26 May 2012

So big

It seems not long ago that we were playing this game with Walter:  "How big is Walter?  SO big!"
Well, now he really truly is SO big.  Just look at him! He is wearing a pair of John's shoes and one of John's belts.  How on earth did this happen?
Do you like his fake smile?  He really really did not want me to take a picture, but I insisted.  Mother's prerogative.  Also, we did fix his tie.  It was not askew all night.  In case you worried.
Last night was his middle school awards night and 8th grade promotion.  It was such a wonderful ceremony, which I, sadly, was not able to attend.  John was there, but I was at the homestead, overseeing the end of a baseball game, dinner and bedtime for Lucy.
However, I did get an exciting text from John as I watched Theo play baseball.
It said, "Walter got MVP for baseball!"
WOW!  Before he left, Walt was grumping around a bit, saying that he wasn't going to get any award and why should he go?
Then this.  
Now, I know some may think, "It's only a sports award.  Big deal.  It's only middle school.  Big deal."
No way, Jose. 
As I may have alluded, Walter is not very keen on our move to Texas.  I truly empathize with him:  he is the oldest, he is the most established at his school, and he thought that he would be at his current school until he graduates in 2016. So, for him to get his recognition in 8th grade, before we move, in his very favorite sport of all, feels like a pretty big deal.  At least to this mama it is, and it made me get a little teary as I read that text.
Thank you, Lord, for encouraging my dear son.

As part of the 8th grade promotion, each student is given a word, a character trait, that the faculty feels best describes him or her.  This tradition is unique and meaningful, and gives parents a glimpse into what their child is like away from home.  For us, we are so glad that Walter's word describes him at school, for it is an attribute that sometimes feels lacking at home.  His word was:  willingness.  John and I are gratified that his teachers see this in Walter, and we hope that it will come more to the fore as he grows and matures.

We are ever, ever so grateful for Walter's school.  Part of the deep pain of leaving here is having to leave a school that has loved Walter and our family so well for the past two years.  We were looking forward to many more years together; we will entrust those years to the Lord and watch for what He has for Walter in particular, and for the rest of our dear children.

As I mentioned, Walter is not really one for pictures, but here is one I managed to get* of him with his friend named...Walter.  Walter S., no less.  In fact, in baseball, the coach had them come up with nicknames so that he could distinguish them, as using the last initial wasn't going to work.  
Walter's moniker?  Vlad.  Don't ask me where that came from, but it really did stick on the baseball team, for two years!
I just about teared up when I was thanking his science teacher, and she told me that she just loves him, and has seen so much growth in him over the last two years.
AHHH!  Not ready for the tears to come just yet!  
We are proud of that guy, and really, really glad that we get to be his parents.

*Oh, wondering how I snapped a picture when I wasn't at the ceremony?  I came at the end to pick up John and Walt, so I had a few minutes to socialize.  Problem solved.

25 May 2012

I Heart NY

My trip to NYC last weekend was so wonderful!  I had never spent time with my brother and his fiancee without any children around and IT WAS SO FUN!  We could chat freely, walk as far as we wanted to, stay up late, eat at weird times, browse in stores without worrying about boredom or things breaking.
We were just starting to hit our stride when I had to catch the bus to come home!  Oh well.  I am really hoping that we get one more chance to be in the city before we leave the East coast.

Saturday afternoon my bro and I made it to my friend Elizabeth's show.  It was in Brooklyn at a hip little theater space.  What a privilege to see her show, ask her questions about her art, and participate in all her creativity.

The artist speaks to her husband before the show.  Don't worry, she's not that blurry in real life. 
That's what I always say.
After the show, Clayton and I wandered around Brooklyn, people-watching and window-shopping.  And actual shopping.  I got some sweet shades for $10.  Robin met up with us and we had dinner at a place called Papasito's.  Good stuff.

After dinner we decided to walk home by way of the Pulaski Bridge.  I loved that Clay and Robin could show me some of their favorite things about where they live.

The next morning Robin made us a yummy brunch and we set off for Uniqlo.  I had seen ads for this store and wanted to go for a visit.  I loved it!  Higher quality than H & M but prices just as good.  You can't beat New York for the shopping experience.  It is so much fun.

Do you see Robin leaning up against that pillar on the right?  She was waiting for me.
Then I had to RUSH off to catch my bus back to Boston, but not without getting a hot dog for the road!  I also got a picture with the hot dog man.  

Oh, there are my new shades!  I love that it is perfectly acceptable to be a tourist in New York.  Everyone is used to it. 
After almost getting on the WRONG BUS, I said a hasty good-bye to my lovely hosts.  Aren't they the cutest?  Thanks for having me, you cool cats.  

