Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving FUN!

It was a blast having a house full on Thanksgiving. We had a total of 16 poeple in our humble little house. Food was awesome! We had a lot of fun eating and playing games afterward. We, of course, also enjoyed watching the Dallas Cowboys win! It was pretty cool seeing some snow flakes over at Texas Stadium during the football game, but we didn't get any over here in Frisco.
Debbie, Michael, Kayla came in on Thanksgiving day! We did everything with them except for seeing the largest ball of twine. I'm sure the largest ball of twine would be in Texas as everything is bigger in Texas. :)

Here's some of the fun stuff that we did while Debbie and company were here...
  • Played racquetball at the newly opened Frisco Athletic Center. By the way, we signed up with a Family Membership. I'm really excited about getting in shape and playing more racquetball.
  • Swam at the Allen Natatorium - Indoor Swimming is awesome when it's 40 degrees out. This is probably the best kept secret in North Dallas as it's such an awesome value. $5 for adults and $4 for children.
  • Ate pizza and played games at Gatti-Town. Gave Debbie and the kiddos a taste of Texas by eating at Dickey's BBQ and Trail Dust.
  • Ursula took Debbie to IKEA. Thanks - Urs. I like the place, but I overload pretty quick with the huge variety of household choices. They spent a couple of hours there. Definitely over my threshold. Debbie loved the place. She said that if there was one in her area that her whole house would be IKEA.

Favorite quotes from their visit:

  • Trust Me - Michael enjoyed telling us his life view on alot of different topics. When he really wanted to get his point across he would end the explanation with "Trust Me!" For example, he would tell Briana, I'm faster than you and can beat you in a race... Trust Me!
  • Ya'll - This was Debbie's favorite of what us Texans say. By the end of their visit, we had both kids saying "Ya'll" like they were naturalized Texans.

I really enjoyed Thanksgiving with family and friends! I hope you enjoyed yours as well! I thank God for such a wonderful family!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Debbie is Coming to Town

Debbie my oldest sister is coming to town for Thanksgiving! She's bringing her two awesome kiddos - Michael and Kayla. I think she's also bringing the cold Cleveland weather with her. We're in the 80's today and tomorrow and then a cold front is coming. I think I might give Debbie the nickname of Cold Front. Somehow, I don't think she'd care for that.
I get to see Debbie every once a year when I go home to Ohio, but it's been about 5 years since she's been here in Texas. I wish it was going to be a bit warmer as we had or have outdoor plans. Below is a picture of Debbie the last time she was here in Texas.
Yes, I'm sure she'll be dressed in Cleveland Indians attire. Do you think I should tell her that we're going to have Boston Red Sox fans for Thanksgiving Dinner? Wow! This will really be like a true Thanksgiving Dinner - Indians and Pilgrims (Red Sox)!! OK - maybe it's a stretch!

Forward March

Briana had a soccer tournament out in Tyler, TX this weekend. We had a lot of fun! Our defense held strong for all 3 games allowing only 3 goals with a shutout in the last game. The last game is when we finally connected and scored with a score of 2-0. Briana usually plays defense, but every once in a while she gets to play forward. I'm always excited when she gets to play up front, because I think she adds a spark up there. She had a huge part in one of the goals scored. She drove the ball down the left side and then crossed the ball into the center. A defender received the ball, but the ball had so much velocity, torque, back spin, momentum, mojo... that the ball went into the net. Well, maybe it wasn't all that, but the defender made a mistake and scored the goal.

Although we lost the first two games, it was great to win the last game and leave on a positive note. It's always fun travelling anywhere with the family. Although it seems like I'm only one awake when we're in transit!

It was a pleasure to see Aunt Evergrace at the tournament. Ursula's aunt -- her mom's sister. I really appreciate her making the 40 minute drive over to Tyler. She's always got the biggest smile on her face! She also has the biggest heart for her family! Here's a picture of her, Briana, and Ursula. I'm not quite sure what Urs is laughing at. It was a bummer that we couldn't spend more time with Aunt Evergrace. She had to high tail it back home.

Below are some pictures of Briana in action as a forward. I'm surprised that I got these action photos of her, because I'm so caught up with her, that I cannot take pictures. I usually have at least 2-4 pictures of the sky or grass.
I'm very proud of how hard and determined Briana is when playing soccer. She is very passionate about the sport and it shows on the field.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

First Place in My Book

This weekend was a fun and exciting weekend for soccer in our house. It was also heartbreaking for Cairo. He worked/played so hard. He wanted nothing less than First Place in his soccer tournament. His team did very well during the season and in the Tournament of Champions tournament. Their record in league play was 7 wins, 1 loss and 2 ties. They landed up in 2nd place to their rivals. The last couple of seasons they landed in 2nd place as well. Not too shabby, but kind of frustrating to an 11 year old soccer player.

