Sunday, July 06, 2014

Mariners

My dad used to regale us with tales about zany waterskiing antics on the reservoir (and even along the canals) near his home in Idaho. When I was about 10, my dad arranged to borrow an old boat from a friend for the summer and we all learned to waterski at Chestermere Lake. Eventually, we took that boat off-roading near Baab, Montana and we got our own boat. By then we 3 boys were old enough to take the boat out on our own. Cam would drive the van and back it down the ramp while I would drive the boat off the trailer and Tay would help tie us up at the dock (and supply a steady supply of sarcasm and other abuse). When my parents moved away to Denver, they sold the boat and we have been landlubbbers ever since.

R's family went out every summer to a family cabin on Windermere, skiing and tubing and canoeing from the time they were tiny. Her dad was an epic slalom skier and was also famous for his ability to barefoot well into his 40s. Unfortunately, the cabins were eventually sold and her family hung onto their aging boat as a last vestige of their seafaring life.

In recent years we have spent at least one week every summer at a rented cabin with family on either side, sometimes renting a boat, sometimes relying on the generosity of my brother and his family to tow us around the lake. This summer we had another cabin trip lined up, but the cost of a boat rental for such an extended period seemed astronomical.

So we did what anyone would do in this circumstance: We bought a boat.

We gave my brother-in-law Luke the green light to acquire a boat and within what seemed like just a few hours he had a boat, had compiled an array of gear and had ordered me a hitch to tow it to Montana.

A few days later we found ourselves at Ghost Lake for some Canada Day water sports aboard our new vessel. The kids loved tubing and probably could have stayed all night if the gas had held out. Right at the end of the outing I decided to put on one of the combo skis for a quick turn. I recently acquired a wetsuit, but it was left hanging in the closet at home. I steeled myself and took the plunge into the icy depths with nothing but my shorts and a simple yellow life jacket. As soon as I got my breath back I told Luke to go, go, go. Once I was up it was okay and I had such a fabulous time skiing behind the boat -- OUR BOAT. Yes!

And then I finally lost grip on the rope and sank ... slowly ... back ... into ... the ... void.

Still, it was amazing and I am glad to be a mariner again.

R in the Boat


Launching


Kids up front


Older 3 Tubing


Smiths


Grandma & E


Jenny & the little girls


Grandpa Driving


Getting Ready for the Plunge


I Love Skiing

Friday, July 04, 2014

Last Day With Playschool Buddies

For their final day of their weekly playschool, Katie and her little band of buddies went to the park. She absolutely loves these people, and she particularly thinks Johnny is fabulous.



Family History Kids



Scott was asked to give a short talk for the junior primary class at church on Sunday. The topic was connecting with ancestors, so we decided to print out pictures so he could make a 4-generation pedigree chart. This is something that I had wanted to make with him for a long time, so I'm glad we had the chance. He loves crafty stuff, so he was happy as a lark while cutting, pasting and labeling. At one point he said, "I'm doing family history work. That's pretty good for a child, right?"



Later that day our home teachers came over and shared a message about doing family history work. Scott had another opportunity to show off his new family tree chart.

We also told them about some of the family songs that we sang at family reunions over the years. Gary recorded them and the kids listen to them on their music players in their rooms. Scott's favourite song is Ghost Riders in the Sky. Katie is a big fan of Kage's version of "Going Home", which she sang at Grandma STA's funeral in 2004. Recently, Katie has been singing "O That Anderson Clan" around the house a bit. Since we had been just talking about it, I tried to capture her singing it on video just before bed. This was poor timing on my part, as she had just started to snack on pretzel sticks.



Kids always want to see the video right away, and Katie is no different. We watched it a few times and she laughed so hard that he peed her pants a little bit and we had to rush off to the bathroom. So funny.



Not to be left out, Scott also wanted a video. But instead of singing a family history song, he wanted to sing "Everything Is Awesome" from the Lego Movie. This one was also hilarious to watch, but fortunately everyone had already visited the facilities and there were no incidents.

They're smart and they're quick,
And they meet every test.
O That Anderson Clan!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Golf Tips From a Seasoned Pro

[Jun 12 2014]

This year R and her siblings took her dad out to the driving range one evening leading up to Father's Day. Greg has always been an avid golfer, but few of the kids are really into golf, so they thought it would be fun to go do something that he really loves. They had a fabulous time scaring the locals. Even though she rarely golfs, R said she did fairly well. I recall she beat me on the McCall Lake Par 3 course back when we were teenagers, so I believe it.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Tri-Smore: Kids' First Triathlon

The kids have sat on the sidelines for a lot of my races and had fun wearing my finisher medals. Finally, they got their turn at the Tri-Smore.

For several months I have been training for the Chinook Triathlon, and I started finding lots of other triathlon-types all around me, especially at church. One guy named Josh turned out to be a great swim partner/coach and also told me about a fun triathlon for families held in Strathmore. There are various lengths for all different age groups, including a short one for kids 8 and under. I asked Scott and Katie if they would be interested and both responded with a resounding YES.



While I would be doing the Full-Smore Sprint Triathlon (500m swim, 20km bike, 5km run), the kids would be doing the 2-Bite Smore, which was a 25m swim, 800m bike and 250m run. One night when we were out for a family bike ride, Scott decided he was going to start his training in earnest. We measured the length of the pathway behind our house and figured out that he needed to do cycle for 5 lengths of the path and run for 2 lengths. Even though it was time for bed, he immediately went work, pedaling back and forth and then dropping his bike to finish his run.



Clearly, Scott likes to jump into things right away with both feet. R says that this is very similar to his father. Scott even recruited his cousin Hayden to try out the distance when he was over for a play date. Katie likes to ride her bike back and forth too, although she stops along the way to look at plants and say hello to people.



As a final part of our preparation, we went to the Cochrane pool and the kids tried swimming a full 25m length in the swim lanes. We borrowed some swim-assist vests that were quite helpful, and each of them ended up swimming 3-4 lengths.



The actual race day was cold and windy and a bit confusing. Rather than spending the day outside cheering each other on, we often retreated to the civic centre to warm up. As a result, we didn't have all the transitions set up quite how we might have liked. Plus, I forgot to bring the charged battery for the good camera, so all the pictures and video were taken with our phones.



Still, the kids were super-excited to get their new race shirts and get their bib numbers written on their arms and legs with a marker, just like Dad.



It is no secret that I am a terrible swimmer, but I am pretty sure I was sabotaged and swam 4 extra lengths. I was supposed to do 20 lengths of the pool to cover 500m. I counted off 10 lengths and felt good about being half done. I did 2 more and the girl who was counting lengths for my lane called out to me "half-way done!". I lose track of how many lengths I do all the time, so I figured she might be right, but it still took the wind out of my sails a bit.

A few minutes later she held up four fingers for me as I touched the wall. I figured that meant 4 more lengths, which made sense based on my reckoning. I swam 4 more lengths climbed out of the pool. She said, "you have 2 more to go!" I said, "Are you serious? Are you sure?" And then I jumped back in the pool and swam 2 more lengths. After a total of 13min:43sec, I finally finished my swim, being 69th out of a field of 108 adults. Even though I swam a steady front crawl, it would appear that my average pace of 41 seconds/25m was no better than the previous week, when I floundered around in a lake with no apparent sense of direction or purpose for 3 times the distance. Final comment on this -- R filmed a short video of me swimming 1.5 lengths, and I clocked one full length at 27 seconds. If you assume that I actually swam 24 lengths, then my pace was a more respectable 34 seconds/25m, including time spent climbing out of the pool and back near the end.

I always have an excuse for underperformance.



It was super windy on the bike, but I managed to climb from 69th place to 11th place by the end of the bike segment. Then I ran a 21-minute 5km to move up to 9th place overall by the finish. I think that says more about the relaxed nature of this race than it does about my abilities. I have to say that I am a bit shocked that my strongest relative performances seem to come in the run, since I would not have considered myself to be much of a runner before.



It was great to have the kids waving at me during the transitions and at the finish line. Once I was done, then we turned our attention to the 2-Bite Smore. Being one of the oldest in his category, Scott got to hit the pool before Katie.



There was a moment there when he was getting lined up and he got pulled one way and then sent back to the line and you could tell he was a bit rattled, but in the end he got his chance at the starting line.



