Sunday, September 20, 2015

Soccer (insert more clever title here)

After almost 7 years of being parents, Ryan and I have officially entered the world of Soccer Mom and Soccer Dad.  Our venture into the world of organized sports started in January, while we were setting New Year goals. Reed set two goals: learn to whistle and learn to play soccer. He still wanted to play soccer a few months later and still really, really wanted to play soccer when sign-ups finally rolled around in July. We signed up, then started having family soccer practice sessions before his "tryout"--he was really nervous and didn't want to be totally unfamiliar, so we worked on passing and dribbling. In over 100 degree weather. Dedication is our family motto.

Anyway, after tryouts we had to wait about a month for our team assignment and by the end of August, when practices started, Reed was SO ready to play soccer. The one snafu in our soccer setup was that our team either needed a parent to volunteer to coach or we would be disbanded and refunded. We were right in the heart of fall busy season, and I didn't think I could coach with Asher and Lila tagging along. Happily, another dad could coach the practices and Ryan thought he could work it out to coach the games. Now Ryan was a Soccer Dad and a Soccer Coach! At the let's-find-a-coach meeting, the boys also chose a name: THUNDER WOLVES! So dope.

Our first soccer experience was Opening Day. I briefly mentioned Opening Day in it's appropriate Beast post, but let me just tell you--Opening Day was part of what made that weekly beast beastly. Ryan and Reed went early to create their team banner and line up. I met them right before the team parade. Asher was only on day four of his surgery recovery, and the day was literally one of the hottest of August--108 was the forecasted high. The parade was fine, and kind of cute. Then Ryan left to go to work. The kids and I got to wait in the heat for an hour and a half until our scheduled picture time! After I endured an hour of sweating, grumpy babies, I decided to get in line early. And then we were in line for over half an hour, so I didn't even feel bad. 

Lila: take a picture of ME, too! And of course Reed jumped in

Happily, one of the AYSO board members was giving out otter pops while we waited in line, so we all grabbed one. Otherwise, we may have perished. Anyway, we finally got the pictures, then hiked back to our car (we had to park quite far away). I was pushing Asher in the stroller and trying to carry Lila on my back. At one point, she hit the eject button and fell off my back, scratching her face on the ground. Then, I could see part of the road where we'd parked and it was free of cars--including the spot where I thought I'd parked my car. For a few terrifying moments, I thought the cars had all been towed or something, but Reed ran ahead and discovered our car was right where we left it. Phew.
Reed's first soccer practice was a few days later and he just loved it! He didn't even mind the heat. Also, I forgot to mention that by chance, his friend Shaylor from church is on his team! He and Shaylor usually pair up for passing drills in practice, which has been fun for Reed. 

Anyway, after the practice came his first game! The Thunder Wolves were facing the Golden Dragons. The day was again quite hot, but the boys worked SO hard, even though they got worn down. The Golden Dragons had a super star player who literally scored six goals by himself. We lost, 9-4. Reed didn't even they care, though. In fact, after the game, he asked, "Did we win?" When I told him they lost but had worked so hard and done a great job, he was totally cool with it and told me he had a really fun time. A few days later he asked if they had ever been ahead in the game (no). I explained that the one boy scored a few goals before they had a chance, but after that it was really close. I think without that one boy, we really would have had a chance of a very close game! But I am happy that he had a good time. 

Reed isn't as aggressive as I thought he would be, but he is a very good listener. The coaches asked two boys to stay back on defense. Several boys cycled through the spot, but Reed was the only one who listened and hung back when the offense went up to try to score. He had a few great kicks and even stole the ball a time or two. Ryan and I were both proud of ourselves for not yelling at Reed or anyone else. I was a little bit surprised by how involved I got with the game--it's a lot different watching six-year-old boys play soccer when one of them is your own.

(This is Walt. Randomly, his mom is the stake primary secretary in our stake)

Asher and Lila were quite bored after they ate the snacks I packed. And, as a side effect of the kinds of foods he ate during surgery recovery, Asher is now quite backed up and literally needed to go to the bathroom 7 or 8 times during the game. The potty was not close, so after the first trip allllllll the way over to the bathroom, I found a secluded patch of desert in the desert section between the fields and playground and had him pee there. I'm such a redneck. 

 Staying back on defense.

 Number 9 is the super star of the Golden Dragons. Reed is behind him.

 Going after the ball.

