Saturday, August 11, 2012

Miami - Jim Larranaga Basketball Camp at University of Miami & Visiting With Friends

Before I recap our trip to Miami, I need to make a very important correction to a statement in my July 31st post.  In writing about former Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Jefferson racing around the bases during the Nationals-Braves game that we went to while in DC, I noted that Roosevelt won the race that evening. However, I was VERY wrong in that not only did Teddy not win that night but, according to this recent article in the Washington Post,  it seems that poor Teddy has NEVER won in the almost 500 times he has participated in this event.  Oops!  I am so glad that I spotted that article and read through it - what a mistake to make and I apologize for my goof.  I know you were all probably losing sleep over that one! 

Before we moved from Miami last summer, I promised Christopher that we would return this summer so he could participate in the Jim Larranaga Basketball Camp held at University of Miami.  

Christopher had gone to this camp for the prior two years and really enjoyed learning new skills and making new friends so we thought it was worth the cost and effort for the kids and I to travel to Miami for the week. The camp ran Monday - Friday from 9 am until 3 pm. On the first day, the kids were divided into teams based on age/skill level. Each morning was spent developing skills and participating in different skill competitions as well as playing 1-1 and 3-3 games.  Christopher won the "Hot Shot" competition.
Each afternoon, the teams played games, ending with a championship tournament and game Friday afternoon.  Coach Larranaga began at UM in Spring of 2011 so this was really his first year planning and running the camp.  There were a lot of improvements made to the camp for this year and it really was an exceptional experience for Christopher. The "coaches" for the camp were the UM basketball players and Christopher's coach was Reggie Johnson, the biggest (and one of the better) players on the UM team.  
Unfortunately, since UM is an ACC rival of VT, we will not be cheering him on anytime soon!  

Some shots of Christopher (in red) playing in the championship game (his team lost by 4 points).
My good friend, Gayle, invited a group of Christopher's friends from elementary school (and their moms) one evening for dinner (spaghetti) and swimming.
I think the one thing I miss most about Miami is the beautiful backyard and the swimming pool we had at our home. We spent so much time on the patio and in the pool and Christopher and his friends played many hours of "Seminole" (don't ask!) in our backyard.  Good times.

Time to eat!
 The "girly girls" as my friend, Jane, and I like to call Samantha and Caitlynne.
Jane, Gayle and I.
 Gayle and Caitlynne.
Christopher and some of his baseball buddies.
 And with the girly girls.
We also drove up to Boca Raton to meet my mom's cousin, her husband, their daughter and her fiance for dinner and enjoyed spending the evening catching up with them.  The men like to deep sea fish and we saw some amazing photos of a few of the very large fish they had recently caught.  We were quite impressed! 

While in Miami, we split our time between a hotel and staying with family friends.  Our friends had temporarily "adopted" six kittens born to a stray cat in their neighborhood and were working to socialize the kittens so they could be placed in homes.  The kids spent a lot of time playing and holding the kittens - they were so cute (but very messy)! My friend appropriately titled this photo "Kitty Olympics".
The weather was perfect while we were in Miami - warm and humid (but nothing compared to what we are used to in Bangkok) and not a hurricane in sight.  I was able to get a few great runs in and even managed to locate a flock of peacocks one morning.  The photos below are not recent (they were taken at our home in Miami before we moved) but I wanted to show how spectacular the peacocks are up close. However, they can also be very pesky and there are some neighborhoods in Miami that have become so overrun with peacocks that relocation (of the peacocks, not the people) is sometimes necessary.  This is similar to the kangaroos when we lived in Australia - we thought they were so cute while the Aussies sometimes considered them to be like rodents.  

After a great week in Miami, we left to fly back to Virginia early Saturday morning (July 28th).  It was hard to believe that we had less than 2 weeks left in the U.S. before our return trip home to Bangkok.

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