Wednesday, September 10, 2014

first touch soccer and harper (with a little throwback to hayden).

Harper had her first real soccer experience this past Monday. She is participating in 'First Touch Soccer' - which is a soccer program for kids born between August 2010 and July 2011. With Harper's birthday being May 5th, just a month shy of the cutoff date - she is definitely one of the youngest participants. 

She did pretty well though and seemed to have a good time. She enjoyed kicking the ball down the field and seemed especially pleased with her bright "pinkish red" soccer ball. When running from one end of the field to the other, it was obvious that she didn't like coming in last (or even near the rear). She wanted to be first. When going from one end of the field to the other while playing "red-light, green-light," she would keep going on red-light in order to get ahead of the pack - then she would stop.

Oftentimes before kicking the ball, she would use her hands to move the ball in order to get it into a more preferable position. That was amusing to watch. She seemed to want to get the ball in just the right spot. When she would touch the ball, the instructors would kindly remind her not to use her hands. She didn't seem to appreciate the critique and would just stand there looking a little annoyed and miffed. I imagine that in time she will use her hands less. She certainly doesn't like to be admonished or told that she is doing anything wrong, so I think that she will do whatever she needs to do (meaning not use her hands) in order to not be corrected or critiqued.

When it came time to scrimmage, it was a bit of a mess. Most of the kids - including Harper - had no idea what to do and didn't understand what was going on. At that point, she started to bite/chew on her nails (which is a habit that I do). Biting/chewing/playing with her fingers seemed to give her something to focus on and do in a situation that was foreign and confusing. It was a welcomed distraction. Hopefully as she continues to participate, she will come to understand the whole scrimmage concept and her nail-biting habit will subside. We shall see!

At the end of the class, I asked her if she had fun and she said, "yes." Even more pointedly, I asked her if she wanted to do it again and she again said, "yes." For me (and Randy) that is a success. 

As for her brother, Hayden, he seemed nervous and stressed throughout most of the class. He was worried that Harper wasn't doing well or that she wasn't the "best." She didn't make a goal and that seemed to bother him. He really wanted her to do well and be "good." 

His Perfectionism in regards to sports was definitely evident! We had a little chat with him about how it really is all about having fun and that whether or not Harper makes a goal is not important - as long as Harper is happy, then she is doing well. 

He doesn't need to worry about her or her performance - and while it is sweet that he is concerned about his sister and cares so much about her, we certainly don't want him to experience stress in this situation. In addition, we don't want him to impress upon Harper that she is only doing well if she makes a goal or performs in a certain way. Again, the only thing that matters is that Harper has fun and enjoys herself. 

I sincerely hope that he understands. I also reiterated that the same notion applies to him - when he is doing sports (or really most things), the only thing that matters is that he has fun and enjoys himself. I know that's not what he feels or believes. I wish it was, but he is extremely hard on himself when it comes to certain things and sports (specifically Baseball) is one of those things. He feels compelled to be perfect and his expectations are often unrealistic - and then when he doesn't meet those impossible expectations then he feels like a failure. It's something we are working on with him, but it's obvious that it needs quite a bit more work! (Unfortunately, I am pretty much the same way - a hard-core Perfectionist. It's something I am constantly working on: not being so hard on myself and being okay with "good enough.")

As for Harper and First Touch, I hope she continues to enjoy the experience and have fun! The pictures I took from Monday night's class show a lot of fun. Definitely a Happy Harper!

Trapping the ball (as demonstrated above) was not as easy as it seems. Balancing your foot on a ball wearing cleats is a little tricky for a 3-year-old.

Water break - it's important to stay hydrated.

The picture below was taken prior to heading to soccer at a local Mexican Restaurant where we had dinner. I thought it was too cute not to include in the post.

With Harper starting soccer, I felt compelled to look back and reminisce about Hayden's first soccer experience. Below are pictures of Hayden from when he did 'First Touch' soccer. The first photo was taken prior to leaving for his first soccer "class" and the other photos were taken a few weeks after he started.

As far as Hayden and his experience with First Touch soccer, he wasn't much of a competitor and tended to just meander around the field. He enjoyed warming up and doing the drills, but when it came time to scrimmage he checked out and just wandered around. He had no desire to make a goal or even get near the ball. He would watch what was happening but was content to not get involved. He didn't want to "work." Also, he wanted and needed either Randy or myself to be and stay near him during most of that first class - Harper didn't express that need at all. Our presence wasn't needed - she participated in the class independently of us.

