About Me

Sunday, March 29, 2015

First Walk

The weather has finally been nice enough for us to get outside and have some fun.  We decided to take Rolo, our corgi puppy, for a walk.  Technically, it was his second time on a leash, but his first time going for an actual walk.  He was a little unsure about what was going on.

He stuck super close to me, almost tripping me a few times in the process.  He loosened up a bit and sniffed around and explored, but he wouldn't go far.  On the way home, we walked by a fire hydrant, and that really scared him.  He barked at it like crazy.

Hopefully this will be the first of many walks and he gets more comfortable.  He's only 6.5 months old, so it's understandable that he views the world as a big, scary place.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

When the Going Gets Tough

For the third year in a row, the boys are wrestling. But this year has been a little different than the last two. Because of their experience, my husband and I put them in the advanced group.

There were a couple different reasons for doing this. First and foremost, we figured that since they’d been wrestling for so long, they were ready. I watched them multiple times last year get distracted and start goofing off because the practice wasn’t engaging enough for them or because there were so many kids the coach wasn’t paying attention. We wanted them to be great at the sport, so we figured we’d give them the opportunity to be more focused.

The advanced group is definitely advanced. My boys are some of the smallest in the class. They have their days where they don’t want to work and complain about how tired they are and how much they hate being there, but for the most part, they work hard at practice. They stay focused and put in the time and effort.

I’ve noticed advancement in their wrestling abilities, and I’m glad we pushed them to that next level. That’s the only way they’ll get better. But I worry about what the future will hold. Some days I think advanced practice is too much, and they are just biding their time until the season is over and will never wrestle again. I don’t want them to feel like we’re pushing them too hard, but—at the same time—they need the motivation. Otherwise, they’d do nothing but sit around the house and play video games. But there has to be that balance between wanting to do it and feeling like their forced to do it.

In the end, after the season is over, it’s their choice if they want to wrestle again. I want them to do whatever makes them happy, and I will support their decision. My only hope is that they realize they have the drive and ambition in them to reach great heights, and we’ll always be there to encourage and support them.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Music to My Ears

One of the things we really enjoy doing as a family is snowmobiling. I talk about it almost as much as I talk about writing. I really like riding. I enjoy it even more so now that I have some confidence. I’m more than happy to get out every chance I can get.

The boys also really enjoy it. Last weekend, before we headed into the hills, the oldest asked me where we were going. I told him the same place we went last time (which is up in the Snowys), and he wrinkled his nose and screwed up his mouth and said, “I want to go to the other place.”

“Which other place?” I asked. “The one where we ride trails?”

I explained to him the difference between the two places: that the Snowys are where we ride hills and meadows and that Albany is where we ride trails.

He shook his head. “Not Albany. Riding trails is so boring. All you do is turn.”

There was a time when I would have thought he was crazy for saying that, but not anymore. Riding trails isn’t necessarily boring, it’s just a different kind of riding. There are parts of it I like. But I also have a great time mountain riding, going up hills and cruising around meadows. And that’s what the kids really enjoy too.

For only being 6 and 7, the boys are troopers. Mountain riding is physically demanding. It takes focus and energy. Last weekend, we rode about 40 miles and were out for almost 6 hours. That’s a long day for a kid. That’s a long day for me! But it was amazing. We had so much fun! The kids kept up and didn’t whine about wanting to go home. They mentioned it once or twice, but never threw a fit. I was so proud of them.

As you can imagine, the boys fell asleep in the truck on the ride home. They were still so exhausted after we got home. But later that night, after we’d gone out to dinner, my youngest says from the backseat, “I really want to go snowmobiling again.” I smiled. My heart swelled with pride. It’s one of the best things to hear after a long day of riding.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Draw of Minecraft Is Mind Boggling

For Christmas, the boys got an Xbox One.  It came with the game Titanfall, and they were thrilled.  They really enjoyed playing that game.  They also downloaded Minecraft, but only played it once in a while.  It didn't appeal to them all that much.

Then, one weekend when their cousins were visiting, they discovered how to play.  They were shown how to build houses and defend against threats and gather food.  The game has now become their favorite.

One of the features of the game is that they can both play at the same time--which is awesome on so many levels.  They mainly play in "Creative" mode, which means they are free to do whatever they want and they don't have to eat and build shelter and survive like they do in "Survival" mode.

I don't watch them play all that often.  Generally while the kids are enthralled with video games, I'm accomplishing other tasks (cleaning the house, writing, napping on the couch).  Every so often, I check in to see what they're doing, and it's mind boggling.

They really enjoy building huge elaborate houses, and houses on top of houses.  But I've also watched them blow up mountains with TNT; create houses out of lava; and burn houses, trees, and whatever else they can with their fire.  I've seen them spawn numerous Zombie Pig Men, only to destroy them just as quickly. They create ridiculous amounts of dogs and various other creatures that I can't name off the top of my head.

I furrow my brow and wonder what in the world they're doing and why it's so exciting for them.  I worry ever so slightly that their destructive nature will translate into the real world.  But then I shrug and carry on with what I was doing.

So what if they like to burn things down and destroy creatures?  It's only a game.  If there's a safe place to express those kinds of behaviors, it's here because no one really gets hurt.  I have faith that they'll keep those actions in the game.

The boys' enjoyment with Minecraft is no different than when my siblings and I used to play SimCity when we were little.  I remember having so much fun creating cities and watching them grow and dealing with problems as they arose--traffic, pollution, overpopulation--and finding a way to fix them.  My brother loved turning on natural disasters and watching them take out part of his city and having to repair it. Or not.  It depended on his mood.

The best part of watching my boys play is how they play together.  It's not always perfect, but more often than not they work as a team and the fighting stays to a minimum.  It makes me happy to see them getting along.  And they're having fun, which is all that really matters anyway.