Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Global warming, my a**

Did we just enter into a new ice age? I must have missed the memo. Having lived in Ohio my entire life, I know that February is supposed to be just like me ... in the 40's and gray. February 2010 has been different, though. More than midway through the month, the temperature has yet to break out of the 30's. We've had snow fall from the sky each day. Last night, we were surprised by yet ANOTHER foot of snow! This dreary weather has had an affect on each of us.

Michele has been stuck in the house much more than usual. This has led to an acute case of cabin fever, an affliction brought on by staring at the same four walls for hours on end. Her remedy is a complete design change for our living room. A brief shopping excursion this past weekend resulted in a new entertainment center, coffee table, end tables, and high definition TV. New paint and curtain decisions have already been made, as have my plans for the weekend...thanks, honey! Of course, after 22 years of marriage, experience tells me that these design changes and color schemes will all be brought together by the new pillows on the couches - which were purchased two weeks ago.
I should have seen this coming...

Ian and Nathan have used their time off from school -- why don't adults get snow days? -- to keep us laughing. Even though they are annoying teenagers, I'm glad to have them home. Being stuck in the house surely affects them too, yet it seems that they've had a blast these past few weeks. The first big snowfall provided them with all the building materials they needed for their own little home improvement project. Using empty recycling containers, eight hours of free time, and a little guilt trip they laid on me, we were able to build an igloo in the front yard. I've constructed a few snow forts in my lifetime, but this one tops them all. Following the second & third snowstorm of the month, the boys have added furntiture, a den, two baths, a second bedroom, and a media room to their snow house - just kidding. Still, they've added a six-foot hallway since then.

Trying to look goofy...mission accomplished

The boys have also earned a chunk of cash for shoveling the drive this winter. They've obviously noticed that the value of this chore has increased in direct correlation with my age. I probably pay more than the going market rate, but hey, my back is feeling a few years younger now.

Guinness has the best attitude of all regarding the snow. As long as she's fed, and gets some affection & fresh air a few times each day, she's just fine. I guess that is all we need, too.

Baseball practices begin next week for Nathan. Ian has an outdoor soccer game at the University of Cincinnati on February 27. The schedulers of these events must not have received the memo either. With luck, the snow will be melted by May...but the snow house might still be here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Nate Cuatrocero

Nathan has kept us busy with his sports schedules these past few weeks. He completed a successful middle school football season in which the Grizzell Celtics finished with a record of 6-2. He played center and cornerback - a weird combination, I know.

With his prior training as a soccer goalkeeper, Nathan has developed great hand/eye coordination and the ability to consistently catch anything thrown or kicked in his direction. So, it's obvious that while he loves playing center, a part of him wishes to play a position in which he can use his talent for catching the ball.

This winter, he's playing indoor flag football at the Sports Ohio Field Sports facility. He plays for the Bengals, and wears number 40. Lately, I've been calling him Nate Cuatrocero - like Chad Ochocinco. Yet, due to his affinity for the Cleveland Browns, I'm pretty sure that Nathan doesn't like this comparison.

Last week, he had a few passes thrown his way and he hauled down each one. A leaping, one-handed grab resulted in a touchdown. Luckily, I was able to capture it on video.

Tomorrow, his team will play in the championship playoffs. Wish him luck !!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Yet ANOTHER season begins

Recently, Ian began playing with a new club soccer team - the Columbus Crew Juniors Gold U15. Immediately after the high school season, during which he broke a school record for varsity goals and assists recorded by a freshman, Ian began practicing with his new club team. After just a few training sessions, the team traveled to Raleigh, NC for the CASL College Showcase. This tournament gave me another great opportunity to share his passion for the sport, and provided a chance for him to be seen by some of the 500 college coaches who attended the tournament.

We left Columbus early Friday morning so that we could make it to Raleigh in time for the NCAA College Cup Final Four, which was conveniently being played in nearby Cary. After the 8 hour drive from Dublin, we watched the Virginia Cavaliers defeat the Wake Forest Demon Deacons by a score of 2-1 in overtime. We really wanted to attend the second game which featured Akron vs. North Carolina, but the cold weather and an early morning match caused us to head back to the hotel for warmth and some much needed sleep. The next morning, the Crew played the Freestate Red Devils, a top team from Maryland. Having never played with his team before this match, Ian was anxious to make a contribution, in order to earn the respect and trust of his new teammates. No more than five minutes into the match he accomplished just that with a nice goal in which he received a crossing pass from the left corner, feinted left to move the keeper to the far post and then placed a simple ball which quickly found the back of the net at the near post. Up 1-0 so early in the game, his team played possession soccer for the rest of the match, securing a 2-0 victory. Later in the day, he would score what proved to be the winning goal against the nationally ranked Calverton SC Revolution. He's mentioned in the recap of the weekend found on the Crew website.
Between games, we were able to visit the Duke University campus, in Durham, NC. Duke has always been Ian's first choice of prospective colleges, and this visit was somewhat like a pilgrimage for him. The campus is beautiful. Located in the middle of a forest, most of the buildings are stone with some serious Gothic architecture. Of course, Ian quickly gravitated to the athletic grounds:

