Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Surprising, Overwhelming, Gushing, Love

We have 3 dogs. We used to have 2 dogs. And a really, really, long time ago (10 years) we only had one dog.  I never have had an overwhelming desire to have pets, most furry ones make me itch, dogs are most often an exception to that.  So don't ask me how we have now ended up with THREE dogs.  Maybe its a testament to the soft spot in my heart for lost causes... our first was a rescue, and the latest was an inheritance... only the middle one was by planning and choice.  Since we now have 3 dogs, my house is a disaster, the amount of fur has not tripled, or increased by 1/2, instead it has been an exponential increase.  As of late this has been the primary source of annoyance, and anxiety for me.

So why not just get rid of them, or even just one of them?  I don't seem all that attached, right?  It seems like a completely logical and easy decision. 

At least this is what I thought until one of them gets sick, like really sick.  Labored breathing, hacking, lethargic, and the tell tell sign - not eating.  The dog who tells time by when his food bowl should be filled won't eat.  Of course I took him to the vet yesterday, they checked him out, made sure he didn't have heart worm, and gave him some antibiotics, a bronchial-dilator, and anti-inflammatory.  I headed home with a renewed sense of hope, he would soon be on the mend. 

Last nigh I laid with him just so he wouldn't be alone, but his extremely labored breathing was so reminiscent of my own during an asthma attack, and all I could do was weep, the fear and panic I feel during an attack must be horrible for him - not knowing what is wrong.

Then again this morning he wouldn't eat.  We kept him inside out of the heat, and calm.  I was expecting to come home to a markedly improved dog, but when I got home he coughed up blood.  Of course the vet was out of the office by that time, so he goes in first thing in the morning. 

All evening I have just sat and brushed, and snuggled, and cried with worry for him.  Who would have though that below all that indifference I feel - or thought I felt - for these dogs, that I actually care this much, that I actually LOVE them.

This overwhelming, heart wrenching, tear jerking emotion has caught me completely off guard.  I tolerated, and most of the time even like these furry boys, but this is just so completely unexpected. To love an animal so much that I spend the night laying next to and comforting them, and sobbing tears, pleading with God to make him be ok. It's surprising to say the least.

Tonight I just hope his sleep is peaceful, that we make it till the morning, and that tomorrow they will know what is wrong with him.
Best Buds

Learned: Something new about myself, behind this cold hard indifferent exterior is an animal lover at heart.

Monday, May 28, 2012

My Track Star

In 7th grade middle school students are permitted to play school sports.  Madison, being all kinds of athletic, played for our school's A team in basket ball.  After 9 years of club soccer (3 of which on a competitive traveling team) this experience was a breath of fresh air! Very little traveling, and the traveling they do the kids are transported to the event, uniforms are provided, the season is relatively short, there is very little drama, and the kids have an absolute blast!  So when she said she wanted to run track for the school we were happy to oblige.

Have you ever sat and watched a track practice or meet? Just one and you realize why track is such a popular sport among teen kids.  It is extremely social.  There is so much time between each of their events that they just meander around hanging out, and yes, sometimes cheering for their teammates.  It is also combined age group, so Madison made some new, older, friends.  Surprisingly, it wasn't a big deal.  I have always thought the world of this 8th grade class (secretly wishing that Madison had been just one year older so she could have been a part of it).  The friendships she made during track will be a great foundation for the friendships she will make in high school.

After the first practice Madison knew she wanted to run the 200 meter, but was at a stalemate as to what her second event should be.  In a rare moment she sought the wise counsel of her elders aka parents.  Madison knew she wanted to do a field even, and her minimal ability at throwing balls eliminated discus or shot put, leaving high jump  "I'm too short for that." Triple jump "that looks really hard" and Long Jump.  Long jump it was. 

She really didn't say much about how she was doing at practice, and we really didn't have any idea of what to expect from her.  So at her first track meet, when she jumped a whopping 13 feet 4 inches, our jaws dropped!  Later in her 200, she beat the competition by an easy 25 meters, it would be a grave understatement to say we were impressed, and so were her coaches... I'd  even venture to say that Madison was even a bit impressed as well taking first in both events at this meet.
  First 200 meter victory

She started seeking out her dads tips and running techniques to help shave off some time in her 200, as well and sneek in a few more inches in her long jump.  One 8th grader at practice helped give her pointers to maxamize her distance as well.
Great 200 start!

