After a long time of not swimming in any meets, Abby participated in the Harvest Festival swim meet with her club team at PPA. She swam in the 100 breaststroke and the 100 freestyle. It was so nice to be able to be inside the building watching the swim meet this time instead of standing outside watching from the outer windows. Most of the girls in Abby’s heat for the breaststroke missed their heat as it was not announced correctly. Luckily, they were able to jump into the following heat. After feeling a little flustered, Abby still swam as hard as she could and finished her 100 breaststroke in 1:57.04. Breaststroke is not her favorite stroke, but she did her best and for that I am really proud of her. Abby later swam in the 100 freestyle event and finished in 1:20.42 which is a PR by 4 seconds. I loved being able to watch Abby swim again. I can’t wait for more swim meets in her future!
Abby decided against a big party this year and choose two of her best friends to hang out with on her birthday. Abby invited Avery and August to come over to enjoy her dad’s fantastic hamburgers. Then she opened presents and we sang “Happy Birthday” to her while she blew out her number 13 candle on her donut cake (specifically requested). Then I took the girls to Overdrive to do some indoor go kart racing. It was a busy night, so they were lumped in a group with some older kids and adults. The girls did really well considering it was their first time. They had a blast, and they all came away with smiles. Then it was back to the house so the girls could watch movies and hang out. There wasn’t a lot of movie watching. They entertained themselves for quite some time in Abby’s room just being teenage girls. I was happy to see how much fun she was having with two of her closest friends.
Abby’s second meet with PPA occurred over the weekend. On Friday night she swam the 100 freestyle and did great. I was able to watch her swim from the outside window on Friday evening. She had a really great start, and she was in the top 3 in her heat until the last 25 where she lost a bit of steam. Abby is a really strong freestyler and would be more competitive if she improved her starts and turns.
On Saturday, Mike went and watched Abby swim in her other events. Abby was confident and swam well in the 100 IM, 50 breaststroke and 50 freestyle. She had a strong stroke in the water and only seemed to lose time on her turns. What was interesting to watch was how the other parents acted. Mike was so disappointed to hear such crazy rambling from some parents who were swearing outside the windows at their kids who were swimming. We are so glad that Abby loves to swim and that she has a good attitude about it. She always tries hard and that is good enough for us. We don’t care if she is the fastest in the water. The only thing that matters to us is that she does her best. At the end of the day, parents who go so far as to swear at their children because they aren’t swimming fast enough are missing out on truly supporting their kids who are working hard.
It was so fun to watch Abby in her swim meet with her new swim club, Pikes Peak Athletics. Due to the new restrictions with COVID we weren't able to watch from inside the building but rather watched from the windows on the side of the building. Abby has had such a good experience swimming with Group 3 at PPA, partially because her friends are in that group but mostly because she has been challenged and had to swim up a little bit. She comes home from practice exhausted but so happy. Abby loves to swim and although she isn't the fastest swimmer, she has pretty good form and is a hard worker. At this meet she swam in the 200 IM, 50Y Butterfly (52.79) and the 50 Backstroke (47.67). I missed her 200 IM but was able to see both of her other events and was so proud of her for pushing hard even when she wasn't having the best swim day. Abby's best event is definitely freestyle, but those events were only being held on Sunday. Hopefully next meet she will be able to swim in the freestyle events.
One of my favorite things to do in life is go hiking. So it was a great day to be able to get up early and hike with my best friend up Y mountain. Bonus fact, it was also the place of our first date. It was fun to hike up the switchbacks, take in the views and just sit and talk and look over the world. Plus, we did it all before anyone else really got up in the morning. There’s something great about being up in the mountains and watching the sun come up on the world. Makes you grateful that you were around for another year to take it all in. Later on that day, we had doughnuts and opened presents. I’m always happy when I get a surprise for my birthday. For years, I have been coveting a new Taylor guitar. It was pretty great to be surprised with a new guitar for my birthday, super fun to play with great sound and great action. Abby was a sport because her birthday got delayed until we got to Utah. I think it paid off for her in the end and it was worth the wait. Great food and good times. Birthdays are about being with family, laughing, and eating too much frosting.
written by Mike
Emma and Abby both had a great cross-country season and worked really hard to finish out this season stronger than they started. Of the 5 meets that were scheduled, only one was canceled due to bad weather. Abby choose to do cross country this year not because she loves to run but because she wanted to do something active with her friends. She worked hard in her practices and never gave up even when it was hard for her. Every race she ran she did it knowing that it would be hard, but she still finished strong. On the other hand, Emma was excited to run cross country this season because running is her best sport. She really started to turn up the heat in her running during track season in the spring. After a good experience at BYU cross country camp this summer she was ready to take on the challenge of pushing herself a little harder than last year.
