Summer Fun Camps or Why They Do What They Do

As of tonight, the summer is already one week gone.  But what a fun week it has been!

We began the first week of summer with an early 15th birthday party for SonShine at Top Golf – it was a BLAST!!

Coach going the extra mile (or 180 miles) to be together.

Coach going the extra mile (or 180 miles) to be together.

I knew the boys (young, middle, and old alike) would enjoy a golf party filled with a high-tech driving range, micro-chipped golf balls for tracking shots and besting your loved ones (in our family EVERYTHING is a healthy competition!), continuous wait staff that never lets you go thirsty nor hungry, an extra TV for watching the Finals, and comfy couches for lounging when it is someone else’s turn on the hitting mat.

Uncle Shaun giving lessons on how it's done.

Uncle Shaun giving lessons on how it’s done.

W getting lined up just right.

W getting lined up just right.

And they did love it!  But what really impressed me was the way Angel Girl and our Sweet Sophie jumped right in and started swinging away – they were really, really good!  I also loved how the rest of us “non-golfies” gave the mat a try but also relaxed, ate, listened to music, and had time to just sit and visit.

Clara Belle, Sweet Sophie, and Angel Girl shining beautiful smiles!

Clara Belle, Sweet Sophie, and Angel Girl shining beautiful smiles!

Aunt Ashley showing the boys that the girls can get it done, too!

Aunt Ashley showing the boys that the girls can get it done, too!

Me with Grandpa Howard enjoying time.

Me with Grandpa Howard enjoying time.

SonShine chose well, and we all had a fantastic night.

The very next day brought the family back together to celebrate Clara Belle’s high school graduation.  We’ve all been preparing for the end-of-this-chapter-slash-beginning-of-the-next for several months with college visits, greek info weekends, lots of deliberating, big choices, senior pics, deep discussions, final exams, sighs of relief, and ultimately tremendous feelings of pride and joy and excitement for a job well done and an adventure just starting.

Our Clara Belle

Our Clara Belle

3 Generations of Awesome!

3 Generations of Awesome!

Blowing a kiss to her loved ones from the floor...

Blowing a kiss to her loved ones from the floor…

Wrapped in Lawson Love ;)

Wrapped in Lawson Love

Suffice it to say that this girl is very special, very beautiful, very gifted, and very loved!!

Monday morning brought us a special house guest: our very own W.  Each summer (and any other vacations we can steal him), W comes to stay with his crazy aunt and uncle (who are actually second cousins), SonShine, and Angel Girl.  This kid is awesome!!  He is so stinkin’ smart that he is bound to get himself into tons of trouble, but he’s so stinkin’ cute, too, that we sure don’t mind the mischief!  When W stays, the house has lots of extra giggles, snickers, and full-out laughs, and we love having him around.

W

Our very own W.

Wednesday evening delivered another welcome crew, but for a less-than-welcome reason.  Uncle Tim drove the whole family into town for our nephew Lane to have major knee surgery Thursday morning.  But we worked hard to keep nerves down and spirits up as we enjoyed spending time together, a huge Mexican dinner at home, and a dip in the pool for all the kids.  Prayers were answered as the doctors found more damage than originally predicted but were able to cleanly repair everything so that Lane will be good to go again once rehab is done.

Lil' D catching some air.

Lil’ D catching some air.

AlliGirl flashing her baby blue eyes at big brother.

AlliGirl flashing her baby blue eyes at big brother.

Just a splishin' and splashin'...

Just a splishin’ and a splashin’…

Even the dogs got in on the fun!

Even the dogs got in on the fun!

This first week of summer also brought our youth sports camps.  This is when the entire coaching staff from both the junior high and high school put on a skills camp for all the aspiring young players, grades 1-9.  Yes, you read right: a hundred or so kids of all ages who have been cooped up in school for over ten months, running around outside, in 98 degree humid heat, on the first Monday of summer.  And these coaches have to not only herd this cattle, but try to teach them several new skills to boot!!

This was SonShine’s LAST youth football camp.  If you’ve grown up in a small Texas town where the local high school sports are a community event and all the youngsters dream of playing on a Friday night, or if you’ve chosen to shackle yourself to a coach for the rest of your life, you can fully understand what a rite of passage Summer Fun Camp is for these kiddos.  And only then can you really understand why these coaches do what they do: because THEY LOVE KIDS.

Learning to be a team.

Learning to be a team.

Every single day Coach MB met every child in the drop off line to welcome them and say good morning.  Sometimes that meant a hand shake, and sometimes that meant a little fist bump.  This week, that meant a needed hug for a few kids, and I saw his arms open without hesitation.  That is a coach loving kids.

Learning to listen.

Learning to listen.

Every time I saw kids coming off the field or finishing a drill, I saw Coach RB put up a high five, encourage hustle, and speak words of support.  After camp was over, he sought out SonShine to comment on his hard work in the weight room these past months.  That is a coach loving kids.

Learning to give it your all.  Every single time.

Learning to give it your all. Every single time.

When W got out of the car this morning sporting a very stylish, brand new, spikey mohawk,  Coach KC noticed right off, mentioned how much he liked it, and ran a hand over the top to make W feel extra special.  W couldn’t help but reply with a huge grin.  That is a coach loving kids.

