Tuesday, June 27, 2017

soccer sorrow

Back in May Claire tried out for club soccer.  

To be honest, Dave and I had tried just a tad to veer her away from it.  There are SO many sports she still wants to try, and club soccer has pretty much taken over her life.  So we thought it might be a good year to branch out before honing in whole-heartedly into that sport.

But Claire was determined that she adored soccer so much she couldn't live without it.  

So she and her cute soccer friends had one more season game...
...and then had try-outs for next year.
There were three different days of tryouts and I love that Claire asked to have a little huddle and to say a prayer together before the first one.

This has been our first year of club soccer and I didn't know this before, but I guess club teams generally move up together.  They have that cohesion with the coach and the players so they all move up together for a few years and keep that unity.  Claire has grown quite attached to her coach who is from Ghana and who is TOUGH on these kids but full of love for them too.

Claire felt pretty confident coming out of try-outs as the coach gave a big schpeal about how great everyone did and he'd let them know as soon as possible.
But by that afternoon that confident girl of mine was in tears.  She and all those little soccer players on her team had a group text and one by one each one of them posted that they made it, complete with exclamation marks and smiley faces.

Claire waited.

And waited.

And waited some more, but no word from the coach.

Everyone else had heard back.

I told her to give it one more hour, but still no word.  So I called up that man on the phone and he spilled out the bad news:  she did not make it.

It's so interesting how a mother can feel her child's sorrow through her own heart before her child even knows what is happening.  But that afternoon, in my bedroom with sun streaming through the windows my heart broke in two for that daughter of mine.  

Every single other player made it except for Claire.

My heart broke even more because this same thing had happened with cheer earlier in the year (which I wrote about back HERE).  

At first my emotions got in the way and I pictured myself grabbing that coach by the collar and giving him a piece of my mind as I explained that you just don't do that to one team member!  Did he even have any idea what that meant to her? (of course he did, and of course he had to make the best decisions for the team, but at that moment my mama-bear instincts came out strong!)

But my rational side kicked in (luckily) and I sat calmly and let him explain that since Claire is an '04 player (born in 2004) who "played up" for the '03 team this last year, he felt it would be a great fit for Claire to be one of the bigger players on the '04 team (although the three other '04 players made it back on the '03 team).  He felt that she could be a leader there, and that the top '04 team wanted her, and that he'd for sure keep an eye on her for next year.

At least that's what I recollect him saying after I put the pieces back together later.  It actually sounded quite a bit like that adult voice in those Charlie Brown cartoons that just sounds like a bunch of jibberish... "wah WHA, wha wha, wah WHA" because in my mind I was trying to figure out how to break the news to Claire.  She was going to be devastated.  And I was sure this was the end of soccer.  Claire was in this not only because she loves the sport, but she's a social creature and she loves her friends on that team.  She loves the coach (yes the one I wanted to give a piece of my mind).  She loves the carpool and the tournaments and the camaraderie of her teammates.  That's a big part of the soccer package.

I came out of my bedroom trying to act all nonchalant.  We'd have to talk about it later, Claire's friends were over and they were deep into a slime-making afternoon.  But Claire immediately grabbed my phone to check to see if the coach had called and looked at me with the saddest eyes.  So I took her back to her room and let her in on the news.

It was sadder than sad.

We sat and hugged and talked through her options.  Of course, Dave and I really had kind of hoped that if this happened (which we really knew was a possibility...she's small and hasn't hit any type of maturation like all the other girls have), we would just encourage her into the other sports she wanted to try and it would be all hunky-dorey.  But through the whole try-out process we had realized how much she wanted this, so it made it extra sad for all of us.

I got a call from the '04 team coach who was so nice and let us know that he wanted Claire on that team.  He went through the list of girls and I didn't recognize a single name.  

Neither did Claire.

I know this sounds dramatic, it's only soccer after all.  And yes, she made a team.  A good one.  But there was just something about that elite team she had been a part of and all the friends on it that made it such a blow to that girl of mine.  I woke up in the middle of the night that night and also the night after unable to sleep, worry jumbled up in my mind about that girl of mine.  

And my heart broke all over again.  About cheer, which has turned out, just as we thought, to be much better that she didn't make it for many reasons.  But did she really get that?  And about soccer.  Would it be better in the long-run?  Could she make it better?  Was it a great chance to spread her wings into other things?

That next night when Claire got home from something-or-other she sat on the couch with me and we had a conversation I don't want to ever forget.  Not the words, because I already can't remember those.  But the feelings.  She told me she was going to accept the other team.  That she loved soccer enough that she didn't care who she knew, or even which team she was on (I had made some calls and found out the '04 coach was really great, so that was a plus), she just wanted to play.

