Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day & A Grand Champion

One year ago on Mother's Day, this is how we celebrated:

sitting in a hospital room, mentally and emotionally worn out and wishing to be anywhere in the world but here. 

What a glorious difference a year has made. I told Jeff, Mother's Day 2017 could have been one of the worst days at home ever and no matter what, it still would have been 100% better than last year because we were 'home' . . . not in the hospital. 

Yesterday, we spent the day together, at home and I was gifted wonderful surprises handmade by my two favorite kiddos. Landen made me a photo picture cube, painted a wooden sign about Mother's and Father's and he made me some sugar scrub. Olivia made me a book and wrote me some hilarious stories, all things that I adore and will forever keep. I told the kids, the handmade gifts are my absolute favorite as they are irreplaceable and are truly one of a kind. 

The rest of our day was spent outside, enjoying the glorious sunshine and beautiful summer-like weather day. It was fabulous!

Thinking back over the last year, a lot has changed. Jeff just said to me the other day, in true engineer fashion, should anyone ever question our decision to homeschool, just look at the data in regards to Olivia's health from last May until now, not even comparable. He's absolutely right. The changes for the better in Olivia's health over the past year are remarkable. She's been doing so well in regards to her weight and most importantly her lung health as she's only endured maybe 2 colds this year and all this with running 4 nights a week, Monday and Wednesday we are at TKD and Tuesdays and Thursdays we are at dance.

For now, we couldn't be more grateful that this year of homeschool has been so beneficial to Oliva's health. Last year's hospital stint did a real number on her. With the few colds she's had, I've heard more than once about how "at least she's not in the hospital".  Both Landen and Olivia are thriving in school this year and both seem to enjoy their on-line classrooms. Maybe, someday the tables will turn and they'll want to head back to public school, but for now, the current arrangement is a good fit for our family. 

In my last update, I mentioned that Landen had a tae kwon do tournament the beginning of May. This was his first competitive tournament and he was really hoping he'd place either 1st, 2nd or 3rd in his group because trophy's would be awarded for those places and he'd be competing in a group of 4 so the odds were pretty favorable. The kids would be divided up based on their belt ranking and age. As I previously mentioned, Landen really enjoys tkd and he works hard at it, very often running through his forms, punches and kicks at home. I told him if he practiced a lot, paid attention to the little details that he had a good shot at winning a trophy. 

Saturday, May 6th was the date of the tournament. There were so many people at the tournament, it was quite the sight to see. I was on pins and needles, nervous for Landen and amazed that he had the will and determination to compete and perform in front of so many people. At his age, or let's be real, even at my age now, I don't think I'd have the confidence to do what he was doing! All the kids were divided into groups by belt rank and age level.  Landen's rank and age group were divided into groups of 3 or 4 and there were probably a total of 20 to 25 kids at this level. They'd compete in their groups and then the 1st place winner of each of the small groups would compete against each other for Grand Champion. 

When it was Landen's turn to do his poomsae pattern, I could almost feel my heart pounding in my throat. He was in a group, competing against 2 other kids so I calmed down a bit knowing he'd for sure get 1st, 2nd or 3rd so we'd for sure be taking home a trophy. In the first round, it was Landen against one other boy, the judges voted for Landen over the other child so he was left standing and would now compete against the other competitor so he for sure would get 2nd place. 

In the end Landen won 1st place in his poomsae pattern and would in turn be competing for Grand Champion! Jeff and I were so proud of him and he was proud of himself as well! It was awesome, 1st place! 

We had to wait for quite sometime for the Grand Championship round. It was stressful, Jeff and I both were so proud of Landen and told him that no matter what the outcome, just to be competing for Grand Champion was pretty darn amazing, especially never having done a tournament before. Landen remained calm and focused for the most part. We sat and watched some of the higher belts perform and then as the Grand Champion round inched closer, Landen took it upon himself to find a "quiet" corner to run through his pattern for additional practice. 

For the Grand Championship round, the 1st place winners from the small groups would compete against each other. Landen would be competing against 4 other 1st place winners at his age and rank level.

 Landen did a great job with his pattern, he looked brilliant out there, and the outcome was favorable.

Landen took Grand Champion!


Landen's instructor, Mr. Fonnest, presented Landen with his Grand Champion trophy, it was the sweetest thing. Landen really looks up to and admires his instructor and I know he felt pretty proud to win that trophy and he credits so much of his success to Mr. Fonnest. 

It was a glorious day and Landen now has the confidence to try out for the Competition team this summer where he will get to travel and compete in tournaments across the state should he be granted permission to join the team. I told him, having a Grand Championship trophy under his belt, should be a good indicator that his odds of making the team are good!

Jeff and I couldn't be more proud that Landen's found something he loves and something he does well at. Grand Champion, wow!

Our studio did wonderful, so many students brought back trophy's as seen in the group photo. 

TKD is an amazing sport, the life lesson's it teaches are unmeasurable and that fact that you are competing against no one but yourself is a huge confidence builder. I love it. I love watching Landen in class and I love all that he's learning and gaining from it. I'd join the class with him, if I wouldn't be the 2nd to oldest member and embarrass him! Really, I'm just happy to be the TKD mom in the crowd cheering my son on.

A few weeks ago, Landen tested for his 6th Gup belt so he's moving right on up the ranks and earned his green belt. 

Way to go Buddy, so proud of you. What an exciting few weeks of TKD you've had!

And on that note, the race is on to finish school. The kids and I can't wait for summer to be upon us! Less than a month to go now. 

Olivia has her dance recital in June that she's looking forward to. We are so proud of her for all she's learned and how hard she tries and that she has fun doing it. I'm a bit nervous for her to get up and perform on stage in front of such a large group. Last time she tried in gymnastics I had to be out there with her but she's grown up more so I hope she'll do it and have fun. Cousin Braelyn is with her so she should be a big help in calming Olivia's nerves.

Right after Landen's birthday sometime, we will finally get to +1 our family with the addition of our new puppy. We can't wait to bring her home, it'll be a lot of fun, a lot of work, but oh what a fun summer! It's been almost 1 year since we said goodbye to Shelby, one of myt hardest goodbye's ever so we are all anxiously awaiting the joy and happiness our new puppy Sammy, will bring. 

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