Monthly Archives: January 2013

Soccer goals

Boychild has been in soccer almost year-round since he was in first grade.  It is much more his pace than baseball, which has long stretches of standing in the outfield or on a bench.  Excercise, teamwork, and the chance to watch and learn from other kids and from grownups other than his teachers or parents are all good reasons to keep him in soccer.  Plus, he’s actually good at it.

He greatly favors defense, including the goalie position.  He’s an amazing goalie, and his abilities to zip in out of nowhere and kick the ball away from the opposing side make him a valuable defensive player.  However, he seems to largely lack the ball- and self-control to be an effective offensive player. Since he prefers the defensive positions, and doesn’t seem to mind that he therefore rarely gets to score a goal, this works out alright.  “Doesn’t mind” doesn’t mean he doesn’t like scoring goals, of course, and he is proud that he has scored at least one goal each season.

We are now in the winter session.  They play indoors in a really nice field which even takes cleats.  The winter team tends to be the very dedicated kids, so the ratio of very good kids to mediocre is pretty high.  Yesterday they faced their toughest competition, and the coach put him on offense.  For the first part of the game, he didn’t really know what he was doing and was not very effective.  But it didn’t take him long to remember to play his position.  Once he remembered “the rules”, as it where, and what he was supposed to do, he stuck to it like a champ.  The other kid on offense is one of the best offensive players. He’s fast and agile.  He would therefore bring the ball up the field with apparent ease, only to be confronted by half of the other team, who saw him rightly as a threat.  His only option then would be to look for an opening to his teammate, and sure enough, that is where he would find boychild, reliably waiting at an angle to the goal, just like he should be.  This way he managed to get several shots on goal, and TWO WENT IN!  Two goals in one game!

His team sadly lost 6 – 3, and of course one could ask whether he as defender could have kept the other team down from scoring 6 goals.  But we can’t go down that line of thinking since it would never end. Instead, we can, and do, congratulate the boy on playing effective offense and scoring two of his team’s three goals.


The Packing Gene

So, girlchild and I are going away this weekend.  On Friday I’ll pick her up straight from school and we’ll be off to New Hampshire for what is becoming our “traditional” girls’ weekend.  Of course, this year we are calling it “fencers’ weekend” so that her foster sister doesn’t feel more left out than already inherent in such an endeavour.  There is, after all, a fencing tournament on Saturday.

Girlchild is incredibly excited about this trip.  On Tuesday she asked me why I wasn’t packed yet. She asked me if she could pack, so I told her where to get luggage.  She dragged a luggage from the basement up to her room on the second floor, and proceeded to pack it.  An hour later she came clattering down the stairs with her luggage and added it to the pile I had started of “things to go with us”.

This morning I finally got a chance to open the luggage to see what was in it.  I was expecting, at best, half of the clothes she needs, and random toys.

What I found was a neatly packed luggage with one toy, one pillow, neatly folded (well as neatly as she could manage) clothes, pajamas, toothbrush and other toiletries, and two books.  Everything perfectly and logically arranged.


Tonight, she can pack my luggage.


We had a little snow on the ground here a couple of weeks ago.  Maybe a week or so ago, a snowman appeared in the yard.  Brokk told me that the girls had built it.  It was a nice snowman, about 4′ tall, with three body segments, stick arms, eyes, nose and smile, and even “hair”.  I went out the next morning to take a picture of it and already, the head had melted away.  Sad, I walked away.

I asked girlchild about it and she told me that she built it, to show her foster sister.  (reading between the lines, they both wanted to build one but the younger girl lost interest in the actual labor).  I was pretty impressed that girlchild had built a whole snowman by herself.

A couple of nights later, she “fixed” the snowman so that his face was on what used to be his abdomen, and his arms stuck out from what was his legs before.  In other words, he became a two-snowball snowman.  He looked pretty good and I finally got a picture of it.  It felt a bit bittersweet, since I had missed the opportunity to take a picture of the snowman when he was first built.

But even that face melted off by the morning.  By this point, you would figure that any child would have lost interest in this snowman.  But apparently, not girlchild.  A couple of nights later, she and I came home from a pretty tiring day of errands, and in fading light she decided she was going to fix the snowman.  Keep in mind, that by now most of the snow has melted away.  There is a patch at least 15 feet in radius around the snowman that was purely grass, since anywhere the kids had stomped was melted or smooshed into the mud.  Undeterred, she spent 20 minutes fetching handfuls of snow to patch up the 2-snowball edifice, and then she started into making a new head.  I helped a little, partly because it was getting dark but mostly because her enthusiasm was infectious.  In fact, she made the head too big and I got to show her how to carve snow using your shoe.  We got the head on and I served to hold things in place while she fetched handfuls of snow to patch them.  For example, holding the head until she got “neck snow” and holding an arm while she shored it up.  The engineering work was all hers.

Arms (one raised so it looked like he was waving), eyes (stones), nose (pebble), smile (4 pieces of stick so that he had a small smile with dimples), pipe (short thick stick), and hair (limp dead iris leaves) and he was perfect.

It rained that night, and by the morning the snowman was very skinny.  His hair was still on.

Now I remember that she called it not a “snowman” but a “snowperson”:)

Tenacity; I have never seen so much of it in a 7yo.

