Moving forward

For Linda, who requested I write on this subject –

When I was in jr. high and high school I looked forward to practices for every sport every day.  I was slightly lost without them.  I didn’t know what people did with all their free time.

I wasn’t a stereo-typical teen in the sense that I had no desire to sit in my room and brood about the fact that the world wasn’t fair, boys didn’t like me, or that I didn’t have the latest fashion.  I spent every single day talking to my parents and siblings.  I adored school and I adored sports practices.  The day of my last senior year volleyball game I remember sinking to the floor and sobbing.  The season was over and everything was going to change.  This is the first time I remember noticing the seasons of life.

Then, I became an adult.  I got a job.  My time available to play sports shrunk significantly.  Then, I got married.  My time shrunk again.  And, then I had kids.  I stopped playing all together.  I missed it, but seldom had time to think about it.  I had health issues that helped me gain a significant amount of weight and made losing it extremely difficult.  But, all along I LOVED sports.  I never stopped loving them just because I wasn’t able to play.

When the twins were born I heard about a volleyball league I could play in.  I decided I’d go try it out.  I was nervous.  I was 10 years older, overweight, and hadn’t played.  But, it was sorta like riding a bike.  When I got there it just came back.  I didn’t move as fast.  My minimal vertical had basically disappeared. But, I had the basics.  The fundamentals that I used to be annoyed my coaches were harping on – those were still there.  And, I’ve been playing volleyball ever since.  I found it difficult to play in the league with the people who were beginners.  They didn’t even know the rules and were laughing like the sport was just for fun!  And, the upper division were all young and fit.  The guys were giants and spiking it so hard that if it hit me in the face there was a good chance I’d be knocked out.  But, I’ve managed to play in both levels and figure out a balance.  I’m not the best.  But, I’m having fun and being active.

This year life has gotten in the way of our league.  But, I intend to change that.  I want to be able to play and enjoy my time.  I refuse to stop being active.  The good news is that I haven’t stopped completely.  I’ve been coaching.  When I leave practices I’m sweaty and disgusting.  The girls probably think I’m old and crazy, but I don’t care.  I love playing and I love being there teaching these girls to love it.  The important thing I keep reminding myself about is that I don’t have to be the best.  I don’t have to play at the level I did when I was 17 and 18.  I just have to keep going.  I have to keep myself moving.  Sometimes that means I take baby steps and do the easy stuff.  Sometimes that means I swallow my pride and do the hard stuff even though I’m positive everyone else around me thinks I’m ridiculous.  It’s not about what they think.  It’s about me doing something I love and trying my best to keep myself healthy despite health issues that make weight loss annoying, despite time crunches, despite french fries.  I’m still going and I’m going to keep going.

If you feel like you are too old, too fat, too slow, too whatever – stop labeling yourself with things that do not help you.  Start labeling yourself as things like tenacious, persistent, and hard working.  Don’t waste your life hiding until you’re perfect for what you want to do.  Do what you want until you’re the best you can be at it.



Football Newbs

It’s been three days and my oldest son is still alive. This week is Hell Week for football. Football is a new experience in our house. I’ve always sworn my kids wouldn’t be allowed to play because I value their limbs and their brains too much. But, Dad gave permission and so here we go.

I have been praying hard all summer that my oldest son would change his mind about this sport I fear. I overheard his little brother telling him “Look, if you play and you don’t get hurt or killed – Mom will probably let me play. So, just play really great, okay?” Yes, do not get hurt or killed. In fact, neither would be just fine by me.

But, here we are. I went to the parent meeting. I signed the form that had all sorts of possible injuries (including DEATH). My best friend said to our boys “Go get your football costumes and then let’s go!” Costumes – do we sound like newbs? Of course, when my son informed me he needed to buy a chin guard I said “do you need a cup?” He shrugged. Being ME I went and asked the coach. He and his son chuckled at me. Um, it seems to me that MOST boys would think that was the most important gear. Apparently, I’m wrong. And, also apparently, that is embarassing…

When we got home we forced the boys to try on their gear so that I could have a good Instagram/Facebook photo (duh!)

Bright and early Monday morning I drove my boy out to the field and watched him walk to a group of very large and very rowdy boys. Some of them look like full grown men. I wanted to stay and watch, but I didn’t want to embarrass him so I pulled away and went to work. I drove back to pick him up in time to see some hitting drills. I still don’t understand how it’s fun, but I also am not a boy so I suppose that makes sense.

Today we had some work to do at the school. My husband took all three kids to help. When I showed up my oldest said “Mom, I’m tired. I don’t want to scrub.” I said “I understand you’re tired, but you have to finish.” I looked over a few minutes later and this is what I saw:
This kid scrubbing, but on his back and laughing so hard because he finds himself amusing.

So, we’ve made it three days. Everyone is still alive. I’m sure it will all be fine. But, we’re newbs. It’s yet another adventure in our crazy lives. I wonder what’s next?

Swim Team Life Lessons

I had my first experience with a swim meet last week.  Turns out it’s much different than a basketball game or a volleyball game.

It didn’t occur to me how many kids were on each swim team.  And, I also didn’t realize how many different races there are/could be.  The other thing I forgot to think about was that there was a lot of sun…right on the bleachers.  Next meet I’ll be more prepared.  Despite being unaware – I learned a lot and had a blast.

