Sunday, October 27, 2019

My heart is in Texas

Makenna and Noah drove to Texas on Thursday for Noah to complete some EMT training. They are spending a few days with Lauren since they live only three hours away from the training center. It was not easy to stay behind and then they sent photos. Now I am really missing them all.

When Kate woke Thursday morning, she went directly into Makenna's room in search of wardrobe options. I anticipate an argument upon Makenna's return despite the frequency I discover my clothing on Makenna's body.

I took Kate and Ty to Target for needed Halloween party donations. While there, Ty started his Christmas wishlist and despite my twenty year run of being finished Christmas shopping by this point in the year, it still felt early. I have a few gifts purchased but will apparently be shopping with the masses a bit this year or supporting online retailers because I am not good in crowds and chaos. But in all seriousness, didn't we just have Christmas?

But the boy "needs" new walkie talkies, a Nerf tactical vest, new nerf guns with additional ammunition and a go pro to record his "epic battles". And Kate? She has no idea what she wants this year because her knee pain and asthma have significantly reduced her gymnastics practice; eliminating the air mat she was begging for months ago.

Greg and the kids participated in our church's Trunk or Treat while I went out with a friend. We were all going to participate on Saturday but the rain postponed that event to a day I already had plans. But they came home with a ton of sugar and had a great time.

Archery will consume four evenings this week and Greg has an audit at work so he won't be home for dinner any one of those nights. On top of that, Kate's bible study group is meeting the same timeframe my group gathers on Tuesday and then we have Trick-or-treating Thursday. Meal planning for this week was interesting, to say the least. But like every busy week prior, we will manage and hopefully recover next weekend.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Out of the Darkness Walk

Kate joined me on a girl's weekend in Dayton with my friend, Kristil who met us there from Atlanta. Kristil was there to support a friend who lost her daughter to suicide. I was there to support Kristil. Other than the somberness of the occasion, we had a delightful weekend reminiscing together. Kate was an awesome travel companion, as usual.

While we were away, Ty invited Greg to what he calls a "Last to Sleep Challenge". He had me pick up snacks in preparation and smack talked all week. Greg, convinced his years on third shift gave him the advantage allowed the boy to continue to increase the prize for winning. Once I learned he believed he would be shopping during his "24 hours of whatever I want" reward, I was cheering for the old man.

In the end, because Greg had mowed, changed the oil and been up since six in the morning and Ty had been up Friday night at a sleepover, Greg requested they postpone the event. Ty ate the snacks and declared himself victor.

Makenna was as shocked as I was to receive a package of photos after taking the required school picture. Neither of us knew what to do with them. I sent my parents each a wallet with the school year, my age and "kindergarten" written on the back because it made me laugh. As it turns out, it made them laugh too. However, my mom put it on Facebook on my birthday so I won't make that mistake again. But Makenna got points for most creative use of photos. She cut them out and stuck them all over the house. We've found them in tea bags, coffee filters, my planner and on items we often use. The banner image with the word "welcome" was stuck on the wall opposite the toilet in the bathroom. She replaced other people's faces with her own in family photos and the best one had to be the back up camera on my car. She says I won't locate some until we move. She absolutely wins. There is never a dull moment around here.

Ty has been having trouble with a young lady at school who wants his constant attention. She positions herself to be seated with him in all classes and lunch. He has been stressed for several weeks and I have repeatedly encouraged him to ask his teacher for assistance getting some space from her. I know the teacher will support a new seating chart if he asks. He prefers I handle it but I won't because has to find his voice. So on Friday he informed me he worked it out himself. He told the girl he is moving to Florida when he is a grownup but thinks he will actually move to Texas so she won't be able to find him. I laughed as I asked if moving in ten years is easier than asking a teacher for help. Apparently it is. This boy. I have no words.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Fall Break Week Two

I am grateful for a two week fall break. The first week I spent getting caught up on all the life I fell behind on while working the last few months. Our weekend was perfect as it gave me some time to be alone with my thoughts and to make peace with some decisions. So we entered the second week ready to play together.

We got to pick up Benjamin for an overnight visit from his Dad's house in a neighboring town. He and Ty didn't miss a beat and were wrestling on the trampoline within moments of his arrival.

However, it appears we need to use the air mattress for subsequent sleepovers........

