Thursday, June 26, 2008

In the Far Corner

We have MISS 15! Yesterday was the birthday of my middle child. She turned 15! I can hardly believe it. 15 seems so old. I still see her as the little girl she was when Miss 10 was born, in little girl clothes, with matching socks and sandals. She's got ponytails in her hair with matching ponytail holders. Sigh... when did she grow up?

Miss 15 is my favorite 15 year old, shhhhh.... don't tell! Although Miss 15 has the typical teen mood swings, irritability and eye rolling down pat, she has other attributes that make her an amazing kid WHOOPS I mean person. Miss 15 is a helper, it doesn't matter who, or what, she helps. She steps in if someone drops something, she steps in if someone can't do something, she waits to open doors for people, she offers to carry things, she offers to clean up, sometimes she doesn't even offer, she just does it. She's not one who sits still for very long, she's got a lot of her Dad in her, she needs to be doing something, anything. Yes, she will sit still, watch tv, play on the computer, chat on the phone, but not in the typical lengthy way I see most teens doing those things.

Miss 15 enjoys working, no seriously, the jobs she has now weren't forced on her, she volunteered. Did you see that? She volunteered. Miss 15 is a swim coach, right now that means she is at the pool at 8 a.m., and we make her bike there by herself. (oh c'mon, it's only 8 blocks away!) She's coach to an age range from 9 to 16. She's not a typical coach though, she doesn't always sit on the side and bark orders, usually she's in the water with them (at 8 a.m., when it's 55 degrees outside and the wind is blowing. Did I mention this season is at the outdoor pool?) showing them just how to place their hand, or move their leg, or tighten this muscle. She swims beside them and motivates them. She's also tough. She has an athlete this season who drives most coaches crazy, she deals with him in a way that earns his respect and he's a better swimmer for it. She watches out for those younger ones who are too cold, or forgot their water bottle and pulls them out to warm them up or get them water from her extra bottle. She even rides some of them home on their bikes at the end of practice.

Miss 15 decided to once again volunteer at the hospital this summer. She is thrilled when her volunteer partner is an elderly lady, of which most of them are. She gets a kick out of their stories and their idiosyncrasies. She loves older people, she has a gift for talking to them and in no way is she uncomfortable around them. I find it amazing, and I don't know where she gets it.

Yes, she can drive her parents crazy, she fights with her sister, she snaps when she doesn't get things her way, but thankfully it never lasts too long. She is so willing to say "thank you" when someone does something for her. She's unable to mumble and grunt answers at someone, she talks... a lot! I'm not trying to make her sound like a saint, she's not, but she isn't a typical 15 year old.

Miss 15, my wish for you in the coming year is that you continue to see the good in people, that you don't fall prey to the pressures of other teens to conform to their way of thinking, that you find your own way of doing things, that you continue in your amazing ways. Happy Birthday Miss 15!! Keep up the good work!

On a side note, I am headed on vacation, FINALLY, for about a week. I don't know if I will find a computer to post not, I'm not bringing one, but I may have access to one. In the meantime, wish us luck as we take an unwilling 18 year old on a family vacation with 2 girls who can't wait to go!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Still Together

Hubby and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary today! And a bonus being he stayed home to spend the day here with me. That always makes for a better day even if we do nothing but the normal every day things that have to get done. Today we spent part of the day shopping for Miss 14 who tomorrow will be Miss 15. Wow, that's also hard to believe!

Later we plan to possibly go out for supper together, alone, just the two of us. I don't remember what that is like. But, I'm sure, as always happens, my cell phone will ring, and someone here at home will be fighting with someone else here at home and I'll remember why we don't ever go out to supper, just the two of us. But in the meantime, it's something to look forward to, for a moment, until reality sets in.

On the day of my wedding so many years ago I promised to love this man forever, and I do. I promised it in good times and in bad, and I have. We have. The day of our wedding at this time, we were in the basement of the church sharing "refreshments" with family and friends. The real world was so far away. Now we are living together in the real world, with real problems, some of which don't have easy solutions, and still I wouldn't trade Hubby for anyone else. There is no one I would rather work through my problems with. Thank you, Hubby, for sticking through all these years with me. You are mine, and even when I don't show it, I need you, more now, then ever.

