Once upon a time a few years ago, I bought my husband a fancy Columbia ball cap. It's got wicking. It's got a cooling sweatband. It's got Advanced Omni-Freeze ZERO technology. It's a nice ball cap. He's constantly misplacing it, but it always seems to show up again. It's perfect for kayaking and for those summer days when he's outside all day long. It's great for when the weather calls for a light-weight head covering.
Which brings me to today. It's hat day at school. And there on the blue-haired head of my 4th grade transfer bus assistant sat the (also blue) hat that I know so well.
hmmm. I thought.
Out loud I said, Hey - nice hat. Was it a birthday present?
No, he responded, pointing. I found it in the driveway over there.
Text to husband: Let me guess. You lost your hat when you were out trick or treating.
He's not getting it back this time, but I will put his name in the next one.
My aunt was hoping for a before and after shot of Allan's haircut. I think the last time he got it cut was when he was home on spring break.
The lady cutting his hair at the barber shop told him that it's a good thing they don't charge by weight. As for Brian, I told him that I don't mind if he wants to grow it out, but that I'd like it to be styled and trimmed up a bit. He had his heart set on growing the back longer, but wanted it cut above his ears on the side. I told him to Google mullet images, and he had a quick change of heart.
The barber shop is next door to Gus's, thus the breadsticks.
I loved my five days off. While much of it was spent battling a sinus infection, driving Allan to and from Big Rapids, and shuttling kids to appointments and whatnot, I was able to accomplish a bit of online shopping and got my desk in order. Long overdue. I found a lot of July, August, and back to school at the bottom of the piles.I now feel prepared to tackle the next three busy weeks before our next robotic competition.
Still loving Mondays, I woke up this morning ready to hit the ground running. The others, not so much. Greg overslept his alarm by well over an hour, Brian has a few sinus like symptoms that had him grumbling and Wendy claimed this month to be the worst as she was printing off homework three minutes after her brother left for the bus stop.
I spent yesterday morning driving Allan back to school. We got an early start so as to get him home in time for him to get some assignments completed before today, and I beat most of the holiday/hunting traffic. Home, I took a nice long Sunday afternoon nap before getting started on writing out some Christmas cards.
This week is another full one -
swim lessons for Mark
diving practice for Brian
Robotics for three of us
a team field trip to Kawasaki
physical therapy for Brian x 3 (his hypermobility is factoring in to his diving - doing some strengthening and reintroducing daily exercises at home)
You probably wouldn't guess it if you knew our kids, but Mark is always the first one to ham it up in a family photo.
I drove out to Big Rapids on Tuesday after work to round up Allan. It was an almost six hour round trip drive. We haven't made plans yet for returning him.
He'll be a junior when the winter semester starts. He is in the criminal justice program, and now two years in was advised to make a decision on which direction he wants to head in. He has chosen law enforcement (He has wavered between CSI, FBI, Criminal Psychology and Law Enforcement)
We spent Thanksgiving at my brother's home. There were 42 people eating. It was great fun.
Wendy got a job in retail a month ago, and was told upon hiring that EVERYONE works on Thanksgiving day, no exceptions. She enjoyed a few hours of family time before heading out to work that register.
She's up bright and early this morning to head back again. She works on Saturday and Sunday as well.
I decided I'm not doing tonight's Fantasy of Lights 5K. The weather has been so damp this few days, and tonight looks to be rainy and cold as well. NOT my weather of choice. I'm not even sure we'll make it to the parade.
Brian has another PT appointment this morning. We're working on his back - it's been bothering him since diving started. We're back to doing daily exercises at home after having taken an 18 month break.
I don't have any shopping plans this weekend. We'll see if I get in the mood while shuttling Wendy back and forth to work.
I'd really rather enjoy the time at home though, putting up the Christmas tree and pushing back some paper piles. With robotics still on the calendar, I need to be as organized as possible going into this next three weeks.
Greg is enjoying his four day weekend. He did a little bit of winterizing yesterday. Not sure what his hopes are for today.
Time for me to drink the last sip of coffee and get moving. The clock is ticking.
On Saturday, Greg, Brian, Mark and I spent the whole day in Allen Park at the FLL Qualifier. This is the third year that Greg and I are coaching alongside Mr. Sharp at our elementary school. Being that it was our third year, we were well aware of our shortcomings, and ten days ago, we knew there was no way we would be moving on.
One of our parents had asked the date of the State competition in case we did move on, and I reminded the parents of all we had left to do, mostly on the project portion and sharing. I reminded them the age range for this competition is still ages 9 - 14, putting us up against a lot of middle school kids.
