Thursday, August 30, 2012

Is that me?

I really struggle with the end of summer.  I abhor sending the boys back to school.  It makes me cry.  Out of sadness, not joy.  I love the summer.   I love the heat and the pool and no homework.  So with this being the last week of the outdoor pool season, I have been trying to get there everyday this week with the LRHB.  So Monday, the storm (no chance of showers) rolled in about the time to pick him up.  We decided after dinner to go in the evening, but that just reaffirmed why I love outdoor pools and not indoor ones since even though the storm had moved on, they didn't reopen the outside pool.  Tuesday, I got him picked us and we headed straight there trying to beat the black cloud, but as we were walking in, rumble, rumble, rumble.  Now that storm was definitely not headed toward us.  So I asked if it was possible to reopen at a later time.  Sure they said.  So someone will be keeping an eye on that?  Sure they said.  Not so much.  Never reopened.  LRHB swam and I sat in my misery by the pool. 

And in my misery I discovered this man in one of the lap lanes walking.  Walking and talking.  To himself.  With feeling and inflection.  And I did think... that man is crazy!  He's talking to himself.  I can see his lips moving, his head moving with purpose.  He is a crazy man!  A crazy man at my pool.  THEN I HAD ANOTHER THOUGHT:  Is that me?  Is that what I look like when I am saying the rosary and swimming laps?  I LOOK LIKE A CRAZY MAN?!  I must.  It did help me a little get out of my blah mood, but I still refused to get in the pool.

Yesterday, no storm.  Because we couldn't go to the pool cause we had our first baseball practice.  UGH.  Summer really is over.  Today, no storm comin'.  I can predict that this early in the afternoon because I am working until 5 and then going to a baseball game.  Predicting rain for tomorrow.  Just cause...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Passionate about Quartos

Quarto - a published document.  Or a book.  I needed to find another way to say book.  Cause apparently, even though I have a disaster area for a house and tons to do, I am finding time to read.  Perhaps because Hero Daddy was gone last week and I chose book over TV (and over housework, organizing, getting ahead on stuff, getting caught up on stuff, etc).  And perhaps because I've been doing the drive to appointments thing, hanging out in waiting rooms, etc.  Nevertheless,  book reading I've been doing.

Hot Six by Janet Evanovich, is another installment in the Stephanie Plum series.  I think I have just 12 more to read to get caught up before needing Notorious Nineteen November nineteenth.  See what I did there?  The alliteration?  Unfortunately, I don't work for the publishing house or the book would be out on the nineteenth instead of the twentieth. 

However, Seven Up wasn't up next!  Debbie Macomber (I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned her, LOL) has a new novel out Inn at Rose Harbor.  Set in Cedar Cove like her Cedar Cove Series, we got to revisit some of our old friends.  But this is a new series, so they are no longer front and center.  Jo Marie Rose is the main character and she's someone I'd call friend.  Get on the list at the library or go buy it and try this one out.  It is Debbie at her best.

Happy Reading!

Monday, August 27, 2012

"You is Smart. You is Kind. You is Important."

That is a quote from The Help.  No, this doesn't mean I've finished the book.  I haven't even started it.  But when I read that line at the end of the post from Glennon over at Momastery today, I thought it was a great title for today's blog and this week's resolution:  Make a new friend.  Bring someone new into the fold.  I was in a resolution quandry, but when I read this: (which brought like 3000 new bloggers to Glennon) and this:  (cut down to below the pool picture for the part to which I am referring), I knew what I needed this week's resolution to be.

These messages to ME came after a weekend of friend reflection.  You see, we're having kid issues in my 'hood and it came to me in bits and pieces and I've been praying on it for a month.  My LRHB had a moment.  Not a proud moment.  But he's a small child still learning to navigate through the world.  Unfortunately, his size deceives his age and he's been raised with two older brothers that hold nothing back.  And after the moment, it sounds like perhaps this was an icing on the cake kinda moment for others that didn't tell me the cake was mixed, baked or cooled and ready for icing.  So I want to be supportive of my friends/neighbors and I want to teach my boy right from wrong.  But when does it stop being about learning and start being about labeling?  When does one incident get blown up so much that no one ever knocks on the door to ask him to play?  When did it happen that discipline morphed into punishment?  When did I stop putting my LRHB FIRST and others second? 

