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!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Guitar Hero

Joe decided to work off a little frustration after the UT game today by pulling out Guitar Hero. I decided this kind of performance needed to be preserved for future blackmailing purposes. Please empty your bladders before viewing this! Also, please note the little *groupie* bouncing around on the couch throughout. HILARIOUS, people, HILARIOUS! (The camera bouncing is from me laughing, so no complaints about the cameraman's abilities!) This is a little long, so if you can't watch it all, at least watch the last 30 seconds. FABULOUS!

Happy Birthday!

The UT cake
Joey's New Nav System

Today, J. turned 16 years old. SIXTEEN. Since we're an every-other-weekend kinda family, we celebrated the big day last Sunday, complete with enormous orange-and-white cookie cake and chocolate chip ice cream. We, of course, commissioned the Tennessee cookie cake prior to the A-beating the Vols took from Florida. Sadly for J., most of his gifts carried the same UT theme. We're thinking he can just put these away until basketball season, a time of year he can wear them without ridicule.

His haul from the party was pretty decent. He opened several cards filled with cash (his favorite gift), got some UT flip-flops, some UT car mats, a UT license plate -- I TOLD you it was a UT theme this year -- and a Garmin navigation system so that he can always find his way home. For those of you with a Garmin, you'll find that to be kinda funny since the Garmin sometimes doesn't always get you EXACTLY where you're supposed to be!

All in all, it was a low-key, but happy, little soiree. J. seemed content with the festivities, watching pro football and kidding around with the fam. Boys at 16 are so different than girls. Girls live for the Sweet Sixteen. Boys would rather you just write them a check and leave them alone. Girls want to have a huge party, complete with brand new BMW and 1,000 of their closest friends in attendance. Boys want to eat a burger, watch the game and hang out with the guys.

So here's the part where I'm supposed to reflect on how much J. has changed in the 12 years since I have been his Evil Stepmonster. The truth is: He's not that different today than he was all those years ago. He was cuter then, chubbier and he loved to hug. He loved baseball and football, anything he could assemble, puzzles, video games and he always went to bed on time. He made his bed every morning. He never fought me when I told him to do something. He was pretty easy-going. He's almost EXACTLY the same now. Oh, he grumbles sometimes when I ask him to do something, or he just flat out ignores it when I tell him to clean something up. He still loves baseball and football. He still loves figuring out any kind of puzzle you throw at him. He is a guru of the XBox 360 and he still goes to bed when he's tired, whether that's 9:00 or midnight. And every morning after he leaves with his dad for school his bed is made, looking like no one had even been there.

Is he perfect? No. He's a teenager. He's got his secrets. Probably ones I don't want to know anything about. But to us, he's a blessing. He's something to look forward to every Thursday and every other weekend. He's a role model for his sisters, a playmate for his dad and the first child I ever loved and cared for as a mother. He is silly and sarcastic, sometimes quiet and moody. He's funny and a jokester. He's smart and confident. He's an athlete and a fan. He is a big brother and a sweet, sweet son. He is everything we could ever want him to be. And today he turned 16.

Happy Birthday, J.!

P.S. Stay tuned until next week when I report on J.'s first trip to Knox Vegas driving solo with his newly laminated driver's license in his wallet. God help us all!


Friday, September 5, 2008

27 Days

27 days since I've visited the blog. 27 days. I haven't even thought about it, haven't even considered talking about the activities the Birchfields have been up to. And I know what you're thinking, could it be my new Facebook addiction eating into my blog time? Possibly, but methinks it is more like my daily panic attacks over school this year.

We've been in school since August 13, just got through Labor Day, but it feels more like it should be Mother's Day. I can tell this is a year where we're going to hold on by counting the days until the next school holiday. At least as far as Kel, currently in 4th grade, is concerned.

Fourth grade, do I even remember fourth grade? Ummm, yes, Mrs. Powers was my teacher and the class begged her to let us sing Summer Lovin' from Grease for the school talent show. Seeing as how we were in an itty bitty Catholic school at the time, she declined. That's it. That's all I remember about fourth grade.

I will not go into detail about this year, except to say Kel's teacher is all about form, if nothing else. By the end of the year, Kelsey could win Olympic gold in how to place a perfect bi-fold in a piece of wide-ruled notebook paper, literally line-by-line matched seamlessly. She will also become very adept at spending an entire day without laughter or smiling. Don't hate. It's a learned skill.

Otherwise, we've been busy, busy, busy. As I said in one of my earlier entries, in the BEST NEWS EVER IN MY LIFE category, J. announced to his dad that he wanted to take next summer off from baseball to visit potential colleges and research scholarships. I was so happy that we all went out to celebrate the day we found out. We were finally letting go of all the gunk and yuck that went along with all that and moving forward. It feels like we can breathe again.

Of course, Kel-Bell is still playing. Fall league starts next week and the team is spending this weekend raising funds hosting a baseball tourney in Oak Ridge. Most of the parents in the softball are a little more laid back than the baseball parents. Maybe it's because we don't travel as much or play as competetively as we did in baseball. Or maybe because this is girls and you can't get as wrought up about it because you never know when Little Jane is gonna decide she wants to cheerlead instead.

Syd is still dancing every Thursday with her girlfriends. She's doing great in second grade and is currently counting down the days until the Cheetah Girls concert in November. Her BFF asked her to go with her and they are going to the beauty school to get all dolled up before the show. She asked me today if she could dye her hair pink for the show and I said yes. Yeah, I know. But as long as she can wash it out the next day or so, who cares? I'm feeling a little rebellious lately anyway. I'm just attributing it to the fact that I just turned 39 and can see 40 closing in in the rearview mirror (Objects are closer than they appear, ya' know.).

I guess that's it, folks. The last 27 days have been a lot more hectic than that, but to tell you the honest truth, I'm too pooped to try and remember it all. I'm gonna try and post a little more in the future. We've got a few things coming up. J's going for his driver's license in 25 days, as he reminds me every day. It's like the countdown to Y2K was, the BIGGEST EVENT EVER! I'm just putting it out of my mind for now.

Anybody out there remember when he was 4 and hanging out the top of the limo at the wedding reception? He doesn't look so different now, just taller and a little more angular. He's not quite as squishy and certainly doesn't like to hug as much now. But there are days when he'll say something or ask me for a favor or just tell me how much he liked his dinner that I'll glimpse that little man again. I miss Little J. sometimes. And I know that after this next milestone I'll miss him more as he explores the freedom being the master of his own transportation affords. It's the next natural step. Then in two years he'll be gone to college. Over and out. I'm not gonna think about that now...

Okay, that's it for tonight. Hopefully I'll be back soon with some new pics and/or videos. Joe got me a Flip Ultra for my birthday (I wanted a cheap video camera to keep in my purse at all times) and Syd has decided she wants to start her own talkie blog. Prepare yourselves, people!