Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Baby Boy Milestone 5,678

Our baby boy has reached an significant milestone.  He's always been our long, skinny string bean boy!  The kid is almost 5'4"and weighs 89lbs.  And we were ecstatic about that!  Well this weekend it happened.... the boy can sit in the front seat of the van and turn the airbag ON...all by himself... without a backpack or a friend to help him!  Our little boy is growing up!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

When is inappropriate always appropriate?

 When it's GRANDPA BUD!  My dad is the funniest, naughtiest, most inappropriate Grandpa ever!  But that's why my kids love him so much.  My dad doesn't do "kids", by that I mean he was never the grandpa that played Barbies or trains or talked baby talk.  He always treats my kids like mini adults.  He's the grandpa that sent pocket knives and BB guns when they were toddlers!  Many of his presents were sooo cool, but had to be put on a "safe" shelf until the kids could be trusted not to kill or injure themselves or each other with their presents.
He's the Grandpa that includes curse words and foul language in every birthday card.  He's the grandpa that stores his loaded gun on the top of the refrigerator because "the kids can't reach up there."
 When Grandpa Bud's in town there's always vodka on the counter, cigarettes in the ashtrays and weapons at the ready.  He's the Grandpa we want to go live with when the Zombie Apocalypse hits!  This week he sent Zack a vintage T-shirt.  This t-shirt has been around since 1975 and now it's been bequeathed to Zack and he loves it.  Of course he wanted to wear it to school the very next day....Ummm....NO!   Don't think today's "kinder, gentler" schools would appreciate a machine gun shirt...professing Big Mac Attack!  I know Zack can wear that shirt to school and Grandpa Bud can visit wearing his "Kill 'em all let God sort them out!" shirt!  I can bet you my name would be hot in the PTA circles! :o)
I love that my kids can appreciate the "naughtiness" of Grandpa Bud.  I spend a lot of time telling them not to repeat or listen to anything Grandpa Bud says and that just makes them laugh even harder.  It's always good to have a rebel on your side!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Radford Weekend Recap

Our trip to Radford was a huge success!  We got down there Friday night and met up with our girl.  It was so good to see her.  I think she was just as happy to see us as we were to see her.  I thought she might strangle her brother she hugged him to long and so hard.
Matching "stoner" hoodies
 College is hard work!

Her dorm room looks great, they've decorated it nicely and they are keeping it clean and very homey.  Some of my OCD tendencies seemed to have rubbed off on Brenna and I don't know if that's good or bad, but it does make for a nicely comfortable dorm room.  We took her out to dinner and then left her hang out with her friends. The next day we met up for all sorts of fun and game.  We had nice breakfast, took our girl to the mall to buy all sorts of "necessities" including 2 pairs of jeans for Mom! :o)  Went to the school bookstore and got our Radford hoodies - we also walked around downtown Radford, which is really about 4 stores, a gas station, a CVS and a really cool "stoner" store called Lamours.  The latest rage are these hemp hoodies that are called Bajas, but John and I refer to them as stoner hoodies, anyway we had to get one for the Z-man who is going to be the coolest kid in middle school!

 We walked all over campus, which really isn't that big, but totally exhausted us.  Went to a folk festival on the Quad and bought apple butter, and a weed pot and corn husks flowers.  Listened to bluegrass music and generally just hung out.  It totally wore us out and we had to go back to B's dorm and literally take a little nap.  I am WAY TO OLD to be in college that's for damn sure.

I don't know why they are so tired?

 We played some pool, saw a Comedian/Magician performer and just generally had a great time.  We laughed and laughed and laughed.  It's been a looooooong time since we've had a family outing that didn't end in tears, screaming or pouting.  The kids got along, the parents got along and the kids and parents got along!  That just never happens.
I am so proud of Brenna.  She's doing such a great job so far.  She's bringing in 2 A's, 1 B and 1 C (2 points away from a B) and her Chemistry grade.  Not doing great in Chemistry, but she's got a plan and she's working on getting it together.  She's planning on getting a tutor to help her and has already been in to talk to her professor during his office hours.

