14 February 2019
08 February 2019
31 January 2019
One of our Christmas traditions is to go out for Chinese food on Christmas afternoon. It used to be that I would go get carry out while the kids were playing with their new whatevers. As they got older, we started going out. Now, it's a full blown afternoon, with a buffet. This year a woman came to our table and did card tricks. Other families are there, too. A large group sitting at a table about ten feet away was very well behaved, but, let out a simultaneous scream that shocked us all - the grandfather had passed out $100 bills to each of the grandkids - Merry Christmas! Mom went with us this year, and we grabbed a photo on our way out - everyone is actually sitting in this picture (JMichael will probably be taller than Rachel one day - not yet!).
29 January 2019
It really, really is freezing. This white area Samantha is pointing to is a lake. Usually, it's a liquid. Today, it's a solid, at least on the surface. The snow on the lake is sitting on the ice on the lake and those poor fishes and turtles under there - well, let's just hope they have somewhere to ride this out.
Samantha, the Frozen Lake Queen.
17 January 2019
A friend once told me a story about her family and it instilled in me a desire to pass the same feeling on to my children. The story was that each night, when her mother tucked her in to bed, she would tell her, MaryAnne, you are my favorite child. Don't tell the others, because I love them, too, but, you are my favorite. My friend MaryAnne believed for her whole childhood that she was her mother's favorite and she never told her siblings the secret she shared with her mother.
One day, when the older siblings were out of the family house, MaryAnne's sister came to visit. She joked about how she missed having a curfew and doing chores, and how she missed being tucked in to bed. She told her siblings, I may not live here with you anymore, but, I'm still Mom's favorite.
MaryAnne was adamant, No, I'm mom's favorite. She tells me every night. No, said a brother, she tells ME every night that I'm her favorite. The jig was up.
MaryAnne said her mother just laughed when her children confronted her with the "deception". As now a mom herself, MaryAnne told me that story and it has stayed with me as an example of how to raise strong children - a sure foundation in love and commitment.
I have told each of my children that he or she is my favorite. I've been know to start off with, OK, who wants to be Mom's favorite today? Each of my children knows that he or she is loved and respected. Each is valued and prized.
This story and the tradition it follows is demonstrated in these notes. These are just some that I have up at the office today. I get them in my lunches, and I find them on my desk, when my ladies are in town, and stop in to see me. Love notes.
31 December 2018
The December 2018 splash found us at my brother Eric's house for a Christmas picture, which, honestly, was taken at Thanksgiving while digesting our huge dinner and festooning Eric and Abbey's house with Christmas spirit. They are five of my most cherished presents. Merry Christmas to me. Or, as we say at the BallTeam house, Mrree Khimush....
27 December 2018
She is pictured here on her sixteenth birthday - in DC - with Rachel, who took her out for the day. On Rachel's right is Matt Barkley, her boyfriend. On Charlotte's left is Markel Norfleet, her boyfriend. Rachel took Charlotte to the Smithsonian and out to eat, with the "boys".
Charlotte excels at making people feel at ease. She is fearless and as at home on the stage as one-on-one. Her laugh is contagious and she sings in the shower loudly enough for the cows to hear. She is in the tenth grade and we are having issues with her grades, not turning in her work, not going to class, not caring about performance. Her cutting resurfaced earlier this year, and is under control again, but, is still a constant worry. We have investigated changing her schools, changing her medications, changing her schedule. The only thing I would never change is Charlotte. She is worth every struggle. Happy Sixteenth, baby girl. Your real sweet sixteen present will come in March - stay tuned!