FOF Observation #25

The "FOF Observations" are a series of "Perpetual Posts" where I will share with you, my readers, short little observations that I have made (or will be making) on being the father of a large family. You will be able to access each of the posts in a cohesive list by clicking on the "FOF Observations" link in the "Perpetual Posts" group on the sidebar.

Lemonade stand delivery!


So, I am in the garage working on cutting drywall for our shower repair project when the three little neighborhood girls from down the block (who have a lemonade stand set up) brought the stand to me!!

How could I resist??

I bought TWO!!

A Daddy’s Broken Heart

Apparently, some time yesterday #4 of 5 (my 12 year old daughter) was playing with my iPod.  This is not unusual, and is something I generally allow my children to do.

Later in the afternoon, I had run some errands.  I arrived home just in time for the evening chaos to begin.  It was time for the boys to attend their Boy Scout Meeting and #4 of 5 to head off to her softball game.  The Mother of Five and #4 of 5 had only a brief moment where we crossed paths before they headed out and I headed in to prepare for the Boy Scout meeting.  Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

I gathered up my scouting materials, and went looking for my iPod.  (I utilize a specialized calendar application on my iPod to keep track of my schedule, and other various family functions.  My iPod has replaced my Palm Pilot.)    It was odd that my iPod was not where I left it, but remember, it’s not unusual for the kids to play with it from time to time – so after a short search I located the iPod and headed out for the scout meeting never giving it a second thought. 

ipod-disabled It was during the meeting that I needed to do some scheduling when I awoke my iPod and was faced with something I have never seen on my iPod before. 

Somehow a password was entered.  I tried a couple of attempts at figuring it out and was quickly faced with the bad news.

Immediately I suspected that I was the victim of a practical joke and had a couple of specific “suspects” in mind (#2 and #3 of 5)

After the meeting, I interrogated, questioned, asked the first of my two suspects who said he did not know anything about it, but had seen #4 of 5 playing with my iPod earlier that day. 

Now I started to get a little worried.  If this was done accidentally – what would that mean?  Was my iPod (and all it’s important information locked within) be dead to me?  I waited until I knew the softball game was over and that the Mother of Five and #4 of 5 would be on their way home when I called them.  I told The Mother of Five what had happened and she told me that someone would like to speak to me and handed the phone over to #4 of 5

I heard the tale of how (while playing with the iPod) she somehow managed to set a password (she didn’t know how she did it, or what the password was). 

I gently (no exaggeration) told her that by doing so, she may have made my iPod unusable, and that I would talk to her about it when she got home.

After disconnecting from them, I did some quick internet searches and made a telephone call to Apple support.  I was on hold with Apple when The Mother of Five and #4 of 5 arrived home.

A few minutes later, #4 of 5 very slowly made her way downstairs to where I was.  In what could only be described as a little tiny mouse-like voice she managed to squeak out an “I’m sorry daddy” before she completely broke down, grabbed on to me, and began sobbing.

Her crying was breaking my heart!

I hugged her back, and told her that I was trying to fix the iPod.  I told her I thought it was repairable, and for the time being not to worry about it.  Through her tears we talked about NEVER being afraid to tell her daddy ANYTHING.  No matter how big and bad it seemed.  I reminded her that she is more important to me than any iPod, or any “thing” for that matter.  While she continued crying, I could sense that her tears of fear and trepidation somehow changed into tears of relief.

We talked a little more, and I calmed her down to the point that she was whimpering more than crying.  I told her (since she just came home from softball) to take a nice cool bath or shower to clean up and calm herself down. 

She went upstairs, and the Mother of Five came downstairs.  That’s where I heard the rest of the story. 

While playing with the iPod earlier in the day she somehow managed to install a password that she did not know or remember.  She tried numerous times to unlock the iPod, but after a number of failed attempts, the iPod disabled itself.

She was so worried about having ruined the iPod and angering me that she had hidden in her bedroom for a couple of hours (crying) before having to leave for softball.  Then, when I did not get home in time to talk to me about it, she left for softball still in anguish over the iPod.  She broke down crying at least three more times during the game because of the iPod and then again after I talked to her on the phone. 

My little girl had spent the better part of the day, in her room, crying, scared that she ruined my iPod, too terrified about I was going to react to come to me and ask for help.  She was devastated. 

When I heard about this, my already broken heart was decimated. 

