Thursday 31 May 2007

Box scores

Another baseball game today. I was the only father on our team who showed up that wasn’t a coach, which meant that I was coerced in to being first & second base umpire. I did get one of those cool clickers to keep track of balls, strikes, and outs. Once I was even asked “how many strikes?”. I did have to call Corwin out once, though.

Speaking of Corwin, he had a not so good batting day. He was 0 for 3, which is not good. On the other hand, he was out on a hit ball each time, so at least he’s got a good chance. The other team seemed to be concentrating all of its good fielding on Corwin, just to be mean.

Corwin’s first at bat was a good hit, but unexpectedly it was fielded and thrown to first in time (the next time there was a play at first, the throw was in time but the first baseman dropped the ball). I think Corwin could have made it safely, though, if he hadn’t been so impressed with his hit that he paused to watch it before running.

Corwin’s second at bat was an infield fly. Despite the fact that the pitcher and the catcher collided hard enough to knock them both on the ground, one of them caught it successfully. Corwin’s third try was a big hit out to center field which I believe was the only one the other team caught the entire game. Corwin was a bit bummed.

Fielding was a brighter spot. Corwin made a good stop after the second baseman (cough Jack cough) missed it, holding the runner to a single despite the error. Shortly afterwards, when the other team was having a great inning, Corwin caught a big fly in center. The next batter dropped on in to right field which was also caught and the inning ended soon after. The only down side was the Corwin was so happy / impressed with his catch that he didn’t notice that the first base runner was almost to second, meaning a quick toss to first would have been another out. The right fielder did the same thing, so at least I wasn’t alone with my mixed feelings.

That wasn’t the worst fielding of the day, though. The best had to be the other team, when we had a runner on second. He lead off for some reason while the ball was still in play. The alert outfielder noticed that their second baseman was noticeably closer to second than the runner, but still in reach of him. Naturally the outfielder made a quick throw to second. The second baseman, however, was watching something else (presumably whatever was interesting enough to draw the runner off base) and took a hard throw in the shoulder instead of getting an easy out. That’s gotta hurt and be embarassing.

No pictures because I was an umpire! Clear discrimination, there were plenty of moms about, most of whom are likely to know more about baseball than I do. They didn’t see it that way, however.

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Threesome pond

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Wednesday 30 May 2007

Transports of passion

Charles still likes his vehicles. Somehow he has found out about ocean cruises and has been insisting that we take a vacation on a cruise liner — “but we never go on a cruise!”. We told Charles that neither of his parents had ever been on a cruise, but rather than giving him some perspective it just made him sad.

Mom brought up going skiing instead. We went a couple of years ago, leaving Charles and Alice at Grandma’s. Charles said he wanted to go this time so he could ride on the ski lift. For Charles, skiing is having to get down the mountain on a pair of wooden planks in order to be able to ride the ski lift back up.

Still, the luster may be wearing off. This afternoon, after graduation, Charles decided to ride home with us instead of taking the bus. I suspect it was because he wanted snack sooner.

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We're so proud

Charles has now official graduated from kindergarten. Personally, I think that’s enough education and he should get a job and start earning his keep.

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Tuesday 29 May 2007

Princess Grumpy-Pants and her Royal Guard

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If at first you don't destroy …

Mom spent most of Memorial day installing a new screen door in the garage. It’s a fancy one that is basically a sideways window shade, so the entire door is a screen. After much struggle and effort, Mom got it in place. Not 30 minutes later Corwin ran full tilt in to it, knocking the screen out of the frame. As I went to examine wreckage, I closed the garage door to prevent further damage. Despite this, I had to physically restrain Corwin from crashing in to the screen again — luckily the sound of him opening the garage door to do it gave me the warning I needed to prevent it. Corwin claimed he didn’t see the door the first time, but he refused to even comment when I pointed out that didn’t explain his second attempt. Mom was able to fix everything, so Corwin’s not sleeping with the fishes.

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Monday 28 May 2007

Virtual refrigerator

The other kids in class liked this enough that several of them tried to copy it
Watercolor Forest, by Charles

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Killing me softly with his song

I can now drive Alice bonkers by singing this song (based on Robot Parade by They Might Be Giants)

Charles parade, Charles parade
Wave the flags that the Charles made!
Charles parade, Charles parade
Charles obey what the Alice say!