I rescheduled my own post competition calendar - switching around karate and adding more swimming since I knew my Mondays and Thursdays would free up after competition. I promised Wendy that I'd schedule her driving test just as soon as robotics was off of my calendar this week.
Clearly I shouldn't be a coach. (Thanks for the picture Mrs. Grainger)
We had a lot of parent help the last week, and a lot of extra practices. While weren't able to irk out time to share our project - had we done so, we would have come out in first place overall out of 30 teams.
One judge told us that we were just a whisper away from that first place overall, so we came in second place. They went with the other team for overall because their robot swept the whole board while ours focused on one side.
I was up bright and early yesterday morning making lists of what we need to do and improve on before the state competition on December 17th.
I know for at least two of our local cider mills, this weekend was the last chance for cider and doughnuts. We quickly ate lunch after church, and then scrambled off to our local favorite as their facebook post said they'd been open today - 'while supplies last'
The boys had a friend over after church. I get his youngest sister off the bus each morning.
It's been a full and emotional week this week with news that once again our school is on the chopping block with intent to close and consolidate us with another local elementary (not final until after several community forums, board meetings and board approval - but it's on the docket) which, of course, puts several job positions at risk and rocks the world of more than a few of our students with the most needs. The anxiety and process has been weighing on the hearts of many.
Then there was news of the death of dear friend's 15 year old son in a tragic accident. My mom and I went to the visitation on Friday and then the funeral on Saturday but are left wishing there was more we could do to ease our friend's pain.
I won't even get into the election, but there was that too.
Today felt good.
We were in good company with Uncle George.
One of his granddaughters showed up too.
The needed calm between the weeks.
This week brings....
a few more emotions as we work through community forums in regards to our school
the first week of swim and dive
the last week of robotics, along with the competition
a hoped for vet visit for Rocket - he's been a bit off
a couple of PTO obligations
and I should probably buy a turkey and make a plan for rounding up the oldest
I think I'll go soak in this last few hours of down time.
Brian and I had a field trip today with the Leadership group from karate. We met at the Howell Nature Center at 1 o'clock. We couldn't have ordered a more perfect day.
We were instructed to keep this field trip a secret from the kids, but most of them have done this course before as part of fifth grade camp so it wasn't too much of a surprise. All but one of them went up without any visible issues.
They start with a training course, making sure they remember the order of the steps to take to get from one challenge to the next. They work in teams, with one on the course and one on the ground.
These two teams were the first ones ready to tackle the course.
There are three courses to choose from. At sixth grade camp he did the six, which was the longest option. Today he got to tackle the nine.
I was going back and forth between by wide angle and my zoom. I was wishing I had two cameras.
A great way to spend a gorgeous fall Sunday.
The group included two more kids who had already left by the time we gathered for a photo.
Greg and I topped off the weekend by going out for a fish taco dinner.
I told my kids yesterday morning that, hey kids - it's been a long time since I've done a day in the life photos and this day seems like it might work. They were all on board with that.
Mark and Wendy both had activities in the 10 o'clock hour, and they were both up in time to get a little Saturday morning choring checked off the list.
Brian isn't much of an early riser if he doesn't need to be, so I left a note for him in the spot where notes will be found if there is one.
Mark had his last swim class for this season's eight week session. He's moving up. I thought he wanted a break in his schedule, but he wants to take the next class as soon as possible.
Wendy, meanwhile, was just across the way in the weight room, strength training with the soccer coach. I had time to run Mark home after swimming, pick up Rocket and take him for a little walk around the campus before she got out. Our hope for this coming week is to schedule her driving test to get her license.
I then had time to drop her off at home so she could shower before work before I ran Rocket up to the groomers. A long overdue appointment, as you can see.
Dad made it home from work while I was picking up Wendy, and during the time that I ran Rocket to the Barking Lot - dad put together some lunch. I was a little grossed out, but they all ate what they were given. Food down the hatch, I then ran Wendy to work.
Greg and the boys left for our nephew's birthday party while I waited for a phone call to go pick up the dog. When I got there, there was someone else walking out with Rocket's doppelganger. Since his groomer had confessed to misplacing his collar when she called that he was ready - I decided that I'd better put the dog I was given through some tricks once we got home so I could be sure I was given the right one.
Sit. Stay. Eat.
Yep, that's Rocket.
Birthday guests - Ayla. Our great-niece.
Camden (just over two months old) - our nephew and brother to the birthday boy.
Grayson - the birthday boy, and yes - we totally got him that fart gun. It was an instant hit. The funny thing is that Wendy and I had bumped into Grayson's dad at the store the night before when it was in our shopping cart, so I hid it under other purchases super quick. We NEVER bump into him at the store!
