Monday, August 15, 2016

AHS Volleyball

P-A-T-R-I-O-T-S WE'RE THE PATRIOTS OH YES, AND WE ARE THE BEST....clap clap.

This past weekend I went back to a place that I grew up in, my high school gym. For two years I played basketball between those four walls and for all four I played volleyball. It's amazing the growth that happens between the ages of 14 to 18.

Since high school I've continued to play volleyball, a sport I first found as an eighth grader. We had sand courts in front of my college dorms, right after college I drove to Richmond to play with my oldest brother, I then found rec volleyball in Charlottesville, and I eventually found my sport in Roanoke. Each stop along the way I've met new people, some fantastic, some not so fantastic, I've learned tips on getting better, learned all the new rules, and even became a wife and mother. Something I was DEFINITELY not concerned with in high school!

Well every year my high school has an alumni vs. varsity game and every year I have to miss. I was thrilled I could finally go back! It just so happens it's the 40th anniversary of the AHS program. A couple of the players from the inaugural team were in attendance. Amazing to think how long our program has been going strong. If you want to see the impressive stats visit the team page - http://avb.t83.net/#.

What struck me the most this past Saturday was the quality of the players. And I do not mean just on the court. The girls were lovely. They were nice, welcomed me with open arms, complimented my family, cheered each other on...it's impressive the type of girl Coach Ragland gets to play for AHS. They easily could have dismissed me since they've never met me before, but they didn't. I am pretty sure I was not so gracious at the age of 17.

At one point I was talking to two of the girls and asked when they graduated. Well, they JUST graduated which makes them around 17 or 18 years old. The last time I played in the gym was the Fall of 1997...do the math. Basically, I am old. They didn't make me feel old though. Ok, so yes they did when they COULD NOT grasp the "old school" rules of points only being awarded on a serve and the ball not being allowed to hit the net on a serve. A lot has changed since my days there. Another thing that struck me was how TALL the girls on nowadays. Mommas are growing their babies much bigger than back in 1980! I will say though, my daughters told me I didn't look old out on the court, they told me I looked like the other players. Made me feel good (minus the back pain I was experiencing and the sheer exhaustion. HA!).

I really hope I get to play in future alumni/varsity matches. It felt good to still know what I was doing, sort of, and to see some friendly faces.

Thank you to my family for coming to watch and to Stacy and Marc for taking pictures!

 I mean, you are kind of a big deal when your picture is hanging on the wall, right? #humblebrag

So the football team isn't so good. But girls are kicking a$$!

 It was quite surprising to see such a large picture on the wall. It's actually kind of creepy!
The funniest part, to me, is how long our shorts were in 1996! Now your butt bascially hangs out of them. HA!

 My cheering section!

 So artistic. 

 Alexis was CRUSHING balls. And she was super sweet!

 It's nice that some moms grew their girls the same height as me!

 I missed a serve during the alumni vs. alumni match. I am still pissed about that. Damn you, Keller!

Uncle Scotty, the fun uncle!


 Only grandmas can handle that much hugging!

 Coach introducing the alumni. If you look closely I am the one slightly taller than the toddler.

 Grandpa DK teaching Gabe some skills. And Gabe sporting my Roanoke volleyball shirt!

Harper, a wild one but adorable!

Throwback pic! We weren't the tallest or the most skilled, but we were scrappy as hell. I think we basically wore out the other teams!

After our loss in States. It was devastating. We were the first team to make it to the state finals and it was so disappointing to lose. 

If you were a part of a high school team and you get a chance to go back I highly recommend it. A fresh pair of eyes on an old place is pretty neat. 

And to this day when I have to spell my high school name, I do our old cheer:
A - L - B - E - M - A - R - L - E say go Patriots!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Wake Up Every Day With A Dream

Eight years ago Marc and I threw one hell of a party! There was a formal ceremony first and then an all out good time after. I loved our wedding day, it was perfect!