Electric boys. Electric toys.
Here comes a Charles with electric noise!

This yields almost immediate comments of “stop it, Daddy!”. At one point she told me that Charles’ doesn’t do what the Alice says, but Corwin does.

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Sunday 27 May 2007

Brushing up on child psychology

Yesterday, while searching through the garage for something else, Mom happened upon an old foam brush. Alice found it fascinating and it became her favorite toy of the moment. This made it intensely fascinating to Charles as well and there was rapidly escalating conflict because, as Charles said, “Alice never let me play with the brush!” (true, since she’d only had it a couple of minutes at that point). Charles ended up being sent ot his room over the issue.

Today we went out to run some errands and ended up at a home improvement store. I had jokingly suggested earlier that the best way to convince the kids that brushes weren’t fun was to buy a whole bunch of them. This came back to haunt me when Mom mentioned that there was a paint section in the store which likely had the foam brushes. I set off to find this “paint section” with children in tow.

Lo and behold, Mom was correct. We located the foam brushes and Mom said that Charles and Alice could each get one brush (she’s such a big spending soft touch). Charles naturally found a “value pack” of 4 different sized brushes. I debated whether that was too much, but heck, the kids can pay their own way through college, so I decided to fork out the entire 97¢ price for the entire pack. However, no good deed goes unpunished. Despite the influx of additional brushes, they remained popular (for a good hour or two) with Charles and Alice. Mom didn’t notice, so don’t tell her or she’ll use it for some heinous mockery.

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Tis the pond of the season

We had our first pond outing of the season today. Mom and I didn’t think it was quite warm enough, but the kids didn’t complain.

Corwin was very eager to go because he got this inflatable shark shaped raft with a built in squirt gun / turret. We made him inflate it entirely by himself, but that failed to dim his enthusiasm. What did was the fact that although everything worked, the water volume generated by the turret was squirt gun sized, rather than, say, a garden hose. But I say, it’s never too young to learn about the harsh realities of engineering limitation.

Corwin liked two other water toys I had picked up earlier (despite Mom’s mockery). They’re examples of good engineering — simple, reliable, if a little limited. Basically they’re just big plungers with a hole in the end. Not much for sustained action, but good volume and fast reloading makes up for that.

Charles liked the inflated shark, not being as jaded as Corwin in matters of water weaponry.

Poor Alice, however, stubbed her toe on the way over and sat out most of the time. Just as she decided to get in, it started thundering so we had to pack it up. Alice then stubbed the same toe twice on the way home, until I picked up her soggy little body and carried her home.

We saw Claire there. She was playing nicely on the beach in normal clothes. It took about 5 minutes of the boys being around before she managed to get some water on her pants, at which point she figured if she was already wet enough to be a problem, she might as well go all out. Maybe someday her parents will speak to us again.

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Saturday 26 May 2007

Action before style

This, a sling shot flying stuffed monkey toy, is one of the things Corwin recieved as a present on his birthday from his parents. I was talking about it with another parent when I realized something basic.

If it’s just a stuffed animal, it’s lame for a boy Corwin’s age, even if it’s a monkey. But make it so you can use as a projectile weapon on other people and then it is cool. That’s what makes shopping for presents for post-toddler boys so easy. Action trumps style every time.

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Friday 25 May 2007

Catching up

Corwin didn’t have a good batting experience in his baseball game yesterday. He got a hit but struck out with the bases loaded. His catching seemed better. In the end, Corwin’s team won the day, with Jack being the offensive MVP with at least 5 RBI. The two of them also did an excellent job with chatter while in the field. I made some suggestions for better phrases, but Corwin wasn’t as enthusiastic as I had hoped.

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Good grammar discipline

Corwin: How did your picnic go, Charles?

Charles: [silent staring]

Dad: [helpfully] Not so well. Most of the children were eaten by bears, but the teacher managed to save Charles and a few others.

Charles: No she didn’t!

Dad: You mean your teacher didn’t save you from the bears?

Charles: Not everybody was …

[Charles looks at Dad as he realizes he is walking in to a linguistic trap. After a slight pause to reformulate his reply, he speaks with exaggerated diction]

Charles: Everybody was not eaten by bears.

