Sunday, March 28, 2010

How Did I Become a Caps Fan?

I am a member of The Washington Capitals Club Scarlet, and received an email with a contest opportunity this week. Write an essay, 600 words or less, explaining how you became a Caps fan.

I had to give it a shot. It should be posted on the Scarlet website in the next couple days, and the winner will be announced on April 7. Fingers crossed!

Here is my entry:

This story doesn’t really start with me. It starts with a woman from New Orleans who fell in love with hockey watching it on TV, and a man who grew up in Syracuse and decided to take up the sport in his adulthood. In the winter of 1980, they both lived in the DC area and started dating. One night, she was driving home from a party, with him following in the car behind her, when she suddenly pulled over off of Rt. 7. He pulled up behind her and jumped out of the car wondering what was wrong. With excitement, she also jumped out of her car yelling, “We won! We beat the Russians!” It was then that he realized that she had been listening to the Olympic hockey game on the radio too and that he had found the woman he wanted to marry.

Over the next two years, my parents were married, became season ticket holders at the Caps Center and had their first daughter (me!). The first years of my life were spent sleeping through Caps games while being passed around by the other season ticket holders who sat around us. The first word that I learned to "read" was Capitals. As a child I knew more about hockey rules, stats and Caps players than most grown men; and my first “big girl” crush was on Rod Langway. When the playoffs came around, I was frequently groggy at school the day after staying up late for over time games.

My room growing up was designed to be very girly, but I decorated the pink walls with Caps posters, pucks and jerseys. I guess I was following my mother’s lead since she had a poster of Joe Juneau in the pantry. Unlike my friends growing up, who were excited about concerts coming to town, I was excited about the Fan Club Banquet and finding out which player was going to sit at our table.

Through the years I have witnessed some of the greatest moments in Caps history. Most memorably, being there to cheer the team on when they arrived off the plane from Buffalo in 1998 after beating the Sabres to go to the Stanley Cup Finals. And most recently, digging out after the blizzard to watch one of the most incredible come backs against the Penguins this past February.

I am now the mother of two boys, and my oldest son (two and a half) can also read the word Capitals. Both of my boys rocked red mohawks last year during for the playoffs, and are learning to love the Caps as much as Mommy does. During the Olympics this year we were watching USA Vs. Canada and they were cheering "U-S-A Caps Caps Caps!" I didn’t correct them.

My father has since passed away, but my mother still has her season tickets (27 years and counting). This year I got season tickets of my own to carry on the family tradition. I sit in Section 105, row T, seat 5 – or as I like to call it – the Rod Langway Memorial Seat. That is where I plan to watch the Caps skate the Cup this year!

But I guess to answer the original question – how did I become a Caps fan? I would have to say, I didn’t. I was born one.

The Orange

Peter and Aaron both love to tell us what letters they see. This morning Peter was reading to me from a case of sweet potatoes we had gotten at Costco yesterday.

Peter: S W E E T P O T A T O E S

Me: Very good Peter. Do you know what that spells?

Peter: Syracuse!

In his defense I have been dressing him in SU gear a lot during March Madness and telling him that Syracuse starts with "S."

The Name Game

Up until about a week ago Aaron only said three names: Mommy, Daddy and Rusty (and now that I think about it he also says "Buggy" - the name he gave his security blanket.)

Then last Tuesday I took the kids to see my mom and when we were leaving Aaron calls out, "Bye, Grammie!" (the name Peter gave my mother when he started talking).

His next name recognition was my sister-in-law, Jen. We were on Skype with her the other day and as Peter was saying "Hi Aunt Jenny" Aaron piped in with an excited "Aunt Jenny!"

The three days ago he started saying a name that he has now uttered constantly since figuring out how to say it - Peter! I always knew the boys were close, but until Aaron started calling for his brother whenever they are remotely seperated, I sort of thought Peter was more obsessed with Aaron.

Now I think it might be the other way around.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Gardener Boys

Yesterday the boys and went over to my friend Georgia's house.

We took the boys to run errands and get lunch and when we got back Georgia's father-in-law was working on a garden on the side of her house. Peter and Aarons eyes lit up as soon as they saw the dirt and shovels.

"Can we make a garden for Georgia, mommy???" yelled Peter.

"Please, mommy," Aaron called as he chased his brother in the yard.

The next hour was spent digging, tilling, and finding worms. On our way home Peter asked if we could make a garden at home, so hopefully we will get a chance to make on this spring.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Saying too much

I am not the kind of mother who likes to brag about her kids accomplishments too much. Tell stories about them being funny? Sure. But out right brag? Not my thing.

However, with that said, my kids do talk more than the average kid their ages. The kids doctors frequently comment on both of their ability to communicate, string sentences together and grasp concepts that are above average; and other mothers tend to ask about it a lot too.

