Congratulations, Erik!

Erik, the kid who basically grow up on my blogs, celebrated his eighth grade graduation last night.

Erik is arguably our most gifted child. The boy excels in both his studies – he usually earns at least second honors at the end of every quarter – and in sports – Erik has done well in soccer, track and field, and lacrosse. He will be following in Kyle’s footsteps and attending Father Judge High School, where he will be following Kyle again on the lacrosse team.

The mass and subsequent ceremony were lovely. Erik and the five other eighth graders from the band – three female violinists, Eric (clarinet), Jomal (trombone) and my Erik on drums – played during Communion. While he didn’t win a scholarship, he did receive the Charles Canuso Award, “awarded for great effort in all subjects.”

The award also came with a $25 check. Score!

It’s a bittersweet time for Erik, because some of his friends are attending other schools, and Father Judge is an all-boys institution, so he won’t see his female friends much anymore. Thankfully, he is friends with most of his classmates on Instagram, so they will keep in touch…

Erik’s eight grade dance was held Tuesday night on the Spirit of Philadelphia; a small ship which cruises the Delaware River. His crew, Aaron, Eric, James, Erik, and Jomal (below), was dressed for bear.

While I was worried Erik would be a wallflower, apparently he mingled with boys and girls, and even took a picture with one of his favorite classmates, a very nice, crazy cute girl named Regan. Erik and his crew spent the night eating, laughing, and dancing.

And speaking of, Erik was challenged to a dance-off by a kid from another school. For some reason, the kid has a $100 bill and stated he would put it up when he lost. Erik obviously doesn’t carry $100 bills around – neither does his parents – but he danced anyway. Both the boys and girls judged Erik the winner, but the kid left without ponying up the $100 bill.

Oh well, at least he impressed the ladies.

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The Least Wonderful Time Of The Year

Thursday signaled the end of Kyle’s 2018 high school lacrosse season. Once again, his team missed the playoffs, thanks mostly to injuries and a lack of adequate talent. Many of Kyle’s games saw their coach putting in freshman against varsity opponents, because some seniors never really progressed. That said, Kyle had a fairly decent season.

Kyle played ten of thirteen games – he missed three due to the knee injury – scores two goals and three assists, and won 20 of 51 faceoffs (39%). The team as a whole, however, did not fare as well; finishing with a 1-12 record. The team finished tenth out of eleven teams in their conference.

Thursday was rivalry night, where Kyle’s team played an away game against my alma mater. While starting out well, the game quickly turned into a rout, and the seniors on Kyle’s team had to suffer through an 11-2 drubbing. There were, however, some good things Thursday night.

There is more below the fold…

Continue reading “The Least Wonderful Time Of The Year”

Shall We Dance?

Last night was Princess P’s dance recital, held at the local high school. It’s always an entertaining affair, especially watching Mrs. Earp put makeup on my nine-year old. It also helps when Julia tells me she plans on “shaking her booty” during her routine. That’s usually when I walk out of the room.

This year, there was no booty shaking or bare midriffs, thank Vishnu. There was some fantastic dancing by Princess P, however. She’s come a long way since she first started, and she performed flawlessly. Interestingly, some of her group glances at her for cues, instead of vice-versa.

Both Julia’s grandmothers were in attendance, as well as my sister and her fiance. She was very grateful for the support, and the flowers at the end.

God Bless Julia!

Princess P made her first Holy Communion yesterday with her third grade classmates. She had been practicing for most of the school year, getting procedure down, remembering her prayers, and memorizing the songs. The training apparently worked, and yesterday went off without a hitch.

One giant bonus? We were able to secure preferential seating because Mrs. Earp works at the school now. *swish*

Afterward, we held a party for Julia at Casa de Earp, with family and friends. It is the first time we’ve had beer in the house since my depression, and I actually had one without getting violently ill. The food was good, the drink was good, and the company was perfect.

It was a good day for Princess P, and she reveled being the center of attention.

Getting His Kicks

As I mentioned Saturday, Kevin’s most recent martial arts belt testing occurred Friday night. Kevin, a brown belt, was testing for his brown belt with black stripe. Since Mrs. Earp was wrapped up with prom duties, I took Kevin to the testing. As we pulled into the parking lot, I told him, “I want you to do everything fast and hard.” For the most part, he did not disappoint.

Kevin (right, in the photo) performed all his moves very well, punched hard, and kicked harder. (At one point, he connected with a kick, knocking his sparring partner to the ground.)

My only complaint was he pulled a few punches, but he was bigger and more experienced than his sparring partner, and he’s always been afraid of hurting someone. Other than that, it was a great evening, and Sensei Dave (the owner of Premier Martial Arts) told me afterward, “He’s a different person than when he started.” It was a nice compliment to receive.

Prom Night

In typical teenager fashion, Kyle decided to attend last night’s junior prom a few days before the ticket deadline. One of Kyle’s friends from grade school – a girl I always wish he would dating (she’s incredibly nice) – set him up with one of her friends from high school. Lily, as you can see, is also a redhead, and Julia was very happy she could claim two “Ginger Buddies.”

