Karate

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Straight-jacket? Giant marshmallow? Michelin man? Nope – just me and my new gi!

I signed up for karate today. That’s my big news of the day. They offer a buy 2-get 1 free (BTGO?) deal and since I’m already paying for the kids to go, I started thinking maybe I should try it too. It has been so beneficial for the kids and I’m at a point that I really need to do something with this body. I know a few other parents who have joined recently and I’ve been chatting with them.  They promise me it’s fun and they promise the Sempais won’t yell at me ’cause I can’t do proper push-ups.  :)

On the drive over today after work I was SUPER nervous. For no good reason. I almost backed out a dozen times or more. I even had to turn the radio off and have a serious chat with myself. What if I don’t like it (stop going). What if it’s too hard (it won’t be). What if the kids are better than me (they will be, at first) and I’m embarrassed (I will be, at first). What if I don’t have time (I don’t). Why am I being so lame (ummm…) I’m at a point where I really need to do something though, because my mind/body connection is out of whack.

I eventually talked myself in to going, or at least prevented my self from turning around and going home. Everyone was glad to see me and one of the Sempais that we know well gave me an hour long intro class, just one-on-one. It was embarrassing, and slightly uncomfortable, and just fine. Before and after we watched a bit of the adult class that was going on and we talked about how it was similar and different from the kid classes I’ve been watching for the past two years. When I was in the changing room at the end, a few other women were there too and they were all so nice and encouraging. One of them is someone I’ve seen around because her three kids do karate too, but I had’t ever really met her.  Now I have.

It was a good decision. I’m going to go back again on Wednesday for the next adult class. If I don’t chicken out! Wish me luck!

PS.  I haven’t told the kids yet.  Shhh…..  When I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was thinking about it, Lex said, “Mooom, that would be so embarrassing!”  I told Sempai Spencer the story today and he said, “Just tell Lex that my dad does karate too and it’s not too embarrassing!”  For those who don’t know, Spencer’s dad is the owner and Sensei of the dojo.  Big boss!  I will tell my little bosses soon enough.  I’m sure they’ll be happy for me, eventually.  :)  

Blue/white belt! (part 1)

Belt test day!

This is our life at the moment. Eve had a field hockey game and a belt test today, both at the exact same time. She put a lot of thought into it and decided to go to the belt test since they are fewer and farther between. (I was happy because I that meant I didn’t have to get the kids to two separate places at the exact same time!) Alan is out of town. He left early this morning. I had to work today and therefore had to rush the kids out the door early. Eve did walk-n-ride and I dropped Lex off at school early (early care, he hates it). He was a mess this morning – tired, fussy, slow. He also felt very hot, but I told myself it was just because he had been huddling under the covers and crying. Then I told him to have the nurse call me if necessary. She did. Right at the end of the day. I picked both kids up and he was clearly ill. The nurse said he had a fever of 99.5, but he was super pale and she said he was “paling” right in front of her. I brought them home and he fell asleep on the couch. I was left with an excited child ready for a belt test and a sleeping sick boy. Eve was so sweet and took great care of Lex, unpacking his backpack and getting him water and a blanket. So sweet.

It was a tough call for me, but I ended up writing Lex a note (I told him about it before he fell asleep) and taking Eve to the belt test. She did excellent and moved up from the “beginner belt range” to the “intermediate belt range.”

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Look at that kick! She’s a powerful girl!

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She’s also a very silly girl! She was actually standing still and serious, but when she saw me taking a picture… well…

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Goodbye yellow belt! Hello blue!

Now, for the first time ever, the kids have different belts. Hopefully not for long though! Sensei said he would give Lex a separate test next week.

We got home and found Lex sitting up in the chair with a book. I tried to get a little dinner in him, but he got half way through a yogurt before sliding off the chair and on to the floor. I asked why he was on the floor and he said, “It’s the closest place I can find to lie down.” Back to the couch! A few minutes later that yogurt came right back up. :(

I’m feeling fortunate that my new job is only four days as a week so I don’t have to worry about missing work. I’m pretty sure I’ll have a sick boy home with me tomorrow.

I don’t mean to overshadow Eve’s belt test accomplishments! She did excellent on her test! I’m so impressed without strong and focused she is in karate. Apparently she did an entire kata with her tongue between her teeth. Sensei commented on it, as did a few friends who had a better view. I think the tongue helps her concentrate. :)

One busy week

We have had a busy week and a busy “stay at home” weekend and a busy week coming up! It’s the last week of school though, so maybe things will settle down a bit after that. Maybe.

