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Saturday, June 25, 2011

11 Years Old!

Thomas is turning 11 tomorrow.  It is really hard to believe.
What's better than a week at camp?  Coming home to a stack of presents you get to open.
Because we'll be traveling on his birthday, we thought we better go ahead and open presents before we leave.
His birthday will last about 2 months since he celebrated with his grandmothers when they were visiting, and his party won't be until July. 
2 month birthday celebrations ROCK!

Opening his new Ripstick.

Brennan was introduced to the slingshot at Cub Scouts.  They used dry dog food.  We have plenty of woods to shoot into.  (ignore the fireplace with the garbage bag over it.  long story)

Thomas always gets pool toys and outdoor toys for his birthday.
Convenience of having boys born 18 months apart.
The toys are season-specific.

Thomas lost a tooth while a camp.  It's adorable when they lose these side teeth!

Thomas is really into origami.  I found this super-sized paper airplane kit complete with large papers and instructions.  He's going to have a blast building them.

More cool water toys. 

This pinhole photography kit looks awesome!  Thanks Aunt Amy!

Eleven years ago today was a beautiful Sunday.  My mom, mother-in-law and father-in-law came into town.  I got my hair cut.  We all went out for my "last supper" before I had to stop eating later that night for my epidural the next day.  We went with friends Katie and Johny Hill to a wonderful Italian restaurant in Memphis, which sadly is no longer there.

The next day I had a beautiful little baby boy to hold and life was never the same again.  (At 9 lbs 4 oz and 2 weeks early, it's hard to say he was ever little!)

Happy 11th Birthday, Thomas!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Start Spreading the News....

It's off to vacation for us now that we're all back together. 
Can't wait!

Blackberry photos

I was so, so happy to get to camp today to pick up the boys.  They had a blast and did so well.  The counselors kept stopping to tell us how great they were.  We overhead kids telling their parents how smart Brennan was.  Thomas had a friend there as well from our church so I know he loved it.  They talked the entire way home about their experiences.  They were glad to see us, but seemed sooo grown up!  It was amazing!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Camp

One of my goals for June was to "not panic while the boys were away at camp".  This might seem funny, but unfortunately I'm very serious.  This year the boys went to church camp (about an hour away) for the first time.  We took them Sunday afternoon and won't see them again until Friday night. 

I would not say I'm a nervous parent, but now that I'm not working I find myself even more protective of the boys than I was when they were little.  I'm not sure why that is.  I don't think it's overprotective necessarily, but I guess I'm so connected to their daily lives now that it is really odd not to know what they're doing at all times.

I'd like to point out that I was all for them going to camp in February when I signed them up.  David wasn't so sure, and we've talked up until last week that one or the other may not be ready to go.  I was fine until we actually arrived at the camp.  Then I became one of those moms.

This is a beautiful camp in the hills on a gorgeous lake.  We've all been there before as a family.  I trust the people who run the camp completely.  But, I also knew that I had one child with Asperger's and another one going through a moody phase.  I was not sure that is was fair to take them without some "heads up" to the counselors so they would know how to talk our boys down when they got frustrated.  Like most summer camps, there are no electronics and cell phones and the campers don't call home.  But I wanted the counselors to know that they could certainly make an exception for my boys and call me any.time.  And I meant it.  I sent an email ahead of camp, and our family pastor talked to them when she was visiting last week.  They must have thought I was the most overprotective mom out there.

We celebrated Father's Day with David and then we took the boys to camp on Sunday.  I was fine.

David and Thomas at brunch

We got the boys registered and then headed to their cabins to meet their counselors and get them settled.  I figured we would be there for a couple of hours.  Then I see all these parents saying goodbye and taking off - before their kids were even unpacked!  And these kids were fine!  I wanted to help unpack and put everything in their drawers.  I wanted to give advice on where to put everything.  I wanted to walk around the grounds with them until they felt really acclimated.

They were ready for me to go.  Or stay.  Whichever.  They were really fine either way.  My eyes welled up with tears - they are so grown up.  Stinkers.

David (Mr. I'm-not-sure-they're-ready) announced we were leaving.  Hugs and I love you's all around and we were barely out the cabin door when he was asking about going to see a movie.  Where was the concern?  The tears?  The anguish? 

