Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Save Cathedral High School

Today I am wearing purple. Not because it is my favorite color, but because it represents my favorite high school – Cathedral High School. 

I can vividly remember my first day at Cathedral in September of 1987. I was a nervous freshman as I got on the bus with my plaid skirt and collared shirt. How would I get around this big school? Would I make friends? What if I didn’t like high school? As we pulled up to the school on Surrey Road my fears started to dissipate and a suddenly knew I was where I was meant to be – at Cathedral High School. 

I can also remember my graduation day in May of 1991, like it was yesterday. Our class graduated in Symphony Hall. Sitting up on the stage I couldn’t believe that four years has already come and gone. I was now a Cathedral graduate and I was leaving as a confident, determined young woman ready to take on the challenges of college and beyond.

So what had happened in those four years? I received a solid, Catholic high school education and the Cathedral experience encompassed more than just academics.  Community service projects, retreats, extracurricular activities and athletic events were all part of the package.

Cathedral gave me an incredible opportunity to grow academically, personally and spiritually. The faculty continuously challenged me to work harder and smarter. They brought learning to life in every subject, challenging me and my classmates to think for ourselves, to ask questions and to discuss issues – all within a safe, Christian environment. My leadership skills emerged at Cathedral High School. I wasn’t afraid to run for class office, I gladly raised my hand to take the floor at Model Senate and I won an award for best small delegation at Model UN.

Cathedral showed what it meant to be a part of a special community of individuals and the responsibility that comes with that privilege. Whether cheering at a Panthers Game in my purple sweatshirt, doing community service projects with classmates, attending a Teen Encounter weekend or going to my after school job at the public library still in uniform, I was always proud to represent Cathedral High School. Twenty-three years later I am still proud to represent Cathedral! 

Cathedral prepared me not just to succeed at college, but in life. My experiences there, which were facilitated by the most caring and invested teachers and staff, laid the foundation for my future success. The values taught at Cathedral, which echoed those taught by my family, have made me a better person, a better friend, a better colleague, a better wife and a better mother. 

I don’t where I would be today without Cathedral High School. Please save Cathedral so the next generation, my children’s generation, can have the same experiences I did!

Monday, November 10, 2014

If a Dog Feeds You a Pancake

Doesn’t breakfast in bed sound good? Envision your significant other bringing you a tray with a steaming cup of coffee (hot chocolate in my case), homemade pancakes with maple syrup, crispy bacon, fresh fruit and a linen napkin. There is a beautiful flower in a vase on the tray and a half crayon/ half marker drawing of you that the kids made. You sit up in bed, against your fluffy pillows, with your hair looking like you just left the salon (no bed head here) and cheerfully say, “What a great way to start my day!” 

Well, that is not how it happened in my house. I have been waking up at 5:00 am to go to Burn Bootcamp. The house is peaceful; well more like eerily quiet at that hour. I quickly get my work out clothes on. I will even admit to sleeping in the pants to make things easier.  I throw my hair - my bed head hair - in a ponytail and headband, get my sneakers on and head to the kitchen to fill my water bottle.

I sensed something was odd before I even turned the light on and I was right. The trash can, the one I have only had for a couple of months, had been dragged from one side of the kitchen to the other, tipped over and dumped out. There is only one member of our family that could have done this, and yes my favorite four-legged friend was nowhere in sight. It was quite obvious that we had forgotten to lock the trash can. You think I would have learned my lesson after this same thing happened a couple of weeks ago. Our family trash from the last few days literally scattered around the kitchen.

What’s a girl to do at that moment? I fill my water bottle and leave for Bootcamp. No pain, no gain and let’s face it, trash will wait for me. After a killer leg work-out, so killer that it hurt to press the emergency brake on the Explorer, I return to the kitchen. I bend down, continuing my squat work-out as I clean up the mess before anyone else comes downstairs.

I was determined to keep Tobi’s little middle of the night shenanigans a secret. I run up, no I mean I struggle up the stairs and am about to flop on the bed and wait to hear, “bathroom’s free,” when I spot it. Yes - a two-day old perfectly round pancake, made by my husband, on the center of the comforter.  I throw it in the bedroom trash only to discover another pancake, this one half eaten, under the covers on Todd’s side of the bed. Now I get it – Tobi’s version of breakfast in bed. But, where’s my drink?

Everyone finishes getting ready for work and school and heads downstairs. Todd calls Tobi to go outside and notices she was carrying something in her mouth. “Is that a pancake?” he asks. “Where did she get that?” My 40lb friend had let her secret be known.

I quickly open the door to the backyard for Tobi and grab the pancake. I deposit it to its rightful place in the now upright trash can. I then suggested, more like proclaimed that it is time to supersize Tobi’s portion of Science Diet, so she doesn’t need to dig through the trash every night.

Then the light bulb went off in my head. Another mystery solved. I now know where the pizza crust I found in my bed a couple of weeks ago came from.

True confession of the day:  If anybody is looking for a gift idea for us, we could use a new, heavy duty trash can!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Channeling My Inner Tooth Fairy

I have no problem admitting that I am a lousy tooth fairy. Now that I have said it, I actually feel better. I can channel my inner Santa Claus and my inner Easter Bunny. But for the life of me, I can’t channel my inner tooth fairy. 

