Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

My holiday started like all others before it, playing mass.  I played four masses this year and loved every one of them.  There is no sarcasm in that last sentence, I really did enjoy the celebrations.  The church was decorated beautifully and the people were so happy to be there.  The choir sounded amazing and I played flute at church for the first time in months.  Maybe my happiness was because of my ability to play and not hurt for once.  I'm not sure.  I just know that I was loving every moment of my time at church!


In between the two Christmas Eve masses the four of us met my parents at Hawaiian Islands (a Chinese place) for dinner.  We had a great time.  That is a tradition that I love with all my heart.  Spending time with my parents.  When we got home from dinner we let the kids open their gifts from us, since I had to be at church at 8:30am the next day.  We gave Emily an iPod touch and chris a 3ds.  We couldn't afford much this year, but I think we still did great in their eyes.  My Christmas gift was my Keurig coffee maker that I had bought myself the day after Thanksgiving and my new smartphone.

On Christmas day we got up early to have the kids open Santa's gifts (angry birds stuff for Chris and an American Doll for Emily).  I had to run off to church and play the last two masses, but the kids stayed home with Jerry and learned how to play their toys!  After church we all met at my parents home for lunch.  This is one of my favorite traditions.  It is so relaxing to be able to head there, relax with a glass of wine, and thank God that I still have my folks in my life.  We always have stockings to "open" and the kids love going there as well.  I feel so lucky to still have both my parents in my life.  So many folks have lost a parent, or two, or have step parents to deal with.  I've been blessed with an amazing family!


After my folks house we head to Jerry's folks house.  We had dinner there with the whole Herman clan (minus Jack, Hank and Jen--whom we missed!).  We spent time chatting and playing with the nephews.
They are so cute right now. They are 2 and 3 and are just so fun to be around!

Overall, the holiday was a complete success!  Right now I wearing my new bathrobe that my mother gave me.  This bathrobe is special in a couple of different ways.  The robe itself is not necessarily special, although it is a soft as a cloud!!  It is special because my mom surprised me on Christmas for the first time in years.  Normally I always know what I am getting from her.  It's a fact of getting older.  It happens.  This year, she bought me something I didnt' know about and I was thrilled.  Its also special because whenever I put it on I feel as if my mom is putting her arms around me!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, or whatever other holiday you celebrate.  May the new year bring you happiness, success and much love!!

Merry Christmas to everyone and a very Happy New Year to come!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Revelation

For the last three to four months I have been watching Emily in her swim practices and have noticed that she just wasn't herself in the pool.  She looked like she was struggling during practices and her times during meets were starting to get worse.  Nothing she did seemed to work and she has been very stressed.  I have had this inkling, this feeling, that there was a deep seeded root to her problem and just could not put my finger on it.

Today was the turkey trot race at her school and Jerry has always taken half a day to run it with the kids.  Last year Emily placed second in her class and 25th overall.  This year she had to keep taking breaks and came in 65th overall.  That is still an amazing accomplishment, but not her best.  I had flashes to swimming and that feeling came back.  That mother's instinct!  Jerry looked at me, after she walked away, and basically told me to book a doctor's appointment.  I asked if he thought she had asthma and he said yes.

Bingo!  Asthma!  I have lived with exercise induced asthma all my life, makes sense that she might too.  It all makes sense.  The fact that she was always out of breath. The fact that her times were getting worse.  The fact that she looked so dang slow in practice but swore she was working hard.

Today I decided to try something.  I gave her a puff off of my inhaler.  I doubt it could do any harm to her and it would really tell us if this is the problem.  Well....she had an amazing work out!  I haven't seen her look this good in a long time, and she had a smile on her face as she got out of the pool.  When I asked her how practice went she said it was amazing because she never got tired.  She felt like she could swim faster and felt energized afterwards.  This just convinced me that I am right.

Now to see what the doctor says.  Hopefully he will concur with me!  :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

a feeling of failure

I feel like I have failed as a mother.  I know that sounds dramatic, but that is how I feel.

Emily is so stressed right now and I don't know how to get through to her or how to help her.  I feel completely helpless.  Her grades are dropping and her times in swimming are considerably slower then last season.  I know I've pushed her before, but she always seemed to be able to handle it.  I have made a conscious effort to step back and not push her this year where swimming is concerned.  I've told her that swimming should be fun and asked her if there was something else she would want to try.  She always says no.  That swimming is her sport.

I just had a talk with her teacher about a test she took.  Long story short, she retook a test and still got a B-.  Now I understand that a B- is not necessarily a bad grade, but it's not like her.  She only got 4 wrong in the first place and two of them she got right on the original test.  That is just careless.  I also found out, by talking to the teacher, that she had a study guide to bring home and I never was even aware that there was an upcoming test much less a study guide for it.  The weekend before this big test was her USS swim meet.  She put so much weight on that meet, and none on her school work.  Its upsetting to me.  I am at the point where I feel I need to pull her from the team for awhile until she gets her grades back, but then I think maybe I'm overreacting.

I just feel like I have failed her.  I don't know where to go from here and I am very overwhelmed myself.  Maybe I am making more out of this then I need to, but she has told me how stressed she is but won't tell me why. Maybe she doesn't even understand why.  Personally I think she sees all the other kids excelling on their times in swimming and improving and she's not.  I don't understand it and have no idea how to help her.  She has had the personal, one on one time,with the coach over the summer but is not following through on any of what he taught her.  The coach is too busy working with the older kids to see what she is doing or not doing, so that's a bust also.

As far as school goes, she isn't even bringing study guides home to study for tests.  In fact, she didn't even tell me about the big social studies test.  When I was talking with the teacher this morning I was informed that they had four days to study at home before the test.  Why didn't I know about it?  I don't think I can take all the heat for this one because I can't read minds, but still.....I must have failed her somewhere.

I really, really, really wish kids came with owner manuals.  At least then I'd have some idea on how to troubleshoot this problem.

I also wish I had the money to talk with a counselor.  Maybe then I could figure some things out.  It sucks having crappy health insurance.  :(

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Emily and Nutrition

Emily is starting her USS swimming season  with her first meet in a week.  She is really hoping to qualify for Junior Olympics this year, or J.O. as swimmers know it as.  She has been working hard but realizes she just isn't cutting it.  Last night they did somoe sprints and she couldn't keep up with the girls she used to be able to beat.  I could tell she was really working hard and was disappointed for her.  I just don't know that she will be able to pull it off, the qualification that is. 

On the ride home she and I talked very openly about what she needed to do and how what she eats really makes a difference.  She doesn't eat badly, but she eats a ton of carbs and really loves her sweets (who doesn't).  Anyone who has seen a picture of her knows she probably has zero body fat on her but at this point in her training I fear that what she puts in her mouth is really whats fueling her body in the pool.  She asked me to go on the USS swimming website to see what they say about nutrition and swimming, so I did.  Last night she brought me a package of sour patch kids, the Halloween size bags.  She said "mom, two bags of these are a serving.  Did you know that".  I chuckled  because I didn't know that.  I was so proud of her for looking and taking this seriously.  Then, she did something that I was very proud of as well....she packed one bag in her lunch for today and is saving the other bag for "later".  She knows that she should only eat one serving per day so she is spreading it out. 

I can honestly say, if she doesn't qualify for J.O. next weekend it won't be because she isn't taking things seriously.  It'll be because she didn't take it seriously enough, early in the season.  Then again, it is a very long season so we will have to wait and see how this plays out. 

At any rate, the fact that she is learning at nine years old what I didn't learn until 30 is quite an accomplishment I think.  Hopefully it will stick with her throughout her life and she won't have to struggle with her weight the way I do. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

friends

In the past three days I have come to find out just how many friends I have in my life thanks to Facebook.  Its incredible really.  I grew up thinking that I was unliked, but I think most kids go through that at some point in their lives.  I just went about life and did the best I could.  I always tried to laugh at myself and not take myself too seriously to cover up my insecurities.   It was a survival skill I learned at a very young age and I feel it has served me well. 

On Monday, Jerry and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary.  I mentioned it in my status and was completely overwhelmed by the response I received from everyone.  Plus, the friends that had been at our wedding reception still remember it to this day and reminded us of the fun as well.  That was amazing!

