Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fall Soccer Tournament

For the past few years, the twins have both played TOPSoccer. One of the highlights of the fall season for some of the players is a little regional tournament that the team is invited to in a neighboring state, where they play other TOPSoccer teams instead of simply scrimmaging against their own team each week.

On Saturday, we got up bright and early to head north for the regional tournament. We needed to arrive by 9:45 in the morning, and it's a two-hour drive. We were a little disappointed on our drive. I had planned to stop at Chick-fil-a for breakfast on the way. Except the exit we needed to take was closed for repaving. And they didn't bother to warn anyone ahead so that you could take a previous exit to still get there. And that's the only Chick-fil-a on the whole two-hour drive north.

Let's just say Xander and I were very disappointed. And a little hungry.

We eventually made it to our destination. The day starts with a team parade where spectators line both sides of the drive to cheer for all of the teams and their players. It's a little loud, but with their hands over their ears, the boys survive.

Next we get ourselves registered so that we can start our first game at 10 o'clock. Sawyer played defense (his specialty as it means a lot less running) and Xander played offense. He scored a couple of goals, which made him incredibly happy. Sawyer made some blocks, with a little help. He didn't mind, mostly, except for the one he blocked with his stomach. That one stung just a little.

We took a lunch break under some shade trees in the parking lot. The boys also had some time to explore all the free carnival attractions. Xander tried most all of them. Safety darts. Bean bag toss. Basketball shots. Basketball tic-tac-toe. Strong man challenge. Bounce slides. Sawyer joined in for that last one, but wasn't impressed with any of the others.

And the boys thought the day was over. They really hoped so anyway.

But we had one more afternoon game to play. They did so, if a little unwillingly.

And then they also lined up for the group photo with their medals. I can still hear Xander talking about his "Oooh. Shiny medal!" (points for those of you who get the Wreck-It Ralph reference).

And then the boys got some Chick-fil-a for a late lunch on the way home. 

It was a long day, but overall a good one. The boys are slowly learning to get used to new places and new things without total meltdowns. They are handling disappointments (like having that second game after they thought the day was over). And they're participating in a group sport with a little help.

We'll call it a win.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

TOPSoccer Practice

Two little boys who look almost exactly the same on the outside (that whole identical twin thing). Two little boys who could not be more different in personality and interests.

Xander LOVES soccer. He loves to run, to score goals, to outplay the other players. He asks about "Sunday soccer" all the time. He's ready to go every single Sunday afternoon.

Sawyer doesn't love soccer. He frequently hits and pinches and even bites the people who help him through his soccer practices. We are seriously thinking about letting him quit next season. Even though it's a great program. Even though it's good for him to be around other kids.  Even though it's important to listen to other adults as they instruct. Because he doesn't love it. He doesn't even really like it. Unless you count being outside (which he typically loves). Or the Gatorade breaks. Or the snack at the end.

I want them both to have something that they love. Xander has found his place. For Sawyer, we may have to keep looking.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Walk in the Field

On Saturday, the boys and I had an adventure. Daddy was working at the fire station and Connor had an invitation to one of his favorite friend's birthday party. It was at a park on the edge of the county, so that meant we were all going to enjoy the afternoon.

Connor spent hours running around with friends, enjoying an "Amazing Race" theme birthday party with his good friend and several new friends. The twins and I spent the first hour or so wandering around the park. This particular park was donated to the city a few years back, but development has been limited to some walking trails that are little more than mowed paths in rolling horse pasture. It's also an equestrian park, so horses might be roaming the same paths on which you're walking.

The weather was perfect. Low 70s, big blue skies with puffy white clouds, and a continuous breeze. Sawyer LOVES this weather, so he was content to take a walk in the fields. Xander, who has serious allergy issues, is not a fan of this time of year. He came kicking, stomping and screaming "No walk!" the whole way.

Until I realized something that might change his mind. You see, I had thought this might be a fun time to take some pictures of the twins. We haven't had new portraits on the walls at home in years, so I thought maybe I could sneak some portraits into the day. That quickly went out the window when Xander started screaming "No!" at everything. But I did still have my camera. And someone else I know loves cameras ...

So I handed over my beloved Nikon. We carefully put the strap around his neck, and I showed him the basics of pointing, looking through the viewer, shooting and then seeing his snapshot on the back screen.

He stopped screaming. And for the first time maybe ever, he started lagging behind in our walk. He was too fascinated with taking photos, shooting from every single angle and taking it all in from behind the lens.

And here are some of his shots from the day (I may have some competition in the photography hobby) ...

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day at the Lake

Just as the family reunion is tradition on Daddy's side of the family, going to the lake is tradition on Mommy's side of the family. Labor Day is just not Labor Day unless you're spending it on the water.

Connor had a blast getting to spend time with Grandma and Grandpa and his two cousins. The twins loved spending time on the water. And the kids also took advantage of the lower lake level (and higher rock cliffs) to get in some more jumping ...