A Good Story

Yesterday I got up thinking about what everyone else in our country was thinking about. I’ve heard so many stories since we’ve been here about the attack on the Pentagon, the brave people who went back in, the people that were helped, the people that were lost. I remember where I was, barely aware that Hanan might be on her way giving Arleigh her bottle in another country. We all have our stories of where we were and what happened. 

As we went about our day I watched my children who have no understanding of what happened that day or what our world was like before, I am reminded that we have hope for our future. There is hope for their future. 

There is this guy…

img_5380.jpgYesterday he went to his Sunday school class, that I might mention he LOVES. They watched a video about the good Samaritan. He proceeded to tell me the story from start to finish. He didn’t stumble. He told it in order, with inflection. This may not seem like a big deal for the normal third grader. Jack is not a normal third grader. Because of being institutionalized for so long, the part of his brain that controls language and comprehension didn’t develop quite as quickly as the part that deals with math and logistics. (The simplest way I know to explain it.) So, as he’s gotten older Jack says, “I’ve lost my words.” He can’t decide what the appropriate thing to say is or he just loses it mid sentence. Reading and comprehending what he’s read is a real problem. He’s easily distracted. Being able to retell things in a sequential order is also hard. He can follow tasks in that order but retelling is harder.

Anyway, Jack told me about the man that was hurt and the robber came that was mean and took his money. He then told me about men that came along the way that ignored him and didn’t help. He told me that was “weird” because he needed help. Then he told me about the man with the donkey that stopped to help him. He was the good guy. Everyone needs help and we should help. 

It sounds so simple. It’s a story that he’s heard before but he’s never REALLY heard it. He retold the entire thing. It’s exciting on so many levels but as I think about the history of September 11, HE GETS IT! We help in spite of fear. We help in spite of loss because help is love. 


Meanwhile, in my Sunday school class, we’ve started a study on Exodus. We’re only in chapter one. We were discussing the fact that the midwives feared God more than the pharaoh and refused to kill the baby boys. This led us to Romans 13. I’m just going to paste that chapter right here…

13 Every [a]person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except [b]from God, and those which exist are established by God.Therefore [c]whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for [d]good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves [e]his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love [f]does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

11 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now [g]salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12 The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us [h]behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

So, there’s this election thing going on. There are also people protesting our national anthem. Our country isn’t perfect but we have these governing authorities. There is also a lot of bad going on. There are people being robbed, beaten, mistreated. I’m referring to people of every color and race. Our world seems to be far more dangerous than ever before. Could I draw your eye to end of verse 9 and verse 10 “‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

So Jack has figured out help and love don’t hurt. I hope today we all start to figure out that if we just treated each other with love instead of hate and contempt and selfishness, our world would be nicer.

I’ll stop preaching now. I hope you have a wonderful week. 



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Our Washington Spirit

So after yesterday’s excitement, or more like thick in the middle of it, Bria got an extra special treat. Megan Oyster from Washington Spirit came to practice to work out with the girls. I totally missed her playing with Bria because I had to pick Hanan up at the high school. I did make it back to hear her telling the girls about her soccer career.

Bria was paying close attention but when Megan said she knows Alex Morgan… well, let’s just say Megan gained a new best friend. She also said that since she now knows this team, they should come to the game so she can get the whole team to give them autographs. Clearly, she doesn’t know Bria very well. Last night’s game was supposed to start at 7 and still had a rain delay. Guess who spent the night pouting that I wouldn’t drive her to Maryland. 

Bria has a ball dedicated to Washington Spirit signatures. She was please as punch to show Megan her teammate’s signatures, especially Tori Huster. 

Before it was over, she even had Megan sign her backpack.

I must admit, I wasn’t sure about trying out for a travel team. I wasn’t sure about the cost or worse, the time commitment. Bria’s birthday meant playing with older girls. She’s one of the only third graders on her team. I knew we’d have a tough season. It hasn’t stopped her. She works hard all the time. Look at this face.

This is a moment she will never ever forget. It’s worth every second in the car. It’s worth every practice and bruise. She’s happy doing something she adores and I could eat her up. Thank Megan!

Go Spirit!!! We sure love you!

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The One About The Bus

Bria had a seriously cool night last night. If you’ve seen my Facebook, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It was exciting but not quite as exciting as my afternoon.

So, we drew the short straw this year. Our elementary school has the latest start. Our school system has one of the largest private fleet of school buses in the country and they are still stacked three to a seat. Good times y’all. There is so much construction going on at the high school, even seniors are taking the bus. I’m working car pools and taxi services from 3-9 p.m. everyday like it’s a full time job. I am about two seconds away from putting the uber app on the big girls’ phones. Complicating matters even more, that late start means Bria and Jack don’t get off the bus until almost 4 dang thirty. 

Here’s what went down. After a morning of pushing and prodding, I finally folded and cancelled Jack’s before school speech appointment. I got everyone to the bus and then prepared for their return. It was busy day for some one of us. 

The haole dog opted for the summer recovery program while I folded mountains of laundry. 

I decided to leave my phone on the charger and head to the bus stop a little early just in case. Silly me. It was the first day of school after all. I stood there, rocking back and forth. There was lots of nervous anticipation not because I was worried about the first day of school. It was because Bria needed to get to a soccer field at 4:50. She didn’t have on her soccer gear, I had only filled her water bottle and it was now 4:40 in the afternoon. My blood pressure was slightly elevated. Any other day, no big deal but I knew there was a special guest coming to her practice that she wouldn’t want to miss. 

