A Letter to My Bear & Goose: Season Five

To my Bear and Goose,

Year 5. Can you believe it? Our fifth football season as a family. It will be hard to beat last year’s season, I think we can all admit that. That last second grab? It will live in my heart forever.

You know what else will live in my heart forever, Lila Bear? The way you ran to me and hugged me as I sobbed, realizing that the impossible had come true; the Super Bowl curse had ended. You didn’t understand happy tears (or why your father was outside beeping the car horn) but you wanted to be sure I was ok. You’re a good egg, Lila Bear and I love you more than even Pat the Patriot for it.

Lila, you’ve reached a funny age, where you are starting to make your own decisions and that is beginning to be reflected in your choice of teams. You girls are, after all, Seattle-ites. Which is why, even though painful to hear, it was not surprising when during the pre-season you, Lila Bear, declared “I love the Seahawks!” While I will always be there to remind you who the real 12th man is, I support you becoming your own person and not necessarily cheering for a team just because your mom does. (But c’mon Lila, it is a really great team, based on an American fight for freedom from tyranny. What has a hawk ever done to earn your freedom?)

Lucy, you in so many ways are your own person, but you’re still figuring it out football wise. You’ll let me dress in you in your Tom Brady jersey for at least one more year, though it is entirely possible you are swayed by your sister’s new found fandom. (Also, we’re sorry you got stuck with the 4th year of a 4 year jersey plan with that RGIII jersey. Think of it as a badge of honor or an ironic throwback.) You may be a momma’s girl Lucy Goose, but you are undeniably a little sister who wants to be just like her older sister. Not to mention all those Seahawks colored jimmy donuts you’ll see this season. You love your sister and jimmy donuts.

It’s our first football season in our new house. While house hunting we would walk in to each one and say, how can you hold a Super Bowl party here? Who knows if we’ll ever host a Super Bowl party, but we knew it was important to buy a house that allowed the possibility of doing so. And I think it does. I think we did a good job – there is room for you to play (inside and out) while we watch football, there is space for guests and snacks, soon there will be a tv mounted over the mantle, and yes, one day hopefully in the not so far future, there will even be a couch on which one can watch football. (We have a few months before the Super Bowl, thankfully.)

A new football season is a new start, and I am so excited to see it through your eyes again. Really I’m excited to see football and hope that this fifth year of football fandom is the year you both learn to entertain yourself through a full football game. Please. For all those times we’ve watched Frozen, let me have this.

All my love,
Momma

Very Superstitious

Sports Superstitions

All the cute girls love the New England Patriots

I’m not really that superstitious. Friday the 13th doesn’t phase me, I like black cats and if I were to be concerned every time something like salt was spilled around here, it would make for some very long days.  That is, unless it involves sports. If it involves sports, I’m superstitious. Very superstitious.

Last year UConn was in the NCAA tournament, on their way to an incredibly improbably national championship title. Every Friday of the tournament I wore the same outfit – jean skirt, Connecticut sweat shirt, brown boots. It kept working and clearly that was because of my consistency in wardrobe choices.

This year, my Patriots met the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Living in Seattle, this made me quite the outcast and in my belief, required a great deal of good will and juju to overcome all the blue and green here. I wore Pats gear everyday the week before the game. The kids wore their “go Pats” shirts to school on Friday (which someone pointed out will help them learn to stand up for unpopular opinions). But this year, I needed more than just wardrobe to gain favor with the football gods.

When planning the meal for our Super Bowl party (small, family only because we COULD NOT have a non-Pats fan in our midst), I wanted New England themed food. However, A doesn’t eat clam chowder, the kids don’t eat lobster, so I settled on Boston baked beans. But when I went to the grocery store, there was only Bush’s Baked Beans. These are from Tennessee. This would not do. I needed Boston baked beans. I wanted the B&M beans I had grown up with. Tennessee beans were not going to do the job. Clearly Seattle beer was out. Even though our fridge was filled with our favorite Seattle brewed beer, I could not allow it to be drunk at the party. Sam Adams (of course) for me and A graciously compromised with Pacifico from Mexico. (We settled on basic, non-denominational Super Bowl food of pigs in a blanket, enchilada bites, mac & cheese and some carrot sticks for fiber.)

As the game got closer, I began to look for signs everywhere. The Super Bowl porcupine who had chosen correctly 8 years running had chosen the Seahawks. This was bad. A thick, impenetrable fog rolled into Seattle on Friday. What did it mean? Was Seattle doomed? Lost in their own clouds? But by noon it was bright and sunny. Wait, what did THIS mean? Would the sun come out for Seattle? As the weekend progressed, I did a number of favors for individuals in Arizona for the game (Seahawks fans), clearly this put them in my debt, and by transference, the Hawks in the Pats debt. Lastly, Sunday morning I ran out for some last minute items at the grocery store and ran into the only other Pats fan I encountered all season. He exclaimed excitedly, gave me a friendly hug and said “I feel good about today.” It didn’t ease my anxious stomach, but I clung to his optimism.

And it all worked out in what was the most intense last two minutes of anything I’ve lived through. I won’t insult my kids and husband to say it was the greatest moment of my life, watching that interception, but it’s in the top five. As I cried happy tears watching Tom Brady jump on the sidelines like a school girl, I knew that the signs had been right all along and all those Mexican cervasas had payed off. The good guys won, the Pats were champs. (And until next year, A is welcome to drink whatever beer he likes.)

Another Season, Another Letter to My Bear and Goose

Dear Bear and Goose, 

Another season starts today and it is incredibly hard for me to believe that this is my fourth letter of this kind. (One, two, and three.) Where has the time gone? Has it really been only five football seasons since your father and I would lay in bed and roll over to turn on the 10am game (best part of living on the west coast)? Has it been only five years since we ordered a bucket of beers at the local bar to enjoy with the games? (Technically more, since you were an “inside baby” five seasons ago.)

It is not so much that football has included a Bear or a Goose for the past four years that is hard to believe. For me, it is that I remember so very little what football season is like without you.

A Letter to My Bear and Goose - Our 4th Football Season as a Family

Guess which one is the ham?

I’ll be honest girls, there are Sunday mornings when I hear you first stirring, often an hour earlier than you rise during the week, and I think to myself, please, just one Sunday morning. Just one day to lay in bed, read a book, nap and watch football. But you know what? Wes Welker isn’t a Patriot anymore and laying in bed reading and watching tv isn’t in the cards for your dad and me anymore.

I may long for those lazy days some mornings, but you don’t let me dwell on those feelings very long. As soon as I enter your room, you remind me why my life these days is both difficult and wonderful. Lucy Goose, you roll around in your crib, giggling and talking your own version of Parseltongue. Soon you reach for me for “cow-dles” and milk. (You very quickly become impatient for milk.) Lila Bear, you wake up and want to know what day it is and what the plan is. You immediately want to choose your clothes for the day. Unlike the days when I could choose an appropriate onesie for the day’s games, you tend to favor dresses or tutus these days.

I love football. I love Tom and Robert (as you, Lila, call them) and I love lazy Sundays. And one day, maybe we’ll all lie in bed together the watch the early game or snuggle on the couch for Sunday Night Football while eating Trader Joe’s frozen pizza. But until then? I’ll cuddle you at 7am on Sunday morning, I’ll read you Duck and Goose 1, 2, 3 over and over again even when it is 4 and 1, and I will treasure our time together.

All my love,

Momma

Letter for my Bear and Goose

Perhaps nothing marks the passing of time like the changing of the seasons. Basketball, baseball, football. Here we are, Lila’s third football season and Lucy’s first. It seems like just yesterday we were trying to teach Lila the intricacies of a touchdown.  Now? Now she requests Hail to the Redskins as a lullaby. So much has changed since last year, most of all a new baby to wear adorable Patriots onesies.

