Friday, November 18, 2011

Soccer is simple, but it is difficult to play simple

Another year of soccer is in the books, and we are very proud of the 8 girls on our team.  Our soccer league stops co-ed after Kindergarten which is unfortunate because we were all set to have the same coach (and team mostly) as we did last year.  Unfortunately, our super star coach D from last year, well, her son is a boy, and we couldn't talk her in to coaching Lily's team anyway.  Ha.  So we were chosen on another team and Lawrence assistant coached this year.  It was a great experience for he and for Lily.  He played a lot of soccer when he was younger, so unlike Tball coaching last spring, where he was mostly winging it (and keeping spacey 5 year olds from hitting each other with baseball bats), he knew how to teach this sport.  

They play 4 on 4 in the 1st grade, as opposed to 3 on 3 last year.  As an adult, it's always interesting to think back to what this was like at my age.  Could I have thrived at soccer (vs just enduring it for 5+ years) if I hadn't been on a co-ed team 10 vs 10, being a defender while Jesse Shirley, Mickey Roberts, and Jesse Peterson all controlled the ball IN A FULL SIZED SOCCER FIELD.  As I think back I remember that my mom used to say to people (who obviously weren't at the game), "Jenny is good at getting into the mix and kicking it out of there".  I know that must be a lie because I was 1. a defender in the back field picking dandelions with very good and agressive teammates who never let the ball near my goal, and 2. Well, I'm just fairly certain I was not a player who was "good at kicking" anything, much less, it, out of the middle of the blob of school-aged soccer players.  For starters, just to remind you, I looked like this.

Anyway, that's neither here nor there.  And it gives me great pride to watch Lily as one of the best players on the team.  She is strong and aggressive.  The girl can HUSTLE (when she wants to, who knew? Not the person who has to bark orders to get her shoes tied every.single.morning).  She was good last year against the boys, but this year she was great playing with the girls and it was fun to see her excel and score so often.  The second to last game, Lawrence bribed her with a milkshake on the way home if she PASSED THE BALL a few times.  He wanted her to get an assist.  She knew what that meant.  I found out that term when I was 22 and met Lawrence.  Heh.  And she did pass the ball that day.  However, that made it her only scoreless game.  She would get up to the net and beat the rest of both teams there, waiting for someone to pass it to, NOT shooting.  Finally she had the perfect set up.  She passed it to another girl, who missed the goal, but it was fine.  Lily did what she was there to do, and we were proud of her.  She enjoyed every drop of that milkshake.  Because she does NOT hustle when it comes to eating desserts.  Or any other food for that matter.  

Coach Dad and his girls warming up

My heart jumps a little every time I see her look over to her dad, for approval, celebration, or encouragement.  Her desire to please him makes me delight in them both.  He really is her first love, as it should be for every little girl.
It's so hot, I'm taking refuge in the shade of Bryson's stroller and might die if I look at you .
Whoa is me

I have a crush on the coach.

WHO is this kids mother?  Sunburn fail!
My little big buckeye.  This Jersey made him look SO big.
 Bryson did SO good this year at every soccer game.  Wow.  We would get there loaded with water bottles and snacks and umbrellas and chairs and coats.  I would let him out of the stroller once we set up camp and the girls were warming up.  He'd run amok and I'd chase after.  Sometimes we'd have to wake him from a nap, sometimes we'd have to keep him awake on the way home, but he never missed a game.  Then, once the game started, I'd strap him back in and stop his resistance to that with SNACKS.  Yes, I'd start feeling him snacks, rationing like a madwoman, one raisin at a time as I never took my eye off the field.  I think that SOME of the other soccer moms *might* have thought I was a lil crazy in that I fed this kid for an hour straight, every single soccer game (and let's be honest some practices too.  right before dinner).  Sometimes huddled under the umbrella for shade, sometimes to stay dry.  Sometime Addie sat with us, sometimes she was with the coach and team on the other side of the field, looking important and trying to fit is.  Each week brought weather extremes at total opposite spectrums, and no matter what the little guys came home SOAK and WET.  My one goal was to figure out a way to 1. watch the game 2. Keep him dry 3. Off the soccer field 4. No "looks" from the coach.

