7.1%

My oldest daughter, Madisyn, is in her freshman year of college plaing NAIA soccer. I have another daughter, Makenzy, in her junior year of HS and we are begining the process of talking to colleges and thinking of where she would like to go (PLAY). You see they both started playing soccer at age 4. The dream wasn’t always to play soccer but at some point that changed and that was what became the goal (pun intended).

When Madisyn started the mission of deciding where to go to college the dream was big. A big school and far away from home. As she approched her senior year she wasn’t sure that she still wanted to play soccer at all. I think a lot of it had to do with she wasn’t getting noticed by the schools she was hoping. She was getting noticed but not by “the” schools. As we weighed the pros and cons of EVERYTHING a couple of offers came in and a decision was made. Now here I am again starting the decision making process and I have had this huge realization that we have placed our girls in this world with extrememly talented players, playing against extremely talented players. All of those players who want to play in college, are getting offers.

The expectations of getting offers are high! When the offers aren’t flooding in there is a level of disappointment and no matter how much we tell the girls that it is an honor to get ANY offer that is unbelievable in the world they are living in. In their world girls are getting offers left and right. Recruits are coming to watch games and talking to coaches about their teammates at any given game. This truly is not how it is in the rest of the world.

For the sake of my curiosity I looked up percentages for just girls soccer, because lets face it thats all that really matters at the moment, at least in our lives.

There are 388,339 High School girls playing soccer

There are 27,638 NCAA players

That means 7.1% of High School girl soccer players go on to play in college (NCAA)

Of those 2.4% are D1, 1.9% are D2, and 2.8% are D3

Now how do we convince our daughters that ANY and ALL offers are super exciting and very impressive? I don’t know the answer to that because as of this moment on the field my daughter is playing with 3-D1 commints, 4-D2 commits, and 1-D3 commit. That is 36% of the girls she plays with commited to play at the college level.(I googled that percentage because my math ability is sketch) Those girls range from sophmores to seniors, which means that percentage will go up by the time Makenzy graduates. It’s just another day on the soccer field for your teammate to get an offer. We strive to provide a top level of play for our athletic daughers but the expectations they place on themselves are a bit insane. They have no clue that an offer from any college is an amazing accomplishment.

Don’t get me wrong we will continue to make the drive to ID camps and we will continue to take her to all the extra training she wants and we will do our best to drive to the teams that offer the highest level of play, but we also have to find away to make her realize that she is just down right fortunate to have the opportunity to be surround by so much talent!

Take the time to tell your daughters to look around at their team mates and be in awe of the level of talent they get to play with on a regular basis. Have them look in the mirror and pat themselves on the back for the hard work that goes into becoming a college athlete. They are doing it and have no idea that they are a rare few that get to live out their dreams.

Random thoughts of a mom…

As parents we are always dealing with “new” situations.  Not new as in this has never ever happened before, to anyone else, ever on the planet, but new as in “oh crap” I wasn’t prepared to deal with this situation, in this moment.  I  mean we think we are prepared, but you really never are prepared!!  Like the first time my oldest had a major blow out, I knew it would happen but was I prepared? No!  In fact I was so unprepared we ended up eating lunch with a naked baby…It happens people don’t deny it!!  I am no expert at parenting and most of my parenting Ah Ha moments come when I am venting.  I have these moments of OOOOHHHH that’s what I should do.  That saying it takes a village…yeah it’s for real!  I have a pretty good relationship with my kids but they are still kids.  They don’t want to disappoint us so there are times I find out things in a round about way.  I don’t care how many times I say it is better I hear it from you, they still like to surprise me every now and then.  Back to the village, I have the best friends who are the best parents!  We have completely different parenting styles, so sometimes our children need a different view of what we are trying to teach them.  We see things differently and it really helps to talk to people that you love and trust to help you through this parenting thing.

Side note: this isn’t what I was going to write about but let’s go with it and see where it takes us 🙂

Parenting is no joke ya’ll!  I mean we are talking about a person here!  You really don’t want to screw them up!  People always say to me, “It must be so easy now that they are all self sufficient” REALLY?!?  Umm no!  Before, when they were babies and toddlers, my job was to make sure they were fed, loved, showered, teeth brushed, hair brushed and tolerable for others to be around in public.  Some of those are not even necessary on a daily.  Now I am responsible for making sure they are self sufficient, kind, well spoken, well groomed, smart, funny, personable, loving adults that will make a contribution to society in someway.  Whew!  I don’t know about ya’ll but that isn’t a small task!  I’m still trying to figure out this adulating thing myself. Now, I am responsible for guiding the way of others.  I don’t know about you but for me…that is what nightmares are made of.

