family, humor, motherhood

2016 Year in Review

Mad Dog and I were seated 15 yards back from the end zone.  Our panoramic view of the field added to the excitement.  T.Puzzle was at QB calling the shots and Full Speed was zipping up and down the field at a breakneck pace.

Sounds amazing, right?

It kind of was and it kind of wasn’t.  There are many perks to having the boys on the same flag football team such as shared practices and games.  There are also many pitfalls.  Let’s just say there are days when egos collide and managing the talent is way above my pay grade.


Even though their flag season was a mixed bag of victories and defeats, I am grateful that I get to watch these boys from the sidelines.  Besides, I’m feeling generous because I am a World Series Champion!  Yes, it was a long road and a lot of hard work, but I hung in there. Don’t worry, I haven’t let success go to my head.

Celebrating the Game 5 victory with the masses.  Still can’t believe we were there.

In the spirit of full disclosure, success actually has gone to my head a little bit.  As it happens Mad Dog and I are predominantly featured in a recent World Series recap. It premiered on FS1 and is available for DVD purchase.  Well, we are flashed on the screen for a millisecond or two, but it still counts.  Here’s proof the Cubs couldn’t have won without me.

This is us gearing up for the historic Game 3 showdown.

Now that I’ve sufficiently addressed my newfound celebrity status, here’s a breakdown of the rest of my team:

Let’s start with T.Puzzle.  This is the child that continues to confound me.  He is overly opinionated and strong-willed yet gets glowing reviews from teachers and coaches. Often, after another flip comment has escaped his adorable face I’ll say something like, “wow, raising you is the challenge of a lifetime.”  His instant response is, “because I’m so awesome, right?”  Something like that.  He’s something alright.

T.Puzzle continues to loathe school, adore video games and aggravate his brother.  He’s entering the double digits age-wise.  I have a feeling I may need to start another blog dedicated to coping with T.Puzzle’s impending milestone decade.  The truth is, he is completely true to himself and even though he challenges me a lot, I know he is always going to land on his feet.


Full Speed is transforming before our eyes and becoming a kind and thoughtful young man.  Thankfully, he still has a great sense of fun and is loving his Extended Studies this year with its focus on improv.  He loves school, reading, reading and oh, did I mention reading? He is a walking encyclopedia of sports facts and stats.  This was really helpful for me, especially as I got farther into my World Series winning season.  Chicago thanks you, Full Speed!


Then, there’s Mad Dog.  He continues to excel at work.  There I reasons I love this and reasons I don’t love this.  I love this because I can tell that he is feeling challenged and inspired by all his new and varied responsibilities.  He’s also an incredible leader.  I am very proud of him and like that he remains humble and grounded.  I don’t love this because he is often working long hours and has to travel.  I’m not a huge fan of sharing Mad Dog with the world, but I get it.  He’s awesome and the world needs him.  So, I let him go with love.

As for me, it really all boils down to this.  I realized that I am my truest, most genuine self when I am in the company of these three incredible men and they all accept me exactly as I am.  My goal for the coming year is to be the self that is loved by them when I am out in the world.  It is easy in concept but hard in execution.  I’m not sure if the world is ready for an empath like me.  All I know is that if I have these guys in my corner, then what the world thinks of me is less important.  In fact, for any of you reading this, I encourage you to be your truest self in all circumstances.  The only approval you actually need is your own.


Wishing you a Blesssed Holiday Season, a Bright and Merry New Year and above all else Love.

children, humor, motherhood

64 lbs

A 5’6 twelve-year-old is a sight to behold.  Especially in a sea of more average to small-framed kids usually seen at any given game for a U12 flag football team.  Full Speed’s rather tall teammate is a huge offensive and defensive weapon.  The QB only needs to launch the ball in the general vicinity of him and his giant wingspan and leaping ability almost guarantee a completion. Needless to say, it’s been a very fun season for Full Speed and his winning team.

When the news broke that our super receiver and starting QB couldn’t attend Saturday’s game, we all began to wonder how we would fare without them.  My friend’s son would step in as QB, and while he had experience in this slot with previous teams, he had never run routes with this current team.  And, coupled with missing our surefire receiver, where does that leave the team?  Pinning our hopes and dreams on the crazy fast quickness of Full Speed.

The night before the game Full Speed’s coach had pulled him aside.  He warned him to get a good night’s sleep and be prepared for a lot of hand-offs.  Mad Dog and I were a little perplexed.  Full Speed averaged about ten runs a game and was pretty successful even scoring an occasional touchdown, but how many more runs did that mean?  Twenty?  Thirty?

Oh my.

The morning of the game Full Speed pounded on our bedroom door earlier than expected.

“Can I get up now?  I know it’s early but I’m too pumped up for the game to sleep.”

Oh my.

Before a game, Full Speed becomes silently serious.  On the ride to the fields he was a ball of nerves and I could tell he was doing his best to be focused and brave.  I didn’t know what to think.  On one hand, I knew that Full Speed, as do all of us, have this remarkable capacity to step up our game when needed.  On the other hand, I prayed that at least the team would remain competitive, would have a chance for other players to shine and that some positive lessons about heart and effort would be learned.

At the coin toss, the other team won possession.  My stomach gave a nervous little lurch as the refs lined up the teams for the first snap.  Right out of the gate the opposition passed the ball to midfield where a player handily snagged it and ran for a touchdown.  I cringed as the player zipped into the end zone and worried that this was going to set the tone for the game.