This changed the college football Saturdays that we've grown to love (except for the maddening terrible service of the Comcast Gameday Package...If you don't already know the story, don't ask, at least we got the whole season for free, after weeks of frustrated Husband on my hands)
Lily has the ball, everyone is on her

If this picture doesn't make your heart swell with pride, well, you probably aren't her mother.

Our alternate team member. She'll be ready next year.
Next game.  Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  Only one week later.  She doesn't like being the goalie.  Likes to be IN THE ACTION.

Being a soccer kid in Portland, Oregon - doesn't she look tough!

Where is the ball in this picture?  

Uncle Matt got to come to two of the games upon his return from "the yucky place".  Addie was happy that her school bear who slept over for the weekend has a place to stay dry.
The Shooting Stars and their fearless leaders happy to receive soccer trophies
At the end of the season, I'm glad for it to be over.  I'm glad for the Tuesday / Thursday practice, Saturday game madness to end.  At the party, listening to the other parents swoon over my husband and my daughter makes me so proud of them both.  The other parents thank him for his time and investment into their kids.  They acknowledge him the mean it.  I know L&L are both incredible, and it's super cool when someone else notices and tells you all about it.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Just a few funnies I wrote down from a "few" months back (ha. July.)

Lawrence (on the phone with me while I was at the store/bank giving him specific instructions about something):  "I don't know, I'll just call Julia and ask her" 
Me: "Why can't you just let me tell you right now?" 
Lawrence: "Because you are kind of panicking for some reason and I really want to get off the phone with you"
After we hung up, I laughed and laughed and laughed.  Because he was TOTALLY right.  I was late, had to pee, unload groceries, wearing a jacket when it was way too hot to wear a jacket, I was giving him specific instructions and I could tell he wasn't listening to them, so the agitation in my voice was MORE than a little bit obvious.  He was so right.  I did sound like I was in a shear panic.  And I think it's funny that he wanted to get off the phone with me and was candid about it.  This probably won't even sound funny to anyone else, but it reminds me about something intangible that is great about us.

Me: Addie, please don't be so rough with Bryson's hand while you show him how to do that, be gentle 

Addie: I have to, mama. I'm rough, I'm a rougher, that's what roughers do.  They say rough, rough, rough.  So if you tell me not to do that, I will say I am a rougher. 
(Covering my mouth to hide laughter)

Addie: Lily, you are really smart 
Lily: I know.  I'm really smart for a six year old, but I'm not really smart for an adult.  You are really smart too. 
Addie: I know. 
Photos by Holly Kae

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A family that loves me

My mom made this for me to celebrate remember another year of blessings and accompliments:
Thanks Mom!

With this beautiful little note: 

Jenny, though I hope your other gifts reach you today, I'm sending this one by e-mail, a collage of your life in the past year. I marvel at your resiliency, knowing all you were going through that you packed so much into your life and the lives of your family.I can never tell you -- though since you are the mother of your own daughters -- how much I love you and how very much you've added to my life, since the moment you were born 35 years ago through the years to today.You are such a very special person, not only to me but to many, many, many others. You make a difference. We are so lucky to have  you, and I consider you the shining achievement of my life.I love you so much.Happy birthday,Your proud mother


I also got a card so sweet that I couldn't really read it in front of them, from my brother, and his girlfriend, Heather.  I came upstairs and behind my closed door, I read and I cried.  It was too kind.  Matt just got back from Iraq in September.  I've always had a great relationship with him, but I feel extremely close to him after his year away and the time we've spent reconnecting since he returned.  This was the first card I've ever gotten from him that wasn't along the lines of "thanks for all the years of torture growing up!".  :)  

It said: 

She's the first to help someon,
to see a need and lend a hand,
to sense a pain and understand.
That's just the way my sister is. 
She's always busy, doing more
than other people can get done,
and yet she finds the time for fun.
That's just the way my sister is. 
She has so many qualities
that others recognize as rare,
but she's completely unaware.
That's just the way my sister is.
That's why I love her. 
There have been some times in my life
when I don't know how I would have
made it through if it hadn't been for you.
You support and help,
your confidence in me ~
all thees have meant more than I can tell you. 
I'll always be thankful for all
the wonderful things you are~
and especially for the wonderful fact
that you're my sister!
Happy Birthday.

You know, I get pretty sentimental when it comes to my mom and Matt.  And it's hard to put into words what my little family unit means to me.  I hope neither of them mind me sharing their sweet sentiments here.  I could read over and over the kind words they shared with me today, and I don't want them lost at the bottom of a pile of papers or lost in email clutter land, but displayed proudly for me to reread and remember the love that I am surrounded with, that I have always been surrounded with.  I'm the luckiest girl in the world to have to have the mama and brother I do.  

Friday, November 4, 2011

First Date

When Lily was born, she made us three, and we had loads and loads of events, outings, and adventures that were just Lily, Mommy, & Daddy.  Then when Addie was born, we all made a real effort (grandparents included) to make sure that while I was home with her new baby, Lily was out getting to do something cool.  We had family time, and we also nurtured special time with Lily, even occasionally planning times for her to spend with only her parents, just us 3. Then finally Addie was old enough for us to put the girls in tap class together, swim lessons together, and more importantly for us to all go out and do fun things as a family.  Addie and Lily made Four, remember?  The two of them were a unit of two, and I will always look at how they were before Bryson, as a pair, sweeter sisters than anything I could have imagined.  

As we pondered whether or not to have a third, I often thought about how having another baby would change that.  All of our kids would likely be less of a single unit, but of course, that was no reason not to add to our family.  

After Bryson came, we have had many times, when we go to events without him.  Just the girls and us, like the old days.  We also have taken turns going to things one on one.  Lawrence takes the girls skiing or running, individually, he coached Lily's tball team and took her ice skating.   I take them shopping or to lunch or on coffee shop dates one on one (man, my things sound lame comparatively, what's new? But now wonder he is the fun one!)  

Sometime around mid June, when the new Cinetopia was being built at the bottom of our hill, we decided we wanted to take Addie on a movie date alone, since Lily doesn't really like feature length films.  Cars 2 was out in 3D and we offered to have Lily come, but she declined.  Julia agreed to work late and be with Bryson and Lily, so I took off work early and we went to a movie with Addie.  

Addie was so excited she could barely stand it.  When we pulled up, parked and started walking toward the theatre, she took both her mom's hand, and her dad's hand.  She didn't try to swing, just walked boldly and proudly up the stairs marching forward to the show.  She was SO cute.  We got some popcorn and water and found our seats.  Since it was like 3pm it was just us + a few others at the movie, and Addie was wide eyed.  Since she is so small, her 3D glasses didn't fit so great but that didn't really bother her, she was WAY too busy eating the entire bag of popcorn to notice much.  

She loved the movie, things that I knew would have scared or stressed out her older sister, flew right over her head.  She stood up and danced a little during one part.  Every time I thought we were done with the popcorn, I put it down, and her little greasy hand started pawing around in my lap looking for it, not taking her goggled eyes off the big screen.  After the movie, I tried on her glasses to see how they felt with these foamy things on the ears to make them fit better.  I couldn't see through them! They were SO covered with little buttery finger prints.  

We took a few pictures on my phone on the way out.  Lawr wouldn't let me ask a stranger to get a picture of the three of us, on a Thursday afternoon in a movie theater.  Party pooper.  :(

It was on the way home that we realized it was our first date with Addie.  She is a different kid when she is not under the umbrella of being a pair with her big sis.  She is smart and funny and quirky.  In all different ways than Lily is.  

Sometimes it makes me feel bad to look at all that hasn't been done with Addie and Bryson that we did with Lily, but I try to remember the gift of siblinghood that they do have, that they have always had.  Lily gave them the gift of parents who were stressed out about things that didn't matter.  The gift of parents who would use hand-me-downs.  :)  And she really is such a great big sister, we gave them all that.  

In any case, relationships in a family are a lot of work, and it's fun to see the dynamics that build.  Addie and Bryson, beat each other up, and love each other most.  They are together all day while Lily is at school.  Lily and Addie share a room, and they have a lot of together time, they are still a pair.  They often sneak off to another room where they can do things and not worry about Bryson the destroyer getting their stuff.  Lily is SO good with Bryson, just this morning she came in and woke me up to see if she could get him up because he was singing, and she wanted to go be with him.  She asked me if she could get his morning milk first.  She did and I got another 10 minutes of sleep.  Oh, where was I?  (I tend to get off track when it comes to droning on about more sleep for myself.)  She is a great care taker, and really helps everyone out when it comes to being the oldest sister.  

When I want to beat myself up about not giving each kid more chances to be the only child with their mom and dad, I know we do our best.  It is hard enough for Lawrence and I to get time alone, much less time alone together with each kid.  We both have our individual time with each of them, and we also have a great family dynamic.  And it's nice to remember that, be thankful for it, and occasionally get a date night, whether it's with one kid or without one.

Dates with Mommy and Daddy are special.  Even for Mommy and Daddy.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick or Treat

Halloween Morning
This year Lily was Minnie Mouse and she wore her costume to first grade.
They had a Halloween Party and a Parade.
Since Addie goes to a Christian Preschool they don't celebrate Halloween, but had a PJ party instead.  To her, this was as good as getting to celebrate by wearing TWO costumes, and Bryson was thrilled to be matching to Addie in Thomas attire.

Halloween Night  
Bryson kept opening dum-dums, which have become our treat of choice to hand out so we don't eat one million of them before the trick or treaters come, however, now that Bryson is in this family that might have to change.  Almond Joy here we come.
Addie ran around the house shouting, Halloween, I've been waiting the whole year, over and over and over.  We had a very excited little race car on our hands.
A smile to make me smile
A family picture of sorts.  Need proof that there is 5 of us every once in a while.  
Every year on Halloween, this is our first picture, Backs walking up the sidewalk.  And now there are three.  Hmm, I feel a timeline comparison coming on...
Bryson did not stop at the first house, he kept going.  Man, he loved being "on the run" for trick or treating.  Pushing the door bell is another favorite of his.  So this was QUITE a treat.
I wish I would have gotten some video of them.  We trick or treated with our friends the O family and all the kids had a blast.  Bryson would ALWAYS ask for seconds, and because he was so cute, always said Trick or Treat, always said Happy Halloween, and always said Thank you and bye-bye, people kept giving him MORE candy.  He bucket was heavy and full but he carried it every step of the way.
The big kids waited at almost every house for little brother to get up the stairs, and we started pretty early, so there were a lot of houses with no one home.  It really was a crap shoot as to whether someone would answer the door.  Getting them to move on and accept that no one was coming to the door after 4-6 doorbell rings was a chore.
By the last house it was dragging on the ground.  And the hood to his costume was long gone.  Everyone once in a while he would bust out a "La la la laa, La la la laaa, Ewmo's woad"

Everyone was super happy to trick or treat our house, but Bryson was NOT super happy to be done trick or treating.
After a group shot the girls were really excited to be trick or treated and count their loot.  The traded in some of it for toys that daddy got for them.
Another holiday has come and gone, and I'm sure before long they will start thinking of what they want to be next year.  Last year at this time, they were going to go as the letter "L" and "A".  I'm happy they changed their minds.
The girls were doing all they could to drum up MORE trick or treaters.  Then every time we would get another trick or treater they would act all stressed out and busy at the task of getting candy into everyone's bucket.  So fun to watch.

My favorite line of the night (other than pretty much everything that Bryson did or said)...

Lily: Man, I would do ANYTHING to get more customers

Lily - Minnie Mouse
Addie - Lighting McQueen
Bryson - Elmo
Lucy - Fancy Nancy
Bailee - Pinkalicious
Jameson - Monkey