Yesterday I wrote a blog about a nasty comment that was made about my weight to my children.  The response to that was amazing as well.  I always knew that my true friends would never care about something as simple as weight gain, and have reminded myself of this on a daily basis.  But to see the caring responses from them, in black and white, was overwhelming.  The love I felt from friends, family and students was completely overwhelming as well.  I even had someone comment to me that I sure had a lot of friends who cared about me.  I looked at her, my student, and said "I sure do!" and I smiled to myself because I felt the love even then. 

Some people think Facebook is a complete waste of time, and it probably is.  I know I spend way too much time on it, but I also know that I have reconnected with so many wonderful people.  Some of those friendships go as far back as fourth grade, with someone who moved away and I never thought would see again.  Some are with people from college that I lost touch with after graduation, because I am old enough to remember a time before cell phones and email!  To me, Facebook has been a lifeline and a savior.  It never lets me be sad for long.  It never lets me get depressed.  It always puts a smile on my face, no matter how angry I am.  There is always someone online waiting to answer my plea for a prayer or a smile.  It has gotten me through my dark days of being bedridden with back issues.  Facebook is Life.  That's how I feel anyway. 

They say that if you have one true friend you are rich.  Well, I must be a trillionaire then because I have some of the worlds best friends in my life!  They are there in my time of need, at any hour of the day.  It is really an incredible thing and I never could have dreamt this as a child. 

If you are reading this blog, then most likely you are one of those people I am talking about.  I personally thank you for being a part of my life and for allowing me into YOUR life.  It is an honor and a blessing from God to be as loved as I am, and I am so thankful!  My cup is overflowing with love! 

May God bless you, as He has me!  :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

words can hurt more then physical pain sometimes

While I was having breakfast with my mom we were talking about my back issues and I was informing her how much better I've been feeling.  She told me that while watching my kids this weekend it was brought up that someone, I will withhold who, told them that my back would stop hurting if I would just lose some weight.  I was blown away.  How dare they say those things to my kids!  That is hurtful and mean!!  What kind of message is that sending them?!

The fact of the matter is this.....I have had back problems from the time I was in middle school.  I was never overweight until the last ten years and have had issues for the last 25, at least.  My back issues have nothing to do with my weight and everything to do with my spine.  Yes, I am overweight.  But I have been told by my doctor and OB that I am in perfect health.  My blood work numbers are text book and they aren't worried about my weight.  Of course they would like to see me lose some weight, so would I!  But my health is not being affected by it.  That is a huge thing!  There are many skinny, bone thin, people who are having major issues with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart issues and other illnesses.  Not me.  For the record....I have never been known to over eat, have always watched what I ate, and have tried to maintain some form of exercise regiment my entire life.  I have had private trainers, weight watcher leaders and my doctor stumped as to why I am over weight.  If someone feels I LIKE looking like this, they are sadly mistaken.  I hate how I look.  I just have to accept it right now.

I get very depressed lately because I am so helpless to my back problems lately.  I watch people, like my friend Nikki, run and lose tons of weight.  I will never be able to run.  Ever!  The minute I try, my back feels it.  My discs can't handle the pressure, no matter how much I weighed.  That in itself is depressing.  I would do anything to be able to run and do races like she is, and like Jerry does.  I feel like I am at such a disadvantage.  It sucks, but it is my life.  I have to learn how to deal with it.

I have also learned that my true friends could care less what I look like.  I have never judged anyone by their looks and really dont feel I should be either, but this is life and people do judge others by lesser things then that. 

I am so very hurt right now, but I will trudge on with a smile on my face as I usually do.  Most people will never even know I am physically hurting or mentally hurting.   I will continue on with my life and find a way to teach my children that looks shouldn't matter.  I have taught my children how to find serving sizes on packages and suger grams per serving.  I have made sure their lunches are well balanced between healthy food and "fun" food.  They both swim three to four days per week and go outside when the weather is nice. 

If there is anything I can impress on whomever  is reading this it would be to never judge a book by its cover.  That person may be overweight, but they may be the healthiest person you know.  There may be a reason, medically, that makes them overweight.  You just never know. 

Thanks goes to those who don't judge me for how I look, and only by who I am! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11 toughts

I have been watching videos on youtube of the actual footage again.  Wow!   The memories just come rushing back like it was yesterday.  I instantly get tears in my eyes and can recall every emotion and thought I had going through my head.  I am just as horrified today as I was ten years ago!
Today, while watching these videos, Emily wandered over and asked what I was watching.  I restarted the video so she could watch what I saw ten years ago while she was nestled safely in my belly waiting to be born.  She asked why the newscasters were so confused.  I told her we all were.  No one really knew what was going on until that second plane hit.  I told her how I remember lying in bed, having just woke up, and thought to myself "here we go again, an irresponsible pilot".  Then I saw the second plane and I remember having a hard time breathing.  It was as if my lungs had stopped working.  Emily asked a lot of questions about my emotions and why I was tearing up as I talked to her.  I told her it was something she could never understand completely, but that I wanted her to know about it and never forget what she saw in that video today. 

I do know that I have some friends who believe it was a conspiracy and that the government had a hand in helping the towers fall.  I've watched the footage and I've listened to the arguments.  I, personally, don't believe it but I think it's more of a "letting it go" feeling then anything.  The men and women who died that day do not need their memories tainted by talks of conspiracy.  They need us to understand what their families have gone through without them and pray for them.  That's what they need.  Everyone is going to believe what they want to believe, even that the moon landing was fabricated.  That is why our country is so great.  We have the right to believe what we want to believe.

I feel some of the bravest people I know are firemen, policemen and military folk.  They put their lives on the line everyday to keep me safe, whether it's rescuing a person who calls 911  or pulling over a car for speeding.  It is all for us.  I thank you for your service to me and my fellow Americans!  Thank you for your tireless work and your protection for my freedoms! 

As I look at the pictures and videos from ten years ago, with adult eyes now, I still feel the same.  I find my breath caught in my lungs and tears rolling down my cheek.  I am not naive enough to believe it will never happen again.  I know better then that.  I just hope that when it does happen, it is nowhere near any of my friends and loved ones!  I hope that something gets found out in time so that everyone gets out safely.  I pray that God has mercy on the innocent.

As I close out this blog tonight, may I just say three strong words.........

GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First day of school

The day has finally come.  The kids step on the bus and the house goes quiet!  I was looking forward to this day for about a month now, since the craziness of having the kids with me 24/7 was really getting to me.  However, after being without them for a couple hours I started to miss them.  Crazy huh? 

While driving home from Target I started remembering the summer and all we did.  Pretty fun times really!  The first part of the summer was all about swimming, swimming and more swimming.  Both kids were participating in Trenton Swim Club this summer and did amazing!  Chris was one of the top "8 and unders" on the team and Emily was one of the top "10 and unders".   We racked up a lot of medals and ribbons between the two of them.  In fact, Emily won a gold and two silvers at the state swim meet! 

Our main vacation this summer was to Traverse City with the four of us, and Pokegan with the Herman family.  It was such a great time!  We did Go Karts, wine tasting, lighthouse looking, sight seeing, and eating! 

We saw pretty much any movie that came out for kids and ate tons of popcorn, movie and homemade. 

The only bummer for me was my back issues.  I feel like, looking back, I didn't give them the best summer they could have had because of my limitations.  We only went to the zoo once, instead of multiple times as before.  We didn't go bowling, or take any walks.  I was just so busy trying to recuperate that I couldn't do much else.  I will always feel badly about that. 

Overall, I think we had a pretty decent summer and I found myself a little bit sad that it had ended today.  Having the kids back in school, with structure and friends.....its what they need. 

And so the new school  year begins.  I wish all the teachers and students out there the best year ever!  May the grades be good, the students want to learn and the parents be able to keep up with the activities! 

Happy School Year Everyone!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Emily's State Meet

So, I was told by a friend that I needed to update my blog with Emily's newest results.....so here I am!

Emily was invited to swim in the State Meet by her coach.  The events she was invited to swim in were two relays, the 100 Freestyle and 100 IM (individual Medly....one lap of each stroke).  She swims in the 10 and under events and is 9, so she is one of the youngest in her events.  Going into this Meet she was very nervous.  I think she really feels the pressure of being a good swimmer.  She was having major troubles sleeping and didn't want to go to practices in the mornings.  By thursday I had to do some "mommy work" and talk to her about her problems and how to help her.  In the end she decided to give the last two practices her all and kicked some serious butt! 

