Thursday, August 3, 2017

Neil Adams Clinic

Last weekend, Dave and Nico headed down to Louisville.  Mike got his seventh-dan (seventh degree blackbelt) and a judo and sports camp run by a friend of the family.  Neil Adams, a two time silver olympic medalist and former coach of the British National Judo team was there, doing a clinic on tao otoshi (which we are coincidentally trying to make my throw- but mine usually looks like hot garbage).  I had to stay in town with Drake, which was a bummer.

Mike and Gay also took Nico for some birthday shopping and spoiled him.  Of course.  The kid got one of everything at the Louisville Bookstore.  :) They stayed with Tony and Kathy and had a great time.

They also got to see Dave's cousin Will and his family (Tracy and Darby).  And they got fried green chilli wontons at the Bristol.  Nico tried fried calamari and likes it.  Combine with the frind wontons from a Thai place on Granville that he put away like a boss and I am starting to think he is just like his dad (will eat any fried food).  

2017 Wolf Tournament Over Memorial Day Weekend

Over Memorial Day Weekend, Nico fought in his second Wolf Tournament.  Overall, he did well.  He went 3-1 in the tournament and took second.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Soccer Pics

Nico is still loving soccer.  He seems to really dig the "competitor" and "team" aspects of playing soccer.  

Not sure what is going on with this tongue.  

Monday, April 3, 2017

Sweet Kid, Sports Kid.

Winter has been crazy.

Still teaching two night classes- so our schedule has been crazy.

It's weird.  So many days are the same- work, home, homework, bed.  Work, home, homework, bed.  It's hard to see how fast Nico is growing.  He's really smart, but doesn't like to put in work on stuff that doesn't interest him.

He can be sweet sometimes.

Drake is getting up there.  Unfortunately, I think he is starting the long slide down.  He has good days, but he also has bad ones.  Ones, where he doesn't eat and has a hard time getting up the stairs.  I catch glimpses of his old self, the needy one that just wants attention.  He has stopped sleeping in our bed, for the most part.  I think he doesn't like being jostled in his sleep.  He mostly sleeps in the bathroom now, which seems really uncomfortable.  Sometimes he will come sleep in the big bed in the morning, just before we all wake up.  

In February, I competed in the Women's Raw Powerlifting meet at B&W gym.  It was an awful meet- I got red lights on two of my squats, one of my benches, and one of my deadlifts.  I had heard that it was a thing in this particular association to be overly tough on lifts- this was confirmed in my experience.  I ended up taking second in my weight class.  Not bad, but I am done lifting seriously for a while.  

Nico played two seasons of indoor at Quad sports this winter.  He basically loved it- I mean, what is not to like?
We are thinking about what we want the plan to be for soccer in the coming season.  Uncle JJ says that there is a small window in which to develop skill that sets the good from everyone else.  But my cursory search of clubs online netted some interesting results.  Chicago has youth clubs that are associated with PSG, Chicago Fire, Olympiacos, etc.  Chicago also has youth clubs that require $5000+ per season.


We saw a club team play at Quad during the winter that was intriguing.  They had decent skill, but also not unreasonable in terms of coaches/parents being out of control.  The club is based in Evanston, which is intriguing to us- because its close.  Much closer than some of the more affordable options.  In any case, we're exploring these options this spring/summer, to figure out what we want the next step to look like.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Milwaukee Tournament with Marti Molloy.

Nico and Dave went up to Milwaukee in January for the Wahadachi Judo Tournament.  The tourney was held in conjunction with a clinic with Marti Molloy.  In the pic above, she is helping Nico with his seoi nagi.  She signed his judo bag- its one of Nico's favorite sports items.

In the tournament, he want 1-3 and placed fourth.  He still likes judo, which is great.

I stayed home to be with Drake.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Blackhawks Skate

One of the greatest things about living in Chicago is the availability of free and low cost sports.  For every outrageous $5000+ club soccer option, there is a free/low cost city and park district event.  This winter, I learned about a free Blackhawks skate.  While it had been a while since he skated, Nico did well.  Just a little free skate.  He got a sweet Hawks jersey.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Slog After Christmas

The slog after Christmas.  Always the slog after Christmas.  
This year, some alumni from North High played an Alumni game, the first in a while.  No one fought and no one died (we did have a defibrilator and a fireman on hand, just in case).  

There were several old faces that I was glad to see!

I took the trip down to Ft. Myers as a chance to do a couple of shakedown Kayaks with Dad, which was really fun.  

We've been struggling a little on the homework and school work front.  Nico's math teacher is frustrated with him.  He does sloppy work, doesn't seem to be interested in producing good work, etc.  In one sense, I understand.  But then, I have to remember that he's quite young and he's just immature.  