It stops today.  He comes first.  And new rules.  And MORE LOVE.  And more inclusiveness.  And MORE LOVE.  I learned that from Hero Daddy.  MORE LOVE.  FIRST.  Oh gosh, LOVE FIRST THEN CHANGE!
I am a work in progress.  Work with me.  Work with me. 


Friday, August 24, 2012

How my day got started...

I should have known I was going to be punished.  On Wednesday, another mom and I went to the pool for 3 hours.  In the middle of the day while our children were at school.  We swam laps, we had lunch and we caught up after a summer of hardly seeing each other.  There we were, poolside.  Of course some of the time it was raining, so I don't want you to think that it was picture perfect. 

Fast forward to this morning...  Hero Daddy returned from a business trip last night, disappointed to find out I had run out.  I had run out to get a fan for the bedroom because the one we'd been using all summer went back to school with College Boy.  So his passive-aggressive-I'm-tired-from-my-trip grown-up response to me not being home was to put his ipod on and go to bed and not take it off when I got home, like 30 seconds after he climbed into bed.  So his first words to me this morning were "where are some clean underwear?"  duh.  in that huge pile of clean laundry I didn't fold while you were gone (momentary pool guilt).  Here, honey.  5 minutes later, I am backing out of the driveway taking Teen Boy off to school when there he is... Hero Daddy waving something white at me... WHAT?  YOU NEED CLEAN SOCKS?  I'll get them for you when I get back.  Grrrrrrrrr.  So I am remembering while driving home that there were clean socks (granted, only one pair) in his drawer.  So when I got home (he's still in the shower so you can see what an urgent need the socks were), I looked in the drawer and they're not there.  So I say to him... there were clean socks in your drawer did you find them?  Oh yes, he found them and put them on and went to the gym in them.  You put clean socks on to go to the gym?  Really?  I mean I  do, but that's because I check and see that there are other socks for me to wear later.  REALLY?  I MEAN REALLY?!!!  I found him some damn socks.  As he is heading out the door, I ask him (AGAIN) to put the seat back in the van.  He asks me why I didn't do it with Teenboy.  See, I'd asked him to do it over the weekend, but he wanted Teenboy to do it and I said it will take the two of you.  So I say:  NO, I DIDN'T DO IT WITH TEEN BOY, I ASKED YOU TO DO IT WITH TEEN BOY BECAUSE IT IS HEAVY AND I DIDN'T WANT TO DO IT AT ALL SO NOW I AM ASKING YOU TO DO IT WITH ME BECAUSE I HAVE THE KIDS TODAY AND I HAVE PLACES TO GO AND THE ALTERNATIVE WILL BE YOU RUSHING HOME FROM WORK IN AN HOUR AFTER I TRY TO DO IT BY MYSELF AND FALL WITH IT ON TOP OF ME AND LRHB HAS TO CALL YOU TO COME HOME AND SAVE ME!  Seriously, I said that.  And after finding him underwear and socks, he halfway helped me get it the car.  Read that he carried it with me, but once thrusting it in the back, he left me to shift it here and there and lift and shift to get it in right cause our van is like 12 years old and has big heavy hard-to-maneuver seats.  Thanks.  Thankfully, off to work he went.

So, wait, it gets better.  The highlight of the morning came after feeding the angels (they are with me today and a couple days next week) and LRHB their breakfast, loading them up in the car that I now had to install the car seats into and heading to school for LRHB's assessment testing, which is why he is home today.   Sip, sip on the coffee that I haven't had time to drink but I'm okay with lukewarm coffee.  Especially since I grabbed a piece of chocolate on my way out of the house to have with my coffee.  The coffee doesn't quite taste right.  OHHHHH!  After 3, (that's right, 3) sips I figured out that I didn't put the cup with the coffee into my Keurig coffee maker when I thought I was making coffee and all I have is lukewarm water.  Brilliant.  I fear I am being punished for going to the pool with my girlfriend while my kids were in school.  Shoulda known.  Happy Friday.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Books vs. TV another round

