Formerly the Birchfield family blog, this space has been taken over by Sydney B., hip-hop dancer, softball player, fashion designer and youngest of the Birchfield clan.

There will be an occasional note from mom when something of interest pops up, but most of the commentary/photos/drawings will be from the young mind of Sydneyboo, diva in training.

No spelling or grammar critiques, please!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sad News

I found out last night that my good buddy, Mac Jellicorse, had lost one of his older brothers, Paul. The cause of death is unknown, but that doesn't really matter, I guess. I can only imagine what Mac is dealing with right now, not only as a brother, but as a dad trying to explain what this activity is going on all around them.

I remember Paul probably the best out of all of Mac's brothers because he seemed to always be hanging around the house when we were having some of our infamous *hot tub parties*. He was such a fun guy. I always thought Mac looked a lot like him, too, more so than his other brothers. Mac is tall and blonde just like Paul was, and their features were so similar.

I don't have any deep words of wisdom on this subject today. I hadn't seen Paul in many years, but I talk to Mac several times each week and he has been near and dear to my heart since I was 7 years old. He has been my friend longer than my husband has been around, longer than my children have been around and we know pretty much everything there is to know about each other -- good and bad -- and we still choose to be friends!

We've been through the deaths of our parents -- mine a father and his a mother. We've celebrated each other's weddings. We've celebrated four births in the last 9 years, two for each of us. We have stayed updated on our kids' schools, sporting events and firsts -- first teeth, first day of school, first sleepover. We've shared pictures and stories and have laughed more times than I can count about all the adventures we've experienced together in our lifetimes.

I'm sure this week's adventure is one he would have rather skipped in his lifetime. But life is funny and it just doesn't work that way sometimes. So for everyone reading this today, pray for my friend and his family this week. Even if you don't have a clue who I am talking about, pray for Mac. Pray for him because he is my friend and anyone who knows me at all knows that that means he has earned it.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Big 4-0

Joe's 40th birthday party was last night. He doesn't actually hit the milestone until August 22, but since family tradition has always been to celebrate on the weekends, we chose this weekend to throw the big guy a party. Well, a Mexican fiesta combo party with Mom, whose birthday is August 22.

Joe's been kind of in a funk all week. He has blamed it on this advanced training class he's been in every day and all the homework he's been slammed with every night. True, that does wear a body out, especially when you've got to come home to a full house of kids demanding attention. Still, he hasn't been himself. It makes me wonder what's going through his mind sometimes, if he's feeling that 40 sitting on his shoulders or if he's thinking that time is passing too quickly.

For anybody who knows Joe, I think it's safe to say he has never seemed older than your typical teenage boy. He's perpetually optimistic, willing to embarrass himself for the sake of a chuckle and is always talking about the latest video game or sports event on the horizon. And that's probably why I was drawn to him in the first place. He's my perfect balance, always keeping my pessimism in check, dragging me to activities I say I'm too old for and never letting me take it all too seriously.

On the gift list this year: a Guitar Hero '80s video game, some low-top *GO VOL* orange Chuck Taylors and a 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor (Thank you, Tracy Lee) in honor of the big day. And with every paper ripped open (or tissue pulled from the bag), he smiled a little wider and laughed a little louder. He loved every minute of it.

Before we decided just to do a family party, I was trying to decide what kind of huge shindig to have for him. I was calling banquet halls, thinking of how many people we would invite, food, etc. Finally, I just asked him what he wanted to do to commemorate the big day. He said, "Nothing big, just something at the house." I kept saying, "But it's a big deal. You're going to be 40," and he kept saying, "It's really not a big thing. Just something small." So I reluctantly decided we'd do it his way.

Last night, after everyone had left and he had cleaned the kitchen for the fifth time (Those of you who know him get that joke!) and we were heading to bed, he said, "Thank you so much for my party. It was just perfect." And I thought in my head how right he was. It was the perfect day for my perfect guy.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Driver's Ed

Well, Joe took Joey to the Comcast parking lot today on the A.J. Highway for a little *drive time*. Joey will be 15 next month and has been studying for months for his permit test. He is soooo ready to be driving.

The first words out of Joe's mouth after the lesson were, "We live!" He was laughing, but sounded like he had had a little excitement today. He said Joey learned how to park between two cars today. First, parking with no cars, then with one car beside him, then with one on either side and then finally with one in front and one on either side. Joe maintained he did well, coming a teeny bit close on one side, but good. He said he got a little flustered once and hit his windshield wipers and blinkers when he was making his turn, but assured me he did fine.

Can you believe it's here -- Joey out on the roads? He got his class schedule this week and he has Driver's Ed his second semester. When he was telling me about it, it made me think of my driving instructor, Mr. Love. No lie, his name was Mr. Love -- or as my crazy friend, John Gray, called him, *Dr. Love*!

He was an older man, bald, and he had an eye for the ladies that worked at the testing center. I remember the day I went to take my actual driving test he brought the ladies a big box of Dunkin' Donuts -- told me it would help with my scores. He also backed my car into the parking space so all I would have to do was pull out when the test began. I guess I was not going to be his first student ever to fail the test! And it worked -- I passed with flying colors and Dr. Love let me drive home from the test, chatting my head off about how great it would be to be able to drive on my own now. Weird how I remember the details of that day so vividly and I can't even remember what I had for breakfast this morning! Also weird how my mom and dad didn't seem to think it the least bit dangerous for me to be driving around town ALONE with some old guy I (or they, for that matter) barely knew! But I digress...

