Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Do or Die Time!

I am an avid sports fan. You don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy the enthusiasm of a crowd, or the anticipation of a win. The energy and excitement pulsates through the air and works it's way into your system with each breathe you take.

My husband and I were lucky enough to get tickets to a hockey game on Friday. Not just any game though, game 7 of the East Coast Conference Finals for Hockey...Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning...Do or Die Time!

The Boston Bruins haven't made it to the Stanley Cup finals in a long time so the town was bubbling with anticipation to see if they could fulfill their destiny. We had wonderful seats close to the ice. I was born and raised a hockey fan so my heart began to race with each step we took into The Garden. It was scorching hot outside and the cool breeze off of the ice was a welcome change. My sweat began to evaporate on my back and was completely cooled by the time we reached the entrance to our seats. As we closed our eyes to take in the cool air and the loud noise, my rib cage began to vibrate like a phone. The music was pumping and my ribs were doing the same. I bounced to the beat aswe found our awaiting seats.

The game was a nail biter...0 to 0 as we entered the 3rd period. There was no time to wait, the Bears needed to step up and score. They had several shots on the net but couldn't squeeze it past the lightning fast goalie. The crowd held their breathes and exhaled in a grown after each try. Then, a shot was launched through the air...inhale...GOAL!!! The crowd went wild. I screamed until my lungs surfaced in my mouth. High fives were given, and walls began to shutter. From that moment on, it was standing room only. The crowded hollered "Let's Go Bruins!" as they pounded their hands together. People began to will the team to hold on to the lead. Then my lips began to smirk as a chant began around the stadium..."We Want The Cup! We Want The Cup!" This was the moment...we watched in anticipation as the clock slowly ticked down. Tick! Tick! Tick!

10 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 - Bruins Win the Easter Conference! Stanley Cup, here we come!

The Bruins came together from all sides of the ice like penguins gathering to keep warm. Helmets were slapped, arms were linked, and hollers could be heard all over Boston. The opposing team dropped to their knees in defeat. Their hearts heavy from the loss and their bodies exhausted from the exertion of their efforts. After a quick celebration, the two teams lined up...as they melded together, they congratulated each other on a game well played. Hands were shaken, hugs were given, and conversations were had. I love seeing how a battle ends with grace and complements towards both teams. What a way to end the night.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Coffee and Donuts

photo © 2009 Tom Small | more info (via: Wylio)
We have a Dunkin' Donuts right down the street from our home. My son feels that this is a sign...we MUST visit DD on a daily basis. My waistline and wallet can not grant his request daily, but on occassions we make a stop. Today was one of those days.

Our car came to a slow stop next to the local Dunkin' Donuts. The blinker clicked it's morse code signaling our destination. "Dunkin' Donuts, I L-O-V-E Dunkin' Donuts!", came a beaming voice from behind my seat. I craned my neck around to see my son's smile stretching from one cheek to the next. His cheeks started to blush from smiling so big. His eyes were sparkling and I swear that I saw some drool in the corner of his lips.

We nestled our car between two others and splashed through the puddles on our way to the door. The drive-in is awfully convenient but nothing beats the smell when you open the front door. A mixture of sweet icing and roasting coffee beans embraced us as we carefully walked to the cotton candy colored counter. We scanned the shelves full of sugary goodness and made our choices...lemon merinque donut for me with coffee and raised glazed munchkins for my little guy.

J bounced past a table full of construction workers, thumb raised in excitement and hello. The men bellowed their greetings between sips of piping hot coffee and pauses in conversation. J always seems to get responses like that from his enthusiasm. We settled into our seats, counted out munchkins and began to eat. The mixture of the cool lemon filling and the warm coffee was like a symphony on my lips. J was covered with glaze moments after touching his donuts. People stopped at our table one by one to ask J how his food was. "It's De-licious!", he exclaimed before shoving in another mouthful.

Coffee and Donuts with my little guy...the only thing better would be if my older son could join us too. It's going to be a great day!

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Little Sweetness

photo © 2009 Hilary Perkins | more info (via: Wylio)
It is a miserable night here on the East Coast. The rain is coming down in sheets and the sky is dreary and spotted with storm clouds. I was not going to let this grey day dampen my spirits.

After getting my kids tucked into bed, I said adieu to my hubby and headed out for a treat. There are several local creameries near by that delight in pleasing my ice cream loving taste buds. The flavors are ever changing but today was the perfect night for me to be out...coffee toffee was on the menu. I ordered some fried clam strips and a small scoop of ice cream. I was set to go.

I was sprinkled by rain drops as skipped my way to the car, puddles separating as my sneakers pounded through them.  My mouth began to water as I anticipated the first bite. I wondered how the flavors would compliment each other...would the coffee be strong or just subtle? Today was a day for savoring sweets before the meal. I slid my plastic spoon between the delectable scoop of goodness nestled in my cup. The ice cream clung to the cup, eager to delight my taste buds. I let the coffee flavor melt along my tongue as I crunched the heath bits between my teeth. My taste buds sang in agreement as a small sound crept between my lips...mmmm!

