Saturday, August 23, 2014

Beach Trip - Wrap Up

I know our trip to the beach was seven days long - but we are going to wrap up the beach trip summary blog series with this fifth and final post.  

Not even exactly sure what we did each day at the end of our week. 
There was a lot of this....heading to the beach. 

Always followed by this...dip in the pool.  

Lots of this...resting and relaxing.

And massive amounts of this....Hey, Magnificent Seven, y'all get together and let us take a picture.  That was primarily followed with lots of eye rolling - but we were persistent and got the shot.

On Wednesday, we had our traditional day of crabs.  Best day ever at the beach.  My mom's steamed crabs are probably one of my favorite things to eat ever!  

Hasselhof wearing his Redneck hat with a bottle opener.  He opened some cold beers for the crab eaters.  Nothing better! 

We set up the balcony with several tables and chairs so we could all eat together. 

Grandpa teaching Chip how to clean a crab.  All seven of the grandkids were around the table partaking in the feast! 

Chip picked it up really quick and mastered the claws in no time!  

Delicious!!!  Great job Mom!  

There was frisbee at the beach most evenings. 

Spotting sea creatures and beach strolling were also very popular. 

We took tons of those new fangled "selfies" and we were terrible at them!  How long do your arms have to be?  As I am typing this, I realize all of our arms are in this picture, so this one must have been taken by one of our kids.  That explains why it isn't as horrible as the others we took ourselves! 

We did the traditional go cart riding night. The boys love this night.  Me?  I could definitely skip it with no problem.  

Everyone was tall enough to drive themselves.  

They rode two or three times on different tracks.  

They were so happy! 

The girls took Mer out for lunch on her birthday.  Hubby and Grandpa took the kids out to eat and to the pier to see what folks were catching. 

Look at this cute picture of the Magnificent Seven looking over the pier.  Love, Love, Love.

Look, here they are again!  What a good looking bunch! 

Grandpa getting in on the action. 

Again!  They loved this!  

Not really.  But look at the smiles!  Thanks kids, we need these pictures for a project. 

On our last day at the beach, we gave Grandpa this massive picture frame filled with all the pictures we have of the Magnificent Seven.  He loves this crazy kids. 

It turned out great and is hanging up in their house already! 

It was a spectacular week at the beach.  Lots of laughs.  Lots of coffee on the balcony.  Beautiful weather.  Lots of memories to take home with each of us!  

It doesn't get much better than that!  Can't wait until next time! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Beach Trip - Day Four

Let's wrap up the Beach Trip blogs before middle school starts next week and I have to switch gears again.  I will first tell you that I had an official complaint logged by my two primary readers that they did not like it when I put the picture captions before the pictures.  It was conscious decision I made trying to tell the story before the picture, but it has thrown Bob and Lana for a loop so we will go back to the old way!  Picture...followed by some clever description of what you just looked at!  

You are welcome, Mom and Dad! 

Read that sign. 

Do you see what it says?  

South Baldwin Medical Center.  

Is anyone surprised?  


Would you be surprised if I told you we visited this fine establishment two days in a row?  


I didn't think so.

The patient was Harry.  He was feeling kind of under the weather so Hubby took him to have his throat swabbed and make sure he didn't have strep.  He didn't. 

The next morning he woke up with pink eye.  Serious pink eye.  The kind where you have to unglue your eyelid with your hand.  Yep, we are definitely on vacation.  It was Mom's turn to hit the doctor's office with Harry and we spent a couple of hours watching some cute little two year old girls worry their mothers to death cause they were running all over that waiting room.  Their moms were exhausting me just watching them chase those little nuggets all over the place. The little girls were just precious.  We got some good eye drops and headed back to the beach house.  

We had some serious storms trying to roll in.  No one in our house seemed to care.  We just kept getting sun screened up and headed down to the beach. 

This doesn't look ominous at all, does it?  Perfect beach weather. 

Actually, the storm was stirring up some pretty awesome waves!  

Harry getting his eye washed out by nature. 

Toby caught a big one.

Chip rode it all the way in. 

Hasselhof playing lifeguard. 

Fly Harry! 

