Summer Enrichment

children, faith, graduation, growth, teenagers, truth, waiting

Here in upstate NY the days are either extremely hot and muggy or cool and rainy. I sit here with a pile of undone chores and an exhaustion level ( Over 9000) in my bones after finishing a grueling 4 week, 10 hour a day summer enrichment program where I had the opportunity to teach and create memories with rising 5th graders.

The goals – stop the summer slide, feed bodies, and create fun opportunities in a safe environment.

Accomplishments – traveled the world, wrote poetry, created carnival games, put on a show, made new friends – oh yeah we read 9 books, did math problems, experimented with scientific hypotheses, learned foreign languages, invented, painted, sculpted, created – and we laughed. We laughed a lot.

We Sang. We danced. Every day!

Then there was the day we ran out of hot dogs for dinner. Yup. I was, to use a nice phrase – agitated.

But we had beans. Lots of beans. So growing up in an oftentimes impoverished household with depression era parents, I thought well there are buns and beans, let’s have bean sandwiches. We have bananas. We have cookies.

Thinly veiling my disappointment of not having what was on the menu, I danced into the room singing “We have beans on buns with bananas. Beans on buns with bananas.” Picture a hot, sweaty, miffed 6′ 2″ woman singing a silly song at the top of her lungs. I still don’t know how I mustered (haha) the wherewithal to think of that.

My sweet little girl M, so shy and loving comes up and says, ” What a wonderful feast will we have together – it’s like we are a family.”

Yup summer enrichment.

 

 

 

 

 

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Teaching, Learning, Life

children, faith, growth, learning, love, motherhood, teaching, teenagers, truth

As the semester comes to a close and along with it, my first full school year back in the classroom; I’m still as excited to be doing this today as I was in September.

I’ve had bumps along the way, tears were shed, self-doubt crept in, mistakes were made (again and again), but the awesome questions that keep coming, the laughter at my corny jokes, and the smiling (and sometimes fearful) faces of those that sit before me thirsting for knowledge inspire me even on my darkest days.

My own children ask me, “Mom, why do you read so much?”

Answers:

1) I enjoy reading.

2) I enjoy learning.

3) I would be a charlatan if I stood up in front of my students every day and expected them to take risks and learn if I wasn’t willing to do the same.

Our library is being cleaned out for renovations and an entire set of history books were up for the taking. I now have 6 boxes of books in the back of the land yacht (Psst don’t tell Papasaurus yet!) and as I excitedly looked through the them, I let out a squeal of delight about books on obscure Civil War battles that made the librarian chuckle. He said, “You are proof that one man’s trash is another’s treasure. I’m glad someone will put them to good use.”

Albert Eistein is credited with a quote, “Once we stop learning, we start dying.”

I have a long life ahead…

 

 

 

 

We Want You

children, faith, growth, love, truth

So many feelings inside fighting to make their way out of me today. Fridays always seem to exhaust me. The kids got under my skin. I was tired. I was cranky. I was hot.

A friend and spokesperson for a charity that is local that directly helps veterans with any of their readjustment (any) needs (new suits for job interviews, paper products, food, H&B aids,shampoo, towels, sheets,  beds, etc.) put out a call for food.

FOOD!!!! The  Veterans Miracle Center had depleted their food stores (except for cereal and ketchup) as their needs were so overwhelming they exhausted their food supply 2 weeks early.

Our Veterans who proudly served our country’s needs, and selflessly giving of themselves need us. I felt the peering gaze and finger pointing at me…uncle-sam-we-want-youOK Uncle Sam, I’m going. Suddenly while shopping, I felt the feeling. The self-pity and tired feeling was wiped away and a joy of helping others flooded over me.

An awakening – all the negative, all the ugly, can be washed away with just a small token of giving to others – at least within YOUR sphere of influence.

Buy someone a cup of coffee, smile at someone you pass by every day and say hello, call a friend on the phone to catch up or better yet, go visit!

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” (FDR)  We cannot let fear, sadness, and dread overwhelm us.

We are better than that. Heed Uncle Sam’s call.

 

I love sports. They were such an important part of my life from as long as I can remember, and I daresay, they still are.

Sportsmanship is Alive and Well

Upon reading this article, my heart just broke a little more; a feat I didn’t think was possible.

See, I was the first child of an athlete. My baby gift was a Johnny Unitas signed football. My treasured toy was my Dr. J. red, white and blue basketball. I really never played with dolls. I liked to play basketball. I loved to ride my bike for miles. I shot BB guns, ran the pastures around my house, and swam in the community pool.

