2019 Challenger International Soccer Camp

Review Disclaimer: We have a partnership with US Family Guide – they provide opportunities such as Challenger International Soccer Camp in exchange for reviews on this blog and our social media. All opinions are 100% our own.

A few weeks ago, Evan took on another year of Challenger International Soccer Camp. This fun-filled week with coaches Joe and Andrew from Wales challenged and exhausted him. It was an opportunity to work on his game (especially passing) and fall deeper in love with soccer. The kids held a World Cup event, representing countries from around the world in their daily scrimmages.

We wish this camp could be every day all summer long (with a location slightly closer to home – our nearest option is about 40 minutes away but worth it). Evan jumps out of bed when it is soccer camp week, barely touches his iPod, and goes to bed on time. There’s even rumor that he packed his own healthy lunch to take with him and drank all the water every day. Who is this boy-man?!?!?

Don’t worry! He DID wear spikes but those flats have been his summer go-to.

Special thanks to Pappy & Grammie for making sure Evan got to and from camp and to US Family Guide for making this possible.

Challenger International Soccer Camp

If you’d like more information on camps that remain this summer or to be sure you’re getting all the details on 2020 camps, Search for the International Soccer Camp closest to you and then register.

Challenge Accepted: 2018 British Soccer Camp

This post is brought to you through our partnership with US Family Guide who made it possible for Evan to attend British Soccer Camp in exchange for our review and honest opinions. All opinions are 100% our own. 

Summer is almost in the books, can you believe it? Evan spent a week at British Soccer Camp honing in on his soccer skills as he prepares for the YMCA’s Fall Soccer program. While we’re still not clear which position he loves to play (because he seems to like them all), we are clear that he really loves soccer thanks to this program.

2018 British Soccer Camp in Pittsburgh

This year was a ‘lil special for the Bigs in a few ways. First, Evan was old enough to be at camp for the full day program, meaning Pappy took him at 9 and picked him back up at 4. He was also responsible for putting on his own sunscreen and eating his lunch – both of which he took seriously!

Next, you’ll notice I said the Bigs! Arianna went with Evan on day one for the “Bring a Buddy” day. While she still loves her softball, she’s fallen back in love with soccer thanks to camp and will also be playing this fall!

While Mama & Daddy didn’t do the pick-up or drop-off, Pappy gave us the details. This year, the camp was at Denny Field in Shaler and it was five days of playing outside. There was a picnic shelter and the Soccer Club opened the concession stand, too. The coaches (from around the globe) were friendly and young, definitely committed to teaching the kids soccer skills!

I stopped in to see the last day’s World Cup game, but I missed it. They played a few World Cup games each day and on the last day represented their countries. Evan loved this. And just like we shared in our intro post about the camp, he got his jersey, t-shirt, and ball in addition to the skills and character building. We’re so proud of him (and Arianna)!

British Soccer Camp

About British Soccer Camp

British Soccer Camps are the most popular soccer camp in the US. With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed and confidence in players ages 3-18, The British Soccer Camp provide boys and girls with the rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international expert’s right in the heart of their own community.

In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and is the most fun your child can have learning the sport they love!

-Source: US Family Guide

If you’d like to learn more about British Soccer Camp and save on registration in your local area, use code BSC18 on the Challenger Sports website.

Evan’s Seven

Today’s the day! Evan’s seven! We celebrated our boy today with some of his favorites – pizza, cake, and a family board game.

Even though we’d celebrated with family and friends back in November, we made sure to make today special for him, too.



You’ve grown not just in height but in smarts and confidence in this past year.

You’re a great little and big brother, caring for your sisters (and giving them all just enough torture to keep things interesting).

You love playing soccer, being part of the Royal Rangers, and trying your best to be a YouTube kid.

You’re full of the Holy Spirit – singing and dancing to praise music at any chance you get.

You love adventures outdoors with Dad – you’re so good at spotting animals!

May your birthday and the next year be so full of the love and light you bring our way.

Happy Birthday!

xoxo, Mama

A Very Happy Birthday (Party)

Today, we had a very happy birthday party for the Bigs. When you have four kids, four parties are a lot (not just on Mom and Dad’s budget, but also on the guests who get invited). While the Twins are built-in party sharers, we’ve gotten creative with having the Bigs share their days by celebrating both midway between their days – in November. Today was their big day!

We welcomed family and friends into our house and kept it simple this year. Between being busy and trying to lead a debt-free life, simple just made sense. There was no theme, no fancy cake, and not a ton of fussing to get things set up. It just was fun. It felt like I was back to the basics of parties when I was growing up, and frankly felt just right.

Thank you to everyone who came and celebrated Arianna’s 9th and Evan’s 7th birthdays today. We feel so blessed to have had a very happy birthday party and a home full of love and laughs (many that made us laugh ’til we cried!). xoxo


British Soccer Camp: Success!

Enter disclaimer text This post about British Soccer Camp is one such post.

Do you remember what Evan really wanted to do this summer? He was super excited about spending a week at British Soccer Camp at Pittsburgh Indoor Sports Arena – and he did it! 

