Monday, December 31, 2012

Year in Review

2012 was a pretty eventful year for us. We moved to a new house. Wonder Boy graduated elementary school and started intermediate school. There were work and home projects, both big and small. We laughed, we cried, we worried, we celebrated. We tried new things and watched Wonder Boy grow. Memories we'll carry with us for a very long time!

As with most years, there is a lot to look back upon. But there just seems to be so much more on the horizon!

I always enjoy the look back over the year. It never fails to amaze me how much things change in 12 short months. But this year, I can honestly say that I am truly looking forward.

I don't know what 2013 holds in store for us, but I'm chomping at the bit to see what kinds of possibilities will present themselves!

Happy New Year one and all! May 2013 be a time of peace, growth, and abundant love!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Concert Time!

After only 2.5 months with their instruments, Wonder Boy and the 5th Grade Orchestra announced that they were ready for their first concert! Wonder Boy had his share of jitters leading up to the big day, but honestly, I think that there was more excitement than anxiety in those butterflies he felt. We got home early from school so that he could knock out his homework quickly. Then we forced him to eat a quick bite before getting dressed and ready.

Wonder Boy gave us both a quick sample of the concert songs (plus a few more of his favorites) at home before we loaded up and headed to the middle school. Apparently there isn't enough space at Wonder Boy's school for the whole orchestra to set up, so we got an impromptu tour of his NEXT school as we found our way to the staging room and then the cafeteria (where the concert was held).

Wonder Dad and I were both pleasantly surprised by the concert! We know that Wonder Boy has put a lot of time and effort into his practice. But we didn't know if ALL of the students put in the same kind of effort. However, we need not have worried for the group came together wonderfully! In fact, they carried their tunes so well that a gentleman in the row behind us couldn't help but sing along.

All in all, this concert left all of us itching for more! How many months until the spring concert?

5th Grade Orchestra Concert


Traditions. I can't hear the word without hearing the music from "Fiddler on the Roof."

Regardless of the tune in my head at the moment, we are all about tradition in our little family. Traditions, schedules, routines ... might sound boring to some, but to me they spell order, reliability, and comfort. OK, so maybe schedules and routine are nothing to crow about, but tradition is another matter all together. Traditions have an aura of importance and reverence to them. Traditions are those things that can at once make us anticipate the future and remember the past.

We have many family traditions sprinkled throughout the year, but like in other families, the holiday season is chock full of them. What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

We put up our tree (usually) the day after Thanksgiving. Lights go up on the house fairly shortly thereafter (weather and energy permitting). The Nativity and Christmas village are displayed. And stockings are hung by the chimney with care (sorry, couldn't resist).

These stockings are one of my favorite Christmas displays. When I was even younger than Wonder Boy is now, my mom labored away to create these amazing felt stockings for each member of our family. I looked forward to seeing them each year. Mine had a Santa on it with his bag of toys. She made each toy individually and then stuffed them in the Big Guy's sack. They were sewn in place, but oh how I longed to take them out and play house with them! Every stocking she made for us was equally as detailed, but all these years later it is that sack of toys that comes to mind and makes me smile.

When Wonder Dad and I married, I couldn't wait for the holiday kits to hit the craft store. The first thing I got that year was a felt stocking kit - just for him to hang alongside those my mom would put up. I barely made the holiday deadline, but by the time the ornaments were pulled from storage and the bits and bobbles placed everywhere around the house, Wonder Dad's stocking was ready to hang with the rest!

In years to come as Wonder Dad and I developed our own holiday customs, our stockings hung in our own home. When I found out we were expecting Wonder Boy I made a bee line for the craft store for my next felt project. I was so proud to have finished it in the weeks before he officially joined our family. And even more so when I hung it next to the others that Christmas.

I don't know how many more stockings will find a home over our fireplace in the years to come, but I always stop and check out the new offerings each year. You know, just to be ready.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sounds of the Season

It is our family tradition to start our Christmas holiday decorating the day after Thanksgiving. This year we put the tree up on Thanksgiving itself since we had some minor changes to our plans for our Turkey Day meal. Usually, we put off all signs of Christmas until after Thanksgiving - I am not one to ignore any holiday and I like to make sure that Thanksgiving gets its time center stage.

But there is one exception! The week leading up to Thanksgiving, I relent and let the Christmas music play. Wonder Boy and I usually start with a playlist or two in the car. After Thanksgiving, all bets are off though and you'll find holiday tunes in the car, at work (my trusty iPod is loaded with good tunes and if I need a change of pace, I'll fire up Pandora and let them deliver up some Christmas classics), and of course at home.

Here are a few of our family favorites ...

Each year Wonder Boy tends to have a different favorite. This one is the one he always wants on the drive to school in the morning:
the Brian Setzer Orchestra perform the Nut Cracker Suite:

Wonder Dad likes a bit more bounce in his tune:
John Mellencamp's "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"

Right now I'm feeling drawn to the classics like this one:
Nat King Cole's "the Christmas Song"

And Wonder Boy watches the Charlie Brown Christmas show almost daily. I think this is his favorite tune from the show: Hark! The Herald Angles Sing

Our list could really draw on and on, but I wanted to share a few of these here with you now.

