April was good to us

The day after we returned home from Florida, Houston had his final Memory Master proof with Mrs. Scholtz, our CC Foundations director. His third proof went swimmingly well with Mrs. Bach, but then again, that was before vacation.

Houston proudly displays his Memory Master awards. We’re so proud of you!

After a week off, I knew I was a little rusty. But thankfully, Houston’s brain isn’t old and crusty as mine, and he tackled this last step toward mastery with a calm, cool confidence. Way to go, dude!

So, here’s what a Cycle 1 Memory Master knows:

  • The entire timeline of 160 events from Creation to modern times;
  • 24 history sentences, mostly ancient times;
  • 24 science questions and answers about biology and earth science;
  • Multiplication tables through the 15s, and the squares and cubes, as well as conversions and math laws;
  • Continents, countries, cities, mountains, bodies of water, and physical features from around the world pertaining to the ancient world;
  • 24 definitions and lists of English grammar;
  • Latin noun cases and declensions;
  • and the 44 U.S. presidents.

Here’s Houston sliding into second base during the Tigers vs. Nationals game. Safe!

Even though Houston was the star student, I really think Gabe and Zeke could have pulled it off with just a little more consistent review. Maybe next year, fellas!

Tigers baseball

Houston is also playing competitive baseball this spring. No more Y ball because we figured it was high time for score keeping, three strikes your out, winner takes all, etc.

As of now, his team, the Tigers, has only lost one game. All the kids played their hearts out, so it was a great experience on how to lose with pride. And it was Nick2’s team who beat them, so it was also a lesson in winning with grace, which Nick did aplomb.

We celebrated the all-around good sportsmanship at Rio Grande taco night with Nick, and his folks, Shannon and Sam. We feasted, talked about sports, faith, and health, and enjoyed a few margaritas to boot. Good times.

With Tyrnan gaining on him, Gabriel focuses hard during the egg race @ CC field day.

Daddy says Houston’s fielding has improved drastically from previous seasons. Now if he could just get his hitting form in line, Daddy explained, he’d be knocking those balls out of the park.

CC field day & banquet

In other sporting news, our CC community had its first-ever field day on 4/19. I even got into the mix, participating in a zany relay, in which I had to do a “bear walk”: move with both hands and feet touching the ground, but no knees allowed. I seriously thought I was going to die! I also did the three-legged race with my pal, Jean.

We went out to eat afterward with some of my favorite CC mamas (Adair, Christina, and Loren) and their respective broods. I just love spending time with these smart, godly, and super-fun ladies, and the boys so enjoy their cool kids, as well. Community rocks!

Zeke tosses a water-filled balloon to his pal, Brodie, while Pearce looks on. I had forgotten how fun field day is.

The CC end-of-year banquet was on 4/9. This is when the kids and their tutors recite select pieces of memory work for the audience, and all the students are awarded a certificate of completion. Mrs. Bach said Houston was “pertinacious,” while Mrs. Robinson said Zeke was “enthusiastic” and Gabriel had a “good attitude.”

Asher and Jackson tagged along with us, since I was watching the boys for the day while their folks shot a wedding here locally. I think they enjoyed seeing some of their old CC friends, and I know the 3 Amigos were thrilled to have them at the event.

Christie and Logan’s wedding ran rather late, so the whole gang spent the night and stayed well into the next day, giving us an opportunity to catch on all things political, spiritual, and otherwise. Boy did I need a J-Crew fix something fierce!

Houston & his buddy, Alex, try their best during the wheelbarrow race @ field day. You can also see Zeke (in the peach shirt) & Will (in white) on the left-hand side of the pic.

Our neighbors rock!

Jessica hosted a kids-versus-parents water-balloon battle one evening as a reward for Jacob doing well in school. (Neat idea, huh?!) I think it’s safe to say that Jacob, Nick2, Gavan, and the 3 Amigos won, but I know we geezers sure got in a few good shots on those swift and wily youngsters.

Shannon and Sam have hosted a couple backyard hangouts as of late. The get-togethers always entail a raging fire pit, roasting marshmallows, oodles of adult beverages and tobacco, and plenty of riveting conversation.

While the parents relax and chit chat, the kids can usually be found either playing freeze tag or having Nerf gun battles. It’s such a wonderful thing that both we and our boys are creating such tight bonds with the cool folks in our hood — kind of a rare thing in our increasingly mobile and impersonal world.

The 3 Amigos don Easter masks w/ their good friend, Jacob. Thanks for sharing this cute pic, Miss Jessica!

