Emery wrapped up her first softball season. Their age group was machine-pitch so the girls had to get used to hitting off of that contraption. She had a blast learning the game, hitting balls, and hanging with her friends.
On the way home from Emery’s game, Carter stopped and checked out his new middle school, Crone. A couple of weeks ago the school invited kids inside to check out a book but it doesn’t hurt to take it all in again before the big day.
I had my first race of the year at the Lake Zurich Triathlon. Unfortunately, 2 weeks ago the organizers sent out an email and let us know the bike route was torn up. Apparently road construction got delayed so the roads were not ideal for bike riding. They changed it to an Aquathon (swim and run) instead of canceling the whole event. Even without the bike, it was still good to get out and get a feel for racing. It had been over a year and a half since my last race so I needed a little something to get me going.
Carter is now 11 years old! This year it was back to a pretty normal weekend birthday celebration with some familiar activities with friends. Carter had some buddies over for lunch and Mini golf and then played video games all night. Nothing better than unlimited video games on your birthday! The next day Uncle Jason surprised Carter with a trip to get ice cream in his old souped-up Trans Am.
We finally made it to Florida! This trip was originally planned for March 2020 but then Covid locked everything down. We pushed the trip back to summer 2020, then Thanksgiving 2020, then Marh 2021… and then finally in June 2021 we got on a plane and flew to Bradenton.
We didn’t have much planned so the week was consisted of lounging around. We visited the pool every day to swim, did Mini golf one night, and had some nice dinners next to the water.
It is the kid’s last day of school and to make it extra special, it is Carter’s last day at Patterson! Next year he will be off to middle school. To wrap up their time in elementary school, Carter’s class took the traditional trolley ride before school and a farewell ceremony after school. After all of the official school activities wrapped up, Carter went over to join his old classmates to remember Grace Dudich.
It is the last week of school so Patterson had the annual Field day which consists of a ton of outdoor games that the kids rotate through. I volunteered to help so got to spend a couple of hours with the kids helping them close out the school year. Carter is not just closing out the school year, he is also closing out his time at Patterson! Next year he will be off to Crone to start middle school.
That night Emery had her first softball game. It’s fun to see all the girls learn how to play the game, whenever someone gets the ball there is a brief state of shock while their little minds try to quickly figure out where to throw it. Emery’s whole team seems to be hitting the ball really well, she cranked out 2 out of 2 hits.
To add to all the excitement of the night, right before the game Emery lost a front tooth!
Emery and I had some good times at the Daddy Daughter Dance last weekend. Last year was remote due to COVID but this year it was awesome because it was in-person. We went out to eat before with some friends, then headed to our clubhouse for some Fun games, photo ops, and of course dancing.
It’s nearing the end of the school year and we’re heading into summer. Carter is wrapping up his final year at Patterson and celebrated with the traditional 5th-grade Sock Hop. I tried convincing him that he looks good in a leather jacket but I don’t think we’ll be seeing it again anytime soon.
It was a big soccer weekend for us. This weekend Carter’s soccer team, Team Chicago, played in a tournament in Woodridge and won the whole thing! There were a few nail-biter games but ended up dominating the final game. Emery wrapped up her spring season of soccer which marks the end of her recreational play. As usual, I had a blast coaching them all and seeing everyone grow throughout the season. Next season she is going to more of a club environment where it gets a bit more competitive and she’s super pumped.
Here in Naperville, the district has been 100% remote since the beginning of the year. Now that the COVID cases are not as bad as they have been, the kids have the option to go back part-time. Both of the kids were excited to go back so off they go! Emery started back in school last week and Carter started this week. Here are some “first day of school” photos that just happen to be over half of the way through the school year.
Emery is now a whopping 7 years old! Even with the dreaded Covid, we still had a semi-outdoor party with a few friends to celebrate the occasion. The girls did some painting, pinata, cake, and wrapped up the party with some fun in the snow. After a super long 2020, it was nice to see Emery having fun with some of her buddies.
We obviously can’t have a large party with the entire family but we still luckily got to see the grandparents. Grandma/grandpa Wassmer made the long hike up from Davenport to hand-deliver some birthday goods. Grandpa and grandma Stubler are now just down the road so it was a quick trip for them to come over and say hi.