I know it's not about them not being here this week that is bothering  unsettling me.  I think it's the fact that they've grown up to a point where their lives are full and happy without me around 24/7.  The nerve.

I slept with my cell phone Sunday night sure the camp would call.  Nope.  The main counselor did call me yesterday just to check in and tell me that Brennan was doing beautifully.  He knows how to ask for what he needs (a schedule of the day primarily) so that he can know what to expect and he knows how to tell someone when he's getting frustrated.  The sweet, sweet lady told me that I would be so proud of my boy if I could see him.  He's doing so well.  What a great call to get.  It meant a lot.

It occurs to be that I should be focusing on the fact that my boys are growing up to be strong, independent, well-adjusted tweens (ack) who I should be very proud of.  Better that than focus on the fact that they're growing up waaayyy too fast.

So, my boys are at camp for a week.  Without me.  David's doing just fine (stinker).  We've enjoyed time with friends and time together.  And it's already Wednesday so they'll be home soon.  I'm not panicking but I am rather sadly aware that this is what it's all about.  I'm wistfully preparing myself for the numerous times ahead when this feeling will pop up again.  Next time I'll try to be ready.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What We're Reading #5

Is it the 20th already?!  So hard to believe. 
I love the 20th because that's when Ricki Jill and I host the "What We're Reading" linky party.
So link up your own latest reads post over at Ricki Jill's blog - Art @ Home.
Can't wait to see what you've been reading!

Last month I climbed out of a reading slump by picking up Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg.  I was so glad I did because it was a great summer read.

On Goodreads several people highly recommended Ms. Eulberg's first book, The Lonely Hearts Club.  Also young adult.  I got it from the library and finished it in a couple of days.  Great read, well-written, fun, meaningful, funny, and memorable.  I especially recommend it if you have a tween or teen daughter.  Especially loved all the Beatles references! 

Elizabeth Eulberg has a blog that is fun to read.  Her latest entry was about her New Kids on the Block obsession and how she got to meet them this summer.  So funny!  I really enjoyed reading about her chance meeting with Kiefer Sutherland since she's such a big 24 fan.  He seemed so gracious.

I had never heard of Flavia or her evil sisters until the 3rd book in the series came out a couple of months ago.  Then I heard nothing but 11 year old precocious British chemist/investigator Flavia de Luce.  I decided to check her out and picked up the first book in the series, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.  I'm hooked and have the second book waiting for me by the bed (along with countless other books waiting for me).  Flavia is an original heroine and I loved the author's writing.  Any book that makes me want to plan our next family vacation around the story's setting gets an A in my book.  Couldn't we all just go back to 1950s England for a week or two?  My youngest son would love her chemistry lab.

I always say that I don't read a lot of non-fiction but apparently I am reading quite a bit more this year.  Moonwalking with Einstein was recommended in several reviews I read so I checked it out from the library.  Joshua Foer is a writer for several magazines.  This is his story of learning about the World Memory Championships while writing an article for Discover magazine and competing in the U.S. championships 1 year later.  It's an interesting book on improving ones memory.  Very well researched.  The first few chapters had me hooked.  Some of the middle chapters almost lost me, but I was so glad I finished because the last few chapters about the Championship were great. 

Please join us at Ricki Jill's blog today and link up your latest What We're Reading post!
Thanks for joining us!

Bonnie and Ricki Jill

My other book recommendations can be found by clicking here

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Packed Saturday - Biking, Buddhism, and a Triathlon

Yesterday was a fun day, packed full of activities.

I participated in The Girlfriend Ride - a bike ride for ladies only that raises funds for the domestic violence center in town.  I'm always traveling the weekend they have the ride, but this year we were in town.  Yeah!

We got a group together and participated in the 25K ride.  We woke up to rain and thunder but luckily is was just postponed a few hours.  We were able to complete about 23 of the 25K in good weather.  The last mile or so - we got drenched!

It was a ton of fun and I'd love to try the 50K next year!
Here's a group photo of us at the first SAG stop.

Kristi, Krista, Mary, me, Jenelle, and Sunny

While I was off with the ladies, David took the boys to see Tibetan Buddhist monks from a university in India who were visiting our town on a tour of the U.S.  (If this had been a Catholic event it would have been like having high ranking Vatican officials present). 

