Friday, August 26, 2011

My Heart Has a Number

In case you were heart will be out there tonight and and the next several Fridays wearing a Wildcat jersey with the number 6 on it.

And I should probably mention that this heart of mine will be be switching jerseys in between games and wearing the #19.

Needless to say, it is football season. 
And my heart is all in it. 

Love these boys!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Some Stories

I love writing people's stories. 
I love meeting people who are so passionate about their own story. 
It is a pleasure for me to write these stories.
Because even if the issue or passion isn't my own, it inspires me to live out my own story better. 

Here's a couple of recent stories I had the honor of participating in.


Click on the title "History Comes Alive" to read a story about the Delmar Railroad Museum.  Two old friends who share both a history and a love of history open up this new museum in Delmar, Iowa. 
There is a Civil War Re-enactment taking place this weekend as a way to raise money for the non-profit. 
I can TOTALLY see school groups taking field trips to this place. 
I wish I could have somehow captured the tone of dedication of the two gentleman I interviewed for this story. 
They are inspiring.



Word got out around here that I was covering RAGBRAI as it rolled through Durant.  Some friends introduced me to someone they knew who was participating. 

Her name is Kim.
She has a great story.

You can Read it here:  "Riding for a Cause"
You can also watch a video right here:  "Kim's bike ride across Iowa"

I wrote the story...
But here is what I didn't write: 
This family is remarkable!  
And when you read the really only get a glimpse of part of the story.  Because Kim is, in fact, passionate about advocating for people with bleeding disorders.
But she is also passionate about advocating for children with special needs.

Her son falls into both of these categories. 

No doubt, she could write a book.

I have visited her website and watched her vidoes, and her story is just another that encourages me in my own.  


Friday, August 19, 2011

Tales of a Fourth Grade Mommy

Fourth grade was my all-time most memorable year of school.
I had a great teacher.
I wrote my first story that I remember writing. (it was a "tall tale" about a basketball that had a nose that real people couldn't see until one day when the ball got bounced on his nose too hard and it got all swelled up and he sort of came to life and spoke to the girl who owned the basketball....)
My mama made some Hawaiian bread for Christmas and I gave it to my fourth grade teacher. She loved it, so we continued to give her this same gift every year at Christmas till I graduated. 
I loved my fourth grade teacher!

And I love my kids' fourth grade teachers. 

They are mommies just like me....only way better.
'Cause they can go to school and educate the dickens out of a room full of rowdy kids and then go home and take care of their own kids....
and here is the kicker....(deep breath) they go back the next day and do it all again!

Fourth grade was memorable for me as a kid and now as a mama.

My baby, the youngest of 4, is in fourth grade.
So she knows what is coming.
And, more importantly, so do I.

She (we) is going to have a lot of book projects.
And Social Studies projects.
She is going to learn the 50 states and capitals.

So am I.

I never have.
I mean...I was probably taught this stuff when I was in fourth grade.
And I helped my other kids study for their tests.
I never learned all the capitals.

So I have one last chance....with my baby in fourth learn this stuff.

Dear fourth grade,
Can't wait to learn all about you.
Love, Tookie's Mama

P.S.  Dear 4th grade mommies, If this is your first time through 4th grade with one of your kiddos, don't worry. It is just as overwhelming as the syllabus may look. But it is also memorable and it goes by way too fast.  Someday, when you are dropping Jr. off to high school, you will wish with all your heart you could go back to 4th grade. Sincerely, Mama who knows.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Opening Day of the 2011-2012 School Year

I dropped 4 kids off at 4 different entrances at school today.

Tookie was first.  On her first day of 4th grade, she almost lost her homework that was given out at open house.  When I dropped her off, I told her I loved her and she said something like
Mom...just go.

Nathan's door was next in line.
His first day of high school. 
I got one of those sick/nervous feelings in my stomach as we got closer to his door. 
I wanted to stall or do something to keep this moment from happening.
I wondered if he wanted me to go in and help him find his locker or something. 
I wondered if he wanted me to homeschool him.
I wondered if he would want a hug before he left for high school. 
We pulled up to the high school entrance and he said
Okay, bye mom.

Marz was next at the Jr. High doors. 
She is loving the idea of being top dog in this wing of the school.
I didn't have much time to think of anything clever and inspiring to say to her as we pulled up.
But she didn't want me to, anyway.
She said:
Mom...don't embarass me.

