Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween fun

Stacey and I kept pretty busy over the last couple of weeks. The ballet teacher who teaches after Stacey's Hip Hop class invited her to stay and "audit" the ballet class for two weeks in a row now.

I'd like to have Stacey in more than one dance class, like most of the other kids are, but things are very touchy right now between me and Stacey's mom. I feel as though everything I do right now regarding Stacey is under greater than usual scrutiny, so new classes will have to wait until things settle down. For now, auditing the class a couple of times and seeing the teacher and getting some refresher ballet information will have to do. When she was 4, I signed her up for a ballet class, and that went pretty well. She had one recital, and then we stopped, for reasons I can't remember.

Stacey had a spur-of-the-moment sleepover on Friday the 20th. Taylor and Krissy's mom and dad helped get the gang to dinner and back to my house, for which I'm most grateful, as there were 7 kids total, and I don't have a van... yet. In attendance were Taylor and Krissy (of course), Shayley, Hayley, Tara, and Sophia. They had a lot of fun, made a lot of noise, and ate all my food the next morning. I've always said one of the house rules for Stacey's friends is "nobody leaves hungry", but I had a hard time pulling that off. I made my usual triangle omelettes, some with ham and cheese, some just with cheese, and a few stacks of waffles. Everything got eaten, and I had to fry up all my bacon, and go borrow a couple eggs from a neighbor to make more waffles. Very harrowing experience. Last year I had a gaggle of girls over for a night, and they didn't go through half as much food. They all must be hitting their growth spurts.

This last weekend, Stacey was invited to a Halloween party thrown by Meghan's dad. He rented out his condo associations community building for the evening, had decorations, prizes, etc. He showed some poor judgment regarding pumpkin carving, though. He ran out and purchased pumpkins at the last minute, and found out that all the grocery stores were out of carving kits, so he bought some steak knives and pairing knives instead, intending to give them to little kids who were up late at night and all sugared up.

Needless to say, I jumped in, as did Meghan's mom, and kept the kids from getting hurt. I think I cut the tops off of about 7 pumpkins in as many minutes. The kids then hollowed out the pumpkins, and used pens to draw the designs they wanted cut out, and the adults then went about butchering their designs. That was the only questionable item, though; everything else went off smoothly. There was bobbing for apples, various off the cuff party games (guess how many pieces of candy are in the jar, a musical chairs derivative, etc.), and the community center had a pool, so everyone went swimming when they were too wired to play games.

Prior to the party, Stacey and I had embarked on our own pumpkin carving adventure. I am usually a traditionalist, just eyeballing a standard Jack-O-Lantern face with big triangles for a nose and eyes, but this year we bought a kit. She chose a pattern that had a bat flying with a Jack-O-Lantern in its claws, and I chose one of a spider. They turned out pretty good, and I think after using the little tools the kit provided within a couple days of using a steak knife to do some carving, that I prefer the tiny saws and the stencil patterns. I've been converted.

And tonight, of course, is Beggar's Night. Stacey and I went shopping for her costume last week, and picked out a traditional witch outfit, complete with latex nose and green makeup. We will be strolling the neighborhood with a group of her friends, and hopefully more parents.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


I haven't posted for a few months now, but the world has been turning all the same. Stacey had her 10th birthday party over the summer. This year we opted for a simple ice-skating party, and had about 10 invitees, most of whom showed. As usual, I took the week of Stacey's birthday party off, and she and I brushed up on our ice-skating skills for a few days. I haven't been skating in so long, I was telling the other parents that they could spot me easily at the party:

"I'll be the one in the cast."

Fortunately, Stacey and I got our sea legs in short order, and neither of us ended up with serious injury before the party. The party was fun and simple, and people enjoyed themselves to the same extent as the more elaborate parties Stacey and I have thrown over the last few years.

Also over the summer, Stacey went to the Skyhawks basketball camp, and was one of two girls in the group of kids approximately her age. She caught on pretty quickly, and found out just how sore you can get running up and down a wood floor for a few hours. After day three, her muscles adjusted, and she slept normally and didn't wake up miserable. The first couple days were another story, though. She's always been active and healthy, so it was no big surprise that she toned up quickly.

This is also our first year in soccer. We signed up through "WASA", a local Westerville soccer club, and we had lots of fun getting gear and practicing at the local park. Unfortunately her team hasn't won any games this season, but the girls seem to be bearing that load pretty well. A few of the parents are pretty cool, and the coach seems like a nice guy, and it's nice to see Stacey out running around and having a good time.

I took my video camera to one of the games (and will at the last game this coming Monday). I had some trouble getting the shot to look right. Either you couldn't see which kid was which, or you couldn't tell where the goals were; if Stacey becomes a super sports star or something, I'm going to need to figure out good camera work so she can have some "back when" footage to add to her highlight films when she retires.

Anyway, while I was filming, Stacey looks at me a little flustered, and pantomimes me turning the camera on her. Apparently she wanted me to get footage of her rather than the game as a whole, and we hadn't discussed what I was going to be filming, just that I was bringing the camera. Since I wasn't sure what quality of footage I was really getting, I did turn the camera on her, but I was so amused by her miming a camera and pointing to herself that I had a hard time holding the camera still for a minute.

It was a good thing I turned the camera on her though, as she almost immediately turned up the heat, stole a ball, and dribbled it upfield a little. She didn't end up scoring or making an assist (and I believe we tied that game), but she showed comfort and confidence, and she already knows how to read people. Maybe soccer or a similar field sport will end up being her "thing".

One of the soccer families hit it off well with Stacey and I. She gets along great with their twin girls, and they are both very involved parents and involved with their church. The dad invited me to come fill in on his over-30 league, and the girls and Stacey will probably end up hanging out some weekends shortly.

In other news, we're foregoing tap dance classes this year in favor of "hip-hop", which in dance seems to be less about being a hard gangster and more about having fun. Stacey likes it. I was on the fence for a while, but after she showed me some of her routine after a few weeks of practice, I've got to admit that it looks pretty cool.