Sports—Camaraderie, Character Building and, oh yeah, Exercise

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If you’re a sports fan, subscribe to your local paper or regularly watch a morning news show like “Today” or “Mike & Mike”, there’s very little chance you haven’t heard that World Cup Soccer is in full swing. I fall into all three of those categories—especially the first one.

In my family, watching or playing sports is as natural as breathing. Yeah, it’s a way to get some exercise, but it’s also great for family bonding and teaching important life lessons.

My daughters have learned about pride in doing your best; humility when winning; perseverance when losing; leadership and teamwork for the whole rather than the individual.

Some of our best family memories have taken place on a court, a field, or in the stands together. Some of our most disappointing and some of our funniest moments have been the same.

Sure, participating in a sport is great for your body—strength, conditioning, and flexibility. But it’s also vital for character building. And it’s definitely a fabulous way to bring my family together.

Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood with our dog,

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training for a half marathon with my sister

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or two of my daughters

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participating in a Ladies Football Clinic with my mom

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or organizing a 3-mile family fun run and tennis tournament during a Christmas family reunion in Florida

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sports has always played an important unifying role in our lives.

Right now we’re in the throes of World Cup Fever, cheering for the USA!

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If you’re a soccer fan you probably already know this, if you’re not don’t be surprised when I tell you that thus far in the Cup as a USA fan we’ve experienced pride in our boys and our country, humility in finally beating Ghana, perseverance in losing the lead and ending our game with Portugal in a tie, and leadership and teamwork as we gear up to take on the powerful German team on Thursday.

These are all vital character traits we can all stand to improve. In my family, we simply like to dress up a little crazy now and then while we work our character together! ☺

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GO USA!

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Be Awesome!

Kid President Be Awesome

So it’s the second Tuesday of the month– a date I personally chose so I’d remember when I’m blogging and any followers would know when to find me here.

Enter LIFE– yes, at this moment it deserves all caps. I’ve been working on several huge projects for my day job, struggling through revisions for my agent, juggling RWA chapter president duties, enjoying a little part-time gig I love despite the added time crunch, dealing with family obligations and personal ups & downs…. boy, just re-reading my list made me have to stop and take a breath.

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Okay, so maybe I have an excuse for forgetting about my blog day. But I don’t have a good reason!

Yes, there’s a difference. I’ve said something like that to my girls in the past, so I should look in the mirror and say the same thing to myself.

I could beat myself up for forgetting. Let that old Catholic guilt I’m so good at flare up and leaving me feeling bad.

Or, I realized I could hop on the PBOK blog, wave hello to everyone and post one of my favorite YouTube videos to watch when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

Have you seen the Kid President? Have you heard his “words of wisdom and advice” on how to live a good life? On how to be AWESOME? Let this little guy inspire you!!

I hope you’re having an AWESOME Tuesday!

If life is bogging you down, push the pause button on your day, spend a few minutes with the Kid President and the PBOK moms and know we’re rooting for you!!

Four-legged Family Members

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I didn’t grow up with pets. We were a military family who moved a lot, so having pets wasn’t too conducive to our lifestyle.

Years later, when I started a family of my own, we eventually had three dogs—two that someone brought home (without giving me a heads up beforehand) and one that we got as a puppy. The first two unfortunately both died of natural causes after several years. Talk about traumatic experiences!

Not having grown up with pets I was nervous with our first two dogs—one a golden retriever and the other a black lab. They were fully-grown when they came to our house, so even though they were both really well behaved, I was still a bit skittish if they barked. If they had something in their mouth that they shouldn’t I was the last person willing to try to take it away.

But with our third dog, I’m completely different and I know exactly why.

Addi came to us as a puppy.

Addi puppy

I researched the right breeder, speaking with other owners who’d used the same person. We visited the breeder to meet the mom and dad dogs, and eventually we picked Addi out of the litter. In preparation for her arrival I read countless books about owning and training a puppy. I bought Cesar Milan DVDs, then watched and re-watched them.

The day we brought Addi home, when she whimpered in her kennel at bedtime, I took my pillow downstairs, opened the kennel door, put my pillow halfway inside and slept on the floor with Addi resting on my pillow near my head. I did this for a couple of days, then closed the kennel door and slept in front of it so she could still see me. Little by little I moved further and further away until I was back in my bed and she was sleeping comfortably in her kennel on her own.

