the day we won more than a trophy {soap box derby day}

little boys have this thing about winning.
they love it.
a race seems to ensue no matter what the activity is.
brushing teeth, putting on shoes, jumping off of the couch, running across the kitchen, tossing a ball, setting the table, picking up trash.
heck, they even make buckling their seat belts into a winner takes all event.
i enjoy seeing them challenge each other to do their best, but i make a focused attention to talk about encouraging each other, the way it feels when other people brag, cheering when someone else wins, being content with what they have, yada yada yada.
sometimes (ok a lot of the time) it goes in one ear and out the next at the speed of light.
you know, big brother cuts little brother off and proclaims he is the ultimate winner of all time. little brother bursts into tears, pounds his 2nd place fists into the ground and vows to beat his big brother to a pulp in the next race.
on and on and so on.

and then there are days like today.
soap box derby day.

for 2 weeks we have dreamed and designed and sawed and sanded and painted these little racers.

we meticulously added racing stripes and names and 5 coats of paint.
and the boys dreamed of awards and trophies and winners.
i'm sure there was some sort of "we   are   the   champions, my friends"  theme song running through their brains.
we talked a LOT about the thrill of the race. about being content if we didn't win. enjoying the process and the joy we can find in doing our best.
still, they talked about winning first place and how they would beat all of their friends.
nice. real nice, boys.

upon arriving, the boys found the trophies right off the bat.

 clint and i gave one last attempt to remind our competitors that winning isn't everything.

"yea, i know mom. but those trophies are awesome! i'm gonna win all of those first place trophies!!"
oh boy.

we quickly discovered our holly-hobby designs weren't really all that awesome.
someone even carved out roll bars.
geeze, where do they get the time?

we all loved this leggo man...

and the angry bird car was a huge hit...

but see that sleek little pink racer??? it belonged to the cutest little 4 year old girl. she beat every single other car. even won the ultimate champion prize. her dad had a pink carrying case for the car. hmm...i have a feeling she doesn't get to play with it at home :)

anyhow, our cars were so lightweight (because everyone else added lead plugs) clint had to use someone's drill and borrow 8 holes and fill foster's car with lead and then hot glue an additional heavy lead bar. clearly we should have googled "secrets to building a wooden derby car" because the other racers obviously knew all of the tricks.

there was a lot of waiting. a LOT.

emery ate zillions of snacks and in a last ditch effort, we brought out the lolly pops round about hour 2...it provided a solid 1/2 hour of enjoyment for little missy sissy.

this little turkey was the last to race, as his age group wasn't officially a part of the event. it was a LONG wait.

by the time foster's race approached he filled with glee at the thought of seeing his race car speed down the track.

much to my surprise, i noticed that he didn't care his car came in last. (because it did...dead last.) he didn't care that the other cars wheel bearings had been buffed and their cars were meticulously aerodynamically calculated...he was filled with the joy of the race.

(ahem. excuse our hat hair. it was in rare form today :)

when it came time for awards, 12 kids received trophies. he clapped and cheered. i could tell he wanted a trophy so bad he could taste it, but he realized it wouldn't happen. so he held his car tightly and said, "mom, i'm so proud of myself. i really love my car."

the last 3 trophies were for "design" in foster's age group...when 2nd place was called, i heard,
"umm, fosto? foret? forest? weldon".  
good gracious, we cheered like crazy people. my little "fosto" ran up to collect his trophy and i've never seen his heart beam through his smile the way it did when he held that golden statue.

little brother was devastated. not only had he been waiting 3 hours to race, but his brother won an awesome trophy.
foster hurried over and said "oh rowan! did you see this trophy??? it's amazing! look, we can share it! hooray, we won a trophy!!!" little brother held the trophy proudly and i nearly died from my heart rejoicing to know at least a little bit of our "stop bragging" hounding sank in.

it was then time for mr. patient...can you tell how much he loved seeing his car race?

(checkout the lead bar i hot glued on right before the race. rowan thought it looked like a spoiler. he loved it.)

it was a great day. a really great day.


  1. gosh, I loved this post. As a Mama of two boys myself, I know all about the competition :) I love the way Foster shared his trophy with his little brother. That's true love! You're doing a great job raising those little guys.

  2. So funny! We had our derby Saturday too!! The kids love it...been doing it for 5 years!!! Hey....Emmy's wearing a hair clip!!!!!!!!!! She kept it in???? go Em!!!!! Love it!!!

  3. Hooray for "fosto" and brother!! Love it.

  4. how fun! i love the enthusiasm is the kid's faces and the shots you have of Foster and little Bro during their races are priceless. A

    And I don't think those cars look Holly Hobby at all- very cute.



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