Monday, June 23, 2008

This One's a Downer

Yesterday turned into one of those emotional hell days that can only be served up by people who are supposed to be those that don't serve it up. I know, complicated to understand isn't it? Short form, Hubby and I spent the day in a bottomless pit of frustration, emotional exhaustion and at some points anger. We've been dealing with a situation for a few months now that just is not getting better. A few days ago things came to our attention that could no longer be set on a back burner. Things had to be done and they were. We've been putting it off for so long, knowing the results that would come, and finally could no longer let it sit. The results we expected were exactly what we got: anger, frustration, self pity, denial, blame, attitude and nothing even close to remorse.

Things aren't any better, and I'm not very optimistic, Hubby and I are hopeful, but we don't expect much. We are exhausted, literally and emotionally. It was a late night and with thunderstorms waking Miss 10 and bringing her to our bed in the middle of the night it was an even earlier morning.

I realize this is cryptic, and it has to stay this way for now, and I realize at times it may sound self pitying. That is not my intention at all. I am in need of an outlet for emotions that have no where to go, and this happens to be it.

I have a strong backbone, I take a lot, I put on a stoic, unemotional face and I do what needs to be done. It's only when I am done, and alone, that all my defenses come down. It's then that I sometimes lose control of those emotions. Hubby has seen me lose those defenses only once in the 19 years we have been together. Until last night, and then it happened again. I finally had to excuse myself from the situation. No longer could I keep a stiff upper lip and take the verbal onslaught that was directed at me. Hubby was able to continue calmly, which was necessary, and for that I thank him immensely, but I had to leave. I was calm and rational and said the right things, and then walked away.

At that point, alone, I spent time crying and praying and begging for help from whoever happened to be listening to my thoughts. Hubby found me later, wrapped his arms around me and just sat. I couldn't talk, I could barely breath and even Hubby couldn't help.

It's not often that something emotional can hit so hard that it nearly takes your breath away. I know I won't stay this way, I know each day will feel better and I can distance myself from today, but today it just hurts.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Note to God

not an easy job
parenting without a book
please send directions

Friday, June 20, 2008

Things to Fight About

A list of things your children can fight about just in case you don't have any ideas of your own.

1. The Wii remote sitting on the couch and not being put away when it's not in use and whose fault that is.

2. Whose friend got something on the chair and whose fault it is.

3. Bumping each other in passing in the hallway.

4. Who touched whose stuff in the bathroom.

5. Who gets to watch the television in the basement.

6. Who did/didn't shut the light off in the bathroom.

7. Who watches too much television.

8. Who Mom does or doesn't blame for this, that or the other.

9. Touching each other.

10. Dinnertime, anything about it, take your pick.

11. Who sees their friends more often.

12. Which Wii game to play and who gets to be player number 1.

13. Who ate the last nectarine and who had more than the other.

14. Who can or can't do most anything, eat something or sit on something.

15. Who made Mom crabby.

Just make sure all of these items are covered in 1 day's time. Otherwise, number 15 won't happen, and we wouldn't want that!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Better LateThen Never

I'm running quite late these days. As it turned out having a graduation and an open house in the same month as Miss 10's birthday didn't bode all that well for her having a birthday party. I promised her we would get to it once school was out, and we did. It took her a long time to decide who to invite and what to do for her party. In the end she chose a "Red Carpet" theme and we sent out invites and waited for the RSVP's. Apparently in the 10 year old set an RSVP reply isn't mandatory and an invitation is optional. We had one guest show up who wasn't sent an invitation. How does that happen? Fortunately Miss 10 was a gracious hostess and gave up her goodie bag, craft project and dress up extras that we had purchased so that the extra guest could participate. I was very proud of her.

