Messes = Memories

Somewhere in the piles of wet towels in our hotel room, layered stench of Matt’s hockey bag, tangle of two teenage girls’ hair implements and our vehicle full of wrappers from God-knows-what, we made memories in our weekend getaway to Duluth!

January and February are particularly messy at our house. Tight work deadlines and challenging projects for Greg and me, ambitious curriculum in school and a jam-packed schedule of activities, sports and responsibilities.

Time to play a little!

Weekend lessons:

1. Road trips rock

Especially when you have fresh licorice (Greg + kids prefer chocolate; I love cherry ropes). And the best conversations happen on the road.

Love taking that last turn in the road to see MN's 4th largest city: Duluth!

2. Get to the “W” side

The boys played beautifully in our Friday evening game, beating Chaska – Chan to move over to the Winner’s side of the bracket. We also got to play in the very nice Sill Arena at Duluth’s Heritage Sport Center. Great start to a well-run tourney.

Our #5, making a living minding the blue line.

3. Do your part

Yet again, I’m reminded that team sports are one of the most valuable things kids do. They learn how to work with others, handle challenging personalities, take direction from other adults–and enjoy victories together. That’s pretty much life, guys.

That's Matt L with the clipboard, still out with a concussion. They boys were SO excited he made the tourney trip, and he inspired them from his spot on the bench!
Goalie Blake had a great tourney -- with a little help from his 'mates.
A few of the siblings found a nice perch (the broadcast booth). Julia, Talia, Avery, Nicole, Meghan, Caroline.

4. Sleep is overrated

Who needs rest when there’s hockey to play, water parks and arcades to explore?! Our second game was 8:30 on Saturday morning.

The sunrise over Lake Superior was gorgeous from our hotel room.

Back at the rink, we were all ready to go.

Well-said. (And there's Clyde's, a great bar/restaurant, next door for the parents' "joy of sport." Delish Bloody Mary bar.
Good morning, Colton, Gus and Jason.
Yo, Alicia. The ultimate hockey mom (she's also a goalie mom, bless her heart) with the siblings--awake and ready to cheer!

The boys won game #2, too–and a guaranteed trip to either the Championship or Third Place matchup on Sunday afternoon.

But first: Saturday afternoon game.

5. No language barrier in sports

Matt and good buddy Nick have cooked up some trash talk gems. My fave: “So, you’re the only girl on this team, huh?” 2nd place: “If you could skate, you wouldn’t need to swear.” So there.

Speak (fairly) nicely and carry a big stick.
Speaking of sticks, Matt and his brand-new weapon did some sin bin time.

The boys did get treated to a little Canadian accent in our Saturday afternoon game when we played the team from Thunder Bay. We lost, but our boys hung in there.

6. Just add water

My proven parent tactic for grouchy kids (which = testy parents) : fresh air. Plan B: water. Works every time!

Hey, Little Caroline!
Our 'other' daughter, Meghan (smart, feisty and so fun!) with our Julia
Nick and Matt in action, mowing down teammates.

7. When in Rome…

What’s a visit to Duluth without a visit to Grandma’s? Our whole huge group enjoyed a great evening down at Canal Park.

Matt, Nick, Billy ready for more air hockey in the arcade.

 8. Somebody’s gotta lose

"USA! USA! USA!"

The boys played pretty well Sunday afternoon — they took on another Canada team, this one from Sioux Lookout, Ontario. They grow big, strong hockey player up there! Our boys collected their hardware, then one-by-one, they shook hands and congratulated the Sioux Lookout players as they were awarded their trophies. Priceless sportsmanship.

To me, we all won big time. After all, we created fabulous memories. And that’s worth a mess. Every. Single. Time.

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Feed and be fed

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.”

That’s Jesus’ buddy Matthew. Our Matthew and his buddies did a stint at Feed My Starving Children in Eagan. I got to join them. Even though we were prepping meals to feed God’s children, our spirits that were fed, too. Just like Luke says:  “Give and it will be given to you.”