Monday, September 23, 2013

The apple

I was snacking on an apple this morning when Martin came over and demanded his portion.

Happy to oblige his desire for healthy foods, I sliced off some small pieces and put them within reach of his small hands. I failed to notice, however, that he had shoved more than one piece into his mouth at once.

Moments later, he had toddled into the living room where he sat coughing and gagging on a piece of apple caught in his throat. Apples are in that weird category of food that, right now, are easy for him to bite off but not as easy for him to chew thoroughly enough to swallow. I can usually avoid problems by giving him tiny pieces, but it doesn't help when he decides to try multiple pieces in his mouth at once.

Both of my kids have very sensitive gag reflexes, so I could see where this was going. But Martin was sitting on the edge of the rug and leaning over the laminate floor, so I figured it would be an easy clean-up.

Nope. To try to dislodge the offending piece of apple, Martin decided to stand up. He turned this way and that, and as I was rushing across the room to aim him in the right direction, he promptly threw up all over my oriental rug...mere inches from the laminate floor.

Luckily, milk and apples do not cause stains. Still, cleaning up shiny hard laminate would have been so much easier than cleaning up a fancy rug.

After this incident, Martin fussed for the appropriate amount of time in order to let me know that he was displeased with me for letting him get a piece of food lodged in the back of his throat, and then he toddled off happily and let me clean up the mess.

Moral of the story: Do not feed the baby apples. Also, try not to get too attached to things you own that are of some value. The children will do what they can to depreciate those items as quickly and disgustingly as possible.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Soccer mom

Fall is my very favorite season. It seems we are moving slowly into it with a back-and-forth of cool days and warm days. It is the season to play outside as much as possible.

This year, playing outside includes soccer season. It is our very first foray into the world of youth soccer and it has been...interesting.

Soccer is an age-group sport, not a skill-based sport. Which is a bit frustrating. Olivia is in the "under 6" group, which includes kids aged 4-6, and she is nearly a head taller than everyone else. While she has yet to perfect her skills, she definitely has them.

The most obvious of her skills is speed. This kid is fast. She gets in there and steals the ball and then breaks away and is on the other side of the field kicking on goal before half of the kids even realize what is going on. Now, if we could just improve her kicking accuracy, she'd be a rock star!

Joe is the coach of this team. We are still a little unsure about how we got roped into that. However, as much as he says he is ineffective at this age group, there is no doubt that he knows more about the sport than 90% of the adults involved. Many of the adults are learning the rules as they go, sometimes from him, even if the kids aren't really absorbing it. (Kids in the 4-year-old age range cannot be expected to remember the rules of soccer.) And Olivia is learning a lot from him. So it is fine.
Carrying her brother around at water break time.
Martin has been my spectator companion for soccer practices and games. He likes to try to walk onto the field while the kids are running drills. I try to keep him behind the net as much as possible, but he's getting to be faster than me.
Kicking the ball into the wrong side of the net.
As fast and valuable as Olivia is on the field, she also really likes to play goalie. She's so cute. She stands in the box shouting cheers to her teammates and gets all excited when she blocks a kick on goal or gets to kick the ball back into play.
So far, soccer season has been fairly enjoyable. I think we'll enjoy it even more next year, when competition is introduced and more kids are playing the game instead of kicking up dirt and picking clover.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Weekend trip

Last weekend we did a whole lot of driving and spent some time in Wisconsin visiting Joe's Grampa, who is 97 years old. You guys. That is a lot. Grampa was married 50 years to Joe's Gramma before she died, and now he's been married more than 20 years to his second wife. That kind of life experience just kind of blows my mind.

Joe's Grampa is a pretty amazing guy. He's an old farmer and can carry on a conversation about just about anything. His health has been declining a little more steadily in the past year or so, but he maintains his sense of humor and is just fun to talk to.

This was Martin's first trip to see Great Grampa, for whom he was named (Grampa's first name is Martin's middle name). They were fast friends.
Fist bump with Great-Grampa
We visit about once a year, and every trip is special because we don't know which trip will be the last one. Each time we are there, we have places we visit, including the cemetery where Joe's maternal grandparents and paternal grandmother are buried. When Joe's Grampa is gone, these trips will cease, and that will be sad because it's become something of a tradition with us. These are Joe's roots even though he didn't grow up in Wisconsin.

I hope we will have a reason to visit Wisconsin a few more times because we would miss that tradition. But most of all, we would miss visiting with this pretty incredible guy.