Monday, September 30, 2013

the soccer saga.

We have ventured into another team sport: soccer.

The first Saturday was a meet & greet and practice. Cooper's Coach's name is Mario - score! Cooper's head completely jerked when he heard the name Mario and was excited. To top it off, they are the red team!

During practice, Cooper did so well. He participated, played well, listened well, and was a good sport. We were excited that soccer was here. We had such great anticipation for this sport.

Game 1:
A bit of a disaster. Cooper cried a lot of the time he was on the field. He did manage to score two goals but didn't like the idea of someone else trying to take the ball from him. I also think he was tired (he was at a friend's house the night before), hungry (it was almost lunch and he hadn't had his morning snack) and maybe a little shy (our friends were visiting us and came to the game).

I took my camera to the first game, but the memory card wasn't in it: FAIL! All I got were a few shots from my phone.
Cooper and Judah. Can't get much cuter.

Game 2: 
Even more of a disaster. The game started out great!

This little girl is a rockstar on the team. She plays so well.

He was moving the ball down the field, when someone else from the opposing team took the ball away and he fell.

Tears started and pretty much continued the rest of the game. He pretty much stood next to his coach crying all but the first 5 minutes of the game. He wouldn't even kick the ball or run after it if it came close to him.

It was team picture day. Aren't they cute?

I also scored this picture of Cooper. He picked me a flower. It's on of my new favorites.

After this game Andrew and I were so discouraged. A friend told us, "Better for him to cry on the field than off. He's learning." So we kept that in mind. I also went to the library and checked out pretty much every soccer book they had to offer in the children's section. Lots of talks, reading, and practice that week.

Game 3: 
We were so hopeful! Gramma was in town, as were Cheryl and Larry. We had a large cheering section for Cooper that game. But we ended up cheering on the other kids because Cooper would have nothing to do with the game. He stood right next to his coach, and refused to touch the ball.  He also cried quite a a bit...again.

Sitting on the field, crying.
Yep That's what he did while the rest of his team played soccer.
After the game, he played on the field with Cheryl and Larry. Like a pro.
Game 4: 
This game his coach was on vacation so another parent stepped in. Cooper only cried for about a minute...huge improvement! Another improvement: he ran around the field! He still wanted nothing to do with the ball, but there were some improvements!

Game 5:
This game was a huge success! Cooper participated, had no tears, and even scored 2 goals! He may have been motivated by a bribe from my parents, but we'll take the win!

Yep. I scored my 2nd goal. NBD.

Our last game this Saturday. My mom and dad will be here to watch a game. The rained out week created a game that they would be here to watch! We're hoping it's another successful day of soccer.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rewards of being CUTE

Let's just get something out in the open...I have a cute kid. 

We have tried to be humble about this, but it just seems no matter where we go or what we do, we get comments. 

Here are the comments from just the past few days from friends, family, and complete strangers:
"You've got the cutest kid in the world."
"He's so darn cute"
"I love his big blue eyes."
"Look at those dimples."
"You should put him in modeling."

Apparently his being cute is noticed by more than me and the Mr. 

Being cute has also helped Cooper score some extra or fun things. Big time.

He has gotten candy and stickers from pretty much every grocery or other type of store we go to.

He has even gotten money! People just give him quarters. How awesome would it be if we could all be handed money from complete strangers when we go to the grocery store. 

This week's big score: ice cream with strawberries.  He turned in his Chick-Fil-A toy for some ice cream. He told them he wanted it in a cup, and he wanted it vanilla. Then with excitement and pumped fists, "and strawberries!!" Sure enough, the lady came back with strawberries on top of his ice cream. She winked at me, Cooper said thank you and we walked away. The kid couldn't contain his excitement. He exclaimed loudly, "I can't believe it!!" 

Eating his ice cream -with strawberries- on the way home.

I couldn't believe it either. But maybe I should start. My kid is cute. And his cuteness gets him some good stuff. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mario Game Board

Cooper is really into...errr, obsessed, with Mario. Since the spring his interest has been peaked and he loves Mario just about as much as the Ninja Turtles.

We had a hard time trying to balance Cooper's time playing Mario with the other things a 3 year old should be doing...playing outside, playing inside, playing upstairs, playing downstairs, playing at the park. Playing, playing, playing...with things other than video games.

When he first started playing on his own (yes, he's 3 and can play almost as well as I can) I didn't think much about how much time had gone by. He didn't play for hours, but I also didn't have a strict set time. Well, I noticed a little thing called ATTITUDE accompanying him after he started playing. So, I set a strict time of 20 minutes a day. Thinking I had solved my problem we proceeded with a 20 minute a day regimen for a couple of weeks. Nothing much changed. If anything, it made things worse due to a full blown tantrum when it was time to turn it off.

I decided that Cooper should earn his time. If Cooper has a good day without any time-outs or spankings he gets a sticker. Each sticker is worth 10 minutes of Mario time. He has two options for cashing in his stickers. He can wait until the end of the week, with the possibility of playing 70 minutes, or cash them in mid-week and doing some 30/40 minute sessions. This option has worked wonders for us. His attitude has been MUCH better, and the stickers have motivated good behavior. And, when it's time to turn Mario off, he's ok with it because he understands his time is up.

I wanted something else, though. I wished for some type of Mario game that could be played without having to play a video game. Enter: our Mario Game Boards.

I made this Mario game board. We bought little lego Mario pieces to play with, took out a piece of dice from our Farkle game, and I colored a half-size poster board.

Not to be out-done, my husband also created a Mario game board. He designed it and had it printed on some heavy-duty material. My only critique: it's so big!

Here are the rules with a few up close pictures.

Objective: Be the first to get to the end of the pipe.

Coin spaces: When you land on a coin, you get to move ahead one more space.
Star spaces: When you land on a star, you get to move ahead three more spaces.
Red Shell spaces: When you land on a red shell, you have to move back 2 spaces.
Black space: When you land on the first black space, you get to shoot across to the other black space, like a cannon. (On my board game).
Box with vine: If you land on the space under the box with the vine, move up the vine to the cloud space. (On Andrew's board game).

When you land on the same space as another player, you have to "battle". A battle is done by rolling the dice. Higher roll wins. The person who rolled the lower number goes back one space.

***The only time you do not battle is if you land on the same space as another person after moving because of a special space or battle. Ex: If you battle with someone, and go back one space, and another player is on this space, you don't have to battle. Or, if you land on a star and move ahead three spaces, and there is another player on that space, you don't have to battle.***

Cooper switched the heads of Mario and Luigi. We would recommend using super glue to keep parts where they go. You will also notice Mario's hand is missing. If you don't have the lego pieces, or don't want to go buy them, you could use colored blocks as well. (red for mario, green for luigi, black for bullet bill, yellow and blue for toad).

Have fun!

It has been so nice to have this game board. On a day when we aren't cashing in our stickers, this game can be played so he can get his Mario fix.

Are you having the same Mario challenges we did? Try these things and see if they help!

If you don't want to draw it on your own and would like a smaller size version of the board Andrew created, visit his website and email him. Just a couple of dollars and you'll have the file for your own game board.