Belt testing again

The kids had another belt test today.  They weren’t as excited this time, for some reason, but they pulled it together and earned a yellow belt with a white stripe, which is exactly what they were expecting. 

I’m impressed with how strong and stable Lex has become.  Watch his kicking here.  He used to barely lift his leg and basically fall into it, but now he has much better balance and strength. 

Karate kids: http://youtu.be/fYqUB8oOO-M

Karate – Pinan Nidan: http://youtu.be/ArR8rCHanFk

(I can’t figure out how to embed these from my phone.  Stupid technology.  I’ll try to fix it on the computer soon, but until then you can just copy/paste these URLs if you’re interested.)

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Swim team

For years now I have wanted Eve to join the swim team. She would be sooo good at it.  She is a strong swimmer, athletic, and competitive.  Perfect for swim team.  However, it is a big expense and time commitment, and she has had no interest so it hasn’t happened.  Until yesterday. 

She came home last week and said she wanted to join the team.  I don’t know what changed in her mind, but suddenly she was interested.  I spent a few days researching when she could start (immediately), what the cost is (a lot) and when they practice (exact same times as karate, of course).  Yesterday we decided to go for a trial swim.  I really hoped she would like it.  Her best friend is on the team and Eve really needs more big muscle activity.  She has soooo much energy and nothing to do with it. 

She was thrilled to be back in the pool.  We don’t have an aquatic center membership anymore and it has been a long time since she last swam.  Probably last summer, in a lake.  So she swam in the splash park with her friends for awhile, then headed over to the competition pool to join the team.

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When they were done they joined the next level team in the bleachers, with parents and others, for an announcement on the upcoming fundraiser swim-a-thon.  When that was over and she made it back to me she broke down into baby Eve.  She snuggled in tight and told me it was too hard.  She said she didn’t know what she was doing and it was so hard and she just wants to swim her way and not be told what to do, which has always been her main reason for not wanting to join.  I’m bummed, but not surprised.  She said she wants to swim more then maybe try again another time.   I wish it wasn’t so expensive.  I should probably get a membership again.  Swimming is so good for both of them and they love it. 

Spaghetti dinner

Eve requested spaghetti for dinner recently. In fact, she decided she remembered it is her favorite dinner and really, really wants it for her birthday.  I decided maybe we should have it again and tonight was the night!  Eve cooked the pasta and helped prepare the salad.  It came out soooo good!

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This makes me really happy.

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My tofu balls came out perfect!!!

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The obligatory dinner shot.

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Eve practicing her slurping.

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Doubles!

I don’t normally enjoy cooking dinner, but with Eve by my side it is much more fun.  And when she eats the meal too it makes it all worth the effort!

Monopoly beat down!

We decided the final day of Christmas vacation called for an epic game of Monopoly.  Eve decided at the last minute to join us, and boy did we pay for that!!!  She royal kicked our butts!!  By the end she owned every hotel (literally, there were no more hotels available for her to buy!) and was cutting deals with us right and left.  She was quite benevolent, but the game still ended with her owning everything and Lex and I feeling the pain!

“This is the world, Mom,” says Eve, waving her hand over the Monopoly board, “and I have most of it!!”

“Your eyes are gonna be huge. Your mouth is gonna hang open. I’m gonna make you mad, guys!”

I was proud of Lex for sticking with it and of Eve for practicing good sportsmanship… most of the time!

“I’m probably never going to jail because I’m so ri-Ich!” (with a sing song tune on “rich”)

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I wish we had a few more weeks of vacation.  :-)

Happy 2015!!

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Happy New Year!!  With the help of Cheetos Puffs and many game of Fluxx (and wine for mommy!) we made it through the night.  Everyone had fun.  Welcome 2015!

As you enter the new year take a moment to step back and count your blessings.  I find we are all so quick to make resolutions and plans for change in the new year, but first let’s appreciate what we have.  Health. Family. Stability.  Love.  Warmth.  Happiness is.

NYC!

Joyce’s trip home started at JFK airport, which necessitated a trip for someone to NYC to drop her off. What could have been an obnoxious chore turned into a great mini-vacation as Rosy, Joyce, and I all headed to NYC for a few days. Barney and Lorie also flew out of JFK, but they had a rental and wanted a little more tourist time, so they went down a day before us. We mostly just walked around, saw the sights, ate expensive food (normal food, really, but expensive because it’s NYC), and had a blast! NYC is such a party city. Everything happens late. Dinner at 10pm, of course. The next morning the whole city looks hung over with litter on the street and people heads down and bundled up. Everyone just hanging in there until the sun sets and the party starts again. :)

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I posted all of my pictures online.

On the final day I took an Amtrak train home. It was a 7+ hour ride, but so nice and comfortable. It was the first day of a new station opening, so the president of Amtrak was on the train for awhile and a whole bunch of train groupies, which made for some crowding and excitement. Otherwise it was a peaceful journey home, where I was greeted by a very eager family happy to see me.

Life is good.

Christmas 2014

This is my third attempt at writing this Christmas blog post. The first two were from my phone on the Amtrak train yesterday (that will be another blog post) and my WordPress app got wonky (that’s a techical word, right?) and lost everything. I was annoyed and my thumbs were sore, so I gave up after two tries. Today I’m on the computer and hoping things will go a bit smoother.

The blog and my blogging habits have been changing lately. Now that the kids are older and I’m working full time I feel less need to vent share in this forum and as I take more pictures on my phone and share more often on Facebook and Instagram, there seems to be less urgency for regular blog posts. Of course that means all the thoughts and photos I used to capture in one place are now being spread across multiple platforms, which in some ways is less ideal. Additionally, it occured to me this week that almost every grown-up at Christmas had a camera phone and was taking and sharing their own photos. Gone are the days where my camera was “the one” and I was the somewhat sole holder of holiday photos. Now everyone has their own copies and people are sharing through the day/event, also creating less of an urgency for frequent blog updates. There seems to be no perfect solution, only ever evolving technology and habits.

Anyway, enough of my tech thoughts, on to Christmas!

This year Christmas was AWESOME! It’s great every year, don’t get my wrong, but this is the first year since…. I’m not sure when, that all four of the Collier kids were home together. Rosy has been working holidays in the ER, Barney moved out to CA two years ago, and Joyce has been Navy-committed for what seems like forever, but this year the stars aligned and everyone came home. Well, to my home anyway. :) It was great. Barney even brought his new (to us) girlfriend and she survived (I hope!) the very silly Collier clan reunion. :)

eve cookies

Eve made up her own cookies this year. They included very fine peppermint candy cane dust. It took her awhile to chop up the candy candy as fine as she wanted them.

peppermint cookies

They came out pretty well, though a bit too crunchy. We’ll work on it for next year. :)

tree

Decorating the Christmas tree. It was up for three days before we got a chance to decorate. I think that’s a record for me. Usually it’s barely up for an hour before I’m stringing lights!

daisy tree

Daisy was intrigued. She has been VERY good with the tree, though she does like to drink the water.

pb cookies

We experimented with Peanut Butter Blossoms this year. Lots of variations, all delicious.

teacher gifts

Goody bags for the teachers and staff.

lego joyce

Joyce came to back to see that all of her hard work sorting Legos had been undone. Sorry J!

cookies for santa

Cookies for Santa.

bedroom gifts

Santa usually leaves the kids little gifts in their bedroom as well. This year they each got a karate bear and a few books.

stocking time

Stocking time!

advent tree

Each year the kids get a project to do in their advent boxes. This year it was a tree made with tiny Lego-like building blocks. They got 14 pieces a day and on the final day the star went on top. It was fun.

lex book

Uh oh, Lex opened a book first! Good thing he understands how Christmas works these day so the book didn’t slow him down for too long. :)

eve calendar

Aww… kittens. Eve loves anything cute.

rosy coat

Rosy will be stylish and warm this winter!

selfie stick

I got a Selfie Stick in my stocking. It’s totally dorky but we all had a great time with it!

calendars

The 2015 calendars came out, with a #tbt theme this year! Everyone looks forward to this gift. :)

rosy selfie

Haha… selfie stick fun!

us

Do we look a little tired?! :)

walk

After lunch we took a walk to the playground to shoot some hoops.

bball

Unfortunately the basketball court was covered in snow. Fortunately we can have fun wherever we go!!

mountain eve

Bitty Baby came along for the walk too, wearing her new snowsuit. Eve took her snow-mountain climbing.

dressed eve

Eve dressed for dinner. Bitty Baby joined us too.

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We need some practice with the selfie stick! I have about a dozen pictures, all totally silly, of me trying to get a group shot. This is the best. :)

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Maybe we should have stuck with the old fashioned tri-pod method. :)

eve and barney

Saying goodbye to Uncle B. Come back and visit us again soon, please!

In case that wasn’t enough photos, I added all of my Christmas photos to a Google album for your viewing pleasure.

Fun with pipe cleaners

I’m totally behind on blogging. I just took pictures off the camera and there are so many! We have been busy lately! Last week we got pipe cleaners to make gifts for teachers… and to just have fun with. And boy have they been having fun with them! :)

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Lex made a cat toy that Daisy loved!

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He wore Daisy right out!

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Eve made a toy too. Everyone had fun with cats and pipe cleaners.

halo

Once Daisy was all worn out the kids moved on to other things… like halos! :)

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And costumes.

Today Eve made herself a pipe cleaner costume. She called herself “Fang Girl” though there were no fangs. Sometimes she seemed like a super hero, but other times she seemed more villainous. You just never know with that girl. We had to run errands and it was Sunday, so the kids went out in PJs. PJs and pipe cleaners. Life with kids.

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Super hero / villian / Fang Girl!

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Even heros need to run errands sometimes.

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Fang Girl battles King Arthur… while waiting for a snack.

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Break time for Fang Girl