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Saturday, December 29, 2007

It's all downhill

Keeli was a daredevil on the sledding hill. She went down the hill with mom about a dozen times and was constantly yelling, "FASTER! FASTER!" We finally let her go down the bottom half of the hill alone on her sled at the end of the day.
Tatum and Rikard braved all the jumps, dips and ruts in the sledding hill and had a great time. Tatum was the first to try the jump the bigger kids made from compacted snow.
Not to be outdone by his sister, Rikard went straight for the jump.
Apparently it was a good ride!
Speed wasn't always their friend. Both of the kids had their share of tumbles off their sleds or collisions with other sledders.
The trick is getting right back up and going for it again.
The fun wasn't only for the kids. We had our fair share of speedy trips down the hill.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas in review

Christmas Eve was an eventful time at our house. Santa Claus knocked on the door just as we were preparing to have sugar plum dreams... He left candy canes with the kids and told them he would be back later that night. We had to get to bed quickly as Tatum was monitoring the NORAD Santa Tracker all night and had only about 30 minutes before Santa came to our general location.

We barely got the tree decorated by Christmas Eve, and then we had to wrap a few gifts.
We spent the weekend at my parents and had a mini-Christmas there. Tatum, Rikard, Keeli and their cousin Bailey had a great time together. The boys got Nerf guns and were blasting things all around Nana and Papa's house.
At home, the best gift by far was the Speed Stacks. Tatum and Rikard have spent hours upon hours playing with these. These are a lot more educational and developmental than I had thought.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My fave things 12.19

School music programs! This year's program was titled "One Day in December" and was familiar, almost like we saw nearly the same show last year.
Tatum and the rest of the 3rd graders sang "One Day in December" and "Jingle Bell Boogie."
Rikard and the first graders sang "Island Christmas" and "Hip Hop Reindeer."

My fave things 12.18

Decorating the tree is an annual, happy event.
Everyone was ready with their special, personalized, annual tree ornament from Nana. This year it was snowmen.Keeli picked her favorite branch and began loading it, and loading it and loading it with ornaments. We have a great assortment of ornaments. However, we have more tree than ornaments so after the kids were done they had to be reorganized a bit.Keeli dropped two glass balls. As soon as they shattered, our holiday-tree-decorating-bliss shattered.

When the first one dropped and shattered Keeli said very clearly and curtly, "d@mn it!" and stomped her little foot. I had to stop the other two kids from laughing and let Keeli know how bad it was to say things like that. No serious discipline while decorating the tree. A short while later, Keeli dropped another ornament and it shattered. She quickly looked at me, looked back at the broken bits of glass on the floor, threw out her hands in exasperation and yelled, "sh!+."

While trying to again explain to her that she shouldn't do this, Rikard asked me where I thought she learned these words. Why, probably from some foul-mouthed-terrible-person of course.

Oh, the lessons our children teach us. I just didn't realize they could tag team so well at such a young age. So, Rikard was rewarded with the job of putting the star on top of the tree.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Team sports

This weekend was our first foray into the wide world of team sports. Tatum has tried t-ball, but wasn't crazy about it. Rikard resists team sports. So, off to basketball we went!
Rikard was fighting it all the way. He proclaimed to "HATE" basketball all the way to the high school gym. Once there he leared a few things and got to like it so much he was sad when it was time to leave.
This is the first attempt he's ever made to shoot the ball. The height of the rim may be a little imposing for him. BTW, his attempt was not successful.
He spent a lot of time bouncing the ball off his toes and chasing it down.
The session for girls followed the boys. Tatum started the day with simple ball handling skills. Right hand and left hand, pushing the ball across the court.
She got so good and so quick, my camera could barely follow her!

My fave things - 12.9

A chorus of little angels!

Keeli and her preschool classmates at Sunday school posed for their photos this weekend.

Like most little girls put into the situation of dressing up these little ones had a lot of fun with their halos and long dresses.
The Christmas program is next Sunday. We have broken with tradition and the children will not be acting out the story. They posed for several photos over the past couple weekends for all the important parts of the story. These will be displayed for the entire congregation while the story is narrated. Kind of like a digital storybook.

Friday, December 07, 2007

My fave things - 12.7

Sometimes I find myself longing for vaulted ceilings, thick pile rugs, overstuffed furniture, a set of holiday china and professional Christmas decorations. Then, I realize those just aren't the reality of our lives.

Our holiday decorations are a bit more traditional, a bit more from the heart. How can you not love all the GREAT holiday decorations kids make. The time they invest, the creativity, the love.
If you take a closer look, these aren't leaves. They are cut-outs of Tatum's little hands.