ELIZABETH HS - MEET #1
1.5 miles, trail with hills
Abby - 19:30
Emma - 10:30 (2nd place)
Emma had a fantastic race at Elizabeth HS. It was an unusually hot day and the meet was about an hour away. I got there about 15 min before her race started and tried to look for the best spot to take photos. After walking off the beaten path Madeline and I found a spot right off the trail. As we watched the start of the race Emma had already pushed herself to the front of the pack and was sitting nicely in 3rdplace behind Bethany and Jade. As we waited for the girls to make their loop and come back, I was shocked when I saw Emma and Jade running down the trail not too far behind Bethany. Emma looked strong and I knew that she could grab 2ndplace if she pushed it at the end of the race. We cheered her on and I could see her starting to pass Jade and pick up the pace. I handed Madeline to a nice man over the chain link fence while I climbed up and over to hurry and make my way to the finish. Sure enough, Emma had pushed it hard enough to not only beat Jade by a sec or two but by 10-15 sec. Emma came in 2ndplace for 7thand 8thgrade girls.
Abby had a pretty good race considering the extremely unpleasant conditions. With her recent growth spurt and maturity, it has become harder for Abby to run fast like she was able to do in ES. However, there is nothing I like to see more than a kid who pushes themselves to their limit just to prove that they can do hard things. This was exactly what Abby did at this meet. She wasn’t in the front or even the middle of the pack when we saw her on the trail but was closer to the back of the pack of 6thgraders. As Madeline and I waited at the finish area for Abby, I was getting a little nervous when I didn’t see her come in. Eventually she made her way into the stadium and pushed hard that last 100m. She may not have had a top finishing time but in my book, she was a top finisher in how she persevered through a tough race. She was a bit emotional at the end because it was so hard for her. I couldn’t have been prouder of her for not stopping and just finishing the race.
CHINOOK MS – MEET #2
Just shy of 1.5 miles, flat and downhill paved course
Abby - 14:10
Emma - 8:40 (2nd place)
This was probably Emma’s most exciting race of the season. Since this was the first time the teams were running up near the new Chinook MS, no one really knew the course. Luckily, one of the coaches showed me a map of the course so I knew where to stand and cheer on the kids. I first saw Emma about halfway through the race. She was sitting in 4thplace behind Bethany, Jade, and some other blond-haired girl. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but she looked strong. As I made my way to the finish on the track, I was shocked to see Emma come into the track in 4thplace and slowly pick off the girls in front of her. By the first curve she made her way into 3rdplace and by the last 100m she battled for 2ndplace and won. Unfortunately, Jade also thought she had won and there was some debate for a bit about it. In the end, Emma’s name was moved to the 2ndplace finish. It was quite the finish. It was the first time I realized how awesome of a kick Emma has at the end of her races. She is very similar to her brother Peter.
Abby had a much better race running on the pavement and slightly downhill than she did on the hilly trail during the first meet. She was in much better spirits when she started the race. I saw her at the beginning of the run and at the end. She happily ran along near the last half of the pack and when she came into the track at the end, I could see how much she was struggling to keep running. I could see her stop for a few seconds on the track and then she started back up again. By the time she rounded the last corner something overtook her, and she turned up the heat and sprinted to the finish. It was pretty amazing to watch.
