Saturday 30 April 2011

Corwin Soccer

Corwin had an exciting game today. This particular opponent has been mostly a push over in the past but today they had not only had more players than usual (I counted 16) but they were playing much better. I could see that in the first fie minutes even though Corwin’s team got a score in early in the first quarter. The field is small leading to a lot of effectively long kicks (although there wasn’t a keeper exchange like last time). It meant that even a good attack could turn very suddenly in to a desperate defense. That happened on both sides quite a few times.

Corwin’s team got out to a 2-0 lead, then the opponents scored, and Corwin’s team came back quickly with another score for a half time lead of 3-1. It was a hard fought contest in the second half with the opponents scoring twice more. The first was a nice play, where Corwin’s keeper bobbled, getting her hands on it but not keeping control and letting it drift across the goal. An opposing player did a slide kick on it past a defender to pop it in. The other score was from almost midfield, a big high kick that the keeper misjudged so that it bounced over her and then dropped just under the cross bar. A lucky shot but that’s the way it goes.

This left the score 3-3 in the final ten minutes and both teams pushed hard on offense but the defense was very tough. With just 20 seconds left in the game Keith broke through and got the score. There wasn’t even time to have a kick off afterwards giving Corwin’s team a razor’s edge 4-3 victory. Both teams played well and hard right to the end.

The most notable part of the game was I saw three triple headers.

Corwin had several small drives from the backfield where, rather than just booting, dribbled out, sometimes past attackers, before booting the ball downfield. He did well as usual with kick placement.

Another player on Corwin’s team got trapped in the corner, so he did a small back kick on the ball to bounce it off the opponent for the out of bounds. Very slick, but the opponent paid him back later by doing almost exactly the same thing.

The opponent defense made some sacrifices to stop scores — several times a hard direct shot at the goal from Corwin’s team was stopped only by a defender jumping in front of the ball and taking the hit with a smack I could hear across the field. Both teams took a couple stomach shots to stop attacks as well. The opposing keeper was very aggressive at going to the ball. He would literally dive right in front of a big windup to grab the ball. He got kicked in the head once as he slid in front of a player driving in for the shot, who somehow managed to not kick the keeper right in the face, but instead sailed over him and apparently clipping him on the way by.

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Charles Soccer

Charles had a morning game. It was only cool with a strong wind. It was a strongly contested game, although I was fearful for the outcome until the final whistle on a 2-1 victory.

Charles’ team pulled out to a 1-0 lead by half time, although they had the wind with them so I anticipated a harder slog in the second half. Even then it was a very close thing as the other team had 2 or 3 very close shots that only by the slimmest margins weren’t scores. Charles played some offense in the first half, getting some good drives but trying to pass a bit too much at the end rather than just taking the shot himself. Passing is good but I don’t see the point of passing if you’ve got a shot yourself. On the other hand, it’s a lot easier to get kids to keep the ball than to get them to pass at all.

They were also doing better about supporting each other on attacks, even though both scores were on single drives through the defense. However they tended to go downfield in pairs, right next to each other, rather than spreading out. It was still a well played,

The second half started off well with a quick score to put them up 2-0. But the other team layed hard and scored late in the third quarter. The fourth quarter was another series of barely escaped close calls but Charles’ team held for the win.

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Friday 29 April 2011

It's not supposed to be an electric fence

The excitement of the fence guys went a bit down today. While they were digging they managed to hit a power line and shut off our power for the entire morning. Apparently they were digging too close to the marked line. The fence guys didn’t seem much concerned until the power guys told them they’d hit a 7200 volt line and were lucky to not be dead. Mom was happy about the “not dead” part, as that would have put a real damper on the whole fence experience.

Because of this, the fence guys wanted to dig a bit further in from the marked line, which unfortunately is right on the property line which means that Mom will lose more bushes than she anticipated. All that sacrifice for her pets…

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Thursday 28 April 2011


Mom’s excited, the fence guys are here! A couple of days ago the utility guy came out and marked all the underground stuff which put Mom on the keen edge of anticipation and now, actual fencing! She’s pumped.

Corwin’s comment was “hey, there are big beefy guys doing big beefy guy stuff in the back!”

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Wednesday 27 April 2011

Joys of Practice

Charles’ soccer practice has been rained out three times in the last two weeks. Corwin’s, of course, has gone on as it hasn’t been thundering. Corwin complains about this before we leave but doesn’t seem to get too upset during the actual practice out in the rain, or even when afterwards Mom makes him take a shower anyway.

