July 14, 2010

You wanna piece of me?

I logged into hondo with the intent of documenting my recent 48 hours in Andover, Kansas, where the boys and I just spent a couple of days with four of my college friends and their kids.

However, imagine my surprise to find that someone had hijacked my blogger identity in my absence.  Apparently someone who was left behind had a little free time and decided to tweak the look of hondo by removing the barb wire background and inserting some bluebirds and other chirpy looking images. I had kind of been meaning to find a new, less abrasive look for this little online journal I keep, but when I saw the birds and swirls I realized that I really kind of like the barb wire. In fact, I think I had really rounded the corners too much with the pink. You'll now be treated to a new and improved tough girl look that's a little more streamlined. Pink is for sissies.

I also realized upon looking at the pathetic pictures I took with my phone - since I forgot the real camera - that I have very little in the way of photos to do justice to this excursion. The good news there is that I certainly didn't live this trip behind the camera!  The basic story is this: five women who met in 1991, eight kids, beautiful golf course lodge, dozens of frogs, hours of swimming, some wine, some margartias, very little sleep and more than a few trips down memory lane...you get the picture.

In the last 48 hours I've been reminded of some wonderful truths:

The later the grown-ups go to bed, the earlier the kids will wake.

Kids can play together for hours and never stop to be bothered by the fact that they can't remember one another's names.  At various times in the last 48 hours our collective children were referred to by each other as "that one"; "the other one"; "the boy who has the same shirt as me"; "that girl who lives in Colorado" and "the girl with the really bad cough."

(I like to call this the Yalta Conference. I don't know what was being discussed but it was very important.)

A good friend is one who has seen you at your worst and your best and still offers to help check your child's hair for ticks in the dark while said child sleeps, because other still-awake children have been discovered to have acquired some on their frog catching expedition.

Tiny, adorable frogs caught from a golf course pond will not all survive the excitement of being trapped into a suntea jar and then transferred to separate water bottles.  It will at first seem excessive to trap 25 of them for eight kids but those numbers actually work out in the end.  Some of them will literally be encouraged to death during frog races.

When left with some unsupervised free time, older, cooler kids will teach the younger, more impressionable ones some neat tricks like armpit farting.  Anyone who encounters Andrew in the next month should be prepared to squelch this new activity.

It's amazing how none of us have really aged in 19 years and yet we have all these kids.

Sunsets in the country are more beautiful and we were treated to a spectacular one on Monday night to which the old Blackberry camera couldn't really do justice.

Friends really are, in so many ways, a kind of family you choose.

July 11, 2010

Hello, my name is

We have a new addition to the family here at the House of Hondo. Andrew celebrated a fabulous 7th birthday this week and this little guy was one of his gifts.

Meet Redtail.

Thomas went with me to  select the actual fish and to choose the rocks for the bottom as a birthday surprise. We of course had to be ready to unveil our new fishy friend within minutes of Andrew's return to the house because there was no way T was going to be able to keep this secret for even a minute longer.

So far, Redtail seems happy in his new home and I can assure you he'll be well fed since they have both already asked twice today if it's time for him to eat.  I only hope the enthusiasm will continue when it's time to clean the bowl.

July 7, 2010

Swing, batter, batter

Last night concluded Andrew's rookie season of Parks & Rec. T-Ball. I have to say that six-year-old boys playing t-ball are pretty much adorable. They all look alike with their little bird-like legs, Parks & Rec. issued t-ball jersey and batting helmets. It can be difficult to tell them apart, but gosh darn if they aren't cute.

Aside from their common physical appearances, they also display a number of common interests. They all, without exception, love to kick dirt. This is even more fun if you've been asked repeatedly to stop. They also love to spit water. They drink some of it, but a fair amount of it ends up on the ground. They also love to climb fences; backstop fence, outfield fence, neighboring tennis court fence, they're all good.

Andrew has enjoyed t-ball, but I don't think that he's loved t-ball. He loves the batting and running part. He just doesn't really love the standing and waiting part. Playing outfield is decidedly not his pace and he just kind of endures it. He also frequently spaces out and watches birds and talks to his teammates. He has to be frequently reminded by his coaches to open his glove.

I have learned this season that, in t-ball, the batter has a decided advantage.  The likelihood of the batter making solid contact with the ball is good; it's on a tee after all. The likelihood of the fielding team to ever touch the ball before the batter has rounded first, or even second, is slim. It's more likely that they will be out in left field wrestling each other for the ball. There are no shut-outs in t-ball and there aren't even low scores. It's a homerun derby most nights.

Andrew was particularly squirrely last night. He was guilty of the aforementioned dirt kicking, chant-leading, fence climbing and water spitting all just while waiting to bat in the first inning. And, when I approached the bench to remind him to pay attention to what was happening on the field, he became guilty of talking to me in a cool guy voice to impress his friends that was, well, less than impressive.

Finally we reached the bottom of the third and final inning and Andrew was sent to field as the "pitcher." Given his antics and general lack of focus I was fearing for his teeth and gritting mine, hoping to high heaven he would at least quit kicking dirt and pretending to pitch long enough to open the glove and feign interest for a few minutes.

Soon after the start of the lineup, he jumped out of nowhere and grabbed the ball and ran to tag someone approaching third. Never mind that his coaches were screaming at him to throw to first. In typical Andrew fashion, he thought he knew better. It worked, but I was kind of mortified that he had blatantly disregarded the yelling of three grown men.

That sets the stage for the collective surprise when, on the next play, he actually fielded a ball and successfully threw it to first without prompting. That's where his teammate - get ready for this - caught it for an out. They did this three times in a row to finish out the inning.  He and his buddy, Jackson the first baseman, couldn't stop congratulating each other.

I'm taking mom license to tell of this feat because I'm certain they couldn't repeat it if they tried and it did shatter some basic tenets of t-ball. In the meantime, he has been able to put his feet back on the ground and I only heard him tell the story once today. 

This afternoon I asked him what had been his favorite thing about t-ball. I prompted that maybe it had been running bases, or learning to bat, or learning to play outfield.  Nope. His favorite part he said, without hesitation, was "hanging out" which I'll assume is code for "climbing fences and kicking dirt."