The New Teens!

Well, it is official. Rob and I are now outnumbered by teenagers. On this date, an incredible 13 years ago, these two adorable babies entered the world.

Catheryn and Nathan – 1.5 months

Watching my children grow has been one of the biggest joys of my life. To our twins, thank you for being so amazing! We love you more that you will ever know! Happy 13th Birthday, Twinnies!!!

The Birthday Roll…Β 

And finally… πŸ™‚Β 

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!

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.

Family

Families are like fudge β€” mostly sweet with a few nuts. ~Author unknown

Typical family photo in our house…

On our best behavior…

Apparently my mom and I look alike, although neither of us can see it.

Have you seen Nathan? No, I haven’t. Have you?

She got me!

Grammy, Grampy, and the kids started out behaving themselves…

Then Nathan cracked…

Followed by Liam until…

They all lost it except for Grampy.

Just when we thought Grampy was the only one who could behave…

And as usual, Rob and I are completely innocent. πŸ™‚

Hopefully my parents will forgive me someday for sharing these pictures! πŸ™‚

Time to Run

Catheryn had her first cross country meet last weekend and she did amazing! I think she was a little nervous going in, but once she got running, she said the course went by really fast. There were runners from close to 10 schools, so lots of girls out on the trail! Both the girls and the boys took first place in teams! They all did amazing and it was so fun to watch!

Ready to go!

Middle school girls at the starting line (our school is on the far right.)

Catheryn on the course just before the finish

Catheryn and her friend with the team trophy

And It Begins Again…

As hard as it is to believe, school has begun once again. In our school district, August 17 was the first day back. What is it about summer that makes it go so fast? One day it is just beginning and you feel like you have all the time in the world to do things, and the next thing you know, it’s over and you didn’t do half of what you had planned. Β For me it is another reminder of just how fast life goes. One had better pay attention, or it will simply pass you by…

I have never been one of those parents who couldn’t wait for school to start back up after a long summer. I love having my kids home. Even when they are bickering up a storm, I love having them home. Perhaps it is because I am not a fan of stressful homework filled evenings of school, or perhaps it is because the time I have left with my kids at home is fleeting. They will be off on their own way too soon, so I have to soak up all the noise and chaos and bickering while I can, for all too soon, our house will be quiet. I cannot bear to think of that yet, so I will put it off for another time.

The kids are all getting settled into the new school year. Liam is now in 8th grade, his last year of middle school, while the twins are in 7th, their first year. They have all mastered their new schedules and are settled into a new routine. Catheryn is running cross-country this fall and both of the boys are playing football. Catheryn has not run in a meet yet, but I am looking forward to her first, which should be next week. The boys had their first football game last week and while they did lose, they both had a lot of fun. The game was an away game and by the time we got there, it was already half-time. As we were driving to the game, Rob joked about how we had just missed Liam score the first touchdown. When we arrived, Nathan came running over and yelled up to us, “You missed it! Liam scored the first touchdown of the game!” Go figure… Football is Liam’s passion, so hopefully there will be many, many touchdowns to come. Stay tuned for game pictures.

For now, though, here’s wishing a happy school year to everyone heading back, and to all the parents left home alone. May this year be one of your best!

Nathan, Liam, and Catheryn heading Back to School!