Tuesday, September 17, 2013

the graduate

Before school ended last June the 5th graders put on an anti-bullying play for the school. The play is a comedy/musical which takes place in a school with two teachers talking to the kids about how to handle bullies. Many weeks earlier Erin told me she was going to try out for one of the two main parts, one of the two teachers.

I told her, "Great," but was thinking, "not again". She tried out for main speaking parts in the plays every year at her last school, but was never given one of those roles. She's not really the theatric type, the teachers told me, and I can see what they mean. But much to my surprise a few days later Erin learned that she was given the main female part in the play. I couldn't believe it.

Her role was actually pretty well suited for her. She was kind the of straight man to the other dufus goofball teacher, Mr. B, played by her classmate and our neighbor two doors over, Paul. He was absolutely perfect for that part. Together they had a whole Laurel and Hardy type routine going on.

 The songs were funny, the dialogue was clever and I don't know when Erin learned all those tons of lines, but she did and it came together well.

 A few days later was 5th grade graduation, with a graduating class of about 90.
 All but one of Erin's best friends are going to the same public middle school she'll attend, where the number of kids in each grade equals the number of kids in this entire elementary school. Yikes.

catch up softball

I'm going to try to catch up on my blog a bit even though I find Blogger ever so much more difficult to use since it's last major update some time ago. I'm going to try to get used to it.

This past spring's softball season was the most interesting so far. The twins were signed up to play along with a few others from their girl scout troop, as they did last year. When Kate broke her leg the coaches nicely said they'd hold a spot on the team for her, and she could join in whenever she was ready. 

Allison took this season much more seriously than any previous season. My grass-picker, as another mom called her a couple of years ago, now at least kept her eyes on the game when she was placed in the outfield.

The outfield was her least favorite position as it got relatively little action. Catcher was a little more interesting.

 But having a base position and infielding was the best. And she was pretty good at playing a base, making many outs throughout the season. She really wanted to win each game, even though scores aren't kept until playoff time.

This is how she looked if her teammate did not make the out at base.
She is a fast runner, the fastest on the team, and god help any opposing player blocking her way to a base because it wouldn't end well for them.
Fists clenched and dying for the next hit so she can outrun the fielders.

About 2 weeks before the end of the season, Kate finally got the all clear to run, so she joined in. She was instantly one of the more consistent hittters, but probably the slowest runner with a kind of hoppy, limpy run. We talked about having another player run for her after she hit, but she managed to run fast enough to get to base more often than not, so she ran for herself.

 For the first time, we hit the batting cages between games for extra practice and that helped the girls quite a bit.

When the playoffs came around, they won their semifinal game but then lost in the finals, making them the second place team in their division. This was the first time a team Kate and Allison played on won any playoff game, so I thought the playoffs were really exciting, and they only lost in the finals by 1 run. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

2 outta 3 aint bad

2 out of 3 is how many kids could enjoy some skiing in Oregon this year. Just 2 weeks to the day from Kate's accident we left for Sunriver and the rental house that John's sister always reserves for the 10 of us to have a few days of fun in the snow each year.

The following day a group of us headed to the mountain. I put the kids in ski school for the day and wondered if I'd be picking them up in one piece. I saw them at lunch time in one of the lodges and happily texted John, who had a cold and stayed at the house with Kate, that all 4 legs were intact.

This is a rare still shot of Tim, who usually was flying by so quickly that I couldn't photograph him.
The following day the girls skied with the family.

The girls especially love skiing with their big cousins, or at least catching a glimpse of Tim as he whizzes by.

Erin and I spent almost an entire day on some of the toughest advanced runs on the back side of the mountain. She did a few of these with her ski school and wanted to come back for more., and she did fantastically well.

Kate, meanwhile, had a pretty good trip, considering. I was really nervous about her being outside at all. She was still learning to use crutches and then trying to use them on ice and snow sounded like a horrible idea. Luckily there was not a ton of snow near the house this year so she could do some walking off the snow.  She liked sitting in a patch of snow near the house and using some cups to make snow castles. 

One day while the rest of us skied Uncle Randy took Kate out for a change of scenery to the nearby High Desert Museum.
Kate should be back to skiing next season, after one more surgery.

Friday, February 22, 2013

bubble wrap

Our ski season began typically enough with our annual trip to Squaw Valley. The kids all had new (used, but new to them) skis of their own for the first time and we were to spend the long weekend with a skiing friend and her 3 kids. It was a beautiful sunny day in the mountains the friday before superbowl Sunday.

A fun family photo at the top of the chairlift before our first run.

On that first run we encountered more ice than any of us really liked so we took Squaw's gondola up higher and found some fun intermediate terrain to warm up on.  

Then a little while later as we headed to another chair lift, Kate came towards this sign too quickly and had one ski go on either side of the pole that holds it up. She hit it hard with her right leg and collapsed on the spot, yelling. My friend's boys returned to the scene of the crime later on to tell the offending sign what they thought of it.

Kate is a good skier and she wasn't skiing anywhere very steep or crowded and it was just a really terrible example of some really bad luck. Once she was transported down the hill and to the little ski clinic doctor, her leg was quickly discovered to be broken and we had a ticket to ride to the nearest hospital in an ambulance. 

Kate's leg was stabilized there and we rode the same ambulance to a much better, 
further away hospital that afternoon. 

Fortunately, her prognosis changed when we changed hospitals as well. She went from needing a full body cast for many weeks after surgery to needing a soft removable velcro cast which she would remove to exercise her leg each day. 
The next morning she had surgery and now has a leg full of some nice hardware which must be removed in a year. 

One of my best friends took Allison and Erin for the day so they wouldn't have to hang around the hospital and drive us crazy. A&E went out to lunch, got to ride my friend's daughter's horse, made cupcakes and a nice get well sign for Kate too.

Kate did well after surgery as long as she didn't have to move. She had been on morphine since seeing the first doctor at the ski clinic and was kept pretty comfortable. She stayed home during the following week and her class made her a huge get-well banner which everyone signed. 

Erin brought home her work each day so she never got behind and she had a lot to learn about using crutches, exercising her leg, and doing things independently. By the following week she was pain-free without any medication and was good enough on her crutches to return to school. Physical therapy sessions are ongoing but generally Kate has been making good progress.

Different people have let me know how much smarter they are than I am. "That's exactly why I would never let my kids ski!" I've heard more times than I can count. Which is a great theory, except skiing is something the vast majority of people do without breaking their legs and this is Kate's second broken bone and time spent in a cast. She was nearly 4 when she broke her arm by falling on our lawn from the towering distance of about 12 inches from the ladder of the playground structure. So I guess I shouldn't let my kids play in the backyard  either. Or let them ride a bike, or in a car, or many other things where injuries happen every day. I guess I should keep them all in bubble wrap.