Austin loves Buzz Lightyear and was quite excited about his new pajamas. Then I took the kids to Target for dental floss sticks and ended up buying the baby light up Toy Story gym shoes because Uncle Ty says he will need them for Trick-or-treating soon. Given how little we get to do for and with Austin, it didn't take much to justify the purchase.

I had the pleasure of working in four photoshoots this week. If you are inclined, some samples of those sessions are posted on my business website.

We otherwise spent a day seeking pants for a boy too thin according to athletic brands everywhere and located some $3 jeans for me in the process. It wasn't the goal but I am not mad. We grilled out, visited with neighbors, read some books, baked some bread and cookies and colored for fun. The cooler temperatures created opportunity for open windows and cozy sweaters. This was the reset we craved. 

Lauren sent photos of our little stinker wearing the shark rain jacket we found him last year. He says, "oh no" in the most dramatic way and calls often to tell stories none of us understand. We cannot wait to see him again!

Saturday Greg smoked stew meat for chili and then he and Ty took the BB gun to the cans used for said chili. They had a literal blast. 

We wrapped our evening with a family showing of Toy Story 4. It was a great family movie, made moreso amazing with a basket full of M&M's.
No one is ready for school and routine to resume tomorrow so we are counting down until Thanksgiving break. It's in six weeks in case you were wondering. 

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Brown County

Ty could not wait to take his buddy to Columbus, Indiana for the day. They started their day with a sleepover which required a normal bedtime (my favorite kind if you wanted to know) so they could be out the door with us at five in the morning. Knowing his friend was afraid of heights would have been helpful information prior to our day, but they managed to work around his phobia and created new games in favorite play places. As result of limited success we also located new sites to explore. They had a great day overall and I was happy to help knock Ty's number one item off his fall break bucket list.

It's a slide. They loved it. Of course they did. 

At one point, he had six hula hoops going and several small children gathered around him to observe. 

I spent my birthday grocery shopping, taking Ty to the pediatrician and having tires put on Greg's car. I am a party animal. But friends came over for dinner and they made me gluten free oatmeal cookies which I shared but loved. They knew my dad used to make them for me because they are my favorite. I also received flowers and countless birthday messages.

And then we took off for the weekend, just Greg and I to the cabin in Brown County we have rented twice before.  It's so relaxing, I find myself breathing deeper once we pull onto the first gravel road that leads to this quiet piece of heaven on earth. We have fallen so hard for the Relaxation Station, that we've joked we want to buy it and live there after Ty graduates. Upon a deeper investigation into the property this weekend, we realize it isn't going to work for us long term but it does set the vision for our empty nest years.

We arrived Friday afternoon on the coolest day of the season which was perfect for relaxing by the fire and soaking in the hot tub. Because I had been up since three that morning, I even stole a catnap before we had dinner in the gazebo. This place just envelopes you in it's quieter charming pace. And yet each time we arrive, we question if he should bring the kids someday. They would love it, but we treasure the time away from them as much. For now, this is our happy place and someday we may share it with them. Each night, as we walk out to the clearing beyond the cabin's drive to view the night sky, we know they would be in awe. It is literally like looking at a sky littered with glitter. All of us need this rest away from the noise of life.

Due to the weather finally changing and the temperatures dropping from the nineties to the seventies, the state park was packed full of people. So we opted instead to walk the roads that lead to the cabin and were delighted to not see another soul. And then we scored a free tour of a local distillery Greg wanted to explore so we wandered out for awhile on Saturday afternoon. Our meals were made simply with Home Chef kits we picked up on our way out of town Friday and cannot recommend them enough. The flavors are incredible and the ease of plating beautiful food makes those dining experiences special.

While we were out of town, Kate was camping with friends. Makenna and Ty tackled the trampoline park and homemade waffles together in between his plans with friends. It's lovely being in a season we can safely leave for a few days and know everyone will be better for it. Although the following text from Makenna cracked me up.
And while we were away, our grandson got a haircut and discovered Toy Story. Lauren sent photos and we swooned. We were privy to a mother-son exchange that had us laughing off and on all weekend. Lauren, exhausted told Austin he needed a nap. She elongated the word nap. Austin replied in the same elongated tone, "BLOCKS". It is the most fun watching Lauren raise her mini-me.

The weekend was perfect. And now we get to spend another week together before those of us who go to school are required to resume routine. I am grateful for the time to recharge.