BLACK FOREST – MEET #3
1.5 miles, trail and hilly
Emma – 9:58 (3rd place)
Only the 7th and 8th graders ran in this race so Abby was off the hook for today’s race. Today was another unfamiliar course as this was the first time the kids were running at this venue. The race wasn’t well marked and not even the coaches really understood the course. That being said, Emma had a decent race today. She ran out and made her way right behind Jade. She kept a pretty close distance to Jade and I thought for sure that she would pick it up on the downhill so she could overtake her. However, she wasn’t quite sure how much further she had to run and so it was hard to know when to start picking up the pace. The moment she realized the finish was up ahead it was too late. There was no way she could catch up. She still ended up with a great time and a 3rdplace finish 10 sec behind Jade.
UTE VALLEY PARK – MEET #4
1.5 miles, trail and hilly
Abby – 16:05
Emma – 9:40 (3rd place)
It was hotter than expected at this meet and both girls were excited to run in the last meet of the season. Emma had been complaining of shin splints so I was a little unsure of how fast she could run today. All she wanted to do was beat Jade, but I told her to just run her best and that would be good enough. She started out so well. Halfway through the race I cheered her on the uphill portion. She looked strong and was right behind Jade. It was anyone’s game. After getting up and over the hill, she started to pick up the pace and actually passed Jade. Then, she tripped but luckily caught herself instead of falling on the ground. It threw her off her game a bit and she struggled to maintain a lead over Jade. As she came into the track for the finish, I could see that she was done. There was no strong kick at the end like she normally has. It was then I just hoped that she would be happy with her efforts and not disappointed in herself. When I saw her after the finish, she had a smile on her face. It was such a relief to me. She said she ran her best and that she was happy with her 3rdplace finish. I couldn’t have been prouder of her for being a good sport about not beating Jade. Afterall, not every race can be your best race. All that matters is that you do your very best under the circumstances.
It was fun watching Abby get ready for her race with her friends. They warmed up and stretched together. Even Madeline sat and stretched with them. As the 6thgraders were getting ready to line up I could tell she was not that excited to run. Bless her heart for finishing out this season. I was pleasantly surprised after the race started to see that Abby was not at the back of the pack coming up the hill like she normally is. She looked really strong. It made me excited for her. As I made my way towards the finish on the track, I was excited to see her finish. As she made her way into the track, she finished that race as strong as she had started. Her time compared to the first meet was 3 minutes quicker. With both courses similar in terrain, I was so proud of her for improving from the beginning to the end of the season. After the race she told me that she would not be running next year. I am totally ok with that.
The kids had a pretty fun summer filled with various camps and a big family reunion on the Kelsch side of the family. After all the adventures, the kids were actually ready to head back to school just to see their friends again and to be social. This year will be challenging for each one of the kids but for different reasons. One thing is for sure, I know they will all rise to the occasion and be successful this school year!
Abby was excited to finally join the ranks of the older kids by joining Emma at Challenger Middle School. She was the most excited to be starting this adventure with her A-team friends: Addy, Avery, August, Anna, and Olivia and to be on a team with some pretty great teachers. On the first day of school she was not interested in Mike and I walking her to the bus stop. She quickly sped down the sidewalk and waved without looking back. Abby started school the day before the other kids.
6th grade, Team 614, Cross-Country Team, Rapids Swim Team, Voice Lessons, Piano, Make-up wearer, Social Butterfly, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Pre-Algebra A, PE, Gateway I, Drama, World Language, and Music.
Excited about going on High Trails.
Most concerned about doing math and having Ms. Murray.
Favorite class is PE.
Emma was excited to finally be at the top of her school as an 8th grader, get straight A’s, and to gear up for cross-country season.
8th grade, Team 814, Cross-Country Team, Kokopelli JOXC, Rapids Swim Team, Violin, Piano, Saxophone, HS Orchestra, Silver Tones Choir Group, Advanced Art, Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Algebra 1, and PE.
Excited about her science class and participating in the HS Orchestra.
Most concerned about getting straight A’s.
Favorite class is social studies and language arts because the teachers are great.
Peter was excited to see his friends and be on the cross-country team again but he wasn’t that thrilled for his hardest year at Pine Creek HS. As a Junior, Peter will be taking tough classes and preparing himself for the ACT and SAT.
11th grade, Cross-Country Team, State Running Team, Rapids Swim Team, Varsity Swim Team, Advanced Jazz Ensemble, Seminary, H Pre-Calculs, US History, AP Physics, American Lit & Comp, Weights & Fitness, H German 4, and Programming 2.
