Monday, December 7, 2015

Eva's Turn

After we left the gym at St. Stan's, she was very insistent that we call it Futsal and not Soccer. 

"They are not the same, Mommy.  You stop the ball.  A lot.  You stop the ball with your sole and you kick the ball with the inside of your foot."

She's still the same shy-until-she-gains-her-confidence girl that stands on the sidelines and watches.  And she still really doesn't like it when everyone watches HER, but after I yelled at her to go after the ball and she immediately kicked it in to the goal, she's already excited about what she can do.  She's hoping that at next week's scrimmage she can be on the team that gets to wear the little yellow pennies ("Our team didn't get to dress up this week.") but after just one session with Coach Thiago, she's already asking when she can go back and she's clearly disappointed that she doesn't have soccer, ahhh futsal, every day.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Sunday, June 21, 2015

BK5K 2015

When we crawled in to bed Friday night, I told Sam the forecast said there might be rain and thunder at start time.  "Awwwwww," he said "I want to run the 5K.  Will they still have the race if there is rain?"  I told him rain, yes, but thunderstorms no.

And when I got up early to eat some breakfast and drink a little coffee before waking Sam, the rain was coming down pretty hard.  The radar showed rain continuing to move in for several hours, but the race website said the race was still on and volunteers were waiting for runners to pick up their race packets.  TT and her sisters started milling around drinking coffee and laughing about what body parts hurt, and as Sam got his shoes on I explained to Grandma where the race was and how to get there.   The rain was coming down in sheets as Sam and I pulled out of the garage and headed north in to town and I really didn't expect the race would go as scheduled.

Within a few miles of our drive the rain stopped, and as we maneuvered through the roundabout near the cemetery, Sam spotted a patch of blue sky to the west.  I texted Mom that the skies in town were clear and we parked within walking distance of the finish line before heading over to the start.  We stepped around large deep puddles everywhere and Sam was excited and nervous as the Star Spangled Banner broadcast near Lake Lodge. But as soon as he saw Scott and fistbumped him at the starting line, Sam calmed a little and told me he wanted to run by himself, told me he didn't need me to stay by him.  They announced that only the fastest runners should be up near the start so we meandered back a ways and lined up near some old neighbors from Trempealeau before the starting gun exploded and Sam was off in to the crowd and running on his own.  I had intentionally dressed him in a bright unique color so I could find him in the crowd, and I watched him fighting to pace himself (as we had practiced) rather than sprinting, and by about mile 2 I was sure I'd never catch him.  When he turned to look around behind him just before the route crossed Huff again, I waved and he was already starting to walk.  From Huff we ran/walked together, me giving him short goals... just thirty steps then you can walk again, just to that big tree, just to that sign...  We had passed Lake Lodge and were circling around near the finish when we saw TT and Aunt Nancy and Aunt Judy (and Eva, who jumped in and started running with me) standing in the grass alongside the race path, and Sam kicked it in to high gear and finished strong.  His first full 5K.  Followed by much celebration and fistbumping and highfiving with Scott and TT and the aunts.

45 minutes later he lined up to do the kids race while I stood with Eva in the 4-year-old staging area.  Sam had asked me if he could walk the whole thing and still get a medal, and I told him yes.  So I shouldn't have been surprised when I was standing there after all the other 7-year-olds had finished the kids race watching for Sam to stumble across the finish for his medal.

Eva and I lined up and she insisted she wanted me to run with her right up until the Ready-Set-Go.  And she was off in a flash and didn't look back.  She was confident and proud and determined to win, and I cut across the grass to see her come in at the finish, her smile big and proud as TT and the aunts high-fived her and cheered her on.

What a beautiful morning filled with sunshine and laughter and family and friends.  Sam didn't understand why he didn't get a medal for being the 2nd 7-year-old to finish the full 5K but he got a medal for finishing the kids race last.  I told him that races don't always make sense and it's not about the medals and the place you finish anyway.  It's about getting out there doing it, setting a goal and finishing.  I told him I was very proud of him.

"When can we do it again?!"  he smiled.

Before the start of the 5K

5K finishers, Sam doused with water by his adoring fans

 Eva before her race

 Eva closing in on the finish

 My racers

 Sam's proud grandma

The racers and their adoring fans

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Trinona 2015 - Mother and Son









Tuesday, May 5, 2015

So Much Like Auntie Annie

She would not even let Jamie help her

When Ann and I were old enough to care, we would look through old photos that were scotch-taped into those sticky clear film photo albums and look back at the adventures we had as kids.  And inevitably it would come up that there were more pictures of me.  Where was the picture of Mom when she was pregnant with Ann?  Where was a picture of Ann riding a trike?  Why weren’t there any pictures of Ann with her face smeared with dirt in the backyard in Michigan?  The two pictures I recall of Ann’s childhood are one where she’s trying to guzzle from a capped beer bottle in the kitchen in Portage and another where she is holding up Aunt Judy’s pregnancy underwear when Julie was a few weeks away from entering our lives.  Ann didn’t even have her own baby book.  The seldom recorded statistics of her toddlerhood were scribbled in the margins of my baby book that had been filled out 2 years earlier.

It’s true.  Second kids get the short end of the stick.  And so it’s been with Eva.  She’s starting soccer and dance class and learning to ride a bike without training wheels and rapidly turning into a “big girl” right before my eyes, but none of those things have resulted in a blog post to celebrate the event.  None of these resulted in Mommy sitting down to reflect on how grateful and blessed she is to have this child and this life. 

Sam invited a friend from the Y over this weekend, and when the new mom, a mom I didn’t really know yet, saw Eva she kept saying “she’s adorable.  She’s adorable.”  And I thought, yah, I guess she is.  I’ve been so busy trying to balance the needs of two children while working full time that I rarely slow down and appreciate this adorable creature who is growing up right before my eyes.  I listen to the endless mom-mom-moms every day and hear myself constantly sighing and saying “just a second” more than I ever imagined I would, and when Eva wants to talk and talk and talk in the car I often just want a few moments peace without any noise.  But yesterday when I pulled up to the daycare and Eva wanted to show me how she could now ride a big girl bike without training wheels, I saw it.  I stopped and saw my daughter and her incredible determination and persistence and expressive joy.  And yes, she is adorable.
As was Annie. ( Even if we have very little photographic evidence of it.)
 Tiny Tots Soccer

 Creative Movement Dance Class

 Helping Mommy Plant the Spring Garden

 Fearlessly Loving Every Slide (big and small) at Great Wolf Lodge

 Doing Girlie Stuff with Brooklynn

 "I can do it myself!" is something she says often.

 Painting Her Own Bedroom Mural

 Skating with Harmony

 Hanging in the Tree House in Winter


Tuesday, February 10, 2015


One night last week Sam came home from school and went right to the piles of Lego and paper and markers and tape that have recently engulfed our dining room table.  He told me he was working on a project and I wasn't allowed to know what it was until he was done.  He made a cone of paper and fed it through the hole in the center of his new wooden ruler, and then he balanced it on a tower of Lego and began forming little pans on either side.  He later explained that he wanted to be able to measure which is heavier when he compares various sized Lego bricks so it's a balance scale.  His first grade teacher said it was an interesting idea since they are currently learning about balancing both sides of an equation.  Sam keeps telling me he wants to be a singer when he grows up (despite having what he calls severe stage fright), but he also tells me he's smart enough to be an engineer if he wants to.  My little Renaissance man will, perhaps, be balancing his left and right brain his whole life.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Animal Kingdom

Despite surviving the crowds of Magic Kingdom and a late night bedtime, I still approached day 2 with caution.  I lightened the snack load in the backpack (who were we kidding the kids were going to talk me into the quick and easy ice cream treats?) and added sunscreen and some water bottles, and we headed in to our second Disney park, Animal Kingdom.  From the second we entered the park the experience was different... shade and wide open space and a feeling that my children could run far ahead of me without me losing them.  We were greeted by a walking tree (a woman on stilts painted in green) and wound our way through a few animal exhibits before the Tree of Life appeared before us and we entered our first show.. The Bug's Life view of life from a bug's POV.  The dark, spooky theater with a 3D movie that had bees buzzing us and other insects poking us and squirming around beneath our seats got the kids excited for the adventures that were ahead of us.  Nemo's musical puppet show and Simba's theater in the round and a relaxing Safari mid day in which Sammy dozed a little on my lap.  Following the long day at Magic Kingdom, it was no surprise that the kids started to crash in the early afternoon, but a frozen coke and some exciting dancing in the streets and they were ready for the fun of Dinoland including arcade games and face painting.  The highlight of the day was the way Eva wanted to dance for hours with the Jamaican street band.  Is it any wonder she didn't make it back to the park entrance without collapsing in her stroller?  We will definitely go back to Animal Kingdom.