Monday, April 16, 2012

Getting Ready for Swim Team

When we first moved to Austin, Mason played hockey. Surprisingly, hockey is not nearly as popular in Texas as it was in Ohio. In order for Mason to be competitive in what would be comparable to Little League baseball, we'd have to travel every weekend (at least three hours away -- sometimes across the whole state). So, we discussed it as a family and decided that hockey would not be the best sport for him to play.

However, we wanted him to do SOME kind of sport. He had tried soccer. He didn't care to play football, baseball, or basketball (thank goodness!). When I suggested swimming, he got excited. He started at Nitro, which is THE BEST swim center in all of Texas (which is a huge deal, since there are amazing swim centers/teams in Texas). We love Nitro. He's been there since third grade.

A year later, we found about a local summer league, the Tidal Waves. Mason was excited to join. We've returned every summer since! We LOVE Tidal Waves. Last summer, when we were anticipating the big move (but have since Stayed Put), some of our hardest goodbyes to say were to our Tidal Waves friends.

Last summer, one of Mason's best friends joined (as well as his three sisters). This summer, two of Mason's other best friends' (confused yet) siblings are joining as well as a few more friends. We are SO excited for this season. Plus -- our two favorite Michaels (well besides, Michael Phelps!) are back to coach the team!

Here are some fun photos of our past summers with the Tidal Waves.
Mason's first practice as a Tidal Wave. Doesn't he look so little? He was 9.
First meet as a Wave.
(On a side note, his teeth? Were horrible! The best money ever spent was to have Dr. Barnett fix him up!)
Another picture from his first season.
Second season (11 years old).
Second season - professional picture. Awesome, huh?
Second season.
Last summer (12 years old).
Third season.
Towards the end of every season, we have a pep rally where the kiddos can throw a pie in their coaches' faces. Here, Mason threw a pie at Coach Michael (our new head coach!) and Coach Taylor pied Mason since this was (supposed to be) his last season as a Wave.
Mason with both Michaels. And pie.
And then my little stinker got ME with pie!
Our male coaches are so awesome, they get pedicures to show team spirit. hehe.
A nice picture of Mason with the Michaels.
How they really feel about him. Just kidding - I made them pose for this!
I was on the Board of Directors last season. Here is Mason and Coach Michael with the other Board member kiddos.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

50 Shades of... Red - Caused by a HUGE Embarrassment!

Hello Blog World.

Sorry I haven't updated in awhile. February's NaBloPoMo killed me. I just can't post every day. I think I'm going to try and blog 3-4 times a week. That sounds more up to my speed.

I have been reading some amazing books lately.

When She Woke is a futuristic retelling of The Scarlet Letter (a favorite). However instead of wearing a red "A," the main character gets dyed red (also known as "chromed" in the book). It deals with religion and abortion and personal rights. Very relevant right now. Go check it out!!

Maybe I haven't admitted it here, but I did admit it on Mandy's awesome blog when I was Geek of the Week, but I am addicted to reading Young Adult Literature. Go ahead -- judge me. I am embarrassed as it is. However, I know a lot of my friends out there read them, too!

So, I have been reading a lot of that genre's books based in dystopian societies (thank you, Hunger Games and The Giver) -- a theme I've always enjoyed reading.

Delirium and it's sequel Pandemonium take place in a society that does not believe in love. At a certain age, older teenagers have a procedure done to cure amor deliria nervose, or delirium. Can you imagine living in a world without love? I can't wait to read the next book in this series!!

From there, I read Divergent. In future Chicago, people are divided into different virtue factions: Abnegation (the selfless), Candor (the honest), Amity (the peaceful), Erudite (the intellegent), and Dauntless (the brave). Oh wow -- did I love this! The sequel, Insurgent comes out next month. Cannot wait!!!

A lot of my friends have read these same books and loved them as much as me. A dear friend and I were texting and she said she was reading a new book. One that I've heard a lot about (or at least one I thought I'd heard a lot about). According to The New York Times Bestseller list, this book is ranked number one: 50 Shades of Grey. Now, I heard it was a bit raunchy, but I assumed it was the adult version of Forever by Judy Blume (that I'm sure every American woman read during her early, formative preteen/teen years). So, when my very good friend who is a conservative church-attending woman said she was reading it, I figured it couldn't be that bad.

I was wrong. On SOOOO many levels.

First of all, it is horribly written. It began as a Twilight fan fic. And I don't think the editors changed anything. Horrible, horrible writing. Ugh.

Then, it got bad. I'm not a prude, but I felt uncomfortable reading this. I went to text my amazing friend that she was out of her mind and I never knew she had a wild side like this.

And that's when I saw her previous text.

She wasn't reading 50 Shades of Grey.