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Better to watch than clean up

Alice still needs help going potty. Not to get her clothes off, or to get on the potty, but basically to have someone watch. A parent is required to sit in the chair facing the bathroom on the upper landing, or Alice can’t use the facilities properly. If the parent should leave in the middle, then Alice will call out plaintively “Daaaaady! You not helping me!”. Alice still needs help putting her pants back on, or so she claims. And help with wiping (which is better than the boys, who frequently avoid needing help by avoiding wiping). Still, someday, hopefully before school, Alice will overcome her psychological dependence on observation.

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Thursday 24 May 2007

Getting the important things done

Even though Corwin insisted on a half-sheet cake for his birthday (which was way bigger than necessary, because of the pizza, ice cream, and piles of snacks) Mom managed to make the left over cake disappear within just a few days. I have been scared to ask if she got the kids to help out or not.

P.S. Party pictures are now available

P.P.S. School play pictures are available and I have tweaked the features here so that I can post direct links to recent photo sets over in the upper right corner.

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Gratuitous Picture of the Day

Charles and his sword “Wormy”

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Wednesday 23 May 2007

Sports mania

Corwin had a baseball game last Monday. Charles also had first T-ball practice, so Mom and I had to split up to cover both.

Charles enjoyed his practice. Mom said he got two home runs, but wisely didn’t report on how many were achieved by other children. He had practice again tonight and Mom said that he ended up chasing down another child in to the outfield to tag him out. With some luck, we could end up having baseball events every night except Friday.

Corwin had a good game. He was at bat three times for a walk, base for being hit, and a single. He also tagged out someone trying to steal home. The game was a good one, tied until the bottom of the last inning when Corwin’s team scored the winning run. I was able to watch much of it, as Mom didn’t show up with Alice and Charles until the fourth or fifth inning.

Maggie was there. Alice wanted to know if Maggie could come over for a visit. When I asked Maggie’s mom about it, she said “you can have as much Maggie as you want”. Gosh, that sounded familiar.

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You know things are a bit crazy when …

… you have to tell Charles “do not chew the monkey!”

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Tuesday 22 May 2007

Vital statistics

Corwin and Alice went to the doctor today (we tried to get Corwin to go the dentist too, as it was his birthday, but you can’t have everything).

Corwin was 91 lbs., 56 inches. Alice was 33 lbs, 39 inches. Apparently Corwin isn’t allowed to gain any weight until he’s 12.

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Monday 21 May 2007

Charles draws a picture of my mental state

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Sunday 20 May 2007

The social event of the season

We survived the five hour birthday party for Corwin. The padded swords were a big hit — the kids spent about 3 of the hours playing with them. The boys played with the swords (except for eating and opening presents) until it was dusk and I decided having a crew running around in near dark hitting each other with sticks was a bit too much even for me1.

Rather than general melee, the boys divided in to two teams and evolved some elaborate rules for conquering the other team’s base, plus rules for medics and healing and other things I didn’t quite grasp. Other than maintain the most basic rules of mechanics (i.e., what a valid hit was), I stayed out of the whole process because it’s important for the kids to learn to work these things out on their own. Oh yes, it was all For The Children™.

I made a special pole-axe for Corwin, which he quite liked, but Jack decided it was too good a weapon for him. Corwin tried to demonstrate it wasn’t because I could beat him by blocking and charging2 but that was apparently unpersuasive. It might have been related to the way everyone ran in terror whenever I came at them with a sword (I was voted out of the game before the first round). In the end, Corwin was forced to give it up for a few games.

One of the teams also had a strong tendency to over think their strategy, sometimes taking 5 minutes or so to agree on a plan. I favored the “mass attack, kill ‘em all — God will know His own” tactic, but since I wasn’t playing my advice was just taken “under consideration”. Most games would involve a series of inconlusive battles until someone snuck in to take the enemy base. Most of the action took place out in front, even though we had Corwin scoop up all the dog poop in the backyard because we thought that woud be the main combat arena. Ah well, it was a personal growth experience for Corwin.

We only had three incidents. Jake took a shot in the throat, and Charles fell over and smacked his head on the back porch stair edge. But Jack handily exceeded both of those. He ran full on in to one of Mom’s tree’s out in front, flattening the chicken wire around the tree and bouncing off the metal post that held the chicken wire in place. Somehow Jack didn’t end up bleeding more than he had before the impact but he did have to sit out a game.

