Tuesday, May 28, 2013

AM~Erica Helps Take on Who?

So anyway...

If you read the previous post, you know about the AMAZING BIRTHDAY EXPERIENCE Teen Girl had. But it didn't stop there. See...my daughter has this habit, as many do, of living in fandoms. Probably her main fandom is the world of Who. Yes, she is a Whovian.

Now then, I am no stranger to the Whovian fandom...my friend Nikki, who I have BROUGHT UP BEFORE, has been one for many years. So, I grew up watching Four, but didn't grasp how long it had been going, or how long it might last. But I would hear Nikki talk of the different Doctors here & there. Plus, in the days before caller ID, if there was an obscene or telemarketing call, she would just "tell" them (read: yell at them), "I'M A WHOVIAN!" Yeah...entertaining.

Now with my daughter into it, plus my sons sort of, and with other friends of mine who are Whovians...PLUS all the nerd/geek boards on Pinterest...I pretty much quasi-stay up with it by association. So I know what some references are. Enough that I can understand some of the Who-speak without totally pulling my smile-&-nod technique.

With this being the case, it started on Christmas 2012 (beyond just the episodes we'd try to help her find) when she received this from Santa:

Yep...that's right. There was a TARDIS in the living room. A cardboard cutout stand up...but a 6', super amazingly-awesome TARDIS! Oh...and a sonic screwdriver set, too.

Well, her love for Who hasn't let up at all. And with it being her birthday, taking her to the cottage garden got her super excited when she saw the little greenhouse. Why? Well it has a familiar look to a Whovian, and she had to get her pic with it, of course:

Imagine how freaked out she was when she saw the greenhouse was "TARDIS blue"! With the windows, it had a TARDIS-like feel...so we got her picture in it.

And it didn't stop there! We found an amazing gift for her! One that was so perfect, we had to make sure she had it! We got it at, what some might dread, Hot Topic. We actually went to see if they had any t-shirts for any of her fandoms, and we found a lot of different things! One employee ended up helping us. And I mean she HELPED us!! This chic was a gothic-pinup-tattooed character with a friendly & bubbly personality & disposition. Hubby & I decided she was a shorter version of Abby Sciuto (you know...NCIS lab chic). She showed us a lot of really cool things. We sauntered around the store, found a few possibilities, but nothing we were really excited about. Somehow we missed the entire Doctor Who corner at the FRONT of the store... *face palm* So we were trying to get excited about something there...but...ugh. We told our Abby-like chic that we were shopping for Teen Girl's 17th bday...and her eyes lit up. She asked what size Teen Girl wears & says she might have something in the back. But it's so special...it hasn't been put out in the store yet...but didn't want to tell us what it was in case they didn't have her size. She bebopped to the back room...and we waited...

After a couple of minutes she came out with the most amazing thing! THE. MOST. AMAZING. THING.
However, she didn't have the right size & we decided to order it. We got it picked up in time for the family gathering. And this is what she wore:

Is that amazing? Yes...it is a TARDIS & British flag dress. And it's totes a-dorbes on her!

Then, along with that, she was dying to have a TARDIS cake. Well...no pressure there, eh? *sigh* After thinking thru trying to a 3D TARDIS, This is what I came up with:

Teen Girl felt the urge to light the candles on her own TARDIS cake

So...only being a partial Whovian, I did the best I could to try to appease a hardcore Whovian. It was a nail-biter! But Teen Girl seemed amused. I'll take it, cuz it is what it is. But I got some encouragement & pats on the head from posting these pics. But then...this happened...

If you click right HERE, you will see where this pic ended up & the message attached to it! It's kind of a big deal, yo. You need to read the comments, too! So awesome!!! (Just FYI: I was asked if it could be used by the page...that made me feel even better about my cake effort!)

So...I think the TARDIS has served her well. I just hope an actual blue box doesn't show up...she would jump on the chance to be a companion, for sure. I think she'd be an awesome companion...but I would miss her! Well...at that point in time. I'd see her other times, too...I'm sure.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

AM~Erica Shares the Happy

So anyway...

