When you’re trying to practice a new song on your guitar, and you don’t have a music stand.

But you do have a brother:

And yes, Derek’s mouth is open because he is singing along. “You Are My Sunshine,” to be exact.

Mr. Clutch *Edited

Flag football has started! Oh yes, the madness rolls on. We eased into it with a three hour stint the first week. Four hours the next. Four. Hours. Thankfully the weather was nice both weeks. May it rain every weekday, as long as there’s sun on Sunday.

Ryan is coaching Derek’s team and assistant coaching on Tate’s because of aforementioned overlap. Some weeks we have Derek’s practice and game and then Tate’s practice and game. Other weeks we get a break and Derek’s game and Tate’s practice overlap.

Derek was so excited for his chance to get out on the field. Here he is on Opening Day:

This is the single picture I got from Opening Day because it is so crazy having two kids on two separate teams. Sports events are the only times when I think, “Life would be so much easier if I had twins.”

Opening Day scores don’t count, which is good since it could also easily be called, “The Game Where Everyone Figures Out What Playing Football Means.” Tate has ten kids on his team. Derek’s team had nine. And then one quit five minutes after practice started. This was a promising start to the season.

But then this week Derek’s team gained twins. Who can actually run and understand and follow instructions. No easy feat.

Derek’s team is called the “Ducks” and is just as tiny and terrible as one could imagine. Well, the twins are pretty good and may just level the playing field so D’s team doesn’t lose every week, but in general, most four and five year olds don’t come onto the field with a good solid understanding of the game. Derek is getting the hang of it, but like every other four year old out there, he has no idea how to play football. And has the attention span of, well, a four year old. So there’s that.

Ryan is staring down the barrel of two more years of pee wee teams, so there’s a lot of deep breathing going on. For everyone.

I think it’s important to point out in the photo above, that Ryan is talking to the team and absolutely no one is listening to him or even looking at his face. Well, maybe Derek is. Welcome to coaching pee wee. Ryan is a saint.

But the cuteness, man. We are crazy, I know. Look how tiny these guys are:Derek is getting the hang of it. I think he just needs some time. Here are some pictures of him during practice:Bless his heart.

Tate’s team on the other hand is full of kids who finally are getting it. Most of them have played before. The difference that a few years makes is transformational. These kids can pass {sort of}, receive {sometimes} and run much, much faster.

The game is different too because it’s more like regular football. There are more downs and fewer breakaway runs. I was a little worried that Tate might be way out of his league, but it’s clear that it was the right time to move up.

Tate is still very fast. Their last game he got five flags, the most on the team, though there is great defense on his team. His friend’s dad is coaching and it’s great to have two coaches out there to work with the two groups of kids.

Ryan is excited about this group because the kids get it, they want to play and I can tell how much he loves getting to show them how to improve their skills and have them listen and see success.

Ryan and Brian took turns on the field. Ryan took defense and Brian took offense. That seemed to be the method of a lot of the teams, especially now that kids are getting so much better and it’s becoming more obvious what their skill sets are. It’s fun to watch.

Tate’s team is call the “NFL All-Stars.” They went up against the “Speed Cannons” this week. I’m doing stats for this team too so I don’t get to take many pictures, also I’m jumping up and down and yelling uncontrollably sometimes so that makes photography challenging.

The All-Stars were ahead most the game and then the Speed Cannons got a big run. Tate chased the guy down and literally pulled his flag at the line for a huge tackle. But then the ref called it a touchdown? We were all confused. Ryan asked him about it and the ref said, “The left foot was in the end zone” and Ryan was like, “Ummm, isn’t is usually where the football is?” and the ref was like, “No, the foot.” I said Ryan needs to clarify that with the league director because both those words have foot in them and I can see that being confusing.

So then the Speed Cannons were only down by two points and were going for two extra points to tie the game. It was the final play of the game. They got ready and Ryan let Tate blitz down the middle. Tate got the kid so quickly he barely moved off the line. So All -Stars won!

The kids were super thrilled. Tate was exhausted. But he got Gatorade, so that made him happy.

*I can’t believe I forgot to mention the whole reason for the title of this post is that Tate’s grandparents, gave him a shirt that says, “Mr. Clutch.” He wore it proudly this week to school. “I am Mr. Clutch this week!”

