Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Longing For Green

Sleepy are the days,
Dull and frozen white
But underneath the frosting lie the
Secrets of the gardens flight.

The bulbs are busy at their task
of digging down through
chocolate ground.
Only to surprise and awe the
children of the coming dawn.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How to Make Dog Food

First, secretly crawl out to the kitchen and find the spoon you threw on the floor during lunch.

Second, stir carefully, be sure not to spill.

If you spill a little, not to worry, Mommy cleans up everything.

Be sure to stir thoroughly.

When desired texture is achieved, sit back and enjoy the view.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, for a little package, she gets into some big trouble.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


There is a small park near us, North Hampton Park for you locals, which offers a learn to ski program for beginners.  It is a simple, almost primitive tiny bit of a hill with a rope pull along one side. We decided as a Valentines Day treat, we would take the girls for a one-time lesson to expand their horizons.  Adalyn was happily stashed at my parents house to allow us to be completely focused on the older two.

There were a few bits of knowledge I came away with.

1.  The giggles make it very hard to ski.
2.  4 is a bit young to handle a rope pull by oneself.
3.  Kids learn fast!

Both girls did great.  But you could definitely see the additional 2 1/2 years Denver has over Willa as far as gross and fine motor skills go.  Denver went down the hill 4 or 5 times and the last time only fell once.  Fall may not be the best word.  I had told her that if she felt out of control and was not able to regain it, to just sit down.  So she did.  And most impressive was that the last time up the rope pull, she only faltered once. 

The rope pull was challenging for me so I was very impressed she was able to do it by herself.  It is a heavy rope for one.  And two, it takes a bit to get the hang of hanging on.  You need to be in position and let the rope kinda move through your hands eventually tightening your grip so that you are then pulled along.  But you need to have a good sense of balance and keep your weight on your heels and be able to grip the rope tight enough to make it to the top and avoid taking a facial in the snow in the first second that it pulls you.  I'll admit my hands were sore from gripping so tight by the time we hit the top. 
Willa went down the whole hill the first time with our instructor who was VERY helpful with her.  He was also on skis and was able to sandwich her in front of his skis to get her up the hill with the rope. 

I was on a snowboard so when it came time to getting her back up the hill with only me to help...well, she was done at that point and in the end Daddy came to the rescue and marched down the hill to help Mommy walk her back to the top.  Considering her age, she did remarkably well.
Amazingly, I did not bite it once.  Muscle memory is a wonderful thing.  It was nice to be on a board again and made me wish I had the time and the money to do it more often.  I learned to snowboard while in college in Colorado, where it seemed everyone knew how to do something on a mountain.  My roommate, Talisha,  helped teach me and we had many a fun day trips to board our weekend away.  I remember the night before my first time out, I was all strapped into the snowboard, boots and all, and mentally pretended to carve, moving my board this way and that in the confines of our apartment.   I must say though that it did help.  Oh I fell tons for the first few days of my new hobby,   But I did really love doing it and remembered yesterday how much.  I also remembered how much it hurts my knees but what can you do.
Wayne was very smart and threw the sleds in the car 'just in case.'   Willa, by the end, preferred the ease of sledding to the trials of the rope pull, we were able to end on a really positive happy note since the sledding hill was right across the street.  What a very fun day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Naz Vs. AQ, One Last Time

We went to a Basketball game between Nazareth and Aquinas.  The last one ever.  The two schools are merging and Nazareth shall be no more.  The game was at Roberts Weslyan College.  A much larger venue than the cheese box of a gym Nazareth claims as its' own.  The gym was set up as a kids paradise in a way.  They had the indoor track foam beds in a corner and track lines on the floor.  Denver and Willa played for a good hour on the foam, jumping and chasing each other.  By the end Willa played so much she fell off the foam(probably why they discourage non-track people from playing on it).  She cut her mouth and got her firrst bloody nose and was so exhausted she was asleep before we had her buckled in.  Here is Denver and Willa with Meredith, my Varsity counterparts' eldest sweetie.  Those were some really tired kids!
Naz won in OT by 2 points.  A thriller.  But sad all the same just knowing that it would not be again.  Many, many of our volleyball kids were there and it was depressing to think that I may not get to coach all of them next year.  So much potential.  Some of it buried so deep it would take a year or two to uncover, but there all the same.  Some had already decided on their plans for next year, most were not prepared to make a decision.  A smart plan when your emotions are high. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

For a Little Package...

Being that she is the smallest person in our family(not counting Neener, our girl kitty) she sure causes a lot of havoc around here.  Yesterday, she was napping on our bed and when I heard a peep from her I checked on her only to find that she had crawled to the other end of our bed and had happily pulled out about 100 wiped from the wipe package. 
She looked sooo proud of herself, I had to take a picture!  It's hard to see against the white of the duvet but there are wipes everywhere! No more napping on Mom and Dad's bed for her!

