3 on 3 Christmas Tournament

Finn and four of his Black Starts teammates played in a just-for-fun 3 on 3 tournament on December 20th in San Jose. Their team was The Angry Elves, and one of the dads got elf hats for them and made “uniforms” out of t-shirts. They played three half-hour, cross-ice games and were thoroughly exhausted afterwards. It was a cute group of kids and the parents are all nice so it was a great evening.

Here they are in between the first and second game. From left to right, Robert, Finn, Mikala, Bubba, and Jack. (The moms of the two boys on the end were much more on it with the hats and stuffed them to make them stay up.)

Mikala’s mom bought them a pizza after the last game, which they inhaled.

It was a nice send off for the Christmas break before games and practices start up again after the first of the year.

Fall Vegas Tournament

In October Bruce and Finn headed to Vegas for the annual tournament there. Since I’d taken Finn there in the spring, it seemed only fair that Bruce handle this one. (While I love to watch Finn play, the whole Las Vegas thing is a bit much for me and I was happy to escape the madness this time.)

I don’t recall any scores but I’m pretty sure his team lost all their games. As it turns out, his club had signed them up (again) for a tournament above their level. I’m not sure why they keep doing this but it’s frustrating. The BB tournament was the next weekend; I’m not sure why we went to the A one.

At any rate, the photographers there captured some great shots, a few of which I’ll put here.

And my favorite:

Finn Gets Braces

On August 7th, just before school started (and on Picture Day!), Finn got braces. Of course, we need a shot of his new mouth:

As I write this on December 26th, I am amazed at how much straighter his teeth are already. They moved pretty quickly, but his jaw is all catawampus and he has these huge apparatuses in his mouth that are helping to realign things.

He’s making progress though. I think it’s expected he’ll have them on for two years. At his most recent checkup, they said he’d probably get the big things off in May and then they’d put on the bottom braces.

Goalie Camp

Finn did his first week-long goalie camp the week after we got back from Laguna. Busy summer for him! I don’t have a lot of pictures since it was a drop off situation, but here’s one of him and two of his goalie friends heading in for the day.

Here he is after the first day on the ride home.

It was a very exhausting camp full of drills, both on and off the ice. On the last day they had a scrimmage with the players from the regular hockey camp that was also going on. There were so many goalies that they had to take shifts, and the extra goalies waited in the penalty boxes.

I think he had a pretty good time. Here’s a photo of the whole bunch. (Finn barely made it into the shot in the far right corner.)

Finn’s Fifth Grade Promotion

Finn’s fifth grade promotion ceremony was a beautiful morning on the first of June. We got there early to get a decent seat and the kids were pretty cute milling around all dressed up.

When the ceremony started, they walked in in pairs.

And then went to their rows.

Several of the kids who had leadership roles spoke. Then they gave out the only award, the Fifth Grade Role Model award, which is given to two students as voted on by their peers. Finn and a classmate named Riley were the winners.

It’s meant to be a surprise, and it sure was for us! No one had tipped us off (although his teacher later told me that she wanted to!) and I didn’t even remember that they gave out this award. We were so proud of Finn!

Riley’s mom sent me a fabulous picture of the winners after the ceremony.

Then it was time for Principal Althouse to hand out the certificates.

Luckily my friend Karen had a better vantage point than I did and got a nice shot of Finn’s face.

Then hugs from the teachers.

And then it was over and they marched out.

I managed to get a photo of Finn with his teacher, Ms. Corti, and Principal Althouse, who was celebrating his last fifth grade promotion ceremony as he is leaving Fairmeadow for a new school in Marin County.

And one with a photobomb by some friends, Gabby, Gillian, and Sayori.

We also got one of the newly minted sixth grader with his parents.

Last Week of Fifth Grade

The last week of school, especially for the fifth graders, is one long celebration. There’s a picnic at Foothills Park that lasts all day, there’s a water balloon toss the next day, and then there’s Field Day. It’s a good week.

The picnic is a fun, activity-filled day. There were all sorts of games available. Finn spent a good portion of the day playing whiffle ball.

After lunch and more play time, they rounded up the whole class for a photo.

And then it was time to get their yearbooks. They only do yearbooks for the fifth graders, so this is a pretty big deal. All the kids seemed to have a fun time running around getting signatures.

The next day was a water balloon toss. Finn teamed up with his friend Felicity. They did pretty well!

After the competition was over, some kids stuck around to get soaking wet with the extra balloons and buckets of water. Of course, Finn was one of those kids.

Finn’s First Hockey Tournament

May was filled with hockey, hockey, hockey, as Finn and his team prepared for a tournament in Las Vegas over Memorial Day weekend. Due to some stubborn adults, the team was signed up in a division that was above their skill level, and I was already sporting a pretty bad attitude about the tournament. We were initially supposed to play in Valencia which was a) driving distance away and b) in a place where we could have seen our SoCal friends. Regardless of my feelings, the Vegas trip happened. Finn had a great time, as evidenced by this shot of him enjoying in-room breakfast on our first morning.

