Posted by Shelley on Nov 15, 2011 in kids

Around this time each year we get an abundance of magazines in the mailbox, many of which are just toys (just think the old Sears or JCPenney’s WishBook) and among the stack is the American Girl catalog. Evidently the recession has not been a problem for this company. This is by far the biggest compilation we’ve ever received and we’ve been receiving these for 12 years now. Which brings me to the point of this post.

Years ago, in my effort to master this motherhood thing, I found a way to entertain the kids during this insanely busy time of year. Giving them a marker and a Christmas catalog meant they were free to circle anything and everything their little hearts desired. And when the time came, we would write these circled items on the Santa list. You know, that letter that gets sent to the North Pole, usually on December 24th.

Back to the American Girl catalog. The big, beautiful spread of the most quality dolls and accessories available to anyone with a line of credit. So over-priced but so worth it because they actually LAST. I LOVE these toys. Could not WAIT until we would get our orders (usually on December 24th) so I could open them and play with them too. So fun setting these pretties out on Christmas Eve, to be discovered the next morning, as if by magic. Not to mention the many, many American Girl and Bitty Baby Christmas gifts over the years, that my mom would pick out for our “little girl”. The Just Like Me doll will forever be a miniature version of Melodi. Bitty Baby (who made a visit to the doll hospital and came back with an new head) is an heirloom. Felicity (retired btw) and Kaya will last into the next generation as will their clothes, the tea set, the horse, the tee pee… the list could go on. You can see where I’m going with this.

The American Girl catalog contains no circles this year. In fact, she has had her picture made with Santa for years now and I’m beginning to think we are going to have to create a bargaining tool for the pic this year.

Bitty Baby becomes an American Girl who circles everything in the catalog and then becomes the young lady who will be the successful woman who can buy things for her Bitty Baby. Yes. It’s a circle.


And it’s been 6 months….

Posted by Shelley on May 27, 2011 in kids

since my last post.

As I sit here with coffee in one hand and reflections in the other I must admit I’m a little torn…only 6 more years of school for my oldest while we are just beginning the next “official”12 years for my youngest. Yes, when Melodi becomes valedictorian of her senior class Canon will be completing 6th grade and we’ll get to do this all over again! Except it will be through the eyes of my son which are incredibly different than my daughter’s.

Melodi’s transition to middle school was relatively easy – give that child a schedule and a set of rules and you’ve got an A+ student. Her definitions of success are most definitely her own. Mike says it’s because she memorized the “good marks and good grades” portion of the old phonics commercial, before she could even read or write. A poised, gifted and talented young lady, she’s all about good grades and being at the top of her class. A confident problem solver, an avid learner, with a laser beam type focus no matter what she is doing. I would suggest that these are innate traits, born into her, which blossomed through the right teachers, the right environment and her own brand of determination. Everyday it becomes clearer to me the kind of woman she will become. The one I wanted to be when I grew up.

Melodi already knew her definition of success by the time she was 6 years old. Canon’s will come later, and be in a different language. Let me try to explain.

The journey into academia has already been very different for Canon. A few weeks ago he told me he didn’t want to go to first grade. I asked him why. “Because there’s homework. No rest time. No playtime. More work!” I had to remind him that state law now demanded he go to the first grade, that if you include 4K and 2 trips down the 5K lane (due to his late August birthday), he had potentially had 3 years of kindergarten. And even if the most lax terms that was enough! He’s learning there are rules. But I’m not having to teach him how to break them. That is coming naturally – as it should. Boys don’t become men by following the rules. Boys must build a kind of confidence that challenges themselves and those around them. They must grow an appropriate sense of how and what to defend. They must develop a presence of themselves that is present even when they are not. He has already begun to define his brand of success, but it is a process. Canon puts a value on learning but a much bigger one on connecting with others, relating to them, expressing empathy and compassion that is not typical of a 6 year old. At bedtime he will say, “Let’s talk mom.” And I will say, “about what?” and his very sweet response is, “About anything! I just like this part of the day when I can talk to you!” And when I sit still and focus and give him my undivided attention all of a sudden there’s a spark of success! He may have aced something in school but at the end of the day it’s still all about establishing an emotional connection for Canon. I truly believe he will become a smart, confident man, defending what it is important to him and at the end of his grown-up work day he will be a loving and attentive husband and father, making his mark on this world. Just like his own dad! School will have everything to do with this. And at the same time it won’t.

