Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Elite Player Development 2013

This year, Lucas was invited to tryout for the Elite Player Development program with Washington Youth Soccer. What is it? It is essentially a state team for Washington put together from clubs across the state. You can't just show up for tryouts, you have to be identified by a certified coach in the state and then invited to try out. The boys get to wear the Sounders uniform and eventually move into the Sounders Academy if they keep making the team.

We had no idea this type of program existed until we got the email that Lucas had been recommended and then invited. So we packed him up down to Starfire (where the Sounders practice) and in 26 degree weather he had his first tryout.

We watched as he put in everything he had out there on the field. Yes, there were kids that had way more skill and footwork. But what Lucas had was hard word and determination! I am convinced it will take him so far.

He's now down to the final 35 before the next and last cut. It will be a long wait and a lot of nerves. But he has come so far already. They know his name and his face and his playing style now. He has made us so proud and he is having a blast. His club's coaching director is thrilled with his progress and he is representing our club amazingly!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Important Things

My Mum made the very best shortbread in the world. She usually only made it once a year around Christmas and I looked forward to it every year. Wherever I was...home, Hawaii, Japan, I always got a tin of her shortbread. She'd decorate the cookies with red and green sprinkles and those little silver edible balls.

Last year, she could not make them as her hands were really sore from carpal tunnel issues. So I asked her about that and why you needed your hands so much for making shortbread. She told me a story.

When she was little and her Mum was making shortbread, her Mum would put a stool at the counter, set my Mum up there and ask her to knead the butter and flour and sugar mixture. So Mum would knead away. And she'd declare she was done, but then her Mum would declare "you're not done". Mum told me she stood there kneading for what seemed like an eternity. She told me it was the secret to making the shortbread melt in your mouth.

After she passed away and we loaded all of her cherished things into our van, I remember wondering about the shortbread recipe. Why had I not asked to see it? Or asked her where it was? I felt such a huge lump in my throat thinking about not knowing where it was. I had located all her cookie cutters, the ones she had used for my cookies all these years. The familiar shapes that I'd known for so long. I found her stash of silver balls and sprinkles. But the recipe was not easily found.

I went through every cookbook and finally came upon the recipe in my Grandmother's cookbook. There was a little sticky note next to it so I knew Mum had marked it and that this was the one.

I think I am going to be spending a long time kneading today, on her birthday! Or maybe I should put Ellie on a little stool :)
Make sure you ask about these things. They seem so small but will be so important one day.

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