Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Singing and Dancing Traditions

From the time Ryan was little, we have had several traditions involving singing and dancing. One of his favorite PBS shows from the time he was 3 or 4 years old has been “Between the Lions.” The theme song at the beginning is so cute! When we first started watching it, I would hold him and dance with him. As he has gotten older, he first stood on the fireplace or kitchen chair to dance, and now stands on the floor to dance with me. Yes, we still do it (unless any of his friends are over). The show is on at 9:30 am and 12:30 pm, so we usually dance twice every day. Ryan gets very upset if we miss a time for any reason. I keep expecting him to tell me he’s too old to do it. Sunday night he was in tears because we won’t be able to dance anymore with school starting. He asked me to record it so we can dance when he gets home from school. He’s growing up so quickly, I’m willing to do anything that will continue that tradition a little bit longer.

During the school year, “Sid the Science Kid” comes on at 8:30 am. At the exact time that we need to leave our house to go to school, Sid’s mom is taking him to school. They do a rap together in the car. Ryan and I do that rap together, and then head out the door for school. It is also a fun tradition.

When Ryan was four, five, and six, he LOVED “Veggie Tales: Jonah and the Big Whale.” In fact, we still chuckle at the way he used to say “the wayer with a wong tayer.” (For those of you who didn’t catch that, it would be “the whale with a long tail.”) There is a song toward the beginning of the movie about “Billy Joe McGuffery.” When Ryan started first grade, we changed the words a little bit. We would sing, “On the first day (*clap*) of the first grade (*clap*).” Interestingly, after just a few days of first grade, we moved Ryan to another school. We were able to sing the song again that year. It has continued every year since, with the appropriate grade change, of course.
Ryan’s school has a brief outdoor assembly the first day of school. Parents attend, take pictures, and then the kids are ushered to their classrooms. I really like it. It sure cuts down on the confusion and congestion of every single kid and parent trying to maneuver around inside on the first day of school.
Ryan is excited about his teacher this year. She is someone that Rara has known since they were young. They grew up in the same neighborhood. Rara has told her about Ryan the past couple of years, and his teacher has looked forward to him being in fourth grade, hoping that he’ll be in her class. Ryan knows that he has a reputation to live up to, and that he needs to be on his best behavior as to not disappoint everyone involved. I’m sure he will be. He always is.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Green Shoes, Green Cap and Green Goggles

My graduating class at BYU was about a gazillion people. I tried to find the exact number, and I couldn’t find it, but I’m sure it was a couple thousand. (This most recent graduating class was over six thousand!) Graduation was held in the Marriott Center. All of the graduates walked in on the floor, and all of our guests were seated in the 26,000 seat arena. I knew I had to do something so my family could tell which one was me. Other graduates put things on the tops of their caps. I had a pair of bright green shoes. (It’s ok, it was 1990. That was the style.) I wore my bright green shoes so my family could see me when I entered the Marriott Center.

Ryan had his first swim meet on Saturday. There were hundreds of swimmers there. Some events had four or five heats! Luckily, the members of the Tsunami swim team have bright green swim caps. Most of the swimmers have dark blue or black goggles. Ryan has bright green goggles. We’ve thought about getting him some blue or black goggles, but then it would be more difficult to find him in the crowd.He did pretty well in his first meet, especially considering that he had only been on the team for four days! There was a huge disappointment, though. As the swimmers’ names appeared on the scoreboard, Ryan’s name wasn’t listed! It wasn’t in any of his events. We were looking forward to seeing his name in lights! We found out after the meet that apparently the person who was in charge of submitting the registrations for the meet didn’t get everyone’s in! The coaches put Ryan in the slot of another kid who had signed up for the same events, but then didn’t come to the meet.The other disappointing thing about that is that none of Ryan’s times will count for him. It is all computerized, and the programs even had each swimmer’s best times in each event. So, on Ryan’s next meet, technically his second, it will look like his first. That’s ok. This was a good experience for him. We think he MAY have placed third in Butterfly, but with so many heats, it was hard to tell. We’re going to see if the coaches can figure out his times (based on the “other kid’s” results). At least WE’LL know Ryan’s times, and we can see how much he improves.

The heat at the meet was stifling! It was an indoor facility, but it may as well have been outdoor. Between the hundreds of people and the humidity, it felt like we were sitting in a closed bathroom after a hot shower…for FIVE HOURS!!! Yes, Ryan and I got there at about 12:50, and left at 6:10. Rara & Papa, and Marc & Frances and the girls were all able to come to cheer Ryan on. Hopefully the next meet will be shorter, cooler, and Ryan will be an official participant.

Here are a few pictures from the meet…

Friday, August 14, 2009

Swimming Update

It's official...Ryan is on the Tsunami swim team!!!On Wednesday, we met with the coach and Ryan's level 6 teacher. The coach asked a few questions about Ryan's swimming abilities, and his teacher confirmed that he not only has the technical abilities, but also the motivation needed to be a team member. The coach invited Ryan to swim with the team the next day so he could evaluate him.

