Friday, May 31, 2013

lately

Last week was hard. B had a stomach virus that I spent the week cleaning up after, and that kept us both up all night for several nights. On top of that he had strep throat (yes, at the same time) and had to get a huge shot of penicillin in his leg, as the oral medicine would just make the vomiting worse. He has not yet learned to handle such afflictions gracefully, so the week wore on with whining and moaning and increasingly shortened nerves as the sleep deprivation set in. I have had nearly a week to recover, and I think I finally felt normal again yesterday.

I wrote a loooong, free form draft early in the week and didn't publish it. When I read it again today, it was clear that I'm feeling worlds better. I guess I just needed to get it out, but I'm glad I didn't post it. 

Things have been kind of rough, what with the long, slow, painful job search, and the dragging on of professional projects that just aren't picking up steam like I hoped. But things aren't bad. There is a lot of excitement with B finishing up elementary school (plus a little heartache on both our parts), and getting ready for his upcoming punk shows. We've had some fun with Field Day and class parties. B played Rockstravaganza, a big show in Deep Ellum featuring all the School of Rock bands. He played some Minor Threat, which was cool. 
You can laugh at this if you want, but I'm kind of excited for his 5th grade graduation. Finishing elementary school feels like such a huge accomplishment! I made him the raddest photo book of all his school years thus far as a "graduation" present. If anyone deserves it, it's this kid. For better or worse (worse usually being hyper-criticism of himself and extreme emotions), he worked his butt off, made A Honor Roll year after year, tested into countless GT programs, got put in Manhattan's super-competitive GT program without even having to test, and had to start over at new schools way too many times. He has earned a chance to be recognized and celebrated, if you ask his super-humble, unbiased mom.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Field Day 2013

or, The Most Fun Field Day Yet.
or, I Can't Believe These Are The Last Days Of Elementary School.

Mother's Day

was perfect.
Sweet words.
Flowers.
Hello Holiday.
Favorite brunch.
Everyone happy.
Thanks and love to the sweet boy who made me a mom and the sweet man who loves this mom.

Missy's got a bun in the oven!

Missy and her husband Ryan came to visit on their way to see her family in Louisiana last month. Missy had just found out she was pregnant and told her husband/the world by taking that picture of baby Allen's first toy.

It was really nice to see my friends. Missy is a professional photographer, and she had some sessions booked around the metroplex, but we found time to show Ryan around Dallas. Missy and I met here and spent a lot of our time together until she moved in 2007 (I can't believe it's been that long), but Ryan's only experience with Texas was a quick visit in the dead of brutal, 100+ degree, humid summer, so his memories of it were less fond. The weather ended up nice, maybe even a bit chilly -- perfect for Ryan. We walked around Oak Cliff, stopping in all the little shops and enjoying an awesome brunch at Oddfellows. I showed them downtown Dallas, my alma mater -- SMU, and tried to stretch and sell the few interesting things I know about Dallas. We ate Mexican food and vegged out on the couch. We talked about baby things and I got really excited listening to the two of them talk about their future plans. I've seen Missy go through a lot over the years (and vice versa), and I'm so happy to see her so happy (morning sickness and all).

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Gregg

For the last 10 years, Gregg -- ever the drama queen -- has been telling me that he would never make it to 30. Well, not only did he make it, but he celebrated with me and Justin, his friends for the last decade. We can never really predict where life is going to take us -- especially in our twenties -- but we can pick out people to take the ride with us, and hold on to them as tightly as we can for as long as we can. For his 30th birthday he had a small party, and we all dressed up (I wore a dress my grandma made for my mom in the 80s, complete with shoulder pads and purple sparkles) and ate rainbow cake. At the end of the night we sent off 30 paper lanterns, one for every year that has shaped my dear friend, with memories and wishes for the future. It was perfect. I look back on our friendship with gratitude that I have a memory for every year of Gregg's twenties, and that he's still here with me and Justin, the same funny, dramatic, loyal, great dancer he's always been.

British Invasion

B's last band covered "British Invasion" music, mostly post-Beatles. It was a good time for everyone in this house because we are big, big fans of The Kinks, The Stones, The Zombies, and so on. Taso and I walked down the aisle at our wedding to The Kinks' "Strangers" and exited the ceremony to "This Time Tomorrow." BIG fans. With the exception of Led Zeppelin and Queen, there is no other era in music history that B loves more than 60s Brit-rock. His primary instrument right now is drums, which he played on "Hold Tight," "Silhouettes," "Not Fade Away" and "I Can Only Give You Everything." He also did backup vocals on "Time of the Season" and played keys on "House of the Rising Sun" -- which he is so obsessed with that I had to buy him the vinyl single so at least, if I have to hear it over and over on constant repeat, it sounds its best. He struggled to learn the "House of the Rising Sun" solo, but it's now his warmup every day when practices piano. B is a perfectionist and a harsh critic of himself, and that artistic temperament can be difficult to deal with in a small house, but I've never seen him as fulfilled and confident as he has been since he started at School of Rock. Every season there are several bands to choose from, so he's always learning new music but still has options. He gets to collaborate and perform at real shows.
SOR also provides him with amazing opportunities, like when he was invited to meet the Zombies at their show in Dallas. We got to watch sound check and he had a chance to really talk with members of the band and the road crew. It was great to see him connect with the people who wrote some of the songs he loves, and to talk instruments with real guitar and drum techs. We stood on the side of the stage for the show, where he danced and sang on the top of his lungs the WHOLE night, much to the entertainment of the band/opening band/crew/crowd. Our good friend Britt, who knows more about music than anyone I've ever known, was also at the show and B was enamored with him. 
^ This is Jim Rodford. He was in the Kinks and then the Zombies. When I told him my name is Brittan he said, "I'm from there!" He also told B to take a picture with him so he could prove he was taller than someone. I repeat, this man was in the Kinks and the Zombies. He also got to meet Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent, but our pictures didn't come out...
It was kind of a surreal experience for B to play a couple shows of this music and then go see the real thing. Experiences like this, and how happy they make him, make it worth trying to find a way to pay for lessons every month. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

It's so hard to say goodbye.

Alas, we had to put Jare Bear on a plane early that Monday morning. It was a tearful goodbye on B's part, and Jaren was pretty quiet on the way to the airport. B didn't have the best day at school that day... or that week, but he's recovered and is begging to have his buddy back this summer.
 We miss you Jare!

And, just because, here are some adorable vintage pictures of baby B and Jare for your enjoyment:
 

Easter

With my kitchen still buried under dirty dishes and every surface covered in a thin layer of Butter Beer, the boys and I decided to go out for breakfast. They had giant cinnamon rolls, breakfast tacos and hot chocolate. Jaren tried a shot of carbonated water and wasn't sure how he felt about it. I found a picture of them when they were two years old, and realized how little they've changed. Katie (Jaren's mom) even pointed out that they still have the same hair cuts! I sure do miss their little toddler cuddles sometimes.

We did Easter baskets and went over to Taso's parents' house for Easter dinner and dessert, but most of their day was spent playing outside, talking in secret, and enjoying their last day together.
Happy faces, sweaty from playing football, chocolate milk and extra whipped cream. All signs of a great vacation.

Hogwarts First Years Party!

 Remember when the owl brought B's Hogwarts letter? The day finally came for our house to turn into the School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Sabrina helped me bake all day and my grandma made these awesome house flags that are now hanging in B's room. The front door was transformed into Platform 9 3/4. 

Our house is small so we just had a few family members and friends over. Since Jaren was in town, B opted to invite only his other closest friend, Tanner, instead of a big group. It was exactly what he wanted. There was Hagrid's cake, super authentic Butter Beer, lots of food, and Quidditch Pong (which Sabrina and I enjoyed but was largely under appreciated by everyone else). The three boys had a sleepover and stayed up way too late chatting. It was determined that B is in Ravenclaw and Jare is in Gryffindor. B's now reading the Harry Potter series again (for the 4th time, I think?), which I discouraged at first (there are so many other books out there!), but I think it's helping him prepare for moving on to middle school. In some ways, the party felt a little like that too. The last "kid" party, a chance to talk about memories and upcoming adventures, the first sleepover party.

It was a great time. Even Nonny was wiped out by the end of it.


FYI --
Cake recipe: Fat Pants Cake from the Baby Cakes cookbook (thanks, Sam!)
Butter Beer recipe: Here (it was complicated but awesome.)