Skiing – take 2

On my mother’s brilliant advice, I offered Eve the chance to go skiing today and get caught up on the lesson she missed on Thursday. She thought for a moment then decided it was a great idea. She also told me she was really embarrassed that she fell and didn’t noticed that everyone else was falling too! We decided to invite the boys and after a little convincing for the younger one, we all headed off to the slopes on this sunny 18° day.

Smiles all around! (Alan was still getting his gear on)

Eve was eager to “teach” Lex all about skiing. That made me laugh.

Lex lasted for a little while, but didn’t love it. He wasn’t thrilled with the out of control feeling, and one time Alan caught him at the bottom of the hill, but they both fell down together since Alan was also on skis. Lex said he hurt his head in that tumble. He did a few trips down, but then decided he was done with skiing and went to sit on the bench and watch the lift go around. Eve, on the other hand, LOVED it! She was up and down and up and down and at the moment is better than anyone else in her lesson group! Assuming none of them went skiing this weekend!:)

Alan in the black and Eve right behind him.

I hope we can get Lex back on skis again someday, but for now I’m just thrilled that I won’t have to fight with Eve about ski lessons for the next four weeks! Hallelujah and thank you mom!

Holiday Concert

We had Eve’s holiday concert last night.  Alan was sick and didn’t attend.  😢  The kids and I showed up early to help sell raffle tickets.  The kids had a great time walking through the crowds, hawking tickets.  Then Eve took her place and the show began.

Select Chorus singing “Mele Kalikimaka,” a Hawaiian Christmas tune.

Eve had a speaking part this year. Her and a classmate introduced the best song of the night, “Candle light”Save

Rock Star!

After a rocky start to “band camp” (“this one time, at band camp…”), Lex ended being a rock star!

He had been hesitant about it all summer and we frequently discussed why I had signed him up and what would happen if he didn’t like it. He agreed to go though and give it a chance. Monday morning he was less than excited and ended up in tears. We stood in the main entry to the high school (where the camp was), got him checked in (barely) and ended up in a corner with me talking him down. Ugh. Like a kindergarten drop off all over again. One of the teachers running it, who also happens to be the middle school band director and a great guy, came over and said, “This must be Lex!” Hahaha… I think he was prepped! He and another teacher were amazing with Lex though and got him on his way. She texted me mid-morning and said that he was doing great! I love it when teachers send that little update.

Lex came home Monday and said it wasn’t the best thing ever, but he’d go back again on Tuesday. Just DON’T sign him up again next year. By Thursday he was telling me about their plans for next year, and by Friday he was rocking the house! They had a concert Friday afternoon to show off the things they learned. It was so much fun. Amazing what a group of middle school kids and a few music teachers can accomplish in five short days!

He looks so little standing up there with all the big kids! He also looks angry, but really it’s his focused face.

Lex rocking the snare drum:

Eve wore her grumpy pants to the concert and spent most of it like this. That’s what happens when you eat nothing but Goldfish all day! Eventually she managed to eat her sandwich (from lunch!) and regained her sense of humor. Thankfully!

I love his dancing! He knows this song well:

Lex did a surprise solo!! I couldn’t believe it! A bunch of kids did them and the director said they were going to make up the solos on the spot. I leaned over to Alan and made a joke about Lex never doing an solo…. but he did!!

It was fantastic! I was soo proud of him. He was rocking and rolling and dancing and he got sooooo many compliments after the show! He just looked so darn happy to be there. It was amazing!!

The grand finale. Lex is in the back. You can just barely see his leg and red sneaker to the right of the directors leg. I think he was smart to chose percussion. He has lots of room to move and dance and do his thing.

They ended the week with an ice cream social and people kept coming over to him to congratulate him and compliment his performance. Even some students did! We enjoyed our ice cream then went home and crashed!


Back to work

Have I mentioned lately that I got a job?! Yay! I’m pretty excited about it!

Today while Lex was at camp, Eve and I spent the day in the library! I met with the out-going librarian for awhile, spent some time rearranging the furniture, met with a finance guy to talk about retirement savings, and spent a lot of time discussing the fish with Eve.

