Geography Bee Girl Buzzes

This girl!
I am so proud of her.
She studied over the past three weeks for her school geography bee – there were a few rough moments where she was not happy with me pushing her to study, but she did it anyway. In the end, I believe she tried really hard.
She had left this weekend to go to Grandma Ionno’s on a sour note. I had told her that she should take her geography book with her to study. She sighed at me and barked in an exasperated tone “how much do I have to study?” I explained to her that she needed to study to the point where she felt that she had tried her hardest. I didn’t know when that point would be reached but I knew she should put some time in since the bee was Monday. She rolled her eyes and turned to get in the car.
I was sad when she left. I questioned how strict I should be about studying. Should I demand she study for 2 hours a night? Or should I give her the freedom to study as she feels necessary? I felt like I had taken the middle road and required her to study at certain times over the three weeks but also given her the option to study or do something else (which usually ended up being “something else”).
When she arrived home from Grandma Ionno’s on Sunday, the first thing she said to me was “Guess how much I studied, Mom?!”
I asked her how much and she exclaimed “Two and a half hours!”
I was heartened to see that she had taken time away from playing with her cousin to study.
On Monday, I think I was more sick to my stomach about the bee than was she. All my nerves were on high alert. She was a cool cookie about the bee from the day she found out she was in it. Her nerves did get shaken a bit the night before and the morning of but I kept reiterating how Jon and I were proud of her no matter what.
“You studied hard and you will give it your all and that is a win for us no matter the outcome.”
When I walked in the room Monday afternoon, she sat in the middle of the long table between two fifth grade boys. She was stoic. She gave Jon and I a quick smile but then was all business. The moderator asked all ten kids (2 girls and eight boys) individual questions and then a group one where each of them had to write the answer on a white board like Jeopardy. Hilarious.
Ri got all of the answers correct! She and four others (3 fifth grade boys and 1 fourth grade boy) got them all correct so they got to move into the final round. The final round consisted of seven questions that Jon and I could not even answer (“which Mediterranean country produces the most cotton?”). One of the boys got lucky and answered one of the questions correctly so he became the finalist. Ri was gracious and smiled at him. Then she leaned over and consoled the boy next to her who was crying. She possesses such a warm soul.
Her teacher congratulated her on how well she did. She smiled and said thanks. Then she walked out the door with us, looked at a box of canned goods, and immediately started gabbing about the 4th grade can food drive. I loved how she already moved on to a new subject and didn’t wallow in despair over not winning the bee. She gave it her best shot and was on to new things. Yep, she continues to teach this grown-up many a life lesson.


With the freezing cold temperatures this past week, it was all you could do to run to your car, run inside, run back to your car and head home. I managed to take Rocco for daily walks but did not fathom asking the kids to come with me. He loves the weather and the snow.
I could not believe the three inches of snow on the ground when I woke up this past week. I was all irritated because I couldn’t go for a run. Those morning runs get my endorphins pumping and when I don’t get to start my day with them, it’s always tough revving up my energy.
I moseyed downstairs and made the kids breakfast. Ri had made her lunch and was ready to go with a ham and cheese and ketchup sandwich in hand. She might as well be in college. I kissed her goodbye and reluctantly went back upstairs to get ready for work. I yelled for Mario to put his shoes on. I heard nothing. After getting ready, I briskly walked down the stairs ready to scold Mario for not listening. Instead I heard a joyful scream.
“Mom, look at this!”
I walked out the back door and Mario was building a snowman.




The night was full of wrestling and slamming and playfully punching. Oh, and that trophy-thing. Mario loves getting him a trophy.

“I’m only 7, mom, and I have three trophies. I’m going to have so many by high school.” That’s our competitor.
Meanwhile, Ri came home from school to inform me that she was 1 of 4 fourth graders who made it to the school geography bee! The entire class took a test and the four top scorers get to move on to the school bee. The winners of the school bee go to the state bee and then the national bee. It’s sponsored by National Geographic. The questions are not easy either. It’s not like “what’s the capital of Ohio.” It’s like “in what country would you find a large number of Siberian tigers.” I was so excited for her. She was the only girl out of the four. That is my girl!

How the heck Jon and I managed to have such warm, smart, hilarious children, I do not know. But I rejoice over their presence in our lives every day I wake up. ;