I absolutely know one thing. They are going to be my grown adult kids much longer than they will remain my small young children. Kindergarten, middle school, high school, college… these are just stepping stones. I am going to enjoy the next 6-12 years! One thing is for sure, you don’t get ‘em back!




Thirty Days of Thankful – Days 29 and 30

Posted by Shelley on Nov 30, 2010 in Mike, Real Life Stories, Uncensored Shelley, kids

Thankful for the mystery of the past and how it shaped the present.

Thankful for what the future holds.

Thankful for old friends and new ones.

Thankful for it all. Every last bit if it! And how God uses it all to become His great story!


Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 21

Posted by Shelley on Nov 22, 2010 in kids

So thankful for an entire week of Thanksgiving holidays! I don’t remember ever having the whole week off but this year ’tis true…I will enjoy seeing our kids a little bit more this week, coming up with some things to do in the Alabama sunshine and just being grateful for every moment that I see their smiling faces :)


Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 16

Posted by Shelley on Nov 17, 2010 in kids

Thank you Lord, for the village it is taking to raise my children… this week in particular. You know who you are ;)


Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 15

Posted by Shelley on Nov 16, 2010 in Real Life Stories, kids

I am thankful today for eating lunch at school with Canon. I am thankful that when he saw me he gave me a huge smile and wanted me to hold his hand all the way to the lunchroom. I am most thankful that when he got in the car today he said, “thanks for coming to eat lunch with me today. I love you mom.”

Thank you God for my boy and for creating him to be part of your great story.


Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 8

Posted by Shelley on Nov 9, 2010 in Real Life Stories, kids

My extended family has been blessed by four feet this year – we welcomed Nathaniel Hiller Smith on August 27th, 2010 and most recently Patrick Inman Moore on November 8th, 2010. Nathan is my nephew and is the star of my sister’s blog, www.grinningandbearingit.blogspot.com, where you can see and celebrate all-things Nathan! Stacey does an excellent job chronicling his many “firsts” – it’s like reading a virtual baby book! Patrick Inman Moore is my second cousin, the kids third cousin and the son of my first cousin, Hamilton. He’s brand new, only a day old, so no blog yet. He is two months early and we are all amazed that he is already here and doing very well. What a blessing!

Thanks be to God for bringing life to Stacey and Ash, and to Hamilton and Chris, through their sons, Nathan Hiller and Patrick Inman. Thank you for showing us the mystery of life through birth, especially in the months of August and November this very year. Thank you God for allowing the sheer coincidence of new babies and the joy they bring to be a be part of your great story.


Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 7

Posted by Shelley on Nov 8, 2010 in Real Life Stories, kids

Very thankful for being a part of such a generous church, which celebrated our 2 year anniversary just yesterday. Lots of good teaching, good relationships and maturity and growth are what I’m most thankful for – but we sure know how to have fun too! As a celebration and outreach we had a huge party last night. Part of the festivities included lots of food and prizes, such as iron bowl tix, SEC championship tix and a brand new-in-the-box PS3! CANON WON THE PLAYSTATION 3!!!
I have no idea really what it is or what it can do but we now have one :)

Thank you Lord, that you brought us to a church, filled with life and a generous spirit and for making a2 church part of your great story!


Thirty Days of Thankful – Day 3

Posted by Shelley on Nov 3, 2010 in Real Life Stories, kids

So thankful today for my sweet little Indian brave, “Blue Fish”, and for his fascination of teepees, wigwams and arrowheads. For his tender heart, his ukulele and his genuine desire to save the earth and all the people and animals in it. He could have named himself “Green Fish” – because in addition to a heart of gold he most certainly has the eco-friendly green springing up in there too.

Today he told me, “I just want to help people Mom.” Thank you God for instilling that servant’s heart in him. I look forward to how this tree-huggin’ boy will help me, his mom, see the world through his eyes.


Do you want to see a cute baby?

Posted by Shelley on Oct 7, 2010 in kids

then take a look at my nephew!

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