Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kids Do Grow Up

It's hitting me really hard today how my kids are growing up so fast. Michael is no longer a teenager and Alyssa is 18 years old. How did that happen? I feel like I've just taken motherhood by the balls and never looked back. Most of the time, it just came natural to me how to deal with whatever was thrown at me. I've always thought I had an instinct about how to raise my children. Yes, there were times, like when they were sick or doing things I didn't exactly expect, that I had to take a step back and rethink how I was going to handle "it" but I did it and I believe we all came out for the better. (These are the things I think will probably come back to haunt me in about ten years.)

Four kids later, I have one out of high school and out of the house taking care of himself and am about to have my second high school graduate with one following very close behind. You would think that with Jonathan going into junior high next year I wouldn't be so on edge about all these changes. WRONG! For one, he is a different child all together. I've tried never to compare my kids and I would hope they would tell you I haven't compared them to each other. It's just that I look at where I was seven years ago, when I became a single mom, to where I am today. So proud of all of the kids accomplishments and decisions that have had to be made over the years and of myself for still having it together, so to speak.

Michael playing in his band, Mouth of the South
Michael is working full time at Six Flags and has started back playing with his friends in Mouth of the South. I think he is finally at a good place in his life. He seems very happy and excited about being able to persue his music, which is where his heart is. I know some people think that all kids should go to college right out of high school. I am not one of those people. I didn't go until I was 20 and didn't finish because of having kids too quickly. Everyone has their own style and pace at which to take life. I like to think that I let my kids do their own thing and just support them - as long as it's legal and all. As a parent we all just want our kids to be happy, right? That's all I want. I raised them to be independant and self-confident in their decisions. Musically, Michael is an amazing musician. When I hear him play and sing, it always amazes me. He can play guitar and piano and has a beautiful voice. One of these days he will let me go see his band play!

Kelsey & Alyssa - UNT Roomies
This past weekend was full of awards ceremonies for Alyssa. It started Thursday night with the Senior Awards for all Seniors all awards. I have learned NOT to go to these things with an agenda. Go and stay until it's over...which could be one hour or three. This particular even last two hours. There have been a lot of accomplishments from the Class of 2011. Alyssa is graduating with NHS and IB Honors. To the right she is pictures with her IB hood. She received this Saturday during the IB Senior Celebration Luncheon which was actually very fun, good food, and lasted an hour longer than it was scheduled. For the first time in a very long time, I saw Alyssa cry. She doesn't usually cry, much less in public. The ceremony was for Trinity and Bell. The teachers and students coordinated very well together and it was very entertaining. One of the funniest things they did was to show this video spoof of Hitler finding out that he failed the IB HL Math test and didn't receive his IB Diploma.....which is a real possibility. It's hilarious. You should watch it. It's an excerpt from the movie about Hitler with subtitles.

Benjamin and Curtis Mayo after the orchestra concert

Benjamin has once again made first chair Band One at LD Bell. He also made Brass Captain for next year. He was also accepted into the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra. Out of over 100 trombonists that tried out, they picked five and he was one of the five. That will take up much of his summer along with taking extra courses that he doesn't want to waste time on during next school year. He will be a Senior taking IB and in NHS as well. It's amazing to realize that I have such smart, accomplished children.

Jonathan posing for a picture
Jonathan will finish elementary school on Friday. He will no longer be big man on campus, but 7th grade in a new school making new friends along with having the old friends. He will be playing the Bassoon (See the picture of Curtis above) and participating in football - which will be interesting as he isn't a very sport oriented boy but I think it will serve him well. He is also going to try French instead of Spanish like the other kids did in 7th grade. I will be very interested to see how well he does with learning another language. We went to his 6th Grade End of the Year Party on Saturday night and he seemed to really have a good time. I hardly ever saw him the whole four hours we were there, so that's always a good thing. At the beginning of the school year I was very worried that he was trying to sabbatoge his last year of elementary so that he didn't have to go to junior high. Now, I believe he is really as ready as he can be. He could stand to have better friends, but he is seeing that without me having to point it out to him.

So things around the house are going to be changing more and more over the next few months. More to come on that - people moving out and people moving in - but it's always a good thing. My life really hasn't changed too drastically all that much in quite a while. It's time to stir things up, don't ya think??
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Prom 2011 - It's Different with a Girl

Alyssa at the Gaylord
This is my second experience with prom for my kids. Two years ago it was Michael and boys are easy. They only require a tux and a good haircut. I must say, this year was much more fun and girlie for me. Alyssa is not a typical girlie girl, so to get to do the nails (toes and hands) and hair was quite an adventure.  My hairdresser, Amber, was immediately hired for the hair and my nail tech, Tiffany, did the nails. We were all set to go.

The dress came from the Prom Closet, set up by the HEB school district. I linked to the Facebook page so you can read more about it. I thought it was just for students who couldn't afford a dress to be able to go pick out one for free. But in reading the Facebook page, it's so much more than that. I was in Iowa the weekend Alyssa and Monica decided to go see if they could find dresses. I got a few picture texts and immediately knew the dress I thought Alyssa should get. And it was free! So, she found the perfect dress at the perfect price. We will be taking it, along with a banquet dress, back to donate so that someone else can use it.

