Cautiously Optimistic About Optimist Football

     My eleven year old son recently traded in his sparring gear and nunchuks for football pads. It was a decision two years in the making. Last year he said he wanted to play youth football but once he found out practice was five nights a week, he decided that didn’t sound very fun and would be too hard to juggle with school. But after another year of playing football at recess with his friends and playing Madden on the Xbox, he was determined to give it a try. My husband was shocked that I was fine with it and not worried about him getting hurt. “I’m from a football loving family, it will be fun to watch him play. And,” I told him,” I’m not one of THOSE moms.” Besides, I always want to give my kids opportunities to try out new things and find what they love. If he signs up he has to play all season whether he ends up liking it or not; we won’t let him quit after paying hundreds of dollars. But if he doesn’t like it that much, he doesn’t have to sign up next year. Simple. I was much more concerned over having to drag him to practice when he didn’t feel like going than I was of injuries. After all, they’re only eleven, its not going to be that hard core. Right?

      Practices started this week. My husband had bought him all the best gear and he looked SO COOL in it. I was a proud mommy and I was confident he’d do fine. But once we got there and he lined up with the other kids for warm-ups, the nerves hit me. “Look at some of these meatheads,” I thought to myself. It wasn’t even really the size of the other kids that scared me, as my son isn’t the smallest, he’s right in the middle, but it was their demeanor. They were cocky and mouthy, acting like they were the bomb. One boy was already talking about having girls over to his house. Who are these kids? My eleven year old doesn’t act like that. One month left before he starts middle school, I guess I better get used to this.

     So in a team of 22 kids, 16 have been doing this for multiple years. My kid is obviously green. My A-student, normally confidant, black-belt is looking not so confidant out there. Or competent. It was less than pretty. His foot work is clumsy, he has no balance, and he drops every ball thrown at him. I don’t care if my son is the best, or wins at everything, I  really don’t. But seeing him be the worst isn’t easy either. But don’t worry, I won’t tell him that. I am going to be supportive and encouraging and help him get better. This is the first day and he has nowhere to go but up. He will improve and learn and get stronger. I am already impressed with his coaches and believe in them. And if at the end of the season my son tells me he doesn’t enjoy football, I am completely fine with that. If he says he loves it and wants to play football every year, well, I guess we’ll be training year-round to catch up to these kids that have been playing since they were six. Am I still not worried about my kid being injured? Ha! I have changed my mind and am totally paranoid he will get hurt. Night 2 he twisted his knee and limped for two days. Night 4 he twisted his ankle. Nights 4 & 5 were their first practices in full pads in the 95 degree heat and he acted like he was going to pass-out from exhaustion. After a full week he’s admitting what he is good at and what he’s not good at. He told me it is a lot harder than karate. I think we are all being realistic now and we all have an even greater appreciation for how hard football is and how athletic football players are. But I am confidant my son will grow and improve greatly over this first season. We’ll see how it goes. It’s a new adventure for all of us.

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Pool Time

Any family vacation with my kids quickly turns from a sightseeing tour of our Nation’s beauty to a tour of hotel swimming pools. “What was your favorite part of vacation kids? The Beach? Hiking trails?” They always answer, “the pool”. Consequently they will of course judge a hotel on its most important feature being the swimming pool. I know this and so I now shop for hotels with the pool atmosphere in mind. Not just do they have a pool, but will the kids have a blast at that pool, and will I enjoy being there too? And here is their history I base it off of:

1. My children have only spent one night in Las Vegas but they honestly think people stay at the Luxor for their fantastic four-pool glory, not giving a second thought to gambling, shows or cuisine. Luxor-Hotel-Las-Vegas-Pool

2. This photo is of one of our favorite hotel pools experiences at a Best Western Seven Seas in San Diego in 2011, where we spent our down-time (in between the exhausting famous parks and attractions), as our room was a tiny claustrophobic outdated room with barely enough space to walk between the two double beds. The kids had fun doing cannonballs, the weather was perfect, and I remember it as the most peaceful part of that whirlwind trip. Poolside San Diego

3. And after a day and a half at Lego Land, they begged to leave the Lego Land water park early to go back to this hotel pool at Carlsbad By the Sea. Pool view Carlsbad

4. This year’s summer vacation across Oregon to the majestic Crater Lake, then the Redwoods of the Northern Coast of California found this gem of a pool at the Best Western Plus Humboldt Bay Inn in Eureka, whose basketball hoop, indoor/outdoor seating areas with heater lamps and billiards table, will go down in their all-time favorites collection: Eureka, CA: Best Western Plus Humboldt Bay

 5. And after a full day in the car on what must have been California’s most winding highway (36-East) where we had three separate tearful vomit incidents, we rewarded the road-weary kiddos with this fancy pool-topia at the Peppermill Resort & Casino in Reno, Nevada.