Learning to hustle.  Especially to the Flavor Ice table at the end of camp!

Learning to hustle. Especially to the Flavor Ice table at the end of camp!

Coach TO found me at the end of camp to tell me how much he would miss SonShine at the junior high next year, he told me that there are those certain kids that touch your heart in a way that you can never forget them and that SonShine is one of those kids for him, and then he specifically asked Angel Girl her name, promising to look for her in the halls next year just in case she needed anything.  That is a coach loving kids.

Learning to sit with the little kids.  Because that's important!

Learning to sit with the little kids. Because that’s important!

Angel Girl participated in the volleyball camp while the boys were in football all week.  Everyone who knows Angel Girl knows that she’s a hugger…Coach KK never once shied away from her hugs, always found positive ways to praise my baby girl even though she is just starting out in this new sport and has a long way to go.  But she and Coach MC never once indicated that she should not be at team tryouts the first week of school because they believe in her and told her that she can do anything she sets her heart to do with hard work and a coachable attitude.  That is two coaches loving kids.IMG_6726

Angel Girl learning new skills...

Angel Girl learning new skills… 

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And to never, ever give up!

You see, despite the tough love and high expectations that people like to paint in a negative light, I know that coaches do what they do because they love kids.  They love developing potential.  They love teaching discipline and character and work ethic and sportsmanship. They love impacting lives because they love people.  They love kids.

I count myself extra lucky to live a life surrounded by these amazing individuals.  Individuals who give up their own summer to stick around for the kids.  Individuals who miss graduations and birthdays and surgeries to be there for the kids.  Individuals who put all their livelihood and hopes and dreams into the hands of the kids because they see their potential, and they believe in the kids even before the kids are successful stars or believe in themselves.  Individuals who do what they do because they love the kids.  Individuals who choose to coach.

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Thanks, Coach!!

 

 

The Scorpion Queen

I do NOT have time to sit here and write this blog post.

I have a very busy day, packed with a drive to LooneyLand, about 3/4 of SonShine’s first (of two) baseball games this afternoon, and then on to H-town for what promises to be an absolutely gorgeous wedding for two VIFs (Very Important Friends, of course).

But, seeing as how Coach is not here* to hear, I have to vent.  Just for a quick second…

My birthday is November 3rd, making me a Scorpio.  I guess that also means that I have a tight connection with scorpions – a connection I would very much like to sever.  I would like to end this relationship because for the 8th, or 9th, or maybe even the 10th time I was rudely and painfully awoken with a STING in my BED in the MIDDLE of last NIGHT!!!!

Here is the evil, little critter:

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Here he is dead on the bottom of my flip-flop with his guts shining in the camera flash right before he was flushed to a watery grave:

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Here are the 3 Advils I took to easy the burning sensation in my leg:

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Here is the applesauce I had to eat to take the 3 Advils because I am a pathetic 38 year old who can not swallow pills:

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Here is me moving to the sofa because I could not make myself climb back in bed because, as I mentioned before, Coach was gone* and I wasn’t about to take another chance:

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Here is my Candy Crush game that I was playing at 4:10 (that’s AM, as in Arrrhhhggg Morningtime) in an attempt to NOT fall back asleep where evil, little critters can get catch one unaware:

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And now here is my real gripe:

I understand that scorpions are just a part of living out in the country where we live.  Anyone who shares my zip code can attest that, like bears in Colorado, alligators in Louisiana, or crabs in Alaska, copperheads and tarantulas and scorpions co-habitate with us here in the great heart of Texas.  They just do.  We have a pest service that sprays from attic to slab every couple of months.  The house gets a detail scrubbing every other week with spot cleaning and our best efforts in between.  We are fairly neat and tidy, no clothes in the floor EVER, no food left out, no ants, no roaches, no mice, no other nasties.  Just the scorpions.

But here’s thing – there is more than enough space in my master bedroom for the scorpions to spend the night somewhere other than where I am sleeping!!!  I have no idea why the architect who designed this particular floor plan thought that the master bedroom needed to be so large that it is impossibleto furnish, but it IS big.

Here is our pretty bed:

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Here are our oversized, “old school” dressers that I love:

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Here is my favorite portrait wall:

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Here is our TV sitting area by the fireplace:

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Here is my sewing area with my grandma’s 1965 Singer and Coach’s grandma’s frontporch rocker:

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For Pete’s sake, we even have a massage table in here:

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In other words, this room is big enough that I SHOULD NOT GET STUNG BY SCORPIONS WHILE I SLEEP.

OK.  I’m done ranting and raving.  I’m off to pack and have a fabulous Saturday.  And I’m looking forward to a great night’s sleep that is 100% scorpion free and includes Coach* snoring happily right beside me tonight 🙂  SWEET DREAMS!

* Side Note:  If you are wondering why Coach was gone last night, it is an unwritten rule in the life of a coach’s wife that when drama happens at home, her coach will always be gone.  It could actually be a golden rule…Camps, games, meetings, practices, conventions, coaching school, and film watching are guaranteed to trump broken bones, asthma attacks, snake sitings, scorpion stings, plumbing disasters, pet emergencies, and even hurricanes.  Yet I still love him – with all my heart – and wouldn’t trade my man for any other!