Thursday, April 26, 2018

Black belt test, part 2

April also hosts two of the three black belt tests. All candidates passed both tests so far. The final challenge is this Saturday, where they face grappling and sparring and "sharks", which are some of the krav maga and black belt students from previous testing cycles.

These pictures were of the self defense test. They were to be working on their punches and kicks until they were "attacked" and then had to defend themselves. I took many more pictures, but figured these ones gave enough of an idea. 

Our Adorable Richardses are testing for their second degree black belts as Damon tests for his first. I love that that girl just dives right in!

If you're in the area on Saturday, pop on in and cheer everybody on! Graduation is May 12 at noon.

Something for everyone

It has been some month. April is known for throwing curveballs and I'm not just talking about the ridiculous weather. This April, my 90 year old Nana passed away. That means family gathered together, road tripping from all over North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and who knows where else. Fortunately, it was a beautiful, warm, and dry weekend so there were fewer traveling hassles than there could have been. Though we've been married for 19 years, there were still family members Dada had never met. Some of these were my cousin Ruthie, her husband, and sons. Our boys all hit it off and were quite the sight:  

After a concise service including music that Nana had preselected which had been written by a relative, there was a little bit of time to spend before the lunch would be served. Cousins being cousins and it being way too long between times spent together, some Shenanigans ensued, which may or may not have involved our kids and my cousin's kids, Cora and Blake. 

I remember thinking that it was the perfect kind of spring day: some clouds in a blue sky, a slight breeze, warm sun on our shoulders. I think Nana would have enjoyed all of it except maybe our "monkeying around" at the cemetery. I know there are other pictures on Dada's phone so I will have to see what I can track down to share. 

It's bittersweet that she is gone. I don't think she ever had any desire to be the world's oldest living person, so to make it to 90 is quite an achievement. I'm so glad that we saw her last summer while we vacationed with her in good health; that those memories of sunshine and her interacting with us and the dogs and her nurses are the ones closest to our hearts instead of the ones where she sat wretchedly on the alarm pad of her bed in the nursing home while taking multiple medications. I'm glad she got time with all of our kids and that they'll remember her. 

I'm glad we have fun family that takes advantage of opportunities to get together and make more memories. I'm sorry that we won't get to see Nana at the beach this summer. It will be odd to not have her coming out of her room with her walker to ask us if we've eaten yet or what we're up to that day. I'm glad that she didn't linger a long time through her pneumonia, being miserable. I'm glad that we got to celebrate her life. I know it will be a process, and the kids have already mentioned missing her, and that's how it should be as she held a special place in our hearts and lives. 

Nana Carrie, 1927-2018, we love you.

Hotel pool time

Anytime there is a hotel involved, there had better be a pool. These fish kids could not wait to get in the water and release some energy. The first time we used it, we had the whole place to ourselves. Liam beelined for the hot tub while Carrie and Damon made visits back and forth between it and the pool. The second time we went there were at least two other families, so Damon got adopted into some games with those kids. Liam discovered a three-hole putt putt course just outside the pool area, so he befriended a boy about his size and did rounds. I mentioned to Dada, "that boy looks just like Blake did when he was that size." When Carrie got out of the pool to dry off, she spotted Liam and his friend and commented, "he looks just like Blake!" When Liam came in to help us check out of the room, we asked what the boy's name was. Liam said, "I dunno, but I thought he sure looked like Blake!" Must have been a dead ringer for everyone to notice.

Care Bear and the art show

Heavens, these are from the second of April during the art show at the high school. Care Bear had a few submissions and we got to see some of her friends' works as well. The displays were very well arranged and we had rather a challenging time keeping some younger brothers from investigating too closely.

Carrie's piece is the container morphing into the squid.

The giraffes below are not hers, but are for Muggin. The boys were quick to find them and insist on pictures for her.

There are some very talented kiddos putting forth some great stuff! I liked how there was so much variety to inspect from the jewelry to the pencil drawings to paintings and sculpture. I wish they could do expos once a month; I never get tired of kid art!

Friday, March 16, 2018

That girl.

Some mornings are harder than others, especially the first day back to school after spring break. Even more so when it's the first school day after springing the clocks forward for Daylight Savings Nonsense. 

Liam had to sprint to the bus, not that he got up late; he just needed to spend an entire half hour of the hour he has from alarm to bus to kvetch about the fact that it was A) morning, B) not a two hour delay (after a week off), C) dark, D) cold, E) all of the above and then some.

Carrie was already standing out there with Bosley on his leash, in the dark, and the bus rolls up. I was behind Liam to ensure he made it out of the house, so Carrie began to run away from the ever closer bus towards me while I'm calling cheerily to Bos. She drops the leash, dashes up the bus steps, Liam on her heels. Unbeknownst to her, I did indeed corral the squirrely, joyful, leaping Bos before Carrie was the whole way seated, but as the bus was already in motion again and we were in the dark, she couldn't tell. So I receive the above text from her friend Isaac's device.

