“Why are you fat, Mommy?”

I have said this before and I will say it again, my son is honest, candid, and doesn’t intentionally mean to be hurtful.  Keeping this in mind, it is still extremely hard when he asks such personal questions.

Two years ago, after my husband lost 50 pounds on his mail route, my son started asking me, “Why are you fat and the rest of us are thin?”  I would look at my small plate, with the smallest portions in the family, and say, “I don’t know.”

Last year, when I found two exercise classes that I loved, and committed to, he asked, “If you exercise, and eat healthy, then why are you still fat?”

Once again, my response would be, “I don’t know.”

“Why should I exercise if I can still be fat?”  He inquired.

“Because even if I don’t look the way I want, I want my body to be healthy.  When I get tests done at the doctor, my blood says that I live a healthy lifestyle.  I don’t know why I still look like this.” I said on my lips, but inside I cried.

Anyway, through my weight loss journey, my kids have watched me.  They have seen me come home from the gym sweaty.  They see what I eat, and they notice that they eat more than me.  They noticed right away when I quit eating gluten (wheat products), and they ask lots of questions along the way.  We are glad they ask questions, because we share genetics.  Who is to say they won’t have their own fitness journey someday.

This week, I learned the importance of working out in front of my kids.  I love my spinning and Body Pump classes, but I needed more exercises in my week that worked with my new work schedule.  Scott and I bought Insanity, so we could get toned together.  We have completed one month of this program, sweating, crying (at times), and getting through each intense workout.

The other morning, Scott wasn’t feeling well, and 5 minutes into one of the most intensive workouts I have ever done, he left me to do the hour-long workout ALONE.  I was sad and frustrated.  I tried to make my body do things that it has never done.

About 55 minutes into the workout, I was spent.  Done. Tired.  READY to be done.  It was too much.  Sweat was pouring off of my forehead.  I ran out of water ages ago.  Every single muscle in my body ached.

My over critical son, who is famous for pointing out the obvious walked into the room to watch me complete my workout.  I kept waiting for him to say something like, “You don’t do it as good as they do.”

INSTEAD he yelled, “YOU CAN DO IT, MOMMY!”

That’s all it took.  My muscles started working again, and I completed the last exercise before the cool down.  I finished the tape and have completed two more videos since that morning (with Scott).

My body might not be perfect.  I have MANY workouts before I am the size or the shape I want to be, but at least my kids KNOW how hard I am trying.  That is the lifelong lesson I want them to remember.

Hurry, Hurry, Come on, Let’s Go

“Come on, let’s go, we’re in a hurry, we have [this, this, and this] to do before that [unimportant event that for some reason we can’t miss]!”  It seems like I am saying this to my family everyday.  I hate it, I hate it with a passion.  I hate that my alarm goes off around 5, I do a workout or two, rush the kids out the door, to drop everyone off at their places, and then barely make it to school on time.  Then, after school, I rush to pick up the kids so we can run home, have a snack, do some homework before we fly out the door again.  Sometimes we make it home before 6, and others we get home around 8.

I look at our schedule and lives and wonder, “How did this happen?”  I hate to be busy. I love leisure, I love moderation, I love a slow-paced life.  How did I let our family get so busy?  I can answer that, by saying, “Yes,” to one small commitment at a time.  Just like a bunch of small changes can add up to a big change, well a bunch of small commitments add up to too many.

I look at our commitments, and wonder, “What can we put on hold?”:

Sporting events – Nope, we have two left for each kid, we just have to hold on to that.

MOPS – Nope, I need my Mommy interaction, especially now that I am working and Scott’s schedule is crazy.

Boy Scouts – Nope, Scott went to one parent meeting and came home a den leader.  (Stay tuned for a photo of him in his scouting uniform.  I can’t wait!)

Grad School – Uh, no.  Can’t quit that!

Blogging or Photography – Only if i want to sink into a deep depression again.  Sorry, can’t do that.  I have cut down on both, and my soul is aching for it.  I can’t give up my art, it’s too hard and makes me sad.

Working out – Can I give up eating and breathing too?

Community Service – What would Jesus do?  What kind of message does that send?

Housework and laundry – Well, something has to go.  I guess I will try to do that… 😉

I guess I will continue to give up sleep, and hold on tight for the next couple of weeks, praying that no one gets sick.

Anyway, there is no point to this writing.  I am facing a writer’s block at the moment.  This terrible schedule is getting in the way of my family stories.  It’s time to find the inspiration again, but first, I think I need to breathe.

How do you supermoms do it all?  I seem to fail every single time…At the end of the day, I am not Superwoman, so I may as well stop trying and just breathe. Breathe.  Breathe.

 

The Real Education at a Husker Football Game

Saturday night I was given the chance of a lifetime, I got to take my son to his first Nebraska Husker game. In case you didn’t know, my son is literally obsessed with sports. He loves all sports, especially Red Sox baseball and Husker football. Needless to say, taking him to the game was A BIG DEAL. Like all big deals, I had high hopes and dreams for the night, and I am certain I was expecting some magic.

I am not saying, watching the fourth quarter of the Wisconsin game live, wasn’t full of magical moments. The whole fourth quarter, McCartney and I both were hugging, clinging to each other, hoping for a win. The last turnover of the night, with a minute on the clock, was really awesome. There is nothing like the magical moment when you know your team is going to win. I am super grateful I got share those times with my son.

However, the things that left the biggest impression on my seven-year old, had very little to do with football, in fact, they had nothing to do with the game. Today, as I heard my son tell grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles about the game, I learned the lessons that my son is carrying with him from the game. Trust me, this list does not make me proud to be a Husker fan, in fact, I am a bit appalled. Some of these lessons are out of my son’s mouth and some are parental observations.

1. “Mommy, there are a lot of bad words here,” was something my son said over and over during the first half of the game. Night games, for some, means that they have a few six packs under their belts before they even go to the game. {Keep this in mind, for future points.} Yes, the naughty words were soaring through the air as the Huskers gave up play after play in the first half of the game. I tried to cover his ears, but that was so silly to even try. Once you take a kid out of the house, you can no longer shelter him. The swear words pretty much stopped once we started coming back in the third. (I have to say, there were words or combinations that I have never heard before, and now they are ingrained into my son’s head. Great….(she says sarcastically).)

2. “Why don’t these people ever sit?” A tired and frustrated seven-year old said five minutes into the game. Yes, Husker football games have more up and down movement than any church service I have ever attended. I forgot to prepare him for that. Oops!

3. “Daddy, I got to see a police officer take down a man with a taser!” Um, yeah, of all moments to take my son to the restroom, we got to see an assault of an officer and watch him take him down. I have no more words for that one….

4. “85,900 people is very crowded.” Husker games, where the stadium is the third largest town in our state on game day, is completely overwhelming, especially a kid who is sensitive to noise, and space. I thought his love of the game would trump that feeling.

5. “I would rather watch football at home than at the stadium. I learned that lesson tonight,” my son informed me of this in the second quarter. He then commenced in begging me to leave. I held him off until the fourth quarter, which was so exciting, he then wanted to stay. Whew!

6. “I didn’t know we could bring our own drinks in,” my son said as he watched a man pour liquid into his soda. I could have taken that moment to explain what a flask is, instead, I changed the subject. I figured he was already learning enough for one night.

7. “People mostly sit when the Huskers play offense, we have to stand during defense.” My son is always looking for patterns. I have never noticed that before. 😉

8. “It’s more fun when your team is winning.” At Saturday night’s game, we got experience plenty of both emotions. It’s so true, when the Huskers are winning the feeling in the stadium is indescribable, however when they are losing, it is quite the opposite. I have never seen the Huskers lose live, and I am glad my son hasn’t either. I can’t imagine.

9. McCartney is so fair when making calls, he could teach some umpires a thing or two. A few times I thought a person turned around to yell at him, when he was judging the calls on the screen. Luckily, no one was drunk enough to try to tell off my seven-year old. If baseball doesn’t work out, I hope he becomes a referee or umpire. He is very honest at making calls, even when it’s against his favorite team.

