Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Beach Video 2012

We took our yearly trip with the Suskays to Ocean Isle Beach, NC a few weeks ago and had a GREAT time. We've got plenty of pictures and stories but we've been out of town every weekend for over a month and we're headed out again this weekend on our first family camping trip (not in front of the cabin); which means we haven't had a ton of time to look through pictures and get a post together. Buuut, I did manage to crank out the beach video last night so I wanted to post that now.

So, here it is. The song is Audrey Assad's 'Sparrow' which has nothing to do with the beach but is just a great song and seemed like it had the feel I wanted. And, as a boring-but-potentially-important side note, I embed the videos in their low quality version for our visitors with not-so-good internet connections but the videos will definitely look better if you adjust them to be in HD by using the the little gear icon.

Anyway, here's the video and I promise we'll have pictures up soon(ish)!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


We decided earlier this year to have Patrick try out a sport. At only three years old, you would think the options would be limited but you'd be very wrong. It seems like every sport you could play has a league that starts around age three and people get pretty serious about it. We knew we didn't want this to be a serious thing at all. It was more an opportunity for him to have an activity of his own and see if he even liked this sort of thing. Angie did some looking around and found the Cherokee Impact soccer league nearby and by their description of "if you're the kind of crazy parent that's going to beat up another parent when your kid loses a game, go somewhere else" (I'm paraphrasing) we deemed them a good match for our mindset and signed Patrick up.

He was very excited to get his own cleats, soccer ball and, most of all, shin guards. When we would play soccer in the back yard he kept yelling, "Dad! Kick the ball at my shins!" so he could test his new gear. The season was six Saturdays long and lasted an hour each time. They basically did various soccer activities for the whole time then, in the last three weeks, had scrimmages for the second half where the kids were on teams against each other. So, did he like it?

Yes and no.

Patrick has always been a kid that takes time to warm up to new things. Luckily, all the kids' parents were out on the field with them since everyone was so young. It helped that Angie and I were able to be on the field with him at first. Each activity only lasted about 5-7 minutes before they moved onto the next one. For Patrick, that meant he spent the first few minutes just trying to understand what the activity was and making sure he knew all the rules. By the time he felt like he knew the rules enough to actually start participating in the activity it was almost time to move onto the next one. I felt bad for him each time he would start to really get into it then we'd have to change right away to something new.

After a few activities though Patrick really had fun. Once he felt like he knew what the rules were and what to expect from the games, he jumped right in. A couple of his favorites were Tunnel Soccer (where I would run then stop and he'd have to kick the ball through my legs) Belly Button Tag (I would dribble the soccer ball and he would come tag my belly button/punch me in the stomach then he'd dribble the ball and I'd tag him), red light/green light and kicking practice goals.

Then came the scrimmages. These did not go as well. Patrick isn't a huge fan of confrontation so having a group of kids specifically "against him" was not his favorite thing. Add that feeling to his general discomfort with high pressure situations and the games were kind of his worst nightmare. He would sit on the sideline of the game with me and watch, then every once in a while run out to the field and maybe even kick the ball then would run back to me and say he didn't want to play. I'll admit it was a little frustrating at times. Mostly because I couldn't figure out how to tell him that none of this really matters. One day when I asked him at home why he didn't like the game he very plainly worried "I'm afraid I might kick the ball and it won't go in the goal." That was his whole hangup. He had the expectation of himself that if he was going to play soccer then there should be a goal every time he touched the ball. I tried explaining to our little perfectionist that he doesn't have to score any goals and that real soccer teams have people who never actually kick the ball in the goal at all but instead just kick the ball to their team mates. He didn't really buy it though. He knows when we're trying to make him feel better and whether we're right or not, it bothers him.

All in all, I think it was a good experience for him. I think it's important that his comfort level gets challenged and that there's some friendly competition for him to have to deal with. If we could have changed something about it, we would have liked the league to be slightly more organized. We picked this one specifically because it wasn't hyper organized but it definitely felt like a kind of free-for-all at times which I don't think helped Patrick much. But he really did have a great time other than the scrimmages. We still play some of the soccer games they taught him at home and he still talks about the fun things he remembers about it. As a bonus, no parents got in any fights all season and I never once had to punch another dad. Which is great because I'm probably not very good at it.

At the last session, each player got a medal. It didn't matter that every kid got one, they each felt very special and were glowing as they walked away from their coaches. Here's our little soccer player, very proud of his new neckwear followed by some more pictures from the season.

One thing Patrick's got going for him is the race cars in his bones. This picture is from a game of red light/green light where the coach had just said green light. All the rest of the kids are trying to figure out what exactly they're supposed to be doing and all the adults are trying to explain it to them. Meanwhile, Patrick is half way across the field. The kid is fast.

