Family Weekend at WPI

After six long weeks I finally got to hug my boy again!! And hug him I did!! LOL. He was warned and graciously accepted my (not-so)surprise hugs all weekend! 🤗

Alan and I drove down Friday night and met Lex on campus for dinner. We ate at one of the cafe on campus, then we went to a show. The VOX (theater group) put on a show called Something Rotten that was hysterical. We laughed all the way through!

After the show we brought Lex back to his dorm, then Alan and I drove to the sketchiest hotel EVER!! It was an Econolodge that seemed to also double as a homeless shelter and methadone clinic — best case scenario. It was AWFUL! The non-smoking room smelled like smoke, the beds felt like box springs, and I was pretty sure my Tesla would not survive the night in that parking lot. There was a big tent with some sketchy looking people in it, all lit up at 11pm. We didn’t even unpack the car! That was the night I discovered that I do, in fact, have standards in lodging. (Had I read the hotel reviews a little better I would have made a better choice. 🙄) We got back in the car and left! We drove down the road a bit and found a Hampton Inn. Turns out they are owned by Hilton and I have a Hilton membership, and we got a deal for night-of booking and it all worked out to be almost the same price as the skeezy drug hotel! Of course I can’t get my money back for the sketchy place, but at least I felt safe in the Hampton Inn. It was a pretty crazy experience, but we definitely made the right choice to switch hotels!

The next morning we met Lex on campus for brunch at his dining hall. Because it was Family Weekend they had dining tickets available for families. We got lucky though and there was a college kid standing by the line offering to use up his extra meal swipes on parents! He treated us to brunch so we didn’t have to pay! It was a pretty cool thing to do. Their meal swipes reset Saturday night and he had extras that would have just gotten wasted, so he treated 10 parents to a free meal. Pretty cool dude!

They had a whole bunch of random activities planned for Family Weekend, so we walked around and checked out some stuff. Nothing terribly exciting, but I loved just being there. We went to the bookstore and I bought him two shirts to hang in his closet and look at for a few months before maybe trying them on. I also got magnets for my car and the teen car, and some new hot cups since the lids for the ones I have broke last week!

Lex had some homework to do, so we left him for a few hours in the afternoon. Alan and I went to Lowes and Best Buy to get him a shelf and a webcam. Then we met back at his dorm to drop off the stuff and take him out to dinner. Dinner, of course, was at the Olive Garden! LOL. We video called with Eve while we were there. It was fun, but maybe not nice for her. I’m not sure. She said she was happy to talk with us and that she missed the Olive Garden.

After dinner we went back to campus to see a free movie, Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse. Friday night they had the movie on the quad on a giant inflatable screen, but on Saturday they moved it into an auditorium due to rain. It was a great movie! I would have prefered to see it on the quad (they have lots of cool Adirondack chairs on the quad!), but it was good in the lecture hall too. Apparently they do regular weekend movies on the quad or the lecture hall. They had free popcorn and candy available. It was fun.

Sunday morning Lex had marching band practice, so I slept in a bit then Alan and I got a great breakfast at little diner near campus After marching band, Lex had to prep for his Concert Band performance. They had three hours of band at Alden Hall. First an hour of Jazz Band, which Lex is in, but apparently there are three Jazz Band levels and level 1 (the freshman) didn’t perform this time, but will at future concerts. Then an hour of Concert Band, then an hour of Symphony. Lex is in Jazz Band and Concert Band. He said there are a lot of percussionists in Concert Band, so they didn’t all play in every song. Of the six songs they performed, he played in three. I might be a bit biased, but I think he was excellent in all three! :)

We chatted with him a little before Concert Band started and he said he wasn’t feeling too hot. It had been raining all morning and they did their marching practice in the rain. He thought that didn’t help with his overall well-being. He was feeling pretty ready to crash. After the concert, of course! He also has test on Monday that he was trying to prep for, in addition to homework due Monday. It was a busy weekend for him.

After the concert we checked in with him again. He said he was still feeling down (cough, sore throat, etc.) so Alan and I went to CVS and got him so meds. The campus health center is apparently closed on Sundays. Good to know for the future. I was texting with him a bit this evening and he said the meds were helping and he was looking forward to a Nyquil-assisted good night’s sleep.

