Tennis roadtrip!

Monday, August 31, 2015

At the very beginning of the month, Caleb had an opportunity to play in a high level tournament for boys 12s, one in which selection into the tournament is based on ranking.  As you might have guessed, he was selected to play. He was quite thrilled at the opportunity, even though he knew that most of the players would be ranked higher than him.  This boy loves a challenge!  Anyway, at this tournament they also have doubles, and Caleb partnered up with one of the boys that he trains with back at home.  We were fortunate enough to be able to take his partner Amadeus down to Miami with us in our RV, Charlie.  It was a fantastic weekend of tennis and togetherness.

The boys started off with their singles matches.  And unfortunately for both of them, they drew seeded players.  They might not have won those first round matches, but they played pretty well.  Despite the extreme heat (over 100 degrees on the court) and rain delay, Caleb easily pulled off a win in his first match in the consolation draw.  He was pretty pumped.  His third singles match was, again, a tough one, completely outmatched in size, but still, he played well.

After singles was finished, it was time for dubs (doubles.)  Although completely unplanned (unlike lots of the girls teams), the boys managed to pull together a few coordinating outfits for their doubles matches.
You see those two big smiling faces?  They belonged to the winning team in that first round of doubles.  What made that victory extra sweet for Caleb was the fact that he beat the boy who cheated him in the semi-final match at the 10s state chamionships back in June.  Oh, it was pretty awesome.  And I have to give a big shout out to that boy's partner, who was very honest and overruled his partner's bad call in favor of Caleb and Amadeus.  It was a pivotal point in the match.  Playing a pro set to 8, they had been down 2-5, but they clawed their way back on top and won it 8-6!  It was an incredible comeback!

Their next doubles match was against the #2 seeds and the tallest 12s doubles team ever....I'm not kidding, as the following photos will prove it.  Anyway, the boys knew they were outmatched.  They just wanted to get out there and play their best.  They did such a great job of managing the match, even though they lost 8-1.
See what I mean about size?  I bust out laughing when I downloaded my photos later.  Caleb's feet don't even touch the ground, as these two on his right are nothing but legs.
This shot above demonstrates how Caleb had to hit most of his shots....well out of his strike zone and all the way back at the fence.  These boys hit hard and deep.
Yep, it's hard to believe the boys on the left were playing in the 12s, but they were. lol

Anyway, it truly was a great opportunity for Caleb to play against the top 12s players in the state.  It has certainly boosted his confidence in subsequent tournaments.  He can hang with the best of them, and now he knows it.

Well, just this past weekend, he had the opportunity for yet another tennis roadtrip.  This one took us to the heart of Gator Nation, Gainesville, FL.  We got into town early so we could check out the campus before the tournament.  I did managed to snap a few quick photos with my Fujifilm.  So I will get those up soon.

I apologize that I have been absent from my blog for (gasp) a month.  We have been busy getting back to our home schooling, in addition to dance and taking on even more tennis training.  That has left me very little time for shooting or blogging.  Once things settle down here in the next week or two, I hope to get back behind my camera more frequently.  Anyway, thanks for still hanging around and checking in on our little tribe.

The big stuff

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

As I mentioned in my last post, our July was pretty busy. The weekend after camping in the Keys, Caleb was baptized at a beach baptism our church put on.  
As we were getting ready to cross over the dunes, we heard a familiar voice say "Hey, wait a minute.  I know that family."  Turns out it was the dad of one of the boys Caleb trained with in tennis last spring.  Last time we saw this family was at a local tournament last fall.  So it had been a while.  Anyway, we figured we would head down to the shore and see if we could find the boy, Sam.
Before meeting up with the crowd, we stopped to snap a few photos.
After singing a couple of worship songs, all the people wanting to be baptized gathered near the microphone so they could share a brief testimony for why they chose to be baptized that day.
Although he said he wasn't prepared to say something, Caleb stood up there and shared how he was saved four years ago and had decided it was time to be baptized and that he wants to continue to praise Jesus.
When everyone who wanted to share was finished, several lines formed leading into the ocean. Caleb got in line with his friend Sam.  And those would be sweat droplets pouring down from my precious son's 9am.  Yes, he sweats. A lot.
Patrick and I are so proud his decision to make a public demonstration of the personal commitment to Christ he made four years ago (on Uncle Andy's birthday, as he likes to say.) Our prayer is that he continue to walk in the ways of the Lord all the days of his life.  Best decision ever.

