Saturday, April 30, 2011

Oh, Soccerday

Today was a rough day in our house, for the most part. We traveled both near and far for our soccer games. K and CED headed out at 9:20 this morning to go 2 1/2 hours north to Greeley. The girls played against their toughest competitors and they ended up losing. I won't rehash scores (it was rough) and CED was in tears when I talked to her on the phone at the end of the game. So, their undefeated streak is over, but I think this was an eye-opener for the girls that they can't just skate through a game - they have to give it their all all the time. And they didn't do that today.
JADs game was equally rough. His game was in Denver this afternoon, so after JEDs game, the four other kids and I headed up there and met K and CED as they headed south towards home. It wasn't a pretty game, either, and JAD didn't say more than 10 words to me on the hour twenty minute ride home. He was peeved beyond belief and at the end of the game refused to run the field with his teammates. He's not competitive or anything. To make matters worse, he overheard his coach say to the ref before the game, "This is going to be a bad game because our key player isn't here." His coach has consistently played favorites more and more this last season and it's really becoming an issue because he clearly favors two or three players and is pretty dismissive of the rest of the team. And downright rude and nasty to others. We may have a couple of boys on the team that aren't 'naturals' at soccer, but you certainly don't put them down day after day in front of all the other boys. JAD is really upset about the comment today and, obviously, so am I (as I go on with my mini-tirade about this).
JEDs game, fortunately, is a better story. His coach asks him every day before the game to 'go score goals.' We've even gone so far as to offer him $0.50 per goal. Well, today we have to pay up. JED scored four goals and was certainly the MVP for his team today! They ended up tied at 5-5, but JED was quite happy with the results.
I always love going to watch all of my kids play soccer, but I'm really glad today is over. Whew.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

More Singing!

Tonight was MEDs kindergarten concert. Seeing those little kindergarteners all up on the risers was so adorable. They were wiggly, giggly, and enthusiastic. Tonight's theme was 'Sports' and all the kids were supposed to wear a sports related shirt or jersey. You'd think that we'd be bursting at the seams with sports related clothing, but the music teacher wanted something that was football or baseball related. (What?? No soccer gear?? What's up with that?) We spent several minutes running around looking for something appropriate. In the end, CED came up with the winning shirt - a pink Cubs tee. MED looked so comfortable up in front of everyone and did a fabulous job of singing and doing all the choreography that was planned out by the music teacher. She looked more 'polished' than most of her classmates - a direct correlation to her experiences at the music conservatory, I'm sure.

MED is right there in the middle, next to the little boy in the red jersey. She was heartily participating in what she was doing!


On a side note, K is watching the NFL draft at this very moment. An interesting comment was just made by the TV personalities about a potential draftee. It was anticipated that this young man would be drafted fairly high in the first round. However, after a marijuana charge and two run-ins with underage drinking, various teams in the NFL began to monitor his FACEBOOK page. Upon seeing some questionable pictures on this person's Facebook page, his draft status is dropping by the minute. A lesson learned - beware of what you actually post on Facebook and the web!

Final Performance

Last night was MEDs final performance at the Colorado Springs Conservatory. We were really blessed with the opportunity that she had there. As a child in HeadStart, she was one of four kids (out of 40+) that was offered a scholarship to attend the program for a year. It has been an amazing experience and we've seen her blossom into a child who has no fear of being on stage. The kids in the novice program were exposed to singing, dance, piano, and violin. It was certainly something that no other program around can duplicate. At the performance, we watched every kid play a piano piece, there was a whole group violin performance, and finally a round. Any music teacher will tell you that getting kids (especially a group that includes 5 year olds up through approximately 9/10 year olds) to sing a round correctly is difficult at best. These kids did a bang up job, though. Every teacher at the conservatory has the great blessing of being able to work with young children and mold them in a positive way that encourages them to do their very best.

I apologize for the poor quality pictures. The theater where they performed was very dark and even the stage was not super-brightly lit. When I used my flash, the picture became even darker. So, instead, you get to squint and search for our little superstar.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Day

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Easter. We enjoyed our time as a family unit on a relaxing, cold, rainy Easter Sunday. The kids actually let K and I sleep until about 8:20 this morning and they didn't even touch their baskets which were laid out across the living room furniture.