I was a awkward, lanky, nerdy, exceedingly tall girl, that never quite fit in anywhere.  My home life with a constantly working father and a manically depressed and often abusive mother and disabled sister were not idyllic.

Sports and being a part of a team, were my escape. They were a place where I kind of fit due to my  height and genetic gifts for sport.

At 18 I blessed to Zing with my hubby, a former D1 baseball player and ice hockey lover, who grew up, a lot like me, just skating on the flats, hiking, camping and fishing, and playing in the sand lot.

We have been blessed with 5 incredibly wonderful children. We expected that sports would be a part of their lives. We allowed them to try all kind of things. Their sports glory or failures were not about us. It is about their development as a human. It was about being a part of something larger then themselves.

They mostly gravitated to their father’s sports of baseball/softball and ice hockey (although I have one volleyball player!) He and I have volunteered to help all children on the teams, no matter their ability. We love sports and obviously having kids (lots of them) in our lives. It seemed a natural progression to continue to be involved and share our love of sports with others through coaching, volunteering, driving kids to practices and games if necessary, just being present.

But something changed. Sports became big business. At young ages parents are sold a bill of goods that little Jonny or Mary, if they go to the right camps, play on the the best teams, buy the best equipment, they will have this magical, transformative experience. In what I have witnessed and experienced, the reality falls far short of the promises.

Gone are the days of multi-sport athletes. Children are being pushed to focus on one sport earlier and earlier. Countless studies have shown that it is bad for children, yet it persists.

Early Specialization: Nine Reasons Why It Is a Bad Idea

Why? It makes people money. It make parents feel good. It makes children feel good – for awhile.

What happens when winning becomes EVERYTHING? What happens when you no longer can win? What happen to you when you trounce an opponent so badly that you crush a person’s soul? Longitudinally – what, in being someone that participates in that trouncing, does it do to your soul?

Winning is fun. But should it be the focus of youth sport? Shouldn’t youth sport be geared to learning? Having fun? Becoming a better, healthier YOU?

Winning is fun, but sportsmanship is better. Let’s teach our children that shaking hands after a game is more important than the score. Let’s stop the madness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

baseball, Catholic, children, coaching, family, growth, hockey, hockeymom, love, momoffive, motherhood, skating, sports, sportsmanship, truth

Simple Gifts

children, faith, family, love, momoffive, motherhood, truth

If you ever sang in a choir in NYS (and Western Massachusetts) you’ll immediately have the song in your head. Simple Gifts

Yesterday, my life was filled with many simple gifts.

One in particular touched my heart and those in my family.

My son’s shoes “disappeared” yesterday morning. A frantic search was undertaken. I, in desperation, reached out to a friend, with a call. “Is there any way he could have left them at your house?!” with a voice cracking from my tears of being overwhelmed.

My son had told me he had looked in my car, looked in his room, looked everywhere, but could not find them. “I’m so sorry Mommy for losing my sneakers.” tears starting to drip out. Hugging him then, I said, “It’s OK, now let’s try and find yours.”

So rooting though the garage and house, (Now  he is already late for school and had missed the bus!) I had found an old pair of his brother’s, not too badly worn, so that he could get to school, but then floodgates of his tears opened.

Complaints of taunting and bullying, frustration and tears. Lots of tears. Lots of tears.

Gone were the worries about the sneakers and onto what was really the problem, the problem that only the lost shoes could bring to light.

Meetings, solutions and more tears  the major issue solved by 10:30 am. Solutions, advocacy, his gaining a sense of empowerment.

Me, now exhausted and trying to save strength for a long trip later on to a wake out of town, I sat down to rest.

I thought and prayed, “Dear God,  it has to be simpler than this? Why can’t we just enjoy one another, love one another, be kind to one another? Why does everything have to be a fight? Why is having new shoes so important? What is so wrong with the worn ones?”

I wanted a more simplified life. I wanted less stress. Less yelling. Less craziness.

Later on, driving with my friend, Miss Daisy, to the wake out of town,  we laughed and laughed on our long car ride and then we passed an Amish horse and buggy filled with women! They looked at us and we looked at them. Miss Daisy said, “You know they’re not all that much different than us… but they are.”

Didn’t think much of it until I got home, weary after a 7 hour round trip.

A box, with a short note:

“There is a gift receipt in the box if you need a different size or want to switch to high tops. Thank you for being a great friend.”

A simple gift.

Oh yeah, before I left, I had found his sneakers in the back of my car.

