Monday, December 22, 2008

WOW! We are WAY behind!!!

So, it's been quite some time since we have updated this darned thing. You might be tempted to call us "slackers" but hold your horses folks... We've been pretty busy since spring.

It all started when we took control of Madison's competitive soccer team. There are a few reasons this happened, but there is no reason to go into detail here. I was always told, "If you can't say something nice, shut your piehole." Or something to that affect. Suffice it to say, all involved have been happy with the change and that makes it all worth it. The girls are smiling and enjoying the game again. It has been a ton of work. Scheduling practices, dealing with the league, dealing with the club, keeping the families informed and on the same page, recruiting new players, opening a team account with non profit status (donations are always welcome and tax deductible), and on and on and on. Most importantly, rebuilding the girls' confidence, trust and self esteem after some pretty hard times.

Sandie and I could not have done this without the help of our new coach (and friend), Jorge. He has been great with these kids and they absolutely love him. I paid super close attention to how he handled certain things and he passed every test with flying colors. Sandie also had her things she was looking at with him and he passed her test also. He's a good man and a great coach. We're very lucky to have found him. You can check out the Capital Freedom website to see what we're up to and awesome photos taken by one of our parents.

While this sucked up a majority of our time this past summer, fall and early winter we still had time for other interests...

We went on our second Disney Cruise to the Mexican Riviera! The last time we went, we were happier ON the boat. This time, we could not wait to get OFF the boat. The first time, we really enjoyed just hangin out by the pool and doing all the standard cruise type activities. Our excursions were pretty cool then, but not as cool as this time around. We had a hard time deciding which one we enjoyed more.

In Cabo San Lucas we swam with dolphins! That was an amazing experience! The water was cold and we were all a bit nervous, not knowing what to expect but it was spiritual. This was a brand new facility and from the time we walked in we were impressed with the cleanliness and beauty of the place. The people were great too. This is one that needs to be experienced to be appreciated.

In Mazatlan we did the "Best of Mazatlan Tour". We started on a bus learning the history and seeing the sights of this beautiful beach city. It was drizzling rain for most of the bus ride, so photos were tough. We learned so much and had the privilege of seeing a georgeous cathedral in the center of the city. I wish I could tell you all about this place but there's just too much to say. It was a pretty emotional experience for me. The beauty of this place can't be put into words. It's something best left to experience. This was topped off by an authentic Mexican lunch with a Mexican history stage show at a 5 star resort hotel. Then we had a couple of hours on the resort's private beach. We hopped in a cab for the ride back to the ship. Sandie and the girls were freaked out by the cab ride... I was SUPER impressed!!! I feel that if people in America drove more like they do in Mexico, traffic would flow smoothly and there would be fewer accidents. They really seem to be more aware of their surroundings and look out for each other. Here, every other driver is yacking on a cel phone or just generally not caring about the other drivers on the road. I had a blast!

In Puerto Viarta we went on a pirate ship cruise, complete with breakfast, a top notch pirate show, Shayna and I snorkeled, we all had a nice time on the beach (drinks included), and lunch with drinks on the return trip. Sandie, Madison, and I all got jellyfish stings and even that did not take away from the good time we had. I think maybe most folks are just sissies in this department... it really didn't hurt that bad.

On the cruise ship, we had a terrible room! I don't want to complain about it now as I'm kinda over it. If you go on a cruise, stay away from midship! Loud and annoying! We didn't sleep well for the week but it was still a nice vacation.

Before the cruise we got to spend a couple of days (including July 4th) with Uncle Vic and Aunt Sharon. 4th of July in Huntington Beach has become an annual thing for our family. It is ALWAYS a good time!

When we got home, it was right back to soccer. Shayna was playing in the adult league on Friday nights after falling in with a team playing futsal. The futsal season ended with them in third place over all. The summer outdoor season started out strong but most of the girls headed off to college in August, leaving Shayna and two other girls to scramble to field a team each week. Needless to say, they ended up not winning much after that.

Madison was working out with The Signature Program. along with several others from her team. She also attended a soccer camp put on by Olympic gold medalist Brandy Chastain. She really enjoyed it and even got to wear her gold medal!

Shayna chose keeping her job over playing soccer for the high school this year. She still wanted to play so we got her placed on a U19 co-ed AYSO team. They went undefeated for the season and she made the all-star team.

We took Madison's team year round competitive this year. It was a good fall season with only one loss! The girls and parents all seem very happy and we continue to move forward.

Shayna and Madison are both in the middle of futsal season. Shayna is on a different team now and they pretty much hold their own but not quite what she's been used to lately. Madison's team is going strong and have only one loss so far.

Sandie and I are doing well and trying to find any little bit of down time we can, if for nothing else than just lowering our heart rates! This means we have not had much chance to do any bike riding together in months. Though we both get on the bike at lunch every day (and we both rode to work all summer and then some), I miss riding with my best friend! It was a pretty big year and we are having a ton of fun just living life.

Here are some of the other highlights from earlier in 08...

We had enough snow to go sledding right in our own neighborhood! There was a good enough pile after shovelling to build a snow fort also!

Sandie did lunch time snowshoeing
treks when there was too much snow to ride her bike.

Shayna got her driver's license !

We got a new baby and we love her so much! Chili has even come around and really seems to enjoy her company.

We had a nice mini vacation at Twin Lakes with great friends. This trip came right at the time when we took on Madison's team. It was really great to step away and just charge our batteries for what was to come.

We took Bella and our friend, Scott on their first ever bicycle poker run.

Hopefully, we can stay on top of this a little better this year! We hope you all had a great Christmas. Stay well and have an awesome 2009!