Sunday, September 18, 2016

Kate's Turn

An impromptu photo shoot took place this evening because discussions of family scrapbooks occurred and at that point, I realized I had never taken Kate out for her birthday photos. Kate turned eleven in May. I am rocking this mom gig. In my defense, there was a wedding sprung on me that month and I only had six weeks to throw that little shindig together so a lot of other details fell through the cracks.

So Kate and I literally decided today worked for us and within minutes had the camera in the field and later at the park for a little session. She has bigger photo plans for birthday number twelve which she believes is just around the corner. Slow down baby. I am not ready.

Middle school hasn't been as kind to Kate as we had hoped for her. She has one amazing teacher and one extremely unhappy teacher. Kate's belly hurts daily as she internalizes stress. There are a lot of tears at bedtime and as she is working up the nerve to board the bus each morning.  We have already had one discussion with the teacher and anticipate the next one will have to include the principal. We are in prayer about what is best for Kate moving forward as she enjoys the social aspects of school and is pulling straight A's but the emotional garbage has a pretty hefty price tag.

Gymnastics starts back up tomorrow and she has her first choir concert at the end of the month. She loves spending time with friends, tumbling, swimming, camping, boating, creating, reading, watching old Phineas and Ferb videos on Netflix and shopping. She is still the sweet one in the family and hasn't outgrown snuggling with her mom. Despite the delay in capturing Kate exclusively, she is pretty special.

Weekend R&R

Brutus turned 12 on Friday. The old boy still has some puppy-like moments but is full of grumpy old man sass too.
Makenna and I took Kate and her friend Grace to see good friends in Edinburg this Saturday. We ate well, talked for hours and supervised some eleven year old shopping. Grace's family takes Kate camping. I take Grace shopping. It is good to stick with your individual strengths, I believe.
Ty was invited to a little girls' birthday party. He adores that special friend and was so excited to attend despite being the only boy invited. He was able to adopt this cat and make it a collar with beads. At some point during the celebration, he decided to teach a room full of little girls the song, "I am sexy and I know it". We are rocking this parenting gig.

On Sunday Lauren and Makenna joined me in downtown New Albany where I was somehow talked into a pair of skinny jeans. There is a strong possibility they will be returned this week. Makenna discovered she landed her first job when we visited our favorite consignment store. Makenna is so excited to be working where we already enjoying spending time.
This man spent the weekend smoking a pork shoulder for pulled pork sandwiches. He is awesome.

Someone pretty special made me jewelry at a birthday party this weekend. He used lots of colors so I can wear it every day as it will match everything.

He is a pretty good shot and loves the time we spend shooting together.

We pulled out all three bows and both targets on Sunday. Ty, Kate, Greg and I spent some time working on our aim. One of us is planning to deer hunt in the coming month. Another one of us would like to join him with the camera at some point but her promise to yell, "run Bambi run!" has eliminated her invitation.
We were well supervised. We always are.

Kate has been working on her scorpion. She is getting pretty close!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Heavy Heart

Have you ever have the kind of day you joke it must be a full moon? This was a week full of those kind of days and what do you know? It was a gorgeous full moon after all. On top of the normal ups and downs of daily life, several families we know are wrestling with some difficult challenges. I have found myself unable to shake sadness as I continue to pray for each of them.

It is easy to let feelings run my life into chaos as I am far more emotional than analytical in my response to others pain. I wrapped up the book of John where he shares in horrific detail the crucifixion of Christ. He points out how the casual bystander saw the circumstances and assumed Jesus was at his most vulnerable and obviously losing in those final days of his life on earth. In truth though, He was very much in control throughout the entire process as his death was the perfect point. Jesus knew how it ended and allowed that to play out. I find peace in that message as I struggle to understand the pain others are experiencing. In this season of political hatefulness, worldwide suffering at the hands of evil and the difficult circumstances facing the people I care so much about, I have assurance Jesus is still in control.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Big Fish and Full Weekends

Makenna worked four presentations of Big Fish this weekend as an assistant stage manager. It was her personal all-time favorite show but after keeping the hours of 6am-11pm for an entire week, she is happy to see it wrap up. I loved watching the final performace today as a family. It was a beautiful story about taking time to enjoy the people in your life.

Erin recalled her short stint with the theater after the show. She was required to hold hands with a boy and she was not happy about it. They negotiated with her and allowed a pinky finger hold. She claims she accepted those terms "because the show must go on" which she stated with air quotes. She was six. You don't have to spend much time with Erin to realize the whole world is literally her stage.

Our neighborhood yard sale took place Saturday morning. Lauren talked me into participating and we did so together with two other families . No one got rich but we unloaded a few things and made enough to help pay for dinner on Sunday evening. We hoped to check out a newer restaurant on the river we have heard great things about but after being rerouted a dozen times and encountering an hour and a half wait time, we ended up back at our old local favorite burger joint. No one complained. The kids are already counting down to the next family dinner out which is traditionally on Ryan's birthday in December.

We had friends over for dinner Saturday night.It appears to be a regular event lately which is a more than pleasant way to tackle weekends.
Ty and I took a walk this morning to our neighborhood creek. I was sipping tea and toting my camera; the significance of 9-11 resonating in my heart. I wish our country had remained as united as we were in the aftermath of the attacks. I felt compelled to live the day in gratitude of having this beautiful life despite the chaos and turmoil of the world.  Today I was grateful for laughter, tears in the theater, my boisterous family, friends, dinner I didn't have to prepare or clean up, the joy on Ty's face as he splashed in the creek, Kate's giggles with a friend, an evening walk, sunset, sweater weather this evening and the promise of cooler mornings on my swing. Oh! And leftover pecan pie. Life is beautiful.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Dreaming of Pumpkins

Like every previous September,  I ushered the month in with visions of sweaters, a tea kettle simmering all day, and pumpkins dancing in my head. I am craving cooler weather, the scent of fallen leaves, family and friends gathered around bonfires and chilly mornings begging for a hot chai tea (pumpkin spice latte of course) while I hold down the porch swing. I have friends still clinging to summer and this week of temperatures remaining in the nineties is keeping them content . I, on the other hand, have two pumpkins on display and have baked an apple crisp. Candy corn hides in my cabinet away from the littlest family member who inhaled a basketful the first day it was displayed.  I can cozy up my space and deny reality if it suits me.

We are fully in the throws of back-to-school since that season starts in the heat of July around here. We have had two occasions to grab a light jacket on our way to the bus before sunrise thus far with promises of more opportunities on the horizon. Bring it. My friend Robbin crocheted a beautiful sweater for me to use on my swing. I cannot wait to wrap up in it.

Makenna managed to maintain straight A's while holding down more than 25 hours each week in the theater since school started. The show they are presenting this weekend is described as whimsical, endearing and beautiful. She is proud of Big Fish and the crew working it.

Erin has entered a relationship after spending a few months getting to know Jake. They each introduced the other to their families last weekend before agreeing to date. Between the relationship status and her new job, we see very little of Erin these days but she is happy. However, out-of-the-blue requests to stop by for grilled cheese sandwiches can still occur without warning.

Lauren is managing Taylor's training well but she misses him and is anxious to receive his first phone call. We all want updates and miss him. We've enclosed photos in letters to him in hopes of brightening his world a little. Rumor has it she will get to join him in Texas in January while he wraps up technical training. Lauren is clinging to that date but there is a part of me not quite ready to let her go.

This weekend holds dinner plans with friends around the patio table, a group attending the theater to see Makenna's show and the entire family (plus one) is going out for dinner afterward. We rarely go out to eat as a complete family so there is some anticipation of laughter, relaxation and togetherness in which someone else cleans up and keeps tea glasses full.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

An Army Guy Needs Glasses

Ty has this habit of blinking his eyes in such a way that I have questioned if it could be a habit. My sister called to ask if he was in pain after spending a weekend with him. I thought perhaps he had allergy eyes because the rest of the world reports they do. I asked a nurse friend for over the counter suggestions to combat this little issue. After she ran through a series of questions, she determined he needed an optometrist not allergy medicine. Allergy medicine would have been easier but we have a smart and kind optometrist so an appointment was made.

I informed him he had an appointment after school the day of so he wouldn't have time to get too worked up about it. Ty is sensitive to lights in his eyes and people in his face. He gets this from his mother. After his initial meltdown, he opted to wear his army uniform so he would be brave and strong like Taylor. He then walked into his appointment ready to cooperate.

After they spent an hour and a half with him running and rerunning tests. He was a trooper but it was determined he is having muscle spasms behind his eyes because he is straining  to focus.

His new camouflage frames arrived today and he is pretty excited to join his sisters and a friend who get to wear glasses at school. I emailed his teacher this evening in preparation of his new specks tomorrow. She answered, "oh I already know because he is so very excited".

Sunday, August 28, 2016

This is what I know

Sleepovers haven't changed much since the 80's. Friendship bracelets, music, cute pajamas, promises to be in bed early and lots of giggling. The best things in life are timeless.

I took the kids to pick peaches this week and then failed to keep tabs on the volume. Twenty pounds of peaches make a lot of peach crisp. Thank God for deep freezers and a family who inhales peach crisp.

Taylor spent his first weekend of training in the hospital treating an infection. Lauren held herself together despite infrequent and incomplete updates but this separation is wearing on her. I am praying over future separations preemptively. He is missed.

