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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Back to School

School started today. Rick and the kids left early in the morning and everyone reported having a great day.

Rikard is now in 1st grade. He took his lunch to school for the first time today and was excited - and worried - about all new things.

Tatum is in 3rd grade. She has two good friends in class with her. Her big news of the day was that she was asked to help serve lunch to the next classes arriving in the lunchroom. She even got a hairnet!

Classes at the middle school started today also. Rick is in a new classroom. His days will be long for the next eight weeks or so as he is coaching football right after school.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Dance Photos

It is the end of another year of dance. Tatum had a great time with a dozen or so performances.

Group photos were taken this week.

Next year Tatum wants to learn Irish and continue clogging, so stay tuned for even more dance news in the future!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fun at the Carnival

It couldn't have been a better day. We started the afternoon with another of Tatum's clogging performances. She did a fantastic job as always.

Then, it was on to the carnival. To use Rikard's words: "Charge!"

This was the first year Keeli could really participate on the rides and she had a great time. Can't you tell by her smile?Last year Rick must have ridden the carousel with her a dozen times. This year we only went on the carousel four or five times. She was up for the big rides.
Tatum and Rikard were very patient with thier little sister, taking her on several of the smaller, tamer rides. This year they both had other ideas in mind for thrilling rides. Rikard tolerated the dragon roller coaster.
Rick and his knees had a bit of a difficult time tolerating the dragon roller coaster. However, he'd do just about anything for that little blonde baby girl of his.Rikard took a courageous leap and rode the bigger rides with Tatum and Rick - with his eyes open this year.
Tatum is a bit of a daredevil. Much to her father's unease, she went on the larger rides with names like "GRAVITRON" and begged to ride the "ZIPPER." Thankfully she is still a bit too short.

I have to remind Rick that just a couple of years ago he was tired of the little baby rides and couldn't wait for his kids to be big enough to enjoy rides he could go on.

What would the carnival be without a stop on the midway for a nice, sugary elephant ear? It was the perfect way to end a perfect day.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Blue Ribbon Day

With the waning days of summer, comes the county fair. This year our entries were fewer than in years past, but the returns were just as great.

Tatum and Rikard each earned a blue ribbon for their sunflowers.

Rikard planted his sunflower as part of his science project in Kindergarten earlier this spring. When it was 4-inches tall, we replanted it in the garden. It survived a near fatal encounter with the neighbor's dog one day and was a little over 7-feet tall when we took it to the fair. It hadn't developed its flower by fair time, hopefully it will develop once we get it home. Rikard's sunflower was also the TALLEST sunflower entry in the youth division! More accolades for the young gardener will arrive in the mail next week.

After two of years of growing Goliath-sized sunflowers, Tatum decided to plant pretty sunflowers. Their maxium height is about 6-foot, but their had pretty red, orange and gold colored flower petals.

She is excited about her blue ribbon and wants to do some research now to find the tallest kind of sunflower so she can step back into the winner's circle (the $$ circle) next year.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

M's Game

Each year Papa Charlie treats us to an outing or two at Safeco Field to watch the Seattle Mariner's. We were lucky enough on July 28 to watch Ichiro's 1,500th hit and see the M's win as part of a stadium filling crowd.

The day's theme was "Turn Back the Clock." The 70s theme was complete with costume contests, game shows and Eric Estrada as the celebrity guest. The kids had a great time dancing to the music and watching all the game extras. We even brought home a couple of ball caps with the original Mariner's logo.

It isn't easy to keep three young kids entertained and in their seats for three to four hours. There is always something to draw the kids' attention away from the game...cotton candy, shiskaberries, warm peanuts, lemonade...
Overall, the kids have a great time, dad gets some quality time with his kids and grandpa is happy. All is right with the world.
Our seats are usually behind 3rd base, however this time we were along the 1st base line. The scenes in the walkways were similar, and I found some great artwork at one of the entrances I hadn't noticed before. These are made from recycled items, aluminum cans, bottle tops, license plates, etc. All the materials are metal, but they make the quilter and designer in me think about other possibilities. I enjoy circles.

Then, as we were driving away, this parking garage caught my eye. Again, circles are attractive.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Home Improvement

Rick's summer project was to make way for a future garage. He has envisioned a garage - some man space of his own - for years. The first step to realizing his dream is a clear space on which to build.

He started by taking the roof off and slowly tore it down piece by piece. He really had a good time tearing this down and removing something he considers a "scab" to our backyard. The only thing remaining today are the cinder blocks which served as a makeshift foundation around the bottom of the walls.
The shed wasn't terribly useful as nothing was safe inside. It didn't shelter anything from the elements well and putting a lock on the door would have probably probably made the doors and their hinges fall from the walls. It was also home to a large community of wasps.

While the shed itself was ugly, the wood was attractive. The wood had great character. It weathered well and was a great shade of sun bleached grey you often find on old barns and fence posts.

Dancing Queen

Tatum earned two medals in her recent dance competition - the Golden Tap Championship. The first was a silver for amateur acapella clogging, the second a gold for amateur clogging. She really enjoyed herself this year compared to the last few competition experiences.

She still has a couple of performances remaining this summer. At least two are during the week of the fair.

This was the first time she competed in the acapella category. For this the dancers lined up behind a screen so only their feet were visible to the audience and the judges faced the audience rather than watching the dancers. Here's what it looked like:

The clogging part of the competition was much better to watch. The kids come out on stage in age and experience brackets. Tatum did a great job. The caller tells the girls to "rush the stage" and they all start forward toward the judges table pounding their clogs into the stage floor. They get warmed up and retreat to the curtain side of the stage and line up.
Then, one at a time, they are called forward with the words, "next little lady rise and shine." They dance forward toward the judges and have about 30 seconds to impress the judges with their best, fastest and fanciest steps.