Saturday, April 2, 2016

Magic Moment

So you might have noticed I have cut down the number of soccer posts I share. It's not that soccer has taken a back seat in our lives, no sir. In fact, you will still find us - 2 nights a week and almost every Saturday through the Spring and Fall - sitting sideline to watch our favorite soccer star.

But for one thing, it's nice to show other parts of our lives. And for another, the older he gets, the more I realize that a lot of these are Wonder Boy's stories to share - not necessarily mine. And I think that is just something we all face as our children grow and become more and more independent. I do try to hit the highlights though.

And then there are moments like this one that I want to make sure and capture for those days when my memory starts to fade.

Here's the set up:

It's an absolutely beautiful day for soccer - crystal clear skies, cool breeze, 10:30am start time - just PERFECT! In the last meeting, the teams played to a 2 - 2 tie. They are very well matched with both being very fast and athletic with a number of quality skilled players. But this time, both teams barely have enough players to avoid the forfeit, meaning everyone on the field will have to play the whole game without a rest. So no matter what, this is likely to be a very different game.

I was both right and wrong about that last statement. It WAS a very different game from the first, but it was still a very tough, evenly matched game like the first time around. It may have been the most exciting soccer game I have ever watched Wonder Boy play!

The Boy's team gave up an early goal and went into half time still trailing 0 - 1. My heart was in my throat as every shot they took was handled by the other team's most excellent goal keeper. I was so worried that Wonder Boy's team would come out frustrated to start the second half and let up on their attempts. But I need not have fretted. They came out charging hard to start the second half and eventually wore the keeper down and evened things up. It looked like the tides had turned and the Boy and his team managed to take a 2 - 1 lead at about the mid-point of the second half. I held my breath as both teams fought to keep possession of the ball. And with about 5 minutes left in the game, the other team evened things up. I thought for sure we were headed for ANOTHER tie.

But THEN ... with just 3 minutes of game time left, Wonder Boy made his move - streaking ahead to chase down a pass from his teammate. He dribbled through a tight crowd and let loose a hard shot, low, just to the right of center on the goal. With all the stops the other team's keeper had made, I thought for certain he would get to this one too. But things came together in just the right fashion and the ball not only slipped through, but actually slid right between the keepers legs!

Talk about the crowd going wild! Wonder Dad and I yelled until I thought I would lose my voice! Talk about a truly proud parent moment!

The Boy and his team buckled down and weathered a ferocious flurry from the other team who did their level best to tie things up in the short time that remained. But on this day, the boy and his team came out on top! It was one of the BEST soccer moments our little family has ever lived!

But let me tell you WHY .... yes, there is something truly special about scoring, especially in a tight game like this. And scoring the WINNING goal is another level of amazing! But it really goes much deeper than even that.

You might recall me mentioning that in the fall we moved him to a different division. He *should* be playing in the u14 division, but we really wanted to challenge him, so we moved him to the u16 division. He has missed only 1 practice through both the fall and spring (due to an orchestra concert). He has never missed a game. He has played his heart out every time he has hit the pitch. And we have seen his game really grow through this process.

But one of the biggest struggles for him has been to earn the trust of his teammates. And in this game ... we saw that trust come through in spades! Wonder Boy has scored a number of goals through the fall and this spring, but this ONE GOAL seems to perfectly illustrate his efforts to me. And getting to watch that like we did ... well ... as a parent, there is just something truly special about it. To know the efforts that go into the moment truly heighten the experience.

I know I'm gushing. And I'll stop now. But it was a moment that I want to share, a moment I want to keep.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Spring Break '16

This year the University didn't give us as much time off as last year, so we had to table plans for a long trip until this summer. However, that didn't stop us from trying to cram in as much fun as possible for our spring break this year.

For the first couple of days, Wonder Boy got to enjoy some quiet time with the dogs while we were stuck at work. He was a great help around the house and I know the dogs enjoyed the extra cuddle time with their favorite teenager.

When we were finally ALL done with work and school, we started off our break with a trip to Buescher State Park in Smithville, TX for a family hike. We were a little disappointed to find out that many of the trails were closed due to damage from wild fires last fall, but we still managed to find a couple of trails that were still open and enjoyed breaking our hiking shoes back in. The areas of the park that were open were quite beautiful and maybe one day we'll come back once all of the trails have re-opened. However, for this day, it made for a much shorter hike than planned.

