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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Holidays 2013



Happy holidays from We5!  We hope you all have a blessed Christmas (and I'm not just talking Stuff-wise), and a prosperous New Year! Safe travels. Get out there and celebrate that Christ child!
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Winter concert 2013



Here's the big kids' darling prinicipal, introducing the class of 2021 yet again. They'll always have a special spot in his heart because they were kindergarteners his first year as a principal. I think he's especially fond of this class.

The fifth grade did a show called North Pole Exposure and it was a good 40 minutes long. Santa and Mrs. Claus were featured, both of whom were played by good friends of Carrie's. It's been fun seeing all these kids grow so much over the years. Carrie was a snowman and sang "I Wanna Go to Hawaii" with 4 other friends. Me too, Carrie, me too.
 
 
 
 
 
 


Carrie's preschool teacher, Miss Linda, couldn't make it this year, but we met up with our close friend Miss Theresa for the concert. She was expecting about 2 songs and was blown away by the amount of time and talent they displayed. She raved afterward about how impressed she was, and we're all, "yeah, we know." Haha! I guess it's easy to take talent for granted, especially when your own fifth grader is underfoot and constantly practicing her multitudes of carols nonstop. Anyone who knows Carrie knows she has a lovely singing voice and that she's rarely quiet. It was a great concert and the hard work was apparent. Lots of kids had speaking parts, which is a nice change from some schools that only showcase the same half a dozen kids. We love going to the concerts at our school!
 
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Busy-ness



I'm pretty sure the week before Christmas break is a total wash at school, what with the parties and read-ins and sugar highs. There was a poster contest in which Carrie participated. This is unfinished, but it gives you an idea of what she's reading. She's become a Rick Riordan fan. He wrote all the Percy Jackson stuff, for those of you who've seen clips for The Lightning Thief. The contest rules were to create a movie poster of a children's book which has NOT (yet) been made into a movie.

I remarked in a previous text about the dumping of snow we've had. The boys try to get out there in it at every opportunity. Thank goodness the snow pants from last year are getting used and we didn't need to buy new ones.

Apparently all I need to do to get RID of the snow is blog about it. Who knew? I griped on here about being tired of it already; the temp hit 40+ degrees and it started raining. So other than our icebergs of stubborn slush from the plows and shovels, it's snow-free out there! Did I mention we're to get 1-2 inches of rain tonight? Did I mention how glad I am that it's not converting to snow? Eeeeeeeeeeeeep. It reminds me of times during my childhood when we'd needed rain. Daddee would hand Lisa and myself the sidewalk chalk and say, "girls, go to it."  We'd cover the sidewalk from end to end in hopscotch, block letters, flowers, and silly doodles, then within three days it would rain. Guaranteed. Perhaps if I complain online about snow, it'll be gone within three days. I must remember this theory. 
 
 
 


Damon doing his impression of "I can't put my arms down!"

Actually, he got snow in his eyes.
 
 
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Strings on Fire concert 2013



Look at these cuties. I mean, this is Carrie and her buddy Mason. Though he goes to a different elementary school these days, they've been friends since kindergarten. She just lights up when she sees him and she was thrilled to find out that Mason also started playing the viola this year.

Thursday night was the strings concert. Every fifth grader, all 179 of them, from the 4 elementary schools, joined together on the high school's stage to play what they've learned so far this fall. There were freshly minted bass, cello, viola, and violin players from stage left to stage right and from the curtain to practically the edge of the stage. And boy, can they ever YELL!
 
 
 
 


Since there had been no dress rehearsal, it was one of those "grab your music and instrument and we'll seat you" kind of deals. We had no idea where Carrie was onstage. Dada took as many pictures of as many of her friends whom he could spot in hopes that we'd find her when we scanned through the pictures. No such luck! She assures us that she was indeed onstage, but we got her in exactly zero photos!

Anyway, though they only did plucking for this concert, we were nevertheless impressed. I have it on good authority that they improve dramatically from here.

In fact, once the 5th grade finished, they found their reserved seats in the upper deck of the auditorium so that they could watch how persistence pays off: the high school students came out to perform. This was only one of FIVE (FIVE!!!!) orchestras sponsored by the high school and they were amazing.
 
 


Their last song was one made famous by the Trans Siberian Orchestra, so they also included a light display. Naturally, even the squirreliest concert-goer was then glued to their seat in awe. Well played.

To top off the night, the strings kids then got an ice cream social as the auditorium emptied out. It was a super fun night! Everyone's hard work was evident and we are proud of Care Bear for practicing and participating.
 
