Tuesday, April 29, 2008

From Cute to Sullen and Back Again

I have spent the last week or so going through old photographs. I am putting together some bulletin boards of pictures from the last 18 years with Mr 18. I plan to set them around for his Graduation and Open House. It is hilarious to go back through old photos and be reminded of the many things we have all done together. Most of them against the will of Mr 18 as he grew older, but he found himself having fun anyway.

I have noticed quite a trend in pictures of him though. I have a ton of pictures of him from when he was a baby, he was my first, and so darn cute with little dimples, that I photographed everything he did. I have an entire bulletin board devoted to just baby pictures of him. I had to cull them down and add older photos, because really, other than me, who wants to look at a whole board of baby pictures? After I finished a board of his baby, toddler and preschool years I moved on to his elementary and middle school years. While I have a lot of photos of the early elementary years, I find that I really have to scrounge for pictures from those late elementary and middle school years. The photos I do find are of him scowling, or refusing to look at the camera, or hiding his head. Apparently in those years having your mother take your picture opens your soul up to the devil, so you must hide!
{geez Mom, must you be so-o-o-o embarrassing? }
I was able to gather enough pictures to give a good representation of his years and what he was up to and how fast his looks changed. He went from cute and cuddly to gangly, long haired, shaggy and (shhh) pimply, just in those short years. I knew he changed quickly, but I never realized until I set photos side by side the huge differences.
Every year on the first day of school I take a picture of the kids in front of our front door. It's a great reference to see how much they have grown. I put that picture from 6th, 7th and 8th grade side by side on a board. On the 6th grade picture he's a good 8 inches shorter than the window and by the 8th grade picture he has reached the window. As those years went by I didn't see those huge changes, but now looking at the photos all I can think about is how fast he grew up, literally up.
The next board I am working on is already full to overflowing with pictures. Apparently once you are in high school, you want pictures of everything you ever do. And you are willing to pose with your friends in some weird symbol of brotherhood while your mom snaps photos. This year, his senior year, Mr 18 has repeatedly asked me to bring a camera to his events, and then we take picture after picture after picture. The most amazing part is that he smiles when he's with his friends! With those very expensive teeth showing, a miracle I tell you!
I look forward to choosing these photos and getting it ready for his Open House. But I'm not sure if when the time comes, I will have the strength to take those photos off the bulletin board and set them aside. It's the end of an era for us.
Some days I am ready, well, most days, for him to head out that door. But then looking back over the photos where he's happy, and so darn cute, I'm not ready. Deep down inside I wish he would stay small, stay with me, and never grow up.
Then reality hits, and I change my mind, quickly!

Friday, April 25, 2008

but WAIT...

I found a Fabulous Friday of my own to write about!

Miss 14 asked me to go for a walk today, unfortunately I couldn't go along as Miss 9 is home ill and I couldn't leave her alone. So off skips Miss 14 on a gorgeous day for a walk all by herself.
Nearly 30 minutes later I see her walking up the driveway, with her hand wrapped around something. She walks in the door, slips off her shoes, holds her hand out to me and says, "Here."
I'm a little afraid as I hold out my hand thinking she found something gross to share with me, but, brave Mom that I am, I stick out my hand.
She drops a handful of gorgeous agates in my hand! Yes, rocks, literally, rocks. She knows I love them, that whenever I walk on the dike I grab one or two to bring home, and she thought of me sitting home, and she brought me some.
I think, just maybe, she loves me. Yay, Rocks! Thanks Miss 14!

Late again

For Love Thursday this time... sorry!
I'll have to combine my Fabulous Friday and my Love Thursday post all into one to make up for my tardiness.

Love Thursday:
This week I'll have to go to the mushy side. My Love Thursday post is about Hubby. Of course! I love this man, what did you expect?

I met Hubby in 1988. He drove a smokin' black Camaro (IROC), wore cowboy boots and tight jeans, a black leather jacket, Obsession and rocked the mullet. (Look at the date people, it was 1988 EVERYONE rocked the mullet then! Sheesh!)

Of course I was first attracted to the physical side, and still am, but as our years together have passed I realize that what I love most about Hubby is more inside than outside. Hubby's most lovable asset has to be that the kids and I come first. Always. There is no time when if we really asked or needed him for something that he wouldn't put what we want or need first. He doesn't go out with the guys, ever, he doesn't put his needs in front of ours, ever, he doesn't stay out late (well, except for work, and that's understandable now and then), he works his tail off so that I can stay home with the kids because they need me here, he takes care of the spiders for us, if Miss 14 or Miss 9 ask him nicely for nearly anything, he doesn't turn them down, he works hard all day at the farm, then comes home and works just as hard here. He doesn't sit down at the end of the day and watch tv just because he already put in his 10 hour day. He comes home and starts helping out with wherever we may need him.

