Category Archives: The Teenage Life

June 20, Commuter

The weekend is right around the corner and I’m sure all the commuters in urban areas all over the country are letting out a collective anticipated sigh.


I on the other hand, am gearing up for a long weekend of work. I appreciate what I do, and where I do it even more than ever this week. Why? It’s because the girl, along with her friend Sydney, started an internship this week and they are among the millions who commute to work using public transportation.

june20bSo far it’s going well but I admit, I had a lot of trepidation about this, considering the distance of the commute to her office and her age so we explored a lot of options, including driving, the bus, and the metro.

june20cWe made a test drive last weekend and I realized there is not much more dangerous than an inexperienced driver on the beltway surrounding our nation’s capital at the height of commuter times. We considered the bus but that’s not an option for many reasons. We settled the metro and after a week, I’ve stopped biting my fingernails and have settled into a settled uneasiness. Those two things are a dichotomy but it’s the best description of my feelings of their commute.

june20aI took the trip with them on their first day to help them navigate the system. On our way home, I boarded a train ahead of the girls and they didn’t make it in on time. I turned around and the doors closed, leaving them standing on the platform with nervousness on their faces as my train pulled away. I got off at the next stopped and called them. They insisted they were fine and we eventually made the trip separately but ended up on the same train and at the correct destination, it was a relief.

june20dIt’s a great opportunity and there will be times when the girls will be able catch a hop right to the office, but all other times, they will do it on their own.

I’m sure I’ll get used to this new normal as the summer wears on. For all the commuters out there, TGIF!

FaceTime Photo Shoot

The boy is at school for at least the first part of the summer. His schedule is such that he couldn’t make it home for the girl’s graduation or he would be too far behind in his studies and his flight schedule. We decided that he could still do a photo shoot with the family via FaceTime. It worked really well, like he was right here with us. He saw how we were dressed and he said, “Should I have dressed up?” We thought his Nodak Nation shirt was perfect.


Here are the grandparents with their grandkids -

My parents made the trip down to the girl’s graduation ceremony and I really appreciated it very much. They’ve had a couple of years of difficulty with their health and I know it was an effort. Because they made the trip, I was able to get this photo of them and the kids. It’s priceless.


Here they are with the boy. He’s so funny, he had us laughing the entire time.

The boy wanted to do this Brady Bunch shot, what a goof ball. We passed the iPad around as we shifted people in and out of the shots and while his grandpa was holding it he said, “Is this how you used to hold me when I was a baby?” Crazy boy.


She’s her daddy’s sweetheart. I love this photo.


Here’s the family! I wish I there was another person here to take a photo of all of us but that’s alright. I love this shot anyway.


We couldn’t all get into one photo so we took turns with the camera instead and I was able to jump into a couple of shots. I forgot to put my arm on my hip here -

The girl so sweetly told him that it was alright that he couldn’t make the trip for graduation, that she understood. They get along now the way they did when they were little.

These two are my world -


… No, I Won’t Go


The girl had another show last weekend and it was like many others before – pretty standard and mundane. No one fell off and was hurt – thank you God. Those are always scary moments and I never seem to be able to capture them because I end up chewing on my knuckles until I’m assured that the girl is fine.

The most interesting thing that happened was after the show. The horses were washed, put into the trailers and I was just about to get into the car when I looked over and saw this.

trailer96Someone didn’t want to get into his trailer – C’mon Maverick, it’s pasture bed time.

trailer98I watched for a few minutes and as I do every time, I ran to get my camera.

Olivia-girl was doing her best and one tactic was to bribe Maverick.

trailer94Gently . . . C’mon Maverick . . . follow me . . .

Take the treat . . . and quit horsing around . . .

Almost . . . .

. . . but at the last minute, Maverick says neighhhhh to the treat and pulls away.

Here’s another tactic . . .

I don’t want to be a neighhhhh-sayer, but I was skeptical of this tactic, and even after all these years, I still have no idea the difference between a bridle and a bit.

It didn’t work – apparently Maverick doesn’t like a rope tied around his bum. It was a nightmare . . .

It was then that a hero horse whisperer with a pink horse on his t-shirt showed up. He took command of this situation and of Maverick. It was really amazing to watch. I’ve often times thought about what would happen if an animal as big as a horse decided to do something contrary to what the girls wanted and I witnessed it first hand. Then again, with proper handling these horses become complacent and docile. It’s amazing.

You could say he came to bale the girls out.

