Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's All About Accomplishments With Us Lately

Band try-outs for 2010-2011 were a week ago. Ben has set very high standards for himself and I will admit, I used to get a little worried about his expectations. Last year he insisted that he make first band or he would not be happy. Knowing the competition and what it would take to make first band with Bell, I was hesitant, even though he is very good at his instrument. He did not disappoint. He made 3rd chair first band, beating out all juniors and three seniors for that spot. He was one of only five sophomores to even make the first band.

This year, knowing all of the seniors would be gone, he just HAD to make first chair. After all, he went to All State this year. He is really good. This year, I knew he could do it. And - he did. My son, a junior, made first chair, first band with L.D. Bell. I wanted to take him to dinner or something but he had been asked to go to the choir banquet, so there was not going to be dinner. We did go get him some music on Saturday. He wants to go ahead and get a head start on the All State music, although I am not sure he knows exactly which one it is, he does know the book it will come out of.

As I always do, I made an announcement about this on my Facebook and immediately got a message from a friend of mine from high school. Her son is going into the 6th grade next year and in their school district they start band in middle school. He is going to be playing the trombone and she asked if Ben would be interested in teaching her son a little bit about the horn before school starts. My first reaction was that he should learn along with all of the other kids just like Michael and Alyssa did. We were told not to let the kids touch their instrument over the summer or they would get bored in class when school started. Ben, however, had the trombone that I learned with and immediately picked it up and started learning to play by ear before he started 7th grade and look at him now.

He was more than eager to say that he would definitely like to teach and began to spout to me about what all he needed and what he wanted to do to help this boy get started. He definitely has the teach gene.

Congratulations Ben! I am very proud of you!!
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Family Pet and Mother's Day

So, I am going to admit right up front, this is being written after the actual date. I had started writing this and then lost the whole thing. Along with everything else going on with me, I just go so defeated that I couldn't go back and rewrite it - until now. I have been given a slight hint that I need to blog, so here I go.

The above picture is our family pet, Little Buster. He is technically Jonathan's fish that he purchased with his birthday money back in January. He was going to get two gold fish and somehow his sister talked him into getting a Beta fish. I let Jonathan keep the fish in his room for about two weeks. It only took a few days before, as he had the fish bowl on the floor while he was playing with his Lego's, he knocked the bowl over and poor LB was on the floor. Then, before too long, I found the poor fish inside a cabinet, a dark cabinet, because his bowl was in the way of his Lego army war. I had to intervene. He now resides on the kitchen counter where I feed him every day and every night - unless I gently remind Jonathan to feed the fish.

On another note, I had a really great Mother's Day. There wasn't a whole lot going on, just church in the morning and a quick run through Taco Bueno because I wanted to get home, while I had all the kids in my possession, and have them do the laundry for me. I have to admit that I do all the laundry. It's an obsession of mine and because we don't have a working washing machine, we take everything to the apartment laundry room and get it all done at once. I am a bit OCD about folding and putting away, but on this day I let them do everything - except my clothes, of course. Michael informed me that he had been asked to be the guitar player in a christian heavy metal band called Mouth of the South. This means he will be traveling to Illinois this summer as they are going on tour for a little bit. Alyssa gave me a few great things from Bath and Body Works and Jonathan gave me a card he made at school. Later that day, Ben handed me a hand written note telling me what a great mom I was, which made me cry.

Things aren't always easy around my house, but every now and then I do feel more appreciated than I ever thought I could.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

National Honor Society Induction

Last night was believed to have been a first in our house. My beautiful daughter, Alyssa, was inducted into the National Honor Society. It was truly such a proud moment for me as her mother. My parents were all there along with the rest of the kids and her dad's side of the family. I couldn't help but tear up a little when the Keynote speaker, Mr. Wooley, Teacher of the Year, acknowledged the parents of the kids that were there. I can honestly say that Alyssa is very independent and works by herself on her projects. I don't remember that she has asked for my help on anything after elementary school. She makes excellent grades and gets her work turned in on time.

As far as I know, there hasn't been another NHS member from my parents on down until Alyssa. She has great aspirations for herself, and with her academic accomplishments, I anticipate that she will receive a full-ride scholarship somewhere great! If all goes as planned, she will graduate with NHS and IB on her diploma. Forgive me if I am repeating myself, but she has shown interest in Stephen F. Austin. I hope to do some college touring this summer and into the fall of 2010 so that we can get started on the college applications. I know, because she is just like her mother, that she wants to go somewhere away from Tarrant and surrounding counties. That's just fine with me. I want her to continue on the road of independence.

As we were sitting there last night, listening to each of the current officers of the NHS give their speach about the five characteristics that you must have to be apart of this prestigious group, I was so impressed just knowing that my child has accomplished and is still working on accomplishing many of these characteristics. The upcoming president of the NHS spoke. It was an amazing speech. I kept thinking, this is my daughter's peer. She was so well spoken. Then they had each student's name announced as they walked across the stage to receive their certificate of acceptance. I began to notice just how many of these kids have gone to school with my kids since elementary school. What an accomplishment each and every one of them has made to get to this point in their lives. There were a hand full of Seniors but mostly Juniors. They have one more year of high school (and a few more weeks of this year).

It's a bit daunting if I keep thinking about it, so I am going to stop now. I love you my sweet Alyssa. I love you and am so incredibly proud of you.  Mom
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Saturday, May 1, 2010

I'm SOOO Excited and I Just Can't Hide It!!

For many of you who have read my blog, you know that I refer to my brother, Andy, quite a lot. Some of you may even know him. He's the one on the left if the picture above. Fred is his husband (cutie on the right). Well, it has been almost four years now since they came to Texas. It has been a year and a half or so since I have seen them. This picture was taken at their wedding in September of 2008. I was there. It was a very fast trip but one I would do again in a  heartbeat.

I have known for just a little bit that they were planning to come to the states and that it would mean a trip to Texas. I didn't want to say anything (i.e. I was told not to) until the plans were firmly made. Well, the good news is that the flights have been booked and they will be here on June 9th!!!!! I am glad I didn't have any news before now because it's been all I can do not to tell my kids. They L.O.V.E. their Uncle Andy, even though they haven't seen him very many times in their lives, they hear me talk about him and talk to him every now and then on the phone and they love him across the ocean SO much!

As the kids and I are rarely in the same room or car at the same time, I told Benjamin and Jonathan yesterday on the way to school. They were very excited and Ben asked if they were going to stay with us. He would just love to have them there 24/7 as would I, but no, we live in a small apartment and there are five of us as it is. They are men who are not used to being around children. I work for a hotel company. I get them a hotel so that they can have their very own space WAY away from the rest of the family. We will have our own time with them and I believe a small high school reunion of sorts. Alyssa and Michael found out today and are very stoked about getting to spend time with their favorite Uncles!

We are also going to take this opportunity to discuss the situation with my mom. She and I went to dinner the other day for her birthday and she just seems to be going downhill so fast. Our family is not known for long life, i.e. living past early 80. My mom just turned 76, which is the same age her mother was when she deteriorated quickly and passed away. Getting all of us, minus our mom, in the same room to discuss this is going to be a feat in and of itself. Thankfully we have more than a month to get a game plan together. It's gonna be tough either way. I'm just so thrilled that Andy and Fred will be here in person. Talking to him every week is fun and hearing Fred say "Hi back" always makes me giggle, but I want to see them and hug them.
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