Lily came to our house last night for pictures, then they went to the local park for group photos with their friends. I missed out on the occasion – and many chances to embarrass Kyle – because Kevin had belt testing for karate. (When Kevin saw the photos afterward, he told Mrs. Earp, “LIly looks like a Disney princess.”)

I’m daywork this week, so I wasn’t awake when Kyle got home, but Mrs. Earp said they had a very good time, and Kyle said he was glad he went.

Which brings me to another point. As far as dating is concerned, times have certainly changed since I was a lad. When I was in high school, my school (and surrounding ones) always held dances and socials. We met girls there, and relationships formed out of those events.

Kyle goes to an all-boys school which no longer holds those social functions. Between schoolwork and lacrosse, he doesn’t interact with or otherwise meet girls. As such, he’s never had a girlfriend.

Now, I really have no desire for Kyle to get a girlfriend. The last girl he really liked inexplicably went from a close friendship to despising him in a matter of seconds, and he never really got over it. Plus, as I have told Kyle on many occasions, “Bitches be crazy.” That said, it’s an odd situation to me. He has a lot of female friends from grade school, and from all accounts, Lily is a terrific person, but boys aren’t meeting girls anymore.

Baby Driver

So, this happened…

A few weeks ago I took Kyle to take his learner’s permit test. We waited at the DMV for almost an hour until we were called, and when our number finally came up… Kyle failed the eye test.

Fast forward a few weeks and one doctor’s note later. Mrs. Earp took him again Thursday, and he earned a perfect score on the written test. As such, he is now allowed to drive as long as a parent is with him. He will need 65 hours behind the wheel to be able to take his driver’s exam.

Mrs. Earp took him out Thursday, and I got him Friday. Now, I’m not very good at being a passenger in a vehicle. I’ve been in a few accidents, and the one I had with Miss America – long story, I’ve blogged about it before – was especially rough. Since then, I need to drive, or I suffer anxiety attacks.

So, I sucked it up and let Kyle take the keys. We spent an hour and a half on the open road, in the rain – they want you driving in all types of weather – and with the exception of a few foibles, Kyle did very well. He is a bit of a Larry Leadfoot – like his mother – but besides a few anxious swerves and one burnout – again, leadfoot – he’s on his way to getting his license.

*Where he will then be responsible for transporting his siblings to sports/dance practices, gassing my car, and doing other menial tasks I refuse to do.

The End Of An Era

After six productive years, a handful of all-star games, a few trophies, and a title appearance, Erik is officially retiring from soccer at the ripe old age of fourteen.

Erik has decided to play lacrosse (YES!) in high school, and considering how the high school runs “tryouts” – the teams are picked well beforehand – he wanted to spend his spring playing lax for his local club. The decision is bittersweet. During his first year, Erik was the kid who knelt down and picked the grass. Then, during a game, he was stung by a bee. After the tears stopped, he went on the field and completely took over the team. We’re convinced the bee was carrying steroids.

The kid once scored thirteen goals in a youth indoor soccer game (with one assist), and has always been a talented striker. He was the boy everyone said would be playing in college, and while he enjoyed lacrosse, he never really preferred it over soccer. I think he was swayed by the fact Kyle plays, and now that a few colleges have expressed interest in Kyle, Erik sees a future for himself.

Saturdays indoor finale was most likely his last, but he went out in style. Erik played harder than anyone on the floor, scored two goals, and played impressive defense. His team lost the game 11-3, but Erik made a statement during his exit.

It’s sad to see him not playing a sport he loves, but I have no doubt he will excel in lacrosse this spring, and for years to come.

Happy Birthday Kevin!

Today is my youngest son’s tenth birthday.

Kevin is our eccentric child. The boy doodles mini comic books, makes videos with his “plushies” (stuffed animals), and created his own language called “Derp Words.” For example, Pop Tarts are “Poop Toots,” sauce is “sus,” and soda is “so-ad.” While this may seem unusual, fear not; Kevin is nothing short of brilliant. His grades are excellent, his vocabulary is impressive (sadly, sometimes too, um, “adult”), and his teachers adore him.

Now if only we could install a filter on him – since he always says whatever is on his mind – he’d be the perfect child.

We’re not sure what Kevin’s birthday dinner will be, but since it’s Ash Wednesday, I’ll guess he’s going for pizza or pancakes. Unfortunately, I’m working tonight, so I’ll miss his choice.

Kevin is absolutely the best Valentine’s Day present anyone could ever ask for. Happy birthday, Kevin. We love you!

Happy Birthday Erik!

Today is my middle son Erik’s 14th birthday.

Erik is my mini-me. He looks just like me when I was a kid, he’s very introverted, and gets stressed rather easily. Erik is also crazy stupid smart – unlike me – and usually earns first or second honors. Also unlike me, Erik is very popular in school – especially with the girls.

He’s in his final year of grade school, and will be graduating in June. Next year we’ll have two high schoolers, so I really need to earn a lot more overtime. I guess the bright side is soon both of them will be out of the house. (Kidding.)

We’re not sure what Erik wants for his birthday dinner yet, but I won’t be able to partake. I am scheduled night work for everyone’s birthdays this year… except Julia’s.

Happy birthday Erik! We love you.