Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

As I reflect today (before I start my patriotic duty of overeating), I feel very, very lucky that it takes as long as it does for me to count my blessings.

I thank God for:
  • My family. Those people who have known my my entire life and helped me become the woman I am today. My amazing husband, who has stuck by me through thick and thin for close to 14 years, who is my best friend and partner in crime. My beautiful boys who are my entire world, and who make my life sparkle.
  • My friends. My old friends. My new friends. My Twitter friends. I love each and everyone of you, and my world wouldn't be the same without all of you to love.
  • Our home. It might not be the biggest house in town, and there are some projects around here that need doing, but we have nice warm beds to sleep in, a snuggly couch to watch movies together, and a stocked up kitchen to keep our bellies full. Some people definitely don't have it as easy, and thank God for our house.
  • Work. In this economy, there are many, many families who have lost jobs and are struggling to make ends meet. I am so grateful for my husband's job. Yes, he works crazy hours, and sometimes misses some of the fun stuff the boys are doing, but he has a job that puts food on our table and clothing on our backs.
  • Strength and health. The boys are healthy! They both must wear glasses, but if that is the most of my worries, I am quite lucky!! So many parents and children must struggle with life-threatening illnesses and disabilities, and I am in awe of their strength. And speaking of strength, I am so blessed that God gave me a certain amount of strength during some crazy times...the strength to deal with my arthritis -- live with it for 20 years now, and keep on truckin'...the strength to have a stroke at a young age but persevere through it and continue on without a scratch.
  • Last but not least, I'm thankful for a little football club up in the North of England that provides us with drama, entertainment, and passion for the entire family...! :)
I have so many, many blessings in my life. I am truly thankful for every little bit of my life. Thank you, Lord! :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

We Must Do Better

When you're a parent, you are constantly afraid. There's a saying, "Having children is like having your heart walk around outside your body." Spot on. There are so many things out there that you wish desperately you could protect your little ones from: illness, accidents, bad grades, romantic rejections, being cut from sports teams, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, you don't think to put other children on that list.

In a town about an hour and a half away from our home, a 14-year old boy walked in front of a tractor trailer and killed himself. He was being bullied by children at school and thought death was the only way he could escape. The news showed a picture of the little guy, and between that and how he was described in news articles, this latest example of the harm bullying can cause has really hit home for me. "Always smiling," "a sweet kid," and his grinning, bespectacled face just made me sob. All things that made me think of my own son.

Unfortunately, this little boy's death is just the latest in a rash of similar suicides caused by bullying.

Your child's classmates are supposed to be their peers, their community, their friends; not their tormentors. Just because someone marches to the beat of their own drummer they do not deserve to be treated as an outcast. School is meant to be a place of enlightenment, not bigotry. I am outraged. I am heartbroken. I am angry; I'm sad. The underlying emotion is disbelief. How can this be happening?? We as parents need to, of course, watch our children for signs of being bullied, but what about the parents of the bullies?? You need to WAKE UP! You know your child. Talk to your kids. It is as important for you to be involved and cognizant of the signs of a bully as it is for the rest of us to look for signs of children being bullied.

We as parents have a responsibility to address and resolve this issue, from both sides. No one should lose their child because of such a horrific, unfathomable - and totally preventable - situation.

Brandon Bitner
January 2, 1996 - November 5, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Movin' On Up...

Today was registration for the Spring soccer season at our township's recreation department. Now, we've done this six times in the past -- twice a year since Big Guy was 4 years old. So really, not a big deal, right? We should be old hands at this! But, something's a bit different this time -- Big Guy is moving up to U8.

I am sure you're probably scratching your head and wondering why this is blog-worthy at all. But, if you're a parent, and especially a football-loving parent, this a pretty big deal.

The first season we played U6, it was basically everything a soccer team should be for a four-year-0ld. They had cute little t-shirts (not kits), they played on a field with orange cones as goals, and they basically all swarmed after the ball up and down the field like one big rugby scrum! It was unbearably cute, all the little preschoolers running, dancing, twirling, and falling down on the pitch -- basically doing anything but actually playing the ball. Positions? Pah - even the goalkeeper didn't stay in the goal. And you can forget about passing. Most of the children were stealing the ball from their own teammates! Big Guy was the epitome of all of this...and my husband and I thought -- will he ever be ready for the big leagues (U8)?

This last season for Big Guy was different though. Towards the end of the season, my little attention seeker had stopped running along the sidelines, waving to the crowd. No more was he on the opposite side of the pitch from the swarm of kids around the ball. He wasn't dancing anymore -- he was dribbling, and he was scoring. All of a sudden, it was like a light switch turned on in his mind. He knew what to do, and he was doing it.

I can't even begin to tell you what this means to my husband. He's been an avid football player his entire life, and still plays twice a week. He'll say, "Whatever the boys want to do, it's fine with me. As long as they're happy." But you can bet your bottom dollar that seeing the Big Guy in action as he scored his first goal -- his big old macho heart was just bursting with pride.

Who knows where our son's big epiphany came from...coaching from Dad? The fact that we watch Manchester United religiously every week on television with him? Brainwashing? Haven't a clue. All we know Big Guy is really starting to develop the skills he needs to match the passion he has in his heart. I can only imagine his excitement when he dons his numbered jersey for the very first time. The look on his face will be priceless and I can't wait. He may be only moving up to U8, but for him, this will be a dream come true.

(Now we just hope and pray for the same epiphany for Little Guy! :)

Monday, November 1, 2010


Our weeklong Halloween celebration finally came to a close yesterday. It was a fun (and candy) filled week of ghoulies, spookies, and grinning Jack' are the highlights.

Big Guy's school Halloween party...lots of fun, games, crafts and dancing!

Next up, Little Guy's preschool Halloween parade...the PreK-4 class marched around their little courtyard. So cute. His classmate was the very first female Iron Man that I've ever seen!

The weekend of Halloween, the boys were lucky enough to have not one, but two trick-or-treating trips! The first was Saturday night in our neighborhood. They came home with some pretty decent - sized candy hauls.

Finally, Sunday, October 31st finally arrived. The boys culminated the spooky season by trick-or-treating at my mom and dad's house alongside their cousins/best friends.

A good time was definitely had by all...and the memories (and candy!) will last long after this Halloween. Though I think we're all pretty happy that it's November -- we're going to Walt Disney World this month!