Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Growing up is tough stuff

It's not easy growing up, and it's not easy watching your kids do it. Worst of all are the life lessons that really seem unfair. In the last year or so, we've seen our children go through some rough ones.

They've reached an age where there are new options open to them and their friends which lead to some hard choices to make. There have been good friends that chose to experiment with drugs. When my kids chose not to be a part of that, the friend felt like they weren't being understood or supported so ended the friendship. If that wasn't enough, the other party felt the need to be ugly about my kids at school and to other people. I'm proud of the choices that my kids made and that they didn't participate in the gossiping and name calling, but I sure hate to see them hurt over losing the friendships.

There have also been some hard lessons learned about the internet, texting, how easily things can be misunderstood, and what you 'put out there.' One of those lessons ended with a trip to the Sheriff's office. Wasn't fun to go through, but a valuable lesson was learned. One that I hope will stay with them for life.

They've seen how the actions of one person can so deeply hurt another. And they've all felt it too. They've had their grandparents (not the ones they spent time with this summer) and an aunt make the decision to cut all ties with them, through no fault of their own. Adults, who have decided that they are upset with their father and I, and chose to punish the children. How do you explain something like that when you don't really understand it yourself? Fortunately they have other grandparents, aunts, and uncles that love them unconditionally.

As a parent, I want to shield them from all of this and the hurt that comes with it. But I can't. They have to learn these things about life and about people. Not everyone in your life can be trusted. Not everyone that claims to be your friend really is. Not everyone will care about your feelings. And sometimes, even when you do the right thing, it will still feel like you're being punished. All I can do is try my best to explain things, be there to support them, and let them know they are loved.

Through it all, though, they've handled it wonderfully. Much more maturely than their 15 years. It's brought them closer together as siblings. They've learned to defend each other and to support each other. We're very proud of them and their choices.

It's always easier in the summer with no school drama, when they don't have to see anyone they don't want to. But, they're back in school now. I wonder what the chances are that this year will be drama free......

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Finally home

The kids headed to Houston to spend the week with their grandparents.

But they didn't come home for THREE weeks!!

I was starting to put together a plan to collect donations to pay a ransom. lol

They had a really great time while they were gone. It's great that their grandparents live so close to us and so close to each other. They went back and forth between the two sets while they were gone. They love their grandparents so much and really enjoy spending time with them. Maybe that's why they didn't come home for three weeks?

A good time was had by all. I know they went to the movies more than once, went camping, and went fishing.

They even sent me proof.

Addison and Wyatt both caught the same fish.

Then she actually caught one of her own.

Kirsten caught one but I didn't get a picture of that.

They said they caught more than 30 overall. I'm just glad that they finally caught some. They're too old to still believe us when we tell them that the shad (bait) on the line is a fish they caught.

Now we're getting geared up for school to start on Monday. I'm also busy getting all of the driver's education class work printed out so we can get going on that. It's time to say good-bye to the laid back summer schedule and get ready for the school year busy that's coming.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Birthday Celebration

Since I checked in last we've been busy, as usual. But, it's all good.

As part of her pageant winnings, Addison had to ride on a float in the McDade Watermelon Festival. It's a long way from home for us and we have to be there far too early in the morning, but she likes it anyway.

Then, last week was Dax's birthday. We celebrated his big day by closing the office and taking the day off. We got up early and headed to Corpus Christi to the beach. Dax, Wyatt, and Kirsten toured the USS Lexington while the rest of us played around on the beach.

When they were done, they joined us and we continued to play in the sand and water.

Fortunately we were able to save them from the mouth of this giant shark!

As you can see, they were terrified!!

Once that was under control we headed to Blackbeard's to eat dinner before heading home.

It was a good day! I love that we can go do something like that with no fighting or whining from the kids, just an all around good time. I hope the birthday boy enjoyed the day as much as the rest of us did.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

More summer fun

The girls are still happy with their new glasses, but because of soccer (and already being hit in the face with the ball) I encouraged Addison to get contacts. She had her appointment and fitting last week and is still working on getting comfortable with putting them in and taking them out. She may decide that it's more trouble than it's worth. They've only given her a temporary set because they didn't have her prescription in stock.

We have reaped the benefits of the bounty of a friend's garden. He asked Dax if we would like some peaches, and then showed up with this!

That's a lot of peaches!! And he also brought us some giant tomatoes.

Kirsten spent the week in Houston visiting her grandparents. Everyone else had things going on, so she went by herself to play only child for the week. While she was gone, we volunteered the others to help with a search and rescue kind of camp at the college. They were volunteering to be victims. On the second day, a little while after Dax dropped them off, Addison sent me this picture and told me that she had twisted her ankle on the steps on the way into the building.

Scared me to death!!

It wasn't true. They had a professional costume makeup artist there and it was part of her trauma for the camp. Little Turkey!! After she twisted her ankle which caused her to injure her knee and spent most of the school year in physical therapy that scared me even more than it would have on it's own.

Over the weekend Addison had a pageant in Dallas. We headed out early Friday morning. Along the way I needed to stop and get gas and find some cold medicine. I pulled into a gas station in a small town right off the interstate. This was next door to the gas station.

Maybe they needed gas too? Or perhaps the Elvis impersonator that was performing at the gas station arrived in that. It was quite the interesting stop, that's for sure!

Abigail has become a huge fan of the Dallas Stars hockey team and took advantage of the trip up there. She has a friend that she met online that lives in Dallas so the two arranged to meet and take a tour of the American Airlines Center. It was a great tour. They took us all around the building, into the suites, into some of the clubs, and into the locker rooms. This thrilled the fans to no end.

After we left there, we had lunch with her friend (and her family) and then headed on to Denton where Addison's pageant was.

She didn't place in this pageant, but we all had a good time anyway. We headed home on Saturday night and got home pretty late. Dax was concerned about us getting home safely because he had had a terrible day. He tried to cut the grass (I use that term loosely) but the lawnmower broke down. Unfortunately it didn't break down until after it threw a huge rock through our bedroom window. Still waiting for the estimate to get that fixed.

Today we got our last child into braces. Don't think she'll be eating hamburgers and hot dogs for the 4th!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Just living the dream

Dax was at a conference in San Antonio all week. It started on Sunday, so we celebrated Father's Day on Saturday night. We gave him his gifts, which is always good, but the best part was likely the ice cream cake!! We always love that.

I took the girls for a check up at the eye doctor on Tuesday.

By the time you get through all three appointments, it makes for a long wait at the eye doctor's office. The good news is that everybody got a good check up with no change in prescriptions. Woohoo!

But, since it's been a couple of years, Addison and Kirsten both got new glasses. I spent the latter part of the week with Dax in San Antonio, but we were able to get their new glasses on Saturday morning.

They're happy with them and that makes me happy.

On Saturday night, we went to see my niece get married. I can't believe that she's already grown up and starting a life of her own!!

It was a nice, simple wedding in a small chapel. It was nice to see a wedding that was more about the couple getting married than a show being put on.

We wish them much luck in their new life together!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Taking advantage

We've been taking advantage of summer where we can. Like I said before, we spent some time playing down at the river.
We cleaned the winter mess away and took advantage of our fire pit and roasted hot dogs......but I forgot to buy marshmallows.

The hotdogs were great! We also cooked some bananas, chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows (I had those on hand.) You cut the banana lengthwise down the middle (don't peel it) open it enough to top it with chocolate chips and marshmallows, and then wrap it all up in aluminum foil. Place it on the coals until everything gets melted and gooey.

I wasn't crazy about the warm banana, but the gooey chocolate and marshmallows was great!

Hope all the Dads out there had a great Father's Day. Dax had to be at a conference on Sunday, so we celebrated on Saturday instead. He got gifts and an ice cream cake. And, really, the cake is the most important part. Right?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

School is out!!

Last Friday was the last day of school for the kids. After a week of finals they were ready for it to be over with.

Wyatt got home and set himself up in front of the computer to get his summer started.

With everyone home all day I needed to make sure the pantry was stocked, so I went to the grocery store and Kirsten texted me asking me to buy this magazine for her. I didn't tell her I bought it, I just sent her this picture. (I wonder why they think I'm nuts.....)
Abigail came home from school already starting to feel sick. She's got a nasty cold and cough. Why would anyone want to start their summer that way?
She's still a little under the weather, so on Sunday she didn't want to got with Kirsten, Addison, and I to hang out at the river for awhile. Wyatt was working with a friend and Dax also had to work, but he joined us a little later. It's nice to just stop and relax and enjoy the fun that's right here in our own community every now and then. Especially since Dax and I started working out again recently and seem to be both sore and exhausted more often than not. We're doing the Focus T25 workouts.......and I'm pretty sure the "T" stands for torture!!

It also doesn't hurt that we recently had some really good rainy days so the river actually has a lot of water in it. Gotta' enjoy that while we can!! By the end of the summer it usually only has little puddles of water.

Their days of pure relaxation will be limited this summer, though, because they have a lot to accomplish. We signed them up for College Prep and there's at least one course they'll have to finish this summer. This first one is a study skills course. Once they get that done, we'll start with driver's ed. (We are so not ready to be doing this! What happened to our babies?) We've picked up information from the state to do parent taught driver's ed and I'm looking into which course materials we want to use. I guess that all adds up to the fact that this summer will be filled with lots of learning, not much different than the rest of the school year. Oh well, we'll try to take advantage of as much fun as we can.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Memorial Weekend

It was a busy Memorial Weekend for us. (I know, so what's new?)

Addison had a weekend long pageant in Houston. I picked the kids up from school and then Addison and I had to pack the car and hit the road. She was required to check in on Friday night so we were doing our best to get there before 9:00. I think we got there at about 8:45!!

