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Two High Schoolers

I now have 2 high schoolers!

I don’t think time is flying by but a lot of years have passed

He started summer football camp at his high school with plans to join the team this fall. And then maybe wrestling or something else in the winter and probably volleyball in the spring.

Whereas some parents might push their kids in a certain direction I believe it’s best to let them decide, support their decision, but give them guidance when and where ever it’s needed.

If football is where he wants to be. I 100% support it. Sure, joining the golf team would be my first choice (although competing against the country club kids is probably difficult). Soccer would be okay too, as he’s played for many years and has become a really good defender. But in just the few days of practice he’s been to, it’s great to see him excited about the sport. I’m looking forward to where it takes him.

She continues to be involved in softball. One tournament mid week this week, then a tournament this weekend followed by a few friendly games and that’s it for the season. Her team travels to nationals in FL but unfortunately she had a conflict and won’t be attending. She’ll be at camp instead, something she was very much looking forward to.

Soon she will likely join a new travel team, mostly because her current team is not continuing on. Most likely she’ll end up with her current coach on his new team. Fortunately, she really likes playing for him. She referred to him as the best coach she’s had 🙂 It will be the next level up from where we are now but if she’s going to pitch varsity next Spring, playing up a level in the fall probably won’t hurt.

She’s also nannying for a neighbor this summer, so she’s super busy. Plus taking a summer school class, online.

This week I worked on-call for my job. It’s the biggest drawback of the job. It was a weekend where we probably would have been on the water but instead were stuck at home. Fortunately it’s over in a couple days and I won’t have to deal with it for another few months. It’s a good job, I don’t think I’ll leave it any time soon, but ironically enough I have been approached but a couple organizations recently, interested in me joining them in the near future. Nothing is certain but I’ll entertain the options. I miss the consulting life but am enjoying the benefits of the full time job. It’s a dilemma I’m not going to complain about.

Next week he’s off to camp. Then a few days at the lake. A week later he’s off to a high adventure camp in FL and she leaves for her camp around then as well. For me I think I’ll be at the lake that weekend, hopefully on the water fishing as much as possible!

Working Late

I don’t even know how long my site here was hacked. Ugh. What a bunch of garbage this CMS is … hopefully I finally cleaned it all up. But what if you’re not technical? How would you even know what to do first?

So I’m sitting here counting down the minutes to push a button in order to deploy a software release for my job. Oh so I miss the days of part time work consulting. How I survived financially, I have no idea. Hopefully I’m starting to see a light at the end of the debt tunnel I unfortunately created after a year of trying to help a startup get off the ground and dabbling in my own venture. Maybe I’ll be able to revisit those things in the not too distant future, without the financial burden portion, that is.

The high school softball season has been a bumpy ride so far. Mostly riding the bench on the varsity team. It’s tough. She’s good and getting better. But the varsity batters are good too, often times really good. So she’s down on JV for a period of time. Which I think is good for her. It gives her a ton more mound time. She still faces talented girls, just not always as talented. So she’s still challenged but also able to have some successes too. I’d really like to see her bat, which hasn’t happened yet. Maybe over these next couple of games I hope.

Grandma hurt her back a couple weeks ago and now needs surgery. That sucks. It really sucks. Getting old blows. I can tell he’s concerned. I’m sure the outcome will be fine but there will be a day when someone in the family passes away and I am so not looking forward to that. I try to instill in these kids not to take any day for granted. I think they understand. But they are still kids and do kids things and want to play their sports and hang out with their friends. Yet every day I ask them, did you talk to Grandma, did you call her, text her? No? Then please reach out. If anything just to say hi.

