middle school

In our school district, middle school begins in fifth grade. I never quite agreed with this strategy because I believed fifth graders still belonged in elementary school. These babies…or perhaps that was just my way of denying the fact that my oldest was growing…still required more coddling.  But I think everyone would admit wholeheartedly that there is a distinct difference between a 10 year old and a 14 year old. Not only is the physical difference enormous but their maturity, interests, and capabilities. So mixing those age groups on a bus was a concern of mine at the outset of the year.

Fast forward from September to June.

Briggs performed better than expected. He transitioned into the middle school environment with ease. We had no major behavioral issues to deal with. He seemed to make good friends. While I suspect he is a bit goofy…aren’t most 10-11 year old boys?

So when I was looking through the final papers Briggs brought home from school, I found the list below.  I guess he is growing up and needs less coddling than I can cling to.

familyprint video

Check out the video for FamilyPrint which depicts our purpose and some of the families that have benefited from FamilyPrint donations.  We are very proud of the progress we have made in one year.

Special thanks to Jacob Thomas Hyten for creating the video.

broken bones

Go figure…Gage broke his arm.  The funny part about it is there is absolutely no good story to tell.  I mean the kid hangs from trees, jumps from windows, rides a scooter with no helmet, scales fences, and so on.  Yet, the time he rolls off the couch he screams in agony and next thing I know we are headed to the ER.  Oh well…as you can see from the image it hasn’t slowed him down a bit.

Have I mentioned how much I love this kid?  He is a sweetheart.

He had to be put under to set the arm.  As he was coming out of his stupor, they asked him to identify me at the end of the bed.  He slurred, “That’s my mom…but she has four eyes and two noses!”

back to school

After two weeks of Spring Break, I HAPPILY dropped the twins back off at school.  It was with great relief to get back into our typical structure.  However, I pulled away remembering there is only so much time with these two fruit cups.  I waver so often from being completely frustrated with them to cherishing their extraordinary personalities.

long haul

We did it!  We drove to Captiva Island and back.  Let me tell ya’…that is a long haul!  Not only did we have a great time but the kids did a fantastic job along the way.  We equipped ourselves with every “I” possible…iTouch, iPad, iPhone…plus borrowed portable DVD players, books, crayons, markers, and movies.  But most importantly behind every successful road trip…THE BUCKET!!!  It may be gross but it works.

Captiva was a beautiful island that is 100 percent family-friendly.  There isn’t much to do other than go to the beach, collect sea shells, swim in the pool, and eat.  We enjoyed watching the kids be kids.

My favorite memory…skinny-dipping!  We rented a private home off of the beach with a screened in pool.  When we returned from the ocean the first day I told the kids to take their suits off and rinse in the outdoor shower before jumping in the pool.  They enjoyed being ‘free birds’ so much that they didn’t wear swimsuits in the pool for the rest of the week.  I hope they don’t getting any crazy ideas at the public pool this summer.

st. patrick’s day

I was feeling not only overwhelmed after a long week but guilty that I hadn’t spent a lot of quality time with the girls.  Such is the life of a working mom!

I figured we were ready to PLAY HOOKY!!!  What a better day to pick than St. Patrick’s Day.  The sun was shining.  The skies were blue.  And, the parade was downtown.

I packed a great lunch.  Called the montessori school to inform them the girls had better plans.  We were on our way each wearing something green!  It was a GIRL DAY!

We walked around the tents.  Climbed the stairs of the War Memorial.  Visited the Shrine Room.  Watched the parade.  Grabbed enough candy that it seemed like Halloween.  Skirted around the unfilled fountains.

Soon this FREE day turned into an EXPENSIVE day.  Amongst all of this excitement, I look over to see my van being towed from the parking lot.

If you know Indianapolis, there aren’t a plethora of cabs around.  Thanks to the Irish Hurlers we were able to get to the pound with little trouble. COINCIDENTALLY, one of the teammates departing from the same parking lot had TWO PINK CAR SEATS in his car.  Go figure!  So, the lesson, “Don’t ever get in a car with a stranger!,” went right out the window.

I had prepared in advance for Spring Break with putting some cash in my wallet earlier in the week.  I figured surely I had enough cash on me and surely the pound would take a credit card.  NEGATIVE!!!

So, I offered the very nice pound attendant either my purse or to pick a girl he would like for me to leave behind!  He wouldn’t accept either.

