Laughter, Lessons, Life, Love, Parenting, children, humor, education, entertainment, arts

It’s Our Thing

The miniature version of me who really isn’t so me and is not so mini anymore, has caused great panic. First off, he took the path less traveled from school to my car. Now, I am a huge promoter of that path. Life happens off the beaten but not when 50 parents and 8 teacher proctors or whatever their politically correct title may be are watching you.

When school lets out, proceed to follow the path. That means the shoveled, highly salted, dry path leading from school to mother’s vehicle. Oh no, not little Peeno. He basically hurdles a bush, climbs a tree and treks through 6 inches of slushy, melting snow losing his boot. Yes oh yes, I am the parent slouching with sunglasses on and my visor down and my sun shade up and my car basically wrapped in a tarp so to not admit that rebellious child is mine.

But they ALL know….

As soon as he gets near the car I can see the stares, the giggles from his peers, the secret high fives from the junior high kids and my 2nd grader who is about to get down and out with all holiness this Spring, with that smirk. It’s that smirk that’s caught between I just won first place in track and want to stay modest and I just pulled off the unthinkable and got away with it. What he doesn’t seem to appreciate is that his mother often bears the brunt of his travels.

It gets better. Why I dared even to ask how his day was? Of course, I got the vow of silence but then I could see the light bulb flashing and him wanting so hard to speak it up. See, rear view mirrors have become my greatest friend. And seeing that I spend about 5.35 daily hours in my vehicle driving these kids to and from here and there, old rear view has been there.

He has been there when 96 school fundraising candy bars were being busted open. He sees army men’s heads getting chopped off with preschool safety scissors for fear of they and Krampus would severely injure Salvatore, our Elf on the Shelf and on the toilet and on the chandelier and in the refrigerator. Rear view has seen giggles that I knew I best pull the car over. He has warned me of footballs, basketballs, nerf pellets and Starbursts about to be launched my way. He sees truths and mischief and tears and smiles.

But this particular day he saw a big thought. Sure enough, little Peeno proceeds to tell me he gave out our address to a bunch of people at school. Why exactly you ponder? Because he is selling many things at good prices with a BOGO (thank you BIG Bird) special on certain days. Oh yes, come one, come all to the great post Holiday sale. He will even be selling homemade hot cocoa and homemade cookies.

My little entrepreneur has just launched a real life Etsy where Pinterest meets Little Debbie and Swiss Miss. Thank you my dear son. So in telling my boys to think big and build anything what I forgot to offer was my disclosure. With that being known, they would need to proceed to consult with mommy dearest first.

So it wasn’t mattering to him at the least that he just provided an entire student body, faculty and parish with our address. He was going BIG and home. My home, where his new store would be. This way he could make the money to buy all the salted caramel hot cocoas he wanted. Plus nobody was ever going to tell him “no” again when he wants a mud garden pudding from the Botanical Garden cafe.

I have to admit, I was impressed. Being a business owner and all, I get it. I realized I secretly was proud of his efforts and his drive for earning potential. I didn’t like his failure to consult with said business partner per se but nonetheless his mindset was in all the right places.

In any regards, rear view betrays me sometimes and works both ways. When I glanced back he was already in view. He just smiled and said, “Come on mom, you can’t be upset, this is our thing. This is always going to be our thing!”

And he was right. I even think rear view nodded too.

Dream big and create my child, because “Amazon”s don’t grow wild by a flashing cursor. Someone pushes go and an empire is created. May your thing always be your thing! And may your empire always be a bit out of this galaxy. Because it’s out there, off the beaten, that little ideas become BIG things!

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Life, Love

Protein Shakes and Fumble Fakes

FullSizeRender-2Some consider summer a time of leisure and lazy days.  If you’re into that kind of lifestyle, I sure bet it’s quite like that.  Sipping lemonade and sweet tea on the porch while the sun sets and fireflies make their way across the freshly cut lawn.  The lawn that is greener than green because you actually have the time to care for it.  Then you mosey on in to your covered patio with a Sangria night cap protected from the evening bats and mosquitos.  It all seems absolutely blissful.  I often dream of this leisure way of living but right now, I am on mom mode supercharged and supersized times three.

See I envy you and your leisurely ways of life.  But right now my summer and early Fall was filled with protein shakes and fumble fakes.  We spent summer nights traveling back and forth from OTA’s and two-a-days.  We played Friday Night Lights of a different kind with baseball bats and dust covered hats.  We watched sunsets on practice fields and swatted bees and mosquitos at football games and baseball games.  We blistered in the sun, sweating in places the human body is even surprised.  The last few weeks were spent on cold, damp bleachers where Thursday summer eves FullSizeRender-5turned into Thursday Night Lights.  These nights we were fully immersed in extra layers, cozy spirit wear blankets and hot cocoa straight out of concession stands.  I can assure you it was not Polar Express kind as thick and rich and creamy as hot cocoa can get.  It was Carnation packets emptied into scolding water.  But it was football delight!

