Tuesday, February 24, 2009

High School Golf Tournament

Ben recently joined the high school junior varsity golf team. He is in 9th grade at the junior high, but because it is technically high school, he still has the opportunity to try out with the high school team. He goes almost every day after school, with his new friend Sam, to a country club in Fort Worth and gets free practice and lessons. It is something he has needed and has been looking forward to for so long.

At 3, he picked up a club out of a set that Michael had gotten from a friend so they were small, and hit it like a champ. It sounds crazy, but he has had a swing since this very young age. When his dad would take him to play golf, people would stop them and ask how old he was, always commenting on what a great swing he has. He has had a huge desire to play for a long time. Money has always been an issue because it is very expensive to have golf lessons. This has just been a long time coming.

Yesterday, while all of the other kids were sleeping in (me included) he went up to the country club at 6:45am and tee'd off at 7:15am for his first ever golf tournament. He was so excited about it that I took him out this weekend and bought him a new outfit. Luckily Kohl's was having a sale and I found a golf jacket on clearance that will last him a couple of years, unless he grows a lot before next season, which, the way he has been growing, is highly likely.

I talked to his dad about noon to find out if he was still up there and where it was exactly. He told me that Ben wasn't playing his best and was getting frustrated. That works for football or basketball, but with golf you really have to channel your frustration and not let it get away with you because it will always hurt you and never helps. When I got there they were almost done so I waited in the car for them to get back to the clubhouse.

He was excited to see me and pretty proud of the outcome of his game. Since it was his first tournament and his first time playing this course, he was happy with his 103. I was too, of course, because he is my son and I am always proud of him. His friend Sam is a great influence for him. He seems really grounded, which is really good for Ben. He is hard on himself and it takes a lot for him to clam down and understand it's a game and it's about learning more than it's about winning. He isn't making any money right now, so learning what he can will help him get on the varsity team next year. I just hope there isn't a conflict with band in the spring. I don't think there will be, but we are checking on that.
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Monday, February 23, 2009

MY Mental Health Day

The kids were out of school today for teacher inservice. It wasn't on President's Day, probably, because the high school just finished their trimester, so that wouldn't have worked out for them. I decided to take my floating holiday today instead of using it when I usually do - December 26. That is the day the kids are exchanged for Christmas. This year that day falls on a Saturday so I decided to take it early. Plus. if Hilton decides to eliminate my position, I won't lose that day.

I slept until 11:15, which was wonderful. I haven't slept that late in quite a while, except the one Sunday I was sick and that wasn't enjoyable. After I got up, I made Jonathan and I some oatmeal from a mix we got at church yesterday. The kid's church was passing them out and we ended up with two. It was really good. Then I put on a baseball cap and headed out to find Ben. He played in a golf tournament with the high school today. (I will be posting about this next.) It was his first one and I wanted to go pick him up since I had the day off. It was a perfect opportunity to do what I like to do and be there for my kids.

It is an absolute beautiful day here today. The sun is out and the wind is blowing, which is a nice combination if the wind isn't blowing TOO hard. Michael has gone to spend the day with Ashleigh - no surprise there. Alyssa is here with me and Jonathan and Ben went to his golf friend's house to spend the afternoon resting. So far the day has been wonderful. I am just not going to let myself get stressed.
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Sunday, February 22, 2009

LD Bell High School Jazz Showcase 2009

Michael took Jazz Band this last tri and his "final", along with the rest of the class, was Friday night. I think it has to be the most enjoyable concert I have been to in all my years of school concerts. The music was amazing and the kids in that band are so incredibly talented that it was just truly fun to listen to them play.

Song List
Satin Doll...........Duke Ellington
Chameleon............Herbie Hancock (video)
In Her Family........Pat Metheny
In The Mood..........Joe Garland

I was so excited for Michael because he wanted to take this class last year but couldn't fit it into his schedule. He is the trumpet player in the back on the right of the picture at the top (Thanks to his Grandy for providing the picture). He is such a talented musician, as are his sister, Alyssa, and brother, Benjamin. Jonathan is starting to have a true love of music himself - finally! We all truly enjoyed the concert. I was taking a class at church this weekend, so that night I had to meet at church, leave and rush up to the school for the concert and then get back to church to finish the class. It was definitely worth it.

