It is funny to me that I don't enjoy repetitiveness from day-to-day, but I love it with the return of each season. September has meant cross country running season in our house for 10 years, and football season for 4.
Each year brings it's own stories.
Chloe was grocery shopping with me at the end of the summer, and while we were in line at the check-out she picked up and turned over an Eatmore Bar. To her dismay, the ingredient list included 'milk solids'. I promised her I would come up with a solution - Eatmore Bars are a cross-country running tradition. I left it till the morning of the first race, but I found and combined a couple of recipes to come up with milk-free Eatmore Bars:
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup beehive golden syrup
1 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups small flake 20 minutes oats pulverized in a food processor, but not to pulverized
2 cups chopped dry roasted peanuts
1 T ground flax seed
1 scoop protein powder
Combine peanut butter and golden syrup over heat till bubbling. Remove from heat, stir in chocolate chips. Mix in other ingredients. Pour into 4 greased bread pans. Cool. cut each pan into 3 long bars. Wrap in parchment, tie ends with baker's string, store in fridge.
(The protein powder probably takes away from the stretchiness of the Eatmore Bars - omit if this matters to you.)
From 6th-9th grade cross-country running gets more competitive on the school level. A student's run time on the Terry Fox Day determines eligibility to go to school divisionals. Carmen really wanted to make it to divisionals, and asked me to come to her race to cheer her on. She wanted me to stand at the mid-way point (after the first hill, before the second hill) and count the runners so that I could tell her what place she was in and she would know what she had to do. And so I counted: 1: Elliott, 2: Maddie, 3: Aspen, and so on. Carmen was 18th, and only the top 12 go to divisionals. After I called out her place as she passed, I walked the short-cut to the finish line and started my count again. 1: Elliott, 2: Maddie, and so forth. Then Carmen broke through the trees and came into my view in 12th place. Tears sprung to my eyes, I was so proud. She had passed 6 people on the final hill, an amazing feat. Those of us standing near the finish cheered her in, not knowing that she thought she was still in 13th place. With a reserve of surprising energy Carmen sprinted the final 50 meters of the race passing the runner ahead of her. It was an inspiring finish. Her friends and teachers were impressed (even if she wouldn't have done it had she realized her position on the cross-country team was secure already).
This year Steven is playing his first football season on a school team. Before 10th grade all tackle football opportunities exist at a community level only. That's how I know he loves football: because he played before any of his friends were watching. Steve's high school junior team had their first regular season game on Wednesday. It was a close first quarter, but then our boys pulled away and won by more than 20 points (sorry I'm a little lost for details here I had to leave before it was over to pick up Carmen & Chloe from piano lessons). I was there for Steven's interception - though all I caught was pictures of the blue sky because I was too wrapped up in the moment to look down at my camera. Here's Steven standing up after it was all over (in the silver and green):
Steven took on a second football role this year: Coach Steve. And I took on a not-so-new role: paparazzi. I didn't think he'd pose for me. Pretty sure I was right about that. He's in the black hoodie with his back facing the camera.