Category Archives: Briony

itty bitty soccer

Bri started rec soccer this morning.  She is 5, so I am trying to keep my expectations low, but apparently I’m not succeeding.  Rather than separating kids into teams that have practices and games, they just all 150 kids or so show up on Saturday mornings, where they have some coaches and some volunteer assistants.   They divided the kids into groups and then they commenced drills, to be followed by scrimmage.

Some of the coaches clearly knew what they are doing.  When you’re coaching 5-year-olds, it’s not about being a soccer expert.  You need to know the basics of soccer, and I’m pretty sure what I learned playing in elementary and middle school was more than sufficient.  More than that, you need to know how to deal with 5 and 6-year-olds.

Unfortunately, Bri ended up in a group with a guy that was completely clueless.  She was literally standing there doing nothing for like 20 minutes.  I should have intervened sooner – Jonathan came by after picking up L from dance because they wanted to see, and he went over, and the “coach” started showing more interest.  This program costs us $120 for 8 sessions of an hour each – not expensive, but not nothing.  They really need to make sure they have enough coaches to handle things.  I feel like when someone signs up to coach a team, they understand the responsibility they’re taking on.  In this case, they asked for volunteers and advertised that very little would be expected of them.

The other thing that bothered me was that as usual, my gender equality meter was going off.  First, NO female coaches or volunteers.  Why not??  I am determined to volunteer next year.  Coaching soccer is something I’m very interested in, and I do think having female coaches matters.  Second, boys and girls were all together.  Even at age 5/6, the boys were in general dominating.  (I still remember my ridiculously athletic sister getting MVP game after game on her mixed gender soccer team as a kid until the coach privately told my parents that even though she was the best, he really needed to start giving the designation to some of the other kids.)  The superstar athlete girls will do fine, but average and below average athlete girls I think are really negatively impacted by mixed gender play, even at young ages.

So, yeah.  Underwhelmed.  It compared very negatively to the awesome organization of the swim team L was on this summer.  That was a lot more expensive, but they also practiced 5 times per week.  I’d have to do the math to see which was more per hour.

positive thoughts

I was thinking some rare positive thoughts about pregnancy this morning, so I thought I might as well post them.  I’ve reached the cute bump stage.  For the longest time (I’m 23 weeks, folks!), you couldn’t really tell I was pregnant.  I just looked chubby.  (You still can’t really tell when I’m in running clothes.)  Finally, though, I’m clearly pregnant, BUT I haven’t reached yet the whale-like unwieldy third trimester stage where my belly just takes over my body.  I feel all curvy and feminine.  Normally, I am absolutely not a curvy, feminine woman, and I’m totally fine with that, but it’s kind of a nice novelty for now.

L finished out the swim season, and I’m very proud of her.  Swim team is not what you’d call relaxing, and she made big improvements in her swimming.  She can swim 25 yd free in 27 s, which is not bad at all.  She drastically improved her backstroke and learned breaststroke well enough to compete and not get disqualified and look quite confident.  She kind of learned butterfly, though she got DQ’d the one time she competed it.  At the end of the season, she earned an award, along with some other swimmers, for being a good sportswoman, and one of the coaches said some really nice things about her.  I really liked the swim team.  It was very welcoming and they had a good program for the younger kids.  It’s one of the best teams, if not the best teams, on the Eastside.  I always find sports team success interesting.  I think it’s as much about good organization, inclusiveness, and growing kids, regardless of whether they have natural talent, as just lucking into having some athletic kids on the team.  I’ve written before about how my father was a very successful coach, despite (or because of) insisting all kids get equal playing time in games.  I feel like the head coach at our club has been successful for a lot of these reasons.

B is learning how to swim, oh so slowly.  She’s a competent dog-paddler, but definitely not there yet with freestroke.  But it’s nice to know if she was pitched in the drink, she wouldn’t sink like a stone.

falling in love

I was watching The Bachelor on my computer.  (Some seasons are free with Amazon Prime.  Who knew?

