Thursday, August 17, 2017

Picture of the Week - 8/17/2017

Growth is spurt-y...

Have you ever noticed that growth comes in spurts?  I think this is true of most growth, but I'm certainly not an expert.  I know physical growth comes in spurts.  For me, spiritual growth comes in spurts too.  And learning.  Definitely learning.  

We happen to be in the middle of a giant growth spurt right now.  It's probably the biggest and swiftest expansion in our personal network that has happened in a long, long time.  Maybe ever.  Certainly since we move to a new state and were forced to meet all new people.  

We are building our number of acquaintances at a very rapid pace right now - all thanks to youth sports.  We have 4 new teams of people to meet, get to know, get to like, get to enjoy.  I LOVE that about athletics.  LOVE IT! 

Youth sports can bring out the crazy in some people, but for the vast majority of us, we just enjoy watching our kids and socializing on the sidelines.  And when you have 4 kids, you get the benefits of sports-related friendships - times 4.  

Beckett is being coached by Zane's football coach from last year.  So we know some of those people, but we also get to meet half a team full of new families and kids.  And Beckett gets the benefit of some of the kids knowing him already and instantly accepting him - even though he's one of only a couple of Kindergartners on his team.  

There are about 9 kids on Zane's team we've played with before.  This is pretty cool because this is the 3rd year together for most of that group.  It's so comforting, particularly given how many people live in our area and how fast the pace is for everyone these days, that we instantly have those friendly faces.  That benefit of shared experience.  That community.

Speaking of community, there's Quinn.  Lacrosse is kind of like a second home for all of us.  Over the past few months, because of an increase in involvement in the youth program AND because of a new high schooler, we have gotten linked up with the high school coaches.  We are starting to get to know these men who will be a part of our lives for the next 15 years.  (Unless of course someone moves on...)  This is the entry point to a long term relationship.  And it's pretty cool.  And then the rest of our lacrosse family.  Goodness - what good people and what good friends.  There's almost no distinction any more between our "lacrosse people" and "our people".  LOVE THAT!

Spencer's move to high school has changed our network in some pretty surprising ways.  Although looking back at it a little, I'm not really sure why I'm surprised at all.  I should have expected this.  We have 2 different middle schools that combine into our high school.  These kids were rivals last season - they are teammates now.  It's actually really, really cool to see how easy it's been for them to shed the rivalry and link together.  Spencer, in particular, has pleasantly surprised me with his ability to be a bridge between "camps".  This is YET ANOTHER one of those "kid teaches parent" things were we have dove into new relationships with people we've been around, but not with, for 9 years.  

Sports bring people together.  

Last Friday was the first high school scrimmage of the year.  It was the first time Spencer got to play in a high school game under Friday night lights.  He won't get another opportunity until at least next year.  It was so much fun!  I can't even count how many people we ran into that I would call friends.  It was like a giant party - with a nice side-dish of football.  So much fun!

Tomorrow i'm heading over to Scotland for the week.  I'm not very excited about it at all.  I miss so much while I'm gone.  I purposely scheduled this quarter's trip so I wouldn't miss any games, but I will miss all the daily chaos.  And the hugs.  Definitely the hugs.  

Here're some pictures of the little guys in there new jerseys.  They are numbers #23 and #44 this year.  Super random.  Don't you love their game faces???

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Picture of the Week - 8/10/2017

I'm officially naming this season of my life the "Post-it Note" Phase.  

There are a couple of reasons that I've settled on the PIN Phase.  The first one is probably pretty obvious...  I'm surrounded by Post-it Notes!  These gems have a wide variety of super random To Dos on them.  Most are at least partially crossed off, but typically have some straggler tasks that i drag around from one note to the next.  You know those pesky tasks that you want to do - or know you need to do - but then have a hard time actually DOING.  Like "Order pictures" which has appeared on every Post-it Note To Do list for the last 6 months.  #winning

The thing about the reminder notes is that I really REALLY need them these days.  The stuff that needs to get done is spread across work, kids, home, school, volunteer, sports, shopping, etc etc etc.  We all have this.  I'm not unique.  Post-it reminders are the only way for me to focus in on what should get done in the brief periods of time available to actually DO STUFF.  I got to work early today.  Like 6:20...  no one was here.  No meetings this early.  Blissfully quiet.  I spent 15 minutes buying Amazon Pantry Items.  Job done - knocked 3 things off our shopping list and one off my green Post-it Note.  

