Monday, March 27, 2017

Happy Spring Break!!

New University of Michigan birthday shirts from Aunt Ann and Family.  Ann's oldest, Jacob, is a freshman at Univ. of Michigan.  And yes, they all have long hair.  We have gotten a trim since this picture was taken.

Silly picture

Finn and his buddy, Max, with their Leprechauns 

Finn and Max

Aiden and his hockey buddy, Callen, at their end of year hockey party
We are officially on SPRING BREAK!  We don't have any big plans, but I think we are all very excited about a break from the normal routines.  We have some fun things planned and will post some updates after our fun week.  We are excited about no homework, no making lunches for school, no getting up super early for school, and no sports practices after school.  Should be a fun week with less schedules to worry about.  It is still amazing to me how many people in our area travel over Spring Break.  I think we may be some of the only neighbors here.  We have friends in Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, Florida, and New York just to name a few.... More to come after our fun week.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The end of Mite Hockey for Luke and Liam

Aiden's first day as a Mite Two Badger (2016-17)

Luke in goal for the final game (2016-17)

Goalie clinic this season with Luke and Aiden

First day of practice as Blackhawks for the 2016-17 season

First day of practice in their first year of hockey as Mite Two Gophers (2014-15)

Hockey in the basement (Winter 2014)

SuperMite Blackhawks (2016-17) 

Last Saturday practice as a Mite player

Moving on to Squirts (holding a bottle of Squirt)

Luke and Liam with their coaches for this season

Aiden's team party
Aiden as Mite One Tiger (2015-16)

Last SuperMite Two game

SuperMite One Penguins (2015-16)

Penguins (2015-16)

Luke's first time in goal (2014)

Last game as a SuperMite

Gritty Grinder awards (2014)

Aiden and his Badger Buddies (2016-17)

Luke as goalie this year with his biggest fan, Finn

We were late to the game of hockey (by Minnesota standards), but I am not sure what winter would look like now without hockey.  The boys have grown to love the sport and most of our weekends revolve around games, practices, and skating on John's backyard rink, etc...Its not an easy sport manage, but I know we wouldn't change anything.  We have met some amazing friends and families and we have grown to love our time at the rink with everyone.  The boys are always sad to see the season end.

Over the weekend, Luke and Liam finished up their final season of MITE hockey.  They started in first grade as Mite 2 Gophers then became SuperMite Penguins and finally SuperMite Two Blackhawks.  That's would have been a bunch of foreign terms to me a few years ago, but now I know the progression in Mite hockey is amazing.  They have grown and learned so much in three years.  

Next year will come with an entirely new set of challenges for Luke and Liam as they must try out to make a team.  They will be graded and placed on a team with kids who have similar talents and abilities.  Considering they have strengths in totally different areas, we have no guarantee they will be on the same team or even at the same level.  

This was also the final year that John will play a crucial role in their development in hockey as an assistant coach.  Of course, he will always coach them from the stands and at home in the backyard or in the basement hitting pucks, but he will no longer be an assistant coach for them.  Considering John learned to skate with the boys, he is not quite cut out to coach in Minnesota where almost everyone played hockey at some level (high school, college, and even some professional).  He has learned a tremendous amount in three years and is well known for his enthusiasm and encouraging words to the kids.  

We are more than excited for Luke and Liam as they open a new chapter next year for hockey...Squirt level!  

Aiden will continue in the MITE level hockey next year.  He moves up to a SuperMite, but things will be much the same and John will continue to be an assistant coach for him.  He had an awesome season this year as a Badger and last year as a Tiger.  He began his hockey career in kindergarten (a year earlier than his brothers).  He is known for being tough, hard working, aggressive, and always up for a celebration after he scores a goal.  Always.....

The pictures are a few from this season and previous seasons.  They are not in order so follow along in the captions!  

Monday, March 13, 2017

Minnesota High School Hockey Weekend

Watching some MN State hockey games

Hockey buddies at the games.  It was a sea of people that we know from hockey teams, neighbors, school, church, etc...Lots of fun for the big boys and John.

Last Pultony Winter Series Game at the Univ. of MN, Ridder Arena

I feel like this could be a caption for an advertisement...."Do you want to take control of your health?"

State High School Hockey

Hard to believe this is a high school hockey event and its held on the same ice where the WILD play!!  

Blackhawk hockey teammates at the game

Minnesota LOVES hockey.  I can recall realizing this was true when the boys were quite young.  Aiden was actually around three months of age and the Luke and Liam were barely two.  We had only been in MN a few years and were still exploring the area quite a bit when we decided to head to St. Paul over the weekend of the Minnesota High School Tournament at the Xcel Energy Center.  Luke and Liam were already showing an interest in hockey so when John mentioned it was the weekend of the MN high school hockey tournament and he wanted to head downtown to check it out, it seemed like a fun thing to do.  Turns out it was a much bigger event than I ever realized.  There was a giant hockey expo with all kinds of gear and tons of people.  I, these hockey people are pretty crazy with all their matching hats and jackets and other gear!?  And who would build a rink in their backyard???  Fast forward 7 or so years and we are THOSE people.

Over the weekend, John was able to find some highly sought after tickets to the state high school championship games.  Maple Grove was playing in the quarterfinals for the first time in several years.  The boys were ecstatic since there was a crowd of people they know at the game.  Sadly, Maple Grove lost their game, but it was a very fun experience.

Luke and Liam finished up their winter hockey league through the University of Minnesota.  While their team has a lot to learn, it was a great experience.  There were no stand out players on this team so the boys really had to work hard and take more of a leadership role.  Each of the boys gained a lot of confidence and had fun in the process.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Finn's first friend birthday party

Finn and his buddy, Andy, doing some karate.

Go Blackhawks!  This was on our locker room door when we played a team in their jamboree recently.
Finn is doing a dinosaur bone dig at a birthday party for his buddy, Landon.

Happy 4th birthday Landon!!

Checking out the dinosaurs around Landon's house

More digging

Paleontologists hard at work
Finn attended his first birthday party for a friend of his over the weekend.  His buddy, Landon, turned four years old on March 4th and Finn helped him to celebrate.  I just realized today as I was putting together the blog that this was the first party Finn has attended for a friend of HIS.  He has been to many parties with his older brothers, but this was the first one for a friend that is his age where he went without his big brothers.  Landon had a super cute dinosaur party where we excavated dinosaur bones and learned about all the different types of dinosaurs and what they like to eat, where and when they were alive, etc...Each child got to take home a box of sand to do additional searching for dinosaur bones and treasures.

We are nearing the end of our regular association hockey season and ready for a little break before spring hockey begins.  It will be nice to have a change in the routine for awhile.  The boys will have different teams for spring hockey and will play more games than practice so that will also be an nice change of pace.  Stay tuned for the end of season jamboree...a favorite event for all the Mite level hockey players.  This is Luke and Liam's last year as Mite players.  Hockey becomes a bit more serious (and more expensive) next year when they try out for a Squirt Team.