Friday, August 28, 2015

Chapter 1 The Details - 8 Motts and A Pop Up

I never knew how many channels there were on Sirius Radio.  I let my subscription run out and waited until they contacted me over and over and offered me the deal of the century to come back.  I knew that this trip was coming and when you are ticking 4,000 miles in a small enclosed area……You might want to spring for Sirius Radio.  I put the triplets in the far back with a double DVD player and gave them a big sleeve of videos and told them to have at it.  The second row encased the older 3.  I got my laptop loaded with some movies and got a splitter for the headsets so at least 2 could watch a movie in the second row.  I went on Amazon and made sure everyone had a head set.  I turned the radio to the front and it was like we had a house within our car.  The trips were in the basement, the older 3 were in the family room and mom and dad were sitting in the living room having coffee.  Well maybe not quite that perfect.

My job is the food and ever since this morning at 6:30am when I was loading the coolers in the camper and all I heard was, “this is too many coolers”. I am praying that I can prove someone wrong and we can consume this food before it goes bad.  I have 2 full size coolers (normal size but not those gigantic …enough to hold beer for 200 people size) and a little one for drinks.  I have one that is for frozen items, mostly meat and the other is cheese, condiments, sandwich stuff, eggs and milk.  I thought I was doing well since 8 people are eating out of these coolers. 

The trips did exceptional today.  David made it clear that the word “stop” was not allowed on the trip.  It was funny to hear everyone come up with different ways to stop one another from doing something they didn’t like.  Eamon had the best one, “Declan can you please refrain from kicking the back of my seat or I may have to get father involved”.  We all laughed and enjoyed Eamon taking it to the next level.  Back to the triplets.  They sat in the back of the Expedition all next to each other and did amazing.  We got into the car at 7:30am and we stopped 3 times all day.  We arrived at 5pm at our campsite in Northwest Illinois along the Mississippi River and there were no moments when any of us thought we might lose our minds.  I actually know why this happens.  They wait until you are far enough from home so you really can’t threaten to turn the car around and go home.  I’m sure tomorrow will be a completely different story but let’s hope for the best.  Time for smores.  Peace out.

It is now day 9 and we are all speaking.  We have done so many things and I feel like I may forget.  Cody Wyoming was a hit.  We were able to roll in early enough to set up camp and get over to the longest lasting nightly rodeo in the country.  The wind was whipping as we pulled into the campsite and I really thought the camper might tip over with the gale force winds and rain that we experienced.  We almost bailed on the rodeo but the skies cleared up just enough for us to feel like we could venture out.  By the time the rodeo ended it was in the low 40’s and we were all freezing.  Everyone slept in everything they had ….a sweatshirt and long pants.  It was a very cold night for all of us.  I made sure and tucked everyone in to ensure everyone was deep in their sleeping bags. 

We left Cody in the morning and made it to the road to The Badlands.  Before we entered The Badlands we were able to see the Decommissioned Minute Man 2 Missile.  That was very mind blowing and very cool to be able to see. 
The Badlands of South Dakota were our next stop.  The approach to the Badlands is very desolate and eerie.  It is not until you enter the National Park that you get a feel of what you are about to see.  David explained it very well to the kids.  The Native Americans explained to the early explorers that these were just badlands and to avoid them.  It was miles and miles of badlands.  The kids loved every minute of the climbing.  They didn't care that it was nearly 104 degrees.  They just wanted to climb.  It was cool that the National Park allowed you to climb anything you wanted.  Imagine camping in the Badlands.  Yep it was liking setting up camp in a dust bowl.  Not much too it but glad we had electricity and glad we had air conditioning that evening.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

8 Motts and A Pop-Up..Overview of first 5 days.

I am writing to you on  Tuesday August 18 and we are 6 days into our trip.  Internet connections are tough.  The trip has been exciting...frustrating at times but for the most part enjoyable. 

Camping is a lot of work and if u can get into the groove of that than it seems to be ok. 

Showering is overrated and pit toilets are not too bad.  David finally gave in and thanked me for the air conditioning unit in this  camper when we rolled into the badlands with a temp of 104.  Oh and we had a reservation with electrical hookup... Otherwise sold out for the night.  (David never thought we really needed reservations.  He said there are always cancellations.) I went ahead and booked us through Yellowstone.

We have logged 1,621 miles as of 8/18 when I am sending this. We r entering Wyoming and will be in Cody by this evening.  We left at 6am on Wed Aug 12 and thus far have eaten out 3 times. We still have coolers full of goods and have enjoyed the Coleman stove.  The family is feasting on pancake and egg breakfasts and we are digging our coffee pot ...thank you Sally and Mike.  Campfires are a must but I must say that we are usually wiped out at night so there are no night owls here.  Badlands fun and could have stayed there and climbed for days.  Mt Rushmore great and crazy horse a site to see. Finn wanted to visit a cave so we went to Wind Cave National Park and took a 1.5 hour walking cave tour.  We ended the evening with a swim in the hot hot springs South Dakota. This place was literally a community pool where the hot springs fed the pool.  My husband hates community water so the only reason he joined in was because he read that the water was completely drained and replenished by the natural underground hot springs every 90 minutes.  

The kids are awesome. They have done great in the car and by nightfall we r all tired. Minimal fighting and lots of learning.  We all have amazing bladders because everyone can hold for at least 4 hours at a time.  Thank goodness for David.  He spends so much of his time teaching all of us about the history of what we are seeing and why things are the way they are.  We have had many conversations about the Continental Divide, Pirates, what is piracy and why there were limited trees in eastern Wyoming.  Finn especially wanted all of the details about bears and what happens if they want to eat you.  The land out here is vast and the population seems so spread out.   We drive for hours and sometimes see nothing but nature.  The temperature swings I was not prepared for.  It gets nasty cold at night but it can get sweltering in the day.  
We have all figured out our jobs for the trip and when we make camp we have been asked by watchers of we are experts because everyone has their job once we pull into our site. David, Eamon and Liam set up the camper. I usually start a fire, Declan gets water,  Mairin usually checks out the bathrooms and takes Colin and Finn with her to explore.. The boys are a tremendous help and by the end of this trip they will be able to pop it up and put it down on their own.  


Monday, August 10, 2015

Packing and Prepping for 8

School supplies purchased, early registration for school done by appointment and the last run to the store complete.  We are approaching the trip of the century for the Mott Clan and the packing is nearly complete.  Yes I have the zip lock bags, the duck tape (we may need it), clothes line, extension cord and a stock of batteries.  I have decided that the longer you plan for a trip like this the more prepared you are and the more tired of packing you get.  I am ready to get into the vehicle and get this trip started.

I have enough food packed to take us for quite awhile.  I cooked up a bunch of taco meat, ground beef and chicken yesterday and froze it all.  It will be nice to be able to pull out a meal and cook over the fire while traveling long days.  We have lots of snacks and lots of drinks to keep everyone going. Pinterest  provided me lots of direction in deciding what kind of meals I will be preparing.  Lots of mexican, pancakes and eggs, poor pies, hobo dinners and typical grilling goods.

Everyone gets a backpack and in that backpack you can put 2 pairs of underwear, 2 pairs of socks, flip flops (a must for public showers) a clean shirt, clean shorts and a swim suit.  The rest of the backpack is open for activities.  Don't forget your summer homework packets thta are not done and some books for our long days in the car.  I checked thru the bags and of course had to repack or shall I say, make suggestions for the triplets.  Declan had a bike helmet in his bag.  "Declan why did you pack a bike helmet"?  He responds with, "I don't know we are camping. Won't I need one"?  Finn's bag was busting at the seams and he had a big ole stuffed animal.  Nope..Nope..Nope..People let's be clear, we have 6 backpacks and although I said pack them..pack them lightly.

