Tag Archives: flag football

All Is Better in My Photographic Universe

The kid catches the football in 2009 (left) and 2005.

The kid catches the football in 2009 (left) and 2005.

As much as I miss my younger son living with us, there’s one thing that hurts my heart even more: Not snapping photos of him playing sports.

I’ve clicked the shutter on my many film and digital SLRs thousands of times, as I’ve documented the kid kicking a soccer ball, hitting and catching a baseball, scampering up and down a lacrosse field, throwing a disc, bowling, golfing, scoring baskets, and tossing and catching a football since he was five years old. Blessed with great hand-eye coordination and good speed, he’s been fun to watch.

Just because he’s away at Sam Houston State doesn’t mean that he’s stopped being active. This semester my son has played intramural flag football, basketball, and soccer (which he hadn’t competed in since he was about nine years old). And here I’ve sat 90 minutes away, torn between wanting to still be a part of that experience and realizing that it’s time to let him go (plus I doubt that the other parents are around, which only ups the potential embarrassment factor for him).

Purple was the color of his Knights’ youth football jersey!

Purple was the color of his Knights’ youth football jersey!

But when the kid told us that his team (called Beowulf, natch) was in the semifinals of the SHSU intramural flag football tournament last Tuesday, I decided that I was tired of literally sitting on the sidelines. So the Mister and I drove up to Huntsville to relive the kid’s athletic past and revel in its present.

He made the conversion catch, but, unfortunately, his momentum carried him out of bounds.

He made the conversion catch, but, unfortunately, he landed out of bounds.

I’m so glad that we did! It was fun meeting the guys who have been making a positive impact on his collegiate life, especially his friends Nick and Brandon. And, of course, it’s always good to reconnect with his roommate RJ, his friend since kindergarten.

I never tire of watching him catch a touchdown.

I never tire of watching him catch a touchdown.

Mostly, though, it was wonderful to see our son playing a sport he loves. Personally, I would’ve preferred better lighting conditions—an 8 p.m. time-change game on a dimly lit field caused me to use my Nikon 85mm f/1.4 lens, which I usually reserve for indoor sports.

Willie Joe congratulates the kid.

Willie Joe congratulates the kid.

But it felt good to be back watching my son from behind my Nikon D700, even with a plethora of crummy, high ISO pics.

Good times!

Good times for the kid and RJ!

Plus the chance to snap a post-victory pic of these two happy roommies? Priceless!

My heart feels a little bit better now.

It’s All About the Background Blur (Bokeh)

A mostly dead fern (Nikon 105mm lens; f/3)

The Pioneer Woman, aka Ree Drummond, loves to run photography contests. A fine, self-taught photographer in her own right, PW enjoys seeing what others can do with different subjects. I’m usually blown away by her readers’ level of talent.

All 26,000-plus of them who enter! Check them out on Flickr: Pioneer Woman Photography Assignments. Oh, and look at Ree’s site for great, well-explained photo tutorials—her most-recent ones were about aperture and shutter speed.

Hope the fern is merely hibernating for now.

This week’s Pioneer Woman contest is all about shallow depth of field. Also known as bokeh. That beautiful blurring of a background caused by using a camera lens wide open (with the f/stop set on the smallest number, e.g., 2.8) when shooting a photo.

Hopefully, spring will revive the dead ferns, which didn’t like early January’s freeze.

When I was taking pix of our front landscaping’s pitiful-looking ferns for Monday’s Photo of the Day, I thought about how much background blurring I do.

We need to get rid of a bunch of acorns!

“Hello, my name is Susan, and I’m a bokeh addict.”

It’s so rare that I close down my aperture (which allows in light) that I usually blur group shots before I remember that I want everyone in focus, not just one person. Gotta use a closed-down aperture/f-stop of around f/11 for those.

Love the reflections! (Nikon 85mm lens; f/1.4)

In her tutorials, the Pioneer Woman wrote about using wide-open apertures for things that don’t move and worrying more about shutter speed for those that do. I agree with that in general, but I almost always leave my lens wide open when I shoot action. Why? For one thing, indoors it’s hard to get a fast-enough shutter speed if the lens isn’t at f/1.8 or f/2. Closing down the lens (letting in less light at, say, f/4) slows the shutter. Slow shutter speed = blurred photos = delete!

