Happy Thanksgiving From Our Family to Yours

Hailey's Piano Recital

Last weekend Hailey had her first piano recital.  She played Can-Can for an audience of nearly 300.  She started playing this year with an amazing teacher.  Hailey really enjoys learning to play and practiced very hard for her recital.
We were a little nervous because she almost always had trouble in one spot and the morning of the recital she made several errors.  But when it was show time, she waltzed on the stage, sat down and played her piece perfectly.  We were so proud of our little lady.
The recital show cased her instructors students (44) from 5 years old to college aged kids.  As the pieces progressed it was fascinating to see the difference music made in some of these kids' lives.  The final student was one that had graduated and he played Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us by Bradbury and then played an original composition that I felt competed with the some of the classics.

If I had seen this kid on the street, I would have judged him by the cover.  He had dyed jet black hair the fell in a swoop in his face.  He had skinny jeans, a skater sweater, and black fingernails.  He may have even had a lip piercing.  To watch this young man play completely transformed the opinion I would have had of him.  You would have never guessed what appeared to be a wayward teen was composing original works that were so beautiful.

As further evidence that I was born in the wrong generation, watching music be created in front of me was more entertaining than any TV program I can think of.  While listening to well crafted songs on the radio is nice, it is completely different being entertained by the creation of live music.  Even the simple songs of Chimes or Can-Can coming from little fingers was so enjoyable.  Then to watch the older kids play Minuet in G and Beethoven's 5th Symphony was really a thrill.  I think part of it is that I have zero understanding of music and can't even read a single note of music.  I remind Hailey often that she is already smarter and knows far more than I do in music.  To watch the kids' fingers dance along the piano keys in sequence that produces notes that are so pleasing, was truly a delight.  I would love it if one day the kids could entertain us with the piano, just like they did in the olden days. :0)

Thursday 13 ~ Thankful

Ti's the season for giving thanks, so I thought I would list just 13 of the things I am most thankful for. My blessings are really too numerous to count.

1. God. I am so thankful to have a loving God that forgives me for all my imperfections.  A God who has blessed me over and over.  A God who sought me out.  A God who is just.  A God who becomes more awesome the more I learn.  

2. Max.  He is the most steady, reliable, and loving man.  I think he loves me more today than he did the day he married me.  The highlight of my day is when the garage goes up and he comes home.  If there ever was a soul mate or destiny, he encompasses it.

3. Hailey.  She is such a beautiful child inside out.  She is caring and grounded.  She makes parenting a joy and lets you think for just a minute maybe you are doing it right.

4. Karlie.  She is the life of the party and the leader of the pack.  The world better watch out for this one!  She is full of life and joy and brings out the fun side of me.

5. Kaitlin.  My delicate flower who has the biggest heart.  She is so nurturing and loves to help in every way.  I can't help but hug her all the time.
6. Hank. Little boys are just different.  I am so thankful that I get to experience raising both sexes.  It is really fun to watch a little boy grow.  I am totally smitten with my little man.  He delights and scares me daily.

7.  Health.  Thankful that today when were at the Children's Hospital getting Hank's lip sewn back together that I was not the mommy of the child next to us that had been flight for lifed in.  I am thankful that we have just minor bumps in our lives and not life long illnesses.

8.  I am thankful God knew to give me three girls and one boy.  After the stitches and my first injury related ER experience, I see I am not boy mom material.  When Hank split his lip I started crying because it was so deep and I hurt for him.  Hailey later asked me if I was ok because "I've never seen you cry before."  Leave it to the boy to break his mommy.

9. The Resort.  Not only because it is a house beyond my wildest dreams but because of the very basic things such a shelter, heat, plumbing, and comfort.  So often I take these blessings for granted.  In parts of Africa women spend 8 hours a day collecting and purifying water while I leave the water running to do dishes or brush my teeth.

10. Our neighborhood.  I have never lived in one of those neighborhoods where everyone knows each other and are friends.  The kind where the neighbors bring you pies and cakes to welcome you.  The kind where all the kids play with each other and neighbors do nice things like put your trash cans away, edge your yard, or help you shovel the snow.  The kind that evokes the "like a good neighbor" feeling.

11.  Colorado.  Very few places can rival this as a place to call home.  The climate is great.  If it snows two feet by the end of the week it is usually melted and sunny.  My drive to the kids' school is a gorgeous mountain range.  It is a beautiful place to live.

12.  America.  Sure she has her problems (Nancy Pelosi to name one) but I feel blessed to be born in the greatest country in the world and to have all the freedoms and opportunities that she affords to her citizens.  While our health care system is not perfect and I paid $200 with insurance to have Hank's lip fixed, it is far superior to any other system currently available in the world.  If you have an emergency you will be treated regardless of ability to pay.  Not so in much of the world.

13. Family.  Family is everything to me.  I have a very loving, happy, funny, and supportive family.  Everything I am is because of them.  My mom and sisters are my best friends and I am privileged to have Snork for a dad.  I am lucky that I have loving and caring in-laws that I consider my second family.  I usually have more fun hanging out with family rather it be nuclear or extended.  Friends come and go but family is forever.

The Minnies Strike Back

Hank is a wrecking ball concealed in an adorable little boy that lights up the room with his smile and charm.  All that goodness aside, he is a wrecker.  Nearly every activity he engages in encompasses a certain level of wrecking.  Rather it be wrecking a clean room, wrecking his sister's homework or artwork, wrecking a fine piece of furniture by banging a toy on it, nicking the wall by tipping over the chair, wrecking the DVD player by yanking on it, or finding pens and coloring on the wall.  A wrecker is he.

He likes to climb up the office chair and bang as hard as he can on the laptop.  This is the same laptop that survived the coffee incident.  Yesterday I instructed Kaitlin to watch him while I ran upstairs to help Karlie find her shoes before school.  Kaitlin watched him climb up the chair and giddily bag away.  When I came back downstairs Kaitlin reported that Hank was on the computer.  I ran to the office to find my screen glowing as though it were a negative of a photo or like a black light effect.  No time to investigate because we were late for school as it was.  Once I got home and got the wrecker to bed I was able to try and find out if he had permanently wrecked it as Max had feared or if he managed to turn on some new age setting.  After two hours of searching I found the Black on White or White on Black options in the settings.  The little wrecker had managed to hit some strange shortcut key to induce this odd setting.  I was so happy when it returned to normal.

After Hank putting numerous dents in the desk, destroying the drawers over and over and this near second death of my beloved computer, we decided we needed to put a kid lock on the doors.  This morning Max installed this little lock and we had a morning free of Hank wrecking in the office.  Ah, but the Minnies are not so easily dealt with.

I ran in the office to check the email and shut the door hoping Hank wouldn't notice I was in the office and accompany me so he could do some wrecking.  Karlie didn't want Hank or Kaitlin to bother me so she slipped the tie into the lock.  What a thoughtful girl.  After finishing the email, I went to the door to find I was locked in the office and the three Minnies were on the outside!  I banged on the door and tried to explain to Karlie how to unlock it but her hands were not strong enough. Err, kid proof.  Heck, I can barely mange the two push and one pull system.  After some coaching I got Kaitlin to push one button and Karlie to squeeze the other and pull out the tie.  I was beginning to get very nervous about how I was going to get out.  Plus, I could only imagine what the wrecker was up to for those 5 unsupervised minutes!  Lesson learned.  Don't mess with the Minnies, they fight fire with fire! :0)

Date Night!

Friday night was the first time in 2 and half years that I spent the night away from all of the kids.  Max had a function for work downtown and we convinced my mom to stay the night with the kids.  Our argument that was that it would be much better to just fall asleep at our house instead of having to get up at midnight and drive home in the cold. Although we didn't mention that Hank routinely wakes up at 5. :)  Luckily my mom is the best grandma in the world and took it all with a smile.  The kids had so much fun with their grammy sleepover at our house!

We had such a nice time playing grown-ups.  We wore fancy clothes and I only had one Hank food smear on my sleeve (a parting gift).  We chatted with other grown-ups.  We didn't discuss poopy diapers, or site words, or iCarley, or anything about kids.  We drank wine and ate fancy appetizers.  We stayed up past 8:30 and we slept in until 7:45a.m.!  In the morning I was able to take a shower without someone needing to be wiped or coming in to ask where their favorite toy was or watching in horror as Hank single handedly destroyed my bathroom.  We had a breakfast without shoveling our food in as fast as we could and leaving behind a trail of mashed in food and crumbs.  We even were able to have a conversation without being interrupted.  I forgot what it feels like to be all grown-up.  I can't wait to play grown-up again.  Hopefully it won't be another 2 and half years! :)

Halloween Party 2009

It was fun this year to have our annual Halloween party on Halloween. We had chili over baked potatoes to warm everyone up.  The games we played were bobbing for apples, pumpkin golf, and gross-out where we had a bucket of "body parts" that the kids had to feel.  There were eyeballs (grapes in water), finger nails (pistachio nut shells), brains (spaghetti), guts (cherry pie filling), and tongues (dried apricots).  I don't know if the adults or kids had more fun with this one!  After eating and playing games the kids got to go trick-or-treating as one giant mob and you could hear the classic, "Trick-or-Treat" resound at each door. Hank was really cute trying to keep up with the big kids.  Our family went as Star Wars characters this year with Hank being an Ewok,
Hailey as Princess Leia,
Kaitlin was a Jedi Girl,
I was Padme,
Max was Anakin,
and Karlie was Queen Amidala.
It was nice that we got to reuse the Queen Amidala and Ewok costume from 3 years ago and could borrow the full Jedi costume from Chrysti.  I made Max and my costumes, so the only one we bought was Hailey's!  It was really fun and I am already thinking up ideas for next year!