Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Getting In The Summer Mood

Summer has begun.  It’s always official in my mind once I’ve made my first trip to the beach. 

I usually have a hard time getting into the summer mood.  There’s a guilt that I feel for not working full-time in the summer and having time off.  I always feel like I have to clean, organize and complete projects to justify my time off.  This year I have one main project, but it will go on through the span of the summer.  I have decided to print some of our digital photos from special occasions and place them in photo albums…old school style!  I feel as if digital photos never get printed and then the memories get lost.  People always look as real photos, so graduations, proms, trips abroad, etc. are getting printed, sorted and placed in photo books this summer!

This year I have decided to try my hardest to be a little more laid back about summer and to take it easy.  I am trying to enjoy every moment of my well-deserved summer off.  What I love most about summer is that the sun shines most days and I don’t need to wear boots and a coat.  This sort of weather makes me smile.  I love not having to wake up at 5 am each morning to go to work (even though Nera the cat has not figured that out yet).  I love that I sway away from my routine of ironing my clothes every night during the summer; I giggle every day as I pick out my clothes and just shake them out!  I love that the days are long and my carpooling is less in the summertime. 

I love that I have the opportunity to catch-up with friends during the summer.

I love that I am not a slave to the clock during the summer; we eat, we sleep and we play when we want. I don't pack lunches during the summer and don't stress out about dinners being cooked. I love that my load becomes a little lighter, which allows for my mood to be a little lighter too.

This year, my college girl has come back to me for the summer.  I’m not sure if she came home to see me or to just be back with her beloved circus family that she missed so much while she was away.  She is working at the Actors Gym and taking an intensive class there too, so much of her day is spent at the gym.  Gym or no gym, I still love having her in the house again.  It is my understanding that the time will soon come when she will not be coming home for the summer, so we will enjoy the visit while we can.

My newly “middle-school graduate” is attending summer school at the big high school and is figuring out her newly found “high school girl” freedom that comes with this summer.  I am learning not to text and call every half hour and to trust that she and her great friends are having some good, clean, safe fun while away from the houseJ

We have already had a few adventures this summer.  We treated Eric to the Michael Jackson Cirque Du Soleil show that was in town.  Gabby even took on a dare and jumped out of the car and juggled to some Michael Jackson music for a small crowd while we were stuck in parking lot traffic. 

Sinobia and I brought a friend to spend the day with us at the Pride Parade last Sunday.  We were front and center in the midst of all the action.  Sinobia and her friend scored bags full of Pride Parade swag.  I scored a sun-burn on my shoulders and back. 

With summer school, summer camp and summer jobs in full swing, whether I am ready or not, summer has begun.  So, let the summer festivities begin!  I think I'm finally ready….

Friday, June 6, 2014

8th Grade Graduation!

I ignore the feeling of my achy body when I roll out of bed each day.  I tuck the grey hairs into my bun.  I’ve tried a variety of "over the counter" remedies for the dark circles under my eyes.  I know a few of the new pop songs and occasionally share clothes with my girls.  I struggle with being the hip mom vs. being the old-school strict mom.  I am fighting time and in denial of the fact that I am getting old.

On Wednesday night there was no denying that time has quickly slipped away from me….my little girl, my baby girl, graduated from middle school.  Sinobia is headed to high school.  She will be a freshman at ETHS in the Fall.

My purse was stuffed with tissue.  My sister-in-law had tissue waiting for me too, but surprisingly enough, there were no tears.  I wasn’t sad.  I’m excited.  I’m a little curious too; curious to see what Sinobia will gravitate to in high school.  Where her passions will lead her.  What adventures are in store for her.

Wednesday was a proud momma moment.  Not the water works that occurred 3 years ago when she left elementary school.  I now know she can hold her own.  She can seize her own opportunities and chart her own journey.  Chute Middle School has given my girl such a gift.  They have give her a family, confidence, experiences that she will cherish forever and the tools she needs to move on and be successful.  

We are moving forward (at warp speed) and I am ready.  The question is…is the rest of the world ready for my Sinobia?  Stay tuned and find out!

 Congratulations Sinobia!!

  So long Middle School!!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Last Moments Begin….

Kindergarten Graduation!
5th Grade Graduation!
After 14 years and 2 children in District 65, we are preparing to say farewell.  Sinobia will be graduating from 8th grade in a few days and heading over to ETHS.

We could not have asked for a better education experience for our children.  They have been nurtured and loved by some amazing teachers.  They have been prepared for whatever lies ahead of them by some incredible, dedicated, gifted teachers.  They have had the opportunities to make connections with educators who have changed their lives, helped them see their potential, and encouraged them to use the gifts that they were given to further themselves in their education and in the world.

When Sinobia graduated from 5th grade, I sobbed like a baby.  I couldn’t imagine her leaving the safe community she had grown up with at Dawes.  I was worried she wasn’t ready for middle school, that she was still my little baby.  This 8th grade graduation, there will be some tears (because you all know that I really am a big cry baby), but I am also excited for Sinobia to enter high school.  I can’t wait to see what she will get herself into, what she will become passionate about, what kinds of friends she will make and what sort of impact she will have on the ETHS world.