The computer games didn’t go as well. Although we had tested beforehand, there were still a lot of connection problems with Rise of Legends and a couple the computers would have problems with the graphics after playing for a bit. Still, some fun was had so it wasn’t a total loss.

The food went well. The piles of snacks Mom provided were popular, and the boys liked both the pizza and the cake with ice cream. At one point during food consumption they started singing “Everybody dance now!”. Mom fired up the original song on the stereo which lead to some slam dancing in the living room. That devolved in to a conga line and still later in to pure screaming contests that were so loud even some of the boys found it painful.

1 I recieved several inquiries about playing night tag as they did last year but since it wasn’t a sleep over, it was barely dark enough to play by the time the party was over.

2 The pole-axe has better reach, but it only has a short section that counts for hits, so if you get inside the reach it’s ineffective. However, Corwin’s had much more practice than the other kids so they couldn’t take advantage of that against him.

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Saturday 19 May 2007

There was a game too?

Corwin had a baseball game Thursday, but the rush of getting ready for the totally massive Corwin 10th birthday party has made it challenging to find the time to write. We chose to go with the “way over-committed” style of party again, because we apparently lack the ability to learn from experience.

I didn’t have Charles with me at the game, because Mom was off with him at a introduction for new kindergarten students at Charles’ school. They like to have families who are currently in kindergarten there. The two of them showed up later, near the end of the game.

I did have Alice with me, so I saw little of Corwin’s game. Maggie was there at the start of the game, but she left early on. Alice sat on the chair and cried because Maggie had left. But, fortunately, Maggie came back about the same time as Mom and Alice was happy again.

While I was supposed to be watching Alice, I worked on some padded swords for Corwin’s party. I had done all the initial assembly and just needed to put the end caps on and tape them up. A couple of younger siblings watching the game noticed this so I let them try out the results. I made them fight me instead of each other, because one of the kids was really swinging hard. Their grandmother who was there watching them also thought that decision was for the best.

As for baseball, I did see Corwin get a great line drive right up the middle. It went by the pitcher and second baseman but the outfielder got it, stopping Corwin from a double (Corwin was at first before the outfielder stopped it). Jack came in on the play so it was a good hit. Sadly, Corwin struck out the next time I was watching him, although it was very close. He hit a pop up which the pitcher tried to catch. I think he touched it, but he denied it and so it was ruled a foul ball. Otherwise, Corwin would have had another hit.

Defensively, Corwin played right field. I didn’t see anything hit to him but large chunks of the game were spent over at the playground. The game ended up a tie and there were good snacks afterwards, so it was a positive experience for everyone (except for the Maggie hiatus).

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Friday 18 May 2007


This evening Charles was being obstinate (it took him 20 minutes to put on his shoes and socks, and then he crawled from the media room to the car, through the garage, because I hadn’t fed him enough to have the strength to walk). As part of that, he decided to issue me “detentions”, which were sticky notes with a picture of a stick person handing another stick person a piece of paper (the detention, self-referentially) with a couple of lines of squiggles at the top to represent writing. It was too cute to get upset about. I tried to give them back, but Charles said I wasn’t “Detention Man” therefore it didn’t count.

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Alice had to leave Big Dora behind this morning (I am amazed that it’s still inflated after all this time) so I put her on the stairs to avoid Polymerization. For the rest of the day, every time I walked by the stairs I would catch sight of Big Dora in the corner of my eye and think momentarily that it was Alice hiding on the stairs. It’s probably a plot to lull my suspicions so that Alice can pounce later.

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Thursday 17 May 2007


Charles is on a social whirl. He had another play date this week with CJ, who is a girl in his class. CJ was one of the few kids who showed for Charles’ last birthday party so at least it wasn’t such a traumatic experience that no recovery or forgiveness was possible. We have no idea what Charles did on his visit, he refused to talk about it at all. Mom, though, based on how he was acting when she picked him up, thinks he had a good time.

Charles did mention to me the same week how he was sad because he only had two friends (Jeremiah and CJ) but Corwin had a lot of friends. I pointed out that Corwin had spent more years accumulating them and that he should give it a few more years before becoming a hermit.

