Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Same: Plain Vanilla & Rocky Road

Now for the weekly soccer report. Tyrel and the Crocodiles left the field victors. His coach confessed this particular team is difficult to position players as the best scorers are also the best defenders. The trick lies in placing the best mix to both defend and score in any given set.
Amy and I are proud as Tyrel has emerged as one who is able to set the tempo of for the team, get his teammates involved, and play very hard. Even better, he is happy to play in whatever position he is needed.
Erin’s team, the Bumblebee’s, are a unique lot. The little girls on this team are easily shorted in two types. Those who are content to watch and turn in circles as the ball moves around them and those who you have to beat with a stick to get them to give the ball up. In case there was any doubt, Erin is not afraid to get the ball, even from girls on her own team, and then usually finish with an emphatic goal- even though that goal may be for the other team. Somewhere in her brief soccer career Erin has developed a flamboyant goal celebration- for a 4 year old.

This week has ended with many firsts for us as well. Late Friday night 10 people from Cedar City tragically lost their lives in an airplane accident in southeastern Utah. Many of these people were acquaintances, and one of them we counted among our friends. It is tough to watch these families learn of their loved one’s passing then struggle to pick up the pieces before trudging forward with life. These families in general and the loved one’s of our friends are in our prayers. This event has caused some serious reflection in our lives and certainly stands as a stark reminder to live as we should and take advantage of life.

Saturday ended late for all of us as we attended a St George Roadrunners game. I was admittedly apprehensive taking Erin as a 9 inning game is long. Her fascination with the mascots wore off but treats helped to keep her interest. It was a great effort by the Roadrunners that nearly ended in extra innings. Erin confessed the game was boring but the fireworks after the game were “cool.”

Saturday, August 23, 2008


While in the middle of some house cleaning I sent Erin downstairs for another roll of paper towels. I was certain there was another roll down there, but at the same time I wasn’t surprised when Erin announced there was not another roll paper towels. She then went about her 4 year old life.

Moments later Erin came unhinged. Her actions could be described as weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Through her panic I was able to determine that her eyes, nose, and mouth hurt. The professional in me kicked in and I set about asking questions of Erin about how this burning came about. It was quickly apparent Erin was not interested in telling me anything.

Amy quickly entered this confusion by announcing Erin had sprayed something in the storage room that had also caused her to have a coughing fit. To Amy’s chagrin I had to smile which was not an acceptable response to Erin’s current state. I was thankful Amy could not see me laughing uncontrollably on the inside. I already knew what caused the problem and how to fix Erin.

I needed no more information about what had happened as I had been in Erin’s shoes before; twice on the receiving end and several more instances on the much preferred administering end.

My first experience was mid-summer 1995. Suffice it to say nothing focuses the mind quite as well as this pain. I think I lost sight in both eyes, and the world sounded like it is made of rushing water. I was certain I had located a uranium spill and my nose felt like I had just snorted Drano. Furthermore, my ears were ringing and a myriad of uncontrollable curse words were running through my mind. Funny thing about being on receiving end was I immediately recognizable the sound of the nearby spectators laughing at me just as I was now laughing at Erin.

Back then my first conscious thought was, “I’m going to die.” An eternal 2-3 seconds later this thought morphed into, “I wish I would die. At least it won’t hurt anymore.” At some point in this misery I thought it a good idea to stick my tongue out and drag it along the asphalt. Surely that would aid in helping my tongue feel better. I’m happy to say now that the tongue thing went no further than a thought. But, after what felt like 50 gallons of water over my face, mouth, and eyes and nearly 30 minutes I was confident I would indeed survive.

Erin was subjected to the same cure. Unfortunately for her, I was around with the camera to document the aftermath. With time and water the panic element in Erin’s crying finally left and my suppressed laugh erupted into a full belly roll. Amy just glared at both of us.

I then ventured into the storage room and found the offending object. Somehow that curious 4-year old had retrieved this stuff from where it is stored on a shelf some 5 feet up.

The moral of this story is don’t mess with your dad’s pepper spray!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back to School, Yeah!

School started for Tyrel last Wednesday. Despite his claims of not being excited we knew better as he was up and getting dressed on his own by 6:30 A.M. On a good day Tyrel is finally able to wrestle the mattress off his back by 8:30 A.M. By day’s end he reported school was fun, but when he had homework on the second day it was apparent to us that the newness of the 4th grade had run out.

As Tyrel’s dad, the thought of your child as a 4th grader is sobering as I have many lucid memories of my own from 4th grade. Taking that thought a step further; I remember my dad telling me stories of his own 4th grade escapades. I am that dad!

Erin, on the other hand, sauntered through the transition to our school schedule without breaking stride. Curious about how she would respond, I asked her why she was not going to attend preschool. In true Erin style she informed me that she already knew all that stuff. By the way, humility is her strong suite.

As is our custom, Saturday was soccer day, at least until noon. Erin’s team played until they were tired. Personally, I think that should amend the rules of play for that age with a catch phrase along the lines of whichever team is able to keep their players focused the longest wins. Or, whichever team cries last wins.
Erin’s team had yet to start when she was already asking treats from her team’s soccer mom. A thousand easier and cheaper ways come to mind if Erin is there for the treats only. All funny stuff aside, it is more relaxing for me to watch Erin’s games rather than torment myself though Tyrel’s games. I have to be the worst soccer parent as I know little of the rules. Ignorance of the game seldom keeps me from trying to coach Tyrel from the sideline. I swear when the game is over I have paced and perspired enough that I am afraid someone will mistake me for soccer player.

