“Did You Put Your Hands On My Son?”

"Image courtesy of Hal Brindley/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net".

“Image courtesy of Hal Brindley/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

It started out as Belle’s night. She had her first volleyball game. She practically begged Tommy to go and begged me to bring Gia. She couldn’t wait to show off all her hard work. Finally her game was on a night that Leo could go. She was so excited.  Leo dropped Belle, Gia and me off at the door and went to park.

It was at the park district and a complete zoo. I don’t know how Leo and Tommy split up but they did. When I met up with Tommy, he was really upset about something. He told me he’d tell me later. I thought for sure it was about a girl since there are three girls that are on Belle’s team that he has crushes on. It wasn’t.

Tommy then told me this story:

He walked up to the door wearing his headphones and a man who was holding a guitar was holding it open for him. He said that it would have been hard for him to hold it open for the man because he would have awkwardly had to move around him and the guitar and he was already holding it open. I don’t even think that Tommy realized until after that the man had special needs.

Once through the door a woman grabbed Tommy and yelled at him for walking through the door. She felt that Tommy should have held it for the man because he had special needs.

She grabbed him, yelled and demanded that he apologize to the kid.

I was livid. I’m still livid. I felt my blood begin to boil and told Tommy to show me where she was. I planned on going right up to her and letting her have it for touching my kid (or anyone’s kid).

Leo didn’t want me to say anything. He kept saying to let it go. He argued that she was some crazy lady and it wasn’t worth it. I asked two of the moms whether they would say anything and both said they would. One of them said to not get into it with her but stress that she scared my son. I thought that sounded like a good plan so after the game, I went and found her. This is what followed:


“Excuse me, I think you yelled at my son and might have misunderstood what happened.”


She interrupted me and said, “I certainly did! Do you know that he looked right at me and ignored me three times?!” (She was behind Tommy the whole time so he might not have heard her since he had his headphones on but he certainly didn’t look at her and ignore her.)


I said, “That does not give you the right to touch my child.”


She started to deny that she did and I interrupted her and said, “Did you touch my son? Did you put your hands on my son?”


She said yes and I said, “You grabbed him and you scared him. Don’t ever do that again.”


She replied in a huff, “I didn’t grab him, I did this (she pulled on my jacket) and I did not scare him.”


I said, “Don’t touch me. You did grab him and you did scare him.”


She then went up to Tommy, got in his face and pointed and yelled, “Did you lie to your mom and tell her I grabbed you?”


Tommy looking scared said, “You did grab me.”


She started yelling, “You are lying! I did not scare you or grab you!” I then got blinding anger. You know when the room goes fuzzy and you know you are about to do or say something you are going to regret. With Tommy, Belle and Gia standing there, I didn’t want that to happen.


I stepped in front of her and said, “I’m going to stop you right there. You are way out of line. We are going to walk away and hope we never have to see you again.”


And we walked away with me saying very loudly, “Don’t ever touch my kid!”


I was shaking. I walked outside and looked at Belle and said, “Go get your father and tell him we are out here waiting for him.” She did without arguing and I looked at Tommy.


“Are you okay?” I asked him. I was really afraid that I did more damage by embarrassing him.


“I am now. Thanks, Mom.” I let out all the breath that I didn’t even know I had been holding and luckily a friend of mine walked in and I unloaded the whole thing on her while I waited for Leo.


Leo stood by his stance on just letting it go. “You weren’t going to get anywhere dealing with her. She’s crazy. You can’t reason with crazy.”


There was some discussion on whether Tommy was really scared or was he just embarrassed and he said, “I was scared. She freaked me out. I wasn’t embarrassed because I knew I didn’t do anything wrong.”


“Could you have done anything differently?”


“Maybe talked to the man and asked him if he needed help.” And while that might have helped the situation from happening in the first place, NOTHING gives that woman the right to touch my son (or anyone’s) or force him to apologize to that man. Tommy said the man looked at him like he had five heads and had no idea what he was apologizing for.


I think I am most surprised at how I hate confrontation and the Mama Bear in me came out in full force. I was ready to tear her a new one. Who in the Hell made her judge and jury? She doesn’t even know my kid and if you ask anyone that knows him, he isn’t the kind of kid that would disrespect an adult.