 Reed is #3.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Hiding and Seeking

Hide and seek is Lila's new favorite activity. She wants to play it ALL the time. I generally oblige with at least a few rounds. One day, when she asked, "Lou play hide and seek with me?!" I decided to play and play and play. We played SO many rounds, and she never got bored of it! Asher loves hide and seek, too, so he was only too happy to join in. One of the things that I love about playing hide and seek with Lila is that if you start counting before she hides, she yells, "Wait, ME!" then when she tells you she's ready, you can count. Usually, she immediately yells, "I right here Mommy! In pantry!" (or wherever she is). When she's seeking, she counts, "nine, ten, leven, nine, ten, leven, nine, ten, LEVEN! HERE I COME!" Then she immediately starts asking, "Where lou hiding Mommy?" before she even looks.  Asher has gotten pretty good at hiding and seeking and cracks up when I come up with new hiding spots--so when I helped Lila hide in the laundry basket he about fell on the floor from laughing so hard, then of course had to hide there himself.

From another hide and seek session:

Thursday, September 17, 2015


So, preschool. Reed and I did a few years of "preschool" together at home. I had planned on doing joy school with a group of friends in St. George, but then we moved to Vegas, so that option was out. He then went to a preschool in a fellow ward member's home the year before Kindergarten. He loved going to preschool and had a great preschool teacher.

Right after Asher turned three, I was invited to be part of a joy school group with a group of moms who all had boys Asher's age. Asher was really, really nervous about starting school, but after the first day he was sold. And by the last day, he was calling his joy school "buddy school" because he "like goed to school with all [his] buddies." We did a second year of buddy school with the same boys, minus one who moved and one who decided to go to "real" preschool. Again, only happiness from Asher.

Then, in January of this year, I decided it was time to figure out which "real" preschool Asher was going to attend, since he'd be only a year out from Kindergarten in the fall. I would have happily gone back to Reed's preschool teacher, but she was only teaching three year olds. I started asking around and found that everyone who did an in-home preschool was full for the fall. IN JANUARY. I was getting a little bit desperate when, luckily, one of the preschool teachers who was full gave me a few names of other preschool teachers. One wasn't full--in fact, we took one of her last two spots. I was overjoyed, especially when I found out later that she was in my friend Karinne's ward and the two of them actually ran together. Before that little tidbit, I didn't know her at all!

Along came the last week of July. I hadn't heard anything from our preschool teacher, who said she'd send something at the beginning of the summer, so I sent her a text just to make sure Asher really was on her list and I didn't need to start frantically searching for another preschool. He was on her list, she just hadn't had a chance to send the letter. Two weeks later, we got the promised letter and sent a small supply fee to secure our spot. The letter also advised us that another letter would be coming at the end of August with more details, once she had her class list completely set.

The letter didn't come. And I started to have some misgivings. Reed brought home an application to his school's preschool and, though I knew the chances were slim that we'd get one of the two spaces available, I filled in the application. When Asher found out what I was doing, he immediately started crying. He was upset because he wouldn't know anyone at school. When I reminded him that we didn't know anyone at the preschool we were planning on going to, either, but that it would still be fun, he kind of calmed down, but not really. He only stopped crying when I told him we probably wouldn't get in.

I was also worried because his would-be teacher seemed kind of not dependable to me. I realize it was summer and she had kids of her own to spend time with and do things for, but I was kind of super frustrated with the lack of information--it was the last week of August, and I knew school started sometime in September, but didn't know when for sure, how long the school days lasted, or anything else.

And I really didn't want to send him to Reed's school preschool even if he did get in, because the preschool is full day! I wasn't ready to have Asher gone for so many hours yet, not when I have one more year before he really starts school.

I talked to Asher about the preschool conundrum, to find out if he even wanted to go. His answer was a tearful "no." He wanted to stay home to do school with me because, "I love home!" (I also got a little teary at that one.) And, the first preschool letter we'd received said they'd focus on learning alphabet letters, sounds, and cutting with scissors, etc. As Asher aptly put it, he already knew how to do all those things. ("I can already read, Mom!") Ryan and I talked about preschool that night, mostly about not going and if that would be a bad decision. I was leaning toward keeping him home. The only reason I wanted to send him was for the social interaction--but $125 each month seemed like a steep price for social interaction :)

The next day, his would-be preschool teacher actually came to the house to drop off a packet of info and meet Asher. He started sobbing--partly because he was upset, and partly because he was only two days out from his surgery, which made everything extra upsetting--and hid behind me. I wasn't completely decided yet on preschool and, despite my misgivings, she really seemed like a nice person and the preschool info she gave me was quite organized, so maybe she wasn't so flaky as I thought. After she left, Asher and I talked again, and he really, really, really didn't want to go to preschool. He didn't calm down until I told him that he could stay home with me, on a few conditions: he was most certainly going to Kindergarten the next year; no complaining when I asked him to do school stuff; he'd try his hardest at school at home. Ryan and I talked again that night and decided to keep Asher home from preschool.