Truth be told, I love my job as a mom, but it isn’t always the most fun job on the planet.  It’s great when you actually like the person you are trying to guide through this crazy life but liking them isn’t always the case. We are talking about mini versions of you and their father.  I know this will come as a total shock to some but I don’t always like everything about their father, (by the way he is my husband, too/still)  so when they act like their father, there may be times I contemplate packing my bags and running away!  I have thought of running away a lot more as an adult than I ever did as a child.  That’s saying something for my parents, I guess!!

I think the most difficult thing about parenting is the transition.  If you haven’t got there yet, lucky you, but it is coming!  For some it comes later than others.  For me only one has  really gone through this transition (Thank God) and it just came about a year ago.  For others I know it came much earlier.  BUT it happens!  So what is this transition?  It is when you, the mother, go from being amazing, beautiful, smart, all knowing, perfect in every way to … simply put…dumb!  You have no clue what you are talking about, you couldn’t possibly understand what they are going through.  Most of the time you speak a foreign language, and I know this because the expression on her face is what I look like when I am listening to people talk in a language I don’t understand.  It’s like, really concentrating, trying to pick out just one word that might give me a context clue as to what the conversation is about.  I don’t know if there was a moment or a day that this happened, all I know is it happened. The frustrating part is, and I tell her, there isn’t going to be anything you go through or are faced with that I haven’t gone through or know of someone going through.  Hey!!  Hey you, kid!  I can help!!!  but noooooo, I’m just dumb!

So how do we get through this parenting debacle?  Who knows?!!? For me, I scream on occasion, lock myself in my room sometimes, vanish into a world on Netflix or in a book often, but mostly I just love the hell out of them. I have told them I have done a damn good job raising amazing kids, what kind of adult you chose to be is on you!  Obviously, we will survive it all.  And I do have pretty freaking awesome kids! So I’m just taking one day at a time and enjoying all the wonderful things about being a mom and tolerating the not so wonderful things so I don’t need a straight jacket!!

Maybe my next blog post can be about what I intended to write about this time…

I don’t like this!

The moment you have been thinking about, the moment you have been trying for, the moment you have not been so patiently waiting for…This was me 18 years ago.  At a very young 22 years old, my husband and I decided to try for a baby.  It didn’t take long before I was pregnant and 9 months later I gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl.  Seriously! Not even joking THE most beautiful baby ever!!  She did things so fast and I enjoyed watching my baby be so smart and so advanced.  Little did I know that I would want those moments back more than anything. In all the excitement of watching her grow I didn’t realize how fast it was going.  So here we are 18 years later, I am still watching her in complete awe and realizing this too is going way to fast.  In 2 months I will be driving her to school 8 hours away.  As excited as I am, I am just as sad.  I am in this place of looking forward to seeing where God takes her and being EXTREMELY pissed off that my time is limited.  If fact I am angry with her; I realize this sounds ridiculous!  BUT I am.  How can she not want to spend these last few fleeting moments with me????  I mean seriously doesn’t she know, this is it?  Again, I know this sounds ridiculous, In fact I’m going to make a lot of ridiculous statements while you read this, so now that I have admitted all my ridiculousness I will continue…She wants to hang out with friends, or chill in her room, or anything that doesn’t include me.  If she doesn’t act excited about being with me I storm out in anger, because? Well because I’m angry!!  It’s that simple.  I mean, who raises someone 18 years, does everything for them and then?  What they get to decide they are grown and leave??  How dare she?? I have put in so much time and effort into molding her into this freaking amazing human.  The kind of human I like to be around and she just gets to move out?  WOW!!  How unfair is that? So yeah, I’m a little pissed.  DSC_0048.jpg

Truth be told She didn’t really decide to leave, I pushed that.  I shoved her actually, she didn’t want to leave, she doesn’t want to grow up.  She didn’t want to go that far.  I encouraged her to spread her wings. Get out of her comfort zone and see what this world has to offer. What was I thinking?  I am so excited for this next chapter of her life!  That doesn’t mean I’m still not angry about it.  It seems totally unfair that I can’t have it all!  People have said we are supposed to raise good children to go out into the world to be good adults.  This is not my philosophy at all!  I raised freaking awesome kids because I wanted to live with people I like…so that’s what I did.  I like my kids.  I like spending time with them.  Don’t get me wrong, I have threatened to leave them on the side of random roads because in certain moments I DON’T like them, but over all they are pretty darn amazing.  I guess when you have babies you know they will grow up and leave and have families of their own but do you really plan for it?  We always ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” but do we ever think they will really grow up and move out?  I guess I didn’t.

