Saturday 30 September 2006

She who makes the sun rise

[Morning — Alice wakes up]

Alice: I need to get dressed.

Dad: OK.

Alice: It not dark out now.

Dad: No, it’s not. Who turned on the light?

Alice: [thinks deeply] Mommy!

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Weekend Soccer Report

Sometimes Metal Foot’s kicks are a bit scary

Corwin’s team ground out another strong victory, 6-1. Corwin played mostly defense and didn’t see very much action (he was grumpy late in the game and when I asked him about it, he said “I’m bored!”).

Initially I thought the team was in trouble because the other side scored a goal just a few minutes in. I didn’t see the kicker but I watched Corwin, goalie, desperately chasing after the ball and finally doing a rolling dive to catch it. Unfortunately, he continued to roll right on in to the goal with the ball. I wondered what the heck Corwin was doing so far out of position as the goalie that he had to chase the ball from behind. It turned out that it was a score by one of Corwin’s teammates. Corwin had come forward thinking he could easily pick up the ball, since there were no opponents around.

After that, the team went on a very aggressive attack but the other team’s goalie was tough. There was actual frustration on the part of the forward offense about taking so many shots with no goals, but eventually Andrew fired one in from a good ways out. After that, it was a slow but steady series of goals by various players.

The other team had good heart, though, playing on until the end. Overall a good game, although I think the coach should have rotated in some of the weaker players more, to get them some game time and make it easier for me to get a good picture of them.

Season Summary

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Friday 29 September 2006

At least the kids didn't see me do it

It turns out that if you eat an entire jar of pickled garlic in the space of a couple of days, no amount of showering or flossing will eliminate the heady smell of garlic that hovers near you.

Dang, it was tasty though.

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Alice the Fairy

For Aunt Deb

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Helping the parental attention span

Charles will be starting speech therapy next week. Mom and I went in to talk to his teacher and the speech therapist earlier this week. He has quite the list of speech defects, although apparently a number of them solved themselves over the summer (he was initially screened at the end of the last school year). His biggest remaining ones are with blends, for which he either drops the trailing sound or uses ‘f’ for the entire this (e.g., “faceship” for “spaceship” or “sool” for “school”).

Charles seems OK with it so far, although it will cut in to his free time in class (his favorite part of the day, because he gets to build things).

Perhaps it will help with those times when Charles tries to describe one of the features and I can’t figure out what he’s saying. Currently he gets very upset and claims “you not listening to me!”.

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Thursday 28 September 2006


This is from a while ago but it got lost in the pile of pictures.

Polynomial managed to get her collar stuck in one of the vent covers. It bothered her a bit, but I think she was getting used to it when I noticed and removed it.

The vent is caught by one of Poly’s tags, which she managed to lower through the vent and then rotate so it wouldn’t come back out. Such a clever dog!

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There are easier ways to ask

Alice used to say “I poopy again” just before having a containment failure. Now she waits until she starts before announcing “I want a bath”. I have tried to convince her that she can have a bath just for the asking, without having to make a mess, but she’s quite dubious.

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Wednesday 27 September 2006

Mid-week Soccer Report

Charles takes a shot at the goal

Charles had his second soccer game tonight. It was over at the school instead of the normal soccer fields, which made for some extra fun as Corwin still had practice over there. Mom and Alice watched Corwin while I tracked Charles, because Corwin was over at Jack’s and didn’t need transport. Mom had to stay late for for academic thingie, then picked up Alice and Corwin.

This game was a tie, 1-1. There was some dispute about a second goal for the other team, but it was decided that it didn’t count because it knocked over the cone that marked the goal (and presumably, had the cone been a post, it would have bounced off).

Charles almost melted down before we went, refusing to play at all and declaring that he didn’t like soccer. This was cause by the realization that going to the soccer game meant not being able to draw. I managed to persuade him eventually and he said he had fun afterwards.

Charles didn’t play as well as his first game, he spent most of his non-goalie time trailing 5-6 feet behind the ball, retracing its past like a little echo. The path was random enough that occasionally that was the right place to be.

