Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Candyfest - er - Halloween 2017

This year, we had a movie theme. Princess Poppy from Trolls decided to show up at our house.

And from the Hunger Games trilogy, the valiant Miss Katniss Everdeen.

Wonder Woman also showed up to save the day! The girls had fun. The weather was COLD (and snowy!) And there was much chocolate to be had.

The Final Race

Dayna finished her first cross country season in swampy conditions. But through rain, heat and wind, as well as changing terrain, courses and distances, she manged to keep a consistent mile time. She worked hard, and I'm so incredibly proud of her!

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That Fateful Storm

In October of 1997, a young graduate student spent a Saturday evening with two of her friends, watching movies, eating something that was probably not very healthy, and generally enjoying a break from her studies.

Little did she know that 13 inches of snow was about to dump itself on trees that hadn't changed color, much less lost their leaves.

For 5 days, she was snowed in with her friends. No power. Creative eating. Candlelight Monopoly. Gas station burritos (the only place on the block with power.) This snowstorm marked a deepening friendship with one of them. And twenty years later, we are happily married with two beautiful kids.

Here's to snow!

October Projects

It's probably not a surprise that I happily got a lot more canning done this month. I did, however, run out of canning jars twice! And I still have chili beans and broth to put up. But I'm so happy to have chicken again.

I also managed to freeze 7 pints of pumpkin puree.

This month also saw (finally!) the completion of my second pair of socks for the year. I think I'm slacking. The yarn was purchased in Ashland, Oregon. The pattern is "Farmer MacGregor" from the book "Socktopus."

2017-2018 School Pictures

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Budding Musician

Annie loves to sing. Everything. With big vibrato. Case in point - bedtime story for her doll, Lotte.

She also spent over a half hour one night with Dayna creating her very own tambourine performance, complete with alternative notation.

Apple Day - 2017

Our annual trip to the orchards in Nebraska City, with some fun family photos to boot.

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More Vala's Fun

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MKMEA 2017

Dayna has been joining me for MKMEA conferences since she was a baby. This year, she participated for her third and final time in the MKMEA Honor Choir. She was also selected to be one of three soloists. We're so incredibly proud of her. I was also able to prepare four other girls from town to sing this year. They were such a fun group!

Folk dancing - with the amazing Tom Michalek

Fun times in the pool with another friend

Middle School Fall Concert

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Memory Lane

I love the Facebook feature that lets you look back in time. This week has been filled with some precious pictures and videos.

Go, Fight, Win

Our little cheerleader got to cheer at the first home football game, and perform with the dance team at halftime. She seemed to be enjoying herself and loves to be in the spotlight. Another little ham?

Vala's Pumpkin Patch - September 2017

It's Pumpkin Patch season again! Dan is back driving the train, the girls are enjoying their Friday nights with friends this year, and I'm happy to let the fine people of Vala's cook dinner on Friday evenings. It's hard to believe we've already been three times this year, and it's not even October yet!

Symphony Math

This girl loves her math! She comes home with math papers to finish on the weekends (optional), and can't wait to get started. They also have a differentiated online math program they get to work on once or twice a week at school. She came home with her password last weekend, put it safely in her purse, then took it out again to log on for over two hours of math practice over the weekend. At this rate, she may very well finish the program by first grade! I'm thrilled that she loves to do her schoolwork, and that she particularly loves math.

Cross Country - September Meets

Dayna competed in several more meets this month. She continues to hold a steady pace, regardless of the length of the race. She can really kick in a nice sprint to finish a race, or to power herself up a hill. The hot, humid temperatures have been brutal, but this girl pushes through to finish strong. I am so incredibly proud her her tenacity in this new venture. She has one final meet on Monday.

Piano Kickoff 2017

25 students finished the summer session of piano (and flute) lessons. Five of them completed their Piano Bingo activities with a blackout, earning some pretty cool prizes. Most of the others completed at least one Bingo to earn some prizes as well. And many were able to gather on a Sunday afternoon in my backyard for some root beer floats, games, and a whole lot of laughing.

21 students are continuing this fall, making for a very busy year. It looks to be a good year, with a weekly secret mission including listening, learning, practicing and performing opportunities in addition to the students' regular assignments.

An Unsung Hero

All of us rub shoulders with unsung heroes. Those who are quietly changing the world by changing one life at a time. My sister is one of those heroes. A single mom of three (+ spouses). Grandmother of two. Teacher of low-income students. And a heart big enough to take in six more incredible kids who need a safe place to land. I don't know how she does it all and manages to keep a smile on her face. I do know God is the foundation that helps her keep all of those plates spinning. And her tenacious faith has had some pretty big ripple effects on the world around her.

This month, the world celebrated a Jubilee: 50 years of being a better place because of Karey. I'm proud to be your sister (even though I may not have appreciated it all the time when we were kids.) I love you, Karey!

A little gift for those moments she takes for herself.