Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why did I start running?

This post is part of the 'Get to Know Us' series on The Callipygians blog.

Why did I start running?  For you to fully understand and appreciate how far I've come I think it will be best to paint you a picture.  Growing up I was this petite prissy girl.  I always had the perfect outfit, my big Texas hair was my main concern and I had zero interest in sports.  I thought sports were sweaty and unattractive so why would anyone want to do that to themselves?!  I actually “managed” the school sports teams to receive credit for physical activity throughout junior high.  The extent of my physical activity involved playing putt-putt on dates and running walking the 800 a few times during track season.  Seriously, two of my girlfriends and I walked the 800 meter race at a few junior high track meets.  I look back and think how embarrassing y’all?!  I was the furthest thing away from an athlete.  I did however excel in socializing and shopping.
I went to college and continued on with my prissy little life.  I went to class full-time and worked at a jewelry store.  I had a wonderful boyfriend, Tyler (my now husband), who also went to Texas Tech (guns up!) and worked full-time.  His job was high intensity physical labor at a tire service center.  In the evenings when we both got off work naturally we would go out to eat, as college kids do, at fast food restaurants.  Since he was working so hard and was a young 20-something man he had a HUGE appetite.  I started eating faster to keep up with him and my dainty portions were growing a little more each day.  It didn't take me long to realize that I had packed on that dreaded college weight.  Thankfully mine took a little longer than some to put on.  It wasn't the “freshman 15” it more like the “junior 15” but to me on my petite frame the extra weight was horrific and this prissy girl was freaking out.  
Getting a little chunky!
I had a wedding I was preparing for... I had to look perfect!  I ordered some every workout video with a convincing infomercial.  I started doing said videos between school and work.  I was cutting back on portions and after a few months I was starting to see a difference in my weight.  
One afternoon when I was short on time I decided I would go on a short walk around our apartment complex.  I wasn't breaking a sweat like in my videos so I decided to start jogging.  Surprisingly, I didn't hate it.  I broke a sweat and it was easy…. and hence a runner was born.  The entire summer break of 2004 leading up to my wedding I continued Teabo™ (my favorite infomercial VHS video find – yes, it was a VHS tape back then folks) and I also started going on runs in the evenings.  When I got married I was down to my lowest weight and was in great shape.  
Honeymoon 2004
I continued to run off and on over the years.  
It wasn't until after we had our first child that I ran in an actual 5K race. 
In August 2009 I was asked to help promote an event for a co-worker’s relative diagnosed with cancer.  I didn't even know what to expect when I showed up on race day but I knew I wanted to help.  We ran on a golf course and I think my time was over 40 minutes.  I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the great people that I met.  I continue to participate in local races and even inspired several of my family members to run a 5K a couple summers ago.
I keep running because...  Of course, just like the reason I started, I want to maintain a healthy weight.  As I’m getting older I think more about a healthy heart so cardio is essential and running is by far my favorite exercise.  I continue because I truly enjoy it.  I like it because it’s a solo sport and I can break a sweat anywhere without any equipment.  I only have to count on myself to get it done.  As a working mother of two “me time” is limited and I squeeze it in when it's convenient.  I cherish my moments out alone with my I-tunes up just clearing my head.  I think through personal goals and improvement while I run.  I pray for my family/friends and talk to God.  I tend to have a high anxiety personality so when life gets overwhelming, I hit the pavement and after a good run I can put things back into perspective and realize how truly blessed I am.
I need to add that I am not a fast runner.  I will never be a fast runner.  My 5K PR is right at 28 minutes - pretty average.  I am not a natural athlete.  I haven’t gone near the distance as my fellow Callipygians.  They all have multiple half marathons under their belts.  I’m training for my first 10K in June with hopes of building from there.  But if I don’t go any further than a 10K, I’ll continue to run 2-3 miles a few times a week and be proud.  Another big perk is I have this wonderful group of ladies supporting me!  Yolanda shared a quote a few days ago and it really rang true, “Look in the mirror, that’s your competition.”
Now you've read how far I've come.  From the girl that couldn't understand why anyone would want to work out to the girl that strives to run more, to sweat more and LOVES IT!  
How would you answer the question I run because....?

