Happy Birthday

How does it go so fast? Look at this chubby goodness, happily hanging out at the beach eating his pretzels, enjoying the shade, most likely he is the youngest child at this point (OK so sue me, I can't tell if he is 2 or 3 here...)

And today he is 15! Talk about time flying by. He and dad compared heighth the other night and he has finally surpassed his daddy -- more importantly, daddy admitted it this time. Poor Sean has had some ups and downs for birthdays. Most of his favorite movies have had their grand opening on his birthday weekend (Star Wars IV was the biggest event eva!) Then he spent more than one with strep throat. Happily ,we yanked those tonsils out. His 9th birthday was spent "not scratching" the chicken pox. For 14 and 15 his dad had to be out of town. 15 was starting out fairly great. We were headed to Steak-n-Shake with his grandparents for a birthday dinner. Just as we all headed out to the car it started to hail, and as we headed down the road the sky took on an eery yellow glow, so we turned around and headed home. He spent half his night in the basement waiting out a Tornado Warning (thank God just a warning) listening to his big sister tell Mumma all about her accomplishments, her prom times and to his mom and poppy desperately trying to fix a leak in the basement wall. Nothing says happy birthday like a little family togetherness. And, as is usually the case for Sean, who prepares for the worst yet usually finds a good outcome, the night ended happily. A chocolate milkshake, a triple cheeseburger and a hot fudge brownie. So much happy that he didn't have room for my Cake Loveknockoff cake. Ah, but there is always tomorrow!



Well, if this were Everybody loves Earl, then I could blame Karma. But it's not. So let's try eating humble pie. I knew I shouldn't have bragged, I knew somehow I would be reminded of the necessity for humility.

Life with boys is different -- I understand that. They are more physical. They learn social boundries by seeing how far they can push, before they are pushed back. But tonight was yucky. It started around 3:00 with the complaining about having to go to Baccalaureate. I'm sorry, I don't care if you're bored, an hour isn't going to kill you. We are a family and we support our family -- bored or not. That means soccer games, football games, concerts and yes, even Baccalaureate and graduation. So the complaining continued... then I reminded them that this was a church and I would not allow them to wear camo shorts and t-shirts... more groaning... so much so that one 9 year old who shall remain nameless REFUSED to change. I refused to let him go w/o pants, and I grabbed the first pair of khakis I saw and put them in the car. Flash forward to the parking lot of a LARGE Methodist church, threats of being grounded for a month... muttered comments like "Do not get out of the car unless you have those pants on." Only to notice after he finally relented and got out of the car in said pants, that they were a pair I had set aside for my nephew. And, at least 7 inches too short for said 9 year old. But, off we went anyway. If I wasn't so tired from the arguing beforehand I could almost see it as comical.

I can yada yada yada through the service--it was nice and inspirational and non-denominational (OK, here's where I miss Catholic schools the most) all the way up to departure. More complaining to mom, "Why do you have to talk to everyone?" "I told you it would be boring" "Make them stop that!" Now we are outside said HUGE MEGA church, the car is in sight. I stop to say hi to a mom I have known since Claire and her twins were in 2nd grade. When I am suddenly PUNCHED in the arm out of my momversation. "Mom, Ryan is down" I look over and see several kind mothers comforting a crying Ryan on the concrete sidewalk. What happened? Not too sure, too much rough housing that ended with Daniel kicking Ryan in the privates as he bent down to pick up a water bottle. As I ask Sean to pick up Ryan, who is not going to move from his fetal position on the sidewalk, he throws his water bottle down and says "If you didn't talk to people, then this wouldn't have happened."

I want to quit on days like this. Or as my own dear mother used to tell us, "Run away and change my name to Heather so they can't find me."

Hectic times

OK, so it has been a week since I last posted. Wow, time is flying by. I let 2 days get sucked into a graduation gift for Claire. I made a movie/slide show out of old pictures. It's titled Claire's Life in 15 minutes. And it is rather good if I say so myself. Though it was SO hard to keep it short. What pictures to include etc. In the end I decided to focus mainly on Claire, her friends and her family. I tried not to favor one side of the extended family over the other -- but ten to one someone will not be happy. But, the important thing was that Claire was happy. And now she has something to look at should she ever get homesick. And yes, I did include all those goofy, ugly group pictures -- it just isn't fun until you can laugh at the family's "akward stages".

But, speaking of such, this is not an "akward stage"...
I have to say, I know that times are different now, but Claire went to prom last night. There were 5 couples and 4 single girls in her group. They had a blast. If it had been me, and I didn't have a date to prom, couldn't twist someone's arm to come up with some cousin or next door neighbor, then I would have sat home with a hot fudge sundae. I think it is so cool that they can decide that they want to go, and GO!

What else have I done this week? Well, we had Honor's Night at the high school. Claire was one of 6 to get a PTSA scholarship and she got the Distinguished Literary Scholar Award -- which is awarded to one senior every year--that looks at all 4 years of high school English. That last one was a surprise, and we are very proud of her. It also helped me rationalize that while Tech is an environment that would challenge her, and the right price, it is not really the place for her...

Let's see...Ryan had his last elementary orchestra concert the same night and started football...

Sean came home from Tampa and the SE Regionals with a 3rd place medal for Men's Novice 8! Amazing! If they had been a varsity boat they would have qualified for Nationals.

We also had Field Day Olympics. Daniel's class signed the opening song (his class has the hearing impared kids pushed in and they all are learning sign). They also signed a song about reading at the last "Blue Team Meeting" (1/2 the school mini pep rally)And we had a class wedding shower for Ryan's teacher -- who happens to be marrying the son of our church Music Director! The kids were very excited and it was her first shower to boot! Now, there are only 5 days left (and counting). Ryan will "graduate" from elementary school and he is "moving on up to Haynes Bridge", Claire will be done, Sean will have finished his 1st year of high school and soon Daniel will no longer be anyone's little brother at school as he will be the only one left at Northwood.

And mom just wants to take a nap!

You know , I know this post reads something like a bad Christmas letter. And I really hate those. But I have decided that I need to let my kids know that I am proud of them and not afraid to show it. Their knowledge that I am going to shout to the world that I love them and am proud of them no matter what should over shadow my fear that I sound like a braggart -- or that people won't like me because I brag about my kids. And, I am the first one to complain when things don't go as planned, I am the first one to suggest taking them to the mommy store to buy a new mommy because they can't stand the one they have (usually muttered in the Target toy isle).


Mother's Day

In anticipation of this weekend's festivities, I would like to share this. But, according to YouTube, this video has 5,305,145 hits! So, I am guessing you may have seen this already. And, I would like to say, this could also be two girls -- or four ---(wimp fights)
Happy Mother's Day!

Put down the yard stick!!


Fame! I wanna live forever...

OK, a friend of mine once jokingly (at least I think it was jokingly) said that blogs were a "narcissistic waste of time". You may have your own opinion on this. Every one blogs for different reasons. I am not quite sure why I do. But to indulge my friend and prove her right, I am going to wade through a little narcissism tonight.

A few weeks ago I talked to a very nice woman, Jan Hoffman, who was writing a piece for the New York Times on educational programs like Parent Connect or EdLine. I was happy to share my opinion-- no body really listens to me half the time, and this woman was getting paid to do so. It was a great experience, because as most people know, I tend to have opinions. We talked about helicopter parenting, micro-managing, increasing tension in a potentially already tense parent/teen relationship and all the negative things that can come from such programs. We talked about the positive things, like reminders for "forgetful" kids, communications for divorced parents and the ease of e-mail communications with teachers. All in all, she wrote a very balanced piece and to be truthful I am proud to be included in it. Wanna read it?? Being the attention seeking chick that I am, I mentioned it to a few friends. They did nothing but tease me. Thinking I was just being narcissistic, I stopped mentioning it and left it alone.

Then today I get an e-mail from Jan asking how things were. Apparently this has become a hot issue. A girl I know and fellow football mom, Nikki, was also in the article. She and I are on different ends of the Parent Connect train. Well, Nikki has had a whirlwind weekend, check this out... Good Morning America, Time Warner, The London Daily Telegraph... All scrambling for a comment from "the mom".

At first, I was a little jealous. I am the cool one, the NON-HELICOPTER one (no offense Nikki) I did some googling of my own, and found one or two critical comments directed at me, which at first hurt. But then I realized that I had said all those things. I had awakened my daughter with "what have you failed?". Then I had to explain that no, she hadn't failed, she may have been ill or excused for TAG. I was that parent. But what the "moral of the story" is is that after 4 years, I am no longer that person. OK I am still neurotic, and it takes every fiber of my being not to jump in and try and fix things for the rest of them (by this point Claire is done). But you know what? I will always be neurotic. Things like PC will always be there to tempt me to control too much but it will also be there to help me "remind" those who need reminding (and I am speaking of people under 18!)

But, back to my story, I realized my opinion, for those who got that far, doesn't make good t.v. And, that is fine with me.

There are several reasons. The most important one--Nikki had a 20 min warning that GMA was coming with a film crew, and they were there for FOUR hours. Let me tell you, there is not enough closet space in Roswell in which to shove shit to get this place ready for national t.v. in 20 minutes. So, I'm fine with anonymity and clutter piles. Second, my opinion may not be news worthy, but let me tell you, it was Facebook worthy! With a simple status that says, "I made the New York Times-- Read it", I'd like to think that Claire and her "leave me alone" has made Facebook history and encouraged more teens to read the New York Times than ever in history (there's that narcissism peeking out again...) Sean was extremely happy to be only referred to as my "freshman son" (thanks Jan). Finally and most importantly, I get to see how many literate friends I have. Yea, it's easy to look at a picture, read a caption and get the idea of a story. If you want the real scoop, the real meaning of the story YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO TURN THE PAGE. So when those few people come up to me and say they read the article and really liked my quote about a perfect world, I know they are "my kinda people" -- you know, those page turners.


The end

Well, as of 9:00 tonight, one chapter of Claire's life is over. High school orchestra is done. I will share some of the great shots I got of her and her girlies (with my new camera!) I'll have to blog later about "the end -- and the beginning" for Claire, right now I just want to say how proud I am of both my Centennial Orchestra kids, they played beautifully. One was just too quick to get out of that tux!!

I have to say, I just love this shot. One of my best friends said before R and I got married, "...at least we know you'll have good looking kids." And if I don't mind saying so myself, Mama D was right. We shook the gene pool and came out with some pretty cute ones.


If any picture could describe his personality, this would be it. I call it electric. This boy is electric. He is here, there and everywhere all at the same time, with a smile on his face most of the time.s

Celestine Sibley once wrote a column about 10 year old boys -- how wonderful that age is. I remember giving a copy to my friend Rachel, at the time I could barely imagine Sean at 10. Now Ryan is past there. I love this age. Not quite a teen, not really a little boy any more. I love watching him interact with the older two. He is still pesky, still pushing those buttons, but now he is really trying to become part of the inside jokes and comments. And, yes, slowly, they are letting him into their fold.