An Engagement, a Prom and a Birthday

  

I have learned that it is much more difficult to parent older children, especially adult children, more so than smaller ones. I’m not downplaying the difficulty of raising little ones. Raising little ones is more of a physical drain whereas raising older ones is an emotional one.  Yet, all of is more gratifying than most anything else you’ll experience in life.

I remember those days when my kiddos were little and learning to ride a bike. It was hard in its own way but mama had control of it all. When your kids are older, you must parent with little to no control over their lives. Letting go is hard.

Within one week, my oldest got engaged, my youngest went to his first prom and he also turned 17.  It feels very surreal; like being in some sort of time warp or maybe an out of body experience.  At times I feel like I’m hovering above my life looking down and not really even recognizing it.  It seems like everything is changing all at once but I guess that how life goes, right?  “Children grow old and then they leave.” -Parker Millsap, Homeless.  Just sitting over here trying to adjust.

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Sixteen

Danica and Trey Po Disney SignHot Air Balloon Danica in Zero Nell 1970 Nell and Dee Matching Shirts Typhoon Lagoon Trey and Grumpy Donald Nell Flower Wall Steve and Trey Donkey King Trey on Bus Nell and Trey Pop Century Nell 70

This amazing young man is now 16. I remember very clearly the day that he was born. There wasn’t much toil. There wasn’t much labor. In just five hours short hours he made his appearance into the world at 10:35 on a Tuesday night. I couldn’t believe that I had a long, skinny, blonde hair, blue eyed baby.

As I’ve mentioned here on the blog previously, when I was raising my babies, I looked too much into the future and did not enjoy the moment. This is definitely one of my regrets. That being said, one of the things I did right was when Trey was a baby. I had a sinking feeling that he would be my last and every single night, when I rocked him to bed, I held him extra tight and extra long and just gazed at him as he slept in my arms. I didn’t want to put him in the bed before I absolutely had to. I treasure those deep longing moments with him cuddled in my arms sleeping. If I close my eyes and think really hard, I can still see that sweet baby face in my mind.

How to fast time flies. It seems that you blink and suddenly your baby; your youngest is 16 and and in high school.

In those younger days we was all boy and very hard to keep up with. He made us laugh all the time. I guess looking back he’s always been the “funny guy”. This kid was ALWAYS hungry; so hungry, in fact, he wanted to eat every 30 minutes yet spit out all of his vegetables.

Today, he loves football, working out, laying in bed and watching TV,  playing video games, going to water parks and eating.  He is a thoughtful, considerate and kind young man.  He considers my feelings.  He thanks me every night for cooking him dinner.  He apologies when he thinks that he has upset me.  What mother of a 16 year old boy can say that? Not many! I am blessed beyond measure.  Trey is excelling academically, socially and athletically.  I am so very excited about the amazing young man he is becoming and am so grateful to be on this journey with him as his mom.  I think he is just down right pretty darn awesome!

Happy 16, bud!  Here’s to many more together.  I love you!

*Since he loves water parks, we did a weekend trip to the Disney water parks in Orlando to celebrate.  

Life Without Internet

Burning PaperBuilding Blocks Trey Playing in the Fire Terrorizing the Cat

Our home entertainment options are solely based on the internet.  This means that when then internet goes down, all entertainment options go with it; no tv, video games, computer, Skype, etc.  So this is what a weekend with two teenagers and no internet looks like.  The kids threw their old school work into the fire in our new fire pit page by page.  The boys pulled out some old building blocks and made Lord of the Rings towers.  Because just building the towers wasn’t enough, they had to make them crash and video it in slow motion (which actually looked pretty cool, I must admit).  Things got really desperate when we resorted to putting on gorilla slippers and terrorizing the cats.

I’m not a big TV watcher but do spend way too much time on my phone and on blogs.  To be honest, I really enjoyed not having internet. Our teenagers spent time just hanging out with us with no distractions.   Overall we have way too many entertainment options and way too many distractions.  This weekend we were forced to unplug but I would choose to do it again anytime.

July

A photo of my children every month :: July

D and Jake Trey July After Baptism

Dee {17 years and 4 months}:
After having a long distance relationship between Belgium and the U.S. for a full year, Dee’s boyfriend came for a visit.  It was a joy getting to know him.  They spent the two weeks going on dates, hanging out watching tv and going to church camp.

