Kicking for Miracles!

This year’s Kicking for Miracles fundraiser was extra special. Every year Chase’s Tae Kwon Do studio raises money for Dell Children’s Hospital. They give out prizes for the top three fundraisers. The first place prize was an overnight stay and 2 days of play at Great Wolf Lodge, second place was a pack of Texas Stars hockey game tickets and a meet and greet with the players, and third place was Beats headphones. Chase really wanted to win first place to give our family a weekend of fun, so I hit up my wonderful friends and family on Facebook. They donated $400 to the cause! Both of the kids then contributed, we cashed in our bucket of coins, and I rounded it up to $500 from there. When we turned in our money we found out two other students donated over $1,000, so we thought we were out of the running.

The day of the event they started the announcement of winners. They started with, “In third place, with a donation of $500…” and I grabbed Chase’s arm. We just stared at each other, wide-eyed, and then they said his name. He was beaming. Sure, it wasn’t a trip to Great Wolf Lodge, but he really wanted those headphones. In fact, I had already put them in my Amazon shopping cart for Christmas, after hearing him talk about them so much. (And man am I glad I didn’t have to pay for them!)

It seems kind of silly but I cried watching him run up there to get his headphones. I hadn’t seen him beam like that in awhile and it was just nice to see pure joy come out of him. It was a ray of light through the clouds in his life these days. I am so thankful for all the friends and family who donated to the cause. All together the event raised over $16,000 (and both kids had fun breaking boards, too)!

Round Rock’s Christmas Family Night

The kids and I went to Round Rock’s Christmas Family Night tonight. What a great event! Beautiful lights, FREE food and games (what?!?)…! I don’t have pictures of Chase because he met up with a friend there and they ran away.

Blue Man Group!

As is tradition, I gave Chase a birthday “experience” versus gifts this year. I asked him if it was OK to give him an early gift and luckily he said yes, because we got to go see Blue Man Group! Chase is a percussionist and lover of all things weird, so I knew it would be right up his alley. We had an awesome time, and afterwards Chase was able to get his picture taken with the drummer and guitar player, as well as one of the blue men! Then we finished the day with a giant slice of pizza downtown.

These one-on-one experiences are so precious to me, and I absolutely love that they love them, too! Happy early birthday, Chase!

Brian’s Birthday

Today would have been the Brian’s 42nd birthday so we decided to do things he would enjoy today. He was really into home projects the last couple years so Chloe chose to honor him by helping me give my bathroom a face lift. Chase suggested a movie because he loved movies, and Chloe said he took them to a drive-in recently. So we checked out the movies playing at the Blue Starlite and it just happened to be showing one of his favorite Christmas movies: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Overall I’d say today was a win.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! We started our day volunteering at Operation Turkey, delivering Thanksgiving meals to those less fortunate. It was such a great experience, and the kids and I decided we would make it a tradition from here on out.

Later in the afternoon we were invited to my good friend Celeste’s house, where her fiance made a full turkey dinner for the four of us. It was so delicious, and so thoughtful of them to invite us over so I didn’t have to worry about preparing anything.

This year I am thankful for my amazing kids, friends, family, new traditions, and the support we have all around us. When bad stuff happens, good people just come out of the woodwork to show they care. It’s a really amazing thing to experience.

Downtown Fun

I decided this year for Thanksgiving we needed to do something positive because everyone keeps saying holidays are the hardest after someone close to you dies. I did some searching for volunteer opportunities and signed us up for Operation Turkey, an organization that provides Thanksgiving meals to the homeless and less fortunate. We went downtown for an orientation and just goofed around a bit before heading home. I asked the kids to recreate a photo for me that appeared in my Timehop app (from 8 years ago) and the result is hilarious!

Renaissance Festival

We decided to get away for the weekend to try to have a little fun, after all we’ve been going through lately. We met up with my BFF Katie and her crew at the Renaissance Festival! Overall we had a good time. Chloe had a hard time because their dad used to take them there a lot, but we got through it. Life is going to be full of moments like that, where things just don’t feel the same for them. All we can do is power through and take things one step at a time….

Dog Therapy

My kids lost their dad at the end of October. My heart just breaks for them. We adopted his (the kids’) dogs and my brother came down from Idaho to help out. I was terrified about taking the dogs. I have always been a cat person, and have never wanted a dog… let alone two. At once.

I knew very little about them. How much do they eat? When do they eat? How do I know when they have to go out? How often do they go out? I was very grateful to have my brother here to answer what seemed like incredibly stupid questions. Brian’s sister and her husband also came that weekend to take care of some things and they helped me get my backyard “dog ready” by fixing my gates so they latched, and plugging gaps under the fence where the dogs could dig themselves out (because apparently they have a reputation of being escape artists).

The dogs were taken to the animal shelter upon Brian’s death, so we picked them up there. The butterflies in my stomach as we pulled into the parking lot were unreal.

But you know what? It didn’t take long to realize that these dogs are therapists with fur. My kids were so excited to see them. Alexia (the bigger, more chill one) is unofficially Chloe’s, and Cisco (the smaller, crazier one) is unofficially Chase’s. They sleep with them every night, and sometimes through the door I can hear Chloe talking to Alexia. She told me she likes to try to explain to Alexia what happened to dad, because she is probably confused about why they had to move. How beautiful is that? She has taken it upon herself to make sure they feel at home here.

Chase is stepping up to help, too. He showers them with kisses (it’s quite disgusting, actually, because Cisco kisses him back!), takes them outside, scoops poop… all the fun stuff!

They will be going away to “training camp” for a bit to learn some basics so we can walk them (vs. letting them walk us), and they can learn to sit/stay/etc. But I am already falling in love with them….

Halloween!

We had several Halloween activities this year. Chloe decorated a pumpkin for her school’s annual book character pumpkin contest, we went to Pioneer Farms’ haunted trails, and of course there was Trick-or-Treating! This is the first year in a long time I didn’t make Chase’s costume, because his costume request was very specific and there was just no way. My talents have limits! I did, however, get to make Chloe’s. She was a puppy!

The kids each invited a friend Trick-or-Treating this year, and we went to a record-breaking number of houses. The kids made out like BANDITS. At one point Chloe and her friend asked a house for a plastic bag so they could empty their buckets’ contents and “start over”. Chloe then pointed out that she was getting even more candy, because people thought she didn’t have any and felt sorry for her. Man….

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