musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the tag “kids”

life and stuff

Thank you for reading or following my blog. Some of you have been with me since I started it when Toots was a baby.

Things have ramped up beyond the usual mayhem in the past year, and I have been pretty spotty in my posts. At this point, I am considering at least a semi-permanent breather if not completely ending the blog in this form.

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All three kids graduated this June: Mr. Cynic from High School, Captain Comic from Middle School, and Toots from Preschool. They are all starting big things in the fall and have activities all summer.  College, High School, and Kindergarten. It’s a big time for us all.

I still take pictures almost constantly, never did upgrade to a better camera. I am still seeking a publisher for my children’s novel, and working on a couple of new projects, though my time has been very full with the kids, life and stuff that my writing focus has fallen off for a while. I’ll get back to it, just a lot of focus on the spawn these days.

Who knows? I may post an occasional poem here from time to time. Or I may decide to reorient to more of a writing blog in general.   All I know is at some point, this became something that I felt obligated to do, then couldn’t keep it up as I would have liked to.

I still get out to appreciate nature:

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I’ve just lost the focus to regularly post, and don’t want to leave you all wondering why I stopped.

Thanks for keeping me company since May 2009. Much love to you all.

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18

Something of a rush of days and years has led to this moment. Well, really, to Sunday.

A womb cocooned time prior to that day for his bedrest pregnancy and suddenly, years, an entire childhood has gone by and he can vote in the next election. He is preparing to leave for college. He has spent the last two 2nd half of the weeks out of the house for Choral field trips. Last weekend in a competition in DC with his school’s Jazz Choir, also a day this week out of town competing with his school’s Jazz Band, and this weekend he is in the All-Virginia Choir in Richmond. He has a job.

How does this happen?

Here he is at 5, his little sister’s age, enjoying/putting up with a trip on Papa’s sailboat on a hot and windless day on Long Island Sound in August 2000.

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It is very him.

I am very proud of who he is, though I kid and call him Mr. Cynic. He is a well-rounded, talented, smart, compassionate, and passionate young man. He has grown up exactly how I wanted him to, with his eye on goals, his heart in tune with the world around him and ready to be a force for good.

18 for 18

1. Mr. Cynic is a loyal friend.

2. He doesn’t put up with crap.

3. He questions everything that should be questioned.

4. He plays 3 instruments and sings.

5. He writes songs. They’re catchy.

6. He was a pretty little guy, and he’s grown into a handsome young dude.

7. As a toddler, when he ran, he ran looking behind him and would run into walls, because he liked how the wind felt rushing through his hair. I guess he wanted to see it, too.

8. Mr. Cynic has a huge heart.

9. He speaks a secret language with Toots, consisting completely of raspberries.

10. He reluctantly and loudly puts up with Captain Comic, but if anyone else treats him with anything other than respect, he becomes as protective as their Mama Bear.

11. He strums, a lot, behind closed doors.

12. He will sing and play for anyone else, but hides it in the house.

13. But I hear him.

14. His head is on straight. I don’t think he’ll get into too much of the stupidity that some of us go through in college.

15. He knows he can call me if he does, and I won’t kill him. I’ll just let his conscience take care of that for me.

16. He has weathered many ups and downs and challenges in his young life. I think he’ll be able to handle anything life throws at him.

17. He’s at the edge of the nest, and while I want to go ahead and shove him out, I want to hold him near just a little while longer. Get in as many hugs as he’ll endure. Tell him how much he really is loved and how that will never change.

18. Something new is coming for him. And it’s him.

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she’s 5

Happy birthday, Toots!

chloe 5Easter dress Roller derby girl because Honey wanted to protect his little girl now that she has a big girl bike.

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Five things about Toots in honor of her fifth birthday:

1. She is a delight both day and night. Except when she’s not, because she is normal, but even then, she is so darned cute, aw forget it. She is a delight both day and night.

2. She makes up songs about everything and nothing. Her breakfast, imaginary friends, how much she loves you, whoever you is at any given moment, and whatever she likes at any given moment.

3. Purple is her favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavoriteSUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUperfavorite color in the whole wide world.

4. Look at that perfect point in the Easter dress roller derby pic. She is as flexible as I used to be. I should start her in dance. Maybe she has matured enough not to run around and around the whole room by now and will listen to the teacher.

5. She’s smart, she’s observant, manipulative, adorable, charming, shall I go on?

I love her. She’s my girl. She’s Daddy’s girl, too.

Happy birthday, Toots, my littlest.

not exactly quiet

I know I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog lately.

The obvious place to start is with my grief over the loss of our dear sweet Lucy. It was so sudden, I think I’ve only begun to process it. I am not in a complete fog, walking through molasses and crying at the drop of a hat now. I think it piggybacked our autumn loss of Babette, which was within a week of the loss of my mother’s last living sister, and I couldn’t make it to the funeral. I lost a couple weeks of normal, quieter in some ways. In the meantime, we have been busier than usual in others.

Wrestling season ended for Captain Comic, but not before the number of hours spent in gyms across the Bay Rivers District increased exponentially.
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I am proud of him for trying hard, and always being game for a tough 1st season in the sport. Next year, maybe he’ll win a match from time to time.

Mr Cynic and I have been traveling to colleges and auditions for their music departments and Scholars Competitions, etc. and to have a look around. That has been a couple of adventures in traveling to Boston and to western Virginia.  That has been a bit of roller coaster of pressure, comic mayhem, not so comic mayhem, seeing good friends and my niece, sleeping on sofas, floors,  random beds and hotel rooms. We crossed many bridges, literally and figuratively.

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In the meantime, he has been involved in the Bay Rivers District Choir, and auditioned and won a spot in the All-Virginia Choir! The performance for that is the same weekend as his birthday in Richmond, at the end of April.

Toots is forever Toots, and a spark in our lives, and she apparently has a preschool boyfriend. I told her teacher on Valentine’s Day, that when I asked her who she loves after writing the family valentines, she answered, “D—?” sheepishly, knowing she should have said at least one family member in the context of the conversation. It was adorable. She also has been wanting to invite him over for sleepovers for a couple of months now.  The teacher cracked up and then told me she is always trying to get them to sit with other friends or at recess to play with other friends, but the two of them are stuck like glue everyday. I asked Toots at one point what she likes about D– so much and she answered, “because he is kind.” I couldn’t be happier, honestly, that she has found a best friend who is kind regardless of gender.

She has also been getting into trouble a lot at home, but she is approaching five, seeking independence or when we are preoccupied, seeking attention by plugging the sink, flooding the bathroom and soaking herself from head to toe. Or by poking the bear: Captain Comic, by doing the exact things she knows will trigger a negative response from him. Kazoos and pennywhistles she earns for good behavior in preschool are a big tool of torture for the noise sensitive Aspie.

But she is still our girl and how could we ever stay mad at this:

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One day, I will remember to hold this smartphone horizontally while recording…

Meanwhile, in the writing department, I have started sending out queries to agents, and the rejections have started coming in. At least I’m starting at the top:

1st rejection

valentine

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Toots abandoned her Valentine necklaces before preschool.

Looks like I get to wear them today.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Be kind to those you love.

bursting

Creativity is running rampant around here.

I got sick over the end of last week, and it laid me out pretty thoroughly on Saturday. My family was kind enough to cater to me in bed while I watched back episodes of Dr. Who on the Tablet.

But then, yesterday morning, I got down to business and cranked out

– composed over several hours with infinite interruptions because it was a day off from school and Captain Comic had to ask me a gazillion questions like, “Who do you think would win in a fight, Batman or Goku?” or tell me his next movie or comic idea, which was a new one about every minute and a half –

a query letter and sent the first ten pages to the first agent on my list. Today I plan to send it out to two more. Tomorrow and Thursday another each and that is where I will leave it for a little while.

I was invited to send this poem to a newsletter where a bunch of friends will see it.

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Captain Comic drew this up for his coach (see #4 in this post) to approve before making a poster.

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Mr. Cynic has loaded his next professionally produced song.

This song was his productive response to his brother being bullied at school last year. Considering some of the lyrics, I am really glad he has music for a creative outlet. 🙂 I remember well his reaction when he found out what was going on before it was resolved. Mr. Cynic looks like a pretty cool cucumber most of the time, but he is extremely passionate about any kind of injustice, and this was brother.

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I don’t talk much about Honey’s work, but he designs staging and a bunch of his designs are currently being built around New Orleans in preparation for events surrounding the Superbowl.

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Toots is always bursting with creativity. She sings little ditties about everything. When asked if she made that up, or what’s that from? She responds, “I wrote it.”  She has worlds of imaginary characters she walks around the house acting out costumed scenarios with and she loves to draw and paint and dance around the house. She plays architect with anything she finds that she can put on top of something else in interesting ways, like Jenga blocks. Oh, to be four and a half years old again.

I couldn’t be happier about what my family is up to these days.

 

good news

1. Yesterday I completed the fourth draft of my manuscript! I am going to start submitting query letters to agents this week.

2. I wasn’t going to have any of my readers go over it again, but I had one late offer for a fresh eye to it recently, and after thinking I shouldn’t, I went ahead and sent it to him. He is someone whose opinion re: writing is one I value, especially one for humor and action elements. I suppose I wanted to be certain those elements were present after so much reworking over so long a time. I’m nervous, but it will be good to hear what he has to say about it. To paraphrase, I basically asked him to tell me if it was crap or not. I am not up for another draft at this point.

3. Captain Comic did not wrestle in last night’s home tournament, but he did last a good long time supporting his team in a loud gym, and he did a good job assisting setting up. Ear plugs helped.

4. One of the coaches asked him to draw up a poster concept of a wrestler hugging a cactus. He did two versions as soon as he got home. Both were good. He is an excellent artist with a lot of humor inherent in his work.

5.  While at the tournament, I was talking with another parent who suggested I contact the other closest high school in case a paraprofessional position opens up. His sister works in the special ed department there and he said he’d put a good word in for me.

6. I did. There is a little more to this story, but I have a good feeling about it and some things are best left to happen organically rather than discuss so much.

7. Mr. Cynic had a quick turnaround from his application to Berklee College of Music, his first choice, and his audition is in 10 days!

8. In the meantime, we all have colds, and it seems like it has been raining for eternity. The colds aren’t too bad, and the rain should help restore the water table from the recent summer droughts, and it hasn’t been a monsoon to flood, as how it usually seems to occur in recent years. But it sure would be nice if Mr. Sun would peak out from a cloud once in a while.

Things are moving right along for many in our family, and it feels good. The past few years, even with all the mayhem, has felt rather stagnant, and it’s nice to feel like progress can happen.

 

first pro track

My oldest, known here as Mr. Cynic, has shown desire and talent for music since he was a baby, but didn’t really start to do anything with it until he started taking bass lessons at 14.

This is three years later. He wrote all the music lines, plays them all, except the drum tracks are prerecorded sounds, and he sings the lyrics he wrote, too.

I couldn’t be prouder. I always knew he had it in him, and am nicely surprised by what he is doing with it. He really rocks and has alt rock commercial appeal. Yes, I am his mother, but it is true.

This is his audition piece for Berklee College of Music.

the epic failures

 

Captain Comic and friends when left to their own devices while their mothers were occupied elsewhere came up with this little gem. Not bad for 14, almost 13 and 10!

 

Yes, the mics are off.

Best little unintentional birthday present ever!

snow

We went to Connecticut to visit with my parents and all the cousins between Christmas and New Year – the big post Christmas Coley Christmas, because that is the way we roll: two days in the car for a one day visit.

With the dog hopping from lap to lap.

We had lots of fun and Toots was very excited about the snow.

This is what winter looks like in Southeastern VA

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Toots, fresh out of the car in Connecticut, and so excited to see snow

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Immediate snow angel making night of arrival

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She’s just thrilled about her accomplishment

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“Yummy snow is so YUMMY!”

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Dawn over my parents’ back yard. I really grew up in a pretty place.

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Lucy loved the snow, too.

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Papa broke out the old Flexible Flyer and a slab of bacon to grease the runners.

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Toots would only let me pull her up the hill. She watched me ride down and determined it was too scary after great anticipation for DAYS and the whole ride up. All she wanted to do was go sledding before the actual sledding happened.

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I rode. A lot. and said, “Woohoo!!!”

2013.1.2 ct snow and stuff 063Here are my parents, Gaga and Papa, and all of their grandchildren minus the oldest, my one niece, who was working in Boston. She and Toots bookend five boys. Captain Comic is very silly.

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