Sunday, August 29, 2010

Oh Daddy Boy, the pipes, the pipes are callin'....

The Irish melody, though with a small name change, just resonates in my head.

I wonder why.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Short and sweet.

My bro, sis-in-law, and 2 gorgeous-o nephews were able to do a drive-by visit in between their Florida vacation and Atlanta trip to see our newborn nephew. It only lasted about 7 hours but was a wonderful mid-week surprise. We took Big Sis out of school for half a day (only a week in and we're already taking her out...shame on us parents!) but because we get to see them maybe 3 times a year, it was a no-brainer.

Buster and I hit the backyard nearly everyday (for as long as the heat allows...sometimes 30 seconds) to practice baseball. The boy is passionate about his baseball. He wakes up and puts on his "uniform" every single day. His uniform consists of something with a number on it, Big Sis' soccer cleats, a belt and a hat. I pitch a million balls, giving unsolicited advice the whole time and he can't ever hit the darn thing. Yesterday, he goes out with his cousins (baseball extraordinaires) and they're back within four minutes telling me he had already hit 3 "home runs" (also known as "making contact with the ball").


I quit. Forget the heat. I'm paying those boys to move down here (Buffalo Shmuffalo) and coach my boy. Then he can follow in their footsteps and find himself in Cooperstown one day. World Series here we come! Hopefully the officials there won't mind if Buster runs 4 laps around the bases for each of his home runs.

It's how he rolls. One lap for the point and 3 to gloat.

He's got my humility.

And my awesomeness.

They go hand in hand.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A new normal.

Dear Kindergartner,

There was a big thing that happened about 6 years ago. Your life (in utero) began and my career as a full-time camp director began a slow decline. So much so that the day you were born, I knew I was done. My first day back at work after maternity leave became the day I gave my notice.

Gotta admit. It's kinda nice to retire at 27.

Since then it's been me and you.

Then that Buster Boy busted in, but he took a lot of naps so it was still kinda me and you.


Man, did we ever pair up and take those Twinzies to the next level. You bottle fed, changed some tee tee diapers, endlessly entertained, spoon fed, read to, prevented falls, taught songs and were hands down my right hand girl.

Today, all things changed.

I've had a catch in my throat for the past 3 days and have had a hard time even looking your direction knowing what was to come. And don't get me wrong. I'm MORE than excited for this new venture for you. ABSOLUTELY positive it's the perfect time and the perfect move for you.


I'm losing my right hand girl.

She went to kindergarten today.

And it's the first day I've been away from you (and still been at our house) EVER. So the hard part wasn't in sending you to a new place with a roomful of strangers. Or giving you over to a new woman in your life that will be your teacher/mentor/encourager/life-shaper.


You aced that.

The hard part was coming home and feeling the void. YOU. Your personality. Your helpfulness. Your take-charge attitude. Your creativity. Your genuine love and desire to be among your brothers and sister.

We all felt it, but Buster and I felt it most. Lots of tears. Lots of idle sitting wondering what we ever did during these long daytime hours.

It was rough, yes. But it became 100% worth every tear when you hopped into the car at 2:54pm beaming, chattering, throwing your arms around me and handing out kisses to 3 car seats full of siblings.

I love hearing about your new friends. I love hearing about the new things you're learning. I love hearing about all the times you spot Daddy in the halls or in the lunchroom. I love hearing your enthusiasm about the homework you don't have yet. I love to hear every bit about this new part of your life.

And though you're not at home as much as you used to be, I believe it will make the times we do spend together even more precious.

You, my daughter, are STILL my right hand girl.

Beyond proud.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Americana at its best

Big Sis and Buster Boy have been asking all summer to do a lemonade stand. They got a book one time at Chick-Fil-A that talked all about how to make homemade lemonade and from then on their hearts were set on having one for themselves. After finding excuses all summer long, I finally relented since it was the last Saturday before school started.

For a week beforehand we worked on signs to put in the neighborhood and made list after list of everything we needed. We read books about lemonade stands and watched YouTube videos on proper lemonade standing. It was a most excellent source of entertainment for a long week of smoking hotness and rain.

