Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Literature Experiment: Darby Franks

Roxy recently finished this book that I have in my personal home library. The handing down of books in my house is big business, and since Roxy is following the path I paved of reading 1 book every 3 days, I have a lot of recommendations for her. I got an idea from the book that I tried out on my third period class. We are possibly the loudest class in the school, in the loudest period of the day--lunchtime. Not second even to Connections classes (which are like elementary school specials), nobody in my third period even knows how to shut up. Not that I hate them, I have more friends there than any other period. But the skill of being quiet is something all people should know, and all teachers appreciate greatly, of course. My teacher had her doubts when I told her, but she gave me the thumbs-up. I walked up to the class to propose my idea and list the terms and conditions. As soon as I said "Hey, if we don't talk the entire class--" EVERYONE BURST OUT LAUGHING GIGGLING BELLOWING WITH LAUGHTER.True story. It went on like, a minute and a half, straight from a movie. Every single person that was sitting in a desk was doubled over screaming their lungs out. I expected this, so don't assume I went crying back to my desk. Once I said things like "girls vs. guys" and "cupcakes for the winning team" I got their attention. We followed the terms pretty closely: no talking to friends, whispering to friends, or giggling with friends. In fact, no talking at all, unless the teacher calls on you. We had a lead right away: in the first 30 minutes of class, the guys had two points up. That is just sad, people. At lunch, one girl I know well, Jessica, hated me temporarily because I "took her words away." She is one of the noisiest people in class. Bunmi said that it was rigged, but when I asked him how, he couldn't give an example. He was probably just being a sore loser. The Girls won!! I asked if anyone would do it again, and like, 5 people said yes out of the entire class. Oh, well. I got to be a leader, even just for one class. But if I could have pushed it further, I would have done exactly what the kids in the book did: continued it for three weeks and driven all the teachers to madness. Ah, the opportunities...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Je Ne Sais Quoi

Here are my precious daughters, looking spiffy on a Sunday.  The week away from school was wonderful and they were happy and rested and looking forward to getting back to Cognitive Abilities Testing.  Yeah right.

On Sunday, we had a meal with some church friends who are just getting to know my daughters.  They could not believe that these girls were so trendy, wanting to wear these stylish clothes.  And, they could not believe how brave they are about wearing hats.  Both girls love their fedoras.

How do you explain quiet, mostly shy girls?  Darby, in particular, is a self-conscious and quiet drama queen.  Her Daddy tagged her with that nickname in the hospital on the day of her birth.  She has no problem with public speaking and being noticed, but she is also very private and sometimes distant because of her 'cognitive abilities'. Wearing a very noticeable hat suits her enigma.  Roxy is our Rock Star.  She is quiet in public and irritates the tar out of me because she refuses to speak up whenever necessary.  But, she can totally emote into something of a show-off when she has an audience and gets wound up, striking funny poses and wearing funky clothes.  The funk suits her, as does her rockin' name.

I blame the je ne sais quoi of my daughters on their whole look.  With the unconventional hair - Curls Gone Wild - people seem to think they should be a certain way, but then they are truly shy in outer personality, and then they surprise you with the personality that doesn't seem to fit either their look or their mien.  So go figure - I don't know what it is, but both are suited perfectly well to each other and to me :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Road Rules

We just completed a great road trip back from Oklahoma, which is way too many miles for this momma to drive, but it is what it is.  This was probably the best trip ever, as far as travelling goes.  No drama for the momma, happy girls that got along and swam and pulled their weight, and lots of visiting with family and friends that left us feeling blessed.  Since I have now perfected the 15 hour road trip, I have a list of rules that I will try to always follow:

1.  Take the trip in two days.  This gal can't drive that long trip in one day.
2.  Stay at a hotel/inn that is better than the bottom of the barrel.  It costs more, but it is worth the good night's sleep.  And, the bedding is better, the towels are better, the breakfast is better, and the HD TV is a treat for me, considering I will never have one of those new-fangled gadgets.
3.  Quit driving by 7 p.m.  You can relax with the hotel paper while your girls swim in the indoor pool.
4.  Avoid fast food whenever possible, except when you see Taco Bueno.  We don't have those in my area, and they have always been a favorite of this family.
5.  Make one meal ice cream.  Lunch or dinner doesn't matter because everyone is happy, and you can follow it up with something healthy to make up for it.
6.  Have a book for out-loud reading in the car.  Make Darby read it to you.  We had more conversations this trip about all sorts of things, spurred by this book that is a comprehensive history of the world.  Loved it.
7.  When the little one wants to bring lots of stuffed animals, just let her.  She is a happier camper with them, no question.
8.  Pack at least 25 disks, and cover every genre of music you have listened to since high school.  It is amazing how many lyrics you will never forget.
9.  Bring all of you Loony Tunes disks.  They can even make me laugh up in the front seat, and I can't see a thing.
10.  Do not put strict limits on screen time when making a big road trip.  It will be okay if Roxy watches all four of the Benji movies in one day - she has nothing better to do, anyway.  And, she will still read her book, draw and color, play electronic games, etc.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The United Friends of Roxy's Room

Roxy and her team of "besties" are back!

Which means, small group is back in session.  Our home, being the preacher's house, is clean and ready to rumble.  The August hiatus and all the summer entertaining are over and we are back in business with our dedicated families returning for Season 3.  And, we have added FIVE families.

Which means, the house may be breaking, the carpet may be on its last legs, and the kids are all right.  At least, they will be all right until I find out that they are bouncing on the furniture again, and in that case there will be a kid who is NOT all right.

Which means, it's time for my Captain of Rule Following to lay down the law.  This year, she recruited her "besties" to set up the laws with her and sign it like a Constitution.

I am very proud of them.  I love a united front that is all about order and respect.  This is necessary when five year old girls are in the mix :)

Let's hope that the adults have a great year studying and the kids work out all the issues democratically.  And the seventh graders girls do a great job with the babies.  And the seventh grade boys don't hack into our wireless Internet code.  And that lone five year old boy does not make everyone too crazy.  And let's hope Roxy and the Besties are B.F. F.s forever - united by their own, self- governed, pink Pottery Barn-ish room.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Banjo Heroes

   Scott and I had the awesome opportunity to see the Avett Brothers last night in this beautiful part of Atlanta where the money is old, the houses are big, and everyone behaves very well, even when drinking their "beverages".

I was able to talk Scott into going to this show because they feature a banjo in all of their songs.  They also use the cello, string bass, and about every other percussive instrument under the sun, which makes the show even better and the music even richer.  I like them for numerous reasons, but mostly because they are good ol' Carolina boys that have created their own music and sound and work so hard to make sure that everyone has a good time.  And, all of the songs are singable - you can understand all the words, except when they rap like rapid fire.  Yes, they rap while strumming the fire out of the banjo and other acoustic instruments.  And the entire crowd of mostly twenty-something preppy hipsters wearing their hemp necklaces, cargo shorts, and Jason Mraz hats just bounces along, singing every single word to every single song.  It was so fun.

The opening act was so good, too. Brandi Carlile opened and she was very good, very authentic, and enjoyed every minute of being in front of a huge crowd.  When she started on the Johnny Cash songs, they all worked really, really well.  And she is a girl, which could have been disastrous.  We really liked her.  She uses the cello in all her songs, too, so she gets bonus points on my rating scale.

Whenever we go to a concert filled with people acting like adults, using clean language, and respecting all the other people there, we know we have got the right music and the right crowd.  I will go back for the Avett Brothers - they make you love them and their music.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Seventh Grade Ephemera

I found many more interesting things in the basement this weekend.  The good news is:  I found my glass salad bowls in a very small box stored with old financial documents.  Go figure.

Then,  I found this in another box.

This is a drawing of me in the seventh grade.  I was 12 years old and had just gotten glasses.  A word of advice to current/future parents out there:  get your kid in glasses BEFORE junior high hits, puberty hits, and self-conscious anxiety take over a girl's life.  In the seventh grade, I had never felt lower and more down on myself than ever.  Entering junior high was tough for me.

But...there was one boy that liked me, and I did not know about it.  He drew this picture of me from memory and I managed to find out about it from his cousin, who was a friend.  Was I ever kind to this boy?  I don't really recall.  He was curious about me being a Christian because he did not believe in religion or God or anything so spiritually-based.  I was such a good girl - no bad language or bad behavior.  Nothing bad at all.  I did not know what to do about getting this picture and processing the feelings that came with it.  My mom salvaged this picture from me, afraid that I would destroy it.  My mom was a smart cookie, because a 12 year old that hates her glasses could wreck this piece of homemade ephemera.

Finding this picture made me empathize with my oldest child, Darby.  She is in the seventh grade now.  Does she feel as down about herself as I did that year?  Is there some boy drawing her picture from memory that she does not know about?  Will she regret her hairstyle, like I regret my very 80s hair in this drawing?  I hope my daughter feels more confident at 12 than I did.  I hope she can recognize the honor of having a boy like her, because I do not think I recognized it very well.  Maybe it was because he did not believe in God - that was a definite turn-off in my books back then as well as now.

My husband has been teasing me about this picture for a couple of days now.  I would like to point out:  no one drew him when he was 12.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Personal Unholiday

If I lived in the central timezone, or at least a state in the general vicinity of Oklahoma, I would be enjoying my family, my extended family, and my extended family once removed.  But, alas, there is no family reunion for me (again) this year and I am attempting to cope.

Ho Hum.

I rented a movie.  That was okay.

I went to the Square and saw lots and lots of art on a spectacular day.  Weather was great, art was fun, then it was over.

I ate Colombian food.  I liked most of it and I liked all of the sauces.  That was okay.

I proceeded to clean the basement.  The Pit of Despair has been trying the patience of my husband these days.  I must return to the basement (again), but some progress has been made.  That is okay.

I caved in and broke a diet rule and had ice cream.  I never have ice cream anymore, but the Chocolate Raspberry Truffle-sized hole in my stomach needed to be filled.

I looked at Roxy's baby photos and cried.

I am now on a path of self-sabotage.  Ice cream and baby photos are making me weak.  What else can I do to fill the family reunion hole in my weekend?

Roxy's solution:  The American Girl Store.  Yep.  When all else fails, spend money in egregious ways so the guilt of overspending consumes the guilt of missing the fam.

Now, I'm off to work out twice as hard so as to counter balance the ice cream and baby pictures I might encounter again today...