Neal tees off during the Ice Bowl disc golf tournament. (Nikon 70-200mm lens; f/2.8)

Outdoors during the day it’s pretty easy to have a fast-enough shutter speed to avoid blurring. But I still like to shoot wide open, because backgrounds can be messy. How would the photo above of Neal teeing off look if all those players behind him were in focus? What would your eye be drawn to?

Alex is about to have his flag pulled. (Nikon 70-200mm lens; f/2.8)

Shooting wide open (low f/stop numbers) allows you to keep the focus where it belongs: On the action in front of you.

The #2 son looks a pass into his hands. (Nikon 70-200mm lens; f/2.8)

Blurring the background lets you forget about what’s going on behind the main scene. That way the photo can be about what’s truly important.

The #1 son’s typical pre-work meal of boneless buffalo wings and rice. (Nikon 50mm lens; f/1.4)

And for me, of course, that’s my #1 priority when the subjects are my sons. Bring on that bokeh!

Leapin’ Lizards!

 

The #2 son is about to catch a pass.

My #1 priority when shooting weekly flag football games is, of course, the #2 son. I enjoy capturing photos of his athleticism. He’s always been an exciting player on offense, and he used to be a top-notch defender who would get his share of interceptions during the season.

 

One of the tough guys the #2 son plays against.

One of the tough guys the #2 son plays against.

But then he started high school this fall and moved to the adult division of our neighborhood flag football league. Suddenly he became, in a word, short. At about 5 feet 5 inches (a growth spurt of seven inches in the last two years), my 14-year-old is too puny to defend against some of the behemoth adults in his division. So he’s mostly stuck rushing the quarterback and trying to harass him into throwing a bad pass that one of our taller guys can try to pick off.

There aren’t a lot of high school kids in the adult division this fall, but there is one team that features all high schoolers. #2’s team played them last Sunday. The following series of photos will show why it’s an advantage to be bigger and stronger than the average ninth- or tenth-grader.

Sam and Omar both jump high for the football.

Sam and Omar both jump high for the football.

The battle for the ball features our guy Sam, a very talented collegian, vs. Omar, who is in high school. Sam is taller and more muscular.

Sam has his hands on the football

Sam has both hands on the football to Omar's one.

The pass was intended for Sam. Our quarterback, old man Matt, likes to throw the ball up high to our tall receivers, figuring that they can out jump their defenders. Or at least he hopes they can!

This is Sam's pass to lose . . . but he won't!

This is Sam's pass to lose . . . but he won't!

Omar had great defensive position on Sam, but he just wasn’t strong enough to come away with the ball.

Omar tries to hold on for dear life!

Omar tries to hold on for dear life!

Sam’s advantage besides height and weight? Had to be those gloves! Look cool, play cool.

Give it up, Omar!

Give it up, Omar!

Sam has won the battle! And his and #2’s team also won the game. It was fun to watch and photograph.

True confession time: I must admit that I didn’t completely concentrate on the #2 son’s team all the time.

Remember the last time I took photos of flag football and showed them here? Well, guess who was on the next field busy distracting me again?!?

#1 reaches over the defender for the pass.

#1 reaches over the defender for the pass.

Yep, there was my old friend, #1. He’s tall and strong, and he showed why it’s smart to throw him the ball in the end zone. He doesn’t have to leap very high to grab it, but he does anyway.

#1 keeps his eye on the prize.

#1 keeps his eye on the prize.

The man can juggle, too!

Touchdown!

Touchdown!

Leapin’ lizards! It definitely pays to be taller and stronger in flag football. As for having a gorgeous body, well, that just means you’ll be pictured in a certain blog a lot!

The Number One Distraction

Skying high to try to catch/intercept a pass

Skying high to try to catch/intercept a pass

Sunday afternoon started out like any other flag football day.

Alex scampers up the field.

Alex scampers up the field.

The #2 son coached his younger-division team.

The #2 son looks the ball into his hands and then runs for a touchdown.

The #2 son looks the ball into his hands and then runs for a touchdown.

And then he played a pair of games on his adult-division team.

Juggling a potential touchdown catch

Juggling a potential touchdown catch

In the first game, there was the usual great action to try to capture. Like juggling the ball . . . .

Touchdown!

Touchdown!

. . . and then catching the almost-elusive touchdown pass in the end zone.

Kellen smiles before the game starts.