It is a constant battle in my world... my passion for reading and my addiction to TV.  While the TV won for the 2+weeks of the Olympics from London, books won this week as I dumped another show from my DVR.  I had 4 episodes of Royal Pains waiting to be watched.  But the idea of watching them left me feeling blah blah blah.  So I dumped them and cancelled the DVR.  It was a good show, but I think that it was missing something this year... it seemed forced.  And while one might argue that I had been busy and that the Olympics did dominate my TV for two weeks, the other side of the coin is that I am completely up-to-date on Necessary Roughness, another of my summer shows.  Didn't miss an episode, Olympics be damned.  True also for Covert Affairs.  Thus, the cancellation.  Finished up the Glee Project and was quite pleased with the winner!  And I am almost done with the Closer... harder to keep up on that cause I watch it with Hero Daddy.  So for this week, books win, TV suffers a loss and life goes on. 

Book 40: Laugh until you Cry

Bloom by Kelle Hampton is a blog turned memoir about a woman giving birth to a Down Syndrome baby without prior preparation.  It is her pain, disappointment, grief, guilt, strength and growth.  There were parts that made me laugh.  There were certainly parts that made me sob.  I have reflected quite a bit over the last couple weeks while reading this book (remembering I took a break while gone because it was hard backed and I didn't take it on my trip) and I think that my response would have been quite a bit like Kelle's. 

I think that I would have had a wonderful support system, like she does.  I think that I would have had the same fears for the siblings that I think many parents have when given a special needs child.  I hope I would have found the same strength to persevere through the pain to the better side.  Some of the words were very powerful, and I included them in a previous blog and think that they apply to many painful situations.  This book was a great read.  Powerful. 

And I checked since I thought I was behind on my book a week goal.  I am still ahead!  Good thing since the coming months will be BAND CRAZY.

Touring Colleges...

I am loathe to call my trip to California a vacation, but I guess when one spends an entire day with her life-long best friend doing absolutely nothing but enjoying each other AND one reads a fun book, a vacation has been had.  Plus spending time with my mommy and daddy which always refuels my spirit!

However, we were also on a mission:  5 colleges in 6 days.  Fortunately, my daddy took Teen Boy to two of them.  Unfortunately, because of that I have learned very little about them except that Stanford went from I'll stop because I'm in the area to TOP CHOICE.

We all ventured to California Institute of Technology together.  They do know how to put on a program... first up, a lecture with some of the people that are responsible for putting Curiosity on Mars.  To be honest, whoop de doop, we went to Mars again.  What did we learn the last time?  I don't even know.  BUT after attending this lecture (which sounds more boring and less interactive than it really was), I'm like WE LANDED ON MARS AGAIN!  HOW COOL IS THAT!  And I'm that excited even though I didn't answer any questions correctly and get candy thrown at me.  These geeks were totally knowledgeable AND personable!  The presentation (better word) was followed by a tour of campus.  Yes, somehow we got into a group with a young woman that repeated herself often, took us on a short cut that led us down dumpster alley and failed to finish on time.  (But I did get to see the turtles in turtle pond.  Cause that's what is going to sell me on a campus.)  Daddy and I left early because I didn't want to miss the financial aid session and you could tell when our group finally finished because into the room came a bunch of folks I recognized like 10 minutes late.  The boys ventured off to a session that was about research.  I think.  It occurs to me now that they never said anything about it.  The thing CAL TECH did best though was PROVIDE WATER!  It was like 85 degrees by 9 in the morning and they had buckets of ice and bottles of water at each presentation location.  THANK YOU!  Yes, that is the kind of thing that makes a mom/grandmom/granddad support a school.  Green?  No.  Good PR?  YES.  We had a bonus appointment scheduled with last year's women's swim team captain who told us all about the swim program and allowed Teen Boy to swim in their pool.  The best part about it, is I learned at the financial aid session that if we are working with a Coach on campus, it is like getting a BONUS letter of recommendation.  A leg up, if you will.  We'll take it!

