Bittersweet Sixteen

16 years ago today I got my first glimpse of the face that was going to change my life for the better forever…

I’m quite sure at that moment I had absolutely no preconceived notions about what that little tyke would be like at the ripe old age of sixteen, but even if I had…he has far exceeded them all.

So today was the day to celebrate Uber, and celebrate we did – – mostly by eating our way through the better part of two counties!!  Andy’s “formal” celebration was on Saturday, when we got together with 15 of our good friends and family for an outing to the local minor league baseball diamond.  Our home team lost in a big way, but we made up for it in loud enthusiastic support!

But today was all about the food!!

Homemade waffles in bed for starters…

A stop by our favorite coffee cafe, where Uber is so much of a regular that they had a candle-topped muffin already waiting for him!

Then it was time for Andy to cash in on his birthday present from one of our dearest friends – – lunch out at a local vegan eatery.  Right up Uber’s meat-free alley!! What we didn’t know was that our friend’s restaurant suggestion even provided free birthday favors in the unisex bathroom!!!  Those vegans know how to party!!!

After a little more rambling around in Uber’s favorite sections of counter-cultural society, it was time to eat AGAIN…this time at Timeworn-Techie’s house for burritos, and of course some ice cream and cake. 

I swear the poor kid just told me, “Don’t worry about fixing me anything for breakfast tomorrow mom.  I won’t be hungry.”

Thank goodness we couldn’t afford a car for the kid on his big day.  He’s going to need to walk till he’s 17 just to burn off today’s calories!!

Happy 16th Birthday Uber!!!

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Teenager plus one

I swear it seems like just a couple months ago that I was bemoaning my youngest sons entrance into official teenage-dom. And yet, yesterday was H-T’s 14th birthday!!  How does that HAPPEN??!!

H-T is into keeping things really simple these days, so all he wanted to do to celebrate the 14th anniversary of his birth was have a family dinner at IHOP, followed by a silly string duel in the backyard. 

Uh. Yeah.  I think we can manage that.

I take back everything I’ve said about teenagers. 

Teenagers are a piece of cake.  (or in H-T’s case, a piece of store-bought giant chocolate chip cookie.  see?  easy!!)

This stage is crap!

All through the life of my kiddos, I have adored every stage and age.  In fact, whenever people would say to me “don’t you think this stage is the best of all” I could ALWAYS answer “YES” no matter what stage it was, because they were ALL the best. 

From the newborn still-smells-like-heaven stage, through the toddler might-survive-if-they-can-stop-running-into-walls stage, up through the intensely curious preschool stage and the fun stage of elementary school where I finally had these two little PEOPLE who I could joke with and talk to and basically convince that I walked on water in my spare time.  All of it was pretty wonderful, actually.

And then we cut to now.  Where my oldest is fifteen and is desperately caught between childhood and adulthood. 

And I am basically useless to him. 

When he craves independence, it’s to be independent of me and my protection and my influence.  When he makes a big change in his life, I am sometimes the last to know.  And when he craves solace and comfort, I’m not a candidate because I “just can’t understand” what he’s going through. 

Seriously??  I can’t understand the person I pushed out of my body and have spent basically 24/7 with since that moment?? 

THIS is a stage of the process that I could honestly do without.  If you are in this stage as well, I send you my sincere condolences.  If you still have years before this stage, then please – – by all means – – enjoy them!

Someone wake me up when we get to the NEXT stage, please.  Or just assure me that along with this stage comes an extra layer of skin that I will soon grow into, okay? 

The Good News and the Bad News

So wow!  I can’t thank you folks enough for all the well wishes on my behalf after I shared my basically nauseating tale of having a mole on my upper back removed. 

The good news, though?  The little creep was innocent of all charges, and had been taken to the slammer unjustly.  However, as a result of the experience, he has decided to travel from school to school as a cautionary tale of what can happen when you forget to use sunscreen.  Be looking for him at an assembly near you…

On a totally unrelated note, however, I’m sad to report that my eldest son also has a growth that I have no idea how to get rid of.  It would seem that he and his netbook have become a single entity. 

Where my son goes, the netbook goes.  Coffee shop, grocery store, church, mall, homeschool gatherings. 

In fact, I’m pretty sure I saw him take it with him to the bathroom yesterday.

It’s becoming a little worrisome.  I’d like to separate him from his new gadget, but I fear it may take more than a visit to the dermatologist to get rid of this foreign body.  I’m not even sure a surgeon has got the skills needed for an excision like this one. 

Nope… this one is going to need some heavy-duty psychoanalysis, I think.  If I could only remember how I got H-T to finally give up that pacifier…

Who Is This Linux Guy…And What Does He Want With My Son??

