Thursday, September 14, 2017

Picture of the Week - 9/14/2017

Hi everyone!

This sure has been a strange week!  Not bad (for us) but just different.  

We didn't have any damage from the hurricane/tropical storm - unless you consider the direct hit our pantry took...  but the kids were off school for 2 days.  I spent a lot of time watching coverage, praying for those impacted, and worrying.  What a mess.  There are people I work with who are still without power in Atlanta.  I can't even imagine being in the Florida Keys or Miami or Jacksonville.  

I feel almost bad sharing this, but the down time on Monday and Tuesday was actually kind of nice.  We didn't have sports.  The boys didn't have school work.  There were no social events.  It was just us.  At home.  Working with the kids all here can get a little dicey, but the evenings were kind of awesome!  I cooked.  We all sat down and ate together.  We had dessert!  There was no rushing around.  No splitting of taxi duties.  It was just good family time.  

I am still praying for all those impacted.  I'm working with one of our neighbors to gather recovery supplies to send to Texas and/or Florida.  I've made donations.  If any of you out there reading this have been impacted and there's anything we can do to help, please don't hesitate to ask.  I probably can't send you a peaceful meal (with pumpkin pie), but I'll do what I can!

Here are some recent pictures of Beckett.  These are completely unrelated to storm-forced downtime, but I haven't shared them before and they are cute.  It also reminds me that it's nearly birthday collage time.  I better get started on that!

Tonight is a "crazy Thursday".  They are so bad that they have a nickname.  But hey...  there are only 4 more crazy Thursdays - at least for this sport's season.  Spencer has a game.  The little guys both have practice.  Bob is doing the drop offs and then coming to the game to watch the first half before going back to do pick-ups.  Quinn has practice too and we've got a ride lined up for him.  Phew!

Tomorrow turned into a "crazy Friday" because we are in make-up mode from the missed practices earlier this week.  I'm working concessions at the high school game and Bob has youth football duty.  It's the first time (and probably the last) that Zane and Beck will be practicing on the same field at the same time.  Actually should be pretty fun!

Saturday the little guys have games in the AM and then Quinn has a lacrosse clinic in the afternoon run by the Ga Tech coaches.  We'll be ready to chill out and watch the Buckeyes again by Saturday afternoon!  

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Picture of the Week - 8/31/2017

Hi all!

I'm totally celebrating today!  Today should be a holiday.  It's finally the start of College football season AND Spencer plays his first official high school football game tonight with the rest of the freshmen team against Milton.  I'm ridiculously excited to watch him (even if I will also be more than a little nervous about that shoulder...) and then we get to come home and watch the Buckeyes.  Holiday worthy for sure!!!

Here's our annual O H I O picture of the boys.  Love these!  (The pictures AND the boys!!!)

Here's another picture from Jiu Jitsu this week.  Zane earned his first stripe this week.  He was so excited.  It still surprises Bob and I about how much they love JJ.  We really thought it would just be a way to spend the summer, but those guys really love going.  It's adorable - and they are learning a ton!

Have a great week everyone!  Go West!  Go Buckeyes!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Picture of the Week - 8/24/2017

Hi all

I'm still in Scotland and working my way successfully through back-to-back (almost without break) meetings for the last 3.5 days.  I've got about half a day left in the office and then one more night before I get to head back home.  I'm really looking forward to calling that cab to the airport tomorrow morning!

I thought I'd keep the words at a minimum today (mostly because I have almost no time for personal stuff this week...) and share some pictures.  The first couple are of my boys from my mom.  She and my dad have chipped in to help Bob get through the last couple of weeks and I love when she texts me little reminders of what's waiting for me at home!

I also thought I'd share a few pictures from my walk to work.  No famous buildings here...  just what the city of Edinburgh looks like.  I like that particular roundabout because the center has a whole garden in the middle.  And I assure you that not all streets are cobblestone, but there are quite a lot of them around the city.  That makes me glad that I don't wear heels!

The last 2 pictures are of my office building - it's the one with the big glass dome.  I don't work in an old, historic building.  It's much more modern.  Lots of glass and open spaces.  It's actually a pretty cool office...

Hope you are all well!  This weekend the little boys both play their first football game!  And Spencer has his first freshman game on Thursday night.  Yay football!!!

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.    

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!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Picture of the Week - 6/22/2017

Here are my favorite pictures of each of my boys from vacation - and a priceless group shot too!

We had a great week!  
The boys had a great time.  They all fished and swam and jumped waves.  The little guys were SO DIFFERENT this year than last year.  They weren't timid at all!  (It would have been slightly more relaxing if Beck had been just a *little* timid and at least stayed where he could reach!)  They learned how to snorkel and swim in the pool too.  No more floaty vests for us!  Wow!  We've been dragging those things around to all water-related activities for like 7 or 8 years!  I won't miss em!

