Sunday, January 31, 2010

Would love a new look for our blog!

I am entering a contest to win a new look for our family blog. Hope we win!!

Gino Capone Wrestling Tournament 01/30/2010

ACE had a wrestling tournament this past Saturday. The Gino Capone Tournament in Mahanoy City which is in Schuylkill County, about an hour and a half from home. Doesn't that just sound bad-ass???

We departed the house at 6:45 and rode in relative silence (Aidan slept most of the way). Made a stop in Pottsville (no, not to stop at Yuengling) at Dunkin Donuts to get Aidan some fuel and arrived at Mahanoy City High School at 8:30 am.

I don't know who designs these schools, but I'm relatively sure that they don't think about the proximity of the parking lot to the gymnasium. Isn't it a safe bet that most of your parking will be used at events where the gym is being used? And that said, wouldn't you make sure that the people going to these events wouldn't have to freeze half to death walking the block it is from the parking lot to the entrance? Okay, enough about that.

Aidan had a great day. He wrestled the best he has so far this year. Jerry & I were so proud of him. It was a round robin tournament which means we were there for six hours, but he got in some fantastic wrestling against different wrestlers.

He came in fourth, but he was not upset when he lost. He took it in stride and I hope this means he is maturing and the melt downs after he loses will get fewer and farther in between.

Here are a few of him wrestling and a few of me with the bizarre statues at the entrance to the gym. They are the Mahanoy City Golden why is there a statue of Abraham Lincoln and...Santa Claus??? I wish there would have been a plaque stating who the Santa Claus looking man was. Kind of creepy.

ACE's medal to add to his collection.

Here is the shirt he got. It's white, not my first or last choice, but he hasn't gotten a shirt at a tournament yet, so we caved and got him this one with his signature ACE on the back.

We are happy he doesn't have a tournament this coming weekend and are hoping that a Saturday night dinner with a certain family is possible. Jerry & I need us some Felly time!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Few Thoughts on Today

FOR TODAY... from Tracy's Daybook
Outside my window...the neighbor trimming the apple trees, precariously perched out on a limb - Oh God I hope he doesn't fall - don't look
I am thinking...That tonight's gonna be a good night, tonight's gonna be a good good night, can you feel it?
I am thankful for... my husband & sons
I am wearing...Black work-out pants, Tony Schumacher T-Shirt, Steelers sweatshirt
I am remembering...last night and dinner with Tricia
I am going... to ACE's wrestling practice & then working out
I am currently reading...Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult
I am hoping... that I can start making cards again
On my mind... Lots!
Noticing that...I am very selfish
Pondering these words... Pain is weakness leaving the body
From the kitchen... pizza & green bean fries
Around the house... putting away laundry and going through school paperwork
One of my favorite things...A cozy house with candles burning, cookies in the oven & snuggling

From my picture journal...

Everyday Math - Ugghhh

Aidan is doing "Everyday Math". For those of you who don't know what it is, sorry I can't help you.

The only thing I can say about it is - it works. I don't know how or why, but it works.

So last night he has homework in which he has to cut something out of the homework paper, fold & glue it to make a shape. Then he has to answer questions about the shape.
The first question is: What is this 3-D shape called?
Thank God they send home an answer book at the beginning of the year. Why it's a pentagonal prism of course. At this point I'm thinking "Aidan's 3rd grade math homework is going to kick my butt again!"
Question 2: What is the shape of the base?
A-HA!! I know this one! It's a pentagon!
Question 3: What is the shape of the other faces?
Once I again - I know!! I know!! A rectangle.
Question 4: How many edges does in have?
We use a marker to count the edges...The suspense is killing me! It has 15 edges.
Question 5: How many vertices does the shape have?
Tracy's question: What the heck are vertices?
After a quick consult of the book, I discover that vertices are corners. My little math whiz says there are 10 vertices, five on the bottom and five on the top.
Thank goodness somebody pays attention in class because it sure isn't me!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mom! It's Vegas Gold!

