Monday, February 13, 2017

Mrs. Gregory

Eli's teacher this year is Mrs. Gregory.  Mrs. Gregory loves Eli.  She consistently has stories to tell us about his antics in school.  All of them good.  The most recent example was while they were discussing something in class and Mrs. Gregory asked what an old person would say when they couldn't hear.  Eli replied with "They would say 'WHAT' and change the battery in their hearing aid".  Apparently, it was in the perfect tone and punctuation.  Mrs. Gregory died laughing and told all her adult friends who died laughing.  It is things like this, she says, that shows just how smart he is.

We were discussing this line the other day and he didn't understand why it was so funny and why it showed how smart he is.  Which means, it hasn't gone to his head!  He is a smart, caring boy and is pretty sensitive too.  He's grown in confidence in himself though and doesn't seem to have as many meltdown's as he did in the past.  He can still be the pesky little brother on occasion, but seems to be growing out of that too.

The KSW tournament is coming around again in April and Eli has already said he wanted to go.  So we are getting a room and getting ready a bit earlier.  His grandparents may come up for the tournament to watch him.  This time around he is a red belt.  So he will have more choices from techniques and a full form to perform.  At least he excited this time around.  I'm sure he'll be just as excited to go to Waffle House on the way home.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


Eli has been taking Kuk Sool Won for almost 2 years now.  It has started out easy and gradually gotten harder.  He has been to a tournament, which he was extremely nervous about.  He competed, didn't win any medals, but did his best even though he didn't think so.

He's been testing for his next belts periodically over the past 2 years.  His first test, he was crying and nervous before the test.  Once testing starts, he's fine emotionally and concentrates on what he needs to do.  The next test he was still upset before testing and cried a little.  Eventually, it got down to just a pouty face.  His temperament about testing has improved since he's gotten more used to it.  This past June, he hit a roadblock.

It wasn't with his temperament this time around though.  It was with his testing ability.  He knew the techniques, he knew the form.  He probably thought he knew it too well.  During testing he went too fast.  So fast that the Instructor grading his test couldn't tell what he was doing.  At the end of testing, they present the belts, when he realized he wasn't going to get his next belt, he was upset and started crying.  With some consoling from Mom, he got over it and was ready to test the next month.

Next month came and he was nervous.  He had an additional month of testing and knew his forms and techniques better.  At the beginning of the test, the class was told to do their forms fast.  Unfortunately, Eli applied it to the entire testing period.  This caused his stances to be high so the tester couldn't tell what stance he was in.  Once the belt presentation came around, his eyes started to water and he knew he didn't pass.  Again, he cried all the way home.  He was upset and exhausted and Mom consoled him.

He skipped a month of testing because we went to Hannibal.  This might've helped take the pressure off of him.  September rolled around and it was time for his next test.  This time, he wasn't nervous, he wasn't crying as he had been up to this point in every test.  I talked with him before testing about doing his best.  Doing everything with low stances and properly and not to go too fast.  He seemed to accept the idea of doing his best as being the goal.  Testing came and went without much issue.  Belt presentation came around and as it got closer to Eli, the tears started welling up in his eyes because he wanted it so bad and had worked for 4 months for this test.  He kept himself pretty well composed.  And then, they called his name for his red stripe belt!

Eli and PKJN Ben Mitchell after his red stripe test

He was so relieved and happy to pass his test.  On the way home, he formulated a plan to fake his Mom out.  He put on his old belt and had me hide his new one.  He came in the house and yelled "dang it".  But he couldn't hide his smile.  The jig was up and his Mom knew he had passed even though he was acting like he hadn't.  Finally, he gave up the game and was happy to tell his Mom all about it.  It'll be a few more months before his next test, but hopefully this experience will serve him well if he doesn't pass in the future.  He has experience with it now.  Hopefully, if it happens again, the disappointment will be easier to handle.

Monday, May 2, 2016

KSW Tournament 2016

Eli went and demonstrated his ability as a Kuk Sool Won Martial artist this past weekend at the tournament in St. Louis.  He demonstrated his ability in his form Ki Cho Hyung (parts 4-6), techniques (Ki Bohn Soo 1, 3 and 9) and sparring.  We went to St. Louis on Friday night and made good time.  He got up had a good breakfast and was there by 8 am so his dad could demonstrate.  Eli video taped my participation in the tournament for 2 hours and spent time with other students from the school.