I have to believe that I accomplished two things by confronting her. The first is that maybe she’ll think before she ever puts her hands on another child. The second was showing my kids that I have their back. Knowing I made Tommy feel better was the best feeling. It was one of those moments I felt like I got it right.


I’m still mad about the whole thing because I cannot believe someone really thought it was okay to behave that way. The worst part is that I’m pretty sure I am going to have to see her every week because her daughter or son is in the same league as Belle.


I am dying to know…how would you have handled that situation?

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I am NOT an Alarm Clock!

*Warning: I did not take my own advice and I wrote this mad. It might not stay up very long if I have writer’s remorse.


Dear Family that I love so very, very much,


I have reached my limit with trying to get you all to wake up. Every single night you ask me to make sure you get up early and every single morning, I wake you up and NOTHING! You don’t move. You don’t acknowledge that I’m nicely waking you up. I gently say your name a few times. I tell you what time it is and remind you that you asked me to wake you up early. The response? Either a whole lot of nothing or you roll over and go back to sleep. Then I leave only to have to go and try to get you up ten minutes later. I really love when you open your eyes as if I am some crazy person yelling at you to get up for no reason. I am tickled pink when you yell back at me not to shake you awake because that is the only way I know you have actually heard me and will attempt to wake up.

Here’s a newsflash Gubenko Family:


The thing is, I don’t even care. It’s not a battle that I want to take on because we are all night owls over here. What I am going to say to you is that if you choose to stay up late, then you better damn well be able to get up the next morning and function. I go to bed later than all of you and still manage to wake up early enough to have this fight with all of you over the age of 3.

I’ve had it. Seriously had it. Things are going to change.

Leo: You have your own alarm clock. Set it and wake up to it. Every other week you have to take the boys to school. You know this. It does not take you five minutes to shower and dress and so help me God if you don’t get up early enough to take the garbage out on Tuesdays and not make the boys late, I will eat a whole bag of Oreos and a whole can of Salt and Vinegar Pringles on your side of the bed. I love you but you have some screwed up way of telling time that in 42 years has made you late more times than I care to count. If you think it goes unnoticed, you are wrong. Stop making everyone else late while saying, “I’m ready.”

Nico: Ughhh….Nico. Sweetheart, you set the entire morning. I know it sucks but you do. If you get in the shower late, everyone else does, too. It’s not fair to your friends that we take to school and it’s not fair to the twins who are trying to get ready for school. You are really close to getting a bucket of water thrown on you because besides buying a megaphone, I’m not sure what else will get you moving. Here’s the new deal: If you give me a hard time again and make my weekdays start off miserably, I am going to make it my job to make your weekends miserable. You know how you love hanging out with friends all day and all night on Saturdays? Roll over and ignore me one more time and you’ll be home all day and all night on Saturday. Obviously it will be to catch up on the sleep you so desperately need during the week.

Tommy and Belle: I’ll combine you two since I’ll say the same things. You guys go to bed too late. All of those episodes of Friends and King of Queens that you HAVE to watch? They are on the DVR. Watch one a day and you’ll still be able to get homework done and go to bed by 9. I’ve got news for you. You guys are about to be banned from the television. One more morning of you guys running out the door looking like orphans that stowed away on a boat to Ellis Island and it’s no more TV and bed by 8.

To all of you, you remember breakfast, right? It’s the meal you have after you wake up to start your day. If you wake up fifteen minutes earlier, you might enjoy it again. Or you might enjoy it sitting down with a fork instead of on the way to the bus in a package. Side note-if the PopTart is strawberry, it counts as a fruit, right?

You all love that I make your lunches so you don’t have to buy lunch at the cafeterias. I get it but why am I busting my ass to make all of you lunches to make your day a little easier when you are so difficult starting my day? I am going on strike. Until you start getting up when you are supposed to, I am not making lunches. I have bought you all alarm clocks. USE THEM! Nico, those birds chirping seem to keep you asleep. You need to pick a louder, more annoying one. Maybe a recording of me yelling, “GET UP! YOU ARE MAKING EVERYONE LATE!” Or how about “YOU’RE GROUNDED!”? That one seems to get you moving.

I love you, my dear family, but you are making me crazy and it’s only the first month of school!


A very tired and frustrated me

To all my readers: I’ll end this here since I have to go wake up Gia for school. Say a little prayer that she wakes up happy and not with her head spinning around spitting out pea soup.

