Thursday, July 30, 2015

Shabbat in Laguna Woods

Last weekend, we spent Shabbat in Laguna Woods, with our California and Israeli family. It was, literally, a short but sweet, trip.  We left Phoenix late in the afternoon on Thursday and arrived back home late Saturday evening.  Why would we plan such a short trip?  It was Dione (Josh's aunt who lives in Israel) and her family's annual trip to California.  And, so, for the third year in a row, we decided to visit them when they were in town.  It has become a fun tradition!  Here are some of the highlights from our trip:
  • GG and GP took the kids to The 99 Cents Only Store so they could pick out some toys.  The great-grandparents just love watching the kids decide which toys they should pick this time.
  • Enjoyed a wonderful family Shabbat with authentic Israeli food.  Thank you, Aunt Dione!  We look forward to your cooking every year.  We also love that Aunt Kathleen was able to join in the fun again this year.
  • A girls' breakfast (Jenn, Kathleen & Kathleen) in Aliso Viejo on Saturday morning.
  • Fun at the park with GP!
  • GG took Madilyn shopping at The Children's Place for back-to-school clothes and a backpack. 
  • Enjoyed eating lunch out with everyone at Asia Buffet.
Aunt Kathleen and Aiden being silly
Ninja Aiden
Aiden & Aunt Kathleen
GG and the great-grandkids
GG and GP
Katz and Dione
Kisses & Wine
Kathleen and I
 I Love You!
 Ready for Shabbat
 Aiden and his Kippah
Puzzle Time
Spider-Man Web Shooters
Madi & Aunt Kathleen
Silly Kisses
Aiden throwing a frisbee
GP pushing the kids on the swings
Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Last Day of Summer Swim Lessons

Last Wednesday, Madilyn and Aiden concluded their summer swimming lessons, eight weeks in total, through the City of Phoenix.  We couldn't be more impressed with the City's program.  The kids loved their coaches; so did we.  They were so patient, supportive and friendly.  It was the perfect environment for our kids to strengthen and perfect their swimming skills, which they did.  We are so proud of our little fishes!

Madi wanted to "pose"
Swimming Siblings
Silly Aiden
Riding his "horse-y"
More kicking...

Can you tell she loves to swim?
Coach Zoe and Madi
Madilyn's Swimming Class
A Pencil Jump
Smiling while he swims
Coach Lexi and Aiden
Aiden swimming freestyle
Aiden practicing his sideglide
Madi swimming freestyle
Thursday, July 23, 2015

Manta Ray Swim Team ~ Division Championships

Two weeks ago, Madilyn competed in the City of Phoenix's swim team division championships. At this meet, she competed in five races, although she, technically, only signed up for four races.  She swam in the following races:
  • The 4 x 25 yard individual medley relay (She swam the backstroke leg of the race)
  • The 25 yard individual freestyle
  • The 25 yard individual backstroke
  • The 4 x 25 yard freestyle relay
  • And the 25 yard individual butterfly.  (Her coaches added her at the last minute into this race).
We were so proud of her.  Every race, she would just walk right up to the edge of the pool, wait for the buzzer and jump right into the pool and race as hard as she could.  We still cannot believe that six weeks ago, this is the same little girl who sobbed at her first meet, crying that she didn't want to do swim team at all. I have to give huge kudos to the City's coaching staff.  The three coaches (Emmy, Zoe and Trevor) in charge of the Manta Ray Swim Team did an outstanding job.  They all were so patience and supportive with Madilyn.  Madi loved hanging out with them during the meets and learned tons from them during practice.  It is so great to see how much she has improved this season and that her confidence has grown so much as well. What a transformation!  She is already asking when the next swim team will start ...

Ready to Swim!
 Go Manta Rays!
 Warm-up Swim
Madi's 1st Pink Ribbon
 Two Races Down
 Waiting for her next race ...
 The older swim kids gave her a tattoo...
 Getting prepared to race.  Coach Emmy right by her side.
A beautiful night for a swim meet...
Madi's Race Ribbons
Individual Medley Relay
Individual Freestyle
Individual Backstroke
Individual Butterfly
Freestyle Relay
Monday, July 20, 2015

4th of July Weekend 2015 ~ Saturday

The Farrell-Landers family 4th of July celebration this year was very traditional and a ton of fun!  We started out the day watching the Munds Park annual community parade.  It was so much fun to watch the parade and the kids reactions to the floats.  By far the best part of the parade is watching the kids collect the candy from the floats as they pass by.

After the parade, we headed back to the cabin to enjoy a mid-day feast of pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs, corn on the cob, chips, cole slaw and Strawberry Shortcake for dessert.  A perfect, classic meal to have for our holiday meal.

Our afternoon and evening was spent in Flagstaff at the "Lights on the Lawn" event.  It was a great event and we are very lucky to have been joined by many of our good friends.  However, not remembering that we were in the mountains, we had not been fully prepared for rain showers and the colder climate.  Luckily, the rain finally moved out of the area so we could enjoy some fireworks and we had found some blankets in my parent's car to keep us minimally warm.  Next time, we will be more prepared.

The best part of the evening was listening to our kids as they "Ooh'd" and "Ahh'd" at the fireworks for the first.time.ever.  Every once and a while you would hear Aiden or Madi say, "That's my favorite!" or name all of the colors in the sky.   I love reliving life experiences through their eyes.  I feel like I get to become a kid again, if only for a brief moment.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Sunday, July 19, 2015

4th of July Weekend 2015 ~ Friday

On the Friday of the 4th of July weekend, the kids had their final day of Soccer Camp.  Josh and Papa golfed while Grandma and I took the kids to Camp.  The kids did wonderful.  They played their "World Cup" game really well.  Aiden even scored a couple of goals, even if one of them didn't really count.  He didn't know that he wasn't supposed to score in the large goal only the smaller goals.  Oh, well!  They both enjoyed themselves and loved the experience.

Madi dressed in her pink soccer outfit
Aiden ready for camp, too.

Posing for pictures before soccer camp started
Coach Tamara teaching kids via the Board
World Cup Finals Time!
What a look of determination!
Big Kick
Teammates and Siblings
Coach's Wrap-Up Talk
One of Aiden's Goals
Madi's Flag Drawing