Ice Skating

Speaking of all of this ice and snow, Evie and I have been doing a lot of ice skating this winter.

I’d say she has continued to improve pretty steadily. I don’t know if it’s the extra practice or just being a year older, but she has taken a significant step forward this year. In particular she finally seems interested in skating by herself (as in, not holding onto my hand hand having me pull her).

Ice Skating

The nice thing about ice skating is that it’s really just a special time between the two of us. We don’t spend a lot of time together without Ollie or Sara, so it makes this kind of special. I also feel particularly proud watching her, since I’ve seen her go from not being able to stand, to being able to keep her legs under her, to really skating on her own and enjoying it. I can see that she feels proud of herself, which makes me feel proud in turn.

In fact, the other day I asked her if she had ever actually seen figure skating. I mean, everybody knows what figure skating looks like, right? But she never had. As soon as I tried to explain it to her, I realized how much she would love it. “It’s like ballet dancing, except on ice. It’s smooth and graceful, like they’re flying.”

When we got home, I queued up a video of Tara Lipinski at the 1998 Olympics. Evie drank in the whole thing with a rapt look on her face. I don’t know if it was seeing Evie’s eyes opening on this beautiful new thing, or maybe the side by side comparison of Evie learning to skate and then this tiny little girl skating her heart out and winning gold, but whatever it was, it got me. I just started sobbing my eyes out. Pretty soon Evie started sobbing too, even though she didn’t understand why I was crying. Heck, *I* didn’t know why I was crying. “I’m crying because you’re crying!” she said.

In any case, ice skating has done pretty well by us.

Now that Evie can skate by herself, I think we can start taking Ollie with us as well. We just took him for the first time this year and he did pretty well. I think that he’ll learn a little quicker than Evie because he has the twin advantages of not quite being so cautious, and being more of an outdoor kind of person. He really doesn’t seem to feel the cold, and consequently, he doesn’t want to come in off the ice.

The only downside is that the rink was recently sold to a new owner. There are now signs up about charging admission, and the price of skate rental has almost doubled. There have been conflicting reports about the price (people I know have been charged $3, $13, and $16, with no rhyme or reason as to why), and they don’t seem very diligent about who they actually charge, but if it starts to be expensive it will certainly limit the amount of time we spend over there.

In the meantime though, we’ll get in all the bonding time we can.

Ice Skaters

Evie and I have been ice skating up a storm lately. She got skates of her own from St. Nicholas this year and, since the rink a few blocks from us is run by the parks district, it is free to skate if you don’t need to rent skates. This means it’s very easy for us to drop in whenever we feel like it, even if it’s just for 30 minutes.

All the extra practice time in the past few weeks has been paying dividends like crazy. The first time out my arms ached afterwards from holding her up and having her cling so tight. Fast forward to the last time we went, and she’s either lightly holding on to my hand and telling me to skate as fast as I can, or outright skating by herself.

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She’s not skating like she was born to it just yet, but it’s obviously only a matter of time at this point. The more she goes, the more confident she gets, and the more confident she is, the better she skates.

Ollie has been extremely jealous about Evie’s ice skating exploits. He has been begging and begging to be able to go. Finally we found a time for us to all go as a family, and he got his chance.

If the skates gave him that much trouble on dry land, you can imagine what he was like on the ice.

I guess I kind of forgot how hard it is to ice skate the first time out, even though it wasn’t that long ago for Evie. It was extremely difficult to take him around. He couldn’t support any weight on his skates at all and had no idea how to keep his skates together. Because he’s so short, I had to bend over double and sort of drag him by the armpits. Half way around on our first trip, my back and arms were hurting so bad I had to stop and take a rest. It was a lot more difficult than I expected.

Ollie did a great job though, and by the second time around he was already keeping his skates together and starting to put a little weight on them. He even did a little walking on his own while holding on to Sara and my hands. That’s the thing I really noticed with Evie; every minute spent on the ice resulted in an exponential increase in ability.

At the end of it all, he was happy, but *exhausted*.