Finally the day came and everyone was up bright and early. Our next door neighbors were having a garage sale and the traffic started flowing at 7:30am. We moved into gear and had everything set up by 8:30am.

And then we waited.

And waited.

And waited some more. Sweating in the 175 degree heat. Helplessly watching garage sale customers get out of their car to peruse the sale and hop back in without a blink toward the lemonade stand.

Then came our first customers - 1 hour after we opened. Out of the front door, holding two adorable little twins comes DADDY TO THE RESCUE! Bearing quarters, nonetheless, and wanting to purchase some lemonade. You would have thought the President himself arrived. Buster took the money, Big Sis grabbed the cup and they went into gear.

"I just love customers!" Sis proclaims.

3 hours and 13 customers later we closed up shop, gave the neighbors free refills of the leftovers, counted their newly earned ice cream money and went inside to take 3 hour naps.

A job well done.

The sweetest part? After separating money into "Give", "Save" and "Spend" categories, the kiddos brought 10% of their earnings to church this morning to "give it to God" - their words.

I think we may have started us a tradition here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Growing up

There's a lot of big kidness going on at my house lately. Mostly prepping for the kindergarten-that-we-do-not-speak-of for Big Sis. Backpack, minimal school supplies and first day outfits have been purchased. But lo, that is a week away and we will remain in disbelief that this is surely happening.

For at least a week longer.

Until then, we shan't speak of it anymore lest I weep all over the keyboard.

In other news, the big 3 year old has done a bit of growing up himself today. Playing outside this afternoon I asked him, on a whim, if he wanted me to take his training wheels off. Surprisingly he said yes and after making sure this was going to be a done deal - no putting them back on - I got the wrench and went to town.

Minutes later the boy rode.

The most surprised? The 5 year old who still has training wheels.

Her plan is to now poll her "new friends" when she gets to school and see what the consensus is on 5 year olds and training wheels. For now, she's comfortable with helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, training wheels and soft ground.

Risk taker she is not.

I looked at my big 3 year old a little differently when he went to bed tonight. I think he felt different too. I love the light in the eyes of one who feels successful. He fell more than he was upright today yet can't wait to try again tomorrow.

I do believe there's a lesson in there.

*edited to note that the original song by the Doobie Bros. "Takin it to the Streets" was a much more fitting but wouldn't publish for copyright reasons. Blech.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Best Friends Camp '10

10 years ago, Best Friends Camp commenced. And then ended. And then BF ended up in the hospital as a result.

We don't play around.

At the inaugural camp, college BF Alicia came down for a few days to stay when my roommates left town. Ok, so they weren't my roommates. More so the family that let me live in their dining room.


So it comes to bedtime and I grab a pillow off of my 5 year old roommates bed for my dear BF. She sleeps soundly. She goes home a few days later. She comes down with a horrid case of adult chicken pox and lands herself in the hospital in attempts to stay alive.


So despite a rough beginning, the camp has lived on year after year and we now stay away from chicken pox laden pillows.

This year, we continued with our annual Girl's Night Out (with 11 and 5 year old in tow), multiple music videos with state-o-the-art choreography and added a campfire with s'mores in 95 degree heat as well as a movie, complete with script and high quality acting.

Scootchie over Spielberg. Akins has come to town.

And though I would love to tempt my audience here with the Oscar performances, the dern thing hasn't even been fully edited. Or, at least that's my excuse because I don't know how I feel about getting my big acting break from the scouting producers in the world wide webosphere. I still need to do this stay-at-home mom thing for at least a few more months.

And while my acting skillz were off the charts, my photography skillz were nil. The camp director didn't plan a camp photo, thus and such all I got from a rockin' week with my peeps was this fuzzy dud.

And these cutie patooties we like to call "BF's: The Next Generation".

Oh well. There's always next year's camp to get the big photo-op.

And who knows, next year we might get all big and have a slip-n-slide.

Or a square dance.

Or a scavenger hunt.

Oh the possibilities.

For now though, latrine duty beckons. Camp season or not.