I would like to say that this isn’t totally my fault, but I don’t know. Tyler has lost six teeth so far and has a loose one now, which makes me want to break out in a sweat. He swallowed two of those six teeth. Yes, he is a gifted child and he had to leave notes under his pillow explaining what happened.  As a side note, I refused to check to see if those teeth ever turned up you know where.

I never seem to have a dollar or two around when needed and Tyler asks too many questions about the process that leaves me fumbling for an answer. For example: “Why don’t we leave food for the tooth fairy? Santa gets cookies and the Easter Bunny gets carrots.” I will admit that is a very good question. I tell him that she just isn’t hungry. What I want to say is that she would be over the moon to find a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup under his pillow, as I know for a fact that is her favorite. “What does she do with my teeth?” I tell him that she puts them in a special box. I am sure it would crush him to know they are stuffed in the back of my underwear drawer.

Then there was the time that he lost a tooth while we were having dinner with friends. He placed the tooth in a baggie and gave it to me for safe keeping. Later that night, before putting him to bed, I checked my wallet and as luck would have it, there were no dollars to be found. My husband didn’t have any either. Not to worry, I am resourceful. I snuck into Tyler’s room while he was in the bathroom and took a $1 from his piggy bank. I tucked him in and assured him that the tooth fairy would visit during the night. Then I watched TV in bed waiting for him to fall asleep. But of course, I fell asleep first. You guessed it, an exchange was never made.

The next morning, Tyler came down for breakfast, with sad eyes, holding the baggie with his tooth in it. “Did I do something wrong? She didn’t come.” I fought back the horror I felt and wish I could have taken a picture of my husband’s face. I assured Tyler that he hadn’t done anything wrong and that she probably went to the wrong house. When he left for soccer with his dad and sister, I wrote a note, in disguised handwriting, from the Tooth Fairy. I explained that I had gone to the wrong house and was so sorry to have made him worry. Then I cleverly said for your troubles I am leaving you with an extra $1. Yes, then I went back into the piggy bank and got another $1. Basically, I robbed piggy to pay Tyler twice in less than a 24 hour period. I changed his sheets, left the goods under the pillow and went to Target.

When we all returned home, I told Tyler that while I was changing his sheets, I found something under his pillow. He ran upstairs, found the note and money and ran to show us. He was happy once again. I was about to breathe easy again when he said, "I want to count all my money." I kept a straight face and said not now, lunch time! You see, I hadn’t asked for cash back at Target, which means I hadn’t paid piggy back. Luckily he accepted that answer, keeping the magic of the Tooth Fairy alive.

Now you can see why I am breaking out in sweat thinking about the next tooth.

True confession of the day: I better get my act together before Molly loses her first tooth, or I will be truly busted.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Final Bid = 300 Meals

Tyler never ceases to amaze me. Last night, his school held an Empty Bowl fundraiser to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank in Charlotte. Tyler started asking me a couple of weeks ago if I would take him to the event and of course I agreed. Each class at Torrence Creek made a bowl with the help of their talented art teacher for the silent auction portion of the event.  Yesterday morning he asked if I was prepared to bid on his class bowl, I assured him we would place a bid and we would also buy one of the bowls that was for sale.

Our bid of $25 was the second bid on his first grade class bowl. As he began to understand how the bidding worked, he asked me how much money I had to bid. I told him I couldn’t spend more than $50. That is when I saw the gears in his head start turning. He looked at me with his big brown eyes and said, “Would you be willing to bid a $100?” I told him I was sorry but that I couldn’t right now. He responded with, “That’s okay, because I have $100 I could spend.” I know I looked puzzled and before I could react, he jumped in with: “Remember I won $200 in the Super Bowl pool at daddy’s work.” This is true and a whole other story that a 7-year-old won his daddy’s office pool.
I was stunned, that he was willing to give up the money, as his original plan was to buy a new baseball bat. If you know my son, the only thing he loves more than baseball is…well I don’t think there is anything. I explained that he could never get the money back. He told me he understood and that there were hungry people who needed the money from the bowl. After calling his dad for a quick consultation and wiping tears from my eyes, I said okay.
That sweet boy kept his eye on the bid sheet, adding $5 here and there as necessary. We also went to talk to the representative from the food bank to help Tyler understand the impact his money could have in the community. We were all a little surprised to find out that $1 provides four meals. His eyes seemed to grow larger by the possibility and he was more determined than ever to win the bowl.  
When the silent auction ended, Tyler was announced as the highest bidder for the bowl made by Mrs. Yearous’ first grade class. He generously and selflessly donated $75 dollars to the food bank, which equals 300 meals (he calculated it on the iPad when we got home).
I am truly proud of my son and pretty humbled to be his mother right now. Not only does he have a kind soul, but he expects nothing for it. He didn’t understand why everyone was hugging him and thanking him. He looked at me and said, “I still have $125 dollars and people can eat.”  

True confession of the day: I wouldn’t have done that when I was 7 years-old.