Wednesday, November 26, 2008

College Tours

We toured a college today; Baylor to be exact. Both boys had attended Baylor’s Summer Music Camps but we had never toured the campus before. Our oldest son did not want to look at Baylor; he had his mind set on going out of state. So today we toured the campus for the first time and met with one of the music professors. This tour was hard for me; at first I could not figure out why it was bothering me and then I realized it is because this has always been a summer thing that they did while they were in high school. This tour really made be realize that my baby is going to be in college in the fall. It also made me a little sad because our oldest son is still trying to find his way. Most of his friends will graduate from college this spring and even though he has not taken classes in awhile it also hit me today that he is in limbo.

We have also toured TCU (Texas Christian University) and Texas Wesleyan University both of which are here in Fort Worth. The youngest has also been trying to decide which state schools to look at. We have eliminated a lot of them for various reasons: distance, not the right type of program, their reputation is not stellar with regards to music, to cut throat at the undergrad level, classes are taught to heavily by grad students are just a few. So he has decided to look at University of Texas at San Antonio and Sam Houston. He also knows that the community college here in Fort Worth is always an option for his first two years. He is so trusting and also at times very innocent still so I do worry about him going away but we will both adjust if that is what he decides to do.

As a parent I can say this whole process is very difficult. The application process, deciding which schools to look at and then financial aid are all so much more intense than they used to be. The financial aid issue is something I am a bit concerned with because of the economy. Giving is down at most schools and their endowment funds may also be off depending on how they were invested.

All of his applications will be complete by the middle of December and then we do the hurry up and wait game with one added step the audition process that each college requires. The best thing about all of this is how far this wonderful young man has come. When he was young we were not sure if he would even go to college. Would his speech and language skills catch up? Would he learn to adjust to and accept change? Would he learn to make friends? He has done all of these things and so much more. He is a kind, loving and giving young man with a future in front of him. So as his parents we will support and guide and pray that all of us make wise choices.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Memories

Thanksgiving is almost here. It is my favorite holiday and has been for a very long time. When I lived at home I remember Gram and Uncle Herb would often come for Thanksgiving dinner at our house. Gram of course always brought the “pink stuff.” Yes Mom I know you and Aunt Liz gave it a name in the newest cookbook but I do not remember what the name is so to me it will always be the “pink stuff.”

Some years it was cold enough to go ice skating on the pond. I enjoyed skating and up until about 5 years ago we would go skating at the Tandy Center here in Fort Worth. The closed the rink down and I started having Fibromyalgia problems so I stopped skating.

I do remember some years that the uncles would come over right around Thanksgiving to go hunting with Dad. I don’t really remember if the aunts and cousins came or not. For some reason I vaguely remember that some years we would go to friend’s homes later in the afternoon or evening for dessert but that could have been for Christmas. We do that as well some years so maybe we didn’t do it when I was at home. Mom will set me straight I am sure.

Paul and I have had many Thanksgivings together and some of them really stand out. Our first Thanksgiving of married life was in California we did not know anyone so we were going to have a quaint Thanksgiving with just the two of us. I prepared the turkey, stuffing, vegetables and dessert. I was so proud of myself; then Paul carved the bird and guess what I had left in the turkey? The plastic bag with the giblets and other stuff I do not think I even knew that stuff was in there. We laughed and ate the turkey and we still joke about it when we prepare a turkey.

The Thanksgiving of 1986 was memorable because Paul and I traveled to Buffalo for his parent’s anniversary and I was so sick at the time that it hurt to breath and I was not keeping food down. When we arrived back in Los Angeles I went to the doctor and yes I had bronchitis but I was also pregnant and Andrew arrived in July of 1987. Three years later Colin would also make me sick near the holidays and arrive in 1990.

One event that usually happens to us right around Thanksgiving is that a major appliance dies on us. One year it was our dishwasher. The funniest was when Paul opened the oven door to check on the turkey and the door came off the oven completely. It was not funny at the time but later it was. We have also had a refrigerator stop working and so did our dryer and a microwave. Last year was the first year since I can remember that something did not break on us. The one good thing about a meltdown for Thanksgiving is the Black Friday sales that make replacement a-little-bit easier on the pocketbook.

My favorite Thanksgivings are those that we have company for. I love to cook for people and have everyone be they friends, family or both around the table for a good meal and good conversation. This year we will actually go to a friends house because the floors in our front room are being redone so having company over is not really an option. I will miss cooking for people but at least we will be with each other and friends that have come to be like family to us.

May all that read this have a restful and abundant Thanksgiving and feel free to share your favorite Thanksgiving memory.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

AP Awards

Tonight I went to an awards ceremony. At this ceremony the school district I work for honored their AP Scholars and for the first time ever they also honored a select group of AP Teachers. The Academic Coordinator from each high school was allowed to nominate no more than two AP Teachers for this award and they had to justify why the nominated teachers should win the award. This year myself and another history teacher were nominated and selected to receive this award. History rocks at our school!!! Seriously we do rock we are the best department in the building. I was one of 18 teachers to receive this award tonight. I was very honored to say the least since last year was my first year teaching AP World History. So now I am officially an AP Scholar Teacher.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Memories

As Halloween draws near I can not help but remember some of my favorite holidays. Some are from when I was a child and of course the rest are from when my children were little.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday but Halloween and Christmas rank right up there as well especially when the boys were little. I loved to see the excitement they had for each of these holidays. They were the bright spot to the very cold winters that made me crazy.

Growing up in the middle of cow country there were not a lot of house to trick-or-treat at. My parents were not the type that would drive to a neighborhood so we could trick-or-treat so Halloween did not do a whole lot for me as a kid. Although I do remember the princess/Miss America dress in blue that I had one year and I am sure I dressed up for the Halloween parties at school but I really do not remember any of them. I do remember going to the firehouse one time for their Halloween party and I attempted to bob for apples. Yeah, that was a big hit. For those of you that know me well you know how much I hate the water and getting my face wet in a swimming sort of way. I do remember with great fondness the many Halloweens that we have shared since Paul and I have been married. Once Andrew and then Colin were old enough to wear costumes I made them a variety of costumes and had a lot of fun doing so. Part of the fun was watching them decide what they wanted to be. Once that was complete we would wander in the fabric store finding just the right fabrics and notions for the costumes. No Velcro or glue costumes for my boys. I made the costumes for two reason actually, first I knew how to sew and second they played in the costumes until they outgrew them.

For several years we went to Halloween parties at church as a family and we all dressed up. We were a mouse, cat and elephant when Andrew was two. When Andrew was 3 he discovered Peter Pan so he was Peter Pan, Paul was Captain Hook, I was Wendy and Colin was a Lost Boy (baby). Andrew loved this costume so much he used it two years in a row.

The Halloween that we all still laugh about was in 1994. Andrew and Colin both wanted to be dinosaurs that had morphed from something else. It was a show but I do not remember what show it was. Anyway Andrew was the red dinosaur and Colin was the white dinosaur. The costumes were made out of flannel and they had stuffed head pieced and tails. I had a pretty bad head-cold that year so I stayed home and passed out candy while Paul took the two boys trick-or-treating. They walked the neighborhood with several other Dads with kids in tow. They were at least 4 or 5 blocks from home and Colin was getting tired; the costume was heavier than I realized. So Paul decided to carry Colin for a little bit and then it started to sprinkle. With that Paul and the boys headed for home. Believe me they had enough candy by this time but to make matters worse it started to pour. Of course we did not have cell phones so Paul could not call me to come and pick them up. Paul and Andrew were both pretty tired when they got home. Andrew was walking with the heavy tail dragging behind him and it was even heavier because it was soaked. Paul had to carry a soaking wet child in a heavy dinosaur costume at least three blocks before they arrived back home. Once they arrived home the boys took a warm bath and got ready for bed.

I have wonderful holidays for Thanksgiving and Christmas as well and another time I will share those.