Of course, we had to wake up JAD who informed me that we were disturbing his beauty sleep and he had fully intended on sleeping until at least 10. Umm, no. Little people will just not allow that with baskets full of candy awaiting their perusal. So, you lose, JAD.

The kids enjoyed looking through their baskets and receiving gifts from their grandparents and aunt/uncle/cousins. They were allowed a few jelly beans and two small pieces of chocolate before breakfast which just made MAD smile from ear to ear. Chocolate? Before breakfast? Yes, please!

(What can I say about the expression on his face? He's a teenager. He has no expression. It's AWEsome.)

We had a nice breakfast of strawberries and blackberries, banana muffins, fried french bread, and cheese omelets. I won't tell you how much my boys, in particular, ate because it would astound you and then I'd have to answer questions about just how much our grocery bill is and that would make me cry. Let's leave it at they ate A LOT.

We spent the next few hours relaxing - watching Nanny McPhee and The Sound of Music. The kids played hide and seek (in the house - it was really cold today) for close to two hours. JAD even pulled a Spiderman move and hid in the top of his linen closet - plastered to the ceiling. Oh, the things they do to hide from their siblings.

K prepared a delicious Easter meal for us - spiral sliced ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, french bread, and salad. The kids 'entertained' us throughout the meal - at times laughing so hard that they were crying. Don't ask the adults what the kids were laughing at at all times because we really just don't know. We just know that if the gifted coordinator from the school district had randomly come over during our dinnertime, she would have stripped our children of their gifted status and refused to retest JED next year. Yes, they were THAT goofy.

Nothing exciting for us today, but it was a nice relaxing day and one in which the kids actually got along for the most part. Right now they're happily sitting downstairs in the rec room watching old episodes of 24. It's been a good day. Hope yours was the same.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Soccerday Update

Today we had three soccer games. In the cold. And snow. Yes, snow. Yes, on April 23rd. Fortunately, we were not outside for too long - our games were at 10:00, 11:00, and 11:00 and all games were within five minutes of one another. That doesn't happen very often, let me tell you! The first game at 10 was JEDs. I won't rehash the score (it was painful), but JED scored the only goal for his team. I'm 99% sure that JED is the only boy on his team with any previous soccer experience, so his coach has said that he needs JED to score in games (he really wants to be a keeper). So, we've had to 'encourage' JED to score during games - at the cost of $.50 per goal. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. JED had some nice break-aways and his footwork and skills are amazing at times. However, the poor kid was so cold during the game that he had a hard time concentrating. He left happy, however, and made sure to remind me several times that we owe him $0.50. He's no dummy.
JAD and CED had games at the exact same time and, fortunately, at the exact same location. K started his soccer viewing time watching CEDs team play and I headed up to JADs game as soon as JEDs game was done. From what I saw of JADs game, the teams were fairly evenly matched. When I left at half, the game was tied 0-0. Apparently, JAD got pretty sassy with one of the refs on the field. To read about that, go to K's blog for all the details. Let's just say that JAD is getting pretty bold and almost too big for his britches during his soccer games. It's going to get more and more interesting as he gets older and (heaven help us) even more competitive.
K and I switched games at halftime, which was just after CEDs team had scored a goal in the last minutes of the first half to go up 1-0. The girls were certainly the dominant team once again, but this was not one of their best games. In the second half, we scored a second goal, but then gave up a goal with about 6 minutes to go to put the score at 2-1. 2-0 is a score that gives breathing room; 2-1 makes you hold your breath just a bit. The girls held on, however, and won. They are still undefeated! Next week, though, they play their biggest rivals - a team that is 5-1-0 (they lost their first game this weekend - a big boost for our girls!). It'll be a great game. JADs team also ended up with a win - scoring in the last minutes of the game to go up 1-0. Another good weekend for soccer. It may have been cold, but winning makes the cold just a little more bearable.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I Don't Need No Stinkin' Training Wheels

The kids were all outside playing today after school. It was a beautiful (but windy! Surprise!) day here with temperatures in the low 60s and the sun shining brightly. I was in and out of the house, hacking away with the cold I've come down with. K came inside to keep me company for a little bit and, as we were talking, little MAD came in chattering about bikes and riding and training wheels. At first, I thought that MAD was saying that MED was riding her bike without training wheels, which confused me. MED has been riding a two-wheeler for almost two years now - what in the world is MAD talking about? Then K translated for me - MAD was riding a bike without training wheels. WHAT??? Are you kidding me? This just can't be possible. As we headed outside, this is what we were greeted with:

Don't you love the outfit? MAD dressed herself this morning. Fabulous fashion sense.

The bike actually belongs to one of the other little girls who lives in our cul-de-sac. The training wheel has been pushed up by her dad as she just learned how to ride a two-wheeler herself about a month ago.

Four years old and she required no help from adults other than steadying the bike so she could take off. Steering is a little shaky, but I'm sure she'll have that down before our long weekend is over! Way to go, baby girl! Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

An Array of Colors

It's that time of year - Easter egg coloring! Tonight we sat down as a family to color Easter eggs. I know you're going to think we're crazy, but we colored 82, yes, 82, eggs. Why so many, you ask? Our kids will eat upwards of a dozen a day (or more) and we also gave a dozen away to our neighbors. The kids had a great time and we even got JAD to color a few.

It was a great way to spend the evening as a family. And the bonus was we got to eat some of our creations in the end.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Where We Watch Soccer

I'm finally uploading pictures from my camera and these were the first on it. This is the view that we had while watching CEDs game in Vail last weekend. You can't say that our view was horrible in any way, shape, or form. I won't complain any day of the week to watch a game in Colorado with a view like this!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Crazy Neighbors and Cops

Last summer we had new neighbors move in next door. We were happy to see that they had two girls right around CEDs age and thought that this would just add to the fun around the cul-de-sac for the kids. We knew that nobody would replace the people who own the house, who we came to love dearly over the two year we were neighbors, but we had high hopes for their tenants moving in. Tonight we hit a new low with these people. Let's backtrack about a week and a half.

One night, about a week and a half ago, our kids came inside and said that the mom next door was yelling at JED and accusing him of throwing rocks at her house. Now JED is definitely all boy and he will do some things that we don't necessarily approve of, but he also knows that he better not lie to us because he will get caught. All of our kids, plus many other neighborhood kids, came in saying that JED was not throwing rocks at the house next door - it was really the girls who live there. K questioned the girls who live next door to see if JED was throwing rocks at their house and they admitted no, it was not him that they were actually the ones throwing the rocks. K decided that it was best if I went next door to talk to the mom as he didn't want to get into an argument with another woman (smart man!). So, I headed over there to ask what was going on. The mom denied that she yelled at my son and she began to get very vocal with me about that fact. It came down to me asking her to talk to me if my children were doing something wrong - I do not want her just yelling at my kids. We have since told our kids to stay off their property and to not play with their girls as they continue to tell lies about what my kids do.

So, today things took a turn for the worse. The parents (both of them) came out screaming that JED (what do they have against my redhead???) was in their house. Of course, this had K and I very concerned about why our son was going in their house. JAD came in saying that JED was out front the whole time and did not go in their house. So, K and I headed next door to question what was going on and to find out exactly why they were yelling at our child again. That's when everything blew up. Both parents came flying out their front door and started yelling that JED was in their house - the lady with fury in her voice and getting more agitated by the second. While K and the dad were 'discussing' (heatedly) the situation, the mom decided to call the cops. Awesome. Come to find out about the whole 'in our house' situation, it was a complete misuse of the word. What JED was actually doing was standing on the concrete slab between our two houses and running up on a section of fence that was knocked over in the wind storm a couple of weeks ago. He was never in their house - simply on their property and they were angry as two vipers about it. The dad kept saying this was his house - we politely corrected him and said it was his property which is quite different from JED actually being in their house.

