Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Completely Without My Permission.....Gavin turned 8

I spent August 27th this year on the verge of happy tears all day. As each year passes, I get a little more assured that there is not "something else" prematurity related about to emerge.

But enough about me. Let's talk about this year this guy had.

These family pictures were taken last year. He has grown front teeth since then! I think braces will be in his future. Thanks, Saldanha-big-teeth genes!

He still has those amazing eyelashes. And attitude to spare.

He had an amazing track season, and this pretty much sums up how much respect he gave his coach. Don't coach your own kids if you can avoid it.


Gavin is very protective of Sam when he needs to be, but for the most part they still fight a lot. Gavin said it best when I complimented their behavior when we were stuck at the airport coming back from Baltimore, a four hour delay that lasted til almost midnight.
"Yeah, but we'll probably be jerks to each other again tomorrow"
Gavin made great progress is second grade, catching up to grade level in all areas, and surpassing on some. He still claims he doesn't like school and that PE is his favorite subjecr.
Gavin is a mommy's boy when it comes to most things...


 In Little Ninjas they teach the kids about indomitable spirit: difficult or impossible to defeat or subdue
Of all the ways we can describe Gavin, this one fits him best.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Life Lessons: Father to Son

So this gem of a conversation happened this weekend

(Gavin - pouting because we picked the restaurant to go to)

Gavin: You guys always get to pick and I never get to pick!!

Me: Gavin, when you are a grown up and you make your own money, you will be able to make all your own decisions.

Chad: That's not true Gavin, you will get married and then your wife will always decide and tell you what you're going to do.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Iowa Games & Purple Hair

Mid July we participated in some running events that are part of the annual Iowa Games. The Iowa Games are held every summer and include just about every sport you can think of! Frisbee, soccer, baseball, track.....just to name a few.

On the 14th, the entire family signed up for the track meet. Gavin ran the 800m and 1500m events, winning the 1500m in 6:04.31 and getting 2nd in the 800m in 3:02.96.

Sam was signed up for the 100m and 200m dash but decided not to run.

And....Chad and I also signed up for the adult track meet. It is really too bad more people don't come out for it - lots of people representing the 60 - 70 age groups which was so inspiring to see.

Chad won his age group and came in 2nd overall in the 800m with a time of 2:17.58. Bridie won her age group and came in 2nd overall in the 1500m with a time of 5:59.91. That's not saying much since I was the only one in my age group and there were only 5 participants in this race. I was really happy to run it in under 6 minutes though!

Gavin, Chad and I also ran the 4k cross country race the weekend following the track meet. It was Gavin's first race at this distance.

Gavin took 2nd in the 11 & under age group with a time of  22:11 (32nd overall!)
Bridie took 1st in the female 30 - 34 age group with a time of 20:54 (26th overall!)
Chad took 1st in the male 30 - 34 age group with a time of  16:26 (4th overall!)

The night before the xc race the boys dyed their hair purple in anticipation of our trip to Baltimore (Johnston Dragons - represent!).

Bleaching in progress

Photo by Sam at the track meet
Little man wanted a purple mohaw

Proud of his medal finish

Triple medal morning on the ISU xc course

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sam's First Soccer Game

We had to miss Sam's first soccer game through i9 sports due to our trip to Baltimore, and last week's game was rained out. This week Sam had practice and a double header!

Last week, ready to go - until we hit a torrential downpour on the way there.

Unfortunately, the box of jerseys was misplaced when we got there Saturday. Forunately, the above picture was taken the week prior, and this time he had a shirt on, although he was a little bummed to not get his jersey.

He was pretty shy and hesitant when he first got there. They did a few practice drills like dribbling the ball up to the net and shooting, and standing in a circle passing the ball to each other. Then the games started. He did a good job running around the field, but kept giving up these goofy sideways looks "are you watching me? let me make a cute shy face at you while I know you are watching me". He was not terribly aggressive about getting in there and getting the ball, but I think that will change as he gets more comfortable.

The first game they were pretty good at rotating kids in and out every few minutes. By the second game kids were getting tired! So the coach was asking kids who wanted a break. Sam never wanted a break and played the entire second game!

Getting pretty tired by the end. Overall had a great time though!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sam is Outraged: all Gavin's sports

You may have noticed a new theme posting here. Sam likes to be outraged about things. I'm sharing the rants that have captured my attention lately.

The other night we were talking about Sam's upcoming first soccer game (post will be up in a couple days - and this time I promise, I have written up a bunch of posts and scheduled them to post every couple days for your viewing pleasure).

And instead of focusing on his excitement of his game, he went off:

"I always have to watch Gavin play sports! I have to watch Gavin play baseball, and Gavin play soccer, and Gavin play track!! And nobody every gets to watch me play ANYTHING!"


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Swim Lessons

Last week the kids took lessons at Morris Swimming. This is Gavin's third year there. The first time I tried swimming lessons for Gavin they were group lessons at the middle school and we could not get him off the side of the pool for the majority of the lessons. He was terrified.

One of the parents on our soccer team sent out an email about these private swimming lessons and I thought that might be what he needed. The first year we only signed up for one session and he did great!

Last summer we signed up for most of the sessions and he took lessons for most of the summer. This year I just signed him up for the last session of the summer, not knowing how track would impact our ability to attend lessons.

