Saturday, September 21, 2019

Ping Pong night at Back and Forth in Gastown and the revelation that Adriano is a table tennis freak!
Watching in awe...

New new Kitchen :)

Molly and I practicing crochet

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Day 16

The highlight of today (although not a bad day, all in all :) was crocheting with my Moo from 7-9 today at Three Bags Full. Mum got this as a gift for us. We got to leave behind the rest of the family in their own flurry of dinner and mayhem. We hopped in the car and entered the tranquility of wool lined walls and the most mellow playlist available on Spotify. 

It is was pouring rain on Main Street outside, so it felt like a warm little oasis. Even the crochet came pretty easily (for both of us!) and it was really nice after very full days of using my brain to challenge it to do something totally different. 

Here's my first attempt. I felt pretty good about it.

Molly and I weren't too sure about the crochet crowd, but we will reserve judgement (or at least, I will...Molly is pretty judgy). Now I get to look forward to three more Tuesdays with my Molly. And that's a treat.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Day 15

Well, I missed a day. It was going to happen. I didn't skip it because I didn't feel like it...I just forgot. And, I am not going to let it throw me off...I am back on the wagon!

Things have smoothed out a little bit. Molly's timetable is sorted out (all for the best, I think) and we are relaxing into a bit more of a routine for the rest of us. We have a kitchen and a table and couches. It's nice. Odd aside...? All of our spoons seem to be gone. It's like they saw the renovation as an opportunity to make the great escape.

There is so much work to get done right now. It is non-stop. Luckily, I have my trusty (and somewhat glare-y) buddy to help me FOR HOURS with inputting Cobra schedules. She was the best. We listened to good music, had good snacks and got tons done. And cash went into Molly's pocket! She was really good at helping and made a few big catches. Best work friend EVER.

She managed to make some art on her iPad on her breaks:

And today, we missed rugby practice (Lukey) and the parent meeting (me), so we can be kept humble that we don't have things too sorted. But I did make a great hamburger soup in time for Lukey to eat before hockey and Finny before basketball. Just so darn grateful to have appliances :)

Not too sure what's up with the batting gloves...?

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Day 13

Real grown ups don’t sleep in. For real. Every morning that we don’t have to get up, Eric and I stir and usually ask, “Are you awake?” And it is like, 7:00. What the heck? I’m tired. I go to bed late (like right now). It just doesn’t work anymore.

It was a treat to come downstairs today and make coffee in THE KITCHEN. Because kitchen coffee is more appealing than bathroom coffee.

We took Lukey to practice and then Molly, Finny and I went to Staples for yet another round of school supplies.

Lucky Lukey had Noah’s bar mitzvah tonight. Saturday evening at the Fairmont. As you do. He got a Stroman jersey and a Champions visor. And lots and lots of candy. While he was dancing and shouting at his friends over music, Eric and I were meeting with Kevin over beer at Cactus. The standard Saturday 10:30 pm priorities meeting.

So if one of your son’s good friends is officially A MAN, should some of that manliness apply to our kid? Maybe we will wake up in the morning and find that he has made us a frittata and espresso.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Day 12

Day 12 wall. It is almost 1:00 am. I am up sending emails. But I will stick to my word and get a quick blog done.

I popped into the Saints Grade 8 parent coffee this morning after dropping off a cheque at WPGA and delivering Molly to school. There were lots of people I like there, but I did endure a few painful conversations of "my son is better than you son" oneupmanship. Some seriously passive aggressive flexing on genetics there.

Then I put in a full day with my dad looking at company finances. Productive and so helpful. Dads are the best. It's not every small company that has that much accounting muscle at its fingertips. We are so lucky to have the help.

Lukey and Finny got home from camp very wet, very tired and very happy to be home. Lukey was flexing on how miserable his camp experience was...until he heard hers. She won. She had the win with the mouse peeing all over her sweatshirt the first afternoon. And I believe it went downhill from there.

