We are reunited as a family and it feels so good. I think I’ve heard that before… Here are the kids on Sunday night when Max finally got home:2013-07-28 iPhone 84314 Do they look happy or what? I was mean and made Lu go to bed because she was so grumpy but I think she missed that boy the very most.  It had been two and a half weeks since Max left us with Dave to come back to the desert to work his tail off practicing volleyball and work construction at our new house…and then head out for another volleyball tournament. The girls and I got home from this drive back here last Tuesday night, I did about a bazillion loads of laundry (ok, five), got the fridge stocked and the next morning Dave and I headed out to Max’s “high performance” volleyball tournament in Fort Lauderdale. Dave bought a ticket a while back because who knows when he’d get to see another tournament like this, and he has a free companion pass so I couldn’t resist going with him and watching this boy play. 2013-07-25 volleyball 83845(As you know, I’ve had that hole in my heart all summer worried about how fast he’s growing up…I just had to be there with him!) There were volleyball players from all over the world at this thing.2013-07-27 iPhone 84250 The courts went on and on…2013-07-26 volleyball 83885 …filled with some of the tallest people we’ve seen!2013-07-25 volleyball 83824(that net is eight feet tall…yeah, that girl’s got some height on her!) These girls were all taller than me (I’m six feet tall).2013-07-26 iPhone 84214 Dave and I, and even Max felt a little shrimpy as we walked by some of these players. I’m not sure if I have mentioned how much I love to watch volleyball (ha).  But oh boy I do.  Sure it helps that it’s my son I adore who I get to watch, but it is a great sport as far as I’m concerned.2013-07-25 volleyball 83840 2013-07-25 volleyball 838282013-07-27 volleyball 83909 Does Max’s face tell you how excited he was that we were there?2013-07-25 iPhone 84197I kid, I think he really did love having us there.  I’m thinking it was more the taking-the-picture thing that caused that over-enthusiastic expression, cause he looooves that. I wish I had a picture of his enthusiasm when he got to eat a thing like this sucker:2013-07-27 iPhone 84240 Makes my mouth water those things were so darn good. In our spare time when we weren’t watching the games Dave and I checked out the beach:2013-07-25 iPhone 841892013-07-25 iPhone 84190 …and checked out how much food Max could put down on the side-lines:2013-07-26 iPhone 84212In that sitting it was two fruit-by-the-foots, two rice krispie treats, one package of fruit snacks and two granola bars.  Wow. We tried to fill him up on real food too…2013-07-26 iPhone 84217(that kid of ours did not eat free BTW) We also learned all about the ins and outs of the funny things these boys do in their spare time at tournaments like this.  They cracked us up with all the things they come up with like “bed ball” (Max is apparently third seed in that game), “stall ball,” “volley pong,” etc.  2013-07-27 iPhone 84251 Such a great group of kids there. Florida is kind of pretty I must say…2013-07-27 iPhone 84223 And although we came in fourth in our division, these boys sure played their hearts out.2013-07-27 volleyball 83893 I love how many “manners” there are in volleyball.  I love how they line up and wait for the go-ahead to walk across the court at the beginning of a game.  I love that as they walk they wave to the crowd.  2013-07-27 volleyball 83902 And I love that Max got to meet so many new kids who he will see during season games this year…and that he got his first recruitment possibility letter when we got home. Boy that kid is learning a lot. I love having views like this at dinner.2013-07-25 iPhone 84195 And being with my boys.2013-07-27 iPhone 842412013-07-25 volleyball 83859 2013-07-25 volleyball 838372013-07-24 volleyball 838162013-07-27 iPhone 842442013-07-27 volleyball 83934Whoops, missed that one.  But I sure like his smile! 2013-07-25 volleyball 838662013-07-24 volleyball 83814 2013-07-25 volleyball 838262013-07-26 volleyball 83876 Max got some great coaching and learned so much.2013-07-25 volleyball 83833 2013-07-25 volleyball 83861They had a kind of rough time because he was the only “middle” which causes some problems when he is serving and rotated out.  The coach did a great job rotating other players through to try out the “middle” position but in the end it didn’t lead to any gold medals or carrying each other on shoulders kind of deals 🙂 They did come back in one game from being down 0-2 to take the whole thing in five.  That was awesome.2013-07-27 volleyball 839102013-07-27 volleyball 83911 What an amazing opportunity these boys had.2013-07-25 volleyball 83827 …and us too.2013-07-26 volleyball 838862013-07-27 volleyball 83944 When the tournament was over we drove around in the pouring rain to check out all the humongous yachts parked outside all these houses:2013-07-27 iPhone 84236 2013-07-27 iPhone 84234 …and wished for a little more beach time.2013-07-27 iPhone 84232 2013-07-27 dave's iPhone 83985Who was taking care of the girls back home you may ask? Those girls of ours were mostly taking care of themselves…with their awesome older cousin coming back and forth to sleep there and be the overseer.  The girls were trying to earn some extra cash for school clothes and man oh man was I ever proud of them when we got home.  The house was cleaner than I have seen it.2013-07-27 iPhone 84289 The girls were pleased as punch with themselves:2013-07-27 iPhone 84284 There were leftovers from a great dinner Grace had made waiting for us in the fridge.  2013-07-27 iPhone 84288 I even found traces of their own job charts like the ones I always do.2013-07-27 iPhone 84287 And a candle was burning to make the house smell good for crying out loud.2013-07-27 iPhone 84290 How awesome is that?  Now don’t get all confused and think that happens all the time.  As I type I’m surrounded by dirty socks and books and games and pieces of play-doh my girls have left out just in a matter of minutes. But for that moment there in time, I cherished that they are learning. And growing. And I’ll be patient that there are lots of messes along the way in this mothering/family gig I’ve got going on as I cherish the moments where the stars align and they “get it.” There’s a saying that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and it has sure been true this summer. So glad to be back together more in love with this messy, sweet, sometimes-yelly  (and smelly) imperfectly perfect family of mine. And I’m gonna hold them close for these last couple days before school starts.

