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Believe you can and you’re halfway there.
This month marks the halfway point in my term as president of the Wallingford Rotary. If you would have told me when I joined Rotary three years ago, I would be president, I wouldn’t have believed you. But here I am.
When you reach the halfway point, it’s always good to stop, look back and look ahead. Looking back, we have had some wonderful events that I am especially proud of including our first Pancake Breakfast with Santa which had a great turnout despite the snowy weather, not such good weather for driving, but perfect weather for Santa’s arrival.
My personal favorite thus far though is the creation of our Interact Club with the students from MRU. I really wanted to connect the opposite ends of our community, the young adults in high school and the older adults. My hope was that we could join forces (kind of like superheroes) for the betterment of our lovely Wallingford area community. The Interact students have helped out at every event we have had (since before they were even an official Interact Club) and were instrumental in making our Santa breakfast a success with their personalized ornaments for the little kids. The officers have been wonderful to plan and work with and we are very lucky to have their abilities, creativity and assistance.
Looking forward as I plunge into the second half of my presidential year, our club has been asked to host and cater the Zone’s Rotary Peace Center fundraising dinner here at the little red schoolhouse in the spring/early summer, we also have a Hungarian themed community dinner in honor of our lovely exchange student, Eszti in the wings as well as our old favorites, Bike Safety Day and looking past my term, our annual Lobsterfest!
While I can’t honestly always say that getting up when it is pitch black and frigid outside (like this morning) is my favorite (or even anywhere in the top 10), I do have to say that I feel lucky and blessed to have made friends with the men and women who are fellow Rotarians. It is well worth pulling myself up and out early on a Monday morning, I always leave that meeting with a smile on my face. I haven’t been a part of Rotary for very long, but I do feel that these folks go out of their way to spread good fellowship and cheer (even on those dark, cold mornings) which make it all worthwhile.
It’s hard to believe that it is halfway over, it flew by. I am excited to continue to meet new people and share laughs, community and good cheer with my fellow Rotarians throughout our community.
If you’d like to know more about Rotary or think you’d also like to get up for one of our sunrise (doesn’t that just sound so much better than 7 a.m.) meetings or one of our once-a-month dinner meetings (unfortunately at this time of the year, also in the dark), please let me know or just stop by…. we’d love to have you visit us.
Tonight was one of the big milestones on life’s path – our oldest son graduated high school. Last night was the Senior Awards Ceremony and I am proud to say that TJ was the recipient of two scholarships and a bunch of academic commendations. He and his fellow classmates have a lot of talent and it was apparent at the awards ceremony, where there was much to celebrate over the course of the evening. As eloquently stated by our principal last night, the awards ceremony celebrated the students’ differences, their different achievements — be they in academics, community service, athletics or music. The graduation ceremony tonight celebrated their similarities – each and every one of the students tonight received the same diploma marking the conclusion of their high school careers and marking the same milestone on their life journey. They are a wonderful group of young men and young women that I have had the pleasure of watching grow in the years that I have known them. They have grown into amazing people that will do wonderful things in the years to come. I am very proud of TJ and his friends. They are amazing and I wish all good things to them.
I think that the older they get the boys realize more and more how important they are to each other and how important their friends are to them. Tom and I have often told the boys as they were growing up that one of the best things to come out of our school and college years were the dear, dear friends that have shared many laughs and many tears in the years that followed college with us. Together, we have celebrated marriages, births, graduations and the growth of our children. We have cried together over the loss of family members, and other devastating life events. Good or bad, they were there for it all. Today, two of our very dear friends drove up with one of their daughters, our goddaughter, to be here for TJ’s graduation. It was a wonderful gesture and I know that they know how much it meant to both of us and for that I will be eternally grateful.
As the boys grow into their own lives and their own friendships, I hope that they are fortunate to find such dear, loving friends — friends that I have always liked to refer to as my “2 a.m. friends”. These are those friends that I know without any doubt whatsoever that I can call upon in the middle of the night to ask a favor or talk to or cry with or whatever and they will do it or be there without any question or any hesitation. These are the friends who were there when I miscarried and later when I was put on bedrest with TJ who brought me yummy muffins and smoothies and who believed in my ability to nurse when I wasn’t so sure myself; the friends who did all kinds of amazing things for which I am eternally grateful for me and my family when my dad passed away suddenly; the friends who watched my boys when Tom and I came down with the flu at the same time and couldn’t move a muscle; the friends that would leave breakfast foods on my doorstep when we got here in the middle of the night or had dinner waiting when we arrived from New Jersey; the friends that come and spend the holidays with us and make me feel like we haven’t missed a beat in years; the friends that would drive 6 hours in total to be there for your son’s graduation because they know how much it means to you. These are the friends that I hope that my boys have the good fortune to have in their own lives.
We are so fortunate to have such wonderful friends and such great sons. They have made me so proud that I think my heart will just burst at the seams. Tonight was an amazing ceremony and we are so proud of TJ and his fellow classmates and friends.
“I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known.” – Anonymous
I love you TJ and am so very, very proud of you today and always. ~ Mom
Last week and weekend, Tim auditioned for and was selected to participate in the New England Music Festival in Burlington, Connecticut. He and a few of his fellow classmates from Mill River (11 in all) traveled down and were hosted by local families. They worked for several days rehearsing music that they had been working on for months, since they found out they had been accepted. They performed a concert with other students from the New England states under the direction of a conductor from Michigan State University.It was a whole new level of experience for them. The kids appreciated the scope of what they had been chosen to be a part of and learned a lot. The music was beautiful. The experience for them was extraordinary.
