Saturday, November 29, 2008

Finding Common Ground

When something comes along that can breach the chasm between teen and parent it is wise to grab a hold with both hands. There are a few things, there is the mom can you give me a ride. Now this is a fantastic way to find out about your children because as soon as you take on chauffeur duties you become invisible.

I love driving my kids around, I love listening to the chatter the plans the day to day happenings. Now I hate getting up at Midnight in January and dragging myself out to go get them but in general it is worth it.

Another way is through a good book, the Harry Potter books helped during childhood. The Tolkien books because their mom is a Tolkien nut, we tried the Count of Monte Cristo but they wouldn't get into it. But now oh now there is Twilight. What a great series.. a way to reach into your teenagers mind and yank out what they are thinking.

I find that the best way to know my kids is to pay attention to what they are reading.. well after driving them all over kingdom come.. So all don't bother searching their rooms for hidden notes look to see what they are reading, let them see you reading it and maybe if you are lucky they will ask you what you think.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Mother's Heart

What can I say, I have been graced with the brightest stars to ever dance in the skies.. and they come to my house to roust at night.

They are wild and wonderful, cranky and creative, funloving and horrid. They are unique individuals that I take great pride in...

If my four children were told to go in a cave and learn algebra...
JR would go in the cave, drag a few of his friends in and figure out how algebra equated to everyday life and how they could use it to have a good time.

Cori would look at the math.. and paint the walls

Frankie would look up and say.. you want me to learn algebra? I need a teacher, a book, a desk, a lamp, a window and Cori dammit go paint outside.

and Remi darling Remi would look up and say.. What no closet space?

Aren't you glad you didn't have to teach them?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Here it Comes

A day spent with my children.... oh the joys... but seriously I know these moments get further and further apart.. ones where they are not attempting to kill each other.. they actually like each other and when my heart shines..

Thank You JR, Cori, Frankie and Rem for making my world shine

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hair Boy Stopped Snarling

I mentioned in my last blog that Hair Boy had stopped snarling at me, after careful consideration I decided that it deserved an entire blog of it's own. Hair Boy stopped snarling...

One has to understand that while Hair Boy is an extremely private individual I have always had a good relationship with him. So it was tough when he got mad at me. I understand why but it hurt more than a bit.

This has been a growing up year for my son, he finally got it, figured out that he needed an education or he wasn't going anywhere. but in the process he watched out lives once again careen out of control and being older now.. he sees so much more. He has also willingly (albeit grudgingly) handing over a large portion of his paychecks to help out with the expenses. I am very proud of this young man and am glad that we can have to occasional conversation again.

He wont admit it but he feels the need to take care of me, yes he too sees me as a complete ditz. It's ok I probably am.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Have No More Blondes

my baby my beautiful blue eyed blonde, my daughter that makes malibu barbie look ugly, my gorgeous Rem, today decided to die her hair a deep true mahogany. Don't get me wrong it looks great, she has lovely hair, thick and long.. You know the kind of hair the rest of the world pays hundreds of dollars to fabricate?

So we went looking for jeans, I took Frankie shopping for jeans.. did you know WalMart doesn't sell skinny jeans? We left with, under garments, a winter jacket, a funky towel thing for her to prance around it.. but no jeans.. oh the angst...

A bribe is still a good thing. My Cori, constantly talks.. i swear he is the only person on the face of the earth who talks more than i do.. wait twice, no three times as much as i do.. today i just couldn't take it.. so i bribed him.. go out.. leave.. have lunch on me.. just go.... it worked.. for an hour.. then he came home.. darnit

JR is speaking to me again. Not sure why, and am equally sure it wont last but I do so enjoy the conversations..

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Movie Time With My Girls

Last night I had the joy and the priveledge of expending my hard earned money on a night at the movies with my girls. Of course we had to go see Twilight a huge favorite in our home.

Both girls somehow managed to work it into their schedules to allow mom to take them to the movies. Now movies play a huge part in my relationships with my children. We somehow have managed to find time to attend several big movies together. It is a fun time and we do enjoy it. One could call it family time where we didn't have to talk.

Over the years we have turned Thanksgiving and Christmas both into huge movie days. We go to the movies and out for Thanksgiving dinner. It is perfect, I hate to cook so I get to enjoy it and we get some pretty good family time together. Christmas is usually a little more difficult as the usual restaurants are not open so I am forced to actually make a meal.. but the movie theatres are.

This year I am not sure what movies we will see. We can pretty much cross Twilight off the list.. well maybe the boys want to see it.. who knows. but I am looking forward to spending this day with my kids. No matter how tough life gets lat least 2 days a year we go to the movies.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hair Boy and the Power Trip

No I am not back on the computer, well at least not mine.. that will be something of an ongoing issues as my son is determined that I had to have done something to his computer. There is absolutely no way this could be mechanical error or the fault of a sibling. And why is that you ask? well because for years and I do mean years I was rarely on the computer, my time online consisted of maybe 10-15 minutes a day and on that very rare occasion an entire half hour.

Lately I have had more time on my hands and am spending some time online. Now since we are living in the hotel, we put the large cumbersome computer in storage and just brought the laptop. So of course every moment of use is on his Highness's noblesse. Forget the years that I provided the internet experience for them, the computers I begged them to treat gently.. no this must be mom's fault.

Since our time here in wonderland seems to be going on much longer than ever anticipated I am seriously considering going to storage and getting out the monstrosity.. If I can find all the cables, buy a wireless card and get set up, some one (tall and with lots of hair) who shall remain nameless will loose all his power. Humm that just sounds better and better.

Why is it, when boys become men they forget the years of work and effort and time and skill that their mother's put into raising them (and in this case on my own) and insist on treating us like we are imbeciles? Who is it exactly does he think got him this far?

Oh well his heart is in the right place I would just like to slap a bit of that arrogance out of him.. would someone please get me a ladder?

Season's Over

Finally officially girls swim season is over. This year has been one of the hardest seasons ever, I was basically banned from the meets by the blond one. For those that know me, they know I religiously support my kids I attend functions enjoy their activities and basically embarrass the crap out of them. Then on the other hand ignore me (unless the need money) are rude to me (unless they need money) and tell their friends that they are adopted (unless they need money). But this year I honored the child's request and did not go to many meets she swore she swam better when I was not there.

So the banquet comes along and I have no clue who half of these girls are, have no clue what they have accomplished and for the most part feel out of sync.. you know like a normal parent. Next year I am going to the meets, times be damned..

For the first year Frankie did not win a team award, which was ok as she was injured initially and never quite mentally made it back to the team. But next year is her senior year and she may give up swimming after that. As much as it upsets me she may actually not swim in college. What a waste she has such potential let a serious coach get his/her hands on Frankie for a couple of years and this girl will fly.. she already is power in the water..

And Rem, well she finally took swimming seriously, no longer is she just the one who looks cute in a suit..

years ago.. I commented if I could combine my kids I would have an Olympic Swimmer.. JR is a thinking swimmer, Cori has heart and Frankie has tons of natural talent.. and there is my Olympic Swimmer.. throw in Rem and you have an Olympic Swimmer on the cover of Sports Illustrated..

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh the Annoying One

I have one child and sad to say he is the one most like me, that never ever shuts up.. There is a continuous flow of information whether I want it or not, I am sure as he reaches some of life's more personal pinnacles I will get a phone call telling me what has just occurred. He drives me bonkers..

Lately he has been very angry, mad at the world and somewhat withdrawn so Cori being Cori manages to take that anger out on me.. tone of voice.. It seems that he rarely speaks in anything less than an angry shout. No matter what asked or given.. the anger flows.. I worry and yes we are working it out.

Now the other day we were in the midst of a fight, who really knows what it was about when all of a sudden he looked up and said.. "I Love You Mom" needless to say he won that fight.

Contrary Creatures

Before I started writing my blogs, my kids had interesting creative fun lives.. since I have started they all turned into poo heads..

Oh well going back into the annuls of my mind then

Back when I was pregnant with Remi, my oldest three being the uniquely clever beasties that they were set out once again to drive me insane. Let me get this clear for years they had one name.. JRCORIFRANKIE.... yelled over and over again. this time here they were, supposedly playing safely in the backyard. I look out the window and there they were perched high atop the landlords RV.. 5, 4 and 2. I must tell you it totally scared the beejeebers out of me. I rushed from the house (an attractive site as I was 3 years preggers and Remi ended up arriving at 10lb 3 oz) bellowing for them to get down now. Of course they froze and were suddenly stuck up there and I had to climb up and help them down. Still not sure if they were safer on top of the thing or having me "help" them down.

I am eternally grateful that A) none of them seem to remember this and B) there were no cameras around.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Don't Bowl

So my youngest in her insane attempt to be as involved as possible in school has joined the bowling team. Did you know they had bowling pants? This came as a complete and total surprise to me, I knee about the shoes and the ever wonderful fashion statement the bowling shirt.. but bowling pants? This is so made up just another way to get money out of me.

As I stated in the title I dont bowl, one of the few sports I was never very good at, that and frisbee (hey I grew up in CA this is a legitimate sport - if one cant throw a frisbee how can one play frisbee golf?). So now the question is do parents go watch kids bowl? What does a bowling match consist of and must I learn to like beer?