The girls started the party by putting on their red carpet event dress up clothes. In the invitation we specified dress up box clothes, not current dresses that they owned, but still we had a few with just a dress from their closet on. The girls walked the carpet, stopping to pose for the paparazzi (Miss 14 and I) while they snapped photos. Afterwards was a fancy tea party and a craft project for the pictures we took. A spontaneous parachute game took place and then another red carpet event. For this event the girls got to dress each other in specific themes and then I voted on which team won each theme. Naturally I made sure each group won the same amount of times. I'm nothing of not fair, right? After a treasure hunt there was a big wet sponge/water fight until parents showed up to break up the game. Of course I couldn't be left dry during this event, so I ended up nearly as wet as the girls. Fortunately as I was attacked with sponges I had a hose in my hand. Ahem....

Thursday, June 12, 2008

She Makes Me Laugh

Most of the day we have been discussing heading out of town a little way in order to have some delicious pizza for supper. When we go, we will also bring back some of their to go, uncooked pizzas to freeze for another time. (What can I say, we live in an area where the pizza choice's suck, and sometimes I just want to not have to cook!) Hubby and I have asked all three kids who wants to go along. The girls were all for it, Mr 18 was unsure that he wanted to take that trip with us, and so has waited until the last minute to decide. In an effort to wake him up from his afternoon nap (because it annoys me that he thinks he can stay out late, then nap half the afternoon away) I asked Miss 10 to go tell him that we were leaving in 50 minutes. Here is a recap of the conversation:

"Miss 10, will you please go knock on his door and tell your brother that we are leaving at 4:50?"

"OK!" And she skips to his door and disappears briefly. When she comes back I quizzed her.

"Well, what did he say?"

"I told him, Mr 18, we are leaving at 4:50, and he said "for where?" and I said, "I don't know!" and shut the door."

Hubby and I laughed until we had tears in our eyes. Meanwhile she blushes, and didn't understand what was so funny. We've been discussing this brief trip with them most of the day, and how excited we are to go have some good pizza for once. It's so innocent that because I didn't exactly spell it out for her she was oblivious to what she was telling her brother, yet she still went and did just what I told her.

She makes me laugh! Not only is she funny outright, but also she's still funny in those subtle. little kid ways that only parents see the humor in.

Happy Love Thursday everyone!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


The other day I got to head outside early in the morning. I grabbed my camera and took some photos of what I love about my yard.
Mostly what I love is the fact that it is mine, I can add what I want and take out what I hate.
We enjoy that it is big enough to play frisbee in, set up the volleyball net, or play most any yard game.
Since the kids have been young we have had a play area dedicated to their swingset, a playhouse and a sandbox. It's somewhere that they can leave their toys out and we can still mow the yard. There are days we talk about finding a bigger house, one where I can have company over and feed them without all of us sitting elbow to elbow in our non-existent dining area. But really, the one thing I couldn't leave, would be the yard. Sometimes it feels like I live in a park and I wouldn't trade houses if it meant having any less of a yard then what we live in now.
What makes you love where you live?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

She Plays

I got to spend most of my day with Miss 10 yesterday. It was fairly relaxing with nothing pressing on our plate other than having to make supper for all of us. In the afternoon I "forced" her to go with me to a few greenhouses and the grocery store. My plan was just that she needed to get out of the house, and I wanted company. She was mostly excellent with only a few "I am so bored!" and "When can we go home?" for me to contend with. She helped search for specific color plants I was looking for and enjoyed just people watching. Because she was so good we made the grocery store our last stop and she got to pick something for her to share with her siblings for a snack. That took longer than shopping for plants, decisions decisions! Finally, after she made up her mind, we checked out and she came home to share her goodies.