At one point Charles was hit and the coach had to go an comfort him on field. He was crying and holding his arm in pain, until the coach said something I couldn’t hear and Charles under went a miraculous recovery, leaping in to action and laughing as he went. I suppose I could find out what she said, but I would probably ruin it via over use and then how would the soccer team cope?

Charles was goalie for a quarter and again he was so intimidating that the ball only got close to him once.

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Rabbit Riders of the Storm

Rabbit Rider One

Rabbit Rider Two

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Do you speak my language?

Video: Alice attempts to interact with Poly.

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Tuesday 26 September 2006

Inner beauty

[Dad comes home to find a topless Alice running around]

Dad: Alice, you’re not wearing a shirt.

Alice: I took off my rainbow shirt.

Dad: But it was pretty.

Alice: No. It not pretty.

Dad: Is Alice pretty?

Alice: Yes. [thrusts out tummy and chest] Alice pretty.

I guess we’ll have a topless child until we find shirts that are as pretty as Alice.

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An episode in the park

In which Charles proves he can walk and chew pizza at the same time

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Monday 25 September 2006


Obviously Polynomial is still a lap dog, people just have inadequate laps

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Sunday 24 September 2006

The curse of familiarity

It wasn’t a good day for Alice’s potty training. While Mom and the boyen were out, I tried to keep Alice dry. I managed to get her upstairs in the bathroom but I let her take off her own skirt and panties with the result that she took so long she had a containment failure on the throw rug in there. So she had a bath.

Then it was Mom’s turn. Not too long after she got back, Alice had a double containment failure in the media room (gotta love those hard wood floors). So Mom gave her a bath. Then it was back to me, with a failure in my office (gotta love those hard wood chairs). Mom took her up for a bath while I mopped up. When Alice was done in the bath she wandered about naked for a minute or so before having another failure at the top of the stairs (sadly, carpeted). At this point even Mom was exhausted so it was diapers for Alice.

On the other hand, this is the girl who is still dry most mornings (she has even slept overnight in underwear a couple of times with no problem). Or who lasted our entire shopping trip yesterday. She also has accidents at daycare only once a week or so. She can literally have more failures in a day at home than an entire month at daycare. I suppose it’s her form of family participation.

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Shopping custom

On yesterday’s shopping expedition was the first time I was able to help Charles buy something with his allowance (it wasn’t the first time for Charles, but somehow that didn’t get written up…). Charles knew he had 3 $5 bills, but couldn’t figure out how much money that was. I told him to try counting up from 5 to figure it out. He laid out the bills and then started counting on them, pointing a sequence of points on the bills as he counted. He must have been looking at something in specific, as he carefully arranged the final bill so he could count in the same place but I couldn’t see what he thought he was counting. Eventually Charles settled on $13, which I decided was close enough. The Lego™ kit he wanted was $10 so he was all set.

The Lego™ kit was a helicopter. Charles was careful to inform me that it wasn’t exactly like he wanted so could he make a few changes during construction? I assured him that the Lego™ police wouldn’t come after him if he didn’t built exactly as instructed. In the end, he built it as designed and then modified it to his personal taste.

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Muscle beach

Alice doesn’t neglect her upper body
She likes to hold herself up while doing leg lifts

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Baby's back

After a couple of months of complete disinterest, Alice is once again obsessed with her “baby”. This interacts bady with Polynomial because Alice likes to leave her baby accessories out and Poly likes to chew on them.

Yesterday, Alice put “baby” to sleep up in her room. I thought we were done with her for the day, but about 5 minutes later Alice started going on about “Baby is waking up! I hear Baby!”. So we had to go and get Baby and get her dressed. Alice likes to dress baby but refuses to do it herself. Dad is the preferred dresser. Alice also insists that Baby’s night clothes are her day time clothes and her day time clothes are night clothes.

This morning Alice misplaced Baby and we had to go look for her. When we found her Alice said “I so happy to see you again, Baby!”. Everyone was so happy to be reunited that an immediate change of clothes was called for.

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Saturday 23 September 2006

I like school buses

We went out shopping this afternoon. At one point we spotted a school bus that had been used to transport people from a neighboring state to watch their team play the local university team. Mom commented that the 6 hour trip on the school bus couldn’t have been very comfortable. Charles couldn’t grasp this concept — how could you ever get tired of riding on a school bus?