The competition was on Saturday morning and then there was a party for the pageant contestants on Saturday night. The party was a really great thing to do for the girls that were there because it put them all into a social situation where they got to know each other outside of competing. They also all had to bring goodie bags that they then went around and exchanged with each other. What a great way to break the ice! What's better than giving someone a gift?

I wanted to take a picture of her in her formal wear and asked her to go stand in the corner in our room (that's about the only place that the light made much difference) and I got this:

and then this....

I think I accidentally got this picture since it turned out to be rather good.
The pageant results were announced on Sunday. She didn't win, but we both learned a lot for competing in the pageants put on by this company. They're all different in what their expectations are. And, she wasn't terribly disappointed since she did her best and some of the stuff we learned at the last minute and had to adjust on the fly.
We got home on Sunday in time to hit the Memorial Rodeo which is kind of a tradition. Well, at least for Dax and I.  We feel like it's a tradition but we were down to only two kids going with us this year. Oh well, we had fun......see.....

Look at all the kids out there for the calf scramble!! But they all had smiles on their faces!!
The kids were off from school on Monday, but they had to spend most of it studying for finals. I don't think they were loving high school at that point.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Keeping Busy

We are certainly staying busy. The end of the school year seems to bring it's own kind of chaos. It's like everything that wasn't scheduled before then gets crammed into the last two weeks of school.

We attended my niece Kate's graduation from the University of Texas.

I still can't believe she's old enough to have graduated from college!!

Addison had a soccer tournament in San Antonio (or more accurately, the far southwest side of San Antonio which made it about a two hour trek from our house.) She's always played in a defensive position, but this year she's been playing more midfield. Well, we look out at the field when the second game is getting ready to start and see this....

Addison was playing goalie! What?! She's only played once before and she was about 7 at the time. She played hard but they got two past her so she was pretty upset.

Regardless, they were pretty wiped out by the end of the two days.

Kirsten had her end of the year  Show Choir Banquet. This was the first year for the Show Choir program and she's glad that she participated. Here she is stealing my date for photo ops. (But aren't they cute?)

Even though it gets busy, it's nice to see them participate and enjoy some of the different things that are available to them.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day Goodness

I hope all the Moms out there had a good Mother's Day.

I enjoyed mine.

Dax took me to the local coffee house where we had our coffee while we sat outside and watched all the people from out of town waiting for seats at one of the few restaurants in our small town, and chatted with one of the local people that we see most every Friday when we have breakfast. It was nice and relaxing, and I'm certainly not one to complain about anything that I find relaxing.

Once we finished our coffee and were all chatted out, we did a little shopping at some of the shops around the square. It was nice to go into them because they're usually closed when I go by in the mornings on my way to the office and closed again when I go by in the evenings on my way home.

Wyatt had spent the night with a friend and texted me that he was ready for me to come pick him up not long after we got home. When I opened the front door, I notice a snake that was about 3 feet long resting on the sidewalk, right up against the house. Gaaahhhh!!! I don't like snakes. Not even a little bit. I went and got Dax and he killed it and disposed of it for me. Always my hero! (And, yes, I know that there are 'good' snakes. And you should know that we have a fair amount of land and our neighbors have even more. We don't go out looking for snakes to kill. If they stay out away from the house they can live out their little lives any way they want. However, if they come up to the house, it's the end for them.) Even though Dax killed it, I still had the heebie-jeebies all night.

Once I got back with Wyatt, they gave me my Mother's Day gift. I asked for only one thing and I thought it was a simple request at that. All I wanted was a new colander. The plastic one I've had for 20 years is starting to fall apart. Why don't they make things to last anymore? Ha! I wanted an enameled one this time. You know, so it could last longer. Anyway, never send Dax to buy anything that should be simple. I did get a colander. It's like the Rolls Royce of colanders!! It's large, has metal legs that are coated with rubber so it won't slide around, and has sides that pull out so that it can fit across the sink. I had no idea they even made colanders like that......but I've got one!

I was going to cook dinner and was just getting things out to start it when Kirsten needed me to run to the store to make some copies for her, so I let Pizza Hut cook it. It all worked out great.

Dax didn't feel like I had been revered enough when the day came to a close and I think he was a little disappointed. But I try to tell him (although I don't think he believes me) that what matters most to me are the little things that happen all year. I don't want them to ever be stressed out about getting me a gift. It's not worth anybody feeling bad about. And there is not gift that could replace when they walk up to me and hug me for no reason, that they still want to sit in my bed and talk and watch movies, when I come home and somebody has done the dishes without even being asked, or that my 15-year-old son will still tell me that he loves me even when his friends are around. I'll take that any day!!!

But, now the relaxing is over. Since we're nearing the end of school, things always get crazier. This week is no exception. Tuesday morning the orthodontist, Wednesday the eye doctor, Thursday the Show Choir Banquet, Friday my niece Kate graduates from UT, and Saturday and Sunday a soccer tournament. Then we're back to Monday to start it all over again. I haven't even looked at much of what's going on next week because I'm afraid to know.