Wednesday, August 20, 2014

School Daze

I woke up this morning with a smile on my face because..........


Now, believe me, my mornings are ridiculous, but you know what happens after that frantic 2 hour window of getting four very different children ready to roll to 4 different places???????

Total quiet, and no interruptions of my work day.


There were SO many cute pictures on my facebook of these ADORABLE signs the kids were holding that talked about their school, and their favorite movies, and their teachers, and what they wanted to be when they grew perfect fonts, and different colors........

 I was just happy that they had clothes that somewhat matched and shoes with socks on.  And I had bought their school supplies.  That's what I was happy about.

 I did get a $1 dry erase board so I could at least put what grade they were in.  All very janky.  Gina looked very much like her name, "Lovely", this morning.  So proud of this girl.  She has come so very far, and she should have an excellent year.  The teachers really look out for her, and thinking about how just yesterday she was in 6th grade, a scared, angry girl.... and the obstacles she has overcome to get to here, 2 years later, in 8th grade......awesome. 

 Zachary is having a smile in picture crisis.  He grimaces and closes his eyes and smirks and snarls.  It's all very entertaining, and exhausting whilst trying to snap the perfect 1st day of pre-k picture.

 Steven on the other had had no crisis of smiling.  He's been smiling for about 2 years now, and has his cute face down to an art.  He also had to have VANS like Brandon's, so he's channeling his new bro in California.  I think he just looks like a really smart 5th grader. 
Now this grumpy ole "I'm not going to hold that stupid board and hurry and take the stupid picture, and this is totally stupid to have to do this, and everything in life is stupid, including school, and I hate to have to stupid carry 5 backpacks, and stupid give me money for lunch, and .........".   All I know is it's only 20 days until this ray of sunshine gets her drivers license and she can carry her happy butt to school all on her own.   Not that I'm counting or anything.

Just a glimpse into our life in the mornings.  I get up at 6:30 and shower.  Somewhere between drying my hair and attempting to find shoes that match, I wake up the boys.  They manage to get dressed and eat our pre-determined breakfast by around 7;15.   I then wake the sleeping girls, and escape to take the boys while they growl around the house trying to wake up.  I take Steven 2 miles east to his school, wait patiently or impatiently in the drop off line, depending on the time....drop him at the door, head 3.5 miles due west to Zach's daycare, where he will be attending Pre-K.  Little man needs another year of very structured, personal environment, and I just felt better about him staying in the smaller classroom one more year.  Next year he can tackle the "real school", but one more year of English and speech therapy and I think he will be ready to roll.  Check him in, and then race to 7-11 for my morning TEA, then home to see what is transpiring in my house.  This is usually around 7:50.  I rally Gina and make sure everything she is wearing at least somewhat matches, then just tiptoe past Hallie's room and hope there is movement.  I reassess my own wardrobe, making sure that I actually have the right shoes, and check makeup and hair, and at 8:10 leave the house to take Gina to the 3rd of my 4th drop off.  Today for an extra added bonus, we picked two of the sunshine girls friends up to take to high school with her, and I was in Norman North's parking lot by 8:30.

Today I challenged the high school sophomores that were in the car with me, to all execute two random acts of kindness to their fellow students today.   This thought was so bizarre to them, they questioned me with, "What the world could we do?"   I informed them that giving a compliment, helping a lost Freshman, being kind to someone with problems, any of those things would work.  One of the girls informed me that if she complimented someone on their clothes, they would say to her, "Why do you say that, do they look bad?  Do you want to fight about it right now?"  I just sat in the front seat Shaking My Head.  So I said to the three ridiculous children in the car, "Just keep your heads down, and try to stay alive".   That was all I had to give them.

After all that..... I get to go to work and rest.  WHEEEEEEE.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Old Friends, Good Times

My high school class has always been weirdly close.  We have a group of people that really, truly enjoy the chance to be together and hang out. 

Every 5 years, we get it done.  Now granted, it isn't the insane parties of old, but we still got it. 

Just most of us, can't remember where we put it. 

For the first 25 years worth of reunions -- 5 total, I sorta planned them.  Now the last two, I have had the incredible honor of just showing up and enjoying the crap out of them, and not worrying about decorations, name tags, entertainment, food, designated drivers, venue.....nada. 

