Friday, February 28, 2014

Something to call her own

For the last few weeks, Brian and I have noticed that Marilyn has seemed a bit "off."
She is more clingy.  She is more defiant.  She is more argumentative with all of us.
Of course, this sounds a lot like the Terrible Twos.
Thankfully, Marilyn really hasn't been plagued by that "TT" bug this year.
Instead, we think this is something different.
What we're chalking this change up to is that she has nothing to call her own.
Nothing at all that SHE gets to go to so it's all about her.
Instead, as #3, she gets dragged to everything that Thomas & Abby are each involved in...
Soccer, basketball, speech sessions, preschool, gymnastics, and even parent/teacher conferences.
Just shy of 3-years old, she doesn't meet the age requirement to be involved with most classes.
I've thought about lying about her age, but really...where will that get us?
The other factor that I've struggled with is how the heck to add yet another activity into our already overloaded schedule?
I'm happy to report that with some careful considerations & aligning our current activity schedule with opportunities... I've signed Marilyn up for her first gymnastic class and she is over the moon with excitement.
Next week is a big week for our pint-size gymnast... pictures & a recap will certainly follow.
I'm so looking forward to her having something to call her own!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Best Game Yet

We are in the early part of Thomas' indoor soccer season.
Each week usually consists of 1 practice & 2 games.
Most weeks, I see Thomas go through spurts of brilliance on the field/court.  Some moments I see him exerting so much energy & focus while concentrating on his basic skills of passing, shooting, dribbling or even playing good defense as a goalkeeper. 
Those moments are usually intertwined with spells of lazy moments, socializing sometimes with one of his friends on the team or even lack of focus & losing sight of where the ball is.
This week started off this same way... until tonight.

What I witnessed tonight from Thomas gave me goose bumps.
What I saw from him in his game was pure heart & effort.
Every moment.  And he played EVERY single moment of the game.
The boy didn't stop hustling & worked hard at winning the ball, defending the goal, playing the ball off the walls to his teammates, and shooting on goal.
He made a great goalie tonight also - making several diving saves & stopping some 1-on-1 breakaways by the other team.

There were even moments that touched my heart & made me gleam with pride.  For example, at one point when he was goalie, his teammate was the last defender near him.  The little boy is brand new to soccer (and just recently turned 5, so is a good bit younger than Thomas) and is still trying to figure out up-from-down when it comes to which direction his team is going to as well as how to kick the ball correctly. 

Thomas was gently "coaching" him as he stood behind the little kiddo.  Encouraging words, a pat on the back & even a high-5 to his teammate continued to come from my sweet little boy's mouth even after Thomas was scored on (several times).  Things were frustrating for Thomas at times because he saw the simple "basic" mistakes being made that could have prevented a possible goal for the other team, but each time he shook off the frustration and chose to be the kind of teammate that any player would love to have by his side... positive & encouraging all the while offering some advise for future plays in the game.

Tonight, I saw a different kind of player in Thomas.
Although his work ethic & effort were unbelievable, it was his sportsmanship & his leadership that shined through brightly tonight.
He gave me yet another reason to smile & be the proud Mama Bear that I am.
Way to go, Bud.

Monday, February 24, 2014

How snowboarders get their start

 There is no doubt in our mind that with one more Alaskan winter, Thomas would really be ready to pursue snowboarding.  He has resorted to using his long sled to practice & practice... and practice some more.


Look at Abby go!
She wants to be right in the thick of things, doing what her brother is doing!

Unfortunately, when a certain little girl is tired & cold...
she starts to feel like this...
and then finally this.
This was our clue that it was time to head home.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Daddy: Big & Strong & 40!

Here's a gem of a drawing that was sent home to us just last week.
Absolutely LOVE what Abby created about her Daddy now that he is 40!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Alaska's Southernmost - Visiting Ketchikan

Last weekend, Brian & I escaped south to Ketchikan, the southeastern most city in Alaska.  Most people wouldn't necessarily pick this as a weekend getaway place, but given that Brian graduated from high school here, it seemed like a perfect place to visit given that this was one of his old stomping grounds. 
With a population of 8K, it is the fifth-most populous city in the state.  Ketchikan's economy is based upon tourism and fishing, and the city is known as the "Salmon Capital of the World." For most of the latter half of the 20th century, a large portion of Ketchikan's economy and life centered around the Ketchikan Pulp Company pulp mill in nearby Ward Cove. The mill closed in 1997 in the wake of the passage of the Tongass Timber Reform Act of 1990, which reduced timber harvest targets on the Tongass National Forest.
 The only way to get to Ketchikan is by air and boat. 

This is what brought Brian to Ketchikan as a 17-year old senior in high school... Pop-Pop was in the Coast Guard.
 Ketchikan has the world's largest collection of standing totem poles, found throughout the city and nearby parks.

A glimpse at the old house that Brian used to call home.


Glimpse at some beautiful Bald Eagles.

The old pulp mill that was once a bustling place back in the heyday.

Stores & shops all along Creek Street.
Fun fact about this place?  This was the red-light district back in the 1920s when bootlegging and prostitution were in full swing thanks to Prohibition. 
Learned some fun stories walking this area.  That's the history-nerd-in-me coming out.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Our 1st grader

Almost 2 weeks ago, Brian & I attended Thomas' parent/teacher conference and had an opportunity to hear how he is doing academically & socially in 1st grade this year.  Mind you, I communicate regularly with his teacher about performance, expectations, behavior, & social interactions with him & his peers.  I was completely prepared to hear what she had to say, and was not anticipating any real surprises.  But, what she had to show us & tell us about our little 1st grader did give me reason to pause a few times.  Let's review:
  • In the days leading up to the parent/teacher conference, she asked each student to fill out their own "Student Self Reflection" as to way gage their own progress this semester.  Thomas' is pictured above.  At first glance, one might think that he doesn't do a very good job on following school & class rules, working with others, and completing his homework.  But, knowing Thomas both in the classroom and at home, you would realize he is quite good at all 3 of those things.  We're going to chalk this Self-Reflection report up to him being quite critical of himself.  It appears he is his own worst critic.
  • We heard that he is a wonderful friend to his classmates, helpful in many ways to both the teacher & his friends, as well as very responsible & respectful.  His behavior is essentially not ever a concern.  Well, other than this one time that he got called to the Principal's office for what happened on the bus.  I'll save that story for his wedding day.
  • His teacher also confirmed to us that he is an excellent & advanced reader.  She continues to challenge him in class and on his homework with higher-level readings that are still high interest to him.
  • We also were told he is an exceptional mathematician - adding & subtracting (even with double & triple digits) are done with ease.
  • The news that did catch me off guard is that she thinks Thomas should be tested for Gifted & Talented.  Not only with his assessments continually scoring in the "well-above average" range, she is convinced that how he uses logical reasoning for so many of his justifications is another "gifted" sign.  I'm truly not sure how I feel about this, but what I do know is Brian and I both want him to continue to love learning & so we will always encourage, challenge and motivate him so that flame never fades.

Throwback Thursday: FL-AK Roadtrip 2011


Monday, February 17, 2014

Prep Team - Mason Jar Salads

Meet my prep team.
Each Sunday, they are my little helpers who help assemble our weekly lunch Mason Jar Salads.
Folks... these girls have this thing down to a science.
And they're pretty cute, too!
The fix'ins
 First layer - dressing of choice
 Next few layers - any yummy veggies

Final layer - lettuce!
Always, always, always put the dressing on the bottom & the lettuce on top so they there is no soggy lettuce & it stays crisp all week! 
 Tops on!
Whenever you're ready to eat, grab a fork, flip, shake and pour into a bowl & enjoy!
 At the beginning of each week, our fridge is stocked with salads that are easy-peasy to grab for lunch or dinner on the fly!
Just one more way we are teaching the kids to eat healthy!