Thursday, August 25, 2011

Smells Like Teen Spirit

The big news around our place is that Lady Di and I are now the proud owners of a brand spankin' new teenager. As of 12:01 am Number One Son has now matured to 13 years. Even though we just drove him off the lot, he already has that teenage boy smell. We do have a sample can of Axe Body Spray that we hang around his neck to freshen him up a bit. In addition to the Axe we also picked up a basket of maintenance items to keep our teen looking new. We stocked up on soap,acne cream, deodorant, soap, three different sizes of shoes, ear plugs (for us) and soap.

He has been bugging us for a cell phone for a couple of years, so now that he has reached the responsible age of 13, we decided to implant a GPS microchip in his arm instead to know where he is at all times.

We also have pre-emptively removed his bedroom door to avoid the inevitable slamming.

We've taken out a second mortgage to expand our pantry to make room for the industrial sized cans of food needed to keep both of his hollow legs full.

We are also trying to prepare for the inevitable interest in girls. So far he still kids around with us when we mention the fair sex but we know that he is probably just showing disinterest to throw us parents off his trail. And I'm not talking about the trail of week old underwear snaking around his room.

Communicating with girls is a mine field for any teenage boy, but when you have Asperger's like N1S, it's like navigating that same mine field blindfolded, at a rock concert, wearing snow shoes. So I have put together a few sure fire opening lines to get him in the door.

Lines like, "You must be from Memphis because you're the only Ten-I-See." Or, "I seem to have lost my phone number. Can I have yours?" Or, " I don't have a library card, but do you mind if I check you out?"

And the never failing, "How you doin'?"

I'm sure these lines will do nothing but help N1S on his way to ladies-manness. They worked like a charm for me 15 & 1/2 years ago on Lady Di when I said, "Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again?"

Here is a short video of N1S's show choir performing the song '13'.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The End Is Near

Our last month of summer vacation is always our last chance to actually relax. We purposely under-schedule August in the hopes of spending quiet family time together. But since nature abhors a vacuum, any space left open in the day automatically gets filled up with an event of some sort. This summer, to try something new, Lady Di took the kids up north to Grampa's lake to stay a few weeks. I, of course, would stay home and work which meant that at least one person in the family would have peace and quiet for a couple weeks.

But things don't move too fast at Gramma and Grampa's either. Most mornings found Sweet Pea sitting on Grampa's dock fishing. She would take a baggie of corn to use for bait and catch and re-catch sunfish. She always throws them back so I'm sure some of those sunnies are getting pretty fat and getting sore lips. SP has two fishing rods she is quite proud of. SP's cousin works at the local bait shop and gave her a good deal on a bright pink rod. It also has a reel that lights up when you spin it. When Grampa Ray saw all the fish she was catching with her new rod, he decided that she also needed a trolling rod for the boat. Somehow, he found a pink one of those to match. So now she has two really nice new pink fishing rods and is really getting some use out of them.

She also has discovered a passion for gardening. Grampa let's one of his neighbors use a spot on his land for a vegetable garden. So whenever Gene comes over to tend his plants, SP is tagging along at his heals and jibber-jabbering the whole time. She calls Gene her pea-pickin' buddy.

Here's SP's egg pealin' buddy.

Her brother is less interested in fishing or gardening or being outside. He will sit with her on the dock and help her with the net and getting the fish off the hook, but his patience doesn't last long. His idea of fun at Grampa's is watching the Twins play baseball while eating a bowl of ice cream. He also uses his time to play games on his 3DS and showing Grampa how to navigate his own computer.

Knowing N1S's interests, Lady Di broke her August scheduling rule and scheduled a Show Choir camp up by Gramma's house. So that makes three shows for N1S this summer. The camp in Bemidji had over 100 kids participating and they practiced three hours every morning for 1 week. This was something brand new for N1S and he didn't know anyone at the camp. Lady Di was a little apprehensive about dropping him off on the first day. "What if he gets lost? What if he doesn't make a friend? What if the kids are mean?"

We needn't have worried. He was excited after his first practice and said he had an awesome time.

LD asked, "Did you meet any new friends?"

"Yeah, but I don't know their names.", was his reply.

This is pretty standard procedure for N1S. He has learned a lot of friend social skills but he still has to work on remembering them at the time. We prompted him to remember by telling him to exchange email addresses with someone. He can usually recall anything related to computers.

