Sunday, November 12, 2017

Fall Soccer

All the boys had great soccer seasons again. Mark still plays in the rec league with Coach Clark, and though members of his team come and go, he still has the same core. Mark still led the team, but he became more of a passer with his friend, Troy, being the receiver of most of Mark's assists. Mark scored tons of goals, as always, but to everyone's surprise, he volunteered to be the goalie once. During the half that he played goalie, he didn't allow a single goal. He even had one save where he slapped the ball wide with his hand just as it headed toward the net. Best of all, each of his dropkicks left the fans around us gasping. Some of the parents on the other team were saying, "Who is that kid? He can really kick!"

Mark also had the opportunity to referee soccer games. He worked mostly with the 8 year-olds, and he liked the girls' games best. He'd always laugh because they were so kind, stopping to help and opponent up rather than bothering to score a goal. It was a great first job for Mark, even though Mom or Dad had to attend every game with him. Since he usually did two games per week, we ended up with 5 hours of soccer each Saturday!
Mark always throws in. He has the best form!
Mark has so much fun playing soccer. 
  Mark and Troy (in red) are a great duo!
Mark is a great leader on his team.
Mark also had the chance to ref this season!
Mark had a lot of fun being a ref!
Mark has a great coach! We are so lucky that he's been our coach for so long!
Dax is an old hand at goalie. He played for a rather poor team, and they didn't put together very many wins, but Dax was the star. He generally played one half at goalie and one half at forward. During his time at goalie he had to make tons of saves, and twice after games, strangers told us what a special player he was. Several times his big dropkicks led directly to goals as his team beat the other team down the field. Dax was a great forward, too. He scored more goals by double (probably triple) than anyone else on his team. One trick he learned is to wait for a goalie to let loose a poor kick and send it back into the goal. In this way, he scored a hat trick of hat tricks (9 goals) in a single game! Best of all, Dax never complained about his teammates no matter how out of position they were or how poorly they played. He focused on his own play and really excelled.

Dax was a great forward, and a great goalie. 
Dax had fun playing soccer even though his team wasn't super good.
Dax score plenty of goals for his team.
Dax is getting quite good with his footwork.
Dax has awesome kicks!
I love when Dax relaxes at goalie! 
We had a lot of freezing cold games for soccer this season!
No one can kick as far as Dax!
Seth played with a lot of players from our neighborhood this year, which was fun. He knew 6 of the 8 players on his team before the season started. Dad coached his team again, so he got to go to each practice with Seth. Seth played super well and scored at least one goal in every game. There were a lot of butterfly chasers on his team, which meant that they didn't dominate, so Seth had to work hard to keep his team in competition in many games. They ended up with a pretty solid season splitting most of their games and tying several. In Seth's best game he scored 3 goals including two during the final substitution that drew the game into a tie. We were so proud of all our boys for the way the played, but we were really glad they were having fun and spending time doing what they love.
Seth can control the ball really well.
We had so much fun watching Seth lead his team.
Seth scored lots of goals because he was so fast.
Seth was all smiles at the soccer games.
Dad was Seth's coach and had fun with these crazy kids!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fall Baseball

Mark played for the A's in his Fall League.
We let Mark play an intermediate baseball league this Fall. Sadly, it overlapped Dad's Monday night softball league, so we weren't often able to attend both games. Mark really loved the league, though. A guy that we've known forever was coaching, and there was plenty for Mark to learn.

Mark had to get used to leading off. This wasn't a major problem, and he was still a great base-stealer and never got picked off. The harder part was holding runners on when he was pitching. Mark did develop a pretty good move, though, and even picked off a runner or two. Another thing that was different was that batters could run on a dropped third strike. This isn't a huge problem for Mark because he rarely strikes out, and he doesn't really throw anything very wildly.
Mark liked pitching out of the stretch best.
That looks a little high....
We traveled as far as Payson for Mark's games.
The most important difference was the level of competition. Suddenly every kid was pretty good! That made the league really fun for Mark, who has always been a great player. He was still the smoothest fielder on the team, but he was closer to the middle of the pack as a hitter. His pitching was still good enough for the league, and he did very well in each of his outings.
Mark has a great baseball stance.
Mark has always had the highest baseball IQ on his team.
One thing that was difficult in this league was the level of pressure. There were tears over losses and every game seemed like the World Series. This didn't bother Mark much, but we didn't like the feeling that it wasn't as fun as the rec league. Still, Mark loves playing any kind of baseball any time, so we felt it was successful.
Mark made some great new friends on this new team.
We were able to sneak over to one of Dad's games! It was freezing, but we had fun watching Dad play 2nd base and have fun with his team.
Shh! Dad doesn't know he's too old to play!
This is right before Dad slid head first into third base.
Dad plays second because no one hits it very hard there.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Back to School 2017

The beginning of school has come and gone, but we have been having a wonderful 2017 school year.

Mark is back at Dry Creek this year! He and Dad had such a special year together last year that it was  difficult for them to say good-bye. But Mark got the teacher he was hoping for, Mrs. Burton, and has been having a wonderful year. He has been a great big brother riding bikes with Dax, and letting him play with he and his friends in the morning before school.