It was fun to see all the kids swimming, cheering, and having a great time.  Some of the kids were so talented!  I only played volleyball and basketball in high school so I didn’t really understand the scoring system at first.  But, once it was explained to me (after the meet) it made more sense.  I wasn’t sure if cheering by parents was allowed, but anyone who knows me knows that I cheered anyway.  I took lots of pictures and clapped and yelled.  It seemed weird NOT to.  The thing that struck me the most was that even when someone was losing and was the last person done with the race – their entire team came over and cheered them until they were at the end.  AND, not one of those people gave up simply because they were losing.  That, my friends, is a life lesson.  Keep going no matter what.  Finishing is just as important as trying.

I can’t wait to go watch again.  Go Lions!


Olympic Humor

I don’t know anyone who loved the Napoleon Dynamite movie more than my mother in law, but I know lots of people enjoyed it and it became a crazy overnight phenom!

So, you can imagine how much we loved it last night when we were watching the Olympics and KIP was doing the men’s floor routine


The similarity is AMAZING!  Give the guy from Chile some glasses and they could be twins.  Seriously…it made my day.

Hail the conquering heroes!

The week is up and my oldest is coming home tonight!  I am so excited.  I’ve missed him, even though it’s been much quieter since he’s been gone.  I’m not a big fan of quiet anyway.

The basketball camp he went to is about 10 (+/- depending on if you get stopped for speeding etc or not) hours north.  I was stressing about him being gone so far because he’s terrible at staying in contact.  Thankfully the dad who went is awesome at sending texts to keep all the mommies updated.  He sent us texts daily and photos of fun things the boys were doing.

The boys ended up 14/2 for the week and also WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP today.  So very cool.

If your kid ever goes away for a week – just make sure you send a dad who is great at keeping you informed and giving you play by plays of the game.  It makes it way easier to handle.  (Though it did make me a little sad that I wasn’t there watching for myself…)


Basketball camp

The week after school is always basketball camp for my boys.  It was strange to have my older son have three other things (still basketball) scheduled for this week, and have him NOT attend the same camp he’s been attending for years.  My youngest still went and he is loving it.

The first day only he and I were up early.  He got ready and then he said “You know, I love basketball, but NOTHING should start at 8am on the first day of summer”.  Hm, yes – I have to agree.

We headed off to camp.  It was cold and raining and weird for June.  But, we got there and I walked him in.  I said “do you want me to wait with you until your friends get here?”  He looked at me with a look of ARE YOU KIDDING!?! and said “No thanks, I’m good.”. So different from his siblings.  But, I understood his wanting to ‘look cool’ so I left.

I got a chance to go back and watch him play and he did awesome (he’s the one with the good hands up on defense).

Today when we were headed out to camp I said to him (my quiet anti-social son) “You know, there is an award they give at the end of this camp for the boy who is helpful, outgoing and friendly to the new players.  Maybe you could win that?”  He sat quiet for a minute and then he said “Yeah, that’s not going to work out.  I don’t like talking and I don’t like being friendly to people.” Then he gave a little shrug.  It made me laugh.  He is so comfortable with who he is.

I know his favorite part of the week has been hanging out with buddies and playing ball.  But, my favorite part has been getting to spend those rare moments with just one kid, chatting with him, eating breakfast with him and enjoying his individual-ness.  It’s a great thing to be a mom.


Fundraising 101

As a mother I am amazed by how generous people are with my children.  There have been so many times I’ve been blessed beyond anything I could express.

After 14 years of parenting I’ve become quite familiar with fundraising.  It seems that all schools do it and even other groups the kids are involved in do fundraising.  There are even things I am involved in that have expected fundraising efforts.  I have come to consider myself a bit of a ‘professional fundraiser’.  I am sure that’s probably a real job.  It’s not what I do and get paid to do full time, but I still do a lot of it.

I have lead the planning for the giant benefit we do for two local community educational programs at work two out of the last three years.  I was heavily involved in the third year, but I wasn’t in charge.  I also have been in charge of the fundraising for the church’s youth group for three out of the last four years.  I didn’t do anything this last year, and I’ve noticed that no one else planned anything.  And now, I’m in charge of the fundraising for the basketball team.  The good part about being in charge of it for so many different groups  is that most fundraisers can be reused by all the groups.  People still give money and are so supportive.  It’s fantastic.

There are a few standby fundraisers that I do that are generally low effort, low overhead cost, and seem to bring in an excellent amount of money for whatever we’re raising money for.  Here are a list of my favorites:

  • Bake Sale – it seems like so many people will volunteer to bake for these and then even more people are willing to buy.  We usually have them at our office because it’s filled with hungry engineers.  We’ve also coupled them with other fundraisers and that seems to work pretty well too.
  • Car wash – as long as the kids are supervised this is a pretty great fundraiser.  The kids enjoy doing it for the most part, people will generally donate over and above the expected amount.  I think that when we ask for ‘donations’ instead of asking for a specific fee we make more.
  • Recycle drive – having everyone in the group get their family, neighbors, and friends recycle they would normally just set out for the waste management to pick up or that they would normally take in for themselves and then taking them in for cash.  This is the easiest fundraiser I’ve EVER done.  Seriously, it’s so simple and so brilliant.
  • Taco or Italian dinners – we’ve done this a lot and have always had the food donated.  We have the kids dress up and ‘wait tables’.  Sometimes we have them do a little performance, but that’s not really necessary.  Some cheap dollar store decorations (that we can reuse over and over) make the dinner complete.  Spaghetti and tacos are cheap (especially when everything is donated).

There are lots of other good fundraisers.  Believe me, you will be involved in fundraising at some point and will be searching out this blog to help you.  You’re welcome. 😀