Category Archives: The Teenage Life

Yikes, She Says

princess1The husband was looking through some photos for the boy and found the above. This was the girl’s five year old birthday party. We had a princess dress up tea party and I invited a bunch of her little friends. We had a dress up session along with a runway show. It’s funny at even at five years old, she was so shy that she refused to walk the runway even when all her little friends were hamming it up.

After the show, she was the guest of honor at a tea party where they tasted different little sandwiches and drank tea of our flowered tea cups. I’m going to have to dig out those photos.

It was my last chance to get her into a princess dress and crown. It was so cute at the time, but I look back now and I think of how different she is now.

transformationtuesdaySee what I mean? Us moms, we’re just crazy aren’t we? Ha!

princess2I sent her the photo and as her dad and I fawned over the pic, she said, “Yikes.”

Not that’s more like her:)

All Creatures Slimy, Crawly & Strange

flip3My girl as never been intimated by any animal. She has always been fascinated – frankly she makes me nervous.

creatures1There were times when I felt her curiosity puts her in danger. Alright – maybe not danger per se, but in situations that would intimate most people.

creatures5Last weekend while on our visit to my hometown, I took all the cousins to the stream where they went exploring.

creatures8The girls started wading into the stream further and further.

creatures6Then I see this – I wondered what she was doing. Look at her hair in the water! It must be something really fascinating –

creatures7“Look Mama!,” she says. It’s a crawfish shell. Absolutely fascinating.

Well – not really.

creatures3So then she waded back into the water and found a live crawfish which caused a lot of squealing of delight.

creatures4Look at this thing! Ugh! After “playing” with it for a while, they let it go. It’s probably traumatized.

creatures2We found another snake skin. I wanted to get out of there!

creatures9Here are a couple more creatures we saw last weekend. Anyone know what kind of spider this is?

creatures91Look at this beautiful dragon fly. I finally caught him with his wings open.

creatures92I spy a fly –

Anyone else itching?


The Flip


The boy came home last Friday for the summer. I know that summer is almost over but that’s how it goes. I spent a lot of years praying for independence and now I’m asking him if he is ever coming home. He spent the week in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, flew in last Friday, switched out his suitcase and then we drove the 7 hours to Pennsylvania to my home town.

This photo was at Uncle Ed’s and before his hair cut. Speaking of hair, check out the flip by the girl. Girls are really funny when they prep for a photo.


Beautiful. Brother & sister together again. They claimed they didn’t dress alike on purpose.

flip3And then there’s this. The girl is totally fascinated by reptiles, snakes, and various gross¬† creepy crawling creatures. All I know is that she didn’t get it from me.


A Fan Club

ashow94A lot of folks came out to watch the girl compete last weekend. The crowd went wild!

ashow6Well, maybe not wild per se . . .

The prom date’s father came to watch for a bit. I don’t know what he’s saying to her but she’s perhaps smiling too much at the boy to notice.

ashow7The best friend’s father came to watch as well that day. For some reason, the dads were out in full force.

ashow991Sydney-girl was so supportive of the girl. Even when the girl didn’t do so well she was lifting her up with encouraging words. Just like a good friend would.

ashow992And then she walked with her back and forth, back and forth. She went way and beyond – so sweet.

ashow993In the meantime, the crowd was getting restless between events and started climbing the sand pile instead. Little Matt was so cute, he kept saying, “where’s (the girl?) Is she going to come in first?”

We all hope so, but it doesn’t always happen that way unfortunately…

ashow994Sophie-girl used to ride on the team but now is riding at the collegiate level. She continues to support the girl in her riding endeavors though. This girl was a leader to the team and continues to be so still even after graduating. She’s going to be president one day!

ashow99Here’s her biggest fan though. It’s her dad, giving her horseback riding advice, or maybe he’s just telling her not to fall off.

ashow96She was determined to perform well for her fans.

ashow92And I know she was appreciative of all the support even though her performance may not have been all she hoped for.

ashow93To her mamma and all her fans, she was perfect!

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.