Then it was Claire's turn.
Middle School.
As soon as Marz got out of the car Claire tells me she is nervous.
I start pointing out some people I recognize for her to stand by. 
She reaches up and grabs my hand and gives it three squeezes.
This is our code for:
I Love You
Mama loves you too, Claire-Bear. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

'twas the night before school starts....

'twas the night before school starts
and all through the house
the children were all bonding
with the click of a mouse.

It isn't the last official day of summer,
but the last day of summer break pretty much means that summer is gone.

The Wildcat spent most of his summer waking up for weightlifting, practices, or to mow lawns before it got too hot.
Today, he slept in.
Till 8:30 a.m.
And he came upstairs and made a comment about feeling like he has missed out on part of the day.

I sipped my coffee and responded with fake concern.
Poor kid.
Have I done him wrong in allowing him to act responsibly all summer in working out and working hard and sticking to goals while the rest of us sleep in and sip on coffee....
....or wake up in time for lunch?

I kid.
He makes me so proud, though.
He makes me wanna be a better mama.
And he makes me wanna wake up earlier, too.
What am I missing?

The kids have new school-issued computers.
We are taking a big step forward in our education here in our little town. 
And I love it. 
(in that love/hate sort of way)

Let's be honest.
Technology is changing the way that people are entertained, interact, communicate, etc.
And it is also changing the way our kids learn. And the way that they WANT to learn.

While people will argue against the safety of this new innitiative....
...and I don't find any fault in these arguements....
....I am all for it.

Because it is what it is.
The technology isn't going to go away.
And it is true that my kids understand it all better than I do.

But here is how I see it:
The stories in books are not going away
The information in textbooks isn't going away
And communication isn't going away.....
...but the way MY KIDS want to embrace all of it has changed from the way I embraced it all.

It isn't bad.
It's different.
And I can learn.
I'm excited to do so.

Today the kids were all playing around with their new computers.

And they were i-chatting each other....
I listened in
As they all bonded
Over their new technology

And Marisa even let me take her picture: she was video chatting with Tookie....
...from the very next room.

Our house can be a fun place to be.
If you are ready for us. 

I totally insist that the kids need to come talk to me when they want me...
...or they can text me.
And I can text back and say "come here."

Because I don't care how wonderful technology is...
(and it is wonderful)
....nothing can take the place of a hug from mama. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday Monday

It's a good day.

I have tidied up the speech I am working on for tomorrow. 

And I have made a few decisions about some important stuff.

And it feels like a huge weight is lifted off my back. 

I promise not to string you along for more than a couple of days....but I want the local Lioness group to be the first to hear about it.


Now, if you don't mind...I am pretty sure it is 5:00 somewhere!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I'm Nervous I allowed to say that here?
On my blog....
Where I "intend" to be "professional"
But usually end up being "personal"
And it is all mostly only suitable for a scrapbook someday, anyway....

Well, no matter.

I am nervous.

I have a speech all mapped out for next week that I am supposed to give. 
And it is all about me
For some locals
So I'm so pleased to be asked
And super excited to share
And  not worried in the least than anyone will be let down
Because these are neighbors of mine.


Here is the speech all wrapped up in an inspirational quote:

We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make, which, over time, add up to big differences we cannot foresee
-Marian White Edelman

This quote has held true in my life as "mom"
In my personal life
In my professional life
and life in general.

I am giving this speech about me
And small things I have done
Over the last 10 or so years
And have led to what looks like
A rather remarkable resume.

But I have been faced with a few decisions
(both personal and professional)
That I need to make
In the next WEEK

....and I hate going in front of people in a few days and not be able to say
that I know what the next step is for me.

hate it.

Am I on the verge of being asked to do something big and significant?
Will I back down from that to pursue a more personal "big thing" for me?
I don't know.

One looks better on a resume....
the other looks better in light of a personal goal.

Both are good things
Good causes.

One has a gauranteed income
Education credits.

The other has no gaurantees.

I wish I knew the right answer.

Maybe the local group will have to ask me to come back later and tell them what is going on....

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Intro to High School Football

So the Wildcat has kicked things into full gear this week with "2-a-days" high school football practice. 

He was nervous going into it.
And his nervousness ended once he hit the practice field. 

He loves high school football.
The upper classmen on the team have been really encouraging from what it sounds, too. 

He's a QB.
And it sounds like he is going to be playing on the defensive side of the ball as well.
But I'd be lying to you if I acted like I knew what position he is practicing. 

(i act like i know what he is saying when he starts talking "footwork," "patterns," and "fake plays."  it is less fustrating for him that way.)

He starts conversations with some variation of "you know the difference between high school and jr. high practice....."

These statements reminded me of some differences between high school and jr. high. 

When the Wildcat was in Jr. High football, the biggest kid on his team was like 150 pounds. Nathan asked me how much I weighed and I said something like 150.  So when he was "practicing" with his mama, he would get in the set position and try to lift and carry me while I tried to tackle him back. 
He rationalized that if he could carry me across the yard, then he didn't have anything to worry about in 7th grade. 

The things a mama will do for her young athlete.

Now....YESTERDAY we were in the back yard.  And he is working on foot patterns, elbow fakes and passing. 
He wants to pass the ball to me.

And he throws really hard. 

Harder than last year. 

So I was sort of getting hurt.

But that didn't stop us from getting into the game. 

Our solution was for me to get a cushion from one of our chairs. 
One of his sisters would chase him down and try to tackle him
While he decided whether or not to run the ball or pass it to me....

And by "Pass it to Me," I mean throw it at me really hard while I hid behind the chair cushion.....

Because, dang....he is a lot bigger now than he was in Jr High. 


Well, here is another big thing about high school football with practices twice a day.....

My laundry room sort of smells like a locker room.

Lots of practices = lots of stinky clothes. 

But it worth it.
We love it. 

Looking forward to those Friday night lights. 


If you are is a "cheat sheet" of sorts that I wrote specifically for moms with young football players. 


It's just the basics of the game.  Completely informational.

But here is some information that I left out of that article. 

If your kid is out there calling plays and running the ball and is the target of a bunch of big guys who are all padded up and look way bigger than big......

.....your heart will be entirely into the game, whether you understand the game or not.

And you might end up buying your kid a t-shirt that says: 

Your mama paid me to go easy on you

....or at least you would find humor in these things. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dear Mothers of Girl Scouts,

Guess what I did today? 
I ironed on all the patches onto sashes that the 2 youngers in the family have acquired in preparation for a girl scout bridging ceremony to take place this weekend. 

Before you feel led to believe that I am one of those super moms who is way ahead of the game to have her two little scouts ready to go and.....look like girl scouts......

.....I need to make a confession.

I am a year-and-a-half behind.
And by that, I mean TWO years.

So in the above picture, two of the three sashes and/or vests were for the last two years. 
Years that my girls did not have their sashes ready for when they were supposed to be ready.

There is a 3rd sash that should be in this picture.....but the kind girl scout leader who answered her door when I pounded on it this morning to ask her "what girl belongs to what sash....and see all these 200 patches?  Where do they go?"

Thank the good lord in heaven for my girls' girl scout leader.

She knew what went where.
And which girl belonged to which sash.
And she also informed me that I was a sash or two behind....they now have new ones because they have advanced......

So she took one of the sashes for one of the girls and offerred to iron on the appropriate patches so my devoted girl scouts would be ready for this weekend. 

Have I mentioned how much I love my girls' girl scout leader?


So for about 2 hours this afternoon, I thought I would iron on all the other patches. 
I figured I might be late in getting this done for the girl scout ceremonies that we missed the mark on....but I am WAY AHEAD of the game when it comes to being ready for something like......HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION PARTIES.


Hey.  It makes me feel better.

As a mama to some girl scouts, I have more to confess. 

See that Daisy vest on the right?
Well, there aren't a whole lot of patches on it.
And that would fault.
I was one of those extreme failures when it comes to helping their kids particpate in all the events and projects that you need to do to get an award.

And, well, it shows on the vest.
But hey.....i didn't have to iron a bunch of stuff....right?

Well I think the girl scout leaders caught on to my method of operation....
And they started doing projects at the meetings.
Meaning my girls were winning awards and patches
In spite of their slacker mama. 

And I get to iron on a bunch of these....
......a year or two late.

My completely unplanned M.O. has backfired on me.

BUT.....we have some awesome girl scout leaders here.

And when I grow up
I want to be just like them.

Unless it means I get a patch for it.
If that's the case, forget it.