Another Season Coming to a Close…

I am having a hard time believing it is December already. I would ask you where the year has gone, but chances are it has flown by for you as well. The kids had a wrestling tournament yesterday and will have their last one of the season next Saturday here at home. Like the rest of the year, the wrestling season went by too fast. Liam has a chance to practice with the high school team if he chooses to, but since that option is only open to 8th graders, the twins will be done at the end of the week.

I love watching these kids wrestle. I don’t care that we have to get up at 4am (and I am not a morning person) in order to get the kids to the bus on time. I don’t mind driving 2 hours (I do love a good road trip) to get to a tournament. My rear end does start complaining after several hours on hard bleachers, but a good scolding usually gets it to be quiet for a while. The headache that comes from being in a gym filled with screaming parents and teammates is only a minor inconvenience, so on tournament days, asprin is my good buddy.

I love watching so many kids of all athletic abilities getting out there on the mats and put every ounce of themselves into a wrestling match. I love witnessing their successes and my heart breaks a little for their defeats. But each week, kids from all different schools get better and better. We watch them all so much that we almost feel as though we know them, even if it is in some very small way. We root for kids we may never see again, simply because they are trying so hard to do something that many are not brave enough to attempt. And we always root for the girls. Always.

There is a passion in wrestling that I never knew or understood, and I am proud to say now that I get it. I understand what it is all about. And each and every time we pull up to a school for another tournament, I am grateful that we get to be a part of it. So to all the kids we have had the pleasure of watching over the last couple of months, I say thank you. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey. I have loved absolutely every minute of it and am already looking forward to next year.

I know we still have one tournament left next Saturday, but I thought this would be a good time to share some videos with you. There is one of each of my kids. Please do yourself a favor and turn down the volume. The gym is loud, and we all get a little obnoxious when one of our own is out on the mat. Liam has improved so much since last year that it is almost hard to tell he is the same kid. Nathan has done absolutely amazing for a first year wrestler and has spent the entire season on the Hawks scoring team. And Catheryn, oh my heart, she is incredible. She has worked so hard this season and has accomplished so much. They all have so much to be proud of. I know that I am incredibly proud of them all, and nothing makes me happier than being their mama.

Wrestling Rockstars!

Liam absolutely loved wrestling last year, so it was no surprise that he wanted to do it again this year. The funny thing was that he almost did not participate last year. I am guessing he is glad he did! At their first tournament this year he placed first in his weight class (126 lb) and at their second tournament he placed second. They had their third meet last night here at home where they wrestled team against team. There were eight teams in all and it turned out to be quite the entertaining evening!

Liam at the first tournament.

He looks so tall!

Nathan wrestled a little for the YMCA last year and he really enjoyed it, so he was looking forward to wrestling in middle school this year. At the first tournament he wrestled in the 105 pound weight class, but he is aggressive on the mat, so his coach bumped him to the 110 class at the next two tournaments. He, too, took 1st in his class at the 1st tournament, and 2nd in his class at the 2nd tournament. So far this year he has only lost one match. He loves wrestling and is now talking about taking up boxing!

Nathan after taking first at the first tournament!

Getting ready to start a match.

Probably the biggest surprise of all was Catheryn. She had talked off and on about wrestling, but when the season was about to start, she was not sure if she wanted to participate or not. One day while she and I were watching the boys finish up football practice, we went over the pros and cons of wrestling. Her list of pros was longer than her list of cons, so I suggested trying a practice to see what she thought of it. If she decided to do it, we would go buy her shoes, but once the shoes were purchased, there would be no mind changing allowed. She agreed, and after the first practice, there was no more talk of whether or not she would participate, only of when we could go get shoes. I guess we had our answer!

One of the items on her list of pros was gaining upper body strength. She had gotten pretty strong legs after cross-country, but she wanted muscle up top. Every day she gets stronger and stronger. She has not won a match yet, but she goes out and tries her hardest and makes those boys work hard to pin her! One boy couldn’t even pin her and had to settle for winning by points. (She lost 4-7.)

Catheryn getting ready for a match.

Home quad last night.

A little over a year ago, I had no idea how fun wrestling would be to watch, (I probably had goofy images of ‘pro’ wrestling in my head.) but I found myself showing up early just to watch practice all last season, and am doing exactly the same thing this year! The bonus is that having three kids wrestling now gives us that much more to watch! The next tournament is Saturday and I am already looking forward to it. If any of you have kids who are contemplating wrestling, tell them to go for it! I can almost guarantee you will have as much fun as they do!

Gosh, I love these kids!!! 3:45am wake-up, and they’re still smiling!

Family

Families are like fudge — mostly sweet with a few nuts. ~Author unknown

Typical family photo in our house…

On our best behavior…

Apparently my mom and I look alike, although neither of us can see it.

Have you seen Nathan? No, I haven’t. Have you?

She got me!

Grammy, Grampy, and the kids started out behaving themselves…

Then Nathan cracked…

Followed by Liam until…

They all lost it except for Grampy.

Just when we thought Grampy was the only one who could behave…

And as usual, Rob and I are completely innocent. 🙂

Hopefully my parents will forgive me someday for sharing these pictures! 🙂

Time to Run

Catheryn had her first cross country meet last weekend and she did amazing! I think she was a little nervous going in, but once she got running, she said the course went by really fast. There were runners from close to 10 schools, so lots of girls out on the trail! Both the girls and the boys took first place in teams! They all did amazing and it was so fun to watch!

Ready to go!

Middle school girls at the starting line (our school is on the far right.)