This post was part of the 'Get to Know Us' series on The Callipygians blog.
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Of lily pads and faith.

The first real day of summer started out swimmingly.  

Unfortunately, I failed to sunscreen appropriately and have one of the worst sunburns I can remember.  Ouch.

Becks has a little more independence at the pool this year.  He's taller and can swim.  He makes buddies with anyone who's carrying around a squirt gun.  Yet, I can only get through about a half a paragraph of a book before I feel the urge to check on him, or before he's calling out to me to watch him sit under the dunk bucket that pours gallons of water onto waiting little heads.  He loves it.  

I remember going to the pool with my mom and sisters when we were young, swigging from yellow Hi-C juice boxes and munching on lunch during adult swim.  It's funny how some things never change.  How a different generation is now seated in the lounger, goggles secured, swigging from a juice box, munching on lunch, and waiting for the whistle to signal all can swim again.  

Becks has also independently mastered the lily pads.  The kids in line behind him must have incredible patience because he takes his precious time in maneuvering from pad to pad.  

So, today feels a little bit more like summer than Tuesday did.  I'm so grateful for sunshine and warm temperatures.  

I'm also grateful for this.

Because faith isn't easy.  But it is promising and full of hope.  It is bigger than I am.  And - even more comforting - is that He already knows of the things my heart desires and He knows where my faith will take me.  

Happy, happy Thursday :)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Scrutiny Of A Mother: It's In The Memories

I gave work the finger by leaving an hour early today. But still, leaving the office at 3:50 did not get me home until 6:40ish. Picking up the kids from my mom's house usually adds a good 20  minutes to the commute (we have to pack snacks for the road, clean up toys, collect our things, make sure everyone goes potty or has a fresh diaper) making my 2.5 hour commute even longer. Tonight, as soon as we got home, the kids turned into pumpkins, Ryan having screamed most of the 40 minute drive of the last leg of our journey and Jacob having slept through it all so soundly that he peed himself.

After feeding the kids a super-mom meal of old dino-shaped chicken nuggets, oatmeal, and strawberries, I really had no choice but to put them to bed. I just couldn't handle the whining anymore. Regretfully, I tucked them in and snuck out of their room. As soon as I closed the door, I felt a heaviness weighing me down. I hadn't seen them all day. I hadn't got my one hour of cuddle and play time.

Sometimes, as a working mom, I feel so absent. Even when we are under the same roof. Often times, I come home exhausted. And they come home bursting with pent-up tantrums. It doesn't help that I carry around mental baggage of the urgent work projects waiting on my desk.

I wonder sometimes if the little boys around my kitchen table are getting enough attention from me. Real attention. Focused attention. Even when I set aside time to give them my attention, I find their childish games are amusing at first but then quickly become repetitive and boring. As we sit down for a fourth game of Uno or Memory or See-What-Jacob-Can-Pretend-To-Blow-Up, I'm itching for an excuse to escape. Maybe I have to do some laundry? Isn't there a sink full of dishes? Then a pang of guilt strikes right through my mommy-soul. How did my own mom play board games with us for hours and not want to melt into the perfect-shade-of-beige carpeting of my childhood home?

It's easy to tell when a child's physical needs are being met. There is no mistaking the smell of a dirty child, the cry of a hungry child, or the nagging of a tired child. But how do you know if your kids are getting enough of the one resource you cannot multiply? How do you know your kids are getting enough of your time? How do you know if you are filling them up with enough good memories of you to outweigh the memories of the moments of your absence?