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Tuesday 26 April 2011

Gratuitous Picture of the Day

Bunnies need bacon too

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Trip events

Woo hoo, the passports have all arrived!

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Monday 25 April 2011

Poof jokes

We’ve been trying to get the kids to cut back on the scatological references. Charles, ever the clever one, has instead decided to use the word “poof” as his primary exclamation because it’s not actually scatological but sounds like it is. I wonder about the implications of his now common phrase “you’re so poofy!”. Given it’s frequently a prelude to his attempting to play with parental gush, I let it slide.

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Sunday 24 April 2011


Grandma came down for Easter and we had the usual feast for late Easter lunch. The kids had been gorging on candy all morning. Corwin and I were up early and sent off to help with the pancake breakfast at 7:30. The turnout was a bit thin, just one other boy and Corwin. A set o three girls arrived later to help out with serving (which was a fine trade off in my view). It seemed to be enough, they had plenty of pancakes. The church Easter egg hunt was a little different this year — the theory seemed to be that it too much of a problem to have an egg limit so they put out so many eggs that kids could just fill their baskets. Charles declined to participate (Corwin is far too old) but Alice collected and shucked quite a number of eggs.

At home the kids hid the Easter eggs they decorated earlier. Charles hid one so well he couldn’t remember where it was but eventually Corwin found it. We also started up the burn pile, getting rid of the Christmas tree and some short logs that had been on the porch for a couple of years, waiting for an opportunity to help start a fire. But we actually have fires so rarely that it’s plenty dry and no extra small sticks / logs are needed. Unless it’s the day after a torrential downpour as it was a few days back when Mom first tried to burn it.

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Saturday 23 April 2011


The kids have definitely been enjoying the building up to Easter and all the extra church services they have been able to attend. Sadly, they missed Good Friday services because Alice wasn’t feeling well (after she passed out on the couch about 30 minutes before time to leave, Mom and I decided that waking her up and taking her to church was unlikely to be much benefit to her or the other worshippers). On the other hand, Alice has been asking “when’s Easter?” for the last two weeks. We’ll see if the reality lives up to the hype.

Today was a massive cleaning day, followed by coloring Easter eggs. This year the kits included glitter to make glitter eggs. Mom used up so many of the eggs from her chickens that she had to buy extra from the store. Corwin also made a couple of french silk pies for dinner tomorrow.

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Corwin Soccer

Corwin’s game had a number of the lead players missing so the coach recruited some back up players for the day with such success they ended up with 16 players for the game including 4 girls. One of the girls (Ema) had already played two games that day but wanted to show up anyway.

Corwin ended up playing about half the game, mostly midfield. He did a reasonable job but needs to do better about anticipating the direction of play since he’s not going to outrun any of the opponent’s offense. He did run and showed some persistence in going after attackers. He does seem to have quite a knack for medium length boots that land favorably, sometimes right in front of a teammate. He rarely gets a long boot in but he does a very good job of putting the ball on the foot of his own offense. So if he gets control of the ball and has a moment, he can get a play started. He’d just do that more often if he had more hustle.

The team really dominated the game. They were playing well and the other team wasn’t, the latter lacking a lot of the aggression needed. Corwin’s just dominated the field and won with a score of 5-1 which could easily have been more lopsided. Two of the goals were unusual. The first was kicked by a player from about the middle of the opponent’s half. It was a good kick but the goalie had time to set up, until another player made a header and sent it off in a different direction in to the goal. Near the end of the game, a player took a cross shot that missed but this time another player on Corwin’s team jumped up and bounced it off his chest in to the goal.

On the other hand, before the game the coach told one of the players “no hurting anyone today” because he had banged up the coach twice and another player once during the last couple of weeks. So naturally he had a collision during the game which took out an opposing player. I was watching, zoomed in on the lens, and it looked like she just ran in to his trailing leg after he picked off the ball, then landed wrong on her elbow. She was back on the field later in the game so it wasn’t serious, just painful.

P.S. We had to play at a different field, as the normal field was too wet even for the coach, one goal being under about a foot of water.

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Charles Soccer

Charles had another soccer game today against a team from a local town. Normally those teams aren’t that strong but the game didn’t go so well, losing 2-6. I thought it wasn’t going to end well when they were down 0-2 part way through the first quarter. The kids just seemed off to me. They were losing the one on ones on a regular basis. Charles and several other players just whiffed when trying to kick the ball and so the attacker just ran on by him. They were still having problems with handballs, taking two penalty kicks. The first one was a direct score. The second one was blocked by the goalie who ran it out and booted it, but he made the mistake of walking back facing the goal. The other team brought it back so fast that the goalie just barely had time to turn around before the shot and wasn’t able to stop it.