So, It’s that time of year, when we start having out “last” moments in this phase of our lives. 

Last week, Sinobia performed in her last orchestra concert a Chute.  This is not only significant because it was her last Chute concert, but also because she is retiring from being a Bass player.  Sinobia will not be joining the Orchestra at ETHS, as Gabby did.  It was a difficult decision to make, as we truly believe that the gift of playing a musical instrument is a magical and amazing gift to give your children.  What led us to this decision is the fact that Gabby and Sinobia are TOTALLY different kids.  We have to allow Sinobia to take her journey through high school without feeling as if she has to follow her big sisters path.  Sinobia needs to make her own path…and that she will.

So, scrolling through my pictures I found a picture of the very first day that Sinobia got her Bass and of course I took a picture of the very last day she played it…

So sad, yet so exciting!  Coming up soon?  8th Grade GRADUATION!!!  Here we go!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Happy 14th Birthday Sinobia!

14 years ago today, April 11, 2000, my Sinobia was born!  She did not come into this world quietly.  There was lots of screaming, crying, huffing, puffing and pushing as she entered into our lives.  Her reputation for drama and fanfare has stayed true throughout these 14 years.  Every day, since the moment my water broke has been an adventure with Sinobia. Life is never dull with her around.

As our iPhones turned to midnight today, Sinobia's phone began buzzing and ringing.  She was flooded with birthday messages from her friends.  I realized that the same crazy, weird, hilarious moods she brings to our house, she also brings to all of those around her.  She is "SO Sinobia" all of the time.  In her 14 years she has learned to love herself for who she is and embrace all that she has to offer to others.  She stays constant and true to herself all of the time, never changing or compromising her values and self-worth for others.  She is a gift to all that have the pleasure of knowing her and a treasure to those who have her as a friend, sister, cousin, niece, granddaughter and daughter.

Happy Birthday Sinobia!  We love you!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Swim Marathon 2014

"If you think your sport is hard, try doing it while holding your breath"


After nearly a month off from swimming because of her asthma, Sinobia jumped back into the pool on Tuesday to participate in the 19th Annual Flying Fish Swim Marathon, an one hour continuous swim with her swim team.

Eric and I sat at the side of the pool, with inhaler in hand, prepared to pull her out of the pool if her breathing got bad.  As we started counting laps at the beginning of the hour, it became clear to us that she was not going to stop swimming.  Her pace was great, her breathing was relaxed and she was in the swimming zone. 

Last year she swam 138 lengths in an hour. This year she did not let the asthma keep her down and away from raising funds for her beloved swim team. She emerged from the pool having swam 144 lengths in the one hour!  

(These funds help the YWCA continue to provide healthy aquatic programming, provide financial assistance to families who cannot afford the cost of swim lessons or swim team participation, and support YWCA services in the areas domestic violence and violence prevention.)

This was Sinobia's 5th year participating in the swim marathon and the first year that Gabby was not here to count her little sister's laps.  We sent Gabby a text right after Sinobia got out of the pool to report the 144.  "Dang, is that a record?" was her response.  This year, I think I am the one in awe of Sinobia (and relieved that her breathing stayed strong).  She was pretty sick for a while there, but she got through it and got herself strong again, just in time for marathon.  She definitely has the willpower and discipline that I don't.  She is determined and strong all of the time. Traits that will continue to serve her well in her life.

There is still time to sponsor Sinobia and her Swim Marathon cause (you have until February 28th).  The YWCA has made it so easy this year, they set up web pages for each kid, so you can click on the link below, it will take you straight to Sinobia's web page, where you can make a donation (and/or see her cute picture), or you can just send her a check:)

Follow This Link to visit Sinobia's personal web page and help me in my efforts to support YWCA 
- Evanston/North Shore

Thank you to everyone who has helped her meet (and possibly exceed) her goal!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014....Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone!

I'm sitting at swim team practice right now.  It's my first carpool night of 2014.  Sinobia has been out from swimming for about 3 weeks.  What started as "just a cold" ended up being close to 2 weeks out of school and 3 weeks from swimming after her asthma resurfaced from a 2 year hiatus.  I am thankful that 2014 has greeted all of us in good spirits and in good health.

2013 was a year of changes and transitions for our family.  We made it through the college process and shed less tears than expected during our Senior year moments, watched Sinobia become a beast in the water as she mastered her butterfly stroke,  hosted our first exchange student and then sent Gabby to Spain to be hosted by a family,  graduated our first born from high school and sent her across the country to college and attended "Freshman Information Night" for our "Class of 2018" Sinobia!

2013 was the first year that we let Sinobia travel without us, sending her on two trips, one to Italy and one to Virginia Beach.

It was the first time we spent a New Years eve without our children...Sinobia was in Italy and Gabby was at her first concert without me.

2013 validated that our family is strong and resilient; as we stuck together through thick and thin.

2013 was the year that Eric and I realized that, although challenging at times, we've kinda got this parenting thing under control.

2013 was the first year that our family spent Thanksgiving without Gabby.

2013 is the year that I started to realize that my children didn't need me so much, and that I needed to start taking care of myself.

2013 is the year that I remembered to tell my colleagues how much I appreciate them, more often.

2013 was the year that, after 5 years, I finally let go of my iPhone 1 and upgraded to the iPhone 5.  With this upgrade, I discovered instagram and quickly became a part of the "social media" world.  I'm now addicted to instagram (but still not on Facebook)!

So many memories from 2013, but we are looking forward to making even more memories in 2014.  As our children continue to grow up, our lives will continue evolving and changing.  Eric and I are still growing as well.  Every year we discover new things about ourselves and begin to pay closer attention to the adults/people/parents/partners that we have become.  2014 will bring more growth for us as well.

In 2014 we will continue to be thankful for all the love and camaraderie that we have in our Aiden clan.  We will cherish our moments together and hope for many more memory making years together.

We wish all the best for you and your family in 2014.  Thanks for following our family's journey.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy 19th Birthday Gabrielle!

Gabby turned 19 today! 

I'm at a loss for words....19 years is a long time, but it has gone by so fast.  My little girl is a young woman now.  

Year 18 was full of transitions for our girl.  Gabby hosted an exchange student, traveled to Spain, completed the stressful college process, committed to a college, made it through her 4th and final year of Varsity gymnastics, attended prom, graduated with honors. started her freshman year at San Jose State University and spent her first Thanksgiving away from home in San Francisco.

Now she's home for her Winter break and I am soaking up every minute that she is here with us.  I know that there will come a day when she may not come home so much.  She will soon have a life of her own, so until then, I will cherish every moment we have together.  

We usually don't celebrate our kids birthdays in a big way, outside of their kiddie birthday parties (and the celebrated Sweet 16),  but this year we made an exception since our girl has been away from home for 4 months.  Her choice of restaurants....Carnivale!

We have a few more weeks with Gabby at home with us before she's back to California for her second semester.  We're all going to make the most of this time together....smother her with all of our love and affection.  

Happy 19th Birthday Gabby!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

thank·ful [thangk-fuhl]
feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative. grateful and appreciative

This weekend has been a weekend to slow down and reflect on all that I am thankful for.  I often just stop in my tracks, smile and give thanks for the amazing life I have, but this thanksgiving weekend was very deliberate.  It feels as if my life is changing every day.  Each morning I wake up and take a deep breath, ready to take on whatever comes my way.  I am ready for some of the changes and others are catching me by surprise, yet I am still thankful.

This was my first Thanksgiving in 18 years without Gabby.  I imagined this day would be a sad one; me crying and missing my big girl, but it was a good day.  I was thankful to hear her voice on the phone and know that she was enjoying her Thanksgiving in San Francisco with one of her best friends.   She was safe, had a place to stay and good food to eat.  She is enjoying California college life and will be home in a few weeks.

Sinobia kept us laughing and entertained most of the day.  Her "teenage" personality is evolving every day.  While this is an exhausting process, it's also quite fun to watch.  I'm thankful that she still allows us to be a part of her life, as this is the time when teenagers begin to push their parents away.  We had ourselves a movie date today and she actually sat right next to me.  She is growing up to be a great kid....big world look out!

Eric fried us an amazing turkey this year for thanksgiving; his best yet!  I wake up every day thankful to have him by my side.  I couldn't ask for a more patient and loving partner and father for my children.  Eric is learning to deal with my menopause craziness like a real trooper.  I can never predict my mood, temperature or sensitivity, but he is always ready for whatever emerges from the menopausal beast that lurks within me.

I am thankful that my mom and brother are in good health.  They are doing well in Louisiana.  I wish I could see them more often, but our constant phone calls keep us connected.  I am thankful for the great family that the Aiden's are to me.  Eric's parents are like my parents and his siblings are like my own as well.  When I cannot be with my mom and brother, they embrace me and surround me with love every minute that I am with them.

I am thankful for all of my amazing friends that I have.  I have chosen to surround myself with people that are easy to love...they in return love me, my children and my family unconditionally.  I have had the opportunity to connect with some friends over the past few weeks.  It feels good to see them, hug them and enjoy their company while remembering why I love them so much.

I am thankful for my great job and my lovely classroom of children and parents this year.  My colleagues are constantly supporting me, pushing me to grow professionally and encouraging me to be the one and only "Authentic" Tracy.  I am thankful for my kindergarten grade-mate, tucked in the hallway corner with me (shout-out to Lizzy B), who always has my back.  Liz has jumped on my crazy menopausal roller-coaster and has learned to read my moods well.  She always makes me laugh when she predicts tears will start to flow from my eyes..she quickly jumps into action shouting "Don't cry! Don't cry!" and produces tissue at just the right time.

I am thankful for our simple, yet beautiful home, where we love each other fiercely, fight like cats and dogs, sing too loud, laugh even louder and cherish each moment we have together.

I hope that everyone takes the time to reflect on the things that they are thankful for in their lives.  Life is so fragile and many are not afforded much time on this earth.  Love who you are, what you have and be thankful.  Happy Thanksgiving!