Kellen smiles before the game starts.

And just plain looking like you’re having a good time.

But then the second game started.

A great catch before the ball hits the ground

A great catch before the ball hits the ground

A game in which there still were great plays to try to document. Which wasn’t easy because of number one.

Number one

Number one

Yes, “number one” as in the number one shooting distraction of the day for me! Look at his chiseled body! Those arms are a work of art.

Number one looked menacing . . . but he really wasn't.

Number one looked menacing . . . but he really wasn't.

Besides the fact that Mr. Gorgeous Bod looked fantastic, he also towered over a certain 14-year-old kid on the opposing team.

The photographer was faked out on this fake!

The photographer was faked out on this fake!

Number one, meet the #2 son!

During the game, it was hard for me to keep my focus on anyone but #1. I know I was supposed to get good photos of #2’s team, but the distraction was just too much for me.

#1 chases coach Matt.

#1 chases coach Matt.

Now remind me . . . which team is the #2 son on? My focal point seems to have strayed!

All I know is that the next time we face #1’s team, I’m just going to sit and watch and enjoy the show!!

Of Touchdown Passes Missed and Caught

Quarterback Chuck

Quarterback Chuck

This is Chuck, the quarterback for the #2 son’s adult-division flag football team. He’s the one who threw the pass that started the chain of events that my new Nikon D700 and well-used Nikon 70-200mm lens captured last Sunday. At five frames per second. While I was sitting down next to the Mister just past the end zone.

Sidebar: I was being a lazy photographer, because it was hot out, and I was tired. I was frustrated that I couldn’t get any good photos from the sideline, because the bigger players always were blocking me. And, did I already mention, I was tired?

Chuck threw the ball to Jeffrey. And then the football and photographic fun began. Let the photos (and captions) tell the story:

It looks like a sure touchdown as Jeffrey corrals the ball.

It looks like a sure touchdown as Jeffrey corrals the ball.

Oh, oh . . . is this a juggling act?

Oh, oh . . . is this a juggling act?

Was there slippery stuff on the ball?

Was there slippery stuff on the ball?

The touchdown is there for the taking!

The touchdown is there for the taking!

All Jeffrey needs to do is catch the ball and fall down for a touchdown.

All Jeffrey needs to do is catch the ball and fall down for a touchdown.

Nope, he missed it. The ball has gone past his outstretched fingertips.

Nope, he missed it. The ball has gone past his outstretched fingertips.

As it turned out, Jeffrey’s missed touchdown wouldn’t have helped #2’s team win the game. But it was a great effort—he should’ve gotten points just for that!

Of course, the real reason I was at the game snapping away?

After this catch, the #2 son turns and runs for an easy touchdown.

After this catch, the #2 son turns and runs for an easy touchdown.

To capture this touchdown catch by the #2 son!

Flag football: Then and Now

The #2 son takes the handoff from coach/quarterback Matt.

The #2 son takes the handoff from coach/quarterback Matt.

I didn’t just take photos of the younger kids playing flag football last Sunday. You didn’t think that I would forget about my favorite sports subject, the #2 son, did you? My freshman has moved up to the high school/adult division, and he played two games, both wins (yay!).

Kellen skies high to snag the catch.

Kellen K. skies high to snag the catch.

As I was snapping away with my Nikon D300 and Nikon 70-200mm lens and getting used to the change from little bodies (the #2 son-coached fifth-/sixth-grade division team) to big, I was chuckling to myself. Not because #2 always puffs his cheeks out when he plays (although that does amuse me), but because I was thinking back to the spring of 2005.

Coach/quarterback Matt talks.

Coach/quarterback Matt talks.

About four and a half years ago, Matt K. started our neighborhood NFL flag football program, because he played the sport in Houston, and he wanted his three sons to have the same opportunity but closer. That year every team wore Houston Texans jerseys (white on one side, blue on the other), and we all had a great time.

I liked it because it was a beehive of activity at our local Club field (that we can walk to) every Sunday afternoon for seven weeks. Kids from kindergarten through high school and adults had a blast playing flag football for 30 minutes. There were guys and gals of all shapes, sizes, and ethnic groups. It was America at its best! And it still is every fall and every spring in our master-planned community.

Opposing quarterback Shane looks for a receiver.

Opposing quarterback Shane, chased by Kellen, looks for a receiver.