A life-long Cameron Crazie

Koskinen Soccer Stadium

After the CASL Showcase, Ian and I attended the NCAA College Cup National Championship game. The game saw the #1 Akron Zips take on the #2 Virginia Cavaliers. The weather was HORRIBLE. The temperature stayed on the short side of 40° - with a hard rain falling for most of the game. We arrived early with some extra tickets which had been given to us by the Crew team manager. In the parking lot, we happened upon some Akron fans who were in need of tickets. Ian gave them our extras free of charge...so we had quickly found some new friends whom invited us to join their tailgate party. Unfortunately, they also may have taught Ian a few rowdy soccer chants and demonstrated how to shotgun a beer. Despite their coaxing, I didn't let Ian partake in that one. Regardless, we enjoyed our time partying with this crazy group of Akron students and alumni. Too bad the game ended in a shootout, won by Virginia 5-4.During the game, I took off my clothes and danced with the Akron mascot, Zippy. Maybe you saw me on ESPN?
Just kidding, it's not me...really.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Earlier this week, we received just a dusting of snow here in central Ohio. Not nearly the deluge that hit most of the East Coast, but it was enough to set the mood for the week leading up to Christmas. I must admit that our busy lives had kept us from reflecting on the specialness and significance of the season in the weeks leading up to today. However, as I sit here on the couch with a full belly and warm heart, thoroughly drinking in the love and laughter of my family as they enjoy their Christmas treasures, I am overcome with the knowledge that we are truly blessed and loved by our Heavenly Father. It's funny how things like a little snowfall, the smells of good food, and the laughter of loved ones can prepare you for that realization...

These photos were taken in the early morning, just before sunrise, from our back patio. The low light makes the scenes seem black & white. Most of the snow in the trees was gone by noon, but lasted long enough to set the mood for what has been a wonderful week.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sounds of the season

Nathan continues to be the music man in our family. This year, he quit the select choir to concentrate on his newly discovered talent for the upright bass.

There once was a time when the sound of stringed instruments in the hands of young people sounded just like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. Nathan and his classmates have completely erased this notion with their ability to play music that sounds just as it was intended...or better! We are very proud of him for all of the time and effort he has put into this new endeavor. Enjoy some "sounds of the season" by the Grizzell String Orchestra:

7th Grade Orchestra

Dublin Youth String Orchestra (Nathan in back row)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Time Flies

It seems like it was only yesterday that this photo (above) was taken. Actually, it was snapped over 10 years ago. The occasion was the Indian Run Pre-School picnic at Coffman Park. In the photo, Ian has his arm around his best friend at the time, Sarah. Yet, when he was very young, Ian had a strong fascination with little red-haired girls. In fact, Michele used to jokingly call him Charlie Brown because of this fascination. The little red-haired girl standing in front of him is Britt...

Ten years later, the occasion was the Dublin Jerome High School homecoming dance. We discovered that Ian had asked Britt to the dance less than two days before the big day. Up until that time, Ian had told us that he wasn't planning to go. I must admit that I was happy to hear that he had changed his mind, and even happier to learn that he had asked Britt.

Time flies by so quickly, and experiences like homecoming dances are precious, largely because of the evanescent nature of those memories. This blog was created with the intent of documenting those life experiences or glory days.

Ian and Britt joined more than a dozen other freshmen & sophomores on a party bus that whisked them off to Buca di Beppo for dinner. They all agreed that this time together was their favorite part of the night. After dining, they asked the driver to take his time returning to the high school so that they could arrive fashionably late for the dance. The actual homecoming dance received lukewarm reviews from most of the kids. Afterward, they all partied at a friends home. When I picked up Ian at the end of the night, the size of the smile on his face told the story of lifelong memories made, and shared, with friends.

At age 4

Saturday, October 24, 2009


As Ian had handled some recent bad luck with an extraordinarily positive attitude, it was only a matter of time before karma sent some better luck his way.

Two weeks ago, Ian made it back onto the soccer pitch following a quick recovery from a broken collar bone. It didn't take him long to get back in stride. His touch was spot on and he was able to put a couple of balls in the net during the last three games of the JV season. On an extremely cold and rainy night, following his last JV game, he was asked to join the VARSITY team for their game that night against the number one team in the state: the St. Francis DeSales Stallions.

Michele and I were very happy for him, but I must admit that we were really looking forward to getting out of the cold...and Ian playing with the varsity meant we would sit on the those cold hard bleachers for another two hours. We thought that, as a freshman, he would simply sit on the bench and watch the upperclassmen play. However, after the starting center midfielder left the game with a concussion, Ian was called into the game. He played well. On the bus ride home, the coach asked him to join the varsity team for their run into the state playoffs! Last night, he played a good 60 minutes in the first playoff game against Marion-Franklin. He scored two goals and had two assists from his center midfield position. The next game will take place on Wednesday against the winner of the contest between Marysville and Pickerington.

UPDATE: Dublin Jerome beat Pickerington by a score of 6-0
UPDATE: Dublin wins District Championship by a score of 2-1


Some action photos taken by another soccer dad: