Sunday, October 30, 2011

Swim Districts and the USSSA Fall State Championship

Yesterday J swam in his first district swim meet and did very well.  He swam the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:18.36, placing 19th out of 37 swimmers.  He didn't make it into the finals.  Only the top 16 finishers moved on, but he was really pleased with how he did.  The district meet concludes his sophomore swim season, since he won;t be moving onto the regional competition.

In baseball news, TP had their first tournament of the fall.  They played in the USSSA Fall State championship.  The tournament began yesterday, but J missed it due to being at the district swim meet.  TP played three games and unfortunately, did not do well.  They lost all three games, mostly due to errors from what I was told by the other parents.  Coach T was not too happy with them and told them they needed to show up today ready to play baseball.  And they did.   Their first game today was a great one.  They had solid defense, and their bats were going pretty good.  They played hard and squeaked by the other team to win the game, 3-2.  J played first base and did excellent.  He made a great diving catch of a foul ball about halfway through the game.  But the best moment came at the end of the game.  It was bottom of the seventh and final inning.  TP was up by one run.  The other team was up to bat, with two outs, and two runners on base.  The batter hit a hard  line drive which would have resulted in the other team winning the game.  J made a picture perfect leap and caught the ball, making the final out of the game.  It was so fantastic that we called Coach C to share the news.  The second game began about twenty minutes after the first one ended.  TP again played hard, with good defense and solid bats.  Unfortunately, the other team managed to squeeze by them and win, 3-2.  Kind of weird about the scores, isn't it?  J caught in the second game and again did very well.  He made some beautiful throws to second base, and got two base hits.  All in all, the day was a success, both for TP and for J personally.  

J is taking the winter off from swimming and concentrating solely on baseball and his training.  Per Coach C's instructions, he'll be going a bit harder on his workouts and increasing the amount of weight he's using.  He'll also be adding in running on Saturdays now that he isn't swimming. Week eleven begins tomorrow and so far he's doing great!  The results are becoming obvious, as his performance in today's games shows.   Try outs for the school team are in mid January.  If J keeps up at the rate he's going, he's going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Swimming Wrap Up

This is J's second season swimming for his high school and he's done very well. He hit times for the 50 freestyle and the 200 freestyle that qualified him for varsity status.  He improved his times in every event he swam this season.   He also tackled his first ever 500 freestyle, finishing with a time of 7:04, which was awesome for a first attempt.  At the end of the regular season, he found out he had qualified to move onto the conference meet.  He didn't make it last year as a freshman so that was a huge deal for him.  He swam the 200 freestyle in 2:18, shaving almost ten seconds off his previous best time.   He placed 23rd out of 50 swimmers and earned a spot in  the district meet, which takes place tomorrow.  He'll be swimming the 200 freestyle again.  If he places in the top 8, he'll move onto regionals, though J feels districts will be the end of the line for him. He's had a great season, accomplishing more than he did last year, and has most likely lettered in his first high school sport.  He has the option of swimming for the club team his swim coach runs over the winter but has decided to take some time off from swimming.  He wants to be able to devote all of his attention to his baseball and his training. Fall Ball is in full swing, plus spring try outs will take place in January.  He wants to be sure he's ready.  I'm glad he's decided to take the break.  I think he needs it.  He's been working so hard for the past ten weeks on swimming, baseball, and his training.  Coach C feels taking the break is the best thing for him as well  so he's rested and getting the most out of his workouts.  Swimming is a great sport, and can't be beat for the overall body conditioning.  But for J, baseball will always come first.  So it's time to set swimming aside for a few months and really amp up his efforts to take his game to the next level.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fair Memories

Yesterday our annual school fair began its four day run.  We've been prepping for it for many months.  Hubby is the fair chairman, so fair prep consumes a large part of our year.  Each year presents new challenges and concerns.  The fair is the school's largest, most profitable fundraiser, so we want it to be a success every year.  This year was especially challenging for hubby because the amusement company the school has used for many years backed out on us six weeks ago.  Luckily, he was able to make arrangements with a new company and everything has worked out.

For my kids, the fair is one of the highlights of their year.  This is our twelfth fair as a school family.  Last night as I was walking around with A and J, (N was at Cirque du Soleil with his aunt and uncle) I couldn't help but think about some of my favorite fair memories from over the years.