What are your favorites?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Feeling Festive

Most years, the weekend after Thanksgiving is spent getting the Christmas tree up and decorating the house. But due to some slight changes to our schedule this year, we got the tree up on Thanksgiving day itself. And that left us looking for some special adventure for our long weekend.

After only a short pause, we all agreed it would be a great time to trek south to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Texas Renaissance Festival!

It was a beautiful day, though a bit cool to start off with. Thankfully we remembered our jackets and of course there were stands to buy hot chocolate all over the place.

It's been a couple of years since we were last able to make it to the Ren Fest. And I think this was probably the most fun we ever had there as a family. Wonder Boy was not as focused on the rides this year. Instead, he was much more interested in the comedy shows and the musicians. The first performance we caught was a real fun group called Clan Tynker. They kept us laughing as they performed various acts from sword swallowing to juggling to fire eating! Not a bad way to start the day!

Next we made our way to the Fire Whip Show. If you ever get a chance to catch this guy's performance, you do NOT want to miss it! He is even featured in the Guinness Book of World Records for his amazing skills with the whip!

We couldn't miss out on the Birds of Prey show either. I love the bird show - that is always one of the highlights for me. The hawks, falcons, and even the vultures are pretty cool, but it is the owls that bring me back year after year.

The final show that we were able to squeeze into our day was the Ded Bob show. This is the show that had Wonder Boy clutching his side and laughing his head off (which for me was just as entertaining as the performance)! Again, if you ever have the opportunity to catch Ded Bob and his act - DON'T MISS IT!

We enjoyed the whole day - the weather was great, the shows were fun, the store fronts and vendors gave us plenty to dream about. It was such a nice part of our Thanksgiving holiday. And the time spent walking hand in hand, laughing, and enjoying life together is something for which to be truly thankful!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Doing the Dash

It has long been our philosophy to be "Do as We Do as Well as What We Say" kind of parents to Wonder Boy. And one thing we have always stressed is the importance of staying physically active. We feel it is not only good for the body, but for the mind and the soul as well. I know that for me personally, the downward spiral that follows periods of inactivity is something I try to avoid at all costs.

Even before Wonder Boy came along, we worked to be counted among the 'active'. And now with Wonder Boy in the picture, we try even harder to set an example he can follow. We are regulars at the gym. We enjoy mountain biking and hiking. We dabble in the martial arts. And we keep an assortment of fitness equipment and activities at the ready even at home.

But with all that said, sometimes you need to find something NEW to put a spark back into your training program. One way to do that is to set some kind of fitness goal. As this fall started to approach, we were getting that all too familiar feeling in our workout routine ... the fact that it was just ... too routine. So we made some changes at the gym and we started to look for something novel and fresh on which to set our sights. And we found it in the Warrior Dash.

For those who don't know, the Warrior Dash is a 5K trail run that sprinkles in about a dozen obstacles along the course. Obstacles that include hurdles, wall climbs, short swims, balance beams, army crawls under barbed wire, an infamous mud pit, and even a fire jump!

One of our soccer friends, Mrs. D, encouraged us to sign up with her and another pal so we could run as a pack. And I am so very glad that we did. Having a new goal gave our training a new focus and purpose.

On the morning of November 10th, we caravaned with Mrs. D and family to the Warrior Dash site, just outside of Bastrop, TX. We got registered and secured our timing chips to our shoes and then began the wait for our start time.

Finally our wave came up and we got our chance to take off. Mrs. D and her bud were a bit better conditioned that Wonder Dad and myself and eventually we got separated. Wonder Dad could have left me behind to work on his time, but he decided to hang back and experience the whole course by my side. I am glad that he did as there were plenty of moments to stop and consider what we had gotten ourselves into with this little endeavor.

I am very proud to announce that while we didn't have the most stellar times recorded, we finished each and every obstacle (I was worried about the Warrior Wall as I am not a great fan of heights). We crossed the finish line muddy and tired, but together. And Wonder Boy was there with Mrs. D's family waiting for us - that made it even more special for us.

We stay fit for our own personal reasons, but actually showing Wonder Boy that we value the things we profess to value is a huge bonus. And I hope that over time regular fitness will become an integral part of his way of life as well.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Transforming Rose Box, a tutorial

Welcome to this inaugural origami video tutorial by Wonder Boy. Here he will instruct you on his latest origami project, a transforming Rose Box. Enjoy!

Origami Rose Box

Monday, October 29, 2012

Creating Wonder

Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.
~Henri Matisse~

I'm sure it's true of all parents, but there are so many days when I just sit and marvel at Wonder Boy and I revel in the Wonder that is our Boy. To see his mind at work, to try to see the world through his lens ... it sends shivers down my spine.

