Monday, April 27, 2015

In a world of pure imagination...

This past fall Evan came home from school with the sign up flier for Destination Imagination.  He had decided that he wanted to participate this year.  I was a little surprised because we had been asking him for years if he wanted to do it.  It seemed like something that would be right smack dab in the middle of his wheelhouse, but until then he never showed any interest.
The fact that Spencer had done it three different years and two of the three had made it to State finals set his expectations very high.  None of the six kids in his group had ever participated before and his coaches were new as well.  He didn't even really know any of the kids that were in his group but that didn't discourage him one bit.  I explained over and over to him that just because Spencer's group advanced didn't mean their team would - he should be doing it for the fun of it - not for the bright lights of the casino at State finals.
He really liked his group and the rehearsals but he would come home and tell me that they didn't really work on much and that they were horrible at instant challenges and I would keep telling him as long as they were having fun it didn't matter how well they did.
After months of rehearsals the day of regionals finally came.  All the kids in the group were so nervous and scared of messing up.  They all had their hopes set on moving on to State.  I was envisioning a huge let down and already working on my pep talk for Evan.

They did a great job with their skit.  It was such a cute story- it was about the sun being too bright so it had to send some rays off to vacation island for a few years.  Then as the older rays got "burnt out" and ready to retire the vacationing young rays had to come back and take their place.  One of the young ones had a fear of growing up - that was the gist of their whole challenge - it was called Feary Tales.  They had to take a fear and figure out how to conquer it in a creative story.

Evan's character was obsessed with Irish step dancing.  (I have know idea how he came up with that).  He watched step dancing on the internet and came up with a little ditty that he danced during the skit.

We went back for the regional awards assembly that night and I was hoping they would get an honorable mention for all their hard work.  The three top teams get to advance to state but since their were so many teams in their competition (another reason I didn't have much hope) they were going to send the top four placing teams.  I told Evan that was good news because their chances were a little better then.  They started calling honorable mentions and they were not one.  They called fourth place. Not them.  Third place.  Not them.  Now I was starting to panic a bit because I thought they didn't even place.  I couldn't believe that they were that bad.  Second place.  Not them.  It was such a weird feeling of panic and elation because...First place....NO!  Is it really them?  It was!!! 

We were so shocked and thrilled.  I swear I almost started bawling.  Seeing them all run down and get their medals was so awesome!

Fast forward a month and a half to the state competition.  The tweaked a few things with their skit and once again did an awesome job with it. 

They looked confident coming out after their Instant Challenge.  Parents are not allowed to watch this part and the kids have to sign a confidentiality waiver that they won't tell about it since everyone does the same challenge.

We didn't know what to expect from scores.  We all had sort of high expectations since the raw scores from regionals had shown that the kids would be in second place in the state if all things from regionals were equal with state.  It is always an electric environment on the campus and you get caught up in the pageantry of it all.  It is a really cool thing to experience - I can't even imagine how cool it much seems to the kids participating.

They ended up with an honorable mention at state. They were sixth place out of thirteen which is a good solid middle of the pack finish.  Looking at the published scores it turns out that they kind of bombed their Instant Challenge - the skit was almost scored as well as it was at regionals.  The Instant is hard because it is thinking on your feet and you have to have a group that can fall right into their strength areas and their team has struggled with them from day one. 
Evan was extremely disappointed with the finish.  After the awards we headed back to the hotel so the kids could go to the arcade and he was noticeably silent for the first time of the whole weekend.  Hailey tried to cheer him up by saying that at least they got to stand up at the awards and be clapped for - some didn't even get to do that.   He wasn't really having any of it.  He told her to imagine if she had worked hard on something for like six months to have it all end in failure - how would she feel.  We tried to explain to him that they were far from failure.  They got to the State finals and they finished with an honorable mention at the State level - that is pretty darn good for a first year team. 
It took him a couple days to process it all but he is feeling much better about it now.  I think he may be hooked on DI for life.  He is already telling us that he wants to do it again next year.  The other night when I was tucking him into bed he asked me if I remembered how I told him that one good thing about not advancing was that he didn't have to go to practice after school anymore.  I couldn't help but hug him tighter when I could hear the catch in his voice as he told me he really liked the practices and he would miss them. 
I would say he had a great experience with Destination Imagination.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Peas and ants

Evan and Hailey are like two peas in a pod lately.  When they are both home, they are most likely to be together - playing outside, Minecrafting, baking, playing games with their stuffed animals and imaginations, you name it - they do it. 
Today after Evan got home from DI practice they both decided to set up chairs outside and do their math homework. It was a beautiful almost seventy degree spring day so I don't blame them one bit.  They got their homework done in no time at all and I didn't even have to work with Hailey on it because Evan helped her.  Win Win.

When I was going through Hailey's backpack after school I found a paragraph where they had to make a convincing argument about whether a boy in a story they read was right or wrong in his squishing of ants. 

