Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Brandon's graduation

We've had a busy month, but things have finally settled down. I think it will be a little easier to pay attention to my blog now that school is out and all the "senior" activities are over.

Brandon's graduation party/open house was May 14. I spent a lot of time this past year thinking about details of the party. It was fun to gather photos and keepsakes from his life. Many friends came to celebrate with him. I know he felt really loved and honored.

Here are some pictures of the party...

These dear friends helped me set up and serve the food. I couldn't have done it without them!

We had a whole hog roasted in the yard and served pork sandwiches, beans, cheesy potatoes, slaw, fruit and veggies, and monster cookies for dessert.

This is the tent we rented in case of bad weather.  We had bad weather:  May 14 broke the record for the coldest daytime high temperature. It never even reached 50 degrees and there was drizzle a good part of the day. Some guests used the tent, but most milled around visiting inside where it was warm and cozy.

Remember these?

I grew oats to use as the centerpieces for the tables in the tent. All 12 buckets came up as thick clumps of grass/oats. The buckets were wrapped in burlap and tied with twine. 
(Thank you to the friends who helped me!!!)
Each table had a runner of brown paper and crayons.
Our guests left Brandon some really cute messages!

This is the display table. Lots of fun things to see from his 18 years of life:

The week following the party, we attended the senior awards banquet, senior scholarship awards night, baccalaureate, a 5-8 grade band concert, high school state track meet, and then...
It was the weekend again and time for more grad parties and graduation. We were really glad we'd had our party early.

The graduation ceremony was wonderful. I love this picture...

Even some grandparents made it up for the graduation:

My oldest is now a high school graduate.
It brings a lot of emotion, although I expect that August is when I will feel the reality of it all. Sending one of my little birdies from the nest will not be easy for me.
I'm hoping that this summer is a time of fun memories for our family!

Today was the last day of school and we made our summer bucket list, but I'll save that for another post...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Track Season, in a word: Disappointment

Brandon is a really fast kid and has six medals from the Iowa High School State Track Meet to prove it.
He runs the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400. Track is his best sport, and Byron and I love to watch him run!

(Someone asked me once if he got his speed from me. I almost fell on the floor in laughter. I'll just say that his dad ran a lot of track in high school, and I didn't.)

Brandon got to run at state his first three years of high school...and hoped to be a four-year state track runner.

This year's track season began April 5, with a long and cold meet that lasted until 10:00 pm--just like the three years prior. Then things took a bad turn. Due to a cold, wet spring, the second meet was cancelled... and the fourth, and the fifth, and the sixth. Our boys track team didn't run in a meet for 16 days. There were only 10 meets for the entire season and four had been cancelled.

When the weather improved, we had two weeks/four meets until the district meet where they would run to qualify for state. There was so much to figure out and only 4 meets to do it. They hadn't even settled on the relay team combinations, since they had only had two meets to test them.

During the time of the cancelled meets, Brandon continued to work hard. He planned extra workouts for the weekends. He worked harder than the previous three years, knowing it was his last hurrah and wanting to be in the best condition he could be.

It all went south during track meet number eight, on May 3rd, nine days before the district meet.
As he ran his first race of the meet, he tore his hamstring while rounding the curve and stumbled off into the grass. It was heartbreaking to watch. And, it was over. This injury ended his high school track career.
We were stunned, because he'd never had anything like this happen. In a second, it was over. It felt like the season had barely started!

He has spent the past two weeks going to physical therapy, which has helped him regain his ability to put on his own shoes and socks and walk without a limp. Running hasn't even been on the radar. The boys track team didn't do so well at the district meet.  Ballard boys track is only sending one kid to state--the shot/discus thrower. Quite a change from previous years when 3-5 relay teams made it.

Attending the remaining track meets of this season has been different: never yelling my son's name,  cheering on the others, and reminiscing about last year.

I've been wishing for a new set of senior year track pictures to print...  I even bought a new camera lens for the track season, but it didn't get much action.

I had this poster made for his graduation party, from his freshman year at state. Somehow it cheered me.

Brandon has had a great attitude. In spite of the huge disappointment, he has kept his chin up and a smile on his face. I'm so proud of him. It would be easy to go down the path of how unlucky this seems: injury during your senior year. We are choosing to focus on how fortunate he has been to get to run at state three times. We have awesome memories!

Thursday starts the Iowa High School State Track Meet and we'll be there to cheer. (We are happy that some friends from the girls team will be running!) It will be strange to have Brandon in the seats next to us. We'll just be making a different kind of memory, and possibly wiping a tear or two.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful day with your families to celebrate Mother's Day.

I asked for a picture of me with my darlings:

Besides the picture, my crafty and artistic daughters made this cute artwork as my gift from the gang:

Brandon gave me a cute card that gave me a chuckle.

My husband grilled for lunch and bought me flowers.  :)

It was a wonderful day!
Count your blessings, name them one by one...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Band Trip

My teenagers went on a band trip with their high school band in mid-April. The trip was to Colorado Springs, CO. They had a great time once they got there, but it took much longer than expected.

Maybe you remember hearing about a late-spring snow storm closing I-80 in western Nebraska...
Our band kids got stranded in North Platte, Nebraska in a Walmart parking lot for 10 hours. It took that long to get all the cars cleared from the interstate so they could re-open it. The kids had Walmart and a couple of restaurants to hang out in, besides the two charter busses they were traveling on. They ended up being on the busses for 24 hours before reaching their destination.  Colorado was great--Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, Colorado Rockies baseball game, and the Air Force Academy.  The trip home went much faster and included a stop at the Omaha zoo!  They had fun, but they were glad to get back home. (I'll bet their teachers were as glad to get home as the kids were.)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Busy times...

I haven't been spending much time writing blog posts recently. It's spring. I have a senior. It's track season. It's softball season. I'm planning a party for my senior. Busy times.
I'm too busy to blog, because of crazy things like this:

But I'll be back later. I'll tell you all about the graduation party, the disappointing track season, the jungle we've grown in our flower beds, and anything else that seems worth mentioning.

Happy spring!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Garage Sale Success!!!

I am so happy to tell you that our garage sale turned out great!

Because of so very many generous people and the blessing of God, we were able to raise $3000 for the wonderful Leland family!

I have never heard of such a thing at a garage sale!

Thank you for coming...
so many came to donate, work, shop, and give!

It was a blessing to be part of this effort.
And such fun to watch God's work in a garage full of hand-me-downs and a bunch of generous people.