What a day!

It was the end of an era today and, therefore, the start of another.

After more than 15 years of spending all day every day at home caring for, educating, and leading my kiddos, today marked a considerable change. Today, all 3 of my kids went to school.

Jordan & Bekah ready to go climb on the bus together

Just one week ago Willie and I made the decision that it was time for Bekah to start at public school, and following a 5 day weekend, she started. She joins Jordan at Hazelwood where she’s in Mrs. Johnson’s 3rd grade class of 23 students. She was welcomed by teachers and classmates, and then the entire school. Jordan was previously scheduled to do morning announcements on the intercom and was also permitted to welcome new student Rebekah Bodger to Hazelwood. So cute.

The new student had just 2 questions: “What do I do if I have to go to the bathroom?” and “When’s lunch?”

After a little video taping (couldn’t resist!) in Bekah’s classroom and overseeing the transition, Bekah asked me ‘When are you going to go?’ I think “now” is the correct answer. I took the hint, and headed out the door.

And I didn’t even cry!

3 kids in school.

I waited all day for the phone’s caller i.d. to register “Edmonds School District”. It never happened!

Five and a half hours kid-free. Felt like Bekah was at a playdate or something. It doesn’t seem possible that it will occur day after day. No more arguments. No more battles of the will. No more trying to motivate Bekah to do her work with a good attitude. Strange.

And then the kicker.

Ashley came home at 2:12. She complained her belly hurt, took some medicine, did a couple other things, and as I re-opened the front door to take out some recycling she says “Oh, I was going to grab that!” What? The garbage? A bag of dirty cat litter? What?

She bolted past me and grabbed a pink vase from the porch table complete with red rose, greens, and a ribbon, and announced in a shocked sort of way, “I got asked out today!”

WHAT?!

I couldn’t do anything but laugh; and laugh; and laugh. Willie was upstairs and came down to see what the raucous was. And there was Ashley standing there holding her flower. She then pulled out the previously attached card which said, “Will you go out with me?” and was signed by a BOY! He’d drawn a little flower on it and everything. Apparently, he came over to her while she was eating lunch with her friends and placed the flower in front of her on the lunch table.

Unfortunately, it didn’t take long to burst my romantic bubble and discover that she wasn’t exactly excited about this boy. Bummer.

But still, sooooo romantic!

Ahhhh....

Not that she’d be allowed to date yet, anyway, but still…

Now she just has to deal with telling him ‘No thanks’. (I told her a note was fine and she could just blame it on us.)

Meanwhile, I am left to reel from these firsts: my youngest went to school and my oldest got asked out. All in the same day.

What a day.

Ashley’s trip to California with Uncle Wes & Aunt Kara

For Ashley’s 14th birthday my youngest brother, Wes, and his wife invited Ashley down to California as their gift to her. Wow! Due to the holidays and crazy schedules, it took 4 months for the trip to finally arrive and the anticipation was amazing. She had such a fantastic time. What an amazing privilege to have family give my daughter experiences like this. We are so blessed.

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Sissy’s back from “Canvas”

Bekah missed Ashley so much while she was gone at Camas Meadows winter retreat center. And yet, when Ashley got home Bekah was out on a ‘girl date’ with a friend. Ashley and I chatted, watched Miss America (replay), and then she laid down and crashed. Bekah is now very glad to have her sister home from the place affectionately known as “Canvas”.

Ashley recovers from a fun weekend that was short on sleep. We're so glad she's home!

Sisters

As the time for Ashley to head off for Winter Retreat grew nearer so did Bekah’s tears. Although Ashley has spent back to back nights at friends’ houses, there has been something unique about putting Sissy on a bus that puts Bekah on edge. We avoided a complete meltdown while at the church but by the time we drove away the tears were flowing.

Ashley & Bekah share some love before Ash boards the bus. They swapped stuffed animals for the weekend and Bekah has been given permission to sleep in her sister's room as well!

Ashley’s 14th

Our first baby is FOURTEEN!

