Monday, September 29, 2014

Glorious Weekend

I'm not sure we could have asked for a better weekend than this past weekend.  It was simply glorious.  The weather was predicted to be in the upper 70s to low 80s and it did not disappoint.

The husband worked half day from home on Friday then we headed out to Prior Lake.  It was pretty much empty, which is a crime for such a beautiful day but worked for us.  There is this one tree
that is stunningly beautiful in all its fall glory.  Well, guess what?  Turns out there isn't just one.  The one in question wasn't in full color.
It's the tree just behind the fistbump (yeah, I don't know why he does that either).  It's getting there, just not there.  Now THIS one...this one is there:
But the man...well he was in his element, his happy place:
We had lunch on the boat, made a quick stop at Captain Jacks and took an #indiansummerselfie:
Wait...can you say Indian Summer anymore?/insert politically correct eye-roll

Friday night was also the homecoming game.  No  child involved in game related events meant we didn't have to stay for the game so we hightailed it off for dinner and a rewatching (several times) of Jeter's clutch hit in his last game in Yankee Stadium (seriously...what a way to end your career).

Saturday started much like Friday so we dropped the boat into O'Dowd for a couple hours with the ifloat and my youngest and her two friends actually braved the water:
Saturday was also the Homecoming Dance so I had to trot off to where pictures were being taken.
*sidebar*  OK, I get that kids want to get pictures taken with their friends (especially girls, as you'll see) and I get that it's convenient to do them all at once and be done.  But when did taking pictures become almost a bigger party than the actual dance?  And someone has to host these types of events which means it almost always falls to the parents who have the large homes (50 kids PLUS their parents) with bonus points if they have professionally (or appearingly so) landscaped yards.  Not many do, so it tends to fall to the same people.  Luckily, most kids (thanks to moms) don't arrive empty handed and, hopefully, are respectful.  At any rate, here is my middle daughter's group of friends (doing the "gang" sign that she has made famous, by doing in EVERY.SINGLE.PICTURE):
 And the gingers in the group:
 And Squad-Up:
I hope the neighbors thanked all the girls for aerating their lawn.

Sunday dawned, beautiful again and off to church we went.  I know that I've talked before about how the message always seems to be directed at me and Sunday was no exception. Still, I heard an interesting line which resonated SO much:  
Religion is man reaching for God. 
Christianity is God reaching for man through Jesus.
It doesn't get any clearer than that.

Having replanted my pots to reflect the season earlier in the week:

I started cutting down my perennials.  HOLY CRAP do we have a lot of perennials.  And I probably only did about a third of them.  I leave the sedum and the flame grass through the winter, but I also hack back the hydrangea (which I also left for later).  But the funny part was I was working for about an hour with my iphone set to music when I got a message from a local bar letting me know that they have some football specials going on.  Which alone wouldn't have been funny but they ended the text with the following hashtags:  #sundayfunday #lategame #enoughyardwork⃖  Like a voice from above, right?

I really hope we get one more weekend like this, but as I learned at church, I will count my blessings.  And the minutes until these kind of days return.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Forcing Inclusiveness

I am officially crotchety.  And while I am still struggling with the label (really?  crotchety?  Can't we find another term that doesn't have such a vivid mental picture?), I'm OK with it.  So, what makes me crochety, besides teenage daughters, freezing cold weather and stupid drivers texting while driving?  Well, it's Homecoming Week.  Enuff said.

WAY back when my son was a senior, we had a similar issue that is happening this week and I'll be honest with you when I say it scares me that school administration JUST.DOESN'T.GET.IT.  So, not so much the t-shirt issue but this whole idea of "inclusiveness", and it's getting out of hand.  Let me explain.

The HS is a 10-12 grade school (and has ALWAYS been that way) and the school colors are Black/Red/White.  No idea when this happened, but each class has their "designated" color:  seniors are black, juniors are red, sophomores are white.  Now, here is the kicker...THEY are all A-OK with this rite of passage.  THEY know and embrace this, because like the real world, to climb the ladder of success you have to start near the bottom.  When they have pep fests the students actually separate themselves into classes and sit with their class, dressed in their class's colors.

For some reason, the administration has decided to frown upon this act of unity, AS A CLASS, and is attempting to FORCE the students to act as a school, not just a class.  But here's the thing.  They DO come together as a school for the games, although they do separate themselves into classes for the games with a set hierarchy to the student section.  If they're having a black out, they all wear black, or a red out, they all wear red, or a pink out (cancer awareness) get the picture.  The pep fest is an opportunity for the students to show their CLASS spirit, and I can't for the life of me figure out why the administration feels the need to bend the students to their will, AND do so unsuccessfully.

So, I'm going through my email this morning and from the principal (he is new this year, but apparently he has been briefed) there were these two little blurbs in his "Student News and Announcement" email:

Please show us your SHS spirit by participating in Homecoming Spirit Week:  ...Friday is EVERYONE, including students and staff, wear the color red.

So, Friday is the day of the Pep Fest and typically the day the students show their school/class spirit by wearing their traditional class colors.  There is an entire week of spirit activities in which students can participate in school unifying activities, why is it such an issue that the students have their one day to show their class spirit while also showing their school spirit?  My daughter has said she's not sure if they'll be sending students home if they choose not to follow directions and wear red (which would probably mean the entire senior class and sophomore classes will be sent home), but that I should expect a phone call Friday.

