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Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Well, I have to make this quick, but I couldn't resist the chance to tell you all about Jake's football experience thus far.

First things first, he has to wear a cup. You know... a cup... in the crotch area. Imagine my skinny little baby wearing a cup. Now, imagine my grown up husband shopping for a cup for Jake at Dick's. I mean, there are just so many crude jokes I can think of with this one sentence... a grown man in Dick's shopping for protective equipment for my son's package. I mean, really. It's quite funny... at least it is to immature adults like me. ;)


... Brad went and shopped and found a very nice set of compression underwear with a protective cup for Jake to wear. And, yes, I know that Jake will hate me when he's a teenager for writing about things like this. Brad brings home said cup and tells Jake that he needs to try it on. Jake is completely perplexed about why in the world he would need to wear this hard thing in his underpants for football. I can see that he's wondering what in the world we have signed him up for. So, we explain that this is to protect him from getting hurt if he were to get hit there, etc. Jake, in normal Jake-fashion, decides to test this out. He takes off running toward our dresser - wearing nothing more than his compression shorts and cup - and rams himself into it, crotch first. When he sees that it actually does work, he continues to try this. Repeatedly. Brad and I are laughing so very hard that neither of us can even stop him. We just keep laughing.

Once we got all that equipment taken care of, there was the mouthpiece to set. He couldn't believe that we would stick his mouthpiece in boiling water and then make him bite into it. I think he thought we were joking. But, he sucked it up and did it... despite some whining about it being too hot.

This all happened before his first practice.

That was the day that he came home, totally excited about football... telling me about how he loved to do his drills... and how he had told his coach that he believed in God. Then, came practice number two, where he came home with his pads. Equipment issues reign... Jake doesn't really like to wear a helmet. He says the pants are too hot. He loves his shoulder pads, though.

In true controlling-mother-who-is-overly-excited-about-her-son-playing-football fashion, we convince Jake to put his pads on and practice in the yard. I tackle Jake almost immediately, hitting him kind of hard... ramming him into the ground so that he'll be ready for a hit. He laughs. Brad scolds me for hitting his head on the ground so hard. Jake laughs. I explain that I want him to get hit hard when he is at home, so if he is going to cry or get upset, it will be here and not at practice.

It worked.

Tonight, they hit. He didn't do what we had practiced. He definitely needs to work on things. BUT.... BUT... he got hit. He gave some hits. There were no tears (at least not from hitting) - only from being tired and hating his helmet when practice was nearly over. All in all... a win. He wants to go back. He enjoys playing. He knows we support him. And, he's getting more confident. We are incredibly proud of our smallest kid on the team. :) Fingers crossed that he keeps enjoying this... bring on the fall! I am ready for football!

Life is good... life is chaotic... life is perfect

Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Well, there is no shortage of things for me to write about. My spring/summer sabbatical from blogging has given me plenty to catch you up on. :) However, I couldn't possibly try to sit down and write it all in one post. And, I certainly wouldn't guarantee that those posts will ever really make it on here completely. It saddens me to think about all the things that the kids enjoyed this summer that might never get onto this blog... all of the fun that we had... but that's just how life is sometimes and focusing on all that I need to catch up on is just keeping me from writing about all of the things that are going on now. 

Which brings me to this post...about all of the wonderful things that I'm enjoying about life at this exact second. 

Bailey and Jake started school last week, which was bittersweet. I no longer feel like a taxi driver trying to get each child to and from camps all over the city... but I also don't get the option of leaving them sleeping in their beds while their favorite babysitter waits on them to wake. It's the sign of the end of summer... a somewhat (very somewhat for this summer) slower pace and relaxing existence. 

With the kids returning to school, I always seem to notice the changes that they've made over the past year. I suppose it is because I can mentally note what they were doing the year before more easily. This year, Bailey, who entered second grade, didn't seem to be interested in me walking her into school on the first day. When I said something to the effect of, "I'll walk you into your class and get you settled," she responded with a, "Oh... really? Why?" My heart sank a bit with the realization that she really doesn't need me to walk her to class anymore. Apparently my emotion was written all over my face, because Bailey quickly recovered and said, "Ok... that sounds great. But this will probably be the last year..." I smiled, because despite her request, I know I get one more year. I will get to walk Jake into Kindergarten next year... which means I will be walking her to class, too. Hehe. She thinks she's got it all figured out, but mom can impose herself for just a bit longer. :) 

On the other hand, Bailey still enjoys spending time with me and I love that. She and I went and watched the movie The Odd Life of Timothy Green last week. It was a girl's night for us and we enjoyed every second of it. My sweet daughter, realized that this special night was as much for me as it was for her. A few minutes before the movie started, she reached over and held my hand. She asked me to come closer so she could whisper something to me. Then, she kissed me on the cheek and told me, "I love you so much, mom. Thanks for bringing me tonight." As I choked back the tears from the sweetness of her words and the genuine way she said them, I couldn't help but wonder how many more years will I have with her being happy to spend Friday night with me. I know it's not long before every activity we do has to involve her friends and everything that I say is "just her mom" saying something "uncool" again. I'm savoring these moments. Each and every one of them. 

