Sunday, May 20, 2018

2018 - Week 20

This week we're still in the middle of concert/recital/soccer season, but managed to get some yard work done and have fun with friends.

First up was Jake's final 6th grade Band Concert - the improvement in the band's performances over the past year is nothing short of miraculous.  They've gone from squeaks and honks to sounding really great! Jake has loved playing trombone and plans to take lessons over the summer to keep up his skills.  It's fun to watch (and listen to) him expanding his musical abilities.

Haley entertained herself and Alex during the concert by illustrating the creatures in the songs...

Thursday was Haley's Spring Choir Concert, where she sang with the Freshman Chorus as well as the   Chamber Choir (an audition-only group).  She also accompanied the Freshman Chorus on the piano for the song, "Farvel." It still astonishes me that she is willing and able to do such a thing...I wouldn't even be able to remember my name in front of an auditorium full of strangers, much less play piano.  She said she didn't play it perfectly, but it sounded great from where we were.  Haley loves to sing (in fact she's humming as I type this), and we looking forward to many more choir concerts in the coming years.

(Photos to come)

After cold temperatures and heavy rain late in the week, Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny.  It was a perfect day for a soccer game.  Alex played hard, kicked a great goal shot (that sadly the goalie caught), and played some good defense.  During the game Bo and I debated the merits of team sports.  At this age I feel like the whole point is that they are being active and having fun.  After every game or practice he says, "That was so fun!" so I guess it's working.  It's nice to have an activity for this high-energy kid!  

'Tis the season for outdoor cooking, and we took advantage of that this weekend.  Friday night our friends John and Tierney spoiled us by bringing over some amazing shish-kebabs, grilled pineapple, and peach cobbler.  Seriously delicious stuff right there!  

On Saturday the kids worked hard all day with the promise of our first bonfire and s'mores - now that the burn ban has been lifted (Haley and Alex walked next door to the fire station to be sure). We trimmed up all the spruce trees in the back yard (with the hope of saving the lawn, which is dying due to heavy shade), removed 2 overgrown - and long-detested-by-me - shrubs, and hauled it all out to the curb for the city to pick up this week.  We were exhausted by evening but kept our promise and the kids had fun making s'mores and playing "night games" with friends.  We hope it will be the first of many this summer.

We can see the sunsets again (as well as the hockey rink) with our newly-trimmed trees.

Late spring in North Dakota is a truly glorious thing.  We have two flowering trees in the front yard and they are in full bloom this week, along with the tulips & daffodils.  It feels miraculous after our loooong winter, and we try to take advantage of it all we can.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Weekend

It's been a busy weekend, with lots of Spring cleaning and yard clean up.  The kids have enjoyed playing outside - football, basketball, baseball, roller blading, skateboarding, riding bikes, and playing with neighborhood friends, with a few breaks to help clean windows and fold laundry.

Saturday night we hosted our documentary group, where we watched "13th" and had some spirited discussion on race, slavery, and the prison system.  I'd highly recommend it (for mature audiences).  

Sunday morning I woke up early to prepare my talk for Sacrament meeting, and the kids waited patiently all day until after church (4 pm), when they could search for their baskets and eggs.  Jake was the first to find his (in his empty cello case), Alex was next (behind his bed pillows), and Haley finally found hers in the back of the Jeep in the driveway.  We're running out of hiding places, and they're getting better at finding them!  We're looking forward to a day off of school and work tomorrow - maybe the sugar will be out of their systems by the time they're back to school on Tuesday?  Happy Easter, everyone!

 Haley trying out her new, "premium" colored pencils.

I was so happy that my wheatgrass grew tall in time for Easter.  I've been dying for some Spring Green around here!

Each kiddo has to find their basket, as well as color-coded eggs.  They each had 3 large eggs, 3 small, and a metallic egg.  I remember picking up those eggs as a kid and thrilling at the weight of them, hinting at the candy inside.  

One of Alex's yellow eggs blended in nicely with my freshly-planted flowers in the front pot.  Of course tonight there's a freeze warning so I need to drag them to the garage...I am about a month early for planting but I just couldn't resist!

 The kids didn't think to look outside for their eggs - this one hung out on the rocking chair for quite a while! 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Percy Turns One

This puppy turned one today.  There were many times in the past year when I wasn't sure he and I would survive each other, but the kids adore him and the feeling is mutual.  The first thing Percy does in the morning is go to Jake's bedroom door and wait for him to get up.  He's always so excited when the kids get home from school, and has learned to wrestle and play gently enough that they can chase and roughhouse without drawing blood.  