Am I the only one that has a family like this? Please share.

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The Roller Coaster of Football

The ups:

Nico football 2013 2

Nico Football 2013

Tommy football 2013

Both boys’ teams won. Both boys played well.


The Downs:

Tommy accident


We were playing Bartlett and the #16th play of the game (I know because I have watched the video over and over and over again, wishing for a different outcome), Tommy went to tackle the kid with the ball and it didn’t end well for Tommy. Tommy went down and I knew it was bad. I heard it. (I won’t discuss what I think happened after watching the video in slow motion because I am watching from the point of view as Tommy’s mom.)

My heart sank and Belle said, “Mom, go over there.” I have that really bad thing that when I am nervous, I am a tad mean and I turned to her and said, “Shut up!” I did not mean that and it was SO uncalled for but I thought if I didn’t go over there it wouldn’t be bad. He’d get up like he usually does. But I knew. I walked over and one of the Bartlett coaches saw me and my panicked face, told me to go on the field and proceeded to try to calm me down. I was okay. I wasn’t crying. He was moving. Having a hard time catching his breath but moving. Then they said, “Call an ambulance” and I lost it. It was precautionary, they said. Just to make sure.

I cannot even begin to describe how awesome the coaches, parents and kids are on our football team. A bonus of our kids being a part of the football culture is that the parents have an immediate “family” feeling and an immediate bond. We all live with this thought in the back of our heads that this can happen so we get it. I had the girls with me and immediately, the moms said, “Don’t worry. We got it.” They made sure my car got home because Leo and I took two cars and I was going in the ambulance with Tommy. The guys from the Bartlett organization were the nicest guys. Just so accommodating and sweet. They made sure I could stay with Tommy. I pulled it together while waiting for the ambulance. I’ll tell you, it was the longest 6 minutes of my life. I lost it again when they taped him to the stretcher.

The ambulance ride was Hell. He was in so much pain that they had to start an IV to give him pain meds. He was trying to get his helmet off because his head hurt. Once we got in a room and his helmet was off, he was much better so the questions began: “Did they score after I left?” “Did the guy get a penalty for that tackle?” “What’s the score now?” “How much time?” “Who has the ball now?” It killed him not be there.

All the tests came back normal. It was ruled a mild concussion, not because the tests showed that but because he had a headache.

He cried three times: Right after it happened, in the ambulance and when the doctor told him he was out for at least a week.

The ER doctor was very nice. He started telling me all the information on concussions. I listened and did feel a little on the defense about why I let my kids play and the answer is simple. It is who they are. I didn’t choose this for them. They chose it for themselves and the reality is that a kid could get just as hurt playing on a playground or playing in a friend’s basement or changing a shoe after stepping in dog crap from someone else’s dog. Gia doesn’t play any sports and has already been to the ER three times for head injuries.

I have to trust his coaches (which I do completely) and trust that all the players are going to play a clean game.

Today, Tommy is doing well but is sore without all of the pain meds that were pumped into him yesterday. He’s a fighter, that kid so I have no doubt he’ll be back to his old self soon. Coaches, good luck keeping him down at practices. :)


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Learning and Hoping

Sophomore Year

Sophomore Year


I am proud of Nico because he continues to show me that he has a good soul. He might save all the complaining for me but I am told he is a hard worker. When I think of my kids teaching me lessons, Nico teaches me that I can’t always be in control and more often than not, I am not in control at all. He teaches me that it is more important to listen than to talk. My hope for him this school year is that something stands out to him as what he would like to do when he grows up. He doesn’t need to decide this year but it would be great if a plan started forming of what he would like to do in the future. I hope that he continues to work hard to get good grades and it might sound silly but since he is a little girl. crazy, I’d like him to find a nice girl to date.

6th Grade

6th Grade


I am proud of Tommy because he is a self-starter. When there is a job at hand, he buckles down and gets it done. This makes him a pretty easy kid for the most part. He is an old soul that doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. Tommy teaches me that it is okay to make fun of yourself or not take yourself so seriously. He teaches me to stop and wonder how things are done or made and not skip over the little things in life. My hope for him this year in school is that the teachers see what a special kid he is and that he grows a thicker skin when kids aren’t very nice whether they are joking or not. He is so good at standing up for others that I want him to be okay with standing up for himself.


