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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Moment to Sit Down

I am just catching up from our busy, fun weekend visiting Mom Shiao in DC. The laundry is done, the house is picked up, and awwww, I'm sitting down!

We left fairly early on Friday morning (8:30 or so) as we had to wait for Annalisse to attend her first period bio lab before going. Cam ended up staying home so it was a relief not to have to take the dog to the kennel before leaving, and soon enough we were on our way. (Although that came with it's own set of anxieties.)

Although it's a long trip (approx. 8 hours) I do like the trip to Northern Virginia. There is a lot to see, and, as I've raved before, I love to stop for lunch (and some calorie-laden comfort food) at the Country Cupboard in Lewisburg, PA.

We got to the hotel around 5:30pm, and were greeted by an endless array of motorcycles. It turns out this was a huge weekend in DC for bikers, with the "Rolling Thunder" ride and "Ride for the Wall" in town. In a way it's very touching to see all those guys, most of them vets, honoring the US and their fallen comrades this way. They've seen and experienced so much more than most of us ever will, and, of course, so much of it is tragic and difficult. A world of thanks to all of them, and all vets.

Upon check in, we hooked up with Mom and headed to Shirlington to the Capital Brewery for dinner. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel, all of us hitting the wall/dead tired. We got up early on Saturday, picked up bagels, and headed back to Mom's for a quick breakfast before taking the Metro to Arlington Cemetery. I've been to Arlington several times (it was Mark and Mom's first trip there), but have never seen it so busy. Usually you can stride right up and take a seat on the steps to watch the guards pacing, and, if you time it right, you can see the hourly changing of the guard. We got there 10 minutes before the guards changed, but could not see a thing. We inched our way down a little at a time (thanks to the kindness of strangers) and were able to see parts of the ceremony. So very touching and very cool.

After Arlington Cemetery, we took the Metro to the Library of Congress (I've never been...) to see a Civil War exhibit I've been wanting to see, but, alas, there were lines out the door there. For some reason I envisioned walking right in...oh well, this was obviously not the right weekend to try to do things in Washington. And you know me - I don't like lines.

On Sunday, we got up early again and headed out of town to McLean to go to church at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, were our former pastor is now the pastor. On a good day it takes 30 minutes to get there (on a bad day, it could take an hour or more and it's only about 20 miles), so I'm glad there was very light traffic that day. After church we changed and hit the road to Ikea in College Park, Maryland. I've been wanting to go to an Ikea "for forever," and it did not disappoint. Although I like the furniture, it doesn't really go with my old house, but I thought the housewares were to die for. Great stuff at really reasonable prices.

On Monday we got moving early again and headed north, arriving home around 3pm. Puppy (and Cam) were happy to see us!

Great company, great food, great fun - it was a great weekend! And what better place to be on Memorial Day weekend than the Nation's capital!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Last Dance

Another milestone alert: last night was the last high school dance for the Bakers. Since Cam did not really do any of that formal dance stuff, we had to get the best bang for our buck out of the second child, and she definitely delivered. It's been four years of fancy dresses, updos and makeup, and walking the dog last night came the realization that "it's over." Here's a retrospective of the "worn only once" dress club:

Fall Dance 2011 (Weekend Update)
10th Grade Dance (Mother's Day Recap)
Fall Dance 2012 (It's Hip to be (a) Square (Root))

Cheeky Monkeys
Annalisse and her date and great friend, Blake, looked so cute together and were happy to be hanging out for the night. After pictures at our house, we met the kids at a GINORMOUS (and a little bit tacky, truth be told) house outside of Fairport for group pictures. This year certainly featured a lot of sparkly dresses, and some racy ones as well. Annalisse's dress was pretty conservative, but just right for her.

The original plan was to go to the dance then over to a friends for a sleep over. When she got home at 11 "to wash her face and change," I knew she had decided not to go back out. This is one kid who is most certainly not a night owl, and if she doesn't get enough sleep we all pay dearly the next day. So, I was happy both kids were both securely situated by 11 so we could all get  a good night's sleep.