Four and a half years doesn’t seem that long ago, does it? But photos never lie . . . as long as they haven’t been Photoshopped!

The #2 son scoots away from the pursuing Shane.

The #2 son scoots away from the pursuing Shane.

It just so happens that I looked back in my photo archives to contrast how #2, Kellen, and Shane have changed since the program started. Back then all three were so darned cute!

Longer-haired Kellen takes a turn at quarterback.

Longer-haired Kellen takes a turn at quarterback.

Kellen still is playing quarterback, but this time it’s for his high school’s freshman team.

Shane was looking for receivers back in 2005, too!

Shane was looking for receivers back in 2005, too!

Shane also quarterbacks as a freshman, but he’s on his private school’s varsity squad. Yes, back then all three were talented and adorable. But four and a half years later?

Kellen today

Kellen today

Talented and total hunk city!

Odd Segue

Speaking of talented and hunky, happy 59th birthday to the Mister!

Knocking the Photographic Rust Off

The #2 son huddles with the team he coaches.

The #2 son huddles with the team he coaches.

Whew, it feels good to toss that crying towel and turn the lights off on that pity party I threw myself in yesterday’s blog. Let’s get back to something real, something important, something photographic . . . like flag football!

The last time I featured flag football photos was back in the spring. Now it’s the fall season when we’re hoping the temps will drop enough to make it actually feel like football season here in the Houston area. The opening games last Sunday had red-hot action that only added to the 85-degree temps. That meant lots of sweating on the sidelines by a certain photographer, who had lots of photographic rust to knock off her flag football-shooting skills.

Even though I had been shooting high school football with my Nikon D300 and Nikon 70-200mm lens (the combination used here), there’s a big difference between the larger stadium field and huge, padded players vs. the smaller flag football field and younger kids.

Flag football is five on five and often resembles a three-ring circus. You have to focus fast to stop the action, which is hard when you have no idea where the ball is going to be thrown (the running plays are much easier to photograph). I trashed plenty of blurred photos that evening—glad I have lots of games to improve!

Caleb runs for yardage.

Caleb runs for yardage.

The #2 son is coaching the same younger-division team (plus two new players) for the third straight season. This time they’ve moved up to the fifth-/sixth-grade group.

Alex tries to evade a flag-puller.

Alex tries to evade a flag-puller.

The good news about the first game of the season? We found out that the team #2 is coaching is da Bears, the team I grew up with back in Chicago. Easy for me to cheer for the Bears! When the kids were the Titans that first season, I just couldn’t muster one, solitary “Go, Titans!” for them. Ugh!

Cayden stops the ball from reaching Alex.

Cayden stops the ball from reaching Alex.

I’d love to report that our little guys notched a win in their opener. But, sadly, they were outplayed by their opponents, who had some taller, more-capable players. Like Cayden, shown above. Look at how he deftly snatches the pass away from our Alex.

Cayden keeps his eyes on the prize.

Cayden keeps his eyes on the prize.

Here Cayden is tipping the ball to himself for the interception.

Christian makes a catch.

Christian makes a catch.

Even our foes’ little guys shone. Look at Christian about to corral a catch.

Nick throws a bullet pass.

Nick throws a bullet pass.

And then there’s Nick, a multisports star, who, when he wasn’t zipping passes to his receivers, was running all over the field.

Fortunately, just like me, our little guys have more games to improve and knock off the flag football-playing rust. Here’s hoping we’re both successful by the end of the season!

Another Day, Another Bad Awards Ceremony Photo

A very unhappy #2 camper

A very unhappy #2 camper

You’d think I had learned my photographic lesson with Jake’s recent awards ceremony, right? But where’s the fun in that?

Last night was C.J.’s turn to win a couple academic awards—one for three years on the AB honor roll and another for three years of A’s and B’s and three years being commended in math and reading on our evil TAKS test. Who woulda thunk it? Even C.J. figured he probably was going to get a sports award (not that he did)!

But last night also was the weekly disc golf mini at a course that he likes . . . at the very same time. Of course, he wanted to play, but the Meanest Mom in the World thought that while he can play disc golf any old day and twice on Sundays, he’ll only be able to endure his eighth-grade awards night once. Of course, the Mister was very helpful in convincing C.J. what was the right thing to do (where “very” equals “not at all”).

Me: “Don’t you think he should go to the awards night?”

