Currently {september twenty sixth}

this weeks themes:
watching, learning, considering, needing, changing

I've been absent for a couple of weeks, just too much going on, too much ... everything.  I always try to find time to myself, but ...  too much getting crammed into too little time.  I'm ready for the upcoming Fall break from school.  I'm calling it the Fall Recharge break!

WATCHING - ... ... ... Dawson's Creek.  I never watched when it originally aired.  A bit cheesy, definitely 90's, and they are all soooooo young!!

LEARNING - I am slowly learning that I can't always control all the outcomes.  As much as I want for everything to go right for my children, sometimes I just have to let the Universe take over.

CONSIDERING - I'm seriously considering how/when we can get away.  If only for a day...

NEEDING - Always needing more hours in a day.

CHANGING - I'm changing my views/opinions of those around me.  Sometimes you realize that you were seeing others as they want to be seen, not as they really are.  It's disheartening and disappointing.

Reading:  The Fault in Our Stars.  I haven't watched the movie.  Daughter begged for the book for her b-day.  My book challenge is catching up with me so I better get to reading it faster.

next weeks themes:
throwing, drinking, looking, loving, sharing

Currently link up is hosted by Harvesting Kale and OT & ET.

Total Meltdown in 3... 2...

September is not being kind.  There is a laundry list of issues.  Some I can't talk about because well... they just aren't worth that much of my time and I'm trying to let it go, but one thing has been bothering me for a while and  I'd like to focus on that today.

We've always been open to letting our children do their own thing.  Crazy hair colors, clothes choices (within reason), musical tastes, etc.  I'm aware that raising boys verses raising girls requires separate skill sets.  That's become obvious over the years.  As my son has gotten older, he's mellowed out and become more level headed.  My daughter... *insert huge sigh here*

When she first started middle school two years ago, she was a happy, bubbly girl.  In our location, the middle school is where two different elementary schools come together.  So she made new friends.  Slowly, the older friends weren't friends anymore.  As time has gone on, she's become more introverted.  Less happy.  More "emo".  If I never hear another "whate-v-e-r" or see another black t-shirt, it'll be too soon.  I've made many suggestions, tried buying clothes for her.  To no avail...

Last year, I had teachers, parents, other students warn me that my daughter was "hanging" with the wrong crowd.  That these kids were not the best choices for her.  I listened, but I didn't act.  Oh, I've had the conversation many times about branching out and making new friends, changing up the wardrobe.  Nada.  I get tuned out.

Now it's come down to this... my husband got a phone call from the assistant principal that lasted for more than 30 minutes and nearly got him in trouble with his boss yesterday.  She had her phone taken away because she was using it when she wasn't supposed to be, but then that led to the phone call.  Where the AP then tells my husband the same thing we've already heard, get her away from this group of kids.

We sat her down last night and had an at length conversation about how this behavior has steadily gotten worse and now it has become a detriment to her life, her education, her future.  Of course, her phone was confiscated since my husband had to go retrieve it from the school, but I did the only thing I could think to do...

I forbid her from associating with these kids anymore.

I know it's not realistic, but I'm completely lost.  I told her that I know I can't follow her around school all day or make sure she isn't talking to them, but that I trusted her enough to make the right choices.  That this was going to have to be a choice that she makes.

Throughout this whole ordeal I've tried to reassure her that we love her and care about her future.  I told her that I was being so hard on her because I do care.

I seriously need for September to move on out and for the planets to align is some other formation because I'm about to stroke out.

Keep Calm and ... Oh Who Am I Kidding

No time to keep calm about anything around here!  Totally missed the "Currently" post last week.  Forgot all about it.  I'm just going to do a quick little post so y'all know I haven't skipped the country.

A mod podge of everything...

+ Finally finished the first four seasons of Lost Girl!  I promptly realized that the next season doesn't start until NEXT YEAR! WHAT?!

+ Tried Jamberry Nail Wraps for the first time.  See here, here, and here.  It didn't go as well as I would have liked.  I took them off after just a week.  First time application combined with user error and it wasn't working.  Currently I'm on the next wraps, used one of their application kits, process was much easier.  Practice makes perfect with these things.

+ Football game Friday night.  The daughter was MIA for the band halftime show.  Thirteen year old drama ensued.  Cell phone confiscated.

+ Saturday there were two band competitions.
     - See last point. Late night followed by a full day of competitions.  Zombie mom.
     -The first competition was the home hosted show.  I was slung into a volunteer position. Thankfully it didn't involve too much interaction with people.  Except I was to ensure that no one was run over by the exiting PIT equipment.  Apparently no one understands the concept of NOT CROSSING the bright yellow "DO NOT CROSS" POLICE LINE tape.  People kept just going under it until I looked like the psycho band mom who was all...  STOP CROSSING OVER MY "DO NOT CROSS" POLICE TAPE!!!!
     - My lips got sun and wind burned.

     - Second competition.  We arrived and the stadium was full.  They had roped off a section for visiting bands.  Except it wasn't big enough.  So they opened up half of it for spectators instead.
     - Forgot my throw blanket.  Promptly froze while sitting in the stands.  Because... HELLO FALL WEATHER!
     - Concession stand had no hot cocoa.  Or coffee.

+ Recipes I used this week that I didn't have time to photograph or write a post about.
     - Oven Tacos from Mommy? I'm Hungry!
     - Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta from Annie's Eats

Plugged In

I'm not exactly a new band mom.  Both of my kids have been playing in the school band since they were in the 5th grade.  However, I am a new MARCHING band mom.  A couple of weeks ago, we experienced a little taste of band competition when we attended a non-scored preview show.  Sort of like a little kick off to the competition season.

It was exciting and new.  I've always loved music, was in band myself, but marching band is like... whoa.  I quickly realized that these bands are super competitive.  I had no idea.

The first band to perform were amazing!  They had trampolines and stages and everyone was moving around.  The drummers were even playing while jumping on the trampolines once!  They were great.  The next bands performed.  Everyone was very good.  Minimal mistakes.

All the bands needed the use of electricity for their "pit" section.  That's the section that gets wheeled in by ATV's on small carts.  The keyboards, large timpani drums, xylophones, etc.  I understand the need to plug those in.


One band started hooking all their equipment up like everyone else.  Then they began placing microphones across the edge of the field.  NOT like everyone else.  These were to enhance the instruments.  Apparently this is an accepted practice and not against any rules.

I felt duped.  Our band is ginormous, but most other bands were around the same size.  The other bands didn't need the use of artificial enhancements to project their sound.

Like I just found out their boobs were, indeed, fake.  I clearly have a lot to learn.

Currently {september fourth}

this weeks themes:
loving, craving, demanding, questioning, worrying

a) I am loving that we are T-minus 17 days until Autumn!  It's muh favorite.  It's that magical three months until Winter kicks in.  It's glorious.

b) Craving more time with nature.  My calf muscles still hate me, but I really want to get back out there.  It was just so beautiful and I live here y'all!

c) I have come to the point that demanding the kids do their chores is the norm.  I made them their own pretty little chore charts.  Talked and explained each day to them.  They have like four things each day.  Clean the litter box, feed/water cats, empty or load dishwasher.  That's it and they can't even get those done without being asked.  I know some teenagers who are about to be totes pissed because they are going to lose all connection to the outside world.

d) We are questioning marching band.  Right off the top there is a fee.  That is fine.  I understand that uniforms need to be cleaned, instruments need to be stored/cleaned/fixed, etc.  However, I had no idea there would be demands for handmade, individually wrapped desserts once a month for a fundraising lunch sale (pork loin sandwich, chips, drink, that homemade dessert = $5) or that I would be expected to provide cases of water, individually wrapped sandwiches and Little Debbie cakes every Saturday before competitions.  In addition, it costs $5 a person to enter said competitions.  I am tapped out.  As my friend, Cam, would say... I'm 100% white girl done.  I can't even.

With that said...

e) I've been doing my fair share of worrying about the crisis in Iraq/Syria/Middle East.  I have a hard time reconciling my every day stresses that, in comparison, are hardly worth a second glance.  There are people who live every single day in a war zone.  Walking to the grocery store with rockets flying overhead.  And here I am sitting in my air conditioned house complaining that my internet isn't fast enough or that my kids picked the expensive elective in school.  When I should be grateful that they are allowed to attend school at all.  *sigh*  I've been doing a lot of knitting.  It's my meditation. I'm still on the verge of a full blown, make me stay at home in my pajamas for weeks, anxiety attack.  I have to take these thoughts, these feelings, and tuck them away.  Not forgotten, but not on the surface.

