Saturday, July 28, 2012

WinShape Camp

Eli just finished an amazing and exhausting week. For five days he attended WinShape camp at a nearby church from 8AM-5PM each day. Yes: nine hours. Insane, right? As insanely fatigued as he was each night, he had a blast. He and his best friend both attended and ended up in two of the same 'skill' classes each day. Eli's choices were archery, whiffle ball and music. Inbetween those 'skill classes', they had worship, small group time, lunch, snack, games, water fun...need I go on?

Yesterday Maddux and I got to go experience camp for a half day with Eli; now she is very excited for next year when she'll be old enough to attend! I was so impressed with the camp and how it ran so smoothly, even though there was SO much going on. And with everything there was prayer and such amazing teaching. Eli is not a big one to talk about what he learned each day, at school or otherwise, but through a few conversations with him this week, it was obvious that he took a lot away from this experience.

Below are two quick videos. One is of the boys doing their 'flash mob' that they surprised us with today. I was SHOCKED that Eli jumped out there and started dancing...very unlike him. The other is of his music class...they wrote lyrics to a song put to the tune of a current pop song. Love it!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Maddux, The Dogsitter

Maddux has been working quite a bit this summer. We are very fortunate to have a few neighbors with dogs that are happy to 'share'. When we go to the store or bagel shop, Maddux often asks if we can buy treats or toys for her two shared' dogs because they are never far from her mind. One of those dogs lives with a family that traveled three times over the summer, allowing Maddux to be the primary caregiver for anywhere from three days to a whole week each time. She LOVED this. While this dog didn't need to be fed or let out more than a few times each day, Maddux would climb over the fence (to play with her, pet her, talk to her, etc.) as many times as we'd let her, which usually ended up being about five times. She loves that dog and receives much love in return. My favorite part about the whole experience this summer has been how Maddux leaves the dog each time. It's not enough to get her back into her house; Maddux walks her over to her big pillow 'bed' and coaxes her there to take a nap before closing the door, all of the while promising she'll be back soon.

Glimpses of Love

I've mentioned before some frustration Lehr and I have had over Eli's seeming ambivalence towards his sister and in response to her never ending acts of kindness for him. He has come very far in this department, but we still pray that one day he'll be more spontaneous in his love for her, rather than being prompted by us.

Today, in a span of less than four hours I witnessed two awesome displays, both originating 100% from Eli (no guidance or initiation from me).
  1. While at Eli's camp 'show and tell' day, Eli's group was playing a game of whiffle ball. Maddux mentioned she wanted to have a chance at bat, but she was being pretty shy about it and standing back with me. Eli overheard this and made sure that she got a chance to bat before anyone else batted twice. That meant he had to stop his best friend from taking a turn, and I saw him standing up to the other kids quite assertively, reminding them, "It's my sister's turn now - step back." Seeing him sticking up for her so passionately was awesome because it's something that we have never (and I DO mean never) seen him do around other kids, let alone his friends. 
  2. As the kids were playing outside, I told them it was time to come in. Eli obeyed right away while Maddux chose to ignore me and play outside for close to five minutes longer. As Eli and I were inside waiting for her, the skies opened and poured rain. Eli ran upstairs. Maddux ran towards the house, hysterical. (Yes, I was chuckling to myself...gotta love those natural consequences.) Eli returned before Maddux made it into the house (she was a ways away); in his hands he had a dry set of clothing. He told me, "She's going to need some dry stuff to change into." After I picked my jaw up off of the floor, I thanked him and praised him and he returned upstairs to play legos. This is absolutely something Maddux would do for Eli, but I would have never imagined him to think of it, let alone go into her room and choose an outfit for her as she disobeyed. (Remember, he is a rule-keeper, so it really bothers him when people disobey or don't follow the rules.)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tri Training with Eli

So we're a week into training, and so far-so good. Eli ran at the YMCA training this weekend - just about 10 minutes worth, broken up with a few rests, but that's most likely the longest he'd have to run during the race anyway. This last week he and I trained together during the day: he swam over 200M a few times (broken up into two sections) and he's biked 15-40 minutes three times. This weekend he even did his first 'brick': ran in the morning and then got on his bike for a half hour when we got home.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Eli is signed up for his first Triathlon. About a week ago I saw a flyer for a kids' Triathlon in the area, and the next day I saw that our YMCA was offering a few 'training' sessions for the event. I offered it up to Eli and he totally jumped on board. The distances are very short and well within the reality of his ability: swim 100M, bike 3 miles, and run 1/2 mile. He could honestly do all of that today, so I'm hoping it is a very enjoyable experience for him.

Monday, July 09, 2012

County Swim Meet

Sunday afternoon, Eli competed in his first County Swim Meet. As I've posted before, Eli had a great swim season this summer. He rose to the top of his team (in his age category), and he fared well in his races against other teams each week. When we finished out the season, his coach asked if he wanted to compete at the county level. I was surprised he wanted to, given that only a handful of kids from our team would be attending. In fact, Eli was the only participating swimmer under 9 years old from our neighborhood team.

Touch pads, high diving blocks and all, Eli decided to compete in the 25Freestyle and Backstroke. We did not expect Eli to place, but we knew he could improve his times, so that's what we emphasized. Eli improved his freestyle time by over 1/2 second, which we expected. His backstroke (which we didn't focus or work on this season) improved over 4 1/2 seconds and he upped his county ranking from 29th to 21st.