Full Speed’s team lined up to hopefully answer.  It seemed like a longshot.  Mad Dog and I knew Full Speed was getting the ball as his right hand twitched with nervous anticipation.  Then, it was on.  He was off to the races.  He zigged, he zagged, he juked and he spun.  He kicked into this extraordinary high gear and broke the ankles of players twice his size.  They all were left standing in his wake confused that this little dynamo couldn’t be caught.  He ran and ran, then he ran some more.  We could hear the QB say, ‘I don’t need to pass, it’s fun to watch Full Speed run all over the field.’  To the QB’s credit, as well as all the other members of the team, they all gave tremendous effort when it was needed.  Even a player not known for speed, lumbered his way for an impressive gain.  The other team backed off for fear of being run over.  His parents were seated next to me and said that his recent growth spurt had him weighing in at 118 lbs.  Full Speed weighs 64.

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

-Mark Twain

By game’s end, Full Speed had four touchdowns, countless runs and who knows how many Heisman worthy yards gained all leading to victory.

If 64 lbs can accomplish that, what can you do?


children, family, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Underdog City

ry=400-6In the world of social media, the tendency is to only share the highlights.  This is not true to life.  Therefore, I am going to be brave and share the real story of Full Speed’s current flag football team.  To say they are underdogs is putting it kindly.

Their first game was a 38-6 loss.  Not great but we naively thought that we still had a legitimate shot at a victory down the road.  Oh, the poor sweet dears we all were then!  The next game we lost 65-0.  I know it’s hard to imagine that a rec league flag football game could reach a score that high, but reach it did and in spectacular fashion.  Our team did not pull one defensive flag, they dropped more snaps than you can shake a stick at and they maybe had two instances of  yards gained on offense.   Scoring any points at all was a pipe dream and first downs….not in this lifetime.  It seemed the harder they tried, the more mistakes they made.  It was beyond painful to watch.  Subsequent games have been more of the same.

At the beginning of the season, Mad Dog had ordered me a football jersey touting my boys’ names.  As the weeks wore on and this brutal season unfolded, I was secretly glad it was taking a long time to arrive.  When it finally did arrive, I made a bold choice.  I would wear my jersey with pride.  The first game I wore it to, we lost 60ish-8 (I start to lose count after the other team scores their first few touchdowns).  The second game, was a 50ish-6 defeat.  So, any magic I was hoping for from the jersey wasn’t happening.

Full Speed’s evolution in this process has been interesting.  He went from despondent and apathetic to reaching a level of acceptance.  He now faces every game with the understanding that victory is highly unlikely but small successes are attainable.  Instead of lamenting about how awful the game was, we focus on the ways he did well.  The best part is now he is maintaining a good attitude and effort even when he is losing by a dramatic margin which is pretty much all the time.

Like I told him, if he scores 20 TDs or zero, I am here to support him and wear my jersey with pride.

See you at the fields!



children, family, gratitude, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

We Are the Champions

The stage was set.  Parents, grandparents and siblings lined the field.  The air buzzed with anticipation.  Full Speed had made it to the big dance.  His remarkable flag football team was in the championship game.  I was nervous because I was first and foremost awake, and I was nervous because I had a feeling the other team thought they would beat us with ease.  A parent from the opposition casually mentioned they had won last night’s play-off 38-8.  He said it with such cool confidence that it seemed the final score was all the statement needed.  We knew enough about this team to know they had two rainmakers.  What they didn’t know is that we had the lightning quick hands of defense that could make the rain stop.  And, stop them we did.

Since our defense was on fire, it allowed our offense to kick it into high gear.  Full Speed ran the ball again and again setting us up for awesome field position.  The opposition then became so focused on his running that they couldn’t handle the deep bombs that our QB kept launching.  This is where Full Speed’s team was a cut above the rest.  We had an actual receiver that could catch these deep bombs.  This is quite rare in a U10 league and is what marched us into a 26-18 victory.

Go Black Dragons!


children, family, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Big Dreams

Both my boys are convinced that they are amazing at everything.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  THEY. ARE. AWESOME.

I’ve thought long and hard about how I should temper this perceived awesomeness with reality.  Then, I decided, what the heck?  Does it really hurt anyone or anything if they have a solid belief in themselves? Won’t time, reality and wisdom show them what they truly are and aren’t awesome at?  As long as they treat others with respect, I’m going to let it go.

As our first flag football game approached, Full Speed was convinced he would be raining down touchdowns.  T.Puzzle was convinced his defensive rushing abilities were unparalleled.  I, did not say a word about it.  All I said is go out there and have fun.

In a matter of minutes it was clear we were the underdogs (I’m being kind here).  After two, painfully long games, we were allowed the relief of leaving the field.  We were on our way to meet friends and could overhear the excited chatter of the boys from the backseat of our car.

FULL SPEED:  I’m pretty sure I’m going to be a professional football player when I grow up.  I’m going to play for Ohio State in college and then maybe the Packers after that.  T.Puzzle will like that because he was born in Wisconsin so he will like to come visit.

T.PUZZLE: Yep, I’m THE best rusher on our team.

Mad Dog and I seriously wondered if they had actually paid attention to the two games we just saw them lose.  Yes, there were moments of potential.  Full Speed did score a couple touchdowns and T.Puzzle sacked the QB ONCE, but that was about it.

So, I may have some reservations that they will play professional football but since no one ever knows what tomorrow holds, I’m letting them keep that dream intact.

If you can dream it, you can do it.                    -Walt Disney
If you can dream it, you can do it.
-Walt Disney