Sunday, September 16, 2018

Surprise

When we were first married, we decided to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries by doing something, rather than buying expensive gifts. Lots of birthdays involved dinner in unusual restaurants. One year I took Daddy to a restaurant where they sang happy birthday to him. Let's just say it didn't go well. I never did that again.

Given that this was a big birthday year, I put aside all those warnings and planned a surprise party. Everyone agreed to keep it a secret. Yes, we were planning a surprise party.

Daddy walked into the restaurant with the brunette twin. It was her job to keep Daddy busy all afternoon. When he walked into the private room where everyone was waiting. "Surprise" echoed throughout the restaurant.

The girls were so happy that they were able to pull off the surprise. Of course, it helped that they forgot about it in all the "starting high school" chaos. It was really hard for them to keep the secret once they remembered.

Daddy had such a good time. It was a terrific success from start to finish.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Here come the bridesmaids

The girls were thrilled when Samantha asked them to be bridesmaids. They loved trying on dresses and finding the perfect shoes. They spent a lot of time deciding what to wear to the bridal shower. 

We arrived at the shower to find everyone already in the room. We lived closest to the hall, but still were about the last ones to arrive. The girls weren't quite sure what to do at first. They had never been to a bridal shower before.

They quickly found friends. It turned out that one of the groom's cousins was both a bridesmaid and in school with the girls. Suddenly they had a girlfest going on.

The shower was a lot of fun from start to finish. As we left, we laughed at how many people tried to give the girls lemon vodka shots. Did we mention that groom came from a large, Polish-American family. There was a lot of food and a lot of alcohol. There was a lot of alcohol.

We talked about the wedding weekend. There was a rehearsal dinner, the wedding, the reception and a Sunday brunch. I was immediately excited and exhausted. Given the party that passed fora  bridal shower, I couldn't imagine how much fun we were going to have during the wedding weekend.


Friday, August 17, 2018

Go! Team! Win!

Every once in a while the blond twin would talk about tumbling or cheer leading or poms. This summer she decided she wanted to be a high school cheer leader. We found her a cheer leading coach who gave her some lessons. 

When try-outs came, we wished her well and crossed our fingers. She came know not knowing if she made the team. The next day she let us know that she'd be staying after school for cheer leading practice. 

She was so excited when she came home. She brought a packed practice and tumbling schedule. She couldn't stop talking about her team, the coaches and the other girls. You could tell this was her dream come true. We were so happy for her.

As we looked at the schedule, we were a little less excited. She was a football cheer leader. As we put the dates in the calendar, we realized that she would be cheering in November, when the weather was cold. It could be really cold in November. like bone-chilling cold. We crossed our fingers that this would be the year that cold weather didn't show up until after Thanksgiving and went back to being happy for the blond twin.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Movin' on up

I emailed the golf coach before the girls went to camp. I explained that the brunette twin wanted to try out for the golf team, but would miss the first few practices. The coach graciously emailed that the brunette twin should join the team for practice when she was back in town.

We arrived at practice while the coach was unloaded her trunk. We talked for a few minutes before leaving the brunette twin to meet her team.

When she came home, the brunette twin was excited. The coach told her that she would be starting in all the JV matches this year. It wasn't a complete surprise given that the brunette twin had been taking golf lessons for years. We knew she was pretty good. I pulled up the JV schedule and wrote everything on my desk calendar. 

The next morning the brunette twin came home from a team meeting and said, "Coach gave me a varsity golf bag. I think I'm on the varsity team." It turns out that the coach was impressed with her practice skills and decided to put her on the varsity golf team. 

Daddy looked at the varsity schedule and started laughing. The brunette twin went from playing nine holes twice a week to playing 18 holes three times a week. For her first Saturday match, she needed to be at school at 5:20 a.m. No, that's not a typo. Her arrival time was 5:20 a.m.