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Free Wheeling

The J-Clan is moving to California this summer. As part of that, they have been storing a huge mass of junk in half of our garage (they rented a storage locker as well and filled that too — that they’re moving to a new house that will be about half the square footage as their current house should be very cozy for them). Part of this refuse was a Barbi© Power Wheels™ electric car. Alice noticed it one day and fell in love. She would not infrequently spend time in the garage just to sit in it. When we mentioned that it belonged to Jessie, Alice would immediately respond “We should have Jessie over for a visit!”.

Luckily, it didn’t work because the batteries had worn out. Mom, for some masochistic reason, located replacement batteries while on a shopping expedition for toys for a birthday party. Because we are weak, we bought the battery even though it a serious chunk of change. We had, unfortunately, presumed the the car came with a built in charger. Oh no, not at all! The battery charger is completely external and, natrually, lost somewhere in the mass of junk.

The battery came with enough charge that Alice could go out for a brief spin. She sort of liked it, but didn’t really grasp the concept of steering. Her normal Charles-powered car has a steering wheel but it’s not connected to anything — Charles does the actual steering (one of the features of rear Charles drive!). I ended up fetching out Charles to ride with Alice and show her how to work the car. Charles barely fits in it, but Alice thought it was great to have Charles driving, enough that she tried her hand at the wheel a bit. In the end, I mail ordered the charger, despite it being expensive as well. I suspect that it would have been cheaper and easier to have bought the car and dumped it intead.

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Wednesday 16 May 2007

Rough and tumble

Since the weather warmed up and Alice is sporting bare legs, she’s been gettnig a lot more scratches on them (although she also managed to get a big scratch on the front of her nose). Yesterday she became concerned about this and turned to the one thing any wounded person needs — Dora Band-Aids™. She ended up with four of them on one leg before I put a stop to it, although I think at least three of them cover actual injuries. She tried to explain to me the taxonomy of “boo-boo”, “scratch”, and “hurt” along with healing information, but it was too subtle for me to grasp.

On another front, I have been making the padded swords for Corwin’s upcoming birthday party so the kids can exhaust themselves in the giving and receiving of bruises, and the healing thereof. Alice of course likes them as well, but she’s a frightening sight when trying to swing one that’s 40 inches long in a room containing breakable objects perched on tables and shelves. To avoid this, I made one just for Alice, about 18 inches long, in blue and white (to match her Dora outfit). Alice likes it a lot. She cuddled with it on the couch last night after I finished it, then tried it out for a while on Corwin. She asked for it again this morning and tried it out on the couch and Daddy for a bit.

Dad: She’s going to be the queen bee of a gang of 5th grade girls who go around and beat up the boys, isn’t she?

Mom: [with a touch of pride] Yes.

Video of Alice trying out the sword on Dad

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Tuesday 15 May 2007

Hang on, we'll be back in a bit

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Monday 14 May 2007

Charles in a needle stack

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Purposeful activity

Yesterday we all spent some time cleaning up in anticipation of Corwin’s birthday party next weekend. The boyen have been sentenced to work on the basement, Alice we just try to distract so the rest of us can make forward progress. I have been helping a bit and it’s as if the junk has compressed over the years. I was working on clearing the surface of part of the desk in the kids’ office and it didn’t look that bad, but I kept clearing and clearing without seeming to make much difference. I did manage to find homework for the child of the previous owner from 1994 which, sadly for future historians, I tossed.

Nevertheless, a bit of incremental progress is occurring. Corwin has been told that he’ll be spending some time cleaning in the basement every night this week. He was just as thrilled as you would imagine.

While Corwin and I were working, Alice and Charles had fun unloading some of the stuff we had organized. I didn’t interrupt them because they were playing together cooperatively and peaceably, which is too rare to stop. Alice was building a house out of Duplos and Charles was hauling them from the over to Alice. Alice had put together a little Duplo train and Charles would load it up by attaching Duplos to it and then “driving” it over to the construction site.

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Sunday 13 May 2007

Mother's Day needs children, right?

Today, to celebrate Mother’s Day, we went out for ice cream and to the park, so that Mom could watch the children (part of that “Mother” theme). Mom was going to make french toast from a loaf of hallah bread in the morning, but Poly jumped up on the counter, grabbed the loaf and ate the whole thing.

I took a couple of dump trucks and some traffic cones along for the park expedition, which Charles immediately put to use in the sand box, marking out his work area. These also made Charles and Alice instantly popular with the other kids in the sand box.

