First Words

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The other day my oldest asked me to remind him what his first word was. This comes up from time to time because both boys have kind of fun and unusual versions of this milestone.

Wait – a story about the boys when they were babies that I haven’t told here yet? Oh, let’s fix THAT!

Oldest was a real oddity – he didn’t have a first word, he had a first SENTENCE. And that’s why it probably seared itself into my memory banks so deeply. I don’t remember the exact timing of this as far as how old he was. But I do know for sure that his dad and I were walking up the stairwell in the condo complex we lived in at the time. I was carrying him and he was doing his usual chattering. Let me tell you that this kid YAMMERED. Once he found his voice at a few months old, he never, ever stopped using it! So I was rather accustomed to a babbling brook streaming out of his mouth when he was awake. But, just as we got to the landing outside the door of our unit, while his dad put the key in the door, Nick was quiet for enough time that it made an impact. Then he looked up at the ceiling in the stairwell, pointed up and said “See light?”

We both stopped because it was such a clear question to us! I looked up and then back at him and responded “What did you say buddy? See what?” and he said again, clear as a bell and with the proper questioning inflection “See light?!”

How cool is that?

Youngest is more unusual since he basically showed his sport loving stripes from the start. I know it had to be in the spring/summer of ’98  – he turned 2 in August 98. I had always been a huge Dodger fan growing up and a Mike Piazza fan specifically. (as soon as the Dodgers traded Piazza, I switched to full Padres loyalty and had been warming up to them for quite a bit before then. Piazza extended my Dodger fan time when he came up).

Anyway, I watched every Dodger game on TV that we could see in San Diego. And I had a routine. Piazza would come up to the plate and I would say “Let’s go Mi-KEY” with an emphasis on that last syllable. Alex had shown an interest in the games when they were on and was always around me while I watched. I’d narrate a bit to him, trying to simplify my cheering and my own version of color commentary. WHEN he would get a hit, especially a home run, I would let out a “Way to go Mi-KEY!” and get Alex to clap along with me.

Sure enough, one of those days (I do remember it was a day game so must have been a Sunday afternoon game), after I had let loose with my customary cheer of encouragement when Piazza got to the batters box, I hear a little voice say “Mi-KEY!”

I looked at Alex wide eyed and then went up closer to the TV (old ass console thing from somewhere back in the early 1970s…ok, maybe late 1970s since it WAS color..) and I pointed to the Piazza on the screen and said “Alex, who is this?”

“Mi-KEY!”

Oh yeah….brainwashing complete 🙂

So – any other good stories out there of kid’s first words? I’d love to hear them!

As a bonus for reading all the way through, here’s a fresh picture of said sports obsessed child from his rugby game this past weekend:

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The Kid is Alright – Albuquerque Weekend

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A much needed visit to New Mexico to check in on Alex. Texting & weekend phone calls just weren’t enough especially since we dropped him off on Aug 17th and he wont be back in town until Dec 13th. I needed a visual in between those four months!

The weekend was just perfect. I landed in town right as he got out of his last Friday afternoon class at 2pm. I rented a car and got in to the hotel by 3pm and was picking him up to go dorm room supply shopping by 4pm. We found a Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner to combine World Series viewing with food and then went back to my hotel to finish watching the game and play a round of Phase 10 (no, I didn’t remember to pack my cards – yes, they had it at the Wal Mart!) I dropped him back off at 9pm and prepared for the most challenging part of my whole weekend: a 6 mile Sat morning run.

Since I’m training again for a 1/2 marathon I need to run longer distances on the weekends. I REFUSED to do another round on a treadmill after that awful experience in Salt Lake, so I did a google search to find safe running trails/routes in the area and up popped the Albuquerque Road Runners Club. This very active group of runners have planned weekend runs and it just so happened that Sat the 25th was a 6 mile run at the Bear Canyon Arroyo trails. Visitors welcome the site said, so I emailed the organizer to let them know I would be dropping in and the response was immediate & welcoming. Still, I was nervous meeting them at 7:30am on Saturday! Luckily the meeting spot was 10 minutes from my hotel (just about everything was that weekend as it turned out – seems like there’s about a 5 square mile radius of the town with the University in one corner and all other places we wanted to go were contained in there.) My biggest challenge was the run itself – turns out this “older” group of runners were all quite seasoned at altitude distance running and were quite easily setting a 9-10 min mile pace. Meanwhile, there was me – a 10-12 min mile runner at best down at sea level! There was one other runner who was slower, but she only ran with us for 3 of the 6 miles. I felt bad about making them stop and “regroup” for what must have seemed like forever to them waiting for me to catch up, but they were all really very gracious and even applauded me as I came in for the final mile 🙂  When I checked my phone, I had actually completed the route at just under a 12 minute mile pace, but let me tell you, it FELT like I been moving through molasses and there were several times when there was literally no oxygen in my lungs.