I bought tickets for a mother/son school dance and was then surprised Ty really didn't want to go. Rejection hurts as much now as it did in school. Apparently "a date with mom is embarrassing". The boy is in first grade and in the end, chose to spend time with a friend. We did not attend the dance.

Impromptu dinner plans are my latest favorite thing (right after 8pm Friday bedtime). Friends who open their pools and welcome whatever we all clean out of our fridge on their table are the best. There was a cook off of sorts this evening and we all won. Each of our husbands smoked ribs and no one left hungry. Every weekend should wrap this way.

If you tell a hyper dog to sit, sometimes she will. If there happens to be someone sitting on the floor in that general vicinity, she will assume she is welcome to sit on that person's lap. If that person is holding a cup of coffee, you will get a head start on your fall cleaning and get to wash curtains. Because after all, why wash one coffee drenched set when you can wash them all?

Erin has been dating someone she met online. Heaven help me. There were several weeks of phone calls prior to a couple of coffee shop dates where they talked for hours. Eventually, the relationship expanded to include dinner and ultimately a movie. Prior to meeting anyone in our family, Lauren insisted Erin put him on speaker phone to insure he doesn't have a serial killer accent. We believe in being dramatic on occasion around here. At this point, Lauren and Makenna have met him and approve. The rest of the family will be introduced next weekend. Pray for him. He is an only child and we are a lot.
We have once again installed a redneck repair on the fridge water line. If this doesn't hold, we will be turning off the water and the children will experience the horror of "sink water". They honestly believe this is tragic.

In other news, candy corn has been sighted in Walgreens. You are welcome.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Send Off

Taylor and Lauren have made the rounds this past week so Taylor could say goodbye to as many people as possible. Taylor rarely requests anything but when he does, it involves food. He asked me to make him breakfast and nothing pulls our group together faster than announcing a big breakfast is being served. So we were all gathered to celebrate Taylor's enlistment and his final hours of freedom.
He requested a very large meal. Everyone ate well.....too well.

Comparing food babies.

The road ahead will be long and hard for these two. We are proud of Taylor for choosing to serve our country despite chaos and uncertainty. I am on notice he wants chili when he returns. You've got it buddy. I am happy to feed you if it means you know we love you.
I asked Maeknna to write something encouraging for him......

Friday, August 12, 2016

This Week

Two peas in a pod. Anna made Makenna an original work of art. They adore each other.
They want to be middle school cheer leaders together. Hold me Jesus. I am not cheer mom material.

This one returned after a five week break. Boot camp for babies started on Tuesday. It's been a long week. God makes them pretty for a reason.

One day the living room was chaotic so Levi and I got comfortable on the kitchen floor with some books. He invites me to join him there every day now.

August heat is producing happy tomatoes. The rest of us could use a break.

He has started calling Taylor his brother-in-law rather than simply his brother. He is also very proud to share he is an "army man" and hopes to be one when he grows up too. Lauren isn't the only one who will miss this guy during boot camp and training.

Some days the prospect of boarding the middle school bus is more than she can bear. But after a little pep talk, she transitions from "I can't" to "I've got this".
With my first cup of tea consumed and my eyes almost fully open, I noted God was showing off at sunrise. He's got this, whatever this happens to be in the moment. Sometimes I need reminded.
Erin started a new job working for the University of Louisville, supporting oral surgeons. The best part? Free continuing education! She loves her new job, co-workers and the endless possibilities for her future.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Road Trip

I have found myself dangling precariously between seasons in life. I suppose having a large age gap between my oldest and youngest children will do that. Two new babies we know were welcomed into the world this week. One a third child for a friend and the other is a first grand baby. Life has a way of catching up in moments like this.

Two of my life long friends have sons entering high school this month. I remember seeing them mere hours after their births like it was yesterday. The details still vivid, yet because we moved away a decade ago, the day-to-day life has fallen through the cracks. And then without warning, I see a recent photo of them and am left shocked. They are young men passing their mothers in height. Time flies and I can appreciate that in some moments, but others? No thank you. Just slow down please.
Makenna and I took a road trip together shortly after getting her home from a thespian retreat. I like hanging out with her any opportunity I can because as I just noted, time slips through my fingers whether I  like it or not. She and I haven't taken a trip alone together since she was eight so it was well overdue. She fell in love with Bloomington and the beautiful campus of Indiana University. I found myself pointing out the benefits of living at home while attending the University of Louisville repeatedly. My fingers are crossed she isn't so enamored by the theater to lose sight of the education program she previously selected. My heart can't take another kiddo moving out just yet.  And as stunning as the buildings and surrounding area are, rumors of IU being a party school have not gone unnoticed.

But Makenna? She is a pretty cool teen with very high standards for herself. Time spent with her is relaxing, entertaining and a beautiful reminder this parenting gig is beyond worthwhile.