Suzanne Stevens Maltos, Shelley Blackwell Gilbert, Fonda Lemons Nixon, and Lois Hill Maldonado took it on this year, and did just swell. 

Our first evening activities was at a really fun bar (!!!!!) downtown Shawnee America.  I met up with Terri King and we ran to Hamburger King and ate a bite before we ventured over to the Tap Room. 

Our first hurdle, other than the selfie I sent to fellow classmate, Lisa Grider White, to rub in the fact that she wasn't going to get to be there....

And then, in walking into the building, realizing that we were going to have to CLIMB THREE FLIGHTS OF STAIRS. 

Uhm, planning committee, we are at our 35th reunion, not our 5TH!!!!   I had to stop twice on the way up just to catch  my breath.   The only thing that would have eased the pain, would to have been an oxygen bar for us to refresh ourselves.  Instead we were greeted by a bubbly Monty Peters, who encouraged (bullied) us to write our names on a nametag and include the last name of your favorite teacher in high school.

Now let's face it, I can't remember most days what I ate for breakfast.  So,I'm not only winded, I'm having to use precious brain cells to recall a name of a teacher that probably thought I was a big giant slacker.  I finally settled on Patty Gail Masters, so my name tag hailed me as LAURA MASTERS.  Nice.

Here's how Marcus looked after his hike up the stairs.

The next hurdle was the fact the building had pretty high ceilings, and that was super neat, but it made for yelling.  I'm somewhat deaf on a good day in optimal settings, so put me in an acoustical disadvantage and I'm smiling and nodding my head when you ask me anything. 

True story.

So I'm yelling at my sweet classmates and they don't know why.  Plus now I'm sweating from walking up the stairs, so I am presenting the most perfect face ever. 

 These girls didn't sweat, and all looked super cute.  Not me, man

By the time, my sweet friend, Pam Fowler Hatchard got there, my hair had fallen and it couldn't get up. 

Those stairs almost ate Garrell Keck's lunch, as well.  
I made it to about 10:00 because, here's the thing.  I tell everything interesting on my facebook, and my blog, and there wasn't one interesting thing I could share with anyone.  EVERYONE knows my crap.  I'm about the most boring human on the planet, and all I could think about was getting home to sleep in my quiet, empty house.  :)  Except, Hallie was home, so it wasn't truly empty.   So I bid the crew adieu, and headed to the house. 

Then Saturday early, rose from my bed, and took Hallie to a beach tournament in OKC with her new partner and good friend Rachel Krutz, and they did fantastical and won the whole thang.  It was pretty fun watching them win, even though I sweated and started to smell not so pleasant towards the end there. 
I love the club director, Toriano Lands,  He brings the very best out in his players. 

I like Amy laying on the ground where she just went for it, and they sailed it past her.

But I especially love they won, and got a bag of goodies for each of them.  

Then I raced home, after a quick stop at Texas Road House to get a ribeye for the victor, and we headed to the showers. 

Then back to the friends.  It was "Selfie Saturday" at the Crossing Heart Ranch and we all had a great time. 

I was so happy to see this fellow.  Tony Kozel is one of my oldest and best guy friends from high school days.  He had a farming accident and burned himself pretty badly a few weeks ago, so I was overjoyed to see him (and meet his much hotter (he married up) wife).  This is what reunions are all about.  Seeing friends you have loved most of your life, and sharing their joys and their pain.  It's just the best.

I've blogged about Cash Matthews before and everyone on this blog knows how I feel about him.  I wanted to do a selfie with him, but it was pretty hard explaining how you had to look at a random thing to get a decent picture.  He suggested we just look up and look pensive.  I think I just look lost, but he looks a wee bit pensive.  We could title this masterpiece, 'Seeing our future reunions'. 

But my biggest laugh came from Molly.   Molly Jones Hall and I have been friends since 1st grade.  She makes me roll on the ground laughing, anytime I am around her.  I told her we needed to take a selfie and she told me she didn't care as long as it didn't end up on facebook.  I assured her it wouldn't (crossing my fingers under the table), and letting everyone at the table know that it totally would.  Now I am serious about it being hard to know where to look on the ipad for a selfie.  It's truly an art to look like you know what you are doing when you take a picture.  You are staring at yourself on the screen.... well.... staring back at you, then I snap it. 

Molly wanted to know what she needed to look at so she wouldn't look wall-eyed.  I told her to look at her necklace.  "OK", she says, as she LOOKS DOWN at the necklace around her neck.  I spewed tea across the table.  "Hey, Mol, let's just look at the necklace in your picture".   "OH" she says. 

I couldn't help that laughing face of mine.   She makes me roll on the floor.  I love me some Molly.

Old friends really are the best friends. 

Don't even ask me why I thought I needed to not only have my hands on my hips, but also bend my knees.  I'm on the end.  That's a keeper, right there. 

Looking forward to the next one already! 

P.S.  I took many more pictures with many more friends and I just couldn't put them all on here. 

Here is the link to my facebook, and just click on this and you can scroll through all of them.  Thank you TERRI KING for, as always, being the beauty behind the lens and making sure we have excellent keepsakes from the events.  I'm Blurry McBlurryson on the Ipad, so mine are iffy, but they have character, that's all I'm saying about that. 

 Terri's fabulous pics

Blurry pics from yours truly

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Birth of a Family

Lacey wrote the best announcement, so I'm sharing that.....


Laura Deaton, 53, of Norman OK, welcomed three little ones on July 8, 2014. Gina Marie Jackson, 13. Steven Kyle Jackson, 10. And Zachary George Jackson, 4. Visitors included Grammie Jackson, Hallie Hembree, Lacey Holt, and Ericka Scholl (Hallie’s volleyball partner). When asked if they were ready to be adopted, Gina replied “Yup!”, Steven replied “Yes!”, and Zachary giggled and smiled at his new mama. Upon conclusion of the adoption proceedings Laura was handed three giant stacks of paperwork to which Lacey stated, “At least these three come with instruction manuals!” Joy filled the air as the new Jackson trio left the courthouse at approximately 9:30am on Tuesday. Grammie hugged the youngest and said with a smile, “I have eight grandkids.”

Let the adventure continue.

Thanksgiving 2012, I had them about 25 days then.

The cutesy trio now

Gina Marie Jackson  "Lovely"

Steven Kyle Jackson  "LB"

Zachary George Jackson  "BB"
 The kids have changed so much since that first week.  Of course, they have grown up physically, but mentally, they have changed so much too. 

 I'm so proud of Gina.  She has changed the most of all the kids.  Physically she has lost around 50 pounds.  She has figured out how to tame that hair.  She is calmer, and quick to make friends.  She has a smile that will light up a room.  Love me some Gina.

Steven came to me with no glasses.  I finally was reading through his IEP one day and noticed mention of glasses.  I asked him, and even then, always the peacemaker, don't rock the boat kind of guy,  "OH, it ok, I only need them to see".  OH, well in that case........ 
Curly hair and losing teeth.  8 years old. 

And of course, Zachary.  He was barely 3 when he came into our lives.... all curls and no English.  Still in diapers, and so beautiful..... and so confused and lost.  Who couldn't resist that face?

And we figured this living together thing out, and have taken these 3 little beautiful souls and blended them into our lives.  It's fun, it's hectic, it's rewarding, it frustrating, it's overwhelming and it's the only way to live.  

Like Lacey said.....let the adventure continue.  

Monday, July 7, 2014

Finding the Sweet in the Bitter

July is a freaking tough month.

I still cannot believe that on July 10, it will have been 4 years since Laynie got her angel wings.

Today, our dear friend Katie Begley featured Lacey on her blog.  It is just fantastical.  (I happen to love both of these girls to the moon and beyond).

Katie's blog

As I sat in church on Sunday and watched the message of my most favorite series, "At the Movies", so many thoughts ran through my head.

First, when we had Laynie's celebration of life, the church was decked out in Ratatouille, complete with cafe, eiffel tower, etc.  I even talked about At the Movies in the eulogy I prepared.   Full circle, I felt.  Our family has come full circle.

Second, as I sobbed my way through the message.... (I can cry at the drop of a hat for the next couple of weeks, over ANYTHING)...... and they showed this scene.....

All I could think about was about the day I finally leave this earth and get to heaven.  I can promise you with everything I am, that I will be screaming, "LAYNIE!!! LAYNIE!!!" and running as fast as I possibly can to have her jump in my arms.....  and seeing my dad again......   I just want all of you to know right now......when my time comes,  I don't want no bawling send-off.... I want a celebration!!  BECAUSE I will be free!!!  And I expect all of you'n's to keep your noses clean, because I want to greet you the exact same way, when it's your turn some day!

