Friday, May 18, 2012

Weekly wrap-up: CLU's graduation, Mother's Day, and track season winding down

Another week in the books.  Nothing earth-shattering to write about, but trying to make posting a weekly habit.  Here's a recap in chronological order:

I attended CLU's graduation ceremony last Saturday.  It was a really nice event.  Perfect weather (imagine that?!?), really good speakers, and it was great to see how much emotion students have during the event.  I found it very motivational to go to and realize that what I'm doing may not seem like much sometimes, but what I'm doing means a lot to some students and I need to always do my best.  (Side note: I'm not going to cover any aspects of a little faculty poker night the night before graduation, but suffice it to say that it was fantastic!)

While I was at CLU's graduation, Brady was running the 400m at the Junior Varsity Conference Finals meet.  He had a really good race.  He placed 3rd out of 32 kids in the event.  He ran out of gas with about 50 meters left, but he was stuck in no-man's-land: he wasn't going to catch the 2 kids in front of him and the kids behind him weren't going to catch him.  It's hard to stay mentally motivated when you feel isolated in a race.  Despite running out of gas, still turned in his fastest 400m time yet at 1:28.11.

On Sunday, Melanie wanted to do a 5K run with Brady for Mother's Day along the beach in
Ventura.  Brady had never ran a timed 5K before, so we weren't sure how fast he'd run.  We figured he'd tootle around for about 30 minutes or so.  Well, much to our surprise, he was quite a bit faster.  He was pacing Melanie to her fastest time ever (she finished with a 25:59) and toward the end he asked her "can I just run my own race now?"  She was going max speed, so she said go ahead and he finished in front of her, then turned around and ran back to her and ran in with her.  Like I said, Melanie ran her fastest time ever and we estimate that Brady's finishing time was around 25:30.  I say estimate because Alex and I missed his finish because we never would have thought he'd be done in just 25 minutes!!  It was a good day for Melanie with a new fastest time and for Brady who had a lot of fun running his first official 5K.

After the Mother's Day run, we went to breakfast together and the boys and I spent the day cleaning the house for mom.  That night we had a wonderful dinner to cap off the weekend.  I am SO THANKFUL for the great Thai restaraunts in Thousand Oaks!  Delicious!

Well, track season for Brady (and for me coaching) is winding down.  Tomorrow will likely be the last meet for most of the kids.  Some of them may qualify for a dual-conference meet in Santa Barbara, but if not, then the season's over.  I've had so much fun coaching the kids this year.  I've mostly worked with the distance kids, but still have been able to interact with the sprinters quite a bit, too.  Tomorrow at the Varsity Conference Finals, we've got quite a few kids running (you have to qualify by time to run at this event, so not all kids were able to make it).  We have a 4x100m relay team, 3 kids in the 100m, 2 kids in the 200m, 1 kid (Brady) in the 800m, and 5 kids running the 1600m (mile), and 3 kids in the long jump.  Considering there are only 9 kids for each of the sprints (100, 200), 12 kids in the 800, and 17 kids in the mile, I'd say Newbury Park is well-represented! Brady competes in the 800 and 1600.  He's pretty stoked!  If he finishes in the top 8 for either event, then he'll qualify for the dual-conference championship.  He's already FAR exceeded what I thought he could do for the year, so I'm not banking on him making it, but I do hope he goes out and has the best and most fun race of the year tomorrow.  I'm so excited for him.

Unfortunately, Alex is going to have to miss his soccer game due to the track meet.  Melanie and I are really bummed about that because he likes soccer so much, but if he goes then Melanie is going to miss Brady's events.  It's hard to do, but since this is a 'big' meet, we wanted to make sure and have the whole family there for the race.  It's tough to pull him away from soccer though because he loves it so much.

And lastly, last night Brady lost his third tooth.  He actually requests us to try and yank out his loose teeth, so I tied a string around it and pulled it out for him.  He was pretty excited about that.

Monday, May 7, 2012

So what have we been up to for the last year?

Well, it's been over a year since I lasted updated.  At the encouragement of my wife, I'm going to start updating again.  That seems more feasible now that the summer is coming around and my workload is lightening up a bit.  So here's a quick re-cap of what's happened since June of 2011!!!

Last summer, we sold our house in TX and moved out to California.  I accepted a job offer at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA.  We moved in late July 2011.  We have really enjoyed living here so far: great weather, great schools, beautiful scenery, always something fun to do, and an infinite amount of hiking trails to explore.  We're about a 25 minute drive from the beaches in Malibu and < 5 minutes away from mountain hikes.  Both Melanie and I have good commutes.  So far, so good.  The only downside to living out here: it is an extremely expensive place to live!

My first year as a faculty member has been pretty hectic.  I wouldn't say overwhelming--because I had anticipated it to be this suffocating--but it's been challenging.  The hardest part has been prepping new courses from scratch.  Now that I've got a handful of classes under my belt, future preps won't seem such a daunting task.  Mostly tweaking and improving.

Brady has really excelled in first grade.  His reading is great, his math is excellent (even complex numbers in his head), his writing has improved a lot, and his spelling is very good.  He had 2 months in a row of perfect spelling test scores and won a Sensational Science award that was presented to him at his school's assembly.

Alex has been coming along well, too.  He has an interest in reading, is starting to get some basic math, and his writing is becoming more legible.  Alex goes to the Early Childhood Center here at CLU, but starting next year, he'll join Brady at the same school when he starts kindergarten.

Sports-wise, it's been mostly Brady.  Brady ran Cross Country with the Newbury Park Track Club (NPTC) in the fall.  He absolutely fell in love with it!  Loved running up and down all the hills around here.  In the winter he played football (and did really well at it).  He tried to squeeze in some winter soccer, too, but it was hard to fit that in with football since they overlapped.  This spring he has started track with NPTC and he has had so much fun.  He's also really developed into a great little runner!  His mile time is now down to 6:50 and he does really well in the 800, 400, and 200 meters as well.  I'm really proud of how well he balances having fun and working hard.  Not an easy thing for a 7 year old to grasp!

Alex decided he wanted to give soccer a try again this year.  In his previous 2 seasons, he has been mostly uninterested and aloof.  We said he didn't have to play if he didn't want to, but he said he did.  This year has really been great for him: he's paying attention, seems more into it, is playing well, and is having more fun than he's had in the past.  Really proud of him.

That's about as brief of a recap as I can give of the last year or so.  I'm going to now try to be a bit more diligent now that my first year as a faculty member is over.  That still doesn't seem real to me that it's been a year already!