From there it was on to a quick breakfast & cleanup and then I picked up Alex from campus to drop him off at the offsite rugby pitch for the afternoon’s matches. Then I went to buy a chair to sit in because there was no way I was going to stand all day after that run! I left the chair with him to use for future games. Normally the team plays on a field on campus right by his dorm, but for this match they were on a large group of fields near the airport. There were 2 games. The A side which was the main event and then the B side for the younger players (like Alex). They were playing Colorado State which was ranked #10 at the time. UNM is not ranked and in fact is win less within the D1a west division, but that was to be expected. Still, the A side got close a few times and (we think), the B side actually won! I didn’t care – it was just so nice to be back out there watching Alex play again in person 🙂  We had a quick dinner after and then I dropped him off to go socialize…err…party…errr..bbq…errr….well..it’s rugby! Apparently the Colorado team stayed the night and joined them at their party and everyone was “chill” and had a great time. The house where they gather is about 2 blocks from the dorms – I saw the route – it’s perfectly safe and well lit and an easy stumble back in the wee hours of the morning :)) (again, it’s rugby!)

We regrouped back at Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch on Sunday and some leisurely football viewing and then made our way out to the Sandia Peak tramway to ride up to the mountain peak and watch the sun set over the Albuquerque basin. Then we had dinner up there with a view of the twinkling city lights below. When I dropped him off Sunday night, there was not even a hint of sadness. He will be home for semester/winter break in 6 weeks and now I have seen with my own eyes that UNM really is the perfect spot for him. He’s got everything he needs either on campus or just a block or two away and the rugby team is a great match for him socially. Some of them also live on campus so he walks with them to weight training and practices and meets them for meals. The bottom lines is, they are a great bunch of guys. Fun loving of course, but also smart enough to keep priorities in order. The main reason for the party that weekend was because one of them is graduating at the end of this semester and this was his last game with the team. He’s in good hands with them.

Freshman shenanigans

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*We interrupt this Salt Lake City set of posts in progress – these photos were too rich not to share right away!*

While I was in SLC, Alex’s rugby team drove in to Tuscon, Arizona to play U of A in rugby. Both squads have enough players on hand to have both an A and B side game. The A game counts, the B game doesn’t but it gets players some game time. Alex will mostly play B side in the Fall. He also might not always play at the 9 (scrum half). That day, he was put in at one of the Wings (#11). He said he had fun, but both the A & B squads lost. It’s going to be that way. UNM is only just getting back into the D1A level and they will get beat up pretty good when they play in their league.

Anyway….a very generous lady travels with the team and takes photos. I was thrilled to see she took pictures from both games. I started to notice some strangely shaved heads in the A game photos. And quite honestly I passed right by about three photos of my own son before I realized it was him. Apparently they had freshman initiation last weekend. It was his idea (he claims) that the newbies should all shave their heads partially for this road game – and then just take it all off after. So, temporary. Not sure he expected there to be photo evidence!

I think that was a rather brilliant idea – he needed a haircut (I was actually thinking of taking him to get one when I go visit next weekend because I knew he was pretty shaggy when we dropped him off – no need now!) and while he may not have chosen a completely bare head, at least it was free and some fun was had from it!

Enjoy (click on the photos for full sized version)

College drop off photos – We are Lobos!

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Scroll over each photo to view the captions which partially tell the tale. No time to type it all out right now!

Graduation Day

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He was up until 1:30am working on a final English assignment to turn in on the last possible day to submit work for grading (of course), but…..he did actually graduate high school. On a Friday the 13th (of course, again).

Love the decorated caps.

Love the decorated caps.

Eve & Renee out supporting The Kid.

Eve & Renee out supporting The Kid.

With Grandparents

With Grandparents

With big brother

With big brother

With the whole family.

With the whole family.

