Thursday, July 20, 2017

Picture of the Week - 7/20/2017

I'm back again from another week away from home.  This summer is kicking my butt!  Monday I'm off to Dallas...  at least that trip is just a one-nighter.  

I missed football evaluations this week.  (I missed a lot more than that...  but I'm not gonna dwell...)  

Here's a fun picture from the evals.  Don't tell anyone, but I'm pretty sure Spencer is proud of his little brothers.  It's so crazy that my LITTLE boys are both playing football this year.  It's also a pretty obvious reminder that we're sending Beck to REAL school on a REAL yellow bus exactly 2 weeks from today.  Super crazy!

I'm exhausted.  I'm gonna go crash.  Then, after a good night's sleep, I'm going to work hard to cram as much summer fun as possible into this weekend.  GO!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Picture of the Week - 7/13/2017

This parenting thing...  why didn't anyone tell me it was so full of difficult decisions.  So. Much. Gray...  I really like things Black and White. Right and Wrong.  

There have been a few situations recently that have caused us to stop and THINK and try not to over-react.  These situations have really tested our resolve to look at the big picture and not focus on quick wins, easy way outs, and short term harmony.  As I think I've mentioned before, we conscientiously try to remember that our goal as parents is to build good, capable, well-adjusted and HAPPY people.  

One of the things that Bob and I have purposely considered when making decisions is that we really want our kids to be confident and capable.  This is not the same as cocky...  and we have MANY conversations with a certain 14 year old about remaining humble.  But confidence is one of those traits that 1) you can build and 2) you will reap rewards from for your whole life.  I want my kids to believe they can do whatever they put their mind to do.  And *I* believe they can do this.  Of course there are some limits.  None of my kids will play in the NBA.  But when it comes to trying new stuff and working toward reasonable goals, I want them to GO FOR IT.  I never want them to look back and think "man, I wish I had done xxxxx, but my parents discouraged me from trying."

So this all leads us to Spencer's recent purchase of a truck.  In Georgia, you get your learners permit at age 15. You have to have it for 12 months before you can get your limited driver's license.  (Aside - I can hardly believe we are having serious conversation about one of my kids driving a car.  Sigh...  our time with him is nearly over...)  This gives Spencer roughly 15 months before he will be able to jump into a vehicle and drive it as his own.

A long time ago Bob and I decided that we wanted to help with the purchase of our boys' first cars, but we didn't want to GIVE it to them.  We told the boys that whatever they had saved up for a purchase, we would double.  So if they worked hard and saved 10k, we'd shop for a 20k vehicle.  If they spent money on video games and crap and had only 2k to spend, they their car purchase budget was 4k.  Fair enough...

Spencer got it in his head a few months ago that he wanted to start shopping around.  The app LET GO has been his favorite place to browse.  He's found some ridiculously cheap options - most of which didn't run - some of which had moss INSIDE them.  We've talked about these, but not super seriously.  Then he found this 1969 Chevy truck and he got more serious.  He independently reached out to the owner to find out more.  He did a TON of research about the truck and what might be necessary to fix it up.  

He decided he wanted to go look at this thing in person so that he could decide if he really wanted to buy it.  It has an engine, an improvement over some of the options.  It does not have a seat.  It doesn't currently run, although it does turn over.  It is missing the ENTIRE truck bed.  

He saw it.  He kinda fell in love with it.  He wanted it.

Now comes decision time for me and Bob.  Do we let him do this.  It's pretty risky...  if he can't get it running, it's essentially like throwing away $4400 - half of which is ours. No one wants to throw away money.

But then we looked at the upside.  

First, if it fails, then it's a relatively safe failure.  If the boys aren't allowed to try and fail with the safety net of family behind them now, then when would they EVER be ready take a worthwhile risk.  (This is not to say that we will change our minds and buy him a car if this doesn't work out.  That's not on the table...)  

Second, he's already proven that he can do the research required to figure out what to do.  Can he actually, physically DO these things?  No idea...  we're about to find out.  If he does learn these things, this is a whole new skill set that he's not going to get in any other way.  It's a good opportunity, in other words, to build knowledge and skills that will likely come in handy for the rest of his life.  

Third, if he succeeds and get the truck running, he will have built a great deal of confidence in himself and his abilities to work hard for something he wants.  Because this is going to be hard work... that truck is a hot mess. 

I'm honestly not sure why, exactly, he chose this route.  His friends think he's crazy.  Bob and I laid out the reality of the situation.  And then he decided to do it anyway.  And we're supporting this decision.

I'm sure some of you reading this will think we are insane for letting him make this purchase.  It's a hassle, it's a risk, and at the end of the day, he may not have anything to drive - and we REALLY need another driver in the family.  

