The Globetrotter Symphony

The Globetrotter Symphony

Last week I took Hank, the fourth grader, to the symphony. Don’t be impressed. It was completely under duress. His class was going on a field trip and needed chaperones. It wasn’t my first time at the fourth grade at the symphony rodeo. I took James with his class when he was Hank’s age.

Hank was disgusted by the whole concept of being made to listen to classical music. In December, his class went to the ballet and now this? Fourth grade is a rough year for field trips for the Claunches. Unfortunately, James wasn’t doing anything to alleviate Henry’s ‘this is going to be boring’ worries. ‘Dude. It’s the worst. You’re going to hate it.’

Thanks Jamie, you’re being super helpful. 

IMG_8299

Do you want the truth or a lie, woman?”

When we sat down in the Concert Hall Hank started voicing his frustrations.

Hank: “It makes me so mad to be here at the Civic Center where we got to see the Globetrotters play and now we’re stuck watching the Symphony! Why can’t they just take us to see the Globetrotters play?’

And, y’all, secretly I’m thinking ‘he’s right  – why can’t they? Worst field trip ever. How are they going to make this interesting to the kids?’ But of course I can’t say that.

Instead I said:

Me: “Hank, the Globetrotters play basketball and they worked very hard to be good at it. These instrumentalists worked just as hard as the Globetrotters to be good at what they do.”

Hank: “The least they could do is have the Globetrotters be the ones playing the instruments.”

Crickets Chriping…How am I supposed to respond to this level of insanity?…Like, he seriously just said that and meant it.

Me: “Well, now you’re just talking crazy.”

But actually, how cool would that be?

As we sat down the musicians began to tune their instruments. What’s that called? Come on, Google. Help me out here….Cacophony! The Cacophony. Can I use that as a noun?

You know the sound they all make when they’re warming up. Personally, I enjoy that sound.

However, after a few minutes of listening to the warm up, Hank leaned over with a shocked look on his face and whispered ‘Mom! I feel bad saying this but they’re terrible!!!’ I began to laugh. I let him know it hadn’t actually started yet – that they were just warming up.

IMG_8520

When it started – it was beautiful. I mean, as beautiful as listening to classical music can be for people that aren’t into classical music. I would have LOVED for the conductor to have explained how the symphony works to the kids. Heck, show that Bugs Bunny as the conductor bit. Talk about how important classical music is in the movies. You know: ‘This is the first chair violinist. This is what his/her life is like. This is why I love music. I was this old when I first knew I wanted to do this. This is how we fund the Symphony. This is why Huntsville thinks it’s important’ etc.

Alas, none of that. Just music.

But, as I looked thru the faces of the kids there were definitely some that ‘got it’ – they sat up with a look of wonder in their eyes. It was very cool to see.

And then there were others…

IMG_8519

Oh, don’t judge them. They were just pretending before it started – certain that’s what they’d be doing during the concert.

But then…Animals came out and that was much more interesting!

IMG_8526

Fantasy Playhouse did a play and a parade with animals that they called the Carnival of the Animals set to to the music. It was really good. The kids enjoyed it.

On a side note: the good news is when Fantasy Playhouse saw me in the audience they didn’t stand up and say “IT WAS YOU! YOU WERE THE ONE THAT DISRUPTED OUR PRODUCTION IN 2013!”

IMG_8530

The actors were really talented but the best part…well, the best part was definitely when the donkey’s head fell off midway through the performance.

True story: we got in the car and all five kids riding with me said the highlight of the concert was that donkey losing his head.

When we left I asked the kids what they thought. They all agreed it exceeded their expectations. Hank concurred.

‘Mom, it was better than I thought it would be…but it still would have been better if the Globetrotters had been playing those instruments.’

Just as Beethoven intended, child. Just as he intended.

 

Forty Seven Percent Self Care

Forty Seven Percent Self Care

The foster care community is really into the concept of ‘self care.’ Like, what are you doing to make sure you are taking care of you. Self care may sound hokey but, I probably don’t have to tell you that doing foster care is a really hard job. I mean, think about how horrifying it must be for the kids that are in foster care. Think about what that does to your psyche. Then imagine that you have poor coping skills and you’re emotionally immature. That mix? It’s hard to parent.

“Why can’t I see my Mom?’ “I hate having to be in foster care!” “I want to go live with my real family!” “I haven’t seen my brothers and sisters in two years! “You love your real daughter more than you love me!” All things I’ve heard being a foster parent. For real, it’s a tough job.

I’ve never really thought about the concept of self care before. Probably because I’ve never needed to. Oh, sure I’ve had the occasional night where I’ve tossed the care of the minions to Billy and been all ‘dude, I’ve got to get out of this house‘ and headed to Starbucks but I’ve never needed daily ‘hey, you can do this’ pep talks from imaginary coaches in my head. Actually, that sounds kinda awesome. Note to self: continually imagine coaches yelling positive things at me. 

