Life with Boys
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Having a great time at Busch Gardens!

I think for the most part we’ve been lucky. Almost all of the teacher’s the boys have had, and we’ve been dealing with the public school system for 13+ years, have been wonderful.

They’ve pushed to make learning exciting, found new ways to teach the same material year after year, and the boys reap the rewards.

Now that our last year as the parents of a kindergartner are coming to an end, I want to say thank you to Dean’s teacher.

She’s always smiling when I see her, though it has to be physically impossible to always feel well, be happy and alert-especially with a toddler of her own at home. But smile she does.

Dean is a mommy’s boy, I admit that, but she made school fun for him. Even on the days that he doesn’t want to go to school he comes home with a smile and a funny story about Mrs. “G.” One day in particular stands out. I had to take the boys to school and as we entered the school they boys were supposed to go one way, and i was supposed to head into the office. Well, Dean wasn’t having that. He started to cry and Hayden tugged gently on his hand. Dean shook him off and suctioned himself to my hip. I tried in vain to take him off, and finally one of the other kindergarten teachers recognized him, and came to take his hand and bring him into the cafeteria. Dean fought and cried, and I felt my heart break just a little bit. But the teacher never lost her patience. She gently steered him towards Hayden who was waiting by the cafeteria doors.

I expected to get a call or an email from the teacher that Dean had a rough day. Nope! He ran off the bus that afternoon, smiling and laughing. He had a beautiful picture that he drew of the two of us playing a game. He said Mrs. G helped him with it. It still hangs on my office wall.

I was worried that this year would be hard on Dean. He went from three half days in preschool to five full days, but he’s been fine. he’s thriving his teacher tells us.

I get reports from Hayden’s teacher that he’s a funny and enthusiastic participant in class discussions, especially in History his favorite subject.

The older boys bring home fun and interesting projects to do in their classes. Projects that make them think and look outside the box.

I missed my 20th reunion, but when I think about my own years in school one teacher comes to mind, and I’m angry that I can’t remember her name. I remember that she LOVED the Cleveland Browns and Julio Iglesias. She wore these beautiful gold hoop earrings too. But what I remember most is how she encouraged me to write. How she encouraged my love of books.

We read a book called “Cry the Beloved Country.” I told my dad what we were doing and he brought home a copy he bought for me. I read through the book in a day. When I was the only one that raised my hand to participate in class discussions, she sent me to the library with the instructions to find another book with the same themes, read it and write a report on it. She gave me an extra test grade for that.

When we read Beowulf, I remember i had no trouble grasping the imagery and content, but it wasn’t my favorite assignment. I was the only student in all six of her class periods that got a one hundred on that test. She said my paper was beautifully written. I’ll never forget that.

When we wrote short stories she gave me constructive criticism, and when she got choked up during one scene I’d spent hours writing, I knew I was on to something.

And yet I can’t remember her name. She was my English Teacher during my senior year of school. I can’t even find my yearbook!

I remember her face, I can hear her laugh, and I remember feeling strong and smart in her class. Maybe I took with me the most important things a teacher can give a student-confidence and the willingness to look at things differently.

So thank you to all the teachers that have made a difference in my life-and there are many. Some taught me, some taught my children and I know Roy must of had a few teachers that struck a chord. 

Thank you for coming to school most days with a smile on your face, and thank you for taking the time to care about our children.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

For months I looked forward to Spring Break. A whole week from the grind, a week off from the norm, and then it rolled around.

On the 11th we decided to take the two younger boys to a Baseball game. Joe was in Florida with his grandparents,and Corey was in Norfolk at my sister’s house. Addi decided he was too busy to join us, so the four of us went on our merry way, and had a blast! I wasn’t sure we would be into baseball, but the kids had a great time, Roy had a great time, and I had a total blast. Can’t wait to do it again.

And then Tuesday rolled around.

Our little Hayden turned 10.


Yes, I had to put four exclamation points after that, because I can’t believe it. I still can’t believe it. He’s ten years old. Where did the last decade go? I remembered checking into the hospital to give birth to him, his first night home. How tiny he was, Roy used to hold him in one hand, and Hayden would curl right up and sleep on Roy’s chest for hours, one of his tiny hands wrapped around one of Roy’s fingers.

I remember his first steps, his first words, the first time Roy fed him ketchup (Hayden was about four months old-don’t ask). I remember his first day of preschool, and how proud he was that he found his name on his cubby.

When we brought Dean home, Hayden was so excited when Roy let him hold the baby, and we’ve watched him become an enthusiastic big brother.

He loves to skateboard, and play his crazy video games. He’s starting to notice girls, and he loves to ask questions about, well…everything.

Where did the last decade go?

For his birthday he wanted to go to Busch Gardens. And even though it rained on us, REALLY rained on us-we had a great time. Rather than driving home, we opted to spend the night and go back for more fun the next day. Wednesday was more of the same-great rides, great food, fun snacks, and lots of laughs.