Hubby and I worked the fair for the first time when J was in pre-k.  We worked the duck pond for two nights running and hubby was bitten by the fair bug.  In the following years he would get more and more involved in the running of the fair, eventually taking over as chairman when J was in third grade.

N was six weeks old at that first fair.  He made the rounds strapped to my chest in a baby carrier, wearing a hat to protect his little bald head from the sun.  Tonight when we go, I'm going to let him walk around with friends by himself for the first time ever.  He'll have his cell phone and be required to check in often.  It makes me nervous and a little sad to know he's grown up enough to have a little fair freedom.

A actually made her first trip to the fair in my belly.  I'd stay on my feet until my back couldn't take it anymore and hubby would plant me in a chair to rest.  Now I have a hard time keeping up with her as she runs from ride to ride and game booth to game booth.  She's fearless and rides any ride she meets the height requirement for.  

J spends his time running around with friends, or working in the game booths.  Since he's in high school now the fair is a great place for him to meet up with former classmates.  Last night he spent time working in a game booth and will take a shift as a dunkee in the dunk booth tomorrow afternoon.  Of course, in my mind's eye I'm always picturing him as he's been in years past, going from a little boy playing the duck pond to a young man doing his part to make the fair a success.

For me, I enjoy the sense of community and family that the fair brings.  All the parents watch out for each others kids, help in the booths, and share a wonderful sense of camaraderie.  It's wonderful to see the kids having fun together, the teachers and parents working together, and families getting to spend time relaxing and having fun.   The fair is a big deal,  to our school, our church, and our community.  And it's a wonderful tradition for my kids.  They look forward to it every year.  So do hubby and I.  Despite all the work the fair entails, no matter how exhausting it is, we love it.  For us it represents a special tradition we share with our children and school community.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Then and Now

J is on week nine of his training program and going strong.  He also made it to districts for swimming.  He continues to impress me with his dedication to reaching his goals.  I admit to getting weepy at times as I watch him working so hard to achieve his dreams.  Baseball has been a part of his life for so long that I thought it would be fun to post some then and now pictures.

This is J before his very first Little league game back in 2001.

 Here he is catching for TP this past weekend.

He's six weeks old here.  

Here he is with Coach C during the FAU Showdown tournament this past June in Boca Raton.

This is him with Cousin M when they were 2 and 3 years old.

At TP's game this past weekend.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Long Distance Training

Today J begins week eight of his training program.  He's doing great and I spend a lot of time bragging on him.  The other day I was telling someone about his program and she had a question.  How does Coach C coach and train J when he is three hours away at college?  Easier than you might think.  Before returning to school, Coach C gave J written instructions for all of the workouts he's doing.  Those sheets are kept in a folder, along with the workout log I made to track his progress.  His eating program fills a three ring binder and is kept with the workout folder.  Coach C took the time to explain everything to us and demonstrate the exercises he wanted J doing.  Obviously, he can't monitor the workouts from school, so that's where hubby and I come in.  I prep and prepare all of J's food, making sure he is eating the right foods.  I also monitor the amount he's eating.  Hubby takes him to the gym or monitors his workouts at home.  On days he runs or works out at home I sometimes monitor if hubby is at work. J will tell you that I am much harder on him than hubby is.  Hubby will only push so far if J is being lazy or stubborn.  I show no mercy.  I like to remind him that Coach C would show no mercy either.   Once a week I send Coach C a detailed report of how everything is going via email.  I include J's current weight and measurements, how the workouts went, how the eating went, etc.  Coach C then lets us know whether or not to change something up, answers any questions we might have, and offers J encouragement.  We can also text or call him if the need arises.  There have been times when I posted a picture on facebook of J at a game and Coach C will look at it and offer advice on something J could do to improve.  Even long distance, he's a terrific coach.   His support and encouragement mean the world to J and to hubby and I, too.   A few weeks back Coach C texted me to say he was home for the weekend and would be at TP's scrimmage game.  Unfortunately, J had a big swim meet that day and we missed the game.  Hopefully we'll manage to get together with Coach C sometime soon so he can see for himself the progress J has made.  Until then, we'll continue to rely on email, texts, and phone calls to  communicate and keep J on the right track.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Rainy Weekend

