Sunday, March 21, 2010

Last for best

This past weekend we took the last gymnastics trip of the 2009-2010 season. I can't say that I'll miss the meets, but the trips have been entertaining for the most part. This one served as a partial family reunion with several of the Wellman clan, as Cari's brother that recently returned from Iraq was passing through Spokane with his family. It was nice to get together with not only Scott and Sarah and their children, but David and Michelle and kids who live just outside of Spokane and Joe and Jessica who live in Spokane Valley and are expecting their first child. (Not counting the huge chocolate lab that has served as their child for the past several years.)
Joe, Jessica Cadet plus two

David, Michelle, Josh, Zach and Jacob

Joe and Scott Quirking

Cari and Jessica Quirking

Sarah Working

Room full of she cousins

The commentary on the adventure is much the same as past meets, except that the pressure of the State wide competition seems to have gotten to the girls. Abby finished 4th on the Floor and 5th on the beam, with a 7th place overall showing, while Ashlyn finished 4th on the beam and 5th on the floor with an 8th place overall showing. They both feel pretty good about their performances given that they are in their first year of performing routines that they selected the elements, and it was against alot of girls that are in their 3rd and 4th years at this level. I guess the obligatory "wait until next year" is appropriate.

As for my part in the competition, for those of you that don't know, it is practically impossible to get to Moscow, Idaho from Rexburg, Idaho. As is demonstrated in our slide show, we went in and out of three states ten times and put 1250 miles on Cari's car before it was over. All in 2 and a half days. My driving was a medal performance if I do say so myself.

As I already stated, it was fun seeing several of Cari's brothers, and catching up with them, but neither the reunion nor the gymnastics meet compare to the highlight of the trip. While looking for the "wholly cows" on the University of Idaho campus, we came upon the birth of a calf. I feared it might be too much for the little girls, but they were mesmerized, and insisted on watching the mother try to help the little guy into the world. Fortunately for the U of I, we didn't get any video footage of the cow rolling the calf down the hill in the dirt, but eventually everyone seems to have figured out the game plan, and the new arrival settled into a comfortable position. Probably not as rare as the cows with clear plexiglass windows sewn into their sides, but pretty impressive to watch.

On the home front, Addison was left behind to care for his grandma (my mom) and the dog. When we called to check in with him, he reported dog was a menace and that grandma had fallen and put her head through the oven door (no serious injuries). He stated that we should get rid of her and save ourselves a lot of hassle. I'm reasonably certain he was talking about the dog, but I will be following up.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Montana for a Day

This weeks only entertaining event was another trip to a gymnastics meet. This time we forced Addison to come along for the support so we made it a quick one day adventure. The girls rode up to Missoula, Montana with their coach and her husband very early Saturday morning, and Cari, Addison and I followed at a more humane hour. The girls joined us for lunch before the meet, and Ashlyn now has a new favorite place to eat - Fuddruckers.

Addison assures us that the Level 7 meets are no more tolerable than the Level 4, 5 or 6 meets were. It's probably good that he is leaving for two years on a mission, maybe he will better appreciate the girls gymnastics skills when they are two years better, or he is two years removed.

The girls both did quite well, Abby is in the Junior B division, and took 1st on the floor, 3rd on the Beam, 3rd on the vault and 3rd overall. Ashlyn, in the Junior A division, took 2nd on the floor, 4th on the uneven bars and 4th overall. As a team, they took 3rd overall for the meet. The team finish was made more impressive by the fact that the girls team consisted of just 4 competitors, and the other teams all had 10 to 15 competitors.

The rest of the quick trip was spent enjoying the water park attached to our hotel, and visiting the historic prison in Deer Lodge, Montana. The trip was quick, and there was plenty of driving involved, but it was still a fun adventure.

On a side note, the long drive reminded me again of what terrible co-travelers my wife and children are. Alex has traditionally been the only one that helps me stay awake, and he isn't available. Cari insists on telling me how important it is that I not wear my headphones so we can visit, but 30 minutes in she is inevitably sound asleep and I'm either stuck listening to whatever movie the girls and Addison are watching, or digging for the headphones that I have stashed under the seat. The lesson is that 30 minutes is not much to give.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It seems that every time I sit down to edit the blog, the same thing has happened again in a new location. Namely, more time spent in a gymnasium far away from home watching the girls shake, rattle and roll. It's nice spending time with Cari and the girls, but we have yet to find a gym with comfortable seating. I may have to become a competitor so I can lay down occasionally on the soft mats.

Last weekends meet was in Park City, Utah. We found out too late, that Johnny and his team were there practicing between Olympic events, but we got to hear about Jack Harris' exploits with the Johnny's medal. I can only assume Johnny was willing to let Jack hand his medal to a total stranger in hopes of furthering Jack's social agenda. (However, I'm pretty sure it's the medal winner the girls are swooning for, not his sidekick.) Both girls performed well in at least one event. Abby tied for first on the floor, but apparently sticking 3 separate landings during your beam routine is not impressive to anyone but your father. Ashlyn finished 4th overall for her age group, just missing the podium, but feeling good about herself. Gymnastics meets amidst the 2 weeks of Winter Gymnastics helped me to appreciate the agony of the competition for some, and the joy of victory for others. Congratulations to Abby, Ashlyn, Johnny and team USA Nordic Combined. (Not necessarily in that order.)

Mandi seems to have settled back into her life in Carbondale. She and Kempton are missed here in Rexburg by all. Addison misses his homework mentor. (She derives way too much joy from studying other peoples homework.) The girls are suffering withdrawals from the daily activities she coordinated. Cari misses the live in TV gossip partner among other things, and I miss watching someone with apparent bottomless patience deal with Kempton, Addison and me. (It seems the less fair the gender, the less responsible the individual.)

Alex continues to thrive in the mission field. He is fairly certain that he will be leaving LaPlace this week, and is excited to start a new adventure in another area. He is also starting to contemplate the "after life" and has requested specific information about getting into BYU-Idaho starting next January. I'm impressed that I have a son that is thinking more than a few days into the future.

Addison continues to be happy with his very simple life. School, cartoon network, video games and the occasional snowboarding adventure. He seems to be doing fine in school, knows every show on the CN and conquers the new games he buys in 48 hours. (Straight through if it happens to be the weekend.) He is a little down about the fact that all of his friends have been getting their mission calls, and he is still months away, but then since there is nothing he can do but wait, he watches another episode of Family Guy and moves on. What a great life and attitude.

As previously stated, the girls still spend any spare time at the gym. Ashlyn did manage to celebrate her 10th birthday over the course of the last two weeks. The actual day was February 19, so we had cupcakes with David and Anna and their family after the Park City meet. Then we celebrated with immediate family, and finished it all off with a "friends" party at the inflated bouncing room at the arcade. I am suspicious that the multiple party plan was an effort to maximize her return on getting older, but she has a way of manipulating her mother and me. Both girls are doing well in school and at least for now, the department of family services hasn't questioned us about all the scrapes and bruises they show up with at school.

Life is generally good in the Zollinger home, and the past few weeks have been made better by our friends and family.

Unlike Mandi, we still have a camera and memory card, I'm just too lazy to run back to the car and get it most of the time. There will be pictures next time.