Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Blue Ribbon Kind of Day

Today was a good day for the Galloways. Our morning started off slow with a big breakfast and a lazy morning. But by 12:30 we were piling into the van for a busy afternoon.

First stop--soccer pics. Lucas has recently started playing for the North OKC Soccer Club and his team name is the Destroyers. He's the youngest and smallest kid on the team, but he keeps up and excels in spite of those things. He couldn't wait to take his team picture. 
And of course I snapped a few shots of just him....
Immediately following pictures he had a game. This kid scored six goals! He hustled and played hard. He also had a beautiful assist for yet another goal. Even though his team eventually lost 11-7, I am so proud of this little guy. He truly loves to play. 
Watching from the sideline.

After the game we quickly headed to Oklahoma Christian University where Hannah was participating in the District Piano Auditions and theory test. She played a lively piece called "Trumpets" and earned a score of 1. The top score is a 1+, followed by a 1, 1-, 2, etc. Her score qualified her to move on to the State Piano Auditions at the Universiry of Oklahoma on May 15th. She was very proud of her score and also so relieved as she was battling a serious case of nerves. Next she took her theory test (won't know the score for a few weeks), picked up her medal and headed to get a milkshake, her reward for the day. I took piano lessons from 2nd grade through my senior year in high school, and grew up going to district/state and taking the theory test. It's so neat to see my own daughter doing these same things! 
Holding up her medal!

We came home and the rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying the gorgeous spring weather we had today. Hannah, Leah and Lucas played with our neighbors' kids for hours running back and forth between houses--baseball in their backyard, trampoline jumping in ours. Mike painted a bookshelf out in the garage and I say on the porch and read. It was lovely. 
Me enjoying the perfect outdoor conditions! 

We opted for cereal for dinner to avoid a major kitchen clean up, bathed the kids, put them to bed and then the house was quiet. I indulged in a gritty episode of 48 hours before taking a bath and getting in bed. 

Couldn't have asked for a better day! 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Photo and a Few Links

As much as I want to sit at my computer all day reading funny and inspiring blogs, scrolling through Facebook and catching up on TV shows, I suppose I should attempt to be productive today. In fact, my two big assignments this afternoon are: 1. wash all the kids' sheets and 2. organize my closet. I will update you tomorrow on my progress. My life is fascinating, I know.

But before I go, let me at least tell you to go read this blog post by Jen Hatmaker. I love this lady's style and her honesty. And she's a fellow OBU grad like me (Zip! Bang! Go Bison!). If you are looking for a good read, try her book entitled 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. But until then, just read this blog post. If you have ever had children, you will identify.

This documentary. It is so good! And it's only an hour long, so you don't have to take up your whole evening watching it. As a big Oklahoma City Thunder fan, of course I loved it. But if you aren't a Thunder fan, you will most certainly be a Serge Ibaka fan after watching Son of the Congo. And it will give you a healthy appreciation for all the blessings you have in your life.

And finally, I leave you with this awesome picture Mike took last night. 
Lucas loves all things sports. And he's actually pretty coordinated and agile! He tries his best and has such a good attitude. Soccer seems to still be his first love, but he's been really into baseball lately. My dad brought this ball over the other night so they could play catch. Afterwards, Lucas wrote his name on it and placed it carefully on his bookshelf.
Love his little signature. 
And I'll be taking orders now because I'm sure it will be worth millions one day (wink, wink).

Have a great Wednesday!

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Glimpse Into Spring Break 2015

My friend Maria writes a wonderful blog that you can check out called Little Things Are Big. On Fridays she does a phone photo dump (don't you love that word?) and today I thought I would join her. Here's a look at our Spring Break!
Sunday was Mike's birthday and I wrote about it all in my last post. Basically church, lunch, park, frozen yogurt and a movie. Great day.
Monday we ventured to the zoo with everyone else in Oklahoma City. It was so so crowded, but we had fun.
The kids with Rex the elephant in the background.
A beautiful sky on the way home from the gym. I'm a sub-instructor at my gym and with a lot of full time instructors out of town for spring break, I filled in several times. I managed to teach two 75 minute cardio/strength classes and one 60 minute class. 

Tuesday the girls and Lucas and I went to see Cinderella. I highly recommend it! It stresses the importance of having courage, being kind and the power of forgiveness. Wednesday we met some friends for lunch then had them over to play for the afternoon. Thursday all three kids played at a neighbor's house all day, then the girls spent the night at yet another friend's house. They have quite the social calendar!
That brings us to today--Friday. Lucas woke up with a 101 fever and sore throat. After a trip to the doctor, he has tested positive for strep again. This is the third positive strep test since January 25th which is cause for concern. The doctor wants the rest of the family to get strep tests this weekend to see if anyone happens to be a strep carrier. If so, we will treat the culprit with antibiotics and hopefully that will solve the problem. If no one is a carrier, we will meet with an ENT to talk about a tonsillectomy. Good times. So this afternoon I find myself hanging out on the couch with my sick (yet smiling) boy. We were supposed to all go bowling with my dad and stepmom this afternoon, but the plans changed for us. While the girls are out rolling strikes and spares, he and I will snuggle and watch movies and read. Hoping the amoxicillin kicks in quick!