Last week, he (and Arianna) stayed with Pappy and Grammie so he was nice and close to the camp. (We live about 35 minutes away and six year olds go to half day camp from 9 to noon – huge kudos and thanks to my parents for helping make this easy on my commute!) While he didn’t tell us much about camp specifics, his excitement to get up each morning without Pappy having to encourage him speaks volumes. (This is a boy who sleeps like a rock and does not like to wake up.)

soccer camp

The week started by me and my dad dropping Evan off – we wanted to meet the coaches and get all the logistics covered. (Which can I just say that British Soccer Camp makes this so easy – they sent some reminder emails before the week started and included a release form that allowed my dad, mom, and uncle to get Evan throughout the week. We printed that off and had no issues all week – super easy.)

Evan was the third kid to check in, but would have been first if he didn’t have a I HAVE TO PUT MY BRITISH SOCCER JERSEY ON NOW moment in the van once he saw the coaches walking into PISA wearing their jerseys. He was younger than the other two kids and said to me, “good thing I’m small, I’m going to outrun them cause I am so fast from not running in a while”. Hmmph! This was seconds before he pushed me out of the bench area and said to go to work ’cause he was good and settled. Well then, looks like we have a Beckham on our hands?!?!

My dad handled camp the rest of the week and he was impressed with the ease, the facility (and staff), and coaches. Evan was exhausted after each day but definitely loved it.

On the last day of camp, we took the whole family plus Pappy and Grammie to watch the campers play a game and get their awards. Coaches James and Diego also gave the kids an evaluation – lines right up with what we’ve been trying to work with Evan on.

After a week of camp, Evan definitely shows that he loves playing defense over anything (sorry, Coach X, but we think he will try to do some more goalie work soon, too!) and is still all about fairness on the field. He’s looking forward to his fall season at our local Y, but keeps asking if he can do camp again next year!

British Soccer Camp

While summer might be coming to an end, there are still some several options for the soccer camp around the country. And keep watching – they’ll be back in Pittsburgh next summer!

British Soccer Camp

Before we signed up, our friends over at US Family Guide filled me in on why this camp is so special:

British Soccer Camps are the most popular soccer camp in the US. With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed and confidence in players ages 3-18, The British Soccer Camp provide boys and girls with the rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international expert’s right in the heart of their own community. In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and is the most fun your child can have learning the sport they love!

Want to keep in the know? Follow along on Twitter with @ChallengerCamps and be sure to follow @usfg for family-friendly fun near you.


What camps did your kiddo participate in this summer? 


Like Statues

Arianna and Evan have always loved visits to the Pittsburgh Zoo. On a recent trip, they acted just like statues as part of their journey through what’s become “the norm” for them.

If you ever have the chance to experience the zoo on a cloudy afternoon, late in the day – do it! We were there the day they brought the baby elephant out to public but just an hour after they’d closed up the elephant house to visitors. It was like a ghost town and we got to slowly mingle and truly enjoy our favorite parts of the park up until closing time.

Last Day of School 2017

This one is coming to you a month late, but The Bigs last day of school photos have to make it to the blog at some point! It’s incredible to take a look at how much has changed in a year.

last day of school

Seriously, though. And in the month since that photo was taken (their last day was May 31), they’ve both changed even more. (For instance, Evan has way less hair and I swear Arianna has grown a foot.)

Arianna completed second grade and fully lives the tween life (the struggle of being the oldest and not wanting to do “baby” stuff anymore is getting to be tough!). Let’s take a close up look at her first day of school photo from this year and then I’m sure you’ll see what we are faced with – the fact that we are raising a smart and gorgeous girl who is going to move mountains!

That there is a baby compared to her “now” photo! Someone hold me.

And then there is Evan. He excelled in kindergarten and is probably able to tell you how many days until school starts again. This boy loves learning and exploring – we can’t blame him – so school comes naturally easy for him, too.

Sure, keeping these two busy for the summer hasn’t been the easiest, but it sure is enjoyable having them home to fill the house with laughs and fun. Their little sisters are going to miss them when school starts next month, that’s for sure!

How are your kids doing this summer? How about mom and dad? 

Evan’s Innovation

(Enter disclaimer text) When I was a kid, I tried my best at becoming an inventor. I was that nerd that was in the Invention Convention club, creating things we thought would be the next best thing. (Peterson’s Better Ketch-up’er actually just got thrown out, but if you a Heinz Ketchup fan, you’d have loved my idea.) Evan’s innovation might just be the next best thing to hit our house this summer.

The twins were busy using a bubbles inside bubbles fan (which, by the way is super cool and a new favorite of mine) when he lost his patience with sharing with two two-year-olds.

He grabbed up Grammie’s fly swatter and made his innovation, a bubble blower that would also blow tons of bubbles!

There’s no telling what made him think this would work, but he totally nailed it.

As I’m typing this, Arianna came for a visit and told me that he has also put cookie cutters in bubble mix and blown bubbles! Whoa, dude! (Apparently, pretzels don’t work so well as bubble tools, they also get smooshy when left in the bubble mix over night.) 

Next up, we have to make Grandma’s bubble solution again this summer. Promise a blog post on that to come, but for now, we’ll be picking up bubble solution in bulk to keep up with all these bubbles.



Ranger Derby 2017

On Saturday, Evan and his fellow Rangers participated in the Ranger Derby.

They each raced their cars four times, hoping to bring home some trophies. Evan’s car was fast, but the Ranger Kids division was full of winners. He ended up taking 13 of 34, with just 0.09s between him and first place!
Thanks to Uncle Jack and Uncle Tom for helping with with the body and painting, and Daddy for putting the finishing touches on it. Car 26 will always be first in our hearts.


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