It was awesome to have all of us under one roof again. I actually made dinner (appliances applied!!) and we played some One Night Werewolf (man, Finny and Lukey are GOOD. Molly and I are sitting ducks. Literally useless. We can't lie, we can't bluff, we can't hide anything. I don't think either of us won in about ten games).

Then back to the computer to work for a couple of hours. Ahhh, the weekend...haha!!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Day 11

I am really happy to be blogging again, but I have set myself a trigger to remember to do it each night. I've told myself I am not allowed to pick up my phone in bed and mindlessly flip through stupid stuff until I have blogged. Funny thing, though. At the end of the day when I am tired and ready to call it a night...I want to pick up my phone and mindlessly flip through stupid stuff. So it can feel a little disappointing to put the stupid stuff aside and pick up the computer instead.

Until I remember why I am doing this. It is its own reward (said in a super cheezy way...I wish I could insert the audio on how this sounds in my head).

Update on the campers...I have no idea how they are doing, but I can tell you that there must have been eight hours straight of bucketing rain today. For Lukey's group, I can honestly say I am feeling more sorry for the adults that are stuck with 100+ Grade 8 boys with cabin fever. I am sure they kids are having a blast. For Finny though, that is some relentless cold and wet on a remote mountaintop. Yuck. It will be one of those trips that is memorable and hindsight.

As for our only child, she has been living it up with the other away. We didn't do anything special today, but she does seem to be enjoying the life of the singleton.

We did facemasks
 She is just straight up good company. Is it weird to feel like the company of another person is almost like being alone (because you feel so comfortable and familiar), but also super enjoyable at the same time?

It was a good day for another reason...our appliances arrived!

They aren't hooked up, but they are in the building!

And we end each night lately with a midnight visit from Ernie. Here is your dose of cuteness (if Molly and I in mud masks wasn't enough for you)...Ernie crawling through a roll of toilet paper.

He's pretty darn cute...and when he is out of the cage, he smells okay, too!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Day 10

Remember how I said that if I blog until Thanksgiving (or was it the end of October?) I would get myself a new phone? At least 90% of that is motivated by wanting a better camera. But an iPhone 6 takes perfectly fine pictures, you say. Does it?

Here's the picture I got of dropping Lukey at camp this morning

Isn't it a masterpiece? Can't you feel the excitement and tension in the group? The crackle of energy as the little boys prepare to battle the outdoors? What's that? It is so blurry that you can't even make the location? Huh.

I will say that my "take pictures and capture the ordinary moments" muscles are a little weak. I don't think to pull out my camera. But let's be real. It isn't great when I do. So that isn't all that motivating.

I did take a shot this morning when I came back from dropping Lukey off at camp. It struck me as a little funny that Finny was gone overnight last night, but both Lukey and Molly still slept on her floor. And when I got back from dropping Lukey, it was just Molly. In Finny's room.

The stowaways. 
 Molly apparently plans to go right back there tonight. Alone. Haha!

When Molly came back home from school, she was an only child. Funny that she spent her first year and a half on the planet with her parents all to herself. Things sure changed.

We worked until we were starving, then headed to Main Street for dinner at Meet on Main. It was great. Just the three of us. When we wandered out of there, we stopped at a late night used book store and I found "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole age 13 3/4" for Molly (she's reading it right now at my feet).

On our way home, our only child asked for an extra drive, so we went over the Cambie bridge and back. I just don't think any of us wanted it to end.

We came home and Molly found this spry little snail on our hedge. He was so stretchy and curious. She called him Stargazer. We had a brief debate if we should take him off the top of the hedge or not (potentially dangerous), but I argued it might have been his life work to get up there in the first place.

I hope we did you right, Stargazer!

National Geographic, you can get my number if you need some wildlife photography...

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Day 9 and all is fine

Early start with Finny off to camp. The forecast for Garibaldi remains snow for most of the week, so she was a little apprehensive about cold. She even switched sleeping bags at the last minute with Lukey.