Have a good weekend!

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Blissful Birthday

Yesterday was Mike's birthday. This man of mine prefers mellow, chill birthdays with the family--no frills, no fuss, no parties. He craves these kind of days that recharge his batteries. So, after church, we grabbed some lunch then headed downtown to enjoy an afternoon outside. The weather was perfect. Sunny, blue skies, temps in the mid-70's. We started at the children's playground, then later we found a shady spot to spread out a quilt and relax. Lucas brought his soccer ball, and he and Mike played for awhile. There were people out everywhere. Kids playing, people riding bikes, sitting on park benches chatting, playing guitar. There was even a group riding around on Segways. It reminded me of a mini-Central Park!
Lucas on the G from the "Grow" statue
Yay for flowers!
The birthday boy and me
Our niece River was down from Tulsa for the weekend, so she joined us!
The girls built a house out of logs. Seriously, a pile of wood entertained them for a looong time.
Looking up 
Get your binoculars out and you can spot Mike & Lucas playing soccer on the field.
Happy Feet: River, Leah, me, Hannah
The girls made a few fairy houses.

This boy is always kicking.

We ended the day with some fro-yo and a movie at home--The Princess Bride, what could be better? 

This kind of relaxing day was just what this sweet husband of mine wanted. I am glad we got to spend the day exactly the way he wanted. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Driving and Deep Thoughts

There is a two mile stretch of road from my neighborhood to the highway that I drive at least once a day, sometimes more. As an example, by the end of today, I will have criss-crossed it four times. It used to be a pleasant two lane stretch with farmland and horses on one side and a row of tall trees lining the other side. I'd always enjoyed this little drive, noticing the trees budding in the early spring, enjoying the way they brought shade in the hot summer, their pretty golden color in the fall, and even the stark beauty of their bare branches in the winter months. 

Several months ago, our city embarked on a road expansion project widening this two lane road into four lanes. We live in the northern suburbs of Oklahoma City where housing developers are having a hay day making new neighborhoods and traffic has definitely increased. I'm sure the project is needed, and right now it's a full on construction zone--big trucks, orange cones and tons of Oklahoma red dirt. 

As often as I drive this road, I noticed today that all the trees that once lined this stretch are officially gone. I remember when the first few were uprooted, but seeing that entire length of road bare on one side made me a little sad. Those poor trees were just living happily, blooming, shading, growing and someone snatched them up and tossed them aside. Gone. Just like that.

Maybe I connected the tree loss to my own personal loss. One day my mom was here, living, breathing, existing, and the next day, poof! Gone. 

I don't really have any superb way of making this into a spiritual analogy or anything. But, thought I'd share why as I was driving today, I noticed the trees. And my heart hurt a little. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

What a Week

This last week has been a doozie. It has clearly reiterated how good it is that I am done working because I would have had to take practically every day off to care for my children. 

Last week included fever, diarrhea, a mysterious rash, a sliced foot, snow and ice, three trips to urgent care, and four prescriptions filled. Let's just say I'm on a first name basis with our Walgreen's pharmacist. 

So here's the skinny. We'll start with the fever/diarrhea/rash episode. Back in January, Lucas had strep throat. He took good old amoxicillin for ten days, felt better, the end. Or so we thought. About twelve days after finishing the amoxicillin, he tested positive for strep again. This time he took the antibiotic Omnicef for ten days. He felt better, but four days later he was running a fever, had the worst diarrhea ever, and had a horrible itchy rash all over his body. Back to the doctor we went, and turns out he was having a horrible allergic reaction to Omnicef. We were told to give him Benadryl and sent home. Three days later, the Benadryl was clearly not working because the rash was worse. In fact, his eyes were nearly swollen shut. After another trip to the doctor's office, we were told to give him a cocktail of Benadryl, Zantac and Prednisone and after 24 hours he finally saw relief. 
Lucas' back on day one
His legs on day two
His poor swollen face on day three. He didn't even look like himself! 
My happy boy back to his normal self. 

A few days later, we were at a friend's house and all the kids were running around barefoot outside playing tag. Hannah managed to slice the bottom of her foot wide open on an old metal trampoline base. For the record, I don't handle deep wounds well. Makes me want to gag. But I kept my cool, cleaned it out, placed a bandaid on it, and to the doctor we went yet again. He wanted to put a few stitches in it, but Hannah panicked and we opted for glue instead. The doctor cleaned and glued and bandaged that foot up. Hannah has managed to hobble her way to school in spite of her wound with the help of her sister and friends. Thankfully, her tetanus shot was still good, so no need for another one. But she is taking an antibiotic just to prevent any infection.
 Here's the foot. Hope you are not eating breakfast. 

