Sunday, November 25, 2007

Heart-Pounding Moments

Caleb has participated in the Seattle Kids Marathon for the past three years. It's become part of our Thanksgiving tradition. We usually drag the kids around Seattle for some day-after-Thanksgiving shopping, which is something they loathe, and then check into a hotel, which is something they love. For them, the indoor pool is the best part about spending a night in a hotel. And the breakfast buffet is pretty good, too.

We got a little extra excitement at our usual hotel this year. We had been swimming, had some dinner and had gotten the kids ready for bed when the fire alarms sounded. A voice over an intercom system instructed us to evacuate the building. Though I never felt too panicked, it was a little unsettling and I rushed out without thinking to grab coats or shoes for the the girls. We waited outside for a few minutes as we watched the fire trucks come in. A few firefighters went into the building and though we could smell the smoke, we were cleared to reenter shortly thereafter. Just a little commotion to an otherwise peaceful stay.

Though a wrong turn on the way to the race threatened to keep Caleb from making it to the starting line, we arrived with only a few minutes to spare. I planned to run with Caleb, mostly for safety reasons (there were over 3,000 kids participating)but my heart pounded fiercely as I unsuccessfully tried to keep up with him. Once he made his way through the crowd at the start, he broke free and I couldn't keep up. Thankfully I was able to find him in the sea of people just beyond the finish line.

The rest of the day was set aside for the BYU-Utah game. Jon pushed play on the DVR and I settled in for my very short-lived set on the couch. My nerves go crazy anytime the Cougs play but when the Utes are the opponent, I simply cannot sit still. I can't just watch, I have to move. I scrub feverishly, stopping every few seconds to watch the next play. It was another thriller, one for the history books and the kitchen ended up sparkly clean. I thought my heart would jump right out of my chest but that's the best way to win!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Eating Football

The speaker in church last Sunday began his talk on gratitude by listing the many things he loves about Thanksgiving. His ideas included family, eating, football, etc. Caleb, who was half-heartedly listening, didn't process the pause which suggested a comma between the words eating and football. He quickly cocked his head to one side as he incredulously asked, "Eating football?"

Football and Thanksgiving go together like mashed potatoes and gravy, like the Rockettes and the Thanksgiving Day Parade. And there are always several games to help satisfy our appetite for the sport.

Jon and Caleb started the day by bundling up for the annual Turkey Bowl. It was a sunny, crisp fall day and they looked so cute as they headed out together. Caleb had a blast running around with his buddies while Dad played a few games that would make him sore enough to spend the rest of the day limping.

I spent the day (and several hours yesterday) in the kitchen. It takes so much time to prepare a meal that takes a mere minutes to devour. Since we were a small crowd this year, I contemplated omitting some of the standard side dishes. But in the end, the traditionalist in me couldn't let them go so I managed to get all the trimmings on the table. It was the classic Thanksgiving dinner.
There are so many yummy things about Thanksgiving but we've decided that the quintessential item is the pumpkin pie. It is the one thing we just wouldn't want to live without.

I made two pies but we couldn't resist indulging in the first one last night. After today's feast, half of the second pie remains. We have lots of other leftovers too, but we can't wait for our huge extra helping of football when we watch the big rivalry game on Saturday. Go Cougs!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Caleb Briefing

Jon and I went to the school this afternoon for the kids' parent-teacher conferences. We passed the principal in the hall and he commented, with amusement, that he had heard about Caleb's "show." The confusion on my face prompted him to say, "You didn't hear about that?"
The fourth graders put on a Veteran's Day program which was performed at an assembly for the student body last Friday and again at an evening performance on Tuesday. The music teacher is really talented and put together a great program with a 40's radio show theme. Caleb dressed in a Dodgers baseball uniform to portray his role of Jackie Robinson.

Evidently, after the show on Friday, the kids went to the restroom to change from their costumes into their regular clothes. Caleb removed his baseball uniform, which included baseball pants and dressed in his every-day shirt. He then realized that his regular pants were accidently left in the classroom. What does any innocent, slightly socially-challenged, adorable little boy living in his own state of oblivion do? He walks to his classroom to get them!

It's still not clear just how many people witnessed the streaking of Caleb in his skivvies, but he seems certain it was just one of his teachers who experienced the sight of his boxer briefs.

I had to cover my gaping mouth as the principal recounted the situation. I was embarrased, sure, but you can't help but love a kid like Caleb who gives us lots of good laughs.

And by the way, he got a great report from all of his teachers!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


It was the perfect play. Caleb ran the route precisely and the quarterback delivered a strike. He caught the ball in stride, turned and ran for twenty yards leaving all the defenders in his dust.
He crossed the goal line and we exploded in a sideline celebration. Caleb ran into my arms and we got so caught up in our moment that he forgot that he needed to be out on the field for the extra point. It was a proud moment for a football-crazed family like us.

We went from one fun sporting event to the next. Alyssa competed in her third gymnastics meet. Her scores weren't quite as high as her previous meets and the competition much more steep but we still continue to marvel at all she has been able to learn in the the six short months that she has been on the team. She's accomplished so much since she started gymnastics less than a year ago.
After the meet we went for a late lunch which included a yummy piece of cheesecake. The kids couldn't seem to shovel it fast enough!

A win at the football field followed by a gymnastics meet is a great way to spend a Saturday. And we get do it all again next week.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Happy Birthday Dear Alyssa

The celebrations began last Saturday with Alyssa's birthday party. She invited her friends to join her at her gym for all sorts of gymnastics fun. They spent an hour in the gym and then enjoyed lots of yummy treats.

Alyssa felt strongly about including Natalie in her party. Natalie spends lots of time watching Alyssa train at the gym so she was beyond excited about the opportunity to get out there herself.

At the end of their gym time, Alyssa proudly performed her floor routine for all of her guests. They later gabbed wildly as they snacked. Alyssa was so full of excitement, her joy overcoming her normally calm temperment, she became a hyper maniac. It was fun to see her enjoying herself so thoroughly.

After all the food, we presented each girl with a "medal" and they all did the gymnast salute. So cute!
Alyssa got so many fabulous gifts. She was thrilled with every bit of it. She has been particulary taken with her Webkinz dog. I think she played with/used every single gift within an hour of being home. She loved it all!
Grandma gave Alyssa an adorable new dress. She wore it to church the very next day and she looked so cute in it. As I fixed her hair Sunday morning, she asked, "Mom, do you think I'm looking like a seven year-old?" As much as I want her to stay little, she just wants to grow up. Alyssa woke earlier than normal this morning. She couldn't wait to get her birthday underway. She got completely ready, including her coat on and then requested muffins for breakfast. We put a candle in hers and sang to her. Natalie blew the candle before she could so we had to do a quick re-light.
At lunch time we visited Alyssa at school, took her a balloon and delivered the M&M cookies she had requested for her classmates' treats.

She took some yummy mini cupcakes to gymnastics for yet another celebration.
Alyssa requested penne with alfredo sauce for her birthday dinner. She delighted in her favorite meal and then we lit the candle and sang one last time. She opened a few more gifts and then it was time for bed.
Our fireplace mantle has somehow become a reference point for height measurement. Alyssa has been waiting for years to be as tall as the mantle. With a slight raise on the toes, she comes pretty darn close. She feels grown up. She's still my little girl and always will be. She does have some pretty amazing biceps, however.
My dear Alyssa has been a pure joy (don't get me wrong, she does have her moments) from the day she was born. We adore her and are so grateful for the sweet, smart, beautiful, talented, easy-to-please girl that she is. Oh how we love Alyssa Rose! Happy Birthday, Baby!