Since the weather was kind of sketchy we decided to head into Gulf Shores and eat at Lamberts before it got too crowded.  HAHA!  This damn place is always packed!  It was an hour wait.  Why does everyone like to eat at a restaurant with giant rolls that get thrown at you from across the room?  Why is that such a draw? 

Cause the rolls are so dang good.  Seriously good. 

Just ask anyone in our party of 13. 

An hour wait? 

No problem. 

I honestly can't even remember what we did after we ate at Lamberts.  Food coma?

That is possible.  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

ASU - Who is this guy?

This morning we headed down to the ASU campus for a couple of parent receptions.  The first was for the entire downtown campus.  It was a terrific gathering with lots of great questions and answers.  Next up, we had a reception with just the Cronkite parents.  Again, an exceptional meeting.  Every single time I attend one of these, I get more and more excited about the opportunities that are provided and the experiences that are available to these kids.  Here are just a snapshot of a few of the things that Dean Callahan had to say:

  • He gave us his email address.  His office number.  His home phone number.  His personal cell phone number.  WHAT?  You read that right.  He said "I am a parent.  I have a college kid.  I am here to help.  Call me if you need me.  I don't know much, but usually someone on my staff can help us figure it out."  
  • There are 271 freshman in the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.  The Dean and fourteen other senior staff teach the ASU Experience class.  They want to get to know our kids.  Faces with names, etc.  The Dean said we don't take attendance because this is college,  but we do have a quiz the first minute of every single class.  If your kid misses two quizzes, they will get  a call from me.  
  • He talked about the SuperBowl being in Phoenix.  He said the kids will have countless opportunities to get involved. He said Bob Costas and a host of other Sports Broadcasters are slated to speak at the Cronkite the week of the SuperBowl.  There is a SuperBowl academic class for upper clansmen.  Although, that won't be available for Harry, the Dean said it was going to be a thrilling time for all kids in the journalism college.  Talk about a perfect spot for Harry!  
  • He said, if your kid can't make it home for Thanksgiving, the Dean and his wife Jean provide a shuttle and invite them all out to their house for football and food.  He says he has had between four and eighteen kids.  Nothing fancy he said, but they will have a place to be.
  • He said dang near 100% of kids leave Cronkite with a job.  A job in their field.  YAY!  
It was awesome - excellent - so, so reassuring that he is going to have all the benefits of a big school, but the smaller community of the downtown campus and even smaller community of the Cronkite School.  Just left me and Hubby with such reassurance and excitement.  We dang near skipped out of that reception to go see our boy!  

So, we find him down in the Cronkite lobby where they have set up every organization and all the student groups and activities.   He is standing at a table surrounded by lots of kids.  He has already talked to Michael Wong the internship director and told him he would love to work for the Suns, Diamondbacks, Cardinals.  He has signed up for the newspaper staff.  Then he goes on to tell us about his evening and morning.  

He drove to Tempe with a couple of kids and picked up his buddy RV and they went to lunch.  He came back to Phoenix and walked around downtown with his new roommate BP.  He then went to the hall meeting and met some awesome kids. They played cards down on a different floor till the wee hours of the morning.  They woke up early and ate breakfast and then seven kids hit the gym to work out.  Then listen to this.....they had turkey wraps at the Cronkite reception which were wrapped in spinach tortillas with lettuce, tomato and turkey.  HE ATE THAT!!!!  All of it and said it was good.  I just started cracking up when he told us that.  He laughs and says "I know!  Who is this guy?"

He was already making plans to go to the movies with his new friends after the parents left!  He has signed up with twenty guys to do a Cronkite Fantasy Football league.  They are drafting Monday night at midnight.  

He introduced us to this super nice kid named Kyle from Colorado.  We met Kyle's parents and they were so nice.  It was the BEST feeling ever to see him doing it.  Meeting people, getting involved, following our advice and making the most of the opportunity.  Could not have walked away from there feeling any better!  

He is off and running!   They ran all the freshman names outside on the ticker of the Cronkite building. His name was there!  He is going to college at ASU!  

So we are having lunch with Harry tomorrow before we head to the airport to head back home to Texas.  God, am I ever going to miss that kid.  He has owned a big ol' giant piece of my heart since the moment he made me a mom and always, always, always will forever and ever.  But my sadness of him not living with us day in and day out is just completely overshadowed by my excitement for this amazing opportunity that he has in front of him.  Go get 'em Harry!  Go do good things!  Go find your place out in the world and always, always remember that home is where your Mom is!  And Dad!  And Chip!  

