Finale Friday

I’ve been hiding behind a Nikon dSLR for years.

I’ve been hiding behind a Nikon dSLR for years.

Today marks the end of an (admittedly short) era: This is the final post of Random Snippets & Apertures, my fourth child.

After five and a half years, almost 1,400 blog posts (this is number 1,373, to be exact) and one name change (originally I called it “Get ’er Done,” not that I ever did), it’s time to move on to other writing and creative projects. I’ll miss posting in my tiny segment of the blogosphere, but it really is for the best.

Jake in 2009

Jake showed off his beautiful blue eyes in 2009.

I started Random Snippets & Apertures as a way of chronicling my family’s adventures. I wanted it to be a legacy for my sons. My first post was on January 5, 2009. At the beginning, Jake, my older son, turned 17, and was a high school junior.

Jake rocks a giveaway Houston Astros José Altuve jersey last Sunday.

He rocked a giveaway Houston Astros José Altuve jersey last Sunday.

Now he’s graduated from UTSA and is sharing an apartment in Houston with his best friend forever and our “third son,” Chase. He’s gone from student to working man.

C.J. in 2009 unhappy that I’m taking his photo.

C.J. in 2009 was unhappy that I snapped his photo.

Meanwhile, C.J., was a mere 13 and a half and in eighth grade way back when.

C.J. at Jake’s UTSA graduation. Some things never change!

The bearded one was annoyed at Jake’s UTSA graduation. Some things never change!

As I blogged earlier this week, he just celebrated his 19th birthday. He finished up his freshman year at Sam Houston State with all A’s and a B. What a great transition for him!

As you can see, with both boys out of the house for much if not all of the year, my blog’s purpose is over. It’s as much fun to look back as it is to look ahead, especially for this sentimental mom who adores her sons to the moon and back.

So now it’s on to the next chapter . . . whatever that will be. Thanks for coming along for the ride, dear readers! Hope you enjoy your summer!!

P.S. The blog will remain here on WordPress; I just won’t be adding any new content to it (probably!).

One-Word Wednesday

I’m back shooting disc golf now that my thumb joint feels better. Here C.J. tees off.

I’m back shooting disc golf now that my thumb joint feels better. Here C.J. tees off during yesterday’s Southwest Handicap Mini at Community Park.

Return!

The Mister putts.

The Mister putts.

Eric tests the wind direction.

Eric tests the wind direction.

My baby boy sails in a par putt.

My baby boy sails in a par putt.

Making Good On a Promise

C.J. is ready to blow out the candle on his mini pizookie at BJ's.

C.J. is ready to blow out the candle on his mini pizookie during lunch at BJ’s.

Every so often, my ever-lovin’ though sometimes ornery younger son will look at me and say, “Remember my birthday last year? I still can’t believe we didn’t go to Dave and Buster’s.” Then cue the fake sigh.

As I cue my own real sigh, I must admit that I do feel bad about last year, even though C.J. and the rest of the Core 4 seemed to have a great time at Tilt Studio. Which is why I had promised him an eventual trip to D&B. Yesterday I fulfilled it.

The guys walk towards their world of fun.

The guys walk towards their world of fun.

Yep, my newly minted 19-year-old got to spend his birthday with his big brother and Ricky, Jared, and RJ at Dave and Buster’s in Houston. The Mister and I went along to act as chauffeur and ATM. Plus we always enjoy watching the guys have a great time. Which they did!

Sharpshooter!

Sharpshooter!

Most of their $20 Power Cards were wasted spent on a couple of basketball games that they played numerous times. All five of them love to hoop it up.

Lotsa tix

It’s a handful.

One of the best parts for them, besides trash talking each other, was racking up tickets. Once all the money was gone, it was time to see how much they had earned.

As a veteran mom, I knew that most of the prizes were going to be lame and cost lots of tickets. D&B, after all, is just Chuck E. Cheese’s with better food and games and without the rat. But the guys still enjoyed checking out the store and picking out their rewards (except for Jared, who is saving up his winnings).

Jared, Ricky, C.J., RJ, and Jake pose with Bumblebee.

Jared, Ricky, C.J., RJ, and Jake pose with Bumblebee.

As we were walking out of D&B, C.J. said, “You know, last year’s place was okay. But Dave and Buster’s was a lot more fun!”

Glad you had a birthday that’s as wonderful as you are, my sweet son!

Brace Yourself!

This is what my left hand looked like in the doctor’s office.