They got better in the second half, enough to score a couple of goals (although they were helped by slope and the wind). They didn’t give up, though, and played until the end. Overall the play wasn’t quite as lopsided as the score, so it was still a good game, although Charles needs to be more engaged.

Momentarily engaged

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Friday 22 April 2011

Gratuitous Picture of the Day

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Thursday 21 April 2011

Missing Person

Corwin and Charles have soccer practice at different places now so I generally drop Corwin off first, then take Charles to his practice. I wait there until Charles is done then head over to pick up Corwin because his practice finishes 30 minutes later so it’s easy to get there before he’s ready. Because I am so far behind on things lately I have been spending practice time using my laptop to get some writing (personal and business) done, free from the distraction of kids on Minecraft. I thought Charles had figured this out but at the last practice but at the last practice, I noticed that it was well past the end of practice time and no Charles. I decided to go ahead and walk over to the practice field to see what was going on. On the way, I get a call from Josie’s dad, asking if I wanted him to pick up Charles and drop him off at our house. I said no, I would just walk over and get him. It turns out that Charles had decided I wasn’t there because looking out at the parking lot from the practice field he didn’t see the car, even though it hadn’t moved since he arrived and I had waited for him every single time this season.

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Wednesday 20 April 2011

Math Inventor

Charles came up with a new number today — “momtillion”. It’s how many times Mom has to tell the kids something before it is effective.

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Tuesday 19 April 2011

Beginning typing

One thing Alice likes about Minecraft is that she can type messages to other players and put up signs. What she mostly writes about is “poo”, mostly messages like “I like poo” although she mistyped once and wrote “I like pie”. She has built two houses on her own, one a pig house (with lots of blocks that make pigs appear in the game) and another out of dirt (which is brown) which she calls her “poo house”. It’s not done much for the local property values.

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Monday 18 April 2011

Charles Soccer

Because Charles’ first game (scheduled for the week before “the first played game”) was rained out, they had it tonight instead of practice. It was cold and windy once again but at least it wasn’t raining.

The opponents were better than the earlier team, with a couple of strong players and one really good player who could repeatedly break past Charles’ team on encounters. Several goals were avoided only by the slimmest margins or just plain luck. Meanwhile Charles’ team were managing to drive down but just not getting shots at the goal. The first half was roughly even when Charles’ team had the field slope advantage but the second half was a nail biter due to the repeated close calls. In the end, Charles’ team held on well enough to keep the score to a minimal 0-1 loss but it could easily have been worse. There was one opponent in particular who was extremely good for that age who kept driving the ball down for goal attacks. Charles’ coach is a strong proponent of rotating players through substitutions and positions on the field but the other coach kept this player in on offense the entire game which was a bit of a disadvantage.

Charles’ play was in my view somewhat off for no apparent reason. He wasn’t as aggressive on offense and was slow to respond on defense. Charles wasn’t the only defender with this problem, the poor goalie was frequently left to face an attack on by himself throughout the game.

One good thing was that before the game, I told Charles he had to score 2 goals or no Minecraft and he said “that sounds fair”. I pretended to not hear him as he desperately tried to claim he had meant “not fair”.

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Sunday 17 April 2011

Crop Walk

Today was the annual Crop Walk with our church and other local churches. For the first time Alice was there to walk the entire thing (in previous years she either rode in a stroller / wagon, or had a conflict with her dance pictures). We were a bit concerned but decided that since Zina had done it at a similar age, surely Alice could walk 6 miles. As it turns out, not only could she but at the end she wasn’t tired, she was hyperactive. She actually injured herself a couple of hundred feet from the end because she was running and jumping around like a maniac and tripped on to the concrete sidewalk.

Alice also spent a lot of effort gathering dandelions blooms. She then tried to give them away but strangely they were not a highly desirable item. Yet it did not diminish her ardor for gathering.

Otherwise it was uneventful, without any complaints from any of the spawn. Charles was able to walk with Josie and (sometimes) Kennis which probably accounted for his acquiescence.

