School Days & Locker Talk

I’m a week and a half late to this link-up party but Nadine did this “Back to School” tag and introduced me to Andrea’s monthly questions. Since the link-up is still open I decided to play along.

Did you love school or hate it?
I loved school. I enjoyed seeing my friends, I loved having a routine, and I’m one of those weirdos that likes learning.

Start school before or after Labor Day?
I think we usually started the week before Labor Day. I never understood that.

Wake up: Eager Beaver or Slow Poke?
Mornings have never ever ever been my thing.

Favorite Breakfast?
My mom would make us Cream of Wheat on wintery weekend mornings (or snow days) and I loved it!

Favorite Cereal?
Life. (Sorry for even mentioning it, Rebecca Jo!!)

School uniform or no school uniform?
No, thank God. I was so into my style in high school.

New outfit for the first day of school or no?
Of course! Although, by high school I pretty much only wore band t-shirts, ripped jeans, vans, and a sideways belt. #emoForever

Walk to school or ride the bus?
I rode the bus until I got my license/car. Then I drove my brother and self every day.

Backpack, tote or messenger bag?
Messenger bag (in the pic). I had one from PacSun that was brown with pink embroidering and I LOVED it. I still have the bag even though it’s beat to crap…

Eat school lunch or pack lunch?
I think it was 50/50 in elementary and middle school- it depended on the lunch menu. I remember my brother bought more often than I did. In high school you could leave the school and get your lunch which I did 99% of the time.

Remember the little milk cartons? White or chocolate?
I don’t like white milk so chances are I was a chocolate drinker. #healthy

Paper bag or lunch box?
Didn’t we all pride ourselves on our lunch boxes? Especially if they had a matching thermos? (No? Just me?) I think I might have occasionally brown-bagged it in hs.

Favorite thing to do at recess?
We played American Girls and Disney Princesses in elementary school. Also, ‘big toy tag’ on the equipment. In middle school it was 4-Square.

Favorite back to school supply item?

Chalkboard or dry erase board?
In 2nd grade I told my teacher I was allergic to chalk and asked to use the mini-dry erase boards when we were practicing our letters. I actually just hated how my hands felt covered in chalk. Hahaha. Other than that, I think all my classrooms had chalkboards.

Regular or mechanical pencil?
Mechanical- duh!

Homework as soon as you get home or after dinner?
I used to do it on the bus ride home… Nerd alert.

Favorite after school snack?
Ramon noodles or a sandwich.

Favorite after school show?
General Hospital. Hahahahahaha!

Favorite subject in school?

Least favorite school subject?
Math; specifically algebra. 

Name of  your best friend in high school.

I never took the SAT. I got a 27 on my ACT the first time & told my mom I was done. Lol.

Favorite year in school.
I don’t know… Third grade was a fun year. Second grade I had my favorite teacher. High school had its highs and lows but it was fun. Probably my junior year was the best. I started dating K, I was so carefree, and I made a million reckless decisions but survived. I switched up my friends toward the end of hs because mine weren’t so nice, and I think I really figured out who I wanted to be at that point in my life.

I get anxious thinking about all the drama and emotions and trouble I went through in high school. Thank Jesus (and, honestly, Kyle) that I made it out alive. I hope I remember my teenage years when our kids go through them- I’d like to be an empathetic parent.

Class ring or no class ring?
I had a gorgeous one with a purple stone. I don’t know what happened to it…

Funny class ring story… One day I was wearing a male friend’s ring and we went to Burger King for lunch. I took the ring off because it was big and I didn’t want to get it messy or lose it. Well… I left it on the tray and threw it away. Later, when I realized it was gone, I called my grandma from the hs bathroom bawling because I’d lost my friend’s ring. She and my aunt went to BK, dug through the dumpster, and found the ring under a pickle. Best. relatives. ever.

Attend or not attend high school reunions?
My class didn’t have a 5-year and I doubt I’ll attend the 10-year in 2019. Maybe I’ll go to one later on in life. Who knows…

*sigh* I miss school. That said, I’d never go back or reverse time. Ha!

*Linking up with TBB for TBB Asks

High School Reflections

Last weekend I attended my high school alma mater graduation ceremony to watch my cousin receive her diploma. After listening to the graduates give some speeches (which were insightful and smart) I decided that I’d pen a little letter to the graduating class on my blog this week. Then I changed my mind. Then I found this post by Kelly Lorene & I was inspired.

pre-college, marriage, and adulthood Audrey… bold necklace choice, kid.

