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One day down, 12 years to go

Sammy's first day of kindergartenToday was Sammy’s first day of kindergarten, at the Manning Elementary School in Jamaica Plain. I know it shouldn’t be a big deal, since Sammy’s been in daycare and preschool since he was four months old. Still, this is different.

He was a little nervous. This is only his third school, and the first time he’s gone to a new one in three years. It’s also the first time he’ll have been at school without his best friend, Charlie. Still, he’s never been a shy kid, and I have no doubt he’ll come home today with a bunch of new friends.

The school held an event last night, a picnic for the new families, hosted by the parents of the first graders. It was a great chance for Sammy to meet and play with the other kids, and for us to meet other parents and the teachers, before the frenzy of this morning. If nothing else, we all had a bunch of familiar and friendly faces greeting us today.

The Manning looks like a great community. It’s a small school, K-5, with one class per grade, and there appears to be a large group of active parents. We’re very impressed with his teachers and the principal, and the school’s focus on science and nature is right up Sammy’s alley. It seems like it will be an exciting place to learn, and that gives me great hope for the Boston Public Schools.

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Sarah and Scott’s Wedding

Sarah and ScottIt was pointed out to me, and rightfully so, that I apparently had forgotten to post anything from a certain other event that occurred this summer. In my defense, which isn’t saying much, I didn’t actually take many pictures at the wedding. The professional seemed to have things well under control, so I mostly just took pictures of Sammy in his tuxedo.

In any case, the wedding was lovely, the bride looked radiant, and everyone seemed to have a fantastic time. And Sammy looked great in a tuxedo.

Also, Vegas rocks!

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Sammy’s First Soccer Game

Sammy's First Soccer GameWe’ve entered the ranks of suburban parents, with Sammy’s first soccer game this afternoon. He’s on a Division A team in Parkway Soccer, along with every other child his age in West Roxbury. Apparently, it’s just what you do, except that we didn’t know that in the spring when we had just moved here. Since he didn’t play last spring, it was a little dicey that he’d even get a spot on a team for the fall. Sammy would have been pretty disappointed, so we were pretty happy when we got an email from the coach on Thursday telling us to show up Saturday at 2:00 for the first game.

Sammy had taken soccer at the YMCA a few times. He really enjoyed it, but they played in a gym and mostly did drills designed for 3-5 year-olds. This was the first time he’d played on a team, and he did great.

Sign-up for spring T-Ball is apparently next week. We’re not gonna make the mistake of missing that one.

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Futures at Fenway

We took Sammy back to Futures at Fenway this year, and brought along his friend, Timmy, who lives across the street. We got there in the 5th inning of the first game, between the Lowell Spinners and the Hudson Valley Renegade. The game went into extra innings, with a walk-off victory by the Spinners, so we only lasted until the 5th inning of the second game. That one was between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Charlotte Knights, and happily, the PawSox had the game well in hand when we left.

Emma and Marjorie Bartlett, Sammy’s friends from school, were also at the game. They came to visit us for a little while, and we joined them in their seats by third base for a while as well. We were sitting right behind home plate, in the field boxes, and next to the radar guy. Don’t think we’ll ever get to sit there for a real Sox game, so I’m glad we had the opportunity.

The boys had a blast, and we’re glad Timmy could join us. I don’t think either of them needed to eat again for a week, after the hot dogs, Cracker Jack, ice cream, cotton candy, popcorn, and peanuts.

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Singing in the rain

Burton IslandNot sure how I forgot to link to these, but apparently I posted pictures from our camping trip weeks ago and never got around to mentioning it here.  We had a great time, despite the fact that the heavens opened up on us as Jennifer and I were breaking down our tent on the last day.  We were pretty much damp for the entire ride back to Boston, and I was never happier to take a shower in my life.  Burton Island was beautiful, and it wasn’t nearly as traumatic as I expected to not have our car at the campsite with us.

Sammy loved it all, especially the s’mores.

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Biarritz, at last

Well, I finally managed to winnow down the hundreds of photos from Biarritz to these 135. I can’t say enough about how beautiful it was there. The beaches were gorgeous, the architecture was amazing, the trees were stunning, and the food…we could live on the fresh baguettes, duck rillete, and cheese and life just couldn’t get any better than that.

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More pics from Europe

I managed to post a few more of our pictures from Europe this weekend. On our first full day in the Basque region we rented a car and drove into Bayonne, the next town over and the commercial center of the area. The next day we drove down to Ainhoa, officially one of “the most beautiful villages in France“. It was, in fact, beautiful.

The last set of pictures is a small group from London, mostly from our trip to the Natural History Museum. It was cold and rainy, so we didn’t spend a lot of time outside, but we did get Sammy in a double decker bus, his personal highlight of the trip.

The rest of the photos from Biarritz will be up soon, hopefully!

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It’s a boy, or so we’re told

Burflet 2.0Here’s the first picture of Burflet 2.0. We have it on good authority that it’s a boy, not that Jennifer or I could tell. The radiologist seemed to know what she was talking about, so that’s what we’re going with.

Sammy is pretty excited that he’s going to be a big brother, although I don’t think he has any idea what he’s in for.

There’s not much to see in this picture.  I love the fact that it looks like he’s sitting there blowing bubbles.

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Another one for the record books

Wow. Two Celtics posts in a row. This is getting disturbing. Not having watched or cared about basketball before last month, I feel a little odd being so excited about this team and this series. But it’s hard not too. I mean, it’s historic.

Jenn watched the first few minutes with me, and it did nothing to change her feelings about basketball. The Celtics looked like they couldn’t hit the side of a barn –nothing was going in, and meanwhile the Lakers were absolutely on fire. Everything was working for them. After just a few minutes, one of the announcers was already calling the game and setting the series at 2-2. Apparently, he’d forgotten that the Celtics had nearly blown a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter of game 2. In my limited basketball experience, even I know that anything is possible, especially with this team.

Anyway, the only ones blowing leads last night were the Lakers. Things looked dismal at half-time, when the Celtics were still down by 18 (after a ridiculous, buzzer-beating 3-pointer by some Lakers bench guy) and clearly getting outplayed. At the beginning of the game, I had commented to Jenn that I didn’t really like seeing the locker room speeches by the coaches, but I loved hearing what Doc Rivers had to say during half-time — focus on your defense, and the points will come. And that’s exactly what happened. The Lakers, who had scored 58 in the first half, struggled to score 33 in the second, and the Celtics confidence and play got better and better. The points came.
They finally tied it with ten minutes left, and took a lead for the first time with four minutes to go. They never gave it up. Final score, 97-91.

Wow. I can’t wait for Father’s Day.

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A movie moment

I’ve never been a basketball fan, but these days, in Boston, it’s hard not to get into the winning ways of our sports teams. So, I have found myself watching and enjoying this playoff run for the Celtics, and starting to see what people like about the game. And one of the things that I have found so great, as in baseball, has been the way that the home crowd seems to have a tangible effect on the game. When they’re into it, it’s almost as if they can will the players to be better. Still, I don’t think I have the mental or physical capacity to get into another sport, especially now that the Bruins look like they’ll be interesting again next season.

Anyway, regardless of whether this basketball thing works out, last night’s game will stay with me. I only watched the second half, but I’m glad I did, because I’ve never seen anything like what happened with Paul Pierce. Apparently his first half was pretty lackluster, at least if you judge by the three points he scored, but he broke out of the gate in the third quarter and within 45 seconds had scored five more. He was on fire. Then, a few minutes later, he was hit by his own teammate, fell to the ground, and didn’t get up. Watching him on the floor, clearly in great pain, and then having to be carried off the court and put in a wheelchair, you could feel the crowd fall out of the game immediately. You could almost see the giant question mark hanging over the court.

Happily, this only lasted about two minutes, because, without warning, Pierce came through the tunnel, knee taped up but walking on his own, and the crowd went wild, louder than ever before. Then he came back on the court and played like a man who wanted to single-handedly lead his team to victory, at one point hitting two three-pointers in a row, within about 20 seconds, to give the Celtics a four-point lead. Damn, it was better than any Disney movie could have done it.

That was a defining moment. I don’t know if he’ll be able to walk today, but he’s still gotta feel pretty good about last night.