Thursday, May 31, 2012

Trophies for showing up

Soccer ended last week.   We had a party at Sonic for Gabe’s party.  The one by our house  (on Tryon) closed last year, and we weren’t surprised because the service there was so awful.  Then it reopened under new management and now they are stinkin’ awesome.  They have some great deals there now, especially if you are a part of Steele Creek Athletic Association.  Any time you show up in an SCAA jersey, you get a free slushie!   Combine that with a deal they gave us for the party, and we got three slushies, a kid’s meal, a BLT, two corn-dogs, a chili wrap, and a soda for $2.50!  Isn’t that incredible?  Even more incredible?  I didn’t eat any of it!!

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The next night we had a party at Colin’s coach’s house. Colin had a blast, but I spent the time keeping my roaming and overtired baby out of things.  She is at that stage – I spend a lot of time trailing two feet behind her.  Oh, and I also got to tell one of Colin’s teammates repeatedly not to turn the hose on and spray everyone in the backyard.  And guess how he responded?  Blasted it on and pointed it at Ollie, completely soaking him, and then….then, folks, he looked me straight in the eye and sprayed me.  Now, I am all for a good water fight, but not an unauthorized one when there are a couple of dozen kids around who aren’t supposed to get wet and trample mud into a very nice house.  This was a week ago, and I still feel like I was justified in the look that I gave that kid.

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So, my last little rant of the evening…

I love soccer.  I love watching my kids run and sweat.  I love seeing them figure out the rules and strategy.  I love watching them build relationships with their teammates and coaches.  I really feel it is good for them. 

Our league doesn’t really make a big deal about which team is best.  There are no trophies at the end for the winners. Everyone gets a little piece of a plaque every season they play in the league, to add to a big plaque.  I think that is very appropriate.

However, since our first season in the league five years ago, one or more parents on each team we have been a part of have organized getting trophies or medals for everyone at the end.  For being a part of the team. I know this will make me sound like an old fart, but I think that is just stupid.  Sure, I could fight the fight and say that I think it is stupid and have my kid be the one kid who doesn’t get one, but that would probably make me an evil parent.  So each season I shell out $5 –$10 to pay for the piece of plastic that will sit on top of their dresser with the rest of the growing collection.

I have to admit that when no one on Colin’s team this season mentioned buying trophies until the last couple of weeks, I did have a few panicky thoughts.  Uh-oh.  Trophies every season and then suddenly none?  That won’t go over well.  Do I really want this teaching moment?

This is how much of a curmudgeon I am about the whole thing: As we were leaving Colin’s party, Gabe and Colin were talking about their trophies, and Gabe said, “Mom has a lot of trophies from dance!”

And I actually said, “Yes, but I actually got mine for winning competitions.  Not just for being in dance.”

Yeah, I know.  Evil parent.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day weekend in the mountains

My brother Levi and his wife Audra recently moved their family to the mountains.  We got to help them break in their new place last weekend. 

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Some highlights: celebrating my niece Lettie’s 8th birthday, lots and lots of gorgeous scenary, lots and lots of cousin fun, my niece Ruby doting on Carina and Carina letting her take care of her, chatting late at night with Levi and Audra….and last but not least…..s’mores made with with toasted coconut marshmallows. Sooooo good.

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Any time these two high energy boys take a nap, you know they are worn out.  Thanks for all the fun Levi and Audra!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Let us stroll down Lover's Lane

I am a few miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway, listening to a rooster crowing and children laughing. There are views of swaying boughs and rolling green hills from every window.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon picking wild strawberries, I kid you not.

Just call me Cordelia, please.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Best buds

These two little boys were born four months apart.  At the time, the four months made them seem like they were barely even peers, but now they are as close as cousins can get.  A couple of times a week, they will spend the whole day together at one house or the other, and I love to eavesdrop on their conversations.  They both have clear, sweet, innocent voices, and they run around the house pretending to be superheroes and playing games that their older brothers might not appreciate. 

For Liam’s birthday yesterday, all he wanted was to go to Chuck E. Cheese with Ollie.  Sabina picked Ollie up at 8:30 am and Ollie was ready with a card that he had made and a present.  I normally swing by at around 3:15 to pick him up (on my way to get the boys from school), but Sabina asked if he could stay until we all came over for cake and ice cream after dinner.  When we came, Ollie was still not the least bit ready to come home.  The two boys continued to play together the whole evening, and even when there was a dust-up between the two of them, they had solved it and were jumping and laughing on the trampoline together before any adult intervention was necessary.

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We can never move…because how could I ruin this?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Warrior Dash

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The day started off with parental duties – piano recital, a picnic lunch at the soccer fields, and then a game.

Then we rushed home to change and left the kids in the care of their grandparents.

Since the day we signed up for the Warrior Dash, I had been telling Chad that we would not be running it together.  I did want to hold him back with my snail’s pace. As we drove, he firmly decided that he was going to stay with me, and I didn’t argue.  I was feeling more unsure by the moment. I had never run 3 miles in my life, let along 3 miles with obstacles.

We lined up for the last wave of the day.  It was a party crowd, screaming and stretching, taking pictures in their running gear, full of confidence. 

The time started and we took off.  Maybe fifty yards in, some of the people in front of us began to walk, and we passed them.  Okay, I am still running.  Yay for that. 

We passed the first mile through a hot a muggy field and Chad convinced me to keep running until we got the first obstacle.  It was further than we expected, and when we got there I was relieved that there was a bottleneck of runners.  We would have to pause to wait our turn.  We easily walked over some beams and ran to the water break. 

We passed more people all the time.  Sure there were plenty of people in front of us, but I wasn’t the slowest one there (like I had feared).

