Archives For Kids

Sorta sweet (if you squint) 6

September 11, 2014 — 7 Comments

I assume the majority of you have seen My Super Sweet 16 on MTV? It’s a reality show that documents the coming-of-age parties for spoiled rich kids that are paid for by their delusional parents and attended by their fake friends.

Here’s a clip from The Soup to catch you up.

Alas, my five-year old daughter will soon be turning another year older so I’ve officially started planning for her big celebration.

I’m referring to the shindig as her “Sorta sweet (if you squint) 6″ because momma needs to stay within budget and also…well…she’s only six freaking years old. At this age, I should be able to stick her in a room with a helium-filled Mylar balloon and let her discover the joys of voice manipulation and unexplained dizziness.


I’ve asked an extremely talented friend of mine to create her birthday “dress cake” out of cupcakes similar to the princess style shown below.


This is what my friend is capable of doing.

This is what my friend is capable of doing.


This is what I am capable of doing. #NailedIt

This is what I am capable of doing. #NailedIt


I’ve picked the date and venue and am crossing my fingers that five of her closest friends like to bowl. See what I did there?

“Honey, you can pick five friends to attend to make a total of six people (counting you) at the party – one for every year you’ve grown bigger!” It just so happens that six is also the number of allowable bowlers per lane included in the party package.

Instead of taking out a second mortgage to pay for goodie bags, I’m going to order some awesome jean tattoos from Peaceable Kingdom. Their company’s Marketing Manager sent me free samples to try out on my daughter’s jeans and we absolutely loved them. I think the kids will go nuts over these easy-to-wear tattoos.


My daughter modeling her new favorite accessory, jean tattoos! (they easily wash off in normal wash cycle)

My daughter modeling her new favorite accessory, jean tattoos! (they easily wash off in a normal wash cycle)


Wish me luck as I attempt to pull off this party without breaking the bank.

Let me know if you’ve pulled off a killer party for your son or daughter without incurring too much expense!

Written by Heidi Woodard

Ice Bucket Challenge

August 15, 2014 — 4 Comments

I don’t care if this ice bucket challenge to raise awareness for ALS (better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) is getting out of control. I think it’s great. It’s for a wonderful cause and I can’t imagine being the person who comes up with an idea that goes viral like this one.

There have been more than 1 million unique videos posted on Facebook related to this challenge. The movement has raised more than $5.5 million for the ALS Association since July 29, compared to $32,000 in the same period last year (as reported by TIME).

I accepted this challenged and I passed it on to my friends and my son, Austin, who went on to challenge his siblings.

My boys, Owen and Austin, posted their videos on their respective Instagram accounts. Imagining how to link that up to this WordPress blog gives me a headache so you’ll have to search it out yourself.

I did record Jaycee’s myself (in the wrong direction). Enjoy both my video and hers below.


Written by Heidi Woodard

I was approached by Fanatics to participate in their “Family Fanatics” initiative, challenging bloggers to share their stories about how sports has brought families together. Fanatics is the leading online retailer of officially licensed sports merchandise – everything from NBA jerseys to MLB caps.

Ironically, their invitation arrived as my family was heading out of town to a baseball tournament for our oldest son. I jumped on it without hesitation.

Baseball tourney turned mini-vacation

Baseball tourney turned mini-vacation. How the big boys roll.


There is no I in TEAM.

There is no I in TEAM. The little guys in their team huddle.


How has sports brought us together? That’s easy for me to answer. To put it simply: I can’t imagine growing up without having played sports. My husband grew up much the same way that I did. Two jocks met, fell in love, got married, and passed down the tradition of loving sports to their offspring. Fortunately for us, our children love competing in athletics too.

Now is the point I’m guessing many of you are thinking, Of course they do. What other choice have they been given but to live out your glory years for you?

To that, I reply: Touche.

I’m not going to lie. As I’ve aged and it’s become quite apparent that I no longer “got it,” it’s extremely enjoyable to watch a younger, fresher, more nimble generation take the reigns.

After much prodding by their mom and dad, both my boys have repeatedly reassured us that they love playing the game (whether that game is basketball, baseball, or football) as much as we did. Their little sister even has one memorable season of basketball under her belt. It wouldn’t have mattered if I steered them in this direction or not. I have no doubt all three of them would have inevitably arrived here on their own somehow.


Baseball besties catching their big brothers' game.

Baseball besties catching their big brothers’ game.


Hard to top feeling on top of the world when you're 10.

Hard to top feeling invincible when you’re 10.


Through sports, they are not only learning how to play the game, but they are meeting friends along the way. Their number of mentors has grown throughout the years thanks to a lot of selfless coaches. They know what it’s like to feel pride in their accomplishments as well as disappointment in their shortcomings. They’ve felt the gratification of stepping up in a big-time situation as well as the shame of failing to rise to the challenge.

I can honestly say I learned more about how to deal with difficult people through my years on the ball field and hard court than any experience I’ve had since in the “real world.” I can also freely admit that it’s hard to match the level of camaraderie one experiences when playing for something greater than just yourself.

Whether we are road tripping to and from tournament competition sites or sitting around a table grabbing dinner after the final made out or blown whistle, sports allow us to bond together and relate to one another despite huge generational gaps.


Win or lose? Who cares as long as we get to ride the Rhino to drag the field for the next game.

Win or lose? Who cares as long as we get to ride the Rhino to drag the field for the next game.


photo 1

It’s not all fun and games when dad is driving. Car sickness strikes at the most inopportune times.


Team sports, in particular, teach kids the valuable lesson that things don’t always go your way. Not everyone gets a medal for simply showing up. The greatest athletes are the ones who don’t play for pride, but rather for the love of the game.

I hope my children can apply these lessons and more as they grow into adults. I believe that parents like me can either help or hinder that progress from the sidelines.

Written by Heidi Woodard

I vaguely recall what it feels like to have a normal summer. Summers gone by involved my husband, Ryan, and I spending time with friends, playing slow pitch softball or sand volleyball, grilling out, and chilling out.

We then mutually agreed to welcome three little time suckers into our lives. And, better yet, we agreed to raise them as mini versions of ourselves. So, to answer your inevitable questions: Yes, I do know what I signed up for and, no, I am not expecting you to feel sorry for my self-imposed schedule.

Baseball was a sport that Ryan tolerated. It was an off-season activity that he played just to keep himself occupied. As one of the most impatient people I know, Ryan could never embrace the pace of baseball as a player. It actually makes me laugh to think about him standing in the outfield as a young man, shagging balls for his teammates, staring blankly into space, and questioning what he was doing with his life.

I, on the other hand, looked forward to softball season every summer as a player. While sports like basketball and volleyball were fun and challenging, there is something about being able to be outside with your friends, getting dirty, and daring a pitcher or hitter to attempt to smoke a ball by you. This isn’t the first time I’ve argued that the game of baseball/softball is the best sport on earth.

Fun fact: Baseball is the only sport where the defense controls the ball.

Now that I have two boys playing a combined 100 games in the summer and their little sister who has the distinct pleasure of being dragged to most of them, I can tell you this: Baseball is NOT always the best sport on earth to experience as a parent of a player.

As we enter the month of June (baseball season in the Midwest begins in late April and runs through early July), I know I’m not alone when I say that – despite the fact I haven’t personally played a single inning, I am tired…exhausted actually.

For those of you who are in the same boat as we are with multiple kids involved in athletics, here’s a top 10 list for parents on how to survive a summer of youth sports:

#10 Say yes to any and all invitations to let your youngest child go to a friend’s house. A mom of one of my daughter’s friends asked if my daughter could come over for a play date today. I had to control the urge to give that mom an extra long, awkward embrace when I went to retrieve my child after I watched two games of uninterrupted baseball.

#9 Beg the grandparents to take one of your boys off your hands – divide and conquer transportation to/from baseball tournaments, uniform coordination, and fast food consumption.

#8 Talk yourself out of feeling like the worst mom on the planet because of your inability to clone yourself. You are going to miss out on a few big plays in order to see others.

#7 When the kids aren’t playing up to their potential on the field, do me a favor: Look to your right. Look to your left. Remind yourself that you are not alone in your misery.

#6 Remember what it was like to be a kid. There is a difference between embracing the present and reliving the past. I freely admit that I do a little of both.

Win or lose? Who cares as long as we get to ride the Rhino to drag the field.

Win or lose? Who cares as long as we get to ride the Rhino to drag the field.

#5 Be appreciative of the time that coaches take investing in your child. You may not agree with every piece of strategy they deploy, but every move is made with the full intention of making the team better today than what they were yesterday.

#4 Resist the urge to correct umpires. I’ve come to realize you will run into three types of umps: Those who can tolerate the game, those who love the game, and those who think they are God’s gift to the game. Each type will make mistakes because they are human.

#3 Walk away from drama. Don’t cause it yourself. After all, it’s a GAME. It’s a seemingly never-ending one, but it is a GAME.

#2 Be proud of the boys who succeed and build up the boys who don’t. Whether on or off the field, your child will feel what it’s like to be in both situations throughout their lifetime.

#1 Remember you can never have enough sunflower seeds, peanuts, or farmer’s tan.

Written by Heidi Woodard