To my sweet Bear and Goose, 

First of all, I love you both so very much. You make my life so wonderful. I want you to remember that when Momma gets sad or frustrated on a Sunday and just wants everyone to leave her alone to watch the Pats play. It has been a very long time since Momma watched a full football game without interruption. A very, very long time. She misses it. Don’t even ask Momma about the last time she was able to watch a full day of football. But I don’t miss those things nearly as much as I love both of you. 

Lucy Goose, you are about to join a family tradition of football watching Sundays. Days planned around whether a game starts at 10am or 1pm. Days spent as a family in the playroom with a floor littered with toys and the sweet melodic tones of Joe Buck emanating from the television.  And while I am looking forward to all of this, the togetherness, the coziness on a rainy Seattle afternoon and of course, the football, I am most looking forward to watching you and Lila together for your first season. 

As much as your father and I love both of you, as much as you both love us, it is nothing compared to the love and joy you share between each other. Nothing makes Lucy smile and laugh like her sister. Lila loves nothing more than seeing Lucy first thing in the morning and when Lucy is sad, Lila calls to her “it’s ok, I’m here.”  I know that you, Lila, will take you, Lucy, under her wing and teach her how these Sundays work. I know you’ll show her how to do “touchdown” and help her hold her hands up. I know you’ll help her learn the words to Hail to the Redskins, as well as the few choice words Momma uses when the Pats wide receivers are arrested on murder charges drop the ball.  Lila Bear, you love being a “big helper” so I know you’ll help entertain Lucy with toys and books while the games are on. Share your cheddar bunny snacks and maybe, just maybe, teach Lucy Goose the importance of a three hour Sunday afternoon nap.

I love football season because of the way it has brought me closer to your father. I love football season because I love beer and nachos. I love football season because I love the game. I love football season because I love watching a little Bear and a littler Goose play together and grow into a family tradition. A tradition that started with two and grew to three and is now overflowing with four.

We’ve been waiting all year for Sunday night, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do Lucy Goose.

Love, Momma 

The Time I was Five Minutes Late for Yoga

I tend to have an all or nothing attitude in life.  While it can encourage me to try harder to achieve whatever goal I’m currently striving to attain, it can sometimes get in the way of things.  For example, running.  I have a hard time running since I know that I will never be a “good” runner.  A 12 minute mile would be decent for me and while that would get me in better shape than I am now, knowing I’ll never get it under 10 (or 11 even) makes me feel that it just isn’t worth it to try.  Being willing to try, even if I’m never as awesome as I wish I could be, would not be a bad thing.  But my want to “get things right” stands in my way.This happens in my daily life when things go off kilter.  I may mentally plan my day’s schedule and if I happen to fall off a little bit, poof I let the whole day slide.

Today, I had planned to go to the 1:15 postnatal yoga class.  It was in the northwest part of the city, about 15 minutes away.  It was my first time at this studio, so I wanted to get there early to have time to find parking, complete the necessary paperwork, etc.  Lucy and I returned from our morning errands around noon, I fed her and changed into my new yoga clothes, planning to leave around 12:45.  As I thought everything was ready to head out the door, the phone rang.  It was our insurance company and not a call I could blow off.  10 minutes later as the call ended, I discovered Lucy had a diaper blow out that clearly couldn’t wait.  We weren’t walking out the door until 1.  Normally this would have made me call the whole thing off.  No way I’d make it to the studio, find parking and complete the paperwork before the start of class.  If I couldn’t get there for the start of it, it just wasn’t worth going to the 90 minute class in the first place.  I pushed these thoughts out of my head and put Lucy into the car.  After all, this was postnatal/mother-baby yoga.  Everyone would have a small child and would understand being a few minutes late.  I was likely to not be the only one running a little behind.  Off we went.

We made good time across the bridge and even found parking across the street.  I walked into the studio to discover I was the only one there.  The postnatal class was new to this studio and still developing a following.  Lucy and I were the only students in attendance today.  Shelley, the very kind yoga teacher, gave us an abridged personal class with stretches and relaxation (free of charge as well, since it wasn’t really a full class).  She rocked Lucy when she fussed and helped me work on the lower back kinks having 2 kids can produce.  Even though it was only 30 minutes, I left feeling relaxed and rejuvenated – exactly what I needed.

