Green belt test

Posted in Molly, Sports on September 8th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly’s now been doing karate for two full years, moving steadily up the belt ranks. For her green belt test, she had to do her first bo staff kata. As you can tell, she’s so good she doesn’t need to open her eyes (kidding).

Green belt test

She broke a board for the second time at her green belt test as well. Apparently that doesn’t require her to open her eyes either.

Board breaking

She did it!

Green belt

Here she is with her new green belt on, with her old blue belt in one hand and her bo staff in the other.

Wearing it

First Washington Kastles match

Posted in Family outings, Sports on September 5th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

A few weeks ago (the day after Molly got back from camp), we took the girls to their first professional sporting event. We went to see a Washington Kastles match.

If you are not familiar with the Kastles, they are a World Team Tennis team. While most of professional tennis revolves around individual performances in the ATP and WTA, World Team Tennis offers pros and fans a team format and a lot of fun.

We went to see the Kastles on Family Day. That meant they had a USTA Play Day in the stadium for kids a few hours before the match. Both Molly and Leah took part.

USTA Family Day

Not only did the kids get to play on the court, but Nick Kyrgios (currently #16 in the world) came out to play with the kids. He started with the court next to the girls, but got interrupted when our kids lost their ball and Leah ran onto his court to get it.

Nick Kyrgios interruption

Then Nick made it onto their court. Yes, that’s Molly playing tennis with Nick Kyrgios.

Playing with Nick

Leah knows to stand in ready position when Nick Kyrgios is hitting the ball to you.

Ready position

Nick then moved on to the next court, and our kids kept playing. Here’s Molly winning a ball balancing competition.


They had a DJ playing music, which meant Molly spent a lot of time dancing on the tennis court. Most of the adults running things thought she was great.


Still dancing

Nick Kyrgios showed the kids how an overhead smash is done.


This is apparently the face you make when you hit a forehand. And you stand on one leg.

Forehand face

Smiling player

Molly still has her tongue out as she reaches for this ball.

Tongue out

The obligatory group picture with Nick before he headed out.

Group picture

Here’s the whole Play Day. They had 4 mini courts set up for the kids.

The whole Play Day

After the kids were done playing, the Kastles had a pizza party for them, as well as some arts and crafts stations to make signs. We also got to see the Kastles warm up. Here’s the entire mostly empty stadium, with Nick Kyrgios and Sam Groth warming up.

Kastles Stadium

Warm up

And their serves in action.

Groth Serve

Kyrgios Serve

In addition to the pizza and crafts, they had a tennis-themed juggler put on an act. I don’t know if he’s always tennis-themed, or just for this event, but he was quite good.


Once we got to our seats (front row of the upper deck), the girls got a picture with the tennis ball man. I proceeded to tweet this picture, which was picked as the Kastles’s favorite tweet, winning us a prize bag (more on that later).

Tennis ball man

In our seats, with our signs.

In our seats

The girls got to go on the court to form the tunnel that the players ran out through. They were very excited to high five the players on the court, even the players from the other team.

Then, they got to stay on court for the national anthem.

National anthem

Then we got to actually watch the Kastles play. Here’s Nick Kyrgios and Andreja Klepac playing against Scott Lipsky and Alla Kudryavtseva from the Orange County Breakers.

The match

During breaks, they would show interviews and other quick spots on the big screen. They did one about Family Day, and wanted some kids in the spot. Since we were sitting on the front row of the upper deck, we were in the perfect spot for them to find us.

On camera

Here’s what they looked like on the big screen during the spot.

On the big screen

The match was a lot of fun of course, but I have fewer pictures of it. But here are a couple of serves. First, Nick Kyrgios serving in Men’s Doubles.

Kyrgios serve

And here’s Madison Brengle serving in Women’s Doubles.

Brengle serve

It ended up going into extended play, but the Kastles won! Here’s Nick rushing to his teammates after winning the final point.

Kastles win!

The match was so much fun, and we hope to go back next year. And I can’t forget to tell you about all our loot. We got so much free and cheap stuff at the Kastles match. It included:

  • A free Mylan World Team Tennis shirt for each of the girls from the USTA Play Day
  • A free Washington Kastles shirt for each of the girls for being part of the run-out tunnel
  • A free tennis racquet and tennis ball for each of the girls, which all kids under 12 in attendance received
  • A free long-sleeve Nike Dri-Fit shirt, hat, wristband, and a Pinstripes gift certificate to for my winning tweet I mentioned above
  • A free wristband that was thrown by the players into the stands that we caught
  • A free tennis ball that was hit by the opposing team’s coach into the stands
  • 2 youth hats and 1 very nice adult T-shirt that were $10 each
  • Miscellaneous other small free items they gave out

Quite the haul, especially since the tickets were only $12 each in the first place.

Our loot

New tennis dress

Posted in Leah, Sewing, Sports on May 6th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Leah has been asking about getting a tennis dress, not skirts like she currently owns. So, Jen decided to upcycle one of her t-shirts and make a new tennis dress for Leah.

New tennis dress

Tennis is fun when you have on a new tennis dress.

Loving tennis

Follow the ball

Nice form

Keep your eye on the ball

She loves tennis (just like me)!

Board breaking

Posted in Molly, Sports on April 30th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Last night, Molly had a belt test at karate (and earned her green stripe on her blue belt). During it, she got the chance to break a board for the first time. She did it on the first try.

