Thursday, May 31, 2007

Here you go Mom!

OK this picture doesn't do it justice! It looks tiny here, but when I look in the mirror it looks like I have a healthy tick on my face. Every time I smile it cracks and oozes ... and I have to teach Sunday. I guess I can be the object lesson in a discussion on leprosy! This is very uncomfortable.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Put on your sunblock!

I can't believe I'm posting this! It's me! A distorted version of me, but me nonetheless! The day after we returned from the happiest place on earth, I had to have a bit of skin cancer removed. The removal process wasn't nearly as uncomfortable as the shot that enlarged my entire fat lip, but I was glad to be numb. Kacey sat by giggling and couldn't help but get out her phone and snap this shot. This is definitely not very fun, but we act preventatively, right? Everyone get to your dermatologist and get checked out!


What a great way to start off the summer! The day after graduation and the very first day of summer, we all headed off to California at 5:00 a.m.! Our little Jake was invited to receive a Little Scholars Award through the Pop Warner football program for his good grades. Yes, the football program encourages academics! This year, the program was held in Anaheim, CA ... right next to Disneyland. We all made the drive, had a great time at the banquet/ceremony and enjoyed some California weather. Now I'm hoping that creative imaginations will carry us through the rest of the summer in the ongoing battle of conquering boredom. Happy summer!

This was Jake's favorite area of the whole place ... an airplane! Everyone was flying high, but one little redhead wasn't so happy at this particular point in the game.

Kacey REALLY loves Disneyland!

Jake held his breath and pretended to be under water with the mural of Mickey!

Keaton gave "Frozone" some good posing tips!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

So ... I SAW BARRY MANILOW! I still can't believe it and I'm sure that words are not going to do justice to the weekend that I just had, but I have to write it down anyway. The big weekend was to begin on Thursday evening when we were supposed to fly out. I had my hair cut and colored (thanks Kim!), my boarding passes printed and songs of Barry playing in my head. It seemed all planned and perfect ... seemed. Then it happened. For those of you that don't know me very well, I'm a freak. Ever since I was way young, I don't handle change or anticipation of something very well. My body basically goes into a freaky kind of shock and I just plain make myself sick. I have huge anxiety about orphaning my children, so whenever Gary and I are leaving together, this shock pretty much knocks me down out of nowhere. So, Thursday morning at 3:45 a.m., it began. I woke up to being worked up! I told you ... I'm a freak! Before I knew it, I was so worked up that I was throwing up and calming my insides just wasn't happening. I had Melanie trying to walk me through it all, Julie telling me to take deep breaths and finally a doctor on the phone telling me that I was having a panic attack. I'm a freak! Luckily our plane wasn't scheduled to leave until 9:00 p.m. because it took every part of that day to get me functioning again. Apparently, I also had a bit of a bug, because by the time it was time to leave, I also had a fever. I knew I would be fine if I could just get to my nice hotel bed and sleep until it was time to go see Barry, and nothing (not even myself) was going to ruin this huge milestone! So we were off. Gary carried all of my stuff and practically me to the car and we made it in plenty of time for our departure. Once we landed, he called over the prettiest black car for a nice comfy ride to the hotel. I did it, we were there, now I just had to sleep. And sleep I did! I slept clear through the night and didn't even wake up in time to check on the kids getting to school ... great job Kacey! Kacey was back at home handling the household with perfection. Finally the time arrived for us to go to the Hilton theatre. We walked over to the Copacabana, where they not only had drinks but a hall full of Barry's pictures and old album covers. His face in 1975 was as clear in my head as it was on his album cover. Then we walked over to find our seats ... awesome seats! We were about four rows back from the stage and I couldn't believe I was sitting there. Soon, the lights were dimmed and a huge screen on the stage began to display flashbacks of Barry's career featuring all of his awards, honors and old songs. The screen lifted and there he was standing in a doorway! So did anyone see that disturbed young girl sobbing when Sanjaya was singing on American Idol? Well, that wasn't me, BUT as I thought about how long I had listened to Barry Manilow and how much I really loved his music, and then I saw him standing there ... I couldn't stop the tears as I took in the reality of sitting there that really seemed like a dream! I absolutely could not believe it ... I still can't believe it! But there he was. No longer on my radio or on my CD player, but actually very close to me! He started out the show singing It's a Miracle ... how perfect! I truly felt like it was a miracle that I was in the same room with him. Again ... I'm a freak! He continued singing, and I swear he was looking right at me ... and I was looking back! Daybreak, Somewhere In The Night, This One's For You, Old Songs ... he just kept going! Then he sang a couple of "Big Band" songs from the 40's and 50's (which were awesome) and went to his piano and back to his songs. His piano playing was incredible through Piano Man and Chatanooga Choo Choo, but Michelle ... you should have been there during All The Time! He said that this song received more mail than any other song because the lyrics had touched so many people who thought they were all alone. I'm telling you all that this man has seen some kind of heartache and has written his incredible songs through it all. As he sat at his grand piano in black and sang those lyrics to All The Time you just knew that everyone in that room had felt that way and NEEDED Barry's songs! He followed it up with Weekend In New England and Can't Smile Without You, which were all sung perfectly without any aging showing in this man's voice ... he was flawless and seemed to be timeless. Then he sang some songs from the 60's like Yesterday, Baby Love, You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling and then the crowd went wild (well as wild as a bunch of people over 40 get) as he mentioned moving into the 70's. The screen went down and they played a video clip of Barry's very first television debut where Clive Davis introduced him as America's next musician and it showed a very young Barry Manilow playing and singing ... Mandy. Then the screen lifted and there he was at his piano, continuing his Mandy song with a medley of Could This Be The Moment. It was UNBELIEVABLE ... but I was right there! As soon as he started singing I Write The Songs, everyone's Manilow Glowsticks were held in the air and swaying back and forth with the music. Gary was even dawning a glowstick! It made a fanilow out of an oh-brotherilow! He closed out the concert singing Copa and again with It's a Miracle replacing the word "It's" to "You're" ... I knew he knew me! But HE was the miracle! He was so gracious to his fans thanking them for still liking his songs ... of course! It was an absolutely unforgettable weekend and I'll never forget it. So I owe my hubby a great big thank you for being such a great provider that he could offer me such a memory. After the show, he took me to Benihana's (another all-time favorite of mine). I told him that this was the perfect weekend because he offered me three B's ... Barry, Benihana and the comfy Black car ride. It was perfect. My life is perfect and is constantly being added upon. Whoever said that getting old stinks is so wrong ... leaving the troubles of youth behind is truly a gift to me and I look forward to what else is around the corner! I SAW BARRY MANILOW!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The first time I can remember listening to Barry Manilow was back in 1975 on my little white transistor radio with silver knobs and an extra long antenna. Although my name wasn't "Mandy" ... I just knew that "He Wrote The Songs" for me personally! No matter what point I was in my life, this man could reach deep down into my chest and completely touch my heart. I have often wanted to see the "Copacabana" and truly longed for a "Weekend in New England". When other kids were screaming to AC/DC, I made sure the windows in my car were rolled up tight so that I could blast my casette as he sang through my dashboard the words "This One's For You". Yep, he had it bad for me too. "Even Now" I wonder "Could It Be Magic" as I begin packing for my trip to Las Vegas. That's right, this fanilow has waited long enough! Thursday evening, Gary and I fly to Vegas to see Barry perform at the Hilton! So when I think "I Can't Smile Without You", I just pinch myself and sing "It's a Miracle ... a true blue spectacle!" I'll be back on Saturday evening to check all of your fabulous comments, but until then ... Barry, "It Looks Like We Made It!"

FAMILY ... this is who currently reside in the actual Shaker Shack! Fun stories are sure to follow.

At 11-years old, Jake really wants to be a pilot!

... really!

Me and my only daughter Kacey ... she's graduating next week!

Freckles are my favorite ... on my nine-year-old Garrison!
Brothers saying goodbye at the MTC (Mother's Torture Chamber)!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Still Sneaking

So this is my very first post and I'm afraid of how I will feel when I am ready to put this out to be read. I am sure that most of my writing is going to be about my children, since that's what I'm about. As I began setting up this page, I was feeling all full of knowledge as my years of experience and age were very present in my mind. I felt like I was at a place in my life where I had learned so much about how to be a good "grown up". In the middle of creating this site, I got a phonecall from my third child, Keaton - almost 16 years old, asking me to take him and his friends to Burger King. This is the first time he'd asked and I know that they go often with other mothers. School is out in one week, so I thought this was my turn to repay the other mothers and give my turn at supplying a fun lunch. Little did I know that this was completely against the rules (ok I kind of knew, but the other mothers had been doing it and had no problems). So off I went. Long story short, I snuck the boys off campus, a scary woman Shop teacher saw us, and now the boys will be serving one day of suspension. So here's the question of the day ... do we ever REALLY grow up?