  Peppermill Upper Pool

So for fellow parents out there, those are some ideas for your next road trip. And for anyone owning, building, or remodeling a hotel…if you want family business, next to the beds & fridge, the swimming pool is where it is at.

Why a Woman Goes Sour

Men don’t understand women. Women seem complicated. Well guess what? They are complicated. We wish men only knew how much. If only they could be in our shoes for a week – they’d finally understand why we are so overwhelmed. We are not only ruled by our hearts, hormones and emotions, but also our endless stream of thoughts. Men, do you know why we never believe you when you say you aren’t thinking about anything? It is because women are never NOT thinking something. We’re always thinking about 3-7 things at the same time. Not because we want to, because we have to. We are built that way apparently. We can have multiple things on our mind, like a stovetop with front burners and back burners, but never empty. We cannot turn it off (except with excessive alcohol to numb the mind, which is probably how you got us to begin with).

 Woman is a world of difference from girl, lady, or female. I don’t even feel like a female anymore. The sweet girl, the lovely lady were beat out of me years ago. Now I’m a mentally and physically exhausted, mouthy, sarcastic, untrusting. pushy ballbusting bitch. I’m too busy with important things to care about my fingernails or eyeliner or the latest fashions, or being polite to people who piss me off. I’ve never in my life curtsied or been kissed on the back of my hand. Men hold the door open for me or kill spiders for me even less often than my bra & panties match, which is rare. And much to his despair I do not spend all my time thinking of ways to make my husband happy. No, none of that is me. I am not saying I wouldn’t like to be those things – its just not in me right now.

 No, I am an educated, urban woman in 2013 which means I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. I have to put my children first and try my hardest to raise them into decent human beings that will not one day shoot up their school. But I also have to earn money and work my ass off in the corporate world to make 77% of what my male counterpart makes. And yet it will be he who gets the promotion over me despite the fact that he is all bullshit talk and I am the brain and the follow through, because they assume that me being a mom means I don’t want to travel. (Have you met my family? Please, send me away.) I work 40 hours a week outside the home and then am still expected to do all the housework (because my husband is too lazy and in 12 years of marriage I still have not figured out a successful way to motivate him), as well as half of the cooking and meal preparations. I am the social committee responsible for family events, play date coordination and even all communication with HIS parents. If the kids don’t have clean pants for school, it is my fault I didn’t get the laundry done. If they forgot to study their spelling words, it is my fault because I didn’t remember to make them. If the kids haven’t showered in a week it would only be because I didn’t start their water and make them do it. And after I’ve read each of the boys a chapter and put them to bed, do the dinner dishes, feed the cat, etc I am then expected to suddenly feel sensual and sexual and service my man? How can I when I smell like a sweaty combo of taco meat and dishwater? When all I want to do is either read a book, take a bath, sleep or watch my favorite TV show. Have a little escape from my own reality. Sure he has enough energy for sex, he’s been laying there watching American Chopper all night. Do you see why women are resentful? Do you see why we go crazy and are no longer fun? Getting married and having a family takes every ounce of energy and every ounce of tender love, enthusiasm, and sweetness out of us. That’s why the twenty-year-olds seem more appealing to you men than the thirty-somethings – you haven’t ruined them yet.

 How do I feel as a woman or a wife? I feel bitter, harsh, naggy, and under appreciated. Am I a good wife to my husband? Emotionally, No! I know this and am helpless to change it because my responsibilities and workload as a mother, worker, and director of everything takes everything I have. I have no energy, nor desire, to try to change myself to be better to HIM. The same HIM that puts me in this position by not sharing a fair load of house duties, by not being sensitive and understanding, by never taking care of me. I am taking care of everyone all the time.