Aidan wrestled in a tournament yesterday at Schuylkill Valley High School.
Although he didn't do his best, he came away with a new set of headgear. Which he really liked when he saw them.

The reality of new headgear was not that great, but I digress. He went out to look at the merchandise table with his father.

I liked the t-shirts they had. One said "It is better to have wrestled and lost than it is to play basketball". Another "Pain is weakness leaving the body".

He came back with a new set of headgear. Which he apparently needed.

The first thing he said to me when he came back up in the bleachers is "Mom, they're Vegas Gold!".
For those of you that don't know, Governor Mifflin's school colors are maroon and gold. But not just any gold - Vegas Gold.

So Aidan was thrilled to have headgear that color.
Aunt Merry will be so proud.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why is it ALWAYS my fault?

This morning Austin is not going to school. He is sick for the second day in a row.
Maybe it's the cynical side of me that doesn't believe him. I had to be a pretty good actress to get my mother to let me stay home from school. He says his stomach hurts & he feels like he is going to throw up. All Jerry has to hear is "throw-up". He turns on a heel and promptly exits Austin's room.
Then Jerry comes back into our bedroom, wakes me to tell me that Austin isn't going to school again today.
Okay fine. Fast forward to 7:00 am when it is time to get Aidan up for school. He has been battling a sinus cold and is not sympathetic to his brother at all.
I ask him how is feeling this morning. He says "Well I still have a cold!". I ask him does he feel bad? He says "No, not really.". I then ask him what he wants to wear this morning. He proceeds to go on a minute long rant about his brother staying home from school again and maybe if he went to school his stomach wouldn't hurt.
I tell him that I am not going to stay in his room and have him lecture me about why his brother should go to school. He can get himself ready and then come downstairs and get his own breakfast to which he replies "Fine! I'm not coming down and I am not going to school!".
I can hear him upstairs getting ready and he has plenty of time to eat before the bus comes but I am waiting for the meltdown from last week about not having enough time to eat his cereal.
Oh wait, here he is. Dressed & getting his breakfast. "Sorry Mom for yelling at you" he says.
I am still going to work regardless of the fact if he is going or not. They are making Cheese Dreams especially for me today to have with tomato soup. Oh-My-God I love them.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Living Away from "Home"

I wasn't really sure what to title this post.

I moved away from Harbor Creek, PA in February of 1992. Jerry and I had gotten engaged at Christmas and I thought the logical thing to do was move to where he was. He had a full time job & I was anxious to move away. Or so I thought.

I was madly in love with the first guy who loved me for me. I didn't really think about what would happen if I lived away from my family.

Well let me just say that I was so homesick for Firman Road that all I had to do was think about my parents and grandparents and I was a mess.

Whenever I would call home to cry, my mother would give me the tough love speech. "You chose to move there" she would say. So in essence she was telling me to suck it up.

I was not happy that she didn't coddle me and tell me that she and Daddy would make everything better and I could come back home. Nope she told me what I needed to hear. God I hate it when she's right!

I was a big girl and I would have to learn to make a home with Jerry and someday our children here in Berks County.

I envisioned a life like I had. But that didn't happen here in Brecknock.

What did happen here was I learned to be independent. I like my little, simple life.

I don't know if my parents ever minded that their neighbors were their relatives. I mean I loved the fact that I could go next door & always have someone to play with or walk in through the vineyards & orchard and see my grandparents any time I wanted. But, can you ever really get away?

I do not like that my children will not have a relationship with their grandparents like I did with mine. Don't get me wrong, they love Saba & Shamma with all their hearts but they can't just go next door & see them. It takes a little planning.

But maybe it will encourage them to be a little more independent than I was. I hated being away from home because it forced me take responsibility for myself & my family. And you know what? I was OKAY! There are times when it is tough. When there programs at school and sporting events that because of the distance, Saba and Shamma can't be here. They always make sure that the boys know that they wish they could be, but life happens for everyone and you just learn to cherish every moment you have with them and not take them for granted.

I thank my parents for their tough love. I know as a parent myself I hate when I can't help the boys, when they have to learn something "the hard way". But that's what my parents did for me.

They made me learn something the hard away. And I thank them for that.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Am Thankful

I was going to write about the laziness that is becoming an epidemic with the Y chromosomes in my household.

But as I wrote about it, I started to feel bad. They can't help it.

So today I am going to write about some of the things I am thankful for, instead of bitterly complaining about the lack of intuition that exists in Bullfrog Hollow.

I am thankful for:
  • The changes in the seasons. I always think how boring it would be if it just stayed warm & green all year long. I love the changes in the landscape & even the temperature. I think the seasons changing in sure evidence of the existence of God.
  • A new lesson at Monday morning Bible study. We are now studying "Enough - Faith in the Midst of Financial Crisis".
  • My husband. Even though he drives my psycho most days, I am forever thankful for his unconditional love & his willingness to do what ever makes me happy (except move to Erie :-p).
  • Austin, my 14 year going on 30 year old son. How did this happen? You went from being a little boy to a young man all in the blink if an eye. You are trying to find your way to a mark on this world & I am so proud of you.
  • Aidan my 9 year-old Tasmanian Devil. Your crazy antics & devilish persona are a constant source of laughter. I always tell you how boring life would be without you. I truly mean that.
  • My parents - always there - no matter what - with various kinds of support. I can't say how grateful I am.
  • My sisters. There is a bond between sisters that men will never understand. Jerry always wants to know how we can be so mad at each other one second & then turn around and be laughing and carrying on. I don't know. I'm just glad that they are mine.

So that's it - for today. I am thankful. That's what I'll be thinking about instead of all the chores that aren't getting done.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

ACE's Wrestling Tournament at Daniel Boone

A Sunday tournament? You bet. There is no school tomorrow, so why not?

We got up bright and early and headed out the door to Daniel Boone High School.
Fifteen Mifflin wrestlers participated in this open tournament and it was crazy. The gymnasium was packed with wrestlers & their support staffs (parents, siblings, coaches, etc.).

Aidan had weighed in on Thursday night & he weighed 70.5 pounds, which means he had to wrestle in the 73 pound bracket.

It was kind of confusing with the way the brackets were set up. He needed to win his first match or he was done for the day. I told him this & he was not affected by it at all. He just said "Okay" and I left it at that.

His first match he won with a pin. Now on to match number two.

He lost this match by decision. Wrestlers have found it is very hard to pin Aidan. His shoulder joints are so loose & his pain tolerance is very high.

He was not upset by this loss. He wanted his customary snack after wrestling and then sat in the bleachers listening to his iPod & hanging out with the other wrestlers.
His third match he won by decision. At this point I realize we are in this for the long haul.
He was ready to take on his fourth competitor who he thought was a kid from Brandywine. Well, someone screwed up the brackets & he ended up wrestling the kid who beat him in the second round.

Jerry said you could tell he was defeated before he even wrestled the kid. The "look" in his eyes. One of our coaches even went over to the scoring table & said that this wasn't the kid that Aidan was supposed to be wrestling, but they said it was who they had on their papers.

Aidan lost to the boy & after the match was over, Jerry went to the head table to plead Aidan's case. Well, those guys from Daniel Boone didn't know who they were dealing with. They WERE wrong (and we found out later it wasn't the first time) and Aidan got fourth place. Another trophy for his collection.

He was pretty happy with it.

I do want to say a special thank you to our friend Steph Dotterer. When Aidan came off the mat after he lost that fourth match. he was upset. He was sitting behind Steph. She turned around & started talking to him. She said "Aidan, did you try your hardest?" to which he answered "Yes.". She said "Now look me in the eyes. If you went out on that mat and tried your hardest and didn't give up, then you have nothing to be upset about. You did your best and that's all that matters.". And just like that, the tears stopped & he was okay.

