Friday, August 31, 2012

Flag Football

As passionate as Connor is about football, it was only fitting that he start playing at some point! Connor started fall flag football this month and he is having so much fun. They began practicing early this month and Connor just loves it. His team is called the Fiest (pronounced "feast") Saints and their uniforms will be just like the New Orleans Saints. They've been practicing 3-4 times per week and have even played a few scrimmage games so far. Connor began playing defense (defensive end) as well as offense (right tackle), and recently he was named as the starting center (the ball hiker as he calls it, ha!). He is learning so much about the game.

As much as Connor is loving football, I think Jeff may actually be enjoying it even more. He has taken on a lead role in the coaching staff of Connor's team and has been put in charge of the offense. He has even drawn up a couple of new plays in his newly produced team playbook, ha! I knew he was hard core when a recently scheduled business trip threatened to interfere with one of Connor's games as well as a Texans home game, and Jeff was trying to reschedule the trip to make sure he didn't miss Connor's game (with no mention of missing the Texans game?!). Too funny!

As hot as it is outside during the practices and games, I have been surprised at how much I've enjoyed watching the kids play. For years I have dreaded this season of life -- hauling kids to/from all their activities -- so it's been a pleasant discovery to realize how fun it actually is. I am really enjoying the involvement with new parents and kids in our community, as well as witnessing the joy of the kids at their events. I've also been impressed with the discipline of football as a sport and how much character it builds for these young boys. I definitely need practice becoming a football Mom, but I'm loving it so far!

The official season for the Fiest Saints begins next week and I'm sure I'll be posting ALL about it! In the meantime, here are some pics from the practices and scrimmages so far.

Coach Hooper throws a pass to Connor in the first practice.

What does Kaitlynn do at the practices and games? Play with the other players' sisters!

Coach Jeff and Connor at practice.

Connor missed a week of practice while we were in FL but that didn't stop him from doing some drills with Dad at Grandpa's house. Check out his fierce look!

Don't let Dad get the flag!

Here's Connor going against his teammate Noah -- they are the only ones from the same elementary school.

Kaitlynn at practice.
Connor in his official practice gear after a scrimmage. (My camera settings were screwed up so the color is weird!)

Kaitlynn decided to join in the fierce football stance. I thought it was funny that they are in almost the exact same pose.

Cute siblings on a hot summer evening.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

1st Day of 1st Grade

Connor started 1st Grade this week! How did this happen? I remember this time last year and I was in tears for days, as well as in a funk for weeks, when he started Kindergarten. It still amazes me how quickly time passes and how far we've both come since then.

 Connor's 1st grade teacher is Mrs. Emswiler. She seems like a perfect fit for him and has been teaching 1st grade for over 20 years. I've already signed up to the be Room Mother again so hopefully I'll get to know the teacher and students well like I did last year. And I'm also on the PTO Board of Connor's elementary school this year so I will be spending a lot more time there in the weeks to come.

Connor and I both couldn't be more excited about the upcoming school year! Here are some pics from his 1st day of 1st grade.

Ready for school with a big smile!

Connor with his 4 neighbor buddies -- we all carpool together and they love it.

My handsome 1st grader. Love this kid!

His seat inside the classroom.

1st day picture with his teacher, Mrs. Emswiler.

Monday, August 27, 2012

End of Summer

Who loves summer?

We do!
I don't think I realized how busy our summer would be when it started back in June. We've taken so many trips, had so many playdates, visited so many friends, watched so many movies, swam in so many different pools, and eaten so many pizzas and brownies, ha!

Another "so many" we've had this summer is doctor's appointments. I'm not joking, our medical expenses have been outrageous. Connor had strep throat 4 times, staples, stiches, and a foot infection from a splinter. Jeff had (and still has) a messed up hand from his Olympic competition with Bob back in May. Kaitlynn has had strep twice in addition to her normal annual well visit. Collin had strep as well and just last week had surgery for a hernia. And I've also had my share of medical visits with chiropractor treatments and a strange staph infection on my skin. Needless to say, we've spent a lot of time in doctor's offices, which meant that I had to pack a bag of entertainment everywhere we went (hence, the chiropractor visits, haha).

I can't remember if I posted these already, but we sure had a lot of fun in our pool this summer. We had even more fun than ever before because of a super cool project we've yet to finish at our house. I can't believe I haven't posted about it yet, but we're still deciding how to finish it off. Pics coming soon!

We got a little spoiled over the summer with so many fun playdates with friends. It's going to be hard not seeing them as much during the school year, but that's just how it goes when you live in a big city and you have friends all over.

