A little gem…

It’s been a while since I’ve found a photo like this on my phone. There was a period of time where I had pages of pictures like this. And then he grew up on me and stopped stealing my phone every time he saw it sitting on the counter.

So I was surprised when I came across this. It’s at my brother-in-laws house after Thanksgiving. Usually, there is a series of pictures. But not this time, his maturity is kicking in and it’s a single photo that made me laugh out loud when I scrolled past it.

I hope I find gems like this for years to come.

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Thankful…Briggs’ edition…

Before Thanksgiving we attended Briggs’ classroom “family traditions” learning event. His school is pushing regular learning events where parents come in to the classroom to see presentations. They’re usually pretty quick – think 2nd graders – and sometimes I wonder if they’re even worth attending.

But then I walk in and see my kid beaming and I’m reminded why I show up. He wants us there – even if it’s for less than 5 minutes and then he begs us to take him out of school early.

(It made me think of a video I saw earlier this week of kids spotting their parents at events and how they light up. Take a look if you want to smile.)

Briggs is thankful for the following hobbies: Soccer, football, basketball, tennis, baseball, and… art.

The people he’s thankful for: Family, grandparents, teachers, friends and best friends.

Food he’s thankful for: Cotton candy, pears and grapes.

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Celebrate parenthood…

As a parent, I have found there are few things I celebrate more than my children’s independence. I know we’re told we should mourn them growing up but the truth is, my whole job as a mom is essentially to work myself out of job by teaching them how to do all the tasks I currently do for them. Sure, it feels good to be needed, but it feels better to see your kid successfully managing tasks you once did for them.

Steve had one of those celebratory parent moments this weekend.

He has had the kids helping him put the Christmas lights up on the house ever since they were little. The older they got, the more they were able to actually help and eventually earned a spot on the roof. Steve pulled the bucket of lights out of the garage and summoned the kids for their help. Just as the kids were gathering outside, Steve had a work call that required some attention so he went back in the house while he was on the phone. The call took longer than he anticipated and by the time he came back outside – all the lights were hung. With Hunter has the project manager – the kids managed it all on their own and they did an amazing job. Steve can pat himself on the back because they have been trained extremely well – so well, they don’t need supervision anymore. Success!

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Birthday trip…

I’m not sure who threw out the idea, but a while ago, we started floating the idea around of taking Hallie to Six Flags Magic Mountain for her 18th birthday. As the idea evolved she talked about inviting a few friends – but never really settled on a guest list. Her birthday grew closer and closer and finally we needed to decide whether or not a trip to Six Flags was her main birthday gift. Hallie was confident she wanted this for her birthday (regardless of never having been on a large roller coaster except space mountain at Disneyland). I kept wanting her to nail down a date and who she was taking – we told them we would drive them over and pick up the hotels but they would need to pay for their park tickets – and that was much harder for her than I could have ever imagined. She has so many great friends – limiting it to who could fit in our car was rough.

With crazy schedules, this was a last minute decision and I wondered who would be able to leave on a 72-hour notice and on top of that miss a day of school. Surprisingly Hallie had no problem filling our car and she was so bummed to not extend the invitation a little further. With just 24 hours notice, she threw the invitation out to a larger group with the caveat that someone would need to drive another car and within minutes they had a driver and another car was full!

It was the fastest 34 hour roadtrip and we spent more time in the car driving to and from California than we did in the park – but neither Steve or I would have traded that time for anything.

We ended up with 12 seniors – 7 girls and 5 boys and they had the time of their lives. When I played this trip out in my mind, Steve and I would end up spending a day in the park together while the kids ran themselves ragged. I thought the group would break up and go their separate directions. But that was so far from reality. We were with them every step of the way and they wanted to stay all together. The park was empty so we jumped on ride after ride after ride with no wait in between and I quickly realized a little wait between rides isn’t so bad – it gives your stomach time to settle.

After an hour and a half I was feeling my age! But with age comes wisdom and wisdom helps you know your limits. I could take a break from a ride – but those teenagers were not going to miss out even if it meant dry heaving in the bushes on the way to the next ride!

There was only one ride I wouldn’t ride and that was Crazanity. We had just come off Riddler and I saw that spinning ride and I knew my stomach couldn’t handle it at that moment. When we made our way to all the rides a second time later in the day it had shut down. I wasn’t terribly disappointed.

We rode all the rides multiple times and we spent the last 45 minutes in the park sprinting from one ride to the next just to see how many we could fit in before our dream of a trip ended. It was the best day. The only downside was having to hop in a car and drive the 6.5 hours home after an exhausting day in the park.

It was the perfect day and it felt like a total dream These kids were so much fun and we count ourselves lucky for having gone on this trip with them. Towards the end of the day, one of Hallie’s best friends asked if I would be her partner on the next ride – I happily obliged. As we are giggling and screaming our way through the ride I felt so much gratitude for so many daughters. I may not have birthed them, but I treat them as my own and love them all so dearly.

I have a feeling we just created a new tradition for 18th birthdays!

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Turkey Trot Prep…

‘Tis the season for the annual Turkey Trot! When I tell people I run the turkey trot they are led to believe I’m a runner in the turkey trot and that could not be further from the truth. (I hate running and would choose just about any physical activity besides running)

When I say I “run” the trot, I mean I’m the race director for the trot. And with that role comes a very busy couple months in the fall. It also means, turkey trot prep is a family affair. (And not just because Steve’s brother started this race and all the proceeds go to our niece’s blindness charity and AZ Brainfood which is so near and dear to my heart.)

The kids always enjoy helping with the packet pickup the day before the race. And the morning of, they are right there beside me helping set up and cleaning up after. But even before race day, our family is helping out. And I am so grateful they are willing pitch in.

One major project every year is getting the medals ready for race day. They come individually packaged and we have to remove them from a little bag and group them together in manageable quantities so they’re easy to distribute on race day. Over the years Hallie has figured out a great system and she sits at the counter and goes to work. She’s teaching Hunter her method so he can step up next year and carry on the work!

We’ve got three days left of preparation and my head is spinning just a little with all the little things we’re wrapping up. I’m just grateful at this point the forecast is clear – everything is more complicated if it rains!

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