The rest of Spring Break we hung around home, just relaxing and hanging out.

And this is when I find myself crying…

Yes, Crying.

Joe’s getting ready to graduate, in less than two months, and about a month after that he’ll be heading out to serve in the US Navy.

Corey took his final test-we hope-and should be clear to join the US Army (yes, we’re very proud!), and he’ll also be leaving.

Addi is finishing up his first year of high school!  HIGH SCHOOL! What’s next? Before we know it, we’ll be figuring out what Addi wants to do next.

And Hayden is now in the double digits, as he likes to remind me.

And though Dean humors me and says he’s still my baby, even he knows and understands that time is marching on.

All over my heart.

I find myself crying at the drop of a hat. When I do laundry and walk into the older boys’ rooms, I look around and realize that in just a few months the room won’t have their essence, if you will. They won’t be their rooms, they’ll be rooms they used to sleep in. Roy told Dean that he can have Joe’s room, since he and Hayden have been sharing a room for a few years now, and Dean is already making plans to move in!

I stand in the hallways upstairs and look around and have a hard time grasping all these changes.

Logically, I know that’s how these things work. We do our best to raise our children and then we trust them to fly. To make decisions on their own, to forge their own path in life, and yet…it hurts!

My heart hurts!

I’m afraid I’m going to hold on tighter to the younger boys, not because I’m hoping to stop the march of time, but because I already miss them!

The last decade flew by, I don’t expect the next decade to go any slower.

These times, they are a changin’

Yeah, I said it. What the hell?

In your third season you knocked it out of the proverbial ball park with your fourteenth episode, “On My Way.”

As the mother of a gay young man, my heart broke during the “Cough Syrup” montage (Darren Criss’ Blaine sang this song wonderfully) when poor, sweet David Karofsky was the victim of such unrelenting bullying and teasing that he thought the only way out was to take his own life. When his father found him on the floor of his closet! My god, I had nightmares. I thought in a different time, and a not so different place maybe that was my husband or myself with the body of our amazing boy. You nailed it, and to this day I think that is one of the most touching and heartfelt episodes of TV ever.

No, not just Glee, EVER.

Which is why I’m asking…what the hell about last night’s episode?

NYC is home to a bustling and accepting gay community, but anyone with half a brain knows that NO PLACE is exempt from intolerant morons. And yet, the beating Kurt receives at the hands of two of this morons is downplayed so much so that I’m wondering if it was just an excuse to get the always awesome Mike O’ Malley back on the show-even if it was only for a few minutes.

WHY, was it written like this? Why did the young man Kurt that Kurt so selflessly risked his life for, just run away? Why did he not stay and fight? Why was Sam the only one to voice what ANY rational person would be thinking? Where were the cops? Hello, this is a HATE CRIME!

Glee has had some truly emotional moments, that I even a 40 year old mother of five truly can relate too. Granted they are often moments with the adults on the show, but this could have been such a powerful episode, right up there with “On My Way.”

Instead, it was used as a means to reunite Sam and Mercedes? What?

The one scene the episode got right was once again the scene with Kurt and his father. The anger, the fear, and longing to protect his child…wonderful, but the rest?

What a wasted opportunity.

Dean is very much like me in that he loves his music. All types of music. He’ll snap his fingers to Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup,” get down to MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This,” and croon along with Usher’s “You Remind Me.”

So, if I’m in a music sort of mood, Dean will often hang with me.

Last night was one of those nights, so I clicked on the Vevo app on our Roku 2 (product placement!) and looked for something to check out.

First happened to be Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse.” Catchy tune, and let’s take a moment to appreciate Katy’s rockin’ costumes and the huge piles of Spicy Cheetos. So anyways Dean’s favorite part comes on.

"Mommy!’ Dean giggled happily, "Look it’s the little puppy!"

I think it’s the little internet sensation Boo the Dog. He’s a Pomeranian and Dean loves him!  So, he clapped along and when Boo did his thing he laughed merrily.

Next up was Justin Timberlake’s new song, “Not a Bad Thing.” I LOVE THIS SONG! 

You might of heard the story surrounding the music video.  Apparently, one night on a train in Long Island a young man held his phone aloft, much like John Cusack did in Say Anything, with this song playing.  He was proposing to his girlfriend. The train had a few commuters in it, and they all took notice.

Somehow word of this got around, and Justin Timberlake dedicated his video for this epic love song to finding this couple to see how things turned out. Since the video is interspaced with short interviews of couples talking about what love is to them, we watched the lyric video.

Dean stood by me and swayed to the music. He was quiet and I thought he was really getting into it when he busts out with this.

"Justin Timbeelake (cause that’s how he pronounces it) has a big nose Mommy."

I chuckled and continued to bask in the glow of love this song creates around me.