They were building a Mandala with colored sand and were happy to answer any questions.  Brennan, who has always been interested in other religions, had questions.  He wanted to know how to reach Nirvana.  The host did not have a quick answer for Brennan, so he invited him to ask his question to the Rinpoche - who is recognized as the 6th incarnate of Gaden Tripa Ngawang Choekyi by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  They had a discussion about Dharma and how it takes hard work to reach Nirvana. 

Here Brennan is practicing meditation and prayer.  Brennan has a very Buddhist/Zen quality about himself naturally.  No one lives more in the moment.

Last night the boys participated in the first annual Youth Triathlon.  We were so proud of them for taking part.  It was a very well organized USATriathlon-sanctioned event.

Ready for the tri with friend Jared.
The sign behind Thomas was made by Brennan's swimming coach, Krista, and hung up to surprise them!

Getting instructions from super trainer and triathlete Ben Weaver.

Ready to start.  The 11-14 year olds went first.  See Thomas in the teal trunks.

You can see Brennan's head up as he freestyles back to the finish line for the swim.

The bike ride was second.  Here's Brennan going as fast as he can to get to the run.

As Brennan ran past me on his way to the finish line he was doing a lot of self-talk, reminding himself to just keep going and saying "I am confident".  He did a great job! 

Recovery time! 
It was a tough event and we were so proud of the boys for taking part!

Thomas had a tough time.  We registered him as a 10 year old and he "trained" for those distances, but when we arrived it turned out he was going to do the event with the 11-14 year olds since his birthday is before the end of the year.  He'll be ready next year though!

A great Saturday!

Wine Club - Malbecs

Friday night we got together at Dave and Rosann's house for another great night with friends.  Enjoying delicious food.  Catching up on the latest news.  And tasting the wine of the month - Malbecs.

Our hosts are fantastic hosts.  The food was delicious and my blurry photos do not do it justice.  I'd like for Rosann to write a cookbook with all the recipes from her parties.  She makes it look effortless.

Ginger, Lora, and Rob

Wouldn't be a party without a great photo of Mary. 
Did you know Mary has a cooking blog that I love? 
Check her out here!

The Malbecs were bagged and numbered for the tasting.

After the scores were tabulated, the wines were revealed.
It's always fun to see if you ended up scoring the wine that you brought high or low.  

And our winners were -
#1 - Dona Paula Estate
#2 - Layer Cake 2010 (we also had a 2009 Layer Cake)
#3 - Alamos

Greg & Vinita were the big winners.

What a great group of people.
We're missing a few of our wine club members here, but we hope to see them next month.

Speaking of next month - Pinots by the Pool!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Happy List #2

It's been a busy, busy week and it's been a ton of fun.
Besides spending so much time with the boys and their friends and taxiing all over town to countless camps, lessons, and events, here are a few other things that made me happy this week.

The Dramatic Gopher
Thomas introduced us to him. 
At only 5 seconds long, we've watched it over and over and still crack up.

Stealing time to swim
We've found time here and there to jump in.
The boys come up with the funniest "quick, get a photo!" opportunities. 
iPhone photo

Creative Bloggers
I find a lot of inspiration from bloggers of course.
I especially appreciate these great works of art that bloggers create and upload for me to downloadfor free.
I print them out as 8x10s and frame them for the season.
This first one isn't hanging but the boys circled their "must do summer activities" on it.

You can find this one at this link

Father's Day subway art
You can find this one here

4th of July art
And this one can be found here

Jennifer Anniston's new bob cut.
If I had less hair (mine's very thick), I would ask for this style.

 Thomas's Band Spirit
Thomas had a blast at Band Camp the past two weeks.  This week was Spirit Week.
He got to go dressed for the 80s, Hawaiian Day, in a crazy costume (he was a banana), and for "mis-matched and crazy hat" day.  He had a ball.  Oh, and learned to play a little trumpet too.

So, what are you happy about this weekend?
Link up with Mamarazzi for the happiest linky party of the weekend!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Early Summer Flowers

Flowers from around our yard this week.

Did I mention I love summer?