Saturday, November 21, 2009

Video: Claire Goes to Cheer Camp

Some genetics just can not be explained.

Claire wants to be a cheerleader.

Not just "wants" in a five year old sort of way. Like they "want" the latest toy they see advertised on TV. The five minute "want." Oh no.

This is deeper. This has staying power. This is, as the Wonder Pets would say, "see-wee-us."

So, while her two older siblings were spending the entire day at a swim meet with Monte, Cooper and I accompanied her to a cheer clinic run by Huntington University. She attended the clinic for three hours ( a marathon to a five year old) then got to come home for lunch and practice for.... drum roll please..... a HALF TIME SHOW WITH THE CHEERLEADERS during the men's basketball game!!!!!!

It was phenomenal. The entire staff at HU was top notch and obviously taken with all the wanna-be's attending the clinic. Because the University is private and Christian, there was a prayer before the game and an announcement that all spectators be courteous and refrain from profanity during the game. Classy.

I regret I didn't get more video. But it was pretty difficult to film and take pictures while wrangling Cooper ... who couldn't decide between chasing all those basketballs and flirting with the cheerleader moms.


Striking a pose with official Huntington University Pompoms.....

After the half-time performance... with one of her "favorite cheerleaders." Can you see the resemblance?

I completely love this picture. I told her I wanted to get a picture with the cheerleaders before we went home AFTER the practice and BEFORE the game... just in case we didn't make it back for the half- time show. Apparently not coming back was NOT an option.

And I love the underwear showing. It's pretty impossible to take her seriously with that going on....

The piece de resistance... the video clip. Claire is the one wearing the red skirt.... and having ALL the moves...

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's the Simple Things You Miss...

when you don't have it. Heat. Hot water. A pediatrician's office that provides the H1N1 vaccinations without having to drive 15 miles and stand in line 2-4 hours with four kids. Ahem.

You can see why I chose to look at these pictures today. I took them a while ago and forgot about them. After a rough 24 hours, I found myself needing to laugh. The longer I looked at them, the more I realized something. The things we take for granted. Heat. Hot water. Medical care.

I've been inconvenienced. The over-abundance of blessings that make up my life are all still there. But instead of counting them, I've been dwelling on something else.

I'm glad God called me to look over these pictures of the two busiest boys on earth. They got me back on track.

It's the simple things you (almost) miss.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Best of Days... and the Worst of Days...

Today has NOT gone the way I had hoped it would. Or planned.

We missed church... due to one snotty toddler, one crabby preschooler, and two wiped out school aged urchins. Too many nice days + too many playdates = too much attitude.

Just 14 days after a $1,000 furnace fix, both the furnace and hot water heater quit. Again. Why does it always happen after I decide to throw caution to the wind and let Cooper eat his applesauce himself? Drat. Showers at the Y. They may start to think we are homeless.

Cold shower for me. Freezing. Cold. See above.

I decided to make a cake. Our new oven does not have a locking mechanism. Cooper decided to open the oven while both of us were our of the kitchen. Thank God for "little mama" Claire who alerted us to the event and saved all of us from something very scary. Ordering oven lock today.

The homemade... from scratch .... carrot cake with the homemade cream cheese frosting ... burnt around the edges due to my "hotter than average" oven. Not to fear though... the middle decided to even things up a bit by being closer to raw. Ugh. I managed to salvage it with aluminum foil and cutting the edges out before serving. It was just about the ugliest thing ever. See picture.

And... to top it all off (pun intended), I forgot the candles to go on the cake. So... we ravaged the junk drawer and came up with last year's models... a 5 and a 7. The kids let the birthday boy decide whether he wanted to be 75 or 57. Even though he's only 43 today. For many reasons, it was the worst of days.

But. It's November 15th. The day we celebrate my husband's birthday. And not just because he's another year older. It's because on days like these... when I'm short tempered, dripping and cold, failing basic cake-baking, narrowly avoiding a trip to the ER, and wondering if I'm developing dementia.... he's right there. Smiling. Calm. Blowing out (last year's) candles. Eating the cake. Having seconds. Acting like it's all right. Making me believe that it is. And that makes today ... the best of days. Happy Birthday Sweetheart.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ready for Some Football?

There is a new trend on Sunday mornings at our house. Grayson (6) wakes up and immediately comes into our room and asks.... "Mom... it's Sunday. Do you know what that means?"

To which I always respond.... "Yes... two cups of coffee and church."

"AFTER that." It's FOOTBALL day."

Indeed. My deepest apologies to the Creator. It seems that despite years of Sunday School, it appears the "day of rest" shall be henceforth known as "Football Day." I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that one. I'll learning to pick my battles. As long as kickoff starts after the sermon.

I can now tell you that the Mannings are a trifecta in terms of football boys... and I know which teams Peyton and Eli "QB" ( Grayson tells me that's slang for quarterback) for. I also know Cooper (the other Manning) played in college but didn't play pro due to a back injury.

Uh huh. We're crossing off toys from the Christmas list and adding an assortment of NFL and college jerseys. We are no longer inviting the kindergarter neighbor girl over to play dressup (Princess Leia to our Luke Skywalker). Today she wore her "Future Cheerleader" T-shirt and cheered for him politely from the sidelines. They actually held hands walking up to the house. They looked so... teenager. Ish.

My heart skipped a beat and my mind flashed ahead a few years. Gulp.

He and Monte and a neighbor have been outside most of the day... in their football attire.... catching, throwing, running ... and throwing out football terminology. No scratching, spitting or patting each other's butts. Yet. I now only have control of my TV during time-outs and halftimes.

I hope you are ready for some football. I'm warming to the idea. Slowly.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pearls from Mom ...

We've been talking a lot around here about the value of money. While Santa and the elves may have a money tree growing in the backyard... we haven't seen one pop up yet here in Indiana.

Emma has a lot of ideas about "getting a job" when she gets older. I've been instructing (oops - I mean - "gently guiding") her to do something different. Please kids.... don't get jobs.

Here's a pearl. Get a degree. Get a career. Get a passion.

Your choices of career may not be the same as mine or your dad's. In fact, there is a good reason why they shouldn't. Your passion about your career should reflect who you are. What you are good at. What you care deeply about. What you are excited about doing. What you can do for the next fifty years without developing an ulcer.

I've been so fortunate to blend my career with my family. I didn't consider that when I chose my field. Family was NOT on my radar at the time. But I wish someone had advised me to its benefits at that time. Consider the ability to work part-time. You may not ever chose to. That's OK. But I guarantee you will appreciate having the choice.

You have to love it. Ideally, it should give back to you as much as you give to it. Rare? Maybe. Dig deep. You'll find it. Ask me for examples. If you glow telling stories about your work... you've chosen the right thing. It's all about making connections. The personal ones.

Let me be clear. Money is not the defining factor. If your passion calls you to teach, teach. If it calls you to run a business... do it. If you are a stay at home parent... make it your calling.

I hope you can witness moments that help define you. Grow you. Touch you. Make you want to be a better person. And know when you haven't been all you could have been. It's a pretty big decision. Take the time. We'll help.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Made for Her...

Emma is just not into clothes. Well, I should say she doesn't beg to go to the mall shopping for them. I guess it's just as well. Time enough for that later on.

I saw this outfit at the mall and it just seemed as though it was meant for her. And... bonus... it was on sale. Same for the sweater coat. The stars aligned. I bought it. It fit. She liked it.

Don't you just love it when an outfit comes together?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pearls from Mom... the Introduction

One of the most favorite periods of my life was my Milwaukee time. It was instrumental in shaping who I was to become... personally and professionally. I lived on my own in a big city, ate new and strange foods, made friends completely different from any others before... and had my car stolen.

But it was the people I met while working at Columbia Hospital that have left an indelible impression on my soul. The patients and my colleagues. It's impossible to say who had the most influence. One patient suffered a horrific stroke... and gradually over time... improved to a level no one had predicted. I had the pleasure of knowing him a loooong time. He knows my kids. Well, three of them anyway. He used to say some "funny" things during therapy to regain his language skills. And when he did, his partner would say.... "There's a pearl for you." Many of those "pearls" stay with me to this day ... because of the memories associated with them.

I want to impart some "pearls" of my own to our children. Things I want them to remember about their childhoods... our lives together ... and things I want them to know about me... back before they even existed. Imagine! I had a life before them. Gasp!

So... not all of these "pearls" will be posted here ... but some of them will. Some of you may be in them. If so, it is only my intention to honor you in the place you hold in our family. And to help to give the kids both roots and wings. Sort of like Milwaukee gave me.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Boo To You! 2009

Halloween is the kids' Holy Grail of Holidays. They love the decorations, trick or treating, and resulting loot just as much as they enjoy the Christmas season. They often lament that the day does not last long enough. Today it did.

The day was looooong ... with a swim meet, a harvest party at church, trick or treating in the arctic cold ... followed by a halloween party. It it were not for the sugary boosts shovelled in their mouths, they may not have made it. But they managed to perservere.

Our neighborhood does Halloween in a big way... we had lots of dressed up kiddos, a visit from the Aboite Firetruck and firemen passing out candy and giving rides in the firetruck, and neighborhood grills providing hot dogs to hungry kids and parents. Good times.

Despite the unexpected layering to their costumes because of the cold, I think they made the best Cleopatra, Cinderella, Ninja, and Elephant that I've seen.

We hope your Halloween was just the right balance of silly, spooky and fun!