As I savored every mouthful, I began to people watch. I happen to love watching people and how they interact with each other. My eyes settled upon a little red headed boy. He bounded out of his van with unabashed joy. He bounced to the counter...then, realizing that no adults were there to help order, skipped over to his grandfather who was carefully making his way around the front of the car. The little boys fiery ringlets danced as he tried again to make his order. He hopped from one foot to the next as he waited his turn. He began to smoosh his face against the glass as the lady scooped up a purple mess. His smile pushed up the freckles that speckled his nose and cheeks. The bouncing revved as the ice cream was slid across the cool metal counter. He couldn't get the sweet treat into his mouth fast enough. I smiled as I watched the excitement of another ice cream lover. Today was not a day to be held back from a scoop of sunshine.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dandelion Tufts

I closed my eyes as the warm sun beat through my window. I let the warmth wash over me while I waited for my son in the school parking lot. The music coming from the radio filled our car while my youngest son read in the backseat.

"Mom, it's snowing!", J exclaimed from the back.

I eased my eyes open to find white tufts floating through the air like feathers catching a ride on a cool breeze. I searched my mind to place these tufts. It wasn't snow, but I can see how they fooled my young son's eyes. These white fluffs floated upwards and downwards, swirling in the gentle breeze outside of our car. One parachuted it's way to the windshield and made a safe landing on the wipers. My brain finally recognized this foreign object...it was a dandelion tuft. I searched the school yard to find the home that these tufts ran from. I pointed them out to J and explained how the yellow flowers changed into the white balls hovering over the stems. His eyes lit up as we watched the runaway seeds leave their home.

photo © 2010 Cheryl VanStane | more info (via: Wylio)
"Can I make them fly?", J asked with pure excitement.

How could I say no. We unbuckled our seat belts and ventured through the grass to help these seeds on their journey. 1...2...3...BLOW!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Angels Singing

photo © 2010 Alan Levine | more info (via: Wylio)
My son and I huddled next to each other on the hard wooden pews this past Sunday. T held his crayon tightly while he searched the children's program. His eyes lit up when he noticed the word search. Puzzled, he looked at me and asked why there were words like shepherd, children, and sheep. I asked him to think about it and let me know what he learned after Sunday school.

As T searched for the hidden words, a soft tinkle sound began to fill the sanctuary. T's head shot up like a rocket as his eyes began to search the building. His ears were on high alert...it reminded me of how my dogs ears shoot up when she hears something unfamiliar. The gentle pinging continued as my son continued his search. His eyes finally landed on the shiny bells that beckoned. Their melodious tune picked up and began to fill every ounce of the sanctuary.

"Mom, that sounds like angels singing!", T said in a serious tone. I couldn't have agreed more. The gentle sound of bell after bell sounded like a message being sent to us. We both closed our eyes and took in every bong and tinkle that left the bells and filled our ears. It was a great way to start the day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day

This weekend was full of excitement and time with my boys. We spent Saturday hitting balls at the baseball diamond and collecting comic books during National Free Comic Book Day. I would have been happy with that but Mother's Day followed and my boys couldn't have made it more special.

"Love Truck Coming!"
I was snug in my head dreaming of home runs and balls being thrown at my head when I heard footsteps thumping into my room. I cracked one eye opened and looked at the clock...6:00, you have to be kidding me...where is the sleeping in time for mom? T gently whispered my name...I contemplated pretending that I was asleep but carefully opened my eyes. I am so glad that I made this decision. My little man was standing at my bedside, envelope in his hands, and a big smile on his face. "Happy Mom's Day...I sure do love you!", he said in the gentlest voice. My heart melted on the spot. "Can you open my present before you go back to sleep?", he asked as he moved the envelope closer to my face. How could I say no? I smiled, pulled him close so I could smother him with a hug and gently began to open the back of the envelope. T bounced with excitement as I began to unwrap his homemade present. He had been eagerly awaiting this day since Friday when he brought his bundle home. Inside was a sweet card and a homemade flower pen. I oohed and awed and watched as my son began to glow with pride. He gave me another huge bear hug and carefully closed the door.

I relished the time in bed to think about how blessed I am to have two incredible boys. I am spoiled! I don't need a special day to remind me that I'm valued by my boys because they tell me daily with their hugs, snuggles, eye twinkles, and I love you's.

Pretzel Poster...my creative son!
My morning was filled with hugs, snuggles, and "You're the best mom ever's." T had made me a poster made of pretzels and couldn't wait for me to open his present. I carefully tried to ease the paper off the box but J quickly scooted in and began ripping huge chunks off like a T-Rex. When I peeled the tape back, I found a box FULL of chapstick. My son knows me too well. He read each label one at a time telling me the delicious flavors that would be coating my lips. I think that I may be set for another year.

