Sunday, November 29, 2009

Kyara's Graduation

Tsk, tsk, tsk. I am really far behind! Well, in case some of you weren't aware yet -- Kyara graduated from high school! With honors, no less!

Although Hemet seems like a tiny little town, it is actually much bigger than it looks. We arrived early for the ceremony, but apparently not early enough! We found a spot high up in the bleachers spread over three rows. There were over 500 students graduating. We were lucky -- since Kyara was graduating with honors, we didn't have to wait to long before her name was called. We yelled and cheered! She was very cute and excited.

After the graduation ceremony, we all went out to dinner at Chili's. It was a sweet moment for all of us, knowing that our big girl would soon be moving on. And the chocolate lava cake. That was sweet, too.

Kyara ended up attending her grad night, which was held in the auditorium and lasted until something ridiculous, like 4 am. She had a blast, though, and I'm happy she went. I think she would have regretted it if she hadn't.

Congratulations, Kyara! We are very proud of your accomplishments. You are a pioneer in our family, paving the way for the rest of our kids, showing them what can be done if you put your mind to it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I'm Thankful

I love having Thanksgiving before Christmas. It gives me time to ponder the wonderful blessings in my life, and it puts me in the mood to enjoy the true spirit of Christmas. So, today I am thankful for my family.

My husband Rom was sent to me over 21 years ago. The moment he saw me, he knew he would marry me. It took him about three weeks to convince me. His purpose in life, as he says it, is to make me happy. He is very, very successful at it! I am the most spoiled, adored wife on the planet. He loves me, supports me, encourages me, lifts me, and makes me more than I ever imagined I could be. He is so much fun, and he makes me laugh every day. Life is an adventure with him. I can't imagine facing the trials I have to face without him.

Kyara was sent to me to make me fall in love with motherhood. From the day I first held her in my arms, she has been a joy to me. She is loving, funny, kind, cool, brilliant, and independent. Just as I held my breath waiting to discover who she was as a baby, I now hold my breath waiting to discover what wonderful thing she becomes as a "grown-up."

Romney is the one who makes me stretch as a mother. He is a very challenging boy! But that is because there is such a tremendous spirit in him that it is like trying to tame a wild stallion. There is a lot of power there, and I need to make sure it is used for good. He has a surprising sense of humor and is so much fun to be around.

Johnette, the Spirit once told me, was very eager to come to our family because she and I used to be such great friends in the premortal world. She is a gentle soul. She is compassionate and empathetic. She has always been so unique! It's fun to watch her face light up as she's telling a story. I love to see her coming into her own.

Anneli is the epitome of passion. There is fire in her love and in her displeasure. People gravitate to her, because she is very accepting and fun to be with. She inspires the people around her. She can be driven and excels at everything she puts her heart into.

Gabriel is determination personified. Whatever he sets his mind to, he achieves. Whatever he chooses to do with life, he will be unstoppable. He is smart, loving, kind, and fair. He is a great snuggler and gives the best kisses ever.

Gavin reminds me that life is joyful. He dances through life with such energy and enjoyment. He has a contagious smile. He can be so quirky, catching you off guard sometimes with a strange and witty comment. He is game for almost anything!

I'm also grateful for the family I grew up in. My children love to hear stories about my parents (Dad's "I'll pinch your head off!" and Mom's wind-up toy). I learned the most important lessons about being a parent from them: unconditional love conquers all, and keep on trying to be better. I love the bond I share with my sisters and the gallantry of my brothers. I embrace my whitetrashiness! At its heart, it is living life with no pretense and giving yourself, warts and all, to the people who love you.

Happy Thanksgiving! I love you!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Soccer Season!

Last May, my boys begged me to let them play soccer this year. I don't typically encourage my kids to play on sports teams -- I really don't like the added burden to our schedule. But, if it is something they really want to do, I'll support them. So, we signed up for AYSO soccer!

