Friday, December 22, 2017

One More Showcase!

Alida on the Beam.

On the Floor.

Flipping on the Floor.

Vaulting over and onto things.

Strong and in the air.

And I'm told this was a perfect dismount. I will believe her.
She has come a long way in five months here.
Really, we're impressed and she is certainly near the top of her group.
Well done, girl.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Way More in the Spirit of Things

Ugly Sweater + Ugly Socks
(in my laughably ugly kitchen.)

Relaxing by those gigantic stockings.

Some Real Snow.

And some quiet nights.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Girls' Show

A bit more in the spirit of the season.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Boys' Concert

Well I guess they are fitting in with all the other boys in 6th grade, matching their excitement....

There is some nervous smile from Confucius.
Because it wasn't really a holiday concert... 
It was a history concert and Nicholas was excited to speak in third person  as Confucius. 

Ben.  Ben of the patience. 
Grace, next to him, was having nothing to do with the actual dancing and glared at him each time his participation encroached on her space.

Each and every time.

But he was gracious to Grace and danced around her.
Because the boy who doesn't dance says: that was what we were there to do, and we were being graded on dancing, so I was going to dance.
Well done.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Let it Snow!

They were so excited.

No matter how little that day...

The dog--not so much

Friday, December 15, 2017

Flashback Friday: Alida

I loved this that you wouldn't wear anything but your Christmas dress for about a month in 2011.  No matter where you were or what you were doing.
Now--can't get you into a dress to save my life. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017


Old Classic: Chili and Cinnamon Rolls for dinner.

New Classic: Chocolate covered spoons with marshmallows and peppermint bark for hot chocolate.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Happy Active

It's cold outside in the am now, which happens to be the only time I am going to run.
I am never this happy during that activity.
And 15 minutes after this picture, I hear them both singing Christmas carols and running at the same time. 
I will never do this either. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Handel's Messiah

Maybe it was the Super Moon that evening,

But Nicholas was somehow able to fall asleep to Handel's Messiah as our Sunday Evening Christmas season kick off a week ago.
He took All is Calm to a whole new level.
We were able to rouse him for the final chorus, so at least there is that.

Monday, December 11, 2017


Nicholas.  Ah, Nicholas
Despite claiming you must not belong to our family,  
Despite your savings account built to buy a car and drive away,
Despite your eye rolls at family time,
we know it is all an act.
And we love it when you forget how terrible it is to be part of this big messy family.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Happy Birthday Benjamin: Steadfast

Ben, at 12 your underlying maturity and sensitivity to people does not surprise me, but it does make me so very proud.  Whether you are joking (but not really) that everyone at church was underdressed or explaining how you helped a friend with something hard that even you didn't know how to do, but you figured it out together, my heart swells.

At 11, you didn't even like this cake, but no one at that table that day would have ever known that because your sisters made it and they were excited, so you were too.

At 10, you could disappear and just be with yourself.  I don't know a lot of adults who can do that.

From long before 9, your sense of humor has been amazing and makes me laugh constantly.

You don't ever want to do the family things we make you do.  You are sure to let us know.  But once you know there are no negotiations about participation, you throw yourself into whatever it is.  And I admire this trait, so much.

You have always been able to tell a story whether a re-counting of the day's events or something completely made up right there around the campfire with flare and interest and continuity. 

You love chocolate.  All things chocolate, not white cake with strawberries.  But you smile and enjoy if it is important to the people you love

Already handsome.

The year you told me not to worry, you would always be my baby.
(Sometimes I worry that you intend to live with me and let me mother you for all time, but we'll cross that bridge someday.)  More importantly, that day had been hard for me and you nearly made me cry with such kind words from such a small boy.

Put Ben to bed and Ben would stay in bed.  Right about this time in our lives, that was unimaginably important.

I'll forget the tantrums and potty training for today, and maybe I'll choose to believe that there were no terrible twos for you.  If there were, it was certainly a mild case.

Those eyes, that smile.  How could you be anything but charming?
Well, we all have our days.
We all have our days.  Not sure you were happy about this one.  But it fits the theme, that transition to the world came with reluctance, but since accepting your life here, you have embraced it.  And we are so lucky you are ours.

Happy Birthday Nicholas! 12 Years of Smiles and Energy

Technically, you couldn't smile yet, so we'll let Year 0 go.

Smiles and energy

Smiles and energy
But we had less say on what you would wear by this time, clearly.

Smiles and energy
But making your own food decisions.

Smiles and Energy
But you were going through a no-picture phase then, so this is a bit of treasure right here.

Smiles and energy.
Oh, oh my the energy.

Smiles and Energy
And the beginning of those screens.  Here your first Nintendo DS.  You still have it, and you still play on it

Smiles and Energy
And discovery.  Oh man, the love of discovery.

Smiles and Energy
And chocolate cake.  Nothing but chocolate cake from here on out.

Smiles and Energy
And doing things your own way, for sure.

Smiles and Energy
And just a hit of a young-man-to be showing through.

Smiles and Energy
And guns.

Smiles and Energy
And man, we love it when we get these out of you these days as you turn more often serious, sometimes outwardly nervous, and nearly always playing it cool these days.