(Side note for anyone with small kids...  it's hard to keep up with toiletries and their status of Full-to-Empty when you have teenagers who do all those tasks themselves.  Also - teenagers don't tell you they need stuff until the stuff is completely gone.  It's fun.)

Nice Post-it Note benefit...  I have had to prep several meetings/conferences for work in the past.  One of my favorite things to do with a group of participants to get them talking is to make them write on Post-it Notes with Sharpies.  I mean, really, who doesn't love a fresh Sharpie?  And if I can get them writing on Post-it Notes (which we always actually POST in a central spot) it's a great conversation starter.  This has left me with a vast array of half-used, multi-colored Post-it Note pads.  This is particularly nice in my current PIN Phase because sometimes I feel like a blue note and sometimes I feel more pink.  Using the standard yellow all the time might be depressing.  LOL

The other, and actually more significant, reason for my desire to name this craziness that we call our "routine" the Post-it Note Phase is that I can probably fit the details of 95% of the conversations and interactions I have with the people I love most onto a standard-sized Post-it Note.  I hardly see these people.  It's only week 2 of school and I'm already depressed about the loss of those interactions.  I feel we are barely communicating - much less actually connecting.  We pass each other heading in different directions.  We do hugs or cuddles or high fives.  That's pretty much it.  

Bob and I are doing divide-and-conquer almost every day.  Sometimes we get a Saturday afternoon together.  Or the ride to church and back.  There are things we need to talk about.  Stuff that needs to be decided.  (Nothing bad at all...  just normal stuff - you know, should we rebuild the deck?  when do you want to buy new carpet?  who is picking up which kid?  do we need an inspire pick-up?  do we have any lunchmeat left? HAVE YOU FOUND  THE SNAKE?)  We communicate in text messages and Post-it Note sized tidbits of conversation.  It sucks.  I'm not a fan of our current schedule.  At all.  

So PIN Phase...  I shall survive you, but I am not enjoying this right now.  Maybe if I can figure out a way to get the To Do list Post-it notes down to the mini-size and the connection Post-it notes up to the 3x5 size...  #lifegoals

Here's a sweet pictures of Zane before his face broke out in a nasty infection last week.  He picked up something from either camp or his football helmet.  I think whatever it was came from the helmet because it was only on his face.  He's totally fine now (or nearly) after some antibiotics.  

Have a good week everyone.  We get to watch Spencer play in his first high school football scrimmage tomorrow night.  Next week fall lacrosse starts up.  Wish us logistical luck...  it's gonna be interesting!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Picture of the Week - 8/3/2017

It's back to school day!

Now that we've loaded 3 of the 4 up onto big yellow buses (Quinn doesn't leave until 8:20), I'm actually really excited for this year.  SO MUCH CHANGE all at once is a little intimidating, but after today (or maybe it'll take a few days...) it won't be change any more.  This is our new normal!  

I can't wait to see how all these boys grow this year.  It's going to be a fun, wild ride!  Thanks for taking it with us!!!

Here's our obligatory Back to School picture.  I thought I'd get fancy and take it with an actual camera - which clearly has something wrong with it as the pictures were all blurry and very disappointing.  Ah well...  that's real life for you.  Next time I'll just take the easy route and use my phone!

Spencer is a Freshman, Quinn is 8th grade, Zane is 2nd grade, and Beckett is in Kindergarten.  Wow!  

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Picture of the Week - 7/27/2017

"I have a lot of excitement in my life.  I used to call it tension, but I feel much better now that I call it excitement."  ~Madeleine Costigan

We are in a pretty significant transition period right now.  Like MAJOR stuff is changing in MAJOR ways.  

Unlike the transition from school year to summer, we aren't winding things down.  Instead we are adding events to our calendar almost faster than the color-coded ink can dry.  Going from Summer-slow to Back-to-School chaos is hard.  And daunting.  My calendar kinda makes me break out into a sweat just looking at it.  And chaos is nothing new to us...

This transition into school stuff is bigger than most of the others we've been through.  Maybe the first time we put Spencer on a school bus was emotional comparable, but then we didn't have eleventy million other things going on.  And there was just that ONE big change.  

This year we have a starting Freshman and a starting Kindergartner.  When you say that to people in conversation it gets almost as many exclamations as telling people you have 4 boys.  I suppose there aren't too many people out there with that kind if spread.  And honestly, I'm not sure I'd recommend it.  So. Much. Change.  And all at once.

