February  

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Kristi’s parents came out for a visit the first week of February.  They hadn’t been out since Christmas 2001, and since we had visited them on The Great Summer Car Vacation of 2002, it was definitely time for them to visit us.  Ostensibly their visit was to coincide with Kristi's birthday, but I notice they seem to time their visits when the weather is significantly warmer in San Diego than Bloomington, Illinois.  Go figure.
Brad continues to play and enjoy his first season of basketball, and Keith continues to be team score keeper at games.  Papa and Grandma attended one of the games.  Brad is getting markedly better as the season progresses; now after rebounding he doesn't automatically pass, but will occasionally take the ball up court himself, so he's gaining confidence.
Even before pitchers and catchers reported to spring training in Arizona, Little League baseball started practicing.  Brad is now in Majors, and playing with boys that are older than him.  It’s totally different for him. There’s no screwing around; they’re very serious.  He wasn’t having much fun at first, but this should be a really good experience for him.  It should get him back to his baseball roots of several years ago when he lived and breathed baseball.  Keith is coaching Doug again this year, with the same manager as last year.  In fact, they have nearly the same team from last year, with most of the kids from Deer Canyon Elementary School so they know each other.
After postponing the trip in January because of the new puppy, we successfully found a day in February to go to California Adventure (Disney's newest amusement park): Valentines day.  The kids had it off from school as part of an extended weekend, so Keith took it off from work and off we went. Our strategy of going to Southern California "destinations" on winter weekdays worked well, as the lines were minimal and we got lots of rides in.  We also hooked up with Colin, a friend of Brad's, and his dad, and spent most of the afternoon together.  The boys started off (their usual) very timid, but quickly got more adventurous than ever before, wanting to go on the roller coasters and thrill rides again and again.
Bradley played his final piano concert.  After taking lessons for 4 years, he is moving on to guitar.  Douglas is taking over his time spot with the piano teacher on Monday afternoons.  After resisting the idea for some time, Doug has now fully embraced the idea of learning to play.  It is a pleasure to see his desire nurtured by his big brother “showing him how.”  We haven’t got Brad into guitar lessons yet (guitar teachers are a little harder to find, apparently), but his friend Tony has taught him to play the James Bond theme.
One of the most anticipated rides of the Bike Club each year is the 5 Cities Ride every February.  For a long, flat ride, we ride around San Diego Bay, passing through 5 cities and 32 miles, including a ferry ride back from Coronado to downtown San Diego. It's fun as long as there are interesting things to see, but by mile 25, coming up the relatively barren Silver Strand towards Coronado with the wind in your face, it's tough.  Bradley actually said he didn't think he could do the Ride Across California if it was like this. Keith gave him his usual spiel about bike riding being mental, and Brad completely the ride nicely.  But it got his attention.  And he got the message there was hard work ahead.
Puppy Chronicles:
We had some heavy rains this February, the heaviest in over a year (last year was a drought and this year was looking worse).  The main impact was learning a whole new set of dog experiences: wet dog, muddy paws, unhappy to be outside, cleaning up wet poop, etc.  Kristi went a little stir crazy with Dancer spending significantly more time in doors since she (Dancer) has to be watched constantly.
Because two baseball practices and a basketball game aren’t enough to fill our Saturdays, we’re also taking Dancer to “puppy kindergarten” at a local park.  For an hour every Saturday morning Dancer and another dozen puppies of various breeds and sizes work on their "sits," "downs," and "comes."  After 50 minutes of that, the puppies get 10 minutes off leash to socialize (i.e. smell, chase, and bark) with each other.
The most common concern with the majority of puppies in class is house training.  This is not an issue with Dancer as she has displayed marvelous self control.  Our problem continues to be biting, something Dancer refuses to do at class to fool the teacher into thinking she's wonderful.

They read it:
Brad: Where the Ground Meets the Sky, Shadow Children
Doug: Robin Hood, Archie Comic Books

They said it:
Doug, preparing a peanut butter sandwich: "The saying is true: it tastes better if you make it yourself."

Related web sites:
Keith's Pictures of Bike Club rides




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Text and Pictures Copyright © 2003 Keith Sherwood - All Rights Reserved
Questions or comments? Write keith at virtualsherwoods dot com .