"But this is still a good song, huh?"

Indeed it is my sweet boy.

And finally, we listened to John Legend’s new song, “All of me.”

So powerful is the magic of John Legend that not only did Dean sit down and cuddle up next to me, but Hayden and our niece Reagan sat down and had to take it in.

So beautiful is this song, that I didn’t hear one silly comment, question or off key lyric the entire time the video played.

And when it was over, Dean had only one thing to say:

"That was a really beautiful song, Mommy." He said, and I marveled at his ability to appreciate a beautiful, complex love song, and then he busted out with this.

"Who was that woman he was naked with in the shower? Was that his wife? If it wasn’t, his wife might not like that…"

I won’t talk too much about the physicality of the breed itself. I don’t know much about dogs.

I know that my pug, Shinobi, is a little overweight, and a lot lazy.

I know that Corey’s dog, Apollo, is a sweet, fluffy ball of fur, though he isn’t very bright.

I know that our little girl, Mochi, is a sweetie, very intelligent, and a jealous PITA sometimes.

But I don’t know much about Pit Bulls other than what I’ve read in the newspaper.

I also think I’m smart enough to realize that it isn’t necessarily the dog that’s the issue when it comes to aggressive animals. It’s the people that raise them.

OUr good friends have a dog, I’ll just call him V. V has some PIt Bull in him, maybe some Boxer. V is a bit wild, but he’s a puppy. He wants to play! He’s a sweet, silly guy that doesn’t know he’s a strong little dude. Our friends rescued him, and shower him with love. They feed him good food, and take him to the doctor for checkups. In short, they are responsible pet owners.

And their dog shows that.  V is tough, and strong, but being around him doesn’t make me nervous. I’m not worried about him hurting one of my children. He’s a sweet, good dog.

And I’ve seen other dogs just like that-German Shepherds, Boxers, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Huskies, etc….I’ve met some wonderful dogs.

BUT, and this isn’t necessarily a bad But, an incident the other day got me thinking.

Roy is a tall guy-a good, solidly built 6’2”. He was out walking out puppy the other night, it was dark, about 8:30 or so at night.  He was probably walking along, not really paying attention, when a Pit Bull came running over. Roy was clear that the dog didn’t lunge at them, but he was in defensive mode. When Roy, very slowly backed up to bring Mochi inside, the dog followed. He didn’t stand still or back away, rather he kept coming forward.

To be clear, I don’t think Roy was scared of the dog itself, I think he was more taken off guard, because he wasn’t paying attention to his surroundings, something we do when in our own yard.

Eventually, Roy got to the porch and put Mochi inside. The dog ran off,and Roy noticed it was laying in a house about three doors down from us.

Now, here is my issue. Perhaps the dog was just curious about Mochi. Maybe he was scared, confused, hungry, lost…but what if it was a child that it came upon? What if it was a person that ONLY saw the type of dog it was, and immediately got scared and went on the offensive?

The man that eventually answered the door was very nice Roy said, but he didn’t even know his dog was out! It that dog scared the wrong person, it could have been ugly, and because Pit Bulls are on the aggressive breed list, ONE bite and the dog is put down.

Even if that bite was the dog defending himself/herself. Even if the dog was provoked. 

I don’t know much about this new family. Addi says the son seems like a nice guy, though they go to different schools so he doens’t know much about him. Roy said the father seemed like a nice guy. I know the mother always drives the speed limit in our neighborhood and is very vigilant about watching for kids playing outside-something not everyone does, so I appreciate that. But that’s about all I know.

BUT, I also know that they didn’t seem to be watching their dog. One that showed no fear of a bigger animal-I’m just speaking from the dog’s point of view, I DO NOT think of my husband as an animal!

I know that because of the bad rap Pit Bulls have gotten people know what they look like, and I know there are a lot of kids in our neighborhood.

I know that there are some other big dogs around us as well, and I don’t know what could happen if two bigger, aggressive dogs run into each other on a dark spring night.

But most importantly I know, that things happen. Our friends are VERY careful with V, they make sure they have a good hold on him at all times. He isn’t allowed to roam around outside without a leash, unless he is at the dog park, and even then they are careful to watch him.

I’m less worried about the dog and more worried about the dog encountering the wrong person and a tragedy occurring.

I think for the most part I’m a practical kinda gal.

I’d rather have a nice chat with Roy than flowers.

I’d rather have a gorgeous piece of art for our wall, than jewelry.

I got my hair cut short because I don’t like having to style it all the time.

I like romance, but romance for me doesn’t often fall into the usual boxes-flowers, candy (ok, jelly beans are another story), jewelry, not really my thing.

Yes, I appreciate the gesture. Roy planning, and hiding from me my 40th birthday party was amazing! And I don’t think I’ll ever forget all he did.