I wish I had videoed more than one song, but I haven't videoed much with my camera, so I wasn't sure what to do.
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Friday, February 20, 2009

Remember the Monkey

This is a picture of a $5 wind-up clapping/walking monkey that my son just HAD to have from the local bookstore. We were in there a few weeks ago getting come books for his brothers for school. At the check out, they have all these stupid little gadgets that make small children go "OOOh I want that!" At first I thought, "Oh that's cute. How much does it cost?" When I turned it over and saw the $5 price tag, I said, "No way." Even though he had birthday money, I just felt it was my duty as is parent to not allow him to buy something so fragile and expensive. I assured him that he would get it home and forget about it almost immediately, the dogs would chew it up and he would be sad. His money would be better spent on something else.

As children are, he was persistent in asking about the monkey. A few days later I gave in and told him that is his Nana would drive him back to the store, he could get it, but he would be sorry he wasted his money (just had to get that in there!!!!)When he came back with the monkey, he immediately found that it wouldn't clap and walk when he wound it up. Not saying I was right, I just grunted. A few days ago, I went up in the boy's room to do a small bit of cleaning and guess what I found under the desk? The little monkey. Completely forgotten about.

This reminded me of all the things my kids just HAD to have throughout the years, ok probably me too, that, once they are in your hand, you play with for a little bit and then you completely forget about them. I want to use this moneky to remind me to look at things more closely. Do I have to have it? Can I live without it? Is there an alternative to what it is I think I have to have? The older kids don't tend to make impulse buys so much anymore, but Jonathan does. He's just at that age. I do my best to temper his spending when it comes to gift money.

I will just tell him "Remeber the Monkey?"

Thank you Andy for suggesting this as a blog.
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Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Baby is 18 years old Today

How did this happen? How is it that I became a mom 18 years ago today and my baby, my sweet little baby boy, is a grown man? Just typing this makes me want to cry.

I wanted to be a mom since I was a little girl - 5 years old probably. All I ever thought about was being a mom. And I wanted a boy first. I only had brothers so I felt like I knew how to deal with boys. I have always had a hard time with girls in general. So, about a year plus a couple of months after I got married, I became pregnant with my first child. I was so excited and careful that I quit drinking sodas in general. (I didn't do this with the other ones.) I chose a doctor that my friend recommended. Dr. Don Smith in Fort Worth.

The pregnancy was pretty uneventful, until the last few months. Long story short - I got toximia and Michael ended up being born on February 19 instead of the original due date of March 10, 1991. He was born C-section because they couldn't force labor. He was 6lbs 4ozs. and 18 inches long. That was big for a premi-baby. He was such a sweet baby. I think he was so easy because I was so sure about my motherhood. I felt completely relaxed around him. When he was 8 weeks old, we let him cry himself back to sleep. It took 3-4 nights, but after that he slept through the night unless he was sick.

I remember when he was about 7 years old, I thought to myself, where is the book that talkes about "What to Expect with your 7 year old". For whatever reason, he was just a litte more difficult during that time. He has proven to be a good big brother to his sister and brother's and makes me proud with all of his accomplishments. High school has been extremely helpful for him - made him want to do better in his academics (I credit this to band) and shown him the things that he is really good at.

I am very proud of all of my kids. They each have a special place in my heart. Please don't get the impression that I love one more than the other. They are all different individuals and I love them all the same. Watching them grow into adults and seeing what great people they are is just such an amazing process.
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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Who Thought Up Valentine's Day Anyway?

(I'm Viola)

Don't answer the question, I really don't care. I have always NOT liked the holiday. As in my last post, I have never been showered with gifts on February 14, yet I would put expectations on whoever I was dating at the time to take my breath away with something wonderful. Other than elementary school, I remember one Valentine's Day when I was dating my ex-husband. I had planned ahead and gotten him something for Valentine's Day. I thought for sure he would bring me something wonderful so I had my gift all set up at my apartment for him when he walked in. What did he get me? Nothing. He completely forgot. I was completely crushed. Yes, I had also completely set myself up for the fall and didn't take it well at all. All in all, I believe the night ended fine, but I have not been a big fan of the holiday.

Are we trained as little girls that this is some magical holiday? I wish they didn't even celebrate it at school, but they do. Why is this one day a year set aside for love? Shouldn't we love our significant other/friends and family all the year long? I have watched my oldest son go to large measure to please his girlfriend on Valentine's Day. I wondered with the last girlfriend if he ever measured up. This one I am pretty sure will be happy with whatever he does. She is a very grounded girl who seems to just love my son in all his loveliness. What bothers me the most is all the commercials and media junk about what you, as a woman, should expect from your partner on this one special day of the year. It feeds wrong ideas into girls AND boys heads alike and it really makes me sick for my own children.

I spent this Valentine's Day working at my very very part time second job and have come home to a glass of wine and a good book. I like being alone, honestly. It does get lonely at certain times, but I can usually get over it pretty quickly and get my mind on other things. And please don't think I am just jealous of the women who are showered with roses and jewelry. I am not a jewelry person and flowers die. Love me all year long. That would make me happier than anything in the world. To make the day that much more "special" I am reading the book "The Truth About Cheating" just to get me in the spirit. It's actually really good. If I am ever to get remarried, I just want to know that what I think in my head is on par for what the experts say.

So - Happy V-Day to you all.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Valentine's Day Memories

I still have one child that is in elementary school and has to go through the whole decorated Valentine's bag and cards. His question to me last night as he was addressing his Spiderman cards was, "Do I have to give one to everyone? Even those people I don't like?" My Answer, "Yes honey, even the ones you don't like. Everyone needs a Valentine's card from everyone in your class." This brought back so many memories of my own elementary Valentine's Days.

I wasn't a popular kid in elementary. I was chunky and had large glasses. I hadn't hit the pretty stage until the summer. 7th grade was much better - actually junior high and high school were good. Elementary school was like a popularity contest gone very bad for me. I had friends and yes some of them were considered popular. They were my friends because of where I lived. It was luck, pure luck. I do remember, though,in probably 5th and 6th grade mostly, but we would decorate our bags in class and then hang them up under the chalkboard at the front of the classroom. On Valentine's Day, or the day we had our party, they would have groups of kids go up front and deliver their cards to their friends. Maybe back then it wasn't as politically correct as it is now, but I don't think you necessarily were encouraged to give a card to everyone no matter what the friendship status. I remember the popular kids giving each other large candy boxes and "extras" with their cards. If I got something, it was usually just the basic card. I was always jealous. (I will continue this story on Valentine's Day. I know you can't wait!)

For some reason, now we have to decorate the bags at home. I hate this because 1.) I don't usually have lots of crafty stuff around the house and 2.) It's just a pain. So I am at the grocery store last night just looking for glitter or stickers or something to decorate this bag with. What I find is candy hearts for a cake. There were also window clings, which I could have made work. I asked Alyssa what she thought. She picked the candy hearts. I figure he's a boy, he isn't going to want to go super cute or anything so this should work out just fine.

The hearts remind me of the time, shortly after my parents divorced, that my dad was having a birthday. I want to say it was his 60th but I don't know for sure. I wanted to do something special for him. His mom passed away shortly before he turned 9 and I thought he probably never really had a good birthday or a special cake and if he had, it was before she was gone. So, I made him a cake and bought one of those candy things like the hearts except for birthdays. I think it had a clown on it and I spelled out his name. Anyway, I just remember wanting to make his day special. I hope it did. I don't even know if he remembers that day.

Jonathan and his sister finished the bag in a very quick manner. They ate more of the hearts than they glued onto the bag. She likes cemetric but he had other plans and reasons for where the hearts went. As soon as I got it in my room to put in his bag, the cat started trying to eat the candies. I hope it made it to school in one piece!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Marching - Gone but not Forgotten

I was finally able to order some marching pictures from this years competitions. I received them in the mail yesterday. It sorta made what I was going through just a little better. I love looking at my kids. These were taken at BOA San Antonio and BOA Grand Nationals this past season. The top two are Alyssa and the bottom two are Michael. They have professional photographers that go around on the field while the bands march and then post them on a website for you to purchase. I won't say how much they cost, but I will tell you, it's more than I would spend if it weren't pictures of my kids. I have more pictures coming from the band yearbook photographers.

