I figured out that since I gave you some background on my peeps when I first started this blog in 2011, I will occasionally need to give some updated 411. And after re-reading the original 2011 Cast of Characters, I realized how much everybody has changed in the past two years. So here’s what’s new, Jack…
Kid E is now five and a half and he continues to be quite the charmer. I have yet to encounter the person, especially the female person, who meets him and doesn’t croon, “Can I have him? He is sooooooooo cute!” He has transformed from complete cry-baby to only very occasional cry-baby over the past six months. He still sucks his thumb and desperately says, “I’m trying NOT to cry!” when he breaks down, which I find endearing and frustrating at the same time. He loves playing video games on any and every platform (Wii, LeapPad, iTouch, iPad, Kindle, iMac – the list goes on) and begs for more playing time whenever he can get it. When I see the glazed-eye zombie look and I make him unplug, he goes straight for the imagination game versions of… you guessed it… video games! He has also begun a fascination with making sound effects that is on par with the guy from the Police Academy movies. So weird. But so damn cute, so no, you can not have him.
Kid D is eight and a half and all about balls. Yes, of course those balls too, but mainly the sports kind. He plays baseball in a rec league, but that is only the beginning. He loves the Braves so much that he managed to find a radio station that broadcasts the games and he falls asleep most nights listening to them play (cue the mommy and the daddy sighs – it is so freaking sweet). We got him MLB Extra Innings so he could watch baseball whenever he wanted. But he doesn’t just watch the games, he suits up in indoor-appropriate gear (a Transformer mask and a plastic knight’s chest plate or an old batting helmet and soft bat with a rubber baseball, depending on whether he is fielding or batting) and plays the games. When he isn’t analyzing stats and standings and recaps, he is outside on the neighbor’s hurricane or playing wall ball. Or playing football. Or basketball. I even caught him one day watching bowling. Women’s college bowling to be exact. It really is all about the balls. Or the fart jokes. He loves those too.
Kid C has changed the most in the past two years. She will be twelve in just a few weeks. That’s almost a teenager, folks (cue my eye twitch). She started middle school last year and she has handled the move way better than I expected. That actually sums up Kid C nicely right now… “way better than expected.” I know that sounds harsh, but I worry about this one. She is the kid I have to ask, “Are you wearing pants?” as we walk out the door. You may chuckle, but her answer is occasionally, “Oops.” She is so weird and goofy, but in a truly awesome way. We could not be more different, so she often drives me bonkers, but she also reminds me to let my inner goofball shine occasionally. She ditched her glasses for contacts and she is once again the girl with those incredible blue eyes. And she finally had an all-over growth spurt. She was wearing girls’ size 7/8 clothes at the beginning of the school year. Now she forgets to put on her size 10 pants. Funny enough, her feet experienced the biggest jump to a women’s size 7. She is blossoming as a ballerina, but she is considering a change to soccer because she is also wicked fast and strong. I can not wait to see where her disproportionately large trotters take her next.
Kid B is 14-and-a-half. Speaking of growth spurts, this kid is the Jolly-Freaking-Green-Giant. She has already reached five-feet-nine-inches, which is taller than Kid A (much to Kid A’s displeasure), and is not showing signs of stopping. She is about to make the jump from middle school to high school. She will also start driving in September, which may just be the death of me and/ or Sheepdog (Tell Us a Story), so we are really hoping that she is more of a natural driver than her older sister. I continue to see so much of myself in her that it often frightens me. When I tell her that we are a lot alike, she tries to challenge me but I always prove my point…Kid B, “Fine then, what’s my favorite color?” Me, “Um, none. Because having a favorite color is stupid and a waste of time. Now go do something more productive.” Kid B, “Agreed. So stupid.”
She is a badass as keeper on the soccer field. She is incredibly intense and competitive, just like Sheepdog. Last Fall, she broke her finger in the first game of a tournament, refused to get x-rays, taped it up and won three more games over the weekend. Her team became tournament champions. She is charismatic and a natural leader. Sheepdog and I have to continually remind her to use her powers for good and not evil. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Kid A is seventeen and has one foot out the door already. She is finishing up her junior year of high school (complete with five AP classes), and academics continue to be a top priority for her. She is on the single-digit side of her graduating class’ Top Ten, has an above-4.0 GPA, and crushed the SATs. She tutors middle schoolers through a mentoring program at her high school and also tutors privately on the side. She has a steady babysitting gig. She continues to study ballet (gorgeously en pointe, may I add?) and played the lead in her studio’s presentation of Cinderella last year. This May and June she is going to know ‘bout rockin’ the wolf on her noggin (she is playing the big, bad dude in Peter and the Wolf). She is into texting, tweeting, tumblr-ing, snap chatting, instagramming, and vine-ing. She recently earned a spot in the Governor’s Honors Program, which will take her off to college for four weeks this summer. She is no longer dating her first love (Got Leukemia? and The Other Shoe), but continues to impress us every day with her grace and maturity in how she handled such an unbelievably difficult year. She is awesome, but she is also a normal teenage girl, complete with attitude, eye rolling and a giant mess of a bedroom. She also really hates physics.
Sheepdog, on the other hand, continues to love physics (especially entropy). He also continues to love biking, running, guns, food, and sex, but not necessarily in that order. He continues to challenge himself in all aspects of his life in new and interesting ways, which in turn encourages me to continue to challenge myself (if I’m not too busy playing Candy Crush Saga, that is). He was recently made partner at his law firm and has taken on the new task of rainmaker, which traditionally can include lots of bars and strip clubs. Kind of a rough arena for a man who is eleven years-plus sober and a happily married father of five, but he figured out how to put his own spin on landing new cases… making contacts while on a bike ride to the capital or shooting in an IDPA match are the waves of his future. He has also become obsessed with Shark Tank and has convinced himself that we have to invent something monumental. If you have an idea or see a need, any idea or need, please let me know because he is kind of driving me crazy about this. But I guess that is Sheepdog… the most tenacious man I know. And he knows how to get stuff done. This summer we will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. I believe that the traditional gift for 20 years is an orange jumpsuit, which coincidentally also represents life in prison. I am just kidding. I couldn’t – or wouldn’t – ask for a better, more perfectly matched ball and chain.
Me, I continue to be a very, very lucky girl. I am blessed with good health and good family. I have a loving and supportive husband who makes me feel beautiful and sexy and tells me that I am a good mom, even during the times when I am very much not. I continue to struggle with the same things that everyone else struggles with… impossible schedules, money issues, chaos, depression, body image, should I have another glass of wine, how can I keep my family safe, raising kids who will be happy and make a positive impact on our society, the maintenance of meaningful friendships, putting enough energy into my marriage, not losing myself, not being too selfish whilst trying not to lose myself, what I want to be when I grow up, the existence of God, and the overall meaning of life. You know, the regular stuff. And amidst all of this uncertainty, I just get out of bed every day and continue to keep my eye on the prize and my hand on the plow. I love, love, love writing about our lives and I am very grateful for the overwhelming response that you all have given me. I am especially grateful for those who keep coming back, even when I haven’t written in a while. Thank you so much for reading and please continue to wish me luck for tomorrow…