We were proud and excited for her. The brunette twin was nervous and excited. All of us were dreading the 5:20 a.m. arrival time. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The long awaited return

Daddy drove down to get the girls the night before camp ended. He woke up the next morning and headed to camp. Once they were all together, the girls called me to tell me their stories. Oh, there were so many stories. They were excited and tired and animated and rambling. It was perfect.

They didn't come right home, so the stories were the most I would hear from them for a couple of days. They stopped to visit Aunt Mary, Uncle Terry and everyone else near them. They had a fun family dinner where they told more stories and gathered more stories to tell me. 

Somewhere along the way, Daddy managed to get a little more back to school shopping done. Our days were numbered when it came to checking things off the back to school list. Any time we could get something done, we did.

People kept asking if I was going to be bored while they were all gone. I guess they forgot that I was working every day and Holly was still keeping me company. In truth, I missed them all, but it was nice to have a few quiet days. 

The few days before school started were going to be chaos from the minute they walked back into the house. A little calm before the storm was just fine with me. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Five and out

When we dropped the girls at camp, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't call them. I really wanted them to have fun without me hovering from afar. We communicated via text every night. They told a few stories. We said good night. It was a quick hit communication so we knew they were ok and having fun.

Tonight I texted and said, "Please call me when you can. I need to hear your voice." I made it five days before my withdrawal got the best of me.

The blond twin called pretty quickly. She said, "Oh Mommy, you are so cute." She told stories about her day. We talked for just a few minutes. It was just enough.

The brunette twin called when she arrived back at camp. They spent the day in Nashville, ending the evening with dinner and a concert. 

It was so good to hear their voices. Even when they are away being independent teens, they still need to comfort their Momma. After all, they might be a few days away from high school, but they are still my babies.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Saddle Up WOW

What seems like forever ago, the girls applied for several horseback riding camps. Girl Scouts has a program called Destinations, which has some of the most amazing travel opportunities. The brunette twin wanted to go away to horseback riding camp. We found three options with different horseback riding programs. The girls applied to all three.

We waited impatiently for the emails letting us know if the girls were accepted to any of the camps. Their third choice came back with an acceptance at the deadline. We waited to hear from the other two. Finally their first choice asked if they wanted to attend. We immediately accepted and sent a deposit check.

Six months later, we were dropping the girls at camp. It was set on a beautiful Tennessee property that seemed endless. The camp director gave us a tour as we were the first ones to arrive. I'm not sure they were quite ready when we showed up.

A generous donor provided the money needed to create the director's dream camp. She was able to work with the donors, architects, builders, etc. from the very beginning. Her vision was amazing.

The bunkhouse had rooms for the girls, camp counselors and camp director. The bathroom was large, new and right across the hall from the girls' bunk room. There was a kitchen, meeting room/dining room and cubbies for the girls' riding helmets/boots. There was also a large room with riding boots and helmets, just in case anyone needed to borrow something.

The barn held 40 horses. We learned during our tour that country superstar Amy Grant donated some horses. The arena was larger than any we had ever seen. It was really an amazing arena. 

We headed to the bunkhouse to set-up the girls' beds. We learned that there were only seven girls who were attending camp. The director said they wanted to do some advance horsemanship so they needed girls who could ride at a high level. 

After we set-up their beds, we toured the barn. A woman whose camp nickname was Blueberry walked us through the barn, explaining each horse along the way. Blueberry told funny stories about each horse. She was so animated that her excitement spread to everyone else around her.

We said good bye without any tears. I almost cried when the blond twin told me she was going to miss us. I managed to remind her that she could call or text any time while I blinked back tears. She didn't see me blinking away the tears, which kept us both from just crying.

As we drove away from camp, we were so excited for the girls. When you apply for camp, all you really know is what you read in the description and see in the pictures. There were some videos showing the camp facilities and horses. It all looked like something they girls would like. It was so much more than we had hoped. Now we just waited to hear their stories.