Another game the neighborhood kids have been into playing is something they call “the resources game.” The boys collect things, like leaves and flowers from around Liberty Loop; or use shovels and mallets, working to make their own goods, such as slivers of dead trees or dug-up roots.

Then they create their own individual stores, and barter and trade with one another to get the resources they want. Amazing that we have a bunch of little free-market capitalists on our hands. Rothbard would be proud!

Whole-body health

The 3 Amigos had their annual wellness visits. Zeke weighs 63.7 pounds and is 50 inches tall; Gabriel comes in at two more pounds than his twin brother (65.7 pounds!), but is the same height; and Houston is a whopping 72 pounds and is 56 inches tall, putting him in the 100th percentile of height. We’ve got some big boys indeed!

Gabriel stands beside his nice and tidy display of found goods, as he & the neighborhood boys play “the resource game.”

It was the physical challenge of field day — in addition to weighing myself and being shocked by the reading! — that has motivated me get serious about my health … again. Not so much my weight, though, but rather my strength, agility, core, and stamina.

I’ve been doing the hard-core Pyramid Workout for the past two weeks, as well as replacing my run/walk routine with running only, but for shorter distances or longer distances just at a much slower pace. The scales still aren’t being kind, but I feel pretty darn good, and that’s what really counts.

I figure as long as I keep eating well (which our family has done for years), practice portion control, limit the drinking and sweet treats, and keep on stretching after exercise, my body will be healthier.

Big Hashy Reunion: “Hey Houston … let’s be loud & obnoxious during these CC presentations. Hee hee. Wouldn’t that be funny?” inquired Asher. “Oh man, it’s so good to be back w/ my partner in crime,” thought Houston. “Epic.”

Now if I could just get my mental state consistently calm, that’d be dandy! In fact, en route to Great Wolf Lodge, something went awry. I was driving on I-85, and my periphery started to blacken, eventually closing into a single frame of tunnel vision. I got short of breath, my hands got cold and clammy, and I started to sweat.

Having reviewed all the evidence, my guess is that this was some kind of panic attack. Ugh. I know I’ve always been wound a bit tightly and certainly have the Quate temper, but the Holy Spirit has certainly helped me keep in check my sinful nature in amazing ways.

But I suppose it’s similar to addiction in that every day’s a battle. Even though I am a new creation in Christ, my flesh, baggage, and bad habits are still a part of me. In fact, they still have a way of humbling and weakening me, which is when Jesus is most powerful in my life. But really, this the submission part of the Gospel.

Nick2, Jacob, & Zeke have a blast visiting Jacob’s dad’s work. Zeke had been particularly well-behaved this day (& his brothers not so much), so he got to take part in the field trip. Thanks for the educational outing, Miss Jessica!

And oh how I need you, Lord. I also understand that other than the words that come out of my mouth (or stay in, more importantly), the things I put into my body, and the way I treat myself and others, I am not in control of anything! I must meditate daily that Jesus is the rightful Rock of my life. All else, is sinking sand.

We love Granny!

Granny loves us so much, otherwise, she’d never come to visit. She was in town in mid-April and helped me out with schooling the boys, doing “crowd control” during lessons and chores, and keeping up with housework. Truly, I put her put to work when she comes to town!

And Granny’s here right now, watching “Garfield” with the 3 Amigos. This is after having feeding them all day long, cleaning up, staying on them to get their daily basics done, and taking them to see “The Jungle Book.”

Matthew, Zeke, Tyrnan, Gabriel, Will, & Houston give three cheers for Granny! Not really … they were just prepping for field day fun, but Granny does deserve some acclamation!

We love you, too, Granny, and hope and pray you get to move closer to us in the not-too-far future. We promise to lighten up you, if you live nearby!

Other notable happenings:

  • We had Tyrnan for a full day of fun one Saturday while his folks worked. Then Jim and Penny got me back by having the twins for a sleepover. So nice!
  • We hosted Bret for a sleepover another Saturday while his parents worked. Tricia gave me a Buckhead Betties cooler and a bunch of hand-me-downs for the boys as thanks. What a sweetie!
  • We went out to a post-baseball-game dinner with Greg, Meredith, and Rorie to celebrate Stephen’s 38th birthday. Mexican food and margaritas … yum yum.
  • We went to a baptism party for Josh, the boys’ good buddy from CC and Mercy Hill. What a great joy to be part of such a blessed event.
  • I went up solo to Richmond for Christian Cozen’s funeral on 4/6. Heartbreaking event, but the family of this 20-year-old is strong in their faith, loving, and resilient. We’re praying for y’all Cozens, Bairds, and Girardis.