Monday, March 30, 2015

March Madness

The reaction from the boys when they heard MOM was winning the March Madness brackets (the winner changed a bit after this weekend's games)

Who is winning the brackets you ask?

Mom and Liam are now tied after the Sweet 16 game!
  Luke, Liam, and Aiden completed their brackets for the first time this year.
Luke and Liam, in particular, are beginning to enjoy watching sports on television as well as in person.  They still want to know who we are rooting for and still refer to the teams as "bad guys" and "good guys."  Their favorite sport to watch, of course, is hockey.  Aiden enjoys watching sports to some extent, but still doesn't have quite the interest of Luke and Liam.  We are trying to branch out and watch some basketball, baseball, and football rather than just hockey.  The boys each ask at least 1-2 questions every 3.1 seconds during any game so it can be a little difficult to actually follow the games.  They know the names and numbers of most of the players on the MINNESOTA WILD hockey team and have even asked us to record late night games so they can watch them the following morning.

This year we decided to complete the March Madness brackets with Luke, Liam, and Aiden and have some competition among everyone.  John and I have been filling out these brackets for several years and enjoy following the games.  It was a little tricky to explain the process of selecting teams to the boys, but once they heard that the winner would get to pick a place to go get ice cream, it really didn't matter what we were doing.

Liam and Mom are currently tied in the March Madness bracket competition.  Since we both picked Duke and Kentucky to play in the final four, if those two teams make the final game then we also have a tie breaker (total number of points scored in game) to decide the winner.  Should be fun!!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Great Teammate Award

Mr. Finn on St. Patty's Day 2015.  He is wearing his "Little Monstah" shirt that his godparents gave him after their trip to Boston.

John's Finnegan Beer and sweet Finn

Luke and Liam were given the "Daniel and Henrik Sedin Great Teammate" Award after their first hockey season.  The coach noted that they are not only good teammates with the rest of their team, but they work especially well together.

Nothing says "Happy St. Patrick's Day" like Finn wearing a green shirt and a big smile, right?!  John played a few pranks on the boys for St. Patty's day.  Before they woke up for school, he was busy turning the toilet water green, the milk green, switching around the clothes sitting out for school, hiding their shoes, and rearranging their backpacks.  I don't know what Luke and Liam told their teacher, but Aiden's teacher told me that he gave her all the details about his visit from the Leprechauns!  

In other news, Luke and Liam received a pretty cool award at their end of the year hockey party.  They were given the "Daniel and Henrik Sedin Great Teammate Award."  Since I don't really follow hockey at all, I looked up some info on the Sedin's and here is what I found:

Daniel and Henrik Sedin are identical twins who play in the NHL for the Vancouver Canucks.  Having played together throughout their careers, the pair are known for their effectiveness playing off one another.  Henrik, a skilled passer, is known as the playmaker, while Daniel is known as the goalscorer.   On February 15, 2013, Henrik Sedin became the all-time leading scorer for the Vancouver Canucks.

Very cool award for them!  They definitely work well together on the ice.  They were not always on the ice at the same time, but it was fun to watch when they were.  By the end of the season, Luke really had a better feel for the game of hockey itself.  He understood (at least from my 
perspective) how to spread out and pass the puck more, watch for open teammates, and was a lot better getting around on the skates.  Liam, on the other hand, is probably faster and better at scoring, but he is not as aggressive as Luke.  He can out skate a lot of kids and dribble the puck pretty well down the ice, but he's not as strong or rough as Luke (at least not yet).  Nonetheless, it was a fun year to watch them improve.  I will say, however, I was more than glad to have a hockey free weekend!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Final Weekend of Hockey and Aiden's First Gopher Game

Aiden's first Minnesota Gopher hockey game-Friday, March 13, 2015

Luke, Liam, and Aiden at the game with Daddy

Waiting for the game to begin!  

Checking out the Gopher bench
Holding their game posters 
Coach Scott Alexander talking to the boys before the game
Liam (with Luke behind) getting ready to skate onto the ice
Liam "the Dominator" Carrithers
Standing on the ice after being announced
Game time:  Gophers vs. Spartans
Shaking hands after game
Changing in the locker room post game

Picture with Daddy at Gopher Hockey game
Luke and Liam's very first Gopher hockey game!  Circa October 13, 2011

I am honestly not sure if winter seemed to go fast this year because we were so busy with hockey or because statistically it actually was a "shorter than average" winter.  In March, we have already had a day or two of 60 degrees and all the snow has melted.  This time last year, however, we still had a foot of snow and very cold temperatures.  Nonetheless, I am thankful for warmer temps, more daylight, no snow, and what seems like a fairly "mild" winter for us.  

Luke and Liam began hockey in early November and finished over the weekend which is a long season for any sport.  Of course, the boys loved it and have already asked to play again next year.
Over the weekend, they had their "mite Jamboree" which basically consists of a final game and a party.  In the game, they announced each child with a nickname and they skated across the ice as their name was called out with the spotlight on them.  They had music playing and an announcer throughout the game so it was a lot of fun for the boys (and the parents).  The nickname Luke picked was "Cool Hand Luke Carrithers" and Liam chose "Liam the Dominator Carrithers."  I actually was able to watch the game since we had a babysitter for Finn.  The best part of the game was at the very end when Liam passed the puck to Luke and Luke scored!  It was a nice way to end the season and the game!

Lastly, Aiden attended his first college hockey game over the weekend.  John took Luke and Liam to their first Gopher hockey game in 2011 and then he took Luke, Liam, and Aiden over the weekend.  Finn is so excited to join them in a few years! 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spring is coming?

On our way to the bus stop one morning last week

Finn riding in the sled

The snow was coming down pretty hard!!
Luke and Liam played in their first hockey tournament over the weekend.  They announced each of the kids and they skated out on the ice with a spot light on them!!  Liam and Luke are in line waiting for their name and number to be called.

Last day of backyard skating on the rink.  Temps should reach the 40s-50s this week!

Gopher Hockey Team

It was a mix of snow with some warmer temps at the end of the week.  We made it out to play on the swing set over the weekend.

Finn figured out how to open and close the door to the fort.
National anthem at the tournament 
Winter is hopefully on its way out in Minnesota.  Around springtime, we always seem to have a warm day or two (in the 40's) when all the snow melts and then we get blasted with a blizzard in May, but I am holding out hope that this spring might be different.  Early last week, we received several inches of snow, lots of wind, and some bitter cold temps.  By the weekend, however, it was warm and sunny and this week they are saying we might have temps in the 50's.

Luke and Liam had the opportunity to play in their first hockey tournament over the weekend.  It was a small tournament, but fun for the boys to play in a different place with different teams that we did not know.  They even had referees, which we don't generally have.  They also announced each child's name whenever they scored so that was really cool for them!  They start early with hockey tournaments in Minnesota.  Over the weekend, the state high school tournament was also played at the Xcel Energy Center and they set a new attendance record of 135, 618 fans in attendance over the weekend!!  And this was all for high school!?  Pretty amazing....

Monday, March 2, 2015

We Love to Read!

Liam and Luke were SO EXCITED when John showed up at school as the "Mystery Reader"

John is reading the "Seven Silly Eaters"

February was "I Love to Read" month at the school where Luke and Liam attend.  To encourage reading this month, the school held a read a thon, a reading beach party, and they invited mystery readers to come in and read to the class.  John was the "mystery reader" last week and was able to go to their class and read a book to everyone.  He was asked to send three clues (anonymously) and the children tried to guess who was coming.  Luke and Liam had no idea that John would be there.  John's clues were:

1.  I have lived in 8 states:  Illinois, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, New   
     Jersey, and Minnesota.
2.  I did not play hockey growing up, but my kids have a hockey rink in their backyard.
3.  I enjoy watching Iowa Hawkeye football with my four children.  

After the mystery readers during the month of February, the boys also had a "reading beach party" at the end of last week.  Parents were invited to come to school with a beach towel and beach apparel and we read books together.  Although I didn't take any pictures, I was able to join Luke and Liam for the beach party while Finn and Aiden enjoyed some play time with our neighbor's grandparents.  It was really fun to be there and see the boys.