Thankfully these replicas all have the strange little alien fingers. The ones attached to her hands are fairly normal.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sunday, December 02, 2007

My fave things - 12.2

The right of passage of the church Christmas program ranks right at the top of the list of my favorite holiday things. This year the kids are involved in a traditional portrayal of the birth of Jesus.

Here you have a coy shepard, dedicated to the protection of the baby Jesus.
The only chance Tatum has of wearing a halo is as part of the angelic choir.

My most cherished childhood memories of this event begin with me dressing up as a sheep and crawling on hands and knees toward the altar for the program. Then, my little sister was a sheep and I was an angel. One year I even got to play Mary. Then, one year I was a raggedy ann doll dancing in the toystore at night for a non-traditional portrayal of the arrival of Jesus.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

My fave things - 12.1

Snowmen and snow - piles of snow!

There still isn't quite enough snow to build a snowman of our own.

The holidays shouldn't be as commercialized as they are. Halloween and Thanksgiving should get their fair share of attention. The retail side of Christmas should wait until Dec. 1. I detest having decorated trees in the grocery stores before the jack-o-lanterns are taken off the porch and carols in the elevators before Thanksgiving arrives.

Holidays should be about quality time with your family, time away from the tedium of your job. Time to enjoy life and reconnect with your beliefs and the important things that make us the special individuals we are.

Make time to enjoy your family. They are the best bargain you'll ever find.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thanksgiving highlights

Time seems to be advancing faster than I can keep up. Our Thanksgiving weekend is a mere memory and everyone here is in the final weeks of school before Christmas vacation.
Here is the Readers' Digest version of our holiday. First, Uncle BoBo took a break from the giant retailer he works for and made us a very tasty turkey (or two).After devouring turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes, more gravy, fresh homemade rolls and more gravy, Rikard enjoyed a piece of apple pie.
Keeli prefers her pie without pie and heavy on the whipped cream.
Before hitting the shopping malls the day after Thanksgiving, we all relaxed in the hotel's hot tub. Nana and Keeli kept to the warm water.
After driving one way in the dark of night, the scenery on the way home was welcomed and enjoyable. There were about six inches of snow at the top of the pass and the kids had a good time tromping around in it a bit.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sir Loin

He has been dubbed 'Sir Loin of Holestine" and he rules our little pasture.This happy guy is our beef steer. He is well fed, pampered and mostly just loves to keep you alert with his little horns. The kids have kept their distance from the pasture since he's moved in. They are used to their goats, but this guy is quite a bit more intimidating.

The goats like to pester him at feeding time because his feed is a bit richer than what they typically get. He gently nudges them away from his feed with his horns, but they aren't easily deterred when there is food involved.
Obviously he won't be staying to live out his years as a pet, but he is entertaining and has proven to be friendly and rambunctious

Monday, November 12, 2007

Karate Kids

Both our little Kali JuKune Do martial artists now have belts to illustrate their level of achievement.

This is Rikard's second year in martial arts and he earned a yellow belt. Tatum began taking lessons with Rikard over the summer and earned a white belt.

They enjoy karate and it keeps them busy three evenings a week.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

SLAMming Good Time

Fran, a friend and coworker recently displayed his artwork at a local art museum.

Fran's imagination and creativity are wonderful. In addition to being an artist, he is a pretty good musician. I snapped a few photos as Fran and his fellow bandmembers played for an intimate crowd which had gathered at the opening event. Fran, the artist featured at the art museum that particular evening, played both an electric and acoustic guitar. He also performed the vocals.
This is my favorite photo of Russ. He is such a subdued guy during the day, that I had to capture the spirit of his musical passion and I think it is in the movement in the photo.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Halloween Fun

Trick - or - Treat. It was mostly treats this year and they are stowed safely away to be dealt out sparingly by the parents.

Rick and the kids had to recycle costumes this year as there was no time in our busy schedule for creation, design and stitching of new costumes.

Rikard was a red Ninja warrior, complete with his own signature moves and intimidating sounds.

Tatum is sporting a relatively new-to-her witch costume stitched by the loving hands of her Nana Joyce. We found a witch hat with moons and stars that matches the cape that came with the costume.

Rick dug to the bottom of her dresser drawer for his who-knows-how-old $5 discount store holiday t-shirt and decided a new 'do was needed this year. We tried to talk him into the black wig, but he was adamant that blondes have more fun!

Once at school, the kids enjoyed a day of trick-or-treating classroom to classroom, sharing holiday treats and games. They have the next few days off for parent teacher conferences. We will learn how good or bad they've been on Tuesday.

