Father's Day weekend getaway

Monday, June 29, 2015

For Father's Day this year, we thought we'd get away a bit to the other side of the state in order to enjoy the fine, soft sandy beaches and calm surf.  As much as Caleb enjoys playing tennis, we thought we would sign him up to play a tournament on the West coast of the state, instead of the typical tournaments he plays in the central part of the state.  That led us to hitting up Sarasota.  We headed over Friday evening...in a torrential downpour.  At one point, we had to pull off of the highway.  And when we did, Patrick remembered that he left the hose running that he was using to fill the pool back up a bit because the water level was low.  We were a good hour away from home, which meant quickly texting our neighbors to see who could get over to the house to turn the hose off.  Fortunately, one of them was able to help us out, and we were able to continue on our way.  Once the rain let up a bit, I took my camera out to try to capture some of the scene.
We were heading west, into the sun, and a lot of the rain was behind us.  So I managed to capture this rainbow in the mirror and then some of the sunset in front of us.
We finally arrived at our hotel about an hour after we originally thought we would.  So we quickly settled in and climbed into bed.
Thankfully, Caleb had only one match on Saturday in the middle of the day.  So that meant we could enjoy a nice, relaxing breakfast out and then head to the tennis tournament.
Although he only played one match, he had three lightning delays.  That meant our plan to hit the beach afterward was a goner.  On Sunday, he played in the semi-finals, and although he didn't win, he played a great match.  We're so proud of him.  And since his tournament finished up earlier than he was hoping, we decided we would hit the beach.  And boy, are we so glad we did.

Apparently, everybody else thought that Siesta Key beach was a good idea too.  We couldn't believe how crowded it was.  But oh, we didn't care.  The sand is so white, soft, and fine compared to the sand on the east coast. And the waves...or the lack thereof...just glorious for relaxing in the water.  It was funny to see people using pool floats and noodles, but that was because the surf was so calm.  Even Havi was floating on her back and swimming (though I warned her not to open her eyes under water because it might hurt.)
It was truly an awesome time.  We decided that Caleb needs to play more tennis tournaments over that way. lol  We absolutely loved the beach.

Anyway, we love you Baba, and we hope you enjoyed your Father's Day at the beach.

He did it!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Caleb had been looking forward to the Bobby Curtis Junior State Championships since, well, last year's tournament ended. lol  I kid you not.  He had talked about it regularly throughout the year.  He was really looking forward to playing well and finishing strong, and that he did.

As I mentioned in my last post, he had an early start time on Saturday.  So he left with Patrick while I hung back with the girls.  Havi had a fever throughout the night.  So I wasn't even sure I would be heading over.  But her fever broke.  So we all hopped in the car and made the drive.  

For the 10 and under division, the format was short sets using green dot balls and a modified compass draw, which insures that each player will get 4-5 matches regardless of whether they win or lose. The goal is obviously to continue winning and stay in the main draw (the East).  And that he did!  

He won is first match against a strong, young player from South Florida.  This boy's older brother won the main consolation draw last year. So he knew his little brother would be good, and he was.  The girls and I arrived after the match ended.  So we hung out a bit with my sister and her family and the other players as well.

Caleb's second match was much easier than the first.  He even surprised himself with how easily it took it.  His opponent was as nice as pie.  When they shook hands at the net, he put his arm around Caleb and was genuinely happy for him.  From then on, you could find him watching Caleb's matches and cheering him on.  It was the sweetest.
(And this is what a compass draw format looks like- lots of consolation draws for each round of winners/losers, with the goal to stay East.) 
After two wins in the main draw, it was time for Caleb to play one last match on Day 1, the Quarterfinals.  He knew that this would be a tough match.  His opponent was a very strong green dot player.  Nerves got the best of him, and he dropped the first set.  But he pulled it together in the second and took it handedly.  Then he took that confidence right into the third set tiebreaker and pulled off a win!  I have seen Caleb pretty happy at the net after winning matches, but I have never seen scream with such joy as he did after winning that quarterfinal.  It made my heart swell.  And another tennis dad that we are friends with was several courts over watching his daughter and immediately texted me (he was THAT loud) "Heart always....pulls through".  And it's so true.  Caleb poured every ounce of himself into that match and found a way to come back and win it.  We were so proud of him.