I do wonder though if I will ever see this child again? I mean off to school by 6.. then bowling after school, then Mondays Jazz Band, tues and thurs swim team, Wednesdays swing choir and after swing choir church choir.. I think I remember what she looks like.. but if you see someone running around in bowling pants with a trombone at the local pool please send her home.

HA! I Love it When I am Right

Frankie has been taking AP History this year, now I love History and back in the day I was fortunate enough to take AP History when it first came into concept.. maybe not the first year but close enough. When I say I love History that is a huge understatement if I had my way I would be living in Barcelona studying medieval stuff.. why Barcelona (blame John Cleese-entirely different story)

All year long I have been asking Frankie if she had started DBQ's yet? Now to me a DBQ is second on the levels of hell only to proofs.. and we all know geometry was created by satan.. and again i digress. So every time I asked about DBQ's Frankie very arrogantly said.. no mom that was back in the day we don't do those anymore..

Guess what came home this weekend?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday Morning Wake Up

Remember those lovely days.. when we could sleep in, enjoy the moment? Oh Saturday the day when life just took a morning off.. and then we had kids..

Now I always figured that with the onset of the teenage years they would have that deepest desire to sleep in, to lounge the day away.. yeah hasn't happened yet.

Let's see there is JR off to work, alarm blaring, phone ringing (and yes the residents of the next town can hear this ring)

then there is Cori, oh come on just because you are awake does not mean that I need to be...

Frankie.. well this girl gets up at 4:30 in the morning because she likes it.. so when she and Cori are both up.. it is what is the word I am looking for.. oh yeah explosive.

And finally Remi, now that girl can sleep.. of course she is the one who always seems to HAVE to be somewhere on Saturday mornings.. and I spend an hour or two just waking her up..

I know they will be gone soon enough.. I am thinking of getting an RV and traveling about the country.. yes to see it but also well to escape the mommy ritual.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Make a Joyful Noise

My children, all four of them, inherited a great gift from their father.. They have a love and talent for music. Now don't get me wrong, I was a member of some pretty great choirs back in the day.. First Family Living Branches under Richard Crain, Granada Junior High Choir under James Armstrong.. Whittier Christian High School under Mrs. Smith.. all three of these choirs were fabulous with amazing directors who had a real skill and talent..but me, I sang in the choir. Now the Lill family is an astounding group of individuals that have talent.. they can sing, they can play instruments, they can dance... and I am thrilled that each of my children have inherited at least some small part BUT......

Do we have to have the BIGGEST instruments? lets see we have a Tuba, Bari-Sax, Bass Trombone, Trombone, Alto Sax, Bass Guitar, and Acoustic Guitar.. and that is just what is being played currently. Did I mention we live in a hotel right now?

Lets see JR the true musician plays.. The Tuba, The bass Trombone, Trombone, Alto-Sax, Bari-Sax, Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar and Acoustic Guitar.

Cori plays the Trombone.. and sings in a beautiful tenor.. CONSTANTLY

Frankie plays the Alto-Sax and the Bari-Sax.. she also has a stellar Mae West/Kathleen Turner Voice with perfect pitch but wont sing..

and Rem.. she plays, the Tuba, The Trumpet and the Bass Trombone.. she also has a gorgeous contralto that can belt out a torch song like there is no tomorrow.

and me I play the radio...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Genetically Predisposed

So I have been spending a lot of times with my youngest son, I have realized that no matter how good of a parent I am. No matter how much time I spend on teaching my sons to be husbands and not just men.. I have failed..

There are some things that they are just genetically predisposed to.. I mean give a man a remote control.. Would it be that difficult to watch one show at a time? To not have to view several shows at once, I can even sit through a commercial break if the need so arose. It is not that difficult.

What gets me, is it a hormone that comes along with the DNA? Or other certain parts.. one has to wonder. and then wonder if some cases are more severe than others.. and why did I get the one with an extreme case? Or is it that all men are just born with ADD and have the attention span of gnats? Dont get me wrong I am not men bashing.. some things come with the DNA we can't help it.

But I can promise you this, the first thing I do when we move is make sure he has a space of his own 1 TV and 400 remotes with no batteries.. let him figure it out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Worth FIghting For

So it is veterans day.. and there are so many who are serving now, who have come before them. Who have laid down their lives, given their souls.. some for glory and some returning to scorn. Some get a better life out of it and some are destroyed by it. and yet there are those who continue to serve.

I wanted to say thank you.. but I wanted to say it in the only way i could.. because for me.. this is what is worth fighting for.

