Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ready for spring

Yes, the title says it all, I'm annoyed with winter and it's still fall.

It snowed here in the Salt Lake Valley yesterday, and was in the 30s again today. Yes, it's supposed to warm up and feel like Utah autumn again, but the snow lost its novelty on me quickly, especially this morning when I had to brush the car off.

I do like bundling up and going for walks when the weather is this brisk (and there is now snow to navigate -- fortunately, nothing really accumulated on the sidewalks), but that has been the only redeeming quality of this cold spell. That will wear off soon, too. I'm ready for next baseball season, even though this one hasn't finished (go Phillies, by the way).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Break out the rakes

Fall finally seemed to arrive in Salt Lake City. By this time each fall, I've already raked a few times, but this autumn was odd. The leaves weren't changing colors and falling off by mid-October.

Well, just in the past few days, our maple turned red, our other tree's leaves went yellow, and suddenly, our lawn was full of leaves. I took the boys outside after dinner to rake, and in 10 minutes, we managed a big enough pile for Littlest to jump into.

I don't mind raking every fall; in fact, I kind of look forward to it. I know some people curse their trees for the leaves, but I see it as the tradeoff -- the trees provide shade, scenery and oxygen, we rake in return. And, it's a nice sign of fall, even if it was a few weeks late.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ski season approaches

We live in Utah, but our family are barely skiers. Wife went a few times in the first few years we lived here, and I went twice, taking lessons both times. Then we had kids and I haven't gone since.

As I type this, I'm looking at the used pair of skis we bought Eldest. We've been promising he could try skiing for a couple years now, but we haven't taken him or signed him up for lessons -- falling into the same no-time trap that has kept us from going skiing. So, we bought the skis, thinking this would force us to get him started. Many of his friends his age already are skiing, and we know he'd love it, so we made the commitment by buying the used skis. We figure he'll be able to pass them to Littlest, though I'm not sure if Littlest will be as enthused (he's more of a climber than a speedster).

And maybe, we'll go again, too. I took the lessons six years ago believing that I'm never going to get the opportunity to ski so easily (the resorts here are so close) if we ever moved. I don't like going fast, and I hate the ski lifts with no safety bars, but I wanted to give it a try, and for those two times, it didn't suck. I can see Eldest becoming a good skier, so I may have only a couple years before he's skiing black diamonds while I'm stay on the green circles.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday night lights

I took Eldest to a high school football game tonight. I'm not working Friday nights during the fall, and I haven't seen a game in a long time. Eldest has never seen a football game outside of what I try to get him to watch on TV. With early Saturday soccer games the next few weeks, tonight was the best night to go if we were going to see a game this season.

When the game first started, Eldest was simply taking it all in, I think. Football might be one of the tougher sports to explain to a 5-year-old, so I don't know how much he understood, but he seemed to follow some of it. The game unfortunately was a bit of a snoozer -- the visiting team took a 35-0 lead by halftime, and we were sitting in the home bleachers.

In the first quarter, we walked to get hot chocolate, and Eldest saw a souvenir table where glow sticks were on sale. For the next quarter and a half, all I heard was "Is it halftime" because I said we could maybe buy one then. After getting the glow bracelets and wandering around a bit, Eldest seemed energized. I bought him a hot dog, which he ate quickly. He seemed to be more excited to watch the game and was clearly having fun. Eventually, he asked to go -- it was getting chilly, the game had slowed down to 35-7, and he was getting tired. But it was a fun night, and I'm hoping to take him to one more game before the end of the season.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Still the tallest

Eldest has been a kindergartner for a little more than a month now. He's doing great, has made some good friends (boys with whom they formed a "Star Wars" club) and looks forward to school every day. We enrolled him at Salt Lake City's Open Classroom school -- a charter school in which the parents help the teacher teach the class. It's been fun for me, not only to watch Eldest in class once a week and to be integrally involved in his education, but also to be part of the class. The last three Wednesdays, I've been teaching a mini course on dinosaurs, which has been fun.

He's grown up so fast -- I'm amazed to see him go through the lunch line (he's full-day twice a week), sit down with his friends, and not be fazed when I go. And yes, he's the tallest in his class, though there's on girl in one of the other kindergarten classes that might be a smidge taller (and a few boys who are close -- two are his good friends and I've been jokingly calling them the "frontcourt" because they'd make a good basketball team). But he's also standing tall for another reason -- he's loving kindergarten.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Food stuffs

Littlest is a skinny 3-year-old, much like I was 30-something years ago. It's simply his metabolism, not because he doesn't eat. And today, he ate.

We're wrapping up a trip to Moab, and today we hiked at Arches National Park and swam in the hotel pool. We've done this for a few days now -- hiked and swam. The combination must have sent Littlest's appetite into overdrive, because I have never seen a 32-pound tall 3-year-old eat as much as he did today.

First, he ate a big breakfast, including a whole bowl of Apple Jacks, part of a bagel, half an apple (no idea why he ate Apple Jacks with an apple), some yogurt and chocolate milk. On the way to Arches, he wanted some Pringles, so we gave him the can, which was a mistake. He ate about two-thirds of a big can of cheddar cheese Pringles, and he wasn't just casually munching on them -- he was eating them as if there was a deadline. Maybe he thought Eldest was going to take the can away, but whatever the reason, we had to actually clean him up of cheese residue when we finally parked the car.

Littlest didn't eat a lot of lunch, maybe because of his Pringle binge, but he wasn't done pigging out. After swimming, we went to dinner at an Italian restaurant. We ordered the boys a small cheese pizza to split, and we also had a side of pasta available. The pizza was too hot, so he asked for some noodles. He proceeded to eat about 75 percent of the pasta side, and it wasn't a small plate. But apparently, that wasn't enough, because he then ate two slices of pizza. We got back to the room, and I bought the boys ice cream Push-Ups from the hotel's little store -- and of course he ate that.

Maybe it's been our active trip, or maybe it's a growth spurt, but more than likely, it's just a genetic metabolism that he'll be stuck with growing up. I'll warn him that someday, that metabolism will slow down. Hopefully, he'll enjoy it while it lasts.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Swim like a fish

I grew up being afraid of water and not having much fun around swimming pools. I've blogged before about how happy I am that my boys don't have that fear and love swimming, but they are further along then I would have ever imagined.

Eldest, at age 5, is some armwork away from being a better swimmer than I am at 38. I was surprised to see him diving for pool toys on the bottom of the pool today (in about 4 feet of water). A couple weeks ago, Littlest, at age 3, decided he too could jump off the diving board, and today he started perfecting a cannonball. He's not quite swimming yet as much as floating and kicking on his back, but he's still more proficient and more confident in the water than the average 3-year-old.

What I'm most happy about is that the boys are having fun swimming. I never did growing up, and I missed out on some things as a result. I'm not the most brave person in the water, but at least I caught up. And at least, along with them, I can make up for some of those things I missed.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Back and forth

Today is Oct. 1, and our family has mostly settled into its weekly routine with school. September seemingly flew by, just like July did, just like May did, just like March did, and so on. But that's OK -- throughout all the discovery, adaptability and stress of September, I'm somewhat glad October has arrived. It feels like now we can truly settle in to something not rushed, even though it's sure to be another busy month.

Sweatshirt weather has arrived, which is enjoyable until about my birthday, when I'm craving spring again. The boys are in school, the NFL is in full swing, I'm coaching Eldest's soccer team again, and Halloween is less than a month away. Yes, it's undeniably fall. Here's to a great October!