The Spear Family Web Site Musing of the Spear Family of Central Texas Fri, 11 Jan 2013 19:49:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 We have a teenager! Fri, 11 Jan 2013 19:49:54 +0000 Still 12

Officially still 12 as her birth HOUR hasn’t arrived.

She doesn't quite fit in my lap anymore...

She doesn’t quite fit in my lap anymore…

OMG she’s 13! Whoa.

As is the custom, I went to her class at precisely the time of her birth and sat her on my lap and rocked her like a baby. Yes, in front of the rest of the 7th grade class. She acted embarrassed but I’m fairly certain she would have been disappointed if I didn’t do it.

On the way to school, Madelynn asked if I would do the same for her but at 2pm since she was born at 2am. “Sure,” I agreed. “I can do that.” From the way backseat, Nathan asks, “And Mom? Would you please never do that for me?” Buahahahaha! Okay, Nate.

A comedy of errors that felt more like a tragedy Fri, 21 Sep 2012 13:13:06 +0000 Life snuck up on me. Before I had kids, I had no idea how busy my life would become. And it all happened so gradually that now that I’m completely overwhelmed, I feel a lot less… capable because I sure seemed to manage before. But “before” didn’t include three kids in soccer on three different teams in three different divisions with Jonathan in a musical and me having all kinds of extra stuff like conferences and presentations and trips. And “before” didn’t have volunteer work with the church to nearly this extent. So I come here and look at this site and feel so BAD that I don’t keep it up, but I really haven’t had the time. I would post a screen shot of my calendar with all those overlapping appointments  if it were appropriate to share out daily schedule. But seriously. I can’t decide which is worse – the kids having soccer practices and games one right after another so that we spend four hours on the field at a time, or the games overlapping and being in different cities so that at least one kid isn’t going to have a parent there at all.

Last night I spent a good hour updating the calendar with all of the practices, games, rehearsals and performances. This was after coming back from Meghan and Maddie’s practice. But I had to get Meghan to rehearsal because she’s helping on crew. But Maddie didn’t want to get home late because she had to finish her art club application. So I dropped Boy and Maddie off at home (with GREAT trepidation because I’m not really certain Maddie is old enough for this yet) and headed to a drive through to feed Meghan and take her to rehearsal where Jonathan was. I get home a good hour later – around 8:15 – to FEED the younger two, because they haven’t had dinner. I send Nathan into the shower while I fix a quick dinner and coax Maddie to hurry up with her project. Only she’s crying. Because she can’t find all of the little drawings she scanned from her art journal to put in a collage for her project. And they could be anywhere. So I suggest we scan them again and this time keep them on the computer and she can do the collage digitally and print it. Which is great only my laptop doesn’t want to talk to the scanner. Fine, I’ll put an SD card into the scanner. But we spend time finding one. And then scanning. And then the iMac doesn’t have an SD card reader which I should know but the very next model from this one DOES because that’s what we have at school so my brain forgets. And then I can’t find a reader. So I put the card in my laptop – which Maddie can’t use because I’m doing work, too – and transfer it all to a shared network drive. Then Maddie has to crop and rotate them all and then when she goes to open one in Pixie to colorize, Pixie won’t open because I need to update a driver. So the I remind her that she can use Aviary online which will of course require  she upload all of these images. When I saw the struggle to use the mouse to trace out areas (us lefties still have problems with using the mouse with the right hand for fine movements), I suggested it would be easier on the iPad. Soooo… move the images to the iPad. Edit on the iPad, send to the iMac, combine in Pages and print.

In the meantime, Meghan and Jonathan had gotten home from rehearsal – after 10pm but before 11pm – and Meghan had homework to complete. And SHE wanted help. So it was back and forth between the two, only I couldn’t help Meghan too much because I hadn’t read the book she was answering questions on. Meghan gave up – she was too tired – and I was NOT going to fuss at her. I won’t share what time Madelynn and I went to bed. That’s just ridiculous. And I don’t remember what time it was one I realized it would be too late to send the pictures to Nana’s digital frame for her to have on time for her birthday, but THAT disappointed me like you wouldn’t believe. I was so exhausted at that point that I nearly cried at the realization. Maddie wanted to sleep in our bed so I offered to just lay down with her until she fell asleep. I’m not sure which one of us went first but next thing I know I’m still fully dressed in her bed with my OWN stuff to finish and it’s close to 4am. I crawl into our bed and wake up a couple of hours later to start the day.