We played games and drank wine and ate oysters 3 times!  We kicked back and just enjoyed the down time.  Nowhere to be.  No schedules.  It was lovely!

As much fun as we had, it was pretty hard to hit real life again this week.  The boys are all over the place - different activities, different places, different times.  Work is work.  I suppose they call it the grind for a reason.  I'm off today for a short overnight to TN and then heading to Orlando for a conference on Sunday.  Vacation seems almost like a distant memory already.  I suppose we just need to start looking forward to the next adventure!

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Picture of the Week - 6/15/2017

Greetings from St. George Island Florida - aka the Forgotten Coast

We are having a great vacation!  I was really worried the weather would be a problem - and it was the first day we were down here - but it's not been an issue since!  We've dodged some storms and had to adjust our "beach routine" a bit, but we're rolling with the flow and having a blast!

More pictures and stories later...  I want to get back to doing nothing.  :)

Here's a picture, taken at 2:20 today from our deck.  This is why they call the place the forgotten coast.  I love that there are so few people here!  It's just beautiful and relaxing and exactly what we needed!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Picture of the Week - 6/8/2017

Happy June!

So you guys...  I totally forgot to do a Picture of the Week last week.  I have no good reason (old age, forgetfulness, too many things going on don't count).  I just plain forgot.  I wasn't traveling.  I was working from home.  No special meetings.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  Oops!  I didn't actually remember until SUNDAY.  How crazy is that!  Oh well... I'm human, moving on.

This week was the second week of our summer break.  The boys all seem to be settling into the new routine.  Bob, on the other hand, has had to purchase a Taxi sign and spends FAR more time doing shuttle service than anyone should have to do.  Poor dad!  This week was the start of high school practices and Spencer is in his glory.  Between the football and lacrosse conditioning sessions, he is up there 4 days a week.  If/when he adds wrestling, he will be better off to just take a sleeping bag.  

He's not doing wrestling yet (because of the shoulder), but has returned to full use for all other weight lifting/training activities.  He lifts every day.  His shoulders are already impressive.  He's kind of a beast.  Here's a picture of him from yesterday following his LAST appointment with the shoulder surgeon.  He's very pleased - hence the cheesy smile!  He got his official clearance to return to conditioning.  (Which is good because he actually cleared himself, with input from his physical therapist 2 weeks ago.)  The only thing he can't do, just yet, is contact.  The surgeon asked that we wait until July to do that.  Timing is perfect!  He will be beefed up and ready for football practice!  (And I won't even tell you how much he's eating right now...  that's a story for another day...  it's a LOT!)

Last Saturday was the first "Summer Saturday" for our lacrosse program.  It's a free event that our coaches organize and run to help share the sport with kids who may not have ever tried it.  It's also a good way for our existing members to get out for a little bit on a Saturday morning to play through the summer.  We went up there and turned it into a family event!  Spencer was a referee (which he's never done before), Quinn shagged balls, and the little guys played.  The pick up game included kids as old as rising 6th graders and as you as... BECKETT.  He was an absolute riot.  His skills leave much room for improvement, but his attitude and spunk are as good as anyone else on the field.  He did not think twice about jumping in there with those big kids.  It was SO funny!  He's #93 in this picture.  You can see how little he is in comparison.

Sunday we leave for our week at the beach.  The weather forecast looks dismal.  Lots of rain this year.  So we're packing cards and games and movies and hoping for the best.  

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Picture of the Week - 5/25/2017

I'm feeling particularly blessed today!

Lots of good stuff happening lately - and MORE about to happen!

I'm blessed to have 4 good kids who have had a really great year.  Ups and Downs - of course.  Stresses - Yes!  Challenges and drama and more yelling and punishing than I would prefer, but taken on the whole, WAY WAY WAY more good stuff than bad this school year.  It's time to say hello to high school and good bye to day care.  Moving on and growing up and making their mom proud along the way!

I'm blessed to have my parents HERE and ABLE and WILLING to jump in on this crazy ride.  They are keeping the boys for us this weekend so Bob and I can go on an anniversary trip.  I know it's not easy to step in the the Bovenizer-variety chaos, but they do it with a smile on their faces (at least that the beginning) and reassurances to go and not worry.  So we will do JUST THAT!  We're gonna GO and have a great time celebrating 20 wonderful years as Mr. and Mrs.  

And I'm especially blessed to be going through this whole life journey with Bob.  It's hard for me to imagine a more perfect partner.  I can't fathom anyone else better suited to deal with ME.  (I may not always be the easiest person to live with!)  I thank God for putting Bob into my life!  Some things are just meant to be!

Here's a fun picture from our wedding day (May 24, 1997) and today (May 25, 2017) waiting for our plane to take us up to Portland, Maine for a big adventure.  

Have a very safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.  Kick off summer with a BANG!