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Weekend Soccer Report

Corwin feeds the offense

It was grey day and the game started earlier due to fears of getting rained out. It did sputter a couple of times during play but no actual rain. But the idea that a downpour could start any moment was very believable. Corwin’s team pulled out a relatively easy 5-0 victory.

The teamwork continues to be very good on the team. I saw at least a couple of double passes to get the ball all way from our midfield to attack position in a few seconds. There was also quite a number of drives that would end with a pass off to another player when the driver got “stuck” by the defense.

The ball was on the opponent’s side most of the game, which I think was as much due to the defense as the offense. The defenders did a good job of stopping and returning the ball to keep the offense on the attack. Corwin was actually talking to the other defenders and keeping them organized, sending someone forward when the main offense was attacking the goal. He did tend to hang out close to Ali a bit too often, but most of the time the two of them would split up appropriately to deal with incursions.

The offense took a good number of shots at the opposing goal. At least a couple of them were from quite a ways out. The opposing goal defense was inconsistent, sometimes very strong and other times not so strong.

Personally, I had a very bad day of shooting. I took 538 pictures of which I kept less than 100 (the others were deleted because they were so bad). I don’t know if it was the light, the camera, or my technique. I used the same set up for Charles’ soccer game and those turned out OK. I will try a slightly different technique and camera settings next week.

Season Summary

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Friday 22 September 2006

World class leaping

The other, older, children would step off first to minimize the drop. Alice preferred to jump as high as she could right as she hit the edge.

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Grownup show and tell

Mom and I are exhausted from doing our first trade show with our company. Erica’s dad came over to watch the spawn while we were away. He came over just before the boys got home from school and I called in around then to make sure everyone was at their duty posts. I mentioned Erica’s dad that he should ask Charles about his Lego™ constructs (figuring that would pass some time). He replied that I was way behind, Charles having launched in to a long exposition on his constructs almost immediately.

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Thursday 21 September 2006

Mid-week Soccer Report

Charles mixes it up

Yesterday evening was Charles’ first soccer game. They played on a very small field, about half of the smallest soccer field, marked out with cones. Only 5 players were on the field at a time, which made for a large contingent on the bench.

Charles did well for his age. As expected, the game play is mostly a large scrum that chases the ball around the field in a brownian motion simulation. After watching the first part of the game, I figured the score would be zero-zero at the end. The scoring picked up later, though, with Charles’ team winning 3-1.

Because of the large bench, Charles played for somewhat less than half the game. The game was only 30 minutes long so Charles’ total play time was small. The last quarter, Charles was goalie and the other team only got the ball to his side once.

Still, Charles seemed to have a good time playing, although his priorities are a little off. After the game, when they had won, Charles came running up to Mom and me in a state of great excitement because he had after game snacks! That’s what matters at the end of a hard game.

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Wednesday 20 September 2006

So they know who to blame

Last night was open house at the boyen’s school. Normally it’s a short sleeves, shorts, and ice cream kind of day but this year it was below 60°F out. I was glad to be wearing gloves, especially once we found out that the outside portion of the even lasted until 6:30 and not 6 as we originally thought.

Both Charles and Corwin were eager to show us their rooms. The boys were even interested in seeing each other’s rooms. The teachers seemed nice and we verified that Charles has, in fact, been speaking in class. His teacher did tell us one story of Charles which was eerily reminiscent.

It seems that early in the school day, everyone sits on a carpet marked off in squares. Naturally, Charles picked one particular square and decided that was his square. Normally he gets over there first to claim it but one day he didn’t and another child sat there instead. Charles then claimed he couldn’t sit down and refused to say way. Eventually the teacher managed to get him to explain the square possession problem. The teacher recommended that Charles ask the trespassing child to move, but he wouldn’t. The next time, however, Charles did ask and was able to sit in his square.

It reminded me very strongly of the story Miss Darcy told us about Charles wanting to sit next to her at circle time. Darcy didn’t let the same child sit in that position two days in a row (so that someone like Charles didn’t monopolize it). Charles would therefore sit in the next seat over to be as close as possible, explaining to Darcy that that was “not against the rule”.

