Friday, June 3, 2016

Saying Goodbye to Jake for a Month

On Wednesday morning, our time with Jacob had come to an end for a little while. The kids and I took Jake to the airport to fly out to his dad's for the month of June, and we were all pretty sad. We got there early, bought some cinnamon-sugar pretzel bites, sat on the terminal floor and prayed. We held hands and I tried to pray over Jacob, but all I could muster out was "I pray for Jacob..."

And then the crocodile tears fell.

I literally couldn't utter another word, but I know that God was there and knew my heart. And He already knew everything I wanted to say. I knew He would take good care of Jake while he was gone, no matter what happened over the course of a month. My mom heart just ached so bad.

We laughed and Jake made fun of his crazy emotional mom. We hugged. We cried some more. And then he was gone.

Leaving your child for 30 straight days never gets easier. But, I'm so grateful that we have hope. And cell phones!

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
Isaiah 41:13

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Last Day of School

Jake and Brooklyn's official last day of school was on Friday, May 27th. Just a quick trip to school to pick up report cards and say goodbye to teachers and friends.

Brooklyn was so sad to say goodbye to Mrs. M, another great teacher again this year. Brooklyn has been blessed with seriously the best teachers every single year, so she wanted to dress up in her Sunday best to give Mrs. M a gift and card on the last day. Second grade was such a great year for Brooklyn - it's been neat to watch her learn and grow so much!

Jacob went and said goodbye to all his teachers and friends too, but he was embarrassed to get any pics. (That's teen boys for ya.)

The is the last picture where these two will be at the same school together. And it makes me kinda sad. Jacob helped and protected Brooklyn when they walked in to school each morning and he watched out for her at dismissal each day. They were a great pair of siblings, but it's time for them to move on.

Brooklyn will have to learn how to do third grade on her own next year, and Jacob will be figuring out his own way in high school. Adjusting to a new school. New classes. A new schedule. All new teachers. All new friends.

A lot of change will be happening for these two this fall, but I know it's going to be good.

Good things ahead.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Jacob's 8th Grade Graduation Party

Jacob's 8th grade graduation ceremony was on May 24th, so we decided to plan a really fun graduation party for him and all his friends the next day at our neighborhood pavilion + playground. The 8th grade class spent the whole day on Wednesday having a field trip picnic at the park, so Scot picked up all the boys (and Brooklyn) at school while I finished cooking some things and decorating for the party. (My sister Tiff and Isaac came by that morning to pick up Connor and take him to the science center for a few hours, so I could get things done more efficiently without kids. Amazing.)

We invited close to 60 of our families and friends, including Jacob's dad Matt and his wife and all their families, but there were about 40 who could come. Even though we were missing some, it was so nice to have everyone together in one place celebrating our special kid Jacob and just how far he's come!

The photo table:

I had all of his school picture photos from K thru 8th framed + displayed, along with a graduation keepsake inflatable ball for everyone to sign.

These huge collage foam boards were my personal favorite:
(A ton of work, but something I'll keep and hold onto for his high school graduation party too.)

Up close and personal:

The food:
My parents weren't able to come, but they were so sweet to order food from Jim + Nick's for everyone. It was a huge gift, and we were so thankful! We had barbecue pulled pork + beef brisket, mashed potatoes + gravy, mac-n-cheese, cheddar biscuits and rolls. I made pigs-in-a-blanket, tortellini pasta salad, black bean salsa with tortilla chips and bagged chips for the kids on the main table. 

I made slush punch and there were coolers full of soda, bottled water and plenty of other drinks.

The cookie bar was my favorite! Jacob's favorite dessert is cookies, so I couldn't resist making his favorite cookie cake and serving a lot of fun cookies that I made. (Linda made snickerdoodles and all of mine were different cake cookies - chocolate M+M, blue velvet, red velvet, strawberry, lemon and chocolate chip. Yum!) And it wouldn't be a party without his favorite candy - Skittles!

We got everyone together when they arrived at 5pm and I introduced all of Jacob's family who were there. Scot blessed the meal and prayed over everyone, and then we ate!

Too bad I was too busy talking and serving people to take any family pics. Boo.

Here are a few sweet faces that were there:

Jacob and our sweet neighbor Peggy from our old neighborhood. She got there early and was such a huge help to me in setting everything up. Thank God for Peggy.

Jacob and Scot's cousin Mary Beth + Mike who drove up from Huntsville, AL.

Our dear friends Chris + Susan - she was the awesome realtor friend who sold us our new house. So, we literally wouldn't be here without her!

Jacob with Matt and his family before they left for Ohio.

It was such a great evening. There was the playground for the kids to play on. Jump rope, hula hoops and bubbles for the kids. We had corn hole, 2 ladder golf games set up. And Jacob's surprise graduation/birthday gift - a ping pong table set that he's been wanting. It was just the best evening, even in the midst of some awkward and crazy moments, but I knew that God was right there with us and the whole evening was incredibly blessed.

Everyone left around 7-7:30pm, right when the rain hit as we were cleaning + packing everything up. But, the boys still had fun going night-swimming afterward in the neighborhood pool until 10pm and staying up late watching a movie with chips and candy, all spread out on the bonus room couch and floor. It was neat to have all of Jake's friends together, including his cousin Isaac from Ohio.

The boys the next morning (minus Max, who had already left):

It was a fun, fun night for all. I was thankful and proud that Jacob was so well celebrated and loved.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Jacob's 8th Grade Graduation

Jacob's 8th grade class graduation was the evening of Tuesday, May 24th in the school gym. Nothing quite prepared me for this moment, and I had no idea how emotional the whole night would be for me as a mom. Just to see Jake get all dressed up and join his 63 classmates on the gym floor - knowing they all started school together in kindergarten and have remained so close over the years - it's just mind-blowing to know these kids are all going their separate ways and will be attending different high schools in a couple months.

It was a bittersweet night for all of us parents...crazy how fast time flies.

We invited all of our families, but only a few could come. We also invited Jacob's dad Matt and his wife Kendell and all of Matt's family and Kendell's family too. Several had to cancel at the last minute, but we were thankful for everyone who came to celebrate this big day for Jacob.

The 8th grade graduation decorations in the school lobby:

Each student had their picture taken with their favorite quote. Love what Jake chose:

Time for the ceremony to begin!

The school principal Mr. D had already announced in May that he was retiring, so this was his last graduating class. And he admitted in his speech just how close he had gotten to this class. It was so neat to hear his heart. I was especially proud to hear his words about Jacob. I was crying tears all over the place!

One of the student's with top honors was chosen to give the class speech, and she did a wonderful job too.

There was a long video set to music that some of the PTO moms put together. It included pictures of the kids from kindergarten thru 8th grade. Seriously, not a dry eye in the place.

The kids received their certificates. Yay, for Jacob!!!

Mr. D said his final goodbyes. (Man, we're going to miss him.)

And then it was over.

Here's the 8th grade graduating class - class of 2020 in high school!

Couldn't end without their signature class move (Ha!):

We all got pictures with Jacob afterward, all the family members who could come.

Matt + Kendell with their two kids and Kendell's parents all from Ohio:

The big graduate:

Scot's parents, Mike and Linda:

Matt's grandma "Ma" and Matt's mother Jane from Ohio:

Jacob and Mr. D:
We ended the night with a special meal at La Tavola Italian restaurant, where my sister Tiff and her son Isaac from Ohio surprised us and joined our big table of 13!

It was a fabulous night - one I'll always remember. I couldn't be a prouder mom.
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