I had to study the snap traps a bit to get them rigged up just right. I was fiddling with one on the counter and sprang it with a fork to test it. It FLEW three feet into the air and the boys’ eyes were WIDE! Even Mr. Sam, who by now is 11, and knows ALL. Then it was time to add bait. I messed up – EPIC fail – and ended up with cheese in my hair. This was also amusing to some fans…but eventually got it all set…
Eleven years sounds like a very long time. It’s more than a decade. Sam celebrated 11 years with us on Wednesday by having many of his hockey buddies over for fried chicken, pizza, cake, video games, shooting out in the garage, and a sleepover. We sure had fun! Here are a couple pictures, but more is in the album.
Wow – what a weekend! I’m totally wiped, but had a lot of fun getting to that point. Here’s a roundup, using pictures, because they will hopefully do the job!
The Zamboni was down today and practice was cancelled. Bummer! What to do? Roller hockey, of course! We invited hardy souls who didn’t mind the cold and rain to come join us at the school where there is a nice covered area with cement flooring. Down side? The soccer club had already arrived and was not interested in cooperating on a sharing arrangement. He eventually allowed us to use some of the space while the team warmed up, but then we had to move on to a covered walkway, and a spot outside the cafeteria – walled with glass and surveilled by a video camera. Not ideal conditions for passing a hockey puck! But, we persisted – the kids had a lot of fun anyway, and the conditions were so ridiculous it was funny. I recorded a few video greetings for the hockey director and coach – they’re not having much fun with a sick Zamboni and kids bummed to miss practice. The soccer coach finally relented and left 15 min early, so after 90 min of waiting, we got a chance to play hockey for about 45 min. We ended up coming home about the same time we would have come home from Bremerton, which is normally about 4 hours out of the house. I was tucking the kids in bed and couldn’t figure out why Ben smelled sour. So I thought. I’d just done sheets, and he’d just showered. I had Dave sniff him all over and he didn’t smell anything. I kept sniffing around and finally figured out it was MY HANDS! What the crap? Was it my wild yeast starter? I did bake bread today. (Yes – the yeasts are alive again! Check out the picture of the bread – they are now revived after months of neglect. I had to build the colony back up slowly with many many feedings. I’m so excited to see they’re working again!) OK – want to know what the smell was? Can you guess? Hockey-related. I was playing with the boys, which means I had…GLOVES on. The hockey stink persisted despite washing my hands AND cleaning up after dinner. Unreal! Enjoy these clips!
I’m trying to learn Russian, and now that I have a very good (FREE) app to help with Cyrillic, I’m making headway. I was able to say a few phrases in Russian, but without knowing the letters I just couldn’t get much further than repeating conversational phrases. (It WAS fun to find a pair of Russian parents in Winthrop over break and speak to them, though! Dave was like: “Leave it to you to find the only Russians in the valley.”) So tonight I was practicing writing the letters I’ve learned on Google translate. If you use the drawing pad, you can test your accuracy. From there I moved on to speaking Russian. It was time for the boys to brush their teeth, so why not learn something practical? Here’s what it looks like:
Friday Ben’s Mites team played during the Warriors’ intermission. It was fun for him, but 3 hours of transit to play 5 minutes on the ice? He REALLY wanted more skating time, but managed to score a goal from all the way at the other side of the ice.
And because I like to keep up on customs and traditions…I checked out Scottish Hogmanay traditions on Wikipedia. That infallible source of the people. The entry had me at chicken wire and flammable materials. Dave and I went for a bike ride down to a brewery on the island (this is a sort of broken tradition dating back to before kids, when we had time to go on a 30 mile bike ride then stop for a sampler). Now that it’s relatively safe to bike here (Hawaii – not so much), I decided to reinstate the tradition for our anniversary. Needless to say, I was pretty buzzed biking back uphill after a few samplers! We took it slow and got home in time for me to undertake this adventure. See bottom of post for the video.
