Saturday, September 26, 2009


Emmanuel has been a bit of a challenge lately. OK that is one of the biggest understatements I've ever made. Let me start over, in the past week E-man has peed on the church lawn in front of two priests, punched, scratched, and pushed numerous kids, spit on me, and given me cleat marks all over my shins. And that's just what I'm capable of remembering.

After coming home from CCD last Sunday and telling Scott about the latest incident he commented, "maybe you let this one be Methodist, they'd take him." To which I quickly said they can have him. But now I will relive my kindergarten CCD days and go with E-man to religion class to keep him in it. This is only until I rationalize that Emmanuel will never feel the guilt a good catholic should and decide its more trouble than its worth.

Anyway, I decided God helps those who help themselves and I would do yoga at Scott's gym to maintain some of my sanity. I asked my sister to go to last night's class with me. She was asked to go to happy hour with some of the girls at work but said no. She said this was the first form of exercise I had ever asked her to do that wouldn't give her a heart attack and she didn't want to turn me down (I'm so honored). Just to give you some background, the line I remember most about my sister's toast at my wedding was, "Every Christmas I do an extra round at the mall so Susan doesn't have to shop and every morning Susan runs an extra mile for me so I don't have to exercise."

When we entered yoga, I felt like I had gone back to my childhood days at church. Everyone was whispering like they were at church and Caroline and I immediately got the giggles. It wasn't long before the teacher brought her mat over in between the two of us (apparently trying to play the role of Mom) saying it would be a better angle for the rest of the class.

I don't know if you've ever done yoga, but it's not as easy as it sounds and some of the moves require incredible balance. It did occur to me that some of the moves are the same ones you see on TV during the Olympics ON ICE SKATES...but never mind that. One move was called the frog, I wanted to turn to my sister and say, "ribbit" but she had a look on her face like she had just bought something for full price so I decided not to disturb her. All in all Auntie Caroline did extremely well in the yoga class, even better than me. She says she will go with me again which makes me happy, then I can remember to bring my camera and make sure we get it in the family video this year.

Speaking of the camera, we finally got ours fixed!!! Below is the infamous Coach Kephern at practice with Emmanuel yesterday along with Coach Tim and the other players.
Quotes from the Kids:
Annie: Mommy, I know where were going.... To aannoootttherr sssoccceeerrr practice.
Emmanuel: Mommy, did you sign me up for professional soccer?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Big Mad That Got A Big Break

Last Thursday Abegail's soccer team was having a special coach come and work with them. He allowed Emmanuel and the coach's son to participate at the very beginning in the drills section. But then he needed to work with the girls and Emmanuel was encouraged to go kick the ball with a little boy his age.
E-man would not hear of it. He immediately started to have a BIG MAD. I tried everything, "E-man if you don't settle down you won't get to play at all." "OK, I'm going to count to ten and if you haven't stopped crying then we are going to the car." I tried to get him to the car but it was down two flights of stairs and he held onto the railing so tight I couldn't get him off. He was kicking and screaming. I finally wrestled him to the ground but he only hit me and ran away toward Abegail's coaches and stood there crying. I ran after him. He was pulling on my shirt so hard it was stretching and giving people a view no one wanted to see. The original coaches asked if he wanted to play a game with them and his son. No E-man wanted nothing to do with any of these people except the special coach.

The special coach reminded me of a 24 year old E-man. Incredibly athletic with head full of hair and skin so dark I first thought he might be from Africa. His drills were done to fast paced music, the kind E-man always wants me to play in the car. He was so coordinated it looked like he was performing with the Globetrotters. He obviously heard E-man's episode. Everyone heard it, people in neighboring towns heard it. I apologized over and over again. I tried to say, he has issues, he'll be fine. Finally the coach who we now know as Kephern said, "E-man you want to play?" Eman immediately stopped crying. "C'mon, get out here." E-man ran and got to scrimmage with the girls. Kephern looked back at me. "Did he come with you?" "Yes, I'm his mother." "OK, I'll talk to you afterward." Oh, jeez, I can just hear it, his skin is too dry, his hair is not oiled, and obviously I'm not disciplining him correctly.

At the end of practice, Coach Kephern came over to me and I had my, "I grade on a curve" speech all ready. But he said, "Yea, where's he from?" "Liberia" I said meekly. "Yea, I could tell he was African with his speed and his natural talent. I coach a group of select boys from ages 5-7. We practice throughout the year, maybe you want to come and see if he likes it and wants to play with them."
"Yes, we would love that, the more energy he can get out, the less energy he has for big mads. He has a lot of issues you know."
"Yea, Yea, its OK don't worry about that, we'll get him playing."
We have since learned Coach Kephern played professionally in Europe representing Holland. He also played for George Mason University which is right down the road. He coaches a private academy and a boys team E-man's age. But he trains a handful of boys E-man's age with these teams. We exchanged information and promised to be in touch.

(it is all about me you know)
Yesterday I got an e-mail from Kephern. Practice would be Mondays and Fridays from 5 to 7:15 and Sundays from 4 to 5:30. Throw in a practice on Tuesdays for Emmanuel's regular league and a game Saturday and he'll be playing 5 times a week. If that doesn't settle him down then I am going to check and see if he is really human.

But yesterday was also Abegail's soccer practice. OK, I really want E-man to work with this guy, he's good, and he's a great black role model. So I figured it out. I'd take E-man, then take Abegail, then come back and watch E-man. Annie packed up her lip gloss and princess mirror and we were ready. Except getting kids out of the house for anything is like trying to fit a 3 bedroom house in a 24 foot budget truck. ( the way I did see a budget truck pulling a uhaul van on one of my adventures so I'm not the only one who made that mistake)

Finally I get all my stuff in the car and put my keys on the seat to try and find Abegail who's decided to take one last bike ride in her school dress, you aren't ready yet?? In the meantime I lock the door but E-man thought he'd be helpful and put the keys back in the house. Luckily I had left the back door open, but now I have no gas and it's 5:00 traffic and E-man is playing at a field in Fairfax which is several long stop lights away. I get to the field 7 minute late drop him off with Kephern and his junior high team along with 3 other very athletic looking boys all E-man's height and run to take Abegail to practice.
Except as I'm walking back to the car it dawns on me. I really only met Kephern once. I know nothing about him or what he will do with my son for two hours and 15 minutes. I don't have his Epi-pen, what if he gets stung by a bee, has a big mad. etc. and so forth. On the hill is a mom, I asked her if she was going to stay the whole practice. She said yes and I gave her my cell phone number, just in case. She said, "what's your name? " I said Sue. But when she asked that I realized she didn't speak English very well and she wrote down SOL. (yes we all know what it stands for .... out of luck, and I think it's quite fitting) She said, "Is this right?"
"Perfect," I said.
looks at me, "Why did you tell her your name was SOL?"
"Because I'm really flustered and just have to get you to practice and I don't know."

Back to the field

I arrive back at E-man's practice about 6:50. He is still upright but it's obvious he's been playing hard. Abegail says, "E-man looks tired." Yes but he's still moving. I only remember him ever looking that tired one other time. But they were still going. About 14 six-year-olds all playing, scrimmaging, doing push-ups, then stretching. At 7:15 after two hours and 15 minutes, Eman is done. He comes over to me, "can we stay?" "Stay for what?" "I want to play some more." No honey we have to which point he starts to have a big mad..OK we can stay for a minute.
He plays with Abegail a bit and then comes over to me ready to go but insists I have to carry him off the field.
"Really E-man you want your new coach and all those outstanding players to see your Mommy carrying you off the field?"
"Yes." OK then.
E-man was tired and hungry. Unfortunately he still had the energy to torment Annie and not go to bed on time. And all the while asking, when do I play soccer again with Kephern???
Quotes from Emmanuel
Yesterday I was mowing the lawn. E-man was already in his soccer uniform because there were only five hours until we had to go to practice.
E-man: Mommy, are you going to shower before my soccer so you don't stink?
Mommy: Yes E-man, I will make sure I look like the mother of a Champion

Monday, September 14, 2009

Grandpa Chuck's Half Marathon

We headed to Rochester this weekend. My Dad and I ran the Rochester Half Marathon. My Dad joined a special training group and trained for this for weeks. My training consisted of eating a lot of carbs. My Dad did awesome and even seemed to get stronger as the race progressed. He finished in 2:27:24. There was also a full marathon. The leader of that race finished the same time we did. You can imagine the cheers and the television cameras all around us. Wow, we are awesome and so is the guy who did the half marathon twice.
Not to be outdone by Grandpa Chuck, Grandma Marian participated in a mile walk on Saturday for a group called Heritage Christian who serves people with disabilities. The entire family got in on the action that day, but the kids particularly enjoyed the bouncy houses and using their balloons as swords.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

2nd Day and Ballet

Abegail helps Annie change to tap shoes

By all accounts the second day of school went well. Both Annie and Abegail are making new friends, although Annie is having trouble remembering the name of her new friend and is right now just known as "my new friend." Everybody seems to like their teachers so far.
Annie had her first ballet and tap class last night and loved it.

Things I never thought I'd hear myself say:

E-man, please stop playing with the holy water.
Get down from the Holy Mary statue!
E-man, why are you trying to put a tree branch into the car??
E-man, please stop doing flips on the couch.
E-man please stop climbing up the wall.
E-man please don't water the plants with dish soap...oh OK...please don't clean the cement slab with dish soap..oh never mind, go ahead...I grade on a curve, OK now you are using the dish soap to wash my car...uh ..ok, thanks for your help?
E-man please don't use the picture frame as a step ladder.
E-man for the last time you can not see your stomach through your belly button.

I've heard kids' behavior gets worse at home when they start school because they are on their best behavior at school. I can only hope that is somewhat true for E-man right now, so far I have not heard of any teacher injuries.

A great blog:
One of my fellow reporter friends (who used to intern for me!) is taking three months to spend in Uganda to work for a nonprofit there and help some of the women in the country. She is documenting her experience at

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

1st Day of Kindergarten and 3rd Grade!

The Boys (that's the official name for our cousins) go to school too! From left to right, Cameron (2nd grade) Chase (Kindergarten-2022 will be a big year in our family) and Owen (4th grade)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

School Open House

Obviously these are bad pictures with our video camera, but you get the idea. The kids had their school open house at Ravensworth Elementary today. Annie and E-man are in the same class (they are going to try E-man in a regular class, best of luck to them) in morning Kindergarten. Their teacher is Mrs. Ramage and she has an assistant Ms. Turner (that should be hard for everyone to remember). Abegail's teacher is Ms. Smith. Funny thing, my third grade teacher's name was also Mrs. Smith. Annie will sit next to Daesha who is in the last picture with her. She lives three houses from us and the kids have played together before so that should be fun.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September Morn

Abegail with Tarry and Maima in NJ

Can you believe it is September? It's a beautiful day here in DC, the humidity has broken, the sun is out, temperature in the mid 70's, a perfect running day.

E-man has soccer practice at 5:30 tonight. But at 8:00 this morning he was up, dressed in his soccer uniform and cleats, looking for his shinguards. He is insisting we can't go anywhere today because we will miss soccer. "E-man it's 6 hours until we have to leave, we are not just going to watch the clock." Abegail does seem to like her soccer team, she is starting to be more social with the girls. Soccer seems bigger here, it doesn't compete with ice hockey. Abegail practices twice a week with Sat. games and E-man once a week with a Sat. game. It's all good, the kids need the practice and instruction time. Last night at Abegail's soccer practice, the girls had just been to our neighbor's birthday party where they received pocket mirrors as gifts. E-man practiced his soccer rigorously while Annie sat in a chair, legs crossed, wearing her Aerial crown, and looking in the mirror almost the entire hour.

E-man has been out of sorts lately. I think he has had a growth spurt again. He had a huge big mad at church Sunday. Some people were handing out fliers and offered him a pin, "Maybe a pin will make him feel better." Yea, lets give him something sharp while he's beating me up and throwing things, great.

Everyone is a little anxious for the start of school. Abegail is nervous and we are missing our old friends. Two nights ago she told me she wanted to go home, but she was not talking about Minnesota. Annie asks everyday how many more days until school. I don't think she realizes she will have a new teacher and new friends in class.