Seriously, who could have resisted this roly-poly little puppy!  Not this sucker of a mom.  

He does *not* like to be left out if anyone is hugging, snuggling, or otherwise paying attention to each other.  He loves to stalk and chase birds, squirrels, and rabbits in the back yard, and bury his favorite toys all over.  He also loves walks/runs, a good belly rub, and human food of ANY kind.  

Percy has chewed up countless spools of ribbon from my office, many Legos, two pairs of headphones, two laptop charging cords, many plants and bags of soil and plastic pots in the backyard, a whole bagful of hot chocolate bar ingredients that someone left on the kitchen floor, a tray of freshly-planted succulent cuttings I left on the windowsill, and countless other things.  He is also big enough to counter-surf and loves to lick the butter if it's left too close to the edge, has eaten two whole loaves of homemade bread (that I thought were out of reach), as well as anything left by the kids within reach.

It's a good thing he's so cute and has never shown even the tiniest bit of aggression towards the kids, or he probably would be living with a hunter right now (as he was bred to do).  He's mellowing out a little as he ages, and responds well to training - when we have the time to train him.  Happy Birthday, Snuggle Puppy!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Peter Pan Jr., the Musical!

This week we had the immense please of watching Haley perform as Wendy in the middle school performance of Peter Pan Jr.  Last year was the first year she'd ever done any kind of acting, and it's been fun to watch her blossom with it.  She worked so hard on her audition piece and was thrilled to land the part of Wendy.  They've been rehearsing since January and it all came together so beautifully.    The cast was incredible, the props were perfect, and the costumes were wonderful.   

 Wendy and Peter had quite a long conversation that was just the two of them - lots of lines to remember, and a challenge to keep it interesting for the audience.  They did a great job.

The kids were a little disappointed to learn they wouldn't be using cables to "fly" during the show, but this turned out to be an effective alternative.  Haley had quite a few bruises after they rehearsed this the first few times, but by opening night they had it down.   

 It's always more fun when your BFF's are in the musical as well!  Z. was Mrs. Darling, and B. was a brave girl.  E. (not pictured) was the crocodile.  It will be painful for these sweet girls when they split up to different high schools next year.

 Haley and C. have been friends since we moved into this house 7 years ago.  C. was a wonderful Toodles in the musical! 

The kids dressed up for school the days of the musical - fancy one day, and their cast shirts the next. Haley also got to keep her "kiss" necklace, which thrilled her.  
Here's to many more opening nights in her future!

Friday, April 07, 2017

Nick and Lu Get Hitched

My baby brother Nick got married today, in a rooftop courthouse ceremony to the beautiful Lucia.  I was so very sad that I couldn't be there, but we'll be at the big church ceremony next summer.  

I was able to FaceTime the ceremony (thanks, Kimberly!), and it was as windy at the park where I watched from as it was on their rooftop, so I *almost* felt like I was there.  

The package I sent for them to open at the restaurant afterwards, so that a little piece of me was there with them.  Wishing you all the best, Nick and Lu!

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Spring 5th Grade Band Concert

 Spring concert season is ramping up, and tonight we got to listen to the 5th grade band perform.  Their improvement over the last 7 months is impressive (it's the first year most of them have played), and Jake is part of a super fun trombone section.  We're so proud of him and the hard work he's put in to practice and rehearsals.  

Alex, thankfully, is finally old enough that he'll sit through the (many) concerts and performances we attend for his older siblings.  It helps that he's found some book series that he likes, and he's adopted the family motto of "Never go anywhere without a book!"

I have the utmost respect for elementary band and orchestra teachers.  Seriously, these awesome educators deserve a beach retreat and a big iTunes gift card so they can listen to {good} music all they want.  Watch for the trombone sections little "dance" at 0:50.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Boys' Week - Pinewood Derby and More

This week while Haley's been gone, the boys and I have stayed busy so we wouldn't miss her too much.  We built Legos, went to the park after school every day, and cheered Jake on at his last Cub Scout Pinewood Derby.  

 Jake was pretty excited for Crazy Hair Day at school and knew exactly how he wanted it done.  He especially enjoyed rockin' his crazy hair at the middle school for his math class (where it *wasn't* Crazy Hair Day). 

 Guess who bought a motorcycle?  Surprise, this guy's Dad.  Guess who's *not* excited about it? Not-surprise, this guy's Mom.

Bo and Jake worked very hard on his Pinewood Derby car for this year.  From the glossy paint job to the cool design, Jake wanted his car to scream, "FAST!" It wasn't fast enough to place in the top 3, but he did win the award for "Most Futuristic."