Friday, September 21, 2012

Fun With Football

Rough night at football last night.  Parenting can be tough sometimes.

My kids play football Monday through Thursday nights.  FOUR nights per week.  They have just over an hour from the time they get home from school until we have to leave for football.  This allows us just enough time to find out how their day was, eat some dinner, and get them dressed and ready to go, water bottles filled, cleats double-knotted.  It forces me into a pretty tight schedule, and actually it goes pretty smooth.

In theory.

I always have their stuff ready.  Clean gear, nut cups ready in some clean compression shorts, water jugs filled and waiting by the door.  But for some reason, no matter how early we're done eating and they're getting dressed, that final few minutes always becomes crazy insane panic time.  Gotta get the dog out to pee.  Kid can't find his other glove.  Dad needs to change his motor-oil stained jeans.  Did you make sure the bathroom door was closed (so Freddy doesn't get in there and eat the used Kleenex)?  Get in the car!  Wait I forgot my water bottle!  Get in the car.  Where is J?  Get in the car.  Mom there's a rock in my shoe!  Get in the car.  Wait, now where is your father?!?!

GET IN THE @#&%ING CAR!!!!!!!

Of course that last part is just in my head, but still.  Every.  Single.  Time.

But I am calm by the time we get to the field.  So on to last night.  J is pouty when we get there because we didn't drive him over to the other side of the complex to drop him off for his practice while A has his game.  It's not that far, mind you.  But he was sad because it wasn't fair because we dropped A off there yesterday, and now he has to walk over there.  We were late the day before.  We were (amazingly) not late last night.  So I get irritable that he's pouty and ACTUALLY STARTING TO GET TEARY and I just get out of the car and walk to A's field.

Hubby gets over to me after helping pouty J get ready and says J's being a pain, but got him off to his field just fine.

First half of A's game goes off just fine.  But they're getting their butts handed to them.

Second half of A's game, I can tell he's sort of lost out there.  This is not all that unusual.  This year their coaching is pretty unfortunate, and half the kids have no idea what they're supposed to be doing out on the field from play to play.  But A gets upset because everyone keeps yelling at him and roughly shoving him to where he needs to be, and he's feeling discouraged.

And then we can tell he's crying.

On the field.

So finally the ref notices and shuffles him off the field.  The other side of the field from where we are.  Hubby spends the games either helping with the field markers or walking around the field taking zillions of pictures, so he slowly made his way over to where A was, but just tried to observe him from a distance.

It was really hard.  I so wanted to go over there, take his helmet off, and hug him and ask him if he was all right.  But I didn't want him to be THAT KID.  The one who cries at sports.  I didn't want his teammates to see his mom hugging him because he's crying.  The coaches were talking to him, and it was hard to not know what they were saying to him.  Were they being hard on him?  But he's in fifth grade, and he needs to learn how to control himself.  And how to toughen up if he wants to play a sport like football.  In my mind I was thinking, "is he going to want to quit?  Will this make him hate football?  Are the other kids going to make fun of him now?"  AUGH!

I had to sit there.  In my chair.  While my mom was sitting next to me getting super pissy about how stupid a sport football is, and how this is supposed to be fun, not make kids cry, and how hubby's not getting over to A fast enough.  I had to REALLY bite my tongue and keep telling her it's fine.  And then she's saying how I have to understand that SHE doesn't LIKE to see her children or her grandchildren cry.  Oh, how I wanted to look at her and say, "really?  Because I love it.  The more pain they're in, the better." Seriously?

After the game, hubby was comforting A across the field after their post-game huddle.  Then they came trudging over to us.  A's face was puffy and red, and he was very quiet.  I just put my arm around his shoulder-pads and said, "are you ok, buddy?"  He just said he didn't want to talk about it.  My mom and I started walking over to J's practice field by the cars, but she wasn't speaking to me.  Awesome.

J's practice was fine.  But of course he was DYING because apparently his water jug spilled all the water out and he didn't have water for the whole practice.  Of course.

By the time A and hubby got to J's field, all was fine.  A was happy, giving me a high-five, and racing J to the car.  The chit-chat in the car on the way home was completely normal.

He's fine.  Seriously fine.  I did the right thing, leaving him alone.  And he still loves football (although my mother will never believe me).

But I still hugged them tight last night.  They're my babies.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mondays and Junk

Biiiiiiiiiig stretch.  Ahhhh.  Monday morning.  I know, Mondays are supposed to suck.  Garfield hates them, and Facebook is filled with e-cards every Monday about how miserable they are.

But for me, Mondays are sort of awesome.  Because (disclaimer before I finish this sentence:  I love my family.  Obviously.) I am alone.  Kiddos go off to school.  Hubby goes off to work.  Mondays are the only day of the week that hubby works all day during the day.  So as soon as the bus leaves, it's just me and Freddy.