I pulled out the old lunch bags and made ditty bags for the groups.  Trips get a lunch box full of face wipes, toothbrush, paste, bar of soap, some shampoo and a couple wash cloths.  I bet their bar of soap will be full of dirt and sand by the first night when they drop it on the way to the bathroom.  Eamon and Liam and David will share and then Mairin and I get our own bag.  Life is good only having another girl in the family.

I feel so grateful to have my friend Sally and Mike. They are  a camping family and they have bins that sit full of all the camping gear. They were  gracious enough to let me come over and take whatever I needed.  I took it all.  I am completely stocked and mostly because of them.  I have a coleman stove, a hatchet (would not have thought of that) and a coleman camp light along with many other items.  Did I mention that they live like 3 miles away.  The amount of time and money this loan provided is priceless.  I hope to find a needless, overpriced trinket to bring back to them as a token of my sincere appreciation.

On Sunday David started organizing the garage and as much as I cringe at the thought of him going thru our/MY pantry and organizing stuff it was a great success.  He promised to stay calm and said he wouldn't get upset with all the stuff we/I have.  Ok Ok so he found 3 large commercial size containers of plastic silverware and said we have enough zip lock bags to last us until the triplets enter college but I guess I had some stuff stuffed in the back and didn't realize. Opps!!! I get this from my mom.  She always had lots of backup just in case.  I have to say that with hosting beach gatherings all summer and hosting a big Halloween Party and a very large Thanksgiving ...we will use all of the silverware.  Oh and he also asked why I had 300 individual packs of goldfish in a case.  (yah yah yah I get it....)David kept going and 8 hours later he had repaired all shelves in the garage..swept it all out, had the boys put together solar lights and we cleaned screens and did all the stuff that you often put off.  Eamon and Liam were right by his side for the entire day and it was a sort of family affair.  Not only are we ready for our vacation but the garage is ready for the annual Halloween Party!

Stay Tuned...We are getting close.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sun Kissed and Water Logged!

Well here we are..Diving into the second week of July and we are still dodging rainy days and attempting to really come to grips that this is summer.  It is not nearly as hot and sunny as past summers have been but the rainy evenings often afford us the cancelling of events and a home cooked meal which does not happen often in the summer.

I am having a great summer.  This is the first summer where I feel like the kids are easy to pick up and go.  Everyone knows the rules, there are minimum things to pack, everyone can pack themselves and I am merely a warm body that makes sure the sunblock has been applied and that not too much junk food is consumed.  Outside of that I am having my play dates along with the kids.  The kids are sun kissed and water logged.   I have 2 kids on ear drops for swimmers ear.  We have a cut up bottom of the foot from Declan who decided not to wear shoes and go exploring in the woods.  He came out of the woods with a trail of blood from his foot which was ripped open by lord knows what.  Mairin got her cast off and is sporting a hop and a boot but she is back in the water.  Colin is swimming so fast and loving the swim team.  Finn...well Finn would rather not swim.  Finn has started taking videos of himself building legos and wants to start a You Tube channel.

We have used up a ton of sunscreen, washed way too many towels and have played a fair amount of tennis matches.  The golf clubs are getting use by Eamon, Liam and David and the amount of laps in the pool...I have lost track.  I live out of a bag that includes, goggles, extra swim suit and set of clothes and a few towels.  We can go from place to place with these few essentials.  We have added 3 fishing poles and a tackle box as permanent fixtures to the back of the vehicle for the triplets and Eamon and Liam are experiencing boating/tubing with several of their friends.  There is no arguing or even negotiating at bedtime.  They almost smile when I say, "time for bed".  Minimal electronics are being used this summer and I am great with that.

Mondays are my catch up day.  I did 6 loads of laundry yesterday, folded and had all kids put away. I hit the grocery stores and run my errands.  The kids get their big list of "to do" on Mondays and there are rarely play dates on this great day.   It is the only day of the week when we are all home and I can pay bills, and really catch up with the pile that accumulates all week long.