Since we had a Catholic ceremony we did not write/say our own vows...they were written for us. I'm guessing by Jesus, but I can't be too sure. And to be honest, I don't remember what we said but I am sure it was lovely and magical, and religiousy.

It does have me thinking though, all these years later, of what I would say if Marc and I were getting married today.

I am thinking this is how my vows would sound:

I vow to make dinner once a week. I cannot guarantee any more than that.
Ok, I really cannot even guarantee that much.
I vow to yell "wooooo" with you at concerts.
I vow to clean up all barf if you vow to take care of all ticks.
I vow to get your mom to sew on all of your buttons.
I vow to make you laugh even when you want to be really, really mad.
I vow to cringe only slightly when you say "mooooovie". No, I'll cringe a lot.
I vow to clean the house before holidays, birthdays, and any other time we have guests coming. It's a crapshoot the rest of the year.
I vow to be the best co-pilot ever. By best I mean I will complain, have to pee every hour on the hour, and keep asking "Are we there yet?" But the music will be on point.
I vow to answer texts and emails from your family on your behalf. I know you are busy with whatever you do all day, so I'll gladly respond. But you have really gotten much better at this!
I vow to love you through all the ups and downs we will face. Some days will be sunny and bright while others will be dark and dreary. But we will always be side-by-side through the good and bad.
I vow to always accept your positive outlook on life even when I want to be pessimistic and sad. You always know how to see the good in people and the sunlight through the clouds.
I vow to stop and play when you ask me to instead of getting worked up with what needs to be done.
I vow to love you with every fiber of my being. To cherish you, protect you, support you, and be ok with your need to buy/sell a car every few years.
I vow to call you five hundred times a day when we have men cutting our trees down.

I vow to be the best version of myself for you and for the kids. You are a good, decent, kind man, and I know I picked a good one. You really did change my life the day you walked in to Jaberwoke. You've made me confident, calm (as calm as a Kozuch can be), and you for sure have made me nicer.

When we have little babies that are crying, diapers that need to be changed, tantrums being thrown, babies waking up, I'll look at you and realize we made these beasts together so we might as well do rock/paper/scissors to see who deals with the most current mess.

When we have school orientations I vow to sit next to you, scared and worried about sending our babies off to the next phase, and help make fun of people we see. Let's be honest, that's totally what all parents do.

I vow to take care of scheduling all appointments, taking kids to said appointments, if you promise I never have to set foot in Lowe's or Home Depot. UNLESS I want to spend hundreds of dollars on plants and flowers that I'll just neglect.

And most of all, I vow to be strong when shit hits the fan. I'll have laser focus when our son has a seizure so that you can be strong when I lose our fourth bird. It's the adult version of a seesaw, you are up when I am down and vice versa.

Marc, today is the day we celebrate that awesome day so many years ago. We are still in the "childhood" stage of married life, past the newborn and toddler phases, not quite teenagers yet, and definitely far away from adulthood. Although, we are way too fun to be old adults. At least I tell myself that until it's hard to get off the couch, in to a low car, or simply roll out of bed.

I love you, today, tomorrow, always.

We picked the perfect song for our first dance. And being the awesome wife I am, got an awesome band to cover it. So maybe take a few minutes to listen and remember just how happy you are with me!

https://soundcloud.com/andykeathley/happy-everafter-in-your-eyes-ben-harper

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Home of The Boss

Team P took a road trip!

And it was awesome!

So I must document it.

Back in the spring we decided to take a trip to Marc's sister's house in New Jersey. We haven't been up north for about 3 or 4 years and haven't been to Freehold since right after Carter was born. Basically, it was time. Once the kids found out, there was no turning back. They were EXCITED! Carter even wrote about seeing her cousins at the end of a the year for an assignment. The littles LOVE LOVE LOVE their cousins. Talk about them constantly. It was thrilling for them to know they'd get to see them in person.