But some of you may understand that this kind of decision, this kind of risk taking, this kind of unconventional facilitated training/learning, this kind of unconditional support is exactly what I want my kids to remember about how they were raised.  It's exactly the kind of thing that we think is missing in today's society.  Work hard - get rewarded - sometimes you win - sometimes you fail.  

It's life.  And it's ugly and hard.  And it's beautiful.  

Stay tuned for Truck updates over the next 15 months.  :)

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Picture of the Week - 7/6/2017


I hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July!  I have kind of a love/hate thing with mid-week holidays.  I love the extra "free" day, but then it's back to work the very next day.  Schedules are strange.  Half the world seems like they are on vacation right now.  

We had a very nice, relaxing Tuesday.  Got up.  Yard work.  Then pool time.  Cook out.  Cards and beers with my parents.  It was awesome!  Would have been awesomer if we didn't have to work the next day!

Every day I get to look back at old pictures taken on the same day in years past.  I use Timehop, which I'm pretty sure I've talked about before.  I also use Amazon Prime photos, who recently added the same functionality.  (Incidentally, if you are a Prime user, it's free and a pretty cool way to store/protect all your pictures.)  

It turns out that one of my all time favorite pictures of the boys was taken on July 4th 4 years ago.  So of course, I made the boys recreate it.  Pretty crazy how much they have all changed in 4 years.  You know who was the most difficult of them all in the picture taking process.  Willow!  She was terrible and had Bob totally flustered.  LOL

Enjoy this little bit of then/now!  

Next week I'm off on a tour of Sacramento and Phoenix.  I'll have to leave at o-dark thirty on Monday morning and won't be back until around midnight on Thursday.  YUCK!  Have a great week everyone.  I hope yours is a little more restful than I think mine is going to be...



Thursday, June 29, 2017

Picture of the Week - 6/29/2017

Holy cow - June is over.  How did that happen?  

This past week has been a whirlwind of company and business travel and kids going a million different directions.  I guess that's what you get when you try to fit in ALL the things that go along with summertime!

Here are a couple of pretty low quality pictures from Bob's cell phone.  I don't know that I took a single picture all week.  Oops!

The little boys have started Jiu Jitsu.  If you've ever heard me talk about Jocko Willink, that's why.  He wrote a book called "The Way of the Warrior Kid" and now Zane and Beck are throwing themselves into learning Jiu Jitsu.  Know what...  I kind of love it!  There's definitely something different you get out of participating in an individual sport that you don't get out of team sports.  Both have valuable lessons and I love that the little dudes are so willing to work on this.  Also, they are actually pretty good at it.  Zane is a rule follower - which fits very nicely with the discipline of martial arts - and he's relatively athletic for his age.  He pays very close attention to learning new moves and once he gets some direction from the coaches, he remembers all of it.  Beckett is less about the discipline and actually spends a fair amount of time with his nose on the mat in the Jiu Jitsu version of "time out".  But he's also very strong for a 5 year old and when you combine that with the fact that he's very aggressive and kind of nasty and absolutely fearless...  he's got the right stuff to be really good.

One of the pictures is Beck showing off his muscles in the pool.  While we were at the beach, my mom taught the boys to snorkel.  So I got them some snorkel gear for our pool and they love it!  Pretty cool to see them and it has REALLY improved their swimming ability too!  Win win!

The last picture is Beck and Quinn playing video games.  Yes, they've played a LOT of games this summer.  Probably more than they should, but they enjoy it and sometimes you just need to let them do something that will keep them happy and quiet for a while.  (Remember we are often working from home before any judging occurs!)  One of the things I love about this picture is that it so accurately captures this relationship between #2 and #4 that's really blossomed this summer.  Those two are buddies.  Quinn takes care of Beck.  Beck adores Quinn.  They almost never argue.  It's (at least at this moment in time) the best relationship between any of the boys.  I'm sure things will morph and change (because they have before...) but for now I'm really enjoying watching those 2 together.  

If you might be wondering why Spencer isn't in any pictures it's because he's been gone pretty much since last Saturday morning.  He went away on a church trip with 900 other high school kids (ouch...  just referred to one of my kids as a high schooler...) to Panama City Beach.  They stayed in a resort with their small groups and seem to have had a great time.  It's impossible to get any kind of details from a 14 year old boy, but he said he'd go back next year, so it must have been good.  He got home last night and then turned around at 5:30 this morning to go to a football camp over in Rome, GA.  This is the last of the planned trips he's got for the summer and my guess is that he'll now be singularly focused on getting ready for the football season.  I imagine the weight bench in the basement is about to get a workout...

Have a very safe and happy 4th of July everyone!  Happy early birthday to my sister.  We aren't really sure WHAT we are going to get into over the weekend or for the holiday, but I'm sure it'll be full of summer fun!