Charles has also apparently impressed his class with his Lego™ construction skills. The teacher told us that the other kids all liked Charles’ Lego™ construction picture book. Charles and I made the book a couple of weeks ago for Friday show and tell. It was just a couple of folded over pages, stapled, with pictures of various Charles’ Lego™ constructs in it. I thought it much better than taking in actual Legos™.

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Tuesday 19 September 2006

It's a slow week

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Monday 18 September 2006

Very clean child

Due to potty training issues, Alice has been taking many baths (up to four some days). She is now resisting taking more than two or so baths a day. If a simple “no bath!” doesn’t work, she will claim that there are spiders in the bathtub. I don’t know if she actual saw one there once, or picked it up from Corwin’s bug-phobia, but no amount of searching or assurances will convince her that there are no spiders. If simply placed in the bathtub, she will get over it, unless some random bit of debris shows up (e.g., a bit of hair). That must be removed immediately, lest it encourage the spiders to return.

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Gratuitous Picture of the Day

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Sunday 17 September 2006

Only so much nice to go around

[Alice has been banished from playing Noggin on Daddy’s computer because she started screaming and punching the keyboard. Dad takes her out in to the kitchen]

Alice: I want Mommy!

Dad: Mommy is busy.

Alice: I want to sit with Mommy!

Dad: Daddy will sit with you on the couch.

Alice: I want Mommy!

Mom: Daddy is nice, too.

Alice: No. Mommy is nice! Daddy not nice!

Mom: Oh, I think Daddy is nice too.


P.S. I should note that Alice can now play Who Has More by herself (most of the time). Her mouse skills are clearly increasing.

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Body rebellion

Alice is bothered by her hair now and then. This morning it was being so unruly that Alice was moved to yell at it, “Stop doing that, hair!”. I offered to put the offending body part in to a pony tail but Alice declined, presumably because she thought her admonishment had put the situation under control.

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Saturday 16 September 2006

Weekly Soccer Report

Corwin works his defensive magic

Today’s game went better, with Corwin’s team winning 5-0. They scored two goals in the first quarter. I thought the coach would have to tune down the offense to prevent running up the score, but the other team seemed stiffen up a bit after the first quarter. They lost it in the last quarter with three goals scored.

The quality of play of Corwin’s team continued to be good, with some excellent passing and runs on the goal. Corwin played defense today, getting some good stops. He was goalie in the last quarter but I don’t think the other team took any shots which left him without much to do. He does need to talk to his teammates more. I think the coach looks to him to provide local direction during defense but that involves communication, not something Corwin does voluntarily.

The other team had a couple of kids who used to play on Corwin’s team, Binet and Cora.

I also discovered that the camera doesn’t like certain children. I just could not get them in focus, even when they were just standing still. These are, of course, the kids that are already challenging to get good shots of. The key thing, though, is to set up an equipment based excuse early so it seems more plausible when you use it later in the season.

Season Summary

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A clever plan

We went out for a walk in the park last night because as a special event there were various jazz musicians playing at places around the park. As we went we saw two neighborhood kids, Matt and Claire, heading over as well. Charles had been resisting getting ready until Mom mentioned seeing them go by, at which point Charles finished getting ready in record time and ran out of the house after them. I had to hurry to keep up.

Later, as we were stopping to listen to one ensemble, we had this conversation.

Claire: We should fall asleep, so they will have to pick us up.

Dad: You mean so your parents will have to carry you home?

Claire: Yes.

Charles: It good exercise.

It’s nice to know Charles is considerate about grownup’s heath.

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Friday 15 September 2006

Modern babysitting

Kirsten uses the advanced mental powers taught in her child care class to stop Alice from wandering off

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Ship family

I asked Charles what a “sister ship” would be like, and he said

  • It looks like magic
  • It shoots missiles
  • It has a funny looking camera on top
  • It doesn’t do all that much, that’s why they don’t build many sister ships
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Thursday 14 September 2006

Dancing with myself

Today Alice was dancing in front of the front closet mirror. As far as I could tell, she was singing

Where is Alice?
Where is Alice?
There me is!
There me is!

Alice also managed to not poop her pants this evening. She farted a little bit and then claimed she was poopy. She wasn’t, but I hustled her upstairs and she did some major pooping in the potty. Another year or so and she’ll be potty trained.

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Wednesday 13 September 2006

Gratuitous Picture of the Day

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Just the thing on a cool morning

Corwin put some Pop-Tarts in the freezer last evening because he has been programmed by television advertisements to prefer them that way. Alice saw this and immediately decided that she needed to have a frozen Pop-Tart too, right now. We managed to get her to bed without one, but she remembered this morning and had one for breakfast. Alice was very excited about this, announcing “frozen Pop-Tart!” when I sat down with her at breakfast.

We went out for a short walk later. Alice tried to cross the street on her own, which I objected to. Alice patiently explained “No one coming. I don’t see any cars.”. She then corrected herself by pointing out various parked cars. On the one hand it’s worrying that Alice thinks she can cross a street by herself, on the other it’s encouraging that she (1) knows why it’s dangerous and (2) can make sophisticated arguments on the subject. I still wonder if Corwin is aware that there are other cars on the road.

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Tuesday 12 September 2006

One of those talks

A few weeks ago we were driving home from soccer practice when Corwin spotted a liquor store and started asking about why people consumed recreational pharmaceuticals. He started with alcohol, which I had to defer over to Mom, she being the boozer in the family1. Mom explained the social function of alcohol (another area outside my expertise) plus that it could serve to let uptight people loosen up a bit.

After absorbing this, Corwin moved on to illegal recreational pharmaceuticals. I said that those made you feel better for a while, but in the long run you ended up worse than when you started, not having actually solved the problem and causing health problems. Mom chipped in with comments on diminishing returns due to increasing tolerance. It’s hard to know how much to discuss, but I tried to be as accurate as possible. I think the case against such use makes it self, it doesn’t need any embellishment.

1 I have seen her drink two beers in the same evening.

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Poking wild children with rhetorical sticks

I made Charles very mad over the weekend. We were out cutting up sticks for Mom when Charles announced “I made a machine”. I twisted that to be “Charles is a machine”, which Charles did not like. Mom wandered over about then.

Dad: Charles is a machine!

Mom: Really?

Charles: No! I not a machine. I made a machine.

Dad: [to Mom] Charles made a machine that says “I not a machine!”.

Charles: I not a machine!

Dad: See how well it works?

Charles: [screaming] NOOOOOOOOOOO! I NOT A MACHINE!

I ended up having to haul all the sticks myself.

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We are the dinosaurs

The Alice-saurus stops and eats her food

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Monday 11 September 2006

Soccer Too

Charles’ first soccer practice

Charles had his first soccer practice today. He had been positive about it all summer, until this afternoon when it was time to actually go to soccer practice. At that point he refused to go or put on his shin guards. After some interrogation, Charles claimed that he couldn’t go to soccer practice because “I can’t run that fast that long”. I said that perhaps that was true, but the point of practice was to change him so he could run that fast for that long. He didn’t believe me. He said if they wanted him to go faster longer, they should just let him ride his bike.

Just before we left, Charles got out his bike and rode it from the garage to the end of the dead end, then proclaimed “that as long as I can go fast”. Given that it was only half way around the house, it was not the most impressive athletic performance I have seen out of a five year old. He was so exhausted by the effort that he was too “tie-warred” to go to practice.

Nevertheless, I bundled Charles up with Corwin and Jack for the trip to the soccer fields (luckily, Corwin’s practice is the same time and place as Charles’). Once there, I had the inspiration to kick the ball along to the field instead of carrying it. Charles naturally had to kick it as well and once he started he couldn’t stop. I was able to get him on the practice field, still kicking, and he was fine after that. He made it all the way to the end of practice without melting down or collapsing because he was too “tie-warred”. He even did OK at kicking the ball around. Perhaps he will finish out the season.

P.S. There were lots of kids I knew around. Charles’ team has one of Corwin’s teammate’s little brother. The youngest sister of a fellow cubscout is also on the team. Zina was in the next field on a different team, since she’s a year older (although she and Charles could have the same soccer relationship as Mara and Corwin).

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Sunday 10 September 2006

It is way too early for that

Charles waits for his school bus

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Weblog upgrade

I did a major upgrade / overhaul on the weblog this afternoon. Hopefully it isn’t too broken. As part of the upgrade, I can now put in special support for Grandma to prevent her from tripping the junk filters quite so often.

The sad news today is that Corwin was invited to a birthday party but Mom and I forgot about it and didn’t remember until it was over. Corwin was very unhappy about this but hopefully he will forgive us before he leaves for college (for beer money, if nothing else).

Corwin and I also finished off the last of the pile of branches Mom generated from her trimming earlier in the year. I mentioned this to Mom and her response was “cool, I need to do some more trimming”.

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Saturday 09 September 2006

Weekly Soccer Report

Corwin’s active defense

Today was the first soccer game of the fall season. It did not turn out so well, a 0-2 loss. One goal was scored right before the end of the first half and the second about half way through the third quarter. Both were good kicks, high and while the goalie was facing multiple threats.

Overall, though, I thought the team played well. There was some good passing and tackles. I noticed Corwin was moving to position before the ball was kicked. For instance, in this picture, Corwin has pushed forward to kick the ball downfield as part of his defense, after which he fell back to his normal position.

We’ll see how the rest of the season goes. This team was the Anti-Jack team, which is one of the better ones. They certainly played well today.

Season Summary

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Corwin's Soccer Schedule

9:009 SepBlueKicker East0-2Report
9:0016 SepYellowKicker East5-0Report
10:1523 SepYellowKicker West5-0Report
9:0030 SepBlueKicker West6-11Report
10:157 OctYellowKicker East11-0Report
9:0014 OctYellowKicker East6-0Report

Notes on the Photo Gallery.

  • If you want most of the pictures but don’t want to waste time downloading, let me know and I will make a CD for you (I normally try to get CDs out in time for the end of season get together).
  • You can use the images on your own websites if you like, I have a lot of bandwidth. You can get the URL by clicking on the “share photo” link under the picture. This will give you a page of links for various sizes of the picture. You can then use any of the “link” URLs as the “src” attribute for an IMG element. The “medium” size is usually the best choice.
  • You can order prints from the gallery directly, or other items (such as T-shirts or refigerator magnets). You can also download the image (click the “save photo” link under the picture) and print it at home, or take it to WalMart. Cafe Press lets you print pictures on various articles of clothing (hats, shirts, shorts, etc.) and seems to do nice work.
  • The “Order Horizon” logo is to prevent random internet twits from re-using my work as their own. If you would like an image without the logo, let me know.
  • All of the pictures are tagged by season, children in view, and goal score. You search the pictures by using keywords. Start here. You can see all the keywords there. You can click on one of those, or add keywords (separated by dashes) to the URL to go directly to the pictures you want. For instance, here are the pictures with Corwin and Jack from the spring of 2005. The important keywords are
    • The first name of the child
    • “soccer” for soccer pictures
    • The year (2004, 2005, 2006)
    • “spring” or “fall”
  • I try to get pictures of everyone, but some players are a bit more of a challenge to photograph well.

1 Own goal.

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Friday 08 September 2006

Red is in this year

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Literary therapy

Mom was working upstairs while I was on the couch with Alice and the lap dog.

Dad: Mom, are you sure you don’t want Poly upstairs in your room?

Mom: Yes.

Dad: But Poly is so sad! She’s crying!

Alice: I read to Poly.

Dad: You’re going to read a story to Poly?

Alice: Yes, I read to her and then she feel better.

Alice then got a world economic fact book and started reading out of it to Poly. She babbled for a minute or so and then said “The End. Poly feels better now”.

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Long train coming

Charles was impressed by the Imperial Star Destroyed Lego™ kit and decided that while space ships were cool, they weren’t trains and that he needed a super long train. It ended up being a one meter long, which is good sized for Lego™. Charles has also learned to stagger his bricks like a real brick wall for strength. He also built a train that can build 12 billion1 different cars and pull 12 billion train cars. It takes 12 baseball fields to stop. It has its own generators, can turn in to a boat, and can drive along roads. It can haul freight or passengers because it’s a mixed traffic engine.

