Friday, April 30, 2010

Learning A Lesson

As most of you know, Shane and Owen are both playing tennis. Shane has been after me to enter him into a tournament, which I decided to go ahead and do since he was so insistant on it. I knew that there was a probability that he wouldn't win but I thought that he is usually not one to step out of his comfort zone so I should allow him to do that. It was a few weeks ago so this is a little late but better late than never I always say!

Bottom line is that he took what could have been a negative experience and turned it into something positive.

He got with his tennis coach on the Friday night before the tournament to go over any questions that he may have. Art did a great job preparing him for what he may (and would!) face. He went over what to do if kids made bad calls, tie breaks, hinderance, etc.

Flash forward to Saturday and we were in the tennis center waiting on his first match and the kid that he would play first came in. The boy had already played a match and was complaining to the tournament director that the kid that he had just played (the second kid that Shane had to play) had taken too many water breaks between games and said that he thought that the kid was cheating. The official cleared it up that the kid wasn't cheating as long as play resumed within time limits. The kid was mad.

I was thinking great. Shane's first experience is going to be with a kid who tries to break and question all of the rules. Ugh.

So they got into warm up and the kid had a good strong topspin forehand. Something that Shane isn't use to. Shane was making bad returns and shots and just wasn't settling down. Shane's first shot of the game was a winner and the kid called it out.

It wasn't out. It was on the line wide.

Shane went to the net and asked the kid if he was sure about that call (just as he had been instructed to do) and the kid hemmed and hawed. At that point, the line judge stepped in (because he was standing there) and told the kid that if he wasn't sure that he had to call it in.

So the kid went onto win the set 6-0. Shane just couldn't settle down.

Shane settled down and came back and won the second set and the match went into a tie break. He did a great job of neutralizing the kids forehand. He moved him around the court and continued to make him hit on the run. Particularly to his backhand. He also set several shots where he took the kid wide and off the court and then hit the next shot down the line. He did that about 7 times.

At one point, they played a point twice and agreed that the score was 15/15. They played the point again and the kid lost. At that point, the kid realized that they got it wrong and argued that it was his point. The official happened to be standing there and told him that they agreed upon the point, played it and it would stand.

In the tie break, the kid suddenly developed a cough. That only occurred as the ball was crossing the net. :-|

Anyway, Shane lost the tie break 10-5.

He came off of the court really deflated. His comment was "I guess I'm not as good as I thought."

He was tired and not in a good frame of mind going into the second match. The second match the kid was trying to get him to go on earlier but I told them no.

Shane fell apart in the second match. The kid had a really strong forehand with a tremendous amount of pace that Shane had never played against and it just threw him off. He just couldn't find the court and you could just see the energy leave him. He also had not come up against a serve with that much pace.

I knew he was in trouble when he called out the second game of the second set as 0-8. He never gets the score wrong. He wasn't calling balls out that were sooooo out (like 6-8 inches.) I think that he just mentally checked out.

He was really very defeated. He didn't cry though which was good. You couldn't tell how upset he was. (He said he bit his tounge and it started bleeding which helped threw him off.)

So we talked about it the next day and I talked him down off the ledge. Honestly, I thought that he may never want to play tennis again. Any other kid would have probably shrugged it off but Shane tends to internalize everything.

By the end of our conversation, he understood that he did a great job in the first match winning a set and coming back from a 0-6 loss in the first set. He did a great job assessing what his opponent wasn't strong it and used it to his advantage.

He was able to put things into perspective.

He said a few things that were kind of an "aha" moment.

1. I'm not as good as I thought I was.

While it sounds bad, it's actually a very adult realization that you aren't the best at something and you have faults.

2. I never realized how much I have to learn about tennis.

This is the best statement ever. He is receptive to learning. That is great! He thought he knew it all before.

3. What can I do to get better so I'll be ready to play against those types of kids again? I want to work on handling forehands with topspin and handle pace on serves.

He picked up this slice backhand and he likes the shot. He does not have command of this shot. It's weak (although his form is good and eventually he will be able to do it) and I told him to not do it during the match. Stick to what he's good at and what he "owns." He did it. He got burned but he kept doing it. He agreed after the tournament that maybe that wasn't the best shot selection and he shouldn't be doing that (or any shot) that is going to get him into trouble. He said he should have listened to me. Well, duh.

There were several things that I noticed about his play that he definitely needs to work on (where he was serving and receiving from, recovering from a wide shot ball, court placement, sitting down between games/sets to compose himself, taking his time serving and settling down on the court) but I'll deal with those later.

So that's about it. Overall, it was a good experience long term and he understands that. He's a very reasonable child which is going to help him here as well as life!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ME: : - |

Owen went into the bathroom the other day to use the, ahem, facilities and promptly came back out with his hands on his hips and a smart aleck comment on his lips.

OWEN: "MOOOOOMMMMMMM. Get in here NOW and flush this toilet!"

ME: :-|

OWEN: Yeah. You didn't flush the toilet when you used it. Get back in here and flush it!

ME: :-|

OWEN: Yeah. That's what you always say to us.

ME: :-|

Monday, April 19, 2010

Vote For Kevin!

A friend from high school (Kevin Boseman) is a talented dancer who has appeared on broadway. He is currently in the running to be chosen as a Top 10 Finalist to appear on CBS daytime's As The World Turns and sing a duet with actress Eileen Fulton.

Public votes will narrow the Top 10 to 3, and then the show's producers will choose the winner.

You can vote on the CBS website and watch the video on either youtube or on the site itself. His name in the contest is boseknows0.

Vote! Vote! Vote! Kevin needs our help. It's easy (no registration required) and you can vote once a day.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

So Proud!

Owen was selected as student of the month this time. It's a big deal to the kids because it's voted on by their classmates and, although they like the award, they really like the breakfast and ceremony that the school puts on for them. Parents are invited.

It's a big deal. We're really so proud of Owen. :)

So I dropped Owen off at school yesterday and kissed him on the forehead and said I'd see him at 9:15. I got my camera charged up and made my way over to the school about 9:20.

I pulled into the near empty parking lot. Not a good sign. I went into the office and asked the school secretary if I missed it.

Apparently it's next month. Not yesterday. :-|


Did I mention I was blonde when I was a child?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Being A Goof

I love taking pictures if you haven't guessed.

I'll snap a picture of anything that I see that strikes me as pretty, unique or a snapshot of real life. Sometimes I'll get an idea and will run with it.

This is one of those times.

The Washington Monument isn't as big as you think it is.

Owen is always up for being a goof with me.

The Capitol isn't that big either.


Monday, April 12, 2010


My kids aren't little anymore. *Sniff.*

They have pretty good command of the English language. Even the 7 year old. Gone are the days of mispronouncing "spaghetti" as "pshgetti" or "caterpillar" as "catapitter." I kind of miss those days.

The other night, Shane was lecturing Owen on the fact that he always says one thing and then does another. Of course it escalated into a huge fight in the back seat (and there's nothing better than THAT!).

Owen got frustrated with Shane and yelled up to me "Mommmmmmy........Shane just called me a hippiecrite!"


Monday, April 5, 2010

Cherry Blossoms!

We live outside of Washington, DC and although we do take the kids up to the museums and other "touristy" stuff, we avoid the high peak tourist season like the plague. I see no reason to go and fight the crowds of people if we don't have to.

The city has amazing Cherry Blossom trees that unfortunately bloom only once a year for about a two week period and those trees bring in throngs of tourists. I have avoided those two weeks more than any other time. You will see more fanny packs and double strollers in one day in DC during this time period than any other time in your life combined. And that's saying something!

But this year we decided to brave the crowds and do it. It was about 75 and BEAUTIFUL! And except for losing Owen in the tulip patch, it was a great day. Here's some of my favorite pics from the day.


Hope you enjoyed them as much as I liked taking them. :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, y'all!

I know that I'm a "little" late in posting these but I did admit that I suck about posting pictures when I started the blog! And better late than never!

We spent last Easter in New York City and went out to the NJ suburbs to see Ken's cousin Sonia and her family. They have two kids. Katie is Shane's age and Johnny is a teenager. They decorated eggs and did the whole Easter thing.

I think that was the last haircut Shane had.

Apparently even though they live states away from each other, they have a lot in common. I guess the hate for Barney is universal. Obviously I wouldn't sing these songs myself but kids are kids and kids will do what they will do.

So, yeah. Don't judge me because my kids hate Barney and sing mean songs about him. I didn't teach them to them (when I sing them, I do it away from them). Besides, if you judge me then you also have to judge Sonia! Sorry girl. I'm not going down alone and your daughter knew the song just as well as Shane. :p

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Vacationing in a Foreign Land

I suppose that some things really are regional and unique to where you live. With this age of the internet and everything being so globalized, I don't really consider that anything is foreign unless you're traveling overseas where there is a language barrier and the culture is different than what we are use to in the USA.

I never really thought about things being so, well, foreign when traveling in the USA. I got a reminder this week when my cousins were visiting from New Jersey.

They decided to run to the store around 9:00 one night. It was dark outside and they had been gone for quite some time. Considering that the store was only 2 minutes in either direction, I thought that I was going to have to go out and hunt them down.

Then I heard them come in so I went downstairs to see what was up. (OK. I went downstairs because I heard Shane jumping on some plastic bags and making really loud popping noises.)

Anywho, Bonnie and Kathy were at the table giggling like crazy. When I asked them what in the heck was so funny, they told me through the giggles that they had just pumped gas for the first time ever in their lives. (For those that don't know, all gas stations in NJ are full-service.)

They said that they gassed up before they left NJ and then as soon as they crossed into Pennsylvania, they realized that they were going to have to pump their own gas. I can only imagine the conversation that they had about how they were going to do it.

So they couldn't put it off any longer and headed to the gas station. They sat at the gas station and finally got up the nerve to do it. They said that it took both of them to figure out how to work the pump and select all of the right buttons to make the gas dispense.

Then they finally did it! They really did it!

They said it wasn't as bad as what they had imagined it would be. :p

God what I would have done to have been there and video recorded it. I'm sure that was comedy gold especially considering how much they were still laughing 20 minutes later.

Who knew that traveling within the United States would be as traumatic as traveling in Europe and dealing with everyday things that people in that strange lands deal with...such as pumping gas.

I guess they can check pumping gas off of their bucket list. :up: