Thursday, April 28, 2016

Soccer Sunday

I brought my new camera and telephoto lens to Georgia's soccer game last Sunday so I finally have new photos to share.  It's been a busy spring for Georgia - she is balancing soccer (with its practices an hour away from our house, which means a two hour drive for an hour and a half practice) and lacrosse and all the games, practices and tournaments that that entails.  

She is also balancing a difficult 7th grade course load and flute lessons but she's doing a good job all around.

The same could not be said for Gordy and me who always find spring and all the craziness that surrounds it, more than a little bit stressful and complicated.  We are always in two different places, doing two different things with two different children.  Try-outs for next (school) year take place in the spring and neither of us enjoys the endless whispering and speculating of the parents on the side-lines.  For example, next year's soccer will be a little different from this year's soccer.  US soccer is changing from a grade-determined age group to a birth-year determined age group which would be fine except that Georgia is a November birthday and so will be one of the youngest on her new team and one of the few eighth graders amongst a team of ninth graders.  

And again, that would be fine - Georgia is mature for her age and we don't worry about her making friends with kids who are older.  The problem is that those ninth graders will be playing on their high school team in the fall, which means they won't be on the club team and it's unclear what that means for Georgia and the other handful of girls who still need the club. 

And I know I'm boring almost all of you non sports-people.  It bores me, too, but it's a fact and a stress and one that is consuming us even when we are trying not to let it.  Gordy reads a soccer on-line discussion group and the age change situation has been the only topic of discussion for months.  There are many, many Georgias out there.  

There are just so many stresses surrounding soccer right now.  The girls are older and many are amazing players and Georgia is no longer so certain as to her rank on the team and where she stands amongst her current peers and the girls who she will be grouped with next year.  She is hyper-aware of how many minutes of playing time that she gets in each game and she is heartbroken when she doesn't get much time on the field.  She is also hyper-focused on her game contributions whenever she does get on the field.  This past games, she got to play a good amount but she was disappointed with how little she felt she did and she's crushed when she messes something up.  She is no longer playing her favorite defense position and I worry that she feels uncertain about her role in her new position.  And she's 13 now and so we worry about what all this stress and disappointment is doing to her mental well-being while at the same time, we know that these kind of life experiences are actually really healthy and learning to manage disappointment is necessary and important.  

That's way too much worrying, no?

Some nights, Gordy and I lie in bed and talk about how hard it is to parent.  Are we the only ones?  Parenting is amazing and watching your children grow and develop is such a gift - blah, blah, blah - but good grief is it stressful!  I didn't play sports but I was a member of a highly-competitive youth symphony and I remember being a wreck during try-out times and seating-try-out times and especially during anytime that I had to sight-read in front of my peers.  I survived, so hopefully Georgia will, too.  

Keep working, Georgia!  We are proud of you!

(and on a side note:  Gordy would like you all to know that while he READS that message board, he does not comment on it.  Apparently if you are someone who reads said board, you will understand why he wants to clarify that point).

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Five Hours on Block Island

It was spring vacation week for the girls last week.  Since we aren't able to go away for vacation (because Henry is in school), I made a concerted effort to do fun things for / with the girls.  Gordy took them all to the Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg on Sunday / Monday and I made myself available for any friend-filled activity that they wanted to do for the rest of the days.  On Friday, though, we did something that needed to be done for the family.  Georgia stayed home and pet-sat Pippa Middleton (and earned much needed petty cash) while Josie and I drove / ferried over to Block Island to deliver the washed linens to the house and to meet with an electrician and a landscaper.

It was a busy but fun day - mostly fun because it reminded us that summer is just around the corner and that soon we will be spending a whole lot more time on the island.

The first thing we noticed when we pulled into the drive way is that our house is no longer the pale color of a naked mole rat.  The winter weathered the new shingles to a true New England gray.

We noticed that the porch furniture (seen above in a clump on the porch) had faired well over the winter.  I made a point of taking a few photos of how we had the seats and tables stacked so we'd remember next fall.  

We also noticed a fair share of mouse poop around the house (so thank goodness for those covers we put on the furniture!). I guess we must have entertained over the winter, even though we didn't realize it!

Our next door neighbors live in Connecticut during the winter, and they weren't at their house yet for the season.  We share a staircase down to the beach with these neighbors and it will be interesting to see what they think of the winter damage.  There was a strange row of damaged trees along the side of the stairs and I have no idea if that's what it looks like every year or if we had a particularly bad snow storm that changed the landscape of the cliffs.

Josie and I made our way down to the beach after we met with the two service providers.  We have a few electrical issues that need to be fixed before the summer and we are replacing a bunch of hydrangea bushes that were removed during the restoration project last winter.

The day was cool and not particularly clear, but the beach was as beautiful as ever.

We were hoping (as always) to find one of the hidden glass orbs that are on the island, but we did not.  We did find some gorgeous, large shells which are very unusual on the island:

After our walk, we locked up the house and drove into town where we had dinner at one of the three restaurants that are already opened for the season.  Block Island has some work to do!  

We took the 7:30 pm ferry back home.  It was a quick five hours, but it was wonderful.  We'll be back on the island soon and after a good clean, we'll be good to go!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

This is Ridiculous

It snowed here.  Again.  First it snowed on Sunday morning, but that snow was all melted by the afternoon. And then it snowed again yesterday, but this time it snowed all day long and left us with way too much snow to ignore.  

I had to shovel last night and it's April.

I am not amused.

The kids all had school which was a miracle.  I'm pretty sure the only reason that the girls' school wasn't cancelled was because it's standardized testing week and no one wants to postpone that torture.

It was snowing really hard and sticking to everything, but everyone was ignoring the terrible conditions and were going about their day as usual.

Normally driving in snow would terrify me - I'm not a confident snow driver - but about two months ago, Gordy and I traded our big behemoth SUV that drove TERRIBLY in the snow for a smaller SVU that drives wonderfully in all conditions.  

It was the best decision we've made in a long, long time.  The "old" car was a gas-guzzler, it was so heavy that it constantly slipped down our hill when the weather wasn't perfect and it needed new breaks every year.  I had begun calling it the Money Pit.  

I made three trips in the snow yesterday and all three were calm, slip-free and drama-free.  It was such a relief.  The same couldn't be said for some of the cars I passed on my journeys.  Driving home from exercise class, some little car flew by me, going about 80 on the snow-covered highway.  I watched him whoosh by me and then catch a spot of ice, spin sideways across four lanes and crash into a tree-filled ditch on the side of the road.  

Later on, when I was picking up Josie to go to swim lessons, I watched a two-wheel drive SUV slip and slide UP a hill towards me.  I was impressed with the way the driver handled the car, but I thought he might want to rethink his ride before next winter.

I decided to shovel yesterday late afternoon, before I left the house to pick up Henry from his bus.  I tried using an actual shovel but the snow was really heavy and hard to move.  I then got out the snow blower and was half-way through the turn-around by our garage when the blower scooped up Pippa Middleton's long leash, wound all 50 of it's feet around the blade and stopped working.  


Gordy was able to detangle the leash after dinner and together we finished the driveway.  It's in the twenties today, so the snow isn't melting anytime soon and the driveway and streets are covered in an inch of ice.  Our poor budding trees!  Those sorry, freezing tulips!  

Who has ever heard of such nonsense.  After a ridiculously wonderful winter, we are now having a truly miserable spring.

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