So, the cops showed up about 15 minutes later looking like they had better things to be doing than dealing with this situation. CED and MAD were hysterical thinking that the cops were coming to take their dad to jail since the mom next door had called the cops on him (thanks, lady, for causing undue freak-outs in my house!) They talked to our neighbors where the mom began raising her voice at the cops (is she insane???) as she told her side of the story. When the cops came to talk to us, they basically admitted that the complaint was unfounded, but said that it would be nice if K apologized to her for yelling at her a week ago (he yelled at her because she was yelling at me) and to let it go. They really think that these people are just going to have to figure out how to deal with all the kids running around while playing outside. They politely listened to us, agreed with what we said, and promptly left.

So, I'm sure the Nazi will be standing outside anytime her girls are outside watching every little movement my kids make (she likes to yell at JAD when he stands near her driveway). It's going to be an interesting summer.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

It's Soccerday!

Yes, today is Soccerday. Or was Soccerday. It's over and it was a looooooong day for some of us. CED, MAD, CEDs teammate M, and I were all up at the crack of dawn this morning to leave for a soccer game west of Vail. We carpooled with another mom and her daughter, the team's goalkeeper, and headed out at 6:25 this morning. It was a beautiful drive (we took the 'back' way through the mountains) and we arrived at the soccer park right on time at 9:30. Are you doing the math? We drove 3 hours one way for a one hour soccer game. Yes. We're that dedicated. The girls were down a player today and we ended up fielding only 10 players (instead of 11) against a team of 12 players. The girls played fantastically. They scored their first goal in the first five minutes and we were excited! The other team was able to even it up fairly quickly though (the first goal we've allowed this Spring season) and the competition was on. CEDs team has really begun to gel, however, and they put on the pressure by passing well and working together as a complete unit. It's just amazing to see how well they've all come together. The girls ended up winning the game 5-2 and remain undefeated. Parents from the other team were telling us at the end that we have a great team and they were grateful that we didn't have a full team. Pretty nice praise, I think!
While we were freezing in Vail (it was 40 at 9:30 and the temperature went steadily down from there while the wind picked up), K took JAD, JED, and MED first to JADs warm soccer game in Castle Rock and then JEDs game back down in the Springs. JADs team played against the team in first place, which we all knew would be an intense game. K said that JAD played very well, and even earned praise from his coach, but, in the end, they lost 0-3. I'm questioning some players' positions (the coach moved some players to new positions today - why, I don't know), but the other team is a very strong team and the movement just didn't work in our favor. Hopefully these boys bounce back and play like we know they can in the coming games.
After this game, K had to take JED to his soccer game. JED played well and scored two goals for his team. Apparently, another player on the opposing team also 'irritated' JED and he pushed the kid and tripped him at the same time. Can you say 'I play with my older brother who cuts me no slack so I push and trip to get what I want?' It just cracks me up that my 8 year old plays like a 12 year old against boys who are just learning the game. A side effect of having older siblings.
K and I are now exhausted. I hope your Soccerday/Saturday was fulfilling for you!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Goodwill - It's the Place to Shop

We've always donated our clothes, household items, and unused toys to places like Goodwill. I've never really gone INTO the stores, though. About 3 weeks ago, after dropping off 8 bags of unneeded/grown out of clothing and toys, I took CED and MED into the Goodwill store near my house. We pawed through racks of clothing and browsed our way through the shoes. In the end, we left with some books for my classroom library, a cute Gap halter top for CED, and two pairs of shoes for MED (one an almost brand new pair of pink Converse). K has been saying for quite a while that he wants to go into the Goodwill to see what they have. Today, we took that trip. He was amazed at all the clothing that still had tags on it and a couple of items even looked recently pressed. K ended up finding a couple of long sleeved button down shirts for himself and JED found a funny t-shirt and a button down shirt. But the girls and I hit the JACKPOT in the shoe section today. I found a pair of black Mary Jane STRIDE RITE shoes for MAD for a whopping $1.99. Stride Rite! $1.99! And if that isn't exciting enough, we found a pair of kids Keen shoes (hiking shoes - brand new cost about $80) that fit CED. Total cost? $5.99. CED also found a pair of brown Mary Jane style BASS shoes for $5.99. I found a great pair of brown strappy heeled BASS sandals that looked like they'd been worn once for $5.99. Can you believe that??? Bass shoes, Stride Rite shoes, and Keen shoes. We arrived there at just the right time. We bought about $250 worth of shoes for $20. Oh, how I love Goodwill.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Latest Craving

