Tag Archives: Jared

Gratitude

Hands in pockets: Ricky, Jared, RJ, and the kid

Hands in pockets: Ricky, Jared, RJ, and the kid

I’m grateful that my sons have such great friends to pal around with. This week two of the Core 4 who room together at Sam Houston State (e.g., my younger son and RJ) were reunited with the other dynamic duo, Ricky (University of North Texas) and Jared (Blinn Junior College) for the first time since they left for college.

Although it was a short videogame-playing session, I could tell that they had a lot of fun, judging from all the laughter coming from our game room. Here’s hoping this is an unbreakable bond for these Fantastic Four friends!

Pool Football

Jared begins a new round.

Jared begins a new round.

Float flipping wasn’t the only new sport introduced to our family’s swimming pool last Sunday. Say hello to pool football!

It starts with one boy out of the water tossing a football high in the air to two awaiting opponents. The object?

The brothers battle.

The brothers battle.

Grab the football first. This, of course, involves a lot of jumping and bumping. Boys gotta be boys.

Big bro wins this time.

Big bro wins this time.

But eventually someone is victorious. After each round (usually a best-of-five catches), the thrower rotates in, and another game starts.

Got it!

My younger son holds on tight to gain a point on Jared.

There were plenty of thrills and spills during the lively contests. Sometimes you never knew who was going to end up with the ball.

Will Jared hang on?

Will Jared hang on?

Plus it wasn’t enough just to get your hands on the slippery object. The guys had to make sure to show they hit the water with the football still in hand.

Got it!

Jared is triumphant.

Pay dirt!

Ooooooh! Aaaaaaah!!

Love the multicolored ones!

Love the multicolored ones!

Last night our master-planned community showcased its Fourth of July best with its annual fireworks show.

Looks like we’ve got a red theme going on.

Looks like we’ve got a red theme going on.

The Mister, our younger son, and I decided to watch from the bleachers at our nearby middle school with the kid’s pals, Jared and Ricky, and Ricky’s parents, Julie and Carlos (our trivia aces).

Glad I could capture all the pretty bursts

Lots of pretty bursts

I didn’t take long to consider my photographic options for a change. For past fireworks displays I’ve tried serious, point-and-shoot lazy, and embarrassingly sloppy.

Blue and green make for a nice color combination.

Blue and green make for a nice color combination.

This time I opted for my Nikon D700 and beloved Nikon 70-200mm lens. The fireworks were being blasted from about a half mile away, so I needed some focal length. I also eschewed a tripod totally due to laziness. So when my arms got tired from holding the heavy combo, I only had myself to blame (darn it!).

It’s the palm tree effect!

It’s the palm tree effect!

Due to some kind of glitch, the colorful show kept starting and stopping over a 25-minute time span, confusing the crowd. That made it hard to get the sort of rhythm you need to hopefully capture a half-dozen decent pix.

Fortunately, I managed to snap about a dozen photos that I thought best represented what we saw. Even though I appreciate the crisp, clear, multiburst shots, I must admit that one favorite stood out.

Electricity!

Electricity is in the air.

It looks like a science experiment gone awry! This is what happens when the camera’s shutter speed is way too slooooow.

It’s a great reminder of last night’s funky, fun fireworks extravaganza.

Wet Dunks

My younger son is ready to air dunk!

My younger son is ready to air dunk!

The Summer Games have begun in our backyard pool. Usually that means that danger is the number one ingredient, because these made-up sports always involve males. I’ve told my two sons and their friends to be careful, avoid the pool edges, and please don’t get blood in the pool. So far, so good.

This summer my younger son and his pal Jared have been hanging out in the pool. Recently they made up a new game to quell the boredom: Pool dunking.

We have a poor man’s pool basketball goal that floats. So the kid and Jared decided it would be fun to take a running start with a small basketball and try to dunk it in the ever-moving, inflatable hoop before landing in the water.

This gives new meaning to the term “jump shot!”

Gotta love the wink!

Gotta love the wink!

Jared opted to go for style points on this dunk.

Hovering in the air

Hovering in the air

Looks like a certain two-pointer.

Note where the ball is

Note where the ball is

Score . . . and splashdown!

Looks like a perfect take-off.

Looks like a perfect takeoff.

The kid decided to go for power.

Closing in

Closing in

Did he mistime his leap?

Stretching it out

Stretching it out

Not at all! It was a splashy two points.

I guess when you’re too short to dunk on a regulation 10-foot dry basketball hoop, the little version in the pool is a great way to boost your ego. Plus it wasn’t dangerous . . . for a change. My blood pressure appreciated that!

ProGrad Gambling

The kid surrounded by his besties: Michael, Ricky, and Jared, with Marcus kneeling.

The kid surrounded by his besties: Michael, Ricky, and Jared, with Marcus kneeling.

Just like his older brother did three years ago, once my younger son was done with graduation, he attended his high school’s final event: ProGrad. Project Graduation still is a supervised, all-night lock-in at their school featuring fun, food, games, prizes, and a hypnotist.

Big money! Big money!

Big money! Big money!

And just like his brother, the kid first checked out the Spin ’n Win with its guaranteed payout.

Sidebar: He opted for a clock, which normally would be helpful in his college dorm. However, it’s the analog version with hands and numbers. I think he only can tell time digitally!

After that, he quickly gravitated towards the casino part of the activities and had a blast there, once again just like his brother. But there was one big difference.

