Change’s Coming: Land for Sale

For the past few years, Tony and I have been contemplating our future living situation. We really like the house we live in – the location is great, it’s a good size for our family, we love our neighborhood, and everything about this place is perfectly fine. But it’s still never been quite right…

We need another bedroom (which we have plenty of space to add). We’d like to put a porch/deck on the front of the house (which we’ve discussed and would get around to in the next 9-12 months). We’d like to put a flat patio in the back where we could setup a basketball goal and not have to worry about it rolling down the driveway (probably not anything we’d do in the next year or two, but it was on the list). We’d love to upgrade the master bathroom and the kitchen. None of these are critical, just things you want and dream about in the house that you’re going to raise your family in and spend all your time in after you retire.

But even after all the work and projects, the fact that we live 45 minutes away from our hunting land will never change.

We’ve considered building a house on Tony’s Lebo land, but it’s just not realistic. Tony works in Topeka. I’m working in Kansas City. Both of us commuting an hour each way makes for a pretty poor quality of life.

So we’ve come to the conclusion that neither piece of property is the ultimate answer.

We are in the final steps of getting Tony’s Lebo land ready to sell, and we’re starting to look for new property. Hopefully something with a house, or maybe a space where we’ll build a house. And once we figure the house thing out, we’ll put our current house on the market.

If you know of anyone selling a decent chunk of turkey hunting land in the Osage County or Wabaunsee County area, let us know. We’re looking to buy. (Especially if it has a 4+ bedroom house on it!) Or, if you know someone that’s looking for a good piece of hunting land in Southern Osage County, let me know. We have 147 acres of prime hunting land that will go on the market in the next few weeks.

The dreaded 4-letter word M-I-L-K

I have no idea what’s happened to me. Maybe it’s part of the way a person’s body changes as they get older. Maybe it was triggered by hormones after having the kids. Maybe it’s always been there, but I wasn’t in-tune with my body enough to notice. One thing has become incredibly clear to me… my body doesn’t like milk anymore.

And when I say doesn’t like, I mean, punishes me for days.

Over the course of the last year, I’ve began to notice some tummy troubles after eating ice cream or yogurt. It’s gotten so bad that I’ve started to avoid both. But since I rarely drink milk, I hadn’t really thought too much about how it might cause issues too. After this past weekend’s bowl of granola cereal, I’m afraid my days of milk are pretty much done.

Being the Parent of a Youth Athlete: Am I Doing It Right?

I grew up playing sports (particularly softball), and as an adult, I’ve looked forward to the day my kids would play. My summers were spent at the ballfields – playing, practicing or tagging along to watch mom and dad play.

When we weren’t at the field, my sister, myself and various neighborhood kids were playing wiffle ball in the big yard that separated my parent’s house from Mindy’s parent’s house. We’d play for hours on end, or until a fight broke out (always a crapshoot as to which would happen first). During the summers Amy and I lived for softball and were devastated when bad weather would cause our games to be rescheduled.

Because my early years of ball were such a strong influence in my life, I’m hopeful they will be for my kids too. But I’m starting to realize being the parent of an athlete is hard.

Really hard.

It’s a constant balancing act, and all you really want is for them to have fun (and hopefully love the game).

I hope to be like my mom and dad were. Supportive and helpful – teach them to become better players and understand the game, but also knowing where to draw the line. Give suggestions for improvement, but don’t go overboard. Analyze and talk through the game after it’s over, but not to the point where they aren’t interested anymore.

I want to give my kids all of the encouragement in the world, but I’m not going to baby them. If they don’t put in the work, I won’t tolerate “it’s not fair” complaints. It’s just not my style, and it’s just not the way life works. If you’re not willing to practice pitching at home, I’m not going to let you be upset with anyone other than yourself if you don’t get the chance to pitch. Sorry, not sorry.

Sports are a great way to learn life lessons, all while having fun and making lifelong friends. I was fortunate to have great coaches and great opportunities to play. And I’m going to do everything I can to make sure my kids do too, for as long as they want to play. Even if it makes me an emotional mess in the stands.

Photo credits: Megan Mullins, a fellow Kansas Hammers parent.

Curious George and the Case of the Broken Arm

Last Saturday, Kate and I were on our way to Tony’s parents’ house when I got the phone call. Tony said our plan to attend Curious George and the Golden Meatball that afternoon at the Granada Theatre in Emporia was changing. He was on his way to the Emergency Room with Alex. He said he was pretty sure Alex had broken his arm after taking a fall down the slide.

Apparently Alex had been at the top of the slide and was trying to pull his cowboy boots in front so he could sit down and go down. Instead, they got caught up causing him to lose balance and fall down. Poor Tony was only a few feet away helping one of the cousins go across the monkey bars and saw the whole thing. 

At the ER, Kate and I hung out in the waiting room with Tony’s sister Melissa (she drove them) until the nurse said we could go back to Alex’s room. We made it back to the room just in time for quick hugs and some consoling before they came in for x-rays. Alex was mellow. Tony was a little shaken up.

The x-rays confirmed Alex had broken both bones – one pretty much set in place and the other, not so much. After getting consultation from the bone doctor, the nurses put Alex in a temporary splint and sling. Then they told us that we were going to need to follow up with an orthopedist on Monday to get a cast and determine if additional work would need to be done to set the bone back into place.