What kind of student you were in high school (popular, nerd, sport obsessed, choir, etc)?
I spent all four years of high school living in the band room. Socially that might’ve made me a nerd… but I never felt like I couldn’t say hi to the “popular kids” or partner up with a non-band kid in the science lab. I had a core group of best friends in band but I had many friends outside of the music world that played sports, sang in the choir, or participated in other activities.

About your school. Was it private? Public? How many in graduating class? Mascots? School colors?
I attended a public school. I think there were about 230 kids in my graduating class. Unless they were super new or in and out of the building, I knew everyone’s name. (I assume everyone knew me, too.) Our school colors were/are red & black and we were “The Quakers.” Yep… like the guy on the front of the oatmeal box.

About some of your favorite memories of high school or what stands out the most. Any teachers? Specific classes?
I think all my memories center around band and band trips. I remember my first WGI World Finals experience. I remember marching in a parade in Disney World. I remember visiting the “Top of the Rock” in NYC. For most of high school I had three best friends and I have so many memories with them. Those are bittersweet since we’re not really friends any more.

A piece of advice you would pass on to your children or any child entering high school.
I would advise them to be nice. Teenage years are hard and when I think back to moments that I’m not so proud of it’s the times that I was unkind. Be nice to your friends and the kids that aren’t so popular. Be nice to teachers and administration and your parents. If all the fish in the sea aren’t being nice, swim the opposite direction and show some kindness. Also- these four years are meant to be fun and educational. Pay attention in biology. Break curfew once or twice. Learn how to do laundry on your own. Take these four years of child-adult limbo and learn a few lesson.

A piece of advice you would pass on to your children or any child exiting high school.
To be 100% honest, it gets harder from here on out. But it’s also so rewarding. Whether you go off to school or the military or join the workforce or start a family- work hard and show some grace (toward yourself and others) and don’t be afraid to treat yourself. The world will try to convince you that you’re not good enough: as an employee, as a mother, as a boss, as a father. You are good enough, but you have to work for it. Surround yourself with good people. Strive to make a difference. Don’t forget to breathe.

Quite frankly, those questions were more fun than a letter 🙂 How would you answer them?


One Time, At Band Camp…

This may come as a shock, but I was a band kid. I started playing (saxophone) in 5th grade and didn’t stop until the end of my freshman year in college (as a vibraphone player). My brother was in band. My husband was in band. My mom and dad were in band. (Sensing a trend here?) I had my first kiss in the high school percussion room, I have only dated (snare) drummers, and I married the guy that I met on my first day of high school band (over 10 years ago!). To say band played a major role in my adolescence is a serious understatement. Did I mention that my husband now runs a business that revolves around high school, college, and independent band? Right, well, there’s that, too.


So I was a band kid. When I started in 5th grade it was fairly cool- we were all very excited to pick instruments and sit in the dingy elementary school basement and learn how to squeak out a G, A, B, C, and D. We got to go into the gym and try out the different instruments and decide which one we wanted to play for the rest of our lives until mom and dad said we could quit. As I mentioned before, I choose saxophone.

Band 2
Home concerts are a MUST when it comes to middle school band…

Then middle school happened and everything got awkward. Like, everything. (Middle school should just be called awkward school.) The band class on my schedule added to my awkwardness and things were, like, double awkward. Plus there were zits and that stupid unmanageable frizzy hair, of course. Let’s just say middle school was not kind to me and by the end of 8th grade I was done with the sax. (Plus, it’s awkward to say “sax” when you’re 13 because it sounds a LOT like “sex” and we were still spelling that word out in a whisper at that point.)

Before my freshman year of high school I told my parents I was quitting band. They laughed and said, “No, you’re not. We’ve got a lot invested in you and you will rise to take over the band universe, just as we’ve groomed you to do.” (Kind of kidding.) So we struck a deal: I could change instruments and play whatever I wanted as long as I stuck it out one year in high school band. So I became a percussionist. And “stuck it out” for four years.

Band 4
I love this picture because it has my baby brother in the background (…still taller than me).

My first day of band was in June 2005 and it was just seniors and freshman. (It’s like a get-to-know-you day… or like a freshman-drool-all-over-the-senior-boys-and-discover-that-hormones-are-a-real-thing day.) That day I told the instructor that I’d like to be in the pitt (or the front ensemble, as it should be called). Essentially it’s a bunch of differently sized metal and wood xylophones. (No, there’s actually a lot more to it, but I’m trying to keep this short. How am I doing? 482 words so far? Not bad.) Anyway, I chose pitt. So I was handed a pair of cymbals by this skinny guy with spiked hair named Kyle Mr. Mattevi who had been introduced to us earlier that day as the newest percussion instructor (among other people). He had only graduated the summer before so he was friends with all the non-freshman kids. Anyway, this dude hands me cymbals and I’m like, “In 8 years we will be married. You can count on it!” (KIDDING. I said thanks and went back to gossiping about the snare drummers with my friends.)

Band 3
My days on staff. Can you see K and I standing beside each other in the upper right corner?

Needless to say, my first year was a great year. I never ended up quitting. All my friends were in band and I turned out to be pretty good at metal xylophone (vibraphone). The next 3 years weren’t too horrible, either. Then I graduated high school, went to college, and spent all my graduation money to march a weekend drumline that forced me to forfeit my social life for 7 months. It was awesome. (That is not sarcasm.) I met percussionist with more skill that I could fathom and competed on a world level. I also spent a few years at my alma mater during the summer, teaching the younger kids in the front ensemble (just like Kyle had done after he graduated).

My years spent in band, both as a student and a teacher, hold some of the best memories. Band camp was the best and drumline was the absolute best. I wouldn’t trade any of my time in a hot, starchy uniform for anything. I learned respect, discipline, hard work, and cooperation. I learned how to take direction and how to give direction. (I also learned how to kiss, how to understand football, how to french braid (no I didn’t), and how to survive on a bus for 17 hours (hint: it involves truth or dare).)

My dad is in the left picture, my uncle (his brother) is in the middle, and my aunt (dad's sister) is in the last one. My hs band director is also the 2nd person to my dad's right.
My dad is in the left picture, my uncle (his brother) is in the middle, and my aunt (dad’s sister) is in the last one. My hs band director is also the 2nd person to the right of my dad.

I saw an article the other day entitled, “6 Things I Learned From my High School Band Director” and I agree completely. Band was a learning experience and an amazing “class” (plus hobby plus extra curricular plus sport plus lifestyle plus club) to be a part of. And my band director was like a real life Mr. Feeny because he started with us in 5th grade, taught at the middle school, and became the high school band director my freshman year.

Band 6
That’s me at the bottom, being a badass.

On Thursday my husband, my brother, and I traveled to the same band camp we attended as kids and watched my cousin give her senior end-of-camp performance. All my memories of that annual 4-day camp came back to me and all I could do was laugh about them. Kyle was there for most of them so the entire ride I kept saying, “Do you remember when…” or “Wasn’t it so funny the night that……” or “These kids have a resort-like pool now? All we had was a lake and an algae-infested ceramic bowl!” (which my brother responded with, “I had a pool that was filled in with dirt.” Haha!)

So today I am grateful for these memories and the life that I’m living because of my involvement in band. (And also all the pictures that came from my 9 years behind an instrument!)


Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

The Art of Friendship

This weekend my husband and I attended the wedding of a high school friend. Well, his high school friend. K is four years my senior and all his friends are one to three years older than him… so I am most definitely the baby.

||via|| & ||via||


When we first started “talking” I was 16 and K was 20. Needless to say, my parents had to be on board for the relationship to happen. Now, as 24 and 28 year-olds, it ain’t no thang.

At Saturday’s wedding we sat at a table with 6 other people- 4 of the 6 people having gone to high school with K and the other two being long time girlfriends-then-wives of my hubby’s friends. Everyone lives in Ohio, but we’re spread all across the state, so get-togethers like a wedding are a perfect time to catch up. Unfortunately, this was the last of K’s friends to get married. (Kudos to the new Mr. and Mrs. Taylor for putting us all together at a table- risky, but very appreciated!)

I can remember meeting each of K’s friends. I can remember being incredibly nervous and self-conscious every time. Some of these folks helped with band activities so when I met them I was nothing more than a random percussion kid in a sea of adolescence and angst… and also their best friend’s jail-bait. Right from the start I knew that fitting in was going to be a challenge.

Actually, I thought fitting in was going to be a challenge. In reality, it was seamless and smooth. Kyle’s friends My friends are incredibly welcoming. I have seen all of them get married and I swear I hear a new story about K’s high school shenanigans each time. This weekend was no different.

My best friend Erica graduated with K, too. Her husband has been friends with mine since elementary school. We had their little family over for brunch Saturday morning before we left town for the wedding. For the first time since high school, with the exception of our wedding, my husband hung out with all his friends on the same day.

Every day I look at my husband and I know how lucky I am to have such an incredible partner, but this weekend I looked around at our breakfast table and then our dinner table only to realize how lucky I am to also have his friends in our life.

We are most certainly blessed and today I am so, so grateful.

Have you kept in touch with your high school pals? When you gained a significant other did you gain more friends, too? How many weddings do you have this year? I think this was one of six for us…


Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey