Monday, September 25, 2017

Father-and-Son Outing: First Cubs Game

I am a huge baseball fan, and a Cubs fan in particular, but I have not gone to a Cubs game with Kai. Until now.

I rarely watch sports on tv anymore, but whenever I do, Kai shows no interest in watching games with me. He is just not a sports fan, and while I would have liked if he shared one of my strong interests, I have come to accept that we are just different, and that's okay.

But it's not just that he has little interest in baseball. Going to Wrigley Field is bit of a hassle having to come in from the suburbs and park a mile or two away. (It was much easier when I was single and lived in the city.) Tickets are hard to come by, not to mention being expensive. Would it be worth it when Kai's behavior could be unpredictable? I still recall when we went to spend an afternoon of watching horse racing at Arlington Park and had to leave after the first race because Kai had had enough.

But the Cubs have been playing well in the second half of this season, and there was a big series against the second place Milwaukee Brewers. The weather was unusually summer-like, and I found out that there were still tickets available for the games to be played in Milwaukee, which is less than an hour and a half from our house in the northern suburbs of Chicago.

We had dogs this weekend and my wife could not leave them for the afternoon, so I asked Kai if he wanted to go to the game with just me. We do most of our outings as a threesome, and Kai loves to have Mom present for everything, so I was a bit surprised when he said that he wanted to go.

So we drove up to Miller Park on a hot Sunday afternoon.

We got to our seats just as the game was starting. It was steaming hot and Kai told me he was distracted from paying attention to the game because it was too hot.

But we sat for a while and got less hot, and then got some big cold drinks and tacos to eat. Sorry, no pictures of the food as the tacos were tasty but very messy to eat.

Anyway, after that, Kai settled in nicely and enjoyed the game.

It was a low scoring game and the most excitement through six innings might have been the traditional sausage race, won this time by Chorizo.

But we had excitement in the 7th inning when Ben Zobrist of the Cubs hit a home run that put the Cubs ahead 3-0. Kai was thrilled!

During the 7th inning stretch, I had him respectfully remove his cap for the singing of God Bless America.

I don't know that Kai completely followed all the little nuances that baseball fans love about the game, but he had fun. He loved looking at the electronic scoreboard that showed fans dancing between innings, and cheered when the Cubs did something well. There is something about a live sporting event that is much more exciting than watching on television. And so, just like the baseball games we saw in Japan in Hiroshima and Yokohama, and the one at Fenway Park two summers ago, Kai had a great time.

When the final out was made, and the Cubs had won 5-0, Kai gave a big cheer and flashed two thumbs up as I took his picture.

That evening, at bedtime, I told him that I was very happy that he went to the game with me and that I had a lot of fun with him. Unprompted, he thanked me for taking him and said he had fun, too. More than Zobrist's home run, or Jose Quintana's shutout, that was the biggest highlight of my day.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


Kai's therapeutic school has a mentor program whereby volunteer mentors take their student out into the community once a week.

For the past several months, Kai's mentor has been Paul, a young man who was working as an intern while finishing up college. The first time they got together, Paul showed Kai how to edit his videos in iMovie, something that Kai loved to learn, but most of the time they go out to do fun things. Paul has taken Kai out to play miniature golf, see movies, and play at arcades, among other things.

Recently we learned that Paul would be starting a full-time job and unable to continue as Kai's mentor. This week, they got together for one last outing, going to a Gameworks amusement arcade. Kai was really excited about going as he loves to play video games and win plush toys.

The morning of their outing, Kai told my wife that he really hoped that he would win a plushie, and if he did, he would name it Paul to remember Paul by.

It sounds like they had a very fun time.

Here's a photo of Kai with Paul, his mentor, and Paul, his new plushie.

We thank Paul (the man) very much for all the time he spent with Kai.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Making an Angry Bird

Kai's latest sewing project was to create an Angry Bird.

He got a little frustrated a time or two, but persevered and kept working on the project.

In addition to sewing all the facial features, this one was a little more complex as he had to add on the beak to the front and tail in back.

It all turned out pretty well.

Love this hobby!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Scenes from Our Weekend

We went to visit Kai's grandparents in Michigan this weekend.

We headed to the beach. The air temperature was only in the low 70s and the water temperature was much colder. In the past, Kai never let that stop him, but on this day even he did not want to go much more than ankle-high into the water.

I think all that swimming in the warm ocean waters of Hawaii softened him up. Ha!

We played a couple of games of rumikub with Papa and Bubbe.

The pancake breakfast sponsored by the local Rotary Club is one of our traditions. Kai had a little bit of pancake with his blueberry sauce.

After the big breakfast, we wanted to take a walk and went out on the pier to the lighthouse.

Later we went to a craft fair where we had shave ice that was very reminiscent of ones we had in Hawaii.

Of course we had to go back to the beach. It was a bit warmer than the day before, but water was just as cold. Still, Kai wanted to get in the water this time.

There was a pretty good surf, also a bit reminiscent of Hawaii. What wasn't like Hawaii was that I was numb from the cold within seconds of being in the water.

Before we left, we had Kai stand back to back with Bubbe. By this photo, it looks like he has grown a lot.

And so went our last summer weekend of the year. It was a good one!

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