Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Year in review (2 of 2)

In July, before Case's arrival, out of the blue Blake stated "When Case gets here I am going to tell him all about great-pa." My heart hurt a little and yet was happy at the same time about his remark. I smiled and asked what he would tell him. Lakyn spoke up before Blake could and said, "That he was a great man."

I am so thankful that my kids got a chance to know him, and have memories of him.  In fact, we spent a large part of the month creating our own memories....

 Memories of a drive-in movie at the Owens Theatre in Seymour.....

and taking Sunday drives.....

and staying all night in the luxury accommodations of the tree house....

and attending the Conway Ice Cream Social....and playing BINGO!

and enjoying a good book on a beautiful night.....

and taking a ride.....

and enjoying the classic taste of Taylor's Dairy Joy in Lebanon....

and putting in a hard day's work with Steven....

and a hard day of play with Mimi at Silver Dollar City....

But when we weren't doing those things, the kids and I were spending a large portion of time thinking about the surprise party we were throwing for their daddy.  He was turning 40, and I had enlisted the help of family and friends to pull it off.

About 50 of his closest friends showed up to celebrate with him.  And he was surprised.  We were able to pull it off and I realized that my 8 and 10 year olds could definitely keep a secret!


At the beginning of August, my friends, Amanda and Stacy, and Lakyn's friend, Lilly, went to see Taylor Swift in Kansas City.

I think it's safe to say that the girls had a blast.  The little girls did too.  

In August we also celebrated another birthday.  The birth of Case.  He joined us on the 10th and the kids couldn't have been happier or more excited.  Lakyn was in tears earlier in the day because she was afraid she would be back at school before aunt sissy had him.  Little did she know that in a few short hours we would be at the hospital with Case well on  his way.  The kids slept off and on in the waiting room, not wanting to miss his arrival.
Lakyn kept her ear to the door.....


And when he arrived, and they laid their eyes on him, it was love at first sight.

Blake said he wasn't as much as a cousin to him, as he was a brother....and his "best friend".

The kids were disappointed when they had to start school.  They would have rather spent each and every day with their new cousin.
Blake, as you would imagine, had a few thoughts regarding school.
While having an in depth conversation about returning to school, he told me that he used to be excited about 'his friends, recess and lunch....but now, because of Michelle Obama', he is not excited about lunch.

"Kids are starving!!!" He said, "We need to get kids around the country to sign a petition demanding better lunches".

He also stated that he needs to talk to someone about the toilet paper budget.  He continued by saying...
'I guarantee you that the Obama kids get fed good food', as well as the story of how the school toilet paper let him down one day, resulting in 'the worst 15 seconds of his life'.

This kid never fails to make me laugh without even trying to...

Another baby also came into our lives in August.  Carl.

And Blake continued to put some "pizazz" in our days....

While fixing supper Blake was wandering through the house playing his slide whistle. (Yes. A slide whistle. Lucky me.) He looked up and spotted Steven outside loading pipe for tomorrow's job. Blake headed out the door with his whistle saying, "I am going to go add some pizazz to daddy's everyday life." (Yes. "Pizazz". Lucky Steven.)

He also told me that he wished he could "find someone to tell him his future...without using that creepy ball."

 That kid makes us laugh...even Lakyn, who generally wants to give him away.


In September, everything, including Case, Carl and my kids sense of humor and insight, continued to grow....

Lakyn was filling out a questionnaire about herself one evening for school. One question was: What is your pet peeve? My ten year olds answer? People who run away from their problems. (I can't even begin to list the things this girl has taught me, or the ways that she has encouraged me. I may be biased, but I am constantly amazed by her no-nonsense, accompanied by common sense, outlook towards life.)...

On a side note, Blake informed me that if I were ever in a rocket ship and needed somewhere to land, not to land on Neptune because it does not have a solid surface. (And in case you find yourself in that situation, after some research in Blake's library, I have found that apparently you should steer clear of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus as well.)
Of course, we couldn't miss out on fall festivals....

One of the best times of the year, according to the kids, is Community Days.  Each year we spend a weekend playing games, eating food.....

and being part of the parade.

It really is small town life at its best.
In October, Blake decided to reach for the stars.  Or at least the major leagues.  The easiest way?  Create your own team.
And for those of you that know Blake, you would need no explanation. However, for those of you that don't, I think the cards speak for themselves.  He decided that he needed his own baseball cards...for his own team: Awesomes. (I think ...a trademark is pending, so no one get any ideas about stealing the name!) He was adamant about me making the cards. In true Blake fashion, he needed them immediately and couldn't stop dwelling on them. He grabbed a sharpie and a white t-shirt, purposefully turning it inside out because "the big guys show what brand their shirt is". The number "86" is a nod to his favorite tractor, the International 1486. I think it is obvious that shoes are not a required part of the "Awesomes" uniform.