I’m so, so happy we got to spend this weekend with him. I miss him (and he misses us!) and it filled my mommy hear to see him thriving in his new world. Now we begin the countdown to his week at home in October between terms! Then I’ll get to hug him all week!! <3

The one and only time I take just ONE photo, I get this “eyes closed” photo, but I’m going to share it anyway because we all look so happy. He wasn’t feeling great. We just brought him some meds and were saying goodbye before heading home. I think his eyes closed smile is fitting. 💗

3 for 3

Big R passed his driving test today. Now we officially have three teen drivers in the family and I have officially completed 120 hours of practice driving with a teen with a permit. Hallelujah!

We drove 2hrs for a DMV that had an appointment. For some reason (all the usual reasons, I’m sure) driving test appointments are few and far between. Instead of waiting indefinitely for one to become available in town, we opted to go to one that was available. He got some extra driving practice on the way. Bonus! :) It rained most of the way there, but mostly stopped in time for his test. The instructor didn’t make him parallel park “because it was raining” so that was a double bonus! I don’t think they take parallel parking too seriously in this little state. Eve didn’t have to do it for her test either.

By this point, my third time ’round, I had all the paperwork we could possibly need, so the process went smoothly. Mostly. Turns out his permit had expired 11 days ago. Oops! They let him renew online before taking the test, which is good, I guess, but annoying that we had to pay for two more years of a permit so that he could drive with it for half an hour. The instructor was friendly though and overall everyone had a good DMV experience.

I have been missing having a second driver in the house for the past few weeks. Glad to be using both cars again. He did his first solo drive this evening, bringing himself and mashed potato casserole he made to a band BBQ at the high school. He said he was feeling very grown up. :)

Marching Band @ WPI!

My posts are now going to come in threes, apparently. You’re welcome.

Tonight I got to watch WPI beat WSU in football. They livestreamed the whole event. Do you care? No, me neither. HOWEVER, they have the “greatest band in the land” and THAT is why I tuned in! Lex had his first marching band performance tonight. His first week at WPI was for marching band camp. He auditioned for the drum line and was given cymbals. He was hoping for the snare drum, but he is just a freshman after all, so cymbals was a good place to start. Half way through the week he told me he was so glad he was on cymbals because the marching part was so complicated, he really appreciated having an easy instrument to play. Maybe the band director knew what they were doing. :)

So tonight was their first game. They livestreamed it and I loved it. WPI is a NCAA Division III school, so their football setup (and streaming setup) is only slightly better than high school, but they have a marching band and it was awesome. Apparently the football team is good too. Or at least better than WSU. :)

I’m incredibly happy that he decided to join the marching band in college. He has made friends, learned new skills (marching!), and even put on a silly uniform that matches everyone else. He’s come such a long way. And the best part is, he’s loving it!! I’m so proud of him!

Back to School

Back to school was a little different this year. I politely asked Lex and Eve to send me first day of school (or at least first week of school) photos from their respective schools. They are such wonderful people that they happily obliged. On the first day of school here I asked River if he’d humor me with a “group” photo, and he did. Yay. I’m a lucky mom.

My New Job

I started work at my new job this week. I’m the friendly new librarian at the Howe Library. I’ll spend a few hours twice a week staffing the reference desk (aka the information desk) and the rest of the time I’ll be selecting books for my categories and planning programming for the library. They assigned me to three genres: mystery, science fiction, and graphic novels. They asked if that was ok and I said yes, heck yes! I’ll also be helping with social media, because I just can’t help myself. :)

I can only work 35hrs a week, so today I was scheduled to close (at 5:00pm) so they reminded me yesterday to come in later this morning so I didn’t go over the 35hrs. Umm.. ok. I texted my friend last night and we met up for breakfast in town this morning. It was very lovely. The folks at the library even take hour long breaks! It has been a running joke this week at my reaction when I heard that and my question, “What do you even DO for an hour?!?” They were equally shocked to hear what a teacher lunch break looks like.