We have no idea what we're doing with high school.  Everything seems foreign and murky.  I think our high school has done a great job communicating what the kids need to do.  And I think we've done it all.  But I have no idea if we've done it RIGHT.  I guess we'll find out.  I know we will navigate around all of the uncertainty and by the time we get to our last rising Freshman, this will feel warm and comfortable.  But this first time through is, well, it's just daunting.  For me...  Spencer, of course, is totally, 100% fine and ready to go.  He's not worried.  And can't wait for next Thursdays.  He says he's reached the point of the summer where he's "kinda bored".  (Glad someone is...)

I've attached a copy of his schedule for this year.  I swear it took me 20 minutes to decipher what he would actually be doing from one day to the next.  (I may have charted day-by-day, which is a WAY easier way to read this thing...)  This is way more complicated than the schedule I had in high school!!!

Quinn is going into 8th grade.  I can handle 8th grade.  Been there/done that.  He is getting an almost entirely new management team at his school, but given he doesn't need special services and doesn't (knock on wood) spend any time in the principal's office, that's not even a big deal.  We know the school.  We know the people.  We're good!  (Quinn is easily the most bummed of all the boys that summer is over.  He's really enjoyed his summer of lazy luxury!)

Zane is going into 2nd grade.  Again, been there.  We don't find out his teacher until next Tuesday, but it doesn't really matter.  He will be fine.  He'll still be going to the same Horizons teacher and walking the same hallways.  He's ready and excited - despite not getting a new backpack...

And then Beckett.  If there was ever a child ready for the next phase, it's Beck.  I think sending he and Zane to summer camp at the elementary school has probably given him a bit of a false sense of confidence.  He's pretty sure he knows exactly what school is going to be like.  And he's pretty sure he's going to be awesome at it.  (Actually so am I... I just also feel the need to apologize to his teacher in advance for the added challenges coming her way!)  My hope for Beckett this year is that he figures out how to decide when it's time to listen and behave!  We will tackle our very last "School bus Round up" next Tuesday.  So hard to believe...

All of that is just the SCHOOL part of the Back-to-School craziness.  The other half is all sports related - and honestly the part that has me nearly immobilized with anxiety.  Spencer, Zane and Beckett are all playing football.  Their practices kick off in earnest tonight.  Spencer will go every day after school (4-6) and the little boys each have 2 weekday and 1 weekend practice every week until games start.  I guess I was oddly naive in thinking that the little guys would have practice at the same time/same place.  In hindsight, I am WAY more seasoned than that...  and I really should have expected what happened.  They are in different parks at the same time twice a week.  That alone would be fine, except that Spencer is going to need to somehow get home in the middle of that.  So - we'll be begging rides ALL season.  I am gonna owe a bunch of people a bunch of stuff come November!  

Did I mention that the little boys have fallen in LOVE with jiu jitsu and it's been so good for them in SO many ways that we signed them up again.  I mean that's logical right?  They have football on Tuesday and Thursday and jiu jitsu is Monday/Wednesday/Friday.  Seems like fate wants them to do both.  Right?!?!?

Quinn is playing lacrosse this fall.  He's got practice 3 times a week too.  And, of course, 2 of those dates are the non-football days.  It's good because it helps logistics.  It's bad because we don't have any days off.  Ever.  From now until fall break.  (Excuse me while I breathe into a paper bag for a second...)

I kid.  I know it'll be busy.  I know we will get tired.  I know I'll see far less of my husband than I like as we pass in the drive, each following our logistical plan before collapsing in bed at night.  

I also know we'll get through it.  I know we'll have a blast along the way.  I know the boys will all grow in so so so many different ways.  And I know that this time of utter craziness is only a phase - and one I will likely miss a great deal.  Next fall Spencer can drive himself around.  And act as a 3rd driver to get through all the other activities.  In the blink of an eye, my weekly calendar logistic gymnastics will be a distant memory.  Before we know it we'll be down to 2 schools instead of 3.  Then 1...  

Time flies.  And with a schedule like ours, it'll be over before we even realize it's kinda hard.  

I know all of this...  it's just the suspense is killing me!

Have a great week everyone!  And if you come for a visit, expect to play chauffeur!  

PS - for anyone interested, Spencer will play his games on Thursday nights.  The little boys will have games on Saturdays.  Quinn's season is a bit different than seasons past and is focused on development over games, so if you are looking for some lacrosse action, check back in the spring when all 4 will be back on a lacrosse field.