Likewise, my little Jakey is growing up, too. The first couple of days of school went really well... drop off was not perfect. He has a hard  time telling his mommy (who he just adores, by the way) good-bye. It really isn't that he doesn't like school. It isn't that he has no friends (because he does). It's just hard to let your mommy walk away. So, we decided that this past Monday would be Jake's first day of walking into school by himself. I'd pull up to the front of the building, where a handful of teachers would stand and help him out of the car. He'd get out, make his way into the school and down the short hall to his classroom. Let me just be clear... I was about as nervous as a person can be. I was terrified that I'd pull up to the door and Jake would lay in the floor crying, refusing to get out. He didn't do that. Instead, I watched him climb out of the car, with big tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat, and walk into the school like a big kid. I later heard that he did cry for a minute, but calmed down rather quickly and began his morning work. Of course, I felt like the worst mom in the world, shoving her little boy out of the car and into the big bad world. But, I also know that this is what I needed to do for Jake. He cries when I walk him in... he cries when I don't. This way is far less drama. Thankfully, day 2 (yesterday) was much easier... only a sad face and tear or two. Today, he was eager to get out, happy to go inside on his own, and has made a huge deal out of how he is such a big kid. His teacher is amazing and has bragged on him like crazy... and it has worked. I guess I need to remember that sometimes the mommy bird really does have to shove the baby bird from the nest to help him learn to fly. I look forward to a year full of mornings where Jake is eager and happy to get out of the car and walk into the school with confidence. :) 

Jake also started football this week. I am so excited about this that I really can't stand it. I have been a nervous wreck over how this is all going to go. So far, he's enjoying it immensely... he's excited to go to practice... and he's talking about how he can't wait to go back. More importantly, though, I'm so proud of one thing that he did. This morning, Jake and I were talking... and he mentioned something about believing in God. He kept rambling about a necklace and telling him that he believed in God. I had no clue what he was telling me. He said, "You know... the necklace my coach gave me." All the pieces came together for me. Here's what transpired: 

Jake's coach gave all of his team a set of dog tags (aka necklace in Jake's words) at his practice on Tuesday. The dog tags say, "Gratitude" on the back. His coach handed these out to the team, but first asked each of them to say something they believed in. Jake's response was, "I believe in God." His coach, who also happens to be a pastor, said, "That's AWESOME, Jake!" 

Swoon. This is just an example of one of my very favorite things about Jake's age at this exact moment. He has formed his own answers, opinions, and thoughts about things. He tells me what he likes and dislikes and sometimes, he can be pretty profound for a 5-year old. I am so incredibly proud of the little boy he is. And, just to put it in perspective... his coach also asked them to go around and say their name and what school they attend. Jake responded with, "I'm Jake and I go to sandsitional kindagaten (aka transitional kindergarten)." :) He asked me later if that was right and I told him he could have just said LCA. He laughed and said, "That would be much easier... I can't say that other thing." :) 

And, last, I have to share this... I am so excited about some upcoming plans. We are planning a SURPRISE trip to Disney for fall break! It has been in the works for a while, but I officially paid for it today, making it a complete reality. The kids have no clue. They've complained all summer about how we didn't go on a vacation. Brad and I have totally built it up... talking about how we don't have any money for vacation (which is really kinda true) and how we will just have to wait and go on vacation next year. They've been sad... said it isn't fair that other people can do this, etc. So, our plan is to wake them up early on the first morning of fall break and head to the airport. When we have our layover in Atlanta, we'll surprise them with a gift that will give them a clue about where we are going. We are wrapping up Mickey Mouse ears and revealing it then. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am about all of this... everything from the surprise to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique reservations for Bailey to the Pirates League reservations for Jake... from the princess meal at Epcot to the plane ride... the kids are going to be so excited. It really will be a magical five days! So, we are on the countdown (secretly). There is so much to do before then - I have so many things going on at work between now and then. The kids have so much going on with school, swimming, and football. And, then, there's me and Brad and our plans to go to UK games, train for a half marathon (together - yay!), and a trip to Cincinnati to watch the Reds play the Dodgers in September. Life is full... life is chaotic... and I would not have it any other way (unless someone really could clean my house for free or give me one more day in the week restricted to only relaxing and playing at home!).