I hope she is somewhere warm right now. Maybe she will have gotten her temperature up by carrying her 20 lbs of snacks up the mountain. Fingers crossed that there are no critters excited by her array of junk.

The saga of Molly's timetable continues. I continue to have daily phone calls with the school. While I have enjoyed getting to know the Grade 12 counsellor (sounds sarcastic, but it really isn't...she's lovely!), we could really do without the unnecessary stress of the start to the school year. At least I can say Byng Arts has stayed consistent. Very much looking forward to putting the whole thing behind us.

After school, we headed over to the Steenburghs' for their KidSport fundraiser of a street party with a Triple O's food truck. As much as we have had lots of conversations about the frustrations of trying to make teams for the Cobras and losing some good players to other clubs, it is nice to remember that for some awesome kids, like Ella, making the Cobras brought tears to her eyes.

So much work to do this week, it's crazy. Lukey is off too camp tomorrow (Camp Squeah by Hope), so it will be just Molly until Friday. Sending wishes for good weather for both those campers!

Day 8...was great! Well, comparatively.

Monday morning. Fresh slate...woohoo!

Guess what? Everyone was at school ON TIME! Guess what? They all had all their stuff. Oh, wait...I was just typing that and it wasn't quite true. On time, yes. With everything, yes. But we did turn back once. I'm looking at you, Finny. She forgot her whole outtrip backpack. Not too sure how that is possible. You should see how big it is.

I did not cry today. That breaks my streak of a few days. That my friends, is what they call progress.

Worked all day and even managed lunch with my husband. Finny, Lukey and I went to Solly's for an after school/after activity (volleyball and rugby) snack. Back in the day, that was a little knish in a bag. Now a days, they eat multiple bagels each. And a cinnamon bun. 

The jury is still out on rugby. Lukey doesn't understand the rules. This makes it quite challenging to play. His mother would like him to wear one of those head protectors. It is more than likely that a kid wearing on of those would be targeted for destruction. It would be like sending him out in one of these:

I wonder if those come in a youth large?

Lukey had his first house hockey practice in five years...apparently pretty fun. And the kids and Eric came home to me with a dinner package from my mum. Because she loves me and takes good care of me. Pasta, a toasted bun, peaches, a fork and a napkin. Have I ever felt so loved???

So, the week is looking up.

Finny is off to Garibaldi tomorrow and seems relatively prepared. They are only calling for a bit of snow. No, really. And lightning. And Lukey leaves for a much more comfortable camp on Wednesday. One kid family...? What will we do??

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Day 7

Sunday, Sunday.

Do people read newspapers and drink leisurely coffee on Sundays? Are there walks in the park or bike rides taken? Antique shopping or movie marathons? Huh.

One day, when I grow up, I want to have lazy Sundays.

In the meantime, not so much. We ran tryouts today for all our boys teams for the fall (including Lukey). Eric logged many hours in the gym.

My morning office view...

I spent some time there and some time running around with Finny and Molly tracking down stuff for Finny to take to camp. Like...wait for it...gluten free oatmeal. We got lucky finding that one. We bought enough snacks for Finny to open a corner store at the top of Garibaldi this week. We scored some sweet, cheap hiking boots at Canadian Tire (those puppies aren't broken in, so I see blisters in middle daughter's future). Some wool socks at Mark's WW.

Mum and Dad, being amazing parents, both obviously heard a razor thin tone in my voice and decided it was time to bring back Sunday dinner (hooray for pity that comes with food and love). We had a big spread of Ridge Garden food. We ate on real plates and had actual silverware. We did not eat in a bedroom. It was fancy and fantastic.

I had a thought today, as I crossed the city shopping with the girls. I am having a pity party this week, guest list of 1. But really, who am I kidding? There is so much love in my life. So many moments that are funny because we are in it all together. I am pretty pathetic for whinging about anything.