We had her graduation party and invited some to celebrate this exciting time with us!  I’m all about parties!  I love throwing them.  I love being with people celebrating a special occasion.  I really hadn’t been emotional about it 1) because I really was separating the events from the reality of what was happening and 2) because I have been busy being pissed at her. You probably think I’m joking and I wish I was but nope seriously I am angry at her for growing up.  At her party I wrote a toast to her and then I did get emotional.  Not because it’s overly emotional but because I was saying out loud to all of my friends that I am acknowledging she is leaving me.

Thank you all for coming tonight. I know everyone is busy so it means a lot for you to Come and celebrate madisyn graduating high school. She is officially all grown up and heading out to the great big world of decision making…on our dime of course. Thank goodness for mom and dad’s…AND nana and grandad’s money. At the beginning of the school year I was planning on taking pictures. The cute ones with the signs, the first last day of school. You know the ones. She says to me she doesn’t want to do that. It’s so awkward. I paused for a minute and dug down deep the best way I could describe to her the importance of these moments. I then proceeded to explain to her to the best of my ability how all these small details of her senior year. All the things that seemed trivial to her now. All the things that seem silly now. ALL those things, well they aren’t about you!!! Those are about ME and what I NEED to get through this year.  Those are all the moments I have worked so hard to prepare you for. These are MY moments. I have put in a lot of time and years to get to this point. So here I am celebrating MY achievement!! Not to toot my own horn but…beep beep. I have Successfully raised a beautiful, smart, hardworking, determined, God-fearing young women!! Oh And Jeffry can toot his too. He did help.
Most of you know Madisyn’s story but I’m going to give a quick run down of who Madisyn is. Even as a baby Madisyn was so smart! She was pulling up at 6 months old. She was walking at 8 months. She was talking in sentences at 14 months. She was smart!! At the time I didn’t realize how quickly it all was going. I was just in awe of this sassy little thing. She is not scared to try anything. At 5 there was a commercial of ice skating lessons at germain arena. She turns to me and says in her very dramatic voice “I have wanted to do that my whole life” so we signed her up and away she went. Before long she was moving her way up through classes and competing. All along playing soccer. It got to the point where she had to choose. It’s obvious what she chose. The heat. The blistering heat is what she chose. Any way. She did so good in school but she struggled. In 4th grade she was diagnosed with dyslexia. She was so relived to have an answer for her struggles. She has busted her butt and worked so hard to be successful in school. She works harder than anyone I know. There were many nights we studied and I begged her to go to bed. But she wouldn’t give up until she knew it. Dang over achieving kid. Exhausting!! So here we are! She has a scholarship to play soccer. She has a scholarship for academics. Jeffry and I led her to the doors but she put in the work to bust through them. I can not wait to see where this kid goes. NOW it’s about you! As much as I have enjoyed raising you and guiding you and as much as I don’t want to let you go I am so excited for your future and watching you go out there and do amazing things! So here’s to madisyn! The world is yours!

 

Of course, celebrating High School graduation is exciting and something to be proud of but in this celebration it means change.  A big change for our family.  I just down sized my vehicle because we will have one less person on a regular.  For 15 years I drove a suburban and we traveled as a family of 6.  Now we will be down to 5.  I will not see her on a daily basis.  The morning nazi will not be screaming at the top of her lungs to the others they are going to be late if they don’t hurry.  Everything will be different.

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I know it will be exciting to hear all about her days and the people she meets.  I know we will get to travel and watch her play soccer or watch it live stream.  Between her dad and myself, we have maybe missed 3 games in the past 14 years of her playing soccer.  We will be missing quite a few and this will be hard but we truly are excited for her, but I don’t like that I won’t be there for every game or her dad won’t be there calling or texting with updates.

I am the mom of 4 children.  4 children who I truly like being around.  I don’t like that they are growing up.  My oldest is moving out in 2 months.  I would like to say that I think it will get easier after the first but I can only assume that this gets harder because I am a mom and I can’t imagine not having 4 very loud kids in my home plus whatever other kids they bring in.  As much as I don’t like this process, I am so thankful and blessed she has the opportunity to go off to college and play soccer.  She will get to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up and I know she will make me so proud.  I don’t like it but I am accepting it…or at least trying too.

 

Oh Soccer

We have been in the wonderful World of competitive soccer for the past 9 years. Honestly it seems like way longer. There have been many lessons along the way. There is nothing I love more than to see my girls on the field doing what they love and being successful at it. With the oldest now signed and heading off in August to play for a college, I can honestly say the process is worth it. The journey isn’t about whether or not you play in college it is about character building and putting in the work to be the best you can be. There have been many lessons for the kids and probably just as many for us, as the parents.

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The hardest thing as a parent is for your kid to be benched or cut from a team. Not because they did or didn’t deserve it but because what parent’s heart doesn’t break when their kid is crushed because something they wanted so bad didn’t work out? Both of my girls have had this happen. Lesson here? Work harder! Train harder! Ask the coach, what can you do to earn your spot?Nothing more nothing less!! If you want it work for it! I am not one to place blame on someone else (at least not in front of my kids lol) It’s competitive. We signed up for this. We knew what we were getting into. If we wanted equal play time we should be playing rec. Have your moment, cry it out and then pick yourself up and work!! They did! They have worked for their positions. This makes them tough and humble. A little cocky at times but who doesn’t enjoy a cute blonde chick with some sass? 🙂

For the most part we have been pretty lucky with coaches. I haven’t loved every one of them but they aren’t there to be my friend. It’s about what my kid is getting out of it. Sometimes they were the inspiration they needed to be confident after being cut from a previous team. Sometimes it was absolutely nothing as far as bettering them as a soccer player but the lesson of keeping their head on straight, playing the game to the best of their ability regardless of those around them and the coach is to be respected if you are on their team. I have learned that every coach isn’t for every player. We have loved coaches that others have hated and vice versa. In all the time we have been in this world of soccer we have only quit on one coach, not because he was the worst coach but because he was the most disrespectful coach. We teach our kids to be respectful, In fact we demand it, but that does come with limitations. I will not teach my kids to stay in a toxic situation or to be treated in a manner that makes them feel small. In that moment I learned that there are a lot of adults that claim to be “about the kids” that are definitely not! I learned that I have an amazing ability to refrain from committing murder! I learned that very few people who complain about the same things and say they have your back, actually do. I learned that those in charge of a certain club have nothing but evil running through their veins. The biggest thing I learned is that we have a choice of how we react to those unfortunate situations and I ran the gamut of reactions, but at the end of the day… my kids are happy and I’m not in jail!! Go Me!!

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I have learned that I do not like most soccer parents. I stay away from the drama and watch my kids play. Soccer parents are some of the most shady people!! I’m a straight shooter. I like things black and white. These people will look you in the face and tell you they aren’t trying out anywhere else or they will never play for a certain club and the next thing you know they are doing exactly what they said they weren’t going to do. Why? I have no idea the reason for lying, aren’t we all just trying to do what is best for our kids? That being said I have met some amazing people along the way that I have had a blast traveling with and doing life with.

The girls have learned that sometimes you don’t like a person but you totally respect them as a player and what they bring to the game. To put aside their differences and kick butt. You don’t have to be friends to respect the player and work together for the purpose of making the team better.

I have been asked on numerous occasions, what if my investment doesn’t pay off? My question back is what do you think my investment is? Of course their answer is, college. I didn’t go into soccer thinking my girls are going to be the next Mia Hamm. Actually I went into this quite reluctantly. At the time I had a friend whose daughter played competitive and I thought they were insane!! The girls have learned so much from playing. They have learned time management. They have learned how to work hard. They have learned to respect and appreciate everyone on that field. They have learned that their success is dependent on their teammates. They have learned that if they want something bad enough they are the only ones that can make it happen. We have been able to spend so much time together as a family traveling all over for soccer. We appreciate our time at home but honestly being in the car driving to practice or games is when most conversations occur. It’s when we are all together or just one of us with one of them. This time has been priceless! It comes with a pretty hefty price-tag, but I wouldn’t trade our life as a soccer family for anything because although the lessons sometimes truly suck they are lessons that have brought us closer together as a family and made the girls stronger and more resilient for what life will throw at them.

All of you who are just starting this journey…it is worth it. If your child loves the game and drives you crazy kicking a ball 24/7, jump in with both feet. Be prepared for a roller coaster but you will be building your kids a foundation that will make them stronger. The time you spend in a car or a hotel room is time well spent when it is chasing the dreams of your child!!

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Boys will be Boys

We have heard the saying our entire lives, Boys Will Be Boys, and being a mother of 2 boys, I can assure you all boys are not the same in any way shape or form.  I have 2 boys who could not be more different.  I actually have 4 kids.  Two girls and two boys who are all very very different, but today it’s the boys, rather the boy, that is the topic.

I always wanted to keep a journal of things the kids do or say but haven’t ever taken the time to do it.  What better way to start this blog or my journal than to begin with a doozy of a story.  My older son is 13 and has always had a gentle spirit.  He is all boy in that, he loves sports, hunting and fishing but he is mild mannered and hardly gives me any trouble.  Actually he never gives me any trouble.  God knew what he was doing in only giving me one free spirited child.  My little one, the 8 year old is a really good boy.  He is well behaved and does not like to get in trouble at all…but…sometimes he can’t help himself.  Not in trouble like misbehaving, but in trouble like “what did you do now.”

Have you ever had a dilemma? Oh you know the kind where you really want/ need to know or do something even though you know there are consequences?   I haven’t decided if this is the 8 year old or not.  It is either that or he just acts in the moment.  Maybe a little of both.  So, we have many conversations about making smart choices, Thinking before you do something and sometimes the conversation is more me telling him he can’t make stupid decisions.  Mostly it’s all a waste of my breath because honestly he can’t help himself.

It’s been about 2 weeks now, but it is still quite fresh on my mind.  Major comes running through the house and heads to his room.  I didn’t think anything of it.  I was cooking dinner and he had been outside getting his backpack out of the car.  He doesn’t really walk anywhere any way, its always a mad dash.  Anyway…A friend of Madisyn’s tells her to go check on him, he thinks he ran to his room crying.  She does, and in a matter of seconds she is screaming, “He sprayed himself with pepper spray!”  SERIOUSLY?!?!  My first question is Why????  What were you thinking???  Second, What do I do?  As Taylor is screaming in pain and I am holding his hands so he doesn’t rub his eyes or face, I have Madisyn google what we are suppose to do.  She tells me to wash him with dawn and lots of water.  Also, poor milk on it to help alleviate the burn.  We move the party to the porch where I proceed to wash him in dawn, water, and poor milk on him.  I have Mad get poison control on the phone so I can get more information on how to proceed.  All the while stressing about him being in pain and at the same time asking what the heck where you thinking?!? He says he didn’t mean too… REALLY???  Ummm yeah you did!!

Now, this is a first for me but clearly not a first for the poison control operator, who seemed quite bored in my hysteria as if she already had this same call 20 times that day.  I ask what we do and basically it is what we were already doing.  No, we don’t need to take him to the emergency room. No, there is nothing more other than wait for it to stop burning.  Which could be a while.  I ask, “What is a while?”  Her response, “oh some says hours”….HOURS???

Fortunately, he sprayed it away from him and the wind just blew it back on him so it was about an hour,  no more.

I send Madisyn to the store to get sour cream which is suppose to help soothe the burning, while I continued to poor milk on my child who is in some serious pain.  She gets back and I lather him up with a sour cream mask and by this time, The siblings have moved on from genuinely concerned to the hysterically laughing lets snap chat this to everyone phase.

After things settled down I asked Major to tell the friend why he didn’t stop and tell me why he sprayed himself.  He said, “you tell him.”  I said, “I have a pretty good idea why but I want to hear it from you.”  Major says, “I didn’t want to tell Mom because, It was stupid but I just wanted to know how it worked.”

Later that night as I tuck Major into bed I decided our conversation about thinking before you do somethig dumb needed to be switched up because clearly there are just things he needs to try.  So I say to him, I realize you feel the need to do things and no matter how bad of an idea it may be it is all the more intriguing. Here is what I asked of him, IF/WHEN he feels the need to try something that is questionable or he feels the need to hide, could he please let me know.  I will tell him if it going to cause serious pain and if he still feels the need to do it, then I would like to be able to supervise the stunt so I can get him the medical attention needed without any delay.  I’m thinking its a really good thing the fire department is only 1/10 of a mile from my house.

There is never ever a dull moment in my house!! God, I love that kid!!