Several of the kids were very strong swimmers without any swimming aids, but one boy brought a pool noodle with him. Scott was quite pleased that he beat 1-2 other kids across the pool, including the noodle-boy.

Transition


The transitions were a bit crazy because we were novices. I was so busy with my race that we hadn't really had a good chance to lay everything out for the kids, and then suddenly we were rushed to the starting line for Scott's race a bit unprepared. I don't think anyone predicted how cold it was going to be. Scott ended up wearing his jacket over his shirt and his race bib because he was freezing. Good thing he had his number scrawled down his calf.



Scott came out of the run pretty much sprinting, and he had to dial it back a bit when we finally figured out that he had quite a ways to go (seemed close to 400m than 250m). I trotted along next to him, having mostly recovered from my race.



Finish


Medal



Katie poolside


When it came to her turn to race, Katie started to get a bit nervous. She was starting to have second thoughts. However, to her credit, she still went through with it, even though the little boy in the neighbouring lane panicked and climbed right out of the pool. Once the race was underway, the smile never left her face, and it was clear that she was having a wonderful time.




As we left the pool to do the first transition, Katie told me, "Did you see that kid and that dad in there? I was faster than them at swimming. I was like a rocket, dad."

Katie Transition




Just like Scott, we ended up bundling Katie up in pants and a hoodie because of the cold. Even still, her swimming suit soaked through the seat of her pants, which was adorable. Her Disney Princess shoes were key to her elite performance, obviously.



Katie Bike


While she was the on the bike Katie provided a fabulous commentary on the proceedings, which I happened to capture on video while I walked beside her. Scott was a bit too fast for me to make a ride-along video, but Katie's balance bike was just right.

Katie Run



After she crossed the finish line and got her medal I picked up Katie to give her a hug. She said, "I'm so happy that I finished my very first race!"

Eating Smores


We ended up wearing our matching shirts everywhere for the next day and a half. The kids were SO PROUD of their races, and Scott asked me every 10 or 20 minutes when he could do another one. Sounds like the Tri-Smore is going to be a family tradition.



The Video

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Great Movie With Great Grandparents

[May 29, 2014]

Our kids have the great privilege of having great grandparents that live just a few blocks away. Despite the proximity, we mostly only see them at church on Sunday. Katie and R and R's mom decided to have a movie date at the retirement home with Great Grandma and Grandpa M. They made popcorn and watched Frozen, which Great Grandma had been wanting to see. Katie was very excited for the days leading up to it and she had a wonderful time. She was a bit shocked when she finally realized that all these people in her life called "grandma" or "grandpa" are all mommies and daddies in their own right.



Mother's Day

[May 11, 2014]

The kids made some special crafts for Mother's Day. Katie also helped make some waffles. Then it was off to church where Scott had assistance from his lovely mother to give a talk in Junior Primary. We sure love Mom around here.





Monday, June 23, 2014

First Real Golf Clubs

[Jun 7 2014]

While R and Katie were away for the second showing of Katie's dance recital, Scott and I prowled around the parade of garage sales in our neighbourhood and stumbled upon a fabulous find -- a nice set of left-handed golf clubs that were just Scott's size. He's right-handed, but he swings everything lefty, including a ping-pong paddle. That makes it a bit harder to track down second-hand clubs. However, we found these just 4 houses down from us for a great price.



Of course, we immediately had to go to the driving range where Scott could dispose of a basket of 50 balls in a matter of minutes. I couldn't hit any balls because my hand was still torn up, so I just watched and restrained the urge to try to coach him on his swing. He manages to figure it out on his own quite well. The only tip I gave him was to line up his club head with the ball BEFORE his backswing, so that he would be more likely to connect with it on the downswing.



When we got home he still had an insatiable appetite to hit more balls, so I rigged this tarp to catch the plastic practice ball that he would hit off the grass. He did another 30 minutes every day for the next several days, and would have done more but he doesn't really like to be out there by himself.



When Katie finally got home from her recital I lined the two of them up for a photo to send my dad for Father's Day. I found it almost comical how stereotypically boy/girl the two of them appear in the shot.