Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Eli hates the backstroke, and during meets, he is painfully slow for the last 10M or so. Last week he was only half-way when the other three swimmers finished the heat. This week, however, on his last event of the season, he swam the best backstroke of his career and finished first. His ONLY first place of the season...he was so proud of himself. I think he talked Grandpa Jim's ear off for 15 straight minutes on his ride-home phone call....

Monday, June 27, 2011

Oh My!

Eli's speech still cracks me up daily. You'd think now that he's well beyond baby-talk and even toddler-ese that I would no longer be as amused. But I am. His use of the dramatic element, and his sometimes mis-use of everyday words, just cracks me up!
  • Last week I had a photo shoot for a baby named "Howe" (pronounced 'how'). When I got home, I told the kids. First Eli thought it was neat, because he misheard me and assumed I said, "Pal". Eli told me, "That's cool. It's like he's a friend." I corrected him with the real name and his response was, "Oh MY!", complete with a 'taken-aback' look on his face.
  • This week the kids have been attending a VBS at Maddux's school. Eli has learned a lot about Joseph in recent weeks through his Bible at home and a study in his class at church. (He even got to 'play' Joseph in a mini-reenactment in the Elementary Kids' room a few weeks ago.) Eli thought it would be really cool if they learned more about Joseph in this week's VBS. I told him it would be cool, but unlikely as the theme was "Walk through Nazareth: When Jesus Was A Kid". I tried to explain to Eli that Joseph was Old Testament and Jesus was New Testament, so they weren't walking around at the same time. He said, "Oh...that's cool. I guess this VBS will start on Palm Sunday then?" Love that he's aware of that holiday and that he knows to tie it to Jesus!
  • Speaking of the same VBS, the kids were wondering if they'd be placed in the same group. I told them I didn't know, but they'd find out first thing on Monday. Maddux said that she thought it would be cool if there was a Princess group for her and a Star Wars group for Eli. Eli could not hide his shock and disbelief as he told her, "MADDUX! This camp is about Jesus! He died on the cross! There will be NO princesses or Star Wars there."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Swim Season

What a crazy and fun summer it's been so far! Our days have definitely not been slow, mainly due to hitting the pool first thing every morning for Swim Team practice. Add the once/week Swim Meets to that (lasting at least 4 hours each time) and we are never bored!

Eli started off loving to swim freestyle, but detesting backstroke. That is still the same. He improved both strokes from the first to second meet (shaving 10 full seconds off his 25 Freestyle!), but since then has declined a bit. He is holding about the same for his Freestyle, but his backstroke gets a bit slower each week. It's not that he doesn't try; he practices at swim practice and on his own each day. That is his last event each Meet (around 8:30PM), and he still doesn't love it. This last Meet found him barely using his arms at all the last 10 or so of his race...he was just plain tuckered out. But in general, he loves the practices, he loves the Meets, and he LOVES the 'uniform'.

Speaking of that, the navy blue spandex-type swim shorts are almost never dry. Eli wears them to practice, to the pool for fun, and to all of the Meets. At least once a week I sneak them away to wash them, but even that is a task because they are usually on his person.

My favorite thing so far has been Eli's attitude about swimming. Much like in baseball, he doesn't seem to place too much importance on his ranking or winning. Last week he got a 4th place ribbon for the first time (he'd gotten only 2nd and 3rd before that). He looked at me with a huge smile and said, "Sweet! I've almost got one of every kind now!"

Here is a quick video of the kids jumping off of the diving board and then a clip of Eli's backstroke event from last week.

Maddux is too young to participate, but she loves the meets as well. As many of you could guess, she is out there, chatting it up and cheering on her friends the whole time. She plays with the big girls when they're not swimming, but when they're on the blocks or in the pool, she's standing on the sidelines with Lehr and I, yelling, "Go! Go! Go!", or wishing them luck before they hop in the pool, or giving them a high-five when they pull themselves out at the end. She seriously amazes me more and more each week. The little bit of encouraging, positive, outgoing energy that I exhaust each morning at boot camp (leaving none for my 'real life') absolutely oozes out of her pores. Maddux never fails to congratulate someone or encourage someone. Where she gets it, I don't know, but it's totally who she is.

We find a similar trend when we leave each Meet. Maddux has to say good-bye to everyone, even (and especially) her older friends. Ones she sees occasionally at the pool, ones she knows through Eli, ones she's said 'hello' to only once... Social butterfly, extraordinaire!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Missing Bible Book

I've been trying more than usual to help the kids learn and recite the Bible verses they learn at church lately. Maddux picks them up quickly, and her class usually waters down the wording to a very appropriate length for her age. Eli surprised me by (mostly) remembering and reciting his right away this Sunday. However, when I asked him what the verse was, his response was, "Umm....I think it was Heyward 11?"

That book must be in the New Testament. I'm fairly certain there wasn't any baseball B.C.

In The Driver's Seat

A few weeks ago, Maddux drove home (in the neighborhood) with Daddy. She sat on his lap and he let her believe she was driving the car (even though he had his hand on the bottom of the wheel where she couldn't see). The outcome is hilarious to me. I love her little 'oh no' and 'ohhh!' when she gets nervous.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Budding Actress

Last week found Maddux at CYT camp each morning (Christian Youth Theater). This was a no-brainer to me. Maddux loves to sing, she loves to dance, and she is nothing if not theatrical. So each morning I schlepped her across town, only to rush back and pick Eli up from his swim team practice, just in time to do something quick with the boy before we raced back to our church to pick her up before lunch. Maddux loved every second of it. She got a CD after the first day with her 5 songs; we played it in the car every time we drove anywhere. She sang, she showed us the dances, and she ad libbed where she wanted to. The greatest part for me was her Wednesday night dinner outburst. She spit out 1 Samuel 16:7 like she'd written it herself. Luckily I caught it on my phone's camera.