She was reading BETWEEN Shades of Gray.


Totally different kind of book. And one MUCH more my taste.

So, I am going to start reading BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY soon. And I'm deleting 50 Shades of Grey off of my iPad because it is terrible.

Now, mind you, I admitted ALL of this on facebook, saying how horrible I thought 50 Shades of Grey's writing was. So, I told all of my wonderful friends and family, Mason's teachers and coaches, that I was reading an erotic book. Goodness gracias!!!

***** Check out Mandy's new Geek of the Week about MASON!! *****

Friday, March 30, 2012

Silhouette Saturday

I'm back for another edition of Silhouette Saturday. I have been working on more canvas pieces (which is driving my husband crazy -- he hates unframed pieces). Yesterday, I made a really cool piece for spring.

I started with a canvas board. I got a packet of ten on sale at Michaels for $2.99 (so, of course, I bought three packets! I cleaned them out!). While you can't hang these unless you frame them, they work well being propped up for seasonal decorations. I don't like hanging seasonal pieces on the wall (but I am going to get over this aversion, thanks to 3M Command Hooks!).

Anyway, blank canvas. I printed out a cute Spring Subway piece from the Silhouette store. When I weeded it out, I realized I made a mistake. I had wanted to use the negative space so that I could paint some words different colors. Ooops. What to do?
Well, I decide to paint some fun pastel stripes. I hadn't tried this before, so I figured since I already screwed up my original idea, I could always paint over it if I didn't like it. And no, I didn't purposefully paint it in ROYGBIV order, as my wonderful husband so kindly pointed out. I wanted contrast between the colors.
Next, I transferred the vinyl onto the canvas, once my stripes were dry. Have I mentioned how much I love using clear contact paper as transfer paper? It isn't as easy to use as transfer paper, but it is SO much cheaper. I can deal with spending a few extra minutes to make it work (though I will use good transfer paper when I do big pieces, for sure!).
Then, I added the "cover coat" - painting over the entire canvas and vinyl. I chose white for this step. You have to be careful during this step because, sometimes, the paint can bleed through the edges of the vinyl. I had some wiggle room because of the stripes. If paint bled through, it would still work out and not be as noticeable, so I thought, then if it was on a solid base. I used a seasponge to "blot" on the first coat of white paint around the vinyl. Once that dried, I rolled on a few thin coats of white paint.
Finally, once it was almost dry, I used my handy-dandy Silhouette hook and pulled off the vinyl. This is always the scary part. Some acrylics can dry too plastic-y and pull up paint along with your vinyl. However, I took my time and everything that was supposed to be pealed up came off with no extra paint giving way.
The final product? A pretty darn cheerful Spring Subway canvas!! While I wish I hadn't made the stripes so big (especially the green -- you can't see the yellow at all) and would have placed it on a better-fitting canvas, it will work for a seasonal-only-going-to-display-it-for-a-month piece. And now, I think it has inspired me to make a matching stripe-y floral piece.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Breaking Bullies


We have all heard stories in the news or in real life of kids being bullied so much that they start believing what is being said, that they don't feel there is a way out, and that they take their own lives. It's heartbreaking. As a parent, you pray that your child will never experience such cruelty.

I was bullied when I was in middle school and high school. People, who I thought were good friends, decided one day that they wanted to hate me. Other "friends" made fun of my swimming, saying I was going to the Special Olympics. I was made fun of for the boy I dated. I just counted down the days until I was out of that too-small town, away from these people who hurt me so much.

Then, I wondered if people, "friends" who I was raised with could think so little of me, say such horrible things would think those things, what would people who didn't know me think???

But, it got better. College was awesome because I found my niche, a group of people who didn't make fun of me. After college, I made amazing friends.

Then, one day, years later, I encountered another bully. This time, I was a parent, a homeowner, living in an awesome neighborhood where we would all meet in the evening and talk outside while our kids ran, playing in between our yards. A neighbor, a person I considered a very good friend, got belligerently drunk one night at a party. She started saying how she never really liked me or felt comfortable around me because I was in a wheelchair. I tried to make sense of this - asking her to clarify. Her answer was just because I was in a wheelchair. Once again, I felt like I was back in high school. How can adults act that way?

I have mentioned on here that I went out of the way to make sure Mason never gets made fun of for having a mom in a wheelchair. It has happened. I'm sure it's happened more than I know of.

Some people say that being bullied is just a fact of life. That getting picked on builds a backbone to make us stronger down the road. Well, I've been down the road - I've gone through a lot in life and being bullied in adulthood still stinks and hurts as much as it did when I was much younger.

So, I can see why there are kids today that get bullied so much that they decide ending their lives would be the only way to end things.

And it absolutely breaks my heart.