Sunday, October 28, 2018

Halloween Shenanigans

Being Ty's room mom has thus far been a fun experience. Even his teacher joins in and makes special days a good time. She is pretty awesome.

Trunk or Treat at church was a good time. Greg and I worked together leading kids in a game and craft while our little Spiderman ran around looking for bad guys. Our minister was also dressed as Spiderman.

Here is the problem with a great church. The Sunday after Trunk or Treat, they set out 50 Gallon totes full of candy and told the kids to take home bags full. Our son found the biggest bag he could and was beyond pumped with his loot.

 "This is fun she says."

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Surprised Myself

I am a structured person who thrives on routine so I was concerned when I "retired" how I would navigate my days. I assumed I would quickly fill a role somewhere once I figured out who I was going to be when I grew up. I have surprised myself. I realized I was on a strict schedule because I had to be to meet the demands on my time. I am at peace and feel relaxed toward housework, meal plans and schedules for the first time in my life. If I feel like reading, I read. If I want to scout a photography location, I do that. My errands are leisurely and my creative energy is being fed by my photography. I am living my best life right now. I am so relaxed I sent Greg and Makenna to a car dealership to negotiate a new to her car and silenced my phone while I enjoyed a massage. In previous seasons, I would have canceled my massage to take care of the car shopping because Makenna "needed" me. This has been a relief to me and lessons learned for my family. As it turns out, I don't have to be all the things to all the people.

I have had my calendar fill up much faster than I anticipated with photography appointments and I couldn't be more thrilled. This business is exactly what my soul needs right now. I get to play with kiddos and then go home. And the best part? This affords me time to volunteer in areas I am drawn within the community and at the school. It's nice to check in with my kids after school each day and really hear them after placing other families so high on the priority list for the last two decades. Not being pulled in numerous directions at all times is dream come true. I am certainly blessed.

Of course Lauren and Taylor have me beat at the moment. While I was ordering snow boots, they were picking up beach chairs. Since they had a week to kill before they gained access to their house in Texas, they stopped over on Galveston Island for a few days. Austin loves the water almost as much as their dogs. All their pictures and updates leave me craving time on the beach with them. Her mother-in-law has been scouting beach houses and we are threatening to spend a Christmas there soon as a group.

Greg finished the pallet project this weekend and we both love the results.

Oh! That car dealership visit was fruitful. Not having heat and defrost on the Cobalt proved to be the final straw on her original little money pit. She is delighted with her purchase. And while we are on the topic of new to Makenna, she has a boyfriend now. He seems pretty sweet and has a lot of ambition which happens to be a nice change of pace.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Sometimes I forget

Temperatures dropped significantly last week. We literally had 90 degrees on Wednesday and a high of 50 on Thursday. I love sweater weather but even I was a little shocked by the sudden change. This weekend was wet and cold so we had our first fire in the fireplace. Smores were of course involved and no one complained when I decided they would also be considered dinner. Sunday nights are often snacks and leftovers after a noon meal that is usually larger and far more balanced than smores.
In very rare moments all three animals are in the same vicinity without chaos ensuing. Somewhere along the way they have formed a gang that looks rather dysfunctional at first glance but the number of times they have me up in the night can be nothing less than organized. And who is in charge of this mob family remains to be seen. It has to be one of the cats though. Layla, bless her heart can't be accused of being anything more than the muscle of the operation because she simply isn't the smartest tool in the shed.
He got new glasses over fall break and is getting used to wearing them all the time rather than just for school work. He does not love this change.  He also needs a haircut but insists he is letting it grow out. I am barely surviving my own hair growing out and I am not looking at it very often so chances are one of us will be in a stylist's chair soon.
We have had Kate's old mattress in the front yard when it hasn't been raining and it has been a huge success. Having neighborhood children ask to jump on our bed has amused me. I haven't yet called the city to inquire as to how to dispose of it because it is bringing great joy to the kids, especially Kate who received a new mattress when she mentioned missing Lauren's fold-out couch. It was more comfortable than her bed because she couldn't feel the springs when she slept on the couch. Feeling a lot like mom of the year, not to mention hostess of the year since Kate's room serves as a guest room too, I ordered her a new mattress that day.