If you remember, I found a NEW HAPPY PLACE! (<=== read that link for a refresher)

And...I said that more stories were going to come from that place. Like right now...

While we were there, a display of rings in the glass case portion of the counter caught our eyes. The owner noticed us gawking at them & informed us those were button rings. Lo & behold...they really were cute as a button! Go figure!

At that moment, we knew that we would have to work out getting Teen Girl up to this magical place for her birthday...and have some CUSTOM button rings done for her. See, she got possession of my grandmother's old buttons from her sewing stuff...so there was a plethora of buttons to pick from! So, we had her pick out a couple of her favorites & just told her to keep the buttons with her. Trust me...her curiosity was peaked!

Finally, on her birthday...we told her that we had to leave right after she got home from school...and to make sure she had her buttons. She was very confused, but compliant...and off we went!

We pulled up to the small, brick storefront with black awnings. As we entered into the door, Teen Girl was already quite intrigued. We looked around the adorable gift shop, and showed her the counter. Our guy was nowhere in sight at that point, so we took her over to the steampunk gallery side. Wow! Was she ever taken by the treasures in that place! Like mother, like daughter? Probably. And after spending several minutes checking things out in there, and Teen Girl trying on some tiny steampunk hats, we headed back to the other side.

The owner was there & we introduced Teen Girl to him. We pointed out the rings in the case to Teen Girl & she finally began to realize what the buttons were for. We told the owner that we wanted to have couple rings made for Teen Girl's birthday; he asked when it was & she told him that it was that day! He gushed & happily measured one of her fingers & got to work on one of them. While we waited...guess where we took her! That's right...THE GARDEN!!!

She was so taken by the garden, and so enchanted...she was nearly moved to tears. See? Like mother, like daughter? Yeah...something like that. And after just a few moments, the owner appeared with the 1st ring. He then measured another finger for the 2nd, and left us to enjoy the garden some more while he went back to work.

After a little bit longer, and taking a few birthday pics of the girl, and after receiving the 2nd ring...we headed in to pay. When we got to the counter to pay a VERY REASONABLE price for the customized button rings, he went back to the floral area, picked up a beautiful little set of floral purples & violets, then said that no girl should go without flowers on her birthday! See? This guy is fantastic! They just happen to be in one of her very favorite colors, too!
(Oh man...there I go getting all verklempt again...)

Teen girl was so emotional by the experience! She got rings made just for her, a spectacular experience in a garden, and flowers, too.

She found a new happy place! See? Like mother, like daughter. Amm-i-rite?

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Thursday, May 23, 2013

AM~Erica Introduces a New Found Happy Place

So anyway...

Things have been so insane with end of the school year events...I haven't been able to concentrate on blog posts! Whew! It's really been insane around here.

However, hubby & I have discovered a new place in the meantime. I have decided it's our new happy place. You cannot go there without being truly enchanted!

A couple of weeks ago, my hubby found a wine shop in our area. We didn't know where it was exactly & went searching for it, since he found out the shop got a shipment of a wine we were looking for. Now, I had seen this store online, but didn't think much of it. Shame on me...I know. But we took one of our date-Fridays to search out this wine place.

The store is located in a historic-looking, yet rundown, part of town. I'd heard of this area, but had no idea where it was hidden. It looked like they were doing work on the buildings & trying to revive the area. We have truly been on a nostalgic kick in the last few months, and this place had a sort of muffled magic to it.  We found the wine shop. It appeared to be a hole-in-the-wall type place, but wanted to get our wine while getting a bottle for a gift, too. And we entered...

This shop wasn't big, but was really adorable. We started chatting with the owner, and she wasn't a snooty wine snob at all! She was super willing to help, gave us tips...and even introduced us to a couple of wines with an impromptu wine tasting! She told us about her shop a bit, her fun cork wall art, and then about the area. She also told us about another shop that caught my attention for sure! She said one of her friends does steampunk art! STEAMPUNK ART, people!! That is one of the coolest things EVER!!! He also has a floral shop, too...and a garden of sorts that sounded amazing. We got our bottles, happy we made a new aquaintence, and went on the hunt for this other place. We found a small brick outing of the strip shopping center that had black awnings. It looked like another hole-in-the-wall joint, but wanted to check it out...

