Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Madness Begins

Saturday was time trials for the swim team.  We definitely wanted our kids to do swim team to get water safe. I never learned to swim strokes, and I wish that I were more confident in the water.  So, it is a requirement that the kids swim for a little while.  Rachel is not a big fan (despite being one of the best girls her age on our team), so I had promised her that last year was the last year she had to do it.  But, as the season approached, I wanted her to really think about it.  First off, she has some natural talent for it.  Second, she's going to be at the meets anyway.  But, she wanted none of it.  Until, on the first day of practice, Dave had the kids at the pool.  Matthew fell on the way to his "tryout" for the real team.  To get him in the pool, Dave promised him a treat if he would try hard.  Rachel claimed this was unfair because she didn't have a way to earn a treat.  So, Dave said that she could earn treats for the entire family if she joined the team.  Apparently, that's all it took.  Who knew?  She had regrets the next day, though, as she headed to her first practice.  Ha ha ha - she's committed now.

Saturday was the beginning of this craziness of the summer.  We tend to get into swim team, but it takes every day of the week, except Sunday.  But, we like it.  Last year, the kids started off time trials very strong and struggled to meet those times the rest of the season.  I'm hoping the reverse will be true this season.

Matthew had the very first swim of the day.  I was worried a little about it.  I thought he might be nervous about jumping in the pool.  When I went up to him to wish him luck as he was sitting in the chair , he turned to me and said, "I can beat them."  I cracked up and knew that I no longer had to worry.  He is competitive and will fight hard for what he wants.  As it turned out, he came in the middle of the two 5-year olds on our team in Freestyle.  He was not happy!  But, I'm hoping that just sparks him to try harder.  I see big successes in his future.

Grumpy after coming in 2nd on his freestyle

Zack has a little work to do.  I told him it's good to throw time trials so he can set himself up to win his heats during the actual meets.  We're hoping that he will get legal in breaststroke and/or butterfly this year.  As a 6 and under, he will get plenty of ribbons and awards.  But, his team is hurting for 8 and under boys, so he has the potential to score for the team this year if he can get a little bit faster or legal in the hard strokes.


Goggle face
 Alex definitely has some swimming talent.  He did very well, even though he moved up to swimming 50's as a 9 year old.  I wasn't sure how he would do right out the blocks, but he did great.  He told me early in the meet that breaststroke was his stroke.  I don't know where he got that.  He has done it well, but his form needed a little work last year.  I told him that I thought he had a pretty stroke in freestyle and his butterfly was good, too.  But, he insisted that breaststroke was his stroke.  Well, he was at least right that he is doing well in that stroke.  He surprised me with a much longer stroke this year, and it looked beautiful.  There are plenty of 10-year olds on the team that will score ahead of him, but he should do well this year.
Intense, as always

Rachel did unexpectedly well last year at time trials and the first meet in backstroke.  She swam a great race - super straight with beautifully extended arms.  She was then always seeded in the top heat and had a hard time swimming that fast.  She has such long arms and legs and feet that she can look really pretty when she swims.  I think that she could do really well if she worked on all the little things that make good swimmers into great swimmers.  She did well at the meet.  She was really nervous about having to do a 50m butterfly.   I don't blame her.  That stroke is hard.  But, she went out and fought through that thing without DQing.  I was proud of her because she did not want to do it, but she did well.  I'm hoping that more than doing well this year, she can learn to enjoy it.  I hope she can find a couple friends on the team that help her want to come to practice and the meets.  

I'm going to apologize up front for the number of swim pictures I'll post over the next few weeks.  It really does take over our lives.  

Friday, June 10, 2011

Trip Summary

OK, I have been a slacker on blogging.  Adjusting to regular life was a challenge.  We came back to ridiculously hot temperatures, flower beds that were out of control, a filthy car, an empty refrigerator, swim team, end of school madness, etc.  And, Dave and I are trying to get the most out of his last few days of freedom.  We've had a couple dates, played a little tennis, and did some minor projects.  I'm pretty much just not worrying about getting back on track until Dave goes back to work and school ends.  Then, we can get back to some kind of normalcy.  Right now, I'm just taking it day by day and trying to enjoy things without worrying about tomorrow.

But, that means very little gets done, including the blog.  All 3 of the older kids did a presentation in class about their trip.  Rachel needed to talk about science and social studies so the teachers could grade in those subjects.  Alex and Zack just needed to do something informative.  We spent all weekend working on these projects.  I had the kids put together some charts and numbers about our trip for the class.  These are all interesting, so I'll share here.

First, the map of where we went...

Here are some slides from the presentations:

This slides shows which states we spent the night in.  We just counted that way for an easy way to figure it out.  We hit Ohio both on the way out and the way in.  It was definitely one of the favorite states - a visit with good friends and Cedar Point.  How can you go wrong?

We kept track of where we ate everywhere along the trip.  I counted sandwiches in the car at the National Parks as homemade, even though it hardly seems homemade since we bought it in the morning and then threw them together standing beside the car.  But, that seemed the best category.  I think it kind of threw off our statistics, though.

Of the fast food places we ate at, here are the ones that we ate at more than once.  McDonald's was a big winner due both to it's prevalence and it's breakfast variety.  Chick-fil-A was affected by the lack of restaurants nationwide.  We searched for one often, only to be disappointed.  I really looked forward to eating out on this trip, but I have to say that so many times we were forced to eat somewhere sub-par only because there were no other choices.

Based on asking the whole family, I would say the top places were Ape Cave, Cedar Point, and the parks in Utah.  People ask me, but I can't really pick.  I loved it all.  It was full of so many different things to do.  If you ever get the chance, I totally recommend this kind of trip.