This. This is my life. I love the people in it, but I’m really not enjoying the ride right now.

What Boys Do Sun, 26 Aug 2012 18:50:56 +0000 a list of things to do: play vieog games, watch tv, wake dad/mom, make star wars character, play star wars, probably cleaning

Saw this on Nathan’s door earlier this month. I’m just glad waking us was third on the list. And that he at least considered the cleaning.

Hairspray and PE and Ireland and Fashion Shows and VizCamp Sun, 05 Aug 2012 04:28:55 +0000 To say I’ve neglected this site would be an incredible understatement. I’m going to have to put updates on my calendar so that I just DO them. In no particular order..

This is the last weekend for Hairspray, our local theater musical. Jonathan played the principal and a policeman. His third production. And he’ll be auditioning for West Side Story Monday or Tuesday. The theater bug bit him for sure! He takes his roles seriously and it’s fun to watch him work out the parts. Should the principal be stern and professional? Nerdy and whiney? Even with the non-speaking cop, he’s always in character on stage. I’m really impressed! Not surprised, though. For this role, he shaved his beard! Whoa… I haven’t seen his chin in over a decade! Our children NEVER have. He can’t wait to grow it back, but I like it both ways, It was weird at first, but just because it was different. The funny thing is seeing people that know him completely pass him by because they don’t recognize him.

Speaking of Jonathan – YAY!! He’s going to be teaching PE this school year! One of his school’s PE teachers because an assistant principal at another school and YAY! He interviewed and got the position! We’re both very excited. He’s wanted this for awhile and after the rug had been pulled out from under him last summer, it was scary getting our hopes up. He has a new principal this year which is hard. This will be his fifth year teaching and his third principal. But I think it will be a good year!

Meghan had an incredible opportunity this summer which we are in debt to our friend, Tim for. Tim is the dean of the visualization department at Texas A&M and in the summer they have a camp for kids to learn about animation. It’s not a cheap camp and with my trip to Ireland, we weren’t going to be able to swing it for her. But Tim got her a scholarship and she got to go free of charge! So for a week, she stayed in the dorms, ate with a meal plan, and took animation classes with other kids in middle school and high school. She had a great time and learned a lot. We’re very excited for her. She did have a bit of a rough start though… Here’s the story…

When we got to College Station, we met with Tim and his wife for lunch at Freebirds. We talked and visited for over an hour. We learned that the camp would have a super hero theme, which was certainly right up Meg’s alley! She was nervous but excited! We took her to the dorm and headed to the registration desk. As we passed the rooms, we saw signs on the doors with the kids’ names and a superhero name for the room. Superman, Batman, Ironman, Flash, Green Lantern… Now, Meghan definitely has her preferences in super heros. Superman all the way. But she would have been okay with most any super hero. Mostly. Well, except probably Wonder Woman who she thinks is kinda lame. We passed a door with her name on it… and the Wonder Woman symbol… We got to the desk and sure enough. Meghan was on team Wonder Woman. And if that wasn’t miserable enough, her lanyard was pink. Oh and the whole group was divided into two big teams – Marvel and DC. Meghan? Let’s just say once again she was NOT on the side she would have preferred. As we put sheets on her bed and unpacked her clothes, we took a look at her itinerary… For dinner that night? Yeah, they were going to Freebirds. Poor kid.  But she was a great sport about it. And having a Wonder Woman kind of day is our new family term for when nothing seems to be going your way.

Madelynn was in a talent search contest thingie this summer. We submitted her photo to a local agency that was running a contest with our mall. She’s not actually interested in modeling – she wants to act – but we thought this might be good exposure and get us a chance to talk to people that might help make things happen. She was a semi finalized online which means she got to do the fashion show contest for the judges. Unfortunately, she had NO experience with this, and while she look darned cute, she didn’t really have the walk and or know how to stand or anything. She’d had one brief lesson with a friend of my mom’s who knows that stuff, but it wasn’t really a formal lesson and she didn’t do anything the woman suggested. But while she didn’t catch the judges eye, she was one of the online voting finalists so she was allowed to continue and be in the official back to school fashion show which was today. We signed her up for the workshop and let’s just say, if the judges had seen her TODAY, she would have won for her age group for sure!

So my summer is over but my last two weeks of it was pretty incredible! I’m not sure if I mentioned it here but my friend Helen and I were accepted to go to the Apple Distinguished Educator Global Institute in Cork, Ireland. She and I flew out a few days early so we could do some site seeing. Wow… Ireland is so beautiful! So green! A rich, deep green!  I’ll try to post more of a day by day. The short version is we rented a car and I drove and it was SCARY!. Wrong side of the road. Wrong side of the car. Stick shift with the wrong hand. Narrow roads. Turnabouts. Street signs in Gaelic but map names in English. Gaaahhh!! But we saw sheep and cows and countrysides and castles and cathedrals and cemeteries and lighthouses and hookers and cliffs and SO much beauty. I’m blessed to have gotten this opportunity and SO grateful to my amazing husband not just “letting me” go but being excited for me to go and explore and have a good time. I took lots of pictures – naturally – with a majority using Instagram. A lot are kind of artsy. You can see the Instagram ones here. This link is ALL my Instagram photos but at this point in time, most of them are Ireland.

So there’s the big summer recap. I feel bad because Nathan wasn’t mentioned. He mostly just hung out and had fun. His favorite days were Boy Days when no girls were home and he and Daddy did boy stuff like play video games in their underwear and went out and ate and nice restaurants but told everyone they were at McDonald’s. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to post about him later…

Not ready for these conversations Tue, 15 May 2012 13:36:16 +0000 Meghan is learning about S-E-X in Science this week. So she has questions. So far so good. She is headed out of the van this morning and I hand her her pre-test with it’s anatomical diagrams and say, “here take your uterus paper.” Madelynn, who just had the puberty video a couple of weeks ago says, “uterus! I know… ew!” Meghan goes all wide eyed because how can her younger sister know what we’re talking about?! Madelynn, all mature and all says, “I know what mensipating is.” “Really?” I ask. “Because you just made up that word. Did you mean menstruating?” “Yes, whatever.” From the backseat, Nathan asks, “What is menstruating?” Both girls audibly gasp and quickly tell him it’s a girl thing. “Then why does it start with MEN?!”

He’s a real chef now, at least Wed, 02 May 2012 14:42:31 +0000 I’m making breakfast for a change because the girls have the STAAR test and should have a hot breakfast. I ask Nathan if he’d like some scrambled eggs, too. “Sure,” he says. “But what I’d really like to do is help you make them!” So I heat up the pan, we crack the eggs, add the milk, etc. and then he uses his own whisk and starts mixing it up. I put up the milk as Madelynn starts telling him that he’s doing it wrong, because that’s the job of a big sister. He gets pretty mad and grabs the bowl back away from her. Yanks it, to be more precise. And in the yanking, his arm glances the hot pan. We don’t see anything at all at first. That’s how burns are. I cover the whole area in 100% aloe and fan it with my hand and blow. He’s okay.

Fast forward. It’s the end of the school day. Nathan’s teacher is dropping him off in my office. I ask him how his burn is doing. This is the first his teacher has heard about it. Nathan says, with a devious smirk, “yeah, my mom made my burn myself in the kitchen!” So I defend myself, “Boy, I wasn’t even NEAR you when you burned yourself.” Without missing a beat, his smirk becomes more devilish and is now a grin, “And see what happens?! Why would you leave a little boy by a hot pan in the kitchen!” His teacher burst out laughing and all I could do was gape at him. My son is a punk. I’m more than a little proud at his quick wit. But he’s a punk.

Thing 3 is 8 Fri, 09 Mar 2012 17:39:42 +0000 Nathan is FINALLY eight. I say finally for all of our sakes as we’ve had the countdown daily since Madelynn’s birthday. His birthday had real potential to crash and burn but Nathan was a trooper and Jonathan is just awesome!

First, the field trip. Second grade was supposed to go to the zoo, but the weather was bad. So Nathan didn’t get to go to the zoo on his birthday. Boo!!

Second, the cast list was published for Pinkalicious and Nathan didn’t make the cut. At least we’d prepped him for that. I already knew he wasn’t getting a part because the music director for the play is one of our music teachers at the school. Nathan was not very cooperative at the audition workshop. That wasn’t completely his fault, though, because at the workshop he was the ONLY boy! If other boys were there to sing the girl songs and dance the girl dances, he would have done it. He did it at the audition itself, but they’d already felt he wasn’t reliable. Nathan didn’t make the call back, but he’d hoped at least he’d be a dancing cupcake. But no.

Third, Jonathan and I missed the deadline to sign Nate up for baseball. THAT would have made the day crash and burn all by itself. We were too chicken to tell him. In fact, we’re still too chicken and since we know the coach, he’s going to play and wear the extra shirt and NEVER KNOW he’s not on the team. Shhhh!!!

But the day wasn’t a bust. In fact, it was very much fun! Jonathan had taken a personal day to attend Meghan’s orchestra contest and then was planning on meeting Nate’s class at the zoo. Since there was no zoo, after the contest, he checked all three kids out of school and they played hooky! I’d only taken a half day off work so I only saw the contest and then went to lunch with them all, but it was good for them to have their day. They played video games (I think) and caught a movie. Fun, fun!

Then for dinner we went to Fuddruckers with my parents, Titi, Jarrett, Robert and Chris. Nathan was a trooper with the bad news and had a great day.

My favorite Nate quote of the day, “I love my name! I’m known for it!”

So in other update… about the plays…

Jonathan and I both auditioned for Sense & Sensibility at the local theater. Jonathan was cast as the gardner and the doctor. Yay! I wasn’t cast. I wasn’t surprised. I kinda stunk it up. But Jonathan was great! I’m excited he’s enjoying the theater.

Jonathan, Nathan, Madelynn and I ALL auditioned for Pinkalicious. I wasn’t going to because it’s a musical and I can’t sing or dance, but Jonathan was going to and here I talk to the kids about going outside their comfort zones so what the heck. I tried. There were only three parts for adults – a male, a female and one that could be either – so even though I stank it up on the song and I was less than spectacular at the dancing (but I nailed it on the acting!), I wasn’t surprised so much on the callbacks. Only three grown women auditioned. Jonathan was a callback, too, as well as the husband of a teacher and friend of mine. They were the only grown men to audition. Madelynn got a callback and from what I understand they really wanted to cast her in a significant part but since she JUST had the lead in Miracle on 34th Street, they didn’t feel like they could. Madelynn is a bird. Jonathan and I didn’t get a part. I was proud of both of us, though, for really trying. And our music teacher said I wasn’t actually horrible. Actually, she said I wasn’t bad which is better than not being horrible. So there.

Meghan, of course, will be crew in both productions. I’m hoping to talk to the lighting guy and sound guy and see if she can’t help THERE.

And speaking of Meghan, her orchestra did pretty good in the UIL contest. In the concert portion, they got 2’s and 3’s on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the best. So average. But on the sight reading portion, they got straight 1’s which is the best you can do and something no other class has done in the history of her middle school, so that was pretty exciting!

Tomorrow is Nathan’s birthday party. It will be a chef theme and should be pretty fun. Then next week is spring break and since Jonathan has rehearsal every night, we won’t be going anywhere. I think all five of us are looking forward to the downtime.

Oh, one last thing that really made me laugh. But I had to be mad. It would have been way more funnier if someone else had been the brunt of the joke. Anyway, the kids and I are reading a book together, mostly on the way to and from school. Madelynn was reading it out loud yesterday. There was a description of a librarian. She had narrow eyes, so Meghan and I squinted at each other – though of course that’s not narrowing but whatever. Then she had a hanging bottom lip. So Meghan and I made big frowns. And then she had a huge overbite, so we tried our hanging lip and huge overbite and squinted our eyes. Then Madelynn mentions skin that was crinkled like crumpled newspaper. And I said, “well, I can’t do THAT part” and Meghan responded immediately with, “no, you’re doing it great, Mom…. You can stop now.” Evil child. I hit her on the shoulder. Yes, I did. Hard. And she said, “ow” but she still laughed. The turd. But it was funny. Just wish it had been at my sister’s expense instead.

