Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cape Town!

Photos from the their trip can be viewed here.

The boys are safely in Cape Town after a 20 plus hour trip and have been to their first two matches (England vs. Algeria and Portugal vs. North Korea which got seriously rained on). The weather is a warm 70 degrees and they have their 12 days planned out well. They see one more match (Cameroon vs. Netherlands). They traveled to Robben Island to do the Walk to Freedom following the footsteps of Nelson Mandela and toured the Cape of Good Hope and the wildlife preserves where the Black Footed Penguins and Chacma Baboons live. They also plan to see Table Mountain and do a historical tour of Cape town.

They have been planning this trip since last October. Julian got his first passport around his birthday last August.

Julian enjoyed playing the board game Ten Days in Africa in the winter months before his trip and Maia and I have been kicking the soccer ball around, drawing the shape of Africa and pasting zebra stickers inside. We have been reading some books about Southern Africa as well including:

Somewhere in Africa by Ingrid Mennen and Niki Daly

Abiyoyo - Pete Seeger

Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams

Count Your Way Through South Africa by James Haskins

A South African Night by Rachel Isadora

Soccer World - South Africa by Ethan Zohn

We are counting down the days until they return so we can hear about their adventures, see their photos and have them back home where we miss them so!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Locust Street Festival - Beer Run

A 1.8 mile run/walk with 4 beer stops. Only in Milwaukee??

Go ladies!

A Milwaukee County inmate escapee

Miller making her appearance

Plunger dude

After a few sips from the plunger

Onlookers spray runners with hoses/sprinklers

Miller's competition

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rain and Shine

We have had some pretty heavy downpours and lots of light rain in the last week or two. This means raincoats, rubber boots and umbrellas during dog walks and soccer games. But the trees, bushes, flowers and plants are verdant with thickening foliage and beautiful blooms.

So, when the sun shines, it is warm and lovely; beguiling the body out of doors. My senses are sweetened by color and scent. Each day new blooms emerge, the poppies and peonies make way for the roses and lilies. Raspberry buds are firm and green; the cilantro is beginning to seed. Bunnies lounge in the grass after nibbling on lilies and chard and the huge-bellied robin is building her nest under the eves of the garage. The days begin early and end late as we conduct more and more activities outside: picnics and bike rides, soccer practice and walks through the park. It is enough just to be outside. It is enough.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

8th Grade Graduate

Julian will be graduating from 8th grade in a few days and I've made a point to get some decent shots of him. Decent meaning no hand up in front of his face, no tongue sticking out and no sour faces. I had to get him in action, at a concert or lined up for baseball team photos. And now I see how much he looks like me, with his hair grown long and his closed-mouth smile, though he has a few inches on me already.

We have spent time chatting in the car on the way to games or walking home from school events - the best ways to get him talking. I am continually surprised at his calmness and confidence, even when he strikes out or bombs an assignment. He is stepping through childhood and into young adulthood and he can oscillate between these worlds quite quickly. He may need help finding his shin guards or keys but he doesn't need help with his opinions.

A hint of rebellion is settling in too - the idea that he should do exactly what he wants regardless of his parents' or teachers' direct instructions. Luckily, a measure of reason is available to him when he chooses, though that hasn't prevented lengthy conversations about his responsibilities and the consequences that come with not taking them seriously. Surely we have a long road ahead of us as he enters High School.

Nonetheless, he is excited about summer break, camping, leisurely days and a long awaited trip to Cape Town for the World Cup with dad next week!