This is what my left hand looked like in the doctor’s office.

Oh, happy day! My Ace bandage wrap, which included a partial cast and enough gauze to make me think that someone had stock in the company, is just a memory now. It came off with a little pulling and tugging Wednesday, leaving me with a very stiff left wrist, a swollen thumb, stitches, and the purple pen marks that Dr. Hildreth had used as a self-guide. Picasso he ain’t.

Believe me, you will thank me for not subjecting you to the close-up photo of my thumb-joint stitches after the tape was removed; they really look gross. Hildreth easily pulled out the carpal tunnel stitches and told me that I’ll be gently scrubbing the others away. Plus I have several easy exercises to do twice a day, as well as run warm water over the area to loosen it up.

Black is slimming, right?

Black is slimming, right?

My new constant companion is this Bledsoe brace, which I have to wear almost 24/7 (except for showers) for the next four weeks while my thumb-joint fusion continues to heal (I still have intermittent pain, unfortunately). Two weeks after that, I’ll see Hildreth and, hopefully, I’ll be released to wait until my grip fully returns (in an expected six months to a year).

Of course, the best news for me was that I’m cleared to return to walking and jogging. Oh, how I’ve missed my somewhat daily constitutional! Naturally, the combination of the supposedly breathable material with Houston’s infamous heat and humidity probably will make for one smelly brace.

Friends, you might want to keep your distance!

One-Word Wednesday

 

Jake snaps a photo of himself, Josh, Chase, and C.J. at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. The boys (plus Ben and Brandon) went on a buddy trip to San Antonio and Schlitterbahn last weekend.

Jake snaps a photo of himself, Josh, Chase, and C.J. before going in to Six Flags Fiesta Texas. The boys (plus Ben and Brandon) went on a buddy trip to San Antonio and Schlitterbahn last weekend.

Broventure!

Giving Thanks to Our War Heroes

The flag panel partially obstructs the Remembrance Tower.

The flag panel partially obstructs the Remembrance Tower.

Ever since last September when I saw that an unusual-looking building had been finished in our nearby Memorial Park, I’ve wanted to check it out.

Yesterday being part of Memorial Day weekend seemed like the perfect opportunity to drive over with the Mister and finally view the Sugar Land Veterans Memorial.

The Mister is dwarfed by the Remembrance Tower.

The Mister is dwarfed by the Remembrance Tower.

There’s a much-bigger, better-known Memorial Park in Houston, but that doesn’t make our smaller version any less meaningful. Especially now that there’s a true memorial along the mile-long, crushed-granite path that surrounds a manmade lake.

The Army insignia

The Army symbol

The memorial is guarded by a concrete flag panel, which serves as a gateway to the 50-foot, pentagonal tower. Each wall features a branch of the military, with its insignia in the nearby sidewalk.

While the outside of the tower looks impressive, it’s what’s inside that truly matters. The entrance is on the lakeside, away from the potential hustle and bustle of the walking path. I was equally jarred by the imposing quiet and the names etched into four of the five panels (none from the U.S. Coast Guard), those from our small community who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country.

#7832-(marine-names)U.S. Marine Corps

#2397-(army-names)U.S. Army

#2399-(navy-names)U.S. Navy

#2400-(air-force-names)U.S. Air Force

I silently prayed for these brave men and their families, as I hoped that our Veterans Memorial never fills up with names.

Every time I pass by the stark flag and building, I’ll always remember that freedom is not free.

The Mister Hits a Homer

Jake holds his new prized possession.

Jake holds his new prized possession.

During spring break the Mister asked Jake a supposedly innocuous question: If you could have an autograph from any major league baseball player, who would it be?

Our older son, who boasts an encyclopedic amount of useless baseball information in his gray matter, didn’t hesitate one bit.

“Billy Martin,” he said. He’s always liked the fiery former player and manager.

After the boys returned to their respective college campuses, the Mister asked me what we were going to give Jake for his upcoming UTSA graduation. Naturally, I thought being debt-free should be enough. However, the doting dad had other ideas.

And that’s why the day after we returned from watching our pride and joy walk across the Alamodome stage, Jake opened one unique present from us.

So cool!

So cool!

Yep, it was a baseball autographed by the one and only Billy Martin, scored by the Mister on eBay.

Jake was thrilled! “Most people wouldn’t understand how meaningful this is to me,” he said, as he inspected the signature. “It will always be special to me.”

You’re special to us, sweet boy!