52 Weeks of Brotherhood, Week 43

52 Weeks of Brotherhood, Week 43

52 Weeks of Brotherhood, Week 43

Soccer ended this past Sunday. And it was good.

I kid. A little bit.

You see, I love how much my boys love soccer. They also love soccer differently. For LittleBrother, still under the protective wing of U6, soccer is all about happiness and talking with friends and maybe a little running around and occasionally kicking the ball. For BigBrother, soccer became Important this year, and with the Importance came the zest for winning and running harder and giving it all he could give. Oh, their personality differences! Every week, they happily wolfed down their lunches, quickly changed into their soccer uniforms, and rushed off to the field in the 45 minute time span after church. Never a fight, though occasionally a push to move a little faster.

I also loved how the coaches loved our kids. Blessed with very different coaches with very different goals that matched my very different children. Most of all, the coaches were kind, unlike some of the other coaches we encountered throughout our season. Coaches we dubbed with names like Screamy Coach. Don’t be the Screamy Coach.


My least favorite thing about soccer this year wasn’t actually the Screamy Coach, though he was spectacularly awful. It wasn’t an assortment of kids on opposing teams and own teams that couldn’t seem to keep their hands to themselves. It wasn’t the weather or the rushing around or the lack of parking. No, those things annoyed but fell under the heading of Tolerable.

The worst thing? Being torn between two kids on two different teams.

We still have it easy, being community organization soccer instead of later, when they may (or may not) play school sports and we will have to travel to away games and so on. But still, when the boys played on different fields at the same time? What were we to do? We split half and half, of course. But in that split time, FireDad missed both of BigBrother’s goals for the year. It’s hard, because we want to be there for them, to show them that we support them in their passions. This will be a battle we fight for years, finding that give and take between the boys and their different interests, their differing schedules. We will do our best, and hopefully, maybe just maybe, the boys will understand that we did all we could.

Happy Boys

For now, I am immensely proud of two little boys who both said, “Thank you,” to their coaches when they got their soccer medals. Good job, boys. Good job.



Fitbit Flex Activity + Sleep Wristband

When the Reality Doesn’t Quite Match the Dream: Jack O’Lantern Version

October needs a speeding ticket, because I have some whiplash.

Yesterday we realized that our front porch lacked something very important: pumpkins. Or more specifically pumpkins best counterpart, jack o’lanterns. Somehow we made it to the end of the month without visiting a pumpkin patch, picking out our favorites, paying a ridiculous price for their orangey goodness that rots faster than you can say, “BOO,” and carving them at home — which usually involves whining. By me.

So after the boys finished up their last soccer game, I pulled up local pumpkin patches on my iPhone — meaning that I found one in our county, which seems like a cheap shot. I mean, if living in Rural America has any benefits, don’t you think one of those should be having an overabundance of pumpkin patches? Not so.

We piled into the car with LittleBrother asking before we could even buckle our seatbelts, “How long will it take to get there?” Never a good sign. Still, I pulled up the directions to Nameofroad Pike, and off we went. Thirty minutes into the drive, I learned that Nameofroad Pike and Nameofroad Pike Road are different roads. We turned around to heavy sighs from the back seat, and made our way to the appropriate place. Only to find that the patch in question was out of pumpkins.

Sigh. The nice gentleman let us take two small gourds and a suspect, will-probably-rot-by-tomorrow mini-pumpkin (for Callie) for free as he took pity on the ridiculous family trying to get pumpkins four days before Halloween.

We tried Aldi’s next, but alas, no pumpkins. My frustration level started to raise. We drove up the hill to that Giant Store That Has Everything from Pumpkins to Motor Oil. Right out front, pallets of pumpkins sat, waiting for us as if to say, “Where have you been?” I left my big camera in the car because what says, “Oh hi, I’m a failure as a mother because instead of taking the boys to the Pumpkin Patch and creating lasting family memories, we’re grabbing last minute pumpkins in the parking lot of Walmart,” than a giant camera? I still snapped some pictures with my phone, because I’m me.

Almost Looks Legit

You almost can’t tell we’re in the parking lot of a giant superstore that I loathe, right? But I’ll always know. The boys, however, didn’t care one lick. The excitement level of the boys was that of pure joy. They simply wanted pumpkins; they didn’t care that they were from a superstore. They walked around the pumpkins, talking about the qualities of each — too bumpy, too dirty, too small, too large, too rotten. Eventually, they each picked their favorite. I found one and so did FireDad.

Choosing Pumpkins

Picking Pumpkins...

BigBrother with His Chosen

LittleBrother with His Chosen

We paid for our pumpkins, behind a mother and daughter also purchasing pumpkins — and I felt a little better — and we headed home to get our carve on.


That never quite goes as planned, does it? “I can’t get all the stuff out with the spoon!” “So use your hands.” “It’s gross! No way!” And so I gutted three pumpkins instead of just my own.

I don’t know what’s better: LittleBrother’s facial expression or the knife sticking out of FireDad’s pumpkin in the background.

Three Guts-Worth

LittleBrother wanted a simple, normal jack o’lantern design. BigBrother, in true BigBrother fashion, wanted some ridiculously intricate design he created to look like Mario. We crushed his Halloween-loving soul by admitting that we, the parents, don’t possess that carving ability. I think we ruined his belief that parents are perfect with that admission, but seriously, I’m lucky I can cut a pumpkin at all. He eventually drew a face we felt like we could manage.

LittleBrother's Pumpkin

BigBrother's Pumpkin

My pumpkin became my most favorite jack o’lantern ever. My husband rolled his eyes. I think he’s just jealous he didn’t think of it first. I win at pumpkins.


Once the carving finally hit completion, delayed by helping a neighbor, we took the pumpkins outside, placed candles inside (which shocked me because firefighter), and stood back to marvel at our creations.

Four Jack O'Lanterns

To say that the boys felt pleased with the finished project is an understatement. They were elated. Overjoyed. Talking and rejoicing and generally being the happy boys I know and love. With pumpkins. From a grocery store.

Their joy wasn’t short-lived either. As we went outside to wait for the bus this morning, they hovered over our smiling (and angry) orange orbs on our front porch. “Mommy! There’s even frost inside their eyes!” They marveled over the space in which their love of weather and science slammed into their love of Halloween, crouching down in front of their individual jack o’lanterns, smiling and poking fingers at the frost. I just shook my head and smiled.

Frostbitten Pumpkin

No, we didn’t make it to the pumpkin patch this year, but I have two very happy boys. Best jack o’lantern year ever.