Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sydnie Larson

Sydnie is 3 years old and has recently been diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called rhadbomyosarcoma.

"Rhabdomyosarcoma tumors arise from a cell called a "rhabdomyoblast", which is a primitive muscle cell. Instead of differentiating into striated muscle cells, the rhabdomyoblasts grow out of control. Since this type of muscle is located throughout the body, the tumors can appear at numerous locations. The four major sites in which rhabdomyosarcoma is found are:
*head and neck; around the eyes -- 35-40%
*genitourinary tract -- 20%
*extremities -- 15-20%
*trunk (chest and lungs) -- 10-15%...

Rhabdomyosarcoma is treated by a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
*Surgery. Resection (removal) of the primary tumor. If necessary after chemotherapy or radiation has shrunk the tumor.
*Chemotherapy. The following chemotherapy agents are commonly used: vincristine, cyclophosphamide, dactinomycin, adriamycin, ifosfamide, VP-16.
*Radiation. External beam radiation is used in some cases of rhabdomyosarcoma...

*Accounts for 5-8% of childhood cancers.
*70% of all rhabdomyosarcoma cases diagnosed in the first ten years of life.
*Usually affects children the ages of 2 to 6 and 15 to 19.
*The peak incidence in 1-5 age group.
*Overall, 50% of the children diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma survive 5 years"
- http://www.acor.org/ped-onc/diseases/rhabdo.html

Sydnie's family has set up a donation account to help pay for the tremendous medical bills that her treament is going to bring.

Checks of any amount can be made out to:
Larson Family Donation Accout

And mailed to
Larson Family Donation Account
c/o US Bank
5434 S. 76th St.
Greendale, WI 53129

Sydnie is a very special little girl who has been through a lot in her short 3 years of life. Her family and friends are doing all they can to support her.
Sydnie's father works at a hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my mom, and this weekend the employees of the hospital are helping to raise money by having a book sale (to which Drew and Louisa happily gave many books) and rummage sale. They also had a bake sale a few weeks ago.
If you do not feel you can help at this time, maybe you know someone who can. Please send them my blog address, or the donation account information. If we keep the information moving from person to person, we'll get more people to understand and help.
I don't usually like to ask people for money, however, it's not for me, it's for a sweet little girl named Sydnie who is dying of cancer.

Thank you all in advance!


Sydnie Marie Larson
July 13, 2002 - Oct. 8, 2007

Sydnie Marie Larson, 5, was granted her angel wings Monday, Oct. 8, 2007, following a courageous battle with cancer. The final days of Sydnie's short, yet memorable life were spent at home surrounded by family and friends.
Although Sydnie's illness affected her physically, she possessed the strength, perseverance and ability to overcome incredible odds and physical challenges. With her courage, she taught us to believe that each day is a blessing and an opportunity to create lasting memories.
With Sydnie's passing, we remind others that her life is one to be celebrated. Although we will miss her every day, especially her beautiful smile and hearing the many "I love you's" she shared with us, she will forever remain in our hearts.
Sydnie is survived by her loving parents, Jody and Melissa Larson of Lake Geneva; brothers, Jacob and Jordan; sister, Heather; maternal grandparents, Terry and Sharon Parmelee of Clearwater, Fla., and Joel Larson of Lauderhill, Fla.; maternal great-grandparents, Lawrence and Shirley Parmelee of Brookfield; paternal great-great-grandma, MaryAnn Gajewski, Marathon; and many other relatives and friends. Sydnie was preceded in death by her maternal grandmother, Cindy Lynn Burns; her Nana Carol Bradley; and her paternal grandmother, Jan Gajewski.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I Feel So Special

I got a personal invitation today from Donald Trump himself to attend Trump University! It was addressed: "Dear Homemaker". Isn't the word "homemaker" supposed to be outdated? Obviously someone on his marketing or research team didn't do their job.
So now apparently, The Donald is offering online university classes to teach "homemakers" his secret to success because according to him, he's not afraid of competition. And of course the university is taught only by the worlds best professors. Because they don't already have tenure at Harvard or Berkely.
I wonder what Donald's purpose is in recruiting "homemakers"? Are we the suckers that are desparate enough to waste our money on his online course? Personally, if I did an online university, I'd rather pick the University of Phoenix or DeVry or someone with a good reputation for online classes. And I also would prefer not to give a multi-billionare my very hard earned money.
But hey, I do wish Donald all the success in the world with his new venture. Just stop calling me a "homemaker"!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Strawberry Festival, Cedarburg, WI

When you think STRAWBERRY Festival, don't you think that there are strawberry food related items everywhere you look? Like strawberry shakes, strawberry shortcake, strawberry jam, strawberry wine... shouldn't it just be everywhere? I assumed we would be so full of strawberries by the end of today that we wouldn't want to look at another one. Nope! All we had was one pint of strawberries that my dad bought for everyone to share.
I overheard a little boy who was on his dad's shoulders say, "Dad, where are all the strawberries?" The dad said, "I don't know, Bud, I'm beginning to think Mommy lied to us." I laughed so hard! That's exactly what I thought! At least I wasn't the only one who noticed that the guest of honor was, well... sparce.

This is what Hunter thought of the strawberries! Funny that he kept eating them when I gave them to him, but he kept making this face. He certainly wasn't enjoying the strawberries, so why did he keep eating them?

Here's what Drew and Louisa got to do. They filled bottles with colored sand and both of them made masterpieces of sand art. Drew gleefully exclaimed, "This is my dream come true, Mom!" So his dream is to pour many colors of sand into a bottle. I'm glad that we could fulfill it today! Many people go their whole lives never living out their dreams. Drew only had to wait until he was 5! Louisa, the perfectionist, took her sweet time filling her bottle. It was worth it, though!
We ended the day by going back to my parents house and the kids picked strawberries in Grandpa's berry patch. That satisfied their hunger for the sweet red treat and was the perfect end to a very nice day!

Oh, and I can't forget the best part, Louisa got to meet Hello Kitty!!!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Meet Sam!

As I am getting ready for tattoo number two, I thought I'd introduce everyone to number one! I love him so much. He's me, but smaller. Louisa was two when I got him and she named him Sam. So everyone, here's Sam the Dragon!
Isn't he cute?! He was my wedding present. Ok, I got diamond earrings, too, but he's my favorite. My husband has three tatoos and I had always wanted one, but by unfortunate circumstances (not enough cash) I was never able to get one. So he surprised me one day a few days before our wedding with an appointment at a really cool tattoo shop in Milwaukee. One that everyone went to. I knew I wanted a dragon because of my love for all things mythology. But I didn't have anything picked out. When we got there we looked through all the books and pictures and I didn't like anything. We sat there and I was kind of bummed out thinking that it wasn't going to be my day to get one.
At a tattoo shop, in case you've never been to one, the walls are sometimes lined with tons of pictures of artwork the artists have done and more pictures you can choose from for your piece. So, just as I was about to abandon all hope of getting my tattoo because I didn't like anything, I saw him! He was right in front of where we were sitting the whole time, and he jumped out at me at the last minute before I had decided to call it a day. He was grumpy and cute and the perfect color (although any artist is happy to alter any picture). Everything was right about him. He took two and a half hours. Two and a half hours of an amazing artist buzzing away at my back. It was great! I sat there, with my future husband being VERY proud of how I could handle the pain. (He passed out the first time he was inked!) And hey, I'd already been through child birth.
My parents didn't mind at all. They, in fact, think he is really cool. My mom has a small tattoo on her chest from way back when that was THE thing to do. And after a few drinks, so I've been told!
Sam is located on my lower back on the left side. I was too much of a wimp to get it in the middle and that was also right before ass-toppers were so popular.
Now I'm seriously contemplating tat number two. I'm excited! My friend in Georgia has five, I think, including the hugest Celtic cross on her rib cage! Talk about being able to handle the pain! You go Girl!
So at some point I'm going to post some pics and get feedback as to what is cool. I want a fairy, and tattoo artists HATE doing fairies! They do them daily and they are not very challenging. But they're so pretty and I really wanted something more girly this time.
Until then, what tat's or piercings does everyone have? I'd love to hear about them!

**Note: I just realized that in this post I spelled "tattoo" wrong every time I wrote it! How embarassing that the main point of my post I spelled wrong every single time! I have gone through and corrected it and hopefully caught them all. That' s what you get when you type so late at night after not getting much sleep the night before! Thank you all for bearing with my huge typo and I hope it never happens again, at least, not that many times on the same word, over and over again.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ok, I Guess I'll Brag About This One, Too...

