Search This Blog

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Don't I look wistful in this picture? That's because it was taken at Cole's 8th grade graduation. (By my girlfriend with her mega zoom from across the gym. Thanks, Erin. It's a lovely picture. Poignant with a hint of sparkle.)

Isn't he so adorable? (And, don't you love Dave's fu-man-chu? I knew I married an outlaw...)

I had barely recovered from that momentous event when BOOM just last Wednesday he started H.I.G.H.S.C.H.O.O.L. And he is quite possibly the most adorable freshman I've ever seen. (He looks JUST like Dave in high school in this picture.)

  And, I really thought I was prepared. I read the books. Got the skinny on teachers and programs. Sent emails. Made inquiries. Requested teachers. Went to the principal's coffee. Did my due diligence. And, when other moms were lamenting over the loss of their "babies" I was secretly rejoicing that my "babies" were no longer such babies. Hallelujah. I was excited to walk this next chapter (that I had been so fond of in my own life) with my son who will CLEARLY eat up the entire high school experience. Let me give an example. The Friday before school started, he and I spent the better part of the day at the high school picking up his class schedule, books, student i.d., P.E. clothes, etc. Lots of waiting in lines. When we got to the front of the student i.d. line the adorable, juniorish girl manning that station asked him what year he was. Without skipping a beat he lifted an eyebrow, cocked his head to one side, folded his arms across his chest, peaked at her from above the rims of his super cool aviators, and said in a voice more befitting a man than a 14 year old boy, "JUNIOR.....No. SOPHOMORE........No. FRESHMAN." My chin hit the floor, but she was smitten. She peered up at him, twinkle in her eye, smiling ear to ear and said, "You COULD be a junior. What's your name, Freshman?" As I gathered my chin off the ground and glance up at my man-child I was somewhat stunned to see the cocky confidence that permeated the very air around him. And I dare say I was proud. Because let's be honest. That's exactly what you need to be successful in high school -- a healthy dose of cocky confidence.

But here's where the story turns south. At least for me. He went to the "back to school" dance on Friday night. It was called the "Freshman Mixer". Which, p.s., I didn't really like that name. It sounded too much like a "Singles Mixer" or something. Anyway, the idea was that the "LINK CREW" (primarily junior and senior kids whose job it is to assimilate the freshmen into high school) were tasked to dance with as many of the freshmen as possible. You know, "make them feel comfortable"; "show them the ropes". Seemed like a nice idea. Although, this is what my freshman boy-in-a-man's-body had to say when he got home, and I quote, "Oh my god. I had the best time ever. Senior girls in short shorts and tank tops 'grinding all up on my junk.' " end quote.

I'll just pause here to let that sink in.


1) How great that our kid is still willing to share all of the gory details of his life with us.

2) WTH - Were there no CHAPERONES? If there were, is this permissible behavior at the high school level? If so, I may need to consider homeschooling....again.

3) I'm seething mad. I do not want my kid's "junk" involved in any school time activities, Thankyouverymuch. Call me old fashioned.

4) I'm surprised to realize that I've become one of "those" parents. You know the ones like Dr. and Mrs. Houseman (Baby's parents) from Dirty Dancing. Or Reverand Shaw Moore (Ariel's dad) from Footloose. I remember thinking when I saw those movies as a teenager that those parents were so totally out of touch with their teenage kids. I specifically thought to myself, "When I'm a parent of teenagers I will not allow myself to be so out of touch with what's going on and what's 'normal' with the teenage crowd. And yet, here I am. Completely out of touch and totally appalled by this behavior. I'm calling Shaw Moore.

5) Who is looking out for these girls and their self respect? This "grinding" seems largely degrading to girls and women. Again, where are the chaperones? Who is the teacher advisor to this "Link Crew"?

6) Dave says, "It's no big deal. This is all part of growing up. At least he's talking to us about what's going on." Yes, that's true. Am I overreacting?

7) The good news: Cole told us that there was one girl that caught his eye.
       Me: "Was she a senior?" (gulp)
       Cole: "No, she's a freshman, and she's in my G.A.T.E English class." (Thank God.)
       Me: "Did you dance with her?" (gulp, gulp)
       Cole: "No. I didn't want to dance with her like that." (Thank God.)
So at least our moral teachings haven't past him by. Hallelujah. But it's still irritating to feel like the school is working against us as we try to impart on our son the importance of getting through high school without engaging in nonsense. (Read: without having sex -- or doing drugs.)

8) I'd like to send an email to the principal, but I hate to start off my high school career (yes, mine - I'll be in high school for the next 12 years. Sigh.) with a big honkin' issue like this.

9) Please advise, my dear, brilliant colleagues in parenting. What to do? How to handle?

