Molly the Gymnast

Molly the Gymnast

Here’s Molly’s end-of-season photo for gymnastics. How does she do that split?! She’s says it’s easy and doesn’t hurt, which is hard for my to imagine, actually. I’d require surgery after that split. ūüė¨

Molly loves gymnastics. She randomly does flips – flips! – when we go for a walk. She does cartwheels around the house. She walks around the house with her belly sticking up in the air and her arms behind her head, like an upside-down crab.

Molly and her squad look amazing on their occasional performance for friends and family. And that’s why they’re called Performance Team, I guess.

I’m glad Molly has embraced gymnastics. ¬†I can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.

Biking

Biking

Molly is interested in biking and doing pretty well with the training wheels. ¬†We’ve been going to the Town Lake trail and letting Molly ride her bike while Claire and I walk. ¬†Claire has more or less given up on biking for now. ¬†I’m waiting for some sort of peer pressure to kick in and inspire her, but she may be driving before she can bike!

Girls Playing Baseball

Girls Playing Baseball

I’m trying to get the girls more interested in sports. ¬†We play a little basketball, but the girls can’t even throw¬†the ball all the way up to the hoop, so it’s not that fun. They don’t really enjoy soccer. ¬†But one sport that is “taking” at least a little is baseball, or wiffle ball. ¬†Claire loves to bat! ¬†And she’s getting better at throwing too. ¬†Catching is a big challenge, right now, though. ¬†Still, it’s a start. ¬†Molly tends to enjoy the throwing and catching. ¬†Together, these girls make a pretty good baseball player!

Aside

Goaaaals!

Molly scored two goals in today’s soccer game, her third soccer game ever!

Kit took Molly to the game and was very excited to tell me the news.  Molly, for her part, denied everything.  She said she did not score any goals and asked not to talk about it any more.  Huh?

Karate

Karate

This¬†is a picture of Claire and friends doing meditation¬†for karate. ¬†It’s a pretty cool picture.

20140417-claire-karate-medition

But¬†Claire is not super “into” karate. ¬†She can do some kicks and can count to 10 in Korean. ¬†And she gets to have a brief playdate with her friend Susie after school, before karate class, once a week. ¬†But she isn’t showing a great interest in becoming a black belt, or even a yellow belt for that matter. ¬†I guess she is saving her¬†focus for¬†swimming.

Oh yeah, and Claire looks really cute in her karate outfit. ¬†It even¬†served as pajamas one time when her regular PJ’s were in the laundry. ¬†I can already picture Molly proudly wearing Claire’s¬†karate gear in a few years.

Soccer Sideshow

Soccer Sideshow

Claire has really enjoyed her first season of soccer on Team Tornado.  She doesn’t seem to particularly enjoy the actual game of soccer so much, or at all.  She seems to enjoy just getting outside, running around, and socializing with her fellow Tornadoes.  And she seems to especially enjoy socializing with one teammate named Logan.

Claire and Logan really hit it off this week.  It started during pre-game drills, when they started chatting about something or other.  All I know is they were talking and giggling a little bit.  Once the game started, Claire continued to try to chat up little Logan.  When they were both subbed out for a break, I offered Claire a drink of water, as I always do.  She thought for a minute and politely said, “Uh, no thanks.  I think I just want to go talk to Logan.”  Logan was dutifully waiting through a short lecture by his dad about (not) focusing on the game, and then proceeded to wander off with Claire, who was waiting nearby.  I apologized to Logan’s dad about Claire distracting him, and he said, smiling, “It’s okay.  He doesn’t stand a chance.”

Logan is on the far left of the top row,
over Claire’s right shoulder.

Once Claire and Logan were called back on the field, they were still chatting and giggling.  In fact, they just completely ignored the game.  The game was a mere distraction to them.  Somehow they ended up standing right in the middle of the field, gazing at each other, gently holding both of each other’s hands.  It literally looked like they were in the middle of their wedding vows!  Logan’s dad shouted, failingly, “Logan!  Focus!”  Right around that point, the soccer game, which was still going on around them despite their impromptu wedding, had an exciting moment.  Claire’s teammate Sullivan had blocked a kick on their goal and had delivered a strong kick down field towards the opponents’ empty goal.  The ball rolled right past Claire, who was still in the middle of the field, holding Logan’s hands, and his gaze.  Claire and Logan never even noticed the ball, which bounded down the field, within two feet of Claire, towards the other team’s goal.  The ball missed the opponents’ goal, but not by much.  It may have been the closest that the Tornadoes came to score that day.