Dax is having an amazing year. He was a little nervous about his teacher at first, but Mrs. Navarrete has worked miracles with Dax. He loves school and is up early every morning ready to go. Dax has always complained about going to school, but this year he doesn't want to miss for any reason. We are so glad that he is having such a successful year.

Seth has a busy year as he gets ready to go to Kindergarten next year. He is going to preschool with Miss Tina who we love, and he loves, too. Seth is also going to a preschool at the Lehi Literacy Center which is awesome. It only runs for half the year, but it is such a great kickstarter for reading. Seth is also doing an online preschool called Upstart. So he is a busy boy! But Mom and Seth still have a lot of fun going on adventures and playing together every day.
Mark and Dax love riding bikes together.
Mom and Seth ride around the neighborhood!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Great American Eclipse 2017: AKA Best Day Ever!

Great American Solar Eclipse!!!!!
A year and a half ago Dad asked Stephanie if we could stay at her house in Idaho Falls on August 21, 2017. She was a little surprised and confused, but she agreed. But in the last few months, the hype began to build for the Great American Eclipse. People were renting out houses and even sections of their yards for hundreds of dollars. We were glad we had planned ahead.

The eclipse was Monday morning, and school started on Tuesday. Dad had to take a personal day to get out of his school meetings, but it was worth it. He got his class all ready on Friday and we left early Saturday morning. Idaho was predicting Armageddon traffic, but the drive up wasn't bad at all. There sure were a lot of people there, though. We had a great time staying with Steph, and we like to take our boys to Church on the road. On Sunday night, Melanie showed up to camp in the backyard, and Brittany came on Monday morning, so it was quite the party.
We chuckled at these signs on the way up, but we were a little bit scared of the traffic. 
We ate at Rupe's with Grandma and Grandpa on the way to Idaho Falls. 
Stephanie always plans the best activities. We painted Harry Potter rocks!
Mom loves to take naps with Katelynn.
Stephanie made homemade Moon Pies that were delicious!
The eclipse started about 10:20 and peaked at 11:34. It would be in totality for only two minutes, and Dad planned to leave Steph's house by 11:40, so everything had to be ready. By 10 o'clock, the van was packed and we were in the backyard with Italian sodas, Starburst candies, Eclipse gum, and Steph's homemade Moon Pies. The buildup to the eclipse was awesome. The kids ran and played in the yard, we ate, and used our eclipse glasses to watch as the red disk of the sun was slowly overtaken by the moon.
We were so excited for the eclipse! 
Stephanie created quite a spread for us! Fancy drinks, starbursts, Eclipse gum, and homemade Moon pies!
Mom loves getting together with her sisters.
The oldest and youngest grandkids are best buddies!
It was unbelievably cool. Mom had serious doubts, but she is a believer now. 
We noticed some really cool changes as the eclipse drew closer. The first thing was that it started to look like twilight. But it wasn't regular evening twilight, instead, shadows grew sharp, and it seemed like we had sunglasses on, but the sun was overhead. Eventually, it got darker, and we noticed a few planets and stars in the sky. This was when the sun was just a sliver in the sky. Though it was 82 degrees by 10 o'clock, the temperature dropped all the way to 66 degrees! The kids really wanted their jackets! This was as far as the eclipse got in Utah. Finally, we looked and there was a sunset all over the horizon. Then, we watched as the last sliver of the sun disappeared and we were pitched into darkness. Of all our adventures, this had to be the most amazing for all of us. We took off the eclipse glasses and gawked! Though Mom took an amazing picture, no picture could capture what we were looking at. The thing that made it so dramatically impossible to describe was the look of the moon. In photos, it looks flat, but in reality, it looked like a massive dark orb with a glowing corona behind it. We had a wide array of emotions but mostly, it was the most thrilling two minutes of our lives. Mom looked at Dad and said, "Texas, 2024?" and Dad just smiled. It was something we will never forget. It really had to be experienced.
The sun before the eclipse starts. 
Eclipse begins!
Don't worry, there are only 100 pictures as the moon moves across the sun!
Also, in case you were worried about my eyes, I put my eclipse glasses over the lens of my camera to take these pics!
As the sun disappeared, the temperature dropped a ton. 
There was a lot of cheering when we saw this!!!
The Great American Solar Eclipse was so awesome!
It was so dark outside at 11:40 am!
We will never forget this moment. 
Dad let us watch for one more minute as the sun slowly reappeared and then he had the car loaded and we hit the road. Because Steph lives north of Idaho Falls, we really needed to get back to the I-15 before the traffic got thick. We just made it. It was stop and go at every freeway exit through Blackfoot, and it took us an hour and a half to get to Pocatello, a drive which can be done in less than an hour. But Melanie left just one minute after us and was a half hour behind when she hit Pocatello! From there, the traffic wasn't bad at all, and we made it home at around 4pm. We made it in just a half hour longer than usual. We were lucky! Some friends stayed to the end of the eclipse at one o'clock, and they didn't get home until after midnight. Dad's sister Sandy got back to her house in Salt Lake Valley at 4 in the morning! It was a good thing we hurried out, because Dad had to teach school the next day. But none of us had any doubt that it was worth every minute!

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