After a couple days of break for Mom and me, we were off to USC (for those of you that have forgotten, we're in California, so this would be the University of California, not South Carolina) for an afternoon of sessions and tours.  Less impressive for the grown-ups, but I watched it move up the list for Teen Boy.  So here's the breakdown not in any particular order: 
  1. The Admissions Office must get the profits from the drink machines located 60 minutes into a 90 minute walking tour because I was never so happy to swipe my credit card for overpriced drinks in my LIFE!  Come ON people!  90 minute walking tour should be condensed... your campus isn't that big and some of the generic stuff could be said with a 10 minute slide show!  BUT if you are convinced that a 90 minute walking tour is essential to convincing prospective students to come, SUPPLY THEM WITH WATER WHEN IT IS 90+ degrees! 
  2. If you are going to talk about your very cool off site laboratory on Catalina Island, know where it is!  It is not 5 miles from campus (as explained by our tour guide although in theory he could have been meaning the boat to get there is about 5 miles from campus which is also incorrect.)  Nor is it 50 miles off shore, as we were informed by the admissions counselor in the Admissions Session.  As my mother sang over and over in my ear, it is "26 miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is a-waitin for me".  It doesn't exactly make you feel good that this is the person deciding if you get to come to USC.  Know your information.
  3. Having a session breakout by college was a great idea.  The engineering folks were great at making a large campus have a small feel, which is just what my boy is looking for.  Kudos to them!
Our final tour was of Harvey Mudd way out on the east side of LA.  Pretty little town, Pomona, as you drive in.  And it is part of the Claremont Schools which are 7 different colleges that are kind of rolled together into one.  Honestly, I thought the dead bird in the middle of the sidewalk with the thousands of ants parading to and from was gross, but the guys rolled on by it with hardly a glance.  I thought the old sofas and chairs sitting outside one of the dorms in their courtyard area was super icky, but the guys convinced me that they were getting rid of them.  And I thought it was unfair that no one would make time for the extra boy that we brought with us from COLORADO especially since we arrived an hour early.  But again, I was silenced.  So the one on one interview went really great and since the admissions girl (and I am calling her a girl on purpose because she presented herself as such and not as a grown up that enters the room, introduces herself to the adults and then speaks with the students) is friends with the only person we've known to go there, Teen Boy is sure to be remembered.  But unfortunately, after the tour, Teen Boy and his friend both decided that this school was a dump (nope, not getting rid of the gross old furniture and you too could live there!).  Yes, it is old, but so are the other schools we've seen.  The guys didn't even want to drive around and look at the other Claremont schools... they were one-tracked minded on lunch.  So apparently I was right although no one ever fessed up to that.  Perhaps, if we'd gotten to see the robots in action in the robot lab (and if we didn't hear the girl say she'd be better prepared for the afternoon tour) or perhaps if the old icky furniture that was outdoors was going in the garbage, they would have felt differently. 

I did college tours with College Boy, but only 3.  The first was to get our feet wet as he knew he didn't want to go there, but it was convenient to do a tour and for me to learn how college has changed in 20 plus years.  The second he fell in love with.  The third he fell more in love with until he broke up with his potential major and then he went back to #2.  And that is where he is.  Happy.

This was a whole new ball game.  And Teen Boy has been like this from the start, so why would I expect anything else.  This fall is going to be a wild ride of college applications... wish us luck!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


It is simple... talk to my children about risky behaviors.  Yes, it is an ongoing conversation, but this is a week of remembering a tragedy and a good time to make sure that you continue to educate yourself and your children about risky behaviors... drinking, drugs, sex, the "choking game".


This week is the anniversary of a tragic accident that happened to the son of a friend of mine. It is a week because we waited and waited for him to come back to us. Then his parents did a brave thing and donated his organs, something he would have supported wholeheartedly... that's the kind of selfless kid he was.  At his Memorial, it was crowded; he was well-liked and well-loved.  He swam on the team with my boys and we had a HUGE turn out of swimmers, from the young ones that swim with his sister to a large contingency of our Senior squad.  It was amazing to see my sons and their friends and their support of this young man's family.  It was amazing to see them grieve, openly.  It was devastating for my youngest, but an ugly fact of life.  Death.  To honor this young man, I want to publish a piece from his mother's website to educate you...
"I personally used to think that risky behavior was only common among children who are not raised in stable families, who make poor choices in their lives and have bad grades. I have since discovered that this particular activity is trending among a different group of children.
These children are like our son Luca. They are smart, reasonable, athletic, and well rounded socially with good grades. They are the students who don't want to smoke, drink alcohol, or steal prescription drugs from their parents. Many of these children are athletes who respect their body and would never take the risk of inhaling smoke or take pills to get a high. However, many children believe that the "Choking Game" is simply a cool new game that is fun, harmless and without risk. These children are wrong and we need to make sure to let them know." is a website you can visit to learn more about speaking with your children, grandchildren neighbor children or whomever about the deadly "Choking Game".  Please help us spread the word and prevent senseless deaths.  Please help us bring good out of an awful sadness by educating yourself and speaking with your children. "Our mission is to save lives, so no one has to experience the worst thing in the world....... the loss of their child."


Remember the days when August meant summer and September meant school?  Not so much where we live.  See, I have it all figured out, we should get out at Memorial Day (which I LOVE) and return after Labor Day.  See what I did there... I extended my summer.  I know MANY teachers who would be down with my plan!

I have so much to say, but my brain is bouncing in a MILLION directions.  So I think I am going with bullet points...
  • College boy now back at school doing RA training.  That was an all day project yesterday after sending LRHB back to school.  Hero Daddy came with us which was AWESOME cause he had great ideas for shopping and furniture for the room and was AMAZING at putting furniture together.  YAHOO for Hero Daddy!  College boy is well rested from our vacation as he didn't have much to do but nap, nap, nap and he started studying for the MCAT.
  • Teen Boy is in such a GREAT place now!  He is starting his senior year and is quite the leader in the band!  He's happy which makes me so, so happy.  Let's see if we can keep the spirits UP!  He saw 5 schools in 6 days on a college tour vacation.  Some top choices fell.  The TOP school he wants to attend, he saw because it was CONVENIENT.  Others are still good options so now we'll start the application process.
  • I am meeting LOTS and LOTS of new people which is SO exciting as they are willing to start taking projects OFF of my hands!  Since I'm up to my eyeballs in projects, this is a good thing.  Thanks to all of the new volunteers with the band and the parent-teacher group I might survive this year!
  • LRHB has been horribly neglected.  He went off to school without looking back, but College Boy (who walked with us) said he gave him a big hug.  Having missed the Back-to-School social, he was busy trying to figure out where his friends were and who was in his class.  Then Teen Boy picked him up from school and Hero Daddy played baseball with him, oversaw homework and put him to bed.  I was sad to not get to hear all the details, but knew we'd have time in the morning cause he ALWAYS is up at 7am.  Not today.  7 came and went.  So did 7:30, 8 and 8:30.  I had a meeting at 9 so had to wake him (yes, he was late to school on the second day... shoot me I'm a bad mom).  So I am hoping that this afternoon we'll have some time.  Right after tennis.  Before my Ladies Night Out.  May have to skip the LNO.
  • The house is a disaster!  A gazillion loads of laundry are taking over my laundry room and the dishes need to be done and the dishwasher run and clean dishes that are piled on the counter need to be put away and more laundry needs to be done and the suitcases need to be put away and I have a bunch of emails to send.  But instead, I am here chatting with you.  That really needs to come to an end.

Book Update

I am back into my Janet Evanovich books.  I only read ONE book on vacation!  Hard to believe.  I napped. Alot.  And played games.  And toured colleges.  It was a working vacation!  And although I am well into Bloom, it is hardback and that was NOT going with me on vacation!  So I read High Five.  I took Hot Six, but didn't finish High Five until we were nearly home on the plane.  I think this now means I am behind on one book a week, but I am pretty sure that wasn't a resolution.  And if it was, I am pretty sure I can get caught back up.  I guess the only other thing to add was that I just love that Stephanie Plum series and I cannot WAIT to start the next one!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I am so very sorry I've been absent!  Many things going on!  Very exciting things!  And mundane things.  And Circle of Life things!