So a few days later (and perhaps several years in the making), we finally filed our paperwork with the county courthouse to have all of the dumplings foreign adoptions recognized.  For those of you not familiar with this process, it's a way of giving our children Florida birth certificates, which will make their lives easier (like when they need to apply to college or obtain a marriage license). They won't have to do what I've been doing and that is presenting multiple Chinese documents every time I need to prove something on their behalf.  Let me tell you.  It's been a pain but one they won't have to endure, thankfully.

Well, we had the fortunate privilege of having one of Patrick's friends who is a county court judge conduct the hearing.  Usually, it is done in the judge's chambers.  However, he let us into the courtroom so the kids could experience it.  We also had the privilege of a friend of ours from church represent us.  So it was a very personal and special time.  After some time in the courtroom, we did head back to the judge's chambers.  And then we finally snapped a few quick photos.
After that big week, we went back to our regular summer schedule of tennis, swimming in the pool, and decluttering.  And soon, that summer schedule will be changing as we prepare to start school up in early August.  Caleb's day time tennis training definitely throws a wrench into my planning because the local schools don't start up for two more weeks.  That means they won't start evening training until then.  But although I may not like how it affects my homeschool scheduling, I sure do love our evenings together.  Tennis has no "season".  It's all year long, every week (and every day if you're Caleb.)  So having our summer evenings free has been such a treat- late evening swims or's been lovely.  This homeschooling mama is gonna be sad to see our summer end!

Getaway to the Keys

Friday, July 24, 2015

Well, I know our summer has been busy, but sheesh....I can't believe it's been almost a month since I last updated the blog.  I guess it's safe to say we have had a fun-filled July.  And I'm just now getting the chance to share it.  

Let me back up to a few weeks ago. We had been planning a little camping getaway to the Keys with our camping friends since, oh, last summer.  And well, the time finally arrived for us to hit the road.  We managed to get down there late Friday morning and promptly hit the water.  Well, we tried to anyway.
 See all that seaweed?  Well, it made it a bit of a pain to get in and out of the water.  Water shoes definitely helped minimize the ick factor.  But the shore is very shallow. So we had to walk quite a bit through the seaweed and then some until we finally got to water that was deep enough to relax in.  It was a chore but worth it.

  The kids played games back on shore too, like ring toss. And when the sun got too hot, they hung out at the restroom right across from our site.  See that space below?  Well, even I could stand up straight underneath.  So that provided some much needed shade at times for the kids (and me too.) lol
 Our campsites sat right along the shore.  It was a pretty amazing view.
The second day was more of the same.  When the kids weren't swimming, they were playing board games inside to stay cool.  Then, of course, they couldn't wait to get back out in the water.
 One of the kids managed to spot a tiny crab inside this sponge.  Can you find it? (Hint, it's almost in the middle among a dark patch.)
 Day three rolled around and was filled with more of the same- swimming and trying to keep cool.  One of the kids decided to hunt for coconuts.  She found four of them.  They were such a hit!  So delicious.  Poor Shail, though!  He was in charge of the cracking.  After the third one, he called it quits.   The sweat pouring off him made it look like he just took a dip in the ocean. It was that grueling.  In fact, I think he rinsed off under the outdoor shower right after I snapped these photos, clothes and all!
We had a short but lovely time in the Keys with our dear friends.  We always enjoy their company, no matter how brief our visits are.  And boy, we're so thankful that the mosquitos and no-see-ums gave us no trouble.  That was a shocker.

Well, after our trip to the Keys, we were busy celebrating Madeline's Family Day, Caleb's baptism, aaaand having all our dumplings foreign adoptions recognized in the state of Florida (so they can obtain Florida birth certificates.)  See, I told you we were busy around these parts.  So check back a little bit later for all the rest!

About This Blog

This blog is the place where shared our lives while waiting to bring our daughters Madeline and Havi home from China. (Our son Caleb was already home before this blog began.) It is now the place where we continue to share our life experiences, both big and little, as we try to glorify God and raise our 3 dumplings from China.

Feel free to join us as we journey through life, while I try to capture our days...

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