That’s Cub

In every woman’s life there are defining moments.  There are milestones such as college graduation, falling in love, having children, etc.  Once children are a part of the picture, suddenly their milestones become our treasured markers of the passage of time.  For instance, the first time Full Speed reached earnestly to play with a toy hung from the arm of his baby carrier, I was overjoyed.  I was convinced by this simple act that I had given birth to a certified genius.  We were at the mall and the air was heavy with the scent of salty pretzels and my overblown perceptions of my ‘super baby’.  Still, it was an awesome moment and to this day whenever something great befalls my kiddos, it’s like it is happening to me as well.

That’s why when my boys lined up against the backstop at Wrigley Field before the start of the game, I was giddy with anticipation.  Mad Dog had arranged for them to be part of the nine lucky kids that got to run on the field and meet a player.  We had no idea which player it would be.  We hoped for the best and made peace with the worst (you know who you are).  I was seated alone and peered anxiously at them to see where they would run.  Once given the signal, they were to sprint to the position that would coincide with the player they would meet.

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Mad Dog stands center watch over the lucky 9.  Full Speed is at the right end, T.Puzzle third from right in red hat.

I almost couldn’t take it.  Who would they get?!?  Who!?!

Finally, they were off and running.  It seemed obvious Full Speed was headed towards the outfield.  But then, oh my god, T.Puzzle ran to FIRST BASE!  He was going to meet ANTHONY RIZZO!  I repeat….ANTHONY RIZZO!

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Is it obvious he’s my favorite player?  Hmmm, what gave it away?

I jumped for joy and screamed so loud the fans in my section thought I had lost my mind.  I was able to compose myself enough to articulate that both my kids were out on the field and one was meeting ANTHONY RIZZO.  This made sense to them, but I could tell they still thought I was mildly insane.

T.Puzzle had a brief exchange with Anthony (yeah, I’m now on a first name basis with him), and got him to autograph a baseball (proudly on display in our front room).  It  took all of two minutes but for me, it is a defining moment that still brings me great joy.

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Harder to see, but Full Speed meeting J-Hey in the lower left hand corner.

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Full Speed jogs off the field after telling J-Hey he’s ‘much bigger in real life’.

Full Speed was sent to right field and had a lengthier exchange with near-giant Jason Heyward (well, giant compared to Full Speed and most of America). J-Hey was so genuine in what he said to Full Speed, he is now Full Speed’s favorite Cubs player. I love that, clearly he is a player that is gracious and I’m so glad he had such a positive impact on Full Speed.

Now, That’s Cub.

 

Well That Was Alarming

We were racing through O’Hare International Airport.  I felt the adrenaline coursing through my veins as we embarked on the first phase of our summer vacation.  No, we weren’t racing to make a flight or anything like that.  Mad Dog, in that way of his, was pushing us to get to…wait for it…baggage claim.  We weren’t even late for anything.  He is a man who can’t stand to be still so what happens when you land at your destination?  You sprint to baggage claim naturally.

Through the bobbing and weaving I managed to shout over to the boys, “You realize this trip would not be possible without me.  I am the whole reason we are here.”

They didn’t break stride as they looked towards me.

“I set the back-up alarm to make sure we made our flight this morning.  This was absolutely crucial to our trip’s success.  So, however amazing this trip is going to be, and it will be, it’s all because of your mom and her super awesome back-up alarm setting abilities.”

You see, the night before, Mad Dog ‘asked’ me what time I planned to set my alarm for.  The truth was, he already had in mind the exact time he wanted.  It was also clear that I was the back-up alarm.

Why he pretended that my back-up alarm mattered when, in fact, it did not, only shows how smart he is.  He knows my sensitive self likes to feel useful in situations like these.  He tried his best to include me.  But really, in the realm of travel logistics, it’s best to step back and let him roll.  (In his defense, he travels a lot for work, so he clearly knows what the heck he is doing.)

Mad Dog takes in what I’ve said and casually states, “Actually, you were the back-up to the back-up alarm.”

What!?!

Full Speeds turns to me and says, “How’s it feel to be demoted to third string, Mom?”