This is from the girl who in the 9th grade would rather take a 0 than ask the teacher which basket to put her homework in.  She had the homework done and with her, but instead of asking where to put it she just kept it.  That girl is not meeting with her professors and talking to the Learning Resource Center.  She asks for our opinions and listens and then makes it work for her.  I'm so proud of her.
The other thing that pleases me is Brenna's willingness to share all sorts of "stuff" that is going on at college.  Probably more than I really want to know, but I love that she's comfortable enough with us that she will share what's going on in her life.  I try and just listen and affirm that she's making good choices and give her advice if it seems receptive.  I just can't say enough how proud I am of her.  When I think back to all those horrific years in middle school and the beginning of high school when we despaired that she'd grow up to be anything except a pathological liar and felon and I look at her now and I am amazed!  She is smart, funny, kind, loving and taking charge of her life.  How did we get so lucky!?
I will end this with the 2 best quotes of the weekend:
"You'd be surprised how much puke I've seen!" - Brenna
"You know you've got another child!" - Zack
Geez I love my kids!

Friday, October 14, 2011

On the road again...

We are ready to go, headed down to Radford for our first College Family Weekend!  Can't wait to see our girl!  2 months is long time!  The car is loaded down with all those college essentials... wheat thins, mint oreos, printer ink, can opener and quarters!   Aahhh the things you miss when you no longer live at home.    Gonna spoil that girl when we get there.  Watch out Radford!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Alicea Zickert

Pismo Beach 1988
This is how I remember Alicea
My old college roommate, friend and stepsister, Alicea, died on Weds, Oct 5th.  Alicea was my first and only friend for quite some time when my parents plucked me out of High School my Senior year and plopped me down in West Germany at Bitburg High School.

Spring Break Adventure 1988
She was quirky and crazy and marched to the beat of her own drum.  She had "gone native" to a degree I so admired then.  They lived in a little German village and Alicea knew everyone, spoke the language and even had a German boyfriend.  Then we roomed together in college our freshman year with 4 other girls.  I remember Alicea was the "cooker" in the apartment.  We had a 2 element hotplate (back in the "good ole days" when you could have dangerous hot plates) and while the rest of us were eating Ramen and egg salad - Alicea was making crazy good stuff.
Disneyland 1988
We would wait in anticipation for her to start cooking!  She made these Lumpia rolls stuffed with cheese and I don't know what else.  I didn't even know what the hell a lumpia wrapper was - but I could have eaten my weight in those things.
She left college before the end of our freshman year and we drifted apart.  Time, distance, life all got in the way as they do and I mainly heard news through my dad.  Much like the news that she had died.  It makes me sad that I didn't make more of an effort to keep in touch.  It makes me sad that we let life get in the way.  It makes me sad to realize that she's no longer in this world and my heart breaks for her mother and my dad because I know that no matter how old they are, the death of your child can't be anything but devastating.  I hope that Alicea has found herself in a place where she is healthy and happy, surrounded by cats with one hell of a kitchen!
She will be missed.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Baby Brother

I can't believe that Friday my baby brother graduated from Air Force First Sergeant School!  First of all I can't believe that he is old enough to live on his own, stay out after dark or drive! Let alone join the Air Force, this is the guy that when I send him a birthday card I still PRINT because I am afraid that he can't read cursive!  That kid, the one who refused to cut his hair when he worked at Taco Bell, that kid is a FIRST SHIRT!
That kid is going to be responsible for an entire squadron of troops, for their well-being, their behavior, their careers, their everything.   He's going to be great at it and I am so proud of him.  It's times like these that make me so sad, because we all don't live closer and can't take part more in each other's lives. I miss him and I miss his family and I wish that I could be there to witness the success and the wonderful job that he is going to do!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Back to the Past - Part 3 or are we ever going to catch up to real time and does anyone really care?

The kids all settled in school, John hard at work and I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  Somehow I find myself still volunteering up at the High School with the booster club even though I DON'T HAVE A CHILD AT THE HIGH SCHOOL.  I had all sorts of grand plans to take a year off and relax, sub more, make more money...blah, blah, blah.   But when no one steps up to take your place, I just can't walk away, especially since I know Zack will be up there next year and I will feel compelled to help again, might as well just stay and keep the continuity.  Or at least that's my story and I'm sticking with it!
I also agreed to be the Secretary for the Crew Boosters even though I DON'T HAVE A CHILD THAT ROWS.  But I will next year, so continuity blah, blah, blah!
So, I've been running around like crazy working on Spiritwear, Concessions, Athletic Hall of Fame and Fall Crew Camp.  Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it and think it was important, but it just boggles my mind how many people there are that DON'T HELP.  That decided someone else will do it.  They want all the benefits, but don't want to put any of the time or effort in and it's starting to wear me down.  But I made my bed and now I have to lay in it and I'm trying to do it without too much complaining.  Someday, the kids will all be gone and I will be missing these busy days.

