Saturday, March 26, 2016

Easter & Nate's Birthday

Life has a way of passing us all by. This young man turned 39 this year and even as I sit and type this,   I have to add the years up to make sure I wrote his age right. I decided it would be nice to take him to the ocean/beach for his birthday for a nice quiet weekend. I planned it weeks before we left as a surprise. It backfired. 

It backfired because as the time grew closer and my calendars renewed, I realized I had planned this getaway on Easter Weekend. Oh, thank you for coming early this year Mr Easter Bunny. I had a dilemma on my hands; do I surprise him and have him disappointed because he doesn't want to leave the boys this year? Do I cancel it? I talked to the boys about it and promised that we would be home Easter Sunday and we would do a hunt like normal. Krystal had agreed weeks before to come and stay the weekend with the boys - and now she was had the added bonus of playing Easter Bunny. Luckily she is super cool and was fine with it.

We colored eggs on Thursday night and after eggs were colored, we busted out Nate's birthday presents. One included mine - the following day he would only work until 12:00 noon and then we would head out. I had pre-arranged this with his boss Justin before as well. He was overall excited but there was a part of him that was hesitant to leave the boys on a holiday weekend. He got over it once the boys assured him they were cool with it.

One of the first places we stayed at when I visited Oregon was the Fire Side Motel in Yachats. We noticed a small village of cottages nearby that belonged to the owners of the FireSide, and eventually the resort of Overleaf Lodge. The houses were so quaint and reminded me of the mushroom village where the Smurfs lived. It only took us 11 years to stay here, but alas we did. 

here is a private little hike railway from the village to the beach. The weather was absolutely perfect. We honestly could not have had better weather. We spent HOURS watching the spouts as the tide rolled in and out. We'd move from place to place, getting different vantage points on the spouts.

 Best seat in the house. God's canvas laid right in front of us and most of Friday was spent here. Friday night we decided to head into town for dinner. Yachats is a very small town along the coast, so you don't have much to chose from. We also didn't want to visit the crowded restaurant that looked spendy. So we picked the restaurant a few blocks down that didn't have any cars there. That should have been red flag #1. We were approached by a waiter who was wearing black jeans that were too long and he was walking on the bottoms of them. He begins to show us the menu right at the door and point out the various entrees they did not have. He told us he'd give us a minute to look at the menu. So, there we stood, pretty much in the doorway, looking at the menu. He reapproaches us and says, "Sooooo, do you want to eat here?" 

Red Flag #2. "Sure." He smiles like he's relieved and replies, "Excellent!" (Red Flag #3) We round the corner to the main dining area. It was a mix of Rainforest Cafe and Cracker Barrel. It straight up looked like the restaurant from the Goonies (ironic since we're just down from Astoria where that movie was filmed). It had 59 ferns hanging from the ceiling everywhere. The wood floor creaked as we walked past all the empty tables, the only thing breaking the silence was Kenny G belting the Sax from above.

Nate got the SeaFood Mac-n-Cheese and I got the Fish & Chips. Amazingly, it was delicious. We watched 2 more couples get the same treatment at the door and only 1 couple made it inside. They were British and they looked just as puzzled as we did and the wife whispered, "Maybe this is how they do it here?" There had been a pause in Kenny's playing, that's why I heard the whisper.

As we were wrapping up, an amazing thing happened. The 2 homeless hitch-hikers we had encountered just prior to entering the restaurant came in. They were greeted by Pants-Too-Long, the chef/owner came out and greeted them, and then they were seated. They were given hot soup and bread. They were very thankful and it was neat to see. The owner came out to talk to them and agreed to let them come back the following day if need be for another meal. I immediately felt bad for judging the place, but seriously, I was wondering if there was a basement with a figure screaming "Hey you GUYYYYYSSSSS" and wanting Baby Ruths.

Saturday was filled with more spout watching, napping, and reading books. We did also get in some basketball watching. It was very relaxing! We had a brook that ran behind our house so sitting outside on the deck was fantastic. A great friend of mine had recommended a small, quant restaurant for which I had to make reservations for. I had done so the week before. Heidi's was so delicious. It was built inside a small home so literally the chef is in a kitchen and there are only about 10 tables. The only down side to such a small quaint eatery is that when there is some serious cooking going on, it gets hot as a mother in there. We had to sit by the window with it open so I didn't pass out. They have 3 entrees to chose from, 2 desserts, and local wines. The menu is so small because it's fresh and cooked right there that day.

Exiting Overleaf Village was bittersweet. We were so excited to get back to our little egg finders but left a piece of our quiet hearts in the Yaquina cottage. We really did drive about 16mph leaving. Until next time! 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Coach Scovils & The Squatches

I remember when Maysen first started playing basketball for the YMCA. I thought sitting in the stands basically was one of the most frustrating things to do. I wanted to yell and "coach" from the stands. Boy did I not have a clue. The following year Maysen played on KidsSports and we got a whole new lesson. One in empathy and wanting to coach some other lessons from the stands that you normally don't want to coach from there. 

So, while Griffin played his first ever basketball season with the YMCA (the Bulldogs), Nate and I decided we would coach Maysen's YMCA team. The idea was that I would be the brains (organizing the team, etc) and Nate would be the braun with the kids. Day 1 we knew this was all going to be a whole new ballgame for us (Pun unintended).

Griffin did just fine for his first year. His favorite part of the whole season/games was getting to throw the ball in once it was out of bounds, and getting to run it back to half-court after the other team had made a point. He would dribble as slllllllow as he possibly could, relishing in that moment of "power" he had. The other team could not interfere and waited at half-court for him. During one game, he sat on one side of the half-court line just dribbling while the entire team had lined up on the other side waiting for him. He didn't mind. It was Griffin Time and he was taking it all in.

