parenting, motherhood, family

On Track For Stardom (Part 3)

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Full Speed may get trounced on now and again, but he always gets back up and prevails. Every. Single. Time.

 

I was beyond confused.  While my eyes were seeing Full Speed line up with his teammates near the high jump area, my mind could not comprehend it.  It was like if you were at my house and I walked down my stairs wearing a Cardinals jersey.  It would make absolutely no sense.  If you were a Cubs fan, and odds are if I let you in my home, you were,… well, at the least you would be anything but a Cardinals fan…, first you would feel confusion, then as it sunk in, you would feel angry and upset.

That’s exactly how I felt:  confused, angry, upset

Why?

First of all, Full Speed up to this point in all of his entire life, had never even attempted to execute a high jump.  Secondly, he barely cleared the waist of one of his man-sized teammates.  I wish I was exaggerating for effect, but sadly, I am not.  This kid towered over Full Speed.  He looked like a line-backer while Full Speed looked like a scrawny equipment manager (albeit a highly adorable one).

Thankfully, the high jump took place well off the main area.  Most of the crowd was focused on the excitement of the relays that circled before us.  The bad news is, Full Speed’s high jump attempts played out exactly as you might imagine.

For his ‘warm-up’ jump he actually went under bar.  Yes, you read that right….under.  For his remaining three attempts he managed to at least level himself out with the bar to a degree, mainly shouldering the bar and launching it off the two poles that held it up.  There was no grace to be found in these movements, mostly it looked like he was being electrocuted as his arms flailed around helplessly. I have to give him props for consistency, I mean he demolished that bar every single time.  I also appreciated the polite way he helped replace the bar to its proper positioning for the next kid in line.

This was a parenting moment that I had to go big picture.  This is where what you see before you is so off-kilter, you just shrug your shoulders and say, ‘no big deal’.   This is just a blip on the road of life and let it go.  I secretly held on to hope that he might get a chance to compete in another event.  One hopefully, that required his feet to stay planted on the ground.

Shortly after, the ominous clouds that had been gathering decided they were done with this particular track meet.  Within moments, rain was pummeling its way through the crowd and we all scattered like ants to safety.  I was separated from Full Speed for a bit while the fate of the track meet was determined.  Eventually, as mother nature continued on with her very bad mood, the meet was called and I caught up with him.

Once we were back at the car away from the noisy rain, I asked him point-blank, “Why on earth did they ask you do to the high jump?”

“I volunteered,” he replied.

“Oh.”

Turns out, four members of his team were no-shows and there were lots of gaps needing to be filled.  As his coach had run through the litany of events that needed a fill-in, Full Speed volunteered for every single one.

He was denied on all counts.

That is until the high jump was called out.  No one was willing to step up so what did Full Speed do?

He stepped up.

Can you imagine the amount of courage this must have taken?  Since Full Speed has a pretty good hold on reality, he had to have known it was going to end badly for him.

He did it anyway.

This kid may have lost the high jump that day, but he won my respect.

He has all it takes to be a winner.  The kind that matters.  The kind that isn’t afraid to take risks.

My favorite kind.

Chicago Cubs, humor, motherhood

Best Friends, Baseball and 17 Straight Innings of Awesome

I don’t know about you, but the fact that baseball season has commenced has brought a spring to my step and a joy to my soul.  I can’t explain it, I think it has to do with my genetic code or how I was raised on WGN, but when I’m watching baseball, the world feels right to me.  If I am lucky enough to watch it in person, well then, it’s just next level awesome.  Throw in hanging with my three guys and honestly life could not get any better at Marlins Park in the heart of Miami, but then, it did!  It totally did!

As the first inning of game two of the four game series of Marlins vs. Cubs got under way, Mad Dog exited our row in search of a soft pretzel.  Being opening weekend, there still were some kinks with customer service, so I knew he would be gone for a while.  This didn’t faze me because I was at a baseball game!  Life was good!  Then, out of the corner of my eye, who strolls on in and sits right in front of me?

Theo Epstein!

RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!

I can’t really explain it to a non-baseball fan, but as the President of Cubs Baseball Operations, Theo literally transformed the Cubs into World Series Champions.

Click below to learn more about this legend of baseball statistics and trades:

How Theo
Worked His Magic

Theo Epstein took over the Cubs in 2011 after a 71-win season. This year, they won 103 games — and their first World Series in 108 years. How did it happen? We examine all his moves, big and small.

 

Naturally, I about fell out of my seat.  I was absolutely frantic.  I couldn’t communicate to Full Speed that Theo was sitting in front of us. I didn’t want Theo to hear me talking about him because he WAS RIGHT THERE!  And, then, Mad Dog took FOREVER to get back from the pretzel situation and this whole time I WAS DYING inside from excitement.

Eventually, Mad Dog returned and I had finally communicated to Full Speed who was in front of us.  I had him write a note to Mad Dog on a score card we had so again, I wouldn’t have to say Theo’s name out loud.  From there at about inning 5, Mad Dog politely asked Theo to take a picture with me.  I was so excited that’s why I look like a big cheeseball, and weirdly, Theo looks unaffected.

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Still, the picture is awesome!  It kind of is more awesome because Theo looks so ‘overjoyed’.

It is totally going to be this year’s Christmas card.

And wouldn’t you know, this game ended up going 17 innings!

The boys turned on us at about inning 13.  They were so MAD.

At about inning sixteen, I started to maybe wonder if it was time to call it, but I had to stay.  I mean, I couldn’t leave my new best friend alone to shoulder the fate of our team.

Sadly, we lost.

Theo’s face says it all:

 

It doesn’t matter, once a World Series Champion, always a World Series Champion!

Go Cubs!

 

children, family, humor, motherhood

No Lie (Part Two)

At breakfast we discussed T.Puzzle’s prospects of winning top honors for his class speech.  I know it seems like a stretch if you recall the topics he considered as a theme (see No Lie).  Much to my relief, he went with a speech about our two dogs.  He did a great job overall and I promised if he made the top 5 of his class (which he did!), I’d post the speech here in its entirety.  I kept our dogs names unchanged because it seemed more awesome that way.

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Max and Nora

Do you have dogs that wrestle each other? Well I do. Their names are Max and Nora. I’ll talk about how my family got them, about Max, and about Nora. Let me explain a little further.                   

First, my family got Max when I outgrew my allergies to our old dog Kisses. My family wanted to get Kisses back. So, we had to go to my Grandma’s house. We got Max too because he was also there. My family got Nora a year after Kisses passed. My mom was looking for a new dog on a website. It took a while but my mom finally found Nora. She came to our house and we decided to adopt her there because she was perfect.                                                                      

Next, I’ll talk about Max. Max has black and a little white fur. He weighs about ten pounds and is 14 years old. Max is also a Shih Tzu that has a mustache. Max sleeps a lot and loves to follow my mom around everywhere. The only time Max plays is when my dad gets home from work, but when he does Nora gets mad and usually runs him over. Max is super happy to go on a walk. His little tail wags up in the air. If Nora gets too close he will bark or sometimes bite Nora. One thing Max always does is sit on the top of our couch that looks out the front window. He will bark crazily at squirrels or lizards. Max also recognizes my mom’s car when it pulls in the driveway. He will whimper very loud when he sees it. One time I made a scary movie trailer about Max so he is a movie star.  Despite him being famous, he still loves my mom. Max always makes my family laugh when his face looks crazy after a nap.                     

Lastly, I’ll talk about Nora. Nora is a King Charles Cavalier/Bichon mix. She has white fur and some brown spots. Nora weighs eighteen pounds. She doesn’t like thunderstorms and she doesn’t do well in cars. Nora can be a spaz sometimes. She will wag her tail furiously at random dogs or people. She will also run like crazy and make weird noises. Nora also barks at the TV in my house. Nora can eat very fast and she will steal Max’s food. Whenever someone comes to my house, Nora will run and jump on them. One time Nora ripped an ear off a Yoda chew toy. My dad had to bring Nora to the vet, but Nora threw up the ear in his truck and was fine.  My dad was mad but not for long because Nora always throws up in his truck.  Nora is awesome because she always greets me when I get home from school.  On a scale of one to ten, she is over nine thousand. 

In conclusion, I have two amazing dogs. I talked about how my family got them, about Max, and about Nora. So, do you have dogs that sometimes act like they’re in the WWE?   

I told you it was awesome!

And, yes, I’m completely objective.

children, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Dramatic Effect

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I don’t enjoy being one of those moms who focuses on their children’s academic achievements.  I try very hard to stay in my own lane and thankfully, my boys seem to have a handle on their academics.  However, I have an Achilles heel:

Full Speed’s math grade

He sailed along until fifth grade.  Then he came to an abrupt halt, adjusted his sails and kept going.  Same deal in sixth grade, he had a bit of a rough start, the teacher intervened and then all was well.  In fact so well, he got into honors Algebra for his seventh grade year.  I thought that meant he had the chops to handle it.  And he mostly does, but sometimes, he just doesn’t.  Where I struggle is that my intuition screams loudly that it isn’t a lack of ability, it is a lack of effort.  Can I get an amen?

Regardless, after a very up and down 1st-3rd grading periods, Full Speed managed to harrowingly acquire a ‘good’ grade thus far.  As Full Speed gets set to head into the fourth and final grading period for honors Algebra, I asked him if he would consider putting in his maximum effort upfront as opposed to the rollercoaster performance in which he seems to gravitate towards. His reply?

“Where’s the drama in that?”

 

 

 

humor, motherhood, parenting, self care?

Post Traumatic Tiki Bar Disorder

IMG_4971As Mad Dog and I gathered around the corner table with his colleagues from the weekend awards’ summit, someone asked me if I had recovered from the Tiki Bar from the day before.  My hands immediately went to my ears at the sound of the words ‘tiki’ and ‘bar’ as my body shuddered at the memory.  Not because of my day spent at the Tiki Bar, more likely, because of the after-effects of my day at the Tiki Bar.

It had all started out innocently enough.  Mad Dog and I had a rare opportunity to go to the hotel’s gym for a workout together.  We were making the most of our kid-free getaway while also celebrating the enumerable accomplishments of Mad Dog’s incredible work team.  You can’t not have fun celebrating other people, this awards’ summit is seriously one of my favorite events of the whole year.  Post-workout we continued our charade of having zero responsibility.  We parked ourselves at table by the Tiki Bar for an oceanside lunch accompanied by some ridiculously awesome cocktails.  Our intent was to enjoy a drink or two, then head back to our room to get dressed up for dinner date.  It quickly went off the rails (in the best possible way) from there. We found some friends hanging out at the bar, pulled up some barstools and proceeded to not leave for another 10 hours.  I tried to blame Mad Dog later for not supervising me better, but he promised he had done his part.  The problem was all his friends and colleagues were courteously buying me cocktails without his knowledge.  I honestly don’t know how many drinks I had.  This all eventually led to an epic day/night of fun and laughter but, you know where this is going, the aftermath of which I payed for dearly.

I was extremely disappointed I had to miss a good portion of the events the following day.  I truly wanted to support Mad Dog and his team for all the hard work leading up to this summit.  However, I simply could not.  Mad Dog had to tuck me in and with lots and lots of Gatorade, I made a slow and steady recovery.

I was so worried about how people would react to my absence but across the board, everyone was so supportive and understanding.  I had no reason to feel guilty or ashamed.  They all said that a mom should be allowed to have a carefree night of fun.

I’m in no way suggesting that you need to go on a massive bender to reclaim your individuality, but it’s okay to let your hair down on occasion whatever that looks like for you.

Never forget the wild-child that lived in your heart as you grew into womanhood and beyond.

She deserves a day at the Tiki Bar.