While she was upstairs bathing, the Apple customer service walked me through resetting my iPod.  By the time #4 of 5 was done cleaning up and came back downstairs I was able to show her the progress that had been made.  The iPod was restored to “factory settings” and I was in the process of restoring my original settings from a backup I had made just two days previous.

In other words, everything was going to be ok. 

I cannot begin to imagine how devastating it would have been had I lost my temper, or yelled or screamed at my daughter while she was so vulnerable.  I truly thank God that (at least for this instance) he gave me the patience to remain calm, and the opportunity to show my daughter that things WILL be ok if she comes to me (or her mother) with honesty and openness – no matter how bad she thinks things are.  I was given the chance not just to say, but to actually PROVE to her that NOTHING in this world is more important to me than she is / my children are.  

When it was all said and done, I got another great big hug from my daughter.  This time, instead of fear, trepidation, and tears, it was filled with happiness, trust, and smiles. 

We both went to bed relieved and happy.  I could not ask for anything better! 

2012 Trap Shooting Tournament

So, as I previously mentioned, I had not posted anything about this year’s High School Trap Shooting season until a couple of days ago when I posted about #3 of 5’s team taking FIRST PLACE in their conference!!

In that post I eluded to the fact that I would dedicate my blogging about the season to the coverage of this seasons 2012 Minnesota State High School Trap Shooting Tournament

Last year’s Tournament was held at the Minneapolis Gun Club.  They did a really nice job hosting it, but the explosive growth of the sport required a different venue.

In 2008 the league consisted of 3 teams.
In 2009 the league consisted of 6 teams.
In 2010 the league consisted of 13 teams.
In 2011 the league consisted of 29 teams.
In 2012 the league consisted of 57 teams!

So this year’s Tournament was going to be held at the Alexandria Shooting Park in Alexandria Minnesota (If my memory serves me right, we were told it is the largest trap range in the state of Minnesota).  With over 900 shooters from 57 teams registered, Alexandria Shooting Park’s NINTEEN trap fields, and available RV parking made it became obvious choice!

I was completely amazed by the size of the park!  During the tournament I took my GPS out and measured the sidewalk from the first trap to the last trap.  The trap field is a whopping .41 miles from one end to the other.  It took me over seven minutes to walk from one end to the other! 

If you are interested, at the bottom of this post you will find a link to the GPS data overlaid onto an interactive map (, and a video I shot of my walk from one end to the other…

The Alexandria Shooting Park Trap Field 

Since we do not really take “vacations”, the Mother of Five and I made the necessary arrangements (vacation requests, hotel reservations, and pre-planning) to make a mini-vacation out of the weekend.

The Tournament was held on Saturday June 9th and 10th.  We left on Friday the 8th and took the scenic trip to Alexandria.  Once there we checked into the hotel and waited for a couple of other team families we knew were attending to arrive for some “fun”. 

The final week of shooting with the team (prior to the State Tournament) was called a “state tournament warm up” shoot.  Since the regular season was already complete, the final team shoot was about relaxing and having fun.  Family members were invited to shoot along with their sons/daughters.  Actually, I was pretty stoked about shooting with #3 of 5 – since I have not done any trap shooting for DOZENS of years! 

The first two rounds of trap I shot (at the “warm up” shoot) was a 19/25 and a 17/25.  It was a TON of fun!!  I was expecting a score in the 10-12 range, so in addition to the fun, I had the added surprise bonus of pretty decent scores! 

After the “warm up” shoot, a number of dads (myself included) thought it would be fun to shoot with our sons on the Friday afternoon before the state tournament in order to get our kids a feel for the different venue. 

I did my best to line up four father/son teams, but due to some bad timing I ended up shooting with #3 of 5, and one of the assistant coach’s son.  Shooting along side #3 of 5 made me very happy!  It was one of the best afternoons I have had in a long time!  We got to hang out and visit, talk trap shooting and life in general, and shoot together!  What more can a feller like me ask for??!?! 

Oh yeah…  As a bit of frosting on the cake I shot a 19/25 and then a 24/25!!  I shot a perfect sore all the way up to #23.  Once I realized a “perfect score” was just a few shots away I think I really started psyching myself out and missed that 23rd shot…  Arrrrrgghhh!!! 

Once we finished up our warm up shooting, we headed back to the hotel and met the rest of the family for some dinner and then a swim in the pool to help cool off!  (This was the hottest weekend of the year so far – the pool felt GREAT!)