Simple gifts

 

 

Rules Don’t Apply Equally

Catholic, children, coaching, faith, family, growth, hockey, hockeymom, lettinggo, love, momoffive, motherhood, skating, sports, teenagers, truth

Happy Easter Monday!

My middle child has had a tough year with sports and in life in general. He has found that friends from childhood left him for the shiny new penny in town, he was jumped by a school teammate and the punishment was not fair and even excused away due to the other’s “rough childhood experiences” and then with great anticipation and excitement, he joined a new organization and new “old” team only to find that tigers don’t change their stripes and rules don’t apply equally.

Funny how people love to sit in their sanctimonious glass houses preaching about gratitude and appropriate behaviors while condoning cheating and cross-rostering across organizations without prior permissions – violations that caused other players to be removed from a league – and when we were faced with an abusive coach, to sit idly by in apathetic acceptance, too afraid to say anything, but expecting me to defend my child (and yours by association) further putting my own children in jeopardy?

Having learned that there is no fairness at a young age, while heartbreaking to watch unfold, will allow him to be a stronger, more faithful and more grateful person. Teaching hockey to those less fortunate, will allow him to realize that playing sports is a privilege.

So very pleased that I was told by an old friend that he did such a wonderful job with one of his young charges, I watched him wearily, but with a joyful countenance, amble to the car.

Beaming, on the way home, he regaled me with how he taught a young child how to skate and leave the security of the sled behind.

He, with great hope, untarnished by the ugliness that the has experienced and smiling ear to ear, was so joy-filled to be able to be back on the ice helping those learn to love the abject perfection of a clean sheet of ice, the coldness of the air and the sweat of your brow after crossing over a few hundred times.

While the rules may not apply equally, the love of skating will never leave his soul.

Rules don’t apply to your feelings.

 

 

Our Cross to Bear

Catholic, children, faith, family, motherhood, truth

Good Friday – God Friday – sitting here contemplating Jesus making the choice not to fight to prove it should not be him crucified? How would I have reacted? Would I have allowed myself to be punished for the deeds of others so that someone else should live?

Thinking about what is right and just a great deal lately. Why does it seem so hard to be the one that stands up for what is right and just in today’s world? Being Godly – what does that even mean?

To me it is a simple choice to try and be the best I can be in God’s eyes. Firstly for my own salvation, secondly to be a wife that is a sacramental partner for my husband and thirdly, and in my opinion most importantly, for my children’s spiritual understanding and moral development. My trinity of truth, faith and love.

Truth – doing what is right and just  even though it is oftentimes painful.

Faith – knowing that if you are righteous and just it will be forgiven when you make a mistake. Believing that there is something bigger than just you and that God is forgiving and loving, but not always easy to follow.

Love – having love in your heart – even for those that do you (and your children and spouse) wrong. The hardest part of the puzzle to find love for your enemies.

Truth = God Faith = Holy Spirit Love = Jesus

As a mother, those that hurt my children are the hardest for  me to forgive. While I know that disappointment and pain make you stronger, it hurts a part of me so primal, so vulnerable, that it is almost unbearable.

My children show me that love and compassion are easy. They forget the stupid little wrongs and move on, running off to play with someone, who just minutes ago, pushed them down, said, “I’m sorry.” and was forgiven.

We need to be more like children. We need to put down our worries and sadness and anger, say I’m sorry (and mean it!) and run along and play.

Galatians 4:6-7 “Because you are children, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a child; and if a child, then an heir through God.”

The last words that Jesus cried out as his crucifixion were “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46)

These two passages are intertwined aren’t they?  Never realized it – God has given us a road map to see children are the light and the hope (Holy Spirit), he is the truth and Jesus is the faith.

The Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – in our life, our death and our resurrection.

Our cross is how we travel the  journey of life in God’s example of truth.

Is Sociopath the New Black?

Catholic, children, coaching, disabilty, hockeymom, lettinggo, momoffive, motherhood, sports

Been awhile and I’m struggling trying to come to grips with why…self doubt, anxiety, busyness, de-prioritization of my needs; I can go on and on…

What has come to a earth shattering head is my desire to remove sociopaths from my life and avoid them at all costs.

What is a sociopath you ask?  Instead of defining the negative, I am focusing on the positive or empath side (because frankly I look terrible in orange!) and engaging in putting a desire to associate only with positive people and empathetic people.

For those wanting a good read, I highly recommend the The Empathy Trap a book that absolutely enhanced my work to dismantle the negative, energy sucking and stressful people and events from my life and encourage the positive.

