Group Picture

The boys did a wrestling tournament last weekend. Have you ever been to a wrestling tournament? They’re exhausting. They really are. Exciting, fun… but exhausting. Last year Lootie was the only one wrestling. I think we went to three or more tourneys. There was a lot of “downtime” waiting for each match, but we’d rest, eat, spectate… just waiting for his next match. This year, all four boys are wrestling. Downtime isn’t so much of a problem anymore. Being at the mat during simultaneous matches is now the big issue.

The first tournament Frank was with off and able to attend. This made things much, much easier because I knew that if I wasn’t at the mat (with one of the boys), he was. I got to see most of the matches (it worked out that way), but missed two of DT’s (the oldest). After the meet was over, Frank and I were pretty well exhausted from cheering, running and dehydration (we both forgot to drink, I guess — the upside of dehydration is the minimal potty breaks, woohoo!!).

I got a good amount of video, but not too many pictures. Here’s one, Franny (the smallest):

(click any for larger)

Franny had a super old-school singlet on for the first tournament. The club had run out of the small singlets, save this one from the 1980s. Leave it to my child to take it. And wear it. Even though his older brothers told him how pansy it looked, he stayed strong and wore that singlet like nobody’s bidness.

After the tourney was over, and all the boys had their medals, their loving father requested one more thing: group picture of coarse!! Evident in the pictures to follow, the twins were eager to pose, the elder two ready to go home.

First photo, all is well and tolerated.

Second photo, “Do a wrestling pose,” says dad. Older boys attention already waning.

Third photo, one last “Grrrrrr” for the camera now. Look at Lootie’s wide-eyed expression. Know where he got that face from? His momma. I’ve been caught doing it many, many times on family videos.

Oldest to youngest: (L-R) Tough guy. Wrestle-mania fan. Trying not to smile. Attempting some form of hand/finger coolness but not knowing what exactly to do with them.

The following weekend I was alone, Frank at work. It was chaotic but fun. I didn’t see any of DT’s matches, only parts of Looties, but all of the twins (nearly missing Sal’s last match). I felt it most important for the little guys to see me in their corner. Still, though, I felt bad for Lootie who is only 2 years older than the twins and had to face the mat alone with nobody, not even a coach. He didn’t complain, though, not once.

. . .

I started another scarf. I say “another” because now I have two going. One is green and frilly, the other is striped and not-so-frilly. Both are not holding my attention, though, and I fear I will be starting another scarf here and have three in my rotation.

The Hinna-Hin

They call her the Hinna-Hin.

The Hinna-Hin

Years ago I collected Anne Geddes dolls. Just… don’t ask. My past obsessive-collecting of these dolls and the non-existence of that collection now is a prime example of (things) that seem soooo dang important, not being important.

My collection and collecting of these dolls, sunflower baby, rabbit baby, etc., came to a screeching halt when Sal, the younger of the twins, was a toddler. He flat out wouldn’t go near them. The choice between cuddling up with a rabid animal, frothing at the mouth, and an Anne Geddes doll would have been painful.

I tried to unload them at a garage sale, practically giving them away. One kind lady fell in love with a couple remaining dolls and I gave them to her at a mercy price, thankful to her for getting them out of my house.

The rabbit/Hinna-Hin remained.

Frank threw Hinna-Hin in the trunk of his car to take to the dumpster. But time went by and he forgot to dispose of her, and one day, as we were driving, Franny (the other twin), reached into the trunk (we have back seats you can pull down and access the trunk) and laughed. “Guess what’s in here Sal?!!” He pulled her out. An older (8-year-old) Sal wasn’t scared, but had refined his reaction, now conveying repulsion. They giggled and laughed about the Hinna-Hin, setting it in the seat, mimicking Twilight Zone doll who could not be killed. Sal was a good sport, and though he laughed, I could tell he still did not like the doll.

Recently, somehow, the oil-stained creature has made it back into our home. Sal will touch her, but only to move her far away from him. He can talk and laugh about the Hinna’, but keeps a steady eye on her with that curious fear we all get sometimes with things that ook us out, but we can’t help to steal a glance.

Worker Man

Yesterday Lootie went to my parent’s house to help move some boxes. A pastor friend of theirs has been staying with them since early summer as she sought employment. Recently, she found a church north of here, and is in the process of moving. Knowing how Lootie likes to work (weird, huh), they called him up. The deal was that he’d help move boxes and then someone would take him to lunch.

Lootie came home sporting $5 from their thankful friend. He was thrilled. Proud, and thrilled.
Today, more work. Dad needed some help pounding nails in a project (and, apparently, was also in need of someone to watch the last half of the Packer game with). He picked up Lootie, they finished the game, went to work.

Lootie came home sporting a huge black toolbox with a few random tools inside. Proud, and thrilled.

Joy and Freedom

Some good friends of ours grew up in a town between Milwaukee and Chicago. They drive back “home” to visit once a month, staying with my girlfriend’s parents. Often, they stop at a well-known Italian grocery there, picking up delicious cheeses, meats and wine and bringing them back for us to enjoy with them. We’ve always said that we wanted to go there someday to eat at some of the infamous restaurants they’ve raved about. This fall, Dants had soccer there one weekend, which just happened to be the weekend our friends were taking a trip there. So we got a hotel for the night and made the most of the opportunity.

The hotel was nothing great, but the view was outstanding. Sitting right on the harbor of Lake Michigan (upgraded for free!!), the view from the window made up for the old-people smell that permeated the entire building.

Frank, being the wonderful husband that he is, took our boys plus our friend’s kids down to the pool, while they (our friends) took me across the street to a little bar. After that, they showed us the town, took us to her parent’s house, the Italian grocer… stopped to see the meteorite that landed outside of town decades ago, and then back to the hotel. Even though it was one night, it was soooooo nice to get away. We really needed that. Pictures say it best. Click any for a larger view on Picasa.

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Squirrel Trap

Our ten-year-old middle son (we call him “middle” since he lands between the two oldest and the youngest who are twins) has build a squirrel trap. Not because he’s worried about our finances and us not having enough food. Well, maybe — but in a fantasy-type way. I suppose dad could have been explaining groceries and how food costs money, not to waste, things like that, and he just ran with it. Lootie’s a hunter-gatherer type of kid.

Want a fire? He’ll comb the yard and come up with enough sticks to fill a few brown bags. He’s tried eating ants (good protein), worms and goodness knows what else.

At any rate, yesterday, for whatever reason, he went outside in the early evening and spent at least a half-hour out there. Upon entering the house, he announced he was going to catch a squirrel for us to eat for dinner. They’re all over — we can eat them!!! Nevermind we live in the city and setting squirrel traps is probably illegal. Not to mention, city squirrels don’t sound like the tastiest treat considering they are almost like rats around here. But whatever. I admire his determination.

Lootie, dad and I sat at the window, admiring the trap. Twice I “admired” what I thought was the trap, before my eyes rested on the actual rock and stick contraption. Oh yeah, that’s goooood, I told him. Patted his little head.

This morning as it was time to get backpacks, shoes and sweaters, he ran in the kitchen and opened a Ziploc of peanuts. I told him to just take the whole bag, figuring he was taking it for snack, but he took three whole nuts and put the bag back (which is more I can say for the 16-year-old who puts NOTHING back EVER). It’s for the squirrels!!!


And it was. During the 10 minutes of waiting for the bus, he reconfigured the sticks and stone (which had been knocked down during the night).

Loo Squirrel Trap

Loo Squirrel Trap 2

I have to admit, I’m a little nervous that he might catch one with those peanuts out there.