David has made the older ones set their summer goals and he is following thru with them by giving the boys topics to write about and checking them weekly.  Mairin is reading her battle books and David is reading along with her.  I work with the trips on reading and some math but I could do more.

I am spending lots of time on Pinterest preparing for our trip that is coming soon.  I will be blogging extensively on this trip but ramping up for it.  We are taking all 8 of us..... out west...... for 3 weeks..... in a pop up camper! Yep I know .... None of your responses will surprise me because I have already heard them all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Rants and Topics about Twins, Triplets and A Single!

It is easy.  It is simple..It is all about whether or not you have done it before.

The other morning at 6:30am as I was driving away from the school, after dropping off Eamon and Liam  for their school trip to Cedar Point I couldn't help but think.  I just left my boys and they will have to fend for themselves for 14 hours.  They will have supervision and they will have adults around but they are really out of my reach.

I would not consider myself a helicopter parent by any means but here we are.  They are my oldest and I haven't done this before.  I am a new mom with the experiences of 13 year old boys.  I have done this before and that was my "ah ha" moment.  By the time the triplets come thru I will be an expert and I will be very relaxed and probably not even think twice about the fact that they are getting on a grey hound bus, traveling several hours away, riding rides and doing what 13 year old boys do (uhhgg that is the part that makes me nervous).  Manners will be thrown out the window, anyone for a burp at lunch?  I can only imagine how they loud they will be. I bet they will run thru crowds and maybe even cut in lines. (uhhhggggg....)  They will surely eat every kind of junk food (as I would if my mom was gone) and hopefully not vomit while being tossed and turned on the rides.  They will come home with nasty sunburns and dirty hands (because no one told them all day to wash those dirty paws and no one was reminding them to put the sunblock on). That is ok with me because I am ready to let them venture out and maybe even screw up.   Men are not created over night and we all know that men need to be reminded..over and over...did I say over and over again?? Ok well lets not get hung up on that little tangent.  That can be its very own little entry on another day.

Any school events or trips that come up with Mairin or the triplets I am very good with.  There is an immediate sense of familiarity and it is easy to let go.  The triplets stand outside for the bus without me.  I don't think the twins ever did that in kindergarten.  Eamon and Liam are paving the way for their little siblings.  I say paving because they are doing a great job.  I am so glad that the triplets are not the roll models here.  It was just last night when I heard slamming of doors downstairs.  I hear David come up the stairs with complete frustration. "The triplets left the sliding door wide open downstairs".  We all left the house at 5pm for baseball and this was 10pm. Yep that was 5 hours for bugs and animals to be invited in to play.  Davids comment was, "why do the triplets do this stuff?  The twins never did any of this". We talked about what to do as a punishment or more of a way to make them remember to shut the doors.  We laughed together when David suggested this one, "Let's go wake them up and make them sleep in the basement and tell them that they must find the raccoon and the woodchuck before they can come back up".  David laughed and immediately said, "we can't do that, that is borderline child abuse".  We decided that we need to make a statement so we went into their room, woke them up and firmly asked who did it.  Colin came forward admitting to leaving the door open and they received their harsh talking to.  The next morning they came down all dressed and ready for school and David handed them each a mini hockey stick.  He said, "boys I want you to go downstairs and check and make sure there are no animals down there".  "If you find any you can protect yourself with the hockey sticks". "Go on .....get down there and don't come back until you are sure there are no animals down there.".  This was a much better way to make a point.  They looked at us very serious and off they went.  It was like they were on  a hunt for a bear.  They came back and said all clear.  We had another talk about the importance of closing the doors and if this happens again I may seriously lose my mind.

