Sunday, September 27, 2009


Saturday, 5:50 a.m.: wake up to get everyone ready to leave the house in one hour for Doodle's 8 a.m. soccer game, being played on a beautiful artificial turf field 35 minutes from home. 7:30 a.m.: arrive at field. Tootle spots a rainbow, perhaps a sign of good things to come.
Doodle eventually won this battle.
Our goalies rocked and were instrumental in our 1-0 win.
1 p.m.: Tootle's game. Doodle asked to be the photographer for this game. She took the job very seriously, taking 347 pictures. (I only took 100 of Doodle's game.) She did a good job of capturing the joys and the crowding of 2nd grade soccer.
Tootle scored one goal in her team's 5-1 win. She left after half the game for a birthday party that was conveniently located across the street from the field. We stayed to cheer on the team while Tootle partied. Doodle continued to snap away, but most of her 347 pictures were taken in the 30 minutes that her sister played.

Can you imagine the cost if I had a film camera?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Goodbye Summer

Today we're in denial about the end of summer. We went to the pool (it closes for the season tomorrow)...
scored ice cream from the truck...
and did some landscaping that required finding a creative way to move dirt and two eager assistants.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Inclement Weather

We're enduring a few days of cloudy, misty weather. Yesterday afternoon I got an e-mail from Doodle's soccer coach that read: "Practice is on." Today's message from Tootle's coach was a bit longer: "Practice will go forward because the rain is light and the forecast is positive. If it becomes too inclement, we will go inside the school." Doodle's coach is an engineer; Tootle's coach is a lawyer.

Thankful Thursday

Doodle spent a night at a mountain cabin owned by her BFF C's family over Labor Day weekend. C's mom reported that Doodle had a huge grin on her face the entire time she was tubing. I'm so thankful for C and her family:
  • C is an incredibly nice kid with many of the same interests as Doodle. I hope that their friendship, which began in kindergarten but became much stronger in third grade and beyond, continues for many years to come.
  • C's dad is Doodle's soccer coach. He is patient and kind, sets a wonderful example for the girls, and has greatly elevated the girls' level of play.
  • C's mom is Doodle's running program coach. She and I share a lot of the same creative interests. The difference is that she is athletic and skinny, and I'm not.
  • C's sister N gave Tootle a bunch of Rainbow Fairy books to read this summer.
Thanks C family, especially M for enduring what was probably a sleepless night in a tent with the girls. You've enriched all of our lives.

Helicopter Parenting

In 4th and 5th grade, Doodle brought home mid-term reports that showed her grades on all the assignments, tests, etc. in the quarter to date. These reports had to be signed by a parent and returned to school. Some teachers only sent them home if a student's grade was C or lower (as a warning sign; Doodle never got one of those), but other teachers sent them home for every child. This year I'm experiencing the turbo charged, souped up middle school reporting system--and I have some concerns about it.

I can go online 24-7 to check on Doodle's homework assignments as well as her grades on quizzes, tests, and other assignments. I also receive e-mail messages prompting me to check when a grade is posted. There aren't too many grades posted yet, but thus far Doodle has 100 percent in everything, mostly spelling, math, and science quizzes. I haven't logged on in a few days, so I just checked and found that there is no math homework tonight because they are doing an in-class project (maybe we'll have time to go shopping for cleats; the ones that I bought a month ago are already too small--this kid's feet never grow that fast).

Oops, that tangent was a bit too long. I don't want to be policing Doodle's schoolwork this closely, but it's hard to resist when the data is so easily available. I want Doodle to take responsibility for tracking her homework assignments and making sure they are complete. She does a good job of turning in all her assignments on time without a need for me to nag, but if she wasn't, I would rather that she suffer a few consequences at school than have me looking closely over her shoulder. I'm not going to be in the room when she's 19 and has a major term paper to complete. By middle school, I think kids should be responsible enough to do their work without hovering parents. When Doodle was younger, I would pack up her homework and special projects in her backpack, making sure everything was complete. In the past year or two, she has taken on this job. I think I'll be walking a fine line this year if I find information that concerns me in the data reporting system.

This year Doodle has begun setting her alarm clock and getting up on her own (last year I practically had to drag her out of bed). This morning the alarm didn't go off, so I was the back up (she woke up so easily that I didn't even have to sing her special wake up song). I think I'll view my schoolwork role as a back-up one. I'll be there to help get things back on track if Doodle's responsibility alarm doesn't go off. I hope I spend most of the year on the sidelines.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Circle Game

And the seasons they go round and round (as Joni Mitchell so eloquently sings).The soccer season has begun again. Doodle played in a tournament over Labor Day weekend, only to have her first regular season game postponed because of poor field conditions. I'm in awe of Doodle's leg span and her determination to get the ball in the top photo. Tootle did get to play on Saturday, and she played fiercely--scoring three of her team's eight goals.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First Day of School

Tootle has new shoes to match her spunky attitude. Doodle is a bus patrol this year. Both girls have their BFFs in their homeroom class. Life is good.

Gem Mining

Doodle is a rock hound, so we spent our August vacation fulfilling one of her dreams: gem mining in North Carolina. We began our geology-themed vacation with a stop at Luray Caverns in Virginia. Both girls were in awe of the caverns' beauty and enjoyed listening to the self-guided tour on tape. The next day we arrived at our destination and quickly went to the mine for an exploratory visit. The mine's web site boosts that you can find 70 different gems there, and we probably found half of the possible gems in our buckets of mine ore that we ran through the sluiceway over two days. We didn't have much luck finding gems in the mine's creek and opted not to go in to the mine to dig due to pesky sinus infections that three of us were recovering from and the fact that no one seemed to be having much luck digging. Among our finds were emeralds, amethyst, garnet, topaz, citrine, smoky quartz, rose quartz, clear quartz, tourmaline, and other pretty rocks too numerous to identify. We got very dirty and ruined a few old shirts, but we had a blast.

Tootle isn't as knowledgeable as Doodle about the various types of gems, but her interest in the subject has intensified and she is particularly proud of a large nicely shaped piece of quartz that she found. Doodle loved all of her finds, especially the emeralds and amethyst. I'm having emerald necklaces made for both girls with the best of our gems, and we can't wait to see them. Today is the second day of school and Doodle has already written an entry in her science journal about the trip. I predict that both girls will have other occasions to write and talk about this trip during the school year. We didn't strike it rich, but we did make rich memories.