So, I choose joy in the face of these days.   We are gearing up for PURPLE day on July 10......

Our phones, facebook pages, instagram just light up on July 10, and it's just a blessing to walk through that hard, hard day....with the love of our friends pushing us through. 

Another sweet...... tomorrow I will be increasing my family tree by one branch with three apples on it.  I will blog more tomorrow and have some pictures from our special day, but because God is faithful and He always delivers us JOY when we most need it...... We are going to court on 7-8 at 9.  I'm glad they made it easy for me.  I doubt 2 of the 3 Vietnamese that live in this house will get much sleep tonight.   They are JACKED UP with Joy. 

So thank you friends.   Thanks for loving our family, and walking our journey with us.  Thanks for reading my words, and letting Laynie's life matter and be so personal to all of you. 

She was a gift from God for all of us......Sent from heaven to show us what heaven will be like......

God is good, simply all the time. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Being Inspired

I have written about this precious couple before LOVELY THINGS ABOUT THE FOSTER FAMILY and I am so thrilled to share this post with all of you.

I saw Kannon at the CMN Sonny Bright Duck Race a few weeks ago and I could not get over how much he has grown!!!!  He had surgery awhile back to correct some issues and it just unleashed the hulk in him. :)   He is getting quite large and boy did he TELL me all about it, when we visited at the duck race. 

So, with growing boys comes new needs.  And a wonderful organization has selected Zach and Kelli and Kannon to be the recipient of the proceeds raised at a 5k "Get Inspired" in Kannon's honor!!!

Get a kleenex to watch this, because you will need it.  I have cried twice, once watching it, and once just thinking about it!!

So, TEAM HOPE wants to get behind this family and have everyone that has participated with us at all the WINGS TO FLY run in El Reno, register and don your TEAM HOPE tshirt and come and help us support this incredibly INSPIRING and loved family!!!!!

I know I'm doing it (this non-running, very sweaty mess) WHO WILL JOIN ME???  Let's get this family a VAN!   How fantastic!!!  

Get on your running shoes and join us on September 13 in Midwest City.

There are so many lovely things about this family....come see for yourself!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Round Barn Kind of Evening

When Kip decided to get married in California, I was like, "What about all your OKLAHOMA peeps???"  She figured she would just have a "Super Fun" reception sometime in June.  We checked the baby sister's volleyball schedule (ridiculous) and the ONLY time available, (back in April, when we set things in stone) that Hallie could be there was June 14, Father's day Weekend.  So, we booked the Round Barn, and then, waited for June to roll around.

Then Hallie's team won regionals, and a tournament was cancelled and a tournament planned, and all the sudden baby sister wasn't going to get to be present for the reception. 

BUT in spite of the change, we pressed on, (and notice I say WE in all this).  By WE, I mean, Kip.  I got a DJ and bought a pillow that said, "Hey, Y'all".  That was about the extent of my "Helping".

Picked up my Cali Kids on Thursday late afternoon, and after a burger at Irma's and a pretty intense game of Life in grammie's living room floor, we called it a day.

Friday rolled around, and Kip was a food buying, flower pickin', organized frenzy of party planner.  She had already helped Brandon's mom Pam, put together one in California in May, so this wasn't her first rodeo, and as much as she wanted to see all her people, she was ready to just have an ice cream social in the park and call it good.  She had mailed a lot of signs and things (to the WRONG ADDRESS, for the love) (Hi neighbors, did you get another box for me at YOUR ADDRESS?) sigh.

Saturday was on us in a blink, and setting up, and laughing and SWEATING became the order of the day.  But once the friends and family started arriving, Fun was Definitely HAD. 

Brandon's mom, Pam, has the best costume props and Kip brought them all and set up a photo booth, and we had some serious fun in that baby.

  FUN WAS DEFINITELY HAD .We danced (Well, Lacey danced), even at one point she boogied by and said, "Thanks for buying me a DJ, mom".  I decided we invited a bangload of Baptists.  No one dancing.  LOL.  But the few times we did dance, it was a blast.             
If Kip ever decided to get in the party planning, catering, wedding planning business she will be an instant success.  What fun and I have no idea why my page is doing this so I am signing off for now.