We are his world, and I don't mean that to sound like I deserve to be the center of the universe. I mean that he chooses to put us there, and we are so incredibly lucky! It is a rare trait in a husband to find someone as selfless as my Hubby.
Happy Love Thursday (a little late) everyone!

On to Fabulous Friday:

After the week that we have had around here it's tough to find a Fabulous moment to post about. Personally I don't have one single moment that was so fabulous that I feel the need to share it. So, instead I am going to pass on a fabulous moment that I watched happen to Hubby.

Miss 14 is like most girls her age. She finds her parents a tad embarrassing, especially her Dad. At the moment he is "so weird!" and he does this, that, those and the other wrong. One of the big things she says to him is "stop looking at me!" Even if all he did was watch her come into a room, or turn around to see what she was doing. Sometimes she even complains to me, "Mom, make him stop looking at me like that." Yet I can't see that he's even looking at her "like that" anyway. (What is like that?) She does that wonderful teen eye roll when he makes a suggestion, gives her unasked for advice or asks a question that she finds unnecessary.

Yesterday I was busy working on supper, Hubby had gone outside to do some work on a vehicle and Miss 14 was doing homework. For some odd reason, Miss 14 tied up her walking shoes, and went outside to ask her Dad to go for a walk with her. To say he was shocked would be putting it mildly. He came in the house, changed into his walking shoes and walked out the door and up the street with Miss 14. They were gone for about 30 minutes or so. When they got home I asked what she really wanted. There had to be an ulterior motive to this, right? And he said she didn't want anything at all. They just walked and talked and came home. Hubby was shocked and so happy to have these moments with her. Whereas Miss 14 will talk to me, and spend time just hanging out alone with me when she can, she rarely affords her father that privilege of time with her. This was one of those rare Fabulous Moments.

Happy Fabulous Friday!

And if you have a spare moment, say a couple of prayers for strength for us this weekend. It is Prom tomorrow for Mr 18, yikes! And I have Miss 9 home sick, yes, again. Argh!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The day I came unglued

My life is good. I don't have any awful problems to deal with, my family is relatively healthy, I'm healthy, Hubby has a good job, kids are fairly well adjusted. But this morning I had one of those moments where I just came unglued.

A teacher from the school called to see if I could sub for her, today. She called at 8:00, school starts at 8:15. Hmmm, had I had more notice, it perhaps could have worked out, but with 15 minutes notice on a fairly busy day it just didn't work and I had to say no. Whenever I say no I feel such guilt about it that it makes me ill. Today was no exception, I stressed and I stressed and I stressed. I replayed in my mind how I could maybe do it, fit it in, or fit part of a day in. It just wouldn't work, but I still stressed. Hubby questioned me about what was up, and I just lost it, I cried and sobbed and carried on like a baby. 14 years of a really unpredictable subbing schedule is just getting to me.

I looked at my calendar for the next month, and realized that really there are very few days that I could fit in a day of subbing. Mr 18's senior year schedule combined with Hubby's job keeping him swamped right now, means I'm in peak "mom mode" for a while. I considered calling the school and asking to be taken off the sub list for the last month of school. The calls when I have to say no just get to me. I hadn't made up my mind yet, and moved on with everything else that had to get done today. Inside I said a prayer, "Please God, help me make this decision, help me figure it out."

I sorted the laundry, got a load in the machine, finished a grocery list and was just about to take off out the door when the phone rang.
"Yes Miss 9"
"Could you bring me some Motrin." (said with that certain tone where you just know something else is up.)
"Sure, hon, what's wrong?"
"My head really hurts."
"Yup, I'll be right there."
"And Mom?... my heart is beating too fast."

There it was, that same thing Miss 14 used to tell me. Sometimes Miss 9 says it, usually after a long run in Cross Country or a tough swim, sometimes when she is very nervous, but not usually out of the blue.
I grabbed the Motrin and went to the school, found a quiet room with her and took her pulse rate. It was a little elevated, but not bad, plus she had just come in from recess. (where she swears she wasn't playing, just sitting.) I gave her the Motrin, visited with her for a while, couldn't determine anything else wrong with her, walked her to class and went to do some of the things from my to-do list. Meanwhile I'm now worrying about her heart, and whether she has the same condition as Miss 14.

I got home shortly after noon and warmed lunch (Mmmmm, enchiladas!) and sat down. I hadn't quite finished when the phone rang, again.