*Sidebar-Second day of school and one kid called him the “wheezy kid” that can’t run a lap (I guess that is from a movie but I don’t find it funny). He thinks the kid knows he has asthma but doesn’t know he has CF and doesn’t want him to. This breaks my heart a little bit.  The same kid that told Tommy he must be poor since he always wears hand-me-down shoes saw him in the hall and said, “Here comes the kid with the shitty shoes.” When he looked down and saw Tommy’s new shoes, he shut up but not before Tommy was embarrassed. It’s wrong that I wanted to tell Tommy he could tell the kid to “Go to Hell,” isn’t it? I know–kill him with kindness, turn the other cheek, take the high road. I know. But some things warrant a “Go to Hell.”


6th Grade

6th Grade


I’ve already talked about how proud I am of Belle. Belle teaches me that patience and kindness go a long way. She teaches me that sometimes all you need to do is be present in a conversation to make a difference in someone’s life, that being heard is a step in growing confidence. She teaches me all the time about loyalty and how it is more important to do the right thing than do the popular thing. My hope for her is that she makes friends that she’ll have all through middle school and high school. My hope is that when confronted with something hard, she pushes through it instead of giving up. I hope that little light in her continues to shine.


Doesn't start school until after Labor Day and will probably get her own post.

Doesn’t start school until after Labor Day and will probably get her own post.


I think Gia knows she is going to be going to school soon. She is up my butt and under my feet 24 hours a day, every single day extra needy, teary and emotional. Her new thing is crying and telling me, “You hurt my feelings,” when I say no to her. I’ve been hurting her feelings a lot lately because she wants candy for breakfast, cookies for lunch and Pringles for dinner. She still has me wrapped when she cuddles up next to me before bed, rubs my cheek and then lets out a sigh of contentment and then immediately falls asleep.


What about you? What have you learned from your kids? What are your hopes for them this year in school?





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Funny Conversations Over Here

I need a tape recorder (do they still make those) to catch some of the conversations with my kids. I mean, we all do but I finally realized how funny it would be later on to replay them so the kids could see the topics they come up with and really, it’s not just the kids. Leo has a very selective memory so it would help to play back what he actually says. For instance, this was an actual conversation this past week:

Me: Did you talk to Mike? What’s going on with my car? (side note, it won’t accelerate making me feel like we are going to die each time I press the gas to go)

Leo: Yeah, it might be time. It’s the transmission.

Me (feeling pretty proud of myself): I knew it! I know nothing about cars but I knew that.

Leo: I always knew it was that. (of course he did) We are going to have to send an email to JB or talk to J and see about getting a new car. I mean, worse case scenario is that it breaks down on you and you are stranded somewhere.

Me: Well, there goes our Saturday. We are going to have to look for a new car. (I hate looking for cars. Hate it!)

Leo: Well, now it’s not an emergency or anything. (Seriously?! He doesn’t think me getting stranded and you know it will be with all four kids and when Gia has to poo is an emergency?!)

We spend a lot of time in the car. A lot. Some of the funniest conversations have been had in the front seat of my car. Here is what Tommy and Belle decided to discuss:

Belle: Do you know any guys that shave their armpits?

Tommy: Miley Cyrus

Belle: She isn’t a guy. I asked if any guys shave them.

Tommy: I know but she shaves them.

Belle: Did you not hear me say a guy? She’s a girl.

Tommy: But she shaves them.

Belle: I know but how do you not know that girls shave their armpits?

Tommy: I never said I didn’t.

Belle: Then why do you keep saying Miley Cyrus. Who

Me: You guys can find the smallest thing to argue about. Who cares who shaves their armpits?

Tommy was sitting in front and this little gem came from him:

Tommy: You know how we say twenty? We say twennie. Why don’t we say twenty? Twenty. Twen-ty. Twennie. Do we have an accent? Is that why we say twennie or is it because we don’t have an accent that we say it that way?

I’ll be honest. He had to repeat this part two or three times because one, I began zoning out and two, I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about.

I think I looked at him for a moment and then answered that we’ve always just said it like that.

Tommy: Do I have your hands?

Me (still in a haze from the last topic): What?

Tommy: Do we have the same hands? Let me see.

I showed him my hand and he said, “Ugh, we do. If I’m as short as you, I’ll kill myself.” I wasn’t shocked since Nico said the exact same thing at that age.

