June 18, 2014

Celebrating our Successes and Taking Everything Else One Day at a Time

Henry thought this chopsticks' packaging was hilarious 
I don't care what anyone says--summer at home is hard.  There is a lot of time to fill with constructive activities.  Nature abhors a vacuum and so do young boys with an iPad.  If I don't distract them with group activities, classes and sports, they will spend their entire summer on a touch screen instead of a playground.

Organizing lessons, games, lunches and playdates as well as requisite doctors' appointments and home repairs keeps me just as busy if not (I suspect) busier than I was in the classroom.  I want to make sure we fit everything in that needs to be done this short summer and that includes fun stuff like fairs, fests, beaches and most importantly, friends.

We still have down time. I know it's necessary and the boys really enjoy stay-at-home days.  But to tell the truth, those days make me nervous.  What should I be doing?  Who should I call?  Should I check my email?  Order new uniform shirts before July 1?  Paint the bathroom?  Change the spring flowers in the front planters to summer flowers?  Meanwhile, the boys just watch Phineas & Ferb, living vicariously through those brothers' adventures while I rush from one item to another on my to-do list lists.

Today Henry's archery class was cancelled due to the weather.  We came home and snuggled on the sofa watching Food Network competitions.  This has become our summer screen vice.  I like that I can see real grown-ups, Henry likes the recipes and challenges, and Liam loves that we are all together in the living room.

Fortunately, the weather cleared up in time for Henry's soccer practice.  After four years of misses, I found a class that suits Henry to a T.  I finally understand the real difference between "recreational", "instructional" and "competitive"  when it comes to choosing a team through the park district.  Previously, Henry was miserable at his recreational soccer practices.  We started when he was 4 and I can honestly say, he never completed a single six-week session.  This year, Liam asked to do soccer and I was glad to sign him up.  Then Henry jumped on the bandwagon.  I hesitated.  I didn't want to throw good money after bad--just to have him quit after two weeks.  At the same time, he is a year older, he did initiate the request and could I really drag him to his brother's practices knowing that I had denied him the activity?  Don't I teach my kids to try, try again?  How could I tell him I wouldn't let him try again?

Clearly, this time is the charm.  The park district contracted with a wonderful coach.  Seriously, within the first 20 seconds of hearing him interact with the kids, I knew he was the one to make this work.  I really don't give two hoots about how much someone knows about sports; I just care how much they know about kids.  This coach connected with the kids immediately.  It just so happens that he also teaches them how to play soccer.  And he really teaches--breaking down each skill and explaining why it is performed.  Oh, Henry just eats it up.  He has a smile on his face the entire hour.  In all the years past, I've seen him in cleats, shin guards and shorts but never ever with a smile like this on the field.  Yay!

No, summer isn't as easy as it looks.  But it is definitely worth showing up and giving it a try.


  1. I know what you mean about a good coach. I was disappointed in E's gymnastic coach this year. Last year we were spoiled with an amazing woman who really made an effort to connect with the kids & even though they were toddlers, used actual gymnastics terms & warm ups, etc. This year, though the coach was nice enough, it really felt like a job & she was putting in time than actually wanting to teach the kids. We still had a good year, but I miss that level of commitment.

    Funny thing, when I was glancing through my reader this morning & saw your 1st photo & thought it was a pregnancy test. I had to do a double take when I saw it was your blog!

  2. It sounds fun and exhausting both!

    Love the soccer pictures. :)