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  • Writer's pictureKristie Sharp Williams

Eager Beavers and a Tortured Kitten

Updated: Jul 22, 2018

We had a “rockin” good time in Augusta and Atlanta over the holiday weekend, and just got back from Michigan where we helped with Eli’s Block Party North! car show. Caleb is currently obsessing over rocks, thus the “rockin” reference, and specifically granite and limestone at the moment. So, on the way home from Augusta we “rocked” at Stone Moutain on Memorial Day, literally a granite mountain, and then we “rocked” again at Cathedral Caverns, literally limestone mountain. We also snuck in another college visit, sort of. We drove through Jacksonville, Alabama, for Hg to see the campus of Jacksonville State, but it was a ghost town with school out. Plus, the damage from March tornadoes was still fresh with the only progress in rebuilding being the fencing off of the damages. It was sobering.

Before we left Augusta, we had a chance to visit with some of the car show participants at a wrap-up dinner, then there was a charity “casino” event. We didn’t test our luck, but the kids enjoyed seeing the paraphernalia up close. It was an awesome multi-day show despite finicky weather. Lots of beautiful and rare mustangs, and we are grateful to the hosting Mustang Club for donating to Eli’s Block Party from the raffle at the event. Since we raise money for the trial in Augusta, it was a perfect fit for us to go down there for it and help to spread awareness about the amazing thing that’s happening right there in their own backyard.

Since we left for Augusta straight from the last day of school, we hit the ground running for summer when we got home. I don’t know how else we have ever hit the ground, but knowing that the summer is always short, we got organized with boxes to check.

A couple of years ago, I implemented a summer home program designed to keep our summer on track with a balance of fun, chores, earning, and learning. They loved the structure, the accountability, and the chance to reap rewards. The accountability stretches to me as well, because without the checklist, I get distracted and the summer is gone without me following through with promises. We didn’t do it last summer because I was concentrating on Eli, but Caleb has asked me often if we could do it again.

So, I got it ready and updated to reflect current maturity. We constructed their summer notebooks with the journal paperwork and started June 1. I had two eager beavers and one hyperventilating sobbing mess. You would have thought she was witnessing the slow torturous death of a kitten as we read over the to-dos…. and the expenses, which was new and probably the source of distress. Although as the scene continued, each point we discussed seemed contentious with her whether it was when we wanted to schedule pool time or yard work. I showed her the benefits of the reward, but she would not be convinced. So, just for her, I included an opt-out option. You can ascertain that it would not be advantageous to opt-out; nevertheless, I always give them a choice, let them decide what consequences they prefer to endure. If she would rather do without a phone all summer because she doesn’t care to work to pay for it, then she can do that, it’s her choice. In between convulsive weeps, she muttered, “I…know…you…are…just…trying…to…make…this…sound…good…but…it’s…really…NNNNNNOT….WHAAAA!!!” Simple stubbornness, resisting authority - I hope it serves her well one day because it does not today. Thankfully, she is warming up to it a bit, now that she has had time to turn her attitude blinders down. She (we all know who it is by now) is working at her first little part-time job just a couple half days a week. I had to force her to apply for it, but now she seems so proud to have it, preferring to work for someone besides me and realizing that all her friends were doing it. I relish the day…..!!!!!

Knowing that she will be gone three and a half weeks of July, Hg has not tried for any kind of job, instead tried to create a job for herself with friends, but it did not pan out. However, now that college visits are over, we are arranging some job-shadowing opportunities to help her narrow her interests in a college major. So, she started that last week and has two appointments this week. These slots run the gamut: a museum curator, a dentist, an environmental scientist, an interior decorator, a geneticist researcher, a medical imaging technician, and we are looking for a technical writer. So, nope, no time for PAYING jobs, ha! She loves our summer home program, like Caleb, but has trouble sticking to it, and gets distracted. We must be kin. Which reminds me, she and I recently sent a DNA sample to and discovered that we are both very white!

My joy Caleb is obsessed with our summer program… so far, a week into it at least. He is a gem and determined. He never asks why something is on his list but asks if he did it right. He is precious. He is determined to check every box every day, but I did not design it that way. It is very flexible, not meant to be “completed,” but to offer choices. I think that messes with his OCD… We must be kin, too. We had also planned a job for him this summer in painting iron mailboxes in the neighborhood, but that got nixed by powers above me. So, he is a little distressed at not having a way to make outside money like Abbey because he gets points for that. Vic and I did not take them to Michigan with us since we wanted to make it a quick trip, and when we got home, they had used their teamwork chore requirement to clean the house. It was awesome to arrive home to a clean house and awesome to see them somewhat work together on a project. Not sure all work was equal, but no one tattled nor tried to take more credit than another. So, win!

Vic and I left for Michigan Saturday morning and arrived in Flat Rock Saturday night. We took advantage of the live-streaming of our home congregation’s early service Sunday morning and were able to worship with our church family 600 miles away. I thought about the Christians of the first century with their mode of sharing a lesson being the hand-delivered letters between congregations. It was neat to use the live-stream option, and if anyone would like to participate on a Sunday morning go to for the link.

Eli’s Block Party North! car show was Sunday afternoon and featured about 70-80 cars, plus raffles, silent auction, food, live music and reality tv star Rich Pyle with Detroit Muscle. Joe Ferullo and his UAW Local 3000 crew raised about 10k for the foundation through pre-event fundraisers, and the car show. That’s 1/3rd of what we hope to donate this year, so that is huge to us. I don’t have a ton of pictures because I was busy all day with registration and helping Vic with judging, but I stole some from other people that have posted.

As far as the foundation calendar, we hope to have a memorial ride for Eli August 4th, and Superhero Fun Day and Family Expo is September 8th, then the Hope for the Holidays dinner December 11th. Don’t just mark your calendars, join us in making these events great.

When I was working with the kids on getting their summer program set up, we were reactivating their Khan Academy accounts for lesson reviews. Eli’s account was still on there. It’s little stuff like that, deleting his account, that’s the hardest. Not the big stuff like his last birthday or him not being at these car shows that spawned from his interest. It’s the little stuff that sneaks up on you.


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