As I tuck my children in, pull the covers tightly around them, smooth their hair, and kiss their cheeks, I stop to study them for just half a second. I wish I could sneak inside their heads and scrutinize the contents of their memories. What does it look like in there? Every night I ask myself the same thing: "did I give them enough today?" I'm so terrified that the answer is no. That the answer is perpetually no and that they are running on the fumes of a year-long deficit of their mommy's attention.

Everything feels so out of my hands right now. I don't know how to conjure more time out of thin air. I feel trapped in a sea of routine and habits that I cannot change or give up. Too many times, I put other things before my own kids or just give them half of my attentions.

I always promise myself I will do better tomorrow. Always. Only to find myself asking the very same questions.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Holiday Weekend: Work & Play

As a gift from opposing counsel, an intense motion landed on our desks mid-last week. The motion was an attempt to exclude evidence that would be really critical to our case. It also involved an issue of first impression in our state (at least no higher court had ruled on the issue). Our response was due today which meant my boss and I took turns working on it all holiday weekend. Good thing our family hadn't planned that trip...!

It was kind of a bummer only because the motion was intense and complicated. I really only worked 9 hours over the span of three days but it was constantly hanging over my head. It wasn't the completely carefree weekend that I had been looking forward to. (There is a major silver lining regarding this motion: the documents that the motion attempts to exclude, the documents that are  the smoking gun of our defense...we didn't even know they existed until we read opposing counsel's motion! The motion was a gift from them in more ways than one.)

When I wasn't scouring Westlaw for obscure case law from all across this great country, I managed to have a mostly laid-back, fun weekend. Despite the ever-strong pull of the couch, I managed to get some running in. I am so relieved that it is no longer like pulling teeth to get my body to run five consecutive miles. I can even run below 8:00 mile pace. I'd eventually like to run another half-marathon but I still have a ways to go. I have to be able to belt out 10 consecutive miles without pushing myself too hard before I will sign up for a half. So yeah, I need to be able to double my workout.

My favorite thing about weekends is waking up slowly and lounging with my favorite men:

I took the kids to Chuck E Cheese on Saturday. I love that place. It's like my version of a casino. I absolutely hate casinos and gambling because I hate losing money. But at Chuck E Cheese, you can always win a ticket! After many trips to CEC, I've totally learned how to game the system. Literally. There is one game in particular that I've completely mastered (e.g. I've memorized the timing of the spinning lights) so I am guaranteed to be a "big" winner (12 tickets per coin!). I'm so very proud of my skills. I'm pretty sure I just rewrote the definition of the word "pathetic." But that's ok.

Sunday I met up with my sister and we took the kids to the YMCA pool. Ryan lasted 30 minutes before the bluish color of his lips began to alarm me. Jacob continued to splash with his aunt while we watched from the warmer sidelines. The pool is heated but it is still never warm enough for my liking. We then enjoyed a relaxed late lunch fireside at Panera. Even when our weekends don't involve anything thrilling, I absolutely enjoy just spending time with my kids outside of the house. I just love soaking up my time with them over the chores and errands and other mundane tasks.

One sign it is the weekend: Jacob is perpetually pant-less.

We laid low on Monday. I don't think I even changed out of my pajamas or left the house. Along those lines, I didn't blow dry my hair once over the weekend. I never put on anything more fancy than yoga pants and I don't think I even put on a bra! And I took naps each day. That part was fantastic. I didn't even mind billing hours from my own couch because I knew I could close the laptop every once in a while to "rest my eyes." Which I did. Trust me.

These guys took lots of naps too:

On a different note, tonight is our six year elopement-versary. I can't believe it's been six years. That's incredible to me. We celebrated by sharing some Taco-flavored chips while being Jacob's Dinner Enforcement and picking up all the food Ryan kept flinging onto the floor. We're so romantic....honestly though, we pride ourselves in being very low-maintenance and low-expectations people. We don't feel compelled to pamper ourselves often. Maybe sometime next month we will plan a dinner date. Or, if the gravitational pull of the couch is stronger, maybe we won't.

The start of summer.

