A week or so ago my kids' school program held their annual Field Day. (Yosef was amazing at this event by the way. Some majorly superhuman strength going on there.)
My kids were so, SO excited. They bounded out of bed in the morning, and spent some time "practicing racing" in the backyard. Heehee!
The day itself was great. I thought the parents who put it together did a great job keeping things moving and organized. (Check out Anna kicking the soccer ball!)
But oh, was I exhausted.
Running back and forth between the Kindergarten and First Grade classes, trying not to miss my kids in their events, with a three-year-old and baby in tow, was HARD! I was so tired! (Biniam was so excited to start the day.)
But it was worth it. They loved it.
I have to confess that we have not entered the "sports phase" yet with our children. None of them, not one, has ever played an organized sport. Sometimes I feel a little guilty, but mostly I just feel happy when Saturday rolls around and it's a free day to do what we want. :) (Kaitlyn loved watching her older sister and brothers!)
When I was growing up, I played t-ball for one season, and that was it. I didn't do sports. I'm horribly unathletic and never really felt like I was missing out. I had other interests I suppose--really exciting stuff like reading, and writing poems. :)
In junior high, I was involved in student council and choir, and 4-H. (I was the president of our club. Ah yeah. It was actually a lot of fun, although I HATED having to wear the green hat and scarf to lead the meetings. Heehee!)
By high school, I was participating in choir, 4-H, and FFA. (Yes, I just admitted to that. It was awesome and a lot of fun. Someday I will post about my various exploits, complete with photos of me and my prize-winning pigs and sheep. Something to look forward to, for sure!)
But not sports.
And, that was okay.
Because I preferred just hanging out with friends and going to their houses after school and eating lots of food. SO much more fun than running around being active!
I'm all about helping my kids to achieve their potential and explore their interests. But I'm also all about us sitting around the dinner table each night, together, enjoying a meal. I'm all about being home and not living out of our car. I like relaxed weekends that, if anything, involve spending time with people we love.
So I'm honestly not sure where sports will fit into our family. I'm certain this makes me horribly sexist but I think I feel more compelled to get Yosef and Biniam into Little League or something than I am in putting Anna in sports. Weird, I know. And I want to say I'm not AGAINST sports, or against spending the weekend at the baseball diamond/soccer field/football field. AT ALL. I think it's GREAT, kids love it, it's a great self-esteem booster (unless they are like I was, and horrible at sports, ha!) and surely great family time. But I don't think it's probably right for OUR family, at least not at this stage in our lives.
I THINK, and this could change, but I THINK, we will start with swimming lessons for the four bigger kids at a rec center. I'd hoped to do that this fall, but I waited too long to sign up, and the class was filled. Sniff, sniff. We have adoption travel sometime in the future and I guess I want to get a better handle on that before I sign them up. But I think my kids would enjoy it, and it would be good for them.
After that, we'll see. Money is of course also a factor. Thankfully Denver Rec offers a TON of sports that are so, so affordable (even though it does add up for multiple kiddos!)
And, yes, I'm also interested in checking out Denver County 4-H when my kids are a little bigger. (Yes, urban areas also have 4-H.) I think it can be a great thing for kids and a wonderful educational experience. I'd love my kids to learn neat skills and get to enter their photography, sewing, baking etc. in local fairs and competitions. I think 4-H is a GREAT avenue for this type of thing because kids can pursue their own interests. So we'll see.
As for right now, my kids, in addition to their one-day-a-week homeschool program, do participate in one "extra-curricular". On Wednesday nights, they are part of a church program across the street from our house (!) The boys go to a 4s and 5s class where they color and hear a story. Anna is part of a GEMS club (Girls Everywhere Meeting the Savior.) They have snacks and play games and learn Bible verses and do crafts. I love that she is getting fellowship with other girls her age. We're still able to have a regular day, have dinner together at home, and then one of us walks the kids over. Low impact for us, super fun for them. (And some sweet time for us with our two littlest girls!)
How about you? How do YOU navigate sports in your family? I think if we only had two children this would be a lot simpler, but with a bigger family, it's a bit of a balancing act. The thought of kids on different teams playing at different fields around the city stresses.me.out. I DON'T ever seeing us being a die-hard "sports family", if that makes any sense. Come to think of it I don't know what we'll be. Hmmmm. Maybe I should get this figured out! :) (In the meantime, I love the relationship between these two sweet girls. Kaitlyn LOVES Mary. Loves, loves, loves. She was great at holding her younger sister and keeping her entertained throughout the day.)
And bonus points to any former 4-Hers out there (I KNOW there are some of you) who can remember the 4-H pledge...
AND, for a final photo of our afternoon, evidence that the kids were having fun and working hard :) :