Catching Up.

USTA...United States Tennis Association.
I belong to a USTA team, and each spring the tournaments begin.
If you win the first round, you go on to the second.
If you win the second you go on to the third.
Then you can go on to sectionals, nationals, and so forth.

If you lose, you are just plain out.
And then you start team practices the very next week
so you can TRY TO WIN NEXT YEAR!

Our team has practice this week so we can try to win next year.
We just weren't able to pull through.
The first round was this last weekend.
I had a blast and won a singles match and 2 doubles matches.
I lost one poo poo singles match.
I was pretty excited about the way I played though.

The months leading up to this tournament
are filled with lots of extra practice and team chatter.
And the weekend tourneys are exciting, stressful,
and FULL of anticipation and nerves.
Those feelings mixed with the physical exertion of match after match
make for one tired body and mind when you are done.

I came home after my last match, and looked around my house.
It was clear I needed to play catch up in the house cleaning dept.
Especially the laundry.
There was a huge pile of it on my bed, waiting to be folded.

Obviously, it was time to dive in.
So what did I do?
Without much thought, I dropped onto the bed.
I grabbed a sweatshirt from the pile and put it over my legs.
A towel for my torso and arms,
and a pair of pants would do to cover my feet.
Ahhhh, time to catch up.




I know I am!

Before April started, I was aware that something in our family was not quite right.
The thought continued to nag at me that SOMETHING needed to change.
I focused on a few things here and there.
But to no avail.

Here was the problem.
Our family unity felt shaken. Felt adrift. Felt...gone.
It felt like we all lived in the same house yet...
where was everybody?

We were not connecting, and you know what?
It felt horrible, WRONG.

After much thought and prayer, here is the answer that came to me.


When a friend told me about this, an instant feeling of confirmation filled me!
I did not know exactly how this could help us, but I FELT it would.

So for the month of April we decided on a few things:

1. No video games at all.
2. No small hand held electronic games like a DS or Leapster.
3. No computer time besides homework for the kids.
4. Limited adult computer use - no Craig's List and Ebay browsing.
5. No television. Family owned DVD's are allowed if okay'd by mom & dad, watched sparingly.
(no tv includes no watching tennis for mom & dad either!)
6. Daughter's cell phone only given to her when activity, no free reign on texting.
7. ipods are okay (we only download music to them).

So we suggested this to the kids, and surprisingly they were all on board.
The first 3 days were full of this...
"I'm bored". "There's nothing to do".
Whiny, mopey.

But then it was like magic.
I tell you!

The spirit of love & peace and family unity made a HUGE comeback.
It feels good.
It feels RIGHT.
Here are a few of the things we didn't even know we were missing:

Family tickle fights
Laughing together
Ping-pong tournaments
Deep, serious conversations
Lighthearted goofy conversations
working out
porch laziness
trampoline time
sit down family dinners
bike riding
joke telling
tennis playing
public library and book reading
cooking together
tea parties
craft time
one on one outings with kids
shoulder rides
dirt bike riding
dog walking
puppet shows
fort making
oh and nights full of this kind of thing...

...pantyhose on the head night
(inspired by a card from my dear friend Karen).

Seriously. Who would have thought that those distractions could have been so...well...
I didn't even realize what was happening to us.
It was sneaky!
We all agree that this is SO MUCH better.
No Media Month will be over at the end of April.
But I promise you...there will be new rules.
There has to be.

Because for OUR family
this is WAY too good a change.


Stepping In.

Here is my favorite knock-knock joke...

Knock Knock
Who's There?

Control Freak, Now you say Control Freak who...

Love this joke.

I generally am NOT a control freak.
I'd rather watch carefully as someone else runs the show,
ready to lend a hand or step in as needed.

Mothering teens.
This is a whole new world to me.
It is different than mothering babies, toddlers & tweens.

(can't you just see the difference from this picture?)
And sometimes?
Just sometimes I would like the control that comes with mothering a toddler.
Oh, this cute little boy would look so cute with THIS hairstyle.
Do I ask him? No. I just style it. See? It's so cute. Because I styled it.
Oh, we should take these cute little kids out to dinner for a family outing.
Mom & Dad pick their favorite restaurant, because nobody minds.
Oh, that thing is bad for him...I won't let him have it.

See, teens have OPINIONS.
And they want you to know their opinions, because they MATTER.
Sometimes they matter more than your opinions.
And they have FREE CHOICE.
Sometimes I need to remind myself that this is a good thing.

I am learning.
I am rolling with this "new world",
(even though I stumble as I go...a lot).

And I am finding that if I RELAX,
if I have a sense of humor,
and pick my battles,
there is fun to be found.
It's a different fun than the baby, toddler, tween world,
and KNOWING that helps.

It's not BAD Shelli, it's just DIFFERENT!
(yes I totally talk to myself).

I have found that even if they pull away a little?
You don't pull back with them.
You actually STEP IN and...
hug them,
kiss them,
tease them,
help them,
teach them,
discipline them,
remind them.

They thrive on it.
So maybe it's not that much different than mothering a toddler.

Is it?