30 July 2013

Taking a Free Flight of Back to Back Hits...

I first heard his voice when I was eleven.

I was at a slumber party with friends when the hostess's older sister turned on her radio, and I first heard the words "I'm Kidd Kraddick, taking off on another Eagle free flight of back to back hits!"

It was a little like looking behind the velvet curtain of Oz.  So this was what the cool high school kids were listening to! Now, full disclosure--I have no idea if the older sister or her friends were, in fact, cool.  But they were cool to me.  They were funny and smart and into band (okay, so maybe they were only cool to nerdy kids like me.  I totally don't care.).  And if they were listening to the Eagle (97.1 K-Eeee-GL--if you're anywhere close to my age and lived in the DFW listening area back in the day, you just sang that in your head.  You know you did.), by golly, I was going to listen to the Eagle. 

That's how I "met" Kidd Kraddick.  

Back then, he was on at night. I was a kid who didn't have a TV in my room, so my nights were spent listening to the radio.  I liked Kidd, but I liked music in general, so the DJ was just the guy who played the music.  But I liked "Burn your Buns" and the fact that he was funny.

When he moved to afternoons, I didn't listen as much because I was busy doing other junior high kid things, but I would catch him occasionally in the car going from here to there. 

When he moved to mornings, I actually felt sorry for him. I HATED mornings.  I felt certain it was a demotion. :)  But I listened every morning while getting ready and going to school, and so did my friends.  We would talk and laugh about what Kidd did or said that morning.

After my high school graduation, KEGL lost its mind and fired all the DJ's.  I still remember that weekend, going to the movies with friends and hearing Eagle's songs playing over and over and over.  I thought it was the stupidest thing they'd ever done, but I was going away to college and wouldn't be able to hear the Eagle anyway.  I thought that was where Kidd and I would part ways.   

During college, I really wanted to be one of those cool college kids who listened to something relevant and "edgy."  (If you know me, you know relevant and edgy don't exactly describe me--not now, not then.  But I tried.) So  I started listening to Howard Stern. Although I did think he was funny, I also found myself feeling a little dirty and guilty when I would get out of the car.  

I kept listening to Howard all the way up to when I started student teaching.  After a couple of weeks, I realized that if I was going to have any kind of positive impact on the kids I was teaching, Howard and I were going to have to break up.  He was making me sarcastic and cynical, and I didn't need any help with that.  So I hit the scan button... and that's when I heard the familiar voice from way back when...different station, same Kidd.  I was so excited.

At the time, it was Kidd, Kellie, Burt and Al (although Al was still doing the whole limousine business).  They would talk about their lives and what was going on in the DFW area.  My commute in the morning was almost 40 minutes, and I had a teacher conference period first thing every day, so  I was able to listen for an extended period throughout the week. I cried when Burt left because I felt like part of the family was moving away.  Kidd had a knack of surrounding himself with great people, and although the cast of players sometimes changed, the show itself was always great because Kidd knew how to find the funny in people.

I bought "Rude Awakenings," not because it was for a good cause, but because I thought it was some of the funniest moments in radio that I'd ever heard. There have been lots of those moments over the years.

And here, 28 years after first hearing his voice, I feel like a friend has died.  When my niece texted me with the news, I was so sad.  I don't want to sound like I had this guy up on a pedestal of any sort, because that's really not it at all (a booster box, maybe...).  I felt something similar to this when my high school principal died suddenly.  Someone I liked and respected, and just sort of expected to always be around.

And now he's not.

But I am so happy to have heard Kidd Kraddick 28 years ago.  He made me laugh. He gave me something positive to listen to each morning before heading into a classroom full of kiddos.  He will be missed.

14 July 2013

Soooo ExSKYted about Sky Ranch!!!

Last summer, we sent Jackson to Launch Camp (aka day camp) at Sky Ranch.  If you live around Van, you know Sky Ranch because it's been around forever, we occasionally have local events out there, and some of our local kids work out there. If you "ain't from 'round here," you know where Van is because of Sky Ranch. :)

It is such a great place.

As I said before, Jackson went out there last year and never stopped talking about how great it was and asking when he could go back.  We planned on sending Sadie and him back to Launch Camp again this year, and they were both stoked.

Until. (*Insert audible gasp here*)

Sky Ranch cancelled Launch Camp in Van.

Jackson was bummed, but a little excited because he just assumed Mom and Dad would send him to sleepover camp.    Sadie was more bummed, because she wasn't old enough to go to sleepover camp.

Jackson--unlike Mom and Dad--had no idea how much sleepover camp cost.  Holy. Cow.

Kevin and I talked about the possibilities/options a lot.  The camp was offering former day campers a significant discount to allow them to experience sleepover camp.  But the cost was still prohibitive, and it was by no means a cut and dried situation.  But Jackson begged.  And begged.  Aaannnnddd begged.  We told him that if we did send him, it might be a one-time deal.  He was fine with that.  We told him it would probably  be a birthday/Christmas gift from everyone he'd ever met.  He was okay with that too.  We told him none of his friends would be able to go.  He was even okay with that.  He was serious.

