Best Buddies

Longtime readers of the blog know that Big Kid's best friend used to live next door. For all of first and most of second grade Big and Lil N were inseparable. They were the best neighbors and we all became good friends. Sadly, Lil N's dad was offered a job in Texas and the family moved to Dallas at the end of 2011. It was really difficult for Big. (For me too.)

Every year we have tried to still see "the four boys" as we always called them -- in 2012, we made the trip out to Dallas, in 2013, we all connected in Atlanta. But then in 2014, we were unable to meet up.
Which is why when they called and said that they would be in Orange Beach Thursday, we were all in. Orange Beach is about a 5.5 hour drive from Huntsville and luckily, it was a rare quiet week at the newspaper. Little Kid was at her Nana's and the Engineer had work obligations so it was just Big and I on another of our trips:

But wait, what is that on his arm? That would be an exo-splint. Monday, his summer camp called and left a message that he had fallen while playing tag. He was running up stairs to tag another kid and fell, landing on his wrist. I picked him up early and after some medicine, we decided that it was just a strain. We were wrong.

The next morning, he woke up saying that his wrist really hurt. I made an appt. with his doctor and he thought that Big had broken the top part of his wrist. The X-rays confirmed it and on Wednesday he was fitted with his cast which thankfully is a water cast. No sports, no PE, but the beach trip was still a go. It is actually a pretty cool invention -- it is molded with heat to individually fit his arm. He can get it wet but afterwards I have to dry it with a hairdryer for around 30 minutes. Writing is still difficult so hopefully he will only have it for three weeks.

We arrived in Orange Beach Thursday afternoon and met up with our friends on the beach. Our whirlwind trip in pictures:

Just like old times.

That night we went to eat at this gigantic entertainment venue/restaurant aptly named The Hangout:

One piece of advice -- if you are planning a beach trip on the last week before school starts, be prepared for crowds. We waited for two hours for our table ... with five hungry boys. One wall of the restaurant was covered with lunch boxes and I found mine from when I was a child. I have not seen that Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox in thirty years.

We did not get out of there until 11pm so we slept in the next morning before meeting our friends for some more beach time.

We are so blessed to have such lovely people in our lives. It is my hope that we always remain good friends and that these boys are lifelong chums.

After we arrived home we picked up the girl in Mississippi from her fun-filled week at Camp Nana (with an Aunt Dana field trip to Memphis to meet Henry, her new kitten). The kids were very lucky that they were able to spend some time this summer with all of their grandparents. Everyone is now home and we have begun the back to school prep.

And the Skelley Summer 2015 officially draws to a close. 


What's Up Wednesday

Joining up with my gal Mel for What's up Wednesday today. So ... what is new with Team Skelley:

What we are eating this week: The little girl is having some grandparent time this week and usually when that happens, we fix the favorite food of the kid who is here. Last week, when she was here, it was a lot of pizza and BBQ and this week it is burgers all the way for her brother.

What I'm reminiscing about: Our back to school issue of the newspaper came out this week and this year, we included the staff's favorite school memory and a childhood photo. Working on it was a lot of fun.

What I'm Loving: My $6 H&M knit skirts. Seriously, these are the most comfortable, flattering skirts ever -- even more so than shorts. I bought one two years ago and it has held up very well so I picked up two more last week. As you can see, it is pretty much a summer vacation staple:

2013 (my hair -- gah!)


What We've Been Up To: See my The Hamster Wheel from Sunday. It has been quite a summer.

What I'm Dreading: We have another round of special inserts and special issues coming up at the newspaper and I am just about all special section'd out.

What I'm Working On: Editing. Since our special section editor has been on maternity leave (What up, Work Boo), I feel like my eyes have become sharper at editing and proofreading. I find myself editing books that I read now. My AP Stylebook has become another appendage.

What I'm Excited About: The beach! Here we come!

What I'm Watching: We watched an interesting documentary on Wernher von Braun, the father of rocket science. I always like to throw out this nugget that von Braun had an office in my office building. I have been known to go up to the third floor and lurk around it.

At the movies, our most recent flick was Ant-man with the Bestie (who is a Paul Rudd super fan)!

It was better than we thought it would be.

What I'm Reading: If you are needing a fun, frothy summer read, I have been reading the Capital Confessions series. I am sucker for political romances and I am very excited about book three coming out in September. Although ... isn't it supposed to be CapiTOL Confessions? Unless it is meant to be a play on words.

What I'm Listening To: A lot of Sting. You just can't go wrong with the Police. Miss Girl agrees:

We saw The Police in concert in 2007 at Churchill Downs when I was 12 weeks pregnant and I picked her up a onesie souvenir.

What I'm Wearing: My new Steve Madden suede over-the-knee boots from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Okay, I am just wearing them around the house because it is a billion degrees outside, but I am excited about wearing them this fall.

via teamskelley on Instagram

They have a small heel which I prefer for comfort and because I am already 5'9" flat-footed. Over the knee also covers up my battered knees -- I sorta crashed my bike this weekend and my legs look like a toddler's. I was moving kinda slow for a couple of days but no serious injuries.

What I'm Doing This Weekend: Getting the kids ready for the first day of school next week. Second and sixth grade, here we come.

What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month: Back to school definitely, but what I am really looking forward to is hopefully a little more calm in our lives.

What Will You Miss Most About Summer: Sno cones. The temporary son cone stand is my jam.

Thanks for dropping by and Happy Wednesday! Joining up with:


The Hamster Wheel

The lazy days of summer have not been so lazy around Team Skelley. And while some of what has taken up our time and energy was unavoidable, much of it was not.

It is hard to write a post like this and not have it sound like I am raining down judgement on other parents' choices, which is why it has taken me four days to sit down and write it. Everyone is different and everybody parents differently, which is nice because how boring would life be if we were raising identical little bot-kids who all acted/looked/thought the same.

So take today's post with a grain of salt, written by one mom.

This summer we have gone from summer camp to to outdoors camp to police camp to sports camp to swim lessons to gymnastics to VBS to more sports camp to weekends with Gramma to weeks with Nana and Aunt Dana to playdates to swim dates to movie dates to dinner dates .... well, you get the picture. And I might be more exhausted now than when summer begun.

Some of the above I label essential  -- time with their grandparents, time with our loved ones, and then the rest of it has a sliding scale of importance. When faced with another round of activities this fall, only throw in The Engineer traveling for work and oh yeah, that little thing called school, finally I said:

Why are we doing this again?

It is hard to see above the water, especially when everyone around you is doggy paddling too. This is the norm. Most of my parent friends are right here in the water -- some are swimming and some are sinking. This week I finally put my feet down only to find that I could touch the bottom. Do you know what I found? There is grace in being still.

This morning in Sunday School, my teacher and good friend Mary introduced this very topic into our discussion. My college pastor would have called that a "God Thing." God knew that this had been weighing on me for days and he worked through Mary because I needed to hear it. We wear our busyness like a badge of honor. I know I do. When people ask me how I am, my response is usually some form of: "Bananas. I have to go here, do this and then there is that."

We are over-scheduled. And no one is forcing us to do all of these things. My kids are good at baseball and soccer, but athletic scholarships are not in their futures. Big plays the guitar, but he is not the next Stevie Ray Vaughn. They do it because it is FUN. But what is not fun is when we average only one family dinner together a week. And it is not fun when we are spending every night on a ball field. It is not fun when the kids are changing clothes in the car and I am tossing them a snack while I wolf down a yogurt because we don't have time for dinner. My stomach and my waistline do not think it is fun either.

So things are going to change around Team Skelley. We aren't off activities altogether as I think that the kids need music and sports and church to challenge them and help them grow into well-rounded, hopefully well-adjusted adults. But they have a time and a place.

This picture is already two years old. These kids are already two years bigger than this. They are a gift, as is our time together. Let's enjoy it.

Do you ever feel like a hamster in a wheel?