And, although Blake loves to play baseball, during the post season was the first time that he actually started watching baseball.  And I use the term "watching" lightly....

I feel the need to state that no one in our household is a huge sports fan. I enjoy watching sports, and can get into just about any game I watch, but we don't watch games regularly and I know next to nothing about professional sports teams.

 However, Blake had become completely taken with the Cardinals. This is one of his newest obsessions and it had only recently started. (When he loves something he completely 110% becomes consumed with it and it monopolizes most of his thoughts. Yes. Healthy, I know.) I will have to admit that I was somewhat relieved to see him take an interest in something that his peers can relate to. Generally he likes things they aren't interested in, and don't care about.

However, after the first night of the NLCS, I decided that neither Blake or myself could handle him being this "into" a sports team. In fact, once he told me he wanted to throw something through the TV when the Cardinals were losing, and after watching a post-season game, he turned the TV off - and then back on again- which was followed by some pestering from his sister, he then burst into tears and said he just couldn't handle the stress of it all. He went and sat in his room and ate pudding, (I thought he should try yoga), and tried to shake off the stress caused by the Cardinals losing.

I thought I might need the number for a counselor...? Preferably one that isn't a Cards fan, otherwise, they might not see anything wrong with this sort of behavior.
And then, there were times that I didn't think the kids could be any more perfect.....
While returning to the car after shopping at Summer Fresh, Lakyn asked, "Did you notice the man in uniform behind you in the checkout line?" I told her that I had noticed a man wearing military gear. She said, "Although I was nervous, ...and I thought he might think I was weird, I went up to him and told him 'Thank you for serving our country'." 

One Saturday in October, while getting ready to go to town, I was listening to music when Blake came and joined me in the bathroom. "Running on Empty" came on and we began to dance in the middle of the bathroom floor. He twirled me a couple of times, but we mostly just swayed in time to the music. At the end he said, "Lean back" as he TRIED to dip his momma and then planted a big kiss on my cheek.

Both times I thought my heart would explode.
And speaking of exploding hearts....
And of course, what is October without Halloween?
Blake dressed as a truck puller, wearing his daddy's jacket, cap and carrying his trophy from years gone by.  Although simple, Steven said in all actuality, it probably was the most expensive costume around.  Lakyn dressed up as Si off of Duck Dynasty and Case was an adorable airman.
Sadly, October ended sadly with us losing Daisy, our beloved dog of 14 years.  

In November, Blake shared his concern regarding the penny....
  "The penny's days are numbered."
Sarah, Jason and I also enjoyed seeing Justin Timberlake in concert.  He most definitely brought sexy back.
Jason didn't do so bad himself....

And Case...?  Well, he just kept getting cuter.  And is there anything cuter than a baby that you stick a money hat on and put in a basket?
The answer is "no".

And Steven and I celebrated our anniversary a little early with Don Williams himself. 

I couldn't be more blessed that he is my husband, and I can honestly say that my kids have the BEST dad ever!

And he's pretty sexy too. 

The end of November was spent getting ready for Christmas....

And December?  Well, December was spent like most every December.  Christmas programs at school, the nativity at church, pictures with Santa, pictures for Christmas cards....

And spending time with family.  This time of year the realization is especially strong that although we are not perfect, and we all struggle with our own weaknesses and anxieties, the strength that we gain from our family and those that we love is the greatest gift that we could ever give OR receive.
Here is hoping that all of our best days in 2013 will be our worst days in 2014.
Happy New Year!

2013 year in review (1 of 2)

It has almost been a year since I have posted anything on here.  My life has been incredibly full, which is my only excuse.  However, I know that so many things happened that I wanted to record.  Facebook is good in the moment, but not for looking back or reminiscing.    This blog is.  As are the books of my blog posts that my mom prints out for me to keep. 

We ended 2012 with Sarah and Jason's big news that they shared with mom, dad and the kids on Christmas morning.  Lakyn said it was the "worst Christmas ever".  She couldn't stand the thought of sharing her aunt and uncle with anyone, and that night, she couldn't stop crying.   She told me that Aunt Sissy was the only adult that she really looked up to.  (Yeah.  Apparently I don't even rate.)  Blake, however, was ecstatic that he was going to get a "real cousin".


So, using Facebook and my memory, I want to do a recap of 2013. 

January 8, 2013

Apparently at Upwards tonight they asked members of Lakyn's basketball team to lead a prayer during the devotional period. No one volunteered, so Lakyn thought she might as well do it. So there, in the First Baptist Church, Lakyn lead her team in the 'Hail Mary'. She couldn't figure out why no one joined in and 'followed along'.

I love her spirit and fearlessness.  I'm continually learning from her.