Mister (who also wanted to play disc golf): “Whatever you decide is fine with me.”

Me: “Thanks for making me the bad guy!”

Glad no one else could see what #2 was thinking!

Glad no one else could see what he was thinking!

C.J. reluctantly agreed to go as long as we went out to dinner after. Unlike his big brother, he knew that he should dress nicely, opting for a red polo shirt (red being his favorite color) and khakis.

Sidebar: The pants were the same ones that Jake fit in last year. C.J. is in one of those growing-every-day modes, so I’m glad we have a hand-me-down big brother.

The venue for C.J.’s ceremony was markedly different than Jake’s, and I thought I was prepared for that (as if!). It was in the cafeteria/commons an hour earlier, and there was a row of windows to let in light. Jake’s had been in the very-dark high school auditorium. I thought I’d have enough light for a decent shot at 1250 or 1600 ISO, but I probably should’ve used my Nikon 85mm f/1.4; instead I opted for the Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8. There just wasn’t enough light to stop the action, especially when you’ve got an unhappy camper who’s scurrying across the stage.

Get me outta here!

Get me outta here!

Of course, I knew I’d get my “money” shot outside where I didn’t have to worry about the light. But I did have to worry about getting the grumpenstein to grin. Fortunately, the Mister cajoled C.J. into smiling, so I could snap a winner.

Award-winning #2

Award-winning #2

Maybe I’ll have all this awards ceremony photography figured out by next spring!

And yet another award

They call him "Coach!"

They call him “Coach!”

C.J. did earn an unexpected sports honor: He was selected as a Coach of the Season for spring flag football (there also were two guys, but they co-coach). This is the second season that he has coached a team in the third-/fourth-grade division, and he does it all himself: He has his own snazzy playbook (thanks to mom’s desktop-publishing skills), runs practices, and teaches skills. What I’m proudest of with him is that unlike too many of the dad coaches, he makes sure that every boy on his team gets a chance to catch and run with the ball, no matter his skill level. He’s teaching wonderful life lessons to boys who are only a few years younger than him, who always will remember him for what he’s given them.

C.J. was taught to do this by one of the fairest youth flag football coaches out there: His dad.

Flag Football Action Photography

 

 

Caleb snags a pass.

Caleb snags a pass.

You say you don’t have enough money to buy a digital SLR (interchangeable-lens) camera? Or maybe it’s the time investment in learning how to take great photos that’s making you shy away from pulling the trigger on that big dSLR purchase. But your kid plays sports, and you want to document his or her season as best you can. What’s a point-and-shoot parent to do?

There are a couple solutions. First, you can hire someone like me to take action shots of your child. You get to sit back and enjoy the game, while someone else snaps away. Or  you can use your P&S camera to get the best-possible game photos that you can. No, you probably won’t come away with too many “real” action pix due to the shutter lag and lack of a long zoom. But there are some basic P&S photos that are better than those of your kid just standing there smiling holding a football, soccer ball, or baseball.

Coach Mike and his mighty mite players

Coach Mike and his mighty mite players

Take the above photo, for example. Yes, it helps to have a zoom lens like my Nikon 70-200mm, which is what I use on my Nikon D300 for my outdoor action shots. But it’s fairly easy to take an interesting coach and the players huddle shot with a point and shoot. Just be sure to zoom with your feet and move to where you can get as many faces in the photo as possible without going on the field or court.

Jamison waits his turn.

Jamison waits his turn.

You also can use that P&S camera for good sideline shots of players waiting to get back into the game. Or a coach talking to a player. Just hold the camera steady and try to keep the sun at your back.

Ben wants answers!

Ben wants answers!

That being said, there ain’t nothing like a good dSLR and a fabulous lens for getting the best action photos! These shots all were taken during last Sunday’s flag football games in our community. There usually are five contests going on at once, which makes for lots of messy backgrounds. The best antidote for all that clutter? Bokeh, my friends! That beautiful blurred effect that only fast lenses (usually f/2.8 and faster [smaller number]—think wide-open apertures) can yield. When I’m using my f/2.8 70-200mm lens, as I did for all these photos, I know I’m going to stop the action and blur the background, which makes for the most-appealing photos.