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Saturday 16 April 2011

Corwin Soccer

Corwin’s soccer today was in some harsh weather, just above freezing with a very stiff breeze and a bit of drizzle. The kids seemed affected as well, just not playing with much energy. The team this time better than the first game and it showed in the final score of 0-3. I think Corwin’s team was lucky it wasn’t a more lopside score as the opponents really dominated on keeping the ball on offense. The biggest difference in the teams I saw was the the opponents would make big kicks from their midfield to get the ball on the other side, while Corwin’s team would dribble the ball back. For this game the former tactic was noticeably more successful. Although Corwin’s team did well in encounters, even if you win 75% of them having two or three before crossing midfield means a pick off half the time. For the other side they were good at kicking so most of the time the ball would clear and be on the other side. This added up over the game to give the field position advantage to the other side. I would say that the other team won through better defense — I think their offense was only a little better.

Corwin was off as well, just not running as much as he should and not anticipating plays well (in terms of positioning himself when he wasn’t directly involved).

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Charles Soccer

It was a fairly miserable morning for soccer — cold, rainy, windy. I tried to get some pictures but the poor light and rain made for a poor result.

The game, on the other hand, was good. Charles’ team started out well, I think mostly because they had the wind with them. Charles scored a goal along with a teammate, while the other team scored on a penalty kick, leaving the half time score 2-1. The second half was more of a struggle against the wind and you could tell it made a real difference in field control. Still, Charles’ team hung on with a score on each side, leaving the final score 3-2 for the win.

Charles’ goal was well played. He broke through the defense and made a run at the goal, taking a good shot, which was blocked by a defender. Charles was persistent and went after the loose ball, breaking past a defender trying to get to it and then taking another good shot for the score.

The penalty score by the other team was sort of sad — they were driving down field and Charles’ team had a hand ball, leading to a free kick. The kick was blocked by a player’s hand, leading to another hand ball, but this one was inside the goalie box so it was a penalty kick. The instinct to put up hands against an incoming ball rather than turn away is not yet sufficiently insti, lled in the team (they had 5 hand balls during the game, which is quite a few).

Charles played goalie for a quarter and did well with several saves.

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Friday 15 April 2011

A leak in the money tank

Tax day! We got the taxes down early this year, actually by early March, because the business taxes had to be done by then. It’s a big bill this time around due to our lack of planning on witholding. On the other hand, we got to have the money until today, rather than the government, so that’s a plus. As a result we have to pay estimated quarterly taxes for this tax year, the first installment due today as well to make the outflow extra painful.

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Thursday 14 April 2011

Mom the Geek

Mom finally gave up on her old laptop and got a new one. She shopped around a bit and settled on a Lenovo 420. She said she kept mistyping the name and ending up on some asian hot bikini babe website but wouldn’t tell me what the mistyping was precisely.

It turned out to be bigger than she expected with the result that she can’t type one handed while holding it in the other easily. Clearly she just needs to hit the gym more and get that upper body strength developed. On the other hand, it’s much faster, with a much bigger hard disk (she was running out of space on her previous one), and a screen that’s also much bigger physically and with many more pixels (although not as many pixels as my laptop).

P.S. Mom also discovered while playing with her new laptop that the DVD drive on her old one may not have worked because it was disabled in the device manager, rather than being actually broken. I suspect she knew that all along and just used it as an excuse to drop by my office more frequently, claiming that I needed to burn a DVD for her.

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Wednesday 13 April 2011

Dirty rotten grill

It’s grilling time once again but Mom discovered that parts of the grill internals had rotted away. She managed to find some replacement parts on the Internet which arrived recently. Of course, another part of the grill broke while she was replacing the previously broken parts but fortunately the newly broken bits are merely convienent and not required for operation so we are enjoying Mom’s flame enhanced cooking while waiting for yet more parts.

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Tuesday 12 April 2011

It's never enough

Now that I have been playing Minecraft for a bit it’s definitely helped the kids bond with me. Charles spends a lot of time bugging me to install third party extensions (“mods”, from “game modifications”) that he wants to use. I think there’s something seriously wrong when my kids are asking me to do technically savvy stuff. It’s a source of continuing embarrassment for me.

They also want me to use my external editor to change stuff in the game. One of Charles’ (along with Corwin and Matt) big projects was building a model of a StarCraft battle cruiser. This lead to some conflict as various elements of the group had different ideas about the internal structure of the ship. Charles convinced me to duplicate it twice so each of them could have their own copy. But at least we’re interacting.

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Monday 11 April 2011

Very dry

Charles has never really liked having milk on his cereal. He generally eats it dry and has his milk seperately in a cup. Alice has lately taken up the same habit for no apparent reason other than that’s how Charles does it. I suppose it avoids any complaints of soggy cereal.