Soon, it was time to get some rest and get ready for the big tournament in the morning!

On the morning of the tournament we headed out to the shooting park and located Coach Jeff Will’s RV where he was gathering the team for a pre-tournament meeting and instructions.  The kids were all given their squading (the groups of 5 that shoot together) and a few complementary gifts given out by tournament sponsors.  (photos below)

(All photos are clickable for larger versions – and have commentary available if you hover your cursor over them)

Team Prep  Gathering for the Opening Ceremony

Once the teams were prepped and the time came for Opening Ceremonies.  The Director of the Minnesota State High School Trap Shooting League (Jim Sable – seen in the left photo below) addressed the teams.  This was followed by the singing of the National Anthem while three members of the United States Marine Corps (in full class A uniforms) held a flag ceremony.

Director Jim Sable addressing the shooters  USMC - Class A Flag Ceremony

After the opening ceremony, the teams were directed to their traps, where family and friends set up to watch the day’s events - and the shooting quickly began.

Jordan JV Squads shooting in Trap Field 4B  Friends, family and team mates gathering to watch and support their shooters! 

The first squads to shoot was the Novice shooters.  Each Novice Squad shot two rounds. 

Once the Novice squads shot it was time for the JV (Junior Varsity) shooters.  #3 of 5 qualified as a JV shooter this year.  Each of the three JV squads shot two rounds. 

Left photo – Head Coach Jeff Will (far right of the photo) and Assistant Coach Tim Will (far left of the photo) gave the squads some last minute pointers.

Right photo - #3 of 5’s squad up on the line.  #3 of 5 is on position two (second from the left).

Jordan Coach Will and Jordan Coach Will giving the shooters some last minute pointers! On the Trap line!

Photos below - Various shots of #3 of 5 shooting and then returning to the staging area after his rounds.  If you look close enough in the top left photo – you can see the smoke from the muzzle of his gun and then a blur of the shot after leaving the barrel (a little further left).

#3 of 5 - check out the blur on the left side of the sky!  This photo captured the shot pellets leaving the muzzle of the gun!  #3 of 5 Trap shooting #3 of 5 Trap shooting #3 of 5 returning to the staging area.

A complementary lunch was provided to the shooters by the local chapter of the 4-H, so after his first two rounds of shooting, #3 of 5 went get lunch.  I knew the line was going to be very long so I went with him to keep him company.  It took us almost an hour to make our way through the line!  It was fun hanging with #3 of 5 while we waited, and it was while we were waiting in line that we were first noticed something very interesting.  (Something we later discovered to be a Sweets Kendamas – more on that down below.)     

Top Left – Having made it through 3/4 of the line, we were now getting close!
Top Right – Another view from the line, this one of the RV parking area.
Bottom Left – Team Jordan’s shuttle from the shooting area back to the Coach’s RV and staging area.
Bottom Right – We finally made it!!

LONG lunch line! Overview of the RV park Team Jordan's shuttle Finally!!  FOOD!!   

After lunch, the Novice squad each shot one more round (for a total of three rounds / 75 shots each), followed by each of the JV squads shooting another two rounds (for a total of four rounds / 100 shots each)

You can see #3 of 5 again staging at station 2 (second from the left) as his shooting began.  Be sure to check out each of these photos – showing the clays in flight…  You can see the blaze orange “UFO’s” flying and #3 of 5 moments from destroying them!   

Each photo in this post should be “clickable” for a larger version.

#3 of 5 Trap shooting #3 of 5 Trap shooting

 #3 of 5 Trap shooting  #3 of 5 Trap shooting

 #3 of 5 Trap shooting #3 of 5 Trap shooting #3 of 5 Trap shooting #3 of 5 returning to the staging area


When it was all said and done, the shooters returned to the team staging area and the squads / teams got some photos in. 

Top left photo - #3 of 5’s squad.  (#3 of 5 is the left most shooter). 
Top right photo - #3 of 5’s squad with Coach Jeff Will standing to the left of #3 of 5
Bottom left photo – MOST of the JV shooters (a couple were missing) – the left most shooter in this photo just so happens to be #2 of 5’s very good friend – and I am happy to say that on his fourth round he shot a PERFECT 25!!  Way to go! 
Bottom right – State Tournament logo on a shirt each of the students received.

#3 of 5's squad #3 of 5's squad with Head Coach Jeff Will The Jordan Junior Varsity Trap Shooting Team State Tournament logo on the tee shirt!