"This is _________ the attendance secretary at the high school. I have Miss 14 sitting here with me. She says her heart is really acting up."
"Would she like me to come and pick her up."
"Yes, please, I think she would."

So, off I go on another child adventure. I picked up Miss 14, and she is ok. Her heart is acting up, but we know why. She has been taking Advil for her mouth. She had her braces tightened yesterday and her mouth is sore. Sometimes Advil makes her heart misbehave a bit. I brought her home, gave her some of her heart meds and she is relaxing and lowering her heart rate on the couch.

I finished my lunch, and sat. Remember earlier, when I said that little prayer asking for help making this decision? Do you think I got an answer today, somehow?

I'm pretty tough emotionally and physically. I'm not sure why today is knocking me around so much, although I have some minor theories to it. But overall I sort of feel lost. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and there is a 60% chance of rain tonight. (Please God, let it rain!) I shouldn't feel like it's the deep dark days of January with no sunlight. I'm contemplating the day or week and trying to see how I got here. But I am not finding my answer.

In the meantime, Mom Mode is calling out to me, and I still have a long list/day ahead. I'd better get started. Maybe just the routine of moving ahead will pull me out. I sure hope so.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What Kind of a Blog is this?

Well, I really don't know. There are so many interesting things to discuss. I simply can't limit it to parenting. There is a list of things I may want to talk about including:

~ Yum, this is what we had for supper last night. It's not something I would make on a daily basis, but it was delicious for a change. We have also had this and this recently and really liked both of them. They are similar. I can't wait to try out this one either. I don't often use this recipe site, but for some reason they all came from the same place this time. I usually love The Food Network for my favorite recipes to try.

~ I have been trying really hard to find a new gel blush. (Exciting topic, no?) but unfortunately my favorite has been discontinued. Any ideas anyone?

~ I have been trying hard to find ideas for Miss 9's education progression for the summer. I feel like she has really gone backwards over the last year. For that I must blame her teacher. I would like to find interesting ways to add math and reading to our summer, but not by using books.

~ I have spent time reading book reviews looking for the next great author for me. I tend to read an author until I've covered their entire series. I've covered most of the current thriller writers and haven't found a new one. Any author's you love?

~ I keep drooling over this website as I patiently wait for spring to finally arrive here. I can finally see the buds opening on my tree outside the kitchen window. Hurry please!

~I have also been going through boxes of pictures to be used for Mr 18's open house. I'm going to put together bulletin boards of his years in school. It has been a blast seeing them again. Boy has he grown up.

~I have been seriously pouting and whining over the fact that later this week our high temperature is going to be 37 degrees! Mother Nature... let's get on with the spring thing, winter is done, let go of the past!

~ Money is flowing through my fingertips as we pay for orthodontia, dental appointments for all, State meetings for various Mr 18 activities, clothing needed for band, Auto Tech, work and track. That plus the general expense of graduation makes me think I need a part time job that is a little more regular than subbing to pay for it all.

Anything you want me to discuss or open for discussion her? All, well, most ideas welcome.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Curfew Haiku

since teens need no sleep
no need to come home on time
moms patience stretched

Saturday, April 19, 2008

1 day past Fabulous Friday

Oops! I thought about writing this post, so that counts right?

My post-Friday Fabulous moment isn't something that happened with my family, but it is something that made me laugh out loud, so it counts.

Yesterday as I was doing the laundry, something that never, ever ends at this house, I opened up the window. It was gorgeous outside here yesterday, a rarity these days (that alone could be my fabulous Friday!) Anyway, my laundry room window looks out on our neighbors back yard. Their nearing 4 year old boy, K, had a friend over to play. They were running around, screaming, giggling and tripping over each other, so I stopped to watch. That age is just so darn cute. I could hear their conversations and love the way neither of them can say their R's, L's or S's.
It made me long for they days when my kids were young and so innocent.

The boys decided to play on the swing set. There is a slide on this swing set, about maybe 3 feet off the ground. K's friend wanted to slide, but told K, "My mom won't wet me (SL)wide down wifout her catch me."

"OK," says K, "I'ww catch you!"

K stations himself at the bottom of the slide while his friend climbs the ladder to the top.

"Wook out bewoah!!"

And he pushes himself off the slide towards the bottom where K is waiting to catch him.

They both go flying backwards into the grass, one on his back and the other on top of him.
A slight pause in the noisey-ness...

followed by lots and lots of little boy giggles that turn into guffaws and the inability to stand up. Thus, making me laugh in the house as I watched them.

"Wet's do it again! I get to swide 'dis time! Catch me!"