I simply cannot believe there was a time in my life where I blogged multiple times a week.  Becks was small and confined and napped a whole lot.  Now, he's big and active and wears himself out by 7pm (and me!) with no nap.  By the time he's in bed, I want to do mindless activities.  Like nothing.  

One of the best parts of our new home is that it's located in an actual neighborhood.  WITH KIDS!  They're everywhere, so Becks has other little people to occupy him. It also means that the windowpanes on my door are smudged up with kid prints and my doorbell is constantly ringing.  It's kind of nice.  

If summer were a handful of dollar bills, I'd feel like I already spent quite a few on pre-planned trips and meetings and things that need to be done before August rolls around and school is back in full swing.  Just today - less than a week after closing down the building for the year - we had a professional development.  Totally the last thing I wanted to with one whole day of my summer vacation.  And, with this past weekend being a whirlwind of holiday activities, I feel like summer hasn't  even officially begun.  

Maybe tomorrow, when I'm drinking my coffee before my sleepyhead wakes up...and B is at work...and we have absolutely nothing on the agenda...maybe then I'll feel like summer is official.  Maybe when I can prepare a nice, homemade dinner and have it on the table when B comes home...maybe then it will feel like summer.  Or maybe it will be when I'm at the pool, reading an actual paperback, and Becks is splashing away...maybe then it will feel like summer.  

Until then, I'm going to pop a readymade pizza in the oven, open a Summer Shandy and call it a day :)
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Memorial Weekend

I hope everyone enjoyed their long Memorial weekend as much as we did!  I always love this holiday as we remember our heroes and kick off summer.  I looked forward to spending time with my little family all week. 
As I was walking towards granny's garage to pick up the boys on Friday afternoon, I knew we were going to have a great weekend when I saw this little head grinning ear-to-ear pop up out of nowhere to greet me! #hesthesweetest
When we got home we played outside and ate watermelon as we waited for daddy to come home.  It was terribly windy but that didn't stop our fun.

On Saturday, the little cowboys and I met up with our friends Jill, Cameron, Gavin and their little cousin Maggie for a day at the zoo.
 The kids got to feed the giraffes and we had a little picnic in the park.  We went to the zoo with the Wahl's last year on Memorial Day weekend and had a great time but this year Kallahan REALLY liked it!  He is so fun to watch because he thinks he is just as big as the other kids and tries his hardest to keep up.  
After the zoo and some shopping we made one final stop for ice cream.  Our boys are so ornery together but they are so much fun!  I just wish they lived closer. 
We had all the kids freeze for a minute in the same place we took their pictures last year.  We were pretty impressed that all kids are looking and smiling at the same time!
What a difference a year makes!
While I was digging for this picture in my shutterfly archives I started reminiscing and looking back at old pictures.  I decided to pull a picture from Memorial Day weekends in the past and it really made me realize how quickly life changes and how truly blessed we are.  
2009:: Keeler's first Memorial Day (10-months-old with cousin Samuel)
2010::  Keeler 1-year-old playing at the park
2011:  Keeler 2-years-old playing in our old backyard.  Enjoying his last few months as our only child.
2012::  Keeler 3-years-old / Kallahan 8-months-old
and it just keeps getting better...

On Sunday, Keeler and Tyler went out to work on the farm.  Kallahan and I had a lazy day and slept in until 9am.  This was amazing!  When Tyler and Keeler got back home they said they had a surprise for us... they escorted us outside and showed us they'd brought home 4 turtles.  They plan on taking care of them and training them for the fair turtle races in July.  Keeler cannot stop talking about them.  He has them named (Pocoyo, Hearts, Marshmellow and Doodles) and keeps going out to check on them.  I told Tyler someone might need a dog?!    
Tyler put up our pool while were at the zoo on Saturday so we got to swim in the afternoon and then went to a family barbecue in the evening.  
The little cowboys had a great time!  Wanda pulled out all her old toys so they were in heaven.  I can't get over how grown up Keeler looks in this picture.  When we got home Sunday evening Keeler said, "This was the best day ever!"  I agreed with him wholeheartedly   Then he started singing "This is the day that the Lord has made..." My heart melted :)