Blake and His Date
It's a rainbow

Friday, May 17, 2013

We made it through...THE WEEK

Whew! Another stressful week is coming to an end. Annalisse made it through her three tests and thinks she did ok/good. We got her five week grades, and she's sitting at between an 80-84 in Bio (even though I think we're in week six or seven by now), so that was a great end to a stressful week.

Cam came home from RIT yesterday and it's a laundry/stuff-o-thon in the basement. I'm trying to clear out the piles of clothes, towels, sheets that need to be washed and packed back up, and at some point this summer I will run all his kitchen stuff through the dishwasher. I've got some time (even though we all know how fast the summer goes). I think it was a pretty good year for him and he's ending on a high note. Not all his grades are in yet, but it he thinks he'll end up with B's in everything except Sociology, where he's expecting an A. The "B" in Discrete Math II will replace the "D" from winter quarter, so we'll have to see how that impacts his GPA. With my rough calculation he should land aroud a 3.02ish overall with those grades, but I'm going to have him request an official transcript once all grades are in so we can see where he stands.

I have to give him a lot of credit. With a super gross, stinky, non communicative roommate and a very tough course load (20 credits in the last quarter [10 weeks] alone), he did great this year. And, he's announced he's going back to crew next year, which we're thrilled about. We really liked him being involved in a sport as it was fun to go to his regattas, and I think he made some good friends there. So, we're very, very happy about that. He claims he will not change his mind about crew, so I hope he won't!

On Monday he starts a six week Organic Chem course at Nazareth, which will take him all the way to his summer job, and now with the majority of the work for AP Bio done, Annalisse will be concentrating on finishing up final projects (not without a lot of complaining and whining, however). It's all truly winding down as we head for a fun, action packed summer!!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Decision Day

The choice is made.
Decision Day is here! This is the day for which we bought all those college t-shirts during our campus visits last year, most of which will never be worn again. (I got smart after a while and just bought the cheapest tee during a lot of the visits. If she chose the college we would get a better shirt later!) Today at school all the kids (and teachers) wear a t-shirt from the college of their choice and there is a little reception to celebrate the next leg of their journey.

It's been an intense week with test and it's not over yet. Today is definitely a bright spot and I know the kids will all have fun seeing where all their friends are going. We're coming down to the wire, now!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Potpourri

Everyday is Mother's Day, isn't that what they say?

It's about three hours into Mother's Day 2013. I was feeling pretty good about the state of motherhood until a couple of minutes ago, when, having designated this as a study day for three upcoming tests this week (one of which is a cumulative final for the much maligned AP Bio), I was faced with an apathetic daughter who has totally checked out of caring about her schoolwork this year. Will this little tiff ruin my day? It's too early to tell, although I am a little pissed at the moment.

Otherwise, all I have planned for the day is pulling weeds with my faithful companion (Jasper, of course!) following behind me as I make my way around the yard.

Last night we gave our beloved Mother (one of three!), Pat, a surprise 70th birthday party at a local restaurant. I was so happy we pulled it off without her knowing it - it was a lot of fun! Happy, happy birthday tomorrow, Pat!

Happy Mother's Day to mothers Jeanne and Aline! You are all very special to us!!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sweet Jesus, help me make it through the next five weeks

Here we are again, coming down to the wire with five weeks left of another senior year...if we make it that long.

It's been a tense time of trying to keep Annalisse focused on finishing up her coursework (AND PASSING), and it's not been fun. (Who ever said parenthood is fun? Those baby showers and all that cooing over how cute they are in the beginning is definitely a fantasy.) I distinctly remember this same stress two years ago, except that with Cam it began at the beginning of his senior year (and got worse with his early acceptance to RIT), and with Annalisse it's taken a while for senioritis to really take her into its steely grip.

Keeping my "eye on the prize," I remember how all my cares dropped away as Cameron walked across that stage at graduation - "we" had made it through! (Although the anxiety started again soon enough when August rolled around).

I cannot wait until June 20 when Annalisse does the same. I hope she has a restful and fun summer because - oh wait - she actually has to "go back to school" in the fall, and it's going to be a heck of a lot harder than High School. There will be new worries all around come fall, but in the meantime, we are looking forward to the long, glorious summer! We just have to get there first.