How ridiculously cute is this? My 6 year old niece drew it all by herself and gave it to me over the weekend. Well actually she gave it to her younger sister to give to me, I don't know whether she was shy or she wanted her sister to share in the fun. Anyway her mom told me that she just asked if she could paint me a picture and that she didn't tell her mom what she was painting. She didn't even ask for help with what a camera looks like or how to draw it. I love it all right down to my name on the bottom. I am seriously considering using it as my logo going forward. She just may have to consider a future as a graphic artist. I also think that with the amount of talented kids that I have all around me that I am going to have some serious competition in the not too distant future. Not too distant because not only are they crazy talented, they are all growing up way too fast:( Hmm, maybe I should start being extra nice to them so that I can work for them someday?
Sorry for the non post yesterday, I was still recovering and regrouping from the long weekend. This weekend, we pretty much managed to cover all the bases, spending a lot of time outside as we hung out with both sides of the family and our friends. We kicked things off right on Saturday night as we sat outside on my brother's deck until midnight and watched the Celtics advance in the playoffs, here's hoping for the best in their series against the Heat. Then on Sunday, we dropped off the kids and headed off for a much needed "vacation" (it was only one night but we sure packed in a lot of fun). It was a glorious day and we took full advantage of it by having a couple of drinks outside by the water. The night was also beautiful so we headed outside once again and enjoyed dinner (and a couple more drinks) under the stars. Then on Monday, we went to a cookout at my sister-in-law's house. Even though being at their house is like being at a resort and it was another terrific day weather wise, the best part is that we got to see all of our nieces and nephews on my husband's side of the family (and their parents). I even managed to get into a picture so success all around and exactly what you would want from a holiday weekend - relaxation, fun, friends and family. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the weekend:
It's Memorial Day tomorrow and you owe it to yourself, our fallen warriors and this great country to read this article. It is such a moving tribute to Memorial Day and the men and women and their families that willingly and proudly serve our country. The author says it perfectly in the article when he asks that we treat Memorial Day as more than just the unofficial beginning of the summer: "As the father of a fallen Marine, I hope Americans will treat this Memorial Day as more than a time for pools to open, for barbecues or for a holiday from work. It should be a solemn day to remember heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice, and also a stark reminder that our country is still at war." I hope that everyone has a wonderful day tomorrow but I also hope that everyone does take a moment to think of and pray for our fallen heroes and their families. And I hope that the families of these heroes are able to take a little bit of solace in knowing that this country and its grateful people are truly and forever indebted to them.
I need a serious vacation from my life but it doesn't seem like that will happen anytime soon so instead I will settle for going off on a serious tangent instead. This post started about a different topic but then as I was typing I made a mistake and I realized that's what I needed to to talk about: brainstorming. Because basically, I am awful at it. Just horrible. I can't just let my thoughts flow and type them as I go. Primarily because I still feel compelled to stop and correct them. I can't just let it go and it has nothing to do with that stupid red line, I know as I am typing something that it's wrong and it bugs me so I stop and correct which is so not the point! Some things just bother me to (some, my husband, would say past) the point of irrationality (spelled that wrong but immediately had to fix it, same with immediately, twice). As one example of my craziness, recently I owed $.10 (why is there no cents sign on a keyboard?) at the library and they asked me if I wanted to pay it. I couldn't believe that they even had to ask, of course I wanted to pay it, every time I logged into my library account it said I was delinquent. I don't care if it's $ 0.10 or $1,00, I don't want to be delinquent. Anyway in for a penny, in for a pound and since you probably already think I am nuts (rightfully so, I must say), I will share some other stuff.
The picture with this post has nothing to do with anything but posts are so much better with pictures and I just think this one is hysterical. Yes, she was skipping down the line to home plate. Skipping, you just gotta love kids sometimes.
Here's how a carpool lane works, people, you pull up as far as you can, drop your kid off and go. You don't stop in the middle of a traffic pattern or live traffic and drop your kid there. You don't stop wherever you want so that your kid is closest to the door. You don't stop and get out and open the door for them. You don't let them out on the driver's side thereby blocking the traffic. See, it's as easy as 1-2-3, pull up, drop, go!
My husband has been away all week and really just about any little thing that could go wrong this week did. I think that it may have been God's way of letting me know how much I rely on my husband. I totally got the message so God if you're reading, "Thanks got it, you can stop anytime now."
