Friday, July 13

"Last Summer on Earth" was First Great Concert

Raleigh Amphitheater
What a fun time together and a great concert with Cracker, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Blues Traveler, and Barenaked Ladies in the outdoor Raleigh Amphitheater!  It was our kids' first official concert and it was awesome!  They have now taken the leap beyond the kid-focused musical events, like Justin Roberts, Roger Day, and My Little Pony Tea Party, into the realm of serious music.  We do a lot of singing of Barenaked Ladies songs together in the car so our kids were VERY excited to see and hear them LIVE (and see that they ARE actually ‘Fully-Clothed Men’ as we like to call them)!!  They didn't disappoint - goofy and funny while totally rocking out some of their classics and new stuff.

It was our first time at the Raleigh Amphitheater and overall the venue was nice.  The weather was perfect for a laid-back outdoor experience and we arrived in time to find our seats and partake in some concert food.  The Pit barbeque sandwich was yummy, but avoid their chewy, reheated fried chicken sandwich.  Not surprisingly, the food prices are expensive (i.e., $8 for a sandwich and $4 for a soft drink).  Our seats were purposely away from the stage where it wouldn't be too loud or too crazy - and they were conveniently near the bathrooms too.  We were in a little 6-seat "box" which worked out perfectly because our seats were movable and we didn't have to hurdle people to get in/out.  During the main set, be prepared to stand in this venue in order to see the stage over all the other folks standing.  Interestingly enough, it actually looked like the cheaper lawn seats had a pretty decent view.  We had given the kids fair warning on the drive there that they may hear some words they should ignore and they may see some adults making poor decisions, but luckily, the crowds were fairly well-behaved so no need for any further explanation.

If the “Last Summer on Earth” tour is coming to a city near you, we highly recommend you check it out!  It was truly a fun night and we loved watching it all through our kids' eyes too!

Wednesday, July 11

Brace Yourself

We knew the day was coming, but still, my heart began to race wildly when we were told that it was time for our daughter to have an early round of BRACES.  Seems she needs a bit more room in there and so we were told that it's best to do this while her palate is still pliable (like a baby's fontanel).  Well... have I mentioned yet that I was somewhat anxious about the thought of this? Getting braces was something my sister and I faced with some serious trepidation when we were kids, thanks to all those little jokes - you know the ones: "brace face", "metal mouth", "can you really hear a radio station in your mouth?".  Whether harmless or not, they still made the process embarrassing.  And I haven't even begun to address the memory of those regular orthodontic adjustments!  So now, this Mommy and Daddy had to figure out how to take this step with our sweet, shy baby girl.  How would she take the news?  Would she be scared?  Would she be embarrassed to go to school?  Would we lose sight over the next year of her amazing smile because she is mortified of what people will say?  Well, we spun up our most inspired positivity, looked into those sweet baby browns, and delivered the news in our best parental political form.  And, who knew?!  It turned out she was excited at the prospect and wanted her appointment scheduled as soon as possible!  Thankfully, it seems braces are something of a fashion statement in this young generation.  She arrived at her orthodontic appointment filled with giddy anticipation and excitedly chose very fashionable bright blue and green colors for her bands to really show off her new mouth hardware.  When the orthodontist handed her the mirror to see the results, I was so relieved to see her sport a BIG, AMAZING SMILE!  

I can't even begin to tell you just how proud we are of how she handled this milestone with such grace, bravery, and confidence.  And, I am delighted to report that instead of wanting to hide her brace-filled smile (as my sister and I did a generation ago), she enthusiastically shares it with the world, and even giggles with pride every time her big brother tells her that she “LOOKS Sooo CUTE!”.  I have to say that I completely agree.  ☺

Monday, July 9

A Winning Season

My son had a winning season in Little League baseball this spring!  His team was the league champions of their Majors division - Way to go Nationals!!  To acknowledge their success, the team was able to join our local minor league team on the field for the national anthem at a recent home game.  What a treat!  But it actually wasn’t the title or the number of “W’s” in the column that made this a winning season - it was the impact of an amazing coach on a group of boys with amazing attitudes that were going after a common goal.  My son has been involved in some form of baseball over the past 8 years so he has experienced many different types of coaches and teams.  The early years were all about fun and picking clovers in the outfield... oh, and the snacks that followed the game.  More recent years have been about reinforcing the fundamentals and becoming a more serious athlete.  Most coaches have been relaxed in their approach.  But once, there was the uber-competitive one who taught the boys a few undesirable words when addressing the umpires - that was not a winning season.  But this year was an experience beyond any other.  As parents, we could not have asked for a better coach for our son.  He was patient, dedicated, and considerate, yet still competitive.  He worked the boys hard at practices and guided them to find their best selves out on the field.  He corrected their errors firmly yet never made them feel incompetent regardless of their abilities.  He spoke directly about realities and what it was going to take to win.  It was an impressive example of respect that he gave these impressionable young kids.  And what was even more amazing was that this respectful attitude was then mirrored in the dugout amongst teammates.  They encouraged each other during slumps and celebrated each other during successes.  Never a belittling comment was heard.  We are so pleased that our son was able to be a part of such a positive experience.  And, best of all, the outcome of these winning attitudes was a winning season for an extraordinary team and coach who truly deserved it!