He loved Ryen, the YMCA ref and coordinator and would spent a lot of time wanting to play with him. Other times, while the game was going on he'd just be chatting it up with the man he was supposed to be guarding because it was a pal from school. During one game he got hit in the head with he basketball and Ryen blew the whistle and asked if he was ok. Reverberating throughout the whole gym, he says, "Do I look like I'm ok? I just got nailed in the head with a basketball!"

He would be reminded to "hustle" down the court and when I'd yell out "Griffin, hustle!" he would find me in the crowd and give me that "I am - shut it!" look. Or he'd run down the court and out of th blue just pump his fist in the air.

In the midst of that, there was the Gentle Griffin I love and adore. If he would trip someone or foul someone, he'd be the first one to say, "Oh! Are you ok?" One little boy fell and Griffin went over to help him up and ask if he was Ok. That is the stuff you can't teach. It's just in there.

Do I think we'll have the next Shaq on our hands? No, nor do I think he wants to be! But it was sure fun watching him just be Griffin and not give a rip out on the court and just be himself.

Now, for Nate and I, keeping 8 kids under control and focused was one of the main challenges. We had a few kids that were more interested in messing around than listening, which would make the rest of the team just fall apart.  Nate started to run warm ups with the boys and immediately injured his knee. Ha! It was partially my fault by telling the boys to outrun Coach Nate.

Managing the different talents was hard as well. We had some kids that were 2 steps from being on the NBA, and another 2 that had never dribbled a basketball before. So that was a challenge trying to coach to the different levels. Another challenge was trying to find a balance of firmness. if you were "too nice" the kids would walk all over you. If you were too "firm" you were afraid of offending either the parents or the kids.

Parents! Wow. I learned that I was probably one of the most challenging parts of having my kid in sports. Having parents try to coach from the stands was so frustrating. We had some great parents but boy did I learn that if I've turned my kid over to another coach to just shut my mouth.

I mentioned trying not to offend child or parent; well we head to learn as coaches not to be offended as well. We lost a few kids along the way and trying not to take it personal is hard! But it is what it is, and we are so grateful that we got to experience the other side. I will certainly never take other coaches for granted again!

When we lost a few kids, we gained a few new ones. Making sure the kids had a great time, learned at least one thing new, learned how to respect one another, and work as a team was our main goal and I think we accomplished it.

I will say that one more thing I learned is that refs have a hard job. I also learned that there REALLY is a difference between a good ref and a bad ref. And it has nothing to do with their calls. It has to do with their personality and ability to maintain control over their court ... and themselves. I got to experience a BAD ref at one of our Eugene games. He, unfortunately, had no control over himself and really acted like a juvenile, despite being probably a decade older than myself.

He was making some pretty horrendous calls - calls that were overly inappropriate for the age group of our kids. When somewhat called out by myself, I learned that he thought pretty highly of himself - and his calls. I was told to sit in my corner and shut it or be expelled from the game, because - afterall, I was only the assistant coach. What surprised me the most is how upset it made the kids. They were very protective over me and didn't like that at all. Another surprise for me!

One of the proudest moments was watching the other boys welcome the "newbies" with open arms. Watching them encourage one another, help one another, and support one another was beautiful. I haven't seen that on any other team - in fact it was quite opposite for Maysen last year so showing him this and having him be a part of it was truly a blessing for us as parents. And man has Maysen come a long way! We watched him be a bit timid last year playing on a much more advanced team. He wasn't ready for all the aggression of his team mates or the other teams. However, that must have simmered within him because he came out elbows swinging this year! He pushed himself more than I've seen and was hard on himself probably more than he should have been. But I suppose that's what growing is all about. In anything you do. I can't wait to watch him next year! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Hay Bails and Cheat Notes

Every February, if you are good all month, you get to participate at the months-end Soap Box Derby race. Apparently Griffin felt he need to push the teachers all week with various things such as not following directions, arguing with instructions, eating his pencils. You know. All the good things parent's love to cringe about.

Griffin had been picked to push his class soap box derby race car until the morning of the race. All students were lining up in their classes for pictures with their respective derby car. This morning proved to be nothing out of the norm from the rest of the week. The teacher explained not once, not twice, but THREE times that children were to stop picking out the straw out of the hay bails because these bails were only borrowed and would be going back to the owner soon. The teacher lined up the class for a class picture. As she took the first picture with her digital camera she looked at the shot to see if everyone was lined up. Griffin was immediately removed from pushing his derby car. He cried and cried, not understanding why. So Ms Leonnig showed him her camera. This is why:

About a week later as Griffin and I were practicing his spelling words, I was noticing he was having a hard time differentiating "ou" words and "ow" words (like ground and crown). So I set up words that had 'ow' and we made a sentence: "Now, go through down town, through the crowd, to see the powerful cowboy wearing the crown" It seemed silly but all other words that he was given if they weren't in that sentence then they were "ou" words. I had told him, to heighten the motivation, told him if he made a 100% on the test I'd take him for ice cream. I didn't realize that boyyyy this made him nervous!! 

The next morning I put a little love note in his lunch box. On the back of the note, I told him "remember..." and then included the sentence for him to recite before the test. 

I got an IM message from a friend of mine who happened to be subbing for Ms Leonnig that day. 

"Umm, we had a problem with Griffin this morning. He was caught cheating on his spelling test. He was using a cheat sheet that he said you gave to him. He said you really wanted him to get a 100% so you MUST have put that in there for him to cheat with. He then later admitted that B had talked him into using it to cheat. Never the less, he got a WHOA for it." 

What!? Yes. I put that note in his lunch box for the MAIN purpose of slipping him a cheat sheet. I'm hard core momma at 2nd grade. Can you see it now?