Saturday, November 29, 2008

the last dance

... of this year's DanceChicago that is (well... at least for Clara).

Here she is dressed and ready for the show...
... and a little pre-show rehearsal...
and finally, a shot with her flowers in the lobby as we snuck out during intermission...
She was so tired... she just wanted to go home.  It didn't help matters that instead of having the girls wait for their parents in the lobby like last week.... they took them straight up to sit in the balcony.  See... they issue all of the performers free tickets.  Last week they used their tickets to get in but once they were in, they met up with their parents and then sat with their parents.  This week, they took the kids straight to their "assigned" seats on their tickets, which were up in the balcony.  Most of the girls didn't stay for this week's show.... so that left just Clara and two of her friends (also first graders) sitting up in the balcony alone for the rest of the first half of the show.  They were not pleased with this arrangement.  They did really well, but they were very concerned that things didn't go as they had the week before.   Oh well.... it all turned out fine... but I'm sure that whole situation added to Clara's desire to leave at intermission.  She was just "done".

We stopped at a restaurant on our way home for some appetizers and then went on home.  We put up most of our Christmas decorations this afternoon.  Alex was like a little Christmas elf on red bull... my goodness!  He was going a mile a minute.  He had even made a checklist for us to follow.  I have photos... but they'll have to wait until tomorrow.  

Okay... I'm tired... so I'm heading to bed!


run alex run!

We just got back last night from our Thanksgiving trip to Missouri and I have a bunch of photos to go through.  But, I thought I would share one now...
I'm so proud of my boy!  He ran his first 5k on Thanksgiving Day!  He actually ran the whole thing!

Last year he walked it with me but this year he thought he would run at least part of the way.  Honestly, neither Jeff nor I thought he would last long running.  Running just isn't his thing (or at least it hadn't been his thing).  He has decided that he would like to try the kids' triathlon this summer so for the first time a couple of weeks ago, he ran with Jeff on the track at the gym.... he made it a mile.  

Thursday he made it the whole way.... slow and steady but running the entire time.  He finished 2618th out of 4503 over all and 29th out of the 107 in his division.  His time was 35:54.  

He's caught the running bug now and is even, as I type this, out running with Jeff to train for the next race.  

Okay... I'm off to start my day.... Clara has her second dance performance this afternoon and I've got to go mentally prepare myself to get her short hair into a bun later today!  :-)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

one performance... done!

one more to go next Saturday.

I have a ton of photos to go through, but it's not going to happen tonight.  I'm tired.  :-)

Clara did really well!  They were the first act in the show.  All performers received a free ticket to the show so after the third act she got to join us in the audience to watch the rest of the show.  

Their school performed selections from the Nutcracker Suite... any guesses as to what "role" Clara had?  

Yes.... she was a snowflake :-)

Okay... I'm beat... so I'm off to join everyone else in the family room!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I won't grow up!

okay... so I have already... but I will always have a special fondness for juvenile fiction.

Here's the stack of books currently on my nightstand...

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry
Alex had book club last night at the library and this is the book they will be reading for December.  I decided to just pre-read a bit before bed.  Well... I ended up finishing it!  I wasn't sure about it at first... so many reviews on Amazon had compared it to The Series of Unfortunate Events series (which although I enjoyed that series, I wasn't up for another book like it).  But it was a good story with a good, happy ending.  I'm curious to see what Alex thinks of it.

I had chosen Little House in the Big Woods as our last read aloud for school.  While we were reading it, the kids discovered that it was part of the Little House series of books.  When we finished Little House in the Big Woods, they insisted on continuing on with the series.  Farmer Boy was next.  I've discussed this with a friend, but was Farmer Boy always part of the Little House series?  My third grade teacher read the whole series aloud to us and I don't remember this book.  I only remember the books about Laura's life.  Alex is really getting into it as Almonzo is basically Alex's age.  It's pretty eye opening for him to see what was expected of a boy his age during that time.  Anyway... it's on my nightstand because I *needed* to know what happened next.  I think you can see the two bookmarks... the first one is our read aloud stopping point and the second is my bookmark.  :-)

I haven't started this one yet.  Alex checked it out from the library after we saw the movie preview when we went to see High School Musical 3.  He just finished it last night and immediately brought it up to me... insisting that I read it too.  Well.... twist my arm!  :-)  I'll start it after I finish Farmer Boy.

Other than a slightly out of control book obsession.... all is well here.  I haven't blogged much because I believe that blog posts should have photos and I have taken no photos lately.  We just haven't done anything particularly photo worthy.  I had intended on having my Christmas card photo shot by now, but I haven't even put much serious thought into it.  Maybe I'll make an attempt when we're in Missouri next week.  I had hoped to be more on the ball so I'm not sending out cards the week of Christmas AGAIN this year!  

