Vernon Volumes

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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Connor's first tennis tournament - Level 8 at Amelia Island


Today, Connor had his first tennis tournament. It was a level 8 tournament at Amelia Island and there were 8 kids signed up at his level. There were 5 girls and 3 boys in the tournament.

Connor's been working on learning everything about tennis for a couple years now, but we've been holding off on doing a tournament or doing real games for quite some time. We didn't want to put any pressure on him and he had been uninterested in games until recently. Since he's started learning tennis, he's done lots of clinics, tennis camps, and lessons, but just recently started learning the official rules and how to play in a match.

Andrea and I had some clinics in the morning and then after lunch we hit a few balls around with Connor to get him warmed up. I wasn't sure what the competition would be like so we encouraged him to just hit the ball in and try to keep the points going as much as possible until he could assess the opponent's strengths and weaknesses. Andrea had played with him the day before to practice and I was impressed today how consistently he can get the ball in play and keep it going.

We didn't want to leave Chloe at the house all day, so we brought her with us. The kids liked having Chloe with us and Chloe loved being outside so much in the nice weather.



Connor's first match was against a little girl who was also new to tennis tournaments. She spun her racquet to see who would serve first and Connor was first to serve. At Connor's age level they did 25 minute matches and just played as many games as they could fit in. They played orange ball, so the balls had an orange dot on them and they were playing on a slightly reduced size court. Connor has been practicing his serve and he only ended up double faulting once the entire day.




Connor won the first match 7-0 and moved on to the second round. The second round was probably his hardest competition. The little girl he played had very strong ground strokes, moved really well, and put up a tough fight. Connor lost his first game and I think he was a little worried for a while. He ended up winning the match 9-1.




When we started the final match, we didn't mention it was for the championship. He approached it like every other game and won 6-1. There were a few times that it was hard for Andrea and me to stay quiet on the sidelines. The little girl he played with didn't do a very consistent job of keeping track of the points and the one game she "won" was actually won by Connor a few points before her game point, but she'd forgotten a few of Connor's points. Thankfully it didn't matter and Connor prevailed.


Connor did a really good job of remembering the scores, calling the balls fairly (too fairly actually, he didn't call quite a few balls out), and he was a good sport. When he reported the final match's score to the match director he was a little surprised when he didn't get a participation ribbon like everyone else and was instead handed a champion's medal. I snapped a picture with Connor and Scott, the match director.



Connor was surprised when we explained that he'd won the tournament, and I'll never forget that his first words were "Hard work pays off!". We love his attitude and he's absolutely right. He's been working hard and playing hard at tennis for a long time and we're glad his first tennis match experience was a positive one.

Paige was a good girl during the match. She played with some of the other kids that weren't playing in the tournament, and hung out with Chloe. I took a few pics of her doing tricks in the grass nearby.


As I'd mentioned, it was a beautiful day in the mid 60's. The grounds at the Omni were so pretty and we snapped a few pics of everyone afterwards.





We all had a wonderful day! Great job to Connor, our little tennis star!


I put together a video with all the videos from the match. It's a little bit dizzying to watch since I had to keep jerking the camera back and forth. Unfortunately, I couldn't get everything in the frame without moving it.

Morning clinics at Amelia Island Omni


This morning we got up early and packed to go to the Amelia Island tennis facility for some morning clinics. Andrea and I did the 9 and 10 o'clock clinics and enjoyed the beautiful weather. The kids were wonderful and behaved perfectly during our clinics. They watched their iPads, did some coloring, and watched some of the tennis. We had them up in some chairs nearby, but halfway through, they moved their blanket down to the grass and hung out there. Three different people commented on how well behaved they were. We do have the best kids. After the clinics were over one of the tennis pros Katie was chatting with them and I snapped a pic of them all together.



Dippin Dots Bike Ride


The other night, Andrea had taken Connor to tennis, and I decided to do something fun with Paige. We got our bikes, put a couple paper bowls in her bike's basket, and rode down to the gas station at the front of our neighborhood. It's about a mile a half or so to the gas station, but all the sidewalks are finally in place through our neighborhood, so it's a nice ride. There aren't sidewalks through the business park near the gas station, so we walked our bikes carefully down the side streets for the final 50 yards or so. We parked our bikes out front, bought two packs of Dippin Dots, and ate them in the Subway that's attached to the gas station. We stopped at the park for a little while on the way home. Paige absolutely loved it. She's already been asking when we can go again.