My grungy new fish tank

It seems I have inherited a fish tank with six South American Cichlids. I tried to pawn them off on other teachers last week, but no one wanted them. Eve and I did some research today and learned that this breed (is that even the word for fish??) is “toothy and agressive” and doesn’t play well with others. In fact, it tends to eat other fish unfortunate enough to be placed in the same tank. We spent some time yesterday at the pet store and I mostly walked away with a confirmed feeling that fish are creepy. Eve is pretty excited about the fish tank though, so I guess we will learn.

Eve put all of the extra plants and “accessories” she could find into the tank. It’s pretty full now!

It is such a big and amazing space, and I have no grand vision for it, so I think I’m going to have to just spend time there over the next few weeks and see how it feels. We did some rearranging, created a separate drawing center and reading center (which were combined last year) and Eve was full of advice about what to do. At one point I asked, “Do the tables go here?” to which she replied, “It’s your library mom, they go wherever you want them to!” She’s awesome!

Lex’s 11th Birthday!

Hey all. Lex turned 11 last month. I’m still not loving my blogging setup and, well, I guess I’ve been busy too, so this post is a little delayed. I love the boy all the same though and I’m sure he’s fine with the delay. :)


Morning presents.


Happy Birthday!! Eleven years old and handsome as ever! <3

I made brownie bars for school and cake for the party, so I asked Lex if maybe we could skip a cake on his actual birthday. He said sure, then asked for cookies instead. How could I say no?! :)


Candle in cookies, better than cake!

This year we had a birthday party at the rock climbing place. Lex invited a bunch of boys and it was so much fun!


Packing up goody “bags” for the rock climbing party.


It’s party time!!!!


Happy Birthday Lex!!


Lex had a great time! We sang and joked about how many candles the cake needed and all his friends were so nice and happy to be there celebrating with him.


Presents time. (I think Alan just said something funny. Love the look he’s getting.)


Hey, there were a few Colliers there too! :)


Alan decided to give it a try too! He’s a natural, of course.


Everyone was all worn out by the end!

The next day we went for a nice walk to the playground. It’s always great when Rosy is around. She drags us all out for fun and exercise!


Eve decorated the dog with lovely dandelions.


Lex has mad ball skills! :)

So there’s Lex’s 11th in summary. I love him more than the world and it’s amazing and overwhelming and just plain perfect that he has become the young man he has. I want to keep him in my arms forever, yet also look forward to what the future has in store. Life is good. Happy Birthday my boy!

Belt Tests!

Lex and I had belt tests last night. Lex tested for (and got!) his solid blue belt and I did my first belt test and got an orange belt. Lex hasn’t tested since last October (an admitted oversight on their part) and he was very happy to be testing again!


I love his concentration face!

Lex did several katas on his own. He is soooo brave!

The weapons katas no longer “count’ towards their belt progression, but they are encouraged to show them if they know them. Lex brought it!


New belt, blue belt!

Eve is taking a break from karate this month while she’s doing Girls On The Run (they are on the same days and she was exhausted after doing both for awhile!) so she didn’t test today. She was mentally ok with it ahead of time, but kind of fell apart during and after the test. Turns out seeing Lex progress without her was harder than she expected. We talked about ways for her to catch up and I *really* hope she gets back to karate next month!

The kids’ belt test ran long, of course, so we ate a super rushed slice of pizza for dinner then hurried back to the dojo for my belt test! Fortunately there were only seven adults testing, not nearly 50 like the kids, and we were all very low belts, so the whole thing was over and done with in 20 minutes, not the two full hours that the kids’ test ran!

Eve and Lex, once settled after our rushed dinner, were happy to watch me and cheer me on. Lex wanted to make an iMove of it, but the iPad is old an out of space (sooo sad!), so he just made some videos on my phone. He is a funny photographer!


Me in my white belt. I can’t deny Lex when he asks for a picture, since I take so many pictures of him! :)

That’s me on the far left, and my buddy Mike right next to me.

This is my first kata that I had to do all by myself!

I earned my first new belt! :)

I was so spaced and rushed (and hot!) after Lex’s test that I forgot to get a picture of him in his new belt. He took a picture of me in my new belt, but he didn’t get the belt in it and I look terrible, so you all don’t get to see it! :) But we got them and we are both very happy and ready to get started learning new katas!!