Wonder Boy is a creative force! And it is something that I greatly admire about him. It started from an early age. He sees the world in a different light than I do. And rather than frustrate me, it inspires me (mostly). When he was tiny, we could see it in his play. Watching him put together a puzzle one day, I realized he wasn't matching up the pieces by color (like I naturally do) but rather by the physical shape of each individual piece. As he grew, you could hear it in the rhythm of his speech. Even after years of speech therapy, he has his own way of getting his point across. And today, as he is firmly stepping into his adolescence, you can see it in the way he learns, the manner in which he simply absorbs new skills.

Wonder Boy goes through phases of creative explosions. Usually we will see these explosions when he is picking up something new. This summer, you might recall, he got all fired up when he learned how to make paracord bracelets. He made them for all of his friends and Wonder Dad and I both sport several each as well! A few years back he studied up on balloon twisting and for months each visitor to the house left with a souvenir.

Right now though, he seems to be taking it to a new level! There is music in the house thanks to his viola. He looks forward to his practice time. In fact, he enjoys it so much, we have to make sure he has all of his other homework done before we let him begin or he loses track of time and can get behind in his academics before he realizes it. He's also revisiting his love of Origami. Like a lot of kids, he loves making paper air planes, but simple planes were not enough. So he found books, websites, and on-line videos to help him kick it up a level. Now we're finding everything from animals to ornaments to more planes than you can shake a stick at around the house.

And if this were not enough, as we edge closer to all of the fall holidays, there are more opportunities for a creative kid to make his mark.

This week we have been working on our Day of the Dead sugar skulls. The whole family has joined in the fun molding and decorating our confectionery creations. We also worked on getting our Halloween decorations up. And after a trip to the hobby supply store, we are dreaming of all the creative fun that Thanksgiving and Christmas will bring as well!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Almost Perfect Day for Soccer

Today was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL day and there is no better way to spend it than at the soccer fields, if you ask me!

We had another cool front blow in this weekend. Temps at game time were in the low 60s, which is chilly by Texas standards. I think it was more noticeable to those of us on the sidelines than the players, but still, picture perfect weather for fall soccer!

This game was to be a highly anticipated rematch with their opening weekend opponent. That game ended in a hard fought tie and the teams matched up really well in skill, size, and enthusiasm. I know Wonder Boy at least stepped onto the pitch this week ready for another tough, exciting game.

And in fact, the action of the game turned out to be all we had anticipated and more! Both teams came out hot and put everything they had into their efforts. Wonder Boy's team jumped out to an early lead, but despite their valiant efforts, they just couldn't hold on for the win.

With the way these kids match up, I know they'll all be looking forward to the chance to meet up again in the tournament in a few weeks.

As for us, the spectators of the game, it was just plain ELECTRIC to sit there on the side lines and cheer for our guys! I know they lost, but it was STILL a lot of fun to watch. Both teams worked so hard and they both had ample opportunity to clinch the win. You can't be disappointed to see that kind of effort, no matter which side comes out on top.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mid-Season in the Midfield

Soccer season is in full swing now and Wonder Boy is busy soaking up every sweaty moment of it! He seems to be finding his niche with his coach and team. It's no surprise to us, but he again seems most comfortable in the midfield.

His passing skills are continuing to improve and he always seems to have a good feel for where his teammates are at and where they are going. I believe this is what makes his passing so effective.

He's also getting a bit more time in the back field, adding a bit more depth on defense. And while this may not be his favorite spot to play, he certain is helping his team and is very good at disrupting the opposing offense's attacks.

This game ended up in another loss, but Wonder Boy and his team had a lot of chances to pull even or perhaps even take the lead. They are working hard in practice and we see improvement every week. It's only a matter of time until they put it all together on game day as well.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Tough Loss

Game 3 for the fall season found the weather returned to hot and, of course, Wonder Boy had a noon start time. Oh, well.

Things got off to a bit of a rocky start - the Boy's team was down a handfull of players and had to start with 1 fewer on the field than the opposing team (and no subs on the sidelines either). Eventually a couple of stragglers made it to the park so that the team had enough guys to even up players on the field, but they had to work through the heat with only one substitute.

That said, the Panthers (that's the team name) continued to battle hard and kept things close throughout.

Wonder Boy got to start on defense this time was and even chosen to take a couple of goal kicks in the first half. For a kid that looks like he could be blown over in a stiff wind, the Boy has quite a leg on him and I think he really surprised the opposing team in that regard as his goal kicks soared overhead.

In the second half Wonder Boy returned to playing midfield and we, again, got to see him shine. I am in awe of how well he sees the field. He's always looking to find the open man and works hard to get the ball at their feet. I so wish I had a bit of that instinct in me.

In the end, the other team edged out a one point win. But again, we were super proud of the way Wonder Boy and his team fought the good fight. They never gave up and they had every opportunity to at least tie the game if not win it outright.

Personally, I am hoping for a return to cooler weather for this next game! But you can bet we'll be yelling our heads off on the sidelines regardless.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Funny Thing About Fall Soccer ...

