Sunday, October 22, 2017

MEA break and a big fall

I got an extended weekend to hang with the kiddos over MEA break and the weather surely cooperated with our plans. 
We spent day one checking out some fall colors at a nearby lake and they sure didn't disappoint! 
Regan sort of giggles at me these days, saying she can't really understand how I think all of those colors are so pretty....she claims "maybe if they were all red I would agree!" So I found a pretty awesome red one and had to snap their picture. 

The lake is about 2 miles around and we opted to bring along the hooverboards and Lincoln's strider bike for a little exercise. Sidney isn't nearly as comfortable on her board as Regan is. She gets nervous and her muscles work overtime to stay balanced. 

I could've stared at this scenery for hours, but my crew quickly got bored and insisted we keep moving along. So I snapped a mental picture, one that I hope sticks with me through the bitter winter cold that is coming far too quickly. 

Lincoln does amazingly well on this little strider bike of his. He can keep up with those girls with no problem and enjoys himself even more when he has a hill to descend! 

 Part way around the lake is a small waterfall, and the same stunning colors in the background. I perched myself on a ledge as the kids climbed trees and Lincoln tossed rocks into the water. I can't ever remember a previous fall with such amazing weather. 

Sadly, just as we departed the waterfall, Sidney, in her uneasiness on her hooverboard took a pretty hard fall. She screamed in agony and I honestly wasn't sure if she was scared, hurt or seriously injured. Turns out it was the former two causing her tears. She managed to scrape herself real good but thankfully nothing was broken. Lucky for me....I got to pick up that 30 lb hooverboard and carry it the remaining mile and a half around the lake as she promises never to step back on it again. 

"Fall photo shoot"

When we first had Regan, our day care provider was located near a pretty awesome park with the most beautiful fall trees I had ever seen. And ever since Regan was 1 year old, I have brought her (and later her siblings) to the same tree to take an informal "fall photo shoot" picture. All of the kids now know when I announce it's time for the annual fall photo shoot, that I'm referring to this particular tree, in this particular park. Some years we have hit the nail on the head in terms of timing, some years we are too early or too late. 
I love this progression of Regan over the last 11 years, all taken in the same favorite park of mine. 

The colors it produces never get old. And this year was no different. The shades of yellow, red and orange were spectacular! 

I may have to get my own maple tree so I can enjoy those colors more than this one afternoon/year. 

I'm so thankful to have some patient children who amuse me and pose for photo after photo :) 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fall activities

As the fall softball season wrapped up, we jumped two feet into some (new) activities for the remainder of the fall season. And I'm one proud mama to see these kids excel or try new things. Although each of them are only in 1-2 activities at a time, multiply that by 3, and we have ourselves a pretty jam packed week racing kids to/from activities.

I know I've mentioned it before, Regan joined the middle school cross country team this year and has had the time of her life. Contrary to how we thought this was going to play out, she is loving the running and the only complaining we hear is how sore she is. Not once has she whined about practice or tried to weasel out of a run. Her coaches remind us that soreness is a sign of growth, and so she runs on :) Too bad this season has just ended, because I think she would've just kept on running! So for now she will continue dancing several nights/week and see what else she can find to occupy her time. 
Couple of videos from her last meet HERE and HERE

Sidney also has been dancing in several classes/week, in addition to gymnastics. She teetered on not signing up for gymnastics this season, but last week when she found out that she had passed out and will be moving up to the next level, she was on top of the world! I'm pretty sure she was super happy with that original decision to sign up, and of course is begging to stay in for the next season. So she flips on. 
Video of her attached HERE.

And then there's Lincoln, who has turned into a complete fish! At the end of the summer, when he really started swimming well without his life jacket, I knew it was time to get him into formal classes. We headed back to the (unfortunately super expensive, but fortunately really good) swim school and they placed him where they thought he belonged. Our little guy has blown it out of the water with this swimming lesson business. Not only does he pay attention and do as he is instructed, he is good. And I'm not just saying that cuz he's my little boy. No, really, he is a fish! So much that the deck guard plopped down next to me last week and requested we move Lincoln to the next She expects that he may even head up to the level ahead of that when the session is finished! What's even better, he adores this class! Begs to go to "fwimming wessons", even as we're driving away, he's asking when we go back. And he swims on. 
Video of him in action HERE

I'm so proud of these kiddos of ours, watching them grow, engage in something new and participate in these activities. It sure is a lot of work (or, it's a TON of work!), but we do it for them and wouldn't want it any other way! 

Bring your parent to school day

We've all heard the whole "Bring your kid to work day" (which by the way doesn't occur when you work in a hospital), but I was pleased as punch to experience the opposite this year when Regan's school hosted a "Bring your parent to school day"!! How fun is that!? 

Seriously, she was mortified when I signed up, and then begged me to leave at the first class. Which I totally would have done, but when it came down to it, and the first class ended, she was happy to have me there and allowed me to stay the remainder of my time :) 

It really helped put so much into perspective, in terms of understanding what middle school is all about. As we bopped from class to class, I got a quick handle on why she loves her reading teacher, and struggles with the social studies teacher. Their styles are polar opposites. And who wouldn't love someone who dances at the front of class, chants and cheers the boring rote memorization tasks and then at the end of class, has the students shout "tell someone you love them!!" as they prepare to exit the class. It was pure FUN! I loved it too :) 

And now when I help her with the nightly homework routine, I can use the teacher's style to my advantage.
Thanks for letting me tag along Regan!