Plus, tomorrow is Monday. A fresh start.

Day 6

When I think about what I why I want to blog, it's to try and capture the fleeting things...the feelings and the events that aren't the big milestones or unforgettable moments. So much of what is lost in time is the impermanent and unremarkable stuff. 

Like eating dry Cheerios on the floor of our bedroom on a Saturday morning. Why? Because we still have no downstairs, no kitchen, no dishes or silverware. It has been one big carpet picnic all summer. 

Eric and I had a nice slow morning. Apparently we are either too old or too stressed to sleep in anymore, so we chatted and worked in bed. Then the kids slowly come upstairs and banquet on our floor.

Finny and Eric left to work out a bit and we planned to meet at Jacquie's 70th birthday at the Hall's. We watched some of the US Open (first Canadian to reach the finals, let alone win it!) and then Eric called to say that he would have to help out at our girls tryouts because we were short staffed. We did a typical Butler event, as all five of us were there together for about 30 seconds. Eric left, Finny and Lukey had a big fight, I took Finny home and Lukey stayed outside...Molly and I had a delightful visit and some yummy cake :)

Finny had tryouts, but was in the doghouse, so had to bike. I didn't go at all...which is nice. I love working with sports and kids. I believe wholeheartedly in what we do, but I don't love tryouts. Not because I hate to see kids give it their all. But because I hate to see kids give it their all and get cut. I know, I know...that's sports. In fact, when I think about our own kids sometimes getting cut (like Lukey this year at hockey), I value what they learn from trying their best and not succeeding. If you always get what you want, what do you learn? I truly believe in all parts of the process, even (or especially) the occasional failure. But, do I want to do it? Or look at their little faces? Uh, no.

Lukey is at Arden's tonight for a sleepover. The comfort of an old friend in a week full of new experiences.

And by the way, I have decided to set a goal and a reward for myself for blogging. If I blog every day until the end of October, I will get myself the new iPhone with the awesome camera. Motivation.

Mila, Sophie and Finny...all trying to look tall? At tryouts tonight

Friday, September 6, 2019

Happy Friday. Well, not really...but it's the weekend!

Well, the week remained true to itself and stayed challenging. But as in all challenges, there are spots of beauty and strength to be found. I am going to focus on the highlights...

Great things today:

1. Lukey, despite some bumpy stretches on the road this week, rated his school start as an 11/10. He may have gotten on the hockey bus today ("Do we have two goalies on the bus...?" "Um, sir...?), but he was all thumbs up. Loves his teacher, super excited for woodworking (cool!) and didn't lose anything. This isn't a small thing. A successful first week of high school is pretty darn awesome.

2. Resilience. All three kids were resilient this week. Maybe Molly most of all. With a lot of stress already on her plate, she was given some extra helpings by a brutal teacher and a stupid school system. She has handled this with more grace than her mother has managed to exhibit. Super proud of her. Less proud of me, but at the same time, a bit in awe of my angry internal mother bear. Irate Mother Bear is raring for a fight. Quick mother bears cry?

3. Good people. We had a quarterly meeting today and even though I was having a bummer week, I really felt like I could be real with all the people there. That is also a pretty big deal. I may have burst into tears in the first five minutes of the meeting, but it didn't feel terrible. I was the only woman at a table of sporty guys, but they were awesome. So, hooray for being able to let it all hang out.

4. Girls babysitting for friends! Molly and Finny babysat tonight for a really good friend's kids. It was great and they had fun. They even made money. And they wanted to do it together, even though that meant half the cash.

So, if you read between the lines, you can see that these are all silver linings (except the last one). You can't have silver linings without clouds. It was a cloudy week. Thank goodness for silver linings :)

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Ooof. Rough one.