Friday was the last day and Eli and I were invited to go watch the performance. Maddux sang the songs and swayed with the music, but she was so comfortable up on stage that she kept showing interest in her friends, or in getting Eli's attention, or in just being there and itching her nose. She did raise her shirt at one point (deja vu, anyone?), but I didn't catch it on camera. Check out the first few seconds as all kids are walking to their spots and little miss bull-in-a-china-shop stomp-runs to hers. Classic Maddux.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Maddux was sporting this look most of the weekend; I have to agree with Lehr that this short clip sums her up better than any other moments. Great soundtrack, Daddy...couldn't have picked a better song if I tried...

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Second Swim Meet

This one went much better than last week. Not only did Eli not get a bloody nose, but he was faster and stronger in his events. I got to work as a lane manager this week, so I spent 90% of the time with Eli by my side. (Another GREAT thing about this meet.)

Before the meet, Eli reminded me to draw a few things on his back. Since his team is the Sharks, we discussed drawing one on his skin with a marker. I am not an artist, so I chose to try and print a stencil. Unless I was willing to pay, the only stencils I could find were tiny. No problem: I printed and cut one out and Eli used it as a 'model' to draw from. Five minutes after I gave it to him, he came back to me with a perfect shark, drawn and colored in by my boy. He cut it out and I traced it on his upper back. And when we arrived at the pool, the uniforms had finally arrived, so Eli got to swim in his 'tight baggies'. He was over the moon about this!

Eli only had two events this week: 25 Freestyle and 25 Backstroke. He was very nervous about the backstroke. Not only does he not enjoy that variety, he did not get to compete in it last week, so he's never actually completed a full 25 on his back. Lehr was on camera duty, but he will be pulled from it next week as he taped most kids Eli's age, but then turned the camera off when it was Eli's turn to swim the 25 Freestyle. (DOH!) Eli swam even better than last week too! I haven't been able to compare the times yet, but his pace was consistent and strong.

A few hours later it was Eli's chance to try the Backstroke. I'd never seen him practice this type of 'entry' during his team practices, but he'd been watching the last few heats, and he set up like a pro. Again, no clue what his time was, but he made it all of the way without grabbing the rope or giving up. So proud of that little shark!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Love Those Kids

This week started out rough. We're still in the transition of school being out and all three of us being together all of the time. Until today, each day has been filled with lots of whining and bickering between the two kids. Joy.

Earlier in the week, I threatened that if they couldn't get along, several things would happen. One of which was us cleaning all of the toys out of Eli's room so that we could pull her bed in there. Yup, I made that awesome ultimatum of 'if you can't get along, you'll have to live together'. I'm a rock star, I know. Thankfully, they haven't called my bluff, and they've been much better since.

Today was an AWESOME day, actually. Not only did they not fight (at all, I'm pretty sure!), they really really got along and played together. We ran a few errands and they were nice to each other, we ate meals and they had pleasant conversations, and most of all, while I asked them to play quietly independently for 30 minutes while I edited, they begged me to let them play together. And they did. In harmony. With love. And (gasp) sharing. Eli pulled out a bunch of legos to share with Maddux cuz she only has a handful. Then he GAVE her a green baseboard to have for her use. Thirty full minutes of non-bribed, non-forced sibling awesomeness.

The other day we went to the pool with friends. Eli played with the boys and Maddux played with the girls. At one point, Maddux was trying to learn how to get down to the pool floor to retrieve a dive stick. We went through this last year and I'd shove her back down so she could reach it. But she wasn't picking that up this year; she couldn't seem to figure out how to get her body totally upside down. Eli came over and demonstrated it for her and explained it again. She got it on the first try after that. I praised the heck out of him for being an awesome big brother who just taught his little sister something. Wow.

First Swim Meet

Eli had his first swim meet this Wednesday. We were all sooo excited. Maddux and I set up our chairs to watch while Eli got his assignment. The coach wrote all three of his race numbers (and heats and lanes) on his arm: big time. Lehr was signed up to work on a lane, so he would be back with Eli most of the time and I'd be watching with Mad Dog. She and another younger sister from the neighborhood sat and played SO well the whole meet. It made everything much easier! Eli raced the 25 Freestyle, the 100 Freestyle relay and the 25 Backstroke. He did really well for the first two races; it was amazing to me how well he adapted to the race day atmosphere and madness. Calm, cool and collected. Wow. Unfortunately, right before his last event (Backstroke), he got a bloody nose. The bullpen was a little out of control and another boy's head got pushed into Eli's face. It was a big mess, but it stopped bleeding right away and Eli was fine. He missed his last race, but by the time we got home, all was forgotten.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

My Two Fish

We've been enjoying swim team for two weeks now, but only really enjoying the pool for about one; it was COLD the first week! Since it's warmed up, both kids are having a much better time and learning a lot more. Maddux is still too young for swim team, but she learns so much watching the practices and then hanging out with all of the older kids at the pool the rest of the day.

Eli's strokes are improving, as expected. His back stroke started as a stationary, 'water-treading', back float, but he's got some motion to it now. The newest thing for him is diving. While we started on it last season, and he even 'fell in' the correct way a few times after I spent some knee-sessions with him last August, he never really got it. The other night we were at the pool and Mr. M was helping his daughter with diving off of the blocks. Eli sidled up next to them and got in on the instruction. He must have listened well because the boy is head-first, feet-last, almost every time now. Very cool.

Maddux is swimming right along, mostly dog-paddle-ish, but never tiring. And she loves to jump off of the diving board like all of the older kids. She spends at least as much time talking as she does swimming each day at the pool; I'm often amazed she has enough energy to do both at the same time!