Let's Play Catch Up

This is not so much a blog post but rather a catch up to the last year.  I have so much blog envy for the bloggers who are such super humans. They cavort at public events, do crafts or home d├ęcor things, cook amazing meals, take photos and even have the time to sit and write about their life experiences.  I just seem to try and make it through the day and hope the family underwear supply is clean.

A while ago I wrote about my Diva and her softball.  She put her heart and soul into that when she made the travel ball team 2 summers ago.  The girl had only 1 or 2 nights off from either a lesson or practice of some sort.  She was doing great.  She was something that the local coaches and her pitching coach were watching closely since she was only 13 at the time.  Unfortunately for us, we were just on a very bad team.  By bad I mean that from the coaching to the players and especially to the parents it was all just so very bad.  My kid was bullied by the most of the players on the field, at practices and even via social media.  Some of them were the coaches kids.  The parents were evil too.  I through that rec ball taught me a thing or two about the politics and back-stabbing fun parents played but that had nothing on these pros.  So we got through that season.  Then last summer we joined a new team.  This team was like a breath of fresh air.  These girls were so team oriented and very nice.  They were of the mindset that we play/practice as a team and we win/lose as a team.  The parents kept their thoughts to themselves and didn't speak mean about any of the girls.  Then it happened.  Injury.  Diva never even got to play in one tournament with this new team.  She played scrimmages before the season and practiced but that was before the injury.  She spent from September through June either on crutches or at physical therapy. She wasn't allowed any activity not even swim class/gym.  So almost a year passed without her touching a ball, bat or glove.  Once she was released in July, she decided that she was done with softball.  So there we are after 10 years of softball 1 year ended it all.  Now that she has some breathing room to herself, she seems to be confused on who she is.  She is just now trying to find her niche and exploring things that she never had time to do before since she was always playing softball.  She's into music, musical theater, the school newspaper, etc.  Heck we even had a summer this year - you know like real people do - with a vacation and spending time with family and friends.  It was quite different than spending every Friday through Sunday on some field somewhere and practicing the week before.  That's the positive thing about no more softball.  I think we will all get used to it.  She's going to be A-Okay!

Boychild is doing great in public school.  He transitioned in 3rd grade and is now in the 5th grade.  He is in the gifted program too.  He still has his struggles with social skills and frustration which the school is doing a great job of helping him through this via his IEP and the teacher selections they have made for him.  We even dared to let him go on an overnight camp trip with our church's youth group.  He did very well.  Did he have some issues - oh yes he did.  Were they manageable - yes they were.  But for having never in his life gone on an overnight trip with a group of people he barely knew and without me or his father and being only 10 years old - I'll chalk it up as a win!  My how far he has come.  We're so proud of him.

Now you're in-the-know.  Hopefully, this year I'll be able to have some free time and live a little and tell you all how it goes!

#I Said Yes

So here's the thing.  My Diva has now entered the world of Senior High School.  Yup, she is now a Freshman.  Not only is the envelope pushing, mouth running, hormone raging and occasional oh so sweetness in full swing but now the boys have truly entered into the picture. 

Apparently, this first dance of the year is such drama about being asked by a boy.  The pressure is really on the boys here because they no longer can just go up to a girl and say "Hey, would you like to go to the Homecoming Dance with me?" It now has to be a production as if it is a marriage proposal or something.  Then the girls all #I Said Yes it on social media.  I find this rather funny coming from an era of kids who do not even know how to hold a conversation with one another but yet they make something so simple into a competitive stage production.

Diva was asked in this manner.

Just to sum it up for you...She went to her locker and there sat the softball with the words Turn Around written on it.  When she turned around, the boy in question was standing there holding the flowers and asked her to the dance.  Okay yeah, it is sweet.  Oh and if you don't recall, my Diva is a very active fastpitch softball pitcher - so the softball idea was a good one (I'm sure the idea was given to him by her best friend.). 

To seal the deal .... dress shopping took place the very next day!  This I thought was going to be rather painful and expensive.  The first dress we saw she fell in love with....

But of course in true Diva style we couldn't be so lucky and just buy it.  Nope we had to go another 3 hours of shopping and comparing every single other dress in the area to this first one.  Naturally, I drug her butt back to the first store and bought the contraption before she could blink again.  I have to ask though - when did they start making all the dresses for teenagers so flipping short???

