Tuesday, August 27, 2013

One week down, 845 to go

I actually have no idea how many weeks there are until Bennett graduates from high school. But 845 feels about right at this moment. Actually 5845 felt right by Friday afternoon. Friday evening my whole family was D-O-N-E.

In addition to a 40 minute commute twice a day for the week we added gymnastics, piano, and ballet. I started teaching drama at the church again, Rob had late night video shoots, my Mom's group started back up and I had to be there early to set up and take down, and I am already in meetings to help plan a fundraiser for B's school.

But this week has been better. We know what to expect, days have more of a rhythm, and life is good. But fitting all of this in between a 10 month old's nap schedule is rather hard. Not gonna lie about that.

I will say the one thing that has been unexpected about this transition is that Will has had a much harder time than we anticipated. He cries because Bennett has left for school by the time he gets up. He misses her terribly at preschool. He was distraught by Wednesday of last week because he missed seeing her in the halls and in the gym. He cried and said, "Nobody yells my name and runs over to hug me anymore." He waits and looks outside his window for her to come home each day. He really was like a little lost puppy and it hurt to see him like that.

But this week he is getting used to it. We all are. And the beat goes on.

This is how I left Bennett on her 2nd day of school. Bright eyed and ready for day number 2.
But you know the Websters can't start school without a little drama. On just her second day of Kindergarten, Bennett got a black eye. Yup. A shiner. The school nurse called Rob to tell him about this. And this is how we picked her up.
Apparently they were playing freeze tag in gym class and a little boy accidentally ran into Bennett. I guess it's a good thing the school nurse called Rob. She gave us the option of going to pick B up or sending her back to class. You know my swagger wagon would have been in that school parking lot in no time flat, but Rob told them to send her back to class. Ummmm..... I called the school immediately to request my number be put first on the call list. Kidding. Maybe.

But she was fine. It didn't bother her at all actually. She headed on to her first piano lesson like a trooper.
By Day 3 it looked bad, but she was more than ready to head back to school.
And by the time she got to ballet on Day 4, she looked like an awesome prize fighter. Heart of a champion, I tell ya.
So I get to spend a lot of time now hanging out with this little beauty.
And we can't wait until noon each day when we get to pick this guy up from his pre-school.
Now off to start dinner while holding a baby on my hip, a 4 year old demanding for me to put on his bike helmet, and a 5 year old practicing her piano rather loudly in the other room. Doesn't get more glamorous than that, my friends.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First Day of Kindergarten and Pre-K4

September 19th, 2013. First day of Kindergarten for Bennett  and first day of Pre- K4 for William.

 Beautiful Bennett on her first day of Kindergarten. Where does the time go?
First day questions-
Favorite Food: Cherries
Favorite thing to do: Stay up late, make popcorn, and watch movies
When I grow up I want to be: A veterinarian

 My handsome buddy on his first day of Pre-K4
Favorite Food: Strawberries
Favorite thing to do: Go to Disney World and go camping
When I grow up I want to be: A Train conductor

As we were taking pictures Bennett's friend from down the street was leaving for school. She was so excited to see another friend headed off to their first day as well.

 Don't look so excited, Lainey. You are staying at home with me until you are 15.

This picture captures their personalities perfectly.

 Beautiful beautiful picture! These two look so much alike.

Trying to hold it together. Me, not Bennett.

 We found her spot.

 Settling in.

 Time for the parents to say good-bye.
 And little brothers too.

Waving good-bye

Will walking bravely alone into his pre-school class. He was very sad that Bennett wasn't at school with him.

 Ready for a great year!

 Me and my buddy.

And here is his picture post school. Thumbs up for a great first day!

Bennett had requested rice krispie treats for a snack when she got home. Will helped me make them while we waited on her. He had a hard time waiting for her to come home. He is never apart from her and he was about to have a fit to go and pick her up.

 And she's back!!! Her thoughts about the day- It was great! I really liked PE. I have a new friend named Haleigh. There were more bigger kids than I thought. I thought it would just be kids my age. A boy kept touching my nap mat but I told him to stop. Music class was soooooo fun.

 I think Will was more excited than anyone. He was talking a mile a minute telling her all about his day and asking her a million questions. I absolutely love these two.

 I don't think I've ever been so happy to see her.

Now what do you mean we have to do this all again tomorrow?

Bennett asked to get in her pajamas the second she got home. Of course I let her and she ate her rice krispie treats laying on the couch in her pj's. When she heard Lainey on the monitor she asked if she could go get her up. Will followed her upstairs and then I heard tons of giggling and laughing. This is what I found. You think these three missed each other?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

An open letter to my Kindergartener

Dear Bennett,

I cannot believe that I am about to write this letter to you. I wrote letters to you on this blog when you were an infant. Here is one when you were only 8 weeks old and another when you were nearly a year old. What you won't understand until you have children of your own is that when I look at you I still see that baby girl. I suppose I will always see glimpses of her. I hope so at least.