Here are a few pictures of what we’ve been up to lately.

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We are loving the Rick Riordan books. We are on book five, “The House of Hades.” Sometimes the kids like to fiddle with things or draw while I read. This is a picture Eve drew of Percy (middle) and Annabeth (left), following Bob the Titan (with Small Bob the cat on his shoulder) through the depths of Tartarus.

Last Thursday the kids had another belt test. They both did awesome and moved up from a yellow belt with a white stripe, to a full yellow belt. I was there for the beginning of the testing, but then I had to leave and go to the spring concert at my school. I was sad to leave their belt test, but I had responsibilities at the concert, and it was adorable. :) Alan was very impressed with the kids’ karate skills.

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Can you find Eve and Lex from the back?

On Friday it was Crazy Hair Day in Eve’s classroom. Awhile back Eve and I were talking about her crazy hair and joking about how funny it would be to straighten her hair for the next Crazy Hair Day at school. She woke up Friday morning and said, “Oh, Mom, today is Crazy Hair Day!” Not a lot of prior notice, but we managed to get it straightened and still get everyone to school and work on time. Actually, it was much quicker than I was expecting. Her hair is fine and thin, so the straightener did it’s job quickly.

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Half curly, half straight. A work in progress. Maybe we should have left it like that. Would that be extra crazy or just half crazy?

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Straight hair. Mostly. I noticed later when looking at the picture that there are still some waves in there. :) I love her face in the mirror.

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Who’s that girl?! That hair. That face. That big girl look. Where is my little girl?! Crazy!

By the time she got home it was looking pretty wavy, and after her shower Friday night it bounced right back to curly!

I already wrote about our fun Saturday. Sunday started with a long walk (for me), more garage work (for Alan and Amanda), and plenty of no-plans relaxing for the kids. In the afternoon we had some friends come over to hang out. My friend has volunteered to do face painting for Field Day at school this year and wanted to practice. She invited us over, but I told her I already had five kids at my house and maybe she’d like to come here instead. She and her boys hopped on their bikes and headed over.

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It was like a carnival at my house with the kids lining up for face painting. Eve chose to be a lion.

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We have a lion, a pumpkin, a pirate, Iron Man, and Lex digging a hole. They are planning to build an underground mansion just for kids. The first step is a very big hole. Two other boys were hanging around too, just not in this picture.

Next week is Spirit Week at school, and the last week of school! Mix-it Up Monday (wear crazy mismatched clothes), Tie-Dye Tuesday, Superhero Wednesday, Field Day Thursday, and Fancy Pants Friday (wear nice clothes for 5th grade graduation and step-up day). Can you guess who in my house is excited and who is not? :) At my school the kiddos are done on Tuesday and I have in-service for the rest of the week. I’m hoping it won’t really take all week. :) Thursday afternoon they are letting me leave a bit earl so I can volunteer at Field Day and maybe, just maybe, Friday won’t be a full day of work. A gal can dream, right? I’d like to say I would relax and enjoy, but likely I’d just spend the time trying to get packed up for Eve’s first track meet, happening next Saturday, 2.5hrs away. Sigh.

Life is busy, but life is good.

Karate Party!!

We held Lex’s friend party this year at their karate dojo. The sempis (teachers) did a wonderful job and the kids had a blast!! The karate studio provides the space, and the table set-up, and I brought the rest.

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Happy Birthday Lex!!

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The cake. Lex wanted a yellow belt on the cake because he has a yellow belt, and the purple patch is similar to the patch on their uniforms.

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The kids started by finding their ninja names (using the letters from their actual names or initials). Some kids had more fun with this than others. Some, I think, thought it was too much work for a birthday party! :)

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Like my birthday banner?

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The dojo also had a birthday banner!

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Goody “bags” (wrapped books, with a cookie attached), cake, and presents in the back row. Fortune cookies, strawberries, gi cookies, Goldfish mix, and carrots in the front row.

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The party favors this year were books. My friend suggested it and I thought it was very appropriate considering the birthday boy and our family. I found two different easy-reader chapter books, both with karate themes, and bought six of each. I taped on a karate gi sugar cookie and wrapped it all up with a “black belt” ribbon. I hope the kids like them. In my opinion it’s better than cheap junk they just throw away anyway.