But I thought it was equally amazing when I showed him a purse on the Michael Kors website I fell in love with.  At the mall the next day we searched, he looked at purses with me for almost an hour, while the kids flopped on the floor and expressed their boredom, but nothing lived up to that purse.

And it is gorgeous. It’s a heavy canvas with beautiful shades of blue tye-died on it. It’s got buttery soft black leather piping, and these great tassels made out of that same super soft black leather. I LOVE this purse. When we couldn’t find it, or anything I liked better at the mall, we went home. The next day he sent me a link.

The website had more in stock! But just as he was trying to check out, someone else, somewhere bought it. I was bummed…but what can you do. I figured I’d just keep my eye out, and maybe get lucky one day. But Roy wasn’t having it. He called around to local stores, and found one. He then arranged to have it shipped to our house! When I opened that box, my heart melted. Not only because it’s a beautiful purse, but because Roy went to all that trouble to find it for me. 

Roy’s like that. I know I’m lucky. He spoils me rotten. He loves nothing more than to see me smile, to hear a real genuine laugh fly from my mouth.

But after 16 years together there’s nothing that gets me more than That Look he gives me.

Ohh…I can’t explain it, I mean, I don’t know what he does. But I know how I feel.

We were driving home the other day after picking Joe up from work. He said something funny, I responded and looked at him, and he looked over at me with this…look on his face.

If I was able, I’m pretty sure I would have gotten pregnant right then and there.

Whatever this look is it makes me weak in the knees, and my stomach gets this feeling….

My lady parts all wake up and start primping and waxing.

It’s just…really….hot!

I love the big gestures. I like nothing more than getting gussied up for date night with my husband.

But as long as he still gives me that look….

I think I’m good.

Ok, I admit it..I’m annoyed as all get out with this Xbox One issue. Roy explains it MUCH better!

Here’s the story in better detail.

I’m telling you…don’t do it…

On Black Friday, I stood in line at our local GameStop for over an hour in 30 degree weather for an Xbox One. Brought it home, and it worked for about four hours before the power supply refused to even function. Ok, no problem. We’ll just exchange it. Took it back the next day for an exchange. The next one the video wouldn’t even work! Even after hours of troubleshooting-every suggestion we found- NOTHING! Ok, at this point I was annoyed. I got my money back, but to make matters worse some of the games had been opened, and because of that, we couldn’t get a full refund on them. We took a hit in that regard. Fast forward to now. Titanfall came out. My husband and our boys thought it looked like the greatest thing since sliced bread. I thought that of course by now the initial issues had been looked at and corrected. So we picked up the Titanfall Bundle from our local Target, and the darn fan was so loud it woke me up! And we have a big bedroom! Since we got married sixteen years ago, we have bought every console, every handheld gaming system available. We’ve never had issues like this. My husband works in the computer field, so inexperience isn’t an issue. But three systems?! Time, money, etc. all down the tubes. And what bugs me even more is that I have no doubt this ‘review’ will fall in deaf ears. It won’t be addressed, looked at, apologized on, or even laughed over. It will just go out into the void that is Facebook. Now I am sure I’ll get lots of hate on this site, but keep in mind- I’m speaking from the frame of mind of a family of gamers! We love bigger and better and we’re excited for this release. But after all of this, I hope people can understand our anger and frustration and see that this is actually a credible complaint as opposed to someone just whining because they have nothing better to do. And Microsoft’s potential customers deserve to know.

I posted that on Microsoft’s Facebook page. There is no doubt in my mind that it will be ignored. They probably won’t read it, probably won’t even laugh about it…but I wanted to vent a bit.

THREE SYSTEMS! Roy knows his junk. The people that consider themselves computer/tech savvy come to him for help with issues. Not having a clue, (ie-he’s not me) wasn’t the issue here. We got three buggy systems. I just don’t get it.

I know Roy was psyched for the new system, and I won’t lie it looks pretty cool. The games look awesome, and when the system actually works-pretty darn awesome. But after three crappy consoles, I just feel like it would be, well, stupid of us to try again. Roy joked that perhaps it wasn’t meant to be, but I don’t get it.

In 16 years together, we have gotten (I know…we’re weird, I get it!) every console they’ve released. We bought, been given, etc every handheld dohickey they’ve come out with and never had issues like this.  I know some will say that it’s a new system, got to give it time, etc…and yet as a consumer, I have to wonder…shouldn’t a product WORK when you buy it? If you put it on the market, shouldn’t it perform as stated?

I sure think it should.

I was browsing around in our local Target and came across Now This is What I Call Music 6496. (Ok it’s really like Now 48, but seriously how many of these do they put out a year?) It was on clearance for five dollars, so I thought why not?  Some good songs on it.

And then I heard this song. What an awesome message?!

Sara Bareilles says exactly what every parent should say to their child.

I hope to keep this updated as I select the next book to enjoy!

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