Now we must find the perfect silver shoes ....

Lessons Learned

When you have children in sports...not just casually but actually dedicated, putting money into it, ever consuming sports, you really gain a lot of knowledge on people and politics. I'm not sure if it is harder lessons learned for the kids or for the grown-ups.  For me, I think it is much harder. 

When you watch your child take a new risk and succeed it is heartwarming.  Then you watch your child pour their heart and soul and sweat into really pushing themselves to be better because they want to not you, it makes you proud.  You watch your child perform on the court or field or whatever platform it is for their sport and you see their determination has really paid off for them, they are succeeding and learning that putting your mind to it and giving some effort to it always pays off and you smile to yourself and hug them. Its rainbows and glitter.

But behind the scenes and unfortunately sometimes in the foreground, the pecking begins. The whispers of the parents, the huddles before/during practices, the scurrying to walk with the coaches, and the sideways glances all are very much apparent. You try to be ambivalent to it but then you start to worry you will be excluded from some oh so important knowledge that the other parents may have that you don't.  You see those parents that scurry from parent to parent telling them what they want to hear and then re-arranging it again and again to fit whomever it is they are speaking to.  You see the parent that talks smack about the players and coaches to other parents and the naturally deny it when you confront them. Everyone wants to their kid to be the star - EVERYONE.  Some folks will take it a bit further than others is all. Some coaches only become coaches for this one reason.

My daughter has been in softball since her T-ball years, then slow pitch and now fast pitch.  She has so many great memories and so many friendships formed from this sport. 

Rec ball taught us about politics and bullying but it was just rec ball and fun.  Tournament rec ball was more of an eye opener to more of the inner workings of sports and recruiting.  Then we enter the Travel ball arena.  WOW.  Really just WOW.  Without really getting into the horrid details of the ridiculousness of the backstabbing, lies and cut-throat goings-on, I just want to say that I was totally unprepared.  I have never in my life been a person who has succumbed to peer pressure or contributed in petty name calling or behind your back whispering.  Now that I've seen this in full force by grown-ups and how grown-ups can forget that these are actually 13-14 year old girls, I can say this is most disheartening.  I've been given the advice from some wise parents that have gone through this and they have told me to just be silent and enjoy the games and memories made with your child.  It ends up being better for your child in the end - because then nothing will be spitefully taken out on their playing time.  I've been trying to heed this warning.  This is by far the hardest thing I've had to do for my daughter.  Seriously.

Our travel ball tournaments will begin in a few weeks.  I hope work ethic and dedication will win out over the daddy-ball and behind your back politics.  Time will tell.  Wish us luck!

Quest for Inner Peace

What a very interesting ride it has been.  Life had been up at 4am, home at 6pm, kid shenanigans, then to bed by midnight most nights, then repeat.  The new job was great...better than great...fantastic even.  Unfortunately, it was short lived.  Boy Child and Diva both started spiralling downward in school, I had to have "the talk" at daycare, the dog decided to not be housebroken anymore in retaliation and the house just kinda sorta fell apart.  So back home I went.  Blessing in disguise apparently because Husband's business decided to spiral upward and became a bigger need for me at home to keep him organized.  Everything was looking up.

I'm not going to dwell on any on thing in particular because I do not want to jinx anything. Let me just say that Boy Child did it!  No, really he did! He actually is in public school this year.  Ahem, really that is not a typo.  He has straight A's and is doing well behaviorally.  We are so proud of him.  We still struggle a bit with the sports/extra-curricular activities and his behavior but the school thing -- that is just too huge! 

Diva has decided to grow into a beautiful young lady over the summer and it is getting hard to keep up with the teenage attitude and her desire to announce her "must-haves" of the week.  She has continued to show more determination with softball and had tried out for a Class A travel team.  She made the team with only one try out.  A team where we knew no one and they didn't know her.  So very proud of her. 

In the midst of all the hustle and bustle these several months we decided to up and go move the week before Thanksgiving.  We had enough of living on a busy main road and opted for a nice neighborhood.  One where you can take the dog for a walk and ride bikes on the street and say "Hey neighbor" to the folks strolling by.  I actually have some Christmas lights up on the house and in the yard.  I'm pretty sure in the 18 years my husband and I have been together, this is the most decorated the outside of our house has been.  Craziness! So nice.

Maybe, just maybe, 2013 will be the year I finally find inner peace.....hmmm.