Welcome Home to Casa Crazy

I have proof positive that Coach and I have lost our minds. Yes, we are crazy…

Her name was A20338515 at the Central Texas Humane Society, but we’ve decided to call her Nola:

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I saw Nola on Facebook a few weeks ago and thought, “How sweet!”  And kept scrolling.

Then I saw her photo reposted last Saturday and thought, “I can’t believe that pretty girl is still at the pound.”

Coach happened to see the picture over my shoulder, and we showed her to the kids on Sunday.

Monday morning Coach said to call and get more information about her.  The kids and I were floored!  But if Coach says “Jump!” then we say “How high?” (Please do NOT verify that with him, though…)

So…that afternoon, Angel Girl and I went to the pound to see the puppy. (Yes, she is roughly 5-6 months old. And, yes, we are crazy.)  Tuesday, the boys joined us for a second visit at the shelter.  By Tuesday afternoon, Coach said “Go get her…”

So we are now the proud family of 2 adults, 2 kids, 2 dogs, 1 puppy, 5 cats, and 3 baby kittens.  And, YES, WE ARE CRAZY!

Puppies are a ton of work, and most of that will fall on me as Coach is already in football season mode and the kids go back to school in a month.  So why in the world would I go along with such insanity?

Because I have a mental bucket list of experiences I want the kids to have before they leave me to be adults.  You’ve seen these lists – they’re all over Pinterest, all of the time.  I haven’t written one down specifically, but as we rock along in our little world, situations present themselves here and there that make me think, “I want my kids to know this.  I want us to know it together.  I want us to share this memory as a family.”

In 2005, I decided the kids needed to know that one can accomplish anything one sets their mind to do.  I’m not sure why I equated this immediately to my “running” 13.1 miles, but it did.  So in January 2006, I completed the Houston Half Marathon, with Coach and the kids cheering me across the finish line.  It was awful.  I hate running.  No, really, I HATE RUNNING!!  I’m really, really terrible at running.  I fought myself EVERY SINGLE STEP of the race and each step of the training that I managed to force myself to do in preparation for that horrendous morning.

But I finished it.  And they knew how hard it was for me to do so.  And they saw that I certainly was NOT the best race participant, nor the fastest, nor the strongest, not the youngest, nor the oldest, nor the thinnest, nor the fattest.  But I finished it, and somewhere along the way I somehow convinced myself that my torture taught them not to give up on something that feels important.  You really can do anything that you set your mind to do!

Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. And I can't find the photos...

Been there.
Done that.
Got the t-shirt.
And I can’t find the photos…

In 2011, the final movie from the final book of the best movie-book partnership of all time was being released at midnight, so we loaded up the family, and watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 with the rest of the greater Waco nut cases.  IT WAS SO FUN!!  Of course, we got home at 3 am, and Coach did have to carry in our Angel Girl who saw all the movie but did not make it all the way home, and he did have to leave for work by 6:30 am (nothing like a mere 2 hours of sleep to get you through a long day…), but it was still worth it!  We are HP crazies, absolutely love the stories, the creativity, and the characters, and we went TOGETHER – we enjoyed every second of it as a family.

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So, here we are in 2013.

We have Belle, a beautiful and loving 11 year old Yellow Labrador Retriever.

SonShine received Brave Belle the Wonder Dog for his 4th birthday in 2002.

SonShine received Brave Belle the Wonder Dog for his 4th birthday in 2002.

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Playing fetch w/ SS in 2011.

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Hanging w/ AG by the pool in 2013.

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Our beautiful Brave Belle.

We have Sassy, a sweet and spunky 4 year old Miniature Dachshund.

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She may be the smallest, but she’s still ruling this roost!

"Just doing a little wrestlin', Mom," he claimed in his most innocent voice.

“Just doing a little wrestlin’, Mom,” he claimed in his most innocent voice.

Say cheese, Sassy!

Say cheese, Sassy!

Both are full bred with papers that have never even been registered.  Obviously, lineage isn’t all that critical to our family.  I’m also very proud to say that differences are not any big thing either…

The Facebook photo of A20338515 shows only her left eye which is the most magnificent shade of powder blue.  When Angel Girl and I first met her, we realized that the right eye is pure black.  I (unfairly) assumed that Coach and the kids would see this as a defect or inferiority and not want her because both eyes were not that majestic, sky blue.

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Visiting A20338515 at the Humane Society

I was wrong.  That thought never once crossed their minds.  Their immediate reaction to her was that those mixed eyes are TOTALLY COOL, and I love that about my crew!

So, now we also have Nola, a 6 month old wonderfully unique Catahoula Leopard Hound.  We also have the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes with saving an animal who was on the “critical list.”  In other words, the short list; Nola was scheduled to be euthanized next week.  And we also have another source of entertainment, laughter, and love at our house.

Coming home for the first time after spaying.

Coming home for the first time from the pound. Their policy is that all rescuees are spayed/neutered before their rescuers may have them. That means icky cone for 7-10 days…we don’t mind…we certainly don’t need any MORE puppies!!

My ultimate hope is that some day, wayyyyy in the future, SonShine and Angel Girl will take their own families to the pound or a rescue facility, find a friend they love, and share this same experience all over again.

