Monday, July 21, 2014

Key Log Rolling Invitational

I have been getting a lot of questions about log rolling since I mentioned it in the last blog post! So, here's the scoop.

About two months ago, a friend of mine mentioned that she'd been taking log rolling classes at the Midtown YWCA (where we are also members), and I should join her. I was like, log rolling??? I told Aaron about this and he said that he'd seen people rolling while he was with the girls at their swim lessons, and it looked like fun. The member's price for a class was pretty cheap ($27 for a four-class session), so I decided what the heck, I'd give it a shot.

Turns out, it's really fun! My first class was terrible - I could hardly stay on the log at all. But at the end of the class, my stomach hurt from laughing so much. I was positively hooked! And I wasn't the only one... Maisie and Dylan spent the whole 45 minutes of my class session hanging off the rope that separated our class space from the free swim area, watching and cheering for the rollers.

When it was time to register for the next session, I asked Maisie and Dylan if they wanted to sign up. They gave a resounding YES! And it turns out, they're much better at it than I am. David, our instructor, told me that kids always do better than adults do... they have a lower center of gravity, so they're more stable on the log. Plus they weigh less, so the log doesn't move quite as much under them. We had the first class of the new session yesterday (the kids' second session/5th class, my 3rd session/9th class) and they've blown me out of the water. My P.R. is around 10 seconds, while Maisie's at 18.47 and Dylan's is over 27 seconds!

So anyway, as a part of Aquatennial's Beach Bash, there was a log rolling tournament this weekend at Lake Calhoun. It was sponsored by Keylog, a company that does classes and also manufactures and sells a hollow fiberglass log (which is much more portable than a real log that weighs upwards of 400 pounds). If you haven't seen it, MPR did a nice profile of the family that runs Keylog... you can find it here.

I competed in the adult prelims on Saturday afternoon/evening, and didn't make it too far... but had a lot of fun anyway. :) I discovered that the Keylog log is REALLY different than what we're used to rolling on at the YWCA. The fiberglass surface is much more slippery than the indoor-outdoor carpet that our logs are covered with. It took some time for me to get used to it... and by the time I did, I'd lost my matches. :)

With my experience in mind, we all made sure to show up early on Sunday morning so that Maisie and Dylan could get some practice time in with the Keylogs!

Instead of rolling against someone, as the adults did, the kids were doing speed rolling - seeing how many complete revolutions they could get in a minute, first with a front step, then with a back step.

One other feature of Keylog logs is that they have removable fins, which look like the paddle wheels on a paddleboat. They slow the log down, so it doesn't roll as fast, so a beginning roller doesn't get frustrated and quit. But with speed rolling, it presents a challenge... you want to stay up there, but you have to be able to get the log around!

Both Maisie and Dylan ended up choosing to use one fin. Maisie started with two, but it turned out she was then too light to spin the log at all.

And at the end of the contest... she won a blue ribbon!

She was very proud of herself, and I was proud of her too! There were a lot of people watching, and it would've been easy to get nervous about it. But she did a great job!

As it happened, only five kids registered and they were all in different classes, so everyone won a blue ribbon. :) I'm glad it worked out that way... while Maisie and Dylan have only been rolling for a month, the other three kids have been rolling for several years.

We can't wait for next year's tournament! And in the mean time, we'll keep rolling and practicing and improving. The competition won't know what hit 'em! :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Busy busy summer

This summer is positively flying by. It's hard to believe we're halfway through it already... but time flies when you're having fun, and we are definitely having fun this summer! Here's a peek at some of the activities that've kept us busy busy busy.

First, Maisie spent a week at Salolampi!

"Maija" - her camp name, pronounced "Maya" - had an absolute blast. She came home saying that she wants to go for two weeks next year! She learned quite a bit of Finnish, and enjoyed making friends and the camp activities. Her counselor's report that we got shortly after she got home said she worked hard, learned a lot, and even won the camp award, a discopallo (disco ball necklace), for being a good student and working hard. I'm so glad she had such a good experience!

It was a long week for us without Maisie! We wrote her letters and got a few in return, and also got to peek in on her camp experience through their Facebook page and their blog posts. (This pic is from the blog) If you look through their Facebook from June 16-21, you can find Maisie in a lot of their pictures!

The girls have both been taking swimming lessons at the YWCA.

Over the summer, the Y runs swim lessons almost like little camps... they're the regular length, but instead of once a week, they're daily for two weeks. Both Maisie and Ella have made GREAT strides in their swimming ability. Ella's gone from being unwilling to get her face wet, to loving jumping in and swimming underwater! Maisie is becoming a strong swimmer too, learning different kicks and strokes.

Of course, there's more to do in the pool at the Y than just swim...

Rollin' rollin' rollin'... as Aaron and Ella watch!
 Maisie, Dylan, and I have also been taking log rolling classes! (Ella would too but you have to be 6 to roll, boo!) It's really fun... I started a few weeks ago, prompted by a friend who's been rolling for about a year. Maisie and Dylan came and watched once and were instantly asking to sign up for the next session. Of course, they're already MUCH better than I am - they're shorter (lower center of gravity) and lighter (so the log doesn't roll as much under them). My P.R. is around 10 seconds, but Maisie's is 16, and Dylan's is 17! I worked much harder for my 10 seconds, though!

The kids took their usual trip up north for the 4th of July on the Range. This year, Laura and I planned the big kids' costumes with an eye on First Prize in the costume contest. Presenting... George Washington and Betsy Ross!

They got SECOND PRIZE! Apparently they lost to two girls who were not dressed up, and just holding a sign that said "Happy 4th of July Gilbert!" We were ROBBED. Dylan and Maisie were less upset about it than I was, though. They won $10 (which they split evenly) and enjoyed getting their picture taken as they walked in the parade. Maisie reported that everyone said they should've won. I agree!

And of course, we went to CONvergence!
Bubbles, Wonder Girl, and Venom acting very silly!

This year Dylan joined us on Saturday and Sunday, after the kids got back from their trip up north.

Steampunk Princess Elsa with Bubbles the Powerpuff girl

We all had so much fun watching movies and anime, doing crafts, checking out the cool costumes, collecting badge ribbons, watching boffing and taiko drumming, shopping in the Dealers Room, and of course eating too much candy.

Spidergirl vs. Venom

The kids are already planning our CON experience for next year!

So that's our summer so far... still to come we've got more swimming lessons, art camp, Chris and Kim's wedding, and of course the State Fair! I'm sure it'll fly by, and before we know it we'll be putting the girls on the school bus. We'll make the most of it while it lasts!