Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Bikes, a Trophy, and Tears

As first-time kindergarten parents, we have had several new experiences this school year.  Recently, we were able to watch our kids participate in the "Bike Rodeo" at their school.  This is an event in which kids can bring their bikes to school, and then they compete in different challenges.  This year, the students had to ride in a straight line, ride their bike as slowly as possible, ride around cones, brake in a specific area, and have their bike inspected.  They were scored on each challenge.  

Our kids have been riding balance bikes for a couple of years, and even though they had long outgrown them, we just continued to let them ride them around.  A couple months ago, we decided it was time to get them "big kid bikes" so we went one weekend and picked them out.  R&R were excited to try out the big bikes, but after riding them for a few minutes, would always go back to their little balance bikes.  

The week of the Bike Rodeo we really encouraged the kids to ride their big bikes to practice, since they wouldn't be able to use their balance bikes in the event.  But every day, after riding for a few minutes on the big bikes, the kids would end up riding their balance bikes.  Let's just say that we did not have high expectations for the Bike Rodeo, but were thrilled that both Rhett and Rhys wanted to participate.

The morning of the Bike Rodeo came, and it was actually cool outside! 

All lined up and ready to go!  R&R were the last 2 kindergarten kids to compete.

First stop was to get the bike inspected.

Since our bikes were almost new, R&R did good on the inspection.  I think they had points taken off for using training wheels, and also for not having a flashing light.

Here is Rhett going around the cones.

 Rhett trying to brake as close to the block as possible, without knocking it down.

Rhett riding between the lines.  Do you see all the little heads at the bottom of the picture?  Those are the kids who were not participating and they were cheering on their friends.  It was SO cute!

Look at Rhys' face on this one!  This picture show the fun attitude she had the whole time.  I think she laughed through the whole event!

Rhys riding between the lines.

And of course Bryn was there to cheer on her big bro and sis (and to chew on a cup!)

The kids had a blast, and it was fun watching them.  

A week after the Bike Rodeo was over, I had run into HEB  to pick up a few things before going to pick up the kids from school.  The kids were having an awards ceremony for the 1st nine weeks of school that afternoon, and I had thought about going, but decided not to.  I knew the ceremony was going to be recognizing the kids with all As, perfect attendance, box top winners, etc. but I didn't really think I needed to be there for anything.

A few minutes later, I got a text from a friend saying "Rhett just won the Bike Rodeo for kindergarten!"

WHAT?!  She sent me a picture of him with his trophy.  Of course I thought he did great at the event, but we had no idea that he would win first place!  I was disappointed that I had not made it to the assembly, and I couldn't wait to pick him up from school that day!

As I stood in the HEB check-out line, tears just started running down my cheeks.

Yes, I was proud of Rhett and excited that he won.  But it wasn't just about winning.

You see, that trophy means more than just 1st place.

That trophy is a reminder of God's faithfulness. Of his goodness. And of answered prayer.

That trophy is a testament to who God is.

As many of you know, when Rhett was an infant, we did not know if he would ever walk, run, or ride a bicycle.  The unknowns were scary.  And even when we were told that he would be able to walk, run, and ride a bike, we weren't sure what that was going to look like.

And 5 years later, that boy was not only participating in the Bike Rodeo, he won 1st place!

God is so, so good.

And I know in my heart that even if Rhett were not able to walk, run, or ride a bike, God would still be faithful. He would still be good.  And He would still reveal himself to me, likely through my children.

So I stood there in HEB and let those tears fall, with a smile on my face.  Because He is so, so good to me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ballerina Rhys

Rhys started ballet and tap classes with Kinderdance in January.  She had been asking forever to "do ballerina class" so I was excited to get her started.  We had to go shopping for her pink leotard, tutu, tights, and dance shoes.  Here is she modeling the night before her first class.

I was a little nervous for her, because Rhys has a tendency to be very shy in new environments.  And, when Tim and I are not around, she usually has Rhett with her and that has always been a big help.  The dance classes were set up so that the parents sit in a waiting room, and only the girls and instructors are in the dance studio.  I was not sure how she was going to like that part of it.

And, as expected, the first day was a little rough.  She cried.  She actually screamed.  For a while. And then the teacher came and got me and had me come in and sit against the wall.  Rhys sat in my lap and would not move.  She watched intently, but did not want to participate.

The following week, when we got to dance class, she gave me a hug and ran in the room to the studio.  And she has been doing great ever since!

It was always hard to watch the girls during class because we could only peek in through a tiny little window on the door.  I was able to snap this pic of Rhys during class one day.

In May the girls had their first recital.  It was seriously adorable.  I highly recommend Kinderdance for the way they organize their classes and recitals.  It was low stress, and so much fun for the kids.

Here is our pre-recital prep.  Gotta get that ballerina bun just right!

Aunt Caydee has some serious pony tail skills.

Adding the tiara--Rhys' favorite part!

Rhett & Ana playing while the ballerina gets ready.

Again, knowing Rhys' personality, we did not put any pressure on her to participate in the recital, and to be honest, I wasn't sure she was even going to get on the stage.  We got there and she did just great!  We were so proud of her.

Rhys with her teacher, Miss Brittany.

I'm pretty sure Rhys had more people in the audience than any other dancer. Thanks to all of our wonderful family for coming to support Rhys.

Uncle Mike & Erin

Sean, Caydee & Ana

Rhett LOVED watching Rhys and was very excited to give her a bouquet of flowers after she finished.  He said she looked "beautiful!"


Bdad & Gram

What a fun year we had in dance!  Rhys will continue with Kinderdance this fall.  We are proud of the way she grew, both in skill and in her confidence through dance class.  We sure do love our little ballerina Rhys!

Rhett Plays Soccer

This past spring we signed Rhett up for our neighborhood soccer program.  This was his first organized sport to play, and the first activity he participated in without Rhys.

Tim decided to help coach Rhett's team, and it was a fun season for both of them!

We noticed that Rhett seemed to love the weekly practice.  He enjoyed running drills, playing the games, etc.  Here is Rhett before his first practice.

 Tuesday night practice.

Rhett had a huge crowd for his first game, since it also happened to be the day of R&R's birthday party!  We had fun with Bdad & Gram, Sugar, and Mike & Erin who all cheered Rhett on.  I am sad I didn't get a better picture of our group.  Here is Gram, Rhys and I at the game.

Team stretches...

Lots of running!

Had a great 1st game!

As the season went on, we realized that while he loved practices, he didn't really love the weekend games as much. We noticed he wasn't very aggressive during the games, so I asked him why he didn't want to kick the ball. He told me that all the kids wanted to kick the ball at the game, so he would let them have their turn.

He did make a lot of progress throughout the season.  Rhett was so proud of himself for earning a trophy at the end of the season.

Rhett with Coach Cesar and daddy after the final game.

My favorite coach and player!

Of course, Rhys had to get in on a picture, too.

I wouldn't say that Rhett loved playing soccer, but I am so glad that he gave it a try.  He learned so much, made new friends, and developed several skills.  He has decided that he wants to play again this fall, and he even convinced Rhys to join his team.  We are looking forward to seeing how he does this next season.

And so far....I love being a soccer mom!  :)

Too Bad, So Sad!

At 4 years of age, R&R seem to learn new vocabulary every single day!  They are really into phrases and sayings right now.

I started saying "too bad, so sad" to them at different times, and they always thought this was so hilarious.  It usually ended any whining that was going on at the time for whatever reason.  (Looking back, this might not have been such a good idea...)

So, fast forward a few months and Rhys started dance class.  She had a really sweet teacher, Miss Janelle.  After several weeks of class, we found out that Miss Janelle would be moving and would no longer be Rhys' teacher.  

Since Rhys LOVED Miss Janelle, I tried to prepare her for saying goodbye, and welcoming the new teacher, etc.  We spent a couple of hours making Janelle a sweet card and Rhys was so excited to share it with her on their last day together.

After the final class with Miss Janelle, all the girls were gathered around her, ready to offer hugs and goodbyes.  It was such as sweet moment to watch all those little girls with her.  And then it was Rhys' turn to say goodbye.

She presented her card, gave her a hug, and then said, "You are moving.  Too bad, so sad."  Rhys looked at me with a sparkle in her eye, so proud of herself for using her new phrase.   Then Rhys turned, walked off, and I then felt the eyes of all the other parents staring me down as we walked out.

I didn't even know what to say.  What was done was done.  Too bad, so sad, Janelle.  We do miss you.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Be Still and Know That I'm Is God

Sometimes before bed Rhys will ask me to sing to her.  About a year ago, she had a certain order of songs that she liked:  Wheels on the Bus, R-E-D, and Itsy Bitsy Spider.  After about age 3.5, she started asking me to sing her some of "your songs, mommy."  After asking her a lot of questions, I figured out that she wanted me to sing her the songs that we sing at church or that she listens to on my phone when I run. Her new favorite quickly became Hillsong United's Oceans.  So we sang that every night for several weeks.  More recently, she wanted me to sing her some new songs.  Let me say that at bedtime, like most moms, my brain is DONE.  I was having a hard time coming up with any song, much less one that was "new" to her.  One Sunday night (after singing Be Still and Know that I am God in church that morning) I started singing it to her.  She fell in love.  Even to this day, you might hear Rhys humming or singing this song.  I was able to capture her singing on a little video.

I pray that her heart will always remember this truth and she will go to this verse (and song) throughout her life.

"Be Still and Know that I'm Is God" by Rhys Bennett, age 3 (almost 4) at the time of recording:

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Snow World

Sea World has a "Snow World" celebration each winter, and we decided to try it out!  Kids loved it, and we all had a ton of fun!

We just happened to be walking by the Sesame Street stage when the characters had a few minutes for pictures with their fans.  This was probably R&R's favorite part of the whole day.  And, for those of you who know Rhys well, it was a BIG deal for her to take this picture.  She has always had a love/hate relationship with characters.

We were also able to get a picture with Abby and The Count.  I think both of the twins were scared of The Count.  He kept trying to get one of them to stand in front of him.  Rhys kept pushing Rhett that way, but this is what we finally agreed on.

We saw a real reindeer!

And we loved looking at all the fun decorations.  Here was a tree made out of boots.

And another big tree made of poinsettias.  It was my favorite!

Rhett asked to take a picture with the white bear.

We also ran into Shamu Santa and a cute little penguin that sang and danced.

The big attraction is "Snow World," where kids can ride a tube down a snow hill and also play with snow.  Here we are waiting in line.  We ended up waiting in line for over 2 hours!

Still waiting in line and daddy entertaining Rhys.

Still waiting....

As the line moved along slowly, we figured out that the reason it was taking so long was because they were only letting in a certain number of people at a time.  Those people would go in, play for 15 minutes, and then they would leave and the next group could enter.

While we waited, the kids ran around, ate snacks, and did great!

After our long wait, we finally made it into the tent.  The kids wanted to do the ride first.

 Here is a video of Rhys on the tube.

The kids rode the snow hill 3-4 times, and then played in the snow a bit.  It was cold and fun!

We also got to reach down into this huge tub of ice and make (and throw) snowballs!

The lights were so pretty in the evening.  We were about to leave the park (with 2 very tired kiddos!) and we saw the Candy Cane Forest ahead.  We had to stop and take a couple of pictures.

Aren't these lights pretty?

Thank you Sea World!