I took her the other day to get her ears double pierced. Why in the world, you might ask, would an 8 year old little girl need her ears double pierced?
Funny, I asked myself the same thing! But we found ourselves walking into Claires on Saturday picking out a set of earrings and well, the rest is history. Let's just say, when the cat's away, the mouse will spoil the kids rotten and doesn't mind going in debt to do it! Ok well, maybe I shouldn't be spoiling them so much, but if I didn't then what would I have to hold over their heads? I'd have no leverage. I'd have no, If you don't stop bossing your brother around I'm ripping those earrings out! All right, I wouldn't acutally rip them out, but I'd stop cleaning them, by golly! Let her have fun with her new second holes when they're all scummy! Ha, that will show her!
All right, she's not even that naughty and I'm supposed to be bragging here, so um...
This is for the little girl who got an absolutely perfect report card every single quarter this year. It never changed! I told her she needed to do bad in a subject and get something other than a perfect mark for once. She didn't think that was a good idea. It's something I would have done when I was in second grade. But I didn't need to! My report card always had a variety of marks and comments on it. I had no problem keeping my parents on their toes and making them dread report card day!
How's this for bragging, she scored off the charts in her standardized testing this year! Higher than all of second grade! I couldn't even fathom testing that high at such a young age. I didn't discover that I was a genius until I was 19. Um, well, idiot savant anyway.
So that's my little girl. My spoiled, bossy little prodigy with her ears double pierced!

I'm Walking Everyone! I'm Walking... Well, Kind of!

Ok, so I need a little help still, but I'm doing it! I only have to hold on to one of Mommy's hands and sometimes I can even stand by myself. Here's proof!

So here I am standing all by myself. I can do it for about 5 seconds and if I stick out my tounge it helps me balance better.

And here I am walking. Like I said, I need a little help, but I'm getting good at it. I am pretty brave, too. I let go of Mommy's hand sometimes and usually fall right away. But hey, I'm trying!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Memoirs of a Softball Coach: We're Back, Baby!

That's the way to play! These girls can hit, they can field, they can do it all!!!!
I'm such a proud coach tonight! **getting teary** **sniff, sniff**
I told myself I wasn't going to cry...
They just did so good tonight. We played 3 innings and every girl hit and ran. Gave the other team a run for their money and it was great! There are a few girls who, at the beginning of the season I thought, There's no way... They can't hit, they can't throw... But wow! They have improved so much. And the smiles on their faces knowing how much they have improved is all worth it! This one little cutie is fielding so well and at the first practice she could not catch the ball to save her life. Last week she made two awesome catches for an out at first base and this week she made an awesome catch for an out at thrid. It's exhilerating to watch them progress and be a part of their accomplishments.
And guess what, I cheered on my team in the outfield while the other team was batting, and no one complained!
But wait until next week when we play Mrs. Pink again...
Until then, Go Sapphire Angels!!! Great job, girls!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day, All the Wonderful Things I Do For My Dad!

It's Father's Day and we're supposed to reflect on all the nice things our father's have done for us. But what about all the things we do for them? Here are some of the nicest things I've done for my dad:

  1. I hit baseball after baseball for him just so he could practice pitching them to me.
  2. I spent years playing basketball, eventhough I was never any good, just so he could come watch me play.
  3. I let him change the oil in my car any time he wanted.
  4. I let him fill my car up with gas any time he wanted.
  5. I went with him to any rock concert he wanted to go to. Even the time he begged me to go see Ozzy! (or was that the other way around?)
  6. I took up guitar lessons just so I could teach him what I learned when I got home.
  7. I got him into the car races for free one night (his favorite sport) and then let him drive me home (something about free beer and I had just turned 21... the whole night is still kinda fuzzy!)
  8. I didn't trade him in for a kitten when I was little like I wanted to.
  9. I let him pay whenever we go out to eat because it makes him feel good!
  10. I gave him 3 happy, healthy grandchildren and even named one after him and made him... The Godfather!

Happy Father's day, Dad! Thanks for everything!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I'm So Sneaky!