If I had allowed my “all or nothing” attitude to prevent me from getting out the door and to yoga today, I would have missed this great opportunity to work with Shelley and give my body some special attention.  In many aspects of my life, learning that something is always going to be better than nothing is becoming a valuable lesson.  Exercising, even if only a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood with Cal and Lucy, is better than not getting off the couch.  I don’t have to run a marathon to make the exercise count.  Eating a cupcake will not derail my diet if I make smart choices the rest of the day – it isn’t an excuse to stop paying attention to what I eat and decide I’ll never lose another pound.  Sending Lila to day care a few days a week while I’m on maternity leave doesn’t make me a bad parent – it gives me the chance to have alone time with Lucy, care for the house and be a better parent to Lila when she is home.

This may seem like “of course it’s not all or nothing” to some of you, but to me this is really a learning process and something I am continuing to work on.  I hope next time I feel like not having something go 100% to plan is an excuse to give up, I remember the wonderful personal yoga session veering off schedule gave to me.

All Good Things

My dog is named after one Jim Calhoun.  Coach Calhoun has been coach of my beloved UConn Husky basketball team for 26 years.  I’ve been alive for almost 33 years, which means that Coach Calhoun has coached my Huskies for the entirety of the time I’ve been aware of college basketball.  Today, it was announced that Calhoun would retire.

I cried a few Husky tears when I heard the news.  Sad that my beloved coach would not be returning.  Sad for where is leaves my team.  Sad that BE2 will never live in a world where Jim Calhoun is coach of her soon to be favorite basketball team.  Not to mention slight concern that my dog’s name is no longer relevant.

As a lifelong UConn Husky fan, no matter where the team may be today, I’m thankful for Jim’s time with the team. I’m exuberant at the three national championships we’ve accumulated and looking forward to the Kevin Ollie era.  This next season will give us time to pause, rebuild as some would say, and prepare for new things to come, while still celebrating all that makes my dog’s name great.

A Letter to My Bear – Season Two

To my Bear,

Here you are already – your second football season! (I suppose we could say it was your third season since you arrived with more than 2 quarters left in the 2011 Super Bowl, but let’s only count full seasons.) Last year’s season was one of the greatest you will see as a football fan – and at the same time, one of the worst. Look at you here – so full of hope as we sent you off to day care the Friday before the Super Bowl. So happy that this time, this time Tom Brady would not blow it with an interception and your first football season would be capped with a Patriots Super Bowl victory.

Then there was this.

That was a rough night for your mom. Not only did no amount of Patriots swag or beer drunk from a Patriots mug turn the night around, but you turned one the next day. I cried myself to sleep that night (perhaps aided by the amount of beer I had) but so sad that you were growing up so fast. Your dad suggested that if the Pats had won, I would not have been so maudlin, but we may never know.

Here we are again. You are such a different little person than you were in February. Clearly hardened after that Super Bowl loss, not to mention two first round exits by your favorite college basketball teams, a Baylor women’s basketball win and the all but cancellation of the UConn men’s 2012-13 season. You are truly a sports fan now. You love to play basketball (and by play I mean carry the ball around and ask someone to hold you up to the hoop) and you hold your hands over your head and yell “touchdown!”

Despite all the sports setbacks in the last year, you have proven yourself to be your father’s daughter. You watched a Rex Grossman season and yet here you are – declaring the Redskins to be number one this year and ready for the RGIII era to begin.

Sure, you’ve heard that no one picked the Skins to do better than 3 wins this season, but you, in your DC sports fan heart, know that they can and will to do better. After all, at least Graham Gano isn’t kicking the ball this year.

LC, thanks for taking something your parents love so much and making it so much more. We know you’ll grow and one day refuse to let us put you into the jerseys of our own choosing, (Your favorite colors are purple and yellow, so it is possible there is some PAC-12 brainwashing going on at your day care.) but we’re glad we have this to share with you. I look forward to some cozy afternoons on the couch, shouting touchdown, while you enjoy blueberries and Momma eats baked potato skins. (Baked potato skins are not for LC’s, sorry. Blueberries only, kid.)