Keeli was Champ Bear. He's a next generation Care Bear who teaches good sportsmanship isn't always about winning. Rikard made a cute Champ Bear too, too bad I couldn't get him into the Tenderheart Bear costume that was Tatum's in 1st grade.

This is the first year Keeli has embraced the holiday activities and she L-O-V-E-D it. She put that costume on when we left for the morning and didn't even take it off for her nap.

Rick and the kids went trick-or-treating around the block and then to a church harvest party. Rikard won a cake and wanted tried to eat the entire thing for breakfast the following morning. Everyone agreed it was a great day.

Carving the Jack-o-Lanterns was probably the most fun for everyone. With a pile of pumpkins from the neighbor, the kids had dozens of shapes, sizes and hues of orange to pick from. Tatum and Rikard weren't afraid to dig in with their hands and get the dirty work done.
Keeli's approach was a bit more dignified, more fitting for the princess she believes she is. Her fingers never touched pumpkin seeds or flesh and she spent about two hours cleaning the inside of her pumpkin one seed at a time.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

School Daze

The first quarter of school is over! Everyone here is celebrating in their own special ways.

Rick is preparing for parent teacher conferences. I'm getting ready to take a couple of mid-term tests - I have to talk myself into liking theory before Wednesday. The kids are excited about having a couple of days off while their teachers conduct parent-teacher conferences.

School pictures arrived on Friday.

Rikard is in first grade and excelling at reading. It has taken him most of the quarter to adjust to being in school for the entire day, struggling in the beginning with paying attention and speaking at appropriate times. Luckily he has a very patient teacher. He brings home a different book almost every day to read to us.

He is a picky eater, a trait he inherited from his father. His favorite lunch is a peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread, apple slices or applesauce, a juice box and a piece of licorice or a mini candy bar.

Tatum is in third grade. She is doing well, coming home with good grades in reading and math. Her current favorite books include the entire collection of stories by Beatrix Potter and a novel titled Princess from Another Planet. She needs to focus some effort on her penmanship.
Each day she is wanting to express a bit more independence. Her latest venture is offering to make her own lunch for school because she "knows we are busy parents." Her favorite meal is bologna and mustard on white bread, a Yoo-Hoo, apple slices and Cheetos.

This past week she scored 100% on her spelling test. If the students get a perfect score on the pre-test they don't have to take the follow-up test on Friday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Pair of Shoes

I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in this world.
Some woman are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don't hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think about how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.

Author unknown

Thanks to another mom with the same shoes for this poetic sentiment. Shared with you in memory of Audie, born Oct. 24, 1997.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Little Pumpkins

Our neighbor visited this weekend with a wagon-load of home grown pumpkins. Tatum, Keeli and our neighbor's daughter, Darby, took a little ride on the wagon in the driveway.

He had several GIANT pumpkins, each well over 50 pounds. He also had several unique varieties, shapes and sizes. We chose pumploms in several shades or orange and even a few with green stripes remaining (Rikard's favorite color is green).

He offered the girls any pumpkin they wanted. Tatum immediately tried to roll the big one (she's leaning on it) off the wagon. In addition to the big on, we have a few of the smaller ones for the kids to carve and roast the seeds.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Columbus Day - Rikard Style

As part of a classroom project, Rikard recently drew a picture and wrote a paragraph telling three interesting facts about Christopher Columbus. His paragraph reads: I no alot uBat Christopher Columbus. First, he went on advenerz. Next, he went on three ships. Last he found land. Christopher Columbus is best in the west.

Personally, I like the giant whale riding on the horizon and charging toward Columbus' ships in his artwork. It adds a touch of Rikard's own fictional interpretation to the adventure.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

How many of me, us, them, you?

How Many of Me? is a fun and interesting site to visit. Give it a try!

I quickly found that all three of our children have very unique names. Rikard and Keeli weren't in the database and there are only about 1,500 Tatums in the country.

Not so true for Rick and myself. There are more than 2 million people with the first name Richard and it is the 8th most popular first name for men. There are nearly a 1/2 million women with the first name Catherine in the U.S., it is the 92nd most popular first name.

Luckily, our last name is very unique and doesn't appear in their database.

LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Littlest Pastry Chef

I remember standing on a step stool at the end of the counter watching my granny make pies, cookies and other tasty goodies. Hopefully my kids carry the same happy memories of creating delicious treats.
Keeli had a great time playing with a small handful of left over pie crust dough, a bowl of flour and the rolling pin for nearly an hour after our project was completed. She thinks the cinnamon sugar cookies we make from the remaining crust dough were "hers."