To wrap up the celebration we obviously opened presents and had an awesome meal. For the super-special family dinner, we ordered in some really good sushi from our favorite place downtown Naperville.
In keeping with 2020 holiday tradition, we stayed home this year for Christmas. We had to dream of sugar plums and vaccines in our own beds instead of the usual visits to the grandparent’s houses. Since everyone was remote we had video calls with both families to open presents and attempt some sort of normal holiday celebration. Luckily Santa is immune to covid so he still swung by Christmas day. He dropped off a lot of gifts but unfortunately did not leave any vaccine.
Like the rest of the year, Turkey day in 2020 was not normal. This is the first year in a long time that we have not done the Naperville Turkey trot but we still got a good workout in. We all did an awesome live family turkey-burn on Peloton. We broke out everybody’s floor mats and muscled through all the cardio they threw our way.
The one thing that was normal was the magical appearance of our elf, Sam. Like every other year, he flew down from the North Pole to start his watch of the family behaviors. He was not a good elf this year because he was hanging out in big groups of elves and came down with COVID! He now, unfortunately, has to be quarantined in a jar in our living room for the next 2 weeks!
Even though we were home we connected with the family with a video call to grandma and grandpa Stubler and then met up with the Wassmer family on zoom. I set up a screen share so the entire family could play a few different trivia games from the Jackbox 7 game. Everyone can log in via their phone to answer questions or draw crazy pictures which is a pretty fun way to pass the time. After we did a few rounds of games we did the most important tradition… the food. Julie put together an awesome mini-thanksgiving meal to fill our bellies to finish off the day.
Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to Ali recently. Her health had been declining over the past couple of weeks, however, she ended up passing pretty suddenly. The whole family is sad and will miss her greatly. Ali was such a good dog and we enjoyed having her around for the past 14 years. I’m really glad the kids got to grow up with such a good little pup.
Since she was so old, she did a lot of sleeping and laying around, but like most Jack Russels, she had a lot of energy and never missed a chance to cause trouble. Uncle Jason loved getting her to chase a dot. It didn’t have to be a laser dot, a reflection from a phone or flashlight would be enough to get her going. I never did figure out if it made her mad or she enjoyed chasing it around. Before she lost her hearing she was always there to keep us up all night by getting angry at thunder/lightning storms. Ali would also get into a barking fit at anything that passed in front of our house, especially other dogs. We know Jaxon was waiting for Ali with a tennis ball in his mouth, so we are focused on her reuniting with him and all the time we shared with her.
Remote learning has officially started and its going better than we originally expected. Emery has had a greater learning curve than Carter, but to be expected from first grade compared to fifth grade. She’s getting the hang of her Chromebook and new daily routine. Carter has been excelling at paying attention online all day and getting his work done. The kids have a nice functional workspace which helps make it feel a little more like an actual classroom. They are both enjoying seeing their classmates even though its been virtual. The teachers have really been working hard to make it a positive experience for kids.
Both kids are officially back to soccer practice and they are trying a new sport, tennis. Carter was a bit hesitant to give it a try, but soon realized he was better than he expected he would. They both get excited for their weekly lessons. Emery had her first outdoor Daisies meeting last week as well. It feels nice to get into a bit of a routine, regardless if things are quite “normal” as we’re used to.
We finally made it to the first day of school! The summer of COVID has come to an end and now we hopefully return to some familiar school activities. The kids are pumped and ready to get back to school.
Yesterday we wrapped up some last-minute shopping at Ikea to get their desks set up. Both of the kids picked up a pet plant to watch over and take care of during the school year. Emery was lobbying for a pet fish but we all agreed a plant would be better this year.
This morning we did the standard first-day pictures outside but then it was back inside to start remote learning. It took a while to get both of them logged in but the internet and zoom seem to be holding up.
Last week I took a day off and wondered around Starved Rock for the day. It was a nice 3.5 hour hike through 8.5 miles of trails. There are typically some pretty neat waterfalls but unfortunately, it was pretty dry so nothing was flowing. Since we’re not taking any vacations, days like these are nice to break up the normal daily grind and do something different.