Sunday, September 23, 2007

Wanna See My Pictures?

This is Mat Kearney; he is the main reason we made our recent trip to Emerald Isle. My older kids are big fans - after his live show, I'm a big fan, too. He did a great job.

If you're not familiar with his music, you can check him out here. You've heard his songs on Grey's Anatomy. He's good, and if your teenaged daughters are obsessed with him, that's not a bad thing.

Our entire weekend was a whirlwind, but Saturday was awesome. It rained on us off and on all day long, but by the end of the evening, the skies had cleared and it was amazingly beautiful. I've never been to the coast in late September, and I was surprised by the heat. It was like summer. The beach was awesome - and not too crowded. We only spent about two hours by the water - Syd and I ran to the pier and back (two miles, thank you very much) and the kids played in the water for a bit. The remainder of the day we spent at the festival. They closed part of Highway 58 and set up a very nice stage on the shoulder of the road. There was room in the grassy area and on the highway for a pretty awesome street party.

Emerald Isle was 'born' as a town fifty years ago, so this was the celebration of the growth and investment of the founding fathers and mothers. It's a very family-friendly place - none of the craziness of Myrtle Beach and not too much development. They've really focused on keeping the area a very calm, family-type environment - and they've done a good job.

To celebrate the anniversary, they cleared the Food Lion parking lot and set up vendors. You could get North Carolina style barbecue, bratwurst, hot dogs, soda, DQ blizzards and more. The Budweiser truck was parked by a fenced off area that became the 'beer garden'. Mostly, folks stayed in the fences and drank their beer, which was nice.

To commemorate the decades since the town began, they had several bands lined up to play music from various styles and eras. It was really cool! We parked our chairs and blankets in the lawn and sat back to enjoy the entertainment!

The first band did some AWESOME sixties and seventies cover tunes! Didn't catch their names, but we loved the groove..

Paul Miller was a hoot; every time the bands broke down and cleared the stage for the next band, he provided entertainment. Here, he was juggling an apple, a fake arm and a machete. Ouch. He was pretty good!

Wells Fargo set up this terrific replica of Wild Bill Cody's stagecoach; the kids jumped in and posed. Maybe this will be our Christmas card photo...

Here's Paul Miller again; this time, he was a magician. Daniel and David got called up to be his "special assistants"! Here, Daniel is doing some sort of bouncing dance before making his brithday card 'disappear'.

Both boys take a bow!

This guy is part of an 80's cover band called The Breakfast Club. They were very, very good; the music was fun, especially since they were playing the soundtrack for my high school and college years (and a few years past!). However, as a musician, I was extremely impressed. These guys were goofy, playing silly music, laughing about drinking and partying and carrying on - but they were tight and focused and did a surprisingly good job. Highly recommended, if they show up anywhere near you.

This guy was part of The Breakfast Club - obviously. Great mohawk! Funny - we saw him after the show, without the makeup and with his hair combed out, and he looked like the straightest, most corporate guy you'd ever see...

Raise your hand if you like this shot.
Funny, before I started blogging, I never would have noticed this guy. However, ever since getting to know Julie and Mary, I can't pass up a cutie like this. I walked right up to this guy's people and said, "Excuse me, can I take a picture of your dog?"

They said, "Roscoe, sit." He did.

"Roscoe, say cheese."

He did.

"Shannon, show everyone your nasty hot dog loaded with huge amounts of red dye #3 and icky preservatives. Say cheese!"

She did.

These guys were called The Impressions. They did great covers of Curtis Mayfield tunes and a few other Motown era songs. These guys were classy; dressed alike, danced together, moved like silk. I loved 'em. Great horn section, too.

Here's Mat again. The kids all stayed right up front for the entire show - nothing between them and the band. Sarah had the camera, and she kept saying, "He looked right at me!" She was proud to know every word of every song - "not just the radio tunes." She's a true fan.

I've just gotta say that I went up front about half-way through, keeping an eye on the kids and checking out the band a little more closely. He looked right at me, too. Though in my case, he probably thought, "Why is that forty-year old woman up here with all of these teenaged girls?"

'Cause I'm a mama, dude. Old enough to be YOUR mama, probably. And I'm watching my kids. And I'm digging your band.

And appreciating your...hat....

Sarah caught some awesome photos of the fireworks. We sat on the beach to watch the show. It was impressive. Sarah's pictures were stunning.

Syd and Sarah; they spent a lot of time together. The gulf between their ages (16 - almost 17 - and 13) seems to be lessening with time. They used to fight and bicker alot. Lately they are finding more common ground, for which I am grateful.

The weekend provided some wonderful family time. We laughed at the irony; when we stopped for dinner on the way down, we all commented about how we sort of missed the long drives we used to make every month to see their dad when he lived in Ohio. It was eight hours there, then eight back. It was excruciatingly exhausting. But we built some good memories.

This weekend ranks up there with the best.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Little Time Off...

We left home after school yesterday and headed southeast. We're at the beach! Matt Kearney is one of my kids' favorite songwriters, and he's headlining a street party celebrating the 50th anniversary of our little beach town. We came for the show; we're enjoying a hot, sunny day and an unexpectedly opportunity to get in a late September swim.

I'm actually taking Sunday off, though we have to leave in the morning to get back for evening activities.

It's nice to have a break, even if it will end up being only for about 36 hours...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Kid Update

*I seem much too busy living these days to have much material for an interesting post. I think that might be a good thing; I'm in a season of stability. So, following is a series of facts about my family. Not much drama or nail-biting action - simply life, and life is good.

The days are flying by. Last week was filled to the brim with meetings and transportation of kids and midweek services and everything else. We've settled into the rhythm of the school year, and I must say that this breakfast thing is really making a huge difference. Forgive me for mentioning this AGAIN, but the revolutionary idea of getting up and eating breakfast together every day has proved to be a rather positive shift in our family life. We start the day well, around a table, with a prayer - and it has to stick through the day, as it seems to spiral into a whirlwind of Things To Do with each passing hour.

Sarah is writing songs, going through a creative spurt. Every time I turned around she's got her guitar in hand. She's five months into a relationship with a boy who has been a long-time friend; he's a good guy.

Shannon tried out for the One Act Play; cast is posted tomorrow. She's stepping out into a new area here. Her class load is heavy but she is doing well.

Syd is making posters and stickers to aid in her campaign for Student Council President. She also selects her wardrobe for the week each Sunday, and is doing her best to dress for success.

Daniel is forming some new friendships, as most of his old buddies from last year are in other classes. I like the new guys he's hanging with. He tried out for the church Christmas play last week and was cast in one of the lead roles. He gets to be a straight guy to his buddy's funny man.

David is reading - a LOT - and immersed in his Bionicles. Soccer is fun for him; he scored his first EVER goal on Saturday!

I'm playing Wii tennis in my spare time and trying to avoid the humiliation of being crushed by every kid in my family, every time I play.

So far, so good.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Well, it's that time of year again. Fall soccer season kicked off yesterday. Both boys are playing rec league, and Shannon is assistant coach for Daniel's team. So far, they have great coaches and great teammates, and both boys are working hard and having a good time. The only drawback is that David's games are all at 8:30 a.m. (no sleeping in EVER for a few months, since we get up so early for breakfast on school days and get up even earlier on Sundays for church/work!) and Daniel's games are all at 1:00 p.m. It makes Saturday a split shift day for soccer, which may have its advantages from time to time. Thus far, it just seems like a long day.

We had a great time, though; it was a beautiful day and we came home with one win, one tie, and some end of summer red-tinged skin. I'm looking forward to the season.

David seems to ALWAYS be where the ball is; slowly he is appreciating the strategy of playing positions, but he still loves chasing and kicking the ball.

Seriously intent on heading towards the goal...

Here's Coach Shannon, towering over her brother, figuring out her next move...with the aid of her bubble gum...

Daniel gets airborne. Great move!

Check out those groovy blue shoes...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

And They're Off!

So here's the crew, bright and early. Early. Bright. Eating breakfast together. It was actually really wonderful, and I heard a couple remarks along the lines of, "This is really cool, Mom." I plan to do my level best to make it a new habit for me personally and for our family.

David, at right, was half-asleep but fully dressed; he manned the toaster while the eggs cooked.

The gang posed together before they started heading out. The bus comes by three times, on three separate runs at half-hour intervals. It makes the morning crawl by, but everybody has time to get ready and have the bathroom to themselves for a few moments.

Thumbs up for the first day of school!

Check out this footwear; I can't wait to talk to Syd and find out whether or not she really made it through the entire day in these shoes! Dan is flashing his new Adios...

My two high school girls, ready for new academic challenges and social excitement. Sarah goes back to tackle music theory, photography and life with a boyfriend; Shannon has a full load of honors courses and journalism, which includes writing for the school newspaper.

Walking away from Mom...sigh. Where did the time go? And who are these young women in front of me? It seems like just yesterday they were babies...

My handsome little guy, waiting for his bus to come. There's a look of wisdom and confidence on that face that promises the years are flying by where he is concerned, as well.

So the last one got on the bus...and I walked into the house cheering! "They're gone! They're gone!"

Not really.

Well, kind of.

It's just that the house will stay cleaner, longer. I can think for more than five minutes without being interrupted by some urgent need ("Mooommmmmm, we're out of milk." "Mooooommmmm, where's my blue marker?" "Moooommmmmm, something's wrong with the toilet." "Moooommmmmmm, can my four friends stay for dinner?" "Moooommmmmm, the computer quit working!" "Moooommmmmm, bring me a towel." "Mooooommmmm, my head hurts." Etc.)

Meanwhile, I'll cheer them on, pray for them, and fill out paperwork to keep them in good standing. That's going to take a while (the paperwork).

I love my kids. Today, I am very proud of them.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Small Town Living

Today was the annual Labor Day Parade for our county. It's a great opportunity for the community to come together, for politicians to hand out candy and troll for votes, for folks to enjoy the last gasp of summer before school starts. We went this year with extra motivation, as we're now a marching band family, and the parade presented the first opportunity to see Syd and her trombone in action. First things first, however; David and Shannon were intent on grabbing as much of the candy tossed their way as possible! I love that my fifteen-year old can still act like such a child at times...
There were the requisite 'cool cars' in place, including this
pristine example of...something. Old car is all I know....

And this one? Who knows. It's a small town, and we've got all kinds here...

And here's the stars of the show, in resplendent glory!

That's my girl. I was SO proud!

Standing at attention for the grandstand performance.
Syd's in the middle - doesn't she look cool?

And you thought Elvis was dead!
Here he is in our little ol' hometown, blessing the crowds with his presence!
Happy Labor Day, all; and best wishes for all those who tomorrow begin the age old routines of bus routes, school lunches and homework.

The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. ~Ecclesiastes 1.6-9