SO ... we changed out of our hiking clothes, donned some comfy shorts, and took off on a side trip to La Grange, TX. While there we were able to hit up a few of our favorite antique shops and a really awesome gourmet kitchen shop called Le Petite Gourmet Shoppe. While there we picked up some supplies we couldn't find at home and even got a recommendation on where to get a tasty lunch - Reba's Pizza & Deli. And it did not disappoint!

The next day, we stuck close to home to take care of some much needed yard work. I know, you can't exactly call moving a yard of bull rock and a half pallet of St. Augustine grass "spring break fun," but it was work that needed to be done and the yard looks so much better after our efforts.

To reward ourselves after a day of manual labor, the following day, we ventured over to the Sherwood Forest Faire in McDade, TX. A cold front moved through the night before, so while we were swatting mosquitoes and wearing shorts while in La Grange on Thursday, come Saturday we were in jeans and jackets all day long. It really made for a nice day! It wasn't so cold that it was uncomfortable to be outside and since it is rare that it is actually cold in March, we enjoyed the fresh spring air while enjoying the festival. I always enjoy the bird show and this show was no exception. There is just something about owls that always draws me in. We also had some tasty treats, got to see some fun shops, and pretty much just strolled the grounds all day long! Wonder Dad and I both got pulled on stage for various performances, but by far my favorite performers were the jugglers. We saw 2 different jugglers and both were funny and fun! Even Wonder Boy enjoyed their sense of humor and was in awe once the fire entered their acts. I really hope we can go again next year!

We rounded out our spring break with a rest day at home for a movie marathon. And while it was not the grand adventure we had the year before, this spring break was a much needed time of renewal for us all. Wonder Boy is quickly closing out his 8th grade year. He's got some tests coming up and some pretty big projects too. Wonder Dad and I are about to start our busy time of the year, so it was so nice to slow down for a few days. We got to get out and explore some. We got some work done around the house. And we did it all together as a family.

Color me one happy momma!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

the silly side of the street

So the thing is this ... life with a teenager in the house is a constant roller coaster ride of emotions and attitudes. I know a lot of that can be blamed on hormones, changing sleep patterns, stress at school, and all those wonderful things about puberty that I have mostly put well behind me in the past (where it all belongs).

On the whole, Wonder Boy has not been a difficult teen (KNOCK ON WOOD!) as of yet. And this is not one of those posts where I am going to complain. In fact, I'm here for the opposite.

I'll admit - I often forget that the Boy is just that ... a B-O-Y. He's still just a "big guy in training" even though his wiry frame towers high above me. He's got a lot of living yet to do and until then I need to remember that he can't be expected to react in an adult manner 100% of the time (heck, I hope those around me remember that about ME!).

And one of the true joys in our family life is when the Boy lets down his guard and "reverts" back to the kid-at-heart Wonder Boy we all know and love. We got to enjoy one of those moments this evening. It was nothing truly noteworthy - a family game of toss the Frisbee in the driveway as the sun set on a rather warm January evening.

Even before I pulled out the camera, Wonder Boy was hamming it up for his dad and I. And it brought such a smile to my heart that I had to catch a few moments to hold onto after the sun sets on this lovely day.

I truly love this side of our Boy. Sometimes he pushes the envelope of how much silly I can handle in a single sitting, but on the days where he gets the balance just right, it's a true thing of joy. We all laughed. We all joked. We all soaked up some vitamin D. And we all went back inside feeling like a family at peace.

I can't think of a better way to close out this day, this week, this month.

Thank you Lord!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Closing the Book on 2015

The time has come to, once again, close the book on another year. Like those that precede it, 2015 was a year of growth for our little family. Wonder Boy literally sprouted up a couple of inches, coming nearly eye-to-eye with his dad as I start this write up. But he grew in some less noticeable ways as well. He is so much more independent and mature. He can cook a few of his favorite meals (in other words, he learned the joy of using a crock pot), he can handle laundry for the whole family, and he discovered there is quite a large world out there waiting for him away from the small pond that is our home town and family.