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Some “human bowling” aka Rolling Bombs.

Once the kids all arrived they went into the main dojo for lots of high energy games led by the sempis.

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The kids all love this game. If you get hit you have to go to the side and do push-ups or jumping jacks.

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Then some actual karate! They started with punches.

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Power punches!

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Then kicks.

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Then flying side kicks! For this they have to run down the blue mat then jump up and kick the pad that the sempi is holding. They were encourage to make loud kung-fu Hollywood style noise while running and jumping. Everyone loved this one!

After awhile of karate and games, the kids came into the small dojo for snacks, presents, and cake.

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The dojo provided free floating balloons and Alan provided the snack time entertainment.

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He is quite entertaining.

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It was a very fun atmosphere. :)

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Present time. Lots of Legos and books! :)

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Right here he’s opening karate nunchuck pens. Super fun! His classmates will have to watch out now!

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One of the kids gave him stick-on mustaches and everyone had fun with them! One kid said the mustache on Alan made him look more manly. :)

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The whole crowd, some with stick-on mustaches, others with balloon mustaches, and everyone full of silliness!

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One happy boy!! (The karate gi cookies with black belts left everyone with black tinted lips and teeth. Not the most attractive look!)

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In a throwback to the sawzal party, Alan decided to cut the cake today with a samari sword! Everyone had a good laugh. Then boring mommy kicked him out and used just a plain old knife to do the job.

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I cut very large pieces. One kid asked what kind it was, referring to brand name, I believe, and commented that the cake is much more dense than usual. I had to explain the whole “made from scratch” thing. :)

When they were done with cake they went right back to the big dojo for more fun! Time to burn off the cake energy!

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Time for some dodge ball, dojo style!

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They finished with an “everyone throw the ball at the birthday boy” game. Like the dojo version of birthday spankings. Lex laughed and laughed.

After two hours everyone was hot and sweaty, and full of sugar and fun! It was a great day! We sent each kid home with a little present and a handful of fortune cookies.

Happy almost birthday Lex!

Ninja girl breaks a board

Today they had a “bring a buddy” event at karate. If you brought a buddy, you got to break a board at the end of class. Eve was pretty excited. She asked one of her friends to go and he was happy to give karate a try. At the end of class, she punched through a board! Afterwards one of the girls in the changing room commented on how Eve did a good job breaking the board. Eve told her it was easy, then the girl said it was easy if you have fists like Eve! She told Eve her fist went so fast it looked like a blur. I think that made Eve pretty proud. :)

Lex missed the event because he has volunteered to be on the stage crew for the 4th/5th play this week. He has two hours of practice every day after school. He’s pretty excited.

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

Karate – Pinan Nidan

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Ninja time!

The kids had their second belt test tonight. They both did AWESOME! I was really impressed with how focused and strong they were, especially since they have been quite silly at lessons lately. They pulled through with flying colors. Orange colors. :)

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Chillin’ with Aunt Rosy before the belt test begins.

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They were so strong and focused.

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The sensi told Lex that he was really focused and did a great job on his moves.

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Then he asked Eve how it is possible that she did so well on her karate, focused and strong, and also managed to make every sempi (teacher) at the table smile. There’s something about that girl!

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They are so proud and excited to start learning new moves – orange belt moves!

We celebrated the achievements with take-out pizza and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the original 1990 version. We figured karate and pizza called for TMNT!

The other excitement for today is that Rosy came to visit! And she brought with her a tent!

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There were two very happy children in the kitchen this afternoon. And a tent.

They are "sleeping" in the tent tonight, in the office.

They are “sleeping” in the tent tonight, in the office.

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This was a mistake picture but it looks pretty cool.

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“Sleeping” seems to involve lots of flashlight action. :)

The grownups in the house have odds on whether or not they will make it. The kids are pretty determined though. They say it’s their practice run and they want to sleep outside in the yard tomorrow. We’ll see about that. It’s pouring rain tonight. Maybe it will rain tomorrow too. :)

Update: By 11:30pm, with the help of me laying down with them for awhile, they are both asleep, in their tent, in the office. We are all going to be tired tomorrow, but that how it goes with camping!

Sciency fun

We are trying to cram as much fun into these last two weeks as possible.  Balanced, of course, with as much “no plans” time as possible too.  It makes for tricky scheduling!

