Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hands Free (A Mama Kat Writing Workshop Prompt)


This week, Kat's writing prompt number one (which "assigned" me) instructed us to write about "A moment you realized your child was growing up." In deference to the slew of "to do's" that await me in the wake of two weeks of vacation, I am going the six word memoir route for this post. My daughter (the one who just got her learner's permit on June 27) will drive me there........ 

the end.........

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (Having a Ball Edition)

My sister-in-law Mary's house has given me great blogging material this summer! This beach ball got stuck in the waterfall flowing from her hot tub into the pool and it was mesmerizing watching it go round and round.
 I am easily amused.

I am linking this Wordless Wednesday post up to the Crazy Days of Summer Photo Challenge sponsored by Kristi of Live and Love Out Loud and Alicia of Project Alicia. This week's theme is "motion"! Next week's theme is "bubbles."

Crazy Days of Summer

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cinco Minutos en el Blog, Siempre en mi Corazón (5 Minutes in the Blog, Always in my Heart)

The welcome given to us by one of the communities we visited.

Dear readers,

It is so nice to be back with you, after missing a Sunday blog post last week for the first week since June 28, 2009. Since Tenley and I were in Guatemala last Sunday, I skipped blogging, partially because I needed a bit of a break and partially because Internet access was limited.

I have been writing about my goal of going to Guatemala to visit our family's sponsored child, Silvia, for a long time. The Guatemala visit was on my 2010 "top three goals list" and although the 2010 part didn't happen, the trip came together for July 2011, thanks to the moral and financial support of many friends.

There is no way I could put everything about the trip into one blog, and I believe part of the beauty of the trip I just took is the fact that parts of the learning from it will not reveal themselves right away. That's why I decided last week that my first blog upon my return would be a "get out what you can in five minutes" exercise, similar to my Got Five Minutes for 2010? post from December 2010. My five minutes are represented below, in italics.

The one moment that stands out most vividly for me is when we were visiting a family home in a Guatemalan village. The home was extremely basic. Dirt floors, tin roof, I think the walls were cinder block. It housed a large family in two small rooms. As I walked in, the dad said to me, "I am sorry this home is so small." I eventually took a picture of the dad as he spoke to us about his hopes for his family, and the phrase that occurred to me is "this is what it really means to "man up." We had learned of so many families where the father had left and the mom had to carry the weight of supporting the family all by herself.

It also meant so much to look our sponsored child, Silvia, in the eye. So much more than a picture on an end table. And for Tenley to choose to sponsor a child (Estela). Being able to talk with these children and their families, even though it took the help of translators and there were plenty of language barriers (Estela speaks Kiche, a Mayan dialect), was an experience that transcended something ... their mothers were so very grateful to be our partners in providing more for their children, especially an education. I said it in Guatemala and I believe it's true -- all mothers the world over want the same thing for their children - health, happiness, education, safety.

We were greeted in such a grand manner in these communities -- very elaborate welcoming ceremonies -- it was humbling to be greeted by marching bands, applause, and carpets of elaborate flower petal designs.

A sample of the elaborate floral greetings underfoot.

In closing, I want to expand upon what I wrote about the flower petal designs just a bit. When our group was visiting one of the family homes, Bob Hentzen, President and Co-Founder of the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, the lay Catholic organization working with persons of all faith traditions to create a worldwide community of compassion and service that organized the trip, told the group to look under our feet, where the family had spread fresh pine needles. This was a sign of welcome and an indication that our visit was a very special occasion. When I think of the elaborate floral welcomes, juxtaposed with that in my mind is the profound simplicity of the pine needles. I don't think I'll ever look at a pine needle again without memories of the people of Guatemala, who I now consider teachers.

