Tousled

Winner of the losers!

The moms got a kick out of our sons winning the championship of the losers bracket. As my mom said “you should call it the lower bracket.” Indeed, we should, but that’s not as enjoyable.

It is so fun to watch Mario play basketball now. It was cute back when he was in second or third grade and you’d watch him try to dribble the ball without stumbling over his feet. We would crack up watching them try to bring their elbow back and launch the ball into the net. Now they are like miniature NBA players with the dribbling between the legs and the cutbacks and the driving into the net. I love the athleticism. I am amazed at one of Mario’s friends who can grab a rebound and run down the court passing defenders like they are but ghosts, and then lobbing a lay up even with a defender fouling him. I watch Mario in awe as he dribbles around a defender and makes a jump shot – swoosh in the basket. These boys have been playing together for 6 years. They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They have formed a connection. 

The moms have formed a connection as well. We get excited for each other’s kids when a great shot is made and cringe together when one of our boys hits the ground hard. I receive videos from moms of Mario making a three, and I send out videos of other boys making a shot. It makes it all the more enjoyable to have a posse sitting with you and watching the games. It also gives us a chance to connect about what the boys are up to, whether we signed up for activities in time, what camps are popular for the summer….

Jon has been helping coach for the last few years. He loves the time with Mario and the other boys. He’s a natural coach and mentor. The boys look up to him and actually listen to what he has to say. I’m sure some of that is due to Jon’s stature – he can be viewed as the hulk – but some is definitely due to his attitude and playfulness with the boys. While my mom and I watched them play yesterday, there was a moment when the boys had huddled for a time out. Jon and another coach went out on the floor to talk to the boys and as Mario turned to go back out to the court, Jon placed his hand on Mario’s head and tousled his hair. Mario turned and smiled at him. The moment filled me with joy. I could feel the bond between those two in that simple gesture and I was so grateful for Jon in that moment. He is an awesome dad to our kids, and they feel his love for them.

This tournament was the last hoorah for these boys. They move onto 7th grade basketball with a school coach rather than coaching by their dads. Mario talks about how ready he is for middle school basketball because he thinks it will be more competitive. He is excited to ride a bus to games. But I think he will carry a tinge of sadness when it starts up next year because he will miss Jon on the coaches’ bench. A hair tousle from another coach just won’t be the same.

Family farm day

We made the trek to the farm Sunday morning to celebrate Father’s Day with my pops. Sarah and Jack also made it out – the first dad’s day we’ve all been together in a long while.

Mario watched Goosebumps the entire way out; these are his new favorite movies. He holds his pillow tight across his chest and reports out to us what is happening in the scary scenes. Ri is not a fan of the movies. She played Minecraft on the iPad and wrote poems about Stella and Mona.

When we arrived at 10:30 am, everyone was still bleary-eyed and making coffee. Emily was in town from DC. Ri loved listening to her stories as we stood in the chicken coop listening to Mario rustle around trying to catch a chicken. Ri eventually left our conversation and caught “Peepaw’s girlfriend” for Mario. Mario gave no appreciation to Ri; instead he got mad that he wasn’t the first one to catch a chicken and proceeded to work twice as hard to pin one down (but in the most gentle fashion possible). He eventually got one and we were impressed with how delicate he held her. Ri boosted his ego as she always does and shouted “Good Job Buddy!”

Ri soon found delight in throwing the frisbee with Sarah, Jorge and Jack. The trick was to keep it away from Stella. Not an easy task. Ri was not scared to catch that disc with 80 pound Stella running at her. Mario not so much. He darted to the side and let Stella bite that frisbee and carry it off. We took a walk in the woods and found the swing vine. Sarah tried it out for us first. She looked like a ten year old swinging back and forth. She used to get so mad when she’d go to restaurants at age 17 and they’d ask if she need a kids menu. Now she can eat it up being age 30 and looking 18.

Uncle Jack and I gave the vine a try, too. Nothing like the kid coming out in you for the few seconds you’re hanging on for dear life. We all screamed wildly. The kids love love love being around me and my siblings. They can’t get enough of them. Everything is “look Uncle Jack” or “watch Aunt Sarah” or “come on Jorge!” Precious.

We returned to yummy barbecue chicken and cole slaw and beans. Mario threw a fit because he wanted to sit next to Jon at the “big person” table. He pushed his chair back and angrily crossed his arms and pouted. Jon gave in and pushed his chair over and let Mario sit by him. Mario beamed. It’s the little things. Maria sat next to me because we were right next to the food.

After we ate, Jon and I threw to Ri. She could not hit a ball to save her life. She progressed from sighing to heaving to throwing her bat and yelling “I hate softball!” I felt so bad for her. She wants to be perfect at whatever she does but she doesn’t like to practice. I tried to talk to her. Then Jon. Nothing worked. Meg came out and told us she was heading to the stable. Ri followed. I went inside to get a cookie and then made my way down to see them.

Maria stood by Taz brushing out her hair. She looked completely at peace. Meg stood on the other side adjusting the saddle. I could hear Ri talking with her about her horse camp. Meg listened and quietly commented back to her. I could have watched the two of them all day. Ri was so in her element next to that horse and talking with her grandma. Meg let her ride Taz on her own and gave her tips as she circled the grounds. Dang, I wish they lived closer so Ri could get lessons from the Meg-pie.

We played some Quirkle (the new favorite Menkedick game) while Mario and Jorge played some mean badminton. Sarah won, again. After Quirkle, we broke out Mario’s beebee gun. Jorge drew a bear and some type of elk/goat mix (ha! poor Jorge agrees to draw and then we make fun of him!) as the targets to shoot. At first the boys shot alone but then they asked us to bring down cans and paper and we became intrigued and joined them. I think we have a new Menkedick past time – target shooting at fake bears and pop cans. We all got into it.

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With each hit, the kids and Jon and Peepaw would check out the paper to see where the beebee hit.

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The pressure was on to be the first person to hit the pop can. We all tried but Peepaw hit it. He’s still got it.

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And what did we do after target shooting? What else but recited poetry on the back porch.

Is there any talent this family doesn’t have?!