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Archive for April, 2011

• Senioritis!

The kids are starting to feel it! Seniorits that is! With only a few more weeks until graduation and Quest almost completed, the kids are starting to feel antsy and a little squirelly! Most of the graduating class by now has made a decision as to where they want to go to college and high school is just starting to seem down right dull and boring. They are ready to move on out and start their new lives outside the Irvington campus. At the moment it seems that Michael is coasting to the finish, having made up his mind to attend UC Riverside in Los Angeles in the fall. He would rather strum on his guitar than pick up his Pre Cal book these days. Francesca continues to amaze us with her good grades and dedication to her studies, but unlike graduation for American high school students that means new schools and new beginnings, graduation for her means the end of her sojourn here in the States and her inevitable return to Italy to continue on with one more year of Italian high school. (In Italy high school last five years, instead of four as in American schools). So Francesca’s case of Senioritis may not be quite as grave as Michael’s!

But as the school year winds down, both kids are more interested in attending proms, senior balls and yes, even Senioritis the variety show that the seniors put on each year to poke fun at teachers and life in general at Irvington. Michael got in the act and along with several other water polo players put together a dance routine that included strutting his stuff to Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies”! (Video included below for viewing pleasure.)

Last weekend the kids gussied themselves up for Junior Prom. Michael and Casey attended Casey’s prom which was held at Chabot Space Observatory. Casey looked amazing in a long silver ball gown and Michael matched her with handsome tux with silver accents. Francesca attended the prom of her AFS friend Sisi, who hales from Brazil across the bay in San Mateo. Lucky Francesca, got to float her way through the prom on a boat that sailed San Francisco bay all the way under the Golden Gate Bridge. Magical nights were had by all!

Senioritis…I think we all have caught a little of it. The short term cure for the common Seniorits, you ask? Well, a Spring Break Road Trip to southern California for starters. So, that is exactly what we are doing. Hitting the road for the week visiting Pismo beach for some time on the beach in dune buggies and ATVs and then driving on down the cost to L.A….Hollywood and Disneyland! Check in for posts from the road and to see how the cure is working!

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Wow! So, the Mirabile’s have entrusted us with their sweet young daughter for the year and look what happens! After eight months with the Muldoon’s, Francesca has definitely undergone a few changes! But have no fear she may come home a little transformed, a little more poised and worldly, and perhaps a little more edgy, but believe me I will make sure she cleans off the makeup before she boards that plane back to Italia! All joking aside, this has been a fantastic year for both Francesca and our family and we have had a wonderful time together. Francesca has embraced our lifestyle and has amazed us with her intelligence and her effortless ability to rise to the top of her high school class academically, scoring high points on her SAT tests and achieving a 4.0 grade point average for her senior year. She has fit in beautifully at the high school, embracing the drama club and teen life at the school. Her English, which was pretty flawless to begin with, has gotten even better if that is possibile, so that now she speaks the language better than we do! And, as if that were not enough, during her entire time with us she has only gotten sick once! She has only just recently come down with a spring cold, proving herself to be human after all! Amazing girl!

Despite her cold however, Francesca powered through the final nights of Irvington’s spring punk rock musical “Starmites.” She worked behind the scenes helping with makeup design and application. (Hence the fantastic makeup work that she exhibits above!) The show ended last night, thus ending the 36 year teaching career of Linda Jackson, Irvington’s drama instructor and director. Ms. J. is one tough cookie. Fortunately (or not!) for Francesca she got to experience first hand what it is like to work with this demanding and yet inspirational instructor, first during the fall semester when she landed the roll of Scrooge’s School Master, and this spring as a makeup artist. I have to thank Francesca for her enthusiasm and initiative to get involved in drama at Irvington, because it gave me the opportunity to work with Ms. J as well and participate in the productions by designing posters and play bills. Such a refreshing change for me from all the swim events and baseball games that have filled my days previously!

March is always a special month for me. If you didn’t know by now, or if you have been living under a rock, it is the time for my month long birthday celebration! March started out rather blustery and cold and so most nights, after home work was completed, found us we cuddled on the couch as we watched episodes of  “Big Bang Theory” and more recently “How I Met Your Mother“. We made chili, baked muffins and made chocolate chip cookies to keep us warm. Plans are being hatched for Junior and Senior proms. Casey asked Michael to her Jr prom with a warm pizza from Pizza Hut with “PROM” spelled out in M&Ms. Of course he said yes. Francesca also has received an invitation to go to Jr. Prom with her fellow AFS gal pal Sisi from Brazil. We had a thrill in the middle of the month when a teenager (thankfully not one of our own) ran into the fire hydrant across the street causing a geyser to erupt and cause neighbors to run into their yards to gaze in wonder and awe at the sight of thousands of gallons of water erupting into the sky. Baseball is also underway and Pat & Kyle are busy with practices and games. Kyle’s team finally had a big win on Saturday, thus breaking a rather depressing losing streak, and I’m sure the team is going to rally and continue to get better and better from here on in.

The nicest part of the month of course, for me at least, was going out with girl friends for lunch at P.F. Changs, having a special birthday lunch with my husband and partying with  family members at De La Torre in Pleasanton. On my actual birthday, we stayed in and Francesca prepared for me a pasta of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella, or as I like to call it “pasta della Francesca”  and a chocolate cake. The top of the cake she decorated as the Italian flag…and by golly, the cake was really tasty!

It is a little bittersweet as our year with Francesca begins to wind down. It seems that the end of June is approaching much too quickly for my liking and the day when our girl must return home. There is one small consolation, however. I am busy planning our trip to Italy in August when we will be reunited with Francesca and her family and friends in Puglia. So, we may be saying goodbye to Francesca in June, but she is going to find that it will be very hard to leave us permanently! We will always be there for her and she will always have a place in our hearts and in our home, as will all her family and friends back in Locorotondo. Not only have we gained a daughter, we have gained a new family!

Ok, fasten your seat belts…and get ready for an amazing ride. The next two months are going to be filled with a whirlwind of activities, as we celebrate the birthdays of two eighteen year olds & a thirteen year old,  junior proms, senior proms, graduations, Grad night, and have a blow out graduation party, as well as go on a week long spring break trip to L.A! Hollywood…here we come!

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