Love, Momma

Competitive Strategies

Every two years we all get struck with Olympic fever. I, myself, am more of a winter Olympics fan, but I enjoy the summer games as well. Swimming especially, having been a swimmer in a past life and of course, I am a big women’s basketball fan, with the large UConn representation. As many have complained about this year, it is difficult to avoid discovering the results of the’ competition prior to watching the televised coverage at night. So what has been your Olympic strategy these games?

I’ve been trying to avoid news – including staying off twitter and Facebook, no CNN or ESPN.com to check other scores. A and I were at a picnic last weekend when someone said “hey, how about that men’s swimming result today?”. A and I exclaimed “aggle flaggle klabble!” and stopped them before results could be revealed. But there have been missteps – A won’t stay off ESPN.com and often finds results. In avoiding social media, I filled the time reading my Google Reader and poof, results. A relaxing drive home with All Things Considered? No, sadly results with no spoiler warning.

The ironic thing is that yesterday, due to a day of travel, I avoided all results. We got into the Other Washington, arrived where we are staying, put LC to bed and I said, fire up the lady gymnasts! A had to tell me that at 12:15a, east coast time, the medal coverage was over for the night. To the Internets I went to find the results – I didn’t even see MacKayla’s vault. (are there too many letters in there?)

So what’s your strategy? Just finding out and then enjoying the coverage? Sticking your fingers in your ears at the name Phelps or the words pummel horse? Endlessly complaining about coverage on Twitter?  Nothing is foolproof or perfect, so I think we just need to enjoy it. Sure it would be great if I could watch the medal events (or even prelims and qualifying events) when I want with a guarantee of no spoilers, but I will just have to take what I can get -even if that means Twitter free days, women’s basketball at 4:30am on random stations and sometimes knowing who will touch the wall first in the 200m butterfly.

Tourists in Our Own City

One of my regrets from our time in the Other Washington is that we didn’t do many of the “touristy” things.  I don’t mean the monuments – which I did make us take Cal to before moving – but things like festivals, museums, parades.  We recently had family in town in the Emerald City and in the few days that they were here, they experienced much more of the city than we had in our two years here.  Sure, it’s easier to cross items off the list when you are here to do just that and pesky things like work, babies and houses don’t get in the way, but I have become determined that we experience more of what the Emerald City has to offer.

We started this weekend.  As is our annual tradition, A and I went to the annual beer fest.  It was a glorious day, perfect sun and a wonderful time, including Cal who loves his trips to the beer fest every year, where he gets to meet lots of other dogs.

Saturday, we returned to Seattle Center, this time with LC.  A and LC played in the fountain and ran around in the grass while I ran to the Urban Craft Uprising, a craft fair I enjoy attending every year.  (I found a book for LC, a key chain, coasters and all my favorite organic goodies from Flying Bird Botanicals.)

Sunday, we celebrated Cal’s fourth birthday with brunch at Norm’s, everyone’s favorite dog friendly brunchy pub.  Despite a disappointing Wimbledon final, we enjoyed brunch and then headed to the Ballard Locks to check it out.  LC loved the salmon in the salmon ladder, as well as running through the grass.  We’d never been to the Locks before, so it was a great thing to cross off the list on a beautiful day.

Sunday night we returned to a Seattle favorite and attended the Seattle Storm game.  How cute is this little Sue Bird fan

It was a busy weekend, but we made the most of not only the weather, but of all Seattle had to offer.  We even did 6 loads of laundry – productive too!  The weather plans on sticking around for a while, so we hope to continue to enjoy the weather and the city.

An Oldie but Goodie

In honor of tonight’s big game, we’re kickin’ it old school with this video of less than 2 month old LC.  Perhaps her adorableness will spark the Huskies to another improbable postseason run. 

Ok, maybe not another improbable run, but I’ll take an entertaining “Know Your Teammate” at this point in the season.