1 Mom checked with Charles explicitly on that point and Charles definitely meant “billion” which he knows is bigger than “million”.

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Thursday 07 September 2006

Work site

The work is easier if you have giant logs sticking out of your window

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Corwin has been struggling with his homework this year already. Most of it is composition which he finds extremely difficult, just like his Dad. One of his tasks is to write summaries of books that he has read. Literally, it sometimes takes him longer to write a summary than it took to read the story / book in the first place. Any attempt to help out just makes him more upset. He is spending most of his evenings working on it, when it doesn’t seem like it should take more than about 30 minutes or so. We will see if practice makes any improvement.

Corwin has the additional burden of having purchased his first computer game1 and desperately wanting to play it. Naturally, his anxiety about it leads to him not getting his homework done and playing it even less. I don’t think Corwin is picking up on that yet, though.

1 Star Wars: Battle Front II, which Jack had on his PS/2 and so Corwin had to have it as well. He paid for it with the money he earned from dog-sitting. Corwin thought he would have to save up, but it was discounted so that with shipping his pay could just cover the cost. He did spend time pacing anxiously while it was en route. I forbore to tell him “in my day, we had to wait 6 to 8 weeks for a package to arrive!”.

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Wednesday 06 September 2006

She remained here — in spirit, anyway

Alice still misses Erica. She has expressed this several times to both Mom and I, commenting out of the blue “I miss Erica”. She mentioned it a day or to ago and this evening, while in the basement, I noticed that Alice was apparently talking to Erica.

Investigating, I saw that Alice was playing with some toy vehicles, one a tractor with a hay bayler on tow and the other a sporty little red car. Erica was in the sporty red car, having made so much money over the summer that she could afford such a nice car. Dora was relegated to the tractor, being the sort of unserious girl who wanders about a jungle with a monkey instead of getting a paying job.

P.S. Alice is willing to watch Dora again, in addition to eating Dora yogurt and letting her drive the tractor.

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Blazing like a fire himself

Corwin watches the blacksmithing

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Tuesday 05 September 2006

Returns department

Grandma finally got tired of Corwin and sent him back yesterday. We all went up to the Threshermen’s Reunion for the exchange. Corwin was not enthusiastic, since he had been there the day before and spent most of his time whining about wanting to go home right now. However, Mom had pushed hard on publicitiy of the event to Charles and felt obligated to let him wander about a bit.

There were lots of old tractors, and we heard some other children referring to them as “traction engines”, just like Trevor. There were some blacksmiths, who Corwin spent quite a bit of time watching. Corwin even managed to snag a piece of coal, which he carried around the rest of the time there. After a bit and seeing his hands, I gave him a small baggie for containing the coal.

Charles’ preferred activity was riding around in wagons with seats pulled behind tractors. Unfortunately, the show was winding down and those weren’t running anymore. Instead Charles had to settle for riding in a real steam engine train. Naturally Charles insisted that he, Alice, and Mom all ride in the caboose.

Mom bought one of the old rusted toys for Charles and Alice, a semi tractor-trailer. Since it was $3, Mom couldn’t afford more than one with the result that Alice and Charles had to share it. Neither of them took this gracefully, although when we got back home and there was a fight about playing with the entire toy, Charles let Alice have a turn first.

We also saw a sawmill, powered by a steam tractor. It did quite the job on cutting down a very large log. Charles was quite impressed with the ability to make lumber out of a log.

Afterwards, just to make Corwin even less happy, Mom stopped by a mall on the way home. In addition to annoying Corwin, Mom found a GIR T-shirt, making it a worthwhile stop.

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Monday 04 September 2006

The Princess escapes with the golden treasure

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Sunday 03 September 2006

Baby needs a new pair of shoes

Alice shows off her new shoes and purse

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Another success in psychological manipulation

I have finally managed to convince Alice that things can be hidden in her ears. Yesterday morning we were looking for her shoes and she spontaneously suggested that I check in her ear. I told her I wanted to search in more standard places before checking there, but eventually I looked and lo! there were the shoes.

Dad: Here are your shoes!

Alice: [laughs] They in my ear!

Dad: Alice, why did you put your shoes in your ear?