Since starting on my 'lifestyle change' (or diet, whichever you prefer), I've gone through various foods that just really appeal to me at the moment. My latest crave/desire is... ready for this??? Veggie burgers. Yes. They are d-to-the-licious in my opinion. Tonight I had a spicy black bean burger (MorningStar Farms) on a sandwich thins bun/bread thing with 2 tablespoons of guacamole. It would have been better only if I had lettuce, tomato, and a touch of onion. (I think my family may reel at that last confession. Yes, I like onions.) I think about this sandwich during the day. During the day, I say! Randomly, while teaching. I currently believe that I could eat this just about every single night. You may say crazy, but I find it to be just heavenly.
On another note, I took the three oldest kids to soccer practice tonight (what a surprise - soccer practice). K kept MED and MAD home with him and he pulled out our VeggieTales DVDs to re-introduce them to our girls. While watching an Easter video, K was telling the girls about Jesus and what Easter is all about. MEDs reaction? "That's just WEIRD, Dad." MAD, when K told her that Jesus lives in Heaven and her heart, had a priceless reaction. I only wish I could have been there to see it. She asked K where her heart was and, once he told her, she pulled her shirt out, looked down it at her 'heart' and said, "Hi, Jesus. I love you!" I nearly peed my pants when K told me. In fact, I'm still giggling. Hysterical, I tell you! I love how kids her age are just so literal. They certainly keep us on our toes.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Soccer Recap

Yesterday was Saturday which in our house is better known as Soccerday. We had three games which had some of us out and about for quite a while. The first game of the day was JADs which took us up to Castle Rock, a good 45+ minute drive north. The wind was fierce, but the boys easily won their game, scoring 4 goals in the first half. JAD scored goal number 3 from the 18 (the goalkeeper's outer box). The keeper came out for the ball and JAD easily bumped it around the keeper and put it in the back corner of the goal. Throughout the game, JAD moved around into different positions: he started at left defense, moved up to striker (forward), back to right d, then up to center midfielder (his dream position). The coach decided to move boys around because we were clearly the dominant team and he didn't want the butt-whooping to be too bad. It was good experience for the boys to play in positions that they normally don't, however, and the parents there certainly enjoyed the game.
After going to JADs game, MAD, JAD, and I headed back down to the Springs for JEDs first game of the season. K had to drop him off at the game because CED had a game that started soon after the beginning of JEDs game (getting a feel for our crazy Soccerdays?). JED has really made improvement in his soccer playing. He actually PLAYS now - no looking at the sky, no skipping around the field, etc. The boys on his team are another story. One was doing cartwheels across the field during actual play. Another was rolling on the ground after being 'bumped'. Somersaulting, actually. At times I wasn't sure if we were watching a soccer game or a gymnastics match. Parents were heartily yelling praise at JED (maybe because he knows how to play soccer???) and very certainly cheering on their own little player.
It's funny, though, watching the parents of developmental players. I am pretty sure that I was the only parent there where my player was NOT my oldest child. Every move on the field brought a 'good job!' or 'great job!' from parents. Including the cartwheels. No, I do not joke. So very different from the competitive games of CED and JAD where parents are cheering on the team, but also not afraid to point out where mistakes are being made. Now, don't get me wrong. We don't yell at our kids constantly and we aren't negative. But if a kid makes a bone-head move, I guarantee you'll hear most of our parents saying something to that child so they don't do the same thing again.
At the end of JEDs game, he was recapping the game for his brother and me. Scores aren't kept at this point (developmental never does), but I can tell you that JED keeps score. His words were "We lost. The score was 10-1. I think it was supposed to be 11-1 because a kid scored on a throw-in." Ouch. Thankfully he really didn't care. Today.
We high-tailed it away from JEDs game so we could go to CEDs game, about 10 miles away, and made it there at half time. When we arrived, the game was tied 0-0. Our girls were certainly the dominant team, but struggled with the follow through and actually scoring. The game was predominantly played on the other team's half of the field which attested to our forwards' and midfielders' abilities to keep it down there and the other team's weakness in their midfielders and defense. In the last two minutes of the game, our girls finally scored! It certainly was a nail-biter, but exciting nonetheless! The girls have started their Spring season 3-0 and have not allowed a single goal to be scored against them - thanks to the incredible defense they have, which, ahem, CED plays. After the game, the club owner (who stayed to watch the game) informed the girls that they are the ONLY Corinthians team that has gone undefeated this Spring season. Go Roadrunners!
So, another fun day of soccer. Next week we are headed to Denver and Vail and Colorado Springs. Yep. Three games. Three very different locations. Go us!

