Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Creepy Drama Queen

Darby decided to go goth this year for Halloween.  She is Bellatrix LeStrange, the evil witch from the Harry Potter series that kills Neville Longbottom's parents with the Cruciatis curse.  I was trying to talk her into being Hermione Granger again, since we have a great costume, but NO!  And so, the Witch went to the area wide Youth Halloween party dressed like this.  She got the second place award at the party, and she was very proud.  It did not seem to bother her one bit that she was the only girl in a witchy costume with dramatic eye makeup and a very significant Dark Mark drawn on her arm with a Sharpie.  The fact that she does not need a wig for the witchy hair is something that we just have to learn to live with, kind of like making lemonade out of lemons.  Congrats on you creepy win, Dar.  Let's hope you don't contract Sharpie poisoning from your Dark Mark-doodled arm...

Friday, October 22, 2010

She's Alive!

The intensity of this look is pure Darby - she is about to do something that is kind of scary, something she has never done before.  She is going to float the rapids on the Ocoee River.

This river is the same river where Olympic athletes competed for medals in 1996.  Darby has had a little bit of instruction from Crazy Pete, her guide.  I saw a photo of him, and he looks like a character actor from Deliverance. Darby now knows how to fall out of the raft, and she knows the most dangerous places on the river, and she is praying that she avoids all these things.

And she does.

Darby survives the float trip and the spelunking expedition, but both were very intense, very challenging ventures.  Confronting fears in a crowd of teenagers is not an easy task - you may be remembered for your less-than-best moments.  And, Darby happens to be very verbal about what her issues are - she earned the Drama Queen title on the day of her birth and she has kept it ever since.

But now, a few days later, she is quite satisfied with herself and what she conquered - as long as she does not have to see the photos of the spelunking drama.  I don't like those pics, either, Dar.  I am sharing this photo with the world because you did a brave thing and I am proud of you.  Long live the Darby Queen!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

She's Not Normal, Either

This was conference week for the Franks' fam.  Not my favorite week of the year, but it is unavoidable.

Conferences have been a little bit like one of those Dirty Santa gift exchange games.  You know there are good things floating around, and just when you think you might hear something good, you realize that your child is not perfect and the teacher is giving you something you would rather not receive:  room for improvement.  In the case of our Big One, it is always about how she can do everything but she somehow manages to not excel, completely on purpose.  In the case of our little one, it is a different story.

Since Roxy started school, there have always been areas of improvement.  Not that there's anything wrong with that...but it seems like the teacher is always slightly concerned about what is going on with her.  Scott and I feel completely the opposite about our little one - she has always been just fine and we had no concerns until the teacher started telling us what all we had to be worried about - and I would feel defensive.  Roxy is our normal child!  How can you not get that?  Teacher, you don't know issues until you have an infant reading all letters, all the time, and she doesn't even walk yet.  We had that kid, and we know what challenges are, and Roxy is not a challenge, trust me.

So this year, we have the opportunity to meet with her teacher (who happens to be fabulous) and we hear a story we have never heard before.  "Roxy is not normal."  She also mentions that Roxy is an absolute gift, and I agree, but she tells us that it is not normal for a child to want so much responsibility, to do her jobs without looking for extra attention, to do everything without having to be told to do it.  And she is nice to everyone, too.  Apparently, that is not normal either.

So, the surprise gift thing happened to us again.  We found out that Roxy is not normal, but she is a precious gift that I would never swap.  And FINALLY...she is a prolific reader.  I knew she would cave in to the family trait.  Ha Ha Roxy.  You found the Franks' family gift!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Time to Pick the Pumpkins...

 Roxy got the only child experience whilst her sister was away, being a teenager with her youth group. 

Gasp.  Choke.  Faint.

The Big One is a teenager (almost) and the Little One was alone.  No one coped well with this scenario, especially the Little One.

But the pictures turned out cute anyway...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Baby Steps, Giant Leaps

My oldest has been taking baby steps into adulthood since the moment she was seventeen months old and decided to rise up and walk.  These days, it feels like I am earning more stretch marks as I watch her mature and change into something I have never had before - an almost teenage adolescent.

Change is exciting.  I don't happen to do exciting very well - just ask Roxy, because she says we have the most boring house EVER.  And Darby is pretty much facing it all, head-on, ready to go.  This is a slight shift for her, because there have been numerous occasions where she has dug in her heels and refused to acknowledge any change or growth required of her.

