Thursday, September 21, 2017

Life Right Now.

We have had a busy, busy week so far!  Sometimes I feel a little . . . I don't know the right word, I just want a night to relax. I'm in the thick of the "taxi service" part of parenting and it can become a little draining.  One of these days, though, there will be no little people in the backseat of my car.  And there won't be the great conversations that come along with having one-on-one time on the way home from practice.  And maybe, just maybe I will miss these days.  (Though, in full disclosure, I always think I miss having baby boys [don't get me wrong; I love my daughter to the ends of the Earth but there was just something about my boys as babies] until I see a three-year-old having a complete and total meltdown in the middle of Target and I'm like . . . naw, I'm good.)
Monday evening, the Girl had a cross country meet (at the same time K1 had football practice, of course!) She didn't PR this time -- but her time was only five seconds behind last week and, y'all, it has been SO HOT and SO HUMID this week.  I don't even know how she was able to run at all!  She placed sixth from her school and still ran a mile at well under nine minutes.  Only a couple more meets until the state qualifier.
Tuesday morning went totally off the rails . . . one kid was a total jerk and J was throwing up. FUN.  YAY ME.  So I ended up staying home with him even though Tuesday is the only day I have to go into school for class.  Sigh.  I emailed my professor and she let me know that we'd once again be watching the live stream of the Holly Bobo case and discussing it, something I could watch at home and discuss in the online boards.  (I could write a whole 'nother post about the Holly Bobo thing - HOLY WHAT WHAT!  For now I'll just say I think Zach Adams and company are probably guilty though not on the Jason Autry timeline.  I think the jury will convict - at least on the murder - but mostly because all of Tennessee wants to see someone hang for her murder.  And I don't think this should be a death penalty case since there's no physical evidence.)
Tuesday evening, K1 had football practice (as did J but he had to miss due to being sick) and it was also Open House at the kids' school.  I dropped K1 off at practice and then the girls and I made our way to Open House.  Maybe, probably I'm a horrible parent but I hate events like that.  It's just SO crowded and since my older kids all switch classes, I had nine classrooms to visit.  However, I love seeing their artwork hanging in the cafeteria and K2 showing me the reading center in her classroom and seeing their work displayed in their classrooms.  So, all in all: hate the crowds, love everything else.  And, side note: they have freaking FOOD TRUCKS for Open House.  FOOOD TRUCKS!  Lawd. 
When we got home, I only had about ten minutes before I needed to leave to pick up K1.  Mark volunteered . . ."you've done everything else tonight."  I told him nope, nope, and nope . . . practice usually goes over a little and I enjoy the five or ten minutes in my car, all to myself, with no kid needing me.  Guess what?  Showed up to get him and he was already waiting on me!  That never happens.  Of course it would on the night I reveal my "want to go get him" secret.
J stayed home from school again yesterday.  My normal rule is that they have to be throwing up or running a fever but he had a headache and I could just tell the kid didn't feel good.  So he stayed home and started perking up around 3:00 in the afternoon.  That evening, Mark and I did the divide and conquer thing.  He went to The Boy's game in midtown Memphis and I went to K1's game.  Cady met me there -- and she was so sweet to bring a little goodie bag for K1! 
These were 7/8/9-year old boys who had been up since 6:30 or 7:00 a.m., at school all day, and playing at 7:30 at night.  They were worn out!  His team as a whole played fairly sluggish (though much better than their last game!)  K1 had a pretty good game, lots of tackles and once again was in on causing a fumble.  They won 8-0.
We didn't get home until after 9 last night and then K1 wanted to eat (yet another) meal, the three older kids had to shower, Mark and I needed a few minutes just to talk about our days, and there was a load of laundry to be done since one child only has two pair of shorts they'll actually wear to school.  It's a crazy ride right now!  ;)
The Girl has track practice this afternoon and J has football.  Both boys practice tomorrow night and have games Saturday.  At this point, I have been at the football fields every day since last Thursday and will be through Saturday.  I'm over - OH SO OVER - all the driving.  But.  I know these kids are building memories and maybe they're becoming athletes. Who knows . . . maybe one of these days, I'll be watching a division one football player and thinking about how the sacrifice of the early years was worth it.  You never do know!
. . . In the mean time, please don't even TRY to wake me up Sunday morning.  K, thanks!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Esparanza Rising