Another article grabbed my attention this morning was the F word ( No not one of the  swear words I enjoy using!)  – but Feminism – and after International Women’s Day yesterday, the countless same old same old Women’s Month events, political pulling of the woman cards, special places in hell for certain women, etc. I felt I should break my self-exile and speak. As a women, a wife, a sister, a mother, a friend; my roles consistently put me in a place where sociopaths are the new norm and unfortunately are perhaps the new black – a blackness of depravity of character so beyond my comprehension that I refuse to accept it as the new norm.

A very wise person told me once  “No one gives a shit whether you live or die.”

Wiser words have never been spoken! Why? Because it came with a caveat -a millisecond later – the ONLY one that should care about you is YOU!

Anger, stress, revenge, sarcasm – all can be used as motivators, but often times we don’t know how to take the negative in our lives and turn them into golden opportunities for learning and self reflection and most often these “motivators” are turned to life altering stressors that cause disease, violence and pain.

Recently a coach put his hands on my child in anger. My child responded with anger back. I resisted (albeit with extreme difficulty) to turn to my default of anger, revenge, and vendetta, and turned to prayer and self-refection to try to help my child (and myself and those around me) grow and learn. I turned to a trusted friend with strong faith to help me through one of the most difficult events I have faced as a mother.

My child is forever changed by how I approached this difficult situation. I believe he has learned a tremendous amount from it. My child’s ability to analyze and reflect and learn from this is so well above his/her chronological age and I am so very proud.

I am angry? Yes! Am I disappointed? No doubt – but my attempts to channel positivity from this and to take an educators perspective, “What can be learned and done differently when presented with a situation like this in the future?” will undoubtedly affect not only the child affected, but every child and person in whom comes in contact with my child.

I will not be wearing black – in my wardrobe nor my countenance, but most importantly not in my soul! Easter is upon us and Spring in the air and with it, the winds of change…

 

 

 

 

Dear Ms. Pasta Arian,

Congratulations you won! I get it truly I do. Constitutional freedom of religion is what people who have fought and died in service to our great nation is all about. Woman Heroically Wins

But heroic? Ummmm I think we need a definition check because the media has bastardized it beyond belief!!!

From Websters online:
: of or relating to heroes
: having or showing great courage
: very large or great in size, amount, etc.

Missy I want to see your ancestry . com profile because last time I checked Thor wore a traditional helmet of his culture to symbolize strength and honor. A colander well…

Having or showing great courage? Courage to actually go to DMV for that picture OK but GREAT courage is going with 5 kids and making sure you don’t look like a serial killer. Nope not even close.

Very large or great in size, amount, etc. OK seriously – can we all agree not even a competition on this point?

When your religion has suffered from oppression and distain for millenia then please talk to me about you struggle! Last time I checked Pastafarians were not in “hot water” waiting to be beheaded.

Go home sister you’re drunk (mind you is was a lovely ala vodka sauce and all!)

No ditalining around here,

Mamasaurus

disabilty, hockeymom, momoffive, motherhood, Uncategorized

The Real Truth About Sex

coaching, hockeymom, momoffive, sex, teeenagers, waiting

Dear Moms and Dads and People that Care about the Youth of Today and my Youthful Friends of All Ages,

Mamasausus here – and yes I have 5 children so I know a thing or two or five about sex! Now that I’ve caused you to chuckle PLEASE read this article.  http://www.aww.com.au/latest-news/in-the-mag/lost-innocence-why-girls-are-having-rough-sex-at-12-20831

You don’t have to say anything about it, comment or anything – just read it. I would also propose that along with any or all of the “talking points” suggested by this article I would also make a very important point to my pre-pubescent children as well – it is perfectly ok to NOT be a part of this club and suffer the ridicule of your peers.

It is ok to NOT HAVE SEX until you are old enough to handle its consequences. I’m not saying to wait until marriage or a stable committed relationship (I would hope you do as I could quote countless statistics but I’m a realist!) but it’s YOUR BODY – YOUR CHOICE!

Take ownership of YOUR body. My friend always says it’s not a buffet – it’s a fine dining establishment – which make the at-risk kids she works with take pause.

Romance is not dead, Treating each other with respect is NOT old fashioned. Waiting for the right time is NOT stupid – it’s smart, powerful and responsible.

Condoms do not protect against the mental anguish that having sex when you are not ready can do.

That’s reality. Anyone that tells you any different is not being honest. Send them over to me – I’ll set them straight!

It’s your body, your choice, your future!

Love you,

Mamasaurus