But her changes now are of great interest to her.  New, mature clothes.  Huge-but-beautiful feet.  Skin care.  Hair care.  Text messages that she wants to keep private.  Deep thoughts about deep subjects.  Activities that take her away from this home and away from her unqualified mother.  I am definitely feeling more stretch marks, every day.  Who knew that I was the one doing all the stretching?  Who knew that I was the one that needed to adapt?

And now, my baby is wanting to redefine herself.  And these are more like giant leaps to me.  She is now a reader.  Now she wants to dance in a studio where she will wear tarted-up spandex.  Now, she wants to join a club for the gifted kids that try to solve hypothetical problems in competition venues.  This kid?  The one who still acts like a wiener dog?  

This momma cannot take on those stretch marks right now.  No way, no how.  I am just trying to survive the big kid, who will soon share my shoe size, if she is that unfortunate...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Less-Than-Deep Thoughts

Today was a thoughtful day for me.  I was around people who were having a less-than-best day, and I thought about what might be provoking them.  The children I taught were certainly having their less-than-best day, and I thought about the parents that need to take care of them and teach them a thing or two since I was getting nowhere with them.  Sitting at home, reflecting on this day, I had these less-than-deep thoughts:

1.  I wish I had HBO.  I want to watch the Bruce documentary tonight about one of my top five favorite albums, Darkness of the Edge of Town.

2.  I love fall weather, especially here in Georgia.  I want to go someplace pretty without a less-than-patient individual getting peeved about traffic and wrong turns.  I want to enjoy the great weather without some less-than-adult person complaining about how boring we are.

3.  I would like to be able to cook a wonderful meal that everyone would like and would meet my dietary requirements.  I feel judged by my plate now if it has anything that is rich in flavor, because it mocks me with its caloric content.  And I don't like the mocking part.

4.  The basement.reorg is a disaster right now.  It is mocking me as well.  Maybe this is the weekend to subdue the clutter and dust and embrace the higher level that my husband subscribes to - the everything- contained-or-thrown-in-a-trash-container concept.  I am less-than-proficient at containment.

5.  Darby's hair needs a new high dollar treatment.  This less-than-cheap need is a burden on my bank account.

6.  Roxy is bored...again.  I feel mocked by this less-than-accurate depiction of all the members of this house.  I refuse to be a jukebox of events for an eight year old.  I wish we lived next door to the Duggars, because surely one of them could play with her and be entertaining.  It's not my fault that she is bored with the puzzles from the Sunday paper, cuz they suit me just fine.

7.  Chipotle should build a location in my neck of the woods.  I would be loyal.

8.  Laundry is almost done.  Now if only I could sort through all the less-than-perfect clothes that are too small for the girls, and the less-than-perfect clothes that are too big for me.  I am less-than-proficient at containment, like I mentioned earlier, so boxing up this stuff makes my mind wander.

9.  I wonder if I have enough leftover taco meat for a less-than-healthy recipe for our dinner tonight.  That would be great.

10.  Maybe I need to go to a movie tomorrow.  Just me, myself, and I.  Time for an escape that includes peace and quiet, surround sound, and less-than-healthy popcorn.  Maybe...

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Brainy Beauty and the Brainy Beasts

My Saturday was spent being a brainy mom.  I do not drive my children around to non-stop soccer games, no, I drive my beautiful daughter to an academic contest.  And, she rocked.

Darby, who is not into joining or competing in anything, is on an academic bowl team.  This did give me pause.  I know what it is like when trying to get Darby to perform up to her potential - she balks.  But, because of the care and consideration of a beloved teacher, she agreed to be on the academic team.  Ten boys and two girls.  Darby does not seem to mind this so much, and apparently she does have some competitive bones in her body.  Her school performed so well - they go to the regionals this winter, so we will have lots of opportunities to funnel more knowledge into her until then.

After witnessing the academic bowl this weekend, I have a new appreciation for mathletes.  You would not believe how hard the math questions were, and they have to be answered in a couple of seconds.  There was this one genius that seemed to always get them right, unfortunately he was representing a school from the other side of the county.  Darby's team did very well, but I don't think they have Rain Man in their group.

When they would start reading a question that I knew that Darby would know, I would get so anxious for her.  I want her to buzz in every time, but she is a little more cautious than that.  Thankfully, she did get the opportunity to score some points in language arts.  That little chapter she read in the second grade kicked off her success, and since no one else knew it, she accumulated 20 more points.  But the ones she missed!  AAARGH!  These students could use me on their team when it comes to the miscellaneous trivia questions.  Based on what happened on Saturday, I am glad I hung a U. S. map in her room in the first grade, I am glad I invested in good, quality literature, and I am glad we read history books out loud on our road trip to Oklahoma, because she used all of these resources for the academic team questions.  Darby, you rock.