The night before his session started Sam decided he wanted lessons too. Unfortunately, she was booked up, but the next day she called me with a last minute cancellation in Gavin's session! How perfect was that? So they got to take lessons at the same time. Gavin got his favorite instructor, Adam. Sam got to work with two girls, since the cancellation had been siblings.

Suzanne Morris holds private lessons in her backyard pool in Urbandale. She oversees the sessions, sometimes working one on one with the kids. The kids are also paired up one on one with high school/college kids that Suzanne knows from the Johnston swim team. The individual attention, plus the casual backyard atmosphere, and the fun that high school kids bring, all create a great experience for the kids.

Gavin worked on the freestyle stroke this week, as well as the back float. By the end of the week he was able to swim across the pool and take breaths while doing the freestyle. He was also able to do a pencil jump off the diving board and come up into a back float. Gavin is not terribly comfortable in the water, so my main goal is that he build enough skill so that he can go to the pool with friends and I'm not worried constantly that he get in too deep that he gets in trouble. He has been making steady process, but I think his competitive skills will stay on dry land  :)

For youngsters like Sam, their goal is getting them comfortable in the water. They get him to put different parts of his face in the water, eventually getting him to go completely under by the end of the week. He jumped off the side of the pool into the instructors arms, and then onto a noodle, and worked up to jumping off the diving board. He also worked on kicking his legs - going around the pool with a noodle, as well as a backfloat with his head supported on the instructors shoulder.

Lessons aren't cheap - $75 for a week long session (5 days x 30 minutes). However, I think the quality of instruction they get is well worth it. I think swimming is a skill well worth the know, drowning and all.

Here are a couple pictures I took of Sam, and then some underwater pics from the Morris Swimming Facebook page.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sam is Outraged that Busses Don't Have Seatbelts

Have you met Sam? He doesn't stop talking. Ever.

No idea where he gets that

Conversation in the van Friday night driving home from an evening at a friend's house. This is a typical example of how one question just leads to another - but I was surprised by the passionate opinion he had at the end!

S: Why do policemen get bad guys?
M: Because that is their job.
S: But we don't have any bad guys around here.
he is obsessed with asking questions about policemen, our neighbor is one, and I find it hard to answer because I don't want to freak him out by telling him there are criminals around
M: Well, they don't just get bad guys, they watch out for people that are breaking other rules, like people that are driving too fast, or people that aren't wearing their seat belt.
S: But busses don't have seat belts!!!
M: I know, I think it's silly. Busses should have seat belts.
S: But busses are big! And they drive fast! They could be going really fast, and something could happen, and they are going fast and everyone would fall out of their seats. Busses should have seatbelts!

He was quite adament that busses should have seat belts. I couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How Helicopter Parenting is Spoiling Our Kids

This is a really great article from the NY Times.

Isn't is amazing how, despite going about life with the best intentions, there will always be someone telling you how much you are screwing up your kids??

Most of the time, I don't put too much stock in it. There are critics of every parenting method you take. There just are.

This one strikes a little close to home though. I just had a conversation yesterday with a lady at work whose son is in college. We talked about how much we do for the men/kids in our lives, how we end up totally enabling them and kind of joking about how they won't be able to function without us.

That's how I show love. I do stuff for people. I cook, I buy clothes I think they like, I put away laundry, I plan vacations. I am not the super touchy feeliest person. I don't express my love well in words. But in action? This is where I excel.

Turns out instead of raising kids that feel loved and taken care of and secure, I am creating little monsters that are completely un-self-sufficient.

Now, besides the love = action stuff, there were other concepts I could relate to in this article. For one, I don't want to let my kids fail. But failure is part of learning. I have to get comfortable with the fact that they will fail, repeatedly, if they are to accomplish anything. I need to stop snow plowing away the obstacles.

I also don't give them a whole lot of responsibility around the house because a) I'm a control freak and they will do it wrong and b) it's just faster and easier to get it done myself vs instructing and overseeing them.

Then there's the part about ignoring the kids more. This makes total sense when you look at my two boys. Gavin got all my attention when he was little. Chad worked weekends and it was just the two of us, out doing fun stuff every weekend. By the time Sam came around, my job was more demanding, we were out and about at Gavin's events all the time, and he just didn't get that "center of the universe" attention. He is much more independent, will independently take on tasks and has no problem finding creative ways to entertain himself for a long time.

Big sigh. In parenting there are no "right" answers unfortunately. It is important to reflect on what you are doing, and why, and where there are opportunities to improve. This passage, in particular, hit home.

Madeline Levine, a psychologist who lives outside San Francisco, specializes in treating young adults. In “Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success” (HarperCollins), she argues that we do too much for our kids because we overestimate our influence. “Never before have parents been so (mistakenly) convinced that their every move has a ripple effect into their child’s future success,” she writes. Paradoxically, Levine maintains, by working so hard to help our kids we end up holding them back.

“Most parents today were brought up in a culture that put a strong emphasis on being special,” she observes. “Being special takes hard work and can’t be trusted to children. Hence the exhausting cycle of constantly monitoring their work and performance, which in turn makes children feel less competent and confident, so that they need even more oversight.”

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