Archery Lessons Week Three

Archery lessons have continued these past couple of weeks and I can see a remarkable improvement in our accuracy.  The instructor has been working with us to improve our form, encouraging us to go through a mental check list before we release each arrow.   The key terms we focus on are stance, anchor point, patience, and follow-through.  With this short list, there is no doubt that we have all gotten a little better.

It is fun to see the progress we have made. Though our anchor points vary slightly, we are each very consistent.  We have thus begun to look at another key to accuracy .. our grip on the bow.  We were instructed to loosely grasp the bow and to not lock our elbow.  Despite instruction and an arm guard, I still manage to nail my forearm with the string at least twice each time, leaving some nasty bruises.

We are looking forward to possibly taking part in some organized shoots this year.  It should be fun to see how we compare to others, but most importantly, we know it is ourselves with whom we compete.  The goal is to improve and to learn from our mistakes. 

Archery Lessons Week One

We were able to take advantage of a wonderful opportunity today. A mom had posted on our local homeschool board that she had set up archery lessons with a young man who has been successful in competitive archery. In her post she stated the class was for boys but upon inquiring, they made allowances for girls as well.

We met this afternoon and both Sweetie & Buddy liked the instructor. He had an easy going, humorous attitude and was gentle in his instruction. He first introduced the parts of the bow and though Buddy implied that he knew it all, we all learned a few new terms. He then explained the whistle commands:

One Blast- “Shoot”
Two Blasts- “Get Bows”
Three Blasts- “Go get Arrows”
Five or more Blasts- “STOP SHOOTING”

They both had a great time and look forward to attending again next week. In the mean time, we hope to encourage a few friends to join us so as to assure the course continues in the future.

Midsummer Barneløpet

On Saturday, our Sons of Norway lodge hosted its first Barneløpet or Kid’s Race.  We didn’t know what to expect in terms of number of participants – we were worried about getting overwhelmed – but as it turned out, there were eleven enthusiastic little athletes.  The weather was perfect and their excitement was contagious!  

The cutest thing was each one of the little runners was excited to give the other runners their finishers medals and a congratulatory ‘high-five’.  The camaraderie was high and everyone expressed interest in taking part again.

Walking Sticks & Gangemerke

In Central Oregon, our Sons of Norway lodge had an active barnesklubb (kids club).  Prior to the monthly social, the kids would gather in the back of the lodge for craft & learning activities that introduced them to the culture of Scandinavia.  Here in Northern California, though we are members of our local lodge, we have discovered that sadly, there is no kids club.  In fact, there was been little programing to encourage heritage members.  I’ve made it my goal to remedy that.

In March, I began a Barnesklubb – selecting a time of day that works for me (1:30 – 3:30) though I know I may need to change this to encourage public schooled kids to join.  My goal is to meet just once a month to engage the kids in activities that educate and inspire.  Our first gathering was successful – with five families joining us – and everyone enjoying the watercolor activity I planned on the Aurora Borealis.  Our gathering coincided with the Sons of Norway general business meeting later that week so I asked a few of the kids to come and present.
Our April gathering focused on getting outdoors – in celebration of Spring and warmer temperatures.  I began by sharing with the attending families (three new families, in fact) about the lodge’s Sports & Fitness recognition program.  Buddy & Sweetie were delighted to show everyone their Gangermerke pins.  As lodge members, they keep track of the miles they walk and when they reach certain benchmarks (varies with age), they earn these lapel pins (free of charge).
I then spoke briefly about the Scandinavian lifestyle … about their love of the outdoors.  Not much different than our own really.  🙂  I noted that on the pins you can see the older carrying what looks like a walking stick … thus my inspiration for this month’s activity.  I asked everyone to bring a walking stick (and I brought extras just in case) and I provided the decorating materials (feathers, silk flowers and leaves, colored electrical tape, paint and brushes, and for those with parental permission, carving tools).

My first inspiration for this activity came to me when we were in Sweden in May.  We had visited Skansen – the first open air museum and zoo in Sweden (founded in 1891) and located on the island of Djurgården in Stockholm.  One of the activities the visitors could take part in was making walking sticks.  We weren’t able to participate – knowing we still had 2 weeks of travel ahead of us – but I mentally made a note of the activity.   

Then a few months back, as I started gathering ideas for future Barnesklubb activities, I discovered a pin on Pinterest and I promptly repinned it to my Barnesklubb board.  Many thanks to the mom at Full Circle for providing me with an alternative to carving … ensuring this activity would be enjoyable for all ages.  🙂

Ice-Breaker Swim Meet

Sweetie took part in her first sanctioned swim meet this past week in Sacramento.  As she hadn’t competed in the past, her goal was simply to complete each event, do her best, and to ultimately have fun.  Though she could have squeezed in numerous events, we chose to keep it to a minimum and she thereby chose three:  100y Freestyle, 100y Breaststroke, and 100y Individual Medley.

Warmup – Free

The weather could not have been better for mid-February.  This event last year we were told was miserably cold for the spectators … let alone the swimmers.   Her first two events were scheduled for Sat and her final event was on Sun.

100y Breast

The 100y Free provided a huge learning curve – starting off the block and a horn, rather than a whistle or someone yelling, ‘Go!’  She thereby had a delayed start but otherwise she looked strong.

100y Breast
Her favorite stroke is Breaststroke and it is also the easiest stroke to photograph.  She did much better in this event and while competing against the same girls, she place significantly higher.  It will be fun to watch how much she improves as she gains both skill and confidence.   
Start of 100y IM

The morning of the IM, she didn’t want to participate.  She started to get really nervous and nearly made herself sick with worry.  We all encouraged her to see it through and thankfully she did.  I knew she would be disappointed with herself had she backed out.  She did well and was indeed happy that she completed all her events.

The best part of the weekend – on top of meeting many of the other families and getting to know our team mates better – was that Buddy was inspired to compete as well.  I think swimming will become a major part of our lives moving forward.

She Did It!

I am so incredibly proud.  Years ago, it had been my idea to enroll her in Taekwondo.  I didn’t expect her to like the sport so much. However, I wasn’t surprised when she told me a few months later that she wanted to get her black belt.  She has proven to be a very determined young lady … striving for and achieving her goals at such a young age!  

We attended class regularly, generally 2-3 times a week, for four years. We studied at home in preparation for her belt level tests by watching videos. We wrote out the kicking techniques on flashcards and she quizzed herself in the car as we did errands.

She never like to spar and we wouldn’t attend class on sparring night unless we’d missed class earlier in the week.  Gradually, however, she became more comfortable … more confidant.  She began to utilize her kicking techniques and to show more enthusiasm for this aspect of the sport.  It certainly showed during her black belt test.

Today, my daughter is a black belt!!