Tuesday, April 28, 2009

13 Is the New 18 and Other Things My Children Taught Me...

I just finished the funniest book... 13 Is the New 18 and Other Things my Children Taught Me- While I was Having a Nervous Breakdown Being their Mother, by my new favorite author Beth Harpaz. I can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud reading this memoir... and the scary part is that it all rang true. Raising teenagers is weird. and pretty hard too. Sometimes I think that I am doing pretty ok and then thirty seconds later something hits me...there is ALWAYS some new little insight or bit of information about my beloved offspring that strikes funny. Occasionally its funny in a "ha-ha" kind of way, but more often it's funny in an "how bizarre" kind of way.
Anna Quindlen recently wrote a Newsweek column about the challenges of parenting.... how it is a common popular expectation that parenting is easy and intuitive.She even cites a scientific study where the cortisol levels (stress hormones) of at risk kids is measured before and after their parents are enrolled in a parenting class. Nothing complicated, but the basics...consistent discipline, positive reinforcement... Dr. Spock kind of philosophy. And do you know what happened? The kids levels of cortisol changed. They tracked the kids for years, and the kids whose parents received basic sound advice and support were able to change the biology of their formerly at risk kids, from troubling to typical. Wow. Ms. Quindlen suggests that maybe instead of pretending like being a parent is a piece of cake, we should admit that it has its challenges and not be afraid to ask for help and advice. She states... It can be a great job, motherhood, but it would be nice if everyone could be more honest about how overwhelming the job can be, and more willing to find ways to support and inform the people who are trying to do it.
Honest looks at parenting a teenager- as in my new favorite book... 13 is the New 18- are refreshing and uplifting and help us realize that we are not alone...being a mom is great, but it can also be tough and emotionally exhausting and sometime downright confusing. I would like to thank Beth Harpaz very, very much for sharing her research and experience in surviving her son's 13th year.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Vermilion Flycatcher

This is an excerpt from Lily's report on an animal that lives in the desert. She chose to report on the under-appreciated vermilion flycatcher.

A male vermilion flycatcher is very red. Unlike the female vermilion flycatcher that is very brown.
A male vermilion flycatcher gives a showy bug to the female so the female will mate with it. Kind of like what we do.
The vermilion flycatcher is a bird and as you would expect it lives in a nest. Speaking of where it lives, it lives in North America and South America. I don’t know the exact deserts it lives in but I know it lives in deserts.

I asked her about the "showy bug" observation and how it relates to "what we do." She explained it as when a human boy wants a girl to be his girlfriend, he gives her something like a fancy bracelet, which is THE EXACT SAME THING as when a male vermilion flycatcher gives a female flycatcher a showy bug, like a colorful moth.
Go figure.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

FTGA Easter Egg Hunt

The Friends through Guatemalan Adoption annual Easter egg hunt was held over the weekend and everyone had a wonderful time. The morning weather was sunny and bright and the kids were too. The egg hunt itself was about 4 minutes of a pack of kids running and happily snatching up candy filled eggs, very fun... and then afterward, the kid pack just hung out played on the playground and enjoyed each other. Jamie especially had a blast and referred to all of the other kids as "friend" if he didn't know their name. As in "hey friend, do you have any gum?" We are so lucky to live in an area with such an energetic and fun Guatemalan adoption group... the kids have so much fun and it's great for them to connect in an easy way with other little guys with a shared history. I am especially grateful for the organizer moms who spent many hours stuffing those plastic eggs in order to make it all happen!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hoppy Easter!

Hoppy hoppy Easter... my little guys thought that this was the most hysterical punniest thing ever... they kept reminding me over and over to have a hoppy Easter.
And we did...full of egg hunts and chocolate bunnies and snowball tombs. No kidding. Lily made the coolest little tomb in Sunday school out of a Hostess snowball cut in half. A Nilla wafer was the stand in for the stone and she hollowed out a spot in the cupcake and had a little slip of paper that said Jesus was not in the tomb, he had risen. The whole scene was on a paper plate garden made realistic with green coconut grass. It was quite a lovely little diorama an Lily was very proud of it and I was grateful for the wonderful Sunday school teachers for finding away to connect the meaning of Easter to my daughter through the creative medium of a Hostess cupcake.
Happy, hoppy Easter to all!

Monday, April 6, 2009


I think she looks amazing.

Anna went to Covington Catholic school prom with a nice fellow on Saturday night and had a wonderful time. First, they went to the prom which was at a club with a restaurant and dancing and then on to after-prom at a sports club. The sports club part is a lock-in so the kids can't come and go... they kept them there until 4:00 am. Anna arrived home at 4:45 in the morning...crazy! They took extra clothes for the gym so they didn't have to do the climbing wall in her fancy dress...uncool. She also had ACT testing on Saturday morning so she really had quite a day and was completely exhausted by Sunday.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

"I really like those french girls..." Jamie G.

Mlle. A is a lovely and durable girl... The little guys are all crazy about her and Anna and Mary are thrilled to have her around school . Jamie is absolutely smitten... he keeps trying to recruit Mlle. A. and her friends to babysit him, but so far they haven't understood his requests. He asked me to take this picture of him with Mlle. A and her friends. He cracks me up!

Mlle A. seems to be holding her own in our nutty household. She is very quiet, I don't think she speaks or understands a ton of English, which is not a big deal. A lot of smiling, nodding and pointing. Mornings are going pretty well... I end up putting stuff in front of her until she sees something that looks good... toast, juice, cereal, whatever. I was worried bout how I was going to motivate my little darlings out the door and to school without frightening her, but I've learned that if I use strong words in a upbeat sing songy voice...I get close to the same results without scaring the poor girl.