In honor of Memorial Day and its status as the unofficial start of summer, this week's video is "Summertime" by the Fresh Prince.
Yesterday, I wrote about my daughter and that I was prouder that she was voted the nicest teammate on her cheerleading squad than I was for her accomplishment on the French National Exam. But when I thought about it later in the day, I realized that she may have felt just the opposite (she's 15, of course she did!) and even may have felt like I was demeaning her accomplishment. I'm sure that at this point in her life being nice is just a part of who she is but getting good grades and being considered smart are things that she works really hard at and takes a lot of pride in. In no way did I mean for that blog post to imply that I think that her grades are simply products of her natural born intelligence, I know that they are not, her work ethic is just incredible. She is constantly pushing herself to accomplish more and more. Much, much more, in fact, than I would ever consider pushing her.
In fact, more than her grades what I find really impressive is her eagerness to learn and better herself. Recently, I found a quote that perfectly expresses what my goal is with regards to the education of my children: "It must be remembered that the purpose of education is not to fill the minds of students with facts... it is to teach them to think, if that is possible, and always to think for themselves." -- Robert Hutchins This is exactly what we are trying to accomplish here at home and at least with this particular child, it seems like we are on the right track. And while I am on this education tangent, I also found a quote that perfectly encompasses my educational philosophy, you know if I were to have one: "Education would be much more effective if its purpose was to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they do not know, and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it." ~William Haley
I debated about whether or not to write about this because I don't usually like to brag about my kids. They are already insufferable, I don't need them having big heads as well. But I decided that I would write about it. Over the last week, my daughter has received 2 very different awards. She told me the other day that her teacher told her that she ranked 13th nationally on the National French exam. Of course, my daughter has no idea if it's percentile or actual rank and without all the information, the website is ridiculously confusing but anyway she was very proud of herself (as she should be). Then later this weekend, she was named nicest teammate at her end of the year cheering banquet. I am so proud of her for both but if you forced me to pick which one I was prouder of, I think that I would have to say the nicest award. It makes me happy that she has grown up to be such a kind and giving person. And she's legit nice, she's no pushover, that one. She's not nice just to avoid making waves, she is such her own person that she doesn't care if she stirs up a tsunami if she thinks that she's doing the right thing. It also makes me feel like I must be doing something right, if she is such a nice person. The smart thing, that's just nature, the nice thing, I think there's a little bit of nurture thrown in there.
No it's not Friday, unfortunately! I just didn't do a random thoughts post last week so I thought I would check in with one now. I do reserve the right to have another one on Friday because, after all, it's my blog and I'll be random if I want to.
Here's a picture from my son's game. For those of you interested in my town sports pictures, I will be updating my baseball and softball galleries as the season continues so please check on them often since they will change. And I started a new gallery for last night's baseball game so those pictures will be at the top of the page.
Another gloomy Tuesday, it is well documented that I hate Tuesdays anyway but rainy Tuesdays? Just off the chart. And with the rain today this makes every Tuesday in May that it has rained. My daughters each have a softball game tonight and I can't decide if I want a rain out or if I just want them to play because, really, enough with the make up games. I certainly don't want it to be raining while the game is being played because I really want to take pictures of my older daughter's team (you know, the one with all MY friends' kids on it) and also being at a field in the rain is just a downer. It stinks too because those are the games that you kind of have to stay for because you never know if it is going to start pouring and who wants to be the parent that prevents the coach from being able to leave?
It is kind of good thing that it's raining because maybe it will make my grass grow faster. My kids are taking over the mowing of the lawn and this week was my son's turn. Well he cut it part of it too short this week before his father figured it out. So now the lawn looks like it got a really bad, really crooked mohawk. Oh well, it will grow back. I have to admit, I am a little sad that they are taking over this chore since I really like mowing the lawn (please don't tell my husband that). What's not to like about being outside in the fresh air, getting some exercise and not having to listen to my 10 year old ask me the same question for the 50th time? Well she asks but I just shrug my shoulders and mouth, "I can't hear you". But as much as I'll miss it, I think that it is really important for my kids to help out and to learn how to do these things even when they mess up. Which they will inevitably do because how else will they learn?
I love this Celtics BIG playoff commercial. How cool would that be if they really had it in them for another run?