Alice: That what I do.

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Informed consumer

Mom: [upstairs] Charles, do you want this box?

Charles: [at the dining table] Soo ka gip da da eeeee!

Dad: Charles, do you want the box, yes or no?

Charles: Show me the box!

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Saturday 02 September 2006

There's always something there to remind me

As I was cleaning up the table a bit after supper, I noticed various encrustations at Corwin’s seat. I was touched that even though Corwin is away at Grandma’s this long weekend, the stains of his presence remain behind.

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Super Alice

Sometimes I sing about Alice to Alice, using the Dora theme song. It goes

Alice, Alice, Alice, Princess Alice
She lives in a way cool super palace

I have had to change it, because last week when I sang it to her, she became upset and announced that she was not a princess. She was, in fact, super Alice. Now the song is

Alice, Alice, Alice, super Alice
She lives in a way cool princess palace

Completely different.

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A rare photo

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On track

Despite the backpack and the life jacket and her close friendship, Alice hasn’t wanted to watch Dora for a while. Instead she wants to watch Thomas the Tank Engine. She has learned to identify most of the main engines by sight (although I can’t tell the difference between “Gordon” and “Corwin” when she speaks). Oddly, this seems to have been the spark to get her to learn her colors, which she now has no problem with, even non-basic colors like “gold” (because we have a special gold colored edition of Thomas).

Interestingly, while the boys (especially Charles) were willing to watch the same DVD over and over, Alice likes to do that. She will complain quite storngly if you try to switch the DVD to one that hasn’t just played 4 or 5 times and the next day, when you try to sneak a different one in, she’ll call you on it and say “I want to watch chocolate Percy!”. Naturally, of course, she also need chocolate milk1 to watch, which may account for her preference for that particular DVD.

1 Alice likes the chocolate milk. She annoyed Mom today by demanding it and when it wasn’t forthcoming, she grabbed the chocolate mix out of the pantry to give to Mom just in case Mom hadn’t grasped Alice’s need for chocolate milk.

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A song in my heart and it wants to come out

One of Corwin’s homework assignments last week was to write 10 “fun facts” about himself. I suggested many, but oddly he didn’t write down any of them. He did write as one fact “I have an Uncle I call Uncle Evil”:

Not to be deterred, I wrote a short song about Corwin which he also neglected to copy down.

His name is Corwin
He plays the soccer
With the girls he is always the sweet talker
He likes computers
First person shooters
But not so much violin tutors

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Friday 01 September 2006

It hasn't been raining that much

It’s been somewhat cool this week, so Mom decided that Alice should wear a jacket. Alice immediately replied that she wanted to wear her Dora life jacket. Sadly, Mom insisted Alice wear a jacket that had neither Dora nor floatation properties.

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Now, I am the master

What impresses me most about Charles’ Lego™ vehicles isn’t the elaborate construction but that he can keep them intact for the better part of a week to extend them like this.

Charles has also reached the stage of self-confidence that if I mess with one of these constructs and break a piece off, Charles just sighs and tells me to leave it alone, “I can fix it”. My own efforts are no longer up to Charles’ standards.

I took this picture yesterday and Charles has already disassembled this brothership in order to build a super bus (bus #45, by the way). This bus is way more powerful than the brothership (even the deluxe model).

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Alice's Leap Year

One giant leap for Alice-kind

Alice has been a very jumpy girl lately. She has always liked jumping and bouncing but she seems to have really lept in to it lately.

Her favorite jumping related activity currently is jumping on Dad. I can still hear her little voice asking “Daddy, can I jump on you?”. The way it works is, Dad lays down on the bed or the couch. Alice then climbs up on Dad, stands up and jump as high as she can, then lands on Dad, who responds with a grunt of pain. Alice laughs at this and begins the cycle again. Eventually Dad becomes too sore to continue, at which point Alice gets very sad. Alice was also sad when Dad stopped her from climbing up on the back of the couch before jumping. Just a bit too much energy that way.

The picture here is from Alice jumping off the bleachers at soccer practice. She made a lot of jumps. I took some pictures, but I got tired of taking pictures of her jumping before Alice got tired of jumping. That’s dedication.

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