I often shy away from those new moms at school.  Those are the mom's that are enjoying the first moments of their new little bundles of joy.  Their bundle can do no wrong and they are just happy to be with those little bundles 24/7. (I remember those days...well kind of) My bundles are no longer new and although I love each and every one of them I can tell you that they are not always bundles of joy. They can be terrors and they can be house destroyers.  They can ruin something or break something in a matter of moments.  They track in on my carpet, they vomit down the sides of their bunk beds.  They leave dirty clothes stuffed under the couches and they leave rings of dirt around the sink. They shower and leave the washcloth waded up in a tight ball of wetness in the corner of the shower.  The towel is not far away and is never hung up.    They drop half of what they eat on the floor and even though I continue to move them closer to the table it still manages to be smeared on the chair or dropped on the floor and maybe even stepped on and mushed into the rug.  I have mostly boys so we can revert back to my previous comments that men are not created over night.  They need to be reminded over and over again.

I walked my husband out the door this morning and it is funny because he turned to me and said, "I'm off to break rocks for the man."  I laughed and then he said, "Remember these are the best years of our lives..right now". He has a point.  We may be in the trenches of busy and crazy but someday they will all be gone. So here's to crazy!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Twins, Triplets and A Single!!!!

His exact words to me were, "I didn't ask you to sign me up for baseball".  Finn is willing to finish out the season but it appears that he will not be our future MLB player.  This is the triplets 2nd year of baseball and I have 2 that want to continue and 1 that would rather build Lego's.  Finn has been a good sport despite his request to not play anymore.  He will attend all of the games for the rest of the season but there usually is a conversation as to why I signed him up.  The kid cracks me up because his questions often make me think he is much older than he is and a very deep thinker.   This is the kids who will challenge me in the future.  (left to right Colin, Declan, Finn)

We finished up hockey and ended up joining yet another hockey team for fall.  We are very excited about being closer to home and being part of the 2002 Birmingham Rangers.  Liam is playing baseball and is finishing up his season.  His team is playing in the championship game on Saturday.  Eamon is enjoying his chill time in between sports and he will be starting his summer activities soon.  And then there is Mairin.

 Mairin spends her entire year waiting in anticipation for summer swimming.  She just loves swimming for her coach, Dave and loves all of the meets and parties.  This past Saturday we had just gotten home from Liam's baseball game when Mairin hopped off the edge of the hearth by the fireplace. She immediately went down to the ground and began crying.  She had rolled her foot and it was clear we were going to the Emergency Room.  She ended up breaking the bone in the right foot on the outside edge.  We had a cast put on yesterday and although her spirits are pretty good she will more than likely miss out on most if not all of summer swimming.  The cast is on for 4 weeks and then possibly another 2 weeks in a boot.  Unfortunately swim ends the end of July so we will see.    How did we go 13 years without any broken bones?  How did the 1st broken bone end up on my only girl?  (please notice that we had to go get the sharpies in coordinating colors). "look mom they fit on my cast so I don't have to carry them".  David and I are both in aww over her ability to just take it in stride and move on.  She is very matter of fact and has completely accepted the fact that there will not be any water this summer.  (oh goodness...It makes me kind of shutter at the thought myself.  We spend nearly everyday near some sort of water...god will give me the strength to make it thru this summer..LOL)

School is officially out on Friday and at that point I become the crazy summer mom of 6.  I will fill up my house with junk food, artificial flavors and colors, dangerous toys and let all 6 be unsupervised for the majority of the summer.  I will make them work and clean more than they will play.  We won't open a book until the week before school starts and only for the sheer panic that someone may find out that we did not read all summer.  The kids will go without showering or bathing for most the summer because the pool and the lake is good enough..right?  I could go on and on but I will stop because you all know I am kidding right...well maybe.....

We finally got a boat slip and we are enjoying getting our pontoon all ready and loaded for a fun summer on the water.  Cheers to the beginning of summer.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Twins..Triplets and A Single..Getting Busy With Life!

I settled into bed on Sunday evening at an early hour.  The weekend was overwhelming and I think I ate most of my meals on the road.  It was not a family vacation or anything but rather the life of a chauffeur mom.  We sent everyone in for showers early on Sunday evening with the hopes of the house shutting down early.

