Kristin Plays "Extreme" Soccer

     Like many moms, Spring is an extra busy time of year because the kids tend to be even busier with year-end school activities and spring sports.  Busy Kids = Busy Mom.  All three of my kids are involved in sports activities right now along with their regular homework and school field trips, programs, etc...  I thought I would share how we have been spending a lot of our time.   
     Kristin has been on a year-round select soccer team (called CW3 Extreme) that runs from August to June.  If you're good at "math", you know that means she (we) only have July off.  She has been playing soccer for years and has been on this select team for the last two years.  There are tryouts, camp, practices 2-3 times a week, tournaments (typically on holiday weekends), and an average of two games every weekend (sometimes weekdays), traveling an average of 30-60 minutes each way to games, indoor soccer practices and games in the winter, etc.... 
    Kristin typically plays defense and has a surprisingly big "boot" (kick) and makes many assists to the forwards.  She can put the ball right in front of the net from across the field.  It is fun to watch!  She is also great at "corner kicks" and "throw ins" if you know about soccer.
     So, as we start winding down the soccer year we found ourselves in a Memorial Day weekend tournament called the Canton Cup in which approximately 800 teams participate.  The schedule became complicated due to many of the fields being rain soaked and some rescheduling became necessary.  K's team ended up playing Friday night at 7:30 pm in a mudfest!  They won 8-3.  The next game was 7 am Saturday morning.  They won 5-4...by the third game at 2 pm, the girls were exhausted and lost 1-5 to a team that was playing their first game in the tournament.  Needless to say, we were disappointed that all three of our games were scheduled within 18 hours (Fri-Sat), while most of the teams three games were spread over 3 days.  We did not make the finals which were scheduled for Memorial Day afternoon.  In fact, due to another downpour and hazardous weather...all Memorial Day final games end up getting cancelled!!  (What a fiasco for thousands of soccer superstars.)  The good news is that this allowed us to spend the holiday relaxing up north.
     Back to soccer, Kristin is at a crossroads.  Tryouts for the next soccer year are fast approaching.  She is undecided if she will tryout again.  It is a big time commitment and she will be entering middle school next year which typically means more homework.  The only part Kristin doesn't like is that she misses some parties and sleepovers with friends due to her soccer schedule.  She may decide to go back to recreational soccer, which has a lot less intense schedule.  Some pictures from the season are below...be sure to check out the Mudfest from this past Memorial Day weekend!!  In the meantime, we have enjoyed watching her grow as a player and the new friendships we have made along the way!!  We love our soccer girl!!
     Did you ever play soccer, or do your kids??  Do you think Kristin should tryout for next year's team??  Your opinion is welcome! ;)

Mom, really!!??

K making a "throw in"
(Very hard for me to get her and ball in same shot w/my little cell phone camera)
Hustling to the ball

K is #99

"I got it!"

Waiting to go back in and play! (K far left)

Hustling to the ball

Sweet Victory!!
Canton Cup Soccer Tournament

2011 Canton Cup Tournament
A Victory in the Mud !!
(K fourth from left)


A Memorial Day Salute!

Family, friends, parades, celebrations, sporting events, travel,
yard work, barbecues,
picnics, swimming, boating, relaxing...whatever you have planned...
Remember to take time to honor all of those who those who have served or continue to serve our country, as well as their families for the many sacrifices
 they make for our freedom!!!
We salute you!!!