Once opened, he couldn't believe it. Teresa! he says. Grayson plays with that thing EVERY time we walk down that aisle, but I never dared to bring it home .....
That's what aunties and uncles are for.
I left just before five to head out and pick up Wendy from work before heading home to meet my mom.
We had tickets to the MSU - Tech game. We won 5 - 1. Go Huskies!
Random: at the last hockey game I went to, our school secretary was sitting across the way. I knew she'd be there, so I knew to look for her. At this game, in nearly the same spot but lower was, I was pretty certain, yet another one of my bosses from school. I puzzled on it for a bit, then finally texted that hey, I'm pretty sure I see you at the hockey game, are you here?
She'd either think I was nuts or it would really be her.
Person across the way eventually pulls out phone, reads it, looks up and around trying to find me. It's her! We proceeded to enjoy a moment of waving and texting and confirmed that we were both rooting for the same team.
After the game I caught up a bit with the cousins, friends and aunt and uncle who had been scattered about the stadium.
Brian and Mark along with the neighbor girl/classmate. The dads took them, making them walk ahead of them through wooded trails, spooking them with tales of zombies and spooks. It was memory making for sure.
The night was beautiful. Not exactly warm, but not cold. I left the window open on our front door all evening. It's easier to pass treats through the window when one has a dog like Rocket. The school kids know my drill now and I can hear them approaching the house with calls of "Mrs. Tormanen!" They get a full size candybar if they remember my name. They don't get a full size candy bar if they don't. Ethan K remembered my name this year, thereby escaping the teasing of his older brothers. They heckled him for a long time that year that they remembered and he forgot.
I skipped over to my mom's apartment with the boys after they made the rounds around our neighborhood. The official hours of trick or treating over by about ten minutes, they knocked on the door of my mom's neighbor - seeing that the light was still on and the jack o'lanterns lit. They got several handfuls each. They got the same at grandmas.
Brian on the way home: Grandmas are JACKPOTS!!
Mark's line of the night: I'm not a coal miner. I'm a candy miner!
We had 88 beggars this year.
Wendy (on the right) and a friend (Leena B).
This one has a funny story behind it.
We were scrounging late last night as the plan was for three of them to be Gossip Girls - whoever they are (we had to Google). Wendy was assigned to be Jenny, so we were looking up images trying to come up with the right attire. The third girl was going to supply the missing pieces and the full costume for the other friend as well.
The plan was to meet here at six, when trick or treating officially begins here in town. At six they got a text that the third friend, who lives a good twenty plus minutes away, would be leaving soon. I told them then that they may as well throw something else on and do a burn around the block while waiting, but they were all about waiting and going together.
Another ten minutes and they got a another text that the third wouldn't be able to make it after all. The third who had the pieces to the planned costumes.
With a quick rip and a tear through our Halloween boxes, they put on hospital gowns over their street clothes and were out the door running down the street before I ever saw what masks they took.
Wendy, upon arriving back home at 8:00: Mom, everyone really liked our costumes and were saying how impressed they were that we were Bedtime for Bonzo. or that we were Ronald Reagan and Bonzo!
It sounds to me that they were even more recognizable than the Gossip Girls.
Cracks me up that they just happened to grab those two masks out of the couple dozen we have to pick from.
All three kids hauled in record amounts of candy. May the sugar buzzes have mercy on me.
Yesterday, along with Mark's swimming, all day robotics, Wendy's last soccer game of the season, and a cousin's wedding that we had to miss (and I heard this morning that last night was also my 30th (?????) class reunion) - there was Brian earning a black belt. I dropped him off at black belt camp at 8am. I thought it was a kiss and go, but apparently a lot of parents stuck around to help transport and cheer on the students as they ran their mile and a half run to start the day. From there they went back to the dojo and did a series of drills, team building exercises and more. They filled their six hours well.
We headed back a couple hours later for the 6:00 belt ceremony.
The ceremony was 2.5 hours long. They did warm-ups and forms in groups, then did some individual shares. There were laughs and tears.
They had one last challenge before they earned their black belts. They did this one with some parent support. There may have been a few more tears.
It took three years, and he rarely missed a class. He definitely earned it.
Mark is about nine months behind him.
His red gi signifies that he's a part of the eight month long leadership program. Our second leadership session is this coming week.
As for today - more pictures later.
Church Cider Mill Wendy and I went for a 2 mile run the kids are carving pumpkins and rumor is that tomorrow is Halloween so I have some things I better take care of before morning.......