Speaking of mother of the year. Thursday we invited Makenna's boyfriend to dinner. Kate also had a friend staying with us so our table was full of conversation and laughter. As we were wrapping up I realized I had forgotten someone. Ty was in his room, blissfully unaware he was missing dinner. It was not my finest parenting moment, nor was it the worst.

In related news, it has occurred to me my older three daughters and my son-in-law keep a running group chat going called "Fam". They stay in touch, share silly stories, exchange photos and engage in on-going banter. Whereas I am little disheartened they haven't included me, I am also pleased. They don't need me to aid in cultivating their relationships and they actually are friends despite the years they spent bickering. So the arguing skills of the younger two aren't quite as concerning. It all works out in the end.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Living the Dream

Two hours into my drive, my car started acting up again. It made for a very stressful drive through the mountains and in traffic. The car wanted to keep moving. Stopping was fine too; however, starting up again is where we had trouble. It stalled. Every time. I narrowly missed being rear ended and had to take surface streets to avoid long delays on the highway where I was more likely to be hit. Our nine hour drive home turned into a fifteen hour drive home. My stress level was off the charts at moments. However, I had a lot of talks with God and even laughingly asked my Grandma if she had any pull up there for her birthday. At that moment, I took note of where I was. I was on back roads in the mountains of North Carolina on a gorgeous day in October. This would typically be a dream come true for me and I felt reminded of that and took a deep breath. So whereas this was not ideal, we are home safe, the car has an appointment with the shop on Tuesday and the repair should be covered under warranty.  And since I needed a place to stop in order to avoid rush hour through Lexington and Louisville, I got to have cheesecake with my mom and sister in honor of Grandma's birthday Friday. It's all good.
But this boy. Lord help me. Four hours into the stressful drive with all the car trouble, maps being updated to avoid stopped traffic on the highway and silence in the car because I needed to pay attention to every sound, the boy noted we might be having trouble with the car. I have no words.
On Sunday, we attended a picnic with our church family where Ty was invited to join a game of kickball. Ty confessed he'd never played before so he was immediately nominated as team captain on a team of adults. We were more than a little amused as we watched our team captain do the floss on the field. At one point, his Sunday school teacher tagged him out and his wife marched out to the field to lecture him for it. We roared with laughter. It was a good time.

Greg took the kids on a little adventure. He called it dumpster diving and returned home with two giant pallets. He and Kate set to work immediately staining the boards. Greg wants to make the boards look like barn wood on the wall behind our bed. I think it will look pretty cool and anytime he includes the kids in a project, I am all in.

We had our sliding glass door replaced today. The old door had bad rollers and was near impossible to open. I spent months reaching out to any lead I could trying to find replacement parts but to no avail. The door was a custom size and of course was manufactured with a company that has been out of business for ten years. This was a sizable investment I didn't love making. But we can now open our door without throwing out a shoulder so I suppose it was a wise investment after all.  During said process, the dining table had to be relocated into the living room where Kate set up to draw all morning. It's funny how minor adjustments to the home invites quieter moments for our kids. Ty was there previously working on an engineering craft box as well.

Other than the ability to easily open and close the door and screen, the only difference is the lack of grid lines in the door. I eliminated them because they were an additional cost and I prefer the clean view; however, we are certain someone will knock themselves out trying to run through the glass. My money is on Layla.

Friday, October 5, 2018

I left part of my heart in Georgia. Again.

I spent a few days in Georgia helping the kids prepare for their move to Texas. Four rooms needed painted, the movers surveyed their assets and Austin's physical therapy was in full swing. It was a busy week but one I am so glad I was able to spend with them. Knowing they are going to be twice as far away as of next week, breaks my heart.

While I was there, I got to take Austin's six month photos and managed to persuade his parents to join him in a few shots. They are the cutest little family.

I had them pose quickly in front of their latest address. Ft. Gordon was good to them.
I took this photo just 18 months ago before they left Goodfellow Air Force Base.

It appears it's time to add Ft. Hood to their sign. It's been a busy two years for this little family.

Breakfast progression. I don't think he got what he ordered.

Mimi wanted to share her bacon but mom said no. The oatmeal wasn't as appealing.

Saying goodbye was brutal. It always is.