.  I have thought of replacing it with a hard covered book several times, but somehow leaving the book exactly as it began seemed more fitting.  It started way back in December of 2000.  I had ordered some Christmas presents from a website and as a bonus they sent me a free copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's stone.  I had never heard of it and really knew nothing about it.  I looked it up and found it was supposed to be a great book, so I put it under the Christmas tree with all the other gifts. I still laugh at the video footage of Timmy opening it.  One because he is in a t-shirt and underwear and two because he read the title as "Harry Porker".  That child of mine was not a reader and completely underwhelmed that there was a book as a present.  When we started back to school in January, I got home from work in the afternoon and would do the lessons we needed to cover and then we would sit on the love seat and do a read aloud book. I decided to try this one.  When I took Timmy out of school in the 5th grade, reading was a struggle for him.  I would have him read one page and then I would read two.  It was slow and tedious, but little by little, he began to read better and his confidence grew. (It is a whole lot different reading it now to Sebastian.  He follows along word for word and is quick to point out if I skip a word or change it in any way!)  Savannah was just a baby - 2 years old, but she would sit with us and listen.  By the time she was 4, she was convinced she was Hermione with her very own robe and wand.  Two Halloweens in a row she proudly wore her costume and beamed.  Timmy was the same age as Harry Potter in the books. He grew as Harry grew. We read each book as they came out until my little boy was no longer little and had a life of his own.  I was sad when I read the last 2 books silently to myself.  Sure, we still went to see the movies together as they came out, but I missed cuddling on that couch reading the afternoon away.  I distinctly remember going to see the Harry Potter movie when I was pregnant with Sebastian and seeing the winter scenes.  I craved ice so badly with that pregnancy that all the snow made me need ice immediately! Those were wonderful family times that I cherish!  Sadly, Timmy died before the last movie came out. That winter, I put on his giant hoodie - still smelling like him, wrapped myself deep inside it and I watched the last movie in the theater.  The tears streamed down my face and I remembered.  I remembered how lucky I was to have that child in my life. How blessed I was to have memories that some people only dream of.  I knew he was sitting with me in that theater. I felt him with every part of my being.  And now, I have gotten to start all over again 15 years later.  How often does that happen? So much has changed and yet, so much is still very the same.  Sebastian leans up against me and we enter into a great adventure.  And life continues...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Christmas Letter 2014

Your long awaited Christmas book has arrived! Pull up a chair and relax! It’s that time of year again!

Let’s start with Sebastian! He is a double digit midget this year! My youngest baby is 10! And with that extra digit, he has grown physically and his personality has grown. He has these long legs that he never had before. I look at him sitting in the van and I am like where did those legs come from? Guess what? He still loves video games and could spend his entire life playing them. He has been making basic programs on Khan Academy that I am pretty darn impressed with. I don’t understand half of what he says whether it is about programming or building something in Minecraft or whatever the computer talk is about. I have mastered saying, “Uh huh… uh huh” very well. I sound almost convincing. He still has a fantastic group of friends. Our boys have gotten easier this year. Less refereeing and more playing. We still have him in karate and he is up to his blue belt now. Overall, he likes the class except that it interrupts his computer time and well… we are okay with that – so he will continue and hopefully keep learning a lot. Even though he is growing up on me, he still lets me sing to him each night before bed. Sometimes he wants to say no, but then he misses it! Not all grown up, just yet!

Savannah aka Savy as she likes to go by these days has turned 16 this year! She has come out of her comfort zone the past 6 months. She put herself out there to just meet people and do new things. Once again, she joined student council and this year she is the Secretary. She is involved in two very different homeschool co-ops.  One is large and has a bustle of people and classes.  The other is small and a bit calmer. She worked at our local haunted house scaring people several nights each weekend.  This suits her! She likes to be loud and obnoxious and meet people. Getting made up all creepy and then freaking people out brings her a ton of joy! Can’t say that it doesn’t creep me out when I pick her up and her face is all bloody and scary.  Not my favorite thing to do, but Tim and I gladly drove her back and forth night after night.  Speaking of driving, not so much happened this past year, so the new plan is drive time this year. Dad is going to be helping more with that, so maybe next Christmas letter will tell you that she is a new driver. She has decided she wants to go to school to be a physical therapy assistant. This year we found an online school that offered a good athletic sports medicine class. For her first time, she is doing an online class. She is trying to figure it all out, but it is going to take a little more time. Oh, but it is going too fast! Please stop!

One of my silly memories of Timmy goes back to when he was a little boy about 7 or 8.  We had him in tae kwon do. He had a very serious teacher who was on the slightly short side for a grown man. One day, Timmy came in with a lose tooth.  It was just hanging by a thread. He was fussing about how sparring was going to make it fall out. His teacher, Master Dennis, told him to pull it out. Oh my goodness! What a fit he threw! He did not want to pull that dang tooth out! No way, no how! Master Dennis stood over him and demanded he pull it out. He pulled it out and was not very happy. Fast forward about 10 years… we were at a superbowl party and none other than Master Dennis was at this same party.  My now 6 foot plus tall, 260 lb son walks right up to Master Dennis and leans heavily on his shoulder – just towering over him. He very calmly says to him, “Wanna make me pull my tooth out now?” Oh my… I laughed so hard.  It was just the best memory. It still makes me smile every time I think of it. I still talk about my boy Every. Single. Day. and I will until I take my last breathe on this side. I still hear him talk to me in my mind. I hear his laugh and I feel his hugs. Someday it will all make sense.

