Tuesday, May 31, 2011

FINALLY - A Day That Felt Like Spring

The sun came out, the air warmed up and we could finally spend the day outside. The morning was spent at the park with all of the 6th graders from Morningside Elementary for the first part of their day-long graduation party. Then home, where there was bubble blowing, squealing and chasing of said bubbles.
And once everyone was worn out, some time just hanging out on the grass.
I could even forgive the fact that the clouds and wind moved back in for a bit this afternoon, since the sun broke through again. Please, please, please can it stay this way?

Random Weekend Photos

I plugged in the camera to upload this picture of the kids swinging this weekend. (There was a brief break in the cold, rainy, windy weather that took us through the entire Memorial Day weekend.) I love the absolute joy that Peter had in swinging. It makes me smile just remembering his belly laugh. And, just as good, Duff has learned how to pump on the swings. No more pushing required! Hallelujah! Play time just got that much better for me.Now, as I said, I was getting a particular picture off the camera, but then I found a few extras that the kids had taken. Here's a sample:

Peter doing one of his favorite things - playing with the iphone. He can do more stuff on it than I can. He's always moving my icons around which is kind of a pain, but if I ever need him to sit quietly for a few minutes, the iphone usually does the trick.
Apparently, my dusty bridal photo was worthy of picture taking as well. There were a couple more shots of this, only closer.
I always get a couple of face shots of someone.

But most surprising of all, is this photo of someone's bare behind. I probably shouldn't even post it, (because someone is going to flag my blog as inappropriate). I have established who the behind belongs to, but not quite sure yet as to who's idea it was to take the photo. Other than one particular photo that I remember from Rob and Michelle's wedding, I'm guessing most of you don't find photos like this on your camera.
We'll be having a discussion about this, and hopefully I won't find any more photos like this either. (This is apparently what happens when the parents of the house are busy all day cleaning out a room. The kind of clean out that involves making a much bigger mess before the end result is achieved. Progress - although it doesn't necessarily look like it yet.)

Friday, May 27, 2011

4 Down, 1 to Go

Ah, that most favorite time of year, the preschool graduation program. Normally, this type of thing would make me feel sad. You know, the usual, time is going so fast, I can't believe how big she is getting stuff. But really, I am so ready for summer that I didn't feel one bit of that. (I'm sure all those feelings will come flooding in when I send her off to kindergarten in the fall.) I am thrilled to not have to fight over combing her hair before school and discussing - again - the fact that yes, she does need to go to school today. And I don't have to worry about finishing something up to get her there or to pick her up. I am so excited to have one less thing to do, one less place to be, and one less thing to think about! (I sound almost heartless here, don't I?) Still, the program was cute and fun, and she loved performing for me. (She was a little upset that I didn't bring everyone else to watch, too. She thought I should have gotten everyone out of school to come and see her. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. Although I think I've been a little heavy on the lose some side lately.)

Here's her class all ready to start their singing.
Duff next to her good friend Olivia.
My little blue-eyed belle.
Singing, complete with actions. (A couple of my kids got some serious performance genes from Shawn, and just love to be on stage.)
Here she is telling everyone her name and that she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. Typically she wants to be a princess so she must have gotten that crazy idea at school. (She does love her teachers, though.)
Singing and marching like a dinosaur.
Getting her official graduation certificate and a little gift from her teachers. (Whew! I am so glad she made it!)
Duff with Miss Erin - her main teacher,
and with Miss Maria.
It is a little hard to believe that 4 of my kids are done with this phase of their lives. I have a year off of preschool next year and I'm kind of looking forward to it. I only wish all of my kids could have been done with school before Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

WaterPolo Wrap Up (or Sometimes There Is Just No Good Explanation)

So, here it is. The quick rundown on the end of the high school water polo season. (I know all 3 of you loyal readers have been waiting with baited breath for this. OK, maybe not. You can skip ahead to preschool graduation then. But Shawn cares.)

