Monday, May 16

Maddy Loves Music

 Maddy got a note from school today, congratulating him for a job well done in music class. Here's what the note said:


This is Ms Presley (
name changed for privacy), Madison’s Music teacher at Stenwood.  

I am writing to let you know that Madison had his name drawn from the Bravo Box in Music class today!  

Students put their name in the box anytime they are seen doing something great in class.  

He was recognized for being so attentive, cheerful, and helpful to other students, and I am happy to be able to recognize him for this!  

I know that you must be very proud of Madison, and wanted to let you know what a great job he is doing in Music class.


Ms Presley
Music Teacher
Stenwood Elementary
Clearly Maddy has a musical gene in him from Papa Mano'o's side. When I asked him what musical instrument he wanted to play next year he surprised us all by saying the cello.

I looked at Rach and sighed. Somehow I knew he wasn't going to say ukulele, but c'mon, a cello? Is there a stringed instrument more expensive than a cello?

Spending the Day by the Lake

We spent the majority of yesterday by Lake Burke which is about a 30 minute drive from where we live.

Most of what we do on the weekends is spontaneous in nature and for the most part, we are normally pleasantly surprised by what we find when we get there.

Lake Burke, to our surprise, had a mini golf course, amphitheater, train, play area and ice cream store. Our train ride was cancelled at the last moment due to rain and lightning so we'll have to go back again someday to see what that's like.

Maddy enjoyed the day outdoors in the sun, although he would have preferred if we had found a basketball court for him. He has a summer basketball camp in June and he wants to get some practice time in before then. Okay Mr. NBA!

Friday, May 13

If You Think You Know What Your Child is Thinking, You're Probably Wrong

Most parents think they know what their child is thinking, either from experience or by judging from their facial expressions but let me tell you this; chances are, they're probably wrong.

Case in point: I was walking Maddy to the car this morning when he asked me if I thought we could get a haircut this weekend. This struck me as odd since kids don't usually ask to go for haircuts so I asked him why he wanted to get a haircut. I thought he was concerned about his personal appearance or maybe his hair was getting in his eyes.

He told me that his friend Annie liked feeling his hair when it's spiky but his hair wasn't spiky anymore.

At the bus stop yesterday, Maddy asked me if his friend Patrick could come over for an impromptu play date. Since Rach wasn't home and I was planning on some practice, I told him no. He didn't like the answer but he seemed to handle the disappointment well.

So during our 10 minute drive to the bowling center I decided to talk to him about how pleased I was about how he dealt with the disappointment and moved on. I also delved into the merits of how we don't always get what we want in life and dealing with failures and disappointments built character.

After I finished with my 10 minute monologue, I asked him what he thought and whether he understood what I told him.

He nodded yes and said, "So Dad, when we get back, can I go hang out with Patrick at his house instead?"


Thursday, May 12

New High

Maddy, Rach and Dad's scores from yesterday
Maddy took his game to new heights yesterday during practice, scoring a 190 game. His new personal best featured a 5-bagger, or for those of you who are unfamiliar with bowling jargon, 5 strikes in a row.

He was giddy from excitement to beat both mom and dad in the same game.

Unfortunately for him though, his string of luck didn't carry over to his other games. Maddy and his mom had a friendly wager going and while Maddy was up 1-zip after the first game, mommy came back and beat him in the final 2 games.

He did not handle the disappointment of losing well. He got progressively worse after each poor shot and it snowballed from there. Mom's gloating didn't help matters much either!

I told my 8 year old boy that we learn more about ourselves in defeat and that we should be gracious in defeat as well as in victory. I don't know how much he will take from practice yesterday but I think losing to mommy will only serve to make him more determined the next time.

In the meantime, I hope to teach him that the way he plays the game and conducts himself is more important than the results. 

Tuesday, May 10

Maddy the Bowler


Maddy has taken a liking to bowling, which comes as no surprise because it's kind of our family game. As far back as I can remember, the Mano'o family has bowled together since we were young. I could never beat my mom in the first game and Dad would be super competitive even if none of the rest of us were. We all enjoyed a family outing to the bowling alley, or bowling centers as they like to be called nowadays.

Since I spend more than an average amount of time in our local bowling alley, Maddy tends to tag along when he can. He has a unique technique, where he spins the ball in the wrong way for a left-hander. He spins it from right to left and despite my attempts to teach him the more accepted left to right technique he ultimately reverts back to his own way of bowling.

I don't blame him, he's had quite a bit of success with it.

We start our Father/Son league in a couple of weeks and we are both looking forward to it!

Sunday, May 8

Mother's Day

We spent part of the day touring the Pentagon Memorial

That's the memorial behind us and the world's biggest office building

September 11, 2001. Where were you on that day?

The lighter part of the Pentagon is where the plane struck

Air Force Memorial. It's supposed to represent 3 airplanes in flight

We made an impromptu visit to Great Falls Park

The Great Falls of Northern Virginia

Our little rock climber, Maddy