People...I cannot express the magic we came across. There was a gift shop up front if you enter to the right. The steampunk art "gallery" is if you enter to the left. On the gift shop side, if you continue to the back, you will come across the counter that reads, "There are no customers...just FRIENDS." Behind that counter is the floral arrangement center that you can see thru an opening. There is a room off to the left of the floral area that houses wedding portraits. If you walk passed that room & head passed the counter...you will enter a garden courtyard that is so amazing. Folks, if I didn't point out that it's back there...you would never know.

A tiny cottage, a small greenhouse, a mini waterfall, a koi pond, things growing & blooming everywhere, a hidden garden, an outdoor movie theater...a place where weddings & beautiful events can take place. Oh...and a fabulous chandelier lit & hanging from a light-wrapped tree. Pure. Magic. There's also a couple of fountains, as well as other works in progress.

The lighted tree chandelier & the waterfall...gorgeous! And magical!

Fairy garden is a work in progress...oh...and there's gnomes

Treasures of all sorts from every which direction! And we were enjoying the steampunk portion when we asked the owner, being he had a floral area, about getting hold of a tiger lily. I don't see them very often, and had really been wanting to get some for my grandmother. When I was a kid, I remembered those being her favorite flowers. Not sure why I remember that...but I do. Then the owner said, "Like the traditional orange ones? Sure! How many do you want? I can get you as many as you'd like." WOW! We were stoked! But my hubby picked up on the wording & said that they would probably need to be ordered. Which was fine...I was really excited to know we could finally get a hold of any! He did ask if we wanted ones cut or if we wanted it in a pot to be a house plant. Being my grandmother can't get outside & I would love for her to enjoy them for quite some time...I opted for one in a planter.

And...as he offered for us to look around some more while getting in our order, we came across an amazing choker! And...it was WAY more affordable than I'd even ever imagined! So...my hubby got it for me!

Amazing Steampunk choker...*swoon*

We checked out the beautiful cottage garden...that just seemed to delightfully keep going...and when we were done...we went to pay for the fabulous choker...and the potted tiger lily waiting for us to come for it at the counter! While we were being so enchanted...the owner went & dug up a tiger lily plant from the garden! I cried. It was so beautiful & emotional. I found out later that the tiger lily was his mother's. And I cried some more...

It was a beautiful, enchanting, satisfying & energizing morning that day. It was a day we made new friends, found some delightful finds, and came across our new happy place that we look forward to visiting more often.

And trust me...we had plans for Teen Girl...

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Monday, May 6, 2013

Even After 4 Hours, AM~Erica is Beaming

So anyway...

After Teen Girl having QUITE THE THEATRICAL WEEKEND (click on the link to read about it), we were subjected to another end-of-the-year deal...

Yes, it's that time of year when all the kids have activities going on that require award ceremonies & such. And...all of our kids are involved in totally different things. In general, that's so awesome that each kiddo can be involved in their own thing...but...it's really hard when none of these things are connected & all the end-of-year stuffs are being scheduled at the same time. Or one right after another. No rest for the weary! Amm-i-rite?

Well, tonight, we were subjected to another event. Teen Girl just finished all the play stuffs for the year, Lil Guy just finished his sports stuffs (but has some other things coming), but tonight was Teen Boy's turn.

Teen Boy's "thing" is the forensics stuff. He's part of the NFL! My dramatic friends know that is actually the National FORENSICS League. It has to do with speech (aka - competitive drama) & debate. The wall-talkers. And tonight was the night to recognize this group. We got dressed up & paid for an OK meal. We heard that Teen Boy would probably get a letter as a freshman, so we'd watch for that. But there was more!