Overall, Alex tolerated the pain well and mostly was just disappointed that we weren’t going to make it to the Curious George play. (For a brief  bit of time he was also worried the nurses were going to cut his shirt off before they splinted his arm. I don’t know why… I don’t think he has any particular affinity for the plain blue shirt he had on, but nonetheless, he was concerned.)

As we were leaving the ER, one of the nurses brought out a stuffed monkey for Alex as consolation for missing the play. He loved it and declared he should be named Curious George. I just love this photo of him playing on the LeapPad and making sure George was positioned to watch.

Determined to make it up, we decided to take the family to see Curious George and the Golden Meatball on Sunday when the traveling production stopped in Ottawa. Alex was super excited, and I was interested to see how the kids would do during a theatre performance. I was not prepared for the play to be a musical… so I was a little caught off guard. The kids seemed to enjoy it though, especially Alex.

On Monday, I was able to get Alex into Cotton O’Neil Orthopedics & Sports Medicine to see Dr. Deister. After a quick review, he decided it would be best to sedate Alex and set the bone before they put on the cast. No plates or screws, just a little bit of pushing.

So we went back bright and early Tuesday morning for the quick procedure. The sedation was minor (gas only), but it was Alex’s first anesthesia so we were a bit nervous. Other than being pretty pissed off for awhile (“I hate this world!”), Alex handled it all really well.

I’m hopeful that we don’t have to go through this again – or at least not anytime soon. But, being realistic, the entire situation went as well as it could. And we have three kids. Things like this happen. Accidents happen. I’m just glad that Alex has been a good sport about it (except for when he’s not… like in this photo where he’s super mad).

Leo Lately – March 2018

In honor of Leo’s upcoming 9th birthday, I thought the timing was right for a post about Leo Lately. (With a quick search I realized I haven’t done this is 3 years. Yikes!) It’s really amazing how much this kid has grown and changed, particularly in the last year.

Growth – Leo’s nearly outgrown all boy’s sized clothing and shoes. I’m certain we’ll be doing our back-to-school shopping this summer in the Men’s section… just another sign my baby is growing up. I’m hopeful this will be the year he starts to care (at least a little) about what we buy. Although, given the big jump in cost for men’s clothing/shoes as compared to boys, maybe him being open to anything wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Photo credit: Mrs. Fawl's 3rd Grade Class Facebook Group

3rd Grade – This year Leo has been in Mrs. Fawl’s class at Overbrook Attendance Center. I honestly can’t tell you how impressed I have been with Mrs. Fawl’s teaching approach. Leo doesn’t have homework, nor does he bring home endless amounts of completed worksheets. I’m certain they do some of that stuff, but they spend their time on projects. He’s done many reports where he’s had to do research and then present what he’s learned; building projects where his team starts with sketches; uses a budget to purchase supplies; tracks their changes and keeps their expenses in-check all while designing and building roller coasters or disaster-proof houses or a house for the Three Little Pigs. Then after they’re done building, they have to see if their creations met the initial challenge. Mrs. Fawl has an amazing way of incorporating all of the subjects into the projects so the kids learn without even realizing they are learning. Honestly, it’s a lot like what I do at work everyday. I get a challenge, consider solutions, work within a budget, plan, execute and then measure my results to see how successful my solution was. I’m amazed that they’re doing this in third grade. What an awesome experience!

Reading – With Leo’s speech development issues, he’s always struggled a bit with reading. It feels like this past year he’s hit a turning point as he’s been able to catch back up to grade-level. I even think he’s starting to enjoy it. I don’t think his reading interest will probably ever be on par with his math, but I’m glad he’s not struggling as much as he had been.

Sports – Leo loves sports and being active in general. He played soccer with his friends at Overbrook last fall and basketball with them this winter. Now we’re starting to gear up for a summer full of baseball with his Hammers team. They’ll play league at Lake Shawnee and will travel a bit for four tournaments this summer. I’ve been a little concerned at the level of commitment his Hammers baseball team requires given his age, but I’m sensitive to it and constantly watching to make sure he’s having fun. His biggest challenge at this point is adapting to hitting kid-pitch. We’re working on improving his swing mechanics at home, so hopefully that will help. I know from my years of playing traveling softball that everything is a whole lot more fun when you’re confident at the plate.

Siblings – Leo’s a great big brother. For the most part, he takes his role of being the oldest and setting a good example seriously. (Sometimes a bit too seriously as he likes to step in for mom and dad every now and then.) He’s very connected to both Alex and Kate and always wants to play with them when he’s at my house.

Affectionate – Leo loves hugs and being physically close to someone (sitting by them or touching them). He’s still a little too young to know for sure, but I think Physical Touch is probably going to be one of his Love Languages. He certainly likes the action of showing/receiving affection from his family.

Responsibility – Probably the biggest change I’ve seen in Leo over the last year is the amount of responsibility he’s starting to show. He’s really started to figure out that he’s responsible for getting himself dressed and ready for school in the morning. He has to remember to take his allergy pill. He is capable and should get his own snacks/drinks. He needs to remember if he has something in his book bag that needs attention for the next day. I think the fact that he bounces back and forth between Brandon’s house and mine probably places an extra amount of need on this skill, but he’s starting to get it. And I’m grateful!

Gamer – Leo loves to play games. Board games, card games, any kind of game, he’s in. While he’s technically still a little young to be playing a lot of them, he jumps right in. I know a few of his current favorites are Cover Your Assets, Splendor, The Train Game, Golf, Old Hell and Nerts. I’m always impressed by how quickly Leo picks up on the rules and starts to follow along on the strategy. I feel bad for his friends as he gets older. He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.