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Ice Skating Update

Finally got my ice skates sharpened and gave them a try. They worked great, but I have a blister on my big toe. We rented Evie one size bigger of ice skates and they seemed to fit much better. They were single blades, they don’t have double blades in that size, but she didn’t seem to mind. In fact, I don’t know if it was because of the different skates or not, but she did fantastic! She was only holding on to my hand with one hand and I think 3 different times we went all the way around without her falling down. She was in a great mood and really enjoyed skating the whole time, even laughing when she fell down. She didn’t want to leave. Too bad next weekend is the last weekend before it closes for the season!

Good Weekend / Bad Weekend

We had a really good weekend. And yet, we also had a really bad weekend. It’s funny though, because this bad stuff kept happening, but somehow it didn’t really ruin anything.

On Friday, I went outside to take the kids to the library, and I found out I had a really low tire. I have a compressor, so I put air in and went to the library, no problems. However, when I got home, as soon as I opened the car door, I could hear the air coming out. It was pretty loud, in fact, you could hear it all the way up to our back door. The tire had gotten wet from melting snow, so you could pinpoint the source of the leak pretty easily. However, we didn’t really need the car anymore on Friday, and on Saturday I got it repaired for $15. No real life disruption whatsoever!

Unfortunately, that was just the beginning of our trouble.

Saturday morning, Sara was using the microwave, and it was acting funny. As she demonstrated it for me and we played with it, starting and stopping it, the power to the microwave suddenly went out. This was followed shortly by the stove, and then later by the refrigerator.

What I know now is that something in the wall came loose, causing a small electrical fire (which I smelled at the time, but assumed was the microwave). Since the microwave was on, it fed back power to the stove, frying the control module and all the outlets on that circuit. The refrigerator is on a separate circuit, but they share a common ground (which is apparently common, and correct), which blew out the outlets on that circuit, but did not fry the refrigerator.

The whole thing is very frightening! From what the electrician said, it was just a random thing that could have happened anytime, anywhere. Luckily, there wasn’t too much damage. We have to pay for the electrical repair, a new microwave, and a repair for the stove. But it’s not as pricey or disruptive as a house fire, that’s for sure!

In fact, it didn’t even disrupt our plans for the day! We went ice skating.

Neither Sara and I are ice skaters. I think I’ve gone 2 or 3 times in my life, and I mostly remember them as being full of pain and humiliation. I was going for Evie’s sake, but I didn’t expect to enjoy it. As it turned out, I was something of a natural! I never fell a single time, and after the first time around the rink I was passing people, skating around people, doing triple lutzes, etc.

Nobody was more surprised about that than I was. I don’t know if it was just because I was trying it for the first time as an adult, or if it is because one time I had this awesome dream about ice skating and when I woke up I knew I could totally ice skate.

Even Sara ended up skating. She wasn’t even going to come, originally. After Oliver woke up from his nap, she ended up coming over to take some pictures. Finally, she ended up borrowing Ron’s skates, and we took a turn around the ice! I was really glad about that, it was a lot of fun. A mom even commented how nice it was to go skating with your sweetheart. Awww! And even despite that comment, I think Sara had a good time.

Now I’m kind of jazzed to go again. We live close to a skating rink that only costs $6 for skate rental (no charge for skating), so we’ve kind of been wasting the opportunity. Evie didn’t like it at first, but she went around a few times anyway and was disappointed when it was time to go home. Her two favorite parts were 1) the hot chocolate, and 2) in an attempt to make her laugh to keep her from getting frustrated, I called her “scissor legs” which she found endlessly hilarious.

The other big highlights of the weekend were teaching Evie how to play and then actually playing a rousing game of sardines around the house, and the most elaborate game of Wizard of Oz I could imagine. There were costumes and scene changes. Since my mom more or less knows the movie line by line, it was very specific. I have a bad feeling we will be reproducing this one for a long time to come (and with Evie, that means doing everything EXACTLY THE SAME as the first time).

So it was the worst weekend in a long time, in terms of bad things happening. But when I look back on the weekend, I only remember it being a good weekend! Not too shabby!