B: What are you watching?

Me: Oh, just some people talking about falling in love

B: When me and L grow up, I hope we can fall in love with you.

Me: I’m already in love with you.  Do you think we should get married?

B: You can’t.  You’re already married to Daddy!

Cute.  Obviously they’re still a little hazy on the nitty-gritty of falling in love.  But they’ve figured out polygamy is not OK!

Treehouse and test drive

We found out a week or so ago that the Subaru is a total loss.  Our insurance company is cutting us a check for about 24K, roughly $1000 short of what I think they should be cutting us a check for, but it could be a lot worse.  For a while, I thought they were going to build us a new psuedo-Subaru from non-OEM parts.  We test drove a 2019 Subaru Outback and a 2019 Honda CRV today.  They were very similar.  Each had a few advantages and disadvantages, but I feel like they’re fairly comparable.  Any thoughts on which compact SUV to purchase?  The one thing we are doing differently is spending on safety features as needed.  That really ends up being about $1000 for the Subaru, which isn’t bad.  For that you get lane cross detection, blind spot detection, and a few other features.  Having been in the crash has made me more paranoid about being in another one, but I don’t think there’s anything human or computer could have done from my vehicle to prevent it.  Looking at the bright side, new car.  Fun, right?

Amusing conversation with B and L.  I’ve been plowing through the treehouse books for the two girls.  L is not a huge fan, but B absolutely loves them.  Our two nightly chapters are seriously a highlight of her day.  We’re on something like Book 18 – the Titanic.   We finish the chapter with everyone boarding the lifeboats and both girls look terrified.

Me: B, are you scared?

B: Yes, but not really because I’ve looked through the book lots and lots of times and I know they didn’t get sinked.

So cute.  I love her turn of phrase.  You’d think by book 18 they’d have figured out everything always works out for them!

in my mind, in my head

Loving the Gigi d’Agostino mix of In My Mind.

I’ve been reading to Isla for about four years now.  Every night.  It’s one of the most effortless parts of parenting for me.  The kids are happy, and I’m happy.  Reading kids books, the picture books, can make me a little crazy.  I don’t mind the good ones (Ox Cart Man, The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, Make Way for Ducklings, etc.) but the lame ones are just horrid.  Chapter books, though.  I love them.  The kids are still letting me pick, and I’ve been picking ALL my childhood favorites.  I wanted to make a list, so here goes.

Surprise Island (Boxcare Children #2), The BFG, Stuart Little, Where The Mountain Meets the Moon, Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories (I can’t recommend this one), The Moffats, Abel’s Island, Strawberry Girl, Island of Blue Dolphins, Caddie Woodlawn (twice), The Secret Garden*, Over Sea Under Stone, Heidi*, The Trumpet of the Swan, The Family Under the Bridge, Betsy-Tacy, Little House on the Prairie* (thrice), Pippi Longstocking, Little House in the Big Woods* (twice), Fantastic Mr. Fox, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Winnie-the-Pooh, Danger in Ancient Rome, Rescue on the Oregon Trail, Charlotte’s Web (twice), James and the Giant Peach, The Tale of Despereaux, The First Four Years, Those Happy Golden Years, Little Town on the Prairie* (twice), The Long Winter (twice), By The Shores of Silver Lake (twice), On The Banks of Plum Creek* (twice), Matilda*, Anne of Green Gables*, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I may have missed one or two, but that’s the bulk of them. 45 readings of 36 books.  There are still a good few I want to read.  A Little Princess.  Joan Aiken’s series, including my favorite, The Stolen Lake.  Maybe James Herriot.  Little Women.  What am I forgetting?  I finally bought the first four of The Magic Treehouse, mainly to appeal to Briony.  I’ve actually read her a few Amelia Bedelia.  She’s been slower than Isla to take to the chapter books.  Isla loved LHOTP at age 2, whereas Bri is only really now having the patience and vocabulary to appreciate them at age 4.  Anyway, I thought the treehouse books might appeal to her.