Oh, and on top of my family duties to bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan, it is also up to me to help make the world a better place: recycle, save the polar bears & rain forests, donate to the poor, fight pedophiles, raise money for cancer research – the list never ends. No pressure at all, right? 

So do I feel honored to be a woman? Not really. Only the honor of creating life, having and loving children with all my heart. The rest of life is so much more difficult for us than for men. They are the lucky ones that have us to do everything for them. I’d say maybe its only my lazy husband, but 75% of my friends have the same problem (or had the same problem before their divorce). So now you know  why we are overwhelmed harpies who just might stab you the next time you say “What you making me for breakfast woman?” Please save a woman from going bitter, thank your mother/sister/wife/daughter today (and give her a shoulder massage).

Where is the Love?

I was driving the kids in the car the other day listening to one of my favorite songs “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri. I love this song and could listen to it over and over again, singing horrifically along at the top of my lungs and feel every word of it deep in my heart – but I realized it was a pretty dark bitter song for my six and nine year olds to get. I switched songs. But that got me thinking… what kind of love songs does the new generation have? I grew up on Chicago, Richard Marx and Brian Adams where “Everything I Do, I Do It for You” and they’d be “Right Here Waiting” and Madonna’s “I’m Crazy For You” was the #1 dedication song on the radio. The songs I grew up listening to, created visions of grandeur of falling in love, being head over heels for each other, love never dying and love always bringing people back together. “All We Need Is Love” right?

Do Junior High School girls of 2012 have those same feelings? Do girls, twelve to sixteen, still get giddy over the thought of a boy liking them? Is anything like it used to be? Or are our Junior Highs and High Schools just packed with kids sexting each other, having non-meaningful sex with their friends with benefits and never having any emotional connections to anyone? My kids are not that old yet so I really don’t know. But that is the picture I get from watching Oprah and 20/20 type shows. I fear that kids today have no idea about love and emotional connections, loyalty and monogamy. Sure, I am a bitter thirty-something independent bossy woman who dabbled in casual dating in college now, but I didn’t grow up this jaded. I was once super sweet and naïve. It took multiple heartbreaks, humiliating devastations, being single & lonely, then married & frustrated – – – it took many years to build this cold heart of bitterness. I love the man-hating songs now – because they remind me of someone, but pre-Alanis Morisette I loved a sweet love song and a romantic chic-flick where he always picks her in the end. (Screw you MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING – he was supposed to pick Julia Roberts.)

I don’t want our kids to skip the hopeful, wistful, innocent stages of life and skip directly to jaded and corrupt. They need life experience to get that way like the rest of us had to. So how do I teach my kids about sweet love when today’s songs on the radio are “I love the way you lie” and Ke$ha for Cripes sake? (Who in one song says “Don’t be a little bitch with your chit chat, just show me where your dick’s at”) Oh Lordy, do they even stand a chance?

I grew up on shows like The Cosby Show, Growing Pains, Family Ties, and Mad About You. Now days all the sitcoms are about casual sex, gay relationships, or a marriage where the man lies to his wife all the time (According to Jim). And they certainly don’t get to see sweet affection between their father and I as our main forms of communication are bickering and sarcasm (just like the sitcoms). They won’t get to witness the “I love you/I love you more/No I love you more” kind of stuff. (I think my husband has some unspoken rule where he’ll only say those three words if one of us is on a road trip and there’s the possibility of not returning alive).

Can kids grow up to be loving, mushy people without witnessing it first hand? I don’t know but all of a sudden I’m really nervous about that. I’ve been so busy trying to protect them from pedophiles, drowning and child obesity that I may have forgot to show them how to be loving. I show them love all the time and they reciprocate. They’re cuddly. They see how I love friends and family, and we help others we don’t know through charities. But will this be enough for them to someday make a really good boyfriend if they don’t see my husband being sweet to me? I seriously doubt it. I want my boys to grow up opening doors for girls, writing them cute little love letters, asking politely for dates, showing girls respect and tenderness, and hopefully not growing up to be man-whores.