Thursday, after swimming almost 30 minutes straight for his level 6 test, Ryan swam with the team. He did great! Ok, I admit that I'm a biased mom, but he really was better than several of the kids on the team. The coach kept turning around and giving me the "thumbs up." Ryan has been excited to learn "flip turns" in level 6. He, of course, did flip turns at the end of every lap. The coach really liked that! (I tried to catch his flip turn. Here's what I got.)The coach offered Ryan a spot on the team. We considered waiting until next summer. During the summer, all ages practice together from noon to 1. During the school year, they divide into a younger group and an older group. One group practices every day from 4 to 5, the other 5 to 6. The coach asked Ryan how old he is. Apparently about 10 years old is the division between the two groups. He said he'd have Ryan start with the younger group, but thought he might not be challenged enough, so he'd likely move him up to the older group. It was all so exciting that we decided not to wait. We'll go ahead and have him start now. He officially starts on Monday!
Today was the last day of level 6. Interestingly, HALF of the kids in the class dropped out. They started with 12 in the class, and only 6 finished today. The classes always do their evaluations on Thursday, and then do a lot of fun things on the last day. They've been learning water polo, so after their "12 minute warm up," they played a game of water polo. Ryan scored twice!It is so much fun watching him develop into such a great little athlete. It will be fun to see how he does with the swim team this year.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Making of a Champion

From the time he was little, Ryan has taken naturally to water. I remember taking him to the Rec Center when he was not even 2. I would have to keep a firm grip on him, or he likely would have taken off across the pool! We began swimming lessons shortly thereafter!

Our Rec Center has six levels of swimming lessons. Our sessions are every day for two weeks. In the past, we have done one level for several sessions during the summer. Level 2 was quite difficult, as was level 4. He spent a bit more time in those. We had been told by some family friends with older kids that level 5 was very difficult. That is the level where kids learn all of the different strokes (including the fairly difficult Butterfly). Several families had told us that their kids had to take level 5 several times in order to pass off all of the strokes. Ryan started level 5 earlier this summer. He passed it the first time! I asked him if he felt that he needed to take it again to improve his strokes. Absolutely not. He was so proud that he passed it the first time, that he wasn’t about to take it again by choice! Two weeks ago, he moved to level 6, the final level.

On the first day, the “warm up” was a 300 yard swim! The teacher asked the kids to go back and forth across the pool using every stroke they knew. There were 12 kids in the class, and Ryan was the smallest and youngest. He really had a rough time keeping going, but his strokes looked great. After class, I talked with his teacher. She also said that his strokes looked great, and that the purpose of this level is to work on their endurance.

Most of you know from this post that Ryan is a big Michael Phelps fan. Ryan informed me that he could swim better if he had some “jammers,” the tight knee-length suits that competitive swimmers wear. I looked on eBay, and they were between $20 and $30. Ryan informed me that he could not wait for the jammers to be mailed – that would be too late. He needed them NOW! We went to the local sports store where we found some for $45. Normally I wouldn’t spend that much on a swimming suit, but he insisted that they would help him swim better.

We went to swimming the next day, and he truly was amazing! He had more confidence and more endurance. Amazing what those jammers can do! Who knew that it was the jammers all along? :)We are now ¾ of the way through the class. Five kids have dropped out. Ryan is still going strong. Every day they swim between four and eight FOOTBALL FIELDS! Ryan’s next goal is to try out for the competition swim team, the Tsunami. I’ll keep you posted.

Remember this picture of Michael Phelps doing the Butterfly?I took this one of Ryan doing the Butterfly today. It's not very clear, so I need to take a better one. But he sure looks like a champion to me!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bear Lake

Ryan has declared this past week one of the best of his life! We went to Bear Lake as a family (Ryan and me, Rara & Papa, and Marc & Frances, Alice & Claire). We stayed in Rara & Papa’s timeshare at Ideal Beach. We have stayed there before, and always had fun both at the lake and with all of the different activities on-site.

We drove up on Monday, stopping to enjoy ice cream and squeaky cheese at the USU creamery, as well as the Bear Lake overlook as we first started down the hill.
We went to the condo and unpacked, then immediately went to Merlin’s for burgers and raspberry shakes.On Tuesday, we went to Minnetonka Cave. It was nice and cool, and was a welcome change from the heat.We spent most of Wednesday at the beach and on the water. Papa rented a Waverunner, so we all had fun taking turns on that.We also had a lot of fun on the beach. Ryan built a sandcastle, Claire and Alice sat in the sand, and Claire even sampled the sand!Raspberry Days started on Thursday, so we spent a lot of the day enjoying the craft fair (where Ryan won some great prizes playing mini golf), pizza at Bear Lake Pizza, and the Raspberry Days parade. We found an AMAZING new favorite food – chocolate covered raspberries! I’m looking forward to Marc’s post on Frances’ blog about those!Now, our Bountiful Handcart Days parade is known for the large amounts of candy thrown. But this parade far surpassed that prior candy record. As we lined up, we saw that all of the kids along the route were holding GROCERY BAGS! I grabbed one out of the car for Ryan, and he pretty much filled it during the parade. We have a year’s supply of Tootsie Rolls and salt water taffy! On Friday, we spent part of the day at the beach again. It was a little more windy, so it wasn’t quite as enjoyable as Wednesday had been. But we still had fun. We took Cheerios for Claire so she didn’t have to eat the sand.Friday night, we went to the Raspberry Days rodeo. (Thanks to Ryan for taking such a great group picture!) We enjoyed the traditional barrel racing, bull riding, and bareback riding, but were particularly entertained by the “mutton bustin’” and a new event where all of the kids are put into the arena and chase a calf with a ribbon on its tail. The kid who gets the ribbon wins 10 bucks. It was hysterical!As previously mentioned, the Ideal Beach resort has a lot of activities we enjoyed throughout the week. One of Ryan’s favorites is the daily craft project. He made a great wooden car model. We also enjoyed swimming at the pool, miniature golfing, and walking around the area. We had a great condo with a great view this stay.We celebrated Marc’s birthday all week, with dinner out and a GREAT Nutella/banana/pudding pie that Frances made. Yum!
The best part of the week was just being together.
Oh…and Ryan found the Bear Lake Monster!