Oh how I miss those days! (Sometimes)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

All we need is love!

Love Thursday! Whoohoo!

I've been trying hard to come up with a Love Thursday post here today, but my mind has just been blank. Then I went and read
La Rêveuse.
She happens to be my cousin, and this month is a rough one for her. (Hopefully she doesn't mind me talking about her behind her back! I neglected to ask first.)
My Godmother and aunt, was her Mother. She died far too young and left so much behind. My Love Thursday post is about her.

Deen (not her real, name, but a nickname) was an awesome aunt! For whatever reason she never chose to treat me like the child I was. Because she was my mother's sister we got to visit often and when we did it was so much fun. Yes, she had young daughters. One of them, La Reveuse, was my sisters age and they hung out all the time. They annoyed the beegeeberz out of me at the time as well. Her other daughter was younger than La Reveuse and usually it was my job to watch over her.
Deen and her family had a lake cabin for a few years. It was such fun to go visit them there. She and I took a boat across the lake to a small restaurant/general store to pick up supplies. She was a crazy boat driver! It was great to hang out on the dock there, and she seemed to really enjoy having us around.
Deen moved to a farm when I was about 12 or so. It wasn't a working farm, but had several old buildings and lots of trees to roam in. She also had a dog, a pregnant dog, and we spent most of one day checking on the delivery of her puppies. I think she had at least 12 puppies that day. It was amazing, and Deen let me spend a good share of the day watching this amazing miracle of life.
I was allowed to stay up later than the other kids when we went to visit. Sometimes we played cards. Deen never made me feel like an imposition. I was welcome at the table with the grown ups and I heard stories that my innocent ears were probably never supposed to know.
The day I got married she came to the Bride's room to see me. She was in charge of handing out flowers to all our attendants and relatives. With her winning personality and outgoing manner, we knew she was the perfect person for that job.
A few years after I got married we happened to move to the same town as Deen and her husband. We didn't see a lot of her, but we did get to hang out some. She babysat a few times for us, and when she saw a good deal at a rummage sale or store, she would pick up things for my kids and bring them over. She made Mr 18 laugh with her silly antics, and even did her chicken call for him. (It still scared the crap out of me when she did that, just like it did when I was younger) I knew I could call her if I needed something, and when they had to move I was sad. She was really the only family I had here at the time.
Deen was a master storyteller. While I was growing up I believed every word she said. Now, I think she was also a master story stretcher, but that just made it all the more fun. Her personality was amazing and I am a better and stronger person for having had her in my life.

I love her, and I miss her, a lot.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Been meaning to blog about my new favorite sandwich: Roast Beef and Pesto Panini. So delicious! (and easy, my favorite kind of cooking)
Here's what you need:

Ciabatta bread or rolls
sliced roast beef
provolone cheese
home made pesto

Slice the ciabatta bread, or cut the rolls in half. Place roast beef and cheese on the bread and brush a little melted butter on the outside. Grill in your indoor grill or you can just make it like a grilled cheese if you don't have an indoor grill.
When it's lightly toasted on both sides, open it up and spread your home made pesto on it and close it up again. Serve with warm marinara sauce for dipping.

See, easy, just like I said, and wonderful!

Chaos Reigns Supreme!

We all run and run and run. I don't mean just my family, I mean everyone I talk to. When did lives become so busy? Sometimes I wonder if we are actually that busy, or if we just like people to believe we are. Are we associating success with busy lives? I don't think our kids feel that way. They are more than content to sit down and just sit sometimes. They would love it if we said, "Hey, why don't you do nothing, and sit down and watch television for a while." Boy, Miss 9 would jump on that bandwagon in a hurry.

At our house our lives are busy, but busy by our choosing. Forced seems a strong word, but we have really, really encouraged our kids to be involved at school and in sports. We feel that kids who are busy, are less tempted to try things we would rather they didn't. I don't believe that my children are complete innocents, nor would I expect you to believe it. But, we have done what we can to keep them busy enough that they really shouldn't be bored in life. Boredom can lead to temptation, right?

In the meanwhile this lifestyle keeps us busy, but not excessively all the time. The kids all have time to sit, but they also have places to be and things to do. Some days my life is very busy, but then I get a few days where it's a little more laid back, and I appreciate those days more because I know of the busy times ahead.

Hubby's busy season is fast approaching, beginning tomorrow he doesn't expect to be home for supper very often, and while I dread that, I know it's just the way life is. Now my life will be a little busier as well, filling in for him in the tasks I count on him to do in the non-busy season.

