Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lucky Enough

One thing that I have realized since Emory rolled into town is that dressing a red head for the holidays often proves to be difficult.  While most kids are dressed in bright reds and pinks for Christmas, Valentine's Day and The 4th of July, I go on a wild goose chase trying to find something just as jolly, heart themed, or patriotic that doesn't clash with those red ringlets.  So far, we've completely gone off the mark, opting for  navy most of the time.  

Fall holidays bring woes of their own.  Pumpkins?  Nope.  That easy go-to orange jack-o-lantern t-shirt I always turned to with James is a no-go for Em.  So again, I start my search for that "festive find" early hoping to stumble upon something that represents the holiday but doesn't make her look Gothic.  

Sounds easy enough, right?  I could choose green at Christmas, a light pink will pass on Valentine's Day, mix in some red with a blue and white dress on The 4th, wear black instead of orange.  Yeah, I get it...YOU TRY IT!!

Oh, but St. Patrick's Day (in my mind the doors of  Heaven are opening and angels are singing).  Now that's the girl's holiday! 

A day where emerald green is everywhere you look...and she rocks it!!  Her hair, her fair skin, her name, her temperament all align with the stars and shamrocks on March 17th.

Then there's James, who, on his best day, is quite picky about the most random things he wears.  Like the buttons on his shirt or the draw string on his shorts.  The size of the arm holes or the number of pockets he either does or does not have access to. 

Today, James was stressing about the green.  Apparently, when his teachers reminded the class to wear green to school on St. Patrick's Day, the instructions processed in James' head as "wear green...everybody will wear green...don't be the left out loser...wear green, only green...MUST BE ALL GREEN...HEAD TO TOE GREEN".  And, of course, I was not made aware of this ALL GREEN ultimatum until this morning...with approximately 15 minutes to finish breakfast, get dressed, get in the car, get the kids to school and to a morning meeting that started promptly in 17 minutes.  Thankfully, Eddie talked him off the ledge and he settled with his St. Patrick's Day shirt, green underwear and green socks. (As I type this, I am now stressing that he will be compelled to show off that green underwear at school.  But that's just a risk you take to survive a morning in the Foy House.)

Convincing a 4-year-old, who is adamant about wearing ALL GREEN, to wear anything else in a 2 to 5 minute window???? 
Now that's the Luck of the Irish ladies and gentlemen. 
(Well done Eddie).
 Thanks to Kids Kute Kreations for James' "Pinch Proof" shirt and Emory's Shamrock shirt with matching chevron skirt.  

Sunday, March 15, 2015

What It's Really Like Pulling for a "Bubble Team"

Most people know that I’m a North Carolina State fan.  I didn’t go to college there and acquire the allegiance; nor am I the bandwagon fan that hitched a ride with the “popular team”.  I’ve always been a State fan.  When most kids were getting bedtime stories about fairytales and castles, I was getting a history lesson on a different kind of Cinderella story, where Lorenzo Charles and Dereck Whittenburg played the leading roles. I likened Monte Towe and Tommy Burleson to our founding fathers. My stuffed animals would run the triangle-and-two (which, as a child, just meant running up and down the court as I, the coach, yelled ‘triangle and two’).  I think I might have learned to spell "Corchiani" before I learned to spell my full name. 


Most of the time, the ‘playlist’ at the Lane House consisted of the Wolfpack’s fight song, the “Red and White” song, and a western sounding song I’ve never heard anyone but my dad sing about the 1983 basketball team.  My family photo album even had a 1983 team photo alongside my baby picture, both signed by Coach Valvano himself. 

My dad had a Jim Valvano trading card that he kept in the back of his closet on the top shelf.  He’d pull it out and give it to me on certain occasions where a little extra luck would come in handy.  I would stick it in my shoe and hope that I could absorb just a piece of the luck that Jimmy V had because, throughout most of my childhood, I grew up believing my dad when he’d joke that Coach Valvano had a horseshoe crammed up his…
...yes, I was naïve.



While those are all great memories, they’re not the reason I love being part of the Wolfpack now that I’m a little older.  North Carolina State’s most recent NCAA Basketball Title Banner was raised over 30 years ago now.  Most anyone in the world of sports views State’s basketball program as mediocre at best, undeserving of top ranked players and coaches.  Fans of other more prominent North Carolina teams often mock State fans for being delusional dreamers that meet each new season with the hopes of being nationally ranked, or leading the ACC, or even winning a long overdue national basketball title. 

But when everyone sees NC State as the inconsistent, the second-rate annoying little sister, the hanging on by a thread bubble team where every game is a must win, State fans see Trevor Lacey’s buzzer beater half-court shot to win the game (although the shot clock disagreed),

they see the wins against a top ranked Duke, Carolina and Louisville during regular season play,
they see a team with a shot blocking giant named BeeJay Anya. 


And even when we're down by 27 points at the half, State fans will stay in their seats and keep watching because even when it looks like there’s no way to win, State fans don’t see it that way.  We still have the fight of the underdog.

So, what the hell does all this have to do with the Foy Family?  Everything! 