With mom & dad

With mom & dad

Not sure which of us is happier!

Not sure which of us is happier!

Tassles are a pain...

Tassles are a pain…

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Look guys! They screwed up and gave me one of these things!

Look guys! They screwed up and gave me one of these things!

The Remains of the Day

The Remains of the Day

NIT High School Rugby Tournament, Elkhart Indiana.

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The following photos are the massive catch up for the failure to post every day in the Merry Month of May 🙂 Silly me thinking I could blog while traveling! The Mustangs came in 4th place overall. Their best game ever was a loss – the Saturday game against eventual #3 team Danville. The score was 24-12 and it was just so much FUN to watch! They played as a team, had some spectacular runs and scores, made some gutsy tackles and goal line stands and felt better than ever about themselves even after a loss. The game was so well played on both sides, that today the club President received this email from the referee for that match:

coach:  I was your official on Saturday.  I wanted to reiterate how enjoyable that match was; your young men were top notch, classy, hard nosed and true warriors.  your club is 1st class and you all must be very proud.  it was an honor to do that match and I hope I left your men with something positive to work from.  thank you for the experience.

That’s a great compliment to all of them. Here’s the best of my crappy iphone photos from the trip – click on the photos directly to see them in full size:

Notre Dame Campus across the river from our stop in South Bend.

Notre Dame Campus across the river from our stop in South Bend.

Blooming trees at Notre Dame

Blooming trees at Notre Dame

Pretty pink trees at Notre Dame

Pretty pink trees at Notre Dame

Beautiful green walking path at Notre Dame

Beautiful green walking path at Notre Dame

The scrum half duo of Bryce and Alex after Game 1.

The scrum half duo of Bryce and Alex after Game 1.

House along the road as we approached Amish country outside of Elkhart, Indiana.

House along the road as we approached Amish country outside of Elkhart, Indiana.

Barn in Amish country.

Barn in Amish country.

Dilapidated structure in Amish country. Oddly right next to a fairly new looking, large home.

Dilapidated structure in Amish country. Oddly right next to a fairly new looking, large home.

Bryce and Alex warming up before Game 2.

Bryce and Alex warming up before Game 2.

Jerseys lined up outside the Mustang's tent for pre-game handouts.

Jerseys lined up outside the Mustang’s tent for pre-game handouts.

Pre-game conversation before Game 3 on Saturday. Alex had the starting 9 - Bryce had played the entire B side game earlier so he was the backup this time. The other player is holding ice on his mouth due to a collision from the B game.

Pre-game conversation before Game 3 on Saturday. Alex had the starting 9 – Bryce had played the entire B side game earlier so he was the backup this time. The other player is holding ice on his mouth due to a collision from the B game.

Unfortunately when you attempt to pose the boys, you get these looks on their faces....

Unfortunately when you attempt to pose the boys, you get these looks on their faces….

Team photo before the final game with stormy skies in the background. The whole weekend was COLD!

Team photo before the final game with stormy skies in the background. The whole weekend was COLD!

I am not entirely sure what Alex is doing in this picture - perhaps letting out an exhausted sigh as Bryce looks up at me holding the camera. Alex played the entire Game 3 and had a truly brilliant game. Best ever for him. He made at least 15 tackles and was counting out bumps and bruises on Sunday. Well earned!

I am not entirely sure what Alex is doing in this picture – perhaps letting out an exhausted sigh as Bryce looks up at me holding the camera. Alex played the entire Game 3 and had a truly brilliant game. Best ever for him. He made at least 15 tackles and was counting out bumps and bruises on Sunday. Well earned!

The look of happiness after a game well played.

The look of happiness after a game well played.

 

Barely a Post

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Today:
On the team bus at 10am.
Arrive Cal State Long Beach 12:45
Spend entire bus ride & ensuing down time until the game chatting with other moms (very lovely).
Match starts at 3:30.
Sit through tense, poorly officiated (unless you were the other team) So Cal U18 club finals that results in our team losing 21-16 (Alex doesn’t play at all. Very few subs did. He’s totally fine with that).
Get on bus and go to crappy pizza place.
Continue enjoying time with moms & coaches generally bitching about the game but also feeling positive about Nationals tournament coming up.
Back on bus.
Home a little after 8pm.
Notice that a second application of sunscreen might have been a good idea :/
These are the glory days, right? 🙂