Monday, November 22, 2010

Post Season Report

Perhaps the football team she cheered for didn't win any games this year, but at least its cheerleaders were champions.

Julia and her talented squad brought home the first place trophy at yesterday's cheer competition, and boy did they deserve it! I could not believe how good they were. They are, after all, only seven and eight year olds, but darned if they didn't pull off a complicated, original, perfectly synchronized and virtually flawless performance. As soon as I get the DVD I ordered I might have to put it on youtube for you all to enjoy.

Both my girls kept their routines tightly under wraps in order to surprise me on competition day, and I was so completely delighted by not only Julia's but also by Lindsey's unique and playful performance. Lindsey's team did not place this year (don't get me started on why she should have placed above a team that relied on a raunchy dance to secure its trophies) but that did not diminish the beauty of a job well done for her team as well. I'm very proud of my girls and somewhat surprised (and don't quote me on this) to discover that cheerleading actually IS a real sport. Kind of.

Like my football players, my girls have learned to be part of a team, how to rely on one another, how to win and lose, and that a group is only as strong as its weakest link. Plus, they've learned to yell really, really loudly, and when is that not a skill to be valued in a family of seven children?!

As for the end of the football season, Sam's team lost in second round playoffs and Joey's team lost in the championship game. So, neither brought home the first place trophy, but both had a great season and played for well-coached and classy teams. All in all, a great year.

So, while everyone around here is a little depressed that football is over for the year, I am personally reveling in the fact that for the next six months I don't have to stuff pads, run the practice trolley and keep track of multiple hair bows. I'm entering my off season as well, and I'm pretty happy about that. Whew!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What Bella Brought to the Dentist

Just in case, cuz you never know what you might need.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happy Cancerversary to Me!

One year ago today I was given the news that would change my life, and that of my family and friends, forever.


Four days later I learned the unimaginable...Stage IV, no possible cure.

On this day one year ago, I could not have imagined the challenges and blessings that this year would bring. I wouldn't have predicted how close to the brink I would come and how resoundingly I would bounce back. I could never have guessed how tightly my family, friends and community would embrace me and how they would keep me from falling. I couldn't have understood that this bleak diagnosis would do so many wonderful things for me.

For here I stand, one year later, a stronger and more peaceful person. Confident in God's love and mercy, sure that whatever path he ultimately chooses for me is the right one. Not afraid of anything life might throw at me now. Grateful for each and every day I have to (hopefully) positively influence the character of my children. Astounded at how completely this disease has backed away from the medication I have been blessed with. Unshakable in my belief in the power of prayer.

No one knows how much time they have left. I am not unique in my situation, unless I consider statistics. But I won't. I have already won the lottery of life in my faith, my marriage, my family and my friends. This gift of unexpected health one year after bracing for an early death is decidedly a great bonus, and I will gladly accept many more to come, if that it what is to be. And you know? I'm feeling more and more optimistic that this will be the case.

Thanks so much for all your prayers and support over the past year. I wouldn't be here without them!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Order Up

We have been busy writing our letters to Santa.

It is my understanding that the elves have less stress in their lives if they have time to respond to specific Christmas requests, so we are getting a leg up and starting early this year.

The way it works around here is that each child asks Santa for three things and can reasonably expect to receive one of those things, at Santa's discretion. So, for the last few days I have been sitting with each child and helping them write their letters.

This afternoon Bella said to me, "I'm going to put my princess bike with the baby carrier on back, my princess scooter and my princess kitchen all next to my bed." I stopped for a minute to process what she had said (it always takes me awhile since her chatter is near-continuous) and then realized that she had listed all three things from her Santa letter, as if they were a done deal.

"Bella," I said, "you know that Santa generally only brings one of the things from your list, right?"

She paused and thought this over for a moment. "No." She finally said with complete confidence. "I ordered all three."

Saturday, November 06, 2010

From the Football Field

It's been a great season!

We just returned from Sam's first round playoff game, which his team decisively won. Joey's team had a bye for the first round of playoffs because of their regular season ranking, so that was nice. What this all means is that now both boys advance to round 2 of playoffs. If either or both win next Saturday, they will go on the the Superbowl. We've got our fingers crossed!

Sam, after playing most of the season on defense only, was put on offense today as well with good results. The kid is not afraid of hitting and comes off the line like a heat-seeking missile. It is really fun to watch. He has turned in some nice sacks this season, which always gets me on my feet in the stands.

Joey is now playing tight end and wide receiver on offense, and defensive end and tackle on defense. He has had a really good year in these positions and made his first touchdown--an impressive jump for the pass followed by a 30 or 40 yard run--a few games ago. He has been a solid pass catcher since.

It seems a funny thing to say, but I am so grateful for football and the character that it is helping instill in my boys. When Joey first played two years ago he was a third string player. He could not finish his lap without walking and he begged to quit that first week of conditioning hell. Three years later he is a leader on his team, playing almost every snap, and is someone his team needs to win. A few weeks ago I watched him at practice as he went back, after finishing his run, to help along a teammate who was struggling. Not long ago that struggling kid was Joey, and it is through three years of consistent hard work that he has changed his situation.

From football my boys are learning how to be part of a team, how to be counted on and, best of all, how working hard at something over time can bear great fruit. They are learning how to win, how to lose and how to help lift up another person for the greater good of the team. They are learning how to receive praise when they've earned it and honest criticism when they require it.

If I could have known that first week of football three seasons ago how much I would come to appreciate this sport that, at the time, I thought was going to break my firstborn, I wouldn't have believed it.

Go Rebels!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Finally, I'm Queen!

So what if it's of a hive of bees? A queen is a queen.

In other Halloween news, Edward's got nothing on Tony...

Sam and his friend Darian chased eachother around all night long...

And Bella flashed her winning smile, oblivious to her sister's plight behind her.

Joey was "too old" (his proclamation, not mine) to dress for Halloween this year (sniff, sniff) and elected to stay in to watch the Steelers/Saints game rather than take the neighborhood for all its candy.

How is it that he's too old and I'm not? Perhaps I'd better not think about that too much.