Sugar-Free Challenge

Last January, our family decided to participate in a year-long sugar-free challenge.

Basically what it meant was that on a regular basis, we were not to have treats of any kind. No cookies or candy, soda or cake. This went for home, work, and at school. If someone gave into the temptation and had a treat, they were to put a mark on the tally sheet. Holidays and birthdays were exceptions to the no-sugar rule. (Oh, and a very long two week break during our summer vacation!)

As incentive, we put a jar in the kitchen and money would randomly be added. Whoever managed to win the sugar-free challenge would win the money that was in the jar.

As you can see by our tally sheet, Nathan and I were the weakest when it came to giving in, and Catheryn was as stubborn as a mule. She, of course, won the challenge. It was a tough challenge, though, and I am extremely impressed with how few marks there ended up being over the entire year!

This year we have decided to continue being sugar-free, although we are no longer taking marks for eating treats. We have just all agreed that we would keep our treats to a minimum and they would not become a daily thing.

This year we are having a fitness challenge. The goal is to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes at least three days per week. The more the better, but it has to be at least three days. At the end of the week, if you have not gotten in your three days, then you will have to put a mark on the tally sheet. If someone is sick or is physically unable to get in their days, they will be able to make up for it the following week by exercising five days. We are off to a late start this year due to sickness, but we have all agreed to start our challenge this Tuesday.

Rob and I are working on our own little fitness project that we are calling “Five Events for Five Decades,” so hopefully this family challenge will help keep us motivated. I will share more about those events later.

Wish us luck!

Better Late than Never…

Happy New Year!

Our family did not exactly get off to the best start this year. For the last two weeks, we have all taken turns being sick. In a way it was good because it fell over winter break, so the kids were out of school anyway, and in another way it was bad, because that was by far the worse winter break we have ever had. School started back up on Tuesday and while the twins were able to go, Liam needed one more day at home. Rob was also able to go back to work yesterday after taking an addition week off to help care for my sickly self. So yesterday was the first day we are all standing on our own feet again, and I must say, I am so happy for that. We do not get sick very often, but when we do, it is a nice reminder of just how wonderful it feels to be healthy.

While I was laying in the dark last week with nothing but some relaxing piano music and my own thoughts to keep me company, I found myself thinking about many things that had happened over the last year. I would not exactly call 2017 our best year ever, but it definitely had its moments. I have a hard time being glad when a year is over, no matter how bad it may have been. I know that with it goes all the bad associated with it, but the good has to go as well. All the events of the year become memories, time never to be had again. For some reason, I have a hard time with that. Especially when I look at my family and realize just fast time is flying by.

The babes of yesterday are the young adults of today, and I fear that if I simply blink, it will be time to remove the word “young” from that statement. The years truly are short…

2018 is looking to be an eventful year for our family, though. The twins will join the teenage world in a couple short weeks, Liam will be able to get his learner’s permit once school lets out, Rob and I will both change decades this summer, and we will have a high schooler come fall. We have southern states to visit, runs to participate in, camping to do. Last summer we were limited on time since I worked the weekends, so this year we decided to change that. Time with the kids at home is fleeting, and time to do things together is by far more important than a few extra dollars in the bank. This year I hope to find us out in nature more, camping, fishing, hiking, taking new roads. Making new memories.

So here’s to 2018. May it bring health and happiness to all!

Another Season Coming to a Close…

I am having a hard time believing it is December already. I would ask you where the year has gone, but chances are it has flown by for you as well. The kids had a wrestling tournament yesterday and will have their last one of the season next Saturday here at home. Like the rest of the year, the wrestling season went by too fast. Liam has a chance to practice with the high school team if he chooses to, but since that option is only open to 8th graders, the twins will be done at the end of the week.

I love watching these kids wrestle. I don’t care that we have to get up at 4am (and I am not a morning person) in order to get the kids to the bus on time. I don’t mind driving 2 hours (I do love a good road trip) to get to a tournament. My rear end does start complaining after several hours on hard bleachers, but a good scolding usually gets it to be quiet for a while. The headache that comes from being in a gym filled with screaming parents and teammates is only a minor inconvenience, so on tournament days, asprin is my good buddy.