When we got to the pool on Saturday moning Emily was pretty darn nervous.  She told me she was worried she would let people down if she didn't win.  Well, she didn't disappoint at all! 

The first medley relay ended up taking third place.  I still think the coach should have re-thought who swam what stroke because I just don't feel he put them on their strongest stroke.  For example...emily, this summer, has been horrible at backstroke.  It just isn't her strong stroke, yet he had her lead the relay off with the backstroke and that put them behind right off the bat.  Anyway....Bronze medal was good, but then someone got DQ'd so they ended up with silver.  Not bad at all!

Next up was her 100 Free event.  She was the top seeded time so she had a good start going in.  She knew this and I think it settled her a bit.  Anyway, she dove in and took off.  She had the lead all four lengths until the last two strokes when she tired out.  The girl next to her had a burst of speed and ended up taking the Gold from Emily by .02 secends!!  Can you believe it?  By .02 seconds!!  Unbelievable!!! 

Her third event was her best event...the 100 IM.  She was up against her biggest rival this summer, a girl named Lauren.  She has been trying to beat Lauren all summer and is looking forward to the girl aging up to the next age group in the fall.  That means that Lauren is almost 11, basically a little over a year older then Emily.  I set my recorder and in Emily dove to start her race.  Emily's butterfly stroke is really good and so she kept up with Lauren for most of that length. Then come backstroke, which is NOT her strong stroke.  That length put her about two body lengths behind Lauren.  At this point there really is no one close to these two girls!  When Lauren hits the wall to do Breaststroke something happens and she flubs the turn, which gave Emily a bit of a chance at catching her.  While swimming the breaststroke lap Emily was closing the gap.  This last week the coach had really worked on her breaststroke to make it stronger so I think part of that kicked in.  When Lauren made her turn Emily took three more strokes, hit the wall, did her turn and TOOK OFF!  She was moving so fast I couldn't believe it.  She wanted that win so bad you could just see it in her stroke!  She ended up passing Lauren half way down the last lap and won by a couple seconds!!  Woooo hoooo!!!!  I was going crazy.  The only thing was, I was trying very hard to not go completely nutso since Laurens' whole family was sitting directly next to Jerry and me.  I told them that was an amazing race and that Lauren did great and then we left the stands.  I did a little victory dance in the stairway while no one was watching! :)

Emily's last relay took third and was a pretty fun race to watch as well! 

Overall, Emily ended up with a Gold, two Silvers, and somehow a fourth place ribbon for the last relay (that they really got third in).  She wore her medals to church today and really never took them off.  Normally she doesn't care about the ribbons or medals but the State ones she does.  Father Rick awknowledged her at the end of the service and had her stand up to show the congregation her medals.  What a proud moment for her and for us as her parents!  I felt it was appropriate as God most definately gave her the ability to swim like she can and the fighting spirit that lets her win so many races!! 

I will add the links to her events on here.  Feel free to watch and enjoy!!  If you are down in the dumps and need a spirit lifted, watch her Gold Medal 100 IM video.  Just make sure to turn your volume down, you dont' need to hear me screaming in your ears!! :)

100 Freestyle...Silver Medal
http://youtu.be/O744evZIPhY

100 IM....Gold Medal
http://youtu.be/VXU3oxPWL24

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

League Championship Meet Videos

The kids had their championship meet this morning.  It started out pretty rough for emily. She just couldn't fall aleep last night and ended up finally succumbing at about 2am.  She had to be in the pool for warm ups at 7:30!  She didn't talk much as we got her ready and I had to force her to eat something.  Once she dove in the pool for her warm up she was better. 

Chris swam two relays, 25 Backstroke and 25 Breaststroke (of which he didn't really know how to do)
Emily swam two relays, 50 Backstroke and 50 Freestyle.

Chris took 4th place in Back and 5th in Breast.  Emily took 4th place in Back as well and 7th in Free.  For Emily's events there were anywhere from 24 to 32 kids, so her placements are excellant!!! 

We are so proud of both the kids and are looking forward to the State Meet for Emily next saturday, Aug. 6!

Here are the videos of the kids:

Chris' 25 Backstroke

Emily's 50 Backstroke

Chris' 25 Breast.....almost completely done underwater..lol

Emily's 50 Freestyle...personal best time!

I hope you enjoyed my kids swimming!  :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Emily's swim meet

Emily had a long course swim meet yesterday.  That means that the pool length was 50 meters instead of 25 yards, and is considered an olympic size pool.  It was a USS swim meet with judges all along the pool.  It was a beautiful day, not too hot or cold.  We had front row seats, thanks to my parents for getting there early, and could see just about everything. 

Emily was swimming four events...three individual events and one relay. The events were 50 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, 50 freestyle (all three in the 10 and under age group) and the 400 medley relay (12 and under age group)  Emily was placed pretty well in the individual races.  In all of her races there were at least 75 kids per race, which broke down to about 8 heats or more.  The fastest kids are in the last few heats.  Emily was constantly in the second or third to last heat.  She was ranked about 20th in one event, 16 in another and I can't remember the third but it was basically the same. 

Emily didn't beat any personal bests necessarily, but I am proud of her for going out there and doing her best!  Here are the videos of her events. 

50 meter backstroke....
http://youtu.be/cRR9e_VhCnc

100 Breaststroke...
http://youtu.be/y1cVQlFO6ps

50 Freestyle...
http://youtu.be/X6BlNRhuCSA

Enjoy!  There will be  more to come throughout the summer! :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

chris and his bully

So, my son had a bully in kindergarten and first grade.  His name was Joey.  Joey disguised himself as a friend but then would always try to get Chris in trouble.  He made it his mission in school, to get Chris in trouble.  In kindergarten it was just things like kicking Chris in the back during carpet time.  Chris would get up and move and then get in trouble for moving during the lesson.  It was little things like that, and Chris just didn't know how to handle it.  He was dealing with his ADD on top of that and we dealt with one issue at a time. 

In first grade Joey was put in a separate class so as not to bother Chris anymore, at my request.  But lunch time recess was nothing any of us could control.  He would come up to Chris and trip him, or punch him, or kick him.  We started to tell Chris to fight back, knowing he might get in trouble.  I had a conference with both teachers, Chris' and Joey's, to try and get things to stop.  It didn't really work.  The lunch moms weren't doing anything about it and weren't telling the teachers, so most of the time the teachers had no idea what was happening.  I had assumed Chris was letting the teacher know...and so went the entire year of miscommunication.  The last week of first grade Chris broke down and begged to be transferred to a different school.  I finally had it, and talked to his teacher at one of the end of the year field trips.  She was shocked at the things I told her and promised that Chris' last week of school would be peaceful.  Joey ended up having indoor recess during lunches so that Chris wouldn't be bothered and then Joey was transferred to a different school.  It was suppose to help him with his mental issues.  Chris was overjoyed at the prospect of having a "Joey free" second grade. 

Second grade, this past school year, was so peaceful.  Chris thrived in his new class with his new friends and not having Joey to deal with.  His grades got better.  His behavior issues got better. It was a great year for him! 

Last night, at Emily's softball game, Chris and I were sitting in the stands.  He was playing his DSi and I was watching warm ups.  I looked up and saw Joey coming into the stands.  He looked at me, then at Chris, and went to sit with his mom.  His cousin, or sister, is on Em's team.  He didn't say anything for awhile but he was starting to talk loudly about Mario Bros and things he knew Chris was interested in.  When that didn't catch Chris' attention he started to mention Chapman Elementary, "where he used to go to school".  Then he started talking to his brother about this kid named Christopher who used to go to school with him.  The whole time this is going on, Chris is completely ignoring him.  He knows it's Joey and made the decision to ignore him. Well, this went on and on and on for the whole game.  It got so bad that the kid was standing behind Chris, breathing on his neck while watching him play his game. He kept saying that he knew he was Chris.  Chris, Chris, Chris, Chris, Chris Herman...etc etc.  Then when Chris went to the bathroom with Jerry Joey came up to me and said "you're chris' mom".  I looked at him and said..."yep"....then continued to concentrate on the game.  That through him for a loop because I just acknowledged that we knew who he was but were choosing to ignore him.  When Chris came back he proceeded to put his earplugs in so he didn't have to hear Joey.  That just infuriated Joey, which made Chris happy.  I think you get the idea on the whole two hours. 

