Category Archives: The Teenage Life

Parents’ Weekend

und2The husband and I flew to North Dakota a couple of weekends ago for Parents’ Weekend at the boy’s school. We can’t believe it’s almost the end of his second year. By now, we’re confident he’s actually going to graduate.

und1I hope I didn’t just jinx myself.

und3Previously I’ve been reluctant to post where he goes to school, after all, he’s only 19 years old. But since he’s been up there a couple of years already, I think it’s ok. You can send him some care packages to help him get through the winters.

Though it’s technically spring when we were up there, the weather didn’t let up. The kids have certain restrictions under which they fly and when the parents were there, those weather restrictions were almost doubled.

und999The weather was touch and go and there were times when it appeared that the guidelines for flying were met but still the school wouldn’t let us take off. The boys decided it was because some students do silly things while their parents were in the plane – you know – the dumb freshmen. To which Kyle’s parents said, “Like you guys last year?”

How soon we forget.

So we watched the weather every second. After all, some parents came a long ways to get a flight.

und93All parents had to take a mandatory safety briefing and though we weren’t optimistic, the husband and I took one anyway. The student who was giving the safety briefing said his parents have never been up for aviation parents’ weekend. He is from Colorado so yes, that’s a long way and I told him so. He pointed to another set of parents in the room and said, “Well these guys came from Hawaii.”

Well, he could take consolation in knowing that his parents are paying a gazillion dollars to have him in the program.

und94We never did get our flight but I was happy to be there to be with the boy anyway.

und7Another reason I was happy to be there was because other parents of the boy’s friends were up there too. We all hung out together and it was a blast. It was so great to see everyone.

und97We toured the hangar and the flight and saw all that the program offers.

They have a ton of airplanes.

und95And helicopters.

und96And a great UAV program.

und98All of this literally in the middle of nowhere . . . you can see far, far away up in North Dakota.

und4I found myself standing underneath the wings of a lot of airplanes to stay out of the elements. Do you see the white hills far away on the right? That’s snow! Brrr…

und5Though the weather outside was frightful, there were plenty of things to see and do inside the hangars. The boy showed me around an airplane cockpit . . .

I know I look tired in this photo. I was. I didn’t take a jacket and I felt so sorry for the boy who has to put up with nine months of winter. Look at me! I was only there two days and I was sick of the weather already.

und995. . . and I pretended I was a helicopter pilot.

This is a better photo of me – maybe it’s because I shouldn’t be flying fixed wing aircraft. Just a theory.

und91 und9 und8But the school’s aerospace department also has great indoor facilities. This is the building that houses the simulators, the air traffic control training and the FAA test center. There’s also a souvenir store – so guess where I was.

und92I know it’s hard to imagine that this great program is so far away from everything but maybe that’s why they graduate great pilots. There’s nothing else to do up there but study. There’s also a large contingency of Air China pilots and Saudi Arabia helicopter students. It’s a really a fantastic program.

und991After a day out in the flight line, we had a huge banquet with all the students and their parents.

und99Look at this kid. I just love him – and his tie.

und992The guest speaker was Brian Shul who mentioned that he was ashamed that he had no idea that UND’s program was so fantastic and how impressed he was with students and faculty. He gave a great presentation and the kids couldn’t wait to meet him.

und993He is a Vietnam War veteran and was seriously injured and burned over 70% of his body when he was shot down in his plane. He was able to get back on flying status and eventually flew the SR71. He’s an amazing and inspirational guy but more importantly – he’s also a great photographer! Very impressive! His books are full his own photos.

und994They were very excited to have a photo with him.

The kids know how hard it is to stay on flight status and now they know that it’s even harder to get back on flight status once it’s taken away from you. They’re hitting the gym harder after this I hope.

april14aI love this boy. Did I already say that?

I’m so grateful that things have worked out the way they have. It was a long and arduous process on deciding where he should go to school and I feel that we made the right decision. Look at those boys! We’re in good hands everyone!


Prom Dress Shopping

You know that sense of certainty and peace I had yesterday when I posted about the girl’s future college plans?

Never mind that – first, we have to get through the prom.

I say that with all seriousness -

I started thinking about the prom a couple of month ago – I really did. It didn’t have anything to do with her date, or whether she will even have a date. I knew she was going, even if it wasn’t on the arm of an official boy. I was thinking about her dress. And let me caveat that with the fact that I wasn’t thinking about the color, or if it was strapless, or whether it was long or short.

I was wondering how much it was going to cost. And the sooner we get a grip on the cost, the better. I’m romantic that way.

