family, humor, motherhood, parenting

Summer Memories 2015

This summer was the first time my boys ever played organized basketball.  There was a part of me that really dreaded this.  On some level, I knew my boys were going to have some challenges mastering the sport.  I was absolutely right.  They both quickly learned that remembering all the rules, dribbling while in motion and taking a shot with someone twice their size right in their face were all rather impossible.  On a positive note, they both looked absolutely adorable in their uniforms.  So, basically, they always have their looks to fall back on.

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In all seriousness, I knew the season was going to be tough when the first team the boys played was adult-size and had been playing together for six years.  I actually thought it could have been longer than six years as I was pretty sure I had seen their center driving his own car to the game (not really, but I did want to check his birth certificate to verify his supposed under 10 age).  Needless to say, my boys are not so motivated to hoop it up anytime soon.  Long live soccer!!

Over the course of summer, in between basketball practices and games, I got to spend a tremendous amount of time with my guys.  For the most part, I found this time to be truly delightful.  I enjoyed their humor, their company and their energy for life.  It wasn’t all smooth.  There were some classic moments such as these:

  1.  Full Speed and the Situation I took the dogs for a walk and instructed the boys to get themselves ready for soccer camp.  Here is actual text communication sent from Full Speed, “Where are you? We have a situation with the Gatorade bottle.”  Two minutes later I received this text, “The problem is I can’t open the Gatorade.”  Thankfully, this ‘situation’ was quickly resolved but the text cracked me up for the rest of the day.
  2. T.Puzzle’s Hug Aversion  T. Puzzle hates it when I ask him to hug me.  He acts as if he is being sentenced to death and tries all sorts of creative ways to get out of it.  I told him to ask his brother how to handle it.  Full Speed said, “When Mom wants a hug, just man-up and do it.”  Still, to no avail.  I eventually had to take a hard line with him and he will give me hugs but there is still a lot of resistance.  So, it surprised me when he approached me for what seemed like a genuine unsolicited hug.  “Wow, T.Puzzle, that was so nice.”  He looked at me and said, “Dad told me to find you and said I had to hug you, so I did.”  Okay, thanks?
  3. Full Speed’s Independence  When your ten year-old has ‘situations’ with Gatorade bottles, sometimes when you ponder the future, you wonder if he will be able to live independently.  Full Speed was looking in the fridge and he couldn’t find something.  “Mom, where is it?  I can’t find it anywhere!”  I walked over, opened the door and promptly found it in two seconds.  I said in a rather exasperated tone, “I really am going to have to live with you when you are older, aren’t I?”  He replied, “No, Mom, because I’m going to be the one who puts everything away so I will know where stuff is.”  Touche’.
  4. T.Puzzle’s Future Living Arrangements  Since Full Speed has established in his mind that he will be living independently from his parents in the future, he has lots of ideas about how this will happen.  He talks about possible occupations, where he wants to live and hopes I will take care of his dogs when he has to travel.  When I ask T.Puzzle about the future he is often mute on the subject.  Even though he is hug aversive, deep down, he really is attached to me and I think he can’t fathom living anywhere else than where he is right now.  Full Speed’s solution is simple.  T.Puzzle can live with him.  Well, that’s all fine and good, but I’ve noticed Full Speed can be very particular in his ways.  T.Puzzle is a little more free-flowing with life.  “How are you going to live with your brother if he annoys you on a regular basis, Full Speed?”  He answer was simple, “My house, my rules.”


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children, humor, motherhood

Life or Death Football

Imagine long ago the intensity of competition in a gladiator arena. As these men battled for their lives, one could understand that emotions would be volatile. When playing a sport on the beach or in the backyard, I’m not quite understanding a need for such emotional volatility.

My sister and her extremely awesome family came for a visit. While we were staying at the beach, it was only natural that this time would evolve into a sporting event of some sort on the sand. The first game we played was touch football. It was my two nieces and Full Speed vs. myself, T.Puzzle and Mad Dog.

(series of photos showing boys’ near daily, often serious backyard football training)

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This may shock you, but I am not very gifted as a football player. I don’t let this stop me because if everyone doesn’t take it too seriously, my lack of skill and poor understanding of what I am supposed to be doing, is actually quite entertaining. Like I said, if you don’t take it SERIOUSLY.

Unfortunately, both my boys take it hard-core seriously. It’s like we are all back in that gladiator arena and if we lose, we DIE.

Thankfully, Mad Dog thinks I’m adorable so when I stink up the field, he happily lets it go. I find wearing short-shorts or extra tight pants helps my cause with him, too.

However, with my boys, you know, the ones I carried in my body for NINE months and gave LIFE to, they have no mercy for their dear, old Mom.

T.Puzzle yelled at me when I dropped a passed. Then, he yelled at Mad Dog for not passing to him and making the awful decision to throw it to me. When Mad Dog did pass it to him and he dropped it, he yet again yelled at Mad Dog for his ‘terrible throw!’. When my super awesome niece, made a super awesome catch that she marched into the end zone, I hugged and congratulated her.  T.Puzzle was appalled. “Mom, how could you cheer for the other team!?!” He was so mad he could barely look at me.

On the other side of the field, Full Speed was completely frustrated by his inexperienced teammates. Sometimes, as QB, he would throw it in the sand on purpose instead of risking a throw to one of his unqualified (in his mind) receivers.  Then, on the rare occasion my team would score, he would take his anger at this out on T.Puzzle. This could be a late hit, an early hit or any rough hit in between which all are completely illegal in a game of TOUCH football.  When one such hit reached an extreme level, I intervened and called a do-over for that down for my team. If looks could kill, Full Speed would have murdered me on the spot.

Mercifully, the game ended and T.Puzzle handled the loss graciously of course. He stalked off the field and refused to play anymore for the rest of our time at the beach.  Super fun.

I was so glad that it was over and I said to my sister who had witnessed the game in its entirety, “Wow, my boys and their level of competitiveness is pretty brutal.”

She kindly said, “They are both very passionate and hate to lose. It’s a good thing.”

“Really?” I replied. “Because I just find it annoying!”

If I hadn’t been on the field, I may have found it more amusing than anything else (or if I wasn’t genetically responsible for them). I’m guessing by the time they learn to manage their competitiveness a little better (as Mad Dog has to some degree), I will be too old to play anymore.

Either I need to grow some thicker skin to keep playing now, or wait it out and purchase a beach-compatible motorized wheelchair so I can rain down the thunder thirty years from now.

children, family, gratitude, motherhood, Ohio State Football

The Story of a girl and her Buckeye

This is the story of a midwestern girl. She grew up in a rural town and never thought much beyond the outskirts of the farmlands that surrounded her. On a whim post-graduate school, she moved to Chicago. There, she met a Northwestern matriculating Buckeye. She didn’t think much of football but she did think much of the Buckeye. Quickly, she fell in love. Not so quickly, he did too.

Their romance wasn’t always a fairytale. No matter, the girl followed her heart again and again. On her convoluted path to finding everlasting love with this most handsomest of Buckeyes, she journeyed to Arizona with him to her first Ohio State National Championship game. As fate would have it, they won in a spectacular double overtime fashion.

January 3, 2002  Final Score:  Buckeyes 31, Hurricanes 24 (the girl still has the sweatshirt which she stole from her Buckeye)
January 3, 2002
Final Score: Buckeyes 31, Hurricanes 24
(the girl still has the sweatshirt which she stole from her Buckeye)

 

This prompted the Buckeye to believe in miracles.

He got over himself finally and proposed to the girl.

She said yes.

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She married her Buckeye at Disney World that same year.

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She didn’t even mind when Mickey had to show some Buckeye spirit.  I mean, she was finally married after all.  She was in a generous mood.

O-H-I-O

O-H-I-O

 

Two, awesome little Buckeyes soon followed. Understanding that her Beloved bled scarlet and gray, the girl agreed to raise their family strictly Buckeye.

the girl, her Buckeye and their first baby Buckeye
the girl, her Buckeye and their first baby Buckeye

 

Little Buckeye #2
Little Buckeye #2

 

Two more National Championships followed. The girl didn’t attend either as she had her little Buckeyes to care for and tickets for such events are a rarity. Both of these ended in heartbreaking losses. Her Buckeye made it to both of these. He likes to pretend he never went as both games stir painful memories for him.

Flash forward to present day and the Buckeyes had done it again. They were ready to take on the Oregon Ducks for the National Title. The girl hoped and prayed that somehow her Buckeye would get to go.

The Wednesday before the game the Buckeye called the girl.

“Are you sitting down?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“We have four tickets to the game.”

