Another kid, another tennis season…

As much as we didn’t want Hallie’s tennis season to overshadow Hunter’s season – it totally did. When Hunter told us he was going to try out for the tennis team we were pretty honest with him. Unfortunately, the boys and girls’ teams play on the same day, one home and one away – Hallie and Hunter would be playing matches at the same time the whole season.

We watch Hunter play soccer year-round. We went to every freshman tennis match in the fall for him. Hallie plays one sport and she had one final season – we were going to be at her matches. Luckily, this is a secondary sport for him and he was totally understanding. And then he went and broke a rib in his soccer game and was out half the tennis season anyway.

Towards the end of his season, I was able to make it to two matches where games had been rescheduled. And to surprising, I loved watching him on the court. I never thought I would say I enjoyed watching tennis, but I really do – especially when my kids are playing.

Hunter had a great season (albeit cut short due to injury). He held his position and even climbed the team ladder. He made friends with the upper classmen and I’m grateful for kind boys who looked after him and made time for him. (It helped to have a cute senior sister who is friends with everyone on the boys team!)

He loved his time on the court – he loved the team – he loved the training.

There was a period towards the end of the season where he shared in frustration his disappointment with his improvement throughout the season. He’s obviously harder on himself than anyone else would be but it was good chance to have a conversation about what he wants to dedicate to the sport. He runs on a tight after school schedule due to his commitment to his education and to soccer. And as much as he wants to get better at tennis, he frankly doesn’t have the time and he’s not willing to give up soccer. We came to the conclusion he’s got to be okay with tennis filling the cracks of his schedule when he can make it work – which wasn’t the answer he was hoping for. But the option of adding two more hours to his day was out of my control!

I was not at all surprised when he came to me at the beginning of the week requesting to attend tennis clinic when he recognized he had a two week break from soccer (totally abnormal, but we just had tryouts for the next season and they give the kids a break to finish up the school year). He’s been on the court every day.

I will give it to him – he knows how to work and he’s dedicated. I’m confident he will maximize the slivers of time in his schedule.

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Prom 2024…

We realized at the beginning of the tennis season there would be a conflict with the state tennis tournament and prom if we advanced to the semi-finals. But that was so far in the future there was no need to worry about it. As the regular season came to an end and the tournament bracket was created, the possibility of a conflict grew exponentially – but there wasn’t much we could do except let it play out. At the end of tournament play on Friday night, we knew we had to make a plan for Saturday. She was scheduled for the quarterfinals in the morning and semi-finals were the same afternoon – an hour away from home. After some detailed calculations we realized if she made it to the semi-finals, the only way she had a chance of making it to her prom pictures (which is important to a senior girl) is if she brought everything with her to the match to get ready for prom.

When we got to the tennis center that morning, we found they had a shower and a mirror so we had a plan for our worst case scenario! Luckily, after winning in the morning, we made a few phone calls and found a friend of a friend who didn’t live too far from the tennis center who kindly offered their home to Hallie to get ready for the dance.

After losing in the semi-finals, she took a short moment to grieve her loss and then we rushed her over to get showered and changed and dolled up. We were so grateful to this mother who opened her home to us – she was our lifesaver that day.

Hallie’s time to get ready was short and before long we were back out the door driving to downtown Phoenix to meet up with her group who was already together shooting photos. She didn’t like her hair – it wasn’t really prom worthy. Her eyes were still a little red and swollen from the tears earlier. She was still hot and sunburned from the previous 48 hours. And she was exhausted – rightfully so.

But when she showed up – those friends celebrated her beautifully. (In fact, they were the same friends who showed up the day before at the state match). They cheered for her as she walked up and there were hugs all around. She got there just in time to shoot some photos before the party bus took them all to dinner.

These friends lifted her spirits and there was a pep in her step as she hugged me before making her way to the bus.

They had the best time – just like I knew they would. They have such a good energy and never seem to have troubles having fun. Of course, she came home and crashed the next day – she used what little energy she had left at prom and by Sunday she was done!

And I can’t forget the creative way he asked! She was gone one afternoon and she came home to quite the surprise.

And to answer, she was waiting on top of his house when he got home from work one day.

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State tennis…

The state tennis was the end of an era for Hallie and it was bittersweet to say the least. But man, did we have fun cheering her on.

She worked hard the whole season (and even harder in the off-season) with her doubles partner. At the end of the season she was seeded 3rd in the state – which is an amazing accomplishment in and of itself.

My parents are unable to come for her graduation and they were feeling bad – they really wanted to support her. I suggested an even better mode of support would be coming to her state tennis tournament – and they showed up and cheered right along me. I’m so happy they were able to be here to see her showcase her talents and all of her hard work.

Hallie’s entourage showed up for her this day and I was so grateful to see their smiling faces walk through the gate. None of them know much about tennis, but they knew it was important to Hallie and they wanted to support her. I’m not sure there was any other team who had a cheering squad of this magnitude. Have I mentioned how much I love these kids?!

