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!

Friday, September 28, 2007

He Did It!

Well, J. turned 15 yesterday. His dad picked him up early from school and took him to the driving center at Straw Plains so he could take the written test for his permit. Not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.

In this day and age, you've got to have everything except a DNA sample to get the permit. He had to have Social Security cards, birth certificate, truancy forms, a bill with an address on it, etc. Remember the days when you showed up, filled out the form, took the eye test and off you went?

So J., who has done nothing but yak on and on and on for months about getting his permit, gets called up, takes his eye test and in he goes for the computer part of the exam. J. has taken the online tests about a zillion times in the last few months, so I felt pretty confident he would be okay.

J. called me about 45 minutes after his dad picked him up and told me he had missed 6, one more than the allotted amount, and would have to come back next week and take it again. He said he was disappointed, but it would be okay. So I said, "Okay, let me talk to Dad." So Joe gets on the phone and says, "He's lying. He got it!" Woohoo, I said -- Not for me, because the thought of being anywhere in the same city while J. is in control of a vehicle causes heart palpitations -- for J., because he was marking a HUGE milestone in his life.

So when he got home, he did this stupid little grin (and spastic dance) and held his permit up beside his face and I just had to snap the picture. He looked like such a dufus, but he was 100% content with the world at that moment and that's why it's one for the books.

Later we had a family party with a big chocolate chip cookie, ice cream and lots of *teenage appropriate* gifts. Everyone left around 9:00 and we began the clean-up process. J. picked up all of his presents, straightened the living room, never letting the smile leave his lips. He told his dad it was a "good day". And it was...for all of us!

Happy Birthday, Little J.!

Monday, September 24, 2007


I had an interesting weekend this weekend -- the usual flurry of activity, but also a reflective one. My 20th high school reunion was this weekend. I, for a myriad of reasons, chose not to go. As one would expect, there are a flurry of e-mails flying around today about the reunion, pictures being sent, general pleasantries being exchanged amongst the participants. I thought I might feel sad afterwards when everyone was talking about what went on, feeling like I missed something.

But strangely, seeing the pictures and reading the e-mails only makes me feel better about my decision. 20 years down the road I'm actually exactly where I had hoped to be when I was graduating from KCHS. I had hoped I would have a husband and a family to call my own, a pretty little house, a LIFE of my own. And I do. To some people, I'm sure those things aren't high on the wish list, but for me, they always were.

So looking back at where I was and where I am helps me see how much of the mountain I've climbed -- and also how far I've got to go. So I didn't slam back too much alcohol with my old high school buddies this weekend, I didn't trot all my kids out to the *family picnic*, I didn't Botox my face, highlight my hair, go to the tanning bed and put on my obligatory little black dress (Okay, in my case, maybe not so little, but still black!) for the dinner/dance either.

What did I do? I took my precious 6 year old daughter to the emergency room when she couldn't get her breath. I taught my third-grader about simple subjects and simple predicates. I laughed with my friend as she told me how excited she was about moving into her new house and about all the crazy stuff she had bought to go in it. I went shoe shopping with Sydney and went to church Saturday night with my family. I helped Kelsey push cloves into an apple until my fingers ached, covering it with cinnamon and wrapping it in a pretty bow -- a special project for school. I spent an entire hour talking with my husband about our life, our beliefs, our children -- probably one of only a handful of times we've ever found a full uninterrupted hour since the kids arrived.

Sound boring? Maybe. But I'll take it. I'll take it and I'll hold it as tightly as I can until the day I'm gone. I used to think if I didn't follow the crowd I would miss something, be left behind, and I guess I feared I would feel that way again if I didn't jump on the reunion bandwagon. But after spending the weekend pondering it, I realize that's not my crowd anymore.

So to the Class of '87, the old crowd, I hope it was a blast. To the new crowd, a million thanks for helping me see I'm not missing a thing!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

High School Musical On Ice

Well, we went to the High School Musical on Ice show last night at the Coliseum. Originally we were supposed to be on the front row for the Friday morning show. However, last week I got a call from a very nice lady at the ticket office letting me know that Disney had chosen to cancel that show and I would need to pick another night. I said, "But we had front row seats!" She was very patient and said, "I am aware of that, but there are no front row seats for any of the shows left." Can you feel my frustration?

Anyway, the good news was that they had second row seats in a better section for last night's show, the first performance of about a million this weekend. Mom, the girls and I left early and had dinner at Aubrey's before the show. (This was my grand plan to keep them from being hungry at the show and spending a week's salary on snacks while we were there!) We got to the show 35 minutes early and browsed around, checking out all the glittery souvenirs that were being hawked in the lobby.

The girls picked out a couple of trinkets and then headed over to the photo station to have their pictures made with Troy and Gabriella. I have about a million of these pictures with various cardboard or plastic people they have set up at these shows. But it's kinda neat because it helps me mark time and see how much my munchkins have grown over the years. This year was especially telling because Kelsey is almost as tall as the cutout!

So after getting to our seats, the show finally began and it was an hour-and-a-half-long rock concert on ice! The girls loved it. They sang and clapped and giggled through the whole thing. The place was packed and there were little girls squealing all over the joint. Even the moms and dads were clapping and singing along to the songs -- because if their house is anything like mine, they're for sure gonna know all the songs before they get there!

Sydney and Kelsey were still babbling about it on the way to school this morning. Syd said it was the best ice show we'd ever been to. Kelsey said the lead skater was *hot*. (Okay, I know he's an ice skater, but she's 8, so cut her some slack!)

So I guess the night was a success. For me, it was a ton of fun. The kids were happy. Their Nana got to have a night out with her girls. I got one more photo to add to my sofa table. And we all got to add one more memory to our internal hard drives. What else could I ask for?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

UT Football

I love to watch UT football with Joe. He's a lot like my Papaw used to be, which used to drive my brother and my dad crazy. He gripes and rants and screams. This year, of course, he's doing it a lot more frequently because the Big Orange is, well, not looking so big -- or fast -- or good, for that matter!

We're watching the Florida game now and we're down by like 408 points and there he sits in his chair, orange hat on, orange golf shirt on, still cheering them on (well, alternating that with the screams of frustration). It's just a matter of time now before he says something like, "Well, we're young," or "Hopefully we'll play better next week," finally letting the reality of the situation seep in and relaxing a little bit. I mean, really, it could be worse. We could be NOTRE DAME, for Pete's sake!

I wonder if we'll have a new coach next year. I think we will. I'm usually one of the ones who feels like you should give a guy a break if he has a bad year, but I'm starting to have a change of heart on this one. It's just hard to watch it week after week and watch Joe get so red-faced and irritated. And it's especially hard when one of my old high school buddies is a Florida alumnus and will almost certainly be leaving me something supremely hateful in my in-box tomorrow morning! What else would I expect from a Gator fan?!? :)

We're only 3 games in and it feels like it needs to be almost over. It's going to be a looong season. Guess it's time to find a new bandwagon to jump on. How long 'till basketball season?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Grandparents Day

We had Grandparents Day at school yesterday. What a zoo! Mom and Mamaw O. came in support of the girls and we had muffins, fruit and juice. Since I am the room parent, it is my job to set up, serve, photograph and break down after all these celebrations. And I'm supposed to do it all with a smile and look as pleased as punch just to be there!

I don't have a lot of comments about the festivities for the day, but I just wanted to share the photos above. They're more special than we realize right now. Looking back, I wish I had a folder full of these with my grandmothers/great-grandmothers/grandfathers/great-grandfathers.

You never know what will transpire down the line that will make you wish you had proof of the way life once was. For Kel and Syd, I plan on making sure they have all the proof they need.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

New Job

Well, I started my new part-time gig today and I think it's gonna be a good one. I am working a couple of days a week with a photographer in town. Her name is Christy Bonifacio -- That's Bon-I-FOTCH-E-O -- and she says it with just the right Italian inflection in her voice. That's her picture up above with one of her munchkins -- Leo.

Anyway, I was a little apprehensive about my first day, and when I showed up at her pretty new house in Sequoyah Hills I was greeted by a million construction guys and her very gracious husband, who let me hang out in the bare living room until Christy got back from taking the kids to pre-school. But all my apprehension just disappeared when she came running in the door, arms spread open to give me a big, welcoming hug.

I had never met her before, only corresponded through e-mails and had only come to know her after I scheduled her to come and take our family portrait in November. After reading her blog one night and seeing how late into the night she was working, I e-mailed her and asked her if she needed an assistant. Don't know why. I did it almost without even thinking about it. She e-mailed me back and said ABSOLUTELY! And so that's how I got to the little office in Sequoyah Hills today.

She's a runner, going to Chicago tomorrow for a half marathon. She's funny, laid-back and has the most beautiful red hair in the world. And she has entrusted me to edit her photos, handle her website and pretty much manage every piece of communication coming into her office. For some reason, she feels I can keep her organized -- Funny, I know.

So today's a good day. I only hope I can balance this extra responsibility with school and softball and baseball and home. It sounds like a lot and it feels like a lot, but I think it will be a good thing, giving me something just for me.

If you want to check out her stuff, click here

Bonifacio Photography

Monday, September 3, 2007

Hannah Montana

Well, after much discussion back and forth, we finally decided to buy (scalp) the Hannah Montana tickets for the girls. Sold out show, November 24, tickets on Ebay going for $1,000 and up -- and sometimes that's just for TWO. So weird.

I remember back in the New Kids days how crazy it was, but was it sold out and people scrambling for tickets? I guess so because I can remember we sold some tix during that time, but I KNOW it wasn't as costly as it is for this show -- Inflation?!?

I know we'll get lots of comments, rolled eyes, whispers behind our back about spoiled children, blah, blah, blah. But you know what? I remember from the time I was old enough to remember going to concerts -- lots of concerts -- and I loved them. I remember SOOOO many, too many to list here. I loved that experience, something about the fact that you were in the same place with the person actually singing the songs you listened to on the radio made it like magic. I still love that experience.

Joe took me to Rascal Flatts last year with my two cousins and it was an absolute blast. I'm 38 years old and I still get a great big thrill out of it. There's no explanation, no picture I can draw, no way to explain why it is such a joy to me. (It's not like I love being in enormous crowds of people.) Maybe because it always carries me back to those times with Mom and Dad at the shows I first saw with them or to the first concert I got to attend alone with my best friend (Rick Springfield, Civic Coliseum, seventh grade). Maybe it's just because it gives me 3 hours of no responsibilities, no obligations, no worries. Who knows? Whatever it is, I want my girls to have it for themselves. And after our Cheetah Girls experience earlier this year, it is obvious they love the concert thing, too.

So after much discussion about it all, we're going. We're making it a birthday present for each of them and we're going.

Some people -- and I can probably name most of them -- are gonna have lots of judgment toward us about this decision, some of them reading this right at the moment. I guess the way I feel about that is -- respectfully -- I don't give a flip what anybody else thinks about it. My girls are awesome, fun, happy kids and I hope I can perpetuate that in them until they are grown and that it will live on somewhere in them until they're parents.

And if giving them memories that will stick with them until they're 38 years old costs me more than the asking price, so be it. I can't take it with me anyway. But I can leave all of those times -- concerts, beach vacations, ball trips, manicures/pedicures -- with them. So when I'm gone they'll be able to reach back and find those memories and laugh or smile or cry, whatever.

Then, when they're taking my grandkids to their first show, they can tell the story of their trip to Hannah Montana, or whoever, while they're loading up on concert programs and searching for their seats. And they'll get it when their little ones scream and yell and jump up and down when the show starts.

Time is so short and they're only little for a blink, a wink, a second. What is that song of Hannah Montana's Kelsey sings all the time? Life's what you make of it, so let's make it rock. Corny, corny, but so, so true. So if you're out on November 24 near the Thompson Boling Arena, I'll be the one clapping and laughing and singing with two little people and the old geezer and not regretting one millisecond of it!