A ton of family fun

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Well, we started off this past weekend with a little bit of tennis.  Caleb played in a Junior Grand Prix tournament that was held at the country club my sister and BIL got married at 10.5 years ago.  If you had told me at their wedding that I'd be watching my Chinese born son play tennis there with his two Chinese sisters watching, I probably would've thought you were crazy.  But those are the plans God had for us, even though we didn't know it at the time.  And boy, are we thankful He knows best!
 In attendance on Saturday was my sister Deb and BIL Andy plus their two treasures.  Also, Andy's parents happen to live in this community.  So they came on over to watch.  And not only that, but a friend of my sister, who also lives there, came by.  She just happened to lead her Florida 40 & over 3.5 Women team to a National Championship.  So she might know a thing or two about tennis. lol  Congrats Stephanie!  And it was great to finally meet you!

Caleb ended up playing 4 matches, and at the end of it learned he was tied for first place with another player, Nicholas.  So they asked the boys to play a 1 game playoff.  They were in pretty good spirits.
 Even though he was down 15-30, he brought it deuce and won!  Solo 1st place!
 He was so proud and such a good sport too.  He always had something complementary to say to his opponents.  He's just so sweet.  I honestly didn't watch too much of the 2nd and 3rd matches because I was chatting with Stephanie.  And if I glanced over at the court, I had no way of knowing if he was winning or losing a match because his attitude throughout the entire tournament was just so uplifting.  He hustled and skipped and smiled relentlessly.  He's just such a joy to watch.

On Sunday, we headed back that way after church because my aunt and uncle, Alison and Bob, came down for a quick visit. Since they were driving from Tallahassee, we had them meet up at my sister's place.  Before they arrived, the kids went down to the pool area for a little Halloween crafting.
 That's my sister walking with Havi, not me. I wanted to snap a few photos of Havi on the walk over, but she was only interested in giving me an attitude.
 The kids stuffed plastic gloves with candy corn fingernails and popcorn.  The bigs embellished theirs with spider rings.
 They grabbed a few Halloween tatoos and candy and then skipped on over to the playground.

 I was determined to snap a photo of all 5 cousins, since Havi was left out of the last attempt.  And I wasn't too particular about where I took.  Just get the two littles to sit still please...anywhere.
 And then I thought a brother and sister shot might be nice.  I probably could've asked Caleb to put down the nerds in his hand, but I'm not too particular I guess.
 Havi continued to refuse a photo on the walk back home.
 And since it took so long, we ran into Bob and Alison arriving while doing so.
 We hit up a local pizzeria for dinner.  Alison has a great dinner game she plays with the kids to pass the time before the meal arrives.  Somebody picks a letter in the alphabet and writes it down. Then another player calls out any letter to start.  Then each player says the next letter of the alphabet.  And you keep going round and round until the letter written down is called.  Whoever called out the letter gets a point.  And whoever has the most points when the food is served wins the loot on the table.  It works like a charm every time!
Again, that's my sister with Havi...not me.
 After dinner we grabbed some gelati. The temps dropped a bit after the sun went down, but we still ate our gelati. Havi put on a show for us, singing and dancing.  She was quite cute.  Then we snapped a few photos of the gang.
As soon as we finished the photos, I realized I had locked my keys in the car.  Lovely.  I always always check my purse for my keys before I lock the door.  I plant my eyes on those keys before I hit lock.  Well, I had to change Havi's diaper while trying to catch back up with everyone.  So that check didn't happen.  Thankfully I had taken the girls jackets out of the car, and Alison let Caleb wear hers. So the kids stayed warm when they were not hanging out in my sister's minivan.  And thankfully we only waited 30 minutes instead of the anticipated 90 minutes for the AAA guy to come and break into unlock my doors.  It was worth it, though, for a little extra time with my family.  Love you so much, Bob and Alison.  We just don't see you enough!

Well, our plans for Halloween involve trick-or-treating in our new neighborhood.  The kids across from us in the cul-de-sac invited our kids to join them for dinner and trick-or-treating.  So that should be fun.  Havi has refused to put on the costume I'm borrowing from my sister for her.  So I'm going to have to think of something quick.  And hopefully before Halloween comes and goes, I'll get the kids over to the pumpkin patch!

And it's...more tennis

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sorry for the delay in finishing up our second weekend camping trip.
I have been busy sewing Halloween costumes, and I'm still not done yet.