First off, there was the girls tournament. This was a first year team. (Olympus hadn't had a girls team for a few years, although there were a few previous players since Olympus combined with Skyline. Skyline had a few players, but no coach and Olympus had coaches but needed a few more players so it worked out nicely. For being huge rivals, they came together remarkably well!) As a first year team, they came into the tournament ranked 8th(?) and ended up beating the number 1 team, but were physically and emotionally exhausted by the end of the tournament and ended up finishing 4th overall. I think they surprised most of the other teams there. Everyone was happy with the final outcome.
Move forward to the next weekend when the boys state tournament took place. This photo was taken before their Friday night game, where they were victorious. (I have learned more about water polo this year than I ever thought I would. I guess I should have seen this coming, being married to Shawn...)
If you have never watched water polo, you may not understand how physically difficult it is. The players are treading water for the entire game - and that's when they are holding still in the water. There is a lot of sprinting back and forth in the pool as well. Not the nice smooth and slow back and forth I do in lap swimming, (at least that's how I like to pretend I swim) but sprinting and chasing after players and the ball. Then there's the pushing and pulling underwater and all sorts of flagrant fouls that may or may not be seen by the refs because most take place under the water. Despite all this, most people I know, once they start playing, become addicted to the game. I know I love it. These kids work hard.
This is how they move the ball down the pool if they aren't passing it.
A little team meeting before the Saturday morning game.
Me with a couple of water polo Moms in the stands. (Even though I'm just a water polo wife, they still let me hang out with them. These 2 happen to also be my neighbors.)
Unfortunately, they lost their morning game, but it wasn't all bad because it was Senior Prom that night and losing put them at a slightly earlier time for their next game. (At least that was the idea, but the tournament ended up getting close to 2 hours behind schedule.) Going into this game, these boys were nervous. They were playing the number 1 team, the seniors had had to call their dates numerous times to say they would be picking them up later, and later still as they were waiting for their game to start. Shawn was planning to go and pick up their dates for them to try to make things easier and allow the boys to focus on the game. In the end, their dates decided not to come to the pool dressed in their formal wear. I don't blame them.

Here they are finishing their warm up and their crazy pregame ritual where they bounce and spin and chant to get themselves all psyched up. I think it's fun to watch.
A little poolside coaching from Shawn and Brian before the game.
They played hard and they played well. A few action shots from the game:

Somewhere in the 4th quarter, the score was 11-8 for Olympus, and the scoring table took one of our points away. There was a lot of yelling and complaining from the stands but that's where it stood.
Last minute time out pep talk.
At the end of the game it was 10-8 for Olympus. Everyone was so excited. As a second year team they had taken 3rd place in the state tournament. There was lots of celebrating and cheering.
Woohoo! The game winners!
The players threw Shawn and Brian into the pool. (Fortunately, he had left his phone with me and not in his pocket. He did, however ruin his pedometer, and had really squishy shoes and socks.)
The boys changed, most of the seniors ran off to pick up their dates (2 1/2 hours late.) We took pictures. We had won. Only.... apparently we hadn't. The next teams warmed up and lined up to start their game when the ref announced that there was a mistake on the score sheet in our game and it was a tie. (What?!) Everyone needed to get back in the pool. Probably 15 or 20 minutes had passed. No one could believe it. Not a single person had protested the outcome of the game. Not a single complaint from coaches, parents or players of the other team, and yet, the ref said it was a tie and they had to get back in the water. As parents/spectators, you watch that score closely, making sure each point is accounted for. Shawn had to ask his one remaining senior to take off his tux and put his speedo back on. (That was a first for him as a coach, I'm sure of that.) They got back in the water....and lost in overtime. It was heartbreaking. There were tears and cursing and physical aggression (fortunately, not towards other people - just things like kicking stuff and punching doors - that one resulted in a broken hand.) I couldn't believe it. None of us could believe it. I think I was most bothered by the fact that not a single player, parent or coach from the other team said, "This isn't right, we lost the game. We all saw what happened."

The ref signed the score sheet without allowing coaches or anyone to look at it, and that was the end of it. Except, that it isn't. After everyone had left, except Shawn, who stood shivering in his soaking wet clothes (and me), he asked for a copy of the score sheet and told them we would be protesting the game. They decided not to award the 3rd place trophy that night. Shawn and I looked over the score sheet. The "correctable error" that the ref had changed was indeed an error, but not in the other teams favor. It was our point. And according to the rules, the game should have been played from that point on, not played as overtime. Also, it turns out that there is no procedure in place for protesting the outcomes of games. (Seriously?!) Plus, the opposing team's coach is also the head of Utah Water Polo. (A slight conflict of interest if you ask me.) Oh, and the ref that made the change, is the head ref. No one above him. The more we looked at things, the worse things looked. It was just so wrong. After studying the score sheet further, we (with the help of additional coaches eyes) discovered that there were errors on the score sheet from the very beginning, with the scorers confusing white and dark caps repeatedly, (although, somehow managing to still give the point to the correct team.) So, the final sore of the game was correct. We won. Only, we can't prove it, because we don't have it on film and we didn't keep our own score sheet. There have been many sleepless nights over this, and Shawn has written to the tournament director, the coach, the ref and the head of both Utah Water Polo and the head of the Mountain Zone water polo. He's told them we don't want the trophy - it's tainted at this point, but they expect a full review of the game and I expect there will be changes made at the coaches meeting in the fall.