At first I didn't even think she wrote it because the penmenship was so neat and so many words were spelled correctly.  It was funny to me that she used the words "ants" five times in her paragraph and spelled it three different ways.  That girl.  Spelling is not her strong suit.  But appartently being an advocate for the not squishing of ants is.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


I went looking for this post in my history and began to panic a little bit when I couldn't find it.  Then I saw that it never made it out of the draft stage and realized a better title for the post should be #mamaneedstoblogmore.  So here it is - months late but you know what they say.
Spencer came home on the first day of school and announced to me that he wanted to run on the cross country team.  I was a little surprised because he has never really had much interest in running in the past but I was also a tiny bit thrilled that he was putting himself out there to try a new thing.

Now that the season is over I can honestly tell you that it was a great experience for him.  Many of his friends were on the team as well so he had a great time hanging around with them at meets and practice.  His favorite teacher was the XC coach so that was an added bonus.  He never complained once about too much running or not wanting to go to practice.  He was pretty good at it too.  He will never be the fastest kid out there but he will never be last either.  He was always middle of the pack - usually choosing to run with a small group of team mates. 

The part of our first foray into XC that I never want to forget is what a scramble it was that first day he decided to join.   As I said it was the first day of school which means the kids come home with paperwork on top of paperwork to be filled out and returned.  He informed me that XC practice started the next day and he was supposed to have a physical before participating.  Since his last physical was over six months prior - it was not considered valid.  So I got on the phone and called a local medi center that told me that they did sports physicals for thirty five dollars and they closed at six that evening.  Hailey had cheer practice that same night with cheer photos that I had to get her to.  As soon as Trent got home (from his first day back as well) I told him that he had to hurry up and get Spencer to the medi center for his physical and then they had to go out and buy him a pair of running shoes.  Since he had never been a sporty kid in the past, his new "tennis shoes" that we bought for school were glorified Van's - nothing you could do real running in.

So everything worked out.  Hailey got to cheer.  Spencer got and passed his physical.  They went to the store and bought some shoes.  It wasn't until later that evening when I asked Trent where the shoes were.   When I opened the box I about fainted.  I know the day was hectic and we were all running crazy, but really?  Dr. Scholl's athletic shoes for your seventh grader?

I couldn't even speak about it.  All I could picture was an old man rocking these babies as he did laps around the mall.  There was no way I was sending my kid to school with these.   The whole thing says so much about Trent and Spencer - they are just who they are.  They don't care what other people think.  A shoe is a shoe right?

Trent said they had gone to Meijer to buy the shoes and this was all they had that fit him.  I told him that maybe they should have left Meijer and gone somewhere else - a sporting good store maybe.   In his defense, he is a weird size right now - like a men's seven which is kind of hard to find.  Dr. Scholl's to the rescue! Come on!  They are not even running shoes! Though they do have a stability bridge. 

Needless to say the next morning I returned the Dr. Scholl's and found him a pair of Nike running shoes in his size. 

This spring Spencer decided to keep with running and go out for track.  The team has their first meet tomorrow.  Just because he loves to keep me on my toes Spencer told me last night that he needs to have sprinter spikes before the meet.  So guess what we get to shop for after school today?  That kid - he is something else!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Pranksters

Hailey was so excited about April Fool's Day this year.  She kept telling me last night that she knew how to pull off the best prank and I have to say she did manage a pretty good one.  And she even did it all on her own. 

Sometime last night she poured three bowls of cereal with milk, plopped in a spoon and put them in the freezer overnight.  She was the first one up and downstairs (you will wonder how in a minute) with her prank all set out on the counter and ready to go. 

Unfortunately none of us really eat cereal in the morning so we were kind of on to her from the get go.  But still a stellar effort and an amazingly effective prank.

My parenthesis above have to do with this next tidbit. 

I woke up early this morning - four o'clock to be precise - by the sound of Evan's alarm clock going off.  I figured he set it wrong - he has been setting it to get up early in preparation for middle school next year - he's a planner.  I didn't even think it would wake him up and I would have to get up and shut it off, but he heard it and tended to it.  I started to fall back asleep but kept on hearing strange sounds like someone was up and about.  My thinking was made more valid by the fact that the cat who is usually curled up next to my body sleeping was alert and at the ready to protect me - his favorite person in the family.   I listened for a few more minutes and continued to hear sounds of movement and activity.   I figured that Evan's alarm woke him up and he discovered that he had an accident and was most likely changing pajamas and maybe trying to strip his bed. 

I hauled myself out of bed and made my way to his room where I saw his door was closed but there was light around it.  I knocked and opened the door.  There were Evan and Hailey sitting on his bed cutting up a cardboard shoe box.  I almost thought I was dreaming.  I asked them if they knew that it was four thirty in the morning and Evan replied "Happy April Fool's Day?".  I told them they had to go back to bed or they were going to be exhausted when it was time to get up.  I still don't know what they were doing.  Perhaps another prank that we will find out later?  Or maybe just the fact that they got me out of bed at four in the morning.  Crazy kids!