Well, today we all sort of had our bums handed to us on a plate. I don't want this to be a whinge-a-blog but wow, it was a doozy day. This picture was taken bright and early. Sleepy eyes on all. Lukey minus basically all the things he needed for the day. He realized half way to school that he had no timetable with him. No worries, I had a picture so he could write it down.  Except he had no paper. Or pens. Or pencils. So that’s alright. He borrowed from his sisters. Which is when he realized he had assembly. But no blazer. Or lunch. But he did have his rugby stuff, so...woohoo!

I won’t bore us with details, but Molly’s timetable is a nightmare (but she’s a gem!) and Finny’s volleyball is a gong show. Eric and I had a highly mediocre work day. BUT Lukey came home starving (no food all day...I dropped off supplies and food but he never got it!) and super happy. He had a great day. Glowing about teachers and talking about new friends and nicknames. It’s a mini miracle to have him so positive with that rough start and an empty stomach!

Onward. Tomorrow will be better. It has to be!!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Day 3...woohoo!

Well, the swing of things feels a little rough. Maybe because we are not really in the swing...?

Our house is ripped up. We don't have a kitchen and the rest of the main floor is also empty. We are living (poorly) out of bedrooms. It was irritating, but with school going back it may have slipped into the dysfunctional stage. I am tired of drinking coffee out of red solo cups. And we have rotated one spoon through our family all summer long. We are done. We need appliances and cupboards full of food. We need Domino's to forget our address for a while.

In the meantime, Molly's timetable is messed up, Lukey put in most of a real day of school (tomorrow will be his first real high school classes) and Finny had volleyball tryouts. We are exhausted tonight. Routine is tiring when you aren't used to it.

Overheard today as Lukey headed into the senior school for the first time, walking with Nick Hart, "Nick, do you know how to work your combination lock?". "I am okay if I have the paper in front of me," said Nick. "I don't even need the paper," said Lukey. Find confidence where you can. And when you can, because tomorrow is rugby practice and that might be a wee challenge.

Well, buddy, you didn't have a backpack (you used mine), a computer (you used mine), a pencil case, or an eraser. But you had those combination locks down. May all your locks open smoothly. Have a great five years, kid.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Hey, Look at Me! Two Days in a Row!

You know what makes it way easier for me to preach to the kids that they can create powerful new habits? Creating my own new habits!!

Poor Molly was the only person to make it to school today. But even that was only 30 minutes in an auditorium. While she was there, Finny, Lukey and I went out to get Ernie (the Hamsta') some new bedding material, new bed fluff and some tasty honey sticks for being a patient little rodent all summer (he was left behind on some family trips).

One of the last days of juggling Eric and me working while the kids kill time (today it was taking out the recycling, cleaning out the water heater closet [which is Finny's equivalent of Monica's trash closet in Friends], getting out all the Playmobil [amazing!], watching Brooklyn 99, and feverishly trying to finish Summer Reading Books [47, by Walter Mosley for Lukey and The Joy Luck Club, but Amy Tan for Finny]. Not the best reviews from my kids on either of those...while I loved Joy Luck Club, Finny says it is just about old Asian ladies playing mahjong. And to be fair to Lukey, 47 is well written, but...odd...

Lastly, I have something to confess. Something shameful. My name is Lesley and I am a trashy reality tv addict. Even worse, I have consciously set out to expose (even incite) my children to the same addiction. Bachelor in Paradise, you have entertained us this summer. Rotted our brains, likely lowered our IQs, caused Eric to judge us (which is fair...but Eric, we all know you have pretended to tune it out, but then asked some very specific clarification questions, like, "What happened after the fight on the beach?"...nice try!). I am sorry, Mum. I know it's bad.

Tomorrow, Lukey has his first day of high school. Big day. And as I type this, he's reading the last two pages of his Summer Reading book. So, success that he's finished. And, uh, maybe a bit of concern that he left it to...The. Very. Last. Minute.

Trying on the new togs...pretty sharp!