A Birthday Weekend

We had a long weekend full of birthday fun for this growing girl.  Thursday night we went out to a fancy dinner at Jesse’s.  I encouraged her to pick somewhere other than the usual Panera Bread.  :)  I think we were all happy with her choice!


How is it possible that she’s nine already?!


Tic-tac-toe is always popular at classy places that give you crayons. :)


Mema and Grandpa Tom came too!!


I love this girl!


This super silly girl!!


The restaurant staff brought her a big birthday brownie sundae and sang her a birthday song. The best part is that our waitress was her teacher last year! A teacher that she loved. :)


She and I shared this brownie sundae and together only got about half way through!


We got distracted by the big rocks on the way back to the car. We were all a little hepped up on the excitement (and sugar!) of the evening!

The were pretending to be rock hopper penguins.


The sign is so big! They were amazed! It does not look that big from the road when we drive past all the time.


Strike a pose! It took us a long time to make it to the car. :)

Friday Aunt Rosy came to town and stayed in a hotel with a pool! Eve invited our neighbor to come along and we enjoyed pizza and swimming at the hotel.


They played an interesting game of basketball in the pool.

On Saturday Aunt Mandy joined the party crowd. She and Alan took Eve out for a birthday lunch and bike shopping! Eve has been riding a series of yardsale bikes these past few years and although she loves them, we decided it was time to get her a new “from the store” bike that was just her size.


Still pink and streamers though, of course. I wonder if she asked Alan to put her basket on it. She loved having a basket on her old bike.

We hung out, played, relaxed, cooked, ate a delicious dinner, then did presents and cake.


One roller skate?! I wonder what’s in the next box!


My last minute, on-the-fly, cake for Eve using box cake mix and leftover frosting. It came out delicious, with a mysterious hint of mint.


Happy Birthday my big little NINE year old!

On Sunday everyone went home, I took a nap, and this happened! She has been wanting to color her hair for weeks now and has been asking me to take her to the store to buy purple hair dye. It never happened, but she mentioned it on her birthday list and Aunt Rosy delivered. I’ll have to dig up an old picture of Aunt Rosy with her orange hair sometime!


We were going for just the tips, but I’m not much of a stylist and she’s a pretty wiggly customer, so it ended up being the lower three inches or so. Plus that part in the front that always hangs down. She calls it her “wish curl.”


Punky Purple Curls! I wanted to take a picture of the ringlets, but she brushed her hair before I had a chance.


She was pretty low-key about it last night. I’m not sure if she didn’t love it or if she just wasn’t feeling well. Along with all the presents she also got a nice head cold this weekend and her ears are full of sinus pressure. I’m curious to hear what everyone in school thinks of the purple curls today.

So that was Eve’s 9th birthday, plus her friend party from a few weeks ago. I feel like we’ve been celebrating all month and guess what just came in the mail?! A birthday present from Joyce. Let the celebration roll on!! :)

The Cat and Dog Show


Checking out the world together.

We have been thoroughly entertained by the cat and dog show around here lately. Nuoska is so interested in Daisy, but Daisy is taking her sweet time warming up to him. She isn’t scared of him, in fact she has been inside more than usual and is staying near him and the rest of the action. Nuoska really, really wants to sniff her bottom! She’s not so sure about that. Sometimes she lets him get close, but other times she keeps him at bay. Last night she even went over and rubbed up against him, which was sweet, until he turned and started trying to sniff her butt! LOL! Dogs! Whenever they are interacting it is fascinating to watch. Eve bought Daisy a big bag of catnip in a pillow, which Diasy has been loving. That probably mellows her out a bit. Right now she’s sleeping with her head on it. They crack me up!

Nuoska was being really bold and naughty this morning! He was relentless with her! Usually when she hisses, he goes into the other room for a few seconds before trying again, but this morning he was persistent. Lex and I took him out for a walk and he was totally crazy! Naughtiest walk ever! (in the two days we’ve had him so far! :) ) Maybe it’s a sign he’s getting comfortable with us and more bold in his environment. :)

At family meeting today we are going to vote on a new name. These are the options so far. What do you think?