So she marched onto that field that next day, head held high, and joined that group of girls she didn't know with a smile on her face, and got to work.

As I walked away I thought my heart might burst.

Lately my family has been enamored with some journal entries from my Grandma (my mom's mom), who had some serious grit.  She lived on a farm and worked her tail off with her family and she was an amazing woman.  She overcame a lot of obstacles in life which helped her gain all that grit, and become the strong woman she was.  One paragraph that stuck out to all of us was this:

"But when you master the seemingly impossible, it does something for you that fits into your very character for a lifetime, and makes the next impossible thing seem that much easier."

I like to think of that last seemingly impossible thing (at least in a young teenager's mind) for that girl of mine (not making cheer and shining anyway), certainly was making this next "impossible" thing that much easier.  She wasn't afraid.  There was something in her that made her realize it would all be ok. Maybe the seed of that grit my Grandma had running through her veins.

And I'm so excited to watch her shine this next year on that soccer field.  Oh the people she'll meet and the places she'll go!  And the things she will learn from this whole deal are going to be pretty awesome.  

It's going to all work out for that sparkly young teenager of mine who has the whole wide world ahead of her.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Grace turns SIXTEEN

TODAY marks the day that this little sparkle of a girl turns into a beautiful sixteen-year-old.

Oh!  Has she ever been waiting for this day!!

When both Max and Elle turned 16 we had surprise birthday parties for them.  
(Max's is back HERE, and Elle's is back HERE.)  I mean, sixteen is a big one I tell you, and it needs to be celebrated!

I've always been excited for Grace's because she's a party girl.  I figured she would LOVE it.  

But a few days before we were set to throw that surprise party (in the midst of all our surgeries and anesthesia last week because that's the only time we could do it), she told me that she did NOT want a surprise party.  

Luckily her friends and I knew better and we went ahead and planned it anyway:)  She was SO surprised, and also so happy.  

Which made it pretty fun I have to say.
I personally cannot believe Lucy didn't spill the beans to be honest, she was so dang excited for that thing to come around!

We did it almost a week in advance to catch her off guard, and her friend had her go with her to visit another friend at work so we could speedy quick grab everything and set this all up.  No small feat especially since her friend accidentally backed into our truck on the way out (luckily only minimal damage), and all these kids started gathering.

What did we do without social media back in the day when someone wanted to throw a surprise party??

She came in wondering why there were all these streamers...somehow in her mind had the idea we were throwing a party for one of her friends (??).  But she was so excited.  Here's a part of the crew I could gather for a pic:

They swam:

...and had crepes with specially marked toppings created by Lucy and her friend:
Grace was part amused and part horrified that I got a piñata to help celebrate:
But come on, that's her birthday tradition and we haven't done it the last few years.

The kids were excited, especially Lu and Claire and their friends who are like bees to honey when any party hoopla is going on.  That thing broke on the second whack....
I think next year we better go back to our own home-made piñatas :)

So we are already pretty celebrated for the big day, but we have some other pretty fun things in store today that I'll get to some time soon.
Until then, here are my sixteen things I adore about this newest 16-year-old of mine:

1) She loves beauty.  She seeks it.  In the sky, in pictures, in her heart, in her spirit.

2)  She is the best sister.  She makes everything fun for those sisters of hers with her spunk and sparkle.  She will take Claire out just to sit in the car and listen to music together.  She will give Lucy the kindest compliments even when Lucy only gets huffy in return.  She writes long letters to Max and doesn't get [too] mad when he responds in one word.  She reaches out to tell Elle everything on her mind, and they all love her.

3)  She is a chef.  Not only can she bake, but she takes good recipes to heart and is willing to whip them up for me any time I ask.  Her bruschetta and smoothies are exceptional and she's my favorite person to hang with in the kitchen.

4)  She is smart.  

5)  She knows how to set a goal and achieve it.  

6)  Her smile.  It is a perfect one complimented so beautifully by her dimples.

7)  She is good.  She knows right from wrong and isn't afraid to stand up for it.

8)  Not only is she my daughter who I love, but she is my friend who I trust.  I love that we talk about so much, she will tell me so much.  The things she's worried about as well as the things she is joyous about, from the nitty-gritty worries to boys she thinks are good-looking.

9)  She makes things fun.  She's always got the music turned up and gets the good times rolling with a sparkle in her eye.

10)  Her hair.  Speaks for itself and I wish I had it.

11)  She is a good driver.  No, no license yet (we were out of town on that 15.5 mark when she could get it and so she was a week late, which means she can't get her real license exactly on her birthday, dang it!), but she's not afraid to use that learner's permit I tell you, and practice makes all the difference.  The first day she got that permit she wanted to be the one to drive to the airport to pick up her cousin who was coming to town.  That's three different freeways away and she did it like a champ.  And she hasn't stopped ever since.  Oh how happy I will be to get another driver around here!

12)  She gives the best back rubs.

13)  She is good at making decisions.  She has made a pretty momentous one this summer.  She has chosen to do an internship in China for five weeks starting TOMORROW.  This has not been an easy decision.  There is so much she is going to miss around here.  I will talk about this more asap, but for now we can't celebrate her birthday here on the blog without acknowledging that she made a pretty tough decision that she knows is going to be pretty amazing yet tough, and she's stepping off into quite an adventure.

14)  Goes without saying after reading number 12, but she's always up for a good adventure!  And I adore that about her because our spirits match up pretty well that way :)

15)  She has a connection with Heaven.  She feels it.  And she relies on it.  I saw that connection in action this summer as she made those tough decisions, and I have loved to watch it strengthen to get to this point over the years.  I don't think there's a better skill in the whole wide world than to connect your heart with Heaven, and she is pretty darn great at it.

16)  She loves God and tries her best to shine His light.
Love you forever Grace Jam!  

Happy 16th birthday!

Friday, June 23, 2017

happy anniversary #22

Twenty-two years ago I married this man:

...and without going into too much gush since I'm sure he's feeling like I've done too much of that lately, I'll just say it was the best decision I ever made.
No one I'd rather go through the thick and the thin with.

Love you forever David Stuart.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

a wing-dinger of a week

This week has been a doozey I tell you.  And it's only Thursday.

In three days we had three of us go under anesthesia.

On Monday, bright and early Bo and I headed in to the doctor.  Because the time had come to get her spayed.  (We signed this contract that we'd do that when we got her from the breeder.)

Poor pup has been walking around like this ever since, and it's sure put a little bit of a damper on her spirit!

Elle, after visiting our good friend dentist in Utah last week to figure out what was causing all that commotion of pain in her mouth, found out that she was getting all that pressure from wisdom teeth.

And they needed to come out.

So on Tuesday morning out they came.
And we thanked our lucky stars once again for our oral surgeon Paul Kelly, who is the best of the best, and who also happens to be married to Dave's cousin.

It just so happened that Elle's cousin was getting her wisdom teeth out the very same morning.

...and that Claire's cousins happened to spend the night the night before so those fresh-wisdom-teeth-less cousins had quite the audience when they came out from under the anesthesia since we all went to pick them up:

Then on Wednesday Lu and I headed to the hospital bright and early to finally get her MRIs taken care of.
I say finally because I'm telling you what: getting orders from two different doctors for three different procedures and coordinating with them and the facilities they associate with to combine all those things are not for the weak of heart.

And then trying to coordinate all that with insurance was a whole other story of frustration.

BUT we are DONE, and I'm anxious to hear what the doctors have to say about that.

Here's our brave girl in her special hospital pjs heading in to get the procedures done:
On top of that we had three dentist appointments and seven cavities filled among us...

Yep, we're knocking it out this week I tell you!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

a quick trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats

Growing up much of my life in Salt Lake, the Bonneville Salt Flats have always kind of fascinated me.  They are the remnants of the ancient Lake Bonneville that was massive.  As it dried up it over years and years, it left these flats.    

I figured since I had my adventurers with me, last week would be a perfect time to go.

They were all on-board for the drive, although it took Lucy a little bit to understand why in Heaven's name we were driving all that way (a little over and hour and a half from the city) just to take some pictures and turn around and come back (I guess she should know us better by now :).  But even she was pretty excited to run around those things and wonder at that vast expanse of white.

Nothing like a good drive with your girls, especially when all this beauty awaits.
It's kind of an eerie, surreal type of beauty, because it's just salt as far as your eye can see.
...all wrinkled with these ripples throughout.  Kind of soft to step on.  And looking like snow.
 Claire was wondering if it was cold when we sent her pictures.

 ...and it sure looks like it is, don't you think?

We just ran around and basked in that unique place as the sun sunk behind the mountains.

We basked in having a little time to do some photography which all of us love.

...until the focus on the camera went wacky.

We were using Elle's camera and her little 50mm prime lens which suddenly wouldn't focus.

We tried some manual focus...even that didn't work too well, something was stuck in that lens, but I still like these fuzzy pics we took trying to figure it out...

 Elle figured it out that we could only take far-away pictures and it would work.
 Good job, Elle belle.
 (we need to get that thing fixed)

Lucy sat and read her book for a little bit while we were figuring all that out, and then came springing over to join us again.

 How I love these beauty/adventure/nature lover/jumpers of mine.

Our shadows crept longer and longer.

 And finally we packed up to slip away, letting those vast expanses of salt blur out around us.
It was a great way to spend the evening :)
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