My sweet husband is plugging away. He works and he rests and then he works again. It is the pattern of his days. Sometimes crazy, sometimes lazy, but it has been a good balance this year. It seems our rental houses go in spurts of all needing him to make repairs and then there will be a lull of quiet time. When is he is not working, he putters around with his hobbies. Always a plant or a fish or a something that grabs his attention and he messes with that for awhile. As some of you know from Facebook, he bought himself a brand new Jeep Wrangler this year. It was his first new purchase of his choice. He has always gotten the family car or what the family needed, but this time he got to just pick what he wanted.  It made him nervous, but it made me very happy to see him get to do something for himself.
I am older, fatter and a bit greyer. Sometimes my brain is swirling in 5000 different directions. I am teaching at our new homeschool co-op and managing rental properties. We started back to school in July and plowed through 17 weeks straight without a week off. I am enjoying our extended winter break immensely. Here is the not so sing, song, cheery, blah, blah, blah part of my letter. I love homeschooling. I believe in it and at the same time, wow! I am tired of asking, ummm, more like begging and pleading for kids to do their work. I know it is a test and I may or may not pass this one. Let’s hope January brings renewed strength. We did a good bit of running around this year which is one of my very favorite parts of life. Lots of Disney, even a couple days with Tim there. That is always a huge treat for our kids to have dad at Disney. We hit the beach and the mountains and took a very relaxing cruise. I am constantly aware that exploring new places is this amazing gift that needs so much gratitude.

There is this song by Need to Breathe called Multiplied. It has this one lyric that goes like this:
God of mercy 
Sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to your design
may this offering stretch across the sky
And these hallelujahs be multiplied.

When I hear this, it literally brings tears to my eyes. Possibly because I am an emotional, crazy lady, but I think it is more than that. It makes me cry because I am finally, little by little, with each moment learning that there is not a whole lot I can control in life. Sure, I pay my bills, brush my teeth... all that good stuff. But in the big picture – I have surrendered to His design. People die and it just plain, flat out stinks. We lost our dear friend, Laurie, to cancer this year and I hate it. I realized that there was nothing we could do. The pain was just going to have to come and we were going to have to all get through it. So, I have surrendered, but at the same time that I can’t control the bad stuff – I also can’t always control the good stuff. And there is good stuff. Really, amazing and wonderful stuff happens every day. And for that I say “these hallelujahs be multiplied”.  Now, nobody is perfect. I still try to control so much. I still feel better with a plan, checklists, order and neatness. I just know that this awful pain that comes with the trials of life is worse when you try to control it. Peace comes when you can accept the way things are, not what you thought they were supposed to be. With that thought, I leave you and say hug your family and friends! Tell them you love them! I wish you peace and joy!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
                              Tim, Kari, (Tim II), Savannah and Sebastian
               In memory of my sweet and wonderful Timmy 3.5.89 to 5.14.10 
        Until I see you again... I love you and miss you more than any words can say.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Savannah's first job... oh, but so much more than that!

This morning I set my alarm for 7am. That was the time Savannah said she would need to get up to start her first job today.  She said she had set her alarm, but I thought just maybe she would sleep through it. So, just to be sure, I set my own. As I opened my eyes, I could see that her bedroom door was open and she was awake. I tried to go back to sleep for a while until I had to wake to drive her to McDs.  As I lay there, I kept thinking about how this is how it happens. I have been down this path before. Ten years ago, right around this time, Timmy got his first job at Firehouse Subs. He didn't work early mornings there, but I still kept a check on time to make sure he was ready.  And he was. He did very well with his job and at just 16, he was more than ready to take this next step to growing up.  Things happened very quickly when he started the job. First it was working and then practicing driving more and then a license and then POOF! He had this whole other life of running in and out and eating warmed up dinners and catching up in phone calls throughout the day.  And... now... my baby girl is 16 and she just started this first job.  And before I blink, she will be working and then practicing driving more and then a license and then POOF! She will have this whole other life of running in and out and eating warmed up dinners and catching up in phone calls throughout the day. In some ways, it was a relief! It was like, "YAY! One less kid to micromanage and shuffle from place to place!" In hindsight, it was the last time or at the very least a distinct change for many things.  I don't even think I realized it at the time. This time around, I am going to try to notice it more. I am proud of her and nervous all at the same time.  She is beaming with possibilities right now and that just makes a mama's heart smile. To my beautiful daughter that I asked God to give me... I love you. I am proud of you. You are a young woman with amazing talents and I have no doubt that you will do great things with your life. Just remember that we are right here every single step of the way and we will help you with whatever you need to make those things happen.