Pep fest:   We really want to promote Saber Unity during our school pep fests!  This year when you enter the gym for the pep fest on Fridays, please mix it up and sit all over the gym!  We will not be separating by grades-we are all Shakopee Sabers and we are better together!

I'm curious as to how they are going to enforce this because the students themselves do this.  They WANT to sit with their friends, most of whom are in the same class as they are.  My sophomore daughter has already said...yeah, that ain't happening. (She's a SOPHOMORE and gets this).

Do schools really not have enough to do that they feel to create problems where there are none?  Has anyone actually thought to take students aside, let's say a good representation of all students in all grades, and actually ASK if they feel like the division of students into grades/colors creates a divisive atmosphere or is it just good-natured healthy competition?

I have 4 more years after this year and I suspect our school system and I  are going to go toe-to-toe MANY more times before my youngest graduates.  And what I find completely disheartening is that I have always been one of the number one cheerleaders for our district, even when the scores of standardized tests put us below the state average, I KNEW there were extenuating circumstances and had faith.  Now I have difficulty recognizing what the school has and will become.

So, I stay vigilant.  I hope other parents are as well.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nine Months and One Day Ago...

So, here's my problem.  I can't figure out whether, when I come back to my blog (and believe it or not, I come back often) I should just pick up and go forward without any mention of what has happened in the interim time, or I should do yet ANOTHER brief history of the happenings.  Then I decide that I'll decide tomorrow.

We are now about 270 tomorrows later.  So, I'm choosing door number two.  Try and keep up.

On Dad...2 weeks back in NY and 4 months later, we finally get a diagnosis(and I won't go into my opinion of the absolute clusterfu@k I thought that process was):  cancer.  While originally he had wanted to do the Whipple and take his chances, the fact that he as pulmonary fibrosis and could possibly end up on a ventilator the rest of his life changed his mind.  So, treatment wise he has gone with radiation and continuous chemo for 35 days.  Today he starts weekly chemo and will continue til before the holidays when another MRI will be done to make sure that the tumor has ceased growing and reduced in size.  At 80, the Drs have been amazed that he has handled a difficult treatment with very few side effects.  So, we're back to the waiting game.  For now.

School:  the boy (I really need to find another term for him but 20 year old habits die hard) returned for a short 10 days from NDSU before heading to Keesler AFB to do his ANG training.  13 weeks of it.  In Mississippi.  In the hottest part of the summer.  He survived, came home for 4 days then headed right back to school.  Here is he the day he got home:
The pride I have in him...words simply cannot express.

My oldest daughter went to her prom:
Then she graduated from high school:
Then she did a lot of fun summer things and nannied before heading off to St Thomas:
My middle daughter, well she's had a tough 270 days.  She had all 6 wisdom teeth pulled (yes, she had 6) three days after she stabbed herself on a very sharp Cutco knife requiring stitches in her hand (I'll refrain from posting those pictures, but rest assured, I DID take pictures).  She did some nannying this summer too and made bank.  But mostly, she worked towards this:
Which means, with 3 licensed drivers in the house in addition to me and the husband, I may not have to pick up a child again.  Like EVER.

The youngest daughter danced in her 9th recital:
Then made her third donation to Locks of Love:
Spent some time fishing:
And danced for the first time in the Derby Days Parade (do NOT adjust your computer terminal, the video you are about to see is all the fault of the incompetent operator.  That would be me):
And basically having the dream summer of any teen.

Of course, the school year has started up with my older two at their respective campuses and my younger two partaking in the yearly banner tradition (I won't get into how difficult this has become, but as God is my witness, I will continue this for 4 more years):
For the adults, it was pretty busy as well.  We went and saw Tesla:
Someone had the bright idea of running a 5K (I DON'T RUN) on my birthday:
I don't think technically you can call what I did "running" but for argument's sake we'll say I ran.  Then the husband did his 6th Earth Day Half Marathon and clocked a personal best (1:51:27).  
We did a little Three Doors Down action at the MN Zoo:
The boys decided to purchase an ifloat that got put to good use all summer:
Spent Fourth of July up at Bay Lake where more running Nisswa Firecracker 10 K was done, this one with his brother.  He's such a happy runner, amirite?
Hit Dan Patch Days for a little Hairball action:
And of course Derby Days.  What would Derby Day's be without the Derby Day 5K (6th in his age group...and YES, there were more than 6):
And the bag tournament.  They figured out that the top 3 teams don't drink beer while tossing bags.  Which, IMO, defeats the purpose (unless, of course, you WANT to win):
And the obligatory picture with some kind of advertising mascot at the parade:
We took the girls to Boneyard in Uptown:
And managed to get an adult trip out to Captain Jacks:
Guess who we saw while finishing up our summer activities at James J Hill Days in Wayzata:
There you have it.  A not-so-quick synopsis of the past 270 days.  I have purposefully left out one event simply because it is just too big of an event to give just a one picture blurb.  It needs to be its own post.  So, stay tuned. (That was kinda cool how I set the hook, right?)