I am just so proud of my son.  He stood up for himself to this kid by ignoring him.  He didn't take any of the bait!  At the end of the game, Joey yelled to Chris..."hey Chris"...and Chris forgot and said "yeah?".  Joey..."wanna play with us"....Chris "no thank you".  I patted his head and we left for the car.  It is amazing to me how grown up one kid can get in one year.  I have so much respect for my child today and know that he will do OK in life.  He stood his ground, as hard as it was to do.  He didn't let Joey get to him.  It is amazing to watch your child figure things out like that and I will never forget that.  Also, to hear him retell it to Emily and hear her respond to him....it was fun to listen to.

To my wonderful son.....you are growing up to be a fantastic kid.  I am proud to say I am your mom and that you are my son!  Keep it up!  You will go far in life!!!  I love you so much, Christopher Michael Herman!! :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My horrible thursday night.

So, my 2005 Taurus gave out on me.  I was on my way to work Thursday afternoon and had swung by the Starbucks beforehand.  I needed that shot of espresso to get me through the whole afternoon of teaching.  When I pulled back onto Southfield my transmission just wouldn't shift gears.  The tachometer was going crazy!  I managed to make it to work and called Jerry.  He didn't answer  so I called my friend Bill.  He told me he'd meet me at work when I was done and take a look at it.  I was also supposed to meet my friend Karen after work, we were going to go see a movie at the IMAX theater that night. 

I taught my students and then went into the lobby of the studio and saw both of them sitting there, so we headed out to look at the car.  Karen ran to the closest gas station to buy some trans fluid, couldn't hurt to try that first.  Didn't work.  After a while of trying different things, driving it around (or attempting to drive it around) I finally called AAA for a tow truck.  Bill and Karen stayed with me through out the wait, of which I was so grateful!

Now, the story of the tow truck ride is a whole other ball game.  That guy was NUTS!!  He loaded my car onto the bed of his truck and locked it down.  So far so good.  Then he turned to me and told me he wanted me to ride with him.  I asked him if that was really necessary since I had friends to ride with, and he said yes.  I looked at my two friends and told them to follow the truck, and asked them to not lose me!  This tow truck guy was just weird.    I got in the cab and the guy takes off.  Not slowly, mind you, fast!  He pulls onto Southfield and runs the first yellow light.  Now we've already lost Bill.  He wasnt' even out of the parking lot yet.  Karen stuck close!  Through the next yellow, and the next.  He didn't like to slow down or stop.  I looked in the side mirror and still saw Karen behind us.  Now we are turning onto Biddle to go south into Trenton and the driver pulls out his GPS.  Instead of just letting me tell him where the place is, he is trying to load it into the keyboard.  The truck is kind of weaving now and I'm getting a bit scared.  He comes up on a light that is red, with two cars in front of us, but he's not stopping because he is too busy looking at the GPS.  I start making some noises like "ah ah ah ah", I just cant seem to find my words to yell "hey jackass!  There is a red light!!" .  He looks up and yells some choice words, swerves into the turn lane and stops for the light, barely.  Karen is watching this and just can't believe her eyes!  We drive through Wyandotte and get to a major intersection where the light turns yellow.  I assume he's going to plow through it, like usual, but NO....he decides to slow down as if he's going to stop.  Then at the last minute, he plows through the light...full steam ahead!  Karen is now stuck for the light.  She races up to catch us when the light turned, telling me that she went pretty pretty fast to catch up to us.  We did manage to get to the garage, but boy it was quite the ride!

Karen and I had already missed the movie so the three of us went to Mr. Nicks for some dinner and a couple beers.  I have some of the best friends out there!  I would have been lost without them. 

Since that night I have sold my car to the garage, and took a loss I'm sure, and bought a new Dodge Journey.  With the kids getting older and needing room for bags, equipment and gear  I think this is going to work out nicely.  I am NOT going to like the second car payment but we did it before, we can do it again.  It'll just take some adjusting.  The car is not loaded with all the high tech stuff, but it has enough for me to need to get used to it!   

People have said I am spoiled for getting a new car but in reality, I will have this car for seven years.  It just made more sense to get a new car at this point in our life.  Right now, I'm just thankful I came out of the two truck experience alive! :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thank you God!

This morning was quite an eye opener.  At 5:30am Jerry and I were jolted out of bed by a bright light, the house shaking and the sound of bricks falling.  We thought our house had been hit by lightning.  A quick check told us that we were fine and looking out the window it looked like the neighbors were fine.  Jerry went to lay with Emily, who was freaking out, and I went back to bed. 

When I woke up the  kids I checked my FB really quick and saw Jerry's status, that the neighbors house had been hit by lightning and half the roof was gone.  I was in shock!  I made the kids lunch, like everyday, and then ran outside to see for myself.  I had instant tears.  When I went back in Emily wanted to see so she put her shoes on and outside she went.  When she came back in she looked like she was in shock too.  We talked about how lucky we were and I reminded her about how every day we have on this earth is a gift from God and that we need to treasure our lives together.  I think she finally gets it!

When we went out to look for the bus we noticed a TON of kids at our stop (our driveway).  Kids I had never seen before were now at our bus stop.  They all wanted to see "the house", so they walked two blocks to our stop.  Crazy!  After the bus had left I ran in, got dressed, and started to walk down there to see if there was anything I could do to help.

As I was walking down there, Cindy saw me (the wife of the house) and started walking towards me.  I gave her a huge hug and asked her if she was OK.  She started to explain what happened.  The corner of their house was hit by lightning which instantly ignited the roof into flames.  She didn't even know.  Never heard a thing.  Either did Brook, the youngest daughter.   A neighbor from down the street, she doesn't know who it was, woke her up by pounding on her front door trying to get them to wake up.  He basically saved their lives.  The oldest daughter was at a friends house for the night and the husband is out of town for work.  Someone had driven by and saw the fire, and called Chelsea at her friends house to say she should probably call home, that he thought her house was on fire.  Chelsea tried to call but couldn't get through.  She found her way home and realized that everyone was safe. 



I just can't even imagine having to deal with all of that.  I am so thankful to God right now.  I am thankful that it wasn't my house.  I am thankful that the whole family is safe down the street.  I am thankful for another day on this glorious earth! 

To anyone who follows my blog, you are loved.  I appreciate every single one of my friends and family!  I don't take one day for granted or one relationship for granted.  Thank you for being a part of my life and know that you are appreciated!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Wow! What a week!

So, I know it's been a really long time since I've blogged.  Honestly, I just haven't felt like it.  I have been really busy, but not blog worthy stuff really.

About three weeks ago my choir, Seaway Chorale, had its spring concert.  We celebrated the four past directors and had a fabulous concert.  I finally got the solo I have been dreaming of for years, On My Own from Les Miserables!  I have auditioned for it at least four times and ended up with it this time around.  I always knew I would rock it out but for some reason no director felt I would until now.  I got up there and put myself into the role.  I put all my heart and soul into my performance and was told that it was my best ever!  I was so proud of myself! 



Since then I have made some major decisions in my life that has had me kind of down in the dumps.  I have spent the last ten years on the Board of Governors, nine of them spent as the Music Manager.  That means that I have had a hand in what music is sung on the concerts and have loved that role!  I enjoy being a leader in an organization that has been a part of my life for the last 30 years.  It has been stressful and not free of much drama, but I have loved every minute of it.  Last week I stepped down.  I was asked by my family, parents and some friends to consider it for the last two years and after much bugging I decided that I must be missing something they aren't.  I must be so stressed out and upset that I just can't see the forest for the trees.  Well, they were wrong.  I was right.  Basically, I spent last tuesday crying all day long, knowing that I was giving up my beloved spot on the board that night.  I sat in my car outside the church where the annual meeting was being held and bawled my eyes out.  I just didn't think I could make my legs take me in there.  It was one of the saddest days of my life, I will admit.  During the meeting I couldn't really talk to anyone and felt like I was attending my own funeral.  A little dramatic you say?  Maybe.  The fact is Seaway is my life.  I loved being a part of helping it succeed.  Now I am no longer that person. I feel like a part of me has died.  That was the start of a very long week. 

I have been trying to walk everyday, until a couple days ago when my knee started acting up.  It is so swollen, so I took a break.  I was really enjoying my time in the fresh air and sun but now feel like I am once again unable to do things I want. 

