Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Soccer Man

Noah played soccer on the Provo City league one fall when he was 4. You know how that goes: A whole bunch of kids all chase after the ball in one big group not having a clue about who is on their team or which direction to run in. He had fun but wasn't too sad when it was over. He's played some soccer here and there since then but last summer in Germany he really fell in love with the sport. 

Germany is absolutely soccer-crazy! The Euro Cup was going on at the time and Noah and Max had a great time watching some of the games with Opa. They would go upstairs to my Grandma's apartment in the evenings, eat treats, and watch soccer. Max would get bored after a while and come back downstairs but Noah was glued to the TV. He loved it so much that he keeps saying: I am so glad it's 2013 now because that means next year is the World Cup and we are going to Germany to watch it! Of course the World Cup next year isn't actually taking place in Germany but who cares? He just wants to watch it with Opa and Great-Grandma. 

Opa would take him to various soccer fields when he came home from work and they would practice. He bought Noah goalie gloves and then Noah bought Max goalie gloves with his own money. They were all set. 

When we got back to Flagstaff, all Noah cared about was soccer. So Karl, Max, and I tried hard to want to play soccer all. day. long. He had a soccer birthday party. He refused to cut his hair and needed to wear a hair band in order to look like the European soccer stars he had seen on TV. He studied soccer magazines day and night. We signed him up for soccer camp. He loved it. After 3 hours of playing soccer I thought he'd had enough. But - nope. We needed to play more soccer in the afternoon. We were all getting a little tired of soccer. 

Finally school started. During the first week he got busted for staying outside an extra 30(!) minutes after recess was over. Apparently he was off on the field playing soccer with a friend and they didn't hear the bell. Or something like that. By now they have an organized soccer match every recess. We have posters on our walls where he is keeping track of scores. Just today he told me: Mama. I am the one who brought soccer to Marshall School. Oh boy! 

So we really had no choice but to sign him up for Club Soccer. We were a little hesitant at first because it was expensive (to us) and we weren't sure if he would fit in. It seemed like this was serious business. But it turns out this was the best thing we could've done for him. He has great coaches, fantastic teammates, good friends, and keeps on getting better and better. And, most importantly, he loves it and has a lot of fun! (And I get a break from pretending to know how to play soccer.)

During their first tournament in September they lost all of their games. By a lot. We stopped counting after a while. The kids didn't care. They had a blast. The next tournament was in December. They won some and lost some. But they had made a lot of progress and it was fun to see!

 Last weekend was tournament #3. We certainly didn't mind leaving Flagstaff and heading down into the Valley where it was nice and warm! Noah is quite confident in his soccer skills but he had yet to score in a tournament. He wanted it so badly that I really hoped it was going to happen... The beginning of the first game was a little rough, seeing how they had been playing only inside for more than a month now. But they picked it up and won the game. Yes! 

I decided to go for a bike ride. How could I not? It was in the 70s which means shorts and short-sleeve jersey. Can't pass that up! I knew I was going to miss Noah's second game but I've never claimed to be a super soccer mom! Well, turns out I missed out big time! The team won 7-1 and Noah did indeed score his first goal! He was so excited, it was awesome! At least I was there to celebrate afterwards with ice cream and swimming outside! 

Noah was also really hoping to have a chance to be goalie this weekend and today this dream came true also. The team was in the lead 2-0 and after half-time Coach put Noah in the goal. I was considering going on another bike ride because this was way too nerve-wrecking... He did great though and got some good practice in. 

It's just so fun to see him doing what he loves with his good friends. I don't mind hanging out by the side of the field for a few hours, in the warm sun, while Max is playing with his little friends, talking to the other parents, getting a little tan. I think this counts as quality family time.  

 A big Thank You to the Harmons who opened up their house to us again. This wouldn't be nearly as fun/affordable if we had to stay in a hotel! We can't wait for tournament #4 in March! Bring it on! 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Loving Winter

Before Karl gets a chance to correct me, I'll admit it myself: Winter is not my favorite season! Not at all. But that doesn't mean that I can't love certain aspects of it. And some days are just wonderful. Like today. A little swim in the morning, breakfast with the family, some skate skiing by myself, more cross-country skiing with the family. The boys are growing up and it's been a lot of fun! So far cross-country skiing hasn't worked out too well because they just hadn't gotten into it but today was different. Granted, they would still prefer to go downhill skiing but they did ski a nice little loop before finding a hill to ski up and down repeatedly. 

Here are some of our favorite activities (that I happened to take pictures of) so far this winter: 

Just as winter got started, Noah had his first soccer tournament down in the Valley, which meant we got to escape the cold for a couple of days and hang out in the sun watching and cheering for many hours. 

Noah was in heaven, of course. 

Max did much better than expected. He watched some, ate snacks, and played with all the other siblings. I think he actually had a really good time. The warm temperatures certainly helped! It was very nice to stay at our friends' house again and hang out with them for a bit. My highlight was a bike ride in shorts over to Bartlett Lakes. Kinda lonely but better than the trainer! 

Hiking in the cold without any snow isn't our favorite but it will do until the white fluffy stuff shows up! 

This is how the boys stay entertained when it's dark and cold outside. They like to jump from the table onto the couch.

... which is fine by me. We happen to not have any you-aren't-allowed-to-stand-on-the-table or no-jumping-on-the-couch rules. Maybe some day when we actually have decent furniture we will but by then the kids will most likely be too old for such shenanigans. 

 The only rule in place is: If you get hurt, you can't whine or complain. This was your choice! 

The kids are still riding to school. They like it and get excited about dressing in such a way that absolutely no piece of skin sticks out. 

Finally: Snow! 

(our apartment building)

The first day it really snowed, they cancelled school and the boys got to play in the snow all day! By the time I got back from the gym in the morning, they had already been outside for quite a while. Thanks to Papa! 

Making a snow fort and our own sledding hill right next to the house. 

We have been lucky to have quite some snow so far this year but we are certainly ready for more
Let it snow!!!