She missed a Kiss! I found it under her desk and it was SO yummy! I'm so sneaky!!! Shhh, don't tell.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Memoirs of a Softball Coach: AARRRGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

Ok, does this lady have it out for me, or what?! Seriously, can I do anything right when coaching against this lady's team?
The same lady who pouted about me wanting to call foul balls found something else to get upset at me about. I was cheering on my team. Yes, you heard me, cheering on my team in the outfield was my offense this time! I can't even make this up!
When my team is in the outfield they, like any second grade girls, get antsy. So the parents and I shout our encouragement and advice and just your average softball chatter. Nothing wrong with that in mine or any of the parent's eyes. But there is something wrong with that according to the lady. We'll call her, Mrs. Pink, if you will. (They wear the pink shirts.)
So as I was shouting to my team in the outfield to wake them up and let them know what base the next play is at, she comes to me and says, "You know, encouraging words are great, but you seem to distract my girls whenever it's their turn to bat. Could you please not shout when they are batting?"
I was like, HUH??? Just when exactly AM I supposed to shout to my team in the outfield? None of Mrs. Pink's girls were hitting the ball. Almost every single one struck out and she was blaming it on me? No way, I don't think so! When all of my girls consistantly hit the ball every time they are up to bat, they get very antsy waiting in the outfield for one out of 12 of Mrs. Pink's girls to actually hit the ball.
I got semi-satisfaction, however, when the next inning I didn't yell at all to the outfield and her girls still struck out. At least 10 out of 12 did. But it wasn't total satisfaction because my girls didn't do well in the outfield. They danced around and picked grass and wore their gloves on their heads. One did cartwheels while another rolled somersaults. One girl practiced her splits for gymnastics and two girls got into an argument. After the game a few of the parents told me they don't care what the other coaches say, they think I'm doing a good job and they hope I don't "sit out an inning again".
The girls need direction, and I can't help it if Mrs. Pink's girls can't hit a ball like mine can. Next game, I'm sure she'll find something else to blame on me.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Memoirs of a Softball Coach: Watch Your Kids Play, For Crying Out Loud!

All these games we've played so far I sit and watch the parents and I think, would you watch the frickin game! These girls are out there playing their butts off and the parents are at social time over there on the side lines! Is it time to chit chat about your where you get your nails and hair done, or time to watch your little girl field the ball? Is it time to brag about your truck, or time to watch your hardworking girl hit and run to first?
Ok, so maybe I'm being a little melodramatic about this. Maybe they are watching and I'm just not IN on the conversation so I feel a little left out. After all, the coach is expected to actually WATCH the entire game, beginning to end! The coach can't sit and yammer on and on about the features on her cell phone or who gives the best pedicures in the city. Oh no, us coaches are cheering and watching and hugging sad girls who just struck out. Us coaches are telling the girls to stand up in the outfield, it's not time to pick grass!
(to girls in outfield) Get the ball, it's coming to you! See, you weren't ready because you were picking grass! Now throw it to first, no, FIRST! THROW IT TO FIRST!!!!! NO NO NO NO NO.... that is not first, that is.... not even a base... why in the world would you throw the ball to the left fielder?! That's not even a base! Ok, it's ok, we'll get 'em next time, girls! You're doing good!!!
(to mom who just asked me a question) What, oh, um, I don't get my hair done, I just let it grow until it annoys me and then once a year I get it cut. Ya, once a year, I know that's kind of...
(yelling to outfield) Go girls, get the ball!! SECOND BASE THIS TIME, SECOND BASE!!! NO NO NO.... that was... third base... It's ok!! We'll get 'em next try!!!

Fastforward to son's t-ball game where I do not coach, but am a mere spectator cheering on my little boy:
(talking to mom who is admiring my baby) Yes, I know, he's so good natured and always happy... (to son who just hit the ball) Go Drew, run run run!!! Good hit!! (back to other mom) You're baby is so cute too, I love her big dark eyes! She must get those from her daddy! Oh, what a little cutey, wootey, sweety, weetey, pie....
(Drew to me) Mom, did you see me, did you see me?
(Me to Drew) Yup, uh huh...
(me to baby) what a little pretty princess, you're momma's little girl aren't you....

Ok , so I'm a hypocrit, what can I say!!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I Love Chocolate!

I love chocolate!!!
Did I mention that I love chocolate?!!!
I've heard people talk about this stuff before, but never actually had any. Why have they been keeping this from me?! It is SO DELICIOUS!
And can you believe my mommy was actually hiding this stuff? This should be shared with everyone, everywhere! Why would she hide something like this?! It was in a drawer and I guess I wasn't supposed to go in it because she took all the chocolate out and closed the drawer. And why does she unwrap them when she eats them? I just shove the whole thing in my mouth and it tastes good! All that chocolate stuff melts and gets gooey and... mmmmmmm.......
I need more...
If you're reading this, please send me some chocolate. I promise I won't tell my mommy, it'll be our little secret!

He Got the I-pod Everyone, You Can Stop Worrying Now!

Oh, you have no clue what I'm talking about! Well, before hubby left I bought him an i-pod. Downloaded all his cd's, bought $50 worth of songs on i-tunes, and every accessory I could think of that he would possibly need. He was excited to finally have all his songs in one place.
After he got to where ever it is that he got to, he used a wall charger to charge it. Only problem was, there was only one outlet and someone was using it. That someone was nice enough to let hubby plug his i-pod into his computer, however, that erased all of hubby's songs and downloaded all of the other guy's songs. So, my husband sent back his i-pod to be loaded with his songs again.
I mailed it back to him the end of April. Insured it like a good girl, and, of course, promptly lost the receipt! No biggie, it got to me just fine, it would get back just fine, too... Maybe...
After all this time I've spent worrying, biting my nails, kicking myself for losing the receipt, he finally got it!!!
You see, to a deployed soldier, every piece of home that he or she can take with them helps tremendously. For my husband, his music is his big piece of home. And something like an i-pod is so small that he can take it anywhere with him.
I downloaded some awesome songs for him, too. For instance, if you're a big Sopranos fan like we are, imagine waking up every morning and starting your day off with the theme song... You've got the bom-boppa-bom in your head all day... and you can hear the intro, "Woke up this morning... got yourself a gun... Momma always told you, you'd be the... chosen one..." Now that's uplifting! And I just see my husband strutting around all day listening to that song!
How about this one, this is a song that helps get us through and reminds us we'll be alright:
"My Dearest Love, its almost dawn. I’ve been lying here all night long wondering where you might be. I saw your Mama and I showed her the ring. Man on the television said something so I couldn’t sleep. But I’ll be all right, I’m just missing you. An' this is me kissing you:XX’s and OO’s, In a letter from home.
I hold it up and show my buddies, Like we ain’t scared and our boots ain’t muddy, and they all laugh, 'Cause she calls me "Honey", but they take it hard, 'Cause I don’t read the good parts. I fold it up an' put it in my shirt, Pick up my gun an' get back to work. An' it keeps me driving on, Waiting on letters from home. " -Letters From Home by John Michael Montgomery
One song that I put on his i-pod that helps a lot is "Here Without You" by 3 Doors Down. I love it because it was written for us. Dedicated to all soldiers who are without their families and every word of it is exactly true. "I’m here without you baby but your still on my lonely mind, I think about you baby and I dream about you all the time, I’m here without you baby but your still with me in my dreams, And tonight, girl, it’s only you and me"
So now he has all his songs! All, um... almost 500 of them! And I can relax knowing that it didn't conveneintly end up in someone else's pocket.
**Note to self: if you ever send something small and expensive again, put it in a BIG BOX!

Is There Anything Worse?

Is there anything worse than being a 28 year old mother of three who is constantly being treated like a child? Ok, there probably is, but today, that is the worst possible thing that could, and did, happen!
I made a mistake, I'll be the first to admit. I was the one who "mistakenly" missed three of my daughter's dance classes in a row. And right before the recital that is a huge NO NO! Things get a little hectic and I lose track of time. I don't have my husband here every day asking me what the kids are up to, keeping me on task. Also, I still can't find my calendar since we've moved. I should really just break down and get to the dollar store and buy a new one. But I like MY calendar! Without it, I'm lost.
So after missing our 3rd class in a row last Monday because I spaced and my son had t-ball at the same time, I called her dance teacher. I asked if there was time we could come in so Louisa could practice her routine. I know she's not ready. She knows she's not ready, and the recital is the 16th of this month! There are no practices left, only rehearsals. She is expected to know the dance by rehearsal time. When the teacher asked if we could come in on Saturday, I was all for it! Yes, no problem, we'll be there! I KNOW the teacher said 10-11. There is no question in my mind she said "Saturday 10-11". I even wrote it down immediately after hanging up.
It's Saturday, 10:00 a.m. sharp and we're there! Doors are locked. Ok, maybe she's late. I had to drop off library books, library is right next door, we'll do that and come back. 10:05 a.m., doors are locked. Ok, she's a little late. That's fine. I parked and we sat. I gave myself a time limit. We'll sit until 10:15.
10:15, still no dance teacher. I, of course, forgot my cell phone, so we go mail a box to daddy and go home. I figured I should call just in case. By now it's 10:40 a.m. The dance teacher is there when I call and not very happy. We were supposed to be there at 10:30! What??!! 10:30? No! I wrote down "Louisa dance, Saturday 10-11" right after talking to her teacher the other day. I know it! You know how you just know something and someone else keeps telling you you're wrong? You feel like crap!
So we hop in the car, fly down there in 5 minutes flat. Meanwhile, the boys still haven't had breakfast. Luckily they're not complaining.
The dance studio is one of those that you see in the movies. Old building in downtown, you have to climb a lot of stairs to get up there. Hardwood floors, mirrors everywhere, several levels of barres for different sized girls. The teacher and another girl who apparently missed some classes are hard at work. Louisa gets her ballet slippers on and jumps right in. The boys and I have a seat and wait. I can never watch her. I get too critical of every little mistake she makes. So I sit and play with the boys and let her do her thing. At 11:20 the teacher is done with us, but has several other girls waiting to practice their parts.
With lots of girls and parents standing around, the teacher comes up to me and asks if we can come in on Monday also. Louisa needs a lot of work on the ending. I said yes, we'd be happy to. This is what I get, and how I am often treated by people both older and the same age as me:

Teacher: Can you come on Monday at 4:00?
Me: Yes, we'd be happy to.
Teacher: Can you remember to come in at 4:00?
Me: Yes, I can.
Teacher: Do you need me to write it down for you? Because we can't have another mix up.
Me: (face turning bright red, parents staring) No, I'll remember.
Teacher: Are you sure? You have to be here at 4:00. You can remember that?
Me: (mumble mumble) Yes...
Teacher: Ok, I really need Louisa here at 4:00. I can't get here earlier than that. Are you sure you don't need me to write it down? I really need her here at 4:00.
Me: I'm fine, thanks...

So I grab the kids, run out of the room trying desparately not to cry in front of everyone. Run down to the car, get the kids in and turn up the radio as loud as I can. Her voice echoing in my head, I need her here at 4:00, I need her here at 4:00...
In front of my kids, I'm reduced to a quivering pool of self-loathing. Hating myself for missing those three practices, hating myself for making a mistake or misunderstanding or whatever it is I did that made us late for this special practice, and mostly hating myself for letting someone treat me like I... well... like I treat my kids!!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Memoirs of a Softball Coach: Foul Balls, Pouting, and Poor Sportsmanship

When is a foul ball foul? Isn't there an actual foul ball rule that if it's outside the base line, it's foul? I always assumed that was just a given, internationally known. WRONG! Apparently, some people don't know there is a foul ball rule. If you hit a foul, you go back and hit again. It's not a fair ball, you do not advance to first base. According to some (like other coaches who don't have a clue) foul balls are good. So, instead of realizing that foul balls are foul, we have to stop the game, waste 20 minutes reading the rules only to find that there is nothing in the written rules about foul balls! So we go back to where I started, the foul ball rule is internationally known! How can you even question it? Well, I stood my ground! This little red head has been playing softball for years, you don't question the foul ball rule!
And after you've had the little spat about whether or not to acknowledge fouls, do you be a grown up and let it go, or do you pout and stomp away. Well, apparently you pout and stomp away. At least that's what I learned from the other coach tonight. My parents stood behind me, though! After the game I got pats on the back saying, Good job, Coach, Way to stand your ground! But did I teach the girls anything? I got my way, but I think of it more as, I enforced the rules of the game. Even if they weren't written, they are reasonable, assumed rules of softball. Unfortunately the coach of the opposing team didn't see it that way.
Poor sportsmanship is something we emphasize greatly with these girls at the elementary school level. We do not stomp off the field and pout, we do not jeer at the other team, and we do not brag when we've won the game. So how do you teach girls this when they see others doing it? Especially a grown up. I had the unfortunate experience tonight of two of my girls who were in the "cheering section", a clever name I devised for sitting on the bench, who decided to sneakily distract the opposing team at bat by cheering for them. Huh? How does that work? Every time the girl would step up for bat, my girls would cheer so loudly for them they would get distracted. It actually took me a little while to notice. Busy as I am with the girls in the outfield, parents asking questions, and the ump who likes to chew my ear off, I actually didn't notice this was going on. I thought it odd that they were cheering so loud for their teammates in the outfield, but they are called the "cheering section". I was mortified when I realized what these two girls, MY GIRLS, were doing! How could MY GIRLS be jeering the other team by cheering for them!? I thought I had taught them better than that. Granted we haven't been together for too long, but we talk about positive sportsmanship every time we get together. I guess next time I need to focus on the difference between positive and negative sportsmanship for the girls and the adults.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Playground Woes

What is it about playgrounds that annoys me? The screaming kids running around? Or maybe the kids causing mischief with parents nowhere in sight? Or how about the parents who sit and talk on their cell phones the entire time, not once looking up to see what their kid is doing? Oh, I know! It's the clique-y moms in their perfect little playgroups with their perfect little children who act like they own the playground and we're intruding.
Nothing annoys me more at the playground than those moms who think they have complete rights to all play equipment and if my kids want to play they have to stand in line BEHIND theirs. All of theirs! Well because, they are in a group so it makes sense that they all go down the bumpy rolly slide first. And after all, their kids are so well behaved and mine are.... well, you know...
Ya right, one of those well behaved kids just pushed another kid down and called him a Dumb Ass! Wonder which perfect parent he got that phrase from!
At least I admit that I swear like a drunken sailor and my kids get it from me. Well, one kid gets it from me. I'm trying really hard, though! I've cut swears down to fricken, holy crap, and my personal favorite, Son of a Who Ha! (I mean, I highly doubt the kids even noticed when I flipped that lady off the other day on the way to the grocery store.)
So the next time you're at the playground with your kids and your playgroup, remember the little guy. The lonely little mommy who maybe just doesn't have as many friends as you do. Maybe she lives in a town where you have to live in a certain tax bracket to join the playgroups. Maybe every friend she's ever had has stabbed her in the back and she has trust issues. Just because there is a mom at the park **GASP** by herself with her kids (I know, it's ok, you can lie down for a little while!) doesn't mean she has a communicable disease. Maybe just say, Hi! I know it's kind of old fashioned and yes, your friends will look at you strange and may whisper behind your back, but you'll make someone's day and maybe even a new friend!

Movie Review

(This is what happens when I ask Louisa to write a SHORT movie review of her favorite movie!)
I'm doing a review on a movie called , The Barbie diaries.It is a very awesome movie. It is about a girl named Barbie who is a sophmore in highschool and is in love with the cutest guy in school '' Todd ''. She has three best friend named Courtney, Tia and Kevin ( who is secretly in love with her). And a bully named Roquell. So the story is like this... Barbie, Courtney and Tia were having band practice it was the night before the first day of a great new sophmore year. When Kevin walked in and said '' hello, sunset night before school sound familiar?''. So They went to a park to watch the sunset they each told their greatest wish out loud except Kevin. Courtney wished to kick butt at being a great drummer, Tia wished to become class president, and Barbie wished to become the school news anchor. All Kevin said was '' You can't wish out loud, you'd totally jinx it.''.The next day Barbie went to try out for being anchor but she didn't get the job. That minute Kevin called and told Tia, Courtney and Barbie to come to the parking lot. Kevin caught Todd and Roquell breaking up! Barbie went over to Todd later and talked. Todd asked her to be his date for the fall formal she said yes of course! she told her friends and after school they went to the mall to pick out a dress. Roquell was there too and saw her. She called Todd and told him that they were back together and he had to break up with Barbie. Barbie had just picked out her dress when Todd called and told Barbie the bad news. The store clerk gave them speacial charm braclets. Barbie's came with a diary she wrote in every day. One day she dropped the braclet and it slid in front of a sign that said sign up to perform at the fall formal, so she signed them up. The night of the fall formal the three girls rocked. My favorite song from the movie is called "Note to Self", but all the songs in the movie are cool.
You should let your daughter go to the Barbie website because there is some fun stuff to do there.
The End
By Louisa

Friday, June 02, 2006

Tribute to my Sister in Law: Tabitha Brott

Well, I'm going to bring the whole mood down a notch. I was asked to write a tribute or memorial to my sister in law and high school best friend Tabitha for our 10 year high school reunion. The girls putting together the reunion are nice enough to put a memorial for the 3 classmates that are no longer with us. I threw this together last night and would like any feedback anyone wants to give. They asked if I would be specific about how she passed since many classmates will learn about Tabitha's passing for the first time at the reunion and I won't be there to answer any questions. So, here goes:

In Memory of Tabitha

Tabitha passed away on November 2, 2004 at the age of 27. She is survived by her husband, Chris, 5 year old daughter Eve, stepson Jacob, parents Dave & Alice, sister Annette (Tim), nephew Corey, brother David (Kelley), niece and nephews Michael, Mackenzie & Colton, and brother Andrew (Peggie) niece and nephews Louisa, Andrew Jr. and Hunter. (Andrew is a graduate of West class of ’97)

On November 1, 2004, Tabitha arrived at work at Jewel Osco in Milwaukee where she was a managing supervisor. She collapsed at work and was rushed to the hospital where it was discovered that she had a brain aneurysm and would not regain consciousness again. We said our good-byes and let God take her home.

She was a special woman who made everyone around her happy. We have not found one picture of her that she isn’t smiling in. She was shy and quiet and usually didn’t have a lot to say. But once you got to know her, you couldn’t shut her up!

Tabitha attended West High School and graduated in 1996. She played JV soccer during her 10th and 11th grade years, and Spring City for several years. She played the tenor saxophone in concert band. She was in honors classes and graduated with honors. After high school Tabitha went on to college at UW Milwaukee where she graduated with a business degree specializing in human resource. She worked at Jewel Osco in Waukesha for many years before being promoted to one of the Milwaukee area stores. Before she passed away she was offered the promotion she had been hoping for at the corporate office.

In June 2000, Tabitha married her long time boyfriend Chris. In December 2000 she gave birth to her beautiful baby girl who was the apple of her eye. Tabitha’s daughter, Eve, was 3 when her mommy passed. She carries her mommy close to her heart.

Our family has a huge hole in it since Tabitha is gone. We all feel we made the best of our time with her while she was here and we thank God for giving her to us if only for a short while.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Memoirs of a Softball Coach

There is nothing greater than working with young girls, teaching them to play a sport and seeing that they finally get it (and winning). The parents are happy because their girls are happy and having a good time (and winning). They learn that the goal is to have fun no matter what (and win). They have big smiles on their faces even if something doesn't go right (because we're winning). And as 13 girls score 14 runs in 3 innings we act humble and modest...


T-ball and Caterpillars

This was the conversation between Drew and I yesterday at his first t-ball practice:

Drew: Mom, can I play with the caterpillars?
Me: No, we're here to play t-ball.
Drew: But Mom! I want to play with the caterpillars!
Me: Lets just learn how to play t-ball right now.
Drew: But the other kids are playing with caterpillars!
Me: (losing my patience and wishing there were no stinkin' caterpillars!) How about we listen to your coach, he's trying to show you how to catch a ball.
Drew: I know how to catch a ball (as it sails past him), I want to catch caterpillars.
Me: Well, let's learn how to play t-ball and then later we can maybe catch caterpillars. (hoping he forgets)

So after an hour of Drew not paying attention, running to 3rd base instead of 1st, and then running into the outfield instead of 2nd, sitting in the outfield picking grass, and chasing the girls around with a stick full of... you guessed it, caterpillars! Drew runs up to me all excited:

Drew: Mom, can I play with the caterpillars now?

I'm so glad I paid $50 for Drew to play with caterpillars!!!