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  1. Florida looks so nice! What a fun little get away! I have kind of a weird/gross question. Most teenage boys have hormones going and break out and stuff. Max's complexion looks so nice. I was just wondering if you guys use anything special or if he's just blessed 🙂

  2. So you are probably going to die when I ask for this silly favor but we are building and our cooktop is going in our island like yours is. Would you mind measuring the width of your island for me pretty please?? I know that is crazy but I am having a hard time figuring that one out!

    I love your house now so I'm sure your new home will be amazing as well!

    As far as this post goes, I have all boys so I'm going to try not to hold my breath for this kind of thing in the future. But I won't give up trying! You're doing a good job momma!

  3. Tyra, Max definitely gets break-outs. Sometimes worse than others! They aren't horrible, especially when he washes his face every night. A while ago Dave got him some "Proactive" that has maybe helped, but he's not too diligent using anything in particular.

    Monica, our island is 4 feet wide.

  4. I teared up when I saw the job chart! I was in college before I realized that my mom's organizational skills at home really made sense. She appreciated hearing that I was already "becoming my mom". You got that thrill before your girls even left home!!

  5. I so enjoy reading your blog and seeing how you grow and change with your family.

    Our eldest turns 18 in October and it is the scariest thing I think I have ever encountered. To know that I will have to release her to the world, on her own, without me to make sure she is okay.

    I know God has his hand all over her, so I pray every day for his peace to let her go and see the awesome things he will bring about in her life.

    But man, it still freaks me out. Bring on getting older, just don't let my kids. 😉

  6. Oh wow this brought back so many memories of our daughter, Kylie, playing club ball in high school. We went to Atlanta for a big tournament–so many courts! OMGosh! She went on to play 3 seasons at Southern Virginia University. Love to watch this game!

  7. Welcome to volleyball (finally an "Eyre" is into volleyball instead of tennis :)) I keep telling Rick he needs to put a volleyball net up, instead of a tennis net!!

  8. I LOVE seeing this! Wish we'd been there in Florida to see all the fun. So glad we weren't there to help clean the house. They did an AWESOME job on their own!

    Miss you all!

  9. Our oldest is 20 and has been moved out for a couple of years and our second child a daughter is at her first year of girls camp right now and I am feeling very, very lost with just the two little boys at home. I am guessing that is the hole in my heart that is making it hard for me to breath, time marches on and our babies grow up and learn to fly I just wish it took a lot longer some times.

  10. How fun that you got to watch Max play. I played volleyball growing up and it is such a fun sport! I even did club for my jr yr in high school. My team wasn't really good but I loved the challenge! Hope that love tank for your son was filled and overflowing. My son will be 8 at the end of the month. He eats, sleeps, and breathes baseball. I love watching him and his buddies play. But mostly enjoy getting the chance of watching him grow and develop in life. Looking forward to see more of what are kids can do.

  11. Oh boy, this brings back so many memories for me! Not sure if you know me, but I am the daughter of Dianne (Poelman) Parker, Dave's cousin, and I played years of club volleyball before getting a scholarship at BYU. I have so many fun memories of club tournaments and also some overwhelming memories of the recruiting process. Not sure if Max is wanting to play in college, but if I could offer any advice, it would be to just ENJOY the process, LOVE the game, and don't think too much. What I mean by don't think too much is don't get distracted with what other people think or what coaches might be watching you play. Just focus on playing for yourself and your team and the rest will take care of itself. I'm excited to see where the world of volleyball takes him (it's already taken him to some amazing places)… it really is the best sport!


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