Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tidbits: Play Like a Girl

  • Middle Child pulled off a tenth place Junior Varsity finish for her freshman year. Better than the place and the shiny medal is the new personal record. Her previous best time for two miles has been stuck at a smidge past 14 minutes. Her goal for the year was to finally come in under 14 minutes. The 13:50 finish that closed out the Cross Country season dropped Katie's personal best a full thirteen seconds.
  • Middle Child has discovered that eating a whole roll of refrigerated cookie dough and washing it down with a slushy is a bad idea. It's a really bad idea after running two miles. Just FYI.
  • Skater Girl landed her flip jump this week. It's best to gloss over the topic of how many falls were required in order to claim that first landing. Don't let the twinkie dress and glitter fool you. That kid is tough.
  • We are putting together gift packages for our sponsored girls in Honduras. We wandered through Christmas-ready aisles looking at dolls and girly toys this morning. It occurred to me that I have rarely seen girls playing with dolls during our visits to Puerto Lempira. (Probably because there are real little ones to help tend...) Instead of a baby or Barbie, each of the girls will receive a new soccer ball. We have definitely seen those getting plenty of play time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Today it's eighty degrees outside. Overnight the local temperatures are projected to take a twenty-eight degree nosedive. (That sounds lovely compared to day after day of sweltering triple digit temperatures that dogged us throughout summer.) The timing on the coming chill could be better. It's especially poor timing for one group. Area high school cross country teams are set for their district meets tomorrow. Herds of teenagers with an absence of body fat wearing teensy little nylon tanks and shorts are all going to be outside for hours fully experiencing temps in the fifties. Oh, and as a bonus... it's supposed to rain overnight--- with a chance of more rain tomorrow. The runner girls at least ordered long-sleeve team t-shirts for districts. They are really going to need them if the weather forecast proves remotely accurate...
Of course, there is one person around here who will celebrate the cold. Skater Girl is not only excited today about the weather change, but she is also celebrating the anniversary of her Intro to Skating class that fell on October 26th last year. We'll mark the occasion by getting her skate blades sharpened in preparation for the next competition. And that is cool by any measure.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Climbing into the car, my phone was passed along as Skater Girl, Middle Child, and MC's Best Friend Forever (BFF) took turns picking songs to play from my recently synced iTunes. Unfortunately, the sync was not discriminating, and everything I never wanted was included in the resulting playlists. Our iTunes account has been shared by the whole family for years. Years that included a love of the Jonas Brothers, a nasty case of Bieber Fever, and the download of movie soundtracks featuring Disney stars and the Chipmunks by the girl children. Eesh.
Stopping for gas gave the ladies an extended opportunity to peruse all their old favorites from the menu of songs. Perusal which ended with the Jonas Brothers defiling my speakers. Middle Child commented that she loved the bass in the car, and jokingly suggested that we turn up the volume and roll down the windows. She knows this is a behavior that her mother generally abhors. (I do not care what you listen to inside your vehicle, but please, please, please keep it contained inside rather than inflicting your musical taste on others.) BFF agreed with MC, and they nodded to one another and laughed at the idea. Their faces changed from amusement to surprise as the volume went up and the windows went down at the next stop light.
They laughed nonstop as the car rolled on with the Jonas Brothers playing. I mentioned that Middle Child's name was displayed on a decal plastered on the back of my car as we pulled up to the next light. This news just brought on more laughter from the high school set. They were thrilled to see plenty of drivers with their windows down so the awesomeness of whichever brother was singing could be heard by all. As we turned into the neighborhood, one of the girls discovered a Justin Bieber song with plenty of bass to boom out of the speakers.

Spying a pair of curious boys staring as we came to a stop sign, I slid down in the seat. One hand loosely slung over the top of the steering wheel, head bobbing to the beat, I proceeded up the street past the now incredulous boys. The girls in the car marked this new display of Mom Gone Mad with a brief moment of silence. Another pair of kids approached on scooters and joined in the gawking as we cruised past at half the speed limit. The teenagers were absolutely shrieking with laughter. Skater Girl was down low in the back seat trying unsuccessfully to avoid being seen by the kids stopped along the sidewalk.
Once BFF was dropped off at home, we rolled the windows back up and turned on much less obnoxious music. The remainder of the drive was punctuated by residual laughter. There was no laughter from Skater Girl.  She only expressed horror that our observers were all kids from her grade. While today is proof that I will likely never be a Cool Mom, that's fine. Being terribly, laughably uncool is just so much more fun.

Friday, October 21, 2011


The mister's boss embraces a vegan lifestyle. Middle Child's best friend is a vegetarian. While the Boy and Middle Child would likely opt in for an all animal-based meal plan, Skater Girl's radar has gone up in response to the possibilities of a vegetarian diet. She's requested a week-long experiment with vegetarian menus. I suspect her carnivorous sister will launch a full-scale rebellion, but the idea holds interest. I suspect that this suggestion is not simply borne of curiosity about a couple of individuals' lifestyles, but also because of some recent community opportunities to increase awareness of hunger.

A couple of local churches have recently participated in programs intended to raise awareness and funds for hunger relief, and that has brough the topic of the financial and ecological costs of red meat in particular to our discussions. One church suggested eating only beans and rice for a week to gain understanding of what it's like for those at Village of Hope to receive beans and rice for every meal. The grocery savings likely for many American households can then be donated to Village of Hope. Several local youth groups have been participants in the 30 Hour Famine in order to experience hunger personally while raising funds for another group in Africa combatting hunger. Pleasant Suburban Elementary is focused on hunger closer to home as the school children collect cans of fruit this week to supply our local food pantry. The food pantry also participates in an annual program called, "Scare Away Hunger," where trick-or-treaters collect canned goods. These different means of responding to the looming problem of hunger each has merit, and each one has been a topic in our home.
Skater Girl has heard how more rescources are required to produce a serving of beef than would be required to produce a serving of grain, fruit, legumes, nuts, or vegetables. Maybe this ecological reality is on her mind? Or is she thinking of the children she met across town who rely on food stamps in order to eat most meals? Is she remembering those we met in Honduras who would not have had food to eat without the efforts of Reach Out Honduras and  Send Hope? Has she been listening to her mother's fussing over the grocery budget and comments regarding the lower cost of vegetarian meals? Did she overhear her dad saying that Oreos are vegan and ice cream is vegetarian? There's no telling what has ultimately influenced the request to experience a week of vegetarian dining. Whatever piqued Skater Girl's curiosity, it will make an interesting challenge to prepare meals to suit this family and meet their nutritional needs without meat. There is definite relief that she didin't ask for a Vegan Week.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Middle Child wants to see the "Footloose" remake that hits theaters today. While PG-13 is our cut-off for ratings, and the movie does meet that criteria, it's still questionable. This was not one of those shows that had a Movie Mom or similar review posted the day before to help determine whether the trailers held the absolute worst offenders of parental cinematic sensibilities, or if the trailers were pretty tame in order to avoid censors while advertising. So, knowing that it's possible to use editing for both good and evil, the trailers were pulled up.
The first trailer looked suspiciously like a teen Thelma and Louise with choreography. The second showcased the dancing. The third trailer was probably the most accurate reflection of the movie with moments given to the conflict between overprotective parents and teens (played by 20-somethings) who want to express themselves through dance. After viewing the trailers, it was agreed, with trepidation, that Middle Child would be allowed to see the movie because it fit the ratings criteria we have set.

Ultimately, "Footloose" may be trashy. Or it may be a brilliant saga of teens and parents coming to an understanding. We'll know soon enough because Middle Child tends to give a blow-by-blow of books, t.v. shows, and movies, so we're sure to have a better idea later tonight. (If she ever wants a tatoo, I'll suggest a "Spoiler Alert" warning applied across her forehead.) Either way, there is a desire to say, "Yes," to requests when possible. There are always plenty of reasons to say, "No." Every, "No," seems etched in permanent teenage memory. So, tonight Middle Child will go watch a questionable movie. Whether the movie is memorable or not, the odds of MC feeling like we "get" her are a little higher.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Skater Girl is home sick for the third day in a row. I suspect she could have gone to school today. Still, there exists a sort of "Murphy's Law" regarding ill children with elevated temperatures. A few of the basic tenets include:
  • Sending a child who barely ran a 99.something temp to school will result in a raging fever that gets measured in the school nurse's office.
  • A child who ran a 99.something degree temp 23 hours prior to the start of class has 50/50 odds of being well (if kept at home) or of spiking a true fever (if sent to school).
  • Making a doctor's appointment is an effective means of reducing or eradicating fever.
  • Behavior is a poor thermometer. The same child who ran laps around the yard, spent twenty minutes on the trampoline, and then wrestled the dog into submission can measure a toasty one-oh-three.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the fever-related lore one picks up by parenting or simply working in schools or childcare. This does catalog the list of reasons behind keeping Skater Girl home one more day. (Well, not that last one. It's more representative than literal.) She appears to be over her illness, but she's been busy knocking out her make-up work. I figured it wasn't worth sending her in to school and risking the call to pick her up after a slight temperature was marked yesterday afternoon. Hopefully, all the other parents in her class have similar thoughts this year as we head into cold and flu season.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Once October 1st rolls around, an internal clock starts ticking. It grows progressively louder until the little details related to the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays have been organized into lists. Then the clock resets until those lists have either been satisfied or abandoned. The abandonment issues are relatively new traditions. Last year, we failed to actually decorate the tree. It sat in the living room with the tree skirt beneath and the star at the top. There may or may not have been a garland or two partially threaded through the limbs. This is a world of difference from the years when we strung garlands, wish-I-was-pine boughs, and ornaments from every surface that failed to escape. There were liberal applications of glitter and ribbon. Holiday table cloths sat beneath collections of Christmas Tree china. Stockings were hung. Holiday baking threatened the waistlines of those far and near. Christmas pictures were a Major Production...