We covered lots of highway miles, 5 hockey games, 2 baseball games, tennis practice, a 5k run and a date night on Saturday.  I laid down and got all covered up and cozy.  My intent was to let my eyes roll back in my head and drift into a deep slumber.  As soon as I hit the pillow my brain did the opposite.  What is ahead of me this week? 

Are all of the carpools set up? 
Is Colin's eye doctor appointment going to conflict with my volunteering in the classroom?  
Wait... is David working late any night this week? 
I need to order the mulch!  
Oh shoot I still need to send an email out about the hosting of the families at the homeless shelter.  
I really need to get the summer clothes out for the triplets.  
Did I change that last load of laundry?  

Needless to say I leaned over and told David, "I will be back later, I need to gather my thoughts for the week".  I needed to sit down and get the calendars out and write out all the requirements for the week.  I am still a little old fashioned in the spring when we are overbooked.  I keep everything in my phone on my calendar but there is something to be said about having it all written out so you can see the week in a glance and really see any gaps in the schedule.  Our biggest issue that now we have the triplets doing activities.  If everyone has an event on a single night I am just out of people.  It takes some patience and the ability to ask for help to be able to juggle and balance this interesting 6 week time period in the spring.  Liam plays baseball and the triplets also play baseball.  Eamon and Liam play spring hockey.  Mairin does swim and tennis.  Eamon and Liam also participate in the 7th grade tennis team thru school.  Some of the frustration comes with the overlapping of the seasons.  Baseball is wrapping up and swim tune up is beginning.  Spring hockey is ending but tennis has another week.
Spring dinnertime is rough.  I have to come up with dinners that can sit on the stove and pick items that the kids will eat warm or cold.  Taco pie and blueberry pie was sitting on the stove last night for all of the shifts coming and going.  By the time I arrived home half of it was gone and it was still being eaten.  I can't keep up with the stains on the clothes and the kids are spending their evenings running around during the baseball games or hockey games.  There is not a lot of home time for the triplets because they usually have to ride with me to the events.  They never understand why they can't watch TV before bed on the nights when we don't get home until dark.

I finish the organizing of my thoughts at the kitchen table around 11:30pm on Sunday night.  It was all I could do to make it back up the stairs and crawl into bed.  Monday proved to be a great morning because I had the week in a snapshot in my head and we ready to take on the week.

Monday night we had an amazing experience.  Our church hosts 35 homeless people from the South Oakland Homeless Shelter every year for a week.  We provide the food for 3 meals a day.  They sleep at the our parish and we provide everything they need.  Our parish volunteers to take the people to their jobs, schools or to the shelters during the day and they all come back in the evenings.  We decided to take on the dinner for Monday evening.  I grabbed 4 other families from our parish and we got together to make a taco night with all the fixings.  The mom's made the food but the kids all served the dinner, helped clean up and then entertained the kids for the evening.  It was so enjoyable for all of us and definitely something we will do again in the future.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Twins, Triplets and Single ....Deals and Dramas

We take up a whole row.  We need a bigger than average kitchen table.  We can’t take other kids with us because our vehicle is at capacity.  The benefits and the downfalls of a big family.  Family memberships to the zoo are beneficial to families like mine.  We can more than pay for a year membership in just a single visit.  Family discounts benefit us sometimes when they make prices lower after child number  4.  

Every time we go to sign the kids up for an event  and the price seems reasonable it is when you have to double or triple it and you start to get nauseous.  People always tell me about the cute little markets that they shop at and all the cool types of food they have.  I have walked into these stores and quickly remember why Costco and Sam’s Club are my trusty go to options.  I buy a dozen boxes of cereal when they are on sale because we are easily a box a morning.  I stop at the outlets on my way up north because Pepper ridge Farms has all of their bread next to the counter priced at 1.00 per loaf.  I will take bags of bread home and freeze.  I always say it is not so much the cost but the amount of storage needed for a big family.   I have a make shift pantry out in the garage where I can stock my dry goods and mostly it is stocked due to really good sales that I need to take advantage of. 

