Tuesday, July 30, 2013

First Swim Meet - 07.27.2013

Stefan had his first swim meet last Saturday.  If you have really looked at his feet, you would think we may have the next Mark Spitz (not likely, but it WOULD be cool!).

With his history of melting down at the mere mention of competition, we did not have many expectations of this day.  Good or bad...

The night before, he talked about how excited he was to go to his swim meet.

WHA?!?!?!?  Is this the same kid that would be hysterical at a FUN RUN?!?

He swam in four events: the 100 meter medley relay (he swam freestyle), the 25 meter freestyle, the 25 meter backstroke and the 100 meter freestyle relay.  He balked at the backstroke, yet it is one of his better strokes!

He and Matthew were on the same relay team and started at the same end.  We were coming up with all sorts of labels:

 Frick & Frack
 Tweedle-Dee & Tweedle Dum
Dumb & Dumber...

In spite of their 8-9 year old, skinny, gangly, awkward bodies & social skills, they were really graceful in the water.  More than that, Stefan came out smiling.  And happy.  Not over-stimulated and manic - just excited about what he was doing.  It really appeared that he had found himself a niche.  And for that we are grateful (especially with those FLIPPERS!).

You can see here, before his diving start for the 25 meter free, he is still enjoying himself and does not seemed cowed by the experience.  Quite the contrary.  We were quite entertained by his "stretching" ;)

For a first meet - I would say that he/his team did quite well.  The Second Place finish in the 100 meter Medley Relay was bested by only 0.2 seconds.  Not too shabby!

I pray that this was not just "Beginner's Luck/Excitement", but instead, a great start to a new adventure.  One where Stefan is successful in his efforts and has continued joy.  The next meet is on the 10th...

Our friends/neighbors oldest son has "aged out" of the summer swim team.  So, this year he is helping. But he got to come out of retirement and swim the 100 meter Medley, just for fun.  John is a 14-year old boy existing in a man's body.  While he is looking puberty in the rear-view mirror, his peers are still looking at the yolk sack nature has provided for them before that big pubescent growth spurt occurs.   They were also looking at him over a half a pool ahead of them while he was looking in the rear-view mirror at them...

One of my best shots of the day was during John's butterfly.  Swimming pictures are mostly just conditions and luck.  A nice stroke and good subject matter doesn't hurt though...

Mystery Run

In the summer, there is a Night Mystery Run on base.  You pick the direction, it determines how long your running course is.  Stefan, the child who would have an anxiety attack at the mere mention of doing a FUN (stress on the word FUN) run, asked to do the mystery run...

So we did.  He pinned on a number  - OK, I pinned it on him.  He did a little twitching over the idea of me poking him.  And that was it!  Off he ran - with Matthew.  I ran with Dougie.  Eric "ran" with Ian.

Eric and Ian looped around and came back (took their own course - a "Mystery" to the rest of us).

Dougie managed to pick the shortest route - and did the whole thing without a single complaint!  We ran/walked with one of Eric's co-workers, Jillian.  Dougie had it in him to ditch the co-worker and make a break for the finish line.

Stefan showed up on the scene a bit later - alone.  And SMILING!!!

Another 20-ish minutes passed - no Matthew.  Dave and I went out looking for him.  We finally found him looking flushed and exhausted.  He finished - but was none too happy about it.  We figured he picked the longest course - 3.8 miles.

Turned out - Stefan took the longest route at 3.8 miles (GASP!  This from the child that had a coronary over a 3K!!! - we were so impressed!!!).  Matthew had taken the shorter.  Only, I think he looped back again...  So, Matthew took the win for the longest and most MYSTERIOUS route that night...  He still has us guessing where he went!

They don't call it a mystery run for nothing!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Like Mother, Like Daughter

When I was 18, my mom got a new car.

She had gone to the grocery store (a very normal and regular occurrence).  When she came out, the tire on the dark red, "sporty" (NOT!), '79 Malibu Classic Station Wagon, aka: "The Dragon Wagon," was flat.

Did she call AAA?  You bet she did.  She did not bother with having them change the tire out.  Instead, she had them tow it to the local Oldsmobile dealership where she promptly convinced them to give her $500 toward a new car.  She drove her groceries home in a brand new Olds Cutlass.  With four good tires.

So, fast-forward 23 years (eek!) to Yokosuka, Japan.  In the summer.  And our ice-maker was NOT MAKING ICE!

So, I took the lead from my mom.

I got new fridge.  With an ice-maker that works.

(BTW - this is what a typical HUGE Japanese refrigerator looks like)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Anthony Cousins

This is the whole crew - the last time we saw many of the cousins was two years ago.  The last time I saw Sophie (pink shirt - dark curls), she was a bald baby - now, with a head full of hair, she is full of mischief and smiles.  She and Ian were fast friends and adversaries...  Colleen (red hat) was starting Middle School, now its High School and has become quite a young lady!  John & Catherine (on left and right, respectively) were still shorter than my armpit - now I look them in the eye!  John had the attention span of... what was that?  Oh, right...  Now he carries on a conversation with you and is as interesting and imaginative as ever!  Catherine is just as personable and sweet as she has always been - I am glad for some things that don't change.  Elizabeth (hiding in the back) wouldn't say a word to me other than, "Not you!  Mom do it!!!" - now I am a cool Auntie that will brush your hair, tickle & zurbit you.  As for our boys?  They change on an hour-by-hour basis too.  We just can't keep up!

With a 14, 11, 11, 9, nearly 7, 5, nearly 4 & 3, we span many ages and stages.  And, I have to say that Nana & Grandpa have a bunch of fine kids for grand-babies.  It was sure fun getting to know them all again!  We really need to make a habit of getting together more often.

Shaving Some Weight Off

When packing for three boys for four weeks to go to another continent, over an ocean, to see family you haven't seen in two years - what do you do?!?

Cut down on some weight:

If you have seen my kids hair, you would know that the airlines should have charged us for overweight hair fees - not baggage ;)

Hot Summer Nights

It has been hot here - as in record setting hot.  We did not reach the forecast 104F, but we set a new record yesterday at 100F.  Today was a mere 98F...  Apparently hot weather follows us - it is in the 70's in Yokosuka.  I am sure it will get hot again, just as soon as we get back...

Stefan and I went for a walk one morning around the Gonzaga University campus.  He did what all kids do when hot - he ran through the sprinklers!

We went up to Manito Park - one of Eric's and my favorite places.

We walked through the gardens and came across one of the city's various splash pads.  We have been to the Shadle Pool as well - I have to say, Spokane Parks & Rec should win awards.  The parks are phenomenal and the pools and such are fantastic!  It helps to have pool-worthy weather...

So, tomorrow it is forecasted to by "MUCH COOLER THAN TODAY" - we are to expect temps only up to 93F...

I do miss Eastern Washington summers!

Happy 9th Birthday, Stefan!!!

Our firstborn is NINE!!!

We have been staying at GiGi's place - this morning was donut day.  How did they know Stefan would want a donut first thing in the morning?!?  No kidding, this WAS the way I first saw him on his birthday morning!

We had a nice birthday breakfast with GiGi - complete with...


He was pretty excited for...

He has been begging for over a year.

I found this one on a run through Saikaya with Gina & Eileen.  The Keikyu line runs by our hood - the Blue Sky Train is just one of the trains on the Keikyu line.  Other than the boys getting excited and pointing it out when passing, being blue and just outright cool, there is nothing significant about it.  But it is COOL!  The other "inside joke" is that the station sign is for "Kamiooka" - the "oo" is a looooooooooong "oh" sound - hold it like you are making a statement.  That is how the train conductor announces it as you come up to it.  That's because it IS pronounced that way.  But we all find it funny, nonetheless.  Turns out, Japanese make fun of it too!

Since Stefan was having a surprise party later that day (the surprise was Mary Ann's wedding - and the surprise was on them!  They never knew it was his birthday), we headed over to the hotel where my parents were staying for some swim time.  Grammie and Pop took the boys swimming, Eric and I went to buy him pants and some lunch.  It was a good division of labor.  And, the effort paid off in...

a much needed nap for Ian...  made him a bit more agreeable for the rest of the afternoon.