As I mentioned in my last post, that night we headed back to our neck of the woods for Madeline's dance recital.  The next morning, we all drove over to the tournament together.  We had gotten word from another family that Caleb's Semi-final opponent was known for cheating.  And well, Caleb learned that first hand.  Ugh.  I hate cheaters.  Caleb did a good job getting an official after the first bad call.  But unfortunately, the boy made bad calls during both sets on "pressure points" and that took momentum away from Caleb.  He fought hard, and the sets were tight, but he couldn't overcome the bad calls.

The good news is that he still had one match left- a playoff match between both players that lost their Semi-final match.  Caleb, again, had to play a tough, young player from South Florida.  One of the boys he regularly plays with/against in Central Florida, played this boy on Day 1 and gave Caleb some good advice.  Nerves were a bit of a factor, and Caleb found himself down in the first set.  But he clawed his way back and took the first set in a tiebreaker!  He found himself down in the second set also, but he finally managed to wear this boy down and took the second set also.  That last win meant he took third place in the whole tournament (out of 32 players!)

One of Caleb's tennis friends (and his cousin Josh) came over to the tournament desk to watch Caleb receive his trophy, which is glass!
His opponent's dad shook his hand and congratulated him.
These cousins shots crack me up. Josh adores Caleb.
Although you can't see it in the shot below, the tournament desk let Caleb write his name and score for his 3rd/4th place playoff win.  So that is what he's pointing to. We are so proud of him.  He was the only "non-South Florida" player to make it to the Semi-final round. 
After we got home, the kids had some gifts to open.  We got Madeline a little marker maker kit to celebrate her dance recital.
Can you tell who was also a wee bit excited?! lol
Then Caleb opened up his gift- a painting that Bammy did of him playing tennis.  It was promptly hung up in his room near his trophies.  He just loves it.  Thank you, Bammy! 

We are so proud of him.  While he would have loved to play in the finals, he was hoping to at least make it to the semi-finals of the main draw.  Not only did he successfully do that, but he also won the playoff match and took third overall.  The gal who gave him his trophy commented to me that day that she still remembered the first tournament he played at that facility.  She helped to run it.  She told me should couldn't believe how much he has improved since then.  I told her that, at that point, he had only been playing tennis for about 6 weeks.  That's it!  He's made so much progress in his game in less than two years.  That just goes to show you how hard he trains every day.  His determination and work ethic are second to none.

Caleb, we love you and are so proud of you.  Keep aiming high, precious son!

And I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to our precious peanut Havi.  Today marks two years since we met her in Taiyuan.  Happy Forever Family Day, Hav!  Love you girl!

We survived last weekend...and then some!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Well, the title of the post says it all.  We were on the go-go-go since last Thursday, when Madeline had her dress rehearsal.  Caleb lucked out with a tennis lesson during the rehearsal, so it was just the girls and me.  I snapped a few photos at the house before we left.
 We were there a wee bit early.  So I snapped a few more photos of Madeline waiting to go back with her class.
 This year was the first year that we did not have general admission for the rectial; we actually had assigned seats.  And I was away at a tennis tournament one weekend when I asked Patrick to go to the studio to buy tickets.  Well, I had no idea when I asked him to do that that seats were assigned.  Thankfully, he got to the studio "late" and purchased tickets pretty high up in the middle.  My telephoto lens appreciated that. lol  Honestly though....it did because even those seats were a wee bit close for shots of the whole class.  So I quietly got up and sat myself in the very last row, all by myself.  Score!  Madeline performed both Friday night and Saturday night.  Her class did a ballet number to "Love is an Open Door" from the Frozen soundtrack.  It was sweet.
Since the children's program was included in the rest of the recital, they did their curtain call right before intermission.  Then they were dismissed.
 Saturday started early (as in dark-before-the-sun-rises early, not bright).  Patrick took Caleb to his tennis tournament, and the girls and I joined them after his first match finished.  His tournament will be a completely separate post because it's too much to include with this one.  Suffice it to say that after three matches, we all (my sister's family included) came back to our neck of the woods for the Saturday evening performance.  After the show, I had to snap a cousin photo.
I also snapped a quick photo of Madeline with her friend Jenna, who also happens to have an older brother named Caleb and is also homeschooled.  Much in common?! lol

Anyway after Saturday night's show, we all headed back to the house for some food and swimming.  I actually had to kick my sister out the door because Caleb had to get up early and head back to his tournament for Day #2.  Still, it was a fun night filled with lots of laughter and memories in the making.

Well, Madeline, you make us so proud.  You definitely love being on the stage.  And we love the beautiful dancer you are becoming.  Keep up the hard work!  We love you!

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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