Friday, June 26, 2009

Summertime Is Here...Along with Boredom

Summertime is here.

The last few weeks of school, the two older kids thought of nothing but that last day of class before summertime. Of course, not much thought had transpired in their head to what will happen after the last day except…freedom.

Now, how many days since June 10? The kids are already…you guessed it, bored.

The bickering has started, the whining of “nothing to do” is here, and the morning grumpiness due to late nights as arrived. Their freedom has turned into the ultimate blah-hum-bug for the house.

But, I can’t help smiling.

This is the nature of the beast. I’ve lived it for years and year now with them. They’re so used to others regimenting their daily life; now that their “freedom” has arrived they don’t know what to do. It’s a part of growing up, this learning to schedule your daily activities beyond the weekend burst.

Many parents are tempted to fill days of activities for their kids, to keep them busy throughout the summer. That’s one way to do it, it’s not a bad thing and for younger children it’s a must. But for me with the older kids, I keep the planned activities sparse for a reason.

I want to watch and let my teenage kids work it out. My only involvement is in the advisement and guidance. I’ll give them ideas if they ask, I’ll approve their suggestions once there voiced, and I’ll give boundaries to chosen activities…or adventures as I like to call them in the house (adds a little panache to it…don’t you think?)

So now we’re at the bored stage and what do you know…they are starting to plan the next day and the next week on their own. They’re thinking up walking trips, bus rides, movies they want to see. I didn’t have to even give suggestions yet.

It’s nice watching them near the next phase towards adulthood.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Daddy's Day!!!

Today is Father's Day, or known as Daddy's Day in our household.

To celebrate our favorite dad the kids and I worked on a Daddy's Day poster, we got him a fishing backback that he'd been wanting, and I created a video highlighting the best dad in the world...Ash.

Ash is one of the most dedicated father's I've ever met. The kids are always comfortable talking, playing, and just hanging out with him. He's an amazing cook, mechanic, and repairman.

He's the most active person I've ever met and I don't think he ever sits longer than 5 minutes. His energy levels and attention to detail help keep the lawn and garden's looking fabulous, the cars always clean, and is the main reason the garage is obsessively organized.

Most importantly though he's a great friend, husband, and father. So if you want to meet the greatest dad, click on the slideshow below.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Billy Has Graduated 8th Grade!!!

February 15, 1995…that is when our whole world shifted. William Joseph Norris was born that day at 12:20 pm and his blue-gray eyes looked up calmly, ready to take on the world.

And yesterday, he conquered his first big milestone…Middle School.

I was so proud hearing his name being called and then watching him take the certificate, shake all their hands, and walk the aisle back to his seat.

Here are some more pictures of the day…isn’t he so cute? (I mean handsome)

This is Billy with his friend Andrew.
This is the reception afterwards. A lot of parents and family showed up which was cool. They served punch and cookies (yum!).

Redwood Middle School faculty and organizers did such a great job setting this up and really made it a special event. But the real superstars were the kids who became high schoolers and of course, Billy who is our own superstar.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day at the Archery (Ash's 1st Posting)

After work my buddy Dean and I headed to the Napa Archery Range and tested our skills with the bow. I’m definitely gonna be joining the range. If offers much more versatility then just the 20 yard range I have set in the backyard. Backyards a good place to stay conditioned but the archery range offers more technique, elevation and distance experience which reflects real world hunting conditions.

Must have shot my bow a hundred times today (rotates sore arms).

This picture is the results for Dean and I at 40 yard range site. Deans arrow are neon green and mine are white and yellow. This was a good grouping at 40 yards.

These next two pictures are Dean shooting 70 yards at 4-inch arrows groupings.

These next two are me shooting at 70 yards with same success.

After we shot the 20, 40, and 60 yard site range targets we walked the 3-D shooting range. It was a good experience, as we walked the range we shot multiple targets ranging from 20 yards – 80 yards. Success was a little difficult due to a consistent 20 mph cross wind but will definitely be heading out again on a less windy day.

For those interested in more information on the range I've attached the link here:
See ya next time!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Little Bragging

I write a lot about my little amigo Norris’ and the hubby but today I wanted to gloat on myself a tad bit per the urgings of my kids. In my first public writing submission, I received some great feedback from readers. This is the first feedback I’ve ever gotten on my work by actual readers and has had me floating on air the whole month.

To lay out the background, Anotherealm Online Speculative Fiction Magazine was having a writing contest and the theme is “Get a Job”. I submitted my story, titled "Corporate Interview", which you can link to here: then click on Contests and there it is.

As my first submission I goofed the formatting (okay, so sue me). So, weeks go by and I'm nervously checking the site and seeing the ratings go from 3 stars to 4 and I’m ecstatic. But then I find, weeks after submitting, that readers have commented in the forums on my story (gulp, nerves at thought of bad reviews).

Here are two of the coolest comments:

“Nicely done. I thought the descriptive language, tone, mood were all done very well. Congrats to A.R. for creating a really clear picture of the character's inner thoughts and emotional turmoil.” - ArthurS

“Outstandingly written. Almost Shakespearean. Or Milchian. The words, the fairest of candy, roll off the mind's tongue; sweet in texture. Beautifully done. Simply beautiful.”
– Loaded4bear

All the comments were positive in the story but one didn’t like the ending; thought the story was good but had issue with end (specifically said it was a cop-out). I got where he was coming from as I worried over the ending myself, and endings are not my best areas.

Oh well, can’t please everyone, I guess. I'm really excited and looking forward to the results. Okay, so there was my bragging, all done now. - Chow