I can see Isla’s reading comprehension growing by leaps and bounds these days.  Whereas before she definitely missed a lot of subtleties (in the early days, she missed a lot of important story points, never mind the subtleties), she follows the story much more closely these days.  Bri still misses a lot, but she seems to enjoy listening anyway.

running and horses

I read about the Strava mile on the Strava app and decided to give it a go.  My mile PR is 5:52 from high school when I was 17, had had no kids, weighed maybe 115, and did a lot of speed work.   I think it’s safe to say I’m not breaking 6 minutes any time soon, which makes me a little sad.  But, no matter.  Strava thinks my PR is 7:05 or something like that, so I decided to go after a sub-7.  I found my nearest track, less than 10 minutes from my house and is synthetic; there isn’t a track like that in the whole city of Roanoke.  I headed out there at 6:30 in the morning or so and had it to myself.  I wore my watch and decided to try and target 400s between 100 and 105 s — leading to a 1600 m between 6:40 and 7:00.

My splits for 1600 m ended up being 99.5, 102.3, 102.1, and 101.9.  That’s a 6:45 1600m.  Strava clocked me at 6:43 for my fastest mile (as I kept running since 1600m is just a bit short of 1 mile.)  Overall, I’m pleased, though honestly I thought I could run a few seconds faster.  I’m inspired now to do some speed work.

Saturday, I went out for a 38 miles bike ride around the lower half of Lake Washington.  1737 ft of elevation gain.  I’ve done the ride before, but it felt a little easier this time.  I’m always intimidated by a ride that long, but it’s better when I at least know the route.  I averaged 12.9 mph, which is pretty typical for me for this type of ride.

LakeWARide

After my ride, we headed to a birthday party with L – an equestrian party.  We live very near a beautiful area called the May Valley that has a lot of horse farms, and the party was at one of them.  L, as I’ve mentioned on here before, tends to be timid and afraid of most new things, and she has always been afraid to sit on a horse every time the opportunity has come up.  The people at the horse farm were so great.  They started with having the kids brush the horses.  L was initially afraid to touch the horse, but I eventually was able to talk her into it.  Then B got up on the horse they’d been brushing, and we all managed to talk L into getting up to.  What did it was the option to ride with her sister.  It was so sweet.  Unfortunately, I was so busy providing moral support to L that I got no photos, but I’m hoping I can get at least one from one of the other moms.

ambivalence

I recently stumbled across one of my most favorite pieces of running writing.  When I was in high school, there was a bit of a running fad that favored fewer miles.  Of course, this was the pre-internet age, but in my teens I was pretty convinced that I was “burned out” and other such nonsense when my times slowed down in 10th / 11th grade.  (Looking back, puberty and (healthy) weight gain had a lot more to do with it.)  In any case, it wasn’t until my junior year of college that I stumbled upon a community of running enthusiasts on the internet on the CoolRunning forums and became convinced of the opposite, that as far as running goes, more is almost always better.  The author of the piece above ran many, many miles and enjoyed the payoff.

The weather was warm enough to run in shorts and short-sleeves yesterday for the first time in, oh, six months?  Longer.  Who knows.  It was wonderful.  I took advantage and ran 8.5 miles, my longest run since before B was born.  It felt great, though I’m sore today.  I need to drag myself out for a shorter run this morning sometime soon before the rain starts again.

We’ve settled on a school for L.  We’re going to send her to a French immersion Kindergarten.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I wish we were living slightly farther North, in a better school district, but for a wide variety of reasons the cards did not fall that way.  We’ll re-evaluate the long-term path after next year.  You might wonder, why French?  Well, there are two French immersion schools near us and none in any other language.  I think there is a value in knowing any second language, regardless of what it is.  I also think that L is precocious and this will ensure she is challenged.  Hopefully, she won’t be TOO challenged.  Both B and I feel ambivalent about the whole thing, in contrast to how we feel about the preschool, which we love.  But we’ll give it a try.