I tried something new this summer. A family-wide, sync’ed up Bible reading plan through the book of Romans. It all started off grand. The kids had their darling new Kids Read Truth books, I had my iPhone app, and we all had some pretty solid intentions. We’d read Scripture. We’d talk about it around the dinner table. We’d strum harps and sing Kumbaya.
And we’d fail epically. Or, at least so it would seem.
I mean, we read it. Most of us at least, though all at different paces and with varying degrees of whining. I’m pretty sure we rehashed Scripture around the dinner table a grand total of thrice. And the harp sadly never made its debut.
As we approached mid-summer, I began to feel frustration creep in. Once again, my lofty expectations did not align with our summertime reality. Once again, parenting looked a lot more like a hodgepodge of messy moments than shining examples of family discipleship. And, once again, doing A + B wasn’t exactly equaling happy, compliant, Bible-loving children. No, A + B was simply driving me to an 8pm bedtime, overwhelmed and defeated. Romans and all of our well-written, beautifully-designed Bible reading plans could SHOVE IT thankyouverymuch.
Then there was that day several months ago. It was just another day when Carson approached me at bedtime in a completely nonchalant way. “Hey mom, I’m ready to get baptized.”
Pause for a second. For a solid year now, we’ve been having conversations with Carson about his faith in Jesus. And, for a solid year now, he had remained fairly adamant that he didn’t want to get baptized. He didn’t want to stand up in front of people, and he didn’t want people looking at him. It felt awkward and it felt scary and he just wasn’t ready.
So we backed off. We’d stand by him, encourage him, pray for him… but this was something that he and his logical, analytical little brain needed to hash out. Just between him and God.
So, I pressed a bit. “Dude, that’s awesome!” I said. “But, I’m just curious. How’d you get to this point? How’d you come to this decision?”
“Romans,” he responded, shrugging his shoulders. “I just read Romans.”
Funny how that works. We, as parents, spin our wheels, workworkworking to see our kids to follow Jesus. We use all the latest tools and read the best, most gospel-centered parenting books, desperate to be all that our kids need us to be as parents. And yet, at the end of the day, we’re reminded that what our kids really need from us is a signpost pointing back to Jesus. Back to Scripture. We quickly learn that we can spin those wheels all the livelong day, but the power to change their hearts lies in the Spirit alone.
So, Carson. Thanks for this reminder. This reminder that I can buy all the right books and say all of the right (or wrong) things, but I’m still not in control of you guys. And, you know what? That’s actually a really beautiful and freeing (and sometimes really really terrifying) thing. For BOTH of us.
Buddy, we are so very pumped for your decision to get baptized last weekend. This felt scary and risky to you, and you did it. Scared. Which stands in pretty close resemblance to what this crazy adventure of following Jesus is all about. But here’s the really awesome thing: we can do hard things scared because we know His presence goes with us, before us, and behind us. We can do hard things scared because we have His very word to guide us along the sometimes rocky way.
You know this. Dude, you saw this with your own eyeballs and experienced this with your own life this summer, but let me just remind you once again that His Word is truth. This world may lead you astray. Heck, I MAY EVEN LEAD YOU ASTRAY SOMETIMES. (I know it’s exceedingly hard to believe, but I’m not perfect.) Scripture though? It can be trusted. HE can be trusted.
We’ve got your back, buddy. Our big, messy church is chock-full of people who love you and who have got your back. And that God of the Bible who you met in Romans this summer? He’s totally got your back. So get after it. We love you so much.
These years- they just keep flying right on by, don’t they? NINE. Nine years ago, you tumbled onto the scene and into this world at about five in the morning. And nearly every single morning since then, you’ve been awake and bright eyed at that same way-too-early 5am hour. Ready to take on the world.
So, what does the world of nine year old Carson look like? Well, it looks a whole lot like Minecraft, Pokemon, those ridiculous “Stampylonghead” YouTube videos (OHMYGOSH, Carson. You know how I feel about these.), and books. Oh the books. You devour words and pages like a madman, and it’s a legit challenge to keep up with you.
In many ways, you’ve always been a pretty risk-averse kid. However, all of that flies out the window when it comes to climbing. You scale trees and buildings and walls like it’s no thing. This past summer, you went straight-up missing at a friend’s cookout. We couldn’t find you anywhere. Until we looked up. Way up. More than thirty feet up in a tree where you were just chilling, happy as a little lark. Dude, you’re shaving years off of my life. Maybe you can keep your feet on the ground just for one little day? K, thanks.
You’re a deep thinker and a big feeler. You’re an introvert through and through, and you thrive on stability, routine, and being home. I just have NO IDEA who you get this from. Ahem.
You prefer having a few close friends and you hold those friends close. Caden and Noble are your best buds once again this year, and I pray they will be for many years. Because, Carson, here’s the thing. You keep begging for a baby brother. And, I hate to break this to you on your big day, but that JUST ISN’T HAPPENING, YO. (Love ya, mean it. Oh, and happy birthday.)
Man, Carson. You’re such a cool kid, and it’s an absolute joy to watch you grow up. I pray that God keeps your heart soft and kind in a world that’s often anything but. I love you and am crazy proud of the big kid you’re becoming.
Well, friends. This week marks the beginning of a whole new era in the life of the Allisons. Six and a half hours a day, five days a week, my kids are out of this little nest from which I type. They’re all in school, leaving their mother to wallow in this now-oh-so-very-quiet nest.
Y’all, I love my kids something crazy. But I also really, really enjoy quiet sometimes. And school. And teachers. And quiet.
So, the stats.
We have a third(!) grader(!) who was VERY ready to get back into the swing of schedules and predictability and learning. Last week, he told me that this past summer was the best yet. When asked to elaborate, he said, “Well, vacation was good but not TOO long. And we went to the library a lot. And I really, really loved that calendar you made me.” The kid may look like his father…
We have a first grader who was not quiiite as stoked to return to the classroom but who, fortunately, can easily be lured into the school building with the promise of rectangular pizzas and corn dog nuggets from the school cafeteria.
And we have a kindergartener! Elizabeth went to one full day of school last week for her staggered entry day. And today, she’ll be with her full class for her first day of for-real kindergarten. She’s equal parts excited and nervous and is armed with her much-loved locket. And her equally-adored (and adoring) big sister who (hopefully) walked her into her classroom this morning.
It’s a big year. A school-year that has been long-anticipated and prayed over. Things always seem to be shifting and changing around here. This year is certainly no exception, and I’m pretty pumped to see what God has in store for us.
But for today? Today, I’m pretty sure that His plans (or, ahem, my plans) involve sitting and resting and drinking an extra celebratory cup of coffee. In silence. Blessed, glorious silence. That is, until the clock strikes 3:45. Then, all bets are off.
The other day, I found myself in the ultimate Circle ‘O Guilt. I had rolled up to my kids’ school, ready to spend the morning helping out at field day. Innocent. Blameless. A+ Mom Status. Or so I thought.
UNTIL. I found myself in The Mom Huddle, and the conversation turned dark. Condemning.
Baby books and scrapbooks.
Y’all. Did you know this is even a thing any more? I CERTAINLY DID NOT. But it is. According my sources, children not only have completed baby books these days, but they still have scrapbooks! With real printed-out PHOTOS that you can touch. Hold. And are not floating out there in some invisible “cloud.”
If that’s you, I offer you a digital pat on the back. I applaud your dedication. When your children are old and grey, they will have real, actual tokens of their childhood to have and to hold. Meanwhile, my kids will be left scrounging through old hard drives. “That old Instagram thing mom used to have.” And this blog.
And, with that, I think we’re due for an Allison Family Update. You’re welcome, children.
Talks like Barbie. Because she’s the third kid and has been allowed access to things I have previously shunned (read: Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse. OMG.), her language is now WAY TOO REMINISCENT of a Barbie clone.
Me: “Hey Elizabeth, go brush your teeth.”
Elizabeth: “Yeah, girl. I’m on it.”
Me: “Elizabeth, wanna go out to lunch?”
Elizabeth: “Right on, girl. I love to chill with you.”