I hope that everyone was blessed to have a wonderful Mother's Day...whatever form it may have come in. I know that it is a day that I will treasure.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Free Comic Book Day

photo © 2008 Valerie Everett | more info (via: Wylio)
Saturday was National Free Comic Book Day. I had never heard about it before but was so excited to take my little superheroes out for some comic books. I live in a small town and didn't think that this would be a big event. I figured that we would just meander on down to the comic book store, pick up a couple comics, and just look around. Boy was I ever wrong.

I loaded the boys into the car on a sunny Saturday morning. We were planning on going to the comic book store and then heading to the baseball diamonds for some informal practicing with mom. The boys bounced into the car, yammering the whole car ride about who their favorite superhero was. I was busy eavesdropping and missed the turn into the parking lot. I had to drive around the block again. I waited at the light and encouraged the boys to look out the window to see if they could find the comic book store. As the car turned left, we saw a line of people packed on to the sidewalk. The line stretched half a block with eager children, costumes adorned, and TONS of grown adults in their superhero carb. It felt like Comic Con in our small town. The boys excitedly pointed out children in their costumes. My oldest son groaned, "Mom, can we come back later...I really don't want to wait outside." His request would be granted. We headed to the baseball diamond to practice before coming back.

We easily found a parking spot on our way back to the comic book store. We loaded out of the car and worked our way past huge groups of people.  They were carrying mounds of comics and were going store to store, picking up more. This was a whole town event. We got to the comic book store and got our MAP of the stores handing out coming books. There were TONS of stores participating...you got a free comic at each store. The boys were in heaven. We worked our way into the store and waited in a short line. When we rounded the corner, there was a wall full of free comics for the boys to choose from. T's eyes lit up as he began reading the titles. J quickly snatched up a Spiderman comic and then froze. His eyes began to widen as he moved to the left of the line. He began to point and jump up and down. I glanced over to see what was getting my son so excited. At the end of the wall of comics was Spiderman, in the flesh. He was signing comics and shooting his "web" at everyone. J could not wait to get over there. When we finally reached Spiderman, J began to shake with excitement. He got his comic signed, got a high five, and then hugged the comic to his body. This was a special day.

We continued down the street, stopping in to stores and gathering more comics. At one point, T leaned over to give me a hug. "Mama, I love you. This is the greatest day ever. This is like Halloween with comic books!", he exclaimed as we ducked into another store. What a great way to promote literacy with our kids. I look forward to next year when we can trick-or-treat for more comics.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Power of Hello

photo © 2009 Adam Freeman | more info (via: Wylio)

I am constantly reminded of the power of hello when I am with my youngest son. Hello can come in many forms: a word, a hand wave, a smile, a slight nod of the head, a high five, a hand shake, or a thumbs up. I watch my son fluctuate from one sign to the next...with great success. I saw many examples of hello today.

This morning, when dropping T off at school, J gave a high five to a man greeting us at the door. The man had a stoic look on his face when J walked up to him, smile from ear to ear and hand held high. This small gesture changed this man's face and hopefully his mood for the day. He began to smile and slapped hands with my little man. J yelled "High Five" and continued on his way, leaving behind a man with a smile and a better mood.

Not 2 seconds later, J flashed his pearly whites and a thumbs up signal to the ladies at the door. They returned the hello with a thumbs up, a hello, and an "isn't he cutest." My son was 2 for 2 in the few moments we arrived at the school. As we walked through the hallway, thumbs up signs and high fives were given to strangers. Each was returned with a smile or high five. I couldn't help but smile as I watched my small son bring such delight to people of all ages. Something so simple brought so much joy.

My two-year-old has taught me the power of hello and how a small gesture can bring so much joy to a complete stranger. I'll be making the time to say hello to many strangers today and wishing some of them an early Happy Mother's Day.

Hello, and have a great day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bath Time

photo © 2005 Jeff Kubina | more info (via: Wylio)
 Bath time can be categorized as the worst part of the day or the best. It all depends on the time and mood for the day.

Today was a T-ball night which tends to throw off our normal routine. On the way home from the game, requests were given...I'm going to play Mario when I get home, I want circle cheese, I want daddy time, I'm going to have Gatorade when I get home. None of these requests fit moms....bath time and off to bed.

"OK boys, time to get ready for your baths!", I quickly shouted over the water thundering from the spout.

Groans quickly followed as clothes began to soar around the bathroom like birds begging for food...snagging on toilets, hooks, and the cat's tail. The grumbles suddenly disappeared when bare bottoms entered the warm, beckoning water. Now water took the place of clothes as it began to splatter every corner of the once spotless tub. Splash! Crash! Where's my dinosaur? Have you seen my Elmo? Don't throw water in my eyes!

"OK, who is first?", I asked as I lathered up my hands with tear-free soap.

"What? We just got in the tub.", questioned my oldest son as he death gripped the rubber race car.

"Quick bath time! Now whose first?"

Groans..."Can I play video games if I go first?"

"No, but thank you for volunteering....you're first!"

One after another, I lathered up sandy hair and dirt matted heads.We watched the water turn from a crystal blue to a muddy puddle. The boys complained about the grit covered tub and begged to get out of the tub. Bodies were clean and the tub would be next. Another bath time completed...now time for the rest of the routine.