The Horse Whisperer took a short piece of rope with a knot at the end and began to gently tape Maverick’s hind legs with it over and over and over again. The situation was beginning to look stable.

He walked Maverick in circles one way, tapping his back end, and then reversed direction. He did this for about 10 minutes, getting Maverick used to the feel of the rope – I guess, I’m not really sure why he was doing it but it appeared to calm Maverick down and make him compliant. He was under the control of the Horse Whisperer. You could say the Horse Whisperer is now the mane man.

The Horse Whisperer moved Maverick closer and closer to the trailer and each time Maverick decided he didn’t want to get in – the Horse Whisperer would back him up and try again – over and over. Oh well, you whinny some and you lose some.

Olivia-girl reassures Maverick and if I was closer, I would probably hear a lot of horse cajoling. I think she was trying to stirrup some emotion in him.

And then, after about 20 minutes, amazingly . . .

Can it be?

He goes into the trailer! That’s the way to harness success!

But then – what? She’s taking him out? After all of that?

In order for the horse to enter the trailer on his own he must be taught to not be afraid to do so. After all, the Horse Whisperer will not always be around when Maverick has to go to a show.

I must say a word or two about how brave is our Olivia-girl. She was being thrown about by Maverick and hung in there.

Finally, after four tries . . .

Amazing . . . Maverick walks to the trailer. We all knew that Maverick couldn’t resist furlough . . .

. . .  and gets in of his own volition. Now that – is how you change a horse’s mind.

I love watching the girl ride but I also love watching her and the other girls work. There’s so much that’s being taught at that horse farm that is helping them develop character and fortitude.

I would apologize for all the lame horse puns but I was just horsing around . . . (slapping my knee)

Happy Wednesday everyone -

June 7, Passages

june7Thank you for all of your wonderful support over the last week. This is a great moment of celebration – a high spot. The boy couldn’t be home for the girl’s graduation so we did a family facetime, and he was able to be a part of the photos. It was so much fun, mostly because the boy made it fun – because that’s how he is. He couldn’t be here, but his sister really loved seeing him on her special day.

Graduation was full of celebration, pomp & ceremony, and just plain silliness. It was wonderful. Can’t wait to tell you all about it!

May 29, Fleeting

may29aSometimes moments seem so fleeting.

Like these beautiful blooms from a weeping willow in my yard.

may29And this, my little girl on a big horse a couple of weekends ago. I never get tired of seeing her jump though I know these moments too are coming to a close. She’s graduating from high school next week.

may29bThat’s why I am cherishing every single moment of this I can . . . look how beautiful she is!

About The Boys

GFK-35LThe boy and his friends have been on my mind and a part of my heart is with them in North Dakota. They were very excited about moving into their apartment and the husband and I let them work out their financial and living arrangements. They seemed to be doing alright overall. It’s a lot to move, finish school and then learn to cook for yourself.

image(1)This new phase in the boy’s life wasn’t always a smooth transition, life is that way. They moved in with an extra boy who needed a place to stay while he finished out his flying and I don’t think they’ve yet worked out how they are going to pay their bills. On top of that, the boy called the other day and he sounded like he was sick again. Of course I asked him about it, and of course he said not to worry.

But worry is in a mom’s nature and admittedly, I do it very well.

A couple of the guys had not yet finished their course requirements at the end of the semester and on top of moving into another place during finals week, they had to prepare for their final stage checks as well. It’s a lot to think about – when our boy finally finished last Wednesday, he called us and with relief evident in his voice he said, “I don’t have anything hanging over my head for the first time in weeks.” Of course, he had already started the summer session of school so that didn’t last long.

Yes, the boys have all been on my mind, particularly in the last two weeks.

image(2)One of the boy’s roommates, John, was called home by his mom two Sundays ago. It was he weekend they moved into the apartment and one day before he was to begin classes in the summer session. Tom, John’s father, was so ill that they were calling him and all of his brothers to his bedside. The husband just happened to be there and listening to the sermon on our church podcast when John walked into the room and gave him the phone and said, “My mom wants to talk to you.”

The sermon was about Biblical community. I can’t tell you how awed I am by God’s constant presence and perfect timing.

The husband and the other boys offered John all the support they could and the husband drove the five hours with John back to his home before flying out.

John and his family have been on my mind since. His parents have been good friends to us the last couple of years and they have been a wonderful support system for our boy.

photo-6Here is the boy with John and his siblings last Easter. I was so glad to have John’s family host the boy since he couldn’t fly home. John’s mom gave them all Easter baskets because you’re never too old! I love this photo.

I’ve been praying fervently for a week and a half, and though the news of Tom’s health is not good, I know that God is.

image(3)One of the things the guys have been excited about is the canvas art that I will be purchasing for their walls. I already sent in the first set of three, and now I’m working on sending a few more. These were sent to me by AJ, one of the guys in the apartment. With the exception of the last photo, they were taken by him in the back seat while the boy flew in the front seat. What a great eye he has and I can’t wait to get these printed for them.

I’m so glad the guys are doing what they are doing – flying that is. It seems to connect them in a way that also lends to a fraternal bond – as we say here at church, it’s community. The last night the husband was in North Dakota he said that while John was packing to go home, the other boys were studying their maps, giving each other practice oral exams and updating their charts for the summer session. I’m worried about them, proud of them, and praying for all of them at the same time. I know it’s life, and I also know that when we get to the other side of this life, we will be flying high – with angel wings.

Hello Canvas – The Apartment Edition

The husband has been in the great plains of Minnesota and North Dakota all weekend helping the boy to move into his apartment. They been keeping me up to date on the happenings and they are just so funny that I don’t worry about all about the little things, like how much money it will cost if the boy doesn’t get out of the dorm in time or how they are going to eat once they get into their apartment.

They worked it all out as far as I can tell.

So I turned my attention to their bare walls. The husband said the apartment seemed lacking of warmth because there is no art. They’ve only been in there since last Thursday but still – here was something to which I can contribute. So as the husband was buying the boy and his roommates a drill, a wrench set, and a plunger, I was busy trying to figure out how to fill the walls.

This is exactly how the husband and I are different.

I asked the guys how they felt about canvas art. The subjects would be of their choosing and I would take care of the logistics. Canvas art is light and easy to move, and it would help to stifle noise and reduce the echo-y feel in the apartment. They were excited – go figure.

1bI had the idea of taking the boys’ own photos that they have taken over the last couple of years and turn them into art to put into their common areas. All of them were taken on their iPhones so I had the added challenge of the processing.

2bThese were all taken while they were on their flights. The strut underneath the wing acts as a common element through these photographs.

10bThese will go into their living room as a triptych. I’ll begin with these and I will do more throughout the years – they’ve all sent me a ton!

The above photos are all taken by the boys – so special and so fun!

Where do I get my canvases? Well, from Hello Canvas – and no other. They are fantastic, no tax, no shipping, fast shipping (right to the boy), quality work – I can’t say enough about them, and no, they did not ask or pay me to say that.

Check them out – and if you want a code to place into your next order for 25% off, let me know!



Prom Night – The Cost

I’m not  making a statement on what you should pay for the prom. I am just saying what I paid – and in a year  (or two) where two children are going to college hopefully without loans (we’ll see) . . . let’s just say, it’s on my mind so therefore, it’s on my blog.

Unfortunately, I did for a period of time, let the let money mar my view on prom. And then retrospectively, I realized that I did that for all the proms that both the girl and the boy attended.

To me, the prom was never as important as a million (why do I love the word “million” so much?) other things for which I had to pay. There was retirement, college, house, cars, boats, food and movie tickets – who has resources for prom?

Not us . . .

This year, I realize I was wrong. I now know how important this rite of passage can be. I know that people move on without ever having a date to the prom or ever even attending prom. People live happy, productive lives and they never even remember the prom.

Then there’s Carrie . . . only kidding . . .

The fact that this is the last prom for us brings forth the importance of well, enjoying it and soaking it all in. The girl looked so beautiful and happy that day. And when I arrived at Sydney-girl’s house, her mother gave me a glass of Californian Merlot. It was more than perfect.

I will share the costs (as I remember and rounded up to the nearest dollar). I think we did well with sensible spending – though when added up, gulp, the numbers are a little surprising -

1. Prom tickets – $80. Yes, that’s $80. I offered to pay for the girl because I didn’t want the date (or his parents) to have to swallow the cost of the entire thing. He was very grateful and very sweet when he said thank you.

promcost12. Hair – $65 at the beauty salon. I tipped $20 because she did such a great job. I’m sure you can save this cost by doing it yourself.

promcost2But then again it was a such a beautiful side swept do. I’m not sure if I could have done this. promcost3By the way, the place was hopping that day. It was prom day! I thought the girl in the middle was my girl (I didn’t have my glasses on) and I had one of those embarrassing “Oh sorry!” moments.