Me: That’s great, Tommy.

Tommy: Sorry, Mom. That’s how I feel. I mean, you have other great qualities but just not your height. Do you really want me to have your height?

Me: Nico said the same thing when he was your age and all of his friends were taller than him and look at him now.

Not even skipping a beat he went on to say:

Tommy: You know, I’ve never exceeded my expectations.

Me (admitting again to sort of zoning out): Hmm.

Tommy: You know, I have expectations of myself and I never go above what I want.

Me (thinking it was funny that he used the word ‘exceed’ to begin with): So you are going to live a life of disappointment?

Tommy: No, I am just going to lower my expectations.

That made me laugh because instead of working harder to meet them, he was just going to lower them.

Me: Really? That’s the answer?

Tommy: No because even if I lower them, I’ll know I can do better so even if I meet them, I’ll be disappointed  that I didn’t do better.

Me: So what is the answer then? (Trying to get him to say working harder might work.)

He was quiet and I thought he was thinking about it but then he came up with:

Tommy (as we were passing huge houses): Why do people always go with stairs. I wouldn’t. I’d just build ramps.

I just looked at him wondering how his little brain works or does it work overtime.

Tommy: Wait. Nevermind. I’d do stairs.

He and Isabella then went into a long discussion about how they would put their bodies if they were in an accident and the air bags went off and I finally got about ten minutes of daydreaming to the radio.

I bet you wish you could go on long car rides with us. :)

We were at a restaurant when I had this conversation:

Gia: Do they have juice here?

Me: No. Just water.

Gia (very loudly): Aw, dang it!

As I heard the gasps and snickers all around, I knew right then that my Mother of the Year award was a lock in.

Kids getting along


How is your weekend going? Any funny conversations on your end?



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Tidbits on a Tuesday

The last few weeks have been pretty jumbled so it is no wonder my thoughts are the same way.

Did you ever feel like you were moving in slow motion but the rest of the world was speeding by? That’s how I have felt since I got back from Vegas a month and a half ago. It still feels like I just got back but really we’ve had a whole season of baseball, basketball, camps and a family vacation. See, speeding by and me? Moving slower than slow. I think I know what it is. I am with the younger three trying to stop and enjoy the summer and it feels like Nico is speeding through life.

I absolutely love keeping my promises. I want to believe that the kids are learning more than how much fun it is to spend money. I want to believe they’ll look back and see that they don’t always have to be with friends to have fun. Maybe I should have done that more when Nico was their age.

Is it possible for it to be the best summer and the worst summer at the same time?

I’m finally going to a blogging conference! In less than two weeks, I will finally get to meet so many wonderful and talented people who I have shared lives with for the last two years. I cannot wait! I still can’t believe I am going. It is the most out-of-my-comfort-zone thing I’ve ever done.

Right now, I am watching 24 reruns because I didn’t watch this show the first time around and Leo loves it so it is the show we watch together. Watching it made me realize why I like trashy reality TV so much. I have enough anxiety and heart-stopping moments in my real life. I don’t need them when I am trying to unwind. Bring on Hoarders so I can feel neat and organized. How about The Bachelorette so I can be thankful I am married? Wife Swap and Toddlers and Tiaras make my kids look like angels.

I am toying with the idea of having a page on here for little blips of my other writing. You wouldn’t have to read it unless you clicked on it.

Tommy continues to amaze me. He is truly one of the toughest kids I  He came through surgery so much better than I expected him to. He is by far the easiest kid when it comes to this stuff. Buy him a bag of candy and a Hex Bug and he’s a happy camper.

My babe after. He's actually awake in this but totally out of it.


Such a trooper.

Such a trooper.














A tournament + a kid having surgery + teens with limited places to go because parents aren’t home = a house that looks like a tornado hit.

Either the laundry fairies need to visit me or there are a lot of people in this family that are going to be going commando.