Now this week I have sang at two funerals.  I have my third one tomorrow.  It has made me really think about what is important and value the life I have.  The first funeral was for my H.S. swim coach's wife, Donna Monas.  Max was very touched that I sang and played the funeral, so that made it worth doing!  As I stood in front of the congregation, I looked out and saw so many of my old teachers....it was a bit overwhelming.  I saw swimmers from my era and parents of students.  I remember, back in high school , when Max and the other coach Jim would get so upset at the thought of me spending my summers at Interlochen instead of swimming.  I would tell them that I couldn't make money with swimming but I could with music.  It was always an issue.  Swimming and Music just didn't mix well back then.  Now, this week, I was able to take that music and comfort him in his time of grief.  That was a very overwhelming feeling.  I realized the irony in it and just hoped that he understood finally.  When Max sat me at his families table for the luncheon I realized he really did.  I was overwhelmed at him doing that, and realized just how close you really do get to your coaches growing up.  They are like second or third fathers, mentors, and rocks! 

The second funeral was for my friend Sylvia's mother and tomorrow's funeral is for my other friend Denise's father.  Both ladies are in Seaway Chorale with me and it is nice that they want us to celebrate their parents lives with them.

All of these funerals have made me pause and think about life a bit.  I am a very lucky person.  I have a wonderful family, living parents, and tons of friends who would do just about anything for me!  What more can you want?  Life is good, and I just need to remember that on a daily basis. 

Hug your kids, your parents, your spouse and your friends.  Cherish every relationship you have, no matter how good or messed up they are!  You just never know when He will call you back home! 


I love all of you!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

My awesome weekend

So, this past weekend was my friend, Nikki's, birthday.  Three of us made plans to head out together saturday in Grand Haven for the citywide blues festival going on.  We started out at a place called Kirby's, where we settled in for happy hour.  $1.99 cosmos...how can you go wrong?  Well, very easily with those prices, let me tell you!  We had a few there and also ordered a pizza as a snack.  After the band started, and we realized it wasn't really blues music, we moved on to a new brewery pub across the street.  I can't remember the name of it, but they had some very interesting beer.  I was feeling like I needed a small break so I ordered just a plain rootbeer.  The band was great there, so we stuck around until their break.  We decided that we should have dinner so we walked to Portobello's and had a yummy dinner, with dessert.  I had the chicken marsala and thought it was pretty good.  Peanut butter pie for dessert! After dinner we moved to The Grand, which is a lobby of an old movie theater.  The band there was amazing and we stayed here for awhile.  My friend Nikki, who's birthday weeekend it was, had about nine martinis throughout the night.  I think I only had 5 over an eight hour span.  Not too bad I dont think. 

Angie, Nikki and I always have a blast when we get together and this time was no exception.  The laughs we shared cannot be compared to anything else.  There is always something that makes our day and ends up being our catch phrase for that weekend.  One time it was a guy driving like a mad man, down a one way street backwards.  That was a classic laughing fit that we couldn't stop for hours afterwards.  (VVRRROOOOMMM).  Just seeing that word can have me giggling for a few minutes.  Then there was the magic car ride, with Randy and Angie.  That was another classic night.  Now we have "dude, where's my car?".  For some reason we couldn't find Angie's car.  It's a new car and we just couldn't find it.  We finally find it, get in, and start on our way home.  We're driving though the city and all of a sudden I realize that we just went through a red light, with Angie driving.  I casually asked her if she realized that was a red light.  She paused, looked at me, and started to laugh.  That just set us off again.  I haven't laughed that hard in months! 

What I have come to realize is that if you have a couple friends you can completely let your guard down with and enjoy completely, then you are absolutely blessed!  I thank God everyday for the people in my life, and these two girls are on the top of my list!  They may live far away but I know if I needed them they would be there! 

Thank you ladies, for a fabulous weekend!  Let's do it again sometime soon!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

wow, its been a long time

Wow, I have not posted anything in a very long time.  I just haven't had a lot to say I suppose.

 I've been dealing with a lot of emotional stuff with Emily lately.  She claims no one will talk to her at school and her grades are dropping.  Report Cards come out this week, so we will see just how low they have dropped.  I just know the mistakes I see coming home are careless mistakes.  It's frustrating.  I actually had her talk to a therapist last night, a friend of the family that she knows, and I think it helped.  She told her a lot of the same things and the therapist told her exactly what I had been saying.  As frustrating as that is, I know hearing it from someone else is always the key.  I also found out that she trusts me and is comfortable telling me everything.  That was really good to hear! 

On a funnier note...we played an April Fool's Day joke on Emily's swim coach last Friday.  We went up to him at the beginning of practice and told him it was going to be Emily's last day of swimming.  We said that she just was losing interest and didnt' want to swim anymore.  He looked devastated and didn't know what to say.  Then Emily broke out in a smile and yelled "April Fools"!!!  He started laughing really hard and starting whipping pull boys at her.  It was hysterical!  I'm usually not good at those kind of jokes but I did pretty well this time :)

I had my flute recital with Aaron Kalenieki on Sunday afternoon.  I think it went really well, actually.  We didn't spend a lot of time planning it and only ran each piece twice but overall I think it went great.  The problem I had was that it was just very warm in the church and so my lip kept sweating.  When that happens it is really hard to keep my lip centered on the lip plate and that results in fuzzy tone.  I think I kept it at bay for the most part but it is making me think about how I can fix this problem, because it seems to be getting worse and is happening more often. 

I suppose that's enough for now.  I'll be back! :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

My broken Nook

I purchased a Nook Color at the beginning of the year with some of my Christmas money.  One night, while watching Emily at swim practice, a lady walked by and brushed it with her coat, sending it sprawling onto the ground.  The ground was only about 18 inches away, mind you.  The screen broke and I had to call customer service. This link tells the story how only my husband can tell it! ( He writes letters to companies as a hobby and posts them on his link).  Please read and enjoy.

One note of interest would be that my conversation with customer service lasted over an hour the last time.
It was also my third call to said customer service!

http://thehermanletters.blogspot.com/2011/03/post-169-getting-little-nook-1172011.html

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Arizona Trip

I had such a good time on vacation, despite the kids being sick most of the time.  Here is an overview of our trip....

Wednesday...Pool day!  We had a lazy breakfast and had the kids do a little bit of homework before heading to the pool.  It was in the high 80's and sitting with the sun hitting my face was so nice and relaxing!  I never realized how stressed I have been until I sat there letting the sun melt it away.  We had a nice home cooked dinner afterwards as well, and then played the Wii for awhile with the inlaws.  It was a great first day!



Thursday....Grand Canyon day!  We took off late since we were trying to find a McD's for some coffee.  It was worth it though!  We got on the road, taking 17 all the way up to Flagstaff.  It was a 4 1/2 hour trip to the Canyon and $25 entrance fee!  We parked and walked to the first site.  The kids look down and didn't say anything.  I was shocked.  It wasn't what they thought it would look like.  They thought it would just be a black hole in the ground.  It took about an hour, of the almost three we were there, for them to really start to get into it.  I think the turning point was when we looked through some binoculars and saw a city of tents at the bottom.  That was pretty cool.    There was snow all around still though, and the strange thing was that it was in the 60's!  We were all walking around in jeans and tshirts, while everyone else was in scarves and mittons.  It was pretty fuuny.  One group asked us where we were from, and when we said Michigan they all said "ooohh".  We had a really nice time there and had a peaceful ride home...all 4 1/2 hours of it. 


Friday.....This day started with us waking up to the kids throwing up.  We still aren't sure if it was an altitude thing, a dehydration thing, or a virus thing.  It took up most of the morning and then they were fine.  We ended up spending the day at the pool anyway, and they were so much better. That night we had a date night so we went out to eat at a Mexican resteraunt and went to a bar called Bogey's to see my friend Erik Ogden play in his band.  They are called "the Lil" Debbie Band" and were a pretty good band!  I got to see him play keyboard and trumpet.  It had been 17 years since I have seen him and sat all night to close the bar with him.  Jerry and I haven't done that in years.  It was so much fun! 