On Friday, 10/2, Ashley got a Mom and Dad date where we went and picked out her first cell phone followed up by the movie FAME with us and her friend Rachel. It was a fun night. The phone has changed her life, but we haven’t had to take it away… YET.

On her actual birthday, 10/5, we opened presents together at home and then headed out to a special family dinner at Red Robin. Embarrassing her with the Red Robin birthday song was very fun.

Ashley got a phone call from Uncle Wes and Aunt Kara the morning of her birthday. They announced to her that for her birthday they were going to fly her down for the weekend in January or February.

Celebrating with the family is always special, but celebrating as a teenager the party with friends is always a highlight. It was a ‘party year’ for her (up through 10 they get yearly parties and then it goes to 13, 16 and then 18 years) but between Ashley and her friends there are 4 birthdays within 44 days. These good friends got together and planned a birthday bash they called “B.R.A.M.’s 14th B’day Celebration”. B.R.A.M. are the girls’ initials: Bekah Russell, Rachel Mansfield, Ashley, and McKenna Welch.

Enjoy the pictures of her big day(s)!

Birthday Card from Gramma & Grampa

Birthday Card from Gramma & Grampa

The Girls

The Girls

Ashley and Jordan

Ashley and Jordan

Tearing up over a note from Gammy

Tearing up over a note from Gammy

Special memory album of Ashley's first years from Gammy and Pa

Special memory album of Ashley's first years from Gammy and Pa

Lamp and iPod doc from Grandma Yogi

Lamp and iPod doc from Grandma Yogi

Red Robin sings for Ashley

Red Robin sings for Ashley

McKenna, Bekah, Rachel and Ashley

McKenna, Bekah, Rachel and Ashley

Friends!

Friends!

Beautiful Birthday Girl

Beautiful Birthday Girl

Bailey’s back!

Many years ago in a house not too far from here… We were the owners of a fantastic Golden Retriever named Bailey. He was the first Bodger baby to join Willie and Stephanie’s home. Within a year, Ashley came along and there was fur pulling and spitting up on him and all kinds of fun. A couple years later, Jordan joined the family. The Bodger family in 1998: Willie & Stephanie, a daughter, a son, and a dog. It added up perfectly up until Jordan reached 6 months and his development went from on-target to far off it. His declining health and increased care needs resulted in lots of work for Stephanie and the wonderful dog ended up getting the boot.┬áThankfully, he didn’t get booted far.

Family members were able to take the amazing Bailey and have been his caring owners for the last 11 years. Sunshine, Shannon & Oskar have dog sat for our new dog, Benny, multiple times over the past 4 years but we have never gotten Bailey back onto our turf… at least not until Aug. 8th, 2009. Bekah was at a sleep over while Ashley and Jordan got a reunion with their 15 year-old Golden Retriever when he came for an overnight dog sitting.

Despite being deaf and having vestibular issues, he is still the sweetest dog I’ve come across.

Unable to climb the stairs and too big to be carried, Jordan and Ashley brought their pillows downstairs and had a sleepover in the living room with Bailey. I saw tears in Ashley’s eyes as she got ready for bed…

Jordan's ready for his downstairs sleepover with Bailey

Jordan's ready for his downstairs sleepover with Bailey

Jordan and Bailey

Jordan and Bailey

Ashley and Bailey - she has such a tender spot in her heart for him

Ashley and Bailey - she has such a tender spot in her heart for him

Since Bailey ended up sleeping by Ashley, Jordan got Benny on his 'bed'.

Since Bailey ended up sleeping by Ashley, Jordan got Benny on his 'bed'.

Volleyball for Ashley

Ashley started volleyball this year and we’re so proud of her. There are a number of girls on her team she has known for many years and the coaches are college gals who also help with the Middle school girls at church. This was the first game I got to see due to scheduling conflicts with the other kids last week, and it was so great to see her in action!

Team Intensity

Team Intensity

Ashley gets ready

Ashley gets ready

GO TEAM!

GO TEAM!

After this, the 7th grade girls from church loaded up and headed to one of the leader’s houses for an overnighter. What a fun life!

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