the sweet and the bitter

My social media timeline today reminds me that it is a big day in the life of many people I know because,

yes, Back to School season continues. This time today with these two.

You heard me!

These TWO!

BOTH of these girls.


I look at this 8 year old before she enters into her third grade classroom thinking how can she possibly look so much more mature than an 8 year old…I mean I certainly did not look this confident and self assured and all I choose to remember of my own 3rd graders was how they were all elbows and knees with a smudge of dirt or breakfast on their chin that somehow missed my inspection on the first day of school. How could Hollie and Ben possibly allow this little girl to grow up so fast?

And then,

You guys!

The only positive thing I can say might be hurray for a November birthday and the state law of 5 years old by September 1st because, you guys!!!

Time is passing faster and faster y’all. I can’t make it stop. I’m just going to hold on as tight as I can while I can.

Happy school year my darling grand girls! Mima loves you with all her hearts!

The most beautiful moments always seemed to accelerate and slip beyond one’s grasp just when you want to hold onto them for as long as possible.

E. A. Bucchianeri

one last time

First day of school here under The Big Top, y’all. It’s just Daniel here under The Big Top but it’s still a big deal.

Dude…he grew TWO INCHES over summer vacation!!!

Meanwhile, here we are starting 8th grade and for me, mom of an 8th grader one last time. Lots of emotions and eye rolls under The Big Top this morning as we prepped for first day of school. Family and friends only encourage me to be that insufferable 8th grad mom as I shared the prerequisite First Day of School picture on social media. If I do become that mom, I make little apology because this is 8th grade, one last time.

:::eye roll:::

Mom, it’s time for school.

If you have been following this adventure since his very first day of school, you may join me feeling all the feels right now because here we are, eighth grade life, one last time.

I promise for him to try and restrain myself.

in Dan’s real life

This week in Daniel’s (don’t call me Dan) real life, he discovers “the BEST movie trilogy ever, Mom.” Back to the Future. His personal irritation aside that October 21, 2015 brought some disappointing inaccuracies…C’mon, Mom! Hover boards. They don’t hover.” …Daniel is loving watching and re-watching the Back to the Future trilogy. Next up might possibly be this little film called Beetlejuice. Oh, and he really, really wants a DeLorean when he is old enough to drive. That can’t be too difficult what with only 6,000 remaining.

Oh Daniel!

This week in Daniel’s life, he made it crystal clear that the only one who loves his long, curly hair is his mother…oh, and his stylist, Raquel, who really did not want to cut it all off. But like any excellent stylist, her goal is to make her people sitting in her chair happy.

This makes Daniel very happy. Handsome too. Just in time for his very first Tae Kwon Do tournament.

So nervous was he. But in the end he did well.

Current status in real life: relieved and pleased.

In other news, it will be back to school to EIGHTH GRADE in THREE AND A HALF WEEKS!!! 


honor rolls, awards, celebrations and other end of year shenanigans

Because moving and unpacking and all the fun and games and all the snafus that go with that can’t possibly be enough going on here under the new Big Top we have…

Relax, it’s not like we have a graduation to celebrate going on. Still there is a lot going on that is the very last week of 7th grade and it seems none of it really involves much formal learning. It’s okay. It’s the last week of school y’all and for that students, parents and educators are celebrating.

So here we are, Jodie and I, taking a break from unpacking and online summer classes and nightshift nurse life work prep, lined up with all the rest of family and friends waiting to attend the 7th and 8th grade end of year honor roll and awards assembly at Daniel’s school. I make good use of my wait time scrolling through my Instagram feed. In the background I am aware of the first world problems that is one 8th grade mom VERY upset because her precious snowflake is missing Perfect Attendance award pins from 4th, 5th and 6th grades and she knows that they have not been lost or misplaced, her son never received them and he is going to need them by TOMORROW because it is 8th grade graduation and these pins must be firmly affixed to his graduation gown as he walks across the stage. By now everyone in the school office is aware of this problem and just how serious it is as the office secretary tries to explain there is little she can do to fix this even if the mom has all of her child’s 4th, 5th and 6th grade report cards to prove he had perfect attendance.

The waiting is that tedious that most of us are caught up in the drama-trauma happening…will this mother’s precious snowflake receive his perfect attendance pins that will carry him on to the promise of many future successes in high school, college and beyond; or will there be heartbreak followed by a downward spiral into abject failure if those three pins aren’t affixed to his 8th grade graduation gown because this is the ONLY time that he will ever graduate from 8th grade.