Saturday....This was our day to travel to Tucson to see my cousin Mark and his family.  It was about a 2 1/2 hour drive there and was another beautiful day for driving.  The kids all got along great and it was so nice to see Mark and Jill again!  Mark and I are both only children and were brought up pretty closely.  He really is the closest thing I have to a sibling.  I left really wishing we lived closer together. 


Sunday....Well, this day started with Chris getting sick again.  I really think it had to do with the altitude adjustments and not drinking enough.  We went to church without him and Judy stayed home with him.  We were scheduled to see a spring training game, the Reds, right after church and was devastated that Chris wouldn't be able to go.  We did call home after church and found out he was feeling much better so we swung by and got him.  Our seats were great!  Two rows behind home plate, right in front of all the scouts.  One scout actually put his speed gun over Chris' head! After the game, while walking out, a man stopped us and asked if Chris could have a ball he found on the roof.  He handed it to Chris and he was so happy.  It ended up being a foul ball that had been hit onto the roof during the game.  That night we had dinner with three other priests that Jack knows and had a great night chatting with them. 




Monday....Kids were fine today, thank God!  We decided to have a leisurely breakfast.  Then I went and had lunch with Erik again, and we had a great time!  Pool time was next!  It was our last day in Arizona and what a beautiful day at that! Stayed there until 5pm, then went to see some F16's land at Luke AFB.  Dinner was nice and then packing to go home. 

Our plane ride home was flawless and entertaining.  I love Southwest!  I highly suggest using them the next time you need to fly.  Free bags.  Unlimited drinks and snacks.  Awesome experience.

Awesome trip!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

vacation time

So, we leave for Arizona soon and I am just not excited yet.  There is still soooo much to do.  At least this time the kids are older so they can do alot themselves. That has been nice.  I told them that if they didn't pack it, it wouldn't get to Arizona.  It seemed to work. 

We plan on seeing the Grand Canyon, which will be a great experience for the kids!  They are so excited to see it.  We plan on seeing some baseball games as well, since it's preseason.  And then Tucson to see my cousin, Mark, and his family. 

We are staying at my inlaws house out there, so room and board are free.  Downside to that is we have to pack a whole suitcase with just sleeping bags, but at least we get free bags on the plane.  Go Southwest!!

I'm not sure how much I'll be able to write while I'm gone, so I will sign out today with a smile and a nod.  Now off to finish packing!  See y'all on the flip side!!! :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Emily's swimming (vol.2)

Emily has been swimming with Trenton Swim Club (TSC) for almost three years now.  It has been an incredible journey for us, and for those of you that has followed her with us. 

Emily's coach, Nick, has been the high school coach at a local school (Southgate Anderson).  He recently became the head coach at the high school Emily will be attending in a few years ( Gibralter Carlson).  He coaches both teams, TSC and the high school team,  actively and has been great for Emily.  When I told him, last night, that Emily would be on his team if he stuck it out long enough the look on his face was priceless!  He was very excited to know that!  While he was coaching the team last night, he seemed to pay a little bit more attention to Emily's flip turns and starts.  He was on her about a lot of little things, which I was happy to see.  It's almost like he realizes that he needs to correct things now so that she can be at the top of her game in high school. As we left the pool he looked at me and said..."so, I can pretty much count on a State Championship in a few years huh?".  I laughed and said "maybe, you never know!".

I think this could be the start of a great relationship between her and Nick!  Hopefully he will take her where she needs to go, and push her in the way she needs pushed. 

I am attaching three videos of her most recent meet.  There weren't a lot of kids at this one, since it was put together pretty fast and with not a lot of notice.  Never the less, she swam amazing!  While viewing these videos it's hard to believe she is swimming against kids that are almost two years older then her!  Crazy!! :)
No, not crazy....FUN!

Enjoy these videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVrgw06dtL4  50 breaststroke in medley

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhlxiqYUc2E  50 Fly (notice how perfect her stroke looks.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7OccsHWAFY  50 freestyle (working on her flip turns)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

only child

Most of you that read this know that I am an only child.  It is a very lonely life, let me tell you! 

My parents tried to have children for ten years before I came along.  I guess you could say I was a miracle child, and was called that by my late Grandma Riley.  The fact that I could have been ten years older has crossed my mind many a day.  With all of that being said, it is plain to see why I was sheltered as a child
and semi-spoiled. 

As a child I never really felt like I fit in to any group of friends.  I always felt like I was on the outside looking in.  When we would go camping I had to make friends with whatever kids I could find.  My dad and I would play board games for hours, as well, and so I became pretty close to him.  As a pre-teen, I would bring a friend with me and it made it more fun.  I was teased as a child, as well, because I was quiet and withdrawn.  This didn't help my cause at all!  The only thing I had for me was my music and swimming. 

Fast forward to this part of my life and I still feel alone.  I have grown used to depending on my friends to be my "family".  While in high school I had one girl who was like my sister and one guy who was like my brother.  In fact, that guy would come over and help my folks do things around the house because he knew they didn't have anyone else to help.  That meant an awful lot to me. Now, my girlfriend is so busy with work and her family that we don't see each other.  My guy friend lives an hour away and I never see or talk to him, because of life as well.  In college I had a couple guys that would look after me as if I was their sister.  They stuck up to my roommates for me when I needed it and was always there for me with my back problems.  I knew I could always count on them.  I lost track of them for years and am finally back in touch with them again.  The list goes on and on into my adult life.

As an adult I am faced with the fact that my folks, at some point in my life, will not be here for me anymore.  I honestly dont' know what I will do when that day comes.  Yes, I have a loving husband and two beautiful kids who think I am their sun and moon, but the fact is...my parents have been my whole life.  They are all the family I have.  I only have two cousins, both of which live far away from me.  My mother is also an only child and so my family is very, very small.  That makes the bonds that I form with friends all that more important to me.

Lately, it seems as if I have lost most of the major connections I have made.  Everyone is so busy, and life gets in the way.  I  just wonder if the bonds I have made are as deep as I once thought they were.  Did I make friendships more important then I should have?  I wonder.  There are certain people in my life, right now, who I feel pulling away.  I dont' know why, and it kills me inside.  I have no idea if it is just my imagination or if they even know it's happening.  I just miss certain people so much it hurts.  I have my tried and true friends who are scattered throughout the country, ones that I know will  never turn their back on me.  That just makes it even harder, because they aren't here. 

I keep a lot bottled up inside of me.  All of my ailments, problems you could say...I don't talk about them much.  I do feel sorry for myself once in awhile because I don't feel someone my age should have to deal with some of the things I deal with, such as heart problems, bad knees, weak ankle, asthma, bad eyesight, horrible back problems, allergies and my on going issue with acne.  All of those things have almost brought me to my knees at times, and made me feel hopeless.  I keep trudging and try to keep a smile on my face.  I also try to see the positive in everything because there is so much negative attached to my life.  Lately, there is so much negative around (politically and such) that it is becoming increasingly hard to be positive.  I feel as if I can't breath sometimes, and it doesn't feel as if I have anyone to turn to.

At this point I am just ranting and clearing my head.  I dont' even know if this will make sense to anyone else reading it, but I had to get it down and out of my head.  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

sunday sunday

Yesterday Jerry and I made the kids clean around the house.  Emily had to clean her room and the kids bathroom, and Chris had to do the basement and his room.  While they were doing that Jerry and I helped them go through their clothes and pulled out the ones that were too small.  Five bags later, their rooms were pretty clean.  After all that Emily went to a slumber party and Chris went to my parents house so we could have a date night.

Jerry and I decided to go to Longhorn Steakhouse, after trying four other restaurants with huge waits.  We always have had great service and amazing food when we go there, but this time Jerry had a long piece of plastic in his mashed potatoes.  It looked like a white toothpick.  He could have been seriously hurt had he swallowed it.  We told the server who had the manager bring out some new potatoes.  We figured he would comp our meal, or at the very least offer us free dessert.  Boy, were we wrong.  He said he was sorry, told us he knew where it had come from and then walked away.  No free dessert.  No free dinner.  No nothing.  In this economy you would think he would have done something.  From there we went to see The Kings Speech.  Good movie!  At times it was hard to understand the British words but overall Colin Firth did a fantastic job!   

Emily called me twice while she was at the slumber party.  The first time she said she missed me and just wanted to say hi.  It warmed my heart that she was thinking of me while at a party.  The second time was because the girls were telling ghost stories and she was scared.  We worked through that and I thought things were fine.  At 7:15 this morning my phone rang again.  This time she was crying.  She is scared of cats, after one bit her a couple times, and the place she was staying had a cat.  According to Emily she hadn't slept all night because the cat had settled in her sleeping bag and wouldn't get out.  She told me that she slept on the hard floor with no covers and ended up in the bathroom at 3am. She told me she almost fell asleep there and wanted to call me.  When she did call me finally she told me she had locked herself in the bathroom and was trapped by the cat, who was sitting outside the door.  I ended up going and getting her at 7:20am.  In the car ride home I asked her why she didn't just climb in the sleeping bag and sleep with the cat in there.  She told me she did but it was a kitten and every time she moved her feet it would attack her.  I started to chuckle at the image in my head and got yelled at by her. lol.  Oh well.  She slept until 1:30am. (My brain is fuzzy, hence the scattered writing in this entry.)

Now we are settled in for a long, wintry day ahead.  Groceries have been purchased and all is right with the world.  Until the ice comes, that is.

Have a safe and wonderful day everyone!

Friday, February 18, 2011

What's wrong with people?

I haven't felt like writing this week.  I'm not really sure why, but there just didn't seem to be anything pressing to write about. 

Today I went to work, like usual for a Thursday afternoon.  No matter what kind of mood I am in heading in the door my first couple students always make me smile and laugh.  I just can't stay in a bad mood at work, most days.  I have a student who comes from a family of smokers.  She doesn't smoke, and hates it, but has lived with it her entire life.  Within the last few months she has developed a chronic cough.  Every week she comes in it seems worse.  Today she couldn't play a full phrase without having to stop and cough.  (For my non musical friends, a phrase could be about 10 or so notes in a row...or in other words, not very many notes together) To play a full page of music she has to stop at least 5 or 6 times.  I have asked her to go to the doctor and she laughs and says that there is no way her parents would take her to the doc.  I have been after her for awhile to get it checked out.  Well, today I had my chance.  I caught her dad as they were leaving and told him that I thought she should see the doctor.  He laughed at me and told me she was fine.  I insisted that I really felt she needed to see her doctor.  He once again laughed at me and started to pretend to dig a hole.  I looked at him, and said "whatever" and walked away.  I can not believe a parent can't see that their child needs medical help.  I am positive this kid has asthma but no one will help her. 

At what point is it child abuse?  If she was under 18 I would seriously consider calling child services on those parents.  Harsh?  Maybe.  But being a parent has responsibilities and I feel they are neglecting those responsibilities.  That is very frustrating as a teacher!

At least I know I will never do that to my kids!! 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines Day

Today is Valentines Day.  I don't really know if I like the holiday or not.  Part of me thinks it is just a way to sell more candy and flowers, but the other part would love to be shown the most romantic night of my life.  I doubt that will ever happen, since our schedules are so hectic, but a girl can dream can't she? 

Today consisted of weighing it at Weight Watchers (of which I lost 1.6 lbs!), paying bills (yippie) and then the school parties.  I usually hang in Emily's room since there are never any other parents in there.  I showed up a little bit late and Emily told me her friends were starting to miss me.  They love having me in their room for parties.  I take that as a huge compliment, coming from nine year olds!  Whenever I walked into Chris' room I heard a ton of "Mrs. Herman!'s" or "you are Chris' mom".  Pretty cool really.  I love that.

After school Emily asked if we could go get her a new pair of gym shoes.  I guess hers have been tight for awhile now and she just never wanted to ask.  We got in the car and decided to head to Payless.  We usually have really good luck there with finding her shoes.  On the way, we passed a Kohls and decided to try there first.  Nothing.  There were about five different styles...all with sparkles or rainbow colors.  Imagine a rainbow throwing up all over the shoes...now that you have the image in your head add a whole bottle of sprinkles on top.  Those were the only shoes Kohls had.  We got back in the car and went to Payless.  There were only three styles there in her size, and all of them were the rainbow throw up kind.  ugh.  After a trip to Kmart and Meijer, both with no good results, we ended up at Target.  Finally!  Shoes that were normal!! 

My question is this.....why do stores not carry shoes for girls anymore?  Do they really think that boys need 20 choices, and girls 2 or 3?  I mean, really!  We are talking about girls who LOVE SHOES!  Honestly, it never should have been that difficult to find Emily shoes.  Never!

Oh well.  It was a fun day and now for a relaxing evening at home.  Happy Valentines Day to you! 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Spoiling my daughter

So, my daughter received all A's on her report card this last semester.  Actually, she received 2 A+'s, 1 A, and 1 A-.  I am so proud of how hard she works and of all her accomplishments in swimming that I like to spoil her once in awhile. 

Emily has always asked that she get her nails done at V.I.P. Salon and Spa if she gets all A's, so that's what we do.  I set up her appointment for this morning since she had a birthday party to go to in the afternoon.  She picked out a blue polish and a sparkly top coat to go with it.  We then took her to her party.

After the party we had to go pick Chris up from the salon where he was getting his hair cut.  The stylist asked me if Emily was getting hers cut too, so we sat her in the chair.  Emily turned to me and asked if she could get a color stripe in her hair.  After much discussion and debate we agreed on a pink stripe.  It is pretty cool, actually.  It seems to have changed her personality a bit, making her less shy and more outgoing.  I say if color in her hair does that then it was well worth it.  


Thursday, February 10, 2011

A swimming story

So, my daughter, Emily, is a swimmer...as most of you already know.  She has had a number of swim meets lately and I am just so proud of her.  She turned nine years old in December and that, in turn, bumped her up to a new age level.  This was really hard for her to swallow, since she was taking gold medals at the state level and winning her heats easily as an 8 year old.  Now she was at the bottom of the heap again and had a hard time with that.  I sat her down and told her that this year was not for winning, necessarily, but for bettering her personal best times.  That way, next year when she is 10 she can rule the pool once again.  This seemed to help her a bit and she went to her next meet prepared mentally.  That enabled her to drop her times by huge amounts!!  That day was a turning point for her.  She has gone out and has decided that she wants to win again and is making her races very close!  I am so proud of her!

Now, this past Tuesday, there was a meet at Wyandotte Middle School.  The strokes for the night were Freestyle and Breaststroke.  When her time to swim came for the 50 freestyle she was put in a pretty slow heat.  This made it easy for her to take first in her heat and by a huge margin, as well.  When she got out of the pool, after everyone was done, some girls from the other team came up to her and told her "You suck!".  She told me that her response was to laugh and walk away.  She also told me that she thought it was awesome that they said that.  I asked her why she thought that and her response to me was..." it means I'm great, Mom!  They are just jealous! "  What a fabulous attitude for a 9 year old!  If only I would have had that at her age.  I can't even imagine how far she will go with that amazing attitude!!  The sky is the limit I say!!

Here are the links to her two races.....(you might turn the volume down)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tymjo4lfFj0  She is the one in the yellow cap.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtO1Ves3m0A  Yellow cap again.  Teamate is in lane one and she really tried to beat her.  Turns out she thought she was from the other team.  oops. lol  Oh yeah, and that other girl, blake, is almost 11 :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Superbowl Sunday

Well, today was very busy....between church, selling girl scout cookies at a local grocery store, my father in laws birthday party and then the Superbowl party.  I am pretty tired.  But I do want to share the highlight of the game...two highlights I suppose.  One in the form of a commercial.....

Best Commercial of the Super Bowl!

And one in the form of an after game interview....

GB Packers Jennings singing the WMU Fight Song!

Enjoy!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What a day!

Today I had the pleasure of judging the solo and ensemble festival in Hartland, Michigan.  I absolutely love to judge young flutists.  There is so much good that can come of a very understanding and patient judge.  I try not to be the kind of judge who is looking for perfection.  I try very hard to be the kind that will give a second chance if need be.  Working with a student after she/he performed is very rewarding, especially when you can see in their eyes the impact you are making on them.  I had a couple parents ask my room chairman for my information so they could look into lessons.  That is a huge compliment!  I just feel so rewarded tonight after a whole day of doing something that I love so much.  I am one of the luckiest people in the world, to be able to do what I love!

