Nov 28, 2017

Big Week!

This is a big week for my athletes.
After just over two weeks of practice, the boys are ready to head to their first competitions this week. The first match and meet is Thursday.
Unfortunately, Matt and I won't be able to see the boys compete because we have a previous engagement at CenturyLink Field to watch the Sounders close the book on the Western Conference Championships and head to the MLS Cup Finals!!
Although I'll miss the first day of competition, I was so excited to have the chance to watch Gabe compete in a "Take Down" meet tonight.
If a record were playing, this is the moment where the needle would scratch across the record making that horrible sound that everyone cringes at when it meets their ears.
Take Down competition is a total and complete nightmare.
Instead of having wrestlers complete with the normal rules of wrestling matches every. single. wrestler. from all five wrestlers in the district all gathered in one giant gym to "wrestle" for two minutes.  Points are given for take-downs only.  Sounds innocent enough, but you have to trust me it was not.
1 million wrestlers packed into the gym with two mats.  The two mats were divided into three wrestling spaces.  Then wrestlers were matched up and called to compete in these little two minute drills.
THREE referees were blowing whistles, three buzzers were indicating time, three sets of coaches were yelling instructions to their teams and one guy was yelling into the microphone the names of the next 1000 people who were next to wrestle.
Because this was taking forever and a day about 1.5 hours into the disaster, the organizers decided three mats wasn't enough and so they taped off the two giant mats to make SIX take down spaces all running at one time.
I am not kidding, I spent 3 hours listening to this chaos, sitting on the uncomfortable bleachers and waiting impatiently for Gabe's chance to compete.  I am pretty sure the experience gave me the flu.

Gabe wrestled during the very last minute of the marathon competition.
Please Lord, make the rest of the matches way shorter, with less whistles.

Nov 14, 2017

Little Shack on the Beach

This past weekend two of my friends left their cozy warm houses and flew to Seattle for our annual girls weekend.  They willingly left the comforts of home to stay with me in an off-grid cabin on the beach on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  
This shack has the most amazing view.  There were cliffs behind, a rocky beach just off the deck and a beautiful expanse of ocean that lay ahead.  In the distance we could see an outline of Vancouver Island that sits just across the strait. 
At night the darkness that covered the entire area was simply amazing.  Since none of the cabins on the beach had electricity, and there were no stores or buildings for miles, the darkness of the ocean and sky lay like a heavy blanket on us.  The darkness was almost paralyzing in the cabin but outside it was so dark on the beach that the number of stars visible overhead was amazing.  There were so many stars that each constellation seemed to run into the next.  I've seen stars before but this sight was almost magical.
The cabin/shack was equipped with a little kitchen, bathroom, one bedroom, and a small living space.    There were three comfortable beds and the entire front of the cabin was lined with windows, so that you can enjoy the views from the comforts of the cabin.
Heat for the water and the cabin itself was provided by a large wood burning stove.  I'm not exactly sure how I thought the cabin would be heated, but I didn't envision the amount of work that would go in to keeping us warm!  There was wood chopping, firing building, and hour after hour of adding wood.  Thankfully, the ladies I was with are camping rockstars because I am not sure I would have ever got a fire started if left to deal with it on my own.  My lovely friends each got up in the middle of the night once or twice and added wood to the fire so we didn't freeze to death.
The stove and fridge were propane, so we were able to keep things cold, although just sitting the ice chest outside proved to keep things colder than the fridge, and the stove provided us with the ever important means for boiling water to make coffee.  Making coffee takes forever when you have to boil the water and then pour it in the press and then wait for the coffee magic to happen.
The whole weekend was awesome and I would definitely return to the little cabin on the beach, however, I am incredibly grateful that I didn't grow up where this was the norm and my touch of the button coffee this morning was just about the best cup I've had in a long time.

Nov 13, 2017

Scars are Awesome!

A few years ago, Eli had a suspicious mole cut off of his back.  When the doctor was talking with him about whether or not it needed cut off he mentioned that if it is cut off it would probably leave scar.  Eli was incredibly excited with talk of a scar.  He said "a scar would be awesome!"