I know this seems like a lot of drama over a decision that doesn't really matter. But it was a decision that really mattered to me. Asher and I are only on our second week of preschool together, but I've put a lot of work into it and think he can really learn a lot this year. I also think it's been so good for us to have a little extra one-on-one time together where we're working on learning and projects. Having Reed at school all day this year has made me want to cling a little tighter to Ashie and Lila while they're still home all day, because I really miss Reed and I'm really not ready to not see Ashie and Lila all day, too. I think I was planning on sending Asher to preschool mainly because it was what people do--but now I'm keeping him home because I think it's going to be better for him, and me.

And, on a Lila note: Lila decided months ago that when Reed went to first grade and Asher went to preschool, she was going to go to "buddy school with mommy." So in the mornings three times a week, she and I and Asher do a simple "buddy school" for her. Then, when she naps, Asher and I do his school. Lila takes school very seriously and wears her backpack--that is full of toys--every day. Because that's what you do when you go to school.

 (He requested the sitting picture)

This backpack is referred to as "Brady backpack" because we bought it from a store that sells PBKids stuff that is new, but super cheap (like under $10). I think these items are "mistakes" because they all have names on them--they must be misspelled or the wrong color or something. Anyway, the backpack said "Brady" but I picked out all the letters except for the A--but we still call it Brady backpack, every time. Lila's backpack is from the same store, but luckily didn't have a name on it.

I have already learned that Lila is very good with colors! I didn't realize that she knew her colors so well--definitely something she picked up on her own.

HP for Harry Potter, of course.

 His eyes!

 One school day we were babysitting Lila's friend McKinley. Both girls LOVED doing buddy school.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Let's Play Costumes

About a month ago, the Disney Store was randomly having a crazy good sale that I found out about on the coupon website I frequent. One of the items on sale happened to be a spectacular Darth Vader costume that was only $20 shipped--usually $50! Asher loves Star Wars and he is a particularly big fan of the dark side of the force and especially of Darth Vader. Although $20 is more than I have ever spent on a single costume, we decided to go for it. 

Asher was exceedingly excited when his costume came. The only disappointment was that we got two right-handed gloves. The Disney Store wasn't able to exchange the glove, but they did give us a complimentary $20 credit to spend in the store! (In case you're curious, we spent the $20 on a book of kid craft ideas, a star wars book on CD that is pretty much the best book on CD we've ever had or listened to, and a Doc McStuffins toy for Lila.) A few days after his costume came, my parents flew into Vegas and Ryan and the kids picked them up. Asher went in full costume and when they climbed into the car, they were greeted by Darth Vader in the back seat!

Once Asher had his costume, Lila immediately decided on hers: Minnie Mouse. No surprise there. Happily, Lila already had a really nice Minnie Mouse costume Grandma Hambly gave her last Christmas, so we were already set.

And Reed? He knew what he wanted to be: Harry Potter. But, unfortunately, all the Harry Potter costumes I could find were at the lowest $30, which I was not exactly willing to spend. I tried looking on local facebook yard sale websites, ebay, asking to borrow--and had no luck. I resigned myself to waiting for a sale that might not ever come. Then the fates smiled upon us and I found a Harry Potter costume on clearance online for only $10. What?! The costume was different from the others in that it is a Harry Potter book four costume, an outfit Harry wears for the Triwizard Tournament. Reed and Ryan haven't read book four yet, but will have by Halloween. We explained to Reed that after book four, this costume would be even cooler to him than the regular school robes. He was sold, so we got the costume.

We patiently waited for the costume and once it arrived, Reed put it on immediately. This of course spurred a fashion show from everyone. They talked me into wearing something, so I put on the only thing I could think of: the one-piece red Dickies jump suit Ryan wore when he worked at Target! I'm not joking. I told them I was a strawberry and they loved it. Then, Asher disappeared upstairs and came down wearing a red robe and his green Mike Wazowski costume on his head, blowing my strawberry costume out of the water with his strawberry costume. Next, Lila came down with two random pieces of dress up from her dress up station. We put them on her, and she said, "How bout wear this stead of Minnie for Halloween!" I'm going to go ahead and veto that idea, though I haven't told her that yet.

Things got really goofy from there. We had lots of laughing and numerous dog piles. We had a fun night.

 Reed took this!