It was an exciting year, full of fun, challenges, and changes #Kids #Life #Mentalhealth


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First Day

For Emily, it was her last year of Lower El. The last year of Ruch kids for Mrs. Clarice.  It was another good year for her. She continued to be the social butterfly. With friends of all ages. There were challenges, particularly the running club. But she persevered for the most part.

It was another great year of Girl Scouts for her. Kim took over the Troop officially. They had a good year, although it was exhausting just to see Kim on Mondays between Scout meetings. Emily did have a stellar year of cookie sales, reaching her goal of 2000 cookies!

She continues to mature and grow. She is smart as a whip when she wants to apply herself. And is a joy for all her teachers to have in class. She is more than ready for the next level next year though.

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Last Day

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First Day

This was a big year for Danny. First year at a new school. The first year of Middle school. First full year as a Boy Scout. I cannot say enough about how much he has grown this year: mentally, emotionally and physically.

We were a little worried about he would do academically at the new school. There were some initial challenges. But in the end, the picture below is him after accepting awards for the Arrow Club (requires a 3.5 GPA for at least 2 quarters) and Excellence in Social Studies. Turns out he really thrived in a more traditional academic classroom over the openness of the Montessori.

Socially he has also grown, he has made friends at the new school that he enjoys spending time with. And watching him at this last Boy Scout Camp showed me how well he is capable of handling himself in large group settings.

For Boy Scouts, he continues to enjoy himself. Kim has joined him as well as Assistant Scout Master (Yay Super Mom Kim!) He earned his first rank. And seems to enjoy the meetings and being a Scout. Which I think is really good for him.

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Last Day

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First Day

Last, there is this guy. As you can see there was a lot of growth for him. Physically he continues to mature. His first year of High School was full of challenges. There were some successes along the way. And I envision a bright future for him.

James discovered a love of singing this year in Men’s Choir. While not naturally gifted he does enjoy the singing. Which balances out his wrestling to keep him balanced. Wrestling season was solid for a JV year. He continues to enjoy the physical challenge.

Academics were a challenge. Poor study habits, laziness, and health conspired to keep him from realizing his full potential. And then there were the emotional issues.

We finally recognized the symptoms and got James the help he needs as he was diagnosed with Depression (damn genetics.) Of course this after a nearly wasted quarter, many arguments and trials, followed by a scare when he decided to simply run away one night. All is well now on this front.

All of the above were not helped by his learning the challenges of teenage relationships. That contributed to the wasted quarter and the stress that led to the attempt to simply run away.

However, after getting the help that he needed he was able to turn things around. Turning a failing semester into an average Semester. He now has the understanding of what he needs to do in the future to succeed, and I think the emotional balance that is also needed to get there.

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Last Day

It was an interesting school year, to say the least. Made even more interesting by my own life changes as I transitioned to a new job.  We could not have done as well as we did without the aid of Supermom Kim. Here we are at the beginning of Summer break.

The kids all have activities. Summer enrichment programs take up the month of June. Everyone has at least one camp. James starts with his wrestling camp. Then Emily has her first sleep away camp. Later in the summer, Kim joins Emily and then Danny for other Scout camps. While I work, due to the lack of vacation time that comes with a new job.  All in all, life remains good for the most part.

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Appreciating the good wishes, developing strategies


Yesterday started with the chance to share some thoughts about my own Depression and what it meant to me when a famous person dies from it like Robin Williams. And I wanted to take a moment to thank all those who ‘Liked’ my post on Facebook and commented with good thoughts. It helped, and then I had a good session with my therapist to top it off, so it ended up being a good day overall. Which allowed me to get out and really enjoy the swim party we went to last night, instead of sitting in silence by the side of the pool like last week.

With school starting next week we have come to an agreement to go more ‘hands off’ with Jimmy this year. He will be in 7th Grade, and it is time for him to start taking ownership of his school work and grades, rather than relying on us to monitor every assignment. We have already pointed this out to him a couple of times. Making it clear that he is responsible, if he does poorly he could not be able to wrestle, and there will be further consequences for worse grades. And while he have not yet determined what it will be there will also be an award of some kind for high achievement as well.

In addition the personal growth aspect of this there will be an additional real bonus for all of us. That will be a reduction of stress and for me at least the ability to drop one more item of obsession. So for me I can let one stress item drop to a large extent. And it will also mean less stress for Jimmy as it will be between him and his teachers if he misses or fails to turn in an assignment, which should hopefully reduce the migraines. He hasn’t had one this summer so far and I think that is largely because while he has been responsible for the little ones it hasn’t been that stressful.

I figure that between that and the fact that morning will be a little easier due to not having to sign the kids in to school this school year should be easier to manage for me. And that is really what my focus is on right now, learning to let go of the little stuff and finding less stressful ways to manage the important stuff.

It was the worst of weeks, it was the best of weeks


The week is not officially over yet, but I think everyone is ready to turn the page. But, while the world was having a horrible week, we had a great one. While terrorists were setting off bombs and killing police, our political system was actively breaking down, and man made disasters were wiping out small towns; things could hardly be better for us. We began the week weighed down with worries and concerns, and by the end of the week pretty much all of them turned out well for us.