And that was week two. Here’s to lots of sun for the remaining ones. 

When Your Brother Makes Your Day Better

Tate came home from school today, in. a. mood. Things seemed okay, and then, well, he found out we were having baked potatoes for dinner. Which was horrible? Even though he likes baked potatoes and was just asking me to make them last week? I had so many questions. He had no answers; just a lot of angst.

He told me there was a thing wrong but he wasn’t going to tell me because it was “his business.” Okay, teenager. Well, that came quickly.

He stormed off and oddly enough went and laid under Derek’s bed for a long time. Der and I just kind of shrugged our shoulders and went about our business. What can you do when someone thinks you’re tormenting them with tubers? Derek read some books, I prepped my horrible potatoes and then D wandered off to find his brother.

Things got really quiet for awhile so after I was done getting dinner ready, I went to look for them. I found them outside in the yard.

Derek demonstrating his impressive somersault skills.Also his skills in general hilarity:Tate finds it very hard to resist his brother. It wasn’t long before all of this ensued:Today happiness was having a brother who loves you no matter what, even when you’re a big weirdo who went and laid under their bed for an hour and who still wants to wrestle you in the grass until your crabbiness can no longer withstand his joy.

I hope they never forget that.

A Quick Update

Oh my goodness, has it really already been a week? Lots of things happening around here, but writing does not seem to be one of them.

The boys are doing well in school. Derek’s had a few teary moments at drop-off, but for the most part seems content. He has a new friend named, Sam, with whom I think he spends the majority of the day.

I asked him what they do and he said, “We just spend all day saying silly stuff to each other, like ‘smelly banana squishy goggly.;” As Sam’s mom said, “Well, this is why we send them to school then, obviously.”

Tate has made some new classroom friends as well. Our conversations focus mostly around recess and lunch. The most interesting parts of the day. He is taking First Grade very seriously and I have to say, things are much quieter and more focused than they were in Kindergarten. Tate seems to feel comfortable with that though and much less anxious than how he started out.

He’s taking a lot of responsibility around the house too. Doing things without being asked, like clearing the table, picking up dog poop in the yard, feeding the pets, practicing the guitar, etc. I think his teacher emphasizes responsibility and it seems to be rubbing off at home too. Yay school!

We are riding our bikes to and from school every day since the weather is nice. Derek can make it up all the hills now with no help, so it makes riding much more efficient. We’ve also been taking family runs where the boys bike and Ryan and I run. The other day Tate decided to run with us and managed to complete the entire 2.5 mile route with no complaints. He is a beast. Derek just wants to bike everywhere. He is so proud of himself.

Between the biking and the running and walking through the neighborhood it feels like we’ve gotten more exercise in the past three weeks than we did in the last year.

The stove/oven is finally fixed which is glorious. I cannot say that this oven is my favorite, but at least it turns on and gets reasonably {though inaccurately} hot. After eating cold sandwiches for weeks the boys are mightily grateful for warm breakfasts and dinners at home. Thankfulness!

And with my days at home it feels like maybe we are on our way to finally getting this place cleaned up. We are having friends over for dinner for the first time this weekend so that’s quite motivating. At least it’s forcing me to shuffle the piles to another location that’s not so visible.

We’re slowly chipping away at projects. We got Sonos for the house which is pretty cool. I don’t understand the technical side of how any of this stuff works, but I love that we have music all over now. Also, we have a family Pandora account, so Ryan has significantly more Taylor Swift in his life now than he would have thought possible.

I found my other lens so here’s a picture of the dining room.


We need something on that wall. I’m thinking something like this picture from Minted. Thoughts? Is it weird to have a steer staring at you while you eat? We agonize over things like this. It takes us years {literal years} to make a decision. I’m hoping to move slightly more quickly this time around.

There’s also a new larger rug on the floor of the living room. The boys and the dog love it. They spend a significant amount of time rolling around on it and jumping back and forth between the couches.

And that’s it! Not super scintillating things, but I find myself very thankful for the everyday, ordinary life things and some calm after the last months of chaos.

I’ll leave you with this photo of Derek I took this morning, showing off his shirt that matches his new orange “lion” shoes.