Kristi had her third and final major volunteer
activity at Deer Canyon Elementary (the first two being the School
and the Geography Olympiad in
) in early March: the Book Fair. The school library
is transformed through decorations and portable book displays into
a book store. The week long Book Fair is a major fund raiser
for the school PTA, which splits the profits with Scholastic Books.
Deer Canyon is very popular with Scholastic Books, as we have one
of the highest grossing fairs in the district: last year, the fair
something that big is a major logistical challenge too: setting up
and tearing down, making arrangements with librarians and teachers,
setting up special events like “Breakfast with Books” (opens at 7 am)
and a Friday night family event (closes late), and reordering every
night. But it is a task to which Kristi is uniquely suited given
her back ground in Academic Press booths at conventions. Although
she had helped out in the past, this was her first time running the
show. Like the Geography Team, she split leadership duties, this
time with her friend Gail (of
Labor Day camping fame
). The Fair was another huge success, grossing
we are such a big fair for Scholastic Books, they send over walk around
character costumes. The Book Fair coordinator then gets to assign
shifts to volunteer fifth graders to walk around as Clifford the Big
Red Dog or Curious George before and after school. Guess which
fifth grader got his pick of slots? (Hey, there should be some benefit
to being the coordinator's son.) It's just this type of favoritism towards
the fifth grader that will keep Kristi committed for three more years
until Doug makes fifth grade.
the Book Fair, Kristi came face to face with the looming California
state budget crisis and its impact on schools: she had to take her
own supplies like copy paper.
To reward themselves for a job well done,
Kristi and Gail took the Mustang up to Riverside and spent a Sunday
at a spa, lounging around in mud and getting messaged, and generally
not worrying about kids, books, or school. It was Kristi’s
first time ever to a resort spa.
Opening day of Little League baseball season
was March 6th. Doug’s baseball team is very similar in make up to
last year’s team: same manager, same assistant coach (Keith), and
a lot of the same players as the manager drafts everyone from the same
school, preferring familiarity over skill. This paid off last
year and it seems to be paying off again this year. Doug’s bat
speed is way up this year; he can knock it into the out field.
Brad was a little nervous about his first
game in the Majors, playing against 12 year olds, and batting against
a pitcher he believed to be one of the hardest throwing 11 year olds
in the majors. He had a great game, going 2 for 2, including
a 2 RBI single his very first at bat. He also scored a run, meaning
he was involved in 3 of his teams 5 points in their 5-3 victory.
Brad is now as convinced as his parents that he belongs in the majors.
Report cards came out in March, so we should
brag about how well Brad and Doug are doing in school. Very well,
thank you. Doug continues to excell at math, but is beginning
to show his verbal and written skills.
Here's a sample.
Brad's class is short on science but very strong on
discussing current events. And Brad never met a discussion
he couldn't contribute to, either by breadth of knowledge or bald-faced
Keith and Brad got serious about the upcoming Ride
Across California in April. Throughout March, they took training
rides every weekend. This usually took some doing, since Saturdays
were already full of baseball (Brad, Doug, and Coach Keith) and basketball
(Brad and scorekeeper Keith). But the
5 Cities Bike Ride in February
helped focus Brad, and together Brad and Keith made the training
rides occur. On March 9th, Keith realized a goal he had had since
moving to Penasquitos in 1994 (or maybe just since Kristi gave him the
mountain bike in 1998): he rode to the Ocean from the house. Keith
and Brad completed the Pipestone to the Pacific, then turned it into a 20
mile, 4 hour circle tour by returning via the Penasquitos Canyon preserve,
the locale for Brad’s Deli Runs. Over 10 of the total 20 miles were
off pavement, on dirt roads and trails gouged by the February rains. The organized
Bike Club rides for the month deserve
their own page
Brad had to make some tough decisions this
month. He chose a basketball game over baseball pictures,
bicycle rides over baseball, and most painfully of all, a baseball
game over the semi finals of basketball. Like his parents, he
must be feeling the pressure of so many commitments, because he decided
to skip trying out for the school team for the County Math Olympiad
Keith and Doug went camping the last weekend
in March in the desert in eastern San Diego county with the YMCA
Indian Guides. It was our first tent camp out since the family
went camping last Labor Day. The tribe sent 9 father-son pairs.
We went on a couple of hikes, went swimming in the hot spring-fed pool,
and played games like tug of war and water balloon toss. We
also had a campfire with a storyteller and skits. And S’mores!
When the dads gave the boys a break from the nature stuff, the boys played
very well together, playing Yu gi oh! Cards, RC cars, Gameboy, and
football. As host tribe, we arranged the games and made the
water balloons. As chief of the host tribe, Keith made all the
reservations, campsite assignments, and nice-talked the rangers, who
just remembered Y-Indian Guides as the group that lost a boy a couple
of years ago. (Not us.)
The last weekend in March must go down as
a truly great one in Brad’s memory. What
follows is all dutifully reported by Kristi: Keith missed it all,
as he was camping with Doug. Wasn't I just pontificating about
night Brad MC’d the Deer Canyon Elementary talent show.
The theme was “Deer Canyon Idol” and Brad played Simon. Much
as Keith hates to admit it, it seems that watching garbage television
such as “American Idol” has really paid off for Brad as his Simon imitation
(pretty good, say those familiar with the show and Simon) landed him
morning was the 5th Grade Boys Basketball championship.
Brad's guess that his team would win the semi-finals without him
while he played baseball proved correct. In an exciting, back
and forth game (Kristi video taped portions for Keith), Brad's Trailblazers
afternoon Brad pitched for the first time in the Majors.
Both his coach and his dad told him to go up and pitch strikes.
This he did, walking just one while striking out two in three innings.
Oh, he got shelled for 11 hits and 6 runs, but he accomplished his
job of getting it over the plate. Now that he’s demonstrated
control, we can work on finer points like speed, movement and placement
if he wishes to pitch some more.
To top it all off, on Sunday afternoon, Aunt
Betty called to offer Brad a ticket and a ride to the Padres Opening
Game the next day. Of course, he would have to get out of school
early, but he didn’t seem to mind. (Nor was he the only child to leave
early for the afternoon game, judging from the sign out sheet in the
office, and the number of kids wearing the give away cap at school the
following day.) As Kristi said, if Brad doesn’t remember his childhood
very, very fondly, there’s something wrong. (Maybe he forgot the
URL, quipped webmaster Keith).
Dancer is getting so big! She weighed 35 lbs when she went
into the Vet this month. (By the way, did I mention that our vet
is Matt, Gail's husband? We already had a vetenarian before we had
is still biting. No one hasn't lost clothes to her. T-shirts
and pants have holes, sweaters have runs, etc. When Keith goes
to work with mere dog druel and paw prints on his clothes he counts himself
has made his peace with her, and no longer seems to be her favorite
target. I think she is clear that she is below Doug on the pack
totem pole. Brad, on the other hand, means rough-housing to Dancer,
whether Brad wants to or not. Everything he does from hand motions
to verbal "No!" is promptly interpreted as playing, and she just keeps
her nipping play going.
Related web sites:
Keith's Pictures of Bike Club rides