Gavin shares a blessing he learned in preschool. Yes, it's the Superman theme!


Disco Mickey Mouse

Jeff and I both enjoyed dancing to the Disco Mickey Mouse album when we were kids. It's one of the many shared experiences that proved we were meant to be together. Ha! We're proud to pass the tradition on to our boys, though they listen to a digital file rather than a vinyl record!


Garnet and Gold

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On Saturday, that most wonderful of all seasons began. No, not Spring, Winter, or even Fall – College Football Season, of course! This year, I have my own little team of Seminoles! Jasper wears Gavin's #6 hand-me-down jersey while, after three seasons, Gavin finally graduated to #7.

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Unfortunately, we couldn't watch FSU's opening game, but they started with a shut-out by beating University of Louisiana at Monroe 34-0. We watched a few other games, though, and Gavin kept pointing out that they were all using "a ball that looks like Jasper's." I suppose that's true, Gavin, but it's really just a normal football! Apparently, he thinks typical brown footballs are abnormal and all footballs should be garnet and gold like his! I can't say I disagree!

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Gavin is really good at catching the ball now…

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Jasper would be a strong running back on any team. He's fast!

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Milk break on the player's bench…

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I wanted an updated photo with the boys. This is the best we managed! Jasper never has any interest whatsoever in posing for a photograph and Gavin feeds off his indifference.

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What you can't see in the photo below is how Jeff was leaning with his elbows in the grass and Jasper was crawling onto his back for a pony ride!

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Mom’s Hair Salon

The Highsmith men were looking a little shaggy earlier this month so it was time for another trip to Mom's Hair Salon.

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It takes three clipper attachments to service this crowd: one inch for Jasper, half inch for Gavin, and quarter inch for Jeff.

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There are no pictures of Jeff's haircut since Gavin isn't quite comfortable with the camera yet, so here I go, attempting to tame Gavin's mane. 

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Yes, there is usually some crying involved. Even after several years, Gavin is still disturbed by the buzzing in his ear and watching chunks of his hair fall from his head! 

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It was Little Bit's turn next. This was Jasper's second cut by Mom and third haircut overall.

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Ah, yes. I like this look!

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And the "after" picture… The boys look quite exhausted from the ordeal with sleepy eyes and hugging their lovies, don't they?

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The Final Countdown

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Friday, July 8, 2011: The space shuttle launched for the final time. It doesn't seem possible yet that, when Atlantis lands next week, the space shuttle program will be history.  During my middle school and early high school years, the space shuttle program consumed my free time. I've followed the program to a lesser degree since then, but still don't miss a launch or landing and still feel that same excitement and awe every time.

Towards the end of my fifth grade year, my mom suggested Christa McAuliffe when I was given an assignment to write a biography about a famous person. Although the Challenger accident had occurred only four years earlier, I didn't remember it, but my interest in the space program was piqued. The shuttle fleet was grounded that summer due to technical programs and when Discovery finally launched in October of 1990 and I saw my first launch live on television, I was hooked.

For years, I watched every launch and landing, and even recorded news reports to watch until the next mission. When the Hubble Space Telescope was first repaired in 1993, I woke up at two in the morning several nights in a row to watch the nighttime spacewalks live on CNN. I subscribed to Countdown magazine, eagerly awaiting a new issue every month, and clipped every article and photo from the newspaper. I constructed my own shuttles, satellites, and launch pad, and acted out missions for my family (an endless supply of memories to embarrass me with now!). There was a time when I could name the crew members for every U.S. manned spaceflight from memory and could tell you the dates when most of those missions launched. I loved hearing the sonic booms that accompanied an orbiter when it returned home to land in Florida and we went to the Cape once to see a nighttime launch up close in April, 1993, something I appreciate now more than ever.

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For years, I wanted to be a mission specialist on a space shuttle, but I never had a desire to major in engineering or medicine so that dream eventually waned. So, while Gavin was still too young to fully understand Halloween, I exercised my parental privilege of choosing his costume two years ago. He was an astronaut, of course, so at least someone in our family fulfilled the dream!

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Keeping tabs on the space program has changed greatly over the years. I used to be glued to CNN Headline News during shuttle flights just to watch the same story every hour! On Friday, we watched the launch over the internet on my work computer from the NASA web site.  I sure wish the internet existed in my space-crazy days since we could watch the launch without hearing incompetent network news anchors and coverage of the launch wasn't cut off early for a commercial break!

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Gavin has a space shuttle toy and as he sat on my lap awaiting the launch, he placed it on the desk on its end, pointed upward. I wish the shuttle program could continue for a few more years only because Gavin is just now showing interest and I wish we could have the opportunity to share more space memories together! We have watched the last few launches and landings, and he has been very excited. Maybe now it's time to show him all of the old videos of the space shuttle program so he can appreciate the amazing scientific feats our country has accomplished and maybe he'll be in awe of the mere feat of launching human beings into space like I am.

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Hopefully, someday, I'll be able to share the first launch of the next generation manned space vehicle with both of my boys. Jasper is still too young to show any interest whatsoever in an event like the one that occurred last Friday! I know we'll visit Discovery when it settles at its final home a several-hour drive away in Virginia. Until then, Gavin's space shuttle will continue driving laps around the track with his other cars…