 
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Gandhi


The entire second grade has been working on their biography reports. You may remember when Carrie gave her report on Alexander Graham Bell. Liam chose Gandhi.




Thursday was his day to present, so we dressed him up and sent him in with all his paperwork. We'd talked at length about what prejudice, nonviolence, oppression, hunger strikes, and imprisoned meant. I even learned a thing or three. Liam discovered that what most amazed him about Gandhi's life was not how much time he spent in jail or the fact that he was once thrown off a train. Liam was most surprised that Gandhi had gotten married when he was thirteen.

At any rate, he must have answered all the audience's questions well enough; he earned every possible point for his speech and his book report. He missed a few points on his timeline, but altogether he earned a 94.5 out of 100! Way to go, Liam!


 
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Lemmings

Like everybody else, we've been crazy busy now that the holidays are approaching.

Sessions at the Y are winding down until the New Year, so Damon will have his last swimming lesson in an hour. He really likes his class and his teacher and being in the water. In fact, he'd rather be in the water more than anything else. It will be interesting to see if his instructor will promote him or keep him at the same level until he follows directions (like staying on the wall) a little closer...

Carrie had her Christmas concert last Thursday and tonight is her very first strings concert, featuring her on the viola for the first time. I'm at once proud and mentally trying to remember where we keep our stash of ear plugs. Not that'd we'd need them for HER, of course, but who knows if those other kids pick up their instument at home. *wink wink*  I thought about posting her former concert stuff, but I think I'll wait until after the pictures tonight and do them all at once.

Today Liam presents his report on Gandhi. The entire second grade has been researching biographies on people of their choice, and he picked Gandhi. He's going in with two pillowcases folded and pinned into a sash and my hair towel for his turban. I can't wait to hear how it went.

I've been trying to Christmas shop while the big kids are in school. Shopping with a three-year-old takes more talent than I possess, however, as proven by me leaving $55 of gift cards at the store where I bought them yesterday. I called customer service once I got home and realized I didn't have them and called myself an idiot. I was informed there was no such thing, that they get that call all the time, and that they'd be waiting for me at the service desk. Whew! Tis the season.

We haven't had as much snow as some of you, but I'm betting we have permafrost. It hasn't been above freezing in a long time now. Every time I go out to shovel, it snows more. Therefore, I quit. Triskal enjoys the snow for about 2 minutes, rubbing her face in it and galloping about, and then sits on the step giving us pitiful eyes as soon as she realizes snow = cold. Apparently some things take awhile to be learned, even after 8 years of it. Silly old girl.

Have a wonderful Positive Energy Thursday!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Pre-holiday ponderings

I was sitting here with my back resolutely turned against the crystalline, intricately crafted ice pieces that were not so much falling from the sky as floating like dust motes caught in sunbeams while I wondered about procrastination and if it benefits or hinders. I decided both. I think it depends on the situation.

For instance, just this morning (December 7) I remembered that Home Depot has a turn-in-old-strings-of-Christmas-lights and we'll-give-you-a-coupon-towards-new-LED-lights. Apparently I should say "had", as that particular offering ended November 17.

November 17th?

That's my brother's birthday.

That's the week before Thanksgiving.

Who has their stuff out and checked and decorated and organized for Christmas the week before Thanksgiving?! And why can I never seem to be one of those people?

I am sitting here now in brilliant sunshine (and so is Triskal, at my feet) with 5 strings of half-dead (yes, only "mostly dead, which is not quite all dead") Christmas lights which now will not do me any good in my decorating needs but will also not earn me any coupons towards shiny new ones, because the powers that be decided that it'd be a good idea to run the exchange for a week and a half before the holiday that happens on the calendar before the holiday that lights are needed.

What!?

Hmm.

Maybe that doesn't even count as an example of procrastination. I didn't put off decorating. I simply did it in what I feel to be a timely fashion. That means I didn't start decorating for Christmas while the back-to-school supplies were still in the stores. I guess even that isn't accurate, since the Halloween stuff is displayed at stores at back-to-school time.

I get that planning ahead is important, but good gracious, things are getting out of hand.

I've noticed that if certain shorter people in our home leave their belongings strewn from Hither to Yon, there are times when I'll pick them up out of disgust, frustration, annoyance, a weak moment, an inspired to clean moment, or any/all of the above. In cases that like, procrastination on their part works out to their advantage. "I put it off, so Mama took care of it. I win!" I do try to not be the weak link and to make them clean up after themselves most of the time. After all, I don't want their future college roommates or spouses to hate them for leaving a swath of destruction in their wakes. I get that it builds character or empathy or something. More immediately, if their favorite pants get worn for 4 days and miss making it into the laundry basket, they won't get washed with everything else and then they won't have said pants for the next 4 days until I do laundry again. Mama wins!

Oh wait, not supposed to be about keeping score.

Right.

Obviously, procrastinating with issues like bills tends to have negative consequences. Same thing with homework. But nothing will truly be hurt if I leave disgusting dishes in the sink while I play with play doh with our youngest whirling dervish. The clean, wet towels can, on occasion, stay in the washer overnight if I forget to toss them into the dryer before bed.

Decorating for Christmas can wait until Thanksgiving is over and has been fully enjoyed, every drop of blessings squeezed out of it. 

After all, Lowe's will still recycle the Christmas lights that don't work. They just don't give coupons.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Accessories


Let me start by saying that, no, he wasn't in his winter coat the entire 4 hour drive to Thanksgiving dinner. We had a really good start on dry roads and got most of the hours in before we gave up looking for a Wendy's and settled on McDonald's for lunch.

When we got back in, stuffed with fries and nuggets and milkshakes and burgers, Damon found my jewelry in my bag's side pocket. I was hearing small jingling sounds and turned around to find him almost asleep, fingering the bracelet on his right wrist and my necklace that he'd wound around his left wrist. He then conked out, all gussied up and stuck in the carseat. This kid cracks me up every day.

 
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Thanksgiving 2013

 


I was very impressed at Zach's puzzle concentration. Those were 100 piece puzzles, and he dove right in and was amazing! It also made me realize how I never get them out for Damon... another one of those things that you stress with your firstborn and forget all about by the time the poor third child rolls around. Dada got some 24 piece ones out once we got home; Damon had more fun undoing them than piecing them together. More practice is in order!
 
 


Pap displaying his prowess at one of the things grandpas excel at: naps!

The table, pre-food, with all its lovely decorations. Aunt Becky has a good eye!
 
 


The kid table. Lizzie rode herd over the three year olds. I'm pretty sure they were done eating before we'd even finished passing all the dishes at the big people table...
 
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Lights in the park and group photos



Uncle Kelly and Aunt Becky's new town has a super light display that you can drive through. We packed up all the kids and took two cars through. The cousins were all enchanted, and Aunt Becky commented that we had the jolliest car.
 
 
 
 


The waterwheel actually turned. It looked so cool!
 
 


And the boys all loved the train, naturally.

Below you'll see Grandma Barb and Pap with their brood of grandchildren. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get 7 kids to smile at the same time. Damon was determined to make funny faces instead of charming viewers with his beautiful smile.
 
 
 


The kids decorated the banner on the fireplace with things they were thankful for. It kept them busy for awhile- great idea, Aunt Becky- and it made a wonderful backdrop for a photo op. There's Noah, Neva, Aunt Jana and Uncle Rob.

And there's a sneaky photographer!
 


 
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"A big pot of crazy"

I'm cheating and borrowing a phrase from Aunt Chris, though it does suit our side of the family fairly well. You'll see from the photos that there were seven children between the ages of 10.5 and 15 months together for Thanksgiving. Three of those kids are three years old. The youngest is "baby Noah" who is absolutely adored by all. Here he is, proclaiming "to da fingy and 'yond!" (Okay, he's not really. That's what DAMON says.) And his lovely mom, Aunt Jana, of course.

 
 


Liam found cousin Zach's train set the last day we were at their house, and spent the morning setting it up. He worked really hard and when Noah headed right for it, I honestly braced myself for a meltdown from Liam. I was pleasantly surprised when he let Noah climb right through it, and then he started including Noah in playing with the trains. Liam has always loved babies, and he certainly has a humungous soft spot for this particular cutie!
 
 


Here's Zach in a rare moment of downtime, and Damon being his usual body-of-motion.
 
 
 


The adults had every bit as much fun as the kids in spite of a box of beads exploding all over a bedroom (which may or may not have had anything to do with a certain pair of three year olds) and cooking up way too much food. The guys had a chance to get away and do boy things for awhile one morning, and we girls stole away in the afternoon for some coffee and talking time. The grandparents had fun observing all the chaos from 7 kids, and we all counted our blessings. Thank you so much for hosting, Uncle Kelly and Aunt Becky. It was perfect!
 
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