It will be interesting to see how Harper does with soccer and how her experience compares to Hayden's. I imagine in some ways their experiences will be similar - yet in other ways it will be different and unique to them. I certainly plan on following up on this post after her soccer season has concluded - noting how her experience went and whatnot. So stay tuned for Part 2 of Harper's First Touch Soccer Experience - an update will be forthcoming (in a little over a month). 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

labor day lake weekend.

We spent this past weekend at the lake with my parents and my nephew, Kennedy. We had a very good time, but I have to admit that the weekend left me rather exhausted! 

We spent time in the hot tub, on the boat, along the shore, in the house - everywhere. We were busy! We swam, we played, we watched TV, I read some of the book I am currently reading (although not very much - there wasn't that much time to rest). 

Hayden loved riding on the jet ski - apparently Hay-Dog has a need for speed. He also loved spending time with his cousin - as did Harper. They love their K-Man. The "littles" (Harper and Kennedy) enjoyed painting masterpieces and bowling with Popi (my dad). 

As for the adults, we catered to the kids and survived the weekend - at least that's my perspective of things. Suffice it to say, I am glad to be home and trying to regroup and re-energize following the weekend of fun and folly at the lake.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

harper's first day of school.

Harper went back to school today - entering the Younger 3s Classroom. She goes to First School from 8am until noon on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Just enough time to give her some quality playtime with her friends and learning time with her teachers while also enabling me to get some MUCH needed alone time.

She was really excited about starting back to school. When I picked her up, she said that she had a great day. She said that she likes both her teachers a lot and that her favorite thing about today was playing with her friends Allie, Reagan, and Henry. 

I was glad to hear that she played with at least one of the boys (and my guess is that in reality she played with all 9 of the other kids in her class today - not just the 3 she mentioned). She had been adamantly telling me that she wasn't going to play with any of the boys, but only the girls because she is a girl and she only likes to play with girls. After having a talk with her about how in reality she does enjoy playing with boys - specifically her brother, Hayden, and her cousin, Kennedy - she was apparently convinced that boys can make decent playmates. 

Suffice it to say, Miss Harper Grace had a fantastic first day of school.

Prior to heading off to school this morning, we had a brief photo session to capture the day. Here are the results: 

For reference, here are two pictures from Harper's first day of school last year and one picture from her very first day of school - back in 2012 when she was just 1-year-old.

Last year - when she was entering the "2-year-old" Class:

2012 - When she was entering the "Baby/Toddler" Class:

Monday, August 25, 2014

thoughts about hayden's first week of school and second grade.

Last week when Hayden began his first week of school, he started off that Monday morning by walking into his new classroom with his hands above his head and elatedly exclaiming, "H-Dog is in the house!" (One of his often-used nicknames is H-Dog which is short for Hay-Dog.)

His confidence was obvious and I know that his exuberance was appreciated by his classmates - as well as a few parents.

Aside from his pencil box breaking on Wednesday (which resulted in a few tears and the declaration that the day had been terrible and awful), he had a great first week of school.

I asked him about what his thoughts were about this year and about Second Grade and he said that he was really happy that one of the lunch choices last week had been nachos - he really likes the school's nachos (and I have to agree that those nachos are delicious!). He also noted that he enjoyed having extra recess last week. His teacher is another thing he is excited about, as well as the new music teacher.

The last thing he mentioned was Math Group. This year Hayden is part of a Math Enrichment Program at school. It's for 6 kids in 2nd and 3rd Grade who are especially good in math. It meets before school (at 7:25am - school starts at 8am) 3 mornings a week. Despite the early mornings and the fact that it is "work," Hayden really seems to enjoy it. He genuinely likes math and the instructor seems to be teaching the information in a fun interactive way - which works well for Hayden.

Suffice it to say, it looks like Hayden is off to a stellar year as a Second Grader - something that makes me very happy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

a flight comparison - me and harper.

As we were flying to Cabo a couple weeks ago, Randy and I both remembered that there is a picture of me flying in an airplane in which I seem to be around the same age as Harper is now (give or take a year).

We thought it would be neat to try and capture a similar picture of Harper. We didn't really try very hard though - we simply took pictures of her flying in the plane.

Below are the results:

I definitely see some similarities. Here are some additional pictures of Harper flying - just for good measure.