Wonder Boy handled these leaps in size and maturity with perfect ease. Wonder Dad is also coming to grips with this jolly brown giant that shares our home. But I'll admit to some trepidation on my part. I am SO BEYOND PROUD to see him stand so confidently on his own. But I do not trust the world around him at all. That's my job, right? But I am learning that an even bigger part of my job is trusting in the lessons we have spent the last 14+ years trying to impart. He's ready for these small steps away from the security of home and family. And by taking these small steps now maybe he'll be prepared to help ME get past the BIG steps that loom ever larger on our horizon.

When we were ringing in the start of 2015, I confessed that what I really wanted for the year to come was to step away from my computer and get out there and enjoy a few adventures as a family. I am happy to say, as I close out this year, that we really did it! We made a couple of big trips together, but more than that, we just stepped away from the path of least resistance - that well worn rut that is our daily routine - and tried new things. I enjoyed our trips and am hoping we can fit in a few more in the year to come.

Mas y mas (more and more). That is my goal for 2016. We got off on a good foot in 2015. Let's just push those boundaries a bit further in 2016 and see where it takes us!

Happy New Years Everyone! May your year be blessed beyond measure!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Holiday Wrap Up

There was much for our little clan to celebrate as we close out another wonderful year together. We were blessed to see many of our family and friends over the course of this Christmas break. We didn't get the chance to all gather at once, but that just means we got to spread the holiday cheer a bit longer this year.

We started off our holiday tour of Texas with a trip down to Wharton to visit with Nanny and the crew down there. They rolled out the red carpet and welcomed us with open arms and a stuffed table. Our time ended too quickly, but at least we got to spend the afternoon together as a family. Nanny has had a rough year, health-wise, and it was a joy to spend this time with her. I am hoping that our visit helped to bring a bright spot to her day as well.

Just a few days later, the 3 of us enjoyed our traditional-for-us Christmas Eve festivities: an early service, a special dinner, a reading by Wonder Boy, and an always anticipated gift exchange! There were some FUN THINGS under the tree this year. One of the highlights (for me) was watching Wonder Boy open a seriously surprising gift: a melodica. As he unwrapped it, he looked rather confused and it was obvious he just didn't even know how to react to it! But by the time he unboxed it and tried out his first tune, he was hooked! I'm also pleased to say he entertained us throughout our holiday travels with it. NOTHING breaks up a 3 hour car ride like a lively tune from the back seat.

Christmas Day brought the Huntsville family into town. We enjoyed another over stuffed table and another afternoon of catching up with family. The 3 youngest had a great time unwrapping gifts and playing with Wonder Boy. Wonder Dad and I enjoyed having the littles around too. There is just nothing like the holidays with young kids. And while I am in no rush for grand-kids, I do get glimpses of things to come and it warms my heart.

After 3 separate family Christmas celebrations, we were able to prolong our holiday gatherings with trips to see friends in San Antonio and in Katy. It was a great way to wrap up our vacation. And it was our yearly reminder of the things that truly matter in life - precious time with those we love the most. I feel renewed after this time away from the hustle and bustle of life, surrounded by those I love the most, my heart completely full.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fall Premiere

Woo hoo! It's concert season again for the Boy and his pals in the middle school orchestra!

This term has seen the Boy move up to the more advanced orchestra at his school. And with that move, the music has gotten exponentially more difficult. But it has also gotten even more beautiful to hear!

2015 Fall Symphony Orchestra Concert

We have all been looking forward to this performance. I know that Wonder Boy has been a bit nervous, but the time he has spent practicing has really paid off.

The concert was just as wonderful as I knew it would be. And the only drawback is that it has me itching for their next performance (less than a month away!).

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fantastic Fourteen!

It's here. Wonder Boy's big day! He's knee deep in the waters that make up his teenage years now. And we are as proud of him as ever!

Wonder Boy ...

Your big day takes us back to the day you were born,
Like a little angel you opened your eyes, your beauty they adorned.

You looked at us and gave us a smile so divine,
even in the darkness, your sweet smile did shine!

Today when we see you, the smile seems much the same
As are the deep chocolate eyes, from Heaven they came.

But even more than your looks, we love your precious heart,
we love also your keen mind, so probing and smart.

No one else can touch us like you do,
And we hope you know just how much we truly love you!

Happy Birthday Wonder Boy!