Sunday, March 27, 2011

Family Trip To Coeur D'Alene

Last weekend we took a family trip to Coeur D'Alene, Idaho to support Conner who was competing in the State Boys Gymnastics Meet.

We left Friday morning about 11:00 a.m., our time. Bryon was the only one from our family that had been to Coeur D'Alene and it had been a while since he had been. I had heard how beautiful it was and was so excited to see new sights. We have a built in DVD player in the van. I was nervous about the kids watching too many movies on the way up and back. They were excellent! I think they only watched one movie on the way up. Sam and Conner did play with their DS's. We didn't even have to stop once for a bathroom brake so that was a bonus! We went up through Dillon, Butte, Missoula and on to Coeur D'Alene. We stopped in Butte, Montana for lunch. We decided we wanted to breakaway from the chains and decided to try to find a local restaurant to have lunch. We found a pasta place on our GPS that sounded good but got there only to find they weren't open. Then we decided to have lunch at Paul Bunyan's. It is a little (and by little I mean our whole family filled the restaurant) sandwich shop. We enjoyed our lunch and then got back in the car to drive the rest of the way. Those that know me, know I don't do a lot of driving but I did offer to drive. I drove from Butte until we stopped for gas in Missoula. We stopped in Missoula, Montana to fill the car up. We ran into another family filling up with gas that is from the same gym we were.

Upon arriving in Coeur D'Alene, we checked into our hotel. We stayed at Days Inn. Several families from the gym were staying at Days Inn. We enjoy staying at the same hotel as most of the team. Days Inn wasn't located on the lake. Actually, I think it is about as far from the lake as you can get in Coeur D'Alene. The desk clerk suggested a place called Tomato Street for dinner. We loved it! It was such a relaxed atmosphere. There was butcher paper on the table. The waitress came by and scribbled her name (writing upside down). The kids thought that was so cool! They could draw while we waited for our dinner. They also provided the each of a packet of pasta and Play-Dough. They could make pasta necklaces or mold creations out of Play-Dough while we waited for our order.

Conner had to be at the meet the next morning by 8:00. Once we got back to our hotel, we basically went to bed. The next morning we hurried to get ready so we could be at the gym by 8:00 a.m. It was just starting to snow as we left the hotel. The gym was located in Hayden, about four miles from our hotel. We ended up in a full blown blizzard by the time we got to the gym. The post below tells all about Conner's meet. After the meet, we drove back to Coeur D'Alene and had lunch at Chili's.

Before we left Rexburg, I had found a grand way to save money. At, I noticed that you could get gift cads for discounted prices. I typed in Coeur D'Alene, several restaurants appeared to choose from. Some of the restaurants had an 18% gratuity added to your final bill which made the gift cards not that great of a deal. However, I found one restaurant that didn't add gratuity. The only stipulation they had was for a $25 gift card you had to spend $35. I was so excited! I ordered this gift card online. It was a $25 for $10. When I was checking out online, I noticed a promo-code that if you entered you could get an additional 70% off. I was stoked! I was going to feed my family a $35 meal for only $13 out of pocket.

After lunch, we decided to drive by the selected restaurant and scope it out for later that night. We typed the address into our GPS. We followed to the GPS to our selected destination. My stomach about sunk when I saw a picture that resembeled the picture online. There was one huge difference: the real place was all boarded up! About the time I am realizing this, Bryon says, "Is that the restaurant all boarded up?" We got a good laugh out of my smokin' good deal!

There is a place in Hayden called Triple Play. They have a ton of different things to do. We decided to go there after lunch and check it out. We ended up going swimming. They have a huge indoor waterpark. There are three waterslides, a kiddie pool and a giant wave pool. We had so much fun! There were two other families from the gym that ended up there the same time we were. Conner thought he was so cool haning out with his friends. I think I cramped his style by making him check in with me. We literally spent all afternoon at the pool.

For dinner, Sam and Conner wanted to go back to Tomato Street. While Bryon and I loved it, we wanted to try something different. One of the lifeguards recommended a pizza place called Mackenzie River. The kids ordered off the kids menu and Bryon and I ordered a pizza to share. It was sooo yummy! It hit the spot.

When we got back to the hotel, we noticed one of Conner's coaches and a few families were gathered down in the room where the continental breakfast is served. Bryon and Conner went down to get popcorn and see what was going on. The kids and I soon decided to go down and join everyone else. We had so much fun haning out with the other families. There was a hot game of cards going on. Being a card shark, I jumped at the chance to join in. Bryon and the kids ended up going back to the room about 11:00. I ended up playing cards until about 1:00 a.m.!