I’m starting a new job next week. Adult Services Librarian at the Howe Library. I had a little tour last week and they introduced me to someone who does the shelving and other people who do the ordering and processing. Someone else does the checkout. By the end of the tour I found myself asking “What exactly will I be doing?” They were surprised to hear that I did all of that and more, and that was only one third of my job at school! Apparently I will be in charge of collection development and programming, along with several other librarians in my department. It will either be a calm, peaceful job or totally boring. We’ll see.

However, this week all of my colleagues in education are starting back at school and I am feeling a tiny bit of survivors guilt. As many of you know. for the past bunch of years this has been a very stressful week for me as I prepared to return to school. The school library role these days is almost three full-time jobs: librarian, teacher, and technical support. In-service week always found me trying to get the library ready, the computers ready, all the various tech related accounts ready, lesson plans done, bulletin board up, and all the school-wide commitments as well.

This year, this week I’ve been updating district websites (another thing I always do this week), doing house chores, and relaxing a bit too. It is such an amazingly different feeling than previous years. This new job might be amazing or a snooze-fest, but right now I am entirely happy with my decision and at peace this week.


River and I took a drive out to NY last week to visit my family and tour RIT. He’s pretty interested in their tech and ASL programs. We stayed with Rosy for a few days, visited RIT, spent an afternoon with Julie and her kids (some of my favorite people!), and went to the county fair. A wide range of experiences in one short visit! LOL.

Lex and Eve, then and now

I talked the kids into a quick photo before they both left. It wasn’t hard to convince them. They are so good to me. 💗

It reminded me of a photo from a long time ago.

I paid a little more for the second one, but I love them both so much. The kids and the photos! Thirteen-ish years later and they still love each other. I’m a lucky momma and enterally grateful for them both. I hope they continue to love and support each other forever. 💕

Lex conquers college

It’s pretty quiet in my house tonight with both Lex and Eve out in the great big world.

Lex started his adventure at Worcester Polytechnic Institute this morning. We drove down with two mostly full cars and helped him move in to his first ever dorm room. College is weird these days and kids (at least at WPI) have to find their own roommates ahead of time. The college gives lots of supports and ways to find roommates. The process reminded me of online dating, but it worked and Lex “met” a pretty cool person online and they decided to be roommates. Today we met him and his family when we moved Lex in to his new dorm.

Logan and Lex

Lex signed up for the Pep/Marching Band and therefore moved in a week early for band camp. His roomie is also in the band. Lex had an “audition” this afternoon to figure out where he’ll be in the drum line. I’m not 100% sure what that means, but it’s a thing and he did it. He said he did it well too, so that’s good.

Alan, R, and I drove to WPI with Lex, got him all moved in, then drove home. I might have cried a little bit.

I’m super proud of him. We had a great conversation last night about feelings. He said he was having some, but wasn’t sure what they were. I listed a few, such as eager, anxious, excited, nervous, ready, and he said “Yes, all of them.” I think he was mostly ready. He has been been planning for this and did all the things and was really feeling ready for the next step. Last night when I was putting away the extra pizza/z.sticks, we were talking about what he would have for dinner tonight and I wanted to send him the leftovers. He said the band plan was spaghetti for dinner and he asked if I thought it would be possible to get some without sauce and meatballs. I said yes, probably. He said he wanted to have spaghetti for dinner with the rest of the band kids. IYKYK, that’s a big deal for Lex! (I just texted him to ask how dinner went. I’ll keep ya posted! :) )

Anywoo, in summary, Lex is awesome, I am proud, and I am happy, and I’m sad, and I’m so super proud of him. I can’t wait to go to a WPI game and see him in the marching band!! 🥁🎵💗

Eve conquers the world!

Eve began her amazing Swedish Rotary Exchange Student adventure yesterday. Today was her first day in Sweden.

