Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Reading Challenge - Update 2

Coco just finished the Prisoner of Azkaban. He has decided to start from the beginning, before moving on and read the Sorcerer's Stone. I am very proud of his reading and determination.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Uncle Chinny

I became an Uncle today. And more importantly, my little brother, Lex, became a Father. I am the proud Uncle of a beautiful baby girl. She was born at 12:39 PM, weighing in at 7 pounds and 14 ounces. Mom, Dad, and Baby are all doing well. It was a long, painful wait that ended in a C - section for Mom. But it was well worth the wait. She is definitely a Chin, with a good head of black hair already. Very exciting stuff. Perfect for an uncle. I can fawn all over her and not have to change any diapers or get up in the middle of the night......

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day 2009

Happy Father's Day 2009!

One might think that spending Father's Day at a memorial service is a poor way to spend the day. But it really helps to put things in perspective ("Too much F-ing perspective!" - David St. Hubbins). This was the service for our friends/neighbors. The tragic loss of the son makes me appreciate the time I have with my sons and thankful for our special Father/Son bonds. I can't imagine life without them. May all you Dads have a great day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Reading Challenge - Update

Coco finished the whole Harry Potter book (Chamber of Secrets) before school got out for the summer. He has started his second book.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Season's End

The end of baseball season is here. Good from a rushing out of work to make games, car pooling, and nighttime - shower, dinner, and bedtime chaos perspective, but sad for the boys that enjoy playing so much. With 2 games each a week (and hardly ever on the same days), 4 nights out of the week are spent scrambling from 7:30-9, trying to get the boys showered, fed, and into bed. Plus I still have to clean up from dinner, make and pack lunches for me and the boys, get my clothes for the next ready with my gym stuff, and maybe actually sit down for a few minutes with Demi.
Caz finished the season very strong. He finally got the bat working, used his speed to hustled out a few extra base hits - including two triples. He fielded well. And he dominated (yes, the proud Dad is speaking and using my own interpretation of events) on the mound. He came in to relieve a struggling pitcher late in the ball game with bases loaded. He got the next three batters out and then threw a 1-2-3 6th inning to get the save in a 1 run game. He pitched two perfect innings two days later. It wasn't the good stats but the confidence and actual pitching that were impressive. He really threw hard and accurate. It was great to see. He believed he could throw strikes, and he did.
Coco finished up strong as well. A fly ball to the outfield is a rare event for AA. A caught fly ball in the outfield is even rarer. Not only did Coco run down a fly ball and make the catch, he doubled off the guy at first base. Now yes, the kid at first ran on contact and was halfway to 3B, but it was still a remarkable play. Coco hit well all season. His coaches say "he doesn't get cheated at any at-bat." He doesn't swing for the fences but he swing strong and hard. He really unloads on the ball. He also was a vacuum at 1B, scooping up everything thrown close to him. He may really great plays in the field, especially at SS, charging ground balls and throwing out runners at 1B. The kid loves to play the game. Loves everything about it, hitting, throwing, fielding, stats, and obscure facts.
I probably should have said that playing baseball is over. But baseball itself is never over in our house.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Challenge

I really wanted the kids to continue their well established reading habits over the summer, after school ended. So I issued a challenge to both of them. I had tried showing Caz a few options to pick a book on his own. But he still seemed to need a bit of a prompt. I ended up sort of picking for him. I used a selected cover story and some salesmanship to push a kids classic, "A Wrinkle in Time". I actually don't remember much about it, other than I enjoyed it. Based on his current reading choices, it should be right up his alley.
For Coco, I really raised the bar for him. I challenged him to read one of the Harry Potter books. I figured it would keep him busy most of the summer. I also knew it would help with the build up for the new movie. It would also reinforce a discussion we had had about why books were better than movies. We talked about how movies had to change stories and couldn't include every detail the book had in it.
I am excited to see how the boys do with this reading challenge. I hope they take it to heart.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Movie Review - Star Trek

I have to confess that I was really excited to see the new Star Trek. I was very curious to see how good it was. I was anxious to see how they would treat a young Kirk and Spock. I was interested to see the influence of JJ Abrams on the movie. I wasn't that concerned about the casting. Whoever was cast, had a great challenge ahead of them. I really didn't envision taking the kids to this one. But it ended up that I took Coco. Yes, I took the younger child. It was a PG-13 rating, which they had seen before. I figured it was mostly action violence, like Star Wars. Maybe some language concerns. The only troubling thing for me was Kirk's proclivity for sleeping with women. I figured Demi and I could cover his eyes and ears if need be.
This movie was fantastic. The story was great. The back story on the beloved main characters was well crafted and presented well. There was an excellent cameo. The action was fast and furious. The effects were incredible (a far cry from the technology available to the original series). The actors seemed to pay the right amount of homage to the original characters while putting their own stamp on the roles. I don't see any Oscars, but these folks started with the deck stacked against them, by arguable the most ravenous fan base in the world. They should receive a lot of credit for the work they did. Coco walked out flashing the Vulcan V sign and murmuring "live long and prosper". I give it 4.5 Chinnies.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Loss

"No parent should ever have to outlive their children"

On the morning of our departure to The Island to scatter the ashes of Nanny Lil, we learned of terrible news involving our friends and neighbor. The same friends had lost their 23 year old daughter 2 1/2 years ago in a car accident. Now, there remaining son, 29, was missing and presumed dead on a kayaking trip in Vail, CO. Quickly the story updated to it's fateful conclusion. Demi and I were very upset and felt just horrible for our friends. All I wanted to do was to take the kids out of school and make sure they were OK. It makes you want to hug your kids and never let them go. But you know you can't do that, no matter how much you want to. You have to let them go, to live their own lives, make their own choices, and face their own adversity. I know I am not quite ready for that yet. And I still have a good 8-12 years before I really have to let go. But that time will go quickly. How will I ever be ready?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Emerging from the Shadows - Post Script

Coco has really been talking up trying out for the 2nd grade All Star team. I am really happy that he wants to try out and is confident about it. Now the kicker. Try-outs have been scheduled for the weekend that we will be going to NY to scatter Nanny Lil's ashes. This is going to be a hard conversation. I had to sound like a bad cliche and say "there's always next year." But it does hold true. The league, of course, can't do a solo make up session. This is going to be a discussion about priorities and taking one for the team. Coco is pretty good about that but I don't blame him for being disappointed. Again, making the team is not the point. It's the trying out that is important. Life lesson. Learning opportunity. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Emerging from the Shadows

With all the talk of Caz's baseball, one would think that Coco didn't play. But he does, and he plays well. He has really shown some good stuff in the last few games.
He is playing a solid first base, setting a good target, making a good stretch and scooping up balls like a Hoover vacuum cleaner.
He is also making good plays at short stop. He's got decent range. He's charging some balls. But more importantly he is making good throws.
He is hitting well. He needs to work on his selection but he swings hard. He makes sure he's not going to get cheated. And he's deposited quite a few directly into the outfield.
The other day he made a great play in the outfield. He made a great catch of a fly ball (which is a rare event in AA) and then threw to first to double up the runner who had left to run to second. Coaches, parents and players were going wild over it.
Coco is really becoming his own player and not just playing along, or being Caz's little brother. I know I am proud of him. I hope he is proud of himself. I tell him he should be. Hopefully, he is listening.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fire on the Mountain

In case you wanted more back up to the age old theory, which I have supported in past posts, that males just can't help themselves around fire, I give you the following. The family had dinner outside on the porch tonight. It was a nice evening, perfect weather, with no bugs. Demi had just gotten a new umbrella for the patio table. She had also gotten a new light fixture to go with it, a sort of candle/chandelier thing. Caz knew that it held candles. He got up from the table after putting his first mouthful of food in and bolted inside. He came back out with a lighter, insisting on lighting the candles. Demi had to apprise him that she did not have the right candles for the new piece. Seeing the disappointment in his eyes, she got up and grabbed 5 candles. At that point, Coco chimed in that he wanted to light some too. A brief argument ensued over who was going to light what. So they each got to light 2 candles. The 5th went to Dad. Of course, I wanted to light one too. I am a red blooded male after all.