Excited about Cross-Country and Swim Seasons
Most concerned about doing well on the ACT and SAT and his AP Physics class
Favorite class is H German 4
Abby spent two weeks at a theatre camp with her friend August at the Fine Arts Center. The camp was “Let’s Make a Musical.” They spent the entire two weeks coming up with their own musical, writing the script, taking popular songs and rewriting the words, and then rehearsing for their big performance on the last day of camp. Abby had so much fun at this camp and came home every day just so excited and happy. The musical ended up being about two softball teams who came together to play a game of softball when a giant cantaloupe struck one of the teams. Both teams became angry at each other and decided to build a wall in the middle of their town. Eventually the teams found a way to tear down the wall and become united again. Some of the songs they sang were pretty great. They rewrote words to the song “Seize the Day” from Newsies and the theme song from Friend, “I’ll Be There for You.” The kids had fun performing and the audience enjoyed the great acting, the fun songs, and the bits of humor.
Abby’s 11th birthday fell on a Sunday and since it was a family birthday this year it was the perfect day to celebrate with her. We had a nice pancake breakfast with her before we headed off to church. After church we let her open all her presents. She loved all the things she got. From Grandma Anne and Grandpa Franz she got some kinetic sand in a variety of colors and a panda pajama suit. She just loved that panda suit. From us she got a fun journal and Paper Mate flair pens that she had been asking for. Then we took her outside so that she could see her big present. This year we decided to get Abby her very own red moped mini scooter. She was so surprised and extremely excited. We bought her a fun black helmet with a rainbow on it to match her scooter. She immediately took the scooter out to go for a ride. She didn’t even care that she was still wearing her church dress. The girls had fun riding their mopeds together all afternoon. After dinner we all helped Abby devour her chocolate mint ice-cream cake. It was the perfect day for our sweet 11 year old.
After Abby’s graduation, Emma, Abby and I headed up to Denver for a very special girls’ weekend to see Wicked and to relax and eat good food at the Four Season Hotel in Denver. We ate dinner at the hotel and there was a special Wicked Theatre Menu with food named after the musical. The girls thought that was pretty neat. We all enjoyed sharing the chocolate ganache cake. After dinner we headed straight to see Wicked, which was just a short 2 block walk from our hotel. The girls had a blast seeing this amazing musical and spending time together. Afterwards we walked back to our hotel, got on our pjs, and snuggled in bed together while watching movies. It was great to sleep in and order room service for breakfast in the morning. We all ate the most amazing french toast and then headed to the heated outdoor pool for some late morning fun. The girls played in the pool and we all sat in the hot tub. We ordered sliders for lunch and relaxed by the pool for a few hours. After relaxing, we went back to the room and showered. Before heading home we decided to go to the chalk festival a few blocks away. We saw one row before it started to rain. Luckily, we grabbed one of the hotel umbrellas. We didn’t stay out for too long but saw some really great chalk drawings in our short walk from the hotel. It was fun to finally spend some one on one time with both girls. We all needed this girls weekend!
Mike, Emma, Madeline and I got to celebrate Abby’s 5th grade graduation with her on the last day of school. It was so fun to watch all the kids march into the gym with upbeat music playing in the background. After a few remarks from their principal, Mrs. Hooper, the entire 5th grade sang “Best Day of My Life,” by American Authors. They sounded really good. Then they called each of the kids down one by one to get their ES completion certificates. Luckily, they did them by classes, so Abby wasn’t the last one to be called. I loved watching Abby’s excitement when she received her certificate from her teacher, Mrs. Lynch. You could just tell that they had a great relationship. Abby had excellent teachers at Mountain View, but Mrs. Lynch was definitely her favorite teacher. After that the kids got their certificates, they threw their class hats in the air and then sat down so we could all enjoy the cute slideshow, with pictures of the kids throughout elementary school and baby photos of each of them. Afterwards we all enjoyed cupcakes and lots of hugs and congratulations from friends and teachers.
Abby and her closest friends spent much of the last few months fundraising at her school so that they could buy trees to plant on the school grounds. They gave presentations in front of the entire school and had posters throughout the school explaining their project to help beautify the outside of the school. They ended up raising almost $200. With the money they raised at school and the help of some of us parents, they were able to buy 2 really great trees. All the girls met early at school to watch the trees be planted in the ground. They even gave the trees names. It was fun to watch all their hard work pay off and to be able to contribute to improving the school grounds.