Pine Needles Spread Over the Floor in Welcome

Monday, July 11, 2011


Dear Friends,

I am on vacation until July 24.
This week I will be at the beach with the extended family.
July 16, Tenley and I leave to visit our sponsored child, Silvia, in Guatemala.
I will miss all of you, and I will miss the challenge and fun of posting three times a week.
But I'll be back, and undoubtedly I'll have renewed energy as well as stories to tell.

In the meantime, here's a quote that seemed apropos:

Dance like the photo isn't being tagged, love like you've never been unfriended, tweet like nobody is following.
--Marcin Nrowca

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dear Dance (A Mama Kat Writing Prompt)


This week, Kat's writing prompt number three asked: Do you love it or hate it? An open letter to your child's latest obsession. I have had my fill of snark lately, which is why I decided not to write an open letter to gaming, which seems bent on stealing every last one of my son's brain cells, or Toddlers and Tiaras, which my daughter loves to watch and I must admit I can hardly tear myself away from when I walk by.

Instead, I am taking a bit of liberty with the prompt and writing an open letter to dance, which has been a part of my daughter's life for a very long time.

Dear Dance,

After I excitedly announced to 3-year-old Tenley that I had signed her up for Junior Gym at preschool, she announced that she had to take ballet, which was a new option at the school. There was no arguing. She was going to take ballet.

Three-year-old Tenley with her first teacher, Miss Christa.

Dance, Tenley's love has roots as ancient as a dinosaur.

Tenley's First Dance Recital
Photo Credit: Active Images

Thanks to you, Tenley is as likely to be listening to "Carnival of the Animals" by Camille Saint-Saëns on her iPod as she is to "Shake That" by LMFAO.

You have given her role models.

Tenley with Amy Lowe, Owner of Performing Arts Center of Tallahassee

And friends galore.

Tenley and Friends
Day of Dance, February 2011
Photo Credit: Bill Lucas

And the thrill of doing what you love (and moving past animal costumes).

June 2011
Photo Credit: Bill Lucas

Admittedly, I still struggle with your expense and any requirement that involves altering costumes. But we will keep working it out.

In her dance program ad this year, I used the quote "Dancing faces you towards Heaven, whichever direction you turn," by Sweetpea Tyler.  Thank you, dance, for pointing Tenley towards Heaven. May she never lose sight of you.


A grateful mom.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (Lucky's Nap Edition)

Dog days of summer.........

I am linking this Wordless Wednesday post up to the Crazy Days of Summer Photo Challenge sponsored by Kristi of Live and Love Out Loud and Alicia of Project Alicia. This week's theme is "light"! Next week's theme is "patriotism."

Crazy Days of Summer

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Your Birthday Present Is ........

A) Happy birthday to Tenley (June 26 - 15 years old). Note the tiara and the dressy restaurant setting.. 

B) Happy birthday to Wayne Kevin (July 1 -12years old). Note the decidedly domestic environment.

Here is why Tenley got Andrews 228 and Wayne got Chez Star View Lane (our house) for their respective birthday celebrations. When Tenley had her dance recital on June 11, Wayne Kevin stayed home. Nothing unusual about that. That morning, he had announced that he had a $50 credit on the PlayStation Network. That sounded a little odd to me, but after all of the recent PlayStation Network outages, I thought perhaps it was a bit of compensation. Wayne (husband) mentioned that Wayne Kevin had said that too. Fast forward to me getting home after the recital and checking our online banking, and discovering $223 worth of holds, all from PlayStation Network. 


Not even my most creative writing skills and heartfelt pleas could get the Sony Entertainment Corporation of America to reverse the charges. The good news is that once the charges all settled out, it was "only" $108.45. The bad news is that it was still $108.45.

Pretty rapidly as everything was unfolding I proposed/decided/proclaimed/demanded that if we couldn't get the charges reversed, the money that had been spent was going to take the place of any birthday celebration. He also has to pay us back.

And that is why July 1 found us having a small, low-key family birthday.

I am still disappointed about the whole thing. If a lesson has been learned, however, $108.45 will end up being a small price to pay.