The drive is about 8 or so hours and knowing myself very well I knew I couldn't sit in a car that long. I am a HORRIBLE road tripper. So Marc and I chatted and decided a night in DC would be a great way to break up the drive. Talking further we thought it would be great to see a baseball game. When I checked the schedule there was a Sunday day game and it was Bryce Harper jersey giveaway day. The signs were there, we needed to go! Being the anxious nut that I am though, I realized we would need help. So I invited the next best thing to parents, grandparents! My parents love DC, love baseball, and really love CGH. It was the perfect idea...just had to twist their arms to make them come. :)  My parents agreed and met us in DC. From there we took a Metro ride over to the game and found our seats. It was HOT. Thankfully we were in the sun for only twenty minutes before the sun moved and we got relief. The heat was a big worry of mine so the poor kids were forced to drink a lot of water. And my dad kept wetting paper towels for them to put on their heads. My biggest worry was eliminated pretty quickly!  During the 4th inning we decided to leave, with hundreds of other people, and head to the Air and Space Museum. I love that my kids love to learn and see new places. They are much more adventurous than me! Although, I did try to smuggle a swiss army knife in to the museum. I totally forgot it was in my purse but the x-ray machine definitely found it! Which proves their security is much better than the Nats! Then we went back to the hotel room to eat and swim in the roof top pool. Even with it being in the upper 90's, I still thought the pool was cold so it was good we had extra hands to play with the kids. Yes, I am a weirdo.

The next morning we ate and headed to the Natural History Museum.  They are redoing the dino exhibit which was a huge bummer but surprisingly Gabe was just as excited to see everything else. Carter really enjoyed the mummy exhibit. I guess she's like Mom Mom and loves Egyptian things!

And let me just say, on Monday, the day we were walking around DC, the actual temperature was 97 degrees but it felt like 107. It.was.hot!!! And my kids were troopers!  They walked most of the time with only a few piggy back rides, drank water whenever we told them to, and were great sports with all the crowds. They made me so very proud of them!  Carter and Gabe have both learned about Abe Lincoln and love him. So we knew we had to stop by and see the guy. It was noon, hot, crowded, and our last stop. The kids were kind of over the whole experience and kind of said, "Meh" to him. Gabe asked, "Is that it?", Harper wasn't thrilled at all, and Carter was Carter and liked it. Even if it wasn't their favorite part, I am glad we saw him.

After that we started our journey up north. Everything went well and we arrived Monday evening. We stayed there until Friday afternoon. The kids had a great time playing in the pool and hot pool (hot tub), Carter and Gabe learned how to play Angry Birds pop, and their cousins taught them about SnapChat. It was cute seeing them all together! We even got some time on the Jersey Shore and boardwalk. The kids later told my parents that we went to a carnival. I think that is super cute!

I am writing this to basically remember how great of travelers my kids are and how terrible I am. HA! They were rock stars in the car, in DC, in the hotel, at their cousin's house, just everywhere we went. The birds are awesome. So awesome!

And I want to remember that my nieces are really good girls. I always hear complaints about teenagers and how awful they are, and how I should enjoy my kids know because as they get older we won't be as close and blah blah blah... But every night I saw the girls (ages 16 and 15) sit with their parents on the couches and talk. Nothing serious, nothing earth shattering, but they were together. And they hung out with us all week. They could have been off with friends, but they stayed with us. And they played with the kids who are much younger than them. I am not sure I would have been such a trooper at that age. Kids basically drove me crazy when I was 16! It was enjoyable to be around them and see that girls at that age can be relatable and normal. What I hear is not at all what I saw. Gave me great hope for my kids!! Job well done to their parents...I should take notes. :)

It was hard leaving. It's no fun having them so far away but it was a great trip. We had to leave to get back for my nephew's party or we would have stayed longer. We had traffic the whole way back which makes me so very anxious and grouchy. Again, the kids handled it better than me!

We stayed the night with my parents so the kids got even more time with them. I will give it to my kids, family is most important to them. I hope it stays that way!

Our great trip up North went well and we all survived. Even enjoyed it! Gave me confidence that we can keep doing these trips and hopefully my anxiety will lessen with each one.