So, last week I decided to make a list of the things I would like to do on a daily basis that would make me feel…happy? in control? like I’ve got a handle on things? secure? Just pick one of those.

I got the idea from Miss Zoot.  She’s really into bullet journaling. At first, when I saw her posts about it I thought it was way too Type A for me but I gotta say I REALLY like doing it. It’s ridiculous but filling in those boxes gives me a huge sense of satisfaction and purpose.

Here’s what my list looked like after a week:

IMG_8574

  1. Bible – I like to read it in the morning. You don’t judge me for doing it and I won’t judge you for not doing it.
  2. Weigh. I know, I know. Some people say you shouldn’t weigh every day but I like to. Again, don’t judge me.
  3. DTS – that’s FlyLady talk for get dressed to shoes. For months now I’ve been dropping the kids off in pajamas with the idea that I’ll go home and change. Now, I lay my clothes out the night before and get dressed with my shoes on before I even walk into the kitchen in the morning.
  4. COFFEE – yes, it’s so important it needs to be in all caps. After I get my coffee I like to sit down and…
  5. PRAY – I usually write it down in my journal. This is all very thrilling to you, I know.
  6. MPU stands for morning pick up. I abhor coming home from dropping the kids off and seeing syrup laden forks etc on the kitchen table and blankets sprawled all over the floor. It would be awesome to have time to pick it up before we walk out the door. It would also be awesome if the kids would pick up after there dad gum selves.
  7. BLD – Did I eat healthy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Blah, blah, blah…Yawn.
  8. RUN – I want to be a runner. Like, I really want to. Unfortunately the whole six kids thing isn’t exactly making that easy. Oh, who am I kidding. I have time. I’m just choosing not to. One day!
  9. BLOG – Remember when I used to blog every single day?
  10. CUOF – That stands for check up on a friend. Just send a ‘how’s it going kinda text’ to a random friend.
  11. FM – I want to be one of those families that has ‘family meetings’ like I want to be one of those people that run. I want to but I’m not currently doing anything to make it happen.
  12. WATER – Did I drink my water – yeah, yeah, yeah…another yawn.
  13. RW – RenWeb is a tool that lets me check on the kid’s grades and homework. One of our kids is really struggling right now so I need to sit down with him everyday and look at his lesson plans. Yeah, you can imagine how much he loathes that.

So, that’s it. Last week I got a 47% on my Self Care Bullet Journal. Sheesh, that’s a big ole F isn’t it. Maybe someone needs to sit down with me and go over my lesson plans. Hey! Maybe it could be an imaginary coach!

Well, at least I can fill in the little ‘blog’ box today.

 

Sleep Away…

Sleep Away…

Sunday morning during church James, the teenager, fell asleep. His head fell over on my shoulder and, y’all, I did not even wake him up. It just felt so darn good to have him snuggled up next to me. His snuggling days are WAY past over.

IMG_8304

So, I just carpe’d the heck out of that diem. Any time I can get some one on one time with him I’ll take it. I’ll steal it, even. In 2012, on my birthday, I checked him out of school to go see the ten a.m. screening of The Hobbit. As we were walking through the parking lot another parent saw us and asked where we were going. When I told her, her mouth dropped open in horror and she said ‘checking out of school to go the movies? What do you think that teaches him, Mom?’ I replied ‘well, it’s my birthday and that’s how I want to spend it.’ Dad gum busybody…

My birthday that year was even more poignant because we walked out of the movie theatre and into the news that the shootings at Sandy Hook had happened. Yeah lady, pretty sure I could care less about what you think of me checking my kid out of school. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about carpe diem lately. Specifically, how I want other people to carpe diem. I want it in theory – in actuality, I just want to do what I want to do without thinking about the other person. I can be pretty dang selfish.

IMG_5613

Here’s what I mean: See, I have a basketball problem. That is, if our high school team is playing basketball, I want to be there watching. I love girls and boys basketball. Problematically, I’ve got this pesky two year old that I’m pretty sure isn’t a big basketball fan. The good news is she’s a champion sleeper. So, it’s super easy to babysit for her. No problem, right? Get a sitter.

But these games are SO fun! I kinda feel guilty calling my high school sitters because I think they should be at the game too. Because obviously, I know what’s best for everyone. I don’t want them to miss out on the fun! So, I end up sending super lame texts like this to them:

IMG_8346

You’re only young once. Don’t waste your young caring for my young. YOLO and all that. Because seriously, isn’t high school basketball the best?

It’s something to think about…

Well, the good news about him falling asleep in church is that we were sitting in the very back so hopefully not too many people noticed. That’s what happens when you saunter in THIRTY MINUTES after the start time. One day we’ll make it in time. I mean, not anytime soon but one day in the far distant future.

Until then, I’ll just enjoy whatever little snippets of snooze I can get with him.