Hello

January. The ground here in Maine is quite snow-covered, the icicles very long off my front porch. It’s birthday season here in our family; Drew turned 8 just after Christmas, Annie and Izzie will be 6 next week, Meg 12 in just three short weeks. Report cards have come in for all four kids and they’re doing so incredibly well, all of them. We are proud parents.

We’re in full hockey season mode, as all of the kids are skating again this year. Annie and Izzie are still doing skills and improving all the time. Drew is in his last year of Mites and cross-ice hockey; he’ll be moving on to Squirts and full-ice games in the fall. He’s improved so much as a player and goalie this year. Meg re-joined the world of co-ed hockey after a season of playing with just girls. She is one of four girls on her PeeWee team and one of two girls on her middle school team. When the kids aren’t skating with their teams, they’re outside on our rink, practicing what they’ve been learning so far this season until the sun goes down. It’s nice to see them love it.

I hope to come back to this space more often, to share details and photos of our life. I’ve been so busy living it lately that taking the time to document it, whether it’s here or in my scrapbooks (haha, I am so, so far behind) gets pushed to the side. I’ll take baby steps, stop in to say hello, then try to get myself more organized and visit for longer. I miss it here.

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I Can Now Say I’m a Hockey Mom

It’s official. It’s done. I’m officially a hockey mom of four kids. Annie and Izzie started their beginner hockey program a couple of weeks ago, after a year of begging for their turn to get out there and skate like Meg and Drew.

Meg and Drew were helpers the first week on the ice. The majority of the kids out there are ages 5 and 6, so Annie and Izzie are a bit younger than everyone else.

The girls like putting on the equipment and I think they like the idea of playing hockey, but a full hour on the ice has been tough on both of them and it breaks my heart because they’ve been so excited to play and it’s not coming easy. I took a tearful Annie off the ice on Saturday because she just couldn’t do it anymore. But she said she wants to try again this week, and that’s really all we can ask of them.

Because this? This is what I love the most.

Busy is as busy does

Life here has been busy. I remember rejoicing at all the free time I’d gain when the girls started preschool, but that hasn’t materialized much. I’ve been so swamped that I’m taking next week off from school volunteering, appointments and such and taking 6 much needed hours to myself to regroup.

Drew started soccer for the first time through our district’s recreation department. He LOVES it. Turns out he’s a bit of a natural at it. Natural like scoring 7 goals in his game Saturday while neither Doug nor I were there to see it! Yikes. He has boundless energy so soccer is a good fit because quite frankly, the boy can’t sit still and running around for an hour somewhere other than inside my house is good for him.  He is really enjoying kindergarten. His class if full of little blond boys with crew cuts like his and it’s pretty funny to look at. I’m anxious to hear what his teacher says at his conference next week. I’ve volunteered in his class twice and chaperoned the field trip to make fairy houses and to me, he’s taken to school quite well.

Doug and I are sharing director duties for our hockey organization.  We’re in charge of over 100 kids and their placement in the program. We’re also in charge of the coaches and their certifications. The last couple of weeks have been non-stop hockey preparation. There are currently 7 boxes of hockey jerseys courtesy of Tim Horton’s in my living room. Our season opened this past weekend and while it was an enormous amount of work we were both pleased with how well it all went off. Meg helped out on the ice for Drew’s hockey session and she surprised us with how well she was skating. I’m looking forward to seeing her on the ice with her team Friday night at her first practice of the season.
Speaking of Meg, she is loving 4th grade so far. We have her school conference today and I’m anxious to hear what her teacher has to say. She is in a reading class separate from her regular class with kids at her own reading level and she’s enjoying that. She is taking keyboard lessons again and despite not much playing over the summer has really improved. I look at her and am amazed at how grown up she is getting. Literally and figuratively. She’s almost 5 feet tall! She wears my sneakers! What’s next, my clothes?
Annie and Izzie are loving preschool. They have a couple of friends that they spend lots of time with and love doing their art projects. We knew they’d love it there after spending 3 years shuttling Drew there. There have been no tears at drop off and while they have a great time they’re quite excited to see me when I return to pick them up. We’re taking a field trip to the farm across the street from Meg’s school tomorrow and that is always fun. 
I’ve been spending more time in my car than I can remember since we moved here. My dad fell and broke his arm (which if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you are already aware) and despite surgery to put an 8 inch plate and screws in his arm is doing quite well. He started physical therapy last week and is improving daily. I’m frustrated that I can’t help my parents out more even though I only live 20 minutes away. I can’t imagine how my brother feels as he lives in Massachusetts. My in-laws are angels and are taking my dad to and from his appointments this week so that my mom can work.
So that’s where I’ve been. What about you?

Diary of a Hockey Mom

Hockey season is long. Very long. It starts in October, with 6 am practices on Saturdays. Six am practices mean my daughter and husband leave our house at 5 am. On a Saturday. If I am lucky, the other kids sleep through the garage door opening and closing when they leave. Drew’s hockey is at a fixed time of 11 each Saturday from October to December, then again in January thru mid-March. Doug is on the ice for all of Meg’s games and practices as the assistant coach and is the head of the program Drew skates in. I spent lots of time alone with the children.

I am not always able to attend the hockey games that Meg plays in. I am not about to pull my sleeping children from bed to leave our house at 5 or 6 am to watch her play. I am grateful that she understands that. We went to many of her Tuesday evening games back in the fall, but it was a huge strain on me and the other kids, as the games were during their bedtime. She had a local tournament over Christmas break and my awesome sister-in-law watched the girls and Drew so that I could enjoy a couple of games without kids running off or climbing up and down the concrete steps and making me nuts.