They played awesome during the tournament. The won their 3 intial games to make it to the semi-finals. They scored 10 goals and were only scored against once in those 3 games. They decidely won the semi-final game with the score of 5-0. The finals matched them up against their rivals. It was a hard fought game, but we just couldn't come back from the 2-0 deficit. The score ended up being 4-1. We had plenty of scoring opportunities, but couldn't connect.

Cairo was pretty emotional after the game. He really wanted to win the game. My heart went out to him. It's times like this that you feel helpless as a parent. I did my best and assured him that I was very proud of him and that they had a great season and tournament. I asked him if he played his best and he said, "yes". I said in the end that's all that counts. I also reminded him that the previous night after winning all 3 games on Saturday that we both said that it was the most fun season so far. He agreed.

I'm so proud of him!

I'm proud of his work ethic. He always worked his hardest at practice and at game time. On the drive home from soccer practice he would tell me how he'd be frustrated that not everyone gave it their all. He's not quite sure if he'd like to play competitively, but he's definitely committed wherever he plays.

I'm proud of his competiveness! He's competitive, but he's not over the top. I'm glad that he cared about winning. I believe this whole experience will give him the drive to get even better soccer and as well in advancing in other areas of life.

Cairo is definitely #1 in my book. I'm very proud of him!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Cannot please them all or can we?

In my job I get to work with alot of churches throughout the U.S. I just love seeing how God is working in all of these areas. All of these churches are doing everything that they can to reach His people for Christ.

Each of these churches pretty much have Guest/Visitor Registration Cards that are used to get visitors connected into the church. However, alot of people will use the cards to communicate with the church what they liked and didn't like about the service or church. Below is what I perceive as a Drive-Through Guest Registration Card...

One thing that I truly appreciate about Pastor Gerald Brooks is that his message is consistently the same. His messages are always about change. Changing yourself to become a better Christ-Follower. He encourages us not to blame our parents, our past, or our surroundings. He shows us that we can overcome any of these and change ourselves into people that God will be proud of.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Hey Ref!

It's now been a full soccer season that Briana and I became soccer referees. It's been a fun and educational experience.

I did this for a few reasons...

1) I wanted to do something where I spent more time with Briana. Soccer is definitely one of her top interests. As well, she enjoys making money. Spending time with her was the most important thing. It didn't matter that we didn't have any earth shaking conversations, it mattered that we shared the same experiences. Even if it was both of us getting up at 6:30am for an 8:00am game. She definitely enjoyed hearing about my aching bones(muscles) as she couldn't understand why I was complaining. It's great to see how fit she is.

2) I wanted to get in shape. The doctor said so and I know it's good for me. The beginning of the season was a challenge with the heat in September. Those mid-afternoon games were a killer even though I just started at the U6 level (under 6 years old). Refereeing on Saturdays made me exercise during the middle of the week. It'd be too darn painful if I didn't do something during the middle of the week.

3) Making a couple of dollars while exercising sounded like a good thing to do.

Some notes about our experience in refereeing soccer:
  • Both Briana and I got "promoted" to older age levels rather quickly. We got promoted after refereeing the U6 level after 3 weeks. Some of Briana's peers went through a whole season or year before they were promoted. This happened for a couple of reasons... we tried our best and listened to the mentors. I also taught Briana the art of schmoozing. Whenever we saw the Referee Assignor, we (I) made the effort to say "Hello" and talk about how things were going. Briana was promoted to U8 and I was promoted to U9. The higher the age level, the more you get paid.
  • I learned alot about the rules especially with offsides. I also have a greater appreciate for referees and all that they do.
  • I got used to parents and coaches yelling at me with my calls or non-calls. This didn't happen too often, but it was weird when it did happen. Because when it did happen, I had this internal argument in my head... should I have called it, should I have not? Bottom line is that I tried my best.
  • Briana takes great pride in what she does. She received several compliments from coaches and parents on how well she refereed her games.

I enjoyed my time and am looking forward to next season in February.

Question for you ---- Is there something that you can be doing to be spending more time with your son or daughter? Don't like video games? Try it and you might like! They will appreciate all of the time that you spend with them! Remember that you don't have to be perfect at what they enjoy. It's the effort of being there and showing an interest in what they like.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Plugged In

We, as parents, need to watch what our children are being exposed to on an ongoing basis. There are many places that we need to preview their exposures... Movies, TV, Music, the Internet, etc.

Ever want to find out the true ratings of a movie before you kids want to run off to see them? Check out Plugged In Online at http://www.PluggedInOnline.com. The site does a great job rating movies by the following:
  • Positive Elements
  • Spiritual Content
  • Sexual Content
  • Violent Content
  • Crude or Profane Language
  • Drug and Alcohol Content
  • Other Negative Elements

They also rate Music & Television shows. The web site is brought to you and me by Focus on the Family.