Fall in Texas is an odd time, to say the least. More often than not, you can't really tell the difference between summer and fall, aside from the occasional thunderstorm.

Week #1 of fall soccer found it HOT. Temps were around 95F at game time. And you could tell. The poor kids were drenched to the bone within just a few minutes.

Week #2 we actually had a rain out! Sure, the kids were disappointed, but we really needed the rain! So we had a quiet family day and enjoyed the gentle soaking rain.

Week #3 however brought a rare cool weather game! Wonder Boy had an early game, 9am, and temps were not expected to top 65F!

It's fun to see the kids bundled up on the walk to the fields. Sure, they warm up awful quick, but I noticed a boost in their endurance and those of us on the sidelines were much more comfortable than usual too.

This was another truly exciting match! Wonder Boy and company struggled to put points on the board, with two goals being called back for off-sides fairly early on. One of those was a really close call and we fans couldn't believe it was called back. Then the other team found the net and we all fretted that the guys would go home wondering "what if" about those 2 missed opportunities. But like they did in week #1, Wonder Boy and company dug deep and found the net with just a few minutes to spare to get the tie! Wonder Boy even got an assist on that goal!

Great way to spend a fine fall morning, if you ask me!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fall Kick Off

One of the most anticipated moments of the year has arrived - the start of fall soccer! Whoop!

Wonder Boy has moved up to the next division (u12), been placed on a new team, and even had his first game! When that ball gets rolling, it doesn't slow down any!

Game 1 was a lot of fun, depsite the warmer than we would like weather (95F at game time)! And since it was game 1 in a new division, on a new team, it took a while before the kids started to relax and have a little fun. In fact, they found themselves down 3-0 at the half. I wondered if the warm weather and lopsided score would cause their enthusiasm to wane, but I need not have worried. Wonder Boy and his team made their adjustments and battled back to a hard fought 3-3 tie by the time the final whistle blew!

We were incredibly proud of the way he played and even more so by the fighting spirit displayed by the whole team! Here's to a GREAT season! Go Panthers!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Sound of Music

This has been a much anticipated day at our little home. We're calling it Viola Homecoming Day!

Back in the spring, as the final days of elementary school were winding down, all of the 4th graders were given a choice of an elective for their next school year. They could either choose a combination class of Art/Drama/Music or they could sign up for Orchestra and learn to play a string instrument.

I'm an unabashed band geek and it took every ounce of restraint I could muster to not try to push Wonder Boy into selecting Orchestra. And at first, he seemed to feel that Art/Drama/Music would be a better fit. After all, that wouldn't be too different from the Art and Music classes he had been taking all through elementary school. I think the familiarity with it really appealed to him. So I held my tongue.

Then the 5th Grade orchestra made a trip to his school for a short concert. And apparently it was love at first note! The Boy came home from school that afternoon with a true spring in his step and couldn't wait to tell us that he had decided that orchestra was the way to go for him!

All through the summer he has waited for this particular aspect of his new school routine. It was a couple of days into the school year before they even got to SEE their new instruments. And a few days more before they could use them in class.

It took more than 2 weeks into the new school year before he was allowed to bring it home for the first time. And that brings us to today, Viola Homecoming Day!

At least 20 minutes of practice per day. And Wonder Boy is enjoying every second of it. We are all enjoying it actually. The viola makes a really lovely rich sound and I look forward to those 20 minutes each day. In fact, I'm already dreaming of that first concert - December will be here before we know it!

Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day of 5th Grade

Every year as August draws to a close, I wonder where the summer has gone. It's my busiest time of the year and before I know it, another summer has slipped away.

I might not even know the time had passed if it weren't for the notices from Wonder Boy's school that it's time to gather supplies and gear up for the first day of classes.

This year is a bit of a transition for Wonder boy, for all of us really. You see, this year Wonder Boy is in a new school. He's leaving behind the familiar halls of our neighborhood elementary school and walking through the doors of the area Intermediate School. He's going from 2 teachers covering all of his class material to a different teacher for each subject. He's got a locker to find and a combination to remember.

It's a lot of changes to tackle at once. But I have no doubt Wonder Boy will sail right through it.

It's not very obvious in these photos, but the Boy is as excited as he is nervous. Sure, there are a lot of changes to swallow, but there's a lot of independence that comes with those changes. And he's been ready for that for quite some time now.

I think the harder part will be for us ... remembering that he's not our elementary school kiddo any longer.

Somehow ... I don't think he'll let us forget.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Someone Press Pause, Please

There are days, like today for instance, where I would love to be able to stop (or at least slow down) time - for at least a little while.

Yes, I'm having one of those soppy mommy moments where I realize that right before my very eyes my boy is growing up.

And I'm not just talking about him getting physically taller, though he is doing that as well. It hasn't been like when he was small and would reach some major milestone that we could celebrate, call the grand parents and get excited. No, this seems more subtle than that.

