Reflections and Ramblings: Volume Twenty-Five
I turned thirty-two the other day. I thought it would be a good time to write a blog post with some updates.
I. Boys Town
Sarah and I are at the two year mark of working at Boys Town. We love our life here and still feel very fortunate and grateful to be able to have the privilege of being family-teachers. I’ve learned a lot over the course of the last couple years.
We’ve learned how to establish healthy routines and boundaries which allow for us to balance the demands of our personal lives in ways that enables the ability to fully give of ourselves to both our own children and the teenage girls that live with us. There’s always room for growth, and almost never for complacency, but I think Sarah and I have been a great team in this way.
We have an incredible support system. Whether it be the support and help that comes from our assistant, other family teachers, our supervisor, or our director – we know that they all have our best interest in mind and want to see us grow and mature, not too dissimilar to how we want to see our own girls succeed. We get to see girls grow and mature firsthand. We get to see families grow closer together through the effort our girls put forth to better themselves. Yes, there are tough times of teenage temper tantrums, cursing, a few things thrown around the house here and there, but overall these girls make incredible progress and we’re honored to be a part of it.
Micah just started kindergarten. I was kind of a ball of nerves beforehand. It’s a challenge to watch him daily in the home, he needs constant attention and is very busy. It’s hard for me to imagine how he does in the classroom with nineteen other kids. But that being said, he’s made it successfully through two weeks of kindergarten, and I couldn’t be more proud. When the bus arrived today, though, he got teary-eyed and didn’t want to get on it. It seems that even though he is extremely excited about his school and the bus ride, he still holds reservations. And I feel like I understand that. I constantly feel that way.
He has surgery coming up on September 13th. The surgery will put tubes in his ears, remove his adenoids, and clip his tongue-tie that he’s had since birth. This kind of feels like a big deal to me, and I’m quite anxious about the whole general anesthesia thing. But this surgery should help him in a number of ways. So we push through and do what’s best for him.
He’ll be six years old on the 17th. Six. My goodness.
Ezra is now four and a half. And he’s really living into it. He is a clever little brother, and being around all sorts of teenage girls has really transformed him into a little boy with a sharp tongue and mischievous personality. I’m pretty sure we are in for quite the ride with him.
He starts preschool next week. This time he we attend school three times a week in the afternoons. He only went twice a week last year. I’m extremely excited to see him blossom academically as well. He really is quite the curious and inventive little guy. I know those qualities will do him well in school for the rest of his life.
Every summer at Boys Town we are given the opportunity to let our girls enjoy a family vacation at Lake Okoboji in Iowa. We join together with three or so other homes and have a group vacation. We go boating, fishing, swimming, and tubing in the lake. We enjoy great food and snacks each day. And we end each night by watching movie before bed. This year we brought Ezra while Micah stayed with my mom for the week to have special grandma-Micah time.
It was really neat to see Ezra get into the lake, enjoy boat rides, and have a couple dozen big sisters to watch over him. It was definitely a highlight of my summer and the year. Of course it’s also great for our girls to be able to experience a summer vacation. Most of them have not had one before, and nearly all of them hadn”t been on a speed boat before. So it is really neat to be able to provide them with these amazing experiences, creating life-long memories in the process.
Two of my fellow family-teaching friends, Jeff and Drew, along with me, last winter determined that we needed to take a trip to the mountains. We planned it out, just a couple days or so in Rocky Mountain National Park, to summit a couple mountains. After waiting all spring and summer, we finally went last week. And it was great. We drove through the night to get there. We got brunch when we got into town, checked out where we would be staying and then drove into the park to go hiking. It was rainy, grey, and somewhat chilly, but we were determined. It probably wasn’t the smartest idea to start a hike at 1:00pm, but we put on our raincoats and went for it. I most definitely wasn’t acclimated to the altitude yet, and by the end of our 5 mile trek into the mountains felt like I could lie down on the path and fall asleep. But the goal was to view the shark tooth mountains next to sky pond up at the 11,000 foot mark. To get there we had to literally scale a cliff with a waterfall. Something I’m not so sure we were mentally prepared for, not to mention physically. My friend Jeff who has a fear of heights hesitated for a moment before convincing himself to conquer his fears. We made it to the top. And it was great.
Then after a few minutes we saw a flash of lightening and the quick rumble of some thunder. We were pretty scared to be up in the mountains in a thunderstorm, so we booked it out as fast as we could. My friends had more energy left than I did, and they really took off. They practically slid down the rock face of the waterfall and got into the cover of the tree line really quickly. I lagged behind a bit, feeling kind of drunk due to what I assume was altitude sickness. But I too eventually made it to the tree line and we made our way back to our car. The last two miles of that hike were probably the longest two miles I’ve ever experienced in my life.
The next day we decided to choose an easier hike, with the goal of a great view at the end. So we hiked up to Twin Sisters peaks. The hike wasn’t very strenuous, which was actually just fine with me, but the views at the top were amazing. I’m so glad we did that hike. Jeff determined the view from the peak was just a little too much for him. But Drew however, embraced the view in all its glory, as you can see in the photo below.
Before we left Colorado Jeff, Drew, and I stopped at the only tattoo shop in Estes Park for each of us to get a tattoo to remember the trip by. It was my first tattoo. It’s still currently in the process of healing, but it was a neat experience, and something I’m proud to have on me for the rest of my life. It was something we planned to do before we even went to Colorado, and I’m glad we followed through with it.
VI. Biking and Boosting
Every Thursday in the Omaha area there’s a bike ride called “Taco Ride.” It’s a big group of cyclists who bike from Council Bluffs, Iowa down a nice limestone path to a small town called Mineola 10 miles away. There’s a restaurant/bar there that serves tacos, fried cheese curds, and nachos, among other things. They also have great pitchers of margaritas.
It has become my summer ritual that every Thursday I go on Taco Ride with my friend Jeff, and often Drew. We go about 7:30pm and come back around 1:30am. It often is my weekly motivation. If I have a hard day of work or something, I just tell myself that come Thursday I’ll get to get a good bike ride in and eat some fried cheese curds. It’s so fun. At the beginning of the summer I also purchased a fun toy called a Boosted Board. It’s a longboard with an electric motor attached, along with a great breaking system. The board can go up to 22 mph, and it’s super fun to get around town on. In fact, I’m at Starbucks right now after riding my Boosted Board three miles to get here.
Last November I got my first new camera since around Micah’s birth. I made the switch from Pentax to Fujifilm. I love my camera and the lenses that Fujifilm makes. It’s been so incredibly fun to take pictures with, and I’ve learned a lot about photography in the process. I’ve taken my first astrophotography shots. I’ve been able to take some nice portraits of my girls, as well as my own kids and Sarah. I feel confident in my photography abilities now, and I feel like I know my camera very well since using it since November. Photography is still my favorite thing to do in my free time, and it brings me a lot of joy.
That’s all for this time around. Thanks for following along.