One of our last playdates before the end of summer. They were playing "spy" which was the game of the summer!

Goodbye Summer and hello to another busy Fall!

Annual Florida Vacation

Our annual trip to The Villages, Florida this month was just as fun as ever. For some reason, I was terrible about taking pictures this time around so I don't have a great record of our trip. But we had a great time despite missing Collin.

Here are some trip highlights. Jeff's youngest brother Justin is now engaged to be married and we were thrilled to meet his fiance, Christina. They are happily planning their January wedding on the beach in St. Augustine, FL. We are so excited about their big day! Christina is an incredible singer and we were able to see her perform several times with some local bands in The Villages. We were all blown away by her amazing voice! It was also great seeing Jeff's brother Chris and his girlfriend Sandy. And Jeff's Dad celebrated a big milestone birthday during our visit: his 70th! We had a fun, relaxing trip and we look forward to seeing everyone again in January for the big wedding. Here are some pics from our trip.

Family photo minus Collin. We missed him on the trip.

Enjoying some time coloring. 
Kaitlynn's favorite part of the trip: playing with the doggies!

One of many golf cart rides.

Kaitlynn really bonded with Grandpa Jerry this trip.

Justin and his beautiful fiance, Christina.

Kevin in a usual position...lounging around!

Jeff's grandma, Grandma Arlene. She turned 90 this year!

Coloring with Grandpa.

Jeff's brother Chris and his girlfriend Sandy.

Jeff and Justin did the dishes one night with Chris looking on.

Guys headed out for a golf game.

Kevin can sleep in the strangest positions.

Christina and Justin with Kaitlynn.

Kevin closeup.

Christina singing at a local restaurant. She's so talented!

Jerry was surprised with a seductive song for his 70th birthday! haha

Kevin, Chris, and Jeff

Kaitlynn got some love during a dance with her sweet grandparents.

Stroll by the lake.

Love this pic of Jeff and his Dad and Kaitlynn. Lots of love for that baby girl!

Another one of Christina singing.

Sweet Daddy moment.

Golf cart ride.

And another one.

Love their sweet smiles.

Jeff enjoyed some scooter time.

I taught Connor how to play Uno and we played a LOT during the trip! He's GOOD!

Grandpa joined the game with Kaitlynn.

We finally got to meet Jeff's cousin Robin and her sweet family from Michigan. Kaitlynn and Robin's daughter Ainsley were instant friends!

Coloring together.

Kaitlynn helped Grandpa blow out the candles for his 70th birthday!

Feeding Gucci some birthday cake.

Golf cart ride with Ainsley.

Sweet girls! (Connor is going through a rabbit ear phase.)

Another shot of Grandma Arlene.

Grandpa Jerry and his 3 boys. Actually standing in the right order!

Jeff and Chris, only 10 months apart in age.

We drove to Orlando on one of the days during our trip to visit the Orlando Wet 'n Wild water park. Justin and Christina joined us for a super fun day. At one point during the day, Connor went to ride one of the bigger kid slides with Kevin, Justin, and Christina. We didn't see them again for a couple of hours and I was starting to worry. I asked Jeff, "You don't think they would let Connor ride something that's too scary for him, do you?" And Jeff said, "Nah, at least Christina won't let them."

So imagine our surprise a while later when Connor strolls up with a big grin and tells Jeff he rode the scariest slide in the entire water park! It's one of those super steep slides, and you get into a rocket capsule, cross your arms and feet, and then the bottom drops from your feet and you plunge to your death down the slide. My jaw dropped when I found out Connor rode that one, and then my jaw came unhinged when he said it was his favorite ride of the day. I went back to the slide with Connor and took this video of him on the rocket slide. He and Kevin ended up riding those slides over and over all afternoon.

Arriving at the waterpark (in the background).

Entering the wave pool. (They made the little kids wear life vests at this park.)

Enjoying a picnic lunch.

Fun day!

Justin and Christina.

These two spent most of the day together, and loved it!

Striking a pose.

These two bonded over the scary slides.

Ice cream treats while we waited out a short-lived thunderstorm.

Messy face #1.

And messy face #2.

At the end of the day, we stopped at the world's most unique McDonalds.

It was like a Chuck E Cheese inside, super cool.

 Back in The Villages, Kaitlynn bonded with Shots the pitbull. She is such a sweet dog!

My favorite time of the trip: spa day with Cheryl!

Family pic before dinner one night.

Jeff's dream golf carts: Prowlers!