Over Valentine’s weekend Meg had a tournament up north. Originally my parents were going to attend with us, but the stress of sleeping 6 people in a room with 2 double beds got to me and they offered to stay home and keep the girls with them. Let me sum up the weekend for you a-la Mastercard:

Two night stay in an ok-Ramada in Bangor, Maine~ $200

Hats, t-shirts, food, lots of coffee (ice rinks are COLD!)~ $200

Seeing my kid score her first goal in a full-ice game~PRICELESS

Being a hockey parent (and not just mom) means lots of sacrifices~missed family dinners, rushed homework, incredibly stinky clothes to wash. But there is NOTHING like seeing your child score a goal, her first goal, to make you realize that it IS all worth it. I was so proud of her, and her teammates (who tried for 2 1/2 games to help her get that goal), and it made for an awesome weekend.

The story of a boy

Doug started coaching ice hockey the week after we returned from our honeymoon. I used to attend all the practices and games back then, at 7 am on Saturdays. People would ask me which child was mine, and I always replied “the big one behind the bench”. Parents found it fascinating that not only was Doug coaching just to coach, but that I came along for the ride. I became friends with the head coach’s wife, and some of the other parents. I became particularly friendly with the mom of a boy named Andy. We sat together all the time and talked. Andy was learning to play goalie, so Doug was his personal coach. Andy’s dad worked in Chicago at the time and he really looked up to Doug as a father figure. Doug really nurtured him along the way. It was a great relationship.

As the years passed and we had children of our own, Doug still coached the kids and I still went to practices and games. Meg attended her first hockey game at 10 days old, all wrapped up in her bunting that one of the hockey parents made for us and gave to me at the surprise baby shower they threw for me at the hockey rink. They were a special group of parents.

When we found out we were having a boy, we struggled with a name. Meg would have been Cameron (for #8, Cam Neely, Boston Bruins) but we opted not to pass that name along. As we listed of boy names that we liked, we kept coming back to Andrew. We talked of the Andrews we knew-a guy Doug played hockey with I’d known my whole life, and Andy, the boy Doug coached. I remember talking of how proud we’d be to name our son after Andy, because he’d grown up to be a wonderful kid. It was settled then, after I chose Patrick (after Patrick Roy, best goalie in the NHL) as his middle name. Andrew Patrick it was.

I lay out this story of a boy because on Saturday my own son started hockey. On Friday I sent a message to Andy on Face.book to let him know that if he was interested, his namesake was starting hockey (Andy is a college sophomore now and home from college for winter break). As we were standing in the lobby Saturday morning debating how to get upstairs with the twins in their stroller because the elevator was broken, Andy and his mom walked in the door. This isn’t the first time that they’ve come to see our kids do something; they also came to see Meg last year at hockey. But on Saturday I was so thrilled that he came, because it proved to us how right we were to name Drew after him. How many college age boys come to see a 4 year old play hockey? We’re so very lucky to have been touched by such a wonderful family.

Drew and Daddy on the ice

The weekend roundup~yeehaw!

We had a pretty decent weekend. It all started, for me at least, with a nice arrival in the mail from my old friend Jane. She had read about the sock incident and sent along a lovely striped pair for me. I was having a very cranky Friday and that cheered me up. Thank you Jane!

Saturday was a good day. It started off early, watching Megan play goalie for the first time. She was so excited to be a goalie, but so nervous that we had to practically force her onto the ice. Once she got out there though, she was AWESOME! We were so proud of her!

Saturday night we had a little date to go see our niece and nephew in their high school performance of Guys and Dolls. They were incredible, as always. We can only hope that our kids grow up to be as talented, smart, wonderful and caring as their cousins.

We had a nice Easter as well. Ok, so you can’t tell from this photo (Izzie was mad because we wanted her to stop playing for the photo op) but the Easter candy hunt was fun, the kids got loads of stuff from everyone, and we got to visit both families over the course of the day. It’s so nice that our parents only live 10 minutes apart.

So, that’s it. Now we’re back to Monday. And the girls are back to a barely 45 minute nap. And still no one has invented the coffee IV.

Friday nights

If you were here in my house, the only sounds you’d hear would be the click of my keyboard, the hum, of my CPU, and occasionally, the heat coming on. That’s because it’s Friday night and it’s my quiet time.

Yes, it’s true, I get a few moments of quiet time on Friday nights. How? Why you ask? Can it be true? Yes, it is amazing, and true. Meg plays hockey on Friday nights, and I do not attend. Doug takes Drew with him, the twins go to bed, and I get some much needed downtime. When Meg started hockey back in October, I did try to attend on Friday nights, and it became a strategic nightmare. So, I opted out of going on Friday nights, and have since enjoyed the bits of quiet. Sometimes I watch tv, other times I clean up, and there are some times where I have to get ready for a scrapbooking workshop. Tonight is not any of those nights. Well, that’s not true. I’ll probably clean up the living room and put away all the puzzles that fell over. But I’m tired and just want a break.

So, today I was playing cars with Drew and he showed me how amazingly observant he is. He has a playmat that shows a little city on and we were putting the firetrucks at the firestation, cars at the house (which he told me is our babysitter’s house) and then I sent a car to the drivethru at the McDonald’s-type place on the mat. He took the car from me, backed it up into a parking spot and said “Mommy, there are no babies in that car. They can go inside to get their food”. I laughed right out loud, because he is well aware that if I want a coffee or to go to the bank, I have to use the drivethru. When Doug takes him out, they can actually GO INSIDE! I must say he is a very smart little 3 year old.
Well, the serenity of my evening has been interrupted by the ear-splitting screams of Annie, so I must check on her.