Finally we saw the big yellow hound topping the hill. Bria gets off with her face contorted. Jack wasn’t on the bus. The new bus driver asked if he was in kindergarten. “No. He has special needs. He’s in the third grade.” She told Bria she needed to get back on the bus to look for him. I told the bus driver that everyone knows Jack and every child on the bus was telling her he wasn’t there. She just looked at me like I was crazy. We ran home to get to a phone. 

By the time I got to my house the school was calling with a “We aren’t really sure what happened but Jack missed the bus could you please come get him,” message. I called the school. Again, they said he’s safe but we aren’t sure what happened. It was first day chaos.

Bria and I ran for the car. She was pulling on shin guards and cleats while I drove like a bat out of hell through the neighborhood. I’m sure there will be a new neighborhood message about safe driving coming out shortly. Whatever. We got to the school, ran into the office. “Where’s Jack?” You’d think he’d be sitting there. Nope. He was with his teacher…in his classroom…on the other side of the school. They called her again to bring him down. Finally, we see him, waltzing up the hall without a care in the world.

I wanted to be really, really angry with his new teacher. She can’t know what it’s like to have a child that can’t really take care of himself just be missing. She looked like she’s been through the ringer…or me after a weekend soccer tournament with a band competition and cross country meet thrown in for good measure. She was slumped, trying to smile for Jack but clearly braced for what I might throw at her. I just told him to hurry that we were late, thanked her and went on my hurried way.

Bria was supposed to report at 4:50 and start at 5:00. We pulled in at 5:03 by the skin of our teeth. Her coaches were thankfully understanding. I made it to get Hanan. Arleigh caught her carpool home. By 7 p.m. we were all enjoying dinner. Everyone had reports of great days. Thankfully, I think it’s going to be a great year. Hopefully Jack will make it to the bus today. 

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What My Kids Didn’t Do This Summer

We did it. I got everyone to the bus this morning. Of course, the littles leave so late I feel like I should be preparing lunch by the time they get out the door. We slid straight through summer. School supplies were sort of purchased. I got the repurchase box and hoped for the best at the end of the year last year. New spirit shirts are ordered. New PE uniforms are in plastic bags. I’d shutter to guess that hundreds of dollars were spent by the time that we got to today. Sigh…

They are off… first the high schoolers.

First day of 10th grade and 9th grade. How on earth do I have two kids in high school?

Then the littles…

(Side note, if you want some cute monograms, check out my friend’s etsy site… She had me at her name Sweet Keiki Boutiki.)

I didn’t really sleep last night. I started thinking about all the workbook sheets we didn’t finish. There were multiplication tables I didn’t go over. I didn’t jump up and down and scream over summer reading. We didn’t fill out any of those forms for super prizes and ice cream parties when they got back to school. We didn’t do a ton of computer programs like iXL or dream box. We didn’t organize anything. You know what, I really don’t think I totally set them up for failure. 

Here’s what we did.

We swam. ALOT. Sometimes for sport…

Sometimes to learn…





























And sometimes just because we could…

We did soccer… D.C. United games, academy training and practices and scrimmages.

We saw Hawaii when everyone else was having summer and D.C. couldn’t figure it out.

We went to museums.




















We went to monuments.

We went to concerts.

We helped with Vacation Bible School.


We hung out. And the best part of our summer was sharing it with friends and family from all over the world…literally! 


So as I wait for the bus to return with my littles and to pick up the bigs from their after school activities, I’m not sorry that we didn’t do more worksheets, read more or do more work. They are going to be okay because they have support from everywhere. It’s going to be a great year! 

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When I write about the funny things my kids say, it’s usually the little ones. Yesterday it was Arleigh that kept me in stitches. 

We were driving to a hike on the other side of D.C. by homes that cost millions of dollars. As we passed a boarding school in McClean. I hear Arleigh yell from the backseat, “Look Hanan! It’s real life Gossip Girl!” That alone made the trip.

We got out of the car and told everyone to get a drink because we would be doing a short walk first and heading back for our snacks. Arleigh was looking for her water when she accidentally walked into Tucker’s rather large stream of pee. “Why is it so warm?” Yep, that’s my girl. At least we were all laughing about it.

We had a fabulous walk around Great Falls.

We were waiting for a family to pet the dogs and I was showing Jack a grasshopper. I touched it to show him what it would do. Arleigh is terrified of all bugs. I don’t understand it. It’s how God made her. “What! They’re grass hoppers not grass flyers!” Apparently my terrified fifteen-year old didn’t know that grasshoppers can indeed fly. 

As she said all these things yesterday I was reminded that she will be heading off to college in 3 short years. This is the child that just figured out that “Avengers really are avengers.” I think I have some work to do. 

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My Half Time Show

I’m feeling the need to lighten things up for the long weekend. What better way to do that than a bunch of squealing little girls? 

Last night we hit George Mason University’s women’s soccer match against Howard University. Bria’s U-10 academy team, SYC Pride got to rush the field at halftime and scrimmage each other. 

Hearing “21 Bria Stiff!” was pretty great. We asked her if she heard it. There may or may not have been an eye roll with a “No! I was playing!” 🙄

She had a great night.

There was a little team building.

The sky was gorgeous and so are my kids!

Yeah, I’m not proud at all. Where’s that sarcasm font?

They are clearly ready to go.

We ended the night with a big win for Mason and some really pretty goals.

Even Jack had fun representing Alvah Scott in the stands.

So you know, Hanan was there too. She left a little early with Ray because she had to run this morning and she’s going through another “don’t post my picture phase.” Now here’s me with the eye roll. 🙄

We had fun and can’t wait for the real season to start next week!

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