Abby had her very last elementary school field day and had a blast running in the relays with her friends and classmates. The relays consisted of running only, running and jumping over tiny hurdles, and running while pushing a tire. The tire race was hilarious to watch. Although she had a great time doing the relay racing, the highlight of every field day is definitely the tug of war. Each grade has their own competitions. Abby’s 5th grade class won the tug of war twice and lost three times. Oh, how I will miss watching Abby have fun at field day with her friends.
Abby participated in the ES musical again and was thrilled when she got a speaking part. She was cast as Ms. Smythe, the bank chairman’s secretary. Even though she only had one real speaking part she was beyond excited to be a part of the Mary Poppins Jr. musical where she got to sing and act with many of her friends who were also in the play. It was such a joy to watch her devotion to not only the mandatory rehearsals but also her commitment to practice at home. All of the kids did such a great job in all of their performances. I was fortunate enough to watch the daytime performance with Emma and Madeline where I got to take photos again for the parents. Then Mike and I enjoyed the evening show together. We are so proud of Abby for putting herself out there to participate in these amazing musicals that her ES puts on every year.
Emma, Peter, and Andrew swam in their second meet of the club season at the CMA Valentines meet at Cheyenne Mountain High School. Since Emma turned 13 last month she was bumped up to swim with the older kids this time. One of the things about the older kids events are the elimination of many of the smaller 50 yd events. There weren't too many options in the 100yd events for today and so Emma only swam in the 100 freestyle race. She was way more confident during this meet than she was during the last meet. She did well, swimming the first 50 yards extremely well. Her second 50 yards was a bit slower because she swallowed some water on the second lap. Still, she was able to knock out a time of 1:35.73. Way to go Emma!
Peter swam the 100 butterfly and the 100 freestyle. He went out too fast for the first lap and ended up losing a bit of steam on the second lap. That's usually how it goes with the butterfly. It's just a tough event. His time was 1:15.31. He did really well, however, on his 100 freestyle. He got a new PR with a time of 1:05.21. It was so fun to see Peter PR in the freestyle and to also try the butterfly event. Most kids don't volunteer to swim in that event.
Andrew swam the 100 freestyle and the 200 breaststroke. He wasn't feeling well at all today and his back was bothering him. His times were still decent though. He swam the 100 freestyle in 58.81 and the 200 breaststroke in 2:54.83. I'm so proud of Andrew for pushing through it.
The kids have all been swimming with the Rapids Swim Club since the early fall and this was the first meet that I was able to sign them up to participate in. The girls were a little nervous as this was their first real big swim meet. The boys were anxious to see what they could swim at this point in their pre-season to their HS swim team season. I was so incredibly impressed with how well everyone did today and how they cheered for and encouraged each other in their individual events.
Andrew's times were already so much better than the last two seasons of HS swim. He swam in the 50 freestyle, 100 breast, and the 100 freestyle events. He PR'd in 100 breaststroke and swam it in 1:16.17. His previous best time was his sophomore year at 1:18.42 since he didn't swim it his junior year. His 50 free time was outstanding for the pre-season at 26.00. His fastest time was during the Eagle Invite his sophomore year at 25.29. Last year he swam a 25.60 during State and that was after a season of an injured hand. Andrew's 100 free time today was 58.00 which was his best solo 100 freestyle not in a relay. His previous 100 free style record was 1:00.73 last season. His overall best 100 freestyle distance was 56.12 in the 400 freestyle relay his sophomore year. After such a successful meet for Andrew he and I both realized his potential. He hasn't been making it to all the club practices and still swam a great meet which only means that with a lot of hard work from here until the HS season starts and through the season, he could potentially make State with an individual event this year. It will be fun to see how far he can come this year by working hard and swimming the events he is strongest in.