Alan and I drove her to the airport for a 5:15pm departure. As a minor we had the option to pay an extra $150 for the “unaccompanied minor” program that includes many supports, including parents being allowed through security. We opted not to pay for that program, but the airline and airport on the phone a few weeks ago said frequently parents can go through security anyway with a minor, but it’s up to the discretion of the airport check-in agent. How’s that for stressful?! Her ticket was booked through KLM, but the first leg of the trip was run by Delta, so we weren’t sure where to check in. We started at the KLM desk who told us that parents could not go through at all (I almost cried!), but then noticed it was a Delta flight and sent us to their counter. The line at Delta was much longer, but we persevered and made our way to the counter. The woman there was more accomodating of my parental request. She asked which of us would be going to the gate and I was like “uh, both of us, please.” She turned to the agent next to her and asked if that was ok and he was like “sure, whatever.” I thanked them both profusely!

We made it through security with minimal trouble. They pulled Eve’s suitcase aside to check it because she had a weird high-tech looking reusable straw (thanks Joyce!) and a bag of metal stick pins (for Rotary). They TSA guy was confused by both, but figured it out and let her through. Thankfully!!

We got to the gate about 10 minutes before the started boarding. Perfect amount of time for a few pictures and an bathroom break. :) Then we said our goodbyes and she got on the plane. There were definitely tears on my end and probably on her’s as well.

The plane then sat at the gate for like 45 minutes before it finally pulled away. I don’t know what was going on all that time, but Alan and I sat at the window and made up stories to make ourselves laugh. There was another group that missed their multiple “final boarding” calls and only showed up after the gate was closed. The guy kept knocking on the door to the plane ramp, as though someone was standing on the other side, ready to open the door for him. It didn’t happen, but they made a scene so we figured that was probably the hold up. They didn’t get on the plane (I don’t think they ever reopen the door once it’s closed!) and finally it taxied to the runway and took to the air.

By this point Alan and I were very hungry and facing Boston traffic, so we decided to get dinner at the airport. :) Not the most thrity decision, but definitely made for a better ride home. Alan also need to get something from IKEA, so we swung by there first before heading north again.

I watched Eve’s flight on FlightAware, as though the love and support she was getting from me, Alan, and all the family was keeping that plane in the air!

She landed in Amsterdam around 12:30pm and I got a flood of texts that she had written during the flight! I’m glad I got them once her plan was safely on the ground.

She found her way to the next gate and had just a short wait before they boarded and departed. The second flight was just 1hr 20m. She was in the air. Later I saw a notification that the plane had landed so I started getting ready for bed. Then, much to my surprise and her frustration, I realized the plan had returned to Amsterdam! They found something wrong (she doesn’t know what) halfway through the flight and decided to turn around. The plan was in the air for 42 minutes before landing again in the same place. She was very frustrated and not feeling well at all.

Apparently they put everyone on a bus and “drove around for a long time,” stopping randomly and opening the door, then closing it and continuing to drive. She has no idea what was going on and said no one was making any announcements, in English or Dutch. The KLM app and the FlightAware website both said the flight had landed in Amsterdam and all is well. The flight app her host family was looking at said the flight had landed successfully in Sweden! Technology was no help and she was very frustrated and feeling bad.

Eventually they put her back on an plane and at 4am my time she took off again for Göteborg/Gothenburg. I set an alarm for one hour and took a power nap! LOL. At 5:30ish she texted again, on the ground in Sweden. She had some trouble figuring out which carrousel her luggage would be on, but eventually figured it out. At 6am my time I got a text from her host family that they had connected, so I sent hearts and zzzs to everyone and feel asleep!! (or at least tried to, the cat and dog made it difficult.)

She’s texted me a little a few times today. She’s feeling a little sad, a little lonely, and a lot nauseous, which I’m sure is stress related. She’ll be ok, I know. I am keeping the texting to a minimum at the beginning, to allow her time to make connections with her support people there.

She’ll be spending a few days with her Rotary Youth Coordinator while her host family gets their daughter off to Chile, then she has a week at a Rotary Orientation camp, then she’ll settle in with her host family and start school. Her host parents got her a new SIM card for her phone, and have taken care of getting tickets to a show for her and their teenage kids, and getting her a train pass to the orientation camp.

I’m sure many more Sweden stories will come, but I’m going to end this post with a HUGE shout out to my parents who went through this process in 1994 when I went to Sweden, without the ability to text with me or monitor my flights online. I don’t know how you did it, but I love you and so appreciate that you did! <3