And she just kept getting better! At her second track meet she jumped her personal best of 13 feet 7 and 3/4 inches.  She also shaved off a few tenths of a second in her 200 meter time.  Finishing, once again, in first place.

13 ft. 7 3/4 in long jump, official place results tomorrow.

Her third and final meet was the district championships.  She had been practicing on her form running, as wells as perfecting her distance from the launch board to squeak a few more inches out of her jump.  She had a goal of running the 200 in 29 seconds (this would only be 2 tenths of a second faster than her personal best) and 14 feet in the long jump.  She figured she could get the extra inches if she hit the board on the front edge and landed falling forward, as on her best distance she hit the back of the board and dropped her hand behind her in the landing.

As fate, or the intense 90 degree heat, would have it, she didn't reach either of her goals, and for that reason alone she was not at all pleased with her longest jump of the day (13' 4 1/2 "), which earned her district champ in the long jump, or her third place finish in the 200 meter (time of 30.12). 

I am so proud of my daughter, not because she is district champion in the long jump, or because she is the 3rd fastest 200 meter runner in our district. . . No,  those titles will fade with the passage of time, someone will come up behind her and shatter her records;  most people have already forgotten her amazing feats.  What brought tears to my eyes and constricted my heart was my daughters pursuit and desire for excellence.  The work, the preparation, the focus, the drive, the goal, and maybe most importantly the disappointment of falling short of that goal that pushes her to continue.  Those are the things that will withstand time, those are the things that will cause her to succeed off the field, and off the court.. . .

. . . and pursue excellence in life.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Who Has Time For This??

Apparently, not me.... I have so much that I want to record and share but life is so crazy hectic right now and I just can't find the time to do all of these post justice.  I'll settle for tidbits and maybe get to pictures and full posts later.

Soccer (aka: DRAMA!! )Madison's soccer club/team has undergone some major changes and there is major drama.  We've had coaching changes, girls leaving for another club, coaches turning it into an allegiance issue rather than allowing families to do what is best for them... it's a crazy mess (and for once the Casters are not at the center of it)  The season was finished with a great record and we will be moving up a level in the competitive CYS league.  We will have (another) new, very young, coach to begin next season, and Madison still has doubts about her decision to stay with her current team.  We played in the local GMIT tournament and Madison got a goal, her first in YEARS!  

Maddox: he is a major rule follower... his teacher instructed the class to wear clothes over their swim suits to school for water day.  I know this was intended for the little girls, so they wouldn't be in their little bikinis all day, but Maddox would not, could not, be convinced other wise.  In the end it was easier to give in and allow him to wear his clothes over his swim shorts and rash guard... he looked atrocious! (I'll post a pic when I get a chance.)

10 and 40:  Brian and I just celebrated our 10th anniversary, (he got a AR 15, I got diamond earrings). Two days later we hosted a party to celebrate his parents 40th anniversary.  I can hardly believe it's been ten years.  When I think of how little Madison was it seems like forever ago, but it went so fast.

The school year is winding down, and there is always anxiety about changes for the upcoming year. This year is no different, it is even worse than normal as there are more budget cuts, and the district continues to make decision behind closed doors with the best interest of administration rather than students and the ones that are closest to them.  I do know that I have a job next year, I do know that I will get a bit of a raise (step and lane)... but at what cost to my coworkers who may or may not have jobs next yea? (I could rant for quite a while on this...)

The end of the year brings mixed feelings for me, I am so happy to be done and just get to be a mom for the next few months, but saying good bye to my 8th graders this year is tough.  We had a great day at the pool party, they literally blew my socks off at the spring fling music concert last night, and for the next two days we get to just play, reflect, and have fun together.  This group of kids has something special, and it is sad to see them go, but also so exciting to see them off on their next chapter.  I can't wait to see the amazing things they accomplish!