Thankfully today we're staying home all day!  Although Clara does have a friend coming over for a playdate this afternoon.  They usually go over to each other's house after dance on Mondays but with their performance being this weekend their teacher has been keeping them late... too late for a playdate afterwards on a weeknight.

Okay... I'm off to check math work!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

movie wednesday

Can you guess what we went to see???  :-)

Clara was much happier before I took this photo.... but my inability to figure out our point and shoot camera and the multiple shots I had to take in order to get this one sad little photo had pushed her to the edge.  :-)

We had a good time at the movie yesterday!  I don't think I ever saw the first Madagascar, so I'm not sure how it compares, but I enjoyed this one.  

Okay... I'm drawing a blank today, so I'll just stop here!



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

happy tuesday!

I don't know what's going on lately but I've been a very bad weekend blogger.  Perhaps it's because our weekends have been fairly unexciting lately.... yet extremely busy.  

This past weekend was a blur... dance, swim, church, dinner out with a friend, family movie night at home.... stuff.... lots of stuff.

Yesterday was fairly uneventful too.  Just dance for Clara.  Each week, her and a friend from dance have a playdate.  Last week they came here so last night they went to her friend's house.  I had promised Alex that the next time Clara went to her friend's house, he could invite his friend (our neighbor over to play).  Alex was so excited to have his friend over.  It worked out really well.

Today was a cold rainy day so we decided to go for a nature walk as part of school!  :-)

Here's Clara and her leaf collection...

and Alex with his favorite leaf...
There are more photos and details here.

After that it was just swim class.  I hit the library while they were at swim.

See.... nothing exciting!  :-)

I'm off to hang out with my husband!


Friday, November 07, 2008

a pow wow and leaves...

Yesterday we went to another field trip, this time it was a pow wow...

(still struggling with color casts... sigh)

The kids loved it and we learned quite a bit as well.

I love this time of year when all of the leaves are falling! I had to stop and take this photo... ... even though it was raining and the kids thought I was crazy! :-)

Clara has become leaf obsessed and added these...
... to her collection. I think I may need to look into getting her a leaf press before next fall!

After we got home, we were only there for a little bit before heading out for a playdate. It's crazy how many homeschoolers are around our neighborhood when you start looking. These new friends live about a block and a half away. The kids had a great time and got along really well. It was a very good day... for a rainy fall day! :-)

Okay... I'm running behind as usual... gotta go!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

bubble guy and other stuff

Sigh... again I have spent entirely too long fighting with blogger to get my photos uploaded and now I don't really have time to write much. So, here's the brief run down of our day yesterday...

We started out attending a field trip with a friend and her son...
Geoff Akins the bubble guy

After the show and a quick stop at Starbucks... we headed to the park to play...
Alex managed to fashion himself a bow and arrow (which we HAD to drag home)...
After our friends left, we decided that we had just enough time to grab a late lunch and go hunting for longer sleeved shirts before our next playdate that day :-)

On our way to Walgreens to take advantage of their three sweatshirts for $10 deal, we saw that someone had poured some bubbles into the fountain...
The kids thought that was great! :-)

Once we had our new sweatshirts, we headed back to the park to meet up with my friend and her two girls.

The kids had a blast making piles of leaves and then....

... jumping OVER them (yeah... I'm not sure I get that either... lol).

Then they decided to bury Alex in the leaves...Ummm.... where's Alex?
Ah ha.... there he is.....Okay.... I could ramble longer but the dog is getting antsy and I'm in charge of walking her today!

Happy Thursday! :-)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

election night

Okay... there will be very few words on this post... mainly photos because blogger has nearly sent me over the edge with a whole slew of issues when I tried to upload photos tonight.... ugh.

We all went to vote as a family today...
It was cool to have the kids with us for the process. This was the second election that Alex was there voting with me and this was Clara's first year - she voted with Jeff (four years ago we went to vote while they were in preschool).

After swim, we came home to watch the results come in. The kids were much more into it than I had expected.

Here's Alex taking it all in...
and a few shots of the kids filling in their maps and charts...

Clara was soon over the whole thing and went on to bed... Alex, however, began making crayoned campaign posters and taping them in our front windows! LOL!

Okay... I'm off to watch the rest of the coverage!


Monday, November 03, 2008

read this book

As many of you know, I love to read and books are a very important part our lives here in our house. But, with all that we read, I rarely, if ever, feel compelled to jump up and shout from the roof tops my love for any one book.

That is... until now. I have a new love, a new obsession.... a new book to add to my very small collection of books that I would (and will) read over and over.

That book is...
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Here's how this book came into our lives this weekend....

Saturday we all went to the library to return some overdue books. The last time we were in, I had noticed a flier about a book club for grades 3-5. I asked the children's librarian about it and she pointed me towards the fliers and told me that copies of the book were available behind the check-out desk. I was interested in this because Alex has become a voracious reader lately. Well... for me he has anyway. I would say he reads about 3-5 chapter books a week (on his own, outside of school)... so I am having a hard time keeping him in books (right now he's pretty caught up in the Spiderwick books and the Hardy Boys though).