Me: *kisses Matt as he leaves for work*
Elizabeth: “Oh, girl. That’s so romantic.”
THIS IS A VERY REAL PROBLEM, PEOPLE. Elizabeth, I know Barbie is SO RAD and everything, but I’m thinking Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse may have to “disappear” from Netflix for a while. Sorry, girl.
Elizabeth also continues to be a lover of all things sequined, glittery, and bedazzled. As such, Sequined Cat Purse remains front and center in her daily life.
It must be known, however, that her adoration of All Things Fancy does not stop her from getting filthy outside with her siblings. Because, it’s all about balance. Girl.
I found him like this the other night, hours past his bedtime. Squatting on his bathroom counter, book in hand. Needless to say, he’s still a lover of reading. Most recently, he’s been obsessing over the old-school Garfield comic books which he thinks are the FUNNIEST EVER.
He’s had a fantastic year in second grade and has enthusiastically declared it his best year yet. (Why? Because he was allowed to hit up the library every. single. day. Bless.)
When Carson’s not reading (or playing Scrabble. because he’s awesome.), he can be found climbing. Everything.
A few weeks ago, we were at a cookout when we realized Carson had been missing for a while. Within minutes, Matt found him a good THIRTY FEET up in a tree. Like it was no thing. With the other kids assembled below, mouths agape. (As I typed this, it hit me that surely it couldn’t have been thirty feet. Like, 3-0. And so I texted Matt to confirm. His response? “At least.” My response? “Dear Jesus, help me.”)
This kid has slayed kindergarten and has brought laughter to many in the process. There’s been a steady banter going on this year between Mary Grace and her hilariously awesome teacher’s assistant who has dubbed my darling child, “Mary Mary Quite Contrary”. Ahem.
Mary Grace has a quick wit, abounding(!) energy(!), and an uncanny ability to lead others.
She’s a lover of art (her self-portrait makes me smile)…
…and a lover of animals. Bats. Foxes. Earthworms. Lizards. Nasty, screechy rodents. Girl adores all of ’em. Every single creature is the best. ever. Except for her own PET DOG for whom she has zero regard. And perhaps a small bit of disdain. I don’t even know.
When not working and pastoring, Matt plans to spend his summer throwing small children. Into lakes. Pools. Rivers. All the while, his doting wife will cheer from afar and will take photos for her kids’ non-existent scrapbooks and will say encouraging words about his strength and kid-tossing stamina. Because there are books to read. And I ain’t getting in that lake water.
Just hanging on for dear life. Doing what it takes. And not scrapbooking.
I don’t know- this just may have been my favorite year in parenting you thus far. You’re already an old soul- you always have been- but this year, you’ve just matured and grown in such huge ways. It’s an absolute joy to sit on the front row as you slowly discover and embrace how God uniquely created you. Sensitive. Compassionate. Kind. Focused. Driven. Competitive. He has mighty plans for you, bud.
You love the familiar and the daily grind, and you really dislike change, so our move this past spring required a whole lot of bravery and trust on your part. However, you’ve rocked it, kid. You powered through the hard and embraced the change and are thriving at your new school more than ever. We’re so proud of you.
I love how you know who you are and feel confident enough to just do your thing. Your nose is always in a book, and you visit your school librarian every. single. morning. before school starts. This makes me smile. Like, a lot. You also are a big fan of Minecraft and Pokemon, both of which I have tried REALLY HARD to understand and enjoy (for your sake and your sake only, my child)… but have failed. HOWEVER, you have also recently taught yourself how to rap along with your favorite Shai Linne CD, and THAT I can fully get behind! But like I said, you just do your thing.
Over the past few months, I have watched you pray for class bullies and stand up for the underdog. I have seen you climb into bed with your sister when she’s had a rotten day, rubbing her back as she drifted off to sleep. I’ve watched God use a seven year old kid for His purposes and kingdom. And man, nothing could make make me more proud.
We’ll absolutely cheer for you and celebrate with you as you make those good grades, earn those academic accolades, make those last-second shots to win the game. Of course we will. But, Carson, loving God by loving others will ALWAYS be most prized in our home. Keep loving big.
