Speaking of outdoors...the kids have been very busy with fall sports. As of tomorrow all those sports will be officially over and then we can move on to indoor activities (phew--warmth!). Here's a few shots of the kids in action.
We were able to hold Ezra off of American football one more (probably last) year. He dreams of playing football. But he does enjoy his soccer coach and teammates and we love how much exercise it gets him. They had a winning season and went out on a high note--beating two teams they had lost to during the first half of the season.
Nora played soccer for the first time. We were so happy to see her conquer her fear of all things new and different. This little girl is teaching us so much about a shy spirit. It's been a balancing act figuring out how to gently push her without building her fears into an even bigger animal. Once she decides to go for something there is no stopping her. She loves to sprint down the field and score goals and she got her first score just a couple minutes into the first game. Her shy smile showed how happy she was.
Ezra and Caroline both ran cross country this year. They each enjoy it and I so enjoy seeing them compete in a sport that was "mine". Here they are after the first race
Caroline learned to push herself and keep running even when she didn't really feel like it. She had a great kick and often passed half a dozen runners or more in the last 100 yards. She kept a happy smile on her face most of the time. I just adore her post-race rosy cheeks.
Ezra runs just as intensely as he competes in all his other sports. He sprints to the front of the pack from the get-go and usually stays there. He got first in the first race fairly easily. The second race brought a tight group of three sprinting to the finish line. All of their faces said "I WANT this!". Ezra pushed on the gas one last time and surged ahead just at the finish. The third week he was quite perplexed to come in 7th place. He was especially disappointed because it was on his home course and Daddy had come home early to watch. But he does a good job of shrugging off losses and moving on with life. Caroline had a good race that day and ended up in 10th--which had been her goal for the day! That night at midnight Ezra woke up and covered his bathroom in vomit. And I do mean covered. There wasn't a square inch of floor that didn't have vomit on it. He hit everything except the inside of the toilet. Projectile. He even hit the heater vent (that one made me start crying). It took Tadd and I half an hour to clean it up. Poor kid. Perhaps the stomach flu had a little bit to do with his bad race.
Here are a few shots of them after the "finals". Ezra took third and Caroline got 21st. The course where the finals are held has a particularly grueling hill. It's loooooong and steep. They call it heartbreak hill. Both kids were happy to have heartbreak hill behind them.
A week after cross country finals our local high school hosted their annual Pumpkin Run. All kids grades K-6 are invited to come run a cross country race at the high school. Everyone gets candy and ribbons and the first 5 places in each grade/sex get a decorated pumpkin. The high school cross country team did a fabulous job with this event. They led the kids in warm ups, got them amped at the start line, had rabbit runners to lead the races, cheered them along the way and congratulated them at the end. They were also all dressed up as cute little animals to get the younger kids excited. There were so many kids there but the high schoolers kept it all organized. I was really impressed. Nora decided she wanted to run--another victory in conquering fears. She led the race with ease most of the way but didn't realize she needed to kick it into high gear at the end. Just a step before the finish line another little girl passed her up. Nora didn't seem to mind too terribly much. She had such fun. And she got a darling pumpkin that was covered in pink boas and feathers--just her style.
Caroline enjoyed her race and stayed in a pack with many of the runners from her own school. She was sad not to get a pumpkin but kept a good attitude and was excited for her siblings.
Ezra ran with his usual determination and ended up taking the top of the podium. It was another very close finish--so exciting. The full moon that night was intoxicating.