Sunday morning we got up and got ready to go. There is a continental breakfast offered at the hotel. About the time we were down trying to grab a bite to eat before hitting he road, so were several other families.

I told Bryon I didn't drive all the way to Coeur D'Alene not to spend some time at the lake. Before leaving on our trip, we were told about a darling children's book called "Mudgy and Millie". It is about a moose and a mouse that play hide-and-seek through Couer D'Alene. A scuplor then scuplted five life size statues of Mudgy and Millie and they can be found around Couer D'Alene. Sunday morning we read the book with our kids. We then went downtown to find the moose and mouse statues. Our children really got into it and we had to find all FIVE statues.

Our little treasure hunt took us right down by the river. It was beautiful there. As you can tell by the picture, it was cold. After our little treasure hunt, we headed for home.

Bryon wasn't feeling well. He thinks he got a little too much water sliding the day before. He drove to Missoula where we stopped for lunch. We ate at Mackenzie River again. I had a salad this time. I didn't enjoy it as much as I did the pizza the night before. I then drove from Missoula. We had decided earlier, to take the scenic route home. We had decided instead of driving through Montana again, we would turn off at Missoula and go home through Salmon. This was a very pretty drive. I hadn't been to Salmon before. I am not sure it added very many additional miles but I feel like it took longer because of the speed limit. On the way home, the kids drank more pop and so consequently we had many more potty stops on the way home. At Leadore, we hit a complete white-out where I couldn't even see the side of the road. It was there, I decided I was done driving and Bryon and switched off again.

It was a great weekend. I was so thankful for the chance we had to get away as a family.

Boys State Gymnastics Meet

Last summer Conner was asked by his gymnastics coaches if he would like to compete for gymnastics. He would be a Level 4. This would mean that he would travel throughout the state competing in gymnastics. It was a one year commitment. The gymnastics season starts in January. His first meet was here in Rexburg. In February, we traveled to Boise to watch him compete at Gem State. Last weekend was the culmination of the whole season.

I felt like we and Conner had done all that was possible to get ready for the state competition. Conner put in some extra time in the gym working on getting ready. We paid for three private lessons, in order to help him better prepare. Conner has six elements he competes on: the high bar, the rings, the parallel bars, the floor, the mushroom and pommel horse, and the vault. He is pretty strong on all of the events except the pommel horse/mushroom. This is really two different apparatus but it is scored as one. Conner does really well on the pommel horse but struggles with the mushroom. The mushroom literally is just that: a round apparatus that is about two feet high.
The goal of Level 4 is to spin around the top of the mushroom three and a half turns without touching down. This is a very difficult task to master. The reason for learning this skill is so that they can prepare to do actual turns on the pommel horse. Most of the Level 4 boys will do one turn touch down, one turn touch down, one turn touch down and then a half a turn. There is a full point deduction every time they touch down. When Conner was doing his private lessons, I talked to the coach about spending most of the time working on fine tuning his other routines and just leaving the mushroom alone. The coach explained it that most of these boys skill wise are all about the same. They will usually only win an event by the smallest margin. The place where they can really pick up points is on the mushroom doing their three and a half turns. He really worked Conner on the mushroom. We even brought the mushroom home one night for Conner to practice on. Conner even took the mushroom to school one day to practice on during recesses. It wasn't very often that Conner could do more than one turn without touching down. When he did, it wasn't pretty. He would really struggle after his first turn to not touch down. We left for Coeur D'Alene knowing we had done all we could do.

Conner's competition was set for Saturday, March 19 at 8:00 a.m. The gym they competed at was a newer gym. However, their equipment wasn't new and was actually pretty rickety and wobbly.

Before I go into his individual scoring, let me just say that the total possible on any apparatus is 16.0.

Conner's first rotation was the rings. He scored at 14.4. This was a pretty good score for him. His second rotation was the floor. The floor tends to be one of his strongest. I don't know what happened, but Conner started off in the middle of his routine and his coach had to call him back to start over. He then tipped over on what is called a "candlestick". It is a very easy element. He ended up with a score of 13.2. The next rotation was the mushroom and pommel horse. I wanted to hold my breath.

He did the most beautiful mushroom routine that he has done all season! He went around beautifully twice without stopping. Then he went on and did his one and a half times around. It was beautiful! He pulled off the second highest score on the team and his personal high on this apparatus with a score of 12.1. Their next rotation was the high bar. Conner did a beautiful but ended up sitting down on the landing. His score on the high bar was 13.7. It was then time to vault. He scored a 15.2 on the vault! I would have to look but I also think that is a season high for him. The final rotation was the parallel bars. He did a nice job on those and scored a 13.8.

Conner ended up placing third in the state overall. His team also took first place in the team division.

We are so proud of you, Conner!