October 05, 2016

Musical Hula Hoops (a fun running game for kids)

I think I am finally over my cold! My voice is pretty much back to normal, and I haven't had to blow my nose at all today, so that's good. My hearing is about 95% back to normal, too. Hopefully I'll go another three years or so before getting sick again!

On Monday at cross country practice, I wanted to play a new game with the kids. For our practices, we do a warm-up, then about 30 minutes of running laps around a park, and then we play a game for about 20 minutes. The games are fun ways of getting them to run more without really realizing it, or to sneak in hill work (the park that we practice at has a hill).

I went to the dollar store before practice, and bought eight hula hoops for a game. I wasn't really sure what I was going to do with them, but I figured I could use them for something! On the way to practice, I figured out a really fun idea--musical chairs, only with hula hoops instead of chairs.

We spread out the hula hoops in a huge circle in the field. This is a terrible diagram, but you get the idea...

We had 23 kids at practice, so we decided to allow two kids per hula hoop. When I blew the whistle, the kids began to run in a circle around the huge circle of hoops, while I turned my back. Then, when I blew the whistle a second time, the kids had to hurry up and get inside of a hula hoop (maximum two kids per hoop). If they didn't get in a hoop, they were out. Then, we took away one hoop and did it again, until there were just two kids left. 

It was really fun, and the kids loved it! One of the things I liked about it was that the fast kids didn't really have an advantage over the slower kids, because it just depended on where they were in regards to the hoops when I blew the whistle. In fact, the first round eliminated two of the fastest boys on the team! 

We had our third cross country meet yesterday, and I gave the kids an incentive to do their best. The course was the exact same as the second meet, so I told them that the boy and the girl who improved their time the most would get to pick a prize out of the prize bag at practice (I bought some little toys at the dollar store to use as prizes). I don't know about the other kids, but Eli loved that idea, and he gave his very best effort at the meet yesterday. His pace ended up being 9:22, which was his fastest ever! I'm still waiting for the official results to see who made the biggest improvement. 

After practice, I helped Renee load stuff into her car, and then Eli and I left. I got about halfway home when I realized that my phone wasn't in my pocket. I was wearing a hoodie, and the pockets were kind of shallow for a phone. I pulled over into a gas station, and frantically started digging through the car to find my phone. It was starting to get dark outside, so I turned around and went back to the park to look for it.

Eli ran into the field and up the hill to look, while I thoroughly combed the car. I was panicking; then I heard Eli yell that he found it! It must have fallen out of my pocket when I ran down the hill at practice. I was SO glad to have found it. I even let Eli choose a prize from the prize bag as a finder's fee ;)

Yesterday, I had a doctor's appointment in the morning, and then on the way home I stopped at Sam's Club. When I left Sam's, I was about a quarter mile from the expressway when I noticed a cop sitting in his car to my right. As soon as I noticed him, our eyes locked and his lights went on. I knew he was pulling me over. 

I pulled into a gas station, and sure enough, he followed me. Ugh! I hadn't been pulled over since I was a TEENAGER. I guessed I was probably speeding, but I really didn't realize it because I was just driving with the flow of traffic (there were cars in front of me doing the same speed I was). When he walked up to my window, I said, "Hi there!" and he was very to-the-point, and didn't return the greeting: "License and registration." I figured it wasn't a good sign.

I gave him the papers, and he informed me that I was, in fact, speeding. The speed limit on that road was 35, and I was going 47 (in my defense, I actually thought the speed limit was 45). He went back to his car, and judging by the amount of time it took for him to come back, I just knew he was writing a ticket. He handed me the ticket, and said he was going to "do me a solid" and only write it for 40 mph in a 35 zone. 

I was super bummed! I know I was actually speeding, so I probably deserved a ticket; but, my driving record was perfect, and I hadn't even been pulled over in nearly two decades. He left, and I burst into tears, haha. I cried for a couple of minutes, and called Jerry. Then when I backed out to get back on the road, he had already pulled over someone else in the same spot and was writing a ticket!