So I asked the girl if she was thinking about it at all, I mean, it’s just two months away. This was one month ago by the way, time flies when one worries about money.

She sent me a couple of pics last month and thus began our prom dress (in)decision process.

prompic999Wouldn’t you know it, the first photo she sent me (at work) was my favorite. It’s elegant and classic.

prompic1And I love the back. I was told (and I wouldn’t know) that this flesh colored embroidery is the new “in” thing with the Hollywood crowd.

Once again, it’s the first one and so it was put on the back burner.

prompic2She then sent me a photo of this dress, which I didn’t like at all. And I told her so. I mean, look at that slit. Wahoo! And what in the world is that model doing?

prompic994Then she sent me the above and well the back is a little much don’t you think? Maybe not. Well, maybe so. It was put on the official list of  “dresses to consider” though I would have probably continued to lobby against it.

We left it at that for a while and went on with our immediate tasks like work for me and school for her until a last week when I said to myself, “I wonder if she picked out a dress.”

She didn’t.

I found myself with an hour of free time between driving back from a girls’ weekend and picking up Neighbors Beth and Bill from the airport (TMI I’m sure) so I stopped at the mall and started on a prom dress quest on my own. The tables were reversed, I was the one who sent her photos from the mall.

prompic3My first stop was Lord and Taylor’s where I found this dress I loved.

She didn’t love it.prompic4I knew she wouldn’t like this but I sent it anyway.

prompic5and I was right. “I don’t think so.” she says.

prompic6I then saw this dress and I was in love. In love.

prompic7I sent her a photo of the back and she said, “I’m not crazy about it.”

Oh well, it’s her prom. It was too much money anyway.

prompic8My next stop was a fancy dress store. I didn’t know this at the time, but a lot of girls turn their heads at this store because every girl shops there. Every girl. How was I to know? I loved all the bling in the window.

prompic9The girl wanted to wear royal blue this year but seemed to open to green so I sent her this.

prompic91And it wasn’t the green color she didn’t want, it was the fact that it was strapless. Scratch that.

prompic92Then bingo. I found the perfect dress in the wrong color. prompic93Here’s the back. It’s still conservative even with the low back.


And she said, “That’s cute” The first positive comment the entire trek from the endless mall trek. I glommed onto it.

Apparently “glommed” isn’t word but all females who used to be teenagers know what I’m talking about.prompic95

I saw this beautiful dress that I would wear and I sent it to her knowing she wouldn’t like it. And I was right. She is much more conservative with much better taste than I have.

But this dress is beautiful don’t you think?

prompic97It weighed close to 10 pounds because of the sequins – and it cost $650.

Never mind.

prompic98This is another dress that I liked but I wasn’t too sure of the orange color, not because it’s not pretty (double negative watch) but because the girl wouldn’t wear orange. However, according to the high school prom registry (yes, there is one on facebook!) it’s a hot color.prompic99And once again I loved the bling. Actually, I really like this dress. Apparently so did a lot of girls because there were at least two other girls trying on the same dress while I was there. They all looked beautiful but I know they wouldn’t like it when they see another girl with the same dress on at the prom. Unfortunately, unless you can afford Dole Gabbana . . . I’ll just leave it at that.

The neckline is a little low anyway . . .


I really like the coral red dress so I sent her a couple of color options and I left for the airport. I knew we were running out of time but what’s a mom to do. Except shell out the money.

So between last week and this week – this happened.

prom1She was so thrilled. How many of us remember a first love? All of us I’m sure.

A boy asked her to the prom, and not only asked her, but went through the trouble of making a light board which he attached to the back of his truck. He came over to visit and right before he left, a couple of his friends came over and started his truck so when she went to walk him out, it was running with this sign lit up in the driveway.

It was so sweet. And so young.

The husband and I slept through the entire thing. Her friends have to leave the house at 9:30 on a school night but the husband and I went to bed at 9:00. Hey, we’re old. The girl told me the next day and I squealed like a little girl.

So anyway, now the quest for a prom dress became urgent. We finally found one last night on eBay. This was after looking through dozens – hundreds – of dresses. After a couple hundred they all begin to look alike.

I still like the very, very, very first dress. Do you remember it?

prompic999It was this one.

It costs $450. Argh – I almost died when I found out. Back to square one.

We ended up finding a dress on Etsy and we were so desperate that we bought it. But then we didn’t like it. It was only after I bought it that I realized it was custom made and wasn’t going to get here until after the prom! Foul. Since it was a custom made dress, it was also a 30% restocking fee. Can someone say, “off the rack”? We canceled the order.

We finally settled on a dress from eBay. I have no idea if it will fit or if we’ll like it when it comes. I only know that I’ll be (whining) telling you all about it.

Stay tuned.



College Orientation

The girl and I had a great couple of days at her college orientation last weekend. We visited this same campus exactly a year ago and she immediately fell in love with it. It’s small, historical, and yes, it has an equestrian program. Priorities.

orientation2The girl is not one for spontaneous outbursts of emotion but as we drove onto campus, she said, “Wow, I like it already.”

It was a great sign.orientation3In case you didn’t already know, small private colleges are expensive so the husband and I noted her reaction and put it in our back pockets. After all, we were just beginning our search.

The above photo is of a parent seminar in the church on campus. Its roots are deep and I love that.

orientation4After we left this school, we drove to Cornell University where I got lost attempting to find the parking garage. Cornell is a beautiful school, but it’s big, and the girl said, “I already don’t like it.” to which I said, “Can we at least take the tour?” We drove eight hours to get there and we didn’t even get out of the car before she made up her mind. I guess when you know, you know.

You can guess that she’s not attending Cornell University.

orientation5Since this school is expensive we asked the girl to come up with a plan b so she dutifully applied to several schools right here at home – just in case. Many parents encouraged me by telling me that private schools tend to give generous scholarship packages to students with good academic histories and in our case, that turned out to be very true. The girl received her acceptance package last November and found that half of the cost was granted in the form of scholarships and grants; we were all thrilled. So her first choice turned out to be her final choice.

I asked her last weekend if she loved the school as much as she did when we visited for the first time last year and she said she did. It’s a great thing.

So as the husband and I careen toward a life of empty nesting, I find myself very content with the choices we’ve made so far. It’s a strange sense of peace; strange because that’s rare for me when it comes to the kids. I’m surprised that I’m not emotionally distraught like I was a couple of years ago when we were going through this exact same process for the boy. Give it time I suppose.

orientation1As I wandered around the campus waiting for the girl to finish her placement tests, I came upon these young people playing frisbee in the courtyard. They work for the admissions office but they look like the perfect poster children for a college brochure don’t they?

For parents who will be sending their children off to continue life with a higher education, I applaud you.




March 28, Birds Of A Feather

mar28This photo reminds of two love birds, flying through life together and choosing to life their lives as two – not one.

It makes me so grateful for the husband.

I continue to pray for my children, that they can too find meaningful, everlasting and God inspired relationships. Move of all, that they find love.

This message brought to you today by an emotional mom who just signed up for college orientation for the girl next weekend. She’s leaving – and I can’t believe it.

Contrails & Spring Break

I began this post a couple of weeks ago and for some reason never finished it. I began to tell the story of the boy’s spring trip home – and now I’ll finish it by telling the story of what he did while he was home.

It was a great trip – and it was wonderful to see him. Just wonderful.

contrailsI got exactly 2.3 hours of sleep last night, partly because I was watching House of Cards for the first time, partly because Ella the dog was needing to relieve herself every hour and a half (it’s not cute anymore) and partly because I was worried about the boy as he traveled from school to Minneapolis where he would spend the night with a friend and then fly home tonight.

It will make today’s work day an interesting one.

The boy said he was driving the five hours to Minneapolis and for some reason I thought it was just the boy and his friend and that they would get to his friend’s house and go to sleep like good boys.

Instead, on the way south, he said he was going to a casino. I was a little confused but went along with it. I told him if he won anything he should put it toward his flight fund. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you will know the boy is a jokester, he loves to laugh, and he loves to say outrageous things that will make me laugh. So I thought he was joking – as usual.

So I waited to hear when he arrived at his friend’s house. The five hour trip dragged on to seven hours. I text him but no answer. I finally called him and when he picked up, I asked him if he was at his destination yet. He said, “No, I’m at the casino.”

This is where I stopped writing.

Now we continue with the rest of the story . . .

As it turns out, the boy was afraid to lose any money and didn’t gamble it even at the urging of his friends. That’s my boy. Apparently the legal age of entry to a casino in Minnesota is 18. I thought it was 21 which was why I thought the boy was joking. Now I know!

The week he was here started slowly and it was fine with all of us. He came home with a cold and I felt he needed to rest anyway. It took him a few days to adjust to not having a deadline and school projects. Then half way through the week, his friend John flew from Wisconsin to visit us for a few days. I like John a lot – he’s one of those kids whose upbringing in a happy home with supportive parents is apparent.