I wish the time tonight would move a little quicker … 22 minutes until I get to press the button and go to bed…

License, St. Baldrick’s, & Sports

Learning to drive. I’m not sure there’s any great way to prepare oneself for all that’s involved. Ultimately I think it has so much more to do with the other drivers (aka maniac, distracted, angry, ignorant drivers, to name just a few). Practicing in the parking lot and the side roads of an industrial park, that was pretty easy. Getting onto a packed expressway … an entirely different experience. There was that one time we might have forgotten about a stop sign because we were paying attention to the bikers. Or not realizing the road curved slightly and nudging the curb a bit. Or when the light turned yellow while we were waiting to turn across traffic and that car way way back there decided to floor it and try to make the light …. oh man. But now she’s legal. She did awesome on her test. Yesterday she took her brother to get Andy’s and today drove some friends to a baseball game.

When your 14 year old who has been doing this for 6 years straight decides he wants to raise $ and shave his head again to support a cause, you can’t be any prouder. He even motivated a friend to do the same (he’s the guy in the background). He’s raised no less than $500 each year too. He rocks!

And while I do not have photos for this yet, she recently made the Varsity Softball team as a Sophomore and he made the 8th Jr High Volleyball team. Both tryouts were highly competitive so I’m super proud of both. Since playing on the Freshman team last spring she’s played continuously through the year and has grown a ton. And despite a few rainouts to start the season I’m really looking forward to the next 2 months of games. He’s been playing club volleyball since the fall and may have also grown 6″ during that same time. He’s also gained a ton of strength thru Taekwondo and weight lifting at home. It’s going to be tough to balance all these games but this is my life 🙂

Sports, Sports & more Sports …

I truly intend to post more updates but then I get busy and the days, weeks and months pass by.

Like almost 8 months since my last update. Oops

We now have a 14 and just a little over a day until we have a 16 year old in the house. Yikes

She’s close to getting her license but still has maybe 10 hours of driving practice left. She’s doing well. Only a few white knuckle moments but she’s coming along.

He joined a club volleyball team in the fall and has been doing amazing. While his team is not all that good he for sure leads the team in every aspect and would no doubt do well on a more competitive team. Still he goes out there and competes and does as best he can. Grandpa Cook is at every game too. Well except for DET but he did come to Milwaukee for a game. He really enjoys seeing both the kids in their activities 🙂 I absolutely love that he loves Volleyball. Probably my favorite sport to play along with Golf. Seeing him out there, being able to help him improve … it’s awesome!

She joined another travel softball team herself. It’s been a bumpy road though. The team was brand new, young, and a coaching staff with little experience. Still, she thought it would be a good fit but inevitably we decide to part ways near the end of last year. Ironically the organization has a 2nd team at the same level. She actually tried out for the team but they didn’t pick her in the summer. However, a few weeks after tryouts they did call and ask if we were still interested. She had already committed to this other team so we said no. Yet, along the way we continued to speak with the other team as we both remained interested. Unfortunately we had to quit one team just to join the other. Kind of a unnecessary step for something that was going to happen anyways. She’s still relatively new to this team having only been with them for a month but she has some double headers this month before HS tryouts in a few weeks. I think the team is a much much better fit for her. In addition to that though she has been putting in a ton of extra effort with a hitting coach and is crushing the ball, crushing it! Plus her pitching is really coming along as well. I hope she’s looking forward to this upcoming HS season as much as I am (and I assume Grandpa is as well).

My life pretty much revolves around those activities. Driving back and forth to practices of some sort nearly every day then trying to juggle tournaments and other things on the weekends. Not to mention I took on a full time job in the fall. More on that in a bit.

He’s also super involved in Taekwondo and doing awesome there too. The instructor Master Vinson is simply amazing. He’s such a positive person. We’re lucky to have found him and fortunate he chose our community for his business. Besides recently receiving his blue belt he’s also involved in their sparring classes. It’s been awesome to see him grow in this sport.

Did I mention soccer & scouts too? Oh, and school and hanging out with friends … what else? He’s so busy it’s hard to keep up with the schedule. This summer he’s planning to go to Loras Sports Camp, his final year as a camper. And possibly either a Taekwondo National Tournament or Owasippe Summer Camp plus Scuba Diving at Sea Base. Oh and there’s also preseason football which takes place basically all summer long… Will he have time for anything else? Volleyball…

And that’s just him. She’s got Softball, Softball and more Softball. Plus she works, is super busy with her school work, has two really nice friend groups, tries to fit in a number of concerts, and also babysits a ton! She’s beyond busy too.

Will we ever get out to the Lake??? I hope but it’s going to be tough

Me? I took on a full time job after years as a consultant. No joke I’d rather be consulting most days but my team is nice and the guaranteed paycheck was a necessity. Still after 5 months I’m not yet caught up on bills. Teenage kids are expensive! Life is expensive! We stretched what I was making as far as we could. Probably a year too far. So it’s taken a while to catch up but I can start to see the light, I hope.

Consulting was nice for a whole lot of reasons. Chasing down pay checks, however, not so nice. The flexibility and no requirement to work set hours is something I will probably always miss. Odds are I may go back to it at some point but for now this is where I’m planning to stay. It gives us stability and benefits that I was paying for on my own. Once I’m all caught up I’m sure I’ll feel better about the whole situation.

What else???

We only skied a little so far. One day trip to Cascade with the Hancock’s (plus their friends) and the Duarte’s, along with a day at the water park. It was a nice trip but we need a multi day ski trip soon. If not this winter for sure next season. And then we did a one day with the scouts at Chestnut. This midwest hills are okay but nothing close to going out west.

I don’t know I guess that’s about it … kids activities rule my life but I enjoy being a part of what these kids do and wouldn’t trade it in for anything 🙂

Cookout 4 Cari 2022

After a 2 year covid hiatus we brought it back.

The kids wanted it, actually, so we made it happen.

And perhaps for the first time in 10+ years of hosting the weather was supposed to be nice and it actually stayed that way. Normally I don’t like looking at the forecast, even though I do (every day leading up to the party). And each year it goes from 80 and sunny to rainy and 60 to cloudy back to sunny and rainy and then the day of the party it changes again.

Some years we have rain then sun and maybe rain again. Some years it’s cool. Some years dreadfully hot. Once tornado sirens went off (2019). But never has it just been nice the entire time, at least I cannot remember a day like the one we had.

Per the usual in roughly 5 minutes, if that, the kids went through 500 water balloons!

Lots of people showed up too and we’re thankful for that. The first kids got there at noon and the last people left around 8:30 (I’m especially thankful for those who helped cleanup at the end)

This year we featured live music by Murph, an uber-talented friend from the past. We were super happy to have him play. It was different from the years of Frankie Ace Magic but many of the kids have grown so it’s different now. We also had snow cones, cotton candy & popcorn thanks to our neighbors 🙂 … and the usual bounce house which was occupied often by a bunch of teenage boys, and tent. We tried for a bags tournament but it never got organized so maybe next year …

The party setup isn’t too bad. But the couple hours before the party starts is madness. I cooked 30 sausages, 60 hot dogs, 80 wings, 30 hamburgers, pulled pork, fruit trays, pasta salads … and somehow got everything out and ready by about 1pm when the party was set to begin.

I was so hot after this I literally jumped in the neighbors pool with all my clothes on to cool off.

It’s an effort to coordinate and put this on but I think everyone who comes really enjoys seeing each other. Many of these people wouldn’t otherwise get together so it makes everything worth it.

I hardly had a chance to sit down. In fact I didn’t until near the end. I know I spoke with almost everyone but missed a few people for sure. It’s hard to get to everyone but I try.

And despite the huge uptick in covid in recent months we survived the event thanks to the neighborhood spread of it in April, I’m sure.

While we missed a number of faces this year that’s what happens … conflicting plans, illnesses, sports and just life sometimes gets in the way but we our always thankful to see those who come and are looking forward to next year 🙂