“What! FOUR?”

And, that’s when this story starts getting really, really good.

The Buckeye and the girl packed up their little Buckeyes and hit the road. So what if it was 30 hours round trip? This was the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.

As the weekend unfolded, the anxiety of the pending game was almost too much for the girl to take. She tried to keep her focus on being grateful to spend this adventure with her 3 favorite boys regardless of the game’s outcome. It wasn’t always easy.

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Finally, game day arrived. As this little family made their way into the enormous stadium, nerves were at an all-time high. There were Buckeyes EVERYWHERE. It was like they were attending a home game at the ‘Shoe.  The band was impeccable, the crowd was electric, the jumbotron was massive,….it was AWESOME.

As the game commenced and the Ducks methodically marched down the field and scored on their first possession, the littlest Buckeye burst into tears. As the waterworks flowed, his heart lost its ability to believe in a Buckeye victory.

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The Buckeyes quickly answered and spirits were lifted instantly but remained precarious until solidly into the second half.

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As the fourth quarter began to dwindle, the girl couldn’t believe that she was there. That the Buckeyes were going to win. Her Buckeye was joyous. Her little Buckeyes rejoiced. The whole stadium erupted as the final seconds ticked away.

She was there.

With them.

Celebrating a victory.

Wow.

A once in a lifetime moment.

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And, yes, she’d marry her Buckeye all over again.

 

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See you next year!

 

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THE END

children, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

All Heart

As we were watching yet another college sport on TV, a commercial for wrestling flicked across the screen.  Mad Dog asked the boys if they would be interested in watching that since they seem to enjoy wrestling each other so very, very much.  Before they could respond, T.Puzzle threw out some wrestling ‘facts’.

“Whenever I wrestle Full Speed, I always win.  Every time.  I never lose.”

Full Speed, being the bigger brother and all, sat for a moment and didn’t say anything.  I think in years to come, T.Puzzle is going to realize saying things like this will only cause him extensive emotional and physical pain.

Mad Dog explored T.Puzzle’s assumptions further.  “Really?  Every time?”

“Well, maybe not every time, but almost all the time.”

With that, wrestlemania was on.  Full Speed lunged and attacked.  He did not hold back.  It was violent, ugly and a lot of sick sounding thuds happened as little T.Puzzle’s body hit the floor repeatedly.  I have to give T.Puzzle credit, he never gave up.  Even after Full Speed had pinned him for the tenth time and was declared champion, T.Puzzle insisted he was never fully pinned.  In his mind, he may not have technically won, but he was and never will be a loser at wrestling or anything for that matter.

My wish for anyone reading this is that you believe in yourself as much as T.Puzzle believes in himself.  Imagine a world where each of us believed we were the best at everything we tried.   Each fight would find us victorious and each day would be another opportunity for us to shine.

T.Puzzle may have lost the round, but with heart like that, he hasn’t lost the match.

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children, family, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Choked Up

We had friends over this weekend.  As the adults were sitting outside on the lanai, my friend’s son comes racing out to announce that “T.Puzzle is choking!”  We weren’t too concerned as he had just been reprimanded for being a poor sport over a Wii game.  He was full of tears and snot so we figured he was ‘choking’ as part of his tantrum.  Mad Dog went upstairs to investigate.  What did he find?  T.Puzzle straddling Full Speed with both of his hands wrapped tightly around his older brother’s neck.  Full Speed was so stunned by this choking attack he wasn’t even trying to defend himself.

Thankfully, Full Speed was uninjured.  And, thankfully, this happened around the kind of friends who understand that kids lose it and still love us anyway.  I tried to imagine if we were only acquaintances how T.Puzzle’s behavior would have gone over.  Something like, “Their house was lovely but man, that T.Puzzle is CRAZY!  Watch your backs!”

Of course T.Puzzle was punished for his temporary loss of sanity.  Mad Dog and I tried to keep it in perspective.  Imagine no matter how hard you tried or how fast you ran, you never, ever get to beat your older brother at anything.  That has to be a pretty frustrating way to live.

So, even though we understand his motivation, we will never condone choking your brother out.

Technically I guess that is one thing T.Puzzle is better at.

T.Puzzle as a toddler showing 4 year old Full Speed glimpses of attacks to come.
T.Puzzle as a toddler showing 5-year-old Full Speed glimpses of future attacks.