So...he also got his Forensics degree of Excellence. I think he was recognized as degree of Honor, but not all the points were put in by the time the awards were put together. Between the points he picked up by doing both the drama AND debate side...he's accomplished a lot!

Then...THEN? Then he was also given the honorable mention (read: 1st runner up) for the team member votes as Novice Speaker of the Year! WOOT! Cuz he's in a large novice class this year. So this was huge!

Then do you see the red plaque, too? If we weren't already proud enough...this one came...
These plaques given were chosen by the coaches. The Outstanding Member Awards were to be given!

The debate coach stood up & started describing a young man up for the Novice NFL of the Year award. As she described him...we realized it wasn't Teen Boy. This was OK. It was his 1st year & was planning on sticking with it. But then she held up another Novice of the Year plaque & began describing another young man who she said would become obvious in a moment. At first, it sounded like Teen Boy...but she started saying that this young man would track her down, either by text or other means, to make sure she knew about any & all current events. She also said this young man would pour much of his extra time into helping out team members better prepare for debate & extemporaneous events. And then it happened...

She called out Teen Boy's name!!!!

Please pardon my crazy-mama reflection. That plaque is SHINY!!

Yes...I burst into tears! Hubby welled up. Even Teen Girl got emotional...which that's kind of a big deal.

Holy cannoli! Even the hardcore seniors...the ones that my son aspires to be...gave him a standing ovation and stopped him to shake his hand in congrats. These are national qualifying team members, folks. Even ones that have finished in the top 10 nationally. And they were right there to root on my son!

We. Are. Beaming.

The nearly 4 hours didn't seem so bad when we knew it was Teen Boy's time to shine...we just didn't realize how much more brightly compared to others.

Oh...and by the way...he lettered, too.

Someone! Hand me a hanky! I'm a bit verklempt over here...

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

AM~Erica Has Good Timing in Running Late

So anyway...

This weekend, Teen Girl finished up THE SPRING PLAY by playing Adela in "The House of Bernarda Alba".

Anyone familiar with this story will know it's a dark, heavy & intense drama. With Teen Girl having a love of musical theater, this was quite a stretch for her. However...she pulled it off amazingly. I promise...it's more than just a biased parental judgement.

I am still sick that we could not make it to opening night. Still not going to get on that rant to take away from this, but my heart does ache. However, we made it to the 2nd of 4 nights. It wasn't hubby's cup of tea since it was just high on shouting & drama thru the whole thing, it was still acted very well. It's not a typical high school go-to play...but the talent level in these high school girls was jaw-dropping.

Now there was supposed to be some family attending her closing night. But due to some circumstances, there would be no family there for her last night of shining glory. I felt so guilty about it, especially considering no one there for her on opening night, I decided last minute that I would go support her. Someone HAD to be there for her! I did so after I expressed my sadness, and hubby said I should just go...and I did. No arm-twisting...I grabbed my purse, said goodbye, and ran out the door...

If traffic would cooperate, I would be getting a ticket (if there were any left) & getting into the auditorium as things would be starting. Believe me...I prayed all the way there!
And it all went well. As I ran in the doors, money in hand, the ones at the ticket table had a ticket ready for me (I must have sent a desperation aura ahead of me), I gave my money, they tore my ticket stub, gave me my change...and I rushed to the theater doors. Keep in mind that this play is black boxed on the stage; late-comers are embarrassingly obvious. As I was handed my program, the theater teacher/director was on the edge of the stage motioning for the doors to be closed. WHEW! And he just shook his head at me as he motioned for me to hurry down the aisle so I could try to get a seat on the stage...D'oh!

Thankfully I am in good with him & he helped me look around for a seat since there were so few left. He asked a couple if the seat next to them was open...but they were "saving it" for "Jo[e]" (who never showed up, by the way). But it was OK...there was 1 seat left in the front on the very furthest stage left corner. As the director pointed it out to me, I thanked him & took 2 steps hurriedly moving toward getting seated when he grabbed my arm. He leaned in to me & said in a low voice, "The girl you will be sitting next to was my Adela 5 years ago." Imagine my shock! And how well that turned out!