On Monday, instead of sleeping-in I got up and ran my long distance run (5 miles).  I'm still right on track for my 10K training but it was so windy and hot all weekend I knew I needed to squeeze it in as early as possible to beat the heat.  When I got home, Keeler and Tyler went back out to the farm for chores.  Kallahan and I cleaned the house and did a little grocery shopping.  
After lunch the boys took a nice long nap then we went on a family Sonic run.  
After that it was pool time!  
 Tyler found this Texas Hold 'Em set and had to buy it!  It's actually pretty impressive!  We stayed in the pool most the evening.  Right before dinner Tyler's cousin and his fiancĂ©
  came over for a swim.
Kallahan didn't like the water much on Sunday but yesterday he warmed up.  
Now it's back to reality.  I'm already looking forward to next weekend for more summer family fun.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Brunch With Kids... Or "What's In My Water?"

This morning, in a fit of bravery (read: delusion), we decided to take the kids to brunch. It had been a while. Which was intentional. It went surprisingly well, at least the first half.

For the first half of breakfast, Jacob sat patiently and, with much concentration, practiced his letters with the free crayons and kid-friendly coloring menu. He showed us that he spell almost any letter. He can also write his name. I love that his "J"s curl the wrong direction, in perfect child fashion. Ryan was given his very own coloring crayons and, copying his big brother, began to color his very first picture. He held his crayons upside down as he tried to drag them across the paper, one in each fist. It was adorable.

As we waited for our food to arrive, our storybook outing ended abruptly. Ryan lost interest in coloring and threw all his crayons on the floor and onto the table next to us. When my husband and I finished corralling all the crayons, we noticed that, in our distraction, Jacob had eaten five packets of jelly. As much as he tried to deny it, the proof was on his face and in the empty jelly packets on the table. Then I turned my attention back to the table and saw two soggy packets of Splenda floating nonchalantly in my water. The jury is still out on that one.

Our food finally arrived. When Jacob saw that his plate only had three pancakes and not four (he is four, four is the only number that matters), he wigged out. "I'm soooo hungry! I need FOUR pancakes! Mommy, I'm going to starve!" I held back the urge to tell him about the poor starving children in Africa. I'm saving that for when he is six. "Eat what you have first and then we will see!" I snapped.

Ryan, who had been sitting so patiently and calmly for the first fifteen minutes of breakfast, immediately became antsy. He writhed back and forth dramatically in his highchair, pointing to the ceiling for no reason at all. Maybe this kid will be an actor? I put a pile of pancakes, hash brown pieces, and toast in front of him. This kept him busy for...two whole minutes.

As my husband was cutting Jacob's (three!) pancakes, I turned my attention to my own food (over-medium eggs with toast). As I went in for my first bite, I used my other hand to redirect a blue crayon out of my water glass. On the other end of the blue crayon was Ryan's chubby, white-knuckled fist. As I moved my water onto the other side of my plate, I caught Ryan's face and saw that he had somehow gotten blue crayon markings all over his forehead. I laughed. He laughed. When his lips parted into their devious smile, I saw that his teeth were also covered in blue crayon pieces. My smile instantly drooped downward.

I took the crayon from Ryan's hand, dug a cracker out of the diaper bag, and placed it on the table in front of him. SOMEHOW, I got about two more bites of breakfast in my mouth before Ryan started javelining food across the table. Before we knew it, we were in a rainstorm of hash browns and sticky pancakes. I removed a sticky pancake from my arm. Jacob laughs hysterically. My husband and I instantly roll into "Operation Baby Storm" mode and remove any and all objects from within Ryan's reach. That's when I noticed a pile of pancakes on the floor, indicating that Ryan hadn't actually eaten a single thing.