I like to turn off the TV and anything else, and sit for a bit listening to the silence.  Silence is something precious in my life, since it's almost never possible.  After my silent spell, I'm free to do whatever I want to do.  I can go out to places my three men don't tolerate well--craft stores, malls, or out with a friend for lunch.  On my own schedule.  Or I can stay home and get some stuff done.  Which is what I'm going to do today.

It is also pretty nice when the hubby's home, but it's an entirely different kind of nice.  The bus hasn't even left our line of sight when he asks if I want to go out to breakfast.  Or run to the hardware store with him.  Or go on a motorcycle ride (yes, please!).  These are all lovely, of course, but not productive.  And there is a lot of crap to get done around here, folks.  I am not known for my speed in accomplishing tasks.  But it is fall, and that is the season I start daydreaming about all the projects I can get done in the house while the kids are at school.  Painting, rearranging rooms, deep cleaning, reorganizing closets, repurposing some old furniture, crafts.  I usually accomplish about ten percent of what I imagine, but the daydream is still sweet.

So this past weekend was the Junk Bonanza!  It's so awesome, people.  If you haven't visited, I highly recommend it.  Hundreds of vendors and craftsmen who are selling the quirkiest, loveliest, most creative items.  I can't even describe it well.  It is junk.  But it's beautiful, useful junk.  And walking around, I can't help but feel like I need to start working the junk circuit.  I have enough junk around here to set up a booth already, without even gathering stuff!  Old windows and doors.  Barn wood.  Old metal fencing hardware.  Antique tools and furnishings.  Vintage Christmas decorations.  Vintage wall hangings.  Vintage jewelry.  Antique coffee grinders.  Old sleds.  Old ice skates.  You name it, you can probably find it somewhere in one of these old buildings.

Here's my latest score from the Bonanza:

It's super cool.  I know, weird, but it really works in my house.

I also got an old street sign that says "8th Street", which is the street I lived on most of my college years, and where hubby and I lived when we met and started dating.  Awwww.

I also like to go to get ideas of things I can make myself.  Here's this quirky hat that I fell in love with:

I figure I could find a hat and put my own weird stuff on it, and maybe even change the accessories from season to season.  I showed it to hubby, and he said, "what would you do with it?"  I said, "wear it, of course."  And he looked a slight bit worried.  Hmph.

I also like this idea, but I would make one  cooler looking than this one:

Maybe it was the letters that bug me.  I don't know, but it's a cool idea.  And old screens and windows abound around here, so...

Well, I'm definitely thinking about this stuff now.  I have to do something, right?  I can't just ride a motorcycle all the time.  I live in Minnesota, for God's sake.

Okay, well that's what's in my head this morning.  I better get the kids out the door so I can start my day.  Gotta love my iPad.  I can watch old TV shows on Netflix while I'm bopping around the house cleaning!  Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Goofy Kids.

A:  I feel like some ice cream.

Me:  You don't look like some ice cream.

A:  I know.  I said I FEEL like some ice cream.

Me:  I know.  But you don't look like some ice cream.

A:  I don't understand your old person language.

I love being a parent.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Sweet Routine

We are officially back into the sweet rhythm of the beginning of a school year.  It's a very comfortable place for me, because being forced into a routine is soothing.  Yesterday was mapped out from the time I opened my eyes until I went to bed, which allowed for very little time for me to sit on my arse feeling gross about the fact that I was sitting on my arse.

The kids first day was just as I expected--uneventful.  It was as if they were returning to school after a long weekend.  The only difference was that hubby and I were informed that we were no longer needed for the walk down the driveway to wait for the bus.  Sigh.  I had to ask their permission to at least allow us to go, just this one day.  Hubby had taken the day off so he could see them off on their first day of school, and we wanted to get some pictures!  So we did walk them down there, but we headed back to the house before the bus got there.  Of course we ducked into the trees like a couple of idiots to secretly take more pictures....  No wonder they don't want us around.

When they got home they were very cheerful, said it was a good day, and raided the kitchen.  The most I could really get out of them was that they liked their teachers and there were chicken nuggets for lunch.  Then I went through their backpacks and did my "homework" (the ginormous pile of forms we parents have to fill out every year), and fixed dinner.  From there it was off to football practice.  Then home again, 30 minutes for the kids to chill out, then showers and bedtime.  And for me, two episodes of Sons of Anarchy and then bedtime.

My kids are really getting old.  It's bittersweet--as much as I miss their chubby cheeks, their tiny hands wanting to hold mine while we walk the driveway, making sure their bus tags are around their necks, and stuffing Spongebob backpacks, I love the young men they're becoming.  Now they're funny, nice kids, who wear Adidas sling backs and iPods.  They don't need me for the same things they used to, but they need me still.  And the nice thing is that I'm comfortable with the process.  Instead of getting teary when they get on the bus, hubby and are high-fiving each other and hurrying back to hop on the motorcycle.  We went out for breakfast, ran some errands, and just enjoyed the freedom for a while.  Although, we did drive around the school on the way home to see if we could catch them outside.  We didn't.

