Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Day With My Girl

Yesterday, The Teenager and I rose early. Our mission for the day was to finally capture The One; the picture that would be her official Senior picture for the yearbook, graduation announcements, grad party portrait, etc.

We chose the early morning for the light, and, armed with a Starbucks peppermint mocha, a skinny cinnamon dolce latte, and two ham and cheese paninis; we headed south, for the mountains and the fall color they promised to deliver.

The time spent in the car together was worth the trip, even if we hadn't gotten a number of great pictures from which to choose, although, we certainly did.

We had a beautiful day for the photo shoot; while a bit chilly, it was clear and sunny and a perfect example of fall in Colorado.

Once the light died, we made good use of the rest of the day; we shopped for the groceries that I  need to make a white chicken chili recipe that I have been wanting to try, picked up a couple of glittery faux pumpkins to add to my Halloween mantle d├ęcor, roamed around a number of antique stores in search of antique lanterns to use in Hugh's annual haunted house, and talked at length about when she goes to college. As you may guess, I enjoyed some parts of our day more than others.

Just kidding, I don't mind talking about the inevitable day that she will fly the nest, I don't mind it, at all. Also, I have some really gorgeous oceanfront property in Arizona that I am willing to sell to the highest bidder; I'll hook you up if you are interested.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Stuff I Forgot to Mention

Homecoming was such a busy week, I got a bit overwhelmed. Unfortunately, when I get overwhelmed, I tend to rush to mention the "big" stuff, forgetting how important even the smallest details of our everyday lives are to me, and, how much I want to document them for the kids, as well. When that happens, I feel like I am failing as a parent, which, is ridiculous, I know.

Anyway, I have an opportunity now, to catch up with the little things that made last week memorable for us all, so, here I go:

  • At the freshman football game last Thursday, the Man-Cub made an interception and ran for 55 yards before being horse-collared from behind. His friend, Trace, ran the ball in for a touchdown on the next play. It. Was. Awesome.

  • After the dance, a number of The Teenager's friends (and a few of the Man-Cub's as well) came to the house to roast marshmallows around the fire pit. I was able to spy on them from an upstairs window and it occurred to me that they are more grown up than I like to admit.

  • To celebrate the Man-Cub's birthday, I took him and three of his friends to Neighboring City for a few hours at the fun park. Before starting out on our trip, we ran through the Starbucks drive-through and only one out of the four ordered hot cocoa, the rest ordered actual adult coffee drinks. A small part of me died that day.

  • Jana was nice enough to accompany me on the birthday trip. I didn't get to spend nearly enough time with her this summer and it was good to see her face. We made a pact to spend more time together doing fun and relaxing things for ourselves since our hectic lives often get in the way of our social well-being. This is really just a fancy way of saying that we plan to drink more wine together.

  • While we were in Neighboring City, Jana and I did some window shopping. We spent a good deal of time at a consignment shop that deals in higher-end, gently worn designer clothing. It was in this store that I determined my recent weight gain has made it impossible for me to enjoy cute clothing. I think I have a mental block against buying larger sizes than those which I envision myself in, therefor, I must make more of an effort to get back to a reasonable weight.

  • I've been on my thyroid meds for almost a month now. I have noticed a change in my energy levels and am happy to report that I very seldom feel the need to take an afternoon nap on the couch in my office. That's actually a huge improvement for me. Next up, The Teenager and I are going to be purchasing a membership to my old gym. I plan to work out with her three times a week, and, if the meds continue to work, my metabolism may rev up again. Fingers crossed.

  • It is the end of September already and our trees have yet to change color. I blame the unseasonably late rains and am hoping that we see drier weather and more color, soon. The lack of color has not hindered my love of the season, however; I have decorated the porch in its fall finery and am planning to break out the Halloween decorations this weekend. To that end, I purchased two additional life-sized skeletons, bringing our total to five. One can never have too many life-sized skeletons, I always say.

  • My garden is just about done for the year. There are a number of tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini to pick and I have managed to grow one small sugar pumpkin that may, or may not, be suitable for Thanksgiving pies. We shall see.

And, that's about all, for now.

In hindsight, none of this is terribly important and probably didn't require an entire post. Oh well, what harm is there in a little navel-gazing?

Don't answer that.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Homecoming 2013: Let's Dance

We are in the home stretch, I promise; one last entry about Homecoming and I will move on to something that will, no doubt, prove equally boring to anyone not related to me or my children by blood.

So, the dance happened.