My fifth graders read Wonder at the beginning of the school year.  I read it earlier in the year and loved being able to discuss it with them.  After Wonder, they started Esperanza Rising.  J was telling me what a good book it was so I told him I would pick up a copy at the community library so that I could read along with them.  The next day, he walked in with a copy for me -- one that he checked out from the school library.  Sometimes he can still be such a sweet boy!

Esperanza Rising is loosely based upon the life of author Pam Munoz Ryan's grandmother, Esperanza Ortega.  In the book, Esperanza is born into a life of privilege and riches in Mexico during the period of resentment and violence following the Mexican revolution.  Tragedy strikes and Esperanza and her mother must flee their beloved home.  They settle in a labor camp in California and begin working in the fields.  Tragedy once again finds the family when Esperanza's mother falls ill with Valley Fever.  Their new way of life is threatened by field worker strikes and people moving west willing to work for next to nothing in order to feed their families.  Through out the course of the book, Esperanza must grow up and grow into her new life.

To be honest, this book covers a niche of history that I don't know much about.  Sure, growing up we learned about people traveling west for work, we learned of dust storms and Valley Fever.  But I was never really taught just how poorly Mexicans and people of Mexican descent where treated during the Great Depression.  People were arrested for merely looking Mexican and between 1929 and 1935, at least 450,000 Mexicans and Mexican-Americans (citizens!) were sent to Mexico.  Some of their families had even been in the country for generations, had been citizens for generations.  Hmmm . . . a mass deportation.  Sound familiar?

I began reading this book the same week that our president announced he was ending DACA and there were so many parallels that were not lost on me.  It's going to be very hard not to get political with this book review.  I'll use a quote from the book itself:

"Americans see us as one big, brown group who are good for only manual labor."
We - our country - has a history of treating brown people very poorly and reading this book really reinforced that.  And yet people of all colors, all ethnicities have come here for one reason: hope.  To make life better for their families, to be able to feed their own children.  In the postscript of the book, the author reveals that her grandmother, the book's inspiration, was able to do just that.  She moved her family from the labor camp to a small home.  She learned English, her children went to college.  Her children and grandchildren are successful, contributing members of society.  The American Dream.
I'm so glad I read this book and I'm even more glad my children are reading it.  It paints a picture of just how good we have things now but also how far we still have to go in this country.  It was eye-opening and a lovely story of hope and sacrifice.  Five stars.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tigers and Bears and . . . Falcons, Saints, Longhorns, Cowboys, and Broncos!

Well.  Once again, our weekend revolved around football.

Friday I went and picked up Madden 18 for the boys (using their money they won from Fantasy last year -- they've held on to it since January!) so I knew when they weren't playing actual football, they would be playing virtual football.  And I was right!

K1 had practice Friday night so I took him to that.  It was only an hour long practice so I decided not to run home.  I honestly just wanted to spend the hour sitting in my air conditioned car, listening to the radio, and enjoying the last bit of peace and quiet before a five kid weekend.  Buuuut.  My boy really wanted me to watch practice -- this is a rarity, I normally tell them, "I will be at pretty much all of your games but I have too many other kids who have things to do to make practices too!"  So I watched practice, he was a badass, we went home.  It was an early Friday night and everyone was in bed by 10 (miracles!)

Saturday was a big - and hot! - day.  The Girl had track practice at 8.  Mark took care of that, brought her back home, then immediately left for the Memphis/ UCLA game.  Yeah.  So we were both supposed to go to that game.  But then we found out it started at 11 and BOTH boys had 11:00 games.  Wah-burger, French cries, had to put on my responsible parent hat and skip the Memphis game.