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Sunday 10 April 2011

Chore selection

In order to keep up our cruel yet heartless rating as parents we force the children to walk Polynomial around the neighborhood (and presumably around the pond although “we have our doubts”). We like to send them out in groups since Alice can’t handle Poly by herself (she’d be dragged around). While personally I try to avoid it, the kids seem to think that carrying about the poop bag after Poly has excreted, it’s apparently the preferred task on a group walk. When the duty is assigned I can hear the kids (usually Alice first) shouting out “I call poop bag!”. At least it’s not at dinner time.

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Saturday 09 April 2011

Mom Flowers

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Friday 08 April 2011

Not the reassurance I was looking for

The two younger kids are home today, while Corwin has a half day. I found Charles on the couch, playing on his Nintendo DS, with Alice in attendance.

Dad: Alice, are you going to spend all day just watching Charles play DS?

Alice: Just until Charles has to go to Josie’s house.

Imagine my relief.

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Thursday 07 April 2011

Confirming with a rocket

Corwin has to do an art project as part of his confirmation so he has decided to do a rocket and paint it in a Lutheran paint scheme. Mom was thrilled.

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Wednesday 06 April 2011

Looking on the bright side

Corwin: May I grow up to work in nuclear power and blow up the world?

Mom: No.

Charles: At least you wouldn’t have to mow the lawn then.

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Tuesday 05 April 2011

The Rules, Updated

Old rule: “You can do that when you grow up.”

New rule: “You can do that when you move out of the house.”

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Monday 04 April 2011

It was anybody else

Alice is still having problems with bladder containment. In the last two days, she’s managed to pee on top of the lid of the toilet in our bathroom (she apparently didn’t have time to open it — “I really had to go, Dad”) and peed in our bed after falling asleep with Mom. I didn’t discover this until I climbed in to bed and realized there’s more than one meaning for “the wet spot”. Alice had gotten out of our bed and gone to her own without noticing this, except that she discarded her soaked underwear in the middle of the hallway en route. In the morning, she didn’t explicitly deny the whole thing but did claim “I don’t remember doing that”. Alice was unable to provide any other plausible suspects so I was unwavering in my blame.

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Sunday 03 April 2011

Sleight of Mind

Charles still enjoys his dry Monterry Jack cheese. I pick up a hunk for him now and then, although it’s a bit pricey. As I gave him a chunk the other day, a cunning plan occurred to me —

Dad: Haha, I have an evil plan!

Charles: What is it?

Dad: I will give you all of the dry Monterry Jack, and after you eat it you won’t have anymore! Bwahaha!

Charles: [disappointed] Awwwwww.…

Dad: And the best part is it will be your fault you don’t have any cheese. Bwahahaha! Is that not a clever and cruel plan?

Charles: I don’t want it to be my fault.

Dad: Well, OK. I’ll eat the rest of the cheese then it won’t be your fault there’s none left.

Charles: OK!

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Saturday 02 April 2011

Corwin Soccer

Corwin had his first soccer game of the season today. It was a very nice day for it, cool and sunny if a bit windy. The other team was a bit younger, a year or so but a reasonably good team. The final score was 2-2 after a hard fought game. The goals were scored basically in pairs witht the opponents scoring first, then Corwin’s team getting a score just a few minutes later. All of the scores were well done, the two opposing scores from one on ones with the goalie where the ball hit the side net before the back, once from the middle and the other from the far side. One of Corwin’s team score was a bit lucky because the goalie was on the shot but just didn’t manage to quite stop the ball and it ended up going between his legs in to the goal.

Corwin had a good day, doing a lot of running and actually mixing it up a bit on defense. He played offense for a bit and managed to take a shot good enough the goalie had to work to stop it. Corwin also had a number of good defensive plays and success with one on one encounters. I would say it was much more that Corwin was making an effort than any actual skill increase and Mom and I let him know we noticed.

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Friday 01 April 2011

Classic Movie Time

As part of her Netflix experience, Mom has been subjecting broadening Corwin by exposing him to classic movies. The latest in the series has been “2001”:. We watched the first half one evening, but stopped at the intermission because it was getting late. A couple of weeks later we fired it up for the finish. Corwin claimed that he didn’t quite understand what was going on, especially the last 20 minutes or so of the movie. I helped out by saying, right after the star baby looks at the Earth, “The End”!. Corwin looked at me with a “what are you going on about?” look but that was, of course, the end of the movie. Corwin reacted to this dawning realization with even more desparate “what happened? That didn’t make any sense! I don’t understand!”. Bwahahaha! Worth the time spent watching.

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