Monday, September 26, 2011

On her way to a big girl bike

We bought Margaret a little bike last summer. She had been begging for one for ages and when we finally decided to get one, the local big box store was sold out in her size. The local hardware store only had a red bike with a "flame" seat. I don't think it's a style typically marketed for girls, but she's never complained. She had fun tooling around with the training wheels for the last year but we decided it was time for her to really learn to ride.

It's kind of a trend now to teach kids to learn to ride bikes with "balance bikes." These are bikes with no pedals and no training wheels and they are based on the theory that riding a bike is all about the balance--pedals just confuse things. This idea appealed to our low-tech/lazy parents ethos but we were not about to drop $100 on a special balance bike when we had a perfectly ugly bike and a perfectly good hack saw already.

After a few minutes of hard work, Margaret was taking her new balance bike (or "coaster bike" as she calls it) out for a spin.

Almost immediately she had her first fall

but she climbed back on like a trooper.

And while I, personally, would have initiated a wardrobe change before riding a bike, Margaret is of the opinion that a long, twirly, pink dress is appropriate in any setting.

These pictures are actually about two months old now as anyone who has seen or heard about our patio recently can testify. On a recent outing to the park Margaret was zipping along on her balance bike a truly alarming speed and I think it might be time to upgrade to the real thing. And get her a helmet.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Oh! Is it Fall already?

Where did the summer go?

It was a busy one for us, full of lots of fun and lots of hard work. In between finishing up work on our upstairs rental unit and beginning our wheelchair ramp, we enjoyed a week at great-grandma's house.

When I was growing up, my mom took us to grandma's several times a week all summer long. While we can't quite enjoy that level of access, we have managed to say for a full week each summer the last two years. As long as my grandma can handle our crazy family, we plan to make an annual tradition of it.

Joseph spent hours hunting for sunfish and trying, in vain, to capture them with his hands. He thinks he was pretty darn close a few times. Better luck next year, perhaps.

Grandma tried, in vain, to teach Joseph to swim. If we were spending the entire summer at the lake, I have no doubt we'd have a couple of swimmers by now, but, with only a few days available, we were unable to convince Joseph that human beings naturally float. (To preserve my grandmother's reputation, she has a strong track record of teaching young people to swim, it was lack of time, not lack of skill that was working against us in this instance.)

Margaret was a bit more brave and almost dunked her head a few times and otherwise tempted fate by walking out as far as she could and jumping around a lot.

William only barely allowed himself to not be completely petrified of the water. He's always had a problem with water, even at bath time, but he did think examining sand at the water's edge was a pretty good time. Each time a motor boat came by he would move a respectful distance up the shore and wait for the waves to subside.

And Gregory just charmed us all with his (then new) sitting skills and winning smile.

I'm sorry it took me so long to get these pictures up. Happy Fall, everyone!