My husband and I love each other, but we don’t act in-love. Mushiness is rare in our relationship. My husband says he doesn’t have to tell me he loves me because he shows me. Really? I must be blind. My parents were lovey-dovey people in front of me growing up. I like that. My first few boyfriends were like that too. But my adult life has been full of those that won’t communicate it at all. Should I let the kids read my love letters from my high-school boyfriend to see what mushy love is? Yeah right. (Oh come on, of course I kept them all these years; that was the last time I felt 100% loved and I had to have proof, or it would be like Edward & Bella “It’ll be as if I never existed”– sorry side tangent.) Maybe I’ll start making them watch chic-flicks with me. Or I guess I can try to be sweeter and more affectionate to my husband. Ugh, that sounds like a lot of work. Crap, this setting a good example thing isn’t easy… I got it – Country music still has morals and tenderness – it’s settled, we’ll start listening to country music.

*Disclaimer: I love Ke$ha’s music and funny gay sitcoms, just not for my kiddos.

Why I Am Not A Horrible Mother

The first year of my first son’s life, I felt like a great mom. I was completely in love with my son and everything in my world centered around him. I read all the parenting magazines, was uber protective, loved on him constantly and entertained him every waking hour. Once I had son # 2, who wouldn’t go to sleep in his own crib and had terrible skin rashes, and son # 1 was pooping his pull-up behind the couch instead of potty training, I felt my plans for awesome mother-hood slipping away. I was a full-time job, cluttered house, falling asleep at story time, struggling-to-keep-up mom. Then when they were old enough to start fighting over toys, turns, and well pretty much everything imaginable my frustration level soared, my temper grew even shorter than my patience, and I knew I was so far from a great-momsville I couldn’t even see it in my rearview mirror anymore. My husband tells me I yell too much (I know, I hate it), my kids tell me I’m mean (because I don’t let them stay up past bedtime to play video games) and the looks in others faces when I snap at my children tell me I am just too full of frustration (I know, you pay for therapy and I’ll go).

So I am not a kind, patient, always loving never harsh Mom like I had wanted to be.
(Me to my mom when I was fourteen: “When I grow up, I’ll never yell at my kids”. Well guess what, kids do stupid things and ignore their moms 4 out of every 5 sentences: sometimes they need yelled at.) Anyway, I am not quite the person or the parent I had wished to be when I was younger, BUT I am not a horrible mother. And here are some reasons why:

1. I don’t beat my children, lock them in closets or starve them. This should be a given, but with the way people are so crazy now days, just had to clarify, I’ve got to have the “I’m not a child abuser” on the list. I have spanked my kids before. But it really didn’t do any good so its not my go-to discipline. Actually hardly any method of discipline worked more than twice with them, it seems my kids see right through it. (Hence, my frustration levels.)

2. I have read to my boys every night before bed since they were six months old. I change the voices for the different characters, even going so far as read in a British accent two chapters at a time for Sadie in Rick Riordan’s Red Pyramid. And when they like a certain kind of book or series, I help them collect them all and we read them together.

3. Actually, I take an interest in most things they like. I snuggle on the couch with them and watch Phineas & Ferb and sing along with the songs. I’ve watched every single episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender multiple times. And when they beg me, I play Fergie’s “Lady Humps” for them in the car, even though it’s totally inappropriate, because I want them to like music and right now that is what they like. I do however draw the line at Pokemon and Beyblade shows, which I can’t stand, that’s when I leave the room. But I do enjoy taking them to the movies and exposing them to some of my favorite movies from when I was a kid.

4. I know them. I know their favorite colors, favorite shows, favorite toys, favorite friends, favorite foods, etc. I know their sense of humors. I know which one hates mayonnaise and gravy and which one hates tomatoes and mushrooms. I know whose clothes belong to whom when I put away laundry (unlike the husband). I know what gets them upset and what doesn’t work at calming them down (unlike the husband). How do I know these things? I listen to them, I spend time with them. We eat dinner together every night around the table and talk about our day.

5. I know and accept their strengths and weaknesses. I don’t expect them to be someone they are not. Son #1 is so smart and inventive, and although I wish he was less shy around other people and didn’t ignore the girl from his class when she says hi to him at the grocery store, I am not going to force him to become a performing socialite. He was clumsy and shy on the soccer field, he didn’t like it. I don’t force him to play soccer, I let him do karate instead, which he loves. And let me tell you Son #2 has such a natural ability with a ball, since he was one year old he can throw a football or baseball strait and well. He should play football or baseball to use that talent, and I would love it if he chose football because that is my favorite sport. But he tells me he doesn’t want to play football because he doesn’t want to get hurt. He is such a tender heart. So I don’t push. I’ll let him pick whatever activities he likes, even if it ends up being ballet.