Monday, April 4, 2011

24 Hours

In twenty-four hours here in Southern Colorado we went from 79 degrees (Saturday) to mid-30s and snow (on Sunday evening). Today, it is back up to the upper 40s and tomorrow we'll be in the low 70s again. The motto in Colorado is "If you don't like the weather right now, wait 5 minutes." So true. So very, very true.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

This is Getting Old

The wind is back. It's never really gone here at the foot of the mountains, but last night it was BACK. K and I thought many, many times that our bedroom windows were going to shatter in on us. They didn't, but when we got up this morning we had dirt all over our night stands (it had been blown through the seams of the windows) and our foyer was covered in dirt, as well. We hardly slept all night, tossing and turning, as our windows rattled and our wall kept bowing in and out with the force of the wind. When we got up this morning, we found that at least 8 fence sections that surround our house are all down.

The winds are still blowing up to 40+ miles per hour today, so getting anything fixed is really out of the question. The wind last night simply sheared fence sections apart:

Wind, please go away. I'm tired of your antics. I want to sleep in peace and I want to be able to let my dogs out without having to put them on chains or walk them out on leashes. Thank you.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Soccer and Bike Rides

It's 79 degrees today. Yep. 79 degrees. We started our morning off with two soccer games. K left with JAD at 6:15 this morning to head up to Denver for an 8:30 game. They won 3-0, but I guess it was one of the worst called games any parent has ever seen. No calls went for us - the refs called everything against our boys and nothing against the other team. Can you say 'home cookin'? JAD ended up being yellow-carded for elbowing a boy... who had just elbowed him. Apparently, the ref said more than once 'I didn't see anything happen' as the line ref was pointing out obvious fouls. How irritating is that? One of our boys had possession of the ball before he hit the midline, took the ball all the way downfield, and scored. The refs called the goal off saying he was offsides. What? Seriously? If you know nothing about soccer, just know one things. When you clearly have possession of the ball before crossing the midline, you ARE NOT offsides. That's your soccer lesson of the day. Maybe I need to send my lesson to the ref, because clearly he missed that at referee school. Early in the game, JAD took a ball hard in his right eye. He had some blurriness that eventually moved into not being able to see out of it at all and he ended up sitting out the last 10 minutes of the first half. There's still some very minor swelling and his eye keeps watering, but he can see fine out of it now. Phew! I was worried that we'd end up at the doctor for that one!
CED also had a game this morning. I left with her and the three younger kids at 8:15 this morning to head to her game. Her team has taking an amazing turn for the better. They are passing well, working together, and not bunching up in the middle of the field. Girls are starting to play their positions and they stay there, too! It's so much fun to watch them now! They handily won their game 3-0 as well (must be the magic number in our house today) and were clearly the better team - and with no subs, to boot. Our keeper touched the ball all of three times today. That's how many times they were actually able to get the ball down to the opposite end of the field. So, a good morning for all at our house.
This afternoon, K pumped up the bike tires, loaded up the van and his truck (we really need a bike rack), and we headed out for the bike trail. There's a great trail, completely paved, that runs all the way through the Springs, north to south, and beyond in both directions. We did about 10 miles total. Nothing like finding an activity that makes me feel like I'm completely out of shape and weigh about 800 pounds than riding a bike up and down the hills out here. Of course, it doesn't help that I discovered after about 7 miles that my back brake was pushed hard against my tire. Talk about making me work even harder! My legs are tired, but it was good to get out and do something different other than walking. However, I don't plan on riding my bike tomorrow. Mama didn't raise a dumb girl.
Enjoy your weekend. My kids are all outside in shorts and t-shirts happily running around. We're taking advantage of this weather as much as we can!