Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I'm finally back to the real world. I'm somehow surprised to find that not everyone plays a string instrument and I don't have to attend parent lectures every day.

Taking the kids to a Suzuki violin institute was well worth the time and cost. It was quite an interesting week. Not only were the kids inspired but I was reminded of the very important reasons why we started all this violin stuff in the first place.

It was a week of immersion. I haven't spent a week of pure immersion like that since my days of spring training for softball. It was...kind of freeing. There were no computers. I didn't take any phone calls. I didn't watch any television.

It was just me and my family. And it was good.

My mom met us there, to help me get two kids through four classes a day. She loved watching their group lessons and play-ins. Unfortunately she missed their solo recitals and concerts.

In the middle of the night on Wednesday she got a call from my father. My father lost his sight in one eye this past year due to diabetes. That night his other eye "blew". He had to have emergency surgery to try and save his sight, so my mom took off for the ten hour drive back to her home.

She was a wreck and the kids were sad.

My father is going to have to wait about three weeks to see if his eye heals at all.

But I'm back with a new sense of purpose and lots of decisions to make. And a weeks' worth of reflection to help make them.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Violin Mom

I'm off for a week of violin camp with the kids. I'll see you next weekend...with enough violin mom crap to make you puke.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Every Day for a Year!

I am absolutely riding high tonight. What a great day.

First of all, as of this morning, my children and I have practiced violin every single day for an entire year.

Can you even believe that? My own mother can't believe it. When I told her I was getting up at 5:45 a.m. every morning for violin practice, she was speechless.

But, man has it paid off.

First of all, tonight my son graduated to the next level of violin training. We celebrated with a graduation recital and reception with his four fellow graduates. He played five solo pieces. He's been working his butt off to perfect them and he sounded great tonight.

The compliments were flying after his performance. There is something about my son...I don't know. I can't explain it, partly because I don't really see it myself. But people love him.

Yeah, sure, he played better than the other kids (ahem), but people just love his spirit. One mother wants to get him an agent and put him in movies. She went on and on about him. To me he's just my kid. My great kid, for sure. But I expect him to act and look and live the way he does.

People were also complimenting me left and right. To the point of embarrassment. But you know I love it. I took the initiative to organize the reception and people acted like it was a huge deal. All I did was send a couple of e-mails.

So I was feeling pretty positive when we got home. But then my daughter got the mail and things got even better.

My daughter was accepted into the orchestra she auditioned for! This is a huge deal. She'll be one of the youngest kids in the group. I'm so proud of her!

The audition was not an easy thing. For her or me. She worked for hours and hours on scales, sight reading and a solo piece. She was ready but she was nervous. Watching her walk out of the warm up room and into the judging room was a profound parenting moment for me.

She was all on her own. I had done everything I could do for her. She was all on her own.

Sure, she's performed solos in huge concerts, but I was always in the audience, watching and cheering her on. And helping her process it all in the aftermath.

This time she was all alone in that room. Just two judges, her, and her music.

She is very proud of herself tonight too. She was beaming!

Practicing together every single day for an entire year has made a tremendous difference in our lives. And not just with their violins. It has made us all believe that we can do anything we set our minds to. It has proven to my children that working hard is its own benefit. It has taught them that they can get anywhere they want to go, with enough discipline.

On Sunday we're heading to D.C. for a week-long violin institute. We're all excited. We'll be heading into another year of music with a song on our hearts.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Needing Knobs

Oh sure. I get locked in the laundry room and the whole family just laughs at me.

My husband gets locked in the laundry room and has to be rescued by a seven-year-old with a screwdriver and suddenly we have new doorknobs throughout the house.

At least I love my new knobs.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Survivor: Laundry Island

Last night I was locked in the laundry room.

The door knob has been acting up for a while, but I still shut the door behind me so the dog would stay with me and I could give her a treat.

Then I couldn't get out.

Between me and my television-watching husband was the laundry room door, the closed bathroom door (our laundry room is off of our bathroom...I didn't want you to think that my husband was watching television in the bathroom...although, I'm sure he would...actually I'm surprised he hasn't asked for a flat screen above the tub yet) and about ten feet.

First I knocked. Then I yelled his name. Then I banged and knocked some more. Then I yelled some more.

Fifteen minutes later when I had dissolved into hysterical laughter, he rescued me.

I had been envisioning myself spending the night in the laundry room. I had even been envisioning my children finding me days from now dead and curled up with the dog.

Okay, that's not true. I'd eat that damn dog long before I'd die. Sorry, but if it was me or her, well, I'd be cooking her in the dryer.

Oh, wait. I suppose I could eat her Purina ProPan before I'd have to resort to that. Heck, between her treats and the water in the laundry room sink, I could have a pretty sweet life in there.

All alone.

Ah. Alone.

And by the time anyone found me I'd probably have lost some significant weight. It would be like a vacation really. A vacation at a health spa!

Excuse me. I'm going to go get the dog a treat again. I might shut the door behind me. Maybe no one will think to look for me until school starts in the fall.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Like Pinned Butterflies

Every year when the kids get out of school, I have fantasies about spending our days sipping lemonade and playing badminton. And every year I am rudely reminded that life goes on and on and on. And responsibilities rarely take a vacation.

These last two weeks have been a bitch! And it ain't over yet, sisters!

Between soccer tryouts, and more soccer tryouts, and even more soccer tryouts (because she didn't make the first team), and a week's worth of speech evaluations, and an audition for an orchestra I feel like my kids have been under a microscope lately.

Oh, and never mind the two violin concerts, solos for each kid, and my son's six solos for graduation recital next week.

I feel like I've been in a ringer. I can only imagine how the kids feel.

One more week and we can crawl out from under the microscope. And soon you'll be treated to more sickening stories of my kids and our domestic life. Because no matter how any one else evaluates these two, I think they freakin' rock.*

*70 to 80% of the time anyway