Anyway, I thought a book club might be fun for him and would help introduce us to books we might otherwise skip over. He thought it sounded cool, so we asked for the book.

Wow... it was overwhelming when she plunked it down on the counter.... 544 pages!!!!!!!! We checked it out and brought it home.

I decided to look through it first. The bulk of the book is made up of fabulous black and white illustrations.... mimicking the footage of an old black and white silent movie. I was completely drawn in and I couldn't put it down. You are immediately caught up in the story and race through to see what happens next in either picture or text.

The story is so moving and magical that I was nearly in tears at different parts. One part in particular chokes me up ever time I read it (page 378 if you have the book... the part where Hugo talks about thinking of the world as one big machine). Ugh... I've got a lump in my throat right now just thinking about it!

I read the entire book in one sitting... and when it was over, I wanted to start right back over again. Which was odd to me. With most books I really enjoy, I don't want it to end, I want to know what else happens. But with this one, I was mostly okay with it being over.... but I wanted to start it again so I could absorb even more of this story.

I'm not going to tell you really what it's about (you can read that from the amazon link above) because I hesistate to tell too much, afraid that I would take something away from the discoveries to be made as you read it for yourself. Let's just say that it involves... Paris, train stations, clockworks, chase scenes... oh... just read it! :-)

After how strongly I felt about it, I wondered what Alex would think of it. Well... he stayed up until nearly midnight so he could finish the book in one night. He was completely captivated by it as well. He enjoyed the main character, Hugo Cabret, and his life of gears and automatons.

Okay... after all of that rambling, I have nothing else to say but go get the book.... either for yourself or for a child in your life... I don't think you'll regret it! :-)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

the best halloween ever!

At least that's what Clara declared it! :-)

We really did have a completely fabulous Halloween this year.

We started out early. We were supposed to meet our neighbors out front at 3:00 to get started... but we were a little behind and still trying to figure out a couple key costume items at the last minute.

We finally joined them about 15 minutes late.

So, I present to you, Long John Silver...
According to the book (Treasure Island, which Alex had just read), Long John Silver is missing a leg. However, that was a hard thing to duplicate, so Alex decided that he could have a peg leg. Well... wasn't sure how to pull that off... so at the last second, Jeff sacrificed one of his old brown socks to the cause. He pulled it over Alex's shoe and pants to create the peg leg. The parrot (Cap'n Flint) just wasn't going to happen. I bought a toy parrot at the thrift store the other day but we never got around to modifying it to sit on his shoulder. Oh well... Alex made a fine Long John Silver anyway, complete with the "arghh" pirate face (which I wished he hadn't insisted on in each photo... sigh).

And now, on to Tinker Bell...
I had tried desperately to talk her into picking another costume other than Tinker Bell. We had had such nice weather last year on Halloween that I was SURE that we would have snow this year. I really wanted her to pick something else that we could add more layers to so she would be warm. I honestly had no clue that we would have an absolutely perfect weather day for trick-or-treating (70 degrees out that day!!!). No parkas necessary! She loved her costume and looked completely adorable. :-)

So, here is the crew we set out with...
We headed out to the retirement home we went to last year to meet up with another friend and her daughter. It is a great place to start our evening. The kids get a bunch of candy right off the bat... plus they have games, face painting, crafts and a haunted house.

Here Clara paints a pumpkin while everyone else goes through the haunted house...
Clara went through the haunted house last year, but refused this year. I don't think I blame her. The basement of a nursing home is creepy enough to me without the added spiderwebs and skeletons! :-)

From there the new, bigger crew headed out to trick-or-treat some of the local businesses. My neighbor and her boys split off to head toward home. We hit another business or two before heading toward the house of Clara's friend from dance. Before we got there, Alex and Jeff peeled off to go home and start baking pizzas for dinner.

We met up with Clara's friend and we trick-or-treated our way through the neighborhood toward our house. At one point we passed a pub that waved the girls in to get candy, which prompted the joke... so, Dorothy, Tinker Bell and Sleeping Beauty walk into a bar... but that's as far as we got with it. :-)

At this point, it was dark enough for Clara to turn on her wings...
although, you can't really tell it in this photo.

We came home around 7:30 for pizza.... with all of our trick-or-treating companions joining us. The kids had a blast! The boys built with Legos and played with their glo-sticks outside, while the girls played dolls in Clara's room or out on the deck. All of the parents got to hang out and chat which was very nice. Finally everyone had headed home by about 10:30. The kids were EXHAUSTED but still pretty keyed up so we wound down by watching a bit of Ghost Hunters Live before herding them off to bed around 11:15.

You know... I think Clara may have been right... it was our best Halloween ever! :-)