Friday, August 30, 2013


August was supposed to be a good month for us. Carl turned forty on August 2, we had our 16th year anniversary getaway planned for the following weekend, and we had a lot of fun camps planned to cap off a pretty good summer.

Carl's dad went into the hospital on July 31. We weren't very worried, though, because it was mostly to get some tests done and because his doctors thought he needed his gallbladder removed. Not good, but nothing serious. We even went forward with our plans for his celebration weekend - a big dinner on the actual day, Friday night, renting a boat for our extended family (just, minus Al) for Saturday, and then we were going to go to the Monster Truck show on Sunday. We visited Al on Friday and Saturday evenings, and on Saturday night, the boys had a great time going for rides on Poppa's hospital bed up really really high. Ryan even told Al that it was the best day ever, "except you weren't there, Poppa. So we'll just have to go again once you are home!"

And then we got the horrible phone call in the early hours of August 4 that no one ever wants to get.

Carl raced to the hospital, but it was too late. His father had developed a blood clot, and like that, he was gone. Al was only sixty-six, and while he wasn't in the best of health the past few years, we still thought we had years left to spend with him. I can't even begin to write down the ways he impacted our lives, and the myriad ways we will miss him. His passing has left a huge hole in our hearts that can never be repaired, and the past few weeks have been tough. 

When I lost my father eleven years ago, I didn't have children, and my parents were divorced. I grieved for myself and my brother, but I had the luxury of being able to wallow in my own pity to my heart's content. I think Carl has such a harder time right now than I ever did. Its hard to grieve for yourself when you are trying to be strong for your mother who has lost her partner in life, and for your children who have lost their best friend. The boys are having a difficult time, and its unbearably painful to watch them sobbing over their only grandfather's death. Just when I think we are past the worst of the grieving, Ryan will wake up with nightmares all over again. 

Now that school has started back up, I'm hopeful that a return to routine will help stabilize things for us. Life will never be the same, but hopefully we can find peace in the future.

We love you, Al.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

first day

Team Danger returned to school on Monday, reluctantly posing for my obligatory 1st day of school photos.

This may be the last year I get a smile out of them.

For every good photo that was usable...

... there were four times as many like this...

... and this ....
... and this ....

... and this.

We're very happy with Ryan's teacher for 2nd grade, who is well-established and well-respected at the school.

And I think we're happy with Alexander's 4th grade teacher, nervous issues aside that this is only her third year teaching, and the first two years were spent in kindergarten at the school.

We've switched their after-school programs, too, and dropped the Y completely. For the past two years, they've gone to Mathnasium two times a week after school, and we've just double-paid for the two programs, since the Y wouldn't let us split up the week. Now we are doing Mathnasium full time. I thought they did a much better job making sure homework and reading was done, and we get the added bonus that the boys really like the extra math, and they don't seem to be burned out from mathnasium even after all this time. We started it two years ago with Alex after he begged us to send him, and then last year, added Ryan because we thought he could use the extra help. Alexander's perfect staar score reassured me that the program was worth it, and I love that two of their good friends (also brothers) joined the program this year, too.

Here's to a great 2013-14 school year, and may the rest of 2013 turn things around for what has arguably been the worst year of our lives.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Bats on the Water

ETA: I wrote this blog entry two months ago, but somehow it didn't get posted in our vacation frenzy. Its a wonderful memory of a wonderful evening spent with Carl's parents, and we will treasure this day forever. The rest of the post below remains as I wrote it back in June. We love you, Al.

Briefly, we gave my inlaws a gift of a private sunset bat-watching cruise as a gift. It was a great gift, because we got to go along and enjoy their present.

I love gifts for other people like this. :)

We had two hours on our own little boat for Town Lake, or as its now called, Lady Bird Lake. (sorry, it will always be Town Lake to me)

We motored on down all the way past Mopac.

The kids LOVED the boat ride, and seeing all the other watercrafts we passed by.

But mostly, they just liked driving the boat.

So did Danger Daddy.

And so did Danger Papa Al.

We made it back to the Congress Bridge a bit before sunset, so we could be well positioned to see the bats fly.

Austin is home to over a million Mexican free-tailed bats, who all camp out under the Congress Avenue bridge.

Once the sun sets, they fly out.

It was absolutely stunning.

We had never taken the kids to watch the bats fly before, so they were doubly thrilled.

And what follows are a lot of sunset and bats photos.

Because who could simply pick one as their favorite?

A great time was had by all.


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