Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015: Upon further review, part 1.

2015 started with such promise. This would be the year, I said, that I finally got back to documenting our family's life with this blog.

2015's response to that pledge? A big HA! My first post for 2015 came in AUGUST. Even a 19-day run during NaBloPoMo could not come close to getting this blog up to date. So here, presented in multiple parts, is our year in review, a blogging smorgasbord of 2015 goings-on.

Jan. 8: Winter band concert

The theme of this midyear concert was Disney, fitting considering the band's spring break trip to WDW.

It's incredible what these kids (and their directors) can do! As always, the performance was so impressive.

Jan. 10: College Football Playoff Fan Central

This would've been way more fun if MY team had been playing for the national championship in Arlington, but even without a dog in the hunt, this event was a blast. You know, even when they're wearing the "wrong" colors, college football fans are my kind of people.

On the Saturday before Monday's championship game, a friend and I attended a teachers' summit sponsored by the CFP folks and held at the Dallas Convention Center. I arrived a few hours early, however, so I could check out the fan events that morning, specifically media day. With the help of a little FM headset, fans could listen in on the individual Q&A's going on around the room with first the Oregon and then Ohio State players and coaches.

It was quite a scene!

After his analyst duties ended for the morning, Mack Brown visited with the many fans who lined the ESPN set-up's perimeter. Gracious as ever, he was happy to pose for selfies. 

This was a great year for DFW college fans. In a 10-month span, Arlington hosted the Final Four (for which I also volunteered, even though I didn't help with the actual games) and the football national championship. And I got to pose with two pretty special trophies. Here's hoping some bigger guys in  burnt orange get to raise those trophies some fine day!

Jan. 12: Brett's 'How To' book

I think this is Brett's seventh book, but who can keep track! His next book is at the publishing house now and should be out in spring 2016.

Jan. 17: Faces of Impressionism

January's a tough month for some of us, so we like to schedule fun outings to chase away the blues. This exhibition had us at "Van Gogh."

Jan. 17: Daisy's new 'do

We call this her Joan Rivers look.

Jan. 22: Billy Joel concert

I have an ongoing love affair with Billy Joel's music, so when I saw he'd be in Dallas just a few days before my birthday, I jumped at the chance to buy my own gift and get two tickets.

It was our first big arena concert in years (since Bass Hall Lyle concerts don't count).

Of course, it was fantastic! He played almost all of my faves, including "Vienna," and even after all these years, he's "got a way" of interacting with the crowd.

What wasn't fantastic was my fainting spell afterwards. After being wedged into my seat for two solid hours, I got sick when it was time to go. But hey, it's nice to know the American Airlines Center's paramedics are so good at their jobs!

The concert sent me down memory lane. I paid a whopping $17.50 to see Billy back in 1987!

Jan. 24: Survivor brush with greatness (first in a series)

When I saw the cast for Survivor season 30, the guy from a nearby town caught my eye. Sure enough, he went to L.D. Bell, and he was even IN MY ENGLISH CLASS! I was quick to send this pic from the Bell yearbook to Ryan, our resident Superfan. We were so pumped to see how he'd do. We had NO idea what a treat this season would turn out to be!

Jan. 26 and 31: Birthday #47

Nana treated us to a delicious meal and Brett and Ryan took me to Denton and Winstar for my birthday.

Feb. 1: Super Bowl XLIX

What's better than watching the NFL's biggest game? Sharing it with friends, of course!

Feb. 8: Booth buddies

Love these guys!

Feb. 8: Ryan meets 'Anya'

At Dallas Comic Con Fan Days, Ryan got to meet Emma Caulfield, an actress from family fave Buffy the Vampire Slayer. What's even cooler is that Brett got to interview her before the show!

Feb. 14: Coop's first birthday

It's hard to describe the joy this little fella has brought our family! We gathered at Scott and Margaret's house to celebrate his first birthday.


Silly Katie!

Uncle Breps loves Coop!

Feb. 14: Valentine's Day

Chocolate. Chocolate everywhere.

Feb. 21: Banner year at B&N

Barnes & Noble bookstores featured Brett's 100 Greatest book with their Christmas 2014 promotions, so we had fun spotting copies of his masterpiece at various B&N locations.

On this particular day, not only did we find his book, but we also spotted three of his bylines in magazines that B&N carries. What a year for our writer!

Feb. 23: Ice, ice, baby

Our first of several ice days came in February. The guys decided to brave the bitter cold to walk for provisions (Little Caesar's pizza).

Feb. 26: Sweet sisters

Feb. 27-28: No business like SNOW business

As Texans, we rarely get to see our world turn white, so when snow comes, we go a little crazy.

The flurries started during the school day. By the time the final bell rang to send us home, we had about an inch everywhere, including on our cars.

I was really glad when we all got home, especially Ryan. He had a treacherous drive home from UTA. Brett and I were on pins and needles until we saw his car pull in front of our house. 

Daisy wasn't sure what to think.

We just HAVE to throw some snowballs!

At Nana's

Coming soon: Part 2 of "2015: Upon Further Review"!

Sunday, December 20, 2015


Two years ago, we lost Brett's dad, my second dad, and the kids' Papa. The four of us went with Nana yesterday to put poinsettias on his grave.

In a way it's hard to believe it's been two years since we kept vigil in that living room, singing, praying, holding his hands as we clung to his last moments in this world. 

But then again, so much has happened since he passed away. Another great grandchild was born and has grown into a precious toddler, Ryan graduated from high school and moved to Austin for college, and life in general has marched onward and upward.

Without him.

As a family, we have struggled to cope with his absence. We don't know how to face that empty recliner, how to take his seat at the dinner table, where to go for wise words about bikes, cars, sports, and life.

So we're lost. 

We'll gather tonight to celebrate our family Christmas. We'll hug our sweet nieces and nephews (and get an extra squeeze from the one who's finally home from Japan for a bit), and we'll eat and laugh and open gifts. The little kids will make Papa's "outer" face, and we'll tell Papa stories and miss him like crazy.

But we'll also thank God for the baby who's the subject of so many of those songs on the radio lately. We'll thank Him for the savior who came so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life. We will praise Him for taking away that part of the mystery; thank God, we KNOW where Papa is. (Hint: He's not in that Colleyville grave!)

As a family we will always miss Papa and grieve for him, but even though we may be lost without him, we know where Papa can be found.