I love me my Diet Dew!

The other thing that is not making me happy although I have to trust that in the long run it will... I have given up caffeine and soda!  I know it's freaking crazy, but I've done it.  I have been worried off and on for years about the amount of artificial sweetener I consume.  Generally a cup of coffee a day, with 3 spoons of Splenda, and then 4-5 diet sodas a day.  That's a lot, can't be healthy... blah, blah, blah.
A few weeks ago our coffee maker broke and it took me about 3 days to get a replacement, so that was 3 days without coffee and I figured if I could go 3 days, why not keep going.  And if I'm giving up artificial sweetener, then I'm giving up soda, because I could never drink a REAL soda! :o)  So, as of right now I am caffeine free and soda free.  But I am not happy about it!  I don't feel any better, don't have any more energy and don't seem to notice anything different than an increase in my longing for a Diet Coke.  I do think that maybe the number of headaches I get has decreased a little bit, but it's hard to tell.  The official count is last caffeine - August 18th,  last soda - Sept 11th.  I think I might let myself have an occasionally caffeine free Diet Coke - once in a while, but I realize that's a slippery slope....  More than anything I miss my Diet Mountain Dew!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Back to the Past - Part 2 or college memories I probably don't want to know about

Going on 6 weeks at college and it all seems to be going fine, or at least as fine as one will let on to their mother.  Only a couple bumps in the road... 48 on the first Chemistry test and a speeding ticket that was high enough to count as reckless driving, but other than that....:o)
College might make you crazy
The girl seems to be settling in just fine.  No roommate issues so far, although her roommate goes home almost every weekend, so that may make her the perfect roommate.  We'll see. Still going strong with the boyfriend. She dropped her history class because we were afraid that 17 credit hours, which included both Chemistry and Biology might be too much and I think that was a good decision.  Our girl is very good about texting and calling.  She texts all the time and calls pretty regularly and with the Mac's we can FaceTime which is just like Skype.  It's always good to see her and talk to her.  It appears she's keeping herself very organized and trying to study.  We have Family Weekend, next weekend so we can actually go down and verify with our own eyes.  

I can only hope that this is the college version of WATER PONG and not the more traditional BEER PONG!  Some things are better left not known.  I trust my girl and am hoping that she is better and smarter than either her father or her mother were!
She is also very excited because she is applying for a study tour over Spring Break to the Virgin Islands!  Sounds awfully cool to me, Mama better get a better job thats for sure.  Study Tours, care packages... this college stuff is not cheap!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Back to the past - or here are the most exciting parts of our life, because I'm sure you've been laying awake at night wondering.

This is what I imagine him to be
 It's October already and I don't know what's become of my time.  It's gone by in a blur of school starting, volunteering more than I should, subbing, and life in general.  There in lies my dilemma... do I go back and recap all that has happened over the last couple of weeks or do I just move on?  Does anyone care?  Does anyone even read this besides me?  Probably not, so I guess I can do whatever I want.  Since I am planning on printing off each year's blog and using it as a companion to my scrapbooks, I guess it would behoove me to recap life in general.  Someday maybe future generations will care about the minutiae of our lives.
Sadly, this is what he generally does!

Big exciting first day of school - 8th grade no less!  Hard to believe that our sweet baby boy is in his last year of Middle school.  How does that happen, when does it happen?  I suffered through all the first day jitters, who would he eat with, who would he sit with on the bus, would he know anyone in his classes?  Did the Zackman worry about any of these things?  Of course not, he just coasts through school with nary a worry.  I guess I should have had a hint, when we went to pick up his schedule and the squeals from all the girls who saw him were deafening!  It was like the Beatles were in town.  And then the squeals of excitement when some of them were in the same class!  O.M.G!

But then he looks like this and I wonder... I just wonder...
All his teachers seem fine, except for one (Civics) that appears to have some "issues" and an English teacher that appears to have a reputation slightly worse than the Nazi's!  Oh Yeah!  Just what I need.  Please Lord,  just let me get through middle school without harming myself or anyone else!