Monday, March 30, 2015

Cross Country 2014

We were excited to have Gabe start cross country last fall.  He was really good at track and always said "I wish it were a longer race because I can just tell that's what I'm better at."  He'd practiced all summer, 3-5 days a week, with the team doing summer training and could tell he was fast.

He was right!  We were amazed at what he did during his season.


  • When he beat the friend/teammate who he'd never been able to touch during the middle school track season.  We LOVE this kid, but I think it was an important mental hurdle for Gabe and the boy was never able to beat Gabe again--though they are always close and are great for each other, as the only freshmen on the varsity team.
  • Gabe's first race on the varsity team.  The coach pretty much takes the guys with the top 7 times into the varsity race and Gabe was pretty excited when he realized it would be him.  The team is mostly seniors with a few juniors and I know he felt worried about hanging out with them on long bus rides and at overnight invitationals.  They are a great group of boys and are really kind to Gabe and he's learned a lot by working out with them.
  • His 3rd race on varsity when he finished 3rd on his team, and pretty high overall.  He'd mostly been coming in 7th or 8th and we were dying when he came into view and was racing in the front of the pack.
  • Realizing how very mentally tough he is.  He's a talented runner, physically, but he's really really good mentally.  Doesn't get rattled, doesn't psych himself out and is really willing to endure the excruciating end of the race in order to finish strong.  It's so cool to see.
  • Hearing from his uncle (who'd done some research on that Gabe was the 30th fastest freshman in the COUNTRY.  Yeah, he's good.
  • Watching him win the Freshman race at the GSL finals.
  • Coach made a decision at the end of the season to let an older kid race in the Regional meet, instead of Gabe.  Gabe went as an alternate and raced in the alternate's race.  We knew that the coach would take the top 7 times/boys to State and Gabe needed to PR by 15 seconds to have the 7th fastest time.  It was such an exciting race and he ended up PRing by 30 seconds and actually having the 6th fastest time and earning a spot on the State team.  (See...mentally tough.) 
  • State was a good learning experience.  He had set some lofty goals and the team had a chance to be on the podium but due to a false start and a second start that really disadvantaged a key runner on our squad, everyone was off their game.  Gabe and the team were dissappointed with their finish (5th in literally the fastest state in the country) but we were proud of him.
  • How Gabe is everything you'd want a talented kid like this to be: humble, quiet, super hardworking, respectful of coach and teammates.  Well, I'd like him to be better about texting me when he's away at meets, but other than that, we couldn't be more happy for him.  (And it's pretty fun for the parent, too!)
Some pictures:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Halloween 2014

Of note:

We came up with Gabe's matching Gru costume 10 minutes before the ward party and it was the only time he put a costume on. He spent Halloween with the cross country team in a hotel room prepping for regionals.

Emma didn't trick or treat for the first time (last year she took some of the little kids after we were done and even felt dumb doing that...I let my kids choose when they're too old.  I figure they're socially savvy enough to do that.)

I realize she's a complete knock-out,.

Ryan and I were so so so so so glad that we have a little baby who will love halloween and trick or treating for year because we could just totally feel that the older ones were growing up and the Halloween dynamic was changing.

Jane and Seth didn't even trick or treat with us.  Boo.

Faith was crazily slow and distracted and not into it at all.  It was so weird that we took video of it.

I continued the Halloween dinner but was smart enough to do it earlier in the week.  SO MUCH LESS STRESS:


First Day of School 2014

So I've had this at the top of my To Blog List.  And in the last few weeks as I've thought about attempting to sit down and blog (it really is SO HARD people!) about the first day of school last fall and Halloween, I wondered what is the point of blogging that.  Isn't it mostly about pictures of the day...and I do all that in Instagram, thank you very much.

So I thought that the reason I need to blog is to record detail and feeling...which is hard 6 months later.  But I'm going to try:

The First Day of School is hard for me because

  • it's such a's this real tangible evidence that the kids are growing.  Things obviously change in their lives and my life based on what happens on that First Day
  • Summer is so so so so glorious in Spokane and winter is so NOT that it's hard for me to be excited that it's coming to an end (whether or not it means a cleaner, quieter house and less hourly parenting for me)
  • Fall is so out of control busy with back to school meetings, back to school prep and sports/activities that I am never excited for that schedule to start up again
  • I don't like to change.  I like my schedules and plans and when I have to readjust them, I feel stressed and bugged and overwhelmed.
This year was a biggie.  Faith went to kindergarten (half day, thank heavens!!), Jane went to middle school (6th) and Gabe went to high school.  I was melancholy all day.  I was worried that Levi would be hard without the entertainment committee. (He's not...he hangs out with Faith in the morning and then naps till they get home).  It's been a good school year, but the busiest of my life.  And there's been so much learning and growth for all of us.  

Faith:  has loved kindergarten, Mrs. Martins is her teacher.  She's in the class where they combine with kids with disabilities and they have 4-5 adults (teachers and aides) in the class of 24 at all times.  She's way ahead of grade level (she's a November birthday) and it's easy and fun.  I've decided it's too hard to try to help in the class and she's commented on that but I've dealt with the guilt.  

Seth:  has a good but hard teacher.  Mrs. Swenson has notoriously high standards but I know that's good.  He had the worst report card of any of my elementary kids but it happened right when I'd felt prompted (and had the time) to focus on his very obvious Inattentive ADD issues.  We've had him in neurofeedback therapy and we think it's helping him focus at school,  I was worried about friends because this is the year where I noticed Gabe feeling bad socially due to his lack of ball interest and skills (this of course has all changed for Gabe!) and Seth has ZERO interest in sports and loves to play with girls.  I was worried he would be teased.  It doesn't seem to have happened.  He has all girl friends and doesn't seem to care.  


Jane:  had a hard start to the year.  She was assigned the Advanced classes and attended orientation with that schedule.  Without going into great detail, we got a call the day before school that there had been a mistake and she would be in regular classes.  (Trust me...I had lots of "discussions" with the administration about this and there truly was no way around it.)  She was devastated...embarrassed and nervous.  SUPER luckily, she got put in her best friend's class and honestly her teachers have been better than the advanced teachers (Emma and Gabe had them).  She was given the option about 2 months into the school year to switch back to advanced and chose to stay in her regular classes.  She's had straight As (first of our kids to ever do it) all year, and has taken advantage of about every activity open to a 6th grader.

Gabe:  has loved high school.  It has everything to do with cross country; the fact he practiced with the team all year and had a "group" the minute he stepped into the school.  It helps of course that he's so so good (more to come on that).  It's given him confidence and direction.  Cross country has made his incredibly hard academic schedule really challenging.  His grades aren't where he was hoping they'd be and he's learning a lot about time management, priorities, communicating with his teachers, and procrastination.  It's been a big year.


Emma:  Emma has taken hard classes and continued to be a great friend.  Her grades were not fabulous 1st semester and some parental friend/grade guidelines were put in place.  I was happy to see that her goal (on a YW thing I happened upon) is to get straight As.  The school musical Funny Girl has made that challenging with 20-30 hours of play practice over the last few weeks. She has loved it.

Included here:  the first day of school after school snack:

and my I'm So Glad I Had This Caboose buddy:

As I type all of this, I realized how much we (all of us) are constantly learning and growing.  What a blessing.  It's a good life.