It’s a similar technique I used when my oldest was two and feeling afraid of sleeping alone in her new bed. It worked then, and it worked 16 years later when I brought Addi home.

Now Addi’s about 20 times the size she was when she joined our family. She’s gone from a 10 pound puppy to a 70 pound dog.

addi with toy

Despite her size, I still think of her as one of my “babies”—if she’s got something dangerous in her mouth, you can bet I’m sticking my fingers inside to get it out. If she needs some attention, I’m on the floor with her and she’s “sitting” on my lap.

When my youngest daughter went off to college last year and I sat in my room teary, Addi came in to comfort me. It’s like she knew I needed a “hug.”

So, while maybe I’m not an “animal lover” yet because it just wasn’t part of my lifestyle for so many years, I can honestly say I now understand how and why people treat their pets like they’re family members. Addi is that to me. She was one of my babies. I’ve “raised” her.

I jokingly say she’s the child that doesn’t talk back to me and who is always eager for my hugs and attention. No moody adolescent years with this one! ☺

How about you guys? Does your family have a pet—a four-legged family member? We always share stories about our kids, how about stories about the pets that help make up our family? ☺

addi at beach

When Our Kids are Sick

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Being a mom is tough. I think many of our blog posts have established that point fairly well. ☺

Being a mom with a sick child can be a little tougher than normal. Even when that kid is a big kid, home from college for a few weeks in the summer.

Case in point, I’ve got a college-aged baby who’s about to have her tonsils removed tomorrow. Yes, it’s a relatively routine outpatient surgery, but it still makes me nervous. I still worry about what could go wrong—all while I’m slapping a peppy smile on my face and spouting every positive mantra I can think of so I don’t make my kid nervous, too.

I’m googling “tonsillectomy” and “post-tonsillectomy recovery tips” in the hopes that I’ll be prepared for whatever comes. Doing my best to make her recovery as painless and comfortable as possible. Although, the doc has already warned us that “this is the most painful procedure you’ll ever have.” Naturally, I wanted to ask how it compared to childbirth, but why scare my child even more? ☺

So, today my question for all you readers out there is: have you or your child had a tonsillectomy? If so, any suggestions on recovery? Any tips for a mom who’s a worrywart?

Finding Some Balance in Life

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Somedays I feel like I’m doing pretty well. I’ve got my priorities straight, things under control, kids all headed in the right direction… It’s all good.

And then there are other days- like today- when I can hear Life laughing at me and what it thinks as my feeble attempts to make any progress.

I’ve got a job that keeps me running during the day, sometimes into the evening, and a volunteer list that fills up quite a bit of my dance card fairly often. But my girls are out of the house, leaving me with just a pooch that’s needy for attention. So, why is it that I still can’t seem to get a good work, writing, volunteering, exercising, sleeping, fun-time schedule figured out?

I homeschooled my girls for multiple years and kept a pretty rigid schedule during the day. We had to in order to meet the goals I’d set out for them as students. While I was in my both of my master’s programs I had a detailed schedule for reading, homework, research and writing. And I’m proud to say I was a great student. :-)

So again, why is it that with others or when others are involved I’m better at trying to ensure everything is good to go. But when it comes to just plain me– exercise to feel better, write more often because I love it and plan to sell someday, sleep more because my body needs it– I keep falling off the wagon?

I’m wondering if it’s my need to help others or focus on others rather than focus on myself. Sometimes that’s a good thing– others before self. Sometimes, it’s a bad thing– help others to the detriment of self.

It’s about balance. That’s what I talk to my girls about. So, I’m thinking it’s time for me to practice what I preach.

Recognize that if I want to sell a book or feel healthier about my body, then I need to do something about it. Make it a priority just like I make thinking about others a priority.

So, I ask you, is there something you’ve been wanting to do or thinking about doing that you keep putting aside? Is now a good time to work on that or try that? Maybe, maybe not. Only you can decide.

But I’d love to hear how you’re coping with finding balance in your daily life. It can be a struggle. Hearing how others handle it, make it work, or maybe flounder sometimes, too, helps me realize that I’m not alone in this. And maybe something that helps one of you might be a great tip for me or our readers to try.

Thanks for sharing!!

2018 RWA® RITA® double finalist
#LatinxRom author

Represented by Rebecca Strauss DeFiore & Company

rebecca@defliterary.com

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