Notice she can now "sleep easy" in math, not just "sleep"! Does anyone want a teenager?!

A Normal Person post

I'm channeling my mother today. I'm at our local Panera, watching the guy across the street at Ace Hardware wiping down his windows, Panera customers coming in and out, an occasional (crazy- my car said it's 24 degrees out) jogger, just eating my fresh orange scone and having hot (amazing) coffee. My mother calls this Something Normal People Do. 

Yes, I have coffee at home, and I am capable of making scones, though mine would be chocolate themed as I have lemons but no oranges or blueberries at home. However, I had have a million errands to run since I've been home with a sick-ish kid for the past two days. I've already dropped off a scrip but need to claim two prescriptions at pick up, hit Walmart and perhaps Aldi, and even though I went back into the house twice before I left for good, I still don't have the mail I intended to send from town. Grrrr. 

But there is laundry which has made its way into the dryer already, all the kids made it onto the bus at their appointed times, the dog has been fed and run and played with, Liam's six month med check has been scheduled, and I am actually wearing makeup and earrings. I call it a win. 

Hence the coffee and scone out while I blog because our home wifi "is being a big poopyhead" to quote our longtime friend Todd. I have next to no technical knowhow so it's beyond me as to how to fix it. The guy standing next to my tech guy in my brain muttered, "Panera has wifi" and the tech guy perked up to add, "and coffee!" Someone smarter than both of them slyly added, "and yummy baked goods, and never mind that you already ate three cookies after breakfast. Get one anyway. How often to you go into Panera?" Sneaky little devil. So here I am. I just made a tactical error. I closed my eyes to absorb some of the steam from my coffee (who knew coffee could steam? Doesn't everyone heat theirs 4 times in the microwave and still forget to finish it?) and realized, I could nap here... 

What a difference 24 hours makes

Yes, that would be Damon in the kennel with Bosley. Some of you are having flashbacks to when Carrie and Liam would do that with Triskal (Carrie did it once with scissors) but Bos has a significantly smaller crate. 

Twenty-four hours later, after hearing a dreaded sound that no parent wants to hear, especially early in the morning, led to a much different picture:

Poor kiddo. Who knows which particular germ he picked up, but we're thankful it was short-lived. After his initial bout of hurkage, he had no reoccurrences and only a slight fever. The next day he still didn't look himself upon waking, so he stayed home again to make sure he'd licked it. Halfway through the afternoon I realized he was completely his 100% ornery self again. His bum went on the bus this morning posthaste. He's probably glad to be back among friends instead of with his boring old mum anyway.

God bless teachers, every one. 

Black belt test, part 1

This is the kid who passed his first of three tests to become a black belt in karate. He showed off his basic skills set and performed four katas over three and a half hours. He performed Six Qualities of a Champion, Universal 3, Advanced Kicking Kata, kicking kata and single stick form. Some of you are scratching your heads because I said four katas and that's five items; the point system is where some of them count as a whole point and some are only half a point. In his case, kicking kata and single stick form are each half of a point so together they made up his fourth kata. You'd think I'd know all this stuff by now, seeing as his siblings are already certified, but I have to write it all down as I go...

Anyway, after some tweaking and repeating certain aspects throughout the test, his whole class passed the first test. Way to go, guys! It was a long afternoon and they worked really hard. It felt fantastic to cheer and clap for them at the end. 

Next up will be the self-defense test and two weeks after that is the sparring and grappling element. That's the really fun one to watch as the instructors and some of the krav maga crew get to hop in to be "sharks" and the kids get to show what they know against adults whom they're not necessarily accustomed to dealing with. Not sure who gets more of a kick out of it- the kiddos or the sharks! That will be late April, so let me know if you'd like to stop by to see some of it. Nina and Jonathan are testing for their second degree black belt, so their test includes two attackers and really is something to see. They've already been practicing on Saturday mornings and the sessions I saw both went very well. 

Carrie is mulling over the idea of working as a student instructor. She is aware that several of the current ones will be heading out to college this summer and there will be vacancies. Since she will be 15 (!) in May, it warrants looking into, especially as we are there all the time anyway. 

And so our life continues to be school, homework, church, and karate, karate, karate...

Graduation will be May 12 at noon at the usual venue. If you'd like to come, know that it's free, wear black to cheer Damon on, and be sure to buy some popcorn!

Friday, March 02, 2018

Seuss Day 2018

Today is Dr. Seuss day at school, and thanks to Grandmama, this kid has something perfect to wear. (Pay no attention to the photobombing Bosley.) What a perfect event for a Friday. I bet there are all kinds of giggles at school today.

The second graders have been learning about money, the coin denominations, how to add and subtract it, that sort of thing. Last night as I tucked that tuckered out kid into bed, I told him to uncover his head so he could breathe. He pipes up from where he was burrowed, "y'know how coins have heads? I'm a Damon cent!"