On my way home, the more I thought about it, the less upset I was. It sucks that I got a ticket, but is it the end of the world? Not at all. The fine is $125 and it will put 2 points on my driver's license. I'm more bummed about the points than I am the fine, because it will raise my insurance cost. The ticket gave me the option to admit responsibility and mail in the fine; admit responsibility with explanation; or go to court to deny responsibility. I decided to try the second option, because I figured it wouldn't hurt. I wrote a letter to the magistrate, and asked if they might consider reducing my fine or removing the points from my license. Hopefully it'll help! I'm normally a really careful driver.

To add insult to injury, my ticket states my (incorrect) weight:

The DMV never changed my weight when I renewed my license, so it still says that I weigh 220 pounds--I haven't weighed that much in seven years! And honestly, I probably weighed 250 back then when I claimed to be 220 (not that anyone even cares!). I think I need to renew again next year, so I'm hoping they'll change it ;)


  1. I got my first ticket (I'm in Michigan) since I was a teenager last year. You may get a letter from the state saying if you take a "basic driver improvement course" they remove the points from your ticket (thus avoiding the increase in insurance). I took my course online over a couple of days, I highly recommend doing it if you get the letter!

  2. I never comment, but I am an avid reader. Love the blog!! I worked for the courthouse in the county I live, so I thought I would chime in. I don't know how it works in your state, but we have the option (if the judge/magistrate allows it) to take an online class to avoid the points going on your license. Maybe you could see if that's an option?? Sorry about the ticket...thats never fun!!

  3. Yes! What the others are saying. I don't know if your state allows it, but when my husband got a ticket a few years back (living in TX) he was able to take an online course. No points on the license. Still had to pay the fine.

  4. I never comment either but look forward to your writing. I kind of laughed a bit imagining if you did go to court with what the weight printed on the card and the worker trying to reconcile what the card states versus the person standing in front of them. I work in Healthcare and people tell me how much they lost since they were last in. It just makes me want to do a happy dance with them.

  5. I never comment either but look forward to your writing. I kind of laughed a bit imagining if you did go to court with what the weight printed on the card and the worker trying to reconcile what the card states versus the person standing in front of them. I work in Healthcare and people tell me how much they lost since they were last in. It just makes me want to do a happy dance with them.

  6. I didn't know states actually put weights on a license. I always hear the jokes about it but in NY they dont so I never thought it was real LOL

  7. In my state you can do "court supervision". I don't know if that's the legal term for it. But basically you don't get another ticket for a certain amount of time and nothing is on your "record" so to speak. We don't have that point system. I've done it before. I'm surprised you don't have an option like that.

  8. I am a former Michigan prosecutor. Request a hearing (preferably informal, but formal if you have to) and go to it. Given your record, I would be SHOCKED if the prosecutor didn't offer to reduce the charge down to something with zero points that isn't abstracted to the SOS. Impeding traffic is one example -- no points, usually $150 fine, and doesn't get abstracted (so, insurance doesn't go up, etc.).

    You could try and call the prosecutor's office beforehand too, to let him know your intentions. Just mention that your record is completely clear for so long, and you're hoping you can agree to reduce the ticket down to something less harmful on your record.

  9. Are you really only five feet tall? I thought you were taller for some reason. I'm 5'1" and thought you were around 5'4".

    1. No, I'm actually 5' 3.75", but I just say 5'4". My license reads 5'03". The placement of the red circle just covered it up! ;)

  10. The last two speeding tickets I got I went in to "fight" them. It's really just a formality. Both times, because I showed up for court, they changed the ticket to parking violations. Which ended up costing me more money, but they were no points. I'm in Michigan too :)

  11. Here it would be like $400 and you can do traffic school for another $100 or so to get it off your record.

  12. Getting a ticket is the worst! Especially because it feels people do things similar all the time and don't get a ticket.

  13. When I was growing up in Wisconsin your weight was listed ON the Driver's license. Not just as part of your records for the police to see. I'm glad in MI now and they don't print out the weight on the DL :0

  14. I got a ticket up in the thumb just as I was heading home from my son's wedding. I never saw the sign for 35 but then I realized that I was in a town and slowed down. A few minutes later there was a police car with lights on behind me. I got a ticket for 50 in 35. The police officer told me to send in a letter explaining that I didn't see the sign but did slow down when I realized that I was in a town and that he would ok reducing it to "impeding traffic" which would be the same fine but no points on my license. I sent the letter in and they sent back a "bill" for $115.00, if paid by October 7 there would be no points. My check was in the mail the next day!


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