Monday, September 2, 2019

New Year (school year, at least) and new resolutions

When Eric and I talk about things that we hold most valuable in our lives, the blog and the memories captured in it is one of the most important. BUT, we are busy and time slips away. It is so easy to forget in the short term how a few minutes of effort in the moment can prevent our daily lives from rushing past us in a blur of missing sports equipment, rushed rides in the car, hurried dinners and frantically glued together science fairs.

When I look back through our old blog posts and flip through the blog books, it shocks me how many things I have already forgotten, but there they are captured in time. How many things would have long disappeared into the foggy past. Even how many things I remember differently now than how/when they actually happened. Then my heart clutches when I think how many days, events, moments are actually gone. Uncaptured and erased.

I don't feel like I have a lot of spare time. But what possible better use of my time could there be than this? Each night before bed, I scroll through things on my phone. I check the news, Twitter, Instagram. Snippets of useless facts to calm my mind at the end of the day. What if I created the habit of a quick blog post each night instead? What if that 10 minutes was just one picture and a couple of sentences about the day. Let's face it, most of the days are pretty routine. But there is still the daily magic (and horror) of a growing family.

Somehow in the thick of it all, it feels eternal. Like the school bags stuffed with old lunches and permission slips jammed into coat pockets will just go on forever. But they don't. We have three kids in high school this year (but I have to admit, I really doubt Lukey has turned the corner on the overlooked permission slips and gross abandoned old food). Molly has one year of high school left. It is changing. Which makes this time all the more invaluable. Because it's fleeting. Slipping through our fingers as I type. 

So this year I will try. I will not throw away the 10-15 minutes every night to mindless internet browsing (or if I do, it has to be AFTER the blog update). And if I get a few days behind, get back on course. Remind myself that there is NOTHING more precious or more vulnerable to loss than the moments that make up every day. At the time the minutiae can drive me nuts, but in hindsight it's all we have.

Today is the last day before school starts up this week. Molly has an hour tomorrow. Finny and Lukey don't have school until Wednesday. But it still feels like the end of summer. We woke up in Point Roberts and ended the day having dinner together on the beach. The kids played a pretty darn aggressive game of jackpot. Molly may have hit Finny in the face. That resulted in a chase that closely resembled a lion in pursuit of an antelope. Molly's flip flops came off as she bobbed and weaved through people at Kits Beach, shaking off an irate Finny TWICE. Finny quickly blamed a belly full of three pieces of pizza and five chicken strips. All the while, I barely held it together with a back that unexpectedly went out this morning.

The end of summer. The start (hopefully) of new blog routines :)

Golden Hour at Kits Beach

Beach Buddies (sometimes)...Finny wearing her shirt from the John Dumont tournament this year

Thursday, March 29, 2018

YHS Grade 8 Provincial Champions

We started the season with only 12 grade 8 girls coming to try-outs, so didn't need to worry about making any cuts. Luckily, the 12 players almost all had some basketball background, including 5 who had played with us on the Cobras. 

With Ariano Catena and Katherine Atkinson splitting the coaching duties with me, we had a coaching team capable of being at every practice...and figuring out the priorities for the team. We focused on 

  1. playing good 1/2 court team defence (pack-line) with aggressive ball pressure and early help
  2. Establishing a long and short safety, getting 3 offensive rebounders and then pressing whenever possible
  3. Getting 1 rim runner and 2 wings running wide on our fast break
  4. Establishing good spacing and movement in the 1/2 court with a 4 or 5 out motion offence
The girls were great. Although they had many competing demands of their time, when they showed up they were focused and ready to play. They seemed to have fun with each other and established a great team culture.

We won all our league games fairly easily, with only a terribly refereed game in Crofton House, with Avery missing, Finny and Mila fouled out, that we were truely tested. In this game, 5 different players scored in the final quarter for us to pull out the win. 