But, before the dance there was dinner at our house for a group of The Teenager's friends. My mom and I grilled sliders and served them with French fries; it was the least labor intensive meal ever served to a bunch of kids in our home, prior to a school dance.

With the time that I saved by not slaving over a four-course seated meal, I was able to get a record number of pictures of the kids before they wandered off to the dance and I really liked the way that they turned out.

I was especially pleased to see the older kids including the Man-Cub in the photo shoot, since he was flying solo until meeting up with his friends at the school. Having him in the pictures adds just a touch more sweetness, in my opinion.

And, speaking of sweet, the Cub insisted on wearing a tie to match his sister's dress and he agreed to at least one dance with her. I don't know how I got so lucky with the kids that I have, but, I'm happy to say that I'm not alone; three of the senior boys who came to the house to take pictures invited the Cub to cruise Petticoat Junction for a while prior to the dance, just to kill time while looking as cool as possible. Their mothers should be very proud, because, not very many senior boys would be willing to be seen with a freshman, I'm sure.

After the dance, the kids came back to the house to toast marshmallows and make smores around the fire pit that Hugh finally finished prior to leaving for his business trip to Chicago. I love the fact that the kids like to spend as much time at our house as they do and I'm really happy that they clean up after themselves when they are done, because, after a week of Homecoming shenanigans, I was exhausted and ready for a good night's sleep.

And, now, I have exhausted my Homecoming material and can move on to new and scintillating topics. Ha! Just kidding, back to menial details about normal life.

And that's ok.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Homecoming 2013: The Big Game

After the parade, The Teenager and the rest of the girls in the Homecoming Court came to the house to get ready for the game. All four girls changed into different dresses than the dresses they wore in the parade, as one does when nominated for Homecoming Court, apparently.

Next, they re-applied their make-up in as meticulous a way as possible, followed by hair grooming that rivaled anything yet to be seen in the free world. When they felt suitably spiffed up, they took the dresses off and went to the first half of the football game in their jeans and t-shirts.

Yeah, I didn't get it, either.

Anyway, they then changed back into the dresses for the halftime crowning ritual.

They looked amazing. Nervous as hell, but, amazing.

The Teenager was fortunate enough to be escorted by one of her best guy friends and he did his best to keep her from being too nervous in front of the crowd, but, from my vantage point on the field, I could see that she was shaking and I hoped that it was from the excitement and not because she was desperately trying not to throw up.

When her best friend, Katie, was announced as the winner, I could visibly see The Teenager relax, happy that the attention was off her. I had to wonder if she was disappointed, but, if she was, she didn't show it; cheering for her friend and insisting on approximately a million pictures of the two of them together.

Then, the girls left the field, changed back into their jeans and t-shirts and enjoyed the rest of the football game, which, wasn't hard considering the 43-0 routing that our boys gave the other team. Indeed, it was a night to remember for the senior class, which is exactly what we, as parents, hoped for them.

I do have to say, however, that I think The Teenager's proudest moment of the evening was the moment that she realized how many people were in the stands, cheering her on. Especially Brandon's mom and sister, who were attending only the second football game that they had been to since Brandon played in the recreation league the autumn before his death.

Knowing they were there, specifically for her, for Bradlen, and, for two of the other boys to whom Brandon was close, was a tremendously touching thing for The Teenager.

Love like that beats winning a crown, any day.

Monday, September 23, 2013

In Other News...

...we interrupt this Homecoming play-by-play to bring you the following breaking was the Man-Cub's fifteenth birthday.

Yes, I said fifteenth, as in fifteen, as in, one year closer to sixteen and his drivers licence. Pee-shaw, you say, that's a whole year away, no need to get your panties in a twist, Chelle. Right? know what you get for your fifteenth birthday in Colorado? You get your drivers permit.

That's right, the Cub is street legal.

The fact that he is also adorable goes without saying.

Happy birthday, Cubby! I hope you enjoy the next year of cruising Hooterville with your old lady, because that is exactly what you have to look forward to.

Homecoming 2013: Everyone Loves a Parade

I was able to the day off from work on Friday so that I could spend some time with my parents, take pictures of the kids working on their floats, and, attend the Homecoming parade; have I mentioned how fortunate I feel to work for a family-friendly corporation?

The float building went as well as it usually does, that is to say; each class had a case of spray paint, numerous boxes of Kleenex, crepe paper streamers, butcher paper, and two hours with which to cobble together something resembling a class float, which is always a challenge, in my opinion.

And, as usual, the kids rose to the challenge.

The Man-Cub really got into the spirit, which one would expect from a child experiencing his first Homecoming, I think. Also, his class is the largest class in the school, so, the Freshman float benefited from more manpower and more raw materials, donated by parents.

