Slice of Life: Swimming Pools

March 19, 2010

It never ceases to amaze me how a swimming pool is so inviting for a child.  “Where’s my trunks?” Tim asks.  He is ready for a water adventure.  I smile.  Tim is our youngest of three.  Tim takes life in stride.  Unlike his siblings, Tim is quiet and even-tempered.  This weekend, he gets to be with my husband and I at a hotel – no brother, no sister.  The suggestion of this trip brought the excitement out of him.  “Yessss!” Tim exclaimed.

So I sit here by the pool watching Tim play a pretend football game.  He quarterback throws the football into the ring and scores.  Playing the radio announcer, Tim projects a play-by-play, scoring the hero point.  “And the crowd goes wild – Ahhhhh!” he says waving his hands in the air.

A joy of childhood is penned as a slice to remember.


Slice of Life: From a Toddler to a Sixteen Year Old

March 17, 2010

Watching my six-foot two, sixteen year old son, I wonder, “How did this happen?”  I mean, “Where did the time go?”  I totally connect with the insurance commercial that shows the perspective of the parent with their teen.

A little girl appears asking her dad for the car keys.  The father stares at her and asks where she is headed.  The little girl answers in a sweetly innocent voice.  The dialogue continues with the little girl and her father until the car keys are handed over.  Out of nowhere, a sixteen-year old young lady appears.

Watching my son in competition today, I keep seeing flashbacks of my three-year old son saying, “Park, Mommy.  Let’s go to the park and play.”  Another flash of a young boy pulling his wagon up to me, “Gas please, Mommy.”  Another flashback of Legos.  A large star-ship has been assembles.  “Mom, look at my secret escape pod.”

More flashbacks of Wes growing:

  • Swimming lessons
  • Training Wheels
  • Wiffle ball
  • Chess tournament
  • Braces

The list goes on and on.  I shake my head to see clearly the reality scene in front of me – no toddler; instead a tall teenager.  Whether Wes is a toddler, a teenager, or a grown man, I will love him forever!


Slice of Life: Older Brother Pride

March 11, 2010

sols2Our two sons enjoy playing sports.  Our oldest, Wes, began to wrestle in middle school.  He has continued the sport, practicing his moves on his younger brother.  My husband joins into the fun and soon the three of them are wrestling on the kitchen, living room, or in the bedroom.  Actually, if there is open spot, they will engage in one move or another. Personally, the sport makes me tense.  I return from watching a meet and my shoulders are completely tight.

Tim has been wrestling at club.  He enjoys it and can’t wait to join the middle school team next year.  Recently, the club had a mini tournament.  Tim went, facing boys older and bigger than him.  He’s use to being the biggest, so this was a challenge. Since I missed the matches, my oldest son came home and began to give me the play by play.  They did video parts of it (the camera never stays steady), and all Wes could say was, “Oh, Mom. You have to see this.  Tim put legs in.”  So watching the video, sure enough our youngest tried to do a high school move that Wes does on him all the time.  The coaches took notice.  Tim pinned all three of his opponents.

“I taught him that,” Wes stated with pride.  “Tim did an awesome job.”  Wes looked at Tim with a glimmer of pride.  Tim soaked it in.  This was his moment.  I stood dumbfounded.  Was this the same older brother who continually puts a move on his younger brother?  The same older brother who picks on his younger brother?  I was amazed.  I guess they like each other after all.


3Slice of Life: Family Talk

March 10, 2010

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I am trying to blog and get some thoughts down.  Instead of a quiet, serene place, my family is talking.  The conversation is a potpourri of ideas.  What I love is the fact that all three of our kids are sharing with my husband and I.  Throughout the conversation, I have been adding my comments in as well (this is taking forever because of the interruptions).  I am smiling.  Our family talks are fulfilling, even if the talk has no major depth to it.

“Dad, I should straighten your hair,”  Elizabeth announces, sitting next to him on the couch.

“No a Mohawk,” our youngest son, Tim, replies.

“Mohawk is for punkers,” my husband says, shaking his head.  “No, I should style my hair like Justin Beaver.”

“Hey, I like Justin Beaver,” Elizabeth retorts, frowning.  “Why does everyone not like him?”

“Because he is a wimp. Tim could take him down,” Wes  says.

“Whatever!” Elizabeth says, flipping her hair.

“Do you want to date a guy like Justin?” Rick replies to his daughter.

“Date?  What?” my daughter wrinkles her face.  “Who’s talking about dating?”

Elizabeth opens her J-14 magazine.

“Who is that?  Her hair is awful!” my husband says, pointing to some actress.

“Yeah, she changes it often.  It’s her style,” Elizabeth adds.

“Her style is horrible,” Rick says, leaning closer to his daughter, looking at the magazine.

“What are doing?” Elizabeth asks, looking at her dad.

“I like to keep up on what my daughter is interested in,” her dad replies.

More comments banter back and forth.

“Oh Mom, Mr. S shared a story today in class.”…

Wes starts with the story about a teacher at school.  I’m laughing so hard; I have to go.  Family talks are awesome!!


Slice of Life: James Patterson

March 7, 2010

sols2A few years ago I had the privilege of hearing James Patterson present at NCTE.  I hate to admit it, but James Patterson was just an author I had heard mentioned from time to time. I had never read one of his books.  I just knew that several of my friends loved his books, and he was an acclaimed author.  Mr. Patterson shared his passion for getting adventurous books into the hands of middle school students.  His son was at the age, and so he wrote a book called Maximum Ride:  The Angel Experiment.  Mr. Patterson wanted students to love reading again.

I have a son, Wes, who is a great reader.  With his talent for the word,  excellent comprehension, and a mother who loves reading, a person would assume that he would be reading a lot.  Wrong!  Wes would prefer to be outside hitting a baseball or throwing a football.  “Reading is for school,” he often says.  Seeing my look of protest, Wes adds,  “I do read.  I read everything the teacher assigns me.”  Ugh!

After hearing James Patterson speak, I couldn’t wait to return home and introduce the Maximum Ride book to Wes.  He was reluctant, but began reading.  Wes loved the book.  He wanted the next one to come out right then.  He was excited about reading again.

Upon heading to the library yesterday, Elizabeth headed upstairs to get some books.  Wes checked out some videos and then said, “Is it okay if I go upstairs?”  I looked at him blankly.  Was he joking?  “I want to see if James Patterson has any new books.”  I couldn’t believe my ears.  Dumbfounded, I nodded my head.

Several minutes later, Wes returned with his sister.  I stared.  There in his hands were two books.  “Yeah, I know.  Surprise, surprise,” he added matter-of-factly.

Elizabeth interjected my stunned silence, “I helped him find them.”  Wesley just rolled his eyes.

Tonight, I am typing my slice of life with my son sitting on the couch, reading.  He stayed up late last night reading the first Daniel X book and finished it this afternoon.  My husband is reading the sports section in the paper.  As Rick comments on the news, Wes is in his own world.  Rick asks him a question and receives no response – all because of a great book.  Thank you, James Patterson.


Slice of Life: Grocery Shopping

March 3, 2010

“I need to pick up a few things at the grocery store.  It won’t take long,” I state closing the car door.  Twenty minutes later, I return with five bags in my hand.  Not bad for a quick trip.  Not bad … until I heard the grocery teller say, “$82.47 please.”  Eight two dollars and forty-seven cents.  I shook my head as I headed out the door.

My goal was to get some healthy foods – fruits, fish, and other meat.  Blueberries were three dollars; strawberries were two dollars and seventy-nine cents.  I believe that my purchases are essential, providing good nutrition for my family.  I just wish my purchases left more change in my wallet.


Dr. Seuss Day

March 2, 2010

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Today, Dr. Seuss Day means laughter, closeness, and moments together. 

“Let’s read the Foot Book, Mommy!”  My now sixteen year old son use to ask me to read The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss every night.  Ohhhh, I couldn’t just read the book once.  No,I had to read it over and over and over.  Every time we would chant, ‘left foot, left foot, left foot, right’, I would raise his foot up.  He would giggle.  I loved every minute of it!

When my now thirteen year old daughter was born, my son would say, “Let’s read the Foot Book to her, Mommy” and we would.  He would lift her feet as we would read the delightful rhyme over and over.   He began to read.  Reading time was fun.  But more importantly, our learning grew together.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!  Happy Birthday to my memories!


Slice of Life 21: Saturday

March 21, 2009

Snuggling in for a few more minutes of sleep

Chauffeur Wes to baseball practice

Squeeze in exercise on the tread mill

Cheerleader from the sidelines at Tim’s basketball game

Create Chef’s pleasure of macaroni and cheese

Switch laundry loads – hanging up clothes so not to wrinkle

Rake piles of left-over fall leaves

Bag and pile, rake, bag and pile some more

Grocery shop for fresh veggies and preparations for tomorrow’s dinner

Unload items into the refrig and freezer

Race to the library for new books and some videos

Return to crash on the couch for a few moments of snooze

Time to rake some more

Beautiful day, “May I ride my bike, Mom?”

Off they go

Full day

Thankful for all I have.


Slice of Life 17: Disappointment

March 17, 2009

Slice of Life Challenge Hosted by Two Writing Teachers

I’m listening to my husband trying to cheer our oldest son.  Wes loves baseball!  I can remember as a little 3 year old saying, “Play ball, Mommy.  Play ball.”  Any chance he can get to play the game, he will.  Even in sixth grade, when Wes began wrestling, he told the coach, “Just want to let you know that I am wrestling just to stay in shape for baseball.”   Now, he’s saying, “I want to play ball, Dad.  I want to be on varsity.”

He just found out today that he will be playing JV and suiting up for some games in Varsity.  Now, for the average person and some of his friends, making JV is fine.  But for Wes, it’s a let done.  He wants to be with the best and do his best and play the best.  My husband and I know that he will make Varsity during his high school career if he keeps working hard.  He just has to keep focused and positive.  Such a hard lesson to learn.

I remember being disappointed not making the position that I thought I should.  What I do remember is that through the disappointment, I grew.  I grew and it made me better.  My wish is that Wes will grow through this situation too.

(I’m proud of you, son.  You CAN do it!)


Slice of Life 9: Small Group Reunion

March 9, 2009

Slice of Life Challenge hosted by TwoWritingTeachers

Saturday night was an awesome reunion with some friends we had not seen in 10 years.  My husband and I could not believe it.  We use to attend a small group of couples our age.  Wesley was 3 years old at the time.  I remember getting ready to announce that we were pregnant with Elizabeth, when at the same meeting, our friends announced their pregnancy.   Everyone was doubly surprised.   Our girls were born 3 weeks apart and last saw each other when they were crawling.  They ended up moving to Iowa.  Another couple moved to New York.  Another to Elkhart.

Anyway, we were together and had one of the best times in years.  We laughed and shared stories like it was yesterday.  I’m thankful for memories.  And…I’m looking forward to the next reunion.  Friendships are too important to not take time for.  It builds my character.  It adds meaning to life.