#3 of 5 ended the Tournament with a 22/25, 22/25, 19/25, and 16/25. 
Final Score 79/100. 
Tournament average 19.75

This placed him ranked 113 out of a field of 333 shooters.  The highest score in the JV division was a 93.  Here is a little break down of the score and then the number of shooters with that score.  93-1, 91-4, 90-8, 89-5, 88-2, 87-5, 86-6, 85-11, 84-5, 83-18, 82-12, 81-15, 80-15, 79-11.  There were quite a few more, but I got too lazy to count past #3 of 5’s score…   

Novice and Junior Varsity did their shooting on Saturday, and the Varsity teams shot on Sunday.  So, once #3 of 5 was done shooting for the day it was time to head back to the hotel.  We had time to clean up and allowed #3 of 5 to choose our “dining adventure” for the night.  He choose “China Buffet”. 

After dinner we headed back to the Shooting Park Clubhouse where some entertainment was scheduled.  The opening act was a member of the Sweets Kendamas team.  What is a Sweets Kendams you ask?? 

Kendamas is a handheld game/trick of skill (think Yo-yos, diablos, juggling, etc) with a little hammer with cups and a spike and a ball attached via string.  Sweets Kendamas is a local Kendama business.  Be sure to Check out some of their videos

After the Sweets Kendamas guy finished wowing us with his tricks, comedian Cy Amundson took the stage.  Cy did a really GREAT job – keeping the comedy family friendly and getting everyone laughing.

We did not attend the Varsity Shooting afternoon, choosing instead to let the kids finish out the trip swimming in the pool before we had to check out of the hotel and head home.

There is one last event still planned for the 2012 season – the annual season wrap up picnic.  That is later this week.  I was unable to attend last year’s picnic – so this will be a first for me!  I’m really looking forward to attending this year’s picnic!

Before I end this post – I really want to acknowledge and thank the three Jordan High School Trap Shooting Team coaches!  Head Coach Jeff Will, Assistant Coach Tim Will, and Assistant Coach Lance Schmitt.  These guys really put a lot of time and effort into the team and each of our young shooters – and I for one am very grateful and appreciative of it!        

As promised here are some of this post’s “BONUS FEATURES” – the EveryTrail GPS data overlaid on a satellite photo of the Alexandra Shooting Park, followed by a low quality (cel phone) video of me taking the walk.  I had the GPS in one hand and the cel phone video camera in the other.  This may help you grasp just how HUGE the Alexandria Shooting Park really is!


Minnesota State High School Trap Shooting Tournament

Call Me Samson!

You know, Samson - who believed he was given unusual strength and that he would loose his strength with the loss of his hair.  I have often wondered if my goatee has been providing me some extraordinary talents (talents that I have seemingly not yet discovered).

As best as I can tell, it’s been over fifteen years…

Tonight, as I was running around doing errands while the Mother of Five had the kids at #4 of 5’s softball game I had a WILD idea…  Something I have not done in over FIFTEEN YEARS!!     524984_4064965142454_86325106_n

Left:  Before
Right:  After

Yup!  I shaved my WHOLE face for the first time in fifteen years!  I have NO idea what made me think of it.  The thought hit me, and within a moment I was seriously considering it.

It would certainly be strange.  My kids have either have never seen me without my goatee or if they did, they would have been too young to remember having seen me without it. 

I told myself that when I got home from my errands, if no one was home, I would do the deed.  Sure enough, when I opened the garage door there was no van inside.  Since no one was home yet, I set to accomplishing my chosen deed.  Once I finished I had a few minutes to adjust to the unusual feeling of having a smooth face before the rest of the family arrived home.

The first person to come down and see me was the Mother of Five who IMMEDIATLY noticed it.  Next #5 of 5 came down and while she said I looked different, she could not specifically say WHAT was different.  (I told her that I got a hair cut, which seemed to satisfy her realization that SOMETHING was different.)  Then, #4 of 5 came down.  She gave me an odd look, angled her head slightly while looking at me oddly…  Then, when I told her I cut my hair, she figured it out!  #3 of 5 also could not help but chuckle when he saw it. 

Everyone had a good laugh about my metamorphosis.  The girls said I looked either cartoonish, kid-faced, or if they put their hand up in the air and blocked their view of my hair (looking at me from my eyes down) said I looked like a old man… 

Not sure how long this will last, but at least I gave it a try, right?? 

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