To add to her friend cheering squad – Hallie also had her family cheering squad. Both sets of grandparents and her aunt and uncle. And this is not a short tournament. Its a long couple days of multiple matches hours a part from each other. And they stayed all day the first day. They were troopers. Luckily, when we weren’t watching Hallie – she had other tennis friends playing and we were able to move our cheering squad to other courts and support several players!

After the first day, they had secured their spot in the quarterfinals, which is how far they got in the tournament last year. We knew this match would be tough – the other team was beatable – but not without a fight. And it proved to be a battle and we took the W.

The tournament plays 32 teams and only seeds the top 8. With our high ranking, #3, we were excited to not have to see the #1 team until the finals. But in a stroke of bad luck (and poor tournament administration), they rearranged the bracket and it put us facing the #1 team in the semi-finals. This was a pretty big blow. We knew the #1 girls were good and Hallie and Sierra were confident they could beat the #2 team, and less confident in beating the #1 team!

Truthfully, I think our girls mentally beat themselves the minute the bracket disadvantaged them (in the name of helping a few lower ranked teams) and they looked intimidated on the court – and really they shouldn’t have been – they could have totally kept up with this team. But some matches don’t go your way and despite a successful weekend, they fell to the top ranked doubles team, from the top ranked school in the semi-finals. It was a tearful end to a beautiful ride.

These two walked off the court arm in arm just as they had so many times before – there was just a little more finality to this walk-off. I would be lying if I didn’t admit to shedding a few tears behind my sunglasses as I watched her embrace her dad trying to keep her composure. She took the moment she needed. And as easy as it may have been to wallow for a while, there was no time!

She had a prom date she had to get ready for… 🙂

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Mother’s day 2024…

All these kids call me mother and it has become my favorite title. I’m fine tuning what being a mother means to me and how I am going to execute that responsibility given my talents and abilities. This vision of motherhood has drastically changed over the years. If my kids ever want to argue Briggs has a different mother than Hallie – I will totally agree. I’ve changed. I’ve evolved. Hopefully I’ve gotten better. And truthfully, I’m focusing on what I think is important.

These 5 humans are so important to me. I think about them. I pray for them. I laugh with them. I cheer for them. I am their mother and I take that job very seriously.

This sweet girl spoke in church today about Christlike attributes and how she sees those attributes in her mother. I purposely didn’t want to hear the talk before she gave it today and I was blown away sitting in the congregation. She was so articulate and poised. She was confident and vulnerable.

It was beautiful.

She is beautiful – inside and out and I thank my lucky stars my guinea pig is as awesome as she is. Oh how I love being her mother.

We had a beautiful day of family meals, church with Hallie speaking and special program for our second hour, family walk and watching old home videos. My heart is full.

And it’s always fun to see how your kids view you…the older they get, the more they know you! It’s good to know if Briggs had a million he’d give me half. Whereas Hunter would only give me some massage coupons. 🙂

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Visitors…part 1…

When my parents came last month for Briggs’ baptism they came a few days early and stayed a few days after and they got more than they bargained for with all our family had going on – you’d think it was an abnormally busy/crazy week but it was just another week in April! We have learned to manage this busy stage with 5 kids and not only do we manage it, we enjoy it.

Just an hour after my parent’s plane landed, we headed straight to Hallie’s tennis match. This is the first time my parents have seen her play this year and it was fun to brag on our girl just a little bit with how much she has improved as a player. She had a tough doubles match (she knew this match was crucial to her state seeding) and came out victorious.

The next day, we were able to watch Hunter’s tennis match. Typically our boys and girls’ teams play the same day just in opposite location so it was unusual for Hunter to have a match and not Hallie. We took the opportunity to watch him play. And promptly left after he was finished to make it to Bennett’s school soccer game.

We were able to serve at AzBrainfood together – love they get to be here with me once in a while.

Saturday both Hunter and Bennett had state play-off soccer games before Briggs’ baptism. My dad was a soccer coach since I was young and he’s still a fan of the game – he doesn’t even have to know anyone on the team to enjoy a soccer game. It’s just an added bonus when he gets to watch his grandkids.

We squeezed in some backyard project work – I knew this week was crazy with kids’ schedules so we didn’t really plan on working on much but we found a few pockets of time and my dad jumped in to help.

My mom came with me to take Hallie’s senior pictures. We found the coolest day of the week in hopes she wouldn’t be sweating and instead it was nice and breezy – a little too breezy at times.

We made a visit to our neighbor in the care facility. My dad and him had built a fun relationship over the years of my dad visiting here and even though he doesn’t remember either one of us, it was still a good visit.

We attended yet another school soccer game for Bennett but no photographic evidence!

It was a great week. My parents were good sports as we traipsed from one activity to the next – they were fully immersed in our lives and I’m sure they went home exhausted.

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