Monday, September 24, 2012

All about Luke...

Prepare yourself, this is bound to be sappy & sentimental.

As we enter Luke's Senior year of High School, a year which I have waited patiently for, I find myself wanting to push the rewind button. As you raise your kids you are constantly making decision regarding their well being. Sometimes these decisions are easy, sometimes they are incredibly difficult and you question yourself constantly. In Luke's case we have had mostly easy decisions because he is such an easy, agreeable kid. Don't fool yourself though. There have been a few moments of "who is this child, and where has my Luke gone?".
One of those moments was when Luke decided after playing competitive soccer for 7 years, that he was done. Now you must understand, I LOVE watching Luke play soccer. He is like a gazelle with extraordinary speed and agility. He made the team as a Freshman, and was voted MVP on the High School team his Sophomore year! You understand why this was so hard for me? I didn't want my child to fall into the 'my parents never pushed me, so I never tried' category. I know PLENTY of those kids. After several conversations between the three of us, lots of tears and tantrums from me, we finally decided to give him his wish. All this hinged on the condition that he doubled up his golf time and got super serious about it because it was after all his first love, learning to golf with Daddy at the age of 5. Well true to Luke's nature he followed through. He is at the golf course 6-7 days a week. He has been getting help from a swing coach, playing in every tournament that his wheels will get him too, and has successfully shaved 10 points off his golf scores which is incredible for one year. He is now actively pursuing college golf opportunities. Here he is at a recent tournament, me hiding in the bushes snapping pics (but never on the back swing).

Another great thing about Luke is that he surrounds himself with great friends. He recently attended Homecoming with 3 of his best pals and their dates. He was accompanied by Kerstin Gull, a girl he has known since birth. Life comes full circle, they are reunited in High School, and they look stunning together. (Of course I'm a little impartial)

Halloween Friends, Circa 1996

Another not so good decision by me as a parent (and hopefully a bit of advice for you young moms). Luke came home with his class planning paperwork for High School way back in 8th grade. He asked if he could take FFA with his buddies which he swore would count as his Science credits. I trusted him, even asked the counselor and she affirmed his statement so I let him do it. Well, we found out at the beginning of his Senior year that it does count as a Science credit, but not if you want to be NCAA eligible to play sports in college. Needless to say, it's bit us in the ass and Luke has quite a difficult schedule for his Senior year. Calculus, AP Psychology, Geology, Biology, Astronomy, and English 12. Eek. My senior year consisted of sluffing Seminary and goofing around in a bunch of electives. He has learned great study habits through the years though, and is pounding through with straight A's so far. He does grumble a lot. Since we opted not to do Seminary way back in the beginning he does have first 3 periods free on his B days which has turned into 'A day homework day'. He gets up at normal time, studies & catches up on homework, then heads to work until 4th period. Here he is on a B day, pounding through the piles of homework.

 One last thing I'm recently proud of Luke for. ( I promise it's the last one) He has researched College Golf so much, and is aware that there are almost no scholarships for this sport. He must qualify for an academic scholarship which means a high GPA & a good ACT score. His GPA has always been 3.80-4.00 but the ACT has posed a bit of a challenge for him. Test anxiety I guess. We started him out early, in his Junior year, but the highest we could get was 19-22. He needs a 26 to ensure him a scholarship so he drives himself to Draper every Saturday morning (his only day off of High School Golf) to take ACT tutoring. He never even grumbles about it or the homework they assign him, because he knows it will get him closer to his dream.
So proud to be his mom...
So excited to see what the future holds for him...
So glad God entrusted me with such an outstanding young man...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Girls Trip to Grand Junction

 There's nothing better than a girl's trip. When it's with 9 people you don't know, and 4 that you rarely see it can be a little anxiety inducing. You know me though... come hell or high waters, I'm always looking for a good time! So, when I was invited to go to Grand Junction, CO for a winefest for a High School girlfriends 40th I jumped on board. Why not??? We packed 3 SUV's full & off we went. After a 3 hour drive, and a quick hotel check in, we headed to 'Vineyard Row' I call it and started the tastings. I am new to this so here's a quick idiots version tutorial. You go into a tasting room. They are usually free for 4 tastings, sometimes a nominal charge like $5. You are supposed to start with the whites, move to blushes then reds, and end with dessert wines like Moscato's and Ports. We visited 4 Vineyards that day. One nice man even pulled grapes off the vines for us and taught us how to crush them on the roof of our mouths with our tongues to test their readiness.

Wine Tasting outdoors on the patio at 'who knows where'
Well, you do the math. No lunch... 4 Wineries... 4-5 tastings at each....NEED FOOD NOW! We headed to a local Brewery (do you see a theme forming here?) for dinner and afterwards moved outside for a circle of new friends having drinks and chatting. 

after dinner circle at the Brewery
Me - Heather - Beckie. High School Besties!!