Watching:  Nope.  See explanation for "Reading"...

Reading:  ... ... Still reading Book of Life. *facepalm*  I usually read before bed, but lately the Little has been laying down in bed with me until she falls asleep.  Trying to read with a toddler rooting in the bed next to you, asking you every five minutes if you are reading a bedtime story, is not productive to good book reading time.  So yeah...

next weeks themes:
falling, wearing, making, smiling, learning

Currently link up is hosted by Harvesting Kale and OT & ET.

Spur of the Moment | Natural Bridge State Park | Kentucky

Or more aptly titled... What the Hell Was I Thinking.  Also TONS of photos...

Friday afternoon both my girls went to spend the weekend with their grandparents.  The house was strangely quiet with only one child in it.  We rented Oculus.  We were confused.  We give it a "meh" rating.

Saturday morning I sat drinking my coffee and I said to myself...

"Self, we don't get out of the house enough.  We should do something today because we have only one child to forcibly remove from his cozy bed and make spend time with us.  Let's explore Kentucky on a little road trip."

No one else was really on board with this idea.  My son didn't want to get out of bed and told me that instead of pretending we were a family with one kid, "go pretend you are a family with no kids."  Got to love teenagers, right?  The husband was very serious about not driving 3 or 4 hours, but I convinced him.  And by "convince" I mean, I didn't tell him.  Away we went to view the beauty of Kentucky via the Appalachian region and the Natural Bridge State Park.

Small panorama while sitting under the Natural Bridge.

The shortest (supposedly easiest) route to the bridge was stated as being only a half mile long on the sign at the trailhead, but several other places said it was 3/4 of a mile.  Longest half mile hike I have ever taken (probably closer to that 3/4 mile mark).  Thank goodness there are several small little huts with benches along the way.  I would never have made it to the top without several breaks.

Yes, I totally selfie'd when I got there.  But not before I was like... I claim this rock for my old, tired ass.  Get outta my way!  You can't tell from this picture, but I was completely drenched in sweat and my face was as red at a beet.

There was a tiny staircase carved out of the rock (just out of the shot in the panorama photo).  The husband and son decided they were going to continue climbing.  I decided to let them do that all by themselves.  The prospect of climbing up anything else was not on the menu.  Then this...

My view.  My husband leaning over the edge telling me that I needed to get up there.  I was terrified.  But not terrified enough that I didn't tell him to hold on, let me take a picture!

His view.  That's a wee little me.  So up the tiny little staircase I went.  The tiny little staircase that turns into the scary, equally as tiny, squeeze between huge, millions of years old, walls of rock.

When I got to the top... it was breathtaking.

Suddenly, that exhausting hike was forgotten.

He graced me with a photo op.  How gracious of him.

Yep.  Did it again.

I wish I would have made a photo sphere while I was there, but new phone.  I haven't downloaded the Google Camera yet.  *kicks self in ass*  Instead I did a full 360 degree panorama.  It looks a bit strange so I cropped it a couple of times to split it up.

Not far from the bridge was the skylift.  We had nearly convinced ourselves that we were going to take the skylift down because... exhausted.  But then we saw the skylift and my heart fell into my stomach.

It really was humid and hazy though the distant hills didn't look quite so blue in reality.  Whatcha gonna do?  It was my husband's cell phone.  I was too busy rocking in a corner while crying.  NO WAY in hell was I getting on that thing.  I'm scared of heights as it is, but DO YOU SEE THAT?!  Nope.  So I sucked it up, took a little breather, and began the journey back down the trail.  Going down wasn't as hard as going up, but it sure wasn't easy either.

After a quick stop for gas and snacks, the Nada Tunnel, a one-lane, 900 ft. long tunnel that is 12 ft. wide and 13 ft. high.

Not ominous at all, right?

They built this tunnel for the logging trains to move timber.  They drove TRAINS THROUGH HERE!  There must have been no room on any sides of the locomotives.

I feel like we barely scratched the surface.  For a spur of the moment idea, I think it actually went well.  My husband and I both agreed that we need to return.  With more planning and a hotel room.