And while making dinner last night, I noticed suddenly that it was too quiet and there was no crawling maniac destroying my kitchen underfoot. 
When I found her she had happily unrolled the toilet paper roll and thought it was the best game ever!  She is turning out to be my busiest.  Or maybe I'm distracted by other things now.  All I know is that it is very hard to keep up!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The End Of an Era

I was going to try to postpone writing this post for a few days.  To give myself time to reflect and process the new reality of change.  I am overcome with sadness.  Not the bone shattering heart stopping kind, and of course, there are worse things out there than the news that I received this week.

I coach in the Fall for a lovely all girls High School.  I have coached there for 11 years now, not that I feel old enough to have done anything for 11 years.  It was my first coaching postion, given to me by my own dear high school coach who had hopes of me turning into something useful on the bench.  Good thing he had vision.  It took a few years.

I remember the day before my very first game as a coach, he struggled to find the words to say...don't expect to win tomorrow.  I remember being almost offended.  Almost.  At this point I knew him well enough to know he didn't babble out meaningless words the way that some people do, talking just to fill space.  And sure enough, we were awful.  There were many years of awful.  In the beginning, I did not know how much I did not know.

And so followed 11 years of ...not perfection, less than perfect but close.  The girls are almost all of them wonderful kids.  However, some, more coordinated than others.  Some years, due to low turnouts, I am coaching kids that should not nor could not play for any team any place.   The down side is, my teams were frequently less skilled than our competitors.  The upside, by the end of the 4 years of their high school careers, if they stuck with it, we had kids who had to fight for every ounce of athleticism they got and it showed on the court.  It meant more because they had worked so incredibly hard physically and mentally. 

Every kid was not unique but there are groups of them that stand out and some individuals too.  Some parents of those girls will sometimes read this blog and to them I will say...I wish you'd had more girls b/c I loved coaching the ones I got.  That your girls are unbelievably special and in 30 years I will still look back at coaching them as one of my great privileges.

So what's so special?  Well, I love the kids, really, they are great year after year.  The parents too, believe it or not.  I love coaching with my Varsity counterpart who is a great friend and mentor.  And I love the AD, Chris Belmont, that we work with. I am old enough to understand how rare it is to have all those things combined at the same time.  The school has a wonderful atmosphere of family.

At least, as far as I was able, I can say I understood its  uniqueness in time.  That I could, to some extent, see that other schools did not have what we had.  The intangible things that you cannot replicate with any amount of drills and procedure.

Years ago, Wayne and I were part of a small group Bible Study.  We were all 20 somethings and none of us had kids(I'm just impressed I can remember back that far).  It was led by our Pastor who now pastors at Pearce Memorial in Chili.  We enjoyed the study and the people and as life progressed and babies came, the group inevitably shifted and changed and then dissolved.  Now, looking back, I can see how special that core group was.  How it would be almost impossible to duplicate it again at this stage in our lives.  But back then, we could not possibly have known how unique our relationships were.  This end of Nazareth Academy is like that in some ways.  Not all, but some. 

I will take a few days to be sad.  I will go to their BB game on Friday and commiserate with the parents, kids, and alumni.  I will try without success, not to cry in public(something I cannot stand doing!).  I had hopes of sending our girls to the High school in their own time but, what's that they say about best laid plans?

It is too soon to say where I will coach next year, only to say that I would still like to be coaching.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Introducing...The Rolling Boil

So I am starting a new blog.  Not that I won't be keeping up this one but as I've mentioned before, I get REALLY bored in the Winter.(Note thiis first pic is from a recent storm view from an upstairs window)  Not to say that I am not busy.  I am busy, but not with a lot of mental stimulation.  So here is something to keep me occupied.  It's called The Rolling Boil.  I think I picked the name because rolling boils are one of the hardest things for me.
  It's not the skill that's required that gets me, it's the patience!  So you can read all about my first experience with fondant while I made this cake.

I made it for our monthly dinner night with my brothers fam and some friends.  While at my brothers place, we talked Willa into playing the Wii.  My brother's tv is huge!  And as you can see, the wii board was about 3 ft. from it.  Having trouble doing it herself, Daddy stepped on to help her ski jump.
She must have felt like she was flying because when they 'jumped' she flung her arms wholeheartedly into the air with a huge smile on her face.  So cute! 

Ady crawled around trying to press new buttons and lights and snuggled with almost everyone.  Here Tyler and Ady together in their footy pajamas.  I wish I could explain, but with Tyler, there just isn't any explaination.