This year, the arrival of October has renewed the question of whether this year will be another Blah Humbug sort of year, or if perhaps we can see the reawakening of a bit of Christmas Spirit. After all, the clock has begun ticking. This weekend, an old picture of Skater Girl (circa 2004 at the ripe old age of 3) inspired the creation of Christmas cards a full month before such things would have been completed in the Good Old Days. The photo selected rather fits the attitudes toward the holiday season around here over the last year or two. (Okay, she was trying to catch snowflakes. Still...) That said, perhaps it announces a return to our family's once festive celebrations and the departure of the humbug.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Despite kids figure skating and running cross country last weekend, it was a Four Square injury that landed one of the lovies in the pediatrician's office for an x-ray. Skater Girl's best friend seized on a momentary distraction to spike the ball. Said ball caught Skater Girl's ring finger. The next day, three hours of ice time were punctuated by our girl squatting down to place her injured finger against the ice. Since it was swollen and bruised, our pediatrician saw her during "Saturday Sick Clinic". He informed us that even though it was just a finger, it could be fractured which might cause "serious contracture," and, if a fracture was present, a consult with a hand surgeon was warranted. Seriously?!

Middle Child has a history of fracturing her growth plates--- especially in her ankles. So when the doctor took a long hard look focusing on Skater Girl's growth plates in her fingers, it was a little concerning. Fortunately, the girls could not be more different in this particular area. Skater Girl was pronounced fracture-free and sent home with her ring and middle fingers taped together. It was a a nice change to have a once-and-done appointment after our experiences with Middle Child who tends toward multiple appointments plus a series of physical therapy visits for injuries.
Last night, Middle Child mentioned that her knee was hurting. Mmmph... Fortunately, she has a meet tomorrow. It's fortunate because she won't be running at 5:45 in the morning. Which means she will not need the first period of the school day for showering after practice. Our orthopedic doctor (the same one I saw yesterday for a follow-up on my knee replacements) happens to be leaving town tomorrow. As a result of his weekend away, he starts seeing patients tomorrow an hour earlier than usual. That means MC can be seen during that open class period, and that any sort of serious injury can be ruled out before she runs in the meet scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.
While I appreciate the convenience of Saturday and early appointments, patient service could move on to the Next Level. Perhaps some sort of frequent shopper program could be set up with our health care providers. Maybe every tenth visit free? Or perhaps a free coffee for Mom with purchase of a regular visit? This could definitely catch on as we head into cold and flu season.

Monday, October 3, 2011


In case Gentle Reader is unaware: High School Football in Texas is a BIG deal. The annual Homecoming Football Game and Dance are an even bigger deal--- even for those who aren't particularly enthralled with the score board. Middle Child rarely misses a game, but eclipsing her enthusiasm for the Friday Night Lights is the topic on many of the high schoolers' minds over the last few weeks: who has a date and who doesn't for the Homecoming events.
Middle Child planned initially to go with a group of friends, but that plan was out the window when she was asked to be Comedy's Homecoming date. Middle Child and Comedy exchanged the traditional mum and garter on Thursday night. They wore their Homecoming Bling to school on Friday and to the Varsity game Friday night. Saturday followed with a dance at the high school. Comedy scored big points for the little things like opening the car door and bigger things like confirming the time Middle Child was expected home.
That's a friendly arm around Middle Child. MC suspects the boy was trying to avoid touching skin in front of the 'rents. I suspect that is quite probable.
Comedy walked Middle Child to the door after the dance. (I made enough noise from my perch on the sofa for it to be extra-obvious that I was waiting up just in case there was any question in their minds.) While they were out, the mister and I had ordered prints of the pre-dance photos and picked up copies for Comedy to share with his family. He took his photos, and away he went.
Middle Child proceeded to describe every aspect of her first "real" dance. (The ones in middle school involved herds of girls dressing up in theme outfits. That's not quite the same.) It's probably better that I didn't know before she left that kids at her school are "known for grinding". (*Choke. Gag...* Do I dare ask?! Wondering is probably worse than knowing.) She doesn't see the expression on Mom's face, which is likely turning a very unflattering shade of horrified, because she's rummaging through the fridge. As her one-sided conversation continues, Middle Child mentions that she didn't grind. (OhholyhallelujahthankyouJesus.) She sounds genuinely disgusted with the practice while also fascinated that the teachers didn't do anything about it besides looking embarrassed. She did mention that, "Comedy kept wanting to slow dance." And she was fine with slow dancing, but she really liked the fast dancing because it was so much fun with all her friends. (And I'm feeling really okay with slow dancing after the near-trauma of even hearing the word, "grinding," pass over the lips of my daughter. I don't particularly care if the fast dancing comment was possibly for my benefit.) It sounds like a good night without anything that would make a mother cringe. Whew.