Not great.  Not great at all.

Of course we went to Wrigley Field, goes without saying.

Summer Lessons

This is my first post after an unofficial break.  I needed to decide if I should continue or if this blog had run its course.  After consulting my massive fan base, all two of you, I decided to carry on. Thanks for continuing to care, to read and to show up for me.   My readers are a huge reason I will keep showing up for this blog.

This summer blasted by faster than a Floridian thunder storm.  I no sooner got us into a great little routine and then I had to chuck it all in to get the boys ready for 2nd and 4th grade.  We had many adventures and a few mishaps.  Overall, I truly enjoyed my summer with the boys.  I was sad to see it end so quickly.

This is what I learned…

1.  Don’t try to be too deep with your seven-year old.

Here is an exchange I had with T.Puzzle at the beginning of summer.  I was clearly outmaneuvered.

Me:  “Do you know what I love the most about you?”  (the response is supposed to be ‘Everything’)

T.Puzzle:  “My armpits?”

He then went on to argue if I truly do love everything about him, then that means I must love his armpits, too.

2.  My fantasy of family game night continues to be a bust.  For some reason, I can’t let it go.  I keep trying and trying.  All three of my boys are WAY too competitive so we end up with STINKY FACES,

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CRAZY FACES,

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and, eventually, I recruit my dog to play because he is the only one capable of maintaining a CHILL attitude.

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3.  Raising a family will never be a perfect science.  Things rarely go the way you picture them in your mind.  Just roll the dice and try to have fun in the process.

Have a great school year Everyone!

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Summer Vacation Highlights

1.  On our trip up north, Full Speed showed us some genuine gratitude.  We were all set to get him a soccer t-shirt while we attended the USMNT‘s Gold Cup Championship game at Soldier Field.  He was so thankful to be attending the game, that he politely declined.  He said being at the game was more than enough.  Needless to say, he got a t-shirt anyway.  I would have gotten him a car, too.  I basically would have gotten him anything he wanted.

2.  Even though T.Puzzle continues to insist on asserting his independence from me, when he won 1000 tickets at an arcade, he rushed to tell me all about it.  I guess maybe he hasn’t outgrown his Mom after all.  That’s a relief.  Seriously.

T.Puzzle celebrating with his cousin

T.Puzzle celebrating with his cousin

3.  We did lots of spectacular things this summer especially in Chicago.  Watching the men’s team win the Gold Cup, eating on the 95th floor of the Hancock, riding the ferris wheel and a surrey bike at Navy Pier and carriage ride at night downtown just to name a few.  Out of all these things, some of my favorite moments were the ones where conversations with my nieces and my boys would unexpectedly flow.  Sure, we were experiencing unique and awesome events, but the true wonder was simply being together.

me with my two favorite nieces

me with my two favorite nieces

my 3 favorite guys

my 3 favorite guys

Too bad summer can’t last forever.

No Such Thing as Summer

Full Speed’s version of relaxing on the beach.

The school year is almost over and summer vacation is right on our heels.  I am arming myself with positive self-talk (‘you can do it!’/ ‘they may steal your energy but never your soul!’ / ‘it really is five o’clock somewhere!’), signing the boys up for a myriad of day camps and activities and my personal favorite, good old-fashioned denial.

Ready or not, here summer vacation comes.

I have noticed that Full Speed has cranked up his hyperactivity quotient (I honestly didn’t know this was humanly possible) as his first grade year draws to a close.  I still find it hard to believe that he holds himself together in the classroom.  His teacher insists he is very well-behaved.  I imagine even the best behaved kids are prone to losing it as the excitement of summer fills the school.  I worried for his teacher because if he was acting this out of control at home, what would he be like at school?

“Full Speed, do I need to call your teacher?  Does she need to know you are way too hyper today?”  I ask.

He snaps to attention.  “No, Mom.  I know what self-control is.  Sometimes I really want to be hyper at school but then I just don’t.”  His serious expression told me he was telling the truth.

Guess he’s saving up all his hyperactivity for summer vacation and for me.

I have no response to this because in my mind, there is no summer.  It’s the only way I’ll survive until the fall.