We only lost 4 games all year. The first was in the finals of the Douglas College tournament when we faced a 3D team that had been playing together all fall. Although we were within 2 points in the final minute, we ended up on the losing end thanks almost entirely to our lack of experience playing against pressure. As much as turnovers were a problem, the biggest issue was that their pressure took us out of our offence and left us scrambling. Great lesson. 

Although we easily won (by about 40 in the finals) the grade 8 ISA provincial championships, we lost in the semi-finals of the JR (grade 10) ISA provincial championships to a strong Saint Michael's University team from Victoria. Although I think we were the better team, they had one really strong girl that we weren't physically ready to match up with. We won the consolation final to give us 3rd place. 

The other 2 losses were both in tournaments where we lost to Seycove in the finals. One game was relatively close and the other a 20 point loss. Seycove was the top ranked team in the province and executed better than any other team out of their full court press break and their 1-4 high offensive set. 

In our losses, we didn't feel like we played our best games. Also, we played all 11 players on our team while they only rotated their top 7. We were excited to see them again in the provincials.

We won our first 2 games at provincials by 40 points, despite not playing great. Our girls were nervous and turned the ball over way more than we should have against weaker opponents. In the semi-final we played a much stronger McMath team that we beat 35-33. Although we were clearly the better team, our girls struggled to shoot the ball against a 2-3 zone. Perhaps a coaching error, we had not spent much time preparing for zone (which is banned until the provincial championships).  Between nerves and lack of zone offence experience, we kept the game much closer than it should have been but lead the whole way.

We figured we'd see a lot of zone against Seycove, especially since they watched our semi-final game. Despite only walking through our new zone offence for 1/2 hour before the game, we felt confident going into the final. Seycove basically had 2 players who scored, where we had 5 different people lead our team in scoring this year. 10 of our players had scored in the tournament and we moved the ball well. 

We came out on fire, up 14-4 in the first quarter. Despite the foul count being 12-3 against us at half, we still had a solid lead. Our girls never let up our defence, our pressure, our rebounding...and they took care of the ball. They did everything we asked of them and won 46-40.

 Wow!   A huge congratulations to our grade 8 YHS Tigers team! The coaching staff is so incredibly proud of your work this season. 

Yes, the championship was nice....a really great way to finish the season that no one can ever take away from you. However, much more important was seeing your growth as individuals and as a team over the last 4 months that allowed you to compete for a championship in the first place. 

You showed resilience, focus, and great mental determination to overcome all the obstacles in your way. I hope that this reveals to each of you a little more about your inner strength and possibilities for the future in basketball and life. 

As part of the educational take-aways from this season, I think it's important to know why you were able to win a championship. 

Sometimes teams win championships because they get hot, or lucky at the right time. This wasn't the case for us.
  • We didn't have the greatest offensive performance of the season. We hit 2, 3 point shots in the whole tournament and did not shoot particularly well outside despite great preparation by you with Dr Dish.
  • We were unlucky with the referees. In the final two games we faced some serious headwind with the refs and had to play with a lot of personal fouls. In the finals, the foul count was an incredible 11-3 at half, despite you girls playing with your feet instead of reaching.
  • Several times down the stretch of the final game we played great defense for 25 seconds only to find Seycove throwing something towards the hoop and have it go in. Although it felt like things were against us, you never gave up or lost focus. 
You won a championship because you worked as a team. 

You played better team defense than any other team in the tournament by far. Seeing you defend all tournament...but especially in the final 5 minutes of the game when Seycove desperately needed to score and could barely get a shot off, made us so proud of your growth this year! 

You won a championship because you did a better job sharing the ball than any other teams. Like every team, we have a few players who score the ball more than others. However, unlike other teams, we had everybody contribute this year. 4 different players lead our team in scoring during games this season. We shared the ball and trusted all our team-mates to pass, dribble and shoot when the opportunity presented. We did this all season...and it paid off. 

