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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Drum roll please...

Our little Amadeus had a school performance recently. These are highlight photos from the 1st and 2nd grade spring music program, featuring the xylophone. Rikard and the other students were all very focused, very intent.
They had a special move in the middle of one of their pieces, called "click and spin." They clicked their batons together, quickly spun around in a circle and went right back to playing. What he lacks in height, he makes up for in intensity.
He wants to learn to play the drums and the electric guitar (like a rock star) before 5th grade when students here typically choose between band, choral or strings. I remember back in the day my brother practicing his trombone out in the barn because it was too much for the rest of us to bear in the house. I think we may be faced with a similar situation sooner than later.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Softball Superstar!

Tatum has been struggling at the plate this season. Last year she played in a league where the pitches were VERY consistent. A pitching machine was used and they came right down the middle and fast. This year the girls are learning to pitch and the balls come at all different speeds and heights.

This week Tatum had some good contact with the ball. She is still not swinging with all her might, but she is getting on base. This ball kind of just rolled off the bat...and down the first-base line. She was paying close enough attention to hurdle over the ball on her way to first.
She's also getting much more confident fielding. Typically she plays 2nd base and rotates to center field. With the help of some grandstand coaching from her parents - and others - she is getting into position correctly and learning to back up her teammates and stop the ball before it gets to the outfield. Like her brother, she enjoys the action of the infield much more than the outfield.She keeps hinting at wanting to pitch, but there have been few practices and no direct instruction on these skills. It may be something we have to work on during the off season to prepare for next year.

Hopefully she is getting some great lessons in teamwork, friendship and broadening her horizons while she plays. That is really what this league and this age should be all about.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Baseball prodigy - NOT

After all our bragging last week about Rikard being a fantabulous (fantastic + fabulous) tee-ball player, we must hang our head in shame. Apparently he likes the action playing short stop, but gets a little bored waiting for the balls to make it to the outfield. Sadly he has found ways to entertain himself.

Please, laugh with us! I take all the blame for the shaky video, the tripod was not where Rick expected it to be. We are going to have some good times with his new video camera. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spring = Baseball

Sunshine. Mild breeze. Freshly cut grass. Crack of the bat. It is Little League t-ball season for our little guy! Making the transition from outfield to short stop isn't easy for t-ballers. Rikard got some last-minute instruction on the "ready position" from his coach Saturday afternoon.
It was some timely instruction. Rikard flawlessly fielded the first ball that came his direction...
and made the throw to 1st base.
Then it was time for everyone's favorite part of the game, returning to the dug out for a cool drink and a chance to hit the ball.
Rikard is pretty proficient at batting. He really takes his time in the batting cages seriously and makes sure he uses his own bat all the time so his swing is the same every time. He's currently thinking it is "fun" to hit the ball high into the air.
His fan base is self-contained, portable and goes everywhere he goes.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Blast off!

We had a rare opportunity this week to attend the NASA shuttle launch in person. The experience was fantastic! It was also the first vacation we've taken without children in 10+ years.
We watched the launch from the causeway between the mainland of Florida and Cape Canaveral. We were sitting about 5 miles away from the launch site with about 50,000 of our closest friends for the day. The view was unbeatable, the sound was deafening.
This is STS-125, the final NASA mission to the Hubble Telescope. Through my previous employment, I met NASA Astronaut Pilot Gregory C. Johnson. Our invitations to attend the launch and related activities came from him.
We spent the rest of the day exploring Kennedy Space Center. We hit all the tours, including the Rocket Garden, the Launch Experience. the art gallery, ate ice cream at the Milky Way and watched the new Star Trek movie on the KSC Imax.
These are models of the shuttle, the external fuel tank and booster rockets. We toured the inside of the shuttle - it is amazing how big it is for carrying cargo, but how small it seems to live in for an extended period of time.
After all the excitement of the launch was over, we headed out for some more fun in the sun. The first course we had a tee time scheduled for was socked in with smoke from a nearby fire. We ended up at the North Shore Golf Club and had a great time squeezing in 9 before catching our plane back home. We golfed with Pat and Roger, who were vacationing in Florida from England.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

We're Bloomies!

Joyce (my mom), Kelly, Tabitha and I participated in our first ever Bloomsday this weekend in Spokane, Wash. Our start time was an hour or two behind the elite athletes and the staging area for our group was several blocks away from the starting line. We arrived a bit early to secure a place in the crowd.
It is a 12K or 7.2 mile course. We treked down the street, throught the valley, across the river and up DOOMSDAY Hill amidst a sea of 1,000s. It isn't the incline of this hill that gets you, it is the length of the hill. My grandparents once had their home along the bluff directly behind where we were standing, they had a great view of Bloomsday activities.

The top of Doomsday Hill is the 5 mile mark - in other words you are on the downhill side of the race/walk.
In just a hair over two hours the four of us crossed the finish line downtown. No one told us it was another mile walk to our t-shirts and a suitable restroom! Then we hoofed it at least another mile through downtown to the car. We took a little break at Auntie's Bookstore, one of our favorite places.

Of Flying Frogs and Lazy Butterflies

It was a dreary day, overcast, cool, on and off drizzly rain, but the kids really know how to make the most of a situation. The got their kites and headed to the park.
The wind was blustery, it would blow strong and cold for 10-15 minutes and then die down. For a long while, we kept the air was filled with a fluttery blutterfly and a crazy tree frog. Their kites were purchased last year from a shop in Cannon Beach, Oregon and are fantastic flying machines. They don't need much wind and are very sturdy. Rikard really enjoys his kite. He ran miles around the park keeping it aloft and dodging other kite flyers, football players and, occassionally, his little sister. Even when the wind was absent, he would shorten the string and run to keep his kite in the air.
Rick had some fun with Tatum and her butterfly kite. There wasn't enough wind for his parachute style kite, so he played a game of keep-away with Tatum. There was just enough wind to keep her kite tails just out of her reach. Then, the wind was no more. We packed up our kites and stowed them away for another day.