Resolve to (31):  Prepare yourself and your family for a new school year.  Need a new calendar?  Get IT!  Shoes? check.  Clothes?  sorta check.  To reorganize school stuff?  yes I need to.  Develop a plan and system?  not yet.

I send my three back this week.  SUCH A SAD TIME FOR ME!  And a happy time for them.  I know, I am supposed to GROW them UP and OUT.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  So I will go put on my HAPPY FACE!  Fix breakfasts and lunches and take pictures!  And try to get you caught up here over the next few days. 

Resolve to (32):  Our school year motto (thanks Aimee) is going to be "Jesus, I trust YOU!"  We've never had a school year motto, but I thought in this 52 week journey about change, WHY NOT!  So while driving College Boy back today, we'll chat about it.  And I have time with Teen Boy later in the week.  And LRHB and I will snuggle up tonight and chat about it.  School year motto...Jesus, I trust YOU!  I trust you to guide CB through this tough year of MCAT prep and classes.  I trust you to help TB discern which college will be the best option for him.  I trust you to help LRHB be a strong leader (as it seems to be what he has strength in) that leads with kindness and gentleness.  I trust you to get me through.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Heartbreaking News

I got heartbreaking news this week.  It involves someone I love very much.  Actually, 2 someones that I love that are now getting a divorce.  So for the one of them that I have loved their entire life, I will help to pick up the pieces.  But the other I viewed as a soul sister... her words.  Her words, she "has a deep sense of love".  Until she doesn't.  I am angry!  I am hurt!  I am so frustrated that I cannot fix this!  That they cannot fix this!  I get that you cannot live in another's marriage... I do.  But I there are things here that I just do not understand.  And probably never will.  Because I do not think that they understand.  I know one of them doesn't.  That one was just issued an ULTIMATUM.  How do we go on?  I guess we'll figure it out along the way.  One day at a time. 

I've been reading Bloom by Kelle Hampton.  Pretty sure that I discovered her via Momastery and Glennon.  It is a great read, but I'm not done and I'm not logging it.  I was struck by the following words and I am hoping they will help us all heal: 
"You know, through pain, you learn a lot about yourself - things you though you never knew you wanted to learn.  And it's kind of like those animals that regrow a part of their body - like starfish.  You might not feel it now. You might not even want to grow, but you will.  You'll grow the part that broke off, and that growing, that blooming - cannot happen without the pain.  ...Life is like a choose-your-own-adventure book. I thought I'd be on page 68 today but look... I'm not.  And you'd thought you'd be at page 71 today but you're on page 49 instead.  And it's a whole different ending than you thought it would be, but you get to take it from here.  It will still end well - you'll just take a little bit of a different route."
"So many people fear hard times, they go through their life soley seeking comfort and avoiding personal growth at all costs because it hurts.  But I promise you, (name).  I promise - if you can find a part of you to believe me and trust what I'm saying - you will be happier than you've ever been.  There will come a day when you believe everything that I am saying from the deepest part of your soul, and it will be real and true.  That's growth."
 "I want you to picture some hypothetical person in your mind - someone who handled" divorce "exactly how you wish you could.  Now go and be that person.  Rock this out, (name).  Rock it out and show the world another way.  Imagine a light switch in your brain - a switch that shifts your paradigm.  Put on different glasses, discard the old ones, and flip the switch, (name).  Because life is all about how you look at it."
These are the words that SCREAMED from the pages at me in a book I stumbled across completely accidentally, but not at all on accident.  God put Glennon in my life, she steered me to the book by Kelle about a subject that I never would have read except for an angel named Lucy.  And I am bringing these words to my someones I love very much and trying, oh I am really, really trying, to put them to use in my heart. But I hope that they help the someone I've loved his whole life and his babies the most of all.