It’s fun to pull a team that wins most of the time.  To walk into a stadium filled with national championship banners.  And all those jerseys of current NBA stars must only amplify the confidence fans and players already have of that guaranteed win against their unranked opponent.  Teams that win most of the time acquire bandwagon fans by the masses and show off championship rings during recruiting visits.  But,there are more empty seats than there is excitement when their team comes back to win after being down by 12 points with 2 minutes left in the game.  That’s not The Pack. 


Eddie and I are not only raising our kids to pull for the Red and White from State, we’re trying our damnedest to teach them to think like the Wolfpack.  Instead of conforming to the play book of a systematic coach, I hope that they think more like the unpredictable Jim Valvano, matching a 6 foot point guard to a 6-10 power forward…not with the intention of shutting him down by blocking shots but to “annoy the heck out of him.” 
I hope that our kids will be the kind of friend that’s there to catch an “air ball” (???) and slam it in for the National Title, making it look like an alley-oop in the process. 
I hope they believe in themselves, waking up each day ready to beat any odds because they’ve learned that you have to survive to advance.  
I hope they have the leadership of Cat Barber, maintaining confidence in his team even during the low point in the season and ensuring that the job gets done.
I hope they have the work ethic of Ralston Turner, who busts his butt on the court every game to open himself up for 3-pointers. (Do you know how difficult that is?)
I hope they find something, anything they are so passionate about that they smile as big as BeeJay Anya and their enthusiasm causes them to split the seat of their pants the way Coach Valvano would at least a few games a year (Okay…that’s a metaphor.  I would never wish for one of my kids to split their pants in public.  But if they do, I hope they remember ‘V’). 
 And of course, I hope there’s the voice in the back of their mind reciting Jimmy V’s most recognized quote: “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up” while they’re sitting in the stands still cheering like hell and down by 12 with 2 minutes to go in the game. 
I know it's a long shot, but we've got a shot.  And in true Wolfpack fashion I believe, with a little luck and a lot of hard work, we can bring home the title. 




Tuesday, March 10, 2015

18 Months Later...Let me introduce you to our fiery redhead

Even 18 months after she busted into this crazy world with arms, and eyes, and lungs wide open, I still cannot find the right words to describe Emory.   All of the adjectives and adverbs I can think of sound too cheap or cliché to explain who this little girl is.  But, this blog is here to serve as some small documentary for our family, and, while I’m still unable to find the right words for her, she deserves, and often demands, her own place here.  So, here goes nothin'…this is Emory Ryen. 

Eddie and I didn’t find out if we were having a girl or a boy this go around; so, it’s been an adventure full of surprises from the start.  A girl.  With fiery red hair, a scream that reaches octaves mere humans dare to dream of, and the personality to match them both. 

I knew things would be different with two.  I knew that no two kids are alike.  But this one…this one has pushed me to stretch my heart farther than I ever thought it could bear and forced me to find energy and strength even when I thought the tank was far past empty. 

She’s not the easy going, easy to love, snuggler that James is.    And to be honest, we often butt heads already.  But she adds that special something to our family, and (most days) I wouldn’t change her a bit. 

Don’t be fooled by that innocent looking grin or the sweet “tank choo” spoken when she gets what she wants. 

It’s a trap!  She’s  accrued several adorable nicknames so far: Emmy, Em-Em, Little Bit, Lucy.  They’re all fronts.  Facades she uses to hide behind the(much more accurate) nickname James has given her:  Godzilla.

She’s confident and strong willed. 
The rough and tumble kind that will tackle you to the ground then sit on your head when you are down. 
She will always show the world how she feels at any given moment. 

And if she wants to knock down the tower of blocks you just spent 45 minutes perfecting, by God, you better believe that baby's coming down like the Berlin Wall. 

 It’s all or, well… all with Emory.  She’s holds nothing back (not even slobber and snot). 

 She’s my handful, my payback for my own stubborn, defiant and quick-tempered personality, my “karma” for every time I rolled my eyes when people told me how good of a baby James was. 

Oh, and did I mention she’s pretty awesome?

She’s the one that sits in the grocery cart yelling “Hi!” or “Hello” or “See Ya” to everyone that passes by and brings a smile to even the grouchiest of faces.  She’s the one that will make the most ordinary things magical. 

She’s the one who will find her brother’s shoes for him and won’t leave school until she gives everyone in the class a hug.  She’ll make sure everyone has a coat on before leaving the house.  And she’s not even 2.

She has her own world, where every animal (and human for that matter) makes the “ROAR” sound (but whispered, not yelled), because that's the funniest of all the sounds and she loves to laugh. 

Where trucks fly with helicopters and baby dolls don’t need clothes, just hugs (and the occasional toss down the slide).  Right now, bedtime seems to be a favorite.  A time where she can lie down after an exhausting day of entertaining everyone around her, and just be.

I’m so grateful to have the challenge of learning, from her, so many things there are to know about this crazy life.  Most days it seems like this kid has it figured out far better than any of the rest of us.  I can only imagine that those high pitched screams and shrills will one day turn into the most impressive aria at The Met.  The thrill she gets from tackling unsuspecting victims will one day be a superpower she uses on the first kid in 3rd grade that dares  to utter the “G” (Ginger) word around her. 

 That girl sure is something.  And I can’t wait to see what it will be.