promcost44. Nails – I’m not sure. She went with a friend and told me later that her friend’s mom paid for it. I was slightly aghast and said, “I hope you said thank you!” . . . I suppose it was worth whatever it cost. So pretty and so young.

promcost55. Corsage – $18 I think. The husband paid cash so I can’t be sure and he said he doesn’t remember. I’m beginning to feel like I’m the only one who is concerned about prom costs. I’m sure that the date paid more for the corsage than we did for the boutonniere so I’m grateful. It was beautiful.promcost66. The dress – the thing that we all worried about the most – $159 on Ebay. After all of the shopping we found a dress on eBay. It came in a small, medium, and large, not number sizes. Of course when it came, the dress was too big and too long so we had it tailored. That was an additional $110. It was still too big but the girl said she didn’t care, it was only one night and it wasn’t going to fall off because it had a strap over one shoulder. She was really great about it. I thought, “We paid all of that for one one night?” but I thought how wonderful it was that she wasn’t distraught about it. It’s her – she doesn’t get distraught about silly things like her mom does.

Perhaps she can wear it to a party or something. She looked beautiful though and so did all of her friends. I wonder where they got their dresses? Never mind – that ship has sailed.

promcost927. The limousine – ahhhh the limo. This BMW belongs to one of the parents and the boys thought they would look cool posing in front of it but truth be known, they’re 18 years old and their last names aren’t Kennedy. Nuff said.

Anyway – the limo didn’t show. After a lengthy discussion between the parents, we decided to drive the kids and then had another limo company pick them up.

promcost9The discussion continued with who was going to go with who and when Karly-girl came up to me and said, “I’m going with you Miss Puna.” that I decided that action was needed. I said to her, “You and me Karly, let’s go.”

So we went to my car and got in and lo and behold, four other kids piled in the back.  All the kids were driven successfully to the prom by the parents and another limousine service went to pick them up after the prom. The best part, we got a discount. Total cost – $40/kid and the date picked up the tab.

I think I like him.

So all in all – I suppose it’s not bad at all, especially for an evening that by all accounts was great fun for all. I talk a lot about rites of passage to adulthood in the times in which we live, some with which I agree and some which I don’t.

But this was fun – I’ll write more soon . . .


Some Posed Prom Shots

promposed99I wanted to post some posed photos from last weekend because the girls were so pretty and the boys so handsome. There was a lot of time, energy & resources put into this one night and I wanted them to have a wonderful time.

The above photo of the beautiful, red, white, and blue girls will start this post . . . just so pretty. The girl in the middle and my girl have been friends since elementary school.

promposed3These are the girl’s friends and the boys were great to come and take photos at this home. They were totally outnumbered.

promposed7Another of all the beautiful girls.

promposed4And another – poor boys:)

promposed6But then again – he did have the best looking date.

promposed5Be still my heart – I can’t take it.

promposed8Here is another set of friends. I don’t know any of these girls and I’m not sure the girl did either. Her date was committed to being there with his football team friends and I think these are their dates. Still, just so pretty.

promposed91I believe the girl’s date is rooming with this other boy at college. I’m not sure if it’s just me – but these football players look a lot older than regular high school kids . . .

promposed9One more of the date and his friends. I was told the two boys at the ends are twin brothers.

promposed92And now we’re at another home where I’m much more familiar with these girls. They’ve been in almost every homecoming and prom photo I have:)

promposed95Here are the field hockey girls together again.

promposed94Here is Neighbor Karly with her parents. She is the last of three girls who will be leaving home for college this year. Cudos to her parents for raising such wonderful girls. I know Neighbor Maureen is sad . . .

promposed991Here the girl with her date and two of his best friends. I just love this shot.

promposed98And finally – the girl and her date. So lovely, so pretty, so sad – I’m happy and sad at the same time.

I’m going to be a mess during graduation.


Dancing Before The Prom



dance1 The kids had a great time at the prom and it was so nice that the girl could go with all of her friends. The whole thing had a certain great chemistry – in other words, no drama. Even among the girls.

dance2And because of that – I felt the energy and the carefree mood. dance3I watched Sydney and Maddie dance in the kitchen and I was a giddy little girl again. I want to be 17 again. Wait – never mind.

So much innocent fun.

dance4I loved all of their dresses – everyone looked so beautiful. These girls love to dress up, but then again, they also knew the dresses were for one night only.

Speaking of dresses – gotta tell you about the girl’s dress soon . . .