Jacob, who had complained about not getting four pancakes, finished the first one and proclaimed that he was "SO FULL!" He ducked under the table in an attempt to escape. This is when we resorted to bribery. "If you sit in your seat until we are done eating, you can have a balloon" Sadly, this doesn't work. Ryan almost wriggled out of his highchair and Jacob proceeded to crawl under the table. I let Ryan out of baby jail and tried to walk him around the restaurant. He slipped out of my arm and scooted his way to a pancake that he had thrown on the floor earlier. Which he eats. Of course he head refused to eat them when they were on his plate, but now that they are on the floor...

The old ladies next to us were smitten with Ryan and his one-legged scoot and laughed as he ate his breakfast off the floor. I let my husband take over Ryan duty and sat back down to my breakfast. When I took a sip of water, I nearly choked on the soggy cracker that Ryan had slipped into my glass. I must have put the glass back within the dangerous Ryan Zone after taking a sip.

Finally, it was time to pay and leave. We rounded up our children, tipped generously to make up for the mess we left behind ,and headed to the door. Each child was given a balloon and Ryan immediately ripped his balloon off the string. How?! How?! We procured the balloon from the ceiling and tied it back onto the string. Then, the learned parents that we are, we tied the balloons to our kids' beltloops having learned long ago that balloons slip easily off a child's hand the second you go outside no matter how fancy you ties the knot, which will result in at least 60 minutes of tears.

We buckled the kids into the car and drove away.

Jacob: "Mommy?"
"Your car is like a trash can on wheels."
"Thanks Jacob."
"Hey mommy, I'm going to call you a princess in Japanese."
"Slave driver."
"That doesn't mean 'princess.'"
"Daddy taught me that. He said you are a slave driver. But I didn't know that word and so daddy told me it means "princess" in Japanese"

Gee. Thanks daddy! Caught red-handed!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Something Fun For Friday

For anyone with kids, this is so freaking hilarious:

I'm not usually a big fan of watching Youtube videos or other videos circulating on Facebook but this one minute video was worth the laugh! If this video was about my son, the child-man would be talking repeatedly in a robot voice and the topics of choice would be limited to not wearing pants and the ninja turtles.

Or maybe I'm just over tired having not slept more than 5.5 hours during any given night in the past two weeks. Latelty it seems that something inevitably keeps me awake, whether that be work or screaming babies in the middle of the night. Tonight I'm prepping for my first summary judgment argument and I'm definitely too nervous to sleep. I have a love-hate relationship for stressful new work responsilities that raise my blood pressure.

Watching Love Grow

I love watching love grow.
And with these two it has!
Renly and Piper hit it off right away since Piper was overjoyed at having a baby in the house to mother.
Taitum was the typical two year old that didn't really care that much one way or another.
But gradually I've seen a friendship develop.
And it is sweet.
They are best buds when Piper is doing her school work and this time together has really cemented things between them.
I watched them giggling and cuddling together this afternoon.
It made me so terribly grateful for this moment and for the blessing of being their Mom.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Grab Bag Of Topics

Oh man, you guys are awesome. There were so many times I wanted to delete the last post. I would start to hyperventilate about what I just did and then a second later I would be convinced that it was no big deal. I know I'm bigger than it. I just need to prove it to myself. And admitting my problem is the first in a long series of steps. The next will likely be telling my husband (he knows about my blog but doesn't read it). I know I should have told him first. I tried. So many times. But it's just so much harder to put everything into words than in text.

On a lighter note, work is crazy this week. Our office manager is out for her honeymoon (I went to my first Muslim wedding, in a mosque, which is a whole 'nother post in itself!). And we are down a paralegal. So those of us remaining slightly resemble headless chickens and have been reduced to doing a lot of unusual admin work.

My days lately are filled with writing and responding to motions, probably my favorite thing about litigation because it includes both legal research and crafting/organizing argument. I was never a very argumentative person and could never have imagined myself in debate club but I increasingly find myself having to argue positions that I don't actually think are that strong. Sometimes I love these challenges the most.

I even get to argue two summary judgment motions, the first one this Friday. We estimate our chance of success at yeah, no real pressure there. My boss has insisted that he will come and observe "just in case" and this completely rattles my nerves. It's hard enough to argue in front of a judge and opposing counsel. By noon on Friday, I will feel 100 pounds lighter.

My job requires me to tear apart and criticize statements of other people, craft a retelling of history that is favorable to our side, and put together responsive arguments. It's almost second nature now for me to want to respond critically to everything I hear. My poor kids hear me argue with news radio all the time. Today I even started to dip my toes into a couple of ridiclous Facebook debates (which I usually ignore like the plague- why the heck didn't I just keep scrolling?!). In the middle of one debate about teacher salary (why? oh why? I'm not even a teacher!) I accidentally boarded the wrong ferry boat. I walked onto the boat headed for my home instead of the boat to pick up my children. Luckily I caught the mistake in time and was able to board the correct ferry with 20 seconds to spare. We all made it home somehow.

Because we've been short-staffed this week, I was asked to come into the office everyday rather than my usual three days out of the week. At first I didn't think it would be a big deal. I did it everyday for a year and a half out of lawschool. But halfway through the week, my new schedule is already taking its toll. Mostly, I miss having the extra time with my kids.

When I have to go into the office, I leave my house at 7am in order to get to work at 9am. Then I leave my office at 4:45pm in order to pick up the kids at 6:30pm and get home at 7:30pm (or, if it is my husband's turn to pick up the kids, I take a different ferry and get home at 7pm). Either way, I get only one hour (of non-commute time) with my kids each day. This is not sustainable and I'm suddenly very apprecirative of the flexible arrangment that I worked out with my boss that I usually get to enjoy. This is going to be a very long week. I just need to survive until the three-day weekend...

Preschool Graduation (round one)

Keeler is officially a preschool graduate!  
Well, that is until he starts preschool again in the fall.  
He's been attending a local Christian preschool program for the past two years.  We love it!  His teacher is amazing with the kids and he's done so well.
Last year he went twice a week in the mornings and then this year he attended the 4-5 year old class in the afternoon Monday-Thursday.  We were considering sending him onto kindergarten in the fall with the rest of his class but after parent/teacher conferences this spring we all decided it would best to have him go one more year through the 4-5 year old program.  His teacher was once again amazing and agreed to hold his spot if this was our decision.  Only 12 students in our community get into this program (first come, first serve) so this was a major blessing!   
Since his birthday is late July he was the baby of this class.  He went ahead with their graduation ceremony yesterday knowing he was returning in the fall.  It was a precious program.  They sang about 4 songs, received their 'diplomas' and then we had a cookie and punch reception.
Keeler has made some really good little friends over the past two years so we hate that they won't continue on together.  But after much prayer plus visiting with other parents and teachers we think we made the best decision for our little cowboy. 
His teacher, Mrs. Winner, explained that time to time it does impact him that he is 'the baby.'  She said personally she wished she would have done the same with one of her son's with a summer birthday.  Waiting a year will allow Keeler to mature and really get ahead on learning/socializing.  He has stayed along with the rest of the class and only struggles time to time to grasp things as easily as the others.  However his teacher said when he does struggle - he really struggles because he's struggling.  Does that make any sense? She said he is really hard on himself and gets discouraged that he's struggling and then has to work to hold back emotion.  When she told us this I immediately understood because I am the same way.  
I want to give him the best chance in life.  Yes, this was a small decision in the big scheme of things but I want him to know someday that his father and I really thought long and hard on what decision to make because we want the best for him.
We love you Keeler.  We are so proud of you.  You are the sweetest little guy and we want nothing but happiness and success for your future.  I promise that I will hold your hand along the way and pray for you everyday.  And just think, you'll be leaps and bounds above the rest holding two diplomas before you head off to kindergarten in 2014! jk :)