Jumping through tires and over cars, which was even worse than just running.

Before we knew it, we got to the mud.  Skirt around the mud, or jump right in?  I chose to jump and let out a yelp as the cold, red slosh went all the way up to my chest.  Our feet suctioned to the ground and then slipped slipped slipped as we made our way out of it and up a hill.  Laughing and trying not to fall, we grabbed at every tree trunk that was available.

With the wet earth pulling our clothes downward, we ran on.

Across a ravine on a slippery rope.

Over climbing walls

Swimming through murky cool water, climbing up on buoy's (with help from Chad and a kind stranger behind me) and jumping in again, losing my bib somewhere in there with all the other floating bibs.

Down a very long and very slippery firemans’ pole,

Jumping over fire

And then we saw it, the finish line, and the clock.

Lets make it before the hour mark, Dew, Chad said as we scrapped our knees into the mud and under lines of barbwire, the last obstacle. 

And we did.

It was exhausting, and exhilarating, and filthy, and the rest of the evening and the next day I just couldn’t stop thinking about how much I felt like a kid again.  I could not stop thinking about how fun it was. 

When exactly do we forget that using our bodies this way is fun?  That running, jumping, climbing, swimming, pushing ourselves and getting filthy is so much fun?  That even though it is so hard, it feels so good? 

We know that when we are kids, and then exercise becomes torture on a treadmill, something to avoid or dread. 

I am so glad I remembered. 

This is why I want to be in shape.  Not for a smaller dress size, not for a better facebook picture, not to keep my confidence.

For the joy.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Small and Simple Things Photography Launch Party

Tonight I am having a launch party to celebrate the official opening of my for-charity photography business.  I wish you could all be there (really really wish), but since you can’t, here is the video I will be showing to introduce Small and Simple Things Photography
I have been planning this little business in my head for months.  Now that I have finally made it happen I am a mess of mixed emotions: grateful, sheepish, nervous, and pretty exhausted.  I have a big day coming up tomorrow too.  Stay tuned.  It might not be pretty, but it will be fun. 

Music is Hourglass by Mindy Gledhill
Click below to find out more:
Bloglightroom

Monday, May 14, 2012

Oliver’s Turn!

I am doing reading lessons with Oliver now, just like I did with Colin and Gabe.  He recently finished 25 reading lessons, so he got to choose where he wanted to go on a date with me.  Oliver immediately said Chuck E. Cheese and then a couple of days before he changed his mind to Discovery Place.  We got all packed up to go, and I thought, “Hmmm, I should make sure our pass hasn’t expired.”  Sure enough, it had.  So I (easily) talked him back into Chuck E. Cheese. 

Carina fell asleep on the way there and I was able to just put her carseat straight in the stroller so she stayed asleep for the first hour or so that we were there.  We had the place to ourselves, and had a great time.  Oliver surprised me with his baseball throwing skills, loved playing air hockey, and did NOT love the rollercoaster.  He also conquered his fear of people in huge animal costumes and gave Chuck E.  a high five and a tentative hug. Carina was so not cool with that.

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In case you are wondering about the reading lessons, I use the book, “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.”  I taught Colin and Gabe how to read using the same book.  I like it because it requires NO prep work and each lesson is short enough that even the youngest wiggler can usually manage to last through it.  I keep a chart with 25 spots.  Each day they get a sticker and at the end of 25, 50, and 75, they get to go on a date with me.  Sometimes I have a daily incentive too, like they get to play the Wii for 20 minutes after they finish a lesson.

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Oliver is a little sick of the lessons right now.  He was really motivated by the Wii and stickers in the beginning but by around number 19 or 20 I he didn’t care about that anymore.  I had to convince him that he was super close to the date to get him to do a lesson every day.  I am not too surprised by this.  He is still  young and has a very hard time sitting still and focusing when its something that doesn’t excite him.  He doesn’t see where all of this is going, reading-wise.  With each of the boys I have seen a point where the concept of reading really “clicks” and they get much more excited after that.  He has not reached that point yet, the novelty has worn off, and he is now 23 more lessons away from a date, so we will see how often I can convince him to do a lesson.

I hope it doesn’t sound like something horrible that we are trudging through.  Doing these lessons has been one of my favorite things to do with the boys.  In the end, they are really happy to have accomplished the monumental task of learning to read before kindergarten.  It is a great bonding experience for us, and I love sharing the learning process with them.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Mother’s Day

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My Mother’s Day started out yesterday morning when I slept in and Chad took the boys to the Farmer’s Market and brought home the most beautiful bouquet of flowers (and some donuts).  We went to the gym and a soccer game, and then I spent THREE hours in the afternoon, by myself, at Target. HEAVEN.  After the kids went to bed, Chad watched The Vow with me.

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All the boys sang very sweetly to me at church and gave me homemade cards. 

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I have to share what Gabe wrote.  First, the front is a picture of a cloud “raining flowers” down for me.  Then read the inside:IMGP7947IMGP7946

He is such a sweetie.  A fearful sweetie. 

I told Chad that I would like to have my mom over for dinner, but that I didn’t want to make dinner so he called my Dad to plan it out with him, which resulted in my Dad cooking dinner for all of us at his house.  He very sweetly made a delicious all vegan meal!  Thanks Dad!  I wish I had brought my camera over to get some pictures of my mom and me.  As often happens, we wore matching colors to church without any planning.  I love you Mom!  Happy Mother’s Day

After dinner, we went home and the boys played some baseball in the house while Miss toddled around.  I requested a picture of the four of them together, and this is what I got.

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I love those kiddos!  I am very lucky to be their mom.  When I put Carina to sleep tonight she gave me lots of open-mouthed, slobbery kisses.