Thursday, September 28, 2017

Basketball twins

The girls have long been fascinated by Daddy's basketball trophies. They like to ask him questions about basketball and talk to him about  playing. It wasn't a big surprise when the brunette twin tried out (and made) the basketball team last year.

She really enjoyed playing. She liked being on the team. She liked the team rituals, like dressing up for away games and wearing her uniform to school for home games. Last summer she participated in two basketball camps.

It shouldn't have been a surprise, then, when the blond twin decided to try out this year. She hadn't expressed any interest in basketball until she participated in a basketball camp last summer. She had a passing interest and decided to try out.

They both made the team. The brunette twin knew she was going to make the team because she was on it last year and improved her skills last summer. The blond twin stressed about each try-out level as if she was waiting to win an Academy Award. Really, she wanted it badly.

I could say she wanted it badly because she liked basketball so much, but that's not really true. The blond twin is so competitive that she really hates to lose in any way. Not making the team would have been the same as losing for her.

They have been practicing for days now, both in school and after school. They have teammates meet them at the basketball courts to practice shooting. It's so much fun to watch them develop their skills, and their personal competition. They might be twins, but they are also competing for playing time. I really like how they want to outdo each other, even as they are supporting each other.

Too many evenings we tell them that they have to stop talking about basketball at dinner. We ask them if anything else happened at school. They stare blankly and then go back to talking about basketball practice.

Their first game is soon. Given that the team only won 1 game last year, we're not thinking about college scholarships. We are thinking that playing on the basketball team is a great way for them to grow and have fun, and that's enough.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Testing the five second rule

We were kneeling at the alter rail during communion when my attention strayed. And, to make it worse, my attention strayed at the worst possible moment. Reverend Ellen handed me a host. The Deacon tilted the chalice filled with wine.

I dipped the host into the wine and moved it towards my mouth. Instead of putting it into my mouth, I dropped it. Yes, I dropped the host at the alter.

I completely panicked. Should I pick up the host? I would have had to really lean over the railing. There was no graceful way to do it. Should I pretend I didn't drop it and simply walk back to my pew?

In the end my crazy thoughts didn't matter. Our Deacon noticed what happened and came back with another host. I dipped it into the wine and managed to get it into my mouth this time.

The girls saw me drop the host and couldn't wait to laugh. Their admonishments caused me to start laughing. Instead of sliding into our pew, I went into the vestibule to compose myself. Somehow I managed to make it through the service's remainder without incident. Even before we left church I knew that this story was destined to become part of our family history.

Friday, September 15, 2017


When we realized that the girls' birthday party was on a Friday, we started planning an after-school bash. Now that they are teenagers, we have been asking the girls to take on more and more responsibility for their activities. We had them create a guest list and plan activities. We brought in Erin as she's their birthday triplet. The three girls share most friends, so it made sense to have one big party.

From the moment the girls came home from school, we were busy bringing the party to life. Luckily for the girls, Daddy did much of the prep work while they were in school. He put out the furniture and got out the games.

I was working in the house to set-up the food and beverage areas with the blond twin. Daddy was in the backyard setting up the volleyball net with the brunette twin. At least we though they were setting up the volleyball net. It turned out that the last time we set-up the volleyball we didn't do a good job putting away the net. We all tried to untangle the net for a while before we decided to just buy a new net. 

At 4:30 p.m. girls started arriving. By 5:00 p.m., we had girls everywhere. They were playing volleyball, croquet, bean bags and a washer game. It was loud and chaotic and fun. The girls devoured two extra large cheese pizzas about 5:15 p.m. They were still hungry, so we fired up the grill.

Erin's family brought the cake and it was simply gorgeous. Our girls have never had such a beautiful birthday cake. I doubt they will see another cake that beautiful again until they get married. Everyone devoured the cake, including a few boys who crashed the birthday bash.

We didn't even go into the living room when the three girls opened their gifts. Between the 20 girls and all the presents, there wasn't much space for others. We could have sat at the dining room table to watch, but truth be told the girls didn't really want us there. We stepped in and out just to see some of the fun.

By the time the party guests left, we were all tired. It wasn't that the girls were a lot of work.  At this age they are pretty self-sufficient. There was just so much going on that it was hard to keep up at times. After the party I realized that I didn't take a single photo. Luckily Erin's mom took photos.

The girls cleaned up with us, chatting happily about how much fun they had from start to finish. We had been talking about possibly having a Halloween party. The birthday bash's success made the potential Halloween party a definite event. The girls talked about it a lot, but I told them planning would have to wait. For tonight I just wanted to get some sleep.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Garage style

We recently joined a local health club. I often go early in the morning to get my workout done before I log on for work. Often when I shower, I don't have time to blow dry my hair immediately. I take it as a win if I can log on to work clean and dressed. At some point I find a few minutes to blow dry my hair. Usually I just grab the blow dryer out of my gym bag.

One day Daddy walked by to find me with my blow dryer plugged into the garage light outlet. I had my head in the garage with the blow dryer in my hand. He made a funny face at the sight. When I was done, I said, "You know, we don't have an electrical outlet in the bathroom down here."

It turns out that in the nearly twenty years that we lived in this house, we never realized that we did not have an electrical outlet in the first floor bathroom. Until I started needing to blow dry my hair quickly, and between conference calls, I didn't have a reason to look for an electrical outlet in the first floor bathroom.

At this point no one who lives in our house stares when I blow dry my hair in the garage. It's still strange, but it is still the quickest option.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Birthday party planning

The girls said the funniest thing today. They asked where we were having their birthday party. I explained that we just bought them a stupidly expensive birthday present. Their birthday party was going to be in our backyard.

They tried to argue the party location, but I wasn't interested in the conversation. They received the present of their dreams. They would have to figure out how to manage a home party.

Shortly after we were sitting with pens and papers plotting the big event. They decided to invite everyone over to play games. We asked our neighbor if we could use her yard. Her house sits on a double lot, so we wanted to take advantage of the space to put a volleyball net. She said yes and the party planning continued.

At some point we decided to invite Erin to put her name on the invitation. Erin has the same birthday as the girls, although they hadn't thrown a joint birthday party previously. It made sense, though, to bring it all together as they share most of the same friends.

I kept bringing down the plans to things that didn't cost as much as they wanted to spend. I was still recovering from the iPhone invoice.

In the end we planned a really fun party and twenty middle school girls received invitations. As I typed that last sentence, I realized that I must have lost my mind. Twenty middle school girls?

Friday, September 1, 2017

Friday Night Lights

One thing our local high school does really well is ease the kids and their families into high school. For the past two years, we've gone to the middle school orientation. The girls have taken advantage of summer camps with the high school coaches. Last year they talked about going to football games. This year, they decided going to football games was going to be their Friday night activity.

It helps that they have friends who moved from middle school to high school this year. They hear about all the fun those friends are having in high school. They feel like they are at the game visiting their friends or watching their friends perform in the half-time show.

Sure they are middle schoolers still, but they feel like they belong at the high school. The reality is that if their birthday was a few weeks earlier, they would be in high school. They would be the youngest in their freshman class, rather than being the oldest in their eighth grade class.

They made plans with a friend who lives close to the high school. After getting ready here, they all went to her house so she could get ready. They walked over to the high school and hung out in the stands.

If social media was correct, they had a lot of friends there. I saw a lot of people I recognized in various feeds. Everyone looked like they were having fun, which made me smile. The photos I saw could have been any group of friends from any era. Friday high school football games remained the same, fun way to hang out with friends that it was when I was in high school.