I keep having a recurring dream. It’s always the same people and they never listen to me. I could be screaming or looking right at them and they don’t even acknowledge that I am talking to them. Oh, wait…


If you have a blog, how has your summer writing going? Your reading? I am so completely behind that I’m afraid to open up my email and I might have to blow the dust off my computer. Lots of drafts but not so many posts. How are you managing your blog this summer? Those of you reading that don’t have blogs, feel free to make me feel good by telling me my lack of posts is okay because you are so busy this summer, too. :)




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An Open Letter to Hot-Headed, Little League Baseball Fans

Dear Hot-Headed Baseball Fans,

I know that you love baseball. I know that you love your kids but your behavior at these games needs to change. You are ruining this game for the kids. You know how when you watch a major league baseball game and you don’t like the way a player is playing or a call an ump made and you yell at the TV? Well, the professionals can’t hear the vile coming from you but these KIDS can. These 11-year-old kids hear every single thing you yell out. Oh, and in case you forgot…IT’S KIDS PLAYING LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL!!! They are 11. They have only been on this earth for 11 years and the fact that they can even hit a speeding ball coming at them is pretty amazing. The fact that they can dive and catch a ball and remember where to throw it (since they sometimes forget to brush their teeth) is pretty awesome.

Kids look forward to their tournaments. They get to play and watch baseball all weekend. You took that away from them and left something worse for them to think about. The ump is human and he is umping a little league game, not the pros. He’s going to make great calls and he’s going to miss a few. When you yell at the ump, you are showing the kids that it’s okay to yell at someone that you feel made a mistake and it’s okay to disrespect someone in authority (well, as much authority as a little league ump has). I don’t care if it is a close game. I don’t even care if it is the championship game. Try and remember and say it over and over again: You win some. You lose some. It’s a great life lesson to teach your kids because not every call is going to go their way.

To be more specific, I want to thank you for anxiety and sleepless nights in my house this weekend. When our outfielder made a great catch that no one bothered to ask me or my dad if he really caught it since we had the best view and you were sure that he dropped it, thanks for screaming at the ump. In case you were wondering, he did actually catch it. It bounced off of his arm and he caught it with his other hand. He made a GREAT catch and you completely ruined it for him. One of the greatest moments in this child’s life and you crapped all over it. When you completely lost your cool and started spewing venom and were asked to leave (for the second time that day), it was very mature of you to refuse and watch from the parking lot, still yelling. I want to thank your wife for yelling, “THAT’S BULLSHIT!” in front of the kids and then banging on the backstop yelling, “CHEATERS! CHEATERS! IT’S YOUR TOURNAMENT! YOU’RE CHEATING”. Your son must be so proud. And when you decided to come back a third time and argue and get in our coaches’ faces like you were going to become violent, thank you for causing my husband to yell louder than my son has ever seen him yell. When there was no other choice but to disqualify your team for your behavior which caused them not to be able to play in the championship, it was great that you finally remembered that there are actually kids involved and you just ruined it for yours. “Think about the kids,” you said. Yes, that is what the officials of the tournament were thinking of and keeping you away from the kids was the best decision.

I want to thank you for the image of baseball you put in my sweet son’s head. When he couldn’t stop talking about what happened and not in a “wow, that was cool” kind of way but a “that scared me kind of way,” I had to explain over and over again that there are some people like you in the world that take things way too seriously and have the inability to control their tempers. It’s a maturity thing that you are still lacking, I guess. Well, that is what I said because really, I didn’t know what to tell him because frankly, I am confused by your behavior.  When he looked at me and said, “Why did that mom call us cheaters? We didn’t cheat,” my heart broke a little bit that he had to witness the ugliness in people. And then when he said to me, “Why do parents get so mad? We’re only 11,” I knew that my son, at 11 has a lot more wisdom than a lot of the adults at the games.

And you know what, I don’t care if they are 11 or 16. They are still kids! It’s a game! And the outcome of the game doesn’t determine whether you live or die. They are playing a game that they love and your behavior from the STANDS is ruining this sport for them. After this weekend, my son isn’t sure he wants to play anymore. Thanks for taking something he once loved and muddying it all up so that it is no longer something that makes him happy.

I’m curious. When you explode like you do when a call doesn’t go your way, do you feel remorse after? Do you go about your day as if nothing happened? Because the kids that you yelled in front of, it stays with them. It affects them.

So please, the next time you are at a game, remember that.


A Baseball Mom



*This post was inspired by actual events from this weekend. I wish I could say this was fiction or even exaggerated but it was not. A very yucky baseball weekend even though we came in 2nd.


