Happy 12th Birthday, Chase!

Wow.  12.  I’m not sure how we got here.  This is scary.

I made the cake again (as is tradition).  He wanted a Fornite theme.  Here’s a picture of the cake before I dismantled it to put the candles on (with an image from the game for context/comparison):

It was a blast to watch him at his party.  His friends are so perfect for him.  I mean, words just can’t explain, so I’ll use pictures:

Now that he isn’t in elementary school anymore, he doesn’t have to do the whole “invite your whole class” thing, so it was really nice to see who his “people” are these days.  He found himself a good group of friends.  They call themselves “the squad.”  It’s awesome.

Happy Birthday to my “baby” boy!

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Another Soccer Season Over

Chloe started playing in an “Academy” league this fall, which was a little more intense as far as practice requirements and competition go.  That also meant her team grew from the original bunch to twice its size, so it has been a bit of an adjustment… but she still likes it!

Kicking for Miracles

Every year, Chase’s Tae Kwon Do studio hosts a fundraiser to raise money for Dell Childrens Hospital.  This year Chase participated and they broke 2,000 boards, raising over $13,000!

Happy Thanksgiving!

My BFF Katie hosted Thanksgiving this year… thank goodness!  I have been losing battles with cannned pumpkin these days:

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Katie did all the cooking, but she let me help whisk the gravy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  We had lots of fun this year.  Chloe entered a Harry Potter themed pumpkin in a book character contest at school.  She didn’t win but we had fun doing it!

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The kids worked on their jack-o-lanterns while I finished making their Halloween costumes (as is tradition)!

Tah Dah!  A turtle and a white wolf:

It was a terrible day weather-wise for trick-or-treating (we had to bring our umbrellas) but the kids soon learned that meant more candy for them!

Trick-or-Treat!

Goodbye, Boom Boom

We had to say goodbye to our precious Boom Boom yesterday morning. His health had rapidly declined, and at 18 years old… it was just time. We pulled a mattress downstairs the night before so the kids could sleep with him (he couldn’t do stairs anymore). He stayed between them all night. Listening to them sob over saying goodbye just ripped my heart out. Chloe gave him a treasured stuffed animal for our trip to the vet.

Boom Boom (Boomerang, technically) was THE coolest cat I have ever known. He made friends with EVERYONE. Even people who swore up and down they hated cats fell in love with him. In his younger days he played fetch and greeted me with a hug every day when I got home (like, literally stood on his hind legs and wrapped his paws around my neck). We would spoon every night…. Sometimes he was the front spoon and sometimes he was the back (seriously). I had him for 17 years… my longest relationship! Haha

He has always been in my kids’ lives (heck, Chase’s first word was “kitty!”), and was sooooo patient as they dragged him, carried him, squeezed him, jumped on him…. Best. Cat. Ever.  

This guy…. He went through lots of life changes with me. He was, in a weird way, my rock through some really difficult, lonely times.

I miss him terribly.

Loss

I was in Las Vegas this weekend, but not for vacation. I found out on August 8th that my biological father died, and I haven’t said anything because it’s a little awkward to talk about. We haven’t had a relationship for a long time so I’ve been experiencing a lot of different emotions. My brother and I are left to deal with all of the logistics and we’re doing the best we can, with the little information we have.

This weekend we were in Vegas to work on cleaning out the house where he lived with my grandparents and uncle until they died. Mom came along, too, which proves (as if anyone actually needed proof) she has the biggest heart of anyone I know. 

We uncovered a lot of memories in that house. We had fun looking through old pictures of us with our dad and grandparents…

…and getting a glimpse into our family history, reading love letter exchanges between my grandparents during the war, seeing our grandparents as a young couple, digging through old newspapers and artifacts….

We also learned more about my dad’s talents.  He used to sell jokes to Joan Rivers!  He was a great poker player and dealer, as well as writer:

We turned the loose change we found into an opportunity to gamble a little one night. (Stress relief, you know.)

I haven’t dealt with a lot of death in my lifetime but one thing I have noticed in my few experiences is that death has a way of bringing people together. My brother and I have talked more in the last month than we have in the past year. And even though the work we did this weekend wasn’t fun, we all managed to laugh together a lot. Because sometimes laughter truly is the best medicine.

It was a long and exhausting weekend but I’m so grateful for the family I do have that is always by my side, and I’m glad my dad is finally free of the inner demons he battled his whole life.

Thanks to all for the support. Let’s all honor him by living our best lives every day!

Back to School!

It’s time to go back to school!  Chase is starting middle school (6th grade), and Chloe is now in 3rd.  Their dad had them on the first day, but he was nice enough to send a picture:

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(Oh, Chloe…. When will you learn to brush your hair?  lol)

Chase is in the band this year.  He originally picked the trumpet…

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…but he did so well on that audition they kept asking him to come back and audition for other things, so he finally landed on percussion.  I can’t wait for the first band concert!

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