She also earned her green stripe on her blue belt. Sorry that you can’t see her green strip on her belt; it’s behind her elbow.

Board breaking

Great job, Molly!

Tennis lessons continue

Posted in Leah, Sports on April 18th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

I haven’t mentioned it in a while, but Leah continues to enjoy tennis lessons. She’s moved up from Level 7 to Level 6 now. And best of all, she has gotten to be in the same class with her best friend Everett.

Tennis lessons continue

Here’s our little tennis player after her lesson. She’s happy to be in short sleeves now that it’s warmed up.

Tennis player

Leah says she wants to be a tennis player on TV when she grows up. I’ve told her it’s very hard to do that, and she’d have to practice a lot to do so. She says that sounds good to her. In fact, we went and played Sunday afternoon, and she stayed on the court practicing for more than 2 hours. Molly joined us as well, but she alternated between tennis and riding her scooter rather than playing tennis the whole time.

Blue belt test

Posted in Extracurriculars, Molly, Sports on December 19th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

It’s test time at karate again, and Molly is going for her blue belt. This is a big step, as it will mean she moves out of the beginner class and into the advanced one. It also means she gets a to train with.

Here she is having her core strength tested.

Karate test

There was no surprise who Molly would choose to spar when she had a choice.


Nice punch!

Sparring advanced belts

Sensei sat on Molly in push up position to test her strength.

Supporting Sensei

Molly got her blue belt!

Got her blue belt

Congratulations Molly on your blue belt!


First karate tournament

Posted in Molly, Sports on December 14th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly competed in her first karate tournament on Saturday. Her dojo was holding a tournament, so it was an easy way to try it out. There ended up being girls from lots of other karate schools there (which meant the place was packed). Molly elected to compete in both Forms (katas) and Sparring.

Here she is doing her kata. It was good enough to tie for first place in her division with a score of 7.47.

She lost the tie breaker, but was still very excited about winning the silver medal. Congratulations, Molly!

First karate tournament

In sparring, she had a tough opponent to start.

Tough fight

You get 1 point for a punch, 2 points for a kick, first to 5 points wins. There are 3 judges, which are all sensei’s from different schools. Scoring a point requires confirmation from 2 of the 3 judges.

Nice block

Kick block

It was a very tight fight. Towards the end, Molly was losing 4 to 3, and her opponent came close to scoring several times. But then Molly landed an excellent kick, giving her the 5-4 win.


In the gold medal fight, Molly faced another tough opponent with an excellent kick.

High kick

She fought well, but ultimately lost.

Higher kick

Molly won the silver medal!

Another silver medal

Molly’s a happy champion, even if her smile looks odd with her mouthguard in.

Happy champion

I couldn’t get a picture of her with both her medals there since it was so crowed, but here she is right after we got home.


Congratulations, Molly!

Water skiing

Posted in Sports, Trip on August 7th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Despite my knee problems, I was determined to ski for the first time in 12 years. I managed to remember how to do it pretty well, though my muscles were not a fan. In the end, my knee may have preferred if I’d stuck to two skis, but a single slalom ski is so much more fun.

Water skiing

Jen also remembered how to ski.

Jen on skis

It’s much faster out wide around the turns.

Out wide

Jen finished her run, then nonchalantly discarded the rope as she glided toward the dock.

All done

Skiing was a lot of fun. I had hoped to ski and then head over to the courts for some tennis. Unfortunately, the wait for skiing was too long, and I didn’t have time to hit the courts. That said, I was so sore after a few minutes of skiing that it was probably good to get a little rest.

Table of Contents for Callaway Gardens 2015

Tennis at Callaway

Posted in Leah, Molly, Sports, Trip on August 5th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We also played tennis at Callaway. Leah, Molly, and I were excited to get to play while we were there, though squeezing it in amongst all the activities was tough. The kids didn’t play tennis as part of their camp activities, but it was offered as an after camp activity. After a very active day of camp Monday, Molly said she was too tired to play tennis. Leah, however, wasn’t going to let a little fatigue get in the way of hitting the court. Amazingly, she was the only kid to show up, so she got a private lesson.


We missed tennis Tuesday due to a scavenger hunt (details to come), but headed back on Wednesday.

Tennis again

Yet again, Leah was all alone for her tennis lesson.

By herself again

Molly wasn’t too tired to play tennis this time. She had a different time for her age group, and was the only one to show up as well. Private lessons all around.

Molly too

I played tennis too, though I didn’t take pictures of myself playing. I had hoped to play every day, but ended up missing 2 days due to other activities. Since none of the other adults in my family played, I befriended a bunch of other tennis playing folks. Throughout the week, I’d hear “Hi, Chad” most places we went, as I ran into tennis playing friends.

Table of Contents for Callaway Gardens 2015

Tennis lessons

Posted in Leah, Sports on May 12th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

As winter soccer drew to a close, we asked Leah if she wanted to keep doing it. She decided she wanted to try something different instead and chose tennis lessons. She had her first lesson last week, which she and I are both very excited about.

Tennis lessons

At her age, they spend a lot of time working on skills without their racquets. This drill is designed to help them with hand-eye coordination.


She loved her first lesson, and she can’t wait for the next one (which should be taking place this afternoon :).