The drive home...that is a whole other story!  What a treacherous drive!  While I was judging, snow was flying.  The highways had not had time to be cleared and so they were very slick and impassable.  You had to guess where the lines were and hope for the best.   Everyone was going 15-20 mph, except for the occasional jackass who had the 4 wheel drive and felt they could blow past you.  For the most part everyone seemed to be watching out for others and letting people in as needed.  At times you would be traveling  in some previously made ruts and were ecstatic at that.  Then in the blink of an eye the ruts would be gone and you would quickly feel the car not be completely stable.  Everyone would slow down and start the "game" all over again.  The drive from Hartland should have taken me 1 hour 15 minutes.  It, instead, took me 2 1/2 hours!  I kept thinking of my kids and how devastated they would be if something happened to me.  It made me not worry about how long I took to get home, as long as I did it safely. 

It sure felt good to wrap my arms around those two kids when I got home! 

All in all I think I had a very productive and satisfying day. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Emily's swimming

I know those of you who are reading this have most likely heard me brag about my daughter's swimming.  For some of you, you are not aware of how big a thing this is in our lives.  Emily swims 4-5 days per week.  Almost every school day she is swimming an hour or more, depending on the day. Back in December Emily changed age groups, from 8 and under to 10 and under.  She is nine and was now swimming against kids that are almost 11.  That was huge for her.  She was pulling first places a lot and had finally started to reach the top of the leader boards at the USS meets as well.  Now she is back at the bottom, well sort of the bottom. 

This past weekend, Jan. 29, Emily swam a USS meet in Grosse Pointe Farms.  She had just figured out that what place she takes in a race is not really what matters, but the time she swims does!  She decided to just work on lowering her times for this next year, and since she has decided that she has swam incredibly! 

I am posting two of her events from saturday.  100 freestyle and 50 breaststroke.  These were both very good events for her and she dropped significant time in both!  I am a very proud momma!!

Click here for Emily's 100 Freestyle event

Click here for Emily's breaststroke event

Monday, January 31, 2011

A busy Saturday

So my Saturday started while it was still dark out.  My daughter, Emily, had a USS swim meet about an hour away and warm ups started at 7:30.  We had to be on the road by 6:15 if we wanted to make a McD's run before we got on the road.  When we got in the car we realized the roads were  a complete mess!  It had snowed the night before and there was a lot of ice forming on the roads because of the drop in temps.  We got to the pool a few minutes late to find out that the meets start time had been pushed back due to the weather. 

Emily had an amazing meet!  She swam 100 freestyle, 50 breaststroke, and 100 backstroke.  She is a great long distant swimmer!  On the 100 Free she managed to drop 9 seconds off of her personal best time.  That is a huge amount of time to drop on a single race.  I think some of it was the fact that she and I watched her video from the previous meet and determined that her stroke hasn't changed to accommodate the 6 inches she has grown in the last  six months.  We talked about lengthening her stroke and stretching a bit, instead of short strokes.  When she applied that principle to her race she dropped 9 seconds.  Now if only she could learn to do her flip turns!  On her breaststroke race she dropped 4 seconds, which is a huge amount for a two length race!  She has been really working on gliding more during the stroke, rather then quickly pulling over and over again.  It is amazing how swimming a slower stroke can really make you go faster.  Once she figured out that fact she started to really improve her stroke!

After the swim meet we went to lunch at P.F. Chang's and had an awesome meal! 

Then, I was thrilled to get to spend the afternoon and evening with some of the best ladies I know...my SAI sisters!  Sigma Alpha Iota is a Professional Fraternity for Women.  I was initiated in Dec. of 1991 and remained throughout my entire undergrad experience.  At the time I had no idea that group of women would be such a support group for me as an adult.  We had lost track of one another through the years, like most people our age, and have just recently reconnected via Facebook.  Last year, one of our sisters (Laura Hesselbacher Lekan) passed away due to cancer.  It really made us face our mortality and the way we were living our lives.  We spent the day of her funeral eating, drinking and laughing together....reconnecting on a much higher level then in college.  We all have families of our own now and are desperately trying to hold onto these "new" friendships while juggling our kids and husbands. 
This Saturday was the one year anniversary of her funeral.  Some of us decided to try and get together for an afternoon and evening of fun.  We never want to lose touch with each other again and made sure to have an amazing time.  After sitting around eating, drinking and laughing we made our way to "drag queen bingo" in Royal Oak.  What an hysterical night!  It is definitely something I want to do again!!

I was in the car for a total of about 8 hours total on Saturday but it was all worth it!  Thank you Emily for an awesome swim meet and thank you ladies for an amazing evening!!  Love you all!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Challenger

When the Challenger exploded, 25 years ago today, my world changed.  I was an avid space enthusiast and had already attended Space Camp the spring before.  My dream was to become an astronaut, or at least work in the space industry.  This was way before my musical aspirations came to be, and before I realized my eyesight was too bad to accomplish the astronaut dream. 

I was sitting in my 8th grade science class, waiting for my teacher to appear.  He was late and that was not normal for him.  When he finally appeared his eyes were red from crying and he was blowing his nose.  I remember that very vividly, as it made a huge impression on me.  When do you ever see a teacher cry in front of their students?  Mr. Barrows was his name and he was one of my favorite teachers.  As he walked through the doorway I could see he was dragging a TV cart behind him.  He softly said that he had some horrible news to tell us and proceeded to explain about the Challenger Explosion.  He turned on the TV and we watched the news cast, saw the repeated video of the explosion, and sat there glued to my seat with tears rolling down my face.  Having been to Space Camp I had learned a huge amount about the Challenger the previous year and was in horrible shock. 

When I went back to Space Camp three months later, for my second time, the mood was completely different.  It was very somber and serious, compared to the lightheartedness it had been the previous year.  We sat in a lot of boring seminars, but the one I remember the most was when they explained to us about the O rings and what exactly happened.  It had not even been public knowledge yet, but we were hearing about it!  I was bowled over with emotions.   That same week at camp I managed to lose my retainer and sprain my ankle.  I took that as a sign to not pursue my astronaut dreams.

I still look at the space program with admiration and always try to catch the current "lift off".  Every time I see a shuttle propel itself into the sky I smile brightly and never forget the Challenger or the Columbia.  I pray that they make it to space and then wait for them to come home so I can watch them land.  The NASA channel often shows them walking in space now and you can watch what they are doing, or hear what they are saying.  I love that! 

With the space shuttle era coming to end, let us never forget the bravery the astronauts have shown through out all the decades of our space history.  It may not be as risky, or dangerous, as a soldier going off to war, but it is a risk to their lives every time that shuttle lifts off.  Let us never forget!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Guinea Pig....

So, most of you might remember our hamster, Puck, passing away on Emily's birthday in December.  We went out and bought Sammy the Guinea Pig that night and have been enjoying him ever since.

I was recently in PetSmart to buy some supplies for Sammy and ended up cracking the cashier up with some of the stories I had. 

Sammy was always very scared of us and would try to nip us everytime we would put our fingers near the cage.  I was an exception for the most part, he didn't ALWAYS try to bite me.
The other night he was trying to flip his food bowl over and I was laughing a bit.  Then he went a bit too far and flipped it so that the pellets ended up on my carpet.  That was it!  I said no and gently hit the cage with the tv remote (my back was bad and I could only reach the cage with the remote).  He scattered off the shelf and to his bed under the shelf.  After a few minutes he came back out and started to flip it all over again.  I hit the cage again and said "no!".  This went on for about an hour.  I finally took the bowl out of the cage and put it on top of it, so he could see it.  (Yes, I realize he is a guinea pig and not a child but I thought it might work).  It worked!  When I put it back in the cage he never tried to flip it again.  When he did go near it, he would drop his head and look at me to see if I was watching. I started to crack up.  I think he finally got it.  To those who say guinea pigs can't be trained, I say phooey on you!  Ever since then he has never tried to bite me.  It's like we reached an understanding. 

The thing that had the cashier absolutely cracking up was the fact that I was buying Sammy his second wooden "tunnel".  It is a tunnel made out of sticks that he can climb on, crawl through, or chew on.  I bought it knowing he would chew it, since I can't put hay in there now.  Well, the first one lasted about a month.  He completely chewed it so that it is gone.  Completely gone!  I didn't realize this wasn't normal until I told the cashier that I was buying his second one.  She couldn't believe it.  Crazy guinea pig! 

He is pretty cute and funny.  He keeps up laughing and makes the dog jealous.  Now if only I could get him to poop in once place I'd be a happy camper!! :)