Patrick's biggest fan :)

Here's Patrick's professional shot. They took a really great one of him smiling but for some reason chose to send us this one. Also, we got him a haircut after this game. Probably should have done it before. But if this kid can kick like he can grow hair, he's got a big future in soccer ahead of him.

Here's the team shot. Patrick is back row, second in on the right sitting next to his friend from school, Avery.

And finally, here's a video of him kicking some practice goals. He would very carefully dribble the ball close to the net and then give it everything he had. He misses the first time in this video but it's still really cute. He also would get so excited every time he made a goal that he'd run over and hug me. I'm kind of hoping he goes pro, scores tons of goals and still sticks to that rule :)

Lastly, a big thanks to all the family members that came and watched Patrick play. I know it meant a lot to him and he loved having you there!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pieces of Me

I started to write this post months ago. Then today something unrelated happened but it seemed to build from the first entry so I put them together.

March 2012

Patrick was 9 ½  months old when we found out Madelyn would be making her way into this world the next February. I remember Patch and I taking our morning walk one day and stopped to chat with one of our neighbors up the street. She has a boy and a girl close together in age, about 16 months apart. She was positively exasperated, in that moment, with her pajama pants and uncombed hair, eyes dark and sunken from lack of sleep, warning me that the first year with two so close together was “complete hell.” I told her to go inside, get a cup of coffee and a shower- I’d play with the kids. She hesitated for a millisecond then pretty much sprinted inside, desperate for the solitude. Knowing that would be me a year from then I briefly wondered how I would handle it- sleep deprived, two in diapers, dividing my time, working (or not working- I wasn’t sure yet) and all the other challenges that came with the territory. I shrugged it off but it seemed like everywhere I went the reaction was the same. Congratulations! How close together? Oh my…honey you are going to be buuuusy. After a while self doubt crept in as I thought about the first year. But then again, a year is just a year. It will come and go. Even if it is as terrible as people told me, it’s not forever. And then I smacked myself when I realized that I was about to have two beautiful babies, all my dreams were coming true and if my biggest problem was that I'd need an extra cup of coffee and had to divide my time loving on this baby or that baby, that is probably the best problem to have ever.

And so, the first year came and went, as they do, so fast and slow at the same time. So many beautiful moments and thankfully, not as many frustrating ones. The first year was hardly hell, it was glorious. Hard, sleepless, tearful sometimes but glorious. It’s the only year of my life when I mothered an infant and a one and ½ year old, the only year my Madelyn went from rolling to crawling to walking. The year Patrick became a big brother and started learning all that it entailed. The year our love was stretched and tested and grew bigger and stronger than we knew possible.

And now they are 2 and 3 and the best of friends. There are so many benefits to having them close in age but my favorite is that they are close enough developmentally to be interested in the same things and out of that grew a beautiful friendship- beyond being brother and sister. It’s funny though because I get even more comments now on how hard it must be when we’re out and about - such difficult ages and what not. Sure, we have our moments, our days where we just have to push through knowing that the next one will be better and brighter. Mostly though, we just play (as evidenced by the state of my house and piles of laundry) because I know this year will go even faster than the one before it and “school age” is just over the horizon (shudder). I’ll take the tantrums and meltdowns and the lack of sleep because I want it all - the laughing, playing, learning, witnessing them grow together, perfecting our little family of four.

June 2012

We lost a patient this week. He called me “Movie Star” and was constantly trying to stuff my lab coat pockets with packages of crackers and snacks each time I went into his room. He frustrated the nurses, rolled his eyes at the doctors and argued with pretty much everything anyone said to him. He was a grumpy old man with endless stories of fishing on some lake I can’t remember the name of right now. He never had many visitors and I always hoped he wasn’t pushing his kids away if they did come to see him. He loved them. I hope they know. I hope they didn’t believe him when he muttered ugly things to them or seemed ungrateful. Because he was grateful - they were all he talked about but he just didn’t know how to tell them. And now he’s gone.

I'm left broken. And I have six more patients to see. Six more lives that are fighting just to be here.

But, at the end of the day I get to leave this place.  I get to go home to my beautiful, healthy children, full of life and drama and questions. I get to see my husband and unload all of this onto him as he patiently listens. A smile spreads across my face as I degown and glove in the scrub room knowing that  tomorrow my day will be filled with squeals of laughter, fits of giggles, possibly a fight over this toy or that, maybe a tantrum or two, and I’ll take it. I’ll embrace it - all of it - because its so fleeting. Time slips through our fingers and then we’re left with only memories of chubby cheeks pressing up against our face and tiny arms wrapped around our necks, the smell of baby shampoo lingering on downy hair…I love this place for breaking my heart time and time again, for reminding me how lucky I am, how small my problems really are and for making me desperate to envelope Patch and Maddy in a huge embrace and smother them with kisses. I am so thankful to be humbled to the point of breaking once in awhile if just to remind me what's most important.

Puma hunting