Beach day and last days in town with Grandma Genie



On Sunday, we went to the PVIC beach club with Grandma Genie. It was a fairly cool day, but the kids wanted to play in the sand at the playground and I played with them a little bit in the ocean.










The kids swam in the pool, which was heated, for a little while. Andrea and Genie took a stroll down the beach together.


We all enjoyed the last few days while Genie was in town. We all enjoyed game nights together and played Snorta, Go Fish, Spoons, and Trouble a few times. On Tuesday, Genie's last day in town, she went to the bus stop to tell the kids goodbye. I was a little afraid Paige would freak out and not get on the bus, but she gave Grandma a big hug and got right on.




Connor gave her a big hug too and after they went to school, Andrea took Genie up to the airport.


Genie told us she had a nice relaxing and enjoyable trip. We are so happy she came to visit us and that she's feeling better post-chemo.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Lakshmi's tea party birthday party



Paige's classmate Lakshmi had a birthday party and Paige was invited. Andrea took Paige over on Saturday for the party and I snapped a picture of them before they left since they looked so pretty.



Paige had a good time at the party and had fun with some of her classmates and in the bouncehouse.





The kids got to make necklaces and bracelets. Paige ended up wearing the pearl necklace the rest of the day. So fancy!


Grandma Genie comes to visit


On Thursday, February 18th, Grandma Genie flew in from KC for a visit. Genie finished up her chemotherapy recently and her MRI on Monday showed that her tumor has shrunk substantially. She has a little while before her surgery, so it was a good time to come down and visit while she was feeling good. Andrea picked her up from the airport and they stopped by MShack to get Genie a burger.

Paige had put together a present and card for Grandma on Wednesday night. When Paige got home from school she gave it to Grandma so she could open it. It was filled with odds and ends that Paige had found around the house. All kinds of goodies like Shopkins and her artwork.


When Grandma got tired of wearing her wig, she took it off and Paige was very interested in it. Paige put it on and it was so hilarious I had to take a pic.





Connor decided he wanted to try it on too, he was whipping his head around and seemed to like the long hair in his face.


In the evening, we had game night, and played spoons. Paige was the scorekeeper and had a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the game. One second she'd be beaming because she got a spoon, but then she'd get very sad when she realized Daddy or Grandma Genie didn't. Grandma and I didn't fare so well in spoons. At the end of the game, when Paige had to mark Genie's final letter, she had big tears rolling down her face.

Paige read the scores bravely as the tears flowed. Connor was thrilled with the score sheet because he didn't have any letters at all.



Paige gave everyone letters as she kept score and also gave everyone pictures if she felt they deserved them. Connor got a frowny face, but then she decided to give him four smiley faces and hearts. Grandma got a rainbow, hearts and unfortunately the most letters. Paige meant to spell SPOON, but it ended up as SPOOS. Daddy got a heart and smiley face and Mommy got a rainbow, butterfly and flower.


After our game of SPOOS, we played trouble, and Paige ended up winning.


 In the morning, Paige and Grandma worked on brownies.





While the brownies baked, Paige read the book that she was sent home with for her weekly reading assignment. It was definitely one of the harder books she had to read, and Grandma had to help quite a bit.




Paige and Andrea went to Lakshmi's birthday party and Connor helped Grandma with the frosting for the brownies.





After Paige and Andrea got back from the birthday party, we went to Town Center for lunch at Cheesecake Factory. After lunch we went to Target and Grandma bought the kids their birthday presents in advance. Paige picked out a Barbie head and hands doll so she could practice her makeup, and also a Disney Descendants doll. Connor opted for an iTunes gift card so he could strengthen his Madden Mobile team. 



After lunch, a bunch of the kids in the neighborhood were outside playing, so we played outside with everyone for a while.



Paige changed in to some of her new clothes, and ended up picking a bunch of patterns that didn't exactly go together. It was a pretty wild sight.


Andrea got a little cold so she brought out a blanket.


Paige and Grandma worked on Barbie for a bit after they came inside. Paige loved all the different pieces. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture after they put in the clip on hair extensions. Paige wanted to wear them herself and wear them to school like one of her classmates did.