Last week, we celebrated kindergarten graduation. Kindergarten graduation was not even a thing when I was a kid. At least not where I’m from. But these days, it’s not only a thing. It’s a REALLY BIG THING. So big that some highly disgruntled parents nearly revolted over the teachers’ decision to do away with the caps and gowns this year. I have so much I could say about this, but I’ll keep my big mouth shut for once. Well, except this: they’re five! and six! Okay, that’s all. Speaking of the five and six year olds….
I know, right?! Graduation actually was preceded by the kindergarten play. Good gracious it was cute. Carson was a farmer, and I was left praising Jesus at how easy it was to throw some overalls on him as his “costume” and call it a day.
After an intermission and a wardrobe change (it was a loooong night), the graduation ceremony began. This is the best pictorial evidence I have of this portion of the Great Kindergarten Graduation Event of 2014. Oh and this. The granting of the kindergarten diploma. Listen, I tried, but iPhones can only get me but so far.
These two have become somewhat inseparable this year. I prayed for Carson to develop sweet friendships this year in kindergarten, and God totally answered those prayers. We have all been unbelievably pleased with how this first year of school has gone. We adore Carson’s school and truly could not have asked for a more perfect fit for Carson and our family. Carson approached me looking pretty forlorn last week. When I asked what was wrong, he proceeded to tell me how much he’s going to miss school this summer. “But at least I have my workbooks to do!” he added.
That’s my boy.
Oh, and so I can remember these things when Carson’s a hot shot “inginer” one day…
Yeah, Carson I think you’re right. I don’t think you’re sleepy at all…
I took Carson in for his four year old check up last week where he was the unhappy recipient of five shots. As a treat for enduring the torture, we told Carson that we would stop to pick up any treat he wanted. His choice? A piece of cake at a tiny (but so, so yummy) Mexican bakery near my work. This makes me smile.
In other Carson news, tube number two fell out of his ear this week (and he already has another ear infection. awesome.). It does not surprise me at all that this has been thrilling for my anatomy-book-loving-son. The child continues to tote around the ziplock containing this teeny piece of plastic, and I had to dissuade him from bringing it to school to show his friends. Because I’m just not sure how well-received a miniscule piece of medical equipment would be among a group of four year olds. But to my little Carson, it’s like gold. And that’s just another reason I love this kid.
Matt allowed me two whole heavenly hours of kid-free errand running this morning. It might or might not have been prompted by several desperate comments to the tune of “ohmygosh, I think I might literally go crazy if I don’t get out by myself asap” by moi. And, no, I don’t think I was being melodramatic there. Anyway, Matt took these two videos while I was gone, and I couldn’t help but post these jewels.
A view observations: 1. Yes, Mary Grace has been wearing a shirt on her head all morning. And yes, she does call it her “nun hat”. I claim the fifth on how she came up with that one… 2. Gotta love it when she (in her nun hat) announces, “I itch my hinie”. 3. And then there’s Carson who is clearly going to be a stellar father. Lego Death Star and fruit snacks all day long?? Dude, I want to be his kid. (He later proceeded to inform us that he plans to have 60 kids, all of them either named Mary Grace or Carson. Oh and p.s. he plans to rename himself “Matt”. Uhhhh….) 4. “I’ll love them as much as I’ll love God.” Gotta work on that one with him. 5. Somehow Carson’s concern regarding his “booboo” on his finger later morphed into a conversation regarding the pathology and treatment of Anthrax. Don’t ask…
And that, my friends, is a pretty accurate view into our lives. Hope you enjoyed. 🙂
It was like Christmas this morning. Carson has been begging me to teach him to read for a while now, so I purchased this book after reading rave reviews on Amazon. It arrived on our doorstep last night, and Carson woke up this morning ready and raring to go. “Okay! Time for my reading book!” he said. He rocked the first few lessons this morning, and I’m hoping he maintains this enthusiasm as things get tougher. Having been the reportedly nerdy kid who preferred to sit on the side of the pool powering through workbook pages rather than swimming on hot summer afternoons, it gives me a teensy (okay, a ridiculously large) amount of pleasure to see the legacy living on. See, I told you he had my genes after all…