10. Even when he hates the loud noises, my son follows sporting events directions like a pro. He screamed his heart out when the screen said, “Make some noise.” And boy, he can out yell any drunk man any time, any place, any day.

Keeping in mind all of these life lessons, do I regret taking my son to the Huskers vs Badgers game Saturday night? No way! Despite the loud, crazy drunk people, the taser lesson, and flasks, it was so magical to sit/stand next to my son as we cheered on our favorite football team. It was a beautiful night, with lots of fun memories. I hope he eventually forgets about the swearing, yelling, and arrest, and remembers how much fun his mom can be!

Faith, Patience, and Determination

I held on tight, praying that disaster would not strike. “You might have this one chance to get it right,” I told myself. I said a prayer, and hoped he would not fall. One injury could end this now. Who knows when he would get enough courage to try again? It had been more than eighteen months since the last attempt. There was no choice but to succeed.

I held my breath, looked at my seven-year old’s expectant face, “Try not to think about it, feel it inside and trust that,” I said.

He hesitated, thought, and said, “Ok. I can do this.”

“You can do this.”

I held onto his seat, and one handlebar, he slowly started to peddle. He peddled faster and faster, I let go of the handlebar. Soon, I let go of his seat, and for 5 seconds he rode his bike on two wheels alone! My son, who had little confidence in his balance, fear of crashing, let go of his fears, and for an afternoon trusted God and trusted me. We rode up and down the street for another half an hour and then took a break.

Before the second lesson of the day, I remembered the day he begged Scott to take off his training wheels. Scott did and proceeded to give McCartney his first bike riding lesson. Less than ten minutes later, Scott stomped up the driveway, with a tearful 6-year-old trailing behind him. “He won’t go fast enough. He’s too scared,” Scott reported. McCartney put his bike in the garage where it sat for over a year.

My son grew, and the bike stayed the same. He is too old for Cars and the helmet, but we refused to buy another that would just sit in the garage. Another summer went by, and it stayed parked in the same spot, never to be moved. Scott and I were disappointed, but we let it be. Our kids are not ready, so we took the easy way out. We didn’t press it, we just let the time pass. His friends, younger cousins, and so many around him learned, but he had no interest.

“Maybe he won’t ever want to learn.”

“He has to learn to trust first. He can’t be afraid of pain.”

Yesterday, I looked out the window, and I saw my son, with his bike and a new look of determination. I went outside, “Tomorrow, I will work with you on riding your bike.”

“Ok. I really want to learn!”

Our second lesson of the day, began hours after the first. It was time to make dinner, dishes in the sink, laundry in the drier, but my son, said, “Will you please give me another lesson?”

“I need 5 minutes,” I said.

He sat on the couch and waited patiently. At the stroke of 5 minutes, he said, “It’s been 5 minutes, will you teach me now?”

“Sure, let’s go.” We headed outside. He quickly put on his helmet, and we coasted down the driveway. “Remember, try not to think, listen to your body. You can do this,” I coached.

Within a few short minutes, I was running along side of the bike, with one finger on the seat. “At some point, I will let go. I won’t tell you, you have to have faith, you can do this,” I told my son.

“Ok,” he said with a look of uncertainty.

We went a few more rounds, and I barely held on more and more. I had a moment of fear. “If I let go and he falls, then will be trust me again?” Earning my son’s trust for this event, was a big deal, I did not want to lose it. I quickly said a prayer, and as he gained speed, I let go and he went alone, the length of two yards.

“You did it! You rode alone!” I exclaimed.

“I rode my bike by myself? I did?” He yelled.

“Yes, you did! I am so proud of you and your hard work!”

We went a few more rounds, and before I knew it, he said, “You can stay here, Mom. I don’t need you.”

“Remember, you can do this. There isn’t anything you haven’t done alone. I know you can do it.”

The next thing I knew, he was riding up and down the block, alone. I watched and photographed, because that is what I do when my kids don’t need me any more. I document and revel at what amazing people they are.

We loaded up the bike, and drove to the lake. My son quickly hopped on his bike, that is too small and too young for him, and circled the lake, independent and alone. Three point two miles later, he said, “I am really good at riding my bike.” And he is. He can start, stop, coast, and use his break like an old pro. Scott and I are happy and proud.

Right before bed, he said, “I think God helped me learn how to ride my bike tonight.”

“Yes, Buddy, He did. We never do anything alone. God gave me patience, and you determination. Between the three of us, you learned how to ride your bike. I am so proud of your hard work.”

If only we could always let kids learn when they are ready. When it’s time for a child to take the risk to learn, it happens naturally. Grandma was right, “When a pumpkin is ripe it will fall from the vine.”

The Next 5 Saturdays….

Mid August, my son, surprised the heck out of me when he said, “I think I want to play flag football this fall.”

I froze with shock.  “Buddy, are you sure?  I thought you loved baseball.  Do you really want to take 9 month off?  What about going pro?”

“Okay, I will play baseball…” he said.

“No, I mean, do what you want, but I just wanted to make sure you thought it out,” I said feeling like a world-class jerk.  (Yes, I am the same person who complained about the MONTHS and MONTHS of baseball later this summer.  However, if football was the other option, then no thank you.  I love football and it is FUN to watch on Saturdays, but I really don’t want my kid out there getting pushed around and possibly injured.)

“Okay, I want to play football then,” he declared.

“I will sign you up, but are you sure?  I mean, what if they don’t let you play much?  What if the boys aren’t nice?  Are you sure you can handle that?”

At this point, my poor son was staring at me with the face of, “just tell me what to do.”  Poor kid, I felt bad for him, trying to decipher my crazy over a silly 6 week sport.

Finally, I said, “You are seven and this is the perfect time to try new sports, so when you decide that baseball is your sport, at least you tried.” [Ugh!  Seriously, it is painful for me to type how terrible I was that day, but I am an honest blogger, ready to admit my mistakes.  And yes, I SHOULD have just said, “Sure, I will sign you up.” But I am the one who has watched him play the more unorganized sports with mega frustration AND I am the one who has to deal with his frustration the rest of the day.  But that is not what this post is about, so I will move on.]

So, for 6 Saturdays this fall, Ana and I get to watch McCartney play flag football.  Where will Scott be?  Um, at work, so this sport, like all Saturday sports, is totally my responsibility.  Yay! (That is a sarcastic yay! by the way.)

do love watching kids play sports.  I know, I act like I don’t but I really do.  What I don’t like is the getting everyone out of the door, reminding about water bottles, finding parking, lugging the chairs, and all of the standing around, waiting for it happen.  Not to mention the obligation of practices, and trying to remember where everyone belongs on what day.  But if you subtract all of the other factors, I do, in fact, love watching the sport.

The first game, felt really long.  We had to be there early… Why?  I don’t know because it took 30 seconds for my son to put on his team t-shirt.  Plus, game time was over an hour, and we all know, how I hate it when the game keeps going on beyond the allotted time.  Why?  I don’t know… Yes, I am crazy.

Anyway, today was pretty fun.  There was one amazing play in the hour and 15 minute game, and the fabulous play was for the other team.  Although as a viewer, there wasn’t a lot of action, the kids on the field were having a wonderful time, while working on their ever so important flag football skills, and that is what is important.

 

PS New topic: Don’t you LOVE my new watermark? I need to play around with colors, but I am super happy with it!  Amy Hughes from Love Bug designed it!  Yay!  Thank you, Amy!

Making Gains – The “First” Soccer Game

Last spring, when Ana begged to play soccer, her first 5 games (out of 6), she was THAT child on the team.  You know which child I am talking about: the one that has fun, her way, no matter what the coach says or does.  The one who is hopping like a rabbit during drills.  The one that kicks the ball and tries to make sure her shoe comes flying off.  The one who laughs and squeals, when no one else is laughing.  The one who purposely falls into the net.  You know the one child on the team who has NO INTEREST in the sport.  After last spring’s fiasco, after a year of watching her behave this way in many sports: t-ball, swimming, gymnastics, we removed Ana from all organized sports until fall.  Even then, we only gave her another chance because she is older, calmer, and begged us to let her try again.