Eli's 25M Freestyle:
25.21" (17th of 41)

Eli's 25M Backstroke:
31.03" (21st of 30)

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Tinker Belle Camp

What a many camps and other things the kids wanted to enjoy! "Tinker-Belle" camp is one that Maddux begged for. I resisted until just about a week ago, mainly because I feel like our summer has been so fun but so busy... In the end, I gave in and let her attend this fun ballet camp with her ballet teacher from last year.

Each morning the girls worked hard on props and dances, and on Friday we all got to come and enjoy the show they put on. The theme was "Rio", and Maddux adored the music. She and her friends even made popcorn for us to eat while we watched! (Warning: this video is the full performance...very long unless you are a die-hard Mad Dog fan.)

Friday, July 06, 2012

Rain Party

We celebrated Maddux's fifth birthday on the actual date, as usual. We planned to meet a few family friends at the pool for dinner and cake and lots and lots of pool play. Given the date, a few of our friends were out of town, but there were still plenty of 'yes' responses. At the last minute two of the 'yes' families had to back out due to sickness, but there was STILL 6 or 7 kid friends (and at least as many adult friends) to help Maddux blow out the candles. We arrived at the pool around 4:30, eyeing the storms in the distance. The kids got to swim for about 30 minutes before the thunder started. Not a problem: we went straight to the cake and food. Lehr and I made Maddux a rainbow cake that didn't show it's colors until you cut into it. The kids loved it (even though Maddux didn't like the green and yellow cake taste, despite the fact that all colors were the same flavor). The storms kept overhead, so we pulled out the crafts Maddux and I picked out earlier in the week. I brought them just in case the kids got bored with swimming...thank goodness! All of the kids made at least one foam visor covered in sea animals. Maddux had a great time and we all made it home without a drop of rain on us!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

High Five

Even though I swear up and down that I put bricks on your head each night while you sleep, you still keep getting bigger and older, Maddux. I officially call a 'time-out'.

Over breakfast yesterday you told me, "I can't believe I'm going to be FIVE years old tomorrow!" Well, that made two of us. The short journey that has been your life so far has absolutely flown by, much to my dismay. I'll try to recount this last year of your awesomeness now, so that I never forget.

Your fifth year started with a girls weekend: your dad and brother went to Florida to see the shuttle launch and you and I did 'girly' things like paint our nails and go to dinner. I'm not very good at girly things, but you keep teaching me that I may one day be a better representation. When we flew out west to visit my side of the family later last summer, you had a much better 'girl time' with Grandma Cathie and your cousin, Eden. I think that needs to be a more regular occurance than once every few years.

This year was your last preschool year; next year you will attend the elementary school with your brother. Big stuff. You had a great time attending Pre-K four days/week, learning about computers, spelling, 'monkey math', music, and many other subjects. Your class had many other 'alphas', so we struggled at times with self-control and first-time obediance, but at the end of the day, you were still a positive force in the classroom.

Softball, ballet and swimming were the sports you chose this year. You have yet to find one thing that you are truely passionate about, but that doesn't stop you from wanting to try everything, and enjoying every step along the way. You were too young to participate in my favorite obstacle/trail race this year, but you ran alongside of Eli and I, showing more determination for it than he did. I look very forward to future races with you, Mad Dog.

Another special trip you took was with your Daddy: the two of you went to Florida to celebrate Nana's 90th birthday. She was so excited to have you stay with her that weekend, and you proved to be great 90th birthday party entertainment. You went to the pool, the beach, and ate plenty of Drumsticks and birthday cake.

You continue to make friends everywhere you go, especially with older kids. Their age and/or size does not intimidate you in the slightest. I am constantly in awe of your social ease and confidence! It has earned you popularity everywhere we go. I have no doubt that when you start school this year, your name will be known by many 'upperclassmen'; you will be the name that someone mentions and everyone says, "Oh, I know her."

Right after the holidays, we took a trip to Disneyworld. One of the main reasons we chose to do that this year was your love for all things Princess. We surprised you with breakfast in Cinderella's castle, and you spent the morning seeing and talking to most of your favorite ladies of Disney.

You and I recently took our first girls weekend away; the two of us flew out west to visit your newest cousins, Boden and Ava. The trip was for the purpose of me helping with the babies, so even though we traveled together, you spent the bulk of time with Grandma Cathie. You handled it like a rock star, not getting 'homesick' or scared at all. As expected, you just rolled with the punches even though there was lots of car travel from Grandma to me and back again, and you did very well on the plane both ways.

February found you and Daddy going on a very special date: Father-Daughter dance. He bought you flowers, dressed up special, and spoiled you all night with hugs and kisses and attention. You ate it up and made the night a very enjoyable one for both of you that I hope you remember for years to come.
You gave us a scare earlier this summer when you required another (your fourth) ER trip; when you aren't smiling and being silly, we know something is wrong! Like a champ, you bounced back and have been healthy as ever since then. You must stop scaring us that way though, Maddux: you're giving your dad and I gray hairs!
As you enjoy your day today, please remember that we love you more than ice cream, all of the way up to the rainbows and down to the dirt. Happy Fifth Birthday, Maddux!