Sunday, April 18, 2021

New Soccer Season

 Christian really wanted to play soccer again this spring but our usual league with which we've played for 11 years (since Benjamin was 3) cancelled the season due to Covid.  So we had to find a new league.  This one is far more expensive than our old one but so far Christian has really enjoyed it.  Today was his first game and he was so nervous.  He kept complaining his stomach hurt from the fear and wondering why nervousness makes your stomach sick.  When it was all over he admitted that all his nervousness had been unnecessary and he had a lot of fun.  All day afterwards he kept saying, "Wow, soccer was so fun today!"  I'm so glad he's enjoying it.  I think his coach is a little bit overly harsh on the kids, but Christian came home that first day telling me that "The coach is really nice" and "That's just constructive criticism."  So, I guess if he's okay with him, I will be too.  Christian's strength is defense.  The coach put him in as a forward for a few minutes and when he panicked while taking the ball down the field and passed the ball to no one, he quickly switched him back stating, "You're better at defense, let's try that again." Christian said he's much happier at defense and agreed with the coach.

Due to Covid, parents had to sit very spread out and I ended up quite a ways from the field where photography was difficult.  Just blurry shots from a distance.  

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Really Savoring Your Food

What, doesn't everyone eat their lunch like this?  It tastes better this way, I'm sure.

Plus, then you get to end every day playing in the tub with your toys, so it's a win-win.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Sneaky Genius

Every day when I take Peter with me running, he takes a toy or two in the stroller with him.  This morning I told him, "Go get whatever toy you want to take into the stroller."  This is what he brought out from his room - the whole box.  Luckily he was content to just bring the cow along.

A New Park

I heard from some friends about a park nearby that I'd never visited.  Benjamin was at a track meet and Bella was camping with her scout troop, so Christian and Peter and I decided to check it out.  What a hidden gem.  It had a huge rock climbing area that was a big hit.  Christian climbed all over it for an hour and Peter was so happy finding pebbles to show me and seeing how far he could throw rocks.  

Peter's a pretty good climber too, but he always wanted to have his water, a piece of sandwich, or a rock in one or both hands, which made climbing challenging.  We did a little, but mostly he scampered around on the ground wherever Christian was.

Then we went into the wooded area of the park and found a bunch of fun trails and a lake with a dam that Christian enjoyed too.  It was such a fun place and I'm so glad we found out about it.  15 years and still finding fun new places around here.

Friday, April 09, 2021

Little Firefighter

 Peter and I went grocery shopping today and we happened to walk towards the store at the same time as a fireman was getting out of his truck to come shop too.  As soon as he started walking towards the door, however, he turned around and went back to the truck.  I assumed he'd forgotten his mask or money and went on inside.  I was just putting Peter into the cart when he came in and came over to me.  "Ma'am, this is for your son," he said, handing me a plastic fireman's hat.  So that's why he'd gone back to the truck! What a nice guy.  I assumed Peter would refuse to wear it and throw it down immediately since he's really not one for hats, but I was wrong.  Peter was super excited.  He kept it on throughout the store.  We were nearly done when he started to get frustrated with how it slipped around on his tiny head and took it off.  We sure got a lot of comments.  What a cutie.  

Monday, April 05, 2021

Easter and Spring Break

 This past week has been so full I couldn't begin to tell about all of it.  We took a week-long trip to West Virginia for Spring Break.  The key idea was to get as far from internet, wifi, cell phones, and screens as possible.  I found the perfect place.  No cell service or high-speed internet the entire time, beautiful nature, gorgeous night skies, and plenty of time together.  It was perfect.  We rented a 3 bedroom farmhouse up on a mountain top (25 min just to drive down the mountain).  It was a great house with anything you could want for $50/night.  Mostly the boys rode motorcycles along the trails which led straight from the front door and down over the mountains for miles.  Bella, Peter, and I spent most of our time hiking in the woods, exploring parks and playgrounds, playing games, and finding little treasures in nature like a muddy puddle full of tadpoles.  Bella occasionally also rode with Kelly alone in order to get better at it, but I have no desire.  I enjoy nature much better at the pace my feet can take me or a bicycle, but not a roaring engine.  

 One rainy day we decided to drive into Charleston, the capital, to see how it varied from the run-down, junk strewn trailer homes in our area up on the mountain.  It reminded me a lot of Lansing, MI.  Very nice area around the capitol building, very ornate, beautiful capitol building itself, but otherwise, a very modest, small scale city.  Much more of a suburb than a city, really.  No large buildings, no expensive shopping areas, or wealthy neighborhoods, no real cultural center, etc.  We toured the areas the online resources said to see, (historic downtown, outdoor farmer's market area, riverfront plaza) but most were still closed for Covid or the winter.  We ended up enjoying a quiet, solitary take-out lunch by the river's edge at what is supposedly a very busy, active place in Summer, trying to avoid waking the homeless sleeping on the stairs nearby.  In all, I didn't dislike Charleston.  Being so much like Lansing in appearance and feel, it had it's appeal.  However, it certainly shows the poverty that West Virginia suffers. 