After I was done we went around campus a little bit and hung out with other students.  He also got a commemorative t-shirt from the tournament.  Surprisingly he wasn't hungry since he had a big breakfast.  He asked Caitlyn (another blue belt) if she would be his partner for his techniques.  He was happy that she said yes and she seemed to encourage and help him during their participation in the tournament.  He returned the favor and was her partner for her techniques.  First he started with his form.

Ki Cho Hyung 4-6

Ki Bohn Soo 1, 3, 9

Eli Sparring

After he was done performing we had some time to kill before the master's demonstration.  We had hot dogs for lunch (around 3 pm) and he got enough courage to say hello to Grandmaster In Hyuk Suh.  Grandmaster signed his belt and took a picture with him.  He is going to keep this belt forever he says.  He was truly excited!

Lastly, Eli got to participate in the demo for Peoria Kuk Sool Won.  Pu Sa Ba Nim jumped over him and 2 other students to break a board.  He was happy he got to participate.  We finished the night by going back to the hotel, having Mcdonald's at 8 o'clock for dinner and crashing.  We went to bed about 10:30 and he slept until 7:30.  We got up and got ready to go so we could get to Waffle House on the way out of town.  Eli at a waffle as big as the plate with chocolate chips.  He was starving.  We made it back to town about noon and he went to play like it was any other Sunday.  

I'm glad he had fun, I'm glad he made it through without throwing a fit and I'm glad he was able to channel his frustration into trying harder instead of having a melt down.  Overall, it was a great weekend that I think he wants to repeat next year.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Blue Belt

Eli has been practicing Kuk Sool Won for over a year now.  He's made his way through the ranks and this past Thursday he tested for his blue belt.  He was extremely nervous of one thing...breaking.  He broke boards for his yellow belt, but each belt you have to break with a different technique.  For his blue belt, he had to break with a side kick and elbow strike.  Through his classes, he hadn't practiced a side kick very much.  During his class this week, he practiced on a bag.  After class, he spent extra time practicing his kick in the back room.  He just was not confident at all.

Testing was Thursday.  Eli was a bit nervous and practiced his kick again in the back room on a bag when we got to the school.  His testing went well for his techniques.  His forms were a bit muddled because of him not used to changing directions and he got the 2 mixed up and combined them in the wrong places, but the person grading him knew he knew them and passed him.  Finally, it was time for breaking.

Another kid had gone prior to Eli and did the same breaks without a problem.  As soon as the first kid was done, Eli made himself so nervous, he was about to cry.  He was wiping tears from his eyes when he was called up.  His instructor was encouraging him, reminding him he had knocked over a giant bag in class, trying to pump him up.  He did a couple practice kicks on the air, then a bag and finally he had to try the break.  He focused on the board during his ki cho jaki.  He turned and kicked and CRACK!...his foot broke the board! Immediately he got the biggest smile and sigh of relief on his face.  He wasn't nervous at all breaking with his elbow. Both strikes he got on the first try.

He was promoted to blue belt.  He kept his boards and was excited to show his Mom his new belt and the boards he broke when he got home.  After class he took a picture and the instructor told him how proud he was of him and that it was because of situations with kids like him is why he taught martial arts.  He was genuinely proud of him over coming his fear to accomplish his goal.  It'll be a couple more belts before Eli has to break again, but it'll be interesting to see if he still is as nervous before his next attempt.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Holidays and More

Eli had a full holiday break.  The first week off he got to relax a bit.  Then we were off to Grandma and Grandpa Erickson's for the start of Christmas.  When we got there, Santa was visiting Grandma's babysitting kids, so our kids got something too.  Eli is questioning Santa's existence, but he's still all in.  He got his present and after opening it asked me if "this is all we are here for!".  He obviously missed the mountain of presents engulfing the Christmas tinsel that Grandma calls a tree.  I explained to him that we were opening all the presents the next day and this was just the beginning.  He was happy with that.

The next day came and we went swimming with his cousins at the hotel in the afternoon.  He didn't even need his floaties and was careful and did well.  He and his cousin Sophia are about the same size, so they stayed in the same area they could touch.

After that we headed back to Grandma's house to open everything and have dinner.  Eli liked the majority of what he got and a few things he wasn't expecting.  I don't think he complained about any of it to his Grandparents even if he didn't like it.  He and Christian put something's together and went back to the hotel to hang out with Mom because they were bored.  They put something else together at the hotel and relaxed.

The next day we took off for home to the presents Santa left for us at our house.  For the most part the ride home was pretty uneventful, but Eli was a little disappointed that we didn't stop and eat at the packed IHOP on the way home.  He settled for a quick snack and getting home faster instead.

As soon as we opened the door the presents were sorted and the opening began.  Eli got a lot of Lego's, Buildable Star Wars figures, Infinity characters and his own gaming chair.  He spent the next few days building sets and would take a break when he got tired of them.  He eventually got help from his Dad, Uncle Dale and Christian to complete them all.  I think he still has a couple lego sets still completely built a month later, which is a long time for him.

New Year's Eve Eli managed to stay up until midnight and went outside and did popper fireworks in the cold.  Everyone slept in and had a good time that day.

Eli decided to continue doing Kuk Sool Won and is now a blue belt.  He has passed 3 tests and could test next month for his blue belt.  He still seems to like it, but the time off at Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed to have given him some new life in it.

He has been giving himself a couple headaches recently.  Once when the substitute teacher at school told the to make a bubble with their mouth to get them to be quiet.  Well, Eli stopped breathing and caused a stress headache.  Then he went to Kuk Sool Won that night and got upset and stressed that he fell down, which caused him to hold his breath again and cause a headache again.  We'll have to figure out how to help him deal with that issue going forward.

All in all, Eli has had a great start to 2016 and seems to be enjoying school and Kuk Sool Won.  Only a few more months and we'll be into spring break and ready for some fun.

Monday, August 31, 2015


This past January, Eli started taking Kuk Sool Won.  It is a Korean Martial Art.  He was very excited to start and has been going pretty regularly since January.  Almost twice a week.  He tried doing both soccer and Kuk Sool Won, but that was too much for him in the spring.  When it came time to sign up for soccer again, he chose Kuk Sool Won.

So far he has passed 2 tests.  The first was his yellow stripe test, the second was for his yellow belt.  He knew everything he needed to know and was able to break 2 boards.  One with a kick, the other with his fist.  It was supposed to be a palm strike, but he was so pumped up, it turned into a fist.  The instructor was surprised and impressed.  He was lucky he didn't break a knuckle.  The only thing he didn't know was the pledge.  That night he didn't get his belt.  It was his dad's fault cause I didn't know he needed to know it.  He practiced it though and learned it in 4 days.  He was able to recite it during his next class and got his belt that night.  He was so excited and pleased with himself.  Some of the other students gave him high-fives and some of the adults congratulated him.  It really made his day.

He's started to learn his new form and has yet to be taught any new techniques.  He's determined to get his black belt.  We'll see if he wants to continue when December rolls around and we have to pay for the next year.  I guess we'll see how serious and determined he is about his black belt.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Eli's Florida

We made our way to Orlando for our first vacation.  We went to Legoland, Sea World, the beach and Disney World.  Legoland was great for Eli.  His favorite part was getting a new set!  He had to get a black horse on the carousel and he was able to get it.  He got to play lego video games, drive cars, get wet and build Hero's.

Sea World was kind of a bust for Eli.  The animals weren't that interesting, there weren't a ton of rides for him and he was exhausted from LegoLand.  We rode Journey to Atlantis and the Empire of Penguins first thing and that was the highlight of the day.  They all got pressed pennies and penny holders from near the sea lions.  None of them wanted to fee the sea lions the fresh fish though.  Eli perked up a little bit when we saw the Orca's, but they were done early that day.

The beach was up next and Eli was most interested in building a sand castle.  He kept running to the water to grab water and sand to help hold his castle together.  They didn't really like the sea weed and got their fill of salt water.  The banana boat ride seemed like it would be fun.  Eli was able to hold on the entire time, but kept falling into the middle.  He was happy to relax and play at the beach.  It was enough to get him recharged and ready for Disney.

Disney started off well and got better the first day.  Eli lasted the entire day at Disney, which was a surprise.  I didn't think he could make it.  We started with Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain.  The kids liked those.  Next was Eli's knight makeover.  He was most excited about getting a shield and sword, but he got his hair spiked and glittered.  He now wants to have his hair spiked during his next haircut.

After lunch we went to visit Belle and Eli got to be Maurice, Belle's dad.  He also got to take a picture with Belle.  He didn't like it when I asked if Belle was his girlfriend now!  He got to drive Grandpa around on the tomorrowland raceway.  Spin in the tea cups and ride a few more rides before dinner and the Electrical parade.  Eli had enough before the parade began, but he was able to relax and liked the paraged once it started.  He was ready to go the next day.

The next day we started off with Space Mountain, which, at the time, Eli declared was his favorite ride.  We did a few other rides.  Finished with the Tiki room, jungle cruise (were Eli got to keep the snakes in the box by sitting on the hatch) and Hall of Presidents.  Everyone was done around 2 or 3.  We went back to the house and the kids relaxed and had dinner before we headed home on Friday.  Other than the 2 hour delay for the flight, everything went well.  Eli got to see the ocean on the way home out his window and liked flying in general.  Overall, he enjoyed the trip.

Kuk Sool Won

At the beginning of the year Eli started taking Kuk Sool Won.  Eli has always been interested in rough housing.  To direct this in a better way, he tried a class in the fall to see if he was interested.  He liked it and started taking classes in January.  He passed his yellow stripe test and is ready to take his yellow belt test this month.  Shockingly, he is still interested.  He even went to the seminar with the Grandmaster.  He was excited just to get to see him because he knew he was the highest rank.  The only time Eli had a little difficulty was when he was doing soccer and Kuk Sool Won at the same time.  Both activities at the same time got to be a little too much for him.  He made it through both activities a little worn out, but seems interested doing both in the fall again.  We'll see how that goes.

He's run into a few issues with being unsure of himself.  He was upset at his first testing because he had never done one before and it was a difficult testing for everyone.  We had so many white belts in the last class that all the yellow stripes moved to the back.  He'd never been in the back before and got upset with that.  He's been working on learning to tie his uniform and belt.  That has caused some issues as well, but he's learned how for the most part.  Overall, he really likes it and has grown into it.  Maybe he'll get the black belt he says he wants.  Only time will tell.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Growing Up

I like to refer to my trio as my “babies,” but sadly, they aren’t babies anymore. Eli is looking less and less like a little kid, while the other two are becoming opinionated and lippy at times. Eli just lost his first tooth the other day, and Christian is losing molars right and left. Tori is becoming very good at saying, “Mommy” and sighing in exasperation when I do something that doesn’t jive with her. Soon they will all be teenagers, doing their own thing and hiding out in their rooms. Time has flown by. Even relatives like their uncle Samm have remarked on how big they are getting.

Yesterday, my brother had his last kid, a girl named Josie. The five of us would like to congratulate him, and I personally would like to remind him to enjoy every moment. Before we all know it, Josie and her sister, Kenna, will be teenagers, and the rest of our broods will be young adults. Enjoy all of the days to come with your little Josie and congratulations, Travis & Diane.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Long Days

Christmas is getting closer and Eli is getting excited.  This year he got an Lego Advent calendar and has been faithfully opening the doors each day.  He doesn't cheat like his brother does and open the entire box at once.  He likes putting them together and seems to be enjoying it so far.  

He hasn't figured out who Santa is yet though, so we finally got a picture with him and Santa taken.  He wasn't scared and hopped on his lap without any trepidation.  After the picture, he and Santa discussed some things in very hushed tones.  Guess what he wants must be a secret. Luckily there wasn't a waiting line so he could take as long as he wanted.  When he was done he got an "unassembled snowman" as a treat.  It looked and tasted just like Marshmallows.  Santa gave him one for his sister too.

Eli is getting a soccer ball chair that has a foot rest.  When I brought it home, we weren't going to wrap the big presents, so I wrote his name on it.  It took him days before he saw his name on it and couldn't figure out what it was for and couldn't read the stuff I marked out on the box, so he has no idea what it is or why his name was on it.  I had to tell him the story we were told growing up about the boxes being empty until Santa filled them.  Eventually, we wrapped the big ones and now he doesn't question it.  The large wrapped gifts have made a great seat for the cats though.

