Monday, January 25, 2016

Our Week in Review

The laundry room after a weekend of hockey.  I wish I had a better angle on this, but there are 4 hockey bags on the floor.  There is also a drying rack with the wet stuff and a drying tree with the gloves.  Before I spent 20 minutes hanging everything up, it was a disaster!  I am, however, VERY thankful for a gigantic laundry room and mud room.  
Finn and his buddies at the Dome on a cold and snowy day (Left to Right: Silas, Landon, Finn, and Andy).  We have been regular visitors at the dome since Luke and Liam were 9 months old.  Its a great place for the boys to play and run indoors during the winter.

When all else fails, here is a good option for something to do...Nerf Gun Battles!  This, by the way, was not an easy picture to take!  I got nailed.

We have had a busy couple of weeks with John traveling quite a bit for work and the boys playing lots and lots of hockey.  Luke, Liam, and Aiden all started playing games in January.  When they began the season in November, they only practiced on the weekends and occasionally during the week.  Now, they play outdoor ice at the park during the week and practice Saturday with a game on Sunday.  The games at Luke and Liam's level are pretty fun to watch as the kids are starting to really know what they are doing and they are fast-paced.  Aiden's games are also fun to watch, but its a real mix of kids and skill level.

Aiden had his six year well visit and he is healthy and doing great.  Thankfully, he has no lingering issues from his broken leg a few years ago.   He is right in the middle of Luke and Liam at the same age.  Aiden was 46 inches and 56 pounds at his recent six year old visit while Luke was 49 inches and 60 pounds at the same age.  Liam, on the other hand, was 44 inches and 41 pounds.

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Tin Bin

A bunch of crazy boys in between hockey games

Finn has some skills as goalie!

The Penguins hockey team after their first (and only) victory!!

Liam and Luke ready for their first tournament game

Luke and Liam participated in a hockey tournament over the weekend called the Tin Bin.  The host of the tournament was the hockey association where the boys play.  There were 20 teams in all from both our association and other nearby hockey associations that came to play over the weekend.  Each team played four games in two days.  The majority of kids on the teams were second and third graders.  The tournament gets the name "Tin Bin" because the rink where we often play is an aluminum building that is freezing cold in the winter so it gained the nickname "Tin Bin."  The average temperature over the weekend was below zero with windchills on Sunday of -35 degrees.  I am pretty sure my toes were frozen all weekend.

The boys had a lot of fun playing in the tournament, but it was an eye opener to say the least.  While the best players in our association are spread out among 8 teams, many teams from other associations have all the best players on 1-2 teams.  Our team has 4 brand new skaters that have a hard time  making it up and down a full sheet of ice so playing in a game was fun, but perhaps a bit daunting for them.  While we have a great goalie and a few experienced skaters, we are usually fighting an uphill battle because you can't hide your new players on each line of skaters.  Honestly, as a parent, its frustrating to watch, but it was a chance for the boys to see there are lots of other good skaters out there so they need to keep working hard.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Happy Birthday Luke, Liam, and Aiden!!!

Getting ready to skate with our friends

Finn on skates with his skinny jeans from Grandpa Morse

Luke with two of his buddies at the party

Luke and his friends


Liam and some of his buddies

Aiden with Mark (left) and Brody (right)

Liam with Oliver (left) and Jack (right)

Singing Happy Birthday!  Can you tell that Luke is excited?

30 kids, skating, cake and ice cream, and lots of help from a few super nice parents!

Skating int he dark with glow things
We decided to have one big birthday party to celebrate all of our January birthdays this year.  Aiden turned 6 on January 2, 2016 and Luke and Liam turned 8 years old on January 11, 2016.  We are starting to have some overlap in the families of many of our friends.  For example, Luke and Liam are friends with an older sibling and Aiden is friends with the younger sibling within the same family.  Considering this and the fact that all three birthdays occur right after Christmas, it seemed logical to have ONE big party.  We invited 30 kids (some were Aiden's friends and some Luke and Liam's) and we had 30 kids attend the party!  We were 100% on the RSVP and attendance...not sure I have ever heard of that?!

The boys began doing some inline skating over the summer and really loved it so that is why we opted for the roller skating party this year.  Luke, particularly, loves to use his inline skates in the driveway during the summer and he has gotten to be quite good at it.  At the skating party, Luke weaved in and out of people, jumped the stairs to the next level, and flew by all of us as if we were standing still.  We all had a blast and the boys are already asking to go skating again.   

Monday, January 4, 2016

The New Rink 2016 and Aiden turns SIX

Finn is dressed and ready to skate!  He loves to put his skates on by himself, but he hasn't quite learned that you can't walk on the cement floor with your skates unless you have the guards on.  Eeek....not good.

Liam (on left) and Aiden (in net)

First time on the ice...New Years Day 2016.  Liam and Luke have their new Pengins jerseys and Aiden has his new Minnesota jersey.

Night skating

Grandpa Morse got Luke, Liam, and Aiden a very special birthday gift (see below)

A year ago when we started to contemplate the possibility of moving to a larger home, we mentioned this idea to the boys and their first comment was, "will we still have an ice rink?"  We told them we couldn't promise a rink, but we would try.  When we looked at houses, we would often drive by to see the backyard before we even made an appointment to go inside.  If the yard was nonexistent or sloped, we scratched the house off the list.

When we moved into the new house in August, a rink in the backyard seemed like an impossible task.  The house had a small fire pit in the backyard with an area covered in way more rocks than necessary.  Around the fire pit were three medium sized trees and a few bushes.  We hired a graduate student to help John manually move all of the rock to the side of the house where we made somewhat of a rock bed that runs along the side of the house.  The next step was to remove at least one of the trees so we found a good friend from our previous neighborhood that was willing to assist in the tree removal.

After the area was cleared and roped off for a rink, the major task remaining was to level the yard.  The majority of the yard is flat, but there is a gradual slope.  We brought in a very large pile of dirt that John and the graduate student hauled to the backyard to level the yard.

By the time the yard was level, it was nearly winter.  We generally have our rink assembled with the boards in place and ready to fill with water by Thanksgiving.  We would have barely made the deadline this year if it were not for the fact that we had an unusually long and warm fall so we were given a few extra weeks to prepare.  

We opted to order a kit to assist in building the rink.  This would provide us with the braces necessary to hold the boards in place.  John had to rent a UHAUL truck to purchase and deliver all of the wood that we used to build the rink.  After the rink was assembled, we waited for the weather to get cold enough so that we could fill the rink and allow it to freeze.  We had several setbacks in this process including a brace that failed, animals that ate through the plastic tarp to hold the water, and finally weather that was far warmer than average and not suitable for an ice rink.  

All of this information to say....A LOT of work went into the rink.  I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the rink,  but watching how much the boys love to skate on it helps me appreciate the rink a little more.  I am particularly appreciative of the time, energy, and determination that John put into the rink.  It has been a second (or third) job for him.

Over the Christmas break, the time finally came to fill the rink and pray that it would hold water.  On New Years Day, the rink was finally frozen enough for the boys to skate.  We skated day and night over the last few days of Christmas break and they loved it.  

In other news, Aiden celebrated his 6th birthday on January 2.  We opted to have one big party for all three boys again this year.  We have done this a few times in the past and it seems to work best, but made a lot of sense this year because we have a lot of overlap in families who have children Aiden's age as well as Luke and Liam's.  More to come on the party in a few weeks.  

Aiden was super excited to be turning SIX.  He told me that six is now his favorite number since that is how old he is.  He loves the fact that he is only a year younger than Luke and Liam for at least a few days.  

Grandpa Morse sent Aiden, Luke, and Liam a very special birthday gift this year.  He purchased a signed New York Rangers Wayne Gretzky jersey for the boys.  He found the jersey through a lifelong friend who has a baseball card and sports memorabilia shop.  Leading up to the gift, we read a biography on Gretzky to sharpen our knowledge of "The Great One."  The boys really enjoyed the book and it made the gift even more meaningful.  They, of course, wanted to try it on and wear it for a short time, but the long term plan is to frame it.