I took my seat next to the very adorable young lady. She smiled at me courteously, and I asked her about being Adela. Her eyes lit up that I knew that as she nodded at me. I explained that my daughter would be playing Adela. She seemed thrilled! But we didn't get to chat much...cuz it was time to start things up. See? I slid right in there...WHEW!

Now, for all my past/present theater actor & crew friends out there...you know how it goes on the last performance. No. Holds. Barred. Now...it can get dicey & edgy when it's a musical &/or comedy. Amm-i-rite? But when it's a hardcore drama...it's different. An already intense story line gets even more so. I was on the edge of my seat just watching how much more these actresses were putting into this performance.

Even though this play isn't a long one, it was 3 acts, so a couple of intermissions were put in place. During these intermissions, I did get to chat with the "other Adela." She was already impressed with what she was seeing, and she was reminiscing about how much the director had kept so much of it the same as when she had done it (set & set up). She also told me that she felt bad that the director wanted to tell Teen Girl that his original Adela was in the audience. She didn't want to freak out the current actress in the role. However, she told me that she had a rose sent back to Teen Girl. I knew that, even though my kid would be freaking out that the director's original actress was there, she would be gushing about the encouragement!

When the play was over, "the other Adela" & I finally introduced ourselves. She was hoping to work her way out to meet Teen Girl, too.

As I finally got a chance to talk to Teen Girl about the experience, and her sadness about the play being over, she told me about the card(s) attached to the rose sent from the 1st Adela:

Awwww...!!! This was a very big deal to my daughter! And the "other Adela" really seemed genuinely thrilled by how the play went & how Teen Girl did.

Also, my daughter surprised a lot of people with her intensity, her sobbing & her portrayal of Adela. The feedback I heard, even from strangers whom I just overheard chatting, were amazed by Teen Girl.

We know she has it in her...and we are glad she was able to show her talent off in such a big way.

And the timing of me running behind actually led me to sitting & being a part of the coming-full-circle: Adela to Adela. It was exciting & amazing. And just kept feeding THE PROUD PARENT IN ME.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Thursday, May 2, 2013

AM~Erica Has Gotta Brag

So anyway...

Remember when I pointed out WHAT A PROUD PARENT I AM? Well, a part of that brought up is in it's fruition/harvest stages right now!!

"The House of Bernarda Alba" is now showing at the high school! Opening night was last night, and there are shows each night thru Saturday.

Teen Girl is having her long-awaited shining moment.

Here's my guilty mommy moment...and it breaks my heart: I could not make the opening night of her big moment unveiling. All of this crazy weather & makeup schedules of all kinds of other things...the final "games" of flag football for Lil Guy were having the scheduled makeup games at the same time. That's a rant I'm not going to go on here...but I could rant. Because...well...oh yeah...not here or now...

Anyhoo...I did get to hear the end part of the play. Part of that has to do with:

1. I had to pick up Teen Girl from rehearsal...it might have been rude to make her walk home 5+ miles

B. It's not full theater - it's in Black Box format on the stage, so you can't see from the main seats...only on the set up chairs on the stage (so seating is VERY limited)

However, the parts that I heard were so intense! I didn't even see what was going on & I wanted to burst into tears. That wasn't from a Proud Mama standpoint...but just from sheer delivery of what I was hearing happening.

The family will be going to see Teen Girl in a role that should make any father squirm...but, nonetheless, we are so proud of her hard work & efforts. And, from what I literally heard (not a hearsay kind of situation), I'm really excited to see what she does with this very large & challenging role.

Don't forget...I'm a realist parent. If my kid is good at something, I will let you know. But if they are struggling, I'm not a stage mom that everything only centers around my kid. It's usually a team effort. And if my daughter is doing well...it because of her gifts, hard work, and an amazing cast to keep things going.

Even though I haven't SEEN it yet...it SOUNDS very strong. A cast full of strong young women. And I'm excited to bring my tissues & see the story unfold.

Oh...and to brag on my kid a little more, too...

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica