Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pride and Prejudice

There is always some kind of game on in our house rather it's hockey, football or basketball.  It doesn't take very long before the Captain asks, "Who are we rooting for?"  On the day of the boy's first scrimmage we weren't looking forward to that question.  Our AAA 18s were playing the AAA 16s.  You think that Kaiden would naturally want to cheer for his brothers.  However, if you refer to his bio you would learn that one of his heroes is Coach Jake.  The team that Coach Jake coaches is AAA 16s. 

So on the way to the rink to watch Kaiden asked who the boy's were playing.  In which we responded, "Coach Jake's team."
For a moment he looked puzzled in that six year old kind of way, but then he asked, "Who should I root for?"  Even at such a young age he knew that this was a hard choice his brothers versus his favorite coach. 

In the end he came up with the solution to cheer for his brothers and few of his other favorite players and to only cheer for Coach's team if they were winning.


Stay tuned for a week long slumber party!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Oops Baby...

So every once in a while friends of yours may actually admit they have an oops child.  Sometimes that oops is in the form of the first born, or the youngest and sometimes even sandwiched right in the middle.  Well I will proudly admit that we have An Oops Baby and his name is Isaac. 

Now Isaac is a special kid.  He is the fun loving, outgoing, ball of energy that is bound to get himself into whatever mischief may happen to be around and if there is none he can always make it.  Along with that and his little grin that is contagious to anyone that sees it, Isaac has a head of the craziest hair I have seen on a boy ever.  In hockey terms Isaac hair is CRAZY SICK FLO – now if you don’t know what they means well you are on your own but in laymen’s terms it is simply sexy hair.

As I have already established Isaac came to us as a bit of an unexpected blessing.  In one of the crazy shovels of players Isaac came to live with us for what was supposed to be a short stay along with another player, Brett(there is plenty more you will hear about him).  Things always managed to have a way of falling through when it came to finding him a new house, and he was fine with sharing the open basement with our 11 year old.  Pretty soon the kids knew he was not going to leave; he had come to love the food and his own little corner of space he had carved out.  It was not long before Veronica had accepted the fact he was not going to be moving and she was plotting out ways to move people around to make room for him.  I of course was worried about how having 6 people in our house was going to work not to mention two hockey players.

I finally broke and agreed to Veronica purchasing a bed for him still I had no clue where it was he was going to sleep once I had the bed.  But the bed arrived and Veronica pushed and finally after getting rid of the couch I have loved more than any other piece of furniture we have every owned, Isaac finally had his very own space bed and all.

Now Veronica and I both know the exact moment Isaac became part of our family and there would be no way he would ever be allowed to leave.  That moment came in the form of a cuddle session on the couch(similar to the one in the picture).  Isaac was lying on the couch taking up all the room and the next thing we knew Kaiden and Cloudya where there with him.  The three of them all nestled together watching TV.

There is not a day now we can’t think of our very own little oops baby being anywhere else but home with us.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

And the Bodies Hit the Floor…

Before anyone gets alarmed, the title sounds a little scary and ominous really I picked it because it works when you have players arriving and crashing wherever they can for the first day or two.

Before you can truly appreciate how crazy things were this year let me explain what happened in previous years.  In the past the players have arrived on the first weekend of August.  Around 2pm on Saturday afternoon they would meet at the rink to fill out paperwork, sign housing checks, meet their new families for the first time, and to see who they knew on the team.  After the meeting was over players would follow their host families home, unpack into their rooms, and generally they would head out for dinner and back to the hotel to stay the night with their parents one last night.  Come Sunday there was always a large BBQ everyone sitting around chatting, getting to know each other, host families caught up with each other and met the new players, then once things were done the boys would move the rest of their things in and spend the first of many evenings with the family.

However, this year things were a little on the crazy side with things happening in rapid fire style.  The boys all arrived on different days, there was no Team BBQ, and we were all flying by the seat of our pants.  Needless-to-say, with the level of chaos we had going on players were arriving and families were not ready for them.  Our Chris was the first to arrive – and I was ready for to an extent.  We got him moved in, ate dinner with his family, Chris and I hit a movie, we got him enrolled for school and he was off to a great start.  Somehow though in the mix of everything Veronica just happened to be working so I was one parent short for a few days, but we made it through. 

Things were off and running well, until the phone call came.  I have already told you the housing director is the guy that fixes all problems, and I was handed a fun one right away.  One of the boys arrived in town to not only find out his room was not ready, but his family was not even in town.  They had taken off to get their son moved into college.  Normally this would not be a big deal except the players family had not planned on being in town for more than the day because their younger son had school the next day.  Being the guy I am I packed him up like a stray puppy and brought him on home to meet the family.

Now because I felt bad I made some homemade spaghetti for him, and Veronica had to work that night so I let him crash in our room and I took the couch instead of making him sleep in the front room.  The evening was progressing well until another player’s parent called me during dinner to ask directions, and had a list of questions a mile long.  As the phone was ringing I made my plate, grabbed my garlic bread and headed to my chair to eat, but quickly had to leave all of that behind to get on the computer and pull up paperwork.  Sitting in the kitchen I realized I was extremely hungry, cooking all day does that to me, so I made myself a plate.  Now if you remember, which by this time I had forgotten, I had already made my plate once.  Thinking the conversation on the phone was wrapping up I headed back to my chair to find a drink, a plate, and a fork waiting for me.  The boys of course found this extremely humorous.  Passing the second plate off to Chris, my eating machine, we had a little laugh after I got off the phone finally.   The night was the first in many nights where more than one player would end up at our house during a transition.

One of those very transitions brought us Isaac, our little mistake.  Isaac as you will find out is the laid back, easy going kid that nothing seems to ever faze.  He started the season living with another family and another player altogether, but as things shook out both of the boys left their first home.  While during what was supposed to be a brief transition we ended with Chris, Isaac and another player on the team all crashing here until we could get the extra boys moved.  One of the players was a short stay, although he became very fond of my cooking and you will hear about him very often, Brett also known around here as Scooter, moved into a house with a fellow player about three days after starting his mini vacation with us.  Brett made a pretty good impact and has his own quote that is repeated very often around here – “Dude. Go to bed!”  All spoken with an extremely thick North Dakota accent.  While we were sad to see him go it was a sigh of relief with one less mouth to feed, and one less body on the floor of the basement. Not to mention the lack of “Dude, go to bed!” being shouted at 11pm when everyone else was still awake.

Isaac was not as easy to get rid of, every day I thought we were a little closer as he kept telling me he had a place to live but needed to clear up the details.  It was pretty evident though he was not going anywhere fast.  After two weeks we gave up, and Isaac found a permanent spot in our hearts.  He volunteered to sleep on the couch in the front room or in the basement, he even said he would share Kaiden’s slidebed.  Eventually we ended up tossing Cloudya into Kaiden’s room and he took over her bed while we made the final adjustments of adding another body to our very small and overran boarding house. 

With everything said and done now I look back on it and would not have it any other way; I would still toss my hands up in the air and start singing...let the bodies hit floor.

-         Thomas

Stay tuned for more on our little…I mean tall oopsJ

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's a Boy!

      When Cloudya is asked how many brothers she has the answer always changes.  With every response we as parents get a strange look.  “Yes, it’s true I tell them.  Cloudya has five brothers.”   You’d think being the only daughter in the Dean brood she would hate it, but the truth is whenever a new one arrives no one is more excited.   This year was no different.
      This year the boys’ coach paired us with our player, since Thomas is the housing director.  The surprising part came when Thomas was preparing dinner one evening and received a call from Kansas City and a man introduced himself as the parent of our hockey son.  The funny thing is that at this point coach had not told Thomas who we were getting.  I came home hours later from one of my many motherly tasks to find out I had a new son, but Thomas had to verify with coach that it was correct.
     It was and a couple weeks later our news hockey son came skating into our lives.  His name is Chris and he is from Kansas City.  His hometown is quite ironic since Thomas and I lived there for a very long time plus Kaiden was born there, not to mention the fact that our hockey son from last year had played there the year before.  I’m the one most homesick to return there, so it’s nice to have a Chiefs fan around even if we don’t really like them all that much.
     Before we knew it the date of Chris’ arrival was upon us; his room was painted, his bed was made and the excitement in the house grew.  When the car pulled up to the house it was Cloudy that jetted to the window and peered outside.  As she looked out the mini-blind she jumped up and down shouting, “He’s here!  He’s here!”  Before they knocked on the door she had run towards it in anticipation. 
     Last season all her brothers left early and it left her bummed.  Thomas and I were a little concerned on how excited she would be to have a new brother.  Watching an eleven year old jump up and down because Chris had arrived answered that question. 

Welcome to the family Chris!  The kids are loud, the house is small, but you will always be one of us!


On Friday: And the Bodies Hit the Floor!

Friday, September 23, 2011

House of Cards

When you are trying to make a house of cards so many things come into play; are the cards thick and strong, is the table solid and unmoving, are there any air vents, who is around, etc…  The principals for being the Housing Director for a hockey team apply much the same way.  The end product is an amazing thing, but getting there is absolutely a challenge.
Veronica managed to get me roped into taking the job as Housing Director for a AAA hockey team this year(GO OMAHA AAA LANCERS!), and what a job.  What is a housing director you may ask?  Well basically I get to be the poor guy that has to beg people to take in a smelly, moody, loud, messy, large, eating machine into their home and convince them it is a rewarding and fulfilling experience all while I send them a check for $275 a month. 
Now if you don’t have a teenage boy let me give you a hint $275 is not much in the way of food.  In a single month they can easily drink 6 gallons of milk, 48 bottles of water, 24 pack of soda and 31 Gatorades – they can eat 4 loaves of bread, 8 bags of chips, 4 large boxes of cereal, 6 boxes of poptarts, 16 cans of soup, a dozen bagels, 10 packages of Ramen, 12 boxes of Mac& Cheese, 10 Frozen Pizzas, 2 bags of Pizza Rolls, a packages of Oreos and anything else they get their hands on.  This is not even getting into what they eat for dinner.
You may think that getting kids into a home is the hard part but really that is just the beginning.  Once you have a home figured out the next thing is trying to get players moved in from all over the country, and even some from outside the USA.  School quickly becomes an issue and trying to register 20+ boys all with different plans about graduation is enough to make anyone nuts.  Then for the next ten months your job becomes a mix of begging people to house for the next year, mailing out housing checks, putting out fires, and just keeping track of where everyone is at all times. 
It is hard enough to keep track of 1 teenage boy, try two full hockey teams.  That level of control requires a NASA computer and satellite triangulation along with the cooperation of the Soviet Space Station.  This year already I have had two players moved because of housing issues, one player that has refused to leave my house because he likes it here so much, a player that changed their mind about playing & moved out without telling anyone, players wanting to switch housing because they want to go to a different school, boys thinking they can only eat dinner at my house, coaches changing practice schedules, housing and biological families calling for various reasons, and plenty of sicknesses.
While this may sound like the worst job in the whole club to have, oh did I mention I don’t get paid, I would not trade it for anything.  I love my players and all the other ones too.  I stop by practice to watch for a moment between running to various committee and board meetings and the boys will wave at me from the ice – SORRY COACH.  It is in those moments that I forget about the headaches and the chaos that is may cause me, and I can’t think of life without them.