I started reading a new series a few weeks ago and am just finishing it... I'll have to post my review via Goodreads soon. I have a huge stack of books I commandeered from my teammates library for the summer, plus some new ones on the Nook, AND a few that I want to re-read. 

I'm headed to Idaho this summer for a week long education conference.  I am really looking forward to this time... in more ways than one!  A week of being responsible for only myself, as well as getting into so really great courses and walking away with an additional 4 credits!  This should give me enough for my GT certification!  After this I think I'll take a break from graduate courses for awhile, at least until after my masters degree is paid off.

Maddox had his 6th birthday, it seemed to span several weeks as we were in Denver the day of his birthday, and had a family party before and a huge friend party after.  He was spoiled rotten (of course) with a trip to the Denver Aquarium and to see the Avengers while in D-town.  Then a HUGE birthday bash at the park with a ton of friends.

Just this took me over a half an hour to whip up, and it is shallow, surface level, poorly written, and doesn't even include pictures.  Maybe next week I'll be able to blog again... oh wait... .I've got a two day class, followed by a soccer tournament, followed by two weeks of teaching summer school... dang!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Distant Hours

I am really impressed with Kate Morton's ability to weave an intriguing tale of mystery that spans several generations. The fluidity with which she moves between past and present makes for an enjoyable rather than difficult read. Though I liked The Forgotten Garden better, I was not disappointed in this in the least. The fact that it took place (partly) during the 2nd world war was intriguing, this time period fascinates me. I also love the setting of a castle in the English country side. She portrays the strength of family, what one would do to hold a family together with great emotion. I loved each of the unique, strong characters created. They were vivid in my imagination from their mannerisms and style to their moods and personality.

I am not one for thrillers, or bloody mysteries, so Morton’s languid style of mystery appeals to me; I desire to keep reading to know her characters more, to follow the thread that unravels the truth in the end.

My only dislike, the end was to neatly wrapped up, too forced into coming full circle in all aspects. Though dislike is too strong a word for how I really feel this because I typically want a nice neat ending, but it just felt a bit too contrived.

Goodreads Review 3 Stars

Magic Tree House = Magical Reading Moment

Digging out the mass of books that were piled in my room I happened across our collection of the Magic Tree House series. In a moment of nostalgia I remembered how much Madison had enjoyed them, all the adventures they took us on. I know I had been saving them with Maddox in mind, and wondered if he was ready for this new reading adventure. The moment you change from sight word-picture books, to chapter books is a gigantic reading leap. The transition from using pictures to help bring meaning to the story, to relying solely on your imagination takes a great deal of reading comprehension. Not that he is anywhere close to being able to read the chapter book, but I though he may be ready to exercise his imagination.

Why not give them a try. . .

How fortunate that the first book in the series is about Dinosaurs, every book Maddox has brought home from the library this year has been about Dinosaurs; he was instantly hooked. He loved that we were reading a chapter book, pointing out each new chapter as we read, hanging on my every word. At one point he wanted to see the picture, and I told him that chapter books don't have pictures on every page, that you have to close your eyes and imagine, let the words make a picture in your head. As I continued reading, I glimpse his eager face scrunched up, eyes closed... imagining... "I can see it mom!"

As we drew to the end of our agreed upon 2 chapters, we are left with a cliff hanger... his excitement at wanting to know what happens next oozes out of him, coercing me to read on. Another two chapter later, two chapters filled with exclamations of excitement, surprise, and gasps, I close the book. He cannot contain his eagerness, wanting to read more, when he realizes he won't win another chapter, he offers a compromise of letting him stay up and look at the rest of the pictures to see what might happen, how could I say no.

The next morning he awakes, book in hand in hopes of squeezing another chapter out of me before school. After dinner he brings the book down again, and I agree to read another chapter before the family begins showing up for the party. Then at bed time, the book appears with his huge, toothless grin, begging to finish. What mother could say no to that?

Not me, so we finish our very first chapter book together, and it was every bit of what I hoped. Almost making me come to tears. . . My son is hooked on books, I couldn't be more proud.