The first time the doctor had mentioned something to me she said, "Do you talk to your kids a lot?" Have you met me? Yes, I talk all. the. time. nonstop! So, I used to make the mistake when moms would comment by saying, "their doctor says it is just because I talk to them a lot." Wrong response. What a mom will hear out of that sentence is, "you must never talk to your kids - you are a terrible mother." Oops. Remove foot from mouth!

Now that I have been hearing these comments for over a year and have seen friends kids developing in different ways, I have come to the conclusion that kid just all develop at their own pace. My kids both walked late (13 months and 16 months), but talked early (8 months and 9 months). And even though both kids are very articulate they are not great with large motor skills. It isn't that they are any smarter, they are just using a different part of their brains.

However, relaying this realization to other moms is still sometimes awkward.

Here is an example.

I was recently at the Nature Center with the kids playing with the dinosaurs. Peter (who is obsessed with dinosaurs) can say the names of a lot of dinosaurs. Even for me it is pretty hard to believe that my 2 year old can say words (clear as day) like: Allosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Leptoceratops, Diplodocus, Iguanodon, Parasaurolophus. Spinosaurus, Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Velociraptor (clearly I am looking through his dinosaur book to post this blog).

So here we are playing, Peter going on about all the names and what they eat, what features they have that make him know that they are the dinosaur that he is saying they are, when I notice a woman staring at him. Like he is glowing.

Woman - Wow, he really talks a lot. How old is he?

Me - Two and a half. He will be three in August.

Woman - Oh, I thought he was a small four year old. My son turned two in December and he hardly has 20 words in his vocabulary. Seeing your son, I think I should get him tested.

Me - You know, I really wouldn't worry about it. Peter talked pretty early, but he walked late and he isn't as good with fine motor skills either. Some kids just develop differently.

Woman - Really?

Me - Yeah! Plus, he really went from not saying much to something just clicking and being about to form sentences and speak more clearly. And, we have friends that are older than Peter that don't talk as much. I really wouldn't be too concerned about your son.

This went on for several minutes. Then, just when I finally felt like I had eased this woman's fears that her child would never talk. Aaron holds up a dinosaur and says, "Look! Triceratops, Mommy!"

The woman looks at me with a face that I can only describe as defeated and says, "So how old is he?"

I didn't have the heart to tell her that he wouldn't be two until July.

Dino facts with Aunt Jenny

Peter's current favorite thing is dinosaurs. He has a few dinosaur figures, a book of facts that he loves (and sleeps with) and a new rubber stamp set.

He plays with them all the time and asks so many questions that he has become very knowledgeable. If you tell Peter a characteristic of a specific dinosaur he can tell you the species and facts about them.

The other night Peters was playing with his rubber stamp set when his Aunt Jenny called. Like most phone conversations with Peter, he started telling her about what he was doing.

Peter - I am making dinosaurs for you Aunt Jenny.

Jen - What kind are they Peter?

Peter - This is a brontosaurus. He has a LONG neck!

Jen - He does? Why does he have a long neck?

Peter - So he can eat the planets.

We might need to do a fact check on that one :)

I'm Sleeping

Peter has a new technique to get himself out of trouble.

If you tell him we are leaving somewhere he wants to stay (the park, etc.), that he is going to time out, or that he needs to stop a behavior; his responce is as follows:

"NO, I AM SLEEPING RIGHT NOW!" Then he will throw himself onto the floor, close his eyes and starts fake snoring.

In some instances it makes me laugh, and sometimes I use it in my favor, "Well if Peter is tired, we need to get home and take naps." It also usually stops his behavor and calms him down, so I have let him get away with it (for the most part).

Yesterday I caught him using this technique on someone else - his friends!

They were all playing cars and trains, and and one of the other boys tried to get whatever Peter had in his hand. As soon as the grabbing and potential hitting started Peter threw himself on the floor (with the toy under him) and did his "I'm sleeping" routine.

His friends stared in shock and I heard one whisper, "Shhhhh, Peter is sleeping."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Say a Little Prayer for You

Ever since our kids were born, Brett and I have been saying prayers with them at bedtime and at each meal.

By now both kids can say both prayers pretty well; Peter by himself and Aaron sort of says them with us. However, sometimes they put their own spin on them or get confused.

Last night at dinner Peter asked to say grace, "All by myself!"

Here was how his version went, "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Should Angels watch me though the night. Thank you God for everything. AMEN!"

"Amen" is their favorite part.

Then, while I was putting Aaron to bed he changed his night time prayer to, "Now I lay me down to sleep. Ashes, Ashes, we all fall down. Amen!"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Very Perseptive

After our MOMS club St. Patricks Day party today, I took the kids to Target. Once we got there and I started getting out of the car I realized that I had left my purse at home. I told Peter and Aaron that we needed to go home and get money before we could go to the store.

To which Peter responded:

"No Mommy, not at home. Daddy has all our money, and Daddy is at work!"