At some point shortly thereafter, a whistle blew, and Claire wandered over to me to ask if the game was over.  I said I thought it was over.  It was the Tornadoes’ worst defeat this season, a complete loss, but I am sure for Claire, nothing could have been further form the truth.

Team Tornado

Team Tornado

Claire participated in her first soccer game today. Not just that, but it was also her first ever organized sports game of any kind. Well, sort of organized, anyways… as organized as a bunch of four and five year olds chasing around a soccer ball without any teamwork or strategy can be. Still, it was, without a doubt, kids playing soccer.
Claire had asked me to sign her up for soccer after burning out on the old swimming/ballet routine at the YMCA over the last few months. Even with her friends Coco, Zoey, and Isa in the classes with her, the routine had turned into a grind. Claire had been interested in basketball ever since wandering into a YMCA youth league basketball game a couple of months ago after ballet class, but we had to wait for the next sport to come around, and that just happened to be soccer. Claire was not “into” soccer before this. We had kicked a ball around a few times in the back yard before, but she usually lost interest in favor of just running around, especially simple foot races back and forth, over and over.
Still, Claire was really excited to start soccer. And that we even before she knew she would get soccer gear. We made a trip to Academy late Wednesday night and picked up some silver and pink soccer shoes, pink shin guards, and pink shorts. We failed to find any pink socks that went up high enough for shin guards, so we had to settle for plain old white socks, but still, she looked really cute, if not 100% pink. The soccer league would be supplying the shirts, which were, sadly, black and red or gray. Those are not princess colors! Claire tried on her outfit in the car and surprised her mom with her new look. Claire looked like a real soccer player, and a surprisingly grown up one at that (but still really cute).

Claire had been assigned to Team Tornado via email, and we did not know any of the names on the Tornado roster. There would be one other girl on the team, named Francesca, and the rest were all boys. Overall, there were over 400 kids signed up for this season of soccer at this YMCA alone. I had decided to go with the YMCA soccer league instead of the heralded WAYA league simply because YMCA had games on Saturday mornings and no practices, while WAYA had Wednesday night games (seriously, every Wednesday?) plus weekend practices.
Claire’s first game was scheduled for today at 10 am, when Team Tornado would be opposed by the dreaded “Aztex”. That was all we knew going into today’s game. Before the game, Kit and I prepped Claire on the first (only?) rule of soccer: don’t touch the ball with your hands. Good enough crash course, right? I might have added “kick the ball towards the other team’s goal, and away from yours” but that was a relatively minor point, I suppose.
I took Claire to soccer while Kit took Molly for the morning, as Molly was already rubbing her eyes by about 9am and would clearly be needing a nap during the 10am game time.
You can see Claire running quickly, mostly towards the ball, in the middle-right of this picture
The team made some very quick introductions and got right into some pre-game drills. Claire looked pretty sharp for a kid who had kicked a soccer ball a total of about 8 times in her life. After about 10 minutes of drills, the game started. The herd of kids chased the ball around the small soccer field, and Claire chased the heard of kids chasing the ball around. Claire ran like crazy.  She seemed to be all over the place, always hovering about 5-8 feet from the ball. But she didn’t make much actual contact with the ball.

At halftime Claire seemed concerned and a little dismayed, and she sort of wanted to just go home. She said she could never get to the ball. I told her that she was running faster than almost any kid, and if she gets a chance, don’t worry and don’t wait; just kick the ball as hard as she can (I guess nevermind which direction the ball goes). In the second half, I prodded myself to yell out “Kick the ball, Claire!” whenever she was in range. She did get a few kicks on the ball this time around. She even managed to clear the ball from her home team’s goal area a couple of times. This seemed to make her feel marginally better, although she still was not having too much fun. When the final whistle blew, and the game seemed to stop, she ran over to me and said, “Is the game over?” I said, “I think so”, and she replied, “Yeah!!!”  I was proud of her for sticking through the whole game and even giving it something extra in the second half.  As far as I can tell, the Tornadoes probably lost, but the game’s outcome did not seem to be of any real significance to anyone.

Pre-game drills
After post-game snacks with the team, we walked towards the car, past the YMCA where her old ballet class would have just let out. We peaked in the window, and right there on cue were Coco, Zoey, and Isa, all dressed in tutus. We went in for a quick visit. When Isa’s mom asked Claire if she liked the soccer game, Claire hesitated and said, “A little bit.”, which seemed pretty accurate. Still, everyone agreed that Claire looked really good in her soccer outfit.
Time to cool it off