Archive for July 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I'm really not "that kind of mom." I swear to you, I am not. You know the ones I'm talking about: their child's successes and/or failures define who she is--or isn't. Of course I am happy when my boys experience successful moments and I'm sad when they struggle with any of life's challenges. But I also have to remind myself that all I can do is give them the right tools, pray daily and release the rest to God.I can't let their actions, whether I like them or not, validate or invalidate me as a parent. Unfortunately our current culture preaches otherwise. All that being said, I had to put this disclaimer lest you think I was one of those crazies who stalks her kid all the way to football camp 200 miles from home. Because, based on the following pictures, this is exactly what I did.

While 75% of our country is sweltering in a massive heatwave, someone forgot to remind our thermometers that the calendar says mid-July. I think I read recently that 82% of this month has been covered in clouds--and temperatures 10-15 degrees BELOW NORMAL. When you wait 10 months for summer it's hard to not be bitter at this point. So instead of caving in to the bitterness,(don't be bitter, be better) I decided that I couldn't change the weather conditions so I packed up my younger two and we headed east until we found sunshine and heat. It just so happened that this place also happened to be where my oldest was attending his first high school football camp. (In my defense, the coach did say "we'd love to have parents come over and watch" and my son did ask me twice if we were planning to come over) I had no idea what to expect but within minutes of arriving I knew it was well worth the trip.

We pulled into the high school parking lot only to find about 10 moms and dad from our school making a lunch feast fit for a king -or 70 teenage boys. The players had made their temporary home on the gym floor. (It made our basement look like a museum) Every coach came and introduced himself to me and the little brothers and made us feel right at home. In just two days I saw a transformation in my son that could have only occurred from watching teamwork and leadership be preached and modeled 12 hours a day. These guys totally have it going on. Needless to say, I was beyond impressed. Looking forward to those Friday Night Lights!

Home Sweet Gym
One big fraternity house
Quinn and his roomies
Looks at Ian and Ben are making themselves at home, as usual.
Ben loved being "Water Boy."
There's my football player.
Enough already, Mom.
Taking it all in while Ian strategizes for his future football career.
Wide receiver drills
Practicing field goals
It's not really summer without a romp through the sprinkler.


Go Sounders!

Monday, July 18, 2011

We are soccer fans around here. Well at least 4 of us are. I'll give you a hint: the one that isn't much of a fan is not a boy. Not only are they soccer players, soccer watchers and soccer lovers they are true blue (and green) Seattle Sounders fans. I'm pretty sure that the last time one of them had a cut, it bled blue and green. So when Trey's company offered tickets for all employees and their families to a suite at the most recent home game, we cleared our calendars.

More often than not, I say "if you can't beat 'em, join em." And so I did.

I may not have painted my face but I was willing to put some blue polish on those toesies.

Happy with the results of the game or just happy to be together? Or both?

Ben enjoyed being photographer

These fans are crazy excited all the time. This is the section we always want to be in but we were happy to settle for a private suite.

Go Sounders!!!!!!


Another great book on boys

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'm always on the lookout for more sage advice on bringing up boys. I stumbled upon this in the public library last week and have devoured it. There's a lot of the "same old stuff" but some new tidbits that I have definitely filed away.

My favorite part of the whole book was this prayer that was quoted from the book The Wonder of Boys by Michael Gurian. (another fantastic book)

"Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know Thee--and that to know himself is the foundation of knowledge.

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goals will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the weakness of true strength.

Then, I will dare to whisper, 'I have not lived in vain.'"


This is my prayer for my three sons. How grateful I am that I am not in this alone!


Happy Campers

Sunday, July 10, 2011

In the Northeast, people go "to the shore" for summer vacation. In the Southeast, they go "to the beach". In the Midwest, they go "to the lake". In the Pacific Northwest, we camp. In fact, people here are so into it that the state parks are usually booked a year in advance. Yes, a year. Being that we're not planners (or at least one of us isn't) and the weather is so incredibly umpredictable here , we usually wait until the conditions are right and then go for it. We've ended up in some pretty cool places off the beaten path and this time was no exception.

Our good friend, and the person who moved us out here 10 years ago, Jim is always up for last minute camping trips and no one else in his family shares his penchant for spontaneity. He knows he can count on our family to fill that need. Last Friday (7/1) he and Trey spent the entire day driving the Mountain Loop Highway in search of the perfect wilderness campsite. The definition of "wilderness" runs the gamut from "rustic" to "a rotted out picnic table and a fire pit." They found a site not only with a table and fire pit but right on the river. They claimed it with a tent and came home to share their find with the rest of us. Quinn & Ben had previous plans for Saturday so Ian went with them and we joined them that evening. We pulled up and everything was ready for our arrival. Just had to put our bedding in the tent. It was sure to be a perfect evening...........

Chilling out

Ben claimed the "Mac Daddy" chair

Just a few steps down to our paradise.

The view from our site.

Jim can come with us anytime. Look at how thoughtful he is.

We just finished dinner around 8:00when a visitor showed up at our site named Sheriff John Brown. (not really his name but that's what we called him) Apparently we were at a "reservation only" site. We begged him to have mercy on us if we promised to leave the next morning. No way was this guy budging. And he did have his ticket pad in hand so we cooperated. In his defense he did have an alternative site reserved for us five miles down the road in the middle of a grassy field. It wasn't waterfront property but it would do.

We packed up, moved and set up camp in the next 90 minutes just before dark. Everyone went to bed only to be awakened by rain drops at 4 a.m.! (Just for the record, this has happened every single time I've camped in Western Washington) There is just nothing romantic about camping in a downpour. The rain continued--despite the forecast of a "passing shower"--until noon. I threatened to leave but once the sun came out, it was beautiful. We took a hike to the ice caves and had a wonderful steak dinner, played Farkle and roasted marshmallows. It ended on a high note.

We came home on the 4th just in time to get ready for our next adventure. Our good friends Mark & Jackie offered us their pop-up tent trailer while they were out of town. We picked it up Tuesday morning and by 3:00 that afternoon we were settled in. My mom came up to join us, the kids each brought a friend and we went 30 miles away to a beautiful campground on the beach. The weather was sunny and low 80's. Definitely an improvement from our previous excursion.

I'm not sure if I'll be able to tent camp again after this.

Ma with her favorite girl, Millie.

Skipping rocks just before a beautiful sunset.
Enjoying a beach campfire.
Sun-kissed boys.