a.m. I hear that Bridge Too Far music, you know, that wonderful theme
music throughout the entire movie, but more specifically the music they
started at dawn as everyone began to stir and get ready to get on their
planes and mount the largest air invasion of all times.
Of course, I hope and pray we run into better luck than those poor
chaps. The weather looks okay here at the moment. Raining in CA. Snow
in the mountains. Please pray for us all that this trip goes relatively
smoothly and we don’t have horror stories to tell about this going
wrong and that going wrong…..
Story line: Once upon a time we took seven kids to the mountains of
California at Christmas and had a wonderful Christmas time….. The end.
Such is my prayer. See you on the other side of happiness.
I was up until 5:30 this morning…… I’m tired.
of the best pizza places I ever enjoyed in younger years was from what
is actually a chain in California. We found one two years ago on our
honeymoon in Oakhurst. I even keep their number in my cell phone just
so we can ensure they’re open when we’re in town….
Tomorrow night’s dinner? A LARGE, garlicy, cheesey, sausage and
pepperoni pizza with their delic salad bar. Yum. And then we’ll get
something for the kids to eat, too.
Kari and I are guessing the thousands of expressions we’re going to hear tomorrow:
I don’t want to sit by him/her. Are we there yet? How much
further? Do I have a window seat? Do I have to sit next to him/her?
I’m hungry, thirsty, have to go potty. I can’t find my shoes.
What are we going to do? What kind of van are we going to get?
Which suitcase is mine. Which bed am I going to be sleeping in? Are
we going to get stuck in the snow? What if there is a blizzard?
How many people does the van hold? Which seat am I sitting in? I call front seat (even though mom is going to be with us)…..
What can I have to drink? Do you have root beer? Dr. Pepper? What choices do I have?
How do I get the TV in the living room on? (With millions of snow capped acres of woods all around….)
Mom, Dad, this is the greatest trip ever. I don’t want to go back
to Texas. Do we have to go back to Texas? Dad, I’m moving here as
soon as I turn 18.
Okay, so that’s about it. For now.
What a year 2007 has been. Talk about a whirlwind.
I’ve left Dallas ISD finally. Been through three months of hell
with Oklahoma City Schools, and now am back home in a great job in
Dallas, trying to put the pieces back together of being gone during the
weeks for three months.
Our kids have grown and learned so much this year. In the next five
days, they’re going to learn a whole lot more about themselves–we’re
headed back to Yosemite. When we went in June, they thought it was
something special. California is all they talk about anymore,
including the three-year-old who has the cutest pronunciation that
would make even Leno stop making fun of Gov. Arnold S.
Changing from the school business to private enterprise has been
good for me. Now I don’t have to stand in front of TV cameras at all
hours of the day and night and explain why something almost
unexplainable happened and what we’re going to do to stop it from
happening again. No more elected board officials who run for office to
become something instead of having already become someone, and wanting
to give back. Why can’t there be more Jack Lowe’s in this world?
I’m excited for the future of my family this year. We’ve been
through so many rocky passages it’s hard sometimes to see where we’re
going. I guess I have to keep telling myself that if it were going to
be easy to have seven kids under one roof, we wouldn’t be the only
couple we know doing it. It’s not easy, but it something we’re getting
better at as a family–though at times… well, it’s a struggle.
But I’m finding at age 42 life is a constant struggle. As a kid I
used to long for Christmas, and I have a kid’s heart to this day. To
me, the getting ready for Christmas, the prep, the decorating, the
MUSIC, the holiday gatherings of family (something we’re missing this
year) are what make the season bright. It’s not what comes under the
tree that matters, it’s the possibilities of what could be that are
In my minds eye I often times reflect on some of the captured images
I hold in my heart from Christmas long ago. Three and four feet of
snow on the ground out the windows of K.I. Sawyer A.F.B in the 1970s.
Being in Atwater, CA in the late ’70s and wishing it would snow. Yeah,
right. And then they ’80s and ’90s in Montgomery, AL where it could
have snowed, and some times did, just a smidge.