Yesterday we had to get out of the house and I was feeling a bit cranky, so I suggested we start our day with a trip to King Arthur Flour.  No objections from the kids!  They were even happier when I let them get anything they wanted.  Eve asked if she could have a cupcake (at 9am) and they were huge and beautiful and I said sure.  She decided on a whoopie pie instead, while Lex and I both got blueberry scones.

After the kids ran around like wild ones for a few minutes we headed up the street to the science museum. The place was packed, but we all had fun.

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Eve brought her notebook to make some sketches.

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A T-Rex named Sue.

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A “What’s hot? What’s not?” selfie.

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Lex took Jupiter for a spin.

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We went to a Discovery Lab session on volcanic rocks. The lady kept talking about “frozen lava” and it drove me crazy. My kids knew more about the rocks than she did. I think she was new. She clearly had some learning to do. :) Lex left part way through, but Eve stayed for the whole thing. She showed them basalt, pumice, granite, and obsidian. Eve did some sketching. :)

tinkering

Lex spent most of his time in the Tinkering Lab. The project was to make parts for a pinball machine. They had a bunch of homemade pinball machines set up (six, maybe) and lots of supplies for the kids to make their own components to add. Then the kids could put them in and test them out. It was lots of fun.

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Here is one of the machines with Lex’s additions (the red and green parts).

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Eve made an intricate decoration with a red flag on top for the pinball machine.

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Lex made a ramp and landing zone.

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While Lex continued tinkering, Eve and I went to the top so she could do another sketch. She propped her clipboard on the railing and it almost fell off! Well, it did fall off, but on the inside, not the outside. This is her face when describing what could have happened!

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She decided to be safe and hold the clipboard in her arm while sketching. I thought that was a much better idea.

Everyone was having fun but we had to head home for their final piano lesson of the summer. Then a little rest, a little dinner, and off to karate where they got belt test invitations! The belt test is next week and they are very excited, and ready!

Oh, what a day!

I have had a very, very busy week! It’s my second solo week in kindergarten, though the first one I’ve actually had all five days. Tuesday night my friend from UVEI called to tell me what I’d missed that day, which apparently was a bump up on the due dates for a few big projects due. I know what’s due, but apparently it’s due two weeks sooner than I anticipated! On Wednesday morning I scheduled an interview for next Monday (yay!) which I’m not even remotely prepared for yet. But I’m trying to keep my eye on this week. This solo week. Which has had plenty of ups and downs, of course, and I’m pretty sure I’m learning more than the kiddos this week.

My school day ended on a high. As a UVEI project I wrote a kindergarten unit on neighborhoods and I’ve been teaching it this week. It culminated with the class building a neighborhood in the classroom out of paper, cardboard, wooden blocks, Legos, and more. They loved it!! We gave the other kindergarten a tour, a few teachers, and the principal even stopped by to visit our neighborhood. The kids were so excited!

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After school Lex and Eve had their first belt test! They were super excited and I found myself feeling very nervous for them. Eve gets silly when she’s nervous and Lex tends to cry, so I wasn’t sure at all what to expect from the afternoon. Turns out they are both rockstars and did awesome! They needed to ace three separate tasks to move up a full belt color, or there are stripe levels to move up partial belt colors. They had the option of doing the third task or not, but if they did it it had to be done solo, not with the group. Both of them chose to do it! I was so surprised and proud of them! They ended up moving from white to orange with a white stripe, which is one step below orange. The Sensi was proud of both of them for trying the third tasks and they did well with it, but not perfectly. However, they were THRILLED about their orange/white stripe belts. Absolutely thrilled! Eve said her heart was bursting with joy and she swore she had happy tears inside too. :) I did too!!

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This video is nearly nine minutes long, but I suspect there are one or two of you out there who might be interested.

Karate

The kids took a special Foam Weapons Sparring class last weekend. They had a blast. Alan took them and I made him swear he’d take a few pictures for me. :) He did. His phone also makes cool videos automatically from the pictures, so here are a few pics and a video montage his phone made. Apparently they learned about the weapons and how to use them, then play “Ninja versus Samurai” where the samurais had to defend the castle (blue foam mats) and the ninjas had to attack and try to sneak in (space between the mats). They had a blast. I kind of wish I was there, but instead I was home doing homework. That was good too… in a different way.

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