Peter PR'd in every event he swam today. He swam in the 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle, and the 100 freestyle events. Peter's 500 freestyle time was 6:28.00 which was 12 seconds faster than last year's best time of 6:42.98. Peter's 200 freestyle time today was 2:27.00 which was one second faster than last year's best time and his 100 freestyle was 1:05.00 which knocked his previous best tie of 1:11.89 out of the park. Unlike Andrew, Peter has been more diligent about going to practice and his hard work is already starting to show. He is so competitive with Andrew and I know that with some more hard work Peter will get the times that he is working towards this year. So proud of this kid.
Emma swam in two events today. She swam in the 50 breaststroke and 50 freestyle events. As she was getting ready for her 50 breaststroke she accidentally missed her heat. She got confused because some other kid was on her block. There were a few tears since this was her favorite event. Coach Brody stepped in and got her in the next heat which was awesome. That is the nice thing about the 12&under competition...they are a little bit more lenient. Needless to say, she swam well being a little frazzled. Still, according to Emma, this was not her best time and didn't glide as much as she should have but she was happy to be able to swim in the event. She swam the 50 breaststroke in 43.00. Emma's next event was the 50 freestyle and she swan that in 41.47. Again, not her best time from practice but still a great starting time for her. I was so proud of her for pushing herself even when she was nervous and frazzled. This was a great experience for her.
Abby was a little unsure about swimming in such a big meet but she put on her brave face and went with the flow today. She swam in both the 50 butterfly and 100 freestyle events. She swam her 50 butterfly which was the very first event in 1:03.99 and was 4th in her heat. She was so happy with that. Then she waited until the end of the meet to swim in the 100 freestyle. She was so nervous about doing flip turns and being disqualified. Ramon and I tried to encourage her to just try them but in the end she just touched the wall. Still, with her nerves I was just so proud of her for getting up on that swim block and racing. She did the 100 freestyle in 2:06.00. I couldn't have been more pleased with her efforts.
Abby had another great cross country season running with the Landsharks running club. Even though she started swimming with the Rapids swim club she still wanted to keep running so that she could be with her friends. I couldn't convince her to do the shorter 1 mile race because she was set on running the longest race with Anna and McKenzie. I was so proud of her for not stopping during her hilly race. This year she ran in the longer race during all of the meets. Even though her best time was during the second meet, her first meet's time was already an entire minute faster than her time from last year. Wow...what an improvement.
Meet 1 at MVE - 1.5 mile run in 12:49
Meet 2 at MVE - 1.5 mile run in 12:32
Meet 3 at MVE - 1.5 mile run in 13:03
Photo Above: Annie, Abby, Anna, McKenzie
The girls had their 2nd swim meet with the Falfins today. It was another in house meet so they swam against the other kids in the Falfins summer swim team. Both girls improved significantly since the first meet. Emma used the diving block this time and showed us how strong she is in the breaststroke. She swam in the 50 breaststroke, 100 breaststroke, and the 50 freestyle. Abby did well this time around too. She swam in the 100 freestyle, 100IM, and the 50 backstroke. By far Abby's favorite event is the 100 IM. She loves to swim all the strokes. Abby improved this time by swimming all her events without stopping. I couldn't be prouder of these two girls in giving it all they had during their events. At the end of the meet each one of them got pictures with their coaches. Being a part of this summer swim team was really good for both Emma and Abby and showed them that they could accomplish great things with hard work.
With a summer birthday the party ideas are endless. Naturally, Abby wanted to do a celebration outside, so we recycled the Luau party from her 6th birthday party and planned a fun party loaded with yummy food, grass skirts and leis for each of the girls, and a slip-n-slide in the backyard. With completely different friends from when she was 6 years old, no one knew that we had already had a party like this, and everyone had a blast. After eating lunch, the girls spent most of the time out in the backyard jumping on the trampoline and cooling off on the slip-n-slide. Abby's friends that were able to come to the party were Avery, Addy, McKenzie, and Morgan. She got some fun arts and craft type gifts and some candy. She was all smiles the entire day. Abby is lucky to have such good friends to help celebrate on her special day.
For Abby’s family birthday celebration, we all headed to Flying Horse for a nice dinner and to open presents. Abby got a new yoga mat from Grandma Anne and Grandpa Franz and some cute athletic clothes from Athleta Girl from mom and dad. She was so thrilled with her gifts and her yummy dinner celebration.