We tried teaching corwin to throw a frisbee. He made some progress, but he is still trying to do the work with his arm instead of his wrist. We couldn’t practice for more than 5 or 10 minutes before Corwin was exhausted from all the standing. I think the boys needs to be walking some beans this summer to toughen him up.

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Saturday 12 May 2007

Boring slice of life

We’re still in the end of school year rush season.

Charles went to a class mate’s birthday party at a local pool. I dropped him off and picked him up a couple of hours later and he was in good spirits and claimed he had a good time. He said he even played with some of the other chidren.

Corwin went to visit a friend while Charles was partying, after Mom made him help cut the grass. In the evening we went to the end of season pack cookout. Chloe took charge of Alice and did a good job, even to feeding her dinner. Charles played a bit too and even Corwin had fun. There was a piñata which the kids whacked at with the padded swords. I had taken them along to convince the den to try building some as a project for next season. There was so much candy in the piñata that the kids wandered off before all of the candy was grabbed. I had to send Corwin back to help clean up and he ended up with a huge mass of candy.

The major fun was a bubble machine, which the adults would hang up on a high tree branch so no child could stand in front of it and pop all of the bubbles. Much fun was had until I announced “anyone who gets touched by a bubble turns in to a princess!”. The girls immediatey swarmed all the bubbles they could while the boys fled to bubble-less regions. Eventually, though, they decided that the bubbles were really acid filled and would burn them to a crisp, which was much safer than princess conversions.

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Friday 11 May 2007

Work safe

Charles and Alice were out working on the yard last week. Charles refused to let Alice work on anything until he had set out the safety cones to mark the work area. They worked around the tree first, and then shifted to one of Mom’s garden beds. Unfortunately, Mom has now planted in that bed and it’s off limits for any child projects.

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Expanding fashion choice

I had to change my shirt this morning because Alice didn’t approve. It was my black shirt with the flaming skull on it, which Alice didn’t care for at all.

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Thursday 10 May 2007

For Mimi

Alice has started wearing the Penn State t-shirt you gave to Charles.

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Fly girl

In Alice’s never ending quest to occupy my computer time, we stumbled upon the following video of aerobatics (stunt plane flying) —

Alice really liked the airplane with the “pink stripes”, which is an SU-31 flown by Svetlana Kapanina, a world aerobatic champion. Alice also noted that this would be just like Mommy, who can fly airplanes1. This lead to the following soliloquy this morning from Alice —

I going to fly a pink airplane. When I’m grown up. I will be grown up soon. Sooner than I thought I would.

Sooner than all of us think, I suspect.

1 True.

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Artistic suffering

Alice is expanding her drawing repertoire. While she still draws many fish, yesterday she drew a picture of me — eating fish. In fact, eating salmon, not just generic fish.

Charles, on the other hand, had a bit more of a struggle to find an outlet for his creative urges. Initially, Charles was drawing on an 8×11½ inch pad. Alice saw this and wanted to draw as well, so I found the 11×14 inch pad for her. But that was wrong, because it wasn’t “small”. I located one the same size as Charles (the important measurement) and she was happy. Somehow Charles lost or used up his pad and became quite distraught over not being able to draw even though Alice was doing so. But the 11×14 pad was still out and ready to use, despite being rejected by Alice. This lead to the following conversation with me on the couch and Charles curled into a near fetal position of misery on the floor in front of it (with a clear view of the dining table).

Charles: I want to draw!

Dad: OK, go draw.

Charles. I don’t have any paper!

Dad: [remembering the 11×14 pad] There’s a big pad of paper over there.

Charles: Where?

Dad: On the table.

Charles: I need white paper.

Dad: It’s white.

Charles: Where?

Dad: On the table.

Charles: Where on the table?

Dad: On the top side.

Charles: Wherrrreeeeeeeee?

Dad: On the table.

Alice: Right there, Charles! [Alice runs over and pats the paper]

Charles then, grudgingly, accepted the existence of the paper and its location. Apparently I am not trustworthy enough to justify turning his head enough to look at the table and see the paper.