I know it's short today. I don't have a lot to talk about right now. More stuff is coming up this month though, so just you wait!
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Monday, February 9, 2009

What a World, What a World!

WARNING! This isn't going to be a necessarily happy and fun blog (hence the name)

There I am, the wicked witch melting away as my four sweet children stand by wondering "What the...." That was pretty much how my weekend went. I stayed home from work on Friday because I had been fighting a cold for a week or more and decided Thursday night that I had probably fought it all I could. I went to bed early to get as much sleep as possible and see if it would help. It didn't. I woke up Friday morning, got the kids off to school and went back to bed for a while.

Sometimes I am just done with the junk in my life. Sometimes I'm not and decide not to deal with it. I am facing one personal issue that I am not going to tell about on here. It's private, but it has been affecting me and I am dealing with it. The other thing, well, it's not something that no one else in the world has dealt with, but it's personal, too. I am going to start a bit of "counseling" with a lady at church to see if I can get past a huge issue of mine since childhood. (I use quotes because she's not a licensed counselor, more of a spiritual leader). Sometimes you just have to realize that certain things about your life will never change. It's always easier to grieve when it's a person that has passed away. It's harder when it's something that may never die.

As a result of all my wooes, my children saw me cry quite a bit this weekend. I don't usually do that around them, or I at least try not to. There was a lot of that in the beginning of my divorce and I think that was enough for them. Although, I do think kids need to see the human side of their parents. This wasn't something I could really talk to them about so it was just a lot of "I'm fine" and "I sometimes just need a good cry". I felt like I was just melting away screaming "What a World! What a World" inside.

Then Sunday night, as I was getting ready to go to my evening class at church, I get a call from my daughter. The call - again very personal - completely caught me off guard and wasn't anything a parenting book can help you prepare for. I have great kids. I could say they are good, but honestly they are great. Do they make mistakes? Oh, don't we all. But the bottom line is they are great kids. They are smart and talented and try very hard at whatever it is they are doing. At times like this, I am shown that I honestly believe I was cut out to be a parent, a good parent of teenagers. I believe that I went through all the crap in my life to be the kind of parent that I have proven to be in very tough situations. I am stronger than I thought I was and stronger than a lot of other people think they are.

Before you start jumping to conclusions - she's not pregnant. Not even close. But she is my daughter and I am very proud of her, no matter what the circumstances. I have an opportunity here to show her complete unconditional love that I wasn't shown as a teenager. I have the opportunity to change the course of her future in a major way. I just pray that God mends the broken road forever so that my children don't have to go through all of the emotional crap that I have had to go through.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New Driver

When Michael was born, I was 23 years old. When Alyssa was born, I was 25 years old. When Benjamin was born, I was 26 years old. At the time, all I could think of was diapers, bottles, naps and potty training. I remember when I was pregnant with Ben, I was hoping for a boy for many reasons, but mainly because when she turned 16, I didn't want her little sister complaining that she had to ride with her older sister everywhere. All I could picture was two girls fighting all the time. That was my image of having a sister. I am sure there are good points, but I never had one so I don't know.

I didn't think about future costs for things like school, band and driving, mainly because I couldn't see that far into the future. There was never the thought of how would I provide a car for these kids. It never REALLY dawned on me that they would be driving almost simultaneously. I mean, I think I thought about it but it wasn't something I took into consideration. Come to think of it, I didn't take conception into consideration, it just happened. I think now about this woman in California who just gave birth to eight (yes 8) babies. She has six other children, all conceived through invetro and all under the age of 8, I believe. And she is single and only 33. Wow, I thought I had it tough.

So, right now I have an almost 18 year old who is without a car, but that will be solved soon. Then there is my daughter who is literally counting the days until her 16th birthday. Yesterday, in the mail, I received a letter from the junior high with information for Benjamin to get registered for driver's ed that will start in March. He won't even be 15 until May 27th, but they start the after school classes in March. That will last a week. Then he will do the classroom/driving classes in June. That will be the whole month and he will get his driver's permit then too. I have been taking him out to the high school parking lot or stadium parking lot to drive around and get a little used to it before he starts driving for school. He has driven golf carts quite a bit so he is actually pretty good and confident.

