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. 

Weekend Wrap Up

Friday –

Frank’s cousin’s house for some homemade wine and card game of spades. Nice time, home by midnight. Happy but tired.

Saturday –

3v3 soccer tournament, up too early in the morning. Four games sitting in the hot sun. Not complaining, just the facts.


Frank went to his brother’s for a bit (yearly party), I stayed home and made soccer boy some food.

It was decided we’d pay-per-view UFC 100 and Frank’s cousin and her husband would split the cost with us and come watch.

Quick run to the grocery store for snacks, hurricane-like cleaning to the house. Candles lit, snacks set out.

Bed after midnight.

Sunday –

Early rise and back on the field for final 2 games.

Back the road by noon; home. Drop off 2 soccer players.

Lunch/dinner at the Chinese Buffet.


Out to meet a couple guys from Frank’s work (and their wives) to celebrate Frank’s promotion/transfer to new job. So tired, but still enjoyable.

Home. Nachos with cheese. Can’t fight the fatigue. Bed.

Nice weekend. Busy, always. But nice.

Weekend Wrap-up

Weekend Wrap-up

Busy weekend at the Groovy-Mom household. Friday night was a social night, hanging out with friends. Saturday Sal had a soccer game. They won; don’t remember the score. Sal, the self-proclaimed World Class Goalie, played in goal for the first half, and then on the field the second. The team ran over to Franny before the start, at half-time and after the game to rub his head for good luck. It was very cute. (Franny tells me I need to get a new word because I say everything is cute. Cutecutecute!!! — Happy now?)

Carlito had a game to referee at the same time as Sal’s, but my dad took him to it since Frank was working and I can’t be in two places at the same time. Dante had a game later that day, too. They won 8-0. Dante plays on a team with a crew of very talented players that are a lot of fun to watch. Some games are very intense, but the Saturday’s was not (see the score), so the boys had some fun. At one point Dante, a mid-fielder, went for the ball over-zelously (not needing to) and he slid out of bounds, into the spectator section. His friend called from the other side of the field, “Dante, don’t you hurt my mom!!”

Saturday night we ordered pizza and watched the Fifa Qualifier between USA and Honduras. Go USA.

Sunday we went to Dante’s game, another 7-0 win. After the game we hit McDonalds, just me and the boys. I had a $20 limit, so we ordered cheap and split fries. Carlito treated us to brownie melts for dessert with some of his referee earnings. Dante and Franny split a brownie, and Sal and I split one. Carlito took a bite of ours, but didn’t buy one for himself. They were pretty well behaved, save for Dante distracting Carlito so that he could quickly fly in and pull his shorts down. He pantsed Lootie coming in, and he got him at the door before we left. Franny exploded in giggles both times.

We met Frank at home and decided to take advantage of a beautiful day by heading to the park for a while. Dante was reluctant, concerned that he’d miss the Uriah Faber/Mike Brown UFC fight. Boys. Frank assured him we would not. Frank brought his poles along and the boys brought a soccer ball. Can’t leave home without a soccer ball. Things have changed a bit, with Franny’s injury. He was the one who would usually instigate a game or activity, since he was always a bundle of energy. I’m thankful for his recovery, even though it is slow, but sometimes am caught off guard and get a bit choked up.

Sal, making some casts. OK, tecnically Frank did the casting, the boys reeled in.


On our walk over to the park, we encountered some geese. As we approached I heard what sounded like a cat hissing. It took me a bit before I realized the hissing noise was coming from the goose in our path. What the..? I’ve never encountered a hissing goose before. My eyes and brain needed to make a visual connection to believe it. Mouth open, heeee-heeeesss — yup, it’s the crazy goose!! Freaked me out. As I attempted to snap a picture of the hissing goose, a mother and her children hurredly passed by. “Watch out, kids, they are MEAN. They’ll nip you.” Killer geese.

They boys started messing around with the soccer ball and Franny stood off in the distance, leaning on his crutches watching. I thought we could go to the park nearby to keep his mind off of the things he couldn’t do (like soccer). “Franny, wanna go try the swing?” We made the journey over and sat on the bench for a while, resting his leg and waiting our turn. Franny removed his shoes, and watched as a father pushed his daughter on the tire swing. When they left, we hurried over.

I pushed him cautiously at first, fearful that his cast would hit the ground or that the tire itself would fly off with him riding right on it. Crazy, I know. But as much as Franny is still recovering from being hit (crossing roads are cheap therapy right now), I’m recovering from the blow as well. I am an anxious, freakazoid worrier by nature — the broken leg isn’t helping. I checked my visions of disaster and focused on the cheek-cracking grin splayed across his face.

After the festival of swinging, we parked it at a table and watched the big boys spout testosterone. Franny took the camera and tried to get a shot of me “not noticing” him with the camera. I was forced to feign ignorance of the camera in his hands. My… look at that pretty grass… is that a camera?

Yeah, me and my sexy Fitovers. They aren’t the most attractive sunglasses, but they are convenient and they do the job.

Time to make the trek back. Sal cools off at the water fountain.


My menfolk.

(Don’t ask me why Lootie is saluting.)

On the way home, Frank just had to make a couple casts. No, he’s not drunk. Looks are decieving.


We made it home in time to make chicken tacos and watch hours of cage fighting. I need to get another girl in this house.

(What did YOU do this weekend? Leave me a link!!)

Newbie Soccer Referee

Carlito started refereeing this year. He’s been wanting to be a referee about half as long as he’s been walking this great green earth, waiting to turn 12 —  eligible to take the class and exam. One year for Christmas we purchased him a full referee kit, complete with yellow shirt, black socks, whistle, cards and shorts.

He loved it.

He likes order. He likes rules. Why yes, he would like to be a police officer. Above all, though, he likes money. The way it smells and the buying power that comes with it. He hasn’t earned the nickname “Crabs” for nothing.

We weren’t sure how the whole “class and exam” thing would pan out earlier this year when we enrolled Lootie. It is a $70 fee for class and licensing. We made it his birthday present. You go for like 4 or 6 hours, two weekends in a row. Maybe it was 8 hours? At any rate, Frank and I were both nervous. Lootie’s got some learning issues that make it difficult for him in school, so our fears were slightly increased as to how the exam would pan out in the end. Dante did the class a few years back and did fine, so we were hopeful but still incredibly nervous, using our sarcasm (in private conversations) to work out our jitters.

All the worry was worth it (haven’t let go of the sarcasm). He passed the first weekend with a 98%. The second weekend was the same. Oh the pride and satisfaction on that kid’s face when he got his patch was worth the seventy bucks.

Before he was even assigned a game, he plotted out his evil plan to rule the world —  I mean to purchase an Xbox 360. (Long ago I told the kids I would not purchase any more video anything — they’d have to do it.) Boy, can you motivate that kid with the fresh — or dirty — scent of green.

He’d yabber about it constantly, how he was going to buy it, who would need to pitch in (not only does he enjoy his own money, but he enjoys capturing his younger brother’s money — Franny’s not game to his ploy, but his game-nerd brother Sal sure is).

Lootie almost blew apart – literally, spontaneous combustion – when his first ref game was canceled due to lightening. He would have rather risked being fried to a crisp if it meant he’d have 15 hot bucks in his hand.

As the season continued, he get a few games in, but his big money-maker was to referee a recreational tournament that would push him over the Xbox edge. Who knew his appendix would decide to rot to pieces and burst two days prior? Is it OK for the referee to run the field with one hand on the IV bag and the other on a whistle?

Lootie and Sal the resident “game nerds” of the family (not a mom-given title, but accurate none the less) put their money together and purchased their Xbox. Lootie, no joke, treats it like a newborn. Exasperated– Please, please, don’t leave the games out like this. Oh look at this!! Doesn’t anyone know how to treat something with respect around here? Don’t do that… Cord goes like this just so, not the way YOU guys did it. Running up the stairs after school, first glance at the Xbox – Franny, did you play it? Did you? Oh my GOSH. Look at that? See. Nobody takes care of things… (obsessively checks cords, power supply, game locations).

He’s a special kid.

Yesterday he had another game to officiate. As we pulled up he begrudgingly left the car. They’re all GIRLS (grumble, grumble). I think it was for show. He had to check his eagerness at the door.  Inspects the field, checks in with coaches… then gets to business, asking for his money. One coach gave it up easy; the other one Lootie had to stalk, and stalk he did, for the remainder of warm-up time.


Yeah yeah. Great picture, I know.

It was a cute game to watch. Little squealers chasing the ball. Loo did fantastic with his whistle and commands, taking charge in a manner conducive to his personality. I think he fondled the money in his pocket multiple times during the game. Once he was hit with the ball and he smiled, casual and relaxed, continuing seamlessly. Another he slipped, fell and went on without apparent embarrassment. A spunky player gave a girlie scream (for no reason) and he looked at her as one would at a younger sister – with disgust and affection. He really has a knack for refereeing.

Game over, he came to the van and glanced out the window, back at the field. “That was fun. I liked that. They were fun.” And then he carassed his money.