Monday, August 22, 2016

centerville olympics 2016

we love the olympics!
we watched them often at home this summer while they were happening in rio.
sam watched constantly.
we were inspired by the talent.
and inspired by michael phelps,
his physical ability, all his medals, and his class and sportsmanship.
the best was watching him not come unglued while be taunted before his swim by his opponent.
my young athlete children were inspired.
and their mother was inspired to host our own olympics.
down to the wire before the start of school,
we had to pull the trigger today.
it was spontaneous,
not pinterest worthy,
but was more fun than one could ever represent on pinterest.
we called a few friends...
owen and annie smith, tucker & jenna, eli & owen,
and they all came.
long jump, sprint, relay, gymnastics floor routine, and balance beam were all well represented events.
the athletes took it all very seriously,
right down to making medals out of pringles lids, cardboard, and canning lids,
coloring a country flag,
participating in opening ceremony introductions,
choosing a relay team and where everyone should be placed.
they switched up the relay teams 3 times for 3 races,
and their enthusiasm or energy level never faded.
the upset was tucker bringing him home for his teammates maggie and sam
and then admitted he cheated,
so will's team stole 1st place right out from under them.
the sprint was an upset, too,
thanks to owen smith.
he took 3rd place right away from the other owen by making a comeback and crossing the finish line 1 stride ahead.
maggie rocked the balance beam by actually doing cartwheels on it.
annie killed the floor routine on the tramp
and almost killed herself when she went flying off the tramp into a pile of pine needles and logs.
so many wins for all.
even down to the $ store treats of pringles, cry babies, gummy bears, and root bear float popsicles.
my kids have requested olympics far more often than every 4 years...
they were hoping for twice a month.
so grateful i honored the interest inside of me to host this
and so grateful for what i learned about keeping things simple.
best olympians centerville has had to date.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

mommy sleepover

before we moved it wasn't unusual to wake up with a child in bed with us.
sometimes 1.
sometimes 2.
sometimes 3.
for whatever reason we have lost our bed partners in the new house.
a part of me has missed the closeness with them
while the other part has not missed the kick in the side
or elbow to the throat.
last night i was delighted to have 2 little guests plan a sleepover in our bed.
i couldn't help myself last night on a photo as i crawled into bed with maggie and will.
and this morning i couldn't help myself as i crawled out of bed to a new configuration of children.
sam joined at some point in the night,
and maggie changed position.
whatever their position,
i just loved the company,
and will never grow tired of having them close.

Monday, August 15, 2016

cup caking

sam loves watching cupcake wars.
he also loves baking.
especially chocolate chip cookies.
he is rather good at it too,
and capable of doing it without help in the kitchen...
like the time he made cookies for my salon
and the time he invented the cookie cupcake.
today sam and will decided to do our own modified version of cupcake wars.
sam found a recipe in a cookbook for a gourmet chocolate cupcake with ganache.
we all started with the chocolate cupcake,
made vanilla cream cheese frosting,
and added one ingredient for everyone to share.
will...caramel sauce
and then all were judged on presentation and taste.
sam won taste.
it was the subtle cinnamon mixed with his banana filling that launched him to the top.
will was a close 2nd with his caramel filling.
i was a competitor with my banana split.
pete was sketchy with his skittles and coconut,
and maggie struggled with too much cinnamon.
fun had by all though
and family connection that gave us all a prize.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

christening of the ears

maggie has wanted her ears pierced.
she wanted it last year too but the asking went away quickly.
it has come back up again
and hasn't died.
i knew i never wanted to pierce my infant's ears,
and i knew i didn't want to tell her when it was time to have her ears pierced.
and i no longer thought about making her wait until she was 8 until the age of accountability
because i don't believe in that anymore.
instead the only rule i had was that i wanted to do it when she was ready,
and she was ready.
she wanted to start 1st grade with earrings.
maggie has an impressive trait of knowing what she wants
and her wants have always come from inside
not from other people's expectations.
(oh! to keep that trait inside her forever!!)
the only person that wasn't ready was me.
i was afraid it would change her,
not make her young and innocent.
i wanted her to look little for a long time,
maybe forever.
i felt guilty about modifying her body before an age that she could really understand.
i was afraid she would love it so much,
and to see her love something so deeply would make me afraid.
thankfully i felt these feelings,
understood that they really stemmed from my own fears of loving deeply
and allowing myself to feel pleasure,
and let them go.
we made a special sunday afternoon trip out of it.
a special day where she wore the skirt she wanted
and wore the braid that she believed would keep her hair off her ears the best.
she welcomed a few ear pinchings just to prep what it would feel like.
she wasn't really afraid,
just excited.
that's just how she was in the chair too.
didn't want a teddy bear to hold
and didn't want to be called baby or princess.
she just wanted to have the experience as it was.
she was brave.
she didn't cry.
and she was happy.
happy she did it.
many smiles.
smiles from me and her.
i smiled because she was still just a 6 year old little girl,
and the earrings didn't take away from her innocence
or her childlike look.
if anything it enhanced it because it was her childhood desire.
it felt good to love something
and experience the uninhibited pleasure of loving it.
i like that she feels more connected to me, too,
because we are both girls with earrings.
and i love that she allows me to clean her ears without fighting me;
it's something she looks forward to.
she lets me in
and doesn't push me away.
i hope she always remembers this day,
just as i remember going to the jewelry store with my grandma, mom, and sisters for my ears.
i was brave too,
so brave i got to go first to be the example.
i remember it being special,
a rite of passage.
and for maggie,
i hope she remembers this day,
sitting in the chair at claire's,
having her whole family there to support her.
having her own rite of passage.
and remember how it feels to love something
and allow it to be special.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


an accurate way to describe our summer days.
i have had high hopes of
being the word that would better describe them.
try as i might,
there has been so much unscheduled fighting,
tv watching,
late nights,
lounging in robes together creating concoctions and memories while there should have been sleep happening.
unscheduled night scooter rides,
mud pie birthday cakes,
soccer trips to the park,
games in the living room floor
driving practices in the church parking lot.
while daily jobs and reading time may not have happened in the order i was hoping for,
i can see the memories were really made in all the fragmented moments.
perhaps even in the fighting.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

a peanut is a legume

i heard a story today.
jennifer finlayson-fife shared it at the strengthening your relationship conference pete and i attended.
it was about her autistic son.
he memorized all fruits and vegetables when he was young,
and he loved identifying them all at the grocery store.
by age 7 he was focused on naming all the nuts,
even peanuts.
his mother kindly explained that while a peanut looks like a nut and sounds like a nut,
it's actually a legume.
he freaked.
"NO! it has to be a nut!"
that was the only reality he had known,
and it was terrifying to him to have that reality shaken.
even though he resisted the new idea,
it didn't change that a peanut is still a legume.
after some wailing,
he began self-soothing by repeating
"a peanut is a legume. a peanut is a legume."
he accepted that fact as a new reality.
that happened to me today.
my relationship reality has been something that simply isn't a true reality.
my reality has said that the only way to be successful was to give up yourself,
all your desires, interests, plans, and goals.
this reality has hurt me,
has not made my relationship successful
or made me happy.
but it was my reality.
relationships demanded that you lose yourself.
there must be something wrong with me.
i never questioned that it was my reality.
how could that be so?
it was in fact an incorrect reality.
a healthy relationship requires you to be the best version of you,
holding everything that is fundamentally important to you in your relationship space.
holding it there without the expectation that your partner will embrace it and give you everything you dream of.
it's acting out of a place of integrity for those wishes.
and when your spouse doesn't reciprocate,
you still hold onto your sense of self without punishing
or resenting
you still honor yourself.
you still always have the choice to do that.
and as one partner does that
it gives the space to the other to do the same.
there has been self-soothing on my part today.
"what i want does matter."
"what i want will make my relationship stronger."
it will.
it will.
part of me has always known this,
and i've had one moment where i've lived it.
i don't want to question if a peanut is a nut ever again.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

soccer for all

sam played in the park city tournament this weekend with his new team.
they won 2nd place.
bigger things happened than just winning the medal.
he switched clubs this year from forza to metasport,
and we lost our beloved coach pete tesch.
we went to a new team where we only knew 2 players.
it has been difficult.
we started off the summer tournament season with some pretty hard losses,
and many frustrating moments where i feared the team was not going to gel
and we were going to be outsiders forever.
plus, it has been hard for me and sam to only see him play center defender,
a position he has never played.
he has been out of sorts
and has missed what he does so well as forward and mid-fielder.
things took a turn this weekend as this team gained momentum and experience
and bonded over a victory in the semifinals that came after overtime and a shoot out.
after a 15 hour day in park city we came home with a 2nd place medal
and a connection with the new team that i thought was never going to come.
after 3 games in 1 day i saw the potential for this team.
they found their groove 
and dug deep and fought hard in the final game,
so hard they led the other team the whole game or held them in a tie into overtime.
they lost by 1 point,
but it still felt like victory,
even though sam cried.
i think he felt a lot of pressure as last defender,
like it was somehow his fault.
thank goodness for the kind words of an assistant coach that helped him see all that he stopped
and to see that without him the game would have been bleak.
and thank goodness we could help him switch his mindset by seeing that fighting hard through 3 games without giving up is a big deal.
also to see that this team beat us 5-0 the night before,
and we didn't give them an easy victory this time around.
i'm hoping confidence will continue to grow inside of him and help him to be aggressive on the field and a part of the team off the field.
he's a good boy,
a great son,
and a fantastic soccer player.
we are so proud of him.
also proud of maggie and will for being supporting troopers all weekend.
they were happy to play with lake, taft, and owen all weekend.
and happy to chase golf carts,
play playground tag with a base
(will got called in by maggie to enforce the base rules.),
and get autographs from cool teenagers.
and for me,
i had my own lessons.
trusting time is almost always the right thing to do.
relationships in this venue don't happen automatically.
they happen after time together
and mutual time supporting these boys,
who in fact are still actually kids.

sam has been the only player that has played every game without a break.
pete tesch coached the game on thursday.
he told him it doesn't look good to ask for a break.
pete told him he wants him to be the kind of player like tyson who was mad every time he got taken out.
sam told me he made a commitment then and there to not ask for a break ever.
he felt inspired,
but he did get a 1 minute water break for the 1st time at the end of the last game for a drink.
he's easy to inspire if the message is sent in his language.

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