Friday, January 6, 2017

Christmas In Texas- One of our Favorites!!

Christmas was a little weird this year.  We had plans to drive down to Texas to see Nicole and her family, but not till Christmas day.  Also, Christmas was on a Sunday, so we didn't really have a lot of time to enjoy the holiday in Chicago.  I worked pretty much up till Dec. 23.  I lost some of my vacation days because I was fairly focused on getting a couple of research projects done.  Plus I was working on course prep for a new course I was scheduled for during winter quarter. 

Nico had a winter show again this year.  It was by far the best one since he started there.  Lots of class singalongs.  It was my favorite.  

We ended up with a real tree again this year.  Bought it from a Wisconsin tree seller posted up at the Jewel on at Clark and Ashland.  Nico helped decorate the tree (a lot this year).  

We had the G family over for dinner on the 23rd.  The boys decorated christmas cookies.  I made croissants (pictured below).  They are a lot of work.  But the kids had a blast.  Nico and the middle boy (J) had a hard time getting along.  

One of the sweeter developments this year is Nico wanting to give gifts.  He wrapped up some old toys for the kids as gifts.  I ended up taking him to Target to buy gifts instead.  But it was sweet.  We also gave him a little money to buy gifts for us at the school bazaar.  He has really good taste.  He got me a ceramic pencil cup from Berger and some body sprays from the bazaar.  He also got Dave a hands free phone holder for the car.  

We also ended up having the talk about Santa.  I didn't do it well, because it was unexpected and I was unprepared.  I was sorta taken aback about how grown up he is.  

Reading Jolabokaflod on Christmas eve.  

Christmas was good this year.  Nico got a big nerf gun.  BJ (Kevin's friend from childhood) hooked m up with some rechargeable chinese batteries.  Nico's nerf gun leaves a bit of a mark.  Dave's parents got him a City kit, a razor scooter, a baseball bag, and some Oyo legos.  Gran and Gramps got Nico the Osmo coding set (we learned about Osmo from Dave's best friend's family at Thanksgiving).  It comes with a couple of kits-tangram and letters.  The coding set was an add on. It is the best of the three.  So much so, that I like playing with it.  :)

Dave and Nico got me a judo gi.  So excited.  I am going to be able to start my "training as a judoka for one year" life list item.  
Nico and I got Dave a new kindle.  

The trip to Texas was relatively uneventful.  We were 2.5 hours late to getting our rental car and it was gone.  So we ended up with a 15 passenger van.  It was nice to have that much room. It would have been better without all the seats though.  

Nico and the cousins got along famously.  He and Maddox would play sports outside for HOURS. 

For me, the Bain kids get more fun every time I see them.  Jo is very sweet and so clever.  She had oral surgery while we were there.  Becks is still pretty cuddly and chatty.  We had a couple of really funny conversations.  Em liked hanging out and doing arts and crafts stuff.  Maddox is funny because he seems so grown.  He and Nico bonded over dude perfect- and were just plain silly.    

On our way back to Chicago, we made a stop by Royse City.  So far, this is the second pic of Dave and Nico in front of that Royse City sign.  I hope we can keep taking them- it would be Nice to have a series of like 10-20 of those.  So, I just need Nicole and Cody to never move. :)

We took our time coming back, and stayed the night in Missouri somewhere.  We stopped off in Jeff City so Dave could check out Mizzou.  We had lunch at one of his old stomping grounds (and watched the U of L bowl game).  After, the boys dipped into a campus gear store to get Nico suited up with a long sleeve t and an Oyo Mizzou guy.  

We made it back in time for New Years Eve with the G family.  Which was awesome and fun.  I managed to NOT get schnockered this year, which was a huge win.  

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Thanksgiving in Florida

Thanksgiving was really fun this year.  Morning of, we flew down to Miami super early.  We got in town just in time for Thanksgiving dinner with Dave's parents.  

It got chilly fast in Chicago, so it was really nice to be in the sun.  So much so that Dave and Nico got some swims in at the pool.  The water wasn't heated (LOL).  Nico did not mind.  Dave did, a little.  I was excited to read and relax in a chair in the sun.  

On Saturday, the boys went to do judo at a big judo place down there.  I got to see one of my good friends from grad school (Ursula) who lives with her family in Cooper City.  We got our nails done and had a blast just hanging out.  

We also spent the afternoon with a family that Mike and Gay know.  They have a pretty sweet house with a pool and 4 kids, three of whom were pretty close to Nico's age.  Of course Nico had a blast.  We also got to see Dave's best friend and their family.  They have a son who is about Nico's age.  They hit it off.

It is comforting to know that we can take Nico places and he can figure out a way to get along and even have fun with other kids.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Cubs

We've had a bit of a breathless October.  We have been particularly interested in the Cubs this season, because they were on such a tear.  The really good thing about living in Chicago is that all the games were on TV.  Also, one thing that I never appreciated before is how long the season is.  

If your team is good, the season just keeps going.  Which is a good thing as a Cubs fan. It's not great for being a worker, or a parent or a kid having to go to school.  :)

I don't think Nico made it though any playoff game.  He pretty much went to bed every playoff game night on the couch.  It was great. 

Of course this year's costume was a baseball player.  At least, that is how I am choosing to remember it.  He also wanted to go as a candy vending machine (an idea he got from Berger Park).  I am choosing to remember that he went as Kyle Schwarber for Halloween because I was too tired and worn out, with too little patience to make him a vending machine costume.  I really hope that this is one of those things that I think is a bigger deal than it is- and not that I am dooming him to a life-time of cheap, uncreative costume ideas because of this one experience.  

He doesn't seem to grasp the rarity of them winning.  He knows intellectually that it had been 109 years.  In fact, it was funny discussing whether or not they would go to the parade (I had to work and he was off of school).  His attitude was very much, "Let's just go next year when they win it." Which is a very funny thing to think, for any Cubs fans. 

I am loving that he looks up to them as players so much.  They all seem like good guys- none appear to be primadonna jerks.  They seem to work hard and really enjoy playing the game.  It's nice not having to think about what kind of message it sends that my kid idolizes a player who might be a jerk or who has a rough history with the law. 

Some things I think Nico might want to remember:

Friday, September 30, 2016

Belated Birthday at the Lake

So, Dave and I are probably bad parents.  We ended up having Nico's birthday 6 weeks after his actual birthday.  Meh. It is just that the summer got away from us.  Big time.  

So a couple of weeks ago, we had a birthday picnic at the lake. It was fantastic.  We got several of his favorites together at the lake. As you can tell, he had a blast.  

It was a fun group.  The day was perfect, the edge of summer starting to dull a bit.  We had burgers and brats and cake.  The kids split their time between being in the water and on the beach and playing sport.  Really, a lot of fun!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Fall sports are going again.

We have started a new session of judo. October 15-16, there is a big tournament at the Cohen brothers, which Nico is pretty excited about.  It's funny, but when he cut his leg earlier in the summer, he was considering all the different judo throws that he might or might not be able to do, given the stitches that he was going to have in his leg.  It ended up not mattering- the ER doctor said he didn't have any limitations on physical activity.  But, it was funny to me, because it shows how much the kid is learning about the sport.  

We also started soccer earlier this month.  It is pretty fantastic- because his best good friends from our old neighborhood are on the team.  Their dad (Dave G) is an assistant coach with Dave R.  So, it is pretty fun.  I am helping out by refereeing.  Like I get it, I understand that it is AYSO- so its volunteer run.  Which means that the referees are volunteers.  Its great because there is a lot less pressure than when you're refereeing games that you are getting paid for.  But still- it seems like the majority of the work done in AYSO is done by a minority of people who are involved.  

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The End of Summer

The summer was disorienting, because it went by, both really fast and really slow.  Slow in the sense that childcare for Nico once summer camp was over was kind of a beat down.  And our house is so small... it was tricky with Dave trying to work from the house.  And if I worked from home to help out, it just felt like we were all on top of each other. 

Nico had a riot with sports though.  Swimming really clicked for him over the summer.  And he ended up *really* liking baseball.  I think we just need to accept the fact that he is going to have to be a two-sport athlete all the time now.  It looks like the fall is for soccer and judo, the winter is for either basketball or hockey and judo.  The spring is for soccer and judo again (or baseball?).  And the summer is for baseball and judo.  I guess.  I don't know.  I used to think I needed a personal assistant to manage my life.  Turns out, I need a personal assistant to keep up with Nico's sport schedules.

Overall a good summer.  They managed to get down to Louisville to see Mike and Gay and Tony and Kathy.  They did a little birthday party down there.  We decided to wait on Nico's birthday party in Chicago because there were so many of his friends out of town, traveling and such.  So, we are going to have a little birthday party at the lake this weekend.  I think he is going to have fun.  

*Interestingly* we are in a fantasy football league.  I say *interestingly* because, if you know how I feel about the NFL, you would say it's odd.  But the league is run by a guy I went to grad school with.  He and his wife and his best friends are really fun people and I really just wanted a chance to hang out with them more.  A by-product of this though, is that Nico is all about it.  He is really into it.  He loves helping me set the roster and thinking and talking about trades.  It is really adorable.  

So far the transition to 2nd grade has been very easy.  Nico has been a jem- he seems to be growing like a weed in front of my eyes.  He lost several teeth this summer.  And seems to be maturing a bit.  Still a sass-mouth, smartypants.