Computer rigeneriamoci

Image by rigeneriamoci via Flickr

I’m not sure how your family actively studies vocabulary, but we have our own unique strategy around here: give birth to a geekling. 

Our 15-year-old has a new passion, and I can always tell, because a whole new crop of words begin cropping up in his daily conversations. Now I like to think of myself as somewhat of a word nerd, but I quickly realize I am out of my league when the following arcana starts to infiltrate our life:

Ubuntu

Root (and I don’t mean like the plant!)

open-source

Debian

partition

desktop environment

I kind of get the whole “desperate parent” thing Jon Voight has going on.  It is not exactly easy to be completely bypassed by the person who was asking you to help them tie their shoes not long ago! 

So to stay in step with my son it means I have to embrace the idea of Linux. 

Lordy, do I feel old today.

We’ve Still Got It

Increased Geek Quotient

Image by bpende via Flickr

So from time to time, I look back at my bloggy beginnings, and I’m a bit in awe of the way things have taken shape over the last couple of years.  I wish I had a saved screenshot of Topsy-Techie in it’s humble first months…it would be a hoot to do a before & after shot here!

But I also occasionally look back to my goals for what I wanted to accomplish with my blog.  I happened to think a wanna-be techie mom, raising two geeklings – – one a techie-genius and the other a techie-addict – – was somewhat hilarious, and I hoped other people might find it to be so as well.  And then, of course, I wanted to share all the fun ways I had found to integrate technology into our day-to-day homeschool lives.

In some ways, I’ve really stuck to those original ideals.  My Friday’s Hardwired Homeschool Hints series, for instance, has been a way to share my favorite educational technology for homeschoolers on a weekly basis.  But in terms of other content, I’m usually all over the map.  Maybe that’s not a bad thing…it might possibly get REALLY boring to regale you with the tales of Uber’s latest programming conquests.

But today, I’m heading back to my roots.  Gonna fill you in on a little of the true geekiness that’s been going on around here in T-T land.

  • Uber loves coffee.  He loves coffee shops even more.  Our town has its fair share of ones to choose from, and several are within walking distance of our house. So, Uber starts out many of his mornings by walking to a local coffee shop and chilling.  This morning when I asked him what he did while sipping his java, he matter-of-factly explained that he was working through some hexadecimal problems and figuring out how they could apply in real-life situations.  He then told me he had given the barista there his email in case she needed some tech support.  I didn’t bat an eye at any of this.
  • H-T loves video games.  You would think I mean that he loves to play them, but trust me – – that is a secondary interest.  His first love is watching videos ABOUT video games online.  Ratings, reviews, cut scenes, and sometimes people actually just acting out the game as the game characters.  Scary thing is, I’m pretty sure H-T would be making these videos himself if he weren’t so pre-occupied with watching them.  It’s the weirdest pastime I’ve ever heard of.  And he can spend HOURS at it. 

The thing about raising two geeky teens that I find the MOST hilarious, though, is listening to them call each other to their respective rooms:

Hey Uber!  Com’ere!  You’ve got to see this new video game trailer!!

Hey H-T!  Com’-ere!  You are going to FLIP when you see this new Linux interface!

I consider myself fairly technologically savvy, and I assure you that this is all greek geek to me.  But I adore it.  It is a unique and unusual way to live…and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

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Awww…They’re Human Again

Parthenon from west

Image via Wikipedia

So yesterday, I gave into the whine that had been building up, and gave it free rein.

But today, I have been privileged to sit on the sidelines and watch and listen as my two wonderful young men have made their plans for learning today.  Thanks to the suggestion of Stone-Age Techie, we have begun to read aloud the first in the Percy Jackson series to supplement Uber’s current interest in Ancient Greek culture.

This read-aloud has led to a natural interest on H-T’s part in Ancient Greece as well – – especially the different gods and their attributes. So, the boys have added a documentary on Ancient Greece to the Instant Watch queue on Netflix.  Then, together (yes I said TOGETHER), they have decided to watch that documentary over the network, on our new BluRay player.

Then, as I have sat hear quietly eavesdropping from the bedroom, my two free-form scholars have begun watching and making the most awesome comments back and forth about things like airborne illnesses, Sparta, and the Coliseum.  It is a beautiful thing to listen to!

So I think at least PART of the prescription for the illness that is teenage-dom must be taking charge of one’s own education.  Perhaps it meets some of the cravings for independence that are so common at that age.  Whatever the reason, I’m feeling pretty doggone happy about this educational experiment.

For today, I have my young men back.  And I have unschooling to thank.

 

p.s. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to head back to Monday’s Topsy-Techie birthday giveaway to enter for a chance to win the Martha Stewart cake decorating kit!