So….. Wed, 07 Mar 2012 15:15:04 +0000 Meghan has a boyfriend. Just… kill me now. It started with a boy asking her to the Valentine’s Day dance. I was out of town and she texted me and I needed to sit down for a second. She’s TWELVE! I don’t think I can handle this. But the boy is SUPER sweet and it’s just a dance and it’s at school, right? Only then she could only talk about this boy. Boy boy boy boy. And then she said she heard he liked her. And then next thing I know she’s got a note that says “Will you be my girlfriend, check yes or no.” I’m not even kidding. There were checkboxes.

So we had several conversations about what being boyfriend and girlfriend in sixth grade means and with lots of reassurances that it only means hanging out together at school and maybe a hug goodbye, we agreed that she could actually call him her boyfriend. No hand holding and no kissy kissy! So when I say she has a boyfriend, I mostly mean there’s this boy that she hangs out with more than any other boy but he makes her feel good about herself. And since he’s a very good boy that I’ve known for three years now, I’m going to be okay with this. Well… on the outside anyway.

Birthdays – Thing 1 and Thing 2 Mon, 13 Feb 2012 17:52:11 +0000 Meghan is 12, in case anyone thought that didn’t happen because I didn’t bother sharing about it. Somehow 12 is a milestone to her because it’s her last pre-teen year. She had a way too expensive birthday party at a laser tag theater place. She was super excited, though, and was insistent that it was her best party ever.

Madelynn had her party last Friday. That was way cheaper and way fun. Well, she couldn’t invite boys so Meghan wouldn’t have gone for it, but it was fun for an all girl thing. She invited a few friends and we rented out a hotel room. There’s a 24 hour indoor heated pool. Fridge and microwave in the room. Table and chairs in the room. Darned cool party.

One kid birthday left…

Ridiculously short and uninformative update. Will try to add details and photos if time permits.

Phase 2… Fri, 20 Jan 2012 20:31:47 +0000 A few months back, Meghan’s retainer wasn’t fitting so we went to her orthodontist. The technician suggested that since all but one of her baby teeth were out that we should have impressions done and consider phase 2. Phase 2 to Meghan means braces again. Phase 2 to me means another couple of grand. So Meghan got her impressions done and we came back for the consultation to discuss Phase 2.  I had to prep Meghan for the possibility that they’d recommend braces. I had to prep myself for the possibility that we’d have to pay for braces. At the consultation, however, things looked up. The dentist said Meghan’s teeth looked really good. What a beautiful smile. She looked great. Everything was in line. We probably don’t need braces. There’s just this one spot over here where she has one baby tooth left and that’s not letting the bottom tooth go where it should, but really it’s way back there and doesn’t effect her bite enough to worry about. Now, if she were his kid, he’d probably put braces on again but that’s because he’s an orthodontist and of course he wants the absolute perfect teeth but really we didn’t have to put ourselves through that. So, Meghan, why don’t you wait for that last tooth to come out and even wait another year and give yourself time with your new mouth and THEN decide? And if you want braces to fix that up, that would be fine. But you don’t NEED braces. Well, if he said it all like THAT, Jonathan and I would be perfectly fine. And he MOSTLY said it like that but he added one. little. piece. He told her that if he had to give her mouth a grade, he’d give it an 85.

Fast forward to this morning. Meghan has yanked out her final baby tooth. Not early or anything, it was loose and the permanent tooth underneath was very impatient and already pushing through. And after a discussion of what the tooth fairy might bring for the very last baby tooth (No, Meghan – NOT $50!), she says she wants to get braces. Wait what?! But your mouth is fine! No mouth is perfect! You have a great smile! Your teeth have room! No, first Meghan claims she has a huge gap between her front top teeth (girlfriend, you haven’t SEEN a gap until you’ve seen what MY mouth looked like before braces – but you won’t see that because I didn’t smile with teeth before the gap was closed) and then… she said what she really thought. “I don’t want an 85, Mom. That’s a B.” And there you have it. Not even her MOUTH is allowed to make a B.