That's when God dropped a blessing right into our lap (or email box), and long story short, Jackson got to Sky Ranch for a very reasonable price. Sold!!

I can't tell you how thankful we are for this opportunity.  It is a true blessing, and just based on what I saw when we dropped him off, there is a reason he was so insistent that he needed to be there.  These people have the summer camp experience perfected.  From the moment you enter the gates, counselors are cheering you on, telling your kid how excited they are that they're here.  In spite of the fact that hundreds of families arrive at roughly the same time, the check-in process is smooth and quick. By the time we got Jackson settled in his cabin, he was ready for us to go, which was honestly a good thing...if he'd been all clingy and sad, it would've been hard to leave him.  His buddy Reed was with him, and after meeting his counselors, I felt completely at peace with leaving my little boy for a week.

One of the best things about the week was their website.  You could go online every day and look at pictures taken of your camper.  In every single picture, Jackson looked like his face was going to crack from smiling so much.
The focus of the week was how to face your fears and how to rely on God when you were afraid.  Jackson and I have talked about that several times since he got home. The whole week was a carefully orchestrated plan to share God with campers.  The younger kids got a different message than the older kids, but the goal was the same: to lead kids to Christ.  I am such a fan.
We are already trying to figure out how we will send him (and Sadie) next year.  It's that good. One of my fears was that Jackson would stick out as a kid whose parents don't live in the million dollar house in the gated subdivision.  But camp is a great leveler.  Kids look and act pretty much the same when riding on the torpedo or bouncing on the giant pillow.

Thanks for a great week, Sky Ranch!!

31 May 2013

Kindergarten Graduation

Jackson graduated from Kindergarten on Thursday.  

His behavior before school just showed me how like his father he truly is.  He came in our room around 6:15 wanting to know if he was late for school, because "I can't be late for graduation."

(For the record, I think he's only been late like twice.  Maybe three times. Almost late, maybe.  But I prefer to call that "right on time." We're "right on time" a LOT. But rarely late.)

Anyway, at 7:15 he was dressed and ready and telling his father (who is ALWAYS the first one ready) that he needed to HURRY UP because it was time for his graduation! 

 He has had such a great year.  We love his teacher, Mrs. Jenkins, and he never once complained about her or anything school related.  This kid even liked the cafeteria food!  PE was his favorite thing about school, but I'm okay with that because he grew so strong over the year.
And this kid is a reader now! 

I did really well with the whole graduation program until they played the final slide show and backed it up with "Let Them Be Little," by Billy Dean.  Because he's my oldest, I sometimes forget that he's still a little boy.  We held him out of kindergarten for a year, and I'm so glad we did.  He is growing into a leader, and I love how he is so much more confident now than he was in August.  Mrs. Jenkins did lots of little things to bolster his confidence, and it made all the difference in the world.  

He is totally ready for 1st grade now.  Well, after he's had a break to "do nothing, if I want." :) 

21 April 2013

Where has my baby boy gone???

Jackson turns seven today, and I'm not sure how that happens, since just yesterday I was staring at this sweet little face...
I look at these pictures and am instantly transported back to 2006.  
 But then I see pictures like this one and remember how BIG I thought that kid was!
 When he started pre-school, his backpack was almost as big as he was, but by the time he went to kindergarten it fit him perfectly.

 He has fewer teeth but more words.  He's learned to read!  He asks questions that I don't always know the answer to.
 He isn't a fan of soccer or baseball, but LOVES basketball and hopes we'll let him take karate soon.   He has mastered monkey bars.  He is an expert tree climber.
He noted the other day that he "hardly ever gets in trouble."   This is true.  He is such a sweet boy and has become a real helper around the house. It makes me proud that he's even  better at school and church than he is at home.  Does he grumble and roll his eyes?  Yep.  He gets it from me (he gets a lot of his personality from me...and if you look in the 1980 Vandalite, you'll also see that he's not just his Daddy's boy on the outside!)

I know I will blink and he will be 14, then 21...but I can't wait to see what God has in store for him.

31 March 2013

Easter 2013

Easter is always an exciting day at our house.  Our kids look forward to the Easter bunny's visit (Jackson informed me he was pretty sure there was no Easter bunny, but didn't elaborate.  Hedging his bets, I suppose.)  I'm happier now that they know the real reason for celebration. Seeing a risen Savior through the unwavering faith of a five year old is the best way to celebrate.

We are still working on getting all three of our children to stand still, smile and look at the camera all at the same time.  But we got them all in the same frame, so that's progress! :)  Jackson was feeling very, um, brotherly and kept crossing that fine line between arm lovingly draped around the shoulders and chokehold.
The best part about Easter is getting to see family.  It's not that we don't see each other regularly, it's just different.  And we had a few key players missing this year. :(

 Annabelle was super egg-cited (sorry) about the egg hunts.  Being the youngest, she got a slight head start and took full advantage.

Happy Easter!