Graduation is also sneaking up on us, and we've been trying to plan for an open house for Mr 18. Then Mr 18 works with Hubby at the family farm. Miss 14 has been asked to coach 2 sessions of swim club over the summer, and I've told Miss 9 she is expected to do book reports for Super Sister-in-Law. (that was not a pleasant conversation) So while we are excited for the end of the school year, it won't mean a total stoppage of running. But it will be more laid back, and I can't wait to sit on the deck, in the sun and the heat and watch Miss 9 and her friends wail in the pool. I also can't wait to start riding my bike again. I'm tired of sitting inside! Let the warm season begin! (but please, if I can beg a little, let it rain! Please, please!)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What does it mean?

What does it mean when a friend can make you cry? Every day? I think it means that this person isn't really a friend. Miss 9 wonders about my theory on it though, and keeps giving chance after chance to this person. I'm happy that Miss 9 has the ability to not hold a grudge, that she wants to see the best in people and that she can get past some of the hurts and try again. But, I am also sad that this person is still making her cry, that I can't fix the hurt she feels and that no matter what I do, it will still bother her.

I come from a different background on the subject than she does. I am always suspicious of people, and that's due to a high school friendship gone bad. My "friends" basically told me that I wasn't good enough, I wasn't popular enough and I was too shy. They actually gave me a list of nearly 50 things that I did wrong in being their friend. This was in senior high! At the time I was completely devastated. Even my mother couldn't help me, she tried, but I think she knew it just wasn't something she could fix. She basically handed me the phone and had me call another friend. He couldn't fix the heartbreak that I felt either, but he could help me realize that I wasn't worthless, that I had friends and that I was not alone. The hurt I felt then, still affects me now. It takes a lot for me to trust, I am not easily approachable, and I don't grow close to people very easily. Hubby will attest to that.

Miss 9 on the other hand opens up to friendship easily. I don't want in any way to discourage that part of her personality. The current situation she is in, however, needs to stop. This friend has issues that are beyond the help of just a friendship. I am not exaggerating when I say that this friend needs professional help. Her parents have been trying, she has seen many specialists, but frankly the mother is a big part of the problem. I have told Miss 9 what I can without compromising the friendship she shares with this friend. Miss 9 realizes there is more to it than simple mood swings and pleas for attention. What Miss 9 doesn't realize is that some of it is not simple. That this friend actually does some of her behaviors on purpose in order to get the attention that she is so desperate to have. Hurting herself and others is not beyond her repertoire.

Yesterday was proof of the lengths this friend will go to in order to further attentions on herself. This time she was able to drag Miss 9 into her shenanigans. As a result I received calls from the principal and Miss 9 had to go talk to the principal. I had to go talk to the principal as well. Fortunately the principal knows the whole story, how could he not after this year, and he knows Miss 9 is simply a bystander. (Notice I did not say innocent bystander, she does not fit that description!) We told Miss 9 last night that it is fine for her to say NO, I don't want to play with you. I even emailed the teacher and principal. Bullying isn't only physical and it doesn't always come from the big, scary guys with the shaved head, sometimes it is emotional bullying and it comes from the small redhead who knows how to take advantage of a soft heart.

Miss 9's year has been a mess of emotions. Between the hormones, the friends and all the other issues at school this year it has felt completely chaotic. Our one pacifying thought has been that next year will be so. much. better. Next year's teacher is a veteran, she's seen it all and been teaching at the school for more than 20 years. She is an angel. She was Miss 14's very favorite teacher of all time. We just got word that she may not come back next year. I just might scream. This is your warning, so plug your ears...

Monday, April 14, 2008

sometimes friends ARE the problem

The Principal called
Miss 9 had a problem
classmate is trouble

Friday, April 11, 2008

and this gem...

We stopped at Dairy Queen on the way home so the girls could have a snack before the 2 hour drive in the car. No, I did not have anything, first off it makes me ill, secondly I know I don't need the calories. Anyway, before I so rudely interrupted myself I was saying that we had one winner of a waitperson at the till.
Her "What can I get you?" This said with no eye contact and a complete monotone.

Me "I need a small tin roof brownie blizzard and a dilly bar. Can we please get an extra cup with the dilly bar, to set it in if it breaks."

Her, staring at me and playing with her hair. "The dilly bar comes in a bag"

At this point Miss 14 and I looked at each other, suppressed a laugh, and I repeated, "Yes, we just want the cup to set it in"

Her "well, I guess, but it is in a bag."

Mhmmmm, and I'm sure Miss 9 will love eating her dilly bar that comes in a bag. Now give me the food and don't talk again for fear I think you are an idiot!

You're It!

Here's what I get for being away from the computer for 2 days... 2 surveys to fill out!

