Monday, October 31, 2016

No Tricks. Just Treats.

It was a perfect Halloween! The girls and Jake lined the driveway to pass out candy while Greg and I walked around with kids for the first time ever! It was nice! We have a great neighborhood where groups of people hang out together to enjoy the kids and this year, amazing weather too. I served the traditional chili and hot dogs even though it was in the seventies this evening. No one complained.

Ty went as an army guy but was asked a few times if he was G.I. Joe. He was confused because in his mind, being in the army like Taylor is hero enough. Two of his little buddies joined him for the evening.

Kate designed and made her own costume this year. She had a ball and really enjoyed the freedom to walk around with her friends this year too. Did I mention the awesome neighborhood where that is acceptable in this day and age?

His loot.
At what point do we think the sugar rush will wear off? I am guessing January......

Friday, October 28, 2016

Days Like That

Sometimes life spins a little out of control. Nothing earth shattering takes place but all the little inconveniences and concerns add up and the next thing you know, you are crying over chicken that isn't sliced right and decide it is best to shower and go to bed. At 8pm. And your family exhales because they too have had enough of you and your unpredictable tears.

Makenna had a follow up appointment with her surgeon this week after essentially being told she had failed physical therapy. I was not able to attend with my extra little ones and their schedules so I sent her with Greg. The control freak in me had a difficult time handing over the reigns for this appointment because I knew it would be a discussion about surgery. And it was. An MRI is being ordered for her and once those results are available and the extent of the damage is known, we will have the final surgery discussion. No one wanted this to be the result of Makenna's dislocations. Makenna has maintained straight A's (with the exception of her tech class which is a soap box for another day), a job, physical therapy, a regular babysitting commitment and tech hours throughout this entire process. I am proud of her perseverance and determination and hope that attitude carries her through the next season. She has had some tearful moments as the pain wears her down but overall, she has been a tough cookie.

Kate's concussion is healing nicely but we were made aware of the potential harm in allowing her back on the trampoline and into gymnastics class. So we have decided we can't let our high energy kid get back to life as usual for a few months. This news doesn't make for a very content Kate. (A fidgety Kate creates a tired mom.) The reality of the potential damage done with a concussion is unnerving. But my friend Robbin is giving her crochet lessons and she has some projects planned to keep her hands busy these coming weeks. She has also discovered she loves the show Fixer Upper on HGTV so it isn't uncommon to find her propped up in Greg's recliner watching Netflix with her yarn and crochet hook. It is rather adorable.

Parenting young adults isn't any easier than parenting teens other than the fact they no longer live under our roof. They make decisions and declarations that are at times shocking and difficult to accept. They are making their own way in the world and sometimes it is challenging to quietly watch that unfold.

A few issues with kids and hard news from friends on top of day-to-day life means sometimes I forget I am 43 years old and fully capable of dealing with it. Instead I stuff feelings deep down and pretend I am handling it all well until it bubbles over and I am crying over grilled chicken as my bewildered husband literally raises his hands in surrender and backs away from said chicken. Bless his heart. His wife can be a wreck sometimes.

A solid night's sleep, some chocolate hidden from the people trying to make me crazy and quiet time in prayer and reflection restored me. Praise God for perspective and days like that aren't frequent.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fall Weekend

I spent my weekend filled to the brim with all the things I love about this time of year; cozy mornings cuddled with my kids in warm sweaters, reading together and impromptu shopping for pumpkins and chocolate (the two go hand in hand in my mind).

I was outside most of the weekend with some of my favorite people and the gorgeous golden and red hues filled me with happiness.....hopefully enough to carry me through the long colorless days of the next season. I finally sweet talked (or harassed until she complied depending upon who's version of events you seek) Erin into allowing me to photograph her. It has been a long time.

And the compromise? Meet Jake. Jake from Tinder. It helps to read that last part in the State Farm voice. Anyway, when Erin first told us she met someone online, I panicked. In my mind she was meeting a serial killer and we would never see her again. I am nice and rational like that. But as it turns out, Erin isn't the only one impressed with Jake. He is a good guy.

She kinda likes him. But if he is going to be bringing Halloween costumes over, he is going to see the crazy I try really hard to hide around here.

My husband worked Sunday morning and then spent the afternoon smoking "Mississippi prime rib" otherwise known as bologna. The amount of happiness this brought him was ridiculous. And given my refusal to consume bologna, we used a birthday gift card and went on a dinner date.
Much to his dismay, Jake's wig was not available for our date.

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.