When I text him yesterday to tell him what I received in the mail, I think he thought he needed to turn it in immediately or he would never EVER drive. He wanted me to bring it to him right away so he can turn it into the school and start class. I am going to take it today along with a copy of all the information. I mentioned it to Michael and Alyssa last night and Michael's reaction - "Another one? That's too many drivers!" Really? Yeah, I didn't think about that until just now.

PS - Just so he doesn't feel left out, I was 31 when Jonathan was born. He won't be driving for another 5 years.
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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Water, Water, Everywhere

When I first moved to this duplex, I had a few problems with my toilet, but that was a long time ago. Friday night, I flushed the toilet and noticed, as I walked away, that it sounded very strange. As I am turning around to check things out, I see it's going to overflow so I grab the plunger. That didn't work very well either. As I often do with these type of issues, I wait it out until morning and use the half bath in the hall. The next morning everything seems to working just fine so I don't think anything else about.

We go about our Saturday, shopping and running around. Alyssa and I go to Sam Moon which is in South Dallas, not close to the house. As I am on my way there, Michael texts me that my toilet overflowed. I tell him not to use it that I will deal with it when I get home. About 10 minutes later, Jonathan calls me to tell me that there is a lot of water in the den by the fireplace. I am trying to picture what is going on and getting irritated. I call my mom to ask her to go see what's going on. The story she's telling me is nothing that computes in my head and I am starting to think they just lost it and are imagining things. They tell me that there is water all over the floor at the front of the house, but my toilet overflowed in the back of the house. There isn't a waterline from the back to the front. Where is the water coming from?

As I walk in the door I see my mom with a shammy type mop trying to mop up this huge mass of water that is about a half inch deep and 2-3 feet wide right in front of my fireplace and front window. I am completely confused as to where this water is coming from. Towels are not helping. Mopping it up seems completely useless. I am just super glad I don't have carpet right now and probably never will again. Cement floors are good, very good. I come to realize that the half bath toilet has again overflowed and was the source of the mass of water in my den.

Mom is on the phone with the insurance guy who is pretty much clueless as to what to do and doesn't know a good plumber to call. Turns out she was having the same problem with the toilet in her room. It was not acting right either. Mom ends up calling her friend Wanda. Michael and Ben go to their dad's house to get a wet/dry vac and what do I do? I open a bottle of wine. If anything, it will calm me down and help me not to freak out. After a while, when the water seems to just not stop, Eddie turns off the water on both sides of the duplex. Alyssa goes to spend the night with a friend and I send Ben and Jonathan to their dad's. I just text him to let him know that I need him to keep them, probably not the best idea but we had tried to call and he wasn't answering and Ben felt sure he would be fine with it.

I thought I would get a hotel room close to home but decided that I could stick it out on my own if the kids had somewhere to use the bathroom and take showers. Michael was told to either come home or go to his dad's when he got done with his date, so they were all covered. Not too long after the kids left, the ex-husband calls to ask what's going on. He doesn't want to seem like an ass, but apparently he was getting ready for a big Super Bowl party at his house the next day and had it all torn apart, repainting and stuff and wasn't cool with the kids being there. I understood, after all, it wasn't like I really asked. They just showed up. So he agreed to get them cleaned up and everything and then they could come back and spend the night with me.

He asked me to tell him exactly what the problem was and as I was talking, he said to check the spetic drain outside. It's in our driveway - this big open hole in the ground on the side of the driveway. Anything could fall down there (or be dropped as I would find out later). He suggested that Eddie go to Home Depot to get a snake and that would most likely solve the problem. Not wanting to spend the money for a plumber to come out on a Sunday, I sent Eddie to the store. Before he left, he decided to look down the hole and see if there was something stuck down there. Sure enough, there was a stick in the hole. He stuck his entire arm down there until he was able to get the stick and pull it out. At that point, he heard water rushing from both sides of the house, solving all of the plumbing problems.

Cost of a plumber on a Sunday morning; $250
Finding a stick in the sewer outlet: priceless - a little stressful, but priceless
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