Pondering his next move

Pondering his next move

He became addicted to playing blackjack. After several of his buddies expressed concern to me about how quickly he was blowing the 15,000 chips that all the graduates were given, I decided I’d better check it out.

Playing two hands at a time

Playing two hands at a time

Sure enough, his pile of chips was rapidly dwindling. I watched as he finally lost them all.

But he still walked away with a smile, and I figured that was the end of his gambling escapades. Of course, I was wrong. After a friend gave him a couple chips, and he begged another for more, he parlayed those into 10,000 chips, which were good for two raffle tickets (not that he won anything, again much like his bro).

Wonder how his luck would be in Las Vegas. I’m afraid to find out!

“The Office” Rules

Jared, the kid, and Ricky show their Office alter egos.

Jared, the kid, and Ricky show their “Office” alter egos at last Saturday’s Senior Serve.

Three years ago when it was our older son’s turn to participate in his high school’s Project Graduation dinner and silent auction (aka Senior Serve), he had utterly no interest.

The sign is held up by paper clips!

The sign is held up by paper clips!

Fortunately, his little bro bought into the concept and had two of his besties, Jared and Ricky, on board. The seniors think up themes for their tables and then do their best (with a lot of their parents’ help, of course) to carry them out with decorations and costumes. At first, the boys wanted to do Beowulf.

Why? Why not!

Jared’s mom, Mary, borrowed her work’s office supplies.

Even the tablecloth is paper.

Fortunately, they came to their senses after realizing how hard that would be to pull off. Thus came Plan B: “The Office,” which is one our favorite TV shows (well, the early seasons when it was funny).

The table’s centerpiece was reams of copy paper and a dead laptop.

The table’s centerpiece was reams of copy paper and a dead laptop.

My younger son quickly decided to be Michael Scott, the character he likes best. Ricky was tabbed as Dwight Schrute, because sometimes he wears glasses. That left Jared to be Jim Halpert, who he definitely favors with his lankiness and laid-back style.

A novel idea for a tip jar!

Cool beans: A novel idea for a tip jar!

The boys practiced a couple skits to perform so they could earn tips (which go into the ProGrad coffers). We set up a mini desk (a card table) for them to use complete with official-looking phones and our three office chairs. On game day (aka last Saturday night), they were ready to go and highly amusing.

Sidebar: For me, the best part of the process was bonding with the other moms, Julie (Ricky) and Mary (Jared). We had a blast brainstorming ideas with and without our sons and then helping them make these special memories.

Our cake had a lovely presentation.

Our cake had a lovely presentation, thanks to Mary.

The kid made a credible Michael Scott (despite his lighter hair color), complete with a faux suit (a new-looking blazer we bought at Goodwill for a mere $15), World’s Best Boss mug, and a wristband that read “Support the Rabid.” He, his buds, and the parents had a great time at the event, which featured a lot of other wonderful themes, including the Bachelor, Duck Dynasty, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and even a carnival.

I’m sure it was tough for the judges to pick the three top tables, which won a bunch of the coveted Bulldog Bucks that the kids use to buy prizes at the June 8th ProGrad.

Katherine, Kristen, and Brittany are coming up roses!

Katherine, Kristen, and Brittany are coming up roses!

In the end, though, the table next to us, Garden Party, won as best theme. It smelled as good as it looked!

Too bad there wasn’t a prize for the table that had the most fun with the cutest guys. Ours would’ve won that hands down!

Football Fun

My younger son launches a throw.

The kid launches the football.

There are few things in life that my younger son likes better than football . . . well, except sitting and watching it on TV. When a game is on, he’ll be running around the family room, football in hand (he got a new one from the Mister for Christmas), quarterbacking his imaginary team.

It always makes me smile . . . except when he won’t pass me the ball (put me in, coach!).

Ricky about to make the catch.

Ricky about to make the catch.

One of the kid’s favorite activities is to play football with his pals. Usually he meets a group of fellow high school seniors on the Club field near our house. However, a few weeks ago, he and his buddy Ricky decided to throw the faux pigskin around in our cul-de-sac as they waited for their friend Jared to come over and play a videogame.

What goes up, must come down!

What goes up, must come down!

I really enjoyed watching them burn off some energy. Plus they didn’t mind showing off for my Nikon dSLR (always a plus!).

Ricky finds his inner lefty.

Ricky finds his inner lefty.

Despite being a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan, Ricky is one of my favorites among my younger son’s friends. He’s well-spoken and polite and is never afraid to speak his mind . . . especially when it comes to trashing (good-naturedly, of course) my beloved Cubbies. I forgive him his trespasses.

Jared finally arrives!

Jared finally arrives!

Our association with Jared goes back about five years to the kid’s Little League baseball days. Little did we know way back then that the two would become such good pals in high school. Hopefully, Jared will join my son at Sam Houston State this fall.

Jared hauls in a pass from my son.

Jared hauls in a pass from my son.

Speaking of which, I know that every time I snap pics of the kid and his friends that before long they’ll be off to college. Many, many miles away from my Nikon dSLR and my oft-full tear ducts.

The kid actually hung on to the ball!

The kid actually hung on to the ball!

Which makes me appreciate all the more these little athletic sessions in front of our house among the parked cars. I’m sure I’ll miss them almost as much as I’ll miss my beloved baby boy.