Better get started...

Tonight at dinner, Noah announced he had to finish 30 books this year. Back to that in a minute.

 In third grade Noah loved reading and I really thought he was going to have a lifetime love affair with books like his Rotton family (and his momma too) does. he read the Harry Potter books, Rick Riordan, and countless chapter books. 

In fourth grade it was a struggle for him. In today's culture it's hard to tell a kid to not go outside and play so we didn't. Last year Noah played and played hard until bedtime almost every day he had free. When he went to his bedroom to read 30 minutes before bed he'd almost instantly drift off to sleep. It wasn't long before he "had" to read to complete assignments and of course the joy of reading quickly vanished.  

Back to 30 books this year. If they are 300 pages they can count as two so it isn't as bad as it seems but we did the math for him tonight. That's 7.5 books per 9 weeks or almost a book a week. He has a book he started last weekend. He's on page 22. He said he had to get started and marched upstairs. We'll find out if it is the 3rd grade or 4th grade Noah that starts book number 2. Fingers crossed. 

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An Ode to Valerie

An Ode to Valerie


This is the story of our friend on the trail,

Who went too fast and had to bail!


It started with friends, laughter and stories told,

Those types of days never get old. 


Then dinner and many more miles,

leaving nothing in our wake except music and smiles.


Almost dark and good times had one more chance,

Valerie said, “I’ll ride like the Tour de France!”


We parted ways and down the hill in a flash

The birds flew off from her awful crash!


Her husband, so brave and strong,

couldn’t figure out what went wrong. 


Traumatized and full of doubt,

He called back his friends, “Val wiped out!”


We arrived and the leg didn't look like it should,

The friends held her hand "this can't be good."


They waited (not so quietly) in the dark,

While the paramedics found a nice place to park.


One EMT, said “Wow, this is no joke!”

The other was thoughtful, “Ma’am we think your leg is broke!” 


Never losing control, Val chose her med,

And off she went to her shiny hospital bed. 


Now she sits in a medicine induced stupor,

“I wonder if we should’ve called Uber?”


Her misadventure is a cautionary tale gone by,

This can happen when you ride a bike...and try to fly.

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Noah the whale shark

Saturday after Noah’s swim meet at UA, he and I went to eat. Jenna and Cam went to Rachel Platten's concert so it was just the two of us. I offered every place in Fayetteville I hadn’t been to in awhile.
He wanted seafood so BAM-off to Powerhouse we go. First thing he saw was the calamari. He was so excited to try squid. We have always been proud of how he will try anything so as a parent, you have to reinforce that right? So we order the squid for an appetizer. He asked if he could order a non-kid’s meal and after the day he had we were both a little excited so I acquiesced. 
He had his eye immediately on the Orleans Feast. It' funny because it has been a long tradition of mine when in a restaurant, the best things on any menu have “feast”, “admiral”, or “chef” in the title. I've yet to pass this knowledge down to my offspring so it was nice to see the DNA figured it out on its own. The Orleans Feast is a blackened piece of the fish of the day, covered in sautéed crab meat, sautéed shrimp, and blackened oysters on top. I gave him a long look. Finally I said ok, but I was going to order something smaller so I could finish his "feast." Then he ordered fried mushrooms as his side (an upcharge of course) and I’m now regretting letting him look at the stupid menu. 
The squid comes and I show him the different pieces from the end cap (head), to the body and why its hollow, and finally to the little crusty tentacles. His first bite had some trepidation, but after his eyes lit up he scooted the plate closer to him. He ate 3/4 of it and if I hadn’t grabbed a few handfuls it would’ve been more than that. He polished the squid off with he 2 pieces of cornbread with enough butter on them to choke most mammals. He would've gone for 3 pieces but his feast arrived, I look at my small order of pepper shrimp and I couldn’t wait for him to pass over his left overs. The kids stomach has to be close to popping… right?
Wrong. After declaring to the waitress the oysters were like a mushy steak but just as awesome, he tore into the meal like someone was going to take it away at any moment. At one point he went to the bathroom and when he came back he accused me of eating a couple of his mushrooms. Yes son I ate them, I”M STARVING OVER HERE! 
In the end he had a piece left he couldn’t finish.  About half the size of my iPhone. I can understand why they talk about swimmers eating so much. Michael Phelps' calorie intake is legendary. I just didn’t think it would filter down to my 10 year old after a day of 4 events. I mean he only swam 400 meters all day!
He told me thanks a thousand times but I told him no more boys nights for us. Date nights with his mom are a lot cheaper and I don't leave hungry. 

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2016 Vacation Bible School

With Jenna's new contract back in Springdale being a week shorter she was able to be a lead teacher at VBS again. She also got the bonus of having Campbell in her group. All week we soaked in the praises from people about our kids. There is nothing like unsolicited praise about your child. Campbell makes friends so easily she's going to run for office one day. Noah's leader said he volunteered to pray every single day for his group.  It is so hard to stand up and spontaneously speak to 100 mostly strangers but its another to spontaneously pray in front of them. I'm so proud of both of them. Here is the video of Sunday's celebration. Cam is middle row to the right and Noah speaks at the 26:20 mark. 

Random Summer Fun-2016

Jenna has to keep reminding me we are only 2 weeks into June. It already feels like summer is flying by us!

Campbell as a kitten-Cinderella

Campbell's ballet school doesn't do a recital in the spring. They do a performance. This year was a twist on Cinderella. It was really enjoyable. Especially the kittens. 

Noah the 10 year old! Wait---what?

Sigh-I guess it was inevitable. Our sweet, baby boy turned a decade. By an unfortunate quirk of the calendar, Noah's birthday fell on Mother's Day this year. While difficult for his mother to share the day with him, it was fitting since his birth made her a mother. We were scared it wouldn't feel special to him so we decided to make the day before, Noah's celebration day. 

He had a small swim meet that morning so he got some time with his buddies. Then the day became all about him. Jenna got 10 things that were either his favorite of something (i.e. candy) or an expression of a favorite. Then we put hints on strips of paper and put them in 10 balloons. He randomly got to pick a balloon, pop it, read the paper, and then collect the gift. They were all fun. He got Jolly Ranchers (favorite candy), a Camaro road sign (favorite car), a Sonic card (favorite drink), new athletic clothes that were neon green (favorite color), a caricature of him swimming (favorite sport), and on and on. It finished with favorite hobbies, climbing and gaming. For climbing we told him we were going down to Casa Pollo in Fayetteville to hit the walls and for gaming he got his own laptop. The day ending with tacos for his favorite food. It was a such a fun, creative day. Jenna was really on her game for this one. 

The weekend was also full of messages, texts, and Facetimes of Happy Birthday's. He's a lucky boy to be loved by so many. Not as lucky as we are to have him though. I couldn't be more proud of the man he's becoming. 

I can't wait to see where the next 10 years take him.......WAIT! I didn't mean that-please slow time down! I know it won't. He'll be our baby boy forever no matter what the calendar says.

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I Did My Best

With Jenna gone, I've had to fix Campbell's hair the past two days. Yesterday morning she stood in front of her mothers vanity while I brushed it and then popped it into the ONE thing I can do-a ponytail. She turned around and said "No Daddy I'm wearing a braid today." She must have seen the look on my face because she quickly went into the explanation of splitting it into three and mimicking what to do. I'd seen it done so I shrugged and went to work. 

The first attempt had about 3 turnovers (even Google doesn't seem to know what each part of the braid is called) and it was real loose. "You have to do it higher and make sure all 3 are the same size." Her patience was amazing. I nodded and did it again. It wasn't as bad but it also didn't go straight down her head. She looked in the mirror.  

Then she turned around to where I was sitting in Jenna's chair, PUT HER HAND ON MY SHOULDER, and said, "You know I'm kind of in the mood to wear my hair in a ponytail." 

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Hogeye 2016

Jenna ran a leg of the relay section of the Hogeye relay a few weekends back. It's always an interesting to spend a weekend around healthy people partaking in a big exercise event.  The buzz surrounding them is contagious. The kids definitely felt it too. They already circled a couple of races they can do in the coming few months. They were very proud of their momma. 

2016 Multi-Cultural Dance

Each year the kids' school has a combined Music/PE curriculum where they learn dances from different cultures. This was Campbell's first year and she got to do the macarena. Oh the memories of seedy bars in Leesville, LA and that song...but I digress. This may have been her favorite thing she's learned all year.  Noah was pretty mum until the day they got to show off what they learned for parents and then even he was excited. 

Hello Spring-2016

Still not officially here but try telling that to my allergies.  Everything is blooming like crazy. I think our roses will have flowers before April at this rate.  This coming weekend the kids and I are planning our garden.  Mom wants tomatoes. Cam and I want cucumbers. We all want squash. Noah wants...carrots. Not sure about that one. This past weekend was a dream. Sunshine but enough rain earlier in the week knocked most of the allergens out of the air to make outside bearable. On Sunday we went for a family bike ride to downtown Springdale and let the kids play at the park and then we ate tacos at Black Apple Crossing cidery. It was a great afternoon.