This morning, while attempting to snuggle the little stinkwad, he informed me, "I already said 'I love you.' Now please shoo." 

He's Thing 3, all right... and a happy heavenly birthday to my Gramps, whom I'm convinced is the guardian angel for this crew...

In Mawch...

See those two frizzering kids on the extreme left? They actually have daylight at the bus stop now!

I liked how the trees looked outlined on one side. 

The wind is still blowing pretty good and Damon found a spot of black ice on the driveway en route to the bus stop. It kinda went like this: 

Normally we wait until we can see the bus head down the street for our intersection. That way we are out of the elements. Today, however, perhaps because it was sunny, Damon insists on waiting outside. Damon, Bosley and I all headed out of the garage. Damon lags behind, grinning wickedly as he begins to argue that we should wait in the garage. I stare at him, then turn my back and continue out. He eventually catches up, after commenting on the trees, the snow, the ice, every little thing, and then scurries to where I am where he proceeds to wipe right out and lands on his bum. He looks up at me with a twinkle in his eye and announces delightedly, "black ice!"

Whose kid IS this!? He then proceeds to dance his way down the rest of the driveway, shuffling, sliding, doing his very best with every move to make me crazier. I'm happy to report that he didn't wipe out again as he crossed the street, which has happened before, or at the turn where he boards the steps of the bus, which has also happened previously. 

Bos and I made it back down the driveway in our respective pieces, and he couldn't wait to go play out back. Enjoy the sunshine and happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The unfairness of it all

I got a text from my mother stating, "70F whole area here and your area @40F seems unfair 😜💙😜💙"

I've been thinking about Triskal and how she hated the rain, which was hilarious as she was a webbed-footed, double-coated, water-rescue-bred Newfoundland. Even the kids laughed at her every time we sent her out in the rain because she made this mournful face like, "I can't pee in these conditions. I might get wet." We miss her. Man, she'd have hated today, though:

I love leaf-filled puddles. And I love that you don't have to shovel rain. And if it's warm enough to rain, then that means I might not be freezing to death, though let's face it, I am happiest at 80F and sunny. 

And our Leak is back.

And I'd been outside four times between about 7 AM and 10:30 AM. Twice with the kids to the bus stop and twice to pick up and reposition the dratted trash and recycling tanks. God in his mercy had allowed the recycling to be picked up early, so that one was empty- hallelujah and amen, because let me tell you how much fun it is NOT to be out there in the Leak playing 52 pick up with recyclables.

I have hopefully wedged the trash tank well enough this time that it will stay put until it's emptied. Then it'll probably fall into the Leak itself. 

The ditch creek out back isn't overflowing yet. The ones along the roads looked pretty darn full on Monday when we did our karate run, so I can't even imagine how they're faring today. Perhaps we should invest in a canoe...

Damon and I did hear our first killdeer of 2018 this morning while waiting under our umbrella for his bus. That along with the Facebook posts of tulips and crocuses from friends in Oregon tell me that spring is on its way. 

God save us, we still have to get through March...

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


We have a small "pond" out front, one that really is supposed to be there. It was added to the landscaping on purpose before we bought the house. It has hosted fish and frogs but every autumn it begins to host leaves. Lots and lots of leaves.

Last fall, we thought, "we are intelligent people. Let's drain the pond and cover it lest it fill up with leaves. And more water. And ice."


Carrie and her friend Isaac, whom she didn't know spectacularly well yet but who was a great sport anyway filled bucket after bucket and figured out a way to use the hose to drain the pond into the creek ditch out back. Dada used our two exercise balls (the kind you sit on for balancing or ab work- heck, we weren't using them) to toss into the pond and then found plastic sheeting to cover everything up. The idea was that the balls were taller than the pond was deep and the rain and leaves would then fall onto the plastic and cascade off.

Yay for gravity, right?

Except physics works in strange ways sometimes. The balls decided it'd be less work to just float over to the edge and hide out among the rocks rather than stay in the middle and hold up the plastic. The pond is now a plastic covered, water filled, leaf filled, leaf and water covered mess.

So Liam, who went out to feed the birds, decided he'd liberate the ball which, turns out, he had been using as a seat at the poker table where he keeps his Legos. 

"Can I bring this back down to where I play Legos?"

"Tell me you did to bring that disgusting ball from the pond into the house."

"It wasn't IN the pond. It was OUTSIDE the pond, on the edge."

"And tell me you wiped it off with something to clean it off."

"I did. I wiped it off with..."

Dada and I trade glances and mouth, "hands."

" pants."

Dada makes a valiant attempt, but still erupts into chuckles and remarks, "you better hope you can run faster than Mama, Liam..."

Eh. I wrote this episode. Which is why it's here. Happy Springish Slop, everyone!