Over the last several weeks Erik has written postcards to his loved ones. Surprisingly the most difficult postcard to write was the one in French! Erik's brain has transferred over to thinking and dreaming entirely in English! It took him almost an hour to write in French as every couple of words he stopped and exclaimed "how do I say this in French!"
Erik drove the gator to our mailbox at the end of the driveway.
He then raised the red flag on the mailbox so the mail carrier would stop and pick up his postcard.
The night before the Iowa blast we headed to Schools sports store to buy some mirrored goggles. These goggles are a must for outdoor swim meets as they help shade the eyes from the sun.
This motto from The North Face company embodies what we have felt as an exchange family. It is all about exploration!
Erik has found some shaded googles!
Sheels also has some arcades. Here Erik is playing an old fashioned shooting arcade.
Monster truck photo op.
And an excuse to be really, really silly!
On our way!
Going to an out-of-state meet is quite the production. We use our trailer to bring the luggage, tents, pop-up shelters, camp chairs, coolers...basically the contents of a little house!
Charlotte, Manon's older sister, helping to unload the trailer. Nick is in the background with the van and the trailer. We need to bring buckets in order to keep the tent grounded. We fill the buckets with water as they pool will not let anyone stake the ground.
Many hands make for light work!
The production: A pop-tent for the chairs and an unobstructed view and our tent in the background for kids to rest and hang out in.
The swimmers are ready for their first day of swimming. This is a three day swim meet. Fun for the swimmers but somewhat exhausting for the parents! 🙂
Doing the Orca team cheer. (I have a video of it below)
Erik is a little nervous but also very, very excited!
Wearing an Orca swim cap and his new swim jammers and goggles, Erik looks every bit the part of a swimmer!
Erik's first swim was the 50 Fly. He has made tremendous improvements on his Fly. Unfortunately he was DQ'd (disqualified) as his initial kick was breast and not dolphin but we were all cheering and so happy for him!!
Remington at the blocks.
Erik lost deep in thought before his next race.
A very triumphant Erik!
Taking third place in his heat.
Remington was out for personal bests. He swam 100% personal best times and picked up new state championship qualifying times. Here he is winning the 50 Breast race.
One of the children's favorite things to do in Cedar Falls, Iowa, is to go to the cupcakery called Scratch.
The flavors of the day!
Erik definitely enjoyed every bite!
Erik diving off the block! This is always a very difficult thing to for first time swimmers. Erik has worked on his dive for the last three months and was pretty confident heading up to the block. He did a fabulous job!
Remington diving off the block.
We call this "Strongman Erik." When Erik saw this photo he laughed and called it "muscleman!"
Orca 1 girls. Madeline is the swimmer in the front with the blue cap on.
Erik doing the 50 breast.
Madeline enjoying the cool down pool.
Off to dinner with five kids!
Thumb wars while waiting for our food.
I hadn't heard Madeline's drink order and would have stopped the blue lemonade order. Can you see a glint of happiness in her blue eyes?!
This year we had two suites. One for the parents and Harrison and the other for the children. As you can see from the make shift beds on the floor we gained two extra kids for a sleepover!
Pep talk time with Coach Amy and Coach Tom.
The Orca Chant!
Warm-up time in the morning.
Swimming outside poses its own challenges. Here Erik is doing the 50 backstroke. His favorite stroke of the four!
Sometimes kids get tired too. On the second day Harrison crashed and too a three hour nap!
Charlotte and mom escaped to the bookstore and purchased a load of books for Charlotte to bring back home!
Not really the "breakfast of champions" but Erik absolutely ADORES hotel breakfasts!
These markings are called swimmer tracks. With permanent marker we mark the events (E), heats (H), and lanes (L) the children swim in. This helps them stay accountable for their swims!
Swim meets are hard work but the kids always have fun with their friends!