I decided to watch the first half of K1's game and the second half of J's game.  We had The Boy this weekend and he did opposite of me and also took the iPad to film what I would be missing from each game.  K1 was a captain for his team and he was so excited!  He ran off the field after the coin toss and motioned for me to come over, "MOM!  I'm a CAPTAIN!" 

That's my #24!

The good from his game: he had a GREAT game.  He caused two fumbles and got the superman sticker for the game.  The bad: The team as a whole looked sluggish and the worst we'd seen them so far.  They ended up losing 21-6.  More good: K1 is . . . well, he's not great at losing.  More than once I've had to take xbox away from him because of fits he's thrown over losing games.  AND.  His basketball and baseball teams went undefeated, it's been a while since he's dealt with a loss.  And he handled it like a boss!  He was proud of his own performance, a little disappointed in the team overall, but handled the loss with dignity.  Way to go my boy!

After halftime -- J's game!

For starters, I packed up after K1's game and was headed over to the next field.  The Boy met me on the way there and told me, "J is having a great game but, oh man, he's hurt right now.  He got hit really hard and he's out of the game right now and they even asked me if he had a parent at the game."  Lawd Jesus take the wheel, I was imagining the boy with a bone hanging out of his arm.   Turns out, he took a hard hit to the stomach and felt like he was going to throw up.  And it wasn't even a coach who asked if he had a parent there . . . rather another mom.  Ahhhh.  He was fine, shook it off, and went back in and played 90% of the second half.

The good from his game: he shook off the nerves from the previous week and played AWESOME.  He had one (long) reception at tight end, caused a fumble, and that boy was in on every single tackle when playing middle linebacker.  The bad: He fumbled once (but his team recovered.)  Best overall, though, is that they won!  The final score was 15-6 and it was a huge confidence boost for my boy.  He came off the field fired up and high on victory.  Bonus for him was one of K1's best friends plays for the opposing team and had been "trash talking" (as, I'm sure, J was doing his fair share of as well!) all week and he was loving that he'd be the one with "bragging rights" this week.  I told him no less than 500 times to just be humble!

I told the boys before their games that if they both won, we'd have pizza for lunch.  I decided one win and one superman was a good enough reason for pizza . . . another good reason?  We basically had no "easy" food (re: lunch meat or salad makings) in the house.  We settled in for pizza and the Memphis game and, meanwhile, I got pics like this from Mark:

The Memphis game was INsane!  Oh my goodness,  They ended up beating UCLA 48-45, their third year in a row to take down a ranked opponent.  And in this win, they beat Heisman darling Josh Rosen.  Also, if you heard the announcers and how they were basically on Rosen's jock the entire game, you also would've been pulling for Memphis.  Yeesh.  WE ARE PUMPED IN MEMPHIS!  It's going to be a great season.  And Riley Ferguson?  You da man.

One of K1's squad had a birthday party Saturday afternoon so I ran him up to the birthday party.  He had a blast, as always, and didn't want to leave when I arrived back to pick him up.

We ended Saturday night watching the Texas/ USC game.  So . . . I kinda hate Texas.  But I REALLY hate USC.  And my dad was a huge Texas fan and the last time these two teams played, it was a little over a month after my dad died and Texas won.  I was really pulling for Texas and, despite the loss, it was a great game and they came so close.

Some quick college football thoughts:
- Arkansas didn't lose!  Okay, so they didn't play either but THEY DID NOT LOSE!
- I see ya Vandy!
- Tennessee.  Oh Tennessee.  It would be easier to feel sorry for them if their fans weren't the second most obnoxious in the SEC (behind Alabama.)
- Whyyyyy is Alabama still ranked above Clemson?  Reigning national champion who has taken down two ranked opponents deserves the #1 ranking.

Sunday was, of course, NFL football and the boys had their football pictures in the afternoon.  K1 had to wear his uniform yet also find a way to rep his NFL team . . .

Bears lost.  The Cowboys and the Broncos played and the Cowboys played miserably.  So most of the football fans in my house weren't too happy . . . we did have one very pleased Bronco though!

That's a wrap on the weekend!