This weekend started very early in the morning with a 2:15 alarm going off to rustle a child off for breakfast and then a trip to whale watch with his biology class. Company arrived and then a couple beautiful days of gardening, company and enjoying the weather. We enjoyed a nice dinner at our friends’ home with some great conversation.
The cousins and friends hanging around waiting for the start of the parade.
Our good friend, Tom French was the Grand Marshall of the parade. Tom received a Purple Heart for his military service.
We enjoyed the Memorial Day parade in town this morning, followed by more gardening.
It was inspiring to see a large part of the town and a lot of familiar faces all at the cemetery for the most important part of the whole day — remembering those who gave so much for all of us.
The day ended with a nice relaxing hour or so on our porch with a book, a breeze and my favorite guy.
Typing this as the sun sets. Despite my lack of a voice for most of the weekend, it was good. Feeling very satisfied.
Last night I got to do something that I’ve missed out on for the past three years. Every year when the Celebration of the Arts comes around, Tim and I are on a plane, or on our way to a plane or getting off a plane for Odyssey. He misses his “final exam” concert and I miss the delight of watching him sing. This year, due to the lack of Odyssey in our lives, Tim got to perform and I got to watch. It was a wonderful night of vocal music following a wonderful night of instrumental music. Both nights included an entire library full of visual arts from the various art classes and I got to see some of the really great pictures that Tyler took during his digital photography class on display.
Here are some of the pictures from last night. It was a very emotional evening for them, since it will be the last time this group of students performs together, particularly for Tim’s chambers group which will be losing the majority of its members to graduation. Lots of singing, lots of wonderful music and lots of tears.
This is a picture of the entire group of vocal students who comprise the junior and senior chorus at the school. They performed a mass choral piece to open the concert which was fabulous.
Our choral instructor with the graduating seniors during the last performance of the evening – a song performed by the underclass vocal students as a send-off to their graduating members.
It was a busy weekend for us. Tim was performing in Bistro, an annual dinner concert event sponsored by his school’s music program. I was on the Bistro committee and we had our entire families up here to see Tim perform. Having never been exposed, we were pleasantly surprised. The kids put on three performances – two dinner performances and a luncheon which brought the house to its feet every time. We were very proud of Tim and his solo performance and his fellow vocalists and the jazz musicians that performed were all amazing.
The audiences were treated to a fantastic performance, a lovely dinner and some truly wonderful music.
We had the pleasure of attending a wonderful concert at Grace Church Saturday night. Had it not been for Tim performing, we most likely would have missed out on some truly wonderful music. The Mill River Senior Chorus was invited to perform at a concert alongside Penn State University’s Essence of Joy choral group directed by Tony Leach. The kids, along with several other local choral groups got to spend the day working alongside the famous Penn State Chorus and its world re-known conductor.
We were treated to a two plus hour concert that quite literally rocked the church with the sounds of gospel and spiritual music. It was beautiful and a great opportunity for the kids. The final set of music was performed by all the groups together.
Talk about proud. I cannot even tell you how much my heart swelled to watch my baby perform a high school solo in the Men’s Ensemble as part of the Winter Vocal Concert at his school. The video that I post here doesn’t even do the performance justice. The good news is that he will be performing it live at Mill River’s Bistro in March — hint, hint.
Thanks to everyone who came out on a very rainy Sunday to help support the Mill River Odyssey of the Mind Team during our Silent Auction and Dessert Party. It was exhausting to prepare for it and yesterday was set up and dessert baking, today was more dessert baking and running the event. Together, the entire team and their families put in countless ( and I do mean countless) hours of time, energy and effort into putting together what we were counting on to be our largest fundraiser.
While people trickled in and out during the two hour event, we weren’t feeling very optimistic. There weren’t a lot of people, and there didn’t seem to be a lot of bidding, despite the really great items we were able to secure (Disney Park Hopper passes, Aerogarden, Keurig Coffee Makers, etc.)
If anyone out there is interested, we have a pair of ski passes to Wachusett Mountain and Saddleback Mountain that remained unbid upon. The Odyssey Team would love to see them go to a good home in exchange for some support for the team (in the way of good old fashioned cash).
When it was all said and done, and we were exhausted, it seemed to all work itself out. Magically, somehow, we wound up making enough money to cover the majority of the team’s expenses and that makes up for all the hard, hard work everyone put in.
Good job ladies (and gentlemen). Did we decide on when we’re doing that night out celebrating?
Tonight was the Music Showcase at Tim’s school. It is a pleasure to go to this concert and hear the wonderful talent that comprises the middle school and high school. Always entertaining (and I’m not saying that because my own child is involved) it is great night to sit and listen to some wonderful singing and music. Congratulations to everyone that participated, your talent was evident this evening.
Today was a whirlwind. It flew by but I am happy to say that we got quite a bit accomplished. The boys are off to the bus stop at 7:08 so we were out of the house by 7:30 to run some errands before work. We got the trailer inspected (you have to inspect trailers up here unlike NJ where they are evidently just happy enough to get your registration money – however if someone told them that they could get more money for inspecting the trailers, I am sure that they will take that on as well), picked up lumber for the porch and piping for the drains next door. We had the house sprayed for cluster flies since the nasty, annoying insects are making their way into our house again, as the temperatures outside are dropping. We had this done last year and I must say that it was well worth it. No flies for well over one year! So much less annoying than trying to play octopus and swatting at flies with one hand while cooking and covering things.
We had an evening soccer game and dinner out which was a nice treat. MRU 7th grade won their game against Otter Valley 5-0 so the boys were happy that they did so well for their first game of the season. Celebrated with dinner out. Nice treat.
Here is the video of the team’s performance.