May you be blessed

http://www.mayyoubeblessedmovie.com/

Check it out. Definitely worth five minutes of your time. 

Sportsmanship

I could learn a thing or two from my daughter.

This morning, Maia had a "gym meet" to conclude an Olympics-themed week in gymnastics camp, giving the hard-working campers a chance to show off their newly acquired acrobatic prowess. It was cute, but long, and I was tempted to sneak out and head back to work. It’s budget time and I had some related numbers that had to be crunched today, so two and a half hours out of my morning wasn’t exactly timely.

I’m glad I stayed.

At the end of the meet, medals were awarded to all, but it was a small handful of trophies nearby that commanded the notice of at least some of the aspiring gymnasts. Who would be taking home the top prizes? There were some excellent athletes in the bunch, so I was already preparing to ease Maia’s disappointment at not receiving one of those coveted awards. I was ever so wrong. It turns out that the trophies weren’t for performance at all. They were sportsmanship awards, as voted on by their peers. My darling daughter was one of the recipients. 

I’m proud of Maia on so many levels. First, I’m glad to know that she demonstrates the attributes of a good sport even when we aren’t around to remind her. And the fact that she won a sportsmanship award made me realize that my earlier mental preparations had been completely unnecessary. Being the good sport she is, I’m sure she would have handled NOT receiving a trophy with grace.

We’re so proud of Maia for winning such an important character award. As far as Kent is concerned, it’s the most important sporting recognition of all. And of course Maia is proud of herself, too. She was beaming (unobtrusively, in a very sportsmanlike, non-showing-off way). She made me promise to tell everyone at work about her trophy, but I’m doing her one better. I’m telling the entire blogosphere!

At long last

This blogger is finally rejoining the fold. "It’s about time," I can hear you loyal visitors (all one or two of you diehards who are left) muttering under your breath.

What prompted this overdue return to the blogosphere, which I never meant to vacate in the first place? An invitation. Yesterday, I received an invitation to participate in a study that the psychology department at some small college in Iowa (anyone ever hear of Wartburg College?) is conducting about the opinions of women blog authors regarding online vs. "real life" friendships. The timing is a little ironic, given how inactive this blog has been recently, but it has motivated me to get back to it.

Regarding the study itself, I have no idea how they found me, though I’m flattered. Yet normally I’d have deleted such an email. However, they used the magic word. You see, if the study had merely been about "female bloggers," I’d have opined to let the lonely cyberspace adolescents on MySpace and its ilk have their say, and leave me out of it. But like I said, the study administrator used the magic word. She called me an author. Leave it to those psychology types to know how to inflate an ego! In my case, at least, it worked.

So has anyone else out there received this invitation? I’ve been encouraged to share the details with others, so if you are a female blog author between the ages of 22 and 45 (their rules, not mine) and are interested in participating, leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail (from the "Email me" link in the right sidebar of this page) with your e-mail address, and I will forward the invitation with the details.

Personally, I’m going to participate. I was a psychology major myself, and I know what a struggle  it can be to recruit research participants. I’m more than willing to help in their study. 

Happy 4th

Happy Independence Day! I don’t know about you, but I feel pretty darn fortunate to be a citizen of our great nation. I’m putting on my patriotic mood and remembering the principles on which our country was founded. And of course we’ll be doing the usual—barbecue, swimming, fireworks (on TV), and sparklers for the kids. It’s family day. Enjoy yours!

Simply Coll wrote in a comment here a while back that she had reached the conclusion that blogging was a winter sport. How right she is! Except how is it that when I started this blog around this time last year, I seemed to have lots to say anyway, and lots of time to say it? That, I suppose, will just have to remain one of life’s great mysteries.

In addition to all the usual summer scheduling hoopla, we’ve added an extracurricular job for Maia into the mix, just for this week. My parents "hired" her to feed their cats and scoop the litter while they are out of town. Apparently, I’ve been fired from the job. Or so Maia is telling everyone. I’m just the lowly chauffeur, carting her around to earn her pay. Because of course she is getting paid for the job. I think I’ve been gyped, because all this time, I was doing it for free! Although in hindsight, I think we may have gotten a dinner or two, and lots of free babysitting, out of the deal.

In any case, it turns out that Maia is excellent at cat-sitting. She may have just earned herself a permanent job of tending to our cat at home, too!

I wanna be a kid again

I want my daughter’s life. Really, I do. She has the best summer ever lined up for her entertainment. Last week was gymnastics camp. This week is Vacation Bible School. She loved the first day and is already singing the songs like crazy (I have to admit, they are kind of catchy), and afterward, her aunt took her to Disney. What’s not to love about that? Next week begins two weeks of theater camp, which will conclude with a theatrical production. Followed by a week of tennis camp and swimming. Then more gymnastics. Then a week of field trips at daycare before school starts again and life returns to normal.

In contrast, here’s what my summer looks like. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Hmmm, I think I see a pattern here. 

Lucky kid. Where can I sign up to be 7 again? Just for a couple of months. Then I’ll revert to responsible adulthood, I promise.

My, how time flies! It was exactly one year ago today when I tentatively staked my claim on the Internet, hung out my blogging shingle, and became a fledgling blogger. Wow! What a year it has been. A year of stories and memories and chronicles of daily life to share with my kids someday. A year of ramblings and drivel punctuated by an occasional burst of inspiration. A year of both fun (in shaping my best writing) and frustration (when the writer’s block set in).

When I started this thing a year ago, I didn’t know the first thing about blogging. I had no idea what I would write about. I had no idea that I was going to keep it up. I had no idea I would have readers. But a year later, here I am, still blogging, and here you are, still coming back for more. In honor of this milestone, let’s revisit some of my personal favorite entries, shall we? However I, being the sole judge of which entries constitute my personal favorites, have decided that a mere top 10, which would seem appropriate for the occasion, would never be enough. Instead, I present for your reading pleasure the top 10 percent. As this blog-iversary entry marks post number 160, below you will find, in reverse chronological order, my favorite 16 posts from the past year. Happy re-reading!

  1. 04/26/06  My legacy to you
  2. 03/31/06  My heart is on fire
  3. 01/10/06  Able to leap War and Peace in a single bound
  4. 01/06/06  My travels
  5. 12/09/05  A tale of innocence betrayed
  6. 12/02/05   ‘Tis the season
  7. 12/01/05   My son the heartbreaker 
  8. 11/24/05  Don’t try this at home
  9. 11/22/05  A memory is worth a thousand pictures
  10. 11/17/05  Recipe for family life
  11. 11/04/05  Death by candy wrappers
  12. 11/02/05  Patience is, um, a virtue?
  13. 10/12/05  See that spot? Sit on it!
  14. 10/02/05  Faulty memory
  15. 09/24/05  Spring Break 1990
  16. 06/14/05  Me, tough? 

Golf widow

I shouldn’t complain. My poor husband loves to golf, yet doesn’t get the chance very often. But still, I’ll get my revenge. In exchange for "allowing" him his bonding time with the guys, I’m dragging him shopping with me for new living room furniture when he gets home. I’m such an evil wife!

A trip down memory lane

My parents are the best. Over the years, they have saved practically everything of importance from my childhood. I have long known of the existence of a "box" where these items were stored, and yesterday, I finally got my hands on it. That box of treasures contains old school photos, report cards (some of which might be better forgotten), a plethora of awards and related newspaper clippings, letters I wrote home from summer camp, and many other items and trinkets that all brought back wonderful memories as I dug through.

One of the best finds was a book that was a favorite for my dad to read to me as a kid, titled "Big Max." Big Max was a quirky but observant detective who traveled by umbrella, and he was on a mission to help the King of Pooka Pooka find his missing elephant. The thing I always loved best about this particular book, however, wasn’t the story. It was the way my dad inimitably rolled the phrase "Pooka Pooka" off his tongue in his thick Spanish accent. I was captivated, making him the only person who could ever read it to my liking.

Equally riveting, for me, were the preserved elementary school photos. 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade class pictures have survived the years, and it was a thrilling blast from the past to see familiar faces both long forgotten and recently reacquainted. There is so much possibility reflected in each and every one of those eager young faces! And my husband observed that Maia poses for the camera in the same tilt-headed posture that I had adopted for the 2nd grade picture, in particular. As it so happens, she is about the same age now that I was in that picture, which pleased her to no end.

I love memories like this, and they are exactly the kind of memories that I want to preserve for my own kids. They are going to be the delighted recipients of boxes of their own some day.

Dinner table irreverence

My son is such a little ham. Lately, he’s taken to reminding us that we have to pray before dinner, if he thinks we have forgotten. (And I didn’t even know he’d been paying attention!) In return, I’ve begun sneaking peeks at him to discover just what the attraction is, from his preschool perspective. What I always witness is Noah with his eyes all squished and scrunched shut, bobbing his head around all over the place in what can only be described as a spot on imitation of Stevie Wonder. I have no idea what’s going through that little mind of his—probably nothing properly pious—but he’s clearly entertained by the ritual. It cracks me up, every single time.

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