Yesterday, on Facebook, I saw a steady stream of pictures my friends were posting on their pages of their kids on their first day of school.  I loved it!  It's fun to see yet again, how we really are all the same, in so many ways.  We are all so proud of our kids, our families.  And all these kids looked so cute!  So thanks for posting them all, if any of you are reading this.

So back to normal I go.  Today I'm running errands.  I know, I did that yesterday.  But you can't really go grocery shopping on a motorcycle.  Maybe I'll get some time to do some cleaning.  I'm meeting up with my chihuahua friend this week for coffee.  I've been seeing more of her lately--an excellent benefit of both of us having a football family.

And oh, this weekend!  I see an anniversary and a Gopher game in my future...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Oh, The Sweet Anticipation (for me, at least)

Labor Day Weekend.

This is it, folks.  This is the end of summer.  No matter what the calendar says.  This is the last hurrah.  Most kids go back to school Tuesday morning and are all too aware that the end of their freedom is looming.  I know mine are.

I am raising two very typical boys.  They won't admit any excitement for the impending start of the new school year, but I know it's in there.  I could tell the way they walked around their school during the open house, chests all puffed out with pride in their school, strutting the fact that they are now in the two oldest grades at the school.  The way they greeted friends with that half-bored, half-excited tone in their voice, trying to seem too cool to be excited about school.  It was fun to watch.  But they are typical boys, meaning that's about all the emotion they will show about it.  On Tuesday morning, they will wake up groggy, put on whatever shorts and shirt are on top of the stack in their dressers, brush their teeth, and come down for some breakfast.  I will be the one making sure their hair isn't too wild and that their outfits aren't too unfortunate.  They will not care.  They will shovel in some breakfast and we'll head out to the bus with the dog, as if it's any other school day.  Hubby says this is typical for boys.

It was a little different for me as a kid.  I don't know if I'm that typical of a girl, but for me the first day of school was a Very.  Big.  Deal.  And the weekend leading up to it was no doubt spent preparing for the first day.

I can remember the first day of fifth grade, which is where A is headed this year.  I remember it because  I was starting (yet again) at a new school (and I guess because full disclosure--I think I remember all my first days pretty clearly...).  We had moved to Wyoming the year before, between 3rd and 4th grade.  Our neighborhood school was wait-listed, so we had to be bussed to another school in town.  A super crappy school, actually.  But the next year we were able to get in to our neighborhood school.  So this was the FOURTH time in my short school career that I would be a new kid.

I was excited to go to this school.  It was two blocks up the street, so I could walk there.  Some kids I recognized from the neighborhood would probably be there.  I didn't have any friends my age yet in this town, and I was hoping to meet some.  I remember my room at the time.  It was immaculate.  I had made sure it was perfectly clean, perfectly organized for the school year.  I had a record player on top of my dresser.  I'm pretty sure the soundtrack from "Grease" or the Bee Gees were on it.  I had my outfit planned out days in advance.  We didn't have much money, so I usually only had a couple new pieces.  But I always had new shoes.  And they were lined up on the floor perfectly, waiting for that first day.  I would never have considered wearing them before that day.  I even remember what they were that year:  dark blue Nikes with a light blue swish.

And the school supplies.  I would have them out on a shelf arranged so I could see them all.  I was always so excited to use them for the first time!  To put them all in my desk and arranged them all in some perfect, OCD fashion.

I remember going to the school that first day.  Walking there by myself, wanting to be independent.  I entered the school from the wrong door, because I didn't know what I was doing.  I remember that awesome school smell.  The other kids were all out playing on the playground, and I remember walking through the school when the bell rang.  By the time I passed the door closest to my classroom, I could see all the kids lined up outside the door waiting to come in.  The reason I remember this so clearly was because there, at the door, first in line, was the boy who lived a few houses up the street from me.  And oh, did I love him.  I remember feeling so excited and nervous!  What if he is in my class?  What if he sits by me?  What if he decides I am the prettiest girl he's ever seen and he wants to marry me?  What if he wants to walk home with me?

But he wasn't in my class.  And I pretty much never officially met him or had a conversation with him.  Still, though.  It added so much to my day, seeing him out there.

I ended up making some friends.  I got invited to a couple birthday parties.  I liked my teacher.  Looking back, I can't believe how boy crazy I actually was.  I look at my kids, and I can't believe there might be girls who get all silly when they see them.

So on Tuesday I'll put my kids on that bus.  They'll head off to a new year.  Some old friends, some new ones.  New shoes (that are already dirty).  And they'll start making a new year full of memories.  Most of which will be unknown to me.  It's going to be a good year.