Party day!

With how busy full life has been for us lately, we ended up doing a combined family birthday party for Sidney and Lincoln. Sometimes it's just the little things, like finding an open weekend, that can prove super challenging!
This sums up what our calendar looks like right now....

We found a Saturday that happened to land pretty much between the two kids' actual birthdays and it just made the most sense for everyone to combine the two. These two were easy peasy when it came to picking out decorations and themes as well (whew!). One wanted ORANGE everything, the other didn't care at all :) Made my life so much easier. Lincoln and I ventured to the party store and picked out an assortment of orange and pink items and viola, we had ourselves decorations for a dual birthday party!

The weather cooperated with us in a big way too. Despite the rainy dreary morning, the sun peaked out around party time, dried up all the rain and made for a great day to play outside. I was beyond thrilled that all those kiddos could run off some energy (and cake and treats) OUTSIDE!
 Too bad Regan missed out on this picture :( 

We are so thankful to everyone who came and helped celebrate these two munchkins of ours. Where has the time gone?!

Happiest of birthdays to our two littles! 

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Sidney's birthday party day

We had to hold off a bit for Sidney's friend birthday party because of all the softball hoopla around here lately, but I think she will agree, it was well worth the wait! Once she finally decided on a party location, she choose some awesome friends to join her, and we got to spend the day rock climbing! How fun does that sound?! I'm so glad that she surrounds herself with some pretty great friends who seemed to have just as much fun as her at the party :) 

Let's take a closer look at that big huge smile! 

Her little arms were exhausted after all of that climbing. But it never got old for me to watch her pull herself up, wall after wall, one rung at a time. 

Regan was lucky enough that Sidney let her join the party (let's be real, I was hoping she would help me out a little too!). Turns out, she's a real climber herself! Scaling those walls like it's no one's business. 

They even got to do a little bouldering (climbing without harnesses), which seemingly was more exhausting than with a belay! 

Isn't this group of girls just the cutest?! We had a great afternoon of games, climbing and of course, cake! 

Happy birthday (party day) Sidney! 

Fall ball wrap up

We spent a couple of months in early fall enjoying more fastpitch. Everyone knows it's no secret that fastpitch ball is my favorite sport to watch. I adored this season as much as I had previous ones, and was honestly sad to see it end.

Our girls love to play ball, and us parents love to cheer them on. I'm not going to lie, it's not all roses, especially when the girls started school and we had ball 4 nights/week coupled with the start of dance and gymnastics along with Regan's new sport of cross country. We were exhausted. And then top each night off with homework! Yea, it's not all rosy. But we all still had so much fun!

Watching Sidney get her chance on the mound, after a full year of clinics, private lessons and practice (trust me, she needs a lot more practice), was so worth it all. The smile on her face to just get a chance.

Each Sunday afternoon, we would "divide and conquer", load up the family in separate vehicles and head to ball fields often on opposite ends of the metro (sometimes hours away from each other). Ryan helped coach Sidney's team so he was teamed up with her while Lincoln and I got to follow Regan and her team. Sometimes it worked out where we got to see the opposite kiddo play in addition, and that meant upwards of 5+ hours at the fields. Even Lincoln didn't seem to mind, finding buddies to hang with, electronics to stare at, and sometimes even made friends with the "umpirate" (aka: umpire). 

Midway through the season, I got smart and tossed his Strider bike in the trunk along with Regan's catchers bag. He would spend the entire double header, pacing up and down and around the field. Big point for mama! It meant I could concentrate on cheering, doing the book and even helping out on the bench. 

Eventually it was time for the season to wrap up. Sidney's team had an amazing record, which meant that (unfortunately) they were placed in Tier 1 and sadly ended up losing out pretty quickly. Regan on the other hand, had a terrible record, putting them in one of the lower state Tiers and they ended up playing their hearts out in 4 games before losing out. So very proud of them. It was HOT, and they never gave up. Regan was a stinky mess by the end of the day, her shirt filled with dirt and sweat from all that catching gear. But she was smiling and so proud of herself :) We sure were too. 

Now on to some clinics and practicing in the off-season before we start back up again in 6 months!! 

Cross Country inaugural season

There's a new sport popping up on our calendars these days...Regan is trying her hand (errr, legs) at cross country. And she's doing one heck of a job! We are beyond proud of her and how much she has already grown, and it's only mid-season! The first few practices she would climb into my car and talk about their runs, how they spent a lot of time stretching and proceed to tell me how sore she was! Those pains are good her coaches tell her (and us), they are a sign of growth. So she marches on, this middle schooler of ours.

Let's back up a moment. When Regan announced at the end of summer that she wanted to run cross country (it's the only school sponsored fall sport for her age and I could tell that she really wanted to play a school-sanctioned sport), Ryan looked at me and blurted out the first thing that came to mind: "she's going to hate it!". Ha!!

Boy has she proved him wrong. She not only likes to run, and she's not nearly as slow as we made her out to be! A couple of years back, while she would steal second base in the middle of a softball game, I could be heard yelling "fire breathing dragons are chasing you!" in hopes it would speed her up a didn't work.  She comes in middle to front end of the pack at her meets. She's thriving and we are so excited for her. Yes, her legs are sore, yes, she gets super tired at the end of many days; but she's doing so well and I'm proud of her for trying something new. She runs hard and when she catches a glimpse of our faces cheering her on at a meet, she runs even faster: "finish hard Regan!"