Monday, October 26, 2009

Dinner for Many Teens

Wow! We just served a pasta night dinner to 29 high school boys, 2 coaches and my own family! Tomorrow is the cross country's League meet. The Shrewsbury boys team is hoping to be league champions this year again. Tobin is running in the varsity group. I'll keep you informed.

This team is very social. Since Tobin has been at the high school and running with the team there has usually been a pasta night before most meets. I chose this Monday because I don't work on Mondays and Sundays didn't work with Tobin's CCD schedule. (He has CCD Sundays from 6-7:30.) It was good for me to chose a day I didn't work since I spent 5 hours in the kitchen preparing food. I made 60 meatballs and 40 breaded chicken thighs as well as 6-7 lbs of spaghetti. The boys also bring food! My island and all available counter space was covered in food. There was bread, salad, fruit, pasta, meatballs and chicken. Plus they bring ice cream and cookies as well as drinks. Each class has been assigned a food/bev to bring to the pasta dinners.

The team began arriving shortly before 6:30. We offered them food by 6:45. It was an amazing sight to see them all come in, carefully take off their shoes, form a line around the food, pick what they wanted and find a seat.

Within 30 minutes much of the food was gone. Mr and Mrs. Coach (as they are affectionately called) cleared off the dinner food and took out the ice cream. This started the next swarm for food.

By 7:40 all the boys had finished their food and left for home. I have never seen such a production before.

I am used to big gatherings (although not this big), but it is usually a much longer social event. I bought the guys glow sticks to use for outside. I figured that it would be dark by the time they arrived. The team will play Frisbee after or before practices. At our house they played basketball and Frisbee and just hung out. Sarai played ball with a couple of guys after dinner. The night went very well.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Close ups

Our family friend took an amazing photo of Aidan wrapped in a scarf during his birthday party.

It inspired me to look through my photos and edit some that I had taken that were similar.
Here are two:

Sarai had wrapped her head in her sweatshirt at the top of Mt. Wachusetts a week ago.

This is Carmen at the beach in NC in August. She had found a scarf, wrapped it around her head and I was able to quickly take her picture.

My girls are striking with their dark chocolate brown eyes.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Anniversary Present

This blog is well overdue. Our anniversary is June 12th! The morning of our anniversary Jenna and Isaac came over before work and gave us a present. It was a family decal for our car. I had been saying for awhile that I wanted one for my car.

So Jenna found a site and custom designed one for us. It looks so great!

She created a tandem picture for Abram and I.

Don't you love Abram's hair! She tried to give him a goatee, but it looked like he had a duck's beak. :)

She also created the kids:

Tobin is running, Sarai is dribbling the basketball, Carmen is heading the soccer ball and Rachel is punting the soccer ball.

The site Jenna used allowed you to customize hair, sports and size of person.

The decal came as one long picture. In reading the instructions we were concerned that our back wiper would hit and rub off the decal over time. After debating for a day we decided to cut the picture. This decision created great controversy. I agreed that I didn't want to split the family up, but I also wanted to make sure that it stayed on too. We came up with a humorous decision. The back window of the minivan has the kids on the left side (driver's side) and us on the right (passenger side). We decided that it would be funny to have the parents chasing down the kids!

Most people instantly recognize my car now. I do believe I am the only one in town with a tandem decal on my minivan! We love it!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hiking Mt. Wachusetts

Monday, October 12th was Columbus day. In Mass, Columbus day is a federal holiday. Everyone in our family had the day off. We decided to hike Mt. Wachusetts. It was a beautiful fall day. It was also Aidan's 1st birthday. Isaac, Jenna and Aidan joined us for the hike.

Up we go!

Some of us climbed up rock "stairs" at one point.

Here's the family at the summit.

Rachel paused at a trail sign as we began our descent down the mountain.

Snack time! Aidan's drink on the go.

I love this picture of my two older "chickens".

I always find it interesting that even though the kids resist going hiking they look back and talk about the fun times we had during the hike.

Snow in October

It is mid October, but it looked like December outside today! It snowed large snowflakes for hours today. When I say large I am referring to the size of golf balls. It was impressive! We had some snow on Thurs night. Enough snow fell to cover our leaves, grass and plants. But then as the day progressed it all melted away. I didn't expect such a wet snowy day today.

Rachel seized the opportunity to play in the snow. She got all dressed up and slid around the back yard. We did discover that we need to find some larger sized clothes for her. The snow was so wet that you could easily slide on top of it. She slid down the slide on the swing set and flew off of it three feet from the end. She'd also run and see how far across the grass she could skid on foot.

Here she is looking up, catching the flakes in her mouth.

Carmen joined Rachel outside.

The most humorous member of the family outside today was actually Isaac! . I had jokingly said he owed us some home improvement time because Abram has been over much lately helping with their house. I said that I needed a hole dug for a hydrangea bush. I didn't expect to get a text today, while it was snowing, stating "time to dig the hole!" But he kept his word and here he is....
outside digging in a wet snow squall:

I joined him out in the snow to plant it in the ground. The hydrangea is a "Pinky-Winky" variety. It has branches that produce rose colored flowers and other branches that produce white ones. This variety doesn't change color in acidic soil. This is important to me since my soil is very acidic.

Thanks Isaac for digging the hole.

Now I can work on the garden once the snow melts! Hey, it's New England. Tues is predicted to get up in the 60's.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Running, Stiches, Rest and Winning

Tobin's cross country season has been a time of learning. In the last cross country post I shared how he had exercise induced asthma. He had to learn how to work with that and he was successful in doing so. He ran a race the next week and won. Later he ran in an invitationals race held at Franklin Park in Boston. He ran in this invitationals last year. as a freshman he did well and finished 12th in the freshman race, I believe. This year he was placed in the varsity category. He placed 39th out of over 200 and his time was 17:28. This is amazing. In the words of his coach "Tobin has his legs back and has shown he can run with the big dogs!"

On Thurs. Sept 24th Tobin encountered another lesson: don't jump over guard rails. He was running with the team for practice. They exited the woods in a spot that didn't have a safe exit route. The guys decided to jump the guard rail. Well, Tobin didn't make it over correctly. He missed and tore open his left shin. He had attempted to jump over the rail from the sharp side and where the woods were at a steep angle. We took him to the ER and he got 9 stitches in his shin. He was told he couldn't run for 5-7 days.

If you ask him what happened, he'll tell you that he was attacked by a bear. It seems more manly than misjudging the guard rail. We also joke that he has a celestial theme for his scars. He has a zig-zag scar on his forehead from when he was two. He looks like Harry Potter. His shin scar is in the shape of a crescent moon. Hopefully, he doesn't get a star somewhere in 13 years!

The ban on running meant that he couldn't race against one of the team's toughest and most important opponents, Wachusett. He received a number of negative comments from teammates about not being able to run. It also added vinegar to the wound when the team lost the meet. Some say they lost because Tobin didn't run. Tobin is learning that when teammates are injured everyone should step up and try harder, not look for someone to blame. I am hoping that these experiences will aid him in being a good leader for the team.

Now, for some good news. He got his stitches out on October 6th. The wound is healing well.

He also ran a race on October 6th.

Here he is in the lead after the first mile, running under 5 minutes!

His lead gets larger around the 2+ mile point. Coach was yelling "low 18's, low 18's". He was motivating Tobin to keep the pace up and he'd finish with a time in the low 18:00.

He won! He also got his PR (personal record) of 18:10 on this home course.

We have a very hard 5K course. Last year his best time on our course was 19:24. He's shaved off over a minute from last year's PR! Wow! Again, his legs are back. He's looking to race with the top guys in the state on October 17th and place right with the fastest on our team!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lake Winepesauke

I have to go back in time. Back in August...