From behind the counter a nice woman (also a mother) offered to drive me and the girls to the nearest cash station.  So, the lesson, “Don’t ever get in a car with a stranger!,” went right out the window.  Oh…and no car seats…yup…that too!

The most interesting part was the differing reactions from the girls.

{dramatic} CAMPBELL | We are never going to get home.  Why did they steal our car?

{kick-your-ass} EMERSON | I cannot believe you are going to pay these people to get our own van back.  I am telling Dad.

Oh well…it was all a big adventure we will remember.


Only one of our cats would allow children to strap him to a stroller and be pushed around.  Thank goodness for patience.

closet bed

I tried to imagine what was going through an acquaintance’s mind when my daughter, Emerson, told her she sleeps in the closet!  If it were my first child, I would have been mortified but I am seasoned enough to understand all children go through interesting stages.  Emerson happens to be going through the I-DON’T-LIKE-MY-BED-I-WANT-TO-SLEEP-IN-THE-CLOSET Stage.  So, I indulged her desires and setup a comfortable pallet in her…closet!

What I thought would last a night or two, transitioned into a week.  Then that week transitioned into several weeks!  She likes her ‘closet bed’ so much that she exclaimed, “I think we should give my bed away to another child that doesn’t have a bed!”

While I love her generosity, I have spent considerable effort making sure my children have comfortable beds in which they feel secure.

I am not sure what it is about the closet.  She goes against the grain of most children.  She actually prefers the doors be closed.  Does she like the cramped, closed in feeling?  Does she like the pitch black?  Or is just simpler than that…does it eliminate the sound of her snoring sister next to her?

Oh well…this stage shall pass too.


heartfelt feedback

“All people admire appreciate and respect anyone who can do something they cannot.  Especially if they wish they could.  The obvious heroes are athletes, musicians, entertainers and anyone else our media portrays to be extraordinary.  These people have talent or can work at becoming great.  People who sign up to become military personnel sign up in faith and commit to giving up everything about them to lead, follow and serve a purpose.

Tim is an amazing man to me.  His face and your family is what I see anytime military is heard or has to be imagined.  I attempted the military through USMC OCS and learned that I could not commit to it.  Because of my short experience, I have a barely better understanding than any common person of what that commitment means.  I admire the people who can.  I offer my thanks to anyone in uniform when I see them in passing for the commitment they have given, but it’s hard to thank a military service person.  It’s hard to approach anyone today extend your hand and just say “Thanks.”  I’ve done it.  There is uncertainty, awkwardness, confusion, silence.  I think most people that see military want to say thanks and then the moment is gone.

The organization you and Tim have created to help the families allows me a better way to give thanks for them.  You have created a way for people and me to offer thanks and support.  I hope yours becomes one of the biggest organizations of its kind.”  JASON G.

if i were president…

If I were President, my premise would be simple.  Build pride in ourselves and our country.  I would put the following laws into effect:

+ No more billboards. They are ugly and tacky. Besides they ruin the landscape you could otherwise view without them.

+ If you are a homeowner, you are required to fly the American flag.   It is the simplest form of displaying pride for our country, and too few people are flying are colors.

+ All children in the public school system would be required to abide by a strict (yet casual) dress policy…a shirt with a COLLAR combined with jeans and leather shoes.  No slouchy, nasty jeans would be allowed that proudly displays their undergarments or lack thereof.   We are not doing our children any service by teaching them that they can go to school looking like fools.  A t-shirt and sweatpants should be for playtime only.  If you look good, you feel good, and you perform well.

+ Every American citizen must devote one year of their life to vounteer service by the time they turn 25 years old.  It can be treated like the Reserves in which individuals participate in volunteer activities once a month and two weeks every summer until their year commitment is met.  Or the volunteer work can be spanned over a single year.  The vounteer work, however, must be completed in the United States.   Don’t want to volunteer?  No problem…but it is a HEFTY sum to pay your way out of it.

+ Every homeless person would be provided with a roof over the head and a meal in their belly each night BUT in order to qualify they would have to work for it by keeping their cities clean.   Examples:  cleaning the highways, picking up trash, sweeping the sidewalks, mowing public grounds, mopping government buildings, etc.

I am on a roll.  I will think up some other ideas.  However, be assured I have no interest whatsoever in being President.  The ideas came up with the kids when we were celebrating President’s Day on Monday.

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