I will start with the big stuff. We have a new nephew! Karlen Lee was born on Wednesday, a healthy little boy. Obviously this was not exactly a surprise, we knew he was coming this week. But still, the arrival of a new life is something to celebrate, especially during the week when so much of the news was about death.

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Second, the saga of Jimmy and the school permit saw a happy end. Out of the blue on Tuesday Kim got a call that he is in at Holmes Middle school. This was very welcome news. It makes him very happy, knowing where he will be next year, and whether he will be with some of his friends or not. And a relief for us, because we want the best for him and we know that he will do better there than at the other school.

Third, all of that hard work on the house projects paid off for us. Our motivation had been to be ready for an appraisal as part of refinancing our house to lower our monthly bills etc. Well we finally heard back from the bank yesterday that the appraisal met our desired number so we can go forward with the refinance. This was a big weight off our shoulders, as between that and the end of pre-K tuition we should see a drop in our monthly bills, so we can turn our focus to paying off some other debts (and being able to afford Danny’s pending braces, sigh.)

Last, there was the saga of Danny’s glasses. Danny just turned 8. And while he has been pretty good about wearing his glasses (better than Jimmy was), he has his moments where the takes them off and forgets. Which is what happened sometime around his birthday. And we spent the whole weekend looking for them. Since we were cleaning for the appraisal anyway and his party we really turned the place upside down. And we just could not find them. We had eased off the search, turning our minds to other things, trying not to think about the cost of replacement. Well, last night we were sitting on the couch, and Kim was just randomly digging through the cushions and voila! There they were! Now we had searched this couch, but I think the difference is I was sitting on it last night so one of the supports was down a little, opening the fold where the glasses were hid. Either way, the glasses are now found and safely on Danny’s face where they belong.

Again, while the country was having a terrible no good very bad week, things went well for us. So, while my thoughts are with the victims of the bombings, explosions and shootings, I am on a pretty high note at the moment.

Side Note

For those of you who follow me and are concerned about my racing in light of recent events. I am not concerned at all. Number 1, none of the races I run are any where in the league of public attention as the Boston Marathon. Number 2, I don’t think this will herald a string of attacks on marathons in general. This was really a unique event as far as the timing, photo opportunity and media attention, and nothing in the Pikes Peak region comes close. 

A weekend arrives with a smattering of topics to write about


Another weekend, another week down as we hit the last month of the year. It’s been a good year really. Crossing my fingers but it looks like my first year in a while with no doctor visits. Anyway I have a number of different things to write about, but since none of them is real developed I will rely on the old bullet point list.

  • Football: Well college football is virtually done for another season (at least for me). I am proud to say that this was one of the lightest college seasons as far as watching that I have had in a while. Oh I watched a fair amount, but I did not go out of my way to dedicate my Saturdays to the many different games. 
  • CU Buffs: I was sorry for Embree, the coaching staff and the players that they got fired. As sorry as I can really feel for someone who will be paid $1.6 million dollars for the next 3 years of work he doesn’t have to do. I want my alma mater to do well in football, and I don’t think that the team progressed at all this year from last year.  So I can understand the decision. I just hope that they hire someone with the experience to make things work, I don’t expect championships any more, I just want them to be competitive.
  • Now that I have people following me on Tumblr and Instagram I almost feel required to do at least some painting this weekend. I think I will maybe start with the Elf spearmen I have had forever, as that will be the Fantasy army I plan to start building.
  • I’m pretty upset & irritated by this District 11 ‘utilization’ study and the prospect of more Westside schools closing. When did education become about “optimize utilization of all school sites to increase student achievement”? It is looking like Holmes becoming the only Middle School for the entire Westside, and cutting down to like 5 Elementary schools west of the Interstate. This is ridiculous! I blame the ‘Charter schools’ and the entire move away from neighborhood schools. Just irritating to me to even think of the fact that my kids will likely be forced into 30+ kid classrooms forever.

A little preparation and planning makes everything go smoother #Firstdayofschool


I didn’t take any cute pictures, everything was going too smooth for me to interrupt. It actually started last week with 2 days of Cousins Camp, which helped the kids get in the mode of getting up, eating breakfast, me prepping lunch, and then getting out the door. Then over the weekend I reiterated what the new schedule was going to be, going over and over with James especially. So yesterday when it was time to shut down the TV for some quiet time, there was no argument (and fortunately no friends to get rid of.) Which made it easier to get them into showers and then bed at the planned times. Earlier bed times made it easier to get them up at their scheduled time this morning.

All of which meant that today was easy, breakfast while I ate, then made their lunches. No argument over clothes, they just got dressed and were ready to go. In fact they were ready to go 10 minutes earlier than normal. Then they all knew where to go, and there was no drama at drop off, just hugs and we were off.

This of course discounts other things that made it easier:

  • Got the school supply list over a month ago, and Kim had done the shopping, for supplies and new shoes and clothes. So there was no last minute shopping over the weekend needed.
  • The school had a nice meet and greet Friday which got the kids ready for their new class locations, and mentally ready for school in general.

I know this level of planning is not for everyone, but I tell you, being this prepared and ready sure made the first day of school a piece of cake for us and the kids.