TP was supposed to play in their first fall tournament this weekend.  Mother nature had other ideas.  Torrential rain covered a good portion of the state all day yesterday and last night.  Today the rain is coming in short bursts, and everything is a soggy mess.  So instead of cheering on TP, we've spent the weekend inside.  We got the house cleaned and the laundry done.  J and N got their rooms cleaned up.  This morning we went to church and now I'm baking cookies.  A lot of cookies.  I'm bored and it just seemed like the thing to do.  I've got chocolate chip in the oven, dough for peanut butter chilling in the fridge, and oatmeal raisin waiting in the wings.  I'm estimating having at least 12 dozen cookies when I'm finished.  My freezer will be well stocked with about half of those.  The rest I'm boxing up to send to Coach C at college.  It's my way of thanking him for all he's doing for J.  He has roommates to share with, and they can certainly afford to eat more cookies than I can!  The kids are spending the remainder of the rainy weekend working on a school project(N), playing video games(J), and drawing(A).  It's been a very different weekend than the one we originally had planned, but the slower pace has been nice.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fall Update

Hard to believe we're halfway through the first week of October already.  Seems like it was just the first week of August and school was getting ready to start.  But here we are, two busy months later.  Still just as busy, but finally enjoying some cooler weather.  The kids have had a lot going on, so I figured I'd do a quick update on what we've been up to.

J is almost finished with his high school swim season.  He's waiting to find out if he qualifies for conference.  He should know by tomorrow, so fingers crossed for him please!  He's on week seven of his training program and doing great.  The results are really starting to show, both in his body and his game.  TP has their first fall tournament this coming weekend, so look for a recap early next week.

N has had two concerts with the children's chorus and both were fantastic.  He's been busy with student council, cub scouts, and gymnastics as well.  Today he's going on a hike with his scout den, so he packed a backpack of supplies last night.  The hike is only an hour or so at a local nature preserve, but I guess he wants to be prepared for anything!

A is doing well in her dance class and really enjoying baton team.  She'll be attending baton twice a week now.  Once for her team practice and once for class to practice her twirling skills.  She's enjoying being in Girl Scouts, too.  She's just begun the Book It program at school.  Her reading requirement is ten books a month so she wants to sit and read all the time.

I've been keeping myself busy with school volunteering, plus my girl scout troop.  It's going well.  I have a wonderful group of eight little girls.  We also have the big school fair coming up two weeks from tomorrow.   Hubby is the chairman, so he's super busy making sure everything gets done in time.  All in all, it's a typical month for us!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Weekend Fabulous

My get away weekend to Jekyll Island was everything I hoped it would be and more.  My five friends and I had an amazing time.  For starters, the weather could not have been more perfect.  Breezy and cool with lots of sunshine.  We stayed in a cute little condo right near the beach.   It was a low key weekend, filled with lots of talking and laughter. We all arrived by early Friday evening and immediately headed out for a yummy seafood dinner.  Afterward, we just went back to the condo and sat up talking til almost midnight.  Saturday we went shopping and out to lunch.  Then back to the condo for the afternoon.  Some napped, some sat around talking, reading, or crocheting.  We also walked the beach, looking for shells.  Saturday night we got a little dressed up and went out to dinner.  Then it is was back to the condo so Jess, who is a hard core Alabama football fan, could watch the Florida/Alabama game.   She's 7 months pregnant, and wigged us out when  she started jumping and down after an exciting play.  We didn't want her bouncing the baby loose!  It was all good though, especially when Alabama won.  I'm whispering that since J and hubby are big Gator fans! Sunday and departure time came all too soon.  The thing that is the most amazing to me is how comfortable we all are with each other.   Remember, we met online, and for some, it was the first in person meeting.  Yet there was no awkwardness.  Just a wonderful sense of friendship.  We've decided this get away should be an annual thing.  In fact, we've already picked next year's destination, New Orleans.  We're inviting the husbands along for that one. If they want to go.  If they don't, we'll go without them and have a ball, I'm sure.  Thanks for a fabulous weekend Jess, Caroline, Angie, Erin, and Ann! And Linda, Steph, Zarina, Heather, and Mary, mark your calendars for this time year!   New Orleans here we come!