Tag! I'm it....and If you're reading this, YOU'RE IT!!

Two names you go by:
1. Mom
2. Bear

Two things you are wearing right now:
1. slippers
2. pink zip up hoodie/cardigan

Two of your favorite things to do:
1. read
2. garden

Two things you want very badly at the moment:
1. Mr 18 and Hubby to be home safe
2. to weigh 25 pounds less

Two favorite pets you have had or have now?
1. Nuzzle
2. Decker

Two people who will fill this out:
1. Ronica
2. I don't have a clue... Jenn B?

Two things you ate last night:
1. water (didn't eat anything after dinner really)
2. peanuts

Two things you ate today:
1. apple
2. yogurt

Two people you last talked to:
1. Hubby
2. Miss 9

Two things you're doing tomorrow:
1. go to mass
2. laundry

Two favorite holidays:
1. Christmas
2. Easter

Two favorite vacations:
1. Kavanaugh's Resort ~ every year except the year Miss 9 was born for about 10 years! Wonderful place to take kids, and very relaxing. I want to go back!
2. California~ twice

Two Favorite Drinks:
1. diet Cherry or Lime Coke
2. bacardi/diet caffeine free coke

September 17

Now copy, paste and blog it. I look forward to it!

Are you saying I'm weird?

I've been tagged by La Rêveuse

I'm not really that weird (HA!! Most family members will disagree here.) so it will take some doing to answer these, but I'll do my best!

Seven Weird Things About Me.

1. Before I can do the laundry the hangers must be lined up by size and type.

2. For the most part I don't like listening to women sing. Rarely does a woman have a voice that I would buy a cd for.

3. I can eat peanut butter for every meal, and I don't get sick of it.

4. I hate when people can't spell. It drives me crazy, and that's pretty sad because Miss 9 has a Written Expression learning disability, and she has a terrible time with spelling. Mostly it's adults though, students I can tolerate fine.

5. I actually really enjoy Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with Donny Osmond in it. In fact Miss 9 and I just finished watching it~ again.

6. I have a terrible time sitting still for an entire movie. I can sit and read a book for hours, but make me watch a movie and I'll be up a dozen times.

7. I can "gleek" from under my tongue at will and hit someone nearly 5 feet away. (what a pretty picture, huh? Thanks for remembering this talent of mine, Mrs. B)

I'm supposed to tag seven people, but I can't think of 7 people who read here... so I'll go with D AND N8 at Mia and You-a Travelin'.
And Jen at Allen Fieldhouse.
Your it guyz! (Those misspellings and grammatical errors were just for you La Rêveuse.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Spring Break(apart)

We are on Spring Break here in small town, middle America, USA. The kids are thrilled to have some time off. I enjoy having them around (most of the time) and it's good to be able to spend some time with the girls. I will hardly see Mr 18 though, and that makes me sad.

Unfortunately our Spring Break will not include any sort of family trip. This year instead we will spend our break in 3 different places, and none of it except home includes all of us being together. That says something about the busy lifestyles we all lead now, doesn't it?

Hubby and Mr 18 just returned from enrolling Mr 18 in his classes at the university for next year. They had parent orientation and some testing for the incoming freshman. The guys left at 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon and traveled most of the day. They attended what was required of them on Monday at the university and headed for home, arriving just after 11 p.m. last night. Both of them complained of sore rear ends from all the sitting.

Tomorrow all the girls head to visit Grandparents in their hometown. While we are there we are planning to do some shopping, get haircuts, and hopefully have a little fun and down time. Hubby and Mr 18 are headed to work at the farm. Seeding season is fast approaching and the guys can't afford to take the time off to come with us.

The guys are however planning on leaving again as they head out on Friday and Saturday to go look at a vehicle that Mr 18 has been checking out. He is hoping it is "the one" as are we because then we would be done shopping for his graduation present. He gets one car from us in his lifetime, it better be a good one.

It makes me a little nostalgic for the days when Spring Break meant we would take the kids somewhere to stay at a hotel and play in the pool. Rarely do we go very far from home, but it was always good to get away together for a short time. I have come to realize over the last year that time like that is long past for us. The kids are all getting too old and involved in too many things for us to spend time just hanging out at a pool. I miss those days! I feel like Miss 9 was sort of cheated out of some of that togetherness time as well. But life goes on and she has the fortune of having older siblings who mostly take good care of her. So in some ways, she has things that they never had. So I guess it evens out.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Teenager Haiku

money requester
mess maker and risk taker
parent mood zapper

Not a Problem

Yesterday Hubby and I went to Parent Teacher conferences for Miss 14 and Mr 18. Conferences are set up as a block of time when parents can wander from room to room, wait in line, and meet with the teacher as they are free. Hubby and I decided to visit the teachers in order of how we felt the most problems might be. We decided to start with Mr 18's English teacher because his grade right now is SERIOUSLY lacking. Granted, I don't expect straight A's from my kids. I especially don't expect them from Mr 18 because he has serious problems with testing. His daily work can be perfect but it comes to a test, and invariably the grade is a C or lower, we realize this, but we still expect him to have a decent grade. Right now, English is far, far away from a decent grade.