You won a championship because you prepared better than other teams. The time you spent shooting as a team and individuals paid off. Even though we weren't "raining 3's", there were a couple of key shots that probably wouldn't have gone in if not for the time spent with Dr Dish. Rain had a good shooting tournament. Vanessa, Kasey, Anika and Chloe had some big shots. Sophie hit some of the most important shots of the tournament at the end of both the McMath and Seycove games. It is this type of focus and dedication that is necessary to win championships. 

You won a championship because of sacrifice. You all accepted and played your roles on the team. A championship team is not made up of 5 players who all concentrate on scoring. It is made up of 11 players who are willing to do what it takes to win. Risa set the tone early in the season, playing such hard defence she broke her collarbone. In the finals, Bianca and Anika were vocal, engaged, supportive and ready to go in the game if Avery or Finny picked up another foul. Zoe jumped in to fill some key moments of game. Perhaps nothing exemplifies sacrifice more than our Unsung Hero Sophie K. Nobody worked harder on defence in this tournament than she did or helped their team more without receiving the limelight. Sophie was dialed in every defensive possession and shut down the best players from Churchill, McMath and Seycove.

You won a championship because all of you took your game to the next level. Avery, who has been fantastic all season, played even harder than ever and lead us with her performance on both ends of the court. Finny and Mila eliminated the reaching fouls, cut down on turnovers and turned their defense up to an even higher level than the regular season. 

You won a championship because of your work level. We talked about how winning a championship wasn't supposed to be easy...and you all embraced the challenge. We told you that you'd need to rebound even harder on both ends of the floor, and you did it. 

You won a championship because you were willing to face your fear/nerves, accept them for what they are and play through them. You showed such maturity and pose. Next time you're really nervous about something I want you to remember this.

We're so proud of all of you. If you keep up the hard work over the off-season, we can have an even better season next year.  We'll talk during the week to figure out the details of your hard earned shooting club prize.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Mazatlan December

Well, it turns out this is now mostly a vacation blog. We feel the most guilty about not updating the blog when we are on holiday, apparently. Because here I am, as I have been so many times before, blogging in a hotel room.

We felt the need for a break this year...maybe because we didn't have our November trip like in the past. No dose of sunshine for 3+ weeks as we have in other years. With Molly AND Finny in high school, it seems like those trips are harder and harder. So, we had to steal the kids away (well, not Finny...she was already on Christmas break) for the last week of school to head to some sunshine in Mexico. 

A quick four hour flight and we were by the beach. 

The land of tacos (although, I have to say...while these tacos were photo-worthy, they were madly spicy. Something I put on there BURNS. These were not happily consumed. They were mostly discarded and reattempted...and there's the beauty of all-inclusive buffets!). 

Sure, a week isn't very long, but some vitamin D, downtime on the beach and delicious drinks on the beach does somehow feel like medicine in the middle of December. It may not be exotic, adventurous or culturally challenging...but it feels so good.

We came down with three of our coaches: Eric, Kevin and Connor. We have logged some time in the reclining chairs, hit the buffets and played a bit of volleyball.

Finny was super keen to get her hair braided and Molly decided to do the same. I don't think either of them realized how tight they would have to pull to get those rows straight, but I think they'd both say it was worth it.

Especially impressive for Finny, who would have lost her mind on me if I'd pulled that hard...

...or taken that long...

Molly is a bit more tolerant, since I did her hair so often when she was little. But her tolerance has faded over the years...

Even she winced a bit.

But the braids are easier when you are in and out of the pool and ocean. The resort is lovely with good food and nice rooms. What stands out most is the service. We have marveled at the level of organization and the size of the operation here. They have done a fantastic job of making you feel well taken care of, even in the middle of a huge resort with many hundreds of guests.

There are no lines, always available chairs and drinks...even our check-in took less than 5 minutes. Pretty amazing.

The wonder of all-inclusive has worn off slightly, but the first night was hilarious as the kids realized EVERYTHING was included. There has been a LOT of ice cream consumed. And a lot of Shirley Temples and other slushy drinks by the pool.