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Happy Mother’s Day! A Word From the Gubenko Kids

As I shuffle my kids and Leo out of the house to go visit Leo’s mom who is now home from Florida for the summer, the irony hits me. I love being a mom. Today is Mother’s Day and I am looking forward to a few hours to myself. Irony at its finest. I wrote a post for my dear friend Meredith over at The Mom of the Year about when I feel like Mom of the Year. To see that post click here. Chris from The Mom Cafe also did a post for Meredith and I loved how she did it. She let her kids decide why she should be.

I thought this sounded like a great idea so I asked my kids and they didn’t even fight me on writing their lists.

Nico’s: Nico letter

My mom would win the award because she is loving and cares about us. As much as I wish she would care less just so I can do more, I wouldn’t change her one bit. She is always there when I need her through tough times and good times. I love her so much and hope the blog can be the start to her writing career. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

(I punctuated and fixed the spelling so it would read easier. :) )

Belle’s letter:

Belle letter

Dear Mom, you should be mom of the year because you are always there for me. I tell you Everything! We have a special bond that I think is awesome. I don’t know what I would without you. I couldn’t ask for a better mom. you’re the best mom in the whole world. You’re my best friend. I love you so so so much. You definitely deserve mom of the year. I love you and everything I wrote is true.  You’re the best and I love you soooo much!

(Obviously we need to work on your and you’re.)

Tommy’s letter:

Tommy letter

My mom is the Best! I think my mom should win the mom  of the year by far! My mom has the love, the brain, the cooking, the cuddles, the help, the muscles, the beauty and of course more love. I love my mom with all my heart and soul and I hope she does, too. My mom is the Best mom I could ever have and that is why my mom should win the mom of the year!

(I feel lucky that he included the “brain” but not sure where the “help” is coming from.)

Gia’s letter:

Gia letter

Mommy is the best mommy ever because I love her. She is the best. She is beautiful. She is nice. I like cuddling with her. I like to eat candy with her. I like to play with her to do stuff: church, Barbies, towers and walks. I love Mommy so much.

(Gia dictated to Belle who wrote it down in case you were wondering whether Gia is a 3-year-old genius.)

I, of course, cried when I read them. It feels good to feel loved and to feel like through all the chaos and battles, they know that I love them.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms out there, to all the Godmothers, aunts, grandmas, moms with angels in Heaven and women who are mom’s in their heart but life hasn’t caught up yet.

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Weekend Funnies

I was supposed to have a day to myself. One to catch my breath. We were supposed to have a family day. We haven’t in a long time unless you count the drive back from Indiana. I don’t think you can count wanting to kill your siblings as family time.

Family time started with going to Tommy’s game. I got there just in time to see him not catch a ball in left field. I stayed to see him bat and when he struck out and was beside himself (when will he learn that there is no crying in baseball?), I went over to the dugout and he wouldn’t look at me. I asked him if he wanted us to leave and he said yes. That sucked for so many reasons. I finally made it to a game and was asked to leave by my son. I guess that is really the only reason it sucked. Oh, wait, it also sucked that as soon as I left, he hit a ball to the fence and did okay in the field. Guess it really is me.

Then…I took Nico driving. Friends, I might not make it through this milestone. I am not the first person that has a 15-year-old with a permit but why, why didn’t all of you who have gone before me talk about how unbelievably stressful and vomit-inducing of an experience it is to sit in the passenger seat while your child, the same child that thought it would be fun to jump down a flight of stairs just to see if he could, learns how to brake and turn A CAR! I took him to a nearby subdivision that has a somewhat busy but not really busy main road. I vowed I would be calm while he drove. I would be the parent that was encouraging without yelling or making him feel like driving was the hardest thing to do. He would look back on this time and feel grateful that his mom made this time less scary. Long story short, at one point we were headed to County Farm Road (if you don’t know what that is, it is a REALLY busy road) because he missed a turn I told him to take and I put my foot on the dashboard, you know…on the brake I wish was there, covered my eyes and screamed, “OH MY GOD, WE’RE GOING TO DIE!!!” I didn’t see that there was one more turn we could make before getting there. I freaked again when a cop car was behind us and when we passed a party that had cars parked on both sides of the road leaving a narrow road and a car was behind him so he went a little faster than I would have liked. He did really well. It was me that didn’t. Leo took him later and he drove to Target and back so there you go. At some point, he is going to ask me to let him drive to Target and back and I’m going to have to let him do it. Is it possible for me to avoid him until he gets his license?