I'm noticing little things - often it's something we no longer have to remind him to do; sometimes it's a genuine offer to help out and that moment when you realize it really would be a big help to have him join in; sometimes it's a look where he so reminds me of Wonder Dad; and other times it's sharing a moment together when I realize I'm just being myself, not just his "mom."

I don't know if any of this makes any sense, but I wanted to get it down before the moment slips away again.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Poor Sick Puppy

Our puppy princess is learning a tough lesson right now. She's learning that licking (or swallowing, I'm not sure which at present) a toad is not the best snack choice.

We'be been to the vet twice in the last 24 hours trying to get her tummy to stop its rumbling. And I think we've finally rounded that corner, but she sure did give us a scare. You can tell in this photo just how bad she must be feeling - not only by the sad droopy face, but by the fact that for the first time since she was a small pup, we don't have to restrain her from charging me when she see me with the camera.

Poor, poor puppy girl. Hopefully she will think twice before sampling the amphibians in the back yard next time. (One can hope, right?)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wearable Art

The idea came from a craft learned at camp. Wonder Boy couldn't wait to get home and show us what he had made! Survival bracelets. At camp they used boat rope. Good sturdy stuff, inexpensive, and lots of colors and patterns available.

But really, you're supposed to use paracord, he told us. Could we find anything like that?

We visited the craft store and bought 'craft cord.' It's not the same stuff. Bummer. It's still fun and gave him a chance to try out some new color combinations. But not the right material.

So off to the military depot we trudged. BINGO! They had just what he needed (though it was hidden behind decades of surplus ... well ... surplus)! And by the end of the evening, every member of the family was sporting a fancy new survival bracelet.

We're heading back to the military depot for more colors and such. This was WAY too much fun and it might make nice little gifts for the cousins this Christmas. SWEET!

Wonder Boy has been in a very creative state this summer. I hope it lasts as I am enjoying it every bit as much as he seems to be!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Happy braaaiiinnnsss day, I mean, Birthday!

It's Wonder Dad's birthday! And Wonder Boy looks forward to it every summer (we all do, but seriously, I think Wonder Boy has the best time of it!). As soon as Father's Day winds down, it's time to kick the birthday presentations into high gear. Presents must be considered, food and drink must be decided upon, and most importantly the design for Dad's card must be planned and executed.

I have to admit, watching the Boy come up with his card idea and then put it into play, is my FAVORITE part of the preparations. It's a taxing job for us both, but the end result is NEVER a disappointment. And this year is no exception.

Like last year, the Boy chose a video game theme as the starting point of his design. I was a little surprised when he chose Plants vs Zombies as his theme. I mean .... birthday Zombies?! But zombies it was. And the execution really WAS a gem, let me tell ya!

The card reads: (outside)
It's your birthday,
so scream and shout ...

It's good for the plants
(& they keep the Zombies out)!

How cute is that?!

Wonder Boy reminds me more and more of his dad every day. And it is special days like this where it truly shines through.

Happy Birthday Wonder Dad! We love you!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Earning His Stripes

Wonder Boy started judo classes at the age of five. We hoped he would love the sport as much as we do. And he had already spent a good year or two in various karate classes. But we couldn't imagine then how well he would take to it or how much a part of our family it would one day become.

Fast forward 5+ years.

Wonder Boy is the top ranked (youth) judo student at the dojo and has been for quite some time. He sets a good example for discipline, respect, and technique in class. To say we are proud is a serious understatement. We both fully ENJOY watching the Boy in his class. And even though every class is fun to see, there is something truly special about belt test days.

Now that the Boy has reached such a high rank, tests don't come as often as in the past. But that doesn't diminish the fact that Wonder Boy looks forward to them as a chance to shine and show off all he has been learning in class.

Wonder Boy went into this test confident and ready. He glided from technique to technique with hardly a single hesitation. The whole room could feel his excitement and at the end of the evening, he proudly added a new stripe to his belt.

We both hope that the years will continue to find him climbing the ranks, always striving for that next step on the path his black belt and beyond.

Way to go, Wonder Boy! Keep it up!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Super Striker

Typically, spring soccer winds down the first week or so of May around here. Anything past that and the heat makes it tough to keep playing. That means it is fall again before league play resumes. So you can imagine how much we all really look forward to our one little "soccer oasis" in the summer when the Texas Soccer Academy comes to town!

This is a really fun camp and Wonder Boy always enjoys his time there. To top it off, we have noticed a marked improvement in his ball handling skills and, perhaps more importantly, his confidence each summer after the camp winds down!

The organizers of the TSA bring in coaches from around the globe. This year Wonder Boy's coach was from Ireland. The kids get a kick out of the fun accents and as a result pay attention to every word said. That helps them make the most out of every sweat soaked moment of camp, I believe.

This year, the Boy had the bonus honor of being named Striker of the week for his age group! For a kiddo who prides himself on his passing, this shows a new aspect of his game that is starting to develop.

