Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Little Irony

I was on my way home from the grocery store when I drove past a minor car accident. Nothing unusual, really. The SUV was up on the median, tire blow out and the small car had a nice dent in the drivers side.

I'm just ticked I didn't have my camera with me. Why? The sign on top of the car read Driving School. Heh.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Believing in Santa

I knew the day would come, and I actually thought it would have happened before now. My oldest is a very logical child. He thinks everything through before he does it. It does not accept "just because" lightly and normally demands a thorough explanation for any question he might have.

The fact that at almost 10 years old, he hasn't questioned the legitimacy of Santa is beyond me.

I'm sure the fact that he has been homeschooled since 2nd grade has something to do with it. He is not surrounded by kids that are too cool to believe in Santa. I know there is also a want to believe in things that are magical when you are a child. It makes anything possible.

Yesterday, after watching old repeats of "Tim the Toolman Taylor" (blanking on the actual title of the series.....I'm blaming hormones), he asked my why some kids say there is no Santa.

Oh great, here we go. I have made up all kinds of crazy excuses to overcome any questions the kids have had regarding Santa.

Them: "Why can't we ask for a Wii?"

Me: "Because they are all sold out"

Them "Can't Santa's elves make more?"

Me: "Oh, honey, the elves have to outsource electronics. Something to do with magnetic energy on the North Pole."

Them: "OH! That makes sense"

I've been quite creative in preserving the Christmas Magic. I eat and crumble half the cookies they leave out on Christmas Eve for Santa. I use a different kind of wrapping paper for Santa's presents. I tell them about the special mail drop for late lists to ensure it gets to Santa on time. We've thrown Reindeer food from the balcony, had Santa visit our Christmas Eve parties (how they didn't notice it was really Grandpa, I'll never know) and make up all kinds of magical answers about how Santa gets into homes without chimneys.

Now N wants to know why some kids don't believe in Santa.

I told him,"Sometimes older kids think they are too cool to believe in Santa."

"Why would they think that?" he asks.
"I don't know honey....it just happens when you get older. I hope you aren't one of those kids."

He didn't say much more about it and I didn't want to dwell on it too much. But I think deep down he knows the truth. I think he's known it for quite a while.

I enjoy making the Christmas magic for the kids. I find it fun to give them hope for particular items on the wish list....the ones I know Santa will bring. I love the look on their faces when they receive something from Santa. I love the innocence of it all. It warms my heart.

I just hope he continues to play along for a couple more years. For my sake For his brother's sake.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Vegas Snow Day!

Yes, it snowed, really snowed here today! This is our 12th winter here and we have seen snow stick maybe three times before (although it happens annually in the foothills). Of course by the term "stick" I mean it stuck to the grass for about an hour or two. We had snow falling all day long today and it was really beautiful. Forcast calls for more snow tomorrow!

Go Fireballs!

My kids have been playing soccer for 4 years now. Each year they play in the fall and the spring. It is a "non-competitive league", which just means there is no official score and no standings at the end of the season. Once the boys get to the U10 (under 10) level, they do have regional playoff games at the end of the season to rank the teams. The top three teams go to Area Playoffs.

Two teams per year, two kids, we have encountered a lot of coaches......14 so far. Being an all volunteer league, we've been fortunate to have some really wonderful Dads coach the boys. There have been some that were more skilled at coaching than others, but all in all, we've enjoyed the parents, kids and coaches over the years.

That said, this fall was absolutely over the top! Coach Henry has gone over and above with the boys this season. We lucked into a great mix of a committed coach, a group of boys that had a great attitude and heart, and parents that showed unlimited support of their kids. Mix that together and you get a team of 8 and 9 year old boys who played some REAL soccer!

I really can't say enough great things about Coach Henry. My younger son had him as a coach last spring and when I got the email in August that N was on his team I was jumping for joy. Henry is kind, yet expects the boys to pay attention and be disciplined. He is former military, and also used to be a conditioning coach for a women's soccer team when he was in college. He never yells at the boys, and also never lets them get away with not putting forth their best. He insists they work as a team.....and if you know young boys, you know how hard that is. They tend to be very egocentric which can be a hindrance in a team sport such a soccer.

He has not only taught the boys skills, he has conditioned them so that they can out run the other teams. They never seem to run out of energy and if you could see some of the little guys run, you'd be amazed. Imagine big kid on opposing team dribbling the ball up the field getting ready to take a shot when out of now where come this little punk from the back of the field to get in his way. Our forwards run like the wind and manuever in and out of the larger kids on the other teams. I equate it to a bunch of little gnats that just keep getting in your face.

Over the season, the boys only lost one game: they had 3 teammates that were out of town or sick that weekend and had to play the field with one man down and no subs. It was torture because the team they played that week was the only undefeated team in the region. But guess what? Last weekend, they play the same team again and held their own. The game was still tied at the end of overtime and had to be decided by goal kicks. It took a few kicks, but the opposing team finally won. The Fireballs took second place in the region.

So this past Saturday was the area tournament. The Fireballs had an early game Saturday and another at 1. It's been a beautiful fall here in Vegas, but Mother Nature changed her tune on early Saturday morning. A cold front blew in and it was miserable! The wind was blowing with gusts up to 60 miles per hour, it was cold and the whirlwinds picked up dirt, leaves, grass and garbage spewing it across the soccer fields. The kids had to wear shorts with a long sleeve shirt under their soccer uniform. They were freezing!