Shawn told his boys that it could have been worse - google the 1972 gold medal basketball game to see another example of refs gone wrong. Definitely more at stake there, but it felt the same. At the very least I hope for an apology from the ref and maybe from the other coach. I hope something will change so that a single ref can not be so all powerful and make a change like that without input from someone else. I just want someone to admit that what happened was wrong, and I hope that things will be fixed so that that will never happen to anyone again. But, once again, I'm realizing that you can't make other people do the right thing, you can only be responsible for your own reactions and behaviors. I guess if nothing else, that is a good lesson. And I know that if the roles are ever reversed, Shawn and Brian would not put their players back into the water in that situation. They will say, "That's not right, we lost the game."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's Been Brought to My Attention....

...that I haven't blogged in awhile. (As if I weren't painfully aware of that fact all by myself.) I don't even know the reason. We've been extremely busy, but I also just haven't been motivated. I'm going to blame the weather. Maybe it's a lack of vitamin D. I feel as if I've been taking it all in stride, patiently waiting and telling myself that it will warm up soon. But sometime this week, I hit my limit. I am done. If it doesn't warm up soon and stop raining, I'm going to scream! (For starters anyway.) Then I don't know what I'll do next, but I need sunshine. And not anymore of this stuff where it's supposed to be a nice day but we really only end up with a couple of hours of sunshine before the clouds roll in again. Anyway, whatever the reason for my state of blogging apathy, I will, in a lengthy post, attempt to briefly review the past couple of weeks.

A MAJOR theme of our lives has been water polo. In fact, so major that it will probably warrant it's own post but still requires a mention here. In addition to coaching, Shawn has had the opportunity to get in the water and play a little himself. He's played in 2 or 3 scrimmages against the high school team trying to get them ready for the state tournament.
Can you tell he's having fun?
Three weekends ago, it started with the JV state Water polo tournament. (All the tournaments involve several games over Friday and Saturday, so rather time consuming.)There has also been lots of hiking. In preparation for the upcoming 50 miler this summer, Jonas is required to get in so many hiking miles. This was a hike that he enjoyed as opposed to the hiking/camping in blizzards and snow that he's had to do. Wow. Those involved a lot of grumbling and complaining. (I think he's hopeful that if he complains enough we'll tell him he doesn't have to go. I guess he should have had someone else for parents if that's the case because he is going on the 50 miler whether he wants to or not. And as of right now, he doesn't.)

But a fun hike along pipeline with Shawn and Robbie seemed to cheer him up a bit on the hiking front.

There has been a Young Mens/Young Womens photo scavenger hunt. This particular photo is Jonas' group with a 22 year old fish. (Unusual pet category? I know I've never managed to keep a fish alive that long.) Anyway, no, I am not in Young Womens, but I find that if I actually want to see Shawn, sometimes I have to go where he is. In this case he was hanging out at "headquarters" waiting for photos to be texted in so I stopped in to hang out with him for a bit.
Then there was a weekend of the girls state water polo tournament.
Somewhere in the middle of that Shawn headed off to a Stake Priest Rodeo overnighter. (I would have stuck out like a sore thumb there, so I stayed home.) But there was lots of meat,
and an enormous fire, so it must have been a success.
Samantha made cookies for everyone.
Samantha had a class play. It was great except for the part that it was in Spanish so I didn't understand it, but I knew the basic gist of the story. It was still fun to watch.
She makes a good old lady, don't you think?

And then, there was more water polo. The boys state tournament. First, Friday night.
Followed by a gig for Shawn's band,
which made it possible for my kids to enjoy this enormous balloon for a few days.
Then a ward day of service starting early Saturday morning. (Just enough sunshine to make this event happen.) There was a really good turn out.
And we were all put to work.
Some of us were more enthusiastic than others.
At this point Shawn and I were missing the St. George triathlon that I was all ready for. But, you know, water polo got in the way. Now I need a new goal because I'm finding it difficult to make myself get up and out the door in the morning.
More water polo, followed by another band gig Saturday afternoon at the Utah State Tree Climbing Competition. (I know, I'd never heard of it before either.)
And then, more water polo. (Did I mention it was a major theme in our lives?) In fact it became all consuming by the end of the day Saturday and for the next several days actually. Like I said - it needs it's own post.
Then there was the packing up of everything in Jonas's room in anticipation of new carpet on Monday.
I was so looking forward to not seeing the lovely sub-flooring anymore.
But, the carpet didn't come in. (It would have been nice to get a phone call or something letting us know, because we're not moving all the stuff back in at this point. Jonas is sleeping on the floor a little longer, I guess.)
And of course, packing up Jonas' room meant once again, losing access to the exercise room. See how lonely the TRX straps are? This will all be over one day, right?
Then there was an orchestra concert. Jonas' last in elementary school. Can't believe he's almost done!
Entertaining the 2 year old during the concert requires some creativity with the camera sometimes.
I've managed to squeeze in a couple of bike rides in the rare sunny hours that we've had. Plus we can't forget the awesome U2 concert, or preschool graduation. But those will get posts of their own, I hope.