Sidebar: That’s my buddy Ben who looks like he’s asking the question in the above photo. His older twin brothers are the same age as my #2 son. When all three of them played Little League baseball, the Mister and I would see Ben at the games. As regular reader(s) of this blog know from seeing his photo, the Mister is fairly bald, and his remaining hairs are white. This was a conversation I had with Ben several years ago:

Ben: “Where’s your grandpa?”

Me wondering where he’s going with this: “They’re both in heaven, Ben.”

Ben: “No, I’m talking about your grandpa! Where is he today?”

It finally dawned on me that Ben was talking about the Mister! I about busted a gut laughing. It’s true that the Mister is old enough to be #2’s grandfather and certainly looks like it, but it tickled me that Ben thought he was so much older than me. Ben is such a hoot!

The #2 son has the football in his sights.

The #2 son has the football in his sights.

Speaking of the #2 son, he’s a pretty talented flag football player. He’s a decent receiver and is very fast. I really enjoy taking photos of him, especially when I hit the peak of the action, as I did above.

#2 makes the catch and is ready to run up the field.

#2 makes the catch and is ready to run up the field.

I wish my reflexes had been faster on the shutter button to have gotten the next photo where the pass was just going into #2’s hands (as I did with the first photo of Caleb, who plays on the younger-division team that #2 coaches). Can’t win them all, I guess.

I also like when the photos tell a story. In the next set of three pix, the #2 son took the handoff on the first play of the game and ran for a touchdown. 

#2 is on his way.

#2 is on his way.

A little close for comfort for the sideline photographer!

A little close for comfort for the sideline photographer!

On his way to six points!

On his way to six points!

Capture all that action with a point and shoot camera? Hardly possible!

Random Snippets

ice-cream-truckWhile I was watching the #2 son coach his third-/fourth-grade division flag football team Sunday, my senses were assaulted for about 20 minutes by an ice cream truck that had spied a prime opportunity to feed a hungry crowd of athletes. I listened as the chiming tones played a bunch of the usual ice cream truck standards that have been beckoning kids forever: “It’s a Small World,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” “Happy Birthday to You,” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Then it played a song that literally made me smile: “The Theme From Love Story.” Wonder how that got in the rotation! I guess love means never having to say you’re sorry . . . that you can’t buy any ice cream!

Spelling Manor

Spelling Manor

In real estate news

People.com reports that Candy Spelling, Aaron Spelling’s widow, is planning to downsize from a 73,500-square-foot mansion to a “tiny” 17,000-square-foot condo (the same size as an attic in the mansion, which also has three gift-wrapping rooms)!! Candy’s walk-in closet measures 3,500 square feet; that’s bigger than our house!

Any takers, readers?

smaller-houston_astros

Win-win situation
The first pitch has been thrown: Major league baseball has begun! Personally, I have a split set of loyalties: I’m a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan (go ahead, call me a loser; I can take it; I’ve suffered through years of mourning yet another lost season), but I’ve lived in the Houston area since 1985, and I also root for the Astros.

chicago-cubs1

It just so happens that the ’stros’ season opener is against the Cubs. Monday when I turned the game on the TV, I told my family, “Yay, we’re winning! Darn it, we’re losing!” I figured that no matter which team won, I’d be happy. So far the two teams have split the series, with the Cubs taking the opener, and the Astros winning last night in extra innings.

And, no, I am not a Chicago White Sox fan. Anyone who lives or has lived in Chicago understands that! It’s kind of like the University of Texas and Texas A&M rivalry.

Was this the face in the clouds?

Was this the face in the clouds?

How could Jigsaw have been the face?

How could Jigsaw have been the face?

Solving the Mystery

So what face do I see in the clouds in my blog header? When I asked the #1 son, he said, “You mean that Easter Island head? It looks like Jigsaw, the villain in the ‘Saw’ movie.” Really? Could there be any less resemblance?!? Very puzzling answer!

Actually, as Lazy Mom Leslie guessed, it’s good, old honest Abe! He’s in the clouds and along the side of the road in Pearland.

A proud mom moment

Last Friday was a red-letter day in the history of the #2 son: He actually, for the first time ever, put his towel back on the towel rack after taking a shower. Without being nagged. Without being reminded. A moment of silence, please, to mark the occasion. I can almost hear my future daughter-in-law cheering in the distance.

Speaking of #2, after I finished his brother’s résumé, I blazed a trail from his door to his closet. It did take an exhausting 10 minutes!