Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kindergarten Soccer

It's really a very hilarious concept. Teaching a bunch of 5-year-olds to play soccer. I mean, I suppose they have to learn sometime, but this was more entertaining (and a little frustrating) than anything. When we asked Brendan (#7 up there) if he wanted to play he was thrilled and he always had fun. I think that's really what's important. We were lucky to have 6 Saturdays with no rain (wait... luck? this is central Oregon!) Although I admit there were one or two that I wished I could be watching from the comfort of my heated van. But we ended the season with a beautiful 70-degree sunny fall Saturday and for me, that was perfect.

What I learned from Kindergarten Soccer:
- our son is by far the least competitive kid out there
- 5-year-olds have very short attention spans
- I could never coach Kindergarten soccer
- yelling "watch the ball BRENDAN!" and "KICK IT!!" really doesn't help at all
- you resign yourself to cheering no matter WHO kicked the ball because, really, that's an accomplishment in itself
- my kid is the shortest kindergartner in the record of kindergarten soccer
- he's also the cutest
- I don't think my son ever made a goal and yet he still seemed to have a blast

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I thought I could handle it. I mean, seriously? I heard moms talking about getting hysterical as their babies went off to school and thought "not me... I can handle this!" Why shed a tear? This is a glorious time right??

The night before, as we picked out his clothes and prepared him for the big day ahead, he whispered to me, "mommy, you don't need to be sad that I'm going to school... it's going to be OK." And I thought "oh no... you too?" What's wrong with these people? Now I felt like I'd be letting people down if I didn't cry!

But my emotions were the least of his worries. His excitement was nearly palpable. He could barely stand the fact that he wouldn't be going to school first thing in the morning and would have to wait till after lunch to begin his adventure. Being in afternoon Kindergarten has it's pros and cons... the waiting being the biggest con. His daddy came home to accompany us for this momentous occasion and he was thrilled for us both to share this experience with him. We walked him to his classroom, helped him put his things away and he chose a seat and sat down. As all the other parents were hovering and milling about I thought "is it really this easy?" I knelt down to give him a hug and eyed another mom looking at me nostalgically. "What's her problem?" I thought, "I'm FINE!" His smile never faltered. His daddy knelt down to hug him and I felt a small twinge in my chest. We turned to leave and he was ready to let go, excited for his new adventure.

"I did it," I thought, "no tears!"

And then it hit me. We turned around and peered through the hall window to see him sitting quietly, smiling eagerly. We waved good-bye and he waved with sheer enthusiasm. He didn't need me... and it broke my heart. I turned back around and broke into tears. And as Joe put his arm around me I thought to myself "So this is what they they were talking about... the bittersweet joy and pain of letting go..."

Good luck my big Kindergartner. You've entered the big wide world of academics and I'm going to be here for you every step of the way :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Your Present

So I have to break stride and come back to the present with this post. Because some things are just too sweet not to remember and I haven't told stories about my kids in awhile.

I sat here this morning trying desperately to figure some crazy computer stuff out, working away at the blog. My frustrations kept me glued to the computer while the kids were off playing.

"Just one wipe, mommy... just one?" Aubrey asked, holding a package of wipes up for my observation and approval.

"Yes honey, you can have ONE wipe then put them away" I replied, eyes still glued to the screen. I'm not proud of these moments. The ones when I know that my focus should be completely on my children and yet I'm letting something else consume it completely. It happens more often than I'd like to admit and typing this nearly brings tears to my eyes. I am only human I suppose.

But of course, even at the age of 5, Brendan believes there must be some magical reason that Aubrey would want to play with a wipe and insists that he have one too. So I cave, let them have their wipes and immediately confiscate the rest of the package. But as I turn my back, typing away, I see out of the corner of my eye my son on his hands and knees. He is using his wipe to clean my hardwood floor and is moving with slow precision and thoroughness. I see him pause to scrub at a spot and continue on.

He moves on to the living room and sometime later comes to me in the den with a sweet smile.

"I have a present for you mommy" he says softly, "I cleaned for you... I picked up the toys and I cleaned the floor with my wipe."

Chills ran up my spine and I fought back tears. I hugged him.... TIGHTLY. And basked in the warmth of his smile. At 5 years old he can read me like a book. He aims to please and he knows how to do it. I told him how much I appreciated his hard work and I knew it came from his heart.

This boy... he lights up my life.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Deschutes County Fair

OK, so it was over 2 months ago. First weekend in August to be precise. But I'm trying to make up for lost blogging time in correct chronological order and so here it is... our trip to the Deschutes County Fair.

Joe's not much of a fair person himself but I went every year as a child and it was sometimes the highlight of my summer (living in small town Grass Valley...) I went this year with the full intention of having a "fair food" experience as you only get them once or twice a year. So I was defeated and disappointed when we left without my corn dog. We just didn't have it in us to stay any longer. Kids loved seeing the animals and the free pony rides. We let them each pick one carnival ride which resulted in me riding the swings with Aubrey, pulling her crying from them when we had to get off and Brendan in tears when he realized he could not choose both the motorcycles AND the airplanes. It was at that point that we realized they were hot and exhausted and our fair experience needed to come to an end. They were asleep before we hit the highway.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Friends Forever

I considered it a blessing when we had the opportunity to move to Bend three years ago (yup, it's been THREE years!) Joe's career was flourishing, mine was flexible, we regarded Central Oregon as a terrific place to raise a family. All of the benefits lined up and landed us where we are today. But the one thing I hated was all the people I would be leaving behind. One in particular... my very good friend Sarah. Not that Bend is incredibly far (although a 3 1/2 hour drive warrants at least one night's stay...) But life gets busy and travelling becomes inconvenient and we're left with a friendship that exists mostly over the phone. And for this reason alone, I truly cherish the times when we do get to see each other in person. We saw each other through the births of our children. We envisioned Matthew, Ethan and Brendan being the best of friends for life. So it's extremely touching and sweet to see that when they visited in July, even with several months' span between their last visit, they remember their friendship as much as we remember ours and our dreams of "friends forever" can still live on...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Grassick Family Camping 2011

Every summer Joe and I have tried to take the kids on an annual camping trip with my parents. An attempt to give them the fun camping experiences I had as a child. But this last summer we changed it up a bit and invited my sister, her 3 kids, my brother and sister-in-law and their little guy. A real down and dirty "family" camping trip. And since half of us were coming from Oregon and half from California my dad settled on Harris Beach State Park as our final destination. Just a few miles north of the California border on the Oregon coast. In fact, the drive from Central Oregon required us to drive down into California before heading back up into Oregon along the coast. But once we all got there and got settled in, the kids had a great time and it ended up being a trip to remember.

The beach was a tad on the cold side, even for the first weekend in July. Of course the kids didn't mind (nor did my sister) and jumped right in despite the numbness and tingling that ensued. We bonded, we laughed, we told stories, roasted marshmallows. And when we all parted ways it was a bittersweet goodbye. And so the plans begin for Grassick Family Camping 2012...

Top Row: Shawna (age 13... days from 14), Lindsay (my S-I-L), Jill (my sister), ME Middle Row: Dad, Nadine (my stepmom), Joey (my brother), Joe (my husband), Aubrey (age 2) Front Row: Sevvy (my brother's boy age 2), Molly (my sister's girl age 3), Brendan (age 5) and Josh (my sister's middle child age 7)

Another Year Went By

Since it's been a coincidental tradition that the kids and I take a trip back to Grass Valley every summer, we decided it should also be a tradition to get an annual photo of my sister and me and our 5 kids. It's amazing to see how fast they all grow. The ties that bind us together...

Summer 2011

Summer 2010