We walked into the English teacher's classroom, and introduced ourselves. Mrs. Teacher said, 'Oh, yeah, Mr 18, no problems there, we don't have much to talk about." Smile, grin...
"Oh," says I, "but his current posted grade is not anywhere near what I expect from him. "
"Hmmm," says Mrs. Teacher, "let me pull it up and look at it."
Which she does, and we discuss, and I point out the problems. Well he's behind because he was gone for this and that. I'm not worried says Mrs. Teacher.
Well, I am!
Does it really not matter what his mother thinks? I ask why he is behind, how can he make up for it, does he participate in class, is he working hard, etc. You know, all the relevant parenting questions you ask when your child's grades are not where they should be. Her answers were not professional, were not helpful and were mostly just annoying. To me, it sounded like a burned out end of the school year teacher just waiting for summer. I was and am very annoyed. Mr 18 has never, ever had a grade this low in English, and yet Mrs. Teacher shows no concern. Argh! Instead she just tells me to make sure he turns in his assignments each day until the end of the year because they are worth 10 points apiece. Not much of a solution, is it?

In other teacher news we had awesome conferences for the rest of the afternoon. Miss 14's teachers are all thrilled with her grades and amazed at her progress. Many of them had questions regarding her heart, as apparently the 504 is still not in place with all of them. Another frustrating thing... it is April... perhaps having teachers aware of a heart problem would be a good thing to do at the beginning of the year. But we are lucky in the fact that it is a small enough school that teacher's are able to keep each other informed, without the beaurocratic rigamorole being handed over.

Mr 18's other teacher's all had good things to say as well. Most of them were anxious to discuss what a "neat" kid he is. I think they like that he is opinionated and willing to discuss things in class and that he will take a leadership role in projects and activities. We were able to visit most teachers, a few were not in their classrooms and I didn't feel like it was my job to go on a search for them. Instead I will email, tell them we were there when they weren't there, and hopefully they will realize we tried.

So I think the moral of the story is that not only do Seniors get Senioritis... but teachers get Senioritis, too.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Happy Love Thursday! My first love today is that I was able to make it through my dental appointment with little whining and no cavities. I have an extreme phobia about the dentist, so this was a huge step.

What I have really been wanting to write about this Love Thursday is a place where I spent a lot of time growing up. I've had this post running around in my head for a while now, but haven't written it out. I'm sort of afraid that I won't get my point across, or it will sound incredibly sappy. So, with that in mind I feel like I might as well just write it and move on.

I love that when I was growing up I got to spend a lot of time at my Grandparent's farm. This post is a love letter to that time in my life.

Some of my favorite memories happened on a farmstead in a very rural area of North Dakota. It's the farmstead where my mother grew up and where my grandparents spent much of their married life. As I became a teen I fought about having to spend time there, I dreaded weekend trips and as our lives got busier we went less often. Now, looking back, I wish that I could still go there.

The farm itself wasn't fancy in any manner. The house, started in 1899 I believe, was added on to for the next half century or so. It was small and the basement scared the begeeberz out of me. But it was always spotless. Grandma was an immaculate housekeeper and as a child it never occurred to me to be worried about mice, or bugs, or anything else. (Except for the crickets, we couldn't keep them out of the place, and I'm still terrified of them!) The furnishing weren't fancy and weren't new. The kitchen still had an old yellow table that now would be quite collectible. The floor I remember most was the black and white tile blocks. There are pictures of me talking on an old rotary style phone sitting on that floor when I was a baby. The living room had an old black vinyl couch and a fun red circular style chair. The dining room had an old blond wood table and matching hutch; that furniture also matched the bedroom furniture in my grandparents room. There was an ancient stone screened in porch on one side of the house that we sometimes got to play in. Up a steep, steep set of stairs were the three bedrooms that family stayed in when we visited and where Papa made me take naps. They weren't furnished with much more than a bed, but there was room to play with toys when it rained and we couldn't be outside. In fact there was room for all of the grandkids to pair up and pick on each other between rooms. (Hello cousins who read here! Please comment on your favorite parts of the farm!) I remember playing playing upstairs and listening to the rain hit the roof. I remember waking up to thunderstorms with Grandma coming upstairs to bring me down to their bed, so I didn't have to be upstairs while it was thundering in the middle of the night.