Remember how I said getting Nico up was a problem? We bought him this high-techy iPod alarm so that he could charge his phone and wake up on time. It has been going off every ten minutes. We read the directions and can’t seem to figure it out. This, my friends, is what we call KARMA. :)

Today was the first day that I can remember that Leo and Nico left on time. So far, I love the hard to understand, might be broken alarm.

I didn’t get my day this weekend and I am not sure I will this week but this Mother’s Day? It’s going to be spent exactly how I want. I’m going to sleep in, spend some time with the kids, they are going to go to Leo’s mom’s while I go to Barnes and Noble and then I’ll meet up with them again at my sister’s to celebrate my mom. And that, my friends, is a day well spent!

What about you? Ever been asked to leave a game by your child? Any driving with teen tips? How are you hoping to spend your Mother’s Day?


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Dear Tommy

Dear Tommy,

I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I missed your basketball games yesterday. While I’m apologizing, I’m sorry I missed a lot of your baseball games last season. It was so much easier when Dad coached Nico and not you because then he had to be at Nico’s and I had to be at yours. I got to see you go from a flag football player that was unsure of yourself to a younger player holding your own on the older team to a player playing with his own age commanding the field. Watching you play the games you love makes my heart want to burst with pride. You are such a quiet soul in this family, always looking up to Nico, taking a backseat to whatever drama might be going on with Belle and understanding that Gia needs attention constantly. I want you to know that I always want to be watching you.

Yesterday, I made it to one of your games and it made me feel so good when one of the parents said to me that you play with your whole heart. You really do. Sometimes it makes it hard to watch because you get so upset when you don’t play like you want to or when the games start to go south. I want to yell at players whose hands are in your face or who are grabbing at you. You see, since you are my youngest son, I feel fiercely protective over you. When your feelings get hurt or someone is not nice to you (even though they are just playing the game…a little too aggressively maybe but that comes with playing the sports you do), the mama bear in me comes roaring out.

I love that in life, you go with the flow. You might be upset about something but you are not a “reactor”.  You have never needed me to entertain you and rarely tell me you’re bored. You blow me away with your creativity and I really think you could be a writer if you wanted to be. Wherever you are, there is sure to be laughter because nothing makes you happier than making people laugh. I often say that God sent you to us to make sure we laugh every single day.


Rarely do I get a serious face.

Rarely do I get a serious face.


You are so hard on yourself in every aspect of your life. In sports, in school and with CF. You take it personally when you strike out or when you don’t do well on a test or when you have a hard time gaining weight. You want so much to be like Nico and you are but I appreciate how different you guys are, too. You get things done and are the first one ready when we have somewhere to go. You have a strong sense of who you are and who you want to be and are never afraid to stand up for what you believe in. It made me so proud in church when the speaker asked people to raise their hands if they accept Jesus in their heart and you were one of the first ones to raise your hands.

This having four kids at four different stages makes it so hard to be in four places at once. It’s hard to explain to you why Gia won’t last at an all day tournament in a gym where she has to sit on the bleachers for 6 hours. I know it’s hard for you to understand why I have to say yes to Belle to have friends over (because I mostly say no to her) or why I have to be home when Nico and his friends are here. It makes me sad to miss so much of your stuff and I am jealous that Dad always gets to go (but I don’t think we could trade since I wouldn’t be a very good coach).

Yesterday was one of those days that I was able to go to one of your games but you were unhappy with the way you played most of the time. After you guys won and I went to say, “Good job,” it broke my heart to see the disappointment on your face when I told you I had to leave. When Dad texted me that you guys won the second game and were now in the championship, I had a house full of girls that I couldn’t leave or bring so I missed you winning the championship. I know there will be other games and other championships and other wins but I am so sorry that I missed that one.

I’ll try to get better at this managing during your sports seasons so that I don’t miss as much (I even bought a portable potty so that Gia can use at the baseball fields). Just because you don’t demand to be my first priority doesn’t mean you’re not or that you shouldn’t be. I love you, Bud, with my whole heart and I’m so proud of you.


Your very bummed mom.



Parents of more than one child in activities, how do you manage? Are you struggling with it as well or are you lucky enough that the activities don’t overlap?

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