Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Wild Week. Aren't they all?

On Monday morning, Ty's bus was 15 minutes late. I had to run down the hill to prevent the substitute bus driver from passing Ty in our driveway. I spoke with her a brief moment because she was turned around in our neighborhood and had asked for clarification. I hugged Ty and proceeded to walk back to the house when the driver called out for me to get my dog.  I was grateful she saw her and called for Layla, expecting to see her run around from the front of the bus. Imagine my surprise when Layla came bounding down the bus stairs super pumped about the kids she just met on the bus! I didn't see her get on! That dog.......

Monday evening Kate sustained a mild concussion when she missed landing a double back flip on our trampoline. I am not going to lie, I wasn't settled about this and worried a great deal despite Greg's assurance she would be fine. He may have spent the last decade assessing work related injuries and been an athlete until his accident when he was 30, but this is my baby so I questioned his judgment a few times. I had her sleep with me and take it easy for a few days. So whereas she started strong on Monday, her academics decreased dramatically on Tuesday and Wednesday. I read aloud quite a bit and we talked through a complex and beautiful book about children in Sudan. She is still struggling to focus, requires a lot of sleep and has maintained a headache all week. It has been tough on her to feel so run down as she is typically a high energy kid.

Over the weekend I sorted through a large donation bag Makenna gathered in her room for Goodwill and reclaimed a few pieces previously stolen out of my closet.

Baby Ava is back after fall break at home with her parents. On Monday I sliced grapes by hand for a snack. She refused them. We then went outside and that same child licked sand off the patio.

Wednesday night Makenna was finally permitted to leave our neighborhood streets and parking lots. She drove on actual roads with other vehicles. This portion of parenting is not my strong suit. I prayed and practiced Lamaze style breathing. No one died.

In other news, my left eye lid has had an involuntary twitch since Monday night. It's charming.

But this view out my back door? I have loved it for over a decade now. It never gets old.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Scarlett's Family

I am not a photographer but sometimes friends ask me to take photos for them anyway. I enjoy playing with the camera and am comfortable engaging kids I know well into fun portraits. Getting to work with a family I used to babysit for was a lot fun even if I was nervous about working with the grown ups.

Cooper is the oldest and an intense little man with a love of fishing. We wrapped the session on the dock with his fishing pole and I wish we had planned the entire afternoon there because he was in his element and clearly at peace.

Gleason comes from a long line of fiercely determined women who lay a wild path as they pursue life. I have first hand knowledge of the parenting challenges this personality presents but love the end results. Look out world, here she comes.

And the little guy? Maverick stole my heart when I first met him. He was nine months old, covered in snot and needed a haircut in the worst way. The look totally suited him. He is a free spirited, hilarious ragamuffin I happen to adore.

Monday, October 17, 2016

A New Beginning

After an intense amount of deliberation, Kate ended her middle school career September 30th. She completed the first nine weeks with honor roll but a lack of confidence.  We watched our sunny, sweet girl shrink under the pressure of perfection, boot camp style discipline and and a teacher we know lied to us after calling Kate a liar in front of the class for an error her father made. We have a strict policy about grown ups who lie. They don't get access to our kids. Kate went from showing leadership skills to shying away from new experiences and worrying constantly about making a mistake. It is our belief, no one learns well in a setting where bullying is the overriding method of control so I spent quite a bit of time over fall break making plans and gathering resources. Today was our first day at home together. Apparently I haven't retired my home school hat after all.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

"The Best Day of My Life"

I asked Ty if he was having fun and he answered, "this is the best day of  my life". We took advantage of an overnight family package at French Lick Resort last night. We played putt-putt, went to a pumpkin patch with a hayride, bungee cord trampoline and a corn box and spent hours at the indoor water park. Greg and I enjoyed watching them immerse themselves in endless hours of fun.


Southern Indiana is absolutely gorgeous this time of year and I appreciated the drive as much as the get-away. Today we took a fall foliage tour on a train. All of us were excited about this one. And imagine our surprise when we discovered some of our favorite people there!

The kids brought their own cameras to capture the anticipated fun but Ty expressed repeatedly his disappointment in the train's speed or lack there of. I am not sure what he expected but the leisurely ride through the Hoosier National Forest was simply not exciting enough. Of course we were all exhausted by this afternoon and that may have had something to do with the lack of enthusiasm to what we believed would be the trip's highlight.

We were at the hotel having breakfast this morning and the kids selected Fruit Loops as part of their meal. They were both delighted with the option since I won't purchase Fruit Loops. I had them eat their hot food first and then the cereal. They ate well but as usual, Ty was taking longer than everyone else. And then I watched him. He was only allowing loops of a single color on his spoon at the same time. Sometimes I worry he is going to have more obsessive compulsive tendencies than both of his parents combined.

We decided to drive over and check out the resort we heard is rather luxurious. It is. While Greg and Kate played checkers in the library lobby (you know average hotel standards) Ty and I went exploring. It went well until he played dead on a fancy ottoman in the ladies room and scared an old lady to death. We decided to leave before security escorted us out.

Fall Break Weekend #2

I accidentally purchased Reese Nutrageous bars instead of the traditional Reese cups for our gourmet smore bar Saturday night. At first we were disappointed but then we tried one. No one is mad. We may have just discovered a new favorite candy bar.

Reluctant teens in photos sometimes make fine photographers. Thanks Makenna!

Ty had a buddy spend the night Friday night.  At one point the entire family overheard Ty enthusiastically invite Gavin to play outside. Gavin countered, "or we could read a book." Ty stared blankly. They eventually settled on Legos in Ty's room but once they left, we all busted out laughing. One of them is a prodigy. The other is my son.

Greg went on a hunting trip. One of us got a good shot off the back deck. My approach won't put food on the table but it is the one I can appreciate participating in.

I told Lexie her recent fifth birthday means she is a whole hand full. In truth, she is pretty sweet.

The kids and I joined Greg of the first day of his hunting trip so we could see his family and then spend some time with Kristin and her boys. At the dinner table, Avry her seven year old son started a story about a beautiful girl who looked a lot like me only with fewer wrinkles.........there is a reason that one is so cute.

I was upstairs talking to Kenna and heard Ty freak out because he read the title of the book I am re-reading. To Kill A Mockingbird. I had to assure him it isn't a how-to manual.

Makenna spent Tuesday taking care of a lot of business we haven't had time to do together in quite awhile. She now has a bank account to deposit her paychecks and her driver's permit. She says she is adulting. In other news, her knee has been dislocated twice this year and all indications the brace and therapy aren't going to take care of the problem for her. We are disheartened to be starting surgical conversations with her specialist.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Ushering In October

There isn't much I do not love about fall. The weather, warm vibrant colors, the coziness of sweaters, endless cups of tea and excuses to gather with family and friends before the next season sends us all into hibernation with it's contrast of colorless days and long cold nights. I always kick off October with a birthday and this year I was celebrated with flowers from friends, sweet messages on facebook, cards and a weekend with the people who were there when it all began, my parents.
Grandma and Grandpa with four of their fan club members

Cumberland Falls in Kentucky

I asked them what their group name should be. Mason offered "Jeff" and Ty suggested "the chicken nuggets".

We spent Saturday hiking and picnicking with my sister and her boys and then our group invaded a really cool orchard on Sunday where sweet treats were indulged and the kids played for hours. I then drove home for dinner with my crew. As far as birthdays go, I am quite blessed.