After a liquor store stop, meeting at the Hotel bar for later night drinks, and the single girls heading to another local bar, I had tapped out and headed to my room to get ready for bed. Here comes the fire alarm at 11:30 PM. Ever been at a hotel when a fire alarm goes off? Some people should really grab a robe.

Next morning was early wake up, quick breakfast, and catch the shuttle to the Wine Fest at 9:00. After standing in line for about an hour we were ushered in, given a bag to carry our purchases, and a wine glass for the tasting! There were tents every where. It's hard to carry a purse, a bag full of bottles of wine and a wine glass, so we opted to buy the wine glass holders which are the pink things hanging around our necks. Don't call me a lush, it freed up a hand!

When my bag got too heavy, Heather and I went to check in our purchases for later pick up and ran across this lovely little warning...

Don't you dare give my wine away... I worked hard for it!
It was very fun expanding my wine knowledge. Learning what I like and don't like in a costly manner. Buying wines to set aside for Thanksgiving, Anniversaries, etc. I learned a lot and had a really great time reconnecting with my friends. 

 That night was 40th birthday dinner celebration for Heather. We were able to eat at the Hotel Restaurant which could seat all 14 of us at one table. It was a long dinner, but fun conversation made it seem shorter. Happy Birthday to my girl Heather!

Birthday Girl Sandwich
After dinner we crossed the hall to the Karaoke Bar where the BYU vs UTAH game was conveniently being played. (I'm no dummie. I had been scoping that out since we checked in) Yes we were the obnoxious group of girls who wanted to sing 5 songs. Oh well, the crowd seemed entertained by us, and I was able to keep an eye on the game which was my ultimate goal.

Karaoke Trouble

 It was a successful weekend. No one went to jail, or got left somewhere. I truly felt like the 'responsible one' in the group which was new for me. I think I have finally met my match with these ladies! I came home with a small gaggle of wines which I can't wait to experience again. Got one chilling right now to go with my lasagne dinner. It's the one on the left... Gewurztraminer.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Steamboat Springs, CO

 Baseball takes us a lot of places. We have pretty much surrendered to the fact that it will pretty much monopolize our family vacations for the next 7-10 years. That being said, we do visit many places that would normally not be on our 'To Visit' list. This summer our stop was Steamboat Springs, CO for the Triple Crown Little League World Series. This tournament consists of 40 of the best teams in the United States for the 11u age group. It is invitation and qualification only. It is an honor just to be there. We had to remember that mantra often as we went head to head with GIGANTIC teams from Texas. The old saying 'Everything's bigger in Texas' is completely true. My precious little 4'10" & 68 lb. kid could have disappeared into the shadows of their 6'4" 250 lb boys. No I'm not kidding. Ask anyone in the baseball world and they will confirm my statement. 

Grandma & Grandpa Rawlings managed to take some time and accompany us. It was so fun having them there. Here is us checking into our Hotel, the kids and Grandma riding on the luggage carrier.

We managed to sneak in tons of fun stuff while in Colorado. Some team functions ended up being fun too! We had a pizza party at the Hotel pool.

We participated in the Parade of Teams.

We did a lot of pin trading. A tradition at these functions. Each team has a pin designed (just like the olympics) and they spend their free time trying to trade and get everyone else's pins.

 And we grabbed a new team photo

We went tubing down the river with the team

We went hiking and swam in a waterfall

Nick & Jake Sliding down the rocks

Zac taking a dive

Group photo!
Fun with Grandma & Grandpa

We found an old fashioned soda shop

And we managed a few 'Adult' nights out

Dominique, me, Candice... Cowboy Bar
And we squeezed in a little shopping in the cutest of downtowns ever.

Silly hat & sunglasses store

But in the middle of it all... there was A TON of baseball. I think we played 7 total games in 4 days, and watched a multitude more. In true baseball fashion, Wade & Jake would have been completely content driving from ballpark to ballpark watching games from sun up to sun down. I on the other hand needed frequent distractions. Gotta make it a true family vacation. The boys got cool new travel jerseys and socks just for this tournament.

And we had a new banner made for the boys to hang on their dugouts and to carry in the parade

My favorite coach conferencing on the mound with his favorite boys

My two favorite coaches

My favorite first baseman

Precious faces in the heat of the moment

Well, at the end of the day we only won 2 games. We battled like champions. Outsized, out-budgeted, out hyped. We knew what we would be up against though so no hard feelings. At the end of an intensely grueling couple of games, Jake had this little outburst of childlike fun involving red Powerade.

Gotta love a kid that can keep it light. Love ya Jake. Proud of you too.

Thank God for Blogging!

Recently my laptop crashed. Gonzo. Nada. Dead. Deceased. I'm not dumb enough to have never backed it up but my last backup was in March. Just like you, the only things I will miss are the lost photo's that are gone forever. My children's summer activities along with all their birthday's. Thank god I had blogged about them in a timely manner! Those pics I posted here are all I have left of life since March. Thank God for little favors! Now I'm trying to move on and get blogging again. Stay tuned...