Now I can hardly wait for fall soccer to get here!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Stay Tuned

Summertime has started! People everywhere (especially those 18 or younger - you know ... the too cool for school crowd) are slowing down and gearing up for some much anticipated R&R.

As for us ... well ... not so much. :+P

Summer, especially the break between semesters, is one of my busiest times of the year. I'm not complaining though. Not all of the craziness in our lives has been about work. There's been a whole lot going on around here, including a wrap up of soccer season and even an elementary school graduation!

I promise to start some back-dated posts here soon that will recap some of these wild and wooly days ... so stay tuned!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Falcon Flight

Live. Learn. Soar. Those words are the motto for Wonder Boy's elementary school. Over the past 5 years, I think he's done quite a bit of all three. He's had some amazing teachers, met and made some good friends, and even had an adventure or two along the way.

There were field trips, major assignments, take home projects, and semi-annual productions. Who can forget the 3rd grade museum ? Or Wonder Boy's tribute to Leonardo daVinci? And there is a certain teacher who will long tell the tale of the boys who decided that one of them should serve as the big finale of the marble run (& ended up swallowing the metal marble in the process).

We've all been blessed by being part of the neighborhood school. It brought us closer to our neighbors. The teachers and staff made us feel like part of a family.

So while it's a time for Wonder Boy to stretch his wings and soar to a new school, it's a relief to know that he's had such a solid start to his educational career.

Thanks for 5 great years! Here's hoping the future will be just as incredible!

Friday, May 18, 2012

20/20 vision

They say hindsight is 20/20, but today I have something else in mind.

We're celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary! In many ways I can't quite wrap my brain around that number. When I look at it, I can't help but think that TWENTY seems like such a long time. I mean, that's nearly half my life! But how can that be?

I still remember every detail of our first date: from the blush on my cheeks when presented with a lovely long stem red rose to the fluttering of my stomach during that first kiss. I recall what we ate, where we hung out, and how I felt for almost every moment we were together. It seems like yesterday; not twenty-some-odd years ago.

But at the same time, I can easily think back on twenty years worth of memorable moments. Our first place. Our first dog. Graduations. Jobs. Houses. Wonder Boy! It all adds up faster than I could have ever imagined.

Still ... as I sit here to ponder things on this, our twentieth anniversary, it's not as much about looking back over the last twenty years as it is about looking forward to the next twenty years (& then some)!

We have plenty more in store for us, of that I am certain. I can imagine vacations, holidays, family adventures, graduations, milestones, WONDER BOY, and maybe even a few more additions to our little clan along the way.

I feel like, even though we've got 20 years under our marital belt, we're just getting started; just settling into our stride as we take off for what is still to come!

And I am so glad we get to walk this road hand-in-hand together!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mom's Day '12

Mother's Day. As far as Hallmark holidays go, this has to be one of my favorites. Not because I'm showered with attention from my guys (though that is an awesome perk), but because it is another chance for me to stop and be thankful for those things that really matter in this life.

THIS is what matters, folks. No grand gestures needed. Just some quality time with my favorite people. Including a hug, a kiss, and a quick photo with my favorite 10 year old.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Spring Wrap Up

As happens all too soon each season, this weekend brought the end of soccer for the spring with an end-of-season tournament. Wonder Boy's team matched up yet again with the dreaded white team. And though they again played their hearts out, they (again) dropped this one to the other team.

It was with that loss weighing on their minds that they faced the maroon team in the afternoon game and you could tell it had lit a fire in them all. They played hard, despite the searing Texas heat. And this time came out with the win!

As always, we were the proudest cheer leaders on the sidelines - proud of the whole team for all they accomplished this season! They learned a lot about the finer points of the game this spring and by the end of the season were really clicking as a team. What could make a parent and fan any prouder?

We're already looking forward to soccer camp in June and then the start of fall soccer in September!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Not So Lucky 7

For the last game of the regular season, Wonder Boy's team drew a rematch with the top ranked team in the division. The boys all played super hard, but luck was not on their side. They had lots of good opportunities to score, but the ball took some unfortunate bounces and in the end, the other team came out on top.

Games like these are tough. Sometimes the ball just doesn't bounce your way. And then you start to second guess yourself. And you get more easily frustrated with your coaches and teammates.

For the most part, the boys held on and played their hearts out. But you could feel their frustration, regardless.

I guess it's our job, as their family and fans, to help them see all of the things they did WELL, so they can focus on THAT the next game out.

Wonder Boy and team get a week off to rest up before the end of season tournament on May 12 - 13. I'm sure they'll be ready!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Double Header

As I posted last week, Wonder Boy had a double header of soccer games this Saturday. My prayer had been for cool weather so that the boys wouldn't melt with 2 games out in the Texas sun. And that prayer was answered in spades! We woke to temps in the low 50s on Saturday morning and by the start of the first game, it had only warmed to the mid 50s. Talk about PERFECT soccer weather!

Wonder Boy and his teammates took full advantage of the break in the weather and revved their engines to full for the entire match! It was a tough game with a good team, but in the end our boys came out with the 2 - 0 win! We were hoping that this would fuel their efforts in the afternoon match and, again, we were not disappointed! By lunch time, the temperatures had warmed to the mid 60s (still very cool by Texas standards) but the boy and his team had no trouble. In fact, I felt kinda bad for the opposing team who were mostly beginners. Our coach was a good sport and used the opportunity to rotate players all around in order to give the other team every opportunity to stay in the game. At the final whistle, our boys came out with a 6 - 0 win and I was so proud that they handled themselves with such great sportsmanship.

Two wins in one day is a heck of a way to spend a Saturday! But those Ws did not come without a cost. Wonder Boy took a ball between the eyes in the first game and had to deal with a bloody nose. And then, before the match was over, he took an elbow to the mouth and sported a busted lip the rest of the weekend. But there is nothing like winning a couple of games to soothe the soul (and the swollen lip), so we never heard a complaint.

Only one weekend left of the regular season for this spring. Where did the time go? I'm not sure, but I fully intend to soak up the remaining moments of soccer for this spring. And then we can start the count down to soccer camp. :+)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Valiant Effort

I know I say it after every game, but I truly love watching Wonder Boy on the soccer pitch. In seasons past, he has shined at practice but then been much more reserved at game time. This season, his confidence has turned a corner and it is showing on game day as well as on the practice field. And with this added confidence has come a shift in his field assignment. Now that his faith in his own skills - especially his passing and dribbling - is showing, Wonder Boy has been moved primarily to a left wing position. Sometimes he shifts to a center midfield position, but most of the time you will find him bringing up the left front.

One of the great aspects of this field assignment is that he is often in the thick of the action on the field! And when he makes his patented sneaky pass right into the middle of the field, perfectly at his teammate's feet as they crash into the box .... well, we can hardly contain ourselves!

Week 4's game was a tough one for Wonder Boy. A few minutes into the 2nd half, he caught a low spot on the field and twisted his ankle. We didn't see it happen, but we definitely saw him slow down. When there was a break in the action, we managed to get his attention and inquire about the problem. And soon after, we got the coach to pull him for a few minutes so that we could slip on a compression sleeve to help him out a bit. I feared this would not be enough and that he would not be able to enjoy the rest of the game, but Wonder Boy came through with a truly valiant effort. He ran and played hard, just as if he had never been injured in the first place. There were moments we could tell he was still hurting, but he never let up!

He always makes us proud, but there are moments (like this game) where he takes it to a new level. You just gotta love THAT!

Next weekend has a double-header on the schedule. Here's to hoping for a break in the weather and a wish for unseasonably cool temperatures so the boys don't wilt in the already building Texas heat.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Angry Eggs

Egg decorating day is one of my favorite days of the year! It's almost always a day when we slow things down a bit. And think about it - how can you even consider rushing around when you have to tend to boiling eggs, half-dyed eggs, and that kind of thing on your agenda?

I'm glad it's a slow day for us. It is almost always a most needed change of pace. And this year was no exception.

Wonder Boy usually has a pretty firm idea of what he would like to do in terms of an Easter egg theme. We've done sports-inspired eggs, dinosaur eggs, and even our version Faberge eggs. This year, the Boy suggested an Angry Birds theme (who is surprised, really?!).

We spent weeks thinking through our theme and looking for the right decorative extras to make our eggs spectacular. I think we hit the ball outta the park! What do YOU think?

While the 'birds' may be angry ... looking at these eggs really makes me smile! But it makes me wonder how we can possibly match this effort next year?!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Moral Victory

Another Saturday, another super soccer extravaganza! Game 3 brought Wonder Boy's team against the top ranked team in the division. Last fall when they played, it was a super tough game that ended in a lopsided win for the opposing team. Coming into the game, Wonder Boy couldn't help but remember that disappointing effort.

But we reminded him how much better his team is playing this season, how they are working together as a unit, and simply that this was a fresh game with a chance for a totally different outcome.

I'm not completely sure if he believed it in his heart, but true to form, he went out there on that pitch and gave an all-out effort to do his best.

I wish I could tell you that the outcome was a complete reversal from last fall, but that is not the case. However, it was a totally different game! The final score was 4-3 in favor of the opponents, but Wonder Boy's team had ample opportunity to score and we all held our breath right up until the final whistle. It was a CLOSE ONE. And all players - on both sides of the ball - walked off the pitch with their heads held high.

It may not show as a W in the stats, but it's a win in my book any day!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fans First

Wonder Boy had his second game of the Spring '12 soccer season and he played GREAT! In fact, his whole team played well and as a result, they logged their FIRST WIN together! Can I get a WHOOP?!

To say we are proud of the way the Boy played is a monumental understatement. To see him charging up and down that field, his confidence at an all time high, and and his teammates working together like a well oiled machine ... well ... it's a rush that is hard to explain.

Hard to explain, but a true joy to experience!