The growing of girlchild

The foster daughter has a bad cold, and girlchild caught head lice at school.  Made for an “exciting” couple of days around here, but we’re all surviving well.  I wanted to keep girlchild away from fosterchild so that they wouldn’t share their respective bugs (although of course we had treated the headlice).  Still, better to be safe than sorry.


This morning I made three cakes as a base for a fancy dessert for next weekend.  Then packed up girlchild to go run errands.  We went to the Salvation Army with a truck full of items for donation.  My basement and my heart felt lighter after the drop-off.  Then off to BJs for food supplies, and after that we needed to go to a craft store and to buy her some new shoes and socks.  On the way to lunch, I pulled over into an Uno’s restaurant and offered her that or sushi at Wegman’s.  She chose Uno’s, so in we went, me with my laptop and her with my iPad.   I got some work done while she played.  It’s awesome being a touch typist, because I can let my fingers finish typing a thought while actually participating in the game with her.


Shoes proved difficult to get.  I had recently bought her a pair of Van’s online, but they were too wide for her narrow feet.  I’ll be returning them.  She tends to prefer to have only one pair of shoes (we’ve tried having sneakers and nice shoes and boots available, but it doesn’t seem to work for her and just frustrates her about what to wear).  She is so long and slender that many of her trousers are a little short.  They still look good on her, but with the short socks that she tends to prefer (and therefore Santa brought for her) she is left with an inch or two of ankle showing.  We didn’t find shoes at the first place we looked, and ended up at the mall.  I abhor the mall.  But we had directions so that we were barely in the mall proper, and thankfully found a pair that worked for her.  Black sneakers with elastic and one velcro strap, and rainbow stripes on the sides.


By that point is was close to 3pm and she had asked to go skating.  The rink opened at 3 for open skate.  Thankfully I had prepared for this contingency and had packed all her skating stuff, so off we went to the rink.  She skated around really well, practicing all the moves they tried to teach her in class (except the going backwards part). When she fell she picked herself right up.


All day we hung out.  We left the house at 10:30 and didn’t get home till after 4pm.  She was a delight to hang with, and I had a lot of fun.  Seven years old.  Sheesh. 🙂

Cats January 2013


We are back to being a 3-cat family.  Rosie is a long-haired tabby, and is about 6 years old; we’ve had her for about 4 years.  Odin is a black cat with one eye, about 1.5 years old.  We got her when she was about 2 months old.  Latest addition is Sleipnir/Slipnir/Slippy, a 3 month old tabby.  All girls, which was a coincidence, although the last two have male names.  Sleipnir was brought home in the hope that she’d be a good companion for Odin.  So far this has worked out well, as the two of them play wrestle for hours each day.  The dog, Pepper, keeps hoping that Sleipnir will wrestle with her, but thus far the two aren’t speaking the same language so even though the kitten has started to make motions towards wanting to wrestle with the dog, the dog isn’t understanding the cat’s body language and so the promise remains unfulfilled.

Wide eyed Slipnir Beautiful Sleepy Odin Cats 2 and 3 on climberSleipnir on top, taunting Odin inside the cat tower.

Mouse Priveledges

After more than a month taking care of my geckos, by July 6 girlchild had earned the right to her own “starter” pet (i.e. mouse, gerbil, dwarf hamster, or fish). We looked and looked on petfinder and finally saw one at the MSPCA in JP that looked perfect. We met him, and he is even better than his picture! I’m not sure yet what his story is, but at the shelter we were told he’d been there for a very long time (at least since last November), and only after we got him home we realized he was missing his right hand. Why did we miss something so seemingly obvious? It could be because he is the most spectacular climber I’ve ever had as a mouse pet. Clearly, the missing hand doesn’t matter to him, and it matters even less to us. He’s wonderful. His fur is uber-soft, and he hasn’t so much as peed on us once. We did buy him a non-wire wheel though since he can’t grip properly without a hand. I asked my daughter whether she would have reconsidered had she known about the missing hand. My heart about burst with pride when she said “Not at all. It means he needs us more.” Welcome home Spotty!

The good, the bad, and the pretty

Ah Christmas vacation.  7 schooldays off this year, which with weekends means 11 consecutive days out of school.  That is a very long time to be out of the structure of school.  As I have been home more for it than other holidays, I have gotten to see the decline of behavior more directly than in other cases.  After a few days of this, I realized that there is no house big enough, nor enough toys in the world, to keep the peace between three children.

So, on Saturday, we embarked on our first “big adventure”.  We went first to Target so the kids could spend some of their Christmas money, and subsequently off to the Ecotarium.  Personally, I needed a new pair of mid-calf boots for work.  They had two that would fit the bill – a platform pair with nearly 6″ heels, and a pair of pseudo-engineer boots with ~ 5″ heels.  I knew I should get the lower heels. They were much more practical.  Target has a wonderful policy of keeping a pair of size 11s in every shoe type, and boychild frequently helps me find them.  (This started when he was just learning his numbers, and as math practice I used to have him help me find my size)  As I was dithering about buying the more practical pair, I flipped them over and noted that the sole had a rose on it. It would leave a neat imprint in the snow!  Still, I dithered, at which point, in a near-whisper, boychild says “Roses for Rozi”.  That clinched it.  Off we went with the practical pair, which are simply lovely, knowing that I am walking with my own bouquet as proffered to me by my son.