I can't wait to hear of his adventures and life lessons and even challenges and hardships.  I hope he feels safe to know he can screw up and still call home and we will always do what we can to help!   So proud to be his parent!  So looking forward to the future!  

ASU Rocks!  Fork 'em!  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

ASU Move In Day

I interrupt the beach pictures for this important announcement!  

My sweet Harry has moved into the dorm at ASU!  It is really happening. He is going to college at Arizona State!  Hubby and Harry drove out to Phoenix with his truck loaded down with every possible thing he might need over the next nine months.  It was probably overkill, but as his mom it makes me feel better knowing he hopefully has everything he might need.  

Here are some pictures of Thursday was a pretty emotional morning packing his truck and watching him pull out of the driveway.

Me and Chip flew out to Phoenix yesterday to meet them for move in day today.  We had a nice dinner and got in some wonderful laughs.  We were absolutely in stitches on the drive back to the hotel...all four of us.  I won't always remember what we were laughing about, but I will remember that it felt precious to me and I want to remember that forever! 

This morning, check in time was bright and early....between 6 and 7 a.m.    We caravanned down to campus.  That is Harry's truck in front of us!  

Look at downtown Phoenix in front of him.  That is where he is going to live! 

Everything was well marked and there were volunteers all over the place. 

First order of business was to check in and get his dorm key.  He handled that like a boss! 

This is Taylor place, where Harry will be living. Fourteen floors of awesomeness! 

This is the Cronkite building just across the street where he will have classes.

They had streets closed down and a terrific system set up to unload cars quickly and keep things moving. 

You back up your car and unload all the stuff into these rolling crates. There was music blaring and the atmosphere was very upbeat and exciting. 

Even the parking assistants were awesome!  This guy said "Hey Mom, want a picture of the coolest parking assistant out here?"  I said "Of course!"  Then I promptly turned away and walked right into a street sign.  Chip said "Mom, seriously I need to put you on a leash."  What does that mean?  

Sparky was there too!  

Chip said "Now, my life is complete."

It was time to unload Harry.


Harry's crates and the ASU DJ in the background.  It was hopping! 

The volunteers were outstanding.  This is Amanda.  We had to wait in line for an elevator to take us up to the 12th floor and got some time to get to know her.  She is a senior, majoring in Communications and is in charge of all intramural sports at the downtown campus.  She filled Harry in on the how, what, when of all things intramural.  By the time we hit the 12th floor she was yelling to the RAs like "I am bringing your floor an awesome family from Texas!  Good snacks packed!  You are welcome!" 

This is Harry's hallway and he is the last room on the left. 

When we got there, his roommate was already there.  Super nice fella from Illinois that loves the Brewers.  His parents were very nice and we got busy getting this space a little organized for our two freshman. 

It didn't take long before everything was put away and the bed made.  There were a couple of glitches like we both ordered water coolers for the room and instead of 3 five gallon water jugs, we had seven!  There will have to be some kind of return organized, but that wasn't too bad of a situation. 

Harry and his roommate worked out the logistics of how they would lay out their TVs (super important!) and other electronics.  

This is the view from Harry's windows.  There are building the law school right outside his window.  That will be kind of interesting to watch go up over the next year. 

Well, I think that about does it. 

I had Harry and BP take a picture.  I almost had them let me mark their height on the wall to see how much they grow before we pick them back up in May, but decided against it.  I was really showing some restraint here! 

Me and my boy.  I didn't cry.  I didn't even want to cry.  It felt exciting. It felt like I wished I could stay and join the fun.  Me and Hubby both thought it felt great dropping him off at a place where we really think he has every opportunity to soar!  Great day!  Happy day!  

We have a parent reception tomorrow afternoon and then that will really be out last goodbye for a while.  Only a phone call away is what we said as we left!  

And then he called.

He left his phone charger at the hotel, could we bring it tomorrow?  

Of course we can!  

He already hit the town and went to lunch with his pals from Texas!  Floor meeting tonight and several other welcome events planned for the week before school starts.  

Good times ahead!  Fork 'Em, Harry!