First Piano Recital

     The kids received a piano as a Christmas gift about three years ago.  I took lessons and played piano when I was younger and have always loved it.  I still like to play.  My husband has always (secretly...shhhh...) wished he could play the piano.  He is fascinated by that guy on PBS, The Piano Guy, who teaches piano and makes it seem so easy.  I have taught a few of the standard songs to my kids and they do like to "tinkle the ivories" every now and then. 
     This past winter, I noticed Jacob (who woulda thunk it) taking a greater interest and playing around quite a bit, trying to figure out songs, etc....  Well, he ended up having some time off from basketball, so I jumped on the chance and signed him up for lessons from a neighborhood lady who teaches at her house.  I think it's so important for all kids to learn to read music and at least try an instrument and give it a chance. 
     Since starting lessons about six months ago, once a week, Jacob has progressed at an impressive pace.  He has gotten quite good and if he keeps it up, who knows what he will be able to play by this time next year. 
     The teacher recently held a recital at a nearby church.  There were just over 30 students each playing at least one piece.  It was very nice and interesting to see the different levels and how advanced the more experienced students were.  Jacob did a great job and I was thankful the piano recital went more smoothly than the recent  "Variety Show" you may have read about!
     I have to tell you a little secret...  I found some hand written sheet music by the piano.  It was titled "Angel" (see picture below) and it appears J was taking a whirl at composing...soooo cute!  I think he admires other kids who have "made it big", like Greyson Chance,and I thought it was adorable when I found it.  Of course, as his mom, I couldn't help but wonder who "Angel" might be....lol.  I have some ideas...but he's only 10 years old, so let's keep it real for now ;)
     I am sure there is a way to easily put a sound byte on here of his song, but I am too lazy and pressed for time to figure it out right now.  He played "We're Off To See the Wizard"...I think you know how it goes!!
     Any piano players out there?  Did you take lessons as a kid and do you still play?  Are you glad you took those lessons?
We are proud of you Jake!!!  Keep up the practicing, (composing), and good work!! 

My Little "Composer"

An anxious audience awaits...

Piano Recital 2011
Jacob, The Piano, and an Award
(he does not have an "alfalfa" or a "Mohawk"....it's just the door behind him)


The Last SHOprah :(

     Okay, I will try to be brief.  As luck would have it, after all of my anticipation to watch Oprah's final show, my soccer carpool day ended up being yesterday.  I was gone from 4:10 - 4:55 pm.  Because of this untimely event, I felt it necessary to resort to this sign on my TV since my other two kids would be arriving home before I returned.

     Not surprisingly, I started tearing up as soon as Oprah came on the screen.  It probably didn't help that it was pouring rain here and I knew I had to leave in ten minutes...when I didn't want to.

     I liked the low-key final show.  Monday and Tuesday's shows more than covered the big send off she/we deserved.  No cars, no surprises.  I finally watched the full show last night after the kids were in bed.  I hope to watch again soon in proper fashion...ideally with a tranquil setting when nobody is around... just me, candles, and a glass (or bottle) of wine...  No, I'm not kidding (lol). 

     Oprah left us with some of her profound messages...

"We all are called, everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to
figure out what that is and get about your business of doing it."

"Live from the heart of yourself."

My personal favorite:
"...you also have to know what sparks the light in you, so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world."

"Each one of  you has your own platform...yours is wherever you are....however small however large...that is your circle of influence..."

"You will receive in direct proportion to how you give."

She delivered with "Amazing Grace".

    Then, on a lighter note (true story) while trying to find an appropriate picture for this post, I went to Oprah.com and came upon a "Clearance" sale at the Oprah store...  I love the word "Clearance", so I checked it out.
Now I can say:  Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt!!
What do you think of Oprah, the final show(s)??  Are you glad it's over so I will stop posting Oprah stuff??

Until we meet again....
Clearance Sale!

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 On Sale For: $5.00


SO WHAT Wednesday!

It's SO WHAT! Wednesday and I'm linking up with Shannon at Life After I "Dew"
to tell you what I say "So What" to!  Here we go....

So WHAT if:
  • I need to get in the shower but instead would rather say "So What" to some stuff
  • my girls were writing notes back and forth during my son's piano recital...and I decided to discreetly join in (not very mature, right?)!!
  • there are many days I would rather snuggle with my dog than my husband (lol)
  • I went to Lowes with my husband and instead of him getting the parts he planned on to fix our grill -- I said "just get a new grill (and Happy Father's Day early)"  So we did!
  • our new grill looks nicer than our deck because our deck needs to be restained
  • I frantically tidied up my house yesterday because my mom's BFF was coming over and then I made pitcher of fresh lemonade and acted like my house is always clean (not!)
  • I admire Oprah so much (see yesterday's post) that I would have had an Oprah Farewell Party if the show wasn't on when all my friends have to pick up their kids from school!
  • I'm pretty sure I will cry after watching the last Oprah show today...I do stuff like that and my kids think it's hilarious and ridiculous all at the same time (So What)!!
Sooooo....What are YOU saying
SO WHAT to this week????
 Link up...it's fun, you'll feel better, and I'd love to know!!