I wonder if Joey will remember all this 20 years from now, his dad laughing at him in the Comcast parking lot or almost hitting that car sitting beside him as he learned how to back out of the parking space or how he caused his dad a little heart palpitation when he took the corner just a tad too sharply as he went aisle to aisle in the lot. I wonder if he'll remember the Driver's Ed class he took in 2008 and the funny nickname he gave his teacher.

But mostly I wonder if he'll ever realize how much we wish we could freeze him forever just as he is right now.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Grape Salad

Sharon made this for the baseball team party and it was so yummy! Everyone that had it raved about it. It ranks right up there with her grape pie recipe!!

If you're on a carb-monitored diet, though, you'll want to skip this one -- or substitute Splenda!

4 pounds seedless red and green grapes
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar

Wash and dry grapes. In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Add grapes and mix until evenly incorporated. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans, mix again and refrigerate until serving.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Kel and Syd decided to give each other makeovers today while I was hip-deep in Syd's closet *rearranging*. Funny how Kelsey has never shown a whole lot of interest in the girly things and now all of a sudden she's painting bright pink eyeshadow all over her sister's face. She pulled out her basket of goodies she got from her spa sleepover party last week and carefully began painting Syd's fingernails with glittery polish, spouting orders like those scary manicure girls at the nail salon.

Yesterday, it was flirting with boys at the pool party. Today it's nails and eyeshadow and lipgloss. She's also obsessing about *zits* on her face. What is going on? Is the world spinning the wrong way this week? It's 118 degrees outside, the girls are actually getting along and my tomboy has decided she is now a princess. It feels like I'm in the Twilight Zone, and I have a sneaking suspicion I'm not getting out any time soon!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Third Grade Pool Party

Well, Kelsey had her third grade Meet & Greet today at Lovell Hills Pool. She has a new teacher this year -- and I mean NEW. The teacher was recently hired by CFC (That's Christian Family Cooperative to the 2 people in the world reading this who don't know where my little criminals attend school!) and she's fresh out of college.

To this point, I had not met the teacher and was looking forward to it. I had requested this particular teacher simply because the existing third grade teacher seems a little worn down from teaching and lacks -- hmmmm, how shall I put this -- a sense of humor of any kind. For those of you who know my sweet little Kelsey, you know this will not work. Kelsey is my mini-me. And for those of you who know me, you'll know why a teacher with no sense of humor would not work!

So I hang out at the pool watching Kelsey jump repeatedly into the water, stealthfully chasing her little boyfriend, Christopher, from one end to the other. Finally, I ask one of the other moms where the teacher is. After all, that's the ONLY reason I'm loitering in the 90 degrees on this muggy August day. She says, "She's right there." I turn around and a little girl with a long blonde ponytail is standing looking all of about 14. I swear it was Hannah Montana!

I introduce myself and spend a few minutes talking to her. She's bubbly, she's excited, she looks just like Barbie. How old I now feel. I really am *the mom*. You know, you can fool yourself for a long time that you're only as old as you feel, ignoring the gray in your hair, the pain in your back and the age spots on your hands all because you still feel like you're 23 inside. But then you meet your child's new, fresh-out-of-school teacher and she calls you, "Ma'am" just that one time.

What is that Garth Brooks' song -- Too Young To Feel This Damn Old? Yeah, well, not anymore, I guess.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

New Haircut and A Compliment

I have a new haircut -- Well, not really new, but better, I guess. I have given up on my new hair stylist at The Salon and gone back to my old one at Salon Visage. When I first started going to Salon Visage, it scared the bejeezus out of me. The people there are SCARY! They're all 20, pierced, tattooed and it feels like they've all sucked down about a gallon of Red Bull right before you got there. Everybody wears black and they have the Fashion Channel on at all times where little 65-pound women walk back and forth on catwalks in supremely ugly clothes where their boobs are almost always JUST about to pop out. You can see why I kinda felt out of place there.

But I sucked it up and made an appointment last week because my hair was like straw and because my roots were in bad shape -- and I mean bad. When I called, I was pleasantly surprised to learn they had now opened a new salon on Market Square, much closer, and my colorist now worked there. So I marched down there today. LOVED IT! It's so not like the shop out west. It's laid back, quiet and they play actual music I know -- Rascal Flatts, can I get an Amen, anyone?!? They still have the Fashion Channel on, but it's not nearly as offensive there for some reason.

So anyway, I sit down to get all foiled up and the girl across from me hears me talking to Caroline, the hair color girl that I dearly love. Caroline's asking about all my kids, how they are, etc., just catching up. So the woman in the chair across from me says, "There's no way you have a teenager." I said, "Well, he's my stepson, but I did just turn 38 a couple of weeks ago, so I'm definitely old enough." She screamed -- I mean it. She screamed and said, "Shut up!" The girl doing her hair literally said, "I don't know what virgin blood you're drinking, but I want some of it." MADE...MY...DAY! Never going back to The Salon again...