I’d love to take a photography class. A few years ago I purchased a Nikon D3000 and a lens, pooling both mine and Frank’s birthday money together. He was OK with it, don’t worry. Though I’m very happy with the pictures I can take, I know I could get better pictures with more consistency if I knew more about my camera’s settings. It is Dante’s senior year of high school and, of course, I’d like to get some decent shots of him in his final high school games. Thankfully when the season started it was light out longer and I’ve been able to get a few pictures. But the shots under the stadium lights are, for the most part, blurry. The only good ones are still shots, like below.

Nothing going on, all after the play because the real shots, the ones I wanted and took prior to this one are all blurred.

This is where I kick myself for wanting and wishing and not DOING. I need to be more on the action side of things. Less wanting and wishing, more accomplishing.

It has been a joy watching him play and grow. Starting as a freshmen on varsity with nervous energy and anticipation. Over the years he’s forgotten his jersey, struggled balancing academics and athletics, had to warm the bench a few times for different (tame) reasons, forgotten a brand new pair of $200 cleats at a tournament (that was a fun one – we never saw those cleats again), scored an amazing goal against a team we “just don’t score against,” the list goes on. Now, finishing off as a senior, unsure if he was even going to play soccer this year. Senior year is all about decisions, you know. Too many of them, really.

I can’t believe it has actually been that long, four years, and that we are really at this point, but there it is. I’m thankful that we put our money into that camera. It has followed us on vacations, celebrations, holidays, around the house, and to many sporting events, capturing moments of time for us to remember them a little more clearly as our brains become foggier. With five kids steamrolling through the teenage years, it is easy to “get through each day,” anticipating the squares heavily scheduled on the calendar, wondering how we will manage them. Once we accomplish the day, and it is behind us — onto the next adventure! Those days are like putting pizza in a blender and sucking it through a straw. Everything is blurry, jumbled, and easily forgotten fairly soon after.

Slow it down, carve a memory in the mind. Savor, don’t snarf. Enjoy each bite. Even if everything surrounding that moment is blurry. Clarity amongst the chaos. 

Keeping the Sports Bottles Icy Cold

If you’re like me and you’re short on room, time and the ability to consistently plan ahead, this might be a good tip for you.

I’ve got  a house full of boys in sports, who are always in the need of a jug of cold water to take to practices or games. Depending on the heat outside, they often need MEGA jugs, because  a little bottle of water simply will not do. MEGA jugs are great because they provide enough portable hydration, but they’re not so great because it takes nearly 1/2 bag of store-bought ice to fill it enough to keep it cold for the hours it sits on the sidelines.

Here’s a solution:

Freeze water in similar-sized leftover plastic containers (cottage cheese, yogurt, deli take-out, etc.).

When it comes time to fill the bottle, run the container under a little bit of warm water so the ice block falls right out, plop in your jug and fill. It melts much slower than store-bought ice cubes, and is way more economical. Immediately after using a block of ice, I refill the container and place it in the freezer so it is available for the next practice or game.

My jugs fit a large cottage cheese container perfectly, but depending on the mouth size of your jug, you’ll have to improvise.