Long overdue tennis wrap up

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I was meaning to share a tennis update at the end of May, but with Bammy's visit and then Madeline's recital earlier this month, I never got around to it.  So here it goes.  


He played 10s green dot in a USTA Super Series with/against his buddy Charlie.  He took third for singles and first for doubles with Charlie has his partner.  Charlie won for singles.  The boys had such a good time playing doubles together.
Caleb also played in a local Grand Prix 11 and up yellow ball.
Madeline helped hand out awards.
He just missed second place by one point, behind his friend Nathan.  Then he came home after playing for over two hours and hit the ball some more against the house.

The first weekend in June, Caleb played in the USTA Bobby Curtis Junior State Championships.  This is the highest level tournament for 10 and under in Florida.  Most of the kids playing have been doing so for years.  A lot of them play up in the 12s during the year but play down in their natural age division for the state championship.  The only thing we expected Caleb to do was to get out there and have fun and play hard.  And that he did.
He saw his buddy Charlie (they could've passed for doubles partners in their matching colored tennis attire.)
Caleb played so well.  He won one match and lost three, two of which were in come-from-behind-third set tiebreakers.  We're so proud of his mental toughness.  He really enjoyed himself at the tournament and even commented to me recently that he was bummed he had only one more chance to play in the 10s state championships next year.

This past weekend we headed back to the same tennis complex for another USTA 10 and under green dot Super Series. He saw his buddy Charlie, who again took first.  Caleb was awarded third place.  Both Charlie and Caleb had to get an official for the questionable line calling by another player whose name will remain anonymous.  Not cool.  At all.
But the biggest highlight of the day (apart from seeing my sister and her family) was learning that Caleb had been presented the State Championship Sportsmanship Award for boys 10s!!!!!!  This is an award that was voted on by fellow players, officials, parents, and spectators at the State Championships earlier this month. He was presented a nice plaque (that I still have to get a photograph of) and given a lot of praise by the tournament staff.  He had his whole entourage beaming with pride.  

I'm telling ya, tennis isn't just great exercise.  It's a wonderful opportunity to build character.  Caleb is naturally a bit shy, but he's learned he needs to stand up for himself and get an official when he believes his opponent is making questionable calls.  (He actually had to do that in the state championships also.)  We're proud of him for sticking up for himself. We're proud of him for maintaining his composure in tough situations.  We're proud of him for complementing his opponents on their nice shots.  Apparently we're not the only ones who think he's attitude is remarkable.  This Sportsmanship Award is hands down his greatest accomplishment to date, far greater than any winner trophy he might have earned so far.  

We love you, Caleb, and are so proud of you.  
We can't wait to see what your future has in store for you!

Recital time!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A rainy afternoon following a dance recital is one sure way to get some photo editing done quickly. lol  So I'm getting these photos up quickly, for a change.  Anyway, as has been the case for the last three years, it has rained on dress rehearsal day, which was Thursday.  Oh, that's so fun to get my daughter in costume and attempt to stay dry while toting around my camera bag and other children.  Anyway, I snapped a quick photo of my beautiful dancer with her new smile before heading inside.
This year's Children's Program was titled "In a World of Make Believe".  Madeline's class was Sophia the First, while the other classes were Minnie Mouse, Ariel, fairies etc.  I adored their costumes this year (which were so soft!) and the choreography for their two routines. The girls did such a fantastic job.  It's so heart warming to see their progress each year.  I thought I would share videos of her performances from the dress rehearsal.  So that is why you see a big orange bucket (due to the roof leak).  I sat up in the balcony this year, thanks to my new 80-200mm f/2.8 lens and couldn't have been happier.  And thank you to Caleb who used my phone to videotape his sister's performances.  (Madeline is second from the right in front for the first video and second from the left in front for the second video.)

As you can see from the videos and my photos, I took the liberty of adjusting the magenta colored lights shining down on the girls to achieve more natural looking skintones on them.  Sorry lighting guy.
As you can see from the last photo of Caleb with cousin Josh, my sister's family was able to make it over for the recital.  Oh, that made Madeline's day!  We only had time to grab some ice cream together before they had to head back to their neck of the woods, but we cherished their time with us, though brief.  I think my sister was tickled to be off camera duty this year, all thanks to my new lens.  Hopefully, we'll all get to see each other again next weekend, as Caleb will be playing in a tennis tournament right near their house.  Speaking of tennis, I will play catch up there soon.  After my last blog post, my wrist actually started feeling better again.  So I'm back to normal. Yay!

My first roll of film

Thursday, June 12, 2014

So here it is....my first roll of film shot with an SLR.  I loaded a roll of Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400 into my Nikon F100 and had it developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab in Hollywood, CA using their Noritsu scanner.  These are straight scans, no editing at all except adding my watermark.  The moments I captured were just every day moments that occurred over the course of two weeks.
If you can believe it, I shot these two photos of Havi and Madeline together in the grass as the sun was dropping in the sky.  With an ISO of only 400, I had to drop my shutter speed to 1/60.  You can see Havi's hand moving in the second shot.  But still, I was proud of myself for pulling off a reasonable exposure with so little light. 
Of the twenty-four exposures I shot, I had to toss 4 of them due to blinking or soft focus, things of that nature.  I love the grain and softness of the images I captured.  I'm tickled with how my first roll turned out.  Nothing fancy.  Just simple, every day moments shot on film.  I will be sending my second roll out soon, same film, but then I might throw a professional roll in after that.

Well, Caleb had a great weekend of tennis.  I'm sorry I'm just now getting this blog post up.  After my internet issue was resolved last week, I ended up hurting my left wrist.  I am STILL in a lot of pain, one week later.  Grrr.  Typing hurts but I'm tolerating it just for the sake of catching up with my blog posts.  I will try to share about Caleb's tennis happenings soon.  This afternoon Madeline has her dress rehearsal for her dance recital.  I can't wait to capture the rehearsal and recital with my new lens.  And a certain little dancer I know will be sporting a new smile for said recital.  Hopefully my wrist feels better soon, too!

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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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