Yesterday was Christian's Lego League all-day tournament and Tori's gymnastics class.  There was also the million and one errands to run.  Eli went to it all without much fuss.  He took games to Tori's class and was well behaved on the errands.  He spent most of the afternoon with Tori at Uncle Dale and Aunt Annie's while I finished the errands.  They had a good time and were exhausted.  Eli fell asleep in his bed with the light on around 10 and didn't get up til 8.  Nice for his parents.  

Only a few more weeks until Christmas break and Christmas itself.  Hopefully the 2nd week isn't a long series of "I'm bored" from Eli.  He'll have all his Christmas presents to play with.  Guess we'll see.

Friday, October 31, 2014

What a Scream

There are a lot of Halloween things to do in Peoria, but we tend to stay away from them. This weekend, however, we took the kids to Wildlife Prairie Scary Park. Christian opted not to go, but Tori and Eli got into their costumes and decided to give it a go. We got there around 6 and set off on the trick-or-treat trail. It was fairly long, but there was a lot to see, including some tents with scary stuff, and the kids seemed to have a good time. Along the way, we stopped for s’mores, which Eli did not care for, as well as a short story. Then, it was time to hop onto the train.

The train ride started with a walk through the Troll Bridge, which stopped the kids hard. Some person in a wheelchair was the troll, and I have to say that person was scary with their mask and their wings outstretched. Tori and Eli weren’t sure what to do, but eventually, they made their way around the troll. We stood in line for 20 minutes before finally getting onto the train. By this time, it was pitch black and the stage was set for fright. The train ride took about 15 or 20 minutes, during which tons of volunteers jumped out in costume to scare riders. At one point, we had to stop to wait for another train, and a guy dressed like Jason made Tori his target. He walked up to her and stared and stared. Tori squeezed me tight and waited patiently for him to target someone else. Meanwhile, Eli just kept telling people they were not scary. He had no issues telling every scary person who came up to him hello.

We finished around 8 and went home. The train ride made it all worthwhile I think. Tori and Eli are already talking about coming back next year. Huts can’t wait to take them to a haunted house one day. Good thing Christian chose not to come. I don’t think he would have been too fond of all of the thrills and chills.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

One Quarter Down

The kids made it through their first quarter of school. They all did well, even Eli. He has turned into a good speller and is improving everyday with math and reading. He also has been a good kid. Every day, he comes home with a mini report, and it is usually green, pink or purple, all good colors on the behavior scale.

Last night, Eli went to a birthday party. He was the only boy there but had a good time anyway. At first, he did not want to play with the girls, but once Huts left for a sandwich down the street, Eli decided it was time to join them. When Huts got back, Eli was having fun with Deja and the others.

Eli got his cast off a couple of weeks ago. He was given a splint for school but got it dirty at the party last night, so he went without it today. The twins noticed it right away in latchkey this morning and demanded to see Eli’s wrist. He showed it to them, they saw it was ok, and off they went to play Legos. Guessing he is nearly done with that splint.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Eli had his party this year with his friends at Monkey Joe's bounce house.  He got pizza and to meet Monkey Joe and bounce with his friends in the place for 2 hours.  He had a great time and I realized we hadn't posted pictures of it.  So here are some of them.

Relaxing before the Party
His reaction to Monkey Joe coming in
Hug from Monkey Joe
The Loot
Big sis
The Daredevil

Speaking of Daredevil...Guess who broke his wrist!  He and another kid were climbing on the jungle gym at school and the other kid accidentally pushed Eli off.  He fell and tried to brace himself, but in the process broke his wrist.  
 Orange Cast
Showing it off
Shiner from last Friday

Eli's had his share of physical issues with his broken leg from 2 years ago and now wrist.  He's going to miss most of the rest of his soccer season, but he wants to play the last couple of games if he can.  It has only been 5 days, but he can move his fingers without pain and is learning to write with his right hand for the time being.  Hopefully this will be the last cast for a long time.

The shiner was from when he was playing freeze tag at school.  He tripped and hit the table.  Luckily he didn't break his glasses.  He was fine after that and was ready to go.  He's a sturdy kid.