31 January 2019
One of our Christmas traditions is to go out for Chinese food on Christmas afternoon. It used to be that I would go get carry out while the kids were playing with their new whatevers. As they got older, we started going out. Now, it's a full blown afternoon, with a buffet. This year a woman came to our table and did card tricks. Other families are there, too. A large group sitting at a table about ten feet away was very well behaved, but, let out a simultaneous scream that shocked us all - the grandfather had passed out $100 bills to each of the grandkids - Merry Christmas! Mom went with us this year, and we grabbed a photo on our way out - everyone is actually sitting in this picture (JMichael will probably be taller than Rachel one day - not yet!).
31 December 2018
The December 2018 splash found us at my brother Eric's house for a Christmas picture, which, honestly, was taken at Thanksgiving while digesting our huge dinner and festooning Eric and Abbey's house with Christmas spirit. They are five of my most cherished presents. Merry Christmas to me. Or, as we say at the BallTeam house, Mrree Khimush....
27 December 2018
She is pictured here on her sixteenth birthday - in DC - with Rachel, who took her out for the day. On Rachel's right is Matt Barkley, her boyfriend. On Charlotte's left is Markel Norfleet, her boyfriend. Rachel took Charlotte to the Smithsonian and out to eat, with the "boys".
Charlotte excels at making people feel at ease. She is fearless and as at home on the stage as one-on-one. Her laugh is contagious and she sings in the shower loudly enough for the cows to hear. She is in the tenth grade and we are having issues with her grades, not turning in her work, not going to class, not caring about performance. Her cutting resurfaced earlier this year, and is under control again, but, is still a constant worry. We have investigated changing her schools, changing her medications, changing her schedule. The only thing I would never change is Charlotte. She is worth every struggle. Happy Sixteenth, baby girl. Your real sweet sixteen present will come in March - stay tuned!
30 November 2018
31 October 2018
....not my favorite holiday. We did get a few pictures, though.
See, all candy is bad for you. Eat an apple.
Josephine as Theodore. Her friends are Simon and Alvin. This getup got them about a half a pillowcase of candy.
JMichael went to his school's trunk or treat with teachers as a devil who hangs out with wicked clown monsters. This is his art teacher dressed as Pennywise. Disturbing. JMichael also wore this outfit to school, minus the mask. He also has been sleeping in it, again, minus the mask.
A few gems from past years - this one about 2016. JMichael is a vampire soccer player; Charlotte is a rabid cat; Samantha is a victim of domestic violence; and Josephine is a scarecrow.
This one is circa 2013, or so. JMichael as a teenage mutant ninja turtle; Josephine the ladybug; Rachel the convict; LaUra (Samantha's buddy from down the street and our sixth child) a zebra; Samantha the drummer and Charlotte the vampire queen.
2018 - Samantha the Corn Monster.
Oh the cuteness - 2009 - so adorable.
And finally, this gem from North Carolina - 2004 - Samantha, Charlotte and Rachel painted their pumpkins. Sweet faces.
12 October 2018
Samantha takes a fine selfie, huh? This photo is in the dark of the deck, because we - James and I - were being treated to supper out. James and Samantha picked me up from work, stopped by McDonald's and Samantha got supper for the little ladies and JMichael; we delivered it, then she took us out to eat. We went to the Fish Whistle, a local bar and seafood place, and we had a fantastic dinner. Good food, great company and cheesecake.
The tradition comes from the principle of the First Check. Samantha has been working for a while now, but, the rule is that when you get a new job, you take the family out to eat. Samantha just decided tonight is the night and it was a wonderful surprise.