February 2013

Sarah, Jason, Steven and I went to see Kid Rock in concert.  I found it ironic, when taking into consideration how many concerts I've attended and the 'bad boy image' surrounding him, that Kid Rock's concert is the only one I have been to that has ever started with a prayer.

In mid February, Blake pondered some of life's bigger questions....

   "Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?"

The end of February we received some beautiful snow.  


Those two "lazy" snow days the kids: played 'basement basketball', played on the Wii, painted wooden toys, played the DS, read books, had a pretend car accident in basement resulting in pretend casts on arms and legs, played more '...basement basketball', went sledding, tried to break the family (Guiness) World Records in sommersaults and butt kicks, played in the snow, and played 'jukebox' (whatever that is) in the basement. I don't know about the kids, but I was tired just watching them!


In March  I received a text from my friend, Manda, asking me what year 'Roll On' by Alabama came out. I texted back and told her that I would guess 1984-85.

(I was right. 1984.)

A little while later she called and explained.... She said that she was thinking of me that day and the earliest memory she had of me was of me sitting her down and playing that song for her, telling her all about it, making her listen to the story and anxiously waiting to hear if she liked it as much as I did.

As I look in the mirror at the increasing gray hair and wrinkles and mentally take note of all the ways I have changed, it was somewhat humorous to realize that in this small way I haven't changed at all. I STILL have the need for my friends to appreciate the music I do, often force feeding them links to music videos or articles about my favorite new songs.... In fact, I had done that just a few days before. And somehow, even though Manda wasn't in on that current round of exposure, she was still thinking of me and my musical tastes -and that made me smile.

PS-I have this great new song you need to hear!

Lakyn experienced another heartbreaking moment in March.  It was at this time that Sarah and Jason found out that they were having a boy.  She again, started crying, only having come to terms with the possibility of being able to accept a girl, had her hopes dashed.  She said, and I quote, her "life was ruined".  It took a couple of hours for her to be able to come around and stop crying.  Still, she was, in no uncertain terms, not happy about the baby.

However, Sarah, Lakyn and I had big plans of keeping our tradition and seeing Taylor Swift  and Ed Sheeran in KC in August.  In keeping with the fact that the baby apparently "ruined everything" the concert was a week from Sarah's due date.  Being, "the best aunt ever" Sarah scored tickets for the concert in March in St. Louis.  She wanted to let Lakyn know that she was still important, even with a baby on the way, and I wanted to keep sharing my love of music.

Through some music and retail therapy in St. Louis, Lakyn started thinking that a baby my not be so bad after all. 

And, when Lakyn is excited, it's hard not to be excited too.  Her personality is so motivating and her excitement is contagious.  The girls time was a turning point for her, and a turning point for Sarah. From that point on she felt like she could be openly excited without worrying about breaking someone's heart. 

Of course, she apparently looks to Jillian Michaels for her ideas on motivating.  While watching The Biggest Loser, she stated, "I kinda like Jillian and how she pushes people. Some people need pushing." 
Who IS this child? I am pretty sure she isn't mine.....but I will keep her. 


March was also a big month for Blake.  He came to me carrying an encyclopedia and said "Woooo, this is getting REALLY interesting!" He also asked if he could take it to school.  I must have looked perplexed when I said, "Why", because he exclaimed, "THERE'S SOME GOOD STUFF IN HERE!!"

Another question by Blake?   "Is there anything smaller than an atom?" Yeah. He was 7.

In March, Blake was also preparing for his first communion and had his first confession. He promptly came home and threw up. Not sure if that was a coincidence. On a side note, I went to confession for the first time in (roughly) 19 years and was NOT struck by lightning. Not sure if that was an oversight.


In April Blake's class went on a field trip to Fantastic Caverns. 

This picture of Blake completely sums it up. At the beginning of the tour, when this picture was taken, he was already in need of a Xanax. After spending the hour tour trying to calm and reassure him, I was in need of TWO.

Also in April, Lakyn and I, along with Manda and her son, went to see Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley.  On the way there we have a fender bender and had to get a ride to the concert, as well as find a ride home.  We were determined to make it there because Manda LOVES Miranda, and I had a meet and greet pass to see Dierks.

However, when I met him, my face was twitching and I could barely speak for being tongue tied.  The events of the night had caught up to me.

After a while the stress had subsided and Lakyn and I enjoyed our evening.... She was "Happy, Happy, Happy!"

A few days later Lakyn turned ten and I officially had a "ten-ager".


Blake's obsession with the encyclopedia continued.  After apparently reading another interesting fact, Blake brought the book to me, opened to 'myth' and to a picture of Mars, the Roman god of war. Pointing at the picture he says "It. Is. Just. Hanging. Out.  I don't think this is appropriate."  

 Go figure. Who would have thought that the questionable material in our house was in the form of a 1958 World Book Encyclopedia?

