Family · Uncategorized

She Got Game

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The anthem of my winter will be squeaking shoes and whistle blows. It will be the chant of the ball as it bounces atop the hardwood. It’s the call of “I’m open” and the family surrounding me on the bleachers where I will always be her number one fan.

We are starting our third year of basketball. I am looking forward to not being nine months pregnant this season like I was last year. I am also looking forward to watching my little girl grow as a player. She’s already improved her passing, shooting, and dribbling. With a father who performs as a side hustle it should come as no surprise that she’s got game herself.

Two years ago I wrote about her first ever basketball practice. (Check out One Happy Player.)

So much has changed since her first days on the court. I’m looking forward to many, many years as a basketball mom and I am cherishing every practice and game as an opportunity to be thankful. I am blessed to have a daughter who enjoys such a variety of activities. I am blessed to have a husband who is in his element coaching little players. I am blessed to live near so many family members who support our girls and come to their events.

I am blessed to be a BASKETBALL MOM

The Ameri Brit Mom

Family · Uncategorized

Road Trip to Pittsburgh

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My husband closed out his Upward Celebrations season with a trip to Bridgeville, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a family, we loaded up the car for the final time this winter and made the most of the four hour drive over two state borders and through several mountains. The landscape was beautiful throughout our entire drive.

I’m going to miss the traveling to new cities over the next couple of months, but I’m also in need of some rest. We are eager to return to our everyday rhythms and routines, but that doesn’t make us any less sad that our travel time is over.

On the trip, we stopped at a Chuck-E-Cheese so our daughter could experience the childhood equivalent to heaven on earth.

While Sam set up for the event I took our daughter exploring in the suburb. It was a beautiful little town, and of course we had to visit the local cafe. A four hour drive warranted a giant cup of coffee.

The travels may be over for a few months, but the memories we made as a family will continue long after his final bow. We are so blessed to get to travel together to support my husband in his shows. He is so passionate about using his gifts and talents to glorify God and he had almost a dozen opportunities to do just that over the past two months.

It is very fitting that as the shows wrapped up our school district began Spring Break. We are in need of some time at home as a family, although I’m sure you will hear that we took some time for adventure over the coming week. I’m looking forward to updating you next week on how we spent our break.

Send me some ideas and you may find that we take you up on some.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Family · Uncategorized

An Upward Weekend

This weekend marked the end of our daughter’s first season with Upward Basketball. In her final game she scored one basket and played intense defense. Following her game the league held a celebration for the players. During the event, a series of Minute-to-Win-It type games we played on the stage and prizes were handed out. Since my husband was a coach he was pulled onto the stage to play a couple of the games. Here are some snap shots from our Upward-filled weekend.

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The Ameri Brit Mom

Uncategorized

Reunion at a Harlem Wizards Game

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From my husband’s basketball days in England he has met so many people. Some of his closest friends came from teams back home. It’s wild how thousands of miles from his hometown that he is able to catch up with friends in the US. Last week, we had his friend, Phil, visiting on holiday. He came and spent a week with us and he and my husband played A LOT of basketball during that time. I enjoyed having him here and going on some adventures to make his trip even more memorable.

One of my favorite parts of Phil’s stay was going to a Harlem Wizards game. The Harlem Wizards are a traveling basketball team that perform trick shows for charities.

One of the Wizards, Big J, is actually John Smith and he met both Phil and my husband during a period where he played internationally in England. Originally from New York City, John has returned to the US and plays as a member of the Harlem Wizards travel team.

On Phil’s last night of his stay the Wizards were playing at a school about an hour from our house. We decided to make the short journey to see them and it was worth it. Not only did the men get to reunite and spend some time together, but Big J had Arianna on the floor performing tricks along with him. She won a crowd game and was given the designation of “Princess of the Wizards.”

Here are some of our memories from that night.

 

The Ameri Brit Mom

Family · Uncategorized

One Happy Player

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I remember the tears and wailing of last winter. Upward basketball season had begun, but my daughter was a few months too young to participate. We took her to several games to watch her four year old cousin compete. It was torture to a toddler who had been dribbling since she could stand. For an entire year she has looked forward to playing in the Upward league and this past weekend ended her wait.

To fully understand the sanctity of my daughter’s basketball experiences you should know that my husband is a professional basketball trickster. In 2015 I wrote a post entitled My Husband, the TV Star in which I explained a little bit about what he does. Check this out if you don’t know him or haven’t heard of the Sizzla.

