Friday, September 21, 2007

Old Timey Photo at Grandma's

For some reason I love this low-quality, grainy picture I took with my phone yesterday.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Way of the Ninja

Over the past few years we have taken Dylann to a few different sports. The idea being that his energy level (equal to or greater than that of a Jack Russell terrier) is so intense and his love for trying to stand on his head, climb walls, and jump off bunkbeds could be put to good use with some athletic involvement. First we did t-ball. This was not much of an athletic involvement, because they spent most of the time wondering what they should do first, pick flowers, draw shapes in the sand, or go after the ball.

Next we did gymnastics. Now that is a good workout. But I noticed that the parents could be a little EXTREME. As in, some of them actually homeschool their children so they can pursue gymnastics every day of the week for hours at a time. It was annoying to see an out of shape woman get up from the bleachers, walk into her daughter's class area and correct her while she was busy trying to do 3,068 lunges across the room.

I started thinking about kids sports and how the different parent personalities can be displayed by what sport their kid is in. Because it is clearly the parent's choice, and the kid has little say in the matter. It makes sense, because the parent will be equally as involved in the sport at this age.

This year I was thinking about signing Dylann up for hockey. I called a lady in the area to find out more about how often they practice and how often games are. This lady was extremely enthusiastic about hockey. She excitedly told me that registration is $100 and you need to make a $200 deposit (which will be refunded if you volunteer with the team for 20 hours) and they would also need a check for $60 to purchase tickets to a fundraiser which you are then in charge of selling and if they don't sell, you just made a donation to the team. And then of course, you have to purchase equipment. Practices are twice a week until games start and then you meet three times a week and then there are tournaments sometimes for a whole Saturday. Needless to say, the parents with kids in hockey are very competitive and dedicated. Which sounds a little odd when you're talking about 5 year olds.

I decided on a community ed Tae Kwon Do class. We showed up for the first class in a local middle school gym. A quick scan over the other parents revealed one lady with her nose in a book tucked away in a corner of the gym, two guys with glasses talking (possibly about the way of the ninja or the powers of the liger) and one was holding a comic book guide, and one lady who laughed along with me when the kids asked goofy questions or made announcements like, "Once I kicked really hard and my pants fell off!" Because a group of 5 and 6 year olds doing karate can be funny. I knew right away that we would fit in just fine among this crowd.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I will never get tired of watching this movie.

"I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me... but it's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world.

Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst...

And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain

and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life... "

Lester Burnham from American Beauty

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

One small step

Fall is here, hear the yell. Back to school, ring the bell. Brand new shoes, walking blues. Climb the fence, books and pens. I can tell that we are going to be friends. I can tell that we are going to be friends.

Walk with me, Susie Lee. Through the park and by the tree. We will rest upon the ground. And look at all the bugs we found. Safely walk to school without a sound. Safely walk to school without a sound.

Here we are, no one else. We walked to school all by ourselves. There's dirt on our uniforms. From chasing all the ants and worms. We clean up and now it's time to learn. We clean up and now it's time to learn.

We Are Going to be Friends by The White Stripes

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Waldo, You Wonderful Rascal

We got back a few days ago from an 8 day trek from our front door to the front door of Donn's cousins and back again. They live near Phoenix and it was a 27 hour drive, which we broke up over 3 days. I decided the only things I was going to bring for the boys were books and markers and paper, because I like to make things as difficult on myself as possible and I am forcing the boys to love books. If there are no alternatives, a book is 10 times better than a poke in the eye.

The only other entertainment they had was to try to drive each other crazy from their car seats, to throw snacks all over the van, or to look peacefully out the window and enjoy the view (rare!). The Where's Waldo book proved to be the best one and they looked at it for hours at a time. We wound up picking up another in Arizona before our drive back.

The drive went amazingly well for the first two days, but the last day was a bit harrowing. We didn't make very many stops because I wanted to get to Phoenix before it got too late. I had estimated an arrival time between 6-8 PM. We got to Flagstaff (150 miles away) at 7:30 and I called to let them know we were getting close. Later than expected, but not too bad. Suddenly from the back seat I hear Dylann say, "Jack is sticking his gum up his nose!" I look back to see Jack smiling that impish grin with his finger in his nose. Before I can do or say anything, his face transforms to a look of panic and he pulls his finger out with a trembling lip. The gum is gone. I immediately start running through possible scenarios. I have no previous experience with foreign objects lodged in the nostril, so I have nothing to work with. I think maybe he will inhale it and it will go into his trachea and he will choke. Maybe he could snort it in and it would go into his throat and he could swallow it. I pull over and grab the tweezers, open the door, ready to save the day. I could see the gum up there, but couldn't get a good hold of it and suddenly it disappeared completely into the secret tunnels of the nose.

I called my grandma, I called Donn's cousin, Amy, I called the doctor. We decided since he could breathe okay, it would be safe to drive to Phoenix and take him to the hospital there. He fell asleep on the way and when we got there, we found the gum had fallen out onto his shirt while he was asleep! Excellent news, because no one wanted to go sit in an emergency room for four hours waiting for a doctor to stick another foreign object in Jack's nose to remove the first one.

After two relaxing days by the pool at Amy and Robbie's, we were backing out of the driveway in their posh subdivision and waving goodbye. Back on the road. We went by the Grand Canyon, which was amazing of course. It's like standing at the edge of the earth and looking at an alien landscape. Dylann was impressed, but Jack acted like we see giant, awe-inspiring canyons 1 mile deep on a regular basis. Whateva.

We also went by Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico to see 300,000 Mexican Free-Tailed bats take flight at sunset. Jack loves bats, so this was the highlight of the trip for him. The bats were very small, about as long as your thumb, with a wing span of about 8 inches. We sat at the mouth of the cave and waited, waited, gasped and held our breath because we heard a noise....then waited, and waited. Everyone had to be still and quiet, so the bats wouldn't be bothered by the fact that they had an audience. That was the tough part for the boys. Then you could hear this rush of wings and they came swirling out of the cave like smoke. It was really peaceful, watching them emerge in the quiet, warm night air. We were not allowed to take pictures, but I have the feeling bats are probably hard to photograph anyway. It's dark and they're fast.

That was our last fun stop on the trip and we headed home. Now it's back to the cool autumn weather here in Minnesota. Summer is over and Dylann starts school Time goes by so fast.