I encourage you to do the same.  We were heartbroken at kennel after kennel and cage after cage of the many animals awaiting death as we walked through to meet Nola.  It was not easy to see!  Please consider going there for your next pet – they may not be registered, they may not be perfect, but they are definitely precious!

www.humanesociety.org

WARNING: All Ticked Off

If you don’t want to read about frustration, about anger, and about being at wit’s end, click the little red X, and get off the page.  No one is forcing you to stay here – you have a choice to close the site, just like I have a choice to share my voice.

And I’m about to go off…

One month ago, Coach says, “I want to take you and the kids on a vacation.”

I say, “OK!! Where do you want to go?”

He says that he has three requests:

  1. Somewhere with a beach
  2. Somewhere with an all-inclusive package
  3. Somewhere that our cell phones do not work

In just ten days and some awesome help from my new friend at the travel agency, we booked an absolute dream vacation.  One week ago, we left for that vacation, and it was INCREDIBLE.  I can’t wait to share it with you…once I’m not seeing red through tears, struggling to breathe through anxiety, or feeling brokenhearted for my child.

Best Son Ever

Best Son Ever

See, when we flew into the country tonight (since it is now 4:15 am I guess that would be LAST NIGHT) and turned our cell phones back on, SonShine had a text from a friend who was panicking about a PreAP Freshman Reading assignment that is due TOMORROW.  SonShine immediately starts panicking, too.  Welcome home!

Come to find out, last year’s reading teacher gave them a sheet the day before school let out with instructions to read Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies (both fabulous books that I agree with reading and dissecting and analyzing in wonderful depth).  They are to be read during the summer and then complete questions about each book.  I have no problem with that.  In fact, I had already planned to review next year’s math courses with both kids as well as teach them the correct methods for information seeking strategies and research writing, but at Coach’s insistence we are waiting a few weeks so the kids can unwind, enjoy summer camps, family trips, and take a very well-deserved break after a year of great effort, some classroom chaos here and there, and even a few educational roller-coaster rides.

Anyways, we leave the airport, stop for a nice dinner, drive the 2+ hours home from the airport, arrive here around 10:30 pm, SonShine digs the instruction sheet out of his backpack that is still in his closet from the last day of school (June 6th), and discovers that he has to read the first book, annotate 9 different elements throughout the 128 pages, find examples of 12 different literary elements within the text, and write 3 different essays about the literal, allegorical, and moral levels of the story.  AND IT IS DUE  AT THE HIGH SCHOOL, IN A BLUE BOOK, TOMORROW (we think…the instructions say Tuesday, July 1, 2013, so who really knows!!!).

My heart is breaking for my child because he is totally amazing – a beautiful person with a huge heart, a tremendous leader who gives everything his all, and a bright, hard-working student who has tons of ambition and drive.  And right now, he feels pure and utter terror at the fact that there is no way to get this read, annotated, and essays written in a manner he finds acceptable to earn a grade that he will be pleased with to begin his high school career.  And I can see that terror all over his face, and I hear him say, “I’m so sorry, Mom,” when I know 1000% that he hasn’t done anything wrong.  But he’s putting this all on himself, and it hurts me to see him hurt.

I want him to care about school, but I right now I feel like his determination to do well is not worth the fight.  If a 15 year old, THIS 15 year old, feels like he doesn’t deserve 1 week of summer camp, 1 week of a summer break, and 1 week of summer vacation with his family because of school responsibilities, then there is something wrong with school.

I am struggling to breathe through anxiety because I can’t fix this for him.  I offered removing him from the honors class, but he won’t even consider it (which I respect and applaud).  I am an educator, I believe in lifelong learning, I have no problem with reading and writing and arithmetic over the summer, but I DO NOT condone this.  I’m so distraught with the current trend of making decisions about kids that are not FOR kids.  Why are we treating kids this way?  Why do they have to self-teach the many valuable lessons within these two books instead of enjoying classroom discussion and debate with their peers??  Why is my precious son feeling like a failure at school in the middle of the stinking summer???

I am so mad that I am seeing red through my tears because if it is so all-important to get this done within the first three weeks of summer (ALL LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE ASSESSED A 25 POINT PENALTY), then why were the parents not made aware of the damn thing???

We get phone dialers to vote for playground sweepstakes.  We get paper flyers for every church’s VBS.  And we get emails for playoff ballgames.  So why in the hell can we not get a single piece of communication about a huge assignment that is due during summer???  Due during the first 3 weeks of summer, no less???

I simply feel sick.  And tired.  And I really don’t want to feel sick and tired when I only have four years left with this kid who is a blessing and a gift and a treasure.  My sweet babies deserve better.  From me.  From their schools.

I wish I had it in me to tell him not to care, but that’s a huge part of him, and that’s one of the gazillion reasons why I love him so very much.  And not caring is just not us…

So, I have three requests of my own at this point:

  1. Use the technology at your fingertips to practice a decent level of parent communication
  2. Stop punishing the good kids for trying so hard to succeed that they take on more than they should
  3. Please send me back to Mexico

Buenos noches, mi amigos.  Buenos noches…