Excuses, Excuses...

...and a little this an' that
     Well, hello there...  I hope this finds you relaxing and enjoying this Labor Day weekend -- the last official long weekend of the summer!!!!  Something about the impending "trying to get back into a routine" is drawing me back to the blog.  So much has been going on...mostly "life", and I hope I can make the time to recapture some of it on the ol' blog!!!  If not for the love of you people, then at least for the sake of me and holding on to those memories of kids who grow up too fast (and some days not fast enough).  I am trying hard not to give you all my excuses because in the end, that's all they are, right!?  Excuses, excuses!!
Spent some time here in Ludington, MI #puremichigan

     First, and foremost, let me just say that my mom is doing okay!!!  I have received a handful of emails asking about my mom and the blog (some of you have your email settings set for "no reply" so if I didn't get back to you, that could be why!).  I never meant to leave y'all hanging!!!  I will be back with Monday Memories With My Mom, possibly as soon as tomorrow a/k/a Labor Day....  Oh, and of course I won't just jump right in to the "present" -- you know I have to start from where I left off and go through it all -- possibly in too much detail!!!

Mom, Me, Muffin
     Meanwhile, here's what's been on my radar...
     Senior 2015   I have learned that the junior/senior year is extra busy!!  On top of a normally loaded down class schedule filled with challenging classes, there are sports and activities and clubs, driving, ACTs, college visits and tours, job responsibilities, summer camps that go with their activities, online classes because you can't always fit everything in your normal school schedule, concerts you "have to" see, volunteering you must do (NHS), teachers who rely on your summer support, senior picture and yearbook deadlines, registrations and forms (as in "please print your name as you would like it to appear on your diploma"), college mail arriving daily, life decisions hanging over you...  It's a lot and I'm just the mom!!  Oh, and let's not forget the "are we having a graduation party at our house and if so, someone better work on the landscaping around here...and maybe paint the house while they're at it 'cause Lord knows we aren't going to have any more time in the Spring than we do now"!!!???

We Toured Some Colleges
Applications are a Work in Progress

    Two Freshmen   I am thrilled to announce that, for the first time in seven years, all three of my kids will be back in one school -- high school!!!  Not since elementary school have we enjoyed this luxury...  I would also like to mention that this means I will have...three teens in high school (insert look of panic).  Although, my oldest has always been highly responsible and taken charge of most of her own scholastic well being, at this point I am not sure "the twins" (I am trying not to name names here, but I think you can figure it out) know what they are in for and the importance of making the most out of these last few years of activities and learning!!!!  My husband is very much a "they'll figure it out" person while I tend to at least give some very strong "hints" about what needs to be done to go in prepared and ready for success.  That said, though, I do think that by this time (a/k/a high school) there needs to be waaaaaayyyy less or better yet no "mommy" reminders and way more initiative from within (time will tell).  I find it hard to make the gradual transition from the elementary days of being somewhat of a "helicopter parent" into more of a 24/7 "consultant" role. 

Photo Credit wikihow.com

     The Exchange Student   What did she say???  Yeah, that's right, we have a German exchange student coming to stay with us in about two weeks!!  I have secretly always wanted to host an exchange student and with Megan begging "can we get one" (as if asking for a goldfish) for three years and then her teacher, "Frau M", personally asking if we would host a student I hesitantly agreed to it this past Spring.  The only reason I hesitated was that life seems "pretty full" as it is and last Spring seemed pretty busy, too.  However, as they say "yolo"!!!  We look forward to meeting her and I would imagine I will introduce her to you all soon!  Megan has been in communication with her through "WhatsApp" over the summer.  There are about 27 students coming and the German Club and host families have a pretty good schedule of activities and field trips for everyone to take part in during their visit.  So, four high school teens -- no worries, right!??

photo credit dclibrary.org

     Vacations   Although we've had our share of great vacations, we did not get away at all last summer.  This year I had everyone block four days off on their calendar (last weekend) so that we could take some kind of family vacation.  As It turns out, that was a great idea because nobody made appointments or plans and those with jobs took the time off of work.  There was only one problem, nobody ever came up with a great plan of what we were going to do!!??  Embarrassing, but true.  In the back of my mind, however, was the realization that our kids are in high school yet seem to have no real memories of some of the best things there are to see and do in our home state of Michigan.  So, we booked our hotels in the morning and hit the road by noon.  By 5pm we were at the Mackinac Bridge.  The kids had been to most of these places before, but were too young to remember.  The kids schedules drag you down as they get older and more involved in sports. I knew we had failed as Michigan parents when our kids got to Mackinaw and Mackinac Island and said "this reminds me of Bar Harbor, Maine".  What should have happened was when they visited Bar Harbor, they should have said "this reminds me of Mackinac Island"...  The lesson here is, we need to slow everyone down and get some vacations planned and on the calendar. 

Petoskey, Michigan Sunset (photo credit me!)
(to think we almost didn't take a vacation) #puremichigan
     The "Volunteer(ed)"  Last year I was approached by the high school music director and asked to consider volunteering for one of the many board positions available with the music boosters.  My comment was something like, "sure is the secretary position open" and she was like, "yes, we have two secretary positions", contact so and so...  Long story short, the positions I felt comfortable filling were not open (which was fine with me!) and, as is always the case, I soon got a call saying "I heard you were looking to volunteer"...  Ummm, not really...uh, uh.  Fast forward and much to my surprise I am now listed as "Co-Chair" of concert uniforms!!??  For the past year me and two other ladies got conned  volunteered to sort, label, get dry cleaned, inventory, make alterations and process uniform contracts for over 450 students.  Dresses, jackets, pants, cummerbunds...  It's hard tedious work and unfortunately comes at the beginning and end of the school years which always seem to be extra busy.
Photo Credit www.run2health.com

     Oprah  I'm going to see her September 12-13th!!!!!  It's a bucket list thing for me and her "Life You Want" tour is coming to my neck of the woods!!!  My friend Alyce and I are so excited about it -- and yes there will be a blog post!!
Photo Credit Oprah Life You Want Tour

     Health  I am long overdue for taking care of my own health.  Gotta schedule some appointments for me...  Although I have been to several doctors and dentists with my kids and my mom, I haven't made any appointments for me in awhile!!!  Heck, the dog has a better track record of going to the vet than I do at this point!!!  That's gotta change!!

Photo Credit www.intl.kit.edu

    Fall, High School Football and Marching Bands  This year all three of my kids are in marching band!!!  As a former high school marching band member -- this makes me very happy and proud as I have great memories and friends from those days!  I can honestly say I wasn't expecting them to all be together in this, and I'm excited to see our 220 member marching band take the field this year.  They've have been to camp and have been training since July and are looking good!!  The football team is off to a 1-0 start having our first away game this past Friday!  Sitting in the stands without the kids will be one of the closest things to an "empty nest" we have had in awhile!!

Marching Band's First Performance After Band Camp

     Family, Home, Holidays  Although I don't want to be overly dramatic (ok, maybe I do!), knowing that there will be a lot of "lasts" for us with Megan in her senior year already feels bittersweet.  I hope we can make the most of our family time together as we always should!  I can already feel the holidays sneaking up on us and I fear I'll be feeling a bit melancholy (there's a word I don't use every day!) through it all.  Hoping to tackle my "to do" list early and get some stuff done before...dare I say...the snow starts flying!!!

    So, you see, I must go and enjoy this last day of summer and I hope you do the same!!