When we started in August, I was so unprepared for what I had gotten myself into! We had practices Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons. Then there were two games on Saturdays, sometimes as early as 8 am! Nuts. We experienced one of the hottest summers ever, even for Hemet. The heat has continued all the way through Halloween. Our first game was in September. Never having participated in soccer before, I did not know what to expect. Well -- luckily I had brought my own chairs, because there were none. Worse, there was no shade! I sat in 105 degree heat through Gavin's game. Then, I lost my car keys and spent an hour before Josie, my dear friend, brought me a spare set from Rom. I had just enough time to return home and pick up Gabe for his game. When I got home, I crashed from all the activity -- went straight to bed and was useless for the rest of the day! And I bought an umbrella for the next week.

And yet -- it was so much fun! Gavin had never played soccer before. He plays with so much zest and pizzazz! He dances like a butterfly all over the field. He loves practice, so he has picked up a lot of skills in a short period of time. Yesterday, he played goalie for only the second time ever. The other team was way better than us. They spent most of the quarter shooting goals -- and Gavin saved all but one of them! That was better than the rest of our goalies during the other quarters. He must have made like 10 saves. One time, his shoelace was untied, and he was trying to tie it when the ball came to him. He jumped up, made the save, kicked it downfield, and went back too tying his shoe. Too cute!

Gabe has never officially played soccer, but he has played a lot at school. He is a wild man! He's the smallest guy on the team, but he has no fear. He gets right in there and makes his plays. He's awesome at passing. He has excellent field awareness -- he does an awesome job staying in position, following the direction of the ball, and being in the right place at the right time. He's probably a little better on defense than offense, because he's not afraid to engage. He is so funny! He told me before a game a few weeks ago, "Mom, I bet if I play really hard today, I'll get player of the game." I reminded him to just do his best, and we'll see. I didn't want him to get his hopes up too much and be disappointed. Shouldn't have worried -- he played awesome, and he got the player of the game!

I couldn't make it through the season without Rom. He's so wonderful! He gets up early and goes to the 8:00 games for me. That means that he no longer has a day that he gets to sleep in for an hour or so, and that's killing him -- but he's loving it! The boys love having their dad watch them play. In fact, Gabe made his first goal with Rom there. He told me that Dad's encouragement made him play harder and stick with it when he was starting to get tired, and that's when he made the goal. I was sad I had missed it, but I was excited for him.

Here's a little video of the boys. Sorry the quality is so poor. I wonder if there's a way to focus manually instead of automatically? I'll have to play with it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tricks and Treats

We all had a fun Halloween this year! The kids enjoyed dressing up. We went to the Van Jindelt's annual Halloween potluck before going out trick or treating. Rom came home from work and took the kids out trick-or-treating. Poor Romney -- he's usually the one who scores the most candy, but this year he was supposed to meet a girl at the park for a party, and her mom wouldn't let her go at the last minute. He vows to not let any girl get in the way of his take next year.

I stayed home and handed out candy from my chair on the porch. I wonder ... am I getting old and crotchety? Or am I just plain evil? Our neighborhood is the neighborhood that people drive to for trick or treating. So, I put all the "good" candy on the bottom of the bowl, and crappy candy on top -- you know what I'm talking about: the sweet tarts, the gumballs, the smarties, the dumdums. I give out the crappy candy to most of the kids that come by, and I dig to the bottom of the bowl for the good candy when I recognize someone who is really from our neighborhood. Other signs I'm evil? When the kids come and stand in front of me with their bags open without saying anything, I just smile at them. I wait until it becomes uncomfortable. It finally dawns on them what is going on, and they say, "Trick or treat." Then I give them a piece of candy and wish them Happy Halloween. Final piece of evidence: I laugh (a discreet giggle, not a huge guffaw) when kids come running across my lawn and trip over the cords that hold my big blow up Frankenstein in place.

At least I didn't use my whip on anyone! (I mean, the kids at least! That was Rom's trick or treat.) ;)