Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tournament #6 and That's a Wrap!

Luke and Liam both skated in a tournament together this weekend and it was so fun to watch.

John and boys getting ready for their game

We WON the championship!!

1st place for 2008 Pacific division at the Independent Classic AAA Hockey Tournament

Luke with the trophy


Luke and Liam

Mom and the Boys

The 2008 Euro Blue Team for Spring 2018

Finn enjoyed a birthday party while we were at a hockey game

Face-off on the ice (Liam is on left wing on bottom right and Luke is left defense also at bottom right)

Our spring was a busy one with SIX hockey tournaments in a row.  We spent 5 weekends at various rinks for 6 tournaments.  We ended up with two 1st place trophies, one 2nd place, two 3rd place, and one 5th place trophy.  It was a good season, but I am glad we have a break for awhile.

The 6th tournament was a particularly fun one to watch.  Liam's team played their second tournament of the AAA spring season, but they were short on players due to some baseball tournaments so Luke was able to skate.  Yes, he skated!  No goalie gear.  Although he loves playing goalie, he misses skating so this was a fun opportunity for him.  He played awesome and by the end of the weekend, he had gained much of what he lost from not skating much this year while he was in net.  Luke is twice as big as most kids his age so despite a few "big kid" penalties on him, he doesn't let much through.  He played solid defense with several assists, blocks, and big defensive plays.

Liam also played well scoring several goals which is big for Liam because he is typically a dependable player, but not always the one to score or be overly aggressive.  He is solid on defense, scrappy in the corners getting the puck, and faster than anyone on his team.  When he turns on his speed, he can out skate just about anyone to the puck.  He had several assists, breakaways, and scored several goals so it was a great tournament for Liam.

The best part of the weekend for John and I was, no doubt, watching the boys skate together.  It was so fun to see them both on the ice and it is a lot less stressful to watch your child skate than it is to watch them in the net!  

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Hockey Tournament #5, Mother's Day, and Our new cousin

Finn and Grandpa Carrithers playing hockey

Joined by Luke and Liam

Our new cousin was born on May 9, 2018.  He is healthy and precious!  His name is Ezra Graham and they are calling him  "Graham" after my late grandmother whom we called "Gram" as well.

Proud grandparents Mimi and Grandpa with Jason, Sarah, and big brother Calvin
Aiden's 1st place Championship!

Aiden's Euro American AAA hockey team after their first place victory

Mother's Day 2018.  John's mom and dad came to visit for a few days and watch some activities
Enjoying a gorgeous day at the park with Grandma and Grandpa watching Finn and all his climbing skills

Grandma and Aiden

I am really late on getting this post together, but we had a lot going on.  We are about to begin our 6th and final spring hockey tournament in 5 weeks.  Yes, that's a lot of hockey (two tournaments for each of the older boys).  Luke will actually have three tournaments by the time its all said and done because he is subbing for Liam's team since they are lacking a few players due to baseball season.

Aiden's second tournament over the weekend wasn't planned, but they were offered a free spot due to another team backing out.  Aiden was super excited to play and to show Grandma and Grandpa Carrithers what he can do on the ice.  He scored at least six goals over the weekend and is definitely aggressive and not afraid to try things.  He needs to work a bit on his overall speed, but hopefully that will come as he get stronger and bigger.  For now, Liam is definitely the fastest one on the ice.

Aiden's team ended up playing in the championship game and WON in overtime.  It was very exciting for 8 year old AAA hockey.  Aiden received a medal and t-shirt and got bragging rights with his brothers since we don't have another 1st place finish in our previous four tournaments this spring.

Grandma and Grandpa Carrithers came up to visit for a couple of days and we introduced them to several local hockey rinks, some nice Minnesota parks, and the soccer fields.  They went around to all our activities and enjoyed every second of it, but I am pretty sure they were more than ready for bed by the time 9:00 pm rolled around.  We kept them busy and thankfully had a few days with gorgeous weather including Mother's Day.

Lastly, we have a new cousin!!  My sister and her husband, Jason, welcomed a baby boy on Wednesday, May 9th.  Ezra "Graham" McClure is a week old and we can't wait to meet him!  He is named after my Grandmother Mary (my dad's mom) whom we called "Gram" when we were younger.  Jason, Sarah, and Calvin are doing well and enjoying Graham.  

Monday, May 7, 2018

Hockey Tournament #4 and Aiden's Baseball

Luke's MVP award from his AAA tournament game
Luke's AAA team

Very happy Goalie

Second place trophy

Aiden's first machine pitch baseball game

Machine Pitch baseball

Luke's team warming up for the game

Second place trophy presentation

Nice work guys!  Second place finish
Luke's AAA team played in the Stars and Stripes tournament over the weekend.  It was a busy weekend for us with five hockey games in three days.  We faced some very good competition from Minnesota, Wisconsin, California, and Colorado.  The boys played hard the entire time and really improved as a team.  We ended up a little short and finished in second place which was a little hard for these competitive boys, but it was a great finish overall.  Luke received the player of the game award for one of his games in net and got to experience his first shoot out (thankfully, he won the shoot out, but John and I might never recover).  It was a great weekend and we are excited for a break and the final two tournaments in August.  Only two more tournaments left for us this spring for Aiden and Liam.......

In other news, Aiden had his first machine pitch baseball game of the season and really enjoyed it.  They are keeping stats this time and counting strikes and runs, so its a bit more like "real" baseball.  He has several friends on the team and is really excited about the upcoming season.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Finally Spring!!

Finn at a 5th birthday party for his buddy, Liam (Captain America shirt)

Beautiful Duluth and Lake Superior 

Walking along the shores of Lake Superior in Duluth

Chasing the geese under the lift bridge in Duluth

New Gaga Ball pit at school.  We were first introduced to Gaga ball at camp a few years ago.  Its similar to dodgeball with a little more strategy involved.

More Gaga Ball
We are finally having some spring weather here in Minnesota.  Its hard to believe we had 22 inches of snow just a few weeks ago.  The snow is thankfully melting although our ice rink is still standing.  Most of the ice is gone and the ground might finally be soft enough to get the stakes out.  We have had several very busy weekends with AAA spring hockey tournaments.  Thankfully, these will end and we will begin baseball and soccer in two weeks.  In the meantime, we are making the most of the time in the tournaments and the time to play outside.  We were in Duluth over the weekend for a tournament with Luke's AAA team.  They did pretty well and faced some tough competition from Ontario, but I think they learned a lot and hope to do a little better in their next tournament.  Both Luke and Liam's AAA teams are young this year with several new players so hopefully we will start to mesh with these kids and grow as a team.  

Monday, April 23, 2018

The April Blizzard and AAA tournaments

Liam's team on the ice in their third place game

Fun games at the hotel

Trying to balance a cookie on their forehead then move it to their mouth!

Big win in game #2 for Liam's team

Fun at the hotel!

A picture from inside the snow globe

Snow and more snow

Finn is working hard doing something

Lots of wind and snow

Covered in snow
Aiden is pumped for his game
Hockey tournaments are so tiring
Aiden and his team mate
Playing at the hotel with Liam's team
Third place win for Aiden's team
Third place for Aiden's team
Pretty excited about the trophy

April has been an interesting and record setting month in Minnesota.  Its has been a lot colder and snowier than average and it has felt more like January than April.  Last weekend, we spent most of our time at home during the blizzard that hit our area.  Maple Grove ended up with the highest snowfall total of 22 inches!  It was a crazy amount of snow.

Fast forward one week and we are finally thawing out.  Over the weekend, the temps made it to nearly 60 degrees.  It was amazing.  We spent the weekend in a hockey rink so we sadly didn't get a chance to enjoy the warmer temperatures a lot, but it was very nice when we stepped outside after being in the rink!

Liam had his travel tournament to St. Cloud with his AAA Euro Blue team.  They finished third in their tournament which is a big step forward for this team.  They are young and many of the kids are new to the team so we have a lot of growing to do, but by the end of the weekend they looked 100% better.

Aiden had his first ever AAA tournament so John and I had to divide and conquer to manage both tournaments for Liam and Aiden. His team also finished third and Aiden managed to score a HAT TRICK (three goals in one game).  He was so so excited.  John promised him a tournament t-shirt if he scored a hat trick so guess what Aiden reminded him of after the game!?  Yep, he got his t-shirt.