Oh NOprah Oprah !!!

     I am kind of in shock.  I know that may sound a bit dramatic.  I do not live under a rock, I did know the Oprah Show was coming to an end after 25 years, but somehow the date snuck up on me.  And, now that it is really happening I'm realizing it's also the end of an era for me personally (and maybe a "few" others)...  Am I prepared to make the transition to "OWN"...??  Even my DVR is going to notice this void.  It's as though a "meeting" I've had on my schedule for 25 years has been cancelled.

Image Credit Oprah.com

     I can't even begin to figure out all of the things I have learned from the Oprah Show, how many days my babies were fed while watching the show, how many times I called friends or they called me and said "quick, are you watching Oprah".  The truth is, she is one of the people I most admire in life.  I only wish I would have had the chance to get to Chicago for one of those shows...it was on my "Bucket List"...but I guess I'm too late :(  Coulda, woulda shoulda...

      "O", the books I would have never read, the magazine I would have never subscribed to, recipes I would have never tried, the insights I would have never had, the laughs, the tears, the clothes, weight loss tips, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Nate Berkus, the products (Oprah's Favorite Things!), the makeovers, the celebrities.  "O", and the relationship lessons I taught (or tried to teach) my husband because "I saw it on Oprah"...he must be so grateful, too!!!  Right, honey?

     I love how real and genuine she comes across.  Her compassion and generosity.  Her continuing honesty about her weight loss struggles.  Her camping trip with Gayle (funny stuff).   Her "aha" moments (and sometimes mine), the Angel Network, the Book Club...  "O" and how many times have I said "shhhhhhh" to my kids while trying to hear what Oprah was saying (that was before DVR days...lol)!!  The 4:00 pm time slot became difficult since my kids have returned from school at 4:10 pm for the past nine years.  Thankfully, the DVR helped with that conflict.

    We've gone from setting the VCR to watching it on DVR....  I, for one (or one of billions), will be recording the show at 4 pm Wednesday...  I am anxious to watch this week and to see what they have planned for the final show.  One thing that I know for sure, I'm going to notice that something's different around 4 pm this Thursday...a definite void. 

      Are you with me?  Was most of your adult life spent with Oprah or did your mom watch it when you were younger and now you do?  What has the Oprah Show meant to you???  Let me know what you think with a comment and then, if you are so compelled,...let Oprah know, too (see below)!!  Something tells me she really might read this guestbook -- it would be sooo.....Oprah!! 
**"O" is in place of "Oh", to honor Oprah

Guest Book
Image Credit Oprah.com


Monday Memories With My Mom

     My mom was due to have an appointment with her neurologist.  She had not been to his office in about ten months so he was not aware of her fall in February. 
     A couple of years ago we were trying to see the neurologist every 8 to 12 weeks.  As time has gone by and I have learned what I need to know about my mom's diagnosis and status, it has become clear that there is not a whole lot that can be gained from these appointments.  The MRIs, cognitive testing, MMEs, brain scans, etc...have all been done. 
     When the neurologist asked my mom how she was doing she said, "She probably has more to say than I do".  My mom deferred to me to update the doctor.  She rarely asks questions anymore.  When my mom does try to recount information, it is largely inaccurate.  There are certain things that never seem to register, and I can almost always predict how the conversation is going to go.  She denies she is diabetic (she is), she tells everyone she fell from her second floor (it was the basement stairs), she adamantly believes she was correctly taking her medication (she was not), the doctor recommends assisted living and my mom denies needing it (she does)... 
     For the most part, it is not necessary to correct her.  It does not do any good.  However, at the doctor appointments, I need to give an accurate picture of how things are going and what has happened.  This often leads to "discussion" and talking in circles.  It is frustrating...for my mom and me.   There is not much to be gained from these appointments.  It is not like some doctor appointments where you see improvement or progress or change your treatment.  There is no improvement, progress or treatment.  Sometimes both me and my mom question whether it's even worth going.   Perhaps the only reason that we go is to update the neurologist and get our prescription refills (Aricept, Namenda, Neurontin, Zonegran...).  So, Dr. Neurologist, we will see you in September (maybe).

We parked

We walked

We entered

and...we acted inappropriately!!


Walk-It Challenge

 Image Credt Weight Watchers

SHOES (Check)



WW 5K WALK-IT CHALLENGE (Check) !!!!!!!!


Thankful Thursday

     With my life being a little unsettled right now, I seem to have no problem complaining about how difficult things are. 

 It's time to talk about what I am thankful for, and there is plenty of that, too.

I am thankful that:

I have three healthy, happy and active kids!

 I rescued my "Lucky" goldendoodle last summer - love him!

My husband has never lost his job -- even in this tough economy

My mom still has her mobility, sense of humor and knows who we are

I have friends who will let me "vent" anytime I need to....especially Nancy, Donna, Alyce, and Beth

 I don't have to work outside the house (but still would like to and probably should)

There are other soccer moms carpooling with me which takes the pressure off

Another Alzheimer's caregiver reached out to me through this blog

I get lots of compliments on how polite, well-behaved and cute my kids are by other moms and teachers...and sometimes even strangers

My oldest daughter is so responsible for her own schedule, schoolwork and extracurricular activities that I sometimes have to pinch myself

My son has developed a great sense of humor and seems to know when I need a good laugh

My youngest daughter bats her eyes and looks like a puppy dog when she is "begging" to do something or go somewhere with a friend and then says "Pleeeaze...I was born for a reason".  (Gets me (almost) every time.)

My husband has not been traveling as much lately and that lightens the load a bit

 I am healthy (enough) to take care of my mom and my kids

 We had a great family vacation in April

We have insurance

My mother-in-law is supporting me in the care of my mom

My brother has responded when I ask for his help

The weather is getting nicer, the days are getting longer and the sun is getting brighter!

Thankful for all those things and more........


SO WHAT! Wednesday

It's SO WHAT! Wednesday and I'm linking up with Life After I "Dew"
to tell you what I say "So What" to!  Here we go....

So WHAT if: 
  • I think baseball is the slowest-longest game ever -- that goes for both 9-inning professional games and my son's 6-inning games (and don't even say "extra innings")
  • one of my happiest moments this week was when "Boston Rob" won Survivor Redemption Island (I have always liked that guy!)
  • I did the happy dance when my daughter's soccer game was cancelled on Sunday because of rain...we finally got a semi-lazy Sunday
  • I went crazy at Kohl's yesterday with my extra 30 percent off - it was fun (Total Saved $299...lots of clearance deals)!
  • I am seriously thinking of going back to Kohl's today (last day of coupon)...to make sure I didn't forget anything ;)
  • I loved watching the season opener of the Real Housewives of New Jersey Monday night -- what a train wreck!!
  • I "surprised" my husband with a pile of mulch on our driveway -- that's one way to get the "Honey Do" list going
  • I haven't had time to blog much of anything lately...but seem to have no problem whipping up a SO WHAT Wednesday list!!

Sooooo....What are YOU saying SO WHAT to this week????
 Link up...it's fun and I'd love to know!!


Monday Memories with My Mom

     I struggle with Monday posts.  When I started blogging a couple of months ago, it was largely due to the fact that I was spending more time at home as a caregiver to my mom.  I needed a distraction.  Then, I quickly realized that although I started blogging for myself, it would be nice to know that someone else might be interested in what I have to say, so I have been gradually sharing my blog with others. 
     Writing about my mom and Alzheimer's disease is...well, it's depressing.  Depressing to read about and depressing to write about, particularly for those that have never experienced the disease firsthand.  So, I quickly decided to compartmentalize my Alzheimer's/mom posts to Mondays only.  I did not want to bring myself or others "down".  Afterall, this is not the "real me".  I like to have fun, laugh, tell stories that people are interested in.  Who wants to read about a 40- something daughter struggling to take care of her 67-year-old mother and three kids!?  Probably not many.  Yet, like it or not, this is a big part of my life right now.  This is also my blog.  I need to talk and write about it.  I hope to bring some awareness, even to those who have never been affected or cannot relate.  I actually hope you never are affected by this and that you never will be able to relate.  
     I can't help but recall over 10 years ago when I had met a neighbor mom in my kids playgroup who told me about her mom having Alzheimer's disease and how she was not doing very well.  I tried to be empathetic, but the truth was I really did not understand what she was going through.  Her mom passed away shortly after I met her.  I have since reached out to her and told her I understand now, because I do.
     The only other awareness I had of Alzheimer's Disease was through my in-laws.  My father-in-law's father had the disease.  What I remember most is that when my father-in-law was literally dying of cancer at the young age of 60 he remained firm that he was sooo relieved that he did not have Alzheimer's disease.  I thought to myself, "Wow, surely he doesn't mean that".  Now I know....he did mean that.  My father-in-law passed away of cancer at the young age of 60 and still would have chosen cancer as his demise over the Alzheimer's disease that his father had suffered and died from.  That is very telling....
     Today has been difficult.  I try to keep my mom engaged in her daily living skills.  In doing so, I am continually reminded that the disease is taking her abilities away.  Even seemingly simple tasks.  Making instant oatmeal this morning became a great challenge and I had to intervene.  Finding the bowls, the spoon, the measuring cup, her glasses to read the directions, how to work the microwave.  She is great at folding laundry.  However, sorting the laundry is complicated (sorting anything is complicated).  Although I have told her many times it is not necessary to fold or "sort" the piles, like a trooper, she continues to try.  It becomes much more complicated than it should be...even exhausting sometimes.

     It would be best to find an assisted living facility for my mom so that she can enjoy some independence and social interaction while being cared for at the same time.  It is difficult to make this search while being a caregiver and mother of three.  I am hoping to find a solution  that is best for everyone soon.  In the meantime, bear with me as I figure this out and work my way back to finding myself....


SO WHAT Wednesday!!

It's SO WHAT! Wednesday and I'm linking up with Life After I "Dew"
to tell you what I say "So What" to!  Here we go....

So WHAT if:

  • I had never used the words "that said" until I started blogging (and I don't use them in normal conversation either...weird!?)
  • I almost cried when I picked up my dog from the groomer...a goldendoodle shaved down for the summer looks like a different doggy!
  • one of the best parts of Mother's Day was the margarita I had with dinner (Ole!)
  • my 13 year old daughter was home from school sick yesterday, and I didn't even think about taking her temperature until about noon (it was normal...just a bad cold)
  • I was too chicken to call, so I texted another mom to tell her she owed me money for the dance clothes I bought for her daughter (awkward!)
  • I literally put a $2 reward out for anyone (except Jacob) who could find Jacob's 5th grade class shirt and then raised it to $5 late last night!!  Crazy, I know...but I'm desperate to know where that thing is (boys!)!!??
Sooooo....What are YOU saying SO WHAT to this week????
 Link up...it's fun and I'd love to know!!


Gifts from the Heart For Mother's Day...

     Although Mother's Day has come and gone, I thought I would share the goodies the kiddies showered me with on Sunday.  We had a relaxing family day with a nice breakfast casserole and fresh fruit, watched my boys cut the grass, and only had one soccer game with dinner at a Mexican restaurant afterward (I had been kind of craving Mexican since Cinco de Mayo so that's what we had)! 
     The kids do put a a lot of thought and time into Mother's Day and it's fun to hear the whispers and wrapping paper and tape flying around the house during the week.  The doors slamming and the "don't go in my room".  I appreciate the love that went into it all.  Megan went all out with the photo collage/shadowbox frame and I love the little duct tape roses that Kristin makes, too.  Sometimes I think they all just want to see who can make me cry....they find that very funny!!!  Jacob, well he's not really into arts and crafts -- but he vacuumed out my car and helped cut the grass!!  Sometimes it's pretty neat what your kids can do as they get older!!  Love those guys!!
Left to Right:
  • A photo collage/shadowbox frame made by my daughter, Megan
  • A clay self portrait art piece made at school by Kristin
  • A decorated coffee mug by Jacob
  • Flowers from the hubby
  • Candle from the hubby
  • Coffee mug decorated by Kristin
  • Duct tape/Rose pencils and pens made by Kristin
  • A clay self portrait art piece made at school by Jacob


Monday Memories With My Mom

     With my mom now living with me, there is no getting around how the dynamics have changed.  I am now my mother's mother...
     I spend a great part of my days giving "directions" and "reminders"....not just to my kids...or my dog, (or my husband) but also to my mom.  Alzheimer's Disease is an illness of the mind.  There is no cure.  There is no treatment.  There are medications that may slow the progression.  There is no surgery to go through, no chemotherapy, no rehabilitation.  The family feels helpless.  One of the few ways I can support is to give these reminders and directions....

It's time to get dressed
Put your shoes on
You will probably want to put some makeup on
Did you brush your hair yet
Sit down, I'm going to give you your pills now
We are going to a soccer game today
We are going to a soccer game today...
Remember, we are going to a soccer game?
The kids are at school...it's Monday
No it's not February, it's May
You're actually 67, not 66
You will need a jacket
Stay on the front porch while I pull the car out for you
You might want to get your pajamas on now
It's getting late, time for bed
Watch your step
You need to take a shower
Be sure to wash your hair
You already had dessert today
We're going this way
Wait right here
Stay with me 
Look where you are going
Mother's Day is actually tomorrow

It is emotionally draining.  It is sad to watch...  I never wanted to be my mother's mother. 


My Wish For You...

Happy Mother's Day!!

My Wish For You on Mother's Day.....

If it is peace and quiet you wish for...then I wish the same for you
If you prefer a family day with lots of activity...then I wish that for you, too
Whichever way you choose to spend this very special day....
I hope it's filled with things you love -- and laughter along the way!!


That Was....A Variety Show!!!

      Friday night was the Variety Show at our elementary school.  Kristin and her girlfriend were the "Cool Club Girls" (lol) dancing to Club Can't Handle Me by Flo rida and choreographed by big sister Megan.  They did a great job and I was proud of my Kristypoo (that's what I call her to embarrass her)...
     That said...
     It was one loooong show.  About 2 - 2 1/2 hours.  In previous years it was called a "Talent Show".  Let's just say I now know why it has been renamed as a "Variety Show".  Don't get me wrong...the kids were all great, cute, energetic, or nervous...doesn't matter.  That's what makes it fun.  I believe each act was limited to about 1 minute 30 seconds...but can you imagine if they weren't!?  There were only about 35 acts.  If the whole school participated, we would still be there.  They used to have "tryouts"....now they have "auditions"....which translates into...nobody is turned away.  That is fair.  These are elementary kids.  Some of them could end up being rich and famous...many of them will become rich and famous by exploring "other avenues".  
     There were magic acts, jump roping, gymnastics, piano, a baton twirler, and one little girl comedienne (she was hilarious!), the rest were many many dancing and singing acts.  Remember....no tryouts....just auditions.  (I have been to lots of dance recitals.  Those are wonderful.  The kids practice all year for that dance and it runs very smoothly.) 
     So there we were...a bunch of parents crammed into a hot gym on a Friday night waiting for our kids 1 minute and 30 seconds of fame, many dads (and moms) secretly praying we would still be able to catch the end of Red Wings game  (Go Wings!)...  The gym was so dark....I couldn't even get any good pictures and the girls were so hyper, the only picture I got was of Kristin at home after.  Well, I filled out the forms, I drove to the dress rehearsals, I fed them dinners while they were practicing, I bought cute little matching outfits....all for them.  All because I love my daughter and my kids with all my heart... 
     That said, I'm glad it's over!!!