At midweek the camp held a talent show for anyone who wanted to perform. With some encouragement from us, N1S consented to play a song on the piano. He said he did OK. There was one other piano player. He said the funny thing was that three entries performed Katy Perry's song Firework. He said by the time the third one came around everyone was pretty tired of Firework. On Thursday he found out that he and three others got picked to perform on Friday between their Show Choir songs.

I wasn't able to attend the show but LD, SP and both sets of grandparents were cheering him on. The talent show winners performed their songs for the first forty five minutes of the show. And even though there were four talent show 'winners' I know who was ranked as 'first winner'.

Then the entire show choir camp performed three songs. LD said that for around 1oo kids the choreography was pretty clean and everyone gave a sharp show. Of course we all know who was the sharpest and cleanest.

That night I called N1S to ask how the show went and to congratulate him. He said he had a lot of fun. I asked if he made any friends. He said not really. "I was just too busy practicing and I forgot." But apparently he did make one acquaintance. After the show one of the high school directors came over to him to congratulate him and they discussed something about N1S's Nintendo 3DS game. N1S then said, "Maybe I'll see you next summer." So I guess that means he wants to come back. It'll give him another chance to 'remember' to make a friend or two. And hopefully, they will be closer to his age.

We've reached the middle of August. The cicadas are buzzing the trees. School can't be that far away. In fact, I think I can see it on the horizon if I squint. Can we squeeze in anymore fun before Labor Day! We better hurry!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Show Me What You Got!

Welcome back to our family slide show of our summer so far. Get ready for some shows, softball and swimming. Once we returned from SD at the beginning of June, Number One Son auditioned for a part in a local community education children's theatre workshop. The show was Willy Wonka Jr. and N1S was impressive enough to land the role of Willy Wonka himself. This production practiced three hours every day for 2 weeks. They used minimal props and costumes but concentrated on acting, singing and dancing.

Here is Mr. Wonka in his Choco-vison room. I'm not sure if he was singing or snoring behind his special goggles.

His good friend from school was also in the show playing Veruca Salt. I think they have been in about five or six shows together.

At around the same time Sweet Pea was playing softball for the first time. She got to hit for the first time. Well, maybe not this time. She got to pitch for the first time. Steeeeeeeeeeeerike!
She even got to catch for the first time. Trust me, it is her under all that gear.

None of the teams in her league had nicknames so the girls came up with one of their own. Since they wore yellow shirts, they called themselves the bumblebees. But as they improved with each practice they decided to change their name to the Killer Bees! I told SP that their team should all start buzzing when the other team was batting but it never really caught on. SP however, did convince N1S and I to help her make some inspirational posters to hang in their dugout during games. This is one of SP's.

N1S liked to come up with slogans for his posters. "Drive For The Hive" and "Bring Your Bee Game" were his favorites.

SP thought her team could get some help from the dark side with her poster. I think it's fun to use my lowest Darth Vader voice and read, "Bees, I am cheering for your team."

During SP's softball schedule, we had some of the hottest, most humid days of the summer. Luckily, the kids have an Auntie Sue who lets them swim in her pool.
Oops! I hope pink shoulders are in this year.

The schedule just got busier from there. While SP was playing softball and N1S was performing Willy Wonka Jr., both kids were practicing for their third Show Choir show. This Show Choir theme was 'Songs from Glee'. They, along with about 40 kids formed the junior choir with about 16 members of the senior choir. They started off the show with a song called 'Loser Like Me'. SP and N1S dressed as nerds for this song.

Next on the program was the song 'Cooler Than Me'. The kids are trying their best to look 'cool'. Shake it, SP!

N1S got to sing with the boys to the tune of Justin Bieber's "Baby". Each guy in the choir got to sing a short solo while giving the girls in front of the stage a thrill by touching their hands. SP was picked to be in front of the stage waving her homemade JB posters with her friend. For some reason SP insisted that her posters have multiple puppies and kitties to keep JB company.

They ended the show with a high energy, highly freaky version of Lady Ga Ga's song 'Bad Romance'. This one had a lot of masks, feathers and sparkle.
Now that brings us to the end of July. Only one month left to go.

Stuff About Me

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.