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Sunday, February 28, 2010

No, It Doesn't Wash Out

Well, you can tell by the color of Cam's hair that it's robotics season again. Last night he went to a hair-dyeing party to get just the right shade of royal blue for next week's competition at RIT. Cam has been involved in helping to build "Uncle Ralph," with Fairport FIRST's team 578 (Go Blue Lightning!) after school and on weekends since right after Christmas. Even though the build sessions and other obligations have basically eaten up his life (it's not over: Crew is now eating up his life), he has loved it. He's made great friends on the team, and his participation has really sparked an interest in engineering, and has helped him focus a little more on college than he had been before (which provides great relief to his parents).

So to answer the two questions you've been "dyeing" to ask: No he is not a descendant of Grandpa Smurf, and no, it won't wash out!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Parental Evolution

Isn't it funny how our lives evolve? Lately I've been thinking about how amazing my journey as an adult and parent has been, how we never stop growing and changing, and how we adapt to all the different stages in our childs' lives. At one point we were dinosaur experts, then we knew all the names of Thomas the Tank Engine's friends. We did all the usual "girl" stuff from dancing to Barbies to (the very expensive) American girls stage. We've watched Cameron learn about engineering during the last couple of years at robotics, kept up with styles and music along Annalisse, learned to ski as the kids learned, and now we know more about rowing than we'll ever want, or need, to.

Now Cam is a junior, and our attention is turning toward applying to colleges next year, and all the preparation that goes with his senior year. HIS SENIOR YEAR! How can that be possible? Senior pictures, SATs, college visits and applications are all part of our our "to do" list for the next six months. Cameron has already started the emotional transition, as he is becoming more distant, rolling his eyes a lot, begging out of family activities, and regarding us with general disdain (luckily I've heard that that parents get smarter again around age 22 or 23?).

Really, we only have about a year-and-a-half left with him (full-time) until he's away at college, returning for occasional weekends and breaks. It's very easy to clearly remember when he was a baby, and shake my head, in disbelief, at the cruel passage of time. Somehow, though, we're ready, too, learning what we need to about this new stage in our lives.

Whenever I get aggravated with the kids, or when Mark starts to complain a lot, I have to remind him, and myself, that we really only have them for 18 years. After that we may have them around, but our day-to-day life as a family will never be the same, and that makes me sad. Lately, I've been hearing that line from Carly Simon's Anticipation in my head a lot: These are the good old days. I'm trying to remind myself to be as present as possible, because soon enough these days will be a happy memory, just like the rest.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

17 Years Ago Today...

That's usually what I say to my kids from sun up to sun down on their birthdays, as I recount every hour and every highlight of they day they were born. Today, Cam just rolled his eyes with every time I said it, recounting all the exciting events from "17 years ago today."

And how did the birthday boy spend his day? He was at robotics from 10-7 putting the finishing touches on "Uncle Ralph," this year's robot for the robotics competition at RIT the first weekend in March. After robotics, we're heading over to Grandma Jeanne's for one of his favorite dinners (Chinese pork spare ribs), then I'm sure when we get home he'll get on his computer and that will be "it" for the rest of the night. Tomorrow he's in robotics all day again, but we'll be going out to one of his fave restaurants, Selena's, for dinner.

So, I guess you could say we didn't get to see much of him on his big day. It's at times like these, and a lot of times lately when he's not home, that I think it's all part of the master plan to help parents and their children eventually go their separate ways, whether it be to college or out of state for a their first big job. One day they're coming into the world, and the next they're ruling it!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Our Hot New Ride

It's been nagging at me that I haven't yet posted about "our hot new ride," the Honda CRV we got after we decided that we didn't want to deal with the eventual trade-in issues related to the Honda Pilot that was damaged in our December 28th accident. We feared that when it came time to trade the Pilot for another car a couple of years down the line, the Carfax report related to the car would show that it had been in a major accident ($14,000+ worth of damage), and we would have difficulty with the trade-in value or a private sale.

So, we've had our new "tango red" CRV for almost two weeks now. I just love that new car smell!!! Getting a new car so unexpectedly made me reflect on our auto journey over the years. I think back to Mark's cars along the way (a Renault [piece of crap] and his Chevy Blazer [pretty nice at the time]), and the cars I've had (my first car: a Pacer, which had a super bad reputation and was really old even then. I went through two clutches in 3 years, and it had nothing to do with my driving). Then there was my Chevy Citation hatchback (whose floor rotted out until the driver was almost sitting on the street), followed by our first "real" car together: a sporty red Volkswagen Jetta (a cute car but a bit of a dud).

We traded in the Jetta when Annalisse was born, obviously needing something a little bigger and a bit more practical for a young family with a lot of baby crap to cart around. At that time we took the plunge and got the "new" Dodge Caravan, which was so wonderful for long trips and moving furniture (which we seem to do constantly). Thrown in over the years was also a Dodge Stratus, and a used BMW 500 series car (our misguided luxury car phase - expensive gas, expensive repairs, but, boy, did that car "go").

Four years ago, we traded in the BMW and the Caravan for a new Honda Civic (my favorite little car - 5-speed and zippy), and the Honda Pilot (we were "over" the Caravan and ready to move onto the next phase of our lives since the kids were getting older and had less "crap" to cart around). Which brings us to present day: the CRV, which is smaller than the Pilot and promises better gas mileage.

Now that Cameron is of driving age (although he has not yet expressed the desire to drive even though he has the driver's permit test book), when he's ready to take that first "spin" will it be in the CRV, or the 5-speed Civic? Although I think it's really important (and fun, and cool) to drive a manual transmission/standard car, I think the safest way is for him to learn to drive will be on the CRV (surely an activity that will result in even MORE gray hairs). Let's face it, there are enough distractions for a young driver without worrying about when to shift. Luckily, he's not asking to learn and we're happy to wait. We don't need another thing to lay awake and worry about each night!

So, as far as new cars go, I think we're good for now. We just need to make sure to avoid another accident (but, of course, they're called "accidents" for a reason).

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Another Reason to Love Fairport - Even in the Winter!

I haven't written anything lately about how awesome it is to live in Fairport, so it seems like I'm definitely due. Yesterday, I found yet another reason to love living in Fairport: the Labatt Blue Rochester Pond Hockey Tournament.

This past weekend hundreds of players and spectators came out to see teams compete on the Erie Canal, which is right down the street from my house. This is apparently the "Second Annual," and I heard from one of the players that last year's tournament was on Conesus Lake - I hope they'll consider Fairport a "permanent home" since it's so conveniently situated. It's a really cool event in these days of mostly-only skating indoors. What better place for such a tournament than Fairport? The players need only to walk down to the street to a restaurant or pub when they're hungry (or in need of an adult beverage), and I'm sure the area businesses have also benefited from the increased foot traffic this weekend.

Last night we went out with friends for a mini-Fairport Pub Crawl as a goodbye party to a couple who's moving to Philadelphia. Two of the pubs we went into were packed with rowdy, touque-wearing hockey players...it was awesome! What a great energy in the Village!

See, I can always find great reasons to live in Fairport - even in the winter!

Friday, February 5, 2010

All Hail, Queen Mary

A very happy 50-something birthday to my OLDER sister, Mary, self-proclaimed Queen of the Grecos. May she long reign!!