One of "those" parents,
Mrs. S

Sunday, August 07, 2011

An Urban Farm Update and Summer Snapshots

My little Urban Farm is thriving beautifully. The zucchini is delicious, the broccoli was beautiful (until it was overrun with aphids), the tomatoes are ripening, the celery was totally bitter but looked great, the artichokes are small but tasty, the olallieberries were bountiful (everyone will be getting jam again for Christmas. Felicidades.), we have ONE fig on our tiny little fig tree, and the chickies are full grown and have made the transition from dining room to backyard. Thank God. Jett and Zona love their little chickie brood and can often be seen rubbing noses and licking their little feathered friends in greeting. It's rather darling. We found a local chicken coop builder and bought the CUTEST coop made from all reclaimed materials. I would like him to build me a house just like it. And Dave enclosed the bottom section of the kids' play structure (you know where the sand is supposed to go but really it's just dirt) with chicken wire and a gate so we have an enclosed chicken run. Our white silkie turned out to be a rooster and here's the story on that.

One night I was having trouble sleeping; tossing and turning well past midnight. Emerson, who had recently watched a very scary movie thanks to his brother, was back and forth between our bed and his terrifying room of shadows and "scary noises". I'd finally had it up to "here" with the nonsense and sent him to sleep with his sisters.  Not long after, still lying awake in my bed, I heard a blood curdling shriek coming from the general vicinity of the girls' room. It was a horrible, horrifying sound of the likes I had never heard. I shook Dave awake and said, "Honey, I just heard a terrible noise." Naturally, he responded, "Well, you better go check it out." Let's take a quick time out here. Dave is an amazing husband and father. He provides for our family perfectly. But, when it comes to any nighttime occurrence, I'm on my own. It all started when we had babies and due to his general lack of boobs he was deemed rather useless when it came to the nighttime activity of nursing babies back to sleep. He quickly learned to tune out all nighttime noises. He makes no apologies for this, and I've come to respect it about him. At least one of us will be well rested in the morning. Besides if there really is something threatening my kids in the middle of the night then I'm the mama bear for the job. An intruder would stand nary a chance against me protecting my kids in the middle of the night. I'm a frightening (and impressive) force if my kids are threatened. So I jumped out of bed feeling badly for berating Emerson for his fears because clearly we did have a demon in our house. Who knew? I ran through the dark house to the girls' room, shouting in a whisper, "EMERSON?" Straight to the bed that he was sharing with Soli only to find two peacefully spooning angels. Evie snored softly in the upper bunk. Again, the shrieking. This time coming from behind me. In the kitchen? I turned on all the lights as I moved cautiously through the kitchen to the dining room. I stood quietly in the doorway, waiting. And then again the terrible noise. It sounded like a child crying out during a night terror. Or a baby goat bleating. Have you heard that sound? Creepy. Think Silence of the Lambs. But then I saw him. In the dog crate that had come to house our brood of chicks. Back lit by the heat lamp in the corner of the dining room. Standing as tall as could on his fluffy feathered feet. Our white silkie.....rooster! And I couldn't help but laugh right out loud as he puffed up his feathery chest and lifted his scrawny little chicken wings and let it rip. The most ridiculous (and terrifying) cock-a-doodle I'd ever heard.

The next day, Dave stumbled across a Craigslist Ad. "Wanted: A Silkie Rooster". We saw it as a sign from the Patron Saint of Urban Farms. So we called the number and after I was thoroughly satisfied that our little Peck-a-Choo wouldn't be used for any Devil Worshipping, Barb-e-quing, or Cock Fighting activities (people must think I'm crazy) we struck a deal. And as sad as we were to part with our little white silkie he is now happily cock-a-doodling on a real life Rural Farm. And the farm mistress promised us a couple of his chicks in the future. The End.

And here are some of my favorite summer snapshots.
We took Emerson and pals paint balling in June for Em's 11th. 

I thought this rock in Montana looked like a badger. 

Cole the fire master lighting all the kids' sparklers on the 4th of July in Montana. 

Cole getting up close and personal (to my dismay) with an elk in Yellowstone. 

Dave and I celebrated 15 years of marriage in July. 
Rocky Mountain 4th of July. 

We took the kids to Montana for two weeks in July. Here we are waiting for the parade down the main street in Ennis. 

In front of Gibbon Falls in Yellowstone. Cole was having time out up the trail. 

Painted ponies in Montana. 

Cole and Soli in front of the Madison river. 
Ahhh. Summer. 

Evie, fly fishing, and a full moon in front of the Fishing Shack in Montana. 

We opted to take a "short cut" on the way home from Montana. 120 miles of dirt roads (and small creeks we had to drive through). We didn't see a single other vehicle for 3 hours. I wasn't sure if we'd make it out alive. Thankfully, we had a full tank of gas and a reliable vehicle. Pesky iphones and their navigation apps. 

Houseboating and "wake surfing" with the cousins. 

Family reunion 2011. That's me in the purple with my parents and five younger siblings. 
I hope you've all had a lovely summer. Ours is almost up. Cole starts his first day of high school on Wednesday. Go Cowboys!