Easter is always interesting.  Our church is never full enough to where you can’t find a seat but on Easter you have to make sure and get there early in order to grab a seat.  This is especially true for us because the 8 of us take up an entire row.  The holidays (no matter which one it is) is always exhausting because the amount of work that goes into getting everyone dressed and ready in their fancy clothes is quite an undertaking.  Eamon wears a different size than liam does and they both have different size jackets.  The shoes if not worn in awhile could be too small and as they are complaining that their feet are curled up at the end I am saying, “deal with it, we are out of options and I have to move on and get the triplets dressed”.  There are 5 ties to be tied and  putting together enough belts to match and fit is always a problem.  They always disappear.  Then it is just when you are walking out to the car and you notice that Liam  didn’t go to his dad’s drawer and get a pair of black socks but that he is sporting those flouresent Under Armor socks that are peaking thru the gap of his khakis that could argueably be almost too short.  We cannot get the triplets dressed to early because they will ruin their outfits in no time.  We came home from a 1st communion just the other  night and as I was washing the clothes I had 2 dress shirts with rips in the arms, 1 dress shirt with orange marker on it, a blazer with a missing button (grrrrrrr) and 3 pairs of dress pants with grass stains on them.  Another day…..

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Spring Dance

The snow is melting and everything here in Michigan is looking grey and very drab.  Spring is around the corner but if you look outside you just can’t believe that it is close.  The only way to really begin anticipating spring is to see all the spring goods in the stores and take advantage of the increased hours of daylight.  Kids are starting their baseball season and everyone is scheduling around March Madness.  It is time for all of the spring sports to begin and for those of us hockey families, it is the beginning of the Spring Dance.  You would not understand it if you didn’t experience it.  You probably won’t believe me when I explain it. Those of you reading who are in hockey will get it and those of you who are not will question why in the heck do you participate in such craziness.    My husband calls it the Spring Dance and I think it is a very fitting name for what is about to occur.

We dedicate ourselves to a season of hockey that runs August through March.  We become friends with the other parents on our team because we spend more time together than we do with anyone else.  We are on the ice 3 days a week and often will add a game or conditioning session in there somewhere.  We all sit together and cheer on our boys.  It doesn’t take long to know each kid and know how they skate and what their number is.  You start to cheer on all the kids on your team and celebrate their victories as if they are all your own children.  Your heart drops when one gets injured and you feel like it is your own.  You spend weekends together either in hotels or locally waiting for the games to start.  Some rinks stink and leak and some are wonderful.  We enjoy finding restaurants that  will take a reservation for 40 after a tournament game.  I have witnessed hide and go seek in Meijers (just to kill some time in between games), skating parties on our pond or other man made arenas in backyards.  I have watched 12 year old boys say dumb things and make messes while showing off in front of their friends at a hockey dinner.  I have carpooled with different families and have visited many team members homes for team gatherings.   My boys have made so many friends throughout the years of hockey and we have learned to never burn a bridge as you will probably share a team with that person again in the future. 

We never dreamed we would be a hockey family.   We never played hockey and we really never had friends who played.  All it took was a neighbor who had a son 6 years older than my oldest who asked if they could use the pond in our backyard to skate on, one winter 8 years ago.  The boys put on their skates and watched the neighbor boy and it was over.  They learned to skate on our pond and wanted more.  We started with a tot hockey program and proceeded to play house for 2 years.  The boys improved and we decided to join the ranks of the crazy people and dove into a “beginner travel team”.  By beginner I mean “a glorified house team with more ice time”.  We never traveled very far and the cost was reasonable.  Most of all the boys loved it.  They always kept excellent grades and never ever complained about an early practice or having to miss something because of hockey. They love it, they crave it and they want more of it.  Eamon always says, “there is nothing better than a weekend with a hockey tournament and I can be on the ice all weekend” We don’t plan much in the winter months because hours are spent on the pond skating.  I usually snow blow while the kids are at school and then they come out after school and shovel so that the puck will skim across the ice. 