Green toes for "Mean Green" UNT

She had her manicure and pedicure done that morning while I took her car over to Grampa's so that he could check the oil and change out the windshield wiper blade. Then it was lunch and off to get her hair done with Amber. She is at a local salon so we saw lots of girls from Bell (and a few from Trinity) getting their hair done as well. Interesting side note, Trinity, who is our rival high school, was having their prom on the same night at the same venue in a room right next door to Bell. Interesting how that all happened. I think they usually try to schedule them a week apart at least. It was interesting to see all the different styles that the girls were going with. Apparently, half up and half down is in because of Taylor Swift. Alyssa went with full up because she didn't want to get hot breakin' it down on the dance floor. Ok, I'll stop trying to be cool......

Back of the hair
So anyway, back to the hair....when I went to prom...well anything, I always did my own hair. It's very different now. Girls have their hair done in up-do's all the time. It's rather expensive but we were both happy with the outcome and there is no way I could have done that myself. It did take a good two hours because my little girl has no shortage of hair, unlike her mother. She got the thick hair for sure! The best thing is that we certainly got our money's worth. She had that hair up for about 36 hours she liked it so much! After hair, we got home in just enough time for her to do make up and get dressed before the limo picked her up. There was a group of them going together and one of the parents knew someone with a limo (lucky us!) so they all got to ride in style. She was the second person to be picked up. The it was on to the Gaylord to take group pictures.
These four girls have been best friends through high school. Alyssa and Marissa have known each other since 7th grade band. They will all be going to the University of North Texas in the fall. Alyssa and Kelsey will be rooming together and Monica and Marissa will be rooming together. I hope and pray that they have a wonderful journey through college and remains friends no matter what. How beautiful are these girls?!?

Kelsey, Alyssa, Monica, Marissa

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

National Honor Society Induction 2011

For the second year in a row, I have attended the National Honor Society Induction ceremony for one of my children. According to my dad, Ben is only the second person in our family to be inducted into the NHS - the first being Alyssa last year. This is something that is such a proud moment for me. My kids just amaze me with how smart they are, how hard they work to achieve things that I never even thought about doing. Benjamin said that when he was getting his certificate the man shaking his hand said,"Smile for your parents. They are in the audience!" (or something like that)

Ben is one of those kids that has just always done well. He never had to work hard to do well in school until probaby half way through junior high. And even then, he still made straight A's. It's been hard to look at a report card and get all excited about his grades because...well...he's just always done well. His Grandy asked him Monday night if he had ever gotten a B. His response was, "Yeah once or twice". I have really had to make a concious effort to congratulate him on his achievements because it's not fair to him that I just know he will do well and then not say anything about it.

He has almost made it through his first year of IB and will continue that next year, along with his NHS projects. Luckily, this isn't for a grade, although that does matter. It's more of a service organization and he is very good at service. His plan is to go to the University of Houston to study music. He wants to be a band director. I feel certain he will and one day, in about six years, I will be sitting in a high school stadium somewhere watching a band that he is directing march on the field. And I will be just as proud as the day I watched my own children march on the field.
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Monday, May 2, 2011

May 1, 2011 "DNA testing confirms bin Laden death"

Please know that I am not a political person. I do not debate politics or religion. I have my opinions and how I feel about certain things but I do not like to debate with anyone so that is not what this is about.

I was literally passed out on the couch last night before 9:00 pm because of my crazy weekend with Alyssa and prom. So, when I woke up at 3:00 am and looked at my phone and found a text from my friend, Caroline, that read, "USA has bin Laden....Pres about to speak..." my first thought was, "What??" The next thing I did, of course, was check Facebook. That's where I saw six hours of information about the events I had slept through, along with feelings, some very harsh, thoughts of my friends and some family and I was a little surprised at some of them.

My first reaction was, "Great!" I didn't get all excited and want to run into the streets and scream. I just thought that now there wouldn't be any more speculation about his whereabouts and we could all go on with our lives doing whatever we do and hopefully things will settle down. Realistically I think this is just a small piece to the big puzzle of life and, while it may change a few things, I believe the war will go on. We, as Americans, should support our troops because they are over there fighting for us. Feel however you want about our country and president, but our troops have family, children, who miss them every day and worry if they will be coming home. They are the ones I think about.

What I do NOT agree at ALL with is the statement, "I am sadden to know so many of you are happy about a death of another person. weather he did right or wrong we should not be rejoicing." This is directly from a Facebook friend - a guy I used to work with at the hotel. I don't agree with a lot of what he posts but I keep him as a friend. I don't know why. There were other people who posted similar things, but this one just kills me. Osama bin Laden isn't just another person. He was an evil man who is burning in the pits of hell right now and forever. Unfortunately, he probably didn't suffer or even know what hit him before he was killed. They will bury him at sea according to Islamic tradition, which I suppose is better than in the ground for people to flock to and worship him like he was some great leader. I wish they would burn his body on the way out to sea. That would make me happy. But then, no one asked so I guess they don't care.

I have had no intention of having a discussion about this, although my best friend called me as I was driving to work and brought it up. I just listened (because her opinion is much like the above) and then tried to divert from the subject at hand. As I am getting set up to work, I hear the director right in front of my desk say something of the same opinion as my Facebook friend and best friend. This is the point at which I thought it best to put my ear buds in, turn the music up and get to work. I realize, too, that people have an issue with us, as Americans, reacting like other countries do by running out into the streets and screaming, raising the flag. I heard they even flocked over to Pres. George W's house here in Dallas. That is a little extreme if you ask me but they have that right. Everyone is different in their reactions and feelings and it's their right to have those reactions and feelings and express them in a public forum.  The below image is the first thing that came up when I googled for images of rejoicing over bin Laden's death. This really bothers me.

It was labeled "Suicide Bomber".
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