All-Balls Family Reunion - 2010

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Sprinkler Samba

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My Kind Of Father's Day

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IKEA shopping, pork tacos, and a few beers.

Does it get better than that?

Yes, throw in my wife and two kids...now we're talking.

Miss Manners

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Terror Squad

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Sixty Years, And Still Going

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In the scheme of overall existence, sixty years really isn't that long. It is a small blip of the ongoing movie picture of time; however, to humans and our time on earth - sixty years is a long time. With the average life expectancy today being 78.4 years; sixty years is 76.5% of the average life span.

That is a significant number.

I was fortunate to be able to celebrate my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary with them before they passed on; and last weekend, I had the pleasure to celebrate Robyn's grandparents 60th wedding anniversary.

Celebrating these milestones is an experience that not everyone has the opportunity to participate in and to be able see two people, after all those years, still being able to laugh and love together is incredible.

Dave and Betty Coon should be role models to us all. They have lived through wars, peace time, bad economic downturns, time of happiness, and times of great sadness; however, through all that they have remained together and experienced countless memories.

Congrats to Betty and Dave; your milestone humbles us all.


Pig Tails And All

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Despite the double ear infection; which is the official catalyst for tubes that are now required, Miss Belle is healthy and growing like a wild Texas weed.

Stats:

21lbs 12oz
19 1/4 inches
Tall and skinny girl with the cutest "poochy tails"you ever saw!



Moving On Molly

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Lazy Sunday afternoon in downtown Cowtown.

Some time at the new downtown park at Burnett Plaza, Jake's Burgers, then a few trips around downtown on Molly the Trolly.

Because after a big juicy burger on a hot Texas afternoon, who wants to commit to any sort of physical activity that could possibly make you break a sweat. ..

B-I-N-G-O Never Danced Like This

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Beyond the simple words of da, ma, and see; our little lady has learned dance.

Not only can she say it, she can do it...rock it out girl:

video

Blue Eyes and Green Grass

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Strike-A-Pose

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The story is what makes the picture.

Last weekend, while in Glen Rose, we had to set the automatic timer on the camera in order to get our family photo for the day. Needless to say, we had to do it more than once due to non-smiling kids, kids not looking at the camera, or momma not approving of the photo (she's a woman, it happens).

Fast forward about ten days. I get a call from Robyn mentioning our incredible son and what he has figured out.

On his own; he figured out how to set up the camera, set the automatic timer, and then get into position.
He's pretty good:

A Long Goodbye

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Six years is not a huge span of time; but when those six years include working together, having two children (within 10 days of each other, both times - unplanned), and countless Wednesday night dinner clubs and more than our fair share of beer and/or coffee outings; it is more than enough time to establish a deep connection.

The Long's became an integral part of our lives once our sons were born in September of 2006, a mere 6 days apart from one another. Three years later, we had our daughters 9 days apart from one another...and with both of those births came long nights, great stories, and more memories than you could shake a stick at...or stick in a ten-gallon hat.

Time goes by and things change...it's life and that is why we live it. So it was tough to say our good-byes to the Long's as they head to Ohio to pursue their next steps in the lives. Couldn't not have planned a better night to say good-bye. Fort Worth Cats on the diamond, Fort Worth skyline in the background, and children scurrying around as they should.

It has been a pleasure becoming close to the Long's. Not only have I gained a teacher and a mentor; I have also gained a friend that will be part of our lives for years to come.

Good luck in all your endeavours and thanks for letting us be a part of your Texas chapter

Cherished Times and Fireflies.

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Not for another fourteen years will this column directly affect me as I watch my first of two children graduate from high school; but the message it delivers to me to savor every moment and not worry about the little things. Life could be worse, so be thankful for what you have, not want you don't.

Ann Melvin Dallas Morning News 1998 Column on Graduation

The tumult dies.

The graduating seniors in their Ford pickups and secondhand Nissans depart.

For jobs, for the pool, for Grandma’s, for college, for a last, long loopy summer.

Forever.

Or until they need their clothes washed, whichever comes first.

Growing up a child is a series of leave-takings, from the first wobbly step away from the parent’s hand to the first day at school to the first slumber party to the first time he drives out of the driveway with a license.

But high school graduation is a leave-taking of high celebration and of irrefutable recognition that the child will be gone soon.

Too soon, when you remember the night we ran across the dark yard and laughed in pursuit of fireflies. Or the summer evening we drove through St. Louis and rolled down the windows as we crossed the Mississippi, singing “Ole Man River.”

Too soon, when you hear the back door slam and the call, “Mom, I’m home.”

And too soon when you review your own inadequacies as a parent.

As the slow line of caps and gowns files by, the parent sits suffused with pride and fear. “Doesn’t he look handsome?” mingles with a collage of worry:

“When was the last time we talked about God? Nietzsche? The balance of trade? Does he know how to balance a checkbook? Can she check the oil in her car? What about Winston Churchill and ‘The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere’ and Aunt Maggie, who worked as a welder during World War II? Did we tell ‘em that?”

Parents universally want to stand up and holler, “Stop, these kids don’t know enough yet. They don’t fasten the twistie on the bread sack or hang up their clothes or put the milk back in the refrigerator, and you want to turn them out on the world?? Stop!! I forgot to make sure that he prays every night and that she understands HMOs, Social Security and the Roman influence on modern jurisprudence, and did I tell him often enough that I love him?”

“Another year, I need another year.”

But the caps are in the air, the gowns are back in the rental barrel, and we all are standing out on the sidewalk, smiling and crying. Then we go home.

An old carnation begins to shrivel on the bedroom mirror. Notes paper the wall around the telephone, and schedules are leafed like shingles on the refrigerator.

Dress shoes lie askew under the chair, the celebration ham gives up leftovers, and old snapshots spill out of a shoe box on the table.

The first baseball uniform, Christmas at Grandma’s, the seventh-grade gang posing in front of the school bus at the Alamo, the first bicycle with training wheels, party photos from the prom . . . a Kodak collection of split seconds in the start of what you pray will be a good life.

The graduate is in the driveway, leaving again.

You go out, moved to speak your mind.

“I hope you were happy,” you want to say. “I hope life will go well for you. I hope you know I tried my best, and while I know it wasn’t always perfect, I tried to do the best I could for you. Whatever you have learned from me, it isn’t enough, not about life or the world or anything.”

“But I hope you can stand on my shoulders, reach higher and go farther with the little boost I gave you.”

Instead you say, “Do you have enough money? Fasten your seat belt. And call me when you get there.”

Wherever that may be.