Monday, August 29, 2011

The Kinder Way

It is cliche to say "I can't believe my baby is five." The truth is, I can't believe he is ONLY five. We have been through more in the past five years than I ever imagined I would go through in my life. Some mother's cry when their babies turn another year older, or when they grow out of clothes, or when they drop them off at the first day of school. I celebrate. I consider each milestone a blessing. Instead of wishing that he was still a baby I say to myself "I am so lucky we made it here."

I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about "the first days of school" while Jack was a baby because I couldn't see past the third surgery. We didn't allow ourselves to be jinxed by imagining the days when Jack was 5, 10 or 15 years old because we just needed to make it to that third surgery.
Now that we are here, I haven't had time to daydream about him growing up and doing the regular things kids do. Or, how they would affect him, and us. It has been SO exciting and fun to watch him do these new things. Today was certainly the beginning of a very long, important part of his life. He was thrilled and woke up yelling "First Day of School!" ..even though we have PM Kindergarten. (To my surprise..) he couldn't wait to put on his uniform and head to school.

It was quick and painless.. pat on the back, couple of pictures, a hug goodbye- off he went.
So we are on our way, the Kinder way, to a whole new world of PTA meetings (I'm a card holding member..), volunteer work, homework, new friends, class pets, math problems and recess fights. I love it.. we are all happy here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Surreal" barely cuts it...

Today I took Jack to visit Sunrise Elementary, where I went to Kindergartern. (And all the other grades..) I knew that the school would be open, being that teachers are preparing their classrooms and things are getting in order.
The school was remodeled the year I left, in fact we spent our last few months of 6th grade at Eastmont Middle School because Sunrise was under so much construction, and we were on year-round, so the Middle School students were off for summer break. The inside of Sunrise was virtually unrecognizable. When I had left, all the classrooms were open; if you turn around in your desk, you'd see the OTHER classes in your grade, and all their backs. It proved too distracting (obviously) so the classrooms went under remodel to enclose each classroom for more privacy. But that created a MAZE of hallways. I had no idea where I was till I ran into the "Kiva" (shown below). It was where you'd meet for unique presentations or speakers, and we'd all sit on the levels to create stadium seating. More intimate that the assemblies in the combined lunchroom/gymnasium.
The GYM and Lunchroom haven't changed- the lights were off or I would have taken pictures. But they brought back LOTS of memories: Assemblies, 5th Grade Sales Parade (I sold little candy trains made out of Lifesavers and Red Licorice Rope), the Maturation program.... good times. We finally found are way over to the Kindergarten room. I showed Jack the classroom I was in and he sat down at a desk and said "It's just my size!!" That was when I TRULY realized just how long ago it was that I was there.
The classrooms were all prepared, with tote-trays on top of each desk filled with supplies. I stole a pencil, because you can't tell, but they are JUMBO pencils, the diameter of those things are as wide as my forefinger. So I took one. Don't tell.
This was the 4th grade bathroom. I remember raising my hand to go to the bathroom, doing my business, then stand looking at that mirror, wondering just how long I could stay in there while time passes- until someone came to get me. It was a great way to move the day along. Those toilets are tiny.
Outside the back of Sunrise was the "good" playground. Which doesn't say much compared to what it is NOW. It is wicked awesome. Jack declared it his favorite playground in Utah, and we have decided it is where we will go to play. There are rock climbing things, lots of slides, spinny things that make you a go a million miles an hour... and a zip line. So, that part has GREATLY improved...
We stayed an played for awhile. A little girl that was going into 4th grade was playing there also, telling me the things she usually plays at recess. I spent a good month or so playing with a fire hydrant. Ah, how times have changed. I explained to her that I went to Sunrise 25 years ago, to which she replied "was this building even HERE that long ago??"

Yes, little girl. Yes it was.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Wish that Keeps On Giving (Photo Alert..)

Last month Make A Wish asked if they could give Bangerter Homes permission to use Jack's wish as inspiration for one of the bedrooms in their "UP" house they built for the Parade of Homes. We will do ANYTHING MAW asks because we are so grateful to them and want to help them in any way we can. So we met with Adam Bangerter and he and Jack had a nice chat. Jack showed him his video montage from his wish trip and Adam told Jack that they'd like to do a "Toy Story" theme and make the room like "Andy's Room." Jack spent most of his trip on the Toy Story Mania Ride, so he was down.

We got to preview the room at the "room reveal" last week. (Video, here.) The House is incredible to look at, from the outside it's as realistic as it gets. Then they added such great details like the chairs, the walker with the tennis balls, the Paradise Falls mural and jar of money. The kitchen was DARLING with tiffany-blue appliances and there were great pictures of Ellie and Carl lining the walls.

Jack's room was super cute, the signature clouds on the sky blue wall, the chest full of all this his favorite friends from Toy Story. The race track running off the desk, and the army guys parachuting from the ceiling. Jack saw his name up on the wall and the pictures of our family on his trip around the room- he knew it was special. BUT- it has taken (and is still taking) some convincing that it isn't HIS room.

Part of the proceeds from the Parade of Homes tickets will go to Make A Wish, and I encourage everyone to go, not only because it helps Make A Wish, but because there are a LOT of fun homes to see. Not to mention the UP house. We are so glad to be a part of something and to have Jack give back... Make A Wish is a very important part of our lives and though Jack is doing well, unlike many, MANY MAW kids, it always reminds us of how lucky we are he is still here, and what a miracle he is.