Another thing that is questionable?  Blake's sense of sportsmanship.

At the end of April, Blake was excited that the weather was so nice because that particular day was gym day. Apparently, during nice weather, the gym class raced on the track. Blake had shared that he always got third but that day would be the day he finally won.
That night, at supper, he excitedly shared that he had, indeed, came in 1st. He then gave us a play by play of how it transpired: "They yelled 'Go!' and I took off. I was in 3rd place, LIKE ALWAYS, but I kept running and eventually caught up with the girl in 2nd. We were side by side running and then I passed her....and then I passed the kid in 1st." He was so animated as he relived the race..... Then, AND I AM NOT KIDDING, Blake made air quotes with his hands when he said "The kid in 1st had an 'asthma attack.' The girl that had been in 2nd went back and checked on him....and I just kept running. BUT I GOT 1st!!!!"

Yeah. That's my kid. The one in 1st.
In May, the 'tree house' that the kids were promised for Christmas was nearing completion. It only took almost six months..... Only.
Lakyn also decided it was time for her to start helping out with the yard work.  While mowing the yard, Lakyn wanted to ride with me so that she could also learn to mow. We had most of the yard mowed, and she had graduated to being in charge of speed and steering while I just rode along, when she noticed Steven return outside after going inside to get a drink. The mower lurched to a stop and I grabbed on to the fenders to keep from flying forward. I immediately tried to figure out what had happened when I heard Lakyn break into applause. I looked at her and she smiled and said...."It's SPRING!" I must have looked at her funny because she continued on explaining...."Daddy has his straw (cowboy) hat on now. It's SPRING!" 

 I guess some people mark spring's arrival by a date, or a temperature. My girl marks it by Steven putting up the felt and breaking out the straw cowboy hat.
In May, Blake also had his first communion.  I was so proud of him, but my pride paled in comparison to his own.  Having many of the same worries and anxieties that I, myself, struggle with, this was a monumental occasion for him.  He was the only child going through first communion this year and, although nervous, he did wonderfully.

And what a sweet, charming young man he is turning into.  He even surprised me at the door with some  I was so special I even got the roots.


In June, Blake turned 8.  And because 16 is, apparently, just around the corner, he had a man-to-man meeting with his father that I was lucky to get to sit in on. He presented an idea to his daddy with supporting reasons as to why Steven should go along. The idea? He needs to go ahead and buy a vehicle, "nothing in the 2000's", and fix it up for him to drive when he is 16. Blake told him that they didn't "need the hassle" of trying to find something at the last minute.

And, really, it's hard to argue with his reason.  Examples? 

While heading to a wedding, we passed a very nice house that had a three rail wood fence that seemed to go on forever. I said, "Wow, that's quite a fence." Blake, observing from the back seat said, "Yeah, it's cute now....wait until it starts rotting. Then they'll regret it. They should've used pipe."

 Later, on the way home, we passed another large, very nice home but the yard was somewhat grown up. I mentioned to Steven that there was a lot of nice homes in that area. Blake, overhearing the conversation, once again piped up from the back, "Yeah....looks like they over spent on the house and now can't afford a lawn mower."
Maybe Steven should look into getting a vehicle for him now.  It might be easier than arguing with his logic.  However, I am not so sure about his logic regarding chainsaws.
In fact, in  early June, Blake told me that he wanted a chainsaw for his birthday.. I told him that I didn't think that was a good idea and that it wasn't going to happen. He told me that his daddy 'suggested' a chainsaw when he was six. (I highly doubt that.). He thought that he might as well get one and start using it....and practice carving.
We spent most of June at ballgames.  Lakyn endured hers and Blake loved his.  He played on two teams and I saw real growth this season....thanks in large part to uncle Jason and the awesome batting gloves he bought Blake.

I also saw growth in Lakyn's acceptance for the baby, which we now knew as Case.  In fact, acceptance turned to excitement, which turned to love.  

And Case wasn't even here yet.


And, of course, June found us camping and enjoying the sun.

We camped with Deanie and Linda and their friends at Pomme de Terre.  This was our first stay at the Damsite campground and Blake said he wasn't a fan.  He told all of them that they needed to go back to the Hermitage campground because, although they saved money at Damsite, it wouldn't be worth it in the end when they all developed skin cancer as a result of sun exposure.  You see, all the trees had been taken out years before by a tornado and, apparently, the trade off didn't make sense to Blake.
We took in a race at the Lucas Oil speedway while in the area and Deanie hooked Blake up with a ticket to race go karts.  As competitive as always, Blake won.   To my knowledge, no one had an asthma attack during the race.
I also took the kids to Big Surf for an outing at the end of June.  I think there is no better testament to a mother's love than her willingness to don a bathing suit for her children.


(2013 to be continued.....)