The Teenager's Senior class float was cobbled together in a traditionally haphazard manner; it merely featured an outhouse, generously spray-painted, and a couple of couches for lounging. Seniors, it appears, are too cool to be burdened with shoving Kleenex through chicken wire.

The Teenager didn't have time for couch-lounging on the float, however; she had been nominated for Homecoming Queen and was required to ride on a truck with one of the candidates for Homecoming King. I don't think she minded.

So, another Homecoming parade is in the books. Both kids enjoyed the experience and the adults in attendance managed not to melt in the unseasonably warm temperatures, so, it was a win all the way around.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Homecoming 2013: Powderpuff Football

My efforts to return the annual Powderpuff game to the Homecoming line-up was rewarded a million times over. The Teenager and her friends had a great time, and, despite the school athletic director's dire prediction of there not being enough girls to field two teams, there were more than enough kids. In fact, there were enough seniors girls to put together a team solely comprised of that class, which, they embraced, wholeheartedly.

They also embraced the concept of competition, as evidenced by the beat-down they applied to the underclassmen team. And, while seven points hardly qualifies as a beat-down in most football games, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

In addition to being a beat-down, it was a fair beat-down; unlike years past, when the senior class won the game due to some righteous cheating on the part of the hometown refs. I give all the credit for The Teenager's performance on the field to her awesome cheering section....

Of course, the important things are that no one got hurt this year and the kids had fun, including the big kids. And, I get to say that I had a hand in making it happen.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Homecoming, Day Five: Blue and Gold

The final day of Homecoming Spirit Week is traditionally set aside for the students to wear the school colors of blue and gold. The Man-Cub had no problem fulfilling that mandate since he is a football player and required to wear his jersey on game days.

The Teenager had to dig a little deeper for her wardrobe, into my wardrobe, to be exact; she borrowed a shirt from me and paired it with some items of her own.

Both kids looked fantastic.

This brings to an end, the wardrobe portion of Homecoming 2013. Up next, the scintillating adventures of Powderpuff Football, the parade, the Big Game, and, the dance, which, is a lot of posting about one week, but, hey, Homecoming only happens once a year, and, The Teenager's last Homecoming only happens once; a mothers got to make the most of the opportunities she has left, right?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Homecoming 2013, Day Four: Toga! Toga! Toga!

Day four of Homecoming week saw the senior class wearing the traditional Day Four toga while the freshman were relegated to the status of clown. That's right: they were clowns.

Now, we all know how The Teenager feels about clowns, and, having her brother dress like one did little to improve her attitude about the lively entertainers.

Her attitude about the toga, however, was quite positive. In fact, I think she has been anxiously awaiting the day that she would be a senior, wearing a toga to Homecoming. I'm not even kidding.

Never having tied a toga, we found ourselves perusing videos on You Tube for instruction, which, proved to be quite a good idea; the number of toga-tying videos online is staggering and somewhat confusing. Plus, I can barely tie a knot, so, wrapping and tying a toga was a challenge that I wasn't quite prepared for.

The Man-Cub's costume was quite a bit easier to put together, despite my dismay at never being able to locate a pair of floppy clown shoes to force upon the Cub's feet (he was adamantly against the notion of floppy clown shoes).

So, for the record: rainbow-striped afro and bulbous nose, OK. Floppy clown shoes, deal breaker.

Also, if you are planning to wear a toga to school, it's a good idea to remember to wear something underneath it. Thankfully, this was not a lesson that I had to teach The Teenager; she was all over that, all on her own.

My son might look like a clown, but I am raising smart children.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Homecoming 2013, Day Three: Color Wars

Color Wars this year was somewhat less than colorful, in my opinion. The Man-Cub's freshman class drew black for their color and The Teenager's senior class drew white. Black and white is fine in chess, dominoes, piano keys and Oreo cookies; not in color wars.

The sophomore and junior classes drew pink and green, respectively, which, are both really awesome colors, but, since I don't have a sophomore or a junior in my family, it totally doesn't count.

My life, my rules.

Anyway, the kids weren't complaining about the colors (or lack thereof).

The Teenagers white t-shirt came in handy later in the day when she played in the glow-in-the-dark dodge ball tournament. And, while their team didn't place in the top four, they had a good time playing.

The Man-Cub did not play on a freshman team in the tournament but he attended the games to cheer on his teammates which is probably why they did place in the top four (out of twelve). Or, it could be that the freshman team is ridiculously athletic. Either way.