Trey {14 years and 2 months}:
I am so proud of this kid! He went to church camp and recommitted his life to Christ.

They Are Home

Back from Cali

After being gone nearly a month to California, my kids are home. The hubs and I had nice quality time alone but, it is great to have them back where they belong. Our family is whole again.

As a bonus, my parents flew back with them to close on their retirement home here in Florida! I am so excited for them and excited that they will live nearby soon. Check back for more details on this in the near future.

June

A photo of my children every month :: June

D in a Hat papa and trey fishing

Dee {17 years and 3 months}:
They spent the entire month of June in California with my parents.  They got to do so many cool things together but she got some special treatment alone like breakfast in bed and a girls day manicure/pedicure with my mom.  She had a blast but is looking forward to the next chapter of her summer.  Her boyfriend (who she hasn’t seen in a year) comes back from Belgium, she has church camp and then gets to go on a trip with her boyfriend and his parents to get him setup for college.  She’s beyond excited.

Trey {14 years and 1 month}:
They spent the entire month of June in California with my parents.  Trey got special treatment in California by going on fishing excursions with my dad.  He had a so much fun but is looking forward to coming home and starting football next week.  Also, he is now just a tad bit taller than my dad.  He is growing so fast!

Kids Retreat

The kids have been gone now for three weeks. These times are always bittersweet. It is nice to have alone time with my husband but I do miss my children terribly. We always consider that a husband and wife need the time alone and away from the children. But in all honesty the children need time away from us. It allows them to get a break, a change of scenery and to refresh. Being apart allows the kids and parents the opportunity to miss and appreciate all the little things about each other. Being apart for a month of time has allowed us to understand and truly appreciate what each person really brings to the family and to our household.

I know for certain that this time has allowed my children to bond with my parents which indefinitely means that they are getting spoiled beyond measure. A good example is recently my mom asked me, “how do you cook for these children. They are so picky about what they eat.” My response to her was, “I cook whatever I decide to and the eat it.” Apparently my mom is going above and beyond and cooking many different things to give them what they want. Bless her heart. She truly is the sweetest grandmother to my children. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen any other grandparents more engaged in their grandchildren’s lives. We are all blessed beyond measure to have them.

So they truly have had such a great time visiting with their grandparents. They’ve done a week long camping trip, they took a trip to San Francisco, they went to the movies, they’ve been bowling and they swim in the backyard pool more times than anyone could count. Yes, they will certainly come back spoiled. But in all honesty this trip will be great for everyone. Family is so important and these are the opportunities we have to build bonds and relationships with each other.
kids in san franD wake boarding

May

A photo of my children every month :: May

May Danica May Trey

Dee {17 years and 2 months}:
May is big month with end of year exams, scheduled SAT’s and AP exams. It’s also the month that the seniors complete high school and the juniors are crowned as seniors. My girl is officially a senior. Let the tears begin!

Trey {14 years}:
May is Trey’s birthday month. He turned 14 in May and the one thing he wanted to do was try archery lessons. He did his first lesson on his birthday and as usual did an amazing job. This kid is just naturally good at sports right out of the gate. It blows my mind! So proud of him.

The Senior Year Journey Begins

Senior CrownD in Senior Crown

This week is senior crowning week for my daughter. All the graduating seniors are officially done with school and gone from campus and the juniors are crowned “official” seniors of the high school. Granted the crowns are simply black Burger King crowns that the students decorate but they are much more than that symbolically. This crown marks a right of passage and a huge milestone for Dee. She is officially a senior. This crowning marks the beginning of her senior year and therefore the beginning of much emotion and crying for me. Senior year will be filled with figuring out college, scholarships, clubs, grades, ACT’s, SAT’s, expenses, etc. But more than that it will involve my sweet girl moving into adulthood.

Let the tears begin. I need to start stocking up on kleenex now!

After School :: Fisheye View

Home Entrance ViewD in Room on Skype Fisheye Kitchen Cooking Fisheye Trey attacking D at door
I ordered a couple of new lenses for my DSLR; a fisheye lens being one of them. I thought I’d take some after school pics around the house to try it out.  Our after school activities involve a lot of crock pot cooking, boyfriend Skyping and sister tormenting.