6. We have the greatest talks when I put them to bed at night and I lay down next to them. They’ll ask questions about past presidents or dead grandparents, their birthday party nine months from now, share the new song they made up about farts, what is 1,234 plus 1,234, what is marijuana, guess what number I’m thinking of, is the tooth fairy real, what were you like when you were a kid mommy, what do you want to be when you grow up, what does ‘sexy’ mean, and all kinds of other random topics that pop up that I feel so honored they talk to me directly about. I answer them honestly, or at least most age-appropriately honestly I can. These are the discussions that give me great insight as to who my children are. And I know as they grow up there will be one person in front of their parents and perhaps another person with their friends, but I feel like we have an awesome base for a strong lasting relationship.

7. I want the very best for them. I want them to have safe happy childhoods, a great education, and a drive to do well in life. I want them to be healthy, eat well, and stay physically fit. I want them to do things they enjoy and feel confident in themselves. I want them to be respectful, well adjusted, compassionate, well educated, accepting of others, care about our environment and want to help others. And I want them to understand hard work and discipline, which is why we fight. They are kids, they want to take the lazy way out. I know that won’t take them far in life, I want them to learn how to set goals and work towards them and feel proud of themselves when they reach those goals.

8. I take the side of RIGHT instead of the side of my child simply because they are the fruit of my loins. If they were the bully, or they were in trouble at school, or they broke the neighbor’s window with a baseball – then they will pay the consequences of their actions. They will not be coddled as I yell at the teacher that she doesn’t know what she is talking about like some parents I’ve seen these days. Hell no! You do the crime, you pay the time. I care enough about them to try to do what is right now, even when it’s harder, than doing what is easy now to avoid the fight. I’d rather they go to detention in middle school than to jail in their twenties. I’d rather they know all about sex and condoms and saying no then to wind up a parent at sixteen. I would rather they see pictures of the hideous things meth does to people than to try it because a friend says its cool.

9. I plan fun, exciting family vacations to expose them to new places and experience all kinds of fun. They’ve already seen so many more things than I had my whole childhood. They’ve been to the Oregon Coast, Yellowstone, San Diego & Sea World, Lego Land, Las Vegas, camping, etc. They have traveled through Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington. With hopefully a lot more interesting places to come.

10. I have always made a big deal out of their birthdays, planning the theme party of their choice. I decorate, invite their friends, make their favorite foods or take them to their favorite restaurant – all to make them feel special on their special day.

So no, I am not the nicest, most beloved parent. And I am certainly not the most calm parent, but I think I am at least trying to do what is best in the long run. (Even if I lose my temper a little too often and might even let a cuss word slip here or there). Hey, its not as easy as it seems – they are ALWAYS here! Some days it would be so much easier to let the television baby-sit them (and that happens once in a while), or it would be easier to give in and say whatever, do what you want (and that happens on rare occasion too), but I wouldn’t be doing my children any favors by letting them walk all over me and have no boundaries. And trust me, I already feel like they don’t respect me enough and talk back too much, and that’s with me trying –- how bad would it be if I didn’t try? Son #1 once told me his friend Nick’s mom was the best mom in the world. It stung a little, but I didn’t argue. I know she is super sweet and kind and I can’t picture her ever raising her voice. So I agree that she could be the nicest mom in the world. But nicest and best are not always the same thing. And I’m their parent, it’s my job to be a little strict, to have rules, to say no sometimes. Parenting shouldn’t have to be like working in customer service -the customer is not always right – the parent is.

And so in closing, I know that my kids are not the most well mannered or minding children, they don’t listen well and their sibling rivalry drives me absolutely insane, but I am trying my best. They may seem like little shits now, but I have no doubt in the quality of people they will grow into. (As long as my screaming doesn’t ruin them for life right?)

Serenity Now: A Mom’s Moment of Sunshine

Our first outing today begins as a dermatology appointment for my six year old – not fun. But luckily for the kids, the doctor’s office building backs up to the Green Belt along the Boise River. The boys see the river and want to take a walk down to water’s edge for a quick look and rock toss (my boys’ favorite thing to do). It is an unplanned activity that might take ten minutes. But time passes and instead of my usual, “Ok boys, time to go”, I realize, we don’t have to be anywhere for hours. What the heck? Let them have some fun and enjoy this great autumn day.

 It’s Thursday. I should be at work today, but instead I am lucky to be sharing a peaceful moment sitting in the sunshine watching my boys play with rocks and sticks by the river. I’m enjoying a beautiful setting and a spontaneous joy. Rarely do we have spontaneous moments anymore. As grown ups, it seems we always have somewhere to be on time, someone to not disappoint, some thing to clean, someone to pick up, some extra bill to suck away our fun money. Being responsible busy adults literally sucks the spontaneity right out of us. Which is why this moment feels so good, even with a worrywart voice in the back of my mind, but fun-me soon slaps her and takes over.

So what if they get dirty? They can change before going to Grandma’s house later. Let them have this fun time on their day off. It is their day off too after all, not just mine. Should they have to spend it being dragged all over town catching up on Mom’s errands? Or watching cartoons all day while I clean house? No. They are kids. They should be outside. They should be in nature. Let them get their feet wet and wipe their muddy hands on their shirts. They’re boys, they need it sometimes. Just as mommy sometimes needs her hobbies. This is what they are meant to be doing and should be doing everyday. Not trapped in the house hypnotized by the television, or bored at daycare, or in a classroom made to sit still.

I’m sitting here on the rocks, quietly watching. There’s no breeze, the sky is clear, the sun straining through the canopy of the trees. The leaves are barely starting to turn yellow in places. The water is calming in this slower part of the river. Only a block away, the sound of traffic is a mere white noise. All I see around me is tranquil and serene, nature and God. It’s like a cleansing of the soul.

The best part is, I’m not yelling at them to not fall in the water. I’m not telling them what to do or how to do it. I’m just letting them be…just letting them play…just all three of us being ourselves. And unlike at home, they are not hurting each other, tattling on each other, making a mess, or pestering me for things. They are working as a team: brother helping brother. Not a single unkind word is spoken.

I admit I try to cheat a couple times. As we first approach the river I have them pose on a large rock for a picture with my cell phone. But my blackberry freezes up and the picture doesn’t save. I was irritated at first. Then I sit down while they play and think, this would be a great photo for a mobile post to Facebook. Making the coworkers jealous of my surroundings while they are in gray cubicle land. But the cell phone camera is still giving me errors. Maybe my battery is too low? I take the current book I’m reading from my purse and start to open it then stop myself. I should be soaking up this beauty as much as my children. Not distracting myself with another kind of entertainment. The kids always accuse me of reading too much anyway. I put the book back.

Then I am struck with so much inspiration, I find an old receipt and a folded up Google map in my purse and start scribbling notes on the back of them. Not to mask the moment, but just to capture it. I am bursting to share it with someone and wanting to remember it always. So maybe I’m not exactly paying full attention to the boys but that’s when they become who they are, when parents stop hovering so much, and just let them be.

Besides they are learning right now. I see my six-year-old building a bridge of rocks out into the water to reach a floating stick he wants (problem-solving). I hear my eight-year-old instructing him on how to build a suitable habitat for the minnows and water skippers (science). Now they’re building sculptures with small logs (art). My six-year-old realized that if he steps in the river getting his socks and shoes wet he’s got to live with it until we get home. Mom does NOT have spare clothing in this massive purse. And much to his surprise Mom is not getting upset at him for getting wet. Not rushing to his aid to get his feet dry. It takes him a couple seconds to accept it, and then he’s like ‘cool’ and gets back to playing.

Part of me can’t help but think we should get going. We should be doing something to make the most of our time. There are things that need done. We shouldn’t be wasting the day. But that is our fast-paced society must-be-productive brainwash mentality. This isn’t a waste of anything. Soaking up the great weather when we don’t know how many more perfect days we’ll have this year. Letting kids be happy kids. Letting them explore, be active and inventive. Being a part of nature where we feel more like ourselves. It is relaxation of the mind and releasing of stress. This is almost as good as a massage.

Today I am very grateful for being a mom. Thank you Parent-Teacher Conferences for giving us this day off. And thank you God for this much needed and cherished moment. Time to go, I’m being summoned over for a tour of their pond and all their creations.

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