Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bend it Like Balzuweit...or Something Like That.

This Spring marks the beginning of Sophie's soccer career. Who knows how long it will last, but her enthusiasm indicates that we are in this for the long haul. She is one of 12 kids on a team that is made up of her preschool peers. Each Sunday afternoon for the next several weeks, they meet for a 30 minute practice followed immediately by a 30 minute game.

Sophie has been excited about this from the moment we signed her up, despite the fact that she had no clue about how the game is played, what the purpose of the games is and so on. And one of the best parts for her was that she gets to be #4, her new favorite number since her recent birthday.

So we showed up a couple of weeks ago for the first practice/game, completely unaware of what would come of this new opportunity. Not surprisingly, Sophie and her friends caught on fast, especially since the coach's wife brought a balloon to tie to the goal that they were supposed to head towards. How easy can it get? Also not surprisingly, almost every child on the team was called for a hand ball foul within the first few minutes of the game. They all seemed pretty annoyed when the referee stopped the game because of this, since naturally the easiest way to get the ball out of the way of the opponent is simply to pick it up, right?

This ultimately led to Sophie's decision to be the goalie for the team. She clearly understood that only the goalie has the special privilege of using hands to touch the ball, and she wanted to make that happen. So during half time, Sophie approached Coach Jay to express her desire, and she never turned back. She was so excited to have this responsibility, that the only way she could find to express herself was to jump up and down the entire time she was in the goal...which made everyone a little nervous, but especially me. I got a little anxious when that ball rolled a little too close for comfort in Sophie's zone. I don't know what worried me more...the possibility that she would let it slip into the goal, or whether or not one of her opponents would give it a swift enough kick to knock her out. Either way, I was a little beside myself as I watched from the sidelines.

The first game ended with a 0-0 tie (phew!). Sophie probably still doesn't even know that there's a possible winning and losing team. She simply had too much fun to even care. And when asked what her favorite part of the game was (you might be as naive as me to think it was being the goalie), her response was..."The Snack". That's my girl!

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Ballerina Birthday

For months Sophie has been talking about all the things she'll be able to do when she turns 4. Her day finally came a couple of weeks ago and she celebrated in style with a ballet themed birthday party.

Given that I have no ballet skills of my own, I turned things over to "Miss Meridith", who is Sophie's ballet teacher at pre-school. Seeing as how we had been building up to this for quite some time and it was pretty much all Sophie talked about for weeks, Grammy found an adorable leotard/tutu that Sophie could wear for her special day. She was joined by about 12 other little girls for a short ballet lesson, a story reading of "Angelina Ballerina," a fairy wand craft, and of course a pink ballerina cake.

The girls had a great time and it was a great opportunity for those who had never tried ballet to give it a chance. My friend Crystal's daughter Kylie was one of the newbies, and she proved to be a natural ballerina. Check out how cute she looks...

While Jack has been "sacheting" around the house for months, he chose to snack on pb&j sandwiches most of the time while bringing to my attention the reason why he has never seemed to enjoy sandwiches at home. For the party I made the sandwiches crustless, and Jack inhaled them. Lesson learned!

Needless to say, Sophie had a great time and is still talking about her party. And she (and we) are truly realizing all of the things she can do now that she's 4. It's hard to believe we've come this far and that she has gained so much independence already. Cutting her own hair was apparently on her list of "Things I can do when I turn 4", so we did need to have a little chat to get us on the same page regarding scissor privileges, and fortunately the self-imposed haircut was not too severe. But in all seriousness, 4 really does seem different than 3.
While I rejoice at the milestones my children reach as they get older, it is a little bittersweet to experience what seems to be an always increasing rate of time passing. Living in the moment is something I have had to work on throughout most of my life, and watching my children grow so quickly is a great reminder that I need to keep working on relishing each moment, even when some of those moments are more challenging than others.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Happy Birthday "Two-Two"

Jack has been practicing The Birthday song for many weeks. With the many January and February birthdays among our family and friends, he's had lots of opportunities to sing his heart out. So, he thoroughly enjoyed it when the tables turned and he was the one on the receiving end. He did have a little confusion since we were also trying to teach him how old he was going to be, so he has altered his version a little to reflect his new age. It's hard to believe he's already 2 (although the recent temper tantrums are certainly make it seem all the more real). Here are a couple of comparison shots from his 1st and 2nd birthdays.

Jack's celebration began with a visit from Oma and a special family day on his actual birthday. Daddy even took the day off from work to help us celebrate (big sacrifice, huh?!). We had a great lunch at Muss and Turner and enjoyed chocolate cupcakes that Sophie helped make and decorate.

The following day we had a party for Jack with some of our neighborhood friends as well as Uncle Matt, Aunt Kori, Will and Colin who recently moved to Atlanta from Seattle. What a treat to have them with us for Jack's special day! Uncle Matt saved the day when my Elmo visor craft idea ended up with a few kinks. He ended up assembling the visors for the kids since we had to resort to krazy glue instead of Elmers. As curious as we might have been to see what happens when you unleash krazy glue to a bunch of toddlers, we decided that it wasn't something that would turn out well.

The highlight of Jack's birthday was the enormous Elmo balloon that his babysitter Treva brought for him. If you tap it just right, you can hear Elmo sing Happy Birthday over and over and over again. Needless to say, Jack loves this and Mommy is a wondering just how long that big mylar balloon is going to stay afloat in our house. The highlight of Jack's birthday for Sophie was that it was the final hurdle she had to overcome before being able to celebrate her own birthday just 8 days later. Stay tuned for pictures from her special ballet party!