I finally had some free time yesterday to do some sorting of my pictures from my baseball and softball season. You know, in between tackling the never ending mountain of laundry that exists in my house (why do we use such pleasant comparisons for laundry? Are we trying to make it seem fun by calling it a mountain or a sea? Well, I gotta say, it ain't working) and taking a 1 hour nap in my favorite spot, my hammock. One benefit of being a partial insomniac is that I really don't feel a lot of guilt about taking a nap on the weekend. Anyway, I finally got to put my pictures from this season on my website. I'm going to give links below but to get to them, click photography and then sports photography, then softball and baseball. A couple of observations, my older daughter's team has far too many of my friend's children on it and I need to stop chatting with them and start taking some pictures. As a matter of fact when my daughter learned which girls were on her team, she told me, "You'll be happy, Mom, all your little friends are on the team." So next game, I am not even going to stand on the same side as them. So girls, just so you know, I am not trying to be rude. It's like that old saying from our parents, "This will hurt me a lot more than it will hurt you." Another thing, last year I organized all my pictures on my website by game but unfortunately this year, I am not that organized (or nice or stupid?) so I have just put them on there altogether. Click here for baseball and here for softball. Enjoy!
I have to say that I was really impressed with my son the other night during his baseball game. And it had nothing to do with how he played. It was the fact that he went out of his way to tell a classmate on the other team that he had a great hit. When I told him that I thought that was great, he told me that he says it to everyone. He does seem to always be smiling and chattering while he's on the field. And now that I think about it, one day recently we were talking about someone and my son told me that he didn't know him. I told him that I have a picture of him talking to him while he was on second. He said, "Mom, that doesn't mean anything, I talk to everyone." He also seems to be developing a sense of humor about this season and his team too. When I asked him what he thought I was most impressed with, he said jokingly, "That I played all but one inning in center?" Things like this give me a little bit of hope that this whole sportsmanship thing is getting through to him even though he still acts like a jerk sometimes. Like, for instance, when he made a play in center that same game and then stood out there tapping his chest and saying that was all me. Oh well, no one ever said that this parenting thing was easy. Or if they did, I never heard them but can someone please give them my contact information so that I can get some of their secrets?
It is truly amazing what you learn when look up things on Google. I looked up the Smurfs to see when they started and if they fit into my Saturday morning cartoon experience. They did, they started airing in 1981 when I was 14, prime Saturday morning cartoon age. I also discovered some things that I did not know about them. They're Belgian, they were first introduced in a comic strip in 1958 and they were one of the most successful and longest running Saturday morning cartoons ever and oh yeah, they were communists. Communists? I just thought that they cute little blue people that kept me from having to clean the house on a Saturday. I just hope that my card carrying member of the Tea Party mother doesn't read this, she sees conspiracies in TV everywhere, this may just send her over the edge. By the way, this documentary is quite clever, I am hoping that it's meant to be tongue-in-cheek but.....
Halfway through the day on Wednesday, I realized that I've been focusing too much on negative stuff lately. And that I almost missed a golden opportunity to talk about a performance that I did find impressive. And that would be what I saw from a high school umpire the other night. And it had nothing to do with ball or strikes or outs or runs. It was because of how he handled a call that he made at the plate that some people felt was unfair (honestly, I was situated up the third base line and have no idea if the call was correct or not, I have heard different things from different people). Anyway one of the coaches took exception to the call and started berating the umpire. I was very impressed with the way the umpire maintained his composure and his self control while standing his ground (I did say he was a high school kid, right?). At one point, he did yell at the coach but only to tell him not to yell at him again. This was all after taking a ball to the head during the play. Even though he wasn't playing, by keeping his cool, I think that this umpire was the epitome of a good sport.
There are good and bad calls in every single game and sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn't and the important thing is to get right back in there and work on it. When a good sport loses, they know that it's not about the umps or refs but about the fact that they were one play short. What I want my kids to learn is to play hard, play fair, don't be a sore loser (or winner) and no matter what happens, skip the excuses or the complaining and learn from it. In short, I want them to learn to be a good sport. Ironically enough, my son had done that classic "palms up, what was that" thing that kids sometimes do when they are called out on strikes a couple of innings before this incident. After getting him alone for a minute during the game, I asked him what he was doing. He said that he didn't think that the pitch was a strike. I told him that if he ever behaved disrespectfully like that to an umpire again, I would march on the field and pull him out of the game so fast that his head would spin. And that if he didn't believe me, then he should try me and see.
For obvious reasons, this week's video is the Donna Summer classic, "She Works Hard for the Money".
I have a couple of stories to share today. One involves mother's intuition and the other involves karma. The other day, a friend of mine found herself with a little bit of extra time on her hands but it was the annoying kind where you don't have enough time to get anything done or even go home, for that matter. So she decided that she would drive by her son's practice and watch that for a few minutes since she really hasn't gotten much of a chance to see him play this year. Imagine her surprise when there he is sitting on the steps, having been summoned to a meeting, a meeting that he was not too happy about. She said hello and he proceeded to unload on her about how aggravated that he was and how he can't wait to give a piece of his mind. She says, "No don't, you can't spare it", just kidding, that was a little bit of artistic license. She did, however, defuse the situation as effectively as if she used humor. She told him that she supported whatever he decided but that he should make sure that when he left that he was happy with how he conducted himself and that he left with his dignity intact. Later that night, her son expressed his gratitude that she had happened to come along at that very moment because he was not sure what the outcome would have been if she hadn't. She has no explanation for why she happened to be there, except maybe pure luck. In my opinion, it was none other than some good old fashioned mother's intuition.
My karma story is a girl that I know with a bad attitude has recently been hit with a string of bad luck. When I asked my kids if the recent circumstances were the cause of the bad attitude, they said no, the injuries are the result of the bad attitude. When I asked what they meant by that, they said, "Karma, Mom, karma". Ha, wait until I use that on them, "No bowls for cereal because no one ran the dishwasher, karma, kiddo, karma."
Well today I don't have anything to talk about. Well I do but between the weather and the amount of bad behavior that I have seen in the past couple of days from kids (not my own for a change) and adults as well, it's all bad. So I am going to follow that old mother's saying (all mothers, not my mom, I am certainly not implying that my mom is old, she'll kill me, yeah, it's time to move on now), "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all". So I have nothing to say but I am going to put a picture on here that makes me smile when I see it (this is something that my youngest daughter manages to accomplish quite often) and hopefully it will put a smile on your face as well. She's probably not going to be too happy about this picture being on here but I don't give me kids blog veto power until they are middle school (just so you know, I ran this by my 15 year old and she thought this is fair).
I absolutely love this series of pictures. For some reason, I kept shooting after the play had ended and boy, am I glad that I did. Part of why I love it is that on the surface it seems like it's just kids being kids, doing typical kid stuff. But if you take a closer look, then you'll see that what it really shows is kids taking some initiative, working together and finally having a little bit of fun. I don't know about you but what's illustrated in these pictures is part of the reason that I want my kids to participating in sports.
Although on the face of it, it doesn't seem like I did much this Mother's Day, I had a perfect day. I didn't go to a fancy brunch (I did get a free breakfast at Ikea with great friends) or a fancy dinner or go to the beach or really do much of anything. I would have loved to go to the beach, the weather was perfect but I decided to stay home partly because I have already had as many beach days this spring (3) as uninterrupted days at home (0, slight exaggeration for emphasis). Besides, leaving my house would have precluded partaking of some of my other favorite things so we stayed put and did some of my favorite home things. Like hanging my sheets out to dry for the first time this year. I know it doesn't seem very exciting but in my mind, the smell and feel of sun dried sheets just can't be beaten. Even my mother-in-law, who is much more of a connoisseur of the finer things in life than I am (well except for wine, we are equal on that, we like it cheap and plentiful) once remarked that sheets fresh off a clothesline are pure luxury. I couldn't agree more.
I also got a nap in my favorite place: my hammock. A nice, long, completely undisturbed nap which was perfect for recharging my batteries. So much so that when I got up, I felt refreshed enough to so some much needed yard work. Working with my 15 year old, who graciously offered to help, and my 10 year old, who was not as gracious, made it a pleasant endeavor instead of a chore. Then, we had a wonderful steak dinner outside and some of my favorite homemade sour cream pound cake that my daughter decided to bake to make up for my mangled up birthday cake. Yum. A fire and glass of wine put the perfect exclamation point on a perfect day.