I’ll never forget seeing my mom cry as she came back to Montgomery
from when Dad got shipped back off to K.I. The tree was real,
something mom and dad hadn’t done since I’d had an allergic reaction to
a live tree at McConnell A.F.B in Wichita, KA when I was in the first
grade. The tree that year, and years to follow, was a simple red
balls, white lights theme (No, not a Bama tree,) but simple, and
beautiful–the opposite of what some many try to make Christmas into.
And then there is the old story of Larry Lott of Montgomery who used
to dress up as Santa and take a big back of toys around to his friends
houses, and how we stopped one Christmas Eve at the house of a black
family who lived in an old, old two/three roomed house. They had one
of those old fashioned pot belly stoves for a heater and I promise you,
that house was the warmest one I’ve ever been in. And not just because
of the heater, but because of the joy those kids got from Larry showing
up in a Santa suit and giving the lady’s kids some toys they would not
have otherwise received.
This year, Kari and I are starting something new at our house–being
gone for the holidays. Yes, the kids will still get something to open,
but the big expenditure is a trip to the mountains. We don’t know how
much snow we’ll see, how expensive it will be to ski, snow board, or
just sled, but we’re going to go exploring. We’re going to see beyond
our Texas warmth and enjoy a place on earth that God prepared millions
of years ago for us to enjoy as a family this year. What more could we
There is so much for us to get done today. Kari’s still trying to
get a last-minute pair of long johns for one of the boys and a snow
suit for one of the girls. And then there is packing. I have this bad
feeling we’re going to be dropping another $100 or so tonight on one or
two or three more LARGE suitcases to handle all the snow clothes,
boots, jeans, long-sleeved shirts, and all the other stuff you have to
take when you have seven kids.
Around the house, we’re getting things back to normal. This past
week I got out in the garage and built an eight-foot high series of
shelves for storage, put up peg board for holding tools, etc, and made
a work bench. I’m thinking I need to make one more and then as the
months of 2008 pass, slowly acquire some new saws, a drill-press, and
get into wood working, too.
I need to do some painting. Some walking/exercising. And I’m going
to begin lessons for Final Cut Express video editing when we get back.
And put up all the Christmas stuff. Whew, is that ever a job.
Gotta get to work. Happy holidays all.
thousand things to do before our trip. Packing, last-minute
arrangements. Oh, yeah, and getting Christmas gifts bought, wrapped,
mailed and ready for Christmas morning. The kids at our house don’t
know what to be more excited about. The trip/Santa’s trip to our house.
And, it’s been snowing in Yosemite! Woo Hoo!
at Yosemite, Kari also bought six pocket cams with the film already
loaded and gave each one to the kids with their names on them. Of
course, with just 24 frames, the film went fast, but we got some extra
neat gems we didn’t expect, too, this time from a kid’s perspective.
Worth doing, although it was sometimes frustrating to hear the kids
holding their cameras and accidentally getting bumped, etc. and firing
off a frame of blurred horizon.
got all of our film back the other day and Kari’s digital shots are
uploaded as well to my computer. Just amazing to see the park from our
two perspectives. Kari climbed this incredibly steep hill on Tioga
Road with the kids. This year, I stayed at it’s foot. Thank goodness
as one of the boys thought it would be fun to roll rocks down the hill
… which almost killed one of the rental cars. But to see how it looked
from up top, and how high they got from the bottom in just two frames,
well, that tells an incredible story.
Funny too, to look at these pictures and know that they look like
the ones dad has of us as kids, doing some of the same things. Like
throwing rocks in the Merced River. It was a shame as to how low the
water was this year, but it provided some great adventures, too. Mom
and Dad had never let us boys climb up into the heart of Yosemite Fall
before of all the times we’d ever been there, so that was really
rewarding to see my boys climb to the apex of the area behind the
falls. Kewl. I got a good ways in there, too, but they clearly had
the better view.
Yosemite just doesn’t compare with anywhere else I know. Certainly
a far cry from Dallas. I never have cared much for the scenery here.
The place provided a job. I wouldn’t have moved back here otherwise.
Now I’m tied here because of kids and a decree. So, I work daily to
make our backyard as close of a slice of Heaven as it can be. There
is no peace though compared to lying on the bed at Logger’s Retreat and
looking off to the south and seeing mountains for as far as the eyes