We're kind of "vocal" on the sidelines - the 2 biggest cheer leaders in the league. ;+) But we make sure our words are those of encouragement for ALL of the players since so many are long time friends and just because it's the right thing to do. These kids are all out there trying their best. And soccer is NOT an easy game ... even if these guys have moments where they make it look that way.

We enjoy the game. Plain and simple. We love to play. We love to watch. And we absolutely LOVE TO CHEER for our favorite player and his team!

Here is a look at a few plays from the game:

But be warned ... the best moments of the game will never be featured in photos or video because, we are FANS FIRST. And this means, when the action reaches a peak, you can bet we're watching, cheering, and living the moment to the fullest!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Construction Update

Well ... thanks to a nagging cough that just wouldn't quit, Wonder Boy got an extra day of spring break. The cough is beginning to die down though, so it will be back to school tomorrow for sure. But for today at least, spring break stretches on.

And like he did over much of the break, Wonder Boy spent his free time working on his Lego version of the Harry Potter world. You've already seen Olivander's Wand shop. And to that, he has now added Borgin and Burke's, Gringot's Bank, and a towered bridge found on the grounds of Hogwarts itself!

Next we've discussed bringing out some older sets and completing the grounds of Hogwarts. Those will have to wait until after homework is done or for the weekends though, because this little vacation is quickly coming to an end for us all.

I have to admit ... I have really enjoyed the break. I think Wonder Boy has as well.

Monday, March 12, 2012

building a great spring break

WOO HOO for Wonder Boy! Spring Break has arrived! No school. No homework. Even soccer and judo are taking some time off for the week.

But what to do with all of this extra time?

Unfortunately Wonder Dad and Wonder Mom both have to work commitments this week.

But Wonder Boy is not one to let something like work for mom and dad get in the way of thoroughly enjoying his time off. We went through his closet and found a yet unopened Lego box from Christmas. One with THREE new buildings to construct - one for each day that Mom and Dad know they have to work. Feels like kismet, no?

Here is building one, completed on the afternoon of Spring Break Monday. For those who enjoy the Harry Potter series, you might recognize Olivander's wand shop. Still to come this week are Borgin & Burkes as well as Gringots! I'm really looking forward to my Lego-sized stroll through Diagon Alley when all 3 structures are completed.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

it's in the air

While the trees, weeds, and shrubs may have been fooled into thinking Spring is in the air for more than a month now (what's with this absent winter?), I now know for certain that Spring has actually and truly sprung!

And how do I know? Why, because soccer has started, that's why!

Wonder Boy has practice 3 nights a week and games on most Saturdays. Even us old folks have made our way onto a team with weekly games on most Sundays. Life is good. Soccer is back!

Game 1 Highlights

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Heart Day

Valentine's Day! Some will argue that it is just another contrived holiday. Others say that this is just the talk of cynics. Who's to say who is right or wrong really?

As for this family, we make an effort to guarantee that each of us understands that they are loved and appreciated on a daily basis. We all agree that our time together is too precious to push that off to major holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries.

So in some ways, Valentine's Day is just like any other day in our house ... but with chocolate. ;+)

To be honest, we all enjoy the build up to V-Day. And this year, we took it as a family project to prepare a special mail box for Wonder Boy to take to school; no simple shoe box covered in tissue would do this time. Once a suitable box was found, we masked it off for a faux stone paint job and the end result was really fun!

Wonder Boy folded paper air planes to deliver sweet treats (lollipops taped to the planes) to his classmates and friends as well. What could be more fun than that?!

And when all of the goodies were sorted, we sat back to enjoy the day with one another, thankful that our home is filled with love this Valentine's Day and every other day on the calendar.

We hope YOU had a truly happy Heart Day as well!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Fun

Most of the month of January has been spent in a direct effort to get our little home cleaned and better organized; trying to make the best use of every bit of space we have available. Spring cleaning come a few months early, as it were.

And as you can guess, that means a focused effort by all members of the family. It hasn't been much fun (for any of us), but we HAVE gotten so much done and the effect on the house has been amazing (imho).

But as I mentioned, it's not a lot of fun. Especially for Wonder Boy. He's entertained himself on the days we haven't set him a task or two. And he's done a lot less complaining than you might expect for a 10 year old boy stuck at home with little to do but housework.

SO ... to give him a break and to reward ourselves for some of our hard work, we let him invite one of his best buds over for some fun time after school.

The guys made Jolly Rancher stained glass sugar cookies and played video games until their hearts content. And they both closed out the day with a high five and a smile.

A good day indeed!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mr. Fabulous

Live. Learn. And soar!

That's the motto at Wonder Boy's elementary school. And each week, the teachers each select a student from their home room class who has best represented those values. That student is dubbed the 'Fabulous Falcon' of the week.

We were so very proud when the Boy came home sporting his purple ribbon on Friday! This will be his 5th Fab Falcon award, making it a clean sweep for his tenure at Forest Ridge Elementary school.

Of course, you don't have to get an award for us to know he's a totally fabulous young guy, but it's quite cool to be recognized outside of the home.