“I promise, I will listen this time.”  I love my girl, but I know her, and I signed her up, but I honestly did not believe her.

At dinner tonight, we, for the millionth time this week, went over the behavior rules in soccer.

“I will listen to my coach.  I will do what he says,” she promised.  I wanted to believe her.  I know she means what she says at the time, but the girl is not competitive and she loves to have fun, her way.

We showed up early, found our field, and waited as a family.  When I wanted to take her picture with my phone, this is the attitude that I got:

Needless to say, I was sure afraid that this fall was destined to be a big, fat repeat of last spring.  (Anissa, if you are reading this, I am guessing you are laughing, because YOU KNOW what I am talking about!)

When her coaches took the field, she walked over, confidently.  (Please notice, I said the girl walked, if you know Ana, you know she doesn’t walk.  She skips, hops, and bounces, but walking just isn’t her thing.)  Scott and I set up chairs, brought our books, and were ready to try not to watch another disaster season.  (Yes, we are those parents.  Judge us if you want, but it is SUPER hard to just watch your child misbehave over and over.  She is our second, and we have witnessed this behavior, many times. We have learned how to cope.)

I looked up during drills and saw Ana standing in line, with her foot on the ball!  I quickly grabbed my camera, hoping that she had turned a new leaf.  When it was her turn to kick the ball into the net, she did it!  Scott, McCartney and I cheered like she scored an actual goal.  You have to understand the train wreck that we watched week after week, last season to understand our reaction.

During the game, my girl, actually ran after the ball.  She even kicked it a few times.  She was in the middle of the 5 year old pig pile, trying to get the ball!  When she wasn’t where the action was, she was running after the action, trying to catch up.  She only came over for a drink, when her coach brought in another player and it was her turn to sit out.  Not once, did she ask to leave the game.

Over on the sidelines, Scott, McCartney and I were cheering so loud.  We kept giving her a thumbs up, and couldn’t praise her efforts enough.  It was going so well.  Of course, the game was probably about 5 minutes too long, because in the last minute, a boy on the other team, hit her head right on her ear.  Our girl, who had been stepped on, kicked, and thrown around the field cried and cried.  She was done with soccer today.  Who could blame her?

On the way home, McCartney said, “Ana, I am so proud of you!”  Despite the tears, still sitting her on cheeks, Ana smiled.

She admitted, “When I grow up, I just want to be a Mommy and a teacher.”

“Oh, Ana, when you play sports, it’s for childhood fun.  You don’t have to have dreams of being a pro.  You can play just for the fun of playing soccer,” I reassured.

“Ok.  Maybe I will play again next week.”

I sure hope so! Tonight’s game was SO FUN to watch (for the first 55 minutes anyway), and we all can’t wait for next week’s game.  I think our little Ana is actually growing up!

PS Momtographers, Check out these link ups!

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Dug-Out Conversation

I knew when I had a boy, that size mattered.  Boys love comparing things.  I am sure my son was in his glory being the 9 pound giant in the nursery, although he was sick, he was the biggest one there.

As the boys were waiting for their turn to bat, I heard the following conversation:

“My bat is longer”

“Yeah, well, mine is thicker.”

“Yeah, well, mine is lighter so I can hit the ball farther.”

“Yeah, well, mine is heavier, so I am stronger.”

“Yeah, well…”

At some point, I turned to Scott and said, “If they stop talking about bats, and start comparing something else, you might want to step in.  It starts young.”

“Huh?” He looked at me confused.  Oh right, Scott was actually watching the game. (I watched it too, just not every single sweaty moment.)

I love kids, I love observing them.  They are so funny.  It’s moments like this, that make sweating through losing seasons worth it.  To read my naughty Mommy’s point of view of the final few game’s please visit yesterday’s post. Thank you for reading!