On our final day there we stayed together and found a 30 mile bicycle trail just over the border in Kentucky.  It follows an old railroad line from which they've torn out the tracks.  We got to ride over the old train trestles and through the tunnels.  It was a lot of fun.  We only went half the trail in order to keep Peter happy and it was plenty for all of us to get a full feel of how gorgeous Kentucky can be too.  There were places along the trail I'd really wished we could have stayed too.  Sparkling river, large jutting cliff edges, green fields, etc.  This country really is so amazing.

The funniest thing was that as we were unloading the bikes and getting ready to set off, a dog scampered up to us.  It was so friendly and well behaved, we kept looking around for its owner to come up to us as well.  However, no one ever came.  It had a collar with a name and number of the owner but we never saw a soul.  We petted the dog and then got on our way, thinking it would return home.  Instead, however, it began to run with us, sticking beside whoever was riding in front.  Each mile we rode, we were certain the dog would get tired and turn around, but it never did.  Mile after mile, it happily jogged along with us, occasionally pausing to mark the path, catch a drink from the stream, or chase a chipmunk, and then come right back to us.  It ignored all other barking dogs along the way and never varied from it's devotion to us.  No one happening upon our group would have doubted for an instant that it was our dog. The kids were elated.  They fell in love with the dog and dotted on her like a favorite friend, petting her and talking to her whenever we took a break. They begged repeatedly to take her home and everyone imagined themselves playing with her back at home. She stayed with us for the entire 14 mile ride and I really wondered what she'd do when we got back.  However, when we got back to our truck, she loped off immediately, and left us without a backward glance as if she'd never seen us in her life.  It was the craziest thing.  She was just gone, as suddenly as she'd arrived.  We'd just rented a dog for the day.  We discovered in following her, that she lived at a store near the trail-head.  No one ever came out to see her, but she seemed to be at home on the store's patio and she ate and drank out of boxes and bins she found around the perimeter.  We assume that she must belong to the owner.  She paid no attention to us after that and we never saw her again, a great source of sadness to the kids.  They hate that I refuse to have a dog, but despite the dear sweetness of that one, I refuse to take on the work that a dog brings.   I have enough.  I have to say, though, that I also loved having that sweet companion with us on the ride.

Today was Easter and Kelly's birthday.  We watched General Conference, had an Easter egg hunt, painted eggs, and then went to the Cartwright's house for dinner and games.  They made a huge dinner for us with a birthday pie for Kelly, at my request.  I knew since we'd only gotten home from our trip late the night before, that I'd have no time to do any great cake baking or elaborate prep for his birthday.  Tim agreed to supply a pie and dinner on my behalf. It was so very nice of him.  Also, Kyler flew in an joined us at their house for dinner.  It was wonderful to have more family in town on the holiday. How nice to have a pilot in the family.  I realize now that I didn't take a single picture with him!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Finally A Concert!

 Benjamin has been participating in various bands for a long time now with no opportunity to perform due to Covid.  Most practices were online or with a ridiculously large number of restrictions and all without hope of ever performing anything they were practicing.  However, today finally, there was a concert.  They divided the bands up into 4 bands so the stage was very uncrowded and the audience had plenty of room to social distance and it was so fun to see them play!  Benjamin had a short snare drum solo in one of the songs he played with the concert band and his percussion ensemble band piece was so fun to watch.  (His solo starts at 0:23 in the second video)  I'm so glad he enjoys music so much.  The video quality isn't great because I was trying to film while Peter was trying to see if he could climb into my lap and jump off the chair.  Again and again and again.  Each time he grabbed my arm for leverage and then I had to grab him so he wouldn't kill himself.  The end of the second video comes when I didn't grab him just right and he got a little hurt after all.

It was so funny to see Peter after I told him that we needed to be quiet to hear the music because if he yelled, we had to leave.  He nodded gravely and indicated the he understood.  Then he looked at me, shrieked and immediately waggled his finger in the "no" sign.  Then he babbled nonsense in a whisper and smiled.  Then he shrieked loudly again, waggled his finger and began to whisper and smile again.  He did this 4 times.  Christian and I were cracking up while innerly cringing at his repeated screams.  Without any words, he was clearly saying, "Okay, let me see if I understand you clearly, screaming is bad, whispering is good, correct?  Okay, let me check one more time, screaming bad, whisper good.  Just to confirm..." and on and on.  He does this a lot, actually.  We'll tell him not to bang on the table at dinner and he'll bang on it, shake his head and finger no and we'll say "that's right, don't do that" and he'll do it again and again while always emphasizing that he understands what you're asking.  It's equal parts aggravating and adorable. 

Today Peter and I went running again and when we came home, he decided it was his turn to push the stroller on a run.  He took his little blue elephant, placed him in the smaller stroller, and pushed him around the back yard.  So adorable.