Before her first birthday my daughter joined my husband on the stage of an Upward Ceremony show. He spun the basketball on his finger and passed it to her small, delicate one (with my assistance of course). She giggled and the crowd let out an “Awwww” in unison.

By the age of two she was dribbling one ball fairly consistently.

By three she was making shots on lowered rims.

And now, at four years of age she is able to dribble two basketballs at the same time, make a shot on a 9 foot rim, and execute a talented spin move.

My husband has been awaiting her opportunity to compete longer than she has. Five years ago (this weekend) we found out that we were expecting. Amidst the shock and nerves I can clearly remember the spark in my husband’s eye as he dreamed of teaching our future child the fundamentals of basketball.

All of those moments made her first Upward basketball practice that much more special. My husband enjoyed coaching her and radiated his pride in her abilities as they began the drills of the sport. I’m so excited to watch her play this season and in the many more seasons that I’m sure are to follow.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Family · Uncategorized

Indianapolis Review

My gift to my husband this Christmas was a trip to Indianapolis to watch the Indiana Pacers take on the Chicago Bulls. We only spent about 24 hours in the city, but we packed those hours with so many memories.

Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame

Over the summer we went to Chicago and drove through Indianapolis. I remembered from that drive that my husband mentioned the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, but we didn’t have time to make that stop then.

On our way to Indianapolis this weekend around we made sure to leave with plenty of time for that trip. We got off the highway about thirty minutes before hitting Indianapolis and spent an hour at the Hall of Fame. It was neat to see the history behind basketball in the Hoosier state. There was a video about high school basketball in Indiana, rooms of memorabilia, and a Hall of Fame for some of the most talented basketball players of all time.

Our Hotel

Indianapolis was absolutely beautiful. The city was clean and not so big that travel was a hassle. Actually, our travel once checked into our hotel (Hyatt Regency Indianapolis) was minimal. It was very cold and windy, but we didn’t have to spend much time outside. Our hotel was connected by a covered walkway to the Circle Center Mall. The Circle Center Mall led out to the entrance of Bankers Life Field House, where the Pacers games are held.

Parking at the hotel was a little expensive ($35 a day), but it was worth it because we didn’t have to attempt to drive in pre and post game traffic.

Our hotel was extremely nice and accommodating. Ari’s favorite part of the hotel was the swimming pool, of course.

 

Pacers vs. Bulls

The purpose behind our little getaway was so that my husband could watch a live NBA game. As much as he loves basketball he hasn’t been to many NBA games. His favorite team is Cleveland, but I wanted to give him a chance to visit another town. Chicago is his second favorite team and since they were playing in Indianapolis over Christmas break I thought it would be a perfect present. Little did I know that before the game Chicago and Indianapolis would be tied in the league rankings. It was a huge game. Fans turned out to cheer on both teams. Although the Pacers ended up winning my husband still enjoyed himself and the experience to be in the gym where some of basketball’s finest were playing.

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Indianapolis Children’s Museum

On every trip that we take we look for fun things for Ari to do. It gives her incentive to behave herself throughout the travel, and also gives her a chance to blow off some steam and have fun.

Leading up to the trip I did my research and found that the #1 place in Indianapolis for families was the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Once I saw that they had a Doc McStuffins exhibit I committed the extra trip to our itinerary. Also, we decided to visit on New Years Eve. There was a party in the lobby with live music and a countdown to noon. Every child received a party hat and we spent most of the day walking through the exhibits and having fun as a whole family.

We’ve been to Children’s Museums in Columbus, Chicago, New York, and England, and while we’ve never been disappointed this was the best one we have visited.

The exhibits that we enjoyed were Doc McStuffins, Indy500, Welcome to China, and Christmas Land. Additionally, there was an exhibit for older children that we walked through about Ruby Bridges and Anne Frank and the difference that children have made on our world. It was phenomenal.

 

Hoosiers Gym

After a long day at the museum we packed up our car and headed home. We made one pit stop in Knightstown, Indiana, at the Hoosiers Gym. This particular gym is based off of the one from the famous basketball movie. Ari was asleep and I didn’t want to wake her so my husband popped in quick enough to get some pictures of himself doing tricks on the court and then we headed home.