After I had unpacked what I needed to and put things away we went for a bike ride to "the hill." This is where Miss 10 can fly down a small dirt ramp onto a long hilly sidewalk and scare her mother half to death. When we got home from our ride we played softball out back. Miss 10's version of softball is that she stands in one place while I throw every tennis ball, soft fake baseball or soft mini basketball at her plastic bat so she doesn't miss. It's excruciating but she enjoys it. I attempt to correct her posture, her swing and her hold on the bat, but I've never had much success. Apparently she is never destined for a scholarship to play women's slow pitch softball in college.
We had a fun afternoon and I returned to the great indoors to make supper while Miss 10 played outside by herself. I love when she does that. She really uses her imagination and even when I watch her I can't figure out what she is thinking half the time. This time she took out one of the collapsible rooms for the fun tunnels and the croquet mallets. She pounded the croquet mallets all around the room then crawled inside. I'm still not sure what she was using it for, even when she explained it to me I was confused. But it did make for some cute pictures. I love the one where she is staring at her thumb after she had just whacked it with a croquet mallet. I'm sure that felt good.
Happy Love Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


The request to wash your face and clean your room is apparently enough to result in a complete and total meltdown when you are 10 years old. Even though, the room cleaning requests has been ongoing for the entire day. But add to that the requirement of face washing and it's into orbit!

It Is Done

It's taken a long time to get to this post as life as been incredibly busy lately, but here I am, finally, ready to discuss the end of Mr 18's high school career.

Graduation day arrived rainy and cloudy. Mr 18 was up very early to attend Mass at 8 a.m. in honor of the graduates. When he came home he crawled right back into bed. Hubby and I continued to prep for the day and woke Mr 18 in time to attend an Open House before he had to go to the school for Graduation. He wasn't pleased that we woke him up and was less pleased that we kept waking him up. (What will this kid do when he's out on his own without me to be his repeating alarm clock?)

Hubby, Miss 10 and I dropped Miss 14 off to play in the band and we stood in line to get seats to watch The Big Day. Yes, we had to be there earlier than the graduates to stand in line and assure ourselves seats. My parents, Hubby's Mom, SuperSisterinLaw, SuperSister and BroadwayBrotherinLaw all joined us at the ceremony. It was mercifully short and quite nice. We were able to be leaving the heat and stuffiness of the crowd before too long and headed home to celebrate.

The ceremony was both casual and formal at the same time. Moments of levity by the student speakers helped to ease some of the sadness of both parents and graduates.

The downside of the entire ceremony being some of the idiotic parents/friends who brought air-horns to blow when their graduate crossed the stage. An announcement was made before the presentation of graduates began that some of the students were highly sensitive to noise. They asked specifically for no yelling or air-horns. Yet there were still selfish enough people in the audience to not be able to follow directions. Perhaps they need to go back to high school or maybe grade school and learn how important following directions is.

There were no lights on the stage, or near the stage, so any pictures we took of Mr 18 during the ceremony didn't even turn out. I don't understand the point of not having lights, perhaps if they were using a spotlight or something similar, but nothing, instead it was just really dark. That's kind of disappointing, but we'll survive.

We came home and took many pictures of Mr 18 with various family members and had his request of cookies and rice krispie bars as a celebratory snack before he had to leave the house to go to 12 different open houses. No, that's not an exaggeration, that's the real number. Hubby and I left our families here to prepare sustenance for all of us as we headed to 3 open houses as well.

That evening the graduates were all invited to a parent/school/community provided after graduation party. It is an awesome idea to provide an alcohol free all night celebration for the kids. There are always a lot of great door prizes, games and food. Basically the kids who sign up are bused to an undisclosed location and chaperoned by parents all night with no option to leave. Mr 18 arrived home post-party and breakfast at 5:30 a.m. (Yawn!) Unfortunately having that party the night of graduation only delays the inevitable of a "class" party where they celebrate on their own. That happened the next night. It was a big fight with Mr 18 over whether he could go or not, and it provided more tears from me than the graduation itself. There were lengthy discussions on appropriate behavior, expectations and trust. It was a long night.

Overall I held it together better than I ever expected to. It's strange being a 39 year old with a high school graduate in the house.

Now we look forward with some trepidation to the summer ahead and the evenings and nights where he is gone with friends. I'm sure it will provide us with some gut wrenching nights.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Because Hubby Is Late... again

Since Hubby is again working late, and I am alone, and feeling sorry for myself. I decided to have this for dessert. I let it warm a little and get sort of melty, and it was delicious! I deserve it, right?