Catheryn on the course just before the finish

Catheryn and her friend with the team trophy

And It Begins Again…

As hard as it is to believe, school has begun once again. In our school district, August 17 was the first day back. What is it about summer that makes it go so fast? One day it is just beginning and you feel like you have all the time in the world to do things, and the next thing you know, it’s over and you didn’t do half of what you had planned.  For me it is another reminder of just how fast life goes. One had better pay attention, or it will simply pass you by…

I have never been one of those parents who couldn’t wait for school to start back up after a long summer. I love having my kids home. Even when they are bickering up a storm, I love having them home. Perhaps it is because I am not a fan of stressful homework filled evenings of school, or perhaps it is because the time I have left with my kids at home is fleeting. They will be off on their own way too soon, so I have to soak up all the noise and chaos and bickering while I can, for all too soon, our house will be quiet. I cannot bear to think of that yet, so I will put it off for another time.

The kids are all getting settled into the new school year. Liam is now in 8th grade, his last year of middle school, while the twins are in 7th, their first year. They have all mastered their new schedules and are settled into a new routine. Catheryn is running cross-country this fall and both of the boys are playing football. Catheryn has not run in a meet yet, but I am looking forward to her first, which should be next week. The boys had their first football game last week and while they did lose, they both had a lot of fun. The game was an away game and by the time we got there, it was already half-time. As we were driving to the game, Rob joked about how we had just missed Liam score the first touchdown. When we arrived, Nathan came running over and yelled up to us, “You missed it! Liam scored the first touchdown of the game!” Go figure… Football is Liam’s passion, so hopefully there will be many, many touchdowns to come. Stay tuned for game pictures.

For now, though, here’s wishing a happy school year to everyone heading back, and to all the parents left home alone. May this year be one of your best!

Nathan, Liam, and Catheryn heading Back to School!

 

Off to Oklahoma!

Rob and I usually only have one day off together each week, but with the 4th of July and Rob taking Monday off, we ended up with three! We had debated staying home since we just got back from a big trip not too long ago, but knowing this would be the longest weekend we would have together for the rest of the summer, we decided to make the most of it. So, after some deliberation, we decided on Oklahoma.

Hello Oklahoma!

I had read about Autograph Rock in Boise City, OK, as well as some dinosaur tracks preserved in sandstone just up the road in Kenton. Black Mesa State Park is also in the area, as is the highest peak in Oklahoma. If you go just a bit further, you run into a fun tri-state marker. All of these things are only about five hours away, so the panhandle of Oklahoma was our destination.

We arrived at Black Mesa State Park at about 3pm. After setting up camp, we decided to go find the dinosaur tracks. There are no markers or street signs for the tracks, so you definitely have to have an idea of where to go. Before we left home, I wrote down every hint I could find as to their location. We found the creek bed, but went the wrong direction at first. We found the tracks just down the hill from the car. Apparently when the tracks were discovered back in the 80s, there were 47 footprints. You can only see about a third of them today. What an amazing find, though.

When we left the footprints, we continued down the road towards the tri-state marker. We were on a little country road that turned to dirt, and we did not see another car the entire time we were out there. We arrived at the state line marker for Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Colorado out in the middle of farm and ranch country. It was absolutely beautiful.

We had contemplated hiking up the Summit Trail, but it was getting too late to start the 4-hour hike, so we went back to camp for the night. There was a thunderstorm heading towards us, so we ended up hanging out in the car for a little bit while all the thunder and lightening passed.  Once it passed, the sky was amazing.

After the storm

Upon waking in the morning, we noticed that we had a flat tire. This kind of altered our plans just a little bit, but we found ourselves being extremely grateful that it was Monday and not Sunday, or the Tuesday holiday, when most repair shops would be closed. After dropping off the tire, we went to a little cafe for breakfast. Great food at a great price. Of course we were the only non-farmer/ranchers in the place, but that was fine with us. After we picked up our tire, which they only charged us $10 to fix, we were on our way again.

Our next stop was the Cimarron Heritage Center. Unfortunately they were closed. I was a little bummed because Autograph Rock is on private property and requires permission from the Heritage Center. I had the number for the manager, so Rob decided to give her a call. She was extremely sweet and even offered to have someone come open up the center so we could see the museum! We declined that offer so that everyone could enjoy their day off, but she did give us verbal permission as well as directions to Autograph Rock.

“Cimmy” at the Cimarron Heritage Center

Autograph Rock was incredible. It was a common stopping point for travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. There was year-round water, so it became a well-known campsite. Over the years, people carved their names in the sandstone bluffs. The oldest known name is from 1806, but we did not find that one. F.B.Delgado is the most popular, as he was the owner of a mule and ox train that used the trail, and he carved his name several times. We were the only ones out at Autograph Rock, so we were able to take our time and enjoy the history of the area.

On Tuesday morning, we broke camp and headed for home. We stopped at Fort Union National Monument on the way back. Another quiet spot with only a few visitors. We walked around the fort for a while, then loaded back up to finish our drive home. We arrived home in time to unload our little trailer, take showers, and head back into town for the 4th of July fireworks. We were all very tired when we got back home at almost 11pm, and it felt good to sleep in out own beds.

Before we left home last Sunday, we had worried that perhaps we would not be able to get a camp site, or that things would be crowded since it was the 4th of July weekend. Our worries were quickly put to rest, though. The campground at the state park in OK was almost empty each night. There was no traffic at all. There were no people at the places we visited. Even the playground we stopped at for the kids was quiet. I guess the panhandle of Oklahoma is not a tourist hot-spot for long weekends. For us, though, it was wonderful. A quiet get-away was just what we were looking for. Not to mention we were able to add Oklahoma to our state map.

I am still organizing pictures, so I will share those over the next couple of days. For now, here are a few random pictures I came across this morning…

Catheryn took this picture of Charbie at camp.

The kids really liked the glass coke bottles…

Nathan with his “You’re seriously taking my picture again?” face on.

Liam loves to photo bomb.