Anyway, let me back up to (not last weekend, but) the weekend before.  On Saturday Caleb played in his first regular draw tennis tournament.  Up to that point, he had been playing in a Round Robin format, which is great for beginners because it means continous play.  For U10 tennis regular draws, there is also a consolation round, which means at least 2 rounds of play.  These tournaments typically last two days, so there is a bit of a time commitment.
 Caleb played a tough opponent in his first round.  And although he didn't win, he played very well.
 I didn't take too many photos because I know he can hear my shutter clicking, and I didn't want to be a distraction to him during a bigger pressure tournament.  After heading out for some lunch, we came back and waited for a court to open up for his consolation round match.
 Madeline was a trooper and let Havi play with her face/head.  They both laughed pretty hard.  It was sweet to watch.
 Havi eventually fell asleep on the blanket we laid out during his second match.  He played very well, even better than the first match.  But it wasn't enough for a win.  Still, we let him know that just two months ago, he came to the very same courts in his first ever tournament and played very differently.  He's come so far in such a short amount of time.  He looked like a completely different player out there this time around- greater confidence and skill set.  Anyway, after the match it was time to pack up and head back to our campsite.

Since Havi had taken such a late nap, she was up late.  I let her play with my iPhone for a little bit.
On Sunday, we hit the beach again, except I wasn't feeling very well at all.  So I didn't take my camera with me.  We had a super great time camping again, though we are looking forward to some camping without tennis just so we can relax a little more.

This past weekend was just tennis, both on Friday and Saturday.  Caleb played in his Friday fun night matches, again mixed doubles.  And on Saturday, he played in a Junior Grand Prix tournament.  This type of tournament is also a Round Robin format.  We thought he was going to play other 8-10 year olds, but it turned out that he was playing against 11 year olds! And he ended up in a three-way tie for first place!  We were so proud of him. And as we were getting ready to leave in the parking lot, he said, with a huge smile on his face, "I'm just so proud of myself!"  I don't think I've ever heard him say that before.  It just melted both my heart and Patrick's.

This weekend coming up will look a lot like the last two.  Friday night will be the last in the Friday night fun night tennis series.  I'm not sure when it will pick back up again.  Caleb really enjoys playing, even if it's doubles.  Then Saturday we will head to my sister's neck of the woods for another Junior Grand Prix tournament over there.  The girls will get to hang out with their cousins while Caleb plays.  And then on Sunday, we have some sweet family coming in from out of town.  We can't wait to get everyone together.

A little sand, sun, and tennis

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Round 2 with Miss Peggy brought more of the same as the weekend prior- beach fun galore and more tennis.  Yep, it was almost like Groundhog Day.  We arrived Thursday evening, and the first thing Madeline did was ride her bike.  And Havi wasn't too far behind her, though her interest waned a bit faster.
Patrick cooked the first meal in the kitchen- cheese blintzes for me.  Yummy!
The next morning, the dumplings watched a little Jesus DVD we brought with us while we all enjoyed some delicious crumb cake I baked prior to camping.  It's most definitely a hit with everyone, and next time I bring it camping, I will double the recipe. lol
Patrick took Friday off so that we could spend the day before our anniversary together as a family.  Isn't he awesome?  So, yes, we did celebrate that special time for a couple with our family and friends.  And we didn't mind a bit.  He loves hanging out with his buddy Shail, and this whole camping thing wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for him.  He's already converted our 30amp trailer to 50 amp for us!  And he helped us outfit the truck (aka towing vehicle) with everything that it needs to tow well for us.
After lounging around a bit and eating an early lunch, we decided to hit the beach.
The kids all ran down to the water.  And while they were doing so, I was hoping that the flock of seagulls was going to take flight so I could capture the movie-like moment....but nope.
The waves were not as good for boogie boarding, but they still gave it a go.
And that expression on Havi in the photo above?  Well, she's actually ecstatic, not upset.  She loves to get splashed in the face by the waves and tossed around a bit.  Adventurous, she is.
After a teeny bit of down time and some more eating, it was time to head to tennis.
Madeline has made friends with the siblings of a few of the kids Caleb plays with/against.  He only played doubles Friday night and played very well!  
I just love that ready shot of him.  He's so precious out there on the court.
I couldn't resist capturing a few sunflare shots when he was serving.
And that accessory you see around Havi's chest?  Well, that's a bug repellent bracelet.  She liked to remove it from her wrist and ankle, but she eventually forgot that she had this one on her chest.  They really do stink of citronella.  So that's a good thing, unless you forget to remove it from your child at bedtime because they fell asleep on the way home and you wonder why they still smell of citronella.

I have a few more photos from the rest of the weekend that I will share in a separate post because this one is long enough already.  I hope ya'll are having a fabulous weekend.  No camping for us this weekend, but we do have more tennis!  What a surprise. lol

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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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