Jaxty's Place

My place to ramble about my family, my crafts, my travels and life.

He did it!


Zack actually graduated high school!


We are so very grateful for Lighthouse Christian School for getting him through his last two years of high school and awarding him his diploma.


We are not sure how he would have done it without the blessing of that school.


The extremely small class sizes, personalized educational plan and love and patience of the teachers was invaluable.


It was just what Zack needed to get through this major milestone.


We are so happy that 3 out of 4 of his grandparents could be there for his big day.


Since it was “Red Nose Day” for charity, Grandma Sandy thought it only appropriate that we got one picture with our red noses.


Zack’s graduation present was his very first suit…something that he has really wanted for the past year. He sure looked good in it!


Now Zack looks dapper when he asks “who wants to hire me?”


Congratulations Zack on your accomplishment!




Zack’s Post High-School Plans

My baby is graduating high school!


I can’t believe we are almost empty-nesters (sort of…Zack won’t actually be leaving home for a while).


Carl and I have been talking with Zack regarding his future plans for the past few years. We are all realistic that Zack is not college-bound due to his learning difficulties and lack of motivation.


We have been steering him in the direction of the military or technical school. We have specifically mentioned that electrician, plumber or auto mechanic would be good fields for him to consider.


After Kelly recently mentioned that she took the Strong Interest Inventory as part of a graduate class, it reminded me that that test was how I became a Speech-Language Pathologist. I entered college as a pre-veterinary student. After my first biology class, I quickly realized that blood and guts were not my thing. Unsure what to do then, I went to the guidance office and was given the Strong Interest Inventory. When Speech-Language Pathology appeared at the top of the list (home economics teacher and nurse were up there as well), I took an introductory class and decided that it would be a good choice for me (and it was)!


So I looked online and found the test and had Zack take it as well.


And boy did Carl and I hit it spot on…Military, Electrician and Auto Mechanic all appeared in Zack’s Top 10!

These careers did not….


Ha! I get the sense that English/writing is not his strong suit. And having no filter and being very blunt doesn’t make for a great religious leader.

So Zack has decided to enroll in the local tech college for his electrical certification to pursue a career as an electrician. I hope that he finds much success in his chosen career path. We wish him all the best and are very proud of him for actually graduating!

I thank our friends, Michelle and John, for sharing their beautiful river-front property with me to take Zack’s senior photos while my mom and Sis were here.


To see some more of Zack’s (unedited) photos, see below:

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Wordless Wednesday: Senior Year!

This is the best photo I could capture…fleeing teenager who won’t stand still for the camera!

Best of luck on your senior year, Zack! Keep your head down and your mouth shut. Let’s make it through senior year without any major incidents, suspensions and/or a revocation of driving privileges.


Kelly’s *New* Grad School Update

Hello everyone – my mom asked me to write a post to update you on my grad school situation. [If you remember, back in September, after attending the Master’s in School Psychology program at the UW-River Falls for a few weeks, Kelly decided that was not the program for her and therefore dropped out to explore other options.]

I ultimately decided to attend Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. It is close to my home and work, relatively inexpensive, and a great, well-rounded program. I am now getting my Masters in Counseling and Psychological Services.

I started my first term at the beginning of January and it’s going great! The class material is much more interesting and exciting to me. My classmates (mostly women but there are a few men) are very nice and I’m getting to know them pretty well. I’m taking 2 classes and working 35+ hours a week. I’m very busy! Since I graduated from undergrad nearly 5 years ago, my academic skills (paper writing, public speaking, critical thinking, etc) are very rusty, but I’m doing my best and trying to be kind to myself. I’ve received excellent grades so far, so I think I will do just fine.

I should finish in about 3 years (attending 3 terms year-round). There are many different paths I can take with this degree, and it will take me awhile to figure it out. I’ll need to decide which population(s) I want to work with, and in what type of setting. If I had to choose right now, I think I would most like to do marriage counseling. My last 2 semesters will be spent in an internship/practicum, and that should help narrow it down.

That’s all for now! I feel excited for the future!


Zack’s Grades 

The new school is still doing well for Zack as he finishes out first semester of junior year. 

At least grade-wise, that is.

Behavior-wise, there are still some issues. Like the one-day suspension that he received last week due to “roughhousing with another student.” And the conference with the principal and teachers that we had a few weeks ago regarding some disrespectful behavior in the classroom and “bullying” of other students. That was a fun conference.

After some good discussions and consequences, Zack has turned things around and will hopefully make it through the school year without further issues. Right, Zack?! Please!




Wordless Wednesday: College Life – Part Two



Nice job, Zack!

Best progress report I’ve ever seen from him! The new school is a success!


GCU Family Weekend

Yesterday Carl and I flew to Phoenix for Grand Canyon University’s Family Weekend.

Phoenix (58)

After arriving on campus, we meet up with Anthony for a tour of his dorm room. This is his bed and desk in his bedroom with two other guys with identical set up (two on one wall and one on the opposite wall).

Anthony's college essentials/rock-climbing gear!

Anthony’s college essentials/rock-climbing gear!

They also have their own bathroom and walk in closet, not shown because a roomful of teen boys live there.

Outside the bedroom is the living area with tv area…

Phoenix (2)

and small kitchenette.

Phoenix (3)

There is another triple bedroom on the other side of living area…. so 6 boys per suite.

Right outside his dorm building is a swimming pool.

Phoenix (4)

We got a tour of the rest of campus as well, stopping along the way to meet just a small portion of  his many, many friends. It’s a nice campus with so many new and modern buildings. We can see why Anthony loves it so much.

After our tour, we stopped for dinner at a place recommended by one of his friends. I had some amazing Brushetta and the guys had Paninis.

Phoenix (6)
It was a great first afternoon spent with Anthony! After class tomorrow, he’s taking us for a hike at Camelback Mountain. Can’t wait!


Kelly’s Grad School Update

Hello family (and mom’s friends)!

There has been some unexpected changes with my grad school plans, so my mom asked me to write out a little explanation about what’s going on.

For three weeks this September, I attended a Masters of Education in School Psychology program at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls. After diving into the curriculum, I quickly realized that the career isn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be. I’m interested in psychology, counseling, and working with children. The title School Psychologist is a bit misleading. This program, and career, are very education, academics, and school systems-oriented. These are things I am not passionate about, and do not care to be involved in. The career is very political, administrative, and deals more with school-wide systems and interventions, rather than individual children. I debated whether to stick it out for the entire semester but after many conversations with various people, I decided to cut my losses and get out ASAP.

I’m thrilled about my decision. No regrets (except the financial hit, I unfortunately had to pay half of the tuition for this semester). I initially felt like such a doofus and was really worried about what everyone was going to think, but all of my people have been so supportive! Especially Mom and Dad, THANK YOU AS ALWAYS.

So now I’m back at square one, scrambling to get myself on the correct path. I’ve decided to pursue what I was meant to do all along: Counseling! General mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, or addiction counseling. I think I’ll be great at it.

I’ve been spending a lot of time researching schools/programs, and getting in contact with counselors or counseling students. I want to be 100% thorough this time around. I’m scheduled to take the GRE (standardized exam required for most grad programs) at the end of October. I’m also going to try to get an internship or volunteer position in something counseling-related, to get some real-life experience.

So that’s my story. Life is good! I’m excited to get back on track for my career!



School Updates

I was talking with my mom last week and she asked the all-important question: How does Zack like his new school?” I realized that I needed to share this exciting update with ya’ll: He LIKES it!

He came home the first day and said it was way better than his old high school and was going to be a lot more fun. (Apparently the top criteria for Zack for a good school is the level of fun.) He said that he spent the day trying to figure out who the popular kids were for each grade level. The second day he came home with the exciting news that “I think that I’m in the popular group!” YES, way to go Zack.

So it seems that the move to a smaller, Christian, special education focused school has been a good move for Zack. We couldn’t be happier!

Some interesting things that I forgot to mention about the new school:

  • The school serves all grades from 1st through high school.
  • There are only 8 kids in the junior class and about 40 kids in high school total.
  • Because it’s special education focused with kids who have struggled in a traditional setting, there is NO HOMEWORK or outside projects. Can I get a Hallelujah?! From past years, homework has been a real struggle. Zack just doesn’t do it. It was a constant battle. And then his grades reflected the lack of work. So it’s a big relief to have that burden removed.
  • Being a private school, there is no busing. The school is about 3.5 miles from our house so for now I am driving Zack to and from school each day. Actually, Zack is doing the driving, racking up driving practice (finally – this is something that he has shown no interest in previously). It is our goal to have him get his license by Christmas break.
  • Zack’s interest in driving has been facilitated by the fact that there is an unused vehicle sitting in the driveway. The car that Anthony had in Minnesota, our old 1996 Lexus with 205,000 miles on it, did not make the trip to Arizona with Anthony. So it’s just sitting here ready to be used by Zack.

Speaking of school, Anthony is loving college life as well! He has been having a ball hanging out with old friends, meeting new friends, exploring campus, hiking, rock climbing and even attending a class or two.

Kelly starts graduate school on Wednesday. Good luck Kelly! I hope that you learn a lot this coming year.