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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yesterday, I got out my flute – something I just don’t do enough anymore but am determined to remedy this summer. The boys, who I admit hadn’t seen me play in a while, were unwilling to be upstaged by my performance and immediately joined in. Matthew was the conductor/slash/occasional drummer and Zachary was the karaoke singer/slash/drummer. They really made me experience some of my favorite pieces in a whole new light.

Did you know, for example, that the Allegro Maestoso movement of Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra in G major is actually about PIZZA?! I kid you not. The entire piece is one long ode to the food. And what a masterpiece indeed – the way Mozart weaved the word ‘pizza’ on repeat throughout the entire movement is quite genius as was Zach’s performance and dedication to the work.

And with Matthew alternating conducting and offering a strong percussive beat, the Allegro Moderato of my Bach Sonata was anything but Moderato. That was the fastest Moderato I’ve ever heard! I just couldn’t quite keep up despite serious effort on my part. The highlight of the whole concert, for the boys, was when we all took bows at the end – over and over and over and over. Apparently there was serious applause and endless laudation for our musical presentation as the bows and curtsies continued for quite a while.

Later, Zach randomly started talking to himself about the new penguin ‘house’ at the zoo. His little badinage went on for a while discussing the penguins and how much he likes them, etc. Then, all of a sudden, He addressed me.

“Mommy,” Zach said, “The penguins have a tat. They have a new have a tat.”

Then he laughed, and in a tone of amused self-mockery explained, “I don’t say HABIPAT! That’s what I said when I was a BABY!!! I say HAVE A TAT now!!!” Oh, to have that kind of self-confidence and pride.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The other day, after swim lessons, the boys and I saw that our neighbor was outside. Hilda and her husband Walt Sr. live two doors down. They are in their ‘70’s and put more work into their backyard than anyone I know. The yard is tricked out with 20 gas Tiki torches, a three-tier terraced garden complete with wooden foot bridge and small cafĂ© table. This entire oasis, this sanctuary of garden glee, can be enjoyed with the added benefit of the constant babbling and gentle rumbling of their three tier, waterfall and, of course, coy-filled pond.

Hilda is sadly suffering the consequences of fifty years of smoking. She’s done all the Chemo that she can, but it appears her Lung Cancer is beyond help at this point. In October, they gave her less than a year. She now stays in most of the time, venturing out rarely – even to enjoy their pride-and-joy backyard. When the weather is nice enough she occasionally gets outside. She usually only makes it as far as the driveway, where she sits in her electric wheelchair, bald head glinting in the sun, watching their son Walt Jr. work on a car engine or do yard work.

This was what she was doing when we walked over to visit. There was a younger woman with Hilda who, as we approached, disappeared into the house. The boys were a little shy, but did offer Walt Jr. the use of their construction cone to put out in the street since he was working. (The cone goes out when we’re riding bikes …that and Matthew’s police officer stance and arm stretched out signally ‘stop’ usually works well in slowing the occasional car that goes by).

The woman who had disappeared into the house, I learned was Hilda’s daughter Pauline. The moment that Hilda saw that we were going to stop by for a visit she sent Pauline into the house to fetch candy for the boys! She had a huge Hershey bar and Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups for each of them. So nice. Matthew immediately said a nice and loud, “Thank you” to Hilda for which I was very grateful. Zach decided to be super shy all of a sudden (rare for that one), and he refused to say ‘thank you.’

But you know what he did say when he was ready to talk?!

Referring to the wrapped Reece’s PB Cups, he all of a sudden said, “My mommy will eat the orange ones.” Dude. Totally blew my cover. The ladies thought that was quite funny.

Zachary. What a charmer! The sweetheart knows how to flirt, how to lay on thick compliments, but yet also knows how to say it like it is.

Today, Zachary was sitting at the table while I made eggs for breakfast. “Mommy,” he said, “You’re a hot girl.” Um, excuse me? Well, yes, it’s true, and I’m so flattered but… “’Cuz,” he continued, “You do hot stuff like cooking on the stove.” Well, so much for that compliment.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yesterday, while I made dinner, the boys were playing nicely together in the living room (Allelulia!). Matthew started laughing and then I listened cautiously as a debate began. They were arguing over the correct pronunciation of the word “brother.”

Matthew said, “No, Zach, it’s not broDer, it’s broVer.”

Zach, obviously a passionate supporter for the opposing team immediately countered with, “Nu-uh. It’s broDer.”

They went back and forth for a while and then both seemed to come to an unspoken truce – they would continue on with their own versions of the correct way to say “brother” knowing all the while that their broDer/broVer was totally wrong. (Meanwhile, I continued to tiptoe around the kitchen hoping that they wouldn’t be reminded of my presence and therefore come harass me with all sorts of needs – the nerve).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It appears that in the summer, Mike’s night owl status tends to rub off on me a bit. And I’m not a fan. Staying up late means that I don’t always get my early morning runs in or writing time or me time. I need to get back on track. Today was good though, I was out of bed by 6 and did some much needed yoga-meditation time. See, this summer is all about decluttering – my house, my life, MY SOUL. I’m really trying to come up with some kind of a schedule so that everyone’s needs can be met, everything on the to-do list gets checked off and fun is had by all. Uh, maybe this is my definition of heaven and a somewhat unobtainable goal, but whatevs; I’ll still aim for perfection!