We spent a lot of our time at the farm outside. Papa and Grandma used to plant a big garden where we could sample fresh peas and carrots whenever we wanted. Grandma used to make huge meals for all of us. She was a fantastic cook. The yard was encircled about half way with lilac bushes. When I was a girl I used to dream of getting married there in the spring while the lilacs were blooming. My cousin, J, who now lives in Vermont (Hello!!), was the closest in age to me, and we used to get to stay at the farm together, sometimes for nearly a week. We had such fun making "stews" in the playhouse with all the junk we would gather from the yard. I used to get in trouble from Grandma for making J laugh too hard. I'm not sure I know why, but I did. Grandma would hang the wash on the line and when it was dry we would help her haul it to the kitchen table to fold it. The smell of that laundry was the best. We would play anti-I-over the playhouse, and Papa and Grandma would play along. As we got older the game moved to being played over the quonsets. We had a 3 wheel bicycle to drive each other around in, and old, old baseball bats and balls to play softball with in the middle of the yard. Sometimes even our Dad's would get involved in the game, and when Papa played we knew it would be a fun night.

There was a large screenhouse that was set up in the summer months. Our parents would sit there in the evenings with the Grandparents while all of their children ran around like maniacs opening and shutting the screendoor and letting the mosquitoes in. There was no A/C in the house, so it was hot! The screenhouse was a respite from the heat, often there was a dog or two there as well. Grandma would make popcorn (on the stove, with real butter!) for us to snack, plus there were nearly always home made cookies of some kind. It's a wonder I wasn't a fat kid.

My writing can't come close to conveying the love I feel for the farm. It was a place where I was spoiled, where family was together, and where my fondest memories of childhood were made. My Grandfather (Papa) and my aunt (and Godmother) are both gone now, and the memories I have of them from the farm are still strong. When I think of either of them, I think of the farm. I can't come close to explaining the wonders it holds for me, or the incredible memories. The pictures in my mind are still as vivid as the days I spent there. I can't remember most of my children's childhood, but my memories of the farm are still bright and incredibly beautiful. Sentimental, yes, but I wish I could go back for just one day and show my children the wonder that I felt for this place.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Slow Down!

Beginning on Friday last week, Mr 18 started a whirlwind weekend/early week. He's got the senior year busy going on. Friday was a normal school day followed by a plethora of activities that had to get done. Saturday was a day filled with the well put off chores that the Captains of the swim team needed to do before the banquet, which was Saturday evening. The guys had to buy coaches gifts, vote on awards for each member. (The captains give the funny/weird/embarrassing awards like the "I'll Watch Out for Your Little Sister Award" and the "I Suck at Halo 1, 2 and 3 Award.") It took them half the afternoon to come up with an award for each member, but when they handed them out, it was hilarious, lots of blushing boys. The banquet lasted a few hours and was followed by the need to go out in a snowstorm and hang out with the guys. Sunday morning arrived bright and early with Mr 18 headed out to mass and finally packing for his 3 day trip. He also had the need to take his younger girlfriend out to lunch before he left at 1:00 p.m. because "we'll be apart for 3 days!" He made it to the bus with less than a minute to spare.
Mr 18 and the rest of the FBLA group headed out to the State Capital for 3 days of classes, testing and dancing. I think most of the time was spent horsing around with the dart guns they purchased, but overall I think a good time was had by all. They were close enough to walk to a few good restaurants and even to the mall: teen heaven apparently.
Yesterday as awards were being handed out Mr 18 shot a text off to me: "I just won a 500 dollar scholarship for my marketing test!" Then about 20 minutes later the next text arrived: "April Fool!" Fortunately I hadn't checked my texts in between the arrival times, so I was no one's April Fool!
The bus carrying the FBLA squad loaded up yesterday during the early afternoon and proceeded to drive a few hours to drop off the tracksters who needed to run at an indoor meet last evening. Mr 18 had also remembered to pack his uniform and his running flats, but had forgotten to inform his parents of this twist in the plan. Luckily at the last minute I got another text letting me know of that plan and the tracksters were dropped off at the meet, commenced with their running/throwing/jumping and hopped on yet another bus to come home at 10:45 p.m. last night.
What a whirlwind! I am frankly shocked that he remembered everything he would need and even more shocked that so far it looks like everything made it home with him along with a full size poster of an interestingly dressed NAS energy drink girl.