We had a wonderful opportunity to visit close family friends, the Stewich's, on Lake Winnipesaukee. They own a boat and had rented a house on the lake for the week. Sunday, August 16th was amazing!

We really enjoyed the gorgeous weather and time together.

Rachel is chilling in the boat, has her soda ready and cannot wait to go!

Kristin Stewich was the woman I ran my half marathon with up at Lake Winnipesaukee in May of 07. Carmen is very close friends with their daughter Madelyn. They are in the same girl scout group.

Rachel, Carmen and I tried to water ski. Each of us got up for a bit on the first try! Both girls were determined to hold on and keep trying.

Carmen up on the skis.

Rachel holding on for a long time.

Bill Stewich was so impressed on how determined both Rachel and Carmen were. They kept trying, held on and got up on the skis on their first attempts.

I'm ready!

I think my life jacket is too big! I didn't stand straight up, but did get up each attempt. It was a lot of fun!

We also pulled all the kids around the lake on a rope

and a tube.

Abram and I went in the float and the kids, ours and theirs, were chanting to dump us over. As much as Bill tried he was not successful. He took us into the middle of the lake. I believe that riding together on the tandem helped us work together and react to waves. At one point, Rachel was flipped out of the tube and came up laughing and saying, "That was great!"

I don't have pictures of this because it was our first ride out on the boat and we were concerned about getting the new camera wet. I took my small one out for the water skiing time.

Tobin and Sarai went to Weir's Beach to walk around. There was another family visiting as well. They had two boy teenagers and they joined Sarai and Tobin in Weir. I know that they will stay with us on the boat next year. Sarai did get a chance to ride on the float with Rachel. She is a good big sister!

I hope we get another chance to go up on the boat next year!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Soccer: Goalie Rachel and Defensive Carmen

Usually, soccer games dominate our Saturdays. Instead this Saturday was too rainy to open the fields. I decided to capitalize on some extra free time and update the blog.

It has been a joy to see how both Rachel and Carmen have grown over the summer with their soccer skills.

Rachel's coach has the philosophy that all the girls should experience each position this year. It is the first year with a goalie. Rachel played goalie last week for the second half of the game. She saved 6 out of 7 attempts on the net! She also attended a goalie clinic to learn more.

Rachel commented that it seemed as if they were kicking the ball right to her. I'd agree, but she never flinched and was always ready to make a catch.

Here again making a great catch.
On Thurs one of Rachel's coaches complimented on her skills. This coach knew her from last season and assumed her great improvement was due to us working together. I cannot take any credit. Rachel has grown more confident as a player and much faster on her legs. All of this together has created a great player who can dribble to ball up the field, maintain control and make good passes for a goal.
Carmen still plays defense. Not by her choice, but by the fact that she is one of the best on her team and coach needs her there.
Carmen is the player behind the goalie. She always backs up her teammates

She has gotten stronger over the summer. Her foot skills have improved. She still has her speed and bravery. She is never intimidated by a larger player. You'll see this in the following pictures.
Now, for some of the incredible shots I took of her taking on the other team....

Somehow they don't collide, but she does get the ball to another teammate up the field.

Here she had been trying to get the ball away from this girl who is several inches taller. Most attempts failed until she decided to wedge her body in between the opponent and the ball. In basketball we call this "boxing out". She is able to use the skills from various sports to aid in the one she is playing. Boxing out was partly successful. She didn't have a teammate to pass to so the other team regained possession.

In this shot it looks as if the green team is punching Carmen. I included it because it was a cool shot. Nothing happened to Carmen, but as you can see she runs full force into other players to protect the ball and their possession. The ball is between their feet.

She loves soccer. She plays her heart out and the coach knows it. She is never subbed, even though we have enough players to do so.

The big question is what am I going to do with other 400+ pictures I have from soccer! We've only played 3 games so far.