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This trip was a great time to recharge as a family. I recommend giving gifts like this. Getting a chance to make memories and celebrate life as a family is well worth the monetary costs involved.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Family · Uncategorized

Road trip to Chicago

Last week our family loaded up our luggage into a compact rental car and drove six hours west to the beautiful city of Chicago. Even though we only spent two and a half days in the city we were able to visit so many sites. We chose to travel to Chicago for a couple of reasons. First of all, we were in need of a direct flight to London for our annual trip to stay with my in-laws. Secondly, when looking at the list of direct flights we chose Chicago because it is the location where the novel I’m working on takes place. During our stay we ventured to many places mentioned and important to my book. I’m really excited about being able to weave authentic, intricate observations and research into my writing.

I’ve been to New York City a couple of times, but I must say that Chicago was by far a cleaner and more beautiful city in my opinion. I’ve been to Chicago a few times in the past, but it’s probably been fifteen years since I last visited. It was fantastic for my book to look at the city through a more fresh lens.

Here is a look at some highlights to our trip:

Lincoln Park Zoo And Nature Boardwalk

It was so cool to visit another zoo besides the Columbus Zoo. A major difference between the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Columbus Zoo (besides the fact that it is free) was that the animals were in smaller, more open habitats. Although, it may not suit the animal rights activists it was great as a spectator to be so close to the tiger and hear him roar as he dropped his bowling ball off a cliff. We really enjoyed this zoo. Arianna was taken aback by the slimy Hippopotamus.

We wrapped up our rainy trip to the zoo with a walk along the nature boardwalk. This was a scenic route around an pond in the center of the park. The walk culminated with a photo session from a pivotal location for my book. I may have gotten my cover shot here! (Obviously it will need a bit of doctoring)

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Chicago Children’s Museum (at Navy Pier)

The first day we explored the city it was cold and by mid day we experienced a downpour. Looking for indoor activities we made our way toward the famous Navy Pier and spent the afternoon at the Children’s Museum. It was made up of three floors of rooms aimed at providing educational opportunities. We all had a blast!

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Michigan Avenue Shopping (The Magnificient Mile)

The following morning we woke up early and explored the shops on Michigan Avenue. Apart from the $39.00 parking we had a great day. Unbeknownst to us at 10am every morning when the Disney store opens they select a child (or two) to turn on the lights with a little chant and role play. We happened to be walking by just as this was happening and Arianna was chosen to open the store along with a little boy. They waved their hands and chanted famous Disney spells like, “Abracadabra” and “Bippity Boppity Boo.” And when they called, “Let the magic begin” the lights and music came on in the store. Before we went into the shop Arianna was given a medal to commemorate the event and the workers called her Princess Arianna until we left. It was a completely unplanned part of our trip, but it was one of Arianna’s favorite memories.

Unlike the day before, it was ninety-five degrees in the Windy City that day. So as we walked along the Magnificent Mile the biggest challenge was keeping ourselves hydrated.

 

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Lunch at the American Girl Cafe

A few weeks ago we made a reservation at the American Girl Cafe in Chicago. Although it was a bit steep in price ($22 per person) it was a great time. The food was fantastic and Arianna truly was treated like a princess by the staff during our meal. Her smile really shows how much she enjoyed the experience of dining with her dolly.

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The United Center

This pit stop was a pick of my husband’s. We drove a little west of the city to The United Center where Michael Jordan played for the Chicago Bulls. Check out his basketball trick video in front of the Jordan statue basketball trick video in front of the Jordan statue. In case you didn’t know my husband is a professional free-style basketball trickster and travels around doing shows and provides clinics and private training as well. He grew up idolizing Michael Jordan so this was a monumental moment for him.

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Overall it was a great trip.

We were able to accomplish so much in a short amount of time. Now life is slowing down and we are staying the rest of the month with my in laws in England. I’m looking forward to sharing memories from this trip with you as well.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Blessings

My Husband, the TV star

Things are getting exciting in our house!

A few months back my husband received a call from a professional team in England that he used to play for and perform with in the summers. The founder of the group was going to be filming for a television show and wanted to meet up with my husband to get him involved in the project. The organization is called SBX and they are creating a television series called “This Is Basketball” where they travel the world in search of the most exciting players and freestylers on the planet. Although there are not details about the show airing in the US as of yet there are hopes to do so in the near future. Regardless, this is a very well known organization in the UK, and it means a lot that my husband is being featured amongst some of the best and most talented basketball players in the world.

Some of you who have not been following my blog might have some more questions. I should take a few steps back and explain what my husband does a little better. Aside from being an awesome husband, daddy, and full-time teacher my husband also travels the globe with his ball handling and trick shows. I could try my best to articulate the skills that he possesses, but you would have a hard time getting a true picture of all of the talented things he can do. Instead, take a look at a video, or better yet his youtube channel which showcase some of the crazy skills of my favorite man.

So…

We are leaving Friday morning and heading to The Big Apple. We decided to take a long weekend and make this filming experience a mini vacation for our family. My younger sister is tagging along as well to help with our daughter and to be my shopping companion while my husband is filming. I am super excited and have been counting down the days until our trip. I have been to New York twice before, but it has yet to lose it’s appeal. There are so many things to do in the big city. I’m open to suggestions. What do you recommend that we do or check out in the NYC?

I’m going to leave you today with a song that’s been playing on repeat in my mind all week:

Start spreading the news.

I am leaving today.

I want to be part of it.

New York, New York…

-Frank Sinatra

The Date Jar

The Date Jar: Week 2 (The Family Bucket List)

This weekend has been a busy one in the Sisley home. Sam’s basketball coaching season is winding down, but the time commitment level as the season nears the close seems to increase dramatically. Also, we spent a good portion of our Saturday working on our new car with the help of our mechanically-inclined friends, Travis and Katy. It’s great to spend time with amazing people like the Lucas family and we capped off the evening (once the car was up and running) at one of our favorite restaurants in Columbus, Bd’s Mongolian Grill.

Today, Sam is performing his awesome basketball tricks at a local church to close their Upward Basketball season and Arianna and I are once again snowed in and unable to breech the boundaries of our home. If you are unfamiliar with my husband and his basketball ministry you should really check out some of his videos. In college he started doing basketball tricks as a travelling ministry and he has been very successful. This ministry has taken him all over the United States and England. He is currently planning for an upcoming engagement in which he will be in a televised program in New York City. I’ll keep you updated. Here is a link to his website: www.sizzlabasketball.com.

While Sam has been busy off pursuing his basketball dreams this weekend I have been spending some time educating myself on Essential Oils and disinfecting the house with a new OnGuard Cleaner. I’m really excited to learn more about Essential Oils and use them to help my family toward a healthier lifestyle. I literally cleaned every surface in the house with this stuff. It smells wonderful and it is so rewarding to know that while I deep clean my home I am helping my family to fight off illnesses using a healthy and non-toxic product.

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So, although we were really busy this weekend and it seemed like we were being pulled in different directions it was perfect for us that the date night task we drew from the Date Jar this weekend was to create a family bucket list. We didn’t have much time to sit around for hours and discuss, but we had a very focused conversation on the way to the restaurant last night about our goals as a family and individually.

As a couple it is really important to take time to communicate your goals and plans for the future. Sometimes it is easy to be too caught up in the tasks of daily life to set goals for where you want to be as a family five, ten, or twenty years in the future. It is really fitting that we happened to choose this date night activity out of the jar at random, because this week in particular my personal Bible reading and devotions have been focused on the idea of being radical for God.

I’ve been reading a lot from the story of Peter walking on the water. It took guts to get out of the comfort of the boat during the storm and be obedient to Jesus’ call to do something crazy like walk on the water. Jesus makes it evident through this story that as long as our focus remains on Him He will be with us and keep us safe despite the storms around us. I’ve felt convicted this week to re-evaluate my life and listen for the voice of Jesus for areas where He may be calling me out of the boat.

So our bucket list conversation consisted of us discussing where God is leading us as a family. Both of us feel that God is preparing us for a big change or step in the road to come. Sam is so great at what he does ministry-wise and we both feel that some form of ministry is in his future. I know that God has called me to teach and has provided me with gifts conducive to that calling, but the platform for how He wants me to use my gifts is something I’ve given to God. I also really enjoy writing and would love to pursue writing in some way in the future. We planned what we think our family will look like over the next few years and talked about our goals and plans for our daughter. It was really refreshing to take some time to realign our goals and to measure the progress we’ve made toward our previously established ones.

So…week #2 is in the books. We went on a dinner date with friends, discussed our future plans and goals, and enjoyed some family time between the travelling, cleaning, and fixing up of a car. I’m going to leave you with my prayer from my journal earlier this week. Enjoy the end of your weekend and don’t forget to set goals!

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