 I tell you this all the time but one of the many things that makes you so incredibly special is that you made me a Mommy. I still vividly remember being in the hospital on the first night you were born.
You were less than 12 hours old and they had wheeled you out of the room to check your stats. I couldn't sleep until they brought you back in the room. Even though I was exhausted from the day's events I lay there listening for the sound of the rolling cart as they brought you back into our room. I would perk up every time I heard something rolling down the hospital corridor and would sink back down in slight disappointment as I realized the sound was passing by my room.

Your years at home with me have been the happiest of my life.
It was a hard decision to stay at home and stop working when you were born. I loved my job and I never envisioned myself as a stay at home Mom when I was younger. It just wasn't something that I ever thought I would do. But every time you got to curl up in your footed pajamas with me and eat your breakfast as we watched morning cartoons together, I knew it was worth it. I have had the immense pleasure of spending 5 years taking you to playgrounds, dollar movies, bouncy house places, playdates, and all the other things you do to pass time when you are a stay at home Mom to young children. Some afernoons we just rode around looking for horses so you could yell a greeting to them while clutching your sippy cup in your carseat.

Some days we spent all day in our pajamas coloring and watching cartoons. Some days we drove each other crazy. Some days you and your brother were best friends. Some days I wanted to ship one (or both) of you to China. But the time I have been able to spend with you was worth every time I wondered why I had a college degree. When money was tighter at times, I did wonder if my not working had been a huge mistake. But when I look back on these past five years, I know without a doubt that it wasn't.

As I leave you tomorrow morning on your first day of Kindergarten, I am torn. You have been to three different Mother's Morning Out/Pre-schools and they have all been at the church where Daddy worked. He has never been more than a stone's throw away from you. You have always been in the same building as your little brother. You have always been home for lunch with your family. Every single day since you were born. And now, all of a sudden, I am sending you out the door at 7:30am and I won't see you again until 3:00pm. Five days a week. This is a huge adjustment for your family. But you know what? You are so ready. Even if I am not.
I have been praying for you non stop these last few weeks and months and here are just a few things I want you to remember as you start this new chapter in your life.


1. God created you just as you are.
Psalm 139:14 tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God knew exactly who you were going to be before you even gasped your first breath. Don't ever try to be anything you are not. Some kids will be athletic and some will be artsy. Some will be both. Some will like the color blue while others prefer red. Not every kid will think like you or like the same things you like, but I never want you to try to be anything that you are not to fit in. Even if you seem different from everyone else, I pray you will always be the awesome kid God created you to be.

                                                      2. Be kind to everyone
 You may not know many people at your school right now and I know you are feeling a bit overwhelmed. And I hope you always remember that feeling. It helps to know what it is like to be the new kid. I pray it encourages you to try to talk to everyone you meet. You never know what kind of day anyone else has had and so always show your classmates patience and kindness. When you encourage someone you will make their entire day, but if you criticize them, they will feel it for a long time.

3. You won't be good at everything.
     There will be some kids who are better at some things than you. You will be better than some kids at a few things. And that's okay. So try out lots of things. Some, you won't be any good at, but you
can get better. You're a kid, and one thing that makes kids so special is that they can learn lots, and learn fast. They're like Play-Doh that can change shapes, not like concrete. Even after practice, you may still be bad at something. But that doesn't change your worth, not to your parents, not to God, and hopefully not to yourself. But there are things you'll naturally be good at. Don't ever brag about it, or make someone else feel bad because they're not good at it. Just know that that's the special way God made you.

                                                      4. Respect your teachers
We have been praying for your teachers for the past few weeks and will continue to do so throughout the year. Always remember that your teachers want what is best for you and want you to succeed. They may be going through things at home that you are unaware of, so treat them with the same kindness that you show your friends. You have so many teachers in your family and you know more than anyone that teachers rock! We are so grateful for them. My prayer for the year is Colossians 4:5-6. Lord, cause Bennett to be wise in the way she acts towards her teachers, making the most of every opportunity. Let her conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that she will know how to respectfully and graciously answer her teachers questions.

5. You have a family at home that always has your back.
Whenever you have a no good, horrible, I think I'll move to Australia kind of day, always know that you have a family that cannot wait for you to come back home. No matter how hard a test is or how mean a kid is on the playground, you have four people who love and adore you and are always willing to go on a bike ride or have family game night. The ties that bind can be incredibly strong, and the Lord has blessed our family unit with some pretty strong ties, my dear. I pray you always see your home as a refuge and as a source of encouragement and love. 

Well, there's nothing more to say except that you are more than ready! Explore the world around you. Learn all kinds of new words. Get excited when you realize that you can read those words. Jump in mud puddles on the playground. Laugh loudly in the lunchroom at a friend's joke. Pick a favorite book that your teacher reads at storytime. Learn to play a musical instrument. Have fun making fantastic pieces of art. The messier the better. We are so proud of you, Bennett. You've got this!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Panama City, I got really old, and someone hates the sand.

Here are the best things about living in the deep South.

  1. Close to Disney
  2. No shoveling mounds and mounds of snow
  3. Boiled peanuts
  4. I'm not the only lunatic obsessed with college football
  5. Sweet tea
  6. Crepe Myrtlyes
  7. Living close to the beach

Those were in no particular order, mind you. And after last weekend I might move number 7 to the top spot. I love the beach! Now actually, I hate laying out in the sun. I can practically feel the cancer cells forming as my fair skin fries underneath the sun's punishing rays. And I don't really like saltwater. Or seaweed. Or sand for that matter.

But for some strange reason, I still love the beach. I am definitely not the type that will head down to the beach loaded with chairs, blankets, coolers, food, 30 books and camp out by the water all day. No, thank you. I will only do that in the Fall if it is 60 degrees and I have on a long sleeved shirt. In the summer I like to check it out, swim a bit, and then head back to the safety of a pool.

All that being said, we went to the beach last weekend, And I invited my parents to go with us to thank them for keeping my kids the week I taught the drama camp.

Here's my Dad with the kids waiting for our table at Pineapple Willy's. Apparently this is a famous Panama City landmark. I had never eaten there before, but I definitely will again. We really enjoyed it.

We headed down to the beach the next morning. Let me go on record as saying that I have never bought a smocked bathing suit before. To me they are impractical and just so.... southern. And that is coming from someone who loves all things southern.  But I saw these swimsuits last summer at the end of the season on clearance before Lainey was even born and I just could not resist. I totally caved and I am so glad that I did. I mean, come on! How cute are these?
 My little bathing beauty hated the sand. You can see the towel is folded from where I was furiously trying to get it off of her toes after she threw a fit. That's my girl!
 We tried another sibling picture. Will has serious reservations about his little sister. She's not so sure about him either. And Bennett just has her "this is my fake smile so hurry up and take the stinkin' picture so I can get in the water" face.
 Whew! Made it back to the pool. Now Mama's happy.
 My Mom and Lainey had matching hats. You could barely tell them apart
 Mom swimming with her Grandkids. What a fun day.
 Bennett has taken over my old camera and has become quite the photographer. She carries it with her everywhere and she captures everything. I mean everything! I won't go into detail but let's just say I have had to go through and delete a lot of her pictures. Especially after she follows her little brother into the bathroom.
We stayed at the Edgewater Beach Resort which is a wonderful resort and the best part is that they have restaurants on property so we never left all day.
Actually, we left for just a few minutes that afternoon to take the kids souvenir hunting, but we ate lunch by the pool and went back down and ate at the bar and grill overlooking the ocean that night.
Since we were right on the beach we went to take some family pictures. I love this one of Mom and Dad with the kids.
 Me and my honey.
 How much do I love these folks? There are no words.
 My heart, my soul, and my joy. Period.
  And guess what? The next morning someone got older. Sigh....
Thanks, Dad for the balloons! What a fun way to make me feel special. :)

 We spent all day swimming and playing again and then that night we went to this great entertainment complex called Pier Park. Here I am getting ready to head out to celebrate my birthday with these three munchkins.
The whole group after dinner.
And then over the the kids section where they have fun rides and games. Daddy Suttle and Bennett took on the ferris wheel.
As did me and Rob. Who said you have to be a kid to ride?
Train rides for the little ones.
Look at the intensity. Flying planes is a job that needs much concentration.
And I rode some hot air balloon spinny thing that made me dizzy. I had my sunglasses on and I closed my eyes the entire ride. The kids never knew.
Lainey was D-O-N-E by this point so we went back to the condo to let her sleep. My parents stayed with her while Rob and I took the kids down to the beach for an evening stroll. I love the beach at this time of day. I could have stayed there for hours. No hot sun, laying out, or saltwater in my mouth? Perfect.
And I referred to how much Lainey hated the sand earlier, but these pictures sum it up. Poor Lainey bug.

And finally, my favorite picture from the weekend. There's always one that just takes my breath away. It may not be the best picture but it is one that captures a moment or a person so unguarded. This is the one I just love from this particular trip.

What a wonderful weekend! I got to have a great trip with my family, I celebrated my 35th(!!!!) birthday, and I discovered that my youngest and I could bond over our preference for the pool. Can't wait to back again soon.