I love watching so many kids of all athletic abilities getting out there on the mats and put every ounce of themselves into a wrestling match. I love witnessing their successes and my heart breaks a little for their defeats. But each week, kids from all different schools get better and better. We watch them all so much that we almost feel as though we know them, even if it is in some very small way. We root for kids we may never see again, simply because they are trying so hard to do something that many are not brave enough to attempt. And we always root for the girls. Always.

There is a passion in wrestling that I never knew or understood, and I am proud to say now that I get it. I understand what it is all about. And each and every time we pull up to a school for another tournament, I am grateful that we get to be a part of it. So to all the kids we have had the pleasure of watching over the last couple of months, I say thank you. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey. I have loved absolutely every minute of it and am already looking forward to next year.

I know we still have one tournament left next Saturday, but I thought this would be a good time to share some videos with you. There is one of each of my kids. Please do yourself a favor and turn down the volume. The gym is loud, and we all get a little obnoxious when one of our own is out on the mat. Liam has improved so much since last year that it is almost hard to tell he is the same kid. Nathan has done absolutely amazing for a first year wrestler and has spent the entire season on the Hawks scoring team. And Catheryn, oh my heart, she is incredible. She has worked so hard this season and has accomplished so much. They all have so much to be proud of. I know that I am incredibly proud of them all, and nothing makes me happier than being their mama.

Wrestling Rockstars!

Liam absolutely loved wrestling last year, so it was no surprise that he wanted to do it again this year. The funny thing was that he almost did not participate last year. I am guessing he is glad he did! At their first tournament this year he placed first in his weight class (126 lb) and at their second tournament he placed second. They had their third meet last night here at home where they wrestled team against team. There were eight teams in all and it turned out to be quite the entertaining evening!

Liam at the first tournament.

He looks so tall!

Nathan wrestled a little for the YMCA last year and he really enjoyed it, so he was looking forward to wrestling in middle school this year. At the first tournament he wrestled in the 105 pound weight class, but he is aggressive on the mat, so his coach bumped him to the 110 class at the next two tournaments. He, too, took 1st in his class at the 1st tournament, and 2nd in his class at the 2nd tournament. So far this year he has only lost one match. He loves wrestling and is now talking about taking up boxing!

Nathan after taking first at the first tournament!

Getting ready to start a match.

Probably the biggest surprise of all was Catheryn. She had talked off and on about wrestling, but when the season was about to start, she was not sure if she wanted to participate or not. One day while she and I were watching the boys finish up football practice, we went over the pros and cons of wrestling. Her list of pros was longer than her list of cons, so I suggested trying a practice to see what she thought of it. If she decided to do it, we would go buy her shoes, but once the shoes were purchased, there would be no mind changing allowed. She agreed, and after the first practice, there was no more talk of whether or not she would participate, only of when we could go get shoes. I guess we had our answer!

One of the items on her list of pros was gaining upper body strength. She had gotten pretty strong legs after cross-country, but she wanted muscle up top. Every day she gets stronger and stronger. She has not won a match yet, but she goes out and tries her hardest and makes those boys work hard to pin her! One boy couldn’t even pin her and had to settle for winning by points. (She lost 4-7.)

Catheryn getting ready for a match.

Home quad last night.

A little over a year ago, I had no idea how fun wrestling would be to watch, (I probably had goofy images of ‘pro’ wrestling in my head.) but I found myself showing up early just to watch practice all last season, and am doing exactly the same thing this year! The bonus is that having three kids wrestling now gives us that much more to watch! The next tournament is Saturday and I am already looking forward to it. If any of you have kids who are contemplating wrestling, tell them to go for it! I can almost guarantee you will have as much fun as they do!

Gosh, I love these kids!!! 3:45am wake-up, and they’re still smiling!