Let’s talk more about the dance.  The season often ends mid March and it is not a week later that tryouts are upon us.  The spring hockey season is short..about 6 to 8 weeks.   It can be a critical time to make moves because you can better secure your fall spot if you choose that team in the spring.  You will see talent move from one team to another year after year.  I once heard a coach say that the best part of hockey was the end of the season when the coaches would fight and steal kids and the mystery and anticipation of what team will end up being the best.    Spring is the only time you can double roster and the coaches carry bigger teams.  You could also call it an extended tryout.  End of February and beginning of March is when everyone shuts down.  People don’t talk about what they are going to do.  There is no talk of staying on the team or leaving.  The funny part is that most people won’t ask others what they are doing either.  It is a very weird secret time in the hockey world.    This is when teams can fall apart.  There are times when groups get together and will all leave together..secretly.   There is also lots of talk about who is at tryouts.  You could happen to run into someone at a tryout who is on your team and it is usually an awkward moment.  People will often talk about who they saw at another tryout and everyone is always at tryouts to see who is showing up.  “Is there any new talent coming to our tryouts” is a common question among the men folk.   You will see a cluster of dads standing around acting like they have to be there for their kids tryout but secretly none of them let their wives take the kids because this is like a prime time social event, a presidential ball where your child is being presented on the ice and everyone is watching.  Don’t  let any dad fool you that they are not reliving their childhood and  experiencing an adrenaline rush just being there for their kids.  

After try outs everyone goes about their business and it is only until all the tryouts are closed and the rosters are posted do you really know what people are doing.  Every year we are usually blown away with some of the moves but I guess this is part of the game of hockey.     This is the part that stresses me out the most.  Some years we spend time deciding what to do and some years we don’t try out for any teams other than our current one.  This year was the year we chose to entertain some tryouts.   It brought back the stress and the anxiety.   The little’s are getting older and they are now doing their own sports and we were playing on a team that was a solid 30 minutes away.  We have 2 teams that are literally in our backyard and we wanted to check them out.   Spring is by far, the craziest time of the year for my family and requires David and me to coordinate schedules and be on our A game.   I have recently added all the upcoming events to my calendar and have realized that I will have to enlist a fellow driver to help us out this year.  There are too many evenings when we have 3 places to be.

In the end after several weeks of trying out and talking about things we decided that we will be making a move for spring to a team that might (and I stress might) be a little bit better than our current team and it is for sure a lot closer (11 minutes away).  We did the dance this year.   We made our commitment this past Sunday to a new team and although we disappointed some people and surprised others we are happy with our decision because it was right for our family.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mystery Reader..Come On In

They stood quietly outside in the hallway waiting for their que to walk into Mrs. Clark's kindergarten room.  I picked them up from school early so they could make it over to the triplets school in time for this cool surprise.  I made them all dress nice for the day too. (they hated that part).  They were a little nervous and they were anticipating the excitement of their brothers when they would discover that Eamon, Liam and Mairin were the mystery readers for the day.  All of a sudden we heard our que.... The sound of 24 little nuggets yelling.."mystery reader ...come on in".  

The triplets were definitely surprised when their older brothers and sister walked into their classroom to read to them.  I think they were especially excited to share their older siblings with their fellow classmates.  Mairin read first and had her buddy, Finn sit next to her.  She did a great job and the class all listened.

Eamon went next and had Colin sit next to him.  Eamon sat up in front with confidence and seemed to have no issues.  Mrs. Clark asked them all questions before and during the books.
Liam ended the session with the popular "NO, David" book.  He did a nice job as well.  He was asking the kids questions during the book and I honestly didn't know the kid had it in him.  He has really overcome some of his fears of being in front of people he doesn't know.  It was very cute.
Mrs. Clark was also Eamon and Liam's kindergarten teacher so that made this visit even a little more special for the older ones.  Mairin didn't have Mrs Clark for kindergarten but she took off to say hello to her old teacher immediately following the reading.  I got to take all 6 home after school and it was a nice ending to a great day.