The Kids

Monday, November 10, 2008


Oh how I live for that moment when they are off..

that moment of silence when there is no one home and I can dance around the room..

Pure bliss never had such meaning..

And then what do I do? I start thinking of ways I can make their lives better.. How sweet they are what good kids they are.. hello did anyone read my last blog?

what is it exactly about mothers? are we masochists? well yeah I suppose we are.. because we get years of abuse for mere moments of love and we treasure those moments we bring them out and display them for all to see..

shaking my head and wondering..

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Another Weekend In Captivity

Want to know the worst part about living in a hotel room with 4 teenagers? Living in a hotel room with 4 teenagers.

Seriously, there is no place to send them.. no place to hide. You can't go into the bathroom, they may need it. One can only wander the halls for so long before you start getting funny looks. And private phone calls? Yeah like that is going to happen. For some reason they revert to toddlers, I am on the phone and they want my attention. I thought they had outgrown that.

Or my favorite is when they are not fighting.. when they are just having fun.. there is no room for fun here!! sheesh.. the oldest plays the guitar.. so he has to practice.. the youngest plays the tuba.. thank goodness she has decided to practice as she can at school. Homework? where is there room for that? Time schedules? no one is on the same one so I find I am now up all night just to have private time.

Don't get me wrong, I am the reason we got stuck here.. but even when things are good in here. they are insane..

Thank God I almost like them all

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Contrary Girl

Ok, I realize that when speaking of a 17 year old girl, the title of this blog might be considered at best redundant.. but this child takes the cake.

Over the summer her younger sister fell prey to the twilight phenomenon, even going so far as to attend a midnight selling. It was fun and the books were rather good face it they were fantastic. but my Frankie being Frankie refused to read them. No way would she be interested in them. She was gracious and lovely enough to buy them for her sister. Make sure that she had the books and could read them. A thoughtful and considerate gift but read them she would not.

Just recently a friend of hers wanted to read them but could not get a copy from the local library.. she had been waiting and waiting.. Frankie upon hearing this offered to let her use our copy (which we did not mind this is a wonderful lovely girl and a friend to the entire family). So we pulled them all out, stacked them neatly and got them ready.

The next day Frankie took the books to school and me being the silly widget that I am thought that was that. No of course not, on her way to school, on the bus Frankie started to read.. Now we have to borrow book one so she can read it..


Friday, November 7, 2008

A Mother's Pride

This has been a difficult couple of days for us. As we are struggling living all cooped up in one room. Well we have been living like this for a year but the past few days have been more stressful than others.

We were inches away from not even having this lovely domicile to call our own. Actually we have been grateful for it but it has cost us way more than we should be paying and it is beyond our means.. for a single room. Anyway as we struggled to find our money as usual a child stepped up.

This time it was Cori.. he had walked several miles to cash his check and go to target to pick up some stuff. but I called him and we talked.. he put everything away and brought his check home to me.. I didn't ask, he offered. Then when he got home.. did he fuss and muss? nope he got it together and started to pack things up, just in case. No stress no struggle.. How can a mother not be proud of that?

Of course when I had resolved the issue.. the ever loving pain in the ass was back to normal.. picking fights with his sisters and driving me nuts.. Hello you are 18 haven't you outgrown that yet?

Anyway just thought I would share

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Oh the joys of the missing sock!! I know there have been scientific studies on exactly where those socks go.. and I believe the most factual theory is that they are eaten by aliens.

I used to spend hours and I mean hours gathering the socks and matching them. Even the white ones had to be matched to the proper partner. Seriously, they are made at different plants, factories whatever, the cuffs may be different, the thickness, the age, the staining.. everything.. then one day after I had finished had all the socks neatly ready to find their way home to their little drawers my daughter walked up.. took out two pairs of socks.. separated them, took one from each pair, dropped the remaining partners single and alone back in the basket and walked away. "Ashley-Frances" I uttered "what do you think you are doing?" she just smiled shrugged and said "I don't like to wear socks that match" Needless to say.. I have never matched socks since.

Teenagers!! ain't life grand??

The Unending Money Tree

One has to wonder if my kids understand even remotely what the words I don't have any money means.

At the ages of 14, 16, 18 and 20 do they honestly think it means oh wait let me go harvest it from the tree in the back yard? Or yes I have money but I don't like you and don't want to share. I enjoy watching you sit here and harass me for hours asking me over and over again just to see if I will cave in. And I especially like borrowing money from you.. it brings me great joy to horde my money and then demean myself to see if you have any on hand. I especially enjoy the years of harranging you do when you feel it is time for me to pay you back.

And of course mom, I completely understand that you are attempting to pay the bills, feed us, clothe us and pay for two trips to Florida this spring break with the band.. but mom, can I borrow $20.00? Or my personal favorite.. where is my change.. oh mom, I lost it.. I spent it.. I just had to have....

No worries.. I am back to the money field to harvest more..

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Going to Vote

So today, we made it to the polling place as in everything where Cori is involved there was a struggle a challenge..

It started out just plain old fashioned nerves.. so he wasn't going. I had to tell him, you don't vote you cant live under my roof. So he got himself ready and off we went. Of course there was an issue with mine so everyone kept ignoring him.. let all sorts of people go first, he was getting nervous and ansy.. then we had to re spell the last name.. it is 4 count em 4 letters long.. and actually only has 2.. this should never be a problem but for some reason always is. Then finally he got his ballot and went to the booth.. as I sat and waited for my crises to be concluded, I watched and wished that I had my camera. I was so proud. Tears formed in my eyes.. a lifetime of learning right there being acted upon. Of course, I really wanted to know how he was voting.. but I refrained from asking.

Finally he stepped out all beaming and proud and recieved his "I voted" sticker. Which he promptly put on the inside of his wallet and it will remain there for quite some time. Mission accomplished. Then it was home to watch the election on TV and for him to ask and me to answer a million questions..

Oh how I am still beaming.. two adults, two votes.. does a mother proud

Today's the Day

Nothing has more power in this world than the vote of a single person...

One voice is heard

Monday, November 3, 2008

Teens Who Vote

The government says 18 is the magic age, we are an adult. We can move out of our parents house, join the armed services, get married, get arrested, drive without parental permission and we can Vote.

On this historic election, I have two children going to vote. They have been raised in a household full of civic duty and pride so of course they will vote. As small children I would bundle them up and take them with me. One year I was a poll watcher and all the girls spent the day with me at a an election site. When president Clinton came to town, his secret service men spent hours joking with my son and his best friend about their light up shoes.
Our town has long been an opponent of O'hare expansion and my son at 12 collected signatures and submitted a petition to several elected officials. There is so much more.. they are all civically aware, of course this is not because of tv or radio or even their friends. No this is because they were taught all of their lives about their civic duty.

Now tomorrow we will vote together once again. This time I will proudly walk in with my son, the other will vote as he can, and help get him set up. Watch him walk to the booth and probably cry. A mother's true joy...When did that happen.

Finally their voices will be heard.. what a wonderful thing

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Can We Say Rocket Scientist??

Now for those of you who are unaware, today's teenager has a heavy burden to carry, personally I am not supprised when I hear of one snapping. Sad I admit but not surprised. I am sure I will return to this theme over and over again, but here is an example of the insanity we put our teenagers through.

As I am sure you are all aware, Friday night was Halloween.. ok a time where kids and teenagers and some crazed adults just have fun, trick or treating, parties or just watching the parade of kids it is a long and exhausting evening. So what does our local HS swim conference do? They plan the season ending conference meet (ok some swimmers go on to sectionals and state but for the most part) on the day after Halloween.. Now it was scheduled well in advance so the kids could be ready for this sad fact (hello teenagers here none of them had a clue).. so the Coach being a magnimus sort changed practice from Friday afternoon to Friday morning.. yes they had a 5:30 morning practice on Halloween. So here it was 4:30 in the morning and my girls are trooping off to school. After a tough practice, my youngest was out and on her way to swing choir practice at 7.. then a full day of school for both (both of whom have honors classes so not a walk in the park).. then off for their prepared evenings..

I am sure I will deny this later but my oldest, Frankie at least had the brains to come home at a reasonable hour and get some sleep but the younger one came trooping in about midnight.. And the next morning it was up at 4:30 so they could leave the house by 5:00 to make the bus.. and drive forever (well an hour) then swim.. then back home and to me.. needless to say by the time the late afternoon came and they were home well they were not in the best of moods.

And who said the witches left after Halloween..

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween -The Day After

The problem with teens.. ok one of the problems with teens is that they somehow at some point decide they are too cool to trick or treat. Instead they insist on hanging out with friends and party hopping.

Now those of you parents with small kids and tooth decay to worry about are probably giving a sigh of relief about now..sadly it is not relief I feel. No more sweet little babies who want you to help them find the perfect costume and whatever you come up with is considered perfect. No now it is more like screaming banshees waiting till the last minute then wondering why you never make them any cool costumes (and selective memory and all - why you never did)

And while the are party surfing and hanging out with members of the opposite sex.. they are not off getting the yearly candy haul. So tell me what am I supposed to snack on in the middle of the night they are all sleeping and I have to have some chocolate?

sighs.. babies no more