Sunday, 16 October 2016

First Swim Meet

The big day has arrived! It was Oscar's first ever swim meet and the first swim meet of the season. If he was nervous, he didn't show it, and he did great. 
The BOTH did great! Oscar was entered into 2 races: the 50 freestyle and 50 backstroke. I was hoping he'd break 1 minute for freestyle, but he crushed it with a time of 50.58 seconds! His backstroke was equally impressive with a time of 1.01.75. That's pretty amazing considering he couldn't swim at all until 4 months ago.

While Oscar's goal was to finish the races and not get DQed, Irene was working to beat her old records in the 3 races she participated in today: 50 breaststroke, 100 freestyle, and 100 IM. She destroyed them all with a time of 54.21 in the breast stroke, which is less than 1 second off of getting a "B time" (there are a series of milestones for swimmers to meet ranging from B, BB, A - AAAA. They are goals for them to reach and often there are special meets only for swimmers who have achieved at least a B or BB time. Irene is shooting for the times set for girls age 10 and under, so if, at age 8, she manages a B, who knows how far up list she'll get!) Oscar's freestyle time also puts him within striking distance this season, I believe. Anyway, she cut off over 30 seconds on her 100 freestyle for a time of 1.37.12, and shaved off 7 seconds for her 100 IM with a time of 1.50.94. In all, she's very satisfied with her times (as are we, of course!) 
We also tested out a new method of communication this meet - the walkie talkie. Sometimes it's really hard to talk since they are down by the pool and parents aren't allowed down there. Johan didn't feel ready enough to participate in today's meet, but he'll be doing his first 2 weeks from now. With all 3 of them down there, I think the walkie talkies will be a big help!

Below is Oscar doing his 50 free. I know it's blurry, but he's 4 lanes from the top.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Grandma and Grandpa's Visit

 I'm back after a bit of a hiatus from the blog. I'm not positive, but this might be one of the longest breaks I've ever taken in the 8+ years I've been doing this blog. My only excuse is that we've been busy, but not with blog-worthy things. I've been picking up a lot of sub jobs at the kids' school and we spend our days going from school to swimming and home for homework. We went kayaking the other weekend, but I didn't get any pictures. But for the past week, my parents have been visiting us, and we've been having a great time. We kicked it off on Friday evening at the Cele Store - an old, slightly famous hole-in-the-wall with excellent BBQ.

Then on Saturday, we hit the local library for Star Wars day. There were craft activities before a screening of The Force Awakens, which we hadn't seen yet.
 Sunday we ran our 3rd annual Country Store 5K. My parents were able to hang out inside the stadium while we did the run. Afterwards we enjoyed some games, music and lots of free food. While we didn't beat last year's time, we had a lot of fun! Already looking forward to next year!


The kids had Monday off for a teacher improvement day or something like that, so we hung out in downtown Austin and even (finally) got to eat at one of the "hip" restaurants downtown by the river. Johan convinced my parents to stick around for his fieldtrip on Wednesday. It was an excellent week with Grandma and Grandpa Cameron, but I just realized that I did not even get any photos of the kids with them (or rather, I did get a couple but they were not clear.) I'll have to be more diligent about getting the camera out next time. 

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Pedernales Falls State Park

 Now that the temperatures have cooled down, ever so slightly, we decided to take another stab at camping. Our destination this weekend was Pedernales Falls State Park.  Because it has a relatively small campground, the only night we could book was Friday night. I'd been planning on doing all of the camping preparations during the day Friday, including looking up some good geocaches in the park, but at the last minute I got a call to substitute at a nearby elementary school. As it was the first time this year, and the first time ever at that particular school, I decided to give it a go. So, while Young-Hoon was able to get all of the standard preparations done when he got home from a short day at work, we'll have to save the treasure hunting for next time. But we did have some fun anyway, starting with a delicious dinner and some spectacular glow stick shows by the camp fire.

 In the morning we did a little bit of light hiking - just enough to get us down to the river. Turns out it was a pretty low river with lots of rocks, so our kayaks stayed tucked safely in the van. That was ok though, because the kids found plenty to do. In fact, as long as there is dirt, they are happy. I don't know why they don't find the dirt around home this exiting!
 After leaving the park, we continued on to the Lyndon B. Johnson Ranch and State Park not far away. It's actually the site of LBJ's childhood home and the "Texas White House" where he conducted many of his presidential meetings. The first stop was a working historic farm. Everything was original from 1918 and the staff there does all of the usual chores on a farm. The woman even let the kids gather some eggs, which they loved! Then we could see a school house, more family homes, his family cemetery, a couple of barns, and the airplane hangar where the Air Force 1 was parked outside of the main home. And we had to drive to these because all of this was spread out over the land that was his. Miles and miles. It is mind-boggling to imagine having that kind of a back yard when I can barely maintain my tiny swatch of land.

Oh, and this was definitely one of our more animal-tastic trips. In addition to seeing deer almost literally every time we turned around, we saw an armadillo, lizards, bison, chickens, longhorn, and a turkey. It's definitely an area we'd like to return to.

Monday, 5 September 2016

And Johan, too...

Today was Johan's turn for a swimming photo shoot. He got a little help today, but overall he's really improved a lot in the last 2 months. From barely being able to take 4 strokes without stopping to going all the way across the pool!


Saturday, 3 September 2016


The kids are still working hard at their swimming. They started the new fall season the same day they started school with new coaches, and Irene's moved up a level to Bronze Advanced. We're looking forward to her first meet next month to see how much time she's shaved off. And as for the boys, it's remarkable (to me) how quickly they have gone from zero swimming skills to being able to swim across the pool and back again. We're also looking forward to seeing how they do in their first meet ever! 

I was worried that they might regret their decision to go from taekwondo to swimming, but so far they haven't looked back.  They almost never even mention taekwondo, but they talk about swimming all the time.  In fact, Oscar's 1 request for the long weekend was to visit the neighborhood swimming pool at least once. Because I guess swim practice 4 days a week isn't enough for him. So today I took Irene and Oscar to our pool (Johan wanted to stay home to help Young-Hoon do some woodworking). Since there were no other people swimming in the pool, I was able to get some shots of them swimming. Above you can see Oscar doing his butterfly, and below is Irene's breaststroke and then the butterfly. SO excited for the 1st meet!!

Here's a video of them swimming freestyle. I'd say Oscar's improved considerably in the last two months!


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

First Day of School!

 Today was the first day of school for the kids: 3rd & 1st grade! I think we all were looking forward to it.  Not only is this the first year that the kids will be returning to the same school as the previous year, but this is the first year that Irene and Oscar will be in separate classes. They will still have the same "specials" (gym, music, art) and the same recess period, so it shouldn't be an issue. After day 1, they are all eager to go back tomorrow, so it must have gone well! I'll admit it, I enjoyed the breather as well.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

The Nature Channel

I mentioned in a previous post that we got some new neighbors, Henry and Mavis,  in our garden a couple of months ago. Although some told me I was crazy, I was hesitant to shoo them away because I found it fascinating to see such a big spider so close up. It's paid off in many ways! The other day both Irene and I got the opportunity to see Henry catch a bug in his web and roll it up, preparing to eat it. Then the other day after some fairly heavy rains, we went out to check on the garden and found Mavis busily weaving her new web. We've all seen spiders hanging from the ceiling, but I've never seen one building a web. It was especially exciting because she's so big that we could see each movement clearly. The way she used her legs as hands to place the web was particularly interesting to us.