They played their little hearts out! But unfortunately due to a couple of bad calls and the power of the wind, they lost 2 to3. The afternoon game fared better and they won 2 to1.

Sunday morning we woke to 29*. Yes, 29* in Vegas. It was clear and no wind and by the time we got to the fields, it had warmed to a muggy 41*. Much nicer than the day before, being that there was no wind.

The teams met on the field and sized each other up. How do I describe the scene? Our boys tend to be smaller than average....other than my son who stands at least a head above all but two of the boys and is still a few inches and 20 pounds bigger than those two. The average kid on the opposing team was the size of my son. On top of that, we heard that this team was ranked first in the tournament. Yikes!

The whistle blew and play began. Our boys ran the field twice as fast as the opposing team. They passed the ball, they made plays, they marked their man, they two touched and controlled the ball. These little guys played the best soccer they've played all year and WON 2 to1!

After the game, a referee cam to talk to the boys. She told us she was also from Bullhead City, where the team they just beat was from. Apparently this team had never lost a game and generally wins by many points. Just the day before, they won a game 7-0. She congratulated our boys on such great play!

Coach Henry came to the boys with a good news/bad new scenario. The good news is that they were the highest placing team in Summerlin (placing above the team they lost twice to in our region)! The bad new is that they did not have enough points to move on to the final game.

The boys didn't seem too disappointed. They wanted to know what time practice was on Tuesday. (Season's over guys...sorry). They persisted....all the boys wanted to have practice!

Coach Henry suggested that after Christmas, we have a parents' vs the kids game. That will be a ton of fun.

I'm really sad to see the season end. The boys have had a wonderful time and we've met some really nice families.

Go Fireballs!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Wonderful Week

I've had a really great week. it's been lots of little things that add up to one big nice week.

We started last Friday spending the afternoon at a friend's house. The boys have bonded with Jake and Will and could spend 24/7 with them without incident. It's so nice they have such wonderful friends...and also that their mom and I have become good friends as well! (You know how hard it is to find both parents and kids who get along?)

Last Saturday, my son's soccer team won second place in the region. It was an amazing final game that went into overtime and was still tied. They had to do goal kicks to secure a winner. We also had their pizza party that evening. The area playoffs are this weekend after which I will write more about what a great experience the past 4 months have been.

Sundays we normally go to my parent's house for dinner and play cards. They haven't been here for a while.....in the summer we swim at their place and lately Dad's back has really been bothering him so it's more comfortable for him to stay home. But I had them over last Sunday. I made a simple baked chicken with baked potatoes, salad and brocoflower. Nothing fancy. But it was nice to have them here for a change.

Monday was our Christmas Craft day for our Co-op group. We have 4 families that gather on Mondays for a co-op class. We have covered dinosaurs and fossils, election process, and world geography and maps over the past 3 months. For December we decided to do Christmas crafts. Last week we decorated gingerbread houses and cut out salt dough ornaments to be painted next week. My friend Tara and her son joined us. I haven't seen her in a few months. I really enjoy her company; it was good to spend some time with her.

Tuesday brought a field trip to Fitwize 4 kids. Its a gym for children with all the traditional equipment but on a small scale. The kids got to do circuit training and had a lecture on good nutrition. They learned a cool way at looking at food: they were given a list of foods categorized as "go foods" (healthy, eat them all the time), "slow foods" (not so healthy, eat them less often) and "whoa foods" (for rare consumption). All I've heard all week is "Oh, I already ate 2 slow foods today, I better not have a whoa food!" I'm very happy with the reinforcement. N and I have a plan to turn French Toast from a whoa food to a go food. Success! N also had soccer practice that evening.

Wednesday is my DH's day off. He has had serious shoulder pain. He had an MRI a week ago and took it to a specialist today. He was told he most likely could be cured with physical therapy. Good News! We spend the afternoon at my In Laws and had a quiet evening. My aunt underwent a lumpectomy for breast cancer this day as well. She came out of it just fine and the tests on her Lymph nodes came back negative, so more good news.

Thursday started early. We attended a field trip to the Regional Justice Center. It was a small group only 4 children. We got to sit in on Traffic Court, talk to the guy who handle house arrest (and the kids got to try on the ankle cuff, blow in a breathalyzer, wear handcuffs, etc) another woman spoke to them about the dangers of drugs, we saw the Nevada Supreme Court, and then went back to the Traffic Court to speak with the Commissioner. But then came their favorite part. We got to go into the holding cell where the Marshall let the boys wear the waist chains and shackles! She was very nice (as was everyone involved in the tour) and also took the boys out to see her car. They crawled all over the Marshall's Squad car, turned on the lights, used the loudspeaker and buckled themselves in the back like prisoners. I just hope that's the last time they wear shackles and are in the back of a squad car!!!!

We also had soccer practice Thursday. I picked up one of the boys because his older sister had a concert at the same time. I visit with his Mom all the time, but haven't spent time with the boy. He was so polite! We went to Taco Bell after practice and his Dad picked him up there. It's so nice to be around polite kids. I just hope mine would behave as well in the same situation.

And now it's Friday again. We are going to the park this afternoon with friends. And I have to go to Trader Joe's...I suppose a trip to the pet store is in order since the toads haven't had live crickets for a few days.

So that's my wonderful week.

N is calling. The day has begun. I'll post after the soccer tournament this weekend!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

.....and March Them Right out the Door!

My friend Tasha posted this on her blog. It's a must see.

The modern schools are doing a moral disservice to our children and the ONLY way to combat this is to march them right out the door and teach them ourselves or in private and parochial schools.