Jodie might have audibly sighed and rolled her eyes.

I definitely snickered.

I blame my dear friend Kerri because this popped up in my Instagram feed.

For every kid who is not gonna get an end of year certificate for “Best” anything… For every parent who is getting to the end of the school year with barely one tiny thread of sanity left… For every teacher who got hit with extra credit requests from students who did no work and yelled at by Tiger Mamas… For every admin trying to get grades posted, custodian trying to get the building clean and PTA President trying to get the final budget done…
Good Job! *High Five* from this little squirrel. I don’t know why, but that’s just funny.

It’s totally Kerri’s fault. But yes, high five and hats off especially to the wonderful, hardworking teachers, administrators and support staff at my son’s school who must survive all the shenanigans that the final days of school bring especially from the parents of all of the precious snowflakes. I just can’t imagine but then again here I am waiting to attend the end of year awards’ assembly where my own favorite son will be recognized for all of his hard work this year, his 7th grade year.

Honor roll, it’s always a big deal; but even more so when you literally begin life weighing but one pound with less than 10% chance of survival it is a HUGE, big, fat, hairy deal of which your family makes no apology for celebrating every time. So proud of this favorite son of mine.

Apologies to first world problems 8th grade mom for perhaps judging you a little bit more than you deserved. Even more apologies in advance to all at son’s school for next year’s 8th grade graduation because another milestone seemingly impossible and unattainable those first weeks of life soon realized.

Yeah, I’m likely to be insufferable next year.

Forgive me.

Instead join me and celebrate this amazing, mighty human I call son.



the perks of a gap year

In the news this past week was the announcement that President Obama’s first born, seventeen year old Malia, would be taking a gap year before beginning her freshman year at Harvard. And we have learned that although some colleges and universities encourage incoming freshmen a year of deferment in order to keep them from buckling under the pressure of college or burning out, that a gap year is actually the ultimate sign of luxury and sloth….spoiled young people taking time off to play and party and sleep and not grow up on schedule.

Of course.


Andrea Peyser and other expert critics like her presume much.

Jodie took a gap year. It was her plan B when the girlish wishes and hopes and dreams didn’t quite play out the way she imagined and fit into higher education aspirations. Not getting accepted into THE ONE SCHOOL she wanted to get into gave her pause to really think about where she wanted to be in four or five years and beyond…of course after lots of tears, anger and disappointment. Her gap year included fun adventures to some of her happy places but her gap year was mostly about working…working THREE jobs. Her year off after graduating from high school was time spent helping with some of the juggling here under The Big Top. Oh, and yes, there was sleeping because working as a professional princess and teaching dance and keeping the citizens of Manteca well caffeinated can be exhausting.

A gap year is a luxury? If so I am glad that my daughter could afford such a luxury…even if her parents most assuredly are not in the top tax bracket. For Jodie, the gap year proved to be the best decision for this individual young person. It proved to be the right choice.

I’ll let Jodie share here:

Just like that, my freshman year here at Arizona State has come to an end. This year has definitely been a crazy one to say the least, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Not only did I join a sorority, ASU Delta Gamma, but through this chapter I was able to meet some of the most intelligent, driven, and caring women that I have ever known and have the privilege of calling my sisters. This semester I was given the opportunity to become my chapter’s Panhellenic Delegate representative, and it has been so exciting getting to know other Panhellenic women in our campus’ community. I also became involved in the ASU Programming and Activities Board – Tempe within the Live Entertainment department, and helped to plan numerous music events on campus, our homecoming comedy show with Joel McHale, as well as our spring Last Laugh comedy show. I’ve also been offered the position of Homecoming Parade Director and am so excited to start working on this and planning one of ASU and Tempe’s largest events of the year. I also started working at one of the Starbucks stores on campus and in my 7 months there was promoted to Barista Trainer and then again to Shift Supervisor. And of course, I have met so many amazing people this year and made some great friendships that I know will last. Obviously I can’t list everyone here, but you know who you are and I couldn’t have survived my freshman year without you. See you in August, Tempe, can’t wait to take on sophomore year!

And now, Jodie is home for the summer which means there is lots of hugs and giggles and a little more noise under The Big Top. It’s going to be a short summer for sure and a busy one for our circus but we intend to savor it all before this young lady heads back to Arizona.

My advice to the Obama family is ignore the haters and enjoy the fabulous young lady, who will always be your little girl, and what adventures come her way this next year before she takes on Harvard. Then again, I imagine they are already doing just that.