19 May 2012

On the road again

Can you believe that I am on the road again? By the way, that song by Willie Nelson always brings me back to elementary school and learning to do country swing dance in P.E. Little known fact: I was a country swing champion in elementary school. My classmate, Mark Crowley, and I would win every contest we ever had. Good times back in the day, I tell ya.
Anyway, I am on the bus heading down to New York City. This trip has been on the books since last fall when my dear college friend and dancer/artist/choreographer, Elizabeth, let us know that she would be presenting a major work this weekend. Little did we realize at the time that this trip would fall just after my trip to Texas and two weekends away at retreats. My poor little family. They are beginning to think that I just spend all my weekends away.
I am so grateful for my dear husband who bravely held down the fort while I was in Texas, despite coming down with a stomach bug and then a cold. He did not complain once about my going away again just two days after returning home. He is the bomb. He EVEN had all the laundry done and FOLDED when I got home late Wednesday night! Winning!
So far this bus ride is pretty pleasant. The seats are comfy, it is pretty quiet in here, and it is a gorgeous day outside! I am really excited to get to New York, see my brother and his fiancee (properly pronounced "figh-ance" -- name that movie!). I feel fortunate to be able to support my friends in their art, as well. I can't wait to be there.
Update: John just called me from Fast Phil's, the best barber shop in Cambridge. We take all of our kids there for cuts, including Lucy. I asked John to take Lucy for a cut today so she can look extra cute at her spring concert on Monday. He was nervous about explaining to Cindy how to cut her hair -- so Cindy just got on the phone with me to clarify how I wanted her to do it! I love that place. I am thinking it deserves its own blog post before we move..
Hope you have a great Saturday! Updates to come...

18 May 2012

Baseball season

One would hardly know it is baseball season with the number of games that we have had rained out so far!
Walter's school season is almost over and they haven't played their last four games.  Poor kids; they just want to get out and play!
Theo has had a bit more luck with his team, the Texas A & M Aggies.  You cannot begin to imagine his dismay when he found out that he was on the team that is the arch rival of the Texas Longhorns!  Happily, he got over it and has been able to really enjoy himself so far this season.
And for Lucy, all the time at the playgrounds is just icing on the cake.  

17 May 2012

Reconnaissance mission

So, for those of you just tuning in, we are moving in July.  We are leaving Boston and going to Kerrville, Texas.  Never heard of it? Here's a handy dandy little article that will get you up to date. 
So last weekend I was on a mission in Kerrville, searching for a home for our family, as well as checking out schools for the kiddos.  The plan was that I would hang out with my in-laws, who are staying with their friends, the Mosers, on their ranch.  Fine and dandy.
But something happened the day before I was to leave.  My lovely sister-in-law, Luz, pregnant with twins, was suddenly admitted to the hospital with very high blood pressure and her doctors determined that those sweet babies needed to come out!  Naturally, my in-laws high-tailed it down to Houston to be there for the blessed arrival, as they should have!
The only thing for me was that I was now facing a trip to a new, unknown town, and with no one to be my sounding board.  (Cue the violins.)  While I was sad and a bit apprehensive about trying to accomplish so many important things alone, I knew that it would be okay.  I planned to just put on my big girl panties and do it!
However, when my mom caught wind of the fact that I would be trying to do all this alone, she didn't like that one bit and offered to fly out to Kerrville on Sunday. I said, "Yes, please!"  Yay!  So now, as I left Boston early on Friday, I had the wonderful prospect of seeing my own mom, and on Mother's Day, no less!  I hadn't seen her since July, so this was no small treat.
Fast forward to Friday midday.  I have arrived in San Antonio, rented a car and am just about to Kerrville (about an hour's drive).  I decide to check in with my mother-in-law and see how our new babies are doing (Joaquin and Carmela are doing fine, by the way!).  She answers her phone and says, "Well, I was about to call you.  I am on my way to Kerrville."  
What?!?  She had decided that the babies were in good hands for the next few days, and she was driving from Houston to Kerrville because she just couldn't stand the idea of my being all alone and trying to accomplish so much.  Wow, now I was not only going to see my own mother, but my mother-in-law as well.  Blessings abound!
All told, I had two great days with Judy, my mother-in-law, and almost three days with my mom. 
Besides driving around A LOT in order to orient myself to the town, here is what we did:
* ate Mother's Day brunch at "the club"
* had Mother's Day champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries courtesy of Judy!  
* saw some really ugly houses and some really lovely houses
* toured six schools, three public, two Catholic and one Protestant
* went to Starbucks to use their internet
* ate at Chili's, something I said I would never do after boycotting it over 18 years ago (it really wasn't that bad)
* went to Walmart just because I could
* ate dinner with some lovely and smart artist women
* saw lots and lots of deer (and cows and pretty birds)
* dined along the green waters of the Guadalupe River
* went to Sonic because I could
* enjoyed the sunsets and the landscapes
* went to worship in Boerne, the next town over, and met with lots of our new church people!

In case you are wondering, nothing has been decided.  There are some housing possibilities, but no lease has been signed.  Still waiting to hear about financial aid before making school decisions.
Gladly, I did not have school today and was able to spend some time catching up on life and trying to wrap my head around the last week.  I know that the Lord goes before us, and He will show us the way!

Well, that didn't happen as planned.

Why, hello there! I am back from Tejas, and so sad that I did not manage to post on the blog while I was there.
I have got lots of great things to tell you about, but here are just some photos to whet your appetite.  Some of the week's highlights include seeing not only my dear mother-in-law but my very own mother on Mother's Day, hearing many, many, many times how much we are going to love living in Kerrville (or Kirbyville, as my students insist on calling it), enjoying a rain storm along the banks of the Guadalupe River, and touring six schools in three days.  Hope to be able to write more tonight!