I belly flopped on the sidewalk a few months ago.  I ripped my jeans, broke my coffee mug and skinned up my knee.  Every once in a while when I am putting lotion on my legs or doing something that involves me seeing that knee, I see a dark purple mark just below my kneecap and remember that great moment when I defied gravity for all of 2 seconds before coming back down to earth.  That scar makes me laugh.  That scar is awesome.

14 years ago I spent way more time than I wanted to in and out of doctor's offices trying to figure out why I had low platelets.  There were numerous consultations and gallons of blood tests that were inconclusive.  After a few months the doctor decided the only way to really know what was going on was for me to have a bone marrow biopsy.  A giant needle was shoved into my hip, a hole bored into my bone, and a little chunk of bone marrow extracted.  This procedure was incredibly painful.  Not only was there physical pain, it was an incredibly emotional experience for me.
Matt was deployed.  I needed a ride home from the doctor because they said I shouldn't drive, I needed someone to watch Eli because he couldn't come with me to the procedure and I really need someone to tell me everything was going to be ok.  If Matt was home, he would have dropped me at the clinic and taken care of Eli while he waited and then driven us all home.  But he wasn't.  And I needed a village.  As I lay face down on the exam table waiting for the procedure to begin I started to simply weep.  The doctor thought I was scared, which I was, but I was really crying about the weight of the whole thing.  For the first time in that deployment I just really needed Matt and he wasn't there.
The procedure was completed and I hobbled out to the waiting room to wait for my ride.  It should have been easy, get in the car, and ride home.  But there was a tornado watch and my friend charged with giving me a ride home thought it would be better for me to drive than leave my car parked in the clinic lot while the skies opened up. So I did.  I lowered myself in to the car and drove myself home, then picked up Eli from the neighbor, and parked my butt in a chair, away from windows and waited out the storm.
There is a scar on my hip where the bone marrow was extracted.  It is awesome but for different reasons. I had to rely on a village and I had to learn to be strong in difficult circumstances.  The emotions that I faced that day with the biopsy would be nothing compared to things that lay ahead.  It was kind of a training day for future trials.  When I feel that tiny scar, I remember the pain of the day, and coming out stronger.

Scars not only remind us of the injury or the pain, but they also remind us of the healing.  In road races you get a sweet medal to wear around your neck when you run victoriously across the finish line.  In life, you get a scar.  Whether emotional or physical that scar is a reminder of the pain and the triumph.  Scars are awesome.

Nov 7, 2017

New Shoes and Jammers

For some reason both of my boys decided at the very last minute that they wanted to participate in winter sports.  I spent today scheduling walk-in sports physicals, taking them to the appointments, filling out a thousand pages in registration packets and watching my entire paycheck fly out the window.
In addition to paying for the registration fees and the sports physical fees, we had to make a trip to my local sports store for equipment.  Gabe has decided to join the wrestling team at his school and Eli is joining the diving team at his.  Equipment involves very tight clothing for both, goggles, headgear, and who knows what other accessories will find their way into a gym bag over the coming days.
When the boys started baseball they marched around the house in their cool new hats and jerseys.  When they started basketball they bounced basketballs off everything.  
Getting gear for diving and wrestling isn't nearly as glamorous.  Eli tried on his jammers (really tight swim shorts) and was jumping around the house.  It was weird.  At one point he actually jumped off the stairs.
And Gabe didn't get his uniform yet so he opted to walk around the house in his wrestling shoes and practice outfit.
I'd like to point out that Gabe has never even watched a wrestling match and Eli hasn't seen anyone dive.  Both of them decided to try a new sport because they were looking for something new to do and more importantly, friends are in these sports.
The excitement from both of them was a little bit adorable.  I'm hoping that they learn a lot and at least enjoy themselves for the next few months.
If you need me, I'll be washing tiny garments, and praying away the germs that can be contracted from rolling around on a sweaty mat and inhaling chlorinated humidified air.