Not wanting to concede the summer vacation just yet, we once again took a pilgrimage to the lake on Saturday. As usual, the water was warm, the mood exceptional, and most of all the snacks were divine (e.g. red vines bottled water and gogurt). In the time we were there Amy and I concluded we could “sacrifice”, if we had to (ha ha), to live on a tropical island. In the meantime we’ll just pretend this is the case from the lake.

Finally, Tyrel takes every chance he gets to remind me of the animated Stars Wars movie currently playing in our local theaters. There is no doubt in my mind we will find ourselves at the theater in the immediate future.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Soccer- the ballet of the masses.

The rules of soccer are very simple; if it moves, kick it. If it doesn’t move, kick it until it does.

We spent a good part of Saturday at soccer games. It was fun to watch the kids and get sunburned at the same time.

In the opening minute of Tyrel’s game, the Crocodiles (Tyrel’s team) found themselves badly out of position which allowed their opponent an uncontested goal. The Crocodiles quickly gained momentum and countered with 3 goals of their own before the half (Tyrel assisted on all three goals). When the game ended, Tyrel was once again the second highest scorer in the game and the lead all players in assists. We were impressed with Tyrel’s team play and with the high-five’s he used to congratulate his teammates. It chalked-up a great team win against a very tough rival.

Erin, as you well know, is a creature of a different sort. It is a fair to say that Erin possesses an unabashed “in you face” quality that is only amplified by her outgoing personality. I wasn’t sure how she would do in a team sport as she is such the individual. We couldn’t have been more pleased. She did what her coach asked, didn’t purposely kick anyone else, scored 2 goals, and still had time to drink too much water. When the dust had settled, the Bumble Bees had fun playing the Strawberry Shortcakes.

Tyrel confessed that he told Erin to be mean and get the ball or her team wouldn’t score any goals. He was quite impressed with the outcome that he attributes solely, I’m sure, to his stellar coaching advice.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Real golfers don't cry when they line up their fourth putt.

Tyrel has been bugging to go with me when I play golf. When I agreed to let him come, he was quick to take up the next point- we needed a cart and he needed to be the driver. I had the game of my life and found this quote to describe how it went:

I tend to think of the golf swing as a poem. The opening phrase of this poem will always be the grip. The hands unite to form a single unit by the simple overlap of the little finger. Lowly and slowly, the clubhead is led back, pulled into position not by the hands, but by the body, which turns away from the target, shifting weight to the right side without shifting balance. Tempo is everything; perfection unobtainable as the body coils down at the top of the swing. There’s a slight hesitation. A little nod to the gods… That he is fallible. That perfection is unobtainable. And now the weight begins shifting back to the left pulled by the powers inside the earth. It's alive, this swing! A living sculpture and down through contact, always down, striking the ball crisply, with character. A tuning fork goes off in your heart and your loins. Such a pure feeling is the well-struck golf shot. Now the follow through to finish. Always on line. The reverse C of the Golden Bear! The steel workers' power and brawn of Carl Sandburg's Arnold Palmer!
“What Is The Golf Swing?” Roy McAvoy, Tin Cup, 1996

Now you know I’m lying. My experience can best be described as “spiritual”, you know, I talk with the Almighty all the time on the course. I am now exaggerating too far in the opposite direction. I purposefully do not take golf seriously or play often as that would drive me to wishing to be better and finding no solace in the game.

As for my relaxing chauffer on the course, Tyrel needs practice at following the signs and keeping FOUR wheels on the ground. We’ll be going again!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

More of the Same

We recently finished the Raingutter Regatta and I, for one, am relieved. Much of the stress these Cub Scout events bring about is self-inflicted. As with the Pinewood Derby, Tyrel and I cannot settle to make a single car or boat. Instead, we have several ideas and paint colors in our head and each one usually ends in yet another vehicle. This time we started out making 4 boats but one fell prey to a tragic construction accident.

Last Saturday and Sunday helped us remember that although we live in the desert, flooding is possible despite our modern engineering. Work on Sunday started out unremarkable, and then it started to dump buckets of water! In less than ½ hour there were definite problems with flooding. Our neighborhood sustained no damage.

We have spent most of Erin’s waking hours hearing about “The Sticker Club.” After getting a letter from her cousin, Macy Robinson, about joining this sticker club I’m sure Erin lost sleep thinking about stickers and to whom she would be sending letters. In the end we are grateful Erin has something to scheme about. When left on her own the end result is seldom positive. Amy and I apologize in advance for those households who receive letters from Erin. We hope your experience doesn’t border on the side of lunacy.
Tyrel started soccer today with a win in their first game and was the second highest scorer. The “Crocodiles” look to be a fast team and moved the ball well for a first game. In the end, Tyrel was worn-out but more importantly, happy. Erin starts her soccer games next Saturday- watch out.

We have been forced to acknowledge that summer will be coming to an end quickly. Friday we spent some time immersed in the necessary evil of shopping for school clothes. Tyrel can be good at this errand until we are no longer shopping for him. The male traits in him then kick in causing him to get stir crazy. Erin (aka Captain Chaos) needs a lot more practice at shopping. I will not be around for the next couple of years while Erin gets this much needed practice.
Another sign that our summer fun is about over is when Amy lays down the law on when the last version of Tyrel's "summer buzz" can take place. Evidently, hair can be too short for shcool. Erin even joined in the shearing by volunteering to blow the hair off when the haircut was over.

Finally, we broke out some chemical lights and tired some crazy picture taking. Here is a photo of Erin in one of these photos. I have included one of these photos of the kids. Check out the photo slideshow I added for more craziness.