Because despite summer porch nights being replaced with team ice cream socials and protein shakes and tenth meals of the day, it was our summer and Fall life.  We wouldn’t trade it for the sweetest of teas or most glorious of sunsets.  Because there is something greater that happens beyond the football pads, baseball hats and fold-up chairs permanently affixed in your trunk.  There is this sweet little thing called a sports family.  FullSizeRender-3

It’s the people who check in to remind you what color socks to wear.  It’s the people who send you an early morning text to wish your boys good luck.  It’s the people who help you transport your kids when you have to be at another field.  It’s the grandparents of other kids who treat yours as if they are their own.  It’s every parent who catches your child in a photograph during that incredible play you missed because you got stuck in a port-a-potty.

It is the coach who runs after you post game to tell you how truly proud of your child FullSizeRenderthey were during that game today.  It is the parent who runs down to make sure your child will get up again.  It is the coach who calls you to tell you he won’t let your child miss another game for a less than stellar test score.  It’s the teachers who stay late to help make that happen and the ones who come in early.  It’s the parent who takes your child home from school and to practice so you can trek across town to watch another.

It’s everyone you least expected to be there for you and your kids that have proven to be there through thick and thin.  It is your sports family.  They don’t just disappear when the season ends and the scoreboard dims.  They ride out every hurdle, hiccup, great play and carpool need until the season begins again next year.

They share the teary eyes and wider than grin smiles with you and your children.  They share in the high fives and bumps and bruises.  They let you know your son is in an ice bath and he will be right out “so hang tight, Mom”.  It’s the parent that looks back in the stands and shares a moment because they just watched that play involving your child too.   It’s the “I got your back” moments when you just don’t have the words to express your need.

Then there’s the ones who remain silent and out of nowhere send you a text that says….”PS, you rock and NEVER stop being mom!”  It is a moment like that which melts your heart and makes you smile.  Because sometimes we get defeated being all in for our children.  We feel under appreciated and worn out.  We dream of lazy summer days and cozy Fall nights.  Then we get that wink, that high five, that hug or thank you from a player, maybe not even your own, that makes it all worth it!

Love, Parenting, children, humor, education, entertainment, arts

Cloudy with a Chance of Meeting at 3:00am

Lately it’s been hectic and heavy on the schedule. Basketball games and tournaments and recreating George Washington. 100 days of school and turning 7 year olds into 100 years old by the break of dawn. Valentine’s Day crafts and treats and cards and boxes and bags and did I mention basketball?

So when you are the third ranking child, that little thing called a bedtime routine gets a little out of whack. If even existsent at all.  So my little Peeno has had a hard time winding down post basketball. While big brother struts his stuff on the court, Peeno goes from building a Lego masterpiece under the bleachers, to riding on a team mascot’s back during halftime to talking smack in an unofficial basketball match with high schoolers on the adjacent practice court.  See, where most siblings of the players range from 13 and up, I still have one of the younger ones.

And he goes and goes and goes like it’s nobody’s business. And everyone sits atop their cushy pillow in the bleacher stands reminding me how “he is gonna pass right out!”  Uh, they have no idea. It’s like a sick, twisted game of reverse psychology. The little $h*t doesn’t wind down. He winds up. And up and up.

You know that runner’s high or release of serotonin after a really, really good work out?  Well this kid mass produces that sh*t.

So, bedtime has become again, a challenge. I’m sort of embracing it though because it will be short lived. In a year or so, it won’t be this way. And I know my heart will cry out for these moments. Moments of having to use the bathroom again, maybe. Needing just one more little, itty bitty sip of water. The radio song is “creeping me out”.Needing one more good, teeny little story. And “just one more song you sing but not that doe a dear one again and can you find out the real words mommy to hush little baby….”

Because he apparently knows that if that diamond ring won’t shine, mommy is gonna crack open a bottle of wine is just me hitting survival mode and not the way the lullayabe really goes. 

And then the Three Little Bears fairytale steals the scene with somebody’s been sleeping again in my bed BS. And this bed just feels too icky. And can I have 18 more pillows and Jingle and Fury are all f’ed up. Oh and snakey. Gosh forbid we don’t have the $38.00 hook a fish carnival gem we scored. Let’s find snakey! You plush, stinky little neon thing you.

And then when it’s almost all over and almost all said and done and I snuggled just 5 more minutes, he leans into me and says, “mommy there is a 100% chance I will see you in your bed tonight at about 3:00 am. I love you more than anything mommy, but I love God, Jesus and Mary just a crumb more than you. You can go now mommy, I’m sleepy!”

And the Energizer Bunny powers down leaving me with a forecast outlook to 3:00am. Goodnight sweetheart.

These days aren’t forever. I know that. And someday I will want them back tenfold. And even when his little a$$ comes crawling into my bed at 3:00am giving me liver kicks until 5:00am, I will love him more than anything…like he makes me promise him every night! 100 times over. I hope he always knows, I will be his mommy forever! All the days of our lives! He can always fall asleep counting on that because sheep don’t work folks!

What’s your little babes bedtime ritual? Can  you appreciate my new twist on hush little baby? I think it’s a solid tune! Ba. Ba. Ba. 100 Sheep to go……………….

Love

An Open Letter to the Youth Football Commisioner

  
Dear Mr. Youth Football Commisioner:

As you know my son has been playing tackle football through this organization since 5th grade. Prior to his commitment to this organization he played in various flag football leagues. Yet, although he had fun, he was missing something. We were missing something.

When he left K School and began his journey as a middle school student at SAS, football through this organization was the start of what would be his evolution. It wasn’t walking into a faith based community and sharpening his pencil. It wasn’t saying the morning prayer prior to announcements. It wasn’t tossing the football at recess in a school uniform.

Although all intricate to shaping his character, It was taking a knee the very first practice surrounded by parents, teachers, faculty, coaches and Parish priests in blue and gold with a Lions helmet next to him. It was holding his head up high when he made his first tackle. It was being high fived by a coach. It was sweat, sore muscles and prayer. It was knowing that mediocracy doesn’t make it happen. It was knowing that at the end of practice, that walk up the hill would be greeted by parents, other players, coaches and me, his mom. It was the glow he had when he got into the car.
  

Whatever happens on that practice field and before a game. What ever goes on in those huddles, pep talks and post game gatherings has made my son who he is today and the man I know he’ll become. They say it takes a village to raise a child and you are part of my village.

The game of football has taught both of us alot about life. Sometimes more than any other event or journey we have witnessed. Football to him is everything. Everything that sets the tone for his academic success. The tone that wants him to continue a Catholic education into High School. The tone that makes things possible for us at home.

His younger brother just started playing with the organization and I notice how he watches his big brother so closely. How my youngest who is just 5 cannot wait to put on a helmet and proudly wear his Gold and Blue. How our Lions gear sporting our family name and my son’s number is our first go to piece of clothing on a chilly day or night.
 

Everything happens for a reason and he has always been so self confident about his height and weight. I have always told him God gives us what we need and that small can mean mighty. So we sincerely hope he will still suit up everyday in blue and gold and run down that hill to meet his teammates on the practice field. That every Sunday after Church we will be heading off to play ball.

I know that injuries can happen anywhere to anyone. I have put my faith into God that he will watch over my son, while he is out there on the field. I know he is in good hands with all of you. I know you all have an interest in his safety. With that being said, he is an asset to this organization, not a liability. More importantly, he is part of something grand where small things lead to big moments. It’s in these moments, my little boy transforms into a young adult.

Please accept this letter as my approval to have him be a part of this team despite his weight. We sincerely hope we can continue on this journey that began Aug 1 and hopefully will go into the playoffs and beyond. Thank you for your consideration!

Sincerely,

No Weight Limit Needed  

 

Love

Rock a Bye My Baby

I blinked and then waited two minutes. I blinked again as the two bars appeared in the window. I blinked again and there they were, still looking at me. My gaze was fixated. My limbs were numb. My emotions were high. It was real. You were real. My whole world was changing. You were the blessing that would make it happen.

During the nine months you tossed and cuddled inside me, so much of my young life was evolving. I rarely had time to slow down and embrace what it meant to be “with child.” But we ran, boy, we ran. We hustled and started a business. We worked long hours and would be swollen from exhaustion. We pushed through every tingle and overcame every pain. It was all happening so fast. Nine months go by too quick. But on the day you were born you reminded me to slow down. To appreciate our last day together as mother carrying her unborn child. You planned it this way. I know this now, son.

It was just you and I that day babe. We worked a little, played a little, visited with friends and family. We baked a little and snuggled on the couch to grab one last movie. The last movie that would be watched in its entirety without any interruptions. As I snuggled into the soft silky sheets for bed and the spring breeze blew through the room, you gave me a little tug. Then another and I knew, it was almost time for us to finally meet. You gave me the day, our last moments to prepare for both of our about to change forever lives.

You put me through every test. At times you stole my breath away. At times I thought gravity would pull me under. But then at the magical hour of 10:00 a.m., I heard the most precious three words I would ever hear in my life. Some say there are no more precious of words than “I love you”. I disagree. Even though I was tired, emotional, scared and joyful, when I heard “It’s a Boy”, those my son were the three most precious words that fell upon my ears.

7585_10151333929577031_183119441_n[1]You were beautiful. You grew so fast. From cat naps in my arms, to stroller rides to sliding down the slide all by yourself. Then it seemed like overnight you left my side to go to pre-school. The day you got on the bus to ride off to Kindergarten just melted my heart. Your first crack of the bat was like a melody I hear over and over again. Your first touchdown took my breath away yet another time. But you ran, boy you ran.

Your first ride without training wheels would prepare me to encourage you to go forth independently. Your climbs so high upon the trees allowed me to see how much determination you had. Your jumping in puddles, rolling in the mud and food stained shoulders and sleeves have shown me how not to sweat the small stuff. Your hand print stains upon the walls and trails and trails of parmesan balls taught me that messiness is what makes a house a home.

Now you are growing up. You are leaving behind the single digits. The past ten years have taught me more about life, empathy and love than any other years of my existence. There are days I reflect on my own life the past decade. How I have changed and grown and opportunities I might have missed. But if I had a chance for a do over, a chance to repeat, I would do it exactly the same.

I would still hold you until you stopped crying. I would still let you crawl into my bed. I would still sleep on the floor next to your bed, when you felt ill. I would push you 100 times more on the swings and chase after you when you made off for the street. I would still roll around in the grass with you and push bulldozers in the mud. I would still be your elementary class room mom again and again. I would finger-paint until our hands were stained and count your little piggies. I would still rock you to sleep even when my arms went numb and my eyes grew heavy. I want to ‘Rock a Bye’ my baby again.

But we grow. We move forward. I am not sad that those days are over, I’m glad that they happened. Now as you set forth in the land of double digits, I know the next decade will fly by too. I know I will look back again ten years from now and relish the bittersweet moments again. But today I reflect. I reflect on a decade gone by. I reflect on the fact that when I heard “It’s a Boy” that no matter how Type A or organized you strive to be, every day is a new beginning, its very own unplanned adventure. You gave me that gift, son. For that, I am ever grateful and one lucky girl.

Soon you and I will gather at the starting line. When we hear the whistle sound, we will make off towards our goal. The finish line will be ahead of us and we leave behind the single digits. When we cross the finish line, we won’t stop suddenly and call it an ending. We will cross through and carry on. I look forward to our first 5k together. Rocking it out with you, my baby, and we will run, boy, we will run!

539746_4672238565578_485366123_n[1]“When you put yourself on the line in a race and expose yourself to the unknown, you learn things about yourself that are very exciting.”
– Doris Brown Heritage, pioneer in women’s distance running

Life, Love

Let Running Reign

20130416-110836.jpg “We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves…The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.” -Sir Roger Bannister, first runner to run a sub-4 minute mile

For a runner, running is freedom.  Running is facing your fears, your “I cannots” and going the extra mile.  When your feet hit the pavement, it creates a symphony.  A collection of notes you create.  You set the tempo, the softness and the beat as you go along with Mother Nature’s rhythm.

Some days we conquer and others days we take it slow, erring on the side of caution. Then there are those days we have no fear.  We plow through. Sometimes we arrive sooner and other times later. But we arrive.  We are present.

We gain acceptance of the challenges, conquer our fears of the unknown and relish in the beauty and adventure. When we finish, we are humbled.  We are strong.  We overcame.  We defeated our negative thoughts.  We made it happen.

Whether we are crossing a finishing line, laying down to rest or slowing down to avoid injury, we conquered.  We let running reign and so to will freedom.

Love

Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense

In a new post created for this challenge, share a picture that says FUTURE TENSE.

Future Tense
Future Tense

The start of a toddlers day involves chocolate milk, changing out of a pull-up and watching Blues Clues.  It’s the little things in the mind of a three-year old that gets their day off to the right start.

Then one day my little Peeno just gazed out the window.  As he was watching the neighbors head off to work and his older brothers leaving on the bus he turned to me and said, “One day mommy I will be like them.”  Then he went back to making sound effects of Thomas while he drove his train along the windowsill. 

One day my little man, one day. 

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time – Abraham Lincoln