Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fun in the Sun

We began a new season of soccer yesterday. It's such a fun-filled time for me as a mother. I receive such joy and pleasure from watching my two boys play. They've each been playing since they were three, so I have witnessed tremendous growth in each of them, and continue to every week.

Watching your children participate in an activity they enjoy brings pure delight into the heart of a mother. To see their face light up when they do well, to offer encouragement as they strive to learn and then mater a technique, to beam with pride when they exhibit good sportsmanship, and to remind them to "shake it off" when they struggle, these are all sources of utmost delight for a mother. Not only do you glow with pride at their ability (or at their improvement) but you experience them grow as an individual and as part of a team in a matter of weeks.

I am a vocal spectator. I get excited about the game and want to offer my support and input, 95% of which is positive (I'm sorry, but every now and then I have to just tell it like it is). I know every child's name on both of my sons teams and love to encourage them all. Each one tries so hard and I'm still blown away by the level of talent displayed. The complexity of the moves they pull off are just mind-blowing at times.

Mu husband actually coaches my oldest son's team and I coach my other son's team, so we are already heavily involved by default. But I was this way before I started coaching. I just find great joy in the whole experience.

Besides the happiness I get from these games, at times I find myself almost on the verge of tears. If my son happens to execute an amazing play, or if he does something unexpectedly kind to a fellow teammate, or if he makes a mistake and feels horrible, on occasion I'll have to catch myself, take a quick second and just breathe, because every once in a while my emotions just rush to the surface and threaten to spill over. I feel foolish at these rare moments because the tears seem so unnecessary, so weird, so unsummoned. They appear out of nowhere, as they have done ever since my oldest was born, in the most innocent and random of situations. Just as quickly however, the moment is over, and I'm back to myself, cheering enthusiastically for our team.

On top of all this I thoroughly delight in being outdoors, especially after enduring a stifling summer of unbearable Phoenix heat! And yes, it was still hot yesterday, we were sweating pretty good, but it was a manageable heat. Lots of sunshine, clear blue skies, and a slight breeze. It was actually quite beautiful. The fresh air, the soothing sun, and the spirit of comroddery all mingled to produce feelings of happiness, joy and pleasure at the day. It was a wonderful morning, a magnificent way to start off the day, and a well spent couple of hours.

As you can see, soccer season is more than just kicking the ball around. It's family time, it's learning and growing, it's interacting with others, it's excitement and thrill, it's building character, it's being part of a team and working together, it's social, it's physical, it's exercise, it's fun!

I am a soccer mom and so very proud of it!

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Friday, September 17, 2010

My Little Character

My middle child is 4 years old. He is quite funny and makes us all laugh regularly. He is also a movie-freak. He loves to watch movies. He memorizes lines and acts out scenes of his favorites, word for word, movement by movement. If you happen to be acting with him, he will correct you if you slip up in the slightest.

He has a knack for throwing out movie phrases during his regular conversation. If a topic or a word fits in with a movie line, he'll quote it right then and there as his contribution to the conversation. Here are a few examples. They're pretty funny. Well, if you're not familiar with the movies they may not be as funny, but if you are then you'll see how his little mind connects the two.

1. He opened the door to a bedroom where his uncle was in order to talk to him. Well, he failed to knock on the door first, and happened to intrude upon on his aunt who was nursing her newborn baby. His uncle reminded him he needed to knock first before entering a room and had him go back outside and try again. My son exists, closes the door and then knocks. His uncle calls "Who is it?", to which my son replies, "Who the heck do you think it is? The Pizza Man?" (from Madagascar). They were laughing so hard when he said this they didn't even remember to explain that his response was less than polite.

2. We were driving in the car. I made a left turn onto a new street. My son saw the red light above the street I turned onto and said, "Mama! You just ran a red light!" I tried to explain that it wasn't a red light even though it looked like one, it was a red light for the other street. Well, he wasn't understanding so I just feebly finished by saying, "Don't worry. Mama is a safe driver. I won't run a red light." His reply: "In that case you can all go home now. Drive safely!" (from Stuart Little).

3. He was eating a fruit roll-up and impulsively decided to cram the entire thing into his mouth at once. I scolded him saying that was way too big of a bite, to which he responded, from overly stuffed cheeks, "Don't tell monkey." (from Kung Fu Panda).

4. During our family vacation this summer to San Diego we all took a walk along the beach the last morning we were there before driving back home to Phoenix. My two sons were racing through the sand with their uncle. My 4 yr old quickly got left behind so he asked them to wait up. They did. They both slowed to a walk to give him time to catch up. Well, as soon as he got close he took off at a full sprint. As he passed both his brother and his uncle, he hollered back over his shoulder, "See ya later, suckers!" (from The Little Rascals).

These are just a sample of his many quoted lines, a few I remembered off the top of my head. There are quite a few more that are also super funny, I just can't recall them all at the moment.

What cute sayings or habits do your kids have? Don't they bring a smile to your face just thinking about them?

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Greatest Gift

We recently enjoyed a special day celebrating family birthdays. We have quite a bit of family living in the Phoenix area so we gather periodically to celebrate birthdays together.

My parents began a profound tradition years ago, way back when I was a young girl. When we celebrate a birthday within the family we give the birthday person a tangible gift, but we also give them what's knows as a "verbal gift".

Every person takes a turn to gift the birthday person verbally by sharing with them something they admire about that person: a character trait, an area of growth, an accomplishment, something that has stood out to them over the past year.

Throughout the years this tradition has become the highlight of all of our family birthdays. For a moment we get to hear just how wonderful, how loved, how supported we are by the rest of our family members.

Everyone likes to hear how great they are, but this is not the only reason verbal gifts are such a huge hit. By hearing how we are loved by our family in very specific ways year after year after year, it affects our self esteem, our outlook on life, our confidence, our maturity, and our overall development in massive proportions. Think about it, we grow up knowing exactly why our sister, our brother, our mom and our dad love us. They each share with us particular incidences where we have positively affected them, even if we had no idea at the time that our actions were contemplated, or even noticed.

Being on the receiving end of accumulating affirmations and reinforcements that are genuine help to build a strong character. I am grateful to have grown up with this tradition. I know it has contributed to my overall well being as a person. I am even more grateful to be able to pass this valuable tradition on to my own children.

At their young ages, they have already received as well as given verbal gifts of their own. They are learning to contemplate and express traits in others they admire. They are also learning to graciously accept and relish in nice things others have to say about them.

What are some family traditions you follow that instill values in your kids?

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Breaktime With The Kids

I am a Full Time Mommy that works Part Time from home. I actually work two part time jobs, but my kids are my priority and take up the bulk of my time.... by a landslide. I'm usually only able to get work done in random bits and pieces throughout the day. I've become highly skilled over the years at using my time extremely efficiently in order to fit it all in.

This is the usual scenario. However, this past week has been flip-flopped for me. I've been focusing a lot on one of my jobs. My husband and I are in telecommunications and we are in the middle of a very busy time. We are working hard at putting together some information that requires me to make a recording. My husband has been working from home for a while so his presence has allowed me to close myself off in our home office and put my nose to the grind while he watches the kids.

What a difference! Normally my escape, my rest, my refuge is my work! I find solace in the precious moments I get to work on my things, adult things. After hours of playing make-believe, chase, hide and seek, and the never ending duty of regulating and keeping the kids in line, "me time" is a luxury, even if "me time" is indeed work. It's a welcomed change of pace.

Well this week, after hours upon hours, day after day of being cooped up in our office, trying to improve and perfect our presentation, I can't wait to get out and play with the kids! At every break I run downstairs, grab the kiddos, wrestle on the floor with them, chase them around the house, tossle them about, release some energy (and frustration!) and get the blood flowing again. Wow, is it therapeutic!

This week has been such a turn around for me. It's nice to experience a change but it's very different. I feel like a working mom, not a stay at home mom who happens to work on the side. I definitely make the limited time with my kids count, that's for sure!

What do you do for your break time? What gives you energy and excitement? We can all use some more of these!!

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