The other thing you should know about John is that he’s a talented musician, a creative painter and a gifted photographer. I know, it’s not fair. On top of that, he’s a good friend to the boy. They are like frick and frack. Where does that expression come from anyway?

John had never been to the east coast before so the boy took him to downtown Washington DC. Though it was not in the forecast, it poured down rain that day. Other than a text from the boy to let us know they made it to DC on the metro, we didn’t hear a thing all day until they texted to tell us they were returning home that evening. They walked in the pouring, freezing rain to the Lincoln monument and back to the National Archives and the Air and Space Museum. If you know DC, you know it’s this a long walk in the rain. But they are young and I’m glad I wasn’t there to quash their fun – because I wouldn’t have done it. I would have been in a cafe somewhere along the way.

Here is a photo collage that the very talented John took on his cell phone.

dcBeautiful isn’t it?

The next day the boys came with me to work. I was going to a technical summit where Herm Edwards of ESPN was giving a keynote speech. It was at the Ravens stadium in Baltimore and I thought they might like to shake hands with a celebrity as well as get an autograph or two.

I’ll tell you more about it later, but here’s a view from the Raven’s press box.

dc2 The boys loved taking a tour of the stadium -

dc3And boys will be boys when it comes to the end zone.

dc4We took a short tour of Baltimore then drove to Annapolis where we enjoyed a nice dinner, just the boys and I.

In short – John had a fast and furious tour of three major eastern metropolitan cities in two days. I’m tired just thinking of it.

The boys are all back at school now and today, they are back to the grind. It was a great week nonetheless, wish it didn’t have to end so soon . . .

This Week . . .

thisweek...I haven’t posted at all this week and a part of the reason why is above. The boy is at home and then his friend John from school flew in for a few days. We were at the Raven’s Stadium in Baltimore (among other places) and there were these glowing eyes in the executive suites that both intimidated us and fascinated us. I was there for work and the boys came with me to keep me company. They had a lot of fun and kept me in stitches all day.

Will share it all – but first, I’m going to catch up on work and then catch up on sleep -

A Justin Timberlake & One Direction Birthday

feb26bThe girl turned 18 last week and she went from being a child to an adult instantly. Truth be known, she was always adult-like but now she says she can go to a club. I don’t think that’s true is it?

Anyway, I told her she can now vote and can be conscripted. There’s drawbacks to being an adult . . .

feb26aA very talented friend of mine made her a cake with One Direction on it. It’s really cute – I don’t think it’s an adult cake but she surely loves Harry and Niall and – everyone else in the band.

feb26cShe blew out the candles and poof, just like that, her childhood became a season in life.

It’s bittersweet.

She sent me a list of things she wanted for her 18th birthday, one of those things was this.

birthday7Isn’t it cute?

It was among a few pieces of jewelry from imsmi. It is affordable and adorable.

birthday3There she is showing off her imsmi loot. She loved it.

birthday4We took her and Sydney-girl out to dinner at the very fancy Chart House. This special lava cake was a special dessert for a special girl. You only turn 18th once!

birthday6Sydney-girl gave her tickets to the Justin Timberlake concert as a gift and there was a lot of excitement as they played his music over and over and over again.

birthday1I couldn’t identify a Justin Timberlake song to save my life, but in spite of that, I do think he’s cute.

birthday2And the girl said he’s “awesome” in concert. They had a fantastic time and it looks like great seats too!

The girl also asked for a banquet dress, a shirt and a trip to the tack store. She’s nothing if not pragmatic and I was happy to oblige. She has a fantastic birthday week of celebration! It’s a bittersweet time for her dad and I, especially with her brother already in his second year of college.

Alright – I’ll ask one more time; where did the time go?

Happy birthday sweet girl.


Olympics Hangover

famhockey1The Olympics are over! We have an epic Olympic hangover! I watched a documentary on the Kerrigan/Harding controversy Sunday night and it brought back all of the drama of 20 years ago. I remember it like yesterday!

This year, our full attention was on hockey. Living with hockey fans can be difficult if you’re not one yourself so I’ve joined in, got on the bandwagon and boarded the train to Hockeyville. I had no choice. It was that – or die.

I’m being way over dramatic of course but it’s not far from the truth and with that – I now proudly call myself an uninfluenced hockey fan and during the Olympics, I watched about 23,734 hours of it. I was completely addicted.

famhockey991Having Neighbor Doug as a friend has helped me identify the hockey players on his team which actually adds a personal dimension when I’m watching an Olympic hockey game.

I yell, “Go Corey! Great stop Jonas! Way to go Teemu!” as if I actually know them and they can hear me. What? They can’t hear me?

famhockey2There was some controversy about the NHL taking two weeks off so the players can play for their home countries. I for one, thought it was a great thing. Hockey exposure was fantastic during the Olympics, and it was great for the sport. The games sprouted an army of little boys and girls who dream of realizing their hockey goals in the Olympics.

Teemu Selanne above is one of the game’s great players and he played for his native country of Finland where he is a bigger name than – well, maybe the biggest name. He is the oldest player to score a goal in the Olympics. I cheered for him from my living room. I love those stories of personal achievement translated to national pride.

famhockey995One of the reasons it’s become such a familiar sport to us is that we have been given multiple opportunities to meet Neighbor Doug in the press area after the games.

famhockey3The game is fun and it’s even more fun to go downstairs and catch a glimpse of the players.

I had to post another photo of the family in the press area. They are cute aren’t they?

famhockey996She’s excited to catch a glimpse of her favorite hockey player. Hint – his name starts with Jonas and ends with Hiller.

famhockey5You never know who is going to come by when we’re down there. This man stopped to speak to the husband after the game. The husband met him – are you ready? – on Twitter – I think. What a strange world.

famhockey6He is a hockey commentator on his way home and he stopped to chat with us. Nice guy.

famhockey994And this man stopped to speak to the husband as well. I think he’s another hockey commentator – I’m not sure. They seem to know each other though. Maybe they met online too?:) It’s a whole new world out there.

famhockey7Then another one. It’s a commentator parade.

But wait – see the guy walking by in the background? That’s Corey Perry! He went on to play for his native Canada and helped them win the gold medal.

famhockey9And as we stood there other players came through on their way out. But we were waiting for one special player . . .

famhockey91There is Corey Perry again, a true super star. We met his uncle while we were in Nashville a couple of weeks ago. He met us for a few drinks. The entire time we were there, we kept calling him “Corey Perry’s Uncle” but his name is really Bob. Anyway, he is really proud of his nephew. It was great to see.

famhockey8There’s the great Finnish player himself. Everyone says he’s one of the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.

famhockey92We waited as he stopped to speak to some fans. He was so accommodating and pleasant.

famhockey94He signed the girl’s shirt.

famhockey95And took a photo with the husband.

famhockey93And he’s got a great smile!

famhockey993But we were waiting for this guy. Someone who is really flexible.

famhockey992And fierce. I’m so glad hockey goalies don’t wear Jason masks anymore. That movie was so scary wasn’t it?

famhockey98Yup, you guessed it. Our favorite Swiss goalie who is a Duck. We only know one Swiss goalie who is a Duck but if there were two – then he would still be our favorite.

famhockey96So as we were talking to Teemu Selanne, one of the greatest hockey players to ever play the game, I spy a goalie.

famhockey97And I’ve showed you this photo before but I just love that she’s so happy. He on the other hand is a little reserved and, I’m sure, uncomfortable with his notoriety.

Get use to it Jonas. Get use to it.

famhockey999Oh, and one last commentator for they are people too . . . and what a job they have!

Now that the Olympics are over, Neighbor Doug and all the players have gone back to work in the NHL. It was fun to watch all the guys play for their home countries but I have to admit, I was very sad to see the USA hockey team leave Sochi empty handed. After all of that, the only thing we end up with is Justin Beiber.

I can’t wait for the next Olympics! We’ll get them then.


February 24, A Bridge Over …

jan24This ghostly figure on the other end of the bridge is the girl. She refused to cross the bridge with me claiming it was too scary. There were gaps between the railroad ties and water was rushing underneath but it was perfectly safe for a sure-footed person which she certainly is. In general she’s a pretty courageous soul but I love learning things about her I didn’t know previously.

On another note – we went to dinner last weekend as an early celebration for you see, she turns 18 this week. It’s a week long celebration. Here’s a photo of her and her best friend at her birthday dinner.

jan24aHappy birthday sweetheart.

It Ain’t Love Cover

jan12I miss the boy. He’s learning to fly you know.

We don’t get to see him much during the school year. The husband and I were watching their school play a hockey series last weekend on television when we spotted the boy and two of his friends in the stands doing the Chelsea Dagger after a goal. It was fun to see him on television but it was also just great to see him at all. We don’t get to do that much during the school year.

The next day, he posted his video of him and the same two friends singing in the dorm stairwell. Apparently they do this often. Who knew.

We used to tell him not to sing at the dinner table because he used it as a distraction to not eat his food. Now I watch the video when I need a smile break.

Take a look and listen. They’re good, wow. Enjoy!