Jerry, Shamma, me - we have all tried this with him. But coming from Steph - he believed it. She said it not because she had to. Which is what he thinks about the rest of us. So thanks Steph for making my little boy feel better.

How Do You Explain...

That it's okay to lose?

We are constantly surrounded by images of the "winners". No one ever gets heralded for losing.

And yet I am supposed to try to make my 9 year-old feel okay about losing his wrestling matches last night.
He was discouraged. He cried (which he hates to do) and then tried to justify one of the losses saying "It wasn't even my match! I just wrestled the kid because they asked me to".

Then he told us that he wasn't wrestling anymore. He didn't care. He was done. He still had one more scheduled match. One of the last matches of the evening.
I just let him go. Didn't coddle him - just let him be. He was so pathetic sitting there on the side of the mat with a tear rolling down his cheek. It is so hard for me not wrap him up in my arms in tell him "It' s okay buddy. You did your best & that's all that matters". He doesn't want to hear that. He just wants to be left alone -or so I think.

Maybe I should ask him what he wants me to do when he is upset after he loses.
He will probably say "I don't know Mom...Go and get me a snack?"
Today he is over his losses of last evening. He is laying in our bed, watching a movie in his pajamas. I casually mentioned that he has a tournament tomorrow (because I didn't want to spring it on him Sunday morning as we were headed out the door) and he didn't have much of a reaction.
Hopefully tomorrow he will be focused (as focused as a 9 year-old can be) and ready to do his best.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Morning Struggles

I know I have two children who are wired completely different. One like Jerry, one like me.

When it comes to getting up in the morning, I hate rousting the youngest one from his peaceful slumber to get ready to go to school.

Jerry wakes Austin at six a.m. - he does not complain just promptly gets up, showers and goes about his grooming rituals.

He then goes downstairs, turns on Sports Center & might have something for breakfast. Then watches the clock for 6:45 and goes upstairs. brushes his teeth, makes his bed, comes back down, gets his book bag & watches for the bus.

Our verbal interaction this morning was "Morning Mom. It's Friday.". Then before he goes out the door, I get a "Love you Mom" and off goes my eighth grader.

I have been trying to be super sweet & kind when I get Aidan up for school. I always try a "Aidan, it's 7:05, time to get up", Followed by a "What do you want to wear to school today?". All of this is said in a sickening sweet voice because in my mind I think "Who could have a bad day with a send off like this to school?". I ask him what he would like for breakfast & this morning he answered by pulling his blanket up over his head & rolling away from me.

So I came back downstairs, made my morning cup of coffee & contemplated my day.

A few minutes later I went back upstairs I said "Aidan it's 7:26" to which he screamed at me a whole line "Ohmygodit's7:30 youdidn'twakemeup howamIgoingtoeatbreakfast Idon'thaveenoughtime."

He got dressed, came downstairs and continued his tirade. "You're a jerk. You know it takes me a long time to eat & if I don't eat I will be starving!".

I explained to him that I tried to get him up earlier, but he wouldn't get up. This was not my fault.

He said he wasn't eating. He screamed some more. He showed me. He got his cereal down. Yelled "Where's the milk?" (use the one in the door, don't open the new one) and then proceeded to eat his cereal.

He ate (in record time according to him I'm sure) and then went upstairs made his bed & brushed his teeth.

Came back down & got all his school stuff out & said "Sorry Mom for yelling at you".

I am so glad I didn't fire back when he was ranting & raving. I usually do that and end up beating myself up for the rest of the day telling myself that I have ruined his day at school, I am a terrible parent.

I just sent him out the door with an "I love you. Have a great day. I will see you at lunch." Just like any other "normal" day.

Why do we have to go through all this drama? Why can't we go from point A (Aidan it's time to get up) to point B (Have a great day, I love you) without all this crap in between.

I keep this picture up in the study to remind me of the sweet boy he is. Even when he is being a stubborn, willful minded little crapper.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Aidan & his bed-making skills

With the new year came a new chore chart for both of the boys.

Jerry & I decided that they both want cash each week & they are going to have to do their fair share around the house in order to get it.

We compiled a chart of daily, weekly and monthly chores that both of them must complete in order to get their scratch.

We pay them one dollar for each year that they have graced us with their presence here on earth. You may think that's a lot, but if I don't have to sweep the kitchen every day, clean the toilet a couple times a week & pick up after the dogs in the yard - then it's well worth it. I don't want the boys to be under the false assumption that money is just given to you. They are going to have to earn it.

They have both been doing chores for an allowance for some time now but they are getting older & that brings with it cell phones, iTunes & other money sucking inventions that they just can't live without.

Some of Austin's dividends come back to us to pay for his cell phone. Unlimited texting comes at a price.

Aidan uses his cash in whatever way he chooses. It usually ends up with some crappy little cheap toy that satisfies his instant gratification need & then is promptly broken, lost and/or does not fulfill his long term satisfaction & he is griping about it less than 24 hours later.

One of the chores we added to Aidan's list was making his bed.

Imagine my surprise when I went upstairs to find a replica of my mother's bed making skills. I asked him this morning "Why do you make your bed with the top folded down like that? Did you help Shamma make the bed at her house?". "No." he replied. "I just like doing it that way."
That's my Aidan. It's always got to be his way...Maybe with a little subliminal help from his Shamma.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Working Out

I have started working out. Lifting weights, riding a stationary bike, doing the elliptical. All this so I don't look like a troll for my sister's wedding in July.

Since I have lost so much weight, the under sides of arms look like Jello. I am not even kidding.

I purposely look for shirts with longer sleeves. Sleeveless - forget it. I would sooner wear a sweatshirt in 90 degree heat. A bathing suit - I HATE to wear one.

For my sister's wedding I am wearing a dress with spaghetti straps. I am mortified about how my arms will look in this dress. I refuse to let it get me down so I am trying to be proactive about it & firm up my arms & while I'm at it, why not my legs & abs?

We have a weight machine & I am going to use it every day. I also use the bike & elliptical at the high school while Aidan is at wrestling practice on Tuesday & Thursday. I have the new "Your Shape" program for the Wii & as soon as Austin gets his freakin' PS3 in his own room, I will be doing that as well.

The fantastic thing is, my husband & son are also going to lift & Jerry has been watching what he eats & is going to try to lose some weight.

So, I have six months to tone up. I want guns like Kelly Ripa. I am not going to fret about my abs because after all the surgeries I have had, my stomach looks like a road map. That's okay though. If I can tighten everything up, I will be a happy girl.

Jerry says if I am as obsessed with getting fit as I am with cleaning I will be toned up in no time. We shall see...

Friday, January 8, 2010

ACE's Mohawk

So Aidan got his hair cut the Wednesday before Christmas.

We went to Great Clips in Morgantown & he was deciding the whole way there what "style" he should get. "I guess I'll get a mohawk" he said with a half begrudgingly attitude.

It's like I force him to get one.

I could care less how they each get their hair cut. "IT'S JUST HAIR" I exclaim to people who think that some radical form of hair expression is going to ruin their child's chances of getting into an Ivy League school.

Austin & Aidan have both had mohawks at some point in their lives. Austin started with his in second grade, thanks to NHRA driver Scotty Cannon. Austin loved him those six long years ago.

Austin has matured with his haircut, now opting for the "shaggy" look which most mothers groan about, but I'm still sticking to my "it's just hair" mantra & as long as he keeps it washed, I don't care.

Aidan however still loves him some mohawk & quite honestly, it fits his personality. He's a rebel, could care less what anyone else thinks & it keeps people guessing about him.

We'll see if this is any indication of the future. Until then, I will love me some mohawk - on Aidan.