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Wednesday 09 May 2007

Lost in the mists of scheduling

Charles’ soccer season got away from me this spring. It ended last Thursday, although we missed the finale because of a violin recital. Being on the Tuesday / Thursday schedule was a big problem in this regard because so many other things (such as Corwin’s Webelos and violin) are on those days. The fews days I managed to get to a game the weather was terrible and I couldn’t take any usable pictures.

Still, Charles seem to have fun despite the lack of a photographic record. It will be interesting to see how he does next year when he’ll be expected to start playing the game for sort of real instead of just running around on the field.

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Tuesday 08 May 2007

Gratuitous Picture of the Day

Dad’s very sick today, so this is all you get

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Monday 07 May 2007

Tuned up

The instructor carefully places Charles to optimize his sound

Last week was music week for the boys. They had two violin performances, one on Thursday and another on Sunday. I am not sure what went on at the Thursday performance, Mom didn’t let me or Alice attend.

We all went to the Sunday performance, which was in our church. Grandma and Grandpa drove down for the event (which is serious dedication to the fine arts). Charles did fine, getting through Twinkle Twinkle without major error. Corwin sounded much better than he did the last time he played in the church. Amazing what practice and instruction can do.

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Sunday 06 May 2007

Gratuitous Picture of the Day

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Physical emphasis

One recurring problem we have with the boys1 is drifts of dirty socks. Each boy can go through 3 or 4 pairs a day. Their habit is to remove shoes and socks as soon as they are inside, then get a new pair of socks if they go outside again. Almost endless repition of “don’t take your socks off” and “put your socks away” were completely ineffective.

I then realized that the padded swords would be an excellent next escalation. I therefore told the boys

For every sock I pick up and put away, you each get a whack. I won’t be wasting my time figuring out who’s sock it is, you both get whacked.

That evening, I found a sock so I whacked Charles. His only comment was “are you going to look for Corwin now?”. I wasn’t then, but I did catch up with Corwin later in the day and let him have his share.

The next day, I announced “Hmmm, I see two socks on the floor here”. Charles immediately spoke up and said “those are mine!” and then took them up to the dirty clothes bin. The boys are just not training their parents correctly.

1 Alice too, but she’s too young for it to bother us.

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Saturday 05 May 2007

What I meant to say was…

Alice is being prepared for a bath after her second containment failure of the day.

Alice: Daddy! I broke the soap in to pieces.

Dad: That’s not really a good thing, Alice.

Alice: I didn’t do it. Charles did it.

Dad: Charles broke the soap?

Alice: It just do it by itself!

After the bath, Alice broke in to the baby wipes so that she could “clean herself”. She named the wipe she was using “wipey”. Then she elected to wear just underwear and overalls, no shirt. But she’ll be the cleanest hill-billy looking girl in these parts.

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Incremental socialization

Charles has his first real playdate today. This time, Charles initiated the visit, picking a fellow student to come over for the afternoon. Apparently Charles is kind of scary and the child didn’t want to visit by himself, so we have his brother (2nd grade) as well. While quite a bit of time was spent with each kid playing near each other but not actually with, later on they started shooting Nerf darts at each other. Overall it seemed to go well.

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Weekly Soccer Report

Corwin defends his territory

This was the last game of the season and a very exciting one. It was the only game where the outcome was in doubt past the first quarter.

It started out not looking good for Corwin’s team. Corwin was goalie during the first quarter and had to make some big saves, such as the one in the picture. It seemed to me that the other team was doing a better job of pressuring the goal and other team, while getting some shots, was very lacking in any follow up.

Jack was goalie in the second quarter, during which the other team scored two quick goals. Things were looking grim until late in the second quarter when Ali powered in a shot from outside the box. This marked the turning point in the game. Re-energized, the team did much better on defense and cooperating on attacks. The opponents didn’t score again while Ali, Jack, and Josh each racked up goals for a final score of 4-2.

Corwin was definitely on his game. He didn’t play offense but did a great job on defense. He made some great saves as goalie, lots of good clearing and tackles, and especially in the final quarter he played very solid defense breaking up strong attacks.

The star of the game, though, was Ali. She scored twice, the first time basically solo to turn the game around. She played good defense, bnreaking up many attacks and doing some excellent clearing. Ali’s second score was an excellent team effort. Corwin made one of his saves near his goal then took it over to the side. He made a long pass up the sideline to Jack, who took it over near the other goal, then passed to Ali for the score. There was definitely a not more setting up for follow on shots in the second half and it showed in the scoring.

Overall it was a great game. Both defenses did well, the opponent goalies making some amazing saves as well. There was a lot of good clearing, so much that it was hard to track the ball with the camera as it bounced from one side of the field to the other. An excellent end of for the season.

Now I just have to get all the pictures edited by Monday for the players vs. parents game.

P.S. Mom was getting riled up during the game. Despite having Alice and Charles climbing on her while she was trying to hold Poly, I heard her cheering for the team. She was so worked up that she lost her key fob for the van and had to keep Corwin back to help her look for it (she found it after some searching).

Season Summary

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Friday 04 May 2007

Damage control

As part of her massive birthday celebrations, Mom received a bucket of tulips. This was chosen as part of our family’s “earth friendly”policies, because the metal bucket they came with for a container is perfect for holding hot ashes from the fireplace in winter. It turns out that if you put those in a normal garbage can, it can catch on fire.

Mom gave up on the tulips today freeing the bucket for the ashes. I told her to put it by the fireplace. I also told her to tell the children to play with it. That way, when the bucket goes missing, at least we won’t also have disobedient children.

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A boy and his tanker ship

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Alices are not scary

Dad: Oh! Oh! There’s an Alice in the house!

Alice: No there not!

Dad: Yes there is, right there!

Alice: No. I not scary.

Dad: Oh. What about Mom?

Alice: Yes. Mom is scary.

And apparently Mom is so scary that Alice denied saying this when Mom came home later.

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Thursday 03 May 2007

More fun with rabbits

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It was calling my name, I swear

I don’t want to say how many pieces of her birthday cake Mom had yesterday, only that afterwards she pleaded with me to arrange to have the rest of it eaten by the kids before she did.

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Wednesday 02 May 2007


Charles has been working on a flag for himself and Alice since Sunday. He started out by asking me many questions about how flags are made, settling on paper instead of fabric because he has paper.

Charles finished the basic work yesterday and this afternoon attached it to a flagpole. He and Alice (mainly Alice) are now parading around the house and outside with it. It started out as an American flag but evolved in to a set of horizontal stripes in various shades with a few stars in the corner.

Alice monopolized the flag so much that Charles decided to count out time until it was his turn, counting all the way to forty. Whether that’s as far as he could count or wait, I’m not sure.

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Tuesday 01 May 2007

Weekly Soccer Report

I only watched the last third of Corwin’s game because it was the same time as Charles’. I went with Charles because, due to bad weather and time of day issues, I had a total of two pictures from all of Charles’ games. Mom was there as well and told me that game was shaping up as another crushing victory for Corwin and crew (both Josh and Jake scored goals within the first five minutes). I think the final score was 7-2 (Corwin couldn’t remember).

While I wasn’t watching Corwin managed to injure himself three times, once in a rather spectacular pileup that ended with Corwin bouncing his head off the ground. That shook him up enough that he pulled himself out of the game for a quarter or so. As you can see from the picture, it clearly wasn’t bothering him later in the game.

Even though the team had more than one extra player for once, there were some very tired faces out on the field. This enabled the other team to come back and score two goals late in the fourth quarter after being scoreless the rest of the game. Still, it wasn’t that close and I think it was nice that the other team didn’t end up scoreless.

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Mid-week Soccer Report

Charles’ soccer team had a game yesterday. It went well for Charles, who was excited by winning 1-0 (“the other team scored zero goals!”). Charles played well, making a few runs at the opponent’s goal. He might have scored except for two small mistakes.

The first was going too wide around the goal, at least once going from the far left to the far right. Charles seems to think this is part of the goal attack strategy, even though his coaches tried to convince him otherwise in practice. The other mistake is that Charles likes to drop to his knees just before or while he kicks. This tends to rob his shot of some of its power. I have no idea where he got the idea that is a good technique. Neither of these are accidental or brought on the by the confusion of the game, I see Charles do exactly the same thing in practice.

The best part of the game was the aftermath of one drive at the opponent’s goal by Charles’ team. The ball ended up short of the goal, but for some reaon neither team tried to kick it. The parents were yelling “kick it! kick it!” to no effect. Then one of the opposing players realized something was wrong so she picked up the ball and handed it to the goalie. Problem solved! It was way too cute for the referees to call a penalty on.

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