All in all, the summer break has been good for the boys so far, we’ve had a tad more at-home time than usual. Matthew and I have been practicing reading and have daily work/reading time and then reward time. He usually chooses to play a preschool game on for his reward. It’s a little freaky how well my five year old can navigate the web! (Although, yes, I’m very careful, and all his web-time is done with careful supervision). But he is Mike’s son, so I suppose Matthew’s computer savviness shouldn’t surprise us too much.

And speaking of computers, yes, I stink. It’s taken me three full weeks to get my Chicago pictures up, but at last here are some of my faves.

First you'll see pictures of my time in Lake Geneva with my dear friend Katherine and her parentals. Scrolling further down are the pictures from my Chicago time-- with my cousins, uncles and aunt.

With Katherine and her lovely parents in Lake Geneva, WI

Sunday, June 07, 2009

After much anticipation, our promo video for the 2010 National Engaged Encounter Convention is unleashed upon the world. Check it out!!

The boys watched it so many times that they began quoting lines from it. They were arguing over whether or not the Easter Bunny is a boy or a girl. (Why this question was being debated is beyond me). And Matthew said (quoting his super hero father), "It matters not..." Then he continued, "Because there are two Easter Bunnies -- one is a girl and one is a boy." And then later, out of the blue, Zachary told me that I needed to "reboot my relationship..." with whom or what though I'm unsure!

Enjoy the video though! It was a super fun (SUPER LONG) process, and I do think that in another life I'd definitely explore my super-hero persona as well as pursuing my acting and voice-over career.

Reboot Your Relationship! SCEE Final from Paul Hawxhurst on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I know, I know, it’s kinda been a while since I last updated, and I have yet to post my Chicago-trip pics. It’ll happen, someday. I have no one to blame on the tardiness and blog-slackage except…my children. Yes, I’ll blame them. Sing it with me now: SCHOOL’S OUT FOR SUMMER. SCHOOL’S OUT FOREVER. Sadly, Matthew’s days as a preschooler (and it was a lot of days! THREE years’ worth!) have come to an end. We bid adieu last week to his teachers and buddies and his lengthy preschool career. I’m quite thankful that Zach will be in the same preschool for at least two more years. I’m definitely not ready to say goodbye permanently yet.

So, here we are officially on Day Two of Summer Vacation and based on the boys’ behavior the last couple of days, I’m already counting down to the start of school. I even said to Matthew yesterday after multiple time-outs, “Dude, it’s going to be a LONG summer if you have to spend it all in time-out.” I don’t know what his deal was. Maybe he’s going through the grieving process of closing a monumental chapter in his life. I should respect his need to work through this transition and all of the mixed emotions that come with it. Yeah right. I’m not respecting anything if it means letting him burp in my face, yell and slam doors. Process-Shmocess. The kid was a-ca-razy man yesterday. I hope this ‘phase’ passes quickly or I seriously may be signing MYSELF up for summer school.

Looking way back to when things were good (like last week) – the boys were so happy to have me home from the Windy City. Mike did a phenomenal job with holding down the fort whilst I was away, but he was awfully glad to have me back! I felt ever-so-appreciated. And then he immediately disappeared into work and work on the EE Convention website. He has a deadline this Friday, so the poor man didn’t get home from work until 10:30 last night.

Thankfully at least one night last week, he was home early enough for us to barbeque and eat out on the deck. Issue Number One: I spilled my glass of wine. It makes me so very sad to see perfectly good wine go to waste but I resisted from licking the puddle off the deck. Issue Number Two: I somehow managed – and I still don’t know how – to stab myself in the cheek with my small, two pronged corn on the cob holder. Blood and all…two little pokes like I’d been bitten by a lost and confused vampire. Mike accused me of wanting to add to my facial piercing.

Post Issues One and Two, came, you guessed it! Issue Number Three: I was sweeping the deck and nearly poked out Mike’s eye with the broom handle. He quickly gathered the children to him and shepherded them inside to safety, saying, “Boys, let’s get inside before Mommy hurts anyone else.” I don’t know what my damage was! Maybe I was just all excited for our weekend plans.

On Saturday morning, we got to attend a private screening of the new Pixar film “Up.” We ALL loved it. I then got to see my favoritest college roommate Liane (who also was a bridesmaid and my marathon running buddy) for her baby shower. We then went to church, took the boys out to a fun diner for burgers and classic car show, came home, got them to bed, and then I headed out for my birthday celebratory Girls’ Night. Phew! It was quite the packed day! And then Sunday we went to a friends’ house for a BBQ. Needless-to-say, I thought Summer Vacation was off to a grand start…hmmm, just need to get the boys on board with this no-school phenomenon. Who-da thought that they’d be the ones having issues with all of our fun-in-the-sun free time?! Weirdos! =o)