When I signed up for this parenting thing, I could never have predicted weeks like this. Or how much your heart would break when you see your child hurt or suffering. This parenting thing is hard, can I get an amen?! 

Let's hope this week brings calm days and is full of good health! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

11 weeks down, 3 days left

On November 18th of last year, I started on a twelve week adventure back into the world of teaching. One of the Pre-K teachers at my kids' school had her first baby, so I was asked to do her maternity leave. After thoughtful consideration, I decided to jump back into full time work for twelve weeks. After teaching 6th grade for eight years, then seven years off of full time work, this would prove to be a challenge. We knew the experience would give us a glimpse into what it would be like to have three kids and two full time working parents. And we knew because it would be a long term sub position, the pay would be better than regular substitute pay, and this could help us meet some financial goals (mainly setting aside money for Leah's much needed orthodontic work and bulking up our savings account).

With that in mind, I set out ready to meet the challenge. My Pre-K class consisted of nineteen 4 and 5 year olds plus a wonderful Teacher's Assistant and me. Across the hall from my room were two other Pre-K classrooms (including Lucas' class). With the wonderful support from the staff and my Pre-K parents, the transition went smoothly. And before you knew it, I was in the groove. My days started to have a much faster pace to them.

Get up.
Put on real clothes (not yoga pants).
Apply a little make-up.
Prepare breakfast.
Help kids get dressed and do their hair (Girl hair. It's a whole thing.)
Pack lunches.
Fill water bottles.
Toss dishes in the sink if I'm lucky.
Fly out the door.


Come home.
Go through backpacks.
Start the girls on homework.
Begin dinner.
Attempt to clean up both breakfast leftovers and dinner dishes.
Go to the gym (two nights a week).
Go to Lucas' soccer game (one night of the week).
Get Hannah to piano lessons (one night a week)
Bathe children (every other day....or two....).
Put children to bed.
Attempt to clean up the house or do a load of laundry.
Hope to get in bed and read.
Read one page and fall asleep.


Gone were the days of leisurely grocery shopping on a Monday morning. We said good-bye to the days of having the laundry under control. We instead found ourselves digging through the dirty clothes, giving the jeans a sniff test, and just wearing them a third time. Trying to find the time to run to Target to buy Valentine's for all the kids to pass out and the assigned party foods for the class parties became a real challenge. Like working an impossible jig saw puzzle, every available second of every day became a precious commodity-- like gold.

To my friends who are working moms not doing a maternity leave and working all day, every day while trying to balance your home life and work life and fit in quality time with spouses and friends and hitting the gym at ungodly hours of the morning.....I salute you.

I give you a full-on, standing ovation with a slow clap.


So, here I sit at home on a snow day (2 inches and our city shuts down). I am looking ahead to three more days of work and then my twelve weeks will be complete. And what did I learn through this experience?

That I am stronger than I thought I was.
That I still enjoy teaching.
That I really, really love being a stay at home mom.
That I can see teaching full time in the not so distant future, but the timing is not right to start now.
That there are awesome teachers giving it their all every. single. day.
That my kids are flexible (most of the time) and can go with the flow.

Three more days. And then my schedule returns to "normal." It's bittersweet. But it's good.

Here's a quick photo recap of the months I've been working and what we have been up too.

 Our niece, River, came down from Tulsa with her friend Vivienne and stayed with us for the Thanksgiving holiday.  My kids had a blast with them, and they came prepared with crafts! Smart girls!

Three weeks later (which also included the girls' tenth birthday!), it was Christmas. 
We celebrated at our church's candlelight service Christmas Eve, then Mike's parents and grandmother arrived and spend the next eight days with us. 

In January, we kicked off the new Winter Session in Body & Soul. I switched from a day class to an evening class and continued to teach when they needed me to fill in. 

On February 3rd I celebrated my 38th birthday. This picture is from a friends' night out the weekend after. My friend Tracy (on the far right) also has a February 3rd birthday, so we try to do something together every year. We went to a place in Choctaw, Oklahoma called Old Germany. Schnitzel and strudel and all things yummy.
This winter Lucas joined a five and six year old indoor soccer team. He has had SO much fun and has discovered a sport that he really excels at. 

Some of my class looking out the window at the accumulating snow yesterday.
I truly will miss these kiddos. And my assistant (She is awesome!), and my supportive families (I've made some new friends!) and fabulous co-workers (I'll miss our lunch room rants and laughs!).

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven."
Ecclesiastes 3:1

I've enjoyed my short "season" and look forward to what the next will hold.