It’s been a very busy weekend with Thanksgiving then a hockey tournament (replete with days’ long bake sale fundraiser). And just for fun, on Friday night Sam and I were horsing around (you know where this is going) with whipped cream and pumpkin pie. This is a family holiday tradition going back several generations. My mom’s dad apparently had a mischievous streak: “honey, I think the whipped cream has gone off a bit? Could you check?” My grandmother took a little sniff, then BAM! a swift bop and her nose was full of the fluff! This continued on with the children…each older child in turn would stifle a laugh as the next in line would be inducted into the whipped cream hall of fame. I didn’t really remember this when I went for it on Friday night…the moment just seemed to be there. Sam was swiping whipped cream with his fingers and stuffing it into his mouth, so I grabbed a handful and helped him stuff his mouth a bit – it got messy quick! He grabbed the can, tried to spray me, I escaped with a little in my hair. Then I asked Sam: “Hey, Sam! Can you still SMELL the pumpkin under all that whipped cream?” He bent over to smell…and yes, I plunged his nose right into the white fluff. (Buttercream frosting leaves better nostril marks.) He took off chasing me around the house with a handful in retribution and when I got cornered I turned around helplessly and saw him smiling in pursuit! That’s when I noticed…a THIRD OF HIS TOOTH WAS MISSING!!! He’d chipped a front tooth on the plate! OMG!!! OMG! This is reeeaaallly BAD! So, my hockey player had a badly chipped tooth, but not from hockey, or any LEGIT sport as the teenagers at the rink were quick to point out. It was from HIS MOTHER shoving his FACE into PIE! Freak accident, yes, funny now, yes, but I felt (and still do) horribly about it. We have the most incredible dentist, though, who was willing to come in yesterday to assess him and fix him up today. Here’s a shot of the progress. You can’t tell now. Today I got bucked off for the first time in two years of resuming riding. So – an epic day for me as well. I should have known better than to grit through a sense of Emmy not being in a cooperative mindset. Riders call it “behind the leg” – not accepting direction. It’s a decidedly unsettling feeling when a horse isn’t moving forward under you. The etiology of all bad things horse-related is riding a mount who is not in front of the leg. I should have jumped off and lunged to reassert my proper place in her horse hierarchy, but I’ve worked through such rides before. Today I was really relaxed – maybe because I have a lot on my mind (work, sick kids, school stuff, visiting family, etc.) and had survived hockey, so I wasn’t really ON mentally myself. You have to actually be a bit edgy to ride well – very much in tune to your environment and the beast. A bit wired. I wasn’t today. I was relaxed, which, oddly, enabled me to fall well. I saw it coming – a buck on the canter depart which threw me forward, then I couldn’t recover fast enough for the next one and saw myself sailing toward a wall. Hit my head (that’s what helmets are for) and landed on my back. Within a few minutes I was back on after my instructor, Janet, had a conversation with Emmy. In describing this to Dave tonight, he said that could be courageous or stupid. I replied that Roosevelt (my current historical interest) would have gotten right back on. Dave replied “Yes, because that was his mode of transportation and he still had 1,500 miles to cover.” 😉
Back to the post title. I was packing up kids into the truck yesterday after the tournament was over and the younger sister of our goalie was asking her mom this question. She’d just heard Sam call me that 🙂 I’m sorry for the influence of my crazy children! Oh – wait – I should apologize for MY influence on THEM I guess! Hope you had a sane holiday!!!!
All of the November pictures have now been annotated and uploaded to the ALBUM. Videos of hockey games, hockey practice, stick and puck, Emmy (the awesome Irish Sport Horse I borrow to ride), and…is there anything else? Soccer games…oh yeah, that. The wet, cold, soccer games! Oh, and me cooking a few actual meals that start with raw ingredients. That were edible. And people ate them. I think even liked them. A shopping trip to beat all…just days in the life. I got rear-ended for the second time in my life (I’ve never caused an accident or gotten a ticket but after starting the hockey commute last year, I’ve been rear-ended twice!). The bike rack on the back of the truck really puts in an extra layer of defense, but is not well liked by the Lexus which met it up close. Poor car. Enjoy the photos and drop me a line to let me know how you are. Tamara… 🙂 Liisa? How the heck are ya?
How long has it been since my last update? I think a couple weeks since we went up Mt. Zion…the boys and I… So, it’s time to post a few updates!
Here is the FIGURE SKATING VIDEO!
More pictures and the full story in the album…
I can’t believe how busy the past couple weeks have been. I’m sorry for being so lame sharing photos and stories of what the kids are up to. Both are enjoying ice hockey very much, and soccer as well. Last weekend Ben was in a half-day soccer tournament and came off the field after 6 games saying “Can we do this next weekend?” He would enjoy a different sport every day I think. Sam is adjusting really well to 6th grade and getting into a groove managing his organizational skills and homework load. It’s definitely a team effort but he’s taking the lead more than ever and remembering if he’s taking the bus home or catching up with me at school to drive down to ice hockey. The days certainly fly by at this pace!
I’ve been working on coordinating math coach programs at two schools, recruiting and screening volunteers as a good match for the teachers. It is going well but entails quite a bit of communication with all concerned. I’m also starting a Coder Dojo club for after school computer programming with mentors. It’s a cool model conceived by an Irish teenager to get kids into coding, so I’m working on recruiting high schoolers in need of credit or service work hours to be a part of the program. Also working…and the work load is heavy right now.
Here’s a quick video of Ben in his first ice hockey game. It was very cute to see these young kids playing! The 1’17” video ends on a high note – stay tuned to see Ben’s hat trick (third shot) of his first game go in!
I am HORRENDOUSLY behind in sharing what has been going on here! Last week was the first full week of school and Dave happened to be away. The logistics of running two boys with three sports between them are complicated. The car pools are coming together for ice hockey, though. First colds have come through the house, but everyone is doing ok. I hope this week is a little more sane but I am not convinced it will be given my workload forecast…for which I’m grateful! I grabbed a few pictures which somewhat give you a sense of what we’ve been doing.
By far the most gratifying experiences to date have been weekend hikes with the hockey families – groups of 13-14 people, including 8-9 boys. The hikes have been big, with equally big views and the kids have really enjoyed themselves while we parents have gotten a good workout. They still have energy to horse around after dinner, ice cream cones in hand, while the sun dips below the ridge line. I’ll post more hike pictures as soon as I get them annotated. I’m also very happy that several programs are getting off the ground at the local schools – a Math Docent program at two schools and a Coder Dojo at one… stay tuned. Lots more details to take care of there, but I’m very encouraged. Speaking of school, Sam is LOVING it, which is a huge success – rating it 15 out of 10! Ben is very happy at school as well and only causing the expected amount of trouble. 🙂
Here are more pictures from Darrel: https://www.flickr.com/photos/austin-family/sets/72157658183827500
Camp Last Hurrah was Thursday – last week. It was a very busy day, kicked off by a vigorous ride (on Emmy), hay-bale throwing, mucking, then camping. I didn’t stop moving – literally – for 24 hours. At 2:46 pm on Friday (after all the below adventures) I laid down for a rare (like once every 4 years) nap so I could be human when Dave got home. I turned the ringers off, put the boys in their bunks (they were exhausted as well) and was lights out for an hour. When I woke up at 4pm, I felt like I’d been run over by a train. Truly every muscle hurt and it was reminiscent of delivering Sam 10 years ago… But I wouldn’t have traded that 24 hours for anything in the world. Read on to find out why…Some of the stories are classified – you’ll have to ask me for the rest sometime 🙂
We got back on Saturday from a week in Victoria BC for ice hockey camp with Leslie Global Sports. It was an action-packed 7 days, camping and running logistics for boys going to hockey every day! Both Ben and Sam were in the camp, and we were very fortunate to camp with another family and their two boys of the same age. It was a wonderful time for everyone – what could be better than a week-long sleepover, plus ice hockey? It was pretty challenging for me as Dave couldn’t join us – unable to get away for an additional week on top of going to Orcas two weeks ago for my mom’s 75th – but the boys were really great and we had excellent company helping us out. It was such a superb time – a great footnote to the summer and wonderful memories to carry us through starting school again.
Here are a few pictures:
And video produced by one of the coaches with a GoPro on his helmet:
The plum tree really produced this year so we were determined to make good on the haul!
Plums drying in the dehydrator to make medieval plum pudding (which actually contained plums whereas modern plum pudding doesn’t seem to!).
Ready to go in the oven. ..
Plum torte based on a 1989 NYT recipe. Here’s hoping! With Dave cooking lentils it really smells good in here!