They played four games. The first two — one each on Friday and Saturday — didn’t go very well. They were pretty outmatched, and, at least for the first one, Finn was very nervous.

Their coach didn’t help matters by getting them on the ice late, allowing for no warm up time. They never recovered, and lost 10-4. Finn faced 36 shots, while the opposing goalie faced 13. Bruce pointed out that Finn’s save percentage was better than the winning goalie’s, which cheered Finn up quite a bit. The boys seemed to recover quickly; the afternoon at the hotel pool helped.

The next game was midday Saturday.

That one didn’t go much better. I don’t remember the score, but it wasn’t pretty.

Again, the boys bounced back with a trip to the hotel bowling alley and arcade, and a team dinner at the hotel buffet. As usual, parents were more upset than the kids.

The final day, Sunday, they ended up playing the same team twice — once as part of the round-robin and then again for the 3rd/4th place final. The other team was a much more favorable match for them and they won both games.

The post-win goalie pile-on.

The handshake line — a great tradition.

And here’s the team enjoying shaved ice after the game.

It was the best possible outcome — they got to end on a high note with two wins, and Finn and I got to catch a flight out Sunday night instead of waiting around all day in Vegas for our original flight home Monday. Now that’s a win-win.

One other fun fact: the games were played in the Vegas Knights practice facility and the whole place was alive with the excitement of the upcoming Stanley Cup Finals. The Finals started after we left Vegas, but we did get to see a Knights practice which was fun. There was always a line out the door for their practices, but since we had an early game on the same ice we were able to just stick around to watch their ice time. It’s always amazing to see NHL hockey up close — even practice.

Finn’s 11th Birthday

Finn’s birthday is a blur (for me) because it was a very busy Spring. I was working on contract with the city to do the fifth grade bike education program. Finn was also pretty busy handling his first hockey tryouts right after we got back from the quick trip to Tahoe.

Luckily, we have pictures to prove that we did something! Looks like we had a little morning celebration — presents and coffee cake.

I have no recollection of what’s in that box.

Colonial Day 2018

As is Fairmeadow fifth grade tradition, Finn and his classmates participated in Colonial Day on March 30th. It’s a great day full of costumes, dancing, craft-making, and more. Finn was in the dancing group, so he taught other students a dance.

Here are a few shots of him and his buddies.

He finished the day with a little badminton.

He had a really good time … and he looked super cute!

Final Fairmeadow Walk & Roll Day

My final Walk & Roll Day as Fairmeadow’s Safe Routes representative took place on March 21st. I enlisted the help of my artistic friend, Nadia, to make a tree trunk, and the kids added leaves with their favorite way to get to school. It turned out pretty good!

Our fantastic principal was even game to wear the traffic cone costume, which the kids loved!

Finn’s Tech Museum Field Trip

On March 7th I drove Finn and a few of his classmates to the Tech Museum in San Jose. It’s a great hands-on experience for the kids. I particularly enjoyed the chemistry part, mostly because of the goofy safety goggles (which I was wearing, too).

Finn’s First Hockey Game

On February 24th I was out for my morning walk when I got a phone call from Ali, who runs the travel teams for the hockey club where the boys play. She said they were in desperate need of a replacement goalie because the regular goalie had the flu. After much hullaballoo about which team he’d play for (there’s an A and a B team), he ended up playing on the A team. Luckily this is the team he practices with on Mondays, so he knows the kids, but they’ve all been playing much longer than he has so their skill level is higher.

He was nervous — and so were Bruce and I! — as he’d never played in a real game situation. There were all sorts of little things he didn’t know, like the goalie leads the team out on the ice, they switch sides each period, and the goalie leads in the handshake line at the end. Luckily, the other players were incredibly welcoming and supportive both for these little technicalities and during the game. Likewise, the parents were very nice to Bruce and me and super supportive of Finn’s efforts. It was a tough game — they lost 9-2 to a team that was clearly superior. Finn played well and had a good time, and even though he had moments of despair when the goals against kept coming.

Here are some pictures and video.

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I have to say as a parent, watching him in this situation was incredibly nerve-wracking! I was so happy that the kids and parents were so supportive. Here’s the final score sheet, thanks to my friend Christina, showing that Finn had 19 saves.

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Finn and Sangeet’s Game

Finn’s class periodically has a class store where they can make things and then sell them to classmates. For the first one, he and Bruce made a watermelon out of Papier-mâché. This time, he and his friend Sangeet decided to make a game. Here is their initial sketch.

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It’s a little bit like skee-ball in that you throw balls and try to get into certain holes for more points. I don’t have any pictures of them building it, but here are a couple of them painting it. It’s made of chicken wire, cardboard, and plastic tubing.

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Here’s a shot of Finn on his way to school the morning of the store. The final paint job took on an Olympic theme.

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And here’s a shot his teacher took during the store.

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They decided not to sell the game itself. Instead they sold turns to play it and win candy. It was apparently a huge hit.