Sunday, 19 November 2017

Turkey Time Meet

 We had a November meet to kick of our Thanksgiving break. While it wasn't the kids' most successful, they had a good time and they did each pick up some new best times! Above you can see what happens when brothers meet on the blocks. Johan had just finished his 50 free and Oscar was in the next heat, same lane. Technically, Johan was supposed to wait in the water until after the next heat began, but I guess he just couldn't pass up the chance to wish Oscar luck.

I was a timer for the first time at this meet. It was pretty boring, but I got to watch the kids up close and even had each of them in my assigned lane at least once. Too bad I couldn't take my camera there because I could have gotten some cool shots! Anyway, here are the stats from this meet:
100 IM - he crushed his old time by almost 8 seconds for a time of 1:45.63. He's now within striking distance of a B time!
50 Free- He shaved off another 2 seconds on this event for a time of 42.96.
50 Breast- Oscar added a couple of seconds to this for a time of 59.92. Still a great time!
50 Fly- While his time of 55.57 wasn't his best, his butterfly really impresses me. He looks great when he's doing it, and when I think that he's only been swimming for just over a year, I'm amazed. He leaves boys twice his size who have been swimming longer in his bubbles!
100 IM- Irene added a couple of seconds, but still did awesome with a time of 1:32.45
50 Breast- Definitely Irene's best event of the day. She took off over 3 seconds for a time of 48.15 and is now less than 1 second away from a BB time. She also won the heat in this event.
100 Fly- Irene was so pumped up after doing this at the last meet, that she asked to do it again. Unfortunately, her time of 1:48.42 didn't beat last time's, but is still gets her the B time!
100 Free- Her time of 1:26.28 isn't her best, but she still did great!

50 Free- he cut off about .5 seconds since last meet for a best time of 47.92!
50 Breast- This was Johan's saddest event of the day (or ever). After diving in, he took 2 freestyle strokes before remembering which event he was in. He kept swimming, but cried the rest of way to the finish. Luckily I happened to be timing in his lane (maybe that was the problem?) so I could comfort him as soon as he got out. Still, it seems that the officials didn't see him and he wasn't DQed! But with all the crying, he added over 10 seconds to his best time. He learned 2 lessons from this race though - 1) always focus on what event you're in, and 2) keep swimming as if nothing happened and maybe you'll get lucky!
50 Back- this was Johan's best of the day. He cut off around 9 seconds for a time of 55:62!
100 Free- this is the second time Johan's done this event, and he enjoys the challenge. Today, though, this was the last event of the meet and his first time doing 4 events. He was beat! He added some time, but his time of 1:54.43 still keeps him under the 2 minute mark!

Below are a few videos, just because the kids like to go back and watch them sometimes. Below is Oscar's 50 free. He is in the middle with the orange cap.

Next is Irene's 50 breast. She's in the middle with the orange cap:


And finally, Johan's 50 back. He's at the top with the orange cap:

Thursday, 9 November 2017

School Pictures 2017

Got the kids' fall photos finally. These are just photos of the photos, so they're not the best, but I think the kids had good smiles on this year. One funny note: you may have noticed that they are all wearing buttoned-up polo shirts. That was totally their choice. I don't even think they noted what the others were wearing when they chose them. Must be "Jin style!"

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Halloween 2017!

 Happy Halloween to everyone! It really snuck up this year. The kids and I barely managed to get the pumpkins carved before bed last night. I roasted up some pumpkin seeds today and they were the best ever! Posting the recipe here for the future. Tip: use garlic salt. mmmmmmm

Today after picking the kids up from school, we zipped over to Ihop for some free "scary face" pancakes for the kids. We have only been to Ihop once and the kids have been begging to go back, so they were over the moon excited. 

They had been looking forward to swim practice today because they usually have fun pumpkin relays and things, but it was rainy and cold so instead they chose to stay home and watch Harry Potter. They were so into it that I could hardly tear them away to get ready to trick or treat! Due to the nature of their costumes, very little preparation could be done before they were ready to go out the door. This year, they again decided on a family theme: stick people!

Some black clothes, glow sticks, and clear packing tape and we had three stick people. They got tons of compliments along the way as well (even though at some point some of their body parts stopped glowing. Note: Target $1 spot glow sticks suck!) It was ok though because they only lasted about 45 minutes before calling it quits. I think they still got enough candy to last them until Christmas (or longer...I just threw out their left-over Valentine candy last week.)

Sunday, 29 October 2017

We Meet Again

 Another weekend, another swim meet. This is the last one for a couple of weeks, and Johan only has 1 more soccer game, so soon we'll get a little break. Yay! But in the meantime, this was a quick, fun, and successful meet for the kids.
 Irene and Oscar passing during warm-ups
Here's the scoop on this week's meet:

-100 IM: While she didn't beat her previous time, her time of 1:33.43 was solid.
-100 Breaststroke: She killed her previous record (made over a year ago) and got a B time: 1:48.80.
-100 Butterfly: This was her big race for the day. I'm not sure if most people not familiar with swimming can appreciate how hard a 100 yards of butterfly stroke is, especially for a 9-year-old. When her coach told her he was putting her in it, she almost fainted. But over the last few weeks, she's been working hard and she was ready. It turned out there was just 1 other girl doing the event (from Irene's team, but older and in a higher-level group). There were only 3 boys. That's how rough this race is. Irene blew us away by finishing with a time of 1:46.33 - she crushed the 'B time' requirement and is just a few second off of BB. She was psyched for the rest of the day. Wish I could show the video of it, but I can't seem to post any videos longer than 1 minute.

- 50 Breaststroke: His time of 59.45 didn't beat his alltime best, but it was still under a minute and he did great!
-100 Free: Oscar just swam this last weekend, so it would have been tough to cut of big numbers. He added a little time for a time of 1:36.42. I'm sure next time he'll beat it though!
- 50 Back: This has been Oscar's "white whale." He had a really great swim early last season, but since then his backstroke has been "off." He just hasn't been able to even come close to that time...until today when he crushed it by over 4 seconds for a time of 49.52! It was so exciting!

-50 Free: He killed his old time by almost 8 seconds for a time of 48.48!
-25 Back: Kids 8 & under can do 25 yard swims at some meets. They don't count officially on their record, but they are fun and give them a chance to practice their sprinting short distances. Johan has done a few in the past, and this time he beat his record by 7 seconds for a time of 24.19!
- 25 Breaststroke: He shaved off almost 6 seconds in this for a time of 28.65. Not too shabby!

Here's Johan's 50 Free:

Oscar's awesome backstroke:

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Fall Kick Off

 It's that time of year again. Short course swimming begins a-new. I realize that my blog has pretty much become a series of posts about the kids' swimming, but I find that it's usually the easiest way for me to look up their progress at a glance. Also, we enjoy seeing the changes in the photos and videos from one year to the next, so I'm afraid that's the way it's going to go. Hopefully we can try to squeeze in more variety as well. Anyway, here's the scoop on another busy weekend. Saturday was another soccer game for Johan. As you can see from the photo above, he enjoyed it thoroughly. The face he's making there is pretty much the face he makes for the whole 40 minutes. Pure joy!

 Today was their 1st UT swim meet of the season. I didn't get any good photos because our seats were so far away. I'm hoping I can add some if the team photographer took any, but I'm not holding my breath. Anyway, here's the quick run down:

- 100 IM: He shaved off over 5 seconds for a time of 1:53.12!
- 100 Free: This was his first time swimming the 100, and he did fantastic with a time of 1:33.28
- 50 Butterfly: I can admit now that I was nervous about this one. He started off his swimming career with this being "his" stroke, but lately I haven't seen much enthusiasm/effort on it at practices. He came ready to swim though and blew his old time away by about 14 seconds! I couldn't believe how good he looked!

-50 Free: She cut off almost another 2 seconds she's right on track with a time of 36.26. It's right on the cusp of a "BB time."
-100 Back: Her time of 1:35.13 earned her her 1st "B time" in this event and was 12 seconds faster than her previous best!
-100 Free: Unfortunately, she didn't beat her old time, but at 1:24.21, she still got the B time
-50 Butterfly: She shaved off almost 6 seconds for her 1st "B time" in this event with a time of 46.31!

-50 Breaststroke: The coaches tell us he's a natural breaststroke kicker. He broke a minute with his time of 58.67. He's most proud of beating a lot of 9-10 year-olds.
-100 Freestyle: When the coach told me she wanted to put him in this, I thought she was crazy. But trusted her, and he did amazing for his first "long distance" race! His time of 1:47.13 is right on the heals of Irene and Oscar!

Because most of their races were longer today, the videos are too long to post. Also, I took photos of some races instead of videos for a change (but, as I said, the photos didn't come out very well). The only video I have that is short enough to post here is Johan's 50 breaststroke. He's in the orange cap. Enjoy!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Camping: Bastrop State Park

 We went on what could be our last camping trip of the year. We went to Bastrop State Park, about 1 hour southeast of us. Although it's very close to us, it's the first time we visited because it's had some rough luck in the past few years. In 2011, a fire roared through and burned down most of the park in addition to the surrounding area. It was the most destructive fire in Texas history. Then in 2015, it was flooded in the "Memorial Day Flood"...and again in 2016. Oh, then there was the wildfire again in August of this year. We figured that the coast was clear at the moment, and if we needed to, it's close enough that we could just go home.
 We arrived Friday afternoon and after setting up our new, bigger tent, which we were all excited to try out, we got a fire going. (this was allowed thanks to Hurricane Harvey soaking everything.) I decided to go fancy this time around and prepared some delicious "hobo meals in foil" to cook over the fire. Then roasted marshmallows and Keebler stripe cookies (instead of chocolate & graham crackers). Worked great! And in the morning we had biscuits, eggs and sausage, all prepared before we left and reheated over the stove. I was pretty proud of myself! It took a bit of work before leaving on our trip, but was much tastier and filling than our usual camping breakfast.

 The next morning we joined a guided hike through the forest, or what is left of it. The guide told us about the fire, the regeneration, and the history of the forest. It was a great camping trip and we may even try to squeeze one more in this year with the extended summer weather!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Oscar Represents!

Oscar got some exciting news today at school! He was voted in as one of the 4th grade class representatives! About a week ago, he brought home a permission slip for participation because, as a representative, he will have to stay after school on Mondays and maybe do some other work here and there. Naturally, he has to keep his grades up and attend all meetings. His teacher nominated several of the most trustworthy students in his class, and today they each gave a speech to their class. Then the class voted for 2 of them. Oscar tells me that his class voted for him unanimously and the second seat was a close race between two girls in his class. We're super proud of him and are looking forward to seeing him in action!