Summer slipped by

Last year was a summer of waiting, as our house was rebuilt. This year was a summer of change.

The biggest change was unexpected and swift: My dad lost his job of 25 years, but in short order found a new job — in San Antonio. He and my mom finished a number of projects on their house and then put it up for sale. Thankfully they didn’t have to wait long, and before we knew it, they were preparing to move.

Amazingly this all coincided with our family’s already-planned vacation in Texas. My mom and dad showed up in San Antonio several days after we arrived, which allowed us to spend more time with them post-move than we otherwise would have.

Unfortunately, during our vacation I got news of impending layoffs at the Post-Dispatch. Each time we go through this is harrowing. This time moreso because I had heard rumors my own department would be affected, and because of the experience of seeing my dad lose his job. Thankfully, the rumor was false, and we gave a sigh of relief. But many talented friends and colleagues were let go.

There were other changes, too. First was our yard. It was pretty much a disaster after the tornado, pitted and weedy and laden with tree and construction debris. We hired a landscaping company to re-grade it and put down some sod. Little did we know we would be in for the worst drought St. Louis has seen in years. But thanks to Yoli’s faithful watering (and our neighbor’s granddaughter while we were in Texas), the grass survived. Now it is thriving.

As we wrote previously, all four of our kids took swimming lessons. When we were at Clearwater Lake with my parents and when we were at my Nan’s pool in San Antonio, the kids put the lessons into practice. We were thrilled to see their progress. Jadzia and Ludi have also become bike riders, though we still have work to do there.

This was also the kids’ first summer attending VBS. They attended two different VBS programs at Ferguson churches and had a blast.

During our trip to Texas, the kids visited the coast for the first time. And Jadzia was able to visit the Houston Space Center.

And just as quickly as that, school was upon us. Jadzia moved up to 2nd grade, and Ludi began kindergarten. Both are flourishing in their classes.

We were thrilled as two different friends had their weddings. I was honored to give a toast at the first wedding reception. The second wedding was held at the Shrine of St. Joseph in downtown St. Louis, which was significant to me because my immigrant Becker ancestors were married there in 1860.

But 12 hours after that second wedding, I was in a car with my brothers, driving through the night to San Antonio to mark the saddest change of the summer — my dad’s sister, my Aunt Carol, died. It wasn’t totally unexpected, but still it surprised us and hurt anyway. The blessing of all this was that the funeral brought us together with our parents and all my dad’s siblings for a few days. That doesn’t happen often.

So much happened. Summer slipped by.

Josie cruises through the play supermarket at San Antonio’s Children’s Museum.

Yoli and I at Mission Concepción.

Ludi celebrates her fifth birthday at Nan’s house.

Family photo of us (plus Grandma Renaud) in front of my mom and dad’s new house in San Antonio.

Josie enjoys the waves at Galveston Beach.

Yoli, Jadzia, and Xena pose at the Houston Space Center.

The kids got all dressed up for Doug and Kristin’s wedding reception.

We visited Tio Jonny and Tia Brittney at the St. Louis Zoo on Labor Day.

Ludi, Jadzia, and I after completing our first game of Monopoly — Lord of the Rings Monopoly, that is.

My dad, Aunt Joyce, Uncle Jerry, and Uncle Jim at the open house the night before the funeral for their sister, my Aunt Carol.

Justin, Dion, and Jon engage in a sports debate at lunch at my parents’ house after the funeral.

Grandma Renaud, Justin, me, mom and dad went out for steaks on my last night in San Antonio.

The ranch

Last year my aunt Joyce invited us to visit the ranch she shares with her husband Ted and my cousin Dion. I have never really visited a ranch in Texas, so I thought this would be a cool opportunity, especially for the girls.

We made the pretty drive into the hill country to a little town called Kendalia. Uncle Ted and aunt Joyce met us there on their motorcycle and guided us the rest of the way to the ranch.

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Yet another apology

Here at the Renaud Empire, there has been no shortage of stories to tell the world at large. There has been, however, a shortage of time in which to write said stories. So, yet again, I am apologizing for a lack of updates here.

A few days ago we returned from a trip to San Antonio to visit family and relax. It was really wonderful. The weather was hot and dry, although we were thankful to see the parched land receive some rain while we were there. My Nan’s pool was loads of fun, and all three of the girls greatly enjoyed it.

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